Tag Archives: Clown Shoes Brewery

Brew Review: Blaecorn Unidragon

12 Oct

Brew: Blaecorn Unidragon

Brewed by: Clown Shoes Brewing (Ipswich, MA)

Style: Russian Imperial Stout (12.5% ABV)


Clown Shoes brewing out of MA until just recently was not distributed to MN.  That changed about a week ago but I had the pleasure of picking this bottle up on one of the great trips I took down to Chicago where Clown Shoes has been for a while.  Great to have another brewery with a large lineup coming to MN, although the competition is going to be fierce with the amount of new local stuff that is popping up here.  This is the 2011 release bottled on 9-11-11 and I cracked it open on 4-7-12 so this review is from my notes and the bottle had a solid 7 months of age on it which I am pretty proud of myself of for keeping it around as long as I did without getting into it.  Another Russian imperial stout (RIS), I seem to have an eye for these, must like them.

The Unidragon pours out a thick black and no light escapes from its depths. Looks like a RIS should.  A dark tan or mocha head rises up but fades quickly which creates a thin cap on the top of this inky brew.

The aroma is roasty right out of the gate.  This roast is followed up by big malts and a faint hop aroma.  Right from the start I see that this is sort of a traditional take on the RIS style.  Roasty, burnt, malty with a soft touch of hops.  These flavors flow into dried dark fruit and some toffee mixed with chocolate.  The one thing that I missed was coffee.  It was a good smell, nothing outrageous or anything but balanced and nothing seemed out of place.

I was excited for the taste, the aroma showed that this was going to be a really solid RIS right from the get go so the taste should follow up well with that. Right away I get lots of roast again.  The roasted and burnt grains lend some bitterness, the coffee finally shows up and some light chocolate all rise up from those grains.  The hops are once again faint but present giving a balance to the huge sweet malt flavor that also comes out at you.  The hops also keep the mouth feel from cloying or sickly sweet. The brew is thick in the mouth but those hops cleanse the taste somewhat and leave you wanting more.  A slight bitterness lingers but wraps up the taste nicely.

This RIS is not as ‘big’ as others (Darkness) but it really didn’t fall short of anything either.  I liked the roast aspect a lot.  There wasn’t a ton of depth to the brew but I liked the simplicity, for lack of a better word, and the somewhat traditional take on the style.  Another great or maybe not great piece of it was that at 12.5% I couldn’t pick up any alcohol anywhere.  This is a higher ABV for any beer in any style and masking that much is a pretty nice accomplishment.  A really good RIS, nothing jumps out as great but this could definitely be a backup on any night you want something dark, roasty, and deep.  The price tag keeps it out of the reaches of Old Rasputin but I still recommend it.


Final Grade: B+


Brew Review: Muffin Top

8 May

Brew: Muffin Top

Brewed by: Clown Shoes (Ipswich, MA)

Style: Hoppy Belgian-style Tripel (10.0% ABV)

Another one of the Clown Shoes line up that I picked up while in Chicago on one of my visits. I was told that this one was one of their better ones so I went for it not really knowing what to expect from something that was a mix between a tripel and a belgian-style IPA. Basically two styles that will pit malts against hops and then see who wins I guess. Let the battle begin.

The Muffin Top, first off a weird name for a beer it really has no bearing on the style whatsoever it basically just conjures up somewhat unpleasant images of overweight people in tight jeans, poured out a nice orange/amber color. There was also some dark red floating in there which made for a great looking beer. There was also a nice thick off-white head that rose up about an inch from the surface of the brew.

The smell of the beer had some definite Belgian funk to it which was a part of the IPA where the yeast is allowed to shine through. Cloves, funk, some banana rose up from it. There was also a big malt presence which sides on the tripel region of the style. The hops were also present in the aroma but not huge players quite yet, I just got a faint piney aroma from them.

The taste was somewhat underwhelming. There was obviously a high malt content – tripel style. But there were some bananas that floated around on my tongue and a slight bitterness which made me think more IPA. The one special part was that I couldn’t detect any booze at all. The flavor for being a mix of styles was not very dynamic, there was a nice Belgian touch but not really an IPA because of all the malt that goes into making a tripel.

I think, overall, that these two styles are just to conflicting to blend together and make something new and unique. It wasn’t a bad beer but for what the goal as I think the brewers fell short.

Final Grade: B