Tag Archives: Milton DE

Brew Review: Bitches Brew

11 Oct

Brew: Bitches Brew

Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (Milton, DE)

Style: Imperial Stout with Gesha Root (9.0% ABV)


This brew is a tribute to the Miles Davis album by the same name, in 2010 it was the 40th anniversary of this historic album and Dogfish Head decided to commemorate as such.  Originally released in 2010 this bottle I have is from 2011 and I believe that Dogfish will release this one once or twice a year at this point because it was greeted with such high praise on the original release.  Their website says that this brew was a fusion of 3 threads imperial stout and 1 thread of honey beer with gesho root.  I have had this brew before once at an amazing beer tasting in WI and loved it but it went fast so I didn’t get to really savor much of it. 

The Bitches Brew poured out a deep thick black.  This was a dark and deep beer.  There was a little, not very impressive, brown head that rose up about a half inch.  Overall looked like an imperial stout, which I guess makes sense if 75% of it is actually an imperial stout.  The honey ale, which I would assume would be a lighter color didn’t have much effect on the look of the beer.

The aroma of the beer is overwhelming imperial stout.  There are big roast smells along with some faint hops.  There is a sweet funk to it as well which I can only imagine would be the honey and gesho root.  The honey, gesho and some chocolate wrap up this pretty complex aroma which translates also to a really good and exciting aroma.  I really want to dive right into this beer after the first whiff.

The taste doesn’t disappoint.  It comes off very smooth with a sweet tang.  There are the obligatory rich robust roast flavors hinting of coffee, chocolate and bitterness.  There was also a little tart off-flavor that I picked up on but it wasn’t really off-putting kind of enjoyable.  It added to the bitter, tart, sweet complexities of the brew.  As I said, the gesho and hops are present.  Actually gesho is used in the same way hops are in Africa for a mead-like beverage so that really doesn’t surprise me at all.  I don’t really know how to describe the gesho, I can only guess that it is what I am experiencing when I think of the tang and tart that I found within the depths. 

This is an excellent beer, I really enjoy how this is a blend of beers, sort of like how Firestone Walker out in CA really excels.  The addition of the gesho is nice, it adds more than what you would except from some gimmicky addition like juniper berries or something.  It drinks like a really good imperial stout with some added characteristics that really push it to great.


Final Grade: A

Brew Review: Burton Baton

24 Sep

Brew: Burton Baton

Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (Milton, DE)

Style: Imperial IPA (10.0% ABV)


Dogfish Head, again.  This is one of their year round releases although it didn’t start that way.  it has been enjoyed by so many that they moved it to year round status so we could all get a chance to experience this one.  With the experiences of the 60, 90 and 120 minute IPA’s under my belt I figured I was up for the 10.0% that was the Burton Baton IPA.  I believe that this brew combines an old ale and an imperial IPA and then ages them on oak for a mellow yet robust IPA.  A very intriguing beer to say the least.

Burton Baton poured out a light amber color with oranges and reds dancing around which made for a deliciously good looking beer.  A nice frothy off-white head rose up from this pleasant brew and stuck around on the glass for the entire session.  A really good looking beer.

The aroma jumped out at me with hops and oak right away.  The hops were the most dominant as this has plenty with the IPA and old ale both contributing plenty. Strong and syrupy smelling I could tell that there was a lot lurking within this beer. The oak did mellow things out a bit and gave a further depth to the beer but the hops were dominant.  A slight backbone of malt did shine through at times but balanced is not a word I would use to describe.

The taste was bitter to begin with.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t too intense on the bitterness.  I was expecting there to be not much balance but the sweet malts definitely held up in the face of all those bitter oils from the hops.  The age in the oak definitely mellowed this brew out to a more manageable beer that was remarkably smooth. 

With an old ale and imperial IPA threaded together I was figuring that this brew was going to be a not-so-easy-drinker, but I was definitely proven wrong.  For the style and the ABV this was astonishingly smooth and the alcohol was barely noticeable.  Dogfish really got this brew right in my book. I would take this any day over the 120 or 90 minute IPA since those are just assaults on the senses and balance isn’t really a factor in those.  This is the opposite and in a very good way.


Final Grade B+

Brew Review: Olde School Barleywine

21 Sep

Brew: Olde School Barleywine

Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (Milton, DE)

Style: Barleywine (15% ABV)


Another entry into the world of Dogfish Head, who has a tendency to really hit or really miss.  These brewers really like pushing the envelope with high ABV beers and beers with crazy ingredients.  This brew is fermented with dates and figs and they mention that this is probably suited to a period of aging before enjoying.  I don’t know how long I aged this one but it was at most 6 months, looking back that was definitely not enough time.

The Olde School pours out a deep amber/red color.  It is a great looking beer with oranges, faint brown colors and great ruby red’s poking through.  Little to no head rests on top due to the high ABV which pretty much kills that part of the brew.

The aroma is big.  Plenty of stuff going on here.  Big malt presence, sweet and sticky, but also there were huge hop additions at one point because that pretty much reach out and poke you right in the nose.  There is so much going on its hard to pick out individual things but a floral hop aroma is the most dominant although it’s a pretty big cluster of everything in there.

The taste was similar to the aroma, on first taste it was just ‘big.’  A ton of flavors swept over me.  The most prominent is the booze aspect.  It’s hard to mask ~15%  especially in a lighter ale color/bodied ale and that was pretty obvious.  The booze was replaced with some residual sweetness on the end but it was a very ‘hot’ beer.  The intense hop bitterness does eventually push its way through which adds to the somewhat unpleasant effect of this beer. 

The combination of the high ABV which is very apparent and the intense hop bitterness really leads to a tough beer to drink.  With a lot more age I think that the flavors will soften and this could become a much better all around brew but to start off this is intense and somewhat off putting.


Final Grade: B-

Brew Review: Punkin Ale

26 Jan

Brew: Punkin Ale

Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (Milton, DE)

Style: Pumpkin Ale (7.0% ABV)

This is Dogfish Head’s take on a pumpkin ale, of which I am usually not a fan, which doesn’t give this beer a good head start in general. However, knowing Dogfish Head and how they like to push the envelope with creative styles and ingredients, this beer still peaked some interest in the fact that they could probably pull off something so weird with this style that it would become a favorite of mine. Granted, most of the ‘crazy’ styles I have had in the past are either usually right on the money or duds, its hard to find a middle ground in a beer that isn’t a traditional take on a style or conforms to a specific style on purpose. Its usually a hit or miss type of situation.

Punkin poured out a reddish murky amber color. I was expecting more of an orange hue to the brew since it is a pumpkin beer but it didn’t really show up that way. Not too disappointed but was kind of hoping for it. There really was no head to speak of at all. I didn’t pour this cautiously either, it was a normal pour and still didn’t get anything out of it.

The aroma was not as robust as I had hoped. There was a light pumpkin aroma with the necessary spices in there for this style. Also it was sugary sweet sort of like not-from-scratch pumpkin pie. Processed sugar. There was also a ‘funk’ in there as well. Sort of a lager skunk smell but not that discernible.

The taste was sort of like the smell, sort of bland with not much to get really excited about. There was once again some pumpkin tastes but it was sort of hollow tasting, which is sort of what I get from most pumpkin beer I try. I am hoping/expecting/wishing for a robust pumpkin flavor that rushes out at me since the beer is in fact a pumpkin ale in the end. But this one didn’t have it much like most of the others I have tried in this style in the past.

I guess if you enjoy this style of beer, this one could be a solid staple in your fall repertoire but for me this was just another notch on the old lame pumpkin beer list. I just don’t appreciate a pumpkin ale I guess like some others do.

Final Grade: C


Brew Review: Chateau Jiahu

23 Jan


Brew: Chateau Jiahu


Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton DE)


Style: Herb/Spiced Ale (10.0% ABV)




I don’t really know how to introduce this beer, its part of the Ancient Ales series where the Dogfish brewers do a ton of research into a beverage consumed in the past and then try to recreate it again, here is what they describe this one as, “Inspired by a beverage found in clay posts in China around 9000 years ago. In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers used pre-gelatinized rice flakes, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers. The rice and barley malt were added together to make the mash for starch conversion and degradation. The resulting sweet wort was then run into the kettle. The honey, grapes, Hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers were then added. The entire mixture was boiled for 45 minutes, and then cooled. The resulting sweet liquid was pitched with a fresh culture of Sake yeast and allowed to ferment a month before the transfer into a chilled secondary tank.” So this brew has a ton of stuff in it. However, if they expect me to pick out the hawthorn fruit and Chrysanthemum flowers in that mix its just not going to happen.


The brew poured out a yellow straw color with a slight amber hue. Somewhat orange as well. A mix of a yellow, orange and red thrown together. There was also a huge thick white head that rose up. A very interesting look to a beer with so much history and ingredients in it.


The smell is somewhat lager-like. I can smell some bready grains in there which remind me of lager biers. The honey does come through as does some white wine characteristics which much be from the fermented grapes. There was a lot going on in this brew, both heavy lager smells to flowery wine like aromas as well.


The taste is definitely a sweet ale flavor. The grapes show up again in the taste. They lend a crisp easy drinking feel to the beer. It drinks somewhat like juice, more like wine than anything through the actual taste of the beer. It was very unlike any beer that I have had before. It might have been that this was a beer brewed in the Eastern style, meaning traditional Chinese ingredients which means a totally different take on the process itself. I don’t claim to know much about Eastern ways and the more I learn the less I understand so I think that might have happened on this brew and I sort of lost a lot of what the brewers were maybe trying to get at. However, if this was such a hard beer to drink/understand then maybe the brewers failed a little bit in their own right. Not a bad brew but tough to get a handle on.




Final Grade: B

Brew Review: 90 Minute IPA

28 Dec

Brew: 90 Minute IPA

Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (Milton, DE)

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA (9.0% ABV)


Another Dogfish Head brew. I tend to think these are somewhat hit or miss for the most part. Some are excellent beers and most are thought out well and executed to perfection, but the extremity of the style or goal of the beers is sometimes too much to handle. I as hoping that the 90 minute would be a toned down version of the 120 minute and something that would be much more drinkable throughout the beer. Starting at 9% doesn’t give me much hope but I will give it shot regardless.

The beer poured out a bright clear orange, somewhat light amber color. A good looking color, almost like marmalade. There was also a half inch white head that disappeared quickly but left good lacing through the whole glass.

The aroma was very hoppy, the bitterness of the hops was present right from the start and never really stopped. However there was also a solid showing of malts as well in an attempt to balance out the 90 minutes of continuous hop additions during the boil of this beast. They tried at least.

The taste of the beer was off-putting to say the least. Right away on the first sip it was bitter, very bitter. I know this was what they were going for but this might have been a bit much. I really only got the feeling that they somehow figured out how to make hops into syrup and then just dumped that into this bottle. However with that syrup they didn’t get any of the floral or fruity goodness that comes along with hops. After the initial shock of being blasted into Aunt Jemima’s Hop Syrup I did pick up some sweetness from what I can only assume are the malts. At this point my taste buds are pretty much shot and trying to pick out one flavor from another is like choosing between apples and apples. The hops needed balance badly, like Captian Hook needing’ a mother very, very badly.’ The alcohol burn at the end was also unpleasant and unnecessary.

Overall, I think they tried a bit harder on the 120 minute and should have tried to create a recipe that would showcase what they were trying to do with the 90 minute instead of just throwing it at you and then having your taste buds rendered useless after a bottle so you couldn’t tell if it was a bad beer or not.


Final Grade: B-