Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Celiacs killed Yards Week

Hi everyone!

Unfortunately on Saturday I experimented with gluten in the form of super tasty pizza at the Grey Lodge.  OMG I was in heaven and earlier that day I had some special cake, but only a few bites and now 3 days later I am in intestinal distress so I have to lay off on Yards Week.  I was considering doing a review on my Bleeding Gums Murphy Belgian (Gluten Free) but the keg is fresh and I am in the process of trying to carbonate it with a new regulator that I put on last night.  Should I try it out?

OK, I tried it out, it is still not carbonated enough so I am going to carbonate it more before I review it.  It is better than before, but it is over the top on a few key ingredients like ginger and coriander.  It's nice though.  More later!

Have a great night everyone.  Look for a review on the gluten free one tomorrow as I expect that I won't be drinking real beer for a couple of days.

Thanks!

-Wiss

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 105, Yards Tavern Porter

This is a recipe that belonged to George Washington and it is considered an English Porter which were beer blends of an old ale (aged and sour), a new ale (fresh, rough around the edges) and a weak ale (table beer, el cheapo and watery beer) that actually tasted exceptional and this being Earth Day I can call it recycling as it used some beer that may have been, Dog forbid, thrown away.  Modern porters are not brewed that way, well, I don't know of any as of yet, but are brewed with pale malts with a small portion of darker malts mixed in.  I suppose that this is what George Washington did, unless Yards did it the old way.  THAT I don't know.  I haven't seen the exact recipe and only have read of folks using 6 row grain and a ton of molasses.

Let me just add that Saturday I ate two very small slices of pizza after I had a very small piece of cake that my friend made on board Gazela.  I thought at the time that it would be a good experiment to see if I got ill.  Sunday I was fine.  Tonight I am not.  I have severe abdominal pain and drinking this beer is probably not a good idea, BUT for the sake of the blog AND the fact that this beer is exceptional I am willing to continue and as I blather on about my problems and waste time, the beer approaches it's best temperature.  A method to my madness there is!
This beer pours a very dark brown where if you look at the base of the pint in my picture it is actually quite clear with a tan one finger head that remains as a full ring and center cap on top of the beer and leaves a very nice wet lacing pattern on the glass.

The aroma is of molasses, caramel malts, milk chocolate, vanilla, a hint of bread and sweet dark fruit with not much in the way of hops, maybe something piney, but so distant that I can't make it out.

The taste is a very similar profile as it's nose.  In fact, just reread what I wrote above and add in a mild bitter finish that balances the beer almost perfectly if not perfect (to keep it from being overly sweet) and leaves you slightly dry and in complete anticipation of the next sip!  A slight peppery tastes lingers as well and there is no hint of the high 7% ABV content of this beer.

Mouthfeel is definitely creamy, smooth, slightly sweet and very full in body.  The carbonation is just under moderate and refreshing.  Mildly dry finish.

Overall, I would like to say that this beer is world class.  I think that some may argue with that assessment on the grounds that it may be too sweet with too much molasses or somehow doesn't completely fit with the grain bill.  But it seems to me that this is a pretty broad category in beers and allows for such differences.  I'm going out on a limb here and calling this 5 out of 5.  It's so very complex, sweet yet dry, balanced with the only hint of the ABV being the warming feeling in my stomach.  World Class!

You folks need to try this beer!  Especially you East Coasters.  Hopefully this, as well as the other Ales of the Revolution collection,  will become in my beloved Portland, Oregon.  I would love them to serve these beers at The Horsebrass Pub!

Have a great night!

-Wiss

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 104, Yards Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce Ale

Hello Everyone,

I apologize for being away for 3 days but it seems that life can be as important as this blog is to me.  Never fear though!  During those three days I had 6 new beers!  I added them on Untappd and it's a shame that I don't know how that I can link my blog to it.  But you can follow me on untappd as my name on there is Sean Null as well.  I also forward my Untappd entries onto FB under the name Wissinoming Brewing and that would be easier if you just friended me on there, but I will fill you in as a recap of the beers that I had:

Cricket's Nocturne- On Tap, Garbage, black no head no lacing A- strong butterscotch mild roasted malt T- roasted malt sweet butterscotch M- Thin and sweet.  This beer sucks.  2 out of 5

Coconut Mudbank Milk Stout, Neshaminy Brewing- On tap, Black w tan head good lacing A- Chocolate malt sweet vanilla and bread T- sweet malt cream vanilla mild hop M- sweet and full mild carbonation 4 out of 5

Pig Iron Porter, Iron Hill Brewery- On nitro tap, black creamy one finger lasting head stucky full lacing A- roasty bisquity vanilla T- roasted caramel sweet mild hops dry M- creamy 3.5 out of 5

Allagash Grand Cru- on tap, amber minimal head not lacing A- pale malts fruit esters T- pale maltes apple banana bread pine hops M-sweet thin mildly dry 4 out of 5

NATO IPA, Victory Brewing- on tap, clear gold amber ring and cap head A- HOPS and grapefruit T- HOPS and grapefruit LOL M- HOPS and grapefruit Dry, some mild baseline sweet. Med body 4 out of 5

Abbot 12, Southampton Publick House- On tap, dark mahagony with khaki lasting head full lacing A- dark sweet malts tart dark fruit T- swwet dark malt mild tart raisin little hop dryness M-syrupy 4 out of 5

There ya have it for those, my grammar sucks on them but you only get 120 characters to describe the beer.

Now on to Yards Week again.  Tonight is Benjamin Franklin's recipe for his homebrew and is considered a spice beer which is the class that some of the fall pumkin or christmas beers fall into.  Good ol' Ben used spruce tips and sprigs with molasses in this ale.  I'm not sure if it is hopped at all.
The beer poured a brown amber cloudy colour from the bottle and left a thin head which remains as a ring and center cap with half decent lacing considering there isn't much in the way of head.

The aroma comes off as ginger snaps and banana bread with malts, of course.

The flavour starts off as a mix of sweet malts with hint of sour (spruce?) on top of the tongue and as it travels back eventually the spices and molasses come out in the form of gingerbread really.  Finally there is some mild dry which seems hoppy and mildly bitter.  I really like this beer!

The mouthfeel is mildly creamy mildly sweet with medium body and mildly dry in between sips.  The carbonation is a bit higher than most beers in this style around medium, but it still works well.

Overall, I think this is an exceptional beer for the fall, or if you are like me, anytime and it is definitely something that you can recommend.  I think it's excellent and gets at least a 4 out of 5 from me!

Do it up!  Get out there!  Try new beers!  It's worth it!  Even that Cricket Nocturne was worth the conversation that it brought up!  Life is too short to drink crappy beer!

-Wiss



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 103, Yards Saison

Hi Everyone!  Do you like Saison's?  They are a Belgian style so they use that familiar Belgian yeast with light malts and come off as semi-dry with a mix of fruits and perhaps a little tart.  They were brewed to be enjoyed during the summer and really are quite good for working on the farm in warm weather.  Albeit they may be a little dry, but they are quite refreshing.
Points given for the reusable bottle!

I poured this beer at about 60 degrees F and it is fine at that temperature.  It poured a nice even and clear gold colour with a bright yellow/white two finger head of tiny bubbles that last as a full cap the entire drink leaving that Hopi Indian village in a cliff face kind of look behind on the glass.  I dig it!

At this temperature the fruity yeast is most forward followed by an even mix of light malt sweetness, citrus and mild earthy hops as well as spices.  Very nice!

The taste is barely dominated by any one thing in particular but more of a swirl of pale malt sweetness, fruits by the bushel of citrus, banana, and mildly tart apple, coriander like spices, mild hops and some pepper.  If any one thing is more forward than the others is the pale malt.  This is all very well balanced and comes off as mildly dry.  

The mouthfeel is creamy and moderately full with mid-range carbonation.  I don't think this beer could be crafted better.  Everything is in sync. 

Overall, I would recommend this beer to anyone as it would be a perfect crossover beer from the usual swill as well as a great recommendation to the beer connoisseur.  If there was something that I could find wrong with this beer is that I only have one!  5 out of 5!!!!!!

Get up from your chair, but first put down that swill.  No!  In fact, take that swill with you and dump it down the sink or cook bratwurst in it because you are going to want to go out and get this beer for summer!  That is it!  Use that pee water that you have left to cook bratwurst in while you enjoy the real thing.  I can't think of a better way to get rid of that crap.  I mean, you can't really pour beer down the drain.  That is illegal in most countries and punishable by flogging around the fleet in the English Navy!

-Wiss


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 102, Yards Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

Beer advocate considers this to be an English Strong Ale which is pretty malty and described on the site as bigger than a pale ale and smaller than a barleywine.   I don't know if that is the best description in the world, but it's pretty close.  They also will have fruity esters that are really noticeable as well as the alcohol noticeable.  Hops can vary.

This one fits the bill perfectly with it's amber colour as well.  Basically, this beer is supposedly an exact replica of a Thomas Jefferson recipe using all ingredients grown on his land in Virginia.  That alone should give this beer points.  That and the fact that it is absolutely delicious!
I poured this beer at about 55 degrees F into a standard pint and it poured a light amber colour with a full one finger ivory head of tiny bubbles that stay as a nice ring and Friar Tuck center cap and sticky balcony-like lacing pattern.  Very attractive this beer is!

Right away I notices the darker fruit notes with this beer as well as the pale sweet malts, honey and a bready yeast.  The honey aroma is just fantastic!  As the beer warms the honey is more pronounced.  This beer is approaching room temperature and it is coming alive!

As you sip, your nose takes in the honey and your tongue is greeted with pale malts, honey, green raisin, sweet citrus a bit of tart fruit and not until the very end do you get the earthy hop bitterness with a black peppery numbing feeling on the tongue that I assume is a combination of the carbonation, the alcohol and the hop dryness.  This beer is a pleasure to drink and drink her just a tad lower than room temperature.  60 degrees is awesome.

The mouthfeel of this beer is silky smooth, creamy mildly sweet and approaching full bodied.  The carbonation is one step above moderate, no where near hot, but she's a lively English tart this lady.

Overall, I am deeming this lovely lady world class.  She gets the Cate Blanchett award for being a true beauty!  There is absolutely nothing that I don't like about this beer and I feel that it fits Beer Advocates criteria to a T.  Although they mention a solvent aroma as part of the class, and I don't get that, OR want that!  5 out of 5 on this baby Yards!  I don't think that I have given a score like that yet!

If you freaks don't get out there and try this beer or seek it out, then stop reading my blog.  You are going to die one day VERY unhappy.  That day may come sooner if I see you with the decision before you and you buy a Buttweaser when this is at your disposal and affordable too!

-Wiss

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 101, Yards ESA

"The key to an ESA is balance", Beer Advocate.  I like that.  It pretty much sums up this style of beer.  It's a "bitter" but it's not so bitter as it is maltier with some fruity esters and perhaps a butterscotch twinge.
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Well it's the second day of Yards week here at home and I have got to tell you that this is one good brewery!  I can't wait to dive into the Ales of the Revolution series that they brew!

I poured this beer at about 55 degrees F from a bottle into a standard pint and it has a very deep amber to mahogany colour that is crystal clear with a one finger tan head of super fine bubbles that stay as a nice thin cap on the beer and leave and excellent dragon tooth pattern on the glass.

The aroma is of toasted malts, bread, and raisins with a faint whiff of corn in the background.  I could be confusing that with something else, but it resembles corn.  It's really pleasant considering.

The taste starts off sweet on the tongue and as it travels back it releases dark fruits with bread and as the beer comes to a close hop bitters that seem earthy to me coat the tongue and the back of the tongue where some spicy black pepper comes through leaving a mild but dry end to the beer that seems slightly more bitter than some ESAs.  And if you wait long enough, you will taste a medicinal taste like Band-Aid's smell or like pine sol.  It's very faint, but I see what people are talking about.  That may be the hops.  Interesting.  It's like a band-aid on my tongue.  I'm not sure that I like that.

The mouthfeel is a bit silky and sweet with a medium body, but it leaves a coat on my tongue that is a product of the dry hops I am assuming.  The carbonation is around moderate.

Overall, I am not too happy with this beer.  It's good, don't get me wrong, but don't think I will seek this out in bottle again.  I have had this on tap and it was a different experience.  A much better one.  The corn aroma and the Band_Aid flavours really put me off as well as it was a bit too bitter for my taste and, I feel, the style if indeed it is an Extra Special/Strong Ale.  I will still give it a mid to high 3's out of five.  It's not crap, but it's just not for me.

Get out there and try different beers!  You will never know what you like unless you delve into the sea of beers!  Life is too short to stay dry on land with your pee water!

-Wiss

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 100, Yards Brawler

This is a beer that I am so happy that I chose to drink tonight, the first night of Yards Week as it is considered and English Dark Mild Ale which to me is comfort food!  Typically, this beer is very English in style but a bit lighter on the alcohol front, a little toastier on the malt front, a little less hoppy and more malty with a thin head.  I have to tell you that I am 3 sips in and before I analyze it thoroughly I am going to say that this is approaching world class and I absolutely love it!
Thank you Yards for using crimp top bottles!  Totally homebrew friendly!

I poured this beer cool from the bottle and it poured a very dark and clear amber/mahogany with a one finger tan head that stays as a ring around the glass and leaves nice light lacing, but not much.

There are aromas of roasted grains, dark sweet malts and bread.  mmmmm Bread!  only very light though.  I don't get much in the way of fruity esters perhaps a tiny bit.

The taste is straightforward and roasted malts with some caramel sweetness with a dry and very mild hoppiness at the end.  It's almost balanced but more sweet than hoppy.  Nothing about the flavour is over the top as the beer is a bit thin which keeps it all in line.

Mouthfeel is of a sweet nature with the body kind of lighter than you would expect with a beer of this colour.  It more has the body of a lager.  The carbonation can feel flat, and perhaps that is why I feel the body is thin.  The carbonation seems more apparent at the finish.  It's different!

Overall I find this beer incredibly good especially for a session beer that you could drink all night as it has the roasted notes and caramel that I love in a British beer and is yet not overly sweet.  The body is a bit lacking but that is why it is sessionable and fits with the style so I am going to have to give this beer at least a 4 out of 5.

If you drink butweezer, put that urine down and try one of these.  I would be a great beer to help ease yourself off of your addiction to garbage!

-Wiss

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 99, Spaten Optimator

Years ago when I was financially challenged, I came upon Spaten Optimator bomber bottles for a price of like 2.50$ and felt the need to partake in these gems when necessity dictated.  Drinking this beer now brings back fond memories and the beer has not changed a bit, but the ownership has and that is disappointing because now that I know who owns it, it will not be bought by me. I will, however, drink it gladly if offered to me!

This beer is a dopplebock, basically a bock beer, which is dark and robust, but doubly so.  It will me higher malted so expect sweetness and a little roasted character and mild hops.  An average of 7% ABV is also likely so avoiding an alcohol taste is a good quality for a dopplebock to have.
Green bottle beer!  Yikes!  Why?  Anyway, this particular bottle exhibits no skunk aroma of flavor which is nice because it would detract from the profile.

I poured this beer cold into a tulip glass.  Neither appropriate for the style, but you can't always have perfection.  It poured a nice clear dark mahogany with a one finger tan head that quickly dissipated to a thin ring around the glass and very little lacing is noticeable.

The aroma is of sweet caramel malts and dark fruits with a tad of bread to it and maybe some honey and molasses.  It's very pleasant.

The taste is of malted sweetness with molasses, dark fruit, some nice bread notes and a hint of cherry all pretty much apparent equally throughout the sip with the molasses lingering until the end where some mild bitter hops finish it all off with a bit o' black pepper.  Alcohol is apparent in neither the nose or the taste.  Well done!

The mouthfeel is sweet, almost syrupy, but not quite, the hops and moderate carbonation help to counter that.  The body is generally full with maybe a little chewiness to it.

Overall this is an exceptional beer in my book.  Why they risk putting it in a green bottle I have no clue.  It may be too sweet for some, but that is the style.  I like it a lot and if I were to detract any points it would be for the very faint head.  I give it a solid 4 out of 5, maybe one notch higher.  I am not happy about the ownership of the brewery and that destroys any chance of me buying it again.

This is an excellent example of a dopplebock.  It's not an Ayinger which, from what I understand, is really the best.  I also am not going to tell you to purchase this beer (watch a movie called Beer Wars).  But if you must, you will not be let down.  Seek out Ayinger.

-Wiss

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A year of Craft Beer, Vol. 98, Spaten M√ľnchner Hell (Premium Lager)

Hey Beer Lovers.  Tonight's installment is considered a Munich Helles Lager which is a "bright" lager from Munich that was developed in the mid-1800's to counter the popular Czech pilsners that were cutting into their nationalism.  Munich Helles has pretty much the same hop spiciness but a little more in the way of malt sweetness.  This is supposed to be a good one so don't change that channel!
Unfortunately before I go any further I need to mention that I do not like the owners of this company. The bad guys.

So this beer is in a green bottle.  I can't understand why you would use a green bottle.  They must like the skunk flavor.  I will, however, reuse the bottle and just keep my beer from light.

The beer pours a clear deep straw color with a white one finger head that stays as a ring and a center cap throughout the drink and the lacing is a nice archway pattern.

The smell upfront is that green bottle skunk aroma but the pale malt sweetness and the hops are noticeable and nice.

The taste is almost citrus like up front and then pale malt sweetness a hint of yeast and nice and mellow earthy hops.  The skunk aroma is also part of the flavor profile and not too desireable.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between dry and sweet, noticeably dry, but still well balanced with average body and nice medium carbonation.  Mild dry finish with a hint of black pepper.

Overall, this is a good beer and I would love to try it on draft.  I won't buy it in bottles again.  For the life of me, I can't understand that if the Germans were such purists, why they kept the usage of green bottles?  The skunk detracts from the beer there is no question, but not terribly so.  I'm going to give this beer high 3's out of 5.

It's definitely worth it to try it.  Unfortunately the owners of the company are the devil.  It's good to get out there and compare though and you should!

-Wiss

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 97, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

A Hefeweizen is a south German style of beer that is usually made with 50% wheat and 50% malt and is fermented with a special yeast (Hefe) that leaves (pheonolic) flavours of banana, apples or bubble gum as well as dry and tart and it being unfiltered leaves the beer cloudy.  It's a lovely beer that to me is reminiscent of a Belgian style.
I poured this beer into a standard pint glass at about 45 degrees F and it is a lovely tone of cloudy gold with an awesome one to two fingered head of tiny bubbles that stays as a full creamy cap the entire drink and leaves a beautiful dragon scale pattern of lacing on the glass!

The aroma is definitely of the yeasty phenols like banana, apples, bread and very light bubble gum on top of some sweet light maltiness.  Enamoring! 

The flavour is sweet yet dry at the same time and is a perfect balance throughout the sip, the carbonation tantalizes the tip of the tongue with banana and citrus and as the beer moves across the tongue some tartness on the sides in the form of very mild grapefruit become apparent and ends with a nice bubble gum taste on the tongue to be finished with a mildly dry black peppery hop finish.  Very mild hops and floral ones at that.  The alcohol is a little noticeable in the taste, but not much, but it's warming in the stomach for sure.  Excellent!

The mouthfeel is a little bit dryer than sweet with a medium body with a peppery finish.  The carbonation is moderate to lively and really works in bringing out all the fruity flavours.

This is a very enjoyable beer and I would think that is is world class even though it's not listed as so on Beer Advocate.  It meets all the criteria for the class and I really can't see anything deserving of criticism other than I can taste a bit of the alcohol and maybe a little of a tin type of taste to it, which I attribute to the yeast anyway.  It may be a little thin on the body side, but I'm not familiar with that too much.  I'm going to give it a 4.5 out of 5 overall.

This is a really good beer and you need to put down that Oly or PBYarr!!! and get out there and try something good because you are going to kick yourself when that dude at the pearly gates asks you what beers you have tried because that Dog guy put it on this planet for us to drink.  Don't let Dog down!

-Wiss

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 96, Spaten Oktoberfestbier

Hi everyone!  I apologize for missing last night's post, but I was out having fun and couldn't fit this in.  I do have untappd, but that is a complete fail on my phone.  I have no clue why it doesn't work well on my p.o.s. HTC LTE.  Wow, was that phone overrated!  Well, I was out and had two nice beers, Bells Oberon and Great Lakes Alchemy Hour.  Both were fantastic beers!

Tonight I am doing an old familiar beer called Spaten Oktoberfestbier.  It's been for sale in the states for a long time so this is not the first time that I have had this beer.  It's a good beer.  Obviously it is of the octoberfest class, or Marzen (for March, the last month before summer that beer was typically able to be brewed and then kept in cold storage over the summer).  These beers are typically dark copper in colour, mildly hopped, full bodied and fairly high alcohol content.
I poured this beer into a standard pint at about 55 degrees F and it was light copper in colour with a light tan one finger head that keeps as a fairly full head throughout the drink and leaves excellent archway looking lacing on the glass.

It smells mostly of caramel malts with a hint of apple and some biscuity yeast maybe.  I'm not getting any skunky aromas as this was in a green bottle.

The tastes and the aromas are pretty straightforward.  The beer starts off with a little carbonation bite then mellows to caramel malt sweetness with hints of apple and mild dark fruits, some bready characteristics and finally a well balanced finish that is only slightly hoppy, dry and peppery.  It's a bit warming going down and the alcohol is mildly apparent, barely noticeable.  

The beer is fairly full bodied or just under and has a mostly sweet, but not syrupy profile.  The carbonation is moderate or slightly above which seems to accentuate the mild hoppy finish.

Overall, this is an excellent beer.  In my book it is probably approaching world class and I could see how one can call it that.  I think it may be a little thin and therefore I am only going to give it like a 4.3 out of 5 or so.  Not shabby at all!  Very good.  I would seek this out again as it is sessionable even though the alcohol is noticeable.

Life is too short to be drinking Hamms.  F@cking stop drinking that sh!t Knucklehead!

-Wiss

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 95, Paulaner Salvator Double Bock

Salvator Doppel Bock is a bock, which is typically a strong German lager, but only doubly so.  They are malty in character and can be from amber in colour to black with roasted notes to them and generally high in alcohol content.  
This one however is on the lighter colour scale without roasted notes.  It poured at 55 degrees F into a pint glass an amber/brown colour with a nice one to two finger head that fades to a ring and a Friar Tuck center cap and leaves a little bit of lacing, but it's not very sticky.

The aroma is of caramel malts, quite sweet smelling with strong hints of fruits like pear and raisins.  It also has a nice bready smell to it as well.  Some molasses and alcohol are noticeable also.

The flavour starts off caramel sweet and pretty much stays for the duration until the end where hops are definitely noticeable.  Along the ride are some spicy apple notes with a bit of tart, some bready notes and finally apparent alcohol nearing the end followed by some peppery hops and a bit of dryness.  It's mostly sweet but not overly so.  At the end of the pint glass as this beer warms up, I get an unpleasant corn taste in my mouth.

The mouthfeel is creamy sweet on the border of syrupy and the body which is full, but not enough to make annoying.  There is a slick feeling on the tongue and the carbonation is light to moderate.

Overall, this is a good beer.  It's affordable and a good example of a doppel bock, but I am not down with the corn taste.  I will, however, score this beer fairly high because it seems to meet most of the requirements of a doppel bock and is, for the most part, pleasant.  I'm going to say an average of 4 may be in order.

This isn't the best beer, but its good and you may really like it!  The only way that I can convince you to stop wasting your life drinking ruddy filth from the big beers is to hammer it in your head that there is better and you deserve it so try something different!

-Wiss



Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 94, Kostritzer Schwarzbier

Schwarzbier means black beer.  They aren't overly roasted or burnt like a porter or stout so the bitterness is left up to the hops.  This one is a lager.  Mostly they are light in body and refreshing.  This one fits that bill perfectly and is an AWESOME beer!
This beer pours clear black with a nice one finger head that fades to a nice full ring and a cap in the center with delicate lacing.  Very attractive!

The aroma comes across to me as straightforwardly caramel malty and some fruity notes like raisins and some light floral hops.  Gorgeous!

The beer tastes pretty much the same.  It starts off lightly caramel malty sweet and stays that way through the sip with some very mild raisin or prune notes along for the ride and finally it finishes with only the tiniest of hop bitterness, dryness and black pepperiness.  LOL  It's well balanced.  A little roastiness comes through just as you are about to take another sip.  WOW!

The mouthfeel is creamy and smoothly sweet with light body and moderate to light carbonation making this beer very easy to drink!  It has a slightly dry finish.  

Overall, I am going to have to concur with the BA guys and conclude that this is world class.  It was a pleasure to drink and I really can't find any fault with it at all!  It's light enough that the sweetness is not annoying and it serves to balance it also.  5 out of 5!  Highly recommended!

You see that?  You try new beer and you score!  Try new things!

-Wiss

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 93, Orkney Brewery Skull Splitter

This beer is considered a Scotch Ale or a "Wee Heavy" which are pretty much mega malty, have higher ABV and have a copper to brown colour from a longer boil and a caramelization of the malts.  Smokey peat malts are also used in this so expect a smokey taste.  It's pretty cool that I am trying this one as I am preparing to brew one this weekend and am stoked about it.

Homebrew points for the bottle!  Cheers!

I poured the beer at about 55 degrees F into a pint glass and it has an amber to brown colour with a tan one finger head that fades to just a ring around the glass and leaves some widespread polka-dot lacing on the glass, not much though.

Wow, there are some nice aromas at work here, first of of note are the caramel malts, smoke, cherries and raisins with a sherry like alcohol twang.

This beer tastes incredible!  Pretty much as the aromas smell, this beer tastes.  Caramelized sugar malts with smokey peat malt sweetness on top carry you towards cherries and other dark fruits that fade away near the end where alcohol warmth takes over and finally ending with some peppery dry hop flavors.  This is sweet, but not syrupy and actually balanced nicely!

The mouthfeel is sweet but not cloying or syrupy at all.  It's definitely full bodied but not extremely so.  The carbonation is under middle ground but higher than low.  Perfect.  Nice warming feeling afterward.

Overall, I would have to agree with many reviews in saying that this is world class.  I'm no expert but I would think this almost a 5 out of 5.  The only issue that I have with it is that the alcohol is pretty noticeable in the aroma and taste, but it is not detracting from the beer at all as the dark fruits are carried along with it like a chocolate cordial.

This is definitely a bucket list beer!  Stop wasting time on watery brews when you can be trying world class beers that are affordable as well!  Life is too short!  There are times and places for watery beer, but now is NOT that time!

-Wiss

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 92, Theakston XB

I must be on a roll with the ESB's.  Tonight's Extra Special/Strong Bitter is from Theakston Brewery in the UK.  Remember, the key to these strong English ales is balance.
That is right, my prized pint glass!  I'm glad that I got one before they changed their name!  I'm sorry to see them go, but I can understand the business decision.  Not being allowed to advertise because of the 60 plus year old name of your business that you purchased from someone else and deciding that it's time to change the name is a no-brainer.

The beer poured a clear light brown to amber colour with a nice foamy one finger head that lasts as a full ring around the glass and leaves an nice woman's bottom pattern on the glass.  I made sure that I poured this at about 55 degrees F from the bottle into the standard pint glass.

The aroma comes off to me as straightforward caramel malt sweetness with some hints of fruts (diacetyl) and not much else.  My nose is stuffed so that is a hindrance.  Dang sinusitis.

The taste is of caramel malt when it hits the tongue and as it rolls across towards the back the carbonation brings a nice hop taste to the top.  I think that may be the bramling cross hops and they are kind of earthy and nice.  The hop flavour then becomes a little bitter on the back of the tongue and leaves you very lightly dry.  This is well balanced for sure.

Mouthfeel is well balanced between sweet and hop dry and a light to moderate body.  The carbonation is also light to moderate and the finish is slightly dry with a hint of black pepper.

Overall, I would have to say that this is an excellent ESB!  Without looking at the ratings I would have to say that it is approaching world class.  I was a little disappointed in the thinness of the body, just a little more would have set me off!  But it is definitely a beer to recommend and drink again!  4 out of 5 would be the very least that I would score this beer as!

Just brew it!  Get out there and drink good beer because you will someday be dead!

-Wiss

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 91, Wychwood Hobgoblin Dark English Ale

This sounds like something that I would like!  I can't wait to dig in!

Yes! It's an ESB (Extra Strong / Special Bitter) which like I said before, really aren't bitter but balanced.  More malts are used making this strong and so to balance it better, more hops are used as well.  Let's give it a go!
I poured this beer aggressively into a mini Imperial pint and got a nice two finger yellow head that lingers and laces nicely from a deep, rich, clear and amber beer.

I'm getting notes of mild diacetyl (dark fruits) and caramel malts with some earthy hops and maybe a little yeasty, but nothing more overpowering than the other and all very mild.

The flavor is pretty much the same.  It's malty sweet, but not syrupy, more like thin with some notes of fruits, mild hops and yeast.  Not overly complex.  It finishes mildly bitter after the sweetness flattens out.  I would have to say that it's pretty balanced and a bit bland.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a body that is a bit on the thin side and leaves a bit of a film on my tongue, but perhaps that is already there.  LOL  The carbonation is definitely mild and the finish slightly dry.

Overall, I would say that this is a good beer!  I didn't get a huge amount of diacetyl like like everyone was saying.  The beer was NOT syrupy sweet out of the bottle.  I served it at 55 degrees F, maybe that is the way to go.  The only problem with the beer that I had was that it was a little thin or watery, but that leads to more drinking!  At 5.2 ABV you could drink a few of these!  I'm going to give it high 3's or a 4 out of 5!

This beer was a win, but the only way to find out is to get tasting these fantastic beers that the world has to offer!  Life, as you know, is too short to waste on pee water!

-Wiss