Friday, December 24, 2010

Vacation Beers 2: Beer Harder

Another great night of beers and it's just the beginning of my vacation.  I opened a North Coast Old Rasputin, a great Imperial Stout I've been neglecting, a Troegs Flying Mouflan, a barleywine, and a Weyerbacher Quad.  The major thing that they all have in common is that their ABVs are pretty high.  It's going to be a theme for this vacation and, well, most of the beers I drink.

I started with the North Coast Old Rasputin.

This is a relatively inexpensive Russian Imperial Stout that is very highly rated.  I've been meaning to get bottles of this for a long time, but never got around to it.  Here was my chance to finally try it.  Smelled of warm alcohol and some vanilla notes.  Good start.  Initial sip had loads of roast, vanilla, chocolate with a little ending bitterness that you expect from a good Russian Imperial stout.  Even at 9.5% the alcohol is only mildly present and it's totally drinkable.  Definitely holds up to the hype.

After that my wife's family and I opened a six to eight month old bottle of Troegs Flying Mouflan, an American Barleywine.
The major difference between American and British Barleywines is that American ones have a more forward hops presence than their English counterparts.  However, since this bottle is six to eight months old, the hops are nicely mellowed which is my preference.  Nice sweet alcohol smell.  I imagine fresh the nose would have some hop aroma, but nothing at this point.  Warming alcohol, some fruit, and caramel are all present in the flavor.  A little bit of hops is still present and the bitterness lightens up the sweetness just enough.  This was one of the best barleywines I've had and I was really impressed by it.  It's still available in the Philly area from last April's release so pick up a bottle if you see one.

Finished the night off with a Weyerbacher Quad.
Fruity smell with no alcohol present that I could find.  Much more pleasant smelling than Victory V-Twelve.  Initial flavors of plums, caramel and some raisin notes.  Interesting bready flavor follows the fruits.  In the beginning, the fruit fades pretty quickly into the bread, but as it warmed up the flavors balanced out quite a bit.  Weyerbacher is very good at  keeping the alcohol from affecting the flavor of their beers and the Quad was no exception.  Victory could learn from them in my opinion.  Another very good beer from them.

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