Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vacation Beers 3: Ridiculously Great

I opened some awesome beers this Christmas Eve.  While I expected the Troegs Splinter Blue to be excellent, I was surprised just how good the 2009 Bell's Expedition Stout was.  Ended up as a super night.

I started off the night with the 2009 Bell's Expedition.  I bought this case from Global Beer in Northern Liberties and it was already a year old when I bought it two weeks ago.  Pretty handy as really strong stouts often get better after a year or two.

Poured black as night with just a little bit of head.  It came out of the refrigerator a little cold which possibly explains the small amount of foam.  Low carbonation never bothers me though so whatever.  The nose smelled of warming alcohol without much else.  Initial sip started with some roasted notes, a little alcohol, chocolate, and finishing with vanilla.  Really complex and absolutely delicious.  After that, every sip had just a bit of vanilla to start which made me just want to drink more every time.  Definitely the best of the Russian Imperial Stouts that I've bought and based on what I have left probably things will stay that way.

After that, I brought out one of the best beers I have to share with my wife's family, one of my two bottles of Splinter Blue.  I got this bottle back in September and wrote about the effort it took.  I was really excited to finally taste one.  Like, super, unbelievably excited.
Poured a cloudy grapefruit color with a small amount of head.  Beer was a little cold (just like above) so the head formation may have been held back a little.  I had read about bottles foaming after uncorking them so I wanted it to be colder to avoid that issue.  First impression is funk, sour, and tart notes in the aroma.  Really reminds me of a Belgian Geuze.  Anticipation is incredibly high at this point.  First sip follows the nose; sourness and tartness followed by a little cherry sweetness.  Jo couldn't find the cherry in it and thought the dryness was very similar to some of the geuzes I've had recently but I found some hints of cherry that lightened the finish up a bit.  As I drank more and the beer warmed up, the usual brett funkiness started to appear but it never took over.  Just a nice background mustiness.  Really enjoyed this bottle and thought it was just fantastic.  I think I'm going to drink my second bottle some time around my 30th birthday and already I can't to wait to have it.

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