Monday, December 12, 2011

Beer Tasting 4

Yet again I invited some friends over to share some beers and hang out. There were eight of us this time so there was quite a bit of beer opened, some good, some, well, not so good. I also discovered they think I use the descriptor banana a ton when writing this, but I attribute it to drinking Belgian style stuff a lot right now (especially Weyerbacher) and I'm sticking with that.

Here's the first set of bottles we worked through.
From left to right but not in order: Pete G. En Garde, Samuel Smith Winter Warmer, Pete G. Double Pumpkin, Allagash Tripel, Victory Otto, Boulevard The Sixth Glass, Mike D. Braggot.

I started with the Allagash Tripel which was the probably the best of the night as far as commercial beers went.
Mild spicy nose. No real Belgian flavors which is a nice change. Sweet and slightly peppery, quite tasty and one of the better tripels I've had. Makes me want to search it out again.

Next was Victory Otto, a smoked Dubbel.
I had high hopes for this one, but it was kind of disappointing. Smokey campfire was the major part of the nose without much else. Flavor started smokey and finished smokey with basically nothing in between. I don't know what kind of dubbel base they used, but it felt like it needed to be stronger to hold up to the smoke. Oh well.

My next beer was the Samuel Smith Winter Warmer.
Looking at the picture, it's lighter than I expected. Very slight caramel nose. Really mild flavors followed, not much going on here. It wasn't terrible or anything just unexciting.

Luckily, Boulevard The Sixth Glass, a quadrupel, came next which was much better although also not without its faults.
Nose was full of caramel and plum. Body was super carbonated. Slight hit of alcohol to start, followed by more fruit and caramel. The flavors were quite good but the carbonation made it sort of difficult to drink. I don't know if it is supposed to have that kind of carbonation, but it was definitely odd.

After that was the Double Pumpkin from Pete G.
Smelled of molasses mixed with cinnamon but not too much spice. Nice mix of fruitiness from the Belgian yeast, brown sugar from the base, and some other flavors from the dark candi syrup he used. I'm glad I have another bottle to give it a better try as I thought it was pretty good.

The next homebrew was a braggot from Mike D.
I've had this before and really enjoyed it and this sample was no exception. It's definitely sweet, but not cloying so it's still very easy to drink. There were hints of the raspberry used as well which helped with the sweetness. Very nice.

More homebrew followed with En Garde, a Biere de Garde, from Pete G.
I'm not really familiar with the style which made it hard to compare it to something. Smelled slightly bready with hints of caramel and something else I couldn't figure out. Flavor followed with that same something eluding description. Tasty though and again glad I have a second to get a better chance at it.

We're finally on to the next set of bottles. Hope you're still with me. Or at least scrolling through to look at the pictures.
This time we have: Dogfish Head Immort Ale, Green Flash Le Freak, Steamworks Spruce Goose, Affligem Tripel, New Belgium Grand Cru, and Pete G. Oktoberfest. Two bottles are missing and they were a Pumpkin and a "Holiday Ale" brewed by Pete M.

Getting back to commercial stuff, we opened the 2009 Steamworks Spruce Goose. Seeing as how it is at least 2 years old at this point, probably not the best representation of it but we make do with what we have.
Smelled fruity with a lot of caramel, no hints of the spruce. Taste followed and was sort of fruity and odd tasting. It wasn't oxidized, but it did just taste sort of old. Oh well.

At least it wasn't as bad as the next one, the Dogfish Head Immort Ale.
Straight wood in the nose, nothing else. Taste followed and sort of felt like licking the inside of an oak barrel. Just not my cup of tea at all. Since the guys decided I use banana as a descriptor too much. one of them said I should use the phrase, "like a wooden banana without the banana." They're all very clever if you couldn't tell. I actually don't think I even finished my sample of this one which is never a good thing since I finish everything.

Next was the Green Flash Le Freak, a Belgian IPA, our first and I think only hoppy beer of the night.
Odd mix of hop bitterness and the Belgian notes in the nose. Taste sort of followed with bitterness mixing with an odd fruitiness and just being weird. Not my cup of tea.

I'd say I'm nearing the end, but there are still five more. Bear with me. Next was the New Belgium Super Cru, some sort of weird abomination made from like pear juice and other bizarre things.
Some hints of the fruit in the nose but ultimately pretty lacking. Uneventful beer. I got some of the fruitiness but felt the base beer was disappointing. My friends mostly agreed with me and felt it was just nothing special.

Next was another homebrew pumpkin, this one from Pete M.
Nice flip top bottle. This was a much more straight forward, spiced pumpkin. Cinnamon in the nose and cinnamon with hints of allspice and clove in the body. It was a bit thin unfortunately and Pete agreed. Still better than a couple of the commercial ones I had but ultimately it needed a bit more body and a more strongly flavored base. If he can get his hands on some sugar pumpkins next year instead of needing to use puree, I bet he'll make a real good one.

Another homebrew followed with an Oktoberfest from Pete G.
Nice bready nose, basically what you expect from a marzen. (And yes, I think that's the third time I've used bready in this post. So sue me.) A little caramel starts off the first sip and then moves back into the baked bread flavor. Sort of a weird aftertaste though. Not unpleasant but just weird. Apparently it's something to do with the yeast. It didn't ruin the beer or anything at least.

Following that was one my least favorites of the night, Affligem Tripel.
Even my notes for this one are terrible. Smelled spicy with some Belgian notes. Cardboardy, dirty flavors followed. Just not impressed with it at all especially after having the Allagash Tripel to start the night.

And, finally, the last beer of the night, a "Holiday Ale" from Pete M which he really should have just named Vanilla Porter.
Roasty nose, no bitterness. Very inviting. Nice, well balanced porter with a really great chocolate and vanilla finish. The vanilla balanced out the roast really well and it was quite a good beer. This was a great way to finish the night off.

So yeah, that was the fourth beer night. Apparently it takes a really long time to write up stuff about 15 beers. Who knew. Some were good, some not so good, but regardless it was a great night and it's always fun sharing stuff with my friends.

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