Monday, January 23, 2012

Nodding Head Ice Capades

Every second Saturday, Nodding Head holds a special event following some sort of theme. This month their event was Ice Capades where they took a few of their beers and ice distilled them. In doing so the beers get stronger because they have a higher concentration of alcohol and the flavors can change or intensify as a result. The process mostly involves filling a keg about three quarters full, putting it on its side in a freezer for a couple days, then draining the unfrozen beer. The reason it gets frozen on its side is so when the keg gets flipped back upright, the tap isn't blocked so the beer will actually come out since the ice won't be blocking it. Pretty smart really.

There were five different ice versions available and I ordered four of them during the event. I didn't get the fifth because I tried a sip of it and didn't like it at all. The first I ordered was Ragnarok, the strongest of them by quite a bit. It started out life as their Phunkywine (talked about here) and changed from a 10% (I think) to somewhere around 15%.
Tart and sour nose similar to the original but a bit sharper. Thick body.The alcohol was well hidden though it definitely tasted strong. Sort of tasted like burning which sounds awful but somehow wasn't. Plus it went away pretty fast as I got more used to the flavors. A sharp but pleasant funkiness was the major point and made it quite delicious. I ended up getting a second glass as my last beer too which I enjoyed just as much.

Up next was the Cold War Stout, originally an oatmeal stout.
Nice roasty oatmeal nose. Body followed with roast and some oatmeal nuttiness. I did get some alcohol in the finish but it wasn't terribly noticeable. Pretty tasty with the icing really not affecting it much other than in ABV.

After that was the 60 Shivers, originally their 60 Shilling scottish ale.
I feel like this one had the most concentrated flavors of the bunch in a really good way. Huge nutty, slightly smoky nose. Body started smoky (really peaty but I don't know if people know what I mean if I use that) with the nuttiness taking over after a few sips. Basically everything about 60 Shilling was made more pronounced and it worked out really well.

Last was the BPI a stronger version of the BPA, originally a pale ale.
Clean citrusy nose. Taste followed with a big citrusy hoppiness with some alcohol fruitiness in the finish. Basically changed from a pale ale into a double IPA which is pretty funny. Obviously brewing a straight double IPA is going to have a cleaner finish but this was still an interesting change that worked relatively well. I expected more bitterness but it never appeared which was nice.

Another really successful event by Nodding Head. It's interesting to see all of their experiments for these second Saturday events even if not quite all of them work out exactly perfect. I'd say this one was one of their most well done ones and with only the Ragnarok being ridiculously strong this year, things didn't get too out of control as far as I could tell. (Apparently last year more beers were 12+% and, well, things went as you'd expect.) The next event is in February and the theme is going to be sours. Can't wait! If you want to read another recap of the event, go here to Ryan Hudak's In Search of Beer post.

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