Beer 357/365 – Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (2006)

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 13.0%

Purchased at: Won it in a BIF on BeerAdvocate.

What makes this beer different: Surprisingly not as much bourbon as I expected, good stuff though.

Will I be drinking this again: Doubt I would ever be able to get my hands on this again.

Grade: A

10/31/2010: Had this little guy sent to me a few months back. I won a Super Bowl block poll, where the winner gets 48oz of beer from everyone else. Well there were 10 people total in the poll so I got 432oz of free beer, pretty awesome if you ask me. Someone was amazingly gracious by including this beer in one of the boxes that I received.

The nose is not nearly as boozy as I expected, the first thing I get actually is dark fruits, and some chocolate. Roasted coffee, sweet chocolate are the two headlining flavors. Smoke, char and vanilla make a bit of an appearance as well. Bourbon is there but not nearly as much as I expected. I’m sure the 4 years of age helped mellow it out a bit. That being said it is still boozy, just not bourbony boozy if that makes any sense. Mouthfeel is right down the middle which I think is perfect for this style, although the age obviously contributed to the lack of carbonation. Overall this is a great beer, the only thing that kept it from being an A+ was the fact that the booze could have been a bit more mellow, especially for a 4 yr old stout.

Picture of the day: Dear Public Toilets.

Beer 356/365 – Deschutes The Abyss (2009)

Deschutes The Abyss

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 11.0%

Purchased at: Sent to me by Jared for the home stretch.

What makes this beer different: Most of these are infected, but I am pretty sure I dodged a bullet on this one.

Will I be drinking this again: Yes but going to let it age a bit more.

Grade: A

10/30/2010: So I am sure most of you are aware, but there has been a huge problem with the 2009 Abyss bottles being infected. I went to a tasting back in July, and we cracked open 3 bottles… all of which were infected. Very disappointing because I have never tried this beer, and have heard only good things about it up until this infection issue. Jared was nice enough to sent me a big box of beer with some hard-to-finds for my home-stretch, which included a 2009 bottle of Abyss. Thanks again Jared!

The anticipation of smelling this beer is killing me… so far so good. No signs of infection in the nose; mostly roasty and molasses. The flavor is a lot of roasted malt, molasses, some caramel, some chocolate, and (unfortunately) black licorice flavor. Not really getting a whole lot of bourbon/oak? A bit on the sweetish end but thats ok with me. Alcohol is hidden well for 11%. Mouthfeel is just about perfect, on the full side of average, nice carbonation, but very creamy/slick mouthfeel. Overall this would have ranked up there with the best stouts I have ever had if it weren’t for the licorice flavor (a flavor I am not fond of).

Picture of the day: The biology of a hangover.

Beer 355/365 – Russian River Consecration

Russian River Consecration

Style: American Wild Ale

ABV: 10.0%

Purchased at: Kevin from Denver bought it for me at some store out there in the Hippy Hills.

What makes this beer different: Sour as hell! Kind of Wine-like as well.

Will I be drinking this again: Maybe, won’t go out of my way for it though.

Grade: B+

10/29/2010: Alright so this is my first time drinking a beer of this style, so I have no idea what to expect. I also might not be able to pick up all the exact nuances to this beer because of it being my first of this style. Russian River seems to be on the forefront of Wild Ale’s so hopefully this is a good one.

The nose is funky and sour, with a red wine like quality to it. The first sip can only be described as offensive. If I didn’t know ahead of time this beer was supposed to be so sour, I would have spit it out. Admittedly this grows on you as you drink it more and the beer coats your mouth. The flavors are sour cherry, red wine, tobacco, some oak, and towards the end of the second glass I am getting some sweet berries. Mouthfeel is slick, wine-like, and not very carbonated. The beer started off as a B-, and ended as an A once I got used to the flavor; therefore I am giving this a B+.

Picture of the day: The purple shirted eye-stabber.

Beer 354/365 – Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Style: Winter Warmer

ABV: 7.5%

Purchased at: Great Lakes Brew Pub – Cleveland, OH

What makes this beer different: Subtle hint of ginger is pretty unique.

Will I be drinking this again: Yes, but its hard to get in bottles.

Grade: A-

10/28/2010: Made the two hour trip to Great Lakes Brewery this day for the BA Blackout Stout release. We got there a bit early so I decided to have a Christmas Ale. I took a picture JUST in case I wasn’t able to take down a full 10oz snifter of BA blackout at the end of the night. Well turns out it was a good thing that I drank this beer and took this picture, because I was in no shape for any more beer after 5oz samples of 2007-2010 Blackout Stouts, 2010 Ba Blackout, and 2010 Rackhouse Ale (30 more oz of high ABV beer). Ended up leaving with a belly full of beer, bourbon pulled pork, and 6 bombers of BA Blackout Stout.

The nose is sweet, caramel, honey, cinnamon, and a touch of ginger. The flavor is much the same; Caramel malts, honey, cinnamon and a little bit of ginger in the aftertaste. Ginger is a flavor that either disappears, or is just too overpowering, but they got just the right amount in their Christmas Ale. This kind of reminded me of a light version of Troeg’s Mad Elf. Mouthfeel is a bit on the full side, with decent carbonation.

Picture of the day: Keanu Reeves just doesn’t give a @#$%.

Beer 353/365 – Fantome Saison

Fantome Saison

Style: Saison

ABV: 8.0%

Purchased at: House of 1000 Beers – New Kensington, Pa

What makes this beer different: Best Saison I have ever tried (Although I have not had that many)

Will I be drinking this again: Would love to, but at $14 a bottle its a bit steep.

Grade: A

10/27/2010: I bought this almost a year ago when I was first really getting into the craft beer scene. I didn’t know much about Saison’s at that point, but knew Fantome was one of the best out there. I was surprised that House of 1000 beers had it, as most Pittsburgh bottle shops don’t carry it. If you live in the Pittsburgh area you should definitely check this place out. They have a lot of stuff most pgh places don’t get. Figured this was a good time to drink it considering Halloween is just around the corner.

Lemon is the main smell I am getting in the aroma, musty, and some spice. The flavor is super complex, but really good. Lemon sour patch kids, floral, yeasty, spicy, zesty. All of the flavors blend well together, but not one of them is too dominant which makes this amazingly drinkable. No sign at all of the 8% ABV. Mouthfeel is creamy, medium body and nice carbonation. If this were $10 a bottle I would buy a ton of it, but the price tag is a little steep.

Picture of the day: If it weren’t for CNN.

Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 9:49 am  Comments (6)  
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Beer 352/365 – De Struise Pannepot Reserva (2008)

De Struise Pannepot Reserva

Style: Quadruple

ABV: 10.0%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: The most expensive beer (per ounce) at $9.99 that I have ever purchased, but might also be the best Belgian I have had as well.

Will I be drinking this again: So expensive but so freaking good. Might have to buy another bottle or two.

Grade: A+

10/26/2010: The old saying “You get what you pay for” doesn’t always apply in the beer world, but I was hoping it did when I decided to pull the trigger on a $10 bottle. I knew the regular Pannepot has a reputation for being a great beer, so I am banking on the 2008 Reserva being even better. The Reserva is aged in two different kinds of oak barrels, while the original only one.

Cherry is the first thing I get in the aroma, some chocolate, sweet caramel, and some non-descript dark fruit.The first sip is nothing short of amazing, very complex but I will try to do my best to pick out some flavors here. Cherry is there for sure, some woodiness, raisins, cinnamon, prunes, and a rum like aftertaste. Mouthfeel is perfect, medium, rich, creamy, and barely any sign of alcohol at all. I have had a bunch of beer “wow” me on the first sip, but most don’t hold my attention like that entire way through… This beer did. I honestly might go as far to say this is the best Belgian Style beer of any kind that I have ever tasted. Yes even better than a Westvletern 12, Rochefort 10 etc. The aforementioned brews are great in their own right, but this beer exceeded great in my opinion. Wish I could put into words how much I enjoyed drinking this beer. Worth every penny of the $9.99 price tag.

Picture of the day: What a crappy tattoo.

Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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Beer 351/365 – Russian River Damnation

Russian River Damnation

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 7.75%

Purchased at: Sent in a trade

What makes this beer different: Really spicy for the style.

Will I be drinking this again: Honestly I was pretty underwhelmed by this one, so probably not.

Grade: B

10/25/2010: Received this as an extra in a trade a few weeks back. The initial trade was for a bottle of Lost Abbey Deliverance, which sounds like its going to be amazing. Going to let it age a bit before cracking that bottle open though.

The nose is a little different than I expected, a bit funky, with some pepper and clove going on. The flavor isn’t too bad at first, slightly fruity, white wine type thing going on, with a little bit of spice. As you get to the bottom half of the bottle the spice/clove just takes over, and makes it a bit tough to take. Not sure if I got an over spiced batch, but the amount of pepper/clove really just throws the balance off in my opinion. Mouthfeel is medium, well carbonated, and finishes dry. Overall I was pretty disappointed in this one.

Picture of the day: Unemployment to-do checklist.

Beer 350/365 – Surly Darkness (2009)

Surly Darkness

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 10.5%

Purchased at: Sent to me by Mike @ BonBeerVoyage

What makes this beer different: The lightest bodied of the “Mega Stouts” that I have had thus far, pretty hoppy as well.

Will I be drinking this again: Not this years version, but I am trading a Bourbon Barrel Aged Blackout Stout for one of this years. Thanks Doug!

Grade: A

10/24/2010: Okay so the background for this picture was a terrible choice on my part. Of course I wanted to go for the dark theme, but didn’t think the color of Surly Darkness would literally be pitch black just like the background. Well regardless it certainly does prove that this is one super dark brew. Aptly named to be sure. Thanks again to Mike and Ruth from BonBeer for sending me this.

The nose is a bit boozy, roasted chocolate, and hops! That was unexpected. The flavor in order of dominance, roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, booze, earthy hops, dark fruit, and licorice. The mouthfeel is way on the opposite end of the spectrum when compared to Dark Lord. Dark Lord was a bit too syrupy, and Darkness is a little too light in the mouthfeel department. If you combined the two, you just might create the perfect beer. Overall don’t get me wrong this is an awesome beer my only complaints are that the booze is a bit too prevalent, and the mouthfeel is lacking just by a bit. I also cannot imagine how hoppy this must be fresh, as it is by far the hoppiest RIS that I have ever tried, and thats with an entire year of age on it.

Picture of the day: I see digging ditches in this kids future.

Beer 349/365 – North Coast Old Rasputin

North Coast Old Rasputin

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.0%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: Probably the best bang for the buck as far as Imperial Stouts go.

Will I be drinking this again: Hell yeah, this one is a staple for me.

Grade: A

10/23/2010: Who doesn’t love an Old Raspy? I don’t know anyone who is a stout lover, who dislikes an Old Rasputin. It probably is the best tasting affordable big stout out there. I really wish I would have picked up some of the Old Rasputin XII way back in December when I made my first ever trip to Vintage Estate. My haul ended up costing me over $300 as it is soooo it was probably for the best that I didn’t buy any.

Chocolate is the headliner through and through in Old Raspy. The nose is full of sweet rich chocolate, and actually a little bit of hops as well. Which is odd because I usually can’t pick out hops in the nose of a beer. The flavor is a bunch of chocolate, a tiny bit of espresso flavor, some sweet caramel, and an over average amount of hops for an Imperial Stout. I’m willing to bet there is a little bit of lactose used in this as there is a milky kick I am getting. The mouthfeel is big and chewy like a giant milky way bar, but silky going down. Carbonation is a bit on the low end. Overally this is one of my favorites, and if you haven’t tried it you really need to.

Picture of the day: Pizza Ad Fail.

Beer 348/365 – St. Bernardus Abt 12

St Bernardus Abt 12

Style: Quadruple

ABV: 10.5%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: Almost as good as a Westy 12, but not quite.

Will I be drinking this again: Yup! Wish it was a little bit more affordable though.

Grade: A

10/22/2010: Trying to knock off as many of the top100 on BeerAdvocate as I can before I reach 365. St Bernardus currently ranks in at #10 overall, which means I have tried eight of the top ten beers. The other ones will be almost impossible to get a hold of. Pliny the Younger is only available from the brewery, and Trappist Westvleteren is only sold in Belgium. Oh well, 8/10 isn’t bad!

The plum in the nose is pretty typical for a quad, but the chocolate I am smelling is not. Lots of flavor going on but they all mesh well together, in order of strongest flavor: Caramel, dark fruit (figs?), bready, chocolate, earthy, and a little bit of spice. Is it just me or is it easier to pick out specific flavors in a Belgian beer as compared to an American Beer? Not sure why this is, or if I am losing it. Anyways, the mouthfeel is A+, smooth and creamy. The alcohol is completely hidden at 10.5%. Amazing beer, easily ranks up with the other top quads; Westvleteren 12 and Trappistes Rochefort 10.

Picture of the day: This is why girls should avoid mosh pits.

Published in: on October 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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