Monthly Archives: December 2011

Evening with Stone Brewing and other goodies!

Olutravintola Pikkulintu have recently imported a batch of 10 different beers by Stone Brewing, and yesterday they were released at both Pikkulintu and a number of pubs around the country, including The Gallows Bird in Espoo, where I myself headed yesterday afternoon, in hopes of tasting these praised beers. The beers available are: Levitation Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, Ruination IPA, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout, Double Bastard, Old Guardian Belgo, 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, and 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale. So yesterday, me and a group of friends headed to The Gallows Bird to try through the list of Stone beer. When we came to the bar we were informed that we would have to wait a couple of hours for the Stone beer to arrive, so I tried some Danish beer in the meanwhile.

 




 

First up was Hornbeer’s Black Magic Woman, an Imperial Stout brewed with smoked and peated malt. The beer had a pitch-black color and slight tan-colored head. The aroma was very roasty, featuring tones of burnt malt, coffee, licorice, dark chocolate, caramel and some alcohol. The flavor was similar, with tones of coffee, chocolate, ash, licorice and roasted malts dominating. The flavor ended with a slightly bitter aftertaste, and I thought the beer was quite well balanced. The beer was quite full-bodied, with medium-low carbonation and a smooth finish. I thought this was a really tasty and well balanced Imperial Stout, getting a grade of 4/5.

 




 

Next up were Evil Twin’s Yin and Yang, an Imperial Stout and Imperial IPA brewed to complement each other. The label even recommends trying a mix of them, which I also did. I began with Yang, an amber-colored beer with a fluffy off-white head. The aroma was extremely fruity, with tones of mango, passion fruit, citrus and resin. There was also some caramel in the aroma as well. The flavor began with some caramel as well, but was quickly joined by lots of tropical fruit flavor from the hops. There were tones of mango, passionfruit, grapefruit and orange. The flavor ended with a sweet and bitter aftertaste. The beer was medium bodied, with a medium-low carbonation level. I liked this a lot, even though the fruitiness was a bit over the top. This one also gets a grade of 4/5.

 

Yin poured with a pitch-black color and a minimal tan-colored head. The aroma was full of roasted tones, featuring coffee, chocolate and some roasted malt. The flavor is similar, with tones of chocolate, cocoa, and coffee dominating, together with some caramel and roasted malts. The beer has a smooth and full body, and a low carbonation level. I thought the beer was quite well-balanced, a overall I found the beer tasty. The chocolate and coffee tones were especially strong in this one. Yin gets a grade of 4.5/5.

 



Yang to the left, Yin to the right, and the mixture in the center

 

When the two were mixed, a dark brown beer was formed, with a fluffy cream-colored head. Lots of the fruitiness from Yang’s aroma was still left, and it was coupled by a slight roastiness. The flavor on the other hand was dominated by the chocolate and coffee tones from Yin, making for an interesting mixture. The mixture was nice, but liked the beers more on their own.

 




 

While we were drinking Yin and Yang, a courier showed up outside the bar, and boxes full of Stone’s beer were loaded into the bar, hooray! It was probably a bad idea to start the day with the strong (both in flavor and alcohol content) Danish beers, since the list of Stone beers included some ‘lighter’ ones, but we did our best to neutralize the taste-buds with some water and salty snacks. We began the Stone tasting with their Pale Ale. The beer poured with an amber-orange color, and a fluffy white head. The aroma was mostly caramel, and not at all as hoppy as I was expecting. There were some slight tones of grapefruit. The flavor began with some bready maltiness, that followed with a slight fruity and citrusy hop flavor. The aftertaste was bitter and slightly dry. The beer had a medium body and carbonation level. Overall, this was my least favorite beer of the evening, and felt it being quite bland. Maybe it was because I had such strongly flavored beers before this. Still it was a drinkable Pale Ale, just nothing special. I give this one a grade of 3-3.5/5.

 




 

Next up was Stone’s Levitation Ale, which is an Amber Ale with 4.4% ABV (you can find it in Kesko’s larger supermarkets, e.g. K-Citymarket Sello and Iso Omena, as well!). The Levitation Ale poured a dark amber color, with an off-white head. The aroma was a lot fruitier than the Pale Ale to my surprise, and it featured tones of caramel, citrus, mango, and resin. The flavor begins with some sweet malty tones and caramel, and this is joined by the citrusy and slightly resinous tones from the hops. The aftertaste is bitter, and I felt the beer is well-balanced for such a low-ABV hoppy beer. The beer has a nice medium body and a medium carbonation level. I definitely thought it was better than the Pale Ale, and overall a tasty well-balanced package. I give this one a grade of 3.5-4/5.

 




 

Then, it was time for Stone’s Oaked Arrogant Bastard, which I have reviewed earlier. The beer pours with a dark amber color and an off-white head, and the beer has a very similar appearance to Levitation Ale. The aroma has tones of wood, dark fruits, malt and some resiny hops as well. Can’t find much of the vanilla, which I remember from the last time I tried it. Also remember that there would have been slightly more hoppiness in the aroma the last time I had it. The flavor begins with tones of caramel and just a slight roasted maltiness. This is joined by an earthy, citrusy, bitter and woody flavor from the hops and oak. The aftertaste is quite bitter. Couldn’t recognize any vanilla in the flavor as well. The beer has a medium body and carbonation level. I liked it, but felt it was a bit different compared to when I tasted it the last time. The atmosphere and tasting conditions are of course very different, which probably explain the differences in taste. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

The following beer was Stone’s India Pale Ale, an American IPA featuring 70+ IBU. The beer pours with a light golden-yellow color and a fluffy white head. The aroma is hoppy and floral, with tones of grapefruit, resin, pine and mango. The flavor begins with a slight sweet maltiness, that is quickly overtaken by a resiny and citrusy hoppiness, with tones of pine and grapefruit. The flavor finished with huge bitterness. The beer has a medium-light body and a medium carbonation level. The beer is quite well balanced, with the slightly sweet malt backbone backing up the bitter hoppiness. A nice IPA, but was hoping for something ‘more special’. I give this one a grade of 3.5-4/5 (leaning towards the 4).

 




 

The following beer was one of the bigger bottles: The Vertical Epic 11.11.11. This year’s Vertical Epic is a Belgian-style Ale, brewed with Anaheim Chilies and Cinnamon. The beer pours with a hazy amber-orange color and a slight off-white head. The aroma has tones of banana and spices (cloves and a slight hint of cinnamon), together with a slight maltiness. Can’t detect much of the chili. The flavor is similar, beginning with a slight caramel maltiness, together with some spicy belgian yeast tones (cloves and pepper) and some banana. The beer has a smooth and medium-full body, and a medium-low carbonation level. Makes a great sipping beer, and I quite liked it, even though I’m not a great fan of Belgian-style ale. Couldn’t detect much of the chili though. I give this one a grade of 3.5-4/5.

 




 

Then it was time for another beer I’ve had before, Ruination IPA, which I reviewed a couple of months ago. Last time I really liked it, even though it was a bit on the bitter side. This time the beer pours a golden-yellow color with a white fluffy head. The aroma is very hoppy and floral, with tones of resin and citrus. The flavor begins with a slight maltiness, but it is evident that this is a very hoppy and bitter beer, with resiny and citrusy (grapefruit) taking over and dominating the palate. The flavor ends with a dry and huge bitter aftertaste. The beer has a medium-light body and medium carbonation level. I liked the hop flavors in this one, even though they were not as strong as I remember (could have been the tasting conditions again), but felt the beer was slightly too bitter. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

Next up is Stone’s Double Bastard, a stronger, maltier and hoppier version of Stone’s Arrogant Bastard. This beer poured with a dark amber color and a fluffy cream-colored head. The aroma is malty, with tones of caramel and dark fruits (raisins), and citrusy (from the hops). The flavor begins malt forward, with tones of caramel, bread and raisins, which is joined by a earthy, resiny and citrusy hoppiness, that ends in a sweet, spicy and bitter finish. The beer has a medium body and carbonation level, and since the flavors are very strong in this one, it seems a bit unbalanced. I liked this one, but it was a bit heavy. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

The following beer was the 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, which is one of the first Black IPAs I’ve ever had. The beer pours a black color, with a fluffy tan head. The aroma is hoppy, with resin and citrus dominating. There is a slight caramelliness, roastiness and alcohol presence in the aroma as well. The flavor has a bit more roastiness, with some tones of coffee, but the hops are very prevalent here as well, with tones of resin and grapefruit. The aftertaste is bitter. The beer has a smooth medium body with a medium carbonation level. This was an interesting blend of an IPA and a stout, that I thought worked quite well. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

The second last beer of the evening, which was also probably my favorite of the Stone’s, Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout. This Imperial Stout has, as the name implies, been spiced with anise and oak chips, and has been brewed with a Belgian yeast strain. The beer pours with a pitch-black color, and a slight tan head is formed. The aroma is dominated by lots of licorice and anise tones, but there are some tones of coffee, roasted malts, and a slight salmiakki. The flavor is roasty, with tones of licorice, coffee, chocolate and salmiakki. There are some slight hop flavors as well, and the flavor finishes quite bitter with anise in the aftertaste. The body is full, and the carbonation level is low. Felt the beer was quite well balanced, but this was definitely a slow-sipping beer. I like licorice, so this suited me fine, but I understand that people not liking licorice would find this beer quite unpleasant. Great flavors in a nice package. I give this one a grade of 4.5/5.

 




 

The final beer of the evening is the Old Guardian Belgo, a Barleywine brewed with a Belgian yeast strain. The beer pours with a clear dark amber color, with an off-white head. The aroma is sweet, malty and has some fruity tones from the Belgian yeast. The flavor is sweet and malty, with caramel and dark fruits, and is some hop flavor present as well. There is only a slight presence of the Belgian yeast in the flavor. The flavor is slightly boozy as well, but the alcohol is quite well hidden behind the sweetness. The beer has a full body and a low carbonation level. It was a little too sweet for my taste, and a bit heavy to drink. I give this one a grade of 3.5/5.

 




 

Overall, this was a very pleasant evening, with some great tasting beers. I recommend visiting Gallows Bird, Pikkulintu, or any of the other pubs around the country offering these beers, and at least try some of them. Thanks Pia, Jonny, Rasmus, Artem, Paulina, Teemu and Kimmo for the company!

Christmas Beers: Brewdog There Is No Santa & Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul

Since I haven’t reviewed a single ‘Christmas’ beer yet this year (even though I have a couple of them in my beer cabinet) and tomorrow is Christmas Eve, what better time than to try two spiced beers by Brewdog and Nøgne Ø. I’m not usually a big fan of beers that are spiced to taste as something else, e.g. gingerbread or glögg, but hopefully these will be drinkable, and at least go along with the gingerbread and ‘christmas pastries’ we baked today. Merry Christmas to all you readers!

 
 

  • Brewery: Brewdog
  • Country: Scotland
  • Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer
  • ABV: 4.7 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: K-Citymarket, 4.20 euro
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Brewdog’s Christmas beer, There Is No Santa, is a stout seasoned with cocoa nibs and ginger stems. Since it’s only 4.7% ABV, it is available in shops other than Alko as well. I found no information on any malts or hops used, but I assume the spices are the central flavor element of this beer. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”Brewdog There Is No Santa” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a dark brown, almost black, color, and if held against the light, one can notice some red tones in the color. A fluffy cream-colored head is formed during pour, but it collapses really quickly, leaving minimal lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The spices dominate the aroma, and especially the ginger is prominent, which together with some tones of cinnamon, give this an aroma similar to that of gingerbread. There are also some tones of roasted malt and chocolate hidden behind the spices.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is very similar to the aroma, and it is dominated by tones of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. This is joined by some roasty tones from roasted malt, cocoa and dark chocolate. There is a slight sweetness in the flavor as well, making the flavor, like the aroma, very reminiscent of gingerbread. The flavor ends with a lightly dry and bitter finish. A bit too much spices for my taste, but I guess it suits the occasion.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has quite a light body with a medium carbonation level. It was quite easy to drink, but felt it was a little too watery, and could have used a bit more body to it.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”This is definitely a Christmas beer, as it tastes very much like the gingerbread we just baked. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a big fan of spiced beers, but still felt this was drinkable and suited the occasion. Could have used a bit more body, a little less spices, and some more flavor from the malts. Might buy again next year.”]
 
 
 
 

  • Brewery: Nøgne Ø
  • Country: Norway
  • Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer
  • ABV: 6.5 %
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: Alko, 6.33 euro
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The second beer of the evening is Nøgne Ø’s Underlig Jul. This is a beer inspired by glögg, mulled wine, and has been spiced with 5 different spices: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, coriander and cloves. Other than the spices, the beer has been brewed with Maris Otter, Munich, caramel, and chocolate malts, and hopped with Columbus and Cascade hops to an IBU of 30. The beer was fermented with an English ale yeast. Nøgne Ø also brew another Christmas beer, called God Jul, which is more of an American Strong Ale, and not spiced at all. Seems more to my taste, but is unfortunately not available in Finland. Let’s see how Christmasy this one is!

[easyreview title=”Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer also pours with a dark brown color, though slightly lighter than There Is No Santa. A huge cream-colored head is formed during pour, and while it collapses (which takes a while) curtains of lacing are left along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”Spices also dominate the aroma of this beer, and similar tones of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, typical of gingerbread and glögg, can be detected in the aroma of this beer. Behind the spices, tones of floral hops, as well as a slight maltiness and roastiness, can be detected.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is also very spicy, but I think it has a slightly different focus compared to There Is No Santa (it’s more ‘harsh’). There are strong hints of cinnamon, ginger and even some licorice-like tones, and these are joined by roasted (almost ashy) tones from the roasted malts. The flavor ends with a slightly bitter finish. Again, not really my cup of tea.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-full body and a medium carbonation level, making easy to drink. The spices were a bit too harsh, and felt it decreased the mouthfeel a bit.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Of these two beers, I liked Underlig Jul slightly more, due to it having a bit more body, and a bit more complexity in the spiciness. On the other hand, it was a little harsher on the tongue. I really like when brewers are experimenting with beer and exotic ingredients, but overall I’m not really into Christmas-spiced beers. Again, it fits the occasion, but would probably not drink again, especially due to the quite high price.”]

Homebrew: Tasting the Christmas Amber Ale (Bold Bobcat)


 

  • Brewery: –
  • Country: –
  • Style: American Amber Ale
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer
  •  

    I bottled my Christmas Ale today after about 10 days in the keg. It had carbonated nicely, and it was bottled just in time to make some gifts out of the beer as well. The beer is not a typical Christmas beer (i.e. it is neither spiced nor dark), and more in the style of e.g. Sierra Nevada’s Christmas beer: Celebration Ale. The beer ended up with a FG of 1.014 and an ABV of 5.0%, making it an easy drinker, hopefully full-packed with some nice malt and hop tones. The beer was brewed with this recipe, and features only hopping in the last 20 minutes of the boil with Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe. The IBU should be around 52, so quite bitter for the style, but hopefully the maltiness balances it out. The label was designed for giving away as Christmas gifts, and inspired by Mikkeller’s Fra Via Til. Let’s see how it tastes!

    [easyreview title=”Homebrew Christmas Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a hazy dark-amber color, and forms a off-white colored head, that collapses leaving slight lacing along the glass. The haziness of the beer will hopefully decrease as the beer ages, since it has only been a day in the bottle.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is floral, citrusy and resiny, with tones of grapefruit and tropical fruits. There is a slight caramelly maltiness hiding in the background.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a caramelly and slighty sweet maltiness, that is joined by huge hop flavor, featuring tones of grapefruit, mango, orange and resin. The flavor finishes with a smooth bitterness, that balances fantastically with the malt and hop flavor.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth and medium-full body, and a moderate-low carbonation level. This was really easy to drink, and surprisingly full for such a low ABV beer. It could have used a slight bit more carbonation, but it’s perfectly drinkable like this as well.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall, this is my best homebrew beer yet, and the first I think doesn’t suffer from any ‘homebrew syndrome’ symptoms (other than the hazy appearance) even though it is still young. I liked the hoppy aroma and flavor, coupled with a pleasant maltiness, and overall the flavors went very well together. Hopefully this improves being a couple of weeks in the bottle!”]

    De Molen Amarillo

    • Brewery: De Molen
    • Country: Netherlands
    • Style: Imperial IPA
    • ABV: 9.2 %
    • Size: 330 ml
    • Bought from: Bierzwerg, ~3 euro
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    After a hard week of exams, I finally have some (well deserved?) winter holidays. To celebrate I decided to try De Molen’s Imperial IPA: Amarillo. The beer has been brewed with Pale and Crystal malts, and hopped with Sladek (bittering), Saaz (flavor) and Amarillo (dryhopping) to a bitterness of 60 IBU and a color of 31 EBC. I have never tasted any beer (at least that I know of) brewed with Sladek hops, so this should be interesting. They are apparently a hybrid of Saaz hops, and should be similar in taste. I like De Molen’s plain, but informative, labels, listing the ingredients used, bitterness, color, bottling date, etc. My bottle was bottled on 05.09.2011, so it should be quite fresh. Let’s see how it tastes!

    [easyreview title=”De Molen Amarillo” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a bright orange color, and the beer is surprisingly crystal-clear. I mention this, since it is evident from the bottom of the bottle that this beer is bottle-conditioned because of the layer of yeast, and I must of managed to get a great pour. An almost non-existing white head is formed during pour, but it collapses as quickly as it is formed. Could have used a better head, but otherwise looks tasty.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is typical of American west-coast hops, and the beer features a resiny and fruity aroma, lending tones of grapefruit, pine and a slight mango. There is a slight carameliness and alcohol note, but these are just barely detectable.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a caramelly sweetness, almost with tones of brown sugar, that is then joined by a huge hop flavor, featuring tones of mango, orange, grapefruit and resin. The hop tones and the malt backbone combine well together, offering a great flavor combination. The flavor ends with a sweet finish and a slight bitter bite. I really liked the taste of this beer, but I understand that people might find it a bit too sweet and caramelly for an Imperial IPA. The maltiness does well to hide and balance the bitterness.” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth, almost soapy, medium-full body and medium-low carbonation, giving the beer a quite thick and syrupy mouthfeel. The beer is balanced towards the malty side of the spectrum, but there is still a huge presence of hops.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”A great Imperial IPA, that definitely is sweeter than most other beers in the style. I liked the huge hop flavors of fruit and pine, combined with the caramel from the malt. The bitterness of this beer was also a bit low for the Imperial IPA style, so it could probably be classified as an IPA or American Strong Ale instead. I will be heading to Amsterdam with my girlfriend in the middle of January, and am really looking forward to trying out some more De Molens.”]

    Homebrew: Lusty Leopard (Tripel)

    Today I brewed up a small batch of a Belgian Tripel. I’m still having some problems with efficiency, even though I crushed really fine this time, so there are probably some problems with my techniques as well. Will have to try to search the web for some answers. I ended up with around 9 liters of beer, with an OG of 1.082. I mashed quite low, and am using Wyeast’s WLP550 Belgian Ale Yeast, so hopefully this doesn’t turn out super dry. I added 8 grams of crushed coriander seeds and 15 grams of sweet orange zests, to add some extra spiciness and fruitiness. I’m gonna let this one ferment at room temperature for a month, and then condition it a couple of months before I start drinking it. Sorry no pictures this time either, has I was quite busy the whole brew day (I kegged the ‘Christmas’ Amber Ale (Bold Bobcat), which was smelling and tasting great straight from the fermenter (FG had dropped to 1.012)).

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    Bear Republic Racer 5

    • Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing
    • Country: USA
    • Style: American IPA
    • ABV: 7.0 %
    • Size: 650 ml
    • Bought from: Brewdog Web Shop, ~9 euro
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    As you might have noticed, I really am a hop head, and love hoppy and bitter beers, such as IPAs, IIPAs and Imperial Stouts. Today’s hoppy beer is from Bear Republic Brewing, a California-based microbrewery. Racer 5 is their multiple award-winning American IPA, brewed with Pale Ale and Crystal malts, and hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial to an IBU of around 75. I found no indications on bottling date or best before date, so I just have to hope that it is quite fresh. I’m expecting a really citrusy, resiny and bitter beer, and hopefully I’m right!

    [easyreview title=”Bear Republic Racer 5″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a golden orange color and a white-colored head, that quickly collapses to leave some islands of foam on the surface. The beer is slightly hazy, and the glass gets coated by lacing as the liquid level decreases.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is hoppy, and the hop tones are very floral and fruity, with some grapefruit, pineapple and the slightest pine.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with slight tones of caramel, but these are quickly overtaken by flavors of orange, grapefruit and resin. These hop flavors are strong, and definitely dominate the flavor. The flavor ends slighty dry and with a pleasant bitter bite. The beer is balanced towards the hops, but I feel the malt backbone keeps the beer standing quite well. The alcohol is well hidden.” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium full, slightly oily, body and a medium-low carbonation level, making it pleasant to drink. The bitterness is not that harsh, making it quite pleasant to drink.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Another great American-brewed India Pale Ale, packed with C-hop flavor, primarily featuring tones of citrus fruits and resin. The package is quite well balanced, though mostly towards the hoppiness, and as a whole is a very tasty and drinkable beer. If I ever have chance to try this (or any other of the brewery’s beers) again, I would, but I probably won’t get the chance again. If you ever get the chance, and like American-style IPAs, definitely try it out! A really good beer!”]

    Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard

    • Brewery: Stone Brewing
    • Country: USA
    • Style: American Strong Ale
    • ABV: 7.2%
    • Size: 330 ml
    • Bought from: Brewdog Web Shop, ~7 euro
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    Today it’s time for post number 100 on this blog, so I thought I would celebrate with a rarer (at least in Finland) beer. Today it’s time to try Stone’s oak-aged variant of their Arrogant Bastard Ale. They have been brewing their Arrogant Bastard since 1997, while the Oaked Arrogant Bastard as been available since 2004. Stone are usually very willing to give information about what’s in their beer (malt- and hop-wise), but for some reason they keep the contents of their ‘Bastard’-series beer classified. There are a number of homebrew recipes circulating around the web, with the majority of them suggesting a malt bill containing some 2-row, crystal malts, and a slight amount of roasted malts, and a hop schedule with 100% Chinook. The beer should be quite bitter (probably close to 80 IBU) as well. I liked Stone’s Ruination Ale, so am really looking forward to this one as well. Happy 100th Post!

    [easyreview title=”Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a dark amber color (there are some hints of red) and an off-white head. The beer is slightly hazy. The head collapses leaving lots of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by a toasty oakiness, lending tones of wood and vanilla, but there is plenty of caramel and citrusy hops to back it up as well. A very interesting aroma. The alcohol is well hidden, and can’t be detected.” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a caramelly maltiness, along with some hints of roasted malt, but this is quickly joined by a (massive) resiny hop flavor. There is slight hint of vanilla and some earthy tones, which I presume is from the oak. The flavor ends with a quite bitter and complex aftertaste, featuring a mixture of wood, caramel and earthiness. The flavors are well balanced, and contribute each other very well.” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium full and smooth body, along with a medium carbonation level, making it pleasant to drink.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall an excellent beer, featuring a complex mixture of interesting aroma and flavors. I really liked the massive resiny flavor from (supposedly) the Chinook hops, mixed with the caramelly roastiness, and the hints of vanilla and wood. Unfortunately you can’t currently find almost any Stone beer in Finland, but after Christmas Pikkulintu (and some other bars around Finland) will be selling 10 different Stone beers for a limited time. The price I paid for my bottle was of course on the high side, but felt it was worth the price. A great beer for Post #100!”]

    Pilsener Duel: De Molen Donder & Bliksem vs Victory Prima Pils

    This evening I will be comparing two (quite highly ranked) Pilseners I just received in an order from Bierzwerg.

    • Brewery: De Molen
    • Country: Netherlands
    • Style: Bohemian Pilsener
    • ABV: 6.2%
    • Size: 330 ml
    • Bought from: Bierzwerg, ~3€
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    Our first contender of the night is ‘Donder & Bliksem’, a Bohemian Pilsener, brewed by the Dutch craft brewery De Molen. This beer has been brewed with Pils and Cara malt, and hopped with Permiant and Saaz hops to an IBU of 36. According to the bottle, this beer was bottled on 18.07.2011, so it’s about 5 months old now. De Molen have a reputation of brewing some tasty beers, so am looking forward to this one.

    [easyreview title=”De Molen Donder & Bliksem” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a pale golden-yellow color and a fluffy white-colored head. The beer is just slightly hazy. The head collapses leaving some drapes of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is mostly malty, featuring some tones of grain and light honey, with a slight touch of floral grassiness from the hops.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a light maltiness, but the grassy and slightly citrusy hop tones soon dominate. The flavor ends with a dry and quite bitter finish, while the quite high alcohol level (for the style) lends some warmness.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-light body and a moderate-high carbonation level. The beer is crisp, quite refreshing and relatively easy to drink.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a good beer, and a really good Pilsener, but felt it lacked something to make it stand out. On the other hand, Pilseners should not be complex, and this was a crisp, tasty and refreshing beer, so it definitely does what it should. Unfortunately this one isn’t available from shops in Finland, but if you are lucky, you can find it some well-stocked pubs (e.g. Pikkulintu & Beer Hunter’s). Let’s see how it compares with the American.”]

    • Brewery: Victory
    • Country: USA
    • Style: German Pilsener
    • ABV: 5.3%
    • Size: 330 ml
    • Bought from: Bierzwerg, ~3€
    • Beer Advocate
    • RateBeer

     

    The second contender of the evening is ‘Prima Pils’, a German Pilsener, brewed by the American craft brewery Victory. I’ve had Victory’s IPA, Imperial IPA and Imperial Stout before, and they were all very good, so expectations are high for this one. It also ranks number 4 on RateBeer’s Pilsener list, so it can’t be awful right? The beer has been brewed with German Pils malt, and hopped with Northern Brewer and Saaz hops. I found no information on the IBU, but rumors say it’s quite bitter. My bottle has a best before date in March 2012, so the bottle should be around 9 months old. Let’s see how it does against the Dutch!

    [easyreview title=”Victory Prima Pils” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The appearance is very similar to ‘Donder & Bliksem’, with the beer pouring with a pale golden-yellow color and a slight white-colored head. The beer is also slightly hazy, and the head collapses leaving drapes of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is stronger in this one, and the floral hops are dominating this time. There are some fruity (peach-like), grainy and honey-like tones as well.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor also begins with a light maltiness, lending some sweet tones, and is quickly joined by a floral hoppiness, featuring some grassy and grapefruity tones. The hop flavor was a bit stronger in this beer, compared to ‘Donder & Bliksem’. The flavor ends dry and quite bitter again.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”This one also has a medium-light body and a quite high carbonation level, giving the beer a crisp and refreshing feel. Quite easy to drink, a would be perfect a warm summer day.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”This was a really good beer, and in my opinion, slightly better than the Pilsener from De Molen. I really liked the stronger hop flavor, and combined with the dry and bitter finish, this was a very refreshing beer to drink. Wouldn’t mind trying this beer at least 6 months fresher, but this still packed a lot of punch in it. Unfortunately this isn’t available from Finland either.”]

    The winner of this duel is Victory’s Prima Pils! It was a close one, but I really liked the stronger hop flavors in the American brew!

    Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale

    • Brewery: Nøgne Ø
    • Country: Norway
    • Style: Brown Ale
    • ABV: 7.5%
    • Size: 500 ml
    • Bought from: Systembolaget, ~50kr
    • Beer Advocate
    • RateBeer

     

    The second beer of the evening will be Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale. This, American-style, Brown Ale was first brewed in 2006 as a collaboration with Nørrebro Bryghus. The beer has been brewed with Maris Otter, wheat, brown, amber, Munich and caramel malts, hopped with Columbus, Chinook and E K Goldings to an IBU of 40, and fermented with an English ale yeast strain. Nøgne Ø usually make good stuff, so am looking forward to this one.

    [easyreview title=”Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a dark ruby color and a fluffy cream-colored head. The beer is slightly hazy, but it is difficult to see because of the dark color. The head collapses leaving drapes of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is malty, with some hints of bread, caramel, dark fruits and even some chocolate. There is a slight hoppiness hiding behind the malt character as well. There is a slightest hint of alcohol in the aroma as well.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with tones of caramel and dried fruits, and is quickly joined by some slightly roasted tones, lending hints of cocoa and coffee. There is a bit of earthy and resiny hoppiness in the background as well, but it never takes the lead role. The flavor ends with a pleasant bitterness and a slight roastiness. The beer is quite well balanced, with no particular flavor taking over.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-full and smooth body and a moderate carbonation level. It has a slightly thick and oily feel, making it feel pleasant in the mouth.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a great beer from Nøgne Ø, that offers a nice balance of malt, roast and hops, in a easily drinkable and tasty package. Nøgne Ø beers are usually on the expensive side, as was this beer, and since it isn’t available in Finland, I probably won’t be buying it again.”]

    Bath Ales Dark Side

    • Brewery: Bath Ales
    • Country: England
    • Style: Stout
    • ABV: 4.0%
    • Size: 500 ml
    • Bought from: K-Citymarket, price unknown but probably close to 4€
    • Not on Beer Advocate
    • RateBeer

     

    To start off the weekend, I’m having a bottle of Bath Ales Dark Side, which I got as a gift from my girlfriend (thanks!). Bath Ales are famous for the hare on the label, and I believe it was one of the reasons it caught the attention of my girlfriend. This English Stout has been brewed with a blend of roasted malts and hopped with Fuggles. I’ve had a beer by Bath Ales earlier, an it was tasty, though nothing special, so lets see how this tastes.

    [easyreview title=”Bath Ales Dark Side” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a dark brown, almost black, color, and an almost non-existing off-white head. As the head collapses almost no lacing clings to the glass.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dark and roasted, with tones of molasses and coffee, and just the slightest hint of ash and licorice.” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is also roasty, beginning with flavors of caramel and molasses, and then moving on towards tones of roasted malt and coffee. The flavor finishes dry, with a slight bitterness and some almost burnt tones.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a quite light and smooth body and a moderate carbonation level, making it quite easy to drink. The slighty burnt tones withdraw some points from the mouthfeel.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall another good beer from Bath Ales. Quite nice for such a low ABV beer, but I felt it lacked a little bit of body and complexity. Probably wouldn’t buy again though, but this is only because I’m not such a fan of light stouts.”]

    Thanks Pia for buying me this!