This month’s Beer Club is brought to you by the Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/India Black Ale/American Black Ale or whatever else you want to call it. Regardless of the name, there was some kick-ass beer in this tasting. I actually designed the order by using the average of review scores. I used my own scores, BA, and RB.
To begin the tasting, we actually started with my homebrew. It gushed, and went back into the fridge. Oops.
The Laughing Dog Dogzilla might be my first beer from Idaho. I really don’t have much to say about that beer. I’m glad it was at the beginning of the tasting.
Next up was the 21st Amendment Back in Black. I actually like this beer. It’s not over-the-top with the hops and had a nice balanced flavor with quite a bit of caramel.
The Sam Adams Dark Depths Baltic IPA was a new one for me. It’s brewed as a lager. It was oddly sweet and oddly obnoxious.
One of my favorites of the tasting was the Alaskan Black IPA. Theirs isn’t real hoppy, but man, it’s a tasty beer. I’ve been a fan in the past and it held up well in the tasting.
My friend actually brought a beer for us to try, which was the Beer Valley Half Mast. I stuck it into the tasting here, and have no idea what the ratings are on it. I thought this one was a pretty good example of the style.
Another beer that I’ve been a fan of in the past, was the Oakshire O’Dark:30. Gave it a 90 on this blog and I still liked it.
We had the Widmer Pitch Black after. Nothing of note about this beer. Tasted like water to me.
Our only Washington competitor was the Fish Swordfish out of Olympia. I gave this one a pretty high rating, and enjoyed it in the tasting. It was a bit more aggressive than the others we’d have at that point.
You can’t do black IPAs without one of the greats: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous. Probably the most aggressive beer, but the balance is fantastic. It’s what you’d come to expect from Stone.
Probably my favorite Black IPA is the Seccession by HUB. I still love this beer. It’s the perfect marriage of piney and citrus with the chocolate. My favorite.
This tasting was the first chance that I got to try the Wookey Jack from Firestone Walker. I guess there is a reason it’s the most highly rated beer in the tasting. Exquisite balance. It’s a beer I need to review on it’s own.
That’s it folks. It was a fantastic tasting and more user friendly than I thought it would be. Some folks just don’t enjoy the hops…yet. Next month hefeweizens at a lake house. Jealous?
So there was a lot of demand to do pumpkin beers for Beer Club. Since I had already planned out the next few months, we decided to go ahead and just have a Halloween party with pumpkin beers. It was a blast (the next day wasn’t so fun). The costumes were pretty great even though many of us are generally unenthusiastic people. The best costume, of course, was David being me. He pulled it off pretty well, but lacked the fairly obnoxious side I have when drinking. Before I get to the tasting I wanna give some shout outs. Thanks to Tiffany and Kevin for hosting us all and decorating the place up. It was awesome! And special thanks goes to Alex for running the tasting. He picked, poured and averaged the scores for the rest of us.
The tasting consisted of the 13 beers above. Each was poured blind in a random order. I was feeling pretty confident going into the tasting, but I gotta say, I got my ass kicked. I only guessed about half of them correctly. The results below were rather surprising, but that’s why you do blind tastings.
- Elysian Night Owl
- Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale
- Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
- Elysian Dark O’ The Moon
- Stone Collaboration La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado
- Southern Tier Pumpking
- Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale
- Pike Harlot’s Harvest
- Two Beers Pumpin Spice Ale
- Elysian The Great Pumpkin
- Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
- Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
- Elysian Hansel & Gretel
Pretty interesting, no? The Elysian ginger pilsner was absolutely hated. The ginger was too overpowering for everyone. The Buffalo Bill’s was expected to be near the bottom. I found it interesting that the Shock Top wasn’t liked nearly as much as the Blue Moon which showed up as number 3. Also, the fact that Sam Adams and Blue Moon made the top 3 was pretty amazing. The Night Owl apparently hit all the right places. A previous favorite of a lot of people was The Great Pumpkin which placed near the bottom. Blind tastings may become more of a regular thing at beer club. Keep in mind that tastings have a lot of bias as you are more comparing than anything else. If you changed the tasting order, I wouldn’t be surprised if the results change. Just one of those things, but it was a ton of fun.
This is the first beer that I’ve had from Sam Adams new line of Limited Release beers. I actually had this at the smoke beer tasting I did for beer club, but was too sick to even taste it. This beer features Pale, Caramel 60, Munich, and smoked malts with Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops.
Rauchbier. 9.4% ABV. Massachusetts. Limited Release.
Dark red color with an okay head, doesn’t last long.
Only a hint of smoke on the nose with a mostly sweet caramel component coming through. It smells more like a barleywine than a bock.
Mouthfeel is medium to medium-high with high carbonation.
Very sweet with just a hint of smokeyness and a caramel meets vanilla component. Medium bitterness on the finish.
This tastes a lot like a barleywine. It has the booze, the sweetness, and even a bit of hops with just a little bit of smoke. 87 points.
Well this was an interesting tasting. Strange beers, lots of people, and half of us were sick. This beer club was inspired by the Rogue Voodoo beer, but I’ve been wanting to do a smoked beer tasting for a long time. I love these beers and the pairings they make with food. Several cheeses were brought to pair, and I think it was awesome…but I could barely taste anything.
I found some funky brews for this one. We started off with the Piwo Grodziskie, which is a sour smoked wheat beer. Yeah, strange, but very cool. The locally made Three Skulls Buccaneer Bacon was next. It’s a bacon lager, but the bacon didn’t seem to come through much. The Stone Smoked Porter has been a disappointment for me every time I’ve had it, and I think this tasting mirrored my opinion. The classic Alaskan Smoked Porter ended up being a favorite for many that night. The Schlenkerla Marzen also seemed to be liked. It’s definitely one of my favorite beers of all time. Now something a little different. I found this beer called Bog from Epic Ales in Seattle. They specialize in weird brews. The beer featured smoked malts and Shiitake mushrooms. Yep. The reactions to this beer were the best I’ve ever seen. It ended up being very tart, but I’m not sure how. Some liked it, some hated it. The Left Hand Smoke Jumper seemed to also be universally liked. The Evil Twin Ashtray Heart did not get off to a good start. Some found the name alone to be appalling. When they actually drank it, they nearly marched out of Beer Club. The most hated beer ever at Beer Club. I liked it. The Sam Adams Cinder Bock was next to last, and was actually an easy drinking beer despite the ABV. It was a welcome change. Last, but not least was the Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale. The notorious beer was a hit and miss. Some enjoyed it, some did not. As I’ve recently posted, I really enjoyed this beer.
A bunch of people came out for this Beer Club and I got to see some folks I havn’t seen in ages. It was an awesome time that ended on some home brews and a game called Cards for Humanity, which is the best game ever. Unfortunately, some of the people there won’t be able to come back to a Beer Club for a long while. Namely Jackie, who’s been to every single Beer Club since I started it. She’s pretty awesome and will surely be missed.
Summer? Yes, please! The Sam Adams Summer seasonal is wheat beer with some special ingredients added. This beer features 2-row Pale, malted wheat and Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops with lemon zest and Grains of Paradise (that’s basically a peppercorn).
American Pale Wheat Ale. 5.3% ABV. Massachusetts.
Yellow and fairly pale with very little head and some carbonation streams.
Definitely lemon-y on the nose, but I don’t get too much spice going on here. That’s about it on the nose.
Mouthfeel is light with high carbonation, but that’s not too bad in a Summer beer.
Lemon, wheat, and just a hint of spice going on. It’s got a lovely malt finish with at hint of lemon zest.
Nothing amazing here, but I like this one. It’s a nice, easy-drinking, and citrusy beer. All things I like. 84 points.
Saw this IPA awhile back and thought I’d grab a sixer. It comes in at a very attractive price point. Of course, with all of the IPAs around here, it’s gonna be hard to compete. It features 2-row Harrington, Metcalfe, Copeland, Caramel 60, and Gambrinus Honey malts with Hallertau Mittelfrueh, East Kent Goldings, Zeus, Simcoe and Ahtanum hops. That’s a whole lotta hops.
American India Pale Ale. 5.8% ABV. Massachusetts.
Dark amber color, does leave a decent head.
The nose is hoppy, but not over-the-top, with quite a bit of malt coming through, bringing a biscuit character. The hops are very piney, with a hint of orange.
Light to medium bodied, could use a little more body.
Very English in it’s approach. It’s got that piney hop flavor, but is really balanced with a lot of malt bringing quite a lot of biscuit/cracker and a little bit of caramel. Does bring some bitterness on the backend.
It’s a serviceable IPA, so I’d recommend it. Actually, for the price, it’s a great deal. 83 points.
This is a white beer that has been “imperialized.” Meaning instead of a low alcohol, easy-drinking beer, they upped it to a high alcohol version. This beer features 2-row Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland Pale malts and malted wheat with Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops. I’ve been only so-so on their Imperial Series stuff so far, but I do love me a wit, so let’s see how this fairs.
Witbier. 10.3% ABV. Massachusetts.
Dark orange color and it’s just chock full of sediment.
Interesting nose. First thing I notice is the sweetness, but it has some orange and coriander coming through as well. Alcohol shows a bit. And I do get a little pinesol type of action, smells kind of artificial.
Mouthfeel is pretty thick, and high carbonation. Not really what I’d like to see.
Palate is really sweet, with lots of brown sugar, with orange, banana, cloves, coriander, and again, I get this artificial pine sol thing. Alcohol shows on the backend.
I absolutely hate this beer. It’s practically undrinkable. The sweetness and alcohol are completely out of control. The mouthfeel and the flavor is undesirable. Save yourself some cash on this one. 76 points.
This is a re-view of the Noble Pils. When I last reviewed this beer, I really didn’t like it much. That’s mostly because of a rubbery flavor profile that I really hated. We discussed the beer on Getting Tanked, and mentioning that it tastes like shit because of the rubber taste, well let’s just say that I’m still living that down. But the main point of this is that people didn’t get that flavor profile and so I want to see if I still got it in the new batch.
Czech Pilsner. 4.9% ABV. Massachusetts.
Light Pils yellow. It has a nice head, but it’ll fade fairly quickly.
Light hop aroma with a malty background. Actually I think the malts dominate the nose more than the hops. Lots of fruit, here, and I do get that rubbery component, but it’s fairly subtle.
Decent mouthfeel, no complaints.
Palate is very similar to the nose, lots of fruits, some hop bitterness. Apple comes through heavy on the finish. Again, that rubbery-ness is there, but not like it was the last time I had it.
Well this beer is clearly different from when I last had it. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or not, but this is much better. 87 points.
This doppelbock is from the Imperial Series, consisting of 2 other beers. This beer features 2-row Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland pale, and Caramel 60 malts. The hops include Tettnang Tettnanger and Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble hops.
Doppelbock. 9.5% ABV. Massachusetts.
Kind of a light Coke colored beer. Head isn’t anything that impressive.
Bready malts with a lot of sweetness on the nose. Caramel comes through with hints of vanilla.
Good mouthfeel, pretty thick with good carbonation.
Again, very bready malts with quite a bit of sweetness. It’s that vanilla spice thing going on, with caramel and brown sugar. Caramelized apples and pears show nicely with a heavy vanilla finish. The alcohol shows just a tad, but very well contained.
I’m enjoying this one, probably one of the best Sam Adams beers I’ve had. Pick this up in the Fall, perfect time for this beer. 89 points.
One of their Imperial Series beers, this stout features 2-Row Harrington, Metcalfe and Copeland Pale, Caramel 60, Munich, Special B, and smoked malts with unmalted barley and malted wheat. The hops are all East Kent Goldings. Let’s see if this RIS can hold it’s own against all the cult classics.
Russian Imperial Stout. 9.2% ABV. Massachusetts.
Black with some brown hues. Tan colored head and some decent lacing here.
Sweet smelling, with a lot of caramel coming through. A little bit of chocolate and coffee. Not that much else, just smells very sweet and dessert like.
Medium bodied, the carbonation seems to thin it out a little.
Lots of sweet caramel on the palate. Some roasted coffee qualities on the backend. A little notice of the alcohol. Some orange and banana hit the palate.
So, it’s alright. It’s very caramel-y instead of roasted coffee and chocolate, which you normally will find on this style of beer. I don’t hate this beer at all, but there are much better places to go. 87 points.