Beer. It's what's for dinner.

Our mission at The BeerFathers is to teach you to stop worrying and love the beer. Our secondary mission is to drink a lot of beer. Our tertiary mission is to give you ratings on those beers - objective, unbiased, opinionated, prejudiced ratings based on what we find good about beer. Take it with a grain of salt or preferably one of those big beer pretzels they sell in Munich. Those things are great.

And recently from the Beer Blog...

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Dark Beer Death

By John on April 5, 2008 (No Comments)

The BeerFathers respect people who get all scientific with their beer tasting, and the folks over at Rate Beer definitely get a beer glass raised in their direction for their latest endeavor – A Going Blind Tasting. 25 imperial stouts in one evening. Twenty. Five. Bottom line is it turns out to be a little too much work and all the dark beer completely dissolved their palates. But what a way to go!

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Boulevard Bully Porter

By John & Dad on April 4, 2008 (No Comments)

The Bully Porter (technically written as “Bully! Porter”) comes to us from the Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, MO. This is another in a series of Thursday evening phone reviews between Father and Son Beer Love.

The 12 oz bottle features a 5.4% ABV and we served it up in an American pint glass at 52 F. The bottle has a great label on it featuring a monocled bulldog wearing a tuxedo holding up a beer. That may be the best highlight to our session.

The initial pour yielded a huge 2 1/4″ light brown rocky head that had a good amount of lacing as it dissipated slowly. The color was an opaque ruby dark brown, almost black. No carbonation to speak of, but it can be hard to tell in a beer this dark.

The aromas were burnt, chocolate, coffee, earth, black licorice and smoke. The initial flavor was lightly sweet and heavy bitter, as were the finish flavors. The finish was long in duration and there was only a fair amount of body lacing. The mouthfeel was terrific – nice and creamy. On the malt to hop scale it was on the very malty side.

Aside from the great mouthfeel there wasn’t a lot to write home about with this one. It started out well enough with a good, somewhat surprising first impression, but it became much less enjoyable towards the end. The lack of balance really started grating on our nerves. It’s not very complex and the burnt malts led to some strong bitterness. What was attractive in the beginning became annoying in the end. It’s like you’ve been on 6 dates already and now you’re resenting her. Do you break up or keep going because it’s too much trouble?

It’s definitely not repeatable and was only so-so in drinkability. It wasn’t memorable, had no wow factor and we wouldn’t buy it again. The 6 pack was in the $7 price range, so that may have some appeal, but we’d say it’s worth trying only if you can pull a single of it. There’s a lot of other porters out there better than this one.

Boulevard Bully Porter Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Schlafly No. 15 Ale

By John & Dad on April 1, 2008 (No Comments)

The Schlafly No. 15 comes to us from the Saint Louis Brewery in Missouri, the same state that houses Grandmother and Uncle Beer Love. This is another in a series of Thursday night phone reviews between Father and Son Beer Love.

We poured the 6% ABV 12 oz bottle into an American pint glass and pulled a temperature of 45 F. This bottle had a bottled on date of June 26, 2007 (we reviewed on January 31, 2008). We got a large 1 3/4″ off-white creamy head that produced a good amount of lacing as it dissipated quickly. There was a medium amount of carbonation and the appearance was a somewhat murky amber color.

The initial aromas were caramel, wheat, citrus (maybe grapefruit), herb, bubble gum and spices. The initial flavor was lightly sweet, lightly sour, and moderately bitter – the taste bud trifecta. The hops are strong, but not bad – it gives it a definite character. The taste gave us some more fruity flavors and the fruitiness increases as it warms. The finish flavor was lightly sweet and harshly bitter, with a long duration. This biting aftertaste may have a touch of that grapefruit we smelled to it. The mouthfeel was oily and the body lacing was fair, not nearly as impressive as the head lacing. On a malt to hop scale this one slides over somewhere in the mid range of the hoppy side.

Overall it’s drinkable, but not repeatable, not memorable and we wouldn’t want to buy it again. It would probably be better with food. It’s a decent ale from Schlafly, but it could be much better.

Schlafly No. 15 Ale Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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Beer Fridge

By John on March 31, 2008 (3 Comments)

New Beer FridgeThe BeerFathers household (East) is plus one now with the latest addition to the family – the dedicated beer fridge.

That’s right, I finally had so many beers in our real fridge that my beautiful beer love wife finally said “Enough!” and I got my wish.

This bad boy is actually a converted wine cooler from Home Depot. It’s the Magic Chef 44 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler (Model MCWC44DZ). The racks are removed for ideal vertical bottle storage with the exception of one rack towards the top of the bottom zone for cellaring purposes (currently cellaring a lone Trappistes Rochefort 10). The top zone is the lager and low gravity zone which is kept at 45 F and the bottom zone (the larger of the two) is the ale and high gravity zone which is kept at 50 F. No more counter resting my beers before drinking – they’re ready to go straight out of the beer fridge. We’ve stored this in the closet underneath the stairs, out of sight but not out of mind.

If you’re wondering how many beers we can fit in a 44 bottle wine cooler it’s in the neighborhood of about 70 bottles. It’s currently not at capacity. Donations are accepted.

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Red Tail Ale

By Dad on March 28, 2008 (No Comments)

This was in my first 10 pack from CPWM (Cost Plus World Market) and thought I would try it again to see if my taste had changed from 7/26/05.

Beer temp. 47.1F-8.6C. Using my go-to British pint glass I got a large 2.5 inch foamy off white head on top of a hazy amber orange body. Carbonation was soft and the head dissipated slowly with fair head lacing. Aromas were caramel, honey, roasted, toffee, floral, pine and earth. Taste were caramel, pine, resin and spices. The initial flavors light to medium sweetness from the malts and a light bitterness from the hops. Finish flavors were heavy bitterness and light sour. Finish duration was average to long and the mouthfeel was oily. There was almost no body lacing and on the malt to hop scale I gave it a 7 with 5 being balanced and 9 hoppy. I didn’t find it repeatable, drinkable, memorable and had no wow factor. I know I won’t be keeping this in my rotation.

This kind of reminds me of an IPA but without the malt depth. You might say “BeerFathers! This had 7 aromas and 4 tastes – what’s up with that?” I may have pushed it on the aromas and could easily have been 3 with pine being one of them, and pine and resin in the taste just doesn’t do it for me. I’m glad the finish wasn’t any longer than it was. By the way I didn’t care for it then and don’t care for it now. It was kind of fun though going through the old notes from 2 1/2 years ago.

Red Tail Ale Rating: 2 out of 10 (?)

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Staying the Course

By John on March 27, 2008 (No Comments)

Last night I was enjoying a delicious Duck Rabbit Milk Stout (review to come later) out on the patio, throwing the toys for the dogs and enjoying the beautiful 70 degree evening that is more often than not springtime in Charlotte.

As it proceeded to get dark I came inside and sat down on the couch to finish off my tasty beverage and noticed a beer covered bug sitting near the inside rim of the glass, wavering and flailing, all drunk on dark beer. An unfortunate side effect of the warmer weather is that the bugs start to come out from wherever they’ve been hiding all those winter months.

Under normal circumstances if I find a bug in my food or beverage I usually cease and desist all eating of said food or beverage. However, this is beer. Beautiful, wonderful beer. Glorious, magnificent dark beer. So I grab a paper towel, scoop the bug out of the beer and proceed to lap down the rest of it, undaunted and undeterred, so singularly focused that a Zen master himself might look to me for advice on what “mind like water” truly means. What would I tell him? A mind on beer is a good place to start.

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Fort Collins Brewery Chocolate Stout

By John & Dad on March 27, 2008 (No Comments)

The Fort Collins Chocolate Stout is another in a series of Thursday night phone reviews between Father and Son Beer Love. Fort Collins Brewery, out of Colorado, makes a good number of beers. The Chocolate Stout has a great graphic design to it with a lipstick kiss mark next to the beer name on the label.

We served this 5.3% ABV stout up in an American pint glass and registered an initial beer temperature of 49.8 F. The initial pour gave us an average 1″ frothy medium brown head that yielded a fair amount of lacing as it dissipated slowly. There is very little carbonation to the beer, perhaps masked by its absolutely opaque black color.

Initial aromas were of chocolate, mild coffee (possibly espresso), roasted malts and black licorice. It’s a great smell, very strong. The taste echoed the aromas, but wasn’t nearly as strong as we thought it would be – it’s not too sweet at all. The initial flavor was only lightly sweet and actually slightly bitter. The aftertaste was unchanged in terms of flavor and had a short to average duration. It’s a subtle aftertaste with some very mild hops that dulled as we drank it. The mouthfeel was terrific – a rich creamy mouthfeel – one of the better ones.

We were really surprised by this one – it’s not a sweet stout, but it has a sweetness to it. It’s obviously malt heavy but there are some hops to balance it out. It’s not overly complex. It might work well with various cheeses if you wanted to pair it up with some food. Though it’s drinkable, it’s not repeatable and isn’t really memorable. You’re kind of put off on it by the time you finish it.

Overall it just doesn’t really make a statement. You don’t make a statement with undertones in a stout, you need overtones. Go all in. I see on their site that Fort Collins also makes a Double Chocolate Stout as a seasonal beer. That may be worth trying to see if they get it a bit more “right”. As an alternative I’d recommend trying the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout or even better (if you can find it) the Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout.

Fort Collins Brewery Chocolate Stout Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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Raise Your Beer Glass To Sam Adams

By John on March 25, 2008 (No Comments)

As I’ve written about before, the ingredients that go into beer are experiencing extreme price increases, leading to a shortage of things like hops.

Combine that with the recent announcement that Boston Beer (makers of Sam Adams) just posted a huge 4th quarter increase in profits (despite the 21% increase in the price of goods) and year-over-year growth in profit (24%) and revenue (20%) and you witness a company poised to make a difference. So what do they do?

Announcing the Samuel Adams® Hop Sharing Program. They’re going to share their hops with other U.S. craft brewers who are struggling to get hops. They’re offering 20,000 lbs of hops to help the cause and they’re offering them AT COST to the brewers who need them. They’re not trying to make a buck here, they’re trying to help their own.

TheBeerFathers respect companies who post healthy revenues and profits in tough times, but he has an even greater respect for companies who acknowledge that competition is okay and tries to do the right thing during those same tough times. Make your next toast to Sam Adams for being good people.

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Sprecher Special Amber

By John on March 25, 2008 (No Comments)

Brought to you from the fine folks at the Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale, WI, this Special Amber Lager is their best seller. It’s a medium bodied German style lager, checking in at 5% ABV and it was was served up in an American pint glass.

The initial pour yielded a large 1 1/2″ frothy off-white head that didn’t sport any lacing and dissipated quickly. The body is a beautiful amber/orange that’s slightly hazy in appearance. There was very little carbonation to the body.

The aromas were solid – caramel and honey, citrus, banana and maybe a hint of mint. The initial flavor was a moderate sweet and the finish was a light sweet. The finish is about average in duration and the mouthfeel is somewhat dry. The aftertaste is a bit awkward – you brace yourself for sweet but it doesn’t really hit you like that.

Overall there’s not a lot to the beer – it’s good, not great – it’s right in the middle. It’s not very complex but it’s a good balance between the malts and the hops. It wouldn’t be a bad beer with burgers. I’d say it’s worth a shot – repeatable and drinkable, but not really memorable. You won’t be crazy about it but it could make for a good session beer.

Sprecher Special Amber Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

By Dad on March 20, 2008 (1 Comment)

After the fiasco with the Moosbacher I wanted to show the Lovely Mrs. Beer Love a good weissbier. Just so happened to have one of these on hand, as the weissbier law is set to go into effect.

Beer temp. 42.7F-5.8C. a .5L bottle poured a hazy yellow gold with a large 2.5 inch frothy white head that dissipated fairly quickly with virtually no lacing. The carbonation was soft and the aromas were biscuit, wheat, citrus, lemon, yeast, banana and clove. Taste were yeast, lemon, banana, clove and the all important pepper. Initial flavors were light in both sweet and tart, and the finish flavors were the same. Finish was short, mouthfeel was dry and had virtually no body lacing. I forgot to check the malt to hop scale so feel compelled to go get some more gladly. Repeatable,YES, drinkable, YEAH, memorable, DAMN RIGHT, wow factor, not quite, buy again, ABSOLUTELY.

What can you say, is it the best hefe in the world? Not quite. This brings back so many memories of Munich. At Octoberfest 06 when the first keg was tapped at noon and the cry went up “O’zapft is!” John and I walked around the Wies’n with 250,000 of our closest friends and couldn’t get a seat for 2 1/2 hours and trudged back hot and sweaty to our hotel I pointed out a small bar across the street and we went in. I wasn’t going to not have a dam beer on opening day. Fortunately no one spoke English so John ordered a Lowenbrau and we both snarked it down. They had the usual stand up tables and a few stools. A person sitting on a stool who appeared middle eastern patted one and indicated I should sit down, an old grey headed sweaty fat man with to many clothes on gratefully accepted. I asked if he spoke English, his entire vocabulary was New York, Chicago and Miami. He said to we “weissbier goot”. John and I each had a .5L each, Wow, I’de had this one in the states but I never had a better one. As we left for the hotel I told John that he was the German version of the common American Bar Fly, which I know very well. I wish him well, and doubled his English vocabulary which now includes Mardi Gras, Doubloon {which he now has in his billfold] and New Awlins.

Back to the beer. in this one the banana aroma predominates the lemon which I kind of prefer but the balance is so very good that you thirsty for your next drink while you are still drinking. The only thing that keeps me from giving it a nine is the pepper bite that is barely there. Of course I live in Louisiana and we like pepper, black, red and tabasco.

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)

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Boulevard Zon

By John & Dad on March 18, 2008 (No Comments)

Zon is another offering from the Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, where Father Beer Love went purchase happy on his latest trip to see Grandma and Uncle Beer Love. It should be noted that like many of the beers from that Missouri trip, we may have waited to long to review this one. This was originally reviewed on January 31, 2008 and the bottle showed a best by date of November 1, 2007. That could definitely affect the rating and we’re willing to concede that point.

This review is another from our Thursday phone reviews. Boulevard calls this their “interpretation of a classic Belgian witbier.” Zon, by the way, is Flemish for “Sun.” We served this 4.4% ABV brew up in an American pint glass. Beer temperature was about 41 F at the onset for the 12 oz bottle.

The initial pour produced at large 2 1/2″ frothy white head that dissipated quickly but left excellent lacing. The beer seemed to have little carbonation and was a hazy straw color.

Initial aromas were wheat, coriander and citrus – specifically grapefruit, orange and lemon zest. It’s a good medley of citrus aromas and a very good clean smell. The initial flavors were a light sweet and a light tart, with the sweetness the more predominant of the two. The taste wasn’t as complex as the smell, sadly, and there was virtually no body lacing as it was consumed. The finish flavor was again light sweet and light tart, but added a dimension of light bitter, with the hops showcasing themselves most prominently. The finish was rather short in duration and the mouthfeel was actually somewhat dry.

The main issue with this beer is it just doesn’t have a great balance. It may edge a little toward the malt side on a malt to hop scale, but the balance feels more out of whack than that. It is repeatable and is drinkable, but it’s not memorable, has no wow factor and we probably wouldn’t buy it again. Overall it’s no Hoegaarden. It may compare fairly favorable with a Blue Moon, but the advantage would have to go to the Blue Moon. It could be a good summer beer and a triple digit day may have us giving this thing several bonus points. It may be a little too hoppy for a witbier, but it might be a good fit for a hophead (neither Father nor Son Beer Love fancy themselves a hophead). Worth a try, but there are other good Belgian style wheats to choose from first.

Boulevard Zon Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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The Perfect Evening, An Ingredient List

By John on March 18, 2008 (No Comments)

Take getting home before the sun goes down, one mild, almost-spring evening in the lower 60’s, your back patio, a bottle of Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel, a weizen glass, your two trusty miniature schnauzers, a frisbee for the white one, a tennis ball for the black one and two rousing 20 minute games of fetch while drinking said Dunkel and you’ve got the ingredients for a perfect evening.

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O’Fallon Lemp Jurassic Dark

By Dad on March 14, 2008 (No Comments)

Picked this up in Mo. and even though it had a dinosaur on the label since I only had one John let me keep it. It’s from the O’Fallon Brewery and the label says ” A Truly Extravagant Beer ” I didn’t know what it was so guessed at the temp. and went with a straight pull from the box. The temp. was 43.7F -6.7C beer color was a reddish brown with a huge 3 inch frothy head that dissipated slowly and laced fairly well. If I had to call it, it would be a brown ale. The aromas I got were light chocolate, roasted and toasted that I associate with caramel but didn’t find it. The yeast had an earthy smell along with a sherry aroma. Intrigued I went for a taste, they were brown sugar, port, smoke and surprisingly brandy. The initial flavor were light sweet and bitter and the finish was the same. Finish duration was average with an oily mouthfeel and virtually no body lacing. On the malt to hop scale I put it at 3 with 5 being balanced.

I must admit that I was taken and wish I had stored it better. I could drink several in a row. This could be a way to introduce lager drinkers to ales, porters and stouts without scaring them off (ooh I won’t drink that it’s toooo dark).

O’Fallon Lemp Jurassic Dark Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout

By John & Dad on March 12, 2008 (3 Comments)

Note: The Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout was reviewed by both John and Dad on different days and originally posted as two separate reviews. We usually do our combined reviews together in one post, so this post has been edited to bring you both reviews on one post.

Son Beer Love Review (March 12, 2008):

For what it’s worth the Foothills Sexual Chocolate is currently ranked as the #26 best beer in the world at RateBeer.com. That being said, you can imagine my glee when I found that our local Flying Saucer Draught Emporium had this sucker on tap. On tap. Again: on tap. In our findings getting a beer on tap will usually be enough to add a point to the overall rating. Think of Guinness from the can. Now think of Guinness on tap. You see my point. In my experience it can be tough to find a lot of the top beers on tap. The current number one beer in the world (Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout) is only served one day a year at the DarkLord Days at 3F Brewery. A lot can be said for supply and demand.

So I got my friend Ray to head over with me after work one night to have a glass or two and enjoy the, ahem, scenery (this bar is smack in the middle of the university area of Charlotte where lots of young twenty-something college students come to hang out). We got there, sat down and ordered up two on draft, though the waitress informed us that the $2.75 everything on draft special did not apply to the Sexual Chocolate. It should be noted here that having your waitress who is wearing an awfully short mini skirt and knee stockings utter the words “Sexual Chocolate” to you is worth whatever price difference you may have to endure (in this case $2.00 as we paid $4.75 for each glass). Also worth noting is that Sexual Chocolate is perhaps the best beer name in the entire world (it’s tough to say without thinking back to Coming to America and screaming it just like Eddie Murphy does – “Sexual Chocolate! Sexual Chocolate!”). A possible contender for best beer name would be the Flying Dog Doggie Style (Pale Ale). But I think Sexual Chocolate would be the hands down winner, if not just for the boldness of the beer.

Back on track – the Foothills Sexual Chocolate is an Imperial Stout, indicating a healthy amount of gravity (in this case 9.75%) and strong malt flavors. It’s brewed by Foothills Brewing over in Winston-Salem, NC and it’s a relatively new brewing company – established in 2004. This was on draft and was served up in a tulip glass. The head was fairly small (1/2″) but that may be due to a lack of knowledge on the server’s part – I feel like a good pour would have had a really decent head on it. The head was dark brown and creamy and laced fairly well on the glass, though it dissipated rather quickly. The color was opaque and seemed to be squarely black though the lighting wasn’t the best in there. There was little to no carbonation to speak of (in looking for bubbles to come up through the head).

The aromas were strong – dark chocolate, espresso, roasted malts and molasses. The initial flavor was a heavy sweet – the dark chocolate absolutely stands out in the taste and it’s wonderfully rich and velvety smooth. The taste echoes most of the aromas, but adds notes of earth and smoke to the mix. Very interestingly, there was no alcohol in the taste at all. There is a bit of a write-up at the Flying Saucer web site that details how it’s made:

…Sexual Chocolate is made with a no sparge technique, taking only the first runnings from the mash. This is completely undiluted wort. Made with black malt and roasted barley and chocolate in close equal proportions. 8 lbs of organic Peruvian cocoa nibs were infused with the imperial stout for about two weeks, accomplishing a cold alcohol extraction of the cocoa flavor.

The finish flavor is heavy sweet and lightly bitter with a long duration. The mouthfeel is creamy and the beer laces really well in the glass. On the malt to hop scale it dominates the malt side – most of the aromas and tastes are byproducts of the malts (dark chocolate, espresso, molasses and roasted flavors). I was surprised to find that it had an IBU of 85 – with the dominant malts whatever bitterness there is doesn’t come through much (it’s only slightly detectable in the finish).

Problem: It’s so smooth I can’t stop drinking it. It’s like chocolate milk for adults. Though I would say it only has an average complexity it is deceptively drinkable and a fantastic treat. Despite the obvious malt edge it balances pretty well. I’ve had chocolate stouts before and usually by the end of the glass they get pretty annoying. Not this bad boy – I had to cut myself off after the second glass and actually considered it when she asked if I wanted another. The fact that it was repeatable is what surprised me. The drinkability is there in droves, it was highly memorable and the wow factor was off the charts. I’d absolutely buy it again.

Ray asked if my rating (9 out of 10) had anything to do with the RateBeer rating. I gave it some thought but realized it would have emerged with the same rating regardless. The drinkability, uniqueness and harmony just add up to an almost perfect beer. There are very few high gravity beers I’d want more than one of in a sitting but this one hits that mark. Drink a few at home and put a bunch of pillows on the ground for when you pass out. Sexual Chocolate!

Father Beer Love Review (April 29, 2008):

The Beer Fairy came to my house and left me a bottle of this fine stout. I must be very, very good or very pitiful. I have read comments online saying what’s the big deal with the excitement about this stout? Let me say that I live in a vast Stout wasteland, 3 kinds of Guinness, Sierra Nevada, Mackeson and Beamish that’s being sold for half price because it is really old.

On the day I opened this I promised the Beer Fairy I would share this with the Lovely Mrs. Beer Love so I let it counter rest to a perfect 54.3F -12.1C temp. and poured two tulip glasses. The initial pour gave me a 1.5 inch creamy dark brown head that dissipated slowly and had virtually no head lacing. The color was opaque black and had little carbonation. Aromas were coffee, dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, perfume, earth, alcohol, black licorice, brown sugar and smoke. Taste were mostly the same but included dark dried fruits which reminded me of strong Belgium ale. Initial flavors were moderate sweet, light bitter and light saltiness. Finish flavors were heavy sweet, moderate bitter, light salty and light tart. The finish was long, mouthfeel was creamy and had virtually no body lacing. On the malt to hop scale I put it just to the malt side of balanced [4].

I found this incredibly complex, the taste in drinking were espresso and chocolate first later comes the anise taste. The malts just seem to last and last in the finish. It’s hard to believe the IBU is as high as it is. The taste stays on the back of the tongue for a long time. In the aroma the espresso comes through heavier than the chocolate but in the sipping the chocolate marches to the front. Wow! I had to limit myself to one glass the first time as it got hard to write well enough to read. I actually finished this over a period of 4 sittings. On the second sitting I tried it right out of the ice box to see if the cold changed the profile, chocolate and anise were stronger and almost no coffee aromas, taste were anise and molasses undertones. As it warmed to 54F the profiles went back where they were on first tasting. After the last was gone I thought about having my tongue bronzed.

I know your next question, why does it take you 4 sittings over 8 to 9 days to drink a 22 oz. bottle of beer? The answer is a story I heard a long time ago. Traveling salesman and a farmer sat down to dinner with the farmers family, in walked a pig wearing 2 gold medals and walking on 2 wooden legs to his own place at the table. The salesman asked the farmer about the pig. The farmer said that the 2 gold medals were for saving 2 of his children, one from a burning barn, the other from an icy pond – that’s why he eats with us. The salesman asked about the wooden legs. The farmer said “a pig that special you don’t eat all at once.”

Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout Rating: 10 out of 10 (?)

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Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale

By John & Dad on March 11, 2008 (5 Comments)

Note: The Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale was reviewed by both John and Dad on different days and originally posted as two separate reviews. We usually do our combined reviews together in one post, so this post has been edited to bring you both reviews on one post.

Son Beer Love Review (March 11, 2008):

The Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale is the fall seasonal from Blue Moon Brewing Company, makers of Blue Moon, which isn’t half bad for a mass market craft beer (it’s brewed by Molson Coors, though you won’t find Coors anywhere on the bottle – just a reference to Golden, CO). This one came in a 12 oz bottle (I got a six-pack) and it’s 5.6% ABV. I served it up in a regular pint glass with a beer temperature of 46 F.

I was unsure what to expect with this one. Past experience with “fruited” beers weren’t always great – (see Sam Adams Cherry Wheat). But you may be saying “well pumpkin isn’t a fruit, it’s a vegetable!” and I would admit I’ve got very little experience with vegetable-based beers, but pumpkin is actually a fruit, though we generally regard it as a vegetable. That aside, I approached with trepidation, not knowing what the future would hold.

I was actually surprised. We’ve said it before, the fruit should enhance the beer, not overwhelm it and this one hits that mark. The pour produced a 1 1/2″ average sized frothy off-white head that laced a good amount and dissipated slowly. The beer itself has a little bit of carbonation and the clarity was normal with an amber/orange color.

It’s got a good malt aroma and a nice subtle flavor. I was able to pull out notes of caramel, roasted malts, some florals, alcohol, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, spices and a vegetable smell I presumed to be pumpkin. The initial flavor is lightly sweet. The pumpkin is really done well (meaning it’s subtle) and there’s enough other things going on that you don’t overfocus on it – though the other notes are not nearly as discernible in the taste as they were in the smell. I was also surprised to pick up a touch of alcohol in the taste, given it’s relatively average gravity.

The finish is average in duration and a little hoppy – sweet but sharp. It’s actually pretty smooth considering. The body laced really well in the glass (impressive!) and the mouthfeel was somewhat watery. On a malt to hop scale I’d put it slightly favoring the malt side, but the balance overall was good, though not too complex (not as complex as the aroma led me to believe it would be).

It’s a very unique taste for a beer, quite unlike anything else I’ve tried (I’ve shied away from any other beer with pumpkin in it after my wife tried one with her friends once and said it was the most rotten swill she’d every consumed). I liked it but probably wouldn’t want a second one. It passes the drinkability test, fails the repeatability test, passes the memorable test and the unique taste gives it a bit of an unexpected wow factor. Final say is worth a try, but share the six-pack with some friends and have it as a good change-of-pace, one-time session beer. I’ve got to think as pumpkin beers go, I can’t imagine one being better.

Father Beer Love Review (May 16, 2008):

After my last visit home in the fall Mom Beer Love sent me an article out of the K.C. newspaper about the new pumpkin ales out in the area. Thanks Mom. This was about the only one I could find locally.

I got a 6 pack and went to work on it (this is my favorite kind of work). I used a pint glass and got a large 3 inch frothy, off-white head that faded slowly and left a fair amount of head lacing. Body color was amber and had a soft carbonation to it. It came in a 12 ounce bottle and had an ABV of 5.7%. The aromas were caramel, toffee, floral, yeast, allspice, brown sugar, nutmeg and spices. Taste were lemon, allspice, nutmeg and pumpkin. Initial flavor was light sweet, acidic and sour. Finish flavors were light sweet, bitter and salty. Finish duration was short, mouthfeel was dry, and it had some body lacing. On the malt to hop scale we use I gave it 2 to the left of balanced toward malty – in other words a 3. This is right up my alley. It was repeatable and drinkable but was only so-so for memorable. It didn’t have a wow factor but I would buy it again.

Overall it was fairly complex and was my first pumpkin ale but I knew I couldn’t go wrong with a Blue Moon product, they do have a way with craft style beers. I found the pumpkin subtle and a nice change of pace. There is also the historical perspective that we have all read about. I must admit this has got to be the best way to study history I’ve ever found, 12 ounces at a time. Wonder why they didn’t teach us this way in high school? Guess I’ll never know.

Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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