So many beers, so little time.

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...

Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager

By John on June 25, 2007 (No Comments)

After enjoying Flying Dog’s In-Heat Wheat, I was anxious to try some of their other offerings. I found a variety at Total Wine, which I think has moved into first place on my list of places to buy beer in Charlotte. The next few reviews will probably be Flying Dog reviews.

The Old Scratch is said to be brewed in a steam style tradition, which is fermented at medium temperatures to develop both ale and lager characteristics. The initial pour is good – I don’t think I’ve ever written that a beer has a bad pour because this is the last time a beer holds infinite promise and potential – you’ve not smelled it, you’ve not tasted it, it’s a blank palette and all blank palettes look really good. I did a fairly aggressive pour into a pint glass – it resulted in a decent head that dissipated somewhat quickly but not all the way. It left a ring around the top of the beer for the duration and a little lacing on the glass as we went along.

The color is a nice amber – I was outside drinking it so I was able to hold it up to the sun to see the orange and brown blend. The aroma is inviting – mostly caramel and a little malty. The taste is really quite good – caramel with some other sweetness – maybe some brown sugar and toffee or honey, along with some sweet fruit tones that I can’t quite place. It’s not terribly complex but it is very flavorful. The finish is nice with a bit of hoppiness to it. The mouthfeel is good – some carbonation resulting in a bit of tongue fizz.

It’s a pretty well balanced beer between the malts and hops, I’m assuming as a result of the steam style brewing process. It really hit the spot and I’d rate it better than a change of pace beer – it’s got good repeatability, especially if you’ve been “lagered out” as Dad likes to say. So far Flying Dog is 2 for 2.

Note: We’ve taken a few weeks off here at The BeerFathers, but we’re back and ready to do some more reviews. Mind you we didn’t stop drinking (good heavens no), we just got a little burned out on writing about every beer we drank and just wanted a few weeks to drink without having to have a pen in hand. Sharpening the saw so to speak. But we’re ready to get back into it now. Thanks for waiting.

Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)

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Thomas Hardy’s Ale

By John & Dad on June 25, 2007 (2 Comments)

The story of Thomas Hardy’s Ale is a rich one. It is reportedly the world’s most famous vintage beer, and the scarcity of the beer seems to be half (or more) of the allure. It is bottle conditioned to mature in the bottle like wine and is actually classified as a barley wine. It is reported it improves with age (like wine) for at least 26 years. After our taste, we kind of hope that’s true, because the 2006 vintage, though good, wasn’t anything earth shattering for us. We read elsewhere that it is considered the beer enthusiast’s equivalent of rare cognac – with time that may be the case but with the one year old bottle I’d be a tad disappointed if this is what I had waited all that time for. After our tasting we did concur that we would like to try a 5 or 10 year old bottle to see how much the flavor mellowed and improved.

It’s a tiny bottle – 8.5 oz at 11.7% ABV. The bottle itself is great – non-traditional with an exceptional label. It feels like a special beer before you even open it. They say packaging is the great differentiator and they are correct. Our bottle is a 2006, No. P 29211. This was a rare treat in that we got to do this review together as John was home on an emergency trip. We got it at the Cellar for $5.99 on May 31 so it’s a tad pricey. After reading up on this on Rate Beer we let it warm up a lot.

John: The initial pour has absolutely no head and very little carbonation. Initially I said no carbonation but there is a hint of it.
Dad: Used a Poco Grande glass. Beer temp. 63 F., not much head.

John: The color is orange/dark amber and fairly clear with some sediment.
Dad: The color is dark amber and clear.

John: The smell is very distinctive. I get notes of alcohol, caramel, honey, toffee and believe it or not, tomato juice, almost like a V-8. There’s also a bit of a burnt smell to it.
Dad: The first aroma present was alcohol with caramel and honey.

John: The taste is very complex – there’s an overall smokiness to it with butterscotch, caramel, toffee and molasses also vying for attention. The mouth feel is solid and heavy, almost syrupy and coats the tongue very well. Initially the taste is sweet but it get a little bitter to balance it out. The aftertaste is very smooth, a lot like drinking a good scotch. It hangs around for a while on the roof of the mouth. It is very warming.
Dad: First taste gave bittersweet caramel, butterscotch and burnt malts. It had an incredibly rich mouth feel almost like butter, on the roof of the mouth and center of the tongue. The sweet hit initially and the bitterness remains long afterward. There is a smokiness buried deep inside the complex flavors with maybe a touch of molasses.

John: I would call this a dessert beer. It’s actually well balanced and VERY unique and I will admit it’s more complex in retrospect than I initially thought on the first taste. I good solid 6 on it’s own, but the character brings it up to a 7.
Dad: This reminded me of the Black Sheep ale that I had a while back but on steroids. After finishing this I pulled a Red Stripe for it’s lightness and could taste it all the way through it. It’s almost like having another one although a much weaker version. Should have used a really cheap beer instead.

Thomas Hardy’s Ale Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)

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Black Sheep Ale

By Dad on May 28, 2007 (No Comments)

At the prompting of one of the staff at the Cellar I thought I’d try this Yorkshire ale. It came in the .5L size which is a favorite and cost $4.99.
Beer temp. 51.6 F -10.9 C. Pours medium amber with a good tan head and lively small carbonation. The head held well and fair lacing. It had a light caramel aroma. STRONG caramel malts and a bittersweet follow up. The bitterness was strong on the roof of the mouth and the back of the tongue. There is an underlying sweetness but it’s overwhelmed by the bitterness. Flavors last a long time so it has a heavy finish. Definitely a sipping ale and each sip leaves a definite ring of lacing on the glass. It lacks the depth of malts and complexity of a porter or stout. Second pour gave an extreme head that really lasted. My mouth was so full of bitterness I couldn’t detect any secondary aromas or flavors.

Not a big favorite and at $4.99 I say give me a Boddingtons Pub Ale. Not worth the money.

Black Sheep Ale Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Spanish Peaks Honey Raspberry Ale

By Dad on May 28, 2007 (No Comments)

After trying the Black Dog Ale I was leery of this but the challenge of a new beer was hard to resist. This one is also from Spanish Peaks Brewing.

Beer temp. 48.0 F- 9.2 C. Pours light amber and clear with no head or lacing. Wheat-biscuit aroma with faint fruit and caramel undertones. First taste has definite raspberry flavor, slightly sweet and a light caramel taste with just a hint of bitterness from the hops. It has a really good balance of flavors, nothing overpowering but each element supporting the others. I was surprised it’s quite good. Somebody definitely got something right. After an aggressive pour had a small head but it faded away very quickly. Very light carbonation.

May be even better than Abita Purple Haze which is good, this has an actual ale taste with the other flavors. This is well worth a 6 pack. It’s clear so it’s filtered and not bottle conditioned so there is no charge at the bottom. Good job folks.

Spanish Peaks Honey Raspberry Ale Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

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Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale

By Dad on May 26, 2007 (No Comments)

New to the area I couldn’t resist trying it. Bottle says it is an English style amber ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing. The brewer was originally out of Bossman Montana but moved to Denver which seems to be a Mecca for brewers.

Beer temp. 33.4F – 1.3C. Pours medium amber with an off white thin head with no lacing. May have had it too cold. Caramel and molasses aroma. First taste yields caramel and black licorice and a pronounced bitterness. Rather thin mouth feel. Has quite a lingering aftertaste from the heavy roasted malts more so than the hops. Sharpness works the tongue. It seems toward a stout with the licorice but stops way short. I don’t find any sweetness at all, some might be nice.

Not much of a favorite. As it warmed it didn’t get any better. I’m glad I only bought one. There is also a fruit flavored one by the same brewer so will try it also. Repeatability forget about it.

Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Red Stripe

By Dad on May 25, 2007 (No Comments)

After several high gravity stouts and Belgian style ales I thought I’d have a good hot weather lager. Use a pilsner glass.

Beer temp. 43.8F – 6.7C. Pours medium gold with a nice white head that holds fairly well with nice active carbonation. Slightly sweet aroma, without much hoppiness. First sip is slightly sweet with very mild hops and malt, and a clean finish. Hidden inside the mild sweet flavor is a hint of molasses. The mouth feel is fairly thin and flavors fade quickly leaving a pleasant sweetness. The mild hops work the back of the tongue. It has a crispness to it that I don’t know how to describe. It’s just drinkable.

It’s a great summer beer. Anybody that thinks that light crisp clean and slightly sweet won’t hit the spot ain’t been to Louisiana in the summer. 98 degrees with 50% to 85% humidity, and some days it gets really bad. Weather like this cries out for something just like this. It is a moral imperative.

This crisp clean beer just cries out for something bold with spice and salt and smoke. That’s right I’m talking bout “Q”. Not the James Bond chap, I mean real when you walk in the joint and I do mean joint you can smell smoke before you get to the door. Then you’ll find some real BBQ. If it says it is a restaurant it ain’t a real joint. The only thing green that’s ever been alive should be the pickles and peppers, plants couldn’t survive the smoke.

The closest I could get to Q was some roast brisket with some very bad low carb BBQ sauce left over from some diet or other. Even without the smoky and spicy undertones it was good. The only thing better than a Red Stripe is a Red Stripe and Q. The only thing better would be Red Stripe and Q for free. Any takers? Repeatability, absolutely, just keep bringing them on.

NOTE: I finally got some real Q, a Podnuh’s smoked sausage plate, sausage, potato salad, beans with the little “cat toes” and Greek peppers and had a Red Stripe with it. Talk about heavenly, it was a great lunch. Must do again.

Red Stripe Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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Westmalle Tripel

By John on May 22, 2007 (No Comments)

The Westmalle Tripel Trappist Ale surprised me out of the gates on my initial pour – I was expecting a dark pour (akin to the Rochefort 10 – a quadruple ale), but this is a strong Belgian pale ale with a golden blond pour. I had that brief moment of panic, like when you have a glass of tea and you pick it up and take a drink thinking it’s milk. It’s not that you don’t like tea, but when you’re expecting milk there is a momentary disconnect until your brain rectifies the situation. Needless to say I didn’t realize it was a pale ale when I poured it initially so I’m sure I had a somewhat confused look on my face. Never fear, I got over it.

It’s brewed at the Westmalle Abbey, which was built in 1804 by Trappist monks fleeing the French Revolution. The key to their beer is a direct flame-fired brew kettle. This caramelizes the malts and results in a toasty toffee flavor. It also undergoes a secondary fermentation lasting 5 weeks to give it more punch. It comes, as you would expect, in a dark 11.2 oz bottle and is 9.5% ABV. I tried it in a tulip glass.
It’s a cloudy pour with a near pure white foamy head that lasts a long time – it settles down a bit but it never completely disappears. It looks like the foam on top of a latte from Starbucks. The aroma is not too strong at all – light and very clean – fruity and hoppy with citrus notes.

It’s got a remarkably clean flavor – a hint of alcohol towards the beginning but there’s more alcohol taste towards the bottom. Though hoppy there’s not much hop bitterness (perhaps it’s just balanced well with the malts you can also pull out). There’s orange and lemon flavors as well with maybe a bit of banana. Reminds me a good bit of a Blue Moon with the orange peel and coriander flavors. It also reminds me of Duvel. It has a good crisp finish of toasted toffee and citrus.

It looks like a gulper but take note, it’s a sipper. Those monks are a crafty bunch and the taste is so good that you want to down it to refresh yourself. Overrefreshing may ensue, resulting in you assuming the supine position on the floor. Try these trappist ales surrounded by pillows for best results.

Westmalle Tripel Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)

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Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

By John on May 1, 2007 (1 Comment)

This is Ayinger’s version of a double bock. Going up against my beloved Paulaner Salvator (the original double bock) is no small feat. Not surprisingly, it stands head to head with a tremendous personality that stands out as its own beer, not some also ran double bock modeled in the same style. Once again, Ayinger comes out and makes a stand with yet another superb brew.

The Celebrator is one of the highest rated beers I’ve tried – it’s in the 100th percentile at and has an overall 92 at On RateBeer it currently ranks as the 47th best beer in the world.

This beer is aged for a half year before they ship it, giving it a full body. It has a strong pour with a dark tan head that gets big and lasts several minutes before dissipating almost completely. The color is deep brown and burgundy, another one that looks almost black in the glass until you hold it up to the light. It has a rich smell of roasted malts and chocolate with secondary aromas of black licorice and earth. These smells seemed pretty clear to me on this one and weren’t too hard to pull out. There may be some other smells hiding in there but I wasn’t able to discern them.

It has an intense flavor that sits perfectly in your mouth. It has a good sweetness with chocolate, coffee and malt flavors prominent. It reminds me of the intense flavors from the Rochefort 10 with a lot less alcohol (but at 6.7% it’s still more than a normal beer). It has a well balanced mouthfeel – you almost want to chew it. It is a dry beer, but fantastic – like a good dry wine. It has a good aftertaste that wavers very little from the taste itself – a little smoky but very nice with no bitterness. A very true beer.

As with some double bocks, it may be too sweet for some people. It’s just perfect for me. It’s not an every day beer but it’s a tremendous treat when the time is right. The fact that the bottle has a little plastic ram on a string attached to it (a keepsake of your beer journey), coupled with the excellent taste, gives this one of my top ratings at a 9.

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock Rating: 9 out of 10 (?)

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Unibroue Maudite

By Dad on April 27, 2007 (3 Comments)

I see John proposed some fine legislation. We could call it the “Hefe In Every House Law”. I realize that not everyone drinks, (these are people who when they get up in the morning feel as good as they will feel all day) so if I can get their addresses I will try to keep their stock from getting old as hefe does not age well like a Belgian Ale does. It is apparent that John was raised with proper values.

This one is listed on the bottle as “Maudite (The Damned)”. Beer temp. 48.9F, 9.4C (found another use for my probe thermometer) 8% ABV. Pours medium to dark amber. Caramel aroma with not much head and a quick fade with no lacing. Have had this one for quite a while, at least a year. Others by Unibroue have had the best head of all the beers I’ve tried. Taste is caramel and fairly sweet but there is more depth in there that I’m trying to place. Alcohol comes through and mildly bitter hops give it a great balance. Carbonation is good and flavors cling to the mouth without being overpowering, a good mouth feel. I’m thinking the other flavors are lemon and a peppery spice. This is getting better as it warms. I was afraid the sweetness I tasted the first time I tried it would be too much but after some sweet stouts and marzens it isn’t. This is bottle fermented so the dregs in the second pour heightened the flavor. I used my bowl shaped glass and am glad I did as it compresses the aroma. Depth is great as is the complexity.

This reminds me favorably of Duvel or a weak Trappist Rochefort 10. I believe this is classified as a Belgian style strong ale. Definitely a keeper and @ $2.99 a bottle not to terribly pricey. Hit kind of hard so I wouldn’t say it has repeatability. My long hold time may have killed the head but I think it improved the flavor. Buy a 6 pack and try one every 4 months and see if you notice the change. Give this one a good solid 8.

Unibroue Maudite Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)

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Ayinger Brau-Weisse

By John on April 22, 2007 (2 Comments)

This is an authentic Bavarian hefe-weizen which means a top-fermented wheat beer – and you know to expect good things from wheat beers.

Initially pours golden and almost clear into a pint glass with a decent soft white head that hangs around for a few minutes, similar in color and appearance to an American pilsner (except for having a bit more head). The last pour, swirled in the bottle before making its way into the glass, produced the very cloudy unfiltered look you expected initially and added a touch of orange to the overall presentation. The yeast sediment and wheat proteins hide in the bottom but they’re there.

It has a very prominent yeast smell with some mild citrusy lemon and banana tones and sports a terrificly smooth taste – extremely clean. A terrific harmonious balance between hops and malts. You get a faint lemon and spicy clove/peppery edge that makes for a terrific hefeweizen. Also some banana flavors liven up the wheat. A good mouthfeel – it hangs around a little bit after the initial swallow and sits well. I tried this with no lemon wedge – as we all know you don’t fruit the beer.

It has a wonderfully smooth finish to it setting up the next sip almost immediately. This is the kind of beer you drink too fast but you don’t mind. A great beer to have with food – I tried with a hamburger and tater tots and it suited it just fine. Typical Ayinger quality – what can you say – they brew some of the finest and most consistent beers I’ve tried over the entire spectrum.

Believe it or not I actually like the Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Ale a little better in terms of a hefeweizen. The Ayinger has a bit of a banana touch to it that makes it my current number two. Also in terms of price the Flying Dog comes out well on top. Either one is highly drinkable and tremendously thirst-quenching.

I hereby propose the passing of legislation that makes mandatory the possession of an inventory of no less than 6 hefeweizens in your fridge at any given point in time between the months of April and October. All in favor?

Ayinger Brau-Weisse Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)

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Pete’s Wicked Ale

By John on April 15, 2007 (2 Comments)

Pete’s Wicked Ale is touted on Pete’s Wicked web site as “USA’s Number 1 American Brown Ale – the hip and stylish alternative to typical stodgy craft beers.” After obtaining a six-pack and test driving it over the course of a few weeks I’ll have to admit it’s a damn strong American brew. It’s brewed by Pete’s Brewing Company in Utica, New York and is relatively new to the beer world, starting up in 1986.

The pour is very nice – a large foamy slightly off white head that piles up in the glass. It hangs around for a little bit before dissipating quickly. The color is a nice solid brown with deep red tones. It’s a handsome looking brew. The smell is strong with roasted malts (either caramel or biscuit) and a faint aroma of floral hops.

The taste is very good, it’s a little sweet but not in-your-face about it. It’s also a little bitter but you hardly notice. The malts and the hops are almost in perfect harmony. The taste is also slightly nutty with some caramel and floral flavors as well. The mouthfeel is good with some carbonation to bubble it up a bit. The taste sets you up for what you think might be a bitter finish but the finish is incredibly smooth. This would be a great beer with food – hamburgers and fries would probably complement it nicely. I really wouldn’t mind if they went a little bolder on the taste – really give it some personality. Think Sam Adams – another great “food beer.”

All in all it really is very drinkable and should have no trouble making it into the rotation as a change of pace beer.

Pete’s Wicked Ale Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

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Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Ale

By John & Dad on April 6, 2007 (2 Comments)

Note: The Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat 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 (April 6, 2007):

Brewed by the Flying Dog Brewery in Denver, Colorado, this Hefeweizen breaks the mold of American beers with a good bit of German style. Flying Dog is not afraid to experiment with their craft brews and we should thank them for it. Dad sent a six-pack to me recently as I’ve been unable to locate it in Charlotte and he’s raved about it for a while.

The pour is a golden straw-like color with a touch of orange and a decent almost solid white head that dissipates quickly. It’s somewhat cloudy but you can see through it a touch – a nice translucence.

The smell is pure hefeweizen – clean and lemony and peppery with a touch of wheat or hay. Wheat beers have the most delicious smells.
The taste is insanely clean – a touch sweet with lemon and a fabulous refreshing finish that leaves you wanting to take another sip immediately.

This beer is the perfect complement to lunch – a sandwich and chips are ideal (turkey or chicken with miracle whip, pepper and a tomato on wheat with Baked Lays). I’ve tried it twice with this lunch and the beer is almost gone before I finish making the sandwich. A hot day begs for this beer as it quenches your thirst and unlike some of the other beers we’ve tried this one is splendid very cold (40 degrees or so). One of the most drinkable beers I’ve tried and it will be a staple in the rotation as long as I can find it in Charlotte.

Father Beer Love Review (April 13, 2007):

Mid 80’s day and humid. Need a good hefe and gave it a five minute rest because damn it I’m thirsty.

Beer temp 49.8 F. – 10.1 C. Pours cloudy medium gold, nice head with sweet biscuit aroma and definite lemon overtones. Fair head – didn’t last too long but nice lacing on sides of glass. First taste lemon, slightly sweet, nice bite of pepperiness. Kind of wish it was colder but the flavors are really coming through. Louisiana may not have invented humidity but we may have helped perfect it. Maybe summer won’t be so bad now. This is outstanding. Should be served in a tall Pilsner glass. The spider at the bottom gave me the darker dregs and pumped up the cloudiness and flavor.

Lower alcohol hasn’t left me loopy, not that thats a bad thing. Definitely need a six pack. This is the best American hefe that I have found and has all the elements – lemon, pepper and some sweetness, and great balance. Is it the best hefe in the world? No, but at $1.95 with tax it is eminently more affordable than Ayinger Brau-Weisse at $3.58 with tax. If you can find it buy it and enjoy it. By the way no screw top cap which is always a definite plus.
Repeatability – absolutely.

Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Ale Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

By John & Dad on April 6, 2007 (6 Comments)

Note: Old Rasputin Russian 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.

Father Beer Love Review (April 6, 2007):

North Coast Brewing Co. Fort Bragg, CA.

Beer temp. 52.6 F ABV 9%. Used a tall glass so I could watch for a fall.

Pours dark ruby brown but still clear. Nice brown head that holds well and laces sides pretty well. Pronounced molasses aroma with maybe a touch of anise. Taste yields complex flavors of dark chocolate and coffee (maybe espresso) and incredible smoothness. This is a sweet stout with a lingering black licorice flavor and a distinct smokiness. It is complex and deeply satisfying especially as it warms. The flavors cling to the roof of the mouth and the middle of the tongue. It isn’t quite as smooth as Young’s Oatmeal Stout but the complexity is all hell bent for leather. Started as an 8 and went to a 9 at the end, if it was in a bigger bottle who knows where it would have ended up.

The fact that this is made in the U.S.A. is great. I’ve had some damn good American pours but this is far and away the best. The folks at North Coast Brewing definitely got something right. A definite tip of the glass to you all. Keep it up. Only wish I could find it locally.

Son Beer Love Review (May 14, 2007):

Surprisingly, this beer is actually brewed in California. I looked up the North Coast Brewing Company and it doesn’t look like I’ve tried any of their other beers. If Old Rasputin is any indication of the quality of their work, I need to try some of their other brews, stat.

It’s a deep, rich pour with a lot of aroma jumping out – it may be the most aromatic beer I’ve tried. It smells of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts, along with a hint of alcohol (no wonder – it’s a 9% ABV). The color is near black, though it is actually a dark dark brownish red, and the thick, creamy tan head just taunts you to dive in, though it dissipates rather quickly. It smells unlike any other beer I’ve tried, though I’ve not tried a lot of stouts and don’t necessarily have the best benchmark there. Scratch that, I think I now have the benchmark.

The taste is complex and strong – huge on chocolate and coffee – a perfect beer tandem. It’s a sweet treat that’s not too sweet. I also pick up some black licorice and some roasted, smoky flavors. The mouthfeel is good and smooth.

The aftertaste hangs around your palate for a long while and tastes like rich coffee and earth. This one hangs around longer than any other beer that comes to mind. It’s a wonderful treat. This was the last of a 4 pack and I loved every one of them as if they were my own children. I had tried this beer in the past as well, as I was beginning my beer journey, and didn’t think quite as highly then, when I had a limited beer tasting experience. I actually thought the first time I drank it that it was too bold. The second one got through to me though and since then it’s been gaining momentum. It’s absolutely worth picking up and putting in the rotation.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Rating: 9 out of 10 (?)

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Sam Adams Boston Ale

By Dad on April 6, 2007 (No Comments)

Having been taken to the proverbial beer shed due to lack of postings I’ll try to do better. I’m better at tasting than typing.

Beer temp. 50.9F. Pours light amber with a thin head. Caramel aroma, definite pronounced caramel malts come through first and as it fades the hops take over. Hops really work on the back of the tongue and then coat the whole mouth. It has a rich mouth feel. The caramel malts live up to their billing and seem to balance the bitterness of the hops. Later pours gave a little better head with an off white color but it still didn’t hold well. Caramel and bitter hops were all I could detect, no undertones of anything else.

This is the fourth S.A. product I’ve tried and the best of the lot but I don’t think I’ll buy it again. This isn’t a nothing beer. It started as a 2 and ended as a 3 and I’ll give them an extra bonus point cause ” They Got Stones”.

Sam Adams Boston Ale Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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Gouden Carolus Ambrio 1471

By John on April 6, 2007 (No Comments)

We’re starting off with a Belgian Amber Ale here, refermented in the 1 pt, 9.4 oz bottle it comes in. It boasts a healthy 8% ABV and is said to be named after the gold coins of the Emperor Charles V. The ale has its roots as the first traditional town ale of Mechelen and was brewed in, you guessed it, 1471 as the “Mechelschen Bruynen.”

It pours a deep cloudy and unfiltered amber brown color and sports a huge creamy light tan head – a sea of delicious foam – that lasts forever. Literally. The head may come down but it never goes away even after sitting there for 30 minutes. Of course it laces extremely well on the glass. This is the most impressive head on any beer I’ve tried to date.

It has very little carbonation and a strong aroma that is slightly sweet. It took me a while to place it, but the smell is bubble gum. This is the first beer I’ve tried where I’ve been able to pull that out. Other aromas are caramel, biscuit malt and a hint of honey.

The taste has a slightly sweet edge but a good balance to it. It is very smooth and you can’t taste the alcohol, which can sometimes be a problem in these higher gravity beers. You can taste the malts, bubble gum, caramel, honey and deep inside the taste you can pull out banana. It coats the tongue very well and hangs around a long time. It has a remarkable finish, slightly bitter hoppy, but very smooth. It also produces some remarkably pleasant burps.

Overall it’s a good brew and one worth trying. Will it make it into the rotation? That remains to be seen, but it will definitely get another visit.

Gouden Carolus Ambrio 1471 Rating: 7 out of 10 (?)

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