November 26, 2011

Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale XV

Each Year for the last five years Firestone Walker Brewing Company has released and Anniversary Ale. This year I was finally able to get my hands on a bottle of this rare blended beer. I canít compare this to the past years version of the Anniversary Ale because Iíve never had it, so if you are looking for a comparison from me, I canít help you out. This yearís Anniversary Ale is a blend of the following bears in what percentage (per the packaging).

18% Helldorado (11.7% ABV) Blonde Barley Wine.
17% Sticky Monkey (12.5% ABV) English Barley Wine.
17% Bravo (13.5% ABV) Imperial Brown Ale.
13% Double Double Barrel Ale (11.5% ABV) Double Strength English Pale Ale.
11% Good Foot (14.3 ABV) American Barley Wine.
10% Velvet Merkin (8.6% ABV) Traditional Oatmeal Stout.
9% Parabola (13% ABV) Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
5% Double Jack (9.5% ABV) Double India Pale Ale.

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It pours a dark brown coffee color. There is a slight garnet or dark ruby coloring to it. Light passes through at the edges and there doesnít appear to be any haziness to it at all. A thick tan head consisting of tiny bubbles forms and fades very slowly. There is good lacing on the side of the glass that lasts until the beer is finished.

The smell is a complex blend of the various scents from the multitude of beers that went together into the construction of this ale. First off there is a noticeable coconut scent followed by bourbon and brandy. You can easily pull out tones of vanilla as well as chocolate malts. There is a hint of oak and dark fruits that bring all of the scents together pleasantly. Surprisingly you donít get a strong Alcohol scent with this being a 12.5 ABV beer.

The flavor is almost as complex as the scent and the beer mixture combination itself. The various beers blend together to create a tantalizing flavor combination of Vanilla, Coconut, Bourbon, Molasses, dark fruits and brown sugar. There noticeable chocolate and caramel malt accents that help solidify the flavor combinations. Unlike the scent you can pick up just a touch of the alcohol taste to it. The finish is a pleasant sweetness on the back of the tongue.

This is a full bodied beer. There is some creamy coating to the mouth, but not a lot. It has a light carbonation that makes it easy to drink.

I really enjoyed this beer and I was pleasantly surprised by its complex taste. Based on the fact that it is a combination of 8 different beers, I figured it would be so busy that it would be difficult to enjoy. That isnít the case. I enjoyed all 22 ounces of the beer and it was just as delicious all the way to the last drop. I will say that I did prefer it when it warmed up closer to room temperature than when I pulled it out of the refrigerator. If you get a chance to get this limited edition beer, I would suggest trying it. Itís well worth it. I give it 8.5 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 19, 2011

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale.

My friend Dennis gave me this beer to try. Weíve been on a Pumpkin beer kick and earlier this year we found one that we both really liked. He said that this one was even better, and said I had to try it. Iíll be reviewing the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale by The Saint Lewis Brewing Company.

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When poured into a glass it has a dark amber color to it. Light passed through easily; there is no cloudiness to the beer at all. A quarter inch head formed, but it faded rapidly to a ring around the edge of the glass. There was minimal lacing.

It smells almost exactly like pumpkin pie. You get that strong pumpkin scent with cinnamon and nutmeg. There is a touch of caramel malts to it that ties all of the pumpkin pie scents together.

The taste is almost exactly like how it smells; you get this pumpkin pie taste with the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. The caramel malts just add a little something to it that brings it to the next level.

It is a medium bodied beer that has a creamy feel to it, but does not coat the mouth. The carbonation is a little heavier than I would like for the style of beer, but itís not distracting. Itís easy to drink.

This has to be the best pumpkin beer Iíve had to date. Itís like Schlaflyís brewers found a way to perfect the pumpkin beer. Itís sweet, but not too sweet. Itís smooth, but not so smooth that you are going to drink an entire bottle and not realize that you just finished 12 ounces in record time. This is a pumpkin beer that in the fall, I would go out of my way to find. I could see friends and myself sitting around at a Halloween party or backyard bonfire drinking these. I give this 8 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 08:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Trappistes Rochefort 10

This beer has been sitting in my fridge for a while looking for a perfect time to drink it. That time has arrived. It was bought for me by my friends Joe and Rachel on a trip to Oklahoma. Thanks guys!


It has a hazy dark brown coloring to it. Light passes through only at the edges of the glass. There is a slight reddish/orange coloring to it. When poured a half inch tan head forms. Itís a thick head made up mostly of tiny bubbles and it fades slowly to a film on the top of the beer. There was some nice lacing in the glass.

The smell starts off with a noticeably appetizing strong fruit scent. It consists mostly of dark fruits, but I detected a hint of pear or apple. Itís followed with some spicy hop scent and touch of anise, especially as it warms to room temperature. Surprisingly the smells cover the scent of alcohol for the most part.

The flavor is an amazing combination of dark fruits and molasses that mixes with a caramel malt taste that is absolutely incredible. The finish brings out some of that anise taste along with figs and a touch of oak. The flavor combination completely masks any taste of alcohol. It finishes clean with a smooth mild sweetness.

This is a medium bodied beer with a creaminess to it that coats the mouth. It has the perfect amount of carbonation, some bite on the tongue, but not enough to be distracting. This is a very easy to drink beer. One needs to be careful because of the high 11.3 ABV it could be easy for someone to over indulge accidently.

This beer has risen to the top ten favorite beers Iíve ever drank. This is so delicious and easy to drink that I could see myself going out of my way to find bottles of it. I wouldnít recommend more than one or two in a night. If you have a chance to get your hands on one, do yourself a favor and buy it. I can easily see myself sitting back on a chilly Fall, Winter or Spring night enjoying one by a fire with friends. I give this 9 out of 10.

Posted by Contagion at 07:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack