31 October 2008

Book Meme

Found here.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

I'm probably a weirdo in that I almost always prefer trade paperbacks for my reading. Mass-markets are priced right but thick ones almost always have that "text disappears into the spine" problem towards the middle of the book. Hardbacks are nice to have for display and just general "look at how nice that is" purposes, but with hardbacks I either feel like I shouldn't actually use the book (if it's good) or that I spend way too much on the book (if it's bad). I also have this psychological thing that makes me feel like I'm reading a children's book if the text is too large, and most hardbacks (particularly bestsellers) tend to use a very large typeface, which just means that I notice the writing flaws so much easier, since I "feel like" I'm reading a kid's book, anyway.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Bookmark. Usually with the receipt I got when I bought the book.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?

Right now it's all random, since I'm still assembling bookcases and putting books into appropriate slots. I tend to categorize by general subject (i.e. all my science books together, all my history books together, etc.), then by author's last name, then by title. This may be because this is the scheme used by most used bookstores, which is where I generally do most of my book purchases, and I've absorbed the pattern by osmosis.

Keep, throw away or sell?

Keep. I'll throw away a book if it has become literally unreadable, and I managed to convince myself to give away a bunch of old books when I was planning the move, but I have serious issues with letting any books out of my grubby paws. This is probably a fault, but I always feel like the moment I get rid of a book, I'll need it to reference something about a week later.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

Keep. Although my ex-girlfriend hated them and got rid of or lost a bunch of mine when she would read my books, so I do have quite a few missing. And again, if they become too damaged over time I may get rid of them.

Last book you bought?

The Order of the Stick: The Start of Darkness. I have a stack of books to-read about as tall as I am -- right now I'm reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars. Soon I'll read Joe Abercrombie's Before They Are Hanged, Neal Stephenson's Anathem, and Brian Francis Slattery's Liberation.

Last book someone bought for you?

Hmm.... Technically, Shana bought Red Mars for me, but that was just because we wanted to make it one purchase instead of two. Shana gave me Everything is Illuminated for Christmas last year, so that was probably the last "gift" book I got. (Oh, yeah, another friend bought me the original Ender Trilogy for my birthday.)

What are some of the books on your to-buy list?

Well, here's my Amazon wish list. I'd also like to pick up The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie, The Digital Plague by Jeff Somers, the new edition of Agent to the Stars and The Last Colony by John Scalzi.... The list is very long.

Collection (short stories, same author) or anthology (short stories, different authors)?

Eh. Depends. I've probably read anthologies more often, but for favorite authors I love to get a handle on their individual short story output.

Most authors I read don't put out a lot of short fiction, though, so I've read astonishingly few collections or anthologies that have been published in the last two decades or so.

Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, or the velvety embrace of Death?

I read the entire Harry Potter series in about six weeks after the seventh book was published. I haven't read a single word of Lemony Snicket. I think I'd rather just take Philip Pullman and be done with it.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?

Usually in the morning before Shana wakes if I get up first, and in the evenings before we go to sleep.

The books you need to go with other books on your shelves?

Too many to count. I try to get series book by book, starting with the first, so in general I'm just missing the more recent books. The most obvious "missing" books are the last four volumes of the Sandman series.

Do you read anywhere and anytime you can or do you have a set reading time and/or place?

I'm pretty easygoing. I read whenever I'm in the mood and have a few minutes, although with some "heady" or literary novels I like to wait until I have a nice chunk of time. Pynchon, for instance, is almost impossible to read in five-minute chunks.

Do you have seasonal reading habits?

No. Then again, I'm from Alabama, where we really only have two seasons: a nine-month "fall" followed by an oppressively hot three-month "summer." We'll see if I change up now that I live in the North.

Do you read one book at a time or do you have two or more books going at once?

If I'm reading a heady book, I like to also have a more accessible book to break it up. Or if one book is heavy and serious, I'll have something a little lighter -- I like to break up my reading a bit, so I always have a little something different if it feels like a slog. I will also occasionally read a few pages of an old favorite for this purpose.

What are your pet peeves about the way people treat books?

Dog-earing pages, breaking spines, leaving them open and face-down for long enough to damage them, etc. That's really only when they're done to my own books, though -- what you do with your copy is your business. I also basically never write in a book.

Name one book you surprised yourself by liking.

I liked To Kill a Mockingbird a lot more when I re-read it as an adult than I thought I would -- the book was a lot more complex than I remembered it being when I read it in ninth grade. I tend to only read books that I expect I'll like quite a bit, so I'm more likely to feel let down by a book than to find a book to be much better than I expected. Probably the only book whose quality really surprised me was World War Z, which I expected to be really silly but which ended up being nothing short of brilliant.

How often do you read a book and not review it on your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about a book?

Lately I've been neglecting my blog, so it happens more ofthen than I'd like. I'd like to be able to write up a short review of every book I read and every movie I see, but sometimes Life Intervenes and I just don't have the time or inclination to do so.

30 October 2008

I'd Vote For Him

The Inverse Square Blog has this little tidbit:

Sir Charles announces his intention to run for governor of Alabama in 2014. Along the way, he discusses the issue of sociological rankings of his own and nearby states thusly:

"When asked if he was serious, the former Philadelphia 76er said, “I am, I can’t screw up Alabama.”

He added that his native state could only improve. “We are number 48 in everything and Arkansas and Mississippi aren’t going anywhere,” Barkley said.

It's a few years away; I could see myself moving back to Alabama by then. And he couldn't be much worse than the current political establishment there....

Oh, If Only It Were True!

I saw this over at Bigger Better Beards:

Maybe if it read discerning women....

Just for shits and giggles, a photo of my baby and me standing in front of the house in Kalamazoo.

She likes the beard....

29 October 2008

Movielog, Freaks

Freaks, 1932
Written and Directed by Tod Browning
Based on the short story "Spurs" by Tod Robbins
64 minutes

Banned in many areas upon its release, routinely named one of the most controversial films of all time by film historians and scholars, Tod Browning's Freaks may seem dated in its stylistic choices and (at times) in its attitudes towards its title characters, but it has retained nearly all of its ability to shock, inspire, and to see the world in a new way that it had when it first premiered in 1932. The film was so reviled at the time that approximately half an hour was cut from the original edit (some of it, admittedly, from descriptions of the cut sequences, not without reason), leaving Browning with a film that runs for only slightly more than an hour. Even the bowdlerized version would spell the end of Browning's career as a director -- this, from a man who was known at the time as being a highly commercial filmmaker, making many of Lon Chaney's greatest hits, including 1931's Dracula.

Why? Firstly, for those not knowledgeable about the film, Freaks includes actual "freaks", most of whom had various types of congenital developmental disorders, cast in the roles main characters. While Browning's original plan was to have his frequent co-star Lon Chaney perform several roles in innovative makeup, the eventual decision to use real-life circus performers transforms the film from one that would have merely exploited these physical deformities to one that celebrates the lives of those who have them.

This is further accomplished by having most of the "normal" actors in the film behave antagonistically towards the (mostly) saintly freaks. The plot revolves around the "Venus" of the circus where the film takes place using her charms to gain gifts and other favors from Hans, one of the dwarfs in the show (Harry Earles) -- later, when she discovers he has a fat inheritance, she marries the diminutive man and begins to poison him.

By modern standards, the plot is rather slight, even more so when you consider that large sections of the film consist of simple cutaways to the titular freaks performing the routines of their day-to-day life. Perhaps the most astonishing is one in which a sixtish man born without arms and legs (i.e. a "Human Torso") casually opens a pack of matches and lights a cigarette, all using only his mouth. This is even more impressive when one learns that the scene was originally longer, showing the man also rolling that same cigarette.

All of the freaks are sympathetic, most significantly more so than even the most saintly "normal" members of the circus. This is slightly marred by a final sequence in which the freaks attack the scheming Venus and her colluding boyfriend strongman. This sequence feels out of place, but it also provides the overall structure for the film, without which it most likely would not have been made.

Freaks is much more accepted by today's audiences than those at the time of its first release. It has a sizable cult following and is well-respected by film historians. Persons with deformities at least as extreme as those in this film can be seen on medical cable TV shows and specials on a regular basis. But this film still has the capacity to entertain, not least for the way its visuals and attitudes seem almost modern at times, for the charm of its performers and the quality of the acting even of the non-professionals. It deserves at least a single viewing by anyone trying to get an education on the history of the medium, and it's well worth the time.

Note: The film is out of copyright and is available online in its entirety, although I rented the DVD from Netflix.

28 October 2008

Michigan in October

I just realized one of the nice things about being in Michigan in October when the wind chill is down to 28 degrees. When you go out to the garage to take a beer from your stash, it doesn't need refrigeration. In fact, the temperature in the garage might actually be a touch lower than the temp in my fridge, at least at this time in the afternoon.

The low temps and the desire to save on heating costs does have the expected negative results on one's toes, however. This could be somewhat mitigated if I could ever bear to wear socks indoors.

Nookie and the Carbon Footprint

Oh, fucking hell...

You're sitting in the airport terminal, rolling your copy of the Economist into a sweaty tube and waiting to see a significant other who lives far away. You're excited. You're aroused. But there's something else, a nagging feeling that gurgles in your stomach and won't go away. Is it pangs of guilt? It should be: The planet is about to suffer for your love.

Perversely, we live in a world where the sustainability consultant in San Francisco is willing to fly in an exotic boyfriend every month from Washington, D.C. All day, she helps companies "green their supply chains" and "internalize core social costs," yet that eco-savvy seems to vanish at night, when she e-mails: Come visit!!! You might say she's willing to be a locavore but not a locasexual.

Consider what happens when these two fly to see each other once a month. Since greenhouse gases emitted from high-altitude airplanes are thought to have several times the impact of ground transport, a carbon offset company would pin their romantic travels with the equivalent of 35 metric tons of CO2 each year. If that responsibility were divided evenly between the two, our sustainability consultant's lifestyle would be about six times worse for the environment than that of the average gas-guzzling American—and up to 10 times worse than that of the average San Franciscan. (Indeed, for her, breaking up would be about 10 times better for the environment than going vegetarian.)

Yeah. And it only gets worse from there.

Look, I'm all for being conservationist in the way we live our lives, but the whole carbon footprint idea is really more about understanding the consequences of our behavior and trying to find ways to reduce unnecessary waste. And on that level, it's a really wonderful thing, in that it helps us to conserve energy by wearing a sweater, or by changing to more efficient lightbulbs, or whatever. But reading these kinds of articles makes me wonder if the authors have ever even listened to the way they sound to other people -- it's proposals like this that asshole conservatives point towards when they talk about "the loony left," and it's proposals like this that almost make me consider joining them for a half a second or so.

Conservationism shouldn't be focused so much on doing less, but on doing the same things with smaller amounts of resources. Not on avoiding plane trips for environmental reasons, but on working to create alternative fuels that will be sustainable, or developing more efficient mass-transit options that will make such flights unnecessary, or something similar. There's a strong dose of "holier-than-thou" (or at least "greener-than-thou") in the environmentalist community, and to my mind it's largely meaningless. The amount of damage to the environment alleviated by using a dozen less gallons of gas or some small number fewer plastic bags is pretty much negligible in the larger sense of things, and making people feel bad about it just muddies up the important messages about things that will make a difference.

Plus people don't want to listen to sanctimonious prigs telling them how to live their lives.

If you're in a long-distance relationship and you feel bad about your carbon footprint, donate some money to an organization or invest in a start-up working on alternative fuels. Or just give for basic scientific research on alleviating the problems caused by global climate change. I guarantee if you're living in San Fransisco and making biweekly trips across country for nookie, you've got the kinds of monetary resources that could do a lot more good for the world than just trying to find hot sweaty action within your local community.

Full disclosure: I was in a long-distance relationship for about a year, about a two-hour drive once a week or so. When she moved further away, I quit my job and moved with her -- that's how I ended up here in Kalamazoo. I realize that the moving option isn't realistic for a lot of people, but it worked for me (although I'm still looking for work). In short: I don't feel bad about the long-distance relationship, and I don't feel "good" about the environmental damage I haven't caused by moving up here. We all make the decisions that we need to make for personal reasons, and creating yet another social pressure based on an environmentalism-gone-wild is just crazy.

27 October 2008

Beer Review, Delirium Noel

Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Noel

Appearance: Dark brown hazy body, slightly reddish towards the sides of the snifter. Small head that dissipates quickly. 4.0/5

Smell: Rich, sweet, malty. Hints of apples and grapefruit. Strong overtones of tarty Belgian yeast. Overall aroma muted, doesn't give a great deal of complexity. 3.0/5

Taste: Heavy spices up front, Notes of cinnamon, orange peel, various other citrus-like spices. Strong malts in the middle, finishes with the same spices. Slightly dry in the finish. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate mouthfeel, slightly chewy, Low carbonation. 4.0/5

Drinkability: Overall a decent beer, but the spices are too prominent in the flavor profile and dominate the overall taste. It's not nearly as good as Delirium Nocturnum from the same brewery, and really not worth the cost in my opinion. Probably won't buy again soon. 3.0/5

Overall: 3.5/5

Hollywood Does McCain Campaign Videos

Just an entertaining video. Captures the stylistic excess of the three directors more-or-less perfectly. (Although the John Woo one is just a bit over-the-top.)

Counting down to November 4...

26 October 2008

Beer Review, Spanish Peaks American Pale Ale

Spanish Peaks American Pale Ale

Appearance: Yellow body tinged with orange. Very hazy, quite a few bubbles suspended in the liquid. Forms a thin white head that dissipates to soapscum quickly. 4.0/5

Smell: Sweet, fruity. Notes of apples. Quite a bit of malt, hints of hops buried underneath. A nice aroma, inviting. 4.5/5

Taste: Crisp bitterness up front, slight malty middle, dry finish. Aftertaste is malty, bready. Hints of apples and grains. Strong flavors of grapefruit and a few notes of banana as the beer warms. Overall an excellent flavor for a pale ale. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate. Some carbonation, a touch of dryness to the finish. Slightly chewy. 3.5/5

Drinkability: A highly drinkable, well-above-average pale ale. Well worth the spot in the fridge. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.25/5

Beer Review, Bell's Expedition Stout

Bell's Expedition Stout

Appearance: Black. Really black. No, even blacker than that. No light gets through even when held up to a light bulb. The only thing knocking this down is the very minimal head -- it leaves no appreciable head in this snifter, although I believe in a pint glass it's a bit more aggressive. 4.5/5

Smell: Sweet bitter chocolate malts, a slight astringency from the alcohol, the barest hints of raisin and other tarty sweet dark fruits. Very slight notes of grapes. Incredibly complex, very invigorating. 5.0/5

Taste: Highly alcoholic, strongly malty, very dry in the aftertaste. Thick with grains and barley in the middle, Strong notes of coffee and chocolate, of course, but with a sort of dry roastiness underneath that's less expected. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Thick, coats the tongue amazingly. Very low carbonation, pretty much nonexistent, beer goes down smooth as anything you can imagine at this alcohol level. 4.5/5

Drinkability: One of the best beers I've ever tasted. Amazingly drinkable, worth every penny. Having just moved to Kalamazoo, I'm going to be drinking a lot of this over the next few years.... 5.0/5

Overall: 4.65/5

25 October 2008

Video from Who's Nailin' Paylin

I know has a self-described feminist I'm supposed to find this really sexist and demeaning, but damn it, it just looks cute and kind of sexy.

I promise that if there's a fake Barack Obama porn video I'll post videos of that, too.

I normally don't go in for novelty videos, but this one looks pretty cute.

24 October 2008

The Fundies Will Never Stop, But It's Sort of Okay

This video has been making the rounds lately.

It's scary, sure, because it's a reminder for those who don't actually speak to these people on a daily basis (or who, like me, have lived among them for decades) just how committed to their ideology that the fundies can be. Amanda Marcotte talks a bit about that, and has this bit of positive commentary:

In this country, our theocrats have to contend with the fact that even when they’re winning, they’re losing. Eight years of Bush has crippled our economy and mired us in an unwinnable war, but it did not actually do a damn thing to make your kids quit fucking or make everyone convert immediately to fundamentalist Christianity. Atheists still published books and those books sold. Homosexuality not only didn’t disappear, it gained more social acceptance. Women have not en masse abandoned our desires for careers and self-actualization in favor of servitude to men. Fucking for pleasure instead of procreation remains as wildly popular as it has since they invented effective contraception, which is only slightly more popular than it was when people had to risk it. Stopping the tide of modernism isn’t going to be as easy as winning an election or even winning every election. Hollywood has to be toppled. People have to give up TV. Widespread literacy gets in the way. People have tasted secular humanism and don’t want to go back to the Dark Ages, full stop.

I think she's right on the money, as usual. The fruits of the Enlightenment, positive and negative, are like the denizens of Pandora's Box -- they don't go away very easily, if at all, because we as a society are so used to the amazing freedoms that they entail. (As much as even professional moron Vox Day harps on the evils of the Enlightenment, note that he still uses his computer and, as much as he might reject it, has a basically scientific way of seeing the world.) Sure, Iran was a pretty secularized society when the Ayatollahs took over (see Persepolis for a very nice portrait of that time period by someone who was there), so I'd never try to argue that It Can't Happen Here, but I'd like to believe that there are enough of us who support the side of reason and scientific inquiry and secular society that it can never really be stuck back in that box again.

Go read Amanda's commentary, it's first rate.

22 October 2008

Beer Review, Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Appearance: Velvety black body, thick brown head with lots of independent bubbles. Leaves light lacing. 4.0/5

Smell: Dry malts up front, with the grainy oatmeal after. Notes of coffee present way down at the bottom, but with only the tiniest hints of chocolate. 4.0/5

Taste: The alcohol gives this a highly astringent opening. This is followed by a strong malty backbone, quite a bit of sweetness, and the aforementioned graininess due to the oatmeal. Hints of chocolate as it goes down, and strong notes of bitter coffee in the aftertaste. Would get a higher rating if the alcohol was better-hidden. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, high bitterness, moderate mouthfeel. Goes down smooth considering the alcohol, but the astringency is not quite as pleasant as I'd like it to be. 4.0/5

Drinkability: This is a a pretty good beer, but this is one of the few times that I think it would have been better with less alcohol. Stone is normally top-notch, but this one is not one of their best offerings, and to be honest, I'm probably tougher on it knowing it's from them instead of a lesser brewery. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.0/5

19 October 2008

Beer Review, Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru

Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru

(This beer is no longer brewed)

Appearance: Dark brown body, thick foamy off-white head that sticks around, and a highly significant amount of yeast in the snifter I used. This is not a beer for those who don't like a bit of yeast in the glass. 4.5/5

Smell: Heavily malted, strong sweet tart notes due to the yeast. Extremely complex, notes of raspberries, grapefruit, a medley of other fruits. A touch of cherries, some bananas.... Highly complex, becomes more aromatic as it warms, the tartness becomes more prominent. Amazing. 5.0/5

Taste: First impressions are very yeasty. Strong notes of bananas in the aftertaste, like a really nice banana bread. Tartness due to the Belgian yeast strain, a touch of astringency from the alcohol. Very sweet, almost jammy, but swishing around the mouth also leaves a bit of harsh bitterness on the back of the tongue. As the beer warms, it becomes just a bit too astringent, but overall this is a very complex and enjoyable beer. It hurts me not to give it a 5, but it's not quite as perfect as I'd like it to be. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate-to-heavy carbonation, very thick, somewhat chewy due to the yeast. Leaves a heavy Belgian coating across the palate. 4.0/5

Drinkability: This is a very very good beer, hard to find these days, but worth seeking out. I had another of this brewery's beers for Thanksgiving a couple of years back, and this beer would pair perfectly with that kind of hearty meal. 5.0/5

Overall: 4.6/5

13 October 2008

Obama Talks to Himself

This is a pretty funny rendition of what Obama's pre- and post-debate preparations might have looked like.

Can't wait for the third debate.

Beer Review, Thomas Hardy's Ale

Thomas Hardy's Ale

2007 Edition, P09149

Appearance: Pours an opaque blackish-red with absolutely no head. About as expected due to alcohol. 4.0/5

Smell: Strongly alcoholic, somewhat sweet, heavy doses of malt. Hints of chocolate-covered cherries, a touch of grapefruit, perhaps some bananas? 4.5/5

Taste: Very fruity sweet beginning, lots of apples and cherries. A tart astringency follows, giving the beer almost a taste of strong cider, but without the carbonation. Thomas Hardy's Ale finishes dry but with fruity aftertaste that leaves me wanting more. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Considering the level of alcohol, this only has a moderate thickness. It's smooth and finishes clean, although the alcohol bites the tongue a bit. No hops present and no carbonation. 4.0/5

Drinkability: Overall this is a highly respectable and very good beer. I'd love to do a vertical tasting, but I'm not sure I could bear to hang on to any of these for the long haul. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.3/5

09 October 2008

Beer Review, Double Dead Guy Ale

Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale

2008 edition

Appearance: Light brown/amber body, thick off-white foamy head, heavy effervescence. Mostly clear but slightly hazy. This is a bit lighter in color and in density than I would expect for a dopplebock, so I'm taking off a bit, but Rogue tends to shy away from precise definitions of style, so keep that in mind. 3.5/5

Smell: Dry, heavily malted. Strong grainy notes, just a touch of that Pacman yeast that Rogue has made so famous. Notes of honey and caramel. Again, not quite what I'd expect from a Dopplebock, but an amazing smell. 4.0/5

Taste: Yep, there's that pacman yeast again. Heavily malted, very dry, very rich with grains and with a clean hop bite at the end. Finishes dry. As the beer warms hints of a sweet breadiness becomes apparent, sort of like banana bread but, well, without the banana. The alcohol is present but hidden well by the heaviness and complexity of the other flavors. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, a bit of carbonation, coats the palate. Goes down smooth. 3.5/5

Drinkability: Probably dangerously drinkable, considering the alcohol. The dryness is probably a bit higher than I would like over an extended drinking period, and it's not really like any other dopplebock I could name, but it's a good beer that deserves a look from any fan of Rogue. 3.5/5

Overall: 4.0/5

07 October 2008

Beer Review, Bell's Porter

Bell's Porter

How is it I've never reviewed a beer from Bell's before now? Ah, well, now that they're my new local I guess that's going to change quickly.

Appearance: So dark brown it's black, thick foamy head that dissipates and leaves some lacing. Beer is opaque to even a moderate light source. 4.0/5

Smell: Raisiny malty sweetness. A touch of astringency, very grainy, touches of oatmeal and what. A very interesting aroma, much more complex than most porters. 4.5/5

Taste: Almost the definition of a good porter. A strong sweetness up-front, grainy and with a hint of raisins, followed by a mellow middle and a dry finish. Some alcohol astringency present, but not too strong. 4.0/5

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness with mild carbonation. Goes down smoothly. 4.0/5

Drinkability: I'm not usually a big fan of porters, preferring to just get the "real thing" in a stout already, dammit, but this is a very good example of the style. Well executed and depending on your taste and alcohol tolerance probably a fine session beer, despite the 5.6% ABV. Lovers of porters should seek it out. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.1/5

06 October 2008

Ebert on Palin

Ebert hits the mark remarkably well, as usual:

When she was on familiar ground, she perked up, winked at the audience two or three times, and settled with relief into the folksiness that reminds me strangely of the characters in "Fargo."

Palin is best in that persona. You want to smile with her and wink back. But who did she resemble more? Marge Gunderson, whose peppy pleasantries masked a remorseless policewoman's logic? Or Jerry Lundegaard, who knew he didn't have the car on his lot, but smiled when he said, "M'am, I been cooperatin' with ya here." Palin was persuasive. But I felt a brightness that was not always convincing.

I can just see Sarah Palin storming out of an interview saying, "I'll do your damned lot count!"

05 October 2008

Beer Review, Old Ruffian Barleywine

Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine

First beer review while living in Kalamazoo!

Appearance: Dark orange, almost red. Some effervescence from bottom of glass. Thick head that dissipates quickly but leaves significant lacing. Very impressive head considering the abv on this one. 4.5/5

Smell: Strong hoppiness, intense sweet malts. Notes of caramel, a touch of corn. A very strong barleywine, enticing. 4.0/5

Taste: Crisp hops up front, very "hot" with alcohol. Very sweet caramel malts in the middle, with a dry but somehow refreshing finish. The hops and alcohol can be a bit overpowering, but overall this is an amazing example of a barleywine. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Thick, low carbonation, heavy on the hops. Coats the mouth admirably. Smooth and clean. 4.5/5

Drinkability: Considering the alcohol, an amazingly drinkable beer. 4.0/5

Overall: 4.35/5