25 December 2010

Trappist Westvleteren 12 | ZE Beer Review

As a special Christmas episode, I review what has long been considered one of the best --if not the very best-- beer in the world: Trappist Westvleteren 12. I received the bottle in trade from fellow Youtube beer reviewer Chad9976. Thanks Chad!

I reviewed the beer with my girlfriend Shana. Since this is such a renowned beer, I kept my editing to a minimum here, which makes for a slightly overlong video. I figured it was reasonable to go a little long since so many of us have extremely limited access to the beer if we can get it at all, and documenting as much of the experience as possible was likely to be appreciated.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A+

24 December 2010

Weyerbacher Insanity | ZE Beer Review

This was a bottle sent to me by Chris over at BeerGeekNation. BeerAdvocate lists this as an English Barleywine, but given that it's been aged in oak I think it's fairer to consider it a particularly potent old ale. Either way it's an excellent brew, one that I hope to be able to get again soon.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A-

23 December 2010

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | ZE Beer Review

I wasn't necessarily planning on reviewing this one, but I've enjoyed this year's batch so much that I decided to give it a quick review.

I also show off the wonderful beery gifts that my girlfriend gave me for the holiday. Have I mentioned that she's awesome?

Towards the end I also comment a bit about the quality of this year's fresh hop ales.

(Sorry about the flickering towards the start of the vid. The lights above me flickered a bit but I didn't realize how prominent it'd be on camera. Damn CFLs!)

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A-

22 December 2010

Butternuts Moo Thunder Stout | ZE Beer Review

Another beer sent to me by Chad9976 in our beer trade. A milk stout that seemed fairly substandard to me.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B-

21 December 2010

Bell's Christmas Ale | ZE Beer Review

This is Bell's seasonal Christmas beer, which is unfortunately at the time of this upload out of stock in the area. BeerAdvocate calls this a Scotch Ale, but I review it as an American Amber.

This was a requested beer from Paul, Youtube user vallsack. Thanks for the request, Paul!

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+

20 December 2010

Russian River Pliny the Elder | ZE Beer Review

I got a couple of bottles of the famed Pliny the Elder in a trade with fellow Beer Geek Nation member Ryan (aka StumpyJoeJr). This one absolutely lived up to my expectations.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A

18 December 2010

Dogfish Head Burton Baton | ZE Beer Review

I taste a new-to-the-area Dogfish Head Imperial IPA. It's definitely an interesting experience. I'm not sure if this rating is fair, but I think it's about the best I can do.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+

Beer Mail 2010-12-16

Awesome beer mail from Ryan, Youtube user StumpyJoeJr. Check out his channel -- he does great beer reviews!


15 December 2010

Samuel Adams Infinium | ZE Beer Review

I review the much-hyped Sam Adams/Weihenstephan collaboration beer. It ends up being a good beer, but definitely not worth the hype or the price.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+

14 December 2010

Orkney Skullsplitter Ale | ZE Beer Review

I take a little trip out into the snow to review Skullsplitter ale, one of my favorite Scotch Ales, a huge malty monstrosity from Scotland. A perfect beer for a crazy person drinking in the middle of a minor blizzard.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A

13 December 2010

Rogue Dad's Little Helper Malt Liquor | ZE Beer Review

Time for a malt liquor video! Or is it? I review Rogue Dad's Little Helper, a "craft" malt liquor. What's the point of this beer? Hopefully some of my commenters will help enlighten me.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: C

Zymurgical Explorations Beer Cellar

I've gotten a few requests to show off my beer cellar. Mine isn't too impressive, but I think I've got some cool beers to show off. The vid ran very long, so I split it into two parts.

This is part one, where I show off my 22oz and 750mL bottles.

This is part two, with my 12oz bottles.

10 December 2010

Ithaca Flower Power | ZE Beer Review

This was a bottle sent to me by Youtube beer reviewer Chad9976 when he sent me the Westy. I just don't have much to say about this beer other than: watch the review!

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+

08 December 2010

Weyerbacher Quad | ZE Beer Review

This was one of the bottles sent to me by Chris (BeerGeekNation) in a beer trade. He knows I like quads, so this was a good choice.

Ultimately this was quite a good beer, but I think I liked it just a little less since I'd had the St. Bernardus Abt 12 so recently. I'd definitely drink this again, though.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+

06 December 2010

Stone India Pale Ale | ZE Beer Review

This is a classic IPA, and yet I've never really thought it was a top-notch beer. As move as I love Stone, especially their Ruination DIPA, this one leaves me somewhat cold. Nonetheless, it's a solid IPA and almost the definition of a West-Coast-style IPA.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: B

03 December 2010

Fullers ESB | ZE Beer Review

My friend Jake joins me for this review. Thanks Jake!

I love English Special Bitters, and this one is pretty much the classic example of the style, one of the originators as far as I know. Jake wanted to do a beer review with me, and I let him pick the beer -- this was what he picked. Fine by me!

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A-
Jake's grade: A-/B+

01 December 2010

St. Bernardus Abt 12 | ZE Beer Review

St. Bernardus is the brewery that at one time had the contract to brew for Westvleteren. My understanding is that this beer is about as close as you can get to Westy 12 without actually drinking Westy 12.

I'd had this before, but not for a couple of years, and I believe this bottle was fresher than the bottles I'd had in the past. In any case, this was a really great experience and I think that shows on camera.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A+

29 November 2010

Bell's Batch 10,000 | ZE Beer Review

Every thousand batches, Bell's makes a specialty-release beer that commemorates their own continued existence. For Batch 10,000, they threw in everything but the kitchen sink, and then tossed in the sink for good measure. Over a hundred types of grains and sixty types of hops went into making this massive barleywine.

Definitely not for the faint of heart.

The list of ingredients in the brew can be found here.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A

27 November 2010

If We Did Book Reviews the Way We Do Beer Reviews

This is a parody.

Which means that I'm not REALLY reviewing the book, but doing the version that I'd do if I did book reviews the way I do beer reviews.

Beer reviewing (at least video beer reviewing) is based on the immediate impression, on what is going on at-the-moment. It's difficult, when recording a review, to really give an overall perspective on a beer.

Imagine if Siskel & Ebert had had to stop every ten minutes during a movie to record thoughts about the flick, and those thoughts had made up the overall review, to understand what it's like to try to do these videos.

26 November 2010

Moosbacher Schwarz Weisse | ZE Beer Review

Another German beer review. I've had a request from Youtube user grandilochris to do more German beers, so here goes.

This was my second attempt reviewing this bottle, as the first time I had technical issues that made the footage unusable.

Overall this is a nice dunkel weizen, even if it doesn't really stand out from the pack.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B

24 November 2010

St Ambroise McAuslan Oatmeal Stout | ZE Beer Review

St Ambroise McAuslan Oatmeal Stout (bottle)
Montreal, Quebec
5.0 % ABV

This is one of fellow Youtube reviewer elharlock's favorite beers. Will I like it as well as he does? Guess you'll have to watch the vid to find out.

Click here's for elharlock's channel.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: B+

22 November 2010

New Holland Beerhive | ZE Beer Review

My girlfriend Shana returns for another beer review. Yay!

This is an interesting beer, possibly a nice intro to the style for those just getting into Belgian beers, but ultimately somewhat disappointing to both me (an old Belgian lover) and Shana (who was looking for more prominent flavors from the odd ingredients). It's not a terrible beer, nor a great beer, but just a good one.

(Be sure to stick around until the end for an impromptu song by Shana.)

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+
Shana's grade: B

20 November 2010

New Holland Hopivore | ZE Beer Review

Full disclosure: I actually shot this video a couple of weeks ago. Subsequent bottles lost even more of their hoppiness, so if you see this now it'll be even more of a standard pale ale.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B-

17 November 2010

Newcastle Brown and Summer Ale

In the interest of getting both of these beers reviewed, I decided to do to reviews in a single video. Newcastle Brown is completely common, available in all fifty states as far as I know, but the Summer Ale is a new release that was only in selected markets last summer. Chris over at BGN sent me a bottle when he pulled my name out of a hat for his 400th subscriber contest.

In the middle of this vid I also give you my method for clearing my palate between beers, if you're at all interested.

Zymurgical Explorations grade (Newcastle Brown): C
Zymurgical Explorations grade (Newcastle Summer): C+

15 November 2010

Troegs Scratch Ale 35 (Fresh Hop Ale)

This is my first Troegs beer, sent to me by Chris over at BeerGeekNation, who lives about as close to them as I do to Bell's.

This is part of their Scratch series, where their brewers make specialty one-off releases. This time it's a wet-hopped Harvest Ale.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+

14 November 2010

Beer Appreciation 101 (Part 2 of 3)

This is part two of an experimental series for me. I recorded a three-part series for people who are interested in pursuing the hobby, but who have no experience. In this series, I'm going to be talking about how exactly we examine, smell, and taste beer, with a final part dealing with some of the more general philosophical issues regarding rating beer.

This is not meant to be complete, and I am definitely interested in hearing people's thoughts, particularly from those new to the hobby. Suggestions for future videos are welcome.

In Part One, I detailed the way to pour properly, and talked about some of the things you can learn from looking at beer, and some general aroma notes.

In Part Two, I'm discussing issues surrounding taste, including mouthfeel and drinkability. What techniques should be used when attempting to get the most out of a beer?

Part Three will consider philosophical issues.

12 November 2010

Oxfordshire Ales Marshmellow

I review an English Real Ale from Oxfordshire Ales. This one has nothing to do with marshmallows, but is instead a pretty decent ESB.

I found this to be quite a bit sweeter than I expected, without the dry caramel notes, but still quite nice. I'm definitely interested in hearing from others who have had it.

It's also my first beer review shot via webcam. Hopefully everything turns out okay.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B

10 November 2010

Bell's The Oracle Vertical Tasting | ZE Beer Review

My first video vertical tasting. Of a truly awesome DIPA, Bell's The Oracle. I know not a lot of you have had the chance to try this yet, but I've heard they're going to be making a lot more of it in the future and expanding distribution.

Batch 9306 was bottled on August 28, 2009.

Batch 9901 was bottled August 23, 2010.

I shot this video on November 2, 2010.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: A- (for both bottles)

08 November 2010

Peroni Nastro Azzuro

Peroni Nastro Azzuro
Roma, Italy
5.1% ABV

A Euro Pale Lager in a green bottle. I think I know how this is going to taste. I wouldn't have bothered reviewing a macroish import, except it was requested by a subscriber (WrappedInPlastic100) on my Youtube channel.

I hope this review satisfies him or her.

I've heard that the Italian craft beer scene has become fairly exciting in the last few years, but this one is neither craft nor exciting.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: C-

07 November 2010

Beer Apprectiation 101 (Part 1 of 3)

This is part one of an experimental series for me. I recorded a three-part series for people who are interested in pursuing the hobby, but who have no experience. In this series, I'm going to be talking about how exactly we examine, smell, and taste beer, with a final part dealing with some of the more general philosophical issues regarding rating beer.

This is not meant to be complete, and I am definitely interested in hearing people's thoughts, particularly from those new to the hobby. Suggestions for future videos are welcome.

In Part One, I detail the way to pour properly, and talk about some of the things you can learn from looking at beer, and some general aroma notes.

Part Two will deal with issues surrounding taste.

Part Three will consider philosophical issues.

05 November 2010

Founders Harvest Ale

Founders Harvest Ale (bottle)
Grand Rapids, MI
6.5% ABV

A quick and dirty review of Founders Harvest Ale, shot after a long day at work. Short story: I like this beer a lot; as the earthy wet hops give it a really fresh and interesting flavor.

Zymurgical Explorations grade: B+

04 November 2010

Vlog 2010-11-03

I meant for this to be quicker than it is, but hopefully it won't bore you all to death.

First I show off my new webcam, where I'll be shooting some reviews. I think the video quality will be good, and hopefully the audio is okay.

Then I reflect a bit on Bell's week, which has just finished. Awesome experience, and I'll be doing a lot more Bell's stuff this winter.

Finally, I update some things that are going on with my channel. I'm changing my rating system for beers, and I'm adjusting my posting frequency. I'm open to feedback on both of these issues, so please let me know how you feel about them.

Thanks to all those who have subscribed to my channel, and to everyone who's ever left a comment or requested a beer review. This community has been really awesome, and after 100+ videos this remains a lot of fun.

03 November 2010

Bell's Two Hearted Ale (Bell's Week Day 8 of 8)

Bell's Two-Hearted India Pale Ale
Kalamazoo, MI
7.0% ABV

This was Bell's Batch 9990 and was bottled on September 15, 2010. I shot the review on October 11.

Two Hearted is my favorite of the regular-release Bell's beers, so I saved it for last. An amazing IPA, with a great hop profile and a lot of complex malts.

I had some technical issues with the video quality in this vid, but by the time I noticed it in editing I didn't have the ability to re-shoot. Sorry.

At the end of this review I have a bit of summary on Bell's week, which may be interesting to those who have watched all of these videos.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.5/10

02 November 2010

Bell's Pale Ale (Bell's Week Day 7)

Bell's Pale Ale
Kalamazoo, MI
5.2% ABV

This is Bell's batch number 9875, bottled July 12, 2010. I reviewed it on October 10.

This is a fairly hoppy pale ale, but not overly bitter. Very nice.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.0/10

01 November 2010

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout (Bell's Week Day 6 of 8)

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout (bottle)
Kalamazoo, MI
6.0% ABV

This is batch number 9801, bottled June 4, 2010. I shot this review on October 8.

The Kalamazoo Stout is actually one of my favorite of Bell's regular offerings. A very nice Milk/Sweet Stout.

You'll see a slight overflow from the head on the beer as I pour, if you're amused by that sort of thing.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.0/10

29 October 2010

Bell's Lager of the Lakes (Bell's Week Day 5)

Bell's Lager of the Lakes
Kalamazoo, MI
5.0% ABV

This was Bell's Batch number 9713, bottled June 23, 2010. I shot this review on October 7.

This was actually the only Bell's beer that I only tried once. Mainly because the first time I tried it I definitively disliked this beer. Would a second try prove to be better?

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 4.0/10

28 October 2010

Bell's Porter (Bell's Week Day 4 of 8)

Bell's Porter (bottle)
Kalamazoo, MI
5.6% ABV

This was batch number 9889 and was bottled on July 16, 2010. I reviewed it on October 6.

This is a quite nice American porter. Sweet, but with a nice dryness and some caramel quality. I don't drink a lot of porters, but this one isn't bad at all.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.0/10

27 October 2010

Bell's Oarsman Ale (Bell's Week Day 3 of 8)

Bell's Oarsman Ale (bottle)
Kalamazoo, MI
4.0% ABV

This is Batch Number 9934, bottled on September 20, 2010, and reviewed on October 5.

Oarsman Ale is a brand-new regular release from Bell's, an American Pale Wheat Ale made with sour mash techniques. Which is fascinating, but doesn't make for a great product.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 4.5/10

26 October 2010

Bell's Amber Ale (Bell's Week Day 2 of 8)

Bell's Amber Ale (bottle)
Kalamazoo, MI
5.8% ABV

This is day 2 of Bell's Week, Bell's Amber Ale. This is batch number 9916, which was bottled on August 22, 2010. I shot this review on October 4.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

25 October 2010

Bell's Third Coast Beer (Bells Week Day 1 of 8)

Bell's Third Coast Beer
Kalamazoo, MI
4.8% ABV

This is Bell's Week Day 1 of 8. Batch number is 9888. According to Bell's website, this was bottled on July 22, 2010. I reviewed it on October 3, 2010.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

24 October 2010

Avery duganA IPA

Avery duganA IPA (bottle)
Boulder, CO
8.5% ABV

A good, but basically forgettable, DIPA from Avery.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

23 October 2010

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (bottle)
Chico, CA
5.8% ABV

This is one of the beers that arguably started the entire American microbrew market. And I'm reviewing it. Whee!

Sorry about the audio -- it was windier outside than I realized and by the time I got the editing it was too late.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

22 October 2010

Reissdorf Kolsch

Reissdorf Kolsch (bottle)
Koln, Germany
4.8% ABV

I had a request from Youtube user grandilochris to review more German beers. Asked and answered.

I haven't had a lot of Kolschbiers, so I'm sorry if I couldn't really analyze it within style. It's quite a nice beer, though.

I'm also sorry that I can't pronounce the word "kolsch." Any German speakers who can correct me are welcome to do so.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

21 October 2010

Fullers Vintage Ale 2007

Fullers Vintage Ale 2007
London, England
8.5% ABV

Beer review #100! Never thought I'd get this far. Thanks to everyone who's watched, commented, rated, and especially subscribed. We're going to be doing a lot more beer reviews.

This is an Old Ale bottled by Fullers in 2007. I checked their website, and they claimed it would be just about perfect around this time. So I made it my 100th review. Turned out to be a really very nice beer.

I end the video by thanking my subscribers and talking a bit about what to expect in the next 100.

Many thanks to all who have participated in this. Looking forward to doing another 100. Cheers!

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.5/10

20 October 2010

Founders Nemesis 2010

Founders Nemesis 2010 (bottle)
Grand Rapids, MI
12.0% ABV

This is video beer review number 99. Awesome.

I had the Nemesis 2009 and was somewhat less than overwhelmed. It was a really good beer, but didn't live up to the hype. The 2010 bottling, though, is amazing -- very much worth the energy needed to buy it. A great American barleywine, perfectly balanced between hop and malt, between sweet and bitter, between dry and cloying.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 10/10

19 October 2010

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

I review one of my all-time personal favorite beers. Sorry for the spoiler, but do I really have to hide the fact that this one is awesome?

Despite the fact that I love this beer, I go on a bit of a rant about how these kinds of beers, i.e. those super-limited release beers that sell out in about twenty-three seconds, are probably not good for the craft beer industry as a whole. So I'm really not rocking the boat on this stuff at all.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 10/10

18 October 2010

Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin

Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin (bottle)
Baltimore, MD
9.0% ABV

The Oak-Aged version of yesterday's Great Pumpkin Ale. Shot outside just because it was a beautiful fall day and I wanted to enjoy it.

I liked this one pretty much just as much as I liked the regular Great Pumpkin. Which is a lot.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.5/10

17 October 2010

Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin

Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin (bottle)
Baltimore, MD
8.0% ABV

I know, I said I wouldn't do any more pumpkin beers. But this one is an Imperial Pumpkin, and besides there's also an oak-aged version of this beer, which I plan on reviewing tomorrow.

This is video beer review number 96. The hundredth video approaches....

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

16 October 2010

Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10

The Stone Vertical Epic series is a highly-sought-after beer series, even though it's pretty available if you look for it. This year's bottling is a Tripel with some muscat grapes and Gewurztraminer added for complexity.

At first I got a whole lot of the grapes without a lot of the Belgian beer characteristics, but once it warmed I liked it a lot more. It's a good beer, but a bit hard to drink.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.5/10

15 October 2010

Cesky-Weizen Tasting

Bottled it a week ago, figured I'd pop it open and give it a shot.

You can watch the brew session in which I made it if you want. Part One is here:


and Part Two is here:


Short's Bloody Beer

Short's Bloody Beer (bottle)
Elk Rapids, MI
8.5% ABV (???)

Another weird beer from Short's. The label says it's supposed to taste like a bloody mary. Does it?

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 6.0/10

13 October 2010

North Coast Le Merle Saison

North Coast Le Merle Saison
Fort Bragg, CA
7.9% ABV

This one was a request from a real-life friend of mine named Doug. Since I'm pretty much up for any beer, I bought a bottle and tried it.

It ended up tasting like a decent, but fairly unauthentic saison. Lots of citrus along with the Belgian funkiness -- it ends up tasting a little bit like a Belgian beer mixed with orange juice or something. Very drinkable, though.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

12 October 2010

Bell's Best Brown Ale (mini-keg)

Bell's Best Brown Ale (mini-keg)
Kalamazoo, MI
5.8% ABV

While at the Bell's General Store buying some homebrew supplies, I happened to see the new Best Brown mini-kegs. The design of the can was so cool I had to buy one.

The beer's better than I've ever tasted it, too.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

11 October 2010

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA (bottle)
Marshall, MI
6.0% ABV

A quick and dirty beer review after work. A very nice IPA, though.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.5/10

10 October 2010

Dogfish Head Fort | Beer Review

Dogfish Head Fort
Milton, DE
18.0% ABV

I have a special guest for this review: my girlfriend Shana. She was intrigued by this beer not just because she likes fruit beers, but because of the great label art by comic-book artist Tara McPhereson.

Have I mentioned that my girlfriend loves me?

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.5/10
Shana's rating: 9.0/10

09 October 2010

Left Hand Milk Stout

Left Hand Milk Stout
Longmont, CO
5.2% ABV

Well, it's no Mackeson XXX, but it's a decent beer nonetheless.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.5/10

08 October 2010

Fuller's London Pride

Fuller's London Pride
London, England
4.7% ABV

I was goofing off when I shot this one and pretended to be Simon from the Real Ale Guide for a minute. Crackin' head on this one, eh? Four point seven percent in the volume.

I kid, I kid.

Great session beer, one of my favorites of the kind. Almost a perfect comfort beer.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.0/10

07 October 2010

Founders Breakfast Stout

Founders Breakfast Stout
Grand Rapids, MI
8.3% ABV

Not their KBS (formerly Kentucky Breakfast Stout), but a very nice beer anyway. Strong coffee notes, rich oatmeal, with lots of dark bittersweet chocolate. Limited availability on this one, so drink it while you can.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.5/10

06 October 2010

Short's Autumn Ale Extra Special Bitter

Short's Autumn Ale Extra Special Bitter (bottle)
Elk Rapids, MI
5.75% ABV

This is another limited-release beer from Short's. In the last year or so, they've done about twenty of these, which is simply astonishing.

Anyway, this reminded me a lot of a homebrew. It has a very "fresh" or "green" taste, with a nice smooth maltiness and very earthy hops. Interesting, but not exactly a classic ESB.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

(Note: there's some bonus cat footage at the end where Phoebe wouldn't stay out of camera frame long enough for me to shoot the video. She's a little attention whore. It will probably give you a bit of behind-the-scenes insight into how I shoot these things, if you're an attentive viewer.)

05 October 2010

My Homebrew: Cesky-Weizen

I decided to do a sort of "day in the life" of a homebrewer here. I brewed a new recipe, what I'm calling a Cesky-weizen, because it's a hefeweizen made with Czech hops and with a bit more caramel malt to give it the sweetness of the pilsners I had in the Czech Republic.

In part one of the video I go shopping for ingredients, describe what goes into the beer, and describe how to make a mash tun and do the general prepwork that goes into making beer.

Part Two shows the mash, the sparge, the boil, and just general goofing around in between.

I hope you guys like these videos. I'm planning on doing some version of this (but probably shorter) on every brew day, so let me know if there's anything you want to see.

Don Osborn's site is here. You can go there to lean how to make the mash tun I use. His Youtube channel is @donosborn. He makes great videos -- check him out.

Cesky-Weizen Recipe:
6lbs Pilsner Malt
4lbs Wheat Malt
2 lbs Red Wheat Malt
1lb Caramel Malt 60L
1 oz Saaz (90 min)
.5 oz Saaz (30 min)
.5 oz Saaz (15 min)
1 vial White Labs Hefeweizen IV yeast (from starter)

BrewDog Rip Tide Twisted Merciless Stout

BrewDog Rip Tide Twisted Merciless Stout
Aberdeensire, Scotland
8.0% ABV

This one goes right to the top of my all-time favorite stouts list. Which was totally unexpected, as I've been iffy on some BrewDog stuff up until now.

I'm starting to recommend food pairings towards the end of the videos. Let me know if that's appreciated or just annoying.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.5/10

04 October 2010

Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Ale

This is a Belgian Dubbel made by Bell's only every two years. Since I missed it right after I moved into town in 2008, this is my first time trying it. It has strong chocolate notes and a very nice Belgian yeast character -- a very good beer that I'll be drinking more of before it disappears.

This is Bell's Batch Number 9999, which means that Batch 10,000 can't be far away. Score!

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.0/10

02 October 2010

Chimay Grand Reserve (Chimay Blue)

Chimay Grand Reserve (Chimay Blue) (bottle)
Baileux (Chimay), Belgium
9.0% ABV

This was a request from Youtube user 19timus1. Thanks to Tim for requesting it -- I love doing requested beers.

I got a cork explosion when I opened the beer, which is pretty amusing to watch. Check it out.

I also eat a bit of the Chimay Blue-label cheese as a bonus to the review. I didn't like the cheese as much as the beer, but it definitely pairs well with it. If you buy the cheese, definitely pick up a bottle of the beer as a pairing.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

01 October 2010

Abita SOS (Save Our Shore)

Abita SOS (Save Our Shore) (bottle)
Abita Springs, LA
7.0% ABV

I shot this while I was waiting out the boil on a homebrew session. I shot a bunch of video during the homebrew, and will be uploading that in the next couple of days, probably over the weekend.

I went into this not expecting much, but the Abita SOS is actually a very nice, clean, refreshing German-style Pilsner, one that stands up to pretty much any beer I've had. It compares nicely even with the lagers I had in the Czech Republic, which is saying something.

Seventy-five cents of every bottle goes to recovery efforts from the oil spill in the Gulf, so this is worth purchasing for two reasons -- the quality, and the charity.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

The Drink Like a Fish charity concert video:

30 September 2010

Lagunitas IPA

Lagunitas IPA (bottle)
Petaluma, CA
5.7% ABV

Pretty much the definition of a grapefruity American IPA. Lots of pine, a whole lot of grapefruit.

This is a pretty short review. I shot it late at night and talk a bit about my plans for the day after the review -- a homebrew session, which I shot and will be uploading soon.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

29 September 2010

Budweiser Select

Budweiser Select (can)
St. Louis, MO
4.3% ABV

Another big can macro review. I was shopping at the grocery store, saw the can, and figured, "what the hell."

Flavorwise, it's basically the same as any other Budweiser product. Decent enough if you want it, but we all know there are better beers out there.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 4.0/10

28 September 2010

Michigan Brewing Screamin' Pumpkin Spiced Ale

Michigan Brewing Screamin' Pumpkin Spiced Ale (bottle)
Webberville, MI
Unknown ABV

We sold out of this in a single day at my store here in Kalamazoo. It's smooth, clean, sweet, easy to drink... and basically nothing else.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 6.0/10

Originally reviewed in text format on 11-26-2009:

"A: Pours gentle orange-yellow with a two-finger white head that dissipates quickly. Very slight haze.

S: Strong pumpkin aroma, sweet but also slightly dry, with a bit of hop bitterness underneath.

T: Sweet pumpkin flavor, very clean, with a bit of a spicy aftertaste. Perhaps cloves? Some nutmeg, some other assorted spices.

M: Moderate thickness, low hops, low carbonation. Very clean, easy-to-drink.

D: Overall very drinkable, if uncomplex. An incredibly accessible beer for those new to the style or to those who don't otherwise drink beer at all."

(I guess I was kinder to this beer last year.)

27 September 2010

Southern Tier Imperial Pumking

Southern Tier Imperial Pumking (bottle)
Lakewood, NY
9.0% ABV

A nice, complex Imperial Pumpkin Ale. I haven't had but one other Imperial Pumpkin, and both have been pretty nice.

I don't have anything else to say except watch the review.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

26 September 2010

Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Utica, NY
5.5% ABV

First pumpkin beer of the season! And, unless someone wants to see anything in particular, probably only the first of three.

I give a shout-out to Kevin Burns of TheFoamingHead.com early in the vid, referencing his division of pumpkin beers.

I really wanted this beer to be awesome, but it was only what I'd call "decent." Disappointing, but only with regards to what I think Brooklyn brewery should be producing given their track record.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 6.0/10

25 September 2010

Primator Double Bock

Primator Double Bock
Nachod, Czech Republic
10.5% ABV

Another Primator beer available in the States. I'm excited, are you?

I'm drinking out of a new glass in this review, a 25oz mug purchased at the Dollar Tree, and kind of end up reviewing the mug as well as the beer. Both are quite nice.

I give a shout-out to Mark at VideoBeerReviews towards the end for anyone watching for such things.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.0/10

24 September 2010

Oud Beersel Oud Kriek Vielle

Oud Beersel Oud Kriek Vielle
Beersel, Belgium
6.5% ABV

A new lambic that I'd never tried before. I can't pronounce it, but I can review it!

This one turned out to be really sour with a musty undertone. Interesting and definitely one worth a try for fans of wild ales and other sour beers, but not really to my taste.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.0/10

23 September 2010

Brooklyn Oktoberfest

This is a new one to my area this year, so I decided to review it since I haven't had it before. As I say in the video, if there are any requests of other Oktoberfests that anyone wants me to review, let me know, as otherwise I'm not planning on reviewing any others this year.

Brooklyn Oktoberfest is very fresh-tasting, with a nice, clean, malty body and a clean dry aftertaste. Very drinkable.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

22 September 2010

Primator Maibock

Primator Maibock
Nachod, Czech Republic
7.5% ABV

If you were watching the videos I shot from Prague, then my appreciation for the Czech brewery Primator will be no surprise to you. They're a great Czech microbrewery (malypivovar) that is very American in the sense of making a wide variety of different styles.

So when I found out that two Primator beers that I didn't see in Prague are not only imported to the US, but newly available in the area, I jumped at the chance. This is their 7.5% ABV maibock, and in a few days I'll post a review of their Double Bock.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

21 September 2010

Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale

Lagunitas Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale (bottle)
Petaluma, CA
8.56% ABV

I forgot when I shot this that I did a text review on BA only a year or so ago, on 9/30/2009. Here's the original text of my review, which I still basically agree with a year later.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

"Appearance: Red-orange body, transparent, with a thin off-white head that dissipates to soapscum rather quickly. Very slight effervescence.

Smell: Rich fruity amber aroma, crisp white hops. Very floral, very inviting.

Taste: Rich amber flavor, thick with apples and syrupy goodness, with a hoppy backbone and a very dry finish. The alcohol is present in the aftertaste, along with a strong floral hoppiness. Very very nice.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy with hops and with high carbonation.

Drinkability: The beer I'd describe as the closest to this is Arrogant Bastard, which has got to be one of my all-time favorite beers. This is higher in alcohol and may be even smoother than the Bastard, although it's not quite as well-balanced. Highly recommended."

20 September 2010

Orval Trappist Ale

This one was a request/suggestion for review from Tantrum777. Asked and delivered.

I reviewed this one a LONG time ago, first uploading a review on August 17, 2005, and I've only had it a few times since then. My overall opinion of the beer hasn't changed very much in the intervening years, but I definitely have more experience with wild yeasts and sour beers, and get different things from it than I did five years ago.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

My original BA review from August 2005:

"Purchased from Woody's Smokes and Brews, Franklin, TN.

I had a taste of this at the Bring-a-Friend Beer Tasting in Birmingham a few weeks back, but not enough for a full review. Bought a single bottle and poured it into my oversized wine glass. Appearance is really quite nice, with a sort of orange-yellow body covered with one of the thickest off-white foamy heads I've ever seen. I didn't even pour that aggressively, and this thing just took off. Almost too much head since I'm having to dribble the remainder of the brew into the glass a little bit at a time.

Aroma is very sweet, with hints of soft honey and possibly even a hint of cinnamon. Fascinating the way these Belgian Ales seem to produce the strangest scents that have nothing to do with barley, malt, and hops, but when it smells this nice I'm not complaining.

I may have let this warm a bit too long, for the beer has a strongly astringent flavor first and foremost, which only later softens into a nice soft sweetness that coats the mouth and the tongue. Alcohol is quite strong here, present in large quantities in the flavor even if not in the nose. Bitterness follows every swallow, but it's a nice sort of non-hoppy bitterness. Enjoyable but not exactly to my taste.

This has a thick and luxurious mouthfeel and a low carbonation that work together nicely. The bitter flavors make me not really want to swish this around a lot when drinking it, but the mouthfeel doesn't stand in the way of drinking it that way.

This beer tastes good, and it's fairly low alcohol for a Trappist, but I find myself actually wanting to finish this bottle and move on to something else. I'll certainly try it again next time I can get ahold of it, and this time I'll open it up when it's a few degrees cooler, but at this temperature I really don't enjoy it as much as I'd like to. North Coast Pranqster is much better, and much cheaper."

That was written when I'd only had a handful of Belgians. I'd never try to compare Orval to Pranqster today, of course.

19 September 2010

Brooklyn Local 2

I've had this one for a while, just waiting for the right moment to pop it open and give it a shot. I didn't realize it was Belgian Strong Dark when I opened it, for some reason believing that Brooklyn made two Belgian Strong Pales. My mistake.

Anyway, this ended up being a really nice "lawnmower" Belgian, the kind of beer that is excellent and well-crafted, but without some of the complexity of true Belgian ales.

My text review of the Brooklyn 1: http://danielharper.blogspot.com/2010/05/brooklyn-local-1.html If there's interest in seeing a video review of this, I'll buy another bottle and film one.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.0/10

18 September 2010

Rogue First Growth Dirtoir Black Lager

Picked this one up last time I was in Tennessee.

The "Chatoe Rogue" series is a set from Rogue in which they grow all their own hops and malt. It's one of those sustainability efforts made by a lot of microbreweries, which is cool. Also you get some interesting flavor results.

Overall, a very nice Schwarzbier.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.5/10

17 September 2010

Bud Light

That's right. Bud Light. Most likely the best-selling beer in the world by a respectable margin.

You didn't think this was going to be all craft beer, did you?

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 3.5/10

16 September 2010

Stone Imperial Russian Stout

According to the Best of BA list, this is currently the #12 beer in the world. I concur with the judgment of the masses in that regard.

Rich, black, chocolatey, with lots of malt and a beautiful roasted dryness, this is pretty much a note-perfect Russian Imperial Stout. One of my favorites of the style.

My numerical rating: 9.5/10

15 September 2010

Brooklyn Lager

This was the first beer I reviewed after getting sick, but I didn't want to interrupt or delay Short's week, so I saved it until after uploading those.

This is one of my favorite beers of the style, and totally worth a shot by anyone looking to see what a very traditional but exceptionally-well-crafted lager can be. As I say in the vid, this reminds me more than anything of the beers I had in the Czech Republic. Also a great beer for converting BMC drinkers to craft beer.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.5/10

14 September 2010

Short's S'more Stout | Short's Week Day 9 of 7

This is the absolute last of the Short's Week beers, which means I can get back to other breweries. I sort of wish I'd finished on the Key Lime Pie, because this one was somewhat disappointing.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 6.0/10

13 September 2010

Short's Key Lime Pie | Short's Week Day 8 of 7

While I was sick Short's released two more limited-release beers that fit the criteria I set for this project. So I decided to just go ahead and film two more reviews and add them to the end in this haphazard fashion.

This is a fruit beer that actually really hits the spot. It's clean enough to be accessible to just about anyone, while being fairly complex and not at all overly sweet. A very nice beer that I'd love to be able to have more often.

Zymurgical Explorations Rating: 8.0/10

12 September 2010

Short's Hangin' Frank IPA | Short's Week Day 7 of 7

The last of the regular week of Short's Week. I review a very nice IPA with a controversial label and an interesting story.

The controversy here: http://beernews.org/2010/06/shorts-hangin-frank-label-raising-some-eyebrows/

The story from Short's here: http://www.shortsbrewing.com/beer/our-portfolio/exclusive-beers/hangin-frank/

Regardless of the label, this ended up being a very nice beer, very hoppy with a nice fruity backbone, and a great way to end the week. If Joe Short is watching, I hope he decides to make this year-round.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.0/10

11 September 2010

Short's Nicie Spicie | Short's Week Day 6 of 7

This was the last beer review I shot before I got sick and couldn't do videos for a week. Thankfully modern medicine intervened and I'm better now and managed to complete the vids and upload them.

This is an American Pale Wheat Ale that is slightly spicy, but overall really just tastes like a completely average American Pale Wheat. Probably be a good lawnmower beer, though.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 6.0/10

10 September 2010

Short's Spruce Pilsner | Short's Week Day 5 of 7

Short's Spruce Pilsner (bottle)
Elk Rapids, MI
7.15% ABV ???

Certainly not a traditional Czech Pilsner, this hoppy beast is aptly-named, as it smells and tastes basically just like a tree. I was in the mood for a hoppy beer the day I shot this, so it gets a little bit higher rating than I necessarily would have otherwise. Also has a nice malt backbone and is a bit heavier than a standard pale ale, which is to be expected for a pilsner with the kinds of hop oils that you get in something like this.

Zymurgical Explorations Rating: 7.5/10

09 September 2010

Short's Noble Chaos Oktoberfest | Short's Week Day 4 of 7

Short's Week, Day 4! For information on this project, see the Short's Week Day 1 video in my archives.

Noble Chaos is Short's seasonal Oktoberfest, one I haven't had before. It turned out to be quite a nice one, with nice roasted characteristics and a great sweet/bitter balance. My description on this one gets a little... odd at times, but that's the way it goes.

The beer this reminds me of the most is actually Spaten Optimator.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

08 September 2010

Short's Rich's Rye Ale | Short's Week Day 3 of 7

Short's Rich's Rye Ale (bottle)
Elk Rapids, MI
4.9% ABV

I'm not always a fan of rye beers, but this one was pretty good. I had a bit of a beer emergency in the pour when filming this vid, which is entertaining even if you don't want to watch the whole review.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.0/10

07 September 2010

Short's Blood Orange Wheatwine Anniversary Ale | Short's Week Day 2 of 7

You can see the explanation of this project in my Day 1 of 7 video.

Another Short's beer, a bit disappointing I admit, much less complex than I would expect from what should be a celebratory and somewhat "special" beer. Lots of citrus, but very cloying and "artificial-tasting," and the alcohol is very prominent.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 5.0/10

06 September 2010

Short's Sustenance Black Beer (bottle) | Short's Week Day 1 of 7

Short's Sustenance Black Beer (bottle)
Elk Rapids, MI
Unknown ABV

This is part one of a series on limited-release beers from Short's Brewing in Elk Rapids, MI. I've reviewed one Short's beer before, their Black Licorice Lager, which would also have fit into this series, but the issue was that I ended up having seven new beers to taste and review from the brewery after I got back from the Czech Republic, and decided to just do a theme week.

These would have been uploaded last week, but I hadn't finished shooting all of them when I got sick and wouldn't have been able to review the last of them before it came time to upload them. This video was recorded on 8/22/2010.

If response to this series is good, I'll do other, similar series in the future.

My review of Short's Black Licorice Lager: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TByB2mtK2qU

05 September 2010

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale

I recorded this before I got sick, but just got around to uploading it. It's my review of Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale. The short review: it's unbalanced and could probably use some aging.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.0/10

(I plan on re-reviewing in a year or so to see how these bottles age.)

03 September 2010

Vlog 2010-09-03 (Or: Why I Haven't Posted in a Week)

So, I went and got sick. Serious nausea and dizziness caused by fluid in my right ear, which led to an infection that required antibiotics. Not fun at all.

I've got one review already recorded and ready to upload from before I got sick, and I was most of the way through filming a series that will be posted in the next couple of weeks. Expect new content from me starting as soon as I get to feeling well enough to drink beer again, which should be sometime next week.

28 August 2010

Great Divide Espresso Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Is this the longest beer name in the world? Probably not, but it feels that way.

Great Divide makes a Russian Imperial Stout that they call Yeti. They also make a version that they age on oak chips and call it, fittingly, Oak-Aged Yeti. Now they're making different versions of the Oak-Aged version, including this one that includes coffee beans in the mix. A lot of coffee beans, apparently, because it's significantly lighter than the original beer in color, and the coffee aromas and flavors dominate.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.0/10

27 August 2010

Saugatuck ESB Amber

Saugatuck ESB Amber
Douglas, MI
5.5% ABV

A quick review of an ESB from a very new Michigan brewery. They've only been bottling for a year or so, and the 12-oz bottles are even newer than that, so this is a bit of a coup I suppose. It's a really decent ESB; try it if you get the chance.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 7.0/10

26 August 2010

Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen

Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen
Aying, Germany
5.8% ABV

Gotta love the first Oktoberfest of the season, right? It's not my favorite style, but I do have an appreciation for a good one. Ayinger makes a fantastic hefeweizen, so I was expecting this to be a good one, and was not disappointed. Perfectly smooth and overall just a very nice example of the style.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 8.5/10

25 August 2010

Prague Supplementary Video

I had some leftover footage from my trip to the Czech Republic last month, so I shot a bit of intro footage and edited together here.

In Part One I show off footage of my trip to the Plzensky Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell) brewery, including a very short beer review of the traditionally-made Pilsner Urquell served only on the brewery tour.

In Part Two I show off some video that I shot in my dorm on the last night before flying back to the States. There's a bit of footage of the beer bottles I drank while in Prague, and then I show you around the dorm room and talk a bit about the relative living styles of Americans versus Czechs.

My original blog post talking about the trip to Plzen is here: http://danielharper.blogspot.com/2010/07/disneyland-of-beer.html

Reviews of the beers you see bottles of can be found in my channel's history.

You can see "A Day in Prague" Part One here and Part Two here.

22 August 2010

Mikkeller Big Worse

Mikkeller Big Worse
Brewed at De Proef Brouwerij
Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium
12.0% ABV

This is my first Mikkeller beer. Mikkeller's an interesting brewer, because he does all his brewing at pre-existing breweries, which makes him perhaps the most acclaimed contract brewer in history. This beer is marked on BA as an American Barleywine, but it had strong notes of Belgian character, much like a Quadrupel, and I was pretty much blown away by the overall quality. This was my first Mikkeller, but it certainly won't be my last.

Zymurgical Explorations rating: 9.0/10

21 August 2010

Video: Tasting the Homebrewed Andrews Wedding Amber

This was a beer I made up for my sister's wedding last May. It was loosely based on an India Red Ale that I had made last year, but with less hops, and this one was made all-grain as opposed to the India Red in which I was still using extract. I'm pretty happy with how this beer turned out, so I figured I'd shoot a short video talking about it.

You can view the recipe here.

Sorry about the quality of the vid as this was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I was in the midst of cooking dinner when I shot the review.

There's also a bit of bonus cat footage at the end for those interested in that sort of thing.

20 August 2010

Video: Abita Purple Haze

Abita Purple Haze
Abita Springs, LA
4.9% ABV

The last of my uploads from Kentucky. I decided to shoot while standing outdoors with the camera pointing towards the picturesque country road. There was also a giant anthill on the stump on which I placed the bottle and the glass with giant ants crawling all over it, but I didn't even notice that problem until after I was through shooting.

My numerical rating: 5.5/10

Video: Tasting the Homebrewed Abbey Dubbel

I taste my homebrewed Belgian Dubbel for the first time, which has a rather... storied history. Unfortunately it didn't turn out to well -- perhaps I should call this Dale's Dead-Bug Dubbel?

You can view my original post about this beer here.

19 August 2010

Video: Abita Jockamo IPA

Abita Jockamo IPA
Abita Springs, LA
6.5% ABV

Another beer review from Kentucky. A nice crisp but balanced IPA works quite well in the Kentucky heat. I don't buy a lot of Abita, but I'd buy this again.

My numerical rating: 7.5/10

18 August 2010

Video: Sweetwater Blue

Sweetwater Blue
Atlanta, GA
4.9% ABV

The first video I recorded while in Kentucky last week. This is a blueberry ale, and a pretty good one. I'm not always a fan of fruit beers, but this one has a strong fruit sweetness that I like. It's not complex, but it's pretty decent.

I didn't mention it in the vid, but there's a place in Chattanooga, TN, called Aretha Frankenstein's that sells Sweetwater Blue with blueberry pancakes and calls it a "Blue and Blue." It's not a bad breakfast if you like drinking first thing in the morning.

My numerical rating: 5.5/10

Video: Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster

Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster
Athens, GA
8.3% ABV

What did I pick for my first beer review back in Michigan from my trip down south? A beer made in Georgia, of course! This bottle has a 2009 bottling date and isn't as aggressively hoppy as I remember it, but I may be remembering badly. I'd love to try a more recent bottling if I can find it.

My numerical rating: 8.0/10

08 August 2010

Video: Arrogant Bastard Ale

Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale (bottle)
San Diego, CA
7.2% ABV

One of my all-time favorite beers. I was feeling a little silly and perhaps a bit punchy about the beer, as I have read some reviews lately of people describing this as a whole lotta hops and not much else, so maybe I'm a bit overly combative. Sorry.

I originally reviewed this on BA on 2005-06-09, then updated that review a few days later. I'm including the original text of that review here, as this is the first time I'm doing a video review of a bottle that I've reviewed in text form before. (Unless you count getting Pilsner Urquell and Budvar in Prague, but that's a special circumstance.)

My numerical rating: 9.5/10

My original review:

Purchased from Midtown Wine and Spirits, Nashville, TN.

I honestly didn't think I'd like this beer. Perhaps I was swayed by the ad copy on the back of the bottle, but I was thinking that this would be a super-hopped monster that I would personally find very disagreeable, as I am not a big fan of overhoppy beers. Don't get me wrong, this is a pretty hoppy brew, but it's not so far out of whack that it's intimidating; in fact, the hops and the fruit flavors actually work pretty well together. This beer deserves its high ranking among beer advocates, and now I only wish I'd bought a couple more of these when I went up to Nashville a couple of weeks ago.

Appearance is, for me, the best part of this beer. Forget the fantastic printed bottle, forget the clever ad copy on the back that informs the potential buyer of how intense this beer is, and just give this beer a nice solid pour into a pint glass. Pours a deep, deep, red color and forms a fantastically creamy head that sticks around for the entire length of the beer, even when topping off the glass from the bottle. Looks almost like a ruby stout, it's so thick and dark -- I was totally impressed by the appearance of this beer, so give it one of my very-rare fives.

Smell is very nice, with a hop character that is very present, and beneath it a nice fruity ester. It made me think of a very bitter apple juice, actually, but I mean it in the best way possible. I didn't get a lot more complexities off the nose, but it was a very nice beer to sniff and I enjoyed it a lot.

Taste is very similar to the nose -- I didn't get any suprises here. Again, reminded me of a very, very bitter apple juice, pleasant as far as it goes, but nothing that knocked my socks off. The beer tasted good and finished clean, leaving little aftertaste, so I'm giving it high marks -- very pleasant.

The mouthfeel was a very nice thing about this beer, as the one real shock I had in store was just how thick this thing was. The beer coated my tongue admirably, swishing it around in my mouth made me realize that the last word I'd use to describe this beer was "watery"; this beer almost felt like syrup going down. Still, it was a cleansing kind of thickness, and left virtually no residue behind. Again, made me think of a nice stout in terms of consistency.

Good high score on drinkability. The clean finish and good taste make it a very easy-drinking beer, but I can't imagine finishing off more than one 22oz bottle of this beer, and probably couldn't even do one if it was very hot outside at that particular moment. Drinkable, enjoyable, but I'm going to stop at just one, thanks.

Next time I'm in Tennessee I'm absolutely going to buy a few bottles of this to keep on-hand. Too expensive to really drink everyday, but it's a nice beer to have for when it's needed. Until I can lay my hands on it again, I guess I'll get buy on Rogue American Amber.

EDIT 06-18-2005

I bought another bottle of this in Fayetteville, and upon another tasting, I've decided to up my "taste" rating from a 4 to a 4.5. Really fantastic taste, nicely balanced between hoppiness and sweet tartness. I only wish this stuff didn't cost six dollars a bottle, and I didn't have to drive forty-five minutes to get it.

(I was very wordy in those days!)