30 June 2010

Video: Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA

Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA (bottle)
Grand Rapids, MI
12.0% ABV

I'm about to spend a month in Prague, so when Founders Devil Dancer came in two days before I left, I knew it'd be my last review before I had to go on hiatus.

I'll definitely be taking my video camera and I'll do my best to upload vids from Prague, but no guarantees. This blog may go back to text-only for awhile.

My numerical rating: 8.5/10

29 June 2010

Video: Thames Welsh ESB

Thames Welsh ESB (bottle)
Wales, UK
6.5% ABV

I thought this wasn't available in my area when I bought it, and continued to labor under that delusion until after I filmed the video, but I've seen this at my store and I believe we may have a bottle or two on the shelf. My bad. Anyway, this is a decent ESB (if a bit over-drying and astringent) and anyone who likes the style should at least give it a shot.

My numerical rating: 8.0/10

27 June 2010

Video: Michigan Brewing Superior Stout

Michigan Brewing Superior Stout (bottle)
Webberville, MI
5.5% ABV

Another quick after-work review here. Shana was watching TV near the computer, so I filmed this in the spare bedroom. I think it worked out pretty well.

MBC makes decent beers, but rarely great ones. At least, from what I've tasted in bottles -- I've heard that the stuff they make for sale on-tap at the pub is much better. I'll definitely try to make it out there one of these days.

26 June 2010

Declining Hops in Macros?

I found this video over at Beervana. Ken Grossman talks about declining hops in macro beers over the last couple of decades.

Grossman on Declining IBUs in Macro Beers from Jeff Alworth on Vimeo.

Of course, for us craft drinkers 15 or 16 IBUs is still a very low-hopped beer, but it's interesting that even beers that aren't considered hoppy at all (like, say, my beloved hefeweizens and sweet stouts) will have in the order of 20-30 IBUs. That lab testing indicates that macro beers are literally hopped in the single digits shows just how mild those beers really are.

I wasn't drinking beer twenty years ago, but I've heard anecdotes of older folks talking about how back in the day Coors was the most flavorful beer around. Even stories about smuggling cases of the stuff across several states when it was only available out west. The evidence of the lab testing would seem to indicate that by the standard of 1985 or whatever, Coors was indeed something special.

Also, posted without commentary, there's this old Keystone ad from the nineties.

Video: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout (can)
Lyons, CO
9.5% ABV

I don't have a lot of commentary on this one. I talk for a minute or so about yesterday's Magic Hat review, but then get right to reviewing this Impy Stout. A bit too high in the fusel alcohol flavor for me, without the roastiness that really makes a nice RIS. It's good, but falls short of great for me.

My numerical rating: 7.5/10

25 June 2010

Video: Magic Hat Wacko

Magic Hat Wacko (bottle)
South Burlington, VT
4.5% ABV

I was tired from work when I filmed this, and honestly the beer was terrible, so I basically just laughed through the whole thing. I decided to just let the whole thing run un-edited because I was so obviously trying to find something positive to say about this beer. I usually find Magic Hat accessible but mediocre, so it's actually pretty unusual that I disliked this one that much.

I did end up finishing this bottle, but I had a bottle of Anchor Old Foghorn immediately after to make up for the crappy beer. Sometimes that's just the luck of the draw. It happens.

24 June 2010

Video: Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron (bottle)
Milton, DE
12.0% ABV

Am I posting too many videos? I'm hoping to get more text-based content out soon, but for right now I'm just having a lot of fun playing with the camera. It's a new experience for me putting myself out front a little bit more in these reviews, and I've learned a lot about the need for performance and entertainment even from just doing very simple locked-off shots like these.

I'm still working out technical issues. I know these kind of look like crap, partly because I'm using a cheap video camera and partly because there's virtually no place in my house that has decent lighting. Sorry.

23 June 2010

Video: O'Hara's Irish Red

O'Hara's Irish Red (bottle)
Carlow, Ireland
4.3% ABV

These had been sitting at the store for awhile, as we got a good deal on a few cases and put them on sale earlier this year. I stuck a four-pack into a corner to purchase, then forgot all about them. Still tasty and worthy of review, though.

My numerical rating: 6.0/10

22 June 2010

Video: Anchor Old Foghorn

Anchor Old Foghorn (bottle)
San Francisco, CA
8.8% ABV

This ended up being a very short mini-review, partly due to technical issues and partly because I just didn't have a lot to say about this beer, as good as it is. These shorts ones are easier to shoot, edit, and upload, so I may be using that format a little bit more often for stuff that I've had quite a bit before.

21 June 2010

Video: Dragonmead Under the Kilt Wee Heavy

Dragonmead Under the Kilt Wee Heavy (bottle)
Warren, MI
7.8% ABV

I had some focus issues on this one, because I think I was a bit too close to the camera and whenever my hand moved too close the auto-focus went out of whack. For future vids I'll try to stay a bit further back. I'm also working on getting a bit more light, although it's tough because I basically live in a cave.

20 June 2010

Video: Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale

Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale (bottle)
Munster, IN
6.0% ABV

I recorded this the other day while I was waiting for my oven to pre-heat. Thus it's less meandering and less edited than some of the others I've posted. I'm still playing with my method of recording, but this seems to work well.

My numerical rating: 7.5/10

18 June 2010

Video: New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale and a Bonus!

New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale (bottle)
Fort Collins, CO
5.5% ABV

New Belgium's not available in Michigan, yet, but Scott was in Indiana a couple of weeks ago and picked up a couple of bottles for me. As I say in the vid, this one was for my friend John and Katie, who love New Belgium but are currently in France and probably don't have access to it.

I was trying something new in the filming, which was I decided to just set the camera down and record myself drinking the whole bottle, which I then edited down to an appropriate length. The result is a very low-energy performance that meandered quite a bit. I got very philosophical and chatty at points, although I didn't leave that footage in.

My bonus vid was shot minutes after the other one. I found a bottle without a label at the store the other day, and figured I'd buy it and record myself drinking it. In the vid I make it clear at the time I thought it was from Dark Horse, but DH doesn't use golden caps on their bottles. Currently I'm thinking it's either a Dragonmead bottle or Michigan Brewing Company's Nut Brown Ale. I'll probably never know for sure, but hopefully it's entertaining anyway.

The quality is worse on these than I thought it'd be. I think I'm losing resolution in the final video publishing process, which is probably a sign that my software is cutting corners somewhere. I'm working on it.

13 June 2010

Video: Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale

Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale (bottle)
Lakewood, NY
5.8% ABV

Another new vid.

I ran into issues rating this one, just because of the philosophical question around whether I should rate for style or for personal taste. I've always been one to try to understand the brewer's intentions first and foremost, and I tried to be very fair to this beer as I am to all beers. It's a fine APWA, really, but it just isn't interesting to me and I'll never buy it again.

Is it fair to knock a beer just because I personally don't like it? I don't know -- if you were to only judge a beer based on style, Bud and Miller would be highly-rated beers, too, at least a seven or eight out of ten. I think on some level personal taste has to play a factor, and since here I've given my honest opinion, my conscience is clear.

My numerical rating: 5.0/10

11 June 2010

Video: Wernesgruner Pilsner

Wernesgruner Pilsner (bottle)
Steinberg-Wernesgrun, Germany
4.9% ABV

Another new vid, this one of a beer I'd never seen or even heard of before picking up the sixer: Wernesgruner Pilsner.

It was worth trying, but not very good.

My overall numerical rating: 4.0/10

10 June 2010

Video: Short's Black Licorice Lager

Short's Black Licorice Lager (bottle)
Elk Rapids, MI
8.0% ABV

Videoed this yesterday, posted it this morning, but forgot to link to it here. Yet another video beer review, of Short's Black Licorice Lager.

In general, I like the immediacy of the video beer blogging, but the reviews lack a bit because they're not quite as nuanced as what I can produce in text format. I think there'll be a place for both in this spot, at least so long as I still find it amusing to film myself drinking beer.

I promise I'll produce more actual text comment soon. Although at the time of this writing I've already filmed one more video which will probably be posted tomorrow, so be prepared for at least one more before I get all intellectual on you again.

08 June 2010

Video: Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale

Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale (bottle)
Chico, CA
6.7% ABV

Another new vid. This is a fun way to work through some of my backlog of bottles, but it does take a while to get finished.

This one's a lot more choppy and edited than the others. Mostly because I rambled on for a long time and went way off-topic for the review, and wanted to keep the whole thing under ten minutes. One day maybe I'll include a blooper reel of all the stuff that I couldn't use in the real videos.

My numerical score: 7.0/10

07 June 2010

Video Beer Review, Rogue XS Imperial Red Ale

Rogue XS Imperial Red Ale (bottle)
Newport, OR
9.0% ABV

New video review. I promise I'll go back to doing text reviews sooner or later. Probably going to record another one this afternoon.

My numerical rating: 6.5/10

I'm getting away from using the BA scoring system for awhile, just for the hell of it. I'm not even inputting my video reviews into BA.

02 June 2010

Video Beer Review, New Holland Imperial Hatter

New Holland Imperial Hatter
Holland, MI
9.4 ABV

Yeah, that's right, I decided to do another video. This time I'm reviewing New Holland's Imperial Hatter. Great beer. Here's the vid:

My overall BA rating: 4.25/5

My Homebrew: Abbey Ale

I actually brewed this on May 27, as any of you who might have been reading my Twitter would probably already know, but I forgot to do the formal write-up of my recipe and such.

10 lbs Vienna Malt
1 lb Belgian Biscuit Malt
1 lb Chocolate Malt
1 lb Belgian Special B Malt
1 oz Styrian Goldings (60 min)
0.5 oz Saaz (30 min)
0.5 oz Saaz (15 min)
White Labs Abbey Ale Yeast (WLP530)

The wort ended up a tad bit on the dark side, which is probably a sign that I used too much chocolate malt. I'll cut back to half a pound if I make a similar batch again. I probably mashed with just a tad too much water, as my gravity reading was only 1.055, a bit below my target. Oh well, it smelled good when I was boiling and I'll bet it turns out fine.

I'm thinking I may do a DIPA next and let it age while I'm in Prague for July. Always open to suggestions, though....