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!)

07 August 2010

Brooklyn Monster Ale 2009

Brooklyn Monster Ale 2009 (bottle)
Brooklyn, NY
10.1% ABV

I had a bottle of this before I left for Prague, but decided to review it after Youtube beertuber MasterOfHoppets drank a 2005 bottling while I was out of country. I'm more of a fan of the hoppier, bolder American-style barleywines, but this one is quite a nice example of the English tradition, even if it's made in Brooklyn.

My numerical rating: 7.0/10

06 August 2010

A Day in Prague

On July 27, 2010, I decided to film myself going about my normal business. I shot maybe forty-five minutes of video, and edited it down into eighteen minutes which I snipped into two Youtube videos for your enjoyment.

Part One:

Part Two:

A fair portion of the vids involves me walking to and from stores looking for beers, but I do a bit of commentary about my life in Prague and show off a few sights in the process, so please at least give both parts a shot if you're interested in seeing what my daily life in Prague was like.

05 August 2010

Video: Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold (bottle)
Cleveland, OH
5.8% ABV

This one was in honor of Harvey Pekar, who died while I was in Prague and didn't have access to American beer. Pekar was from Cleveland, and so I thought a fitting tribute to him would be to review a beer from a microbrewery in Cleveland, even though so far as I know Harvey wasn't a beer drinker and didn't have any particular connection to Great Lakes Brewing.

Anyway, this was a very nice dry malty lager, with lots of complexity and a crisp hoppiness. I'd definitely buy it again.

My numerical rating: 7.0/10

04 August 2010

Last Two Beer Reviews from Praha

Primator English Pale Ale (bottle)
Kocour Varnsdorf/Lausitzer Kirsch Porter

My internet access was down for the last two days I was in Prague, but I shot these two reviews before I left and uploaded them this morning.

First up was the Primator English Pale Ale. Tasted like a quite traditional English ale to me, finely crafted and with a nice fruity estery character, well-worth the search that I had to go on to find it.

My numerical rating: 6.5/10

Here's the review of the Pivovar Varnsdorf/Lausitzer Kirsch Porter. This was very disappointing, being a bit overly sweet and not having any strong porter characteristics, but that's why we actually try all these instead of just accepting them as given, right?

My numerical rating: 4.5/10

01 August 2010

Video: Chotebor Premium

Chotebor Premium (bottle)
Chotebor, Czech Republic
5.0% ABV

Another microbrewed lager from right here in the Czech Republic. Chotebor is another one of the widely talked-about Czech microbreweries, and this one did not disappoint. A beautifully balanced Czech lager.

Note: I picked this up at Galerie Piva, near the Charles Bridge. Very much worth your time for any vacationing beer geeks.

My numerical rating: 7.0/10

Video: Pivovarsky Dum Russian Imperial Stout

Pivovarsky Dum Russian Imperial Stout (bottle)
Prague, Czech Republic
8.5% ABV

The Pivovarsky Dum (Brewing House) brewpub makes a Russian Imperial Stout, only available in bottles, which I decided I had to try before I left. My girlfriend shot this review for me on-location at the brewpub, so thanks to her for the effort.

Sorry about the audio, There was a small child banging on the table behind the camera which came out louder on screen than it was in the pub, and I was trying to stay reasonably quiet so as to not draw unnecessary attention to my English-speaking self.

My numerical rating: 9.0/10