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.