Archive for October, 2010

I’m still in the process of trying all different kinds of beers in an effort to further my beer knowledge and palate. We’ll call it “research”. In addition to being tasty and fun my “research” has another upside. I’m keeping all the bottles for my home brewing endeavours.

Seriously, who in their right mind would spend $35+ for 24 EMPTY low-quality bottles?? I can spend almost half that and they come with a tasty beer treat inside. The downside – cleaning. Meh, oh well.

I recently tried a few brews but didn’t post for each one of them. I’m going to lump them all in here mainly because i’m lazy.

St. Peter’s Cream Stout

The unique bottle is what drew me to try one of St. Peter’s brews.
St. Peter's Cream Stout

The malty beverage is dark ruby with enough light but black otherwise. A tan head is present but quickly dissipates. Almost no lacing at all. The aroma is sweet – chocolate, dark fruit (almost wine-like) some hints of coffee. The stout has a bittersweet taste which includes the chocolate and coffee flavors. Fuggle hops provide a warm earthy aroma and challenger hops provide a slight english bitterness. The creamy mouthfeel combines with the sweetness but is not overpowering. Aftertaste is clean and somewhat smokey.

Overall this beer is smooth, easy to drink and not too overly sweet. A nice “traditional” English brew.

Black Pearle Dark IPA – By RJRockers

Would you like some IPA with your chocolate and coffee? I mean holy hell, take a sip of this and it’s like someone dunked your head into a vat of espresso and chocolate sauce.

Their site reads:

The first release in the “Ales from the Dark Side” series…A dark, roasted twist on the traditional IPA that uses an absurd amount of malt and is “octo-hopped” with the German Perle hop. The biggest beer in the RJ Rockers linup to date.
9.5% abv

Absurd is definitely a good word. The malt hits you in the mouth with rich semi-sweet chocolate and coffee flavors and is just barely cut down by the hops that follow. I will be honest, I did not finish the 22oz bottle. This to me is something I could enjoy in a smaller goblet and just one at that. Not bad, just different and not my cup of tea.


I wanted to get away from all the run-of-the-mill pale ales, strong/Imperial brews and just wanted something that was easy to drink and enjoyable. I’ve tried three Hefewiezens so far. In order of personal preference, Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, Widmer Brothers Hefewiezen and Dream Weaver Wheat.

Sierra Nevada is by far my favorite of the three. You get that classic wheat flavor along with a tiny bit of spice from the yeast. Its balanced and not too “tangy”. I could easily down a bunch of these. Apparently SN ferments this beer “Bavarian style” where the fermentation is open to the air. This supposedly adds “depth and complexity”. I dunno, I just know its very good.

Widmer Brothers Hefewiezen is a little different. Whatever yeast they use in this beer must finish very clean because you get a very clean taste – almost lager-like. Good flavor but not as rich as the Sierra Nevada hefe. Number two on my list.

Dream Weaver Wheat. Do not like. Something about the finish just puts me off. Perhaps it was a sub-par batch but it seemed almost sour. Now I know some beers are purposely sour but I do not believe this is supposed to be. Definitely not dreaming about this beer.

Anyway, thats all I’ve got for now. Cheers.


Fishing for Pumpkin Stout

Posted: October 22, 2010 by Sko DZ in Uncategorized

So, tried a Pumpkin Stout on the porch a day ago.

Fisherman’s Imperial Pumpkin Stout, which is code for a little bit stronger than their standard pumpkin stout (  ) , presented in the large single bottle.  I say just go for the six-pack… Like many stouts this was creamy and sweet.  The thing to set it apart is the spice, a nice wonderful spice that sits at the back of the palette.  But that was the only difference.  I tried to pick up the hints of pumpkin, I did, but I couldn’t get it on the nose, could not get it in taste,  the spice I think over powered the more subtle flavors of pumpkin.  I know the pumpkin flavor was part of the sweetness of the beer but that pumpkin was hiding in a patch of other flavors.  NONE THE LESS,  I would get the beer again,  just maybe in the standard Stout form.  

A good beer to drink while watching the leaves fall from the trees.  Sko DZ

In my short days of searching for my next favorite beer, I discovered about 3 years ago a flavor that can’t be mimicked. For a large portion of time I was having beer smuggled into Maryland for me from the Pennsylvania border. The distributor in Indiana couldn’t actually ship directly to Maryland due to the import laws for foreign beers in the state. Which, if you have an extended pallet, is a bit annoying. Horay, for encouraging the microbrew, bad if you want to taste anything that’s been trying to develop the perfect taste for the last 800 years.

In one of the random samples I once received from this beer house, I had this small stubby brown bottle from a brewery called Schlenkerla (the link is in german, so have fun if you follow it).  Otherwise known as Brauerei Heller-Trum.

The glass was like drinking heaven. It was in all beers, the best thing I had ever had. It is seemingly dark and like many imports, it’s smooth. Now, I know all beers are described as smooth. As Scott’s father pointed out on a Sunday football game, “what beer has ever been described differently?” And, though we all may know what that means saying “smooth,” as we all have had a ‘Fail‘ Indian Pale Ale or the ‘Robust‘ unique flavor of a speciality beer, some things are not smooth. They are rough. They can be so overwelming in flavor, if you were forced to chug the beer in some sort of sick Beer Hell, you’d get one gulp in and the rest run out the side of your mouth. That’s not smooth. So when Coor’s Light describes it as ‘Smooth,’ they are right; it is. It’s water, of course it’s smooth. So saying smooth is not really always a compliment.  When I say smooth, I mean, unlike a light water beer that you can just swallow, this has color and can easily be downed just due to its flavor and texture. It wants to go down.

And the beauty of most imports, especially non-microbrewers, are the general lack of preservatives. Many of the lagers coming out of Germany, especially bachs, are meant to age. Sulfates and other sodium preservatives just don’t exist, otherwise they may defeat the purpose. The result, you can ‘accidently’ drink your face off and not really feel horrible. A local micro-brew may not use Sulfates, but they are using something to preserve their beer. It’s like take-out Chinese, you may not use MSG, but you are using something. Salts and Sodium ruin beers, but that’s my opinion. And that’s what gives me such joy out of getting my hands on beers like a Bamberger.

There are just some flavors you can’t describe, if you can’t get your hands on it, do so. What makes the beer unique and why you can’t really mimick it easy, is something I can’t describe to you. This isn’t a beer that gets my thumbs up, or goes on my order again list. Oh no, this beer bottle went to the top of my shelf, as a memory of its flavor. I even went all the way to try and buy a speciality goblet from the brewer, but decided that that’s a gift best spent when I can get to the town itself. This isn’t an A list beer to me, this is my beer. Writing on it, makes me salavate.

The beer is a ‘Smoked Beer,’ specifically a Rauchbier (german for smoked beer). What makes the town of Bamberg special in Bavaria, Germany is that it’s brewers keep up a tradition of drying out the malt over a the beechwood fire. For whatever reason, that I have no idea why since I’m not a brewer, the beechwood smoked out drying process makes the most delicious flavor. And that’s what makes it so unique, that’s why it’s a Bamberger, not just a Ruchbier.

Due to its expense in the states, I generally can’t get my hands on this stuff. In my time, I’ve only really been able to try out about 3 Bambergers, all of which were amazing. It wasn’t until last week that we went out to a speciality Belgium style restaurant in Chicago, that my heart soared through the sky. Not only did they have one of the best import beer selections I had ever seen (other than the Hopleaf in the same city), they had the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier on tap for $6 a goblet.

Just the upper right hand side of their beer list.

Now as my friend Scott can tell you, the food was over-priced, well-done, but overpriced small fancy proportioned wallet destroyers. The beer however, I could have stayed forever for. They wouldn’t let us stay past 7:30 though, so … we had about 4 rounds of tries and moved on. But for a short time, I got a beer on tap, I never thought I would see.

As a side note, old beers like Rauchbiers aren’t supposed to compressed and then carbonized through a tap as we know most ‘on draught beers.’ The proper way, is to literally tap the wood cask the beer is in and pour away. Now that right there, that is my goal. To Bamberg, home to my sweet, sweet pleasure… one day.

Stone – Sublimely Self-Righteous

Posted: October 8, 2010 by Overclocked in Order It Again!
Tags: , ,

I figured it’s time for another blog/beer review

When I think of an Ale, stout is not normally what comes to mind. Yes, I know a stout is technically a type of ale but I think of an ale as amber to medium brown. Tonight I sampled the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale by Stone Brewing Co. Far from medium brown and worlds away from amber, this dark ale surprised me.

Stone describes this as their 11th anniversary ale which was such a hit that they brought it back for “Limited Year-Round Availability”. Not a bad decision. The bottle looks nice – I’m a fan of the “painted on” labels (not sure of the correct terminology here but you know what I mean). They could have done without the novel on the back of the bottle but, it’s just a bottle. What I care about is inside.

The beer is dark, rich and produces a frothy head, which settles slowly and clings to the glass. Simcoe and Amarillo hops are immediately noticeable on the nose – floral and smooth. Both types of hops can produce a slight citrus scent but i’m thinking most of it is masked by the malty aromas that also comes forth from the brew. The first taste is mostly hops and smooth malt, the malt coming in towards the end of the taste and lingering slightly with the aftertaste. I can get hints of rich sweet caramel and chocolate aromas on the next few tastes. Delicious.

At this point i’m genuinely surprised. I was first expecting your standard “ale”, then upon pouring, realized that this was probably going to be closer to a stout, THEN upon tasting, I get a little of both worlds. IPA and Stout combined? Apparently this beer is rated at 90 IBUs. Very impressive considering it does not taste like a mouthful of grass and flowers. Stone did a great job on the grain bill. They balanced 90 IBUs (which is approaching double and triple IPA territory) with a good malt and body presence. Dry hopping is used in this recipe and that can lead to an excess of floral flavors and bitterness building up on the palate simply because this beer is so ‘big’. A small price to pay in my opinion.

Yes, I would definitely get this again. Definitely a sip and savor type of brew.

Beer Stuff:

  • Malt: 2-row; 6-row?; chocolate malt; black patent; crystal (all estimated)
  • Hops: Chinook (bittering); Simcoe, Amarillo (aroma and dry hopping)
  • IBU: 90
  • SRM: Who knows? It’s black!
  • ABV: 8.7%

Bewitched and Brewed With Pagan Spirit

Posted: October 5, 2010 by Overclocked in Uncategorized

Ahh yes, it is that time of year again. The time of the pumpkin beers has come!

My first “real” pumpkin ale – Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Imperial PumKing. The 22oz bottle reads:

Brewed in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, a time of year when spirits can make contact withthe physical world and when magic is most potent. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow it’s alluring spirit to overflow. As spcie aromas present themselves, let it’s deep copper color entrance you as your journey into this mystical brew has just begun. As the first drops touch your tongue a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds making it difficult to escape the Pumking

Well they certainly got the pumpkin right with this one. The immediate aroma is that of pumpkin pie and something that I cannot fully identify, almost coffee like, maybe a dark caramel malt? Upon tasting, the pumpkin flavors roll in along with the spices and bitterness. Holding the sip for a moment to taste gives you a chance to really identify the pumpkin pie flavor and again, that coffee-like caramel flavor appears.

I can say that I am not a fan of the hops in this brew. Magnum hops are used for bittering and they don’t hide. It is a clean bitter taste, not grassy, just not my cup of tea. Adding to the bitter taste/feel is the 9.0% ABV. Oh yeah, this is an Imperial ale after all. (Which may or may not be a good thing. Wait, who am I kidding? It’s fuckin awesome.) With this punkin’ ale, there seems to be more pumpkin than spice. I can barely make out the cinnamon and I don’t really get much of anything else. No nutmeg, no allspice. I guess it could just be me…

This brew seems to really get that pumpkin flavor across but also seems to be lacking in the spice department. I’m not disappointed with this beer but it’s not at the very top of my list. I doubt I’d go out of my way to get it again.

Beer Stuff:

  • Malt: 2-row pale; Caramel
  • Hops: Magnum (bittering); Sterling (aroma)
  • IBU: 20-30 (my estimated guess)
  • SRM: 10-12
  • ABV: 9.0%

*On a side note – as awesome as the title is, it’s not mine. I stole it off the bottle.

If Dogs Could Fly..

Posted: October 5, 2010 by Overclocked in Order It Again!

Would they also deliver me some beers? Man’s best friend, gliding on furry dog-wings with six-packs lashed to their backs? I think it would be a wonderful world…

Flying Dog “Doggie Style” Classic Pale Ale. If I could sum this brew up I think, “deliciously full flavored and hoppy” would do. A “beginner’s IPA” could also suffice.

I recently discovered this tasty pale ale after diving into the world of home brewing. While researching different styles of beer to brew at home, I came to the realization that for the homebrewer, ales can be easier to brew than lagers. More on that later.

I figured, if i’m going to be brewing mostly ales, I might as well start trying a few. I had always enjoyed lagers and their crisp clean taste, not realizing that there were plenty of ales with a similar “clean” feel. I had seen Flying Dog before but never really paid attention to anything other than the zombie-like cartoon dog on the front. I figured I’d try my luck and picked up a sixer of the doggie style pale ale. I knew nothing about this beer (or much about pale ales for that matter) other than the nice little “scale” on the pack which is supposed to represent how malty or hoppy the beer is. This one falls about three quarters of the way up from malty, closer to the hoppy side. Now for the details.

A good pour into a room temperature glass will produce an “ok” head – not astounding but not disappointing. The head will dissipate within a few minutes alluding perhaps to a pleasant mouthfeel without being “chewy”. They did get the ‘pale’ right on this one; A nice pale amber and almost reddish-copper in color. I’m guessing 10, maybe 12 SRM.

A noticeable floral aroma is present with a good sniff which will include a slight maltyness as the beer warms. The first taste is a burst of floral flavor with good bitterness. The bitterness isn’t a smack in the face but it is pronounced thanks to the dry-hopping with Cascade hops. The malt flavors follow but still allow the hops to show through. A very slight sweetness from the Crystal malt lingers but not for too long. I think the mouthfeel from this brew is perfect – just enough body while still clean at the end. As you drink up, the bitterness and floral notes remain on your tongue, kept in check by the relatively dark Crystal malt.

I thoroughly enjoyed this brew. Flavorful and pleasant hops balanced by sweet caramel malt with just enough body. Definitely on my list to brew myself.

Beer Stuff:
Malts: Pale 2-row; 120L Crystal
Hops: Northern Brewer (bittering); Cascade (aroma) (dry-hopped)
IBU: 35
ABV: 5.5%