Archive for the ‘Beer Thoughts’ Category

So I happened upon  a thought last night while drinking a beer and watching a movie.  The movie was Prince of Persia:  something about sand,  and I got to say it was at least entertaining.  Now, the newer games on which this is based I have not played (but rocked it old school back on the Amiga 500, whatup whatup) so it was nice to come into this with no expectations at all.   But, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t like watching Assassins Creed during the running, jumping, and making the way through open air markets.   And I know it wasn’t just me that picked up on the eagle eye moments.  

The more important part of the viewing though was the beer.   Awhile back my Dad and I came across a brew at Goose Island (that I should really talk about sometime) which was as strong a bourbon beer as a bourbon style beer can get.  Since then he has been looking for something similar.  Michelob’s Winter Bourbon Cask Ale was the latest attempt (look at what I did Meh, I linked the word WOOT), when picking it up he didn’t know it was a Micheob.The taste was acceptable, I liked it, with hints of the bourbon, hops, and a carmel flare (couldn’t taste the vanilla).  But as quick as these flavors appeared, poof, they smoothly drifted away.  And that would be my issue with this beer.  It’s too smooth, like many of the  big company beers it’s so smooth you don’t taste it after it’s been swallowed.  Makes it nice for people who are timid about trying new things but those looking for more from a beer trying to be Craft it’s just not enough.

Here’s the thought I talked about in the first line.

When learning about wine, I was told the difference between good and less expensive wines.  At first they all tasted the same (which at the time to me was like gross grape juice).  Then after that I started picking up the flavors that these crazy people were talking about.  (I started by saying everything had a deep berry flavor for a long while and no one got I had no clue what I was talking about) After getting my wine wings drinking way too many bottles, I finally could get the difference.  Just like that one day I got it.  Time for the test; a $15  vs.  $75 bottle.  The 15 was good, I loved it and for the most part this is the only type I would ever drink.  The 75 was also good, but the difference was that the good lasted so much longer.  The flavors danced on my tongue long after the wine had made its way along.  As it sat in my mouth more and more flavors would come to life.  It was more complex. 

So the same thing must stand true on beer, even if the prices are similar.   Each beer has its place but I don’t know if I’m all about big beer company’s trying to fake people out with a craft brew label.  To those who know, you know what you’re getting when you see the package.  But what about those that don’t?  Are they getting robbed of a true craft brew experience?   Should I call Michelobs offerings flavored beer?   Is craft brew only to be used on small start-up company’s trying to take on the giants until they one day themselves become a giant whose beer is referred to as flavored? 

At this point I realized I was lost rambling in thought and gave into the pretty pictures on the TV…

Sko DZ

Barleywine Anyone?

Posted: November 1, 2010 by Overclocked in Beer Thoughts
Tags: , ,

Tried my first barleywine today. Specifically, a 2008 Schlafly Reserve – Barelywine-Style Ale by The Saint Louis Brewery.

Seeing as this is my first barelywine, lets take a quick look at what this beverage actually is. Generally a barleywine is a strong beer ranging from 8% – 12% abv that has been aged a certain amount of time. Barleywines are ‘big’ beers meaning they use a lot of grain relative to the desired batch size. This means the beer will start with a high specific-gravity and therefore, will have a higher alcohol-by-volume when finished fermenting. The reason barelywines are aged is to mellow, or ‘marry’ the flavors in the beer. The large grain bill and high alcohol content will benefit from years of aging which allows the flavors to combine into something tasty rather than a ‘rough’ taste. (A beer that has little time to age will have flavors that are still very strong and can often overpower each other)

The pour produces a very nice dark amber almost red color with medium haze. A very small 1-finger head shows up and then vanishes. The aroma of very sweet caramel malt is present along with dark fruit (plums perhaps?). Two years of aging has almost eliminated any hop aromas.

Upon the first taste I realized I am using the wrong glass. A standard pint glass is not the correct vessel for this beverage. A goblet or wide-mouth glass would be more suitable. Nonetheless, it tastes very complex. The sweet caramel maltyness coats the inside of your mouth and combines with the aroma to become almost too sweet. Hop bitterness is very very slight but still there. Alcohol hides very well and is pretty much unnoticeable. The sweetness now combines with hints of dark fruit and the oak starts to come in at the end of the taste. The aftertaste is full of oak and sweetness.

Halfway through the pint glass and the taste has almost grown on me. Its still a very different beer than what i’m used to. Still a nice drink to try. I would personally prefer a sharper, perhaps more toasted oak flavor to balance the sweetness. This beer was aged on new Missouri oak with a ‘medium toast’. The new oak definitely adds to the sweet flavor. A heavier toast or aging with an older bourbon barrel along with more hop presence (perhaps a 1-year bottle) might have suited my tastes better.

– Overclocked

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.

Hefewiezens

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.