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12-08-2006 , 08:49 PM
Interestingly enough, this year's Brooklyn Winter Ale is completely different than previous years. According to ratebeer, it's a scotch ale. Here are the links for those interested.

Brooklyn Christmas Ale
Brooklyn Winter Ale

I know I seem like a comment box at the moment, but I think I'm going to give my 12/29/04 batch of Victory Old Horizontal another try tonight and potentially give it a rerate for any interested parties. It's been about 5 months since I first drank it. Don't know if much has changed, but I thought I should make sure it's still drinkable before bringing it to the relatives' place for Christmas.
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12-08-2006 , 09:50 PM
This winter ale is unlike any other Scotch ale I've ever had. The others have all been much darker and maltier.

Well, I got one more for the night. I didn't like leaving leaving on such mediocrity. So I cracked open a bottle of Sam Adams Winter Lager.

The beer pours light brown with a moderate head, a little more than the others. This beer smells maltier and spicier than the Brooklyn. Tastes that way, too. It has a little bit of the gingerbread flavor of the CB, but not as much. The malt isn't as rich, but it's a little thicker than the Brooklyn. It's a solid beer, but it's not too exceptional. I'm awarding it and a half .
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12-08-2006 , 10:14 PM
So I tried another Victory Horizontal tonight and I must say it holds up well. Though I probably idealized it a bit the first time by being influenced by reviews, it tastes about the same. When I opened the bottle I was greeted by the smell of hops initially but then a second or two later became the familiar caramel, plum, and alcohol smell I remembered. Poured a nice red with absolutely no head, which was interesting since the carbonation was very lively. When I swirled it in my snifter, I could hear it fizzing. The taste was somewhat sweet yet peppery. The finish is still pretty hoppy. I can only imagine what it was like almost two years ago. This is around the right amount of hop bitterness for me personally. I'm not much of a fan of hop bombs (for me, Stone IPA is a huge hop bomb) and this was certainly less hoppy than Hair of the Dog Fred. Overall, this is still a pretty solid brew and I may knock it down a bit to .
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12-09-2006 , 12:19 AM
That's a barleywine, right? I've considered getting it a few times, but I haven't yet. I'll include it this spring when/if I go on a hoppy beer binge.
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12-09-2006 , 01:32 AM
Well, at the risk of being considered an alcoholic, I've got one more beer review. I was planning on being out till late, but it turned out that the dance wasn't all that great. Oh well.

I'm sick of mediocre winter ales, so I'm changing it up. At the recommendation of Spy Dog, I picked up the Weihenstephaner Dunkel. I loved the Hefeweissbier, and he said he liked the Dunkel more. I was anxious to try it. I paid $3.19 for a 16 oz bottle, same as the light version.

The beer pours a nice cloudy brown color with the good head I've come to expect from the variety, and bottle-conditioned beers in general. Smelling it, it smells sweet and slightly of banana and clove, but mostly of the malt. Tasting it, I must confess I'm somewhat disappointed. The beer is good, but it's not as rich and complex as the Weiss. The body is solid, but the additional flavors of fruit and spice are either absent or not as pronounced. I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with Spy Dog here and award this beer . It's a good beer no doubt, but it doesn't live up to high standard of their lighter offering. I wouldn't pay the premium price this beer commands, either. The light one is worth it, but this isn't. In fact, I haven't reviewed it formally, but I think I prefer the Julius Echter Dunkel to this Dunkel, so if I'm in the mood for a Dunkel, I'll go for the cheaper Julius Echter.
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12-09-2006 , 05:15 PM
I didn't mind the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, I paired it up against the Full Sail Wassail, and the SN was a much better beer, hands down.

They're a bit too hoppy for my tastes, and all tend to taste very similar.

I forgot to review Spaten's Optimator. I'll grab another 16oz and do a review on it...definitely worthy.
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12-09-2006 , 09:27 PM
OK, time for some stout reviews. First up is Cooper's Extra Stout. I paid $2.39 for a 12.7 oz bottle of this Aussie beer. I'm not sure of the ABV. Like all Cooper's beers, this beer is bottle fermented.

The beer pours nice and black, but without much head, unfortunately. It smells of coffee and alcohol. Taking a sip, the coffee flavor comes through nicely, and fortunately, the alcohol isn't too pronounced. There's a good flavor from the yeast, too. Rather than being cloudy like most bottle fermented beers, this beer has little chunks of yeast floating around in it. I can't say that helps its appearance. The flavor of this beer doesn't linger very long, and it's a bit on the watery side. The initial flavor is good, but it's not as rich or thick as many stouts. I'm awarding this and a half .

My secound stout will be Rogue's Shakespeare Stout. I paid $5.69 for a 22oz. Again, I'm not sure of the ABV.

The beer pours nicely black with a much better, thicker head. It smells of hops, a little bit of coffee, and it's somewhat earthy. Taking a sip, it's clear this is the better beer. There's just the right amount of hop flavor for this variety of beer. It's not overly powerful, but it's enough to be interesting. The coffee flavor is subtle, and there might be a little chocolate in there, too. There's even a little bit of a peaty flavor. It's not quite as rich as an imperial stout, but this is a solid example of a standard stout. I'm awarding it and a half .
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12-09-2006 , 11:30 PM
Like all Cooper's beers, this beer is bottle fermented.
Bottle conditioned, which means it's carbonated in the bottle. If it were fermented in the bottle it would have exploded long ago.
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12-10-2006 , 01:39 AM
Well, I do believe I get to out-nit you on this one. If you look on the label in my photo right under where it reads "Cooper's Brewery" it says "Bottle Fermented." You can definitely ferment things in the bottle. You just have to control how much sugar there is for the yeast to ferment. If you give them too much, sure, it'll explode, but most of the time the yeast use up all the available sugar long before that.
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12-10-2006 , 12:07 PM
Yesterday I decided to meet up with two of my friends in Brooklyn to take a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery. My only previous brewery tour took place halfway around the world in Melbourne at the Carlton United Brewery, which is the largest in Australia. It was pretty clear that the Brooklyn Brewery wasn't all that huge a place and we learned that the tour only took place in one room. Before embarking on the tour, we purchased some beer tokens up front for $3 a pop or $20 for 7 (huge savings!). So one of my friends decided to buy 7 and right before I was about to buy 7 myself, my other friend thought it would be wise to ask how big the samples are. When we heard "12 ounces," we decided that maybe 7 each wouldn't be such a spectacular idea. So we bought 7 more total and split them among the three of us. They also sell plenty of merchandise there, including shirts, hats, glassware, and even thongs for the ladies (or adventurous men). We picked up our first beers and then went on the tour. It lasted about 25-30 minutes and consisted first of a history lesson about the brewery itself: who founded it, how it came to be, the history of the logo, etc. When the brewery first started, all of its brewing was done in Utica, which we never knew. They still brew a bunch of their beer in Utica, in fact 2/3 of it, and all of the bottling occurs there. Even more surprisingly, their most requested beer, the Brooklyn Lager, is solely produced up in Utica. The latter portion of the tour was about the brewing process and how all the magic happens.

After the tour we stayed to drink our beers. The beers were served in 12 oz. plastic cups. Set up inside are a large number of benches situated in front of a small bar where you get your beers. They had 8 beers on tap: Lager, Pennant Ale, Pilsner, Brown Ale, Oktoberfest, Weisse, IPA, and their new brewmaster's reserve, the Cuvee d'Achouffe. Here's the Ratebeer description of the Cuvee:

The second collaboration between Garrett Oliver and Brasserie d'Achouffe. Brewed with belgian dark candi sugar and a dash or organic Spanish thyme.

I gave this one a try and though I don't think I'll give it a rated review, I'll give you my thoughts on it. It smelled like your typical Belgian beer with spices and yeasty notes. Tasted about the same way. Couldn't detect the thyme at all. Pretty lively carbonation and had a smooth finish. Certainly a drinkable brew, but nothing exceptional.

Overall we had a great time at the brewery. Our tour guide was pretty funny and knowledgable. In the event he couldn't answer specific questions, he just pointed us to one of the brewers, who was serving drinks at the bar. If you're ever in the Brooklyn area and feel like having drinks on a Saturday afternoon (12-5), you can't go wrong with $3 Brooklyns at the brewery. Don't forget to tip your bartender!
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12-10-2006 , 04:04 PM
I'll have to see if I can get the Cuvee. It sounds like it's worth a shot. It's no secret that I really like this brewery. The don't always have the very best beer, but it's almost all a great value. Their Black Chocolate Stout is like $7 for a six pack of 10% beer! That, and I their brown ale.
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12-10-2006 , 08:16 PM
Well Wookie and others, to get the Cuvee you'll have to find it at your local bar or make the trip down to Brooklyn, as it is a Bremaster's Reserve beer. These beers are only served on tap. So for any NYC area folks, taste it while you can.
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12-10-2006 , 08:20 PM
While watching football today, I'm going to tell the tale of three Bastards, that is, Stone's Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard, and Oak Aged Bastard. I'm always leery of beer (or anything really) with kitchy marketing, but I've had the original Bastard before, and I remember it being pretty decent. That, coupled with Miles's glowing review of the double, has inspired me to give them another (or a new) look and a formal review.

First up, I have the original Arrogant Bastard. I paid $5.39 for a 22 ouncer. This beer weighs in at a pretty respectable 7.2% ABV.

The beer pours a nice reddish brown color with a good, persistent head. It smells somewhat sweet, with a little bit of citrus hops. This beer tastes sweeter than I remember, and the hop flavor is a little milder. That's no points against it. Instead, the bittersweet character of this beer is very well balanced. The hop flavor of this beer is quite nice -- good flavor without being overly bitter. I like the malt behind it all, and the hop flavor lingers nicely. Overall, this is a very good beer. I'm awarding it and a half .

Up next is the Double Bastard. This beer weighs in at a hefty 10% abv, and I paid $8.69 for a 22 oz bottle.

The double pours almost the same color as the single. I expected it to be somewhat darker. It does have more head, though. It smells pretty similar. Taking a sip, it tastes very similar, too. It's not all that much more hoppy, and it's only a little bit richer, really. It's just a hair sweeter. I can't taste much more alcohol in it, either. All in all, this beer isn't all that different from the single Bastard. It's just a hair better with marginally more maltiness and sweetness, but not enough to earn an extra half of a heart. I'm awarding it . Consequently, I can't recommend paying the premium for the Double Bastard over the regular. Dollars to donuts to drunkenness, I'd rather have two of the singles than one of the doubles. This is also a very good beer, but it's not much of an improvement over the original. We'll have to see how the oaked version fares.

And finally, we have the Oaked Bastard. I've been skeptical of the oaked beers so far. I've found the oaking to be a small increase in quality compared to the increase in price. We'll see how we fare here. I paid 4.19 for a 12 oz bottle. It's just over $20 for a sixer. This weighs in at 7.2% abv, same as the original Bastard.

Taking a whiff of this beer, it smells similar to the others, but the wood actually comes through nicely. Sipping, and it's clear that this is a great beer. I can taste the oak aging, and it adds nice complexity. As expected, the hops are good, and the sweetness is good, but not overpowering. I'm going to award this beer and a half . I'm pleasantly surprised that an oaked beer came through so well. I tip my hat to the Stone brewery.
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12-10-2006 , 10:10 PM
Wookie, what is your previous experience been with oak-aged products, besides the Yeti? I picked up some Weyerbacher Old Heathen imperial stout and Heresy (oak aged heathen) yesterday to do a comparison.

What's everyone's thoughts on flemish sour ales? I've never tried the style and I saw one at the store I was at yesterday that's apparently very good, but cost quite a bit at $14.99. This is the beer in question: Panil Barriquee
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12-10-2006 , 11:53 PM
I have a review of an Allagash beer in here that was good, but I think the oak aging was a gimmick. I think there was another here, too.
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12-11-2006 , 02:47 AM
OMG wookie those prices are terrible

this must be due to distance from the brewery, but i pay $3.49 for AB and $4.99 for the double AB. at one store the normal is $2.99 i believe. fwiw i haven't tried the oaked version yet.
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12-11-2006 , 11:10 AM
$4.99 for a 22 ouncer of the double? Dayum, dude. Part of it is that the place where I do my shopping is just plain overpriced to begin with, but they're the only horse in town with this kind of variety. They'll sell by the case, though, and that usually brings the price down to somewhat reasonable.
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12-11-2006 , 05:26 PM

Definitely due to the distance, although the curve flattens out. Prices here are pretty similar to Wookie's.


I guess buy a case, go through it, and post the TR?
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12-11-2006 , 06:49 PM

Sounds good, but no guarantees on my spelling in the TR. I was feeling pretty good after just 2.5 of these.


I'm back with another winter ale review. Up this time is Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve. Based on the description on the bottle, it figures to be another red, hoppy ale. I paid $2.25 for a 12 oz bottle.

The beer pours nicely red with a good head. It smells hoppy, mostly of the flowery variety instead of the citrus. Taking a sip, I'm mildly disappointed. It's not as hoppy as I was expecting. The malt is tasty, but not as bold or lingering as I would have hoped. There is a little bit of woodiness in it that I like. It's a pretty decent beer, but I prefer the SN Celebration and the Arrogant Bastard. I'm awarding it and a half .
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12-11-2006 , 08:30 PM
i'd go for a 2 for that beer. i was not really impressed.

for fun, i believe i paid 4.99 for a 22oz of it (similar to your 2.25/12oz), and rogue is based in oregon. maybe it's just the demand in socal.
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12-11-2006 , 10:47 PM
I wavered between 2 and 2.5. I liked it more than the Brooklyn, though, so I gave it the extra half a point.
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12-12-2006 , 02:09 AM
I had a horrible night at the tables, so the only logical thing to do is drink beer, and beer that doesn't kid around. It's imperial stout time. Beer that is black like my soul. Maybe I should have picked red like my win rate, but I digress. No pics because I really don't care right now.

First up is Great Divide's Yeti. I've already reviewed the oaked version in this thread. This is the regular. I paid $13.99 for a four pack of beer that clocks in at 9.5% ABV. This beer has the courtesy of giving me its IBU measure, too: 75 IBUs, so it's pretty strongly hopped. It smells of caramel, coffee, dark chocolate, a little bit of hops, and a sweet dark malt. Sipping, it is pretty sweet. The coffee, caramel, and malt come through nicely. The hops aren't all that dominant in the initial flavor, but they linger nicely in the finish. The alcohol doesn't really come through at all. I'm going to award this beer . It's a rich, balanced imperial stout that suits my mood nicely.

Second will be North Coast's Old Rasputin. I paid just $8.95 for a four pack that has 9% ABV. It pours with a little more head than the Yeti, but the head is somewhat lighter in color. It's smell reminds me distinctly of tiramisu: coffee, chocolate, vanilla and alcohol. On sipping, it's pretty clear that this is the better beer. The flavor is deeper. It's not quite as sweet, and it's not quite as syrupy, and it's not as hoppy. Instead, it has some nice woodiness along with the coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Surprisingly, the alcohol doesn't come through all that much. I can feel the increased carbonation. It's likely that this beer was fermented longer but from somewhat less grain compared to the Yeti. I thought about giving this beer a 5, but I'm going to give it and a half . I miss some of the sweetness, hops, and caramel of the Yeti, but there's no denying that this is a first class beer. It's also a clear value pick over the Yeti, costing $1.25 less per beer.
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12-12-2006 , 02:18 AM
North Coast is out of Ft. Bragg, right? I haven't had it in a while, but I remember liking their PranQster (Belgian). Their Red Seal Ale is also good, if uninspired.
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12-12-2006 , 02:29 AM
Yep, Fort Bragg. I gave their Pranqster and a half earlier in this thread. I haven't tried the red seal, or any other beers from this brewery. They're pretty solid, though, so I'll like complete the tour de North Coast.
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12-13-2006 , 08:02 PM
OK, I'm back for more reviews. Tonight, I drink porter.

First up is Stone's Smoked Porter. It carries a respectable 5.9% ABV at a cost of $4.95 for a 22 oz.

The beer pours dark brown with quite a bit of carbonation, although the head doesn't get out of control. It smells, as expected, like smoke, along with a little bit of nuttiness. Taking a sip, I'm impressed. It tastes of smoke, chocolate, and walnuts. It's not all that hoppy, and it's not all that sweet, either. The flavor lingers nicely, but perhaps not quite as long as I would like. I'm going to award this beer a solid . This is another great offering from Stone.

Up second is Rogue's Mocha Porter. I paid $2.25 for a 12 oz bottle of undetermined ABV. Had I bought a 22 oz, it would have been $5.69, more than the Stone.

It pours an almost identical color to the Stone, albeit with less carbonation and less head. It smells, unsurprisingly, of chocolate with a little bit of coffee. I think there's more hops in there too. Sipping, the coffee comes through strongly, and the chocolate and hops are not far behind. It's not a strongly hopped beer, but they're there. More than the Stone. All in all, though, this beer isn't as deep or as rich as the Stone. The hop flavor lingers, but not much else. I give this beer and a half . With the Stone being a little cheaper for me, it's the clear buy.

I must confess, I've been avoiding Stone somewhat at Beers of the World. I've been afraid that the hype and their growth has driven up the price and driven down the quality. However, they seem to be faring quite well. I've heard more good things about their IPAs and such, so I'd expect more good reviews of their beer this spring when I move into the hop bombs.
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