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12-13-2006 , 08:58 PM
I should really get my hands on some more smoked porter for the next few months. Really solid stuff at an affordable price. That and Rogue Shakespeare Stout.

As it is that time of year, what are some other good porters i can get my hands on in New York?

Edit: removed some false information regarding a rumor about Weyerbacher's Insanity being pulled from their lineup. Though they have pulled their Raspberry Imperial Stout.
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12-13-2006 , 09:24 PM
Is Weyerbacher any good? I was sorely disappointed with their Quadrupel and never tried any others.
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12-13-2006 , 09:44 PM
To be honest, I have no idea. I only recently bought their two imperial stouts, Old Heathen and Heresy (oak-aged) to do a comparison. Oddly enough, the Old Heathen comes in a 12 oz. bottle, while the Heresy is in a 22 ouncer. I figured I may need a friend to help me try them out, otherwise I may not remember tasting them.

The label for Insanity is one of my favorites:

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12-13-2006 , 11:22 PM
Giving the Arrogant Bastard a shot, as well as the Stone Smoked Porter.

I've never had anything like the Arrogant Ale, as wookie would say, it's a "hop bomb". What unique about it, is I get a huge rush of hops in the beginning, and then it just mellows out and finishes clean. I really like it. I paid $3.29 for a 22oz bottle at Bevmo, not bad at all.

Stone Smoked, next...
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12-15-2006 , 01:30 AM
It's Macrobrew night!

Recently it seems that the largest American breweries have become somewhat concerned with losing market share to the smaller craft brewers. They're right to be worried. The average microbrew is so much tastier than the bulk of the beer that's sold only by marketing that they're having trouble keeping up with commercials alone. Consequently, we've seen the emergence of products like Blue Moon, which is put out by Coors. It's marketed like a craft brew that just happens to be in pretty much every grocery store's beer selection (in states where this is how it works). Quite honestly, Blue Moon is a pretty respectable beer. It doesn't hold up to the best whites from Belgium, or Allagash's that I reviewed here, but really, I can't complain. While I'm not going to give it a full review, it's about a and a half beer.

Anyway, onto the matter at hand. Last time I was at Beers of the World, I picked up a few pseudo-craft beers that are being put out by the major US breweries to see how they stack up. There might even be some real bargains in this genre. The first one I'm going to review is the Winterfest Ale from Coors. I paid $1.55 for a 12 oz bottle. I'm not sure of the 6 pack price, but this is cheaper than any other craft brew beer at BotW, so it's definitely inexpensive beer.

The beer pours a pleasantly non-urine-colored golden red, and it has a decent head on it. Taking a whiff, it unfortunately doesn't smell like much. I was ready for disappointment, but on taking a sip, it's much better than my nose lead me to believe. It's not a particularly deep beer, but it's got a decent malt. It doesn't have much in the way of hops, but the malt lingers longer and more pleasantly than I expected. I'm going to give this beer . It's nothing exceptional, but for this price, you can do a lot worse. If this was what was being served at a college party, I'd be pretty stoked. Overall, I'd have to say it was a pretty good effort from Coors.

Second is Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale from Anheuser Busch. This beer also cost me $1.55 for a 12 oz. This one in particular caught my eye thanks to Magic Hat's Jinx, where the bourbon aging really added to the beer. I doubt this one will fare as well, but I'm curious how it will compare.

It pours an almost identical color. It might be just a hair lighter. It smells a fair bit different, and a fair bit more. I smell the wood, and the malt much more. On tasting it, though, an entirely new flavor comes through, and comes through strongly. The second thing on the label that I forgot to mention is that apparently this was aged with vanilla beans as well. I had no idea what that would mean, but now I know. I get a beer that, well, tastes very strongly of vanilla. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. It's unlike any beer I've ever had. On the traditional side, I'd say the malt is a little bit more flavorful than the Coors offering, but I can't decide if the vanilla flavor is a bonus or a detriment. I finished it, though. I'm going to award this beer a tentative and a half , which would be its rating if you like vanilla. Anheuser Busch has succeeded in doing something unique, I suppose. If you don't like vanilla, though, stay away.

For my final beer, I got a bottle of JW Dundee's Porter. Technically, this is brewed by the High Falls Brewery in my homeland. However, according to RDH, High Falls was recently bought by Anheuser Busch, so I'm considering them for this. High Falls is mostly known for their cheap plonk beer Genny and Genny Lite (They're essentially Bud and Bud Lite), and JW Dundee's Honey Brown, but their line has been expanding since the buy out. I guess that's where the porter comes in. It's a little more expensive, though. I paid a whopping one dollar and fifty NINE cents for a 12 oz of this beer, so I'm expecting a super premium brew.

The beer pours a nice porter color, dark brown, but not too dark, and with a good head. It smells, well, quite good. I smell wood, smoke, hops, coffee, and a little bit of the nuttiness, all the typical flavors of a good porter. It tastes pretty good, too. It's not quite as deep or rich as the Rogue or the Stone, but it's got a nice flavor to it. Everything I smelled comes through in the flavor nicely. Nothing dominates disproportionately. It lingers pretty well, too. I'm going to award this beer . This may not be the best porter I've ever had, but damn if it isn't one of the best values in beer. If you gave this to me blind and then told me it was from Anheuser Busch, I'd probably fall out of my chair. Nicely done, and I recommend this beer to any dark beer lover who's looking to drink well on the cheap.

Also, thumbs up on the new image sizes? I was thinking that 640x480 was a little too large.

Last edited by MrWookie; 11-12-2008 at 09:04 PM.
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12-15-2006 , 10:37 PM
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.
Yeah I was thinking the same thing.

I'm glad you reviewed the Oaked Bastard, as I've been eyeing it but didn't feel like spending the extra bucks if it was basically the same as the original. I'll give it a shot.

I'll have a review of Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice Brew soon.
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12-16-2006 , 08:28 PM
(not my picture)

I've said it earlier, but I haven't gotten very serious about Belgian beers. I am mostly a fan of American double IPAs, strong ales, imperial stouts, and other "big" beers. I have tried a few Belgian ales, such as Avery's The Reverend and Don de Dieu and I wasn't a huge fan, but I was still open to trying more. So, yesterday I went to the local shop (Hollingsheads in Orange, CA) and asked for a Belgian that a hoppy kind of guy would like. I was recommended the Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel.

I don't know what to say about the aroma because I don't have much experience with Belgians. It smells good though. The thing you will notice with this beer is the tremendous head it packs. You can pour as gently as you want, but you're going to get an inch of whipped cream foam on the top, and it's going to form dry, fluffy peaks after setting a while. It really is the most magnificent head I've ever seen on any beer. After about 3 minutes, I was left with a large marshmallow-size canister of foam floating in the center of my glass.

The lacing is also incredible. Tiny, glistening dried bubbles will coat the sides of your glass. Hold it up to the light and you go blind - it's sick.

This beer has the sweet, "creamy" Belgian flavors going on for sure. I really don't know what words to use to describe it, but it's the whole sweet, slightly spicy, tangy, golden flavor. The best thing about it is the hops that the bottle well-advertizes (Tomahawk, Amarillo, and Saaz hops). Don't ask me which one came through the most or whatever - I have no idea. All I know is that the additional hops this beer carries made it clearly the best Belgian I've ever had.

This beer was a bit pricy at $9.99 for a 750ml, but it's 9% ABV and quite delicious. I really recommend this to both Belgian beer lovers and also anyone who is trying to think of which IPA you should drink next... try this out, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Four s yo
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12-17-2006 , 04:30 AM
I had the Rochefort 10 last week and I can not get it out of my head. It was just an amazing beer. Unfortunately at $7+ for ONE 11.2 oz bottle, it is not cheap. I also really like St. Bernardus 12 (slightly less than the Rochefort 10). Other beers I have been very pleased with: DFH 90, DFH Indian Brown Ale, Rogue Chocolate and Shakespeare Stout, Westmalle Tripel, and St. Bernardus 8.

I also have a bottle of DFH 120 minute which I am aging a bit but am looking forward to. It is 22% ABV so if I am able to write after it I will review it.
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12-17-2006 , 07:08 PM

I plan to do a Tour de Ommegang
So, Wook, where is it?

I'm on vacation and so was finally able to pick up some Ommegang. Since the night before I was at a Belgian Beer bar (PM me if you're in NYC and want the address, its got a ton of Belgians on tap), I decided to get the Hennepin saison instead of a more traditional Belgian. I was a bit surprised at how light and hoppy it was, but I have so little experience with saisons that I didn't know what to expect. In any case, it was great, and maybe around $8 for a 750mL of 7.7%. I thought I'd read your review, which you surely had done... only to come up empty!

EDIT: I also got my hands on some Magic Hat and decided on a sixer of the #9 "Not Quite Pale Ale." So after the Hennepin I crack one of those and pour it. First thought: "Wow, that's a really dark pale ale. Really." Then I taste: "Jeez, real malty. Hops are there but not what I'm used to at all." Then I take another look at the bottle. Someone slipped a Magic Hat Jinx - their seasonal "strong autumnal" - into my sixer of pale! No wonder I was thrown off.
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12-18-2006 , 11:58 AM

Heh. I think you got a good deal. I've found the #9 to be a decent but uninspiring beer, but I gave the Jinx a solid review in this thread. Also, I have done a review of the Hennepin on 8/8/06. I gave it . I've also reviewed their Witte, the Rare Vos, and the Three Philosophers. I don't have them all nicely tied together in a single post, but they're there. I never did review their namesake abbey ale, but there's a review on the front page of it, and I think that's the only beer of theirs that I haven't covered.


Belgianbeerlover did a review of that beer as well. I haven't tried it yet, but I was already curious about a beer that blends an IPA and a tripel. With a couple of enthusiastic reviews, I'll have to pick it up some time. I may wait until the spring, though. I'm still in the middle of my stout and porter kick. Speaking of which...


Are there any porters or stouts or their imperial counterparts that I haven't reviewed yet, but you're curious about, or think I should try? There's absolutely no way I can get through all the American microbrews at Beers of the World, so suggestions to help me pick one beer I've never heard of over another are welcome. Heck, even if you've just heard about a brewery that I haven't touched on here that you'd like me to review from, I'll take it.
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12-19-2006 , 01:20 AM
I've got some more porter reviews for tonight. First up is the Southern Tier Porter. I paid $1.85 for an undisclosed ABV beer.

The beer pours with very little head, in spite of an aggressive pour. It doesn't smell all that much, though, which is disappointing. On tasting it, I'm sorely disappointed. There's a little bit of coffee and the idea of hops, but the malt backing it all is just downright watery. This beer is a hollow shell of a porter. I'm going to give this beer just , and I really thought about going with 1.5. There's just not much behind this beer, and I definitely prefer the JW Dundee's.

Up second will be Sierra Nevada's Porter. I haven't reviewed enough of their products, and given that this is beer pretty much everyone can get, I should do more. I paid $1.89 for a 12 oz bottle, and you Californians will know where to shove that bottle if you chime in and tell me you regularly get sixers for $3.99.

Hmmm. Apparently I forgot to take a pic of this beer in the glass. Oh well. It's almost identical in appearance to the Southern Tier.

This beer again pours with very little head. This beer also pours with very little head. It smells more, though. The dominant smell is earthy, with a little bit of hops. The earthiness comes through in the flavor, too. The hops are quite mild. The coffee flavor is much weaker in this beer than most of the other porters, save the Southern Tier, I suppose. There isn't a whole lot backing this beer, either, unfortunately. At least there is a little bit of hops flavor to linger in my mouth a little longer. I still prefer the JW Dundee's, though. I'm going to award this beer and a half .

And finally, I'm going to give one last chance to the Anchor brewery with their porter before I decide that this is just a mediocre-to-bad brewery that charges too much for their beer. I paid $2.35 for a 12 oz of this one.

Again we have a practically headless beer. At least I can smell it without sticking my nose all the way in the glass, though. This beer smells quite a bit different. It smells syrupy, and without hops. Unsurprisingly, this is a sweet beer. It's not as sweet as some of the Belgians and the like, but it's way sweeter than the average porter. The hops are almost nonexistent, and the coffee flavor is not there much, either. Instead, we get some maple syrup, a little caramel, and a little chocolate on top of of the dark malt. To me, this beer reminds me less of a porter and more of a watered down imperial stout. I'd say I like this somewhere between the SN and the JW Dundee's, although it's not really a proper porter. It doesn't have the right hop character. I'm going to award it a tentative . This would be a good beer for imperial stout lovers to drink when they aren't looking to get wasted on a single beer and want something a little milder, but if you're a porter lover looking for the next big thing, you're really better off with the JW Dundee's.
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12-19-2006 , 01:29 PM
Try some Deschutes Black Butte Porter. I've found it to be very good. Another one to try is Grant's Perfect Porter. It's been a while since I had it but I remember it being good. They use peated malt so it has a bit of a smokey thing going on.

Edit: Oh yeah, the Alaskan Smoked Porter for 2006 should be available. I haven't seen it (haven't really looked either) but I did see some of the 2005 at a local store recently.
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12-19-2006 , 01:35 PM
I've had the Deschutes. It was one of my favorites, but I haven't had it in a long time. Unfortunately, BotW doesn't carry it. Otherwise, it would already have been reviewed here . I haven't tried Grant's Perfect Porter before. I'm not 100%, but there's a decent chance I saw that one at BotW last time I was there and passed over it in favor of the porters that would be available to people all over the country. I won't skip it next time if it's there.
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12-20-2006 , 12:25 AM
I have just one review for tonight. I'm already in the process of getting plastered on value spirits, so I don't have it in me to do more beer given that I have to work tomorrow. Tonight's review will be Red Hook's Winterhook. I paid $1.79 for a 12 oz of unknown ABV.

I was expecting another hoppy beer, but this pours somewhat on the light side, and it smells of cinnamon and nutmeg. Taking a sip, the spice doesn't come through as strongly as I would have liked. The hops are fairly mild, and the malt is on the lighter side. The spices are much more subdued than I expected based on the strong smell. This is a pretty decent beer, but it's nothing exceptional. I'm going to award it and a half . I think I like the Sam Adams Winter Lager just a hair more, but not enough to kick this down a half a 's rating.
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12-20-2006 , 01:16 AM
Well, technically i had this beer on Tuesday, but who can resist alliteration? The beer in question is Victory Moonglow, their weizenbock offering.

Upon opening the bottle, I immediately caught a whiff of berries, bananas and yeastiness. It poured a dark amber color with minimal offwhite head. Had a pretty spicy taste with a hint of bananas. Very malty. As the beer warmed up, the aroma swayed toward the yeastiness, smelling like musty bread. It had a pretty smooth palate with lower than average carbonation. It had a nice finish, again leaning toward spices and yeast. The alcohol is very well hidden in this relatively strong brew (8.7% ABV). This beer changed quite a bit as it warmed up and I think I preferred it slightly colder. The huge change in aroma was something I have never experienced before. To clarify, the musty bread smell isn't quite as bad as you might think, but that's the only way I can describe it at the moment. This is definitely something for the cooler months, as it has a much fuller, stickier mouthfeel than Weihenstephaner. I really wish Moonglow had some more noticeable head and lacing though. All things considered, this is a very solid brew from Victory and they haven't let me down yet. In comparison to the only other weizenbock I've had, Samuel Adams Winter Lager, the aroma and flavors are much richer and I like the lower-than-average carbonation for this style. I'm sure glad I've got 5 more of these to go through.

Next Wednesday I'll review what many people believe to be the king of weizenbocks: Schneider Aventinus.
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12-20-2006 , 01:47 AM
Wow. That's some review. I'm sure I can get Victory beer at BotW, so I'll have to check this one out. How many 's would you give Sam Adams Winter Lager? I wasn't even aware it was a Weizen Bock.
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12-20-2006 , 12:21 PM
I think I'd give the winter lager somewhere in the area of 2.5-3 s. It's certainly a beer I could drink regularly, but it doesn't have the complexity that Moonglow has.
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12-20-2006 , 12:46 PM
Thanks for the info. I guess I wasn't familiar with Weizen Bocks before this, but it looks like something to try. I'll look for the Victory and the Schneider next time I'm shopping, because I think I could like this style a lot.
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12-20-2006 , 04:31 PM
Man, with the beers I suggest here & there I should really write a review or two. Wookie, if you can get Victory beers, get some of their Storm King. I'd rate it in the top 10% of the imperial stouts I've tried. Not that I've tried a lot of them, but it's mighty tasty. Now if they would only distribute in AZ...
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12-20-2006 , 04:53 PM
I've had the Storm King. I didn't like it as much as the Yeti or the Old Rasputin.
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12-20-2006 , 08:11 PM
Tonight's beer review is Harpoon's Winter Warmer. This beer is advertised as being brewed with spices, so it's probably in the same genre as the CB Christmas Ale rather than the SN celebration. I paid $1.89 for a 12 oz bottle.

The beer pours a lighter color than I expected. It has a moderate but not exceptional head. What is exceptional is its aroma. I could smell the spice in this beer even when I was holding it up for the pick. It smells just like apple cider. Tastes like it, too. In fact, this beer is practically a dead ringer for a really spiced cider. It's not as sweet, and I guess there isn't as much apple flavor, but the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice flavors are identical to the spices I like in cider. The bottle says it's made with just a "touch" of cinnamon and nutmeg, but the spice flavor of this beer is stronger than any beer I've had. My only complaint is that I'd like a little more malt and perhaps sweetness, to go with all the spice flavor. The pale malt feels so empty behind the strong spices. I'm going to award this beer and a half . A little more robust malt could have kicked it up a full heart. If you like non-traditional, spicy beer, this is a good pick, and a good value.
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12-20-2006 , 08:28 PM

Hey, cool! Thanks to everyone who's been enjoying this thread .
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12-20-2006 , 09:24 PM
Well done Wookie. This thread has been really informative and has significantly contributed to my continuing appreciation of beer in all of its forms. Plus, it feels good to know you're helping others appreciate it as well. With that said, here's a beer I had a few days ago, but never reviewed. This is an imperial stout from Middle Ages up in Syracuse: Dragonslayer (22 oz. bottle for $5.25)

Sorry I don't have my own pictures, but I was sharing this with a friend and I thought he might look at me funny (so I'm a little self-conscious...). Anyway, this bad boy clocks in at 9.5% ABV. It poured your standard stout black, with almost no head. There was just a little tan spot in the middle of my glass. On first smell I caught some chocolate, coffee, and nuttiness. Upon tasting it, I knew this was way different than Brooklyn BCS. This particular brew is more on the coffee end of the stout spectrum (where the other end would be chocolate).

I'm not a coffee drinker, so this likely influences my review. You could definitely sense the roastiness of the malts, in fact it was unmistakeable. The mouthfeel was quite a bit lighter than the BCS; I tend to like the oily, slick texture better. But to its credit, Dragonslayer does a better job of hiding the alcohol. The finish was an interesting combination of coffee and hop bitterness.

Overall I wasn't too big a fan of how roasty Dragonslayer was, in addition to its thinness. However, if coffee is your sort of deal, then maybe you'd want to give this a go. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt in that regard and nudge it a quarter heart up to 2.75 s
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12-25-2006 , 02:38 AM
I finally found a store in my area that actually has a good beer selection so I'm going to try my hand at reviewing everything I drank last night. My dishwasher was running with all my glasses in it so I got stuck drinking....OUT OF THE BOTTLE! GASP!

First beer of the night was Abita's Purple Haze a raspberry beer

The raspberry smell of it overpowers any other scent I may have been able to pick up.
At first taste the raspberry has a bit of a bite to it but it gets smoother and slightly maltier as I drank it.
I'd give it and 1/2 out of 4

Next I had Saranac Black & Tan which I won't bother reviewing since I'm sure most of you have had a Black & Tan. I'd give this out of 4

Next was Sam Adams Winter Lager.
This was very disappointing. The aroma is a mishmash of spices and the individual scents were indistinguishable from the whole for me.
It has a slightly fruity taste with a more overpowering spicyness. A generous score would be

Next was K draft cider. Not exactly a beer but still.
Smelled like cider with a hint of alcohol
Had a strong bite of alcohol to go along with the apple taste. I'd say it tastes slightly fruitier and sweeter than champagne but not as sweet as your average hard cider.

Id give it of 4 's
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12-27-2006 , 12:34 AM
Purple Haze is a pretty solid beer, and it's a good intro to fruit beer. However, there are definitely some better fruit beers out there, including raspberry. I'd encourage you to try out a few more and report back. I might do a few reviews of them this summer, myself.

I'm kinda surprised that a fruit beer lover doesn't care for the spicy beer. I've found myself drawn to all sorts of the non-traditional beers, and I thought the Winter Lager was a pretty decent offering. To each his own, I suppose.
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