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Old 04-19-2007, 12:32 AM   #551
MaxxDaddy
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Re: Monks Cafe In Philly

Big ups to the LI for making some super brews. I can't say I've tried many Southampton beers, but now I almost certainly will try many of them in the near future. Their now-retired imperial stout was incredible, so their other stuff should be great too right?

By the way, Grand Cru is a term used by breweries to denote what they believe to be their best beer. Therefore, they don't fit into one style category. For example, Rodenbach Grand Cru is a Flemish sour ale, whereas Southampton is more in the Belgian ale tradition. In general though, it seems that Grand Crus are Belgian or Belgian-inspired.
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:58 AM   #552
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Re: Monks Cafe In Philly

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Monk's Cafe is supposed to be the #1 beer place in Philly from what I'm told. I'm actually sitting on 750s of St Bernardus Abt 12 and Abt 12 Special Edition...waiting for some friends to help me out with the comparison, as over 50 oz. of 11% ABV doesn't bode well for a man of my size (5'6" 150 lbs.). If you feel like stocking up on good beer while in the area, I can not endorse Capone's in Norristown enough. It's a restaurant/bottle shop. They have tons of amazing brews, including Three Floyd's, Bell's, even some Russian River the only time I was there. And it's surprisingly reasonable given PA's liquor laws.

Whew...time for a review. A few days ago I tried the Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter, which clocks in at 9% ABV. Although I didn't purchase it, it apparently goes for $12 a 6-pack.



It poured a beautiful brownish-black with a decent amount of tan head. Great aroma of biscuity malts along with touches of raisins, chocolate and dark fruits. This bodes well. Flavor is more of the same, really get the raisins in there, with a little chocolate and alcohol in the background. The finish is good also, ending with more of a roasty, coffee flavor...more on the sweet than bitter end. Moderate to full palate with little carbonation. This is a truly awesome beer. It's too bad it's all the way down in North Carolina and I can't get a regular supply. I'd hoard this stuff if I had the chance, as $12 for 6 of these is an absolute steal. and a half
Well it turns out Capone's is just a few miles from my buddies apartment...... So next time I go to his place I will try all there great beers out. I cant wait.


Thanks alot for the recommendation MaxxDaddy,
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Old 04-19-2007, 10:57 PM   #553
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Re: Monks Cafe In Philly

I was thinking tonight that I don't really have any special occasions coming up any time soon. Consequently, I'm going to have to make up my own if I'm going to ever review the St. Bernardus Abt 12. It just so happens that tonight is could be just such an occasion. I ran red hot at poker, and the project that I've spend the last 2.5 years of grad school working on is officially dead. Usually, having a project die on you in grad school is a bad thing, and in this case, yes, it was. However, I've been preparing for this project to die since January or so, which is when I finally stopped believing in it. My advisor kept it on life support, but today I finally provided enough data to have him joining me in ringing the death knell. Between happiness in poker and toasting the death of a painful project that had outlived its time, it was time to break out the good stuff.

So, St. Bernardus Abt 12. This is regarded as one of the finest beers in the world, so it's time to find out what the fuss is about. I paid $4.95 for one 11.2 oz bottle of 10% ABV beer. It's definitely priced like it should be one of the best beers in the world, even if it's not quite at the absurd levels of the DFH World Wide Stout or 120 Min IPA.



The beer pours a medium brown with what is probably the best head I've had on any beer to date. It was thick and bubbly, but it wasn't out of control. It was rich and creamy instead of being overly carbonated and sharp-tasting. There was a good layer throughout, but I didn't have to fight through the foam to get to the beer, which was nice.



The aroma of this beer is what I'd expect for this style. It's malty, somewhat earthy, and there is the smell of darker dried fruits like cherries, plums, and figs. One thing I should note off the bad is that I definitely started drinking this beer too cold. I should have let it warm up more after coming out of my fridge. When I first started drinking it, I mostly noticed the flavors of the malt and the dark fruits, but as it warmed a little in my glass, I began to notice a little more in the flavor, like chocolate, vanilla, and nuts. This is a tasty, complex beer, and the best of this style that I've had. And yet I'm still a little underwhelmed. Compared to some other styles of beer, like imperial stouts, trippels, and the various manners of hop bombs, the flavors in this beer are somewhat mild. This felt just a little thin in my mouth by comparison, too. I'm going to give this beer and a half . There are certainly some personal biases showing through here. I guess I just prefer bolder beer, but I can honestly say I'd usually reach for the Old Rasputin, the Curieux, the Oak Aged Bastard, or the Southampton Grand Cru over this beer. If you're a big fan of, say, Chimay blue or Ommegang's Three Philosophers, this should be your next purchase.
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Old 04-20-2007, 05:59 PM   #554
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Re: Monks Cafe In Philly

Today was probably the first real day of spring here. We've had some sunny days earlier in the month, but they were shortly followed with snow. Today, we almost hit 70, there's not a cloud in the sky, and snow is finally nowhere to be seen in the forecast. Consequently, it seemed right to try one of the classic spring beers, the saison. The only saison I've had so far is Ommegang's Hennepin. I was a little underwhelmed, but it was good for what it was. Tonight, I'm reviewing Flying Dog's attempt, their Wild Dog. I paid $9.57 for a 750 mL bottle of this beer. It would have been a whopping $11.65 regular price. It weighs in at 7.3% ABV, a little lighter than the Hennepin.



This is a bottle-conditioned beer, but it poured clearer than I expected. The head was large and bubbly. Once I swirled in the yeast that had settled, it naturally was a little cloudier. The yeast was a nice addtion to the flavor, too, but it's hard to mix it in on the first pour of a 750.



The bottle indicates that this was brewed with honey and curacao orange peel. I detect a hint of citrus in the aroma, but not so much on the honey. Mostly I smell a light malt and mild hopping. The taste is very mild, as with the Hennepin. It's mostly a light malt and light hopping without too many frills. The finish is nicer though. The citrus and honey come through a little better. It's not too sweet though. I'm awarding this beer and a half , and I'd say that the last half heart of that is for being good for this variety rather than good across all styles of beer. I'm thinking that saisons must be the chardonnay of beers. They're light and mild, and while they can be good, they're not generally as bombastic as some other varieties. I'm pretty surprised at the high price commanded by these beers, though. I probably won't be buying any more. It's approaching the realm of Unibroue's 750's and even Allagash's oak aged premium beers, which blow this beer out of the water, at least for my preferences.

I have one more saison from Southampton to review, so we'll have to see if they can save this variety in my eyes. Currently, I probably won't bother buying any more of these beers given their high price and relative mediocrity of flavor.

Last edited by MrWookie; 11-12-2008 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 04-21-2007, 03:45 AM   #555
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Re: Monks Cafe In Philly

Tried steel reserve for the first time tonight

WOWZERS

8.1 % alcohol ... and 1.49 for a 24 oz can at my local 7-11

so basically -- so basically 3 of these have about as much alcohol as a 12 pack of bud

and wow do they go down smooth

tonight was my first time trying it .. and im sold
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Old 04-22-2007, 07:37 PM   #556
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Re: Monks Cafe In Philly

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Tried steel reserve for the first time tonight

WOWZERS

8.1 % alcohol ... and 1.49 for a 24 oz can at my local 7-11

so basically -- so basically 3 of these have about as much alcoholc as a 12 pack of bud

and wow do they go down smooth

tonight was my first time trying it .. and im sold
I use to drink that horse piss when i was 17... I tired it again last year and it took everything i had to keep it down i don't care if i ever drink it again
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Old 04-22-2007, 08:38 PM   #557
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Re: Monks Cafe In Philly

I have a second Saison to review tonight, this time from Southampton. This brewery has clearly demonstrated their competency with brewing Belgian beer, so I have high hops for this one. I paid $9.89 for a 750 mL bottle. It's 7.4% ABV is on par for the style.



This is another bottle conditioned beer. It's head is similar to the Wild Dog: big at the beginning, but it doesn't hang out too long. The color is the familiar cloudy gold.



The smell of this beer is a little sweeter than the others. I distinctly smell peach along with the usual light malt. The flavor, for me, is better than the other Saisons. It's reminiscent of a mild trippel, actually. There's the usual light malt with a little bit of tartness. It's joined by a little bit of fruitiness I enjoy. The herbal character I've tasted slightly in the other saisons is just a hair more pronounced in this one, and to good effect. I'm going to award this beer . This is a similarly optimistic rating to the Wild Dog, in that it's getting some bonus points for being good as a saison, even if it's only giving me about 3.5 hearts of pleasure drinking it. Still, if you're a saison lover, this is the one to try. Personally, I'm still underwhelmed w/ this variety of beer, at least for the price, but this one has at least come close to being worthwhile IMHO.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:11 PM   #558
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Promise to take pics of the finished product.
Any updates now that its been a couple weeks?

Also, Wookie,

"This brewery has clearly demonstrated their competency with brewing Belgian beer, so I have high hops for this one."

Funny stuff.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:17 PM   #559
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Heh. Nothing like the ol' typo pun. This may or may not have been due to typing up the review after having consumed most of the bottle . Ironically, the Southampton Saison was a little less hoppy than the Ommegang or Flying Dog.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:04 AM   #560
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Two reviews from this weekend. I went to BevMo and bought a bunch of expensive beer because Weds-Fri I worked 35 or so hours. I was ready to unwind.

First review: Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. Listed as a Dark Triple. According to Beer Advocate it's a separate brewery than the one that brews Duvel, Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV, but I'm assuming they're related somehow. I picked up an 11.2 oz. bubble top bottle, painted white. 10.5% ABV. Cost me $3.25. I picked it up mainly because I like Duvel so much.

Served in a tulip glass. HUGE foamy head, with great retention. Pours dark, with tones of deep red.. almost brown actually. Nose wasn't very strong, but I picked up some hints of caramel, spices, and even a bit fruity. Lemon, actually.

The first thing that struck me upon tasting wasn't so much the flavor, it was the smoothness. Wow. Incredible smooth. Almost like drinking silk. The flavor is very complex. Frankly I don't think my palate is up to snuff for this beer, but I still enjoyed the heck out of it. Lots of sweet malt, but not too sweet. Very subtle. The caramel I caught in the nose comes through nicely in the taste. As I progressed through the beer, each sip carried a little more spicy bite, without losing the smoothness.

Worth noting is the alcohol character. The alcohol is definitely present, but not dominant in any way. You'd expect it to come through a bit stronger in a 10.5% brew. But this isn't a bad thing. It's sorta mysterious.

Anyway, and a half . I look forward to revisiting this beer in a few months. Hopefully my palate develops a bit before then.

Next up is Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale. I mentioned in another thread how I was impressed with their Hop Rod Rye, and I've always like their Racer 5 IPA, so I was going to try some more of their offerings. So I bought the Red Rocket Ale as well as their Stout (which will be my Sopranos accompaniment).

Anyway, the bottle states that the Red Rocket Ale is a bastardized Scottish red. I decided to pour this into an oversized mug, because I was watching baseball. So I poured all 22 oz's at once. I picked some heady beers. I poured it a tad too aggressively and had some overflow. Huge creamy head with good retention. Smells of strongly hopped beer.

You guys have to help me out with the flavor. What's that bitter flavor that's present in ESBs and Scottish ales? I'm not sure what it is. But it's good. This beer is very strongly hopped, but pretty balanced with a lot of malt as well, so a little sweetness comes through. The finish is bitter as hell, but in a good way. Pretty awesome beer. It leaves a piny aftertaste as well.

I award it and 1/4th . Great stuff. Bear Republic rules.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:40 AM   #561
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I had the chance to try the Racer 5 IPA for the first time this weekend, but I went for the DFH 90, which I had never tried on tap before. Did I make a mistake?
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:56 AM   #562
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I was also a big fan of Gulden Draak. I still have another bottle in the fridge, which I should drink sometime soon now that I read this review. The mouthfeel is definitely awesome...that was the first time I had ever drank a beer with that sort of texture. So good...

The brewery that makes Gulden Draak makes tons of other beers, including Corsendonk and Piraat, though I haven't tried the latter.
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:32 AM   #563
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

I think BevMo and my grocery store carries Piraat. I'll give that a shot sometime.

Wook,

nah.. I wouldn't call it a mistake. Racer 5 is more of a standard IPA. I'd probably go for the 90 on tap as well. You should definitely give it a shot at some point, though. Racer 5 is widely available on tap in SF, so that's nice when I'm out there. I actually haven't had it in a while. Maybe I'll pick one up in a couple weeks.

Like I mentioned, I had Bear Republic's Black Stout while enjoying the Sopranos tonight. Poured black (duh), almost no head. Nose was like a typical stout, but with some added sweetness. Black licorice for sure.

Taste was largely the same. Standard stout, with the roasted flavor of coffee, some caramel, but this had a sweet licorice finish. Frankly, I was a bit underwhelmed. A good beer for sure, but when it comes to stouts I'd much prefer something like Old Rasputin with just that deep roasted woody flavor and minimal sweetness. I give it 3 's. It's probably a bit better than most 3 brews, but I really think something like Old Rasputin (my gold standard) or Sam Smith's is just that much better for the same value. I'd rather just buy some cheap Guiness (not badmouthing.. love Guiness) than pick this up again.

In other news, I've got "comp time" coming up after this week. I've got a whole week off that doesn't count against my vacation time. It's because we've been busting ass so hard for the past year. I'm thinking about checking out some of the northern california breweries. Not sure yet, because I've got no riding partner. But I'd definitely hit up Bear Republic and Anderson Valley. I suppose I could drive through Chico and check out Sierra Nevada as well. Or I'd get too drunk at the first brewery and pack it in. We'll see.
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Old 04-24-2007, 12:21 AM   #564
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Tonight's review is Allagash's Four, which I believe is the last beer from Allagash that Beers of the World stocks. As you might guess from the name, this is their Quadruple. I paid $13.35 for a 750 mL bottle. Since this beer is fermented four times, it'd better be strong. The 10.0% ABV should do the trick.



I'm not really sure why this picture came out so much more washed out than any of my other beer pics. Oh well. At this point, I've just finished a 750 bottle of 10% beer. I can't say I'm in the mood to figure it out, but I can still post a competent review. The beer pours a reddish brown, a little lighter than the St. Bernardus Abt 12.



The scent of this beer is what I've come to expect from this style: malt, earth, and cherries. It seems a little milder, perhaps. The flavor is good, but, well, it doesn't make me wet my pants. The spice, earthiness, and overall complexity is toned down a bit from the St. Bernardus. It's a bit sweeter. It still lingers well, and the mild cherry flavor goes well w/ the slightly lighter malt. I'll give this beer . It's a good beer, no doubt, but the Boont Amber Ale is almost as flavorful, and for much less money. I paid $10.49 for a sixer of that, and it's 5.8% -- that sixer will get me drunker, and it's more neatly partitioned into single servings if I don't want to commit to a full 750. Consequently, I can't really recommend this beer. It's good, but it's too expensive compared to other good offerings. I'd rather pick up 2 11.2 oz bottles of the St. Bernardus (better flavor and less money) or even a sixer of the Boont (not quite as good, but still tasty, similar ballpark).
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Old 04-24-2007, 01:37 PM   #565
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Guys,

I'd like to share with you how my beer cellar looked when I got home from work today





17 x Rochefort10
8 x Westvleteren12

R.I.P
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Old 04-24-2007, 02:04 PM   #566
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Oh, man. That's extremely depressing.

On the brighter side, you stock a goodly number of beers I've never tried, or even recognize. Let's get some reviews!
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Old 04-24-2007, 05:59 PM   #567
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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17 x Rochefort10


Quote:
8 x Westvleteren12
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:29 AM   #568
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

How the heck did you get that many Westvleteren's? And my condolences on your loss.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:32 AM   #569
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

My condolences, but let this be a lesson. Hopefully you're planning on some new shelves. You can see the others that didn't break flexing in your pic.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:46 AM   #570
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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How the heck did you get that many Westvleteren's? And my condolences on your loss.
I bought them whenever I got the chance the last 3-4 years. I managed to get 11, now I got 3
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:46 AM   #571
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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My condolences, but let this be a lesson. Hopefully you're planning on some new shelves. You can see the others that didn't break flexing in your pic.
Oh yeah. The hole [censored] is going to burn very soon
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Old 04-25-2007, 09:12 PM   #572
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Where do you guys buy all these specialty beers?

I was wondering if you guys knew of any places in and around NYC to get some of these beers, I'd really like to try some.
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:25 PM   #573
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Where do you guys buy all these specialty beers?

I was wondering if you guys knew of any places in and around NYC to get some of these beers, I'd really like to try some.
You came to the right place. I live on LI myself, but do much beer shopping in the city. My #1 place to go to is New Beer Distributing on Chrystie Street. You can take the B or D subway down to Grand and Chrystie and just walk north...you can't miss it. They stock all sorts of beers from not only the New York area (Southampton, Middle Ages, Southern Tier, Captain Lawrence), but California brews like Stone, Anderson Valley, and Moylans. Not to mention their sweet international selection, which I could go on and on about, but I'm sure it'll be better to see in person.

If for some reason you decide to do some shopping in Brooklyn, go to American Beer Distributing on 256 Court St. You can take the F or the G train to Bergen and Smith, and then take a walk up to Court. What's nice about having this place at your disposal is that it stocks quite a number of different beers than New Beer, though I've found for some brews, American charges a bit more. It all depends what you're looking for. Let me know if you've got any other questions. Happy hunting.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:31 PM   #574
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

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Quote:
Where do you guys buy all these specialty beers?

I was wondering if you guys knew of any places in and around NYC to get some of these beers, I'd really like to try some.
You came to the right place. I live on LI myself, but do much beer shopping in the city. My #1 place to go to is New Beer Distributing on Chrystie Street. You can take the B or D subway down to Grand and Chrystie and just walk north...you can't miss it. They stock all sorts of beers from not only the New York area (Southampton, Middle Ages, Southern Tier, Captain Lawrence), but California brews like Stone, Anderson Valley, and Moylans. Not to mention their sweet international selection, which I could go on and on about, but I'm sure it'll be better to see in person.

If for some reason you decide to do some shopping in Brooklyn, go to American Beer Distributing on 256 Court St. You can take the F or the G train to Bergen and Smith, and then take a walk up to Court. What's nice about having this place at your disposal is that it stocks quite a number of different beers than New Beer, though I've found for some brews, American charges a bit more. It all depends what you're looking for. Let me know if you've got any other questions. Happy hunting.
awesome, thanks a ton
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:10 AM   #575
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Re: TLDR Beer Club

Last night I revisited a beer that I know Wookie and I enjoyed, but with a little twist. The beer in question is Schneider Aventinus, and here's the twist: my girlfriend and I did a side-by-side tasting of fresh Aventinus with a 6 year-old bottle of Aventinus that was wrapped in paper. I never had a beer that was old enough to go to elementary school, so this was bound to be a fun experience. Here's some photographic evidence of this occurrence:



It's not very clear in this picture, but you'll notice there's some type on the right bottle where you can see "...WED," which fully says "Brewed in 2001." Also, you'll see that the ABV apparently differs by 0.2% between the two bottles. Here's another picture showing the two beers in different glasses; the aged version is in the snifter.



Hopefully it's somewhat clear in the picture, but if it isn't, the aged version was much darker than the fresh one. And the aromas were quite different as well. The fresh version smells pretty much the same as how I reviewed it earlier in this thread; very clovey with bananas. The older version was different animal, smelling of caramel and dark fruits, somewhat brandy-ish. It kind of reminded me of some barleywines I've had, which I thought was pretty interesting. As for the taste, well the fresh version was good as ever, echoing its aromas with a slight caramel taste. The aged version had more of a dark fruity taste, along with a stronger caramel flavor. It was also noticeably boozier and less carbonated. Overall, this was quite a fun experiment. So what's the verdict? My girlfriend preferred the fresh version, mainly because the older one was boozier. As for me, it's tough to choose. They're both so different. As it ended up due to the lady's preference, I had more of the older version and I enjoyed it a lot. I suppose I'd lean toward the aged version if I really really had to choose. If you ever find a bottle wrapped in paper like this, pick it up and taste the difference yourselves.

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