ad astra per alia porci

Left Coast Voo Doo American Stout
November 29, 2013, 3:42 pm
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Pour: Modest one finger light brown head that resolve quickly to reveal a pitch black body.

Nose: Wow. Wonderfully nutty, creamy. Hazelnut, peanuts, cream and coffee. Roasted malts and toffee. Very sweet and pleasant aromas that wafts to the nose. I am quite excited.

Palate: Light carbonation. Really robust, pleasantly bitter coffee notes. Roasted malt, toffee, dark chocolate. The creaminess is less pronounced. Lingering and pronounced hops bitterness at the end; the hops are rather strong for a stout brew. As it warms, it has a thicker mouthfeel and tastes sweeter, but the bitterness never really diminishes. Despite its robust tastes, it leaves the palate surprisingly clean.

So damn good. I really like how it balances the robust notes with preserving a clean slate at the end, as well as the really enticing nose that screams of cream and nuts. It assaults the senses, but in a way that has some measure and control.

Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale
November 29, 2013, 3:00 pm
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Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale

Pour: Modest one finger off-white head, dark reddish brown body

Nose: Aggressively aromatic fruity hops, lychee, grapefruit, citrus, pine.

Palate: Really tasty and dry, with bracing and piercing bitter hops at the end. Malt backbone and full-bodied.

An aggressive and strongly-hopped ale, but remains pleasantly drinkable and strangely robust. Very good.

Rogue Mocha Porter
November 22, 2013, 2:21 pm
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Pour: Thin caramel brown head, barely one-finger. Very dark brown body.

Nose: Coffee, mocha, sweet, roasted malt. The nose is much lighter than I expected.

Palate: Black coffee, slight cream, vanilla, thin and light on the palate. Very little hops bitterness; rather I taste sweetness at the end. As it warms, the rounded sweetness steps forward and the coffee rich bitterness becomes more subtle.

Very pleasant brew that appeals even to a non-coffee drinker like me. I just wished the nose and the body were slightly more intense (even though I think the fact that the palate is lighter than expected adds to the character of the beer). This gets better as it warms. I find the Hazelnut better.

Stone Ruination IPA
November 22, 2013, 12:48 pm
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Pour: Whitish one-finger head, hazey light yellow, orange-amber body.

Nose: Very fruity and strong IPA smells, tropical fruits, grapefruit, lychee, pineapple, floral, pine, citrus.

Palate: As expected, a very traditional IPA taste. Surprisingly oily on the palate. Grapefruit, tropical fruits. A subtle backbone of malt at the backstage. Very dry and sustained hop bitterness right at the end, but it is not aggressive so, but much more consistent and drawn-out.

My previous Stone ales were not very good; I found them too bitingly bitter with nothing else in between. However, this one is surprisingly mature and measured, and I like it. The nose is really attractive and strong, the body more balanced, and it opens up with even more fruits, citrus, malt and hops. Really good. Marks too for the beautifully-printed bottle.

Pauwel Kwak
November 15, 2013, 4:20 pm
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Pour: Tan two-finger, foamy, frothy head. Slight hazey, chestnut leathery darker brown body.

Nose: Sweet, candy, carbonated. Can’t really get a head on it until I accidentall inhaled some of the beer: musty, raisins, dried fruits, caramel, candy.

Palate: Very clean and mellow on the tongue, almost lager-like. Predominantly sweet, some dried fruits, without the usual heaviness. Caramel notes, but slight. As it warms, the fruit tastes livelier. Almost no hops. Pleasant and accessible.

Tastes different from the Belgian beers I had so far. However it lacks complexity and is somewhat one-dimensional. I tried this before at a bar and my first impression was that it was not, well, impressive. My second tasting confirms that. Different, but not in the sense of being really good. It is like a good, steady friend who is not particularly interesting.

Anchor Porter
November 15, 2013, 4:16 pm
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Pour: Light-brown two-finger, foamy, frothy, organic head. Very dark brown body, almost black.

Nose: Very sweet smelling, roast malted, carbonated. As it warms, its nose really blossoms: chocolate, coffee, toffee, milk even. Really creamy, vanilla notes. I am smelling a lot of cream and milk at the end.

Palate: Very smooth, inviting, creamy, coffee, dark chocolate, which is complemented by a slight carbonation. Surprisingly light on the tongue for a porter, yet maintaining a high but subtle degree of richness. Finished dry, with a more pronounced hops signature, and as smoothly as it started. As it warms, I taste more dark fruits, sweetness and nuts.

A very smooth and refined porter, very approachable and easy to drink despite its colour. I like how the roasted malt and chocolate coffee notes is calibrated finely against the hops and dryness, with a measured amount of carbonation. One of the best porters, and one of the best beers, that I have tasted.

Widmer Brothers Nelson Imperial IPA
November 8, 2013, 2:06 pm
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Pour: Two-finger, thick off-white head. Lighter copper-orange body with slight haze. Very nice colour.

Nose: Very fruity, tropical fruits. Very sweet. Lychee, grapefruit, peach, apple, citrus, you name it. Very appetising.

Palate: Surprisingly thick, creamy and oily on the tongue. Very smooth, enveloping fruit taste but not very pronounced and much more subtle. There is an interesting cheesy, musty taste that creeps in. Not as sweet as the nose suggests. Finishes dry with a hint of bitterness. Some saltiness, spice, tingling citrus at the end.

An inviting, mature, self-assured beer that is not very heavy and in-your-face with the hops. I like the full mouthfeel. My only gripe is that the palate could be further developed. Rate beer says “The Nelson Sauvin hop comes from Nelson, New Zealand and is growing in a region famous for Sauvignon grapes”. No wonder it tastes different! I will be on the lookout for other beers from Widmer Brothers. Very good first impression.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA Ale
November 1, 2013, 4:14 pm
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Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA Ale

Pour: Two-finger whitish head with large pronounced bubbles. Relatively clear, orangey-light copper body.

Nose: Very pronounced grapefruit, pine, citrus, lychee nose. Pineapple, orange, papaya, peach, sweet tropical fruits. Very intense scent for an American IPA. I look forward to tasting it.

Palate: The citrus, fruity, floral and herbal notes very lightly and subtlely sets in, before smoothly flowing and resolving into a gradually building hop bitterness that is dry, smooth and not overwhelming.

A very smooth and enticing beer. The chief attraction of this beer lies in the hyper-charged aromas and esters – robust, perfumey and lasting, wafting and circulating continuously in the nasal and oral cavity. I can smell the aroma even when it is placed away from my nose on the table in front of me. Almost wine-like.

Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout
November 1, 2013, 2:50 pm
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Pour: Thin dark coffee coloured head. Thick, inky, brownish, black body.

Nose: Very robust roasted malt, chocolate, mocha, fudge, nuts, soya sauce. Very inviting.

Palate: Supremely intense, coffee, mocha, roasted malt. Refined, smooth bitterness then comes through, before finishing pleasantly crisp and dry, with a lingering saltiness at the end. I like how the beer smoothly transits from the roasted malt to the hop bitterness; there is not disjunction and the hops tastes toasted itself. Very full, rich and robust body yet smooth and velvety. It is a meal in itself.

The label describes this beer as “untamed”; I beg to differ. This beer is extremely refined amidst its robust and intense taste, with distinct stages in the progression of taste that is deliberate and calibrated to achieve its intended effect. This is my first imperial stout, and it is truly superb.