ad astra per alia porci

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
December 6, 2013, 4:32 pm
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Pour: Dark hazey amber with tan, foamy two-finger head.

Nose: Really pleasant sweet citrus, grapefruit, lychee, pine. Sweet notes are pronounced. Smells delicious and enticing.

Palate: Wow. Mouthfeel is full, slightly oily, with light carbonation. Slight toasted malt at the start. Bergamot, tea leaves, with a mildly sweet, smooth malt backing. The hops is very mellow and subtle and this is quite surprising given the nose which suggests a robust hop bitterness. Finish is very clean, light and crisp, and not taxing on the tastebuds. Rather, it cleanses the tastebud as one would expect a tea to do. Clearly a sessionable beer, almost like iced tea with no sugar. As the beer warms, subtle caramel notes surface.

Really pleasant and surprising beer. Once again, Anderson Valley blows me away. But I must say that I prefer the Hop Ottin IPA better, but it is really comparing apples and oranges. This beer is mellow yet complex with multiple layers, and very drinkable.


Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
December 6, 2013, 4:31 pm
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Pour: Very dark brown body with very robust, light brown, thick foamy three-finger head.

Nose: Roasted malt, chocolate, caramel toffee, coffee notes. Smells very much like a stout, but more reserved.

Palate: As expected, very pronounced roasted malt, chocolate, toffee, coffee notes. But with a malt backbone, solid hops bitterness, and a clean and crisp ending.

A good ale, but I find that it is caught between being a stout and an ale. Interesting enough for the short term, but it lacks identity and a stable character.

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.