Sunday, August 22, 2010

Black Sheep Special

Black Sheep - Masham, N. Yorkshire Ripon, UK - 4.4% abv
It pours a deep copper color with a big beige head and plenty of sticky lace.
There's a biscuity malt and floral hop aroma.
The rich and hearty malt has a biscuity taste and a caramel sweetness.
The cutting and bitter hops have tea-like and citrus bitterness.
It has raw and wild feel and a fine Micro-brew-like quality. All in all this is a very tasty and balanced brew with an edge. That it's low in alcohol means you can probably have another.

Ya, Oktoberfest has started early!

So Happy!
I visited Costco today and noticed pallets of Hofbrau Oktoberfest loading into place. Got a case! Am enjoying one (lots) as I type. The history of Oktoberfest is coming soon to blog near you!

Hofbrau Munchen - Oktoberfest

Hofbrau - Oktoberfest Munchen, Germany - 6.3% abv
12oz green bottle. No freshness date on bottle.
It pours a light gold color with a medium-sized snow-white head and some sheets of sliding lace.
The aroma is mild. There's a light smell of sweet malt and an ever so faint smell of over- ripe fruit.
It's not very malty for the style, although this brew is slightly heavier than the HB lager. A taste of bread dough and a mild herbal quality add a rounded flavor and mouthfeel.
A Euro-hop metallic tang and weak citrus bitterness are more upfront than is normally expected for the style.
Not a bad brew, just a different, less malt-driven, with a more alcoholic punch representation of the style.

Hacker Pschorr - Oktoberfest

12oz bottle - Munich, Germany - 5.8% abv
IMHO, one of the very best representations of the true Oktoberfest beers. Deep Gold/Amber with orange hues in color with a sweet off-white lasting head and sticky, clingy lace. Lightly caramel sweet aroma with a hint of citrus. Slightly citrus, lightly tea-like and a touch of metallic hop bitterness. Rounded malt and hop balance. Honey and fresh fruit notes. Really velvety smooth. Rich, Bold, Tasty! Wow!

Samuel Adams - Stock Ale

Sam Adams Boston Ale/Stock Ale from Boston Beer Company 5.2% abv
This is my favorite "everyday" ale. Always has least since I first tried it. When researching and rating a vast array of ales and lagers, from delicate pilsners to over-whelming imperial stouts and barleywines, it's good to find an ale with which to refresh the palette or to simply enjoy without research in mind (yes, at times we need a break from the daily grind). This ale has a deep copper color with reddish hues, nice malty body and is amply hopped. The separation between the distinct malt and hops flavors, smooth out and become more balanced after a few gulps. The fresh finishing hop aroma lingers. There's a clean fruity finish and nice long lasting head. Now I’ve gone and made myself thirsty for one!

Lammin Kataja Olut - Sahti

Lammin Kataja Olut - Lammin, Finland 8% abv (or 7%abv)
11.2oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
It's difficult to compare the looks of a non-filtered Sahti to any typical farmhouse ale, so that said, it's hard to grade it poorly in comparison.
It pours a hazy orange-hued dull amber color with a minimal bubbly beige head that leaves thin sliding lace in its wake.
It smells somewhat like fresh cut birch, with a faint smell wet hay and distant smoked meat.
The thin malt body is sharp-edged and a bit harsh, but it provides an interesting backbone for the bitterness of the woody tasting juniper branch. A light lemony tartness lasts throughout, as does a Gueze-like apple cider vinegar taste. The 7.0% abv is well disguised.
This fragile brew has a short shelf life, so be sure to get it as fresh as possible

Lammin - Sahtia (Sahti)

Sahti - Lammin, Finland 7.5% abv
11.2oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
I gently rolled this bottle over and over to dislodge and blend the solid mound of yeast at the bottom of the bottle.
It pours a very cloudy yellowish amber color with a smallish off-white head and bits of yeasty goodness floating about.
Upon opening, I was instantly hit with the smell of fresh cut red oak, with a nice birch-like smell in the background. A light smell of vinegar cider and cut hay come to mind.
The malt body provides a very dry grain and husk taste. The juniper branch has a tart and slightly astringent, edgy bitterness to it.
Tastes of vinegar cider and wild yeasty flavor slide through and last throughout the glass. A very faint smoky taste comes and goes.
This brew has an interesting lemony and metallic tang.
Unusual and different. It gets better as it warms.

Brooklyn Monster Ale

Brooklyn Brewing Co.
2003 Vintage
It pours a deep, dark amber. An off-white head, although fast fading, can be achieved with a rather heavy pour. A surprising amount of lace (given the high ABV) sticks in sedimentary layers.
The aroma is mainly of rum-soaked fruit. A sweet malty smell, along with some fragrant hops follows. The alcohol hit is undeniable. The rich and sweet caramel malt is fairly oily in texture. Flavors run the gambit from sugary sweet, to sharp-edged citrusy bitterness, to a rummy and sherry-like alcohol fuminess. This brew is NOT for the faint of heart. I'd love to have another, but I have to go to work in the morning!

Fantome-Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Brasserie Fantome - Belgium 8% abv
750 ml dark green capped and corked bottle.
My mother-in-law (a Heinie and Stella fan) tasted and fell in love with this Saison at a local beer tasting. She purchased a bottle to share over a dinner of Belgian Beef stew. NICE PAIRING!
Anyway, it poured a cloudy orange-hued light golden color with a big, frothy white head and loads of sticky, clinging lace.
A big citrusy fruit and floral bouquet is somewhat muddled by a distinct barnyard smell. A light smell of dried hay is noticed in the background, as is a mild alcohol fuminess.
Given the light color, I was surprised by the full, sweet, nearly oily malt body. Flavors of toffee, orange zest, lemon, honey, and fresh bread are so in balance. A light floral, clove and peppery taste help keep things in harmony. A very mild taste of sweet light rum finishes nicely.
This is a very well-conceived and made concoction!