Beerly Departed - Search The Crypt's Records

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cigar City - India Pale Ale (Humidor Series)

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
India Pale Ale (Humidor Series)

Cigar City Brewing Company
3924 West Spruce Street
Tampa, FL USA

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.5 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 25.4

Postmortem Brew Review
Cloudy, orange/amber color.
Citrus hops on the nose. Cedar does come through once the liquid warms up a bit.
Off-white, two finger head that hangs around a while.
Sticky, stringy lacing adheres to the inside of the glass.
Citrus (orange) hops flavored. Woody cedar tones shine through.
Modest amount of carbonation.
Medium bodied mouth feel with a cling of cedar and hops flavor to the tongue.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
No cigar jokes. No cedar or wood snark. This, boys and girls, is how you make a multi-award winning IPA. One GABF gold medal in 2009 and a silver in 2010.

It is citrusy, hoppy and cedar-y just like it claims, all in tremendous balance. If you fancy an IPA the next trip to Florida, go and see the boys at Cigar City and order up a Humidor IPA. Utterly fantastic and pure joy for your senses.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Left Hand - 2009 Oak Aged Imperial Stout

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Left Hand - 2009 Oak Aged Imperial Stout
Left Hand Brewing Company
1265 Boston Avenue
Longmont, CO USA
Est. 1994

Brain Damage Quotient = 10.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 22.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Solid black color.
Malt, deep fruits, chocolate/toffee and trace alcohol on the nose.

Creamy, foaming two finger tan head leaves spotted lace on the glass.
Malty, chocolate and rich fruits in the taste.
Modest amount of carbonation.
Full bodied. Complex flavors and mellow alcohol taste at end of sip

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
This stout was a find. On a trip to Orlando, over one year ago, I noticed this bottle sitting on the floor in a corner of the bottle shop. There were other plain and ordinary beers around it; almost as if someone stashed it away with the intent of coming back for it at another time. Maybe they needed to get some money out of the ATM and didn't want anyone else to snag the last bottle in the store? Perhaps someone was going to buy it and found something else that caught their eye, so they jettisoned it at that point? No matter. It was mine, a-l-l mine, now!

This was one of the first beers I chose to put away with the intention of aging it for a year. Several others have followed since. And today was the day to de-cap-itate it and release the nectar held within. I took some time to look at other reviews prior to drinking this; something I almost never do. I don't like to know what is in it, or know what others experienced. Most times, I rarely even read the bottle label, lest the brewery notes influence my experience. But this time was different, having chosen to age the Left Hand Imperial Stout. Consider it 'research' necessary to see how the ingredients co-mingled in the bottle for nearly 18 months.

The bulk of the reviews I read from various blogs and beer gave it solid B to B+ ratings. As you loyal readers know, The Reaper no longer uses grading, (letters or numbers). You'll know from what I write if I like or dislike a beer, or even if I'm indifferent. Living within those parameters, I read beyond what might have given it off marks, in the areas of taste or complexity. Well, blah-de-dah, I'm not dragging it out any further. I found this extremely enjoyable.

This was super smooth and had a steady two finger head throughout the glass. Malty rich, with tones of oak shining through.  The bottle conditioning yielded modest carbonation and very herbal, earthy hop notes. Rich fruit flavors of raisin along with licorice notes were also detected. This was all served up nicely in my best tulip stem glass. It was a "wow" ale enjoyed on a cool winter's night. I think anyone would do well to age an ale such as this Imperial Stout. Give it a try if you can resist. Or better yet, buy two. Drink one early and take copious notes, then salt the other one away in a dark, cool spot for aging. You'll find the experiment fun and interesting, even rewarding.

As a closing note, I'm trying out something different on my blog today, by using dictation on my iPhone with an app called Dragon Dictation. Ironically, Left Hand Imperial Stout has a dragon on its label. Very cool when things come together like that!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cocoa Beach - Pale Ale

Dead Tiki God
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Cocoa Beach Pale Ale
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company
150 N. Atlantic Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL USA
Est. 20??

Brain Damage Quotient = 6.6 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 22.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Golden amber color.
Mild hops and some hints of sweet caramel malts.

Clean and fresh tasting, good balance of hops and malts.

Moderate amount of carbonation.
Good head retention. Very light delicate lacing doewn the glass.
Light to medium body. A mild but not watery ale.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 

Having first tried this beer at the brewery in Cocoa Beach last November, I was reacquainted with it again this week.  It was elusive to find during that trip in the bomber bottle shown above.  Fortunately my source on the east coast area was able to do so. Such a good daughter! On to the brew...

During the visit to the brewery, I met Chris McCall, president and owner of the brewery/pub. It's a quaint little cottage directly across the boulevard from oh-so famous Cocoa Beach, one of Florida's little treasures.  Chris took the time to explain his brewing philosophy and also about the local selections vs. the demands everyone makes on his beers. This is a very small brewery set inside a converted beach side house.

The pale ale on draught that day was not up to his specifications, (a "rescued" batch) - we'll leave it at that.  I thought it was still pretty good, but due to the opening of a new pub in the area, the bomber bottles were all sold out.  I was able to secure this one and happily it tastes even better than the "rescued" batch that was on tap at the bar that day.

All in all, it is a good working pale ale. I've had some better and many far, far worse than this. But at face value, I think you'll like it, that is, if you're down this way, say maybe for spring break? Who knows.  Now their Oatmeal Stout....well, let's say that is a review for another day! Very nice. Do pay them a visit if on the east coast of Florida and check out their cool tiki god logos.

Heck, you've got nothing else to do while here.  It's not like you're coming here to shovel the sunshine.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Krusovice (Cerne) Dark Lager

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Krusovice (Cerne) Dark Lager
Kralovsky Pivovar Krusovice
(The Royal Brewery of Krusovice)
270 53 Krušovice
Krušovice, Czech Republic
Est. 1581

Brain Damage Quotient = 3.8 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 16.9

Postmortem Brew Review
Black color with tints of red highlights.
Mild roasted malt and grain smells.

Clean and fresh tasting roasted malt flavor.

Very little carbonation.
Minimal head retention. Very little lace.
Thin but not watery with very light body.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 

A tall dark and handsome stranger made my acquaintance this week. A big and bold looking half-liter bottle with a pretty foil neck wrapper. The flavor is easy for such a dark looking beer and then there is the light 3.8% ABV, making it even easier to go down. Don't let the 16.9 ounces or the dark color fool you into thinking this is heavy and unsessionable. It's quite the opposite.

The malts are smoky and roasted as you would expect from a dark or Schwarzbier. Enjoy it. The folks at Krusovice have been at the art of making beer since the 16th century, so you can rest assured they have a good handle on how to brew.

Bell's - Third Coast Old Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Third Coast Old Ale
Bell's Brewery Inc.
8938 Krum Ave.
Galesburg & Comstock,
Est. 1985 

Brain Damage Quotient = 10.2 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Deep golden color with red hues.
Brown sugar, molasses and muddled plum fruits on the nose.
Draped lacing, off-white head that leaves a solid finger height throughout the glass.
Biting hops up front give way to rich fig and raisin tastes.
Stated alcohol presence in smell and taste.
Moderate carbonation. 
Full bodied. Powerful in flavor, taste and alcohol.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Not much to look at on the label...but explore the contents and you are in for a surprise!  Bell's spent their time brewing this ABV barleywine beast, but didn't waste a lot of energy on the label/packaging. Light pink border, maroon lettering and a bleak winter's scene are on the spartan neck and body labels of this beer. But when you open the bottle, you unleash the barleywine monster inside.

The 10.2% ABV hits you in the nose, and the back of the throat. It envelops your tongue. Do yourself a favor and pour into a small snifter or 4 ounce glass. Do not think for a minute that you'll be swigging this directly from the bottle. It's no-excuses strong.

It will warm you up with comfort on the bleakest of a winter's day. Also, it will likely kick your ass at the same time.

You have been warned! Muahaaahahahaha!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Samuel Adams - Latitude 48 IPA

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Samuel Adams - Latitude 48 IPA
Boston Beer Company
Boston, MA USA

Brain Damage Quotient = 6.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Dark amber color that pours 'thick'
, almost murky.
Mostly the smell of floral hops, a bit of sweet malt in the nose.

One finger, fluffy off-white head.
Foam leaves behind some sticky spotted lacing.

Complex hops, (grapefruit and sticky pine) tastes with malt in the background.
Medium bodied mouth feel.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 

Latitude 48 IPA gets its name and taste from hops collected along, (you guessed it), the 48th latitude. These are primarily from Ahtanum, Simcoe and East Kent Goldings style hops.  They are 'dry hopped' according to the Sam Adams website, which achieves the extraction of the lupulin hop oils directly from the plant matter. There is a nice malt component in the background. It is a soft, sweet caramel taste that blends well with the hops.

After tasting and reviewing my notes on this IPA, I looked at the body and noticed it looked a bit thick and creamy upon the pour. I then read other reviews to see if that was a common element of their finding, but mostly everyone else saw a nearly clear beer. Perhaps this one had been mishandled? It did not affect the taste, however it did look just a bit off and detracted from the full pleasure of drinking the ale.

I shall try again sometime and compare my notes against this particular bottle.  What has been your experience?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Leinenkugel's 1888 Bock

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Leinenkugel's 1888 Bock
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Chippewa Falls, WI USA
Est. 1867

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.1 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Amber with reddish tints of color.
Roasted nut and slight coffee aromas, though there's no coffee in this beer.

Very dry tasting with light
Minimal head, minimal head lace.
Full flavored, but light to medium bodied.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 

The "Leinie's" I've tried thus far have failed to impress, other than in some gimmicky item such as color. But this one has some merit. It was great as far as the standard for a bock style.  It was also easy to drink; at just a tad north of 5% ABV, it makes for a very sessionable brew.  I am also happy to report that the taste popped nice and dry on the finish.

A lesser crafted style, Bock beers are not done in great abundance, at least not in this part of the country. So Leinenkugel has a nice niche beer in their stable.  One that you could easily enjoy all day.

Dogfish Head - India Brown Ale

Dead Soldier 
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer 
India Brown Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
6 Cannery Village Center
Milton, DE USA 
Est. 1995 

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.2 % ABV 
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Dark brown color with reddish highlights.
Sweet malt aromas mingle with some pungent hops aromas.
One-finger tan colored head that comes and goes quickly.
Spots of lacing on the glass.
Above average balance of hops and malts. Taste is hoppy and malty.
Medium carbonation.
Medium bodied. Bitterness of hops throughout. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 
For this one, think - India Pale Ale meets Brown Ale. Yeah, that's the ticket! Dogfish Head's site even throws in Scotch Ale as a third style; you will taste the Scotch Ale signature sweet maltiness along with the hammering hops characteristics of an IPA.

It's a finely crafted balance of borderline aggressive hops (Goldings and Liberty) with clean, sweet tasting malts and organic brown sugar.

This brew has multiple personalities, it's true. But don't think for a minute that this is a case of mistaken identity. According to a video by Sam Calagione on their website, this beer is the "...unsung hero of our year round portfolio..."  Sam goes on to say that it is a "hybrid" ale; one sought after by the staff on "take-home case" days. That's some great insider information. It let's us know that it has a personality all its very own.

A year round ale that is a favorite of the brewers. Sam exclaims, "...we hope you're down with the brown!"

 I am.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout
The Old Brewery at Tadcaster
Yorkshire, England
Est. 1758

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Dark brown color; solid.
Roasted grains of malt in the full and pungent aroma.
Bubbly tan/caramel head that lasts to the bottom of glass.
Huge three fingered head even upon slow pour.
Roasted malt taste, coffee-like, that gives way to some sweeter flavors of caramel hints of chocolate.
Abundant amount of carbonation.
Full bodied mouth feel. Smooth, creamy and delicious 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Do these guys know how to make beer! Thus far, every ale sampled by Samuel Smith has been a treat. I am impressed by the balance of ingredients. They adhere to the style formats well, and do not attempt to go far over the top. Just solid and enjoyable ales.

This Imperial Stout was no exception. The roasty grains of malt come right up to border line of a burnt, or espresso taste. Those stinging notes are not a displeasure, as they are subdued under richer malt sweetness in the backbone. The head rises immediately while pouring and it's all you can do to reign it in the glass.

Fun to pour and fun to drink. It's like getting a show with your beer!

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen
Brauerei Heller-Trum 
Bamberg, Germany
Est. 1405 

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.1% ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Pours a dark ruby brown color.
First impression is an antiseptic nose, but then gives way to a smoky smell.
Off-white, two finger head. Modest head retention. Little lace.
Tastes like a BBQ pit smells, similar to cured smoked meats; bacon.
Moderate amount of carbonation.
Medium bodied. Intersting smoked flavors. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Bacon! Bacon-bacon-bacon-bacon-bacon! ! ! Silly as it sounds, it tastes a lot like bacon.  It is a trip for the senses. The first whiff revealed none of that. For some reason the smokebeer offed an aroma of a hospital ward. But then I took a less greedy inhale, and the smokiness did reveal itself. The smoke really came through upon drinking. Wow. You have to try for yourself. Not your average Marzen lager from Germany. I bet this pairs lovely with a ham and cheese sandwich!

An old brewery with an equally old looking label on the brown bottle.

Unibroue Ephemere

Dead Explorer
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Unibroue Inc.
80, Des Carrieres
Chambly, Quebec
Est. 1992

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.5 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Light honey yellow-orange color with slight cloudy haze.
Apple fruitiness and slight nose of
One finger fluffy white head with excellent lacing and retention.

Great amount of carbonation but not overly fizzy.
Delicious apple sweetness in each sip.
Light to medium body. Extremely refreshing.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy

The pretty labels of Unibroue should win awards for their artwork, if they don't already. Such a beautiful goddess looking down on her bushel baskets of green apples. Sitting on a swing crafted by flowers, under a canopy of the same said flowers. A deep blue sky and majestic lake round out the background.

Wait a second! This is s beer blog, not an art gallery. Ahhhhh. So tranquil, though...

As if the scene isn't enough of a heavenly vision, just wait until you open and pour out the nectar inside. Equally heavenly. Then the taste of fruity apple sweetness and gentle, subtle yeast. Mmmm, pure heaven, for a fruit style and flavored beer.. I think they should equally win awards for their ales as well as the artwork.

The complete package.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Terrapin - Big Hoppy Monster Imperial Red Ale

Dead Reptile
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Big Hoppy Monster Imperial Red Ale
Terrapin Beer Company
265 Newton Bridge Road
Athens, GA USA
Est. 2002
Brain Damage Quotient = 8.3% ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Dark amber color that pours with a thick viscosity.
Sweet malty, brown sugar and stunning hops on the nose.
Slight off-white to tan colored two finger head.

Stringy traces of head cling to the glass.
Starts with big hops up front and switches to a rich malt backbone on the finish.

Viscous mouth feel.
Good amount of carbonation.
Medium bodied. Paradoxically, interestingly complex, yet simple. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Pungent hops and sweet malts are at play in this seasonal release.  The label warns, "WATCH OUT! THIS MONSTER BITES!" Although it falls into the style classification of an American Amber or traditional Red Ale, the label backs up the warning by declaring it in a style of its own, an Imperial Red Ale.

Now when you attach the word Imperial to a beer, you ust know that the brewers have gone into the lab to make something bigger thatn what is usually expected. Usually it falls into a darker or murkier body and you can be sure that big malts and big hops will be used in the lab.

Overall, I liked it. I found it had a surprising Jekyll and Hyde component as the flavors switched up from hoppy to malty. Very unique.

Watch out this snapping turtle doesn't bite you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Key West Pilsner Light

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Key West Pilsner Light
The Florida Beer Company
725 Silver Palm Avenue
Melbourne, FL USA
Est. 1994 

Brain Damage Quotient = ?.? % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Pale golden yellow color.
Smell of grain. Mostly grainy malt with slight hops aroma.
finger white head that dissipated rapidly.
Pretty good lace on the glass.
Medium carbonation.

Small nucleated bubbles. High carbonation.
Light bodied and flavor; slightly tart, dry finish.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Disclaimer time.  I am not a fan of light beers. And I have been skeptical of most brews in this style for quite some time. German and Czech brewers are about the only breweries that make refreshing, tasty well balanced Pilsener Lagers, in my humble opinion. The macro breweries do a yeoman's job of creating mass quantities, but still can't match the German/Czech regional pilseners.

Key West Pilsner Light gives us their version of this style. While it was a beer that hit the spot on the day consumed, it did not measure up to the centuries old brewers of Europe.

If you are looking for a light beer, (93 calories, 2.6g carbohydrates, 1g protein and 0g fat), look no further. Hmmm. Where did the protein come from? And why does the Key West lineup from Florida Beer never list the ABV? Questions, questions!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Walgreens - Big Flats 1901

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Big Flats 1901
Brewmaster's Choice (Walgreens)
Rochester, NY USA
Est. 2011 

Brain Damage Quotient = 4.5 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Clear pale yellow, nearly void of any color.
Grainy, grainy malt with barely noticeable hops aromas.
Two finger fluffy foaming head that leaves a cover. Dissipates fairly quickly.
Grain taste that leaves a cloying malt taste. Slight hops flavor present.
Extremely low amount of carbonation.  Bubbles can be counted. 
Ultra light bodied.

So clear, you can see through it.
Grim Reaper's Eulogy 
The things I do for blogging beer.  Okay, whatever! I could have guessed what this was going to be like before the tab was popped on the can.  The reaper loves the quick and the dead, but even this thing scares me! Walgreens is looking to pile on to the success in the beer explosion with an alternative (non)-working man's beer. It's supposed to fill the, I-can't-afford-beer-in-this-economy void. And at $2.99 a six pack, (a mere 50 cents a can), one might say that, capitalism is still alive and kicking in the U S of A.

There is a sickly sweetness to the grainy malt flavor. It leaves a haunting taste on the back of the tongue, (ever lick a piece of aluminum foil?) The body is so clear that you can actually read the receipt through my Spiegelau glass. Was going to make a snarky comment about having to rinse it out, but there's so little substance, it's not necessary!

Printed on the can, "Genuine Beer."  Really? "It's the water that makes it." Seriously? "Brewed from only the choicest hops." Hmmm...  Then there's the name.  Big Flats.  Huh!  There's so little carbonation.  I get the "flats" part, but there's nothing BIG about it. 

Anybody seen my Mr. Beer kit? ! ?  Never thought MGD 64 or Bud 55 would look so good - - -I'd say it's a great beer to drink when you're not drinking beer.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog posts.

Heavy Seas - Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Heavy Seas - Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA
Clipper City Brewing Company LP
Heavy Seas Beer
4615 Hollins Ferry Rd. Suite B
Baltimore, MD
Est. 1994 

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.25 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Purs a thick hazy golden color.
Grapefruit/citrus hops aromas with slight sweetness.
Creamy, two fingered off-white head that dissipates pretty quickly.
Good amount of sticky lacing on glass. Leaves small head cover on top of ale.
Taste is fairly balanced between malt and hops, but has a thick mouth feel.
Above average amount of carbonation.
Medium bodied.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Don't get me wrong...I love IPA's, specifically American IPA's. But this scalliwag left me wanting for a bit more after it walked the plank for me. I don't know if it was the hops that were used, (I am tending towards the west coast profiles), but coupled with the thick looking pour and mouth feel, it just didn't wow me. It left my tongue a bit leaden, with a heavy vibe. But there are others that are head over heels about this one.

Bad? No.

Good? Yes.

Great? ????? ???

What's your disposition to it? Hmmm?  Fire your shot across the bow, and let me know.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bell's The Oracle DIPA Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
The Oracle DIPA Ale
Bell's Brewery Inc.
8938 Krum Ave.
Galesburg & Comstock
Est. 1985 

Brain Damage Quotient = 10.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Hazy amber color.
Yeast swirls plunge into the depths of the glass.
Citrus hops aromas abound.
Draped lacing, off-white head that leaves a solid finger height throughout the glass.
Smooth hops, biting hops, awesome hops flavor.
Sticky pine and citrus hops taste.
Masked 10% ABV, making it too easy to drink.
Moderate carbonation. 
Medium bodied. Sinfully delicious.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Frickin' A! That's a damn great DIPA. Watch is waaay too easy to pop one of these down. Yummy hops for us hopheads and a big 10% ABV to go with it.

Label says, "A double IPA that is sure to make you as all-knowing as Pythia. It's just a matter of interpretation." Pythia, a deceptive and seductive siren who had hallucinogenic laurel leaves in her crown. Um-hmm, that's right, careful with this mythical mistress. Beware her charms, else she'll reel you in and make your head spin with her powers.

Gordon Biersch - Maibock

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Gordon Biersch Maibock
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
357 E. Taylor Street
San Jose, CA USA
Est. 1988 

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.3 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Copper/deep orange color.
Roasted malt nose with little notice of hops
Caramel tan head that has some stretchy lacing.
Moderate carbonation.
Malty sweet taste with slight alcohol warmth.
edium bodied and smooth with dry finish.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Gordon Biersch's makes another in their series of German style beers wit htis Maibock. All I can say is that this is a smooth to drink bock (Einbecker style), and could easily see as a sessionable winter/spring beer. The alcohol warms, but is not harsh even at above 7%.

Not entirely remarkable, however, it definitely has merit.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bison - Chocolate Stout

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Chocolate Stout
Bison Brewing
2030 Fifth Street 
Berkeley, CA USA
Est. 1989

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Dark, solid brown body color.
Cocoa and roasted malt aromas.
One-finger tan head that leaves minimal lacing.
Cocoa taste with roast malt, all similar to smell.
Light amount of carbonation.
mouth feel, nice bittersweet finish.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Organic brews are everywhere. I see these brewers taking good things from the good earth, and it does speak to the Reaper's soul. Muahaahaa! Bison Brewing is another in a recent string of organic brews I have recently come across.

Bison has won a couple of awards for this particular organic chocolate stout, namely:
Not too shabby. After having the good fortune to visit a USDA Organic certified brewery myself, I'm becoming more impressed with the stewardship these organic breweries come to represent.  Not only for their brewing methods, but also for the partnering with local organic farms.  This cooperative spirit keeps the earth in a better condition, and makes us all notice how we can do our part to reduce our own carbon footprint. And, yes, they can make really fresh and flavorful beer. A bit more expensive to brew it this way, but in the end you are rewarded with unadulterated bliss in a glass!

Kudos to the crew at Bison for being passionate to make this a reality for all of us.  Their efforts will certainly be noticed in your next glass of Bison beer.

Crazy Cat Lady Beer - Cold Winter's Night

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Cold Winter's Night Spiced Cider
Crazy Cat Lady Beer Co.
Gainesville, FL USA
Est. 2010

Brain Damage Quotient = 4.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Beautiful orange/golden translucent color.
Sweet fruit smell with tart peppery twang on the nose.
Slight carbonation.

Swirling sweet apples accompanied by tart tracer zing of cranberry.
Clove and all-spice flavors present.
Short lived near white head with minimal lace.

Light mouth feel; syrupy with out cloying. Very refreshing. 

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
It's about friends, and beer. And then, it's about good friends and good beer. The FLAbrew crew came, saw and conquered a tweetup at The Cock & Bull in Sarasota recently. In the house were some of the best cellered micro beers and ales, opened between friends.

After a while, we all realized there was a bit too much to be drunk, even by us seasoned beer aficionados. What to do with all this good stuff? Well, this is where my good twitter friend Amie put a couple of her home brews in my direction. Remember, I said good friends and good beer...

Enter this beer come spiced cider, from her home-brew stash. I was in touch recently with Amie, asking if I could feature her beers on my blog. It was an introduction of sorts for me to begin entering some local pico brews. I want to show similarities between what macros and micros brewers do, and how you and I can do the same in the comfort of our own kitchens.

The spiced cider is billed as four percent-ish ABV, but as I write this post, my head is pleasantly buzzing in the comfort of the crypt's writing library.  The mulled flavors of the apple and cranberry are terrific. Though these are the two main ingredients at play in the taste, it seems that there's quite a bit more in the background.  Amie listed the rest of her billet of ingredients, "...oranges, cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger." Hmmm...just got the perfect inspiration for a metaphor...Rush is playing in the background at the moment. Three guys and all that sound! Well, the apples, cranberries and oranges are there with the rest of the wall of flavor. I think Amie is on the right track when she states,
"I wanted it to taste like the hot cider my mom made during the winter when I was a kid. :) And it does." - Amie
It does, indeed. And, as it warms in the snifter in my bony Reaper's paw, the flavors become more intense. Add to that the playful color of the brew. It really shines in my Spiegelau glassware. The best wassail you can imagine, because it's a beer.

Amie is adventerous in her beer making. The other brew she gave me is carbonating up, here at the crypt. It is a >17% ABV. You and I will have to wait for some other day for that post, as nature does its thing to bubble it up in the bottle.

Curl up by the fire with a "Cold Winter's Night" if you are lucky to get one from Amie!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Guinness Draught

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Guinness Draught
Guinness Brewing Company
St. James Gate
Dublin, Ireland
Est. 1759 

Brain Damage Quotient = 4.2 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 14.9

Postmortem Brew Review
Dark malted brown color.
Rich roasted malted smell.
Slight carbonation and hops.
Caramel colored, smooth and silky head with good lacing.

Head double forms in layers as beer settles into the glass.
Medium mouth feel; unusually refreshing.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
It's about time this stout showed up on my blog...heaven knows it isn't the first one I've had.

Beautiful beer, beautiful website. Guinness is just the right fistful of stout for any occasion. It's a meal in a glass, not as heavy as folks would think. Creamy, with a bit of sweetness and always a great call at the bar. I had this while attending an outing recently, waiting for the hors d'oeuvres to be set out. It hit the spot nicely.

Nitro when on tap and also available with nitro in the can. Can't go wrong with one of these, now they have perfected the nitro-widget. It's as close as brewery tap fresh as you can get. Very low ABV also allows you to session, easily. Too easily!

Get some Irish history in you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chimay Premiere (Red)

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Chimay Premiere (Red)

Bieres de Chimay S.A.
Route Charlemagne, 8
6464 Baileux (CHIMAY) Belgium
Est. 1862

Brain Damage Quotient = 7.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 11.2 

Postmortem Brew Review
Copper in color with a slight haze.
Belgian yeast nose with fruity apricot scents.
Off-white creamy head. Lacing coats the glass.
Head simmers to a wisp leaving yeasty residues.
Mouth feel is silky. Apricot flavored taste; slight bitterness in finish.
Smooth, medium body.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy 
Trappist Monks make perfection inside the walls of their monasteries as well as inside the walls of brown bottles. Here's one that is a simply sensational, take-your-time-why-don't-you kind of ale.  Sit back, enjoy the day, have a cigar if you prefer. Or maybe some great cheese or fruits. It's up to you; it's your day. So do with it what you wish.

Celebrate the day! Stop and smell the roses with any Chimay and you'll see the world through a different lens. Consistently fine crafted ales from this house. Re-fermented in the bottle, as you would expect from the Belgians.

Peak Organic - Nut Brown Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Nut Brown Ale
Peak Organic Brewing Company, LLC
110 Marginal Way #802
Portland, ME USA
Est. 199?

Brain Damage Quotient = 4.7 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Clear copper color.
Pronounced nutty aroma with a bit of caramel scents present.
One-finger off-white head that leaves minimal lacing.
Nutty taste. Caramel malts lead the taste.
Medium amount of carbonation.
Light to medium
mouth feel and body but slightly thin in the finish.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
A nice English style brown ale and it's organic to boot.  Many new micro breweries are popping up using naturally grown, unadulterated ingredients. This trend is very welcome, what with the outbreaks of contaminated crops we hear about, that make their way into our supermarkets. The Organic label ensures that pesticides and animal proteins (runoff) are kept from the products placed inside the bottles. After all, we want carbs, not protein in our beer, right?

Stone cold fact: In 2009, Peak assisted Maine farmers with the cultivation of commercial hops. This is something that hasn't been done in Maine since 1880.  Peak prides themselves on their commitment to organic brewing and partnering with organic farmers.

Again, a fine brown ale, using trusted ingredients.

St. Peter's India Pale Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
St. Peter's India Pale Ale
St. Peter’s Brewery Co. Ltd
St. Peter’s Hall, St. Peter South Elmham
Bungay, Suffolk, England

Brain Damage Quotient = 4.9 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 16.9 

Postmortem Brew Review
Clear brown colored beer with nice maroon color when held up to the light.
Normal sized tan head.
Light smell of hops and toffee with dark roasted maltiness.
Tastes slightly sweet with a big taste of malt in the finish.
Mild grain flavor and a hint of coffee.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy

Haven't had a St. Peter's brew in awhile.  A couple of their other styles had been tucked into the original coffin from back in the day, when this blog formed. So when I spotted this IPA in the display case, I chose to give it a try. Now I like my IPA's as well as the next person, and I'm also fully aware that the British created the style for their troops in India. Masters of the art, and so forth and all...harumph, harumph!  But since I've been sampling and enjoying American IPA's, it seemed that this beer lacked that west coast hops punch we all look for in and India Pale Ale. True that the hops are a different than I'm accustomed to, and more pungent in their 'bittering'.  Sadly, not to my liking.

Add to that, the bottle was slightly 'skunked', most likely from the export/import process and the evident and abundant green glass in this 16+ ounce bottle. Too bad, cause the other from their stable proved to be so tasty. I shall look for this one again in the future and try to compare if the taste was due to improper handling procedures.

They still have my vote, but unfortunately, not at the moment regarding this IPA.