BeerCritic


St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

Sorry people, this was on location, and so no visual media.

Style and Glass: Strong Dark Belgian Ale, Trappist
ABV, Volume & Calories: 10 % in 22  fl oz. estimated at400 C
Purchased at: Issac Newton’s, Newtown, PA for $18.00

Aroma: malty, sweet, inviting.

Visuals: typical St. Bernardus label — neither inviting or not, like visiting an old friend, dark pour, thin head, opaque, dark body, red brown body, nice lace.

Taste: amazingly balanced, deep flavors, overlapping influences, peach, banana, cinnamon, bitter hops, high strength.

Palate: high quality, fruit juice texture, amazing, deep finish.

Overall: delicious. An amazing treat. Beautiful, rich, and deep. A repeat when I can afford it. A high level favorite. medium value. high craft. Paired with a brownie and ice cream dessert — matched well in sweetness and contrast.



Schneider Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse

Glass: weizen
Purchased at: OakTree BuyRite, South Plainfield, NJ (Thanks, Jason and Matt)
Price: $3.99 (!)
Size: 16.9 fl oz
ABV: 8.2%
IBU: n/a
Estimated Calories: 300 C
RateBeer Rating: 96

Aural: quiet opening, visible carbonation, heady pour

Aroma 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: sweet

Impression: nice

Malt Aroma: banana bread, vanilla, walnut
Hops Aroma
: cinnamon, orange
Other Aroma
: banana

Notes: One of the clearest banana aromas I’ve ever encountered.

Appearance 4 out of 5

Color: amber

Clarity: hazy, nearly opaque.

Head Retention: persistent

Lace: present

Notes: beautiful, deep, hazy, thick, and dark with depth.

Flavor 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Impression: nice

Malt Flavor: wheat, quick bread, maple syrup, walnut, caramel
Hops Flavor: cinnamon, clove, orange, lemon
Other: banana

Notes: Very much the taste profile of banana bread – nicely done. Very hoppy for something that has the impression of sweetness.

Palate 4 out of 5

Mouthfeel

Sensation: drying warming

Body: full

Carbonation: medium

Finish

Length: long

Intensity: medium

Balance: bitter

Notes: A very bitter, fruity finish. Very nice.

General Impression: 19 out of 20

Craftmanship: excellent

Freshness: fresh

Personal Taste:  loved

Notes: Reminds me of Chouffe’s Dobblen IPA. A very nice mix of hops, sweetness, fruitiness, Belgian style, American ingenuity, and craft.



Cantillon Lou Pepe Pure Kriek 2004

Glass: flute, tumbler
Purchased at: OakTree BuyRite, South Plainfield, NJ (Thanks, Jason and Matt)
Price: $22.99
Size: 25.4 fl oz
ABV: 5 %
IBU: n/a
Estimated Calories: 300 C
RateBeer Rating: 99

Aural: cork opening, but uneventful, beautiful, continuous carbonation, quiet, luscious pour

Aroma 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: sharp

Impression: nice

Malt Aroma: sour
Hops Aroma
: wholly floral, rose, cinnamon, clove,
Other Aroma
: orange, cherry, lemon

Notes: You have to be able to enjoy sour to get into a cherry behemoth like this. While it’s not my favorite style, I genuinely appreciate it when it’s done well. It’s done perfectly.

Appearance 5 out of 5

Color: ruby

Clarity: nearly opaque

Head Retention: poor

Lace: poor

Notes: Very much like a sparkling wine, with great visual effects.

Flavor 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Impression: nice

Malt Flavor: sour
Hops Flavor: rose, lemon, rind
Other: cherry, plum, dates, raisin

Notes: An absolutely overwhelming sourness and bitterness. Done with finesse and great care.

Palate 5 out of 5

Mouthfeel

Sensation: drying

Body: full

Carbonation: heavy

Finish

Length: long

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Notes: A dark, oaky, bitter finish and a very dry bite. delicious.

General Impression: 19 out of 20

Craftmanship: excellent

Freshness: fresh

Personal Taste: liked very much.

Notes: As I said, while this is not my go to style (luckily, since I couldn’t afford it) I definitely appreciate when it’s done well, and this is very well crafted. It demands to be sipped.



Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper 2007

Glass: Trappist, shaker, tulip
Purchased at: Joe Canal’s, Lawrenceville, NJ
Price: $12.19
Size: 25.4 fl oz
ABV: 11%
IBU: n/a
Estimated Calories:450 C
RateBeer Rating: 98

Aural: pop opening, low carbonation, quiet pour

Aroma 10 out of 10
Intensity: strong
Balance: sweet and sharp
Impression: nice

Malt Aroma: brown sugar cinnamon toast truffles chocolate roast coffee
Hops Aroma:
oregano cinnamon cilantro
Other Aroma:
bubblegum
Notes: An enticing aroma.

Appearance 4 out of 5
Color:deep brown black
Clarity: opaque

Head Retention: poor
Lace: poor
Notes: despite the issues with head retention, the body is very deep and rich.

Flavor 9 out of 10
Intensity: strong
Balance: sweet
Impression: nice
Malt Flavor: barley rye bread brown caramel chocolate mocha coffee
Hops Flavor:
rum raisin orange
Other:
melon
Notes: Like dessert. A wonderful flavor much more focused on malt flavors than hop flavors, but a great taste.

Palate 5 out of 5
Mouthfeel

Sensation: creamy slick drying warming
Body: full
Carbonation: average
Finish

Length: long
Intensity: strong
Balance: bitter
Notes: finish has strong warming effect – nice hidden abv.

General Impression: 18 out of 20
Craftmanship: excellent
Freshness: fresh
Personal Taste: loved
Notes: Very malty, high ABV, but well hidden. Dark chocolate and coffee flavors. Not as fruity as I’d expect, but still a wonderful ale. Thanks, Mikkeller!



Nogne O Imperial Stout

Glass: Snifter
Purchased at: Canal Liquors, Lawrenceville, NJ
Price: $7.69
Size: 16 fl oz
ABV: 9%
IBU: 75
Estimated Calories: 300C
RateBeer Rating: 99

Aroma 10 out of 10
Intensity:  Strong
Balance: Sweet
Impression:  Nice

Malt Flavor: Caramel Toffee Chocolate Coffee
Hops Flavor:
Cinnamon resin grapefruit
Other: alcohol

Notes: Aroma is delicious and inviting.

Appearance 5 out of 5
Color:  Black
Clarity: Opaque
Head Retention: Good
Notes: inpenetrable darkness with a nice tan head. Lacing is intricate.

Flavor 10 out of 10
Intensity:  Strong
Balance:  Bitter
Impression:  Nice
Malt Flavor:
Roasted Caramel Toffee Chocolate Coffee
Hops Flavor: Spice Resin Citrus
Other: Chalk, dirt
Notes:An amazing complexity – good dark chocolate and espresso overtones. Depth and character unmatched by many other chocolate stouts.

Palate 5 out of 5
Mouthfeel

Sensation: Creamy Slick  Warming
Body:  Full
Carbonation:  Lively
Finish

Length:  Long
Intensity:  Strong
Balance:  Bitter
Notes: electrifying, all over mouth, dark, hoppy, sharp, dry

General Impression: 20 out of 20
Craftmanship: Excellent
Freshness:  Fresh
Personal Taste: Loved
Notes: Easily the best darkest stout I’ve ever enjoyed. Well done, Nogne O.