BeerCritic


Otter Creek Copper Ale
Otter Creek Copper Ale

Otter Creek Copper Ale

Style; glass: Alt Kolsch; tumbler
12 fl oz x 5.4% ABV = 64.8 / 60 = 1.08 beers * 150 C = 162 calories (est.)
Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $1.20

Aroma: Hay, corn, faint.

Visuals: typical packaging, beautiful, bright copper body, brilliant, staying white head, sticky lace.

Taste: Some depth, spicy, hoppy, malty. Caramel, roasted malts, some coffee. Tasty!

Palate: start is spongey, middle is drying, and finish is acetic, bitter, and enjoyable.

Overall: perhaps the best of the sampler. It was sold to me by the beer manager at Canal’s who suggested that this was their flagship. I think they should focus on this malty, slightly bitter, delicious session brew.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot BWSA 2009
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot BWSA 2009

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot BWSA 2009

Style; glass: BWSA; snifter
12 fl oz x 9.6% ABV = 115.2 / 60 = 1.92 beers * 150 C = 288 calories (est.)
Purchased at: Super Saver Pennington, NJ for $1.99

Aroma: Tea, cherries, alcohol, oak, hay, smoke, agitation brings out the hops

Visuals: well designed packaging, inviting, funny, and brand-strong, A deep pool of tea, orange to red, brilliant and clear, thin gray head, very nice lacing.

Taste: Overtly sweet and malty, some roasty flavors, high gravity, caramel, sharp crisp hoppy bitterness.

Palate: Starts heavy with sweetness, syrupy, quickly moves to tea and caramel, followed by slow descent to bitterness and hoppy overload.

Overall: Delicious and amazing. I have to grab it when I first see it each season. Great stuff. An absolute go-to fave. Value is amazing for the craft involved. Despite the macro overtones of what Sierra Nevada is doing, on their scale, you have to give them credit for delivering on flavor and quality on their brews — they do macro right.

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Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

Style; glass: Imperial Stout; snifter
12 fl oz x 9.6% ABV = 115.2 / 60 = 1.92 beers * 150 C = 288 calories (est.)
Purchased at: Super Saver Pennington, NJ for $2.99

Aroma: An amazing aroma of cocoa, sugar, chocolate, syrup, coffee, mold, and dust.

Visuals: Cans are beautful, rather unique for craft brew, and very welcome. It is darkness in a glass. It’s midnight. It eats light. It is black and fully opaque. The beautiful brown tan head is fluffy and lasting, and the lace struggles against the ABV, but is beautiful.

Taste: Like chocolate syrup, so very delicious. A chocolate milkshake. Over the top roasted malts and a bitter rich finish that is very much like espresso. Absolutely delicious.

Palate: Starts sweet and with a heavy gravity, middle is dark and roasted with a satisfying bitter finish. Great for a hop head like me, but soothes my imperial cravings as well.

Overall: An amazing, if expensive, brew. Worth every penny. Dark chocolate, espresso, and syrup, you just can’t beat it.

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Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
Stone Cali-Belgique IPA

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA

Style; glass: IPA; tulip
22 fl oz x 6.9% ABV = 151.8 / 60 = 2.53 beers * 150 C = 379.5 calories (est.)
Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville for $7.99

Aroma: sweet, banana and cloves, some citrusy hops, pine, grass.

Visuals: packaging is beautiful, though screen printing always seems to be coming off the bottle. It gives the brand a bit of crumbly marble style, though I wonder if it’s intentional? Perhaps the most brilliant IPA I’ve ever seen, absolutely crystal clear. Like the final scene in THX 1138, it’s that bright sunlight. Golden, pale, transparent, bright white head, sticky fresh Belgian lace. Carbonation is continuous.

Taste: Delicious, sweet, and hoppy. A great blend, very much in the spirit of Chouffe’s Hobblon Dobblen (sp?). Expertly balanced, nice easygoing maltiness, great hops. Perhaps my favorite new session brew.

Palate: Crisp, clean, and refreshing. A dream of fusion of two of my favorite styles. I hope they develop an imperial of this. Starts very sweet, crisp, middle has a bit of a burn and slight roastiness, finish is hops and bitterness with a salty sweet end note. Amazing.

Overall: In terms of lighter brews and more reasonable ABVs, this is a clear winner, and easily my favorite IPA at the moment, and very much a favorite all around, though my top honor still goes to Mikkeller for Black. I’m going to get more, soon. Stone, just keep them coming, and please consider an imperial version of this.

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Schlafly Oak Aged Imperial Stout 2007
Schlafly Oak Aged Imperial Stout 2007

Schlafly Oak Aged Imperial Stout 2007

Style and Glass: Imperial Stout; snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 10.5% in 25.4 fl oz. estimated at 400 C
Purchased at: Canal’s Hamilton, NJ for $11.99

Aroma: Mostly cocoa, fainter, but delicious. Attractive.

Visuals: Packaging is exquisite, royal. You should expect something very special, and if the BWSA from Schlafly is any indicator, I do. A black tar pit of a brew.  Fully opaque, though the pour seemed thinner than this body proves. Thin tan head, almost fully dissipating, with some lace remaining.

Taste: Surprisingly light at first, but a quick flavor of oak, cherries, raisin, and alcohol hit after a second, followed by a longer hoppy burn. Very nice. Caramel, chocolate, and coffee show through. Licorice, taffy. A sweet treat. Needs some dark chocolate and pretzels to set it off.

Palate: Crisp, terricloth, and biting in the end. Hoppy dark finish. Oak is quiet on this comparative to the BWSA, but I don’t miss it. I only enjoy smokiness to a certain point, though there is some here, it is not overwhelming.

Overall: I liked it a lot. There are other less expensive, equally enjoyable imperial stouts, such as Oak Aged Yeti, or even just Yeti, but this was a very nice treat. Thanks, Schlafly.



Captain Lawrence Nor’ Easter Winter Warmer
Captain Lawrence Nor'Easter Winter Warmer

Captain Lawrence Nor'Easter Winter Warmer

Style and Glass: American Strong; Trappist, Snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 12 % in 25.4 fl oz. estimated at 400 C
Purchased at: Joe Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $14.49

Aroma: Very much the impression of bourbon or whiskey. Alcohol, smoke, and fire await. Like a fireplace going in the neighborhood on a cold winter night.

Visuals: Very nice packaging, tasteful, inviting. Thin white head hangs on indefinitely, over a dark black oily body. Lacing is intricate and sticky.

Taste: Like cough syrup — it’ll cure what ails you. Thick, sugary, with a surprising control of the 12% ABV. Warms immediately. Woody, oaky, and smoky. More of a smoked german sausage than italian or polish spicyness. Like biting into a cupcake — very thick. Tasty! Cherry, chocolate, and caramel.

Palate:  Warming throughout. Starts thick and dull, no crispness throughout, and not really looking for it. Middle is spongy and drying, and finishes long, smoky, and a little spicy.

Overall: Like other CL’s I’ve tried, this is very much about the smoke, and like others I’ve tried, CL seems to do it right — not like eating a sausage, but it would compliment it very well. Delicious, expertly balanced, and neither cloying nor overpowering, which is astounding considering the ABV.



Brooklyn Black Ops Oak Aged Imperial Stout
Brooklyn Black Ops Oak Aged Imperial Stout

Brooklyn Black Ops Oak Aged Imperial Stout

Style and Glass: Imperial Stout; Snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 10.7% in 25.4 fl oz. estimated at 400C
Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $23.00

Aroma: intense coffee and licorice aromas, alcohol is very present, inviting, enticing. Berries, grass, and wood. Oaking is evident. Roasted, burnt scents throughout. A bit acrid, and enjoyably so.

Visuals: Packaging is engaging, classic, and perfectly done. The body is absolute pitch in color, viscosity, and heft. As deep black and opaque as anything I’ve ever seen. Head is tan, starting thick and fluffy, then dissipating, but not fully. A thin head remains. Lacing is exquisite.

Taste: Crisp body gives way to sultry chocolates, coffee, and caramel. Luxurious. Surprisingly balanced for the style and treatment. I expected to be bowled over, but instead, I’m treated to a very drinkable (dangerously so) beer.

Palate: Perhaps the best part of this beer is the set of sensations in the mouth and throat. Starts with a bubbly crisp effervescence, followed by a mild transfer to smoothness that carries those roasted flavors, then a sweet cream milkiness, then a bit of chalk, followed by a three part finish consisting of sweetness, roastiness, and hoppy bitter burn.

Overall: This is a once in a lifetime beer, very well done, and I’m thrilled to have enjoyed it. I only wish I was celebrating something besides Saturday night, as this beer deserves a celebration.



Founders Imperial Stout
Founders Imperial Stout

Founders Imperial Stout

Style and Glass: Imperial Stout; Snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 10.5% in 12 fl oz. estimated at 200 C
Purchased at: Joe Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $2.75

Aroma: roasted malts, coffee, sugar, syrup, carbon, toast, winter evenings, fireplace

Visuals: beautiful, exquisite packaging like all Founders brews, dark as midnight, absolutely black, light does not escape, starts with thick tan head, which dissipates over time but does not disappear, lace stays for a while.

Taste: delicious balance, syrupy but not cloying malt flavor, deep and acrid hop flavor afterwards.

Palate: Smooth, silky velvet feel. lingers upon the tongue and in the mouth. Coating, sticky, and delicious.

Overall: What an amazing brew. I’ll have it again, at least 3 times, though I’d love to have it at least once a week.



Founders Double Trouble DIPA
Founders Double Trouble DIPA

Founders Double Trouble DIPA

Style and Glass: DIPA, Tulip; snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 9.4% in 12 fl oz. estimated at200 C
Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $2.75

Aroma: A beautiful, hoppy explosion. Pine, citrus, resin, salt, seawater, and burn of alcohol is very present.

Visuals: design is fun, inviting, and apropos, body is a winter sunset, deep reddish orange with a bright white head, very clear, head is small but withstands the tasting, lace is missing.

Taste: smooth, sweet and burning, syrupy and spicy with savory notes, hops are forefront, bitter and biting.

Palate: smooth throughout. Alcohol inhale on first taste, followed quickly by sweetness, then intense bitterness, then a long dulling battering of the mouth. Delicious.

Overall: An amazing and delicious brew. A bit expensive, but always worth it. .



Russian River Pliny the Elder

Style and Glass:  DIPA, Snifter; Tulip
ABV, Volume & Calories: 8 % in 16.9 fl oz. estimated at 300 C
Purchased on tap at the Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA for $4.75

Hoppy, sweet and delicious. Aroma is hops, sour and mold. A great way to toast the new president, as I had this on inauguration eve. Bright, orange with a small white head. Sticky lace. Pine cirtus and grapefruit in the flavor. Coats the mouth, and finish is long and sweet, then bitter. A truly great brew.