BeerCritic


Elysian The Immortal IPA
Elysian The Immortal IPA

Elysian The Immortal IPA

Style; glass: IPA; tulip
22 fl oz x 6.3% ABV = 138.6 / 60 = 2.31 beers * 150 C = 346.5 calories (est.)
Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $3.00

Aroma: sour, flowery, and some pine. Mold. Inviting.

Visuals: Overwrought packaging and label design, though the box branding won me over. Sunlight in the glass, though there is clearly sediment awaiting me in a subsequent pour. Bright, brilliant orange, with a wonderful white staying head and crisp, sticky lace.

Taste: beginning is resinous, malt is not sweet, as you might expect, but rather nutty. Charming. Middle is corn, hay, and dust. Grassy. Finish is aa light hoppy bitterness. Very enjoyable.

Palate: Starts heavy and rounded in the mouth, works quickly to crispness and bite, then to some warmth and a middle length butter finish. Well done.

Overall: Delicious, definitely not an imperial style, but I appreciate the subtlety and focus on hops. Malt is secondary here, and sweetness is clearly muted. I like it a bunch!

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North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout 2007

ABV: 9%
Calories: estimated at 200 C
Volume: 12 fl oz
Glass: 4 oz stem goblet
Purchased at: circle liquors, pennington
Price per fl oz: $3 / 12 fl oz = $0.25 per fl oz
Consumed at: Home

sensory first impression: Rich, deep, chocolaty, and nutty. Alcohol comes through, but still drinkable. Impressive darkness, tan head, and aroma. Hoppy finish and malty front end are wonderfully balanced. A great example of the style.

Aroma/Olfactory: 10 out of 10
Malt flavor is: dark caramel, maple syrupy, dark chocolate, bold coffee, almonds, cashews, almost burnt
Hop flavor is: resinous, florid, oregano
Yeast flavor is: rye, floury, feta cheese, dirt, dry
Other flavors include: alcohol, ginger, garlic, licorice, raisin, oak

Visuals/Appearance: 5 out of 5
Color is: black, without highlights except for a light blue tinge
Liquid is: absolutely dark
Head and lace are: nice, brown with sticky lacing

Taste/Flavor: 10 out of 10
Maltiness or Sweetness level is: medium
Hoppiness or Bitterness level is: medium to heavy
Sour level is: light

Palate/Tactile: 5 out of 5
Body or Mouthfeel is: full
Texture is: oily, creamy, sticky, papery
Carbonation is: soft, flat
Finish is: astringent, bitter, long

Overall experience: A great taste and visual experience. Murky and mysterious, but tastes deep and wonderful. 18 out of 20. I liked the flavor, color, and aroma. I did not like the high price, but I can’t say it wasn’t worth it.

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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.



Russian River Damnation Golden Ale
Russian River Damnation Golden Ale

Russian River Damnation Golden Ale

Style and Glass: Belgian Strong Ale, Trappist, snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 7.75% in 25.4 fl oz. estimated at 400 C
Purchased at: The Six Pack Store, Philadelphia, PA for $20.00 (Joe, we need to talk — I have since seen this elsewhere for $8.95)
Aroma: Very nice aroma, fainter, flowery, fruity, spices, cloves, cinnamon.

Visuals: Very nice packaging, interesting label, educational iconography, body is very much like white balanced deep space pictures of the sun, deep muddy orange, thick with haze and sediment, bright white head, sticky Belgian lace.

Taste: Delicious, well balanced. Not very sweet with malt, but a nice hoppy surprise in the finish.

Palate: Starts crisp, slightly chemical, middle is somewhat fruity, malt hits for a second with peach and cherry notes, then goes to a hoppy, darker finish that stays for a short while.

Overall: A very enjoyable brew. I’d have it again. I was upset to find it for less than half the price in the suburbs, but you live and learn.

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Breckenridge 471 Small Batch DIPA
Breckenridge Small Batch DIPA

Breckenridge Small Batch DIPA

Style and Glass: DIPA; Tulip, Snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 9.2% in12  fl oz. estimated at 200 C
Purchased at: Hulmeville Inn for $7.00

Aroma: A pine forest with a grapefruit juice truck spill. Delicious.

Visuals: Very nice packaging, inviting, well designed. Hazy thick orange deep body with long lasting, thin white head and thin soapy lace.

Taste: Grapefruit, pine, resin, and hops.

Palate: Thick start with a bitter middle and finish. No crispness. Very much an IPA, and extremely so. Delicious.

Overall: A very good beer, a great example of an DIPA, and a delicious pairing compliment.



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.



Schlafly Reserve Oak Aged Barley Wine Style Ale (2007)
Schlafly Oak Aged Barley Wine Style Ale

Schlafly Oak Aged Barley Wine Style Ale

Style and Glass: Barley Wine Style Ale, Snifter
ABV, Volume & Calories: 10.2% in 25.4 fl oz. estimated at 400C
Purchased at: Canal’s Hamilton for $11.99

Aroma: Oak, whiskey, alcohol, heartburn, smoke, and tobacco. An exhilarating aroma, and just being around it seems a little bit like a spicy barbecue is nearby.

Visuals: Packaging is a bit precious, but well done, and meets the need for specialty presentation. Body is an angry deep hazy red under an almost white long lasting head. Freshness and quality are evident from the way the body acts. Lacing is sticky and thick. Beautiful.

Taste: licorice, smoke, spices, and oak meld at the front, the middle has a deep slow burn, and the finish is almost all hops with a sweet malty undertone. An amazing brew. The oak really gives this BWSA a depth and flavor that I find pretty unique. Barbeque sweetness and smoke is welcome. This should be had with some blackened chicken and spicy curried potatoes. This would be great with Indian cuisine.

Palate: Smoother than you’d expect by far. Very oaky, woody, and crisp. A bit sour, puckers after a moment. Finish is warm, delicious, and strong

Overall: I love this, but I’d love it more playing against some savory and spicy flavors. Delicious.