BeerCritic


Victory Hop Wallop
Victory Hop Wallop

Victory Hop Wallop

Glass: snifter, tulip
Originally Purchased at: Laurenti’s ShopRite, Hamilton, NJ on July 3rd, 2008

Today: A gift from Bryan K and Angel B – Thanks!

Price: $1.83
Size: 12 fl oz
ABV: 8.5%
Estimated Calories: 250 C in 12  oz
RateBeer Rating: 93

Aural: quiet opening, good carbonation, simple pour

Aroma 9 out of 10

Intensity: medium

Balance: sweet

Impression:  very nice

Malt Aroma: wheat, rye, brown sugar, toast ed peanuts, light caramel
Hops Aroma
: dust, fern, star anise, lemon
Other Aroma
: tea, peach

Notes: An absolutely amazing, if faint, aroma. Wondrous and inviting.

Appearance 5 out of 5

Color: copper

Clarity: brilliant

Head Retention: persistent

Lace: intricate

Notes: A beautiful presence, nicely retained white head, simple lacing, and a deep copper body.

Flavor 9 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Impression: nice

Malt Flavor: wheat, rye, cane sugar, roasted peanuts, light caramel
Hops Flavor: dust, lemon, orange, zest,
Other: tea, oatmeal

Notes: Likely the best feature of this delicious brew – very hoppy, not well balanced, likely on purpose. Bitterness is key.

Palate 5 out of 5

Mouthfeel

Sensation: sour cream, oil, tea towel

Body: full

Carbonation: faint

Finish

Length: long

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Notes: A delicious and richly textured finish.

General Impression: 18 out of 20

Craftmanship:  excellent

Freshness:  fresh

Personal Taste:  loved

Notes: One of my favorite beers.



Dogfish Head Immort Ale BWSA

Glass: snifter
Purchased at: OakTree Buy Rite, South Plainfield, NJ (Thanks, Jay and Matt)
Price: $4.99
Size: 12 fl oz
ABV: 11%
IBU: n/a
Estimated Calories: 200 C
RateBeer Rating: 97

Aural: quiet opening, very little carbonation, easy pour

Aroma 9 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: sharp

Impression: nice

Malt Aroma: grain alcohol
Hops Aroma
: dust, rind, bitters
Other Aroma
: lemon

Notes: aroma is deceiving – It’s strong, different than most any other scent, but hard to place.

Appearance 5 out of 5

Color: dark

Clarity: brilliant

Head Retention: persistent

Lace: intricate

Notes: A very nice looking ale, and one of the few I’ve seen at this alcohol content with good lacing.

Flavor 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Impression: nice

Malt Flavor: wheat, barley, oats, brown sugar, hazelnut, syrup
Hops Flavor: marigold, coriander, parsley, lemon
Other:oak

Notes: A brilliant flash of inspiration with the flavor rush. It takes a moment to hit, in an amazing control over the 11% abv. So very well balanced, and so much more so than the 120 minute IPA. It’s phenomenal.

Palate 5 out of 5

Mouthfeel

Sensation: creamy warming

Body:  full

Carbonation: average

Finish

Length:  long

Intensity:  strong

Balance:  bitter

Notes: A wonderfully deep finish.

General Impression: 19 out of 20

Craftmanship:  excellent

Freshness:  fresh

Personal Taste:  loved

Notes: One of the finest controls over alcohol content I’ve ever experienced. You expect to be thrown down and ravaged, and instead, you’re invited out for dinner and a movie. Spectacular.



Avery Mephistopheles Stout

Glass: snifter
Purchased at: OakTree BuyRite, South Plainfield, NJ (Thanks, Jason and Matt)
Price: $8.99
Size: 12 fl oz
ABV: 16%
IBU: no frikkin idea
Estimated Calories:300  C
RateBeer Rating: 99

Aural: easy opening, little carbonation, dark, pretty pour

Aroma 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: sharp

Impression: amazing

Malt Aroma: rye, pumpernickel, sugar, cinnamon toast, peanut, chocolate, coffee
Hops Aroma
: moldy mud, marigold, tea, tar
Other Aroma
: alcohol burn

Notes: A rich and deeply layered scent – if the taste is anything like the scent, I’m in for a ride.

Appearance 5 out of 5

Color: black

Clarity: opaque

Head Retention: wispy

Lace: poor

Notes: A bold, deep black, sans light, plus wispy tan head. Beautiful.

Flavor 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: amazingly balanced

Impression: nice

Malt Flavor: wheat, barley, pumpernickel, chocolate syrup, whole wheat toast, peanuts, toffee, dark chocolate, espresso roast, dark coffee
Hops Flavor: dry dirt, cilantro, peppers, tar resin, lemon
Other: alcohol

Notes: The taste is unequaled in stouts. It has an acidic burn of alcohol, deep, dark rich chocolate, amber waves of grain, plums, apricots, ginger, soy, spinach. It’s amazing.

Palate 5 out of 5

Mouthfeel

Sensation: drying warming

Body:  full

Carbonation: average

Finish

Length:  long

Intensity:  strong

Balance:  bitter

Notes: Bitter depth of finish is one of the key reasons to find this beer again. It is murky with depth and history of flavors.

General Impression: 20 out of 20

Craftmanship: excellent

Freshness: fresh

Personal Taste: loved

Notes: Perhaps outshines even Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast.



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 Beer Geek Breakfast Stout

Glass: English pint
Purchased at: OakTree BuyRite, South Plainfield NJ (Thanks, Jay & Matt!)
Price: $14.99
Size: 22.3 fl oz
ABV: 7.5 %
IBU: n/a
Estimated Calories: 175 C
RateBeer Rating: 100

Aural: quick release in opening, dark, quiet carbonation, intense but uneventful pour

Aroma 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: sharp

Impression:  so nice

Malt Aroma: oat, sugar, toast, hazelnut, caramel, espresso roast
Hops Aroma
: mold, licorice, tar, resin, lemon
Other Aroma
: bacon

Notes: An amazing aroma. An aroma by which to compare all others. Phenomenal.

Appearance 5 out of 5

Color: black

Clarity:  wholly opaque

Head Retention: persistent

Lace: poor

Notes: A full darkness with a dark tan head. An exact replica of deep roasted coffee.

Flavor 10 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Impression: so very nice

Malt Flavor: oat, rye, chocolate syrup, burnt toast, carbon, cashew, caramel, toffee, espresso
Hops Flavor: mint, cilantro, dust
Other: alcohol

Notes: An amazing flavor. Comparable to no others. An instant and lasting favorite.

Palate 5 out of 5

Mouthfeel

Sensation: drying, warming

Body: full

Carbonation: faint

Finish

Length: long

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Notes: Leaves you wanting another taste. Would make a great gift. I wish I was having pancakes right now.

General Impression: 20 out of 20

Craftmanship: excellent

Freshness: fresh

Personal Taste: absolutely  loved

Notes: I cannot find more superlatives to apply here. It is, without a doubt, my favorite beer. Mikkeller is a genius.



Bell’s Oberon Wheat Ale

Glass: weizen

Purchased at: Issac Newton’s, Newtown, PA

Price: $5.00

Size: 12 fl oz

ABV: 6%

IBU:n/a

Estimated Calories: 160 C

RateBeer Rating: 82

Aural: quiet opening, little carbonation, easy pour

Aroma 7 out of 10

Intensity: medium

Balance: sweet

Impression: nice

Malt Aroma: whole wheat flour, nut, light caramel

Hops Aroma: dust, dirt, grass, coriander, lemon

Other Aroma: apple

Notes: A very nice aroma – not overpowering, but enjoyable, sweet, demure.

Appearance 4 out of 5

Color: amber

Clarity: cloudy

Head Retention: thin but persistent

Lace: poor

Notes: A very nice example of an American wit. Good color, nice yeasty cloudiness, like a sunset. Head is present but thin.

Flavor 8 out of 10

Intensity: medium

Balance: sweet

Impression: nice

Malt Flavor: wheat, sugar, rye, peanut
Hops Flavor: dust, rind, coriander, lemon, orange
Other: apple

Notes: A very tasty, if light, flavor. What many might call a good lawnmower beer, but by no means a killer beer.

Palate 3 out of 5
Mouthfeel

Sensation: creamy

Body: light

Carbonation: faint

Finish

Length: short

Intensity: faint

Balance: sweet

Notes: A crisp, quick finish is my least favorite part of this beer – it’s refreshing, but with a short lived refreshment.

General Impression: 16 out of 20

Craftmanship: very nice.

Freshness: fresh

Personal Taste: liked.

Notes: It was enjoyable, delicious and simple, but many other wits and belgian styles would be my choice when spending $5 on a 12 oz bottle.



Stone IPA

Stone India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.9%
IBU:
Volume: 12 oz
Glass: Tulip Goblet
Purchased at: Hopewell Valley Wine and Liquor
Consumed on: Friday, February 15th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

first impression: A quickly dissipating head and a slightly unfiltered, hazy appearance gives a mixed bag of anticipation, but I’ve had this beer before, and know what I’m in for. The grapefruit is amazingly present in the aroma, and the color, while not the most interesting or poetic, is certainly not unappealing. The taste is remarkable. It warms, and travels down the chest with a trail of hops. It is a beer with a taste history to it. You can remember the flavor for minutes after, and it is a great flavor. Wonderfully bitter with heavy malt undercurrents. It is an exemplar of an IPA.

Aroma/Olfactory:
Malt is roasted, toasty, and weighs heavily on the flavor.
Hops are resinous, very flowery, and brimming with grapefruit and lemon.
Yeast/Bacteria reminds one of a stack of stone slabs, a hint of surface water but not odoriferous or negative in impression.
It is tasty, heady, commanding, intoxicating, present, heavy, and delicious.

Visuals/Appearance:
Color is pale, orange, single noted, and without real depth.
Liquid is just a bit hazy and quiet.
Head is gone, but the lace is remarkable present. Hangs more on the glass than the volume itself. Quite white at the start.

Taste/Flavor:
Sweet in a slight way, but more bitter
Bitter is the overarching sentiment here, and it delivers in droves. It’s not ruination, but it’s not far off, IMHO.
Sour notes come with the bitter and citrus components.
Beatifully balanced in hops and malt.

Palate/Tactile:
Body/Mouthfeel is full and long lasting.
Texture is slightly cloying, not in a sweet way, and not like a stout, but it does not dissipate quickly.
Carbonation is crisp but not visually active.
Finish is quite bitter, and nicely so.

Second impression: Overall, this is a great beer, a fantastic example of an IPA, a strong exemplar of Stone’s lineup, and just a pleasure to have. One of my favorite beers, by far.



Victory Golden Monkey
06/21/2008, 4:33 AM
Filed under: Abbey Tripel (trappist), Victory | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Victory Golden Monkey Tripel Ale with Spices
ABV: 9.5%
IBU: n/a
Volume: 12 fl. oz.
Glass: shaker
Purchased at: Sherwood Liquors
Consumed on: February 27th, 2008, 10:12 pm

sensory first impression: A very pretty beer with quirky advertising. Overwhelming fruity scent, which I like. No head or lace to experience, but I don’t miss it, since the olfactory is so nice. I poured twice – first time clear – second time because I felt I had missed out on the bottle conditioning yeast. Whoopsie! the second yeasty pour made it downright cloudy. It’s like sandblasted glass now. Nice bite, lots of flavor – I taste bacon, and I smell banana. I’m not crazy about smoke in beers – see my future review of Triumph’s Rauchbier, for example, but this is balanced pretty nicely. There’s lemon and plums and orange and apple — lots of apple — and banana. Nice bite and texture, and the presence is divine. This is a special beer.

Aroma/Olfactory:
Malt is smoky and full of a fruit bowl of taste influences.
Hops are herbaceous, mellow, and leafy. Very nice balance here. In the hands of an amateur, this would be a mess. Hail Victory.
Yeast/Bacteria doughy, earthy, leafy, and reminds one of an aquarium. I just jumped in. Did I mention this is 9.5% alcohol by volume?
Banana seems omnipresent, and I love it. Paprika? Ginger-licious. What an amazing depth of flavor.

Visuals/Appearance:
Color is pale and a solid block of gold.
Liquid is cloudy with yeast.
Head/Lace is nowhere to be found.

Taste/Flavor:
Maltiness/Sweetness is heavy in smoky sweetness – like a banana infused sausage, but delicious.
Hoppiness/Bitterness is light and very balanced.
Sour from the smoke, but in an affectionate way.

Palate/Tactile:
Body/Mouthfeel is quite full and cloying.
Texture is creamy, slick, and thick
Carbonation is softly present in the background.
Finish is long lasting but muted. The cloying aspect amplifies this aftertaste, which is wonderful.

Overall second impression: What a wonderful beer. It wasn’t the first thing to reach out and grab me, but I’ll be sure to keep it on the top of my list when I’m looking for something special to sip, enjoy, and savor. What a treat.



Flying Fish HopFish IPA
06/17/2008, 2:45 AM
Filed under: Flying Fish, IPA (shaker, tulip) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Flying Fish HopFish IPA
ABV: 6.2%
IBU:
Volume: 12 oz bottle
Glass: tulip goblet
Purchased at: Hopewell Valley Wine and Spirits
Consumed on: Friday Feb 15, 2008 at 10:23 pm

first impression: A beautiful, deep orange color, a healthy head and a pale demeanor. The aroma is present, and bites a bit. The taste is good, nice, and both hoppy and malty. Just a tiny bit chemical in flavor, which is disappointing, but fleeting. Head departs almost immediately. I think there are some foaming agents present.

Aroma/Olfactory:
Malt reminds of hazelnut or lightly flavored coffee. Maybe a bit of banana or orange peel. There’s definitely some zest present.
Hops are very flowery and give a hint of lemon. Hops improve in flavor throughout tasting.
Flavor seems to target the tasters on the high back roof of the mouth. Heightened sinus reaction.

Visuals/Appearance:
Color is a reddish gold, and reminds of a bourbon, if in color only.
Liquid is quite clear, crisp, and a wispy boil in action.
Head starts strong and quickly dissipates into nothing at all. Lace just barely hangs on.

Taste/Flavor:
Rather sweet, but not cloying.
Bitter and hoppy, but not in a long lasting way – seems designed, rather than brewed. Quickly dissolves into a smooth but enjoyable aftertaste.
Sour in the hints of citrus overtones. A lot of zest originated flavor – bitterness seems unnatural.
Is that bubblegum?
More hoppy than malty, and not bad at all, once the initial shock of the acrid is passed. Good marks, but not the best – better than many others.

Palate/Tactile: Mouthfeel is medium – lingers upon the mouth for a moment.
Texture is crisp and glides from front to back easily. Attention is on both the front-middle and the back of the tongue.
Carbonation is relatively quiet, but crisp on the tongue.
Finish lasts for a second or two, then fades, and nicely so.

second impression: Overall, this is a good beer, definitely not your average American Pils, but does not do great justice to IPAs in the same realm as Stone or Victory. Seems like a River Horse also-ran, which is not to say bad.