Friday, December 07, 2012

Cold Weather Craft Brews (Part I)

I ran through some winter / cold weather beers last night.  I have some more to go through tonight.  Here is part one of the two (possibly three) parts I will post.  

My rating system that I use when tasting just about anything involves checks, out of three, with a + or ++ or even a - if I wish to modify.  Basically anything with 2 checks is worth seeking out, a check ++ is also a great beverage, 3 checks are almost never given.  See my notes...

Allagash Black (Belgian Style Stout)
7.5%abv – creamy foam.  Brewed in Portland, ME
A bottle conditioned ale
Deep, dark color with a lovely color contrast between the beer and the head.
Smoky, earthy, roasted grain and dark toffee aromas with a bit of yeasty flavors.
Very clean feel, fruit and earth esters, with a deep background of flavors.
The Belgian-style comes through on the palate with delicious, coffee ice cream and banana fosters flavors.
Just a touch of bitterness on the finish, but balanced and well integrated flavors.
The carbonation is lively and fine-tuned in the brew with a long finish.
Check, Check

Founder’s Breakfast Stout
8.3% abv – Creamy foam.  Brewed in Grand Rapids, MI
Billed as a double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout – get prepared for a full, rich, very flavorful brew.
Very dark, coffee colored.
Roasted espresso aromas dominate the nose
Balanced on the palate with oily, rich espresso notes followed by a sweet touch through the finish.
The finish goes on and on.  Espresso and dark toffee and roasted flavors simply linger.
Very impressive.
Check, check

Sebago Brewing Co. Slick Nick Winter Ale
6.0%abv – medium rich foam. Brewed in Gorham, ME
Deep amber/copper color
Grainy nose similar to other NE New England brewers – loads of sweet barley malt aromas
Good balance of bitter and sweet on the palate
Finish goes “smoothily” (as someone else said) on and on
This beer is great and is a clear stand-out in virtual flood of winter beers.
Check, check

Smuttynose Brewing Co. Robust Porter
5.7%abv – creamy foam.  Brewed in Portsmouth, NH
Thick, rich dark color with a creamy mocha-colored head
Earthy and rich nose with coffee, roasted toffee, vanilla and baking spice aromas
Palate is med- to med-plus in weight with full flavors of roasted grains.  Creamy with coffee and roasted malt flavors.
Great feel and balance through the finish.  Smooth and creamy and lengthy.
Great style.  
Check, Check

Southern Tier 2Xmas (seasonal)
8.0%abv – low foam.  Brewed in Lakewood, NY
Red, toffee in color
Spices on the nose, loads of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and fruity, almost winey aroma.
Smooth, medium-malty palate with a soft attack.
Mildly bitter, more spices through the finish.
Great style for a spiced ale.
Check ++

Narragansett Porter
7.0%abv – rich foam.  Comes in a 16oz can.  Brewed in Rochester, NY
Narragansett claims this beer has been brewed since 1916 (back label)
Nose has the smoky, roasted aromas typical of a Porter style
On the palate the brew has a smooth, clean and fairly dry feel, with a crisp style once it passes your palate.  Flavors of dry, roasted, almost coffee-like with walnuts.
Finish is well balanced, medium in weight and a bit malty, with darker notes lingering.
Good drinkable, value oriented Porter.
Check ++

Red Hook Brewery Winter Hook (seasonal)
6.0%abv – bubbly foam.  Brewed in Woodinville, WA
Red grainy color
Aromas have hops and touch of spice
On the palate the flavors are somewhat sweet and mild with just a hint of hops
Fairly smooth and easy to drink
Finishes with a bit of sweet malt, bit of hops aromas.
Good style.
Check ++

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (I.P.A.)
8.7%abv – creamy foam.  Brewed in San Diego, CA
Completely hopped nose with loads of fruity and intense aromatic hops, just a touch of grainy malt.
Very dark and deep brown color.
Medium- to medium-plus malty weight, but great balance with the bitter and the sweet.
Quite robust flavors, some sweet malt, but dry and crisp hop flavors continue long through the finish.
Balanced finish.  Flavors linger.
Check ++

Goose Island Mild Winter (English Dark Mild Ale)
5.6%abv – medium foam.  Brewed in Chicago, IL
Medium amber toffee in color
Round and malty on the nose with yeasty notes
Medium sweet up front on the palate, but turning a bit dryer as it finishes
A mild finish that is pleasant with just a touch of hop bitterness
Check +

Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale
8.0%abv – low foam.  Comes in a 12oz can. Brewed in Longmont, CO
Color is deep toffee to brown
Nose is rich and malty with nutty aromas
On the palate the beer is fairly easy in style and does not have a heavy weight that the rich nose might suggest.  Smooth, clean style, but with malty flavors.
Finish has a medium level of bitterness, fairly clean and almost dry.  Weighty beer alcohol, but doesn’t give this brew a heavy feel.  Quite balanced style between the bitter and sweet.
Check +

Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale
7.0%abv – mildly foamy.  Brewed in Lakewood, NY.
Red grain color
Ale, mild hopped, grainy flavors dominate the nose.
Has a dry, hoppy, bitter style on the palate.
Slick feel with a dry finish.
Check +

Cottrell Perry’s Revenge Ale
No declared abv – mild, light foam.  Brewed in Pawcatuck, CT
Deep brown, mahogany in color.
Grainy, roasty malt nose with a raw aspect like there was a lot of grain that did not get processed.  Almost a winey flavor.
Mild and mellow on the palate wit a lot of fruity esters that give this brew a motre home-brew feel.
Malty and somewhat sweet feel – it is a hearty beer.
Finish is medium-plus in length and lasts with the sweet fruit notes.

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