Category Archives: Review

The Target: Mikkeller Beer Hop Breakfast

Brewed by: Mikkeller (brewed at Amager Bryghus)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: American Stout
ABV: 7.5 %

Commercial description: [translated from Danish] An Oatmeal Stout brewed with: water, malt, hops and yeast. Special version dry hopped with Simcoe and Columbus hops. Idido region coffee from Denmark’s coolest coffee guys at the Coffee Collective.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Pours a really nice opaque and sludgy brown/black color, one finger deep mocha rocky head the holds its shape similar to whipped cream. Some sticky leggy lacing is left on the glass.

AROMA (9/10)

Dark roasted coffee beans, the slightest amount of citrus and pine. Faint hint of hops with a backing of earthy cocoa and dark roasted malts. Little bit of tobacco in there too. A near perfect marriage of dark or espresso roast coffee, toasted rolled oats, and tarry pine sap hops.

FLAVOR (19/20)

Starts off with a pleasant sweetness of milk chocolate followed up with a slight coffee bitterness. In the middle there is a smoked wood flavor coming out. In addition, the citrus hop profile starts to come through. On the back end the citrus and earthy hops come through and really balance out the malt. The combination of the hop bitterness with the roasty grains and the strong coffee taste is superb.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

Medium to low level of carbonation combined with a silky mouthfeel from the oats gives a big, rich feeling as it slides down the palate. No overt residual sweetness or cloying qualities. This, combined with the prominent hop bitterness, makes it quite a clean, sharp finish. Strong notes of pine sap and black coffee remain for a long time after you finish a mouthful.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (9/10)

This is a really well put together Stout with just enough hop character to balance out the rich thick malt flavors. One of my favorite Mikkeller offerings.

FINAL SCORE  (47/50)

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The Target: Elysian Bête Blanche

Brewed by: Elysian Brewing Company
Seattle Washington USA
Style: Abbey Tripel
ABV: 7.5 %

Commercial description: Belgian-style Tripel. A twist on the French expression “Bete Noire”, Bete Blanche is extremely drinkable, blonde and somewhat treacherous.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Large pillowy white head forms quickly. It doesn’t stick around very long, settling into a generous amount of picturesque lacing. Body is a very deep hazy gold with an orange cast.

AROMA (8/10)

A sharp, spicy aroma greets the nose with notes of ginger, tart citrus, earthy coriander and nice honey-like notes. The classic candy sugar aroma is here in spades as well. A backbone of solid, clean malt character is found with notes of biscuit, soda crackers and even some sweet malt aromatics.

FLAVOR (14/20)

This is where the beer starts to come undone for me…at least from a Belgian Tripel stylistic point-of-view.  Too much sweetness up front. Followed by pear and apricot and to a lesser extent by banana and clove. Mid-palate, plenty of bitterness arrives, with some woody pine. I find the hop bite should have been more on the spiced side as opposed to the bitter side. It’s lacking that pleasant pepper spicy finish of a classic Tripel.

MOUTHFEEL (3/5)

Light body. Moderate carbonation. Fruity and a tad too sweet. Really could use some balance overall.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (7/10)

Based on it’s own merits it’s a pretty nice and drinkable beer…nothing too exciting. Judged strictly as a Belgian Tripel, it’s on the sweet side which the style dictates it should never be.  The esters are somewhat there but I would have liked to taste more banana, clove and pepper spiciness.

FINAL SCORE  (37/50)

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Beertography and Review: Elysian The Mens Room

Brewed by: Elysian Brewing Company
Seattle Washington USA
Style: American Amber / Red Ale
ABV: 5.6 %

Commercial description: A portion of the net proceeds from every Mens Room Original Red sold goes to helping support the families of our military vets through the VA Puget Sound Fisher House and Ft. Lewis Fisher House. The Mens Room Original Red is brewed for The Mens Room Radio Show on 99.9 KISW The Rock of Seattle.

APPEARANCE (4/5)

The beer pours a hazy, dirty orange color with a two finger frothy khaki head that very slowly settles into a thick lasting ring.  Glass is left coated with soapy lacing.

AROMA (7/10)

The nose is of a slightly grainy caramel and sweet bread malts that nearly cover up some piney and citrusy hop notes. Pleasant and appropriate for the style, just not terribly strong in the nose.

FLAVOR (17/20)

Malt up front;  graham crackers and caramel. The floral hop character comes through in the middle to a sharp bitter. Some hop bitterness to balance, but the sweetness is lacking, from what you would expect from a red/amber. Citrus notes exist along with a bit of spiciness and a peppery finish.

MOUTHFEEL (4/5)

Good mouthfeel, a little sticky. Alcohol, though not strong pulls some of the cracker like dryness off your tongue, leaving an unusually clean feeling palate.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (7/10)

Pretty nice and drinkable beer…nothing too exciting.  I wouldn’t go out of my way for it,  but I wouldn’t turn it down either. Besides, it’s for a good cause.

FINAL SCORE  (39/50)

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Beertography and Review: Oskar Blues Gubna

Brewed by: Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Longmont Colorado USA
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.0 %

Commercial description: Emphasizing that complexity of character can arise from simple elements, this ale is made with 3 malts and 1 hop. Its light amber color and slightly spicy malt character are derived from the use of German Dark Munich Malt and Rye Malt respectively. North American 2-row barley combines with the other grains to lay the foundation for the hop onslaught to come. Summit hops are used exclusively in the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma but it doesn’t end there. Post-fermentation dry hopping allows the 10% ABV monstrosity to gently coax the citrus rind and grapefruit aroma to join the 100 IBUs already present. This beer will greet you with a pungent citrus blast, provide a spicy yet round middle and finish with a brisk, clean bitterness.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Gorgeous deep orange with golden tones. Upon the pour, a two-finger off-white head develops and  quickly dissipates into small rocky islands of foam. No doubt the high ABV is responsible for the lack of staying power.

AROMA (9/10)

Complex and extremely floral bouquet of lavender and jasmine at first, with a pineapple, apricot, and honey sweetness in the middle, and finishing with piney, resiny hops at the end. Also has a weedy, hemp-like quality.

FLAVOR (18/20)

The taste delivers the promise of the nose. Tropical fruit quality lands the first punch in the form of mango and pineapple.  Grapefruit, blood oranges and perhaps a hint of lemon as well.  The generous malt backbone is sticky sweet with caramel. It helps balances out the intense notes of wet and juicy hops nicely.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied Bitter and piney up front with creamy, slightly sweet middle and long bitter finish. I found the  carbonation level spot-on. Just a warning…it’s extremely drinkable but at an ABV of 10% it will catch up with you.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (9/10)

Refreshingly drinkable and doesn’t wreak havoc on the palate even though the hop profile is so intense. I would not hesitate to put it in the company of Dogfish Head 90 Minute, Bell’s Hopslam, and Avery’s Maharaja. This has to be the best combination of thick, piney, syrupy, resiny hops combined with a crisp, clean, fresh floral aroma. And extra points to Oskar Blues for the homage to the Mel Brooks masterpiece, Blazing Saddles. Every can is ring with the phrase, “Give the GUBNA a Harrumph. Harrumph.” Unfortunately, Oskar Blues is not distributed in Ohio at this time. Luckily, our neighbors to the east in Pittsburgh have plenty on hand 🙂

FINAL SCORE  (46/50)

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Beertography and Review: Sierra Nevada Imperial Red Ale (2012 Beer Camp #65)

Brewed by: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Chico, California USA
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 8.1 %

Commercial description: This imperial red ale takes the intense hop profile found in traditional double IPA and turns up the malt. It has big aromatic hop notes of grapefruit, peach, and melon–balanced by a smooth and surprisingly robust malt body.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Clear dark amber with slight ruby highlights, topped with a two-finger fluffy khaki head. Head is long lasting and generous sticky lace.

AROMA (8/10)

The aroma was very good and surprisingly well-balanced. The aroma is full of caramel from the crystal malt. There is a nice note of floral hops in the nose as well.

FLAVOR (16/20)

The flavors started out with a bit of malt sweetness, then the hops came on strong The hops were tart and citrusy with a tangy finish. Finish is a slight hop bitterness being washed away by sweet sugar and toasted caramel malts and them a final bitter hop bite to close things out. It is an odd finish, not unpleasant but odd.

MOUTHFEEL (2/5)

The body is a bit heavy with good carbonation. A tad sugary and sweet in the back of the throat. That goes with the style but it is not my favorite feeling on the palate. Overall this one is mediocre. It’s fair enough, but my least favorite so far of the beer camps.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (7/10)

This is an easy to drink red ale. It’s solid and balanced, but unfortunately it’s not very flavorful. It’s malty with some light hoppiness. It’s good and worth trying,  but I don’t think I would purchase it again..

 FINAL SCORE  (38/50)

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Beertography and Review: Sierra Nevada Imperial Pilsner (2012 Beer Camp #43)

Brewed by: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Chico, California USA
Style: Imperial Pilsner
ABV: 5.6 %

Commercial description: Produced especially for the OBF, Beer Camp’s golden color and medium bodied sweetness comes from pale, Europils, Munich and acidulated malts. Magnum, Crystal and Pacifica hops provide a distinctly American bittering and hop flavor profile without going over the top. The result is a refreshing, balanced, crisp pilsner, easy to drink on a hot summer festival day – or to take with you to beer camp.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Pours a crystal clear golden yellow color with a two-finger head that slowly falls to spotty foam. Minimal lacing present.

AROMA (9/10)

Aroma of pils malt and noble hops with a touch of lemon. Backed by some zesty, slightly grassy hops as well.

FLAVOR (17/20)

Overall, the taste reflects the aroma, but more subtly, which is appropriate. The taste has mellow bready malt character. This quickly turns into zesty spicy hops with some decent grassy character. Sweet malt base, grass, some biscuit, and a bit of lemon zest is nicely balanced by a moderate bitterness.. Ends with a touch sweetness similar to raw honey.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

Medium bodied beer. Crisp throughout with a bit of dryness late. Short lasting aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (8/10)

This is a first rate pilsner. The feel is smooth, subtle and easy drinking.

FINAL SCORE  (44/50)

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Beertography and Review: Sierra Nevada Oatmeal Stout (2012 Beer Camp #45)

Brewed by: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Chico, California USA
Style: Imperial Stout (Oatmeal)
ABV: 9.0%

Commercial description: This big oatmeal stout is midnight black in color–with a big roasty, mocha-like aroma. It has a silky body from the use of rolled oats, and a round and lasting finish. Perfect as an after dinner treat.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Pours a viscous dark brown, nearly black with a thin mocha 3/4-finger head and no lacing.

AROMA (8/10)

I’m getting a good amount of roasted malts and baker’s chocolate. Hints of toffee, molasses and deep plum as well. A faint, pleasant roasted character. Pretty nice aroma overall.

FLAVOR (18/20)

The taste pretty much follows the nose. Some hints of vanilla with slightly sweet caramelized sugar notes on the front., Deep plum and dark fruits in the mid briskly transitions into a distinct roasty bitterness. Seems about right.

Light carbonation entices the.. Good!

MOUTHFEEL (3/5)

This would be my biggest criticism for this beer. Mouthfeel seems a bit light for the style. I wanted a touch more creaminess and weight. Soft carbonation. Alcohol is well-hidden.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (9/10)

An excellent example of an oatmeal stout…silky smooth! My only concern was the mouthfeel but that’s just a personal preference. One thing is certain – one would never guess this is a 9% beer.

FINAL SCORE (43/50)

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