#12 – Sixpoint Brewery “Hi-Res”

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Tom’s Beer #12 is Sixpoint’s “Hi-Res”. I hope you get to pick this one up. Harkening back to Spinal Tap, this beer “goes to 11” both figuratively and literally (it’s a theme of the beer).

This is a scary beer, for a few reasons. I love it, and I’ll tell you why it’s scary in a minute. First comes some basic info.

This beer runs at 111 IBU, and the first sip really brings that out after a couple of seconds. It’s 11 SRM, so a deep amber. It also is 11.1% ABV, and that is the scary part.

When you first sip, you get the sweetness of the malt, then all of a sudden you get a hop bomb all over your tongue. This beer has a crazy amount of bittering/flavor hops, but you don’t get that in the smell almost at all. As it heads down the throat, you get a little bit of the ABV burn, but it’s hidden well. So well that you could drink this beer very rapidly, and a lot of it. The fact that this is such a smooth beer at 11.1% ABV is incredible.

I highly recommend you get this beer if you can find it, and are a hop fan. It’s a seasonal beer, so get it while you can. Overall 4.5/5.

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#11 – Smuttynose “Durty: Mud Season (2014)”

This is a fun beer to review. It was released originally as Short Batch #18, and has graduated into a spring seasonal. This is a “durty” brown ale, that’s hopped like a Double IPA. It runs at 8.4% ABV, and 97 IBU.

It pours dark reddish-brown, with a light brown head that doesn’t stick around but does lace well.

The smell is very clean, leaning much more toward hoppy than brown.

The taste is all hops, with the malt sneaking in later. According to Smutty, the hops used are “Bittering-Magnum, Flavor- Nugget, Dry Hop- CTZ and Chinook” while the malt is “North American 2-Row, Munich 10L, Chocolate, C-60, Brown Malt” with White Labs WLP-001 American Ale yeast. This is a very complex taste that you really don’t expect from a brown ale. Everything bounces around, and you get lots of flavors all over the tongue and all throughout the drinking process.

This is a beer that I feel like I really deserved today, after shoveling my driveway out. It started shipping in January (my bottle said best by 6/6/2014). Distribution is obviously limited, so pick one up while you can.

I give this one a 4/5. A very good hop-forward brown ale. The hops are very well-balanced against the malt, and the ABV is very subtle. It definitely mellows out as it warms.

#10 – Stone Brewing Company “Enjoy By 02.14.14”

The Stone Enjoy By series is one of my favorite recurring (but slightly changing) beers. This is a beer that is specifically crafted to not last. The flavors and aromas in this beer will not be nearly as good after the “Enjoy By” date, and you WILL NOT find that batch on the shelves after that date. If you’re a hophead (and in a state that the current batch of Enjoy By is distributed to), definitely pick one or more up. You’ll probably see this one near you, as this was the largest batch made, and it was released to roughly half of Stone’s markets.

You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs – we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA

It smells like dank, wet, West Coast hops. Tropical fruit and sweetness. Definitely some of the Simcoe “cat piss/onion” smell, but not as much as previous versions.

Color is a dark golden amber, with a thick head that turns into a few millimeter ring of bubbles. Not a whole lot of bubbles in the glass. Very clear.

Simcoe really shows up in the taste, especially when you first get it in your mouth. The herby, resiny flavor sticks to your tongue. Not super bitter, but lots of flavor. The malt backbone brings out good sweetness. Can’t really taste the alcohol, despite this version running at 9.4% ABV.

Very smooth in the mouthfeel. Not too thick, but it definitely clings. As it’s not super carbonated, there’s not a super dry feeling.

Overall, this is definitely a favorite for me. It hits all the BJCP notes to a T.  This is a beer that seems to fly off shelves, if only partly because of its scarcity. This is a scary smooth, easy drinking Double/Imperial IPA. Buy this one if you can.

Seacoast Craft Beer Reviews: Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA

Beer #2 of last night (we drank this while letting Pliny the Elder warm up) was Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA . This was a very good way for Stone to celebrate the innovation and change that they have brought to the craft beer scene.

This is a light bodied, excitingly hoppy beer. The malt is not your typical IPA Crystal malt, instead German Pilsner malts are used. The hop profile that Stone brought to this one is all unusual to American beer drinkers (Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd & Strisselspalt. Dry-hopping with Sterling, a U.S. hop with Saaz parentage, lends a bit of familiarity,)

This is a big beer, clocking in at 9.5 % ABV. You can definitely taste the alcohol in this one as the hops in your mouth fade. You definitely taste all of the 102 ABUs. Lots of alcohol and lots of hops means that this is a beer best shared. It was fun to drink, while it lasted. I look forward to seeing what Stone comes up with for their 18th Anniversary.

Appearance: Hard pour brings out a large, 2 finger off white head that lasts. Good lacing. Clear amber with no particles.

Aroma: Light malt reminiscent of a pilsner. Lots of herby hops, with pine sneaking through as well. No yeast smell. The ABV is very evident, cutting through the thick head.

Palate: This is a very light drinking, but full in the mouth. Its smooth and creamy, with a little alcohol

Flavor: The hop flavor is very long-lasting. The flavor is exactly what the aroma leaves you expecting. One fun note is that it brings some very tasty burps.

Overall: This is a very fun beer to drink. Lots hops, and flavors I hadn’t tasted before. Very resin-y, very thick hops.

 

Seacoast Craft Beer Reviews: Russian River Pliny the Elder

While I had to wait a month from the bottle date, this was everything that it was supposed to be. Up until last night, this was one of my many “white whale” beers (beers that you hunt for but can never get, either due to rarity or distance from distribution or quality).

From Ratebeer:

Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, “lupus Salictarius”, meaning wolf among scrubs.” Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, humulus Lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pliny the Elder, the beer, is brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the amount of hops as compared to our already hoppy IPA.

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