Lucky #13 – Victory Brewing Company “Storm King”

StormKing-bottleFor lucky #13, I present Victory Brewing Company’s Storm King American Imperial Stout.

This beer lives up to the name. It’s a very dark, very intense beer. Lots of flavors, lots of malt, and lots of alcohol.

It pours dark black, and a heavy pour brings a 1-1/2 inch head. The smell is lots of roasty malts, and the alcohol hits you as well.

The taste is very complex, with the malt taking over everything. Toward the end, it fades to coffee and chocolate, with the hops poking their head in. The alcohol is very much there as well.

This beer runs at 9.1% ABV, and it definitely make you aware of it. I enjoy this one quite a bit, and it definitely opens up as it warms. I’d love to cellar a bottle and try it in a year. This is a year-round beer, so you should be able to find it anywhere that sells Victory beers.

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ME #1 – Victory Brewing – Dirtwolf

DirtWolf

Available year round / 8.7 ABV / IBU (Not listed, but guessing right in the 65-75 Range) / 12 oz. Bottle

Poured easy into a 12 oz beer mug, ended up with about ¼” of white head that lasted about two minutes. The body was golden-yellow, bright, and clear. The beer looks like it has a fairly thin body, but I don’t think Victory aspired to achieve anything close to balance here…this beer is clearly about the hops. In fact, American hops crush your nose from the time you pop the crown. At first, there is some subtle underlying pine scent, but the big ones are grapefruit and citrus. Clearly, this is a moderate-heavily hopped beer, but is still less than that overwhelming dank bitterness you get in some DIPA’s. The citrus flavors help to keep this bitter beast palatable and the carbonation is medium, which compliments the medium bodied mouth feel, making this easy to drink. You are left with the pine and grapefruit after you drink, which subsides when you get the blast of citrus in your nose while moving towards your next taste.  Overall, this is an enjoyable DIPA that I would drink again. I was expecting a bit more from it based on what I have heard from others. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this brew.  It is a very, very good beer, just slightly more towards a “common” DIPA than I would have liked. On the Rate Beer scale: Appearance: 5/5 Aroma: 9/10 Palate: 4/5 Flavor: 7/10 Overall 18/20

Feel free to contact me if you have a recommendation for a beer you think we should review: michael.p.earner@gmail.com.

If you’ve had Dirtwolf, please share your thoughts in our poll.

Seacoast Beer Craft Beer Reviews 10/11

Friday 10/11 was a very fun event. What started as two guys drinking and reviewing good craft beers, turned into a very cool time last night. There were head brewers from 2 up and coming local breweries (SoMe Brewing and (the brewery formerly known as) Southern Maine Brewing) , and some beers brought from Beara Irish Brewing. These are beers not publicly available (yet), and were very good. We started with two home brew IPAs, then led into wide-distribution beers, then our local microbreweries.

Westminster, MA Wachusett Brewing Co Larry – Imperial/Douple IPA. 12 oz can. 8.5% ABV, 85 IBUs

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This was my first time drinking this beer from a can. I think it tasted better from a can than from a 22 oz bottle. Smooth, clear, amber with an average head. Heavy malts, heavy hops. Not a whole lot of alcohol in the smell. Light body, thin and fizzy. A very good, quality DIPA. 4/5.

Downington, PA Victory Brewing Company DirtWolf – Double IPA. 12 oz bottle. 8.7% ABV

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While we’re all sad to see Hop Wallop be pushed to the side for a little bit, this is a great replacement. Very light and easy to drink, but oh my the hops. Poured amber, with a decent head. The smell is all hops. Tastes exactly like it smells. The use of whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops was smart.

York, ME SoMe Brewing Co Whoopie Pie Stout

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As Mainers, we all love whoopie pies. The basic whoopie pie is chocolate cake with a vanilla creme base. SoMe Brewing captured this perfectly. Chocolate, vanilla beans, lactose. What really shocked us about this beer was something the head brewer (who became locally famous due to the gov’t shutdown’s impact on the TTB and craft beer) did on purpose. This beer was created to be a stout for people who don’t think they like stouts, or are “scared” of dark beers. There is none of the roasted, smoky, dark stout flavor that most stouts have. It is smooth, easy drinking, and flavorful. 4/5

Kittery, ME – Southern Maine Brewing – Mr. Bean’s Irish Red Ale – 5.3% ABV

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Southern Maine Brewing (of Kittery, ME) is in the process of changing their name (I’m not at liberty to discuss to what yet), but producing very high quality beers. Their Irish Red IPA was exactly what it sounds like. A solid Irish Red Ale base. Fizzy, smooth, red coloring. Good hop character in the smell, which carried to the flavor. 4/5

SoMe Brewing Co – Low Tide Trippel – Belgian Trippel

York is right on the beach. When looking for a name for this beer, “Low Tide” seemed to make sense. When you think of a Belgian Trippel, you think of that banana and clove flavor. SoMe decided to make this beer in the same vein of their Whoopie Pie Stout. It’s a wonderful example of the style, while also reachable and drinkable by beer novices. Instead of overpowering banana and clove, this beer is bready in the nose, and as it warms it starts to smell like clover honey. Even when cold, this beer tastes like that honey smell. Sweet, light, bubbly. Wonderful. 4/5

Portsmouth, NH – Beara Irish Brewing Company – Baruil IPA

Beara Irish Brewing had a very cool idea for their beers: make beer with a purely Irish barely base. No American barely, just every beer made with Irish barley. I have a hard time tasting a difference between the Irish barley and American barley. That being said, this is still a good, solid beer. Rumors are that this beer plans to open on St Patrick’s Day 2014. 3/5

SoMe Brewing – Unnamed Double IPA

This was a very good, West Coast style DIPA. Light drinking, lots of hops. The Simcoe stood out in the smell. If you know what Simcoe smells like, you know how this beer smells and tastes. I look forward to drinking this beer again. 3.5/5

Southern Maine Brewing – Widowmaker Double Black IPA – 8.7% ABV

This was a favorite of what Southern Maine Brewing brought. It was dark black, strong dark roasty malts. The color looks like a stout, but the smell is all hops. The taste is a wonderful combination of dark roasts and very good hops. I really look forward to seeing what Mike does with this beer. 4.5/5

We wrapped up the night with something fun. A couple of last night’s participants homebrewed a beer a piece for a pumpkin beer competition. We graded both beers, and found that if the positive notes of both beers were combined, it would make a solid pumpkin beer. Our key points (if you make your own pumpkin beer, is balance. Light, smooth, spicy but not overly, with a good amount of pumpkin. The key to pumpkin beers is to use a decent amount of pumpkin. Good pumpkin usage contributes to a good thicker mouthfeel.

Seacoast Beer Craft Beer Reviews 10/04

On Friday 10/4, we drank a few beers. Not reviewed is the homebrews that are always present in our drinking space. This was a handful of fun beers. We were very excited to try the Blue Lobster/Prairie Artisan collaboration, especially as this was their first bottle release. I hope you enjoy reading, enjoy drinking, and if you have any questions, bring them to us at www.facebook.com/seacoastbeer.

Hampton, NH – Blue Lobster Brewing/Prairie Artisan Ales Collaboration – Little Lobster on the Prairie – Farmhouse Saison – 750 ml bottle, this brewery’s first bottle release. 7.3% ABV.

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From the label:

Little Lobster on the Prairie is a Farmhouse Saison that is lightly hopped with Galaxy hops and fermented with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. This yeast brings notes of funky, musty, overripe fruits as well as light barnyard notes staying true to the farmhouse style.

This beer is a collaboration between Blue Lobster and Prairie Artisan Ales. Even at 7.8% ABV, this was a very easy drinker. Very yellow. Lots of tartness as expected, strong Brettanomyces flavor and smell. Fruity, lemony, with grapefruit toward the end. Really impressed. 4/5

San Diego, CA – Mission Brewery Dark Seas – Russian Imperial Stout – 10.5% ABV

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Black as hell. Absolutely opaque. Spare dark red head. Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, plums, port wine, wood. Tastes of coffee, chocolate, prunes. Thick and roasted mouthfeel. This batch felt too new. The consensus was that if this beer was aged for a few more months, it would mellow out and taste better. 3.5/5

Utica, NY – Saranac Brewery (Matt Brewery) Pumpkin Ale – 32 oz mini-growler – 5.4% ABV

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This was a solid pumpkin beer. I picked this one because there were 32 oz mini-growlers at a local grocery store for $4. Average head, good lacing. Pours amber. No maltiness at all. Smells of light pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. Tastes like it smells. Not bad for the price. 3/5.