Tagged: american strong

Founders Sumatra Mountain

SUMATRA MOUNTAIN: 98 Points

Absolutuly deslicoius

Absolutely Delicious

This American Strong is a released as a rare beer in late Spring in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This bold, imperial brown ale gets its body from a team of malts including Caramel malt for sweetness, flaked barley for dense foam, a bit of Chocolate malt for its deep color and Aromatic and Munich malts to add even more depth. German and Perle hops add a touch of bitterness to balance the malty sweetness. The addition of rich Sumatra coffee takes this perfectly balanced imperial brown ale to a decadent level.”

My Description: A superb beer from start to finish. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head that fades to a thin ring leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting with bold dark coffee notes along with caramel notes a faintest touch of dark fruits. Sumatra Mountain is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer is delicious; the balance of flavors along with the depth makes this one addicting ale. Complex coffee notes are detected throughout but never become the dominant note, all the flavors work harmoniously together. Toasted malt notes, toffee, tobacco, and a hint of biscuit malt are present. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the aftertaste is slightly bitter. Overall, the coffee notes in this beer tastes like the gourmet beans at the high end coffee shops. This is a must try for any coffee fan. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with tiramisu, creme brulee, or a mild cigar.

ABV: 9% Color: Dark Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Stone BBA Arrogant Bastard

BOURBON BARREL-AGED ARROGANT BASTARD: 95 Points

Let it age

Let it age

This barrel aged American Strong Ale is a limited release in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: N/A

My Description: You have to pour this in a glass and let it breath for at least 10 minutes before you will begin to appreciate this offering from Stone. It pours a decent sized, beige colored head that fades to a thin film leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is the best part of the beer, it smells amazing with complex notes. One can detect notes of bourbon, caramel malt, citrus hops, cherries, wood, with a slight hint of sweetness. This bourbon barreled beer is full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Initially the beer tasted off and unbalanced but that went away as this beer warmed up and breathed, then it became really enjoyable. The caramel malt notes started to blend cleanly with hints of dark fruit and citrus hops. This transitioned nicely into the aftertaste that is moderately bitter. Overall, the flavor profile has a woodsy presence with a noticeable sweetness that is nicely combated by the finish. Plus the alcohol is nicely hidden. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, soft cheeses, or a mild cigar.

ABV: 7.9% Color: Reddish/Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Clown Shoes Rexx

REXX: 91 Points

Barleywine-esque

Barleywine-esque

This American Strong/Imperial Red Ale is a limited release in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “We like dinosaurs. We especially like Rexx, our prehistoric pal who wears clown shoes, drinks bourbon, and spends his doomed days in exile from the other Tyrannosauruses, choosing to romp with friendlier beasts. Rexx, we dedicate this Imperial Red Ale aged in Heaven Hill and Four Roses bourbon barrels to you buddy.”

My Description: This is a nicely executed beer that is fits correctly into the bourbon category. It begins with a good sized, light beige colored head that fades to a thin film that lingers leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant with notes of caramel malt, bourbon, and faint notes of vanilla. Rexx is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The texture is chewy like a barleywine but not as dense, it’s a bit thinner with the alcohol coming through slightly but not in an intrusive way. The flavor profile is similar to the nose with notes of caramel malt, bourbon, vanilla as well as a hint of molasses and some oak presence. This beer is definitely on the sweeter side with just a hint of bitterness in the finish. Overall, this beer is strong and enjoyable but needs some aging to take the edge off. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with dark chocolate, strong cheeses, or a mild cigar.

ABV: 12% Color: Mahogany Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10

Shipyard Imperial Rye

IMPERIAL RYE: 89 Points

Pleasant enough

Grows on you

This American Strong Ale is a limited release in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Imperial Rye is a spicy, golden red beer with a floral hop aroma. This beer is sweet up-front with a smooth, aromatic finish.”

My Description: Initially, I felt that the balance of the flavors was too conflicting but as the beer warmed up a bit and I drank more of it, I started to enjoy this ale. It begins with a large, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of floral hops, rye, tropical hops, and a hint of caramel. Imperial Rye is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer is surprisingly smooth with an interesting balance between sweet and bitter. Upfront, there is a noticeable malt sweetness with notes of caramel and citrus hops that fades cleanly into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter and lingers slightly. There is a rye spice note that is always around and ties everything together nicely. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and creeps up slowly. Overall, this is a good beer that doesn’t necessarily bring out potent hop notes but does give a satisfying drinking experience. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Thai noodles, dry rubbed ribs, or strong cheese.

ABV: 9.5% Color: Dark Gold Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Short’s Woodmaster

WOODMASTER: 95 Points

Bow to the master

Bow to the master

This Imperial Brown Ale is released seasonally in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Woodmaster is a high gravity, American Brown Ale fermented with Northern Michigan maple syrup and toasted pecans. This dark brown, full bodied ale is rich with sweet malt and syrup flavors. These flavors are complemented by the presence of hop aromas and a faint nuttiness. The very first batch of Woodmaster was brewed in Bellaire on March 20, 2007. It was the 289th batch of beer brewed at Shorts, and is one of the original beers from the Short’s Imperial Beer Series (#7 of 13 to be exact).”

My Description: This beer is excellently crafted with a very smooth body, a minimal alcohol presence, and a delicious flavor profile. It pours a good sized, light beige colored head that fades to a film leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is inviting and sweet with deep notes of caramel malt, dark fruits like cherries, and some nuttiness. Woodmaster is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is soft but flavorful and complex with notes of maple syrup, brown sugar, over ripe bananas, caramel malt and a subtle but noticeable nuttiness. The aftertaste is just bitter enough to help combat the sweetness before it becomes cloying. This is a great choice for those cold Winter nights because this will warm you up before you even know it. It is best served around 55°Fa and pairs nicely with smoked ribs, caramel cheesecake, or mild cheeses.

ABV: 10.5% Color: Mahogany/Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10

Short’s Good Humans

GOOD HUMANS: 90 Points

I'm a good human

I’m a good human

This American Strong ale is released seasonally in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Good Humans was created to showcase one of Briess Malting Company’s new malt varieties. Originally planned as a one-time thing, it quickly became one of our big successes. Good Humans is a Double Brown Ale made with Carabrown Malt, and then dry hopped with Simcoe hops. The brew has sweet malty esters that are met by huge toasted caramel and toffee flavors. The finish is dry with a bouquet of hops.”

My Description: This beer smells great and overall it is a pleasant choice for the season. It pours a good sized, light beige colored head that fades to a ring that leaves behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming and complex with notes of biscuits, grapefruit hops, caramel malt, brown sugar, some floral hints, and an apparent nuttiness. Good Humans is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This ale isn’t as bitter as I thought it would be from the description, it is more on the mild side. Upfront, there are notes of caramel malt, brown malt, dark breads, and raisins along with some clean pine hop notes. The flavors work nicely together and the alcohol is barely tasted. The aftertaste is slightly bitter but doesn’t linger for long. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled chicken, smoked sausage, or cheesecake.

ABV: 8% Color: Brown/Ruby highlights Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra

RAISON D’EXTRA: 100 Points

Complex and Flavorful

Complex and Flavorful

This Specialty Ale is released sporadically in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Raison D’Etre, with a little extra. This immodest brew, made with an obscene amount of malt, brown sugar and raisins, takes Belgian-style browns to new heights. Raison D’Extra’s little brother Raison D’Etre was brewed to be the ultimate beer partner for steak. Plump raisins and beet sugars give the beer a similar DNA and color to red wine. D’Extra takes this concept to the next level. What 120 Minute IPA is to 60 Minute IPA, D’Extra is the D’Etre. We’re pushing the limits of what a Belgian yeast can do (and we’ve discovered that’s somewhere in the ballpark of 15% to 18% ABV!) D’Extra is extremely complex and a great candidate for aging. Sip on one with a loved one now, and stash a few in your beer cellar! As Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione says, “This puppy’s only getting better with age.”

My Description: This beer is ridiculously smooth for being such a big beer, and not to mention delicious. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head with a great retention level that holds for some time leaving behind a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is strong and welcoming with a deep malt presence that is slightly sweet along with notes of raisins, banana bread, and some alcohol. Raison D’Extra is full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is complex and bold. Caramel malt and dark fruits like raisins and dates are the center piece but this ale has great depth with many flavors coming through from time to time like brown sugar and faint chocolate notes. Alcohol notes come through as well but are not intrusive, they are enjoyable. The transition to the aftertaste is clean with a welcoming bitter note to help balance this beer. A lingering cherry note is the perfect flavor to end this beauty. I would highly recommend getting a few of these to age as I can only assume they will get smoother and more flavorful. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, roasted lamb loin, or chocolate cheesecake.

ABV: 15%-18% Color: Garnet Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2/10

Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball

HAIRY EYEBALL: 93 Points

Nothing's Sexier

Nothing’s Sexier

This Winter Warmer is released seasonally between October and December in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Aroasty, toasty, malty, hangover-halting beer. Especially formulated for when you wake up feelin’ like you need to shave your eyeballs to see the new day.”

My Description: This beer tastes so similar to a Barleywine, just toned down a bit. It has a deep malt backbone with warming alcohol notes and a big body. It begins with a large, light beige colored head that is fluffy and lasts forever leaving behind a beautiful amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting with notes of toffee and caramel malt along with some fruit notes like figs. Hairy Eyeball is full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A remarkably smooth texture allows the beer to glide easily and deliver delicious flavors. A strong malt presence dominates the flavor profile along with notes of caramel, molasses, hints of brown sugar, and tobacco. The aftertaste is slightly bitter bringing great overall balance and the alcohol flavor is nicely hidden. This is a great beer for when the temperatures really start to dip. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with baked ham, grilled spicy sausage, or your favorite cigar.

ABV: 9.4% Color: Mahogany Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Lagunitas Imperial Red

IMPERIAL RED: 95 Points

Excellent Balance

Excellent Balance

This American Strong Ale is available year-round in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This Special Ale is In Reality, the Exhumation of the Very First Ale We Ever Brewed Way, Way Back, in 1993. Brewed With a Big Head, a Muscular Malty Thorax, a Silky Texture & All Strung Together With a Hoppy Sweet Nerve Sack… Ick. A dank and roasty treat. Back again in bombers. Cheers!”

My Description: This ale is extremely smooth with an excellent balance of flavors and almost refreshing-like presence. It pours a large, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that lasts the whole way leaving behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma smells pleasant and inviting with notes of pine hops and malt. Imperial Red is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A delicious bready malt backbone holds up notes of pine hops and sweet caramel notes. Citrus hops can also be detected but the pine hops are more dominant. The moderately bitter aftertaste is a great finish because it combats the sweetness nicely without demolishing the palate. This is a great beer and I’m glad it is a year-round. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with smoked sausage, beef stew, or Thai noodles.

ABV: 7.8% Color: Brownish/Red Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10

Great Lakes Nosferatu

NOSFERATU: 90 Points

Bloody Red Color

Bloody Red Color

This Imperial Red Ale/ American Strong is released every September in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Highly hopped imperial red ale rich with flavor, yet remarkably balanced.”

My Description: An excellent body and slightly warming presence makes this a worthy beer for Autumn. It pours a good sized, light beige colored head that is fluffy and hangs around for some time leaving a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is on the sweet side with strong caramel notes along with some pine hops and grain notes. Nosferatu is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The body is real smooth and the alcohol is beautifully hidden making this Imperial easy drinking. The flavor profile is nicely balanced with sweet notes standing out upfront with a clean lingering bitter taste. A big caramel malt backbone holds up notes of toffee, citrus hops, and some pine hop notes as well. This ale is also slightly earthy and the flavors become more pronounced as the beer warms. This is a great beer for the season. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted potatoes, grilled steak, or soft cheeses.

ABV: 8% Color: Reddish/Amber Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

The Lost Abbey Deliverance Ale

DELIVERANCE ALE: 100 Points

Shine on Me

Shine on Me

This Barrel Aged American Strong Ale is released in limited quantities in 375 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A blend of bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angels Share, Deliverance is the epic battle being waged between heaven and hell for the souls of mortal men… and your enjoyment in a glass.”

My Description: This amazing blend is rich, complex, and indeed a sipper. It begins with a decent, beige colored head that fades to a ring that holds for a while leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is brandy like with deep malts notes along with caramel, raisins, and chocolate; a welcoming combination of scents. Deliverance is full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. A velvety smooth texture and semi-creamy body delight the senses while the flavor profile delivers satisfying notes. A layered malt backbone holds up delicious notes of toffee, dark fruits, and cocoa. Hints of figs and alcohol creep in with a minimal bitter finish. A lingering coffee note is the perfect finish for this ale. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with dark chocolate, bison tenderloin, or a cigar.

ABV: 12.5% Color: Dark Chocolate Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Terrapin Rye Cubed (2014)

RYE CUBED (2014): 92 Points

Not very bitter

Not very bitter

This American Strong Ale/India Pale Ale is released in limited quantities in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Rye beers have been a part of our brewing arsenal from day one. “Rye”, “Rye Squared” and now “Rye Cubed” Triple IPA completes this trilogy of brewing excellence.”

My Description: Classified as a India Pale Ale on their label and their website says that the IBU is over 100; there is only a minimal amount of bitterness in this beer and it is almost misleading initially. Either way, it is a tasty beer that really highlights the rye grain. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a really nice retention level and it leaves behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is real bready with rye notes and raw grains. There are also traces of pine and citrus hops, but not much. Rye Cubed is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Clean and very smooth, this beer is not overly complex and it is pleasing to the palate. This flavor profile is balanced with a slight lean to the sweeter side. A strong malty backbone holds up delicious rye bread-like notes with hints of woodsy hops. The alcohol is beautifully hidden but is felt. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a lingering rye spice that satisfies. I just wish this beer was a little more bitter but it is still a great beer. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with smoked beef brisket, grilled lamb loin, or blue cheese.

ABV: 10.7% Color: Amber Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10

Ballast Point Tongue Buckler

TONGUE BUCKLER: 90 Points

Strong Tongue

Strong Tongue

This Imperial Red Ale/American Strong has an IBU of 108 is released in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pours a crimson red color which comes from the addition of UK Dark Crystal Malts and a small addition of huskless black malt. Aroma of dried figs, lime, spruce tips and burnt sugar. Copious amounts of hops are added in multiple additions to this ample ale. From the 108 International Bittering Units (White Labs has only tested a handful of beers over 100 IBU’s) to the over two pounds per barrel of dry hopping used. Hops like Galena, Chinook and Magnum help add a resinous blood orange and grapefruit flavor to this huge Double/Imperial Red Ale.”

My Description: This beer creeps on you easily because the alcohol is nicely hidden but it is immediately felt half way through the bottle. It begin with a large and dense, light tan colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a wall of lacing. The aroma instantly lets you know that this beer is no joke, it is strong. There is a rich caramel malt note accompanied by notes of citrus hops, pine hops, and burnt sugar. Tongue Buckler is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is similar to the aroma; it is strong, bold, and flavorful. A thick and deep caramel malt backbone hold up notes of pine hops, grapefruit hops, and hints of alcohol. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and will linger for some time.This may have over 100 calculated IBU’s but it doesn’t taste like a hop bomb, it is actually nicely balanced. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with sweet potato fries, teriyaki steak, or a scotch egg.

ABV: 10% Color: Amber/Red Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 6/10

Smuttynose Durty

DURTY: 94 Points

I love it dirty

I love it dirty

This American Brown Ale is released seasonally between January and March in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Big, Brown and Hoppy. Brown and hoppy; hoppy and brown – a rare pairing. But that’s the best way to describe Durty, Smuttynose Brewing Company’s new “mud season” ale. Take the caramelly notes of a brown ale, pair them with the hop aroma and flavor of a double IPA, and you’re right in this beer’s wheelhouse. Respected beer writers, bloggers and internet beer geeks have all praised Durty’s delicious balance of two styles. It has enough “oomph” to get you through the chilly nights and frosty mornings of early spring, but the light body and big hop flavor will awaken your tongue and senses for the coming warm weather. And at 8%, you won’t mind the extra mopping and snow cleaning that comes along with the seasonal thaw.”

My Description: Complex and highly enjoyable, this ale is brewed cleanly and the flavor notes work harmoniously together. It pours a good sized, beige colored head that lasts the whole way and leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is robust and pleasant with a strong roasted presence accompanied by notes of caramel, nuts, and pine hops. Durty is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer displays a great balance of flavors; there is a powerful malt backbone which is calmed by a smooth bitter aftertaste. Upfront, there are flavor notes of caramel, woodsy hops, brown sugar, and some nuttiness. This transitions nicely into an aftertaste that is not overly harsh with a lingering bitter note that forces you to take another sip. It also helps that the alcohol is completely hidden. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with spicy beef tacos, BBQ brisket, or roasted mushrooms with caramelized onions.

ABV: 8.4%  Color: Deep Brown  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 3/10

Lagunitas Sucks

LAGUNITAS SUCKS: 99 Points

Sucks? I don't think so

Sucks? I don’t think so

This American Strong Ale/Double IPA is released seasonally in November and December in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This sad holiday season we didn’t have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, the widely feared BrownShugga’ Ale. You see we had a couple of really good years (thank you very much) and so heading into this season while we are awaiting the January delivery of a new brewhouse we are jammin’ along brewing 80 barrels of IPA and PILS and such every 3 hours. A couple of months back we realized that since we can only brew a mere 60 barrels of Shugga’ every 5 hours, that we were seriously screwed. For every case of Shugga’ brewed, we’d short 3 cases of our favorite daily beers. It’s a drag. This year, we brewed something that we think is also cool and brews more like our daily brews. The new brewhouse will help insure this kind of failure never happens again. It’s a mess that we can not brew our BrownShugga’ this year and we suck for not doing it. There is nothing cool about screwing this up this badly and we know it. Maybe we can sue our own sorry selves. There is no joy in our hearts this holiday and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch moldy donkey butt and we just want it to be all over… So this substitute beer is a ‘Cereal Medley’ of Barley, Rye, Wheat, and Oats…. Full of complexishness from the 4 grains, and weighing in at 7.85% abv, Then joyously dry-hopped for that big aroma and resinous hop flavor.”

My Description: What a beer! It is so smooth and delicious that it is dangerous how quickly this beer can be drank. It pours a large, white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is enticing with a strong grapefruit hop note that smells fresh and pungent along with hints of pine hops; one of the best beers I’ve ever smelled in terms of hop aroma. Lagunitas Sucks is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. A delicious malt body carries addicting flavor notes of grapefruit hops and tropical notes. The rye adds a hint of spice in the finish giving this beer complexity and more character. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but overall this beer is balanced beautifully. Alcohol notes are almost completely hidden and it is worth noting how clean this beer is. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with raw tuna, shrimp salad, or Thai noodles.

ABV: 7.85%  Color: Golden  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5/10

Stone Punishment

PUNISHMENT: 71 Points

Enough Punishment!

Enough Punishment!

This American Strong Ale is a limited release in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: Q: “What do you call it when you take a sip of oak barrel aged Double Bastard Ale that’s had the other half of the bounty of chili peppers from Greg’s home garden ceremoniously added in, resulting in a punishingly intense level of hot pepper heat to an already overly intense beer whose elevated alcohol level caused a significant transference of pain-inducing capsicum?” A: “Punishment.” Punishment is 2013 Double Bastard Ale brewed with freshly harvested peppers and aged in bourbon barrels. Brutally hot and unyielding in its imposition, this intensely hellish spawn of Caribbean red hots, fatalis and Moruga scorpion peppers is a just dessert for any spice-taunting masochist who dares to engage it.”

My Description: This is slightly more tolerable than ‘Crime;’ it is still ridiculously spicy but at least it drinks more like a beer than pureed pepper juice. It begins with a decent sized, beige colored head that fades to a film but holds leaving behind a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is somewhat pleasant with notes of oak, caramel malt, and of course fiery habanero peppers. Punishment is full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. There are oak notes and bourbon undertones as well as caramel malt and hops but spicy pepper notes completely dominate the flavor profile. Even the alcohol is hidden behind the spice. This beer quickly becomes intolerable as the heat burns your throat and tingles your lips. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but the only lingering flavor is the heat. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with ribs, chicken wings, or grilled pork tenderloin.

ABV: 12%  Color: Reddish/Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 4/10

Stone Crime

CRIME: 68 Points

This beer is a crime

This beer is a crime

This American Strong Ale is a limited release in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: Q: “What do you call it when Greg takes his entire harvest bounty of chili pepper varieties from his own personal garden, take half of them and add to…and thus ruin…an otherwise beautiful oak barrel of Double Dry Hopped Lukcy Basartd Ale?” A: “A Crime!”

My Description: It is hard to find Lukcy Basartd in this beer because of the ridiculous amount of spicy pepper flavor present. It’s almost like drinking a smoky pureed pepper with hints of beer. It pours a decent, light beige colored head that fades to a film and holds for a while leaving behind a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is a blast of hot peppers that smells like a bowl full of buffalo sauce, it is hard to hold the glass to your nose for very long. Crime is medium/full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. There are notes of caramel malt and hops in this beer but it is hard to taste them behind the tremendous power of the peppers that takes over your taste buds. The spiciness leaves your lips tingling and your throat on fire. This beer is no joke. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with ribs, chicken wings, or Tums.

ABV: 9.6%  Color: Murky Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 3/10

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

BROWN SHUGGA: 95 Points

Highly Drinkable

Highly Drinkable

This American Strong Ale is released seasonally in October in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Originally a failed attempt at our 1997 batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale resulting in an all-new-beer-style we like to call…Irresponsible.”

My Description: This beer is so smooth and highly drinkable. It starts with a good sized, off-white colored head that lasts for a long time and leaves behind a wall of lacing. Immediately, the aroma delivers a blast of grapefruit hops accompanied by a pleasant sweet note that creeps in. Brown Shugga is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Sweet sugar notes swim throughout the dominating grapefruit and floral hop flavors. Caramel malt and hints of hop spice are also present. The alcohol is minimally noticed and adds character. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and very clean. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled duck, baked venison, or strong cheeses.

ABV: 9.99%  Color: Dark Copper  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 6.5/10

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

KENTUCKY BOURBON BARREL ALE: 82 Points

Interesting

Interesting

This American Strong Ale is aged in Bourbon barrels and is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale™ With a little creative curiosity, we used spent bourbon casks, fresh from decanting, and filled them with our very own Kentucky Ale. From barrels that once held the finest bourbons of Kentucky, we present Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, a smooth, golden elixir unlike any other. Subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted to this special ale as it rests in the charred barrel. We attribute this to what the bourbon maker calls the “angel’s share”. Elegantly smooth and modestly carbonated, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a fine sipping ale with the distinctive nose of a well-crafted Kentucky bourbon”

My Description: As interesting as this beer is, it is not memorable or addicting. It is smooth but the flavors feel heavy and I would rather sip on actual bourbon. It has a good sized, off-white colored head with a decent retention level and it leaves behind an average amount of lacing. The aroma is slightly complex with notes of caramel malt, bourbon, vanilla, and a touch of light fruits. Bourbon Barrel is roughly medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The bourbon taste is there but the flavor profile is dominated by caramel and toffee, which is overpowering and lingers. It almost tastes like butterscotch. The bitterness level is low and the alcohol is slightly present. I like the idea of aging in bourbon barrels but the beer itself is nothing to brag about. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with steaks, pork chops, or baked turkey.

ABV: 8.19%  Color: Copper/Amber  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 2/10

19TH ANNIVERSARY ALE: 85 Points

The Birch Anniversary

The Birch Anniversary

This American Strong Ale is a one time release to celebrate their anniversary. It is available in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “To celebrate the brewery’s 19th Anniversary, Great Divide’s brewers deviated from previous years’ anniversary ales and developed an entirely new recipe. The label reads, 19th Anniversary Ale isn’t just a wood-aged ale. It’s a compass – a reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Brewed with pure birch syrup and aged on birch wood, this beer embraces reverential tradition and revolutionary innovation. As we celebrate our 19th year, we hope you’ll join us for the road ahead.”

My Description: I don’t know what Birch tastes like but it’s most likely this woodsy taste I get in this beer. It’s softer than oak and makes for a nice addition. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head that lasts for some time and leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is faint and hard to pick up on but there are are notes of sweet malt and some woodsy notes. This ale is full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer is smooth and creamy with a good balance of flavors. Upfront, there is this sweet malt flavor accompanied by woodsy notes, citrus hops, and surprisingly a touch of toasted coconut. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a woodsy presence. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with BBQ beef, crispy cauliflower, or blue cheese.

ABV: 10.2%  Color: Orange  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10