Tag Archives: Beer reviews

Beer Review #3: Ballast Point Brewing Co. “Victory at Sea” Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

20 Feb

It’s a good thing that this imperial porter had the legs to stand up to its bloody awesome label. This one has a skeleton sea-captain with an equally skeletal parrot navigating a hurricane. Badass. That image, along with the tantalizing idea of a coffee and vanilla flavored porter from a San Diego microbrewery hooked me, but it was the overall experience of this delicious dessert ale that reeled me in.

ABV: 10% makes this a very potent beverage hence the “Imperial” in the name – essentially meaning its a high gravity brew. At 1 pint 6 oz this may be all you need to get you buzzing.

cost: $8 for a 1 pt, 6 oz (22 fl oz) bottle

Aroma: strong, toasty, almost burnt coffee and dark chocolate

Appearance: This pours like syrup and has a monster, off-white frothy head like say, an enraged ocean engulfing the mast of a ghost pirate vessel. Granted I poured it a little too quick but hey I was excited. Opaque, black body.

Flavor: Sweet of course due to the extra sugars added to this brew, but the sweetness is equally matched by a high level of hops and a heavy smokiness that rushed in giving me a real feel of the complexity. I had to stop what I was doing for a minute and just savor it. “wow that’s really good” I think were the exact words. I know it’s supposed to be coffee vanilla which I definitely tasted, but I couldn’t stop  thinking chocolate.

Palate: Full Body, velvety, creamy with just  the right amount of carbonation to keep it lively and from totally coating the palate.

Pair with: a big cigar

Despite the added flavoring, I think this is a very good example of an Imperial Porter and should be enjoyed in a big  Stein if you’ve got one, otherwise any thick wide-mouthed glass you have such as the mason jar I’m using.

9 out of 10 X’s…X X X X X X X X X

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Beer Review #2: Nectar Ales “Hemp Ale”/Humboldt Brown

14 Feb

I don’t know what they are playing at over there at Nectar Ales but I was pissed at this brew before I even poured the thing. As you can see, the label on the box is clearly different from the label on the bottle. WTF? I wanted “Hemp Ale” but to my dismay the bottles, once removed from their deceptive holsters, all said Humboldt Brown.  Surely I thought, someone had pulled a fast one on me. I DO NOT LIKE BROWN ALES. Newcastle sucks, it’s a watery, flavorless beer. I will drink Pabst Blue Ribbon before I dick around with a Newcastle. But regardless I had been stuck with a sixer of brown ales and I was going to make the best of it, and give this lying liar of a beer a chance to redeem itself with a fair review.

ABV: 5.7% (not off to a good start – I like em strong. If after 3 beers I am not shopping for shit I don’t need on Ebay, I get suspicious.)

Cost: you know what I don’t remember, lets call it $8

Aroma: at first it didnt seem like it had any whatsoever, but then I blew all the snot out of my nose and discovered subtle hints of molasses and port wine. Light to moderate hops. Hemp? If you are as familiar as I am with the aroma you would be hard pressed to detect any unless you were already high.

Appearance: The photo is flattering on the look of this brew, as it took no more than 30 seconds time for the white foamy/fizzy head to all but completely diminish. virtually no lacing. Fizzy brown, transparent body.

Flavor: A light initial malty sweetness, coffee-like bitterness, with a mild hop overtone,  and sort of a salty finish.

Palate: Light to medium bodied, a watery texture, soft carbonation almost flat but with none of the character to make that fact pleasant.

Pair with: Fish and Chips, and an angry, inebriated letter to the brewer detailing displeasure over fraudulent packaging.

To me these brown ales just have no balls, they’re just too mild-tasting for that color and aroma, if you’re a beer and you’re going to have notes of sweetness you better bring it  like your tastier relatives the Porters. Also if you are curious about the “brewed with hemp” thing on these, don’t bother with that experiment, you’re probably not going to notice anything.

3 out of 10 X’s…… XXX

Beer Review #1 – Sierra Nevada “Ruthless Rye” IPA

10 Feb

This beer caught my eye off the shelf this season as 1) I had never seen it before, B) it was from Sierra Nevada, a familiar label, Third) it had the year 2012 printed on it, which I take to mean it is a seasonal, limited edition spring ale, and lastly) it has a cool illustration on it. Kind of a goth farmer, grim reaper looking chick. Maybe her name is Ruth. And she looks sad because she’s not allowed to have any.

ABV: 6.6% (not bad)

Cost: 6 pack cost me about $8 (in California)

Appearance: Dark amber to Red in color, with a moderate sparkle, and a medium- full, creamy,  lasting head with good lacing (see below image), which I hear is good because it is supposed to show how fresh the hop oils are.

Aroma: grapefruit citrusy I guess, and kind of yeasty as well.

Flavor: Hits you with a strong hoppy bitterness immediately after the first sip. This is an IPA after all, among the hoppiest, most aromatic ales around. Imagine if you can, a standard Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and turn up the volume to eleven. Long alcoholic finish. The bitterness stays on your palate throughout and long after. Not super complex, but good nonetheless. I’m not really tasting the rye, but whatever.

Palate: This is actually my favorite part of this ale. Medium to full-bodied with a very velvety smooth texture.

Pair with: I don’t know, some fries or onion rings maybe? Not very satisfying I’ve noticed if you’re eating spicy food like Mexican or anything with chile, as the spice and bitterness together is just too much.

Overall recommended but if you are into the strong hoppy ales there are definitely better IPAs out there. But for the price, not bad.

6 X’s out of 10….  X X X X X X

Beer “Reviews”

7 Feb

this is where I rant and/or give totally unqualified ratings for the alcoholic beverages that I consume. It’s my way of attempting to claim liquor as a business expense on my taxes, like Tom Waits, my functional alcoholic hero.

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