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Waldo


Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 22679
Location: The ATL
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 9:44 pm    Post subject: Beer Review Thread Reply with quote

So I've been a bit of a beer fanatic for a long time, and try to have a couple of different ones each week, I think that I could get a fairly decent review thread going. For several years I augmented my purchases by brewing it myself, and have a fairly good idea of what does what and what goes into the full spectrum of styles.

I don't like fizzy light yellow stuff that comes in a can. Never have, but I do like the full gamut of just about everything else and tend to try a variety across a bunch of different styles. I'm always on the hunt for new stores with a new exciting selection. I'll keep all linked in this post broken up by category.

First off, and I cannot stress this enough, to really taste beer at it's best, you need a glass. You need to find one that works well for you, everybodies palette is a little different. I took me until I was 25 to really realize that there is a difference, and I hit on my first glass on accident. Since then I've refined what I look for in a glass more and more and have settled on one that I love, that I've used for about 2 years now. Certain characteristics are enhanced, some are downplayed, based on the glass. If you like hops and aroma, get yourself a chalice. If you like malt, a taller skinnier glass might be a little better. I don't care too much for a lot of hops, I'm a grainhead, this is similar to what my current glass looks like, mine is a little skinnier at the top:
http://beergeekshop.com/images/unibroue-flying-u-glass.jpg

On to the reviews. There are two primary beer families, Ales and Lagers, distinguished by the type of yeast used and fermentation temperature. Each has a fairly different taste, British beer is the classic ale, German beer is the classic lager. For crossovers I'm going to categorize them by brewing temperature.

Feel free everybody to post reviews or chat about beer here, if I like the review I'll link to it, my grades will be the ones bolded, others will be unbolded.

Grading Scale:
1 - Awful, dumped the glass
2 - Could barely finish it, probably won't touch the rest of the six pack
3 - Well Below average, don't look forward to the next one, won't buy again
4 - Below average, so so, I'll drink it, good to finish after you've had a few
5 - Average, OK example of style
6 - Above average, might have to settle for this with less than good selections
7 - Pretty good, seek it out, look forward to drinking it again
8 - Wow, good stuff, hopefully you can find a good source for it
9 - Pay extra for this and buy it when you see it, the best of the best

Bolded grades are mine, unbolded is done by others.

Description of Most Major Styles

Ales:

Pale Ale:
Brooklyn Pennant Ale '55 - 7.0
Fullers 1845 - 7.5
Boulder Hazed & Infused - 8.0
Red Brick Peachtree Pale Ale - 5.5
Sweetwater 420 - 6.0
Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale - 6.0
Great Divide Denver Pale Ale - 7.75
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale - 8.5
Left Hand Jackman's Pale Ale - 6.25
Goose Island Honkers Ale - 4.5

Extra Special Bitter (ESB):
Left Hand Sawtooth Ale - 7.0
Alesmith Anvil ESB - 7.2

Bitter:
White Dog Best Bitter - 8.2

Golden Ale:
Russian River Brewing Damnation - 7.8
Avery Salvation - 8.0

India Pale Ale:
Dogfish Head 90 minute - 8.0
Russian River Brewing Pliny the Elder - 8.8
Boulder Mojo Risin' - 8.0/8.1
Brewdog Punk - 8.0
New Belgium Ranger - 5.75
Dogfish Head Burton Baton - 8.6

Brown Ale:
Boulevard Brewery Lunar Ale - 8.5
Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale - 4.0
Red Brick Brown Ale - 8.5
Goose Island Nut Brown Ale - 8.0
Pete's Wicked Ale - 5.5
Duck Rabbit Brown Ale - 4.0
Left Hand Deep Cover Brown Ale - 3.5
Real Ale Brewhouse Brown Ale - 7.5
Sam Smith Nut Brown Ale - 5.75
Berghoff Sundown Dark - 3.3
Boulder Flashback Anniversary Ale - 7.0
Dogfish Head India Brown Ale - 8.5

Red Ale:
Lagunitas Lucky 13 - 7.5
Budweiser American Ale - 5.5
SKA Brewing Pinstripe Red Ale - 7.2

Scotch Ale:
Broughton Black Douglas - 8.0
Oskar Blues Old Chub - 8.2
Terrapin 90 Shelling - 8.0
Innis & Gunn - 9.0
Founder's Dirty Bastard - 7.0
AleSmith Wee Heavy - 8.3

American Barley Wine / Strong Ale:
Stone's 11th Anniversary Ale - 7.3
New Holland Dragon's Milk - 6.0
Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale - 8.0
Rogue XS Imperial Red Ale - 7.5

English Old Ale:
Eel River Triple Exultation - 4.5

Trappist/Trappist-style Ale:
New Belgium Trippel - 7.5
Avery The Reverend - 8.2
Unibroue Maudite ("Damned") - 6.5
Midnight Sun Panty Peeler- 8.0

Porter:
Rogue Mocha Porter - 6.5
Duck Rabbit Porter - 7.0
Breckenridge Vanilla Porter - 8.0/8.0/7.5
Road Dog Scottish Porter - 8.3
Stone Smoked Porter - 7.5
Red Brick Double Chocolate Oatmeal Porter - 8.1
St. Peter's Old Style Porter - 8.7
Maui Coconut Porter - 6.0
Summit Brewing Great Northern Porter - 5.9
Sam Adams Honey Porter - 7.5
Walker's Reserve Robust Porter - 7.0
Deschutes Black Butte XXI - 9.0
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter - 8.4
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil - 8.3

Stout:
Allagash Black - 7.0
Left Hand Milk Stout - 7.5/7.5
Anderson Valley 7 Year Old Port Barrel Stout - 8.0
Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout - 9.0
Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout - 8.6/7.75
Goose Island Oatmeal Stout - 7.0
Guinness 250th Anniversary - 8.6
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - 8.9
Bells Kalamazoo Stout - 7.0/7.0
Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout - 6.5
New Holland The Poet Oatmeal Stout - 7.5
Lion Stout - 8.9
Rogue Chocolate Stout - 7.75
Alesmith Speedway Stout - 8.5

Wheat (Weiss and Wit):
Kona Brewing Co. Wailua Wheat - 5.0
Sam Adams Summer Ale - 6.5
Blue Moon - 3.2
Boulder Sweaty Betty - 6.0

Dunkel Weizen:
Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel - 7.3

Biere de Garde/Saison:
Flying Dog Garde Dog - 7.0
New Belgium Biere de Mars - 8.2
Terrapin Maggie's Farmhouse Ale - 7.7
Sierra Nevada Brown Saison - 7.5

Lambic:
Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic - 3.0
Lindemans Kriek - 7.5

Fruit/Spiced Ales:
Anchor Christmas Ale 2009 - 8.1
Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale - 7.0
Sarnac Pomegranate Wheat - 6.5
Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat - 7.0
Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier - 6.5
Sam Adams Cherry Wheat - 6.5


Lagers:

Pilsner:
New Belgium Blue Paddle - 7.0
Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yellow Pils - 8.1
Lion Imperial Malt Pilsner - 3.5
Bristol Yellow Kite - 7.5
Victory Prima Pils - 7.0

Munich Helles:
Löwenbräu Original - 7.5

Oktoberfest:
Warsteiner Oktoberfest - 7.1
Paulaner Oktoberfest - 7.9
Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen - 6.0
Bell's Octoberfest - 8.7
Sam Adams Octoberfest - 8.5

Bock:
Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock (Raushbier) - 7.8
Mendocino Bock Beer - 7

Dopplebock
Weihenstephaner Korbinian - 7.5
Ayinger Celebrator - 7.0
Sam Adams Double Bock - 7.5
Samichlaus Bier - 7.9

Schwarzbier
Rogue Dirtoir - 7.2
Magic Hat Howl - 6.5
Shiner Bohemian Black Lager - 6.0

Pale Lager
Balashi Beer - 4.0
Samuel Smiths Organic Lager - 2.0

Crossovers:
(Ale yeast at lager temps or lager yeast at ale temps)

Kölsch:
Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale - 7.5
Alaskan Summer Ale - 5.5
Reissdorf Kölsch - 7.8
Gaffel Kölsch - 8.3

Altbier:
Southampton Publick House Altbier - 8.0

Bernsteinfarbenes
Weihenstephaner Festbier - 8.1

Cream Ale:
Sleeman Cream Ale 64* - 4.5

Steam:
Anchor Steam - 6.5
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Waldo was right!


Last edited by Waldo on Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:45 pm; edited 74 times in total
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Waldo


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Anchor Steam

An American classic. An early entry into the craft brewing movement, Anchor Steam represents one of the few truly American beer styles, the steam beer, which has it's roots in San Francisco. A steam is a beer brewed with lager yeast, but fermented at ale temperature. The flavors are bolder than a typical lager, yet combined into a whole moreso than a typical ale.

Anchor steam is one my old favorites, it appeals to a wide variety of tastes and seemingly never gets old. It is a medium bodied beer, with a moderate amount of hops. The hops are primarily bittering hops, there isn't a lot of hop flavor or aroma. The malt is so so, pretty good for the volume they produce, but nothing extraordinary.

What I really like about it is it's balance. They do a good job of creating a whole without leaning too hard in one direction. I feel beer is about balance, and Anchor does a good job of finding the sweet spot. It is a very drinkable beer that is good enough to enjoy.

What I don't like about it is the only average ingredients across the board. Given the quantity they produce they do a respectable job, but the same recipe could be even better.

All in all you can't go wrong with Anchor Steam, and you are often in a situation where it is the best on the shelf due to its fairly wide distrubution. Nothing wrong with that.

Grade: 6.5
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Waldo was right!


Last edited by Waldo on Fri May 01, 2009 11:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ggfl1andonly


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You ever been to a place called the world of Beer? It has like hundreds and hundreds types of beers from all over the world, you should check it out. My dad said when he retires he's gonna move to Tampa and try every single Beer they have Laughing
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boondock


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good idea for a thread. We had one going last year, but it was mainly people popping in saying Keystone Light or Corona was the best beer avaialable.

I like Anchor Steam a lot. I has the exact color that I look for when I pour a beer into a glass. The copper color is presents means it's probably going to be a I like. Anchor Steam starts out sweet and finishes dry. If I had to give it a rating it would probably be a 6.
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Waldo


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Allagash Black

Allagash is an American brewer based in Maine that has grown in popularity enormously in the last few years. Their claim to fame is being a relatively good domestic brewer at faking Belgian style abbey ales. Allagash black is a creative take on it, that uses Belgian methods to brew a beer with roughly similar concepts of an English stout.

This is my first tasting of it and I must say I am not overly impressed. At near $10 a bottle (~24 oz.) I expect to be wowed. Overall I think it leans to more of a strong Porter style than a Stout, the burned barley flavor that identifies a stout just isn't very present. It has more of the very heavily caramelized flavor of a Porter. There is very little in the way of any discernible hops. One thing however that is notable is a very complex grain profile, this is a fancy recipe. But, I feel it is a beer that tries to hard to be good, which often leads to mediocre results. Sometimes the most simple offerings are in fact the best, when done well. It also uses a yeast similar to a wheat beer, there is a noticeable trace of the esters remaining after partial fermentation, which is a signature of wheat and Belgian beers, sort of a light hint of banana underlying it all.

What I like about it is how well it hides it's power. This doesn't really seem like a heavy beer. It doesn't taste like alcohol, yet it packs a whopping 7.5% ABV, stronger than many wines. It isn't a light beer by any means, it is fairly heavy, but it just doesn't seem 7.5% ABV heavy, they did a nice job with that.

What I don't like is the lack of special. Nothing about it other than the alcohol really grabs you, if that is what you seek, a shot of tequila is much easier and cheaper. While complex is seems more complex for complexities sake than any actual purpose.

Don't get me wrong, this beer doesn't suck by any means, it is quite good, but is it worth the bucks? No. I always try to be more critical to the really high dollar beers because often we subliminally think that they are darn good simply because for the pricetag, which isn't always so. Simply put it is great knockout beer for rich guys. I'll grade it according to quality, but note, when I lay down this kind of cash, I expect an 8+.

Grade: 7.0
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Waldo


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

boondock wrote:
Good idea for a thread. We had one going last year, but it was mainly people popping in saying Keystone Light or Corona was the best beer avaialable.

I like Anchor Steam a lot. I has the exact color that I look for when I pour a beer into a glass. The copper color is presents means it's probably going to be a I like. Anchor Steam starts out sweet and finishes dry. If I had to give it a rating it would probably be a 6.


It's one of those ones that has grown on me over the years, an continues to. For just about everybody that first discovers the wide world of imports/microbrews, it is an early one that they try. It is readily available; often your selection is macrobrews, Heineken, Corona, Sam Adams, and Anchor Steam, it is rare to visit a a place that sells beer that doesn't have it, yet as you search far and wide, and compare them to beers such as Anchor Steam, it always seems to raise the Anchor just a bit.

I think what I've grown to appreciate over the years is just how balanced it is. That is something that is hard for brewers to accomplish, typically well balanced beers are very enjoyable to a wide variety of people. Not everybody can stand an imperial stout, a dry hopped IPA, or a Belgian quadruple, or even a German Marzen or Pilsner, but most people can enjoy an Anchor Steam, it is a very universal beer.
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scar988


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grading Scale:
1 - Awful, dumped the glass
2 - Could barely finish it, probably won't touch the rest of the six pack
3 - Well Below average, don't look forward to the next one, won't buy again
4 - Below average, so so, I'll drink it, good to finish after you've had a few
5 - Average, OK example of style
6 - Above average, might have to settle for this with less than good selections
7 - Pretty good, seek it out, look forward to drinking it again
8 - Wow, good stuff, hopefully you can find a good source for it
9 - Pay extra for this and buy it when you see it, the best of the best


a few I like, but may not be the best:
Newcastle Brown Ale => 6.8
Killian's Irish Red => 6.3
Sam Adams Boston Lager => 8.5 (to me, it's just a great smooth beer)
Bud Light => 3.0
Budweiser => 3.0
Miller Lite => 1.0
Coors Lite => 1.5 (good beer pong beer)
Yeungling => 4.0
Yuengling Black and Tan => 5.6
Anchor Steam => 7.1

just my views. I'm not as in depth as you, just my own personal opinions on these beers with your scale.
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PackerFanDan


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cmon, Coors and Miller aren't that bad.
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Waldo


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PackerFanDan wrote:
Cmon, Coors and Miller aren't that bad.


They are not even worth mentioning, yes they are that bad.

If you like that style, try to get your hands on a good Alt. Hard to find style, but when done well it is what the big American brewers were shooting for x1000.
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PackerFanDan


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much is a 6 pack of these "amazing" beers that you are mentioning?
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Thrillhouse


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PackerFanDan wrote:
How much is a 6 pack of these "amazing" beers that you are mentioning?


It's worth it. If you think 24 packs of lite swill is a better deal than a 6 pack of something half-decent, then you and I have different definitions of "good value." Cool

For my money, my 5 favorite beverages (not necessarily the "best" 5 I've ever had - quantity of me purchasing it is taken into account in addition to quality)

Hoegaardens
Town Hall Brewery Black H20 Oatmeal Stout (Thanks, Waldo!)
New Glarus Belgian Red
Strongbow
Fat Tire
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PackerFanDan


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So... how much?
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Thrillhouse


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PackerFanDan wrote:
So... how much?


Oh, sorry. Ha ha ha Embarassed About 7-8 bucks for a 6-pack (if you're talking about the Fat Tire or Hoegaardens-type "tier"), usually. Here in Minny, anyway.
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PackerFanDan


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's not bad. Aren't they a lot stronger than the mainstream cheap beers though? A lot of calories?
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Waldo


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PackerFanDan wrote:
That's not bad. Aren't they a lot stronger than the mainstream cheap beers though? A lot of calories?


Depends on what you are looking for. You can find 80 calories and 3% ABV and 1000 calories and 11% ABV. If the whole point were getting hammered, the Beast blows their doors off hands down. Though I do drink a lot, 5 days a week I drink a beer or two in the evening, which does not faze me in the least bit unless I've got a powerful one.

My favorite beer of all is about 4% ABV, about 120 calories, very expensive, yet worth every penny, I buy a bottle every time I see it in the store, and have thus far located 1 bar, and 4 liquor stores in the city of Atlanta that carry it.
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