Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saint Bernardus' Prior 8

This is my second beer from the once-Trappist Brouwerij Sint Bernardus, or Saint Bernardus Brewery. This Prior 8, a dubbel (or double), is, like all SB beers, brewed using water pumped up from 150m - water which scientists apparently say was rainwater from the time of Joan of Arc. Scientists could also say that it was water which was mostly likely dinosaur pee at one time, too - like all water - but it doesn't make for good advertising. Still, I highly anticipate tasting this beer. Onward!

The beer pours a slightly-cloudy deep rose-amber. The head has a somewhat brown tint to it. It lowers to a smooth, thin layer and yields only spotty lacing.

In the aroma is slight alcohol, prune, fig, dark bread, apple/pear, and a bit of pepper & spiciness from the yeast.

The taste is of raisin, caramel, biscuit (not quite with nutmeg, but the combination of spice notes is close), candi sugar, some slight clove, and maybe even slighter licorice. The finish reminds me more of a Belgian dark ale... with that licorice-like yeasty spicy note at the end. Overall, the main flavour for me was the candi sugar - and too much of it.

The carbonation is spot-on at first - present and fairly bright, but subdued, although it increases in prickliness with warmth. The feel, overall, is smooth, and the body a robust medium. The finish it rather slick and sticky.

Overall? I wasn't really wowed by this one. It's good, it's enjoyable, it's solid. However, it was just too sweet, in my opinion, and didn't quite deliver to me the richness of depth and character that I thought it would.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Singha Lager

Here we have another beer that I reviewed over a year ago and never posted. It's yet another "I never had one from that country before" category. This brew is from Thailand.

It's a pale and clear lager. A hard pour gives some head as you can see, but almost completely vanishes within a couple of minutes.

It has just a bit of that "green bottle" smell when opened, but not as much when in the glass. Some wheat and honey are also in the aroma.

The taste, at first, is better than I thought it would be. The honey note was really up front at first. After the first third of the glass, though, I found the flavour went flat. It started to take on some slight metallic and corn traits. So, by the end, not so hot.

The finish was a little more bitter than expected. Maybe more than it should be for the style.

Overall, I found the beer to be just fair at best.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Garrison Spruce Beer - 2011 Edition

This is the second release of Garrison's popular seasonal, their Spruce Beer. Last year's was like French-kissing a Christmas tree (not all bad). This year's recipe changed a bit... let's see how it panned out.

It pours with about 1/2 a finger of head - which doesn't last too long. The colour is pretty much the same as last year, but not quite as dark, I don't think... maybe more red. I can see through the bottom of the glass, too, which I couldn't do last year. After the initial head falls, there are just dots of lacing - like snow - after each sip.

The aroma has less spruce / wood than last year - it's still very much at the forefront, but it's more balanced now. It has a maltier tone to it this year, and smells like a much lighter ale than last year's.

The flavour is much lighter than last year, too - much more approachable as something you could drink the whole bottle of "normally". It's not like kissing a Christmas tree. Well... maybe it is a little, but not full-on French kissing. No need to pursue that analogy further. Let's just stop there. You still get spruce sap / gum, needles, molasses, and even something more lightly sweet - like orange, almost. This is much different from last year's beast, even with only two+ months on it (when I drank it). The bitterness actually appears a bit this year, and even some light hops in the burps. Overall, it comes off a bit like a strong red or brown ale with added flavours.

The carbonation is a tingle in the background - not much at all. There is still a bit of a sticky finish, but nowhere near as chewy or thick a feel as before - it has a medium body now... even a bit of bitterness comes out in aftertaste.

Overall, much easier to drink than last year - easy to enjoy... still, I kind of miss last year's brute spruce strength!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Let's hope this comes to fruition - an allowance for more (what's the one they mention, anyway?) privately-run liquor stores on PEI.

Warsteiner Premium Dunkel

Another throwback from 2010!

This dark beer looks like a glass of dark pop (or cola, for you Yankees), with less fizz. The head on this was gone by the time I put the camera down.

The smell has a roasted quality; molasses with some fig and alcohol.

The flavour has some roasted quality to it, too... it's sweet. It's kind of bland, really. Not stale, but bland. The best thing about the taste is the exhale.

The feel is watery. The carb, like mentioned above, exists but dies at the tongue... doesn't even make it to the back of the throat.

Overall, it's light, bland, and pretty boring. I didn't even want to finish it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Estrella Damm Barcelona

Another review from ages ago - 2010!

The head on this Euro pale lager is actually fairly creamy... about a finger tall, and it sticks around for a minute. Lots of rising bubbles, and lots of lacing, surprisingly, with an everlasting thin skim of head. The beer is golden and clear.

It smells like many other beers of this style, but has no skunky smell like some do. There's a bit of grass in there. There's something just slightly off about it, though... like it's 95% straw/hay, but 5% of it is silage or "country air".

The taste is poor compared to the look. At the tip of the tongue, it tastes just like blood at first... iron-y. Maybe this is the beer of choice for Spanish vampires... I dunno. I taste a bit of rice/corn, which is never a strong selling feature. There may be a bit of spice or lemon WAY in the background. It does get better as the glass / can wears on... it went decently with the old gouda I started eating with it. 

The feel of it has a nice balance. Refreshing, not too bitter or dry, and not watery.

It's a drinkable beer, but nothing special. I wouldn't get it again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tiger Lager

A review from over a year ago...

I've said it before, and things haven't changed much since... lagers aren't really my thing. They're usually just alright. it's hard to pick them and enjoy them over beers with more character.

It pours with a nice 1.5-finger head that drops to nothing in no time. It's clear and golden, with lots of bubbles rising to the surface.

It's got a nice lager smell... it smells like you'd expect a lager to smell, with a bit of malty/toffee sweetness.

There is sweetness in the flavour, too... a bit of fruit like green grapes. That'd be a hint to some ester action, which shouldn't be there, but it didn't bother me, to be honest.

The mouthfeel is good... smooth and medium overall, which is more on the robust side for a lager. The carbonation is crisp.

Overall - pretty good.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Alchemist Heady Topper

Right now, on BeerAdvocate, this beer is the #6 best-rated beer in the world. Oddly, on RateBeer, it's not in the top 50, even though it has scores of 100 in terms of a review average and style ranking. Either way... ohhh baby. In the words of Jake, it's time to hit it.

The colour is a bit pale, and surprisingly peachy (especially in the pour). It's a bit cloudy, and due to a really careful pour and a glass that I just rubbed a bunch of spots from, the head didn't rise to the occasion. I know it has much more to offer, I just didn't coax it out (I didn't pour it all out, either - had to save some in the can!).

The can says DRINK FROM THE CAN! (X3), and you know what - do it. It smells better IN THE CAN. I don't get it. I thought pouring some out (I had to do it, right?) would release more aromas, but no - it deadened them significantly. I can only assume they have a proprietary method of infusing can coatings with hop aromas. So... what's it smell like? Great. It's all citrus and a bit of flowers. There is pine, too, but really... this is a citral (new word for the day) hop bomb. It's grapefruit, orange, light mango... ripe pineapple. After a moment, sitting still, the glass had more aroma build up in it, closer to can levels, but... really... it didn't sit too long. Let's move on.

Flavour-wise, the can doesn't make a huge difference. It just blocks the nostrils a bit (dammit), which ends up being the same result as drinking it from a glass when the aroma's muted. It's fairly light and fruity in flavour - nothing over-the-top, overly bold, or malty. The bitterness is there, and I think I can pick out a bit of heat. Grapefruit, pineapple, and pith are what come out most. Maybe some light  toffee?

Feel-wise, it's got a body on the light side of medium. It's a little sticky without being overly so. It has a bitterness that definitely builds up in feel with time.

Overall, does it deserve the hype? For me, it's probably up there in the best IPA / DIPA's I have had, especially for its very-fruit-forward slant. The aroma's fantastic, the flavour's good, the feel is fine, and the burps are stellar. In the glass, it's really good - in the can, it's awesome. I could drink this every freakin' day.

Dear Vermont - please send me a four-pack or more of these plus a tourism brochure. Also, dear can-manufacturing people - please make a can with a nose hole. Sincerely, PEI Beer Guy.

PS - thanks for bringing it up, "wortly"!