Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blue Frog: The Big DIPA No. 3

I'm fortunate in that my wife gets to travel quite a bit, and she is always more than willing to pile various beers into her suitcase for me. She always brings back good beers, and some that I've never heard of before. This is one of those beers. All I saw though was DIPA, or Double IPA, and you KNOW I like that. My wife traveled to California recently and found this bottle from Blue Frog. Its actually Blue Frog Grog and Grill based out of Fairfield, California. The name of the brew pub is based on the song "I'm in Love with a Big Blue Frog" by Peter, Paul, and Mary (click here for the lyrics).
The Beer: A pumped up DIPA that has 105 IBU's and weighs in at 8.4%. The beer pours a partially hazy copper color with a thick head of off-white foam. The nose is massive hops, grapefruit, citrus peel, some caramel and toffee malts. Medium to light mouthfeel, explosive hops, lots of resinous stickiness. Grapefruit pith, caramel, maltyness, but here yes hops are king. They assault the senses from the start through the finish. No alcohol on the finish, smooth. Its a little thin, maybe some more malt to create a little backbone would help. Good, heck mouthpuckering at times, but needs a little oomph for me. This one gets a B from me.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Tale of Two Ruffians

If you've read this blog any amount of time you know I have a soft spot for Colorado beers. This is mostly due to my wife being from there and me having had a chance to taste a lot of beers from that state, including some that aren't available in Texas. This is one of those days, where I'm comparing a version of a beer that we get in the state against one we don't. Old Ruffian is Great Divide's barley wine.
09 Old Ruffian: The specs: 10.2% and 90 IBU's, bottled Dec 10 2009. This pours a brownish color with a thick dense head of taupe colored foam. The nose is full of malts, toffee, treacle, caramel, and hops along with a bit of alcohol. A creamy mouthfeel, malty up front then slammed with citrusy hops at the finish. With the next sip you get notes of toffee, caramel, raisins, before finishing even more resinous, sticky. Lots of grapefruit notes, hops are very prevalent but there is a strong malty presence here that does bring some balance. This one gets a B+ from me.

09 Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ruffian: The Specs: 10.0%, 90 iBU's aged in Stranahn Whiskey Barrels. Hand numbered and I have bottle 375 of 1188. The beer pours a dark cloudy brown with a much thinner head of taupe colored foam. Malts and treacle, toffee, with undertones of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Hops are very subdued here. Creamy mouthfeel, very little carbonation, some notes of wet cardboard that indicate some oxidation of the hops. Lots of caramel, vanilla, oak and bourbon, again very little hop flavor here. A little boozy. A little disappointing. I was really hoping for a bit more of hop flavor, but the hops have mostly left. A good beer though that gets a B from me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 10

Its been almost year since the last Divine Reserve was released, but finally the time has arrived. As always actually getting your hand on some Divine Reserve is part of the fun and if you want to hear about it head over to Lushtastic for a good story (read the comments!). However this post is not about the hunt, but the beer. DR 10 is an English Barleywine based off of the winning recipe from the Big Batch Brew Bash as brewed by Chris Landis. This Barleywine weighs in at a very hefty 11%. Lucky for me I was able to obtain 2 six packs, but I also headed downtown on Tuesday the release day to try it on draft at Anvil Bar and Refuge which is what my tasting notes are based off of.
The Beer: Served in a tulip glass this beer poured a ruby color with a good sized taupe colored head. Caramel, and sweet malts, mild hops and some alcohol are on the nose. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, very sweet and malty, and a good deal of hoppy bitterness. Earthy, spicey instead of citrus-y grapefruit, I'm not sure what the hop varietal is, but its definitely not your NW American hops. It leaves a resiny finish though. Some notes of cherry as well. Very hot alcohol flavor, raw and young the beer definitely needs some age to it. Its got a great base and the beer is good and drinkable now, but I think it will be amazing in a couple of years. I'm not going to give my final grade on this one yet as I don't think its at its best right now. I think this beer has some great potential though.