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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Southern Tier Old Man Winter

Southern Tier Old Man WinterSouthern Tier "Old Man" Winter Ale:

Easy, big fella. This Ale is a classic. I'm not sure what makes it a winter ale but I've never claimed to be an expert in spiceology and perhaps my palate is not refined enough to taste the subtleties but I can put my finger on a handful of hops to keep your tummy tickled. A dry, hoppy, citrusy finish moves up the back of the palate to the nasal area and leaves a clean, bitter aftertaste.

Old Man has a light to medium body with a pretty good mouthfeel. Very drinkable but not exceptional in is style or representation. Southern Tier makes awesome stuff and Old Man tows the line but doesn't push the envelope. In the middle of the pack, this brew doesn't exactly cut the mustard as the big dog. Watch your back, however, cuz this Old Man Ale goes down easy like Sunday morning and could cost you a pretty penny if you don't cover your bases and get a designated driver.

Reviewing this beer has been almost as fun as drinking it. "Barrel full of monkeys" comes to mind. Super easy to drink and a high-quality ale but nothing to write (home) about: Look for lower Representation and Style scores but high Accessibility and Preference.

Southern Tier "Old Man" Winter Ale:

Representation: .775
Accessibility: .99
Style: .80
Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.465 Flags

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Avery Old Jubilation

Avery Old Jubilation:

Not known to skimp on flavor, Avery Old Jubilation has the makings of a post-party nightcap or a pre-party warmup. Reminiscent of a spiced-up Vienna style lager, just this side of a dopplebock with lots of flavorful spices and a warming quality.

This beer is quite handsome, with a rich, dark color and medium body and just the right amound of effervescence. My personal take on the flavor, however, is that it isn't my favorite. The jubilant flavors are just going have to party without me. I'm a sucker for a nutmeggy-clovey, mulled spice kind of flavor but Old Jubilation has some altogether different thing going on.

Overall, I just can't wrap words around the finish: Is it too coppery? Too alcoholic? It certainly isn't sublime in any way. Kinda funky, if you ask me. Not that it's a bad beer, mind you. The quality is there, just not my thing. I've had better winter/celebration brews; I've had more drinkable ones; I've had wilder ones. Avery usually makes good stuff so don't be put off. And if you really like winter or holiday brews, try this one for yourself -- and as always, comment so others can benefit from your experiences. Just make sure you don't run out and get a whole case of it before you try a single or a six pack. Not exactly a "session" beer or a crossover brew for beginners.

Avery Old Jubilation:

Representation: .75
Accessibility: .80
Style: .90
Personal Preference: .75

Total Score: 3.2 Flags

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Founder's Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale

Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Style AleFounders Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale:

I gotta say, Founders is pretty hardcore. The beers I've tried so far are all bold but not extreme. No, wait: I take that back --- Devil Dancer Triple IPA is extreme. But be it known, good citizens, that the boldness continues with Dirty Bastard. The Scotch Style Ale is "up there" on my list of faves. With medium to full body and plenty of toasty malty goodness, Dirty Bastard has a taste of sweetness to go with the bitter punch. Finishing dry and bitter, your mouth wants more. There's plenty of flavor in this brew so take your time and savor it. From a bottle, pour into a chalice-style glass and use small draughts and long swallows. Make sure to breathe deeply through your nose and enjoy the wine-like bouquet before digging in. Feel free to make yummy noises as well.

Now, yes I said your mouth wants more. The little sips turn to greedy swallows by the time you're done, but at 8.5% abv, maybe you only need one. The admonition on the neck label will egg you on as if the bottle itself is calling you a sissy if you move onto something lighter. I won't, though. This beer is pretty big so don't be ashamed if you need to step away.

Who should try it? Scotch Ale people, Barleywine lovers, and hardcore Ale folks. There's something of a Dirty Bastard in everyone.

Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale:

Representation: .95
Accessibility: .85
Style: .95
Personal Preference: .97

Total Score: 3.72 Flags

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Smuttynose Winter Ale

Smuttynose Winter Ale
Smuttynose Winter Ale:

Tall, dark, and handsome, this winter ale has a really hearty winter feel to it. I took a few sips from the bottle but it opens up quite nicely in a pint glass. The spicy notes mellow out and the mouthfeel can really be experienced -- pretty darn smooth. Oh, I enjoy the bitterness. But it really doesn't come from hops -- no, its kind of a cocoa thing. Mind you, chocolate stouts provide a more over-the-top vehicle for extreme chocolate brewing, whereas the Smuttynose Winter simply employs the essence to enhance the rest of the formula. This winter ale is a mellower version, yet a hearty ale. Strong, silent type I guess.

Winter warmer fans should check out Smuttynose Winter Ale because it has some familiar notes floating around in it but it isn't as bold as some winter or Christmas-style ales tend to be. Ale drinkers will be impressed by the body and accessibility of this dandy beverage. The more sips I have, the more accessible it becomes. Goes down smooth but not without making its mark. Comparable to previous versions of Anchor Holiday Ale, Smuttynose comes through once again with a solid seasonal offering. Don't miss this one.

Smuttynose Winter Ale:

Representation: .9
Accessibility: .875
Style: .875
Personal Preference: .9

Total Score: 3.55 Flags