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Friday, February 26, 2010

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada TorpedoSierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA:

This honey-colored hop-fest pours with a foamy, almost soapy head on top. The head holds a serious up-front bitterness and hides a deep-seeded full-bodied bitterness underneath. There's malt in there somewhere, but hop-heads rejoice at this swirling vortex of flavors. Bitter up front then surprisingly smooth. Then a little more bitter... then, that's kinda grapefruity. Oh yeah, nice hoppy, bitter aftertaste. Wait, there's an after-aftertaste.

So says Sierra, "Utilizing the 'Hop Torpedo', our unique method of dry hopping, we harness precious oils and resins to showcase the complex citrus, pine, and herbal flavor and aromas that hops have to offer."

And it seems that Sierra Nevada has managed to reach deep into the hop and draw out some essence heretofore unreached. Geez, did I just say 'heretofore'?

A dear friend (Brigita from Mycancerdeployment.blogspot.com) once commented that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale seemed somehow less hoppy than it had in the past. Could that be due to a recipe change or even a hop shortage? Or could it be that when a hop-head is born, he or she chases the flower forever after taking that first taste? Sierra's Celebration is pretty darn hoppy and Torpedo seems to top that. The Harvest collection is unbelievable as well (look for Vol. 13 coming soon). So maybe the Pale Ale hasn't changed after all. Rather, our taste for the hop may have changed, our appetite more voracious. If you seek a rich hoppy experience, Torpedo should satisfy your cravings.

Just a wee bit short of a session beer at 7.2% abv, Torpedo's one weakness may be accessibility. Like I said, great for hop-heads but keep in mind that the bitterness is pretty substantial. Not just an IPA... Extra IPA.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA:

Representation: .98
Accessibility: .88
Style: .95
Personal Preference: .98

Total Score: 3.79 Flags

Thursday, February 25, 2010

McKenzie Brew House Black Lab Stout (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: McKenzie Brew House Black Lab Stout 5.7% abv
Where: McKenzie Brew House (Malvern, PA)
November 7, 2009
What-have-you: "Toasty and crisp with a light body. I would peg it more as a porter, the alcohol is completely masked."

Check out McKenzie's Beer Selection [Click HERE]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Founders Imperial Stout

Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout:

Imperial Stouts got their name because of their intended audience: royalty. So if you have the grapefruits to call your stout "imperial" you'd better be prepared to back it up with quality you can taste. Founders Imperial Stout does that and more.

Oh, it's imperial alright. Founders Imperial Stout has regal implications, with a velvety smooth mouthfeel and formidable body. Definitely high viscosity. It is dark and dark with a richness you can see. This beer is ginormous. Just seeing its inky visage in the glass, oily lacework and grayish-brown head should let the casual observer know that this is no ordinary stout. The aroma is non-threatening, maybe a hint of of cocoa sweetness; and the first sip follows suit... but just wait for the after effects: The huge body materializes and brings with it some deeper flavor phantoms: coffee perhaps, or molasses. but something else adds to the body-- oatmeal or milk sugar? Not sure. There's an interesting hop profile here, too. With 90 IBUs (Hop-heads, take note: that's the same as Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA) the brew seems to get a little drier, not sweeter, as the drink moves along.

Founders Imperial Stout ranks high up on the charts -- comparable to two of my regional faves, Victory Storm King and Weyerbacher Old Heathen. Style and Representation are big scores. Accessibility may be trouble because of its rich bitterness and boozy tendencies (10.5% abv does not a "session brewski" make) and Personal Preference is a crapshoot. I think it's wonderful but I don't want to stock my fridge with a case of it. I have to wake up at some point, after all.

Don't waste this beer on a novice. Rookies need to earn their way into the imperial court. It's a must-have for stout lovers and Founders fans. Cheers!

Founders Imperial Stout:

Representation: .99
Accessibility: .89
Style: 1.0
Personal Preference: .925

Total Score: 3.805 flags

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Selin's Grove Brewing Co. S.N.A.F.U. IPA (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Selin's Grove Brewing Co. S.N.A.F.U. IPA 7.5% abv
Where: Selin's Grove Brewing Co. (Selinsgrove, PA)
November 7, 2009
What-have-you: "Dryish and a touch malty. Bitter and wonderful clean finish and quite drinkable."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weyerbacher Fourteen (Citizen Review)

Weyerbacher Fourteenth Anniversary:

"Too sweet + too hoppy"

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .10
Style Points: .10
Personal Preference: .10

Total Score: 1.3 Flags

--Reviewed by Citizen Cheryl

Weyerbacher Fourteen

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tröegs Round-Up

Troegs Beer ReviewsTröegs Brewery Beer Round-Up:

Here at The Ferment Nation we like to shine the spotlight on some worthy breweries that have brought us some really great beers: to drink and to review.

Troegs Nugget Nectar:

Imperial Amber. Does that say it all? Not exactly. That can't possibly tell you how the sweet floral scent of hops rise up to greet you before your first sip. [Read the Full Review]

Troegs Hop Back Amber Ale:

Listed as an amber ale, I think of Hop Back as an IPA by virtue of its crispness and hoppy bite. Actually, it doesn't bite so much as nibble gently. [
Read the Full Review]

Troegs Dead Reckoning Porter:

I fell in love with this beer before I even drank it. The logo is so cool that upon my diplomatic voyage to
Troegs last year I purchased a t-shirt bearing its likeness even though the stores had been depleted. [Read the Full Review]

Troegs Website

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ellezelloise Hercule Stout (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Ellezelloise Hercule Stout 9.0% abv
Where: The Pout House (Westmont, NJ)
When: February 17, 2010
What-have-you: "Hercule stout. Pour House. Smells Belgian and tastes like stout. Quite delicious. A lil sweet and dark but not very bitter. Niiiice."

Ellezelloise Hercule Stout

Ellezelloise Hercule Stout

Friday, February 19, 2010

River Horse Hop-A-Lot-Amus:

River Horse HopalotamusRiver Horse Hop-a-lot-amus:

The unfiltered double IPA from Lambertville, NJ is just as hoppy as you want it to be. Hidden beneath the tranquil murkiness is a dangerous beast. At first glance, Hop-a-lot-amus looks like a dark hefe-weizen. But the aroma is a tantalizing blend of malty sweetness and floral hops -- perhaps a bit of oak or vanilla sneaks in there as well. So the safari continues.

The taste: There's a rich, malty skeleton holding up the strong body of the Hop-a-lot-amus. The earthy, oaky, vanilla-y flavors come next, but lets not short-change the featured flavor of this double IPA: Hops... A-lot-amus. The bitter blast of floral hops swirls up from the depths of this cloudy beverage, beginning with the foamy head and continuing all the way through the creamy mouthfeel. A little malty up front, then hoppy, then a little more malt, and a lovely bitter aftertaste. It does linger for awhile. The only way to quell the bitterness is to have another sip. And the process begins all over again.

The complexity and balance of Hop-a-lot-amus hold to the standards of other River Horse offerings like Belgian Freeze, Hefe-Rye-Zen, and Double Wit, but I'm of the opinion that Hop-a-lot-amus outshines them by a slight margin. Keep in mind that at 8.5% abv, River Horse Hop-a-lot-amus is not exactly a session beer. Even still, the creaminess and hoppiness make me fantasize about this brew on hand-pumped cask. Please give ol' El Presidente a heads-up if it pops up anywhere. Please. Pretty Please.

River Horse Hop-a-lot-amus:

Representation: .975
Accessibility: .85
Style: .99
Personal Preference: 1.0

Total Score: 3.815 Flags

Monday, February 15, 2010

Southampton Double White (Citizen Review)

Southampton Double White:

"A little too sweet probably

due to the "double" -- typical

hefeweisen flavore a little strong


Representation: 1.0
Accesibility: .33
Style Points: .33
Personal Preference: .33

Total Score: 2.0 Flags

Reminds me of: "allagash but not quite as good"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Samuel Smith Winter WelcomeSamuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale:

Okay, so now I am on the hunt for the perfect "winter warmer." Samuel Smith's almost always presents a near-perfect product; Just as nearly perfect is their representation of the style at hand. My personal opinion of Winter Welcome is that it falls just a smidge short. Oh, it's a fantastic brew that bears the Samuel Smith's signature sublimity and flawless craftsmanship, but I think it's a simple matter of my taste in hops. I think that Fuggle hops just don't do it for me. I remember being a bit disappointed in Long Hammer IPA awhile back, and I seem to remember that Fuggle hops were featured prominently in that particular beverage.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome starts out fairly malty in flavor but it seems to fade as the dry, hoppy finish takes over after the swallow. The aftertaste of the Fuggle and Golding hops is jus a little too funky for my taste. I prefer a bigger, bolder dose of malt and a different breed of hop. The Winter Welcome is finely crafted and well-balanced, just not to my ideal of the perfect winter warmer. It is sufficiently warming at 6% abv, but I think I want to be put to sleep by an ultra-smooth, malt-heavy, snowed-in-at-a-ski lodge, served-in-a-tankard doppelbock with a touch of cocoa and figs.

Like other winter beers: Medium body, smooth and malty, warming 6%.
Unlike other winter beers: Signature English mellowness that is funkified by Fuggle hops.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale:

Representation: .95
Accessibility: .925
Style: .95
Personal Preference: .85

Total Score: 3.675 Flags

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Kickin Chickins Play The Main Stage at the Trocadero in Philly

The Kickin Chickins Play The Main Stage at the Trocadero in Philly:

Friends of The Ferment Nation, The Kickin Chickins (myspace.com/kickinchickins) bring their signature serving of "Poultry with a side of Metal" to the main stage at the Trocadero, Saturday, February 13th. El Presidente himself issued this newsflash to the Nation, encouraging any and all citizens go who want to get out of the snow and warm up with some hot metal music. [BUY TICKETS HERE]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yards General Washington Tavern Porter (Presidential Brief)

Ferment Nation Beer Blog Presidential BriefWhat: Yards General Washington Tavern Porter 7% abv
Where: Undisclosed Location
When: February 10, 2010
What-have-you: "Yards George Washington Porter. 7% abv. Dark and a lil smoky with coffee notes. Earthy bittersweetness from the molasses. Um... Perfect porter? Maybe."

Yards General Washington Tavern Porter

Monday, February 8, 2010

In Case You Missed It

Our Beers of Scotland Newsletter:

If you did not receive our Robert Burns Week inspired "Beers of Scotland" e-newsletter, sign up to the right with your e-mail address. We feature new reviews and videos, and we would love to hear from you about what we should write about next!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stoudts Scarlet Lady (Citizen Review)

Stoudts Scarlet Lady:

"Expected more body

slightly sweet but good

bitters -- no nose -- feels

watered down"

Representation: .50
Accessibility: .50
Style Points: .50
Personal Preference: .50

Total Score: 2.0

--Reviewed by Citizen Cheryl

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Flying Dog K9 Cruiser Winter AleFlying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale:

This reddish-brown winter warmer has a pretty apparent malt flavor, but is just a bit light on the body. It isn't weak, however, since the hoppy bitterness creates an interesting finish. The aftertaste is bitter and lingers quite awhile.

Flying Dog has some good stuff (like Gonzo Porter and Double Dog IPA), but they have a lot of brews I'm not 100% enthused about. K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale is pretty good but I prefer my malty beers a bit maltier and my hoppy beers a bit hoppier. Some exceptions exist, but those are extremely well-balanced brews that don't pop up all that often. I feel that Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser would be really on the money if it had a bit more malty body and just a touch less bitterness. Then it would be approaching my perfect winter warmer scenario. Actually I may get a K-9 Cruiser and a Gritty's Christmas and pour them into the same big-ass mug and see what happens.

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser is worth a try if you're a beer geek on a winter ale kick, but don't put it in front of a newbie. Stylistically sassy, the flavors don't blend together smoothly enough to convert a non-craft drinker.

Like other winter beers: warming in your belly (6.4% abv does the job).
Unlike other winter beers: no other tell-tale spices or flavors.

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale:

Representation: .90
Accessibility: .80
Style: .95
Personal Preference: .875

Total Score: 3.525 Flags

Read our other [Winter Beer Reviews]

Friday, February 5, 2010

River Horse Special Ale ESB (Citizen Review)

River Horse Special Ale ESB:

"Interesting nutty layers.
More interesting than conventional,
but not too complicated to be
too much for conventional beer lovers."

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: 1.0
Style Points: 1.0
Personal Preference: .75

Total Score: 3.75 Flags

--Reviewed by Citizen Cheryl

Read our other [River Horse Reviews]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blue Point Hoptical Illusion

Blue Point Hoptical IllusionBlue Point Hoptical Illusion:

This India Pale Ale from Long Island, NY is just over the edge of Pale Ale, but not quite reaching the upper echelon of IPA territory. Hoptical Illusion is actually pretty malty, but not in a rich, dark, warming kind of way (like you might get from a bock or a winter warmer). Rather, the malt flavors are quite pale indeed with crispness and dryness that work well with the extra hops to creatte a pretty well-balanced brew. The body matches the color nicely -- pretty light but not pilsner-y. Almost light enough to be a session beer, but 6.8% abv doesn't exactly fit the description. Even though this review was written smack-dab in the middle of winter, I would recommend Blue Point Hoptical Illusion as a fine barbecue beer. I'm kinda looking forward to sampling this brew again with some grilled meats like chicken or pork (mmmm... bratwurst).

And though I like this beer a lot, expect some strange scores. Representation: This would be an awesome Pale Ale but it isn't too terribly hoppy and therefore not the best IPA in town. Accessibility: there's the sweet spot. Style: Good, not great. Personal Preference: Like it very much, don't love it.

Do I recommend it? Oh yeah! If you like Pale Ales but crave a little more jazz and pizazz, this is the perfect beer for you. Hoptical Illusion won't blow hop-heads away but remember the barbecue!! The "all-seeing eye" may not be able to understand everyone's tastes but you have to admit ... El Presidente gets pretty close.

Blue Point Hoptical Illusion:

Representation: .72
Accessibility: .99
Style: .85
Personal Preference: .90

Total Score: 3.46 Flags

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Weyerbacher Merry Monks' (Citizen Review)

Weyerbacher Merry Monks' :

"My friends said they hated this beer, but they said I would like it. Much love to Pete + Dave, because they know me too well. Sweet, with banana tones. I like it."

Representation: 1.0
Accessibility: .75
Style Points: .75
Personal Preference: 1.0

Total: 3.5 Flags

--Reviewed by Citizen Jack Witzig

Monday, February 1, 2010

In Case You Missed It

In Case You Missed It:
We sent out our "Winter Beer Spotlight" newsletters a couple of weeks ago. If you didn't get it, you can sign up for our FREE newsletter over on the right of the screen.
We will be highlighting new reviews, new videos, FREE giveaways, and other Ferment Nation exclusives. Don't get left out in the cold this Winter.
E-mail us, tell us what you want to see in future newsletters or videos. Thanks!