Archive for the ‘American Strong Ale’ Category

Hitachino Nest XH by Kiuchi Brewery

I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese…I really think so. Remember that song?  You just might if you are in your 40s.  With that said…off to Japan we go for beer #249, Hitachino Nest XH by Kiuchi Brewery from Ibaraki, Japan.  7% is the ABV of this American Strong Ale.  Of note here is that on the label it mentions this beer was aged in sake casks.  Lets give it a taste…shall we?

The first thing I noticed on this iced-tea colored brew was the head.  Off-white and thick and overflowing the glass it was poured into.  It looked like a mountain (Mt. Fuji?) sticking up above the rim of the glass.  The nose was…interesting.  It smelled sour with a strong aroma of apples and alcohol.  There was a bit of wood in there also.  It started off with sweet caramel malt flavors and then it got fruity, but not the apples I smelled in the nose but a tart cherry like flavor.  At times I picked up a bit of vanilla towards the end of the sip.  It finishes up a bit dry and kind of falls off the cliff taste wise at the very end with no aftertaste whatsoever.  It had a medium body, was smooth, and had decent carbonation.  The alcohol I picked up in the nose was really nowhere to be found in the taste.

To be honest, I didn’t quite like it at first.  But as I drank it and it warmed up slightly, it grew on me.  In the end I thought it was pretty yummy and damn cool this came from some 7000 plus miles away.  Kanpai!  That means drain the glass in Japanese…of which I had no problems doing!

Rating: B

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Quercus Vitis Humulus by Otter Creek Brewing

Beer #58 is Quercus Vitis Humulus by Otter Creek Brewing from Vermont.  Say what?  Quercus Vitis Humulus is latin and literally means oak, grape & hop.  Sounded good to me!  Brewed in the style of an American Strong Ale, this beer has an ABV of 12%.  One interesting fact about this brew is that it was fermented a second time with Champagne yeast.

It poured a orange amber color with nice size head.  Grape juice was the most prevalent aroma along with a smell very much like what I experienced on a winery tour a few years ago from an oak aged wine.  I picked up on some sweet malts also.  Taste was a malty sweet grape juice (heavy on the grape juice) concoction with a bit of a bitter hop ending, at times reminding me of a highly carbonated wine.  Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy with a ton of carbonation.  Lots of alcohol make for a sipping drink.  One bottle was enough for me.

To me, this seemed like a beer that wanted to be a wine and at times a champagne.  I thought there was way too much of that grape sweetness.  I really didn’t like it all that much.  It took me quite a while to finish it but finish it I did.

Rating: D

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Lukck 13asartd Ale by Stone Brewing Company

I hate the Jets and Rex Ryan.  I hope the Jets get their asses handed to them next week in New England.

Now on to beer #41, Lukcy 13asartd Ale by Stone Brewing Company.  Strange name for a American Strong Ale with an ABV of 8.5%.  One thing I love with Stone is their labels, a must read if I do say so myself.

This is a pretty looking beer, a nice reddish brown with a small head.  Nose was interesting to me, I got lots of peach with pineapple and grapefruit and caramel malts.  The taste was pine and grapefruit and citrus…very good indeed.  It had a nice bitter finish to it.  This was a medium bodied brew with some very nice carbonation and was nice and smooth.  The alcohol was hidden very well.  I could have drank this all night long but I wanted to throw the bottle at the TV hoping it would hit Rex Ryan in the head and knock him out.  That would have been a waste of a great beer.

This is a great beer, especially if you like something akin to an IPA.  A hoppy delight…yum!!!  Heres to hoping Stone brews this next year.

Rating: A

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Hairy Eyeball Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company

TGIF…Thank God It’s Friday.  Let the drinking begin!

Beer #40 is Hairy Eyeball Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company.  Hairy Eyeball, very interesting name.  Could this be an interesting brew?  We shall see.

Hairy Eyeball, don’t you just love saying that, is an American Strong Ale.  Strong indeed with an ABV of 8.83%.

This eyeball looked back at me with a deep dark brown stare with just the tiniest of heads.  Brown sugar was what this smelled like and tasted like.  It also had the aroma of cola, an odd smell to me in a beer.  Mouthfeel was on the syrupy side with a bitter bite  that gets you in the end.  It wasn’t an easy beer for me to drink, much too sweet.

This wasn’t for me.  The odd smells, the weird taste, the whole package (other than the name) was just…not good.  It was the second beer in the 40 that I didn’t want to finish, but I managed, barely.  Never again.

Rating: F

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Double Bastard Ale by Stone Brewing Co.

“Ye Shall Know the Bastard, and the Bastard Shall Set You Free”

What a lousy day here in NJ.  It was chilly, rainy, windy, & with Derek Jeter still a free agent looking for a boatload of cash, I figured the best way to end the day was with a bomber (22 oz.) of Double Bastard Ale by Stone Brewing Company.

This is classified as an American Strong Ale and with an ABV of 11.2% meant a fun evening indeed.

Poured into a tulip glass, this ale revealed a nice deep, dark red color with a decent head.  Caramel, cherry and alcohol hit the nose instantly with a sweetness that can’t be missed.  The taste was dominated by bitter hops with a malty sweetness and an alcohol presence that lets you know this is not to be taken lightly.  This Double Bastard was slightly thick and very smooth with a slight alcohol aftertaste.  It had just a touch of that warming sensation as it was going down.  One bomber was enough to make me feel very nice indeed.

This would make for a great drink on a cold winter night with nothing better to do then…well…drink beer!!!  Although with the high ABV, the amount that can be savored would have to be limited.

Rating: A

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