Life and Limb Rhizing Bines from @SierraNevada and @dogfishbeer

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I’ve had good luck with beers from both Sierra Nevada and DogFish Head, but I’ve never had one of their collaborations. When I read about this release, I was eager to try it. It’s a double IPA and I’m a big fan. It’s using some expiermental hops, something as a homebrewer always piques my interest. You never know which HBC will become the next Amarillo or Simcoe.

The beer is sold in 750ml bottles, in the new Dogfish head bottles. I have to admit I’m not impressed with custom bottle molds, this one pours kinda funny, and looks strange too. However the label has a real nice look to it.

The beer glugs from the bottle, raising a foamy head, typical for a hoppy ale. The beer is not bottle conditioned and pours crystal clear and golden. There isn’t a citrus note from the it’s much more woody, floral, and earthy. It’s not your typical west coast ipa, citrus and pine, and I’m kind of disappointed. The body is fine, not overly thick, not syrupy, but the hop flavors I can’t get beyond. I taste mellon, and woody, and theres a faint soapy taste. I even dumped part of a glass, and washed my glass to ensure I didn’t have some sort of residue in my glass tainting the beer. Alas it was just the flavor. 

Vital Stats: Served at 45F in a willi beecher. 8% ABV.

Taste: B- Atypical for a west coast ipa, plenty hoppy, just not the right kind.

Drinkability B+: Subltle for 8%, not hot or too thick.

Packaging: A-. Some info, hop variety, bottled on date, and nice technique info (continuous hopping and torpedo). Missing IBU, and it’s got the funky bottle, that maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t like.  

Value: B. It’s a solid beer, some hop flavors don’t agree with some people, this is one of those beers for me.  

 

 

Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale

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I did a quick survey of our tags today, and was a little surprised that we’ve only reviewed 2 beers by Delaware’s Dogfish Head.  And for all our opinions on pumpkin beers, we’ve reviewed a disappointing 5 (though I see another was posted as I write this, so we’re up to 6).  So I opted to grab this one out of the cooler to try tonight. 

As far as why we haven’t written many DFH reviews, I guess that’s down to their success.  In the 3 years we’ve been writing this blog, they’ve seen tremendous success and are now nearly ubiquitous it seems in any restaurant that has anything “craftier” than Sam Adams.  Maybe we’ve felt they didn’t need the press.  All that said, this one is worth a try.  

Punkin’ pours a nice orangey-copper color with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it head.  I had to move fast to reposition the camera to get a picture of it.  It laces the glass a little bit and otherwise appears fairly clear with little carbonation.  Some fairly typical pumpkin ale smells in the glass.  Pumpkin (duh), cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar, maybe molasses.  Not overpowering, but I definitely smelled it standing up with the glass on the table when I poured it.  OK, now for a taste.

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It’s got a little bit of an oily mouth-feel, and the carbonation is actually higher than I expected.  The spices are a little more prominent than I thought they’d be including some peppery notes I wasn’t expecting at all.  It’s got some bready sweetness, even a little vanilla towards the back and a nice hop bite.  The pumpkin flavor is there, but it takes a back seat to the spice notes and the hops.

At 7% it’s not exactly a session beer, but I’d definitely have a second if I were out and found it on draft.  I wasn’t bored or underwhelmed as I am with so many pumpkin beers.  I’ve stopped trying to predict which pumpkin beers people will like; I’m a fan of the bigger imperials in part because I’m usually one and done with flavor beers, and I like a lot of flavor, but I think this one is worth a try if you find it in the wild or want to venture off the Blue Moon/Shipyard Pumpkinhead bunny slope.

Vital Stats: Bottle poured at 48F into that thar DFH glass. 7.0% ABV. 

Taste: B+ An nice and unique take on this style, and like I said, I wasn’t bored.

Drinkability: A- Went down easy, almost sessionable but for the ABV.

Packaging: B  Dogfish has their recognizable label style for most of their 12 oz bottles (though some deviate from it inexplicably like the excellent Burton Baton).  A little info, a little swagger.  

Value: C- $10.19 for a 4 pack. It’s a pricey beer.  I didn’t like it enough to get it all the time at that price.  One four-pack a season is about where I’m at with this beer.  Now that I think of it, I can’t remember ever seeing it available on draft.  

 

Festina peche

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Another quick post. This is a peach flavored Berliner weisse. A style nearly extinct in the commercial market. This isn’t traditional as its normally flavored at the time of service, and at a very low abv, however this is a very serviceable example . It is one of the few US brewed examples I am aware of that is available nationally, albeit only as a summer seasonal.
Summary it’s a beer I am really enjoying lately, may not be a style for everyone. It is a sour beer, in a subtle way. It’s a very crisp refreshing beer enjoyable and won’t weight you down. The fruit is apparent on both the nose and taste, but isnt too intense.
There is no shortage of interesting beers brewed by dogfish head, while I almost always am intrigued by them, and frequently buy those large factor bottles. More often than not I don’t revisit them. This is a four pack I am already on my second and I will be getting a few more before the season is over.

75 Minutes with @Dogfishbeer

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I have a love/hate relationship with Dogfish Head beers. I hate that I don’t love them. It’s not that they aren’t good (and in some cases great), it’s just that I’ve yet to have one that I really love. Bitches Brew is as close as I’ve found, but that’s one in a line-up of 30-40. I really wanted to love this beer. 

I cracked this beer to enjoy with the NCAA championship game. I’ve been really interested in trying it, since it’d billed at a hoppy beer made with maple syrup… sounds like a nice combo. 

First of all, I wanted to pour a small amount in my glass to smell/taste before filling the glass and WHOA!!! This beer has a LOT of carbonation. I had a hard time not getting a 3 inch head on 3 inches of beer. That surprised me a bit. 

The smell is a bit sweet (the maple?), but not as citrus/pine/floral as I expected from an IPA. The taste was right in line with the smell… a bit sweet, not much bitterness and extremely carbonated (too much?). The head was pillowy and left some nice lacing on the glass. 

Overall, it’s very well balanced, but a bit too sweet for my liking with this style. Again, this is a “good” beer, but not something I’ll make part of my regular line-up. I wonder if the carbonation is typical or if I got an off batch? The bottom line? There are a bunch of IPAs that I’d reach for before I’d drink this one. Of course Heady Topper, which has a little more alcohol, but is so much more enjoyable, but also Uinta Hop Notch, Lagunitas Sucks, Green Flash West Coast IPA, etc. 

Vital Stats: 7.5% ABV. Served at 45F in a glass. 

Taste: B. The carbonation got in the way of a good beer. 

Drinkability: B. This is not a light beer. 

Packaging: B. Attractive label, but not much else. 

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Dogfish Head Faithfull Ale

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Faithfull Ale is the third beer that Dogfish Head has done in collaboration with Sony, this time to commemorate Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary and their debut album Ten. The side of the bottle states: “In recognition of these milestones this Belgian-style golden ale is delicately hopped to 20 IBUs and fruit-forward from 10 incremental additions of black currants over the course of the one hour boil.

Going in, I was pretty excited to try this beer. My experiences with the DFH/Sony beers had been for the most part positive thus far, Bitches brew was fantastic and Hellhound was a decent beer. DFH does not make many Belgian style beers and the currants made for a potentially interesting combination. I went over to the brewery on release day and got to sample it on draft and then decided to buy one bottle or further tasting ($12.50, limit 2).

Right away I thought there might be a problem. Many fruit forward beers have some sort of color to them, but Faithfull was golden/orange. Upon smelling it there was only a slight fruity aroma, that I could only assume was currants. Continuing on a theme, there was very little currant in the flavor. It was mostly came off like a generic Belgian style ale, with some pale grain and bready malt flavors going on.

Overall, the beer was a disappointment. I was hoping for a much stronger currant presence considering there were “10 incremental additions of black currants.” It comes off like a very generic Belgian Style Pale Ale, with very little of the Belgian yeast/spices even coming through.

Taste: C. Nothing wrong with the beer, but its just boring and nothing makes me want to have it again.
Drinkability: B. Not hard to drink, but I wouldn’t really want to waste my time with it
Vitals: 750ml, 7% ABV, 20 IBUs.

Imperial IPA Tasting – 2/15/11

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We were able to get nearly all the Craft Beer Social contributors together in one place for an epic tasting. We tried six different imperial IPAs, including the very-hard-to-find-on-the-east-coast Pliny the Elder. It was a great night of hops, hops and more hops and we thank Matt for opening his Black Lab Bar for the evening. 

We chose what are arguably the best imperial IPAs we could get our hands on and added in a local favorite for good measure. We worked our way through the entire library with 2oz pours of each and then went back for more if necessary to round out our ratings. Each person was asked to rate each beer 1-6 and then we added the ratings of the eight people in attendance to come up with our collective ratings (lower score = better) for the six beers. All participants took notes and may share those in future posts. 

We all took notes on appearance, smell and taste. While there were some clear favorites, we had some interesting findings. On to the final results! 

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder – 15 total points (four 1st place votes)… No surprise here, although it’s interesting to note that it received 3rd and 4th place votes. Some folks clearly weren’t impressed. It poured a beautiful orange/gold, smelled fresh and flowery and tasted, well, great. Overheard during the tasting, “It appears to be delicious.”

2. Founders Double Trouble – 20 total points (one 1st place vote)… With three 2nd place and three 3rd place votes, this one was unanimously well liked. It pours slightly hazy and bit lighter than Pliny, smell floral with a hint of “bubble gum.” Overheard during the tasting “it smells like a hockey locker room.” 

3. Wachusett Larry – 22 total points (one 1st place vote)… Another solid, well-liked entrant. It poured a very similar color as the Pliny. The smell had hints of apple and orange and the taste was a bit lighter than the previous two, a fresh and delicious example of imperial IPA. Overheard during the tasting “I’d wear this as a perfume.” 

4. Great Divide Hercules – 33 total points (two 1st place votes)… With two last place votes, this was a polarizing beer. There was also a big drop off between the Larry and this one; it might have been personal preference. Unlike the first three, Hercules pours more of an amber and smells of malt and caramel. It’s actually a bit sweet with hints of mollases. The hops comes through with a pine taste, which is in direct contrast to the first three that were fruity and flowery. 

5. Dogfish Head 90 Minute – 38 total points (zero 1st place votes)… Poured a cloudy gold color, smelled of alcohol and chemicals and had hints of grass in the taste. Perhaps a bad bottle or two? We’ll need to give this another try. 

6. Avery Maharaja – 41 total points (zero 1st place votes)… This one poured a cloudy orange and smelled musty. The taste profile included malt and mollases. One person suggested it tasted “syrupy.” There was also a very distinct alcohol finish. We’ll need to give this one another try. 

It was a great evening. I wish we had Bell’s Hopslam and Heady Topper from The Alchemist to try alongside this group. Thanks to the gang for taking time out to get together for this and especially to Shannon who not only procured the Pliny, but also pulled together most of the other beers for this tasting. 

What do you think of our ratings? Would you put them in the same order or did we #%@$ something up? Let us know. We’re social! 

Dogfish Head “Theobroma”

Awesome beer. Light and clear in color with a nice thin lacing on the head. Interesting flavor – it takes a bit like grape soda to me. The description is, “Ale brewed with natural flavors (honey, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, ancho chilies, & ground annatto). I noticed the honey and there is a bit of chile flavor at the end but have no idea what the others like. I’d love to drink it with a geekier beer drinker to get their opinion. Overall, a recommend buy. A- flavor, B+ drinkability. 9% ABV.

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