Firestone Walker Sucaba!

sucaba

A true English Barley wine.  Big boozy bourbon and American oak aromas combine with soft chocolate malt undertones.  Complex malt flavors framed in oak with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, toasted coconut and a touch of dark cherry.  A sipping beer best served in a Brandy snifter.  

Final Rating: 4.53/5 

look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter. Acquired in a trade from spambum, thanks buddy! 2013 vintage.

Appearance- Pours a rust colored body with a very small head that reduces quickly to a white ring. Dark and nearly opaque, can’t tell if it’s hazy but I think it is.

Smell- French vanilla coffee, bourbon, toffee, vanilla beans, butterscotch candy, white chocolate. Definitely smells like a dessert beer. Very nice.

Taste- Upfront there are sweet caramel, vanilla, bourbon notes. This develops into coffee and dark fruit notes, finishing slightly roasty. Warming booze definitely present. The aftertaste is amazing, toasted malt and vanilla cake.

Mouthfeel- Low carbonation, medium-heavy body. Split this one.

I’ve waited a long time to try Sucaba and it didn’t let me down! This is such a complex brew, and the bourbon really stands out and makes a grand presence. It’s a heavier version of Founders Backwoods Bastard in my opinion, and that’s one of my favorite beers.

Rueuze, the Ultimate American Gueuze

rueuze

Rueuze is our take on the traditional Belgian-style blend of lambics of different ages. We carefully select a number of oak barrels from our warehouse that have been aging our sour blonde ale for various lengths of time and blend them to what we think is the ideal flavor. this is one complex beer.  Notes of hay, barnyard funk, apricots, and even olives play wonderfully with the balanced acidity.

Final Rating: 4.69/5 

look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Bruery snifter. Purchased in Attleboro, MA.

Appearance – Pours a bright, sunny yellow colored hazy body with a 2 finger white head that reduces fairly quickly to a ring of foam. No lacing. 4.5

Smell – Very pleasant on the nose, fresh citrus and tropical fruit, tart lactic, subtle barnyard funk and yeast, oak, belgian spice, bread, slight caramel malt backbone. 4.5

Taste – Absolutely fantastic.. where do I start.. The first notes to hit the tongue are a perfectly balanced mixture of tart fruit, sweet and sour apple, apricots, sour grape, citrus, lemon juice. The follow through is perfectly funky, yeasty, and musty, complimented with absolutely delicious oak and wood notes. The finish is dry and citrusy, leaving a slight vanilla flavor in the mouth.

Mouthfeel – Medium-light body, medium carbonation, crisp, refreshing.. one of the most drinkable beers I’ve ever tasted.

Wow is all I can say. I love The Bruery and was expecting this to be awesome, but it absolutely blew me away and exceeded every expectation I had. Honestly, my taste buds are telling me that this is a nearly perfect representation of the Gueuze style. MUST try for all sour/gueuze/wild fans.

The Legendary Hunahpu’s Stout

huna

This Imperial Stout, Aged On Cacao Nibs, Madagascar Vanilla Beans, Ancho Chilis, Pasilla Chilis and Cinnamon, is named after a character in Mayan mythology:

“In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xiquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend to the heavens to become the moon and sun.”

 

Full review:

Final Rating: 4.49/5 

look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a cigar city snifter. Acquired in a trade.

Appearance – Pours an inkjet, oily, slick black body with a generous dark brown head that reduces slowly to leave little lacing. Beautiful.

Smell – Subtle aromas on the nose of dark fruits, light chocolate, vanilla bean, lightly roasted coffee. Slight metallic aroma.

Taste – Upfront I get dark fruits, cocoa, slight cinnamon. The finish is SUPER roasty.. deep roasted coffee, dark chocolate, toasted malt. I get slight chilies on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – Thick, viscous, rich. Low carbonation. It will be hard to finish a 750ml of this.. it’s literally a meal.

I can see why this is rated so high, this stout is packed with flavor and complexity. Definitely worth seeking out. Share this one!

 

Founders Bolt Cutter

boltcutter

Bolt Cutter is a cellarable barley wine with an ABV of 15%. Dry-hopped with a mountain of Cascade hops, it’s balanced by a malty sweetness and spicy complexity, resulting from barrel aging some of it in bourbon barrels, some in maple syrup-bourbon barrels and some not at all (standard fermentation only). We’ve allowed the beer to mature in bottles and kegs since July so that it would be perfect for its release next month. Bolt Cutter pours a deep copper color and is best sampled at different temperatures to allow the flavors to unfold.

Final Rating: 3.83/5 

look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Founders KBS goblet. Bought this in November 2012, been stored at cellar temp. since then.

Appearance – Pours a hazy nectarine-colored body with a 1 finger off-white head that reduces slowly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell – Reminiscent of an aged DIPA – piney, heavy malt, caramel, citrus rind, and bready/grainy. Some booze on the nose, but for 15% it’s not too strong.

Taste – Sweet with heavy malt upfront – molasses, honey, caramel, spices. The follow through is piney, resinous, muted, and astringent with a boozy burn. The finish is slightly roasty.. burnt toffee, sugar, char.

Mouthfeel – For 15% alcohol, it’s actually kind of watery. Low carbonation.

This was my first bolt cutter.. when it first came out people complained of an unbalance, hot mess. It’s not quite at that level, but it’s definitely not amazing either. An average high ABV barleywine at best.

Deschutes Abyss!

Revisited a bottle of 2012 Abyss, an Imperial stout brewed with black strap molasses, liquorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine barrels. It was just as impressive as last year, and mellowed out a bit.

 

abyss

 

Final Rating: 4.56/5

look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

 

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. Acquired in a trade. 2012 vintage.

A- Pours a chocolate colored body that’s transparent on the pour but opaque once in the glass. The head is mocha colored and rises to about 1.5 fingers before slowly reducing to leave a plume of foam. Leaves blotchy lacing. Beautiful.

S- The stout characteristics are light on the nose with toffee, coffee beans, and milk chocolate coming in a little. The oak is definitely present and dominates here – fresh oak with a slight fruityness to it – is that from the cherry bark or the wine barrel? I’m not sure. What I do know is that it’s unique and inviting. Vanilla and bourbon sneak through but you really have to strain for them.

T- Upfront I get a big flavorful punch of bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, toffee and molasses. This eventually develops into a dark fruit, almost tart woody note that is was definitely brought on by the wine barrels. The bourbon and oak characteristics definitely show themselves on the follow through – vanilla-caramel brought on by the bourbon and a fresh wood flavor mesh with the other flavors to really make this beer complex. The finish has that PERFECT lingering roastyness that I get in all world-class BA stouts. It lingers for at least a minute afterwards (reminiscent almost of burnt toast, but in a savory delicious way).

M- Medium body, but this does not at all take away from the experience. It doesn’t have the motor-oil consistency of BCBS, but it’s not TOO thin. Low carbonation.

After finishing this bottle, I can really see why it sits at the top of the top 250 list. The complexity of this beer is unmatched by any other russian imperial stout I’ve ever tasted, and that’s really the shining point of this brew. It’s not simply a BA stout, or vanilla RIS. It’s a world class blend that is like none other. A must try.

Jester King’s RU-55

RU55
RU-55 is a Red ale aged in oak barrels with wild yeast and souring bacteria from one of my favorite breweries, Jester King out of Austin, TX. I really enjoyed this unfiltered, unpasteurized ale. Here’s my full review:
Final Rating 4.39/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Jester King stemmed glass. Acquired in a trade with Camille.. thanks!

Appearance – Pours a dark amber body with a big frothy off-white head that reduces slowly to leave spotty lacing.

Smell – Very inviting. Off the bat I get lots of funk, mustyness, wet wood, barnyard, some white grapes and champagne.

Taste – First off is a fruity, dry tartness with notes of sour grapes, sour apple, lactic. The follow through has slight notes of oak, mustyness, funky yeast. The finish has a light malty character with slight caramel and pale malt flavors. The aftertaste is very dry and leaves an acidic astringency on the tongue.

M- For the ABV it’s quite drinkable. Medium-light body, high carbonation.

RU-55 is underrated in my opinion. Very complex flavor profile brought on from the oak barrels and bacteria/yeast.

Serving type: bottle

Cantillon Fou’ Foune: One of Belgium’s Best

Cracked open one of the best beers in my collection tonight in celebration of me and my Fiancee’s engagement this past weekend. I’ve been looking forward to trying this beer for a long time now!

FouFoune

From the Cantillon Website:

“Due to the success of our provençal beer, 1200 kgs of apricots are delivered now every year to the Cantillon brewery. The fruits are stoned by hand before being soaked in 2 years old lambic. The beer extracts the taste and the aromas very quickly and the Fou’Foune is bottled after two months. The beer is rather sour, slightly turbid and has a pale gold colour. Its production is limited to 3000 liters a year. A large part of the bottles go back to the region where these apricots come from. People there consider the Fou’Foune Cantillon as a local beer”

My Full Review:

Final Rating: 4.83/5
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Cantillon sampler glass. Bottled August 10, 2013. Acquired in a trade with WilliamDbar, thank you for hooking me up with my biggest ISO yet! Opened in celebration of my engagement this past weekend!

Appearance – Pours a really hazy, cloudy, bright sunflower yellow body with a loud, fizzy, effervescent white head that reduces pretty quickly to leave a layer of foam behind. I love the artwork on the bottle.

Smell – Wow, the aroma of this beer is absolutely mouth-watering. The apricot aromas are bright, fresh, and juicy while not being overpowering. Fresh fruit salad, including peaches and watermelon, combined with a tart citrus zing, freshly picked flowers, and a splash of Belgian funk make the aroma of this beer absolutely perfect. I couldn’t imagine how it could improve in this category.

Taste – First off is a juicy, fruity medley of apricot, peaches, white grapes, nectarine, and citrus. Heavy tartness (not quite sour) takes over to produce dry, crisp notes with the lingering juicy apricot flavor still holding the spotlight. The finish is dry and citrusy. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel – Crisp, dry, highly carbonated, refreshing, sip demanding. Excellent.

I have been waiting forever to try this whale, as it was my #1 want for over a year. Fou Foune is everything I expected and more. The fruity apricot balanced with the perfect acidity make for a near perfect lambic. Seek it out!

Sour in the Rye with PEACHES!

Sour Rye ale with peaches added. Aged in oak barrels. Deliciously sour, bursting with spicy rye notes and hints of oak from the barrels it was aged within.

sitrpches

 

Final Rating: 4.56/5

look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 25 oz bottle into a Bruery snifter. Acquired as a generous extra in a trade with vitese. Thank you sir!

Appearance- Pours a very cloudy orange-yellow body with an effervescent white head that reduces quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell- SUPER fruity and fresh, like walking through a fruit farm! Freshly squeezed peaches, watermelon, tropical fruits, sour apples, tart citrus, lactic, and some oak. Very inviting.

Taste- That’s what I’m talking about. Upfront is a huge punch of mouth-puckering sourness, like lemon juice, super sour lemonade, and unripe tart fruits. Next up is juicy peaches, plums, passion fruit. On the finish is a slight rye zing and vanilla presumably from the oak. Very nice.

Mouthfeel- Medium-light, refreshing body, medium carbonation.

Just like Oude Tart with cherries, the Bruery took one of their world-class sours and kicked it up a notch, elevating the taste and complexity which really makes this beer stand out. It may be hard to find, but seek it out of possible!

Jester King’s Atrial Rubicite

atrialrubicite

“Atrial Rubicite is made from well water, barley, wheat, hops, farmhouse yeast, native yeast from the Texas Hill Country, souring bacteria and raspberries. It’s 5.8% alcohol by volume, has a finishing gravity of 1.005 and is 3.36 pH. It is unfiltered, unpasteurized and 100% bottle conditioned. Atrial Rubicite is our first beer to be packaged exclusively in 500 ml bottles. The label art by Josh Cockrell is pictured below.”

My Full Review:

Final Rating: 4.5/5

look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a Jester King stemmed glass. Acquired a trade from Dbrelsfo, thanks man!

Appearance – Pours a stunning rosewood colored, hazy body with a light maroon fizzy head that reduces quickly, leaving no lacing. Some settling. Very inviting.

Smell – I let it warm for ~20 minutes to get maximum aromas. Very interesting and aromatic.. musty, earthy, berries and fruit in the background and with tart lactic aromas. A odd note of green olives comes through, but not overbearing or cloying.

Taste – Upfront the raspberries are very apparent.. not apparent in an in-your face syrupy kind of way, but a subtle note that sits behind the sour, funky notes that dominate the tongue. Oak and more berries comes through on the follow through. Very complex and balanced.

Mouthfeel – Medium body, not syrupy, but not watery at all. Medium-high carbonation.

Excellently crafted.. seek this one out. Not a berry-bomb, but a pretty sour masterpiece with raspberries to compliment.

Bells Black Note 2012

blacknote

One of the most sought-after stouts in Bell’s history, Black Note Stout blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout and ages the combination in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The resulting harmony of flavors captures the finest features of all three components: malty notes of dark chocolate, espresso & dried fruits, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark.

 

Final Rating: 4.66/5

look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Acquired in a trade with t4haughton.. thanks dude!

Appearance- Pours a deep brown pour, once it’s in the glass it’s jet black and opaque. The head is mocha brown, modest and about 1/2″ and reduces after about 30 seconds to a brown ring.

Smell- The aroma is amazing – It’s vanilla-bourbon forward, the best way I can describe it is a freshly made Belgian waffle with french vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. There’s also coffee and chocolate mixed in there. Dialed in some dark fruits on a whiff, but they’re chilling way back there. Extremely inviting, my mouth is watering.

Taste- Milk chocolate bourbon vanilla, caramel upfront, progresses into a more bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee flavor. The finish is just what I like in a BB stout – it’s roasty and delicious. The alcohol is subtle for 11.5 ABV.

Mouthfeel- Medium-heavy body, not quite as heavy as BCBS but creamy and silky. Low carbonation.

I can see why this beer ranks so high.. it’s complex and flavorful. Definitely one of the more bourbon forward BA stouts that I’ve tried. Try it if you like this style!

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