Jackie O’s Oro Negro

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American Imperial Stout brewed with black walnuts & conditioned on vanilla beans, oak staves, habaneros, cacao nibs, & cinnamon sticks.
Final Rating: 4.3/5
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 bottle. Poured from a 12.7oz bottle into a Jackie O’s tulip glass. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a deep brown body with a one finger brown head that reduces quickly to leave a ring of retention and spotty lacing.

Aromas are muted upfront but as it warms, delicious chocolate-vanilla-caramel is upfront and center. Light coffee and a bit of spices muddled in there.

On the tongue.. upfront is lightly sweet cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, followed by a bit of spices (not too much), vanilla, more cocoa, caramel, finishing super charred and toasty. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, low carbonation.

I wish I had gotten more of the spices / pepper notes in here, maybe I sat on this bottle too long. The cocoa and vanilla are definitely there to make it a very enjoyable beer.

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Alesmith Vietnamese Coffee Speedway Stout

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“This Vietnamese coffee version of Speedway Stout is and continues to be AleSmith’s most popular variation of the ever-growing Speedway Stout collection. Since 2012 we have been adding this blend of four Vietnamese coffees, known in Vietnam as cà phê sa đá, to our popular imperial stout. The coffee beans were slowly roasted at low temperatures and then brewed by AleSmith with a traditional phin-style filter that gently percolates water through the ground coffee. The result is an intensely aromatic and bold tasting coffee that complements the notes of chocolate and roast in this massive stout.”

Final Rating: 4.33/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage. Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Alesmith taster glass. Thanks Ryan for hooking me up with this.

Pours a thick, brown-black body with a brown head that sticks around for a while and leaves a little lacing. Really nice looking beer.

Aromas are heavy on the coffee and cocoa – very similar to regular speedway with a little more coffee. More like roasted, brewed coffee than freshly ground coffee. A tad bit oxidized on the nose but nonetheless enjoyable.

Yum – taste starts out with sweet chocolate cake, followed by vanilla and caramel, finishing with coffee and a roasty malt flavor that sticks around on the tongue for a while. Medium-heavy body, but easy drinker and definitely can’t tell it’s 13% alcohol.

Probably the best non-BA speedway stout variant I’ve had thus far, and I’ve had around 10 of them.

Hill Farmstead Clover

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“Clover (2005-2014) was a grey cat. Simple. Yet, a few moments with her quickly revealed an independent, playful, occasionally subdued and reflective personality, one that held sway where she might roam. Clover was our compatriot, our guardian of grain, our huntress and our muse. We did not own Clover; she graced our presence.

In her honor, we mindfully blended barrels of Ann, Art, and Flora that had been aged for 12 to 22 months—guided by her lingering spirit towards a beer of elegance, grace and patience. As often as our Clover would, this beer took its own path and its own time to become what it is now; an effervescent, refined reflection of both our melancholy for her departure but, most importantly, our joy in traveling with her for a while.”

 

Final Rating: 4.74/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

375mL bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed bulb. 2015-03-12 bottled date. Original owner, purchased at the brewery during release.

Pours a lightly hazy sunny yellow effervescent body with a small white head that reduces pretty quickly to leave a ring of lacing and spotty lacing.

Aromas are mesmerizing and complex and really intensify as it warms up. Citrus, white wine and oak sit center stage, with lightly fruity green apple and grapes not too far behind. There’s a zesty pepperyness in there as well with straw and funk in the background.

On the tongue is a delicate tartness with notes of citrus and funk, hay and grapes and a little grainy, dry white wine on the follow through with a solid amount of oak. Very, very smooth and drinkable, crisp and light with a little less carbonation than I was expecting.

Clover is the real deal. It reminds me a lot of Flora with a bit more complexity and oak.

Hill Farmstead Birth of Tragedy

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“Birth of Tragedy is the imperial and oak barrel-aged version of our annual winter porter, Twilight of the Idols. Brewed with locally roasted coffee and Vermont honey, we age this beer for a year in personally selected bourbon barrels from our favorite distilleries.”

Final Rating: 4.44/5
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 9.21.16, almost a year old. Poured from a 500mL bottle into a hill farmstead tulip. Purchased at the brewery.

Pours a deep brown body with a nice, frothy three finger heads that reduces to a ring of foam and leaves spotty lacing.

Aromas are very inviting, sweet bourbon, coffee, milk chocolate, honey, sweet vanilla. On the tongue it’s pretty sweet, caramel and sweet milk chocolate, developing into vanilla and bourbon, chocolate cake, coffee. The finish is roasty and charred, a lightly bitter coffee / toasted malt flavor that sticks on the tongue for a while. Mouthfeel is rich but not too thick, sweet and decadent. Medium-low carbonation.

A real winner from Hill Farmstead. This release is drinking great, complex yet balanced with tons of flavor and a good bourbon presence.

Prairie Pirate Paradise

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Imperial stout brewed with coconut and vanilla, aged in rum barrels.

Final Rating: 4.84/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a yellow/orange prairie Dino glass.

Pours a deep brown body with a light brown head that reduces quickly to leave a ring.

Aromas of strong coconut and vanilla, run and milk chocolate.. this is straight chocolate covered coconuts.

On the tongue.. absolutely decadent chocolate coconut macaroons and sweet vanilla rum. Thick rich body, velvety.

One of the best stouts I’ve ever tasted.. this is a real vanilla coconut stout, kills prop 13. Favorite beer for 2017 so far.

 

 

Cigar City – Life Is Like

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“Of the many similes used to describe our journey through the mortal coil of life, our favorite includes a reference to a certain group of confectioneries wherein you’re unsure of what flavor you’ll end up with. We put our heads together with our Danish friends at Mikkeller and seized our collective destinies by deciding exactly what we’ll get: an Imperial Stout brewed with cherries and cacao nibs that’s been aged in bourbon barrels, that’s what. Boasting decadent flavors of rich dark chocolate and ripe cherries, this enormous stout evokes some of the best things that life has to offer.”

Final Rating: 4.58/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2017 vintage. Poured from a 750mL bottle into a cigar city snifter. Shared with Ryan.

Pours a deep brown body with a brown head that reduces to leave spotty and a ring of retention.

Aromas of heavy coffee and chocolate, vanilla and caramel and berries, cherries.

On the tongue is sweet milk chocolate and caramel covered cherries, finishes coffee and roasty, dark chocolate and toasted malts. More on the sweeter side, heavy body with low carbonation.

Really enjoyed this beer, a definite win for Cigar City. Subtle fruit / berry sitting on a massively delicious stout backbone.

De Garde Nectarine Premiere

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Nectarine Premier is a wild farmhouse ale aged in oak wine barrels with nectarines.

Final Rating: 4.81/5
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a oversized wine glass. Thank you Ryan for sharing this!

Pours a sunshine golden hazy body, this is literally glowing. Small white head. Beautiful beer. God damn that is thick on the last pour. Oh my god, straight fruit purée.

On the nose.. straight stone fruit, pulp to the nasal, like someone just crushed a bunch of nectarines and peaches and the aromas are wafting in my general direction.

On the tongue is straigh stone fruit pulp, sour peaches, orange juice and nectarine pulp goodness. Thick and juicy. God damn this is amazing.

One of the best sours I’ve ever tasted. This was perfect on every account.

 

Side Project Saison Du Ble

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Saison du Blé is our Chardonnay barrel-aged Wheat Saison. Batch 1 was fermented in stainless and then aged in oak for 3 months with our rustic house blend.

Final Rating: 4.6/5
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a stemmed Side Project wine glass. Acquired in trade.

Pours a nicely hazy golden straw body with a pretty decent size white head that reduces very slowly to leave a ring of retention and nice lacing.

Aromas are nice and funky, musty, white wine and lactic acid, yeasty and lightly fruity. Smells very nice.

Taste is superbly balanced tartness, light stone fruit and white wine, hay, lacto funkyness, oak barrel, dry champagne-like finish. Very easy to drink, crisp and quenching light body.

I was really impressed with this Saison – extreme balance and drinkability with a good amount of flavor.

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Imperial Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels with Cherries, Coffee and Vanilla beans added. Brewed in Collaboration with Three Floyds.

Final Rating: 4.47/5
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Bruery reserve snifter. Thanks Ryan for sharing this one!

Pours a deep brown translucent body with a decent sized brown head that reduces to a layer of foam.

Aromas of coffee , freshly ground coffee grounds, cherry and chocolate, heavy vanilla bourbon.

Taste is chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, milk chocolate, lightly tart cherries, finishing roasty and lightly bitter. Medium heavy mouthfeel, can’t tell this is 13.5%. Low carbonation.

I get every flavor as advertised here. Awesome beer.

Lost Abbey Ad Idem

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San Marcos, CA – After a year of conceiving, brewing, and blending, an idea shared between like minds at The Lost Abbey and Wicked Weed Brewing will finally see the light of day. Ad Idem, a French oak-aged golden sour ale with peaches and Brett will be available for purchase online February 24th starting at 12pm PST.

A project originally imagined in November of 2014, the first steps to achieving the shared vision were initiated in February 2015 as The Lost Abbey crew made their way to snowy Asheville, NC to brew the first half of the final beer. Two beers were brewed with the intent of blending; a Brettanomyces blonde ale and a sour blonde ale aged in neutral wine barrels on whole, local peaches.

Final Rating: 4.53/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a clear-ish sunshine yellow body at first but is pretty hazy on the last pour as the sediment is disturbed.

Aromas of peach and a definite tartness, oak and grain in the back seat.

On the tongue is a light-to-medium tartness balanced by subtle but ever present sour peach notes, not super dry with a tad bit of sweetness. Follow through is quenching and crisp, finished by a light stone fruit flavor. Very refreshing on the tongue with medium-
High carbonation and an easy crispness that begs for another sip.

Overall an extremely balanced sour peach ale. Went perfectly with this hot summer day.