Alesmith Hammerhead Speedway Stout

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“Some would argue that Speedway Stout, easily one of the finest coffee-infused imperial stouts in the world, needs no embellishment, that this burly yet beguilingly smooth and easy-drinking beer is perfect on its own. We’re not ones to disagree, but a thirst for experimentation leads us to tinker with our recipes—even those of the highest order. In the case of Hammerhead Speedway Stout, we endeavored to maximize java intensity as baristas do with the classic coffee-house offering, the “hammerhead,” in which a shot of espresso is added to a cup of coffee. For this beer, we take our already coffee-rich Speedway Stout and add a plentiful dose of crushed Ethiopian and espresso beans. The result is a sultry, velveteen beer with eye-opening bite.”

Final Rating: 4.22/5
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750mL bottle into an Alesmith glass. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a deep brown body with a light coffee colored head that reduces to a ring of foam and leggy lacing.

Aromas of coffee and espresso, roasted malt and a lightly metallic aroma that I get in all speedway variants. Light booze on the nose. Aromas stay the same as it warms up.

On the tongue is a good amount of freshly ground coffee, milk chocolate, finishing with bittersweet chocolate and leaving a roasty coffee flavor on the tongue. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with a nice silkyness, medium low carbonation.

Overall my favorite non-barrel aged speedway stout variant. Good coffee flavor.

Side Project Pulling Nails Blend 6

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The Official Blend:
51% Biere de Garde from the SDF Pinot Puncheons (12 months in oak)
12% Red Wine Barrel Sour Quad (9 months in oak)
21% Blueberry Derivation (3 years in Bourbon Barrels – 1 of those years aged on Blueberries)
12% Black & Wild (30 months in Bourbon Barrels)
4% Cascara Sour Brown (15 months in oak – 12 of which on Sump Coffee Cascara)

Final Rating: 4.23/5
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a side project white wine glass.

This one was a gusher, immediately starts foaming upon opening and pours nearly all foam on the first pour. Refrigerated for weeks so it wasnt a storage issue. Pours a deep brown, nearly black body with a huge off white head that reduces slowly to leave frothy lacing and retention.

Aromas are sharp and tart, ripe fruit and lactic acid, a hint of blueberry, light vanilla and caramel, maybe some bourbon in the background.

Taste is initially sour upon sipping, lots of lactic / acetic here, like sour warheads giving way to leather, dark fruits, light toffee, and a very dry aftertaste. The 10% ABV was well hidden, medium body and carbonation.

An interesting beer. Extreme sourness that may have overtaken some of its constituents.

Voodoo Cowbell Imperial Milk Stout

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A double chocolate oatmeal milk imperial stout. This beer is served nitrogenated to not only enhance the beer’s flavors, but to also give it an intensely smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

Final Rating: 4.4/5
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz Nitro can into a Voodoo Teku glass. Thanks HoppyBastard1 for this generous extra.

Pours a beautiful deep brown body with a big frothy cloud-like head that has a nice brown-to-light brown gradient that eventually settles to a thick layer of retention and lacing. All the great looks of a nitro beer.

Aromas are coffee and chocolate. Taste matches the nose with a deeper chocolate flavor.. very fudgey, very chocolatey. Milk chocolate with a lightly roasty aftertaste. Smooth, silky mouthfeel, very easy to drink.

A nice change of pace.. a very well done nitro beer. This is where nitro adds something to a beer.. but not all styles would benefit like this one.

Kane Mexican Brunch

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Mexican Brunch, a 9.2% Imperial Milk Porter with Coffee, Cinnamon, Maple, Cacao and Ancho Chile Peppers.

Final Rating: 4.35/5
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Kane snifter glass. Thanks LCC for the trade.

Pours a deep brown body with a big two finger brown head that reduces slowly to leave a layer of retention.

On the nose.. lots of chili pepper aromas, cinnamon and coffee, milk chocolate all mix together.

This beer is straight mexican milk chocolate .. cocoa powder, milk chocolate, coffee and a little roasty on the finish. Chilis and cinnamon sit in the background. Body is a little light but expected for a porter. Medium carbonation.

Lives up to the name. This beer is exactly as described.

Cigar City Good Nightmare Mekong

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“Good Nightmare Mekong: even your mama wants a taste, and she doesn’t drink.  Imperial stout with coconut, coffee, and cinnamon added.

Pesadilla en un vaso.  That means “nightmare in a glass”.

Brewed in collaboration with The Answer from Richmond, Virginia and Cigar City Brewpub from Tampa, Florida.

Final Rating: 4.4/5
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Cigar City snifter glass. Acquired as an extra in a trade.

Pours a deep brown, nearly black body with a one finger light brown head that reduces fairly quickly to leave a ring of foam. No lacing.

Aromas are sweet and dessert-like – vanilla and light coconut upfront, caramel and sweet chocolate I’d almost guess this was barrel aged due to the sweet bourbon-like vanilla and caramel notes.

On the tongue is sweet chocolate vanilla upfront, followed by coffee and maybe a tinge of coconut, burnt sugar, finishing super roasty which I really dig. No sign of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is medium body, silky and velvety. A little light. Easy drinker with low carbonation.

Overall a solid brew – I would have liked more cinnamon or coconut, but it was tasty for what it is.

Bullfrog Le Roar Grrrz Kriek

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Le Roar Grrrz Kriek is a cherry lambic style beer brewed in Pennsylvania. They do a great job brewing this classic Belgian style!

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

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Le Roar Grrrz Teku glass. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a clementine orange hazy amber body with a two finger white head that sticks around for a while, reducing to a white ring and leaving little lacing.

Aromas are heavy on the oak – lots of wood here, musty basement, funky yeast, overripe oranges, citrus, grapefruit, vinegar, light cherries. This smells amazing.

Taste matches the nose quite well which is really nice – tons of oak and barrel present, light cherries, funky yeast, musty wood, finishing with grapefruit and tart sour citrus. Mouthfeel is medium light with medium carbonation.

A great Wild ale. My only complaint is there isn’t much cherry here. Great Gueuze character though.

Firestone Walker Bretta Rose

brettarose.jpgThirty miles north of Barrelworks lies the fertile Santa Maria Valley. Its warm days and cool marine layer-fed evenings allow for a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables to be grown in its rich soil. One of Santa Maria’s crown jewels is locally grown raspberries. We jumped at the opportunity to ferment fresh local raspberries with one of our Barrelworks creations. Behold Bretta Rosé! A low-alcohol Berliner Weisse style ale, acidified and matured in French oak puncheons for 6 months, is the foundation for this gem. Add 1000 lbs. of fresh raspberries, allow a secondary wild fermentation for 4 more months and voila (!), we have a crisp effervescent concoction, bursting with raspberry perfume and flavor, a rosé color, bracing acidity, and a clean and refreshing finish.

4.4/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 3 bottled 2/10/16 poured from a 12.7oz bottle into a Firestone Walker tulip glass. Purchased at B&C in North Providence, RI.

Pours a lightly hazy bright pink-red body – looks like a rose wine. Head is effervescent and fizzy, light pink in color. Leaves a ring of retention and very little lacing.

On the nose is straight raspberry – fresh and bright, fruity and juice-like. Not getting much oak here, just raspberry juice, lightly tart aroma.

On the tongue.. lightly acidic raspberry notes, very jammy, fruity, tart, not too sour. Again the oak is not present at all, so I have to deduct .25 for taste. Quite balanced and very easy to drink, high carbonation, very crisp and refreshing.

If you like Raspberries and tart, borderline sour beers, this is for you. Not super complex, but quite enjoyable.

Prairie Pirate Bomb

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“Pirate bomb is our beer Prairie Bomb! aged in rum casks. The flavor from the casks helps impart more vanilla and coconut flavors to the beer while helping to add more body and smoothness to the already explosive and expressive flavors of Bomb!”

Final Rating: 4.63/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Prairie golden dino taster glass. Thanks Ryan for giving me this bottle, been looking for a while!

Pours a pitch black, oily body with a brown one finger head that reduces to leave a ring of foam and little lacing.

Aromas are sweet with lots of vanilla and chocolate, bourbon, light chili peppers, maybe a hint of booze but it’s surprisingly tame for being 15%.

On the tongue.. it starts out with sweet fudgy chocolate, spiced rum, vanilla and caramel, coconut and chocolate cake, followed by roasty coffee and charred malt on the finish. Not hot at all for 15%, this is very easy to drink. Smooth and velvety yet rich and flavorful. Low carbonation.

Overall a fantastic beer – super balance and extremely drinkable for the high abv. So much flavor here.

Other Half All Green Everything

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All Green Everything is a huge, but dry, triple IPA packed with Motueka, Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic.

Final Rating: 4.24/5
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can into an All Green Everything Other Half tulip glass.

Appearance is slightly hazy, darker orange body with a two finger off-white head that reduces fairly quickly to leave a light layer of foam and spotty lacing.

Aromas are malty, resinous, piney, citrusy, rindy, grapefruit, caramel, light booze. Smells like it’s going to be a malt-forward IPA.

On the tongue, it’s less malty than the nose would suggest but still sitting on a heavy malt backbone. Pine and resinous hops, floral, orange cream, lightly citrusy, follow through is lightly sweet with a slightly bitter peppery finish. Mouthfeel is fantastic for a 10.5% TIPA – almost no booze detected. Drinks like a 7% IPA. Medium body and carbonation.

Overall I liked this for what it is. A 10.5% triple IPA that drinks super smooth and has no off flavors. This isn’t the tropical fruit bomb that are increasingly popular these days, this is a solid IPA brewed with the classic hop styles and a good malt backbone.

Fremont Rusty Nail

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The Rusty Nail begins life as The First Nail, an oatmeal stout of epic proportions with brewer’s licorice, smoked barley, and pale malt and is then aged on cinnamon bark. She becomes the Rusty Nail after spending 15 months in 12-year old bourbon barrels. The Rusty Nail pounds your palate, challenges your perception of all that you’ve known of beer, and leaves you wanting … another sip.

Final Rating: 4.63/5
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Fremont pint glass. Shared with Ryan, 2016 vintage.
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Pours a thick, motor oil, inky body with a dark brown head that reduces to a ring of foam, little lacing present. Fantasticly thick, this is exactly how a stout should look.

Aromas are a little muted straight out of the fridge but as it warms up, bourbon and vanilla, chocolate and a little booze are present.

Taste.. out of this world thick chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, fudge-bomb, light cinnamon, roasty coffee, finish is amazing with potent roasty coffee, charred malt and a light astringency. Thick, rich, low carbonation.

This was fantastic, one of the best stouts i’ve had this year.