Sunday, December 2, 2007

Brew Reviews, Etc.

So yesterday I was browsing through beer advocate, as recommended by Timmy Tomato, and I came across some brews I was hoping to try. I put a quick list together and sent it to my boys at the Party Source, the worlds largest and most decidedly excellent candy store for adults. They only had one of the brews in stock on the list, the Fullers Vintage Ale. So i naturally had them hold onto 4 bottles, since they only had 9 total. Emma and i headed to the Party Source to pick up the brews and others. I came out of there with, Goose Island Demolition, Goose Island Imperial IPA, Limited Edition Flying Dog Wild Dog Weizenbock, Avalanche Special Edition Christmas Ale, Bell's Batch 8000 Witbier and Expedition Stout as well as, of course the Fullers Vintage. I was very excited to see they were carrying the Goose Island Limited brews and I would of course like to think that maybe I had something to do with it...? Hah. Anyhow, I have since had the pleasure of sampling the Imperial IPA, the Expedition Stout and the Fullers Vintage. Although the Expedition Stout was the first real beer of the night, I remember this beer the least. That is, to say, not that it wasn't a fantastic and memorable beer - i really just didn't pay much attention to the fact that i was drinking it. my minimal thoughts on the beer, was that it had very rich espresso and molasses notes with a dark as night color and a thick golden brown head. It was quite smooth considering its 10.5% abv. i'll have to try this out again and really chew into it.

the goose island imperial IPA was certainly one to remember. i recently read a review of the beer stating that, "you could smell the hops before you opened the bottle." what a completely spot on description. as of late i have more and more become a man who loves his hops and this beer is no disappointment. brewed with copious amounts of tettnang, simcoe and cascade hops, it pours rich golden amber and releases the heavenly aromas heavy enough to fill up the room. what was interesting was that although the hop aroma was so intensely robust, the flavor of the beer was rich and full, and very well rounded. don't get me wrong, the hops are still there, but the balance of the hop is much better in this Imperial IPA than, for instance, the Sam Adams Hallertau Imperial. And for not being the worlds largest IPA fan, even Timmy Tomato enjoyed the brew! Although expensive, this one was a really great pickup that I'm really looking forward to trying on draft in chicago in a few weeks.

so then we have the fullers vintage ale, the reason for the party source trip! i'm a huge fan of the fullers brews, especially the esb they offer - which just happens to be one of the very very few beers that like to i purchase when i can't decide on anything else. so needless to say i had high expectations of the vintage ale. four out of only one hundred thousand made (this is not that much), mine were numbered in the 83000's, and they each came individually in a nice red box. the pour was shiny copper and the head came out a light golden amber. the taste was of burnt caramel, marmalade and a bit of orange. the beer was quite malty, but had an incredibly balanced full flavor which left a wonderful aftertaste. personally, i find some more malt-heavy brews to finish bitter and harsh at the back of the mouth, but the vintage ale rounded out quite well. i took a good half hour to finish the brew without even realizing that that amount of time had passed, it was very relaxing and was a perfect fit for the cold winter evening. i'm very glad i have three more of these. i may actually have to go back to the party source and buy the rest of their stock just to put a few in the basement and let age for a few years.

one thing that i've recently come to very much appreciate is bottle conditioning. when i first started brewing i thought, give the beer a week to carbonate and that's that and it's done. boy was i ever wrong. every time i have a homebrew that i've left sitting for just a few months, it's always better than ever. for instance, the hop has been maturing and time after time lives up to its incredibly high standards; man has been maturing quickly and is becoming one of my new favorite brews as well. i can only imagine what some of the other beers might taste like in the future. i also have a 4 pack of the goose island matilda and demolition aging in the cellar as well. i guess the only bad part now, is the waiting!

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