Showing posts with label Old Ale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Old Ale. Show all posts

Feb 9, 2013

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

     Who else here spots Petaluma, California's Lagunitas Brewing Company Brown Shugga' on the shelves and start hummin' the Stones song instantly? That's right! I knew I was not the only one.
     Every winter it rolls around and I enjoy the bottles I can find of it. On frostbitten and damp from the Great Lakes winds whipping in kind of evenings the West Coasters have found a was to make it seem more toasty. For some reason though it seems I have never shared my notes on it here.
     Today we will fix that.
     Pours a clear dark amber amber with a 2 finger head that holds tight for a bit then melts into some lacing that resembled what sticks to the side of the glass in a Faygo Rock-n-Rye (or whichever Faygo you choice as most of them work) ice cream float. 
     The aroma is big on caramel malts up front, molasses and maple syrup notes follow it up and a note of pine on the end.  Flavor-wise a roasty caramel introduces itself first. It is followed by the brown sugar adding a twist to the sweetness. That into fresh baked bread notes before they give way to the tart citrusy hops ending. The finish is interesting as it lingering flavor is something tastes akin to having some orange marmalade on a fresh baked muffin with chocolate flecks. It's hearty all the way though which does would fool most people into not remembering that they are drinking something that teeters at the 10% abv label.
     This stock run seems to be at it's end for another year. It wasn't all many shelves in these parts to begin with but it seems winter has at least a few more reminders before it goes to harass some other part of the world. Good thing I have a few more of these stashed away.
http://lagunitas.com/
    

May 9, 2011

Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Fourth Dementia

     Even in the world of Michigan beers where specialty and seasonal brews can become rare just a few days of being released, Warren based Kuhnhenn Brewing Company's things are done in such small and limited batches one might be better to find a needle in a haystack at time. Their 4th Dementia is a prime example of such and this, the bourbon aged version ever more so.
     Just popping the gold foiled cap of this hazy chestnut mare colored/minimal headed bourbon barrel aged old ale release a rather complex aroma of figs, caramel, vanilla, tobacco and, naturally, a whole lot of wood mellowed bourbon. As it sits to breathe in the glass four feet away from me it's all I can smell in the room. WOW!  I'm thinking "Wow! This is really something else" and haven't even tasted it yet.
     First sip IS a total WOW! too. Very silky and thick in texture. The woodsy bourbon flavor comes right on front and center but is not over powering as it curves through many different things though it's flavor profile. Vanilla, black molasses and a hint of maple syrup take the first turn. Then there's another swerve through some very rich chocolate, dark fruits, a little bit of pepper and anise and then finally returning to the bourbon flavors that started the trip but not before it throws a little bit of a Port wine thing into the mix.
    With all that though the finish is one of the most interesting things about it. Having a pretty top end alcohol content, after all, we're looking at a 13.5% abv here, is that there isn't much of a hotness to it as one would expect until each sip has cleared the taste buds and bring out a warming effect through the entire body. Let me say it again one more time-"WOW!"
     I'm five sips into this and each one has me smiling more and more. Good thing I don't have much to do the rest of the evening as I think this is one great beer that you just can't down in a glass in a short period. It is definitely one that's worth taking one's own sweet time with.
http://www.kbrewery.com/

May 10, 2010

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2009

There's a couple of California's North Coast brews that I would put up against any other beer in the same styles and would be confident that if they didn't come out on top-they'd still make a major impressive showing. This is my first go round with this, their old ale (a style I'm still bit of a neophyte about), though and expecting goodness.
Nice dark rust in color that reminds me a bit of apple cider fresh from the mill. Minimal head but a constant ring around the top of the brew all the way through leaving a thick, runny lacing all the way down the glass. A firm but not overbearing aroma of grapes and caramel stand out in the scent. There is a dent of alcohol that comes out on the nose too but no as strongly as one would expect with it's high abv (11.5% to be exact). A woodsy nuance comes out too where one would almost think it is barrel aged but there's nothing on the label stating such. A very warming and friendly smell all around.
First sip and there's already a lot of different levels of flavors coming out. A smooth buttery caramel steps up first softening up the tastebuds. Next comes a finely aged quality port wine likeness that is just as quickly followed by either something that reminds me of cherries or green apples. It's hard pinpointing which exactly. I had my better half take a sip as to see if she could tell which and she's torn between the two as well. The finish has a little bit of hotness from the high alcohol count but is mellowed out by vanilla and more of that caramel taste that it had in the beginning. As the brew comes closer to room temperature the more of all the above things come out even more. Without a doubt here's a lot of craftsmanship that goes into this and they're no denying they know what they're doing.
Between the high test booze level and the many different tastes that come out of it this is definitely a sipper. To compare it to another beer just for reference points flavor (but not necessarily style) wise-calling it a big brother (or older cousin) to Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA wouldn't be far off. Just what I was looking for tonight.
http://www.northcoastbrewing.com/