44. Westvleteren 12

What a nice vacation.  Took about a month off from computer-related activity, well most computer-related activity (I’m totally kicking ass in Angry Birds Star Wars) and took in some delicious beer to celebrate.

The “End of the World” came and went.  The Mayan calendar started over from the beginning.  Kinda like our calendar starts over at the end of every December.  I’m surprised the conspiracy theorists behind this one never considered that the Mayans just flipped over the calendar like we do.  Oh well.

To celebrate:  Pipeworks – End of Days

EndOfDaysSight:  Dark.  Like staring quietly into a black hole, moments before it swallows you whole.

Smell:  Sweet and malty with some coffee and chili pepper notes.

Taste:  Thick and creamy with lots of chocolate and coffee.  The sweetness slowly subsides and leaves behind the mild pepper burn in your mouth and throat.  That burns sticks around long after the beer is gone.

My overall grade:  A-

Nice and sweet, a good amount of booze and a chili pepper kick.  Also, cacao nibs, so I love it.

Christmas Eve was upon us.  I decided to stick with the local theme.

To celebrate:  Revolution – Fistmas (it sounds dirtier than it is)

FistmasSight:  Copper red in color with a little white head.

Smell:  Spicy with hints of citrusy hops.  Lots of pine.  Seemed like a true Christmas ale to me

Taste:  The spices and pine were the shining stars in this one.  They showed up early and stayed throughout.  A malty sweetness tries to take over in the middle, but ends up giving in just before the bitter hops show up.

My overall grade:  B

Not a bad beer.  It kept with the Christmas theme and didn’t deviate far from the plan.

Christmas Day showed up, and I had to show up with something special.

To celebrate:  Anchor – Our Special Ale (2011)

AnchorXmasMagnumSight:  Dark brown, nearly black

Smell:  Malty, spicy (think cinnamon and nutmeg), and lot of juniper and pine.  Like being out in the forest on a cold winter day while eating a gingerbread cookie.

Taste:  Lots of malty sweetness up front and then a crushing blow of spice and pine that eases away to a subtle hoppiness.

My overall grade:  B+

This magnum (the big bottle you see in the picture) was carefully aged for a year to become a wonderful Christmas gift.  And by “carefully aged”, I mean left in my in-laws garage for a year.

Since I’m a father now, Christmas is a little less exciting for me (I’m not complaining).  My daughter tends to be the focus, and my presents tend to be minimal.  However, I gave myself the gift of beer this year.

To celebrate:  Westvleteren 12

Westy12Sight:  Reddish brown in color with a thin bubbly tan head, and oh so fancy in its personal glass.

Smell:  Malty sweetness with a mixture of dried fruits and molasses.  There’s also a slight sourness lingering in the background.

Taste:  Malty throughout with a little bit of cinnamon.  Dried cherries seem to sneak in about mid-way through.  It has a tight boozy flavor in the finish and end up pretty dry.

My overall grade:  A+

This beer is incredible.  Imagine a more complex Rochefort 10.  Delicious from start to finish.

Now to hide away my other 5 Westys.

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42. Five Big Beers

It’s been a month and a half?  Seriously?  Have you been counting?

I know, I’ve been away for a bit, but I have good reasons.  A few I’ll share with you.

First, I went to Beer Hoptacular again!  This time it was held at a venue that can actually handle a good number of people.  It was a blast, much better than last year’s.  The ability to walk through a location without bouncing off of people is highly underrated.

Second, I’m 5 beers (that’s right, five) away from reaching the 366 beers in 1 year goal.  It’s not even December!  Either I have a problem, or I’m very dedicated to searching out new beers (my money’s on the latter).  I’ll be heading over to Goose Island Clybourn after work today, might finish it up shortly.

Third, I heard about something new here in Chicago called Middle Brow.  It’s a startup brewery that’s going to be holding homebrew contests!  Winners will have the opportunity to have their beer brewed by a pro.  Interesting, huh?  Check out their Facebook or Tumblr if you’re interested.  I’m hoping to sign up soon!

Now to catch up on a few beers!

Rogue – Pumpkin Patch

pumpkinpatchSight:  Brown in color with a slight orange tint and a thick white head.

Smell:  Pumpkin pie spices with nutmeg seeming to overpower

Taste:  Creamy mouthfeel with a thick malty backbone.  It’s spicy with a lot of pumpkin flavor, but it never seems overwhelming.  A nice mild bitterness rounds out the finish.

My overall grade:  B+

If you like pumpkin beers, this is a great choice.  It’s pretty much the polar opposite of the Pum King on the pumpkin scale (it’s tastes like pumpkins instead of pumpkin pie).

Half Acre – Mr. Ouroboros

ouroborosSight:  Bright copper color with a light white head

Smell:  Lots of grassy hops.  Imagine sitting on your front porch just after mowing the lawn

Taste:  Soft, creamy mouthfeel with plenty of sweet light malts and a crisp grassy hop finish to maintain balance

My overall grade:  B+

A very easy drinking and refreshing beer.  I wish this one was around during the summer.  I’d be drinking it on my porch (couch) after cutting the grass (watching tv).

Pipeworks – Well Read Temptress

temptressSight:  Bright red (yes, red) with a thin pink head that disappears quickly

Smell:  Lots of raspberries and a mild sourness, very intriguing

Taste:  Very bubbly and sharp on the tongue.  Sweet and tangy with a light finish.  Lots of fruity sweetness at the end.

My overall grade:  B

This one was fun to drink.  Definitely out of the ordinary, a little funky and lots of bright flavor.

Boulevard – Nommo Dubbel

nommoSight:  Ruby red and slightly brown with a thick creamy head

Smell:  All Belgian yeast with a tiny lingering malty sweetness in the aroma.

Taste:  Thick and creamy with lost of malty sweetness.  The Belgian yeast shines through with plenty of spice and a mild dried fruit flavor toward the end.

My overall grade:  A-

A delicious beer worth drinking repeatedly.  It’s big and quite heavy, so working through a bottle may be a chore.  But, it’s definitely worth undertaking.

Pipeworks – Abduction

abductionSight:  Black with a thick tan head, like motor oil

Smell:  Molasses, heavy alcohol, and floral hops in the aroma.  It’s kinda frightening.

Taste:  Heavy malty sweetness, a little chocolate and coffee, like making hot chocolate on the stove and leaving it on a little too long.  Big boozy burn and a bitter hoppy finish.

My overall grade:  B

This imperial stout packs a punch.  You might want to share this guy.

Well, I better go get my Christmas shopping done.

29. Four Beers!

So, I missed another week.

Is anyone surprised at this point?

Last week was a little too hectic for me to write up anything.  We had a major phone upgrade project at work that kept me in the office until 1:30am.  Not my ideal situation.  So, as always, my penance will be writing more beer reviews today.

I’m not going to sugar-coat this post.  So, my one upcoming highlight is I get to go to Whistler up in Canada next Thursday for 9 days (YAY!) for work (BOO!).  So, be prepared for me to miss another post or two.

No more delays!  Beer reviews!

Central Waters Belgian Style Blonde

Sight: Bright golden color that crystal clear.  There was a thin white head that didn’t stick around too long

Smell: Belgian yeast.  That same aroma you’d find in almost every light Belgian beer.  Slight tangy sour aroma.

Taste: Light and sweet, but subtle.  Light tanginess and subtle sour finish.  It’s very delicate.

My overall grade: A-

I was pleasantly surprised with this beer.  I didn’t think it was going to turn out well, but I’m really starting to trust what Central Waters is putting out.

Lakefront Big Easy Imperial Maibock

Sight: Golden in color and slightly opaque, not much head to speak of.

Smell: All sweet malts and biscuits.  Like breakfast at the Pancake House.

Taste: Sweet malty flavor, but not overpowering.  A light citrusy hop flavor sneaks in at the end to round it out.

My overall grade: B+

Very tasty beer.  It’s strong, but doesn’t seem to crush you with the flavors.  I could enjoy a few, and then realize too late that they’re 7.7% each and pay for my eagerness.

Southern Tier 2X Stout

Sight: Deep, dark brown color, nearly black with a light white head

Smell: Coffee aroma with a light malty sweetness mixed in.  There’s a slight sour aroma due to the lactose.

Taste: Lots of coffee and chocolate that flows quickly into the lactose sourness.  The finish is slightly bitter.

My overall grade: B-

I’m always a sucker for milk stouts, and this one was good, but I wouldn’t put it near the top of the list.  If you’re picking between milk stouts, Left Hand and Duck Rabbit still rule the roost.

Pipeworks Close Encounter

Sight: Black like the midnight sky (assuming you don’t live in the city, cause that would be kinda yellow), with a creamy tan head

Smell: All grassy hops, which will alarm you if you didn’t read the label on the bottle.  Mild coffee notes mixed in there.

Taste: Chocolate and coffee throughout with a huge grassy hop flavor at the finish which ended up surprisingly clean.

My overall grade: B+

This thing is listed as a double stout, but there’s a lot of hops in there.  It’s like a double IPA and an imperial stout joined forces.

I’m off to start organizing my things for my Whistler!