Friday, May 31, 2013

Founders Brewing - Doom

Good evening friends! It has been quite a long time since my last review (2 months to this day!).  I have been hauling ass and trying to get in shape and I have had to cut out beer a lot in my diet with the exception of 1-2 bottles a week.  Couldn't really work a review into them because I was just in the mood to drink something and not pick it apart.  But I have missed reviewing and here I am again to give you my thoughts on Doom!

Pours out with a golden/copperish/orange color that is pretty clear.  Had a nice two and a half finger head on it that dissipated to a finger worth of soapy, bright white bubbles and is leaving some pretty awesome lacing down the side of the glass.  Really nice looking beer even though it is kind of a standard for what an IPA should like whether it is barrel aged or not.

While the beers looks pretty it smells even better.  As I was pouring it and as I type this I can smell the aroma streaming out of the glass and it is a good 2 or 3 feet away from me right now.  I get a nice fruitiness with a big sweetness that I am guessing is coming from the bourbon barrel that it was aged in.  Vanilla and coconut seem to be pretty big from the distance.  As I get it closer to the nice the hops jump right out of the glass.  Big citrus and fruity notes but more so than that it smells like those yogurt covered dried fruits.  This is an interesting smelling beer but also, for me, a glorious smelling beer as well.  Fruity citrus,  a big note of vanilla mixed with coconut, and also a nice aroma of the bourbon itself with some golden fruits hiding in there as well.  This always seems to be a downfall with my reviewing. I get so sucked in to a magical aroma that I am often times let down by the taste.  Hopefully this won't let me down.

K.  Kind of watery on the palate which isn't helping the initial tasting notes but I am getting a nice little sweetness mixed with bitterness at the front of the mouth that bring out a little bit of that citrus I was getting in the aroma.  As it slides to the middle of the palate the slight bitterness and the citrusy hop character washes away and a nice subtle sweetness from the barrel shows itself.  Nice vanilla and even a small amount of coconut is there with a dry oaky note to bring it all together...kind of.  It finished dry with no lingering aspect of oak which is really nice.  The finish has a slight bitterness to it mixed with a moderate booziness that I personally don't think meshes well together.  Certainly could have benefited from a thicker mouthfeel I think. The flavors are definitely all there and would be really nice together if it just felt a little more sticky.

In the end, I think this was a solid offering from Founders.  Not their best effort but certainly not there worst.  This is the only barrel aged D/IPA I have ever had so I don't have much to draw on but I think I can do without it.

To any of you guys who regularly read my blog then I am thankful that you are still reading this and I will try to find the time and patience to do more reviews.  Thanks for reading!

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Willamsburg AleWerks - Bitter Valentine

Big thanks to BeerAdvocate member Hanzo for this one.  Got this in an Easter Basket!

From Willamsburg AleWerks:

"Our Double IPA is loaded with Pacific Northwest hops blended with a light malt backbone. A bitter Valentine for you to love, how ever unrequited. "

PNW hops?  Yeah, I'm OK with that.

I haven't had anything from these guys before but I am very much looking forward to this.  

Also, I apologize for the glass choice since you can't see the beer very well but I am trying to make use of the cool glasses I have received since my last review!

Here we go,

Out of the bottle it poured a very nice caramel, orange, rusty color and yielded a very big three finger head.  I probably poured it too aggressively but with a glass this large I figured "Why not?"  The head lasted for a decent amount of time and the head was a an off white that resembled frothed milk resting atop the beer.  Very nice looking head.  As it dissipated it left a frothy ring around the beer and a large dollop of that same looking white froth in the center of the beer.  Nice looking beer and very welcoming.

This is a pretty darn dank smelling beer.  Big citrus, peach and some tropical fruits mixed in the aroma.  A nice sweetness caramel aroma in there behind the big hop presence.  Awesome smelling beer.  There is also a very subtle oniony type of aroma which I don't mind at all as character in the beer as long as it doesn't overpower the aroma or taste.  In this case it is far from overpowering but instead lends just another layer of interesting and juicy aroma to the beer. A really great smelling beer and definitely a high note to start on from a brewery I have never had the opportunity of trying yet. Impressed.

Right at the front of the mouth I get some sweet tropical fruits and a small amount of bitterness.  As it glides to the middle of the palate I am hit with some sweet caramel, nice citrus with hints of bitterness showing itself and as it finished I get more sweet tropical fruit and citrus with a big hit of some nice peach and a very tiny bit of that onion-y character I was getting on the nose.  This is very enjoyable.  Not overly complex but packs a good amount of flavor and is definitely inviting for another drink.  The bitterness on the end is nice and helps cut the sweet fruit and peach and it lingers nicely without having too dry of a finish.  

This is really a nice beer and I am enjoying it very much.  Not sure if it is worthy of the 95 rating on BeerAdvocate but I would rate it just under that.  The mouthfeel on this, however, is perfect in my opinion. I am not a fan of thick feeling DIPAs and this is right in the middle of light and heavy so they hit the nail on the head there.  The lacing in the glass is very nice as well.  Great aroma, very good taste, amazing mouthfeel and just an all around great looking beer.  I would definitely drink this again in the future.

Happy Easter!

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Cigar City Brewing - Jai Alai IPA

Well hello again anyone who used to regularly read this blog!  I have been going to the gym, eating better and trying to lose some weight so I wanted to temporarily cut beer out of my diet.  (Not that one beer a day isn't good for you, but I found it easier to just cut it out.)  Anyway, I have missed reviewing and cannot wait to get another one up for you guys to enjoy. Cheers.

This beer I got courtesy of Dachshunddude86 and was actually an extra in a box(as was the glass) that included Cigar City Capricho Oscuro (latest batch). I am definitely excited to try this as I have heard nothing but great here we go!

Jai Alai poured out an orange/rust color with a one and a half finer of a soapy white head.  The past few beers I have reviewed had a head that dissipated quite quickly but this one stuck around for a bit until falling back into the glass.  It left a white film on the sides of the glass where it hit and over the top of the beer.  The beer itself is really clear, I can see right through it and out my front window.

I started to get whiffs of this beer when I first opened it.  I love when that happens!  This beer is insanely fruity. Holy crap.  Slight bit of pine right up front but that is whisked away by the big orange and mango aromas that come out of the glass.  This is actually the fruitiest smelling beer that I have ever reviewed I'm pretty sure.  I am not picking up any malt.  Possibly a small breadiness on the back end of the aroma but I am not sure.  It smells like fermented mango and orange juice pretty much and I am OK with this.

That is really nice.  Right at the tip of the tongue I get hit with orange i was getting in the aroma.  Not just a citrus flavor but actual orange itself.  This is nuts!  Middle of the mouth the orange starts to fade and I start to get some nice light caramel and bread then onto a citrus and pine flavor on the back end an a perfect finish.  Slight bitterness at the end with the taste of orange zest left in my mouth.  There is a mess load of flavor and aroma in this beer.

I love this beer from start to finish to be honest.  This is my first offering from Cigar City and I understand the praise they get.  It actually blows my mind that people from Florida can just walk into a gas station and buy a 6 pack of this.  All in all, if you can't get this near you then trade for it or find a place to buy it online.  There is no flaw to Jai Alai and your senses are treated to waves of citrus and pine.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Happy Easter.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hinterland Brewery - Bourbon Barrel Doppelbock

From Hinterland:

"Our Bourbon Barrel Doppelbock pours a dark amber with an ample, two finger khaki head. Aromas of bourbon and caramel fill the nose. The taste of bourbon oak and caramel fill the palette and finishes smooth. This brew was aged 10 months in bourbon barrels."

Before I start to review this I have to mention the process of getting this bottle open.  I didn't know what to expect when I bought this bottle and I was checking out other reviews for it and everyone noted that getting the cap off was a big hassle due to the wax.  This was spot on.  10 minutes later and I finally got the cap off after torquing the bottle opener as hard as I could AFTER I cut away some of the wax.  Do they not want me to drink this?


After our little fight the beer poured a reddish brown into the glass and once in the glass looks like a dark red that is really hazy.  I got a two finger head with an aggressive pour and dissipated after about a minute but left some very nice tight soapy like bubbles on the top.  I can honestly say that I have never had a barrel aged doppelbock but this looks very nice.  I love the hazy color of it and the soapy bubbles really excite me for whatever reason.

I can smell the beer before I even put it to my nose.  Two feet away from the glass and I'm getting big barrel and bourbon notes which is a nice reward so far after the struggle of getting into the glass itself.  The biggest aromas I am getting are that of vanilla, some nice oak, and a lot of caramel.  A tiny bit of dark fruit in there as well but is definitely not leading the way.  This is a bourbon barrel bomb and the aroma is just really awesome in my opinion.  The vanilla and caramel aroma really make me think this is going to be a sweet beer.  It reminds me a lot of Mother of All Storms from Pelican Brewing.  Big barrel notes and a big sweetness on the nose.  Some people aren't a fan of really sweet beers but I am if it is done right.  This smells amazing so I'm hoping the taste follows suit.  Here we go!

Wow.  I'm not sure what this is.  A slight bit of bread and dark fruit.  Real subtle barrel notes that verge on non-existent.  There is a bitterness on the finish as well as a bright fruit note.  I wasn't expecting too much but this is just not doing it for me.  It is very watery in the mouth and I am not getting too much of anything.  I thought the barrel notes would be a lot bigger given how impressive the aroma was.  If I had to take a guess on why this is disappointing me so much is because of how thin it is.  The flavors just seem to slide right over my tongue instead of getting stuck on my taste buds and letting me actually taste it.  On the very front of the tongue when it first hits I get a nice sweetness from it that gets me excited for what is to come and then all that follows is nothing to be honest.  

I'm not going to say this is terrible, because it's not.  It is really thin and leads to very subtle flavors all around and nothing really sticks out.  I really want to like this since it was fairly inexpensive but I can't see myself buying this again or recommending it to anyone.  I'll finish the bottle but that is it.  I guess for $6.50 this isn't a terrible option if you are looking for a "sessionable" barrel aged beer (since it is only 7.4%) but that is where the good idea stops.  It boils down to this; one of the best smelling beers I have had in recent memory but the mouthfeel is lacking.  With a touch more feel on this I may end up loving this beer but not right now.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Great Lakes Brewing - Alchemy Hour Double IPA

From Great Lakes Brewing:

"On the West Coast, surfers have a  term for that perfect time of day, when the waves are breaking just right and it feels like you can ride forever. They call it Alchemy Hour. In Cleveland, our surfers have to work a little harder to find a perfect swell. Dressed in wetsuits, up at dawn, they camp out on the shores of Lake Erie in near-freezing temperatures, waiting for the ultimate wave. Crazy? Yes. Extreme? Definitely. Alchemy Hour Double IPA pays tribute to the North Coast’s unlikely surf bums and the ancient quest for liquid gold, wherever it may live: on the ocean, in a lake, in a bottle"

Also, on the bottle it mention that is hopped with mosaic hops which is really exciting to me because I am curious to see how they stand out.  This One Goes To 11 from Bells was really enjoyable but I don't think it showcased that hop very well but I could be wrong.

Before I start with the review I just want to apologize for any of the readers that may have been waiting for the newest review to be put up.  I had a cold and my nose was running and my taste buds just felt off so I didn't want to review something on a poor palate.  So if you are reading this now then thanks for not giving up hope! Here we go!

Out of the bottle it pours a golden color.  Not a reddish gold or a yellowish gold, it look like gold in the glass and it is awesome.  It produced a 1.5 finger head that dissipated fairly quickly but is leaving a really nice ring around the glass and even has left lacing on the part of the glass that the head was hitting.  This beer is super, super clear.  I held it up to my computer screen and I would be able to read the writing on my screen if I could read upside down.  A really awesome looking beer and I could not be more excited right now.

Peachy and mango aromas jump up out of the glass for me and then a little kick of grapefruit and citrus the clear that out of the nose.  Maybe a bit of a bready character in there as well but it is just huge tropical fruits and a nice amount of grapefruit and citrus.  The aroma of the fruits seem really ripe and give off a sweet aroma to them which is welcome, for me at least.  I enjoy a sweeter double ipa.  Not from a heavy dose of malts but from an abundance of hop varieties that I really enjoy and this delivers.  This is as well balanced as I can hope for with a big double IPA; very small malty notes but big character from the hops that mesh well together.  Not to sound cliche but I could honestly smell this beer for a good hour before even taking a drink.

Wow that is really nice.  Everything is just....there.  I'm not getting any one fruit specifically, like peach or grapefruit, but I'm getting what I think they would all taste like together.  This doesn't attack you with bitterness on the front of the palate, no, instead you get a smooth wave of flavor.  It starts a bit sweet from the front of the palate and by the time it hits mid-palate you really start to get the hop character and all those fruit notes in the aroma come together as one.  The bitterness hits on the finish and lingers for a moment but this is a different kind of bitterness.  Often times a grapefruit type of bitterness hits on the finish and this one is no different, however, this isn't just like a grapefruit bitterness.  It actually tastes like a bitter grapefruit on the finish, to the point where I would almost want to ask if they brewed this was citrus fruits.  Right before the bitterness hits there is a nice kind of sugary sweetness.  Not overwhelming and not extremely noticeable but the extreme of sweet and bitter is really nice on the back end.  Great stuff. Really, great stuff.

People have talked about this being a good substitute for Hopslam because it is also brewed with honey but I would gladly take this over hopslam.  The mouthfeel on it is the same but I much prefer the flavor profile in this beer to hopslam.  I can't find one flaw in it and that cold either be that my palate is so refreshed after being sick for so long or this is just an incredible beer.  I definitely recommend picking this up if you are in the Midwest and Great Lakes is distributed in your area.  If you can't get this in your area then definitely trade for it.  Of all the IPA's I have said to trade for in past reviews, this one takes the cake.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pelican Brewing - 2012 Mother of All Storms

From Pelican Brewing:

"There are many storms out there, all of them perfect in their own way. But there is only one Mother of all Storms and it only happens in Pacific City, Oregon. Based on Stormwatcher’s Winterfest, our English-style barleywine, Mother of all Storms spent many months aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Now at its peak, Mother of all Storms delivers deep flavors of toasted malt, bourbon and oak. The finish rewards with whispers of vanilla, toffee and caramel. Best enjoyed with gusts exceeding 60 mph."

I was fortunate enough to be able to split a case of this with another friend and I have yet to drink a bottle from the six I received.  Being a big fan of barrel aged barleywines this was high on my list of beers that I must get and something I have to review for you guys.

It pours a really, really nice orange, red, brown mixture of color from the bottle and when it sits in the glass it is a beautiful dark ruby color.  It poured with a 1 finger head that quickly disappeared and left a small ring on the outside of the beer where it meets the glass.  Alcohol legs stick to the glass and run down back into the glass when it is swirled.  It looks like art in a glass just begging to be drank.

Vanilla and bourbon smack you in the face initially then followed with big ripe figs and dates and other dark fruits.  The mixture of the two is a beautiful thing.  Smells like dark fruit are just soaking inside of an oak soup with a drizzle of vanilla over the top.  A nice caramel aroma shows itself as well and lends to the sweet and dessert like aroma this beer has.  A nice bready like character is in there as well.  A nice darker bread that was baked with oak staves in the oven.  Such a delicious smelling beer with a lot of flavors packed in there and all showcasing themselves in a perfect way.

Holy crap.  An intense punch of vanilla and caramel lead the way on the palate with a nice oak note pushing its way in there and into the finish.  The finish, along with the oak, has a nice alcohol taste that doesn't so much overpower but more so lends just another flavor to the beer.  After the finish the beer leaves a nice warming feeling in the chest which is to be expected for coming in at 14%abv.  There is a real nice toasted malt and toasted oak presence throughout.  Not a roast that will leave bitterness on the finish but a toasty character that pairs well with that oaky bread like aroma I was getting.  Dark fruits work there way in the as well that make this a real treat.  Definitely a sweet beer upfront but the finish on this cuts it perfectly and helps to not overwhelm the palate sweetness.  This is incredible.  

There isn't too much more I can say.  This beer is incredible in every aspect and may possibly be my favorite barrel aged barleywine I have had to date.  The flavors are all showcased well but are showcased together and each do their part to make this super drinkable despite the high alcohol content.  Pelican seems to produce a good amount of this and many people bought cases of it and now I understand why.  Next November is just around the corner so definitely keep an eye out for release information because this is a beer you need to have in your cellar AND in your fridge.  

Until next time,

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Columbus Brewing - IPA

From Columbus Brewing:

"An American IPA
Our IPA pours a slightly hazy, pale orange with a balanced malt flavor and finishes with a wonderful flavor and aroma only American hops can provide. This beer is served unfiltered to retain all the bouquet from the hops. Brewed with Summit and Simcoe hops."

This beer has been on my "Must try" list for a while.  I have heard nothing but great things about it and something I see often on BeerAdvocate.  Other than that, I am also a fan of the hop varieties that are used in this beer and I have a pretty great feeling that I am going to be impressed even though my bar is set fairly high. So here we go,

It poured a really, really nice looking dark, rusty orange.  Two finger head that lasted for a decent amount of time but then just left a nice film over the top of the beer with a really neat looking soapy ring around the edge of the beer. I can't really see anything through the glass but I am not one to dislike hazy beers. I actually like a hazy IPA or Imperial IPA.  Not sure why but I do know that this beer looks incredible. I hope the aroma and taste are as amazing.

At the beginning I get a whiff of big grapefruit notes.  Like the aroma of a really bitter grapefruit.  But after that this beer just smells like juice from really sweet oranges and tangerines, a bit of pine mixed in there as well and then a tropical fruitiness to it as well.  I can never place the actual fruit for tropical fruit when I say that but mainly because it always reminds me a bouquet of fruit aroma and not one particular example.  I am not getting too much in the department of malt aroma but what I do get is a residual sweet aroma.  Something that is either coming from the combinations of all the hop aromas coming together or an underlying sweet, bready malt that is acting like a pillow for the hoppy aromas.  Definitely smells great. Really great.  I hope this lives up to what I was hoping to be.  The past few reviews I feel like I've been more of a Debby Downer.  Cheers,

Oh yeah that is nice.  Small bit of bitterness of the tip of the tongue then it bursts open with flavor.  Orange and tangerine juice just showered on small hints of pine.  I'm not getting much in the way of malt on the palate but I am perfectly okay with that.  The finish wipes away that sweet juicy like flavor that burst into your mouth mid-palate and finish with a quick sharp bitterness that soon fades into that citrusy grapefruit taste.  Perfect IPA throughout.  I love the flavors in the beer for sure.  Juiciness in the middle of the mouth and the bitterness before the citrusy grapefruit finish is fantastic.  This is exactly what I look like in an IPA.  Sometimes I want different flavor profiles but the craftsmanship of the beer is what I love.  Everything from the pour to finish have been perfect for me.

Some beers just have a real specialness to them and this is an example of, for me at least.  It has everything you could want in an IPA.  The color on it is beautiful, the aroma is wonderful and is especially inviting, and the taste is what brings all that together to really knock your socks off.  The grapefruit bitterness and taste that can sometimes overpower a beer was in check for this beer.  It hits hard up front but then relaxes itself through the rest of your mouth so the other flavors can come out and play and then, at the end, comes back in a big way to cleanse the palate for the next sip. If you don't have this. Get it.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

NEBCO - Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper

No information I could find the on the NEBCO website about this beer but this is their Imperial Stout Trooper that was aged in bourbon barrels.  I have never had the base beer but I am sure I am in for a treat!

Big shout out to Davey101 from BeerAdvocate for the bottle!

Im just going to jump right into this because it has been staring at me every time I open my fridge and I really want to review this one for you guys!

Out of the bottle it poured a dark brown that settled into a black once in the glass.  Left a nice 1 finger head that stuck around a bit longer than the past few beers I have reviewed.  After the head dissipates there isn't anything left other than a ring around the edge of the glass.  Definitely some alcohol legs present when the beer hits the side of the glass.  Head is a really light brown.  This is a really interesting looking beer because I am used to a much darker head on these styles of beers.

Big chocolate. Big caramel.  A lesser amount of dark fruit but still very prevalent.  I also seem to get a bit of roast on the end.  I get a really nice sweet note.  Not from a chocolate or caramel but more like a lactose sweetness that you would get in a milk stout.  Really cool.  Some really big nutty aromas in the aroma, in my opinion.  With that and the light roast and chocolate mixing together it seems to turn into hazelnut in a way.  Dang this is a great aroma! I haven't mentioned the barrel character or bourbon notes yet if you haven't noticed.  They are there but they just blend with the base beer so well it seems.  Vanilla and oak mixed with that lactose sweetness I'm getting is really awesome.  I am expecting a very balanced beer that has complex flavors with no heat on the finish.  The aroma has hyped this up to be a mind blowing beer so I am hoping it lives up to that.

Right on the front of the palate I get smacked with dark fruits and on the finish I get smacked with a big roasted coffee finish.  A bit of chocolate mixed with caramel but that is quickly cut by oak.  Not vanilla notes or big bourbon notes, just oak.  The oak does help dry the finish, though.  Big roast and then just a dry lingering finish.  The very small window between the oak and the roast I get a big dark cherry flavor but for maybe half a second.  It is quick but it is there and is kind of nice on the finish before the big roasted coffee and oak dryness.

The beer is not one dimensional at all.  Though I think it may be too rounded in  the wrong areas, for my palate at least.  I got a lot of dark fruit, oak, and a coffee finish.  I love all of those in barrel aged imperial stouts, however, I like them to be balanced with a chocolate and/or caramel or toffee note not the forefront of the beer.  I enjoyed this beer but not as much as I thought I would based on the aroma.  Is it tasty? Oh yes.  Did I expect more from this beer? Well, I didn't know what to expect since I never had the base beer but I did have an idea of what to expect from the aroma and it did a complete 180, aside from the dark fruit. I would drink this again in a heartbeat but I'm not too sure I would trade my cellar for a bottle of it.  Thank goodness I didn' have to because people are awesome!

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kuhnhenn - Bourbon Barrel Aged 4th Dimentia

*As you can tell, the bottle is as excited about this as I am.  That is why it is still wearing its party hat.*

Big thanks to BeerAdvocate member Steimie for the bottle of this! Awesome, awesome guy.

From Kuhnhenn:

"This is our 4th Dementia Olde Ale that has been bourbon barrel aged. This ale has an intense sweet caramel malt flavor and aroma that develops into a toffee/toasted marsh mellow like character."

This is a really exciting moment for myself because I am finally getting around to opening this.  I have only had it one other time but it was a small sample and it was just incredible so tonight I finally say, "Enough is enough."

Here we go,

Poured a dark brown out of the bottle into the glass and is a muddy water brown as it rests in the glass.  The beer poured with almost a non-existent head.  What small head I did get from the pour was really just enough to hug the sides of the glass around the edge of the beer.  Clarity seems like an odd and obscure word when it comes to the appearance of beer because this lacks it entirely but yet I love the appearance of this beer so much.  It poured into the glass like syrup it seemed and the way it seemed to not give off a head at all makes me think it isn't far from that.  Wow this is intense looking.

Ok, sh*t got real.  Vanilla, caramel, brown sugar,  booze, dark fruits, and alcohol.  I don't get so much of a toasted marshmallow like they suggested but more of a "I just opened this bag of marshmallows and it smells amazing" type of thing.  Very, very intense crazy smelling beer.  The alcohol in the aroma doesn't hide itself at all but just compliments the other aromas perfectly.  I have said other beers smelled intense but this is truly the definition of the word intense.  With some beers certain characteristics stick out more than others but this isn't the case at all with BB4D.  All of the aroma stick out evenly but do so in a big, in your face, and almost an overpowering way.  It smells like a bouquet of sin and I wouldn't have it any other way.

 First sip and I am hit with a nice vanilla, caramel, brown sugar sweetness on the tip of the tongue but but the time it reaches mid-palate it transforms into figs and raisins and other dark fruits drenched in bourbon.  While the flavors are big and really sweet, they are not overly sweet but rather the different kinds of sweetness balance each other out and then the alcohol on the finish really cuts them both and leaves your palate ready for another ladle full of liquid bliss.  Hmm, the more I drink of this the more it feels like there is a finish on the finish.  Followed by the boozy finish was some dark fruits with a very, very slight bit of tartness from maybe a black cherry? Wow.  If you can imagine a bigger, sweeter, less peaty, and a more boozy version of Backwoods Bastard then this is what you would be imaging.   I can't quite give you a recommendation for something to drink in its place because there isn't one.  

Not too syrupy in mouthfeel but definitely heavy in the mouth but in the best of ways.  So far this ranks in my top 3 beers of 2013 so far and this is one that I don't think will lose its place.  You have two options.  Live vicariously through my reviews (which I would love!) or trade for this. I know I will be trading for this stuff whenever it becomes available.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Night Shift Brewing Barrel Society

With these barrel society memberships becoming increasingly popular with breweries across the United States, Night Shift Brewing out of Everett, Massachusetts decided to try their hand at it.  In 2013 they plan to release 7 barrel aged beers throughout the year to those (us) lucky members of their barrel society.  They compared their idea of the barrel society to farm's CSA (community supported agriculture).  The members help fund the project and then once the crop, or beer in their case, is ready then the community gets to reap the benefits of what was inside the barrel.  Personally, I have never had anything from Night Shift but that will all change this month with the release of their first barrel aged beer; a wheatwine aged in brandy barrels for 5 months.  

The wheatwine, according to Michael Oxton of Night Shift brewing, will have rich honey notes along with notes of caramel, maple syrup, and a subtle warmth of alcohol with no burn on the finish.  The idea behind them releasing two of each of their beers per membership is that one beer is to be consumed fresh and one to be cellared and see how it changes over time.  Unfortunately for me I am splitting the membership so I will, of course, consume this fresh to see how it is and give a review of it but according to Michael, aging this beer will help bring out more of the malty notes in the beer as well as bring out more of the honey characteristics in the beer.

 Michael says that, "We've now sourced white wine, red wine, brandy, rum, and bourbon barrels. Can't say for sure which ones will definitely be used for barrel society beers this year, but likely a combination of most of those. They're sourced from all over (the wines mostly from CA), but I'm particularly excited about the Jamaican rum barrels."

"For the beers, I'm actually really pumped about the wheat wine (releasing first), and (likely releasing last or close to it) a barleywine we just brewed, that features maple syrup, brown sugar, and should hit the rum barrels shortly."  

I have to agree with him about being most excited for the Jamaican rum barrels because it seems there has been an over saturation with bourbon barrel aged beers.  That's not to say that these aren't well crafted and delicious beers but with so many other spirits out there the idea of using other barrels does nothing but increase the creativity of brewers, and being such a newcomer to the brewing industry the creative use of other barrels will do nothing but help make their brand even more popular and unique than it has already become.  

Something that interested me was their idea for a barrel aged IPA because not too many brewers have released such a beer because of the fact that hop characteristics fade over time and considering the beer will have spent at least four months in some type of barrel I would guess that it would have to have a firm malty backbone to stand up to the barrel aging but, instead,  this beer will actually be dry hopped in the barrels or in the brite tanks after it has been transferred out of the barrel.  Though Michael didn't specify the type of hop they plan to use in this process, I have no doubt that the flavors of barrel will pair nicely with the big aroma and flavor the beer will have after it is dry hopped.  Personally, I would love to try a dry-hopped IPA aged in a white wine barrels but that is up to the fellas over at Night Shift to decide.

With their Berliner Weisse style beers being their most popular style so far the fun isn't going to stop there.  Guezes and Lambics are both very likely to be part of the brewery's future and a flanders red which Michael said was, "coming along nicely," and "it should taste awesomely funky when it does release."  Their flanders red is one of the beers being released to the barrel society and has been aging in barrels since the middle of 2012. 

One of the biggest selling points for me when it came to joining their barrel society was the idea of a crowd sourced barrel aged beer.  I can't think of other breweries who have done with their members only clubs so this was an interesting idea.  I wasn't sure if this was going to be generic and the members get an email where we choose from the option of four different beers and we just choose, A, B, C, or D but this isn't going to be the case at all, in fact, the members are going to have a lot more say in the final product than initially thought.  Here is what Michael said on the topic of the crowd sourced barrel aged beer:

"Our strategy for the crowd-sourced beer is to plan it in phases. We'll likely start with a bunch of initial general options for everyone to choose from (beer style, barrel type, ABV, sour or not, etc), then, based on the voting, decide on a good combination of those options and allow for additional voting on more specific criteria (malts and hops used, yeast, brewing/fermentation techniques, etc). We're planning that out now ourselves, so nothing set in stone, but we want our members to be as influential as possible in deciding on this beer."

I love their idea so far for this and I like how it really gives its member a voice on what they/we want and it really gives us a sense of creativity that we can share with the brewers themselves without actually being there in the brewhouse with them.  

With so many of their beers being in barrels now, or have the intent to reach some type of barrel, the idea of blending beers isn't out of the question but it depends on how the beer is tasting when they are ready before they determine if it needs to be blended.  

I expect big and great things from Night Shift this year between the release of all 7 of the barrel society beers and the renovation of their brewery which is happening right now.  

Find them on and facebook and check out their website. They have some pretty sweet tulip glasses for sale that I have had my eye on and I know every beer geek is always looking to add glassware to their collection.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Monday, February 4, 2013

New England Brewing Company - Ghandi Bot

Nothing on the Nebco website about this beer but it has been a want of mine for a while and thankfully BeerAdvocate member Davey101 was able to hook me up with a can of it as an extra.  Also in the box is another little goody I'll be reviewing in the next few days!

I only have limited knowledge of this beer but it is a rotating release from New England Brewing Co. and is an Imperial IPA that clocks in at a 8.80%abv.


Ghandi Bot poured a rusty copper color and left about a 2 finger head after the pour.  The head did dissipate but it is leaving a very nice lacing down the glass and leaves nice frothy lace around the glass when you swirl it.  The head is made up mostly of soapy white bubbles and also seems to leave a slight film over the top of the beer.  This beer has some clarity to it but definitely won't win any awards with it as it does have some haze throughout the glass but I personally love a hazy IPA.

Up front I get a big dank aroma from the hops but then right after that I get a tropical fruit note and some really sweet peach in there as well.  Definitely some light pine mixed in there as well as well as a really nice sweet malt in there as well.  I love the aroma on this so far.  Maybe if Marble IPA and Heady Topper were blended together this would be the outcome.  The more and more I smell this the more tropical fruit and peach I get. I am definitely in for a treat because I have fell in love with any IPA that has an aroma similar to this.

Hmm.  So on the front end I get a real small amount of citrus and pine and a somewhat bigger malt sweetness.  I get bitterness right on the front of the tongue but the flavor doesn't really come out until mid palate where I get a mixture of orange and grapefruit and small amount of pine and some of that tropical fruit and peach I was getting in the aroma.  I am really impressed with the flavors so far.  Everything I was getting on the nose I am getting in even amounts in my mouth and a sweet bready malt bring it all together.  Finish is mostly grapefruit and then a soft bitterness that lingers for a while after the finish but really just helps cleanse the palate for another drink more so than wrecking it.  Delicious beer but I really wish there was something more on the front of the palate other than just being almost non-existent.  I would probably be blown away right now had the front of the beer be as great as it was in the middle and end of my mouth.  Maybe my taste buds are off today?

I will have to revisit this again for sure.  It is a really delicious and juicy IPA with just enough pine to make it interesting and a nice sweet malt that holds everything together but it I need more than just subtle characteristics on the front of the palate before it gives way into the waves of flavor that hit the middle of the mouth.  It is very possible that I am just having an off night so don't condemn me for this review.  I will review this again down the line and update this accordingly!

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Firestone Walker Sucaba 2012

From Firestone Walker:

"Big boozy bourbon and American oak aromas combined with soft chocolate malty undertones. Complex malt flavors framed in oak, with hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, coconut and just a touch of dark cherry. This is definitely a sipping beer, best served in a brandy snifter. This ale pairs well with dark chocolate and sturdy cheeses."

Been excited to try this ever since I received it in a trade.  I have heard nothing but great things about it but I have dragged my feet when it came to opening it but on a cold Northwest Indiana day and nothing to do I figured this was a perfect time to open it.  I've only had a few of Firestone Walkers barrel aged beers but none of their big 4 so I am very looking forward to this.

Out of the bottle Sucaba poured a somewhat clear brown with a little red mixed in there as well.  In the glass it is a deep red color and I can hardly see anything through it.  As it poured it brought out a small 1 finger head that soon left nothing but a ring around the beer where it meets the glass.  No real lacing but the beer definitely does stick the glass when swirled but runs back down into the beer.  Nothing awesome as far as looks go, at least compared to Barrel Aged Naked Evil, but I am just being nit picky because this will probably be the only criticism I have of this beer.

Right upfront I get those barrel notes of oak and whiskey and vanilla but these aromas don't overpower the beer at all.  I get a big dark fruit note in there as well that mixes with a big caramel-y and toffee backbone.  Definitely a big beer but also extremely well balanced with all these big aromas playing off each other.  As the beer sits in the glass without being agitated the biggest notes on the nose are definitely a sweet vanilla and oaky character and then followed more by the caramel but swirling the beer definitely opens it up and brings that raisin and fig to the forefront and uses the vanilla and caramel as a luscious canvas of a different type of sweet.  If the taste matches the aroma then I will be expecting a balance between sweet, ripe dark fruits and a decadent sweet vanilla and caramel.


I really wasn't expecting this type of balance in the beer.  Upfront I get the barrel characters like oak and vanilla but towards the middle and finish I get huge ripe dark fruits and a small amount caramel.  I get a bit of a bitterness on the finish and a small note of alcohol as well as warming in the chest.  On the finish there is also a very nice subtle coconut character that I really enjoy because that isn't really something I get in other barrel aged beers.  The coconut isn't as big as it is in Stickee Monkee or Velvet Merkin but it is there and compliments the front and the middle of the palate perfectly.  As I taste more of this I think the slight bitterness on the finish comes from a bittersweet chocolate which is interesting.  With the subtle coconut and heat the finish is dry and really helps welcome in another sip.

I have a bit of this left and I enjoyed every sip I have taken as it seems to get even better with each sip you take.  I really appreciate how well balanced this beer is and the dark fruits in here are big and in your face while the caramel really helps it along to bring it all together.  Having said that, and I am scared to say this, I have to say this might be my least favorite of the barrel aged barleywines I have had.  King Henry was exceptional (actually, I plan to open one with a buddy fairly soon),  Barrel Aged Behemoth is outstanding despite the price tag, Barrel Aged Naked Evil blew me away and is possibly my favorite beer I have had this year.  Considering I would rate all of the beers I just listed as an A, I would probably rate Sucaba as an A-.  Will I seek it out again? For sure, it is a great beer and possibly one of the most balanced barrel aged beers I have had but for my palate I would have to give the edge to others I listed.  With all that said, this is a great beer and definitely something I will seek out when this years vintage is released.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kuhnhenn American Imperial Stout

From the back of the bottle:

"This black ale has a malty sweet aroma, a roasty coffee like flavor, and a nice balanced hop bitterness.  This is a bold full flavored stout."

First and foremost I have to give a shout out to Steimie from Beer Advocate for this and the bottle I will be reviewing after this (on a different day) but that bottle will remain a mystery but it has been something I have wanted for a long, long time after having only a sample of it at 2012 Dark Lord Day.  Until then, I have this bad boy and I think I'll live waiting just one or two more days!

I poured fairly aggressively out of the bottle and it was pitch black all the way from bottle to glass.  I couldn't even see any light through the pour so I hope that gives you an idea of how dark this is.  Really no head to speak of except for maybe a half finger of a really thin head and that dissipated incredibly quickly and there is really nothing at all hanging on the sides of the glass.  When i swirl the glass the sides of the glass are coated with a brown film (reminds me of old coffee sticking to the coffee mug).  When it settles back into the glass the small head that is created is a deep, dark brown.  In short, this looks like chocolate syrup decanted into a fancy glass and I am okay with that.

Upfront on the nose I get a nice roasted coffee aroma to it.  It isn't in your face like a fresh Founders Imperial Stout would be but it leads the way.  I definitely get big dark chocolate on the nose as well with a slight sweet chocolate all blended together.  I'm not finished dissecting the aroma and I already have a good feeling that the taste on this is going to be balanced and not just clumps of each flavor.  I get a really small dark fruit note in here as well which I expect but with everything blending together so well it kind of reminds me of what a fudge brownie with raisins and coffee beans would smell like while in the oven.  If I had to think of another imperial stout that smelled similar to this I would pick Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.  Except this is far more balanced.

On the front of the palate I get sweet milk chocolate and as it rolls back further into my mouth it transforms into slightly less sweet and more bitter dark chocolate the further it goes.  Dark fruits play a nice role in this as well.  They aren't their own thing with this, no, they are part of the chocolate notes as is the coffee roasted notes.  Imagine having chocolate covered espresso beans and chocolate covered raisins instead of the chocolate and raisins and coffee beans being their own separate entity.  The finish is a nice roast that isn't heavy on the palate but rather a nice subtle lingering finish.  This is what imperial stouts want to be when they lay in your cellar for years.  This is honestly one of the most balanced beers that I have ever had.

Smooth as silk in your mouth.  This is an incredibly thick and rich beer but is silky in texture and the carbonation really helps.  Not over or under carbed, just a perfect example of the style.  I have no idea what would happen if you set this down in your cellar for a year.  I am curious as to what would happen but it doesn't need age on it at all.  The folks at Kuhnhenn seemed to take the hard part of finding its peak and just did it from the beginning.  Great, great stuff.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Monday, January 28, 2013

2012 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

From Goose Island:

"Everyday Goose Island smells the wonderful coffee roasting next to our brewery at Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea. This world class roaster puts the same passion and skill into their coffee as Goose Island does with its beer. This excellent stout is made with a different coffee from our friends next door each year. With the change in coffee comes a change in the flavor profile, making each release truly unique from the previous years."

This years Bourbon County Coffee was brewed with La Tortuga beans from Intelligentsia which they say has Tangy tangerine acidity with prominent notes of tamarind, wild honey and orange sherbert.  I am not a big coffee enthusiast like I am when it comes to craft beer but I think this will be more than a welcome addition to the chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla forward beer.  

Bourbon County Coffee pours out a really dark brown verging on black.  Once in the glass it is black as night with no light showing on the edges and there was barely any head to speak of which is what I have come to expect from this 14% barrel aged imperial stout.  While there is no head, it definitely does leave a nice brown film on the glass when it is swirled and the beer hits the sides of the glass.  I love regular BCBS and I loved last years Bourbon County Coffee Stout so let's see how this one goes!

Right upfront I get a chocolate covered coffee been.  Actually, more like a chocolate covered coffee bean that was dropped into a glass of bourbon and let sit.  Definitely some vanilla in there as well and a bit of caramel that provides a really nice sweetness which differs from the chocolatey sweetness on the forefront.  I also seem to get a bit of a fruity character in there as well.  I am trying to decide if it is a dark fruit type aroma or something closer to a chocolate covered orange sweetness.  I might be reaching with that statement because of what I know about the coffee bean itself whatever it is it definitely adds another level of complexity to the beer.

I haven't actually had coffee from the La Tortuga coffee bean but the coffee is very prominent on the palate but there is also a sweetness that I am not used to in regular Bourbon County Stout.  I definitely think that some of the characteristics from the bean itself show its face in the beer along with the big chocolate and vanilla note as well as a punch of bourbon that I have come to recognize in this beer. The roast from the coffee seems to balance out with the sweetness of the beer perfectly and leads into a nice roasted chocolate finish.  Great, great stuff.  As I drink more of this I get more of the coffee on the palate than I do vanilla which a big difference from the regular version of this beer.  There are a lot of flavors going on in this beer but the coffee really takes the front seat and the others seem to just highlight everything about it. My lips definitely feel a bit sticky after the finish and my palate has a lingering note from the oak barrels as well as the spirit that was inside of it.  For such a big beer this is as balanced as it could be and it is delicious and the coffee adds a whole new dimension to the beer that I didn't remember from the version I had last year.  

Seriously a great beer from Goose Island but with its reputation with barrel aged beers I am far from surprised and I expect this type of quality from them.  There is not much more I can say about this beer other than the flavors are in your face and begs for your to take another sip.  The booze is definitely noticeable but it just adds to the overall experience and doesn't take the front seat like some other high alcohol content beers.  A real experience and something every beer geek needs to have....every year.  Great stuff, Goose Island!

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (2013)

From Sierra Nevada:

"Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle. Each new release or “expedition” is vintage dated. Collect your own and see the flavors develop and progress."

This is 2013 vintage so there is no age on this bottle.  I am hoping to get more of this to throw in my cellar so I can see how it ages.  I have heard nothing but great things about it with 1-10 years on it.  Even without having the opportunity to have aged bottle I can safely say, like Hopslam, this is also one of my favorite (possibly even my most favorite) seasonal available during the winter months.  Everything from the look to the finish is something I am impressed by with Bigfoot.  All I remember from the 2012 batch is that I drank a ton of it and I enjoyed each bottle more than I did the last so let's see how the 2013 vintage stacks up to what I remember.

Easily one of the best looking beers on the market in my opinion.  It poured out a reddish copper color but in the glass it is deep red with a 2 finger beige head to start.  As the head dissipates it leaves a ring around the sides of the beer like most do but the redness of Bigfoot seems to shine through that little bit of lacing and give it a pinkish hue.  It leaves a nice lace around the glass that crawls back down as it settles .  I could honestly sit here and not take a single sip of this beer and be okay with that because this looks like art in a glass.

Upfront I am smacked with grapefruit and pine notes on the nose which no doubt come from the heavy hop load this beer has.  Deeper into the aroma I get some caramel and toffee and sweet malt and a nice dose of molasses.  Aside from the big, upfront hop aroma to start this reminds me a little bit of Curmudgeons Old Ale from Founders.  I also get a very small amount of dark fruit mixed in there as well and I think even a tiny amount of some cherry which is something I either didn't pick up on last year or just didn't notice.  Very nice smelling beer. Wow!

....well I am sad to say that I have to disturb this beauty of a beer by taking a sip.  I kind of wish I didn't have to do this part but here we go,

On the very tip of the tongue I get the sweetness of the malts and mid palate on back I get a big rush of bitterness that lingers through the finish with a warming quality in the chest as well.  The sweetness I'm getting has a lot of the dark fruit in there, some nice caramel sweetness, as well as a nice note of molasses and and also a nice toasted malt character to it.  More like perfectly toasted bread as opposed to burnt bread or overly toasted bread you might find in a big imperial stout.  The hop presence in this beer doesn't stop at the bitterness, I get some big grapefruit and a dash of pine in the middle of the mouth.  Finish is all bitterness and grapefruit.  The flavor and bitterness from the hops really cut the sweetness you get at the beginning.  I have used this term before but it is such an intense bitterness it honestly feels like a sword crafted of sharpened hop vines and cones fight through that sweetness to finally shine through.  Yes there is a lot going on this beer but everything seems to be in perfect (un)balance.  Imagine a war flick that focuses on some of the earlier wars.  A lot of fighting and strategy and none of the big explosions we are used to now.  I definitely see this turning into a completely different animal years from now but whether it be now or then this will always be great.

I am glad I actually sat down reviewed this unlike last year.  Reviewing changed the way I look at beers because I really try to decipher what is really going on in your mouth when you drink.  I think I may have fallen even more in love with this beer because of the complexity to it.  Is it a perfect beer? Well that is a strong word and not something I am going to throw around easily but this is as close to perfection in the American Barleywine style category as it gets as far as I am concerned.  I am looking forward to 2014 not only because of a fresh vintage of this but because I really want to see how this changes.  I hope you guys are excited too!

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bells Hopslam - 2013

From Bell's:

"Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style."

Hopslam is definitely one of my favorite seasonal beers during this time of year and something I will always try to grab some of when it comes out.  However, I am done with the back story of why I love this beer so much because I can smell it in my glass and I don't want to wait on my review any longer!

Golden orange in the glass with a 1 finger head on it made up of white, soapy bubbles..  Head didn't last long at all and leaves a very small ring around the sides of the glass.  For being such a hop forward beer I am actually surprised at the clarity of this.  I probably would have never paid attention to something like that if I didn't do reviews but I think that is something nice given how extensive the hopping schedule is and yet there is hardly a haze to it.  

I am not sure if the honey adds anything to aroma but I swear I can smell it in there.   At least the sweetness I am getting on the nose I'm attributing that to the honey.  Sweet honey like smell with nice grapefruit and citrus as well as a nice sweetness from like a peach, I also get a small amount of pine as well.  This has to be one of my best smelling beers I have had.  The sweetness is really nice and isn't overpowering.  The citrus mixed with that fruity peach and the pine is great but with a nice sweet aroma to it as well it kind of seems like a fruit salad with a drizzle of honey over the top of it.  In a word, though? Balanced.

Sweet bready malt that immediately turns to a nice citrus flavor and a bit of pine on the finish with a very, very subtle lingering bitterness.  This is such a balanced beer.  The alcohol is pretty much non-existent on the palate but does leave a slight warming in the chest.  Front of the palate I get a little bit of orange as well which is exciting and something that I really enjoy in my IPA and Imperial IPAs.  Being a hop head this is weird for me to say but I actually enjoy the sweet bready malt on the palate the most of everything.  It really seems to bring everything together at the beginning and then hold it together at the end.  There are a lot of flavors going on in the beer but they are all incorporated well and that is the sign, in my opinion, of what a great (D)IPA is.  

This will remain as one of my favorite seasonals for a long time.  Balanced in every way and nothing about this beer is a disappointment.  While I enjoyed how balanced Hopslam was, I have to say I enjoy Oracle from Bell's more.  It isn't as balanced as Hopslam is but I like the hop variety far more.  That was a bit off topic but Oracle popped into my head after having this.  In short, just go get yourself some.  It is delicious and has everything you want in a great imperial india pale ale and it is pretty to look at too.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

...p.s I just got this glass in the mail today and I will be using it for reviews for the foreseeable future. I love this glass. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Four Peaks Brewing - Hop Knot

Thanks again to BeerAdvocate member AzDBack for this one!

From Four Peaks:

"Our Hop Knot IPA is made only from American malt and lots of American hops, which produce a big, broad-shouldered, hoppy beer backed up by a character as warm as, well, Mom and apple pie... 

Hop Knot IPA get its peculiar name from the weaving of four different hops added at four separate times during the brewing process. Including our cavernous hop-back, which gets so stuffed with whole leaf hops that we feel genuine guilt for its excess. Hop Knot is an ale that is to be enjoyed with friends, spicy food or any time you need a good hop fix without the harsh bitterness. We hope you enjoy this pioneering beer made in the bold spirit of Americans everywhere. 

Let's jump right in, shall we!

Pour is a vibrant golden orange.  Maybe it is just the light in the room but it seems to be glowing a little bit as well! Really nice looking 2 finger head made up of tight, soapy looking bubbles.  Once the head dissipated it left soapy looking bubbles around the edges of the glass and a light film over the top of the beer.  It looks really nice laying over a bed of orange!

I get a nice note of tropical fruit in this mixed with bit of pine and a big punch of grapefruit! I wasn't expecting to get a tropical fruit character on this beer so that was a pleasant surprise! I also get a little bit of sweet malt in there as well that mixes nicely with the fruity aroma.  Doesn't smell like a big hop bomb but more of a perfectly balanced IPA judging by the aroma.  The aroma kind of reminds me of Marble Brewing's IPA with that nice juicy aroma to it. I would have to say this has more sweet malt aroma than Marble IPA had however.  Smells really nice and I am hoping the taste matches the aroma.

I'm getting a lot of grapefruit on the palate but not too much of the bitterness that usually follows.  In the middle I get some of that pine I was getting on the nose but I am not tasting any of that tropical fruit like mango or peach pineapple.  Back end is a nice subtle sweetness and bready malt.  This is a very basic IPA, but it is extremely nice.  The flavors all play well together and counteract each other.  The grapefruit and pine are well balanced in themselves but they lead into the slightly bitter and and sweet bready finish so well.  After the finish there is a lingering juicy grapefruit note that is welcoming.  It doesn't leave a big bitter punch but rather a really nice juicy grapefruit and orange note.  

Was this a mind blowing IPA? No, it was not.  Is it incredibly easy to drink and well balanced? That it is!  Not every beer is going to be worldly experience.  This is a perfect example of an American IPA.  Hop Knot is light on the palate and doesn't lack in the aroma or the taste.  If you are looking for a Pliny Killer then this is not that.  If you are looking for a nice switch from a beer like Bells Two Hearted, which is something that is easy to drink and also packs a well balanced punch, then this is that beer!

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!