A few Beer Reviews

Posted by Jim on Aug 18th, 2010
Aug 18

Tomorrow I’m headed up to Lovell for Ebenezer’s Belgian Beer Fest and to take my seat at the Sean Z. Paxton beer dinner.  I’m sure I’ll return with a bunch of tasting notes in my Moleskine, so I wanted to clean out a few reviews that needed to be translated from my notes.  I posted a bunch of them to BA, but here are the four best written ones.

Sebago Roundabout Red Ale

B+ / 3.95
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 4

Reviewed from my notes. Served in a big 23oz glass at the Great Lost Bear.

Roundabout Red has, appropriately enough, a reddish brown color. The head is foamy and off-white. Some large bubbles are rising within the glass. The liquid is impressively clear.

It has a nice toffee malt aroma. There is a hint of grassy hops. The smells aren’t very strong, but the are pleasing.

I can taste toffee malts and grassy hops. The finish has a kiss of bitterness along with dry, fresh malts–two row perhaps? [The brewery’s website confirms that it is American 2-row and Caramel malts]

There isn’t much physical coat, but a lot of flavor is left behind. The body is of medium intensity. There are above average levels of carbonation. This 23oz pour was served pretty cold, so that may affect some aspects of this beer.

I find this to be a very drinkable offering. There is nothing too strong about this beer (the ABV does put it at the upper levels of being sessionable). If you like this style, it is worth trying, especially if you can visit one of Sebago’s brewpubs. I certainly don’t mind that I got a 23oz pour pour instead of a 16oz one. I did try to get this beer on cask, but it had sold out. I think the Roundabout Red would really shine when poured from a cask.

Sheepscot Valley Tinky Winky Double IPA

B+ / 4
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

Reviewed from my notes. This is a one time only experimental beer from Sheepscot that tasted good enough to be sent to the Great Lost Bear to be offered to the public. It is described as a double IPA brewed with all Northwestern hops: Centennial, Cascade, Willamette and Mt. Hood. It was served to me in a pint glass.

The beer has a big, tan foamy head. The liquid is reddish copper colored. There is some visible carbonation rising within, but not too much.

The nose has some citrus and grass hop aroma. There are also tones of graham cracker that provide a touch of sweetness.

Each taste begins with some caramel malts. Soon, big hop flavors come in. They are sharp and bitter at first. Alcohol can be tasted, as well as some pine. Lots of oily hops throughout the finish; these linger on after swallowing.

This beer feels like a big beer. It leaves me with sticky lips and a long last coat all over my mouth. I can move my tongue around and taste hops and alcohol. There isn’t much carbonation to be felt, but the head is nice and creamy.

Considering the style, I find this beer to be drinkable. If you could get this beer by the growler, it would be a good companion for an evening…if you weren’t expected to drive. As it sounds like this will not be brewed again, it is worth getting a glass or two at the Great Lost Bear while it is still available.

It is great to see this brewery experimenting with some different styles. This is not style I ever expected them to produce.


A / 4.45
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5
rDev: +3.1%
Reviewed from my notes. A corked and caged 750ml bottle, best before 21/11/2012, poured into my Smuttynose Big Beer Series goblet.

The bottle opened with a loud pop. Visible vapors could be seen escaping from the chilled bottle. Pouring into my glass produces a huge white foam head. It settles into soap bubbles strung across and around the glass, like regular lacing, by in three dimensions. Lots of rising carbonation is visible in the clear straw liquid. Not too much film is left behind when I swirl the glass around, but some good lace remains.

Duvel has, to me, a great sweet Belgian aroma. It’s a great mixture of candi sugar, Belgian yeast, bready malts, orange peel and coriander.

The flavor begins with some pale malts that provide a small amount of sweetness. Each sip finishes with some alcohol and a peppery bite. It’s a great strong Belgian pale flavor.

You can feel a lot of carbonation in each mouthful, but it works well. The coat is slick and a little buttery (but without any butter flavors). It has a medium/ful body and a quick dry finish.

This beer is very drinkable. In a single glass, each sip goes down well. It also works over a longer session–I’ll finish off this 750ml bottle myself without issue. Duvel is worthy of the praise it receives and worth seeking out.

Mikkeller It’s Alive!

A- / 4.25
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4
rDev: +12%
Reviewed from my notes. The first thing I notice about this beer is high amount of carbonation clinging to the sides of my glass. It’s more than I expected. The liquid itself has a rusty orange color. On top was a thin tan head that settled to a skim.

There is a lot of funk in the nose, like a stinky cheese. I can also detect a slight sweetness and a bit of grass.

The flavor starts out big and malty. There is a good amount of sweetness–all of the carbonation helps it feel airy, like ginger ale without the ginger. It is a bit sour in the finish, but not as Brett heavy as some US uses of this yeast. The end is also a little bit bready. Both the sourness and bready flavors linger on after I swallow.

The beer is full bodied and has lots of carbonation. It leaves a noticeable coat, but it isn’t very sticky. I was afraid the level of carbonation would be too much, but it works. I’m curious to know how it felt when poured from a bottle.

It’s Alive is pretty drinkable. Its a filling beer. I wouldn’t want more than one, I think it would sit too heavy. There is a good amount of funk–it isn’t limiting at all.