It Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later

Posted by Jim on Jun 26th, 2011
Jun 26

Anheuser-Busch Budweiser

D+ / 2.3
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2
A leftover can purchased for my father to consumer during our Father’s Day cookout has been chilling in my fridge. I’m taking it out to review tonight. Born on date is 19 April 2011; it is poured into a pint glass.

Clear straw liquid contains many stream of carbonation, as well as patches of bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. The head is small, white, and made up of smaller sized bubbles. It disappears quickly and leaves a skim of foam. Swirling the glass leaves a slight film, but it returns to the body quickly, as if it was never there.

The aroma is of corn, which is normally an unpleasant scent, but as far as corn aromas go, this one isn’t awful.

When it is served cold, this beer doesn’t taste half-bad, considering the generally unappealing nature of the style. There is some corn sweetness and a bit of bitterness, but really, most of the flavor is masked by the low temperature…as it should be. It’s hard to give a 1 to something you can’t really taste.

Watery with lots of carbonation—that’s standard for the style, right?

This beer isn’t too bad; I’m not sure it deserves the across the board 1 scores that it often gets. Sure, it is somewhat offensive smelling, and if served at any temperature above ice cold, it doesn’t taste much better than it smells. But you could do a lot worse for a macro beer. Still, I probably won’t have another one for a long time.

Taking Stock of Old Stock

Posted by Jim on Jun 25th, 2011
Jun 25

North Coast Old Stock Ale (2011 Edition)

A / 4.38
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
This is a bottle of the 2011 edition. I’m drinking it out of my Smuttynose Big Beer series snifter. It is served at cellar temperature. Unlike the BA listing, the label on this bottle says this beer is 22.9% ABV.

The liquid is colored brown, with ruby highlights. It is clear, but difficult to see through, due to the liquid being colored so dark. A small head of off white foam is present after I pour, but it quickly settled to a skim. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles are rising from the bottom of the glass. Swirling the glass about revives the foamy head and leaves a good coating on the sides of the glass.

The nose has some interesting plum notes. I can also smell some crystal sugar, but it doesn’t come across as overly sweet. Some pine hops and alcohol also make up the aroma.

The beer has a rich, malty flavor. Lots of mildly sweet plum, some toffee, a bit of alcohol and heat in the finish and as I swallow. It is very tasty and deceptively balanced. You wouldn’t think this beer is almost 12% alcohol.

Easy drinking with very little coating or stickiness gives this beer an impressive mouthfeel. I can feel the carbonation dancing on my tongue as I sip. A little bit of warmth as I swallow is welcome.

This is a very good old ale. It’s also widely available and well suited to aging, making it a great beer to hold on to to make a vertical (my current collection goes back to 2008). The high ABV will affect you quickly, making this a beer that you enjoy slowly, but that also allows you to savor it. It comes highly recommended.

Breakfast at Night

Posted by Jim on Jun 18th, 2011
Jun 18

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout, 2010 Edition)

look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
A bottle of the 2010 edition of KBS is poured into the center of a tulip glass. It is an opaque dark brown liquid, with a perfect brown foam head. It’s not too thick, but has enough heft to give you pause when you look at it and remark “now that’s what a stout should look like!” Swirling the beer gives the head some strength and coats the walls of the glass with a foamy film that is trying its hardest not to recede.

The aroma is a great mix of coffee and bourbon. Roasty bitterness is quite apparent, but there is also smokiness in the background to remind you of the year this beer spent in close proximity to bourbon-soaked oak.

Tremendous flavor that refuses to admit it’s an 11.2% imperial stout. Coffee and vanilla flavors dominate, but neither overpowers. It’s not too bitter nor too sweet; both tastes are balanced perfectly. Bourbon notes come into play as I swallow and leave my mouth feeling warm without burning. Even as the bourbon flavor fades, an oakiness remains long after I’ve swallowed. I don’t recall how hot KBS is when fresh, but a year in the cellar has mellowed things out to make it an exceptional beer.

It is certainly a heavy beer and has low carbonation. It is a touch sticky on my lips and does leave a coat behind, but has a viscous feel, like it wants to be swallowed and not cling to your mouth.

KBS is a benchmark in the world of bourbon aged stouts. There is justification to how sought-after this beer is. Do yourself a favor and seek a bottle out. Even better, spring for the entire 4 pack. Drink one fresh and age the remaining three. It will be worth it.