Beer #103 Lost Abbey Angel’s Share- Bourbon Barrel Aged

Lost Abbey Angel's Share Bourbon Barrel Aged

Name: Angel’s Share- Bourbon Barrel Aged

Style: American Strong Ale

Brewery: The Lost Abbey  website

Country: USA

Region: San Marcos, Ca

ABV: 12.5% Abv

How served: 12.7oz caged and corked bottle poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass.          

My Overall Opinion: Amazing. 

I paired this beer with: nothing.  It was used as an after dinner drink.

Tasted on:  Tuesday April 20th, 2010. 

Note:  2010 vintage.     There has been a lot of noise that Angel Share has no head as is completely flat.  Well as you can see there was a nice headed poured from this bottle. This head lasted for a few minutes and then thinned out and would reappear again if the glass was swirled.   Now the beer itself was almost totally flat after the pour, but a beer like this you do not need much carbonation to make it enjoyable.  The first thing I tasted was a very rich chocolate taste, then a hint of bourbon and vanilla, then the heat of the alcohol hit, wow what a great tasting beer and mouthfeel.   This is for sure a sipper and one which you hate to see the last drop gone from your glass.  

On the Label:  Way down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers age their whiskeys for many years in oak barrels.  Over time, some Whiskey is lost to evaporation.  They refer to this loss of spirits as “The Angel’s Share.”  Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of liquid seeps into the oak and is lost for forever.

Our Angel’s Share is a barrel aged burgundy colored ale infused with copious amounts of dark caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in the freshly emptied Bourbon barrels.  Each batch spends no less than 9 months aging in the oak.  As with all of our beers, this beer is brewed for sinners and saints alike.  So be an angel and share it with a friend or two.

From their website Down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers who age their whiskeys for many years refer to the evaporation of the spirits from their barrels as “The Angel’s Share.” We couldn’t agree more. Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of liquid seeps into the oak and is lost for good.

This striking Strong Ale is brewed with copious amounts of Caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in freshly emptied bourbon or brandy barrels. The beer spends a year in oak before it is packaged for release. The beer is 12.5% ABV and is available in 375ml and 750ml bottles and on draft at inspired locations.

The Angel’s Share Story

It’s warehouse #5 built in 1886 that gets the most attention. The other four weren’t built so well and succumbed over the years. On the outside, to most #5 is a rather unremarkable white washed building. That is until they pass through the weathered doors and are easily consumed. Here in the hallowed halls it just oozes history. Inside this three story building, they find row after row of whiskey slumbering away the days until the distiller calls their name and they are called into action.

It’s a weathered building with a timeline of over one hundred and twenty years of continuous service. Looking around, there is a warm orange glow from all the wood inside. On both sides of the room for as far as your eyes can see, there are wood racks with carvings, nicks and dings. It smells sweet in here. Could that be the Whiskey breathing? Perhaps it’s the angels doing their work? Or is there just something sweet about 200 year old wood that intoxicates your sense of smell.

Imagine the history that belongs to the wood in this “shed.” It comes from seeds that were planted when the idea for the Revolutionary War was just fermenting. And it’s still here, every single day telling the story of this distillery. This warehouse has seen it all. It survived the harsh winter of 1913. There was the Tornado in 1956 and who can forget the flood of 1973? But, it’s still here. Still working, living and breathing whiskey as great grandpa designed it to do.

Sure, there are more cobwebs and spiders than there used to be? It’s an old building after all. One of the family members proclaimed it to be a grand old warehouse of monumental importance, so now it’s on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Yet, the premise has always been the same. We need a place to age those spirits. And #5 has always been there.

Ask the family members to describe #5 and they all tell you the same thing.”The Angel’s get more than their fair share from #5 but we don’t care. To us, there is nothing finer than the whiskey that comes from old #5. We wish they drank less. But then again, we really don’t need an excuse to drink more?”

Way down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers age their whiskeys for many years in oak barrels. Over time, some whiskey is lost to evaporation. They refer to this loss of spirits as “The Angel’s Share.” Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of this liquid seeps into the oak and is lost forever.

Our Angel’s Share is a barrel aged burgundy colored ale infused with copious amounts of dark caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in freshly emptied bourbon or brandy barrels. Each batch spends no less than 12 months aging in the oak. As with all of our beers, this beer is brewed for sinners and saints alike. So be an angel and share it with a friend or two.

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Beer #102 Goose Island Sofie

Goose Island Sofie

Name: Sofie

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Brewery: Goose Island Beer Co.   website

Country: USA

Region: Chicago, IL

ABV: 6.5% Abv

How served: 650ml capped bottle poured into a Triple Petrus glass.          

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: a Gyro platter.

Tasted on:  Tuesday April 20th, 2010. 

Note:  Bottled on February 19, 2010.    Bottle says you can age this up to 5 years, so I drank this one fairly fresh. I’ll save my other bottles to try in 6 months and then a 12-18 months to see if this changed for the better or worse with aging.  As Saisons go, this is on the “light” side of tartness and funkiness. However there is still a lot going on in this brew as it was well balanced for a farmhouse ale with hints of citrus and pepper.  It was quite refreshing.   I will be looking to try this one again.  

On the Label:  Develops in the bottle for up to 5 years.  Contains live yeast.  A sediment may form.  80% Belgian style ale blended with 20% Belgian style ale aged in wine barrels with orange peel.

From their website:  Brewmasters Notes

Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels with orange peel, Sofie is a tart, dry, sparkling ale. A subtle, spicy white pepper note, a hint of citrus from the orange peel and a creamy vanilla finish make Sofie an intriguing choice for Champagne drinkers and beer drinkers who are fond of Belgian Saisons.

Recipe Information:

Style: Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 6.5%
International Bitterness Units: 25
Color: Champagne
Hops: Amarillo
Malt: Pilsner, Wheat

Serving Suggestions:

Preferred Glass: Wide Mouth Glass
Preferred Serving Temperature: 40º
Food Pairings: Sofie pairs with a wide variety of foods, its light and refreshing qualities complement lighter flavors like fresh oysters and contrast rich shellfish like lobster.

Cheese Pairings: Brie
Cellaring Notes: Develops in the bottle for up to 5 years

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Beer #101 ‘t Smisje Grande Reserva

't Smisje Grande Reserva

Name: ‘t Smisje Grande Reserva

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Brewery: Brouwerij Smisje  website

Country: Belgium

Region: Oudernaarde

ABV: 11.0% Abv

How served: 330ml capped bottle poured into a Urthel glass.          

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Gnocchi.

Tasted on:  Thursday April 15th, 2010. 

Note:  This is the ‘t Smisje Kerst Ale brewed with Coriander and Grain of Paradise, (a 11%abv Belgian Strong Dark Ale) which is then matured in a Whisky Cask.  This beer tasted more like an English Barleywine, except it wasn’t as “thick”.  You get a faint taste of whiskey and a mild cherrish flavor to go with a strong malt sweetness, which wasn’t too sweet, as it wasn’t too “thick”.  This is surely a sipper and could be easily enjoyed as a before or after dinner drink.   I did enjoy the “plain” ‘t Smisje Kerst Ale better then the whiskey cask version I’ve just sampled.

On the Label:  Brewed & bottled by De Regenboog, Brugge, Belgium

From their website: Nothing about ‘t  Smisje Grande Reserva could be found on the Brouwerij Smisje website, so I added the following which could be found on this link within the Belgian Beer Board.

http://belgianbeerboard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=290&Itemid=88888994

(BTW Filip Geerts is the Webmaster of the Belgian Beer Board and is also the Webmaster of the Brouwerij Smisje website).

Hi,
After we finished the marvelous “
Vin de Céréale” at ‘t Brugs Beertje, two marvels were ordered !
Barrel aged
‘t Smisje Kerst 11 vol% from Bruges’ brewery De Regenboog.
More info about
‘t Smisje Kerst can be found here…
There’s two different wood aged versions available.
One that has been aged inside a
Michel Couvreur’s Whiskey barrel (this is new). The other batch underwent some E. Dupont Calvados barrel ageing.

Fermentation:
Primary Fermentation: 2 Weeks
Secondary Fermentation in Bottle: Champagne yeast, port yeast and ale yeast

Maturation:
First Maturation: 60 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 weeks
Second Maturation: in the two different casks for 11 months
Third Maturation: 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 weeks

The result: Two masterpieces !
It’s really exceptional to actually be able to taste both beers side by side.
There’s so much differences.
The differences mainly cask related.
The ‘t Smisje Kerst is – ofcourse – clearly noticeable.
Still made according Bill Coleman‘s original American recipe with barley, wheat, vienna malts and caramalt.
The hops are Hallertauer, Kent Goldings.
Dark and white candi sugar, Coriander, Grain de Paradise !

Just after pouring out both beers, we noticed a less carbonated ‘t Smisje Calva Reserva. Not much foam.
I suspect that this beer is just that bit too young.  Waiting should be the message, and the bottle conditioning will certainly give some nice head in the near future.
Nevertheless, the ‘t Smisje Calva Reserva got our vote !!! Why ?

Simple, because this beer has that bit more body to it. Much more aromatic flavors too.
The Grande Reserva seemed less complex. Nevertheless, the Whiskey barrel gave a marvelous Whiskey woody touch to the beer. But somehow I missed the impressive warming complex nose from the ‘t Smisje Calva Reserva.
The Calva has a most delicate aroma. Warming, caramel, Calva woody, candi sugar, amazing full bodied, somewhat roasty, complex, even fruity ! 

People, this is what I call the ultimate Bruges Beery Treat ! Yes, the two beers !

No question: The € 5.00 we paid for each beer was well worth every drop !

Cheers,
Filip

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Beer #100 Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA

 

Deschutes Hop Henge experimental IPA

Name: Hop Henge Experimental IPA

Style: Imperial IPA

Brewery: Deschutes Brewery   website

Country: USA

Region: Bend, Oregon

ABV: 8.75% Abv

How served: 22oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.          

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Grilled and smoked turkey burgers topped with Habanero pepper sauce and corn on the cob.

Tasted on:  Wednesday April 14th, 2010. 

Note:  Best by Date: 04/16/10, whew, I made it by 2 days.  This beer paired better with this same meal then yesterdays, Bière de Mars.  This IPA cut thru the heat of the hot sauce better.   This beer is listed as an Imperial IPA, but to me drinks and smelled more like an IPA, a good hoppy one at that.   If it wasn’t for the 8.75% abv this would be a fantastic brew for a session, & I would be careful if you choose to do so.  Overall I was very pleased with this beer, too bad it is not sold in Florida, at least not yet.

On the Label:  Stonehenge is a mystery. Hop Henge is a discovery.  Our Monument to hops- Hop Henge is brought to life by the uncompromising creativity of our brewers.  With an immense hop flavor and bitter finish.  This experimental IPA will stand the test of time.   95 IBU’s.

From their website: This is a Bond Street Series Beer: Inspired by the original Deschutes Brewery & Public House on Bond Street in downtown Bend, the Bond Street Series highlights a handful of our hop-forward beers that began at “the pub.” These local favorites, both old & new, truly display Deschutes Brewery’s diversity and creativity.  Available in 22 oz bottles and draft only.

 First brewed in 2006, Deschutes Brewery’s Hop Henge Experimental IPA reappears this year with more extreme hop flavors than ever before. The new formulation is the epitome of the brewery’s experimental style and commitment to innovation, while gratifying their unquenchable thirst for beautifully balanced hoppy beers. The newest incarnation of Hop Henge uses several new hop processes and techniques to create a truly unique and unexpected beer.

Several pounds of Centennial & Cascade  hops are in each barrel with a heavy dry-hop presence to top it off. A blend of crystal, pale and carastan malts creates an overall biscuity characteristic that is dense and muscular, building the alcohol base to support the monstrous hop profile.

When one of our brewers came up with the name Hop Henge, he also came up with the idea of actually recreating Stonehenge, only with hop bales. We were up for the challenge and even though the weather did not want to cooperate, we pulled it off and threw a party afterwards

Ratings, Awards & Notables
World’s Best Strong Pale Ale (Imperial IPA)
2007 World Beer Awards

World’s 50 Best Beers
2006 International Beer Challenge

Gold Medal, 92 Points
2006 World Beer Championships

Silver Medal, India Pale Ale Category
2006 Australian International Beer Awards

Modern Brewery Age, February 12, 2007
5 out 5 stars

Hop Henge started its life as an India Pale Ale, but this year it was bumped up to “Imperial IPA” status, with a hefty dose of additional hops.
“This one is lovely,” said taster Tom Conti. “They got it just right.”
It pours out a deep amber, with an appealing rocky head, and rich hop aroma wafting from the glass. “They sure dosed it with a lot of hops…[there’s] a lot of hop bitterness in the taste,” one taster observed.
In addition to the Imperial-level hopping, Hop Henge also boasts Imperial-level alcohol content, with 8.1% a.b.v.
This was the top-rated beer during its tasting session, and tasters had to dig deep for new superlatives to describe it. “This is a beautiful beer,” concluded taster Gregg Glaser. “Full of flavor and hops and malt and hops again.”
“Not for the timid,” said taster Robert Lachman.

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Beer #99 Ommegang Biere De Mars

Ommegang Biere De Mars

Name: Biere De Mars

Style: Bière de Garde

Brewery: Brewery Ommegang   website

Country: USA

Region: Cooperstown, New York

ABV: 6.5% Abv

How served: 750ml caged and corked bottle poured into my Ommegang chalice.         

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Grilled and smoked turkey burgers topped with Habanero pepper sauce and Sweet potato fries.

Tasted on: Tuesday April 13th, 2010. 

Note:  Batch #2 October 2008.  This is a delicious beer, it’s mildly funky, mildly hoppy and very drinkable despite its high carbonation.   It paired very well with the habanero turkey burger.  This might not be one of the best Bière de Garde on the market, but it’s sure close.

On the Label:  Ale Refermented with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis.  Pour slowly so as not to disturb the yeast sediment, but with enough vigor to create a luxurious head and release the sumptuous bouquet.

Brewery Ommegang is 3,264 miles from Brussels, but its heart is right in Belgium.  It was created out of our devotion to the unique ales brewed by the county where brewing is an art and partaking is a passion.  Part of the Duvel family of fine ales.

Ommegang Bière de Mars is a fine  Belgian-style amber ale with a bit of magical space dust woven in: – Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, a wild-yeast which imparts added tartness, extra zing and and a touch of funk – while dry-hopping enhances the hop aroma.

“If hard work is the best thing on Earth.  I’ll try Mars” Anonymous.

From their website:  Ommegang Bière de Mars is a Belgian-style amber ale with a bit of magical space dust woven in – Brettanomyces bruxellensis, a wild-yeast used in the secondary fermentation. The Brett imparts added tartness, a bit of zing and some farmhouse funkiness. Also dry-hopped, this new ale continues our exploration of using Brett for secondary fermentation in limited-release beers.

Bière de Mars reveals a copper-amber body and a frothy white head that builds, clings and stays. Aromas are of malt and grain, clove, fruit and a bit of funk. Flavors are full-bodied with delicate malty sweetness, followed by spicy, peppery yeastiness and Brett-induced funk. Hopping is subtly bitter and aromatic, bumped up a bit by dry-hopping. The finish is dry and gently lingering. At 6.5% ABV, Bière de Mars offers easy quaffing; it also pairs nicely with spicy foods such as barbecue. BeerAdvocate.com users give an overall rating of Very Good. Ratebeer.com users rate it at 95%.

A spring 2009 Yankee Brewing News tasting panel sampled new releases from a range of craft breweries and wrote this about Ommegang Bière de Mars: “A spicy nose that smells fabulous, similar to bière de garde. The panel loved the smooth flavor and perfect carbonation. There were lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” for this one. Extremely drinkable, not too sweet and finishes dry. Best beer of the evening.”

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Beer #98 Birrificio Italiano Cassissona

 

Birrificio Italiano Cassissona

Name: Cassissona

Style: Fruit

Brewery: Birrificio Italiano   website

Country: Italy

Region: Lurago Marinone

ABV: 6.4% Abv

How served: 750ml foiled capped bottle poured into a Troubadour glass.        

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Grilled salmon.   

Tasted on: Monday April 12th, 2010. 

Note:  I originally obtained this beer while I was a member of the Michael Jackson beer club.   I have been out of the club now for at least 2 years, so this bottle has been sitting in my fridge for some time now.  It was bottled on January 18, 2006.   On the label it says “sparkling beer” and it pours like a sparkling wine/champagne.  The taste is very light with a huge amount of carbonation; the black currant (cassis) flavor is very subtle.  I wish I had more in the fridge.   But I don’t.  So I’m going to be heading to Italy in  search of some unique brews and set up a Beercation to Tuscany in 2011!

 On the Label:  Sparkling Beer Brewed with Black Currant (Cassis)

Exuberant, effervescent, sweet Cassissona, the beer with a punch, has a rich, complex fruity aroma – primarily black currant – besides other innovative and intense flavors and scents. It was designed for several very special situations, and is best when served with fruit desserts or – another valid alternative – savory cheeses.

From their website:   Exuberant, effervescent, sweet Cassissona, the beer with a punch, has a rich, complex fruity aroma – primarily black currant – besides other innovative and intense flavors and scents. It was designed for several very special situations, and is best when served with fruit desserts or – another valid alternative – savory cheeses. A certain “winy” flavor makes it perfect for “Cantucci” cookies from Siena, for instance.
Its sweetness and strength impart a certain languidness and mellowness to mind and soul. It is suitable for unflappable folks or appropriate as a specific remedy for people suffering from hyper-efficiency. After Cassissona®, there is the void: an astronomical number of tiny bubbles carry – at the velocity of the expanding gas – fragrant molecules (esters and superior alcohol) and massive doses of ethyl alcohol to the few agitated and awed neurons in the brain. There is no time for questions, nor is it a time for answers, so just sit back, get comfy and enjoy a mouthful of life. I indubitably placed it on the 7th level of the B.I. Scale, and with the same certainty, I called it: “Rien va plus!”
Cassissona Sketch of Life n.1
After a Tantric rite on the riverbank, she speaks of clouds, their movement and essence, while he replies with a heartfelt hymn to the pure water of crystalline mountain streams. Amidst leaping trout and bursts of sunlight, the best conclusion could only be a devastating and all-consuming Cassissona. After Cassissona, oblivion. Later that evening, under the stars, a reawakening in a semi-conscious state, a revival of the rites or a huge headache.
Cassissona Sketch of Life n. 2
In Alsace, in the country home of “Aunt Giselle”. Lace bonnet, terra cotta stove, dark
wood. Ducks, geese, cabbage and garlic. Herbal tea, cookies and .. Cassissona!!! Oooh Auntie!

 Technical chart: 
“SPARKLING CASSIS-FLAVORED DESSERT BEER”
Double amber malt produced by way of decoction, with approximately 6.5% alcohol by volume (17 Plato degrees).
A small amount of Cassis syrup is added at the beginning of the fermentation with S. carlsbergensis. It is prematurely bottled to obtain high gas saturation, and matured for at least six months at a temperature of approximately 6-7 °C.
As in the case of Amber Shock, this is not re-fermentation, but an exclusive procedure adopted by “Birrificio Italiano®” of Lurago Marinone .

 Ingredients: 
Water, with a total hardness of approximately 30 French degrees.
Hops: Hallertauer Magnum (1st and 2nd addition) and Hallertauer Hersbrucker (3rd addition).
Pilsener, Munich and caramel malts from Germany and France
Saccharomyces carlsbergensis brewer’s yeast from the laboratories of the Brewery University of Baviera (Weihenstephan)


Original recipe developed by Birrificio Italiano® of Lurago Marinone.

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Beer#97 MacTarnahan’s Lip Stinger

Mactarnahan's Lip Stinger

Name: Lip Stinger

Style: Farmhouse Ale

Brewery: MacTarnahan’s Taproom.   website

Country: USA

Region: Portland, Oregon

ABV: 4.8% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a Boerinneken glass.        

My Overall Opinion:  Good.

I paired this beer with: Grilled tilapia with a spicy marinade.

Tasted on: Wednesday April 7th, 2010. 

Note:   This was fermented with cracked peppercorn, but I had to use my imagination to taste any of the peppercorns in this beer.  The label says Lip Stinger, so I was expecting a little bit of a spicy bite, but there was none.  Now to put this in perspective, I love habanero peppers, the hotter the better, so my taste buds are immune to “low heat” and that is a possible reason why I didn’t detect any heat in this beer.   Otherwise this was just your run of the mill Farmhouse Ale, nothing to set it apart from the middle of the pack in this style.  It was a good beer, refreshing and went well with my meal. 

 From their website:   

Malts: 2 Row, Pilsen, Wheat
Hops: Mt. Hood, Saaz
Spice: Malaysian and Indian 4 pepper blend
Bitternes: 32 IBU
Alcohol By Volume: 4.8%
Availability: May through July

Lip Stinger is an effervescent and rustic farmhouse ale. This limited release ale is fermented with cracked peppercorn to introduce a spicy nose and warming mouth feel that will deliver a flavor sensation that is endlessly interesting.

Enjoy the heat….and no pouting!!

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