Dead Frog Sunset Sencha Tea Infused Sour Saison

Dead_frog_sunset_senchaBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove, BC
Style: Sour Saison
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 30

Description: Dead Tree’s latest limited release is their contribution to the current sour trend. And in their case, it involves a sour saison-style beer that combines Pilsner, aromatic and rye malts with Sterling hops which is then infused with Sunset Sencha leaves – a type of Japanese green tea.

Tasting Notes: This latest sour was certainly interesting. Combining saison yeasts, sour fermentation and tea contribute to a beer that is very tart, but also quite light and refreshing. Basically, its highly reminiscent of sour lemonade. While it was (much like most sours I’ve had this season) a little tart for my liking, it is undeniably refreshing and creative.

Appearance: Deep golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, tart fruit, yeast, lactic acid, strong citrus, green tea leaves
Taste: Gentle malt, burst of tart lemon flavor, hint of green tea, and 
Aftertaste: Lingering lemon flavor, subtle tea notes, clean finish
Overall: 7.7/10

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Dead Frog Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale

deadfrog_bigstumpBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery,
Style: Spruce Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 26

Description: A summer seasonal that celebrates the summer on the West Coast, this brew combines spruce tips with Prairie 2 Row, Maris Otter, Cara 30, White Wheat malts and is then hopped with a combination of Simcoe, Northern Brewer, and Cascade hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve come to enjoy Spruce ales in recent years. There’s just something about those sprigs that imparts a refreshing flavor to beer. And this brew did a good job of balancing those with a good malt base and some mild hopping that leads to some varied flavor. A good summer drinker!

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Pale malt, citrus, pine, resin, tropical fruit, rich spruce notes
Taste: Crisp malt, hint of sweetness, spruce notes, citrus rind, pine and resin
Aftertaste: Lingering spruce flavor and citrus rind, mild malt finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Dead Frog Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock

deadfrog_weepingreaperBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove, BC
Style: Fruit Pale Bock/Maibock
Alc/Vol: 7%

Description: This seasonal beer is offered as an alternative to the usual run of Autumn Pumpkin ales and Marzens. Appropriately, this beer is crafted from a combination of Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts. It is then bittered with Norther Brewer and Hallertau hops before being infused with a dose of blood orange, giving it an extra citrus kick that balances well with its pale, rich malt.

Tasting Notes: This was certainly an interesting seasonal release, but one which is not dissimilar to the lagers – aka. Oktoberfest/Marzen lagers – that usually come with Fall. But to just to be real experimental, it comes with a fruit infusion that screams warm weather! But that’s Dead Frog for ya! The only people I know who are more unconventional are the folks at P49. In any case, this was an appealing and refreshing brew that was just out of the ordinary enough to be interesting without being inappropriate for the season.

Appearance: Orange/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich pale malt, hint of sweetness and citrus rind
Taste: Slightly sweet malt, syrupy, good tang, hint of sweetness, citrus bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt sweetness and citrus rind
Overall: 8/10

Dead Frog Immaculate India Golden Ale

dead-frog-immaculateBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove BC
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.5%
IBUs: 50

Description: A seasonal release from Dead Frog’s expansive (and expanding) lineup, this IPA is brewed is light in color to pay homage to summer. It is fashioned using a combination of 2 Row, Belgian Aromatic, Cara 8, Pale, and White Wheat malts, and then bittered with Cascade, Centennial, and Zythos hops.

Tasting Notes: It’s been awhile since I tried a Dead Frog, and this beer was a good reintroduction. It’s complex malt profile was reminiscent of barley wine with its rich palette and sweetness, which is enhanced by the bitter, piney, citrusy and tropical fruit flavors offered by its varied hop content. It’s strength is well balanced and appetizing, which makes for a good summer IPA.

Appearance: Golden/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malts, varied hop nose, grassy, citrus, pineapple, sugary
Taste: Rich malt, barley wine-like sugars, strong notes of pineapple, pine, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, sugars, citrus rind and pine
Overall: 9/10

Dead Frog Valiant Belgian IPA

dead_frogvaliant-belgian-ipaDead Frog is back with another limited release, arriving on the heels of their Brazen IPA, Winter Beeracle and Fearless IPA. And with the exception of the Brazen, which I have yet to try, these limited releases have been quite impressive, in my opinion. Basically, they show that the spirit of craft brewing and experimentation are alive and well in yet another big Pacific Northwestern brewery.

As for this latest experiment in craft brewing, the Valiant is a twist on your classic Belgian Abbey ale, relying on Belgian yeast and a lengthy fermentation process to achieve a distinctly strong and flavorful ale. At the same time, they’ve incorporated a good dose of hops, the classic Pacific Northwestern IPA varieties of Centennial and Columbus, to achieve a strong bittering effect.

Appearance: Golden-orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Distinct Belgian yeast, notes of citrus hops
Taste: Immediate notes of wheat malt and yeast intermixed with hop bitterness 
Aftertaste: Tang and lingering bitterness, traces of Belgian yeast
Overall: 8.5/10

The result is something that is becoming increasingly common here in the Pacific Northwest, a merger between disparate traditions that work great on their own and are… interesting when combined. Like most Belgian IPA’s I’ve had, I found this one a little odd at first, but grew to like it with each sip. In the end, it really captured the essence of a strong Belgian Ale, and the bitter finish offers enough of a compliment without getting in the way.

Dead Frog Fearless IPA

I just got a special delivery… and I do mean special! After liaising with the good folks over at Dead Frog brewery a few weeks ago, I was told to expect some samples of their new Fearless IPA. Today was the day that my samples arrived. Yep, three bottles all wrapped up in bubble wrap and sealed in a paper-wrapped box. The sampling began shortly thereafter…

From the earliest indications, the Fearless looks, smells and pours like a true IPA, with an amber color, a hoppy bouquet, and mild foam retention. However, it is slightly different in that it has a very good clarity, which one does not always find with IPAs. The alcohol content and hop content are also consistent with a Northwestern India Pale, weighing in at a respectable 6.5% per/vol and 77 IBUs.

And then of course comes the interesting hop combination. By using Galaxy, Zythos, Cascade and Columbus hops, the brewmasters were clearly going for a unique combination of sweet and robust. The former two strands are Australian and a combination variety that are known for achieving a tropical fruit taste and smell. The latter two are well-known amongst beer drinkers as being what gives Northwestern Pale Ales and IPA’s their citrusy profile. The end result is what one might describe as a rippling effect of flavor.

Appearance: Crystal clear, good amber hue, mild foam
Nose: Citrus notes and hints of pineapple and passion fruit
Taste: Immediate burst of bitterness and malt giving way to citrus and slight sweetness
Aftertaste: Lingering piney flavor, intermittent pineapple
Overall: 8/10

As it stands, this is the third IPA that I’ve sampled from Dead Frog, all of which are only available in the 650ml bottle. First there was their limited release Fusion Hop, followed shortly thereafter by the Citra IPA. Of the three, I think this one ranks the highest. Many beers get bonus marks for experimentation, but this beer gets its marks for being an experiment done right. And just in case people were wondering, absolutely no marks were given for home delivery! 😉 Kudos Dead Frog, congratulation on a fine product and thanks for the sample!

Two Dead Frogs!

Many months ago, I found myself endlessly sampling West Coast IPA’s. This was done partly out of a general sense of affection, but also out a desire to see just how many decent varieties we seem to produce here in the Pacific Northwest. As part of this research, I picked up not one, but two IPA’s produced right here in BC.

Established back in 2006 in Aldergrove BC, Dead Frog quickly expanded to feature its four original varieties: a lager, a honey lager, a pale ale, and a nut brown. Since then, they’ve expanded this repertoire to include a number of fruit beers and several signature brews. It seems appropriate then that of these two IPAs, one is a regular item while the other is part of an experimental lineup, which fall under the name of “Fusion Hopped”.

Dead Frog Citra IPA:
This beer is a relatively new installment in the Dead Frog lineup, and one which appears to be a permanent addition in the 650 ml series. Overall, I would say that this beer is an inspired example of a West Coast IPA, blending Citra, Cascade and Columbus hops with North American and European malts. What results is something typical of IPA’s, with strong, slightly sweet malts, a floral, bitter, and citrusy hop bite that contains distinct notes of grapefruit. And of course, it balances all this with a higher than normal alcohol content (6.5 % alc/vol). A good spring or summer beer for folks who are accustomed to stronger beers or just love the taste of hops.

Appearance: Golden amber, at the lighter range of IPAs
Nose: Highly floral and fruity, reminiscent of strong herbs and citrus fruits
Taste: Comes on with rich malts, giving way to a fruity burst of citrusy, bitter hops
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness and a touch of sweetness
Overall: 8/10

Dead Frog Fusion Hopped IPA:
Here we have a specialty brew which appears to be part of a growing group of beers known as the “Brewmaster Series”. This series seems to revolve around the concept of specially hopped beers, given the nature of their releases so far. This includes the new “Fusion Hopped Pilsner” and of course the beer which I am reviewing here, the “Fusion Hopped IPA”. This specialty IPA combines dry hops and heavier malts with characteristics typical of an India Pale Ale. The end result is a dark, slightly heavy beer that’s accented by a big hop taste that contains discernible traces of dry hops and bitter grapefruit. In this way, it blends some of the best aspects of a dark ale with an ESB and an IPA.

Appearance: Darker, clear and transparent, light foam
Nose: Floral hop notes, notes of citrus and grapefruits
Taste: Heavier, sweet malts, giving way to a dry, bitter hop bite with notes of grapefruit
Aftertaste: Lingering floral taste and hop bitterness
Overall: 7.5/10

For more info on Dead Frog’s signature beers and their regular lineup, check out http://www.deadfrog.ca/