Big Sky Brewing Biere De Noel Holiday Extra Strong Ale

Bigsky_beiredenoelBrewer: Big Sky Brewing, Missoula, Montana
Style: Extra Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 10.1%
IBUs: 35

Description: This seasonal Belgian-style dark ale is part of the brewery’s Specialty Beer series, and as the name would suggest, is available during the winter season. Plenty of dark roasted malts, Belgian-yeast, and bottle-conditioning combine to an extra strong ale for the holidays.

Tasting Notes: Another great installment from the Advent Beer Calendar. This Christmas ale had all the right characteristics – the strong malt base and mineral tang of a good bock, the strong notes of sugar and dark fruits of a barleywine, and the alcoholic warmth of a good winter warmer.

Appearance: Deep ruby/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits, minerals
Taste: Strong malt, mineral tang, raisins, dates, brown sugar, mild Noble hops, alcohol
Aftertaste: Lingering malt sweetness, alcoholic warmth, mineral tang
Overall: 9.2/10

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Green Flash Palate Wrecker Hamilton’s Ale

palate_wrecker_release_partyBrewer: Green Flash Brewery, San Diego, CA
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 9.5%
IBU: 100+

Description: Palate Wrecker was originally brewed for the Hamilton’s Tavern 2nd Anniversary celebration, and has since been made available as part of their regular lineup due to popular demand. A traditional West Coast-style IPA, it was also the recipient of the 2011 Michael Jackson American Cask Ale Award at the British Beer Festival and the Bronze Medal for Imperial IPA category in the 2012 World Beer Cup.

Tasting Notes: This is only the second beer I’ve had from Green Flash, and the first experience (their Le Freak Ale) is one I feel I need to retry since my tasted have evolved since 2010 when I tried it. But regardless of that, I found this Imperial IPA to be most satisfying and worthy of the name “Palate Wrecker”. But with an alcohol content of 9.5% and a hop strength that exceeds 100 IBUs, that should come as no surprise. But then again, I am a notorious hop-lover, and this brew hits me where I live!

Appearance: Dark ruby/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong floral, citrusy, hoppy notes
Taste: Strong, sweet and coarse malt, powerful hop bitterness, citrus and passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and coarse malts
Overall: 9.5/10

Stillwater Artisanal Stateside Saison

StillwaterArtisanal1Hello all! Hope this post finds everyone content and comfortable on these glorious summer days! Now that the wife and I have acclimated back to our lives here in Brentwood Bay, I decided to get back to sampling some new and exciting beers. And so, on one of our many walks into town, I picked up a few new items that I’ve been putting off until now. One such bottle comes from Westminster Maryland, care of the renowned Stillwater Artisanal brewery.

stillwater-saisonI would admit that this brewery has been previously unknown to me, hence why I was avoiding picking up any bottles that have been popping up at my local sudsy dispensers. That, plus the high price for a single bottle (in the vicinity of ten dollars for a 750 ml bottle) was a little dissuading. But after consulting with my bud at my favorite local beer store, I learned that not only was this particular beer critically acclaimed, it was also his favorite example of a Belgian-style beer produced outside of Belgium. How could I resist?


Appearance:
Deep gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation

Nose: Yeasty, light, sugary malts
Taste: Immediate hints of barley-wine like malts, Belgian yeast, mild oak
Aftertaste: Clean finish, lingering yeasts
Overall: 9.5/10

Many times over, I got a Westmalle Tripel feel from this beer. It’s color, taste, and yeasty, effervescent quality were very similar to that Belgian classic! It differed in that it was lighter on the malt and sugar levels, and of course alcohol content as well. Overall, I’d have to say my friends appraisal could very well be right. This beer really could be one of the best Belgian-style beers to be found outside of Belgium.