Blue Point Rastafa Rye Ale

I received this beer as a gift from my friends Stephanie and Ryan. I think that I’ve seen this brew before, but never picked it up. I’m always interested in brews that use different ingredients, like rye. Although this isn’t the first brew that I’ve had with rye, I still haven’t made up my mind if it’s something that I really enjoy or not.

ABV: 7.5%

Style: Rye Beer

Trivia: According to the Blue Point website, “RastafaRye Ale is a hearty rye malt blended with fresh west coast hops, resulting in a delicious, deep copper ale with just the right amount of rye flavor to offset the spicy, floral characteristics of hops. A portion of RastafaRye sales will be donated to TOCO (They Often Cry Outreach) to help underprivileged children around the world.” I’m all about drinking for charity.

Random: I’ve never had a Rye Beer before. I’ve had a few that use rye, but none that actually are termed a rye beer.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated relatively quickly and left mild lacing on the glass. On the nose, I got some fresh hops and a hint of spice. There was lots of visible carbonation on the orange clear body. On the taste, the carbonation definitely comes out to play. It’s prickly on the tongue and followed by lots of hops on the taste with a hint of spice. I’m thinking that maybe this is due to the rye. I still can’t get over how damn carbonated this beer is. The finish is really long and hoppy. The alcohol wasn’t even noticeable. I enjoyed the beer and would have this again. Thanks Steph and Ryan!

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Troegs Scratch #33

I love saisons. It’s another style that I definitely got into from writing this blog. Originally, I preferred hefes, but now it’s all about the saison. This was one that I tried at Troegs that was part of the “Scratch Beer” series.

ABV: 6.0%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: From the Troegs blog, “When developing a recipe for Scratch #33, I really wanted to somehow incorporate our local central PA flavor into this beer, but alas time kinda slipped away from me and I was unable to research and locate the ingredients before brewing time.  So I settled for the next best thing.  I went into the Troegs cold storage room and rummaged through our random spice collection to see what I could find.  I made all sorts of spice “teas” and decided that the combination of sweet orange peel, elderflower, honeybush, (I have no clue what this is exactly, but it smelled great), and coriander was just what I was looking for to compliment the somewhat fruity and peppery Saison du Pont yeast strain.  As far as malt and hops were concerned, I wanted to keep them relatively simple to allow the spiciness of the yeast and herbs to be in the forefront but not overwhelming.  I decided on a bunch of wheat (1/2  malted and 1/2 raw), a hint of honey malt to lend a bit of sweetness, and Belgian pale ale malt for a little more authenticity.  Hops were German Northern Brewer for bittering and US Tettnanger and Czech Saaz for a little added spiciness and earthiness in the flavor and aroma.  If anyone has ever brewed with the du Pont yeast, you will know that it can be a little temperamental especially when it comes to attenuation.  To avoid this problem and to enhance the great flavors of this strain, fermentation temperatures were increased to a scary level (at least to the folks in the lab).”

Random: This was another brew that I picked up at the brewery. I bought a six and found out that this is one beer that just does not taste right out of the bottle (I was craving a beer in the hotel room and didn’t have a glass). The character drastically changes once it gets poured into a glass.

This brew poured with a three finger, pure white fluffy head. The head took awhile to dissipate and left significant lacing. The body was a golden-yellow color and cloudy. The visible carbonation was limited due to the cloudiness. On the nose, there is some citrus, but a crazy amount of yeast and biscuit. It’s a bit overwhelming. The taste has the same issue, lots and lots of yeast. There is also a hint of spice, which is to be expected. I also got mandarin oranges as well. There was a lot of carbonation on the brew as well. It reminded me a bit of a Belgian. Although it was a lot of yeast to deal with, I would definitely have again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Troegs Flying Mouflan

If I recall correctly, I think this brew just picked up a gold medal at GABF. Again, when I had this, I had only had a few barleywines. I think I may pick up another bomber next year to see if my appreciation for it has changed with a bit of education.

ABV: 9.3%

Style: American Barleywine

Trivia: According to the Troegs website, “Dubbed the Flying Mouflan (for reasons that become clearer toward the bottom of the glass) this strong alluring ale is two beers in one. Cracking open a fresh bottle unleashes hops and heat with more than 100 IBUs emanating from three hop varieties and sweet burn of 9.3% ABV. Cellaring the Flying Mouflan in a cool dark place at 50 degrees for a minimum of four months will mellow out the hops and wash away the heat. If you can resist temptation you will be rewarded with two memorable beers in a single bottle.”

Random: I picked up this bomber during my trip to the brewery in Harrisburg.

This brew poured with a one finger, off white head that left only minor lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy chestnut-brown with mild visible carbonation. On the nose, I got some caramelized sugar and burnt nuttiness. There is also a definite scent of booze on this bad boy. On the taste, I got a lot of flavors. I got a lot of the caramelized sugars in the nose with some citrusy hops and a bit of booze, but not overwhelming. This brew could easily knock you on your ass if you didn’t watch. The finish was a little bitter from the hops, but definitely a well-balanced beer. I would love to try this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Dogfish Head Pangaea

I picked up a bomber of this beer primarily because I liked the concept of it. It has an ingredient in it from every continent. Very cool. Apparently Christine thought this was a great concept too, because when I gave her a choice of what beer I was going to bring over to share with her for the night, she asked me to bring this one. Then, she proceeded to fall asleep after taking two sips of her glass. Needless to say, I couldn’t let it go to waste.

ABV: 7%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the DFH website, “Brewed with ingredients from each and every continent, this is slightly spicy ale, with a mouthful of rich flavors. Pangaea is a great food beer. Our list of worldly ingredients includes: crystallized ginger from Australia, water from Antarctica, basmati rice from Asia, Muscavado sugar from Africa, South American quinoa, European yeast and North American maize. Pangaea is released annually in the fall and is bottled in 750ml bottles.”

Random: This brew has been on my list to try for a while, I think pretty much since I started the beer blog.

This brew poured with a three finger, pure white head that took awhile to dissipate. The body was an orange color and clear with moderate carbonation. There was some citrus on the nose and a hint of something a little harsher that I couldn’t identify. I doubt that it’s booze but I couldn’t really place it. There was also significant lacing left on the glass. On the taste, the first thing that I noticed was that it was pretty complex. First, I got hoppiness with some orange and lemon and then some sweetness. I wonder if this is the crystallized ginger. The sweetness definitely comes at the end. The finish was very quick and unremarkable. All in all, a very crisp beer that I thought needed a little more carbonation. The booze wasn’t noticeable, but not all that high either. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Troegs Scratch #35

This was the first wet hopped IPA that I ever had. It seems like ever since I got my hands on this one, every brewery around was putting out a wet hopped IPA. Not that I’m complaining, I’m a big fan.

ABV: 7.2%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the Troegs website, “As the codename implies, the main flavor in Scratch #35 is a 100 pounds of fresh Citra hops. This year’s Oregon hop harvest took place in mid-September and we received the freshest, wettest Citra hops right off the vine. Opening the boxes of fresh hops, we were blown away at the strength and color of this Oregonian green gold. Our hopback was not large enough to accommodate all the hops so we added them to the lauter tun and ran the hot wort through the hops. Pouring a cloudy gold-orange color, Scratch #35 yields an arresting blend of ripe orange and grapefruit aromas with just enough bitterness to balance the sweetness imparted by the honey. Kettle additions of Amarillo and Palisade hops nicely complement the fresh hops. As this beer is a celebration of hops at their freshest, drink this one as soon as possible for maximum enjoyment.”

Random: I got pretty lucky with this beer. I was already planning on stopping at the brewery on the way to Gettysburg and they released this bad boy a day earlier. Needless to say, I came home with a six-pack.

This brew poured with a pure white, one finger head, that dissipated quickly, leaving little lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy straw yellow color with some sediment and mild carbonation. The nose has a lot of fresh citrus and pine, but not overwhelming. Just perfect for this hop head over here, thank you very much. The taste had lots of carbonation at first, then fresh pine and grapefruit comes out to play. The mouthfeel was a little more syrupy than I expected. The finish was a little harsh and bitter and lingered like crazy. There was also a hint of sweetness on it. The booze was definitely hidden. I really liked this beer. I would definitely seek it out again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Dogfish Head Burton Baton

I’m not what you would call a DFH fanboy. When I first had some of their beers, prior to the blog, I really didn’t know what all of the fuss was about (I think I had the Festina Peche, and it was just too much for a new beer drinker to handle). I’ve since had a bunch of DFH beers and now understand what the fuss is about. I look to DFH 60 Minute as an everyday fallback beer (which I do prefer to the 90 Minute). So, I’m hoping this IPA holds up to my expectations.

ABV: 10.0%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: I love all the info that DFH has on their website about their beer, “This is a blended beer that we’ve been brewing for the past several years and it’s recently been gaining in popularity. For Burton Baton we first brew two ‘threads’ or batches of beer: an English-style Old Ale and an Imperial IPA. After fementing the separate beers in our stainless tanks, the two are transferred and blended together in one of our large oak tanks. Burton Baton sits on the wood for about a month. When enjoying the Burton Baton, you’ll find an awesome blend of the citrus notes from Northwestern hops melding with woody, vanilla notes from the oak. The wood also tends to mellow the 10% of the beer – so tread cautiously!”

Random: I picked up a four pack of these because I was having a major hop craving and just wanted to sit and enjoy the brew as opposed to reviewing it. This brew was really good.

This brew poured with a two finger pure white head that left significant lacing on my Flying Fish tulip glass. The head took about three to four minutes to dissipated. The body is a cloudy orange-brown color. There is no visible carbonation on the brew due to the cloudiness. The nose has a hint of booze with some pine and grapefruit as well. This smelled exactly what I would expect from an IPA. The taste is really smooth with some mild carbonation. There was lots of pine and pleasant hoppiness. The booze is barely noticeable, just like the warning from DFH, it’s totally mellow. The finish lingered with the expected pine. I really loved this beer. I would definitely have this beer again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale

I’ve never had an old ale, so I don’t really know what to expect from this beer. What I do know, is that I enjoy Smutty’s beers, so I should expect something pretty darn good. The dog on the label is also pretty cute. I’m a sucker for animals.

ABV: 10.0%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to Beer Advocate, “Old Ales, also referred to in the past as ‘Stock’ Ales, are low attenuated beers with high levels of dextrins, creating a full malt body with plenty of character. Old Ales of a hundred plus years ago were often transfered into vats to mature, hence the name. Rich dark amber in color to a very dark brown; near black. Tamed aromatics. Although bittering levels can greatly vary, expect common fruity, vinous, intense malts and sharp alcohol characteristics. The often racy but mellow attitude of the beer may also include acidic notes, raisins and black currants. Vintage varieties may have a low-level of oxidation. Stronger versions may have similarities to a port wine. Brewers may also inoculate a portion of the batch with Brettanomyces lambicus and age for an extended period of time to achieve an old-school acidic character.”

Random: This is part of the “Big Beer Series” from Smuttynose. The dog on the bottle is “Olive,” who also appears on the “Old Brown Dog” label.

This brew poured with a two finger off white head that dissipated with no lacing left on the glass. The body was a cloudy deep brown with no visible carbonation due to the color. There is some nuttiness and malt on the nose. It’s also got a bit of earthiness to it. Interesting. There are also some hops on the nose. The taste is fresh with a silky nuttiness. There is a definite hop presence though. The hops really linger on the tongue. I also get some hints of burnt sugar on the taste. The booze is well hidden in this. The finish on the brew is all malt and lingers. If this is what an old ale is, I’m totally into it. There was much more flavor on this brew than I expected from a brown ale (which I initially thought it was due to the name). The medium carbonation on the brew really complements it. I really enjoyed this bomber, it’s just sad that I don’t have another one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Flying Fish Oktoberfish

Ah, Flying Fish. The largest brewery in New Jersey, which really isn’t saying all that much. I used to drink Flying Fish in Philly when I would go out to the bar and didn’t know a lot about beer. I just thought that the taps looked really cool. I’ve pretty much gone through almost all of the Flying Fish offerings here, as they always seem to appear in front of me. I’m also really enjoying the exit series, but I digress.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the Flying Fish website, “Back for its ninth year, our take on this classic German style, the O’Fish uses German malts, hops and yeast. A beautiful reddish color, a savory malt profile and nice hop flavor make this Fest beer quite drinkable. OktoberFish is great with food and especially great with lederhosen.”

Random: My buddy Joe fell in love with this beer when we went to tour the brewery in Cherry Hill. Since it’s a seasonal release, I bought him a six-pack and took one for research purposes.

This beer poured with a one finger, pure white head that dissipated quickly. There was no lacing left on the glass. The color was a cloudy orange-brown with some visible carbonation. The nose presented with a lot of malty caramel sweetness with a hint of biscuit. The taste is a little watery, which I’ve come to expect from Oktoberfest beers and think that it’s just the style, but has some strong caramel flavors with milder carbonation than I expected. But, this totally works for the best. The biscuit flavor comes through later. The finish is again, mostly caramel, and lingers for a bit. This is definitely an easy drinker and I could put a few of these away in a sitting without a problem. I would definitely have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Flying Dog Double Dog Pale Ale

Another beer from Flying Dog. This one came highly recommended from a few people at the beer store. I was slightly disappointed by their Dogtoberfest, so hopefully this brew makes up for it. The label art on this bottle is also very cool. I’m totally down with it.

ABV: 11.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the Flying Dog website, “Back by popular demand, our original ‘Wild Dog Release’ is back, and this time it’s for good. Double Dog Double Pale Ale is a generously hopped ale with a deep red color and pours with a nice frothy head. The abundance of hops will conjure some provocative aromas with hints of raisins and citrus.” This bad boy also comes in at 85 IBUs…should be right up my alley.

Random: I’ve been getting into Flying Dog brews recently. For some reason, I wasn’t a huge fan before. But, then I had the Belgian IPA (Raging Bitch) and fell in love with it. This statement was obviously written before I had the Dogtoberfest.

This beer poured with a two finger pure white head that left significant lacing on the glass. The body was a reddish-orange color with moderate carbonation visible. The body itself is clear. The nose was full of fresh hops and pine and citrus. Definitely something that I would enjoy. This smelled more like a DIPA than a pale ale. The taste has a definitely hop presence up front, but a toasty burnt nut aftertaste that comes right after. It reminded me of an earthy taste. The finish lingered for a while. There was some alcohol burn to this bad boy, but not 12% worth. The carbonation perfectly carbonated the beer. The body is also just thick enough for the style. I would definitely have this beer again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Ayinger Celebrator

Given that when I purchased this beer, it was early October, I figured a nice German beer would be a good choice. The bottle comes with a charm that reminds me of a goat. There’s also some cool looking art on the label. Hopefully what’s inside the bottle is as good as what’s outside.

ABV: 6.7%

Style: Doppelbock

Trivia: [Doppelbocks were] originally brewed at a monastery in northern Italy, “double bock” was quickly introduced by Bavarian brewers to compete with bock. Doppelbock names end with the suffix “-ator.”

Random: This is a beer that I’ve heard about for a long time. I’ve heard nothing but good things. It also gets an A+ from the Alstrom brothers on beer advocate.

This beer pours with a very dark brown body with heavy carbonation. The head is a two finger off white color that leaves significant lacing. I’ve never had a doppelbock, so I really don’t know what to expect. The head dissipates at a moderate rate. The nose hit me with a lot of malt with some burnt nuts. The nose was quite pleasant, but not overpowering. The taste has some coffee and burnt notes on it and again, the carbonation also hit me up front. The body is more watery than I expected. You would assume that I would have learned by now that color isn’t indicative of the body of a beer. My brain knows that, but instinctively, I feel like a dark beer should be heavy. I really have to get over that whole thing. The finish lingers with a bit of sweet nuttiness. I would definitely have this beer again. It had a nice malty fall taste and would be a great change from a pumpkin beer.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0