River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale

I’m so tired, and for absolutely no reason. I had an offsite meeting today that lasted most of the day. This meant that I basically had 2 hours to do the rest of the work that I normally have all day to do. Fun, really. After work, I hit up the gym and seriously tore it up. I’m now chest pressing 150 lbs without needing help. Next week, I’m definitely trying for 165, at least for 4 reps. I have a feeling that I’m going to very sore tomorrow…I say this because I’m already sore now. So, another New Jersey brew for tonight.

ABV: 8%

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our warming winter ale is amber in color, malty and full-bodied.  Belgian yeast provides a variety of delicate characteristics in the nose and on the palate.  8 abv, Available October – December”

Random: The hippo on the label is dressed up as a scary snow creature…very cute!

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly, but left a hint of head on the top of the body. It also left no lacing on the glass. On the nose, I got fig, malt, honey and a bit of spice. I also let it warm up about 15 minutes. The taste…not quite as good. It started with a lot of malt. Then, I got a bit of nuttiness. I didn’t get any spice or fig or honey. The carbonation was also higher than I expected. The body was a medium thickness, which was one of the only things I liked about the brew. The finish was pretty quick, which was good given my opinion of the brew. I was shocked that I disliked this beer as much as I did. I wouldn’t have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve

So, nothing all that interesting going on. Work was crazy as usual. We’re installing this new software at work that’s going to replace all of the current software that we use. And guess who’s in charge of this? Yep…you guessed it. So, that’s pretty much taking up all of my time. I also forgot my gym bag at home since I was trying to rush out of the house, so I spent an hour doing Wii Fit, which I broke a sweat doing. Anyways, a brew from Jersey…

ABV: 7.2%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This Belgian-style strong golden ale showcases a variety of the ingredients and brewing methods that help differentiate Flying Fish beers. The Grand Cru is fermented at a higher temperature than our other beers adding an undercurrent of fruitiness and clove (although there is no fruit or spice in the beer). Very lightly filtered, the Grand Cru exhibits complex mouthfeel, strong malt flavors, a spicy hop presence and a soothing alcohol warmth, followed by a clean, dry finish. It is excellent with food as well as served by itself.”

Random: I’m currently watching the Millionaire Matchmaker Reunion…I kinda love Patti. And by kinda, I mean really. I’d love a snarky, Jewish woman to set me up.

This brew poured with a half a finger of thin, white head that dissipated by the time that I got the glass to the table. It didn’t even leave any lacing on the glass. The body was a clear light yellow with moderate, visible carbonation. The nose definitely had a bit of clove and spice and a bit of Belgian yeast. The taste started with a lot of golden fruit, definitely apricot, and a bit of muted spice and the Belgian yeast that was apparent in the nose. The spice was definitely not as pronounced in the taste. The body was medium with low carbonation and the finish lingered for awhile. Honestly, this brew was a bit disappointing. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Samuel Adams Black and Brew

Well…I’m back. As usual, the holidays were a bit crazy and I had an absolutely insane weekend with some of my buddies. I also bought myself Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which means that I’m back to playing video games. I also moved my PS3 into my bedroom, which was probably not the best idea I’ve ever had. So, anyways the beer for the night.

ABV: 5.8%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Coffee Stout is a dark brew that combines roasted coffee with a rich, full-bodied stout. For the authentic coffee flavor, we use 1.5 pounds of Sumatran coffee beans per barrel, added late in the brewing process to provide the most flavor possible. This brew finishes with underlying roasty notes of chocolate, caramel, and dark fruit from our select blend of malts.”

Random: I’m back to my goal of getting a six pack. And I don’t mean six pack of beer. I did 11.36 miles on the bike in a half hour today, plus an absolutely insane back/hams/calves workout.

This brew poured with a half a finger of thin tan head that dissipated quickly and left very little lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with some visible, moderate carbonation. The nose definitely had a bit of coffee, but also had some unpleasantness to it. The only way that I could describe it would be that it had a hint of wet dog…no joke. Burnt malt also came through. Luckily, the taste was a bit better. The beer started with roasted malts and the coffee was not as pronounced as I would have expected. But, it really came through on the end, along with a long finish. The beer was a little thicker than expected with mild carbonation. It had a bit of creaminess as well. Final verdict? Not a bad stout, but I’ve definitely had better.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Founders Blushing Monk (2011)

After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back. For Thanksgiving, I pulled something out of the cellar to share with my family. I figured that since it was a fruit-centric beer, and probably something that my family hadn’t tried, they would enjoy it. Plus, I’ve read that the fruit dissipates a bit with age, so why not break it open?

ABV: 9.2%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery, “You may have seen that we plan to release a 750 mL Backstage Series. Well, we recently announced that Blushing Monk will be the first in the series. Partner and Vice President Dave Engbers explains, ‘We haven’t produced this product in over four years and people have been begging for it—so this is the perfect time to bring Blushing Monk back to market.’ Blushing Monk is a decadent Belgian Raspberry Ale that was last produced in 2007, and is still highly sought after.”

Random: This brew has been aging since 7/15/2011.

The brew poured a half a finger of pink head on a dark pink, clear body with moderate visible carbonation. The head dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The nose was really heavy on the raspberry with a hint of Belgian yeast. The taste was again, big shock, raspberry. I really didn’t get a lot of the qualities that I typically find with a Belgian beer. The body was medium thickness with lower carbonation than I expected. There was also a lack of tartness. It was definitely a very fruity beer. The booze was very hidden and snuck up on me. The finish was long and fruity. I enjoyed the glass that I had, but finishing a bomber would be difficult because of the sweetness. With that being said, I would have it again, but as a dessert beer.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter

I seriously think that I’m bad luck. Since I got my pager from the fire department, I have gotten 0 calls. Nothing. Nada. And, to make things worse, this is an incredibly busy department. I have the same luck in EMS. Whenever I would dispatch or be on the road, I’d get nothing. This could be why the EMTs actually like when I dispatch the occasional weekend. But, anyways, I had an amazing day at the gym. I benched more than my body weight…by about 20 lbs. By the time I walked out of the gym, my arms and my chest were looking pretty nice and I biked 10 miles. So, definitely deserving of a brew tonight.

ABV: 5.8%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A traditional, British style. Robust and full-bodied. Introduced as a member of the Winter Classics Variety Pack in 2004, Samuel Adams® Holiday Porter, with its rich malt complexity, has become a favorite among our winter seasonal brews. In total, four types of malted barley are used in the brewing process including a variety of German malt called Carafa®*. This specialty malt, along with a bit of flaked oats, gives our Holiday Porter its smooth, roasted malt character. Add generous portions of imported hops to the mix and one has a brew that is both robust and drinkable.”

Random: I love the new Foster The People song. It’s much better than “Pumped Up Kicks.”

This brew poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated by the time I got it to the table to review. This bad boy left absolutely no lacing on the glass either. The body was a clear, dark brown with moderate visible carbonation. The nose definitely had a bit of roasted malts and some chocolate to it, but nothing crazy intense. After a few sniffs, I could have also made an argument that there was a bit of hops to it as well. The taste started with the chocolate and roasted malts that I found in the nose, but then went to bitter hops that lingered until the finish. The more that the brew warmed, I also got a bit of nuttiness to it. The beer was a bit on the thicker side, which I wasn’t expecting. The carbonation was medium and the beer had a silky finish to it. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this brew, but I was pleasantly surprised. I would have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

It was another crazy day. I didn’t get to hit the gym because I had to run a lot of errands, which included soaking beer bottles to get the labels off so that I can bottle my “October Blizzard” brown ale. Let me tell you, using oxyclean to clean out the primary was amazing. There was no scrubbing involved. I read about doing this on a few different blogs and I was a bit doubtful. But, it cleaned the thing without a problem. I also updated the Beers In Waiting pager with the latest brews I picked up on my beer run. Onto the brew of the night. Tonight’s selection is another one from the Sam Winter Variety Pack. I could definitely use a brew after all my errands…

ABV: 5.9%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Spicy and bold, a big Christmas cookie of a beer. Samuel Adams® Old Fezziwig® Ale is bursting with spices of the season. With a remarkably full body and flavor it helps those long winter nights pass more quickly. The rich taste hits the palate with a depth of malt character ranging from sweet toffee and caramel notes to dark, roasty chocolate notes. Then the spices come in full force. Cinnamon, ginger and orange peel dance on the tongue bringing with them the celebratory spirit of the season.”

Random: I’ve only reviewed two winter warmers so far.

This brew poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. This topped a clear, dark mahogany body with mild visible carbonation. The nose had notes of malt, burnt nuts, toffee and a hint of spice that I would term as cinnamon. The taste was pretty much in line with the nose. The spice was a bit more prominent on the taste with some orange peel and toffee. The body was a bit thinner than expected with moderate carbonation. The finish lingered with a bit of the toffee. This was definitely an easy drinking brew with some nice holiday flavors that would go well with a snowy night. Although it wasn’t my favorite brew I’ve had of the style, it was definitely solid and worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager

I’m so glad to be home. It was my first day back at work after 3 days of training (and working from home), so I was crazy busy at work. Since I worked from home, I also didn’t make it to the gym last week. Yeah…skipping a week is not a good idea. I kicked my own ass. I did 10 miles on the bike and back, triceps and calves. I think I’m going to regret doing 270 lbs on donkey calf raise tomorrow. So now that I’m thoroughly exhausted and freshly showered, time for a review. I haven’t reviewed all that many California Common/Steam beers, so hopefully this one is decent.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: California Common/Steam Beer

Trivia: This won gold at the 2005 GABF for Amber Lager. I guess it’s good enough for me then.

Random: I seriously love Flying Dog’s labels. The names are pretty good too.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, chestnut-brown with mild visible carbonation. The nose was all caramel malty sweetness. I didn’t get much else from it. The taste started with maltiness and a hint of nuts and then went into a bit of bitterness and finished with a hint of metal. Although the metallic taste wasn’t prominent, it was enough to distract from the other flavors. The body was a touch thicker than expected and carbonation was mild. The finish hung around with the metallic taste. Although I’m not having a problem drinking the beer, it really didn’t do much for me. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0