Founders Curmudgeon’s Better Half

So, as I said in my last post, Katie got to pick a beer from the cellar for me to sample tonight. She chose this one, since, as she put it, she’s my better half. I got this one awhile ago and it’s been sitting in the cellar since. I tend to really enjoy old ales and this will make a great sipper while I watch a few more episodes of “Bar Rescue.”

ABV: 11.9%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: The base of this is Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale and aged in bourbon barrels with maple syrup.

Random: Oh, how I love anything aged in bourbon barrels. It’s been awhile.

I brought out the big boy glassware for this one. It poured with a one finger tan head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, dark mahogany color with limited visible carbonation. The nose had a huge amount of bourbon to it with a hint of sweetness. It was really inviting. The taste was just knock your socks off. The showstoppers were caramel, vanilla and oak and bourbon. There was a little bit of maple sweetness to it, but not as much as I expected. The mouthfeel was sticky and heavy with low carbonation. It finished long with lots of booze warming and oak. There was really nothing that I could complain about with this beer. It was a great bourbon barrel beer and so much better than its non-barrel aged base. Although I doubt I’ll be able to have this again, I definitely would in a second.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Fort Collins Chocolate Stout

I’m finally caught up with my beer reviews. I didn’t do much today. I worked for a few hours in dispatch and then came home. I was so exhausted I took a nap. Then, I caught up on reviews and watched “Bar Rescue,” which is a great show. Tonight, I let Katie pick a beer from the cellar, but it’s not cold enough yet, so I’m reviewing this one first. This is the last brew from the mixed twelve that I got down the shore.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: This brew came in at 35 IBUs.

Random: I can’t wait until the weekend and it’s not even Monday yet…not a good sign.

This brew poured with a one finger, thick tan head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color. There was some carbonation visible, despite the dark color of the brew. I let the brew warm for about 10 minutes and then took a good sniff of it. The nose was really nice with roasted malts and some bittersweet chocolate. The taste had some definite chocolate notes, almost like Nestle Quik powder with roasted malts. It had a bit of sweetness at the end. The body was on the thinner side with moderate carbonation. The finish was pretty quick with some roasted malts. The flavors were decent, but for me, it was just missing something. The chocolate flavor was just a little odd to me. This is probably the best brew in the mixed twelve, but it was just missing something. I wouldn’t rush back to have again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Blue Point Spring Fling Ale

Yet another selection from Katie. I’m pretty lucky. Anyways, she bought it and immediately said that she knew that it was out of season when she bought it, but I hadn’t tried it. Well, twist my arm…

ABV: 6%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “When the Winter is over, Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘hey, let’s party!’ Spring Fling is how we welcome the warmer weather and spirits. Spring Fling Copper Ale strikes a perfect balance between the malty flavor of special German barley and the zesty spice of fresh American hops that results in a delicious, extremely easy to drink brew. The exquisite blend creates a harbinger of the new season with a delicate hop aroma which delivers a perfect pairing for your Spring Fever. Handcrafted from a unique blend of malts, Spring Fling Ale is a perfectly balanced copper ale that delivers a crisp and refreshing taste with subtle hints of nuts and honey. The arrival of Spring Fling means Winter has passed and Summer is right around the corner.”

Random: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…their labels are boring as all get out.

This one poured with a two finger cream-colored head that dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark orange color with some light carbonation visible throughout the body. The nose had some grass and caramel malt, but it was relatively light. It really didn’t smell much like a pale ale. The taste was metall-y malt and some nuttiness at the end. Where were the hops? The body was way too thin and under carbonated. The finish was very fast. There really isn’t much else to say. I wouldn’t call this a pale ale, nor would I have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Boulder Hoopla Pale Ale

Yet another selection courtesy of Katie. I haven’t had a huge amount of Boulder beers, but they tend to be middle of the road for me. They’re decent, but they’re nothing spectacular. I’m hoping this one is better than the others that I’ve had from Boulder.

ABV: 5.7%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “In search of the perfect festival beer, our Boulder Beer brewers and Kyle Hollingsworth, keyboardist of The String Cheese Incident and an avid homebrewer, joined creative forces. Imagination and improvisation flowed freely, and Hoopla was born. Hoopla Pale Ale is dry-hopped with generous amounts of Glacier hops for a fruity, floral hop aroma and flavor that will have your taste buds dancing.”

Random: Thanks for the beer, Kate!

The bad boy poured with a thick, two finger white head that dissipated slowly and left extensive lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, light orange color with light carbonation visible. The nose was a lot of sweet malt with a hint of hops to it. Not exactly what I was expecting. The taste, like the nose, was way more malt forward than I like. The malt itself was very “grainy” and organic, borderline nutty. The hops came through at the end of the sip, but was very subtle. The body was medium thickness with light carbonation. It finished quickly. This was just an alright beer to me. It needed more hop presence and the malt dialed back. I wouldn’t have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Napa Smith Organic IPA

Organic brews have become all the rage. To me, personally, I’m not down with the whole organic thing. I don’t judge anyone who is all about it, but I think it’s a way to jack the price of something up and I’m cheap. I haven’t had many organic beers and I don’t think that I’ve had an organic IPA, so no idea what to really expect on this one.

ABV: 7.1%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We set out first and foremost to make a great IPA, using only the finest organic ingredients. The aroma of our Organic IPA can be described as floral, and even earthy from the use of Palisade, Tettnang and Smaragd hops. Our Organic IPA contains a nice malt backbone that supports the generous amount of hops, and finishes with a bitterness and soft citrus character that discerning IPA drinkers will enjoy.”

Random: This is also the first Napa Smith brew that I’ve had.

This beer poured with a two finger, fluffy white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear orange color with lots of visible carbonation. The nose had grapefruit and grass with a weird band-aid smell to it. It could be possibly infected, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it. The taste was primarily lemon and grapefruit with the same band-aid flavor that I picked up in the nose. The body was light with moderate carbonation. It finished long and bitter. I didn’t like anything about this brew. I wouldn’t have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Warsteiner Premium Dunkel

What happens when you tell your other half that she always buys you British beers? She decides to come home with a German beer. I’ve never had any of the beers from the Warsteiner family, so I’m not exactly sure what to expect. I will say that I’m not a huge fan of the style, so I’m not expecting that this will be a new favorite beer, but I’m keeping an open mind.

ABV: 4.9%

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Trivia: According to, “Warsteiner beer is brewed in the Arnsberg Forest Nature Park outside of Warstein, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Warsteiner has been a product of the Cramer family since 1753. Warsteiner is Germany’s largest privately owned brewery; its most popular beer is ‘Warsteiner Premium Verum’. Albert Cramer (* 1943) is the owner of Warsteiner, his daughter Catharina is (April 2012) managing director since 2006.”

Random: Warsteiner also sponsors competitive hot air ballooning in Germany. I’m not exactly sure what that entails.

This brew poured with a thick, two finger tan head that dissipated slowly. It didn’t leave any lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark mahogany color with light visible carbonation. The nose was a lot of nutty malt and not much else. Ugh. The taste was the nutty malt mixed with some metal and skunk. I didn’t really get much else. Yeah, definitely not liking this one. The body was on the thicker side with the same moderate carbonation that I saw initially. The finish was quick and unremarkable. This was not an impressive brew. I wouldn’t have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Smuttynose S’muttonator

This was another beer that Katie bought. She’s quite cute. She goes on the blog and tries to buy me stuff from breweries that I’ve had before and enjoyed selections from. This happens to be one of those brews that has been on my list to try forever. I’ve read great reviews about this, so I was excited to crack the bomber open.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: Doppelbock

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “S’muttonator is a tasty mixture of German ingredients & good ol’ fashioned New England tenaciousness. Our brewers take 30 hours to brew a single batch of this traditional Double Bock. Take your time & enjoy its rich, malty & deceptively smooth flavor.”

Random: I need to try more brews from Smutty. They really have some good selections, especially in their big beer series.

This one poured with a huge head. I think you could infer that from the picture. The head itself was tan and dissipated slowly. Despite the size of the head, the lacing left was quite limited. The body was a slightly cloudy mahogany color with limited carbonation. The nose was nutty and malty with some maple sweetness. The taste was even better than the nose. It started with some sweet malt and then went into serious caramel sweetness with some hop at the end. There was really no booze presence on this one The body was on the thicker side with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy and syrupy with generous sweetness. Easily one of the best of the style that I’ve had. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Maredsous 8 – Brune

The last brew that I had at Twin Light was this one. I figured that I should have one more Belgian brew for the road. This one also came highly recommended. I hadn’t had a dubbel in awhile and the glass it came in was really pretty. So, tasting time.

ABV: 8%

Style: Dubbel

Trivia: According to, “In 1963, Moortgat began brewing its Maredsous line of abbey beers, under license of the monks of Maredsous Abbey. There are currently three beers offered under the Maredsous name: Maredsous Blonde (blonde ale, 6% ABV), Maredsous Brune (dubbel, 8% ABV), and Maredsous Triple (trippel, 10% ABV).”

Random: On my last beer run, I grabbed a Belgian or two, just in case I get a Belgian craving again.

This one poured with a one finger, tan-colored head that took forever to dissipated. Once it did, it left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy light brown color with moderate visible carbonation. The nose was dark fruits, specifically plum and raisin. I also picked up candi sugar and some booze. The taste was very pleasant and well-balanced. There was the dark fruit that I got in the nose, candi sugar and a maple syrup sweetness (albeit that was very subtle). The Belgian yeast was present, but took back seat in this one. The body was on the heavier side with moderate carbonation. Where was the booze on this one? This could definitely be a very dangerous brew with the higher ABV and not being able to taste it. This was a great sipping beer. I loved this beer. I would have this one again in a second.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Ommegang Gnomegang

Have you ever really wanted to try a beer but you keep passing it in the beer store thinking you’ll pick it up next time? You do this so many times that eventually it’s just not available any more. That’s my story with this brew. This is a collaboration brew and I thought that since I just waited too long, my shot at trying it was over. Luckily, this was so popular that Ommegang and Achouffe decided to brew it again. Since it was available on tap at Twin Light, I decided that I’d waited long enough.

ABV: 9.5%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The cheerful gnomes of Belgian farmstead Brasserie d ‘Achouffe dropped by the Brewery Ommegang farmstead brewery in the summer of 2010. In appearance, Gnomegang is a rich, translucent gold, with a big, fluffy white head. The high-carbonation is readily apparent. The nose focuses on distinctive clove aromas, combined with yeasty fruitiness typical of Chouffe beers. Flavors include ripe fruit, clove, light caramel, non-cloying candy sweetness, smooth maltiness, and well-balanced hopping. Mouthfeel offers a big, round body with full, fine carbonation. The finish is dry and warming, lingering gracefully.”

Random: I’m not a huge fan of lawn gnomes. Just saying.

This brew poured with half a finger of pure white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy bright orange color with light carbonation. The nose had yeast and citrus, but was overall a very light nose. I’m guessing this was because the guy next to me at the bar had ordered fries and this was very prevalent The taste was just phenomenal. It had a huge amount of citrus up front, specifically lots of lemon and orange. Wheat came out as well with some yeast and coriander. At the end of the sip, a bit of sweetness came out. The body was lighter than I expected with a huge amount of carbonation. It finished  forever with citrus and yeast. One of the striking aspects of this beer was how hidden the booze was. I absolutely loved this brew. It was so bright and so flavorful. A great Belgian for a hot summer like this.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Straffe Hendrik Brugse Tripel Bier 9°

Sometimes, I go through these weird beer cravings. I mean, I’m a dedicated hop head, so I’m almost always in the mood for an IPA. But, lately I’ve been wanting Belgian brews. I haven’t had any in awhile, so that could be why. So, last weekend (which was also conveniently Belgian Independence Day), I headed to one of my favorite beer bars in New Jersey (Twin Light Tap House) and had some of their Belgians on tap. This was the first one.

ABV: 9%

Style: Tripel

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Straffe Hendrik is a Bitter Tripel Ale of 9% abv. The beer was originally from Bruges and brewed in Bruges by brewery De Halve Maan. In 1981, Henri Maes and his daughter Véronique followed the demand of the mayor and created a strong blond beer for the inaugration of the statue of Sint-Arnoldus, the saint of all beer-brewers. However, the beer became so popular, that the demand fot the beer continued. It was given the name of Straffe Hendrik (Strong Hendrick), since it was a rich and strong beer. Today, Straffe Hendrik is the last authentic Tripel Ale of Bruges.”

Random: This was recommended to me by Mark. I hadn’t even heard of this one before, but he said that it was great on tap.

This bad boy poured with a one finger, off white head on a cloudy orange body. It dissipated very slowly and left some lacing on the glass. There was no visible carbonation on the brew due to the cloudiness. The nose was just great. I got golden fruit, lemon, Belgian yeast and spice. Although, it is worth mentioning that this wasn’t as heavy a nose as I’m used to for a tripel. The taste was just as good as the nose. It teemed with golden fruit, apricot and coriander. Lemon came through as well after a few sips. This was really bright for a tripel. Some other notes came through later of wheat and hay. There really was a lot going on with this beer. The booze let you know that it was there with some slight warming. The body was medium thickness with moderate carbonation. The brew had a length finish with Belgian yeast. I loved this beer. One of the more interesting and bright Belgians. I would definitely have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0