B. Nektar Black Fang

Well, we’re getting down to the home stretch of end of quarter. Add to it that we have a blizzard coming. That should be even more fun. Today wasn’t a bad day, despite losing internet, which made it exceptionally boring. I’ve been trying to add my Untappd scores to old reviews and wanted to get some of that done today. But, without any internet, that didn’t happen. Anyways, let’s see how this mead was. I first had it at ACBF and really enjoyed it.

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ABV: 6%

Style: Mead

Trivia: According to greatbrewers.com, “A lightly carbonated, semi-sweet mead made with wildflower Honey, blackberry juice, cloves and orange peel.”

Random: I finished my Netflix disc tonight. It was “Inside the FBI” and they were showing off all of their 1990s technology.

This mead poured a beautiful, raspberry red color that had no carbonation visible. The body was clear. The nose was very fragrant with blackberries and clove. Honey came through as well with some orange zest. The taste was intensely fruity with blackberries being the dominant flavor. Honey sweetness was next, along with clove and some nutmeg. The body was moderate with no carbonation to it. It had a long and fruity finish with blackberries and honey sweetness finishing up the sip. Although I remember really enjoying this at the Atlantic City Beer Fest, having it now, the taste was bordering on medicinal (which is what the lawyer said), but it worked for me. It did not work for the lawyer. Despite being $8.59 for a 500ml bottle, I enjoyed this one and would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Smuttynose Smuttlabs White IPA

I’m finally home after another exhausting day at work. In other news, we have our home inspection done, so we’re one step closer to actually getting the house. Anyways, brew time.

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ABV: 4.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We’re very proud of each of our Smuttynose beers. However, our brewing staff has many ideas that can’t be done on a large scale; this is where Smuttlabs comes into play. From barrel-aging and beer souring to culinary collaborations and special projects that just don’t fit anywhere else, if a project is out of the ordinary, unique or time consuming, you can bet it’ll bear the Smuttlabs name. In 2007, we began these experimental brewings, under the Short Batch Series name. As we’ve increased production and volumes of these eccentric beers, we’ve rechristened them ‘Smuttlabs,’ to reflect the creative experimentation found in each batch. Smuttlabs releases seek to bridge the gap between ‘rare’ and ‘hard to find.’ Brewing on these terms, success can take different forms. Some releases may have semi-regular production and others may never see a mash tun again. There will constantly be Smuttlabs beers in all phases of production from conception, to brewing and fermentation to aging and packaging.”

Random: Tonight’s Netflix disc is “Inside The FBI.”

The first thing I noticed about this is the label. It said that this beer was best fresh and was brewed in August, 2014. I guess I failed on that one. I popped the cork and it definitely had some carbonation to it. It had a one finger white head that took forever to dissipate and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy yellow color with lots of carbonation visible. The nose was very fragrant. Initially, it was reminiscent of cat urine, which wasn’t pleasant, but as it warmed up a little, I picked up a lot of citrus fruit with an emphasis on grapefruit and some sweetness and wheat. Based on the nose, it seemed to be more towards a wit than an IPA. The taste was interesting. It had more wheat aspects with some sweetness and citrus to it, but then went slightly bitter with grassy hops. The body was medium but very, very dry and had high carbonation. The finish was also dry with more of the bitter aspects and grassy hops. This beer was on the expensive side at $6.99 for a corked and caged single and wasn’t mindblowing. I wouldn’t rush to have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

The Bruery Preservation Series: Ignis Fatuus

This was sitting on the shelves at Joe Canal’s. I’ve never gotten anything from the Preservation series, so I was quite excited. Let’s see how it was.

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ABV: 8.3%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Ignis Fatuus is a special brew created just in time for Autumn activities. The base is a rich, robust porter that was brewed with an addition of puréed pumpkins. Like all great pumpkin recipes, we then added a subtle addition of seasonal spices to balance with the roasty character. We invite you to enjoy the nuanced flavors while telling ghost stories around an illuminating jack-o’-lantern.”

Random: I am not all about this snow. I guess it’s pretty?

This beer poured with a one finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black and impossible to see through, so ascertaining the carbonation was impossible. The nose was not like the typical pumpkin beer. It was more porter than anything. There was roasted malts, chocolate, light Autumn spice and then a slight sour note. The taste had more spice notes to it, with cinnamon and nutmeg and gourd flavors, but quickly went into roasted malts and coffee. Although I picked up a lot of typical pumpkin spices, this was a peculiar beer and had the same tart note that I picked up in the nose. The body was thin with heavy carbonation. The finish was long with roasted malts and tartness and light gourd. This beer was alright, but for $33.99 a bomber, I would definitely not have this again. This price broke down to $1.55 an ounce, which is insanity, especially for the fact that this was just an alright beer. This was definitely a disappointment.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Spellbound IPA

This was a beer I was excited to try. I’m a huge fan of having local beers and when the other half brought this home, I had never had a beer from the brewery. Before the review, I managed to visit the brewery and sample a few beers from them. This is their flagship beer and one of the only beers from them that I’ve seen canned. Time to crack it open.

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ABV: 6.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “One of our flagship beers. Aggressive hoppy aromas and flavors intertwined with a malty backbone to balance it out. Dry hopped to bring out a blend of bright citrus and pine hop character.”

Random: We have about a half an inch of snow here. I am not looking forward to my drive in tomorrow.

This beer poured with a two finger, slightly off white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on my IPA glass. The body was a hazy, bright orange color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was big with lots of grapefruit and tropical fruit. Specifically, mango and pineapple. The taste had a bit more depth. I got the same grapefruit and tropical fruit in the taste, along with pine and grass. There was only a little bit of malt at the end to balance it. The body was relatively thick with generous carbonation. It had an intensely bitter finish with pine and mango. I really enjoyed this beer, which was $1.50 a can, which is about $.12 an ounce, which is definitely worth it. If you see this on the shelves and you enjoy IPAs, definitely give this one a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Henry Hotspur’s Hard Pressed For Cider

The lawyer is still stuck at work. I bet she’s upset that she’s missing yet another Netflix. This one is a movie from 1997 about Oscar Wilde. It has a very young Jude Law in it. It’s mildly interesting at best. This is a cider that the other half picked up at Trader Joe’s awhile back. Let’s see how this one was.

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ABV: 5.8%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Sir Henry Percy KG (20 May 1364 – 21 July 1403), commonly known as Sir Harry Hotspur, or simply Hotspur, was a late medieval English nobleman. He was known as one of the most valiant knights of his day, and was a significant captain during the Anglo-Scottish wars. He later led successive rebellions against Henry IV of England, and was slain at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 at the height of his career.”

Random: For once, I really don’t care about who wins the Super Bowl.

This cider poured with absolutely no head on top of a clear, green-tinged body with light carbonation visible. The nose was straight apple juice without much else. The taste was much of the same. Red delicious apples and juice along with nice bubbles on the tongue. The body was thicker than expected. Despite the very slightly elevated ABV, there was no alcohol on the taste. The finish was neither long, nor short and had crisp, apple juice. This cider was straightforward and tasty, but in that, it was boring. It didn’t do much for me and I would not rush to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Sly Fox 2014 Christmas Ale

So, instead of complaining about work as I usually do, I’ll share some news. We finally found
a house and we’re out of attorney review. In theory, we should be in the house by March. It has a sweet bar that I can put my kegerator in. I’m starting to get excited, despite how stressful this entire process is. Anyways, let’s get to the beer, more about the house later.

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ABV: 5.5%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This malty, full-bodied red ale is made with traditional mulling spices: Ginger, Clove, All Spice, Cinnamon & Nutmeg. If this one doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, you truly are a Scrooge.”

Random: I’m down to 21 discs on my Netflix queue.

This beer poured with a three finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark mahogany with moderate carbonation. The nose was filled with spices, specifically nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. There was some sweet malt present too. After a few sniffs, I picked up some cherries. The taste was spice dominant. I picked up nutmeg and allspice primarily. Then, I got some sweet malt with caramel too. There was no booze to speak of, which isn’t surprising, given the ABV. It had a thick and chewy body with high carbonation. The finish was long with spice and sweet malt. This brew was pretty good, especially when so many holiday beers are absolute booze bombs. For $6.99 a bomber, which broke down to $.32 an ounce, this isn’t an overly expensive beer and was enjoyable to drink. It’s worth seeking out.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Belzebuth

Another day of work down. Today wasn’t as bad as normal, which was a nice change. Anyways, let’s see how this beer went.

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ABV: 13%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The strongest beer in the world, to savour cool, between 6 and 8°C. Beer of top fermentation, Belzebuth represents the achievement of a more than one hundred year-old know-how, the one of the Brewery Grain d’Orge. Under its copper colour, it hides a strong character for the lovers of sensations. It owes its strength to the subtle mixture of pure malts, hops and yeasts especially selected by our Master-Brewer.”

Random: I totally fell in the parking lot this morning because the complex didn’t salt. My first reaction was to make sure no one saw me.

This brew poured with less than half a finger of white head into my Duvel glass. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but instead left a slight crown on top of the clear, amber body. There was a lot of visible carbonation. The nose was filled with booze, and let me tell you, it overwhelmed everything else. After I let it warm for a bit, I got some yeast and wheat. The taste was no better. On first sip, the booze hits you like a punch in the mouth. Hot would not be the word for this one. It had booze warming like doing a shot of whiskey. At first, I couldn’t get any other flavors but the alcohol. After a few sips, there was a definite yeast characteristic. Then, intense sweetness came through that wasn’t pleasant either. At the end, a touch of citrus and banana came through, but nothing to cut the unpleasant booze and sweetness. The body was thick and there was moderate carbonation. The finish was long and insanely hot. To me, this beer struck me as only attractive to people because of the ABV. The ABV label was very large on the bottle. The $3.89 a bottle price tag, which was $.32 an ounce is also off-putting. Even if someone handed this to me, I definitely wouldn’t have it again. This is one to avoid.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Neshaminy Creek Churchville Lager

Here’s another beer from Neshaminy Creek and it’s the fourth one I’ve tried from them. Let’s see how this Vienna Lager is.

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ABV: 4.9%

Style: Vienna Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pennsylvania breweries are known for world-class lagers, and this 2013 Great American Beer Fest Gold Medal winning Vienna-style, no fuss amber lager is clean, crisp, and brewed with Munich, and Vienna malts that give it a touch of malt backbone and toast-like character. Hopped exclusively with German Tettnanger hops, it’s got enough hop bitterness to counter that malt backbone as well. Lagered for six-weeks, Churchville Lager comes in at 4.9% ABV, and is the perfect beer for a night out with friends, and family, or the holiday BBQ. Don’t be afraid to order the new ‘Lager’ in town.”

Random: It’s also the fifth beer I’ve had of this style since starting the blog.

This beer poured with a thick, one finger white head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was slightly cloudy and was an amber color with light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with toasted malt and bread. The taste was also malt dominant with some toast and sweetness thrown in. The end of the sip had some very light grass and ended with a touch of bitterness. It had a thicker body than I expected, but was still quite crisp and had moderate carbonation. It had a long finish that lingered on the tongue with toast and the remnants of the hop bitterness as well. For $1.89 a can, it translates into $.16 per ounce, which isn’t bad at all for an easy-drinking, crisp lager. I would highly recommend this one.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Terrapin Midnight Monk

Since the game is on today, the supervisor and myself did not want to miss it even though we were working. I managed to get a stream up of it, but only in Spanish. It’s better than not seeing the game. So far, the game is really good. Saying Seattle just scored, it’s gotten even more interesting. Anyways, another Terrapin beer with another cute label. Let’s see how it went.

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ABV: 9.8%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Take off your robe and slip into the night to get one step closer to the Holy Grail of all beers. ‘Midnight Monk’ Belgian-Style Black IPA will have your senses juggling all the complex flavor and aroma this beer has to offer.”

Random: I am not liking the weather today, especially since it made my truck 3 hours late.

This beer poured with less than half a finger of tan head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color with heavy carbonation visible. The nose had roasted malts, raisins and piney hops. The taste started with alcohol, roasted malts and coffee. It transitioned into piney hops with some sap as well. It was pleasantly bitter. Coffee was present. The alcohol was well hidden in the beer, making it relatively drinkable. The body was thick with medium carbonation. The finish was long with coffee and pine sap. It was $2.30 a bottle, which translated to $.19 an ounce. The beer was only alright to me. The flavors were disjointed and transitioned awkwardly. I wouldn’t rush to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

New Holland The Carhartt Woodsman

So, I’m stuck at work on a Sunday, which pretty much blows. But, I managed to snag some stuff that I really wanted to get during a sale at an online beer retailer. Anyways, this is a beer that Val picked up for me at Canal’s awhile back. I don’t think I’ve ever had a barrel aged pale, so I was interested in seeing how it turned out.

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ABV: 4.4%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Celebrates craftsmanship and hard work. Locally-grown Cascade hops bring a brightness to this barrel-aged American pale ale. Malt sweetness and toasted oak combine for a smooth, refreshing finish.”

Random: By February 1st, I think I will be sufficiently exhausted.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated at a moderate pace. It left some lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, dusky tan color with light carbonation visible. The nose had notes of oak coupled with citrus and pine. The taste had a lot of citrus and dank pine. After a few sips, light oak came through with some vanilla as well. The oak was more subtle than I would have guessed. After the beer warmed, some sweet caramel malt was there too. The flavors transitioned very awkwardly into the oak and I didn’t think it added much. The body was on the thinner side with light carbonation. It definitely needed a bit more. The finish was quick with pine and grass. For $1.99 for the twelve ounce bottle, this broke down to $.17 per ounce, which was on the expensive side for what it was. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0