Ballast Point Victory At Sea – High West Barrel-Aged

I couldn’t wait to open this beer. It’s gotten some really good reviews, so let’s see how it was.

ABV: 12%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “IMPERIAL PORTER WITH COFFEE AND VANILLA FLAVORS AGED IN HIGH WEST BOURBON AND RYE BARRELS. We partnered with our friends at High West® Distillery to create a barrel-aged version of Ballast Point Victory at Sea, our award-winning Imperial Porter with cold-steeped coffee and vanilla. From a blend of Ballast Point Victory at Sea aged in High West’s own bourbon & rye whiskey oak casks, new layers of complexity emerge with notes of soft caramel and smoky oak over a dark chocolate and roasted almond body. High West crafts delicious and distinctive whiskeys to honor the American West, making it the perfect pairing with our signature San Diego-born porter.”

Random: I’ve been avoiding Ballast Point beers since they got bought out, but I couldn’t walk past this one.

This beer poured with a finger and a half of tan head that dissipated slowly, but left very little lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown that was almost black with no carbonation visible. The nose was filled with dark coffee that bordered on espresso. Vanilla came through next, along with some warm bourbon and oak. The taste was intense. The booze was apparent up front, but was quickly countered by bourbon and vanilla and oak. It went into smoke and roasted malts with a touch of black licorice. The body was thick with light carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with bourbon. A bottle of this was $5.79, which came to $.48 per ounce. This beer was pricey but the bourbon barrel aging made it very impressive.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

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SingleCut Dean Pacific Northwest Mahogany Ale

Since I got my new MacBook Pro, I’m shocked at how long the battery lasts, how quickly it charges and how quickly web pages load. Val has been laughing at me all day at how surprised I am, but given I was using a 10 year old MacBook Pro, this is like night and day.

ABV: 6%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “HEY Y’ALL!: 1) Let’s grow a big, bushy beard 2) Let’s get (insert multiple number) piercings 3) Sleeves 4) Drink an ale that’s got that PNW hop and malt attitude 5) And let’s color our hair mahogany.”

Random: This beer comes in at 82 IBUs.

This beer poured with a ridiculously large, four finger, loose, cream-colored head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of carbonation on the glass. The body was clear and a deep mahogany color with only a little bit of carbonation visible. The aroma was a lot more hoppy than I would expect from the style. It had a lot of pine from the hops along with some grapefruit, that was quickly followed up by toffee and caramel malt. The taste still had a lot of pine hops, but also had a touch of green herbs. I specifically picked up some basil. The malt came through next and imparted some caramel and toffee notes. The body was on the medium side with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy pine finish that stuck to my tongue for awhile. I picked this beer up for $9.99, which broke down to $.45 per ounce, which is on the cheaper side for a SingleCut beer. I liked this beer, but I’m generally just not a fan of the style.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Yards Barrel-Aged Sour Saison

This was the second beer that I had at Yards at the recommendation of the server.

ABV: 6.5%

Style: Saison

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “You don’t have to go far to get away this summer. Our new taproom and brewery at 5th and Spring Garden Streets offers 20 taps of fresh, quality Yards ales and a full beer-friendly dining menu crafted by Chef Jim Burke. Get together with some friends and have a beer and a bite to eat outside in the shade of our towering steel brewing tanks. While you’re here, go on a tour to see for yourself how Yards beers are brewed, bottled, canned, and kegged for the good people of Philadelphia and beyond.”

Random: There is no information about this beer on the website since it’s a brewery only release.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was hazy and bright orange with some floaties visible. There was only light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with yeast along with some citrus and lots of oak and white grapes. The taste kicked in with some of the sour notes. It had white vinegar along with white grapes and oak. There was some vanilla as well as yeast. It had a light body with a lot of carbonation. The finish was quick, but had a lot of tartness to it. I liked this beer a lot and the addition of the oak added to the depth of it.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Yards Russian Imperial Stout

Before the wedding, Val and I spent a lot of time in Philly going to a jewelry store to get our engagement rings and later, wedding bands made. They screwed my band up, so I ended up having to get it remade and had to pick it up days before the wedding (not stressful at all). One day on the way home, we passed the new Yards taproom and Val stopped so we could try a few beers.

ABV: 8.2%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “You don’t have to go far to get away this summer. Our new taproom and brewery at 5th and Spring Garden Streets offers 20 taps of fresh, quality Yards ales and a full beer-friendly dining menu crafted by Chef Jim Burke. Get together with some friends and have a beer and a bite to eat outside in the shade of our towering steel brewing tanks. While you’re here, go on a tour to see for yourself how Yards beers are brewed, bottled, canned, and kegged for the good people of Philadelphia and beyond.”

Random: There’s no information about this beer on the brewery website because it’s a brewery only release.

The beer poured with a finger and a half of tan head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the tulip glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was filled with dark chocolate, licorice and booze. The taste had slightly more depth. It started with dark chocolate and espresso. It transitioned into burnt malts, licorice and leather. The booze wasn’t as apparent on the taste as it was the nose. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with dark chocolate. I thought this was a good interpretation of a Russian imperial stout that was worth giving a shot.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Schlafly Double Bean Blonde Ale

I’m finally done with getting the blog current. This means that I can go back to scheduling posts! Let’s get started with this beer from Schlafly.

ABV: 6.3%

Style: American Blonde Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Darkness and romance lurk beneath the golden exterior of this ale that combines the prominent flavors and aromas of coffee and the smooth richness of chocolate. We use simple, straightforward malts and hops to keep the focus on the notable characteristics of the featured ingredients. After the beer is fermented, we let it rest on cocoa nibs sourced from Ghana—one of the world’s largest chocolate exporters. In the final stage of production we add a cold coffee toddy made from filtered water and finely ground beans roasted by St. Louis’ own Kaldi’s Coffee and sourced directly from the Shiwanda Estate in Africa’s southeastern Tanzania.”

Random: This beer is a special release from the brewery.

The beer poured with a two finger, very loose, slightly off white head. It dissipated quickly, but left very little lacing on the glass. The body was mostly clear and bright orange in color. It had a lot of floaties in the body. There was light carbonation visible. The nose had pale malt, chocolate shavings and light roasted coffee. The taste had slightly more depth than the nose, but not much. The chocolate shavings and light roasted coffee came through first. The pale malt came through next with some toffee as well. The body was on the medium side with moderate carbonation. It had a quick finish with coffee. A bottle of this was $2, which broke down to $.17 per ounce. I thought this beer was decent, but nothing mind-blowing.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Troegs The Mad Elf Grand Cru

I was so excited when Troegs announced they were putting out a grand cru version of Mad Elf. It took me awhile to find it, but when I did, I couldn’t wait to review it.

ABV: 11%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We’ve been wanting to do this for a while now. Twenty years in just feels right. If you know Tröegs, you know The Mad Elf, the mischievous belle of the holiday beer ball that helped put our little brewery on the map. In your hands is the Director’s Cut. Tart Balaton cherries – loads of them – make all the difference. Bottle-conditioned and flush with notes of cinnamon and clove, this beer begs to be shared. Take a bottle home, gather your friends, and cherish the cherries.”

Random: I still need to make my way to the new Troegs brewery.

The beer poured with a half finger of white head. It dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass, but did leave a slight crown on top of the body. The body was a dark reddish-brown with only slight visible carbonation due to the dark color of the body. The nose was filled with Belgian yeast, cherries and lots of cinnamon and clove. The taste was more of the same. It was like a dialed up version of the original with lots of cherries and honey. It transitioned into yeast and then lots of holiday spice with clove, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. There was a touch of vanilla and the end of the sip, along with some heat from the booze. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with cherry and booze. I picked this bottle up for $15.99, which came to $.73 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer a lot, but could have used a year of age to tame the booze.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Cigar City Cafe Con Leche Stout

I love Cigar City beers and this one sounded right up my alley. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 6%

Style: Milk/Sweet Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Sweet, roasty and always invigorating, traditional Latin American cafe con leche coffee can be found nearly everywhere in our hometown of Tampa, Florida and serves as the inspiration for our Cafe Con Leche Sweet Stout. The beer is made with bold, strong coffee beans to emulate the most characterful Cuban espresso and lactose, a milk sugar that adds sweetness, body and flavors reminscent of scalded milk. Despite it’s assertive flavors and full body, our sweet stout is deceptively low in alcohol, making it the perfect accompaniment to a late-morning plate of eggs, bacon and tostatas.”

Random: I never thought about pairing a beer with bacon and eggs, but I think that needs to be rectified.

The beer poured with a three finger, light brown head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown that was almost black. I couldn’t see any carbonation due to the color. The nose was filled with roasted malts and chocolate. I picked up espresso and lactose next. The taste started with a significant lactose sweetness. It quickly transitioned into milk chocolate and espresso. Smoke came through at the end of the sip. The body was on the medium side with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with lactose. I picked this up for $12.99, which came to $.59 per ounce. I thought this beer was good, but definitely on the more expensive side.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0