Carton DDH Epitome

One of the only benefits of working the day after Christmas was getting to pick up this beer. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 10.3%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “As a general rule, we at Carton Brewing strive for drinkability through balance and harmonization of flavors. But even self-imposed rules are meant to be broken. Double Dry Hyped Epitome embraces the teenage metalhead in each of us and gets discordant with a seriously hoppy, high gravity, black ale. The only notions accepted were to make it bigger, bolder, hotter & faster. A beast. It had to push past 10, literally. The black had to be ‘none more,’ and hops American and piled on like a double bass drum kicking faster and harder. Drink Double Dry Hyped Epitome because we wrote DDH on a beer. *On this version of this beer, we multiplied dry hop weight and occurrence by a factor of two of the beer we’ve previously made.”

Random: I found this beer by chance at Cranbury Buy Rite.

The beer poured with a full finger of tan head. It took awhile to dissipate and left generous lacing. The body was black with no carbonation visible. The nose was filled with pine trees and dark, roasty malts. There was a lot of dank hops in this. The taste was intense, but not overwhelming. I picked up lots of pine and dank hops and a touch of citrus to brighten it. The roasty malts came through next with a touch of coffee. The alcohol was noticeable, but I wouldn’t have assumed 10% on this bad boy. The body was silky and smooth with just enough carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with dank hops. This beer was awesome. I’m so glad that I got to try it. It’s definitely worth picking up.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Carton APIOGERETLA

One of the perks of where my job is located is that it’s about 5 minutes away from Cranbury Buy Rite and it’s on my way home. The store gets a great selection of beers, especially ones from Jersey, like Carton.

ABV: 10%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Not much to analyze about APIOGERETLA. Sometimes you just fancy a dank Black American Ale to sip on, so that’s what we made. Multiple hops, multiple malts, and multiple yeasts combined in a way to feed the dank side of our enjoyment. Drink APIOGERETLA because it’s the dankness you want.”

Random: This is listed as a special beer from Carton.

The beer poured with a one finger, tan head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose started with roasted malts and a touch of smoke, but quickly transitioned into dank pine. The taste started with the same roasted malt and smoke. It went into dank pine oil and hops. There was some grass along with a touch of sweetness at the end of the sip to balance it out. There was a warming sensation from the high ABV, but not nearly as much as I would have expected from a 10% ABV beer. The body was on the thicker side with generous carbonation. It had a long, sticky finish from the hops. A pounder can of this was $4, which came to $.25 per ounce. This beer was outstanding and one of the best black IPAs that I’ve ever had. It was perfectly balanced, had lots of flavor and despite the high ABV, wasn’t overly aggressive.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Maine Beer Company Weez

As you can read below, this is the “fraternal twin” of Another One. If you want to see what I thought of that beer, take a look here.

weez

ABV: 7.2%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We took a bold blend of hops and brewed it two ways. Weez is the hoppy result of blending with dark malts, while Another One is the smart blond fraternal twin. Hoppy and ‘roasty’ from start to finish, this version is named Weez after our brewer Mark’s cat. A tasty black ale, it’s dedicated to stray cats everywhere — especially those cared for by a group we support, HART, the Homeless Animal Rescue Team of Maine.”

Random: I love the simplicity of Maine Beer Company’s labels.

This beer poured with a one finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. It also left a huge crown on top of the dark brown, almost black body. Because of the color, there was no visible carbonation. The nose was really piney, almost like Pine Sol. Then, it went into deep roasted malt notes and cold brew coffee. The taste was the opposite. It started with the roasted malts and dark chocolate. Coffee came through too and was backed up by grassy hops and pine sap. The body was thick and had a touch of booze. It had mild carbonation that I wish was a little more prevalent. The finish lasted on my tongue forever with smoke and roasted malts. This was $8.99 for a 16 ounce bottle, which meant I paid $.56 per ounce. I really enjoyed this beer, just like I enjoy every beer from Maine Beer Company. I wish it had a touch more hops, but that’s really my only complaint.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

The Other Farm Drinc Hael

Val and I went into Pennsylvania to visit some breweries. This brewery was in the middle of Boyertown, which is a sleepy little town with not much going on. This brewery is also a coffeehouse and it was basically empty when we were there. This was the first beer that we had.

drinchael

ABV: 7%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Drinc Hael is brewed in the traditions of our Saxon ancestors. This ancient ale is a warm wintery dark malted style. Brewed with holiday spices and blue spruce tips. This selection of natural preservation and flavoring botanicals chosen is certain to please the nose, spruce the pallet, and warm the heart.”

Random: They had another room in the back that was a stage. It looked like they had a lot of local musicians come there, which is probably a good thing if you live in a small town.

The beer poured with a one finger, thick, tan head. It dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with high visible carbonation. The nose was pleasant and had roasted malts, cocoa powder, mint and spruce tips. Unfortunately, the taste wasn’t as good. It had a lot of mint. The spruce tips came through as well, but competed with the mint. Any balance that would have been offered by the cocoa powder or the roasted malts was lost. I kept trying to find the spice in it as well, but alas, it wasn’t there. The body was thick and chewy, and I would have guessed that the ABV was higher than 7% ABV. The finish lasted forever with mint and spruce. I’ve had some beers that use spruce tips that have been absolutely excellent (Banded Horn Greenwarden)and I thought this beer would be as good. I was wrong. I wouldn’t have this again and didn’t finish the glass.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Vault Simarillo Dark IPA

This was the second beer that we tried during our last visit to Vault. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black IPA on their taplist, so I was really interested to see their interpretation.

simarillo

ABV: 6.6%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A Cascadian Dark Ale hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo. Notes of pine, resin, bitter coffee, charred pecans, roast, and a hint of stone fruit.”

Random: This comes in at 77 IBUs.

This beer poured with a one finger, thick tan head that took forever to dissipate. It left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown with no visible carbonation due to the lack of lighting and the color of the beer. The nose had a lot piney hops and quickly went into roasted malts with smoke. There wasn’t much citrus, at least on the nose. The taste started really roasty with notes of cocoa powder and smoke and then transitioned into pine sap. It had some pine needles to it as well, but I didn’t pick up on the stone fruit or the charred pecans, which I think would have helped to give the beer some complexity. There was bitter coffee that came through after a few sips. The body was very light for the style and had a lot of carbonation, so there wasn’t any issues throwing this one back. It had a long finish with roasted malts, cocoa and pine resin. As I said, I didn’t have any problems drinking the beer, but it didn’t do anything amazing with the style. If you’re looking for a beer to give someone just getting into the style, this wouldn’t be a bad option.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Element Dark Element

Another day, another new brewery (well, at least new to me). I picked this one up in Maine. I’m not sure if they are distributed to New Jersey currently, but I can tell you that I haven’t seen them on Jersey shelves lately. Let’s see how this went down.

darkelement

ABV: 9%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This New American Black Ale, our strongest signature beer, has the malt profile of an Imperial Schwartz Beer and the floral characteristics of an American IPA. Saturated in hops, this intrepid style offers smooth dark toffee and chocolate flavors without the roasted bitterness found in many ‘dark’ beers.”

Random: The fact that the bombers are wrapped in paper reminds me of some of the wines that my Dad has pulled out of his cellar.

This beer poured with a three finger, khaki colored head. It dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was cola colored with no carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of smoke and roasted, chocolate malt. It had some citrus peel and hops at the end of the sniff. The taste was more towards the roasty side at first. It had the same roasted malts and light notes of milk chocolate. Some sweetness came through too with toffee. There was a hop presence, but it was more on the muted side with grapefruit peel. This was more towards the side of malty than IPA. The alcohol also gave it some heat and the end of the sip. The body was medium thickness with light carbonation. The finish was quick with roasted malts and chocolate. A bomber of this was $14.99, which came to $.68 per ounce. This was a really interesting beer and although the balance wasn’t the best of the style, it was a flavorful beer that I had no problem drinking.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Carton Epitome

One of my favorite parts of Monday nights is that I know I can listen to a beer podcast on the way home. If you haven’t listened to “Steal This Beer,” you absolutely need to. Augie Carton leads the podcast along with a guest and if you’re lucky, he has John Holl on (although some listeners think that he misses the podcast because he’s too hungover from shotgunning cases of Genessee Cream Ale). The guests are awesome and the discussions that ensue are educational and hilarious. Since I’ve talked about the podcast, I think it’s only fitting that I review a Carton beer.

epitome

ABV: 10.3%

Style: American Black Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We don’t have many rules at Carton Brewing and those we have we made up for ourselves. In general though, we strive for drinkability through balance and harmonization of flavors. But even self-imposed rules are meant to be broken. With Epitome we decided to embrace the teenage metalhead in each of us and get discordant with a seriously hoppy, high gravity, black ale. The only notions accepted were to make it bigger, bolder, hotter & faster. A Beast. The ABV had to push past 10, the black had to be ‘none more,’ and the hops had to be American and piled on like a double bass drum kicking faster and harder. Drink Epitome because things worth doing are worth over doing.”

Random: This comes in at 100 IBUs.

This brew 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 color that I couldn’t see any carbonation through. The nose started with dank, pine hops and some citrus notes as well. Then, roasted malts and light milk chocolate came through. The taste was intense, yet retained some balance. At first, I picked up the same milk chocolate with roasted malts and a touch of smoke. It seamlessly transitioned into dank, piney hops and grapefruit zest. The alcohol on this was insanely well hidden. It had a thick and chewy body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with pine oil and roasted malts. I don’t recall what I paid for the beer, but there was a two-can limit on it. Whatever the price was, I would pay for this beer. This beer was flat-out amazing. It is one of the best that I’ve had of the style and I would highly recommend this to anyone.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0