Victory Java Cask Gold

One of my favorite times of the year is the start of baseball season. This year is even more exciting because the Phillies had a ridiculous offseason of pickups, most notably, Bryce Harper. J.T. Realmulto is no slouch either. Assuming everyone stays healthy, we have a really good shot at successful season. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a Phillies fan.

ABV: 11.8%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Packed with One Village Coffee’s ‘Legend’ dark roast, cut with oats, brown sugar, milk, and cocoa then elevated further with 7 months aging in Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.”

Random: This is a seasonal offering from Victory.

This beer poured with a fluffy, slightly off white head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a medium brown color and clear. There was some carbonation visible in the glass. The nose started with bourbon and vanilla. It quickly went into milk chocolate and a sweet, caramel note. Coffee was present as well. The taste was even more complex. The same bourbon notes were there, along with vanilla. A touch of smoke complemented the cocoa powder and brown sugar. Coffee came through next and worked with all of the other flavors. The body was medium thickness with light carbonation. The alcohol was well-integrated into the beer. It had a lengthy finish with bourbon barrel and vanilla. I thought this beer was outstanding. The bourbon barrel notes didn’t overwhelm the more delicate flavors of the beer. This beer is worth searching out.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Flying Fish IPC Irish Potato Candy

As soon as the Flyers announced they were having a Stadium Series against the Penguins this year, I knew we needed to go. It also happened to be our anniversary weekend and I know my wife wanted nothing more than to sit outside and watch hockey and get rained on (there is some definite sarcasm there). But, she was a good sport, even though she had a nasty chest cold and we took an extra day in the city and went to the spa.

ABV: 10.3%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This beer is based off the traditional Philadelphia confection of Irish Potato Candy. We highlight this Imperial Stout with coconut and hints of cinnamon to celebrate the season. Enjoy this unique offering while it lasts.”

Random: This beer is available in cans and on tap for a limited time.

This beer poured with less than a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was dark black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was filled with roasted malts, coconut, milk chocolate and cinnamon. There was some toffee as well. The taste started with lots of coconut upfront, but not enough to be overwhelming. The toffee and notes of caramel came through next. Vanilla and milk chocolate were present as well. The alcohol was well-hidden. The body was thick and chewy with silkiness and light carbonation. It had a long finish with coconut. Having never had the candy that this beer is doing an homage to, I didn’t know what to expect, but this beer was spectacular. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Bolero Snort The Bull Abides

As a 20-something, I loved the movie “The Big Lebowski.” This beer is obviously a play on the whole White Russian thing from the movie. I’ve never had a White Russian, so I really don’t know what to expect. Although I haven’t had a lot of Bolero Snort beers, I wanted to give it a shot. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 11%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Can #2 and for the first time in aluminum 🎳 THE BULL ABIDES 🥃 11% Imperial White Russian Stout 💥 Loaded up with oats and a varietal of roasted and chocolate malts this thick and luscious stout was conditioned on a bowling bags worth of cocoa nibs 🍫 Madagascar vanilla 🍦 coffee ☕️ and milk sugar 🥛 Just like mixing the perfect cocktail. Far out ✌️”

Random: I really do not like the emojis on the website. I guess that makes me old.

The beer poured with a two finger, light brown head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was almost black with light carbonation visible, despite the color of the beer. The nose was filled with instant coffee and milk chocolate and hazelnuts. The taste had a bit more depth. I picked up cocoa powder, vanilla, lactose, hazelnuts and the same instant coffee. The alcohol was noticeable and the body was thick and chewy. It had a lengthy finish with cocoa powder and vanilla. I’ve never had a White Russian, but the flavors on this were quite good. I really enjoyed this and would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Evil Twin Even More Pecan Pie Jesus

I’ve never really enjoyed pecan pie. I’ve always found it too sticky and sweet. I’m not sure why I thought I should get this beer, but I did…

ABV: 12%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We Have All good intentions to disturb, disorder and enlighten you with unforgettable beer after beer. Because We are so much in love with good taste, all the beers from Evil Twin are prepared in 10 of the best breweries around the world. Exclusively hand picked to please you with delicate, funky, extreme and by all means rare flavors. Maybe not the easiest way, but certainly the most fun!!! One More Thing A clever man once said: ‘Stay thirsty… stay foolish.’ That sounds like our vision, just with a tad less attitude.”

Random: It’s been awhile since I had an Evil Twin. A lot of them are just ridiculously expensive, so I walk away from them in the beer store.

The beer poured with a two finger, light brown head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown, almost black, with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was incredibly sweet. I picked up a lot of milk chocolate as well as pecans covered in brown sugar and some booze. The taste was ridiculously sweet. It had a lot of milk chocolate, molasses and sugary pecans with some maple syrup. The booze was present and didn’t help with the overwhelming sweetness. The body was heavy with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sweet. I’m glad I tried this beer, but I won’t be having it again. It was way too sweet.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Two Roads Saigon Scooter Selfie

Tonight’s beer is one that I picked up awhile back. It’s a collaboration between Two Roads and Evil Twin.

ABV: 9.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Two Roads Brewing Co has joined forces with Evil Twin Brewing yet again with the release of Two Evil’s Saigon Scooter Selfie, a Vietnamese-Style Coffee Stout! For our latest Two Evil collaborative brew, Two Roads’ Master Brewer Phil Markowski and Evil Twin’s Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso sampled and became enamored with a popular Vietnamese coffee drink called ‘Ca Phe Sua Da’ (cah-fe sah dah). Thick and decadent, like a coffee milkshake, it was the inspiration for this Vietnamese-style Coffee Stout. Jeppe and Phil traveled to the chaotic, scooter packed streets of Saigon to meet up with good friends at Heart of Darkness Brewery. It was there that the brewers created the first batch of this collaborative beer. Rich, thick mouthfeel gives way to lush sweetness with hint of coffee character followed by notes of cream, toffee and vanilla. To celebrate the release of Saigon Scooter Selfie, we’ll be hosting a free Meet The Brewers event at Two Roads’ Stratford, CT brewery with Jeppa and Phil on Nov. 29. The event begins at 5:30 pm where we hope can raise a glass (or can), snap a selfie and enjoy a taste of Vietnam!”

Random: I really like coffee drinks and coffee beers are my favorite in Winter.

The beer poured with a two finger, tan head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with some visible carbonation. The nose was filled with lightly roasted coffee and cinnamon. The taste was much of the same. It had a lot of coffee and cinnamon. Smoke came through next. The body was on the thicker side with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with cinnamon. I thought this was a nice beer that would pair well with a dessert. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Cape May Boughs of Barley 2018: Scotch Whisky

Tonight’s beer is one that I really was interesting in trying. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 11.1%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “‘Boughs of Barley has always been a fun and experimental route for us,’ says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm, ‘playing around with rarer styles of giant, spirit barrel-aged beers, and it’s always taken us in new directions.’ Our first iteration back in 2016 was a bourbon barrel-aged, bottle-conditioned barleywine that nearly broke the B key on our keyboard. Last year, we tried our hand at a Belgian dark ale aged in Cognac and Bourbon barrels. ‘I love variants,’ says Head Brewer Brian Hink, ‘and with big, barrel-aged beers, that’s a really fun playground to be in, but when we first started talking about doing Boughs of Barley I didn’t want to just do the standard vanilla, coconut, coffee, etc. variants, but instead let the barrel act as an ingredient and be the variant itself.’ So, this time around, we’ve been aging an Imperial stout in Cognac and Scotch Whisky barrels — the Cognac for about a year, the Scotch for 18 months. ‘When we first did Boughs of Barley,’ Brian says, ‘we wanted to let the barrels be the built-in variant, with the loose idea that the new barrel this year becomes the second-use next year when a new spirit type is brought in.’ ‘I’ve always liked to see what we can come up with through our barrel program,’ says Lab Manager Lauren Appleman. ‘This years’ Boughs of Barley lean to the dark side with two very different final products coming off of a good Imperial Stout base. The character of the barrels really shows through in each version.’ Last year was the first run with those beautiful Cognac barrels, so we were sure that they’d be up for refilling this year, and Jimmy has been wanting to barrel age using Scotch barrels since… well… since he’s known about both barrel aging and Scotch. ‘I lived in Scotland for four years and fell in love with Scotch,’ he explains, ‘which has more variation in flavor than Bourbon or American Whiskey, or even Irish Whiskey. There are sweet ones that were aged in ex-Sherry or ex-Port barrels, smokey ones that were made from barley dried out over smoldering piles of peat, and smooth ones that have been distilled an extra time to make a gentler spirit. The smokey ones are my favorite, and we managed to get our hands on some barrels from my favorite distillery out on Islay, the home of the peat-monster whiskies.’ Spending 18 months in those barrels, the Scotch version definitely picked up a great deal of the smokiness as well as a good bit of oakiness. When married with the rich chocolate overtones of the stout and the roasty flavors of the dark malts, the Scotch variant comes through with a great deal of complexity. ‘The guys on production who enjoy Scotch really enjoy this beer,’ Brian says. ‘It’s definitely peaty — or smokey — and that is the dominant characteristic out of the gate. The underlying Stout body and character are present and are big enough to withstand the barrage from the barrel’s character. The resulting beer is very intense.’ On the other hand, the Cognac variant is a little more subtle, a little more reserved. There was still quite a bit of life left in those barrels, but, as second-use barrels (for us, anyway), the lion’s share of the Cognac character was imparted to last year’s Boughs of Barley.”

Random: I have never been to Cape May Brewery.

The beer poured with a three finger tan head. It took awhile to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with some visible carbonation. The nose was filled with smoke. There wasn’t much else except lots and lots of roasted malts and smoke. The taste was a lot of smoke and roasted malts. There was some dark chocolate as well, but there was so much peat and smoke, to the point of being overwhelming. Vanilla came through after a few sips. The booze made an appearance as well. The body was thick and chewy. The finish was lengthy with smoke. I thought this beer was alright, but needed to sit for awhile. I wouldn’t rush to have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Half Acre Big Hugs

I saw this beer on the shelf during one of my beer runs. The beer manager recommended this as well. I love Half Acre beers and I don’t think I’ve ever had one of their stouts, so I wanted to give it a shot.

ABV: 10%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Imperial Coffee drinking Stout. This beer is a thug. Available each year sometime in December, we work with Dark Matter Coffee to keep each batch as ruthless as it is tender. 10% ABV. Big Hugs has two variants packaged, Vanilla Big Hugs and Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Hugs.”

Random: Val started watching a Netflix show about cat shows. I can’t imagine what would happen if we tried to show our cats.

The beer poured with a one finger, tan head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown, almost black with no visible carbonation, due to the color of the beer. The nose had some roasted malts and a touch of coffee, but not much else. The taste had a bit more than the nose. I picked up coffee, roasted malts and a slight sweetness. There was vanilla as well and a burn from the ABV. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with roasted malts. This beer was expensive at $5.00 for the pounder can. It broke down to $.31 per ounce. I enjoyed the beer a lot, but this beer was definitely very expensive.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0