Heavy Seas The Partner Ships: Old Ale

The wedding is coming up really quickly. My parents threw us an engagement party in November, which was at Rats in Princeton and was incredibly nice. A lot of our family was able to attend and the wedding is going to an even bigger party. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: Old Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We paired up with one of our favorite local breweries, Union Craft Brewing, for our first Partner Ships collaboration of 2017. Hints of nuts, cocoa, molasses and dried fruits float over a chewy, luscious body of English malt goodness. Inspired by the rich, warming brews of a by…”

Random: This beer is listed as highly limited on the brewery website. This is also a collaboration with Union Craft Brewers.

The beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. The head dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color, but clear, with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with hazelnuts, leather, oak chips and ash. I didn’t get any of the dried fruits that were advertised. The taste started very ashy. It transition into booze with some hazelnuts and cocoa, but again, the fruit character was missing. It would have helped to have them to break up some of the intense ash taste. The body was medium thickness for the style with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with ash. A bomber of this was $7.99, which broke down to $.36 per ounce. I was interested in trying this one because I don’t get that many old ales, but this just missed the mark for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Heavy Seas The Partner Ships Red IPA

I am really enjoying AMC shows lately. They have a lot of historical docu-dramas on that are up my alley. I’m watching Turn now, which is absolutely riveting. I am not much for Revolutionary War history, but this is really good. Anyways, beer time.


ABV: 7.5%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Aggressive American hops abound the aroma of this collaborative effort. Waves of orange blossom, grapefruit, and lemon aromas sail atop a subtle toasted malt character. This Red IPA offers an impressive hop forward characteristic over a burnished malt backbone.”

Random: Heavy Seas still holds the position of worst brewery tour that Val and I have gone on.

The beer poured with a two finger, ecru colored head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. It did, however, leave a large crown on top of a mildly cloudy, bright copper body. There was some limited carbonation visible. The nose was much more subtle than I expected. I picked up pine resin and pine needles, and then it quickly went into malt. The malt was toasted and slightly sweet. The taste was much of the same. It started with the hop presence of pine needles, grass clippings and then, it turned into a malt bomb. It had sweet caramel and toasted malt and brown bread. The body was thick and it needed a lot more carbonation. It had a quick finish with the same malt and slight bitterness. A bomber of this was $7.99, which broke down to $.36 per ounce. Since Maine Beer Co. was involved in this one, I had really high hopes for the beer, but it was only alright.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Heavy Seas CrossBones Session IPA

Heavy Seas beers tend to be a constant disappointment for me. I found their tour to be…basically a bashing session on macro beers. Which, I guess is alright, but I’d rather you talk about your own beers. Anyways, Val picked this up for me, so I gave it a shot.


ABV: 4.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “CrossBones is our first new year-round beer since 2003! We worked long and hard to create the perfect session IPA that would satisfy the hoppiest of hop heads, all while not putting them under the table. This session IPA is bursting with floral and citrus notes and has a strong malt backbone to support all of that hoppy goodness. Upon tasting CrossBones, with its big body, smooth finish and lingering citrus flavor, it’s hard to imagine that it’s only 4.5%. How do we get all of the aroma and flavor from a beer like Loose Cannon into CrossBones? Avast! You’ll never find me buried treasure!”

Random: Given the popularity of craft beer, don’t you think that you should have put out a new year-round beer before this? Just saying.

This beer poured with a two finger, pure white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing as well as a half a finger of crown. The body was a hazy orange with lots of floaties and carbonation. The nose had a lot of tangerine and citrus zest. The taste had grapefruit flesh and zest along with some grass. There wasn’t any malt to speak of. It had a thick body with light carbonation. The finish was long with citrus zest. This was $1.99 for a single can ($.17 per ounce), which isn’t a bad price. But, the beer was too thick and needed way more carbonation to be successful. This was fine, but nothing to write home about.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning (Uber Pils)

Before I started this blog, I had an apartment in North Brunswick that I would have Fantasy Football/Baseball draft parties. For one of them, I asked that everyone bring a six-pack of craft beer. One of the attendees brought this beer, because he was specifically looking for a beer that had “craft” in the name. I’ve had this beer on two occasions, one being that occasion and one being at the brewery. I didn’t review it either time, so when I saw a lone bottle in the beer store, I picked it up to review. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 7%

Style: American Double/Imperial Pilsner

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Arguably our most well-balanced beer, Small Craft Warning seems at once hop-forward and malt-forward; our brewers debate over which flavor force prevails in the beer. Small Craft exemplifies a robust pilsner – it’s crisp, well-carbonated, and slightly sweet. The beer is characterized by a firm malt backbone and a pronounced hop character. A fine aroma from an array of hops, completes this quaffable beer.”

Random: I do think that their labels are cute, even though the brewery tour could have been one of the worst that I’ve ever been on.

This beer poured with a half a finger of thick, white head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, golden orange color. There was high carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of sweet, toasted malt to it. I didn’t get anything else. The taste was sweet at first with lots of toasted malt. There was a mineral quality to it as well that came through after a few sips. Booze was apparent, but not overwhelming. Despite the description from the brewery, there wasn’t much hop character to it. Perhaps it’s an old bottle. It had a thick body (especially for the style) with high carbonation. The finish was long with sweet malt and mineral water. For $1.80 a bottle (with the NJCB discount), this broke down to $.15 per ounce, which is relatively cheap. Despite that, it was only alright and I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Heavy Seas Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout

So, the lawyer and I went into NYC yesterday to take her mother to brunch. After walking around for a bit, we ended up at The Ginger Man for a drink. The bar was absolutely beautiful and had an insanely wonderful draft list. We grabbed a table and this was the first one that I had there.


ABV: 8%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Siren Noire isn’t your father’s chocolate stout. We’ve used almost 3 pounds of Belgian coco nibs per barrel. We’ve aged it for five weeks in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans added. A mix of dark malts gives Siren Noire a well-rounded body that is decidedly chocolatey—but without being extraordinarily sweet. Brewers Gold hops contribute an earthy spiciness, with notes of black current.”

Random: I’m still missing baseball like crazy. I know the lawyer is not nearly as excited.

This brew poured with half a finger of tan head that was pretty thick and took awhile to dissipate. It left a little bit of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color with heavy carbonation visible throughout. The nose had heavy dark chocolate notes with a touch of oak as well. The taste was really impressive. I got lots of dark chocolate and vanilla and oak, but the oak wasn’t abrasive, it was actually very complementary. The booze was really hidden. The body was a medium thickness with nice and active carbonation. The finish was long with notes of chocolate. This was definitely the best beer that I have ever had from Heavy Seas. If you see this one, definitely grab a glass.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Heavy Seas Yule Tide (2013)

One of our last stops while leaving Baltimore was another brewery tour. This one was a few miles outside of the main area of Baltimore and was Clipper City/Heavy Seas. Their beers are pretty well-distributed around Jersey and I’ve reviewed a few of them. One of my biggest complaints about the brewery was that there was nothing to sample that was outside of their regular lineup that I could get at my local beer store. This bomber offering was their winter seasonal that I bought two bottles of. One was to sample now and one to throw in the basement to get some age on it. Let’s see how this one goes.


ABV: 9%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Aged for 6 weeks in Jamaican Rum barrels, this Imperial Red offers a full malt body dominated by toast, chocolate, and caramel notes. Rum barrel aging imparts a rich buttery rum character along with oaken vanilla notes. Ginger offsets the overall sweetness by adding its own drying zing.”

Random: The brewery tour itself was weird too, and not necessarily in a good way.

This brew poured with a one finger, tan head that dissipated quickly with no lacing left on the glass. The body was a dark, cloudy mahogany color with no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. The nose was all ginger and rum with some significant booze attached to it. The taste was an amplified version of the nose. There was lots of crazy ginger with rum right behind. At this point, it’s probably prudent of me to mention that I really don’t like rum or things that smell like rum. Some hops came through after a few sips, but wood really dominates. Vanilla was present as well. The body was thick with high carbonation. There was a long, boozy finish with oak. For me, this beer was just okay. I’m curious to see if a few years of age could improve this bad boy.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (Hop3 Ale)

Today was seriously a rough day. I used to suffer from insomnia about a year ago. About once a month, sometimes more, sometimes less, I would not be able to sleep at all. Since I literally despise calling out of work, I would go in and feel like crap all day and then come home and still wouldn’t be able to sleep. I was lucky enough to get a reminder of this last night. I didn’t sleep at all, gave myself an insane amount of caffeine, but at least came home and took a quick nap so that I can sleep the night tonight. I guess I shouldn’t complain because this is the first time I’ve had insomnia in 7+ months. So, onto tonight’s brew. This is the one I put off from last night. I’m craving some hops, so hopefully this cures my craving.

ABV: 7.25%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the Heavy Seas website, “Burnished gold with a rich citrus hop aroma, it is wonderfully drinkable with a big hop flavor. We’ve knicknamed it Hop3 (hop cubed) ale to reflect the enormous amount of hops in this beer: over 3 pounds per barrel! It is hopped 3 ways: in the kettle, in the hop back, and dry hopped. Pairs well with strong cheeses and steak. 2nd Place CAMRA award winner at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival”

Random: Although I’m a Phillies fan, I have a soft spot for Mark Texeira.

The brew poured with a one finger off white head that left significant lacing on the glass. The body of the brew was a cloudy orange color with visible sediment in the bottom. The nose was definite citrus with a slight hint of flowers and a hint of pine. On the taste, this brew is definitely hoppy, but not obnoxious. It’s also pretty balanced with a hint of honey in the middle and then goes back to bitterness towards the finish. The carbonation was also very subtle and pleasant. The alcohol is also a non-factor in the brew. All-in-all, a very smooth and crisp IPA with some bitterness that is balanced out with a bit of sweetness. I would not have a problem killing a few of these while sitting outside.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Heavy Seas Letter of Marque 2010 (Rye Porter)

Today was a long day. This week seriously needs to end. Work has just been absolutely crazy. I guess it’s good that I’m only taking two classes this semester because I don’t think I’d be able to handle anymore than two. At least it’s Opening Day for baseball. The Phils don’t play today, but the Yankees did win. Although they’re not my team, I always root for them because of my father and my sister. I’m watching the Giants-Dodgers game. I can’t believe how much I’ve missed baseball and beer goes so well with watching a game. Tonight’s selection is a bottle that is courtesy of my father. Let’s see how it is…

ABV: 7.8%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to beernews.org, “This spring, Heavy Seas Beer Co. will debut Letter of Marque, a Hop Rye Porter, as part of its Mutiny Fleet series that launched last year. The beer will appear in 22 oz. bottles and on draft. Here is the write-up from the brewery: ‘Winners from our 2009 Letter of Marque Homebrew Competition will work along side our brewers to create this one time special release. Letter of Marque will feature a different beer every year selected from our national homebrew competition. Historically, a Letter of Marque was a document that made a Pyrate a legitimate professional. Hence, our Letter of Marque makes a home brewer a legitimate professional as well!’ This year’s recipe is from Frank Butt and Neil Heinlein. ABV is 7.8%.”

Random: I think I’m rooting for the Giants in this game, primarily because I like Buster Posey and Matt Cain.

Holy head Batman! This took a good three pours to be able to take a picture. The head was a good three fingers and tan and very fluffy. The body was a definite dark brown with little visible carbonation. On the nose, this definitely doesn’t smell like a typical porter. It had a huge roasty quality to it with roasted malts and coffee and rye. It followed up with a definite hint of hops. This was definitely enticing. The taste was very similar to what was in the nose. I got some smoke, toasted malts, rye and hoppy goodness. For me, it’s very similar to a black IPA, not that I’m complaining. For all of the flavors going on, they really worked together. The moderate carbonation was pleasant and the brew finished with a hint of rye. I really got into it the more I sipped it. I’d definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Heavy Seas Marzen

I’m not a huge fan of Marzens, but I like to try all types of beers, so I picked this one up. I’ve only had one offering from Heavy Seas, before I started this blog, and someone brought it for a Fantasy Baseball draft. Since I’m all about the labels, I thought the label was pretty cool. I’ve also seen some of their bombers and think that their label art is even better.

ABV: 5.75%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the Heavy Seas website, “Who is Heavy Seas? Brewed by Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing Co., Heavy Seas is produced by Baltimore craft beer pioneer Hugh Sisson – the brewery’s founder and managing partner – and Brewmaster Ernesto Igot, formerly brewmaster at San Miguel Brewery in the Philippines. After successfully lobbying the Maryland Legislature to legalize brewpubs, Hugh began brewing professionally in 1989 at his family’s Baltimore pub – Sisson’s – which was coincidentally Maryland’s first brewpub. In 1994 he left Sisson’s to found Clipper City and has been involved in all aspects of the business – brewing, finance, marketing, and sales.”

Random: I had a brew from these guys a few years ago. I think it was decent, but nothing that really stuck out in my mind.

The brew poured with a barely there, half finger white head that dissipates quickly with no lacing on the glass. The body is a clear, tan color, with mild carbonation. On the nose, there is a hint of caramel and what I think is apple juice. The taste presents with carbonation up front. The fruit that I found in the nose (or more appropriately, juice) is not as apparent in the taste. The taste also has some mild hints of caramel and sweetness. The body is slightly watery and there’s just not much to it. The finish, like the rest of the beer, is quick and unremarkable. This was an alright beer, but I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0