January 28, 2014

Affligem Noël Christmas Ale

Affligem Noël Christmas Ale - Ale brewed with spices (2013)
Brewed and Bottled by Brouwerij Affligem / De Smedt in Opwijk, Belgium. 
Winter Seasonal.
25.4 fl. oz. / $9.49 USD / 9% ABV

About: "Affligem Noel is known for its rich, complex flavor and is one of those very special beers that people await to be released every year. It's a dark, ruby red Abby beer with the fresh smell of wonderful spices, such as licorice and orange zest. Affligem Noel is a true seasonal specialty with a complex flavor that is excellent with festive holiday foods or simply enjoyed on its own.  The perfect alternative to wines and liquors."

Thoughts: Produced 9/4/13. Drank 1/3/14. Noël poured a really beautiful and transparent deep shade of cherry red. The light egg nog cream colored head started to fizzle away fast but developed into a thick layer atop the brew, as carbonation is very heavy.

Smells frosty. Har. Up front it's Belgian yeast, crisp apples and black cherry. Very nice. Following behind there's some peppery bread loaf, cough syrup and pear juice. It smells rather sugary, and has a hint of alcohol lingering beyond the cold.

The beer started off very sweet but calmed quickly. I was hit with a huge sensation of cherries, candi sugar, and a haze of dry spices reminiscent of allspice and nutmeg. The sweetness quickly turned into a mouth drying haze, and then shortly afterwards emerged the base flavors of sourdough cinnamon bread, funky yeast, caramel malt, pepper, toffee, ash, dirty water and moist leaves. It's a really delectable beer, with the alcohol fumes and the fire that builds inside narrowly outweighing the beautiful tastes here. If it were the other way around things would be almost as perfect, not that I mind.

The mouth feel on this ones is really light, somewhat airy, soft and thin. It doesn't exactly seem to match the taste and smell of the beer, but it's not off putting or anything... though it could be a bit silkier. Overall this is a very enjoyable beer, and though it's got some minor flaws, I'd highly recommend it. Choosing the Mad Elf glass was the right choice for this one as cherries are all over this thing, and the strength isn't exactly hidden either. Belgian christmas ales, man... you know?

January 26, 2014

Devil's Due (2014)

Devil's Due (2014) 
Rated R for boredom-inducing self-cutting and childbirth learning.

"Not all miracles come from god." Yeah... more like "Not all movies have a written fuckin' ending." The "plot": A newlywed couple go on their honeymoon in Costa Rica, drink way too much, most likely get drugged and are lured into a Satanic ritual in which the wife becomes impregnated by "evil forces". Hilarity ensues. All of this is half caught on video, just like everything else that happens, or doesn't happen rather.

I knew practically nothing about this movie before I went to see it. My fourteen year old niece called me up and told me that she wanted to go see this with me, so I figured what the hell. We've gone to the movies together for years now, seeing such gems as the complete Twilight series, the first Hunger Games, House at the End of the Street and Orphan. All I knew is that there was this prank video on youtube with a psycho, demon-possessed animatronic Devil Baby that was sort of a promotion for the film. I must have watched the clip about ten times that very morning, and loved every evil second of it. By far one of the best pranks on the net, the video is just downright the most amazing fucking thing evur, so check it out. The movie Devil's Due however, I'll tell you not to check out, since it totally sucks newborn nuts.

First of all, that totally awesome demonic baby is nowhere in the movie, so don't go in expecting any type of old school special effects or anything. And because of that don't go expecting, you know, a real payoff to the fucking movie! Because what we can assume, knowing nearly nothing about the movie, is that this woman is going to give birth and The Devil is somehow involved right? What we're dealing with here is a total sleight of hand job, a con, a ruse, trickery, skulduggery, a flawlessly deceptive marketing scheme, and yes, I am aware I just typed hand job. What this movie actually is, is a poorly conceived (see what I did there?) "found footage" film full of irrational and extremely lazy plot points, as well as some really shitty CGI.

But perhaps the film's biggest crime of all? It's painfully dull and so excruciatingly boring. Not only does it pretty much become a documentary on a pregnant woman's hospital visits for a third of the runtime, but the other third of the movie is just one pointless scene after another. It's pointless because none of it connects or goes anywhere. Some "weird stuff" happens and then it's never mentioned again, not by the characters and not by any further scene development. I was OK with it being one of those handheld "oh hey I'm a guy holding a camera" movies since I haven't really been overexposed to them (last one I was was Rec 3, a far superior film to this drivel). Of course the writers of this shit found their limitations to this style and had to set up some sort of system to capture footage, since this dude can't just hold a camera every second of the day.

Throughout the movie there are people in the background watching this couple. They are what I can only describe as the most laid back, low pressure, non-violent, squeamish bunch of Satan Worshipers ever committed to celluloid. One man stands across the street watching the house and after the lady and her husband notice, they scream at the guy and he scurries away. For some reason, they wait about seven months into the pregnancy before they go installing hidden cameras in every room of the couple's home. And on top of that we learn that they've got a empty house they're all squatting in which is just down the street. Considering this "mysterious" group of people have already chosen their targets, and had a place set up so closely to them, why in the fuck would they wait so goddamn long to install these cameras? Nobody knows because it is some stupid ass shit that's way.

Pictured: Some crazy shit that's not in the movie.
I wonder if the dude across the street just went back to the run down house and told the other Sect members "Hey, this me standing across the street staring at the house like a fucking creepy weirdo thing isn't working out. Let's brainstorm some better ideas huh?" And the other guys were like, "Well we got all these monitors and camera equipment just laying around by our dog food bowls full of human embryos, maybe we should use this stuff." After the husband starts getting paranoid by his wife's "freaky" behavior, he decides to watch the footage from his honeymoon on the computer. He finds some strange ritual occurring while they were passed out, so he calls up his friend to come over. All of a sudden when he turns around the discs are missing. Really? He walked from the living room to the front door and they just disappeared? That is some weak ass shit.

There comes a point where the wife, who is a conveniently a "vegetarian", stares at the meat section in the supermarket for a long time. You immediately know that she's going to start gnawing on the raw meat, because you've seen it a thousand times before, and that's exactly what happens. There is a mesmerized kid in the background and his disgusted mom witnesses what he's looking at she drags him away, which is one of the films few humorous moments. Then there's a scene when she's in lamaze class and gets to her relaxed point or whatever, and all the other women start writhing around in pain. That probably had to be the freakiest moment, bucause I was thinking unholy shit all these women are about to have bloody miscarages and there's going to be screams of anguish. It could have been a powerful and gruseome scene, but just like everything else in the movie the camera just jump cuts and we're left with nothing. Was that too grim of a thought for the filmmakers?

On top of a whole lot of nothing happening, and the wife showing some supernatural type abilities that are never explored once some shit actually does happen, the most anticlimactic ending of all time (perhaps beating out that shit movie The Blair Witch Project's lame ass end shot) just left me with a look of "are you fucking serious?" on my face. That was it? No demon baby? Nothing? The ending after the ending also does a real shit job off ripping of the 1977 film Satan's Blood aka Escalofrío (which, like Rec 3, is also a far superior film to this drudge). This movie is lazy, slow, irritating, tension free, disjointed, annoyingly shot, and for the most part just plain boring. Devil's Due is a stillborn mess which makes me wish I would have aborted that theater. Oh, and don't even get me started on the evil Quake logo.

January 15, 2014

Trappist Westvleteren 12

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (2013)
Yearly Brew (Limited Supply).
11.2 fl. oz. / $23.63 USD / 10.2% ABV

About: "Yellow cap (Formally Abt). Ingredients: Water, Westmalle yeast, malt, local hops, sugar."

Thoughts: Westy 12 poured a dark brown color with some raspberry tones around the edges and a kahki colored head that build up quick and faded just as fast. Sediment flakes float throughout the bottom of the beer, but it's a lot harder to see here than on the Abt 12 since this beer is slightly darker.

This beer smells rich and creamy. There's a lot of plum and raisin in the forefront, it's got a rum cake vibe to it and it seems to be rather chocolaty. Dark fruits and grapes dominate before a fresh cut apple scent flows in, and then when the alcohol hits it's almost like chocolate and vanilla soft serve with berries. Very interesting. It's really sweet and indulgent smelling, with that Westmalle yeast laying low in the background. Swirling the glass, a huge aroma of Marciano cherries in a freshly opened jar floods the nose. Cool.

First gulp and an explosion of soft pepper, grain and yeast floods the mouth. It's got an immediate sting to it too. Plums and figs dance around on the tongue, while caramel spills all over the place and toasted apples heat up in the far off distance. It's almost like a cobbler, drowned in rum. Raw bready dough puffs up while a rolling thunder of booze flows by. There's a brilliant sweetness to this beer that kind of hits the tongue like spiked brass knuckles. It's weird because I can actually feel it like that. Whereas the Abt 12 hit with one huge upward spike, this one seems to pound downward with four spikes across the tongue. Then again, I'm moderately insane! The bitterness in Westy 12 is fairly strong and brings a harmonious balance to the beer. The sweetness levels rain down like blistering cold coals, but are extinguished abruptly by a smooth, warm and soothing bitterness that levels the platform. Tons of spices smothered in a gentle pepper flood the senses after every gulp, spiraling around and tickling the gum line. 

Mouth feel is soft, wavy, and in a strange way, cleansing. It slightly dries the mouth, but refreshes at the same time which is odd. Perhaps this is magic beer? Aftertaste is low droning, pleasant, and rides out slowly. After a while a minute amount of rawness is felt, like a leafy hop breeze while breathing in. Drinking the remainder of the glass while the beer has warmed and a sensation of raw figs come through, followed by grainy water. The beer finishes clean, even with these occurrences. Everything apparently has its place within this beer, and knows when to make an appropriate retreat. Nicely done.

January 14, 2014

St. Bernardus Abt 12

St. Bernardus Abt 12 (2013)
Year Round Brew.
11.2 fl. oz. / $5.99 USD / 10% ABV

About: "Shortly after the Second World War, the Trappist Monastery St.Sixtus in Westvleteren was looking for somebody to commercialize their beer because they did not want to do that themselves anymore. They gave a license to the cheese factory, and Brewery St.Bernard was founded. The brew master from Westvleteren, Mathieu Szafranski (from Polish origin) became a partner in the brewery and brought along the recipes, the know-how and the St.Sixtus yeast strain. We started selling the Trappist beers under the brand names Trappist Westvleteren, St.Sixtus or even later Sixtus. During a period of 46 years we brewed and commercialized the beers while the monks continued to brew for themselves and for sales to 3 pubs in the neighborhood, amongst which In De Vrede, just next to the monastery. In 1992 the license came to an end and since then we are brewing the same beers, with the same recipes, but under a different brand name: St.Bernardus."

Thoughts: Abt 12 poured a chestnut brown, raspberry color with a huge beige head full of tiny bubbles. As I hold the beer up to the light I see an absolute ton of sediment flake floating like asteroids all throughout space. The head hasn't diminished in about two minutes so far and I don't think it ever will. 

The scent on this one is beautiful. There's intense plum like dark fruits, a sugary sweetness, peppery spices, a little bit of clove, and it smells a little like a rum cake. Just like the other St. Bernardus beers, that gorgeous yeast profile just flows forever through it. To sum up the smell on this one in a single word it would be candy. Swirl the glass and it erupts upward into the nostrils, delivering a minor sting of what's to come.

First sip and it's so rich, incredibly flavorful, and damn smooth. The alcohol immediately warms the insides, but is hidden extremely well inside the mouth. It tastes sweet like brown sugar and leaves a cold tickling haze like a clove cigarette. Tons of spice ravages the tongue and inner cheeks, and a swift kick at the end spirals through the bloodstream drilling into the brain. Man, this stuff is sweet. Those European hops are doing one hell of a job trying to hold it back too. Fruit like flavors bounce all over the place, showing up in random spots kinda like fireworks going off. There's caramel apple, fresh sliced pear covered in cinnamon and black pepper, grape must, ripped open raw fig, and even some nearly spoiled banana. While the sweetness here hits a high peak, spiking high above the spice and bitter departments at one point, all three of those things are blended superbly here.

Mouth feel is soft and fuzzy, and leaves a thick coating on the teeth. After a while the mixture of the alcohol strength, peppery yeast and grassy hops give way to a drying sensation and a grainy yet enjoyable aftertaste. Abt 12 has no doubt earned its spot in the back of my fridge.

January 13, 2014

Trappist Westvleteren Blond and 8

Trappist Westvleteren Blond (2013)
11.2 fl. oz. / $23.63 USD / 5.8% ABV

About: "Green Cap. Introduced on June 10th, 1999. Ingredients: Water, Westmalle yeast, malt, 3 varieties of hops, sugar."

Thoughts: Blond poured a color true to its name, a deep yellow blond that is completely hazy and full of speckled sediment throughout. Bundles of grain gather and bunch up in areas of the beer. The short, soft white head is luminescent and slightly frothed. 

This beer smells incredible. It's got this really soothing nose to it, a beautiful yeast characteristic and smells like heather flowers. It's a very floral brew with a lot of bright citrus fruit up front, which is reminiscent of papaya. It's slightly lemony, with grains of paradise and toasted sesame seeds coming through, and after a short while becomes extremely herbal.

Well, here it goes, my first sip of a Westvleteren. There's a deeply rooted bitterness that the scent didn't let on to at all, and while it isn't overall that intense, it stated out thick and heavy. The heart of this beer is obviously the yeast, which just resonates through the body and is incorporated into every aspect of it. It's really spicy and peppery, very up front and ridiculously dominating. The subtle yet jubilant sweetness that manages to pull through and actually shine beyond the thick cloud of spice and firm bitterness is not only very welcome but also a bit surprising and peculiar, as it does so every so slowly. Blonde is a beer that strikes fast and hard, then settles quickly and what you're left with is a long, lingering aftertaste of rose petals, soft sourdough bread, unripe pear, dry hay and black pepper.

The mouth feel on the Blond is thicker than would be expected, especially if one has becomes accustomed to a beer that looks like this to feel like water. This beer is heavy, and you'll be required to chew through some of it. This Blond is pretty raw and deceiving looking, but if you find the will to enjoy it, it is something delightfully unimaginable.

Trappist Westvleteren 8 (2013)
11.2 fl. oz. / $23.63 USD / 8% ABV

About: "Blue cap (formerly Extra). Ingredients: Water, Westmalle yeast, malt, local hops, sugar."

Thoughts: Westy 8 poured a muddy brown color with some cranberry tones around the edges of the glass. The multi-colored beige and brown head from where I poured left a design resembling a mysterious planet. Carbonation seems a bit low, and there's no way of seeing through this dark liquid matter.

This beer smells like liquid candy. It's like soft baked apple pie drizzled in caramel, grapes, figs, plums, brown sugar, and cherries. The alcohol seems to be laying low, as well as the Belgian yeast. It's not an overly assertive scent, so you've got to experience it when you pop the top, pour and later while swirling as it does disappear after leaning in for a while. Overall it's a very fruity and somewhat sweet smelling beer.

The taste starts off as if it's going to come across a lot stronger than it is, with some heavy fumes upon the first gulp and a little sting as well. The fumes hit just above the middle mark and then slowly fall back before getting too strong. The taste of this one is a lot less sweet than I had expected, not that its overly bitter or anything, but the bitterness definitely outweighs the sweet here. It's got a clean profile to it, despite being so peppery, grainy and lasting so long after being swallowed. Flavors consist of semi-sour dark fruits, burnt candi sugar, a touch of hazy booze, mild yeast and a long drawn out graininess.

Mouth feel on this one is a bit hard to figure out. It starts out thick and boisterous, but fades so quickly at the swallow that it goes from a solid medium to light feeling rather fast. It is soft and velvety however. The booze starts to come out a bit more as the beer warms, and the bitterness fades a bit giving way to a nearly perfect balance. I think that I prefer their Blond to this, but his is a mighty fine Dubbel.

January 12, 2014

St. Bernardus Pater 6 and Prior 8

St. Bernardus Pater 6 (2013)
Year Round Brew.
11.2 fl. oz. / $5.99 / 6.7% ABV

About: "StBernardus Pater 6 is a traditional abbey style dubbel, chestnut in color, very fruity with notes of melon and very fresh banana, finishing with slight bitterness. Delightfully easy to drink. One of the original recipes from the days of license-brewing for the Trappist monks of Westvleteren. This name became a reference. This beer is mostly pointed out with its product name: “a Paterke”."

Thoughts: Pater 6 poured a deep brown with some reddish shades and a very light tan, small silvery head that while wasn't all too thick, but stuck around till the end.

The beer is very malt forward. It's got that familiar St. Bernardus scent to it, subtle spices, Belgian yeast, and this time around a clean watery sensation. While the beer isn't as strong as their others, this one still has a very rich scent to it. Hints of raisins, apple and pear, without any strong fume from alcohol, it remains soft yet continuously vibrant and is slightly peppery.

The taste starts off very robust, with a huge bold taste up front, it's sweet, slightly tart with a prominent yet not all too strong bitterness to it. It's gentle, clean, a little spiced, a little peppery, fruity, and long lingering. The fruity aspect to it is probably what hits the hardest and lasts the shortest, but leaves the biggest impression. It's really ripe tasting. Like soft apples and pears sprinkled with black pepper. Based on the scent, I didn't expect the taste to be this heavy, but it's all there in full effect. The background base is like brown sugar, a little bit of clove, molasses and a hint of caramel.

Mouth feel is light, a little puffy and goes away clean. This is a very nice ale.

St. Bernardus Prior 8 (2013)
Year Round Brew
11.2 fl. oz. / $5.99 USD / 8% ABV

About: "St.Bernardus Prior 8 is a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic "Dubbel" style of Belgium's Best Abbey Ales. It has a ruby to purple color, smooth, creamy richness of texture that is almost oily, and a malt-fruit complexity reminiscent of coconut. It finds the perfect balance between sweet, bitter and malty tastes. One of the original recipes from the days of license-brewing for the Trappist monks of Westvleteren."

Thoughts: Prior 8 poured a dark reddish-purple grape like color with a thick light tan head on top.

First whiff and I got some booze off of this one. It's strong and up front, but just underneath is that crisp apple and pear juice just like the Pater 6. This one doesn't seem to be as malt or yeast forward as the others. It's mainly just that fruity tone, peppery spices and a bit of alcohol.

This one starts off with a huge blast of raisin and tart cherry accompanied by forceful booze. Immediately after the swallow a gentle sting kicks in, like that of drinking a cherry flavored brandy. Only this beer has a lot of toasty dark bread, pine nuts, fiery wood and a lot of black pepper. While the yeast has imparted what seems to be the least amount of flavor in the brew, I'm finding this one to be the hoppiest out of all their beers I've tried. The tinge of alcohol really brings out the earthy and piney qualities, as well as a little bit of that oily dank. There's a good balance but something about this one seems a bit off to me. It's hard to pinpoint what it is exactly but it left a little bit of grunge on the back of my tongue and the aftertaste a little sour as well.

Mouth feel is slightly bubbly, it's smooth though oily and isn't as clean as I would have liked. This one smells a lot crisper than it actually is, but there's nothing wrong with that I suppose. I'll most likely try this one again sometime later just to see how it tastes the second time around. As it stands, this one is a beast.

January 11, 2014

St. Bernardus Wit and Tripel

St. Bernardus Wit - Pierre Celis Signature Selection (2013)
Collaboration Brew (Year Round).
11.2 fl. oz. / $5.99 USD / 5.5% ABV

About: "St. Bernardus Wit is a traditional Belgian white beer developed and brewed in collaboration with the legendary Master Brewer Pierre Celis. This ale is very pale (whitish-yellow color) and quite hazy. The head is white and dense. In aroma, it has a wheaty, apple-like, tartness; herbal-spicy notes with coriander and orange fruitiness and honey-ish sweetness. Very refreshing: perfect thirst quencher!"

Thoughts: St. Bernardus Wit poured a very cloudy yellow, almost lemonade or margarita colored. The head was stark white but very small, not something I would have expected from a wit. Upon inspection there's a ton of carbonation rising and the beer glows in the light.

The scent is wheat up front, even when popping the cap off the bottle it immediately hit me. I guess you could say that the Wit is strong with this one. There's that beautiful yeast which imparts a delicate aroma here. It's soft, slightly citrusty, crisp smelling and overall pleasant.

The beer starts off pretty sweet with a solid malt background that doesn't go overboard. All that gentle peppery spice flows in and the Belgian yeast slowly builds to a boil, then it kicks off with a huge smooch of all three things before falling back into a totally relaxing aftertaste. Yeah, this stuff is awesome. So flavorful. It's got a thorough yet gentle spice. There's a hint of lemon, but it's like lemon candy, only the perfect amount of it that's not heavy sour or strong, but just real soothing and enjoyable.

The mouth feel is a little dry, crisp and nice. I've had my fair share of wheat beers, and over time have come to enjoy them more for what they are. It was a hard earned appreciation for the style, sure, but that being said this tastes absolutely delectable! Old Chico from Sierra Nevada is something I've been dying to try again actually. When a wheat beer is done perfect, it certainly shines above the rest, and this beer here is the standard that all wheat beers should be held.

St. Bernardus Tripel (2013)
Year Round Brew.
11.2 fl. oz. / $5.99  / 8% ABV

About: "St.Bernardus Tripel is a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic "Triple" style of Belgium's best Abbey Ales. This high fermentation beer has a pale amber color and a flowery, fruity taste with a harmonious balance between sweet and sour (8% alcohol content). It has a thick and vivid froth and strikes by its balanced taste with a delicate bitterness. Wonderfully drinkable and surprisingly light."

Thoughts: St. Bernardus Tripel poured a dense pear looking yellow color with a thick frothy white head. Only a small bit of visible light is seen through this total cloudy haze of a beer.

Well this one smells a little different than their others, though not all too much. Perhaps it's because I've just had the Pater 6 and Wit, but this one is definitely showing a bit more strength in the nose. Belgian yeast, spicy notes, a sweet lure of booze and soft warm bready malts come flowing through. In the background there's the hint of a tart fruitiness, like cherries.

First gulp and I can tell you right away that this is a marvelous tasting brew. It reminds me of Mad Elf a little bit actually. It's got a huge flavor to it, despite being only an 8% and not a 10-12%, the taste of this thing is absolutely massive. It's toasty, peppery and sweet. It's also so slightly tart it's hardly noticeable, and a there's nary a hint of bitterness. This beer is strong, sweet, refreshing and has a soft haze after each swallow. It doesn't seem all that complex, but that doesn't matter since overall this one is a beauty.

The mouthfeel on the Tripel is super smooth. It goes away pretty clean but that taste lingers inside the mouth for days. The aftertaste is wonderful, and left me feeling fine.

My words are my own and as of posted from their creation forward I hereby claim originality to them. Pictures may prove to be promotional items and are the sole possessions of their respectful owners and/or companies. I do not sell, nor do I buy. I only rent, so therefore, nothing I own is truly mine.