November 2, 2014

Avery Pump[KY]n

Avery Pump[KY]n - Porter brewed w/ Pumpkin and Spices and Aged in Bourbon Barrels (2014)
Limited Release (First Batch).
12 fl. oz. / $12.99 USD / 17.22% ABV

About: "What’s in a name? Sometimes the simplest can be the most descriptive, and in this case, derisive and divisive! After much internal debate (ad nauseum! Bourb[KY]n, anyone?), we decided a single letter change was the best way to embody the bourbon barrel-aging that adds layers of complexity to an already exquisitely spiced pumpkin porter."

Thoughts: Last night while watching Hell in a Cell, I drank a 2014 bottle of Avery Rumpkin (original review HERE) and I'll tell ya, the shit was absolutely glorious! Even better than I remember from the last two years. But this one's about Rumpkin's brand new sister beer! I almost didn't even buy this beer because I thought it was Rumpkin on the shelf. It was right next to it and the area was a bit cluttered since many people must have picked up the bottles and set them back down after considering the price. Plus, I didn't know that this even existed since it's been about a year since I payed attention to any real beer news. When I noticed it on the shelf, I just said fuck it and bought both their pumpkin brews because that's what a guy like me would do.

Pump[KY]n porter poured a dense black with a soft light-brownish tan head on top. A little smoke came out when I cracked it, but other than that there's not really much to describe. The smell is on par with other Avery works of art and by that I mean that this beer is obviously a masterpiece. Having the Rumpkin last night I will say that I do enjoy the scent on that one a bit more, but that's only because I'm more partial to ales than porters. This one is super rich, like an alcoholic chocolate cake... there's tons of barley malt here and it's so strong you could drown in it. There's also some cinnamon and spices on top of oatmeal. It's absolutely fucking beautiful! Oh, and it smells dangerous as a motherfucker too.

It's still a bit cold, even though I've had it sitting for 45 minutes without touching it. How do I do that you ask? I don't know, but I think I may like torturing myself. Let's try it! Yes. First gulp and IT BURNS! IT BURNS!!1 Avery you sadistic bastards, you've done it again. Yeah, there's a ton of heat on this... but it's sweet, spicy and just ripping with barley. This one really reminds me of Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout which is brewed with a shit-ton of malted barley as well. Oh, on a side note I should probably tell you that yesterday I aslo drank a 2014 DFH WWS earlier the last evening (the Rumpkin was my nightcap) so yeah I'm going a bit nuts with these high ABV brews but that's what I like to do.

The Bourbon barrel aging on this is off the fuckin' chain though. It's got a strong presence that hits the hardest after the swallow, leaving a fiery haze down the gullet and igniting your fuckin' ass, man! While in the mouth however, you get all of those pumpkin spices and that sweet oatmeal. This is the definition of a sipper beer. It's the real deal, and this one and Rumpkin are two pumpkin beers in which all others should be judged. Just looking to my right at these two empty bottles I've gotta say, that I feel blessed! No joke. I know these beers are about $15 each, or could be 10-18$ depending on where you are, but it's totally worth it because Pump[KY]n and Rumpkin are not just beers but experiences.

Despite how enjoyable this beer is fresh, I would definitely suggest aging it a bit since it is extremely hot. That, and the sweetness is a bit much. If I ever pick up another bottle, it's going in the back of the fridge for a year or two.

Troegs Master of Pumpkins

Tröegs Master of Pumpkins (2014)
Seasonal? (Fall).
12.7 fl. oz. (x4) / $13.99 USD / 7.5% ABV (Not listed on packaging)

About: "Brewed with native Pennsylvania neck pumpkins harvested just a few miles from our brewery, Master of Pumpkins conjures the spirit of autumn by combining roasted pumpkins and traditional pie spices with a French saison yeast. This natural fermentation releases a palate of vanilla, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and honey. Taste it you will see, more is all you need! Malt: Munich, Pilsner, Special B / Hops: German Northern Brewer / Yeast: French Saison / JuJu: Cane Sugar, Pennsylvania Honey, Roasted Pennsylvania Neck Pumpkins / Spices: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg / Food Compliments: Mexican dishes or other spicy foods, gamey meats and poultry, cheesecake, aged cheeses."

Thoughts: Popped the cork and a little smoke emerged. MoP poured an extremely clear light-red, auburn-raspberry color with a quick-dissolving white head on top. Natural carbonation is very lively and from the top of the glass it looks like I'm staring up at the moon.

The scent is of natural pumpkin, sweet yet tart, freshly torn gourd, and mild. That French saison yeast really comes out and takes this beer into an absurd place, but what else is there to expect from Tröegs!? Those yeast fiends. Cinnamon, clove and nutmeg are present but taking a backseat to a shit-ton of allspice and honey.

Well... this one isn't the most pleasant of pumpkin beers. It's got a bit of a rubbery thing going on, no doubt due to that funky yeast and the allspice is just dominating! Really, that's about it. Just a lot of Chinese five spice all over the place and a funny tasting yeast. Once you get used it, it's not really that terrible though. It definitely could use a little more cinnamon though.

In terms of those natural tasting pumpkin ales, this one fits in nicely and thankfully isn't as boring or as bitter as some of the other ones. There's a decent sweetness on this one and a nice haze around the end of each gulp. It tastes pretty fresh too... perhaps a little too fresh. Overall despite the good and the bad, this beer is just kinda one note and that's not going to cut it. If it were one note yet amazing tasting, that would be a different story.

Magic Hat DeVEILed and Seance

Magic Hat deVEILed (2013)
Seasonal (Fall).
12 fl. oz. / $1.49 USD / 5.2% ABV

About: "Shrouded in otherworldly goodness! A thin veil rests between two worlds, shrouding one’s view from the other. Lives of the present and those long gone may cross the boundary if they wish, but they must first awaken to the possibility. Once eyes have opened, a harmonious convergence of life and death can be seen, the oneness deveiled, shifting into sight. Malts: 2-Row Pale, Victory, Crystal 40L, Caramel Munich, Caramel 120L, Chocolate / Hops: Magnum, Cascade / Yeast: English Ale"

Thoughts: Damn that is some nice artwork label there. I wonder how much the beer is going to suck just based off that it's got such incredible artwork alone! DeVEILed poured an amber red color with a small foamy light tan head on top. There's generous carbonation and the beer itself is very cloudy. Leaning in for the first whiff and I get toasty water. It's really hard to smell anything here. I get some sweet syrup way in the background but that's about it.

Mouth feel is a little fizzy like and really watery. This beer has a raw funk to it. It's peppery and citrusy and just really kinda grimy. Not all too pleasant I'd have to say. The flavors all blend together kinda nice at first but once you swallow and let the air hit the inside of your mouth it gets all jumbled up and gross. It's like a spiced brown ale, with a lot of grassy water and a little dirt added. Not liking this one too much. Fuck you awesome artwork. Final thought, this motherfucker needs to be REveiled. Ha!

Magic Hat SEANCE (2013)
Seasonal (Fall).
12 fl. oz. / $1.49 USD / 4.4% ABV

About: "Some mysteries are more easily attainable through collected energies and certain assembled elements of seasons, dreams and that which is not at all what it seems. Hold a Séance and peer into an ethereal world of pleasures lying just on the other side of our psyche, floating on shifting winds, through blurred seasons and between waking and sleeping bends. Malts: 2-Row Pale, White Wheat, Victory, Carafa, Flaked Oats, Crystal 80L, Cherry Wood Smoke / Hops: Goldings, Hallertaur / Yeast: Saison II"

Thoughts: Seance poured a really dark brown color with a long lasting light tan head. One things for sure this smells a hell of a lot better than deVEILed. Ahh, it must be that belgian yeast. This one smells sweet, with hints of banana, candy apple, toasted oats, and bonfires.

The beer starts off peppery and smoky, with a lot of that bonfire feeling coming through real strong. The tons of malt mingle together peacefully while the sprinkling of hops bounce around the palate. It's not a strong beer at all, but it's loaded with flavor and tastes good. It's slightly on the charred side, but I've really got no problem with that. Drinking this really reminds me of getting drunk at the beach back when I was a freaky teen. It's got a slight hint of sourness around the middle mark, but a really fine and clean aftertaste to it.

Mouth is a bit fluffed up and weighty. You can tell this beer was made by Magic Hat as their stuff does share a similar kind of base taste and a gritty, dirty rawness to them... but here's one that actually worked out. I'm not in any rush to go buy any more of it, but if they do something special like age it in wine barrels or something I'll have another go at it.

November 1, 2014

Founders Bolt Cutter

Founder's Bolt Cutter - Our 15'th Anniversary Ale (2012)
Anniversary Brew (Backstage Series)
25.4 fl. oz. / $25.99 / 15% ABV

About: "Bolt Cutter is a cellarable 15% ABV barley wine brewed in celebration of our 15th anniversary. Dry-hopped with a mountain of Cascade hops, it’s balanced by a malty sweetness and spicy complexity, resulting from barrel aging some of it in bourbon barrels, some in maple syrup-bourbon barrels and some not at all (standard fermentation only). We allowed the beer to mature in bottles and kegs for four months so that it would be perfect for its release in November 2012. Bolt Cutter pours a deep copper color and is best sampled at different temperatures to allow the flavors to unfold."

Thoughts: I bought this beer two years ago and it's been in the back of my fridge inside of a closed paper bag ever since. Why? I do not know the answer to that question. I just figured I'd save it for the "right time" or a "special occasion", but there never really was one of those things that ever made me think now is the time. When I decided to buy a Bolt Cutter glass online to pair the shot with they had just sold out, so I guess I felt kind of bummed. Well, that bullshit is over. Last night was Halloween, I got a full weekend to do nothing but jerk off so let's fuckin' do this!

This beer is way clearer than I thought it would be. I'm talking a crystal clear burnt orange with shades of ruby red, and it looks pretty nice. It's so clear that I can read the lettering through it on the back of the glass in this dim room. The off-white head was gloppy and slow to form before dying down into a puddle of mush. I can smell this one from across the table. Just the way I like it. There's only three things I like to be able to smell from across the table: my food, my beer... and my women! The smell is of strong, sweet malted barley and the alcohol is strong with this one. It's got a syrupy burst of toffee that's candy-like and indulgent. Despite the strength on this, it doesn't appear to be hiding a kick.

First sip and it's all there, and with an effervescent surprise on the mouth feel on top of it all. It's absurdly smooth, with a tingling that roars throughout the whole thing, but still, so soothing and soft. How does it stay so smooth?! Is it the two years that have gone by? I got a shiver inducing bite a few seconds after that first sip, but it's settled already by the second. With the third and fourth sip I feel a fire igniting in my stomach. I of course wouldn't put it past Founders to have this barleywine loaded with hops (not much unlike SN Bigfoot) and man are those grassy as all fuck hops bouncing around here. Sometimes after a while, that kind of thing builds up and grimes up a beer, but that's not the case here as it sits back just like a gentle leafy, grassy breeze in the background. It's not strong enough to be distracting, but it's just there enough give a little needed depth... because overall, I'm not getting too much depth here. It's layered, but slightly repetitive.

It tastes like a really smooth hard liquor barleywine hybrid. For the most part it's sweet, especially when you swirl it around in the mouth. After the swallow it's got a very low lever bitterness, but it's there and adds a little complexity to the drink. It's slightly softer than I usually like, most likely due to the aging, but it's still peppery and has a nice zing to it. For being so mellow, it's still damn tasty! This is some exquisite shit here as a matter of fact. Now, I'm of course a little experienced with these High ABV beers. Just the other day I drank a World Wide Stout, Rumpkin, and a Pump[KY]n, in addition to the many others I've tried, this is by far the softest. But that doesn't mean that other people would find this soft at all. Oh hell no! Actually I'm pretty sure that if you gave this to someone who didn't know what the fuck it was they'd think it's straight up booze and not a beer at all.

But that's a good thing, especially about this beer for a guy like me. A freak! No, a guy like me, who enjoys the finer things in life. I just read the info on this beer while preparing to post this review, and while it's obvious that there's some sort of barrel aging it's not on the bottle I don't think. It makes sense now how they did it, what with the syrup I got, then the bourbon and even at times where it didn't really seem as if it were barrel aged at all. So the mix of all three of those things are indeed evident in the taste here. Even then however, I'll admit that this one isn't perfect. Not that it needs to be. In fact, I like it just the way it is, because if were different, well, it'd be something different. And I didn't want to drink something different, I wanted to drink this. And perhaps I'm rambling a bit, but although it's not as good as I was hoping (waiting on it two years and wondering doesn't help that, btw) I still enjoyed the hell out of this one and if given the chance, I'd buy it all over again.

Brewmasters Blatant Pumpkin Ale

Brewmasters BLATANT Pumpkin Ale (2014)
Brewed and Bottled by Brewmasters Brewing Co., Williamsburg, MA. USA.
Seasonal (Fall).
12 fl. oz. / $1.69 USD / ?% ABV

About: No info online about this one whatsoever, so I'll just type this off the side of the bottle. "Ale with BLATANT spices & Autumn Flavors. Full Bodied & Balanced... With REAL Pumpkins!"

Thoughts: I've seen Blatant brews on the shelves here and there, but have never picked one up. Perhaps I'm not one for overly simplistic designs (the pint glass / exlaimation point is basically the main logo on all of their bottles so they all look the same). Luckily I was searching for pumpkin ales that I'd never tried before and noticed this on. It poured a very auburn shade of light, light brown with a little bit of yellow and orange showing. It's hardly the prettiest color I've seen on a beer, I'll tell you that. Foamy white head was slim and left a ring around the glass as it dissipated.

Well, aside from the look, this one smells really good. It's got the gourd goin' for it, and quite an abundance of pumpkin spice. It really smells natural, real pumpkin flesh, sweet yet tart, and nicely spiced.

Gotta say that this one tastes pretty good too. While natural tasting, it's really clean which is a plus and it's got a nice sweet little kick on the end of things. It's got a good balance on it and never actually delves into a noticeable bitter spot, but instead always remains soft, spicy and sweet. Like all non-imperial pumpkin ales this one is missing that special something: a touch of booze. Also it's not really that peppery, but that doesn't matter too much.

It's a pretty calm beer overall with some good flavor on it. The mouth feel is tingly and a little thick. Aftertaste is soft spices and a gentle fruitiness. This one is a decent, non-offensive pumpkin beer.

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.