Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Think My Roommate Caught Hipster

Posted by: Stonecipher

Apr. 27, 2011

So a couple weeks ago my roommate and I were at Estelle's in Wicker Park (a Chicago neighborhood).  I've always liked it there.  They have a great beer selection (including Ska), a pretty friendly and attentive staff and an odd, but friendly crowd.  It's a fun bar and I was happy to be there.

My roommate, on the other hand, was miserable.  He could not stop complaining about all the hipsters.  To be fair, he was right, they were everywhere, and the PBRs flying over the bar at a dizzying pace were proof of their presence.  He just wouldn't let it go though, and even on the way home he was complaining about them.

Two days later, however, I come home, open the fridge and I find this:

At first I thought it was a joke, but when I asked him about it, he just said "Well, after that night at Estelle's I just got a craving for PBR".  And that's that.  I'm not sure if he picked up on the irony or not, but either way, I guess my roommate is a hipster now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review #14 - Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Apr. 26, 2011

We’re rolling right along here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights and today we review the most reviewed DIPA on The List, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.  As of this writing it has 3,028 reviews and as far as I can tell, it also happens to be the most reviewed beer on all of Beer Advocate.  Here are some stats for you:

ABV: 9%
IBUs: 90
Brewery Location: Milton, Delaware
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.25 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: B-/3.48 – Worthy
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 3,029/1st
Brewery Description: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Bottled On: NA

From PintLog
APPEARANCE:  (5 out of 5) Not too many beers earn a 5 in the looks department, especially Double IPAs given that their lacing and head retention tend to be less than stellar, however, the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is an exception.  It pours a bright, exceptionally brilliant orange-copper color with a nice, foamy, but thin head.  This beer is a real looker.  The head retention is excellent and the lacing is very interesting.  Towards the top of the glass it developed with the typical left/right pattern that I have mentioned in many a previous DIPA review.  About ¼ of the way down, however, it began to have a very, very nice and thick cathedral-like lacing on the back side of the glass while the left-right pattern remained the whole way down. (FYI: The picture to the left came from a great beer blog called PintLog.  Take a minute to check out some of Chris's reviews)

SMELL:  (2 out of 5) For being such a good-looking beer, the 90 Minute was a huge let down to the nose.  Floral and hoppy notes are barely detectable, but not strong.  In fact, there is almost nothing there to smell. 

TASTE:  (3.5 out of 5) Fortunately there is more flavor than there is aroma in this Dogfish Head creation.  Caramel is the most noticeable flavor with some floral and piney flavors lurking in the background.  Despite the floral notes, though, the hops do not provide much bitterness, this is a sweet beer.  The sweetness does tale off a bit towards the finish, but the 90 Minute IPA is malt and caramel all the way. 

MOUTHFEEL:  (4.5 out of 5) The 90 Minute is a very light and tingly beer.  The sweetness also gives it a mouthcoating sensation, but not as much as one might suspect given the how sweet it is.  This is a solid feeling beer. 

OVERALL:  (3.5 out of 5) Again, now that we are getting into some of the more easily obtainable beers on this list, the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is a strong go-to beer when, as it often will be, it is the only DIPA available.  It would also make a nice gift or 4-pack to share as well given that the seasoned beer geeks will still find it to be an acceptable option and the caramel sweetness keep this beer accessible to the masses, at least as much as a Double IPA can be.  Ultimately though, there are better beers on the list.

DRAWBACKS:  The Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is sweeter than what I typically look for, even in a DIPA, and the nose was a real let down.  It looked so good and I really wanted to take a big whiff of flowers, hops and malt to whet my palate even further before taking the first sip, but none of it was there unfortunately.  Good beer, but does not live up to all the hype.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review #13 - Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

April 25, 2011

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid.  Lucky Review #13!  I did not realize this until I actually sat down to enhance my notes on this one, but it is fitting to review a Lagunitas beer for #13 on The List.  Their Lucky 13 Red Ale is one of my favorites. 

Anyhow, this is the second beer in a row that I obtained without much fanfare.  I went to Binny’s, bought it, took it home and cracked it open.  Given some of what I’ve gone through to track down several of the others on The List, I guess this seemingly simple story is a deviation from the norm here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights.   

Here are some stats on the Lagunitas Hop Stoopid:

ABV: 8%
IBUs: 102
Brewery Location: Petaluma, California
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.18 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: B/3.65 – Good
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,338/8th
Brewery Description: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
Bottled On: NA

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) Quite a nice head on this one, the Hop Stoopid seemed to be bursting at the seams trying to get out of the bottle and it was very looked very lively once it finally ended up in my pint glass.  The color was a nice copper with a touch of haziness.  Typical left-right lacing, which was nothing special, but not bad.  Overall, this is a good-looking beer.

SMELL:  (3 out of 5) The Hop Stoopid has been a go-to beer at one of my local hang outs, and for some reason whenever I am there it smells strongly of weed - no, not the establishment, just the Hop Stoopid.  When I have tried it at home, however, the weed smell (and the overall aroma for that matter) is much less intense and seems to have more of a floral and grassy (as in regular, fresh cut grass) smell.

TASTE:  (3.5 out of 5) Again, this is a beer I am fairly familiar with, but it seems to change depending on my surroundings.  My other Lagunitas favorites (IPA, Maximus) don’t seem to vary at all.  In fact, more so than many other great breweries, they seem quite consistent.  So it is hard for me to believe that the brewery is responsible for the inconsistencies.  It just really seems to be impacted by the environment I find myself in more than other beers.  The point is, that when I have had Hop Stoopid at the bar (and out of a 22oz. bomber, just like I am doing now) it has always tasted sweeter to me.  At home, I get a much more bitter and hoppy experience.  I enjoy it both ways, it is just worth noting.  I’m curious to hear whether or not anyone else has had this experience with this or any other beer.

Given that I am sitting at home right now, I am getting more of the bitter flavors.  A quick, burst of sugary pine hits the tongue immediately, but a grassy and weed-like bitterness takes over promptly, allowing the palate to feel all 102 IBUs this one packs.  The tongue is left with hops and a hint of citrus on the palate and with each successive sip the sweet burst up front becomes weaker.  By the end of the glass, Hop Stoopid is exactly what its name implies.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4.5 out of 5) As the strong and lively appearance hinted at, Hop Stoopid is strongly carbonated, particularly for a DIPA.  It is quite dry (at least in my current environment) and it does a number on the taste buds.  Non hop-heads will find the mouthfeel wretched while a seasoned hop veteran will love the effect on the palate.  Just don’t try to review a different beer right after this one.

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) The Lagunitas Hop Stoopid is a strong beer overall and much like its brother Maximus, it holds its own against some of the top DIPAs in the world, but doesn’t necessarily stand out.  It’s relatively wide, year-round availability, though, is a big plus.  Aside from Dogfish Head 90 Minute, it is probably the most accessible beer on The List.

The funny thing about this beer is that the last time I reviewed it (over a year ago) I came up with the exact same numbers, but for very different reasons, at least in the taste department.  For example, I initially thought it was too sweet, whereas this time, I was actually pleased by the lack of too much sweetness.  The mouthfeel was also great both times, but this time I appreciated the dryness of it, when last time I just enjoyed the pleasant tingling sensation.    

DRAWBACKS:  The volatility of the Hop Stoopid is a bit of a turn off to me.  There are times that I have just adored it, times I have been disappointed by it and times like this where it simply seemed to do the job.  Given the variety of experiences I have had with it, if I am looking for a beer to treat myself with, this probably won’t be it.  However, when it is the only DIPA available when I am out, there is a good chance I will buy one. 

SOUND:  If we add up all the variables here - a tendency to smell and possibly taste like weed, the brewery’s description (which is worth clicking on above), and the fact that it was brewed in Northern California, a hop, skip and a jump from the Haight-Ashbury I can only come to one conclusion – the sound of this beer must be a Grateful Dead song.  The image that is coming to mind for me here is that of me sitting on my old stoop in the Haight (just a block away from the old Dead House), listening to “Friend of the Devil” on a sunny weekday afternoon while sipping on a big bottle of Hop Stoopid.  Yeah, I like that thought.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Review #12 - Founders Double Trouble

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Apr. 13, 2011

Unlike most of the recent reviews here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights, the Founders Double Trouble does not have a big, long and complicated story behind it.  Founders is solidly distributed in the Chicago area and I have managed to get my hands on a few 4-packs of Double Trouble.
So, here are the specs for the FDT:

ABV: 9.4%
IBUs: 86
Brewery Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.17 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: A/4.4 – Outstanding
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,007/13th
Brewery Description: Founders Double Trouble
Bottled On: Tuesday, 12/28/2010 at 2:13 PM.

APPEARANCE:  (3.5 out of 5) I poured the Founders Double Trouble into my favorite pint glass, my Ska Brewing pint.  The cloudy, yellow straw color looked great behind the black and white logo.  A nice foamy head remained on top for several minutes after the initial pour and left behind a spotty film covering about 80% of the surface area.  Lacing initially looks like it is going to be fantastic and it isn’t bad, but a letdown given the strong ring of lace left after the first sip.  Below that top ring, the Double Trouble is yet another example of one of my Double IPAs having lacing on the left and right side of the glass, but not directly across on the opposite side.

On a separate, appearance-related note, I had previously never noticed that if you turn the bottle upside down, the face on the front goes from a straight-faced bald guy to a smiling guy with hair.  Cool optical illusion that I never saw before, gotta love Founders.

SMELL:  (4.5 out of 5) Very strong on the citrus aromas, particularly grapefruit.  It smells bitter and fantastic.  This is a powerful and impressive nose.  None of the sweetness/malt notes that are so common in some other DIPAs are present in this one.  It is a nice change of pace for the nose.

TASTE:  (4.5 out of 5) The nose on the Double Trouble does not lie.  It has lots of grapefruit with a very faint floral flavor lurking in the background.  There is a dash of malt to provide just enough balance to this one, but generally it reminds me of an ever so slightly toned down Stone Ruination, an absolute bitter, hop-bomb.  86 IBUs seems to be low, but when the care is taken to make sure that every last one of them is present, they go a long way. 

MOUTHFEEL:  (5 out of 5) When I reviewed Double Trouble last year, I said that the two words that describe its mouthfeel are light and flirty, and I stand by that assessment.  This beer is very well carbonated and feels like a soda going down, but it is so much tastier.  It sits light and is very dry as well.  Founders Double Trouble is a rare beer that gets a 5 in the mouthfeel department from me. 

OVERALL:  (4.5 out of 5) Great beer.  This one really does remind me of Ruination and it also reminds me why I love bitter, hoppy beer.  This is what hops are supposed to do, and while I love the big, sweet and malty DIPAs, sometimes I just want to taste the little green flower without much else getting in the way.  This beer has been climbing up on the The List from 20th to 13th just since we began the project here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights and I imagine it will continue to as it becomes more sought after.  The recent KBS fever may end up bringing it some residual purchases and of course, more reviews. 

SOUND: This was a no-brainer.  The Founders Double Trouble, is powerful and aggressive on the surface, but with an undercurrent of beauty and grace.  The Roots happen to have a song called “Double Trouble” which has all the same characteristics.  Check it out while you throw one of these outstanding brews down.  Or check out the live version.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review #11 - Avery Maharaja

Posted by: Stonecipher

Apr. 11, 2011

A couple of weeks ago Emily and I spent the weekend in Boulder, Colorado and of course, a trip to Avery Brewing Company was on the itinerary.  It was about six months prior that I had first tasted the Maharaja on tap in Avery’s tasting room and I fell for it instantly.  Not much made it to Illinois though, and although I was teased with the promise of Maharaja once over the winter, the only bottle I was able to track down was in Richmond, Virginia of all places.  Needless to say, I was looking forward to our return trip to Boulder, particularly because a new batch of Avery’s delicious Double IPA was scheduled to be tapped just days before we arrived.

We arrived at the tasting room about an hour and a half before close, and while that may not seem like a particularly long time to some, when your body is not quite adjusted to the 5,430 foot altitude and you are drinking 10% beer, it can be a bit much.  So despite the fact that the Raja tasted like heaven that evening, this first review of the second half of The List (By the way, check out the two outstanding beers we reviewed for our special “half-time” show) is based on a fresh bottle that I picked up on my way out of town. 

ABV: 10.54%
IBUs: 102
Brewery Location: Boulder, Colorado
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.18 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: A+/4.68 – World Class
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,331/7th
Brewery Description: Avery Maharaja
Bottled On: Batch #13, March, 2011

A couple of notes about the above information:

One, the ABV has varied slightly with each batch and different sources will likely give you different numbers, but Batch #13, the one I am reviewing here, weighs in at 10.54% as it states on the new bottle.

Two, as I predicted a few weeks ago, Maharaja has now moved back into the Number 7 spot on The List.

And Three, several people, our bartender at Avery included, have mentioned that Batch #13 is one of the best so far.  In my opinion, the Batch #12 that I had was great, but the #13 really did beat it.

On to the review…

APPEARANCE:  (5 out of 5) Look at that pretty head!  Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Delirium Tremens tulip glass the Maharaja’s head is about an inch thick and stark white.  The body of the beer is a rich, deep, red copper that is so clear that I can look down to the bottom of the glass and see the dozen or so large bubbles slowly breaking apart to create a steady stream of extra-tiny bubbles continuously rising from the bottom of the glass.  As the tulip glass becomes more and more empty a pretty, stained-glass lacing covers about 50% of the opposite side of the glass.

SMELL:  (4 out of 5) Strong floral aromas with hints of pine, grapefruit and even a touch of banana.  At the brewery last week I recall the smell being much stronger, but I also had five 10 oz. pours, so what I recall is suspect at best.  This is an excellent smelling beer, but I would like more aroma.

TASTE:  (5 out of 5) A blast of hops and flowers assaults my tongue right off the bat, followed by a burst of grapefruit and a few other more subtle citrus flavors.  All the while, the malty notes are slowly building through the middle of the sip where they peak with a tempered sweetness.  The back end allows the malt to fade while the floral hops and the grapefruit return.  At the very tail end, the grapefruit kicks one last time leaving a bitter, citrusy taste on the tongue.  Throughout the glass I was also able to pick up hint of nuttiness and some grassy notes as well.  I have never said this about a beer, but the Maharaja is symmetrical, depending on how you look at it, it is either two waves of bitterness on either end of the sip or one sweet, malty wave in the middle.  Either way, it is delicious.  It should be noted, however, that it seems to be much bitterer than it was at the taproom.  At Avery, and on tap it was exceptionally malty and sweet, in the bottle it is a bitter hop bomb – again, delicious either way. 

MOUTHFEEL: (4 out of 5) With a bit of a tickle the Maharaja does not have a very strong carbonation.  With that in mind, along with the fact that there is a very strong malt presence (even in the bottle), it is rather surprising that Avery’s offering is neither mouthcoating nor oily.  Instead it is rather dry. 

OVERALL:  (5 out of 5) It is difficult for me to write anything objectively about Avery.  Their IPA was one of the very first that I fell in love with and my two trips to the brewery have only served to make me love them even more.  After this past week’s visit I believe they have thrust themselves from somewhere in my top five to over taking Lagunitas as my solid number two on my favorites list.  They’ll need to do just a tad better to edge out Ska.  Anyhow, I have only been privileged enough to have Maharaja a handful of times, but the flavor sticks with me and is always memorable.  Drinking this beer has been a celebratory experience, a social experience and a spiritual one.  As I sit here drinking it right now it is the latter.  This is the first time it has been just me and the beer.  I know I’m gushing about it, but this beer is special and very well may be the beer that has tipped the California vs. Colorado debate for me in favor of CO. 

DRAWBACKS:  Basically none, except the nose.  It may not be perfect for everyone.  If you’re a hop head expecting a Stone Ruination, you will be disappointed, but if you can appreciate complexity and some malt then Maharaja is for you.  Back to the nose, though, my guess is that if Avery ever tried to mess with the aroma they would destroy the taste as well, so I would never call for any changes to this beer, but for such a spectacular brew, it is a shame that planting my nose inside the glass for three minutes is not quite as wonderful a sensation as it has been for some of the other DIPAs on The List.

SOUND:  This one is a stretch, but as I mentioned above, the Maharaja can be a bit of a spiritual experience and as I was having this experience during this review, my iPod happened to start playing the perfect song.  I’m not religious at all, but I believe that this song was delivered to me as I drank this either by the spirit of Benjamin Franklin or by Silenus (the ancient Greek God of Beer).  The song?  It was Donald Byrd’s “Cristo Redento”.  Haunting, soothing and exceptionally complex all at the same time, this masterpiece of sound from a legend in the jazz world is the perfect companion for you and a Maharaja.  I understand the stigma attached to drinking alone, but if it is done for the right reasons, at the right time, under the right conditions, with the right drink and with intent, it can be a transcendent experience.  If you can obtain a Maharaja wherever you are, I highly recommend that you secure a bottle, take it home and wait for a night when you know that no one else will bother you, download “Cristo Redento” by Donald Byrd, put it on repeat and crack the bottle open. 

The nearly 1,500 words I have written so far have taken me almost an hour to write and I have spent about 25 minutes listening to “Cristo” during that time.  I have also savored every sip of this beer the whole way through.  Furthermore, it has taken me this entire time that I have been writing to finish this spectacular beer and I would not want it any other way.  I have reviewed over half of The List here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights so far and I have already tasted 14 of the 20 and right now, Maharaja is the front runner in the taste department.  Yes, there are still six that I have not tried, but unless the YuleSmith beats this one I can’t imagine anyone else knocking it off its pedestal as the Gold Medal winner for 20 Beers and 20 Night’s Top 20 DIPAs.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Half Time Show: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout vs. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Posted by: Stonecipher

Apr. 9, 2011

It has been exactly two and a half months since we began our quest here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights and we have officially reached the halfway point on The List.  For those of you who are just here for the Bourbon County Stout vs. the Kentucky Breakfast Stout, our goal here is to produce an in-depth review of each of the Top 20 Most Reviewed Double/Imperial IPAs on Beer Advocate.  However, since we have reached halftime on the list so to speak, I figured we could diverge from the norm and put on a bit of a halftime show before resuming Part II of The List.  Also, if you care to skip the intro here, you can just scroll down to the reviews (as opposed to complaining that the intro is too long winded), if you appreciate a little buildup, however, read on.

I was fortunate enough to have two of the most highly acclaimed (and sought after) American Double/Imperial Stouts at the same time, so I decided to do a little head-to-head, blind taste test to see who would come out on top.

The two beers in question?  Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS) and Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS).  At the moment, KBS is the 2nd most reviewed American Imperial Stout on Beer Advocate and BCBS is the 3rd.  Here are the specs on both:

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout:

ABV: 13%
IBUs: 60
Brewery Location: Chicago, Illinois
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A/4.36 – Outstanding
My Beer Advocate Rating: A+/4.83 – World Class
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,524/3rd
Bottled On: NA

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout:

ABV: 11.2%
IBUs: 70
Brewery Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A+/4.54 – World Class
My Beer Advocate Rating: A/4.3 – Outstanding
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,931/2nd
Bottled On: NA

In order to keep this taste test as scientific and blind as possible I recruited my girlfriend to help out.  As I sat in the dining room, she poured both bottles into a couple of glasses and walked them out to me.  She also poured some for herself and did her own reviews of each, which I will be posting sometime in the near future, but she knew which beer was which whereas I did not.

Unfortunately for science, I figured it out right away.  I do not get to taste Bourbon County Stout very often, but I have had it enough, and it is enough of a memorable flavor, that I was able to pick it out almost immediately.  The KBS on the other, hand I had only tried twice before this and it was not quite as familiar.  With that said, my girlfriend refused to verify whether I was actually right about which beer was which until I had finished reviewing both. 

The point of all of this is that when I reviewed the beers, I reviewed them as Beer A and Beer B rather than BCBS and KBS.  So, in order to maintain the integrity of the initial reviews, the only words I am adding are the names of the beers in the subheadings. 

BEER A (Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout):

APPEARANCE:  (3.5 out of 5) This is a jet black beer.  No light is coming though this one at all, even when held up to the light.  As far as head goes, there is almost none, save a few wisps here and there and some bubbles popping up from the bottom of the glass.  No lacing.

SMELL:  (5 out of 5) Beer A is one of the best smelling beers I have ever had the pleasure of putting my nose to and one sniff makes me fairly certain that this is the more familiar of the two beers to me, the Bourbon County Stout.  A wide variety of smells make the scent of this one an experience in and of itself.  The nose is a warning that there is no doubt that this is a highly alcoholic beer.  The sweet smell of bourbon dominates, with oaky and vanilla notes, but a hint of coffee and chocolate round it out.  This is an exceptional smelling beer. 

TASTE:  (5 out of 5) The flavor almost precisely matches the nose, more so than any other beer I can ever recall.  A strong taste of sugary, vanilla bourbon meets the palate right off the bat before it slowly mellows and fades away.  Throughout each sip I also noticed some notes of chocolate and even some dark fruit before a kick of coffee cleaned it all away at the end leaving a mild coffee aftertaste.  The alcohol is strong and the 60 IBUs are just there for balance, only a touch of bitterness gets through all the other intense flavors.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) After sipping and tasting I am almost certain that Beer A is Bourbon County Stout and the mouthfeel only serves to help confirm my suspicions.  Beer A is smooth and oily with a comforting and warming feel, as if you were actually sipping bourbon.

OVERALL:  (5 out of 5) This is a ridiculously good beer.  Exceptional is a perfect world to describe it, but unique would be a nice complimentary word.  This is certainly a world-class brew that will fill any Imperial Stout fan’s heart with joy and should be a must-try for every serious beer drinker in America.

BEER B (Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout):

APPEARANCE:  (3.5 out of 5) Beer B is bubblier than Beer A, but still not much head developed other than a few wisps of foam on the top.  Like Beer A, this was stark black as well and light stood no chance against this thick brew.  Again, mirroring the first beer, there was no lacing at all.

SMELL:  (4 out of 5) This was a much less intense smelling beer than the first one.  A mellow and scaled back coffee flavor dominated it with a smoky, yet sweet bourbon flavor lurking in the background.  Notes of chocolate and vanilla were also detectable.

TASTE:  (4.5 out of 5) Coffee rules the palate in this one, but vanilla and bourbon are much stronger than the background flavors in Beer A.  The alcohol is toned down a bit as well.  Overall, Beer B seems to be a much more balanced beer, but not quite as exciting.  It also has a strong coffee and slightly bitter aftertaste as well.  I did not get the coffee on the end the first time I reviewed this beer, but it is just as good.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) Beer B is a much bubblier and more sparkling beer than most imperial stouts I have had in the past.  It is certainly still a mouthcoating and oily beer, but with a little more fizz than usual for such a thick and dark beer.

OVERALL:  (4.5 out of 5) I am just now realizing that I already inadvertently revealed that I knew which beer was which when I said “the first time I reviewed this beer”.  Anyhow, continuing with that thought, the first time I tried the KBS, I thought it would rival Bourbon County for me, but side by side, it comes up just a touch short.  Just like Pliny the Elder, I believe that this is a nearly technically perfect beer, and it may be the best Bourbon Stout I’ve had, but the Bourbon County, a.k.a. Beer A, is still my favorite. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Updated List (Again) - 10 Down, 10 To Go

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Mar. 30, 2011

We've reached the half way point here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights and I thought it was a good time to post an updated version of The List.

The initial goal of the website was to review the Top 20 Most Reviewed American Double IPAs on Beer Advocate.  As we reach the halfway point, however, I am having a lot of fun with this and the plan is to keep it going beyond the Top 20.  I have a few ideas for another set of 20 beers, but if any of you out there have some thoughts I would love to hear them.

Back to the current list, however, here is what it looked like in the beginning of the project:

1.   90 Minute IPA - Dogfish Head
2.   Stone Ruination - Stone Brewing
3.   Bell's Hopslam - Bell's Brewery
4.   Pliny the Elder - Russian River (Will need some help finding this one for sure)
5.   Hop Wallup - Victory
6.   120 Minute IPA - Dogfish Head
7.   Maharaja - Avery Brewing
8.   Dreadnaught IPA - Three Floyds
9.   Hercules Double IPA - Great Divide
10. Hop Stoopid - Lagunitas
11. Burton Baton - Dogfish Head
12. Double Simcoe IPA - Weyerbacher Brewing
13. Maximus - Lagunitas
14. Gordon Ale - Oskar Blues
15. Unearthly - Southern Tier
16. Founders Devil Dancer - Founders
17. YuleSmith (Summer) - AleSmith
18. Double Dog Double Pale Ale - Flying Dog
19. Hopsickle Imperial IPA - Moylan's Brewery
20. Founder's Double Trouble - Founders

The updated list has a few changes, Hop Stoopid and Maharaja flip flopped spots, although, I believe they'll probably revert back to their original spots soon seeing as another batch of Maharaja was just released and the Hop Stoopid is available year-round.  At this point the Maharaja is only 11 reviews behind.  The other mover on the list was, once again, Founders Double Trouble.  It has steadily moved up the list, starting at No. 20 and moving up to 14.

As I noted in the last update to The List, the original listed Oskar Blues's Gordon Ale, but the name has been changed since then to G'Knight Ale.

So, after all that, this is what the new list looks like:

1.   90 Minute IPA - Dogfish Head
2.   Stone Ruination - Stone Brewing
3.   Bell's Hopslam - Bell's Brewery
4.   Pliny the Elder - Russian River (Will need some help finding this one for sure)
5.   Hop Wallup - Victory
6.   120 Minute IPA - Dogfish Head
7.   Hop Stoopid - Lagunitas
8.   Maharaja - Avery Brewing
9.   Dreadnaught IPA - Three Floyds
10. Hercules Double IPA - Great Divide
11. Burton Baton - Dogfish Head
12. Double Simcoe IPA - Weyerbacher Brewing
13. Maximus - Lagunitas
14. Founders Double Trouble - Founders 
15. G'Knight Imperial Red Ale - Oskar Blues
16. Unearthly - Southern Tier
17. Founders Devil Dancer - Founders
18. Double Dog Double Pale Ale - Flying Dog
19. YuleSmith (Summer) - AleSmith 
20. Hopsickle Imperial IPA - Moylan's Brewery

Of the 10 remaining beers on the list, I am only seeing one as giving me a hard time, the YuleSmith Summer by AleSmith.  AleSmith doesn't distribute to Chicago as far as I know and I may have to wait a few more months anyway, to get my hands on a fresh batch.  I imagine it will be the final beer on the list.

On the other hand, I have already reviewed the Maharaja, I just have to edit and post it sometime within the next few days.  I also have a 4-pack of Double Trouble in the fridge, along with a bomber of Hop Stoopid.

90 Minute, Unearthly and Double Dog should be no problem whatsoever.  The Founders Devil Dancer and the Hop Wallup shouldn't require too much hunting either.  The only other minor issue could arise is the Dogfish Head 120.  Rumor has it that Dogfish somehow screwed up the last batch, but at this point I have no word on when it is coming out.

Anyhow, point is, 10 down, 10 to go.