Monday, July 30, 2012

Three Floyds in Colorado! Sorta.

Since we’re still at halftime of The Barleywine Project, when I came across this little guy (pictured to the right) earlier in the week I figured I would squeeze it in as Part II of the Halftime Show.  Given that it was my only chance to get Three Floyds out here in Colorado, it was also a no-brainer of a buy, even at a little more than a buck and ounce. 

Location: Hazel’s Beverage World, Boulder, CO
Cost: $11.99/11.2oz. bottle
ABV: 11.5%
Brewery Location: Fraserburgh, Scotland/Munster, Indiana
Style: American Barleywine
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.05
My Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.05
Current Number of Reviews on Beer Advocate: 2
Best Before:  March 19, 2016

APPEARANCE:  Dark, hazy and a little Hair-of-the-Dogish in color, meaning it is deep Barleywine-Mahogany, but more on the brown side and a bit murky.  The head is a nice, contrastingly, stark-white that dissipates at a moderate rate leaving a solid cap of foam over the surface.  The lacing is pretty solid with roughly 65% of the back side of the glass covered.

SMELL:  There is a lot of citrus in the nose, a good dose for an American-style Barleywine.  That said, it is still nicely accented with all the typical Barleywine aromas, beginning with some brown sugar, followed by banana, then bread.  Gorgeous smell.

TASTE:  Well, that went in a direction I didn’t expect.  This is, by far, the grassiest and smokiest Barleywine I have ever tasted.  This tastes like mowing the lawn up front and is closely followed by a big dose of pleasant tobacco.  There’s also more peat moss in this thing than in a nice, neat glass of Laphroaig.  Unreal.  I would kill for a cigar right now.  Honestly, this is weird; so much smoke, peat and grass in here, it is unlike any other beer I’ve ever had, but I like it. 

MOUTHFEEL:  Dry, crisp and well…not so clean.  The sparkle is impressive given the style and the flavor, but it is not too much either.  The finish is dry as a bone.

OVERALL:  For two breweries that seem to be so dead-set on creating the ultimate American beer, this was a shock to the system.  Smoke, peat and scotch-like characteristics are overwhelming, but also really good.  A lot of people say “Oh, I could have one, but never more” about a lot of beers.  I never feel that way, but in this case I do.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Addendum to The DIPA Project - Review #22 - Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary IPA

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

July 21, 2012

Well, we have reached the midpoint of The Barleywine Project here at 20 Beer in 20 Nights, so for your halftime entertainment; here is another addendum to The DIPA Project – a review of Stone’s 10th Anniversary Edition of Ruination.  I’m thrilled to have a crack at tasting this beer.  The regular Ruination has become a favorite of mine since I first reviewed it last March.  And since the original was a part of The DIPA Project, I figured it would be appropriate to add a review for the celebration of its anniversary.   

The 10th Anniversary Edition is the same recipe as the original except a healthy portion of malt has been added to raise the ABV from 7.7% to 10.8% and two and a half pounds of Citra and Centennial hops per barrel have been thrown in for good measure.  Sounds delicious. 

ABV: 10.8%
IBUs: 110
Brewery Location: Escondido, California
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A/4.46
My Beer Advocate Rating: A+/4.88
Current Number of Reviews: 234
Bottled On: June 2012

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) Unlike the original version, the 10th Anniversary Ruination is not a straw-yellowish color; instead this is a nearly perfect shade of light orange.  A large, fluffy white head sat on top for a good three minutes, not moving anywhere for the first two and then suddenly settling into a few small mounds of foam scattering across the surface.  The fallen head leaves behind a good dose of lacing, but as the beer level recedes, the lacing becomes a little less impressive.  This is a gorgeous beer.

SMELL:  (5 out of 5) Big, delicious, grapefruit completely dominates here.  It is clear that this is a 5 out of 5 in the aroma department.  I love that grapefruit and a nice hint of pine, flowers and tropical fruits lingers beneath it.  Wow.

TASTE:  (5 out of 5) Ah, a beer that tastes like it smells - this generally makes me happy, especially when it smells this good.  Again, grapefruit is out in front with a hefty dose of bitterness, followed by a bit of lemon.  The Citra hops are shining through and as the beer warms, more of their complexity, the sweeter, tropical fruits begin to develop.  These fruity notes combine with the extra malt to provide a very well balanced beer.  In fact, it is one of the better balanced DIPAs I have ever had and rivals Pliny the Younger in that respect.  Now, of course this is an unfair comparison, but the PtY never, at any point, during any sip becomes unbalanced in any direction.  The 10th Anniversary almost gets there, but about three-quarters of the way through each sip the malty sweetness takes over a touch too much.  That said, I think this still gets a 5 for taste.  This is unbelievably good beer.

By the way, the finish is a bit less bright and a little more earthy, but it sets the palate up very well for more.  Aftertaste is grapefruity.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) The carbonation is fairly light.  Lighter than I typically like, but with the sweet, stickiness of the malt, that may be more appropriate.  While it is mouthcoating, the citrus provides enough dryness to clean the palate a bit. 

OVERALL:  (5 out of 5) This beer is most definitely still Ruination, and will still rip a novice’s palate to shreds, but to the hop head, this is luxury.  As Homer Simpson once said “Sweet, merciful crap!”  This is an amazing beer.  Stone Brewing has completely outdone themselves.  Either that, or I am just a sucker for more and more and more hops being tossed into a brew.  It isn’t magic I guess, when you double the amount of hops of the hoppiest beer you make (5 pounds per barrel – at least one of which is Citra and one of which is Centennial) and load it with malt to balance, you’re gonna end up with a good brew.

This is definitely a better beer than Pliny the Elder and probably Maharaja.  It also gives Pliny the Younger a run for its money, not something I say easily.