Beer Review: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Take a look at that head...

5.2% ABV
SRM: ~32

The first thing I noticed is the very nice head this beer poured…almost three fingers of creamy tan. I let it sit for a bit and the head hung around like a loser at a party…awhile without much change or movement. As I drank the beer, the head left very good lacing throughout the glass.

Looking at the beer, it looked dark brown but appeared to be fully opaque, giving me the impression that it’s actually black.

The aroma was somewhat disappointing. I noticed a bit of dark chocolate aroma mixed with a bit of coffee/nutty scents. I could definitely sense some of the roasted qualities of the malt but overall, the chocolate aroma is much less than what I expected it to be.

As for mouth feel, I would say full bodied, thick mouth feel. Many consider stouts to be naturally thick, full bodied beers. As a category, that’s not the case which tempered my expectations a bit here. However, with the chocolate additions, and most likely some lactose for sweetness, the mouth feel here was right on with what I expected, solid overall.

The flavor had some bitterness but it is actually similar to the bitterness of a 70-80% cocoa bar rather than any hop flavor..which was obviously good considering the name. Though it had some bitterness, this is definitely a sweet stout. I noticed the roasted malts (primarily chocolate malt which tastes more roasted than actual chocolate). I did get some dark chocolate flavor, but less than anticipated, similar to the aroma. This a solid beer that leaned on the sweet side of the scale. Though I’d consider it a sweet stout, the aftertaste had some nice bitterness but not at all harsh or disappointing. I was pleased to notice very little stout like coffee flavors which I’m not yet into quite yet.. The carbonation was right on for the style. One thing I could tell is that as the beer goes down, the chocolate aroma increases quite a bit which is definitely a plus.

It has great balance, solid flavor, a thick (but nice) mouthfeel, and an acceptable aroma. Even with all of that, I couldn’t imagine drinking more than a couple of these on any given night…though not a bad thing.

Overall: 8/10 (B+)
Solid beer…though less chocolate aroma and flavor than I expected from the raves of my sister and friends. There’s a chance that the high expectations may have hindered my overall grade somewhat.


Beer Review: My American Wheat

My American Wheat
srm: hazy 4

Head poured about 1 finger of white
Little retention

Aroma is a little grapefruit with a citrus base that is reminiscent of lemon

Rather light mouthfeel

Low on carbonation but not low enough to hinder drinkability

A good mix of balance for a light wheat beer.

Overall, I got what I was hoping for…a light wheat beer with a nice light appearance to convert BMC drinkers at my upcoming ribfest. For my tastes, it’s too light, but should be a hit with light beer drinkers.

6.5/10 for my tastes as an American wheat due to the lightness and lack of strong flavors. 10/10 for what i was trying to accomplish with this brew. Considering I am rating a beer that has been bottle fermenting for 4 days, this beer should only get better as it picks up more carbonation. I’m pleased with the results.

Big Sky Brewing IPA

This is how I take notes on my iPhone when reviewing a beer…

Mediocre, which I guess I is better than a usual M.Night Shyamalan movie...

Big Sky Brewing Co IPA

6.2% ABV
Srm: 8.5-9?

Poured a nice 2 finger head with good retention…a light cream color

There’s a nice hop aroma, definitely not overpowering but has the hop smell I enjoy. I enjoy an even more robust aroma, but this will do. The aroma smells a mix of grapefruit and maybe pine.

This brew has a nice hop flavor with the malt backbone to support the amount of bitterness. The aftertaste has a harsh bitterness.

Clarity is ok…with a light caramel look.

Lacing is solid

As I drink, the maltyness is accenuated in the aroma.

Overall: 6/10 (C-C+)

The review may read better than the overall rating but this beer screams average in every category. Nothing was an eye opener and it wasn’t something that I’d drink more than 1 or 2 of at any given point. Not a bad beer…there’s just many that are better.

Beer Review: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Old Rasputin put a spell on me...lame, I know

ABV: 9%
SRM: ~35

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’m really beginning my exploration into stouts and porters. As a guy who has never liked coffee, stouts haven’t been of much interest due to the majority having what I relate to a coffee aroma and a strong coffee flavor. With that being said, I can say that the stout flavor is really growing on me and I plan to review significantly more in the future.

This beer was bought at a no name bar…which pleasantly surprised me with a decent list of bottled beers. This beer poured a decent tannish colored head, nothing outstanding but respectable from what I’ve seen come from other stouts. Initially it appeared as though this beer was as black as night…completely opaque but after holding it up to a bright light it looked as though there was some brown. As I drank, the beer actually had solid lacing throughout the glass.

The aroma wasn’t as strong as I had anticipated considering the color and the alcohol content. I did notice some caramel, a bit of roasted coffee scent, some alcohol, and maybe some chocolate. The beer had a nice smelling aroma, but was rather lackluster when it comes to the amount of overall aroma.

The taste was somewhat sweet with a definite light coffee flavor. There was a strong dark chocolate flavor that was nicely intertwined with some strong, but pleasant, caramel maltyness. I didn’t notice an real hop presence. The beer had some obvious hop bitterness, but no real hop flavor or aroma. I really enjoyed the flavor profile overall. I don’t like coffee as I stated earlier, but this stout wasn’t focused on coffee flavor rather a dark chocolate, malty caramel flavor. The flavor may have been aided by the excellent mouthfeel, which was thick but not too much. The carbonation was more than most stouts I’ve had but it felt like a nice touch as the beer maintained smoothness.

Overall, this beer was pretty complex with a variety of flavors and aromas. The alcohol, sitting at 9%, makes this a tough beer to drink continuously, but I think I could easily drink 2-3 in a sitting without getting burnt out or feeling like Old Rasputin is getting to rich.

Grade: 9.5/10 (A-)

An excellent stout overall. I’m definitely looking forward to my next one, which I hope is soon. If you’re trying to expand your stout palate, try and Old Rasputin and hope you’re at a bar that’s doing 2 for 1’s as you’ll want another.

Just a quick FYI, here’s a LINK that gives a brief explanation of who Rasputin was, what he did, and some of his historical significance.

Sorry for the picture quality, the bar wasn’t well lit and my IPhone doesn’t have a flash.

Beer Review: Cigar City’s Maduro Oatmeal Brown

A very sweet beer...more of a stout than a brown

Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown

ABV: 5.2%

SRM: ~20

I had this on tap and the beer came with a finger or so of head with very little retention but solid lacing. The first thing I noted was how dark this beer was for an “oatmeal brown.” I actually read a few things online about the color to make sure I actually got the right beer…after checking, it appears I definitely ended up getting the Maduro. It wasn’t black like Old Rasputin, but close…a very dark brown with a bit of red hue.

The aroma had a malty chocolate like backbone with a light coffee scent…maybe even a little toffee as well. I didn’t notice any hop aroma at all. As I drank, the aroma seemed to get progressively sweeter which I enjoyed.

The flavor was unexpectedly sweet with definite flavors or coffee, some roasted malts, a bit nutty as well. I noticed that there was very little to no bitterness until afterward, which was still a very subtle bitter aftertaste. It was extremely smooth and the flavors were well balanced along with a strong carbonation for this type of beer. The carbonation was almost too much, but after talking with the bartender, she mentioned that their beers are all currently served at higher than recommended pressure which could account for this small issue.

Overall: 7.5/10 (B or B+)

I actually really liked this beer. I haven’t had a ton of browns so I can’t make an expert analysis, but it came off more as a stout like beer than a standard brown. Even though this had some definite coffee tones, I still really enjoyed the brew (I’m not a coffee lover). It’s a beer I would easily buy again if I see it around.

Beer Review: O’Fallon Cherry Chocolate

Like Cherry Tootsie Pops? You'll love this...

O’Fallon Brewery Cherry Chocolate

ABV: 5.7%

SRM: ~18

This beer poured a mediocre head with very little retention or lacing around the glass. For what it’s worth, I may be using a dish detergent that is killing the normal head of most beers. I may try a new detergent or start rinsing my pint glasses after getting them from the dish washer. Either way, as of right now I’m just going with what I see.

The aroma was actually very nice. Both the cherry and the chocolate come through pretty well, though it isn’t something that overwhelms. The first thing that popped in my mind was the glory days of cherry Tootsie Pops…it actually smelled exactly like what I remember those smelling like, which naturally brought a nice smile to my face. It has once of those aromas that make you say “yes!” but in this case, the chocolate aroma following the cherry made me want to bite the cherry to get to the chocolate center (another Tootsie Pop reference). Too bad this beer didn’t come with a “star” on the label so I could get a free one (I’ve probably taken it too far with the comparison to Tootsie Pops now).

The beer had a nice mouthfeel…though it was much lighter than I had anticipated. When I picked this beer initially, I figured it would be a very thick beer with a heavy mouth feel. I really couldn’t have been more wrong. What I ended up with was a beer that was much more light and almost watery than any comparable beer I’ve had. While it was rather light, it had a dark appearance of around 18SRM. It was actually a pretty unpleasant look and seemed like dirty creek water rather than my expected dark chocolate appearance.

The flavor started sweet with both the cherry and chocolate flavors coming through. Like the aroma, neither the cherry nor the chocolate was overwhelming but was still present and complemented each other well. I didn’t notice any real hop flavors but there was a mild bitter aftertaste but remained well balanced with the main flavor profile.

Overall: 6.75/10 (B-)

A nice beer with a better than average flavor and aroma. In short, I definitely would have preferred a thicker beer based on the flavor profile. This beer is something that I could see a lot of women drinking if they had the opportunity and the desire to branch out a bit. Rachel (the lady friend) doesn’t drink anything but ultra light beers (Bud Light, Bud Dry, etc) with Busch being the heaviest beer she will drink…and she liked this one.

Beer Review: Lagunitas IPA (Indian Pale Ale)

Had so much promise and Macaulay Culkin's career

Lagunitas IPA
ABV: 5.7%
SRM: 7 (estimate)

As before, I ended up having a half-assed bartender pouring my beer down the side of the glass. I guess I just assume that a bartender in a bar with a nice selection of beers would at least ask your preference…but I’ve been wrong about everytime. So, I guess I can talk about the head even though it was obviously mangled by this Richard Simmons of a barkeep. The beer poured a bit more than a finger of white head which stuck around for quite a while. As I drank, it became evident that water leaves more glass lace than this IPA.

The aroma was probably my biggest disappointment. With an IPA of this nature, I fully expected an almost punch in the face of badass hop aroma…which wasn’t the case here. If you were to lineup this beer with a Miller Lite, and blindfolded me, I could have only picked the IPA by practically snorting the actual liquid…that’s how close my nose had to come to the actual beer. When my nose was disgustingly close, the beer had a floral, cascade driven aroma. If it were multiplied by 25, we would have had a stellar hop aroma.

The flavor was mediocre as well. There wasn’t any noticable maltyness as the somewhat harsh bitterness was the only real flavor powering through. The bitterness stuck around for quite sometime as well…which I usually like, but the lack of real flavor here made the end bitterness a bit much.

I can’t complain on the mouthfeel or the body as it was rather smooth. I almost want to say I felt the bottle was under-carbonated…thus possibly affecting the head, rentention, lacing, and aroma.

With that being said, I wasn’t a big fan of this Lagunitas IPA. I would like to try another as the barkeep started this one off the wrong way. The beer may have been well outdated since he threw away the bottle before I could take a look. Mix that with some possible under carbonation, and I feel I owe this IPA a second chance to pull up the score. As of now, I can’t recommend it for any event or situation unless you love bitter ass beers with no aroma, head, lacing, or flavor. If that’s your gig, I say jump right in and drink the night away.

Overall: 3/10 (D)