(Insert Your Own “what the!” Expressions)

So my best friend brought over a Lost Abbey beer that he bought well over a year ago.  It’s The Angel’s Share from Port Brewing.  That is Tomme Arthur‘s place, and he’s got brilliant beers there.  This one is no exception.  According to the bottle, the titular angel’s share is a distilling term.  “Over time, some whiskey is lost to evaporation.  They refer to this loss of spirits as ‘The Angel’s Share’.  Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of this liquid seeps into the oak and is lost forever.”  Port Brewing aged this beer in oak barrels.

It’s brown and burgundy and beautiful following the current theme of appearance.  However, unlike some of my previous beers it is quite headless.   It clocks in at 11.5% alcohol. 

This beer exudes no hop flavor or aroma.  Yeah!  It is dominated by anise, or black licorice.  Boo!  And I do mean dominate.  Boy is it strong.   My friend and I both had the same reaction (see post title) with our first swig of this beer.

But there is also a streak of vanilla that slinks around the slightly heavy and oily body.  Once the anise goes away (which Royal says it does; I drank mine too fast) the brandy overtures arise.  I could taste the warmth of brandy coagulating at the back of my throat earlier.  Very nice sensation.

It was suggested that I harvest some of this sediment, but, come on!  I don’t have that kind of equipment.  That would be cool, though.

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More Belgian-ness

I was in the mood for Belgian beer again.  I considered Three Philosophers but ended up with Abbey Ale from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY.  It’s 8.5% abv and packaged in a 25 ounce bottle.

It’s very foamy.  The head is off white and looks like a plaster or that foamy insulation stuff.   Well, okay, I guess “mousse-like” is a better description.  No, not better.  I like my foamy insulation stuff description.  Just because the “official” style guidelines say mousse-like doesn’t mean I have to fall in line and start spouting off their jargon.  Right, it’s insulation.   And quite impressive, really.  Nor does it leave, nay, it lingers throughout the beer.

The ale has a soft fruit smell, like banana or cantaloupe.  Maybe I’m pushing it with the cantaloupe but there’s definitely a bannana undertone.  This is appropriate for the style, which is a Belgian-style dubbel; I don’t believe I’ve mentioned that.  And no hops are evident.  It’s a dark, somber brown.  Apparently that’s my theme over the past couple of weeks – dark brown or strong tea colored brews, the color of a Kentucky whiskey.


 

 

 

 

It’s a sour, metallic, fruity joy.  The body is a little heavier than I expected which is delightful.  The insulation/mousse like head makes it feel a little creamy, then the carbonation hits, scouring the tongue just a bit.

Yes, It’s Called Witless

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I love Mothership Wit and Hoegaarden and, especially, a local brewery’s wit beer called Full Moon.
So I did my best to make a wit.  All right, not my best.  It was just a general attempt to make a Belgian-y quasi-wit.
Homebrewing is all about enjoying beer.

As you can see Witless is considerably darker than many wits.  It has grown even darker as it’s aged, transforming from orange/brown to copper/brown.

You may have surmised from an earlier post that I am not overly fond of hops.  Thus, unsurprisingly their aroma cannot be found in my beer.  A tart bready smell is there.

It has more apple than citrus.  The house got a little hot during ferment.  It was June in Arizona and I’m trying to save a little money.  It doesn’t taste bad, though.  It has some other fruit overtones that I can’t place.

It’s a little over 5% abv which isn’t too bad.  Witless is mine and I like it.  It grows a little sour and I don’t mind that at all.  Makes it more Belgian-y.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Go Home

I was born in Texas.  I like Shiner Bock.  And other Shiner beers.  Because they were brewed in Texas.  I’m sure I’ll be mocked for this but I shall make this point stand out clearly:  I’d drink Coors if it had been brewed in Texas.  I thank all that is holy and pure and good in the universe that Coors was not brewed in Texas.  They were obviously too intelligent to make such a product.  The point is … well, I just like stuff from Texas, right.

Let’s go on.

Shiner Bock looks a lot like that Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot that I just drank. 

It looks like iced tea as it pours (which is brilliant because, really, Texas is home to the best sweet tea in all the planet).  The head did not last nearly as long.  Not hardly at all, in truth.  But, there are no hops evident in the aroma.  I am so happy!  I could smell raw grains, but no hops.  There didn’t see to be much else evident in the aroma.

I was surprised to learn that Shiner is a bit low in the abv category.  It’s only 4.4% according to their website.  I ain’t complaining, mind you, I’m just saying that most bocks are in the 5-6% range.  It’s not quite as malty and heavy as other bocks I’ve had.  So, if I go looking for a bock, well, this one isn’t necessarily first on my list.  But, if I want a good beer that complements fried chicken just right, it’ll be Shiner.

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Now playing: Steven Schoenberg – Day and Night
via FoxyTunes

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Now playing: Savatage – Somewhere in Time/Alone You Breathe [*]
via FoxyTunes

Just For The Name Of It

I don’t remember the last time I bought a beer just because of its name.  And I don’t mean the name of the brewery.  Granted, this one came from a reputable brewery, Lagunitas.  However, by name I’m referring to the moniker of the beer itself.  This one just caught me right away.  It’s Wilco Tango Foxtrot.  I saw the “tango” first, found that interesting.  It has a nifty “subtitle”, too.  “A malty, robust, jobless recovery ale.”  Pithy and a tad sarcastic.  I couldn’t say no.  And it was only $4.89 for twenty-two ounces.

  Great, things are a tad blurred and I hadn’t even taken a drinky yet!  I get to practice my beer photography skills.

Wilco Tango Foxtrot looks like tea when poured.

Held up to a light it is red, like a cherry flavored hard candy.

Hops arise from the frothy head immediately.    There’s some sweetness in the aroma, too, but mostly a grassy hops.  And, goodness, those hops cut into the throat with the first gulp.  Great.  Hops.  I realize they are somewhat necessary for beer, but, really, American brewers have gone overboard with that particular product of the vine.  This beer is an example of that.  It looks beautiful, but it’s dominated by that blasted green pellet.  Well, perhaps they don’t use pellets, but I hope you get my point.  I am no hops fan.  It doesn’t make beer art as so many brewers seem to think.  These seem to be the Cascade-ish kind.  It’s a little oily.  On the plus side, it’s 7.8% abv.  I can’t really complain about that.  But, I can complain that I just burped hops.  Maybe it just needs to warm up so that some other flavors can assert themselves.

Very well, I have waited for a time.  The hops have faded for a bit.  It tastes a little bready and a little tangy all at once.  It’s supposed to be a brown ale, I think.  According to (note:  controversial subject about to be raised) the Brewer’s Association,  “American brown ales have evident low to medium hop flavor and aroma, medium to high hop bitterness, and a medium body.”   Right, well, I agree with the high hop bitterness.  But the aroma and flavor were too much, at least for me.  I got a little roasted malt out of it.

Oh, it’s a good beer, very well done.  There’s just too much hops for the likes of me, which makes it a little disappointing.

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Now playing: Savatage – Alone You Breathe
via FoxyTunes