Stone – Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale

Stone - Sublimely Self-Righteous AleIt’s Day 12, the final day of the #12BeersOfXmas!

Stone – Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (8.7%, 1 pint bottle)

It pours dark black, and I mean totally black; no light is coming through this one; and it’s got a light brown head that laces the glass nicely and it’s lightly carbonated.

The aroma is full of tropical fruits and small hints of roasted malt.

The flavour is very reminiscent of the Stone IPA I had last week, delicately balanced tropical fruits, citrus and bitterness, but this time all set against a malt backbone that is more dry and has a hint of roastiness. This is one bloody good beer!

Overall this is a great Black IPA, possibly the best one I’ve ever had, and an awesome way to round off the 12 days!

Dogfish Head – 90 Minute Imperial IPA

Dogfish Head - 90 Minute Imperial IPAIt’s Day 11, the penultimate day of the #12BeersOfXmas and it’s time for another big US double IPA.

Dogfish Head – 90 Minute Imperial IPA (9%, 12oz bottle)

This one pours a nice orange colour with a slight hop haze and a lively carbonation.

The aroma is big on the US style citrus and tropical fruit notes – pineapple, mango, passion fruit, lychee – followed by a sweet malty character.

These characters follow on into the flavour of the beer, giving intense citrus and tropical fruits on a good strong malty backbone. It’s also quite full bodied and almost chewy. Each mouthful ends with a strong bitterness and a slight alcohol warmth. There’s a lot going on in this beer!

Overall this is a really good double IPA, not the best I’ve had but still well worth checking out.

Crooked Stave – Hop Savant

Crooked Stave - Hop SavantIt’s Day 10 of the #12BeersOfXmas, only two more to go! Today’s beer can only be described as “different”…

I picked this one up (along with a few others) whilst in New York a month or so ago and I’ve been really looking forward to trying this. It’s made by Crooked Stave, and it’s an American Pale Ale, made with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops, but here’s the twist it’s fermented in oak foeders (they look like barrels) entirely with brettanomyces! This is my first 100% brett beer so here goes…

Crooked Stave – Hop Savant (6.7%, 375ml bottle)

The beer pours a very hazy light straw colour with a small white head that quickly disappeared.

The aroma is very very different – highly acidic, lemony, sweet and with a very faint hint of maltiness, not at all like a “regular” pale ale.

The flavour is very much aligned to the aroma; acidic, slightly sour and light bodied. The only beer I’ve ever had that is similar to this was a Rodenbach in of all places a Fullers pub a few months back – I really quite enjoyed that then, and I’m enjoying this one now. It’s not a beer for gulping down, but one for sipping slowly.

Overall I really quite enjoyed this one. It’s not one I could have every day, or every week even, but every now and then something like this would be lovely!

Stone – IPA

Stone - IPAIt’s Day 7 of the #12BeersOfXmas and it’s another from Stone.

Stone – IPA (6.9%, 12oz bottle)

This one pours a light orange in colour, with a light fluffy white head and medium carbonation.

The aroma is a lot more delicate than I expected – light floral, citrus notes combined with equally light pine and resin, it’s really quite delicate and pleasant.

The delicate nature of the aroma is matched in the flavour also, light orange, grapefruit and other citrus characters backed up by a piney resinous punch and a little bit of biscuity malt. This is much more subtle than the other Stone beers I’ve had in the past, and I have to say it’s better for it – this is a real delight to drink.

This is a fantastic IPA, not at all headline grabbing and extreme, just delicate, well balanced and wonderfully made. If you can get hold of one do it, do it now!

Stone – Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

Stone - Oaked Arrogant Bastard AleIt’s Day 5 of the #12BeersOfXmas, and it’s time for another beer from Stone.

Stone – Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale (7.2%, 12oz bottle)

The beer pours a dark brown/red colour and is crystal clear with a nice gentle carbonation and a thin white head.

To be honest there’s not really any noticeable aroma coming from this beer, maybe mild hints of vanilla but I’m really struggling with this one.

Thankfully there is a bit more going on in the flavour, hints of toffee, vanilla and caramel but all of these are subdued somewhat by the overpowering and crushing bitterness that follows them – it just seems to mask all of the delicate and subtle flavours that were there before. It’s medium bodied and finishes quite sweet so it’s more of a sipping beer than one to swig.

Overall I’m not overly impressed with this one, it’s ok (and drinkable, I’m not about to pour it out at all) but the harsh bitterness seems to mask everything else that would have been going on in it. Fingers crossed tomorrow should bring something nicer…

Firestone Walker – Double Jack

Firestone Walker - Double JackIt’s Day 3 of the #12BeersOfXmas and as it’s Sunday, it’s time to go for something a little stronger and pull out a big US double IPA…

Firestone Walker – Double Jack (9.5%, 12oz bottle)

It pours a light straw colour with a medium/high level of carbonation – look at the size of the head and the bubbles in the photo! That said, the head calmed down very quickly, but still persisted throughout the drink.

The aroma on this beer is wonderful; piney, resinous, sweet malty/toffee notes and a full-on hit of orange peel to round things off.

This complex mix of characters carries on into the flavour too – on the first couple of mouthfuls the orange peel, citrus and strong bitterness are all that your senses can take in.  Once your palate acclimatizes  itself to these and the beer starts to warm a little you begin to notice even more in this beer; sweet maltiness and hints of biscuit come through and this really rounds it off making each mouthful a delight.  The finish is quite sweet, but not cloyingly so, and medium bodied with a medium to high carbonation level – this really helps the flavours sing to be honest.

Overall, this is a great double IPA, it’s complex, full-on and delicious.  I’ve had this beer a few times now, but it’s always a bit special. If you can get hold of a fresh example in the UK* you’d be a fool to not have it! 🙂

* The one I had tonight is 5 months old, but it still tastes great.

Stone – Levitation Ale

stone-levitation-aleHere we are on Day 2 of the #12BeersOfXmas and we have one from Stone that i’ve really been looking forward to drinking.

Stone – Levitation Ale (4.4%, 12oz bottle)

The beer pours dark amber, but very very clear and bright; with a persistent fluffy white head and a medium carbonation.

The aroma is big and hoppy with a distinct US citrus fruit character.  This citrus character is also carried through into the flavour, it’s packed with citrus and tropical fruits, but this is complemented by a rich maltiness that really works well to balance it all out.

The beer is medium bodied and finishes really quite dry, with a sharp but refreshing bitterness that makes you want to keep sipping.  So much so in fact that it was finished way too quickly.

Overall this is a great beer – most recommended if you can get your hands on it!

Green Flash – Rayon Vert

Green Flash - Rayon Vert

Aroma – That unmistakeable Belgian aroma, spice and cloves – lovely.

Appearance – Golden and orange in colour, crystal clear with a large white head that really hung around.

Flavour – Slightly sweet, spice, slight citrus, cloves. A real good mix.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied and with a good carbonation.

Overall – Yet another great beer from Green Flash, I love it.

Would I buy more? – Oh yes, this one is nice!

Flying Dog – Snake Dog IPA

Aroma – Not really much of an aroma to be honest. Only very slight notes of malt/caramel and hoppy resin.

Appearance – Gold with an orange tint, and crystal clear. It also has a bright white head that stayed around nicely.

Flavour – Slightly malty, very piney and a medium-dry finish. Not really much of a citrus character, but a good medium-high hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied and quite high carbonation giving a dry feeling in the mouth. There’s a slight warmth in the aftertaste.

Overall – An average American IPA. Drinkable, but not awesome.

Would I buy more? – It’s ok, I might buy another one in the future, but I don’t think it’d be a regular…

Goose Island IPA

Taste – Caramel malty sweetness mixed with a citrus/grapefruit flavour from the hops, it also has a slight spiciness to it. It’s quite different to your normal American IPA, there’s more depth to it than just malt and a fist full of hops.

Aroma -Malty, fruity, spicy goodness. This smells not too dissimilar to a batch of home brewed english ale sitting in the fermenter (this is a good smell).

Appearance – Dark golden amber, slightly hazy, not overly carbonated.

Would I buy more? – I think I most probably will be buying some more of this when I fancy a slightly different American IPA.