107. Stone Vertical Epic (11/11/11)

I think this is only my second review of a Stone Brewing beer and both have been unique but not necessarily my kind of beer. This one pours a great amber color with solid tan head. Lots of fruits and a fair amount of alcohol in the aroma on this one. Taste is complex with many different fruity flavors and a lot of lingering aftertaste. Not a bad taste at all but it certainly lingers for some time after you are done. This is an interesting beer but certainly a Belgium style which I usually do not enjoy as many other types of beer. Stone Brewing says this beer ages well in the bottle and may be best after 12-12-12 so I may purchase another bottle and try it again next year. If so I will post an update or a new review for the aged version of their 11-11-11 brew.
Pros: Complex
Cons: Too Fruity
Alcohol Content: 9.4% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★½☆☆
Brewers Website: Stone Brewing
Brewers Description: As with any good epic, herein lies the promise of larger-than-life experiences, heroics and twists & turns as the adventure unfolds. These bottle-conditioned ales are specifically designed to be aged until sometime after December 12th, 2012. Provided you can wait that long. At that time, enjoy them in a “vertical” tasting. Each one unique to it’s year of release. Each with its own “twist & turn” in the plotline. Each one released one year, one month and one day from the previous year’s edition. To remind you, the remaining dates are: 12.12.12

106. Dogfish Head Olde School

WOW. This one has moved to the top of the list for highest alcohol content at 15%. While you can taste the alcohol and feel the burn it is not as overpowering as you might think. Somehow they made this smooth and fruity even with the high ABV. Color is a nice orange with minimal head, aroma is slightly fruity with a fair amount of alcohol. The beer itself is smooth but you can feel the burn and it certainly warms you from the inside out. This is not a beer you want to take lightly and one is certainly enough for me in a night. Like having 3 beers in one.
Pros: Smooth, high alcohol content
Cons: Fair amount of alcohol burn
Alcohol Content: 15.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 85
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Dogfish Head Olde School
Brewers Description: Bold, yet smooth! Fermented with dates and figs, this bone-crusher has a completely unique flavor. The concept for this beer came from an old Cellerman’s manual Sam came across (for more on that, check out the video below). At about 15% abv, this beer is a great candidate for ageing. Over time, the beer dries out and the pit fruit flavors come forward and the hops recede. Our recommendation? Grab a few bottles when you find it – enjoy one now, and age the others for a bit. Let us know which you prefer! Olde School Barlewine comes out in the fall annually. It is available in 12-ounce bottles by the 4-pack. Want more info on the cowboy label art? Check out ‘What’s The Deal With The Cowboy?’

105. Weyerbacher Sixteen

My wife brought home a 4-pack of this after shopping on Black Friday. At 10.5% alcohol I was expecting this one to have a fair amount of alcohol burn in the finish but it did not. Certainly warms the soul 🙂 but not overpowering. This is my first beer from Wererbacher but they brew a special for each year they are in business and this is their 16th anniversary edition. Pours a great dark brown almost black with solid head and good retention as you drink. Smell has a lot of sweetness from the honey used in the brewing process and the beer itself is also very sweet. Not sure I could drink more than one in an evening but I am glad I have 3 more for the week ahead.
Pros: Color, aroma, sweet taste
Alcohol Content: 10.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Weyerbacher Sixteen
Brewers Description: We’re super excited to have received a 2011 GOLD MEDAL at the Great American Beer Festival for SIXTEEN in the Specialty Honey Beer Category (GABF Category: 11) out of 32 entries! 2011 marks our sixteenth anniversary and what better way to celebrate than to make another very special beer?  Sixteen is a dark braggot made with 1,440 pounds of honey per 40BBL batch or over 18.5 oz. per gallon!!  That is truly ABSURD!  It is an impressive beer.  We say it for all of the Anniversary beers, but this one is going to be fun to cellar.  It will be really interesting to see how this beauty changes over time.  Here is some marketingese to get you salivating: Sixteen – Caramel, crystal, munich and chocolate malts form a rich foundation for this dark and complex ale. Brewed with an absurd amount of honey from Pennsylvania bees, this braggot has a profound honey character and a nice warming finish. It is the perfect beer to celebrate our sweet sixteen.

104. Shipyard Prelude Special Ale

There are only a couple Shipyard beers that I enjoy and this happens to be one of them. The other is Pumpkin Head, although I can only take one of those on any given night. Prelude ale has a great dark amber color with a moderate head and some lacing. Aroma has a very sweet almost butterscotch smell to it and taste is smooth with plenty of malts but has a bit of hop bite at the end. This does not linger and is replaced with a bit sweetness. Overall this is a very good winter beer; hearty, slightly higher alcohol content and a beautiful winter scene on the label. I look forward to this one each winter and Shipyard did not disappoint in 2011.
Pros: Color, aroma, smooth balanced taste
Cons: Seasonal (if that can be considered a con)
Alcohol Content: 6.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Shipyard
Brewers Description: A rich, nutty, full bodies English Ale with an inviting amber hue and hoppy finish. Prelude has 6.7% alcohol volume, making this seasonal specialty the perfect winter warmer.

103. Belfast Bay McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout

My very first review was the Belfast Bay Lobster Ale and here I am at #103 getting to their other beer. This one is BLACK when poured with a thin tan head. Lots of malts and oats in the smell (not surprising since it is an oatmeal stout). Taste is right on for a stout; malty, slightly sweet with a bit of toffee/chocolate or coffee in there. Easy to drink and would have enjoyed another but I only bought a single.
Pros: Color, a good example of a stout
Alcohol Content: 5.1% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Belfast Bay Brewing
Brewers Description: McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout is a full bodied, very dark beer with a smooth, moderately bitter, roasted malt character. Subtle caramel and chocolate like flavors are an integral part of this stout. Hop aroma and flavors are also subtle and do not over-power the beers overall balance. The oatmeal in the stout adds to the full flavor and smooth profile as well as creating a milky, caramel colored head with small, tight foamy bubbles which slowly transform into a dark, aromatic liquid. Most Stout characteristics include a very  dark aromatic beer. When poured from a or  tap it creates a beautiful caramel cascade  throughout the beer finishing off with a full Silver medal winner at the World Brewing Championships.  Mcgovern’s Oatmeal stout is a full bodied head. Most stouts also have a very dark slightly “burnt” flavor that often leave a  bitter taste on your pallet and in the back of your throat. McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout has all the same characteristics of any stout but more. The oatmeal in the stout gives our beer a richer more full bodied quality with a milky, caramel colored head of small tight foamy bubbles. The oatmeal also removes the bitter burnt flavor from the back of your throat and makes for a smoother drinking experience; especially for those who plan to have more than one stout at a time.

102. Allagash Brewing Four Ale

This was my post-Thanksgiving dinner beer so the review may be slightly skewed as I was full of turkey and good food at the time. I was really excited to try this beer and I believe this is also my first Allagash review which is too bad it took me 100+ beers to come back around to Allagash as I always enjoy their beer. This one has a great color too it, photo is very accurate with a nice amber appearance and crisp white head. Smell is sweet and a bit yeasty (if that is a word). Taste is excellent and very well balanced. No hint of alcohol even though it is 10% ABV. Just a really good beer from Allagash.
Pros: Color, taste, very well balanced
Cons: Expensive
Alcohol Content: 10.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Allagash Brewing
Brewers Description: We brew this beer with four malts, four sugars, four hop varieties and we ferment it four times, using four different yeast strains. The complexity of the brewing process is matched by the complexity of this unique beer. Flavors of raisin, candied fruit and plum express themselves throughout.

102. Unibroeu Terrible

This is the first beer that I bought because of the bottle. The bottle is a great dark brown with silver label. Unfortunately I did not get a very good picture as I was using my phone at Thanksgiving dinner. The beer itself had a great dark color and solid head. Aroma had some fruit and yeast aspects to it. Taste was bad at first but improved as the beer got warmer. I should have looked at the suggested serving temperature below because it was much better towards the end of the bottle. Of course some of that may have been the 10.5% ABV helping to mask the taste. Overall a bit disappointing but I did only buy it because of the bottle.
Pros: Bottle
Cons: Needs to be served warm
Alcohol Content: 10.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 15
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Brewers Website: Unibroue
Brewers Description:

Origin Chambly, Quebec
Brewed since 2002
ABV 10.5%
Fermentation High
Style Abbey-style
Color Black, nearly opaque dark chestnut color
SRM 45
Clarity low
Head Persistent and thick
Bubbles Thin
Effervescence Medium
Nose Rich notes of fruits and spices
Flavor Subtle fruit flavors are complemented by rich Madeira wine notes.
IBU 15
Suggested serving temperature 10 – 12°C / 50 – 54°F
Suggested glass Chalice

101. Widmer Brothers Rotator IPA: Falconer’s IPA

This is a much better representation of an American IPA than the Redhook Longhammer I reviewed last week. This has a great fruity aroma, solid white head and leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass. Taste has the hops you would expect from an IPA but also a bit of citrus and a fair amount of malts in there to balance it out. Easy to drink even at 7% ABV and if you a good IPA give this one a try.
Pros: Color, aroma, balanced
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 65
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Widmer Brothers
Brewers Description: Glen Falconer was passionate about friends, family and great IPAs. So in tribute we’ve created an IPA worth of this master brewr. Made with Falconer’s Flight Hops from Hopunion, LLC. A blend named for Glen himself. The result is a bright, moderately bitter IPA with stonefruit aromas and a strong malt backbone. We think Glen would have approved. Proceeds from the sale of Falconer’s Flight Hops go to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation prociding scholarships to professional and aspiring brewers. In addition Widmer Brothers Brewing is making a donation to grant two additional scholarships. Learn more at www.glenfalconerfoundation.org Prost! to true hop heads.

100. Dogfish Head Faithful Ale

For my 100th review I thought I would choose something special and since I love Pearl Jam and Dogfish Head I thought this would be the perfect choice. Overall this is a quality beer as most Dogfish Head varieties are but I had hoped for more from Faithful Ale. Color is fairly light with almost no lacing, aroma is minimal with some slight wheat/yeast notes in there but not much. Taste is fairly simple and about what you would expect from a beer of this color. Lots of currant and minimal hops. Overall not a bad choice and I know Eddie Vedder prefers wine to beer to so was not expecting anything too complex with this variety from Dogfish Head.
Pros: Pearl Jam label
Cons: Simple
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 20
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Dogfish Head
Brewers Description: Faithfull Ale is a celebration of Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary as a band and its extraordinary debut album, “Ten.” In recognition of these milestones, this Belgian-style golden ale is delicately hopped to 20 IBUs and fruit-forward from 10 incremental additions of black currants over a one-hour boil. Faithfull clocks in at 7% ABV. “To me, ‘Ten’ is the perfect example of a record-lover’s-record. The whole thing rocks,” says Dogfish Head President & Founder Sam Calagione. “As an off-centered brewery, we believe in celebrating the breadth of our whole portfolio and we feel an affinity for Pearl Jam a long-player band in a singles-obsessed world.”

Faithfull Ale is the third beer in our Music Series, following our Miles Davis-inspired Bitches Brew and our beer tribute to blues man Robert Johnson, Hellhound On My Ale. For more on the band and their 20th anniversary celebration, visit www.pearljam.com and www.pj20.com.

99. Sebago Brewing Local Harvest

I had been looking for this beer for some time and found it at The Good Beer Store in Fryeburg. I enjoy local beer and this one is not only local but also uses locally grown hops and barley. How can you go wrong with Maine grown ingredients and a local Maine brewery. Color is wonderful with a nice thin head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass. Lots of different flavors with some fruitiness and a bit of malt. Strong hop finish but not overwhelming. This is a very good beer and if you are fortunate to find a 6-pack somewhere buy it, you will not be disappointed.
Pros: Color, taste
Cons: Hard to find
Alcohol Content: 6.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 36
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Our Fall seasonal Local Harvest Ale is brewed with hops and barley grown in Maine with the clear water of Sebago Lake. Local Harvest Ale is mahogany in color and has an intense bouquet of citrus, pine and lemongrass which comes from hopping this beer four ways: In the mash, in the kettle, steeped and dry hopped. After your first sip you will taste the fresh wet hops and the finish flavor of oily hops on your tongue. You will desire yet another sip. This auburn Autumn classic is balanced with the careful addition of chocolate and caramel malts to create this extremely popular local beer. Please support Maine agriculture and enjoy the harvest!