Monthly Archives: December 2011

129. Maine Beer Company Peeper

Well it is almost the end of the year and just like everyone else I will be posting my top beers of 2011 list. Fortunately I have picked up some excellent beer over the past few weeks which will make the processing of choosing the 10 best that much easier. Got this one from Florian’s Market in Auburn and enjoyed it last night. Color is a a great copper with minimal head. Fruit and breads in the aroma with a taste that is well balanced and complex for a pale ale. Lots going on but no one characteristic stands out, they just blend together for a very satisfying experience. Unlike many small brewers that us 22 oz bottles Maine Beer Company uses a 16.9 oz bottle and I was missing the 5.1 oz as I really enjoyed this beer.
Pros: Everything
Cons: Nothing
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Maine Beer Company
Brewers Description: My brother and I  started homebrewing in a small garage in Portland. We wanted to make some really good beer so that we could drink it of course. One winter, after many days of brewing, our fingers numb (the garage was not heated), we decided we should begin to share. So, we moved into a bigger garage (our new brewery with heat) and here it is Cheers. Dry, American style, well balanced ale with generous amount of hops

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128. Saranac Vanilla Stout

When I saw the Saranac variety pack included a Vanilla Stout I was really looking forward to it. Waited for an evening well after dinner to try as I had hoped for a very good dessert beer but what I got was a below average stout with a hint of vanilla flavoring. The color is very dark as you would expect from a stout, thick 2 finger head that is slightly lighter than I expected. Aroma has a bit of vanilla but not much else. Taste is forgettable.
Pros: Color
Cons: Minimal vanilla aroma / taste
Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Brewers Website: Saranac
Brewers Description: Few ingredients rival vanilla’s ability to add richness and roundness to food. Blended with a traditional blend of caramel and chocolate malts plus roasted barley, the result in Saranac Vanilla Stout will surpass your expectations. Enjoy the brew on it’s own or with a bite of dark chocolate for a real treat.

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127. Rising Tide Ishmael

This is the first of three from Rising Tide that I will review this week. I enjoyed this beer but it took me close to 10 minutes to pour my first glass. You can see in this picture the extra large head and this was after 4-5 pours and sipping the foam away. Not sure if the combination of the glass and beer style or something else was causing this but it is the first time I have had an issue pouring a beer. After the first glass was done and I refilled it actually over flowed the glass causing quite a mess. Other than the excessive foam this is a quality beer; great color, minimal aroma and taste that is very well balanced. Easy to drink with low alcohol content. Looking forward to the next two from Rising Tide.
Pros: Well balanced
Cons: Excessive foam
Alcohol Content: 5.1 ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Rising Tide
Brewers Description: Ishmael is our richly-flavored American copper ale. This American interpretation of the altbiers of Düsseldorf is brewed with continental Munich malt, American-grown hops, and a clean-fermenting ale yeast to produce a slightly sweet and malty beer balanced by a firm bitterness.

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126. Smuttynose S’muttonator

I may have mentioned before how much I enjoy Smuttynose beer and this is no exception. I have one more Smuttynose Big Beer series in the fridge and after this one I am very much looking forward to it. Whatever you think a “Big Beer” should be this is probably it; high alcohol content, complex flavor, great color, thick head with great retention – this beer has it all. There are a few Smuttynose brews that I have not tried yet and I will be on the look out for them as they truly do brew great beer. If you are at a store that sells Smuttynose trying to decide what to buy, grab a Smuttynose you will not be disappointed.
Pros: Everything
Cons: Nothing
Alcohol Content: 9.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating:★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Smuttynose
Brewers Description: As the name implies, a doppelbock (double bock) is a very malty German lager beer. Typically quite sweet with some roasted malt undertones, doppelbocks range in color from deep amber to nearly black and are normally associated with the winter season. Traditionally, German brewers have used the suffix “-ator” in naming their doppelbock beers; we have, too. S’muttonator is a tasty mixture of German ingredients & good ol’ fashioned New England tenaciousness. Our brewers take 30 hours to brew a single batch of this traditional Double Bock. Take your time & enjoy its rich, malty & deceptively smooth flavor.

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125. Smuttynose Maibock

Have I said that I like Smuttynose beer before?? If not I am saying now. This is the 7th beer from Smuttynose and other than the Star Island they have all been superb. This one will make it into my to 10 list for 2011. Color is a bright, crisp orange with a very nice floral aroma. Taste had lots of malt with a very nice warming affect from the fairly high alcohol content. Finish is clean with a minimal amount of hops. This is part of Smuttynose’s Big Beer Series. I have 2 more bottles from this series in the fridge and after trying this one I am really looking forward to the others.
Pros: Everything
Cons: Nothing
Alcohol Content: 8.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Smuttynose
Brewers Description: Bock beer is a broad stylistic category describing a wide range of malty, lightly-hopped German lager beers, ranging in color from light straw to dark brown, from medium to full body. Maibocks, typically released in the springtime, tend to be light in color and medium to full-bodied bodied and usually feature German “noble” hop varieties. As is the case with other traditional styles, American brewers have taken some creative liberties with bock beers, often with outstanding results. We brew our Maibock to be hugely malty & subtly finished with a variety of continental hops, with an eye-pleasing russet brown color. Prosit!

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124. Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat Ale

I had a very bad Monday night for beer with 2 beers that have been added to my least favorite list. This one probably is not as bad as I think it was but I do not like raspberries and this seems to be an average beer with artificial raspberry flavoring added after. The head was very large and stuck around. Color was very clear but the taste was average with an extended aftertaste.
Pros:
Cons:
 Aftertaste lingers for a long time and taste seems artificial
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating:★☆☆
Brewers Website: Sea Dog Brewery
Brewers Description: Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat Ale is a dry, crisp refreshing ale with the added essence of raspberries.

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123. Saranac Bohemian Pilsener

I have to start this review by saying I do not like pilseners. There is just something about this style of beer that I do not enjoy and I have yet to have a pilsener that I would buy again. That being said I did not enjoy the Saranac Bohemian Pilsener, there were 2 in the variety pack and I am hoping someone else will grab the other as we are hosting New Year’s Eve at our house this year.
Pros:
Cons:
 It is a pilsner
Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating:★☆☆☆☆
Brewers Website: Saranac
Brewers Description: Saranac Bohemian Pilsener is a medium bodied Pilsener crafted like the original Pilseners of Czechoslovakia.  Brewed with the finest Pilsener malt and Saaz hops, you will find this beer has a crisp, clean taste and leaves you wanting another.  Enjoy

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122. Saranac Lake Effect Lager

Beer number 3 from the Winter variety pack and being a German style lager I was really looking forward to this one. Color is great and had a very thick head and I don’t think this was due to a bad pour but it may have been. Head did not disappear quickly so I had a beer mustache while drinking this one. Minimal aroma and flavor was just OK with a bit more hop than I expected. I was a bit disappointed by this one as I usually enjoy lagers. So far this is my least favorite of the pack but I have a feeling this will be better than the pilsener as I am not a fan of that style.
Pros: Color
Cons: Simple and a bit too much hops for this style
Alcohol Content: 5.95% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Brewers Website: Saranac
Brewers Description: Our Saranac Lake Effect Lager is a rich, malty, old school German lager, made with traditional German malts and hops and fermented with a lager yeast. Look for a rich but smooth malty taste, balanced by an impressive Hallertau hopping-A nice reward for enduring our winter months.

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121. Saranac India Copper Ale

Beer number 2 from the Winter variety pack and this is another solid beer. Color is a bit darker than many IPAs but what you would expect from a beer with copper in its name. Thick head with good retention and a nice fruit and hoppy aroma. Taste is smooth with a hop finish. So far this is my favorite of the Winter pack.
Pros: Great color
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Saranac
Brewers Description: Taking an India Ale to the next level, Saranac India Copper Ale has the malt backbone to carry the hoppiness you expect in an India Ale.  Carefully selected malts from North America and Europe are decoction mashed to highlight their character and the brew is complimented with generous amounts of citrusy Columbus, Cascade and Centennial hops.  Cheers!

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120. Saranac Big Moose Ale

Picked up a variety 12-pack from Saranac which includes 6 different beers. When your goal is to try lots of different beers a 12 pack with 6 different varieties is much appreciated as many brewers will offer 3 or 4 varieties in a 12-pack. This was the first of the 6 and it is a decent beer. Nothing too special but I did not expect a lot of complexity from a pale ale. Color is nice with a bit of sweet malt aroma. Taste has a few things going on with a bit of spice, sweet malts and a fair amount of hops in the finish. I like pale ales so it is no surprise I enjoyed this beer. Not great but I am looking forward to the second one from the variety pack.
Pros: Good balance
Cons:
Alcohol Content:
 5.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Saranac
Brewers Description: Saranac Big Moose Ale is an American Pale Ale with a kick.  The medium-bodied malt sweetness is balanced by a nice crisp bitterness from hand selected centennial and cascade hops.  Look for a vibrant citrusy hop aroma that will leave you craving another swig!

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