Thursday, December 24, 2020

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA

India Pale Ales are undoubtedly an acquired taste. My son John, before he became a craft beer aficionado, ordered a Ranger IPA at a bar, not realizing the effect that the ridiculously high hop content would have. I believe his response was some variation of "What's wrong with this beer?" He got better. 

New Belgium's India Pale Ale was originally just styled "Ranger IPA", in 2016 they rebranded all of their IPAs as "Ranger Voodoo", with what used to be Rampant Double IPA becoming Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, which I did a review for in 2013:

Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA pours the color of ripe pineapple with a fluffy white head. The IBUs clock in at 70, a pretty healthy hop level, but unlike earlier versions of New Belgium IPAs, it doesn't feel like the enamel of your teeth is being removed. The 9% ABV puts it solidly in the "imperial" camp. There are subtle citrus notes, not much pine. Other than that, a decent enough IPA, but nothing outstanding. 6.0 on the IGB IPA Scale.


New Belgium Mountain Time Premium Lager

There's always been an emphasis on ales in the craft beer community. There's a lot more that you can do with flavor profiles with top/warm fermentation. The mass-produced beers all tend to be lagers, so many craft beer folks tend to turn up their noses at lagers, and admittedly, there's fewer descriptors that you can use in talking about a lager. 

Mountain Time pours a pale, straw-colored hue, with a lacy two-finger head. Like the old cliché, so clear that you can read a newspaper through it. Contrary to expectations there is a lot of subtlety in the flavor profile: low-key floral aroma, saltine cracker and some understated caramel sweetness.  All in all, a great winter lager. 8.5/10 on the IGB Lager Scale. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Hire-Wire Brewing: 10W-40 Imperial Stout with Coffee, Chocolate & Vanilla

Did anyone really mistake this for a can of oil? They had to print "contains alcohol" on the can, so may "yes". It's a slightly lower ABV than I've been drinking lately at 8%. In my opinion you don't need double-digit alcohol content in order to make a good stout, although some brewers mask a less-than stellar offering with more ABV. Not so 10W-40. It pours an inky black, with a thunderous four-finger khaki head that flows from bottom to top. They say it's brewed with coffee, chocolate and vanilla, but. while all those flavors are present, none are overwhelming. I'm not detecting any other flavors, but they aren't needed. Good stuff. 10/10 on the IGB stout scale. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Lagunitas "Willettized" Coffee Stout Aged in Rye Oak barrels

The kings of hoppiness, Lagunitas Brewery, do some styles other than IPAs quite well, and this is one of them. Did I say "quite" well? I meant amazingly well! They're calling it a coffee stout, but it could easily be categorized as an imperial stout due to the 13.1% ABV. The "Willettized" refers to J.D. Willett in Kentucky, a distiller of rye and bourbon, who provided the rye barrels in which this incredible stout was aged. 

It pours a deep, dark mahogany brown with smoky ruby highlights and a scanty chocolate head. The high ABV imparts a heady boozy heat, the rye & oak is detectable, as is a very subdued coffee flavor. There are also hints of licorice, dark chocolate, and brown sugar with a tiny bit of fig and raisin wafting in as it warms up. 

Not a "quaffing" beer, not one for Mom's lawn guy, but without a doubt a 9.5 on the IGB Stout scale

Friday, December 4, 2020

Sierra Nevada 40 Hoppy Anniversary Ale

Sierra Nevada was one of the first craft brewers in the United States, and from Day One specialized in hoppy ales and pioneered the style known as West Coast IPA. 40 pours a pale copper hue with a fluffy two-finger head. The 6% ABV gives it a bit of a kick, but won't limit you to one. The 65 IBUs put in firmly in India Pale Ale territory, and not just a pale ale with big dreams. The hops give it a smooth combination of pine and citrus; there's also some adjacent notes: pear, peach and white grape. Orange peel and grapefruit finish off the experience. Solid IPA, but honestly I don't detect a lot of difference between this and their regular offerings. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Deschutes Super Jubel Imperial Winter Warmer

Super Jubel is based on Deschutes' seasonal Jubelale, a winter warmer, reviewed here:
The Winter Warmer style is pretty nonspecific, in general it's any kind of ale, often a brown or red ale brewed with "winter" spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. "Imperial", which derived from the Imperial Russian Stout style has come to mean either extra high hop content, (IBUs) or extra high alcohol content (ABV). 

Super Jubel comes across to me like a barleywine. It pours a dark brown with ruby highlights and a thin tan head. The ABV clocks in as 10.4% and imparts a boozy quality similar to red wine. There's a crazy amount of complexity, with favors falling all over themselves for dominance. Raisin and gingerbread lead the pack; oak and raspberry follow closely behind; there's also some orange peel and maraschino cherry, with figs and dates bringing up the rear along with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. 


Empyrean Match+Maker Chocolate Salted Caramel Stout

Ill-Gotten Booty has some opinions about adding flavorings to beers: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it's just cleverness just for the sake of cleverness. Fruit flavors go well with sours, spices go well with winter ales, bourbon barrel aging adds to the quadruppel experience. And things like coffee, caramel and chocolate add to stouts and porters. 

The base beer of Match+Maker is a stout. Empyrean has always done good stout & porters, their year 'round oatmeal stout and vanilla porter are some of my favorite locals. Like most stouts, the hop bitterness is low, 16 IBUs, with a healthy 6% ABV. Not quite sessionable, but you can have more than one! Added to the brew are Guatemalan cacao nibs, with cacao, sea salt and caramel added to the finished beer. This l'il beauty would go well with brownies or vanilla bean ice cream, or even cheesecake.  8.5 on the IGB flavored stout scale.