Friday, January 31, 2014

Beer rankings, 1\31\14

The brewlist rating guide!

Even though I'm still going to be rating beer in both x\100 and BA style x\5 numerical ratings, I have also decided to make a system of tiers that I think a beer belongs too. This set of tiers is completely subjective, and in many ways mirrors the review system of the site formerly known as spill (or at least, that's my intent). Its meant to help you figure out how and when to buy a beer, both at the bar and at the bottle shop. It is also a way for people to look at a beer in a non-numerical manner to better help them decide how to make the best use of their resources. It of course, will be upgraded and fine tuned over time, and Eventually will find its place in all my reviews as i find the time to go back and edit everything.

Lets start off with the bottom:
vomit tier
This is as low as it gets. At least in a drain pour I could get in a few sips before gagging...........this is a beer that is so bad it makes me SICK. Its spill counterpart is the "double fuck you", and I think its pretty much says everything you need to know about the beer. This is a beer I don't even think is worth trying once, unless its completely 100% free or part of a beer festival (and even then, possibly avoided). Nasty, foul, terribleness, and odds are a very rare tier for me to put a beer in. Avoid at all costs, it will be money you never see again.

Drain pour tier
This tier is as low as it gets, and its spill parallel is the "fuck you" category. Its a beer so bad, That I could not find the will to finish it. You should avoid paying for Beers of this rating like the plague, unless you have a STRONG curiosity for making your own conclusions (an admirable characteristic), or are a glutton for punishment. I believe that all beers should be tried once, but seriously. Avoid full price at all costs for beers in this category. Get them at happy hour prices or on sale if you must (or free from friends).
Bad beer tier
This tier is a parallel to "some o'll bullshit". This is a beer that is bad by all conventional rating standards, but still has SOME kind of redeeming characteristic that kept me from sending it to the big drain in the sky. Maybe it was extremely....EXTREMELY cheap. Maybe I could drink it without finding it that offensive. Maybe I liked the taste of peanut butter, live bees, cherries, bacon and doughnuts enough to finish it......... but for whatever reason, I found the beer to not be completely worthless, but still not good. Id recommend it for just one try to make up your mind if your curious, but preferably on sale or in a trade......or as said before...... if it can be purchased in LARGE quantities at VERY cheap prices (or just cheap prices...what ...I'm not judging you!)
"on sale" tier
This beers counter is "matinee", and this is a beer that comes off as being middle of the road. Its a beer that has a lot of redeeming characteristics, but also a lot of issues that muddy the water. Overall however, the positive outweighs the negative. This is a beer that was made for sales....happy hour price cuts, case discounts, buy one get one free...etc, etc, etc.....if you see a beer like this that is on sale, get it. you wont be disappointed. A solid beer at the right price, and a beer that's worth having once to make up your mind at (even at full price, both retail and bar prices, just to slate your curiosity,or if options are limited). Who knows, you might really like this one!
Would drink again
The mirror to this rating is "full price". No doubts about it, this is a good...good...GOOD beer. It is either equal or greater than the sum of its parts and is truly a great brew. Well worth seeking out, these beers are essentially the stuff of great love in the beer community. Worth full retail AND full bar prices, these beers are a MUST try. A easy choice if you haven't had this kind of beer already.
World class

This corresponding spill rating is "better than sex", although that might be debated (HA!). This is the kind of beer that you rarely see, but always remember. Its often heavily debated category, with people hotly contesting the "world class" nature of certain brews, insisting that its a tier reserved for their impossibly limited release white whales (or the top 20 beers of the world via BJCP and Ratebeer, but then again I repeat myself....HA) . I tend to be far more liberal for this rateing, and feel that its just about any brew that goes above and beyond the expectations placed on it, and deliver something you never expected (in a good way that is). Its a beer worth driving all over town to find...........or hundreds of miles if your crazy (who am I kidding...of course your crazy...and its totally worth it). These are beers that you HAVE to pick up, that is, if beer is your thing (really, I'm guessing that it is). Some of the best beer you can buy on the market, and a must try, possibly even at prices gouged up by a few bucks.

And their you have it, the tier system. It will make up the last word of my beer reviews, and hopefully help people navigate what they should and should not buy. Just like spill, beers can fall in-between categories, and I will fill in the blanks of how and why they might.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

World market blitz part 2, Skullspliter

World market blitz part 2
Skullspliter, 8.7%

I had this brew right after drinking a glass of my very own Scottish landfall ale (scotch ale, 7.6%), and wanted something to peg it too.....because you really need to see how a homebrewed recipe stacks up to a pro-one. Ill save some time and come right out and say it.................I was very disappointed with this beer. I wasn't disappointed with the price. I got this beer for about 1.30, and really felt that it was one of the best deals World market had (with a sale or without)...........and despite that, I had clear standards that I wanted this brew to have and it did not meet them at all.....and really, I was immensely surprised by the online reviews.

Their really is no saving grace for this one. No "its out of date" excuse for why I did not like it. If anything, a older bottle should in-fact taste BETTER than a new one. I just had a serious problem with this beer, and I feel as If I'm the only one who had such misgivings about this brew. People on the internet seem to love this beer (or at least they seem to on Beer advocate and Ratebeer)

That brings me to my other criticism. Sometimes when I look at online reviews, and see the flavors that people list off I think "yea, that was their! It was on the tip of my tongue, but just couldn't quite name it!". This was not one of those moments. It looked like people where just making up characteristics that they expected or wanted to be in the brew and listed them off ( that pretty much did not exist), and seriously let their bias get the best of them for a brew named "Skull Splitter", which seems to be the strongest point this brew has......A cool name.

If this beer was made by Boston Brewing\Shipyard (or any other larger, critically underrated brewery) and under a different name, its reviews would be a LOT lower, and peoples tunes would a lot different. I salute the few people who put similar reviews online. Its nice to have company in a dissenting opinion.

Just my 1 cent of course.................

Anyho, the review:

  • Orkney Brewery 
  • orkney brewery
    • Beer name: skull splitter, 1.99 bottle at world market. higher elsewhere.
    • Style: Wee heavy\Scotch ale, 8.5%
    • rateing: Ratebeer(94\100), beer advocate (91\100)
      • appearance: My own beer does do something wrong: it has way too much color. It comes off far more brown than it should, and this brew does it right in my opinion. It has the color of pale malt syrup (which oddly enough, is in fact amber in color), with virtually no head (remember, alcohol kills head!) which is not a problem. I think that this brew requires close to a perfect score in appearance. 4.5\5
      • Smell: really, I'm sorry to say, not much here. A bit of alcohol sweetness and Scottish eastery yeast aroma (what, that's the only way to describe it) fits in as well. Its OK, but id hope for more. 3\5
      • Taste: I was kinda worried about my own Scottish ale. It tasted kinda hot, and I assumed that it was because it was very young (kegged about 2 weeks ago). This stuff makes me feel that its going to be a great Scottish ale.....because this stuff had heat coming out of the wazoo. This stuff has huge amount of "warmth" to it, which I would really call "booz" (tomato to tommato correct?). Of course it has a bit more to it than booz....lots and lots of god....its just terrible...That is pretty much the scope of flavor that this brew has. I'm not sure, I guess that I give it a 2.25\5, but its a disappointment to say the least.
      • Mouthfeel: The beer has a oddly light mouthfeel, probably dried out via the use of brewing sugars. It is balanced out by a decent level of snappy carbonation. 4\5
      • overall: I think I was expecting more from this one. seriously. With a name like that, you expect greatness. but its just a bit above average. It comes off WAY too hot, way too buttery, and way too sweet. I might say that its not offensive, but suprise suprise, it is. I poured this beer DOWN THE DRAIN. I just couldnt finish it. I can understand someone elese liking it...but wow....that was not my experience. I suppose its worth having once to make up your own mind about the stuff (or to get the bottle, which DOES look cool), but really, its not worth a 4 pack or really trying again. 2.25\5On the whole, a disappointment. Looking forward to when my own scotch ale matures up in about 2-5+ weeks. Hopefully that will scratch my scotch ale itch
        • BA average: 2.69\5. I personally give this one a 45\100. very poor.
DRAIN POUR! Kinda felt like this....


World market blitz, beer 1: Founders Centennial IPA

World market blitz
Beer 1: Founders Centenial IPA

Recently I discovered that World market (1480 Apalachee Pkwy) had a great deal going on: 30% off build your own 6 pack.....well, OK, I did not just find this out .I've known about it for some time, but never managed to take advantage of it up until about a week ago.

I stopped in after work while crashing due to a small breakfast, and decided for no reason to check out their beer. I ended up talking to one of the employees their while looking at their winter beer packs, and was reminded that they still had this deal for member's. Since I was a member (it is free after all), I immediately picked up a 6 pack and went home feeling very accomplished.

Later on I went back for a wine tasting, and picked up another 6 pack. And then just for good measure, a day later I got one last 6 pack just to make sure that I had hit all my bases. Now I have 17 beers that I have never tried (I accidentally got a 2ed vanilla porter), and I figure that I can make a decent series about this huge blitz of new beers.

Lets start off with one of the first beers I selected (since, hey, anything founders is excellent), Centennial IPA

  • Founders Brewing company
    • Beer: Centenial IPA, about $9-11 a 6 pack (1.20 a bottle with the 30% deal)
    • Style: American IPA, 7.2%
    • Rating: ratebeer(99\100), Beer advocate(93\100)
      • Appearance: a perfectly clear amber color with a amazingly long lasting fluffy head. Ill be honest, this beer pretty much looks perfect.    5\5
      • Smell: pine and citrus hops, with a bit of fruit loops and a decent malty aroma. Very well balanced and pleasant. very nice, but is not perfect.     4\5
      • Taste: Pine, neutral hop bitterness, and a grainy malty backbone. very well balanced and easy to drink, at least from my perspective. I like it! 4\5
      • Mouthfeel: It feels very syrupy and heavy to me, but that works quite well with the hops. 3.5\5
      • Overall: This beer is one that I feel fits the "go-too" beer category, much like my current one x2IPA. It is easy to drink ,of decent ABV, very drinkable, and sweet yet quite hoppy. It might be a more hop forward beer if it was consumed fresher or had been refrigerated prior to sale, but even so, its a great choice and one of my current favorites for when I want something that will be predictably good. A well deserved 4\5
        • No surprises here, this beer is great. It got a average score of 4\5 from me on BA, and I feel that its about a 91\100 brew. I hope I can try it again real soon
Would have again!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sam Adams Odyssey part 7: White Christmas

Sam Adams Odyssey part 7: 
White Christmas

I do love a good holiday beer. They are not easy to drink in bulk, but their is just something warming about a beer with a good amount of spicing. It just helps warm me up in these HARSH Florida winters (well in my perspective, they feel harsh!). I was happy to see this beer at the nearby ABC liquor, and even happier to be able to pick it up as a single. I was expecting something more like X2mas (which is more of a spice beer), instead of the witbier that White Christmas is, but still, I can enjoy a good wit on a cold winter night.

well, lets just get to the review!

  • Sam Adams (Boston brewery)
    • White christmas, 1.99 single (about 7.99 for a 6 pack)
      • Beer style: Witbier, 5.8%
      • rating: ratebeer(46\100), beer advocate(79\100)
      • personal rating: Ba style
        • appearance: semi-clear golden colored brew, with a decent bit of rising up carbonation. 4\5
        • aroma: Very malt and spice forward. It smells like cloves, a bit or coriander, and sweet malt. Good, but nothing to boast about. 3.5\5
        • flavor: The smell does not betray this one, the flavor is all spice and malty goodness. Lots of sweet grainy malty flavor comes first in this brew, with a nice burst of warmth from the spices. A bit of honey flavor on the finish as well. Not too shabby. 4\5
        • feel: it feels heavy, mostly due to its sweetness, which is helped out by its carbonation. 3.75\5
        • overall: I was surprised by this beer. It is a surprisingly easy to drink well made witbier. Its flavors follow the wit style quite well, and the final product is actually a fairly decent desert beer (I classify it as such due to how sweet it is). I would be happy to drink it again and found no real problems with it at all. 4\5
          • BA average(3.88\5), personal score(83\100)
Worth it on sale!

I found this beer to be quite good. Not the best winter beer, but a good one non-the-less. It was very warming, and its spice character was well received. I thought that I could easily enjoy a whole 6 pack of this beer and found it to be another worthy brew from the Boston brewery.

Worth picking up to try!

La Cheim!

Sam Adams Odyssey part 6: double agent IPL

Sam Adams Odyssey part 6: 

double agent IPL

So far, every single hop forward beer from Sam Adams has been very good, and I had high expectations for this beer, that actually had some decent reviews on ratebeer and beer advocate (for their other hopology brews, I found the reviews to be lukewarm). I suppose that this can be explained by the fact that its a unique beer: a hoppy lagger.......and reviewers tend to respond better to new things like that than just another IPA.

I had also had it before, but not recently (recipes change), and I had never given it a in-depth review (or finished a whole bottle of the stuff!). Well, lets take a look at this brew...........

  • Boston brewing company
    • Double Agent IPL, 1.99\ 12 oz
      • Style: American pale lager
      • rating: ratebeer(94\100), beer advocate (85\100)
      • personal rating: Ba Style
        • Appearance: Vibrantly clear. The beers lagger visuals are quite striking. A decent head comes with this one, but dissipated before I could snap a picture. But when it was their, I have to say, the beer looked amazing. 4.5\5
        • Aroma: pine\tar sap, wood, and big giant resiny hops. If their was hops where a tree, this is what its amber sap would smell like. A bit of bready mixed in as well. Very well pronounced hop flavor (especially since I'm getting over a cold and cant smell very well right now!). 4.25\5
        • Taste: this tastes like everything that the smell suggested that it would be. This beer tastes of huge amounts of hop resins, and its all up front. The neutral hop bitterness (what might be described as the IBU's) is also pretty noticeable. Id place it in upper-medium areas. It might be far too much for a new drinker, but anyone who likes IPA's should be comfortable with this beer. And as for the lager components, they work rather well. The clean flavor of the lager helps accentuates the hops, and the beers natural beady sweetness helps counter its hopping even at such a low alcohol level. 4.25\5
        • Mouthfeel: for the abv and style, the mouthful is actually not too light. Fairly nice, sweetish, with a decent dose of carbonation (tho a bit more would make it feel better). 3.5\5
        • Overall: This beer is really gave me no surprise, as I had had it before and rated it fairly well. But that was almost a year ago, and now that I like hops more, I like this beer a lot more as well. I'm not sure if they made it better over the time or if its just me that's changing, but I give it a 4.25\5. A very nice brew, and an example of how Boston Brewing can defiantly do something very new and interesting.
          • BA average(4.19\5), personal score:90\100.
Would try again!

Well, their you have it! another great hoppy brew from Boston brewing. I'm hoping that they continue to surprise me and deliver the goods for good brews.

This makes 5\6 brews with of positive reviews......hopefully the new batch of 2014 Sam adams beers will keep the positive streak going.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

spot updates: proof, new leaf, and some more beerstop

Proof bottle shop

Proof has managed to load up on an impressive collection of very good hop forward beers. If you have never tried any of them, Id say that it would be very hard to chose between them! really, the best option is to pick up all three. They are all must-try brews that I highly recommend.

  • Victory brewing
    • Dirt Wolf, 9.49\4
      • Beer style: Double IPA, 8.7%
      • ratings: ratebeer(99\100), beer advocate(95\100)
      • personal ratings: BA(4.8\5), personal score (98\100). Best ipa of 2013.

  • Victory brewing
    • Hop ranch, 9.49\4
      • Beer style: Double IPA, 9%
      • ratings: ratebeer(98\100), beer advocate(96\100)
      • personal ratings

  • Founders brewing
    • Harvest ale, 10.99\4
      • Beer style: American IPA, 7.6%
      • ratings: ratebeer (99\100), beer advocate(95\100)
      • personal ratings: BA (4.5\5), personal(96\100)

New Leaf

Not exactly "beer", but common, that just looks damn interesting! I do wish that more sodas came like this........I mean, just looks cool..... and fyi, its soda made by a brewery.
  • sprecher brewing, 7.49\4
    • Bootleg bourbon barrel hard root beer
      • Beer style: root beer, 5%
      • ratings: ratebeer (n\a), beer advocate(80\100)
      • personal ratings: n\a

This one looks cool because its a type of beer that everyone wants to try, and according to what I've heard online it does what it claims to do well. Also available at beer stop (and likely many other stores) for the same price 

  • Shipyard brewery
    • Mint chocolate Stout, 7.49$
      • Beer style: Imperial stout, 9%
      • ratings: ratebeer (75\100), beer advocate(74\100)
      • personal ratings: n\a

Now this i have not seen around town, and it looks like a good buy for a serious fan of Ommegang, or for someone curious about trying a Belgian stout (though  Weyebacher's Tiny might be a better starting point for a Belgian stout)
  • Brewery Ommegang
    • Chocolate indulgance, 14.99
      • Beer style: Belgian stout, 7%
      • ratings: ratebeer (96\100), beer advocate(86\100)
      • personal ratings: n\a

This beer looked cool as well. A collection of 4 ancient style Scottish ales made with modern equipment and ingredients? Sign me up! Id be happy to get this as a present any day of the week.
  • Williams brothers brewery (Scotland)
    • historic ales from Scotland, 12.49\4
      • Grozet
        • Beer style: Scottish Gruit (pre-hops ancient beer), 5%
        • ratings: ratebeer (39\100), beer advocate(80\100)
        • personal ratings: n\a, but as a beer history lesson, it should be seen as an important part of the gift set. Its also one of the only Gruits even sold nowadays, so take that for what it is.
      • Heather ale
        • Beer style: Scottish Gruit, 5%
        • ratings: ratebeer (85\100), beer advocate(90\100)
        • personal ratings: n\a, but I've always wanted to try heather ale.
      • Alba Pine ale
        • Beer style: Scottish Gruit, 7.5%
        • ratings: ratebeer (85\100), beer advocate(85\100)
        • personal ratings: n\a
      • Elderberry black ale
        • Beer style: Scottish gruit, 6.5%
        • ratings: ratebeer (62\100), beer advocate(85\100)
        • personal ratings: n\a
All of these beers look interesting. They are ALL a portal into the what beer was like in ancient times (hence the name!). That makes them all the more enticing, considering that I'm the kind of person that loved it when Boston brewing worked to remake the first craft beer, New Albion's pale ale (I love the taste of history). Its ratings are also pretty good, which helps a lot. If your like me and have both a passion for history as well as beer, it looks like a solid buy.

And with that the spot update is complete! I hope that everyone finds what they are looking for when they go out shopping!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Sam Adams Odyssey part 5 Summer ale

Sam Adams Odyssey part 5
Summer ale

    Picked up at proof on the bottom of their American singles shelf. Only place in town that I have seen it. I really have no expectation about this one. It could go either way.
  • Boston Brewing Company
    • summer ale, 1.99, 12 oz
      • Style: Wheat ale, 5.3%
      • rating: ratebeer (40\100), beer advocate (76\100)
      • Personal rating:
        • Appearance: Heavy carbonation laces the inside of the glass when poured. The beer has a very hazy golden color to it, and a head that appeared despite a very careful+ pour. It looks like it would be nice to drink on a lawn chair in the middle of a nice summer day. 4\5
        • aroma: Extremely sweet smelling with a heavy dose of citrus (lemon). Nothing wrong with it, but nothing that great either. I will give this one a 3.5\5
        • Taste: I feel that this one really does not work very well at all. The spice is done all wrong and it just feels wrong on all levels. The lemon does not work either. It does not mesh with the wheat ale base that its flavoring. The bottle that I picked up said that it was best before October, and right now its January 1st, so I'm going to say that its a possibility that the bottle is quite past prime. Still, I give this beer a 2\5 for flavor.
        • Mouthfeel: Very prickly and acidic. It is to such a degree that I have to say, I can barley tell how the body feels. The spice also makes for some astringency. 1.5\5
        • Overall: I really did not like this beer at all, and it looks like I've run into my first true failure in this series. Still, I do have that feeling that the bottle may be too old. It is a possibility. Over time the lemon peel and spice can seriously degrade the beer, but still, It seemed like a bad idea from the start. An American wheat ale should not be spiced and flavored like a wit.......if this was instead a hoppy flavored (not bittered) wheat ale I feel like it could had worked. The beer itself looks great, its just a fact that it went very downhill very quickly. 2\5, and FYI I poured this one down the drain.
          • BA score: 2.35\5, or about a 43\100. So very bad. Will not try again.