This brew was one of the best Strong Ale's I have tasted, not just including this year. I mean overall.
Poured a cloudy medium yellowish orange with a very large (2-3 finger) white frothy head that had great longevity and excellent lacing.
The aroma was moderately heavy of grain malts, an earthy yeast and flowery hops with nice notes of citrus, banana and a bit of spice (coriander I believe).
It tasted kind of sweet with a hint of citrus at first and then became a bit bitter and quite yeasty with a mild alcohol finish leaving a nice bold flavor lingering on the taste buds for a long while.
Mouthfeel was right in the middle of light and medium in body and had a dry texture with a nice prickly carbonation.
Overall a great Strong Ale with a medley of components coming together for one really fantastic tasting brew which does a nice job of concealing the high alcohol content.
5) Dogfish Head "Burton Baton"
I thought this brew was fantastic and I am just starting to appreciate hoppy beers. This is a definite must try.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Milton, Delaware USA
Imperial IPA (ABV 10%)
The pour was a clear medium amber that had a slight yellow hue around the edges of the glass with a large (2-3 finger) rocky white head that was mostly lasting and had excellent lacing.
The aroma was heavy of herbal hops, caramel malts and a sweet yeast with hints of oak, honey and citrus (Grapefruit and maybe a little orange).
It tasted mildly sweet and a little acidic with a nice caramel note in the beginning. Then progressed into a hoppy-bitter-sour flavor with a nice citrus note and a mild alcohol finish, which left the flavor lingering for a good long time after the swallow.
Mouthfeel was just a tad under medium in body with the texture being smooth and creamy and having a very nice soft carbonation.
Overall a fantastic Imperial IPA that has a nice mix of sweet and hoppy with a nice citrus undertone. I really enjoyed this brew, even though I am just starting to appreciate hoppy brews.
4) Three Floyds "Moloko Milk Stout"
I received this for a fellow Craft Beer lover. It was smooth, creamy and wonderfully tasty. Three Floyds puts out a multitude of great beers and I want to try them all.
Three Floyds Brewing Company - Munster, Indiana USA
Sweet Stout (ABV 8%)
The pour was a muddy dark brown almost black in color with a very large (on the heavy side of 3 fingers) creamy medium brown head that lasted throughout and produced some really excellent lacing.
The aroma was wonderfully heavy of some burnt dark malts and a strong leathery yeast with notes of dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, molasses and a hint of dark fruit.
The taste was moderately sweet with a hint of dark chocolate and molasses at first then it became extremely malty and moderately bitter with a nice creamy coffee finish. The flavor lasted a very long time after the swallow letting one relish the bitter chocolate coffee flavor.
Mouthfeel was robustly full in body and smooth and creamy in texture with a nice soft carbonation.
Overall an exquisite Stout with the flavors contributing to each in such a way as to produce a truly delightful drinking experience.
3) Thirsty Dog "Siberian Night"
Drinking this brew was was most definitly one of the beer highlights of 2011. This is a beer that I will be having again & again...
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company - Akron, Ohio USA
Imperial Stout (ABV 9.7%)
The pour was a murky pitch black with a large (2-3 finger) rocky light brown head that lasted throughout and had excellent streaky lacing.
The aroma was definitely intense with a strong dark roasted bread malt and a mildly sweet leathery yeast that had notes of dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, and a mild caramel sweetness with just a hint of alcohol.
It tasted fantastic to say the least, it started with a mild sweetness that had hints of caramel and coffee, then progressed into a bitter-sweet coffee flavor with the finish having a strong presence of dark chocolate. The flavor was left lingering for a nice long time after the swallow letting everything meld together and settle in rather nicely on the palate.
Mouthfeel was tremendously full in body and very creamy in texture, yet slightly watery at the end with a moderately soft carbonation.
Overall a superior Imperial Stout that left the flavor lying on the taste buds for a decent duration, allowing a full enjoyment of all the components of this extremely tasty brew.
2) Russian River "Pliny the Elder"
This is a beer I heard was the best IPA in the world. Well after tasting it I am inclined to agree. It was superbly balanced and very flavorful, just pain AWESOME...
Russian River Brewing - Santa Rosa, California USA
IPA (ABV 8%)
The pour was a medium clear yellow with a slight amber hue and a large (2-3 finger) white frothy head that lasted throughout and had good lacing that spottily stuck to the glass.
The aroma gets you right away with strong grassy and citrus hops, grain malts and a moldy cobweb scented yeast with notes of orange peel and lemon zest.
The taste was ever so nicely bitter-sweet and slightly malty with a touch of lemon at first then had a nice hoppy bitterness come through with a nice does of orange peel at the end. The flavor lasted a good long time allowing for the hops and citrus to blend really well leaving a wonderful lingering aftertaste.
Mouthfeel was light to medium in body with a nice dry texture and a soft carbonation.
Overall an extremely good tasting IPA with all factions (hops, malts and citrus) blending together to form a very unique tasting experience. I can see now why it is referred to as the pinnacle of IPA's.
1) Flying Fish "Exit 13 Chocolate Stout"
Well we are here #1 for 2011. This was an exquisite tasting beer; thick and chewy, smooth and tasty, a chocolate lovers dream. All hail the brewery from NJ, never had a bad beer from them and probably never will..
Flying Fish Brewing Company - Cherry Hill, New Jersey USA
Foreign Stout (ABV 7.5%)
It poured a very deep dark black with a large (2-3 finger) dense creamy medium brown head that lasted throughout and had exquisite lacing that stuck very well to the glass.
The aroma right off gets you with a nice whiff of chocolate then a moderate roasted dark bread malt and a sweet leathery yeast with hints of dark roasted coffee, caramel, a touch of dark fruit and a tinge of citrus.
The taste well lets just say "WOW" begins with a mild bitterness that has a nice note of coffee, then it progresses into a much sweeter flavor with a large dose of chocolate and a mild fruitiness at the end. The flavor only lasted an average amount of time after the swallow which was rather disappointing since it tasted so good.
Mouthfeel was extremely full and chewy in body with the texture being super creamy and having a nice soft carbonation.
Overall this brew with out a doubt is one of the best beers I have ever sampled. This one definitely makes my top 10 thus far.
Well that's all I have for this year. Let 2012 be a great year for all, and have a "Happy New Beer".
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