Archive for the 'Southern Tier' category
The wife enjoys chocolate and I enjoy beer (shocking as that may sound), so I thought it would be fun to sample two chocolate beers side by side for comparison sake. On one side was Southern Tier Choklat Stout, the other High & Mighty Two-Headed Beast. Unsurprisingly both beers poured black, but there were differences in the heads. The Two-Headed Beast’s head was a thick, dark tan, which dissipated to a light spattering of bubble islands. The Choklat had a lighter tan head, in comparison to the Two-Headed Beast, that dissipated into nothingness after a couple minutes.
The nose of both beers were very similar, each possessing aromas of sweet chocolate and chocolate powder. The Two-Headed Beast added to those characteristics slightly with a light-burnt note which lingered in the nasal passage. The taste, once again, only deviated slightly from each other. The Choklat went the sweet, chocolate syrup route, while the Two-Headed Beast went with a bitter chocolate flavoring.
Both beers were enjoyable, and definitely hit the “chocolate” aspect on the head. It was interesting tasting the subtle differences between the beers, and a reminder of how vast the spectrum of craft beer is.
Over the past few years barrel aging beer has become a big thing for breweries to experiment with. Barrels used can range from new oak barrels all the way to barrels formerly used in the aging of wine, scotch, whiskey, or bourbon. Along those lines, Southern Tier decided to give barrel aging a whirl with their Unearthly IPA.
The finger of white head, which graced the beer in my tulip glass, dissipated rather quickly, leaving only an island of foam atop the beer’s inviting clear, amber body. Though headless, the beer’s aroma was strong and distinct: hop and vanilla. This vanilla quality, from the oak aging, lent the IPA an intriguing and unusual characteristic. I do not remember the last time I had a vanilla IPA.
In the mouth the hop and vanilla battled it out for taste bud supremacy. The hops started strong, with an almost resin like character, but the vanilla battled back mid-tongue with a sweet-vanilla hit. At the end of the swallow the two flavors were still intermingled in the struggle with only a subdued bitterness finish (at least when compared to regular Unearthly IPA). Malt, though present, was merely a spectator to this spectacle. As the session progressed the vanilla was able to show its dominance. The vanilla sweetness had such a long aftertaste to it, it was not fully cleared before the next sip. This led to a ganging up effect on the hops, which the hops could not repel.
With its smooth, light to medium body, this beer had great potential. However, I think the oak aging did not do this beer well. The vanilla sweetness character became too dominating, and crushed all hope of balance.
Note: I do think the beer’s label is pretty kick-ass though.
Christmas beers are already coming out and I am still reviewing pumpkin beers. Yeah, I am the slow one in the group. Sticking with the “I crave diversity” with my pumpkin beers, I thought I would review the Pumking by Southern Tier, which is an “Imperial” beer.
This is another liquefaction job by Southern Tier, which will make my review relatively short. Ever have a pumpkin pie? Well, this is a liquefied one. The tastes and smells are all here: nutmeg, ginger, sugar, buttery crust. These aromas and tastes mask the 9% ABV, so that aspect of the beer is hidden. The only aspect different from an actual pumpkin pie and this beer is its texture, which is medium on the tongue and on the rough side.
Besides the mouth feel, which I wish was a little thicker and smoother, the beer is straight pumpkin pie. A beer being so close to pumpkin pie could be a knock against it for some people. Not me however, and certainly not my wife. She picked up three bottles of this beer without any prodding on my part. Even though it is late in the season, you should be able to pick up a bottle, which I recommend. They liquefied a Creme Brulee for their Creme Brulee Stout and now they have liquefied a pumpkin pie for their Pumking.
Another day, another Southern Tier review. First came their Imperial Cherry Saison and now it is their Creme Brulee Stout. This beer just hit store shelves and it seems to be moving quite fast, and for good reason. It is a good beer.
The straight and skinny on this beer is the name does not lie. It tastes and smells like creme brulee. I am not even sure Southern Tier brewed this beer. I think they baked a creme brulee and liquefied the results. I did not notice any malt, hop, or alcohol aromas/tastes in the beer. Vanilla and burnt sugar were the aromas and tastes, plain and simple.
The fact it tasted just like creme brulee I find incredible. Most times when a beer is named after a flavor the beer has the “essence” of that flavor. Southern Tier’s Imperial Cherry Saison is an example of this, along with numerous chocolate and coffee stouts. There are essences of those flavors intermingled with other flavors. Not in this beer. Creme Brulee.
For the lack of tasting “beer like” (I do not even know what that actually means with all the variety in beer, but there is a certain aptness in the statement) this is a great beer. Due to its sweetness and rich mouthfeel factors, this is a great dessert beer. If you have a friend who is not all that “into” beer and prefers a sweet mixed drink, this beer could certainly suite their fancy.
Hats off to Southern Tier for this beer, showing once again the boundaries of beer can be stretched in so many directions.
If you need to know, the beer poured in a snifter is black with a slight tan head. It smells like Creme Brulee, but I am pretty sure I have already gotten that point across.
This past weekend I demolished our condo’s kitchen to start our renovation project. There is a certain “joy” taking crowbar to tile floor, sheetrock wall, and drop ceiling. This joy works up a thirst however, and once the job was completed I was hankering for a beer. Fortunately, I had recently picked up a few beers during the week. One of the beers was a new Southern Tier creation called Imperial Cherry Saison. The Saison style was created as a thirst quencher, so the Imperial Cherry was the beer I went for.
The beer poured into a Saison glass was a light hazy amber with a good, solid, two fingers of white head. This head was held aloft for a short while by a steady, but sparse, stream of bubbles. The nose of the beer had a light cherry/fruity combination, which I was a bit surprised by. Being an “Imperial Cherry” beer, I was expecting the cherry to take center stage. A more prominent smell, for my nose, was actually of wheat. This gave the beer a slight hefeweizen slant. A subtle oak wood aroma finished off the beer.
This oak presence gave the beer a slight wood taste, mixed with a little spice. This is not a barrel aged beer mind you. The wood flavoring is from wood oak “staves” placed in the beer during aging. The mouthfeel of the beer was light and relatively smooth, with some tingle on the tongue. The beer also had a certain hefeweizen taste due to the wheat presence. To round the tastes off was a light sweetness to the beer. This sweetness was most likely a product of the cherries, but again the cherries did not take the center stage I thought they would.
Overall I was a bit disappointed with this Saison. I enjoy a crisp, thirst quenching Saison and this beer was not that. It is an interesting take on the Saison style, and there was nothing that made this beer “bad”. Just not what I look for from the Saison style. Maybe if they upped the cherries more, used less wheat, turned it more into a dessert beer, I would have found it more favorable.
The march of Imperial Stouts continues unabated here at sevenpack with a review of Southern Tier’s Imperial Choklat Stout. I recently picked this beer up when I was out shopping with my girlfriend. She enjoys chocolate, I enjoy beer, so we thought this was a match made in (liquid) heaven. The bottle even mentions the Maya poured chocolate for their rulers and gods. Let’s see if the beer meets such lofty expectations.
Poured into a snifter the black as night beer had a one finger biege head comprised of tight little bubbles. Swirled around the glass the beer left little on the glass, so it was not a highly viscous brew. What little it had in viscosity however it made up for in chocolate aroma. Bitter chocolate, chocolate powder and chocolate syrup all waifed up to meet my nose. There was a fleeting hint of alcohol but this might have been more a trick of the mind, since I knew it was an eleven percent ABV beverage.
In the mouth it was a continuation of the aroma. A very nice bitter chocolate taste, with a nice bit of chocolate syrup sweetness. Though it might have tasted of chocolate syrup the mouth feel was by no means syrupy, with more of a medium body. The tip of the tongue was tingled with some nice little bubbles but through the rest of the mouth the beer was smooth as velvet. At the back of the mouth I was expecting some type of alcohol burn but it never came, even after the beer had warmed. The alcohol is well masked by the chocolate indulgence of the beer.
This is a wonderful beer for chocolate and beer lovers alike. My girlfriend confirmed it even goes well with vanilla bean ice cream. High praise for this beer and definitely deserving of the gods.
Happy New Years everyone!