Archive for the 'Sam Adams' category
photo credit: walknboston
Working on a Samuel Adams “theme” here. The Noble Pils is Samuel Adams’ new spring seasonal and utilizes all five noble hop varieties. I enjoy a noble hop, so lets see how this beer does.
The beer poured a crystal clear golden-yellow into my pils glass. Atop this body lay a tight, finger thick head kept alive for numerous minutes by columns of tiny fast moving bubbles. The noble hops hit with a pretty good wallop to the nose. Lemon, grass, and orange all intermingled within the aroma.
In the mouth, the beer ran clean and light. The malt makes a nice play in the middle of the tongue with a bread character that was slightly chewy. The middle of the beer really drove home the Pils character of this beer. The beer finishes with a strong lemon presence that is a tad bitter. Though the lemon is natural tasting it becomes a bit much for me.
After the first Noble Pils, I thought “not bad”. After the second I thought “I bought a six pack of this?” In my book the beer is good for bringing to a party. You have a couple and then unload the rest on others. The beer had promise of being something similar to Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner but the growing presence of lemon kept the beer from obtaining such a lofty goal.
photo credit: walknboston
A few reviews ago Ben mentioned North Peak “Majestic” Wheat Ale’s interesting bottle. This Samuel Adams Barrel Reserve bottle qualifies as quite interesting in my book. The bottle is the single reason I picked the beer up. What can I say, I like a good bottle and there is not much variety in craft beer bottles, so anything different sticks out.
As for the beer, it was golden in color with a very slight haze. A stark white head sat atop the beer’s body for a good few minutes, held aloft by a cascade of tiny bubbles. The aromas were of mango, star fruit, banana and yeast spice. Overall an enticing mix that was not overdone.
Lots of carbonation play on the tongue, which kept the beer light and lively. The tropical fruit notes come through mid-tongue, but there was little time to enjoy them. The beer quickly moved to a finish that was dry, rather spicy, and had a tweak of warming alcohol. The yeast spice provided an aftertaste that lasted a couple of minutes after each sip.
For a barrel aged beer I was expecting some type of barrel aged aromas or tastes, but I could not find any. The bottle is quite cool and though I did not find anything off putting about the beer, I probably will not pick this beer up again. I wish it had a little more barrel-esque kick to it.
I’m really loving the look of some of the recent seasonal beers on the shelf. I’ve lately been complaining about the loads of new stouts that I’ve been seeing. However, on my last trip to the Blue Light, the shelves were teeming with craft summer ales and wheat beers! This, the Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier, was one of them. Sam Adams consistently puts out great limited edition brews, and I’m almost always pleased with their brews in the Brewmaster Series, such as this one…
The Blackberry wit pours a soft medium golden with a dense, thin white head. The beer seems exceptionally effervescent, sending a stream of tiny bubbles up from the bottom of the glass. In the nose, this beer is full of pungent blackberry aromas, along with just a slight sweet malt in the background. The taste of this fits perfectly with the aroma. The first sensation is a fizzy carbonation burn on the tip of the tongue. Shortly thereafter, there is a quick yeasty sweetness, followed by a rising tone of blackberry sweetness. In addition, the tangy aspects of the blackberry begin to rise, making a steady ascent through the mouth. Towards the back of the mouth, the full presence of the blackberry is realized, as is a soft maltiness to the flavor and mouthfeel lent by the wheat. All in all, the blackberry is the star here. It is ever-present in large doses in the mouth and dominates the flavor. However, this works out great. The blackberry flavor is well-balance, leaning heavier towards the sweet than the tangy, making this very palatable and oh-so-tasty. In addition, the higher carbonation levels give this beer a great texture and really make the flavor pop. Unlike many fruit beers, I could drink this for a week and never get tired of it!
Last up in the newest Longshot pack is the Double IPA. I was honestly a little surprised to see one of these pop up in this series, just because it’s a generally played out genre that every brewery has a go at. But, as far as I know, Sam Adams hasn’t done much with the super-hoppy beers so, eh, why not?
This IIPA pours a super dark golden color that, when in a thick enough vessel, suddenly becomes a shade of ruby. There is some obvious dense debris in here, and a transient off-white head flares up as you pour it, but doesn’t last very long. In the nose, I’m getting heavy notes of pineapple, courtesy of all the hop that obviously went into it. Quite nice really. In the mouth, this is a straight-up citrusy IIPA. The flavor isn’t terribly complex, but it IS well-balanced for a beer of this hop magnitude. The primary flavor through the mouth is big, fresh, pineappley hops. The flavor is both sweet and bitter and quite strong, but it’s balanced by a nice malt backbone that is mostly bready, but still sweet. So, this results in an IPA that is sweeter than most, and it’s a nice combination of citrusy tart sweetness and richer malt sweetness. However, the bitter hop rides along, as well, keeping everything in check. Basically, there are a lot of big flavors at play here, but they butt heads enough to keep everything fairly well-balanced, under the circumstances. I won’t lie, this isn’t the best double IPA I’ve ever had, but how could it be? There are literally hundreds of versions of this on the market, and they have been especially prevalent in recent years. However, given the quality of offerings out there, this does compete pretty well. I’d give it a definite top ten on the list of IIPAs that I’ve had in the last year, and that ain’t bad at all…
Next up in this season’s Longshot offering is what I understand to be the overall winner this year – a Traditional Bock.
This one pours a very deep brown color, but very clear. It’s even darker than most bocks I’m familiar with, with a thick caramel head that eventually peters out to nothing. The aroma here is heavy on the caramel, with hints of rich dark malts. The flavor is much the same. The mouthfeel of this is super rich and silky, carrying heavy toffee flavors with some dark fruit reminiscent of dark cherry or deep red grapes. This all co-mingles to provide a sweetness that is both fruity and very rich, courtesy of those dark malts. The beer is really quite decadent, even for a bock, but actually washes fairly clean, giving it a lightness that wouldn’t be indicated by the flavor. In addition, it has an interesting tart bite about the middle of the tongue that tastes as though it may be a yeast contribution. It isn’t very pungent, but just enough to give the beer some kick. All in all, it’s a totally inoffensive beer – I can’t imagine someone NOT liking this. In addition, it’s just darn tasty, and more of a standout in balance and flavor profile than most bocks I’ve put in my mouth. Very nice, indeed.
If you’re not familiar with the Sam Adams “Longshot” series, then I’ll tell you about it. Basically, it’s a homebrew competition wherein Sam Adams takes entries from whomever would like to submit them. From those submissions (this year, I hear there were 800 employee submissions and around 1,300 independent submissions), they take 4 of the best, mass produce ‘em, and put them out on the shelves! So far, these have almost ALL been phenomenal – I guess, when you have THAT many beers, the top tier must taste pretty good. So, this is the newest batch of those, including 3 beers. Look for reviews of ‘em all in the next 3 days!
The cranberry wit pours a very hazy deep golden color with a ruby red tint. There is a lot of dense debris here, giving this brew remarkable substance for a witbier. There isn’t a lot to be said of the head – it’s white and flares up, diminishing rather quickly. The aroma here is sweet and tart, with the cranberry showing itself early on. In addition to the cranberry scent, you can definitely sense the yeast note in the beer. The flavor of this is certainly interesting for the genre. We’ve all had a number of fruity wheat beers, ranging from blueberry to raspberry to strawberry. However, cranberry is a bit novel, and it seems to work. The flavor of the cranberries here is a bit more tart whilst also being a bit less acidic than many of the other berries used in this type of beer. This gives the beer an interesting flavor bite that doesn’t necessarily translate into any physical burn on the tongue that a more acidic fruity beer would. So, what we have is a traditional witbier, full of sweet yeast and light malt. However, riding atop this is a richer, softer fruit flavor that is tangy and just a bit spicy. The mouthfeel is rich and softer than expected, allowing this to coat the mouth and provide a more substantial aftertaste of fruit than you’d get from most beers in the genre. All in all, it’s very tasty. ‘Tis the season for fruity wheat beers, and this is one of the better new offerings for this summer…
OK, it’s been well documented here at SevenPack that Sam Adams makes a quality product. Few breweries refuse to compromise their integrity to increase the bottom-line. Sam Adams is one of those breweries, which is why I have so much respect for Jim Koch and his staff. It’s true that sometimes they make a cheesy style of beer in an attempt to pander to the novice beer drinker but it is done in an endearing way, and in all but a few cases the beer still tastes good so it’s hard to hate on it. So when I picked up this beer tonight I expected something that was above average with the potential to rock my socks off.
Turns out the Imperial White, part of the Imperial Series, doesn’t disappoint in the least. It has a deep copper hue, much darker than your typical witbier. Citrus undertones combine with a strong alcohol presence to produce a thick, bold aroma. The taste builds on this delightful characteristic and creates what I can only imagine is heaven in liquid form. The mouthfeel is soft enough to glide through the mouth with ease but strong enough to coat the palate with all of the well balanced flavors. A sugary sweetness initiates the taste explosion which then morphs into a buttery, coriander-esque combination. I know this sounds off-putting but trust me it’s not. A wave of creaminess rushes over the back 1/3 of the mouth and finishes with a brief alcohol burn. I expected a little alcohol presence in the taste as this beer weighs in at 10.3% abv and the flavors that generally make up a witbier aren’t strong enough to mask such high alcohol content. That being said I still find this beer to be well balanced and drinkable. I’m really enjoying how consistent each sip is, as each one is just as flavorful as the one preceding it. Now, one might suggest that this beer is a little pricey at $9.00+ per 4-pack but believe you me even in these hard economic times this one’s worth it. Folks do yourself a favor, go buy this beer.
Samuel Adams have recently released their yearly Hallertau Imperial Pilsner. Ben wrote a review of last year’s version, and I would say this year’s version is pretty close in comparison. One slight difference is in the beer’s appearance. This year’s version is not “a very dark amber with substantial cloudiness”. For me it is an amber which is slightly golden, with light haziness. Besides that difference, everything else is the same, including the noble, and spice hop aroma/taste turned up to eleven. Great beer and glad to see it back.
Just a couple of days ago, Matty alluded to the fact that I may have a good grasp on the difference between an American and Bavarian style Hefeweizen. Well, I don’t know that I’m such a grand judge on this topic. But, I was just at the beer store and bought a sixer of each style, which I’ll be reviewing tonight and tomorrow night. Soooo, if you’re interested, these may indicate a couple of those differences, from the point of view of some kid who pretends to know a thing or two about beer.
This Sam Adams brew is from the ever-changing “Brewmaster’s Collection”, and it pours a hazy unfiltered golden color with a resilient thin white head. The aroma of this brew is sweet with light malts and has a pronounced lemon zest aroma – overall very crisp and pleasing. In the mouth, this beer has a medium level of carbonation. It immediately gives us a tart lemon flavor on the tongue that makes me want to pucker up just a bit. However, the lemon zest is almost immediately met by a soft and sweet malty flavor that brings this down to a medium level of sweetness that is a little reminiscent of a sweet lemon candy. Around the back of the mouth, we do get a dose of hop – it’s not a big serving, but it’s enough to toss a bit of metallic bitterness into the blend, making this fairly complex for a hefeweizen. Down the throat, the lemon essentially disappears, leaving only the flavor of a sweet nickel, or put otherwise, a metallic flavor that rides on top of the remaining bready sweetness. Overall, this is a pretty decent beer. It’s not really my cup of tea, but I’ve always been an advocate of the Bavarian style. For an American, though, it’s complex and crisp and refreshing, but it also has a rather full mouthfeel and enough substance to give it some punch.
Dear viewers. This isn’t a beer review, nor is it really beer news to most of you. Rather, it’s just me bragging, because today I scored a bottle of one of the most sought-after beers around – the Sam Adams Utopias 2007. Normally, I wouldn’t even try to find a bottle of this because a) it’s too high in abv(27%) to be legally sold in NC and b) it’s rare enough that finding a bottle in a store is nearly impossible. However, it seems that folks in North Dakota aren’t that interested in this brew, as I waltzed into Harry’s Bottle Shop and managed to score the last bottle in the company straight off the shelf. I won’t tell you what I paid, because some of you will think I’m stupid (probably correct), but suffice it to say that it was significantly cheaper than you’ll find it on eBay right now.
So, you can be on the lookout for a review of this beer sometime in the distant future. I intend to cellar this beer for a very special occasion – when I get married, when I have a child, or when I’m on my death bed. Whichever comes first (probably the latter)…
Ever since I posted the article about Boston Beer Company’s new glass, one of my first posts on sevenpack, I’ve wanted to write this proceeding post, but first I needed to own one of the glasses. Having finally purchased two of the glasses during a winter trip up to New Hampshire, I was able to do another battle royal, this time entitled “Battle of the Glasses”.
The premise is rather straight forward. I would pour Sam Adams Boston Lager into traditional Vienna Lager glasses (Flute, Mug, Pilsner) and also into the special Boston Beer Company glass. Unfortunately I do not own a flute glass, but I thought a pint glass would be a good replacement (when was the last time you were served Sam Adams Boston Lager in a flute glass?). I picked up a six pack of Sam Adams Boston Lager and the battle began! (As a side note: this “Battle of the Glasses” will not be a review of Sam Adams Boston Lager. You can check out Ben’s review for that information.)
I could pour a bit heavier into the mug and not worry about spill over, due to its size relative to the other glasses, so the head for the mug surpassed all the others. The shear size of the mug’s head also led to its great longevity. The head on the mug stayed around for a good minute or two longer then any of the other glasses. The quickest head to subside was the pilsner glass, with the pint and Boston Beer Company glass pretty much tying. Not only was the pilsner glass’s head quickest to subside but it was the only one to completely disappear. The rest of the glasses at least left a thin covering of bubbles.
Speaking of bubbles, those were quite varied by glass too. The mug had the smallest bubbles and they came at a pretty constant stream for quite some time. The Boston Beer Company glass was in the middle of the pack with bubble size, but left the pack behind with its constant stream and stream longevity. The glasses “nucleation site” kept bubbles streaming up the beer for a fare number of minutes beyond any of the other glasses. The glass with the biggest bubbles was the pilsner glass and they died the quickest. Unfortunately the pint glass I picked was frosted so I could not see its “bubble state” (on reflection I am not really sure why I chose the frosted glass, probably because it is the only Boston Beer Company Sam Adams labeled pint glass I have).
Enough with the head and bubbles however, what about the smell? The smell was pretty constant for the pilsner, pint and Boston Beer Company glass: sweet, caramel, malt, light hints of hop. The deviation came with the mug. There was a definite smell of hops in the beer’s aroma from the get go (I would hanker a guess a stein or maßkrug would display the hop aroma even more, considering either vestibule’s large mouth. Unfortunately my maßkrug suffered a crack in it a while back, yes that was a sad day, so I am maßkrug-less. I had to use a mug with only a slightly larger mouth than a typical pint glass). As the beer decreased in each of the glasses (i.e. as I drank the beer), I noticed both the pint and Boston Beer Company glass’s hop aroma seemed to increase and soon matched the mug’s original aroma. This all leads to the taste and the bestowing of medals of beautiful gold, so-so silver and shameful bronze in this battle royal.
I am going with Boston Beer Company’s new glass for the gold. Its not a landslide in my mind however. The mug really put on a good showing. I felt its initial aroma was a bit better than the Boston Beer Company glass, and the beer seemed to stay equally cool in both the mug and Boston Beer Company glass (side note: I did not have all four glasses in my hands at all times, for obvious reasons. I would hold each glass, take a drink, and set the beer back down. I held the glasses as it came naturally, the mug with the handle, the pint and pilsner glass towards the base, and the Boston Beer Company glass around the glass’s “bulb”. I used the very scientific method of holding each glass and comparing their coldness throughout the tasting. No thermometers were used and all beers were served from a beer fridge set to roughly fifty-two degrees). There was something about the “life” of the beer coming out of the Boston Beer Company glass. A slight bubble tingle, good tongue coating, and nice flavor variety, just made the beer enjoyable for the whole battle royal, where the mug seemed to fade after a while. Third goes to the pint glass, due to the relative harshness of the beer when drank compared to the mug and Boston Beer Company glass. In last was the pilsner glass. It warmed quicker, its bubbles died faster, and the beer lacked life in the mouth when sipped.
Boston Beer Company definitely came out with a good glass and it showed when compared next to the competition. The glass gave the Sam Adams Boston Lager a certain life and smoothness which was not found in the other glasses. Overall I am glad to have the glass in my glass collection.
Boston Beer Company (ie Samuel Adams) has issued a voluntary product recall, which affects some of their bottled products. During inspections at their Cincinnati brewery they found sand grain sized pieces of glass in a small percentage of their bottles. Though they have not received any reports of injury from consumers, they wanted to make sure none happen, hence the recalling of the affected beers. Not all beers are affected, and information about the recall can be found at the voluntary product recall page on Boston Beer Company’s web site. [First seen at beeradvocate]
And…. Here’s the second of the latest Longshot batch. This one is a weizenbock – an interesting genre that’ll appeal to those of you who are into dark beers but light wheaty flavors, or those of you who really dig a good dunkelweizen but might want something with a little more kick.
This one pours a very murky dark brown with a dense caramel head. Frankly, this beer looks downright dirty! It’s obviously unfiltered and thick with debris, which will be good or bad depending on what you’re into. The aroma of this is very interesting. Surprisingly, the aroma of this beer is exceedingly fruity – I’m smelling a bunch of dark grape along with a bit of clove. It also has that unique ‘wheaty’ aroma that I really enjoy. This beer is a regular party in your mouth. It’s quite big and rich, with a full mouthfeel that sticks to the tongue. However, the flavor isn’t overwhelmingly thick. Rather, it seems like a bunch of fleeting light flavors hitting you with a steady barrage. It’s like, instead of a shark, this is a team of tiny barracudas nibbling at your tongue. Each one seems unassuming enough but, altogether, they make for a vicious attack. Except, while I don’t think barracudas usually cause a pleasant sensation, this beer surely does. The flavors here take a lot from a fruity dubbel or a dunkelweizen. It is light and crisp, like a good wheat beer. But, the mouthfeel is thick and full of spice and dark fruit, like a darker Belgian Ale. In fact, there are a lot of flavors here that might be considered ‘girly’ all on their own, but they combine into one mother of a beer. And, the aftertaste has an interesting tangy quality that makes you pucker up just a bit. Okay, I know I’m all over the place with this review, but what I’m getting at is this is a REALLY good beer. In fact, this is one of the best beers I’ve had in the past several months. Fruity and rich, light but substantial. So, if nothing else, go out and seek it out and try it for yourself – let me know what you think…
The last time the Sam Adams Longshot beers came around, I was extremely impressed. Besides being some all-around killer beers, I admire Sam Adams’ willingness to gamble on beers created by the common Joe and put them on store shelves. Granted, it isn’t THAT much of a gamble, since these go through a lot of hands before being selected. However, it is a great incentive for the homebrewers out there to put their best foot forward, and that almost always results in good and, more often than not, creative brews. So, needless to say, I’m really excited about these two new Longshot beers that just hit shelves. This, the first of the Longshot beers, is a Grape Pale Ale – peculiar to say the least. Apparently this beer is brewed with ‘natural grape flavoring’ and maple syrup.
The beer pours a typical pale ale hue – medium golden with a light white head. The aroma of this isn’t a standout, but is pretty good. There is a light malty aroma with a light, crisp sweetness. In the mouth, though, is where this beer really shines. It is definitely a pale ale – A fair dose of malt pervades the flavor, while a light hop bitterness sits in the background. However, this beer has the added element of sweetness imparted by maple syrup and grape. These are 2 very different sweetnesses, one rich and one light and crisp. Together, this makes for one of the more complex light beers you’re going to find. It has the elements to stimulate your tongue from front to back with it’s interesting combination of bitter, rich, and sweet. However, through it all, it maintains a airy refreshing attribute that, to me, really sets it apart. Altogether this is a fabulous beer, and I really wish this would be put into regular rotation at Sam Adams.
This is a new (to me) Samuel Adams beer from their Brewmaster’s Collection. Typically, when Sam Adams goes out on a limb with a special release, it’s pretty good. Frankly, I am, without fail, more impressed by their special releases than anything that is regular production. While this is a slightly sad fact, it does lend a certain excitement whenever I see one of these new special offerings on the shelf. This particular beer appeared on a grocery store shelf for me just about a week ago. I’m anxious to see how it is!
The pour of this brew is a slightly cloudy golden with a surprising effervescence – tiny bubbles seem to explode from the bottom of the glass, giving this a rather festive appearance. The aroma of this Pale Ale is a pleasing blend of malt and hop. There is a citrusy bitterness melded with a sweet bready aroma, and they both present themselves in nearly equal amounts – this lends the beer a pleasant and accessible scent. In the mouth, this beer isn’t quite as bodacious as I expected, but it IS packed with flavor. There is initially a sweet maltiness to the brew that quickly merges into a light lemony sourness. This sourness then subsides into a hoppy bitterness that isn’t terribly floral, but not metallic either. Rather, it’s more of a citrus hop with an slight acidic tinge. Into the aftertaste, a thick sourness remains with an offsetting sweetness that sticks to the back of the mouth. All this DOES make this sound like a pretty big beer. However, each of these flavors is presented rather mildly. They are each easy to pick out, and none of them will slip through the cracks, but none of them smack you in the face. So, what we have is a complex and subdued brew that is at once accessible and fairly titillating. Ultimately, I think this is another victory for Sam Adams – it’s rare you see such an accessible beer with such a melange of flavors.