Quick Take: It is a really easy-drinking bourbon coffee stout, but is that really enough for a beer held in such high regard? This seems like a high ABV barrel-aged stout for people that don’t like their stouts too strong or assertive. The aroma is so wonderful and promises such a fantastic beer, but the taste just doesn’t follow through on it. Given the overwhelmingly positive reaction to this beer, I feel like I need to have it again to either verify my thoughts on it or possibly develop a new take. The exclusivity and cost of this doesn’t seem to match the experience, at least for me. As it stands, it’s a good, not fantastic, beer, but one I would get again were it readily available.
We finally got to try our Pliny the Elder homebrew clone and it was worth the effort! Made with Hikes the elder, my dad, we brewed the actual all-grain recipe provided by Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo. If you are wondering about the process, we used loads of Centennial, Simcoe, Columbus, and Cascade hops, even adding some to the mash, and dry-hopped the crap out of it.
I’ve had Pliny the Elder several times, twice on draft and once out of a bottle, and I can say that this version closely resembles the draft from what I remember. I’d really need to have both side by side, but this is easily the tastiest brew we’ve done yet. We are gaining confidence and I look forward to experimenting with some original creations. Next up, I think we may try a coriander and herb Wit.
Quick Take: While lacking complexity, Mikkeller’s 1000 IBU beer is much more refined than I anticipated. The 1000 IBU aspect is a bit of a gimmick and the cost is a little steep, but the follow through on a quality, mega-hopped beer makes this one worth trying. You have to be in an IPA state of mind and want the dirtiest, most lingering hops bitter finishes I have come across yet, but even IPA interested people can find something to like here.
Quick Take: Quite the fruity beer. The syrupy mouth feel and extreme fruit may be overindulgent for some. It’s rich berry teeters on cloying, making a modest pour thoroughly enjoyable, but a single glass (possibly a cordial glass) is all I would want. This doesn’t strike me as a beer you want to age either as the sugary quality could get out of control. The bottom line is that this is a dessert beer built for sipping, sharing, and pairing and one I’m glad I got the opportunity to try even if I had to overpay for it.
Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of continuing my beer education in a more official capacity by becoming a Certified Cicerone and possibly a Certified Beer Judge. Part of that process is not only identifying the tastiest attributes of a beer, but knowing when a beer has gone bad and why. I came across this article that hits on some of the biggest beer corruptors and the reason behind them.
We take it for granted that the brewers and local watering holes are serving the purest beer in optimum conditions and understanding when something is off is just as important as understanding how to appreciate it. This is especially true if trying a brewer’s beer or going to a bar for the first time. Knowing where the blame lies can make the difference between avoiding a bad bar with dirty tap lines or writing off a brewery for making inferior beer.