Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Some Rankings - Part 2 - Strong Ales

The main point of these "ranking" posts I've started is to take up some space while I take a very very short pause in beer tasting while having another cold virus. The other intention is to give props to some of my favorite things in the beer world and those who make them possible.

Top 5 Beers Over 10% ABV I've Had

1. Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2004 vintage tasted in 2007), 10.8%: In the last year I have been able to try 3 vintages of Stone IRS, the 2004, 2005, and 2006. I still haven't gotten around to my 2007 bottles yet unfortunately. When I had the 2004 version this last December it had about 3 1/2 years worth of age and man was it tasty. The '05 and '06 were great too but that '04 had to have been at it's peak. Dark chocolate and a subdued roasty malt, with no trace of an alcohol burn. Rich and tasty.

2. Port Brewing Older Viscosity (December 2007 vintage), 12.0%: This was poured from the tap at The Lost Abbey itself on release day. This missed out on #1 by the thinnest of hairs. The potency of this brew is front and center. The bourbon is meant to be there, and it is. Rich chocolate is there too, and although there's no way this beer is as relatively "quaffable" as the Stone IRS, it is to be savored.

3. The Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme (May 2007 release), 12.0%: The harmony between oak, sour cherry, and alcohol was amazing, and way beyond my expectations. Another sipper, though not too many beers >10% wouldn't be.

4. Russian River Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale (released August 2007), 9.93%, 10%, 10.43%???: Ok so when I had this beer on tap at the Russian River brewpub this last Summer the chalkboard said 9.93%, the website said 10%, and the bottle said 10.43%. I'll just round up in this case. Thank God I got around to trying Russian River's sour beers a few weeks before I went up there, otherwise I might not have understood this amazing blend of their barrel aged wild ales. I thought Supplication was very good, but the acidity really got to me. This beer seemed very similar to Supplication but with a toned down acidity and a slightly beefed up body. It was still tart enough to satisfy your wild ale cravings.

5. Alesmith Horny Devil 11% (bottle): I love the 'Belgian Strong Pale Ale' style and this has been my favorite so far. It's got a candi sugar sorta aspect to it while still carrying a lot of the Belgian yeast earthiness and fruitiness. I had it on draft once and wasn't impressed as much, so I'll probably be sticking with the bottled version from now on.

So that I don't have to do a whole post on the worst beers, I will just mention the reason Dark Lord isn't in the top 5 (hell, it's ranked in the top 5 best beers in the world) was because I hated it and would never try it again.

1 comment:

KNAB said...

Hey Steve, enjoyed your beer reviews. I'm really craving some Stone Russian Imperial Stout myself now! Anyway, your welcome to chime in on beer at my site I've got an homage to beer you might find amusing (sheer speculation there). Also, I like your beer links. Best, KNAB