Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Pretty Random Big Beer Tasting

We started with a couple Alesmith beers that I had never tried. As ubiquitous as these are at the better beer stores in Southern California it was only a matter of time. Alesmith Grand Cru is described as an amber Belgian style beer, and that's about it. It poured with close to no carbonation, which is usually a dealbreaker for me but I paid $10 for this bottle so I was gonna try to enjoy it one way or another. The flavor was actually really nice. I didn't take notes this whole night so all I can remember was that it had a nice malty flavor, almost dubbel-ish but not really.

The next Alesmith beer was their Wee Heavy Scottish ale, and it is a wee heavy at around 10% ABV. Good beer though. Nice and malty, toasty like a scotch ale should be but the high alcohol cuts that bite some to smooth it out. No wonder people go crazy over the barrel aged version of this beer, I can see it doing very well in a barrel.

The next beers came from a brewery that would rank in my top 5 most overrated, although it's hard to say that as much as I love their Gumballhead. This would be Three Floyds in Munster, Indiana. My buddy picked up this first beer, Behemoth Barleywine, from our local liquor store for over $20. I would have never bought it, which is why I've left it sitting in the cooler every time I've been in this store for the last few years. The smell was very odd. Main thing I remember is it had some oxidation with wet cardboard (we have no idea how old this bottle was) and an off-smelling sweetness. The taste did not match at all though, and it was actually quite tasty for a barleywine. I still wouldn't drink it ever again but at least it wasn't a drain pour.

The next beer, also from Three Floyds was their Fantabulous Respendence XI Anniversary beer, which was released in the Summer of 2008. It's listed, at least on BA, as a 7% IPA. That doesn't sound too promising to me, considering it's now a year old, and it tasted just like that- an old IPA. I could maybe detect some potential in it if fresh.

At this point we started losing focus and somehow a couple of really old bottles of Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig were opened. Blind Pig was bottled in 11/08, and while I didn't taste it, the whiff I took from the bottle actually smelled pretty good still, thus adding to my suspicion that Blind Pig has a pretty good shelf-life when stored properly (ie FRIDGE). As for the Pliny, Pat drank that so fast I don't know how it was.

Lastly we opened a bottle of Deschutes Black Butte XX, which now has a year of age on it. The consensus was that it still could use a bit of mellowing, although I certainly did not agree with those sentiments. It was hot when it was fresh, the alcohol was certainly detectable. I noticed much difference and a melding of flavors between the mildy roasty malt coffee type flavors and the chocolate and alcohol. I think it'll still hold up for quite a while though, so no need to drink your bottles anytime soon if you are cellaring.


Mattias said...

Thanks for the info. I will hold on my bottle of Deschutes Black Butte XX for a while longer. Sampled it on draught at Beachwood BBQ during our visit there and it really was a amazing beer, but could actually win on being cellared a year or so longer.

Steve said...

Hey Mattias, good to hear from you again. Been a long time. I thought you discontinued your page but it's great to see your awesome California beer excursion trip reports up.. you hit up a ton of great beer on your trip!