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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Fantôme de Noël

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Fantôme de Noel is a Saisön brewed by Brasserie Fantome in Belgium. This is the last of the four bottles I wanted to review before Christmas Day. I didn’t get a chance to get this one posted before Christmas Day, but the name of the beer suits today’s post as Christmas has passed and we are left with the fantome or ghost of Noël.

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This Saisön is definitely interesting. It has a variety of bread yeast funk, with a citrus/tart aroma of cherries and grapes, not exactly an aroma that evokes Christmas, but maybe that’s what Noël smells like in Belgium. The pour goes flat immediately, the carbonation and head dissapate right away. It’s an easy beer to sip with flavors of dry fruits like currants, grapes, cherries, and apples and I didn’t get any Christmas flavors at all; it’s a Farmhouse Saisön and that’s probably how Christmas is like in the farm, not a lot of moms or gramma’s baking. I’m really surprised this is 10% ABV, as the alcohol is not present in the taste or aroma and it didn’t feel, like the alcohol creeped up on you. The beer has a tart dark cherry aftertaste that leads to a peppery finish.

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This is closer to a sour and I couldn’t think of it as a Christmas or Holiday’s type of brew, but what do I know?! It’s an OK tasting beer and next year if you want to drink something that reminds you of Christmas, skip it and grab one of the ones I previously reviewed. I’d say go for it around the fall or if you want to drink a sour, but there’s better ones out there. Two Beer Caps for this Belgian Saison that left even this Grinch, wishing for Christmas flavors, but as a Saison or Sour, Three Beer Caps.

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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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Santa’s Little Helper Bourbon Barrel-aged

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It’s late in the day and Christmas is almost over, but I have enough time to post my recent beer tasting I’ve reviewed. This is a beer by Ports Brewing in San Marcos California, the beer is called Santa’s Little Helper, a fun name for a Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

This beer had a strong aroma of bourbon that was followed by roasted malt, dark and bitter roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and alcohol. Santa’s Little Helper had a medium body with very little carbonation. The sip is slightly dry with nice tones of vanilla, roasted coffee, and dark chocolate, and the bourbon is present throughout . At 12% ABV, the alcohol is a lot more present in the aroma than in the taste and its turning out to be an easy beer to drink. The beer warms the stomach once it deposits there, but no alcohol burn in the wash.

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I tend to shy away from high alcohol beers as I rarely enjoy them, they tend to be on the sweet side and the strong alcohol finish is off putting. This beer is an exception to that, and as I mentioned, the alcohol was not a strong presence when drinking. I enjoyed drinking this beer today and today being Christmas, I think the fat man in the red suit wouldn’t mind drinking this one after delivering all the toys. A lot of good things going for it, but it was not worth $18 and was missing a lil something; Three Beer Caps for this one.

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Rating3

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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Old Jubilation Ale

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Old Jubilation Ale is of the Strong Ale variety made by Avery Brewing Company in Boulder Colorado.

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Malt was the beers primarily aroma followed by roasted coffee, dark chocolate, some yeast funk, all combined with a strong alcohol presence. A malt backbone with some roasted notes, but the holidays don’t come to mind when I sip. I thought of a chocolate and nut biscotto when I first took a sip. Old Jubilation Ale has a nice creamy body and just the right amount of carbonation. The beer had a sweetness from the malt that I really enjoyed. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans are discernible, but its a boozy sip and the alcohol will overpower while the malt brings around. The finish is bitter from some hop flavor and leaves you with a dry mouth.

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At 8.4% ABV, Old Jubilation Ale is one that can get you to bed early if you don’t mind what you’re drinking, so take it easy with it. The beer can be cellared for up to 2 years according to the bottle, I just might consider doing that to see how the character of the beer changes. I’ve enjoyed drinking this beer, but I was looking forward to some holiday spices in the beer, but it can go both ways as this can be an alternative to the heavily spiced winter warmer available at this time of year. Three Beer Caps for this one.

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Rating3

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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Yule Smith – Winter Holiday Ale

I’ll be reviewing these four beers in the next few days, something I should’ve done earlier in the month, but the good thing is that you can still drink these beers even after the holidays.

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It’s the holiday season and if you plan on visiting someone, show up with beer, there’s an advantage to it, trust me. You’ll probably find more wine drinkers than beer drinkers, and if so, you’ll get to either drink all the beer yourself or share with a much smaller group, in the end it’s more beer for you!

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Yule Smith Holiday Ale is brewed by Ale Smith Brewing Company in San Diego. Yule Smith is brewed twice a year with one batch being available during Fourth of July and the other during the holidays.

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This is a Double IPA with a clean floral hop and strong sweet malt aroma. The sip was complex with a punch of hop and malt; delicious. After the beer warmed, caramel and some roasted notes were detectable and enhanced the intense malt flavor. I served the beer as noted, around 50-55 degrees, but I preferred and enjoyed it more on the warmer side. The warmer beer had a different character, the body on the sip was pleasant, much better than when cold. The caramel notes complimented and balanced the hop and malt flavors. Yule Smith had a bitter finish with a peppery burn and alcohol burn.

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This is a great winter warmer to serve to your friends and family. Sit next to the chimney and wait for Saint Nick and serve him a glass as I’m sure he’ll need it and will take you off the naughty list. Five Beer Caps for this great tasting beer.

Rating5

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 
 
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