The Burning Depths of Hell

Stone Crime & Punishment

Stone Crime & Punishment

Where’s the damn fire extinguisher when you need it! Wow. These might be the meanest beers that I have ever come across. I’m not sure what to make of these expensive torture devices that are packaged in wicked looking bottles. Stone caught me off guard with these beers; I was excited to try them, until I did.  The Crime is that stone actually bottled this stuff and my Punishment was that I bought two bottles. These beers left me questioning the fortitude of my palate as much as I questioned the psychotic brewery that made them. I like it spicy but no this spicy.

Comparing the heat between these two beers is like eating a ghost pepper and a scotch bonnet pepper and then trying to decide which hurt more. These beers lit me up. Crime was really hot, no question about it. It burned, it made me sweat, and I could breath fire but it wasn’t nearly as hot as Punishment. Smelling the bottle after popping the cap was akin to breathing in a room that has just been freshened up with a few sprays of mace. It had a thick peppery aroma that was complimented by a burning nose and tingly eyes. To be fair there was a bit of sweet bourbon and oak in there somewhere among the forewarning spicy peppery scents. The brews were oaky and rich and seemed to have a lot going on but all that goodness was over shadowed by the devilishly hot peppers. Sipping this beer left me with firey bowels and a hot pepper high like no other. Both beers were aggressivly spicy, like super freaking atomic spicyness. Between five professional beer drinkers we couldn’t finish the two bottles. You’ve been warned, consume this stuff at your own risk.

This Sucks!

Lagunitas Sucks

Lagunitas Sucks

A bunch of great beers hit the shelves this month and quickly vanished. One of my favorites was Sucks by Lagunitas. It is a highly sought after West Coast IPA that was hard to come by on the east coast.

The hoppy brew pours a crisp clear golden color with a quickly dissipating head. Light pine, herbs, and grapefruit dominate the aroma coming out of the glass. The body is light yet a touch creamy. When you take a sip resinous pine and citrus explode across your palate followed up by a lingering bitterness.

This exquisitely crafted IPA is totally worth hunting down. It is full of flavor and easy to put down. It sucks that it’s so hard to find!

Destroyed in November

Bow Down Before the Damned!

Burnt Hickory Charred Walls of the Damned

Burnt Hickory Charred Walls of the Damned – Barrel Aged Belgian Quad

Charred Walls of the Fucking Damned is a bourbon barrel aged monster of a quad. Very few are worthy of desecrating the sanctity of this prestigious beer with their feeble mortal pallets. This beer is so bold, powerful, and fucking tasty that you might regret having drank even a sip because all other beers become inferior by comparison. The brew is 13% abv and there is so much flavor and booze in those bottles that I’m surprised they can even contain the decadent liquid. The nose is full of intense bourbony goodness that will kick your olfactory into overdrive. When this liquid gold hits your taste buds your world will never be the same again. Layers of raisins, spice, figs, vanilla, caramel and oak envelop your palate leaving you dumbfounded at the intensity of the delectable flavors you just experienced. As the beer fades off your pallet flavors of vanilla and bourbon still persist in the finish. This is an amazing world class brew that is not to be underestimated. If this beer happens across your path I implore you to destroy it!

The Deep Dark Woods

Founders Backwoods Bastard

Founders Backwoods Bastard

If there is anyone that I’d want to run into in the depths of a dark scary forest it’d be this bastard. Backwoods Bastard is the last seasonal release of the year from Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids Michigan. This brew is available in November and December each year and is a limited production item that you may not find in every store that carries Founders. Backwoods Bastard is a 10.2% abv Imperial Scotch Ale that is aged in bourbon barrels. This beer is kinda like the big brother to Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale that is available year round.

The experience of this beer starts out strong with huge notes of bourbon, oak, and a touch of smokeyness. The aroma is a nice blend of beer and scotch scents. It has a very potent smell that is not to be missed. This mouthwatering nose gets you prepared for the awesome flavors that your palate is about to experience. Upon sipping the brew you’ll notice flavors of toffee, sweet caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, and bourbon. It has a noticeable amount of booze to it as well. This brew is medium bodied and makes for the perfect sipper. Don’t be afraid to let this beer warm up either as the warmer it gets the more complex and robust the flavors get. I really enjoyed it even more by the end of my glass. This is a bold beer that is not for the faint of heart and it might possibly to much for an un-seasoned palate. If you can find this beer I suggest picking up a four pack and taking your taste buds on a boozy adventure. Oh and make sure to stash a bottle away because it ages wonderfully.

Destroyed in October

The Great Pumpkin Beer Taste Off!

18 Pumpkin Beers

18 Pumpkin Beers – Dogfish Head Punkin, Harpoon UFO Pumpkin, 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Pumkin Belgian Tripel, St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale, New Holland Ichabod, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale, Southern Tier Pumking, Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Blue Point Pumpkin Ale, Terrapin Pumpkinfest, 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Pumpkin Baltic Porter, Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin, Uinta Punk’n, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Bottle, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Draft, New Belgium Pumpkick

Fall is my favorite season for beer. It is harvest season for hops so fresh hop beers start hitting the liquor store shelves and winter warmers and seasonal stouts start to show their faces as well. In addition to those great styles popping up the Pumpkin Beers start flooding the market. Every year there are more and more pumpkin beers as new breweries and old not so craft breweries try their hand at crafting these autumn treats. I love pumpkins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cream liquor, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin coffee, jack o’ lanterns, the color orange, pretty much anything pumpkin related. With this in mind I got some friends together to taste all the pumpkin beers we could get our hands on and that turned out to be quite a few. In total we tried 18 different pumpkin beers that varied in style from pumpkin porters to pumpkin Oktoberfest and a few other unique pumpkin variations. Since we were tasting such vast list of beers it was only appropriate that we scored each one to find out what our favorites were. We scored the beers using the standard BJCP score sheet. The beers were rated on a 50 point scale with aspects of the beer weighted with different maximum point values depending on their importance. This taste test was not a blind test, everyone knew what they were drinking but did their best to not let that influence their decisions. Another thing to keep in mind is that none of us are professional beer judges; just professional beer drinkers.

We drank the following beers in this order:

  1. Weyerbacher – Imperial Pumpkin Draft
  2. Blue Point – Pumpkin Ale
  3. Brooklyn – Post Road Pumpkin
  4. Smuttynose – Pumpkin Ale
  5. New Holland – Ichabod
  6. Weyerbacher – Imperial Pumpkin Bottle
  7. Harpoon – UFO Pumpkin
  8. Shipyard – Smashed Pumpkin
  9. New Belgium – Pumpkick
  10. Heavy Seas – The Greater Pumpkin
  11. Southern Tier – Pumking
  12. Terrapin – Pumpkinfest
  13. Dogfish Head – Punkin
  14. 21st Amendment / Elysian – He Said Pumpkin Belgian Tripel
  15. 21st Amendment / Elysian – He Said Pumpkin Baltic Porter
  16. Rogue – Pumpkin Patch Ale
  17. Uinta – Punk’n
  18. St. Ambroise – Pumpkin Ale

The first beer we started with was the draft Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale out of a growler. We started with this one due to the convenience of the screw top lid. This brew was well received by everyone with folks making note of the nice amber color, good clarity, spicy hops and prevalent cinnamon. This beer placed 8 overall and was not anyone’s individual favorite.

The next beer up was Blue Point Pumpkin Ale. This one didn’t fair to well in the tasting. One of my favorite comments about this one is that it tasted like “broccoli and bud light”. This brew was second to last overall in the tasting. There were several “take it or leave it” kinda beers in this tasting, beers that weren’t bad but they weren’t interesting, unique, or impressive in any way but that made the great ones even more enjoyable. Additionally the diversity of the styles used to brew pumpkin beers kept things interesting. Many of the beers were your standard pumpkin ales but quite a few were a bit different. New Belgium’s Pumpkick is a pumpkin ale brewed with cranberry juice which adds a tart/sour note to their brew. The two different 21st Amendment / Elysian “He Said” pumpkin beers where both unique as well. These beers were packaged in a 4 pack with two cans of each beer style. One is a pumpkin Baltic Porter and the other is a pumpkin Belgian Tripel and both were vastly different in flavor but still pumpkin beers. There was Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin in the mix too; this is an imperial bourbon barrel aged pumpkin beer. Roasted pumpkins are actually a thing(who knew?) and Rogue found room for them in their pumpkin brew. Dogfish Head Punkin is a brown ale brewed with pumpkins and then there is Terrapin’s Pumpkinfest, it’s an Oktoberfest pumpkin beer hybrid; so many different styles of pumpkin beers resulted in many drastically different flavors.

Three different styles of pumpkin beer. 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Triple, Terrapin Pumpkinfest, 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Baltic Porter.

Three different styles of pumpkin beer. 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Tripel, Terrapin Pumpkinfest, 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Baltic Porter.

The results of the pumpkin beer tasting were kind of a surprise to me as the beers that I thought would be the top two didn’t even make it to the top 5. My personally highest rated beer came in 11th place and that beer was Southern Tier Pumking. This is a really complex pumpkin beer that seems to incorporate all of the flavors of a pumpkin pie from crust to filling. It was highly rated by some and poorly rated by others so it landed a lot lower in rank then I expected. Some folks said it tasted like “popcorn flavored jelly beans” and others said “sweet potato, pumpkin and spice”; it’s interesting to see such a drastic variation in the appeal of a beer that I really love. That is the fun part about doing tastings though, everyone has a different take on the same beer. I also thought for sure Heavy Seas The Greater Pumpkin would be a winner too as it has been a favorite pumpkin beer of mine for a few years now. This is an Imperial pumpkin ale aged in bourbon barrels; the blend of cinnamon, pumpkin, and bourbon meld together wonderfully in this beast of a barrel aged pumpkin beer. Those were some of my favorites; now let’s get to the results.

 The Results

1st Place: 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Baltic Porter

2nd Place Tied: Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale

2nd Place Tied: Terrapin Pumpkinfest

3rd Place: Dogfish Head Punkin

You can see the rest of the results in the image below and a bit about the winners below that.

Pumpkin Beer Tasting Results

Pumpkin Beer Tasting Results – 18 beers – Points are judged on a 50 point scale.

Let’s find out what makes those winners so special…

1st Place: 21st Amendment / Elysian He Said Baltic Porter – With the highest average score of 38 points this beer narrowly beat out the two second place winners by one and a half points but it is a solid 1st place pick. This was a dark rich ruby/black porter with some spice, pumpkin and roast on the nose. Loads of spice, hops, roasty malts and pumpkin make up the pallet. The porter has a smooth and slightly creamy medium weight body that finishes very clean. This beer really encompasses all the things that I look for in a pumpkin beer. Tastes like fall in a glass.

2nd Place (tied): Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale – Tied for second place is a beer made from roasted pumpkins. The aroma is mostly malt with hints of pumpkin and spice. It pours a nice orange/brown color with a minimal amount of head. Tastes of sweet malt, pumpkin and spice with an intermingling of what appears to be spicy hops creates a unique balanced pumpkin ale.

2nd Place (tied): Terrapin Pumpkinfest – Crisp and bold like an Oktoberfest should be with a big helping of pumpkin and spice make this a very solid choice for second place. This brew starts with a sweet malty aroma with a slight hint of spicy hops. It pours a deep golden orange color. Flavors of caramel, spice, cinnamon, and light pumpkin make up the delicious flavors in the palate of this brew.

3rd Place: Dogfish Head Punkin – The not so brown pumpkin brown ale smells sweet and roasty with a touch of cinnamon. It pours a deep golden orange and definitely not brown, but who cares? It’s a great color just not brown as stated on the label. Your palate is engulfed in the festive fall flavors of chocolate, mild roast, pumpkin and spice. This is a well rounded beer with a light body and nice carb.

Overall the beers we tasted were great. Plenty were memorable and some were forgettable but I am glad to have had a chance to try them all. Sadly a few more pumpkin beers have come my way after the tasting so they didn’t get a chance to contend in the competition. One of the great ones is Burnt Hickory’s Die Kreuzen Imperial Pumpkin Porter. If you see this around don’t let it pass you by with out a taste, it is phenomenal. One I’m looking forward to try soon is Warlock by Southern Tier. It is am Imperial Stout brewed with pumpkin and it looks tasty as hell. Maybe those will make it to the tasting next year. I hope everyone out there has had a chance to dive into some delicious pumpkin beers this season. I’m almost pumpkined out for the season but I can’t wait till next years pumpkin beer tasting.


Victory - DirtWolf IIPA

Victory – DirtWolf IIPA

Another great IPA from Victory! DirtWolf IIPA starts out with a bold amount of grapefruit and sweet malt on the nose. There is a bit of a floral/fruity note lingering in the aroma as well. This is followed up by a right hook of pine trees and then a left hook of sweet malt on the palate. It isn’t a huge uppercut to the jaw kind of double IPA, it’s smoother then that. This may not be the west coast hop bomb of a IIPA that I usually seek out, but it is certainly a knock out.

Monday Night at Monday Night


Monday Night Brewing - Blind Pirate IIPA

Monday Night Brewing – Blind Pirate IIPA. A delicious malty double IPA that tastes even better on draft(only had it in the bottle before I visited the brewery)

Monday Night Brewing is one of Atlanta’s newest breweries and I had the fine opportunity of heading down there and drinking some beers this past Monday. It was the first time that I had seen their new facility which is located just off 17th Street and Howell Mill Rd. The brewery had plenty of space to find your own spot to relax and enjoy some beers. The tasting room was expansive with plenty of seating, interesting decor/art work, black and white movies playing in the background, and a big bar with plenty of serving room to keep the lines down. I really enjoyed the outdoor patio area and spent most of my time hanging out there next to the hot dog vendor “Doggy Dog” (if he’s there, get the “Lil’ Kim”… trust me).

Monday Night Brewing

Monday Night Brewing

The brewhouse is a quad something or other 30 barrel system(if memory serves correct). So basically they can brew four 30 barrel batches in one run. The brew system, fermenters, and bright tanks line the back walls while the bottling line takes up the center of the brewery; with the mill-house and water purification on one end and packaging storage on the other end. So they make beers at this joint, let me tell you about a few of them…

Monday Night Brewing - Drafty Kilt & Fu Man Brew

Monday Night Brewing – Drafty Kilt & Fu Man Brew

I tried all of the beers that they had on tap with Blind Pirate IIPA being my favorite of the bunch(Pictured at the top). It is a slightly malt forward IIPA and it is quite tasty. This is one of the newer additions to the Monday Night line up; it is offered on draft and in 22oz bottles. One of my favorites that the brewery makes is Drafty Kilt, a scotch ale. This is a dark and robust smokey treat. It had been a while since I had tried one of these and it seemed a bit smokey-er than I remembered and I liked that. An interesting offering from MNB is Fu Man Brew; it is a Belgian style Wit beer with Ginger added to it. This beer starts off smooth and crisp but finishes with a ginger kick that really gives the beer some character compared to most other wheat beers. I also had the opportunity to try a limited production version of their Eye Patch IPA; this version was doused with a dose of Serrano peppers. This added a nice light smokey flavor that was complemented by just a little heat. These flavors melded nicely with the hops and malt in the IPA.

It was a great way to break-in the week and I’m sure I’ll be finding myself there again.

Not so Pumpkin Pumpkin Beer

Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale - Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Co.

Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale – Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Co.

Sweetness, bourbon and vanilla on the nose with maybe a hint of cinnamon and spice. Tasted very sweet and incredibly similar to the regular Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale that Alltech makes. If there was a pumpkin in there, it was hiding behind the sweet vanilla and caramel, maybe there was a smidge of taste-able pumpkin. Not much to talk about on the spice front either kinda subdued. If your a fan of Innis & Gunn or KBOBA you’ll probably enjoy this brew.