John Sciacca Writes...
Random Thoughts (Blog)
Random Thoughts (Blog)
Random Thoughts (Blog)
|Posted on August 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM|
Here is a handy resource where all of my beer reviews can be found in one location with quick tasting blurbs to answer all-important beer questions once and for all.
To date – February 10, 2013 – I have drank and reviewed – 142 – different brews. Each beer is listed below alphabetized by brewery and clicking on the name will link you to the original batch of reviews that it came from.
If there is a beer on this list that you feel I should review, please let me know about it. Better yet, send it to me. I guarantee to drink and review any beer that you send. (Unless I’ve already reviewed it. Then I just guarantee to drink it.) Hit me up in the comments, via the Contact Me page, or on Twitter at @SciaccaTweets.
* - Standout beer, worth trying
** - Exceptional beer, represents something noteworthy
*** - World class, epic beer; seek out and buy at any cost
“Had a good hoppy aroma, and initial flavor, but had a thin, disappointing finish.”
“Strong nose of coffee, chocolate and malt. Initial notes of *slight* bitterness, followed by caramels, malt and smoky chocolate flavors.”
"Smell is juicy sweet, with notes of pineapple and mango and that typical Belgian yeast banana-bubblegum scent. This is actually pretty close to the flavors I picture when I think of a Tripel style, with lots of juicy and fruity notes and sweetness."
"This beer isn't great enough to be a top 10 – certainly not a Maharaja -- but it is definitely worth seeking out and giving a try."
“Deep, strong hoppy floral, pine aroma...a nice blossom of piney hops flavors that then gives way to a mellow bitter and wheat finish.”
“Following first taste, coffee notes take a back seat to smooth and subtle notes of hops and bitterness. The Avery is like an odd IPA, but odd in a good way.”
"Smell is big and rich and sweet with pine and citrus fruit. I dare say the Maharajah is worthy of a top 5 spot, and should absolutely be on your must-drink short list."
"This is a nice, approachable IPA, not a giant hop bomb, but a good representation of the style with some hoppy sweetness, and then a nice lingering bitter finish that isn’t too overwhelming."
“Notes of light pine. Had a fairly mild, restrained flavor. Not to say it is boring or unlikable, just subtle and not really standout.”
“Big, sweet, fresh clean pine aroma. Finish has mild bit of sweetness with a nice balance of lingering bitterness. It smells like pine but isn't like eating a pine cone; really quite smooth.”
"I honestly can’t think of one negative thing to say about this beer. It lives up to its name; it’s a true Hopslam of delicious flavors, and is worth seeking out by any true hophead. Hopslam could be one of the best IPAs you drink."
“Flavor is full and rich, and the roasted coffee flavor is nice and balanced. Nice smooth finish, with toasty malt and dark, black coffee flavors.”
“The highpoint here is definitely the smell, and that first drink where you seem to get the best the aroma has to give.”
“Overall the flavor is kind of a cacophony of discordant notes that doesn't in any way result in a masterpiece. Like a blaring, mind-numbing symphony of chainsaw, vuvuzela, peacock scream, air raid siren and rape whistle.”
“Produces a surprising bit of smoky, malt flavors and none of the great pinecone suck I was hoping for. The hops start appearing at the finish, but their flavor is sadly pretty slight.”
“There is an aftertaste of *something* that I'm not in love with. Metal? Tin can? Residual mojo? Something.”
“Nose is full of sweet, citrusy hops and thick, heady malt. There is a real thickness to this beer. There's also definite huge hop notes, with flavors of lemon and grapefruit, but also a ton of alcohol sweetness.”
“Notes of malt and caramel and honey. Taste is kind of flat in the middle of the mouth and then kind of a dull thud of bitter and sour at the end.”
“Nice rich golden color and good head in the glass, but a little laid back and underhopped for what I was looking for.”
"The flavor at its best is a rich, grassy, burnt caramel-apple malt, figgy/raisin jammy spicy sweet flavor that is incredibly satisfying and leaves you wanting for more. I’ve no doubt that it would improve with time."
“Nose is rich with big juicy hop notes; sweet with orange juice and grapefruit citrus. First sip and boom! This lands like a bitter bomb right on the tongue, surrounding it and coating your mouth with rich, juicy hop citrus.”
“Wonderful piney-hop aroma. Initial and immediate notes of bitterness that ride from front to back of your mouth and linger throughout the swallow, finally giving way to reveal a nice hoppy finish.”
"Ultimately, this beer has too unusual a flavor for me to recommend; hints of pineapple and papaya and traces of wheat in the sweetish bitter finish. I finished it...but don't mourn the passing of this bottle."
“This smells like the fresh ingredients you smell at a brewery in those little glasses where they show you the different ingredients that go into their beer. The flavor is intense and good, but not really typical IPA.”
“Tingling carbonation all over the mouth and thick, almost syrupy texture. Feels like a whiskey in the mouth, with the same kind of edge/fire…with an almost whiskey or scotch-like finish/edge, but without the woody/oaky notes.”
“Carbonation engages your entire tongue in dazzling tingles, and then it is an onslaught of pine and hops and milder citrus notes followed by a slow, steady powerful rush of bitter.”
“First impression: this is a pretty shy IPA. Flavors are too subtle, and the beer has more wheat than hops.”
“There is a whisper of honey…but the finish has a nice bit of malt and has a nice lingering follow that I’m really enjoying. I think that Maibock is my second favorite style of beer, and this is a nice take on it.”
“There's hints of wheaty flavors, but they are masked behind the metallic bitterness. This beer has a thin, water and barley flavor with a Terminator 2 metal finish that is not really pleasant.”
“The hints of chocolate are there, but not nearly as pronounced and wonderful as I was hoping from the nose. There are also whispers of coffee. This beer is dark in color but light in taste and flavor.”
“It is definitely darker in color and has a less malty flavor, but a really terrific hoppy aroma with a stronger flavor profile than the Sierra.”
“Deep, coppery-mahogany color and nice head with a rich malty flavor. The kind of brew that makes you long to find this on draft. “
“Thick frothy head, medium golden-brown color and an intense hoppy, Christmas-tree aroma. You can really taste – and feel – the 11.5% alcohol content which makes this one a tad too sweet for my liking.”
“This beer is really approaching the bullseye IPA taste I’m looking for and is highly recommended.”
“Nice refreshing taste that has a lot more malt especially compared with the beers that proceeded it. This is the kind of brew that you could pop on a hot day and just sit back and drink. And drink.”
“If you’re the type that likes a beer garnish, this would go well with a slice of orange, and would be the logical flavor evolution for those who enjoy brews like Shock Top.”
“As it opens the hop finish becomes more apparent; a little more bitterness on the finish, but still this is not an overpowering beer and doesn’t have a lot of mid-note flavor.”
“The fresh pine sweetness is more noticeable and more pleasing when the beer if first poured in the glass and cold. This is a borderline great IPA.”
"It's really like the beer leached out the very best notes of the bourbon barrels and left all the bad elements behind. It's smooth, it's creamy, it's woody and toasty and vanilla-ey."
“Each sip delivers the same zippy, hoppy, bitter dynamic, and this is a really enjoyable IPA. I think the Pyramid Outburst might be a touch 'sweeter' with a bit more pine resin flavor, but this IPA earns a definite rec.”
"This is almost like training wheels for the DFH 120, with similar flavors but is much more approachable and easier drinking. Considering the 12% ABV, it is surprisingly well balanced."
“The beer has a pretty even balance of flavors, with rye and citrus being the prominent players. The rye flavors are clearly present.”
“Distant piney hints in the aroma with undertones of malt. Initial pop of carbonation on mid-tongue, with a bit of classic IPA metallic bitterness and following with residual lingering bitterness and wheat notes.”
"Smell is rich with pungent, fresh citrus hops. Beer has wonderful sweetness that is the hallmark of my favorite IPAs and a great, balanced flavor."
“Sweet notes with hints of honey and grapefruit citrus. Light, crisp taste with hop notes that are present but not intense.”
“Smells of coriander and spice and sweet banana. Initial zing on the sides of the tongue from the carbonation, followed by sweet, spicy flavors with a bit of grapefruit twang.”
"The beer has definite sweetness from the high alcohol, and strong malt flavors as well, but it’s missing a dimension for me...not leaving much of an impression."
“As the head dissipates near the bottom of the glass, the wonderful pines start really opening up, and the bitter mellows a bit further. This actually changes the flavor a good bit, making it lean towards the sweeter side.”
“Finish of malt and caramel and bitter-bitter hops that just lingers and lingers. Notes of grapefruit, but not so much like grapefruit FRUIT but more like you are eating the rind; the bitter, bitter rind.”
“This was close in color to the Dogtoberfest but smelled a bit skunky like BO and tasted far more like a Pilsner; and I don’t mean either of those statements in a positive way. “
“Flavor is rich, with lots of subtle notes, and a quick pierce of bitter that dissolves like the big head into a smooth lengthy finish. The smell is wonderful and delicious.”
"I'm immediately struck by how much the Hoptologist's smell reminds me of Pliny the Elder. It's fresh, it's full of sweet, piney citrus, and the nose is rich with everything that you want a big IPA to be."
"The nose has an odd, uh, nose to it. Almost chemically or something. Like sweet chemicals. There is a nice initial tingling and engagement on the tongue, but then all of that weird, bitter, metallic BO flavor."
"The smell is nothing short of giant. It's huge and fresh and piney and has that rich sweetness that is just indicative of a monster fresh IPA. First sip...oh...my...DAY-UM! There is a gobsmacking of pine and hops. I think this may very well be a top 10 beer and is highly recommended."
“First thought...WOW! What an amazing aroma! Huge sweet, fresh pine. It's winter in Switzerland and the country is clean and beautiful.”
“First swallow has a bit of bitter with lingering wheaty flavors. Lemon and wheat flavors continue to develop.”
“Wonderful sweet pine aroma; sweet like a from a magic golden honey pine tree that grows in a special, magical hop-filled IPA forest. Luxurious creamy mouth feel, with light carbonation. Finish has notes of honey and sweetness, without much pine or hop notes or any real bitterness.”
“’Well balanced’ and ‘totally complete’ are my feelings on this beer. Overall, just a beautifully, well rounded beer; the nose, the mouth feel, the flavors, and the finish, all hitting on all the classic IPA notes.”
"Unfortunately, the tastes that are coming through are not incredibly pleasing. A bitterness that is treading more towards sour, and a kind of a chemically, alcohol forward taste."
“As the first taste lands on the tongue, there's a nice splash of pine, followed by a nice bit of carbonation. Finish is mildly bitter with a lingering note of wheat and more distant hops.”
“Nice smell of coffee, and, in fact, almost coffee WITH cream smell. Nice sweet flavors, and finish of bitter chocolate. Definitely can taste the milk, which seems to manifest itself in smoothness or creaminess.”
“Subtle notes of piney hops. Immediate mouth pucker of bitterness that is just a wallop. I can’t believe this is only 36 IBU! Maybe I’m mistaking bitter for some other puckering factor...?
“The initial splash of sweet dissipates on subsequent sips, leaving a bit of a hole in the flavor profile. I liked that initial flash of big, sweet juicy hop flavor, and with that missing, the rest of the flavors seem abated and weaker.”
“Nice nose of dried apricots, followed by a subtle taste of dried apricots.”
“Nice notes of caramel, malt, and maybe just a hint of citrus. Nice carbonation tingle on the tip of your tongue, and good lingering malty finish.”
"Nose is sweet and chocolatey and reminds me of brownie batter. Nice tingle on the tongue [and] this beer is laid back and easy to drink.The finish is easy with just a touch of toasted malt, and bread and coffee notes."
"Really nice lingering flavor with notes of bread and wheat that do a nice job of balancing out the sweetness. Imaging drinking a cold, liquid, glass of honey slathered wheat bread. But with a spike of alcohol in there."
“The beer bursts onto your tongue; there’s a ton of big juicy hop flavors and a nice splash of sweetness that really fills the mid-notes followed by a really lengthy bitter finish. If you can call a 9.2% ABV/144 IBU brew ‘incredibly well balanced,’ this is it for sure.”
“Initial pine notes, with strong undertones of banana and gummy fruit. Much sweeter on the nose than other IPAs.”
“Nice hoppy notes with clear scents of citrus poking about. Has a light, clean flavor with hints of lemon and grapefruit.”
"This beer really smoothes out after a bit of time in the glass, smooth to the point of being dangerously close to losing a lot of its flavor character."
“Not overwhelmingly hoppy, but enjoyable, all the way through to the last sip in the glass.”
“There’s just a *hint* of pine at the end, like that lingering whiff of car pine tree air freshener that buries into the fibers of your clothing. There is a nice initial engagement, and a nice finish, but kind of a weak dip in the middle where the best beers really shine.”
“This thing tastes like a throat lozenge! Now, if you said it WAS medicine and I had to drink several servings, then I’d say this is the best damn tasting medicine ever. But since it is a beer with limited medicinal value, I’m not impressed.”
“The beer just tastes a bit flat and dead and I'm wondering if my pour exhausted the beer. There is just the briefest of initial tingle, then just flat, brown water taste with a bitter, coffee finish. It's like I poured a cup of Folgers over ice.”
“Subtle coffee note followed by thick sweetness of bitter chocolate; like a light dusting of baker’s chocolate on a dessert. Texture is smooth and almost creamy and the sweetness is a really pleasant finish.”
“Notes of sweet grass and fields of golden hay, with subtle, sweet notes of ripe banana and clove spice. Thick, luxurious mouth feel that was like you coated your mouth with creamy velour.”
"The beer really has a nice flavor arc, with a good initial splash in the mouth, nice hoppy bitterness, then a flash of sweetness and a long, lingering finish."
“Very piney hoppy nose. Just a gobsmacking of pine and hop. This beer has an aftertaste that goes on and on. For a beer that is under $10/6-pack, this is really a terrific IPA.”
"Sweet, vanilla-chocolate nose that smells wonderfully inviting. There's also roasted coffee notes. I feel like I'm getting notes of coconut milk too but that might just be the power of suggestion."
“The flavor matches the look; this beer is just light on flavor and taste. A hint of fresh grass, maybe a touch of lemon...much more a short, baby hammer.”
"There is smoke and burnt and bitter and coffee and chocolate and cream. It’s really a wonderful combination of tastes and has a nice mouthfeel."
“Carbonation lands mid-tongue, and has taste of the sweet honey I notice on the nose, along with nice malt and wheat lingering aftertaste. It has a taste that reminds me of a Bit-o-Honey candy bar; kind of that wheaty, malty, honey flavor.”
“It’s like coffee that has been over-roasted, then poured over ice. As the beer opens up a bit in the glass, the sourness mostly vanished, but a lot of the flavor went along with it.”
“There’s a lingering taste of hops and just the slightest touch of wheat at the end. This is a beer that actually tastes as good as it smells. It has flavors of pine and sweetness and hops and bitterness but it is all there just right in balance.”
“Imagine the happiest day of your life. You graduated college -- with honors -- you got married to your longtime love, you had a beautiful set of twins -- a boy and a girl -- you went to Disneyland, you stumbled into your best friend AND got a giant promotion. Now pour all that into a glass. And that is Pliny!”
“Initial sweetness on the tongue, followed by roasted coffee malt flavors, and a little bitter at the finish. Taste is very reminiscent of a weak porter, except that it finishes with a twinkling of IPA citrus tinged bitter.”
"First taste and wow! This is a really intense, “POW!” punch in the mouth with a fist-full of spice. This tastes like a dessert beer that would probably be a delicious accompaniment to a slice of pumpkin – or even apple – pie."
“A few sips in and I'm getting some of that classic Tripel bubble gum, juicy fruit flavor, but more bitterness and some wheat notes on the finish. With the sweet-spiced notes, and mild bitterness, this beer is pretty refreshing.”
"The flavors are enjoyable without being overwhelming or too sweet and the pumpkin spice adds just enough flavor to be interesting without being obnoxious."
“Sadly, none of the sweet pine flavors present on the nose make it to the palate. Instead, the flavor is more like biting into the bitter rind. Of a bitter fruit. From a bitter tree.”
“Very thick caramel and malt flavors, with a little bit of toast at the finish. There is a hint of bitter following, but the front notes of malt and caramel really carry the day.”
“It's rich in the mouth with flavors that are initially reminiscent of Hoppyum, but with a finish that is more copper and caramel malt. The initial flavors are good and pleasingly classic Double IPA.”
“There is some grapefruit bitter at the end along with some coriander spice and wheat notes, making this far more like a White Ale than any IPA. Sweet mid-notes of apricot add some interesting aspects to the flavor.”
“They really nailed this! It has just a wonderful trace flavor of blueberries without smashing you in the face with it and then ends with a nice clean, wheat finish.”
"There is no denying that this is a big, full-flavored beer, and if the flavors you like are honey and malt and sweet, then it will likely be a beer that appeals to you. Unfortunately for me the malty, honey sweetness is the XXXX’s biggest shortcoming."
“Notes of wheat and coriander spice and orange. There are different nods of orange and spice, but this is a macro attempt at a mass-market IPA for people that don’t really want to drink IPAs; boring and unexceptional.”
"The floral, pine notes become more pronounced, and the grapefruit rind takes a backseat. This beer is pretty well balanced, but just doesn’t stand up to the full-awesome which is the Hoptimum."
"This beer is just…weak. Like, it has almost no flavor or life. There’s a little splash of carbonation, then the beer just vanishes like Keyser Soze.There’s no wheat, malt or hop notes."
"Smell is like iced coffee with cream. Beer is creamy and velvety in the mouth, with little carbonation and a nice, smooth easy finish that’s rich and full of roasted malt and dark coffee flavors.There's no coffee ground bitterness, just a smooth, boutique coffee espresso shot."
"Nice engagement of carbonation on the mid tongue and roof of the mouth, and then a lengthy finish of the same dank taste that I smelled. The beer is missing a bit sweetness in the middle that makes the good IPAs truly great."
"I’m not getting any of the typical IPA hop notes, and the finish – while having some tell-tale bitter – is far more resolved malt and caramel at the end."
"Has a nice, silky, creamy, velvet mouth feel. But like the previous organics I've had, it's just not really big on flavor. It's really smooth, and there's a softness to it, and a definite ease of drinking, but the flavors are all muted and dialed back."
"This beer is GREAT. Rich initial blast of pine and well-balanced sweetness followed by a nice wash of lingering bitter finish. This is hitting all the right Double IPA elements for me; it's rich with pine flavors, has a really nice bit of sweetness."
“Sierra delivers a consistently delicious hoppy flavor and good finish, which makes this beer like coming home to a familiar lover.”
“Notes of dark coffee and roasted malt but not overwhelming. Nice carbonation on the tongue followed by iced coffee flavors that dissolve into toasty malt. Flavors are pretty mild and restrained overall, making this a pretty light porter.”
“Has a nice pine aroma, though not overwhelming, and a bit of spice. Light on carbonation with taste of wheat and rye, with the slightest hint of pine [and] notes of wheat and rye bread.”
“Getting more odors of pine and whiffs of grass, but definitely not the pine bomb I was expecting.”
“Light orange/coriander hints on the nose. Slight taste of grapefruit and accompanying grapefruit bitterness. Bitter, but not in that hoppy, pine-coney bitter way that I prefer of my IPAs.”
“Wonderful, fresh, winter wonderland of pine hop floral aroma. Nice initial zing on the back of the tongue, that dissolves into bitter, hoppy flavors and then a smooth finish of malt.”
"The sweet orange citrus forward hops are the big note in this IPA which isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you like beers that tend towards the sweet side, this is one with trying."
“I keep returning to the smell which is fresh, piney and wonderful. Unfortunately, the flavors don't deliver the same taste bounty.”
"The balance is great on this, with nice flavors that come in a really great arc – initial mouth engagement, mouth feel and flavors on swallow, then lingering bitter finish -- throughout the drink."
“There were nice initial hoppy notes, with strong traces of pine, but not smashing youy in the face with it. There were also some subtle traces of citrus and hints of banana peel. This beer is smooth; like amazingly smooth.”
"Flavor-wise, I prefer the Arrogant Bastard, but as a bigger, bolder choice, Double Bastard retains Stone's ability to deliver big taste, big flavors and big alcohol while remaining balanced in flavor."
"This has all the classic IPA flavors in spades, and you can taste that it is in the lineage of Stone’s Ruination, just more subdued. It’s a really great representation of the style and it’s well-balanced and easy drinking."
“Wonderful smell of pine in the glass. It’s like my nose stepped into a winter wonderland and is going for a frolic…fades to nice, delicate balance and pleasing bitterness with slight coffee notes and a little caramel.”
“Notes of barley, malt and woody hints. I say ‘hints’ with disappointment. I wanted to be hit in the mouth with an oaky baseball bat. Follow up flavors had smoky, toasty, caramel malt notes, with lengthy and lingering bitter, hoppy finish.”
"A finish that is smooth but full of rich classic barley and hop flavors. This is the gateway beer to wean [people] away from that colored water into the land of *real* beer. This won’t frighten – or crush – the palate with giant hops and IBUs or complex strange flavors.”
“There is definite hoppiness and bitterness, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly overpowering. The flavor does stick around for a while; coating your mouth, and lingering for minutes afterwards.”
“First sip and...oh. It's good. It's really, really good. Hoppy, but really well balanced with a nice, full, lingering bitter finish. It has that sweet, pine finish that I just *love* in an IPA and it delivers this in trumped spades.” NOTE: Currently holds the title of "Best Beer I've Ever Had."
"I get that dank flavor with some rye spice and then a long, strong bitter where you get a real hint of lemon peel. Honestly, I’m liking this IPA more than I expected, but mainly because it got so beat up in some reviews."
“Smoke is definitely the prominent note, and you almost want to lean your head back and exhale a thing wisp of smoky vapor towards the ceiling. It's the linger on your tongue where the peppery finish becomes apparent.”
“There's a faint finish of dark coffee but it is tempered with the creamy vanilla sweetness. The aroma is quite wonderful, and this beer would be a terrific pairing with a soufflé with Anglais sauce.”
“Nice hoppy, piney scent but with an almost slightly burnt or singed quality underneath. Nice engaging mouthful of carbonation, a pop of alcohol sweetness, and then a hoppy finish, with subtle, smooth lingering bitterness and that touch of burnt and smoky from the initial notes.”
"The head produces a beautiful cascade a la Guinness and really looks inviting in the glass.This beer has some flavors of a porter and others of a Belgian with the spices of a seasonal. The spiciness and sweetness come in a quick flash that is then balanced and washed over by the bitter porter finish giving it an interesting twist."
“Whiffs of malt and floral and a bit of sweetness. Creamy, mouth feel, with mild carbonation and a bit of tingle on the tip of the tongue. No real flavors, just bits of malt, some caramel and some bitterness.“
“Odors of pine, caramel, smokey malt and sweetness that usually accompanies the high alcohol content. Big, bold flavor, leaning towards being more of a stout than an IPA.”
“Wonderful pine and hop smells with underlying notes of malt and maybe just a bit of citrus… Nice immediate tingle of bitterness on the tongue, with surrounding carbonation, followed by a good, lingering bitter, hoppy finish.”
"First thing I notice is a big wave of alcohol sweetness, but before this becomes too overwhelming, the rest of the flavors kick in to balance it out, with the hop bitters literally coming in to quench the sweetness."
"Smell is rich and intense with gummy, banana, and sweet fruit odors. Smells like a classic, juicy Belgian and explodes in big fruity, juicy flavors."
“Notes of sweetness and banana and spice, that give way to lingering finish of wheat and malt. This is probably my favorite of the Unibroue, as it is less sweet and fruit and spicy and has a more pleasing flavor-finish.”
“Wonderful, rich nose of fruit, spice, orange zest and peel, banana, and honey. The flavor is quite sweet, like I imagine a mead or something would taste.”
“A luxurious, creamy texture in the mouth, with just a light dance of carbonation on the tongue. The beer has lots of spice notes, and flavors that remind me of Angostura Bitters.”
“The nose has a bit of malt and spice, with kind of figgy/jammy notes. Usually beers this dark have strong, smokey notes of chocolate and coffee, but I’m not getting any of them either on the nose or the palate.”
“Very strong notes of banana, honey, bubblegum, and spice in the glass. Has a juicy sweet flavor with tastes of coriander spice and banana.”
“Wonderful pine-hop flavors and the right amount of bitterness. Disguises it’s high alcohol content well. A wonderful beer”
“Flavor was surprisingly and disappointingly flat, and not from lack of carbonation. Just some bitter hop notes at the finish on the back of the tongue, but no real standout initial or top flavors.”
“Nice smell of hops with distant pine and underneath a note of toasted coffee. Good mouth zing of carbonation, and tingle on the tongue followed by some really interesting hop and espresso flavors.”
“Has a slightly sweet nose, but with no real distinct component that jumped out at me. The bitterness abated as the beer warmed up a bit in the glass,