The Beer Corner: Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

The Pink Bottle was more than enough reason to fire up the old blog and review our first beer in over a year! Rogue is notorious for their creativity when it comes to microbrewing. As far as I’m concerned, the Bacon Maple Ale takes the cake creativity wise… but is it actually good?

Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: Pours smoothly, but activates the ridiculous aroma of the concoction. Poured to induce formation of a small foamy head, as it appeared that it would not have happened without help.

Smell: Strong smell of maple, with less intense bacon and smoke. Definitely a unique smell among the beers I have had in my life!

Sounds: The usual sound of a pour. No extreme sounds of over carbonation, light bubbling with head heard.

Sights: Nice slight dark orange color, almost like copper. A slightly smaller than fingertip white head appears, but quickly subsides, minimal lacing.

Taste: The sweetness of the maple is the first to hit, followed by hints of bacon. However, it is overpowered by almost extreme smokiness. And it stays with you as a nice smokey aftertaste. It does detract from the experience.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer, though I’m trying to decide if it’s merely a novelty for me, or if it’s something I would hop on if it we at a bar. I certainly is better than a “one-timer” in my opinion, but then again, the smokey aftertaste does make it a less than desirable beverage. I again have to give it to Rogue for their creativity, and for actually delivering on what may seem as a gimmicky beer!

7 / 10 Bags (Grade: B)

The Beer Corner: Harpoon Winter Warmer

The second beer from my winter season pack is Harpoon Brewery’s Winter Warmer.

I picked this one because it was of course, seasonal, and I had never tried anything by Harpoon. Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: Slightly heavier pour, but pours relatively smoothly. I poured it a bit aggressively to see the emergence of a head. Head did form but did end up receding.

Smell: Almost immediately you can smell cinnamon and nutmeg. Can make out alcohol notes as well.

Sounds: Decently carbonated, and a fingertip head does form. Slight bubbling heard.

Sights: Pours a nice robust brown color. Cannot see through it, and no noticeable  carbonation activity. Fingertip head forms, but subsides. Leaves a tracing on side of mug as you drink

Taste: Spice, spice, spice! This beer is reminiscent of Fall ales with pumpkin and other spices. The beer is rather uniform, cinnamon spice from start to finish. Slight bitterness, but mostly a nice zing of spice.

Overall: I thought this beer was pretty good! There don’t seem to be favorable reviews of it on beer enthusiast sites, but to me it was enjoyable and drinkable. Perhaps it has to do with the lack of complexity. The taste doesn’t change mid sip or mid beer. It is straight up spice throughout. I am, however, confused by the “warmer” tag in it’s title. It hardly causes a flushing, if any sort of reaction. It does taste like a nice warm cider, which is perhaps why. So overall, I think it is a solid choice, and better than what you may read about online. Give it a try!

7.5 / 10 Bags ( Grade: B )

The Beer Corner: A Correction

Just a quick post to update a previous review. After careful deliberation and thought, I have increased the rating of Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout to 9 / 10 Bags. I felt I was a bit conservative with the initial rating. All the others I have done were right where I wanted them, but I’ve caught myself raving about it to a few people in the past few weeks.

I’ve also decided to implement a simpler rating system. Don’t worry, the bags will remain, but accompanying reviews will be a traditional letter grade system as well. The scale won’t be set in stone. For example a 8.5 could be an A- of a B+. It will just depend what I feel the beer deserves.

I’ll be going back now to add letter grades to all previous reviews (of all types, not just TBC reviews).

Thanks for reading, and I should have some new posts after the Bucs game!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Beer Corner: Flying Fish Brewing Co. Grand Cru Winter Reserve

We begin the holiday 6 pack with a Belgian Style Ale by the Flying Fish Brewing Company with their seasonal Grand Cru Winter Reserve!

The label and name of the brewing company got my attention as I scoured the seasonal section of beer. Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: Smooth pour, and you could smell the wheatiness of the beer immediately. A half a fingertip head forms and remains for the most part of the experience.

Smell: It is of wheat, and hops, slight fruity tinge. No noticeable alcohol smell.

Sounds: Nothing out of the ordinary here, but a small head does form and you can hear the carbonation, but it is not as evident as in other beers.

Sights: Begins as amber and perhaps darkens ever so slightly. Not much visible carbonation, but we do see it get to the top of the glass in the head. Liquid is cloudy, like most Belgian wheats, with visible particulate.

Taste: At first, you are met with a slight citrusy taste, but then becomes wheaty. A little on the “sticky” side when it comes to texture. Leaves a slight aftertaste.

Overall: This was an excellent first foray into the Winter seasonal selection. My first thought about this beer was how drinkable it was. It was enjoyable to drink, and I could see myself knocking a few bottles back. If I had to describe it, I would say it was like a hybrid of Blue Moon and Hoegaarden. It is tasty, but not the most unique of beers. I would definitely recommend it if you fnd it on tap or a six pack if you want to try something new that you and some friends could experience.

7.5 / 10 Bags

The Beer Corner: Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

The newest review for The Heap’s Beer Corner is Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout! A seasonal concoction made only in the winter.

I saw this beer while scouring the shelves at Total Wine and thought it would be neat to try. I’ve had a few chocolate flavored beers, and they were nothing to write home about, so I wanted to give this one a change. Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: A heavier than normal pour, and you can notice the chocolate and alcohol aromas. A light brown creamy head forms, about half an inch thick.

Smell: Chocolate smell very noticeable and pleasant, but you can also smell the alcohol, which is not too distracting. It smells pretty good for a beer with a 10% ABV!

Sounds: It’s a heavier pour, and the beer is rather silent because of it. The head appears after the beer settles a bit, sounds are minor, if any.

Sights: The name is not lying! The beer pours noticeably black and stays that way. Cannot see through it, it is very solid, and you can only see evidence of carbonation at the surface. Light brown head appears with a slight creamy texture, though not as extreme as other stouts I’ve tried

Taste: Chocolate was pleasantly noticeable in comparison to other chocolate stouts I have tried. The sweet and slight bitterness of the beer was very enjoyable. I was expecting a slight chocolate taste and was surprised that I could actually make the taste out instead of t being lost in a heavy head.

Overall: Turned out to be a great find! I almost bought another one when I went shopping for another custom six pack yesterday. It’s a shame it’s a seasonal beer. Be careful with its 10% ABV! It tastes decently light, but I’d imaging that knocking back a few could cause trouble! From start to finish, a great holiday beer, and a nice conversation starter!

9 / 10 Bags

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

*This entry was edited on 12/19/10, the Rating was increased to 9 Bags after additional consideration*

The Beer Corner: Blue Point Brewing Company Hoptical Illusion

The newest beer I tried out for The Heap’s Beer Corner is Hoptical Illusion, an India Pale Ale (IPA) by Blue Point Brewing Company out of Long Island, New York.

This beer was chosen because I wanted to try out a different IPA, since I do enjoy that style of beer. As usual, poured at fridge temperature into my official beer tasting mug!

Pouring: A smooth pour, a slight hoppy smell emerges, small foam head forms once contents are completely poured

Smell: Slight hoppy smell noted, but actually seems to dissipate. The normal aroma of beer, nothing special.

Sounds: A foamy head forms, and you can hear it if you put your ear to it. Beer sounded normally active for a beer that forms a head.

Sights: A white foamy head of 1cm forms, and dissipates away as you drink. Color is a light amber, and beer is translucent. Also appears active, as you can see a lot of bubbles emerging to the top!

Taste: Was quite noticeably bitter at first taste. Decently smooth, but lacking the slight creamy texture of other favored IPAs. Left an undesirable aftertaste.

Overall: This beer did not offer the greatest experience… I was looking forward to trying this one since I do like IPAs, but it was just a bit too bitter for me. Probably the first beer in a long time that I struggled to finish. I did not enjoy it at all, but I will make it a point to give Blue Point another chance when I go to restock in the next few weeks. Would not buy again.

4.5 / 10 Bags

The Beer Corner: Dogfish Head Raison D’etre

The newest Beer Corner review is of Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre!

This beer was chosen because I am a fan of the Dogfish Head IPAs and I wanted to try something else they crafted. Served from a refrigerated bottle into my official review mug.

Pouring: A smooth pour, no interaction with air, as no head forms during or after pour. Strong raisin scent emerges as you pour, can be overwhelming

Smell: Distinct smell of raisins fill the air and is quite powerful. I was not close to the mug and could smell it. Was quite surprising.

Sounds: Since no head forms or there is not activity during the pour, there is no noticeable sound

Sights: No head forms after poring. Color is a robust brown, and is fairly transparent. No noticeable particles in liquid.

Taste: Like the color, it is very robust. You can easily taste the raisins. Sweet at first, moderate and enjoyable taste of alcohol, hint of a bitter aftertaste.

Overall: I love the DH IPAs (60 min and 90 min) and as I stated above, as interested in a different style of crafting from this brewery. It certainly was not what I expected (in a good way) and I was very surprised and how enjoyable the beer was. The raisin smell is surprising and strong. At first I couldn’t figure out what I was smelling, and then realizing it was the beer I just poured! An effort that would make the Belgians proud! Delicious. Would buy again.  Have to appreciate the beer’s “wordplay” with the name (The French “Raison” pronounced closely as raisin) Also, at 8% alcohol by volume, a nice little buzz.

8 / 10 Bags.