Tasted this weekend

… and I think I’ve managed my palate well enough to offer opinions on nearly all of these beers, if anyone is interested:

Allagash Curieux Barrel-aged Trippel
Allagash Odyssey
Anchor “Our Barrel Ale”
Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine
Avery Mephistopheles
Avery Sixteen
Avery IPA
Bell’s Golden Funk
La Chouffe 2006 Houblon Chouffe
Boulevard Dubbel
Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quadruppel
Breckenridge Lucky U IPA
Samuel Adams 2009 Utopias
Carver La Plata Imperial Pils
Carver El Oso Agrio
Carver Century Hall Tribute
Dick’s Pale Ale
Great Divide Oak-aged Hades
Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Left Hand BBF Weizen Bock
Left Hand Imperial Stout
La Trappe Quadrupel
La Trappe Oaked Quadrupel
La Trappe Isid’Or
Lindeman’s Cuvee Rene Gueuze
New Belgium Trip IV Sahti
New Belgium Fall Wild Ale
New Belgium La Folie Wood-Aged Biere
Papago Le Fluer de Paradise
Sierra Nevada Old Ale Blend
Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss
Sierra Nevada 2006 Bigfoot Barleywine
Sierra Nevada Trippel
Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
Westmalle Trippel
Wynkoop 2009 Barleywine

… and there are dozens and dozen of beers I left untasted.

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5 Responses to “Tasted this weekend”

  1. Adam Says:

    I’m extremely interested in hearing about the Sierra Nevada Old Ale Blend and 06 Bigfoot. I’d also like to hear about the Anchor Old Foghorn, as it is one I recently got to experience.

  2. Hopster Says:

    The Old Ale blend was maybe more interesting than amazing. I liked it and could imagine ordering a pint; but I don’t think I’d drink it regularly. I also might guess that the flavors would have integrated more with time–it tasted like two beers blended together. It’s a 75% Scotch Ale (Wee Heavy) and 25% Russian Imperial Stout blend. My memory is a bit hazy about it, but I seem to recall it being a smooth stout rather than a pronouncedly roasty one.

    The ’06 Bigfoot was SN’s entry into the food-pairing seminar (where 5 brewers each had to pair a beer with Ben & Jerry’s absurdly sweet Creme Brulee ice cream. My initial thought (we weren’t told at first what the beer was) was that the Bigfoot was heavily oaked, as it had a laser-like, astringent bitterness. Apparently no oak, just a thin beam of intense bitterness. I didn’t particularly like it. However, I should note that there were a lot of other intense flavors (like the ice cream, and the crazy sour barrel sample provided by New Belgium) smashing into my palate, so it might not have been the most favorable environment.

    Anchor Old Foghorn is a super-reliable, straightforward American barleywine. It’s not the most extreme, or edgy, it just hits the basic flavor profile in a way that practically defines it. I think that since the ’07 release, Hair of the Dog’s Doggie Claws is a superior beer in the same mold (and one of the best barleywines out there) but I don’t think that the Foghorn is ever too far off the mark, and it’s a fine starting point for someone trying to “get” barleywines.

  3. Adam Says:

    I really appreciate the response. After I posted the comment, I saw that the SN Old Ale was a blend in another post. That does sound extremely interesting and I’d love to try the RIS and Wee Heavy from SN separately. Trading would be the only way for me to get any Hair of the Dog right now, so that’s out until I visit the Pacific NW. I did appreciate Old Foghorn and I am super curious how they coaxed such a dark berry flavor, raspberry specifically (in the 09 bottle I had), from as their website says, all 2-row pale malt.

  4. Hopster Says:

    I can’t say I noticed any raspberry in the sample I tasted, but it was possibly the very last beer I had at the festival, so my palate was definitely not firing on all cylinders. Dark fruit flavors aren’t uncommon in big beers, and are accentuated by high alcohol. Prune, black cherry, and raisin flavors are all common. Raspberry might turn up as a combination of some fruity yeast esters or floral hop notes and the residual sugars, though I’d agree that it’s a bit unusual.

    Complexity and emergent, unexpected flavors are definitely something that brewers are crossing their fingers and hoping for in big beers.

  5. Adam Says:

    Ok, I didn’t realize that those flavors partly stem from a high abv. Yeast was something I considered. I don’t know what kind of yeast they use, whether it’s British or American ale. It didn’t seem to come from hops at all, they were distinctly separate. But, I’m still developing my palate.

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