Tag Archives: black

Pike Brewing XXXXX Stout

All those x’s should give me some really oddball hits on this blog, LOL!

But we’re talking about Pike Brewery’s XXXXX Extra stout, a very delicious beer that’s in my glass right now!  Sorry to disappoint if your search engine was searching for something else!

This is about the third or fourth of Pike’s brews that I’ve tried.  I keep trying them because they are good beers.  I really like this one, it’s (perhaps) the best of the Pike beers I’ve tried so far.  Albeit that’s not a lot of beers, but I just discovered them, and plan to try more of their beers soon!

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout

Black as night with a good tannish-brown head and good lacing.

Aroma is roasty and a little burnt with nice coffee and chocolate notes.

Flavor follows through with the nose, maybe with a touche of anise (but it’s subtle).  The chocolate and coffee are a bit more pronounced, leaving a slightly cappuccino effect for the imbiber.

Body is full, thick, rich, and leaves a wonderful slightly roasted, slightly burnt aftertaste that I really enjoy in a stout.

Definitely recommended.  I’ll for sure buy this one again.  It wasn’t even very expensive, so it’s a great value (I can’t remember the exact price, but it was very reasonable).  A very nice stout you should definitely try if you’re a stout lover.

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout

Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter

A truly Texas beer, Ranger Creek MSP is a tasty one that’s in m glass right now!!

Black as night with a monster head that would hardly go away enough to pour the rest of the bottle.

Very smoky, dominated by smoke at every step.  Tastes like a Texas BBQ.  Quite a nice roasty/burnt component, more like a stout than a porter if you ask me.  Some other more subtle flavors and aromas, like coffee, chocolate, and very dark fruits (figs, dates, raisins).

Body is thick and very full, with a pretty heavily smoky aftertaste.

This one is truly the taste of Texas.  Quite enjoyable, especially recommended for fans of smoky beers.

Great Divide OAK AGED Yeti!

Well I’ve already reviewed regular Yeti Imperial Stout, and now I’ve got a nice fat bomber of OAK AGED Yeti.

Rating 100/99 on ratebeer and 95 on beer advocate, this is certainly a top-dog Russian Imperial Stout.

The appearance is great, used diesel motor oil black with a massive brown, lasting head and monster lacing.

The aroma is very nice.  There’s a plentiful supply of roasted, toasted, and burnt malt flavors.  Notes of coffee, chocolate and tobacco accent the nose.  There’s a touch of woodiness from the oak too.

Taste wise this one is tremendous, and mostly follows the nose.  The roasted and burnt grain flavors are up front, followed by a nice coffee/chocolate flavor.  I still detect a little tobacco like flavor in there too, like a fine cigar.  The oak aging is more apparent in the flavor and accents the rest of this delicious beer wonderfully.

The body is tremendous!  Super thick and incredibly rich and full bodied, with pretty well hidden alcohol.

What a great beer!   I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Russian Imperial Stouts or oak aged beers.

Cheers to Great Divide!

Great Divide Yeti

Wow!  Amazing!  I’ve had a bunch of the Yeti series, not all, but a bunch.  I’ve never met a Yeti I didn’t like!

Regular ol’ Yeti rates a 100/98 on ratebeer and a 95 on beer advocate.  Honestly, I think BA under-rated it!

I guess my favorite from the series is the Oak Aged Yeti, but the regular is pretty darn close.  I prefer the (simple) oak aged or regular Yeti’s to the espresso or chocolate, all of which are quite similar, although obviously each has its nuances. The Belgian Yeti is an altogether different animal, and very delicious in its own right.  There are some other Yetis that I have yet to try, but I will!

Today I’m going to enjoy a bottle of regular ol’ Yeti Imperial Stout. They had it at the grocery store of all places, and at a somewhat reasonable price too!  It’s a 22oz bomber, so here we go!

Pours like a sample of 100 year old used diesel motor oil from a catepillar bulldozer.  Like an imperial stout should look!  Head isn’t real tall but it lasts and leaves monstrous lacing!

Aroma… it’s so good I can’t stop sniffing my glass.  Tons of great burnt, roasted, and kilned malts assault your nose.  Dark chocolate and coffee are ever-present, but don’t overpower.  There’s a surprising hop note too, this one isn’t shy on hop bitterness.

The flavor is AMAZING.  Talk about a balanced beer… well, is any imperial stout really that balanced?  I dunno!  But it’s really well done in every way.  The roasted, toasty and burnt flavors are in proper proportions to the coffee and chocolate notes, and the hop bitterness is about friggin’ perfect if you ask me.

Body is thick and rich and incredibly drinkable.  Amazing that I’m describing anything “Imperial” and 9.5% ABV as drinkable!   It’s damn smooth and leaves a long lingering near perfect roasty, bitter aftertaste.

It’s almost impossible to improve on Yeti.  I admit I do like the touch of oak in the oak aged version, but really, if it says Yeti, pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.  If you are, I’ll buy you a damn beer next time you’re in my neck of the woods. 🙂

If I might add just a touch of personal philosophy… this beer, and the Yeti series, illustrate that things don’t necessarily have to be “coffee,” “chocolate,” or “raspberry oyster chardonnay barrel-aged with brett and cacao nibs” to be top in their class.  Simplicity often trumps complication.  This beer is simple, yet as close to perfection as any self-respecting Imperial Stout can hope to get.  Great Divide has set the standard here, everyone else needs to either catch up or struggle to top it.

A good measure of how good a beer REALLY is would be “how often do I buy it, when offered multiple choices?”  Some of the extreme imperial stouts I’ve had were certainly fantastic, but honestly, if placed side by side with Yeti… a lot of them I’d just buy the Yeti anyway.  Only a few would even make me hesitate, to be honest.  I find myself buying Yeti almost anytime I want an imperial stout.  That says a lot.

Hats off to Great Divide.  Again.

Ten Fidy

Ahhh, Ten Fidy.  Oskar Blues makes some really good beers, and this one is one of their most interesting!  It’s the very first beer I traded for, although to be honest I didn’t quite realize how potent it was when I traded for a four pack of it!

Rated 100/98 on ratebeer, and 95 on beeradvocate, this is one whopper of an imperial stout!

Black as used diesel motor oil from an old caterpillar on the farm, with a great, lasting brown head and tremendous lacing.

Although it’s a bit subdued for an imperial stout, the aroma smells of sweet roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses and caramel. The rising smell of alcohol seems to accent the complex aromas nicely.

Taste wise the complexity only increases.  Bitter roasted malts, molasses, honey, coffee, chocolate, a touch of dark fruits (raisins?), and notable alcohol taste are rounded out by a slightly acrid bitterness from the ample hops.

The body is thick and rich, gaining complexity as it warms.  Carbonation is smooth and silky.  A lovely burnt, roasty, bitter malt character finishes it off and leaves a nice stouty aftertaste.

Absolutely amazing beer, and even more amazing that such a beer can be found in cans.  I’m all for canning beer, BTW, and Oskar Blues does a great job with all their brews.

Hats off to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy!

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness

Listed on BA as an English stout, I found this one in my local grocery store (where you can get a pretty good selection of craft beers).   I haven’t had a lot of English stouts, but from what I have tried, this one certainly deserves to be listed up high on the list.

Very black with a nice one finger tan head that lasted the whole glass and left good lacing.

Aroma is chocolate, coffee, some roastiness, butterscotch, and a little molasses.

Flavor is very nice. The chocolate is milky, there’s some nice roasty malt character with slight burnt notes, a little coffee, and a lightly bittersweet finish.

Body is pretty thick and rich, yet easy to drink, with a dry finish and smooth creamy carbonation.

Overall it’s a damn tasty brew and one of Magic Hat’s best.  I’m definitely picking up a sixer of this one soon!

Juniper Pale Ale

Special thanks to Barfdiggs on Beeradvocate.com for suggesting this hop schedule!

Ingredients:

  • Briess Golden Light Dry Extract  5 lbs
  • Briess 2-Row Brewer’s Malt  8 oz
  • Crisp Maris Otter  8 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Caramel 10  4 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Caramel 20   4 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Caramel 40   4 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Caramel 60   4 oz
  • Dried Juniper Berries 1 oz
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer at 60
  • 0.5 oz Chinook at 15
  • 1 oz Chinook at Flame out
  • 1.5 oz Willamette at Flame out
  • 0.5 oz Chinook Dry Hop
  • 1 oz Willamette Dry Hop

Procedure:

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 1.5 gallons spring water to 165 F
  4. add grains (in mesh bag)
  5. steep for 60 minutes at 155F
  6. In separate pot, pre-boil 2.5 gallons spring water
  7. when grains are finished steeping, remove grain bag, combine wort into boiling pot with pre-heated spring water and bring to boil
  8. add bittering hops, 1 oz NB at 60 minute mark
  9. add the DME and wort chiller at beginning of boil.  make sure wort chiller is pre-filled with hot water
  10. add 0.5 oz chinook at 15 minute mark
  11. add 1 oz juniper berries at the 15 minute mark
  12. add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder at 15 minute mark
  13. add 0.5 oz chinook and 1.5 oz willamette  at flameout
  14. let stand 15 minutes before beginning cooling
  15. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  16. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during hop rest and during cooling
  17. while wort is cooling, add 1 gallon chilled spring water to sanitized primary fermenting bucket, allowing it to fall into bucket to increase aeration
  18. when wort gets to about 70F, add to fermentation bucket
  19. top to 5 gallons with chilled spring water
  20. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  21. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  22. ensure wort is 70F or a little less before pitching yeast
  23. pitch yeast
  24. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  25. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  26. ferment in closet for 7-9 days at 67F ambient air temp.
  27. after 7-9 days, add 0.5 oz chinook and 1 oz willamette for dry hopping
  28. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 14 days)
  29. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Targets: OG: 1.056    FG:  1.013     IBU: 40    SRM: 7.78    ABV: 5.63

Actual OG: 1.048

Actual FG: 1.016

Notes:

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Got a bottle of this from a trade.  Everything I’ve had from Brooklyn Brewery is great stuff!  I’m especially fond of #1 and of this one, Black Chocolate Stout.

Definitely black, very black, with a nice two finger brown head and fine sheets of thin lacing left behind on each sip.

Lots of milk and baker’s chocolate smell, along with a little coffee, some nice roasted and burnt malts.

Taste is where this beer shines. I was expecting black and chocolate, and I got both, especially the chocolate. You can almost feel the cocoa powder and unsweetened baker’s chocolate, their dryness being a prime component, but even the chocolate flavors are balanced with a little sweet milk chocolate flavors. Roasty malts and just a touch of smoky burnt fill in the gaps.

An extremely easy to drink RIS, despite a tinge of an alcoholic component (expected given the relatively high ABV).

Brooklyn is really a damn fine brewery, and this beer keeps that reputation going strong in my book. I’m always looking for Brooklyn beers!

Having another tonight. Will remain on my wants list for all times, unless I move to somewhere that has Brooklyn available at all times!

Totally AMAZING beer.  Cheers!

Black IPA

Time for another homebrew.  Gonna make a black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale, as some insist on calling it.  The debate about naming such beers is not particularly interesting to me, but some consider it to be the end-all of all dark, hoppy beers.  Meh.

Either way, this beer will be dark and very hoppy, with lots of late and dry hops additions.

The day before, it’s time for yeast.  Wyeast 1056 American Ale.  In the morning I did up the smack pack, left it on the counter at about 68F.  Around noon it was well puffy and ready to go.  I boiled about 1.5 quarts of spring water, then added 3/4 cup of DME, boiled ten minutes, cooled, and added to my sanitized Erlenmeyer flask.  Also sanitized the scissors and package, then added yeast.  I aerated well and have been aerating every few hours.  I’ve got a sanitized airlock on top, but I’ve allowed fresh oxygen to get in every few hours.  It’s krausening well on the stir plate already.

Here’s what’s going into the beer…

  • Briess Golden Light Liquid Extract  6.625 lb
  • Briess Pale Ale Malt  2.5 lb
  • Weyermann De-Husked Carafa II  1 lb
  • Aromatic  0.75 lb
  • Crisp Crystal Malt 60L  0.625 lb
  • De-Bittered Black  0.25 lb
  • Nugget Pellets      1 oz @ 60 mins
  • Columbus Pellets   1 oz @ 15 mins
  • Columbus Pellets  0.5 oz @ 10 mins
  • Columbus Pellets  0.5 oz @ 5 mins
  • Glacier Pellets      0.5 oz @ 1 mins
  • Tettnang, German Pellets  0.5 oz @ Dry
  • Glacier Pellets     0.5 oz @ Dry
  • Nugget Pellets      0.5 oz @ Dry
  • Columbus Pellets  1 oz @ Dry
  • Wyeast Labs American Ale – 1056

Targets:

OG: 1.078   FG: 1.020  IBU: 67.6   SRM: 41.62  ABV: 7.60

Procedure to be added before brewing… I’m thinking of trying a mostly full boil on this one, but splitting it between two boil pots.  I can’t do the entire volume in one pot, but I sure can in two…  Considering.  Planning on editing this tomorrow morning with my final decisions on all aspects of the procedure!

More to come on this one…

**next day**

A couple things I’m doing on this one…

I’m using five pounds of grain, so it’s going to be a partial mash.  I’ll use about 2 quarts of water per pound.  I’ll be using about five grain bags.

Also, I’m going to try to boil most of my wort, and use a minimal amount of top off water.  It may be necessary to use two boil pots for this, we’ll see.  After the partial mash, I will see how much the big boil pot is full and make the decision then.

OK it’s morning and I’m about to get started, so I better get my procedure down first!  Here goes…

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 2.5 gallons spring water to 160 F
  4. add grains (use four or five mesh bags)
  5. steep for 60 minutes at 155F
  6. In separate pot, pre-boil 1.5 gallons spring water
  7. when grains are finished steeping, remove grain bags, gently rinse with hot water
  8. add pre-boiled water and bring entire pot (or two pots, if necessary) to a boil for one hour.
  9. add bittering hops, using hop bag, 1 oz nugget
  10. During boil, added wort chiller, dried malt extract
  11. at 25 minutes, add one ounce colombus hops
  12. 20 minutes begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, etc
  13. 20 minutes add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder
  14. 10 minutes add 0.5 oz columbus hops
  15. 5 minutes add 0.5 oz columbus hops
  16. 1 minute add 0.5 oz glacier hops
  17. while wort is cooling, add 1 gallon chilled spring water to sanitized primary fermenting bucket, allowing it to fall into bucket to increase aeration
  18. when wort gets to about 70F, add to fermentation bucket 
  19. top to 5 gallons with chilled spring water
  20. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  21. take OG reading using sanitized wine thief
  22. ensure wort is 70F or a little less before pitching yeast
  23. pitch yeast
  24. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  25. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  26. ferment in closet for 7-10 days at 68F ambient air temp.
  27. add dry hops, 1 oz columbus, 0.5 oz each of glacier, nugget, tettnang
  28. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 16 days in primary)
  29. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

OG was only 1.062.  Not sure what was up there, but not too worried about it.

Black Cherry Saison – Schlafly Taproom

Definitely AMAZING beer here, black cherry saison!  They say it just became available yesterday.  I put in on ratebeer.com and beeradvocate.com just now.

Here are my thoughts on this beer…

look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Almost black, in the dim light of the Taproom it appeared very dark purple, but that might have been my imagination. It had a one finger head with some staying power and sparse but ample lacing.

The smell and taste were more of a saison than a fruit beer. Great Belgian yeast flavors, a bit spicy, with plenty of black cherry, although not overpoweringly so. The cherries appear more in the taste than they do in the smell, at least to my pallet. There’s just a touch of funk in there too, which I love in a saison. If you gave me this beer on a blind taste test, I would be hard pressed to call it anything other than a saison.

Body is light and pretty well carbonated, pretty easy to drink. Lighter than many saisons, my 20oz glass went down pretty easy.

Absolute must try when you’re at the Taproom in St Louis. This place remains one of the city’s gems.

In addition, I’m having an American IPA on cask, and some of their excellent Barleywine on cask too!

Great job Schlafly!

EDIT: they also had Organic Pale Ale on tap, for the first time since 2005.  The bartender tells  me this version is much better than the past version and contains Galaxy hops from New Zealand and Tasmania.  I’m having one now and it’s pretty tasty stuff!  At 4.8% and 25 IBUs, it’s really easy to drink.  However, you smell and taste lots of nice hops when you drink it!  Must be late additions.  Very tasty stuff, another must try!

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