Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Long time coming...

Much too long.

It's been waaaaaaaaaay too long since I've posted anything here. I suppose I could give an excuse, but to be quite honest, it just slipped my mind. Lots of changes in the last year, but one of the things I promised myself this year is to keep this as up to date as time allows. Alrighty... enough with the pleasantries. On to the beer!

New Beers - Week of March 1st, 2010
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree - $14.99/4pk
Dark Horse Plead the Fifth Imperial Stout - $10.99/4pk

Two of the premiere beers from Dark Horse Brewing both happened to hit MN in the same week! Lucky for us. The Double Crooked Tree (DCT) is a massive Imperial IPA clocking in at 12%. The recipe changes a bit from year to year, but it's a guaranteed knockout every time. The beer opens with aromas of tangerine, apricot and pine resin from the hops followed by hints of toasty caramel and toffee maltiness. The hops definitely take the lead on the tongue. At 12%, though there is enough sweeter, caramel malt to balance the intense, resinous hop bite. All of this leads to a pleasant, albeit slightly boozy, finish. DCT drinks great fresh, but this one can also take a few years in the cellar. A couple of years will tone down the hops and round out the flavors turning the beer almost into a barley wine. Get it now, because quantities are incredibly limited and we've got all we've got until next year!

Plead the Fifth (PT5) is the final installment of Dark Horse's winter stout series. There's not a bad one in the bunch, but PT5 is the big daddy of them all. Clocking in at 11%+, this beer is a huge, malty, hoppy Imperial Stout. The aroma is classic American-style Imperial Stout: toasted vanilla bean, black licorice, roasted malt, baker's chocolate with a good dose of bright citrusy hops. The flavor shows notes of toasted and brandy soaked vanilla bean, oily roasted malt, a hint of smoke and ash, some dark bitter chocolate and a touch of coffee. Like the DCT, this one is awesome fresh, but a year or two in the cellar won't hurt thing either.

Boulevard/Orval Collaboration #1 Imperial Pilsner

Hot damn! I've been waiting for a while for this one ever since this kickass collaboration was announced last October. Boulevard and Orval you say? Why the hell not?!? With their Smokestack Series, the guys from Kansas City have proven that they can brew delicate, expressive Belgian-inspired ales. Just look at the Saison-Brett or Tank 7 Saison for examples. And Orval... well, let's just say that they're Orval. Know that.

The brewers put their heads together and came up with a decidedly simple, but incredibly effective recipe: 100% Pilsner Malt and 100% Saaz hops. They used a strong lager yeast which cranked the ABV up to 8%, which is out of the pilsner style guidelines, so we have to imperilaize it. No matter, because the beer is outstanding. The malt is so clean and crisp, the hops so fresh, grassy, floral, herbal and vibrant. The malt and hops really shine, showing nary a hint of the 8%. Bottle conditioned, unfiltered, this beer will cellar for a while, but I'm not sure I'd want to. Those Saaz hops are so clean tasting right now, I wouldn't want to see them tempered by time, but that's just me.

That's all for now. I promise I won't go another 14 months without posting!

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