A Beertastrophe!

I typically only drink two beers for review a week; however, I will at times have a beer now and then just for the love of it.  I purchased two six packs of Hopslam.  If I didn’t intend to have a sip now or then it would sit around forever.  Therefore, Sunday, before heading out for an afternoon at the restaurant, I figured I’d pop open one I’ve had in my fridge for a while.  I was thinking over the different posts for the week, and I thought I might throw in a little quick review of something on Wednesday.  So, after perusing the contents of my fridge, I decided on a collaboration bottle I’ve had sitting around for a couple of months.

The beer is a collaboration between Terrapin Brewing Co and BFM Brasserie Des Franches.   I really am not familiar with anything that is brewed by the second brewery; however, the first one loves to incorporate rye and this beer is no exception.  This is known as a rye barleywine that has been aged in rum barrels.  I’ve had beers that include rye, beers that are barleywines, and beers that are aged in different barrels; however, I have never had the combination of all three of them.  I was quite excited about it, but I didn’t get it out of the fridge right away.  So, I had been putting this one on the back burner for a little while now.

This particular bottle was slightly unique to my collection.  First of all it was only a little over 10 oz.  Secondly, it has a Grolsch-style easy swing-cap on top of it.  I’m not really sure how you are supposed to store a bottle with this method of capping; however, I may have done something wrong with it.  I had it on its side for a very long time in my beer fridge.  I’m thinking I should have had it standing vertically; however, it was clearly too late for that.

It was clear there was a problem with this bottle the second I poured it out.  There was literally no head that developed on top of the beer, and while that has been okay with some brews, it looked like I was pouring some funny colored water into a glass.  Swirling it resulted in nothing.  There was nothing in the agitation of the beer, and there was no lacing or legs that developed on the side of the glass.  I was sure this was either a very different kind of brew, or it was a big problem.

Regardless of my fear about the beer, I decided to try to continue with my regular way of reviewing a beer.  The beer has a rich molasses sugary smell to it.  There were definitely some deep red fruit quality to it, and it had a lot of heavy booze coming off it as well.  The rum quality was really obvious on the nose.  The spicy rye quality was fairly obvious on the nose as well.

Did you ruin my beer?

Did you ruin my beer?

Here is where it all became very obvious something was really wrong.  The taste was really bitter with no carbonation at all.  It seemed like a big glass of syrup.  I checked on a few other people’s take on it, and many of them said it was under carbonated; however, none of them said that it contained no carbonation at all.  The rye was really obvious in the taste, and it had a super huge booze quality.

Ultimately, I only managed to get a few sips in before the rest of the beer went right down the drain.  I don’t really remember ever having to put a whole beer down a drain before; however, it was pretty clear I wasn’t making it through this one.  I have a feeling storing this beer on its side may have been its downfall.  I have to be honest; It will probably take a really good beer to get me to buy a beer with this style cap again.  I like to know my beer won’t be in jeopardy if I can’t get to it right away.  If I see this beer again I’ll definitely buy another bottle.  I really want to know what the combinations involved here taste like, but I guess I’ll have to wait.

Teacher’s Grade: Incomplete!



  1. It’s said that by storing beer on its side, that more of the beers surface area is exposed to oxygen. This may have played a part in the disappointing results. I’ve had an oxidized beer before and it was very bad. Many people say that oxidized beer has a papery, slightly metallic, or a sherry-like flavor.

    The BFM Spike & Jerome’s has a high abv of at least 12%.
    High alcohol beers will impact the formation of foam or head. It does sound like this one may have been under carbonized.

    In my experience, swing top caps are fine. They seal very well and need no special opener. They can also be reused for home brewing. I have a number that I use, plus some 1 liter swing toppers that I like.

    If you have more swing top bottles, I’m sure that you can find a home brewer that would love to trade and give you some beer in return.

    David Ivey
    Black Bucket Brew Inbox Magazine Editor

    • Thanks for the tip. It’s really just the first time I’ve had a bottle like this, and it really wasn’t a great experience. I think the disappointment was only made greater by the fact that I had thoroughly thought through what I wanted to drink, and I was excited for this bottle. I guess I’ll save the bottle for my own homebrew, but I definitely won’t be keeping it on its side again.

  2. I stored this beer upright and it was a total drain pour for me as well. It was just awful and especially disappointing because I had really high hopes for it.

  3. […] the base was great, but the chilies ended up giving me a stomach ache.  The other was a beer I thought may have gone bad.  I can tell you I’ve tried a few other beers that I haven’t reviewed, and I’ve […]

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