Flying Dog Brewing Co – International Arms Race

Some beers are all gimmicks.  I suppose that I don’t mind a beer that’s all about gimmicks if it can back it up with flavor.  The particular gimmick behind International Arms Race is that it borders on a collaboration competition.  For this particular brew, Flying Dog got together with BrewDog out of Scotland got together to put together a recipe.  While they created the recipe for the beer they wanted to brew, they then walked away and decided to see who could do it best.  They brewed their beers and Brewmaster Matt Brophy headed out to Europe for the competition.  The competition went down with customers at five different locations across Scotland and England.    They had the tasting all night long and, when the votes were tallied, it turned out BrewDog had taken two of the bars while Flying Dog took the other two.  The final tasting was a tight race, but in the end, Flying Dog took the win over BrewDog.  A great victory, I suppose, for the American craft beer industry.

The entire title of this brew was really confusing to me.  They titled the beer a zero IBU IPA.   That’s probably the biggest thing that got me to actually buy the beer.  I figured the beer would be an IPA which I love, but I also was intrigued what it would mean by zero IBU.  Well, in doing a little more research, it would seem that this is basically not an IPA at all.  Both my Untapped and beer advocate called this beer a Scottish Gruit or Ancient Herbed Ale.  Beer Advocate states that a gruit is, “mainly a concoction of : sweet gale (Myrica gale), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and wild rosemary (Ledum palustre). Other herbs, spices, and berries might be used to create interesting and pleasant aroma and flavor of green- and herbal-tea”.  Upon learning this beer was a gruit, I wouldn’t exactly call my mood excited.  I seem to remember doing a gruit earlier this year; however, I decided to check out what Flying Dog said about it on their site.  They didn’t have the beer on their main page, but you could find a little information on their blog write up about their win.  They describe their recipe as such, “hops were banned from the battlefield. Instead varying amounts of spearmint, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berries, and elderflower were used to impart bitterness.”  I guess they thought they could get the same effect out of these ingredients that they would get out of hops.  Being a big fan of hops, I became frightened by the prospect of consuming this, but I was hopeful I would be pleasantly surprised.

This one pours one of the stranger colors I’ve seen in a little bit.  It has a fairly bright reddish orange color to it.  The best comparison would be to the cranberry ginger ale my wife loves to keep on hand in our fridge.  There is a really thin white head that develops on top of the beer which manages to dissipate and disappear really quickly.  There is zero lacing here, and you have basically no sticky residue either.  The beer is slightly hazy overall; however, you can clearly see that there is no visible carbonation.  You can simply see a little activity when you agitate the liquid in the glass.

The aroma is somewhat hard to nail down to one singular scent.  There is an aroma of plums and figs, as well as, some of the obvious spices I read about in my research.  The nose doesn’t really single out any of the scents, but they combine into a smell you’d find coming from your spice cabinet.  The sweet malts are there, although they are certainly rather muted.  There are some light fruity smells and some tang here as well.  It smells rather clean; however, I find something somewhat off-putting on the nose.

I really don’t remember what the last gruit tasted like, but I know this one didn’t impress me.  The light sweet malts kick off the brew; however, they really don’t hang on long before the remaining flavors take over.  There is some light fruit flavoring that comes in with some interesting spice there as well.  It’s hard to place what the spice is, but I tend to think it tastes like the bitters you put in cocktails.  It’s something like Angostura bitters or something.  The spearmint and rosemary seem to individualize themselves slightly right in the middle.  You get some rather strong grapefruit flavors that come in followed by even more of the spice.  It does finish clean, but there is a strange little fruit kick up at the end .

The beer is basically light and easy drinking the whole way through; however, some of the flavors just don’t work that well to me.  I’m certainly not a big fan of the spearmint flavoring or the Angostura bitters flavor.  There is some great carbonation throughout most of it, but it does seem to get a little syrupy at the end.

I was thinking about giving this beer a D; however, I have to give it the full failure.  Beer is certainly based on opinion and, in my opinion, I’ll never choose to drink this one again.  I like a lot of stuff that comes out of Flying Dog, but I can honestly say this might be the first beer I’d feel fine with avoiding.  Give it a try if you’re curious, but you’ve been warned.

Teacher Grade: F


Aging Dilemma

I’ve found myself with a slight dilemma on my hands lately.  Winter is a great time for really big beers to come out.  You can get heavy imperial stouts, huge barleywines, or really good scotch and old ales.  These beers are delicious and all I want to do is get them home, chilled, and consumed.  There is a different way to think about this though.  Why not get them home, put them in a box, wait a year or two, and then get them out to drink.  I know, for those reading who aren’t beer enthusiasts, this sounds like a crazy idea.  You buy alcohol to go home and consume it.  Why would you ever buy a beer with the intention of letting it sit around for a year or two before you consume it?  For those of us who are slightly more well versed in the language of beer, some beers only get better with time and you want to allow it to reach its full potential before you open it.  My question is: how do you fight the urge for instant gratification?

The best way I’ve found around this is buying in bulk.  Bourbon County recently landed on the soil of Washington DC, and it has created quite the stir amongst the beer nerds.  I was presented with this dilemma at first when I was only able to find a single bottle of it at a local store.  Then, walking to my second job one day, I saw a full case sitting right in the window of the shop next door to the restaurant.  Problem solved!  Yes I had to pay a pretty penny for a full 4 pack, but I now have 5 bottles of it.  I can drink one or two and age the remaining for different increments of time.  It was a beer miracle!  This, however, isn’t the way things always work out.  When possible, I always try and buy more than a single bottle of a beer I am considering aging.  I can get that instant gratification, and I can age the crap of the other bottle.  What do I do though, when I can only find, or afford, a single bottle of a big beer that would benefit from a few years in the dark?

The beer that actually sparked the thought for this blog comes out of Founders Brewing Co.  Founders produces beers that are big, bold, and tasty.  So, I couldn’t help but search with all my might to find a bottle of Bolt Cutter.  Bolt Cutter is their 15 year anniversary barleywine release.  Doing some slight research, I found that Founders released a barleywine for their 10 year anniversary, but it doesn’t seem like they brew a celebratory beer every year like Stone Brewing Co.  Therefore, I really felt like I had to find it.  I managed to procure a bottle for $24, but I only found one bottle in my area.  Now the dilemma kicks in.  Do I wait a few months to drink it, do I wait a few years to drink it, or do I crack it open the next time I have a gathering at my house?  I did manage to solve a similar problem with my bottle of Lucky Bastard from Stone Brewing Co.  I found it on tap while home for Thanksgiving break. I really doubt that ends up happening with Bolt Cutter.  Maybe I manage to find another bottle, or maybe I manage to find another way to taste it, but if I don’t, I’m not sure what do with a singular bottle.  I would love to crack open this 15% Abv right now, but I want to drink it at its optimal time.

So beer geeks, what do you do when faced with this dilemma?  Do you give in to the desire for instant gratification, or do you suck it up and age the beer to its prime?  I’ve certainly gone both ways with beers in the past, but I find myself most confused with this bottle of Bolt Cutter.  Help me Obi Wan, you’re my only hope!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co – Narwhal Imperial Stout

There is something nice about seeing a brewery you think you’re very familiar with branching out and creating a beer you almost thought was out of their league.  Sam Adams has been doing this a lot lately.  They continue to produce bigger beers in their more craft line-up that tend to be pretty good.  I know a few years ago I had pinned them as being the makers of Boston Lager, a few seasonals, and an okay variety pack.  Now they seem to try to be keeping up with the big craft beer boom that is taking place.  Not to be outdone, it would seem that Sierra Nevada is doing the same thing.

I’m fairly certain I can credit Sierra Nevada with being the first brewery to introduce me to what hops really are.  Drinking any noncommercial beer, you’re surly exposed to hops of some sort.  However, as you delve deep into the realm of craft beer, you soon find out what hops really are in many pale ales, IPAs, and double IPAs.  I can still remember the first Sierra Nevada I had.  I went to a Velvet Revolver concert in Philadelphia that my then girlfriend, now wife, had gotten me tickets for.  We went out to eat first, and I decided to try out a beer I had never had before: Sierra Nevada – Celebration.  I was certainly not well versed in hops at the time, but that seemed like the strangest beer I’d ever had.  I remember not really being able to get it down.  Years later I’ve found an appreciation and love for hops. Now, years after experiencing my first hoppy beer, I see the same company branching out and putting out some fairly good craft brews.  I’ve enjoyed their Ruthless Rye, Hoptimum, and other various big beer offerings.  Now I’m glad to see them taking maybe the biggest jump into an imperial stout.

Sierra Nevada states this brew is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean.  Sadly I first realized the Narwhal existed thanks to everyone’s favorite holiday classic “Elf”. I suppose this beer may be best representative of the environment I would imagine the Narwhal exists in most of the time.  It’s a dark, thick and murky brew.  I’ve seen a few haters on Untapped bash this beer before I could even pick it up, but haters aside, I was really excited to grab a four pack of this when I saw it debut on the shelves of my local store.  I was just hoping haters were gonna hate, but I would love this one.

This one poured out a super dark black oil color with a very thin brown espresso head on top.  The head grows quite slowly and diminishes extremely quickly.  There is some really light lacing that develops on the side of the glass, but you get a lot more sticky residue left over.  The beer is far too dark to give any sense of clarity, and you can only see a little light activity in the glass when you agitate the contents.

The smell is fairly thick and dominated by some very big roasted notes.  There is some ample rich chocolate aroma that accompanies the roasted notes, and you get some very pleasant big coffee scents that blend in really well.  The beer seems to have an overall hefty oaky aroma.  The sweet malts are definitely the show stealer, but you do smell a little bit of the hop scent on the nose.

For a brewery I typically associate with hops, they really managed to make sure to back off on them for this brew.  The big sweet malts kick the brew off.  The huge sweet chocolate flavors come in real quick.  Sierra Nevada says the chocolate flavor is bakers chocolate, and I’d actually happen to agree with them.  It tastes like they started to make a cake and decided to go with a beer instead.  There are some nice light roasted notes at the beginning right before some light hops kick up for the transition to the back half of the brew.  The second half of the beer is really dominated by huge roasted flavors.  The espresso coffee flavor comes up big on the second half as well; however, there is just enough residual chocolate to keep the beer from being dominated too much by the slightly overpowering roasted flavors.  The beer finishes slightly bitter, which I find kind of off putting in the end.  The beer finishes with the bitter notes, oak, and coffee.  It’s rounded out with almost a little burnt flavoring.

This beer is certainly a mouthful.  The overall mouthfeel of this one is a rather thick roasted quality.  The beer certainly has lots of big flavors; however, you get some very nice mellow carbonation throughout that helps to mellow out a little bit of the big flavors.  I happen to think the roasted flavors are slightly out of control, and I find the bitter flavor something less than desirable.

I wouldn’t say this is the imperial stout to end all big stouts, but I happen to like it quite a bit.  Sure there are better ones out there, but I would be more than happy to finish off my four pack.  The only other thing I might do is throw one of them in my cellar to see what time does to it.  Either way, I’ll be having this beer again, and you should too.

Teacher Grade: B

Black Beer Friday Recap

Black Beer Friday has come and gone, and I wanted to make sure I let my faithful readers know how my Friday went down.  As expected, I did spend most of my morning out shopping.  Thankfully I managed to get a few of my own desires in there as well.  I went up to the beer store I know back home and picked up a few beers there, and I got a special black friday release from The Gaslight Anthem as well.  Most of my day, however, was spent running around Khols, Michaels, and various different stores in the mall.  I ultimately hit the wall in NY & Co.  My wife had me stand in a line that spanned the better part of the store.  It was certainly that line that broke my spirit and left me needing a beer.

I had a thought to head over to the only brewery I could think of in the area: Cricket Hill.  All of those plans drastically changed when I decided to Facebook my local craft beer restaurant.  They were advertising that they had received one keg of Stone’s Enjoy by 12.21.12 and Lucky Bastard.  Now I was certainly still going to have my black beer for black Friday, but I also couldn’t help myself with these rare offerings.

I had hoped to sit in the bar area of the restaurant, but that section was packed, so we accepted a little table back in the restaurant.  Before even seeing the beer menu I ordered a glass of Enjoy by.  While sipping it I got a beer menu and saw that they were offering a special deal for the beer, a glass, and the t-shirt.  While that may be turning the rare beer a little too commercial, I really couldn’t help myself and went for the entire combo.

I was really impressed by Stone’s Enjoy by.  I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised really, they create great beer.  I knew this was supposed to be a day dedicated to black beers, but this was certainly too light to be called a black beer.  One beer that I have really been looking forward to from Stone is the final edition in their Vertical Epic series.  Vertical Epics are all designed to be consumed on a certain much later date.  This beer takes a much different approach.  It’s supposed to be consumed before a certain date: 12.21.12.  The brew has a nice sweet malty backbone, but it’s dominated by some big fresh wet hops.  Somehow it ends up being big and syrupy but also fresh and clean.  The beer’s alcoholic content is quite strong, but it’s relatively easy drinking.

The second beer I had got me a little closer to my goal for black beer Friday, but it was another I couldn’t help myself moment.  A few weeks ago I managed to grab a bottle of Lucky Bastard from Stone.  Cloverleaf didn’t make quite as much noise over having a keg of it, but I was really excited to give it a try.  I wanted to save my bottle for a little while, so I was happy I could try it without having to open my bottle up.  By this time I was enjoying my buffalo chicken salad. It may have been a lapse in judgement for my palate, so I have a feeling my taste was slightly effected.  This one had a very sweet malty backbone with hops that are really big, solid, and tangy.  There is a certain bold oaky earthy feel to it.  This one also had a big time warming effect as well.

My final beer had to be something big and black.  I knew my wife’s patience was running out, so I needed to get my actual black beer for black Friday before it was too late.  I decided I would join Cloverleaf’s MBA program while I was there, so I had to pick a black beer off a much more specified list.  There were a few good choices; however, I checked my Untapped account to see what I hadn’t checked into yet.  I’ve had Old Rasputin before, but my app didn’t show it, so I decided to go with the big creamy imperial stout.  I’ve done a full review of Rasputin before, but I decided to take a couple of notes on it.  It has some super big chocolate notes with light coffee and roasted notes.  The mouthfeel is almost like alcoholic chocolate milk.  It’s probably one of the most creamy beers I’ve ever had.  I don’t really remember that as much the last time, so I’m thinking it may have been slightly different on tap.

I may have come up a little short of my black beer goals last Friday, but I had a great day for some of the more rare craft beers.  I’m hopeful Enjoy by will make its way here in bottles, but I am real happy I got to have it.  While it wasn’t a Black Friday filled with Black beers, they were certainly good beers that helped me forget the pains of shopping.

Troegs Brewing Co – Dead Reckoning Porter

As it is Black Beer Friday, I had to make sure I reviewed something nice and dark for today.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll manage to get out a post that has something to do with what I drink on the actual day, but for now you can read about a good choice for your black beer decision.  I actually tasted this beer a few weeks ago, and I’ve been holding onto the notes until I was ready to post about it.  Well black friday seemed like the perfect day to post about a beer called Dead Reckoning.  It’s black for the day, but it also seemed like an appropriate name for the meaning.  Dead reckoning is a term used by sailors when they could only rely on pure skill to get from their starting point to their destination.  Kind of sounds like what some shoppers are doing.

Troegs gets a lot of recognition for some brews, but others seem to get a little overlooked.  We have just entered perhaps their biggest recognition period.  Mad Elf is perhaps the most popular brew they make.  I’ve heard of some people who stockpile it to have all throughout the Christmas and winter season.  Their other popular beers seem to deal mostly with hops.  Their Hopback Amber and Perpetual IPA were also quite popular in my area, so much so, that my shop had to put a limit on the number they were allowing their customers to purchase.  There are a few others in their line up that people enjoy, but you don’t see them going crazy for them.

This is the second year in a row where I’ve noticed this beer on the shelf.  It’s one of those beers where I continually think it could be a good one, but I never pick it up.  And, since no one is scrambling to get it, I’ve felt no rush to pick it up.  This year I lucked out and saw it as a single at my local store.  Sometimes it’s just hard to grab a six pack of something you don’t know you’ll want to drink over and over again.  Troeg’s describes this porter as “an unfiltered and aggressively hopped porter. Dead Reckoning’s flavor originates in the chocolate and roasted malts, then follows through with sharp, earthy bitterness and a rich, smooth cocoa mouthfeel.”  I’m not sure any of these sound like flavors that are “out there” or unexpected, but they sound like just the flavors I seek out in the winter.

This one pours a very dark black coffee color.  There is a very light tan head that develops on top of the glass, and you have some very good lacing.  The lacing also results in some great sticky residue as well.  There are some very light bubbles left over on top.  The beer is, once again, far too dark to get a sense of clarity; however, there does seem to be some light activity in the glass despite the fact that you can’t see any real carbonation.

The aroma is fairly well balanced overall.  There are some light coffee smells that combine with some pleasant and light roasted notes.  The chocolate notes seem to be quite a bit bigger than the coffee or roasted aromas.  There is an interesting mild citrus aroma that I would blame on the hops, especially since you get some of that earthy hopiness on the nose as well.  There is a little light licorice to round out the aroma.

While the nose seems really well balanced, I wouldn’t say the flavor profile is the same way. The roasted flavors kick up right away and hang around for the entire tasting.  They start light at the beginning of the brew, but they are still quite obviously there.  These light roasted notes combine with some sweet chocolate malts.  Some light citrus notes lead into some very apparent hops near the middle of the brew.  The roasted flavors really kick up in the second half of the beer with some very bold coffee flavors as well.  More of the citrus and hop flavors mix in on the back half following up the big coffee and roasted flavors.  The beer has a slightly off flavor as the hops and roasted notes mix in for the finish.

The beer starts with some pretty big carbonation; however, it turns into a much more syrupy beer when the big roasted notes come in.  The hops are certainly a little strong for such bold roasted flavors.  I don’t mind an aggressive use of hops in a porter, but I like them to back down a little bit on the roasted flavors.  Check out my review on Ska Brewing – Ten Pin Porter for what I mean.  I do like the way the big roasted notes finish the beer.

As I said earlier, I’ve seen this brew on the shelves a lot.  I’m glad I got around to trying it, but it won’t make my list of top porters out there.  While I do love hops, I think they need to back off a little more for this brew.  Either that or, tone it down on the roasted flavors so the flavors can meld together slightly better.  It’s not bad, but it didn’t really give me what I want.  If you want hops in a porter, go check out the one from Ska instead.  You’ll be happy you did.

Teacher Grade: C

Thanksgiving Drinking

As it is already Thanksgiving, I’m sure most of you have already decided what it is you will be drinking while giving thanks today.  I’m basically here to let you know what I’ll be having and to ask you what you’ll be drinking.  I don’t really think of Thanksgiving as a big drinking holiday.  I didn’t grow up in a house where you see a lot of alcohol, but still, I went out to the store last night to secure something for the few days here. Interestingly I saw plenty of people picking up quite a few different libations for their big turkey day. I guess my family is just more of a rarity.  Regardless, you’ll find that my selections don’t really focus on the actual dinner, instead they seem to  focus on more of the follow up.

A lot of the Thanksgiving beer blogs I read focused on what people would be drinking at each part of the meal.  While I would like to plan out the appetizer, dinner, and dessert beers, I recognize I won’t be drinking anything until after the meal.  My life is slightly different when I’m back in my childhood home.  I may have a glass of wine of something during dinner, but I’m saving my beer selection for dessert and after the meal fun.

I had really only planned on having one beer on Thanksgiving day, but I went out to the store to see what was available in this area.  Of course, I couldn’t help myself when it came to purchasing beer.  If all goes as planned, the first beer I’ll be drinking is one from Rogue Brewing Co. Since I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, I decided I would bring this bottle of Pumpkin Patch Ale for my dessert. This is actually a beer I haven’t seen in the stores.  I was given this one by a friend at our house warming party.  At this point I had started to think about giving up pumpkins for the season, so I decided this would the perfect one to end the season for me.  Pumpkin Patch is part of Rogue’s GYO series.  GYO stands for Grow You Own, hence they grow their own pumpkins 77 miles away from their brewery and right next to their 42 acre hop yard.  They pick the pumpkins, roast them, and get them in the brew.  While I’ve found myself becoming quite skeptical of Rogue’s more “out there” brews, this one sounds like a good chance at a great pumpkin beer.

The second beer I decided on may result in drinking more than one.  Since it’s a smaller bottle, and I bought a six pack, I can’t make promises that I won’t end up watching some football and drinking two or more of these.  I decided I would use my second beer to transition from fall to winter beers.  As you’ll find when I really start reviewing the winter beers, I don’t mind a beer that has some Christmas spice, but I decided to go with something big and malty for my winter representative.  Therefore I picked up a six pack of Great Divide’s Hibernation ale.  I did have one bottle of these last year, but I decided to jump headlong into this old ale this year.  I’m thinking I may brew an old ale next.  I’m kind of between that or a scotch ale, so I wanted to also remind myself of what an old ale is like.  I figure if you can drink a good glass of scotch or bourbon after a big meal, I can drink a big malty beer for my after dinner drink as well.

I have a feeling my selections don’t reflect what most beer enthusiasts will be doing this holiday, but I have a few other things to take into consideration.  I’m happy to use my day to transition from fall into winter and check out a style I’m considering brewing.  So what are you drinking this holiday?

Stone Brewing Co – Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout

There are some beers that scream to be reviewed.  Last year a big beer, that eventually was a big flop, was a beer from Rogue involving maple and bacon.  It’s a weird combination and people want to know how it turned out.  People want to know what a beer involving bacon tastes like.  One of this year’s most interesting combinations has to be this beer out of Stone Brewing Co.  Stone seems to almost always be involved in a collaboration of some sort.  I happen to love collaborations. Even though there tends to be a few extra hands involved in the brewing, it gives you a little partial taste of a brewery that isn’t always available in your area.  What makes this particular collaboration even cooler is that it has been done with another brewery and a homebrewer.

Ken Schmidt is the homebrewer who took home gold in the Stone Homebrewing Competition, and won the right to collaborate on this particular brew.  While this is a very big honor for a homebrewer, the even bigger surprise is that this is the second time he has won this prize.  He also previous produced with Stone a Kona coffee, macadamia, and coconut porter.  The man has some crazy ideas.  One of the even more interesting facts is that Stone admits they had a little bit of trouble attempting to recreate this recipe on their system.  Schmidt runs what he calls Aloha Plenty brewing co.  With creations like these, I want him to start up some kind of real brewing facility.  This guy may be my hero.

Schmidt writes that this beer was inspired by his love for big bold flavors.  Combining chocolate and mint isn’t necessarily the craziest thing ever thought up.  It may be pretty out there as far as a beer goes, but it is probably one of my favorite flavor combinations out there.  One of my favorite Christmas memories is grabbing the Andes Mints out of my grandfathers candy jar at their apartment.  So, when I heard this beer was coming out, it really peaked my interest on a bunch of levels.  It sounded like something I had to buy and blog about, but it also sounded like something I had to try because of my love for the flavor combination.  Thankfully Schmidt states he was looking to create something close to the candies left on your pillow at hotels.  Therefore, if it happens to be even close to that taste, I knew I’d be in for a real treat.

This one pours out a super heavy dark black color.  It has the same look and feel as pouring oil out.  There is a fairly minimal amount of head that develops on top of the beer. However, I would say it has some of the darkest head I’ve seen on a beer in a while.   The head has a super rich dark chocolate brown color to it.  There isn’t much lacing building on the walls of the glass, but you do see quite a bit of sticky residue left over.  Of course the beer is far to dark to give a sense of clarity; however, you do see a little carbonation around the edges of the brew when you agitate it.

If you’re looking for a beer that reminds you of a mint chocolate candy, this is certainly the beer to pick up.  The aroma has a super rich chocolate and mint scent to it.  The mint is certainly one that has a lot of candy aroma and not of the fresh variety.  The chocolate takes a backseat to the mint on the nose; however, it is certainly present.  The sweet malts are there; although, they seem to be mostly composed of chocolate.  I don’t really get any big coffee or roasted aromas, and I also don’t smell any hops.  Interestingly, even the aroma seems to have a certain thickness about it.  Perhaps the oatmeal can affect aroma.

While the aroma is all mint and chocolate, the taste is much more bold chocolate stout with mint accents.  The beer begins with a lot of very bold and sweet dark malts.  There is some very intense chocolate flavors that combine with the big malts to create a very strong introduction to this beer.  There is some light coffee that comes in to add a little more depth to the brew.  The middle feature a fairly significant roasted transition that was totally lacking from the nose.  There is some more bold chocolate flavors that lead into the mint accents. The flavor of the mint is actually shorter than the nose suggests; however, it is just enough to add a nice balanced flavor to the mix.  The mint somewhat does coat the mouth so the residual mint flavor stays with you throughout the entire drinking process.  There is some bold roasted and chocolate flavors with lingering mint on the finish.

The beer is probably one of the more thick and syrupy that I’ve had in a while; however, it really works with this particular mix.  There is some carbonation to help mix it up and move the flavors along, but it has a very thick chocolate chip ice cream feel to it.  Allowing the beer to warm up a little almost changes the feel to more of a mint chocolate milk feel.  The flavors all work surprisingly well together for a beer that is kind of out there.

I’m not certain this beer will be for everyone, but this is up there on my favorite beers of the year.  I love mint so this is certainly right up my alley.  I’m not sure how anyone could pass this up if you see this on the shelf. However, if there were any apprehensions about buying this beer, let me quell them right now.  This beer is too unique to pass up.  I’m just glad I have another bottle to put in my cellar for a few years.  I’ll be interested to see what this mint is doing in a year or two.

Teacher Grade: A+