Well, in honor of baseball season, and since I've been away, I figured I'd roar back with three reviews at once. 3 strikes if you will. These are slightly interesting for me, as I tasted these with my dad, and got his opinions as well. At nearly 60, I'm working him into this craft beer thing and trying to tease out of him what exactly he likes, but more importantly, WHY. He kept saying, "I don't know", "I don't know." By the third one, you could tell, he was feeling slightly more comfortable with his analysis. It was fun. One more father-son thing to enjoy.
Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout 2008 ABV 10.5%
Saint Louis/Schlafly Brewery 750 ml brown bottle split into two brandy glasses
A - This poured a deep, rich brown-black with mahogany edges when held to the light. Small, latte colored head only made a brief appearance, leaving no laing behind to remind us of its existence at all. Good thing I wrote it down first. Pop said: Walnut black, no light. I liked his walnut black description. Nice
S - Immediately with these big, bold stouts, you're hit with the standard coffee and chocolate, they are easy to pick out, and they are certainly present here as well. With a deeper whiff though, I was struck by wet leather, toffee, & caramel. I can smell the bourbon barrel aging, but it isn't dominant, leaves a pleasant burn down the back of the throat. An almost decadent roasted richness, which you expect, but goes even further. Pop said: I smell Snickers. Huh. I like that too. He's kicking my butt with descriptions, I'm just being wordier. Step it up Chris.
T - Brilliantly smooth. Like melted chocolate velvet. I know that isn't a real thing, but you just got that image didn't you? I win. Vanilla and chocolate notes playing well together with neither being too pushy or assertive. The bourbon heat on the finish is much stronger than the nose would've indicated, but it isn't unpleasant, and brings the warmth and hair prickles to the back of the neck. Pop said: Tastes like Snickers...without the nuts. And what you just said. YES! I won that round Ol' Man!
M - Very creamy and soft, texture is amazing. None of the harshness you get from a bad/mediocre stout. Pop said it was great. Can't argue one bit.
O - This was outstanding. Its simply a great beer. My major problem is that is was entirely too smooth, too drinkable, too DANG good for 10.5% ABV. Wonderful depth of character, layers, upon layers of flavor. A remarkable beer that I am glad I split; both for the ABV reasons (duh) and because it was a memory beer. We'll definitely have future conversations and comparisons to this one.
Adoration Special Winter Ale ABV: 10%
Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown, NY 750 ml bottle split into two red wine glasses
A - This variation on a winter warmer poured a chestnut brown with sparkling ruby slipper, er, edges. The off-white head disappeared quickly, leaving the glass full of tiny, rapidly rising bubbles, and floating sediment. A Belgian styled Winter? Would expect nothing less from Ommegang. Pop said: Red Oak or leather colored, spiraling bubbles. His bubbles must've been on the scenic route to the top.
S - Sweet alcohol heat, with spicy cinnamon and slightly burnt brown sugar. Some brandied cherries, with citrus. Very little, if any, hope presence here. A peppery cling to the back end. Pop said: Fruitcake & tobacco. Between fruitcake and Snickers, I think Pop mighta been hungry.
T - Dark fruits hit me immediately; currants, figs, cherries. The malt comes in with some caramel, toffee sweetness. Then the spices hit. Lots, but they are needed after two layers of sweet. Pepper, coriander, cinnamon. Its a lingering ale with a hot finish, that is a bit on the unpleasant side, if I am honest. (like to think I am) The aftertaste is confusing with that Belgian "farmhouse funk" mixed with sticky sweet lips. Hmm. Pop said: Candied fruits, with a tart finish.
M - Bubbly and very tingly on the tongue, almost, but not quite enough carbonation to cut the sweetness. Pop agreed
O - An interesting warmer. Certainly made with Ommegang's natural Belgian lean. It got better and mellowed out as it warmed. Would be better enjoyed during a colder winter, next to a fireplace. Just too many layers of sweet for me to really work. Wasn't terrible at all, but not sure I'd seek it out either. Pop thought it would be good with a cigar. That might help cut it, maybe we'll try again after all.
Freetail Velocihopter ABV: 6.5%
Freetail Brewing Company, San Antonio, TX 750 ml bottle split into pint glasses
A - A coppery fire colored pour that leaves a generous milky colored head with strong lacing character. Pop said: mm-hmm. I'll take that as an agree.
S - Floral and grasssy nose, but very malty for an IPA. Definite more malt than hop, though the hops are discernible. The mix brings an earthy flavor to mind. Pop said: Smells like a freshly mowed yard. I get that.
T - Banana bread strikes me first. I don't like banana bread. Then hops, then yeast. In that order. Then more banana bread. Definitely a malt-forward IPA. Pop said he got unripe bananas. So, we were close.
M - A very carbonated, chewy IPA. Malt strikes again. Pop: its heavy feeling.
O - Though I do not like banana bread, and this is not what I was expecting opening an IPA, I like it. I don't love it, but since I go to Freetail whenever I am in San Antonio, if they have this, I'd order it again. Its more akin to a English/Euro style IPA, and that is fine obviously. Just a case of my expectations and my taste buds clashing at first. Maybe next bottle run adding 'English' before the IPA would help. Pop went to bed. Love you man, sleep well.