Dogfish Head - Indian Brown Ale

Dogfish Head is out of Delware and actually started as a brewpub in 1995.  They have been steadily expanding since and now offer a wide variety of beers with a rather eclectic distribution. They distill their own vodka, rum and gin.  I see a field trip in my future.

Dogfish Head is another one of those beers that is not available in Minnesota.  When I usually think Dogfish Head, I think of their very popular IPA series (60, 90 and 120 minute IPAs). This one caught my eye though as it is described as a cross between a Scotch Ale, India Pale Ale and a Brown Ale.  Oh hell yes!

Price Point: Anywhere from $10-$12 a sixer

Cellarable: Nope. Drink early and often to get all of the complexities.

Availability: All over the damn place: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI…..except Minnesota.  Grrrrrrrrr

On with the tasting!

Aroma – Aroma is a combination of a golden roast and hops.  A touch of vanilla maybe?

Appearance – Easy 34-35 on the SRM scale.  There are some incredible orange and red hues in this really dark brown beer.  Small rocky bubbles are a bone white and dissipated quickly.  However, a few lingered for the entirety of the tasting.

Taste – Very heavy on the malts.  It is actually maltier than I thought it would be. There is an interesting play between the molasses flavor of the malt and the bitter of the hops.  The molasses is up front, but the bitter is where it finishes. Other flavor components include bitter chocolate and a touch of raisin.  As the beer warms up a bit, the hop flavor becomes a bit more prominent.  

Palate – Medium carbonation and mouth feel.  It lingers a bit and you can really taste the malt well after swallowing.

Overall – This is an incredibly complex beer.  The flavor palate is a great mix of three styles of beer: scotch ale, india pale ale and brown ale.  I’m not sure I have had a beer where the malts and the hops both contrast and play off each other like this before.  It is a really, really good beer.

Until next time,

Friday Quick Pick - Tommyknocker Brewery Hop Strike

Every time I go to Nebraska, I make sure to stop at a store that has a good selection of craft brews. Usually, I find a bunch of things that I would never find in Minnesota. Hop Strike by Tommyknocker is no exception. Though I’ve seen Tommyknocker here in Minnesota, I’ve not seen this particular one. I had to grab it. It’s a black IPA, which Doug and I both love.

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According to their website:

HOP STRIKE is a dry hopped black rye IPA. The beer is characterized by an intermingling of spicy citrus hops and chocolate malt. HOP STRIKES substantial 78 IBUS are balanced by roasted rye resulting in a nice depth of malt character and deep color.

This beer uses four types of hops, which are Chinook, Williamette, Sterling, and Summit. All of them, combined with the chocolate earthiness make it a really well balanced and dry dark ale. 

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Tommyknocker distributes to about half the states in the nation, so if you spot this black ipa on the shelf, pick it up! It’s a great representation of this style that we at the Beer Stand Blog love so much.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! 

Cheers,

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3 Floyd’s - Pride & Joy

There are very few things that suck about living in Minnesota as far as I am concerned.  Some examples include, all the damn Vikings fans, the fact they don’t know what a bubbler is, and that they eat hot dish instead of casserole. 

One of the other things that sucks is that 3 Floyd’s doesn’t distribute here so I have to take every chance I get to try their beer.  On a recent trip to a liquor store in Wisconsin I didn’t even look at what the beer was and I immediately put this beer in my pick-six pack. 

We’ve extolled the virtues of 3 Floyds on this blog here, here and here so we won’t delve into their history for this post.  Let’s get right to the beer.  As usual, some basic beer info:

Price Point - About $10 a sixer

Cellarable - Nope.  This is another pale ale.  Drink it up!

Availability - Like all 3 Floyd’s, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Now, on with the tasting!

Aroma - Mild, citrusy sweet, slight whole wheat bread as well.

Appearance - Foggy golden brown with some great orange-y tones.  An 11-12 on the SRM scale. The head is a bright white foam with a few rocky bubbles in it.  

Taste - Definite malt back bone with just a hint of hoppy citrus.  The citrus is a really mild grapefruit, like the sweet side of it without any bitter at all. 

Palate - Mild to medium mouth feel with medium carbonation. It lingers for quite a bit though.  Lots of citrus on the sides of the tongue.  

Overall - Look up sessionable pale ale in the dictionary and this beer could be pictured.  It has a nice, balanced flavor profile between the malt and the hops, but it is easily drinkable.  3 Floyd’s never seems to disappoint.  Really good beer.

Until next time

The Beer Stand Blog Celebrates 100 Posts - Our Fridge Beers

Last year, when Doug approached me with the idea of starting this blog, I was a bit back and forth about it. I struggled because every time I’ve started a blog, I’ve just kind of let it die (as I suspect many people do). I didn’t want that to happen here. But if there’s one thing I know about Doug Bauernschmidt, it’s that he’s determined. Soon enough, we designed the blog, gotten our URL, and off we went!

There were weeks where we missed posts entirely. There were weeks where I was not involved at all in posting, but Doug kept this blog alive by posting himself. And then there are weeks where we put out monster awesome posts. We work together, we play off of each other, and we do everything out of our pure love for beer. 

One big blessing for this blog is the contributions of one Guitar Boy Johnny. He has a fantastic way with words and the uncanny ability to not just review beer, but to truly tell a story about that beer. We are SO glad that he’s hung with us, making some excellent contributions. 

For this post, we wanted to not just recap our story, but to truly bring you into our homes and fridges. So we thought it would be fitting to tell you, from each of our perspectives, what our ‘fridge beer’ is. That is, the beer that we keep on hand at almost all times, and reach for at the end of a long day when we just want to relax. 

Without further adieu, welcome to the fridge beers of The Beer Stand Blog team:

Annie: Lucette Ride Again

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I’ve posted on this beer before, so I won’t go into intense tasting detail. I will tell you that this is a wonderful beer. It’s a pale ale with grapefruit, orange, a hint of caramel, and a fabulous piney undercurrent. I love this beer not just because it’s an easy drinker that I can have on a hot day, or a cool evening - but because it’s low in ABV, and therefore low in calories!

I’ve lost 23 pounds in the last several months, and part of it is making better choices with what I put in my body. While I still enjoy the imperial beers, the stouts, the porters, etc, I’ve also made careful choices about what I keep around me consistently so that I can keep on the downward trend with my weight. 

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Thank you Lucette, for making this wonderful brew! It pretty much always lives in my fridge and it likely will be for as long as you make it! 

Cheers,

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GuitarBoyJohnny: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

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Over the years I’ve had many different “everyday” beers. But for the last year or so I have consistently reached for Samuel Adams Boston Lager when visiting my local liquor store. There are many good reasons for this. First it’s a beer that can be enjoyed in any kind of weather. It’s not too dark and heavy for the summer months, and it’s perfect for the winter. It’s also a beer with a very satisfying flavor. It’s very smooth but with just enough hoppiness to satisfy someone who enjoys a beer more sophisticated than mass market offerings.

            Another advantage to drinking Boston Lager is that it is regularly available in almost any grocery store. It started out decades ago as a craft brew, but because of its popularity it can no longer be called that. Also it is very affordable, costing about two dollars more per twelve-pack than the mundane selections from the mega-breweries.

            Boston Lager has an ABV of 4.9%, slightly higher than most domestic beers, and an IBU (International Bittering Units) of 30, which is slightly less than an India Pale Ale, but about twice of that found in an American Pale Lager. This gives Boston Lager a sour and very crisp taste.

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(Sorry Johnny…we couldn’t resist including SOME kind of pic of you ;)

I truly enjoy Boston Lager. It makes me feel like I’m drinking a craft beer but without the craft price.

Much love,

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Doug: Surly Bender

"Beer Stand Blog, you know, like Deer Stand, but with Beer?"

If I had a nickel for every time I had to explain the name of the blog….

I’m not sure what it is about beer that I get so excited about.  Maybe it is because it appeals to such a diverse audience.  Whether you are a prince or a pauper, redneck or hipster, douche or everyone’s best friend, there is a beer for you. There are very few things in life that can bring people together like beer can….weeeellllll….I can think of one more thing that can, but I’ll leave the Packer’s blog posts to the experts. ;-)

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My hope with this blog is to help a few of you expand your horizons a bit and maybe learn a thing or two about this incredible beverage.  In the course of writing up these 100 posts, there are two things that I have learned.  #1. There is no such thing as a bad beer.  You may not like a beer, but just know that someone somewhere does.  #2. The best beer in the world is the one in your hand. 

I can’t say enough good things about my blogging teammates Annie and Johnny.  It has been a whole lot of fun the past 100 posts learning so much about beer and I cannot wait for the next 100 posts.  Their passion for beer and writing about it is one of the reasons that I enjoy it so much. Even if this blog was just for ourselves we would keep going, just because we enjoy the heck out of it.

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As for my favorite, my go to if you will, that is Surly Bender out of Surly Brewing Company here in Brooklyn Center, MN. Bender is one of the first craft beers I ever remember having.  It’s the beer that made me want to learn more.  To me, this beer is the perfect combination of sweet and roast from the malt, a touch of citrus hop, smooth mouth feel and complete drink-ability.  I love this beer.

Cheers to another 100 posts.

Until next time

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Friday Quick Pick - O’so Dank Imperial Red Ale

As some of you may know, I have three kids, two of which are still cartoon watching age. One of their favorite’s is on the Disney Channel and is called Special Agent Oso. I have to admit, EVERY time I think of O’so Brewing, I think of this:

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Sorry O’so Brewing.  The joys of raising kids.

So our most ardent fans will remember that the first review we posted on this blog was O’so Hop Whoppin’. Thanks to my numerous trips to Wisconsin, I have had the chance to drink quite a few of their tasty brews. This one caught my eye at the liquor store as it is an Imperial Red Ale.

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Being an imperial, Dank isn’t our typical Friday Quick Pick with a low ABV.  This beer comes in at pretty strong 9.2% ABV, so this is not gonna be one of those beers where you knock back 4-5 in one sitting…well, it is if you wanna keep sitting for the rest of the night. In addition to the high ABV, it’s about $10 for a four-pack, so not outrageously expensive, but not cheap either.

The flavor is a great combination of scotch ale caramel sweetness and hoppy bitter balance.  The hops aren’t prominent and in fact I would say they are only there to balance the Scottish malts they used in the brewing. (Actually, I just checked the O’so website and that’s exactly what they say too!) The aroma is incredible too, so much malty sweet. 

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If you want something a little heavier to keep you warm as the nights start to turn cold, see if you can get your hands on this one.  O’so seems to produce a lot of good beers and this is definitely no exception.

Until next time,

Nebraska Brewing Company - India Pale Ale

Nebraska Brewing Company started like many other craft breweries - between a couple of people having lunch and dreaming big. In this particular situation, it was founder Paul Kavulak and his wife. In this article, Kavulak talks about how during said lunch in 2005, he and his wife decided they were gonna make their dreams into reality, so Kavulak pulled out his cell, called his boss, and quit his job.

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That commitment bore Nebraska Brewing Company. With a great lineup of solid beer - honestly, one of the best IPAs and session ales I’ve ever had - these guys are solidly entrenched in the Omaha beer scene. I would LOVE to get my hands on some of their specialty brews, which they age in either Stranahan whiskey barrels, or chardonnay barrels. Yum.

Kavulak, being business minded, thought even bigger than Nebraska, and worked his ass off to get his beer spread across the country. You’ll see below that the states in which his beer is distributed is fantastic and random. Well, less fantastic because there’s no distribution in Minny ;)

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Another fun page on their site is an interactive one that discusses their brewing process. Really, if you’re curious about how beer is made in general, it’s a great click!

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This particular beer is NBC’s IPA. According to their site

Our India Pale Ale has a pronounced hop bitterness and wonderful hop aroma. The taste immediately gives away the high hop characteristics with malt aspects playing second fiddle to this fantastic example of the style.
 
Awards: Silver, 2010 World Beer Championship, India Pale Ale

More deets on this beer:

Price point - I don’t know. I got it in a pick six - but if I was a bettin’ woman, I would go 9-10 bucks for a 6 pack of cans

Cellarable - At 6.5% abv and some crazy ass hop flavor, I’m gonna go no on this one. Drink it while it’s fresh, kids!

Availability - Year ‘round in the following states: *deep breath* Alaska, Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, North Carolina *whew*

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On to the tasting with, er, the woman herself! Which is me! Annie! (contain your excitement):

Aroma - A strong piney aroma, with some citrus notes. A bit of caramel

Appearance - A smooth ivory color with some pebbling. The beer is a rich caramel color that is fairly cloudy.

Taste - Quite a bit of piney bitterness but with just enough sweetness to offset. Almost a bitter orange, maybe a smidge of grapefruit. The malty backbone has hints of caramel. There’s a bit of biscuit in the midst too. The finish is bitter, but in the end, clean.

Palate - Highly carbonated with a medium body and a smooth mouthfeel, in spite of the carbonation. 

Overall - This is the happiest beer I’ve had in awhile, and I really like it! BRING ON THE HOPS!!! 

Side note: I cannot WAIT to get my hands on their ‘Hop God’ brew. I bet it’s utterly fantastic…

Cheers!

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Friday Quick Pick - Summit Oktoberfest

Well, it’s that time of year when the colors start changing and no I don’t mean from green to red, I mean from pale yellow to amber.  That’s right, it’s Oktoberfest season!

Earlier this week, Guitarboy Johnny posted his review of Lakefront Brewery Oktoberfest, I figured for our Quick Pick we should feature one from this side of the Mississippi. Summit Oktoberfest.

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As Johnny mentioned in his post regarding Oktoberfest styles of beer:

The name implies it is brewed late in the year but it is traditionally brewed in late winter. It is then aged until autumn which gives it a distinct hoppy, malty flavor, and slightly higher alcohol content. In addition a beer cannot truly be called Oktoberfest unless it is brewed within the city limits of Munich. If it is brewed outside the city limits it must be called an Oktoberfest-“style” beer.

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Summit’s version of the beer appears to be a tad different than Lakefront. I found this beer to be medium bodied, but more malty sweet than yeasty, but there is a bread quality to the flavor. It has a great amber color body and bone colored head and the aroma is caramel sweet. At 6.6 % ABV it would be easy to knock back a couple on a nice fall afternoon.

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This beer is one of the easier to drink Oktoberfests I have had.  The flavor is rich without being overpowering.  I highly recommend picking it up.

Until next time.

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Lakefront Brewery - Oktoberfest

There are a few things in life I find inexcusable. I cannot tolerate when retailers put up Christmas decorations in September. It drives me crazy when Halloween displays appear in August. And the most annoying is seeing back-to-school sales on the first day of summer vacation. But there is one exception, and that’s when Oktoberfest beer appears at the end of summer.

Actually the term Oktoberfest is a bit of a misnomer. The name implies it is brewed late in the year but it is traditionally brewed in late winter. It is then aged until autumn which gives it a distinct hoppy, malty flavor, and slightly higher alcohol content. In addition a beer cannot truly be called Oktoberfest unless it is brewed within the city limits of Munich. If it is brewed outside the city limits it must be called an Oktoberfest-“style” beer. Another little known fact is that only true Oktoberfest beers can be served at the original Munich Oktoberfest.

The birth of Oktoberfest beer dates back more than 500 years. At that time German brewers couldn’t understand why beer brewed during the summer ended up tasting sour and medicinal, whereas beer brewed in the colder winter months tasted clean and refreshing. What the brewers didn’t know was that airborne microbes flourish in the summer and tend to destroy the taste of beer when it is stored in kegs. Because of this the breweries were forced to shut down during the summer months. To compensate for this loss in production extra labor was hired and long hours were worked during the winter months. Beer was stored in kegs that were moved into caves and cellars which were packed with ice and snow. This large stockpile was then sold throughout the spring and summer and maintained its pleasant flavor. But when the summer was ending many of the kegs were still filled and desperately needed to store the next batch. The citizens of Germany were faced with a daunting task. They asked a question heard only once in the history of the world.

“HOW ARE WE GOING TO DRINK ALL THIS BEER?!?”

And a timeless, nameless, historic voice echoed above the anxiety-ridden masses.

“PARTY!!!”

And the first Oktoberfest was born. The citizens of Munich slipped into their finest togas, spewed mashed potatoes from their bulging cheeks, and smashed every acoustic guitar within the city limits. A good time was had by all until Dean Wormer brandished his iron first. The rest is history.

For my subject I chose Milwaukee’s own Lakefront Brewery’s Oktoberfest. I picked it up at Trader Joe’s on North Port Washington Road. Oktoberfest has a rich dark caramel color that is very inviting. The taste is thirst quenching and satisfying. The yeast flavor stays in your mouth long after the beer has been swallowed; reminding you that this isn’t the beer you drank in college. I found Oktoberfest to be very drinkable, not too heavy, and not overboard with the hops. Half way through the first I was looking forward to the second.


Lakefront Brewery has been making affordable craft brewed beers since 1987. Some of the more popular names you may recognize are Fixed Gear, an American Red Ale, Fuel Café, an organic coffee stout, and the very popular Riverwest Stein, an American Amber Lager. Give them a try. I know I have.

So if Munich isn’t in your travel plans, throw your own Oktoberfest. Dust off that old toga, smash a couple of beer cans against your forehead, but remember to be nice to the guitar player. And don’t forget to invite me.

Much Love,

Friday Quick Pick - Schell Brewery 30th Anniversary Sampler Pack

The high temperature in the Twin Cities area hovered around 55 degrees today and when we woke up, it was in the mid 40’s.  Annie is visiting friends in western South Dakota and she tweeted a picture of snow.  Yep, summer is coming to a close.  Before it goes away though, I thought it would be good to take one last look at a light and crisp style of beer perfect for summer, the German Pilsner.

Based upon a little research, Pilsners aren’t all that popular in the U.S., which is actually surprising to me.  Most major beers describe themselves as having that great “Pilsner taste” but are, in fact, American or Light American Lagers.  Pilsners are very similar in aroma, appearance, taste and mouth feel, to American Lagers so it seems pretty odd to me that Pilsners aren’t consumed at a higher rate. Pilsners are light, crisp, have low ABV and can have a nice flavor profile without blowing you away.

Earlier this year, the eighth oldest brewery in the U.S. and a sixth generation brewer that prides themselves on brewing traditional German beers, Schell Brewery in New Ulm, MN celebrated the 30th Anniversary of their release of their German Pilsner.  To commemorate the event they released a sampler pack with beer made from their original 1984 recipe, their current recipe and two special recipes specifically brewed for this celebration.  Before we take a look at each of the beers, it is interesting to note that Schell used different malt and hop combinations for each of the beers.

1984 – As I mentioned before, this beer is the original recipe that Schell used 30 years ago.  These guys are so hardcore that they have their own yeast strain.  This beer is about as traditional a German Pilsner as you can find.  It is extremely pale and has a very light aroma with just a touch of hops.  The flavor is malty and just ever so slightly bitter.  It is really crisp with medium to high carbonation and finishes really clean.

2014 – 2014 is similar to 1984, but the presence of hops is much more prominent.  Don’t get me wrong, this will never be mistaken for a high hopped beer, but it is noticeably different than 1984.  2014’s appearance is similar to 1984, in fact, all four of them look exactly alike. Where this one differs is that it has more floral notes in the aroma and the flavor has a touch more citrus.  Mouth feel is similar between the two, but 2014 lingers just a bit more on the tongue.

Roggen – One of the differences with this version is that Schell used rye malt in addition to traditional barley malt for this beer. This creates a drier, spicier flavor profile that is very easy to pick out.  Of the four, this one has had the most interesting flavor profile.  All of the flavors are subtle, but you get the dry rye spiciness, malt backbone and just a touch of hop bitter.  So, so complex.

Mandarina – This one features a brand new German Hop called Mandarina Bavaria.  Per Schell, this beer “pushes the definition of a Pilsner” with a higher ABV (6.0%) and 60 IBUs (bitterness). The higher level of bitterness comes from the aggressive use of the new hops.  This one is by far the sweetest of the four.  You get the malt backbone, but the new style of hops increases the sweet citrus you get, that being said, it is still a fairly dry beer.

Schells sure knows what they doing when it comes to brewing traditional German beers with a modern twist.  I’d tell you to go out and get your hands on this sampler pack, but alas, it is no longer available.  However…they do have a 30th anniversary Hefeweizen sampler pack.  Based on the results from the Pilsner sampler pack, I’d recommend getting the Hefeweizen one while it is still available. 

Until next time

3 Floyds’ - Robert the Bruce

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THEY MAY TAKE OUR LAND, BUT THEY WILL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM!

Sorry, couldn’t help myself…I see the name Robert the Bruce and I immediately think of Braveheart.

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One of the nice things about living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is how close it is to Wisconsin.  While this means I’m closer to things like good cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and very good frozen custard, it also means I am closer to beers only sold in Wisconsin.  One such family of beers sold in the Motherland and not in my adopted home is from 3 Floyd’s.  We have reviewed Zombie Dust before on this blog, but when Annie and I made a run to Cassanova Liquors in Hudson, WI for a growler fill field trip, it took me all of 2 seconds to choose which beer I wanted. 3 Floyd’s Robert the Bruce.

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3 Floyd’s is out of northern Indiana and has been brewing serious craft beer for some time.  In fact, I’m not really sure if they know how to make a bad beer. Robert the Bruce is their Scottish Ale and available year round. For those of you that don’t know me, my list of favorite beer styles goes like this: Imperial Russian Stouts (preferably bourbon barrel aged), Black IPAs and Scottish Ales. 

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I like sweet, malt heavy beers which is why Scottish Ales are one of my favorite styles of beer.  While I have had a few Scottish Ales in my time, one of things that made this experience unique was the growler.  If you haven’t had beer from a growler before, it is a different experience.  The reason it is different is because, unless you are sitting down with a couple of friends and polishing off the growler in one sitting, you have a beer or two and you still have a lot of beer left in the bottle along with a lot of air which flattens the beer, even if you have one of those cool bottles with a rubber seal.  I liken it to having a regularly carbonated beer on nitro.  The flavor profile is pretty much the same, but the mouth feel is dramatically different on day 3 than it is on day 1.  This is why you have about 3-7 days to finish off your growler depending on the type of beer. 

Here is some information on the beer before the tasting note:

Price point - It was about $15 for a growler fill which is 64 oz. 

Cellar-able - at 6.5% ABV and such a sweet flavor profile I would not recommend cellaring it.

Availability - Year round, but only in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin.

On with the tasting! Keep in mind, I am drinking this on day two after having three out of the growler. That means the bottle is about 3/4 empty.

Aroma - Now with the beer being flatter it not only has an effect on the mouthfeel, but also the aroma.  No bubbles = no aroma getting released. So the aroma is pretty mild.  There are hints of raisins, toffee and vanilla with just a mild roast as well.  

Appearance - This is a really dark amber color.  I would say 30-31 which is pretty dark, but light really brings out the red in the beer.  The head is off white, but almost non-existing right from the pour. 

Taste - Pretty strong raisin flavor, lots of malt and vanilla with just a mild roast to it. It is sooooo sweet and good.  Love it. 

Palate - My uneducated college palate would have taken one sip and tossed this beer thinking it was flat.  Ah, but not my current palate.  There is just a touch of carbonation that hits the tip of the tongue and it works.  The beer is pretty heavy overall and lingers on the lips and the tongue.

Overall - Loving this beer.  I would really like to try in on tap or out of a bottle to see what the “regular” mouth feel would be like.  But the flavor is mild and not overpowering, assuming you like sweet.  Scottish ales aren’t for everyone, but if you like them, pick this one up.

Until next time

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