Beer Zombies year in review, Part 3 Porters

Robust-Porter

Part 3 of my favorite beers of 2015 will be jumping into porters. For this section it will be exclusively non barrel aged. When I post the Stouts list it will also be for the non barrel aged versions. I plan on doing a separate blog post on best of barrel aged Stouts/Porters, I feel like there are just so many delicious beers this is the only way to really break it down. So here we go with my three favorite non ba porters of 2015

 

Porters

Death By Coconut – Oskar Blues 

English Porter, ABV 6.5% IBU 25

This delicious beer has intense fresh cacao flavors swirling with popping coconut aromas, all supported by a semi-sweet porter made from loads of dark chocolate and extra dark caramel malt. I picked up a four pack of cans from a bottle shop in SoCal, they lasted two nights. Its such a perfect after dinner beer, gives you the sweetness of desert without being cloying. It really has a great balance of coconut and dark malts, don’t get me wrong you wont be left wanting more coconut its there in full force!

Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – Funky Buddha Brewing

American Porter, ABV 6.4% IBU 35

Evoking a complete diner-style breakfast in a glass, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is a complex beer with a multitude of flavors at play. Aromas of sticky maple syrup, coffee, and cream creep forth from the glass. The mouth feel is luxuriously creamy, with layers of sweet malt, toffee, and roast giving way to waves of smoke, coffee, and salted chocolate. It finishes sticky, rich, and sweet, with the flavor of maple syrup lingering pleasantly on the tongue. Kaboom! this is outstanding, Im always weary of anything bacon infused, it has a tendency of coming off artificial to me. Not the case here at all, the saltiness and smoke gives you a sense of bacon without going over board. All in all a super delicious play on a porter.

Everett – Hill Farmstead

American Porter, ABV 7.5%

 Everett is crafted from American malted barley, English and German roasted malts, American hops, Hill Farmstead ale yeast, and water from the breweries well. It is unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Decadent in its depth, with a complex backbone of chocolate, coffee, and malty sweetness. Up until I had this magnificent porter I always used the Founders Porter as the base on which to judge every other non flavored porter. This for me is the most perfect example I have tasted myself, there really is nothing that compare or can top it in my opinion.

There it is my top three porters of 2015, I love hearing feedback and suggestions for beers you feel I need to try or left out. Next up, Stouts! check back in a few days for part 4 of Beer Zombies year in review.

Cheers,

BZ

Beer Zombies year in review, Part 2 Sour Beers

 

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Sour beer, Wild Ales, Lambic and so on and so forth. To be completely up front and honest this style of beer is still one that I am exploring and learning about. So instead of breaking it down into further sub categories for each like Flanders, Gueuze etc. etc I’m going to to lump them into one blog post and throw up my favorites from the year. It will be more then three this time do to how many styles are involved.

 

WILD ALES/SOURS

SLOambic – Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 6%

I first had the opportunity to try this amazing beer at the From the Barrel event put on by Firestone Walker at Santa Margarita ranch. SLOambic is made by using 2050 lbs. of  marionberries and boysenberries added to Sour Opal, a beer matured up to 32 months in oak barrels and then fermented using FW proprietary blend of microflora for an additional four months. The beer is bright and alive with berry compote, and homemade jam that provides a stage for a dance of funky yeast and oak flavors before closing the curtain with an amazing acidic finish.

R & D Wild Peach – New Glarus Brewing Co.

American Wild Ale ABV: 7.25%

I had this first at a small bottle share, the few ounces I drank was not close to enough. I went after a bottle in a trade and actually have one more on the way as I type. New Glarus made this Sour brown ale with Michigan peaches. Spontaneous fermentation aged on oak. Blended 1, 2 and 3 year old beer. The nose on this beer is world class, like opening 100 cans of peaches at once! The flavor profile is bursting with layers of fresh pressed peach juice seeping through used bourbon barrels and consumed out of a old leather cup. Has a great tart slightly sour crisp finish, that just pulls all the flavors together for a perfect easy drinking wild ale.

Drie Fonteinen Framboos – Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%

This was a bottle gifted to me from the wonderful people at La Bodega bottle shop in Riverside Ca. Framboos is a one year old lambic brewed at 3 Fonteinen, with an addition of 30% whole fresh raspberries from the fabled Payottenland. No artificial colors or flavor enhancers are added. When poured into the glass the aroma is slightly funky with raspberry bush greenage that comes forward. As it warms up the actually berry just smacks you in the nose with a bright citric, and lactic acid mix. The flavor is truly amazing and complex, starts off with fresh ripe juicy raspberries that have been steeped in lemonade juiced from Meyer and Lisbon lemons. Hits a vinous white grape note before plunging into a full barnyard funk. Overall an excellent sour, juicy, tart funky beer.

 

Fruit Salad Oude Bruin – The Bruery 

Flanders Oud Bruin ABV: 8.2%

Part of the glorious day of drinking at The Bruery anniversary party. Fruit Salad Oude Bruin is a single barrel blend of Oude Tart that was brewed in July 2013 and an Oud Bruin Pilot Batch. The single wine barrel also contains 27 lbs. of blackberries, 39 lbs. of raspberries and 21 lbs.of Blueberry (in a single wine barrel!). The fruit was fermented to dryness by the mixed culture in the barrel. The name of this beer is perfect, fruit salad!  Had such a unique flavor of fresh berry pie filling mixed with cherry cola and sprinkled with some vinegar tartness. Was one of my favorite beers of the day that I stood in line for multiple times.

 

Cantillon Fou’ Foune – Brasserie Cantillon

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%

From a 2015 vintage bottle, made by using 2600 lbs. of apricots who land each year at Cantillon The fruits are stoned by hand before being immersed in a Lambic 2 years of age. The taste and aroma are extracted quickly and after 2 months of maceration, Fou’Foune is bottled. I love the way this beer reminds you that you are drinking a sour beer but only for a second before the apricots come crashing like a wave on your tongue. Its juicy, ripe and pulpy without being over bearing. It blends so amazingly with the base beer in a perfect harmony. Delivers a mid palate of an oak aged chardonnay, lemon peel, earth and a slight cheese flavor that joins in as well. I wish I could drink this regularly and not share!   

 

That is my list for my favorite sour/wilds of the year. This next year I plan to explore this style more and hope to find some beers that are on this caliber. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Ill be posting part 3 very soon.

 

Cheers,

BZ

Beer Review – Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – Funky Buddha

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Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – Funky Buddha Brewery

Porter

6.4% ABV

APPEARANCE: Pours a fresh pot of dark roasted coffee black. Hitting the glass it almost look as if a black hole is forming in the center, leaving some wonderful dancing hues of brown to fill in the edges. Produced a billowy head of two fingers in height, before quickly dissipating into a nice brown egg shell colored halo.

 

AROMA: Smells like I just walked into a back country breakfast diner! The inviting aroma of maple syrup freshly being poured over pancakes comes rushing towards you. Deep dark chocolate muffins, a fresh pot of coffee. The coffee smells like when you are tossing the filter out and have nothing but the spent coffee grounds. I’m trying to get bacon, but its not coming out on the bouquet. A slight smokiness that i could assume would be the bacon but the delicious maple syrup and coffee keep crashing in to my nostrils and wipe away any faint aromas of that.

 

TASTE: Boom! I am now Violet Beauregarde but instead of chewing my meal via gum I am drinking it through this beer. Liquid breakfast, maple is the dominate flavor. I can taste in being poured right into my mouth. The sweetness of the maple gives a nice introduction to the the slight bitterness from all the coffee swirling around. The coffee and mid palate maltiness really brings a harmonious balance to the beer. Right as i am thinking i have tasted it all the burnt crispy bacon flavors come rolling in to play. Not smokey which I am happy for, but more of a savory flavor that reminds you of bacon without feeling like you just drank a piece. The layers all blend together very well, a slight cocoa powder dusting floating on top of a coca-cola is present on the end. Really interesting and delicious tasting beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Right on the cusp of being a medium body but hits just bellow. The carbonation is lazy and lovely just the way I like my porters to be. Slight oiliness and slickness that goes well with knowing it has maple and bacon flavors within it. The beer expands while in the mouth giving it a marshmallow fluff creaminess that is very nice. Super drinkable, so much so that I am glad i was selfish and had this all to myself!

 

OVERALL: I can only assume that someones job at Funky is to pour bottles of maple syrup into bottles all day long while this is being made. How else could they get so much immense, rich, sweet goodness into each of these bottles. I thought this was truly an amazing porter, the flavors where amazing and layered well within each other. The only flavor that really didn’t pop was the bacon, but i think that’s what makes this drink so easily. The highlight of this Porter is the aroma, one of the best i have experienced on a beer in a while. I know the actual base porter itself takes a backseat to the additions of the adjuncts, but that’s what this beer is all about. I for one think it was done outstanding!

 

RATING: 4.9/5 Zombie Heads!

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Beer Review – Bairille Aois B.O.R.I.S – Hoppin’ Frog

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HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY!
Bairille Aois B.O.R.I.S
Jameson barrel aged Imperial Stout
9.4% ABV
2013 Vintage

APPEARANCE: Poured a jet black oil slick color, came out thick and gurgling. The hard pour produced a decent sized creamy khaki colored head. Great retention that stuck around through taking pictures all the way until the first drink.
AROMA: Big gooey, delectable fresh baked brownies, fudge and chocolate chip cookies. Nice Jameson barrel notes that have a light floral, spicy wood and vanilla swirl going on. Loads of warm butterscotch, carmel and toffee mixed with coffee and heavy cream. Very reminiscent of a Starbucks latte super inviting.

TASTE: Barrel notes right away, Jameson has a bit of dry sweetness to it and it comes through on the palate. Slightly spicy with creamy vanilla and oak that gives way to big moist chocolate fudge. The sweetness is balanced out by the mild hop bitterness. I do get a solid bit of booze but I think that it is needed to counter act the sweetness that comes through. The base oatmeal makes a entrance and gives a lovely creaminess that really pulls all the layers together.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium plus body with a lazy but present carbonation. The oatmeal gives a silky creaminess that balances out the stickiness from the sweetness. Very long lingering finish that makes you eager for another sip.

OVERALL: Perfect beer for St. Patricks day, I paired this with Mint Moose Tracks ice cream and it was perfect. If you are a fan of Jameson and barrel aged stouts then you are in for a treat. A perfect marriage of the two flavors in a easy drinking high ABV stout.

RATING: 4.5/5 Zombie Heads!

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Beer Review – 2010 Dark Lord – Three Floyds

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2010 Dark Lord – Three Floyds
russian imperial stout
15% ABV
50 IBU
APPEARANCE:  Poured a devilish black oil slick color. My snifter produced little to no head, the teku pour produced a small khaki colored head that settled into a nice halo. Head has stuck around with some spotted lacing, that is slow dancing down the glass.
AROMA: Instantly hit with black licorice and molasses. Reminiscent of bourbon county brand stout on the bouquet. Smells of rich dark chocolates and deep dark fruits, currants, plums and ripe plump raisins. Faint aroma of coffee beans hiding under the layers. Smells sweet and boozy at the same time, such an inviting aroma.
TASTE: I just made a deal with the devil, sold my soul for a bottle of beer! Amazing, chocolate covered cherries, floating on a bed of sweet malts. Intense flourishes of burnt caramelized fruits with a toasted nuttiness. The chocolate and sweetness gives way to nice warming alcohol heat that finishes with a nice port wine like flavors. If i had this in a blind taste, I would bet the house this was a barrel aged beer. I’m a huge fan of vanilla and this delivers an immense slap to the taste buds of Madagascar vanilla beans. Delicious!

MOUTHFEEL: For a hard pour that produced almost no head I was expecting a almost lazy flat beer.I was wrong, prickly hidden carbonation that expands into a wonderful creaminess with each sip. Nice burn from the high abv with a dry lingering finish that leaves the flavors hanging around for an eternity in my mouth.
OVERALL: As far as a Russian imperial stout goes, this gargantuan beer is the best I’ve had to date. The layers upon layers on both nose and pallet seem to be ever evolving. The sweetness is forefront without being cloying, the alcohol is present without being overbearing. All around an amazing beer for the style and amazing beer in general. The Dark Lord has risen!

RATING: 5/5 zombie heads!

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Review – Hop Drop N Roll – NoDa Brewing

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Hop Drop N Roll – NoDA Brewing Company

ABV 7.7%

IBU 81

APPEARANCE: Pours a clear burnt orange copper color. With slightly muddy brown rim variation and an Intense dark yellow center to the beer. Small but dense khaki colored head, that really left some interesting lacing patterns down my glass.

AROMA: Unlike most IPA’s I have been drinking as of late, this one starts off very strong in the sweet malt profile. Warm fresh out of the oven sugar cookies laced with toffee and caramel. Lemon zest, tropical citrus profile with a tinge of mint in there as well. Lots of leaf floral hop aromas that round out the back end.

TASTE: Just what I was expecting after the the nose, honey spread on toast. A bit on the sweet side of the ipa style. Very malt forward, the malts set the stage for the hops to dance on. Middle of the beer has some wonderful bright tropical fruits, before ending with a bitter grapefruit and piney medley.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium sticky body paired with an aggressive medium plus carbonation.Oily, creamy and very enjoyable on the mouthfeel aspect.

OVERALL: I respect this ipa for not following in the paths of others and really trying to be unique. I do feel the candied malt sweetness is a bit overpowering. If the caramel and toffee were toned just a bit I think the hops would really get a chance to dance on the stage that is Hop Drop N Roll and add a much needed balance to the beer.

RATING: 3.9/5 Zombie Heads!

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