Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vintage Beer Review

It has been nearly a week since the Stone Brewery Rare and Vintage beer tasting event on the 29th, so it is past time I give my impressions.

Russian Imperial Stout 2006 (10.8%)
Noticeable alcohol on the nose with a hint of roasted barley. Feel is very smooth with alcohol on the tongue. If velvet was a liquid, this would be it. Best of the night.

Russian Imperial Stout 2007 (10.8%)
Malty nose with a hoppy finish. Malty mid-mouth and less smooth than the 2006. Shows were the previous year's was. Nice example of the style.

Russian Imperial Stout 2009 (10.5%)
Nice comparison to the previous year's batches. Alcohol on nose and hoppy. Flavor is less organized and more intense than those that have aged a bit. Buy 6 bottles of this and enjoy one each year starting in 2010.

12th Anniversary - July 2008 (9.2%)
Contains Argentinian cocoa to give bitterness due to the hop shortage at the time of brewing. The cocoa provides no chocolate flavor. Hints of coffee and chocolate from the malted grains. Smooth finish. It is a Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

11th Anniversary - September 2007 (8.7%)
Hoppy nose and mid-mouth. Very interesting flavors with a stout-like finish. I need to have this again as my notes are too incomplete. I may have returned to taking some pictures at this time.

Sublimely Self Rigteous (8.7%)
Heavy grapefruit notes on the nose and taste. Mid-mouth is malty. A nice bow to the hophead, without overpowering everything else.

Cali Belgique (6.8%)
A very interesting blend of two styles: Belgian ale and IPA. Nice golden color with a hoppy start. Hints of grapefruit in the hops. Finish is sweet. Best described as having an IPA start and a Belgian finish. This was my pick of second best of the night.

Double Bastard 2006 (10%)
Has a malty start with a slight hint of hops in the nose. Gets more malty mid-mouth and finishes with a slight hint of hops. Could be described as a slightly hoppy barley wine.

Double Bastard 2007 (10%)
Malty start and nose. Seems less hoppy than the 2006, which seems backward. Very nice beer to sip on a warm night.

Old Guardian 2007 (11.26%)
Begins malty, turns sweet mid-mouth and has a hoppy finish. By this time in the night it is all I can do to determine what I am drinking and write some notes.

Old Guardian 2008 (11.26%)
As expected, is hoppier than the 2007, mixed with malt sweetness. Alcohol and hops are more noticeable mid-mouth. My pick of third best of the night.

Old Guardian 2009 (11.3%)
Hops and grapefruit start, nose, mid-mouth and finish. The hopheads barley wine this. Get a case and let it age two years before opening the first one. Then open one every year or two. Let this one age a bunch.

The 12 beers, in order, right to left (yeah, I know it is backward, but it was arranged by a bunch of lovers, what do you expect??).

Afterward, I was able to fill a case with our empty bottles (12 x 22oz). I will now use them to bottle my own homebrew; let it be worthy. Saturday afternoon they had the 9 vintage beers on-sale (what was left from the brewery shipment) for $15 a piece, limit one bottle per type per person. The other 3 (Cal Belgique, 2009 Stout and 2009 Old Guardian) were on sale on the normal shelves. The Cal Belgique was going fast, so I bought it along with 3 of the vintage: 2006 Stout, 2007 Double Bastard and 2007 Old Guardian). All four are aging under my steps, where the temperature is cool, but unfortunately not 55. I will get examples of the 2009 vintage later.

Once again I would like to thank Ed and his crew for an excellent job on this tasting and Jungle Jim for having the vision to hire such people. It was more than worth the price of admission.

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