So, I'm new to the craft beer/homebrew scene. I decided I need to expand my knowledge of how different styles taste, so I went to Total Wine today and did a sixy of a bunch of different stuff. I will continue to update this post and I pop the top on these bad boys. I don't know a whole lot about beer and I'm not up to par on all the parlance and descriptive terms, so this is definitley coming from a newb. Contructive criticism is appreciated. Oh, and I'm going to go back and try to figure out what these beer's "should" taste like (after the fact) and compare to my initial impressions.
Beer 1: Rogue - Dead Guy Ale
I picked this brew up because I saw it mentioned in here at some point in my perusings (whether for better or worse I can't remember). When I sniff it (and the glass is nearly empty now, as I split it with my FIL and have already been sipping on it. Don't know if that makes a difference) it has a sweet smell to me, so I'll say it has a malty smell. I'm not sure I did the best pour, especially considering I was pouring a half bottle per glass, but it had a very minimal head that didn't hang around too long. It has an amber-type color to it that I was surprised to see. But then, I took a sip and I was very surprised. It was hoppy! I blame my fondness of Boston Lager and a particular local Porter, but the hoppiness really took me by surprise and just overpowered any other tastes for me. I don't blame the beer, I blame my pallette, but I was just not able to detect anything aside from the hoppiness for those first few sips. I left a small amount in the bottom of my glass as I started writing thisx and when I sipped the last few drops I tasted some caramel. Redemption.
Beer 2: Duck-Rabbit - Milk Stout (with dinner)
Wow. This beer is delicious! So (this is going to sound familiar) it smells sweet and malty. But more so than the dead guy. I'm going to have to re-evaluate that beer :-P. Color is very dark, but at the edges of the glass I see hints of red. When I take a sip, I just see this symphony of images/colors in my head that I can't really describe, bit I'll try. It hits you hard with the sweetness, which the smell alludes to. It also has that distinct "kick" that I associate with the Boston Lager, so maybe its been lagered? It has a distinct (though not lingering, as my FIL pointed out and with which I agree) aftertaste that I can best desribe as creamy. Letting it sit out a bit (I like to do this because it brings the flavours and aromas out IMO) it gets a sort of liqourice/smokey (sorry I suck so bad at these descriptions!) Smell/flavour, in a totally good way. I guess that's all I taste, I def don't notice the hops like I did on the Dead Guy: maybe I'm more a stout/porter guy? Or maybe I'm just too used to them? Oh yea, forgot to mention that part of its smell is distinctly alcohol: not like rubbing alcohol, just "oh, this thing is alcoholic". But its not detrimental: it's actually somewhat deceiving because I don't really taste it when I go to drink it.
Beer 3: Ommegang - True Belgian Amber
This beer has a fruity character when I smell it. I wouldn't call it dominating (compared to some of the hombrews I've tried [devilishprune I'm talking to you]) but it's all I can smell. How 'bout taste? Well, first thing I notice when I take a swig is that it has a very different mouthfeel than beer's 1 and 2. I wouldn't attribute the difference just to more carbonation, though that may be some of it. I'm gonna attribute more of it to, I dunno, subtle hoppiness? I like it: not only is it different from beer's 1 and 2, it's different from most beers I've had. Okie doke, now I've let it sit for just a bit, or maybe it's me getting used to the beer (because this seems to happen with all the beers so far, after a few sips) but I can finally taste more than just the initial "wow, this is different." I definitely taste the fruitiness that I smelled earlier, not upfront though it's sort of in the back. The beer also has a certain dryness to it that I perceive right before I taste the fruitiness. Nothing really jumps right out at me when I take a swig, though, like with the Rogue brew. Oh yea, I forgot to mention the color. Not amber: more brown, not even a light brown (though not dark), but brown. Maybe this is in the true style of a true Belgian Amber? Dunno (yet). Oh yea, and it had a pretty good head, that hung around for a while. Overall, I'd say this is a pleasant beer, but I'm not really impressed by it. I picked it up because, like the Dead Guy, I saw the name Ommegang on here (though, again, for the better or worse I can't remember). Again, though, I'm not quick to blame the beer and recognize that I may not have as sophisticated palette as some. Maybe in a few years I'll read these descriptions again and laugh at myself. Then again maybe I won't. Final thoughts: light, bubbly, something fun to drink on a sunny day maybe?
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Beer 4: The Fort Collins Brewerey - Chocolate Stout
Well, the last thing I notice about this one is a smokey after-taste. It's very interesting and very distinctive. Hangs around for a bit too. I kind of like it, because it gives it a definite unsweetened-chocolate/black coffee feeling. I enjoy dark chocolate (a lot less sweet than milk chocolate). Smell-wise, it's very similar to the milk stout. I should probably note, that I've never been know for my olfactory prowess. So, I'll just put that out there. I smell some smokiness in there, but I'm having a hard time telling if its coming from the beer or my glass :-P It's thick, as you would expect from a stout. Comparing it to the milk some more, though, it doesn't hit me with as much flavour up front as the milk stout. It does have a more brown colour than the milk stout. Again, I have to tilt the glass and look at the edge of the beer to see it, due to the darkness. Overall, after a few more sips, I'm going to say that the smokeyness is a little overpowering, and definitely one of the focal points of this brew.
Tune in for more.