Super Baladin

I’ve been a bad boy and I haven’t posted in quite a while.

Doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking beer.  Far from it.  It’s just that I haven’t really been trying any new beers.  Or very many at least.  I’ve got a few that I’ve built up a folder on, so let’s start with Italy and Super Baladin from Birrifico Le Baladin.

The best way to describe it would be to compare it to a Belgian triple.  It’s a bit strong, carrying an ABV of 8.0% and it is sold in an ultra-large 25.4oz bottle.  It is actually an amalgam of English yeast used in the first fermentation process and Belgian yeast used for the bottle fermentation.  The result is just plain delicious.

A whole array of different aromas arise from the initial pour of the brew.  Banana, pineapple, pear?  I dunno, I’ve never been really good at identifying that kind of thing.  All I know is that it smelled fruity and wonderful.  The taste followed suit deliciously.  A delicious caramel malt with strong spice and yeasty flavors.  I’ve seen a few reviews on beer advocate that talk about a strong sour flavor, but I haven’t noticed it.  It’s definitely got some tang, but nothing like a true sour ale.

I think it would go great with some strong cheeses and some olives.   But I pretty much think that just about everything goes well with cheese and some olives.

My Rating: 8 out of 10


Duvel Green

I’ve been a big fan of Duvel Golden Ale out of Belgium for quite a while now.  It’s one of the classic beers out there that is always a treat to drink.  It is with giddy excitement that I get to give you my review on Duvel’s newest offering in the States.  Duvel Green on draught.

I had the opportunity to give it a try at BXL Belgian Cafe in NYC last night during their launch party, and I’m here to tell you that I am hooked!  It’s a fantastic, light Belgian Ale with wonderful fruity finish.  Definitely different from the Classic ale.

And those differences run the gamut from subtle to extraordinary.  Classic Duvel is a double-fermented strong golden-style ale with a powerful ABV or around 8.5%.  Duvel Green is made with the same exact recipe, however, they stop after the first fermentation process which results in a lighter, crisper ale with a lower ABV of 6.8%.

Duvel has actually been making this brew for years.  Their brewing process allows for them to taste the beer after the first fermentation and they have been enjoying it for a while now.  So they have been bottling it and selling it, but only at the brewery.  Now it is available on draught, here in the States.  Give it a try!

My Rating: 9 out of 10.

Stone Vertical Epic 07

I think I messed up.

I’ve had beers out of Stone Brewing, Co.from California before, and I’ve really enjoyed them.  So when I saw the Vertical Epic last week at the local distributor, I didn’t think twice about giving it a go.  What I didn’t know then was the back-story to the Vertical Epic line of brews from Stone.

Starting in 2002 they have produced a very, very small batch of ale (I’ve read in the neighborhood of 300 cases or so) that they would release on a special day.  2/2/2002, 3/3/2003, 4/4/2004 and so on.  Each individual brew was designed to be aged in the bottle until 12/12/2012 when the beer aficionado should try each with a group of fellow enthusiasts in a “vertical tasting”.  Everything from the 11-year old 2002 brew to the un-aged 2012 ale.  That was the design.  I didn’t know that.  You can read about it here, if you prefer.

Not that it would have changed when I drank the ale.  No, beer is more of an immediate thing for me rather than something I would choose to wait 11 years to quaff.  However, if I had known about the design of the ale I probably wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.  The version I purchased was the 07 vintage.  Which means that it was probably sitting on the shelf of this beer store for the better part of the past year.  So I don’t know if it was supposed to taste the way it tasted or if it was ruined by a year in the warmth and light of this particular beer store.

Because it was nasty.  Almost un-drinkable.  Way too much of an alcohol taste for my liking without any of the sweetness or mellowness of a great malty ale.  The aroma, the inital taste, the aftertaste…nothing was good.  It was just plain awful.

I hope it was only my bottle that was ruined after a year in the store, and I ain’t waiting until 2012 to try a fully aged bottle.  But I usually like the offerings from this brewery.  Without another bottle to test it against, I gotta call foul on this one.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Black Sheep Ale

This delicious Ale comes out of the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire in England.  I have to admit that I purchased it solely on the basis of its attractive sturdy oversized bottle.  It was a little over a pint or half a liter for you metric types.  And, like I said, it was delicious.

It was formerly called their “special ale” and I can see where the name came from.  Light and drinkable with an ABV of 4.4%, it was a tasty brew with nice bitter aftertaste.  Certainly not as hoppy as its Pale Ale or IPA cousins, it did have a nice hop aroma and initial taste up front.  Then the malty goodness took over, although never becoming too sweet or cloying.  I only had one, but I could easily have had a few more.

My Rating: 8 out of 10.

Juju Ginger

This one was a real disappointment for me.  I’m a big fan of beer (duh) and an even bigger fan of ginger.  So naturally I assumed that this brew from Left Hand Brewing Company would be a big win for me.

Wrong.  It was merely so-so.

The taste of the beer was pretty good. I thought it was similar to a Singha or some other Asian-stlye ale. I guess I just expected so much more.  I wanted a blast of ginger, similar to something that I would get in a ginger beer.  That’s what I wanted, even though I knew it wasn’t realistic.  Ginger infused beers just don’t taste like that.  I would have settled for an undertone of ginger, however.  Just a taste.  Something on either the front or back end of the beer.  Just a little something of ginger wafting over my palate.

Didn’t happen. 

It just didn’t bring the ginger flavor.  Nada.  And really disappointing considering that the word “ginger” is right in the name of the brew.  So as a beer…fine.  As a beer brewed with ginger…fail.

My rating: 4 out of 10.