Monday, February 23, 2009

Portsmouth Brewing - Kate the Great - Vintage 2008

This big 9.5% ABV Russian Imperial Stout goes on sale once a year at the Portsmouth Brewery for those lucky enough to live within driving distance. It ranks up there as one of the most sought after bottles of beer. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle and I selfishly indulged the entire thing to myself:

2008 vintage bomber. Pours into my glass a deep charcoal black with an inch of dark tan foam on top that leaves spotty lacing on the side of the glass. Rather viscous. Aromas start off with rich dark malts and big bittersweet chocolate. Molasses, dark fruits and somewhat of a spicy aroma as well. Hints of anise and vanilla bean with a touch of alcohol as well. Big, dense and layered.

First sip is big and rich bringing lots of dark roasty malts along with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. It melds in with a mix of molasses, dark fruits, licorice and light coffee flavors. Flows down with a bit of a spicy sweet accent and a bit of vanilla flavor as well. Rich chocolate malt aftertaste with a touch of alcohol on the finish as well. This one is big on all accounts and flavor packed. Yum.

Mouthfeel is rich and chewy with a big malt body. Really smooth with a good, more mellow carbonation. Goes down smooth given the ABV. Overall, a tasty, rich imperial stout the brings a great depth of flavor as well. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try this many time on tap and now finally in the bottle. I'll look forward to having it again sometime too!

Overall I gave this one a rating of Amazing and I find it worthy of the hype!

Check out the entire range of Portsmouth brews by surfing on over to

Monday, February 16, 2009

Short's Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)

This is #1 of 13 different Imperial Series beers released by Short's Brewing in 2007. They were all made available at the brewery in 750ml bottles with a trading card explaining the beer and signed by brewmaster Joe Short attached to each one. I was lucky enough to lay my hands on these and my thoughts are below:

750ml bottle. #155 of 672.
Brewed 6/1/06
Bottled 2/5/07

Pours into my glass a thick deep dark black that is impervious to light. An inch of creamy tan foam on top that leaves lacing all over the glass as it falls. Aromas start with dark malts along with a big blast of cocoa. Caramel accents meld with licorice notes. Somewhat sweet with bold molasses undertones.

First sip brings dark roasted malt upfront that carries some residual sweetness with it as well. Big cocoa flavors along with licorice and molasses flavors. A touch of coffee melds into the flavor. Flows down with some bitterness and a mellow hop tone. Baker's chocolate and a bit of alcohol on the finish. A big, robust porter.

Mouthfeel is smooth and had a good viscosity. Carbonation is on the more mellow side which works nice. Goes down almost too easily. Overall, a good imperial porter and it is holding up extremely well after two years in the bottle now. Very glad I had the chance to try this and I hope Short's brews it again.

Overall this beer gets a rating of Great.

Check out all the new brews and news from Short's by surfing over to

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Three Floyds / Mikkeller Oatgoop (Havregoop)

The second collaboration from Mikkeller and Three Floyds, following up on the Hvedegoop that was released during 2008 Dark Lord Day at the brewery. Instead of a wheat wine, this round they produced an "oat wine" with the malt bill being predominantly comprised of oats and clocking in at 10.4% ABV.
Onto the review:

22oz bomber. The second collaboration with Mikkeller pours into my glass a deep, vibrant red/orange with a creamy inch of off white foam on top leaving trails of sticky lace. Aromas start with big resinous citric hops. Pine moves in as well with a touch of tropical fruit and herbal swirls. Caramel and toffee dominates the big malt background with an almost candy like sweetness to it as well.

First sip brings an upfront blast of bold citric hops cavorting with a slick, smooth caramel malt that has accents of toffee as well. The oats come through quite prominently as it rolls down along with a mix of pine and tropical fruit flavors. Big bitterness hits on the way down. Floral, grassy and herbal on the finish with a mild lingering sweetness and really no hint of the alcohol. Oats really smooth this out. Good show.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth and creamy. The quality I call slickness from the oats really shines here making this an incredibly easy drinking beer given the abv. Spot on carbonation as well. I will enjoy the rest of this bottle and I wouldn't mind seeing more examples of oatwine's in the future. Cheers to Three Floyds and Mikkeller. Dial down the alcohol a bit and this would be sessionable!

Overall I gave this brew a rating of Great.
The price point is the real downfall here though at $16.99 a bottle retail.

I was at Three Floyds on 2-7-09 and bottles are still available at the brewpub!

Check out more from Mikkeller at
(Click the U.S. flag for the English version of the page.)

Check out more from Three Floyds at

Photo by DR000: