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Draft Notes

One beer at a time…

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Breckenridge Brewery 471 Small Batch Double IPA

This week I wanted to take a look at another Imperial IPA, this time by Breckenridge Brewery out of Breckenridge, Colorado. I would like to see how this one measures up to one of my all-time favorite beers, Deviant Dale’s, which is also from the Rocky Mountain state. The brewery was founded in 1990 by a self-proclaimed ski bum home brewer just off the popular slopes of Breckenridge. A couple of years later as the brewery grew; they expanded with an additional facility in Denver. Today they distribute to 32 states, so most of you should be able to find a Breckenridge Brewery beer at your local beer oasis. I primarily see the Avalanche Amber and Lucky U IPA, but in Virginia/DC I am also able to get some of their Seasonal and the Small Batch series. The Imperial/Double IPA I will be reviewing today is the 471 Small Batch. This beer combines Munich, Pale, Carapils, Caramel-30, and Torrified Wheat malts along-side of Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Fuggle hops. The ABV is 9.2% and IBU measures in a 70, so I am expecting a nice hop punch out of this one and curious to see how well they balance all those malts with the hops.

This beer’s appearance is a deep copper with a creamy white head leaving moderate amounts of lacing on the glass. The aromas include apricots, citrus, pine, and an earthy/grassy scent. All very nice as is expected with most IPAs (at least in my opinion), especially the doubles. The tastes I find are citrusy hops, grapefruit, and pine. Additionally, there definitely is a little sweetness to be found, followed by a bitter finish. Not as hoppy as expected, but it is very well balanced with the hops and malts coming together quite well. There really is minimal alcohol taste for a 9.2% ABV which is a result of this nice balance. The mouth feel is fairly light with medium carbonation. Overall, I would say this is another very solid DIPA and one that I would recommend you try if you can get your hands on it. I can’t say it quite meets Deviant Dale’s (Oskar Blues) level, but give it a shot as you will not be disappointed. I will rate Breckenridge Brewery’s 471 Small Batch Double IPA 4 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale.

Learn more about Breckenridge Brewery at: http://www.breckbrew.com/.

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Founders Breakfast Stout

I read this morning that today is “International Stout Day”, news to me although I am starting to see a trend after celebrating IPA day a couple of months back. I just happen to have a highly regarded stout in my refrigerator, so I figure I may as well review it to be festive. The Stout, as you can tell by the title of this post, is Founders Breakfast Stout which is a seasonal (Sep-Feb) Imperial Stout out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This beer weighs in with an ABV of 8.3% and 60 IBUs and the bottle lists it as a Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout. Founders’ website lists imported and bitter chocolates along with Kona and Sumatra coffees as key ingredients. Based on the description, naming the beer “Breakfast Stout” makes a lot of sense.  As mentioned, this is a highly regarded stout to include a 99/100 rating by Beer Advocate and 100/100 on RateBeer. Based on the excitement from beer lovers and these ratings I decided I need to see what an almost perfect stout tastes like.

The appearance is a black body with minimal tan head which receded very quickly (I barely had time to take the picture before it was gone). The aromas are what you would expect based on my above description. There is a whole lot of fresh coffee with a dash of chocolate.  Right in line with the description and aromas, the taste is a shot of espresso, chocolate, another shot of espresso, and then a dash more chocolate, There is definitely a bitter finish partly as a result of using bitter chocolates and coffees.  The mouth feel is fairly chewy and I pick up minimal carbonation, but any more would be weird (imagine an ice coffee with carbonation, ick), so it comes together very well.

Overall, this is a beer for coffee lovers and if you also like chocolate you may be in heaven.  At this point of my beer tasting career, I find the excessive coffee taste interesting but I really don’t feel like I am drinking a beer. I would think it would go very well as a post dinner drink with some ice cream or other dessert. Despite my slight issues with coffee in beer, Founders definitely hit the nail on the head with what you would want in a Coffee “Breakfast” Stout. I can’t go perfect, but I would have to give Founders Breakfast Stout 4 mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.

You can read more about Founders and their beers at http://foundersbrewing.com. Now I need to work out if caffeine stays in the beer through the brewing process and whether I will be able to get to sleep tonight. Cheers!

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