Posts Tagged ‘beer de miel’

Sam Adams Longshot

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams, run a really neat program called Longshot. They host a homebrew competition with the top prize a chance to recreate the recipe as a commercial batch. Some percentage of the winners are various staff members at Sam Adams, showing the culture of innovation BBC fosters.

Tonight I will be tasting the three Longshot beers available this year. BBC employee Caitlin Declercq brewed a light ale with lavender and honey, Honey B’s Lavender Ale. Richard Roper crafted what sounds like a Belgian IPA, the Friar Hop Ale. Finally I will have Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops, an example of the new style Cascadian dark ale.

First up, Honey B’s Lavender Ale. A dense off-white head sits atop this brilliantly clear golden straw beer. The nose is fairly strong, with the floral lavender being the most prominent. A rich herbal and citric hop aroma adds another dimension. However, it is all just a bit too sharp.

The flavor is very bright and spicy, almost like a ginger beer. The herbal lavender flavor and earthy hops create this rich spiciness. A bit of alcohol adds a warming sensation, and the honey brings just a bit of a tempering sweetness. Very refreshing, again like a ginger beer. However, just like with the nose, the flavor is a shade too intense.

Next, the Friar Hop Ale. This nearly clear copper-colored beer has some off-white head. The nose is a sweet combination of toast and caramel from the malt and spiciness from the yeast. A citric hop aroma rounds it out, but the spicy maltiness is significantly stronger.

The flavor is strongly spicy. Black pepper character from the yeast melds perfectly with the coriander spice addition and slight alcoholic bite. Citrus hop flavor likewise combines with bitter orange peel. A light caramel malt flavor supports it all, but a richer body would support it better.

Finally, Blackened Hops. This one finally has a generous, rich, creamy head. It is tan, floating on a nearly black beer. The nose reveals a big citric hoppy character. Rich lemon, orange, mango, and pinapple fruit aroma and just a bit of a resinous pine. Almost no malt character detectable.

The flavor is seriously bitter. Strong citrus and pine hop flavor contributes to that intensity. A major roast malt character is trying to break through, however, and does a decent job of it. This burnt bitterness doesn’t exactly mesh well with the citric hop bitterness. The palate is very sweet, to the point of being cloying.

One last note – if you homebrew, enter next year’s Longshot competition and if you win you just might have your beer reviewed on this very blog. To enter, head on over to

+Samuel Adams Blackened Hops

3.6 (4-8-6-2-15)

+Samuel Adams Friar Hop Ale

3.6 (2-8-7-3-15)

+Samuel Adams Honey B’s Lavender Ale

3.4 (3-7-6-4-14)

Hop Fest!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Last night Trevor and I sampled a few hoppy beers. We were too tired to get to the fourth (Goose Island Imperial IPA) but I’ll rate it eventually.

First off, Bell’s Hopslam, an Imperial IPA made with honey. I’m told this ages better than any other hoppy beer. We won’t really know because the bottle I have is from January of this year.

It pours a beautiful orange-tinted gold, lightly hazy. The head is creamy, lasts forever, and laces brilliantly. The aroma is strongly of fruit: peaches, orange blossoms, and grapefruit. It is a thick, somewhat sweet nose.

Immediately you get a strong floral, slightly fruity hop flavor. I note roses, orange blossoms, and apricots. The bitterness slowly grows to overpower the delicate flavor, and lingers. This beer is ever so slightly cloying, which actually balances the lingering bitterness. However, these long aftertastes do not get in the way of another sip. That’s dangerous at 10% alcohol.

Next up: Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton, an Imperial IPA aged in oak barrels. At first this seems like it must be more authentic to the history of India pale ale. Note that while Ballantine’s infamous IPA was aged in uncoated oak barrels such as the ones used at Dogfish Head, IPAs actually shipped to India were probably sent in pitched barrels to prevent any influence from the wood. Just saying…

On to drinking it. Burton, an almost clear copper, pours a good straw head. It has a light sweet aroma, somewhat herbal hoppy. There is also a significant caramel note and a little biscuit. I can also detect a bit of alcohol on the nose. Ethanol itself is not volatile, so you cannot smell it. A beer smelling boozy indicates the presence of fusel alcohols, a byproduct of warm, high alcohol fermentation. It is fusels that cause really painful hangovers.

Right at first you notice both a prominent bitterness and a strong sweetness. This beer is thick, and its sweetness is cloying, probably from the use of a large percentage of caramel malt. The oak certainly also adds sweetness and vanilla. The hop flavor is herbal and grassy.

I think perhaps the oak and the hops are competing too much in this beer. The hop flavor is too earthy. They would be better off using a lighter, more delicate flavor hop.

Last we have a bottle from the Tyranena “Brewers Gone Wild” series. This is Hop Whore, their Imperial IPA.

The appearance of this beer is not entirely appetizing. While it is a wonderful copper red color, there are some little chunkies floating and the head is somewhat soapy. The nose is great, though. A strong fruity hop aroma, peaches and some grapes.

Quick sharp hop bitterness, a little fruity and a little sweet. Notes of hop spiciness, reminiscent of cilantro. While it is pretty bitter, this fades and it lingers balanced. Very drinkable.

++Bell’s Hopslam

RateBeer: 4.0 (4-8-8-3-17)

+Dogfish Head Burton Baton

RateBeer: 3.2 (3-7-6-2-14)

+Tyranena Hop Whore

RateBeer: 3.2 (1-7-7-3-14)