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Review Archives - Page 2 of 4 - BEER AWESOME

CAPS WIN! BeerAwesome joins the Bourbon Cru

Bourbon Barrel Cru
Abbey-Style Quad
12% 22oz Bomber

Let me get this out of the way: HOT DAMN. This one is on the Wild Side. I didn’t mean to do yet another fantastic VA beer, but this one was lurking in the fridge and the Caps just won, so
let’s do it. You get a hefty malt, yeast, roast smell and then bourbon comes in like Hell on High Heels. But enough about the puns, let’s kickstart this review.

Hops – 2.2 It’s a quad. The label says 18 IBU and I believe them.

Malts – 7.4 Yeah, its sweet and roasty.

Carbonation – 4.3 It’s not that bubbly. Pretty pleasant, really.

Character – 8.9 There’s so much going on that someone that wasn’t me probably couldn’t describe it. But I will. There’s the sweet maltyness and yeast profiles you get from a Quad-style
beer and then there’s an entire box truck full of savory, driven by a big punch of bourbon character. If you had an Uncle Daryl that won the lottery, it’s like he is this beer and he used
his winnings to go on a sophisticated tour of Europe, and then came home and spent the rest on Old Crow and cigarettes. Just wild.

Palate – 9.4 It’s a rollercoaster of awesome that’ll guarantee you won’t Go Away Mad.

Overall – 9.2 That’s not to say you could drink 12 of these in a row (go ahead, prove it) but just the one is great. It’s a really big beer.

I didn’t know what to expect with this one. Hardywood usually puts out great stuff, but I have had some terrible luck with bourbon barrel beers. They either forget to imbue it with the
bourbon flavors, or they get the bourbon and booze in there and forget to make a good beer around it. It’s a veritable Rodeo of flavor, and If I Die Tomorrow, I’ll be glad I had it.

Because Cru. You’ll get it.

BeerAwesome goes ALLCAPS with CAPSIZED

Ocelot Brewing


Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout


It pours dark, but not as…viscous(?) as some imperial stouts. You can immediately smell the bourbon barrel aging and the tasty notes it left, as if it were christmas. And this beer has
been a very, very good boy. It looks like I’m keeping the Virginia beer review streak alive, so let’s just get into it.

Hops – 2.7 Not much to say here, moving along.

Malts – 7.4 Not overwhelming. There’s a sweetness, like the smell of grandma’s house after she had been baking cookies. Looks like I’m going to keep with the holiday theme even though
it’s a beautiful day in April.

Carbonation – 3.4 It pours milky, rather than bubbly. Which is nice because there’s no carbonation to cut through all the delicious flavor. Go ahead and pour yourself a glass and drink
it real quick, like a thirsy Santa and this is your milk and cookies.

Character – 7.2 There aren’t any crazy flavors here to ambush you or knock you off course like a patch of black ice. You have the sweetness from the lactose (hence milk stout) which
compliments the malts, bourbon characteristics, and other dark aromatic flavors.

Palate – 9.1 It’s a caroling chorus of delicious. Everyone is doing their part, except for Joan. She’s a little flat.

Overall – 8.6 It’s pourable, drinkable, it smells great, and it hides its alcohol wallop better than your parents with christmas gifts.

To be fair I’m only drinking this early to ease the battered and bruised ego from a small motorcycle wreck. I’ve been meaning to get to this beer in particular as it was gifted to me, and
I finally have a great excuse. Not that you’d need one, this thing is richer and sweeter than a Capitals playoff win. Which are starting today, btw. THE LOFFS! It’s that time of year
where I drink a lot because I’m happy, and then I drink a lot because I’m sad again. But not this year. This year is different. This year is special. Like CAPSized from Ocelot Brewing.  And now I’m ready to get all settled in for a Caps sized victory. LGC!

BeerAwesome has a late night review just for you! Orange is the New Stout

Orange is the New Stout
Center Of The Universe / O’Connor
Imperial Choc. Stout
22oz Bomber


I’m excited to get more Virginia beers in the reviews, and Center of The Universe has yet to disappoint me. This one is supposed to be like a salty, orange chocolate truffle, and if the color/smell is any indication, it’ll be delightful. There’s essentially no head to it, it’s straight to business with these two. Here’s your beer, it’ll be great, citr’ass (citrus jokes?) down and enjoy.

Hops – 1.1 Moving along it’s late, lettuce (produce jokes!) get to the point

Malts – 5.4 This one actually doesn’t hit you with a lot of the caramel, malty taste you’d get from a big stout which is surprising. It’s not a bad thing here though because malt flavor is the undercard in this prizefight.

Carbonation – 3.14 Because it was Pi Day recently and there’s not much else to say about that.

Character – 7.1 I can definitely taste a lot of the orange, and maybe some of the salt. You have a great beer behind it, and you don’t get a lot of the booze with it which is nice for such a robust stout. More chocolate would be appreciated, however.

Overall – 8.3 It delivers on its promise. Both breweries could have chosen the Safe Way (I admit that’s a reach but stick with me) but they threw caution and whatever else was on hand to the wind. First word, ORANGE. It’s right there and you get it. I would recommend at least a small sample, maybe a large sample, or guzzle it at someone else’s expense.  I would like to deduct a few points since it’s not as bold and roasty as I would like, but I have to consider what they were going for and remove my own bias and I think they got it. It’s nice to have some new flavors kicking around, too.


The beer starts with ORANGE, and you can tell it’s there in droves. Sea salt, maybe. I’m not too familiar with salt in my beer. But when you call it “IMPERIAL CHOCOLATE STOUT” on the label, you can be certain I am expecting exactly that, too. Good overall beer, but for the weakness of both the Imperial stout portion and the lack of chocolate, I have to peel (a-ha!) off a few personal points.  Great idea, pretty good execution.  It’s tasty.  I know they probably nailed what they were going for, I was just left a little wanting with the promise of imperial, chocolate, and orange.

As always: Like, share, follow and enjoy!


BeerAwesome reaches into its goody bag for a Gingerbread Stout

Gingerbread Stout
9.2% 22OZ Bomber

GBS hardywood

I’m excited to finally get to this one. I’ve had it in my fridge ALL YEAR (great and timely joke, way to start 2018) and now it’s finally getting its turn in the spotlight. This is a great Virginia beer and is one of the few beers I’ll order whenever I see it on tap, but that’s enough about my own preferences. Time to take the “i” out of review and bring you another entertaining revew.

This pours dark, like the ending of The Mist or a basement without any working lights. Pretty decent head on it as well, and when you smell it you get a sleigh-full of roasted malts, and some sweet notes with spices in there as well.

Hops – 2.2 Some, maybe, sure, but they aren’t the point here.

Malts – 7.1 Yes, it’s malty but it’s also mild and smooth. You’re in for a real treat with this.

Carbonation – 6.7 It’s pretty bubbly for a stout, but it’s not harsh in the mouth.

Character – 6.9 Nice. Being a milk stout it’s pretty subdued on that front, letting some of the ginger, honey, spice and sweetness cut through.

Palate – 8.5 Everything comes together nicely here, like family members that show up on time with food that wasn’t bought from whatever was leftover at Shopper’s on Christmas Eve. You get the full tour, front to back, of everything without a single element dominating the experience.

Overall – 9.1 Look, it’s awesome. There’s another “BA” beer website featured on the label and it’s hard to not subtract points for that fact alone. But what’s even more bananas (you never type the correct number of “na”s the first time) is that those wrong, uninformed cavemen gave it a 100. Perfect score. That means no beer, no variation of GBS itself, could possibly be better. That’s just a total newbie thing to do and I’m not surprised. I rated this really high, because it’s so damn tasty, but I won’t pretend that it’s the best beer in the world (which is what a perfect score would mean). Is it fantastic and did I have to fight the urge to open it every time I saw it in the fridge? YUP. But I did, so that you could have this. Also, I do wish it was just a little more boozy. The alcohol content itself is plenty, but I like that little bite where you can tell it’s more potent than usual beers. Bottom line: RUN RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN, TO BUY MORE OF THIS BEER.

BeerAwesome goes dark with Tenebris from Adroit Theory

Adroit Theory
Tenebris Barleywine  Ghost 541


Unintentionally, this is my second consecutive review for an Adroit Theory beer.  Definitely not a mistake though.  “Tenebris” coming from the Latin word for “Dark” makes many references to it on the bottle and in the flavor itself. It pours a nice dark and clear copper(ish) color and unlike most straight-malt barlewyines, you can smell something a little special in there.  Something fruity but also dark, as if they’ve attempted to bottle the spirit of a Crow that spent its life listening to melodic death metal and eating plums.

Hops – 0.2  I dislike giving out whole numbers, that’s a rookie mistake, so it gets something very close to 0.  It’s a barleywine.  There’s not going to be hop presence in most/all of them.
Malts – 8.3  It’s not sickly sweet, like you’re chugging straight from a liquid malt bottle, but it is a barleywine (have I mentioned that?) and they’re malty.  It’s more Malt-J than Maltley Crüe, though because they had to save room for something I’ll get into later.
Carbonation – 3.5 I’ve had some of the same style that drank like a low-viscosity syrup, but this is not like that.  There’s a pleasant amount of bubbles to break up that sweetness, like cutting your latest batch of trashcan jungle juice falldown sauce with some Sprite.
Character – 6.8 It’s not a whirlwind of flavors constantly rabbit-punching your taste buds, but aside from the deliciously sweet malts and roasted essence, you also get a sweet dark fruit flavor.
Palate – 8.4  Everything there is super nice in both quality and quantity.  Nothing overwhelms you, so I guess you’re just enjoyably “whelmed.”  Some barleywines will also hit you with noticeable alcohol either on the nose or tongue or finish (or wherever you decide to put beer inside you), but despite being 10%, the only giveaway that it has a higher amount of booze is the malty-ness.
Overall – 8.4  Before all 12 barleywine fanatics get upset, this isn’t saying this beer is only a B-grade beer.  It’s not.  This score is judging only on barleywines, and all barleywines.  If you had access to every single one on the market, and your friend asked you to put them all in order from worst to best, this would fall in the upper 80th percentile.  It won’t knock your socks off and make you say “I’M DRINKING THIS AND ONLY THIS FOREVER!”  But it does offer a lot of great stuff and a really cool label.  Not as cool as last review’s EBK but it still gives you pairings on food, cheese, and cigars as well as a little parable about crows: “During Medieval Times, ‘The Shadow of the Sun’ was hopw European Alchemists defined the Crow.  it was their symbol for the blackness of dispair and chaos.
We see the Crow as a Life Force so powerful it can actually live off Death itself.  After all, it’s not Death if you refuse it…”
And the picture of the label is a really neat artistic take on a crow.  Hence the reference in the beginning.  Good job, guys.

BeerAwesome does battle with an Evil Black Knight IIPA

Evil Black Knight

Adriot Theory
Evil Black Knight
22oz Bomber

The Evil Black Knight [Here We Go Edition] Ghost 599 was bottled 07/17/2017 and starts strong with both words and content. There are more words on the label than in the last book I read. This pours a nice, very hazy, IPA color (there’s really no better way to describe that). It smells bitter and juicy so I’m excited to go to war with this unfiltered Imperial IPA.

Hops – 7.9 It’s not going immediately decimate your taste buds, but it’s bitter and delicious if that’s your thing.

Malts – 3.4 There’s something sweet about it, but the malty backbones of DIPA/IIPAs of old have been sent to the back of the line so that the juicy, bitter hops can lead the charge.

Carbonation – 7.1 It’s not champagne, but I think the slightly higher “bubbly” quality goes hand in hand with the taste of this beer.

Character – 5.7 I’m not going to say there’s a lack of flavors or essence here. That’s not the problem. There’s just not a great diversity. You get that tropical quality with this one but you won’t spend all day trying to convince yourself that there’s extra flavors in it that you didn’t pick up after the first 1,2,7,12 tries.

Palate – 8.8 It tastes like a great juicy (okay I’ll stop using that until I explain it) IIPA. It’s smooth, bitter, sweet, slightly tropical and none of those retreat too soon to enjoy.

Label – 10.2/10  Words, pictures, recommendations, pairings, a story.  It has it all.

Overall – 9.1 A SUPREME VICTORY. And now to explain what I meant by “juicy”. It’s a term that’s becoming more popular with New England style IPA/DIPA/IIPA beers but it also doesn’t have a solid definition. You know it when you’ve got it, but trying to elaborate to someone that hasn’t tried anything like it is tough. It’s bitter but not overwhelming, and yet full of sweet flavors too. Adroit came up with a great battle plan on this one and air drops a bomb of IPA flavor into your mouth. The label has more to read than most bathrooms, and part of this bottle says it pairs well with “pickled pineapple with shaved pecorino” and that’s just obvious. If you don’t routinely have those foods in mind, you’re most likely uneducated and need a trip to the nearest whole foods/farmer’s market. Where they sell pickled whatevers and shaved stuff. But before you go scouting for esoteric foods, LOCATE AND EXTRACT THIS BEER BECAUSE IT IS DELICIOUS. Do the thing.

BeerAwesome drinks Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout

Anderson Valley
Bourbon Barrel Stout22 oz Bomber
This one pours incredibly dark. There’s a nice head to it, and when you smell it, you’re immediately welcomed with dark, roasted notes, something fruity, and for lack of better words, bourbon barrel. It’s like someone has trapped the essence of a dark barrel of bourbon and put it in a bottle for you. This particular stout was aged in Wild Turkey barrels, so I expect some crazy flavor.

Hops – 2 Sometimes a stout can be bitter (see last review), but this one is not at all.

Malts – 6.5 It’s better than the last Dominion stout, but surprisingly, not by much. So far it seems tame, unlike the wild turkey on the label (and the barrel they used).

Carbonation – 5.5 It’s bubbly, but not overly so. It’s smooth and not much carbonation when you hold it in your mouth.

Character – 5.5 I don’t ever give out a double score (I also don’t ever use absolutes, or parentheses this often) but it’s somewhat lacking. For a brand that usually has great flavor and awesome seasonals, this one so far has yet to take flight, much like the bird.

Palate – 7 I’m giving it a higher score here because there’s not much to be offended by. Much like a mediocre thanksgiving turkey, you won’t find anything to rave about or dislike.

Overall – 6.1 I’m slightly embarrassed for both Wild Turkey and Anderson Valley. The great sights and scents you get when you initially pour it just lead you on a wild goose chase tracking down whatever flavor is supposed to stand out. There’s no boozy leftovers, very little “bourbon barrel” experience. I’m left hunting for flavors, and coming back empty handed. Is it bad? No, but there should be more to it than this. There are better examples of a BB stout out there. In the end, I’m going to cry fowl on this one. If they had made a higher ABV brew this drinkable, that would at least be a feat, but there’s not enough of…well, anything. This hunt is over, and not in a good way.

You’re still here?  Feel free to email, tweet, comment, or send smoke signals on what you would like to see reviewed next!  Or if you’re really great, send in something special and I’ll do my best.

Stout vs Stout. BeerAwesome does a double feature

45 IBUS, 5.5%



I’ll start this with a direct comparison, writing a little about each, then giving them their respective marks. The Russian imperial stout has hopefully not rigged this in any way, and I have never met with Ocelot.

The Dominion stout starts off with a crazy nose. A little bitter, very malty, very roasted, slightly coffee, somewhat chocolate. Smells like someone dumped a carefully crafted espresso over some chocolate generic ice cream. But let’s cut straight to it, and put it in the most discerning mouth in the room: mine.
…And much like Ron Burgundy, I immediately regret that decision. It’s limp. Flaccid. Weak. Okay cool let’s see how the other one is because another 10 seconds spent on this is already too much.


Just as dark (maybe even darker?) as the competitor, this stout clobbers the opposition. You immediately get that (allegedly) Russian Imperial Stout nose, with the somewhat yeasty, bready notes and then dark roasted malts. I mean, so I’ve heard. I’ve never been to Russia or had a Russian beer ever. Jump below to see how it stands up in the court of maw. (like mouth. My mom would hate this beer).

Hops – 5.5 It’s bitter, yes. But not like an IPA. Not too unexpected either from the nose and the IBU label.
Malts –  6 Here’s where things get a little suspicious. It pours just as dark as its competitor, promising a fair and unbiased competition. And then it doesn’t even show up. You’re an oak barrel stout, and I’m left wanting. I’m an IPA/DIPA/crazy beer fanatic and this isn’t enough malt for me.
Carbonation – 7.2 It’s pretty bubbly, at least initially. Just like everything else, it’s there for a second.
Character – 3.4 This character is like the celebrity cameo in a shark movie. One line, and then your body parts start exploding. What’s even in this? Is this just black soda water with some liquid smoke in it?
Palate – 4 It’s getting sparklers for the 4th of July. It’s going to a concert and finding out it’s just a tribute band to the one you really wanted. It’s the turn signal that’s green for 2 seconds. Is it the worst thing that could happen? No. But you wouldn’t buy any of that for a dollar.
Overall – 4.5 Take a lap, Guys. I realize most of your offerings are dreck, but you have some decent selections too. You just really bunged it up here.
Hops – 4.2 It’s a little bitter, but less so than the D—other one. I’m afraid of Beetlejuice-ing more of their beer in my mouth if I say that name again.
Malts – 6.8 They’re a clear and present…presence. Sweet enough to counteract the bitterness, juicy and roasty enough to draw you in. They can annex my taste buds any day.
Carbonation – 4.5 I don’t know if it’s because it sat for a minute, but it didn’t pour that heady either. They don’t get in the way, and it’s not like drinking chocolate milk. Good work.
Character – 6.2 It’s pretty standard as far as an RIS goes. Is there anything there to knock your socks off? No. But are they throwing around stuff like “roasted on vanilla beans” and then deleting all traces of them? Also no.
Palate – 9.4 This supposed collaboration comes together nicely to run away with this contest. I’m also running out of really good material here so I’ll break it down like this: IT’S GOOD. VERY GOOD. It is not the best out there, but what it does, it does well. The flavors don’t run away, nothing lingers too long, the finish isn’t too strong or bitter.
Overall – 8.4 This is a very solid stout. I wouldn’t wait in line to buy it, but if my friend said he had a case or a growler full, I’d already be in my car. Or maybe an uber, since it’s 10.5%. I know there are some incredibly rare and delicious ones out there, hence the 8.4 rating, but it’s really good. I don’t have any more clever election, russia, pop culture references so that’s a review. Buy it if you can, envy me if you can’t.


BeerAwesome drinks something TERRIBLE!

22oz Bomber

It pours very dark. I’m not great with color, but it’s like a black plum sort of deal. And it smells dark, too. Not in the “roast your face with malts and alcohol,” but in a sort of “dark cherry, plum, Cab Sav” manner. And then seeing as how I know just a little bit more about wine than I do about color I immediately ran to Google to do a little research (and mostly to see if I was right). I was!  “Subtle fruit flavors are complimented by rich Madeira wine notes.”

Hops – 2 Its labeled as a quad? Maybe? And it’s especially not bitter at all. I can’t really pick anything up on the nose or by drinking it, though I did spend more time drinking it than smelling my beer.
Malts – 7 It’s More fruity than malty, but it’s definitely there.
Carbonation – 7 It’s bubbly in the mouth, but I didn’t get much pouring it into the glass. Whether that was from a bad cork, or a bad pour (probably not my fault, let’s be real) I’m not sure.
Character – 9 There’s a lot going on here. Wine and dark fruit and spices and some malt with some of the stereotypical yeast esters you get in the belgian style ales. A bunch of dark, tasty flavors are having a party in my glass right now and I’m RSVP-ing yes.
Palate – 9 I can smell everything I taste, and I can taste even more than I smell. A cavalcade of flavor, and each one is just as good as the last.
Overall – 8.5 WHOA WHAT’S WITH THE SCORE?! Well sit down, I’ll explain. Everything in this beer works really well. It won’t be for everyone, it’s pretty intense. But there’s reviews are for me because I can’t predict how each of my 12 different viewers will percieve taste. I like this a lot and I’m glad I tried it, but there’s nothing that will keep me coming back to it. With certain stouts they have that character that you don’t find, or a certain burn on the finish. With IPAs you have bitterness, fruits, malty backbones. With this Belgian, it kind of worked its way into a corner. It’s a dark quad-ish, but I know I’ve had better quads. However, if this is the best thing on the menu when you go out somewhere, absolutely get it. It’s worth a try or six and at 10.5% you’re gonna have a good time. I won’t guarantee it, because I could take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed.

BeerAwesome drinks a S’MORE!

Saranac S’MORE Porter
Served in a…20160519_014940Jug
Initially, it pours very dark, with a small head. It immediately smells like malt, cocoa and something sweet and sugary.

Hops – 2 There’s something to barely balance out the malt, but it’s fairly on the less hoppy side of porters.

Malts – 7 It’s not a YUGE malt bomb but it’s definitely there and it’s delicious.

Carbonation – 6 It’s there but it’s not too tingly. It actually helps break it up so that you’re not chugging a chocolate milk concoction.

Character – 7.5 Malts, chocolate, sweetness and a little bitter. There’s nothing enlightening going on but it’s a little different and pretty tasty.

Palate – 8 This was a good effort to make something novel. Saranac seems to have a history of good ideas and mediocre execution so it’s a small step up from the usual seasonal/rare ones. It’s not going to change your life, but it’s worth a try.

S’MORE porter is like hanging out with that uncle you rarely see. He might be cool, but he doesn’t really work. Probably has the best of intentions, but it’s for everyone’s benefit that it’s not an all the time thing. The jug it comes in (and yes, it’s totally a jug) is pretty awesome. I might actually like the container more than the beer. There’s lots of malt and chocolate flavor to it, and a mysterious sweetness, but nothing that stands out as marshmallow or graham cracker. I’d try roasting a marshmallow and serving it with that but I’m not a Scout Leader so there’s no room in my pantry for anything that’s not meat, meat products, meat seasoning or beer. There is a slight bitterness to it, like most porters, but it helps balance this beer out so you’re not just drinking alcoholic Ovaltine. Is it delicious? Yes. Is it exactly like a s’more in your mouth? As close as you’ll get without buying marshmallows. Or chocolate. Or graham crackers.