AND WE’RE BACK!

Sorry I’ve been neglecting this blog. In fact I neglected it so much that I didn’t even notice that it was redirecting to a really spammy looking torrent site. I let my .com domain expire because I don’t post here very often any more. But you can still access this blog at donttreadonmike.wordpress.com

 

For the last few months of my activity on this blog, I was posting pretty much only beer reviews. That’s because I have become increasingly disillusioned and uninterested in politics over the past two years or so. But I have been posting lots and lots of beer reviews over at cultofthecraft.com. A lot of you enjoyed the reviews I posted on this blog so if you still want that, go on over to Cult of the Craft for lots more. We even have multiple authors if you get bored with my writing.

 

I’m still interested in science, music, and beer. And I may one day feel compelled to write about something political. So keep your email subscriptions up to date. I haven’t given up on this blog yet. One of the reasons I stopped writing here was also because reader interaction dropped. I see the numbers saying I still get a lot of views, but without the reader interaction, it didn’t seem real. That’s not to put the blame on you guys though. I can’t get mad at you for being too busy if I’ve been too busy myself.

 

Anyway…..yeah…

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Beer Review : Stone 17th Anniversary Gotterdammerung IPA

Surprise surprise, I’m reviewing another specialty beer from Stone. I live in San Diego, what do you expect? This stuff is everywhere. Even gas stations carry Stone. Anyway, like I say all the time, Stone’s regular beers have grown boring for me, but their seasonal beers, one-off brews, and collaborations are almost always amazing. Today I’m reviewing their 17th anniversary IPA I’m drinking it from a tulip glass and it has 9.5% IPA

Appearance 5/5

Bright and golden like apple juice. The head was white and thick and never completely went away. Little bubbles constantly make their lazy way up the side of the glass.

Aroma 5/5

Citrus hops are the dominating aroma here. It makes my mouth water on this hot fall afternoon.

Palate 5/5

Surprisingly soft and velvety for an IPA. It didn’t have the typical IPA bite that you expect from really hoppy beers, especially for a Stone beer. There was a little bit of drying at the end but just enough that it makes me want to take another sip ASAP.

Flavor 3/5

Not as much citrus on the tongue as there was on the nose. It’s sweet for an IPA. Don’t get me wrong, this beer is definitely bitter, VERY bitter, but it’s more of an after quality than part of the main flavor. And it goes away just before it becomes too overwhelming.

Overall 18/20

If you have friends who haven’t tried IPA, I think this would be a good place to start them off. Not because it’s a “beginner beer” by any stretch, but it’s very easy to sip for an IPA from Stone. It’s a one-time deal though so make sure you find it before they’re all gone.

Sip Slowly and Enjoy in Good Company.

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Beer Review: Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout

I don’t know if Stone’s regular line of beers are suffering in quality lately or if I’m just outgrowing them or what. But one thing is for sure, their collaborations and special releases are amazing. Each one is better than the last. Even their seasonal beers are still some of my favorites. With that in mind, I always grab a stone collaboration whenever I see it. This time I got my hands on “Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout.” It’s a collaboration between Stone, Fark.com’s Drew Curtis, and….Will Wheaton? Well I knew he was in to homebrewing so this should be interesting! 

 

It’s some sort of stout brewed with pecans, wheat, rye, and is partly aged in bourbon barrels. It has an ABV of 13%

 

 

Appearance 5/5

As black as possible with a thick coffee colored head nice sticky lacing

 

Aroma 4/5

I’m getting a lot of that sweet bourbon barrel smell and a little bit of dark chocolate and coffee. The overall aroma isn’t very strong though.

 

 

Palate 5/5

Thick and heavy but with a nice light alcoholic tingle. It burns a little on the way down too. After swallowing I noticed that same dry bittering you get after taking a sip of black coffee or eating really dark chocolate.

 

Flavor 5/5

It actually has a surprisingly bright flavor. There’s a sharpness in the front of the mouth which is probably due to the alcohol. After that I noticed the heavy dark malt sweetness and the bourbon barrel booziness. I love it.

 

Overall 19/20

Stone’s limited releases and and collaborations just keep getting better and better. I wish they would make this a seasonal release. After I sober up from this bottle, I really want to go to the store and buy a couple more.

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Beer Review: John Henry – West Indies Pale Ale

Cold Spring Brewing Co’s John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale has been one of my favorite beers for a long time. I’ve never found any of their other beers…until now. Not only did I find 3 Lick Spiker Ale in bombers, but I found West Indies Pale Ale and Colonial Cream Brown Ale in bombers too. I’ll review that one next. Like the first one I tried, these two new beers all seem to be aged in some sort of bourbon or rum barrels. This particular beer is a pale ale aged on dark rum oak spirals and has an ABV of 9.4%.

 

Appearance 5/5

It has the same coloring and highlights as cola, with the addition of nice cream colored head with tight bubbles. It’s a beautiful color and the foam clings to the glass, seemingly forever.

 

Aroma 5/5

It has a little bit of malty and honey sweetness, but surprisingly as I sit here and type this with the glass under my face, the main scent I keep detecting is….apple juice. If you really stick your nose in it, you can sense the alcohol, hops, and malt underneath, but the main sensation is tart apple. But not in a cloying way. It reminds me of Belgian beer.

 

Palate 4/5

Very nice. It starts off heavy and soft but the alcohol slowly creeps up onto your tongue the longer you hold it in. Eventually you’re forced to swallow and it warms your throat on the way down. It’s only slightly boozy, but it’s definitely there.

 

Flavor 5/5

This is a very complex beer. It undergoes a lot of changes as you taste it. The first thing I got was a little of that sweet fruity flavor that was so present on the nose. As you move it around your mouth, you’ll start to pick up the malt sweetness and the yeast. It reminds me again of a belgian beer, at least a little. Soon, that flavor will morph and evolve into alcohol. After you swallow it warms your throat, like I said before. At the point I thought the experience was over but before I could take another sip, my tongue dried and I could detect a bready flavor. It’s very delayed and it diminishes after every sip, but I liked it a lot. It went from a red-fruit-belgian-ale, to bourbon/honey/alcohol, and finally to a mild bready ale ale.

 

Overall 19/20

I mentioned how I met with diminishing returns on the complex flavor. The overall effect was that I couldn’t put the glass down. I kept taking little sips, trying to recreate my first experience. I imagine that’s what it must be like to be addicted to a drug. I think after a short tolerance break, I’ll go back to the store and pick up another bottle….or 6.

 

Sip Slowly and Enjoy in Good Company!

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Beer Review: Mikkeller – Sleep Over Coffee IIPA

Continuing in my eternal quest to sample every Mikkeller beer that I can find, I am drinking their Sleep Over Coffee IIPA (double IPA). The description on the bottle says it’s an “American-style Imperial Pale Ale brewed with coffee. 10.5% ABV”

 

Appearance 5/5

Dark orange and very cloudy with a preposterously ample head. This this really clings to the glass as well. Don’t let it sit when you’re done, make sure you rinse right away or else you’ll have to recruit your wife to get her tiny hands in there to clean it. (No? Am I the only one? Really?)

 

Aroma 4/5

It smells like a crisp, fresh American IPA alright, which I was happy about considering how far it traveled to get to me. There is a layer of sweetness over top which I wouldn’t have picked out as coffee if the label didn’t tell me.

 

Palate 4/5

It’s not thin but it’s not huge and fluffy either. Nor should it be. It tingles a bit but that goes away quickly. I noticed a lack of that IPA bite on the tongue. It must be the coffee mellowing it out.

 

Flavor 4/5

That theme continues into the flavor category. I don’t taste anything that screams of coffee. But it does seem to mellow the usual IPA tang. I actually like the result.

 

Overall 17/20

It’s very good! It’s not my favorite Mikkeller beer. Nor is it the best IPA. It’s not even the best COFFEE IPA. But I would definitely pick it up again if I saw it at the store. I suggest you do the same.

 

Sip Slowly and Enjoy in Good Company!

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Beer Review: Stone Imperial Russian Stout: Espresso

 

 

Appearance 5/5

You know what it looks like. It looks like an imperial stout. Black, opaque, dark thick head.

 

Aroma 5/5

It smells very strongly of espresso but it doesn’t seem out of place. Espresso fits so well with this style that I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if it wasn’t on the label. The coffee also has a very sweet caramel quality to it. I’m digging this.

 

Palate 5/5

I try to avoid the word “smooth” as much as possible because everyone uses it so much that it is meaningless. So instead I’ll say soft, fluffy, thick, with no alcohol bite. Very VERY slight warming sensation on the way down. Which is surprising considering how much alcohol this has.

 

Flavor  5/5

It starts out like an excellent but normal Imperial Russian Stout. Nice and sweet and malty. But the espresso lends just the right amount of extra bitterness that this style needs. It’s a great balance.

 

Overall  20/20

Honestly, what did you expect? It’s excellent. Lately stones regular beers have been getting boring to me. Not sure if they’re changing or if I am. But I still look forward to their annual releases. And their odd-year specials are even better. I love them…..so much.

 

Sip slowly and enjoy with good company.

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Beer Review: Mikkeller – Black Hole

Like I said in my last review, I always grab every Mikkeller brew I see whenever I go to the store. This was the other new beer I saw. It’s a coffee imperial stout with 13.1% alcohol, and it has earned a score of 100 on RateBeer.

Appearance  5/5

As black as can be from the very beginning of the pour. The head was a nice coffee color with good persistent thickness and a very clingy lacing.

Aroma  5/5

Dark, sweet, red fruit. Strong aroma hops. Malt. Honey. Coffee. Caramel. Perfect.

Palate  5/5

It has that thick velvet softness that you expect from an excellent imperial stout but it’s also heavy and has a bite that grows the longer you hold it in your mouth, due to the high alcohol content. It was an interesting contrast. Usually with this style, I want to hold it in my mouth for a long time to see how fluffy it will get. But the alcohol tingle made me want to swallow it before it became painful. After it was down, my palate cleared up very quickly and I couldn’t wait to take another sip.

Flavor  5/5

Even before the beer touches your lips, your tongue is ready to accept coffee malt sweetness because of the aroma. But I was surprised to find that those tones don’t show up until the end. The first thing I tasted was fruit. Well, probably a chocolate covered fruit. Chocolate covered black cherries. Dark, unsweetened, baker’s chocolate covered black cherries. After that the caramel, coffee, malt, and hops that you’d expect from a great imperial stout reared their heads. But that initial fruit quality is what really puts this over the top for me.

Overall  20/20

If this wasn’t so expensive, I’d buy a whole case of it. Mikkeller – Black Hole has just skipped in line to top of my list of personal favorites. Usually, I finish these reviews before I’m even half done with the beer. But this time, my glass is nearly empty. I couldn’t put it down.

MUSIC PAIRING:  This beer promised to be the epitome of a dark, heavy, brooding, slow-sipping imperial stout. So I decided to throw on the darkest, heaviest, most depressing record I own. And I own a lot of doom metal so that’s saying a lot. But when looking through my record collection, I couldn’t find anything heavier, nor anything that made me feel more “black” inside, than the Chelsea Wolfe/King Dude 7″ Split. Specifically the song “Fight Like Gods” on Chelsea Wolfe’s side of the album. If you’re a sad drunk, I don’t recommend listening to this song when inebriated. If you’re a happy drunk, it’ll make you a sad drunk. It was perfect.

Sip slowly and enjoy in good company.

P.S. I just noticed that there is a shit ton of yeast settled in the bottom of my glass so if you don’t like that, be sure to decant it off. Personally, I’m planning to drink it.

P.P.S. Fight like Gods by Chelsea Wolfe might be the darkest and most heavy record I own at the moment but that’s because I only just ordered “Sex Tape/Snuff Film” by Bongripper and it hasn’t arrived yet. I wonder if my music pairing would have gone differently……..

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Beer Review: Mikkeller – Funky E (star)

I always have to snatch up anything from Mikkeller whenever I see it at my local craft beer places. This one is a belgian wild/sour ale with an ABV of 9.39%. I’m not very familiar with this style at all so I’m excited to see what it’s like.

Appearance 5/5

Dark orange with bright golden highlights.  It’s fairly clear with notable carbonation, and a big fluffy cream colored head.

Aroma 4/5

It definitely has that sour funk to it that the style is known for. But since I’m unfamiliar with it, I’m having trouble describing it. There’s no better way for one to say “It smells like dirty socks, but in a good way” than to just say it. It also has a nice orange peel and sour green apple aroma but it’s very subdued, which I was thankful for.

Palate 4/5

Thin and bright but very tingly. The bitterness, which I’ll talk about in the taste section, also adds considerable “bite” on the tongue.

Taste 4/5

Once again, “funky” is the best word for this. As in it has a certain funk about it. It’s bitter but not in the hoppy kind of way. It’s more like a grapefruit juice bitterness with less of the fruit flavor. It finishes on green apples and lemon rind but even that quickly fades away. The level of sourness and bitterness is over the top, but thankfully the overall flavor isn’t strong. The only thing I can compare it to is cranking the distortion on your guitar all the way, but keeping the volume low. The usual malty bready flavor is there too of course because it is still a beer.

Overall 17/20

I definitely like this better than the cheap lambics I’ve tried which tasted like cranberry juice mixed with malt liquor. It’s good and interesting but I don’t know how often I will buy this. More research is needed. I need a larger sample size before I decide if this will be a regular for me.

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Beer Review: Birra Etrusca Bronze

Being married to an anthropologist/archaeologist, this beer is very exciting for me (us) to try. It was brewed by Dogfishhead and Birreria Brothers with the help of molecular archaeologist,  Dr. Patrick McGovern. Using archaeological evidence, they reconstructed a 2,800 year old Etruscan ale recipe (and I assume, added their own flair.) It’s an “ancient ale” with 8.5% ABV. Special ingredients include: honey, hazelnut flour, heirloom wheat, myrrh, gentian root, raisins,  and pomegranates. Let’s do this!

Appearance  5/5

A beautiful dark orange brown with bright golden highlights. A fairly substantial but short-lived head. There was also a constant stream of bubbles rising to the top.

Aroma  5/5

Yeasty like a Belgian ale with a sweet/sour apple finish right at the end.

Palate  4/5

Rather thin and light with a slight tingle from the carbonation. The sourness “gets me in the gills” and there is a warming sensation from the alcohol on the way down.

Flavor  5/5

I wonder if they used Belgian Ale yeast for this. It really makes me think of that. The malt has that same quality too but that’s where the similarities end. It has a sour fruity flavor at the end which I assume comes from the pomegranate, but it tastes more like apple to me.

Overall 9/10

All I have to say is that I really, REALLY like this. I think I’ll drink the whole bomber myself. My wife only wanted a sip anyway.

Sip slowly and enjoy in good company.

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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Narwhal 2012

Narwhal is a seasonal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada brewing. It has an ABV of 10.2%

 

Appearance 4/5

Very very black with caramel and cola highlights. Thin, short-lived head but very dark. Tiny bubbles cling to the glass forever.

 

Aroma 5/5

Chocolate honey caramel malt. Maybe a little bit of raisins in there too. I don’t detect any hops, which is normal for the style, but strangely I don’t detect any alcohol on the nose either. Surprising considering the high alcohol content.

 

Palate 5/5

Thick and velvety but it finishes with a tingle on the tip of the tongue and in the nose. Very full bodied and pleasing.

 

Flavor 5/5

Perfect! It ALMOST tastes like it was bourbon barrel-aged. I get that hint of honey and raisins at the very beginning but right when I realize what it is, it’s gone. I’m left with a malty chocolate flavor that finishes on a bitter note that is somewhere between hops and coffee. Again I’m surprised that I don’t notice any alcohol. That makes it perhaps a little TOO drinkable considering the 10.2% ABV.

 

Overall 19/20

I love this beer. It wasn’t as earth shattering as the hype led me to believe but it is a solid SOLID imperial stout. I’m so glad I picked up a 4-pack because I want more. I originally intended to share it but I don’t know if I will now. Oh well, I didn’t tell anyone I bought it yet and they can’t miss it if they don’t know.

 

Sip slowly and enjoy in good company.

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