Brewtopia Events LLC

Strong Beer
Tasting Comments

Owen Ogletree (director of Brewtopia Events) gathered together Lari Cowgill, Mark King, Don Beistle, and Pasha Souvorin at Athens' Burntstone Brewhouse to sample and comment on several commercial beers.  This beer sampling was done as a blind tasting where no one was aware of the brand or style of beer that was being served each time.  This group of high gravity beers was informally evaluated based upon complexity, subjective appeal, drinkability, aroma, and flavor.  Please note that these beers were not made with the fruits and spices noted below -- these flavors and aromas come from the malt, hops, yeast, and maturation of the beers.  This sampling was conducted in July of 2000.  Because of Georgia's restrictive, archaic laws which prohibit the sale of beer over 6% in alcohol, all these wonderful beers had to be purchased in other states (see the Georgians for World Class Beer page for more on this problem).  Drop Owen an email to share your comments and opinions.

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Commercial Beers -- Blind Tasting Comments...

More beer destinations on our Brewtopia Events webpage...

Thomas Hardy's Ale, 1994
Eldridge Pope Brewery, Dorchester, England.  Aroma: spicy, plums, cinnamon, gin, alcohol, clove, nutmeg, ginger.  Very complex aroma.  
Flavor: plums, thick mouthfeel, full, syrupy mouthfeel, sweet, chocolate-like, caramel, raisin-like finish.  Tastes like a mixture of sherry and port.  Coats the tongue.  You can feel the warming alcohol -- this would be a great ale enjoyed on a cold night by a fireplace.  Overwhelming raisin/port character with a touch of sherry.  This is a beer with some age.  Marvelous, rich and complex.

Aventinus Wheat-Doppelbock
Schneider and Son Brewery, Munich, Germany.
Clear, brown, nice color.  Aroma: alcohol, caramel, spicy, very pleasant oak vanilla aroma, birch/woody, great vapors. 
Flavor: burnt bananas, clove, smoky wood, Chardonnay-like with a hint of butter, apple (but in a good way), a very interesting, pleasant beer.  This beer left us with many unanswered questions.

Big Foot Barley Wine
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA.
Aroma: spicy, piney, resin-like, hoppy, American hops, nice, fresh aroma but the flavor is mellowed with age.  
Flavor: smooth, malty, lemony, citrus, hops all over the place (bitter, flavor, and aroma), hoppy, great body and mouthfeel, fresh hops, cascade hops?, clean fermentation.  Intense, fantastic beer!

Chimay Grand Reserve, 1999
Scourmont Abbey Trappist Brewery, Chimay, Belgium.
This bottle of Chimay had aromas and flavors of cork, cardboard, and metallic and vegetal characters.  We suppose that this bottle had been exposed to heat during transport.  Chimay is usually much better than this.

New Belgium Abbey Ale
New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO.
Color is clear amber.  Aroma: nutmeg, smoke, German malt, metallic hops, slightly phenolic, sweet, mild aromas, butter-like. 
Flavor: clove, banana, phenol, wheat-like, tastes like a dark wheat beer, well balanced, somewhat complex, not as intense as the other beers.  A tasty, delicious beer.

Salvator Dopplebock
Paulaner Brewing Company, Munich, Germany.  
Aroma: plum, caramel, raisin, pepper?, alcohol.  Very clear copper color.  Flavor: malty, smooth and clean, very little hop character, toffee, not intense, not heavy, not cloying.  This is a very likable beer.  Tastes like a smooth, malty lager -- does not taste like a strong ale.

Samichlaus Bier, 1994
Hurlimann Brewery, Zurich, Switzerland.
Hazy and brown.  Aroma: alcohol, no hops, butterscotch, malt, burnt caramel, spicy, tangy/winey port-like smell, tannin aroma, sweet smell.  Flavor: warming alcohol, aggressive - yet balanced somehow, bitterness, tastes young - needs more age (yes, someone actually said that!), nice bite, numbs the tongue, toffee and figs.  Wow, what a complex beer!

Westvleteren 12
Saint Sixtus Trappist Brewery, Westvleteren, Belgium.
Aroma: yeasty, licorice, plum, honeysuckle, honey, acetone, wine, dark candy sugar.  
Flavor: raisin, rich plum, very complex, a bit cloying, sweet, buttery, coats the tongue, anise, cinnamon, cloves, white pepper, candy-like, smooth, very beautiful beer with a lingering aftertaste, full bodied.  Needs more age.

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