A truly mixed, entirely random six.
There is a lot going on with this collab between Evil Twin and Westbrook, called Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break Imperial Stout. With a name like that, you'd expect a lot to be going on. Some of it bordered on overload in the first few sips. but as it warms the different parts of the recipe distinguish themselves from the whole, and none of it really feels wasted. This stout pours black with a little tan colored foam. Rich roasted malt, typical of a big stout, is most of the aroma, but the cocoa and cinnamon is there, too. The aroma is an indication of the flavor initially, though the pepper comes through on the finish. As it warms the pepper moves to the front and the vanilla becomes a big, rich presence. I don’t get specific almonds, but there is kind of a general warm nuttiness throughout. This is an expensive stout and it’s not something I would want every day. But I liked all of it this first time around.
Lagunitas Dark Swan Sour Ale is dark purple while pouring. It looks almost black in the glass with little foam. The aroma is rich and tart. Dark berries, sugar, and lean hops in the background. The flavor is very sour and complex. Dark fruit like black cherries and blackberries are on the front of the tongue, with a finish that hints of lime and melon and onion. But this beer is rich without woody notes, no oak or vanilla or any of the things that would show up with a barrel aged beer... just dark, rich, strong, tanginess.
Bolshevik Bastard is a Russian Stout from Nickel Brook. This is a rich, dense, hearty stout. It pours black with practically no foam. Aroma is huge on bakers chocolate, with raisins, coffee, some nutty character, too. The finish is all about the chocolate and bitter roasted malt. No hint of the 8% ABV.
Doom is an oak barrel aged imperial IPA by Founders. And it's good beer, but a classic example of why it is hard to age an IPA in Bourbon barrels. You either lose the hop character, or the bourbon barrel does not have time to make an impression. With Doom, The barrel is all up in your face. The sacrifice is the hop character that typically defines an IPA.
Doom pours a bright hazy copper color with very little head. This beer smells sweet and malty, with some vanilla and some caramel. Oak is present on the aroma. The flavor is like a bourbon barrel-aged pale ale. It has enough malt to stand up to barrel aging, and conveys the typical bourbon notes competently. What I do not get here is any distinct hoppy quality. Maybe better tuned palates than mine can find the hops, but they're lost on me. Admittedly, it might be that this bottle is a little too old. But I cannot imagine the hops having been a distinct presence at all, based on what I have here. It is a fine beer. I recommend it to fans of pale ales aged in bourbon barrels. But billing this as an IPA does not make sense to me. Had they billed this as just a barrel aged ale I'd have sat here and enjoyed it, rather than trying to solve a taste puzzle while drinking it.
Southern Tier's 2X Unfiltered IPA Color is hazy, dark orange color with an average amount of foam. Aroma is lemons and grapefruit, some crackery malt, a little bit of spice. The flavor is pretty well-balanced. The malt is rich and slightly sweet up front, then the hops pop and tingle on the finish. Creamy mouthfeel. This is pretty good.
So, they re-released Zima. I only tasted this stuff once, back in the day. I couldn't remember really having any reaction to it at all. I was surprised at the nostalgic re-release, and kept thinking I ought to pick up a bottle just out of curiosity. So I finally did that. It's not bad. It pours like carbonated sugary soda. And it basically smells and tastes like grapefruit Sprite. It goes down like candy, and more than one bottle would have eventually become far too sweet for me. But, yeah... I enjoyed this glass of Zima. Maybe I'll have another one in 25 more years.