30 December 2009
The Carlos Torano - 1916 Cameroon was introduced in 2003 to commemorate Don Santiago Torano's emigration from Spain to Cuba. It is hand-made in Esteli, Nicaragua in four vitollas: Robusto (5.5" x 52), Corona (5.5" x 42), Torpedo (6.5" x 54), and Churchill (7" x 48); each of which are cellos with a thin cedar wrapping. The capa is Nicaraguan grown Cameroon, the capote is Havana-seed Nicaraguan, and the tripa is a blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan. Torano describes the 1916 Cameroon as being a, "slow burning, well balanced, medium body cigar with distinctive hints of pepper, caramel, nuts, and sweet spice with a long, smooth finish." The vitolla I smoked for this review was the Robusto.
The 1916 had a very pleasant and sweet pre-light aroma with a color between colorado and colorado-rosado. It had several lumps and bumps in the capa but no knots or hard / soft spots; however, there were some color inconsistencies with small greenish spots here and there. It squeezed very firmly and judging by the foot, appeared to be well packed. I made a straight-cut with scissors and tested the pre-light draw and taste which had pretty fair resistance and a slight bitterness at first which subsided right away and was followed immediately by a woody, sweet taste. It took a little fire to get it lit well but I attribute that to the apparent well packed quality I mentioned a moment ago. Once lit it began to burn very well and produced plenty of distinctive blue smoke with a noticeable woody taste.
About 1/2" in I began to detect a distinct pepper / spice tingle on the top 1/3 of the tongue. Retro-exhalation was possible but had to be done gently, otherwise it would burn a little and trigger a cough. As it burned it left behind a crispy, very light grey, almost white ash with a few dark spots which held on for the full first 1/3 before dropping off on its own. Around the 1" mark the distinctness of the pepper was still present but the tingle had mellowed and each puff was followed by a dry finish. The middle 1/3 continued to mellow but still had some pepper notes and the dry finish while a mild woody taste developed on the lips. Farther into the middle 1/3 the strength of the pepper re-emerged across the middle-top of the tongue and the ash dropped off again on its own with the full middle 1/3 and part of the last 1/3 (indicating good long-filler tobacco and skilled rolling). The final 1/3 smoked with slight wood and pepper notes and the dry finish continued to the end.
Overall, the Carlos Torano - 1916 Cameroon was a decent smoke. From beginning to end it didn't require a single touch-up or re-light. I thought it was going to need a touch-up a couple times but it corrected itself and continued to burn smoothly. I didn't notice much in the way of complexity so it's not the kind of cigar you need to devote your full time and attention to; however, it struck me as being the kind of cigar that would be good with a beverage and while I smoked it, Macallan 12 year old single malt Scotch kept coming to mind, perhaps because its fruity nose and smooth taste would be a good balance and compliment to the wood, pepper, and dryness of the 1916.
06 December 2009
For the first problem, Pete recommends that you remove the cigars from their original box and place them in your humidor to rest and age for a while. If you want to keep the box, let it air out for a few weeks and he says it should be fine. This is why I'm reviewing a Halloween themed cigar at the beginning of December. For the second problem, he says if you have any damaged cigars, return them to Tatuaje in an uncut, unlit, unsmoked fashion and they will replace them. I have heard some people say that they think the Dracs were released too soon and the moist tripa expanded causing the capa to "burst." Who can say for sure, but Pete says they were in tact when they were shipped and each of the ones I smoked for this review had none of the reported bad smell or damage. I also checked with one of the top B&Ms in my area and they said they had heard of these problems but had not experienced them. There is an in depth explanation on the Tatuaje website of what I just reiterated, so on to the smoke.
The Drac was released in a 6-3/4 x 52 "fang-shaped" Torpedo vitolla, in 1,300 boxes of 13 cigars each with a recommended price of $13 per cigar (before taxes and other penalties of course). There were also a certain number of "Spooky Tickets" placed in various boxes, the finders winning something from Tatuaje (reminiscent of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). The Drac is a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano maduro capa which was perhaps just a shade below maduro in color with no real visible flaws. It was adorned with a simple black and red band at the foot, had a smooth texture with some nice veins but felt very light in the hand. The squeeze test was a bit odd; it seemed to give too much close beneath the capa and didn't firm up until under pressure. These could all be signs of poor packing, but I'm not certain this is the case here and that would definitely be out of character for Tatuaje. The pre-light aroma was very mild with the slightest hint of sweetness but no real perceptible notes. I made a straight cut with a single guillotine which the head stood up to without fraying. The reason I mention this is because a single guillotine only cuts from one side and exerts pressure from the other which can easily cause damage, so this was sort of a quality test. The pre-light draw was easy and had a slight woody taste, following which it lit easily and evenly and produced a good amount of grey smoke from the draw.
Initially there was a mild woody taste and a hint of bitterness on the middle-top of the tongue which went away quickly. The tiniest spice tingle snuck up on the tip of the tongue about 1/4" into it and retro-exhalation was a bit harsh but could be done very gently. As it smoked it produced a light-grey ash with hints of dark undertones which was soft and a little crisp and had an interesting 'rippled' appearance to it which held on for the whole first 1/3. Up to this point it burned well but required its first touch-up about 1-1/2" in. Into the middle 1/3 the ash became a little flaky and irregular and dropped off quickly. A charred / burnt flavor would occasionally present itself but only briefly before passing. Just past the half-way point it required a full re-light and bitterness became the dominant taste on the top of the tongue. Through the final 1/3 it required minor touch-ups and couldn't shake the bitterness which ultimately took over the entire center of the tongue and lingered a while.
I met Pete Johnson a couple years ago and liked him which is when he turned me onto his Cojonu cigar (but that is another review). As I mentioned above, cigars with quality problems would certainly be out of character for Tatuaje and I am a fan of their smokes, but I have to give my honest opinion here, "Puro Integritas." Reputation is huge in this business and something like this can hurt a good company. While they couldn't control the problems with the boxes, perhaps they should have bit the bullet and held on to them until next Halloween; the boxes wouldn't have been a problem and cigars get better with age. Also, some of the problems others have reported, as well as the ones I experienced, could possibly indicate a "wet" cigar. There is a time following a cigar's rolling known as, "the period of sickness." Some say it is only a myth, some say it is true, but the general consensus among believers is that from a few months up to a year after being rolled, a cigar may still be overly humidified from the tobacco being moistened prior to rolling. During this period it may still give off ammonia (which is alkaline and causes bitterness), have problems burning, or have not much in the way of flavor at all and should not be smoked. I'm not saying this is in fact the case with the Drac, I'm just presenting some possibilities. Don't let any of this put you off from smoking Tatuajes, they are a good company that makes good cigars which can frequently be found in my humidor.
20 November 2009
The Rothschild's capa is Equadorian Sumatra; its capote is Connecticut broadleaf; and its tripa is Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican. Initial examination revealed a relatively consistent, near maduro color, with nice veins and texture. It wasn't very firm, maybe even a little soft with a soft spot found under the band, and by the look of the foot, wasn't very well packed. The pre-light aroma was of mild tobacco, pleasant but lacking any real notes. Following a punch cut, I found the pre-light draw to be fine but the taste was of bland tobacco and not much of it.
The Hoya - Rothschild lit easily enough and produced plenty of grey smoke but was harsh tasting from the first puff. Retro-exhalation was just not happening and made me want to cough. As the first 1/3 progressed, a harsh, unpleasant taste covered my tongue and a strange, perhaps "tangy" sensation / taste developed that made me want to spit a lot. It smoked a great deal while at rest which made me wonder if it was burning too fast but it did maintain an even burn until into the middle 1/3, at which time it started needing touch-ups. The ash was medium-grey in color with different shades in different parts, was crispy and had lots of cracks, but it did hold on pretty well. As I continued to smoke the Rothschild, its wrapper bubbled and flaked in places and a bitter taste dominated through to the end.
Many factors can affect an individual cigar including but not limited to its manufacture, the environment it is smoked in, and even the smoker themselves. An individual bad cigar in a premium line can also be a fluke, which I myself have experienced in the past. Let me qualify my remarks with this, I received this cigar some time ago and it has been in my personal humidor ever since, marrying with several drawers of super-premium cigars. My humidor has an electronically monitored and controlled active humidifier that maintains optimal humidity levels. This is important because over or under humidification can severely affect a cigar's taste and smoking qualities. I smoked this cigar outside and by my self so no one else's smoke could have interfered and I also hadn't eaten or drank anything for a couple hours which could have altered the natural pH in my mouth. All that being said, this was NOT a good cigar. Everything about it was bad and at this point, I cannot recommend it to anyone. As stated above, I acknowledge that this cigar may not be representative of the Rothschild line and to be fair I am willing to try another one; however, I certainly won't buy it.
17 November 2009
Liga Privada means "Private Blend" and Drew Estate claims it was originally intended not for general release but to be smoked by their President, Steven Saka. They say that while looking for something unique, they discovered a farmer in Connecticutt who was experimenting with a new sungrown Connecticutt broadleaf stalk-cut varietal he called, "American Habano." According to Drew Estate, this new American Habano capa (wrapper) is hand-fermented, not sweated; the capote (binder) is Brazillian Mata-Fina; and the tripa (filler) is a combination of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran tobaccos, with each finished cigar aged at least a year. They are being released in various vitollas ranging in price from $10.65 to $14.20. The one I smoked was a Toro, 6 x 52.
The T-52's wrapper was dark and oily with a color I put somewhere between colorado-maduro to maduro. It had a nice texture with slight teeth and an almost slippery feeling. The pre-light aroma was very mild but pleasant and a cut with a double-guillotine revealed a very good draw with an interesting flavor that left a slight sensation of pepper on the tip of the tongue. The 52 lit easily and I noticed right away that the heat made oil extrude from the wrapper up to about 1/4 inch from the ember. I have heard about some unreputable makers coating their cigars with adjuncts and claiming it was an oily wrapper, but I have to say, this looked like the real thing. The flavor started off mellow with subtle notes that were hard to pin down; maybe cocoa, maybe coffee bean. Retro-exhalation was pretty easy overall with mild to moderate spice sensations from around mid-sinus all the way to the end of the nose. It produced a light-grey to almost white smoke with moderate amounts from the draw and lots from the foot making me wonder if it was burning too fast. The smoke was cool and smooth though and by the end of the first 1/3, pepper notes began to emerge down the sides and on the tip of the tongue with the slightest note on the back of the throat.
I was more than 2 inches into it and the medium to dark-grey ash, which was crisp and grainy, was still hanging on. I finally knocked it off just to keep from eventually making a mess of myself and looking like an amateur. In the middle 1/3 a mouth watering flavor developed inside the lips and slightly more pepper emerged with the overall flavor picking up around mid-mouth and on top of the tongue. I detected leathery notes around the mid-way point which I realized may have been one of the flavors earlier that I wasn't able to pin down. Past the half-way point I detected creamy, chocolaty notes, and that mouth watering flavor progressed. Into the final 1/3 a fair peppery spice emerged which carried through to the end.
The T-52 didn't require any touch-ups or re-lights until close to the nub and the easy retro-exhalation continued until the final 1/3. There was some complexity of flavor, which while subtle throughout, was certainly present. I have to say it, this was a good cigar and I recommend it. I even tried one with a glass of ruby Porto and they went well together. Drew Estate may not make most of their living in the realm of traditional cigars, but that doesn't mean they don't know how. Good job guys.
16 November 2009
11 November 2009
Today, 11 November, is Veterans Day; a day to pay tribute to all those who have served our great nation. Keep your politics to yourself and take a moment to give thanks. If you know or see a Veteran, say thanks or just give a nod. No matter what your personal feelings may be, without them you don't get to have an opinion.
Whenever they go, wherever they go, support our troops.
May GOD bless and protect them all.
10 November 2009
08 November 2009
The event was enjoyable and catered with hearty Italian food, so if anyone left hungry it was their own fault. That's the problem with Italian food, two or three days later you're hungry again... The shop is spacious and offers a nice selection of humidors, lighters, pipes, tobaccos, and other accessories in the retail area. The walk-in humidor (or should I say the walk around in humidor) was one of the larger ones I've seen and well stocked. There was a very good selection overall which included many of the super-premium cigars from some of the best makers in the business. The shop also boasts a large Diamond Crown Lounge, sponsored by - you guessed it - Diamond Crown Cigars. The lounge was very roomy with several big leather chairs, two flat screen TVs, free wi-fi, a pool table, and an attached cigar locker room with 72 lockers for rent. One of the things I liked about the lounge was that it seemed both conducive to friendly conversation and private relaxation at the same time. All of the interior walls are glass, which adds to the spacious feeling and lets you see all the goings on. The staff was pleasant and helpful and includes my good friend, Mr. John Vanore CRT, so kudos to the Castro brothers for recognizing the importance and value of hiring a Tobacconist University certified expert.
If you are a local or happen to find yourself in the Annapolis area, stop in, relax, and enjoy a good smoke. Support your local premium brick & mortar Tobacconist! Best wishes for success to the new shop.
Davidus Cigars Ltd. - Annapolis
2134 Generals Highway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
07 November 2009
The Cabinet Oscuro is made with an Equadorian Sumatra wrapper, and Dominican binder and fillers from their own farm in La Canela, Dominican Republic. It has a beautiful, shiny, oily wrapper (in fact probably one of the oiliest you will encounter), with nice texture and teeth. It squeezed well, had no soft spots, and was obviously well packed. It has a very enjoyable, sweet pre-light aroma that changes slightly as you go from head to foot and is more pronounced at the open foot. I made a punch-cut and tested the draw which was smooth and easy and left a very mild, earthy tobacco taste on the lips and tongue. After lighting, the flavor starts out with a very mild spice on the tip of the tongue which slowly begins to build. It produces a grey, "stringy" smoke that looks like it is slowly pulling apart as it floats away. As it burns it leaves behind a light-grey ash with dark undertones and highlights which flakes a bit, but otherwise holds on pretty well. Retro-exhalation is pretty easy until you are near the very end and leaves pepper notes in the sinuses. As the flavor profile develops, it becomes a little peppery which can be felt on the tongue and holds on throughout. The pepper picks up some just past the half-way point but never becomes overwhelming and maintains a noticeable balance and consistency all the way to the dry, mild-spice finish.
The La Flor - Ligero Cabinet Oscuro is one of my favorite choices when the time and mood is right. While it is upper-medium to full-bodied, it is not overly strong but definitely has enough to bring on the leading edge of a buzz so you should certainly eat first. One thing to be aware of is that every one I have ever smoked required a fair amount of touching up and even re-lighting. I don't think this is a quality issue like with some cigars, I sort of attribute it to being a side effect of the heavy oiliness of the wrapper which is a good thing.
05 November 2009
It pours with an opaque, dark black color with the slightest ruby hints at the edges that could only be revealed by direct, bright light. It developed a tall, light-brown head that was creamy and fluffy. The initial aroma was very light and only of sweet malt which I thought was a bit odd. That is when I realized that it had been chilled to standard refrigerator temperature which is well below its recommended serving temperature of approximately 60 degrees. After allowing it to warm a bit, the aroma evolved into one you could really stick you nose into. It was deep and complex but all its notes were subtle and required hunting, which is part of the fun for me. The malty sweetness remained but I also detected slight notes of vanilla and chocolate. The first sip doesn't disappoint either. The mouthfeel starts with a moderate tingle on the front of the tongue which subsides quickly, developing into a thick, creamy feel all over the mouth. The taste is initially slightly sweet which instantly gives way to the hops and alcohol, which blend excellently. The flavor has complexity, but like the aroma, the notes are subtle and you have to work for them. I detected bitter chocolate, hops, some roast, and smoke. It finishes dry with slight black coffee notes and lingers a little.
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is an excellent beer. It is right in line with the expected characteristics of this style while maintaining great balance throughout. I recommend you use a sniff and sip technique while drinking and enjoy it slowly to get the most out of it. It has the qualities to be enjoyed alone or with food. It even has the legs to stand with a full-bodied, maduro cigar.
04 November 2009
Tournay Black is a bottle conditioned, Belgian stout brewed by Brasserie de Cazeau which is a farm-brewery located in the south of Belgium. It was originally brewed as a winter ale under the name Tournay de Noel, but later became a year-round release. They didn't provide much specific detail about how it was brewed except to say that it is made with water, malts, candi-sugar, hops, and yeast. It is 7.6% ABV with a recommended drinking temperature of +/- 50 degrees. The brewer states that the tasting notes are of, "roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate, earth, and cigar ash." Well, I am a prodigious cigar smoker and I can't say that I would want to consume the ash.
Tournay Black poured with a very dark brown color and produced a tall, tan head which was pretty thick and lasted for a bit, but once it laid down, it totally disappeared; although it did leave fair lace behind at the top of the glass but not so much as it progressed. The nose was sweet and malty with what may have been subtle caramel notes. The mouthfeel was initially very crisp, especially on the tongue, perhaps due to the carbonation and alcohol content, but got a little creamier as the beer warmed. I don't mean as each sip warmed in the mouth, I mean as the beer itself warmed as it sat so perhaps you should follow the brewers recommendations because I think mine was a little more chilled. The taste had a pleasant, mild bitterness with perhaps very subtle notes of bakers chocolate and a lasting finish, but overall, not much complexity. Additionally, shortly after finishing it a residual astringent / chalky taste and mouthfeel developed which persisted for a little while.
This was a decent stout in general and I did enjoy drinking it. I wouldn't put it near the top of my list though and probably wouldn't buy it again, but that's my opinion. There is some suspicion however, that mine may have been past it's "best by" date, but this isn't confirmed.
03 November 2009
29 October 2009
25 October 2009
22 October 2009
20 October 2009
Another entry in the Fall seasonal category is Dogfish Head's - Punkin Ale. This beer was first introduced at the Punkin Chunkin contest in 1994 as a homebrew by Dogfish's owner before he even founded the brewery. Since then, it has been released each year around September as a seasonal and, according to Dogfish, is usually gone by Thanksgiving. It is a brown ale brewed with real pumpkin meat, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. They didn't list any information about the malts or hops, but did say it is 7% ABV and 28 IBU.
14 October 2009
13 October 2009
Last Friday I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of smoking with Mr. George Sosa, National Sales Director of Alec Bradley Cigars, and was fortunate enough to be one of the first to receive their newest release, the Prensado. Not only is Mr. Sosa one of the company’s three principal executives, he is also a retired U.S. Navy – Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, so naturally he and I hit it off right away and he is also the only other person in the industry I have ever met who knew the answer to the riddle of why do Bomb Technicians like box-pressed cigars? If you want to know, you have to ask.
The Prensado was débuted by Alec Bradley at this year’s IPCPR convention in New Orleans and is their strongest cigar to date. It is being released in five vitollas: Corona Gorda, Robusto, Churchill, Gran Toro, and Torpedo. It is made with a Honduran – Corojo 2006 wrapper, a Nicaraguan – Jalapa binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. It is box-pressed and has a maduro-colored, oily wrapper that had a little veiny character to it. The body had a mild pre-light aroma with a hint of sweetness and more pronounced aromas at the foot. Interestingly, the filler blend could be clearly seen at the foot as a swirl of light and dark tobaccos. The body was also firm with no soft spots or defects and passed the squeeze test with flying colors.
I made a straight-cut with scissors and tested the draw, which was smooth with light to moderate resistance. The pre-light taste was primarily a pleasant tobacco flavor with notes of slightly bitter cocoa. Once lit it started out mild but shortly began to develop a little spice at the tip of the tongue with stronger notes at the back of the throat. It burned with an attractive blue smoke from the foot and a light grey smoke from the draw, leaving a crisp, semi-dense “zebra-ash”, meaning it was alternately a distinct light and dark grey in color. The early spice, while the dominant flavor characteristic, was mild to moderate and never overwhelming although it did make retro-nasal exhalation a little difficult. This isn’t a big deal of course and is by no means a comment on a cigar’s quality, I just like to do it in order to try and maximize my appreciation of all a cigar has to offer. As it progressed, the spice mellowed in the middle third and maintained a consistent and pleasant flavor throughout. Once into the final third the spice began to reemerge and progress a little farther along the tongue leaving a mild peppery finish.
My overall opinion is that the Alec Bradley – Prensado is a well made, quality cigar. I enjoyed every minute of it and found it to be a good choice for relaxing alone or with friends. The bi-phasic characteristics of a premium cigar were definitely present in this one and in good proportions to each other.
As always, I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
09 October 2009
It is officially Baltimore Beer Week! It runs for ten days from 08 through 18 October and includes over 300 separate events. There will be beer dinners at local pubs and restaurants, appearances by brewers, and tastings at numerous locations. There is just far too much going on for me to list it here. Just go to the web site and there are lists of events with the locations for each which are spread all over the area so something may be convenient to you. Come out and support this event if you can and have a great time doing it.
05 October 2009
01 October 2009
28 September 2009
The next in Clipper City's Mutiny Fleet is their Prosit - Imperial Octoberfest Lager. They describe it as being a "malt focused Marzen style" and call it the "burly big brother" to their Marz-Hon. Yes it is a play on words and you sort of have to be from around here to get it so you can contact me if you are that curious about it.
03 September 2009
Well, Fall is closing fast so I figured I would venture into the new seasonal brews, starting with a pumpkin ale. This is a rather uniquely American style descended from out forefathers. Early Americans used to make various types of beers brewed with different things that were available to them. Several craft breweries continue to make their own versions today but the trick is to find one where the pumpkin and / or spice doesn't overwhelm the beer.
24 August 2009
I was in my local favorite liquor store the other day looking for the latest craft beer to review when a six-pack carton caught my eye. It had a red, white, and blue stripe across it and the name Defender's Of Freedom Choice on the side. I had never heard of it before and there wasn't really any information about the beer itself on either the carton or the bottle; however, it did say that it was dedicated to our brave and heroic service men and women, and that a portion of the sales would be donated to the Fisher House, a private / public partnership that supports our military personnel in need (fisherhouse.org). Being a patriotic American and a veteran, naturally I had to give it a try, at least for the purpose of the charity.
20 August 2009
Clipper City Brewing Company, right here in my home town of Baltimore, is releasing a Special Edition Series to their Heavy Seas line called the Mutiny Fleet, in 22 ounce bombers. The recipes, and even the label art, for the Mutiny Fleet are being created by the CC brewers themselves. I have looked at all the labels on the CCBC web site and must admit that the Pirate designs called to me.
23 July 2009
04 July 2009
02 July 2009
My fellow Americans, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe Independence Day. The 4th of July isn't about cook-outs and long weekends; it's about a group of people who had the courage and wisdom to put their petty personal differences and interests aside and stand together for what was right at the risk of their very lives. It's about a group of people who stood together and said, We Are Americans!
29 June 2009
24 June 2009
The third and final cigar in the HC Series is the Habano Colorado. It is made with a Habano-Colorado Jalapa Valley (Nicaragua) wrapper; an Estelli (Nicaragua) binder; and Costa Rican, Jalapa Nicaraguan, and Honduran fillers. The Wrapper was beautiful with a color I would describe as being between Colorado-Maduro and Maduro, with nice teeth and a silky feel. The pre-light aroma was excellent with obvious chocolate notes. I invested several minutes enjoying it. Again I made a straight cut with the scissors on my Xikar cigar multi-tool (which I recommend for any serious cigar aficionado, it is great). The head held together perfectly with no evidence of fraying or unravelling. The draw gave just the right amount of resistance and left only the slightest sweetness on the lips.
23 June 2009
I was initially hesitant to try MIKELLER's - Beer Geek Brunch Oatmeal Stout based on the claim it is made with civet coffee seeds. For those who may not be familiar, and I'm not kidding about this, some of the most expensive coffees in the world are those made from seeds recovered from the feces, thats right - feces, of certain animals (i.e. the louac and in this case, the civet) which consume only the most ripe coffee cherries and then naturally, excrete the seeds. Supposedly, the coffee beans undergo special refinements while in the animal's digestive tract and, I can only assume, someone then has the undesirable job of following the little critters around until they are finished with them. My wife and I joking call this "monkey s_ _ _" coffee and choose not to drink it because it seems to me to be only a trendy / snobby sort of thing.
05 June 2009
Collaboration Not Litigation, by Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colorado, is a Belgian style ale supposedly the product of combining the best qualities two different brews from two different breweries. It has a cloudy, relatively dark, golden-brown color consistent with an unfiltered ale, a sweet, malty nose, and good lace. I thought it had a traditional Belgian style ale flavor with a nice, slightly bitter follow through. Not bad but I'm not a big fan of some of the Belgian ales so give it a try for yourself.
Shakespeare Stout, by Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon, is a tasty stout for those who enjoy a moderately bitter brew. Its beautiful ebony color is topped off by a creamy tan head that leaves heavy lace. It has a sweet, malty nose and a very crisp start followed immediately by a moderately bitter hoppiness. It also has a hoppy finish with notes of baker's chocolate. It has a crisp mouth-feel on the tongue and a slight creaminess on the cheeks. A good beer overall.
31 May 2009
30 May 2009
- Be made from at least 51% corn
- Distilled to not more than 160 proof
- Aged in new white oak barrels, the inside of which are charred
- Not barreled at greater than 125 proof
- Be aged at least two years in order to be called Straight Bourbon
- If the age is displayed on the label, it must be the age of the youngest bourbon in the barrel (applies to mixed / batch bourbons)
29 May 2009
I tried a new imperial stout today (new to me anyway), Black hole Stout brewed with coffee by the Danish brewery Mikkeller. It was very dark with a chocolaty-brown head and a very nice, sweet, malty nose. It had a very dominant bitter-chocolate taste that carried on throughout. After a few sips though, I did detect notes of black coffee. Eventually the bitterness might border on the overwhelming for some but if you are into craft beers, especially the dark side like me, its definitely worth trying. It is 13.1% ABV according to the label but I read a review that claimed it is actually 14%, but what's .9%??? The alcohol content was not at all overbearing though and I enjoyed this beer.
28 May 2009
For those of you who really enjoy an imperial stout, this is a great one. I recently had the opportunity to try THE CZAR Imperial Stout from the Avery Brewing Company. Right away you can see the pitch-black color which develops into a nice, thick brown head. Even when held up to a light, this brew could not be seen through. It has a very pleasant and complex nose with several different notes, some obvious, others you have to hunt for. I spent several minutes just enjoying the aroma. The central aroma that I detected was what I think is sweet molasses. The first sip did not disappoint, the flavor was complex and pleasant. Be advised, this a strong one, expect to feel a slight euphoria after drinking this one
23 May 2009
I took the opportunity today to try the next in the new XIKAR HC SERIES, the Criollo. It is made with a Nicaraguan Shade Grown Criollo wrapper, Nicaraguan Sun Grown Corojo binder, and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. It had a slightly toothy, attractive brown wrapper which I would put somewhere around a Colorado-Rosado with a very pleasant aroma. I made a punch cut and tested the draw which was excellent. Another easy light and even burn with nice smoke and ash color. The ash held on until approximately half way through again and fell off on its own with traces of the veins evident in the ash. The flavor started off smooth and progressed into a mild to medium spiciness throughout. All in all a consistent, enjoyable medium-bodied smoke.