Tag Archives: California

Green Flash Cosmic Ristretto

Cosmic Ristretto is a Baltic Porter brewed with espresso and Belgian candy sugar. The head is foamy rather than creamy. There’s coffee and licorice on the nose. Tons of coffee and molasses in the middle, brown sugar and star anise in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a relatively high 8.2% ABV. This is an exceptional beer.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Dia De Los Serranos

Day of the Serranos. A double stout from Green Flash brewed with Serrano chiles. The nose is malty and sweet. The middle starts as a deliciously sweet imperial stout with chocolate and a bit of coffee, and the coffee remains as it fades to a finish where the spicy hot chile oils creep up on you. I don’t know that “delicately spiced” as the bottle label indicates is exactly accurate…The heat is not subtle at all. It is also not, however, overdone. It’s perfectly balanced between sweetness and spice. The body is medium and the alcohol is a biggish 8.8% ABV. Fantastic beer for those of us who love spicy food and drink.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Stone 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

Stone brews a special IPA for their anniversary each year, and this year, their 20th, it’s Citracado IPA, an Imperial IPA brewed with citra hops and avocado flower honey. Like all Stone beers, the hops are important. This one is one of the hop bombs, so if you like Ruination, this might be for you. The nose is floral and citrusy, with orange and grapefruit notes. The middle has a ton of lemon and grapefruit, and sweetness from the honey over a big malty backbone that give it weight. It fades to grapefruit rind and pine bitterness in the finish, and is never subtle. The body is heavy and the alcohol is 9.0% ABV. This is a special beer, brewed for a special occasion, and it more than does it justice. This is an outstanding beer.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

Grapefruit Sculpin is a variation on Ballast Point’s sublime Sculpin IPA, with the grapefruit turned up a notch or ten. The grapefruit is definitely the signature note here, and while not overpowering, is in evidence throughout. The nose has the essence of grapefruit oils, along with some lemon and floral notes. The middle has tart and sweet grapefruit, fading to bitter rind and a hint of pine in the finish. Every bit as good as the original Sculpin, and because I personally love grapefruit, I might even like this one better. The body is medium and the alcohol is a nice 7.0% ABV.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Stone 5th Anniversary IPA – Encore Series

For their 20th anniversary, Stone has produced a special beer, and packaged it with encores of their 5th, 10th, and 15th Anniversary IPAs. Today I’m reviewing the encore series version of the 5th Anniversary brew. In Stone Tradition, this is a hop-bomb of a west coast style IPA. Orange, mango and apricot on the nose, massive amounts of lemon and grapefruit in the middle and tons of raw pine in the finish. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is not unreasonably stiff at 8.5% ABV. I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to try the original, but the encore is still an amazingly well executed, wild example of a big west coast IPA.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Sierra Nevada Dunkelweizen Bock

A member of Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude series, Dunkelweizen Bock is a traditional dunkelweizen, a dark wheat German beer style. A classic style that you don’t see that often these days. The head is heavy and sticky and hangs around. The nose is malty and bready with some banana. The middle is sweet with molasses and has oodles of the characteristic cloves, and the finish is sweet banana bread. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a reasonable 7.2% ABV. This is a really nice heavy winter beer for those inclined to indulge in sweeter styles.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.

Marooned on Hog Island

From 21st Amendment Brewery, Marooned on Hog Island is an oyster stout brewed with Hog Island Sweetwater oyster shells. The thick sticky head hangs around for awhile, and the nose has coffee and light caramel and chocolate notes. The middle is balanced between sweet and salty with milk and chocolate and the salty ocean notes of the oyster shells. Then finish moves back towards the sweet with more chocolate and a bit of caramel returning. A lovely stout with a oceanic touch. The body is medium and the alcohol is a strong-ish 7.9% ABV.

I give it a 4.6 out of 5.

Sierra Nevada Otra Vez

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Otra Vez is a Gose-style ale brewed with cactus and grapefruit. I pity I found it late in the year, as this is the sort of beer I love in the heat of summer. Light, fairly heavily carbonated, and refreshing are the properties that come to mind. The nose is minimal and slightly sour. The middle is sharply tart and carbonated. The grapefruit comes strongly to the fore in the finish, along with undertones from the cactus. It’s not particularly complex, just a simple beer with a couple of notes at a time, but that shouldn’t be held against it, because what is here is lovely. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is an equally light 4.5% ABV. A fine treat, particularly for summer.

I give it a 4.1 out of 5.

Ballast Point Pumpkin Down

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It’s that time of year again…Time for the pumpkin ales. This one is Ballast Point’s take on the theme with a Scottish ale with pumpkin. While the pumpkin is definitely the centerpiece, the malty Scottish ale backbone makes it a subtler pumpkin ale than many, which I find quite nice. The nose is toasty with a good bit of fresh pumpkin. The middle has pumpkin and toffee and a bit of nutmeg, and the finish is reminiscent of chewy pumpkin bread. The Scottish ale base is nicely complimented by the pumpkin and light spice, but never lost. Really well done. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a mild 5.8% ABV.

I give it a 4.6 out of 5.

Sierra Nevada Six Rights IPA

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Six Rights IPA is a double IPA from Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude series, designed to be balanced to deliver something everyone will enjoy. It is indeed beautifully balanced. Light citrus, tropical fruit and floral hops are on the nose, and the middle is heavy with pineapple, plum, bread, and orange, and pine and a bit of grapefruit coming forward in the finish. The balance of malt and hops is perhaps the most even and well executed as I’ve ever tasted in a double IPA. The body is heavy and the alcohol is a reasonable 8.0% ABV. Another outstanding beer from Sierra Nevada.

I give it a 4.7 out of 5.