A tropical IPA from Founders, Azacca has notes of lemon and mango and a buttery finish.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
The Oracle is a big American Double India Pale Ale from Bell’s Brewery of Comstock, Michigan. The nose has lemon and caramel. The middle is loaded with caramel, orange, lemon, and a bit of pine. The pine starts to come forward and assert itself in the finish, but the citrus remains. This is a fairly simple, iconic DIPA. All of what one might expect, and not a lot else. It’s tasty and well executed, and a great example of the style. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a stout 10% ABV.
I give this a 4.5 out of 5.
Founders, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, calls this Imperial Brown Ale “decadent” and that is the perfect way to describe this outstanding beer. The head is thick and creamy. The nose is roasty, with tons of chocolate and coffee. The middle is milky, smooth and sweet with mocha and espresso. The finish is bittering slightly, with the coffee and toasted grain coming to the fore. The body is medium to heavy, the alcohol is an imperial 9.0% ABV. This is the perfect coffee lover’s brew, and every bit as good as Founders’ classic Breakfast Stout.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
Dark Penance is a big 100 IBU Imperial Black IPA from Grand Rapids, MI based Founders Brewing Company. It’s certainly hoppy, but it has a solid malt backbone that balances it out, making it fully worthy of that Imperial classificaton. The nose is spicy with prunes, caramel, and earth. The middle has sweet dark fruit and brown sugar, balanced by bitter coffee notes. More earth and spice and tart cherries are waiting in the finish with a slight metallic bitterness right at the end. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a stout 8.9% ABC. This makes for an excellent fall or winter evening beverage.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Bell’s Porter is interesting in that it isn’t as heavy as a typical porter. They describe is as being somewhere in between a brown ale and a stout, and I’d agree that this is the target they’ve hit. The body is medium weight, and the flavors are not overly strong, but the profile is definitely in-line with a porter or stout. The nose has chocolate and toast. The middle is roasty had has a bit more chocolate at the end, and the finish is slightly metallic with some savory grain notes. It’s on the lighter side alcoholically as well at 5.6% ABV. A very pleasant interpretation of a porter.
I give it a 4.2 out of 5.
I don’t know what it is about Founders, but this Michigan brewery knows how to do big heavy beers like few others. Today I’m having an Imperial Stout, which is one of their specialty beers, with availability from January through March. Which, again, makes this a winter seasonal. It’s brewed with ten different varieties of malted barley for a rich, complex flavor. It pours a dark inky black-brown. The nose has chocolate and unique woodiness that reminds me of the smoke from a mesquite fire, and a bit of hickory and toast. The head is thick and the texture of light whipped cream. The middle explodes with different flavors including chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, raisins, and coffee. The finish settles down and is sweet, heavy, and milky with a little well-balanced maple syrup and coffee lingering on the back of the tongue right at the end. The body on this beer is well and truly heavy. This is a stout’s stout. The alcohol is high at 10.5% ABV, but very well hidden. This is one of the finest example of a stout that I’ve had.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
Porter is a classic ale style that brings to mind visions of heavy, dark, malty beer; beer that could serve as meal replacement. Founders Brewing Company’s version of Porter, named simply “Porter” doesn’t disappoint. Founders has become one of my all time favorite brewers as they churn out good beer after good beer, and this is no exception. The appearance is perfect, an oily black with no hint of transparency, and a thick mocha brown head. The nose has notes of coffee, cocoa and wood. The body is heavy, and the middle has flavors of well roasted coffee, brown sugar, and a bit of chocolate. The finish has a tiny bit of alcohol and a little of that brown sugar sweetness left over. The alcohol level is a moderate 6.5% ABV. Now, I’m a hop-head, and there isn’t anywhere in this beer that the hops come forward, but I still appreciate this beer for what it is, and that’s a classically heavy, malty, rich porter.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
Oak Aged Hatter, one on New Holland Brewing’s Mad Hatter series is Mad Hatter IPA aged in Kentucky oak. It’s a medium bodied, medium alcohol level (7.12% ABV for the 2013 offering) brew, so it probably isn’t going to stand up to cellaring like a bigger aged beer would. That said, you still get a lot of flavor from the oak here. There isn’t much of a head or carbonation to speak of. The nose has molasses and licorice. The middle is woody, with more licorice, orange, and parsley. The finish is just a bit boozy with the signature vanilla flavor of fading oak and a bit more orange. There’s a lot going on here, but even so, it seems like it isn’t quite well rounded. It just comes of…A bit flat. There’s really nothing not to like here, but to me it’s a good beer, not a great one.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
Weird name, good beer. I have a strong predilection for fruit beers in the summer, and Rübæus from Founders Brewing in Michigan is a lovely example of the raspberry persuasion. So, here it is, late August, and I’m drinking yet another pink beer. Rübæus is a fairly traditional raspberry lambic. It isn’t as heavily carbonated as some, which really helps one to enjoy it as beer, rather than mistake it for a spritzer. The nose is yeasty, with berries and sugar. The middle is strongly raspberry and super tart. There’s not room for many other flavors here. The finish transitions from tart to cloyingly sweet, with herbal notes right at the tail end. It’s quite nice, but it also quite resembles an alcoholic version of fruit punch. It’s a great beer to try out on those who traditionally choose sweet wine, or wine coolers, or hard lemonade rather than beer. It’s a good lambic, but could use a few more flavor notes to keep the palate interested.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.
Oberon Ale is a nice, mild wheat ale from Bell’s Brewery. It’s a summer seasonal…(Maybe I’m done with my summer beer reviews now?) It’s got some lemon and bread, and subdued hoppy finish. It’s good, and this is the kind of beer that makes me a little bit sad that summer’s over.