Monthly Archives: April 2012

Review of Stone IPA

Hello once again good craft beer people.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be drinking a Stone IPA produced by the Stone Brewing Company located in Escondido, California.

No need for any kind of introduction to Stone.  We all know that they produce great beers.

From the website,, we find this description of the IPA.

An “India Pale Ale” by definition is highly hopped and high in alcohol – you’ll find our Stone India Pale Ale to be true to style with a huge hop aroma, flavor and bitterness throughout. If you’re a hop-head like us, then you’ll love our Stone India Pale Ale! Medium malt character with a heavy dose of over the top hops! Generous “dry hopping” gives this beer its abundant hop aroma and crisp hop flavor. 

Let’s sip.

This brew has an ABV of 6.9% and it comes in a 22 oz. bottle.

It poured an orange to almost golden/orange color with a certain haze to it.  The head had suitable bulkiness, was very fluffy, frothy, rocky, soft and billowy.  The retention time was quite adequate and the lacing looked real good.  A skim of film was left on top of the liquid for the duration of the drink.  This brew looked real nice in the tulip glass to say the least.

The nose presented a fresh and lively punch of grapefruit citrus.  Compliments of biscuits added some maltiness.  Hints of pine and flowers gave a bit more complexity.  Maybe just the most minute bit of caramel, but not much at all really.  The bouquet was super well balanced, proper, straight forward and just down right good!!!

The taste and the aroma were nearly identical.  Fresh, bitter, hoppy grapefruit citrus melded with savors of baked biscuits and light touches of caramel malt.  Some resinous qualities intermingled with flavors of pine and grass.  The bitterness was spot on and the balance was superb.  Truth be told, after a little while, all I got was the very tasty grapefruit citrus.  The other flavors only served as complimentary features.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Smooth, mostly dry, sticky and somewhat chewy.  Medium strength carbonation.  More than enough flavor was left behind for me to enjoy in between sips also.

Man!!!  This beer is very, very good.  I haven’t had it in so long.  This is a beverage that I take for granted and one that I need to revisit more often than I do.  It’s a near perfect example for the style.  The drinkability is killer as well.  I was literally taking huge gulps without ever becoming fazed.  The whole bomber was gone before I even knew what was going on.  I’ll say that if you guys have never had the Stone IPA or if you have not picked a bottle up in awhile….. do so.  It remains a staple in the craft beer world.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.4 out of 5
Grade:  A 

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Country: USA, Stone


Review of J.W. Lees Limited Edition 2007 Harvest Ale (Calvados Casks)

Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be cracking open another J.W. Lees brew from the J.W. Lees & Co. Ltd. Brewery (Greengate Brewery) in Middleton Junction, Manchester, United Kingdom.  This one is the 2007 Harvest Ale matured in Calvados Casks.

Let’s refresh our memory of what the website,, has to say about these brews.

Released in limited quantities in December, Harvest Ale gives a rich, strong flavour, beloved by beer connoisseurs.  It can be laid down like a vintage wine for enjoying in later years.

I also found this Calvados description from

Matured in wooden Etienne Dupont Calvados casks from the end of October until mid March.  This fully fermented ale has been brewed by JW Lees as a celebration of the brewers’ art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come.

After that description I’m ready to drink.  How ’bout you?

This brew comes in a 9.3 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 11.5%.

It poured a muddy, amber to burgundy color with quite a bit of sediment accidentally deposited from an aggressive pour on my part.  The head was meager and light tan in color.  The retention was ok as was the lacing, but the alcohol legs were very prevalent and attractive.

The nose…..  Wow!!!  Right off the bat I got some of that expectant J.W. Lees goodness.  Very malty with hints of caramel and toffee sweetness.  Toasted breads, biscuits, oak, syrup and booze (Brandy).  As I studied the aroma a bit more I began to pick up tones of apples and other light fruits.  Awesome!!!  A truly outstanding and beautiful aroma.  It was balanced and blended so well.  I just kept sticking my nose in the snifter to take it all in.

As I was anticipating, I got tons of malt in the taste as well.  Savors of caramel and apples.  It was very similar to caramel apple dip.  Tasty!!!  Some toasted bread and biscuit aspects, however they seemed a touch more relaxed than they were in the bouquet.  The alcohol was definitely noticeable, but it was quickly covered and harmonized by the other characteristics.  Most notably the light fruits (apples).  Flavors of oak and wood played a supporting role at the back end to give it that earthy/round taste.  It was of medium strength on the sugary sweetness, which, in turn, let those malts really stand out.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Incredibly smooth, slick and nicely dry.  Quite possibly the smoothest J.W. Lees Harvest Ale I’ve had to date.  Very little carbonation was to be had, but a small dab of warmth and an excellent dose of flavor was left covering the palate long after each sip.

There was a ton going on with this beer.  Outstanding to say the least.  I absolutely loved the apple relishes combined with the malt, booze and wood.  It’s most definitely a sipper, however that’s how I like it because it forces me to take my time and really digest all that this beer has to offer.  All this beer does is just reaffirm my love for J.W. Lees Harvest Ales.  That’s about all that needs to be said really.  If you guys have yet to try a one, I’d suggest picking one up of any vintage and of any variation.  They are all incredible in my opinion, but this 2007 version matured in Calvados Casks is really something.  Be sure to let me know what you think if you have the opportunity to sample it.  I would love to hear if you have the same affection for them that I do.

Thanks for reading and commenting guys.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.6 out of 5
Grade:  A+         

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Country: England, J.W. Lees


Review of Sixpoint Bengali Tiger

It’s time for another craft beer review everyone.  For today’s drinking pleasure I’m going to be trying the Sixpoint Bengali Tiger produced by the Sixpoint Brewery located in Brooklyn, New York. 

This is another brewery that we have just recently started getting in my area and I’m glad because the Sixpoint brews that I’ve tried thus far have been very favorable and enjoyable.  I’ve heard a great deal about the Bengali Tiger, so I’m really excited about trying it.   

From the website,, we find the description of this beer.

What immortal hand or eye.  Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Sixpoint homebrewed IPA interpretation. Blaze orange in color, with an abundance of citrus hop bitterness, and a full pine and grapefruit bouquet in the aroma.

Sounds pleasing enough.  Let’s drink it.

This brew comes in a 16 oz. can and it has an ABV of 6.4%.

It poured an orange to pale amber color with a slightly off white head of real nice size.  It was a bit soapy and rocky, however the retention time was good and the lacing was patchy and clingy.  A new ring of foam was left after every sip.

The smell presented a solid dose of citrus along the lines of grapefruit, oranges and a touch of peach.  It was also quite piny with some sort of spice.  Like what one might find in rye bread or rye beers.  Some underlying caramel sweetness became noticeable through the middle and toward the back end.  Some breadiness really began to stand out as the brew warmed too.

The initial taste let the orange and grapefruit citrus shine.  Again, tones of caramel sweetness and bready malt, which really calmed the citrus down after a few moments.  Piny and earthy hops added some nice tickles of bitterness, while a creamy flavor helped to round off the overall tasting experience.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Mostly dry and crisp, but somehow chewy, creamy and sticky at the same time.  The carbonation was great and a nice dose of flavor was left on the palate after each sip.

Man, this beer was super easy to drink.  I believe I could pound several of these during one setting with no problem whatsoever.  I, personally, don’t think it’s quite on par with some of the “big” IPA’s that are out there, however I don’t necessarily think that was what Sixpoint was going for with this brew.  It seems to be more along the lines of a great, little, hoppy beer that doesn’t try to overwhealm or intimidate.  I know it was a blast to drink that’s for sure and I’ll definitely pick it up again sometime.  Without question, it would suit me well as Spring gives way to Summer.  Have you guys ever tried the Bengali Tiger?  What did you think?  Be sure to let me know in the comments if you’d like.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.0 out of 5
Grade:  B+   

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Country: USA, Sixpoint

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