BuckeyeBoy (5777) - Boise, Idaho, USA - SEP 21, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle Pours out a nice amber topped with a tall off white head. Aroma of light hops and some sweet. Doesnít tast as strong as a double.
asteele8 (322) - Des Moines, Washington, USA - SEP 20, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Pours full of carbonation. Creating a huge white head on top of a hazy copper colored beer. This head is slowly dissipating and very creamy. Aroma is chock full of hops! Citrus hops come out the aroma mostly. The aroma is absolutely fantastic. This defines what an IIPA should smell like. Flavor is hops, malts, pine, caramel, and floral hops. The mass amounts of hops are definitely balanced out big time with caramel malts. Very smooth beer. Easy on the palate and very enjoyable. Now to obtain the Winter version!
Kiapepito (110) - Port Angeles, Washington, USA - SEP 19, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
smells good, very hoppy, and of pine. hazy amber color, and hoppy tasting.
Enniskillen (2045) - Salinas, California, USA - SEP 19, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Body is a dark amber, with a thin off white head. Aroma is a heavy dose of northerwestern hops, along with caramel. Taste is a nice hop balance along the caramel, alcohol, and a bit of numbness.
cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - SEP 19, 2006
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: FEB 18, 2007 2/17/07. Poured out of 22 oz. bottle, bought at Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, CA 8/20/06. Rated blind. Vintage 2006, I do believe. Extremely dark brown-purple in color like a dark grape or fig skin, pouring with a lumpy head of uneven, pea-sized light tan suds. Deep orange-copper in color when held up to light. Head fades rather quickly to a lumpy film. Lacing is very sticky but sadly lean (after the head fades), although sub-surface ďreverse lacingĒ is exquisite. Aroma starts out fairly bold and promising, with some orange zest and sweet notes of dark caramel, brown sugar, and some hints of dark taffy and lighter caramel-like fudge; lots of fruitiness but on the darker dried fruit end, with a bright date-like character. A touch of sweat-soaked-leathery tanginess that isnít quite as off-putting as it sounds because itís so slight. Aroma fades quite a bit as it opens up, starting out with that lovely aged barley wine profile, ending up fairly nondescript with only a bare bones lightly-sweetened spiced toast presence. Flavor is decidedly drier and more subdued, really relying on straight toasty and caramel malts with only the softest brown sugar suggestions. Seems more like a solid-but-unspectacular amber or red ale, underhopped and drinkable but fairly uninteresting. Itís subtle and thankfully not sugar-saturated like the aroma might have suggested at first, but thereís not really that much of note. Hop citrus and bitterness have disappeared. Sort of a funny ďfootĒ character that I remember somewhat similarly from Oggiís Tricentennial Barley Wine, but it was much more extreme (and interesting) in that beeróI think itís an odd effect of oxidation. Again, not as bad as it sounds, but not terribly exciting either. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a gently tingling carbonation and slight scratchiness from an earthy, soggy hop presence. Not really any bitterness, but thereís a definite fuzzy textural component that I think came from the hops, and becomes more directly textural with the oxidation. This aspect of the finish actually lingers around quite awhile, but itís not much to get excited about. A bit watery, especially in the finish. Flabby and really just pretty boring. No alcohol presence whatsoever, which is good. But thereís very little else thatís very good. I was actually pretty optimistic on my first whiff, but everything fell apart so quickly. It gets less and less interesting as I work through the bottle, almost like itís not even there towards the end. I didnít even bother to finish the whole bomber, and I barely even noticed. After the reveal: Wow. No idea. Not 100% sure of this vintage, but 90% sure. Not good. (7/4/6/3/12 - 3.2)
9/18/06. Poured out of 22 oz. bottle, bought at Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, CA 8/20/06. Pours a stately, lightly hazy bright orange with a fluffy, sudsy and well-retained tan-cream head. Lacing drifts in slow, tightly-woven sheets, leaving sticky, irregular, residual patches. Aroma drifts forth with an orange zest zippiness and an inviting piney, floral softness, something I fear that has already faded even at this young age. There are also traces of raw alcohol that hide just beneath a zesty citrus zip. Too much alcohol presence even in the aroma, but a little more brightness and a little less alcohol, and this could be magical. Flavor is lacking a bit even from there, with an immediate oxidized malt and nondescript, slightly abrasive hop character. As a bit of excited fun, there are pockets of sharp hop oils popping against the sides of the mouth, but the flavoring and dry hops are sort of lacking compared to what Iíve come to know from my SoCal Imperial IPAs. The malt is papery and bland, not quite even an adequate blank slate for the hops to dance their colorful masquerade (or in this case, their clumsy shuffle). Sticky on the lips with a medium-full body. Mostly compact carbonation, but the texture feels a little off because of the scratchy hop prickle. Grassy, itchy, dry finish, with a straw-like bitterness that lasts long but lacks the hop juiciness that I want. The finish is easily the weakest part of the beer, provoking sip after sip to cover its harshness; it begs you to drink this beast faster than the high octane would normally prescribe. Still a solid brew, if heavily flawed, but not close to the lovely hop treat we get each Christmas. (7/5/7/3/13 - 3.5)
Final rating reflects some kind of an average for the two ratings.
GarrettB (1428) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 18, 2006
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: OCT 11, 2007 Thanks to some handy mercantilism and bartering on the behalf of my fellow Ratebeerian Kepano, we were able to secure our first bottle from AleSmith. Ever. Thatís because we are so unfortunate as to be in the outer, forgotten orbits of distribution for San Diego breweries. Ours is apparently a barren world, like the scarred face of the moon. They simply think that even if life exists in these craggy lands of Colorado, surely it canít have evolved past an invertebrate rasping tongue whoís primitive licking motion is far better suited to eroding mollusk shells in the hope of a docile meal rather than tasting the toothsome crafts coming from AleSmith. End rant. YuleSmith Summer is a deservedly well praised beer. Let us begin with the head: a commodious raft of tan foam plumping up and above the glass in a terrifying tower of chemical cohesion and sheer magic. This then settles into a more manageable cork of bubbles, and finally sinks into an inverse crater, like a pleateau surrounded by a medieval moat. Whoah. And thatís before I even smelled the beer. After the many varied faces of YuleSmithís presentation I catch a whiff of a syncretic wonder Ė ginger, cloves, pine, sassafras, ethanol, orange pith, pepper, pork tenderloin, oats and celery salt. The pork tenderloin part of that voluminous list had my salivating glands in a frenzy, to say nothing of the other complementary aromas (and other bits and pieces of my digestive system). But hereís where I vex myself Ė where self-reclamation, martyrdom and a philosophical flogging all crash together. Iíve never been good with Double IPAs, or any extreme of flavor for that matter. Anything Imperial subdues me more viciously than the empires subdued colonies of old. This beer included. Yes, it has something of a balanced hops-malt character to it, in an IPA style. But to me it hits hard, dry and tinny. A little time on the tongue catches a preliminary glow of apple which collapses soon after into a long, windy gust of hops and bitterness. It then loiters for much, much too long forcing ample time between sips, and furthermore keeping me looking like an IPA sophist. Iím too much of a coward Ė too weak and too flimsy. YuleSmith Summer burns like a thorny sting of a thousand displeased bees at a time when everyone else seems to think itís their heavenly honey. It was, however, a pleasure nonetheless, if not for the spectacular architectural phantasmagoria or the entrancing smell, then only to have at last met a famous AleSmith.
11026 (1772) - Alabama, USA - SEP 18, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle from summer í06. Deep amber colored and very clear. Huge light beige head that lasts indefinitely and leaves dense sea-foam lacing behind. Big caramelly nose with a pleasant dose of floral and citrus. Full bodied, smooth, easygoing carbonation. Nice blend of malt and hop to start off with, well balanced. Towards the middle and finish the hops kick into overdrive and assert themselves. IBUís run towards harsh but back off at the last instant. Decently done, pleasant hop monster.
hopscotch (10563) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - SEP 18, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle... This beer rocks!... Hazy amber ale with orange highlights and a mid-sized, creamy, khaki head. Great retention. Fruity, earthy aroma with notes of toffee, pine, clementine and grapefruit. Big hops on the palate; earthy and bitter. Plenty of caramel malt to balance the scales. Grapefruit rind, pine needles and caramel/toffee. Full-bodied with a chewy mouthfeel and lively carbonation. Bitter, grassy finish. World class beer!
patrick767 (3964) - fort wayne, Indiana, USA - SEP 17, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
draft at the brewery - Pours orangish and has a very pleasant citrus hops aroma. Well intensely hoppy in flavor as expected, thereís a strong malt balance and a good mouthfeel thanks to a good medium-full body and light carbonation that make this big beer go down surprisingly easily. Very nice.
sloth (2791) - Ceciltucky, Co., Maryland, USA - SEP 17, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bombers courtesy of SDbruboy and footbalm, thanks guys!! Poured a large fluffy white head, retention is good, lacing is puffy, sagging and sticking around. Clear, burnished copper color. Pungent hop nose, spicey, fruity with strong citrus notes with a surprisingly big matiness. Body is med/full, oily on the palate though lightly so.Lovely fruity flavors, overipe peaches and apricots, just right pineyness,notes of lightly buttered popcorn and flowery honey. Caramel malts are dry, lightly bready pale malts are a touch toasty. Finish is fruity, hoppy and lucious. Eric and Cliff, thanks! You guys f*%*#n rock!!