Free State The Vortex Red
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RATINGS: 3   MEAN: 3.53/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.01/5   EST. CALORIES: 183   ABV: 6.1%
This hoppy, dark red ale gets its name from the controversial, left-leaning, counter-culture rag published in Lawrence from 1969-1973. Birthed from the union of two other underground papers (The Screw: a twisted device for holding things together and Reconstruction), The Vortex spouted off on subjects ranging from the wars in Vietnam and Laos, to local political unrest, yippie and hippie culture, and of course… sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The writing was usually a matter-of-fact, bold narrative and somewhat clumsy in a “hip” sort of way. You can check the Vortex out for yourself at the Kansas Collection at the University of Kansas, or to get a great perspective on Lawrence counter-culture in the 60s and 70s, check out ’Cows are Freaky When They Look at You: An Oral History of the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers’ (or just ask Chuck). Now, as for the beer…the Vortex Red is a blend of Scottish and German malts resulting in a medium body, dark red hue, and a hint of roastiness. Amarillo hops contribute some earthy, citrus character, but piney, resinous Chinook hops really stand out in the finish of this winter warmer. The Skinny: A medium bodied, dark red ale, with a pronounced, piney hop finish. O.G. - 15.4P/1.062, 60 IBUs, 6.1% ABV

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
RobertDale (5441) - Lansing, Kansas, USA - JUL 17, 2012
On tap at the brewery a couple of months ago. Comes clear amber with a small biege head. Aroma of citrus, caramel, and pine. Taste is caramel malt, piney hops, and citrus. Enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Indra (2711) - Suburbia, Kansas, USA - DEC 6, 2009
From growler. Toasty, sweet, hoppy aroma, plenty of caramel and pine, along with lighter notes of citrus, spice, earth, faint butterscotch and red apple skin. Clear garnet in color with a very fine, lasting, off-white head. Flavor is sweet, sugary and malty up front, some toasty caramel and bready malts, becoming more hoppy and bitter, with more citrus, pine and a faint background fruitiness, these characters blending towards the finish to create a nicely balanced profile, along with some lingering grapefruit, peppery spice, toffee and pine. Very lightly oily and smooth palate, body is medium. Quite tasty and drinkable.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Pawola22 (3262) - Plainfield, Illinois, USA - DEC 4, 2009
On tap at Free State. Pours a mostly clear, deep amber-reddish body with a creamy, finger-width, tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves a good amount of lacing. Aroma is not what I was expecting based off the description. I was anticipating an extremely hoppy, resiny beer, but this is much more subdued than that. A moderately sweet toffee and caramel with a nice toasty quality greets the nose. A light citrusy, earthy and piney hop blends with the malts nicely making this aroma lighter and somewhat muted, but nicely balanced between the toasty malts and piney hops. Flavor is much more pronounced than the aroma, but not over-the-top in the least bit. The tongue is greeted with some resiny pines making the hops the forefront of the flavor. A nice toasty caramel quickly balances the initial bitterness and gives off a light roasted malt flavor that I didn’t really pick up in the aroma. Finishes with a good amount of citrus, pines, and earth before drying with a moderate bitterness and a light roasty flavor. Medium bodied and smooth. Overall, a pretty cool red ale. I think the nose could have been a little more pronounced, although it was nice. Despite that, the flavor kept my interest being nicely hopped and lightly roasted. Another solid beer from Free State.

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