Beer Ratings: Favorites

Ratings for beer with a style percentile of 99+!

Third Coast Old Ale 4.0  
Bell’s Brewery Galesburg, Michigan
12floz bottle, BOD: 09.11.2017, $3 single. Poured into a large snifter glass where a nice head leaves measured marks as the ruby-brown body lowers. Malt forward aroma with brandy mixed in as well. For an American brewed barleywine this is more in line with the English style. Flavors of semi-sweet dried fruit and lightly burnt biscuit bitterness fully coincide with the mouth coating texture. Aged versions from my experience have even less hop presence.

North Coast Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Bourbon Barrel) 3.8  
North Coast Brewing Company Fort Bragg, California
2013 bottle. Wasn't expecting this bottle to be so far off from the 2014 Rye Barrel edition, but the bourbon-barrel version is hampered by a unexpectedly rough nose. Aroma is, well, off-putting, bready and dry with hints of bourbon but a somewhat unpleasant yeastiness offsetting the oak and booze. (Might also have a strong dose of cork.) Murky brown pour befits such a massive brew. Taste starts with traditional Old Stock indulgences, caramel and brown sugar and dark fruit notes, then grows a woodsy bitterness with hints of molasses and anise. Bourbon comes in strong on the finish, offering up a whiskey fade touched with vanilla and oak. Texture's as smooth and clean as a 14% beer can be. Would be phenomenal if it weren't for the nose.

Bell's Special Double Cream Stout 4.8  
Bell’s Brewery Galesburg, Michigan
An outstanding stout. Pours dark with light tan head that lingers. Aroma of dark malts, nutty and dark chocolate. Perfect carbonation gives it a full, creamy mouth feel. Tastes of espresso, walnut, dark chocolate and faint sassafras root (or anise) bit not at all "syrupy." Great finish. I love this beer.

Unibroue 17 2.9  
Unibroue (Sapporo) Chambly, Quebec
Tiny pour from a bottle at a tasting. Consumed on 9-23-17. Labeled as "Unibroue Grand Reserve 17." Light brown. Hazy liquid. Raisin and caramel scents. Juicy aroma. A bit chemical, prune-like, plastic, yeasty taste. Medium body. Frothy in the palate.>2.9

Firestone Walker Sucaba 4.1  
Tiny pour from a bottle at a tasting. Consumed on 9-23-17. Pours a hazy dark amber with beige head. Very nice, malty, leathery aroma. Wonderful, delicious taste features flavors of vanilla and chocolate. Boozy. Full body.>4.1

Founders DKML 3.5  
Founders Brewing Company Grand Rapids, Michigan
Orange pour, nose of mostly bourbon. Sweet taste with a strong bourbon presence. Can't say I know what to taste in a malt liquor. Not bad but definitely a sipper.

Schell Fort Road Helles 4.4  
August Schell Brewing Company New Ulm, Minnesota
B+. Pours a clear golden color with white head. Light and refreshing, but also flavorful

Bissell Brothers Lux 3.9  
Pretty outstanding. Mostly a New England IPA but clean spicy rye came through. Big fruity nose.

Kulmbacher Eisbock 3.9  
Very good bockbeer, one of the better ones. I'm not a great bockfanatic and this won't change my opinion, but as far as the genre goes, this is certainly one of the more interesting ones! I prefer the Ayinger more, but I can understand the appreciation for this beer.

Cloudwater NW DIPA Citra Amarillo 4.3  
Cloudwater Brew Co Manchester, Greater Manchester
Can thanks to Lukasmh. From old note. Pours hazy thick and juicy orange. Notes of mango, guava, pineapple, citrus, peach and a subtle malty note.

Orval 3.8  
Brasserie dOrval Florenville - Villers-d.-Orval, Belgium
Barwa ciemnozłota, zmętniona, piana bardzo obfita, ogólnie piwo było bardzo mocno nagazowane. W aromacie brety, stajnia, nuty przyprawowe, ciemne owoce, lekki karmel, kandyzowany cukier. W smaku mocna podbudowa słodowa, do tego wspomniane owoce, karmel, fenole, lekkie banany. Wysycenie wysokie, goryczka średnia. Brakuje mu trochę ciała. Alkohol świetnie ukryty.

Ithaca Excelsior! Brute 4.5  
Ithaca Beer Co. Ithaca, New York
From Jul 2009. I received 2 bottles in trade thanks to NutBrown and joe1510. Thanks Alan and Joe! Served near room temp, maybe I should have chilled it down a bit as I lost an ounce or 2 when I popped the cork. A hazy straw colour with a huge head of foam, it does settle down fairly quickly leaving some nice lacing. One whiff and the influence of the Brett is right there with plenty of notes of wheat and some lemon citrus sourness to back it up. A very nice and inviting nose. The taste starts off wonderfully sour and that has my complete attention. Smack. Yum. On to the light wheat and light lemon zest bitterness to go with the sour and a light dash of an oaky flavour. If you really want to taste how sour this is, try swishing the beer in your mouth. Oh my! Medium mouthfeel, this is one highly carbonated brew but it works perfectly for me. And....head retention is superb. Drinkability? I'll have to say....I could drink this all day long! Incredible drinkability because it tastes so damn good and the alcohol is just a number(label says it is 7%abv) and doesn't come into play at all. Bottom line: I loves me a good American Wild Ale or Sour Ale. Brute is *crazy* good and anyone who appreciates the style must seek this one out. 'nuff said. Thanks again, Alan and Joe for the opportunity! Btw, I still have one of the bottles.
Bill Becker

Bissell Brothers Reciprocal 3.5  
Pretty good but liked substance better. This was a bit danker. Anne thought it so so 6/10.

Bissell Brothers The Substance Ale 3.9  
A nice beer totally nailed the New England style. Unfiltered mess. Dank held in check. Anne liked it. Overly good nose of tropical and citrus fruit.

Westvleteren 6 4.3  
Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus Westvleteren, Belgium
From Apr 2009. 1996 vintage purchased from the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam online. Red cap, says 26 6 98 A big whaff of yeast hits my nosebuds when I popped the cap. It pours a hazy to cloudy rust colour with about a 1 finger head of foam. Tilting my glass, the lacing is superb! The smell has a strong yeasty nose with also strong notes of candy sugar, spice(pepper), and an overall earthy nose. Some tartness here as well. The taste starts off very yeasty and tart with a mild flavour of white pepper, and when I say tart, I don't mean in your face sourness, no, it's much more subtle than that and goes superbly with the yeasty tones that dominate this brew. The candy sugar sweetness is also subtle but at just the right level for my palate. Wow. There's a lot of fruitiness here as well with some flavours of grapes and plums. I just poured the rest of the bottle and it turns a dark cloudy brown. Usually, the best to be found in a Belgian Ale shows up in that final pour. I can't say that anything improved with that last tastes the same...brilliant! And..I'm not just saying that because of its rarity or the cost to me getting it. It's just bloody amazing. Btw, head retention=first class. Lacing dropped off a bit after the first pour. Taste and drinkability=off the charts. Mouthfeel=on the light side but worked extremely well. Bottom line: Would I seek this out again? It's expensive as hell and isn't always available, even from the Cracked Kettle, but the answer is...yes!
Bill Becker


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