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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>


Beer Blogging

In celebration of the Bills' close win this morning, I will have some beer. Not that I need an excuse, but, you know, Go Bills! Anyway, today I'll be drinking Sam Adams' Winter Lager.

Sam Adams Winter Lager

This beer poured into the glass with a dark amber color and a decent-looking head that disappeared to nothing pretty quickly. There's not a ton of smell to it; it smells pretty much like an ordinary lager. The taste, however, is different from the regular Sam Adams Lager in a very pleasing way. It's very full-bodied, like the regular lager, but it has an almost buttery sweetness that you taste right away. That sounds odd, but it really works well with this beer. There's a slight hoppy bitterness and maybe some spice at the end, but the semi-sweet malt is the main characteristic here. That's a little strange for a winter lager - usually they have a lot more spice to them. The beer is so well crafted, though, that I really don't miss that flavor. Overall, I'd say this beer is an excellent variation on the base Sam Adams Lager. If you're a fan of regular Sam Adams and of slightly sweeter beers, this is a must-buy.

Rating: 8/10



Beer Blogging

Well, it's fall, and that means there are pumpkins around. That also means that the pumpkin ales have magically reappeared in my local liquor establishments, and I couldn't be happier. Tonight, with my super classy dinner of ramen noodles and assorted chopped vegetables, I'll be drinking Buffalo Bill's Brewing's pumpkin ale.

mmm, pumpkin...

This is a clear, amber beer that pours up with just a little bit of foamy head, that disappears to just about nothing. The smell promises good things to come; it smells like a cross between a pumpkin pie and an amber ale. It smells like it's got more spices than a pumpkin pie, but otherwise it's remarkably similar.

Upon first taste, this pumpkin ale tastes like any other amber ale. But once it's been in the mouth for a second, the pumpkin and spices really start to assert themselves. In my experience, beers flavored with fruits or vegetables can go one of two ways: either they can be far too sweet and syrupy (true of blueberry wheat beers, mostly), or they can blend in with the other beer flavors and complement them. This beer does the latter. The pumpkin flavor reminds me of a pumpkin pie mix with only a fraction of the sugar. That's good, because sweetness would be out of place with this beer.

Rating: 7/10. Recommended for people who like pumpkin flavor and amber ales. If you don't like the beer flavor, the pumpkin flavor won't make up for it unless you really like pumpkin.



Beer Malt Liquor Blogging

Some of the physics and chemistry graduate students here at UCI have something of a tradition. For big political events (election returns, State of the Union addresses), we get together, eat shitty food and drink really shitty malt liquor. Last year, among other beverages, we sampled Schlitz, Steel Reserve, Mickey's and Icehouse. Tonight, I'm drinking Olde English "800".

I think this stuff might be the Devil's urine

Do not drink this beverage. Seriously, just don't. There are two distinct tastes in play here. When the OE is cold, it's simply bad malt liquor. Kind of a skunky taste, not too bad but certainly nothing I'd call good. Since this stuff has 7.5% alcohol by volume, you might think that drinking a bit of it would lessen the negative aspects.

But you would be wrong. You'd be wrong because warm OE is a special kind of hell. Skunky, yes, like the cold stuff, but there's more. Even very slightly warm Olde English "800" tastes like a hobo's armpit. Plus, this shit is filling, so at the end of the bottle you're full and drinking something that tastes like an old sock. Perhaps obviously, this is not a drinking experience to be desired. I bought this 40 tonight because I had never tried OE 800 before; after tonight, I'm quite confident that I never will again.

Rating: 1/10. Recommended for people who hate themselves and want to be unhappy.

Still, not even shitty malt liquor could dull my enthusiasm tonight. Go Dems!



Beer Blogging

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this post is in honor of maurinsky, whose birthday it is today. She wanted people to "make a big fucking deal about my birthday. Have some cake, send me presents, open a present yourself, blow out some candles, and get another day older". So I did - my present to myself was beer. No cake, though. Maurinsky, I wouldn't know what to send you as a present...what would you like?

Tonight I'll be trying the Organic Belgian Ale from those hippies at Bison Brewing up in Berkeley. It's a Belgian Tripple style ale brewed with coriander, according to the label. Let's see what it has to offer.

This beer pours into the glass with a nice, foamy white head and a clear golden body. It's an appealing looking beer, right out of the bottle. That's a good sign. I always pour my beer at first so that the head recedes a couple inches below the rim of the glass, so that I can check out the smell - you gotta really stick your nose in the glass (I learned that from my dad and his inspections of wine). I'm not the best judge of this right now, being as I am in the midst of a vicious head cold, but I definitely get hints of citrus and, unsurprisingly, coriander. There's also a bready smell, which is to be expected from a Belgian ale.

The first taste gives a strong, bitter hoppy impression, with a citrus flavor along for the ride. After that, you get a little bit of a sweet, honey flavor, but the bitterness sticks around for quite a while. The aftertaste, surprisingly, is of honey; as soon as the liquid is gone, the hop flavor goes along with it. It's an unexpected and quite pleasant contrast, and really makes you want to take that next sip. There is some alcohol to be tasted, but the other flavors really hide it well.

This is a pretty good beer. I'd recommend it to people who like Belgian style ales, as well as people who are fans of bitter beers. This one doesn't have the bitterness of an IPA or an ESB, but it has that kind of complex flavor. You won't get bored with it, that's for sure. Rating: 8/10.