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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>


Alcohol-containing substance blogging


Tonight: NyQuil. The flavor is theoretically cherry, but to me it tastes and smells like liquid illness. It's a psychological thing - whenever I was a kid taking NyQuil, it meant that I was really sick and unhappy. I can't even smell it now without feeling worse. Right now, though, anything that makes me pass out is OK with me.

Rating: 1/10 (taste), 10/10 (sedative powers). Recommended for people who, like me, feel like absolute shit right now.


Back to Beer Blogging

Tonight I'll be enjoying a very flavorful beer: the Brutal Bitter from Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon.

Rogue Ales Brutal Bitter

No false advertising here, that's for sure. This is a bitter, bitter beer. It kind of tastes like an IPA, but even more bitter at the end. The citrus flavor that's common to IPAs is there; this one tastes like grapefruit mostly, but there's also a sweet hint of honey. As you can see from the picture, this beer is a very nice reddish color, but also a bit cloudy. The bottle says there's some wheat in it, so that makes sense. There's no alcohol content stated on the bottle, but I'd guess it's in the 7% range. Anyway, this is an absolutely wonderful beer if you're a fan of IPAs, pale ales, ESBs or any other bitter beer that I didn't mention. It's not cheap (six bucks for the 22-ounce bottle), but it's absolutely worth it. Plus, it's a cool bottle that will look good in my collection.

Rating: 10/10. A must buy for anyone who likes bitter beers.

Bonus extra beer blogging: Great White from Lost Coast, in Eureka, CA.

Lost Coast Great White

I've had this one before, but we happen to have some in the beer fridge (yes, we have a dedicated beer fridge) and I want one, so here we go.

I've only ever had this beer out of the bottle; taking this picture was the first time I've ever poured it into a glass. The bottle calls it a "light, unfiltered beer", but I don't see any cloudiness at all. It does look like there's a bit of yeast on the bottom of the bottle, but mostly this looks like a lager in the glass. Anyway, on to the taste.

This is a very smooth, lightly flavored beer. It could be because I just had something called "Brutal Bitter", but I'm just not getting a lot of flavor. There's a little bit of citrus flavor; the bottle also says I should be tasting coriander but I can't tell. Sticking my nose in the glass gives me a scent I can only describe as bubblegum, maybe with a bit of that citrus flavor. There's also a nice smooth aftertaste that's a little wheaty. This is a good summer beer, but not the typical unfiltered ale.

Rating: 6/10. Recommended for fans of lighter, more refreshing beers like lagers. This has a little more flavor; I'd recommend Great White if you like Mexican or American beers and want to try something a little more interesting.

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99,999 visitors since I started this blog in November 2004. Not only is that far more people than I ever expected to have read this thing, it's about triple the readership that this crap actually deserves. True, many of those hundred thousand visits were from people searching for "diet coke and mentos" or "Dr. Frank's No Pain Spray" (which is probably how visitor 99,999 came here) or from angry right-wingers who wanted to let me know that I suck and should die, but I know there are several people out there who make a habit out of coming by this little blog.

To you I say thank you very much, and I'm humbled that you read what I spurt onto this website.

By way of thanks, go get your mind blown. That link is better than acid and hookers mixed together, I promise.


Sunday Beer Blogging

You see what I did there? I made it sound like this is actually a weekly feature, that happens every Sunday. As though I have the discipline to actually stick to a schedule for anything. Well, I did do this last Tuesday...maybe this will be the beginning of a trend where I actually blog about beer once a week!

But I doubt it.

Anyway, this morning I was in a Ralph's supermarket at about 9 AM, walking through the beer section (as is my wont), and I saw something called a "Samuel Adams Mix Pack". This is a six pack in a little box that has two each of their Hefeweizen, Brown Ale, and Black Lager. Well, I've had the Black Lager before and kind of liked it, and I'd never tried the other two. After a long day of failure in the lab, I'm ready to sit back and enjoy all three. Here we go!

First up is the Hefeweizen:

Samuel Adams Hefeweizen

This beer (poured into a hefeweizen glass) produced a huge head that dissolved after a minute or so, leaving a very nice lace. There's not a lot of carbonation left after all that, but it doesn't really hurt the beer too much. The beer is very cloudy in the glass.

As you bring the glass to your mouth, you get a hint of fruit, but the aroma isn't very strong overall, and it certainly doesn't have the strong hint of banana that I usually associate with this type of beer. The beer itself is the same - very light for a wheat beer, but that's not entirely a bad thing. This is a hefweizen that allows you to taste the fruit flavors on the aftertaste, and doesn't clobber you over the head with the taste of wheat; I guess some would say that doesn't make it a real hefeweizen. If you're looking for a more traditional, "real" hefeweizen, get something like Ayinger (whose glass I'm using here). Overall rating: 6/10.

Next we come to the Brown Ale; I've decided to go lightest to darkest tonight.

Samuel Adams Brown Ale

The brown ale poured with almost no head and a dark brown color. Again, not too strong of an odor, but what is there smells deep and roasted. The flavor isn't very strong at all, making this a drinkable beer in the tradition of other Sam Adams brews. The initial taste is pretty malty; the aftertaste is that roasted flavor with a hint of chocolate, and it lasts for a good long time. I'd call it a more interesting version of the ubiquitous Boston Lager. If you like the lager but want a little more flavor, this beer is for you. Overall rating: 6/10.

Finally we have the Black Lager. I've actually had this one before, which is why I saved it for last.

Samuel Adams Black Lager

The beer pours with a nice thick head, and it's very dark - just looking at it it's black, but when held up to the light it's got an interesting reddish hue. It has a roasted aroma, similar to the Brown Ale but more so. The taste is almost like a stout; that roasted flavor is noticable at first (along with a bit of brown sugar), but fades away quickly to a smooth aftertaste. The flavor never really asserts itself, which is atypical for this style of beer. I like a black lager to be fairly strong.

As for a recommendation, well...if you're a fan of lighter styles and have never tried a schwartzbier, this might be the one to start with. If you're a fan of black lagers, go buy a Köstritzer. Sam Adams Black Lager is a good beer, but as a black lager it leaves a little something to be desired. Overall rating: 7/10.

In the final analysis, I'd call this six-pack a push. Their hefeweizen wasn't really a hefeweizen and their black lager wasn't really a black lager (other than in color). Neither brew lived up to what I've come to expect from their respective styles, although both were tasty. The brown ale was actually more flavorful than more famous brown ales (read: Newcastle), so that was a pleasant surprise. I'm all about lots of flavor in my beers. All three varieties were good beers, but the hefeweizen and black lager weren't as good as they could have been. Oh, well. Köstritzer has been brewed in Germany for more than 400 years and Ayinger hefeweizen has been around since the late 1800's, while the Boston Beer Co. opened its doors in 1984. I guess I can cut them a little slack.

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The Triumphant Return of Beer Blogging

As it does every month or so, beer blogging is making its triumphant return with Mendocino Brewing Company's Red Tail Ale.

red tail ale

It's a red ale, obviously, and the first thing you notice after pouring it is the color - a nice deep red. There's a huge head, but the beer doesn't lose all its carbonation, and still has a good mouthfeel as you drink it. There's a nice balance between the malt sweetness and the hoppy bitterness; the fruity taste of the malt hits you first. Usually, if a beer has some sweetness to it you can taste a specific fruit flavor, but I don't get that from this beer. All I can say is that there is some malt involved. The hops come next, with a good amount of bitterness - enough to give an aftertaste, but not enough to drown out the sweetness completely.

Overall, this is a refreshing beer with a little bit of flavor to it. It's more interesting than a lager, but not nearly as complex as a typical red ale. In other words, it's great for an evening when it's 80 and muggy in Southern California, especially if you're like me and don't normally enjoy beers that don't have a lot of flavor. Rating: 6/10

Extra special bonus beer: Echigo, made by a microbrewery in Japan.

Echigo beer

Ever had an Asahi? How about a Sapporo? Maybe Kirin? Then you've had an Echigo. Much like beers from El Salvador, all Japanese beers taste the same. It's kind of a watery, light-bodied lager. Not bad, but nothing exciting. I mostly bought it because the label was all in Japanese and looked kind of cool. I wouldn't buy it again, because Asahi is the same thing and costs a heck of a lot less. Rating: 4/10.

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