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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>


Beer Blogging - Black Toad Ale, Old Thumper Ale, Phuket Lager

I haven't done any beer blogging for a while, so tonight I've got a few new beers to write about. This post might get kind of long.

Anyway, the first beer I have is Black Toad Ale, purchased down at my local Trader Joe's.

Wow, it sure is black, isn't it? There's not much head to speak of; there was maybe a quarter inch of tan foam at first, but it disappeared pretty quickly. The aroma is pure roasted malt, with a molasses undertone, promising a sweet, rich beer.

Despite the smell, the beer isn't actually all that rich. The flavor follows the aroma, with notes of molasses and roasted hops, but it's almost watery with very little carbonation. It's not a bad taste, but it's thinner than I was thinking it would be. There's a little bit of spiced flavor during the aftertaste, but mostly it's just sweet, which I wouldn't expect from a dark ale. Also, there's no bitterness at all anywhere in the beer; for something that says "ale" on the bottle, it's surprisingly like a porter. If you like porters but want a little lighter flavor, this one is for you.

Rating: 6/10

The next beer that I have to write about is Old Thumper Extra Special Ale from Ringwood Brewery. I also bought this one at Trader Joe's, and the best by date on the bottle is March of this year.

Old Thumper poured into the glass with a big, foamy white head that took about 45 seconds to dissolve into a thin layer of foam on top of the glass. The color is a deep amber, and the smell is of floral and citrus hops. There's also a bit of a bready smell.

This beer has a much more complex flavor than the one up above. The floral hops are actually kind of hard to find; they don't show up until the very end, because they're almost hidden by a very strong toasted biscuit flavor. I can't taste any of the citrus at all in the flavor. I don't know if it's from the glass or what, but I taste a little bit of soapy flavor at the very beginning. I have to suspect that's from the glass, but I can't be sure. Whatever it is, it goes away pretty quickly and doesn't taste too bad; the rest of the beer's flavors come through loud and clear.

I'd recommend this beer for people who are fans of Belgian ales and English ales; I'd say that this one falls right in the middle of the two. Rating: 7/10

The third beer I'll be trying tonight is Phuket Lager, all the way from Thailand (by way of Trader Joe's):

Well, it looks like a lager all right. It's a little darker than most American lagers; I suppose it looks a lot like Miller Genuine Draft. There's a bit of foamy head that goes away pretty quickly, leaving a very thin layer on top of the glass. The smell is a lot like a lager; it smells like hops and a bit of alcohol. Not a lot of malt in this one.

I'll say right away that I'm not a huge fan of lagers; I drink them on occasion, but I don't usually go out and buy them. My roommate picked up this six-pack.

Phuket gave me a pleasant surprise - it's a lot more interesting than any American lager I've ever tasted even though it smelled quite similar. There's an interesting tangy flavor that's almost fruity right out in front, to go along with the hops (which are kind of understated). The aftertaste leaves something to be desired, but there's that little fruity note again to keep things a little bit interesting. Overall, not a bad beer even considering that I'm not usually a fan of the style.

Rating: 6/10

Update, 8:00 PM: And I'm still going. I found a bottle of Quilmes Lager, an Argentinian Argentine beer, in the back of the fridge, so I decided to drink it since I've reviewed so few lagers in my beer blogging installments.

Quilmes pours into the glass even lighter than Phuket Lager; this looks a lot more like your typical American lager. Smells like it too. There's not much aroma to speak of, and what is there smells of wheat and (very faintly) hops.

So I took a drink, and my comment to my roommates was, "this beer has no flavor!" Seriously, there's just nothing to it. My roommate Rob assures me that if you drink it warm it's a very unpleasant experience; I'm not sure what he was thinking when he did that, but I'm drinking it cold. What flavor there is closely mirrors the aroma, which leads to a profoundly uninteresting drinking experience. It's kind of like if you blended a slice of bread, added a whole bunch of water, and bottled it. I am not impressed, and this is my 4th beer of the night. If anything, I should be feeling generous.

Rating: 3/10. Drink it if you like Budweiser, otherwise don't bother.



Beer Blogging - Hoegaarden

Hey, two beer blogging posts in one day! The NFL playoffs must be on or something. Anyway, tonight I'm drinking a beer that I've had many times in the past, but never wrote about for some reason: Hoegaarden.

Hoegaarden is an unfiltered Belgian witbier that has been brewed since 1445. It pours into the glass a very, very light golden color that is almost actually white. There's a big fluffy head that dies down to nothing within a minute. Surprisingly, this is not a great smelling beer - it smells almost like a lager, Heineken maybe. There's a little sourness and a little malt, but nothing remarkable.

The taste is something else, however, something much better. The malt in this beer has the toasted flavor that's typical of Belgian ales, but it's far lighter (since this isn't actually an ale). That comes out at the beginning, followed closely by a very faint hop taste and the flavor of orange peels and coriander. The sourness in the aroma also comes through right at the end, but it's not a bad sourness. Overall, it's a lighter, very refreshing beer that actually has some flavor and character to it.

Rating: 8/10. Recommended for people who like hefeweizens but aren't crazy about the fruity flavors.


Beer Blogging - Boont Amber Ale

Beer blogging returns! This afternoon, while I watch the first quarter of the Chiefs - Colts playoff game (prediction: Chiefs 24 - Colts 21), I'll be drinking Boont Amber Ale from the Anderson Valley Brewing Company up in Mendocino (a small city that makes a lot of excellent beers):

When I poured it into a pint glass, this beer looked like the ideal amber ale: nice dark golden color, big fluffy head, and some signs of carbonation. The head took a couple of minutes to disappear, and when it did a very pleasant odor took up residence at the top of the glass. It's hoppy, but not too hoppy, and you can smell a nice amount of toasted malt there as well.

Upon tasting, there's a lot of toasted biscuit flavor right out front, which explains the aroma. The hops aren't doing much at all in this beer, which ordinarily would be bad for an amber ale. I'm not really minding it in this one, though, since the malt is so mellow and toasted. The aftertaste is has some light floral hops, and another taste that reminds me a lot of the olives at the end of a martini; if that sounds disgusting in a beer, I assure you that it's a very nice aftertaste for this beer. Overall, the flavor is rich but mellow, which I think is just right in a beer that doesn't have a strong hop character.

Rating: 8/10. Recommended for people who like Belgian ales.