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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>


Beer Blogging - Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin beer is back! Tonight I'm drinking a pumpkin ale from Kennebunkport brewing company in Portland, ME.

And no, I'm not beer blogging from the office at 10 AM. I wrote the post last night, but my laptop wouldn't post it (that thing might as well be a paperweight at this point), so I had to upload the picture and post this from my work computer. Really!

The pour: nice golden color, with a pretty good amount of (quickly-disappearing) white foam on top. It looks like there's a fair amount of carbonation, too: a layer of bubbles is just sitting down on the bottom of the glass. Sniffing the air over the head is like sniffing a pumpkin pie. There's pumpkin, and some spice, and maybe a little bit of hops. Mostly pumpkin.

The taste: well, it's pumpkin, but it's not too much pumpkin. Too much flavoring is a problem with flavored beers in general, especially with blueberry beers. In this one, the pumpkin spice flavor works with the ale (tastes like a typical America amber ale), instead of drowning it out. Right out front there's pumpkin spice, but that fades away pretty quick into the body of the amber ale. The ale doesn't feature a lot of malt, and there's a decent hop character. Finally, the pumpkin makes a comeback in the aftertaste, which is a cool effect that's mildly surprising on the first sip.

Rating: 7/10. It's a decent pumpkin beer, and if you like the style you won't be disappointed in this one. I picked the six pack up at Trader Joe's for about six bucks, so it's a good value.



Beer Blogging - Samuel Adams Boston Lager

More football, more talk writing, and now more beer. Next up is Samuel Adams Boston Lager, their flagship beer. I like this one, and I can't believe I haven't blogged about it before this. Here we go:

The pour: this beer has a great color that I usually don't notice, since I usually just drink it out of the bottle. It's a deep, rich gold that looks very cool when held up to the light. The head is very big, with large, white bubbles. It's also pretty persistent. The boston lager has an excellent aroma, and if you've seen that commercial about the amount of hops they put in, you know why. Usually, lagers don't have a very rich smell, but this one certainly does - lots of hops with some good, sweet malt behind them.

The taste: Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy. Way more hops than your typical boring lager. The flavor starts off with a little bit of malt, but really nothing to speak of. The hops are a little citrusy (hint of lemon peel) without being bitter, which is good because bitterness wouldn't fit with this taste. There's some malt in the aftertaste, which serves to nicely balance the hops and keep this beer from turning into a full-fledged pale ale. I don't know if you'd call this beer a lager, but it is very well put together.

The rating: 7/10. A very solid, very drinkable beer. It's tasty while still staying refreshing, and it works equally well on warm days (like today) and colder days. You should go get some.


Beer Blogging - Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Today's looking like a pretty good day. I'm watching some football, writing a talk I have to give next week, and my beer fridge looks like this:

I think it's time for some beer blogging! First up: Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Yep, it's that time of year again, and I am very happy about that fact.

The pour: The head is fairly large and tan, and it sticks around for a few minutes before fading away into some light foam. This beer has a very pleasing color, kind of a deep amber mixed with some orange. As for the aroma, it promises very good things to come. Octoberfest beers are usually like a malty, dark lager, but this one has a nice strong hop aroma to it. There's also malt, and it smells very sweet (like a light molasses, maybe). It smells like a good, complex beer.

The taste: Mmm. It tastes like a good, complex beer too. The malt is right out front, and it's not as sweet as the aroma led me to expect; I would almost call it understated. The flavor is a little bit fruity, but I can't really put my finger on what it tastes like specifically. The hops follow the malt, but they're also pretty light and they get drowned out in short order by more fruity malt, as you'd expect from an Octoberfest beer. Overall it's a very refreshing Octoberfest, since there's a lot of malt but it's not too cloying.

The rating: since it's a solid example of the style, Sam Adams Octoberfest gets a 8/10. Since Sam Adams is usually all about putting a strong hop flavor into beers that don't traditionally have lots of hops, I'd have liked to taste the hops a little longer. Other than that, it's well done. I'd recommend it if you like Octoberfest beers, or if you like sweeter beers (like Marzens) in general.



Beer Blogging - Lagunitas Maximus IPA

It was a long, loud day in the lab today (goddamn construction), so now it's time for a big freakin' beer. That beer is Lagunitas' Maximus India Pale Ale.

The vitals: this bottle is 1 pint 6 oz. of a 7.5% alcohol India Pale Ale. For the serious beer geeks out there, this beer has an IBU of 72.41 and an original gravity of 1.08. Let's look at the more subjective qualities.

The head: it's very big and fluffy, with a light brown color. The head faded away to some lace on top of the beer in about 20 seconds.

The aroma: citrusy, as you would expect. There are hints of orange peel and lemon, and a strong smell of grapefruit. Not a lot of malt here; it definitely smells like an IPA.

The taste: a lot like it smells, really. With an IBU rating this high (max is about 100) I'd expect it to be a lot more bitter, but it's really quite smooth and not overpowering at all. That strong grapefruit taste is right out front, with a little bit of the orange peel behind that (but not enough to make it really bitter). The malt follows behind the citrus, but it's not really an important part of the beer's flavor. If they could find a way to get a little bit of a biscuity malt aftertaste in here (maybe they should call the New Belgium Brewery), this might be the perfect IPA. As it is, it's damn close.

The rating: I think this might be the most drinkable IPA I've had; certainly it's the most refreshing one I've had in a while. I was a little nervous about drinking a huge bottle of India Pale Ale on an 80° night, but this stuff really works as a warm-weather beer. The only thing keeping this from a perfect score is the fact that an IPA really should have some malt to it; it doesn't mean it's worse than, say, the Ruination IPA from Stone, just that it's not as classic an example of the style. The Maximus IPA gets a 9/10; I highly recommend it for IPA fans and for beer drinkers who like a citrus taste in their beer but can't get into really bitter beers.