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<strong>The Disgruntled Chemist</strong>


Beer Blogging - He'Brew Genesis Ale

Here's another beer that I bought this morning after seeing it for the first time in Southern California. It's He'Brew Genesis Ale, from a brewery in Saratoga, NY. Its tagline is "the chosen beer", so I had to choose it.

Pour: the beer has a very appealing golden brown color with hints of red when held up to light. The head is white and fluffy and dissipates into lace fairly quickly. It looks like there's not a ton of carbonation here.

Aroma: there is a distinctive smell of hops over the top of a bready malt. It's a pretty simple aroma, typical of a brown ale.

Taste: it's kind of like a more interesting version of Newcastle. I say that because it's exactly the same as Newcastle (sweet and malty with a very light hop character), until it finishes off with a nice, almost smoky aftertaste. Basically, this is a well-put together brown ale with enough distinguishing characteristics to keep it interesting.

Rating: 7/10. If it had slightly more aggressive hops, I might give it an 8 or even an 9. But it doesn't, so I won't. But I'll buy it again if I see it, because it's very drinkable and just tasty enough. If you like Newcastle, you will definitely like this beer, and it's about the same price. You should buy it.


Beer Blogging - Flying Horse Royal Lager Beer

I just got home from playing (poorly) in a basketball game, and I need to drink my sorrows away. Plus, I bought a new bottle of a beer that I've never seen before. It's called Flying Horse Royal Lager Beer, all the way from India. Let's give it a shot:

Pour: it looks exactly like a lager. It's a nice light gold color, with a very short-lived white head. The bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass persist for more than 10 minutes.

Aroma: smells a lot like a lager. There's a slight sourdough smell, and I could have sworn I smelled some hops at first. They weren't there in my second sniff, though, so maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part.

Taste: pretty good, for a lager, which (for me) means that the flavors are understated, while still being complex. The first taste is a somewhat sharp sourness, which is followed by some bready taste. That combination might have accounted for the sourdough aroma. Toward the end there's a hint of hops and a little bit of sweetness that almost tastes like honey. All that carbonation gives the beer a very nice mouthfeel. I don't usually say this about a lager, but this is a good beer.

Rating: 7/10. It doesn't have the strong flavors I usually associate with a very good beer, but it's well put together. If you like lighter beers and you see this one, I recommend picking one up.



Beer Blogging - Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

This beer is a regular on tap at the UCI campus pub, and I'm a big fan. I decided to pick up a 22-oz. bottle from my liquor store to see if it tastes as good when it's not coming from a keg. Let's see.

The pour looks the same as the stuff on tap: a slightly cloudy golden color with a fluffy white head. The head disappears within about 30 seconds, leaving a thick layer of lace on top of the beer. The aroma smells like a pretty standard IPA, with citrusy hops floating on top of just a hint of malt. Overall the aroma isn't as strong as I expected.

The taste is, frankly, really good. Even though this is an IPA with 7% ABV, it's not hard to drink at all. There's not nearly as much bitterness as you'd expect, for example. What bitterness there is presents itself right out front, in the form of a grapefruit flavor. The malts come next, with some bready taste and maybe a little sweetness. Caramel, maybe? I guess somebody with more of a sweet tooth would appreciate that part a little more. There's really not much alcohol taste to speak of. The mouthfeel is pretty good; it might benefit from a little more carbonation, but that's just a personal preference. The grapefruit comes back for the aftertaste, and sticks around for a good long while.

Overall, this is a very well-balanced beer. The hops aren't so strong that they totally drown out the hops malt [that didn't exactly make sense, did it?], which can be a problem with some IPAs (especially some of the ones from Northern California). I would rate this beer a 9/10, adding that if you like IPAs and you see a bottle of this beer you must buy one. It's just as good from the bottle as it is on tap, too, which cannot be said about all beers.



Beer Blogging - Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

This beer comes from the Sam Adams Winter variety case that my girlfriend got me for Christmas. That's right, she got me a case of beer for Christmas. Is she a great girlfriend, or what?

The pour: poured into a pint glass, there's almost no head to speak of. A very thin tan foam was there for a second, but it disappeared quickly. A predictable corollary is that the aroma isn't very strong. What there is smells malty, with a little hint of ginger and some hops. Smells good.

The taste: much bolder than the aroma would suggest, and more complex too. When I first took this beer out of the fridge, it was a little too warm for all the flavors to assert themselves. After a few minutes warming up, however, I can really taste everything. The first flavor is malt, mostly molasses and caramel. That fades nicely into a blend of winter spices, mostly ginger but with a hint of orange as well. The aftertaste is warm and malty; it's just the kind of aftertaste you want in a winter brew. This is a nicely put together beer.

The rating: 8/10. This is a good beer for a cold winter night. Just make sure it's not too cold when you drink it, or you'll miss the best parts.


Beer Blogging - Samuel Adams White Ale

I haven't beer blogged in a few weeks, and I have some good beers in my beer fridge right now, so let's get beer bloggin'. First up for the evening, Samuel Adams White Ale.

This is their spring seasonal, so I don't exactly know why it was in my local Albertsons this weekend, but I'll take it. It was pretty warm here today, so it kind of feels like spring. I think it counts.

The pour: poured into a pint glass, the beer developed a huge head, very white and fluffy. The body looks a lot like a typical Belgian white ale, with a light golden color and a bit of haze.

The aroma: it also smells like your typical Belgian white ale, with strong smells of orange peel and coriander. There's also a hint of malt, but the coriander kind of washes it out.

The taste: well, it's 3 for 3, since it also tastes like your typical Belgian white ale. There's quite a bit of carbonation right up front, which kind of washes out the flavor and makes the first impression almost watery. It also keeps the full flavor progression from coming through. The first flavor that wanders out of the fog of carbonation is the coriander, which is not as strong as you'd think it would be. I don't taste the orange peel at all; after the coriander a little malt and a little hops show up. The hops stick around through the aftertaste, with maybe some of that orange peel showing up. If it's there, it's certainly not asserting itself.

The rating: 6/10. For a brewery that has advertisements focusing on how much quality control goes into all their beers, Samuel Adams is frustratingly hit-or-miss on their seasonals. Their Winter Lager, for example, is quite good. Others are lacking. This one is kind of the middle of the road. If you like Belgian white ales, don't bother, as you'll just be disappointed. If you like lighter beers and aren't a fan of a lot of hops or strong, sweet malts, you might want to give this one a try. It's very drinkable, so if you get a hot snap this spring you might want to pick some up to enjoy on your porch.