07 February 2008

Beer Diary - Mike

Although we score beers on a five mug scale in our roundtables, I think the real test of a beer is "would I buy this again?". With that thought in mind, here's my latest beer diary.

10 January 08 Location: Locals Only

Stone Ruination IPA - This was my warm-up beer for the Founder's Dirty Bastard Roundtable. Transparent gold body, lacing, and a sweet nose. First taste reveals rotten egg, spoiled milk elements. I kept drinking it anyway, I've gotten those flavors in beer before. Loose mouthfeel for an IPA, works the top of the mouth, nice little bite, but the taste gets worse the more the beer warms. Something isn't right with this bottle... I've had this before and it wasn't like this. I'd buy it again just to know for sure - and because it's one of the only single-bottle IPAs available at my local liquor store.

Lakefront Brewery Fuel Cafe Coffee Flavored Stout - I've seen this on the shelves at PartyPak. This beer was originally brewed "especially for (Milwaukee's) Fuel Cafe". Sounds like a pretty cool place.

There's something sweet in the coffee nose of this one. Generally I pick up either heavy coffee or beef jerky flavors from stouts - despite being "coffee flavored", I'm getting a lot more jerky out of this beer. All in all, pretty forgettable, and not something I'd buy again.

If you're into this style, Gina and I are really fond of Schlafly's Coffee Stout - I'd say it's best in class stuff, at least off the taps in St. Louis. A growler of that is a guaranteed good time.

15 January 08 Location: Home

Three Floyds Alpha Kong Sextupple Belgian Strong Ale - Every time Gina and I are in PartyPak we end up picking up a bottle, saying "check out how much this is", and then having the clerk say "this Alpha Kong is $20 a bottle". Eventually Gina bought that $20 bottle, and I drank half of it.

The first thing that hits you about Alpha Kong is the way the nose just jumps out of the bottle or glass - strong, sweet fruits scents, with elements of apple, banana, and a hint of nail polish. A translucent cherry-wood color sits underneath a lively head that eventually settles to nothing. A silky/slimy mouthfeel work the roof of the mouth and tongue, with a taste that echoes the nose - apple, banana, and a fruity sweetness. There's an obvious alcohol bite in this (which shouldn't be surprising considering its 15% ABV), but it's not overwhelming. This is a really strong but well balanced beer - extremely easy to drink, but you wouldn't want more than one. My notes say "Gone too fast/Gone fast enough" - while extremely tasty, a beer this strong is dangerous. Half a pint and I was feeling it already. I'd give this 4.5+ mugs in a roundtable review. At $20 a bottle, this is probably a special occasion beer, but I'd gladly buy it again (for the first time).

One last note - Way back at Roundtable #16, we took a tour of Barley Island's facilities in Noblesville and were fortunate enough to sample two of their bourbon barrel beers - the IPA and the oatmeal stout. At that time I found them both a little overwhelming to my developing beer senses. Recently I came across Barley Island's bourbon barrel stout in an unassuming bottle at PartyPak, and I decided to revisit it.

Now, I can't be sure that this is the same recipe Barley Island was using way back then, but now I find the beer fantastic - a nice balance of coffee, chocolate, and bourbon, with a nice creamy mouthfeel. And at $6 for a 22 ounce bomber, not at all a bad price for a limited edition beer. This might be one worth checking out if you're a fan of the style. I've already bought it more than once.


  1. I've done the same thing with Alpha Kong at Parti Pak and Kahn's but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. I know there's a relationship between quality of beer, cost of production, and supply/demand, but $20/bomber just seems crazy. Your review seems pretty positive, but I would expect a 5.0 to spend that kind of money on a beer.

  2. I like the beer diary format, I started my own a few weeks ago and it is really getting me to try new stuff which is great.

    You find yourself going out of your way to try new things for your blog often?

    Ps I linked you guys. http://bierjournal.blogspot.com/

  3. I generally go out of my way to try new stuff anyway - though it's definitely nice to have an "excuse". For a while I was drinking a beer every night or so and taking notes, but eventually the notetaking gets to be a little tedious. Sometimes you just want to drink a beer.

    Having said that, it's nice to keep a record, because my memory is beyond horrible. Gina is better at remembering what I've drank than I am.

  4. I linked you, Matt. Ixnay on the Orkway. Just in case.

  5. The alpha Kong is six bucks a tulip at the brewpub. It is on tap right now. The floral bouquet opens up a little more on tap vs. the bottle, and the bottle is 15$ at the brewpub instead of the 20 down here.

    Overall, I think it's a great beer, but if I am spending that much on it, I am going with the Cantillion Quad or Gueze for 20$ a bottle instead.

    My beer diary started the same way, I just made it to make notes and things like that, and a way to try new things. I started off with a bang, but like mike said taking notes gets a little tedious, and I've slowed down a bit.