Sierra Nevada / Fuller’s Brewery Beer Camp Across the World: Atlantic-Style Vintage Ale – English Strong Ale at 8.5% ABV | 40 IBU

Sierra Nevada / Fuller’s Brewery Beer Camp Across the World: Atlantic-Style Vintage Ale English Strong Ale at 8.5% ABV | 40 IBU (US$2.15 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, packaged on 13-Apr-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 22-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of rocky off-white head diminishing gradually to a persistent cap, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: plums, bready caramel, red berries, wood. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Medium-full body dropping off slightly thin, moderate carbonation, off-dry warming and slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

I’m not entirely sure how best to classify this: arguably it might be considered either an Old Ale or an English Strong, but with hints of Barleywine in any case. And, yes, I guess that does indicate a decent degree of depth and complexity, at least to some extent. But the mouth feel, initially medium-full, drops off fairly rapidly, leaving the dark fruit flavours feeling slightly astringent in the finish. I guess it’s possible that ageing would integrate and smooth this out somewhat, but I’m not sure it’s got a sufficiently heavy body for that. (In any case, I’m not buying more to age, so it’s somewhat academic.) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada / Saint Arnold Brewing Company – Beer Camp Across the World: Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse – Berliner Weisse at 4.2% ABV | 10 IBU

Sierra Nevada / Saint Arnold Brewing Company Beer Camp Across the World: Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse Berliner Weisse at 4.2% ABV | 10 IBU (US$2.15 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, packaged on 18-Apr-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 22-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: sour lactic wheat, citrus, grass, hint of sulphur giving way to dank resin. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, crisp tart finish. (4/5)

Not bad, but I did initially find a hint of sulphur in the aroma. However, as it progressed and warmed, that developed more into a dank resiny note, causing me to revise my scoring upward. (If the entire beer had been like the last couple of inches, it would have scored higher again!) Light and crisp, with a balanced tartness that refreshes. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada / The Bruery Beer Camp Across the World: Raspberry Sundae – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 8% ABV | 10 IBU

Sierra Nevada / The Bruery Beer Camp Across the World: Raspberry Sundae Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 8% ABV | 10 IBU (US$2.15 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, packaged on 20-Apr-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 21-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear pale to medium amber with one finger of creamy ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, soapy moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: vanilla, raspberry, cream, light burnt rubber/bandaid. (4/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (6/10) Medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, moderate duration warming finish. (3/5)

Meh-tastic at best. I’m getting a very unwelcome burnt rubber/band-aid note that, while not overwhelming, is certainly off-putting. It seems to diminish after a bit – or maybe that’s just the 8% ABV working its magic? It’s not terrible overall, and I find myself warming to it as it progresses, but that initial off-note impression is hard to shake. Not to mention, the sweetness level is far beyond where I prefer things to be. It would probably be an exaggeration to call this a train wreck or a dumpster fire, but it’s not even close to the best either of these breweries has to offer. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada / Mikkeller Brewery Beer Camp Across the World: Thai-Style Iced Tea – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7.2% ABV | 12 IBU

Sierra Nevada / Mikkeller Brewery Beer Camp Across the World: Thai-Style Iced Tea Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7.2% ABV | 12 IBU (US$2.15 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, packaged on 20-Apr-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 21-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of creamy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, soapy moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: sugary liquorice, black tea, caramel, citrus, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, sweet and lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Not an unqualified success – in particular, I find this just *way* too sweet… kind of the way I find commercial sweetened iced tea to be too sweet, actually. So I guess if that’s your cup of tea (so to speak) this might work for you. Despite the high(er) sweetness, it actually tastes a fair bit more bitter than the 12 IBU might normally suggest, probably as a result of the addition of black tea. In my opinion, the lactose adds only a very little creaminess, but pushes the sweetness too high. Not bad, and fairly true to the label, but not something I’d seek out again. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada / Kiuchi Brewery Beer Camp Across the World: White IPA With Yuzu – White IPA at 7% ABV | 20 IBU

Sierra Nevada / Kiuchi Brewery Beer Camp Across the World: White IPA With Yuzu White IPA at 7% ABV | 20 IBU (US$2.15 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, packaged on 26-Apr-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 21-Jun-2017)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coriander, orange peel, pomes, crackery malt, stone fruit, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry spicy and astringent finish. (3/5)

It’s been quite a while since I had a Hitachino Nest, but if I recall the experience correctly, there are some distinct similarities here. Certainly there’s a distinct Belgian yeast character, but layered on top of that is an oily bitter citrus that balances well. Initially I almost thought I was getting a melon rind / green vegetal note, but now I’m not sure. Spices are a bit too emphatic, if you ask me, and nearly drown out everything else, both on the front end and in the finish. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russian River Brewing Company Consecration – Sour / Wild Ale at 10% ABV

Russian River Brewing Company Consecration Sour / Wild Ale at 10% ABV (US$13.20 at Russian River Brewing Company, 375 ml, packaged on 16-Dec-2016, acquired 18-Jun-2017, reviewed 20-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one finger of short-lived loose ivory head, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: complex, dark fruits and red berries, balsamic vinegar, oak, tobacco, chocolate, vanilla. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high tart, moderate-low sweet, minimal bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry tart finish. (4/5)

And I think that sets a new record for the sheer number of beers by one brewery in a given period for me: 14, in the past three days. (I’m not sure I want to try challenging that in future, to be honest: it’s a little tiring, especially since I had another 10 from other sources interspersed in there – all while attending training all day! I’d say I’m not as young as I used to be, but realistically, I don’t think a younger me could have handled this schedule. I am a drinking, learning, machine!) Big vinous notes lead the way here, and then carry the day pretty much the entire way to the finish. There’s a bit of carbonation initially, but that settles out fairly rapidly, leaving something that approaches a hybrid of beer and red wine. Somewhat surprisingly, the double-digit ABV remains almost entirely absent, not even manifesting as a particularly noticeable warming in the finish – really very well done. Another one for which I really just intended to establish a baseline before cellaring – but probably the most mature of that particular selection, and very enjoyable right now. (17/20)

My 241st from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, 230th from the 2013 edition, and 253rd combining both editions.

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russian River Brewing Company Supplication – Sour / Wild Ale at 7.75% ABV

Russian River Brewing Company Supplication Sour / Wild Ale at 7.75% ABV (US$13.20 at Russian River Brewing Company, 375 ml, packaged on 27-Feb-2017, acquired 18-Jun-2017, reviewed 20-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear medium to deep amber with one finger of creamy ivory head settling to a thick persistent cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, big tart cherries, balsamic vinegar, oak, vinous grape must. (8/10) Taste: high tart, moderate-low sweet, minimal bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry intensely tart finish. (4/5)

Damn, that’s sour! Big cherry flavour, but intensely sour, reminiscent of what, in my Increasingly-distant childhood, the old folks (who might’ve had chocolate three or four times in their lives) called Chocolate Cherries, but we called Chokecherries. Vinous and oaky notes on the back end temper the huge sourness – but not by much. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops after an extended cellaring. (16/20)

My 240th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, 229th from the 2013 edition, and 252nd combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russian River Brewing Company Sanctification – Sour / Wild Ale at 6.75% ABV

Russian River Brewing Company Sanctification Sour / Wild Ale at 6.75% ABV ($US13.20 at Russian River Brewing Company, 375 ml, packaged on 26-Jul-2016, acquired 18-Jun-2017, reviewed 20-Jun-2017)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: horseblankety funk, bright lemony citrus, straw, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high tart, moderate sweet, low bitter. (8/10) Light body, soft carbonation, dry funky and tart finish. (4/5)

Definitely brett dominated, with a pleasant barnyardy funk in the fore, backstopped by a bright zesty lemon and some lesser hay and floral notes. Another one that I’m really drinking too young, but with the intention of establishing a baseline for the aged version I’ll eventually try. The low carbonation, in particular, is a clear indication to me that the brett hasn’t had time to really dig in and establish (even though it’s almost a year old) – as is the complete absence of that big pillowy marshmallow brett head. This is actually somewhat surprising, considering this is a 100% brett brew, with no saccharomyces at all. We’ll see what happens in another three to five. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russian River Brewing Company Beatification – Sour / Wild Ale at 6% ABV

Russian River Brewing Company Beatification Sour / Wild Ale at 6% ABV (US$19.95 at Russian River Brewing Company, 375 ml, packaged on 15-Feb-2017, acquired 18-Jun-2017, reviewed 20-Jun-2017)

Appearance: hazy straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: vinegar, lemons, earthy funk, stone fruit. (8/10) Taste: high tart, moderate sweet, low bitter. (8/10) Light body, moderate-low carbonation, dry tart finish. (4/5)

One of the rarest of Russian River’s offerings (other than Pliny the Younger, I mean), so I’m pretty happy I lucked into this. (In fact, I bought two, and intend to age one for a year or five, just for fun.) It’s… well, it’s something. I’d be the first to admit it’s not as balanced or nuanced as true Belgian Lambic or Gueuze such as e.g. Cantillon. Then again, American IPAs are much more aggressive than the “true” English IPAs, so does that necessarily make them inferior? Yes, there’s an intense acetic character here, but it ends dry and crisp. And, to be honest, I didn’t expect it to be great at such a young age – this review is mostly a baseline, for comparison to its aged twin in a few years. Young and impetuous, with great promise of future development, not unlike myself! (ahem) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russian River Brewing Company Pliny the Elder – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 100 IBU

Russian River Brewing Company Pliny the Elder American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 100 IBU (US$5.45 at Russian River Brewing Company, 510 ml, packaged on 7-Jun-2017, acquired 18-Jun-2017, reviewed 20-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: dank resiny pine, pithy citrus, caramel malt, floral. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (10/10) Medium oily body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry lingering massive bitter and warming finish. (5/5)

I feel like I should’ve had a drum roll for this. You could be forgiven for thinking it’s impossible for any beer to live up to the hype surrounding this thing, despite the fact that Bell’s Two-Hearted just beat it out as the best beer in the US. (By the way? No way! Two-Hearted was a 7.5/10 for me. But I digress…) And initially, I started to feel like maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t live up to the hype. Except then it pretty much did. This is a beast of a beer, with huge, palate-wrecking bitterness that just leaves you wanting more even as it scours the first few layers of skin off your mouth and esophagus. Then the ABV starts to make itself known, numbing the pain and inviting another sip. It’s not perfect – I’d really like to see better head retention and lacing; and the aroma, though not muted, is just a little milder than I think it should be – but it’ll do until perfect comes along. (18/20)

My 239th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, 228th from the 2013 edition, and 251st combining both editions.

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com