Three Floyds Dreadnaught

September 7th, 2010 beckel

Here I have another fantastic brew from Three Floyds Brewing, Dreadnaught an Imperial IPA. As you may realize by now the brewers of Three Floyds love their hops; if you didn’t you will now. I first sampled Dreadnaught at their brewpub in Munster, Indiana during this years Dark Lord Day. Even with my severe palate fatigue from all of the other amazingly full flavored beers I had consumed that day Dreadnaught stood out as a fantastically hop forward example of the style.

Pours a modestly hazzy hue that is between orange and amber, closer to the prior. Two plus fingers of tight clean white bubbles are produced, most of which fade within a few minutes. Leaving a few millimeters of bubbles on the surface and a small amount of lacing. Aroma is simply brilliant. Massive orange, grapefruit & other citruses, peach, gentle pine, solid bitterness, and lovely malty sweetness all play in a lovely symphony of scents. Robust bitterness hits your tongue first, followed by grapefruit and orange hop esters that are further emphasized by smooth malt sweetness finishing with an even greater bitter bite and a variety of pine and earthy hop notes. As your palate gets accustomed to the serious bitterness present in this ale gentle flavors such as peach and mango become more apparent creating a wonderfully versatile beast. Similarly caramel notes in the malt are allowed to shine and initial bitterness is reduced as the beer warms and your palate realizes what it is in for. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is a bit syrupy but reasonably light as to not be cloying. The 9.5% ABV is well hidden by the bitterness but is definitely present particularly as it warms. I would encourage giving this one a little bit of time to warm up before serving but also note that the hop notes will become a bit more astringent (emphasizing the bitterness) and the alcohol more notable as it approaches room temperature. Over all any fan of the American style IPA’s will most likely have a field day with this brew. I really can not say enough about my love for this beer; if only they distributed to Minnesota. If you are lucky enough to get Three Floyds or live close enough to the border of a state that does like my self, give it a shot and ride your bike; and send me some while your at it.

Three Floyds Dreadnaugh Imperial IPA

Sierra Nevada Jack & Ken’s Ale

September 7th, 2010 beckel

Then it was time for number three from Sierra Nevada. I just grabbed this bottle from Alvey at The Four Firkins yesterday and after hearing his praise on top of my overall excitement for the beer I can’t wait to get into it. This time around it is a Barleywine and a tribute to Jack McAuliffe who is credited for creating the first US microbrewery; New Albion in 1977 which operated until 1982. For which he more recently received a Recognition award from the Brewers Association (the trade organization that represents American craft brewers) in 2007. If this brew manages to be anywhere near as good as their well known Big Foot Barleywine I will be a happy man.

Pours a very dark, almost pitch black hue that is completely opaque. Over four fingers of tight creamy off white, almost tan head are produced and don’t dissipate for quite some time. As it slowly dissipates a good deal of lacing stays around the entire glass leaving a few millimeters of perpetual carbonation on the surface of this ale. Aroma is massive and fantastic. Notes of chocolate, molassas, toffee and modest bitterness contrast with solid malty sweetness and roasted grain esters. Flavor consists of deliciously rich coffee, butterscotch, caramel and a fantastic play of bitter roasted malt notes and bitter and citrus hop esters. As it warms plum and other dark pitted fruits become more prevalent and bring in some expected flavors of the style. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy. At 10.2% ABV this is certainly a slow drinker but it is in no way overwhelming or hot. For those accustomed to Sierra Nevada’s classic Big Foot, this beer is quite a bit richer with a great deal of sweet malt esters such as caramel & butterscotch, much stronger coffee notes and a distinctive plum character as it warms. The hops also play quite differently with the citrus notes being more notable and the bitterness still similarly intense though contrasting differently with the variety of sweet malt esters present. If you enjoy well crafted Barleywines done in an American style and aren’t afraid of some contrasting bitterness this might just be right up your alley. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Sierra Nevada Jack & Ken's Ale