September 18th, 2009 beckel
Today I have with me the newest summer beer in Full Sail’s Brewmasters Reserve Series for 2009 which I found on the shelves of The Four Firkins. Full Sail is an employee run brewery out of Hood River, Oregon and produces some solid ales including their new Session Black Lager. Every summer Full Sail brews a summer IPA starting in 2001 with a beer called Sunspot. Each year the recipe is modified slightly based on what is available for harvest that year. This year Grandsun of Spot is brewed with Columbus and Zeus Hops as well as Munich and Honey Malts and is said to be an “aggressive IPA” with “a full malt flavor”. Lets see how it stacks up. Color is a lovely bright red hue that is slightly translucent when brought to light. Head was a solid 2-3 fingers of off white foam that remain for many minutes leaving a decent amount of lacing around the glass. Nice gentle aromas of citrus and hop bitterness are complimented by a good amount of honey malt. Flavor is full of hop bitterness with modest flavors coming out from the Munich and Honey Malts but only enough to be an undertone. The mouthfeel of the beer is definitely lightened by the use of Honey Malt and I really enjoy the subtle honey notes present in the flavor occasionally but they definitely play runner up to the massively bitter hops present. Some citrus and floral hop notes are present and add some complexity, but again are overpowered by bitterness. Body is medium for the style. The 6% ABV of this beer will probably go unnoticed unless you confuse yourself with the bitterness.Â As this brew warms, and perhaps as by tongue gets more accustomed to the hops present the malt flavors expose their sweet caramely flavors a bit more but are still not the dominate ingredient in this beer, additionally the floral and citrus hop notes are easier to identify adding some additional complexity to this brew. As someone who is a big fan of hops and bitterness I definitely enjoyed drinking this beer. Many people don’t find bitter flavors hydrating so I am honestly a bit surprised they market this brew as a summer beer, but for me a nice bitter IPA after a long bike ride can be heaven. Not the most complex or balanced IPA out there but if you dig bittering hops you will be all over this beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
March 15th, 2009 beckel
Today I have an ale from Full Sail Brewing that is part of their 2009 Brewmaster Reserve which are apparently switched up about every 10 weeks for our consuming pleasure. As an Imperial IPA, Slipknot is right down my alley and an ale I felt obligated to write about. I first came upon this beer at The Four Firkins and passed it up a few times until one day as the stock was dwindling and I figured I should give it an opportunity not to mention Alvey informing me that he enjoyed the brew certainly didn’t hurt it’s odds. One day two weeks ago I had the delema of wanting a hoppy ale to enjoy and only single bottle brews that I had never tried before that fit that description in my fridge (I know, hard life I live). I thought about it for a while and my bottle of Slipknot became the victim. I was pretty confident that if I deemed it neccisary I would be able to find another bottle to properly review, so here we are. This ale pours an interesting translucent amber color that is a bit of a dull orange. After cascading marvelously itÂ produces a solid three fingers of off white head that lingers for many minutes leaving quite a bit of lacing around the glass. Aroma is full of bitter hops that are very distinct as well as a little bit of orange like citrusÂ tough there is an underlying malt sweetness that makes the aroma less intimidating. The flavor of this ale is very unique and it tastes almost the same as the aroma except the malt sweetness is less noticeable. Many nice bitter hop tones blend with some orange and grapefruit citrus and a slightly floral note, all of which are balanced nicely with a slightly sweet pale malt flavor near the end though the ale finishes with some further bitter and almost sour notes. Their website states that this brew used 80 IBU but I would be curious to know what they actually used as some of the hop flavors present aren’t the most common. The body is very light for an Imperial IPA and the mouthfeel is pretty smooth. If you can handle plenty of hops this will be a quite drinkable ale, though you may not want to take it to fast as it is 7.8% ABV. This probably isn’t an every day beer for most people, but if you are into hops you will probably be glad you tried it. I’m not sure how much of this ale is still around but last I heard The Four Firkins still had a few and I just bought this bottle at Zipps Liquor so get it while you can. The perfect beer for a spicy meal, hopefully my Thai chicken pizza will get here soon. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
September 29th, 2008 beckel
Here we have another ale from Full Sail, one that I’m even more excited about. Today I will be enjoying a 07 reserve of their Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale another brew from their Brewmaster’s Reserve this one being released last October, so I suppose I’m jumping the gun a bit and could let it mature for a full year, but then I couldn’t tell you about it now, and who knows maybe I’ll just have to pick up some more if I can depending on how this session goes. Producing a solid couple inches of just off white head, most of which fades rapidly but a few millimeters persist for some time. Color is a wonderful somewhat dark raspberry like hue that brightens very nicely in light but is not transparent at all. The aroma of this beer is rather interesting, very nice sweet malt was the first thing I noticed but then strong alcohol took over my senses, many wine like scents some almost fruity are also present, this is turning out to be a nicely complex brew. Unfortunately the flavor isn’t nearly as complex as its aroma. Tastes of sweet smooth barley prevail which is very nice but bitter alcohol flavors aren’t far behind making you remember you are drinking a 9% ABV Barleywine. This is an interesting Barleywine and part of the reason I have a lot of respect for the style. Though this beer is less balanced than most Barleywines I tend to prefer it still has some lovely flavors and I am very curious to see if further aging may help soften its harsher flavors. If you like a strong Barleywine and don’t expect it to cover up what it is this is a good choice, particularly if you like wine or at least don’t mind bitter flavors. This beer would soften any spicy meal quite well. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
September 15th, 2008 beckel
I don’t know much about Full Sail brewing other than that they are located in Hood River, Oregon but a friend of mine has had only good things to say so I thought I should give them a chance. Upon reading the bottle it appears they are employee owned which always deserves some extra credit in my book. While almost picking up their normal IPA I came across a bottle of the Prodigal Sun on the shelf and couldn’t bring myself to put it down. Part of their Brewmaster’s Reserve series of unique beers I am sure to be satisfied. Upon opening this beer I am already happy, immense hop aroma is notable even before I bring my nose to the glass. After the few inches of off white frothy head evaporate you can really smell this beer. Wonderful sweet and bitter hop aromas overwhelm the nose with a few citrus hints sneaking in. The color of this beer is delightful, a bright orange with hints of red and a good amount transparency. The flavor of this beer is pretty nice, quite bitter and hoppy with only a little malt sweetness and a bit tangy of an aftertaste. The mouthfeel of this beer is medium but its body isn’t too thick. At 6.2% ABV this beer certainly isn’t overpowering but the bitterness doesn’t hide the alcohol content either. Some of the citrus and floral notes of this beer do a nice job of trying to balance the bitter hop content but they aren’t able to overpower it. This would be a lovely beer to drink with a meal, be it simple steak and potatoes or something rather spicy and full flavored, the hop flavor of this beer would do a nice job rounding off most meals, not to mention compliment any spices present. This bottle was a somewhat pricey in comparison to their 6-packs but it is certainly full flavored and not bad. I would suggest this beer to those who areÂ into an IPA that doesn’t hide where it is coming from and don’t mind bitterness. Give it a shot and ride your bike.