Monday, July 20, 2009

"Dark Beers" from Upstate NY

It's been a while since I posted. Took a trip up to Portland and Burlington with R this past week, so I was a bit out of commission. More on that, including the Vermont Brewer's Fest, later. In the meantime just to get something up here I figured I'd post on the beers I've been making my way through tonight. After our last trip up to the Binghamton and Ithaca areas I brought back a bunch of beers. The last of the bunch have to go to make room for the beers that came back from Portland and Burlington. I saved the darkest for last...

Oh, and I haven't done one of these posts in a while. I'm not too into the whole business of people doing full blown BJCP style score sheets for all of the commercial beers they try online. So this is just how I do. Sorry if there's a lack of flowery langauge around these descriptions.

Lake Placid Ubu Ale: I'd describe this as an American-style Brown Ale. Has some citrusy American hop character in the nose. Some fuity esterage. Has some chocolate to it, which becomes much more dominant in its flavor. Doesn't go down as strong as the 7% ABV that it's listed as, but it's a bit too fizzy for my taste - carbonation seemed to make this beer rather filling.

Ithaca Nut Brown Ale: Borderline black. Big nose of chocolate and roast. Definitely stradles the line between what you'd think of as Brown and a Porter. Sweet malt up front in the flavor with chocolate and roast in the finish. Very little hoppage going on. Bitterness is spot on and well balanced with the malt flavors.

Middle Ages "The Duke"
: Chocolate and roast up front with some vinous notes. This is definitely a porter. Very roasty in flavor and super-dry. I'm imagining a grain bill with a lot of black malt and/or roasted barley. There's a little earthiness in this beer that could be from hops or possibly age - no fault of the brewery if it's age. Bitterness is restrained which is a good thing considering the high roast factor.

Cooperstown Benchwarmer Porter: Quick aside - this is one of my favorite beer labels in the world. Anyway... a ringwood beer, and surprisingly little diacetyl in the nose. A lot of roast going on, and a lot of esters too. Shocked at how much fruit is going on in the nose of this beer - and not necessarily in a bad way. Strawberries, grapes. Flavor is much more about roast, coffee, and some dark fruit, like red grapes. Diacetyl starts showing up in flavor, but is pretty mild. Finish is highly bitter. Was not expecting this much complexity out of this beer.

Cooperstown Strike Out Stout
: Was a bit concerned about this one when it poured relatively flat-looking. Perhaps the 5% flaked oats explain that. The beer has a very restrained coffee, roast, chocolate aroma which is quite refreshing in light of the last couple of roast-bombs. Some malt sweetness up front with a smooth malty and roasty finish. Not surprised that there's oats in this one. Looks totally unappetizing and flat in the glass, but may have been the tastiest of all. By the way, very little diacetyl in this one, considering that this is another of Cooperstown's ringwood offerings.

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