Category Archives: Ale

Quick Take: Sam Adams – Fat Jack


From the website:

This rich and luscious brew indulges in flavor with over 28 lbs. of pumpkin per barrel, for a full bodied sweetness and deep russet color.  Classic pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice ignite a warmth and spark that’s deepened by an undercurrent of roasty smoked malts.  The result is a delectable brew full of enveloping layers of flavor and spice.


Dark cloudy brown, great head.


Pumpkin pie.


Full taste, thick, perfect blend of spices.

Final Thoughts

This is probably my favorite pumpkin beer.  I was surprised how much better this was over the Fall Hornin’, since I thought that was good.  It’s a wonderful pumpkin beer, and not too hoppy.

Quick Take: Anderson Valley – Fall Hornin’

I’m trying out a new format here since I’m the only person that likes pumpkin ales.  I recently tried two different brews out, here’s what I thought.


From the website:

With a brilliant, deep copper hue and creamy beige-colored head, our Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale has inviting aromas of caramelized malt and baking bread with highlights of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and seasonal spices. The pleasantly creamy mouthfeel and silky body embrace the sweet caramel flavors and tang of spices (with just hint of hops) that ends in a smooth, round finish.


Dark brown color with a thick head.


Smells like pumpkin spice, but not too much.  This is nice since some of the beers overdo it.


Tastes like Bud mixed with a pumpkin spice shot from Starbucks.  Not bad.

Final Thoughts

Good pumpkin beer, nothing special, but not overpowering.

Anchor Brewing – BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red

BigLeaf MapleBeer

From the website:

BigLeaf Maple Autumn Red™ is a quaffable, well-balanced red ale with character. Its malty complexity and coppery color come from a combination of two caramel malts, pale malt, and a hint of maple syrup. To complement these flavors, we used three additions of Nelson Sauvin hops in the brewkettle and a unique blend of Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Cascade for dry hopping. The result is a distinctive fall seasonal with extraordinary depth and intriguing aroma.

Special Note

We wanted to do a special set of reviews to celebrate our fantasy football draft.  We failed.  Our tasting quickly fell apart the moment the draft started as we all scrambled to adapt our strategies.  We had two beers we tasted before the draft ended, and then Josh had to run home.  His review was done at home and sent to us, and will be added in.  This was the only review we could manage to do properly, so enjoy.


Josh: No doubt this thing has maple syrup in it. This thing is absolutely beautiful. Dark, rich amber. Probably something Vince can do with flux.


Alec: It smells…fruity.

Evan: It smells pretty good.  Definitely fruity.

Josh: Smells as good as it looks. Definitely note the caramel and maple notes.


Vince: I like it.

Alec: It tastes different.

Vince: It’s really citrusy.

Alec: I don’t taste any maple on it.  Should I pour some maple syrup into it?

Evan: I don’t think that’s a good idea.  It’s pretty good, sticks around for a little while.

Alec: It’s really strong, that tangy, citrusy flavor.

Josh: Like nothing that I’ve had before. Can’t really put my tongue on it. A lot of complexity with the different ingredients.

Alec: I’m not a fan of this beer.

Vince: I like it.

Evan: What don’t you like about it?

Alec: There’s other hoppy beers that I prefer.  In those, the good part sticks around; in this one, the nastiness you get from a hoppy beer is what sticks around.

Evan: It does stick around longer than I would like, but I do like it.


Alec: I like it, I wouldn’t ever want a second one.

Evan: I would, I’d order another one.

Vince: Yeah this is very drinkable.

Alec: You guys like this?

Vince: I do, I’m a fan.  This reminds me of Hopsecutioner actually.

Evan: This would be a great game day beer.

Alec: I see where you’re coming from, but I dunno.

Sharon: What is this mug?

Vince: I got a plastic mug.

Alec: He’s in time-out.

Sharon: This tastes like doo-doo!  It’s cause I like sissy beers.

Evan: More sip-able than drinkable, but it’s good.

Final Thoughts

Alec: I wouldn’t turn this down, but I wouldn’t order it.

Vince: I would order this.

Alec: But would you order a second one after the first?

Vince: Yeah.

Vince: It’s got a bite.

Alec: Yeah but it’s not a bite that I like.

Evan: It’s never going to be my favorite, but it’s good.

Vince: This is like drinking an orange.

Evan: It doesn’t stand out in any way.

Evan: In about four months, sitting outside, this would be a much better beer.

Alec: <barfing noises>

Josh: I would definitely have more of this beer. It’s a fresh new taste for me and definitely one of the best Octoberfest/Autumn beers I’ve ever had. Pleasantly surprised by this one.

Black Sheep Brewery – Monty Python’s Holy Grail


From the website:

With more hops than a killer rabbit, it’s a full-flavoured golden ale with a distinctively fruity flavour followed by the Black Sheep signature dry finish.


Josh:  It has a great head.

Vince:  Great color.


Josh:  It smells nice.

Vince:  It smells really clean.

Alec:  Yeah, it just smells like….beer.


Alec:  It’s good, but…

Vince:  Good.

Alec:  It’s good but I don’t have anything else to say.

Evan:  There’s nothing that stands out.

Vince:  It’s a little too much on the sweet side for me.

Josh:  Tastes caramelly.  What is it supposed to taste like: “Tempered over burning witches.”

Evan:  Oh yeah, I can definitely taste the witch.

Josh:  They’re just trying to sell you merchandise on the box.

Alec:  Well, that’s really all it is, merchandise beer.  Not much to say about it.

Josh:  It’s not bad.

Vince:  This isn’t…very good.

Evan:  It’s not bad, it’s just not very good.


Vince:  It’s a little on the heavy side, and a little on the sweet side.

Alec:  You wouldn’t drink too many of these.

Evan:  It’s getting worse as you drink it.  I don’t know where that aftertaste came from.

Vince:  It’s got that tart apple taste.

Josh:  If you say cider I’m going to kill you.

Vince:  Not like a cider, like a sour apple.

Josh:  I really don’t like this beer.

Evan:  I know.

Vince:  I tried to chug it so I could just get through it.

Alec:  So we’re going to say not very drinkable.

Evan:  I would never order it.

Alec:  I wouldn’t be upset if I drank this at a bar, but I wouldn’t order it.

Vince:  You know what it kind of tastes like?  What’s that one beer, the monk beer?

Alec/Josh:  The chimay?

Vince:  Yeah, it tastes like that, if it was left out for a little while.

Evan:  It could be worse.

Josh:  It’s like lead.

Final Thoughts

Vince:  An underwhelming beer.  The name doesn’t do it justice; I was expecting it to be pretty amazing.

Evan:  It’s like every other Monty Python movie.

Alec:  It’s like every Monty Python movie?

Evan:  No just every other one.

Vince:  It’s heavy, it’s too sweet.  Great color though!  It’s got a great smell.

Josh:  Yeeaaaach!

Evan:  It starts off so well, then you drink it.

Josh:  It had a great head, it smelled nice.

Vince:  It smelled clean.  It didn’t have any sour notes to it.

Samuel Adams – Irish Red



From the website:

As comforting as an evening in an Irish pub, this red ale brings together a roasted malt sweetness with an earthy hoppiness for an incredible balance and full flavor.


Alec:  Looks pretty.  The head was good.

Josh:  The head was great.  It’s got a beautiful color.

Vince:  Yeah it’s very pretty.


Josh:  Smells like beer.

Vince:  Generic beer.

Josh:  I just snorted some, it tastes great in my nose.


Vince:  This would be a good food beer.

Alec:  It’s got a tanginess to it.

Vince:  I would say this is not one of my favorite Sam Adams because of that tanginess.  I don’t like the aftertaste.


Alec:  I like this one but I dunno…

Josh:  It’s just a good, easy beer.  It’s not something that’s going to offend.

Vince:  It reminds me of a flat IPA.  You can start to taste that wave of hoppiness from the IPA.

Alec:  Well it is a Sam Adams.  They love their hops.

Final Thoughts

Alec:  It’s ok.

Vince:  It’s alright.

Josh:  I like it, but it’s not like a Top 10 beer or anything.

Vince:  It’s a good chatty beer.

Alec:  If you served this to me, I wouldn’t hate you for it, but I probably wouldn’t bother to ask you what it is.

Vince:  It’s got a good color, it’s a safe beer.

Josh:  I think I would order it if I was out, but just because I’m surprised it’s on the menu.

Red Brick Brewing – Old Stock Ale


From the website:

A blend of three copper ales. One aged in oak barrels for 60 days. Another brewed with LOTS of dark caramel roasted malts, and one brewed with a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels and star anise. Lots of complexity. Will age well.


Alec:  How’s it smell?

Vince:  Like blood.

Alec:  I don’t smell it like I did the Wee Heavy.

Vince:  Yeah it’s not very aromatic.


Vince:  The head on this is awesome.

Alec:  I can see the yeast without a light on it.


Alec:  It’s kind of bland.

Josh:  It’s got such a weird taste.  I don’t know if it’s caramel or…

Vince:  If you were to give me both the beers we just had, I would think this was the Wee Heavy, because it’s more raw.


Vince:  Not my favorite beer.

Alec:  I like it, I would order more of these over the Wee Heavy.  This would be a less filling beer.

Vince:  My dog threw up and then ate it.

Vince:  This beer’s kinda thick for my taste.  It’s a really needy beer.

Final Thoughts

Alec:  I think it’s more drinkable than the Wee Heavy, but I really liked the Wee Heavy.

Vince:  It’s a very thick beer that I probably wouldn’t order.  It’s good, I just probably wouldn’t order it.

Josh:  I would order it if I just wanted one beer.  It’d be a good once-a-month beer.

Alec:  It’s a good at-home beer.

Vince:  It’s good.  Out of 5 I’d give it 3.

Josh:  I would probably go 3.5. 3.25.

Alec:  I’d probably go with 4.

Red Brick Brewing – Wee Heavy


It looks like Red Brick Brewing already took down the website for this beer.  All I can say is we were very nervous about this after our last experience with a Wee Heavy.


Vince:  It smells good.

Alec:  It doesn’t smell like throw-up.

Vince:  No, it kinda smells like the Chimay we had.

Alec:  It just smells like a really thick ale.


Alec:  I wish it had more head, nice color though.  It’s really thick and dark.

Vince:  Yeah it’s like a Chimay mixed with a stout.

Alec:  There’s something just hanging around in the beer, I think it’s the yeast.  Wow.

Vince:  That’s really intense.

Alec:  You can see chunks.


Alec:  Not anywhere near as bad as that other one.

Vince:  It’s good.

Alec:  I don’t know that I would normally get it but…it’s definitely got a different taste to it.

Vince:  It’s really heavy.

Alec:  Yeah but I’m not gagging as soon as I let it hit my palate.

Vince:  It kinda has a coffee-like taste to it.


Alec:  It’s growing on me; the more I drink, the more I like it.

Vince:  This is a beer you would drink with some friends, and just sip on it.  I feel like I’ve already drank the whole thing.  At this point he was about 1/3 through the glass.

Alec:  Yeah, this is not your “I’m going to go out and drink a lot of beers” beer.  But I like it.

Vince:  I do too, way better than the Sam Adams crap we had.

Alec:  I’m really liking it; I’m almost done already.

Final Thoughts

Alec:  It’s amazing.

Josh:  It was incredible!  I’ve never had a better beer in my life.

Vince:  It was a step up over Sam Adams.

Josh:  Just a step?

Vince:  It was good, tastes like Chimay.

Chimay – Grande Reserve

Note:  The recording of this review got a little chopped up, so apologies in advance for how disjointed it is.


From the website:

The Chimay Blue Cap, “baptized’
“Grande Reserve” in 750 ml bottles is a dark Trappist beer with a powerful aroma, the complex flavour of which improves across the years. It was first brewed as a Christmas beer, explaining the presence of a “vintage”.

This authentic Belgian beer, whose tinge of fresh yeast is associated with a light rosy flowery touch, is particularly pleasant. Its aroma, perceived as one enjoys it, only accents the delightful sensations revealed by the odour, all revealing a light but agreeable caramelized note.


Donnie:  What color is that?  Kinda red?

Alec:  It’s cloudy.

Josh:  I like that it’s cloudy.


Ian: It smells like sangria.

Donnie:  It really does smell like a wine.

Ian:  It doesn’t smell like it’s going to taste good.

Vince:  It’s not good.

Josh:  Oh, it smells so nice!


Vince:  Not good, not good at all.

Ian:  This has got to be the worst one I’ve ever tasted.

Josh:  You don’t like it?

Ian:  Have you tried it?

Josh:  Yeah we had it the other night.

Ian:  And you were….why?

Donnie:  I really like it.

Ian:  You like everything.

Vince:  This is way too sweet.

Ian:  This is something my mom would drink.  It’s really fruity.

Vince:  It’s so fruity and sweet it’s disgusting.

Alec:  Super sweet.

Donnie:  It tastes like someone spilled a Merlot into my Yuengling.

Ana:  Tastes like molasses.

Ian:  It has a sweet tendency to it, but also a bite.

Donnie:  Kinda like Elvis Presley.

Ana:  Like box wine mixed with Sierra Nevada.

Donnie:  It’s got a great aftertaste.


Vince:  Some of it came out of my nose.  I need some more of that milk stout, to get rid of all this butt taste.  I don’t like this at all.

Later after some deep soul searching…

Vince:  I would drink two of these, I will agree on that.

Vince:  From Scourmont Abbey, and seasoned with monk piss.

Ian:  It has a great aftertaste.

Vince:  We should drink this in between beers.

Final Thoughts

Alec:  This is why monks are so peaceful.

Ana:  Yeah, they’re buzzed constantly.

Ian:  My mouth feels amazing.

Vince:  If you were three or four beers in, this would probably be pretty good.

Ian:  Because you could just down it.  It’d be dangerous.

Shock Top – End of the World Midnight Wheat


From the website:

Shock Top End of the World Midnight Wheat is an unfiltered wheat ale brewed with midnight wheat, chocolate malt, chilies and other spices. This limited edition 6% ABV ale has a dark, rich color and delivers an indulgent flavor and sessionability, making it the perfect beer to celebrate the end of the world.


We were snacking on orange scones while drinking this one.  Why?  Ana took the whole day off knowing that she was coming over to slave in the kitchen after forcing her mother into indentured servitude to make some and surprised us.


Everyone was afraid the world was going to end before they could taste it so we never really got to look at it.  The color was nice, but the head disappeared almost immediately, as you can see in the image.


Vince:  Smells pretty good.

Ana:  Smells like a fruity Yuengling.

Ian:  Yep, smells like Yuengling.


Vince:  Tastes a little like pizza.

Donnie:  It tastes like it would be really good with pizza.

Alec:  Does anyone taste the chilies?

Ana:  No, I’m waiting for it, not getting any.

Vince:  I think I can taste it, that’s why I think it tastes like pizza a little bit.

Donnie:  It’s normal.

Ian:  It’s a good beer, I’d order it.

Donnie:  I wouldn’t order it, if it was given to me I’d drink it.

Alec:  You won’t order it because the world is going to end.

Ana:  Well yeah, if the world ends we’re only going to have this one.

Ian:  It’s buttery.

Donnie:  No, it’s not.

Josh:  It’s like margarine.

Vince:  It’s kind of heavy.

Donnie:  No, it’s not.

Vince:  Just kidding guys, it’s not heavy.

Alec:  I wish the chili taste was more prominent.

Ian:  I agree.

Donnie:  There’s a chili taste in here?

Ana:  There’s supposed to be.


Donnie:  I would rather have Yuengling.

Josh:  I’m really not liking this.

Donnie:  It’s fine, it’s not great.

Vince:  I don’t enjoy this.

Ana:  Not bad, but utterly unmemorable.

Alec:  I’m not unhappy, but I’m underwhelmed.

Donnie:  It’s a beer.

Ian:  Just a drinkable beer.

Ana:  Damned with faint praise.

Ian:  It’s like Bud Light, Bud Light with chocolate in it.

Josh:  I’d rather have a Bud Light.

Alec:  I’m gonna disagree with that one.

Final Thoughts

After five minutes of talk about cat buttholes…

Donnie:  It’s good, it’s fine, whatever.

Vince:  I don’t care if I never see this beer again.

Ian:  I don’t think it’s that bad, I think it’d be better on draft, pizza would be good with it.

Vince:  It’d be great on draft if it were like $1.95.

Ian:  It’s Bud Light, but brown.

Alec:  With weird flavors mixed into it, but just barely.

Josh:  It’s terrible.

Alec:  I could take it or leave it.

Josh:  I’m completely underwhelmed.

Rogue – Dead Guy Ale


From the website:

In the style of a German Maibock, using our proprietary Pacman ale yeast. Deep honey in color with a malty aroma and a rich hearty flavor.


No food, but Donnie was smoking.


Vince:  It’s got a good color.  Nice dark amber color.

Ian:  The color’s great.


Vince:  It’s got a hint of unicorn tears.

Ian:  I think it smells great.

Donnie:  I don’t know if the smell’s important, but it does smell good.

Josh:  Smell is what, 60 to 70 percent of taste?

Alec:  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Vince:  It’s good, it’s for sure good.  It’s got a great smell.

Ian:  It does, and it’s different from the others.


Alec:  This reminds me of the Toasted Lager, except the flavor hits you in the front, instead of the back.

Ian:  I’m gonna agree with that, it does.

Donnie:  I really like this.

Ian:  It’s good.

Donnie:  Cane sugar, that would be the sweetness that I taste.

Josh:  That’s caramel to me.

Vince:  It’s fruity.


Alec:  I don’t have a lot to say about this beer.

Ian:  I don’t either, I think it’s just a very drinkable beer.

Alec:  Yeah.

Ian:  I don’t think this is a beer that you order three in a row of.

Vince:  This is not my first round draft pick.  This is about a 3.5 for me.

Ian:  I think it’s a great beer.  It’s not a three in a row beer, it’s your first beer.  Now you’re buzzed and you order something else, not as strong.

Alec:  The thing I like about this beer is that it’s reliable.

Vince:  I dunno, it’s not my cup of tea, it’s good it’s just not something I would…

Alec:  It’s reliable.

Vince:  It’s forgettable.

Donnie:  I don’t think so.

Ian:  That’s harsh.

Donnie:  I would order this, if I saw this on a menu, I would order this.

Josh:  You would not order this, because it’s expensive.

Donnie:  Is it?

Final Thoughts

Vince:  Wait, I just took a good sip of this beer and…I like it.  I’ll give this beer a 4 now.

Donnie:  I’ll give this beer a 5.  It’s crisp, it has a lot of flavor, it’s bold.

Vince:  But it’s not overly bold.

Donnie:  It’s not heavy.

Alec:  And the flavor doesn’t hit you after you’ve swallowed it.

Donnie:  The flavor, from once it enters your orifice, until you swallow it is the same flavor.

Alec:  If you want to buy a beer, is this a good one to buy?  Yes, this is a good one to buy.

Ian:  It smells great, the color is really good, it’s not a multiple drink beer, but it’s a beer you sip, and it’s great.  It’s not a party beer.  I would give it a 4.  Is it the best beer?  No, but it’s a 4.