|Highest Rated||Barrel Aged Yeti (90 / 100)
||Average score||78 / 100 (Excellent)|
|Lowest Rated||Belgica (58 / 100)
90 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Great Divide Barrel Room in Denver.
Pours a tarry pitch black, with a fine, thick and persistent mocha-coloured head. Carbonation is lovely and fine. Lacing is superb: intricately forming what looks like the logo for a death metal band. Gorgeous.
Nose is also great. Big, boozy and rich, but always tempered by characters of melted chocolate and liqueur. Hints of sharp coffee—like if you managed to liquefy pure coffee beans. There's tannins from the barrel almost adding a smokiness. It's very good indeed.
Taste is super smooth, with vanilla and oak, especially towards the back, with a character of red wine tannin raising its head. Lots of coconut, always matched with chocolate, like a lamington or a Bounty bar. Long, long, long, palate. The linger at the back has a roast sharpness, almost a hint of sparkler ash, always covered with mounds of melty chocolate. Lovely.
Feel is super slick and smooth, and the length helps express those complexities.
Overall, this is absolutely the best example of the yeti I've had. It expresses all of the complexities, but pushes the elements together to make a lovely coherence.
86 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Great Divide Barrel Room in Denver.
Pours a hazy, pineapple colour. Head is fine, mostly persisting in a ring, but promoting great filming lace. Carbonation is extremely powdery. Looks very good.
Nose is big on pineapple, tying it into the look. There's a mango pulp character though as well, all overlaid with a slight farty organic character. There's some savoury notes that come through as a result, like crushed tomatoes on a pizza base, with a hint of spice. It's really good.
Taste is gorgeous. There's a smooth, creamy entry, with some vanilla ice-cream characters, which morphs into characters of orange sherbet and mango milkshake. It's amazingly aromatic once it's in the mouth too. Relatively sweet through the centre to the back of the palate, with no lingering bitterness. Faint linger of dried pineapple in the finish.
Feel is creamy and powdery. How it feels like both is beyond me.
Damn that's good. I've not had enough of the style to really say where it stands, but this is undeniably a good'un. It has captured better the creaminess brief than some of the progenitors of the style.
61 / 100
Pours a dark murky red, with pale beige rim of large bubbles. Some lace trails left behind. Looks OK; bit pale overall, and needs moar head.
Smells a little phenolic. Nice cocoa nibs character with a touch of char and some light boozey notes. Pepper, slightly vinous, and a touch of tobacco. Bit of an eclectic mix; feel it could use more cohesiveness.
Taste is quite sweet; has an overall molasses kind of character, especially on the back. En route there's some chocolate, ash and herbal tobacco character. Maybe a very slight vinous note as well, but overall quite sweet, quite thick and contrated without the syrupy texture. Needs more cut through, or something else to add more interesting character. Oak? Smoke? Not sure which I'd prefer, but would prefer either to what's here.
Bit too lively on the feel actually, feels slightly fizzy upfront and gets very dry on the back. Not bad as cut through but feels a bit unhinged.
Bit heavily sweet, and just not quite interesting enough on its own. So it makes me wonder what other characters could be added here.
73 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Bottled on date of May 05 2014, so around two months prior to opening it.
Pours a fine but a little thin: a deep dark brown tending to orange at the very edges. Head is fine but quite minimal, leaving only a thin skein of lace over the top and thin streaks as it goes down. Carbonation is fine however, and reveals that there is certainly some weight to the brew.
Nose is really extremely minerally initially. I get rock salt, a little seaweed and crushed bracken, with only a very moderated sweetness underneath it. In time, and as it warms up a little, there's a meatier malt character that comes through, perhaps with a touch of roast as well. It's certainly interesting.
Taste is very nice indeed. Here there's a crisp sweetness through the centre, which allows those mineral notes to provide a prickle around the edges of the palate while not overwhelming it. It slips towards the back, with a good wallop of warming heat that matches with a slight upkick in the dark malt character. Finish is long, with more mineral tones locked with a slick sweetness long after the beer is gone.
Feel is also very interesting. It's still relatively light for what it is, but the booze and the prickle give it a liveliness around the edges.
Overall, yep: very solid stuff, and unusual to boot. I like it when a beer manages to be both interesting and tasty—and I think it's fair to say I trust a brewery like Great Divide to pull it off.
22oz bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.
Pours an extremely clear deep golden colour, bright and fairly thickly bodied. Head forms a pocked mesh of white bubbles that only really stay around through perturbation. Lacing is minimal. Carbonation forms in fine streams when tilted. Looks pretty heavy and very decent.
Nose is rather muted. There's perhaps a slight woody tone to it, but there's also a pretty pronounced sugar-fermentation character that gives a little cider or vodka. Perhaps a touch of smoke lacing to the booze too. The malt gives a rather flat cardboard note, a bit like grain husk. I'm not going to lie, I'm deeply unimpressed.
Taste is certainly a lot better. Here, while the booze character is still present, there's also a pleasant buoyant peach note that comes through, and a lightness towards the back that allows some of the woody notes to have a bit of range. Finish has fragrant fruit and some sharp boozy sugar characters. Smooth feel throughout: despite the suggestion of thinness on the nose, this is quite thick and gelatinous.
Overall, though, it's a rather disappointing beer from Great Divide, who have to be one of my favourite American breweries. That's not to say it's bad, just that it's genuinely below the standard I expect from them.
83 / 100
Pours a dark, dark brown colour, predominantly black. Head is ochre, nice bubbles on it but dense and creamy overall. Lace is wonderful. Looks amazing.
Smells amazing. Holy shit. Smells dark, with masses of chocolate in a chocolate cake kind of way, with hints of bourbon and some floral hops as well giving rosewater and lavender. But honestly it smells just like rich, gooey, mud cake the way Mother used to bake it. Simply amazing; can't get enough of it.
Taste is pretty damn amazing as well. Taste mostly chocolatey, with dark malts but plenty of cocoa notes and some licorice spice on there. Hints of black pepper and some sweet boozey notes, with the American oak giving characteristic coconut and vanilla and a sharp booziness as well. Chocolate, spice and just that X factor that truly great imperial stouts have. Great beer.
Full, smooth, lovely. Just a bit of sharp booze heat at the back though, which mars it slightly.
Lovely big stout. Lots of character and oh, what character it is.
74 / 100
Pours a rich burnished russet colour, clear but with a shimmer to it. Head is off-white, dissipated mostly but lace is good. Yeah, looks nice.
Smells very hoppy. Big floral notes mostly, with rosewater and juniper. Some fresh lemon notes and a hint of white pepper as well. Nice toffee malt to balance it all, as well. Good.
Taste is very pleasant IPA stylings. Plenty of malt upfront with nice English toffee flavour and a nutty edge. Hops come through quite strong on mid, floral with lots of grapefruit character as well, lemon zest and some green pepper. Finishes actually quite sweet for its hoppiness with distinct rosewater backing up. Good palate.
Not as full as I expected, but nice texture. Actually a bit of a hot tongue kiss from the boozey alcohol at the back.
Nice beer, but I can't escape the fact that it just falls neatly into the mould of 'beers I like' and there's nothing really envelope-pushing or outstanding about this example.
90 / 100
Pours a heavy black colour, with gorgeous reverse cascading from the bottle. Head is incredibly dark, a very deep brown colour, with a fine bubbling, which forms patchy lace when turned. It looks incredibly rich, incredibly rich and awesomely good.
Nose is a rich chocolate melange, blending deep cocoa characters with a bittersweet roasted character and hints of vanilla and butter. It's incredibly sweet, but hanging on to the robustness of a really nice dark stout. It's a really gorgeous aroma.
Taste is extremely smooth and supple, with lovely chocolatey characters coming through the rich, bittersweet Imperial Stout basis. It's supple and smooth, and the chocolate lends a really sensuous and beguiling character to the beer, which let's face it, was already a pretty damn attractive beer. Feel is rather light, giving a slickness, but not much body. I could almost enjoy a bit more thickness and heaviness, even though that would make it an immense beer to drink.
Really nice brew. I had this (coincidentally) alongside Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch Islay Edition, which was also an excellent beer, for very different reasons. While it had smoke and interest, and craziness, this has a gorgeous smoothness and a wonderful integration. I find it difficult to split the two. These are both phenomenal beers.
87 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Australia and shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a slightly hazed bronzed orange colour, with a very fine and persistent head of white. Some crackling large-bubbled parts to the head, but otherwise pretty good. Lace is patchy. Body is extremely full and pleasant, and the carbonation is fine. Good looking beer.
Nose is a lovely mix of vanilly oak and ripe fruity hops. Minimal sharpness--everything is smooth, rounded and oaky, but the hops do get a look in as a deep, mellow sweetness. Malt is luscious, giving a full basis for everything else. It's a gorgeous nose.
Taste is equally good, with more of the rounded vanilla characters from the oak, and plenty of hop flavour. Juicy tropical characters come through, but interestingly, there's only a light bitterness on the back, almost like the less sweet parts of the fruit. Very smooth and well integrated, and sitting very pleasantly above the malt basis--this doesn't actually lend much flavour, but it lends some body.
Lovely beer. The oak takes the edge off all the IPA sharpness, but this gives the impression it would have been a very smooth and well-balanced IPA anyway. What we get as a result is a mellow, smooth and luscious combination. Great beer.
77 / 100
Picked up from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a pleasantly thick and pleasantly opaque black-brown colour, just giving hints of copper-brown at the edges. Head is large-bubbled, but frothy and firm. Lacing is excellent, leaving rivulets of foam down the edge of the glass, much in the lager style. Looks great.
Nose is equal parts smoky, sulphury and roasted. The sulphur character comes no doubt from the heavy fermentation with lager yeast, but it blends rather smoothly and pleasantly with the smoke and dark characters to give a complete picture. It doesn't have the deep sweetness I might expect from a Baltic Porter, but it has depth nonetheless. Very nice.
Taste is similar, with a big dose of smoke from the rauchmalz, which almost overpowers the rest of the characters. But, no, there are more subtle roasted characters, and even the hint of high-cocoa chocolate giving a vague sweetness, and a smoothness to the feel. Indeed, the body is a little light and crisp, but this is perfectly to style, and the smoothness of flavour gives it a sheen to work around these things.
This is certainly a smoky beer. In fact, the smoke is so dominant it almost makes it truly a smoked beer first, and a Baltic porter (a very distant) second. I actually genuinely love the smoke character, but I appreciate the style on which it is based as well.
88 / 100
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in New York.
Pours a lovely, slightly hazed orange golden colour, with a full, thick and frothy head of off-white. Lacing is riotous and speckled. Body is light and supple. Looks really good.
Nose is bright and fresh, with characters of crushed vegetation and rubbed citrus rind. Zesty and sharp, but very smooth. The sort of beer that's going to be great to drink, you can just tell.
Crisp and zesty on the palate, with pleasant citric bite and a sweetness like musk and grain. It's supremely refreshing, and extremely well balanced. It's the sort of beer that's bursting with flavour, but which you also just want to drink and drink and drink. Feel is light and fresh. Matches beautifully.
Gorgeous beer, eminently drinkable and extremely refreshing. Even for 6.1%, it's an amazingly sessionable beer. So clean, so light and just so damn good. One of the best APAs I've ever had.
77 / 100
Body is a pleasantly clear golden orange hue, with a fine filmy head of off-white. Lacing is streaking but sticky enough. Looks pretty decent. Good body and nice fine carbonation.
Nose is really pleasant, with fresh green clipped aromas, some floral or herbal overtones, and just enough twang of citrus to clean it up and add some true refreshment. The pleasant grass/hay/vegetation aromas meld pleasantly with a touch of grainy malt, that just earths it. It's a really, really lovely IPA nose.
Taste is also good, although the graininess that was pleasant on the nose is too prominent, here, leaving a gritty taste mid palate that the clean direct hop bitterness has to overcome before it can shine. Otherwise, some herbal hop characters through the centre, and a slight phenolic bite from the bitterness on the back. It's good, and generously hopped, but it doesn't quite hit the high notes for me.
It's a good IPA, no doubtâalthough I expect nothing less from Great Divide. Although it's probably missing something overall, it's a drinkable brew, and certainly one I'd be happy to have regularly.
86 / 100
Pours a dark mahogany colour but mostly black unless held up to the light. Head is ochre, fairly dense and retaining a thin crown. Lace is pretty nice and sticky, cascading down slowly. Nice.
Smells very sweet and really quite lovely. Lots of musk character, sweet and a touch spicy with mild mint notes and maybe some basil as well. Touch of peppery spice. Underlying it all is a roasty rich aroma. Pretty bloody nice.
Taste is extremely nutty. Dry roasty malts on the front that slowly evolve into complex dark flavours, a sweet nutty mid-palate with peanut and macadamia characters. Nice chocolate notes with a touch of cardamom and pepper on there as well. There is also a warmth from the booze on the back, but very sweet overall and the strength on the back just lifts the other sweet, chocolatey roasted flavours really nicely. This is a cracker, beautifully mellow yet complex brew.
Mouthfeel seems a bit deficient at times, it's all full but thinned out on the mid a bit, and the alcohol shows through a little more distinctly than it needs to.
Sweet, pleasant and not too hot. This beer is drinking wonderfully.
69 / 100
Pours a dark, dark brown. Head is ochre, quite generous, sinks though to a thin film but retains a touch of head. Nice trails of lace around, pretty sticky. Looks great.
Smells very pleasant. Roasty with a nutty edge - peanuts maybe and a sweet musk aroma. Hints of mint and lots of chocolate. Very sweet and very pleasant.
Taste seems a bit lacking, compared to the nose. Lots of roasty flavours on the front that kind of flag off midway, developing hints of espresso and a slight boozey heat. There are hints of that mint and musk on there, and it's overall sweet, but doesn't really have any lift to the palate. There's a complex journey, but it seems like the highest and most flavoursome parts are at the front, and they diminish slowly as the palate progresses. Finish is a bit hot with touches of dark bitterness. Pretty pleasant overall, but could have more flavour, considering the strength.
Has a noticeable heat from the alcohol. Nice viscosity but the booze kind of scorches the mouth at times.
Pleasant enough beer, but has a deficiency in some areas where it needs reinforcing. A bit weak on the body that allows the booze to blaze through a bit too much. Good, just not great.
89 / 100
Tasted side-by-side the Yeti and the Oak Aged Yeti. Both purchased at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, and brought back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
This one pours a deep black, with twinges of brown only with the influence of the head. Lacing is sudsy but solid, and the bead is incredibly fine. Yellowish brown head. It looks great. Really lovely.
Nose is sweet and dark, with big characters of aniseed and liquorice to go pleasantly with the roasty notes of dark malt and char. A little bit denser than the oak-aged version, which brings in big organic characters. It's the better for it, I feel, giving a true robust and distinguished sweet and roasted stout character. Lovely.
Deep and rich, and really pleasantly sweet American Impy Stout characters here. Lots of toasted coconut and chocolate sweetness, but with a huge backup of roasty, charred grains to give it body and that back-palate bitterness. Smooth vanilla notes come through deviously to entice you for another sip, where you can be pummeled with flavour yet again.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, like melted chocolate. Divine.
I loved this beer. This is a fantastic American Imperial Stout. I'm surprised that side-by-side I preferred this to the oak-aged version, which blends better but doesn't have the raw power and robustness of this one. That's what I'm looking for in the style.
79 / 100
Tried side-by-side with the non-oak-aged version. Both purchased at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA, and brought back to Australia to sample with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
This one pours exactly the same colour as the original, but with a looser head with larger bubbles. Same colour of lovely light brown with some supple sudsy lacing. Looks very heavy in the glass. Very pleasant with a surprisingly light body. Looks good.
Dark and sweet on the nose, but with undeniable belts of leavened organic characters, perhaps banana skin and crushed leaves. This is particularly noticeable when put side by side with the original. I don't get a lot of oak, but there's obviously something inoculated in the oak which lends the organics to this one. Still very pleasant and robust, however.
Taste here is very subtle and smooth. The oak age really mellows the palate beautifully, still leaving big chocolatey and roasted grain characters, but sweeping them with a round coconut and vanilla character that is more fused than in the original, but less pronounced. It integrates more with the other characters, and makes the palate smoother, but doesn't distinguish itself quite so much.
Feel is smooth and lovely. Still, I'm more enamoured of the original, weirdly.
A very good beer, and a very drinkable Impy Stout. Indeed, the lovely melding truly improves the drinkability on this one. Overall though, I think it skews the beer off a little, and to be honest, I prefer the original Yeti, which was a fantastic brew.
82 / 100
Pours a rustic amber colour, nice burnt-orange around the edges. Head is a nice colour, beige with large bubbles, sunk disappointingly and just leaving some specks of lace around. Apart from that, a fine-looker.
Nose is quite nice. Malty and hoppy with a caramel toffee and nutty edge to the malt. Nice bitter hop characters emerge on the back. Good citric edge, with resinous notes and a fresh pine furniture subtext. Quite damned pleasant, if a little strong at times.
Tastes very rich and malty with a lot of really pleasant complex sugars all over it. Starts caramelly with rich barley notes, before descending into more robust and slightly toasted grain edge with much nutty character - macadamia and almond primarily. Finish has a slight piney hop note with a touch of spray-cleaner citrus to it. Not all that clean, but malts are so complex and nicely earthy that they don't need so much cleaning up. A lovely rich after-dinner (or lunch, in this case) brew.
Mouthfeel is full as you'd expect but a little bit flat. A bit of heat on the back wouldn't go amiss, kind of feels untextured.
This beer is about a year old and it's obvious the punchy hops promised by the bottle have diminished greatly. GOOD. Having had a fresh Old Crustacean and being really quite put off by the scorching hop bitterness, I think about a year is the perfect time to drink beers like this. This is just rich, complex and sweet like a really great dessert wine. Good taste = good drinkin' in my book.
88 / 100
Purchased in CA, at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, the only store I've come across these brews. Brought back to Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a gorgeous red-orange colour, burnished brightly and shining when held to light. Head forms in tiny cascades initially, but becomes large-bubbled froth as it settles, which is not that surprising for a beer of this gravity. Body looks heavy and thick. Overall, it's a very robust and intense looking brew. I'm looking forward to sampling it.
Ooh, yes. The nose is just right for an American Barleywine. Big on the hops, of course, but nicely balanced with a big sweetness of rich toffee malts, and a pleasant sweet/savoury nut character. Very faint hint of phenolic booze, but it merely mingles with the other big flavours. Pleasantly, it's not a beer that could be mistaken for an Imperial IPA, it's clearly meatier and sweeter. Lovely.
Oh yes, and the taste keeps this trend alive, Big American hop presence on the front, but mellowing beautifully into a rich, sumptuous and chewy body, full of malts and a whiff of fragrant boozy characters. Finish is long and languid, with some roasted characters coming through again with a slight drying hazelnut or almond character.
Feel is full and smooth and tremendously firm to support all the characteristics.
A damn fine Barleywine, surely one of the best there is. They've done a magnificent job making it big in every area, but keeping the balance right for the style. Big, boozy and sweet, with great body and bit.
58 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour, quite clear in the body, but with a nice dense head, creamy coloured and nicely packed together, sticking around loyally. Lacing is alright but a bit thin, and no real carbonation of which to speak makes head sink a bit listlessly. Not bad though.
Nose is intensely malty. Seriously, it's bread, corn, barley, all these grains concentrated and exploding with aroma. It smells like a brew day, really. Just immensely oaty and grainy. I don't mind a grainy beer, but it is overdone, very grainy, almost savoury.
Taste is similar, a lot of earthy grain, like oats and corn, with a slight malty character but a lot of soil character and a bit of a salty character. Slight bitterness at the back, with an organic character, slightly funky, and a fair but modest kiss of alcohol. But yeah, it's quite simple - very malty, with more savoury character than anything else. Could definitely use more fruit, more spice maybe, and definitely more sweetness, considering how malty it is otherwise.
Mouthfeel is alright, feels a bit bland in the mouth but thick and syrupy as it goes down. Perfectly fine for how it tastes.
Yeah, it's not bad, just has all this flavour potential that feels subdued in its simplicity.
76 / 100
Pours a very light golden yellow - quite clear, and to my mind, slightly too pale, with a firm, but filmy head of white bubbles. Good lacing on the glass as the head subsides. Looks pretty decent, if not exceptional.
The nose is a robust conglomerate of round Belgian yeast and sharp, straight hops. The Belgian character is almost visible - with huge slightly funky round notes of tomato and creamed corn, and the hops are quite European in character. None of those fruity, sharp or citric American varieties. Comes across as a big Belgian Pale with a hugely beefed up aroma. I love it.
Yeah, the palate is very much in the same vein. Very robust Belgian yeast characters, and light-bodied grainy sweetness, before a slightly phenolic and robust, but not tongue-slicingly bitter hop character pervades the back. Finish is quite dry and light-bodied. It really feels like a Belgian Pale with the volume turned up - perhaps some of the characters slip into overdrive, but that's ok. This is what American brewing does.
Yeah, I liked this a lot. A really good interpretation of the style. As far as straight IPAs go, you're not going to find yourself with a ballistic hop-bomb, but it's got the raw, ragged and souped-up American edge to a classic European styled beer. Awesome.
73 / 100
Pours a dark burnt orange colour with modest head that sinks too quickly but leave some gorgeous beige lace behind. Slow bead in the beer with a fairly clear body. Nice malty-looking beer, if only the head retained better.
Quite malty with some chocolate notes, caramelly and a fair pine resin aroma coming through. Some citrus and pineapple notes as well but subdued, with a buttery character coming through the stronger. Smells quite good but more like a barleywine, needs a bit more hop on there to carry it.
Tastes quite malty as well, caramel and buttery notes on the front with some deeper chocolatey tones. Hop bitterness comes in early with resiny flavours, a bit one-note and blarey, rather than nuanced and complex in the mouth. Phenolic flavours towards the back leaves quite a bitter aftertaste, and yeah overall the flavour is just a big dump truck full of bitterness. Could use more later addition hops, more flavour, less bitterness.
Full and thick on the feel, but not very sticky. Bit of dryness towards the back - yeah, pretty good.
Very drinkable beer though, the bitterness cleans up nicely and is not overpowering.
75 / 100
Pours a deep golden bronze colour, with a thick, fine-bubbled head of white foam. Lacing is excellent, and the retention of the head is good, staying as a fine film of bubbles right down to the bottom of the glass. Fair amount of tiny carbonation. Pretty nice.
Big and pungent nose of fruity and resinous hops. Notes of peach and pine resin, with lots of cut grass as well. Not quite the tropical notes of a big c-filled IPA - it actually reminds me of a US-brewed ESB. The hops are slightly sharper and more resinous. Still, it's a powerful nose, and bursting with flavour. Very nice.
Taste is initially smooth, with a welling of medicinal hops, and a slight butterscotch character on the back that stays around a little too long, leaving the finish slightly cloying. Fortunately, the hops are sharp enough to counteract this effect, leaving a big, biting bitterness slicing through the center. By the time the sweet finish has been subdued, there's still a decent dollop of hop oil sitting on the tongue. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, with just a slight aeration from the carbonation giving it a little levity. Very nice indeed.
Yes, a very tasty brew. Heaps of character, and although the balance and integration is slightly off, the amount of craziness makes up for it. I enjoyed it a great deal.