Posts Tagged 'stout'

Saint Arnold Winter Stout, Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout

I took advantage of the freezing weather to turn Saturday into a “Texas stout night”. I didn’t even have to go shopping to do it. I had leftovers from New Year’s Eve — a bottle of Saint Arnold Winter Stout and a can of Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout — and I decided to top it all off with a bottle of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9.

I’m going to post full reviews of the first two. I’m saving my full review of DR9 for some other time — maybe a Divine Reserve night? — but I will say that I love it and saved it for last.

Onto the two Texas stouts:

Saint Arnold Winter Stout

12-ounce bottle, purchased in a 6-pack at Spec’s Downtown, poured into a Real Ale pint glass.

As I’m pouring, the beer looks relatively light for a stout. It’s dark brown with some ruby and maybe even dark orange highlights. As I’ve mentioned before, I like my stouts full-bodied, so it’s a poor first impression. The head is light tan, just less than a finger thick, a bit bubbly and puffy. It doesn’t last long, and leaves virtually nothing behind.

The look may be slightly disappointing, but the nose turns things around nicely. It smells of dark, roasted and slightly sweet malt, with some coffee and even a decent amount of chocolate.

The taste is decent, if unspectacular, and worse than the nose. The biggest feature is again roasted and sweet malt, with a bit of coffee, but I don’t get any of the chocolate I noticed in the nose. It also tastes a bit more burnt than the nose, and even a touch watery. There are some hints of fruit, too.

The body is better than it looks. I would call it about medium for a stout, if not slightly fuller at first. It feels a bit lush and there’s a touch of chewiness. Still, as I get closer to the bottom of the glass, I realize that there’s nothing enduring, either, and the body ends up a disappointment.

I’m trying not to complain too much about Saint Arnold Winter Stout, because it’s decent for sure. It’s also quite drinkable — maybe too much so for a stout, let alone a winter one. At times it promises to be quite good, while at others it seems like a lightweight stout (or even porter).

 B- (The nerds at Beer Advocate give it a B)

Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout

12-ounce can, purchased in a 4-pack at Spec’s Downtown, poured into a pint glass

The beer pours a dark but relatively translucent brown, with plenty of medium-brown highlights. It’s extremely carbonated out of the can, immediately filling more than half the pint glass with a thick, spongy, light-tan head. It’s somewhat sticky at first, and on the way down it leaves decent lacing, thick and slightly runny.

Even through the humongous head there’s plenty of nose — sweet roasted coffee and some bitter powdered chocolate. It’s interesting and really makes me want to try it. So let’s go.

I taste bitter coffee and a slight touch of hops, then some bitter dark chocolate. I think there’s some vanilla, too, and a subtle but tangy touch of alcohol. Despite that bit of evidence in the flavor profile, the 8.5% abv is well-hidden.

The mouthfeel is good and somewhat different — it’s creamy but at the same time not thick, with soft and smooth carbonation.

Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout is interesting and tasty. It’s not elite,  but it’s certainly good. Every sip is slightly different, and it makes me keep coming back for more. I’ll drink this again, without a doubt.

B+ (The nerds at Beer Advocate give it an A)


Site update, and the “Beeriodic Table”

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. Call it a holiday hangover. We certainly haven’t stopped drinking good beer, though, and that should lead to more content soon. We’ve also been active on Twitter, so if you’re following us there you’ve gotten a taste of all the good stuff we’ve sampled.

Speaking of “we” — I’m excited that a couple of the other Nerds are really close to writing their first posts for the blog. This was never intended to be a one-nerd operation, and I’ve pestered the other guys enough that they’re close to contributing. So keep an eye out for some different voices and viewpoints. Just remember that we’re all nerds, and we all love good beer.

One last thing: I received this link from a number of different people over the holidays. It’s a version of the Periodic Table, but instead of displaying chemical elements, it lists beer styles. A friend of a friend noted that it should be called the “Beeriodic Table”, and who am I to argue with that?

It’s pretty cool. Its best feature is the way it gives you a visual look at how different beer styles are related. If you know you like a certain style and you want to expand your palate, check the table for directions.

Let’s say you like Guinness, but you haven’t tried many other stouts. Guinness is considered an Extra Stout (or Irish Dry Stout, or Export Stout, depending on where you look and where you get it). Both Dry Stout and Foreign Extra Stout are on the Beeriodic Table. Below those styles, you’ll see Sweet Stout and Imperial Stout, respectively.

So next time you feel like a Guinness, push yourself a bit. Look for something such as a Mackeson Triple XXX or a Young’s Double Chocolate on the sweet side, and a Great Divide Yeti or Lagunitas Cappuccino on the imperial side.

Avery Out of Bounds Stout, Brooklyn Monster Ale, Real Ale Oktoberfest

The Saucer stepped up their usual Thursday “Tap Nite” this week, with two rare beers on offer instead of the usual one — Avery Out of Bounds Stout (firkin) and Brooklyn Monster Ale (draft).

That was as good an excuse as any to make a night of it, so we did. I drank the two Tap Nite selections, and then wrapped up the night with a Real Ale Oktoberfest (draft).

Avery Out of Bounds Stout


Dark brown with plenty of nutty brown highlights. The head out of the tap is decent — light latte color, 1-finger, fluffy and bubbly. Eventually ends up a thin cap. Despite some early signs of stickiness, there’s not much in the way of lacing by the time I’m done with the pint.

The nose is like a roasted smoky porter with a touch of hops, interesting and not exactly what I expected (maybe I didn’t do my research very well).

There isn’t much in the way of subtlety here (no surprise, given the brewery). It tastes like darkly roasted and maybe even burnt coffee, with a touch of smoke thrown in. It’s a bit bitter and hoppy, too, but that gets overwhelmed. I’m not getting much sweetness at all, and that’s a big disappointment — I like my stouts to have at least some chocolate or dark fruit or something along those lines. In that sense, it certainly stands out for a stout.

Big caveat on the mouthfeel — they served it out of a firkin. Unsurprisingly, it’s smooth and chewy, if not quite thick. This is the beer’s best attribute, by far.

As I drank the Avery Out of Bounds Stout, I kept thinking it was like a coffee porter with a stout body. I found it interesting and worthwhile for about the first half of the pint glass, but its appeal kinda faded the more I drank. It’s only 5.1% abv, so in that sense it’s quite drinkable. Still, I was pretty tired of it by the end of the glass. I can’t imagine seeking it out.

C+ (The nerds over at Beer Advocate give it a B+)

Brooklyn Monster Ale


Clearish and reddish caramel with some golden orange highlights. All four of us get slim caps for the head, mine has a thick white ring and some oily slick covering nearly the whole surface. Don’t expect any lacing whatsoever, and there isn’t.

The nose is both subtle and sweet for a barleywine. There are hints of a Belgian dubbel here, as I get a bit of dark fruit, some slight spiciness and even yeasty sweetness. But I’m also reaching — it was a bit of a struggle to smell much at all.

This tastes like no other barleywine I’ve ever had, and I can’t quite describe it. It’s sharply boozy and maybe a bit fruity, but I wouldn’t call it sugary sweet. Maybe berries? I’m looking for other stuff, but it’s hard to find much else. I still get mostly booze, and I mean that in a liquor-ish sense I think — whisky or scotch? And those dubbel characteristics I got in the nose are nowhere to be found here.

The mouthfeel doesn’t really live up to the style. It’s velvety and very slightly chewy, but not thick. There’s also some fizz that is subtle but noticeably sharp.

My main conclusion here is that Brooklyn Monster Ale desperately needs to be aged and tamed. There’s just way too much alcohol presence, and the rest of the package doesn’t have a chance. For now, it’s really hard to drink — I left a couple of sips at the bottom of the snifter. If I can get my hands on a bottle, I’ll definitely give it another chance in a year or three.

C- (The nerds over at Beer Advocate give it a B+)

Real Ale Oktoberfest

Light and bright orangeish brown. There’s a thin cap at first, but pretty soon it’s just some oily slick with a decent off-white ring around the edge of the glass. No lacing to speak of at any point.

Smells almost like nothing. I struggle to find some bready and musty malt, and that’s about it.

Let’s see….there’s plenty of bready or biscuity malt sweetness, and there’s a definite floral hoppiness to it as well. As I type that I think it sounds like a good starting point for a balanced Oktoberfest, but as I was drinking it I didn’t think it tasted all that great.

Oktoberfests rarely have much of a body, and this is no exception. It’s fizzy and watery and only just better than light-bodied.

Real Ale Oktoberfest is not awful or even close to that, but it’s certainly not special. My biggest mistake was having this as my last beer of the night. I could see starting the night with one, but after a bitter burnt-coffee stout and a harshly boozy barleywine, this just never had a chance. Still…considering it’s a style I don’t particularly like, I’ll try it again sometime.

B (The nerds over at Beer Advocate give it a B)

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