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Total Finishing Statistics!

January 2, 2012

I thought it would be neat to post a total finishing statistics page to see how things ended up.  These will be quickly outdated I’m sure, but this is how my blog stands on the last day of this project.

Total Site Views All-Time: 23,432 views

Highest Views on the Busiest Day: 1,888 views on December 31st, 2011 (thanks to Steve Campbell and the Star-Telegram article!)

Average Number of Views Per Day: 64.08 views

Highest Viewed Individual Post: Lucky Buddha Beer – 1,114 views

2nd Highest Viewed Individual Post: Shiner Light Blonde – 838 views

Total Number of Styles Featured: 69 styles

Highest Style Reviewed: India Pale Ale (25 entries)

Top Referrers: Facebook (2,076)

Top Search Engine Terms: lucky buddha beer – 642
shiner light blonde – 436
beer – 114

I like statistics and I thought you might like to see them too.  Thanks so much for reading and making this blog an enjoyable project!

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Day #365 – Rahr & Sons Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer

January 1, 2012

So here we are, at the end of a journey. 365 days ago I embarked on a journey, a journey which I did not expect to be so difficult. It was a challenge, and I succeeded. I learned a lot too, not just about the beer I was featuring or where it came from, but about myself. I set a goal for myself, began a project and saw it through to the end. It will be bittersweet to see this journey end, but I am ready. I will have an additional post after this one detailing some interesting statistics about my blog. Look for it soon!

Today I am finishing things up with one of my all-time favorite Texas beers from who else, but Rahr & Sons Brewery right here in Fort Worth, TX. One of the purposes of this blog was to feature quality craft beer and breweries from Texas, so I felt it was appropriate to end things with a Texan brew. Also, as a special treat today I will be sampling 2 batches of the same beer, one from 2011 and one from 2010! Glad I have some friends to share it with. :)

Rahr & Sons Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer

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This is one of the most sought-after beers that Rahr & Sons make. I remember several years ago when I had just heard about it, I tried and tried to find it but I was always out of luck. It seemed like every time I went out to try it, the place that had it had run out of it mere minutes before I got there. This dance happened for 2 years in a row until finally I was able to sample some a few year back. Last year Rahr gained the ability to bottle things in the bomber format which is a larger size bottle than the standard American longneck. I wisely saved a bottle of it from last year with the intent to try it side by side with this year’s batch. I am very excited to try it today! Rahr made a concerted effort to increase production and it can be found at some of the higher end beer stores and bars. I’ll begin with the newer batch, and here are some details. This is an English Strong Ale style that holds 8% ABV. Rahr takes recently emptied whiskey barrels and ages their Winter Warmer in them for a period of time. This will impart some additional flavors and aromas that is not already in the base beer. What results is what sits in front of me now, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer!

2011 Batch

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I’ve sampled this particular batch on draught before this season but I have yet to try the bottled version. I will use last year’s glassware for this beer.

This beer pours a very dark brown color that is difficult to see through. A small amount of light comes through but not much. A fizzy beige head is formed on top but does not last very long. There is also a fair amount of lacing on the edge of the glass as well.

The aroma is…WOW! Lots of woody notes, bourbon, chocolate and dark malts. Light bit of roasted notes. Very aromatic indeed.

The flavor is fantastic as well. Dark roasted malts mix well with sweet chocolate flavors. The finish is where the aging process comes in, adding woody notes and touches of bourbon. Man this is good. I highly suggest seeking it out if you can find it!

2010 Batch

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This bottle is a year old, as old as my blog. It is fitting that this will be the final beer I feature on this blog. Let’s go out in style. This one will be poured in this year’s glassware as well as the 2009 glassware, bookending this batch.

As it is the same beer only a different batch, the appearances are very similar if not exact. This beer pours a very dark brown color that is difficult to see through. A small amount of light comes through but not much. A fizzy beige head is formed on top but does not last very long. Light amount of lacing.

The aroma however is very different from the fresh batch. There is hardly any bourbon scents on the nose, which was very prominent in the new one. Instead it has a large chocolatey aroma and dark malts. Light roasted notes as well. Lots of wood shines through.

The flavor is also very different from the fresh batch. Dry and woody with some sharp flavors that sit on the back of the throat. Almost a bit tart but not sour by any means. Chocolate and wood notes are on top here with little bourbon. It leaves a large tingle on the palate that warms all the way down. I think I prefer the fresh batch more but this one isn’t too bad either.

Well there you have it folks! This blog is in the books. I’m finishing up my final glass with a small tear in my eye. It’s been fun, challenging, stressful and enlightening. Glad to have done it but it’s time to say goodbye. And for the last time…I bid you Cheers!

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Day #364 – Deschutes The Abyss

December 31, 2011

364. To many it is merely a number. A number that doesn’t get used very often, has no real meaning or representation outside of being in-between 363 and 365, but to me it has meaning. It represents 364 days of hard work, planning, drinking beer and writing about it. It represents being on the precipice of completing a journey and achieving a goal that I set for myself 364 days ago. I am almost there. What better way to celebrate a year of beer than to finish up with a couple beers that are a year old? Today and tomorrow I will be featuring beers that are as old (or older) than this blog. I am SUPER excited about both….but first we have today’s beer.

Deschutes The Abyss

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Holy Crap. This is one of the biggest, baddest beers out there on the market today, and I am pleased to have it sitting in front of me today. This is The Abyss, an imperial stout from Deschutes Brewery out of Bend, Oregon. It is 11% ABV and will knock your socks off if you aren’t worthy of it’s greatness. Keep in mind that I said I was only going to review beers available in the Dallas-Fort Worth market for this blog, and for the most part I stuck to that (with a few exceptions). I can happily say that I am sticking with that mantra today as I purchased this beer at Hall’s Grocery in Colleyville way back in March. At the time this was the first time The Abyss had been available in our market and I jumped on the opportunity to purchase one. It has since come once more a few months ago but does not last long. You can only find it at high end beer and liquor stores, and in small quantities at that. This is the 2010 batch, and says Best AFTER 11/13/11. I love that it has a reverse expiration date. Here we go! By the way, I am sharing this with 5 friends…the way any good beer should be enjoyed.

This beer is dark, there is no other way to say it. It has a dark black pour with a foamy tan head that looks like a loaf of bread. If you swirl this beer around it completely sticks to the side of the glass. Looks like straight motor oil and I love it!

Lovely chocolate aroma. Big notes of spice, almost peppery in a way with a licorice sweetness. Gentle perfumy scent as well. Note that I served this beer at just under room temperature and boy did it make the bouquet explode!

Taste is deep rich chocolate with bitter coffee. Very nice finish. Lovely. I sipped on this for perhaps half an hour, and I only had a few ounces of it in my glass to begin with. If you can find this beer, I highly recommend getting it, but please…do these 2 things for me. Well, 3 things.

1. Put it in your closet and forget about it for a year.

2. Serve it just under room temperature. (Think of it as a red wine)

3. Share it with friends.

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1 more beer after today!!! Cheers!

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Day #363 – Rochefort Trappistes 8 & 10

December 30, 2011

2 Days away! This project is finally coming to a completion and it couldn’t happen on a more impressive of a note. Today’s selection is a fantastic one, but there is more to celebrate than merely enjoying a good beer. I recently had a chat with a writer for the local paper, the Star-Telegram. Steve Campbell contacted me through my blog noting that he had been a long-time follower and was interested in doing a story on…well my story. I met with him on my birthday, over a pint and told my tale. The result is HERE, and for those of you who were brought here from Steve’s article, thanks for reading! Today’s selection will not disappoint.

Rochefort Trappistes 8 & 10

As today is a very special day indeed, I opted to feature not 1, but 2 awesome brews! Don’t worry, I didn’t break my rule of 1 per day as I shared them with a special person. ;) Rochefort is one of the 7 breweries that officially carry the Trappist label, and they did not distribute to north Texas until very recently. I was super excited to find the 3 big ones here a few months ago and reviewed the Rochefort 6 as soon as I could. I decided to sit on the last 2 for a special occasion…and Day 363 seems special enough. The 8 is classified as a Belgian Strong Ale and checks in at 9.2% ABV. The 10 on the other hand is an Abt/Quadrupel and rings in at an impressive 11.3%! Very glad to be sharing these fine brews this evening.

Note: Both of these beers are bottle conditioned, meaning there is a small amount of yeast sediment remaining at the bottom of the glass.  Pour with caution, leaving the last quarter-inch in the bottle.

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Rochefort Trappistes 8

This beer pours a fairly dark brown color that turns quite orange in the light. It appears slightly murky in the light as well, but still maintains a bit of clarity. I was careful to leave the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle while pouring. It also forms a nice fizzy beige head which sticks around for awhile.

Aroma is lots of Belgian yeast and fruit tones. Dry smelling with some woody characteristics. Smells a bit strong but not alcoholic.

Flavor is dry wood and fruit. The fruit comes through as a grape/aged wine type taste. There is a big dry finish that leaves some bitterness lingering with a sharp tingle on the tongue. As it dries it almost starts to develop a chocolatey taste. Interesting, just a bit too dry.

Rochefort Trappistes 10

This beer pours a very dark brown color, and the murkiness on this one is very apparent when held to the light. Only a dark orange color comes through the light here. Tall fizzy beige head forms and disappears rather suddenly.

The aroma here is all dark fruit; plum, grape and raisins. Dark malts and sweet brown sugar with a woody balance.

The flavor is smooth, dark fruit again that leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue. The tingle over the palate is noticeable immediately and almost pushes to a burn. The raised alcohol level here is certainly felt, but this one has more flavor to balance it out.

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Thanks so much to Steve Campbell for lending me his ear and for sharing my story with his readers.  Only 2 beers left….CHEERS!

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Day #362 – Saint Arnold Brown Ale

December 29, 2011

Wow. Day #362. I am so close it is crazy! Got yet another Texas beer on the menu for today, and it’s funny that I am finishing up this week with lots of Texas beers that are available year round here. I’m always shocked when I haven’t reviewed these beers yet for my blog, it’s just that I always see them so I always pass them up in lieu of something else. Glad I’m getting around to them now.

Saint Arnold Brown Ale

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This is one of the year-round offerings from Saint Arnold. It is a Brown Ale at 5.3%.

This beer pours a very clear dark orange color with lots of carbonation. The carbonation forms a nice layer of white head at the top of the glass. I am using one of my favorite Saint Arnold glasses today as well.

The aroma is strong malts with a slight edge of toasted nuts/roasted grain and a finish of hops. Basically a solid blend of what goes into a beer!

The flavor is pretty tasty. I pick up the heavy malted backbone first with a nice edge of sweetness. The hop bitterness comes in near the finish to round things out. This is a solid brew and it’s unfortunate I have not drank more of this. This could EASILY be a regular 6-pack drinker.

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4 to go…(including this one I guess I should mention)

Cheers!

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Day #361 – Real Ale Rio Blanco Pale Ale

December 28, 2011

Yet another Real Ale beer coming down the pipe for you today. However at the moment it is 11:46 pm and I have just gotten home from a long day. Needless to say…this will be brief.

Real Ale Rio Blanco Pale Ale

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This is one of the year-round offerings from Real Ale, and I’ve never gotten around to reviewing it because it’s alway available. This is an English Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV.

Bottle from Central Market poured into my Real Ale shaker. This beer pours a clear orange color with a fizzy white head. Lots of carbonation.

Aroma is bready grain,rye chips and wax candles. The good kind of candles though. Certainly hoppy as well.

Flavor is dry, slight bitter grain with an increasingly dry finish. Lots of hop flavor and bitterness but almost too dry. Better than originally thought.

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5 left to go…

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Day #360 – Real Ale Coffee Porter

December 27, 2011

I LOVE coffee beers. Absolutely love them. The more coffee aroma and flavor in my beer the better. So you can understand how excited I was when I heard that Real Ale was coming out with a coffee porter. I will be trying this both on tap and out of a bottle today!

Real Ale Coffee Porter

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I am meeting with a very special guest today at the Ginger Man. You will find out more about this soon! Trust me, it will be very cool.

Real Ale Brewing Company came out with this beer quite recently, within a couple of years at least. It is a porter at 5.6% brewed with Katz Coffee.

This beer pours a very dark brown color with reddish highlights when put to the light. Foamy white head.

Aroma has lots of dark malts, roasted notes, dark Bakers chocolate and small bits of coffee. I want the coffee nose to be much more prominent.

Flavor is sweet and bitter chocolate. Some dark coffee as well with a bitter finish. Not bad at all but I want WAY more coffee!

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6 to go…

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