Nero’s Apecchio Red Ale

Name: Nero’s Apecchio Red Ale
Style: American Amber / Red Ale
ABV (%): 6.50
Brewery: Amarcord Birra Artigianale (Spring Srl)

An Italian brewery with an American Amber / Red Ale?  Ok…?  It was cheap at Trader Joe’s.  Poured from a 1 pt. 0.9 oz. bottle into a freezer-chilled pint glass.

This doesn’t look anything like any reds or ambers I’ve seen.  It looks like a lager, but with a super frothy head.

Smells like beer.  That may seem like a joke, but that pretty much sums it up.  It doesn’t have much scent to speak of, aside from the basic yeast and hops.

It tastes like crap.  Way back before the blog, I reviewed Redhook’s Copperhook and said it was one of the worst beer’s I’ve ever tasted.  This is almost as bad.  It tastes nothing like what I know a red or amber ale to be.  Yeast, hops, and barley were thrown in a vat.  I almost feel bad reviewing this beer.  I have better things to do.

The one redeeming quality of this beer is that it serves as a decent benchmark for mediocrity.

Look: 6
Smell: 3
Taste: 3
Feel: 5
Overall: 4

Grade: D


Eau Benite

Name: Eau Benite
Style: Tripel
ABV (%): 7.70
Brewery: Unibroue

The blog is back!  I’ve also slightly modified my scales for review categories and weighting.  What you’ll see from this is a distinct line for beers I consider a B+ or higher.  Anything B+ or higher should be considered a “must-try” beer.  Anything C+ or higher should be considered a good to great beer.  Anything C- or higher may be considered a good beer.  Anything less should be avoided, possibly at all costs!

I stumbled upon this beer completely by accident.  There is currently a 2-pack of Unibroue beers at Costco for $15.  It includes Maudite (which is absolutely fantastic and which will be reviewed later) and Eau Benite.  Unibroue is a Canadian brewery.  They brew a solid collection of bottle-fermented Belgian style beers, all of which are flavor-forward and quite enjoyable.  This was poured from a 1 pt. 9.4 oz. bottle into a freezer-chilled pint glass.

This pours frothy with a thick head.  Color is light and dirty, like so many Belgians.

Smells of yeast and fruits.  A bit of fig, or maybe dates.  Smell dissipates quickly.

The flavor is not overly sweet or rich like many others from Unibroue (see La Fin Du Monde).  Flavor is spicy and a little sweet, with mild fruits in the finish.  Flavor integrates as the beer warms, and the spiciness mellows, giving way to more fruit.

The mouth starts out a little sharp, bitter, and yeasty.  As the beer reaches room temperature, the sharp feel mellows and the beer starts to feel buttery.

This is the easiest Unibroue beer I’ve ever had.  A simple blonde tripel.  All the flavors are mellow and easy, almost relaxing.  I prefer explosive beers, but there is something to be said for this one.  Sweet, without being overwhelming.  Quite enjoyable.

Look: 6
Smell: 6
Taste: 7
Feel: 7
Overall: 7

Grade: C+

Ovila Abbey Dubbel

Name: Ovila Abbey Dubbel
Style: Dubbel
ABV (%): 7.50
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Scott bought me this beer.  Poured from a 1 pt. 9.4 oz. bottle into a freezer-chilled pint glass.

Dark amber hue, highly carbonated, thick head, light, but frothy.

Light malt smell, toffee, maybe toasted almond, lots of yeast.

Bit of clove flavor.  Explodes on the back of the palate.  Super bitter, but not in an overwhelming manner.  Very layered.  Spicy, but light.  Excellent hop flavor.

Highly carbonated.  Excellent mouthfeel.  Sharp and crisp across the palate.

Complex without being thick or heavy.  Very refreshing.  Light-bodied for a dubbel, but not slack in flavor.

Look: 8
Smell: 7
Taste: 7
Feel: 8
Drink: 8
Overall: 7.8

Grade: B

Eisbock 28

Name: Eisbock 28
Style: Eisbock
ABV (%): 11.00
Brewery: Redhook Ale Brewery

This is a limited edition ale from Redhook.  I am a sucker for limited edition beers, so despite the gimmick plastered all over this bottle (aged at temperatures below freezing), I picked it up.  Let me say that often when a beer is brewed and/or aged at super low temperatures, it is done to maintain a much higher alcohol content (see Sink the Bismarck!).  Poured from a 1 pt. 6 oz. bottle into a freezer-chilled pint glass.

The color is a strong reddish-caramel.  Thick, milky head pours 1-2 fingers and lingers for a very long time.

Smells of candy.  Rich, dark fruits, figs.  It smells super sweet and reminds me of an Avery beer.

Candy.  All candy in the flavor.  Thick and lots of bread, just like an eisbock.  I was a bit surprised at this point.  I laughed a bit at the thought of Redhook brewing a real eisbock.  The flavor is like an American Strong Ale, though.  A little bit of oak.  Mild bitter aftertaste.

The mouth is rich and frothy.  Almost syrupy.  Thick in the mouth.  The thickness lingers for a long time like after a dark soda.

This is definitely for sipping.  It’s got a decent flavor, but it is too thick and just way WAY too boozy.  I couldn’t even finish it.  I poured about 1/4 of it down the drain.  And believe me, it hurt to do so.  I just couldn’t get through the whole thing without forcing it.  This is maybe the weirdest, most imbalanced beer I’ve ever reviewed.

Look: 8
Smell: 9
Taste: 8
Feel: 4
Drink: 3
Overall: 7.3

Grade: B-

La Fin Du Monde

Name: La Fin Du Monde
Style: Tripel
ABV (%): 9.00
Brewery: Unibroue

I have walked past Unibroue beers dozens of times without trying one.  I always meant to try Terrible.  At the Monterey Beer Festival this year, I tried Terrible and La Fin Du Monde.  Both were outstanding.  La Fin Du Monde was the best beer I had at the entire festival.  And I don’t usually like tripels.  Reviewing it was a must.  Poured from a 1 pt. 9.4 oz. bottle into a freezer-chilled pint glass.

Even with a gentle pour, this thing came out with four fingers of head.  Lots of lace left behind.  The beer itself is thick and golden, with a bit of caramel hue.  It’s almost unfiltered in appearance.

You can smell it the instant you pop the cork.  Heavy citrus fruits.  Smelling this beer is an exercise in itself.  The notes are meaty.  This beer must lift weights.  Lots of powerful yeast, followed by apricot, followed by some malt and spice.  Nutmeg?

The smell really lends itself to the tasting experience, also.  Malt and apricots on the middle palate, slight bitter aftertaste from the lingering fruit and hops.  Super complex and balanced.  A beer to sip slowly so you can appreciate all the different flavors.

Super smooth mouthfeel for a tripel.  I don’t usually like the bitterness in tripels that comes from the hops and citrus fruits.  The spice in La Fin Du Monde balances the load and makes drinking it a truly unique experience.

If this wasn’t 9%, I’d have another.  You would, too.  It’s absolutely delicious, but what makes it a true world class beer is the complexity and balance of different flavors.  Hey, wine lovers!  Try this one.

Look: 8
Smell: 9
Taste: 10
Feel: 10
Drink: 10
Overall: 9.4

Grade: A

Danny’s Irish Style Red

Name: Danny’s Irish Style Red
Style: Irish Red Ale
ABV (%): 6.50
Brewery: Moylan’s Brewery

Poured from a 1 pt. 6 oz. bottle into a freezer-chilled pint glass.

Absolutely no head on the pour.  A creamy head forms after the pour to less than a finger, then dwindles slowly to leave almost nothing behind.  Rich caramel in color with a red hue, almost copper.

Rich and fruity smell.  Hops and malt are smooth and balanced.  Lots of apple in front, followed by a bit of sweet tobacco.

This has a full malt over the entire palate.  There is a hint of burnt toffee.  The tobacco really comes out in the flavor.  There are only hints of fruit on the back palate, though which fruits are unclear.  Full-flavored, but the complex flavors are not balanced well.  The fruit lingers in the aftertaste, but is overwhelmed by the other flavors.

Smooth over the tongue.  Easy to drink, but not savory.  Not hoppy at all, especially compared to most red ales.  Enjoyable, but the burnt toffee is too prominent.  Full in flavor, but not in body.

Very drinkable.  Not heavy, not overwhelming in flavor.  However, not very complex, and therefore, not very impressive.

Look: 7
Smell: 9
Taste: 5
Drink: 6

Overall: 6.4

Grade: B

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