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The Hop Brief: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales’s Burton Baton

Dogfish Head Burton Baton

Enjoyed on 9/30/2010

Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales

Location: Milton, DE

Beer: Burton Baton

Web: http://www.dogfish.com/

Presentation: 12 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2010

Style: American Style Imperial India Pale Ale blended with an English Old Ale

Barrel: Oak

ABV: 10.0%

IBU: 70

Hops: Warrior, Glacier

Malt: N/A

Commercial Description:

This is a blended beer that we’ve been brewing for the past several years and it’s recently been gaining in popularity.

For Burton Baton we first brew two ‘threads’ or batches of beer: an English-style Old Ale and an Imperial IPA. After fermenting the separate beers in our stainless tanks, the two are transferred and blended together in one of our large oak tanks. Burton Baton sits on the wood for about a month.

When enjoying the Burton Baton, you’ll find an awesome blend of the citrus notes from Northwestern hops melding with woody, vanilla notes from the oak. The wood also tends to mellow the 10% of the beer – so tread cautiously!

Beer Advocate: A- (4.13)

Rate Beer: 98 (3.74)

Timperial’s Notes:

When I had this beer at Brouwer’s Hopfest I had forgotten how delicious it was.  If you saw our review of said fest here, you probably noticed that it was our second favorite out of everything we tried, which was nearly 40 hopped up brews.  It would be wrong of me to say that I’m surprised, after all, DFH is a force to be reckoned with.  One can only fantasize about how those results could have been effected were 120 Minute IPA involved.  Honestly, I don’t think that it would have mattered, at least for me.  Never-the-less, ever since my re-discovery of the Baton, I have been unable to mosey past it in the bottleshops without grabbing one.

When you break this beer down to its core elements, it’s quite clear that Sam Calagione stepped into my psyche, rummaged around a bit, and popped out with a beer manifesto perfectly penned to make my knees wobble.  I am gaga about old ales, gonzo about imperial IPAs and gung-ho about wood aged beers.  Have your read my review of Great Divide‘s Hibernation, or my review of Russian River‘s Pliny the Elder?  If you have, you probably got a sense of my intense passion for the styles.  To blend the two, well, leave it to Sam to come up with that one.  Yes, maybe it happens more than I know.  Possibly, breweries do it and don’t advertise it as such.  If they do, they should inform me and me only.  I’ll keep that little nugget in the vault and acquire my fair share of the congenial cocktail for continued consumption.

If you haven’t done it already, I would highly recommend going to the Burton Baton page on the DFH website and watching the video of Sam describing the beer.  The most interesting part is being able to see the wood vat that the beer ages in.  It’s pretty epic.

A standard pour conjured a respectable head that rose like an ominous yellowish-white fog about an inch above the liquid.  It took about 5 minutes to settle down to a thin foam and ring.  The lacing is impressive, a dense slathering of porous paint on the inside of the glass.  I gentle swirling of the brew causes the transparency of the glass to wither.  The fluid itself is of a mysterious, cloudy amber hue that seems to vary from murky pond water brown to bright sunrise orange depending on the angle you hold it to the light.

The scent perplexes the mind with its unfathomable depth.  I know not where to begin… The initial moment my nose hit the scent, I thought the wrong beer was in the bottle.  There seemed to be coffee and cocoa emanating…from an IPA?  As it warms just slightly, those notes seem to fade to the peripherals.  Somewhere between then and when it’s warm enough to fully and properly experience, there are strong shots of lemon, blood orange, pine, and sweet baking doughs.  The booze can be sensed early after the pour.  Low temperatures do nothing to hide the 10%.  It’s surprisingly medicinal, or nearly petroleum like with potency.  To call this balanced in the nose is almost laughable.  I mean yes, there is a gargantuan helping of lupulin here, and the gods themselves where heavy-handed with the malt bill, but to use the word balance seems to place some sort of neutrality tag on a beer that is far too massive to even fit on known scales.  This is a beer for warriors, for Vikings, for kings of men.  Wait, I haven’t even smelled it at proper temp yet let alone tasted it.

As it warms a bit more, a medicinal, syrupy hop quality really dominates, but all the while drizzled upon sweet buns hot out of the oven, soaked in rum.  Sometimes granny gets a little nuts in the kitchen.  Even more warmth leaves only the malt backbone and a nose hair singeing alcohol.

The mouthfeel is just as the smell would suggest, slick with sugars and minimal with effervescence.  In this case, that’s what’s appropriate, and points are won for consistency.  The words that I want to use to describe the flavors are bouncing around my head faster than I can collect them.  The most striking of all is the re-emergence of what was inhaled at the very onset.  Coffee?  Again, I thought this was an IPA, and no, not a Cascadian dark version.  Yes, there is some tinge of brown in the color, and lest we not forget the old ale swimming in our midst, but roasted malts?  Clearly, nothing is off-limits for DFH.

The sweetness factor alone is multifaceted.  I get a slight bubble gum quality along with the baked sweets.  There is caramelized, near burnt sugar, which seems to play with the coffee and the hop bitterness to make a valiant attempt at blotting up the salivary glands.  There are moments when my palette is left feeling chalky dry, but inevitably, the sugar cascade reigns supreme.  No matter the juxtaposition in precipitants as I swallow, there is an undeniable need for more sips.  Though, I must admit, that desire for more is mostly beset on the intrigue factor – intrigue for what happens before the swallow, to greater understand the ever emerging nuances in flavor.

And I mustn’t dare leave out the hops.  Sure, they are in there – the piney, citrus aromas, the battling bitterness units… there is no mistake that this is a strong IPA, but the overall hop profile seems to lie in more of a supporting role.  If you told me there was hop extract in this beer I wouldn’t bat an eyelash.  There just isn’t enough room for the hop to substantially play on my taste buds.  I couldn’t even begin to contemplate the varieties used, let alone where they may sit in the addition schedule.  Does that hurt the score?  Well, maybe to a very finite degree, but like I said, this is an IPA and there is no question about that.  For the malt profile to be so brutally steadfast and for the ‘IPA’ moniker to still be obvious, how could one hold issue?

The aftertaste is the only flaw I can find here, but believe me, I’m stretching.  The “burnt” flavors seem to latch on with the most strength after the fluid has passed.  It’s a deep flavor that tells of the darker malts and the conditions of the wood that once housed the brew, or so I assume.  99% of the time, the byproduct of these elements brings me to my knees with delight.  Here, I’m forlorn.  For me, it’s not too different from being offered a fine cigar…or a Tom Waits album.  I so badly want to have the experience enlighten me, but sadly,  I just wasn’t built for it.  I was, however, built for hop candy, and this is one of the supreme examples of just such a beer.

Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.97

Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.98

Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.95

Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.79

Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.96

Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.90

Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.55

Events for week of July 26, 2010

Iron Abbey Gastropub located in Horsham PA.

Aside from a trip to Collins on Friday for a Cascade Gose and a Pliny the Elder, our weekend was full of sun and cheap beers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Christmas in July: Horsham, Pennsylvania

11:00AM-1:00PM @ Iron Abbey Gastro Pub

I love this concept. Why do we have to wait a full year to indulge in the delicious holiday treats? The Iron Abbey will be tapping Christmas beers such as…Affligem Noel, Unibroue Terrible, St. Bernardus Noel, Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and Tourney Noel. The bottle list will include: Scaldis Noel, Corsendonk Christmas, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence (get this- taste like chocolate syrup), Sierra Celebration, Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve and Samichlaus. Special Christmas pairing menu available to compliment these special brews!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ommegang Beer and Food Pairing: Albany, New York

6:30PM-8:30PM @ The Standard Restaurant and Lounge

5 courses of delicious food, such as Beef Tenderloin Topped with Crispy Shitake Mushrooms and Pomme Frites paired with amazing beers from Ommegang brewery. Experience this unforgettable dining experience for $65.00 per person. Please call  (518) 452-7007 to make reservations.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CBC Night with Stone and Dogfish head: Charolette, North Carolina

6:30PM- 10:00PM @ The Common Market

The Charlotte Beer Club presents a month long celebration of beer appreciation for our friends at The Common Market. During the entire month of July, we will host tastings and events, each Wednesday throughout the month. Tonight is Stone Brewing Co. and Dogfish head with a few complimentary “featured” beers and beers available for purchase.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Founders Tasting Event: Scranton, Pennslyvania

7:00PM-10:00PM @ Backyard Ale House

As of right now there will beat least 3 different (Devil Dancer, Curmudgeon, and a surprise!) Founders beers on tap and possibly more. On top of the great beer,  there will have some cool swag to give away and live music will be provided on the patio!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kegged, Casked, Bottled, or Canned: 10,000 years of Beer exhibit opening: Fullerton, California

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Fullerton Museum Center

Opening night for this interesting exhibit, is Friday, July 30 from 6:00-9:00pm. The opening will include dinner, drinks, a curator’s talk, and a special beer. This Exhibit goes through the history of beer using advertising material, tap handles, metal signs, prints, beer steins, and fixtures from the home brewing industry. It is $10 for general admission and Fullerton Museum Center members get in for free.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Craft Beer Expo: Saint Petersburg, Florida

3:00PM-7:00PM @ St. Petersburg Coliseum

25 Breweries on hand to sample such as Terrapin, Rogue, Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, Chimay, Brooklyn, Bells, Brewdog, Shipyard, Hoppin Frog, Swamphead, Fort Collins Brewery, Highlands, Cigar City, Bold City Brewing, Tampa Bay Brewing, Dunedin Brewing, Unibroue, Lagunitas and more. Not to mention a Free Cheese Tasting this year with 15 or more artisan cheese’s paired up with your favorite craft beer. Ticket price $30. Seriously- what a line up- worth $30.00!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

16th Annual Bones and Brew: Portland, Oregon

11:00AM-5:00PM @ Rogue Distillery and Ale House

This year’s family and dog-friendly event will be a celebration of the American Backyard BBQ and include: BBQ vendors, a BBQ contest, Kobe Bleu Ball eating contest, Dog Vendors, Charity Dog Wash, 20+ Microbreweries and Live Music. All of this fun and beer will directly benefit the Oregon Zoo.

And just a side note, Beermongers in Portland has some tasty new arrivals
Ambacht Golden Rose Ale
Boon Gueze
Bruery Mischief
MacTarnahans Lip Stinger
Mikkeller Big Worse Barleywine

Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit
Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour
New Belgium Belgo IPA
Ommegang Zuur
Pinkus Ur Pilsner
Rodenbach 2007 Vintage (Vat 230!)
Rodenbach Flanders Red (11.2oz bottles)
Silver Moon High Plains Hefe
Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale
Unibroue Ephemere

So have a great week in beer. If you go to an event, want us to post an event or have any opinion whatsoever, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers!

GQ’s Suggested 50 Beers to Try Hits and Misses

GQ takes a shot at beer drinking; for the most part, they did fine. (Photo: GQ.com)

So, GQ eh? Well why the hell not? They are a bunch of dudes, dressing well, tossing around money – they have to do a beer thing. Its the new fad in looking cool, right? I mean that’s why you are all here. Of course, GQ is jumping on the bandwagon.

Luckily, for you I don’t believe anything I just wrote. Beer is freaking beer. Anyone can love it – as long as you are 21 (Message/Disclaimer!).

We do not discriminate against anyone throwing out their opinion on beer. We are regular people like you all. In total, we are a lawyer, a development administrator, and a learning assistant brewer at a small brewery. Just regular people. Just regular thoughts about beer.

But, when you put your opinion up on the web, its the rest of our jobs to police it to some extent, by listening, sparking  dialogue and trying to build a community opinion. So, lets.

GQ published an article today on their website of the top 50 beers that everyone should try before they die. Important note: its not the Top 50 beers, just 50 beers you need to try. So we keep that in mind in discussion.

The list is teeming with small brewery american ales, epic belgian grog, and even a few mass produced “beers.”

Here is my reaction:

They had to add these 5, and we are damn glad they recognized!

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

Orval Trappist Ale

Russian River Pliny the Elder

Westvleteren 12

If you have not had the pleasure of drinking each of these 5 beers, you really need to take action ASAP. These are standards.

Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA rules the category of sweet IPAs and Pliny takes over the bitter category.

Orval is probably the first trappist beer you should try. They make only one beer for a reason – its damn good. Westvleteren 12 is a hard find, but necessary as the world’s most famous beer (thanks Michael Jackson).

Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout should be your first foray into adjunct filled stouts. Its so delicious and almost no one can turn it away. Try your mom, grandma, nephew, or dog – guarantee they like it.

I am so happy to see that they added these beers, and didn’t expect it…..

Alesmith Speedway Stout

Cantillon Iris

Struisse Pannepot Fisherman’s Ale

Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

If you can find Speedway Stout, buy it and drink it. It does not require aging, its perfect off the shelf. Problem : WA does not have Alesmith. Why? no clue, but I’m perplexed. Similarly, Espresso Yeti is incredible off the shelf. This is probably the best coffee stout out there, especially if you like a flavor explosion as opposed to subtlety.

Struisse’s Pannepot is just incredible. We sampled this beer before taking off for Belgium in March (2006 vintage) and then had some at the famous De Zon in Woesten, Belgium, which was the venue of an amazing bar visit. Its probably the best example of a huge mixing pot of Belgian flavors.

Cantillon’s Iris was one of 8 bottles we purchased at the Cantillon brewery in Brussels. I think its the best choice for this list because it personifies the lambic styling of Belgium.

If you like sausage or anything smoked for that matter – Aecht Schlenkerla is for you. This is the ultimate example of rauchbier. Lucky for us, we can get it almost everywhere in the US.

It kills me to know that GQ had these beers – because I have not and so badly want to…..

Leelanau White Ale

Alvinne Melchio

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Route des epices

Sam Adams Utopias

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Russian River Beatification

Where to start? This list of rouge ales is so impressive. Alvinne is just an all-around great brewery. Alvinne is at the cusp of progression in Belgian beer, taking a more globally influenced attitude about making beer. We visited the brewery in March and fell in love with everything they make – for some reason I still have not had a Melchio, but I do have 3 rare Oak Aged Podge’s in the cellar.

Dieu Du Ciel is the best of Canada (sorry Unibroue). All their beers are mind boggling, incorporating interesting adjuncts into the wort. This one has escaped me, and its made with peppercorns. Need to try.

Leelanau is a brewing label brewed by Ron Jefferies of Jolly Pumpkin. If you read Notes of a Beer Nerd ever, you know that we love all that he does, and this spiced white ale needs to be obtained.

Utopias is a huge 30%+ monster of “beer” that we would like to try, so that it can be compared to BrewDog’s Sink the Bismark and Nuclear Penguin, which we tried courtesy of Davey at Alvinne.

These last two are the highest on my list. Kentucky Breakfast Stout is supposedly bacon and eggs coated in bourbon – why not? Their selection of Beatification was puzzling and angering at the same time. This means they skipped over more obtainable sour ales from Russian River, such as Consecration, Temptation and Supplication – and went for the only one I cannot obtain in WA. Damn you – but thank you for reminding me to find this beer.

Two quick “wish they would have went another direction” but the brewery should be on the list…..

Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold

Smuttynose Barleywine

So, I love Great Lakes. Its a familial love too, and i am certainly an apologist. But Dortmunder is just not a great choice. Again, I understand that they are trying to pick “best of” styles, and so Dortmunder is a great lager. But, still….. I would have added Christmas Ale, another incredibly unique beer made by Great Lakes that has a cult following.

Smuttynose got selected as the barleywine on the list. Bad choice. Dogfish Head, Firestone Walker, Mikkeller – all better barleywines. They could keep Smuttynose on here though for their Wheatwine, which is by far and away the best wheatwine I have ever tried.

Any other thoughts on the beers listed on the 50 to try? Leave them below.

Events for Week of March 1, 2010

Bert's Better Beers in Hookett, NH- No, we don't know where that is, but its worth going to!

A week in the life of a beer drinker:

Monday, March 1, 2010

7th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal: Seattle, Washington

3:00PM- 2:00AM @ Beveridge Place Pub

The madness continues all week with events almost every day. Many of these barleywines were aged by Beveridge Place.  Check out Beer Blotter’s guide to the Bacchanal by clicking HERE!

Monk’s Mad Monday: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

11:30AM-11:30PM @ Monk’s Cafe

A special Russian River event featuring six of their beers on tap. There will be three IPAs and three ‘Tions on tap. Check it– Pliny The Younger, Pliny The Elder, Blind Pig, Damnation, Consecration and (sweet, sweet) Supplication.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Unibroue Tasting: Hooksett, New Hampshire

5:00PM-7:30PM @ Bert’s Better Beers

Join Richard Delmonico as he pours Canadian brewery, Unibroue beers-Quelque Chose (enjoy warm and/or on ice), Maudite, Terrible, Don de Dieu, La Fin du Monde, Blanche de Chambly, Chambly Noire, Trois Pistoles and Ephemere. Cheese and chocolate will be paired.

Sour Beer Night: New York, New York

7:30PM-9:30PM @ Jimmy’s No. 43

For $10.00 a person, you can come sample amazing sour beers from Jolly Pumpkin, Cantillon and others from the Shelton Brothers portfolio.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meet the Brewers: Escondido, California

6:00PM-8:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Brewers from the East head West- Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing Co.’s Bill Covaleski. Join them at the Bistro’s outside bar with Stone’s own Greg Koch to celebrate their collective achievement. Have a pint with Sam, Bill, and Greg and congratulate them on a job well done! Special taps of Dogfish Head and Victory rarities, including World Wide Stout, will be poured outside.

Ninkasi Beer Dinner: San Francisco, California

5:45 PM- 9:45 PM @The Monk’s Kettle

Ninkasi brews such as Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Believer Double Red Ale and OATIS Oatmeal Stout will be paired with a delicious 5 course meal. Menu items include a Portobello mushroom soup, a coconut curry shrimp dish, pork tenderloin, a special pallet cleanser and a dessert that will make you feel right at home.

New Belgium Tasting: Portland, Oregon

4:00PM-6:00PM @ The Beermongers

New Belgium Brewery will in the store providing samples of several of their more unique beers including two from their Lips of Faith series Biere de Mars and Transatlantique Kriek, Ranger IPA, certified organic Mothership Wit and Trip IV on draft a collaboration between Elysian Brewing Co. (Seattle) and New Belgium.  This event is free.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Great Lakes Happy Hour: Akron, Ohio

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Johnny Malloys

Come and sample 6 differtent Great Lakes Brewing Co. beers on tap/bottles available to everyone. For those interested, there will also be a limited beer and cheese tasting featuring a couple brewery exclusives that are only available for the tasting. The tasting fee is $10 and includes 5 samples of beer and 5 cheese samples. A few people from the brewery will be there giving out glassware and other Great Lakes memorabilia.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beer without Hops: The Illegal Brews: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7:30PM- 9:30PM @ The Beer School of Philadelphia

This is an appropriate venue for this event. Not only do you get to sample fine beers, you get to learn a bit about beer history. These beers do not contain hops, therefore at one point in beer past, they were not considered beer. Due to this concept, they have become rather rare. Well, these “illegal” beers (gruits) are making a comeback, so stop by, taste and learn all about these amazing brews.

Jolly Pumpkin Beer Tasting: Ann Arbor, Michigan

5:00PM-7:00PM @ Whole Foods Market

Join Vice President of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Michael Turriff at the Fine Wine and Craft Beer Bar. Michael is there to enjoy the JP brews, discuss beer and answer all of your questions.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let’s try some Belgiums!: Naperville, Illinois

3:00PM-5:00PM @ Malloy’s Fine Wines and Spirits

This tasting is FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. So you have no excuse to head out on the town in Naperville and try some amazing Belgium brews. What will you be sampling? Triple Karmeliet, Maredsous 10 Triple, Gouden Carolus, and Pauwel Kwak- among others. Get out, get cultured.

Lucky Lab’s Barleywine & Big Beer Fest: Portland, Oregon

12:00PM- 10:00PM @ Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. (NW Quimby Beer Hall)

More than 35 barleywines and big beers (stouts, warmers, old ales and more) on tap! Some are recent releases but many are aged vintages.  Just to name a few, as the list is very very long (check it here): ’07 Great Divide’s Old Ruffian; ’08 Speakeasy’s Old Godfather; ’09 Fish Tail’s Leviathan and ’09 Lucky Lab’s BBL-Aged Son of Old Yeller.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

11th Split the Brooklyn Skull Festival: Brooklyn, New York

11:00 AM-11:00PM @ Mugs Ale House

Interesting name, but what does it entail? Tis the time for barleywines and strong ales, so you guessed it! Come to Mugs and enjoy beers, most of which are over 8%.  For the full list click here, but for a sample, you came to the right place: Speakeasy Old Godfather Reserve 10%; Left hand Widdershins 10%; Nogne O #100 Barleywine 10.0%; Goose Island Brown Goose 9% and Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout 2008 8.0%.

Nikki’s Second Annual Beer Dinner: Providence, Rhode Island

6:00 PM-10:00 PM @ Julians

We will leave the food a mystery, but check out the featured beers, mainly all Trappist. We like their style! La Trappe Isid’or; Achel Blond; Westmalle Trappist Dubbel; Orval Trappist Ale; Chimay Grande Reserve (blue); Westmalle Trappist Tripel and with the dessert course, you get all three Rochefort beer (6, 8, 10)!!

Oh man…that is it. But of course, there is so much more. So if you have an event you want us to add, have a comment about an event you went to, or just want to tell us how much you love beer, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Thanks for reading! Cheers to another week!

Pliny the Younger, Best Beer in the World?

February 16, 2010 2 comments

PTY: get it today in Seattle!

On Saturday beeradvocate.com announced, via their twitter feed, that the very long standing #1 on their list of the Best Beer on Planet Earth, Westvleteren 12, had been overtaken by Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Younger.  This news comes in the wake of San Francisco Beer Week, which was kicked off with the annual release of said beer at the Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, CA.  The beer was completely drained from the coffers of the brewery in less than a day.

For all the rating nerds out there, BA has it at an A+ / 4.63, where Westvleteren 12 is at A+ / 4.62.  Yes, an extremely thin margin.  Just for a little perspective, the other beer rating giant, ratebeer.com, pegs the beer at #12 in its top beers in the world.  Its elder uncle, Pliny the Elder, makes the list in the 18 position.

For those that don’t know, Russian River’s Pliny the Younger is a draft only triple IPA that weighs in at 11% abv and is a liquid hop candy delight poured from the chalice of God himself.  It is pretty darn rare, but if you live on the West Coast, keep your eyes and ears peeled at all times, have a really fast car and no job, and know someone important in the bar industry, chances are at least plausible that you could get a taste.  This is unlike the overtaken Westvleteren 12, which has been unanimously the best beer in the world for as long as I have been aware of these lists, and is even more difficult to acquire.

Westvleteren 12 is a bottle conditioned Belgian Trappist Ale brewed by Saint Sixtus Abbey in Northwest Belgium.  Only 160,000 cases of 12 are produced each year and, with the exception of a very few number of crafty European beer bars, can only be purchased from the Abbey that brews it.  To top it all off, due to the limited nature of the brew, the Abbey limits the amount of cases one can purchase at any one time.

Check out the Thirty Pilgram site for a beginner course on how to get your hands on the elusive 12.

Point is, as rare as Younger is, not many beers in the world are rarer than 12.  One can assume, of course, that flavor plays a large role in the grand status of these beers as well.  I have, luckily, had the fortune to taste the great Younger and can honestly say that I believe it is worth the hype.  It is, well… a liquid hop candy delight poured from the chalice of God himself.  I cannot, yet, tell you of the flavor majesty of 12, but Belgium is only a month away and you can be assured that Saint Sixtus Abbey is on the agenda.

Now, how can us Seattleites find Younger?

Sadly, the first Seattle keg has already been slain.

Collins Pub in Pioneer Square was the first Seattle bar to tap Younger, putting it on at 4:00 pm on Friday and announcing it, again via Twitter, at 12:41pm.  The keg was kicked in 20 minutes. We do however believe that this was a 1/6 barrel keg (per rumor). We hold out some hope for 1/2 barrels elsewhere.

Your next chance: Naked City Taphouse in Greenwood.  Today at 5:00 pm the next keg will be tapped alongside a keg of Elder.  Naked City, yet again proving why it was rated the 42nd best beer bar in the world on ratebeer.com.

Beer Blotter has also caught wind of a tapping at Brouwer’s Café tonight (we don’t need to talk up Brouwer’s). Indications were that Brouwer’s would be tapping around 6:00 PM.

If you work today, or otherwise have a life not entirely dictated by beer, there may be more opportunities to savor Younger in the near future.  Considering Brouwer’s relationship with Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they have more than one keg, and that they save it for Brett Pack night of Seattle Beer Week or for their annual IPA fest.

Beer Blotter, on the other hand, has a life entirely dictated by beer, and therefore will be found, most likely, at both Naked City and Brouwer’s tonight.  Find us, say hi, and salute great beer!

Pliny the Younger, Best Beer in the World?

The Word on the Street

December 18, 2009 4 comments

Mecca

Granted we are 6 weeks away, but Russian River Brewing Co. just announced their 2010 release date for Pliny the Younger. 11:00 AM on Friday, February 5, 2010–> mark it on your calenders, buy your plane tickets, rent a car and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma County and get there at 10:45AM.

It gets better! Previous releases of this triple IPA were confined to draft to pint action. This year, growlers will be filled and sold for patrons to enjoy “the Younger” for at least a day or two after the release. Remember: Due to CA state law, only Russian River growlers can be filled. No outside containers can or will be filled.

Estimated time of departure of this beer from the brewery’s tap list: 7 days from intial pour.

The following cities should keep an eye out for a keg of Pliny the Younger at ONE of their favorite beer bars: Portland, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia and somewhere in Southern California.

Along with the release of Pliny the Younger, Russian River will release the following Belgium delights (a Russian River specialty) in bottles for the first time: Sanctification (100% Brettanomyces fermented beer) and a brand spanking new batch of 004 Supplication, a brown ale. Oh the possibilities!

History Lesson: Pliny the Younger is/was not a fictitious character as he was born in Italy during the year, 61 AD. He went on to become a lawyer, author and magistrate. Pliny the Younger’s father figure was his uncle, Pliny the Elder who was an author, naturalist, and natural philosopher as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian. The Elder died while watching Mount Vesuvius erupt. What a way to go!

Beer Lesson: Pliny the Younger is hopped three times more than Russian River’s standard IPA, and is dry hopped four different times. Its a hop EXPLOSION! Pliny the Elder is an imperial/ double IPA and is brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the amount of hops as compared to their already hoppy IPA (information in part due to the courtesy of Russian River’s website)

Beer Blotter is seriously contemplating a trip to Russian River for the release. 55.2 miles outside of the great city of San Francisco, this brewery is Mecca. Go there, get some amazing beer and please, report back to Beer Blotter.

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