Sunday, November 11, 2012

Schlafly Limited Release Beer Reviews

This time, the Goatsden beer reviews focus on a single brewer -- Schlafly from St. Louis, MO, USA. Schlafly is still a regional brewery, but they are exceedingly well-known over a large part of the United States for their superb craft beers. If you ever find yourself in St. Louis and have some time, I strongly recommend touring the Schlafly Bottleworks, as it's basically a museum of brewing history. Plus you get the drink some free beers! Remember, ratings range from 1 (horrible) to 5 (exceptional).

It's an increasing trend in craft beer to barrel-age the beer in used oak bourbon barrels to impart extra flavors and complexities to the brew. Schlafly's version is unusual and innovative, as it blends their pale ale and barleywine before barrel aging. I found this treasure in Louisville at the wonderful Liquor Barn.

Pours a murky amber, with a thick head of off-white suds. Lovely wisp of delicate lace, too. Nose is complex, hinting at the bourbon barrel characteristics (vanilla), but this is dominated by a toffee and caramel maltiness (indubitably the barleywine). Needs more of the bourbony, oaky, vanilla vibe methinks. Taste is a weird mix, as with the aroma. The boozy bourbon vanilla and charred oak is muted by a fruity character (again, the barleywine speaks loudest here).

Though certainly not a bad beer, this one just lacks a more cohesive melding of tastes and styles.

This seasonal, limited-release IPA has a unique angle -- using only hops grown in Australia. Found this one locally at Winetree Liquors, and couldn't resist picking up a 6-pack. I am glad I did!

Clean and golden upon pouring, with a full head of white bubbles. Heavy-duty, finely-detailed lace, too. Very nice. Nose is sharp and tangy, with ripened grapefruit all the way. Thirst quenching and delightful! Taste is similarly citrus-oriented, with a well-pronounced hops profile and a light, citrus-grapefruit vibe. The malt profile here works well, complimenting the hoppy tang. 

A delicious IPA, and one I wish were more widely available. High marks, here.

Another seasonal, limited-release IPA, this one uses exclusively English hops and yeast. I've had it before, but found another bottle recently, so thus gets another review.

Clean and light amber, with superb off-white head (2 fingers). Wonderful and intricate lace. Nose is mild. I get pine hops and some spice. Taste is thick and sticky on the palate, notably with the pine resiny hops character. Finishes with a malty sweet spiciness.

Smooth and easy to drink, and a pleasing IPA!

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