Beer Review: Bell’s Cherry Stout 7.0% ABV

Written originally by hand on November 21, 2009.

Here’s another from Bell’s Brewery, but quite a departure from the Winter White Ale! This poured a very dark blood red brown color, nearly red black. I could detect a cherry aroma, which in most beers I’m not very good detecting anything much beyond “yep, that’s beer.”

My first taste was very tart and sour–I liked this! It had a very faint coffee finish (not to my liking, unsurprisingly), but it didn’t render the beer undrinkable for me. There was a significant aftertaste but it wasn’t unpleasant. Other reviewers detected chocolate, but I didn’t, unfortunately. However, this is a flavorful, hearty stout I’ll drink again.

Beer Advocate reviewers gave this a B (good). I’m giving it the same or 3.75 mugs.

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Beer Review: Brouwerij Huyghe Floris Wit-Blanche 5% ABV

Written originally by hand on November 21, 2009, using my Pilot Lucina medium nib fountain pen in Doane Paper utility notebook

Floris Wit-Blanche from Brouwerij Huyghe comes with a pretty label. It has a light yellow color similar to Hoegaarden. This is an unfiltered beer with visible yeast floating throughout. I didn’t read the bottle that said to pour carefully, but in general, I like to pour my unfiltered beers as they are as I like them precisely for their cloudy appearance. However, I mention the visible yeast so it doesn’t alarm anyone when trying this beer: the floaters are intentional!

Taste was similar to Hoegaarden, with notes of citrus and spices. It wasn’t very carbonated, head wasn’t remarkable, and there wasn’t really any lacing on my glass. I don’t know how these contribute to a beer other than appearance, but I am including it.

I found this beer to be delicious, light, and refreshing, with no trace of bitterness or alcohol–just smooth and tasty. I would love to drink this beer again. I haven’t found it again on repeat trips to Total Wine, but I look for it each time I shop.

Beer Advocate reviewers rated this at B (good). I’m rating it a little higher at an A- or 4.25 mugs.

Beer Review: Bell’s Winter White Ale 5.0% ABV

Written originally by hand on November 21, 2009, using my Pilot Lucina medium nib fountain pen in Doane Paper utility notebook.

Bell’s Brewery makes a lot of beers that I find quite tasty. Their seasonal Winter White Ale would be at the top of this list. After I originally wrote this review, A friend mentioned he liked this at a beer dinner that I was unable to attend last December, so I picked up a six pack for him as well as for myself on one of my last trips to Total Wine. I would buy this beer every time I went beer shopping, so good thing for my pocketbook this is a seasonal.

This is an unfiltered witbier. It poured a light golden yellow color with a moderate head for this type of beer and very light lacing. Bell’s created this using a blend of hefeweizen and belgian-style yeasts. The ale had a light citrus and spice flavor typical of witbiers/hefeweizens with a bit of a hoppy taste, but still leaving a crisp clean finish. I liked its carbonation and felt like it left my palate cleansed, thus consider this a very refreshing beer that I would enjoy year round. A good beer to drink when tired and thirsty!

Beer Advocate reviewers give this a B (good) rating. I’m giving it an A+ or 5 mugs. I would love to hoard bottles of this beer and call them my preciouses.

Beer Review: Magic Hat Circus Boy Hefeweizen 4.4% ABV

Originally handwritten on November 8, 2009

I do like the beers I’ve tried from Magic Hat, including Circus Boy. This beer poured a golden yellow color. There wasn’t much of a head and I didn’t notice very much lacing. Despite it being categorized as an unfiltered American wheat beer, it wasn’t very cloudy. This is cosmetic though, so I try not to hold it against the beer.

The taste was crisp, clean, light, slightly citrusy, with very little aftertaste. I would drink this beer again.

Beer Advocate reviewers rate this as a B- (worthy), while the BA Bros. rate it at A- (excellent). I’m giving it a B+ or 4 mugs.

Beer Reviews

I love beer. I love pens. I love paper. In an effort to combine all three with the idea to (a) improve my beer palate, (b) try out my many beautiful fountain pens and inks, (c) and make use of my lovely papers, I decided to make notes on the beers I try. I buy most of these at Total Wine & More because I can buy the beers in single bottles, which is the best way to sample beers: no worries if I don’t like it. It’s a lot easier to pour half a beer down the drain than have five beers left in my fridge waiting for the perfect guest to arrive who might like it enough to finish the pack.

A warning though: I don’t have a very sophisticated palate and don’t always know how to describe what I taste. I hope that by taking notes I can improve this. When possible, I will link to Beer Advocate where people much more experienced and sophisticated offer their reviews. I refer to this site a lot as it is helps me to read what other people detect in the taste so I can try to find that particular flavor in what I’m drinking too.

As far as my tastes go, I like most wit biers, hefeweizens/unfiltered wheats, belgians (including lambics), milk/chocolate stouts. I don’t like hoppy beers, hence most IPAs leave me cold. I don’t like coffee, which makes developing my stout/porter palate difficult, though I’ve found many recently that I really enjoy. Beers I like in no particular order: Shiner Bock, Newcastle, Kirin, Taj Mahal, Shenandoah Brewing Company’s Chocolate Donut Stout and Stonyman Oatmeal Stout, Hoegaarden, Dogfish Head Fort and World Wide Stout. Craft breweries that I like a lot are Dogfish Head (non-IPA beers, of course), Bells, Magic Hat, Rogue, New Holland, and Ommegang.

My husband I recently went to make our own brews. He had done this before and made a vanilla porter that was well liked by a lot of our friends. Our current beer that’s fermenting is a modified monster Belgian brown that we’ll be calling Vorpal Bunny. In the process of trying to make a beer we’d both like (he likes stouts, I like wheats; he likes coffee, I like fruity/sweet/higher alcohol), we added some more hops to the batch on the advice of the brew master on site at Shenandoah Brewing Company. We’ll be bottling this up later in January 2010.

In general, I’m only going to post reviews of beers I like for now. As I’ve said, my palate isn’t very developed and I don’t think it is fair to give an unfavorable review of a beer when I don’t know much about beers to begin with. I’m sticking with the idea that I know what I like and that’s what I want to focus my reviews on.

I love recommendations so please feel free to comment on my reviews to suggest beers for me to search out!

I will also share what pen and paper I used when I jotted down my original notes.

Posted in Beer, Reviews. Tags: , . 2 Comments »

Success! eBooks syncing with Sony eReader PRS-600

In my first post about my Sony eReader PRS-600 Touch, I mentioned some problems I had syncing up some small press eBooks I purchased by Cindy Jacks. I also found I had some problems with syncing up free chapters of the book Heat Wave by fictional character, Richard Castle, from ABC’s Castle TV series.

Ellen, A commenter on my first post, asked about ebookstores that worked in Canada. In searching for solutions (I didn’t have a lot of luck), I found Mobileread.com that looked interesting and I added it to my RSS feed. A thread came up talking about a new ebookstore Shortcovers.com that offered ePUB books. In checking it out, I saw the store was offering a free book. I love free! In order to get the book onto my Sony Touch, I had to install Adobe Digital Editions and use that library software to transfer to my Touch directly. Once I figured out I could add PDF and ePUB books to the Adobe Digital Editions library I had stored on my hard drive it struck me that I could use the same method to transfer my “trouble” books.

Sure enough, this worked! So the problem is with the Sony eBook Library and not the PRS-600 Touch. I’m very happy now that I can support more small press authors. I also was able to transfer some PDF versions of some technical communication magazines I’m subscribed to as well as various other reference material PDFs I created myself.

In other eReader news, I finished my first ebook, Charlaine Harris’s Dead Until Dark, the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I look forward to reading more in the series.

Using the eReader PRS-600

Today was my first opportunity to read for a length of time. I must say that it was a pleasant experience. I started reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris during my lunch break.

It was easy to hold and change pages with my left hand. I could also set it flat on the table and read from there without any problems. Visibility was nice, text was crisp, spacing was good. There’s a slight flicker as it changes pages. This is not a detraction for me because there’s always some sort of interruption when turning a page of a paper book, and I had read about this in reviews of other eReaders, so knew what to expect. There is a bit more flicker when pages have graphics on them, like a digital comic.

I even got to take advantage of the notes feature as I got a great character idea for a story I plan to write, so I pressed the home button, took out my stylus, and hand wrote a quick note to myself, then went back to my book.

Fantastic! No more misplaced notes or forgetting my notebook or rummaging to find a pen. Just use my eReader.