Cigar City Brewing Black Whole

Cigar City Brewing Black Whole poured up very nicely with a head that faded quickly to a minimal amount of head that stayed throughout the drink. The color is a rich brown to deep dark copper.

The aroma is rich in chocolate and a spice that can’t be placed.

The taste is dry with chocolate flavors throughout. The chocolate is not too much in that it will not overwhelm. The alcohol heat is barely detectable.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable beer. The chocolate flavors would make this good with a dessert or as an after drink beer.

Sprecher IPA2

Sprecher IPA2 poured up nicely with a good head that faded slowly. The color is a rich copper color. There are particles in suspension in the beer with some being large and some being small.

The aroma is mild for what I would’ve expected from a double IPA. There is a hint of pine in the aroma. Given the limited hops in the aroma, I wonder if the beer is old. There is no obvious date on the bottle, but there is a code which I guess the brewery could figure out.

The taste is kind of mellow. There are hops flavors throughout, but they are ill-defined.

There is a medium body to the beer. The body seems about right for what I would expect from a double IPA.

Overall, I was hoping to be more impressed with a double IPA. The ABV is 7.72%, which doesn’t put it too of outreach for drinking a couple of them with friends. I am concerned that this was just not a fresh batch as I picked it up at a local grocery store.

Left Hand Brewing’s 400 Pound Monkey

Left Hand Brewing’s 400 Pound Monkey has a small amount of haze in the deep gold to a light copper color. The head fades with a good bit of lacing left behind.

The aroma is very mellow for what was expected. Hops characteristics present nicely with slight pine flavor. No wheat is detected in the aroma, but I’m not sure how much is in the beer to contribute to the aroma.

The flavor starts out with a mild bitterness with a small amount of sweetness. The finish holds on for just a bit with a kick of more bitterness. The flavors fade fast in the mouth and leave behind a slight bitter after taste.

The mouth feel of Left Hand Brewing’s 400 Pound Monkey is heavy for what the appearance would lead you to expect.

Overall, this an enjoyable beer with a interesting mix of characteristics. The finish leaving behind a bitter after taste leans this beer to not be a session beer, but it would be great with a mix of other beers.

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA is a seasonal. It pours up with a nice head that fades slowly with nice lacing. The color is a light copper color that is very clear. The carbonation is rising up nicely in it.

The aroma is rich with rye and hops. For comparison, the rye aroma is much stronger than Terrapin’s Rye Pale Ale.

The rye presents boldly at the beginning of the taste. The rye adds a different dimension that the traditional IPA profile wouldn’t have by itself. A fan of hoppy beer is likely to enjoy this new dimension.

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA has a medium body that compliments the flavors of the rye.

The rich flavors of this beer makes it very enjoyable, but the flavors don’t overwhelm. It would make for a good session beer with the 6.6% ABV. I will be looking forward to this seasonal coming around again.

Bell’s Brewing’s Hopslam

Bell’s Brewing’s Hopslam poured up from a firkin so there was minimal head, but what there was came primarily from the pouring. A deep golden color almost turning to a light copper with a SRM scale reading between 8 and 10.

Hopslam’s aroma is rich hoppy mixture from the numerous hops. It is like a potpourri of hop smells.

The initial flavors are sweetness likely from the honey followed by a hoppiness that fills your mouth with citrus and floral. The finish is mixed with a little alcohol heat showing up right it the end of the all of flavors.

The flavors cause the mouth feel of this beer to be driven by the hold that the flavors have on your mouth. The sweetness and body of the honey help to give this beer a nice medium body, which compliments the favors.

I would say this a classic for the hophead to include in their annual rotation of beers. The highly limited availability of this beer here in the south makes this beer something to mark on your calendar for each late January.

New Belgium Fresh Hop india Pale Ale

New Belgium Fresh Hop india Pale Ale from the Lips of Faith Series jumps out of the bottle as it is uncapped with hops aroma being pushed out as the pressure rushes to equalize.

The appearance is very golden with orange to copper colors. The head is big at the start and fades slowly with thick lacing.

The aroma is very strong and full of citrus and grassy characteristics. A little bit of a pine aroma is present, too.

The taste is mellow compared to the aroma. There is a very even hop flavor throughout the mouth, but a pine flavor returns to provide a stronger hops finish to the beer.

Overall, this is a very good fresh hop beer. Some would appreciate a taste profile that is richer in flavors. The 7% ABV helps make the beer very drinkable.

Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale

The Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale pours up with a nice head and copper color.

The aroma is full of rich hoppy goodness. A little pine and citrus are the main aromas.

The taste is starts with a hoppy bitterness turning to a malt mixed with hops bitters.

Overall, Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown Ale is a very tasty fresh hop organic beer with a 6.7% ABV.

Oskar Blues Brewery’s Gubna Imperial IPA

Oskar Blues Brewery’s Gubna Imperial IPA opened without any sound from carbonation, but when poured into the glass it produced a nice head that held on for a long time. The lacing is very nice, too.

The aroma is very rich in hops. There is a citrus aroma that rises up quickly to fill the air.

The taste starts with a crisp bite from the hops. There is a rush of bitterness that just fills your mouth. The finish starts to present a little hint of the malt backbone of this beer. The 10% ABV is hidden in the cyclone of hops flavor.

Overall, this is very enjoyable beer. The can makes is it easy to travel. The high ABV will or should slow you down some.

Key West Southernmost Wheat

Florida Beer Company’s Key West Southernmost Wheat pours into the glass with a haze that is very uniform unlike most wheat beers.

The aroma present with lime citrus right away from the key lime in the beer. The lime overwhelms the other aromas for the most part, but the typical phenolic characteristics are present.

The taste is surprisingly flat for what would be expected. The key lime and spices are to main taste in this beer.

This would be a very enjoyable beer during the hot summer months.

Yellowhammer Brewing’s Frankenhammer

Yellowhammer’s Frankenhammer will be an annual brew for Halloween. The Nook, in Huntsville, has the whole supply of this first batch (very small batch). The Nook and the brewery are already planning for next year’s batch when The Nook will pull out some of this year’s kegs to be served a long side next year’s batch.

The beer pours up with a minimal head that fades quickly without lacing.

The aroma is wonderfully filled with deep roasted malt tones that hints of alcohol somewhere hidden below the surface.

The taste starts at the tip of the tongue with a crispness that vanishes quickly. Malt flavors take over your mouth as the alcohol tries to push through the malt flavors, but it is held back. As the finish approaches, the maltiness gives way to bourbon like flavors enriched by alcohol burn in the finish.

Overall, Yellowhammer Brewery has hit on there hand with this beer. Hopefully, next year, they will brew a larger batch. The style is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and has a 10.5% ABV. Fellow reviewer, Jay Kissell, reviewed this beer for the Huntsville Times’ Go Magazine.