The Blind Pig – Smoked Lager – 3.9 smokestacks out of 7

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Not to be confused with the Smoked Rye Lager that The Blind Pig made about 6 months ago, this beer, Smoked Lager, came out just behind the rye in it’s overall score. With a 3.9 smokestack rating (out of 7) The Blind Pig’s Smoked Lager inclines SmokeBeerMinistry to move on and find a different smokebeer before coming back around to this one. A ‘meh’ score of just a mere 4 smokestacks is enough to keep SBM in the mix for further drunkenings, but anything below that, as seen here, leads us to do our drunkening with different libations, until the point of drunkenness, and then, well, who really can be held responsible for our behavior after that? Not us. From the looks of it, this beer is off to a good start, with proper lager hues and clarity. Smoke Lager smells of the right kind of smoke, with beechwood smoked malts stirring up memories of campfires, tent camping, brisk nights, and beef jerky. But, then the taste with a dry and bitterness to it raised questions about the type and timing of the hops during production. One individual present at the official tasting, whom was unaware of the entire world of smoked beers prior to this day, tasted this beer, and immediately got up and bought one of her own. This is unusual. Typically, first timers are force fed smokebeer after smokebeer until their taste buds are so shot that they think they like smokebeer. And those people rarely return. But on this day, a new convert is introduced to the smoke world with great aplomb. In conclusion, there were mixed signals from the table. The higher ranking officials pushed the score down just below the over under. Final overall rating = 3.9 smokestacks, meh.

Brewer Blind Pig Brewery
Beer Name Smoked Lager
Brewer’s Description Our smoked Lager is golden amber with a complementary smoke note to balance out the caramel maltiness.  It is brewed with German malt, Beechwood smoked malt, German hops, and Augustiner yeast.
Food Pairings Pub fare
Brewer Location Champaign, IL
Alcohol content by volume 6.1% or 6.9% Blind Pig isn’t sure
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.55
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3.9

Website needs to be taken more seriously:

https://www.blindpigco.com/beer-list

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Sierra Nevada/Garage Project – Campout Porter – 3.1 smokestacks out of 7

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Had to buy a whole 12 pack to get this one beer. In mid 2017 Sierra Nevada put out this special “Beer Camp – Across the World” 12 pack with 12 different kinds of beer in it, all collaborative efforts with 12 other breweries. I like the concept, and I was cool with drinking the 11 other beers that I didn’t really want to buy, And $22 was a bit steep, but whatev’. Malts smoked with Manuka wood by the New Zealanders at Garage Project deliver a beer with a fleeting sweetness (when I wanted to savor it), a vanilla that delivered a dry bitterness (when I wanted syrupy richness), and a honey that went undetected (probably for the best). It’s a delicate balance, smokebeer is. Rich smoked malts can easily get smoked too hot or for too long and can leave a roasted and burnt taste. Maybe that’s what happened? Maybe its the manuka wood (probably not). Surely this isn’t what they wanted a porter to taste like (less the smoke). The extra booze is a redeeming quality (7.7% abv)… Ahh, you know what? the sweetness does come back around later on down the road. But for now, we gotta bite the bullet. Overall smokestack metric = 3.1 smokestacks (out of 7, parenthesis.

Brewer Sierra Nevada / Garage Project
Beer Name Campout Porter
Brewer’s Description We’re playing off the camping theme of Beer Camp with a beer we’re calling Campout Porter that evokes the flavors of marshmallows toasted over an open fire. The beer features special ingredients such as malt smoked over manuka wood (a tree native to New Zealand) and manuka honey. Additionally it contains beechwood honey from California and Tahitian vanilla beans to reflect the sweet and roasted notes we were looking for in this collaboration.
Food Pairings Smoked prawns, smoked sheep, smoked pork, smoked whatever else they eat in NZ… kiwi?
Brewer Location California / New Zealand
Alcohol content by volume 7.7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 32
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3.1

Websites OK, have your ID ready:

http://www-origin.cdn.sierranevada.com/

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2nd Story Brewing – Old City is Burning – 5.8 smokestacks out of 7

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Smells like smoke. Old City is Burning has a nice medium malty character that distinguishes itself early on in the tasting of this one. This beer really distinguishes itself as a true rauchbier, which is at the heart of what SBM is searching for, although 2nd Story does so with a tiptoeing of sorts, which is polite but unnecessary. The inclusion of sausage and smoked meat flavors is a must and points are scored in that respect, but not enough chest pounding by the unsuspecting brutes who order this beer after 20 years of abusing light beer, (nice to see them outside of their comfort zone, however). I think I know where 2nd Story was aiming, and I think they got right near the target, which shows solid muster for the master in this joint. Next step, muster up something with some muscle, and don’t bother asking the brutes for pointers.

Brewer 2nd Story Brewing
Beer Name Old City is Burning
Brewer’s Description CAPS LOCK! AROMA OF WOOD SMOKE AND BAKED BREAD. TOASTED MALT FLAVOR WITH A COMPLEX SMOKE CHARACTER THAT LINGERS IN THE FINISH. A TRUE CAMPFIRE BEER.
Food Pairings Brisket poutine with shredded meat plus fried egg
Brewer Location Phlipadelphia, PA
Alcohol content by volume 5.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) uhh?
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.25
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N Y, but almost no
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.8

In west Philidelphia born and raised, on the playground was where I spent most of my days:

http://www.2ndstorybrewing.com/

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Brewery Vivant – Undertaker – 4 smokestacks out of 7

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Not a smokebeer, but the label says subtle smokiness so this investigation ensued. Undertaker is alright. I’d drink it again. My friend is an undertaker and says people are dying to see him. Probably not the case with this beer, but that shouldn’t be held against Vivant. Inspired in name after an actual undertaker, given that Brewery Vivant currently (2017) occupies an old funeral home. We’ll just assume he or she enjoyed Belgian style dark ales that carry a surprisingly refreshing aftereffect. Not much head as you can see (I suppose) and not much to really offend the drinker. Just a middle of the road dark beer that lured SBM into reviewing it. A net gain undertaking. Overall score = 4 smokestacks.

Brewer Brewery Vivant
Beer Name Undertaker
Brewer’s Description  Belgian Inspired Dark Ale: 100% Michigan hops, roasted coffee notes, hints of black fruit dipped in chocolate, subtle smokiness with a surprisingly light body.
Food Pairings Grilled Steak. Blue cheese or smoked gouda
Brewer Location Grand Rapids, MI
Alcohol content by volume 6.7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) X minutes, plus Y, carry the one, umm, its silliness…
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4.4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4

Solid website they have:

https://www.breweryvivant.com/

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Earthen Ales – Ale of the Earth – 3 smokestacks (out of 7)

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No ghost writers here. Mike Lorr, friend of the ministry and honorary minister gets all the glory for drinking, evaluating, and writing about this one. All the way up in Traverse City, Michigan, a place called Earthen Ales offers up Ale of the Earth for a SmokeBeerMinistry appraisal. This smooth malty sweet beer is rounded out by a pleasant smoked overtone. Earthen Ales loves smokebeer and plan to use this beer as inspiration to make a true rauchbier soon. The ministry awaits his arrival. Until then, Ale of the Earth gets 3 smokestacks out of 7… gotta amp it up folks.

Brewer Earthen Ales
Beer Name Ale of the Earth
Brewer’s Description An eminently drinkable English-style ale, the Ale of the Earth is bold enough to keep you company on a cold winter night and also sprightly enough to quench your summer thirst. Watch for special editions featuring special additions such as coffee, chocolate, chestnuts, and more!
Food Pairings chips and dip
Brewer Location Traverse City, MI
Alcohol content by volume 4.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3

The website is due for an update. Don’t hire a guy, just get in there and poke around people of Earthen:

https://www.earthenales.com/

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Left Hand Brewing – Fade to Black – 3.9 out of 7 smokestacks

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Left Hand makes good beer, and even in this case, well, it’s ok. I sure remember their Smoke Jumper beer, and I remember someone online erroneously claiming that this, Fade to Black, was also a smokebeer. I am here to tell you that Fade to Black is not a smokebeer. No big deal in that respect, and given that the brewers description stated “smoked relationships” along with the cool looking the label, combined were alluring enough to bring this beer into the tabernacle. Notes that hit the nose start off with hops, and then follow with distant and muddled roasted chocolaty malt scents. The taste comes out of left field with bitter, tart, even sour, and something else that I guess is the licorice in there. I wondered if this was a potential black IPA that went awry somewhere and was re-marketed as something different, something that Left Hand can’t quite contain. This might be why they have 5, and counting, renditions of this beer (Volume 1-5) and still keep tinkering with the formula. Whatever the reasoning, it’s well made with a luxurious syrupy caramel colored film that slides down the inside of the glass with each sip. Left Hand makes good beer, but this one isn’t my cup of tea, or beer. Left hand is so close, but no cigar. Overall smokestack rating = 3.9 out of 7 smokestacks, just under an average 4 smokestacks.

Brewer Left Hand Brewing Co.
Beer Name Fade to Black
Brewer’s Description That time of year when the day seems to fade away. Drifting further into the darkness with each passing day. Volume 1 – Foreign Stout – Pours black with licorice, espresso bean, molasses, and black cardamom notes that give way to a feeling of self loathing, burnt opportunities and smoked relationships.
Food Pairings Chocolate, BBQ, Beef, Smoked meats, grilled meats.
Brewery Location Longmont, CO
Alcohol content by volume 8.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5.5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3.9

Left Hand’s website:

http://lefthandbrewing.com/

and this’ll take you directly to the beer Fade to Black:

http://lefthandbrewing.com/beers/fade-to-black-vol-1/

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Oskar Blues – Old Chub – 4.4 smokestacks out of 7

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Oskar Blues is a well known and fairly well liked brewery out of Colorado. You’ve probably seen their cans out and about, like the green Old Chub, the red and blue Dale’s Pale Ale, and don’t they have a pilsner in a yellow can? And more to be sure. Speaking of, I got a chance to meet Dale of Dale’s Pale Ale when he was down in Texas doing some kind of junket with a bar down there. He turned my attention to the mash bill of Old Chub, where you can see even in the brewer’s description smoke is mentioned twice, so this felt like as good of a candidate for review (as any other non-smokebeer). I even stopped by the original Oskar Blues brewery the last time I was in Colorado… well over 37 pieces of flair stapled to the walls of that place. It’s a cool place. I don’t remember what I ate but I know I felt like a hippy when I ate it (perhaps due to the recreational marijuana wafting in from the dispensary down the street). But what about the beer you ask? This beer smells like a good scotch ale to me. And it tastes like a good scotch ale from the tap, not too surprising coming from a can. It registered with a medium darkness metric (4 smokestacks out of 7), and delivered a malty and dry swig. I’ve had this beer before and I’m familiar with their beer. They’re pretty consistent, and every time I have Old Chub, I think there’s just a bit too much carbonation in there. Thousands of tiny bubbles, which is somehow different from most every other beer, at least to me it is. But that’s no big deal. I like this beer. Overall score = 4.4 out of 7. I wonder who the Old Chub is?

Brewer Oskar Blues
Beer Name Old Chub
Brewer’s Description This jaw-dropping Scottish strong ale (8% ABV) is brewed with bodacious amounts of malted barley and specialty grains, and a dash of beechwood-smoked malt. Old Chub features semi-sweet flavors of cocoa and coffee, and a wee-bit of smoke. A head-turning treat for malt heads and folks who think they don’t dig dark beer.
Food Pairings Big juicy hamburgers
Brewery Location Longmont, CO
Alcohol content by volume 8%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4.4

Their website is cool, works, phone and desktop.

https://www.oskarblues.com/beer/oldchub

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Harmony Brewing Company – Black Squirrel Smoked Porter – 5.5 smokestacks

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Erected inside an old sausage factory, the aromas of Harmony might remind you of an old pub in Germany. But, as you may have guessed, Harmony is one of the many places that have opened recently. Established in Grand Rapids, MI in 2012, and expanded in 2015, and again in 2017, Harmony has shown that it is great time to rake in all the profits you can until it all implodes (hopefully not, of course); especially with this beer, Black Squirrel, garnering a solid 5.5 smokestacks out of 7. There was not a consensus at the round table for this one, but the voice of dissension was not from a ministry official. In cases like these, we give them the microphone for one fleeting moment, and then wonder why we would ever think that was a good idea. Regardless of whether or not the voice of intolerance should be tolerated, the word “underwear” was agreed to be included in this review. Smoke on the nose, peat on the palate, squirrel in the name. Solid beer for grownups. Wash down an over sized hamburger with this one, I did.

Brewer Harmony Brewing Company
Beer Name Black Squirrel smoked porter
Brewer’s Description Peat-smoked porter. Roasty, smoky and bold.
Food Pairings Pub fare, sausage
Brewer Location Grand Rapids, MI
Alcohol content by volume 7.2%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) idunno
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5.75
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.5

website’s ok…

http://harmonybeer.com/

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Lakefront Brewery – NATHAN Smoked Dark Lager – 6 smokestacks out of 7

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For several years now (2017) Lakefront Brewing has been issuing beers in their My Turn series where they allow employees to take turns making a beer of their choice. And two of those were smokebeers that SmokeBeerMinistry was fortunate enough to get and review. This beer, NATHAN, smells spot on. Rich campfire smoke wafts all around with a deep ruby hue peeking through glass. The other smokebeer SBM reviewed, Luther, was a light beer and shared similar campfire notes; which you can read about here. But NATHAN was the one to win a major award from the Los Angeles Beer Competition, Gold, I think. And they deserve it too. This beer holds on to crisp beer flavors enough to allow you to drink three or four (or five) of these while grilling out in the evening, instead of pulling you down for the last beer you’ll have that night. And, while I expected to have more useful notes on this beer, what I actually only have before me here as I write, is the tough task to transliterate what a SBM member scribbled on a piece of cardboard in some state of inebriation. I’ll give you the highlights of what I can decipher: Meel ee you wahk kay, Toni Erdmann, there is a storm outside, I’ve been drinkin, this is great beer, proper smokebeer, and Ruby, ruby, ruby, ruby soho. That’s all I got. High score for a team out of Wisconsin, which should be expected. 6 out of 7 smokestacks.

Brewer Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Beer Name Nathan – Smoked Dark Lager
Brewer’s Description Nathan’s our bottling room technician. He conducts the chaos of clanging glass and hissing air as bottles get filled with beer and stickered with labels. So, you have him to thank for getting our beer into the bottle that ends up in your hand. The inspiration for Nathan’s My Turn™ hit him while drinking an Eastside Dark™ around a campfire. This dark, caramelly German-style lager has just enough smoked malt to give it an interesting depth, but still finishes crisp.
Food Pairings Grilled or smoked entrees, bbq pork ribs, bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp, smoked salmon, ziti with grilled portobello mushrooms and caramelized onions
Brewer Location Milwaukee, WI
Alcohol content by volume 5.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)  uhh
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 6
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2.25
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 6

Their website is slow… or its just me:

http://www.lakefrontbrewery.com/beer/my-turn-series/nathan

And here’s a link to their award, down on page 9, which, while scrolling I thought, “this is kinda ridiculous”:

http://fairplex.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2017beerresults.pdf?sfvrsn=0

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Meantime (do-over review) – Old Smoked Bock – 3 out of 7

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Well, Meantime Old Smoked Bock is getting better, slightly. This is a do-over review after the last bottle caught some kind of disease, destroying the beer. A friend of the ministry named Mugs requested this beer get a do-over after he experienced something more positive than what was described here in the original review. “Fair enough” we said, so here we are. And if the carbonation were a metric, we would have only hopped up 2 notches, at best. And even with this little carbonation seen in this picture, it was still a big improvement from the last one we got. After that, I noted that it smelled alright, also I pulled out flavors of smoke, bread, malt, something sweet (almost Belgian), a touch bitter (presumably imparted by a familiar hops flavor that I can’t quite pinpoint). This beer reminds me of Ft. Collins darker beers, Epic’s beers, and a handful of some German brews that have been on the shelf a bit too long. The search for a smokebeer epiphany will continue. Overall smokestack metric = 3 smokestacks out of a possible 7 smokestack rating.

Brewer Meantime Brewing
Beer Name Old Smoked Bock
Brewer’s Description It appears that the Meantime has disassociated themselves from this beer. No company provided description can be found.
Food Pairings Hearty warm winter food; casseroles, heavily sauced meats, or strong cheese with tangy pickle and brown bread (Michael Jackson)
Brewery Location London, England
Alcohol content by volume 6.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)  no
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3 (after do-over)

Meantime still has nothing to say about this beer:

https://www.meantimebrewing.com/

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Pipeworks – Smoke Break Abduction – 5.5 smokestacks

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Pipeworks Brewing Company whipped up a smoked imperial stout brewed with cherrywood, beechwood, and oak smoked malts and named it Smoke Break Abduction. This beer pours like Hershey’s syrup releasing few notes of smoke. So few that the smoke may be missed entirely by some. The taste is sweet, rich, boozy (10.5%), and a tiny bit dry and musty. It’s a very imperial beer with touch of luxury and a chest warming finish. I like this beer, but I must admit that the bar is fairly low for Pipeworks… Let me acknowledge that they have exceeded my expectations. And for a beer where the booziness really takes the flavor reins, this beer delivers a pretty good time. Feel free to pour this into a big ole cup and take a few giganto swallers to start it off right, then try to savor whats left in your glass… don’t worry about what’s on TV. Overall smokestack metric = 5.5 smokestacks (out of 7).

Brewer Pipeworks
Beer Name Smoke Break Abduction
Lame Brewer’s Description Begin Alien Transmission from mothership: Muahaha! You short sighted humans! Standing outside a bar huffing and puffing away… making you perfectly vulnerable to our tractor beam! You, your crew, and your rich smoky treat are ours! Did you really think you could brew an imperial stout with cherrywood, beechwood, and oak smoked malts and not deal with the consequences?! Of course we’d invade your planet for that! Muahaha *cough *haha* cough *ha! Terminate Alien Transmission from mothership.
Food Pairings Chicago style pizza
Brewery Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 10.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) still doing the math
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5.9
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.5

Find out if they’re brewing beer right now, and assume it’s something they’ve never made before @

http://pdubs.net/beers

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Ale Smith – Wee Heavy – 3.5 smokestacks out of 7

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Wee Heavy smells like a beer from San Diego, a sweet beer from San Diego. I smell caramel, roasted malts, and something weird. Kinda reminds me of a bunch of Fort Collins beers, along with whatever they use on the west coast. I’m going to find out what that taste is. I’m thinking its cascade hops, because someone said it was, but I need proof. But, I’ll still consider it weird regardless. This beer is sweet, a little bitter, and boozy. I like how the booze is warming up my throat. BTW, I’m working my way through every episode of Cheers. I’m 2 seasons past Kirstie Alley’s arrival and Sam Malone just kissed Woody. Kirstie Alley tricked them. Hilarity! She won that battle, now Sam can get back to sexually harassing every woman on the screen. That episode included Rhea Pearlman’s dad, in fact a buncha episodes did, like hundreds. He was a bar fly whom I don’t think ever had any speaking scenes. And her sister was a producer on the show. Anyway, I’m not sure if this counts as a smokebeer, but the description has the phrase “subtle smoke” in it. This beer needs to do a better job of keeping me interested… or maybe I’ve had too much to drink tonight. Whatever the case may be, the overall smokestack rating = 3.5 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Ale Smith Brewing Co.
Beer Name Wee Heavy
Brewer’s Description Wee Heavy is a Scottish-inspired deep mahogany-colored ale showcases a rich, malty flavor profile of caramel and toffee offset by hints of roast and subtle smoke. The complex malty sweetness includes notes of dark fruit balanced by a subdued hop bitterness. Wee Heavy is incredibly nuanced and in a class of its own in terms of balance and sophistication. It ages very well and will keep improving for years to come.
Food Pairings Roasted or grilled meat and vegetable dishes. Robust cheeses, salty blues and farmhouse style cheeses also pair very well with this beer.
Brewery Location San Diego, CA
Alcohol content by volume 10%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 21
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3.5

AleSmith’s website looks alright:

http://alesmith.com/

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Founders – KBS (2017) – 5 smokestacks out of 7

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Good news to report here: This is just about the same beer as it was last year. Before you reply “No shit” please realize that consistency is a major hurdle for brewers, in fact some breweries have completely given up on that quality metric and opted to word play numerous flimsy excuses to get around this proficiency, most of the time they just rename the beer and scribble up a stupid label, pawning it off as something that they meant to create. Founders has much better mastery over their domain.

This year’s edition I poured and reviewed with a clear mind, devoid of current opinions and devoid of a whole bunch of other stuff, (like my previous review, rational thought, and most lower brain faculties). And in that void a voice called out and scored this year’s KBS a 5 out of 7,  and for a beer that isn’t a smokebeer, that’s pretty good.  This score happens to be one point higher than last year. Also, the abv happens to be a bit lower than last year, but don’t think you’re not going to notice the alcohol. An 11.8% abv instead of 12.4% might be splitting hairs, but it certainly has an effect, and speaks to the difficulty brewers have with consistency. Now, if you’re actually here to read some notes on what the beer tastes like, here you go: This beer is malty, chocolaty, boozy, and an all around good beer. A great snifter beer, although I recommend bigger pours. Noticeably less chocolate than last year. This beer has just the right amount of bitterness to it, not enough to crop up on the nose, but just enough to know it’s there on the way down. And down in the last 1/3 of the glass, a touch of phantom spiciness is in there. I swear. I might be the only one who thinks this, but that’s what I taste. Good beer. I liked it. I don’t think I’ll review too many more annual rendition beers, but I am getting low on smokebeers, so who knows. Overall score 5 smokestacks out of 7. Have something new for me Founders, I’ll be seeing you in August.

Brewer Founders
Beer Name KBS (2017)
Brewer’s Description What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight.
Food Pairings KFC (actually, better not)
Brewery Location Grand Rapids, MI
Alcohol content by volume 11.8%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 70
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1.1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4.5
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 6
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5

Their website is cool:

https://foundersbrewing.com/our-beer/kbs/

Also, if you must, here is the 2016 KBS review.

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Sixpoint Brewery – The Brunt – 2.5 out of 7 smokestacks

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Quick story about Six Point, apparently we have some connection to each other. A friend of the Ministry from NYC mentioned a Madison, Wisconsin, connection to us in reference to Sixpoint’s founder/s, while we were in Houston, TX. Time will tell if worlds collide, and then it all blows up. But the real takeaway is that every time I see Sixpoint beers at the store, I stop and take special note of what’s on the shelf, and buy it with much more frequency than most other brands, all because Lauren from NYC tied this beer to a location that I used to live in, perhaps having met before. That’s clever marketing.

The Brunt, however, wasn’t so successful. Although listed as a Grodziskie, which is a lighter, wheat smokebeer, and Polish in origin, we would still expect distinguished notes and flavors indicating such. Not in this case. Very light flavor regardless of what we were looking for. Smoke smell and taste came in as if it were wafting in from a fireplace down the street. Arguments over “sausage, no sausage” ensued and there was only one person taking part in the argument, go figure. I’m still on board with Sixpoint, but have to hold them accountable with this number. Overall smokestack metric = 2.5 smokestacks.

Brewer Sixpoint Brewery
Beer Name The Brunt
Brewer’s Description The Brunt is a rotating series of NYC-only beers with a super local connection — each beer is a Red Hook small business collaboration. A take on the old school Polish Grodziskie, this beer is made with 100% oak smoked wheat malt. We teamed up with Hometown Bar-B-Que and smoked malt in their legendary kitchen. The beer’s lighter than you might think — soft, smooth mouthfeel with a smokey start up, and a little citrusy twist. INSANE pairing with authentic BBQ.
Food Pairings Authentic BBQ
Brewery Location Brooklyn, NY
Alcohol content by volume 4.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 26
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 1.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2.5
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 2.5

It looks like we smoke our malts the same way. Learn more at:

http://sixpoint.com/beers/brunt/

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The Blind Pig Brewery- Smoked Rye Lager – 4.2 smokestacks (out of 7)

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Had to go on-site for this review. The Blind Pig brewery of Champaign, Illinois, made another smoked beer and I slipped in there to review it. And they delivered another positive experience no matter how you look at it. Smoked Rye Lager smells great from the start, indicating that Bamberg is near (spiritually). Using grown up smoked malts and letting them drive the flavor is winning half the battle right there. All too often brewers over analyze what might lose customers, and wind up delivering a flavorless and/or muddled beer that their mother-in-law would like in an attempt to please everyone with every beer. Well, that’s gutless. This beer has guts. And even to the slight detriment of the beer. Smoked Rye Lager tasted great at the start with a thirst quenching, smoky, ashy taste, but then bitterness cropped up after a few swigs, pulling a good deal of moisture from my mouth. I’d tone down the hops next go around Blind Pig. And as I got down further into the glass, the refreshing campfire-esque swallers moved into an even more burnt and bitter experience. Then this large group of dudes approached the bar for drinks all at the same time, totally crowding up my area. I like my space… I don’t really think they had too many options, however. This beer is 2 beers I tell you, one good one for a few gulps, and then the rest of the beer which may or may not come with distinct change in ambiance. All in all, Blind Pig is getting a 4.2 out of 7 smokestacks, just over the hump.

Brewer The Blind Pig
Beer Name Smoked Rye Lager
Brewer’s Description Our Smoked Rye is an unfiltered Bamberg-style amber lager. Made with 25% beechwood-smoked German barley malt, 25% malted rye, and Augustiner yeast. ABV 5.7%
Food Pairings Roast pig w/ apple in mouth
Brewery Location Champaign, IL
Alcohol content by volume 5.7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2.5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4.2

The website could use some work… whatev’

http://blindpigbrewery.com/brewery.html

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Country Boy Brewing – Barreled Jalapeño Smoked Porter – 3 out of 7 smokestacks

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This beer smells like peppers, bell peppers, green bell peppers. Taste = peppers, bell peppers, green bell peppers. There is a nice burn to it after a few seconds that helped me get the thought of stringent bell peppers off my mind, but the smell and taste are still there. Jalapeno Smoked Porter poured with just about no head at all, not too surprising after being in a barrel, but it also poured thin, which is a bit surprising given the increase in viscosity usually imparted. And is there supposed to be smoke in here? I’m trying way too hard to find it. I’m pulling out some caramel, maybe a fading memory of a barrel, and smoke may have wafted through the warehouse during storage. I’m kinda bummed about this one. I had higher expectations, which I know to keep subdued during a review, but the imbalance in this bottle is too far out of scope. Maybe switch this recipe to chipotle peppers (which are smoked jalapeños), use less of them, keep in the barrel longer or add staves to the barrel, and maybe add chocolate malt to the mix… just some thoughts, what do I know, I just drink the beer. Overall smokestack metric = a generous 3 out of 7.

This beer reminds me of the first pepper beer I ever had, which wasn’t a good one, and that experience ruined pepper beers for me for years. The same happened with barreled beers. But the last handful of beers reviewed were solid spicy beers, which makes this a bit more disappointing. And it may delay some poor bloke’s arrival to a smokebeer epiphany. For whom we will pray.

Brewer Country Boy Brewing
Beer Name Barreled Jalapeño Smoked Porter
Brewer’s Description The Jalapeño Smoked Porter, brewed every fall, strikes a wonderful balance between pepper bite, sweet honey and chocolate malt. What happens when bourbon barrel oak is thrown into the mix? This bottle is the answer to a question for the ages.
Food Pairings I’m craving a burger with egg
Brewery Location Lexington, KY
Alcohol content by volume 9.3% some say
IBU (International Bitterness Units) I refute IBUs
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1.9
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4.5
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 1
Spiciness 1 – 7 (mild – painful) 5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3, a generous 3

Below average beer, below average website:

http://countryboybrewing.com/

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De Molen – Rook & Vuur – 4 out of 7

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De Molen’s Rook & Vuur is a smoked ale with chili peppers and as you can see here, I had to let this one settle down before I could even get the entire bottle poured, let alone start to drink it. This bottle is just 11.2 oz and I had to wait about 5 minutes to keep the foam from fizzing up and over the rim of my 06 over wavy line 13 circled glass which I am currently using for my tastings. But, during and after that whole process, the beer smelled fine, and figured that there was little to no risk of getting sick from drinking it. It smells of nice barley, hints of chocolate, a warm bowl of grape nuts, and a pinch of chili pepper. With the last two reviews having been smoked chili beers, and with a few more in the queue, I’m starting to grow an affinity for these, I even added a spicy heat metric to my chart. Speaking of, this beer rates low (only 2 smokestacks) on the heat metric, an envelope that I’m looking to push in the near future. And 11.2 oz, I wish this bottle was bigger, and the beer a bit thicker, and the smoke, smokier, and the heat, hotter; the 8.2% abv is cool however. This beer is okay. I taste a touch of ash on the tongue. Rook & Vuur is a good beer for those of us who are at a bar alone, staring at our phone, ignoring the tv, sipping from a snifter, and working up the courage to ask out the bartender, because this beer won’t challenge or intimidate you at all. All your muster will remain intact and available at your disposal, or maybe just have another beer. Lots of respect for De Molen, but I’m looking for more in the here and now. Overall smokestack rating = 4 smokestacks.

Brewer Brouwerij De Molen
Beer Name Rook & Vuur
Brewer’s Description Rook & Vuur is a subtle balance between smoke, chocolate and chili peppers. Although it has a large complexity it is still surprisingly easy to drink. Try combining this beer with a young Gouda cheese and treat yourself. Flavor indication: Chocolate, chili, smoke Translates as Smoke & Fire
Food Pairings Gouda, smoked gouda
Brewery Location Bodegraven, Netherlands
Alcohol content by volume 8.2%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 5
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Spiciness 1 – 7 (mild – painful) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Here’s a list of their beers… I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/beers

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To Øl – Smoke on the Porter, Fire in the Rye – 6 out of 7

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I poured the whole thing down in there, all 0.375 liters. To Øl’s Smoke on the Porter, Fire in the Rye smelled malty-smoky, almost peaty, with a touch of chili in the nose. I took a sip and the first thing I noticed was the sweetness, a nice sweetness, a sweet porter daring me to tip it back and give it a big ole swaller. Then there was a little tingle on the back of my throat that slowly heated up into a definitive chili sensation, which made for one of the more interesting beers I’ve had. Rich porter and rye sugars swirling around in this spicy malty beer. There is a touch of ash and dryness to it on the exhale. I really wish this beer were twice the size. Bigger beer is better most of the time. There’s not so much lacing with the head after each sip, but there is a clean caramel colored beer film that covers the side of the glass and slides down onto the edge of the foam, rolling over and over it, elements of a lava lamp effect, which is way too captivating, looks neat… maybe this is just the right size given the 13.4% abv. Maybe there’s something to these spicy beers. Overall smokestack rating = 6 smokestacks.

Brewer To Øl
Beer Name Smoke on the Porter, Fire in the Rye
Brewer’s Description To the masters of Rock, and of Puns, we salute you. “Smoke On The Porter, Fire In The Rye” intends for you to strap on your leather trousers and denim vest, and Rock Out. A 13,2% Imperial Porter, using Rauch Malt for a depth of smoke, a selection of Chillies for subtle smoky flavours and designed to light the fire under you, and a mix of both roasted and regular Rye Malt to spice things up further.
Food Pairings serve as digestif
Brewery Location Copenhagen, Denmark
Alcohol content by volume 13.4%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 8
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3.8
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 6
Spiciness 1 – 7 (mild – painful) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 6

Never been to Copenhagen, but I’ll think about it…

http://to-ol.dk/home/about/

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Pipeworks – Chipotle Smoked Porter – 5.5 out of 7

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If there ever was a chance for a Pipeworks success, this was it. After delivering 3 consecutive shelf turds, Pipeworks finally stumbles across a working recipe. And my state of mind was primed to like just about anything after 10 hours of digging in my backyard. No breaks, not even a lunch, just out there digging, trying to beat the rain, which never came. So after the sun set, to relax, I came in and got out this beer. It smelled of smoke as soon as I opened it. Along with nice malty smoked porter smells, chipotle notes wafted around in this dark and thin beer. Not much head rose to the top, which doesn’t bother me a bit, and not much sediment in the bottom which the back label had warned me about (I find that polite). This is a good chili spicy porter, but not too spicy. I’m not about to dump a gallon of milk over my face, not even close, but this is the hottest beer I’ve ever had. I’m glad I finally got a good beer from this company, I was preparing to banish them from the Ministry. I even added a heat metric on the chart. Now, if they could only make this beer twice… Overall smokestack metric = 5.5 smokestacks (out of 7). And one more thing, Happy Birthday Owen.

Brewer Pipeworks
Beer Name Chipotle Smoked Porter
Brewer’s Description For those crazy enough to think our smoked porter needed something more, we give you Chipotle Smoked Porter. In addition to the already bold character from the smoked malts, we bring the heat with a healthy dose of chipotle peppers to take this rich porter to the next level.
Food Pairings Giant hunk of smoked meat and a big ass bon fire on a cold night
Brewery Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 7.75%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 20
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4.8
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Spiciness 1 – 7 (mild – painful) 5.8
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.5

And there’s this:

http://pdubs.net/beers

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Marz Community Brewing Co. – marzcal kolsch – 3.8 smokestacks out of 7

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Gusher! This beer was a gusher. It foamed up and out of the bottle as soon as I opened it, and all over my wife’s library books, actually, I guess they are everybody’s library books. So that sucked. After half a box of Kleenex (hey, it was an emergency, I used what was nearby), I was able to pour it into a glass without too much more fuss, although, as you can see, there was quite the foamy head to contend with. Marzcal smelled fine to me, like a good beer; like a Marz beer, and not like mezcal, tequila, or smoke. Mezcal is a smoky tequila, and some still come with a worm in the bottle, which is what gave Marz the inspiration for this particular formula, the tequila, not the worm. Marzcal smelled like a Marz wheat beer almost, and looked like one too. Once I got the foam down to a manageable level, I took a big ole swaller, and I surprisingly found smoke, good smoke, and a ton of it. Sip after sip, however, it dissipated, down to nothing but a little acidic and bitter tingle on the tongue. The was a hint of lime in this beer, way in the back, and no trace of mezcal, which was fine. All in all, it was okay. The score comes out just a worm below average at 3.8 smokestacks.

Brewer Marz Community
Beer Name marzcal kolsch
Brewer’s Description Mezcal and agave inspired beer. Serve at 45°F
Food Pairings Chinga Quedito
Brewery Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 7.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 40
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3.8

 

Not the most useful website:

http://marzbrewing.com/

Here’s something:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezcal_worm

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Karben4 – Night Call : Smoked Porter (bottle) – 4 out of 7

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Smells like smoked malts. Cool looking bottle. No head, which may be hampering me from pulling out any other distinct flavors. It tastes like an okay porter. It’s as dark as all get out with my phone’s light barely able to peer inside, maybe 1/4 inch, however, the fluid is thinner than I would expect (viscosity metric of 3). It’s really giving my taste buds a beating though. Big chugs make my chest feel good. I had this on draft and reviewed it a few years back, don’t remember much. Final descriptor = muddled. Total smokestacks earned = 4 (out of 7).

Brewer Karben4
Beer Name Night Call : Smoked Porter (bottle)
Brewer’s Description Robust all day without dictating your life, this is the porter that other dark beers hang a poster of on their own bedroom wall. Malt sweetness is just present enough to enhance the dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavors without destroying the drinkability. This brew provides a subtle smoke profile that simultaneously creates new fans of dark beer and tames the beast inside the bold-beer aficionado.
Food Pairings brats!
Brewery Location Madison, WI
Alcohol content by volume 6.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 34
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N No
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Loading yo! @

https://www.karben4.com/

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Pipeworks – The Long Hair Affair – 1.8 smokestacks out of 7

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If you must put the word hair in the name of your beer, write it like Pipeworks has and make it illegible. The Long Hair Affair is a kolsch beer brewed with hemp seeds and mesquite honey, fermented in oak. I spotted the word mesquite on the side of this bottle and assumed it referred to mesquite smoked honey, and maybe it does; Pipeworks wrote “phantom note of smoke” on the label. And a phantom note is about all I could pull out of this beer, although honey and oak are clearly present, and unappealing. This beer is not good and its giving me a headache. Why did Freigeist get involved with this beer? I’ll just assume it is mesquite smoked honey, that was eaten by yeast, and pooped out alcohol. Congratulations, you took a long strange trip to a shit destination. Final smoke metric = 1.8 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Pipeworks
Beer Name The Long Hair Affair
Brewer’s Description In collaboration with Freigeist Bierkultur in Germany and Local Option, we’ve brewed a truly devastatingly psychedelic kolsch with a phantom note of smoke. Serve in your favorite stein while listening to Rammenstein, Bye, bye!
Food Pairings Advil
Brewery Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 6.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 40
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1.25
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2.2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 1.8

Here’s their stupid website:

http://pdubs.net/longhairaffair/

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XBeeriment – #44 Smoked Stout – 4.8 smokestacks out of 7

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XBeeriment’s #44 Smoked Stout, brewed to celebrate Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President of the United States, is the non-barrel aged beer in the series. A few years back I reviewed the barrel aged edition, which you can read here, and derived much the same experience. However, I have noticed that barrel aging these robust beers seems to bump up the score, (brewers take note). This beer, the regular #44, smells rich and malty, like a good heavy beer, with notes of peat wafting around. Notes that wafted out of the 1/2 inch George Hamilton hue head which rose up and hung out for the rest of the beer. A bitterness also cropped up, which I kinda wish would leave a little sooner. And after about halfway through this beer, the alcohol showed up; such a good guy. Now that the gang is all here, and I can’t concentrate on anything, we just gonna get loud in here. I got my 33s out and found a copy of Apache! Overall smokestacks issued = 4.8 out of 7.

Brewer XBeeriment
Beer Name # 44 Smoked Stout
Brewer’s Description #44 is a full-bodied stout brewed with a varity of malts, including peat-smoked malt. Pitch black, smoky, and hoppy. Enjoy!
Food Pairings Comfort food
Brewery Location Kastrup, Denmark (by Amager Bryghus)
Alcohol content by volume 7.7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 38
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4.8

This is where I link the readers to the responsible party, but no one is taking ownership, NO ACCOUNTABILITY!

XBeeriment doesn’t have a website, or is still on MySpace.

Amager Bryghus has a website, but they aren’t talking about this beer:

http://www.amagerbryghus.dk/

And The Shelton Brothers imported this, along with all the other XBeeriment beers, but they aren’t saying anything either:

http://www.sheltonbrothers.com/

 

 

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Big Thorn Farm – Smoked Lager – 2 out of 7

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Watery. The kind of water without carbonation, you know, water. This beer smelled okay at first, but those hopes were quickly dashed by the taste. I thought that the keg was getting low and would have perhaps kicked myself for not getting out and drinking this beer sooner, but the bartender asserted that the keg was just hooked up, oh well for making up excuses for these guys. This one didn’t work out. This beer tastes like a wheat beer with some sour, more bitter, and lots of water. And its flat. I don’t like it. No good. It’s beer, tastes like bad beer. Score = 2 out of 7 smokestacks. End of review.

Brewer Big Thorn Farm
Beer Name Smoked Lager
Brewer’s Description Brewed with a touch of smoked malt, this pale-colored lager was aged on a smattering of roasted logs from our woods. Lager yeast makes for a clean, light body that accentuates fresh wood notes and a smooth, smoky finish.
Food Pairings I hear Georgetown has a Pizza Hut
Brewery Location Georgetown, IL
Alcohol content by volume 5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 40
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 2

The website kinda sucks, but it doesn’t have one of those completely useless age verification gates, so that’s good:

https://www.bigthornfarm.com/beer-line-up

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Braustelle – Freigeist Pear Abraxxxas Lichtenhainer – 4 out of 7

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This review is the 5th and final part of the Freigeist Bierkultur beer reviews, where Eherenfeider, Hoppeditz, Apple, Pear, and regular Lichtenhainer, were all reviewed consecutively…

Good beer, but still of the same cut of wood as the Freigeist Apple beer. Pear? Smoke? I assign these flavors into the traces category, with concerns that someone may challenge me in a blind taste test, and assess my palate’s consistency. But really, concerns about consistency fall onto the brewer, where I am certain that consistently brewing the exact same beer, is an increasing shortfall in the industry. Braustelle may be an industry exception, but consistency is beyond the scope of this beer review site. At SmokeBeerMinistry we hone our profiles to 1) detect smoke, 2) decide if we like it, and 3) bask in whatever state of inebriation we find ourselves in. This pear beer is balanced, tasty, and light (which reflects the true nature of a lichtenhainer). Any flavors other than good beer flavor are so faint they lack worth mentioning. Still good though. Overall quality metric measured in smokestacks = 4 smokestacks.

Brewer Braustelle
Beer Name Freigeist Abraxxxas Pear Lichtenhainer
Brewer’s Description Based on Freigeist’s classic sour east-German wheat beer, Abraxxxas Apple Lichtenhainer and Pear Lichtenhainer feature all the complexity, funkiness, and drinkability of the original but go one step further by adding tart & flavorful real fruit during fermentation.  The resultant brews are incredibly lively, characterful, and thirst-quenching.
Food Pairings Wiener schnitzel w/ mustard
Brewery Location Brewed at Göller facility Germany
Alcohol content by volume 6.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1.9
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1.6
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Website, as best as I could tell:

http://www.braustelle.com/biere-vom-fass.html

Shelton Brothers:

http://www.sheltonbrothers.com/beers/freigeist-abraxxxas-pear-and-apple/

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Braustelle – Freigeist Abraxxxas Apple Lichtenhainer – 4 out of 7 smokestacks

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Apple? Apple lichtenhainer? Well, I guess so, but I hope you weren’t expecting something comparable to a cider, because I’m not getting much apple at all. And I’m barely getting any smoke for that matter, and I just had the regular Freigeist Abraxxxas Lichtenhainer to remind and review myself of the beer that this is based off of, and these are worlds apart. As for the regular lichtenhainer, I stand behind the original review found here that I wrote a few years ago. It was a solid 5. But this apple beer falls a bit short. Lichtenhainer beers are lightly smoked wheat beers historically from east Germany, which are virtually indistinguishable from gratzer beers, and no wonder, given the proximity to Poland and the gratzer history in Poland. Now that I’ve pointed out the differences and doled out some info, I admit that this beer isn’t bad. I could pass a glass boot of this beer around with my most respected beer mates, especially the Ministry, and not get a bit of push back, because those people like beer. As for the description, this beer tastes like beer. If I have to close my eyes and breathe deeply through my nose (which I do in all the reviews), sticking my nose repeatedly down into the glass, and still struggle to pull out distinct flavors that the average drinker can identify, then it’s really a miss. Today I choose to describe the beer with the words “just beer.” Overall smokestack metric = 4 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Braustelle
Beer Name Freigeist Apple Lichtenhainer
Brewer’s Description Based on Freigeist’s classic sour east-German wheat beer, Abraxxxas Apple Lichtenhainer and Pear Lichtenhainer feature all the complexity, funkiness, and drinkability of the original but go one step further by adding tart & flavorful real fruit during fermentation.  The resultant brews are incredibly lively, characterful, and thirst-quenching.
Food Pairings Wiener schnitzel w/ mustard
Brewery Location Brewed at Göller facility Germany
Alcohol content by volume 6.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1.9
Sausage detection? Y or N No
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1.2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

As far as I can tell, this is their website…

http://www.braustelle.com/homeneuigkeiten.html

And then The Shelton Brothers (US distributors), once again, show a bit more interest in the products than the producers at:

http://www.sheltonbrothers.com/beers/freigeist-abraxxxas-pear-and-apple/

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Braustelle – Freigeist Hoppeditz – 4 out of 7

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Here’s part 2 of the 5 Freigeist reviews. Hoppeditz is another beer that has the word smoke printed on the label, and was therefore rightfully delivered straight to the Ministry officials at SmokeBeerMinistry for a proper smoke rating. And while Hoppeditz will get tagged and grouped with other beers in the not a smokebeer category, it still comes off as a nice German beer. Some sourish notes wafted out before any other distinct emanations, including smoke, which was virtually non-existent. And the taste came out a little bitter and hoppy, but tasty. This beer is well balanced with sweetness swirling around in the glass too. This beer is a deep brown color although my hoodoo altar lighting fails to draw out the elements of translucency. This is a good beer, but I have to take issue with the “subtly smokey” written on the back. Subtly is quite the overstatement. I’d like to drink this in the motherland. Overall score 4 out of 7.

Brewer Braustelle
Beer Name Freigeist Hoppeditz
Brewer’s Description Freigeist is the experimental offshoot of Cologne’s revolutionary small brewery, Braustelle. Here we strive to break the chains of industrial brewing by reviving and updating Germany’s unique, historical beer styles. Named after the traditional burning puppet at Dusseldorf’s Karneval, Hoppeditz is a subtly smoked extra hoppy version of the city’s classic “Special Old Ale.”
Food Pairings Wiener schnitzel w/ mustard
Brewery Location Brewed at Göller facility Germany
Alcohol content by volume 7.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 42
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Sausage detection? Y or N No
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Is that a diaeresis or an umlaut? Find out at:

http://www.braustelle.com/biere-vom-fass.html

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Braustelle – Freigeist Ehrenfelder – 4 out of 7 (not a smokebeer)

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Here’s the first installment of a 5 part series where Freigeist beers are reviewed. And this beer, Ehrenfeider, an unfiltered altbier, is oddly enough tagged in the not a smokebeer category. Why review it? Well, the description on the label states “with a hint of smokiness,” which is how these things get started, and I bought, drank, and took a picture of the damn thing, so I’m fucking doing it.

Ehrenfeider is slightly malty on the nose and palate. The words “another nice German beer” come to mind as the taste lingers, urging me to savor it in a Norm! kind of way. Maybe I’ve had too much to drink tonight. Drinking not only effects the tongue, but also the pen. End review. Final score 4 out of 7.

Brewer Braustelle
Beer Name Freigeist Ehrenfelder
Brewer’s Description Freigeist is the experimental offshoot of Cologne’s revolutionary small brewery, Braustelle. Here we strive to break the chains of industrial brewing by reviving and updating Germany’s unique, historical beer styles. Hoppy, rich, roasty, and with a hint of smokiness. Ehrenfelder is a unique unfiltered version of the classic “Altbier” of Düsseldorf.
Food Pairings Wiener schnitzel w/ mustard
Brewery Location Brewed at Göller facility Germany
Alcohol content by volume 4.8%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Sausage detection? Y or N No
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

I hope you know your umlaut from a diaeresis.

http://www.braustelle.com/biere-vom-fass.html

 

 

 

 

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Against the Grain – Mac Fanny Baw (bottle) – 3.8 smokestacks out of 7

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Against the Grain’s Mac Fanny Baw (bottle) ain’t so bad. A nice campfire smoke taste greets you at the first sip although the smoke smells are more hidden. Bitter flavors are in there too. Then, as I sat there watching TV, drinking this beer, and jotting down fleeting thoughts so I could right this review, I noticed that my hand was reaching for the beer less and less often. Barrel power in this beer is super low (a complete 180 from this beer back when I had it on tap) garnering only 2 barrel power points. This beer is dry. Good overall smell, which makes this a bit of an anomaly, why am I not more into you? There just isn’t enough going on in this one. And, now the booze is catching up. One more thing, the team at Against the Grain isn’t funny, they should just focus on beer. Overall, just below average at 3.8 smokestacks (out of 7).

Here’s the review for the one on draft: https://smokebeerministry.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/against-the-grain-louisville-ky-smoke-2-out-of-7/

They probably need to figure out why this beer tastes so different over the years.

Brewer Against The Grain
Beer Name Mac Fanny Baw
Brewer’s Description Truly a ground breaking beer, this Barrel aged Rauchbier was an attempt to replicate the flavors present in Islay Scotch Whiskey.  We used Munich malt as a base and added copious amounts of Beechwood and Peat smoked malt, which provides the intense smoky and earthy peat flavors found in Scotch.  Then the addition of Alderwood smoked salt lends a crisp brininess that is reminiscent of the sea air in the Islay region of Scotland.  Aged in used Angel’s Envy Bourbon Barrels to give an intense caramel, vanilla and whiskey flavor.
Food Pairings Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hot Browns, Derby pie
Brewery Location Louisville, KY (USA)
Alcohol content by volume 8.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4.9
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3.8

Their website is ok:

http://www.atgbrewery.com/Menu/Beer/2/Smoke/2/Mac-FannyBaw/315

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Stillwater Artisanal – Fear of Ghosts – 5 smokestacks (out of 7)

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Stillwater Artisanal’s Fear of Ghosts beer is a smoked sour farmhouse wheat ale, and that description written on the bottle is half of my review right there. Sour notes found their way to my olfactory glands seconds after popping the top. It smells like a good, interesting sour farmhouse ale. This beer reminds me of Marz Smoke Wheat Everyday and Stillwater’s Smoke Signals beers that have recently been through the Ministry. And the sour aspect is fairly pleasurable. The lighter abv (6%) makes me wish it was a warm spring weekend afternoon. This is good beer. Smoked sour farmhouse ales is a good little nook for breweries to explore. But just one suggestion: Use more smoke. Overall smokestack pleasure metric = 5 out of 7.

Brewer Stillwater Artisanal
Beer Name fear of ghosts
Brewer’s Description Smoked Sour Farmhouse Wheat Ale
Food Pairings crab cakes
Brewery Location Baltimore, MD
Alcohol content by volume 6%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 45
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2.3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5

I guess they’re minimalists, but then why the website?

http://www.stillwater-artisanal.com/fear_of_ghosts.html

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New Glarus – Smoke on the Porter – 6.7 smokestacks out of 7

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People of Wisconsin speak highly with conviction of the great accolades of New Glarus Brewing. One thing that New Glarus does better than anyone is please the masses alongside the beer snobs (level 5 beer snobs). Spotted Cow, now available in cans, is a wheat beer and by far their biggest seller, and then there are beers like Smoke on the Porter for those of us in SmokeBeerMinistry. This company has expanded as fast as any other brewery over the last 10 years and still can’t manage to get their beers beyond the state line (demand is so high that they simply can’t justify having to leave WI). Technically, their beers do make it into public houses around the US via a few overly eager small business entrepreneurs, whom we hear about in news stories only after the ATF busts into their establishments and confiscate everything, but this is beyond the scope of responsibility of New Glarus quality control. It must be nice to be so loved that people risk jail time just to have a few extra beers in their bar. So, if you are ever in southern Wisconsin, do yourself a favor and visit New Glarus, the brewery and the village.

Smoke on the Porter is good. A strong campfire smoke bouquet wafts out from start to finish. It pours fine with no sediment in the bottom, always a welcomed happening. The aromas indicate that Bamberg is near (the smokebeer motherland), which happens to be a few hours away from Kanton Glarus, the Swiss town that New Glarus was named and architecturally modeled after. This beer conjures up memories of New Glarus’ Smoked Rye Ale that I happened to pick up in my smokebeer infancy about 10 years ago, and if it were the rye, it may very well get the perfect 7 out of 7 score, but the porter just misses with the slight dry ashy flavors buried inside. The cherry wood used in the smoking process could be swapped out with beechwood… just an idea. Later this year I’ll be in Bamberg, maybe I’ll swing by Glarus while I’m out there. I’ll tell them all about this place called New Glarus. Overall score = 6.7 out of 7.

Brewer New Glarus Brewing
Beer Name Smoke on the Porter
Brewer’s Description Smoke house aromas waft through our neighborhood creating a special kind of decadence that must be shared. Wisconsin barleys were generously cold smoked with Cherry Wood in Chilton by our friends at Briess Malting. Brewmaster Dan then harnessed dark malts to create a team that steps out as a creamy smooth black brew that will forever linger in your mind as Smoke on the Porter.
Food Pairings Beef Tenderloin, Steak, Gouda, Havarti Jalapeno, Cherry Pie, Vanilla Ice Cream
Brewery Location New Glarus Wisconsin
Alcohol content by volume 6.1%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 50
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.1
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 7
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 6.6
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4.8
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 6.7

Their website unwittingly doubles as the entire town’s visitors center website.

http://www.newglarusbrewing.com/index.cfm/beers/ourbeers/beer/smoke-on-the-porter

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De Dochter van de Korenaar – Charbon smoked vanilla stout – 3 out of 7 smokestacks

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Charbon smells and pours fine, meaning nothing stood out as notable at the start. This beer tastes belgian, like a smoked belgian, with a funny vanilla in it, and do I detect juniper? And now that I have reviewed the label more closely, I see vanilla is in there as a main component. Also, I see the word Charbon, and without running a Google Translate on it, I assume it means charcoal, or charbroiled, and whatever it might mean doesn’t really matter at this point because the idea is already in my head and sure enough bitter charred tastes are now rising to the top of my pallet. You know, this beer reminds me of St0ne smoked vanilla porter, which I don’t really like, (although it plays well in crowds). And I have no interest in comparing the two in a side by side tasting. So anyway, I don’t like it. Final overall score = 3 smokestacks out of a total 7 smokestacks.

And one more thing, Charbon won an award in 2012, but not from us. Congrats.

Brewer De Dochter van de Korenaar
Beer Name Charbon smoked vanilla-stout
Brewer’s Description A classic dry stout of 7% vol alcohol, brewed with smoked wheat malt and flavored with fresh vanilla. Charbon is a beer with contradictions: the roasted flavors work together with the smoke flavor from oak-smoked wheat malt to give a good dose of pit with the beer. On the other hand the customized extract of fresh vanilla gives us a mild soft and subtle touch in the beer. The combination provides a thrilling Stout on which the antithetical taste nevertheless ensures a harmonious and balanced whole.
Food Pairings Creamy soft cheeses
Brewery Location Baarle-Hertog, Belgium
Alcohol content by volume 7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 46
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.6 (120 EBC)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3

De Dochter needs to spend a week focused on revising their website and general web presence. I see potential here:

http://www.dedochtervandekorenaar.be/?lang=en#vastebierenCntr

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Rogue – Fresh Roast – 4 out of 7 smokestacks

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Let’s start off with roasted DOES NOT EQUAL smoked, but, the image of flames and malts on the bottle incited too much curiosity to resist. Plus, for $5 or $6 it didn’t seem like too big of a risk. Therefore, this beer falls in the “not a smokebeer” category. Having said that, I won’t take up too much more of your time. This beer is malty. You won’t miss the roastyness in it. It tastes fine. And maybe it’s just me, but I swear a number of west coast breweries that all came of age in the late 90’s, share a common flavor, as does this beer. It must be the hops. Overall score – 4 smokestacks out of a total possible 7 smokestacks. Also, check out Rogue’s website when you get a chance. There’s a link at the bottom; it’s a top notch site.

Brewer Rogue Ales & Spirits
Beer Name French Roast
Brewer’s Description Rogue Fresh Roast is made with Rogue Farms barley fresh roasted at the brewery. The barley is taken directly out of the roaster and rushed 273 feet over to the brew kettle. We don’t think it gets much fresher than that, and we know you’ll taste the difference.
Food Pairings Biscotti
Brewery Location New Port, Oregon
Alcohol content by volume 5.7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 37
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Check out their website, which is the best brewery website I’ve ever seen. You can buy stuff too.

http://buy.rogue.com/fresh-roast-ale/

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Benford Brewing – Smoked O’Hickory – 3 out of 7 smokestacks

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Only the 5th smokebeer I’ve ever seen in a can (and 2nd this week). That’s unusual. It’s also unusual to see silt pour out of a can, but with beer companies throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the market, I guess I’m not too surprised. O’Hickory poured a little thin and wafted out nice smoke aromas which made the intense tart and bitter tastes so much more of an unpleasant surprise when they pulled all remnants of moisture out of my mouth. The smell and taste of this beer are two different beers. Then, after drinking past the halfway mark, the beer fails to get any better. Advice? Drink this one fast. That’s all I have. Overall score – a very generous 3 out of 7.

Brewer Benford Brewing
Beer Name Smoked O’Hickory Brown Ale
Brewer’s Description Brewed with on-site smoked grains utilizing the gifts of Pecan and Hickory wood, the beer pours a deep tobacco brown and hints of dark red tint with a light tan colored foam head. Toasty and Smokey up front with a hints of charred wood although subdued, allows earthy grains to reside on the tongue. Medium body and finish with smoke flavors that are not overbearing for a highly drinkable beer.
Food Pairings BBQ, pecan pie (puh-conn)
Brewery Location Lancaster, SC
Alcohol content by volume 5.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 33
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3

Benford put effort into their website; looks worth it.

http://www.benfordbrewing.com/home.html

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Wild Heaven – Funkenrauch – 5.85 out of 7

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Funkenrauch is a smoked wild ale aged in bordeaux barrels which smells great with moderate notes of campfire wafting around; smells better than it tastes, not to take anything away from the taste (5.85 overall is a solid score, and is all too rare). Funkenrauch pours fine, frothy foam head fizzled fairly quickly, and got cloudy towards the end of the pour, so I left a half inch in the bottom of the bottle, although I haven’t had too many taste changing experiences when silt does get into my glass. It just gets in my mind. The taste really comes off as a sour more than anything, which fades away from your pallet after a few sips. This beer is a little dry, a little bitter (which can be avoided in sours), and has an ashy flavor to it. Funkenrauch kinda reminds me of the Jester King beer, Gotslanstricka, I had just a few weeks ago. Good beer. I’m glad I got this one.

Here’s another picture in different lighting, if that adds anything to this review.

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Brewer Wild Heaven Beer
Beer Name Funkenrauch
Brewer’s Description A truly new beer style is a rare thing. Funkenrauch is born of brewmaster Eric Johnsons’s obsession with understanding beer on a molecular level. A 100% smoked malt beer shouldn’t be so bright and light – but the addition of Drie Fonteinen brettanomyces eats up much of the smoky phenols that could have overwhelmed the palate, leaving behind a sour smoked ale that is unlike any we’ve ever tried.
Food Pairings Peach cobbler
Brewery Location Decatur, GA
Alcohol content by volume 7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 7 (disputed, closer to 40)
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 1.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2.8
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.85

They have a good website, feel free to learn more:

http://wildheavenbeer.com/our-beers/

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Arrogant Brewing – 2016 Double Bastard Bigger Longer Uncut – 5.2 out of 7

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I liked this beer. I had to get that out of the way before I start insulting Stone Brewing, Arrogant Brewing, the person who named the beer, the graphic designer who isn’t pulling their weight. Hang on, I won’t insult them, I’m cool, I won’t lash out.

This beer smells good. I smelled the smoke right after opening it; a sweet peat smoke with those elements of whatever it is that you get in just about every Stone beer that they make (probably the hops). Upon the first taste, “Oh it burns, it burns, but it’s a good burn.” There’s something about scotch that has always made me think it was watery, and given the high degree of scotch flavors that are coming through as a result of the scotch barrel aging step in the production of this beer, that connection comes through here as well. This beer is filtered. This could, perhaps should, be poured into a snifter, but tonight I’m downing the whole 22oz’s of 13% all by my lonesome, which generates positive externalities. This beer could go one step further, though. I would like a few more darkening and viscosity agents added. That would create a really fearful beer that I could get into. Great effort here Stone, or Arrogant Brewing, or whoever you are. Overall Smokestack Rating = 5.2 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Arrogant Brewing
Beer Name 2016 Double Bastard Bigger Longer Uncut
Brewer’s Description My arrogance has metamorphosed into a peatier, haughtier, boozier, doubler, more “er” of everything version of itself. Unlike the malted substance, which abetted my materialization, you don’t have chiseled iceberg chunks or fizzy, sugary pop sugar crystals at your disposal to cut me or soften the unbridled intensity of my righteous state that is liquid arrogance. Go ahead. Try me. This Islay whisky barrel-infused ale could put a lion’s mane on a hairless cat.
Food Pairings Hamburgers
Brewery Location Escondido, CA
Alcohol content by volume 13% (says so on the bottle)
IBU (International Bitterness Units) classified
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5.5, a peaty 5.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 6
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.2

I found this link to some company called Arrogant Brewing. I guess it’s like spin off company of Stone Brewing without any efforts made to differentiate the two companies, a new logo would be a good place to start. Whatever, everybody’s nuts over on the west coast.

http://www.arrogantbrewing.com/beer/special-releases/double-bastard-bigger-longer-uncut

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Burn’Em Brewing – Smoke That Shizz – 2.5 out of 7

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False advertisement I tell you. If you bought a BMW and brought it home to discover that you’d been given a Mercedes, you’d be a little bitter (like the beer). Both great cars, but not delivered as advertised. This is a good beer, but the word SMOKE in big bubbly letters indicates a flavor that just doesn’t materialize on the pallet. This beer pours nicely with a big frothy head, but there is no smoke to be found in the smell or taste. These should score a Zero, but my smokestack scale actually only goes down to One, so One it gets. This beer reminds me of those rich Belgian blondes that were everyone’s favorite a few years back; reminds me of Hoegaarden or Fin Du Monde. This beer makes me want to drink it from a little shallow, frilly looking champagne glass in some western European country. Smoke flavors would not make this beer taste better, however. So, why did they print the word smoke on the label several times? The brewers need to implement quality standards and focus on competency of their craft. Also, people still say shizz? Overall smokestack metric, a generous 2.5 out of 7.

Brewer Burn’em Brewing and Four Fathers Brewing
Beer Name Smoke That Shizz
Brewer’s Description Belgian Style Imperial Smoked Blonde Ale Over Fermented with Honey
Food Pairings Chicken wings
Brewery Location Burn’em – Michigan City, IN Four Fathers – Valparaiso, IN
Alcohol content by volume 8.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2.5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 2.5

Check out these links if you want to check out the brewer, but don’t expect to learn anything about this beer.

http://burnembrewing.com/ (Burn’em has an image of their label, but that’s it.

http://fourfathersbrewing.com/ (this group doesn’t seem to know anything about Smoke That Shizz)

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Against the Grain – Bo & Luke – 4 out of 7

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For all the flack that the beer community gives Against the Grain, they are able to produce ok beers from time to time. Plus, they’ve been able to convince the team over at De Molen brewery to collaborate and produced Bo & Luke, an imperial smoked stout aged in bourbon barrels. And, AGT made the extra effort to use Pappy Van Winkle barrels at that (a bourbon that is nearly impossible to buy without $1500 and blind faith in the bourbon secondary market on Facebook and Craigslist). But about the beer, the proper efforts made on the barrel agenda are not lost. Bourbon barrel scent wafts out and with the added alcohol and hops, gives your nose a little burn, much like many other barrel aged beers. With moderate viscosity (5 out of 7) Bo & Luke produced a nice tan head that hunkered down for over half an hour. One thing that is lost, however, is the smoke. While barreling smoked beers is the best idea that I can come up with, the barrel oftentimes overpowers the smoke, as found here. Halfway through and the booze makes it’s presence known, which I like… it’s been a long week. In conclusion, I taste stout, musty soot, ash, barley, and a little bit of smoke. I feel great! Overall smokestack rating = 4 smokestacks out of 7. Middle of the country, middle of the road.

Brewer Against The Grain
Beer Name Bo & Luke
Brewer’s Description Originally an Against the Grain Brewery and Brouwerij De Molen collaboration beer.  For the first incarnation, De Molen head brewer Menno Oliver hopped in a muscle car and drove straight through from the Netherlands to Louisville, KY (that’s USA folks) to brew this bourbon inspired ale, and we liked it so much, we decided to do it again.  We took the ingredients in bourbon whiskey (Barley, Rye, Corn) and then smoked them with cherry wood and brewed a huge imperial stout with them.  Then to top it off we aged it in Pappy VanWinkle Bourbon Barrels.  The resulting beer is rich, smokey and complex, with a bourbon character of caramel, vanilla and spice.
Food Pairings Kentucky Fried Chicken
Brewery Location Louisville, KY (USA)
Alcohol content by volume 13% -ish
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 83
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 7
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

AGT’s website isn’t half bad:

http://www.atgbrewery.com/Menu/Beer/2/Dark/3/Bo-Luke/246

And here’s a link to De Molen’s website, with no mention of Bo & Luke:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/en/

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HammerHeart Brewing Co. – Von Winterherz Verhasst (Oak Smoked Wheat Hefeweizen) – 4.5 out of 7 smokestacks

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SmokeBeerMinistry will visit HammerHeart soon… soon after winter. SBM stumbled across Von Winterherz Verhasst at HopCat in Lexington, KY and the real takeaway is HammerHeart has their eye on the prize. Seemingly half of everything HammerHeart makes is smoked, if not more, and We are going to attempt to try them all, and report back. Von Winterherz Verhasst is a great place to start with it’s high wheat content and moderate campfire notes (like a home coming). And as a hefeweizen, one can expect nothing offensive, brash, or outlandish was thrown into the formula. This beer would make a good daily drinker in the summer months, which is just about the only time one should visit Minnesota. Maybe I’m getting lazy here, but I don’t have much else to say. Smoked wheat beer. Nice smoke. Can’t wait to learn more about HammerHeart. Final overall smoke metric = an honest 4.5 out of 7 smokestacks.

Brewer HammerHeart Brewing Co.
Beer Name Von Winterherz Verhasst
Brewer’s Description oak smoked wheat hefeweizen. brewed by hammerheart. hated by winterheart.
Food Pairings Deer meat
Brewery Location Lino Lakes, MN
Alcohol content by volume 8.34%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4.5

Check out their website, and notice all the smokebeers they have. SmokeBeerMinistry is going to have to dive deep into this place.

http://hammerheartbrewing.com/

And HopCat @:

https://hopcat.com/lexington

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Terrapin Beer Co. – Smoke on the Porter – Overall score 2.5 smokestacks out of 7

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Thank you very much Terrapin for giving smoked beers a chance in your line up, now please get serious about making a good product. I don’t understand how any brewery can put out 60 plus beers (and 25 retired beers) and ever find the time to focus on refining any one of them into a great, desirable beer. The economist side of me understands all too well whats going on here, but I’m not drinking beer to better understand what a run on the bank looks like when a bunch of drinkers race to their liquor store. SmokeBeerMinistry is just looking for a smoky beer that reminds us of camping out in the home country.

Smoke on the Porter poured nicely, super dark (6 out of 7 smokestacks), with moderate viscosity, and a porter rich scent. But upon the first sip, this porter hits you with a fishy taste. This tastes ashy, malty, and yes again, fishy. The funkiness starts with the exhale and then lingers on the roof of your mouth. Funky. It has some bitterness to it too, enough to make your face scrunch up. It’s not good. Having said that, SBM would like to try Terrapin’s RoggenRauchBier (there’s always hope that something better is out there). Overall level of acceptance = a generous 2.5 out of 7 smokestacks.

Brewer Terrapin Beer Co.
Beer Name Smoke on the Porter
Brewer’s Description This October, Terrapin Beer Co releases the 28th installment of their side project series (and adds a nod to Deep Purple) with Smoke on the Porter. The beer is a Baltic Porter, brewed with smoked malt, and aged on French Oak Spirals. Subtle vanilla and chicory aromas give way to roasty flavors that highlight the dark malts in the beer. The smoke makes its largest contribution in a dry finish.
Food Pairings meat
Brewery Location Athens, GA USA
Alcohol content by volume 8.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6 (26 SRM)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 2.5

Learn more at:

Volume 28 – Smoke on the Porter

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Jester King – Gotlandsdricka smoked farmhouse ale – 5.5 out of 7

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Gotlandstricka “Drink of the Land of Goths” or “Drink of the Good Lands” presents a beer inspired by the beer that the Vikings may have had. This beer is different, and good. Smoke smell wafts out upon opening the bottle and smoke taste greets your pallet up front as well. The tart flavor was a pleasant farmhouse surprise (not too surprising for farmhouse ales, but surprising due to the smokepower leading you off the trail a bit). This beer is dry, highly carbonated, but controlled. Gotslandsdricka is just a good, unique, squarely identified, smoked farmhouse ale with a touch of silt down in the bottle, so watch your pour. Overall score – a respectable 5.5 out of 7.

Brewer Jester King
Beer Name Gotlandsdricka
Brewer’s Description Trespasser! Blazing oath, burning ruin. Gasps for mercy denied, as you draw in the chocking smoke of your own smoldering flesh. Birchwood smoked Pilsner, beechwood smoked malts, Oak Smoked Wheat, Juniper berries.
Food Pairings I bet Vikings ate lots of fish
Brewery Location Austin, TX
Alcohol content by volume 6.6%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) reported at 19 (under dispute, suggested 40-50IBUs)
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.5

Learn more at:

http://jesterkingbrewery.com/jester-king-gotlandsdricka

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Aecht Schlenkerla – Eiche 2010 – 6.5 out of 7

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Here’s a big deal in our world. The Schlenkerla team has stepped up and delivered a beer pre-aged. The Oak Smoked Eiche beer was bottled and stored in the rock cellars of Schlenkerla for 5 years before releasing this to the public.

With interest with every new smokebeer that is issued, especially from Schenkerla, this review not only looks at the Eiche 2010 as a beer new to the market, but also as a comparison review to a regular un-aged Eiche beer. And right off the bat pallets expressed, “This is damn near the exact same beer.” It was found to be mere chance that one could take a sip, and correctly claim the beer to be aged or not (even when comparing sip after sip). This is great news if you’re worried about shelf life and expiration dates, but not so exciting if you were looking for a magic transformation that only aging could deliver. Having said that, when tasting and comparing the two and pressed to draw out differences, the 2010 Eiche does come off as slightly nuttier and with more wood flavors. It was perhaps less sweet and held a dryer sensation on the tongue. It also appeared slightly darker (2010 seen below left) and one individual noted a peppery taste. And in this particular bottle, there was more sediment in the bottom. It was a fun experiment and the 2010 is definitely worth a try, but it doesn’t go far enough to distinguish itself from the regular Eiche. Aecht Schlenkerla 2010 Eiche beer still garners a very respectable 6.5 smokestacks out of 7 possible smokestacks.

On the topic of aging beers, SmokeBeerMinistry does not practice this intentionally, although periodically beers may sit in the queue for over a year before being reviewed. Also, SBM can’t recommend that the average consumer expend too much energy into this practice given the variability in brewers products, variability in storing facilities (temperature and lighting concerns), along with the increased transient nature of modern society (one day boxed up in a hot moving truck could turn the beer over, jeopardizing your intended outcome). There are plenty of great smokebeers out there and we would prefer to drink them as soon as we can.

Here’s an image of the two side by side (2010 on the left):

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Brewer Aecht Schlenkerla
Beer Name Eiche 2010
Brewer’s Description The 2010 vintage version of the Oak Smoke double bock has been bottled unfiltered and matured for 5 years in the historic rock cellars of “Stephansberg” under the Schlenkerla brewery.  General info on Eiche: Following century old recipes all malts made at the Schlenkerla brewery are dried by wood fire. While for the classic Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier traditionally beech has been ? and still is ? used, the malt for Schlenkerla Oak Smoke is kilned with oak wood. The resulting Oak Smoke Malt has a smoother and more multi layered smoky note than the intensely aromatic Beech Smoke Malt. The hence complex smokiness in Schlenkerla Oak Smoke is paired with the multifaceted bitterness of finest Hallertau aroma hops. With 8% alcohol and amber color it matures for months in the deep brewery cellars underneath Bamberg into a special treat for smoke beer lovers for Christmas.
Food Pairings A Christmas feast
Brewery Location Bamberg, Germany
Alcohol content by volume 8.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 40
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3.75
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 6.5

Here’s one way to buy this beer with a little bit of extra info:

https://shop.schlenkerla.de/Oak-Smoke-Vintage-2010

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Jester King – Simple Means farmhouse altbier w/ smoked malt – 2.5 out of 7

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Dry, bitter, tart, with silt. Faint musty smoke smell way down in there. I wondered, “Is there any alcohol in here?” Apparently 5.6%. I like Jester King, they make a great product most of the time, but they didn’t get this one right. I don’t like this beer. Silver lining: If you drink the whole thing by yourself, the booze kicks in… at the very end. Also, there are other Jester King beers in the queue. Overall smokestack metric = 2.5 smokestacks out of a possible 7.

Brewer Jester King
Beer Name Simple Means
Brewer’s Description, or some kind of poem, I guess. We looked inward and begged for meaning. Perhaps our great ancestors would make themselves known from within to share their wisdom. Immediately, a guttural call emerged from the primal darkness in answer. It reverberated through our bodies. Embarrassed, we looked instead to history for our answer. Simple as it was, the inspiration we sought had been written in books all along.
Food Pairings Ribs, sausage, and brisket (the Texas Holy Trinity of BBQ)
Brewery Location Austin, TX
Alcohol content by volume 5.6%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 26
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 2.5

Too many words can be found at:

http://jesterkingbrewery.com/introducing-jester-king-simple-means

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Evil Twin & BFB – From Tennessee With Smoke – 5.6 out of 7

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From Tennessee With Smoke is a collaboration beer courtesy of Blackberry Farm Brewery and Evil Twin Brewing. Labeled as a Smoked Farmhouse Ale this beer emits great campfire smell right off the bat. It pours like a thin, bright, blond beer… like a farmhouse ale oddly enough. This beer is just a touch bitter and dry. I’m also getting a little bit of ashyness in this beer, otherwise I might mistake this beer for Smoke Wheat Everyday, although the matching champagne bottle and similar labels are influencing that comparison for sure. Ashyness often detracts from the flavor, but not in this case. Today it takes a light and airy beer and rolls up the sleeves, it’s the 5 o’clock shadow, it’s the attitude that this Sunday afternoon beer needs. I feel better about myself now. I’m happy with this beer. Overall score = 5.6 smokestacks on a 1-7 smokestack scale.

Brewer Evil Twin and Blackberry Farm Brewery
Beer Name From Tennessee with Smoke
Brewer’s Description The creative energy at Blackberry Farm Brewery is driven by a deep passion for collaboration: Sharing knowledge, ideas, and passion to craft beers of the highest quality for the enjoyment of others. With this inspiration in mind, we were honored to welcome Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin Brewing to join us in early April for the brewing of our first collaborative beer. Our dear friend Allan Benton, of Benton’s Country Hams, graciously allowed us to age a portion of the malt and hops being used for this beer in his smoke house, permeating the grain with a rich, earthy hickory smoke character. With a wink and a nod to traditional European smoked beers, influenced and colored by the preservation heritage found in Southern smoke houses, and finished with a Belgian yeast strain, this beer straddles both the Old and New World as interpreted through inspired collaboration.
Food Pairings Smoked pork, grilled oysters, smoked onion jam, grilled peaches
Brewery Location Walland, TN
Alcohol content by volume 6.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 34
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5
Sausage detection? Y or N Yeah, maybe a little
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.6

The brewers:

http://www.blackberryfarm.com/brewery/beers/from-tennessee-with-smoke

http://eviltwin.dk/

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Pretty Things Beer -FUMAPAPA Smoked Imperial Russian Stout – 5.5 out of 7

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You can’t get this one anymore, these guys went under. This is the second time that SmokeBeerMinistry has reviewed a beer after the brewery has closed down which is both an indication of our backlog of beers to review, which keeps growing, and an indication of how finicky the beer industry can be. But from what we understand, there is plenty of room for growth in just about every corner of the US, and most of the western world too (apologies for SBM’s ignorance on beer culture beyond that horizon).

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project made this beer, FUMAPAPA in May of 2015 . This is a good beer; sweet, malty, slightly ashy, a little musty, and rich. The 12% abv is completely hidden in all the rich flavors. FUMAPAPA pours like Hershey’s syrup and looks like it too. And maybe because of its consistency, notes of chocolate were found wafting around. This is an adults beer that will soon find its way into a barrel I suspect, assuming that the recipe is out and about. About half way though and you discover the alcohol, but by means of inebriation and not taste. Great beer flavors in here, but could use more smoke. This is a pretty good beer. Overall score = a respectable 5.5 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer Name FUMAPAPA
Brewer’s Description A rare version of Barapapa that boasts a complexity of smoked barleys and a slightly sweeter finish.
Food Pairings Caledonian pies
Brewery Location Westport, MA (closed)
Alcohol content by volume 12%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 20
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 7
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.5

Keep checking back with Pretty Things to follow their hopeful return to beer making @:

http://www.prettythingsbeertoday.com

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Fort Collins Brewery – Barrel Licked Bock – 4 out of 7 smokestacks

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The description on the side of the label reads “warm smoky flavor,” so SmokeBeerMinistry picked this one up. Plus we have a working relationship with Ft. Collins given that they are one of the few breweries who have demonstrated an in depth analysis of the smokebeer genre with Z Lagers and the Out of the Ashes series. In this case, Barrel Licked poured with virtually no head except for the thin line you see here in the illuminated from below photo (notice the new photo booth). Without much head, notes of smoke were limited from wafting around the glass and measured in at only 2 smokestacks. And the taste of smoke was limited to 3 smokestacks although barrel and oak flavors ranked in higher with the most pronounced flavor being what I call Fort Collins Flavor. Until you’ve had entirely too much beer, it’s hard for me to impress upon you the distinct flavor that Fort Collins has in all of their beers, which is rare to find elsewhere. SmokeBeerMinistry is indifferent to this Ft. Collins distinction (sorry Ft.C) and we, at best, describe it as weird. This beer has a slight sourness to it, probably from the barrel, and leaves the throat nice and warm. SBM would be open to Ft. C sending us a barrel of this beer to our next smokebeer tasting. Barrel Licked Bock isn’t bad. Overall score 4 out of 7 smokestacks.

Brewer Fort Collins Brewery
Beer Name Barrel Licked Bock
Brewer’s Description It took 14 months to get this bock just where we wanted it. A year of cellaring and eight weeks in oak barrels produced an impossibly smooth brew characterized by a hint of vanilla, ephemeral charred notes and a warm smoky flavor.
Food Pairings Rocky mountain oysters
Brewery Location Fort Collins , CO
Alcohol content by volume 6.4% or 10.2%, who knows
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 34
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 6
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 4
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Feel free to browse their site, although they’ve forgotten all about every beer I mentioned in this post, including Barrel Licked @:

Home

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Green Jack Brew – Red Herring Smoked Ale (draft) – 4 out of 7

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Red Herring beer by Green Jack Brew has been revived to little acclaim. Found at Sergio’s of Louisville, KY USA, this beer came off as a mildly smoky mildly sour beer. It was good smoke though. Nice campfire notes with solid beer malt tastes (as opposed to any number of non-traditional ingredients that only cloud and confuse the pallet without delivering any additional units of pleasure upon drinking). Red Herring is a good everyday drinker that could be slipped into someone’s glass without much fuss, regardless of their preference. This beer is not bad, and this beer is not great, just a middle of the road beer that doesn’t bother anybody and holds onto the minimum number of pieces of flair requested. Overall smokestacks of flair =4 smokestacks out of a possible 7 smokestacks.

Brewer Green Jack
Beer Name Red Herring
Brewer’s Description Red herring 5.0% abv Smoked Ale.  We had to brew a smoked beer because our brewery is built into an old Lowestoft smoke house. Red Herring is a rich fruity red ale brewed with Oak and Beech smoked malt giving the beer a subtle smokey flavor with a dry smokey finish.
Food Pairings Fish and Chips
Brewery Location Suffolk, United Kingdom
Alcohol content by volume 5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 55
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Learn more, and maybe even buy this beer at:

http://www.greenjackshop.co.uk/red-herring-50-abv-smoked-ale-35-c.asp

And the bar:

sergiosworldbeers.com

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Brouwerij De Molen – Ball & Chain – 5.5 out of 7

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This De Molen beer was found at Sergio’s World Beers in Louisville, KY. The big surprise was Sergio’s where there was one of the most impressive selections of beer I’ve ever seen under one roof, and also the beer was available to drink or take home (you never know what ass backwards regulation may crop up when in Kentucky). It was a good time, I went with a bar regular who had a Norm!-sized bar tab running behind the bar, said he settles up at the end of each month (although I don’t think Norm! ever settled up). Enough of that though, about the beer…

Ball & Chain a collaboration beer by De Molen and Sound Brewery seen in both the glasses to the immediate left and right poured smoothly with moderate viscosity and minor fizzle. Smelled of campfire with hints of meat (a mental bait and switch observed in smokebeers, much to SmokeBeerMinistry’s amusement). Tastes go on from there where the 3 ministry officials present all felt positively without anything taking it over the edge (scored fives and sixes). The third beer in the picture farthest to the right, which was not a smokebeer, did incite a great deal of excitement, upstaging the tasting a little bit, but I can’t remember what that one was. And that’s about it. De Molen, neighbors of the smokebeer’s birthplace, seem to have delivered a beer that’s right next to where it needs to be. Overall approval metric lands at 5.5 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Brouwerij De Molen/ Sound Brewery
Beer Name Ball & Chain
Brewer’s Description A smoked double bock brewed in collaboration with Sound Brewery in Poulsbo, WA
Food Pairings Hamburgers
Brewery Location Bodegraven, Netherlands and Poulsbo, WA
Alcohol content by volume 7.1%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) about 25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5.5
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 6
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5.5
  • Here’s their site:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/en/

  • and the other brewery:

http://www.soundbrewery.com/

  • Once again, the Shelton Brothers Importers does a better job informing the public about this beer than either brewery does:

http://www.sheltonbrothers.com/beers/de-molen-ball-chain/

  • And Sergio’s World Beers:

http://www.sergiosworldbeers.com/

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Moody Tongue – Applewood Gold – 2.5 smokestacks out of 7

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Not much to say about Moody Tongue’s Applewood Gold smoked beer. It scored ones and twos across the board. It was really set up for a win having just stumbled across it at a cool BBQ joint in Louisville, KY. But there just wasn’t enough of anything to set this beer too far apart from regular old Budweiser. The smoke is detectable (good), decent hops seem to have been used and not over-used (good), low abv would allow one to down a few extra on a hot day (also good), but it just doesn’t measure up to someone I want on my starting line. Quit worrying about your moody tongue customers and give us something bold. Final overall (un)happiness factor – 2.5 out of 7.

Brewer Moody Tongue
Beer Name Applewood Gold
Brewer’s Description The Applewood Gold is a beer true to its name in both hue and excellence. Taste and smell are powerful tools for nostalgia and mood-setting, where certain flavors and aromas can bear the sensor to faraway memories or bring them closer to home. We crafted this beer with sunshine in our minds – making its body light and vibrant enough to enjoy throughout the night, and well balanced to pair with a wide variety of foods from smoked salmon to grilled sweet Midwest corn.
Food Pairings Kumamoto Oysters, Fried Chicken, lemon poppyseed donut
Brewery Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 40
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 1
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 2.5

Learn more at:

Our Beers

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Yazoo Brewing – SUE – 6 out of 7 smokestacks

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Here’s an interesting review. Four ministers of the ministry were on hand for this tasting. Phrases overheard in the style of Gregorian chant were as follows:

“Smooth. Great label. Roasted. Soot. Mellow. The closest thing to the beer I had when I was in Ireland. Maybe not packed with flavor. Smoke. Malt. Reminds me of Smoke Jumper. Yazoo means River of Death.”

Given the cryptic embodiment this review took, I’d be more than happy to review this beer over and over for a more descriptive response for the readers, but the score (6 out of 7) says it all. I can’t wait to drink this beer again.

Brewer Yazoo Brewing
Beer Name SUE
Brewer’s Description The south is famous for smoking everything – so why not beer? Sue is a big, rich, smoky malt bomb of a beer, with mellow smokiness coming from barley malts smoked with cherrywood, and assertive bitterness from Galena and Perle hops to cleanse the finish.
Food Pairings SUE Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Brewery Location Nashville, TN
Alcohol content by volume 9.2%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 72
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6   (38.8 SRM)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) n/a
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 6

Learn more at:

smokebeer – yazoobrew.com/sue

ice cream – jenis.com

The only bad thing I can say is that there have been multiple abv’s and IBU’s posted by Yazoo. And 72 IBU for this beer seems particularly high given what we tried. The SUE on shelves in September in 2016 seems to be the winning combination.

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