What beers outshine their variants?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Oh_Dark_Star, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Meyvn (1,167) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
    Society Trader

    I'm sure this has been a thread before, but not since I've been active in the forums...
    What beers do you enjoy (or used to when they were around) that have variants that cannot touch the original.

    For me, I loved Ballast Point Even Keel for my summer hoppy session, then Mango Even Keel swooped in and replaced it on the shelves. It sold better but I have no idea why. Yuck.

    Most recently I took two days to crack my Deconstructed Bomb! four pack that I'd been coveting during a brief bottle aging period. $40 of let-down there IMO. Would have rather drank four standards over the same period in hindsight. Otherwise BA Bomb is not too bad but the others don't hold a candle.

  2. AllOfTheCats

    AllOfTheCats Aspirant (220) Mar 27, 2018 California

    Epic Big Bad Baptist
  3. NextBestThing

    NextBestThing Aspirant (212) Apr 5, 2008 New York

  4. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (2,080) Dec 11, 2006 California

    Regular Two Hearted destroys Double.
  5. Warwick7

    Warwick7 Initiate (64) May 25, 2019 Maryland

    Left Hand Milk Stout
  6. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (919) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Bourbon County Brand Stout.
  7. JamFuel

    JamFuel Poo-Bah (4,388) Mar 26, 2009 Sweden
    Moderator Society

    Free Will Ralphius.
    Vitacca and JediMasterLenin like this.
  8. Glider

    Glider Zealot (529) Nov 15, 2004 Massachusetts

    You like the regular better than the barrel aged? Seems to be a minority opinion.
    alucard6679 likes this.
  9. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (225) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    Ballast Point Sculpin
    FW Velvet Merlin (not counting Velvet Merkin, that's a different beast)
    Left Hand Milk Stout (nitro should be a draft thing IMO)
    Stone Smoked Porter (Miss it, and I liked the vanilla version but it wasn't prominent enough to really make too much difference for me)
    Stone original pale ale and original Ruination were better than anything current
    SKA Modus Hoperendi (I liked the Mandarin, bit original was better)
  10. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (2,195) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

  11. ericwo

    ericwo Initiate (90) Aug 21, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Deschutes The Abyss
  12. JimKal

    JimKal Devotee (488) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    I really enjoyed NB Ranger but have never taken to the replacement Voodoo Ranger. NB recently released a sampler pack with Ranger in it. Still hits the spot for me. I wish they would make it a regular again.
    nw2571 and beertrip like this.
  13. alert

    alert Initiate (23) Aug 20, 2019 Georgia

    I like the original better than the High West version. Personally I don't see the appeal of throwing everything into barrels but that seems to be a minority opinion these days as well.
    Kb024, officerbill, stevepat and 6 others like this.
  14. alert

    alert Initiate (23) Aug 20, 2019 Georgia

    Have you tried Christmas Bomb or Birthday Bomb? All four of the Deconstructed pack are the four weakest Bomb! variants imo. Some of the other variants are rather good.
    dukeandduke and drunkenmess like this.
  15. BruChef

    BruChef Aspirant (201) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    Could not agree more about Even Keel.
    HorseheadsHophead likes this.
  16. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,330) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    J.W. Lees Harvest Ale
  17. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Orval and Duvel
  18. eppCOS

    eppCOS Savant (996) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Weldwerks Juicy Bits (over all other variants)
  19. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,618) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Sculpin and Yeti came to mind immediately. The non-nitro LH Milk Stout from bottles is way better than any of its siblings to me, too.

    I don't necessarily know any examples off the top of my head, but I feel like tossing [random big stout] into a spirits barrel doesn't make it better. Especially if said barrel is rum or if the beer was boozy to begin with. It can, but often the assumption is that it will. I'd say it doesn't more often than it does.
  20. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (6,265) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Agreed here. The original is better than the 4 cask aged variants.
    tylerstubs, Bitterbill and zid like this.
  21. narddawg314

    narddawg314 Initiate (158) Feb 6, 2015 Missouri

    Brandy Barrel Aged being the exception. That beer was incredible.

    Abraxas is my vote. Regular Abraxas is even better than BAA if you factor in the price and availability.
    AllOfTheCats likes this.
  22. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,330) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Compared to Green, Petite?
  23. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Either. Both. Or other Belgian Pale Ale currently on the horizon.
  24. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,330) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Wait. Are you just being cute? I honestly can't tell. :wink: Did you pick those brands because they are singular/iconic or did you pick them because you've had Green Orval, Duvel Single, etc? Just looking for clarity.
  25. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,827) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Saison Dupont >Dry hopped.
    bubseymour and tylerstubs like this.
  26. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,330) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Off the top of my head, this is my favorite example of a "variant and base" on the market. Both are just so good and beers I'd buy forever. Push comes to shove, I'd probably pick the regular too. Their standard saison was originally dry-hopped and the current variant was a bit of a return to that.
    ichorNet and Bitterbill like this.
  27. joerooster

    joerooster Initiate (41) May 15, 2018 Virginia

    If a 'double' is considered a variant then pretty much any beer that has a 'double' version, I almost always prefer the 'single' versions. I've never had a fruited IPA that I thought was better than the non-fruited version.

    If Founders FIS or FBS is the base for KBS and/or CBS, I'd take FIS/FBS every time.Not a fan of most beers aged in spirit barrels.
    sharpski and dennis3951 like this.
  28. mkh012

    mkh012 Crusader (701) May 7, 2015 Colorado

    Extra Extra Juicy Bits is delicious but I agree generally.
  29. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Being cute not at all. What leads you to infer that?

    Picked them for a variety of reasons. While I've not sampled the Petite (Green) Orval since I didn't make it to the Abbey on either of my visits to Belgium, I do know folks who have and they've given me some nice descriptions of the differences. Orval itself? Multiple bottles at multiple ages. It's easily 3-5 different beers depending on bottle age.

    Duvel? Of course. Duvel Single (Green) sure, multiple times as well as several of the Triple Hop variants.
    zid likes this.
  30. Benish

    Benish Meyvn (1,076) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin

    Scotty Karate by a million.
  31. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Devotee (498) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Hardywood Gingerbread Stout... I enjoy a plain jane GBS or Xmas Morning over all of the variants. I'll try the variants, but historically I've always referred the original.
    Prince_Casual and drtth like this.
  32. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (455) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    My immediate thought when I read the thread title
  33. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,330) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    @SierraTerence - Does Sierra Nevada still produce the "draught syle" SNPA. If so, is kegged SNPA typically the standard beer or the draught style?
    jesskidden and Bitterbill like this.
  34. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,487) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Scotty Karate vs. the barrel aged version? (I don't know if any other variants.) I agree 100%, and that's the only BBA beer that I've ever had where I can say the barrel aging did the base beer no good. (Well except for Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout which doesn't even have a distributed base beer anyway.)
  35. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,145) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota

    Prairie Bomb! is excellent, BA Bomb! overpriced /hyped and the barrel did not do alot on this stout.
    Oh_Dark_Star and Bitterbill like this.
  36. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (919) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    As far as I know it’s still the draught style. When I visited the brewery in NC they had both on tap and said it was the only place that served SNPA on tap. Did a side by side not much different from each other. The draft was a bit lighter.
    SierraTerence, zid and Bitterbill like this.
  37. NextBestThing

    NextBestThing Aspirant (212) Apr 5, 2008 New York

    Much better. I find High West to be a massive overplay. I enjoy barrel aged beers and actually enjoy whiskey quite a bit itself, but in this beer the bourbon barrel is overpowering and I cannot recognize the base beer at all.. What hits me, hard, in that beer is that they could have dumped anything dark in the barrels and the beer would taste the same.
  38. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Meyvn (1,167) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
    Society Trader

    Yep, and didn’t personally care for them although I know they have a following.
    alert likes this.
  39. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Meyvn (1,167) Mar 4, 2015 Washington
    Society Trader

    Oh agreed! That brandy barrel was a complete surprise to me compared to all the others!
  40. Benish

    Benish Meyvn (1,076) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin

    Yes that is exactly what I mean. Considering how much I enjoyed Scotty Karate, I thought the BA version was going to blow me away. But it wasn’t that good.
    PapaGoose03 and 2mrhungry1 like this.