What’s the Difference? Share your Side-by-Side (2022)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cjgiant, Jan 2, 2022.

  1. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Hello, BAs. Last year, @jonphisher decided to go ahead and start a thread encouraging us post about any side-by-side comparisons we do. There was some question as to whether there would be much interest in the thread to keep it alive, but there were fourteen pages of responses. Thanks to everyone who joined in with their own comparison or discussion about someone else's post.

    This is an attempt to continue that thread in this new year (again, many thanks to 1026359[/URL]]@jonphisher for starting it last year). The guidelines are the same, and there aren't that many of them.

    The basics: post about what you found out when having one beer next to another (or multiple others).

    On top of that, I'll reiterate the bulleted suggestions from the inaugural thread:
    • the name and brewer of both beers (makes this thread more searchable)
    • why did you decide to try these two beers together?
    • what did you find out, i.e. What's the Difference?
    • if you had expectations or guesses were you surprised by the results
    Please join in with your own thoughts at any time.


    We were instructed to "lead by example" in starting these new threads. I can tend to be wordy in my review posts, and tried to not clutter up this first post with too much beyond the introduction, though I probably failed at that. Anyone can delve into last year's thread to get more (and shorter) examples than this one.

    Thanks to the Scottish / Scotch Ale tasting thread, I found Belhaven's Scottish Ale. I saw a slightly newer 4pk than I reviewed in that thread, and grabbed it. Right next to it was Belhaven's 90 Shilling offering - a wee heavy that has 2% more ABV than the nitro (draft) can. What am I getting as the difference?

    Well, it starts with color (will ignore head given the nitro vs not), where the 90/~ wee heavy is a darker, rusty medium brown while the Scottish Ale is more coppery. The ingredients in the wee heavy bring a richer, sweeter, and more dark fruit aroma than the lighter beer, but there is a definite familiarity as I shift from glass to glass. It's as much that the aroma intensity is turned up in the darker beer than it is a difference in make up.

    I don't think the draft can influence is the entire reason that the Scottish Ale is smoother, easier, and more enjoyable to my palate, but I can't say how much it helps. Might it also be affecting the flavors?

    Again, I cannot say, but I enjoyed the Scottish Ale flavors enough to buy more. However, there is more to digest in the 90 Shilling. The higher ABV beer has a bit more toast and fruit jam than the lighter one, but they seem to start with fairly similar sweetness levels. The Scottish Ale seems more balanced from start to finish, where the 90/~ has a little transition from opening to close, ending up a tad more bitter - or at least more distinctly bitter to my palate.

    In the end, the components of the beers' tastes were a bit more different than their noses. I definitely notice a few similarities, but I'm pretty sure if randomly handed them out of the blue that my brain would not jump to tying them together in any way.
    #1 cjgiant, Jan 2, 2022
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2022
  2. jonphisher

    jonphisher Meyvn (1,205) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    A great start to 2022 thanks for starting us off @cjgiant I loved following along last year. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes in ‘22. :beers:
    seakayak, beergoot, FBarber and 4 others like this.
  3. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Ok, a slight follow on to my original post, where I mentioned the Belhaven was a little newer than my previous purchase. I had one left from that first purchase, so I wanted to check if three months (best bys June and September, 2022) on the shelf produced a noticeable difference in this draft (nitro) Scottish Ale.

    I didn't expect to notice a difference in the looks, but the older beer seemed slightly darker in color. It's possible this is due to a larger insignia on the glass, but I tried from various angles and couldn't shake the impression. Heads retained almost exactly the same, although the newer foam appeared slightly stickier.

    I might have been trying too hard, but there was a little bit more bread-like aromas in the older beer, although they both smelled much like dried out spent grain the day after brew day. Midway through, there also appeared a hint of diacetyl in the older I wasn't getting in the newer.

    Feel and taste-wise, there's a bit more difference, with the newer beer being a bit brighter. There's a little more sweet malt in the newer beer, making the older beer seem a tad more bitter in a bland way, comparatively. The newer also beer has a hint of citrus peel that the other is missing, which perhaps aids the brightness I mentioned.

    So, if I weren't putting some effort into finding differences, I think about the only difference I might notice is the new beer has more of a fresh vibe in general. I actually didn't expect to notice even this; if I didn't make it clear above, it wasn't a major difference but it was there.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Just to point out but darkening is an indicator of oxidation (staling) and it is entirely possible this is the reason for the difference in color you noticed.

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  5. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Yes, that definitely makes sense and could be. I've noticed the discoloration in significantly older beers and in my own home brews from back in the day (which had less QC than a normal brewery, I am sure). Right or wrong, I can't say I expected it it in this case with a 3 month difference in the cans.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Lots of variables in play here:
    • What was the TPO (Total Packaged Oxygen) value of the older can vs. newer can?
    • What temperatures was the older can exposed to during transport throughout the supply chain?
    • Was there rough treatment (e.g., excess vibration) of the older can somewhere(s) during the supply chain?
    • etc.
    The difference of 3 months is only one of the variables in play here.

    AlcahueteJ and cjgiant like this.
  7. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Of course. Although obviously there's only so many variables one can know of when doing these comparisons.
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes, as consumers we may not know all of the specifics but we can also know that "3 months" is not the only variable.

    beergoot likes this.
  9. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,880) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Is the one on the left the older one? (My left looking at the picture)
  10. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    As a matter of fact, that was the older one.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  11. beergoot

    beergoot Poo-Bah (8,252) Oct 11, 2010 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Russian River Brewing Co. -- Blind Pig
    India pale ale
    6.25% ABV; pouring temperature: 46 °F; bottling data: 120221

    Maine Beer Co. -- Lunch
    India pale ale
    7.0% ABV; pouring temperature: 46 °F; bottling data: 23NOV21


    ...I've been wanting to do this side-by-side for a while, and serendipity greeted me this morning with the chance to do it...and, so...

    Look: Blind Pig had a paler body, more yellow in appearance while Lunch was darker, more orange-like; both had excellent heads, rich and thick, billowy, sculpted and long lasting with sticky white rings marking the beer level in each glass.

    Smell: Blind Pig had a nice light malt nose with notes of pine and mild citrus notes. Lunch was similar although the malt and pine components were fainter and gave a slight hint of fresh orange.

    Taste: Blind Pig had a clean taste consisting of light malt with a moderate hop bitterness and a slightly better defined citrus taste. I tasted Lunch after rinsing my mouth with filtered water; the taste was similar to Blind Pig in nearly all respects although I would say it had a slightly more biscuit-like character.

    Mouthfeel: Both beers had similar qualities, sharp and crisp on the palate with a medium residual sugar feel; like qualities with stickiness and overall moderate dryness were also noted.


    So, I found both beers to be extremely similar across the board. The main difference may be in the ABV level more than anything else. If I had to choose between the two if both were available to me at the same time, the deciding factor would probably be the bottling date. Even that caveat wouldn't be ironclad as my personal prejudice tends towards Blind Pig.

    But make no mistake, these are two top-notch beers. One other characteristic I've found in the past is that both beers (and their brewery kin) retain their taste and appeal well past six months of bottling. Yes, even a year past, I tend to enjoy these beers more than most.

    And regards these particular beers on this day, I remain seated on the fence as to which one is truly the better (although the Blind Pig is being finished first...:grin:...
  12. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    All right, you mfBA's - I'm gonna carry this thread until one of you ponies up in dry January to have two beers together. I have broad shoulders (and gut). Today, I decided to have a RIS I posted in the previous thread, though I wanted to pair it with a different beer. This can is from the same 4pack, so it has a couple extra months on it. It's comparison in this post is itself, aged in rye whiskey barrels. So, here is my comparison of North Coast's Old Rasputin, regular and rye barrel aged.

    I gave half of each to the GF, and she knew one was a can of Old Rasputin, but couldn't see the bottle was. She found the barrel-aged version thicker and more chocolately, and said easily that it was her more favorite of the two.

    Ok, on looks, the can of regular Old Rasputin has its creamy tan head build a little wall atop the glass surface as I go through setting up this post. That said, the barrel aged version has a decent amount of tan bubbles atop it, still. The nose of the regular RIS brought a big whallop of roasted malts, while the BA version seemed tame. Asking the GF, she said the BA version stood out more, and since she had sipped down her glass more, I tried to equalize and retry.

    The standard Old Rasputin still stood out to me, but the BA version wasn't as bland after giving it some headspace in, perhaps, less-than-ideal glasses. What I did find is that the BA RIS was more complex in aromas, as one might expect.

    Onto the taste in real time...
    The rye barrel has a sweet, lightly whiskey-soaked edge to it. The barrel and its previous inhabitant definitely share the stage with the base beer. Having the regular alongside it right after, I might argue the barrel aging seems to dominate the original beer. It's definitely a significant change. Can I see aspects of the base in the BA version? Sure, but they are generic in nature.

    Ok, so the base is a classic, roasty bitter stout. In my mind, there's not a lot to distinguish it beyond its total buy-in to the roasted malt and bitterness (which I'm sure is aided by hops, but in a neutral way or in a way I cannot distinguish). The barrel aging seems to dampen this bitterness, but the whiskey and woods notes it add seem a fair compensation for this.

    As I am typing this up, I am starting to appreciate the base more and more. I still think I agree with the GF about enjoying the rye barrel version a bit more. However, I think I appreciate the base beer a bit more. I'm not sure I can explain how liking one beer more than another can make one appreciate "the lesser" of the two. But it's what I get from this comparison.


    pre-edit: I see the venerable @beergoot chimed in with an unread post, but I sneak-peaked the photo and am truly interested in his thoughts. Cheers, all!!
  13. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Haven't had Blind Pig but once, but I was interested to read how similar you found these. We've done a few Lunch vs Another One a few times and the GF and I disagree on who wins. Since we get MBC around here, I might be on the lookout to do a new east coast vs west coast comparison myself.
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  14. shkin

    shkin Aspirant (218) Feb 6, 2011 New York

    Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2021 vs 2022.

    My wife and I shared these two bottles this late afternoon. Unsurprisingly, both taste excellent but quite different. A year-old version is mostly malt and somewhat sweet, while the fresh one is all hops. My wife thought that the 2021 one drinks more like wine or port and prefers a fresh IPA-like 2022 version. For me, 2021 tastes a little stale but otherwise is richer and more balanced. Both improved when warmed up. I'm going to let them age and do another comparison in a few months.

  15. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Oh, nice to see the 2022 are available so I can add it to my own verticals. I'm curious if I'll notice as big a difference as you noted when comparing against the 2021s I have.

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  16. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,880) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Nice. Because I agree with your assessment on the slight difference in color and head.
    ChicagoJ and cjgiant like this.
  17. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,343) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    Cross posting with the elite Cellar Reviews thread. If you aren’t already over there, come join us!

    Fun little experiment today courtesy of the wonderful HoTD cellar program. A side by side comparing Fred batch 1 (vintage 1997) to Fred batch 102 (vintage 2021). I’ve only had Fred once before, many years ago and I believe relatively fresh at that time. Honestly I thought it was kind of a mess, and I wasn’t a fan. That being said when I saw batch 1 available on the HotD cellar store I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the original vintage.

    Side note, as you can see from the bottle labels the description changed over time. Based on the description, particularly of the hops which you can read below, my assumption is the recipe has also changed over time. I’m fairness, it has been almost 25 years.



    These don’t even look remotely like the same beer, carbonation-wise which is expected, but the color is also completely different. Never would guess they are the same beer based off the pour. The fresh batch is dark golden; only slightly hazy, with a big dense almost creamy appearing head that lingers forever and has fantastic lacing. The batch 1 is also very hazy but essentially translucent, has almost no carbonation based on the pour just a couple bubbles. Color of the batch 1 is a nice mahogany brown, like a barleywine.

    Aroma of the fresh batch is huge fruity eaters; apple, peach; some balancing spicy phenolics. Pretty big candied sugar, decent amount of caramel. Really great aroma here with a nice complexity and balance. Aroma of the batch 1 is remarkably muted. Just some cardboard , likely oxidation, mild generic sweetness. Just not much there.

    For the taste the fresh batch is a lovely mix of sweetness and clean american hip bitterness. It drinks like a barleywine but with a more pale malt bill. Great mix of fruity esters, candied sugar, and a bit of spice. This is a really impressive beer. Taste of the batch 1 is just so bizarre, i mean clearly it’s from the age but it’s not like the typical astringent bitter oxidation. It honestly has a marshmallow character which is just so strange. It’s like marshmallow, overripe fruit, and simple syrup. It’s really one of the most interesting and unique beers I’ve ever had. Although i described it in a strange way and it is strange, it’s actually quite good and it’s definitely not a “too old to drink and ruined from oxidation”, far from it actually.

    Mouthfeel of the 2021 is full bodied with appropriately high carbonation, yet still smooth and wildly drinkable. Mouthfeel on the batch 1 is medium body, essentially no carbonation; some limitations in drinkability.

    Overall, the batch 102 (2021) is a phenomenal beer. It tastes nothing like batch 1 and also, as least in comparison to my original review, nothing like my first experience with the beer (batch 92, i actually commented at that time that I was concerned it may have been an off batch). The batch 1 is like nothing I have ever had before, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit and this is certainly worth a try particularly if you are a cellared beer fan.

    Batch 1 (1997):
    A: 3.75
    S: 2.75
    T: 4
    M/D: 3.75
    O: 3.75

    Batch 102 (2021)
    A: 4.75
    S: 4.5
    T: 4.75
    M/D: 4.75
    O: 4.5

  18. DavetotheB

    DavetotheB Meyvn (1,102) Sep 30, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Another Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2021 and 2022

    My local still had 2021 Bigfoot on the shelf although I could see two cases of 2022 behind the 2021 6ers. I asked if he could get me the 2022 and I'd buy a 2021 too (at the same price). 2021 has been stored for a year at room temperature (70ish degrees). Not ideal cellar conditions but after a year it probably doesn't make a huge difference with this beer.

    -Very hazy dark reddish brown. One finger of tan head.
    -Very sweet almost caramel smell dominating. Bit of dark fruits.
    -Very sweet tasting. Caramel. Light pine. Bit of alcohol. Light bitterness.
    -Very smooth drinking. Slight bitterness in the aftertaste.

    -Translucent copper color. One finger of light tan head. Better retention and lacing than 2021.
    -Piney and resiny. Sweet malts very minimal.
    -Quite piney and bitter.
    -Sticky mouthfeel. Strong bitter aftertaste.

    Bottom Line: These are basically different beers. 2021 is much hazier, sweeter and smoother. 2022 is much more piney, bitter and sticky. Enjoying them both but prefer the 2022 even if it drinks a little harsher.

    Pretty sure I have a 2019 and a 2020 in the back of the fridge. Looking forard to cracking them...someday.


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  19. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    That's an awesome year spread, even if the comparison ended up with little to dissect at a nuanced level. I think 10 years is the largest year differential I've had (thanks to Sierra Nevada). I do have a 2012 Old Stock in my cellar (it's been in my cellar for a large portion of its age, but not all), and plan on opening it sometime in 2022, hopefully after finding some of this year's vintage. Maybe I'll hop over to the cellar thread for that one.
  20. defunksta

    defunksta Meyvn (1,336) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota

    The Old Rasputin vs. Narwhal:

    1) North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin from 2019 (9.0%): A classic Russian Imperial Stout flavors of bittersweet chocolate, earthy and toasted black malt and coffee roast.
    2) Sierra Nevada's Narwhal 2019 (10.2%): A Russian Imperial Stout from California that has strong flavors of rich chocolate, espresso beans, and some vanilla notes. Slightly bitter finish.
    Both are fantastic Russian Imperial Stouts. Admittedly, I mismatched these two in a blind taste test. I found that Old Rasputin had more earthy black malt and smoke. The Narwhal had more rich chocolate and espresso roast. Both are sippers, but I enjoyed comparing the two side-by-side.
  21. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    So in the online tasting for N/A beers, I had an Athletic "extra dark" beer (All Out) that I thought was reminiscent of a Schwarzbier, even though the consensus seemed to be the inspiration was a stout. I'm not sure alcoholic styles can be used one-to-one for N/A beers, though if a N/A advertises a style in some fashion, it will influence my opinion.

    So, as I was typing up this preface, the GF has already said she likes Urban Brew Labs Schwarz Weather better - it seemed sweeter and more cocnutty to her (she doesn't know what the two beers are). Now, I'm not thinking the alcoholic beer is a great representation of the classic style, but it isn't bad and it has the distinctive advantage of being what I has on hand.

    So, I took a sip of Schwarz Weather, and wondered what the GF was thinking. This beer is not that sweet, with some dried out dark bread and a little more bitterness than even I expected. It has a hint of roast, accentuated in back, and is quite tasty.

    Going off memory, I was thinking All Out might be fairly similar, and even wondered if the body wouldn't be soo different. What I found was that the N/A beer did open similar to the "real" Schwarzbier, and the difference in feel was more obvious than I thought.

    Now, I can't explain the difference as simply as the GF did. I think in reality, she might be right, but the alcoholic beer didn't really seem that much sweeter... it was just a little more powerful in its flavor. The N/A was a bit watered down, to put it another way, but it wasn't watery. Even going in reverse, sweetness isn't what jumps out at me as the difference.

    So, there is than little bit of vegetal/cardboard from the N/A beer, but as I stated in the N/A tasting, it is subdued in All Out. I have to say, the flavors aren't that far apart here, and I feel mildly justified in my initial call on the style similarity. Having All Out as an N/A option makes me happy, even after this comparison that shows I easily enjoy "the real thing" more.

    So... the cuvée seemed like it wouldn't provide much given the similarities, but I actually liked it a lot. I definitely liked it more than All Out alone (shocker), and while it was different than Schwarz Weather by itself, I enjoyed it at least as much as that beer.

    #21 cjgiant, Jan 22, 2022
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2022
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  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Craig, FWIW I am of the opinion what you detailed there is the 'definition' for a quality Schwarzbier.

    It has been my personal experience that many (most?) US craft breweries go too heavy on the roast when it comes to brewing this beer style. Perhaps they feel the business need to meet the demands of the Moar beer crowd?

    If I ever see Urban Chestnut Schwarz Weather available for sale I will buy it; it reads like my kind of Schwarzbier.

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  23. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    I would be interested in your opinion if you ever find it. There is something about it that seems to me that sets it just off the style's center line, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe you'll get it, too, maybe not.

    I will say, I accidentally typed a name for the brewer that was in my mind and not on the can. The beer is made by Urban Brew Labs, not Urban Chestnut (I have requested a correction from the mods).
    AlcahueteJ and JackHorzempa like this.
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for the clarification.

    On the BA description for this beer:

    "Beer Specs:
    6.0% ABV
    30 IBUs
    31 SRM
    Malt: Pilsner Malt, Dark Munich,
    Vienna, CaraMunich I,
    Blackprinz® Malt, Midnight Wheat
    Hops: Magnum, Sterling, Saaz"

    Wow, that is quite a complicated grain bill. FWIW, I have often (but all of the time) found that complicated grain bills result in a 'muddling' of the flavor profile. My personal preference when brewing, generally speaking, is to have a less complicated grain bill. I wonder if this may be the source of your 'issue(s)' here? :thinking_face:

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  25. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,952) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I just did a little blind AAL tasting, pretty much to test myself as well as the beers:
    Naragansett vs. PBR vs. Bud


    #1- Good aroma hits you right away. Toasted cornbread, a touch of spicy hop. Creamy on palate with a slight watery finish. Flavor is doughy bread with a touch of corn. Dry but could be more crisp. Bitterness is nearly undetectable. Clean and 'nice'. B-

    #2- really mild aroma, have to really swirl it to wake it up: corn and minerals, slight bread crust. Much more assertive palate, bread crust and slight corn. Dry yet rounded feel, semi-flabby, though. Drinkable but needs more hops. C+

    #3- Palest with barely any aroma at all. What can be coaxed is a combination of bread, spice and apple. It's not fooling anyone at this point. :wink::grin: Same elements carry over to the flavor, though still extremely mild. Crispest of the three. More spice comes out by the end of the glass, but still too much of nothing. C


    I was still surprised by this result because I originally pegged 'Gansett to do better. As for PBR? Not quite "believe the hype", but still good in a pinch. :+1::beers:
  26. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Funny, based on your descriptions, I was fairly sure #2 was Naragansett and would have guessed the last was Bud, leaving a process of elimination guess at PBR. I was also pretty sure I'd be wrong, but I got lucky this time :slight_smile:
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    A few days ago I watched the below video of blind tasting of "bad lagers" and I enjoyed watching it. Maybe you would enjoy it too?

  28. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    When I watched that one, I had to laugh at the control that wasn't.
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  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania


    I also 'enjoyed' that he created a scale of 0-5 for after taste but he graded the beers on a 0-10 scale.

    Oh well, if I did this evaluation/video I am confident I would have screwed up even more. :stuck_out_tongue:

    cjgiant likes this.
  30. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Ha! I noted that, too. I truly expected an edit midway through, but nope.

    One other thing I thought was that, given the fact that he is in Britain, the less known "imports" he had would not likely have been as old as we would probably get here. I would be curious how fresh "bad Euro macro beer" would compare to our fresh macros on my palate.
    Rug likes this.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, he only wanted to purchase single cans. If his beer retailer is anything like my 'local' Total Wine & More those singles were not all that fresh.

    JMN44 likes this.
  32. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,952) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Thanks, Jack! I also enjoyed watching it, and even think we see eye to eye on a lot of those beers. Funnily enough I was gifted a couple of bottles of Carlsberg yesterday so I'll take some mental notes when I get to it and come back and see if we line up on that one too.
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  33. defunksta

    defunksta Meyvn (1,336) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota

    Two Favorites from Founders:
    1) Founders Dirty Bastard (8.5%):
    A Scotch Ale from Michigan that has flavors of toffee, caramel, bread pudding, scotch, syrup/molasses, and dark fruits. Complex malts.
    2) Founders Breakfast Stout (8.3%): An Oatmeal Stout from Michigan with flavors of Belgian chocolate, coffee roast, and cinnamon spice. This is a world-class beer.
    1) Founders Dirty Bastard: Has more complex malt profile of caramel, toffee, tiramisu, bread pudding, and syrupy french toast.
    2) Founders Breakfast Stout: This one has a classic chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal malt flavor. Roasty and chocolatey, but surprisingly dry and roasty.

    Overall: These are two both fantastic. Right at my ideal ABV for a beer. I'm more impressed that one brewery can produce two amazing beers so had to share the side-by-side.
  34. defunksta

    defunksta Meyvn (1,336) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota

    Two Beers, A Midwest Stout and Porter:

    1) Bell’s Double Cream Stout (6.1%): A dairy-free “milk” stout from Michigan with smooth and creamy flavors of milk and chocolate. Faint coffee roast.
    2) Founders Porter (6.5%): A Porter from Michigan with flavors of roasted chocolate, lactose, mocha, and a smooth finish.
    Overall, both were fairly similar. Founders Porter had slightly more roast, while Bells had more smooth milk chocolate. I think I preferred Founders. Founder's Porter is relatively smooth for the style, so I did a side-by-side of these two. Sorry for the back-to-back post.
  35. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (5,852) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Back-to-back posts are definitely allowed here :slight_smile:

    Posters are also allowed/encouraged to quote or link to any of their own previous posts they may be following up on or redoing.

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  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Here is a video side-by-side of PBR and Old Milwaukee:


    I am not an experienced PBR drinker but within the video there is discussion of PBR having a chardonnay flavor aspect (but not in this canned PBR). Have other BAs noticed this aspect in PBR?

    Also, in the video Ronald discusses how in comparison Old Milwaukee has greater hop bitterness.

  37. Spade

    Spade Aspirant (248) Mar 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I've enjoyed reading through this thread, and since I somehow have 2 spruce beers on hand I thought I'd take a crack at it.

    On the left is Yards Poor Richard's Spruce Ale; the other is Winding Path BC Boreal Spruce IPA.


    From the Yards website-
    "Based on Benjamin Franklin’s original recipe, this one-of-a-kind deep amber ale calls for barley, molasses and essence of spruce. Locally sourced organic blue spruce clippings are steeped in a kettle to create an ale as approachable and engaging as the man himself.

    Local, organic spruce tips from Indian Orchards; barley; molasses"

    5% ABV, 22 IBU.

    The Winding Path site doesn't list this beer, so from the entry here on BA-
    "A bright, dank IPA brewed with Northwest hops, spruce tips and needles.
    Hops: Waimea, Simcoe, Centennial, Chinook, Willamette
    Malts: 2-row, Munich, Caramel Malt
    Yeast: Ale
    Other: Spruce Tips"

    7.2% ABV

    As is obvious from the photo, the Yards is a dark reddish brown, and the IPA is orange-copper colored. I'm not particularly adept at identifying flavors, but the Yards definitely has some molasses sweetness, minimal hops, and mild spruce. This is the 3rd bottle from the case and they've all seemed slightly different, especially regarding the spruce flavor; the second bottle being the most intense. I've enjoyed this beer for years; it seems suited to cold winter days sitting by the fire. I'm probably projecting, but it just feels "old", like, of course this based on a historical recipe.

    The Winding Path has that effervescent hop aroma and flavor common to American IPAs. The spruce is strong as well, making for an intriguing mix. There's a quality to the taste that I can't put my finger on, like something I've had before and long forgotten. It's a delicious beer. I'm not an IPA Obsessive but certainly enjoy them on occasion; I'd be happy to see this one on the shelves again.

    Just for fun I blended a bit of the two.


    Interestingly, while the color was, as expected, a mix of both, the flavor leaned toward the Yards, as if the molasses crowded out the IPA hops. Found that a bit surprising.

    I hope y'all enjoyed this entry; feedback always appreciated.
  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Does two Double Bocks = a Quad?

    I have two Doppelbocks to discuss. One is an old ‘standby’ Troegs Troegenator Double Bock beer and the ‘challenger’ is Hofbrau Winter Spezial.

    Troegs Troegenator Double Bock

    Let’s first discuss the old standby of Troegs Troegenator. Troegs Brewing opened up in 1996 which makes them part of the ‘second wave’ of Philadelphia area craft breweries (along with Victory, Sly Fox,…). The ‘first wave’ was Stoudts Brewery which opened up in 1987.

    “One taste of Troegenator tells you this is no ordinary beer. At once malty and crisp. Traditional yet timeless. A rebel with a sweet side. This deliciously dark double bock calls for so much grain we had to custom-build our brewhouse around it. Layered with notes of smooth caramel, stone fruit and fresh toasted grains, ’Nator is a beer for people who love beer.

    ABV: 8.2%

    Color: Bronze

    Grain: Chocolate, Munich, Pilsner

    Hops: German Northern Brewer, Magnum

    Yeast: Lager”


    Hofbrau Winter Spezial

    This is an interesting brand in that in the past this beer was a Helles Bock but is now a Doppelbock, as detailed on BA:

    Notes: 2012 Version was a Helles Bock
    2015+ Version is a Doppelbock”

    Below is how Hofbrau discusses Winter Spezial on their website:

    “A true HB Specialty

    Our traditional German Style “Doppelbock”. Dark brown in colors with an intense roasted caramel malt flavor of dried berries and chocolate.

    A real Winter Warmer! The rich and spiced flavor with a taste of chocolate and dried berries is created by the perfect amount of roasted caramel malt and well-hidden hop bitterness for a smooth finish.


    ABV: 8.4 %

    Bitterness: 30 IBU

    Color: Dark brown

    Malts: Light Barley Malt, Munich Malt, Caramel Malt

    Hop Varieties: Hercules, Perle, Select”


    The two beers read similar. Interesting that Troegs selected to use Roasted Malt (i.e., Chocolate Malt) vs. Hofbrau chooses to use Caramel Malt.

    Served in small Tulip glasses:


    Troegs Troegenator: Deep amber colored, a ruby hue, and a thin khaki colored head.

    Hofbrau Winter Spezial: Pours a mahogany brown color with a good-sized khaki colored head.


    Troegs Troegenator: A complex combination of aromas – dark bread (akin to pumpernickel), toffee, dark dried fruits (e.g., fig, raisins), some spiciness, …

    Hofbrau Winter Spezial: A variety of aromas – caramel, molasses, toffee,…


    Troegs Troegenator: The flavor follows the nose with the assortment of flavors from dark bread to toffee to dried fruits to... There is a low-moderate bitterness.

    Hofbrau Winter Spezial: The flavor follows the nose with aspects as detailed above but in the background even a tiny hint of dark dried fruits (raisin, figs). There is low bitterness.


    Troegs Troegenator: Medium bodied with a dry finish.

    Hofbrau Winter Spezial: Thin – medium bodied. There is a moderate carbonation level with a sweet-ish finish.


    Troegs Troegenator: Very Good – Excellent. I really appreciated the dark bready flavors of this beer!

    Hofbrau Winter Spezial: Very Good.

    The most notable difference between these beers is the sweet-ish aspect of Hofbrau Winter Spezial; I preferred the dark bready flavors of Troegs Troegenator accompanied by a greater complexity of flavors.


    @rotsaruch @RobH @KOP_Beer_OUtlet

  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have homebrewed beers using fresh growth Spruce Tips and those beers had a ‘unique’ flavor to them that I personally had a hard time pinning down and describing.

    I wrote an article for Zymurgy magazine (the magazine of the American Homebrewers Association) and below is a snippet from that article:

    “What does a beer brewed with Spruce taste like?

    Needless to say but fresh growth Spruce tips are an agricultural product so variations in flavors should be anticipated. Variables include, but are not limited to, aspects like type of tree, location, weather conditions that year, when the tips where harvested (small vs. larger tips),..

    I assembled a group of friends and family to be my taste testers for Kate’s Spruce Ale so that I could obtain a broader perspective on the attributes of this batch of beer. Some of the aroma/flavor descriptions I obtained for this beer are:
    • Citrus
    • Grapefruit
    • Grapefruit pith
    • Piney grapefruit
    For my personal palate I got more of an herbal quality to this beer.”

    The best word I could come up with was herbal which is unfortunately a rather broad descriptor.

    While researching this article I was able to speak to a brewer at Yards Brewing:

    “I recently attended a beer festival at Yards Brewing Company and I was able to briefly speak to one of the brewers. He provided the additional detail that they add the blue spruce clippings for the last 20 minutes of boil.”

    You will note that Yards uses “spruce clippings” as opposed to fresh growth spruce tips. For a commercial brewer which produces their beers year-round it makes sense to use clippings since they are always available vs. fresh growth tips which only appear once a year in the spring.

    In contrast for Winding Path it lists “spruce tips and needles” which I interpret as they use a combination of spruce tips and clippings.

    Thanks for posting your side-by-side tasting.

  40. Spade

    Spade Aspirant (248) Mar 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for the response and information.

    With the Yards beer, I think "yep, that's spruce", and don't go much further. On the other hand, the IPA gives me that feeling like I've tasted something similar, as if it's the combination of the spruce and those specific hops. "Herbal" seems like a good, although I agree broad, descriptor. It kinda reminds me of herbal tea. I don't drink tea or coffee, but my mother would make tea pretty much every evening so I'm thinking that's the déjà vu flavor I'm getting.
    AlcahueteJ and cjgiant like this.