The Orkney Brewery – Skull Splitter – 4 out of 7 notasmokebeer smokestacks

This beer is pretty good for a beer that isn’t a smokebeer. I stumbled across multiple descriptions and posts online linking Skull Splitter to the realm of beers that taste like smoke, compelling the celebrant to deliver it to the tabernacle, and yet SmokeBeerMinistry feels completely betrayed, Judas. This Skull Splitter beer by The Orkney Brewery is a wee heavy ale, and apparently also a scotch ale as Orkney has defined this beer as both on separate occasions. I’m more familiar with scotch ales given that scotch ales usually include smoked malts in the mash bill, so we wind up crossing paths quite often, and it wasn’t until this writing that I learned Scotch Ale is synonymous with Wee Heavies; we both get to learn today. Regardless, my smoke detecting nasal passages and taste buds came up short on this day. On the bright side, this beer is one of the best scotch ales I’ve ever had. This tasted sweet upon the first sip. Then recognizable beer flavors shortly followed and stuck around for the session. Lots of small, tiny bubbles were fizzing around in every sip helping me breathe in everything this bottle has to offer. And its a solid beer. I’m going to end this right here. Final score – 4 out of 7 smokestacks. Middle of the road.

BrewerThe Orkney Brewery
Beer NameSkull Splitter
Brewer’s DescriptionSkull Splitter is one of our strongest beers, named after Thorfinn Einarsson the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney. It is a sophisticated, satiny smooth and full flavoured beer. It has a rich fruity wine-like complexity with flavours of fresh and dried fruits, warm exotic spice and mellow summer fruity notes.
Food PairingsA large turkey leg ripped from the carcass and a cluster of grapes still on the vine.
Brewer Location (They could have said Scotland)The tranquil Orkney Islands, with their fertile farming lands and fishing grounds, have been inhabited for over 5000 years. The Orkney brewery is housed in the former schoolhouse in Quoyloo one mile from Skara Brae in the heart of Neolithic Orkney.
Alcohol content by volume8.5
IBU (International Bitterness Units)55
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)5.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)1.1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks1.1
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)4.5
Foaminess 1-7 (thin ring – rabid dogs mouth)4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)4
You won’t get banished just because you arrive with mere traces of smoke.

Great website, great photography:

https://www.orkneybrewery.co.uk/

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Brasserie Trois Dames – Bise Noire (Black Kiss) – 3.5 smokestacks out of 7

Smells like sorghum. Looks like it too. This beer smells familiar. Familiar like malt, wheat, and an abused college bar at 10AM Sunday morning. But less familiar are the notes of caramel, burnt sorghum (which is already burnt I think) and almost tries to make me thing there was a barrel nearby. And those scents and aromas follow all the way to the palate bringing with it no surprises. Bise Noire means black kiss, translated by my wife told me, she claims to speak French. She read the rest of what’s written on the bottle and said that there isn’t any smoke in this beer and told me to quit drinkin, so this will be my last beer until she goes to bed. Overall happiness metric = 3.5 smokestacks out of a total possible score of 7 smokestacks. ABV = 7.2 and I’m feeling it.

BrewerBrasserie Trois Dames
Beer NameBise Noire
Brewer’s DescriptionBrewer is not returning my emails. Their loss, not ours.
Food PairingsSnails
Brewer LocationSwitzerland
Alcohol content by volume7.20%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)5.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)1.25
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks1.1
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)5.5
Foaminess 1-7 (thin ring – rabid dogs mouth)2
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)3.5

This website looks pretty cool. I want to visit Switzerland.

Accueil

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Schlafly – Raspberry Chipotle Brown Ale – 3.2 out of 7 Smokestacks

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St. Louis’s well liked brewery Schlafly brewed this experimental Raspberry Chipotle Brown Ale that didn’t do too well, too bad. And it started off great with smoke on the nose right upon opening it, but then when I poured it into a glass and a frigging foam monster emerged. I fought it back and was able to give myself a decent pour after a sec. Then I tasted it and got peculiar peat flavors. I guess raspberries and smoked jalapeno peppers (chipotle peppers) combine to form a flavor that is less becoming. And while I begin to grow accustomed to these earthy, musty beer flavors, I notice the heat. spicy heat, picante, no caliente, The spiciness helped the score out a smidge, but overall, this beer ain’t my cup of tea (or suchong). Final score = 3.2 Smokestacks out of a total possible score of 7 Smokestacks.

Brewer Schlafly
Beer Name Raspberry Chipotle Brown Ale
Brewer’s Description… or, well, I found it on the internet, don’t actually know if the brewer wrote this. Brewed with fresh raspberries and smoked, dried jalapeños, the new 5.9-percent abv entry is packaged in a 750-ml. bottle that highlights the beer’s experimental development process through a descriptive label and neck tag
Food Pairings BBQ
Brewer Location St. Louis, MO
Alcohol content by volume 5.90%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 24
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N, not even chorizo
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Foaminess 1-7 (thin ring – rabid dogs mouth) 7
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3.2

They got a OK website:

Schlafly Beer Homepage

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Jester King – Figlet – 5.25 out of 7 smokestacks

Everyone likes Jester King. Not everyone like figs, certainly not smoked figs, so why would anyone make a beer out of that? Well, for whatever the reason, it worked out well. The folks at the highly respected Jester King Brewery made Figlet, a farmhouse ale made out of smoked figs, and, of course, when SmokeBeerMinistry heard about this, we brought it into the tabernacle. Figlet starts off tasting tart and a little sour, just as you would expect from a farmhouse ale. And by drying out your mouth a bit, it compels you to go back to the glass for more. This is good beer. I hope you know about Jester King. We at SBM are grateful for opportunities to relax and drink beer. Grateful to be able to spend a little extra money on good beer. Grateful to go into the garage and hang upside-down on an inversion table while experimenting with recreational weed, but I digress. We are grateful for Jester King. And even with only traces of smoke coming through, the benevolent Ministers, Reverends, and Witchdoctors all agree that smokepower can be value added even when it’s playing second fiddle, even to figs, when you’re dealing with a tasty, well made beer. Overall, Figlet garners 5.25 Smokestacks out of 7.

BrewerJester King Brewery
Beer NameFiglet
Brewer’s Description (paraphrased)Figlet is a farmhouse ale refermented with Texas figs smoked by our friends at FRANKLIN BBQ. We sourced 200 pounds of figs from Little Om Farm in Elgin, Texas. Those figs were taken to Franklin BBQ where they were split in half before smoking. By doing this, more surface area was exposed, resulting in a higher concentration of smoke in the figs. We found that this resulted in what we consider to be a more balanced beer overall.
Food PairingsVarious dried snacky fruits that your granola girlfriend got from the co-op
Brewer LocationThey’re outta Austin, right? Austin, Texas
Alcohol content by volume5.4
IBU (International Bitterness Units)Could be 28, or Zero
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)1.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks1.25
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)4.4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)5.25

Solid photography on their website. Really good.

https://jesterkingbrewery.com/

https://jesterkingbrewery.com/main-blog/figlet-release-today

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Little Fish Brewery – Enginuity – 2 out of 7 Smokestacks

Down there at the bottom, see, Enginuity

Little Fish Brewery of Athens, Ohio has a good number of smoked beers to choose from. On this day SmokeBeerMinistry made it out to Ohio and got to test out Enginuity, a 5.8% abv smoked porter and it was a dud. I didn’t like it. It was too bitter, musty, the maltiness tasted funny, it had a unappealing dryness to it, and there was virtually no smoke. Then Little Fish retired this beer. How lucky Enginuity was to be served at 101 Beer Kitchen, I really like this place. I am interested in visiting this brewery however, in the hopes of discovering that this was just some kind of one-off situation. Here’s to hope. 2 smokestacks out of 7.

BrewerLittle Fish Brewing
Beer NameEnginuity
Brewer’s DescriptionThis porter, brewed with house-smoked malts, is a tribute to the freight train line that runs right on the edge of our property. We brew this coal-black ale with Ohio-grown barley, smoked in our custom smoker, with a mix of local hardwoods (cherry, chestnut oak, and applewood). If you are a fan of smoked beers, seek this one out!
Food PairingsChicken Pot Pie
Brewer LocationAthens, OH
Alcohol content by volume5.80%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)no word on ibu
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)5.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks2
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)2

Check out their website, its pretty good. Even contains pages of archives.

https://littlefishbrewing.com/beer/enginuity/

Posted in Beer, Educate, Enlighten, porter, rauchbier, Smokebeer, Smoked Porter | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sketchbook Brewing Company – Grodziskie – 5 out of 7 smokestacks

Sketchbook Brewing’s Grodziskie has arrived in the SmokeBeerMinistry tabernacle.

I smell smoke. I don’t even have to try. A carefree wisp wafts out of the glass. Such a great start after having a bit of a difficult time with the last beer from Sketchbook (nothing personal). Today’s beer, Grodziskie by Sketchbook Brewing out of Skokie, Illinois (or is it Evanston?) is a solid effort from a brewery that I need to learn more about. A Grodziskie is a Polish style smoked wheat beer that falls on the lighter end of the beer spectrum, and this rendition falls on the lighter side of Grodziskies, really light. Just about every Grodziskie I’ve had (Gratzers included) usually has an undeniable wheat beer base to it, along with cloudiness, but not so much in this one. Sketchbook’s Grodziskie delivered a strong and proud degree of smoke power on the nose and palate, and it kept the abv. down pretty low at 4.1% which is indicative of the style, but the wheat beer elements tastes to have been swapped out with Coors Light as far as I can tell, or even one of those Bubly Sparkling Waters that everybody is drinking nowadays (wouldn’t a smoke flavored Bubly be a pleasant surprise?, regardless of it’s financial viability). But, it says on the back of the can that this beer won the Sam Adams Longshot award, and oddly enough, SBM reviewed another Longshot award, which was also a smokebeer, because that’s all we review here. I think all smokebeers should win awards. Honestly, SmokeBeerMinistry should give out awards, but that is an idea for another day. In conclusion, this beer is awarded 5 out of 7 smokestacks. And I look forward to whatever else Sketchbook smokes up next.

BrewerSketchbook Brewing Company
Beer NameGrodziskie
Brewer’s DescriptionWhen Cesars historical smoked polish style wheat beer won the Sam Adams Longshot contest, it quickly captured the hearts of beer fans around the country.
Food PairingsGouda, Pork, Kielbasa, and BBQ
Brewer LocationSkokie, IL
Alcohol content by volume4.1%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)22
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)1
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)4.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks5
Sausage detection? Y or NY
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)2
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)5

And Sketchbook has a decent website so we have their link below, but you really have to go to their Facebook page to get the low down. I hope we’re not actually going to do this move everything Meta thing.

https://www.sketchbookbrewing.com/

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Sketchbook Brewing Company – Smokey Jack – 3 out of 7 smokestacks

I’ve liked about one out of every seven pumpkin beers I’ve had and this is not one of them. This beer was hand delivered to me by my old roommate, who was committed to finding a smoked beer that had not yet been introduced to SmokeBeerMinistry. And after a few tries, he achieved success in a mere 6 months. He joins an elite group and was promptly consecrated into The Ministry and frocked, and although he kept yelling Semikhah during the ceremony, the outbursts were deemed acceptable given our non-denominational status. But more about the beer… Right off the bat wafted notes of Christmas beer (the worst notes found in pumpkin beers). SmokeBeerMinstry is looking for Yule Log and Smokey Jack delivered a scented candle. Deeper in the nose is a decent saison, but you gotta get pretty deep in the weeds to find that. And written on the back of the can it lists “cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves” which has got to be the four horsemen of the beer apocalypse. And as I sip looking for smoke, or even a decent saison, I can’t seem to get potpourri out of my head. Smoke is in there, however, and it doesn’t help matters out much at all. I guess I’m dogging this beer pretty hard, but don’t go looking for Sketchbook to straighten this all out, as they have stricken Smokey Jack from their website (but it’s still mentioned on Facebook, however). Final score for this beer is a generous 3 out of 7 smokestacks.

BrewerSketchbook Brewing Company
Beer NameSmokey Jack
Brewer’s DescriptionOne hundred smoked pumpkins. Just a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove.A whiff of maple syrup. All riding on a dry and spicy saison. Smokey Jack is here for the autumn.
Food PairingsTurkey dinner
Brewer LocationSkokie, IL
Alcohol content by volume7.50%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)2.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)1.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks2
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)3

Pretty decent website Sketchbook has:

https://www.sketchbookbrewing.com

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Bolero Snort – Imperial Moountie – 5 out of 7 Smokestacks

Bolero Snort in the Tabernacle

In the year of Our Lord 2022, SmokeBeerMinistry will try to come out of pandemic hibernation and start drinking and reviewing beers that taste like smoke again. Oddly enough, SBM’s heaviest traffic days have come in just the last few weeks; quite the surprise. Kicking off the new year with an Imperial Smoked Brown Ale with coffee and maple syrup called Imperial Moountie by Bolero Snort. This beer is a nice, ingredient heavy beer that was actually brewed by a separate company called Cypress Brewing, also in New Jersey. It’s a good beer. It’s got a mild sweetness to it, and a mild bitterness to it, a mild coffee-ness to it, and a mild sourness to it. Too timid? I wonder if they originally made a brown ale and thought there wasn’t enough punch to it, so they added coffee, and still didn’t like it and added smoked malts, and still wanted more and added maple syrup, and then just bottled it and sold it? Maybe. They certainly didn’t love this beer seeing how they stopped making it and retired this beer. They don’t even mention it on their website. So if you want to try it, good luck finding one, but I bet there are still a few out there. Fans of coffee beers will love this beer. SBM is not so much into coffee beers, but we reward quality and that comes through upon pouring this fairly viscous, dark, and boozy snifter beer. Two full pours out of this champagne bottle was enough for me, but I’m going to have a third and finish this bottle because you the reader deserve it. Final score comes in at 5 smokestacks out of 7. You folks be safe out there.

BrewerBolero Snort
Beer NameImperial Moountie
Brewer’s DescriptionWhat better way to combat a bit of winter nip in the air than to whip up an imperial version of one of our Fall favorites. We scaled up our cherrywood smoked malt heavy base to a mash maxing level to get this morning wake up to 10.5% then conditioned it on maple syrup and coffee. Syrup smothered bacon and pancakes washed down by a warm cup of joe. (from passionvines.com, maybe it’s the actual brewers description, I don’t know)
Food PairingsA messy fried chicken sandwich smothered in syrup
Brewer LocationCarlstadt, NJ
Alcohol content by volume10.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)IBU = (W grams * U% * A% * 1000)/(V liters * C gravity) = a number that does not reflect perceived bitterness tasted in beer, so it’s stupid.
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)6.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)2.85
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks3
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)5.75
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)5
I like spreadsheets

Website:

bolerosnort.com

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Pipeworks – Smoked Helles – 5.8 smokestacks out of 7

This works! By Pipeworks, Smoked Helles. Helles means Light, according to the inebriated employee at a random Kentucky liquor store, (I don’t recall ever verifying that Helles statement). And this Smoked Helles by Pipeworks really fits the genre better than just about anyone out there who has ever made one. Pipework’s Smoked Helles has full force smokepower smell and taste from what I suspect are beechwood smoked malts, a hand full of thirst quenching bitters, and just enough alcohol to brighten your day after 16 ounces, or 32, or… The gold standard of smoked helles beers is by Aecht Schlenkerla out of Bamberg, Germany and this rendition does them proud. Something I haven’t shared on SmokeBeerMinistry yet was my pilgrimage to Bamberg, and into the center of the mountain where they brew their beer; it was a surreal experience. But at the time Pipeworks Smoked Helles was reviewed, I was well past an entire bottle of wine and seem to have jotted down ramblings encouraging readers to review the website’s About page, or Mission Statement; or not, who cares, its been a tough pandemic on us all, and this is a beer blog, how many curve balls could possibly be out there? I’ve been critical of Pipework’s creations in the past, and their business model in general. They deploy the scattergun technique, and produce an ever changing palate of beer concoctions and have never to my knowledge held steady onto any one recipe that I can find on two separate trips to the liquor store. But it is on this day that I learned the wisdom of the seeker. This search is central to SmokeBeerMinistry, and that makes me happy. Pipeworks Smoked Helles – 5.8 smokestacks out of 7.

BrewerPipeworks
Beer NameSmoked Helles
Brewer’s DescriptionI couldn’t find one, and I really tried scouring their website, which is just about the shittiest website I’ve ever seen. There’s an image of a cowboy campfire scene on the can.
Food Pairingschicken wings
Brewer LocationChicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume5.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)idk, it’s prolly something
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)2.9
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)6
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks6
Sausage detection? Y or NY
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)5.8

And then you have this website… Maybe I’m expecting too much to come from a decent website.

https://pdubs.net/about

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Freigeist and Against the Grain Breweries – Zerbster Bitterbier (A Traditional German Style Smoked Beer) – 4 out of 7 smokestacks

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The darker one. In a can is kinda rare. What the hell are you reading? This is the most comprehensive beer site in the world dedicated entirely to beers that taste like smoke. And the beer up for review today is a collaboration beer from Freigeist Brewery and Against the Grain brewery. As far as I can tell, the name of this one is Zerbster Bitterbier and it is the second canned smoked beer from this series that the two breweries put together, making it into the SmokeBeerMinistry tabernacle. Upon opening, the beer gushed up and out of the can all over the counter-top. Oddly enough, the other collaboration beer from these two was also extra fizzy, and even more odd, This beer marks the EIGHTH smoky beer from AGT that has been a collaboration beer. Are they completely unwilling to make a beer without the guidance of others? In any case, this beer, Zerbster Bitterbeer, is a traditional German style smoked beer that hits close to home (Bamberg, Germany) and brought with it a whole buncha hoppy bitters along with some smoke, and thousands of tiny bubbles I already mentioned. I’ve been drinkin and got drunk. This is not what The Ministry is looking for, but we’re not casting them out either. Final score = 4 smokestacks out of 7. End of infallible oration, typed by google.

BrewerFreigeist Brewery & AGT
Beer NameZerbster Bitterbier
Brewer’s DescriptionAn Unconventional Pair
Somewhere between “I don’t wanna be a chicken” and “I don’t wanna be a duck” Smoke and Hop lock eyes. Gallivanting across the dance floor Smoke meets Hop and they shake their butts. Their traditional nature separates them, but infatuation keeps them together. So, they spice things up and share a boot of this smoked beer over a special sausage. Prost!
Food PairingsWiener schnitzel
Brewer LocationKentucky / Bamberg Germany
Alcohol content by volume6.8%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)12?
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks2.5
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)4

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Against the Grain – Lichtenhainer (A traditional German style smoked sour beer) – 3.9 smokestacks out of 7

The brewery that seems financially sound, but has to reel in countless other brewers to produce a decent beer (and then make crude diarrhea jokes about it), has produced two canned smoked beers that have been marginally approved by The Ministry Celebrants at SmokeBeerMinistry. Against The Grain Brewery has convinced the team at Freigeist Brewery (Braustelle) to pool their resources, and produce this traditional Lichtenhainer beer. And while the final score is a 3.9 out of 7 smokestacks, we still think you should try it if you’re interested in overly carbonated, under smoked, but a still drinkable example of a lichtenhainer beer. On the lighter end of the smokebeer spectrum, lichtenhainers are smoked sour wheat beers, traditionally from Germany. This one in particular produces a bunch of burps. This beer strikes me as just another swing for the fence, in the hopes that it’ll go viral in the beer world somehow, but it didn’t, and as it turns out, they discontinued this beer before I put the review online, but what can I say, I gave them my money.

BrewerFreigeist Brewery & AGT
Beer NameLichtenhainer
Brewer’s DescriptionSmoke stepped out of his estate in the Lichtenhain hills of Thuringia to see the carnage the people had left. He’s always been accused of doing things people don’t like. The townspeople hate it when he makes something different. Armed with disdain for such a melding of styles they launched their unrest at Smoke’s spirit. This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last, but he’s not mad. He stands proudly with his monocle showing the future for taste buds among the people, including this smoked sour.
Food PairingsWiener schnitzel
Brewer LocationBrewed at Göller facility Germany
Alcohol content by volume4.7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)I wonder
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)1.95
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)1.25
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks1.75
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)2
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)3.9
Spreadsheets don’t translate well in beer blogs.

Are these age verification things the law of the internet? In the history of the internet, has one ever worked?

https://www.sheltonbrothers.com/breweries/freigeist/

https://atgbrewery.com/

Posted in Beer, Educate, Enlighten, rauchbier, Smokebeer, Sour beer, Wheat beer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amager Bryghus – Black Donald – 3.3 smokestacks out of 7

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Jumping right in on this one. This tastes like a cigar made out of tobacco roots. The flavor is packed with peat, dirty peat, tar and peat. I taste a boozy (11% abv) smooth burnt caramel square. Is there liquid smoke in here? I have to say, this beer is better than BrewDog’s Paradox Smokehead beer, if I remember correctly. Paradox was this beer that I had a long time ago, and didn’t like too much, so I hunted it down for a do-over review and found it after at least 5 years of hunting, and I didn’t like it the second time either. And here we are years after that, and now I’m drinking Amager’s Black Donald beer, and it tastes like that same beer is down in this glass, but for some reason, this is like a home coming. Did you grow up in a neighborhood with a mean old man on the corner? And years down the road you go back to visit your old house, and there’s Old Man Sandy shaking and shouting at you, “You’re driving too damn fast!” And as his lawn rake slides all down the side of your paint job, all you can feel is love and warmth in your heart. This beer is that old man.

Final score: 3.3 Smokestacks out of 7.

BrewerAmager Bryghus
Beer NameBlack Donald
Brewer’s DescriptionNow first of all, don’t get things mixed up: Black Donald was here way before that other Donald. And Black Donald is not involved in race or politics. Black Donald is all about plain evil, because he is himself the Devil – plain and simple. Black Donald takes many shapes. He may come as the well-dressed guest at the poker table – only given away by the cloven-hoofed goat feet he hides underneath. Those feet will always give him away, no matter what disguise he uses. And as a goat is how you’ll most often see him – with a long chain clanking after him. As this shape-shifting goat, Black Donald is known to cause terror all over the North of Scotland, often for no other purpose than to simply frighten people. If for some reason you need the help of the Devil – for instance against your enemies – a so called taghairm can be formed. A sort of spiritual calling involving the spit-roasting of live cats. It’s a long and complicated ceremony, and we honestly cannot recommend it. Also since you will forever be indebted to Black Donald himself.
Food PairingsLet’s pick up Danish for Belle
Brewer LocationKastrop, Denmark (Amager Island)
Alcohol content by volume11%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)51
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)6
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)3
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks4
Sausage detection? Y or NN
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil)4
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose)3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)3.3

Decent website:

https://www.amagerbryghus.dk/

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Unity Vibration – BrewGyver Kombucha Beer – 3 smokestacks out of 7

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I’m in so deep with this smokebeer thing that I branched out and bought a smoked kombucha. Or is it kombucha beer? Kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, fizzy, sweetened drink that Whole Foods customers think have health benefits, (they might be right). This kombucha beer called BrewGyver, made by the vegan-paleo-artisinal team at Unity Vibration hits the smokestack ratings on the lower end, which was higher than I was expecting. This kombucha-beer (kombucha-beer reminds me of the term cheese-food, which KraftHeinz will have you know cheese-food is NOT cheese, cheese-food is something different that the gov’t allowed them to invent in order to distract you long enough to get your money) but this kombucha-beer drink smells sweet and sour. Has noticeable fruit scents in it. Has a weird but light smoke taste to it along with a mild sting on the tongue. And a flat and dry finish. My friend liked it. I said I’d never buy it again. Plus, it had a good bit of sediment down in the bottom, which I don’t really like. I’m done. BrewGyver, overall score = a generous 3 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Unity Vibration
Beer Name BrewGyver                         Kombucha Beer
Brewer’s Description Brewed in honor of our “brewgyver”. Kombucha beer hopped with galena, chinook, and crystal hops. With strawberry, maple syrup, and smoked maple chips.
Food Pairings Anything Local-Vegan-Paleo that doesn’t cast a shadow
Brewer Location Ypsilanti, MI
Alcohol content by volume 8.26%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 122.5 (I swear, that’s what they have on the bottle)
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 1.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 1.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3

Good Website:

Kombucha Beer

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Samuel Adams – Cinder Bock – 5 out of 7 smokestacks

It’s OK. I’ve had this beer before. I’ve not only had a Cinder Bock by Samuel Adams before (in 2008 if I remember correctly), but I’ve also had beers from other breweries that taste exactly the same as this one, and I can’t remember any of those beers names, but I think they were from Colorado maybe. This beer smells sweet, nutty, slightly smoky. I smell caramel. Smells good. Tastes good. Not enough smoke. And this is one of those times (oftentimes) that low smoke is bad, but sometimes low smoke could be good (other times). But because of the “everything else factor” low smoke in this beer is bad. And I can tell that I am particularly fatigued at this moment and have no interest in saving this review as a draft and returning to it with any extra vigor, no sir, plowing through this review here and now. This beer is good. No dynamite element. Brew this with a bucket of “everything else plus smoke” and Sam Adams gets a dynamite smokestack rating. 5 is respectable. And so is Sam Adam’s small business lending branch of the company. End times.

Brewer Sam Adams (The Boston Beer Company)
Beer Name Cinder Bock   Rauchbock
Brewer’s Description Unusual and playful this cross-breed brew begins with a rush of smoky, almost savory, aromas and flavors. The distinctive campfire smokiness of a rauchbier lingers and begins to reveal the rich and velvety malt smoothness of a double bock with notes of toffee and caramel. This roguish brew transforms from its bold start to a hearty and satisfying finish.
Food Pairings Boston cream pie? What do they eat in Boston? Clam Chowda?
Brewer Location Boston , MA
Alcohol content by volume 9.4%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) N/A
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.85
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5.5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5

And who calls them The Boston Beer Company anyway?

https://www.samueladams.com/

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Deschutes – Baltic Porter – 4 Smokestacks (out of 7)

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Smells like beer, not smokebeer, but good beer, but sometimes I get really trashed and drink good beer and then I’m too drunk to enjoy it, or it goes to waste one way or another, taking me over the edge… Maybe this beer is bringing back bad memories. This beer seems mass produced due to the fairly faint flavors and the thin consistency (thirst quenching with low viscosity). I’m getting a little musty – dusty flavor in this. I’ll approve Deschutes “edge of smokiness” comment printed on the bottle. And, after getting interrupted by my phone for 20 minutes, I realize that my sobriety has long since left and it hasn’t increased my personal allotment of utils of pleasure. I have the hiccups. This beer is ok. This beer is not a smokebeer. Deschutes is a good brewery and I look forward to something more bold and smoky. Baltic Porter… meh. Overall metric = 4 smokestacks out of a total possible smokestack rating of 7 smokestacks, which means that this beer is something that wouldn’t be missed if it disappeared.

Brewer Deschutes
Beer Name Baltic Porter
Brewer’s Description A rich malt character highlights flavors of toffee, dried fruit, and molasses with an edge of smokiness. Chalk art by Ben Woodcock
Food Pairings Hamburgers
Brewer Location Bend, Oregon
Alcohol content by volume 8%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 25
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
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 Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4

Website is all professional! Beer culture is coming around:)

Baltic Porter

Home Page

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Ganstaller Brau – Schwarze 90 = 5 smokestacks out of 7

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This beer doesn’t taste smoked. And that’s mostly because it’s not a smoked beer, but it is made by one of the most reputable brewers who happens to have a solid selection of smoky beers, so you can say that reputation had a hand in getting this into the tabernacle. But this is good beer nonetheless. It tastes a bit too bitter for what I would call ideal. But lets get down to brass tacks, I’m a bit drunk at the moment. This is like rich peoples beer. I like rich people’s things.  I own some rich people’s things because they weren’t paying attention. Slight bits of bitters down in there. I like golf. I used to drive an Infinity. This beer has metallic notes in there, like iron, and not like copper. These folks have made other beers that SmokeBeerMinistry has ranked, which you can read about here, here, and here. Final score = 5.

Brewer Gänstaller Bräu
Beer Name Schwarze 90
Brewer’s Description For a Russian Imperial weighing in at nearly 12%,  Schwarze 90 has a surprisingly citrusy, grapefruity and piney nose and palate.  The trademark rich, creamy Gänstaller mouthfeel is backed up with plenty of bitter roastiness in the finish. A truly unique dark crossover bottom-fermented beer, with the brewery’s typically huge but balanced flavors on display.
Food Pairings Hamburgers, pub food, eat with big bites, chug beer
Brewer Location Hallerndorf, Germany
Alcohol content by volume 11.9%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) unimportant
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 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) 4.5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5

Here’s my hi tech translucency tool for the color metric (SRMs for the overly informed). Science.

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Ganstaller Brau’s website is not OK. But we do have the Shelton Brothers

http://www.ganstallerbrau.de/

https://www.sheltonbrothers.com/breweries/ganstaller-brau/

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De Dochter van de Korenaar – Sans Pardon – 4 smokestacks out of 7

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SmokeBeerMinistry first learned about these guys back in January of 2017, and since then they took my advice and put some effort into their website, at least I’d like to believe that it was my advice that they acted on. The next step will be to get them to look into organizing a robust, over the top, smoky beer. To be fair, that was not their intention here with Sans Pardon, how ironic. This beer smells like excellent beer. Slight smoke notes, stout beer wafting around, a bit of caramel, which is fairly balanced with the malts, bitter notes, and a number of other tastes like coffee, nuttiness, and must. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I got this beer. I know about De Dochter and the caliber of their work, regardless of my palate. And, with this beer being 11% abv, I’m only happy to investigate what about this beer drove them to write “touch of smoke” on this little dangling paper tag tied to the fancy bag the bottle is wrapped in (is presentation everything?) But the smell and taste kind of diverge, and the review gets a little tough for them. I taste burnt coffee, and musty basement, ash, something fruity, and I swear I taste old red wine, but that might be wafting off my shirt. Also, the carbonation had about a month left in its life, because the bubbles were tiny fizzy bubbles that dissipated quickly. I still liked this beer better than their Vanilla Smoked Porter that you can read about here. Anyhow, Final score = 4 Smokestacks, out of 7. Also, Rooibos is a kind of tea.

Here’s a picture of the bottle still in its paper sack, probably feeling all uppity.

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Here’s the spreadsheet that will pay dividends any day now… any day.

Brewer De Dochter van de Korenaar
Beer Name Sans Pardon
Brewer’s Description Classic heavy bittersweet ‘Imperial Stout’ with a touch of ‘Rooibos’, 11% vol.                          Sans Pardon is one of the toughest full malt beers from the brewery. Black as the night, with a creamy head. The high alcohol content complements the coffee and chocolate aspects in the beer. The ‘Rooibos’ gives the beer that extra touch of fruitiness. Sans Pardon the tastiest.
Food Pairings Sans Pardon tastes delicious with spicy hard cheeses.
Brewer Location Baarle-Hertog, Belgium
Alcohol content by volume 11%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) some say 50, I say meaningless
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Sausage detection? Y or N n/a
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4

Looks like a family business:

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

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Half Batch – Peppersprout Smoked Porter – 3 out of 7 smokestacks

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I remember this one. And I cannot believe that I liked the smoked pumpkin beer more than this beer which I had on the same day. The Tap House in Chattanooga, TN seems to be on the right track with two distinctly different smoked beers available for The Ministry to throw back, on a day that civil war reenactors exchanged cannon reports (without the cannon balls) between the top of Lookout Mountain and the bottom, way way down, in front of that mental hospital at the bend in the river (serenity now). It was too good of a day where Papaw and the baby, and the baby’s parents, all went out on an adventure without incident. And then this beer tasting on the jaunt back into town came as quite the refuge from all the excitement. Peppersprout – Smoked Porter with Roasted Jalapenos by Half Baked Brewing of Hendersonville, TN has promise, but not without criticism. What’s in this beer? Pepper? Chipotle? I can’t tell; I didn’t have a description at the time, and in fact, I still don’t have a description, just a longer version of the name. And at the table, a green horn Ministry official stated, “I’ve had better” and “This gives me indigestion.” But I have taught him well, because these are my thoughts too. This beer has just enough heat to the spice to make me want to drink more, more of a different beer. The Tap House Chattanooga takes the prize on this day. Better luck next time Half Baked.

Brewer Half Baked Brewing
Beer Name Peppersprout – Smoked Porter with Roasted Jalapenos
Brewer’s Description Missed opportunity
Food Pairings Hotdogs
Brewer Location Hendersonville, TN
Alcohol content by volume 5.2
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 27
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Spiciness 1 – 7 (mild – painful) 4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3

Website, well, it’s up, I guess that’s their victory:

https://halfbatchbrewing.com

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Fat Bottom Brewing – Fire Starter smoked pumpkin porter = 4.5 smokestacks out of 7

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Chattanooga is cool. Chris Calhoun is probably alright too. While his straightforwardly business name The Tap House might lack creativity, his beer menu does not. At the time of this drinking, The Tap House had 2 smoked beers on tap, both of which were new to The Ministry. As for the beer, not bad, well, too bitter. It has a dryness on the exhale. I can just barely taste the pumpkin, which is a good thing, and the potpourri spice garbage that often comes hand in hand with pumpkin beers is virtually non existent, which is a really good thing. This beer is OK. That’s all I have. I look forward to returning to The Tap House Chatt.

Brewer Fat Bottom Brewing
Beer Name Firestarter Smoked Pumpkin Porter
Brewer’s Description We put our spin on the classic porter by using Pecan smoked malt, smoked wheat, and real pumpkin. It’s velvety on the palate, and finishes with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and real vanilla. It’s just like drinking the Autumn season in a glass!
Food Pairings Burgers
Brewer Location Nashville, TN
Alcohol content by volume 6.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3.8
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4.5

Fat Bottom Brewing website:

https://fatbottombrewing.com/drink/

The Tap House (Chattanooga)

http://www.taphousechatt.com/

Also, I spotted this under the resin top bar. Its a good sign…

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Blind Pig Brewery – Bamberger Smoked Helles – 4.5 smokestacks out of 7

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This beer smells like beechwood smoked malts straight out of Bamberg. Although The Blind Pig Brewery resides in Champaign, IL, which is a cool 3 places in the recently revived Champaign downtown. 1)the brewery, 2) the brewery extension that has its own separate entrance and is technically connected to the brewery, but it seems like its own place to some of the locals, and 3) the original Bling Pig bar that is my favorite of the three mostly because of the hidden cove seating options, not to mention the twin city leader for beer selection. And speaking of The Blind Pig, this Bamberger Smoked Helles lager beer on the agenda today, happens to be the 5th smoked beer this fine establishment snuck into SmokeBeerMinistry (lucky them). The taste comes off as a bit too bitter. And the smoke power dissipates along with my enthusiasm as I get down farther into the glass. This beer reminds me of Schlenkerla Helles Lager but that didn’t boost the score too much. The Blind Pig used smoked malts, which should lead you to investigate how Aecht Schlenkerla makes a smoky beer without using smoked malts (research project for you my friend). Well anyway, I blasted my shoulders at the gym today. I’ve recently switched to an all overhead press workout and it leaves me exhausted for the rest of the day. At least a couple hundred reps of heavy weights up over my head. I’m too fuckin manly. Oh, and Helles means light. Final score 4.5 smokestacks (out of 7).

Brewer Blind Pig Brewery
Beer Name Bamberger Smoked Helles
Brewer’s Description Augustiner yeast. 25% beechwood smoked malts… which I read off the menu. The website has erroneously posted some other beer’s notes in Bambergers description. 
Food Pairings Pub fare
Brewer Location Champaign, IL
Alcohol content by volume 5.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) idk
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.9
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
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4.5

Website:

https://www.blindpigco.com

 

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Amager Bryghus / ATG – Kentucky Sausage – 2 out of 7 smokestacks

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I found this beer in the discount bin. It always helps to spend less, although we must stop short of saying that we are saving money; you can’t save money by making purchases. Amager Bryghus of Demark is a reputable brewery, now with two beers making it into the tabernacle, and Against the Grain Brewery of Louisville, KY (USA) is another story. ATG gets beat up a bit (too much) on this site because they employ the quantity over quality approach, along with a disappointingly crass public relations campaign. But, collaborating with some of the better brewers around the world, fortunately works to elevate ATG’s clout in the industry. But what’s in it for Amager? Distribution I suppose. ATG must have a hell of a salesman working for them, because anyone willing to work with a company that put a crude image of an undressed man with diarrhea on their beer cans, is not functioning completely on their own accord. And this beer’s name, referencing dicks, could only be the product of those clever wits at ATG. Typically, no matter how (un)clever the marketing team is, the name of a beer hints at the flavor or style. Not here however. And this beer, an imperial brown ale, was awfully bitter, is not similar to most other brown ales, isn’t a fest beer, and doesn’t taste like sausage. And after 20 minutes of complaining about this beer, I realize that I haven’t taken a second sip in that 20 minutes. Maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep last night? There ain’t no smoke in here! The froth on top helped aerate the flavor a bit, there, that’s my good deed for the day. Overall score = 2 smokestacks.

Brewer Amager Bryghus / ATG
Beer Name The Great, Big Kentucky Sausage Fest
Brewer’s Description We expected banjos and Bourbon but received nothing of that sort. Instead our brew day with the handsome fellers of Against The Grain Brewery from Louisville, Kentucky turned into a hotdog eating contest. Yep, no kiddin’. Big Kentuckian feller, Sam, challenged our own big feller, Jacob, as to who could down the most gourmet hotdogs, big and spicy as they were with specialty toppings. Well, Sam should never have done that….should you Sam? However, a beer was indeed brewed in between all the trash talk and wieners. We hope you’ll enjoy this hoppy Imperial Brown Ale – it was designed to go with hotdogs in particular and other spicy and smoked foods.
Food Pairings hot dogs, spicy and smoked foods
Brewer Location Kastrup, Denmark
Alcohol content by volume 7.7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 20
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 2

Websites:

http://www.amagerbryghus.dk/

http://www.atgbrewery.com/

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Port Huron Brewery – $1Million Smoked Maibock – 4 Smokestacks out of 7

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Port Huron Brewery of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin produced this here $1M Smoked Maibock in a bottle, which I’ve had on tap in the past, but had to test this bottle out for some reason. This beer smells like a four dollar smoked maibock, not quite a million. Maibocks are stronger lager beers, German in origin, and on the pale side of a regular bock beer. This one, however, is a bit off the maibock mark that Wikipedia suggests. This beer also smells of notes of something I call “brand new brewery and/or unrefined brewing processes still working on tightening it all up and serving our community top notch shit, but at least we have all the necessary equipment” smell (which sounds better if you say it real fast). Smoke smell from this beer dissipates a bit over the life of this beer, which is about 10 minutes, but the taste seems to have some staying power. Carbonation is a bit on the light side and after the thick head settled down, there was hardly any bubbles left, which is another newbie trademark. It still tastes fine though. Malt, warm grape nuts, and caramel flavors, moderate smoke, and more notes and flavors of factory floor in the new brewery, which ain’t that bad. So, ahh… it’s late here. This beer is OK. I don’t want to say more things. Final smoke metric = 4 smokestacks.

Brewer Port Huron Brewing
Beer Name Million Dollar Smoked Maibock (bottle)
Brewer’s Description A collaboration brew between Port Huron Brewing Co. & One Barrel Brewing from Madison. This hefty Maibock is brewed with just the right amount of smoked malt to give it a fantastic smoky nose and the right amount of smoky flavor. Dangerously drinkable! Available in spring for a limited time!
Food Pairings Pub Grub, cheese curds, pie
Brewer Location Wisconsin Dells, WI
Alcohol content by volume 7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) no
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4

 

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Pearl Street Brewery – Smokin’ Hemp Porter – 4 out of 7 smokestacks

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Smells like a 4, tastes like a 4 (on a 1 – 7 scale). Reminds me of Stone smoked porter, but with more roasted flavors (when I want more smoke). This beer is kinda thin, dark, but not dense with particles because light seems to pierce right through my full glass, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it does explain why I’m not currently touring flavor country. Halfway through this beer and I’m getting cottonmouth. Swear. Only encouraging me to drink more (clever, but dangerous), but I don’t care. The world needs someone to drink as many smokebeers as possible and then write about them, I think, therefore this is my contribution to the world. You’re welcome. You should watch the TV show Alone. It’s about a buncha people isolated out in the woods, filming themselves, slowly coming to the realization that they have gotten themselves in over their heads. I find that funny. And I bet I could be one of those people. In the woods, filming myself slowly deteriorate for your amusement. Give me a couple more of these Smokin’ Hemp Porters and I’ll sign up. Also, I don’t know anything about the outdoors. Pearl Street looks like they’ve stamped “BB” on their bottle caps. Now I’m confused. Anyway, here’s a family friendly smokebeer for you. Smokin’ Hemp Porter. It’s OK! Final smokestack rating = 4 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Pearl Street Brewery
Beer Name Smokin’ Hemp Porter
Brewer’s Description Another Pearl Street original. This dark, smooth, and easy drinkin’ porter is made with cherry-wood smoked malt and toasted Canadian hemp seeds. Released each year on 4/20 and aged throughout the year, its flavor matures with time.
Food Pairings Burgers and Fries
Brewer Location La Crosse, Wisconsin
Alcohol content by volume 5.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 18
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4

Good Website:

https://pearlstreetbrewery.com/

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High Water – Campfire Stout – 3.5 smokestacks out of 7

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I sure smell marshmallows in this beer, and the second smell is graham crackers. Smoke smell is in there somewhere, but it has a lot to compete with. It may even be only roasted notes that are tricking me into believing in something that isn’t really there. But, the word campfire and accompanying image of one on the bottle was too much of a smoke signal to pass buying and bringing into the tabernacle. They sure got the sweet sugar flavors into this beer. This beer reminds me of something, some beer thing, some memory of a beer experience, and not of a campfire experience. Not like any campfire experience (repetition for emphasis). As I get halfway through this bottle, I think that this beer delivers on their marshmallow and graham cracker target, but I only want more and more of a smoky campfire experience. This beer has potential. This free consultation is for High Water Brewing only, which some brewers can expect to pay thousands of dollars for = needs tons more smoke, all else fine. You’re welcome. Overall beer satisfaction numeral = 3.5 smokestacks out of a possible 7 smokestacks.

Brewer High Water Brewing
Beer Name Campfire Stout
Brewer’s Description “Leaves you wanting S’More” Stout brewed with graham crackers, molasses with natural flavor added. Campfire Stout evokes fond memories of wilderness and camping adventures. Notes of chocolate and graham cracker topped with a hint of marshmallow will leave you wanting s’more. Like any campfire experience, this beer is best shared with a warm circle of family and friends.
Food Pairings Hot Dogs
Brewer Location Lodi, CA
Alcohol content by volume 6.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 39
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.95
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 6
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3.5

Good website:

http://www.highwaterbrewing.com/

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Dovetail Brewery – Flanders Rauch X01 -5 smokestacks out of 7

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This is the last review of the Dovetail Brewery tabernacle takeover month, where SmokeBeerMinistry reviewed 4 different beers from Dovetail that are all smokebeers in some capacity. And this review in particular spilled into the next month because I didn’t get this written up fast enough, but that doesn’t diminish anything from the pheasant experience that this smoky sour beer brings to the table. Upon opening and pouring this beer, you’ll detect sour notes, good sour notes (oxymoron?) but not so much smoke, however. This beer has the kind of sour vinegar taste you find in one of those fancy oil and vinegar stores, with the dainty little bottles that you fill up with help from an employee (because they’re not cleaning up another customer’s mess), and then pay 10X the price of anything reasonable that you can find in a grocery store, good sour. And the smoke is there, but mostly on the exhale. Dovetail does things alright. When I was at the brewery the place was packed. And at the end of the bar was one guy, clearily an employee of the competitor brewery from around the block, enjoying himself with everyone else. Dovetail is where local brewers go to drink good beer. And Flanders Rauch X01 is good. 5 smokestacks good. And my taste buds are dead.

Brewer Dovetail Brewery
Beer Name Flanders Rauch X01
Brewer’s Description What is Flanders Rauch? A slow drinker, a deep thinker, a dream of Dovetail born of experimentation. Bringing together two beers—Franconian smoked lagers and Belgian sours—into a new distinct style, aged in 19 oak barrels over one year—found only here in our first bottle release. Crazy? Yes, crazy & complex, smoke & tart with a hit of funk. Drink, enjoy & make a friend you never expected to meet.
Food Pairings Quail
Brewer Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 5.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) no guesses
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
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
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5

Website… I’ve seen better, but I can’t suggest that extra effort here will be rewarded:

http://dovetailbrewery.com/beers/

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ATG and Holy Mountain – Ashes to Mashes – 4.1 smokestacks out of 7

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Against The Grain brewery out of Louisville, KY has delivered another collaboration beer with moderate success.  This time with a crew called Holy Mountain, whose name alone would grant them entry into the tabernacle, however, in this case, they have produced a beer using foraged walnuts to smoke the malts for this Amber Ale aged in bourbon barrels. Ashes has a decent tart and smoky smell to it that wafts out right as you open it up. Oh, and speaking of opening it, upon opening this one, beer gushed up and out of the bottle, and all over my kitchen counter and floor, like a champagne bottle that had been shook up, point deduction there. I’m surprised this bottle didn’t explode in my fridge. I wonder if the barrel developed the tartness in this beer, as well as the component that caused some kind of pressure inducing foam and beer spewing monster inside this bottle that caused all the fuss. In their defense, the hidden notes of barrel power in this beer hit my palate just right. This beer reminds me of Funkenrauch which fared a bit better in the overall score (well, the clean up was much easier). Ashes to Mashes isn’t great. I’m still upset about the mess it made. And ATG didn’t do this alone; I wonder where this brewery would be today if it weren’t for the collaboration beers they’ve been involved in? 4.1 smokestacks awarded in the overall category.

Brewer Against The Grain and Holy Mountain Brewing
Beer Name Ashes to Mashes
Brewer’s Description Amber Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels. Typically it’s the last thing you’ll hear before you’re covered with dirt. All the nuts in the world can’t buy you an eternal life. So live in the moment!. For just that reason, our friends from Holy Mountain Brewing cam all the way from Seattle, Washington to brew and thus was born Ashes to Mashes, Nuts to Butts! It’s brewed with malt smoked form foraged black walnuts and aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. So get it now or get it never.
Food Pairings Pub food
Brewer Location Louisville, KY and Seattle, WA
Alcohol content by volume 6.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 40
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 2
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4.1

These Holy Mountain guys (beards in black t-shirts) seem honest enough. Their website could use some work:

http://www.holymountainbrewing.com/beers

No mention of this beer on Against the Grain’s page of over 300 beers they’ve produced. That’s odd…

http://www.atgbrewery.com/index.html#section-home

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Dovetail Brewery – R&R – 3 smokestacks out of 7

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One of the Rs stands for Root Beer, and the second R, well, if you can get anything out of this other than root beer, hats off to you. Its a blend of rauchbier and root beer, however, the root beer is so overpowering that you’ll strain to taste anything else. Dovetail’s 3rd entrant into SBM Tabernacle Takeover month is with a beer called R&R. You may be familiar with shandy’s, a kind of beer that is basically some kind of beer (usually light in nature) mixed (usually 50/50) with something refreshing like a lemon-lime soda or ginger beer. A radler is the same thing as a shandy, however, both ingredients seen here, are very unusual. And speaking of unusual, mixing a 5.3% abv beer with a 0% root beer cannot = a 5.3% abv radler, somebody needs to look over the math. I love rauchbier, and I love root beer, but the two mixed together… I’ll just be nice and say, maybe it’s a case of too much of a good thing. R&R is not good. Dovetail Brewery is still cool. And I have one more beer of theirs, Flanders Rauch, to try before the month is over. Let us hope for a redemption beer. Overall score for this way too sweet, but clearly off radler beer = a generous 3 out of 7 smokestacks.

Brewer Dovetail Brewery
Beer Name R&R
Brewer’s Description Our Rauchbier was feeling left out of the Radler fun, so we mixed it 70/30 with Filbert’s Draft Root Beer.
Food Pairings Rauchbier
Brewer Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 5.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) technically, 30?
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks Root Beer = 7
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3

Website’s ok:

http://dovetailbrewery.com/

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Dovetail – Rauchbier – 5.5 smokestacks out of 7

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Week 2 of Dovetail’s tabernacle takeover month delivers another properly named beer. Rauchbier by Dovetail Brewery is the name of this beer and Rauchbier is the name of this kind of beer, leaving no unanswered questions to customers who also speak German. Rauchbier is German for smoke-something and is traditionally a smoky flavored German beer from Bamberg, Germany. And, after having this good beer at the brewery, I also happened across it at a pretty cool bar called Collective Pour in Champaign, IL. Dovetail says that they use 100% smoked malts (and then later revised that to 98%) but I’m not getting the overwhelming smokepower I was expecting. It’s really smoky, don’t get me wrong, but when I hear 100% (or whatever)… I expected more I guess. I’m also guessing that they don’t save their yeast. I’m thinking this crew buys new yeast for every batch to help keep their beer consistently tasting the same every time, which is fine, but new yeast can draw in smoky flavors and never let them go, which may be happening here. Dovetail could also use more smoked malts, or less water, and get a change in the intensity, which I concede, the general public is not ready for. Espectations can really sway a review, and so can smokebeer, like the last beer I had, the Grodziskie, just a few moments ago. Intense flavors can punish your taste buds. Nonetheless, Dovetail’s Rauchbier is a solid entrant into the smokebeer tabernacle. Traditional presentation and execution all the way to the customer. 5.5 smokestacks out of 7. Respectable.

Brewer Dovetail Brewery
Beer Name Rauchbier
Brewer’s Description Dark with reddish tones and an off-white head with a rocky foam standing above the rim of the glass; as you bring it to your nose, you feel like you are eating a bar of chocolate in a smokehouse, full and rich with generous hopping to balance the flavor of beechwood smoked bacon.
Food Pairings Chicago style pizza, sausage
Brewer Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 5.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5.5
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.5

Good website. Got a few pages that exist, but can’t be reached through the homepage, you gotta stumble across them in independent searches, no big deal:

http://dovetailbrewery.com/

And here’s Collective Pour, via Facebook. They should probably get a real website:

https://www.facebook.com/collectivepour/

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Dovetail Brewery – Grodziskie – 5 out of 7

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Another tabernacle takeover month with Dovetail Brewery this time. This crew buckled down and cranked out 4 unique smokebeers at the same time, much to SmokeBeerMinistry’s surprise. And, you gotta love the names of these beers. Calling a spade a spade for a change! The Ministry appreciates this. How did beer culture get so far off track with names? I don’t want some stupid story about some old person who did or said something… and then the brewer claps back with a big F-U and names a beer after the old curmudgeon… Cripes! We don’t care. A Grodziskie is a smoked wheat beer. Typically smoked with oak wood and Polish in origin, this Grodziskie comes from Chicago, IL. With notes of spent firecrackers and fading bitterness, this beer fits exceedingly well within the namesake genre. And this brewery fits in exceedingly well within this neighborhood. The bar is packed with 15 or so bar seats and 15 or so tables, and has 8 bartenders behind it. All of them busy, and it looks like all of them love those little Underberg things. You know those little green liquor filled paper covered bottle thingies? They’re selling and drinking a ton of them, I guess its their thing. Imagine a thin and bubbly wheat beer that tastes smoky, that’s a Grodziskie, and that’s what Dovetails Grodziskie tastes like. Competency skills test passed. Overall score = 5 out of 7.

Brewer Dovetail Brewery
Beer Name Grodziskie
Brewer’s Description Pale in color with a spirited effervescence, Grodziskie is the specialty beer of its namesake town in Poland. More carbonated than Hefeweizen and lower in alcohol, this 100% smoked wheat beer features light, citrus-like overtones with a surprising glimmer of spice and smoke.
Food Pairings Thick pizza, Chicago style
Brewer Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 3.8%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) na
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.25
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 3.5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5

Good site they got here:

http://dovetailbrewery.com/beers/

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BrewDog – Paradox Smokehead (bottle) – 3.5 out of 7

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Here’s a paradox, I cannot recommend this beer, but I want another. I originally had BrewDog Paradox Smokehead a looong time ago, and was the first documented smokebeer reviewed on SmokeBeerMinistry (see here), and the results were similar. But this time, I’m at least interested enough to keep thinking about it.

The brewers at BrewDog, in collaboration with the team at Smokehead Scotch whiskey makers, put this Paradox smokebeer together a few years back, and now have made it onto this site (I’m sure they’re thrilled). I was a little nervous about how this was going to pan out with the pour so void of carbonation, but lifting the bottle above the glass a good foot or so as I poured, agitated the beer enough to develop the bit of suds seen in the pic. And the smell was loaded with scotch whiskey and barrel notes, but not so much smoke. And on the first sip I noticed that this was loaded with booze, leaving a warm sensation on the back of my throat, a nice consolation given that the barrel and heavy peat scotch were doing all the driving on my palate. Do you know peat? Peat is the mud substance with rotting weeds, roots, and fibers in it, all matted down for centuries, and then dried and used as fuel for heat as well as for smoking malts for eccentric beer brewers. Paradox and Smokehead have used peat smoked malts which makes for extremely earthy and scotch flavors in this beer. I had a hard time getting into this beer, even at a warmer than normal temperature (but colder than the room temperature recommendation given by BrewDog). I feel like I should like this beer, but since this beer has been discontinued, I doubt I’ll find it again. I’m sure that if BrewDog liked it more, they would’ve kept making it. That’s all I have to say. Final smokestack rating = 3.5 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Brew Dog
Beer Name Paradox Smokehead
Brewer’s Description This latest edition – Paradox Smokehead  (10% abv) – has already sent a wave of excitement across the beer world with fans of the award winning stout predicting great things from the new partnership. The smooth, robust stout has been completely infused with the Atlantic smoke, heavy peat, vanilla oak and balancing fruit and honey flavours of the powerful Smokehead whisky to deliver a deliciously complex flavour.
Food Pairings Meat shanks
Brewer Location Ellon, Scotland
Alcohol content by volume 10%
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.75
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3.5 (7 out of 7 in scotchwhiskey smells)
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 7
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3.5

The website is a little hard to follow, but it works:

https://www.brewdog.com/usa/lowdown/blog/paradox-smokehead

And Smokehead:

https://smokehead.com/

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Off Color Brewing – Class War – 5.5 smokestacks out of 7

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This beer is good. A group out of Chicago called Off Color Brewing whipped this one up and were sure to pack in all the necessary ingredients to set this off right. This beer called Class War could benefit from hitting the crop feature before printing the next batch of labels, although given that this beer is a Gotlandsdricka style beer, in a champagne bottle, and found priced and placed among other craft beer collections, I wouldn’t expect the benefits to be all that pronounced, but it couldn’t hurt. A Gotlandsdricka beer is a smoky ale, historically from the Swedish island Gotland, and brewed with juniper berries. Leaving Class War as a dark, but not too cloudy, robust smoky beer. This beer reminds me of an imperial porter but with less beer flavors and more sweet and spicy hints. It’s interesting because the 9.5% abv is well hidden, I find it thirst quenching without thinking that it’s watery, and the flavors are just a little off center enough to throw off my palate. And that’s enough intrigue to get me on board with this beer and this brewery. And I really like honey, although I would have never known that it was an ingredient. I’m looking forward to trying Off Color’s 15 Feet beer, which is also smoked, so look for that review to crop up sometime. Overall smokestack rating = 5.5 smokestacks.

Brewer off color brewing
Beer Name Class War
Brewer’s verbose Description Gotlandsdricka, or Gotlandsdricke, is the indigenous farmhouse ale of Gotland, the largest island in Sweden. A cousin to the Finnish Sahti, it’s similarly kept alive by a handful of old men and very much in danger of dying off with them. Was taught how to make it by the head brewer at Nårke over the course of several, several beers where he made me run through several books he had with him a the bar despite the fact that a) they were in Swedish b) there were no pictures and c) I don’t speak Swedish. Undeterred, he carried on and felt it was very important to discuss the tradition of brewing dricke and also that there are different sexes of juniper trees.                                                                                             Our version is deeply spicy with both malted and unmalted rye and a hefty addition of juniper but, while rich, finishes dry and fruity thanks to a large honey addition and a portion of malt Dave smoked by hand over pear wood in the backyard. ABV is deceptive and balances against the stonefruit sweetness of dark munich. At 9.5% it should leave you well prepared for the brave new world we’re heading into or at least blissfully despondent. Just remember, vikings didn’t have health insurance either. Gonna go ahead and guess lots of us won’t anymore, so we have priced Class War accordingly. Brewing for the proletariat.
Food Pairings Deep dish or Chicago Style or Chicago style deep dish or a hotdog with tomatoes on it… Actually, just stick with pizza.
Brewer Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 9.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) I’m thinking it doesn’t have a rating
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5.75
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.5

More about what a Gotlandsdricka beer is can be found at Wiki-somethin’another:

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

Off Color’s website’s OK, and they emphasize their core competency (beer making), which is good:

http://www.offcolorbrewing.com/beer/

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Left Hand Brewing – Smoke Jumper (draft) – 5 out of 7 smokestacks

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Found this on tap. I remember having this in a 22oz bomber a few years back, and I liked it enough to have picked up a few more since then. One bottle happens to be in my bunker right now. So finding this on tap for the first time was a pleasant surprise. And the near 10% abv which I had forgotten about was a pleasant surprise as well, so I had two. If you would like a reminder on how that review went back in 2014, check here. And if Left Hand Brewery would like a reminder of how this beer was received, they should check here too, because for some reason, their administrator has expunged this concoction from their website. I had this Smoke Jumper beer on my way to a movie with a friend, and the only thing I can remember about the movie is where it was screened, but the title and any memory about what I saw is gone. I sure remember this beer though. Sweet, not too smoky, booze hidden in the caramel, sugars, and malt flavors, and the price and size of the pour were robust (but not really an attribute of the beer or brewery, but positives for me nonetheless). There’s something in here that makes me think I taste peat, but it’s at just the right mild intensity to convince me to like it. If you can find this beer, buy it and drink it. Overall smokestack rating = 5 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Left Hand Brewing Co.
Beer Name Smoke Jumper                        smoked imperial porter
Brewer’s Description A tribute to men who parachute into a fiery wilderness so we can enjoy it. This 21 degree plato porter made with barley malt hand-smoked by our brewers. Roasty brown in color, the long lingering smokiness wraps around notes of molasses, toasted malt, and an earthy hoppiness.
Food Pairings Chocolate, BBQ, Beef, Smoked meats, grilled meats.
Brewer Location Longmont, CO
Alcohol content by volume 9.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 50
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4.75
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5

I have feelings about this website, ambivalent feelings.

http://lefthandbrewing.com

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De Molen – Spanning & Sensatie – 5 out of 7 smokestacks

IMG_20180723_214429.jpgThis is the final of 5 De Molen beer reviews, completing Tabernacle Takeover month with a respectable entrant, Spanning & Sensatie (Excitement & Sensation literally, Thrills and Spills in meaning). This beer is a solid smoked beer, with some bitter ashes, fleeting chocolate, and just a wee bit of heat which builds up slightly before the beer is done. This beer delivers what I must describe as that element that only De Molen can deliver, its a flavor that is distinct in all five of the DM beers I’ve had this month, and its the inarticulate nature of my mind grapes that drives me to invent the word DeMoleny. Out of the world’s upper echelon brewers, of which De Molen resides, Spanning, and pretty much everything else smoked that we’ve had, are in the middle of the road of the upper echelon. Like someone on the all-star team, but only used as an alternate. Or a world class dual citizen soccer player who has to choose the less competitive country to play for in the World Cup. It was a fun month, and expensive too. No ragrets. Maybe I’ll take next week off. Final smoke metric = 5 smokestacks.

Brewer De Molen
Beer Name Spanning & Sensatie
Brewer’s Description Spanning & Sensatie was intended to thrill your taste buds. We tried to achieve this by adding cacao, chili peppers and salt to an already powerful imperial stout. Have fun. Flavor indication: cacao, chocolate, chili, salt. Translates as Excitement & Sensation or in meaning Thrills & Spills.
Food Pairings Gourmet hamburgers
Brewer Location Bodegraven, Netherlands
Alcohol content by volume 9.8%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 61 EBU
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.1 (314 EBC)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3.4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4.85
Spiciness 1 – 7 (mild – painful) 2.1
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5

Here’s their homepage:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/en/

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De Molen – Hemel & Aarde – 5.85 smokestacks out of 7

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Hemel & Aarde (Heaven & Earth) smells like the best smokebeer that I’ve had come from De Molen to date. As we continue tabernacle takeover month with De Molen Brouwerij and their host of beers that taste smoky, we find this beer, Hemel & Aarde offering a solid peaty, smoked imperial stout, that I had to open prior to the 25 year “enjoy by” expiration date. I think I just may buy this one again and stash it away for a quarter century and see what kind of sludge comes out… stay tuned for that post in the fall of 2043. And speaking of aging, SmokeBeerMinistry doesn’t promote this practice, in fact, we kind of think its silly, and yet we do it anyway in very limited quantities. Plenty of smoke, peat, and sweet rich malt notes wafting around, but then the taste goes and takes a left turn. The taste is peat forward, with a scotch highball chasing right behind. And I swear I taste barrel in this, which must be coming from the scotch and not a barrel, because this was never in a barrel, although De Molen does make a BA variant of this beer. This beer never wavers from a rich persons beer flavor with a touch of bitter tart and dryness on the back of the throat. I like it. Overall score = 5.85 smokestacks.

Brewer De Molen
Beer Name Hemel & Aarde
Brewer’s Description Hemel & Aarde is brewed with the most heavily peated malts we could find. Not for the fainthearted. This powerful brew overwhelms you with smoke, chocolate and coffee. Flavour indication: smoke, chocolate, coffee Translates as Heaven & Earth
Food Pairings Pot roast, potatoes, desserts
Brewer Location Bodegraven, Netherlands
Alcohol content by volume 10.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 108 EBU
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.6 (394 EBC)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 6
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 6
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.85

Good Website:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/beers

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De Molen – Bloed, Zweet & Tranen – 5.75 smokestacks out of 7

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De Molen tabernacle takeover month continues with this angelically aromatic beer! Smoky. Like a full on rauchbier, which really is the main direction that SmokeBeerMinistry is driving at; think campfires, charcoal grills, and smokehouses. Although there are some beers with a low smoke profile that score high, the campfire smoky flavor almost always catapults the score well above average. Bloed, Zweet, & Tranen beer by De Molen Brouwerij is a good example of a good beer by a great brewery, who would benefit by focusing on filtering and/or minimizing the particles floating around inside their beers. I don’t mind a little silt here and there in unpasteurized, unfiltered beers, but that changes the product over time, and it might help the customer if they knew what they were going to get before opening. This beer had tons of flakes all swirling around in there. Plus, carbonation really starts to fade after a few years, and these De Molen beers are such slow movers on liquor store shelves, that it’s rare to find anything younger that 3 years old. This sweet and smoky stout delivers the personification of a rich person drinking from a snifter, although I only have this shaker glass to drink from. I didn’t get any chocolate or coffee notes out of this, just rich smoke, sugar, and a touch of peat in there. I would like to drink this again, perhaps something right out of the brewery, but I’m not too keen on paying another $8+ for a gamble on something that may have gone awry in the bottle. Bloed, Zweet, & Tranen is sweet, smoky, good. Overall smokestack metric = 5.75 smokestacks

Brewer De Molen
Beer Name Bloed, Zweet, & Tranen
Brewer’s Description Bloed, Zweet & Tranen is not for those looking for something easy. Heavily smoked, loads of chocolate and roasted malts. Yet a beer you can still enjoy all evening long. Flavourindication: Smoke, chocolate, roasted malts. Translates as Blood Sweat & Tears
Food Pairings Pecan pie, Smoked almonds or pistachios, digestifs
Brewer Location Bodegraven, the Netherlands
Alcohol content by volume 8.2%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 29 EBU
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.8 (EBC 169)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 6.7
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 6
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.75

Here’s there website:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/beers

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De Molen – Hel & Verdoemenis – 5.5 smokestacks

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Smells like good beer. Although I saw a few globs of somethin’ anuther’ flop down into my glass when it was poured, it smelled alright… I’m pretty sure I say “it smells alright” before I eat something way too often, let’s assume this is not one of those questionable instances that goes horribly awry. Hel & Verdoemenis (which translates to Hell & Damnation) by the brewers at De Molen is apparently the little brother beer to last weeks De Molen Heaven and Hell beer. Both beers seem to form translucent congealed globs in the bottom of the bottle, so I guess this should start to become expected, although I’ll never condone this happening. As far as what a smoked imperial stout aged in scotch whiskey barrels should taste like, SmokeBeerMinistry will point to this final product as a good example. I would ask De Molen to rethink the “enjoy within 25 years” statement printed on many labels that have gone out, but it seems that it has already been removed, perhaps because of the peculiar formations down in there? As for the taste, I taste whiskey, chocolate, smoke, peat, lots of booze, along with a slight sour stinging bitterness that only a barrel can impart, and I like it. The score would have been in the +6 area had the consistency held on, but the globs bumped into my lips towards the bottom of my glass so I had to bump the score down a notch. I’m glad to report that the De Molen Brouwerij that I know exists has delivered a beer of their caliber, if only they would go a little farther. Overall score = 5.5 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Brouwerij De Molen
Beer Name Hel & Verdoemenis
Brewer’s Description We were looking forward to this beer…and it turned out we were right to. With 11% ABV it’s a strong beer for beerlovers that enjoy their peated flavors. The original bitter coffee and chocolate flavors of Hel & Verdoemenis (translates as Hell & Damnation) are enriched with the peat, woody, roasty tastes of the exceptional Scottish Barley Whiskey Barrels. Warming and powerful. Bitter, roasted, chocolate, coffee. All times 2. It’s this why it’s our Flag Ship and best selling Imperial Stout.
Food Pairings Pair with desserts
Brewer Location Bodegraven, Netherlands
Alcohol content by volume 11%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) mass spectrometry 102 EBU
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 7 (297 EBC)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 3
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 7+
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.5

Here’s a link to the De Molen website list of beers:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/beers

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De Molen – Heaven & Hell – 3.5 out of 7 smokestacks

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August is tabernacle takeover month for Brouwerij De Molen starting with Heaven & Hell. This boozy, dark, and thick (too thick) monster grew into something well beyond the intentions of De Molen. “Smoked” seen in the ingredients listed on the bottle was all it took to bring in this beast which was supported by the added comfort that the De Molen brand brings with all of their concoctions. De Molen is one of the very few organizations that SmokeBeerMinistry allows to continue to employ the scatter gun technique when delivering beers to the market, and with this beer in particular, they seem to have switched up the formula at least 3 times. This behavior makes me wonder, “How happy was De Molen with the first attempts? and Why did you sell it to the public if it wasn’t good enough then?” Their informative website shows a long list of just about every kind of beer under the sun, and typically, De Molen delivers products that are top notch. Now in this case, they weren’t so successful. Upon opening this beer, slight smoky smells wafted out on the backs of sweet berry scents. And speaking of berries, four or five blueberry sized globs of what I hope were congealed beer plopped down into my glass as well (was gelatin an unlisted ingredient?). I have enough respect for De Molen to drink this beer anyway, no matter how unappetizing this occurrence was; respect, it was respect, not alcoholism. And the lack of depth that my light can penetrate this fluid is enough to garner 7 out of 7 smokestacks of darkness, and of course, thickness was a 7+. The taste was of a musty, ashy, coffee beer with redeeming milk chocolate flavors in there, and a touch of smoke. And that’s about where this review is going to end. This particular rendition of this beer earned 3.5 smokestacks out of a total of 7 possible smokestacks, a glob below average. I’m eager to experience a redemption beer.

Brewer De Molen
Beer Name Heaven & Hell
Brewer’s Description Although hard to comprehend for many, this is the big brother of Hel & Verdoemenis. With loads of dark malts in both back and foreground, supported by strong but smooth bitterness from hops and roasted malts. Flavor indication: chocolate, coffee, toast
Food Pairings Pie
Brewer Location Bodegraven, Netherlands
Alcohol content by volume 10.2%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) mass spectrometry suggests 92.5 EBU
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 7 (494 EBC)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 7+
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 3.5

They have a useful website nowadays, and a label that indicates a 3rd change to the formula of this “same” beer:

http://brouwerijdemolen.nl/beers

The Shelton Brothers say that this beer will last 25 years, and also show an ingredients list neglecting smoked malts:

https://www.sheltonbrothers.com/beers/heaven-hell/

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Bell’s – Black Note Stout – 5 out of 7 smokestacks

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What’s all the brouhaha about this one? It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but I must report that this beer does not bring anything new to the table that any number of barrel aged stouts deliver. In my world, this Black Note Stout by Bells is harder to find than Bourbon County or KBS, which are the only other rare beers that I’ve ever been able to wrangle in. I’ve seen Black Note Stout 3 times in my life, once for $6, once for $10, and once for $20 per 12 oz bottle, I bought it the first two times. And now that I’ve had one, I’m fairly glad I was able to utilize some restraint. This beer smells like super strong familiarity. And it tastes like it was made with chocolate malts, roasted malts, and put in a barrel, which is Bell’s intention, but I wanna know about the brouhaha. I guess you can’t control the masses, especially when they are infatuated with your beer, and that is a good place to be. Maybe the 11.2% abv is giving them a bump? It sure helped my day. But there are others out there. If you like barrel aged, thick as Hershey’s syrup, stouts, you’ll like this beer. Bells seems to encourage shelfing this beer for an undetermined amount of time, maybe you could try that. Until then, Black Note Stout gets 5 out of 7 non-smokebeer smokestacks.

Beer Name Black Note Stout
Brewer’s Description One of the most sought-after stouts in Bell’s history, Black Note Stout blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout, each aged in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The resulting harmony of flavors captures the finest features of all three components: malty notes of dark chocolate, espresso and dried fruits, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark.
Food Pairings Smoked Brisket, dark chocolate
Brewery Location Comstock, MI
Alcohol content by volume 11.2%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) na
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.85
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks chocolate
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 7
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 7
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 5

Good website:

https://www.bellsbeer.com/beer/specialty/black-note

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Sprecher Brewing – Acapulco Golden Ale – 3 smokestacks out of 7

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Idunno, maybe I liked this one more than I thought that I did. Although the final score of 3 seemed like I was entirely too generous when reviewing what I jotted down after the fact, I’m not going to step in later on down the road and beat these folks down any more just because I feel differently now. Oh no, I have to stick to my guns. I said 3, and 3 it is. Sprecher is a fairly well respected Wisconsin brewery that seems to cater to mother in laws more so than beer nerds, which is fine. At least I know what I’m going to get, a standardized, non-offensive, run of the mill beer selection. And the cokes they make are great. Grape, Orange, Red sodas, a regular ole’ Root Beer, and other flavors seem to crop up at all the cool sandwich shops and lunch counters around WI. I like to get them. And I like easy drinking beers for the beach, especially when I’m on the beach. Acapulco Golden Ale fits that genre. And this beer was beyond highly touted by several employees of the Sprecher pub and restaurant establishment where I got this beer, which actually made me think that they must want to get this keg emptied as fast as they can. But the smoked hops acted as the closer to get this one in the tabernacle. Described by the waiter as “like a Bud Light Lime” I honestly thought it tasted more like a Zima Gold, if that was the tequila flavored swill from the 90’s that I drank when I was discovering alcohol (and shoulder tapping), although there was plenty of lime flavor in this beer. Well anyway, I gotta wrap this up, I got a meeting to go to. A hint of smoked anything is an overstatement. A 3 out of 7 smokestacks is a plenty good score for a beer that isn’t even offered or listed on their website anymore. And I wonder why Sprecher’s restaurants aren’t doing any better? I want to applaud this company but they seem to forever dwell on the fringe of mediocrity. And one more thing, you gotta see this Zima Gold commercial at the bottom of this page. Yikes!

Brewer Sprecher Brewery
Beer Name Acapulco Golden Ale
Brewer’s Description Mexican-style ale starts crisp and lightly citrus and finishes with a hint of smoked hops.
Food Pairings I had the ribs
Brewer Location Glendale, WI
Alcohol content by volume 5.2
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 23
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 2
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) a generous 3, way generous

Sprecher’s brewery website.

https://www.sprecherbrewery.com/

And restaurant:

http://sprecherspub.com/

And yikes!

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Port Huron Brewing – Million Dollar Smoked Maiboch (draft) – 4 smokestacks out of 7

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I did some travelling and got to squeeze in a few impromptu reviews, also, I had to get these typed before I forgetted. Port Huron Brewery, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (I take issue with both names listed above), pieced together this Million Dollar Smoked Maibock for the second time. The first batch was so successful that they made it again, which I read off the menu. And speaking of reading, I had to read the story of the origin of the brewery’s name off the wall with the bartender because she didn’t know why this brewery from Wisconsin Dells was seemingly named after a small town in Michigan (she said it was her second day working there). Together, we learned that Port Huron Steam Traction Engine Company built a 22,000 lb steam engine a long time ago, and somebody who knows somebody who works at this brewery, named the place after this machine. I guess that’s OK. And since we’re learning today; A bock beer is a stronger German ale that apparently translates to the English word goat. And a Maibock is a lighter version of these goat beers. This one in particular is smoked, delivers on the lighter bock agenda, and delivers my palate a number of non-offensive smokebeer flavors. Regardless of my use of redundancies, I’m going to describe this beer as malty, sweet, and smoky (also available on the menu above). Port Huron Brewery was there for me when I sought refuge. During a hike, which is what I do in the Dells when I’m not fraternizing with boat people, I emerged from a woods with no sense of direction, into an industrial zone of sorts, sweating, and with a baby in my arms, I walked into this establishment and drank this smokebeer. Serendipitous. Well, enough of my stories. This beer scored a 4 out of 7 smokestacks. A middle of the road smokebeer. BTW, interesting stuff in the links below.

Brewer Port Huron Brewing
Beer Name Million Dollar Smoked Maibock
Brewer’s Description A collaboration brew between Port Huron Brewing Co. & One Barrel Brewing from Madison. This hefty Maibock is brewed with just the right amount of smoked malt to give it a fantastic smoky nose and the right amount of smoky flavor. Dangerously drinkable! Available in spring for a limited time!
Food Pairings Pub grub, cheese curds, pie
Brewer Location Wisconsin Dells, WI
Alcohol content by volume 7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) no
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.8
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4

 

Brewery link:

http://www.porthuronbeer.com/

Tractor info:

http://www.porthuronbeer.com/?page_id=90

Port Huron Statement wiki link, with a Big Lebowski quote and explanation:

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

And, different kinds of bock:

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

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Oliphant Brewing – Smoked Wheat Erryday (can) – 2.5 smokestacks out of 7

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I didn’t like this one. Why? How the hell would I know? Oliphant Brewing dumped so many unusual ingredients into this beer, how would anyone know what went wrong? Version 4.2.0 Smoked Wheat Erryday The Next Pineappisode could be the name of this beer, or maybe just part of that is the name and part is a descriptor, and that smoked wheat ale brewed with pineapple, chipotle peppers, lactose, and citra hops is a more thorough descriptor written just below the title discriptor, blah, blah, blegh. Wit doesn’t make beer taste any better, and if you click on and browse around on their website, you’ll quickly see that this crew needs to focus on making beer, and not attempt anymore comedic stylings. The smoke in this beer is like a Chris Farley in a tiny coat, and I presume they taste about the same. The pineapple and lactose went pretty much incognito, and the chipotle produced enough tingle in my throat to force me to take subsequent sips. And for what? No reward. In fact, I was punished with a whopper hangover the next day and I don’t want to hear about the seven other drinks I had that night as the scapegoat. It was this debacle’s fault. Overall score a generous 2.5 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Oliphant Brewing
Beer Name Smoked Wheat Erryday
Brewer’s Description Version 4.2.0 Smoked Wheat Erryday The Next Pineappisode smoked wheat ale brewed with pineapple, chipotle peppers, lactose, and citra hops
Food Pairings Something spicy, like a burrito from Chipotle
Brewer Location Somerset, WI
Alcohol content by volume 4.9%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) who cares
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Spiciness 1 – 7 (mild – painful) 2
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 2.5

Oliphant Brewing has a verbose website that has forgotten all about this beer (for good reason), and then you get to the picture page, where they take it way too far:

https://www.oliphantbrewing.com/

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Voodoo Brewery – Big Black Voodoo Daddy – 5.75 out of 7

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What’s not to like about Voodoo Brewery? These are the people who brought you Man Bear Pig, a highly sought after rare beer that I’ll almost certainly never have. And these might be the people who drove the secondary price over $400 a bottle, but who cares? It’s not like they’re bringing in Exxon money or anything. First off, roasted is not the same as smoked, and this beer is made with roasted malts, as far as we know. But slight smoke properties do swirl around in this beer. And the name, well, how could it not find its way into the SmokeBeerMinistry tabernacle? My fascination with Voodoo came from annual family summer vacations. With family in and around NOLA, how could my dad resist piling us all up into his station wagon and forcing us to sleep on some random relatives living room floor for a week or two? It was worth it to me if it meant even just one day strolling around the French Quarter. I might make the trip to Pennsylvania to ask Voodoo Brewery what drove their agenda… and demand some Man Bear Pig beer. Big Black Voodoo Daddy does share some flavors with a good number of other imperial stouts, and added about twice the alcohol. The 12% abv is a surprise both when you read it on the label and when you get up after having had one, but its not so noticeable on the palate. The chocolate malts are touted by Voodoo, but really didn’t drive the taste for me, and that’s to its benefit. Nice thick viscous snifter beer for the end of the night, or for after you’ve polished off an entire bottle of wine. I’ll be sure to follow Voodoo for upcoming happenings in the near future, but for now, I’ll stay put on the living room floor and hope I at least make it to the couch before my wife comes down for work tomorrow morning. Final smokestack rating = 5.75 smokestacks.

Brewer Voodoo Brewery
Beer Name Big Black Voodoo Daddy
Brewer’s Description The name says it all. BBVD is our big bad seasonal stout made with copious amounts of chocolate and roasted malts and topped off with the right amount of hops to make it taste like a chocolate bar au natural. Good to drink now or age it to award winning caliber.
Food Pairings Voodoo Brewery probably REALLY wants the food pairing to be gumbo
Brewer Location Meadville, PA
Alcohol content by volume 12.0%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) some say 74
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.95
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 2
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2.25
Sausage detection? Y or N no
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5.5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.75

The website is ok:

http://www.voodoobrewery.com/

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Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or – Charbonnière – 4.8 smokestacks out of 7

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Charbon means charcoal in French, I think. And fume means smoke, maybe. I could ask my fluent wife, but then I’d have to explain why my speech is slurred (because I’m not good at French) and why I’m shirtless and wet all over (I’m inside now, so let’s leave that one alone). Sweet sweet smells in this beer, and I can’t say the same for myself.  This beer, Charbonniere by Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or is an amber beer with smoked malts and it gives you the honest French beer experience. With smoke smells fairly well hidden from the nose do make their grand entrance on the exhale. And this new Bill Nye show on Netflix seems rushed. The bottle says unpasteurized and unfiltered and I believe’em, but other than the cloudiness, I’m not seeing any other signs like a bunch of flakes, floaties, and silt, And that’s good. And this beer is good. So already, we can conclude that this beer will rank above average, above 4. And tonight, this episode of Cheers has a cute little dalmatian on it. And if you follow this blog, you know that my reviewing of the entire series of Cheers is taking longer than it took to watch during it’s original airing. And if you really really follow this beer blog, then my state of sobriety has become abundantly clear. I like beerwine. And the French are known for their wine. And with my help, they will know this beer. Final smokestack rating = 4.8 smokestacks out of 7. Au revoir.

Brewer Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or
Beer Name Charbonniere
Brewer’s Description Un carrefour dans lequel le vent souffle des quatre coins… Tout en méditant certainement sur le dépôt de charbon de la Gare toute proche, voilà ce que disait Gervaise de la rue de la Charbonnière… De quoi nous inspirer cette bière très maltée et délicatement tourbée…                                           and for those without DuoLingo on their phones:                                              A crossroads in which the wind blows from the four corners … While certainly meditating on the coal depot of the nearby station, this is what Gervaise said rue de la Charbonnière … What inspire us this beer very malt and delicately peat.
Food Pairings Snails
Brewer Location Paris, France (18)
Alcohol content by volume 7.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 28
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4.5 and cloudy (92 EBC)
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) 4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 4.8

They need some help with their website, immediately, here it is anyway:

http://www.brasserielagouttedor.com/nos-bieres/#gamme-fr

And you guys know about this guy? Iya Traore? I’ve seen him over there, and this is in the same neighborhood as the brewery:

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Gänstaller Bräu – Franz Xaver smoked märzen – 6.8 out of 7

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Franz Xaver smells perfect… the beer, not the dead composer. Bamberg has given the world so much. Gänstaller Bräu of Hallerndorf, Germany resides on the outskirts of Bamberg, the motherland of smokebeer, and perhaps the current home of the Holy Grail (judging by the libations produced there). This smoked märzen is unlike all others. To begin with, it was so excited, it took 5 minutes to calm down allowing me to pour it all into this glass, just a bit of foam I’d say, but as this was occuring, it became evident that this was something special regardless. And I was surprised to find this labeled a märzen, which according to Michael Jackson, is the same as an Oktoberfest beer with the only difference being one alludes to March, and the other October, traditionally made out of the remaining grain ingredients after the community’s staple beer and food needs were met, because it tasted like one of the most refined normal beer ingredients found in smokebeers or rauchbiers. Not to encourage Gänstaller from changing the formula, given that I did not detect smoked tea, orange and a number of other inventive ingredients, the finished product was almost exactly as I wish all beers were. I’m not too picky about the journey, especially when we arrive at Franz Xaver as the destination. And as I down the last bit, yeah, I do think that this is an identifiable märzen, flavorful and packed with smoky beer. Congrats on the 6.8 smokestacks Gänstaller, I look forward to trying the elusive Rauch Royal.

Brewer Gänstaller Bräu
Beer Name Franz Xaver smoked märzen
Brewer’s Description A brewery specialty, this Rauch-Märzen features tones of caramel, Chinese Lapsang Souchong smoked tea, Bergamot orange, candied apple, and good ol’ bacon! Gänstaller rewrites the book on both Rauchbier and Märzen with this elegant,  rich yet sessionable uber-Franconian brew.
Food Pairings Hamburgers, Ribs, anything unhealthy eaten with big bites
Brewer Location Hallerndorf, Germany
Alcohol content by volume 5.6%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) unimportant
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 3.3
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 7
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 6.5
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5.5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 6.8

It wouldn’t take much to get this dead end page up and running, and I can’t quantify how much it would help, but I feel confident making the statement that having an active website would not hurt your company, I’ll even do it for you:

http://www.ganstallerbrau.de/

What would I do without these guys? Brothers!

https://www.sheltonbrothers.com/beers/ganstaller-franz-xaver/

More about that dead composer Franz Xaver, who knew his first name? and second name? and that Amadeus wasn’t any of his real names? And even the name Wolfgang is debatable? cool:

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

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Gänstaller Bräu – Affumicator smoked dopplebock – 5.2 smokestacks out of 7

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It’s not bad. I have to start with that phrase because the pour was pretty cloudy with a bunch of flakes in it. I did what I could to keep those bits in the bottom of the bottle, but the unusual carbonation, which seemed to exhale its last few breaths after opening it up, mixed everything all around. Supposedly, those bits aren’t supposed to hurt the flavor of the beer, and may even add to the taste, but I don’t like it, and this is my opinion, and I set the standards. Presentation is a component and I suspect that this is not exactly as Gänstaller desired. It’s not flat though, just a bit weird; I can relate. I’m still inclined to state that Affumicator is an above average smokebeer. I can taste what might be beechwood smoked malts (maybe oak), well balanced with caramel, proper hop infusion, and a biscuits. I’ll even leave the door open for a do-over review. This is a good smokebeer that went a little haywire in the bottle, just a little. A tip of the hat to Mugs who alerted the Ministry to this beer a while back, we appreciate clear direction. And, I just drank the flakes, what the heck. Overall score = 5.2 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Gänstaller Bräu
Beer Name Affumicator
Brewer’s Description Gänstaller’s heftiest traditional lager, Affumicator gives off a massive smokey nose, with hints of bacon, salmon, and Bonito flakes, and follows it with a delicious palate of caramel, chocolate, sweet bready malt, and a nice hop bitterness. Big, full, smooth, and with huge flavor–but most importantly, well-balanced, in the finest Bavarian tradition.
Food Pairings wurst
Brewer Location Hallerndorf, Germany
Alcohol content by volume 9.6%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) idunno
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) cloudy 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 4
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 5
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5.2

And 2 years ago this website was under construction… must be a gov’t funded project:

http://www.ganstallerbrau.de/

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Aecht Schlenkerla – Helles Lagerbier (can) – 5* smokestacks

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Another rendition of the famed Schlenkerla beer seen here in a can has just garnered high marks from SmokeBeerMinistry, 5 of them marks to be exact. This canned Helles (German for light in color) Lagerbier is important to note because this canning project is something new to the ministry. Not only for Schlenkerla, but for the industry. This beer was brewed in Germany and then pumped into a huge shipping container sized tank, shipped to Connecticut, and canned there unfiltered. Noticeably carrying with it every bit of Bamberg goodness a smokebeer can carry, this effort comes in a step above past formats of the same beer. One aspect of production I try not to shed too much light on is consistency. As in, “Can a brewery consistently produce the same flavor over time?”  because oftentimes, they can’t. The brewer notes that “some samples having residual smoke character” which may be a variability I have detected. And I like it anyway. And in this case, the real question is “how do they get smoke flavor in this beer without the use of smoked malts?” Brewed and fermented in the 14th century beer cellars underneath the Schlenkerla brewery where the rest of the brewery’s beer lineup is fully smoked and brewed, along with using the same yeast harvested from past smokebeer brewing, allows for a still robust smokiness, although subtle from a Schlenkerla point of view. I still found that a pleasantly surprising result. Brass tacks = I can’t wait to drink this beer again. Final score 5* out of 7.

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Brewer Aecht Schlenkerla
Beer Name Helles Lagerbier
Brewer’s Description “Schlenkerla Helles” is brewed with fine Bavarian aroma hops from the area around the city of Nürnberg. It’s lagered in century old caves underneath the historic Schlenkerla brewery and maltings. Schlenkerla Helles is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Schlenkerla Smokebeer. Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes “Helles Schlenkerla Lager” a unique representative of the classic lager beer style “Bavarian Helles”. Editor’s note: Since this is not intended as a smoked beer, and is not billed as such, it has been classed here as a Helles, despite some samples having residual smoke character.
Food Pairings Meats, cheese, nuts.
Brewer Location Bamberg, Germany
Alcohol content by volume 4.30%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 30
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 2
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 3
Sausage detection? Y or N sometimes
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5*

*denotes that variable element of mood, desire, and direction of wind in the depths of Bamberg, Germany, as well as in the depths of my heart, and is a factor that cannot be contained.

Their website is an oldie but goodie:

http://www.schlenkerla.de/indexe.html

This link should be used for tank imagery only:

https://tankservice.com/about-us/isotankcontainerprojects/

And here’s a link to the importer, and presumed bottlers:

http://www.bunitedint.com/information/brands/description/84/

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HI WIRE Brewing – Strongman Coffee Milk Stout – 3 out of 7 smokestacks

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Yeah, I didn’t like this one, and I’m totally into strongman feats of strength. I like beers that taste like smoke, cheap black coffee, NHRA Top Fuel Dragster drag racing, and strongman competitions, so pretty much, I am ready for this beer, but it didn’t work out. Maybe egos got in the way. The word milk didn’t help either. “Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m tired of coffee beers and I’m tired of milk stouts. And Strongman Coffee Milk Stout has both written right there on the bottle. So why did I review this? Because some guys at this new-money fancy beer store in Chattanooga told me it was smoky. Furthermore, there are beers that are brewed with coffee (not good), and there are beers that are brewed with coffee added after brewing (worse), and this is the latter. And wouldn’t you know it, the coffee added to this beer is cold brewed coffee. Pretentious! (I say pretentious because some smart guy said it at a party about this other guy that I hate). I don’t know, let me calm down a minute, I eventually came around with the whole barrel aging beer thing, maybe coffee and/or milk will have it’s day? In Hi-Wire’s defense, they delivered on what the label says. And in my defense, I know that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a body builder and NOT a strongman, big difference. 3 smokestacks out of 7. Failed to lift.

Brewer HI – WIRE
Beer Name strongman
Brewer’s Description Coffee Milk Stout                     Inspired by our head brewer’s cafe con leche-fueled travels in Key West. Local coffee from Dynamite Roasting Co. is cold-extracted and added post fermentation to this sweet, creamy beer.
Food Pairings Brunch
Brewery Location Asheville, NC
Alcohol content by volume 5.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 28
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.8 (32 SRM)
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 2
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4.5
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 3

Good website, although it lacks any mention of strongmen, or even links to strongman sites:

https://hiwirebrewing.com/seasonals/strongman-coffee-milk-stout/

Feats of strength by Strongman Eddie “The Beast” Hall:

Here’s my proof on that Arnold Schwarzenegger quote:

I was in the audience in Columbus, OH for this last one. For the serious enthusiast only, and I hope you’re not squeamish:

 

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Amager Bryghus – The Amazing Gotland Campfire Beer – 5 smokestacks out of 7

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It’s smoky. Wow, like full-on. Woo doggies! Is this a Gotlandsdricka? Because if so, this is smokier than I would expect. Historically Swedish, and from the island Gotland in the Baltic sea, Gotlandsdricka is a traditional smoky ale with very limited interest in the US beer scene (but we’re going to change that, right?). There are a whole buncha flavors in there fighting it out. This beer is heavy. And after taking a few sips, much of the fun is gone, along with my taste buds. Just 2 ozs in and I’m wondering where the smoked malts, chocolate malts, and sweetness went? They came and went like senior year, (try keeping up with my IROC, bitches). This beer is all ruckus and no harmony, which is a big surprise after getting all excited upon opening. I would like to give Amazing Gotland a do-over, but it appears not to be in production anymore. But my friends, a 5 out of 7 is an encouraging, above average score, and SmokeBeerMinistry looks forward to more works by Amager. And one question: Why is the word beer in the name of your beer?

Brewer Amager Bryghus
Beer Name The Amazing Gotland Campfire Beer
Brewer’s Description or story telling time, you decide  If you take a casual stroll along the fair coastline of Gotland, you might wonder if there are any forests on the island at all. But make no mistake about it. Deep and dark, they are, and twisted – the pine forests of this storied isle. There are many legends of these woods, and one that is centuries old tells of a monster attracted to the smell of smoke from campfires. A friendly monster, but still… Many a camper has wet his pants upon discovering the Marshmallow Monster hovering over the dying embers trying to toast a perfect skewerful of sweets for his cocoa. We first heard tell of the Marshmallow Monster from our friends at Malmö Brygghus, so it was only natural to make our collaboration brew a homage to this kind Swedish creature. For we believe in the goodness of all men – and monsters.
Food Pairings Danish
Brewer Location Kastrup, Denmark
Alcohol content by volume 7%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 20
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 5.85
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 5.5
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 5.9
Sausage detection? Y or N Y
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 6
Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high) 5

You might want to brush up on your Danish:

http://www.amagerbryghus.dk/

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Wooha Brewing Co. – Porter – 3.75 out of 7 smokestacks

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Back in the sanctuary for this review, which caused Buddha Blue Light to pulsate. Wooha Brewing Co. (which I have a hard time saying without hearing Busta Rhymes voice in my head) of Scotland, brews four beers: Wheat, IPA, Lager, and Porter, and the Porter is in the tabernacle today. Described as smoky by Wooha themselves, we brought the porter in and were completely not offended. This beer smells like beer. No smoke though, but sweetish beer smells (no, not Swedish as in from Sweden, because this is Scotland). And after a good head scratch I wonder why the word smoky is on the bottle. I guess I taste it a bit, maybe peat smoked malts. I definitely can agree with Wooha’s chocolate and coffee comments. And I detect just a bit of bitterness. But in this 11.16 oz bottle, there just isn’t enough to bring me back again, unless maybe if I were in Scotland, or maybe if I were at a party and this was in a cooler, but that’ll never happen. Maybe I’m in a bad mood, maybe it’s that Busta Rhymes in my head, Got you all in check, WooHah! Overall smokestack rating = 3.75 smokestacks out of 7.

Brewer Wooha Brewing Co.
Beer Name Porter
Brewer’s Description A real ale, dark rich and smoky. Hints of chocolate & coffee. Smooth
Food Pairings Haggis, Lorne sausage, Stovies
Brewery Location Upper Hempriggs, Scotland
Alcohol content by volume 5%
IBU (International Bitterness Units)  na
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4.65
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
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) 3.75

Their website seems alright, but it don’t make me go Wooha:

http://www.woohabrewing.com/

And a shout out to Busta… who just cheered me up a bit:)

 

 

PS

Wooha has this little note for the customers, which I think makes them a good deal more respectable. Their job is probably harder this way:

“Whatever kind of WOOHA you’re looking for, all our beers are 100% natural. We don’t do filtration, there’s no isinglass (chemicals and additives) – making our beers vegan friendly – and you won’t find a single bubble of forced carbonation. We use temperature and time to clarify our beers – beer doesn’t come anymore natural than WOOHA.

Our real ales are smooth, with appropriate levels of carbonation – fizz not allowed.”

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Ommegang – Smoked Porter – 4 smokestacks (out of 7)

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Ommegang is one of the most respected breweries in the US, so I was thrilled to get their take on a smoked porter. And with a noted concern for my own biases for not only Ommegang, but all Belgian beers in general, Ommegang made it easy for me to set aside impartiality with this dangerously close to bland smoked porter. To start with, I can’t smell any smoke. But the taste did redeem itself a bit with moderately smoky and thirst quenching swig. There is a slight bitterness to it that seems to get along just fine with the other flavors in there, although, there really aren’t too many other flavors in there to speak of. A touch of roasted flavors, chocolate malts, and water, all round out to a safe rendition of a beer from a company (that I think was founded and sold to themselves somehow) that is a little too timid for my palate. The Ommegang website has the recipe posted and they sure do throw the word “smoke” around an awful lot to not step up with something more substantial, like the foam head they delivered. Overall score = a generous 4 out of 7 smokestacks.

Brewer Brewery Ommegang
Beer Name Smoked Porter
Brewer’s Description Ommegang Smoked Porter. This nod to a traditional English beer is brewed with subtle additions of smoked malt and a touch of Saaz hops to add additional depth and character to an otherwise traditional English brew. While the style is a departure from our traditional Belgian-style beers, the characteristic aromas of chocolate malt along with caramelized sugar are reminiscent of many things Belgian, and of all things good.
Food Pairings Smoked meats and cheeses, chocolate cake
Brewery Location Cooperstown, NY
Alcohol content by volume 7.6%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) not available
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 6.5
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 1
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 4
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 4
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 4

Not the most user friendly website. High on form, low on function.

http://www.ommegang.com/

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