Stout – American: Oskar Blue’s Ten FIDY

Ah Spring! It’s coming and it’s that time of year where you don’t know wether the heavens will open, it will snow, or the sun will be shining with a warm breeze. The same goes for Beer. I always have Stouts, Porters, Lambics, Fruit Beers and IPA’s sitting around to deal with the Schizophrenic weather.

That being said, this midweek beer is one of my favourite Imperial Stouts – Oskar Blue’s Ten FIDY. It’s brewed in Colorado. It’s nice to see Oskar Blue‘s cans popping up around the UK, as they make some really good beer and the fact that it’s becoming more easily available is never a bad thing!

Let’s start with Oskar Blue‘s Description of the beer:

This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hides a hefty 98 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt.  Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer.

Although this description really “bigs up” the beer, I think it deserves the reputation they are trying to portray. The fact it’s a big, imperial, oatmeal stout… what else could you write about it?! By reading that description, it makes it sound like an absolutely amazing beer, and we’ll find out if it is a little bit later on.

Let’s start with the Malts in this brew, Two-Row, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Munich Light, Crystal 77, Cara. Also Flaked Oats are added as a fermentable. Next up, the Hops! Ten FIDY is Hopped exclusively with Columbus. A pretty simple recipe, like a lot of Oskar Blue‘s beers… but so effective!

When you pour this beer, it’s a deep, thick Black with a Tobacco coloured head with absolutely great Head retention for this style. It even leaves sticky lacing on the sides of the glass! I don’t think I’ve had an Imperial stout, apart from this one that had such great retention and actually left lacing on the glass! On the nose there’s lots of Roasty Malt notes, Coffee, Chocolate and a light bit of Alcohol in the background. How does this beer taste? Where do I start?! Smokey flavours, Raisins, Roasty Coffee and Chocolate notes, Light toffee and a touch of sarsaparilla and molasses on the finish. The beer is quite thick and viscous, lightly carbonated and finishes Medium dry. This is a fantastic beer for colder weather, and definitely one of my favourites!

You can buy Ten FIDY in the UK at:

Brewdog Store

Bottledog, Kings Cross

I’m sure this beer is going to pop up in a lot more places soon, as the Oskar Blue’s Beers are being more widely distributed in the UK. If not this batch, the next in Autumn.

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

Scotch Ale – American: Oskar Blue’s Old Chub Nitro

Oskar Blues Old Chub

This Friday’s beer is from the excellent Oskar Blues in Colorado. It’s the Nitro version of their Old Chub Scotch ale. I opted for the Nitro version, as we haven’t had many Nitro beers on here. What is a Nitro beer you ask? It’s a beer that Nitrogen Gas has been used to Carbonate, instead of Carbon Dioxide.

Let’s start with Oskar Blues description of the beer:

OLD CHUB NITRO takes you deeper into the rich, malty flavors of the original brobdingnagian Scotch Ale, while the nitrogen widget liberates a cascading, uber-silky smooth oral experience only the CAN provides. This jaw-dropping Scottish strong ale (6.9% ABV) is brewed with bodacious amounts of malted barley and specialty grains, and a dash of beechwood-smoked malt. Old Chub Nitro features semi-sweet flavors of cocoa and coffee, and a wee-bit of smoke. A head-turning treat for malt heads and folks who think they don’t dig dark beer.

A bold description for this one! Oskar Blues solely brew their takeaway beers in Cans and are very strongly in favour them. With Cans coming back, it’s quite favourable right now and to be honest, I haven’t had a bad beer so their bold description usually lives up to it’s name. I like this description though, it’s descriptive and although it mentions some of the flavour I get the feeling that it’s just to wet your lips.

With a Scotch Ale (Or Wee-Heavy) the process used to brew the beer is a little different, let’s talk about that and then the recipe. The key to a Scotch Ale is the boil, it’s is a lot longer than a normal beer leading to caramelisation of the malt. The malts in this beer are 2-Row Pale, Caramel Malt, Munich Malt, Special B, Peat Smoked Malt and Chocolate Malt. As for the Hops, as this isn’t a Hop-Forward beer Nugget is used.

When you pour this beer (I opted for the straight into the glass nitro pour) you get the cascading Nitro effect with a deep Tan/Brown Colour. Once the thick head rises up, it’s a dark Brown Beer with deep Ruby around the edges with a Tan coloured head. On the nose, lots of Caramel, some Woody tones and a little smoke. Great smelling for such a malt forward brew, you can really pick up on the caramalisation. When tasting this beer, there’s an initial wave of Caramel, followed by hard Toffee and Fudge. Wood and a light Smokiness carry through the Palate. On the finish there’s a little Tea aftertone, which is quite nice. As this beer is Nitro, it’s insanely smooth and almost coats your throat. Light carbonation and a Sweet finish. What a great beer to put your feet up next to the fire with after a long day at work!

You can buy Old Chub Nitro in the UK at:

The Brewdog Webstore

This is the only place I could find it at the moment, and it’s in stock! Contact me if you know anywhere else.

EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%

Barleywine – Collaboration: Scottish/American: BrewDog / Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus

This week’s beer is a Collaboration beer from Brewdog and Oskar Blues. This beer is a Barley Wine, the first on this site. I chose this beer because it’s a mix of an English style Barley Wine and an American Style one. There are some subtle differences, English Barley Wines are usually more malt-forward, whilst American Barley Wines are much more Hop Orientated. Brewdog (Scotland, UK) and Oskar Blues (Longmont, Colorado) are two breweries that are extremely passionate about what they do, and this is no exception.

Let’s start with the online description of the beer:

In collaboration with the awesome Oskar Blues from Colorado, we’ve created this big, twisted 10.5% American style barley wine. With big boozy aromas that’ll swirl round your nostrils and a sweet viscosity that’ll cover your tongue from top to tip, this is a beer for people who enjoy nonsense and walking on tightropes. Even when the Circus packs up and leaves, you’re left with a lingering warmth and bitterness playing in your mouth.

I say this is the online description, because this beer is bottled by Brewdog and their descriptions are always full of Bravado and strange metaphors. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, and it’s what I have come to expect from Brewdog (Has anyone seen Brew Dogs on TV?!) I picked the online description, as I feel that it represents both breweries well and gives you a bit of a description of the beer, although it’s still full of some great metaphors. From the description, we’re expecting something something boozy with lots of complex flavours, which sounds like exactly what we need with the first cold snap attacking the UK!

Although Brewdog are always very open about what they use to brew, the brew-sheet for this beer has been offline for quite a while as this Barley Wine was released this time last year. The reason I’ve kept it until now is that Barley Wines tend to mellow out over time and the flavours get more complex as it sits in the bottle. The malts in this beer are what I’d expect from an English Barley Wine, Extra Pale, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate. The hop bill is where it gets interesting, and gives it the American twist. Chinook, Cascade, Citra are used giving some piney, resinous and fruity flavours. Citra definitely was an interesting addition, and when I learned this I was very interested to see how it faired in a Barley Wine.

When you pour this beer, it comes out with a Copper/Ruby colour and looks a bit like a Red/Amber Ale to start with. As more beer goes into the glass, it starts getting thicker and darker and develops a Tan coloured head. The smell of alcohol is the first thing you notice after pouring, but after a while the other aromas come through. Loads of Marshmallow, Stone Fruits, Toffee, Caramel with hints of Pineapple and Dried Apricot (Citra?!). This is definitely a sipping beer, at 10.5% and a smell like this you can tell it’s going to be a true Winter brew. After taking your first sip, you get hit by Roasted Marshmallow, Some dark, Sweet Roasty Malts, Dates, Plumb and Fig. After this fades, the hops take control and you get hints of Lime, Pineapple and a little bit of some other Citrus and Tropical fruits along with some Brown Sugar. This beer is sticky on your lips, is medium carbonated and finishes quite sweet. All in all, this is a great brew and something you can still buy even though the release was last year! Winter is coming, and this is definitely one that will see you through with some warmth from the Roasty flavours and Alcohol.

You can purchase Shipwrecker Circus in the UK at:

Beer Ritz (IN STOCK at time of writing!)

As this is a limited beer, you may need to do quite a bit of Google-ing, but it’s definitely out there!

For any Bars/Shops looking to stock this beer you can Contact the Brewdog rep in your area for more info. I hear Brewdog also import Oskar Blues to the UK, but this will have to be something you can tell them you’ve heard on the grapevine!

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

Pilsner – American: Oskar Blue’s Mama’s Lil Yella Pils

This week with the sun slowly making it’s way out from behind the clouds, I’ve chosen a great example of a Pilsner by Oskar Blue’s Brewery. Although this one is a summer brew, even if the quintessential British weather sticks around you can still enjoy it. Oskar Blue’s are from Colorado, and often their weather can have a schizophrenic turn as much as ours! The fact that this a year round brew confirms the fact that this is a beer that can be enjoyed all year round as well as when the sun is shining.

Let’s start with Oskar Blue’s description of the beer:

Oskar Blues’ Mama’s Little Yella Pils is an uncompromising, small-batch version of the beer that made Pilsen, Czech Republic, famous. Unlike mass market “pilsners” diluted with corn & rice, Mama’s is built with 100% pale malt, German specialty malts, and Saaz hops. While its rich with Czeched-out flavor, its gentle hopping (35 IBUs) and low ABV (just 5.3%) make it a luxurious but low-dose (by Oskar Blues standards) refresher.

 

Quite an informative description that gives a little bit away about the recipie and also slates Adjunct Lager. As I’ve noted before in previous posts, Pilsner is one of the original lager styles and is definitely one of the more “premium” styles of lager. This one is no different and is confirmed in it’s description. I also quite like the fact that it says “czeched-out” as there’s nothing wrong with a Dad joke in a description!

I had to taste this one a few times before I came up with what I think is in the recipe. From the description you’ve got the nice floral, clean Saaz hops, but also I think there’s a little bit of Bravo hop in there too adding a little bitterness and even more floral flavour. The reason I say this, is because this beer is seriously floral in taste compared to the Summerfest I wrote about the other week. For the speciality malts, I think Pilsen Malt, Munich Malt, Crystal 20L and American Wheat Malt are used. This really helps the Pilsner flavour and the Wheat, as always helps the head rentention. I don’t usually comment on yeasts, as it’s always a brewery’s secret but the common one for beers like this is SafLager Weinhenstephan. Judging by the description, I think this is the one Oskar Blue’s most probably went for with Mama’s Lil Yella Pils.

When you pour this beer, it comes out of the can just as described – yellow. It pours with a nice fluffy medium white head that maintains excellent retention and leaves a sticky pattern on the glass as it settles. The first thing you notice is the incredible sweet, bready and floral smell coming from the glass tempting you in. There’s also a little hint of freshly cut grass which is a nice addition. On tasting this beer, the floral aromas really come out in the taste leaving behind sourdough and sweet bready malt tastes. When you think it’s over the floral kick comes back and ends with a subtle bitter and medium dry finish. The beer is quite carbonated, as a lager should be but doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and bogged down. This really is an excellent American Adaptation of a pilsner, and one of my favourites so far. It’s a very smooth, crisp, refreshing brew and excellent for after (or during!) a hard days work. I reccomend drinking it outside, even if it is colder that usual!

Overall, a great example of a Pilsner with an American twist and something I would most definitely recommend as one of my favourite examples of the style.

You can purchase Mama’s Lil Yella Pils in the UK at:

Beers of Europe (In stock at time of writing!)

Hippo Beers

Bottledog Kings Cross (ask before travelling!)

Unfortunately, Oskar Blue’s do not have set distribution in the UK but for bars and shops wanting to stock it I would recommend contacting Beers of Europe as they may be able to help you out.

EST. CALORIES: 159   ABV: 5.3%