Doom Backstage Series Founders Brewing Barrel-Aged Triple IPA Founders Brewing

Doom Backstage Series Founders Brewing, Barrel-Age Imperial (Triple) IPA

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Tasting: June 3, 2017
Style: American Triple / Imperial IPA
Beer #: 1,066
ABV: 12.4%

Founders Doom, Barrel-Aged Imperial IPA

There have been 14 different releases in Founders Backstage Series. The series features pub favorites reproduced for the masses. And by masses, I mean the select few that get their names on lists; get to a beer store minutes after the truck leaves or find a dusty one in a store that should never have had it in the first place.

This particular beer was originally released in 2013 and was the sixth original beer in the series. A vacation kept me from acquiring a bottle the first time around. Tough call there, vacation? or beer run? I heard awesome things about Doom and I’m happy that they obliged with an encore.

In case you were wondering, here is the current log of Backstage Series releases:

1. Blushing Monk (2011, 2015) 88 points
2. Canadian Breakfast Stout (2011) 98 points
3. Curmudgeon’s Better Half (2012) 95 points
4. Frangelic Mountain Brown (2012) 90 points
5. Bolt Cutter (2012) 95 points
6. Doom (2013, 2017)
7. Mango Magnifico (2013, 2016) 82 points
8. Sweet Repute (2013) have a bottle ready to open.
9. Smoked Porter (2014) no interest.
10. Dissenter (2014) 93 points
11. Big Lushious (2014) 89 points
12. Project Pam (2015) 89 points
13. Redankulous (2015) 88 points
14. Lizard of Koz (2016) Big and boozy, had one on New Year’s Eve. No review, another in the cellar. Stay tuned.

Visit Founders Backstage Series

Short and sweet summary. I expected and got a lot of hop resin. Rock solid booziness and thick syrupy mouthfeel. In conclusion, 91 points.

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Rye-on-Rye by Boulevard Brewing

Boulevard Brewing Rye-on-Rye

(C) 2016 popsonhops

Tasting: November 13, 2016
Style: Strong Ale
Beer # 1,017
ABV: 12%

2015 Rye-on-Rye

I worked with an older man and he would start every story with, “Tell me if I’m repeating myself.” I didn’t mind but now I know what he’s talking about. I’ve told the same stories a thousand times and I can’t keep track of my audience. Since I have more than 800 blog entries covering about 1,000 beers, I’ve repeated myself here and more than a few times.

This old style ale is a rye-based ale and the use of rye as a brewing grain may seem unusual to some. The primary grains used in the production of beer are commonly known as “breakfast grains.” The big six are barley, oats, rice, wheat, corn and rye. Barley is by far the number one grain used in beer and comes in hundreds of varieties. While the use of rye is growing in popularity, it is still usually paired with barley. The rye bill should be evident enough to impart a spiced flavor.

This offering is from 2015 and has been aging in my cellar for more than a year. Nice cork and cage presentation. I’ll also note this is from Boulevard Brewing’s Smokestack series. More than likely this is available at better New Jersey beer stores. Probably $13 for this bomber-sized bottle.

Out of the gate, Rye-on-Rye has a somewhat odd flavor. I’d call it more soapy at first. Some baby aspirin. It takes me a minute to get my tastebuds around this ale. Rye-on-Rye settles with ample toasted caramel and firm booziness. Whiskey barrel influence seems assertive. I get woodsy and complimentary flavors. The rye is evident with some spicy undertones. In conclusion, 90 points.

Stop me if I’ve told you this one before.

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Bell’s Planetary Series Saturn & Neptune

Bell's Planetary Series Saturn Black Ale and Saturn Barleywine

© 2015 popsonhops

Bell’s Planetary Series

In August of 2014, Bell’s Brewery introduced the first installment of what would be a seven-part beer series – “The Planets”. Bell’s Planetary Series was inspired by British composer Gustav Holst’s century-old orchestral suite also collectively known as “The Planets”. Holst’s series of movements were composed in pieces over a number of years with each portion named for one of seven planets. Earth was not included in Holst’s series and Pluto’s discovery was just a few years before Holst’s death.

In case you’re curious, here’s Bell’s Planetary Series lineup:

“Mars, The Bringer of War” – Double IPA – 93 Points
“Venus, The Bringer of Peace” A Blonde Ale brewed with honey, apricot, vanilla and cardamom – 78 Points
“Mercury, The Winged Messenger” – A Belgian Single
“Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity” – A malt forward Brown Ale
“Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age” – A Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine
“Uranus, The Magician” – Black Double IPA
“Neptune, The Mystic” – A beer inspired by Dr. Bell’s Medicinal Stout, one of Larry Bell’s homebrews that also helped inspire Eccentric Ale

Bell’s Planetary Series concluded with the final release of Neptune, The Mystic in July of 2015 and with these two beers I will have sampled four of the seven releases. Sorry, I intentionally skipped Mercury and Jupiter.

Since Bell’s is not available in New Jersey, these were purchases in Rockland County.

Saturn
Tasting: December 29, 2015
Style: Barley Wine (aged in Oak Barrels)
Beer #: 883
ABV: 11.5%

The Bringer of Old Age. First impressions – boozy, raisins, caramel, vanilla and did I say boozy? Feels a little thin for a beer that’s 11.5% ABV. Not the best example of a barley wine. Probably needs more age than the 6 months I gave this bottle. Eh – 86 points.

Neptune
Tasting: December 11, 2015
Style: Stout
Beer #: 884
ABV: 9.0%

Lots of interesting ingredients here: star anise, dried cayenne, raisins, dates, black pepper, hickory bark, dandelion root, nutmeg, grains of paradise and fenugreek seeds (whatever they are). Neptune delivers lots of complexity. It’s spicy with a little late heat. Neptune is Layered in earthy, woodsy and I pick up on some of the individual ingredients, strong in nutmeg, mellow in raisins. An appropriate beer to have during the Christmas season. A tad bit thin which is surprising for a stout with a higher ABV. All in all, Neptune was enjoyable and probably best left as a one and done – 88 points.

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Santa vs. Unicorn Barleywine by Pipeworks Brewing

Santa vs. Unicorn American Style Barleywine by Pipeworks Brewing, Chicago, Illinois

© 2015 popsonhops

Tasting:
Style: American Barleywine
ABV: 10.0%
Beer #: 870

Santa vs. Unicorn by Pipeworks

Santa vs Unicorn reminded me that one of my sons had read a number of books in a series called, “Who Would Win?”. In one book, the author would pit the likes of a Tyrannosaurus Rex vs Velociraptor and in another, a great white vs killer whale. It was a blow by blow breakdown of the fight highlighting each’s participant’s strengths and weaknesses. I remember asking my son who won the T-Rex vs velociraptor battle. When he said velociraptor, I was surprised until I learned that it was about a hundred of the chicken-sized dinosaurs that toppled the T-Rex.

I’m not sure it’s still on the air but I remember watching a show called Ultimate Warriors. The show had experts determine winners between two legendary fighting forces like Vikings vs Samurai. It would break down fighting styles and weapons of each force to speculate a winner. A really interesting series, until they jumped the shark by asking who would win, zombies or vampires?

I guess in the same vein, Pipeworks Brewing asks the same questions and seemingly pits all kinds against The Unicorn in a number of beers they produce. There was Ninja vs Unicorn and now there’s Santa vs. Unicorn. Frankly, I think the stealth, blade-wielding ninja would have no issue slaying either the magical, prancing variety unicorn or hard-charging, sharpened horn variety – but that’s just my two cents. Santa vs The Unicorn – interesting. Santa’s age and size might be a disadvantage, but he has tamed and harnessed reindeer and an army of elves. Possibly elves like those found in Lord of the Rings. Hmmm, let’s call the book author or Spike TV to settle the argument.

Funny, one sip I love Santa vs. Unicorn and then the next not so much. Certainly has the trademark caramel, brown sugar and the American variety hoppiness. I expected that my meter would run as either a steady improve or decline as I worked my way through a bottle. Santa vs. Unicorn is an enigma. One minute I love the boozy warmth and the next it becomes overpowering. Maybe the Santa part is the part I like and the Unicorn part not so much…a waffling 88 points.

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