A Deal With The Devil Anchorage Brewing Company How much did you pay?

A Deal With the Devil Barley Wine aged in Cognac Barrels. Brewed by Anchorage Brewing Company, Alaska

(C) 2018 popsonhops

A Deal With The Devil Anchorage Brewing Company

Tasting: July 13, 2018
Style: Barley Wine aged in Cognac Barrels
ABV: 17.3% (wow!)
Beer # 1,134
Batch # 2, Bottled, December of 2014

Other Bottle Notes:

Degrees Plato: 39
Hops: Galaxy

Sticker Shock

When Firestone Walker first came to New Jersey, one of their first offerings was their 13th Anniversary Ale. I had sticker shock at the $20 price tag and vowed that there was no way I would pay $20 for a single bottle of beer. Well, I passed on that anniversary ale but just a few years later, I found myself buying two bottles of A Deal With The Devil Anchorage Brewing Company for $35 each. I couldn’t believe I was doing it…but I had to have it.

The Crossroads

The second leg of my story is the reference to the deal with the devil and the connection to blues guitarist Robert Leroy Johnson (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – 1986). Although the details of Johnson’s death are disputed, it is widely held that he was poisoned at the age of 27. He is prominently mentioned as a member of the famed “27 club” — named for musicians that died tragically at the age of 27 including Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Wilson, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse.

What makes Johnson so interesting is the legend of his rise to fame. According to this legend, Johnson brought his guitar to the crossroads at midnight and sold his soul to the Devil. In exchange for his soul, Johnson would create blues that would make him famous. You might remember the movie “The Crossroads”; the story of a young musician’s search for Robert Johnson’s 30th (and unpublished) song. However, Johnson’s fame came long after his death as he would have been 50 when his fame skyrocketed in 1961.

The Experience

Massively sweet and above all, filled with caramel flavor. The mouthfeel is like nectar and the barrel influence is ripe with underlying dark fruit. A Deal with the Devil Anchorage Brewing is by far the best barley wine I have had. In conclusion, worth every penny for 96 points.

Confused about terms used in this article? Check out my Glossary .

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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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