Someone asked me if some craft beers are simply copies of other craft beer recipes. While I have had many similar beers, it seems to me that the variables with hops alone make the options limitless. There are about 100 commercial hop varieties and each can be added in any quantity and combination. Hops can also be added at the various brewing stages, bittering, aroma or even dry/wet-hopping. If you note similarity, it may be that you pick up similar use of hops or other ingredients. I’ll give the example that a hop like Mosaic imparts an acrid cat pee and tangerine flavor while Galaxy imparts a citrus and passion fruit flavor.
It’s not to say that people don’t attempt to replicate or interpret a recipe. If you are going to attempt, why not pursue a legend? In this case, does Michigan Maple Jesus resemble Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) from Founders Brewing? Evil Twin owner, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso offered the following tweet.
Even the Michigan reference ties this to Michigan Maple Jesus Stout to the Michigan based brewer of CBS – Founders Brewing. I’ll also note that this beer is made by Michigan brewer, Dark Horse Brewing for the nomadic brewer.
It’s been about four years since I last had a CBS so my palate memory (if there is such a thing) is long forgotten. This is where my blog comes in handy. I noted five years ago that CBS was unmistakeable in maple sweetness. The sweetness initially masked the vanilla and wood of the barrel influence. Yet, the vanilla and oak influence eventually made their way to the surface. Initially, the same impression here. A wallop of maple syrup and some raisin. However, a wave of rum booziness that scorches quickly overruns. That’s where the comparison to CBS ends. A vigorous swirl in the glass tames a little but this beast needs to settle down. I have another bottle in my cellar and I’ll check back another time. For now, I’ll but the semi-clone at 90 points.
A little boozy but no surprise given the 12% alcohol by volume. What’s a surprise is that this beer really isn’t very chocolatey or fudge like. Yes, I get some dark baker’s chocolate on the finish but it’s concealed under a sharp astringency of the aforementioned booziness and some roasted flavor. Definitely some stickiness and viscosity and that carries it to respectable territory. While this this bomber-sized bottle was just $6.99, it is definitely a one and done for me. Off the top of my head, there are better chocolate stout options readily available on New Jersey shelves – like Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout – 89 points and Southern Tier Choklat – 92 points As for Liquid Double Fudge – 87 points.
Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room by Evil Twin
I had the intentions of drinking Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room last New Year’s Eve but it had completely slipped my mind. It was tucked way in the back of my beer refrigerator and I totally forgot it existed. Which reminds me of a story about one of the beer stores I regularly visit in Rockland County, New York. They have stacks upon stacks of beer cases against the perimeter of the entire store. To me, there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to its organization but ask and they somehow know where the beer is buried. One day, I asked if they knew what was in the cases at the deepest point from the aisle? He proceeded to tell me a story of trying to reorganize the pile and they came across a couple of cases of beer they didn’t know much about. Turns out that it was the ultra rare Thomas Hardy Vintage Ale (not sure what year). They did not know anything about the beer other than they had priced it many years ago at $6 per bottle. The owner told me that a customer who happened to witness the discovery was giddy to buy the entire lot at the marked price. It wasn’t until much later that they realized the reason for the customer’s euphoria. I’ve seen the 11.2 ounce bottles of Thomas Hardy Ale sell for $50 and up.
Anyway, you can read about my own Thomas Hardy Ale experience by following the link below. No, I wasn’t the customer in the story.
I bought this bottle of Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room at that same beer store and since its Christmas Eve – I think its appropriate to pop it open. Not really stout weather today as temperatures hit a record 72 degrees.
Heavy smoke and peat flavor. Lots of cocoa and Very astringent with a boozy burn. I’ll say 88 points for Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room. Merry Christmas everyone.
Tasting: December 5, 2014 Style: Imperial IPA Beer #: 661
The tweet from Evil Twin proclaimed that people on a beer community website had favorably compared the brewery’s Molotov Lite to the legendary imperial IPA – Heady Topper.
Okay, I’ll bite.
A four-pack of Molotov Lite in tall-boy cans was $15.99. This is can number two. Even though I can’t do a side-by-side, I have had a number of Heady Toppers over the last couple of months and my last was as recent as this past week. Heady Topper and its near perfection are burned into my taste bud memory.
On the not-so-fast side – Molotov Lite doesn’t come close to the aromatics, viscosity and the juicy nectar characteristics of Heady Topper.
On the wait-a-minute side – Molotov Lite does have an eerily similar taste to Heady Topper. It is simply delicious and mimics the pineapple and tangerine rind bitterness.
I’ve said this before – rarity sometimes skews the actual product. I often wonder if Heady Topper were canned under a different label and available everywhere would this new beer enjoy the same status? Who knows? For now, I’ll call Molotov Lite about as close as a copy has come and I didn’t have to drive ten hours round trip. 94 points for Molotov Lite from me.