Beer Profile: Wiseacre’s Migration of the Taco Raptor

Profiled by Ken Carman


I had to take a leap on this one. It is really enjoyable, HOWEVER there’s a strong pepper sense. I found nothing that indicated Jasmine Rice would give a pepper sense, or Hallertau Blanc hops. Now Hallertau hops are described as “spicy:” non specific. Also if you’re looking for a pilsner, lager, sense, forget it. This is more ale-like.

But it’s so damn good!

The pepper sense seems to fit perfectly, and quite intentional. This would make a great Belgian Pale or Saison in THAT sense, though the fruity hops would be inappropriate. Perhaps a Belgian IPA, though that kind of bitter is missing. Experimental?

Finishes somewhat dry. The balance is perfect: pepper, malt, fruit.

But I can’t know for sure it’s not intentional and part of the profile of Jasmine Rice, or Blanc, or…

Otherwise the aroma is very passion fruit, with orange/lemon undertones. Just a little caramel to a very firm malt base that seems more pale than pils.

The head holds long and is an off white foam. The color is a hazy gold that can barely be seen through. That may be chill haze, especially since it was quickly cooled down in a freezer.

The body is low side of medium and the fruit lingers. It’s a hint carbonic and well carbonated: medium range, but the carbonation does not hold well in solution. Drink quickly if you have to have a more firm carbonation sense.

I have no choice. Yes, the pepper would normally knock it off more points than I am giving, but the quality, the tastiness, simply can’t be ignored. But I can’t go above 4 which I would have if I knew for sure it was appropriate.

Where the name comes from, who knows. Taco???

BA 3.8/RB Untappd total 187, Uniques 171, Monthly 27

4.0

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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Beer Profile: Saranac’s Blueberry Blonde

Profiled by Ken Carman

Very white head with frothy foam and small bubbles. Holds a long time. Slight haze in a very yellow quaff. Slight bubble rise in the quaff.

The aroma is the light sense of walking past a field of blueberries. Way behind that pale malt. No off fermentation sensed. No hops sensed. Smells slightly sweet, fruit sweetness not sugar or anything else.

The balance is slightly towards the malt. Finishes slightly dry. The malt has a hint of cracker to it, no caramel. The blueberry is almost an afterthought, and I sense some skin: pectin-like. Not enough to be problematic, just enough to set it aside from other Blondes.

Courtesy beersudsforum.com

Carbonation is tad low and has a carbonic tang to it. It makes the body: high side of light, seem low side moderate. No astringency.

Let me be honest here. I’ve had some of the classics of the style according to BJCP 2015, like Kona Big Wave, and I am not a fan. There’s not a hell of a lot to it. However that doesn’t matter. This is well made and has enough of a distinct difference to make it a worthy quaff for those who do care for the style. I would order a pint and move on, but for those who like the style this is immensely quaffable. It’s also lawnmower-ish, though I never recommend mowing laws and drinking.

If you like the style you’ll love this.

3.4BA… most reviews first page positive, rest no explanation. RB 21/39 style… what happened there? “Faint vomit?” Someone got a bad bottle. Also got sense many didn’t know the style.

4.4

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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_________________________________Beer HERE

Beer Profile: Westbrook’s Mexican Cake Imperial Stout

Profiled by Ken Carman

I love it when a beer’s name evokes memories that stimulate the palate. This one does but…
Where’s the cake?

Aroma: Sweet chocolate, hint molasses, aroma. No hops. Great complex malt bill with some focus on a dark chocolate sense.

Appearance: black as all hell. Head big but fades into nothing. What there was pure foam. Head that fadedc fast is damn near as dark as the quaff. More brown than black.

Flavor: dark chocolate, very sweet, finishes tad dry to medium. The balance is towards the malt: deep, dark, delicious. Slightest bitter, no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: light side of heavy, malt with some bitter lingers on the roof of the palate. Dark chocolate hangs the heaviest on the palate.

Overall: Where’s the cake? This mostly tastes like a great RIS with maybe a hint of cake like sweetness, at best. The balance is malt specific and the bitter does balance it well, but it should at least softly say, “Mexican cake!” I do think there’s just a hint astringency lingering in the background as if I’m eating baker’s chocolate in otherwise an excellent RIS.

I admit it is incredibly enticing, quite good. But the Mexican cake I have had is actually fairly delicate. RIS and delicate are not synonyms. Felt like I was chewing on baker’s chocolate is the worst aspect.

4.4 BA.
100% RB.

3.9

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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_______________Beer HERE

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From the Bottle Collection: Carling Dark Beer


 Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice: tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s; OR, cover them with… The Bottle Collection.

 I’m sure this came from the 60s, at best the very early 70s. Back then, on the east coast, “exotic” qualified mostly as beer like this. Forget anything that would eventually qualify as craft. The closest was probably Anchor, but that was west coast. When we got Coors a lot of folks thought it a “special treat.” In upstate NY you had to go far west or Canada. We chose Canada in 74 and had Guinness Foreign Extra: the one they just brought into the country a few years ago. Then there was Prior Double Dark out of Pennsylvania which, from what I remember, was probably closest to a London Brown, though it may have been a lager.
 Of course I have no way of reviewing something I had almost 50 years ago. I would think it probably would qualify as an International Dark these days: adjunct lager with some food coloring, a few more complex malts at best and not highly hopped. Similar to Shaeffer Dark, Miller Dark, Pabst Dark, Utica Club Dark. It probably wasn’t the best one, either that or all that available. I think we used to drink a lot of Pabst and Shaeffer. Continue reading “From the Bottle Collection: Carling Dark Beer”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: New Scoresheet Anyone?


By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 My regular readers may remember my column on AHA scoresheets. I admit: I wasn’t too kind when it came to the check off judging sheet used mostly at Nationals. My opinion hasn’t changed. Now there’s a new BJCP/AHA score sheet. I like it, but…
 One change they never seem to consider is to scoring: drop the top aroma point value from 12 to at least 10 and maybe add it to mouthfeel?
 Oh, I understand aroma contributes a lot to beer. How many entries have I judged with almost no aroma that otherwise are to style and phenomenal? Yes, the link between the two is substantial, but is it so important that the range be so wide that might punish an otherwise great entry? Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: New Scoresheet Anyone?”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Erie County Fair Home Brew Competition


This ABJD is even more “diary” in nature than some because the story behind the adventure is as interesting as the event itself, and admittedly I know less event specifics than I should. For a complete list of winners please keep checking Erie County Fair’s Facebook Page. According to a recent post the first in show was Kevin DiTondo of Cheektowaga, NY with his Vienna Lager. Part of his winnings are having his beer brewed at Flying Bison Brewery in Buffalo.

By Ken Carman
  It’s April and I have a situation. I have lots of situations: story of my life, but I’m already veering off course. It’s Ken writing this, right?
 Anywhosie, like some fool writer who makes up his own words, Ken tends to make his own “situations,” and is good one. We have a boat to tow up north and, this year, a car too. The somewhat obscene sounding two ball rule means I can’t do the more dangerous thing and tow both. And for many unmentioned reasons that would extend this tale towards tedious, some of a somewhat self sabotaging nature, I need to tow the boat first.
 On the bright side, with my increasingly buff 64 year old body I’ll be able to fulfill my not so wet dream fantasy of flipping the 90 horse Evinrude upside down, use it like a propeller, and slide across the ice of Stillwater ten miles to Beaver River. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Erie County Fair Home Brew Competition”