Double the Fun

Friday, March 20, 2009

I finally got around to grabbing a 6-er of a newer Founders release: Founders Double Trouble. The label is mighty damn cool.
As the name gives away, this lovely brew is a double IPA. Double Trouble delivers. While not the hop-armageddon of some past reviews, there are enough hops in this beer to turn the hop-shy drinker away.

Dispensing with the visuals, there is nothing remarkable here. This is one of those rare cases where I didn't care what it looked like; I just wanted to drink it. So, caramel-and-gold, slightly hazy from copious hops, thick, sticky head, tons of lacing down the glass, blah blah.

Founders does a good job on the balance, but that's their m.o. That's why I love them. Despite the aroma's tendency towards hops, it is balanced by a caramel sweetness underneath it. I loved their hop choices here. It smells like Michigan: pine trees and roadside aromatic wildflowers. Leafy green trees and grain. Michigan.

The ground-floor of the taste is pale and caramel malts; sweet without cloying, malty with a hint of graininess. But the walls all around are a heavy mix of pine, resin and grapefruit with a hint of flowers. The finish of the house that Founders built is peppery and leathery, in that formal British Hunt Club sort of style. The alcohol warms like a fire.

Surprisingly, the beer is medium-bodied for as thick as I though it'd be, and the hop resins leave an oily-click feel on the tongue. Not gross and coated like an Exxon disaster, but comfortably covered.

The hop bitterness, especially the pine-resiny flavors, are the highlight of this beer, with the malt serving to give it balance. I know this isn't a glowing review, and maybe it's that I am uninspired today, or that as good as this beer is, it wasn't good enough for me to gush about. I do recommend the beer, though I am growing weary of an oversaturation of Big Imperial Ales (DIPA, TIPA, etc.). So my review is all over the place today, but so is my head. Buy this beer, drink it, and you will enjoy it if you like hoppy beers. Yadda yadda.


Sopor 10:40 AM  

Sweet Dude, glad you got your hands on some Double Trouble. I'm not sure if I like this or Hopslam better... they're different, special in their own way, and kind of hard to compare. But this is definitely another great beer from a great brewery!

One question though... Was it really a sixpack? Or a fourpack?

Sopor 12:13 PM  

And another thing... if you're gettin' weary of the Hop Bombs... what about reviewing something like Sam Adams Chocolate Bock for us? I had one the other day... and was quite impressed. Or maybe a good Tripel? Spring is my favorite time for blonde belgians! ;-) I mean beer, of course...

Bob 12:59 PM  

I had the pleasure of sampling one of the last of Smitty’s Maple Syrup Porter. (Actual name still to be determined.)

Once again, I begin this post with a disclaimer. I am not qualified to do a beer review. I just drink what I like and I like trying new beers.

Soper recently did a nice job in a mini review of Smitty’s creation:

“And I mentioned Smitty's Maple Porter in the comments of our economic brainstorming thread... This stuff is yummy. A little light on the carbonation, dark brown with red highlights, fruity sweet with hints of maple candy, medium-thickish body. Goes down smooth and easy... and five minutes later you realize that you're still tasting maple candy!”

After reading Sopor’s review, I expected it to be much sweeter. The maple syrup was more strong by smell than taste and while you could taste the maple flavor aftertaste, it wasn’t overpowering or syrupy sweet. It was a very drinkable beer, although it would probably kick my butt if I tried to make a night on them. I enjoyed the carbonation and felt it was plenty strong but maybe I have just been drinking a lot of flatter beers lately.

I haven’t sampled a lot of home brews, but the quality of Smitty’s Maple Porter is second to none in the industry.

Smitty 1:16 PM  

I'm not sure if I like this or Hopslam better

Oooohhhh...tough call. Hopslam.

what about reviewing something like Sam Adams Chocolate Bock

Next week, it is on to something else definitely. It is Belgian time, since this is the time of year that monks were not allowed to eat solid food. Deal.

Smitty’s Maple Porter is second to none in the industry

That was an extremely generous compliment, Bob. Thank you.

Smitty 1:17 PM  

Was it really a sixpack? Or a fourpack?

Misspoke. You know as I do that Founders only comes in 4s.

Sopor 2:13 PM  

Woohoo Belgian time!

Yea I figured it was the 4-packs... but you never know! Maybe they decided it was time to get their higher gravity stuff out in higher volumes like the Pale or Red's Rye!

GabFest 3:09 PM  

I hope that you get another 4-pac of this and drink it all at 8am tomorrow morning before SPAC.

And then I will laugh at you. Or I am laughing already in anticipation of this.

Sopor 4:49 PM  

Oh... and Smitty? How's the Dubbel coming?

Mike 8:31 AM  

an oversaturation of Big Imperial Ales

I hear you. Not sure if I mentioned this to you or another of my beer friends a while back, but I didn't even like the whole American hop explosion beers until about a year or so ago. But -- like spicy food, or salt, or any intense taste -- once I acquired the taste, I find it hard to go back to anything else now.

Between the astounding IBU and ABV numbers, I find, increasingly, that I don't enjoy lagers (including double bocks) and the only ales (so to speak) that I can drink are high ABV and either (i) ridiculously hoppy or (ii) roasted & toasted into bitter blackness. I'm even starting to find Belgians (!) lacking. I still roll with American barleywines, but again, those are usually bitter to the hilt. A Brit barleywine? Not sure it'd do it for me lately.

Meaning all I tend to drink are American Imperial Stouts & Porters or DIPAs and that sort.

I can't say I'm complaining, but I worry that I don't even reach for Europe's finest anymore. I mean, like all of us, I LOVED doublebocks & belgians.

Any thoughts here?

Mike 8:34 AM  

Between the astounding IBU and ABV numbers, I find, increasingly, that I don't enjoy lagers (including double bocks) and the only ales (so to speak) that I can drink

What I meant this to mean was that the astounding IBU and ABV numbers of the American ales eave me falling short with all the others varieties.

Too early (and too hungover) to write coherently. And I need to head to work to do . . . some writing. Yikes.

Sopor 9:03 AM  

Any thoughts here?

I had similar experiences during a period of time where I was really pushing to try as many different beers as was possible (in my budget). I was making monthly to bi-weekly trips to Oades (that's a 35-minute one-way drive for me) and picking up 6-24 singles for sampling, and adding to my bottle collection (which at one point numbered over 250 bottles before I decided I had no more room... and no interest in moving with such a collection!)

Anyway... it got to the point where the "mildest" brews I would even look for were Two-Hearted on the hoppy side, and Edmund Fitz or Arcadia's London Porter on the roasted side.

And then one day, for some reason... I got my hands on six-pack of Honkers Ale or something of the sorts... and I was taken aback! There were flavors in that beer that I hadn't tasted in... I don't even know how long. It took me back to tasting my dad's beers from the Frankenmuth brewery when I was a kid. Mild toasty notes, dry cereal grains, delicate hops.

I ended up discovering after that, that as much as I love me a good RIS or DIPA... my favorite styles of beer were Bitters, Milds, Altbiers and Kolsches... arguably some of the most "mild" and delicate beers in the world.

But it didn't stop there... In the end American Brown Ales, American Pale Ales, and Schwarzbiers have crept back up to the top of my favorite beer style list for their balance between the "mild" styles and the "extreme" styles.

So you never know... it's very interesting how my palate has changed in a few short years (I'm 25), and how it continues to develop. Perhaps you won't feel the same way about DIPAs in a few years?

But I still prefer ales over lagers, fwiw... I can almost always pick up sulfur notes in a lager, short of some of the smoothest doppelbocks. Although, sometimes I even crave that sulfur hint. Like and Octoberfest wouldn't be complete without it IMO.

Jennifer 12:14 PM  

How's the Dubbel coming?

Beautifully. Just added the cherry juice last night after 4 days worth of violent fermentation.

What I meant this to mean was that the astounding IBU and ABV numbers of the American ales eave me falling short with all the others varieties.

The way I see it, it's like this: my tongue is destroyed. It' like eating cajun food every night for 2 weeks at the jazz fest, then coming home to eat at a good local restaurant. You'e pretty sure you can taste something, but after all that rich, spicy cajun food, you can hardly notice it. And you've developed the taste for the cajun stuff.

I may take a break from American big beers and calm my taste buds down with a string of kolschs and the like.

Mike 8:27 AM  

One brew I've been mixing in lately is Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale. It's a red ale of sorts, but it really defies categorization. It's also hoppy AND malty.

And it's "only" about 6.8%. Maybe it's my rehab vehicle.

Smitty 9:55 AM  

George sent me some of that. I really really liked it.

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