Hoptimum
Imperial IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, CA
ABV: 10.4%

Jon:
4.0
Appearance
5/5
Aroma
8/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
8/10
Overall
16/20
Looks sticky. Smells peppery and flowery and bust-my-face-up bitter. But what's this? My face is only slightly busted up! All-sorts-of-hoppy this may be, but an attempt at balance can be found. There's some sweet malt backing up those hops, which really makes this brew sing. Very nice imperial.
Mark:
3.7
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
6/10
Palate
4/5
Flavor
7/10
Overall
16/20
This just looks strong. Pours a medium caramel color with an almost non-existent head. I wasn't totally crazy about the aroma on this one, I couldn't smell much...but it is the height of allergy season so my smeller might not be working so well. First sip-HOLY MOLY! HOPS! Slightly sweet, molasses, with floral hops in the forefront, quickly changing to bitter white grapefruit finishing with a slightly sweet pink grapefruit. This really was quite complex for an imperial IPA. Not your every day drinker but great for a treat.
Jere:
4.3
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
9/10
Palate
4/5
Flavor
8/10
Overall
18/20
What a way to get back into the beer blogging! A little goes a long way with this one. Grapefruity goodness and some other fruitiness that I can't quite identify. Its a good thing it only came in a 4-pack since I doubt I'd get through 2 full pints.

Little Red Cap
Altbier
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Loveland, CO
ABV: 5.2%

Jon:
3.5
Appearance
3/5
Aroma
7/10
Palate
4/5
Flavor
7/10
Overall
14/20
Coppery hue, little to no carbonation. Yummy caramel nose, molasses and grain. The flavor is sweet up front, with layers of bitterness unfolding over time. The aftertaste is a bit much but otherwise this is definitely worth a try.
Jere:
3.0
Appearance
3/5
Aroma
6/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
6/10
Overall
12/20
Branching out to the German beers tonight, this one doesn't have quite as much kick as you may expect. I haven't had a German beer for awhile either. This one seems almost flat, perhaps. Keeping it in a growler doesn't sustain it quite as long as it should.

Bigfoot
Barley Wine
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, CA
ABV: 9.6%

Jon:
3.8
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
6/10
Palate
4/5
Flavor
8/10
Overall
16/20
Reddish, some lengthy suds up top. Less nose than I expect, then KAPOW! This sucker is intense on the tongue. I was expecting to be dominated by raisiny barleywine-ness, but the dominance actually goes to the hops. Big, spicy hops. I like.
Mark:
3.8
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
7/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
8/10
Overall
16/20
Deep amber color with a soapy head. Amazingly strong hop aroma. First sip: bitter! Lots of floral, herbal hops hit you right in the face followed by a sweet, strong malt, then back to the bitterness for the aftertaste. Definitely strong with some alcohol heat. Half a glass and I feel it already.
Jere:
3.7
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
8/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
7/10
Overall
15/20
Friday evening beer, this be. Just opening the bottles up was enough to become inundated with the aroma, and drinking it slow is a must, thanks to that extra kick. We'll see if I make it to a second bottle.

Squall IPA
Imperial India Pale Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, DE
ABV: 9%

Jon:
3.3
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
5/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
6/10
Overall
15/20
Light carbonation, lightly colored. Big caramel notes pervade, this kind of tastes like a hoppy barley wine. The citrus hops are a nice balance to the sweetness. This might be a bit too meaty for my taste.
Mark:
3.2
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
6/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
6/10
Overall
13/20
This one pours cloudy (unfiltered) with a sparse creamy head. Definite "sour" aroma - reminds me of a farmhouse ale. Farmhouse carries through to the first taste. Tastes sour and slightly sweet with a hint of lemon hoppiness. There's also a drying (alum) note that puckers you up at the finish.
Jere:
2.9
Appearance
4/5
Aroma
3/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
6/10
Overall
13/20
No mistaking this 9%-er for anything weaker. It's a good thing we split this three ways; I doubt I'd be able to finish a full pint otherwise. The carbonation itself seems stronger than usual.

Lucky Bucket IPA
India Pale Ale
Lucky Bucket Brewing Company
La Vista, NE
ABV: 6.3%

Jon:
3.1
Appearance
3/5
Aroma
7/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
6/10
Overall
12/20
Dark, cloudy, reddish, sudsy. Smells of floral hops, a hint of honey, and... yogurt? Interesting. Really bitter taste, like strong tea. Plenty of malt but the bitter tea flavor lingers and takes over. Makes the tongue tingle.
Mark:
3.1
Appearance
2/5
Aroma
7/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
6/10
Overall
13/20
Pours cloudy amber with a soapy head, lots of great hop aroma. First sip - starts out biscuity malty, then nice and bitter. There is an odd mediciney aftertaste. Ditto on the tongue tingle.
Jere:
3.1
Appearance
3/5
Aroma
7/10
Palate
3/5
Flavor
6/10
Overall
12/20
I was expecting more from the taste based on the aroma, but sadly I was deceived. Perhaps my palate was colored by some previously consumed beverage, but this just wasn't my cup of tea.

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