Tag Archives: sierra nevada

Book Review: Ken Grossman Beyond The Pale

Sierra Nevada is now the second biggest craft brewery in America – second to Boston Beer Company – and 7th overall brewery, craft or otherwise. How does one brewery grow to be the second largest in a sea of over 2,500 breweries? Ken Grossman, founder and president of Sierra Nevada tells the breweries story, and in turn his story, in his new book “Beyond the Pale: The story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.” (Amazon Book/eBook). The publishers were kind enough to send me a copy to review and I’m sharing my thoughts with you below.

Ken Grossman Autobiography Beyond The Pale The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Review

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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Flipside

I like Sierra Nevada in general, I like their IPA, and I really like their pale ale, all that combined with my general love of Amber IPAs (or India Amber Ales) makes me very excited to try Sierra Nevada’s brand new Flipside Red IPA. flipside2013_sellsheet_front Read on after the jump for more info and my review! Continue reading

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Josh’s Favorite Beers of 2012

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been going through my Untappd profile, rounding up my most memorable beer than I was lucky enough to try in 2012. I ended up with a total of fifteen beers, consisting of a top ten and five honorable mentions which were just short of the cut. It’s not quite the end of 2012 yet, so I suppose it’s possible that late additions bump some of these out, but it’s a risk I’m going to make.

My takeaways?

  1. I definitely like barrel-aged beers.
  2. Cincinnati-area beers performed well, taking 4 of the 15 spots.
  3. This list was really, really hard to cull down. There is so much great beer out there and I’ve been able to try so much of it. I love the choice that better beer drinkers have now.

Now, for the list. There are more details for each beer in the captions of the slideshow below, but this here’s the summary. By the way, the top ten are in no particular order.

Top Ten

  • Rivertown Lambic (2010)
  • Founders Looking Glass
  • Sierra Nevada barrel-aged draft only beers
  • Quaff Bros. Joseph
  • The Bruery Black Tuesday (2009, 2011) & Chocolate Rain
  • Goose Island Juliet
  • Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the Fifth (2011, 2012)
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2012)
  • Westvleteren XII
  • Listermann Cincinnatus

Honorable Mentions

  • Rivertown Sour Cherry Porter
  • Stone Enjoy By 11.09.12
  • Quaff Bros Sour Grapes
  • New Belgium La Folie
  • Founders Better Half

The format is a little awkward below with the captions, so if you’d like a better view of them, you can do so here.


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Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Stout vs. Narwhal Imperial Stout

Getting back on track with The Winter of my dark-content I built my own 6-pack of stouts & porters at Belmont Party Supply in Dayton. I had Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout last night and the mouth feel was insanely awesome, but otherwise not to amazing. It left me a little disappointed with stouts in general. Tonight however that all changes as I compare Sierra Nevada’s Stout to their Narwhal Imperial Stout.

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Tips for Cellaring Beer

Recently I’ve embarked on a voluntary freeze on beer purchases so I could force myself to 1) put more effort into brewing beers to drink and 2) begin drinking down the beers in my cellar which I haven’t tried before. This has had me thinking a bit about proper cellar technique and I thought I would pass some tips on to those of you who are new to cellaring beer or are considering starting to do so.

1. Cellar conditions

The most important thing here are light level and temperature control. You don’t want beer that is light struck. While the amber-colored bottles that most breweries use to bottle with do help cut down on light entering the beer, you’re going to want to keep your bottles in something like a closet or other area where there isn’t going to consistent visible light. You can read why light on your bottles over a lengthy period of time is bad here. As a quick aside, this is also a reason I am weary to buy beer that has been sitting on a bottle shop shelf forever under lights.

As for temperature, ideal is probably in the 50-60 degree range. This isn’t easy to do, which is why a makeshift “cellar” in your bedroom closet isn’t going to cut it. You can store beer at higher temperatures than that for a short to moderate time frame (depending on the beer and the temperature), but if you’re counting on building a ten year vertical of your favorite stout, you’re going to need a cool basement or a small refrigerator to store it in. Note: just like you don’t want a hot cellar, you also don’t want one that gets below freezing in the winter.

I recommend that bottles are stored upright, though this has been argued to death in the beer community. My logic is that since many of the beers I cellar are bottle conditioned, I’d rather have that yeast settle to the bottom of the bottle than on the side (which would happen if you laid them on their sides).

2. Beers to cellar

I’m not going to get into the science of this, but beers I’ve had the best luck with have had one of more of these characteristics:

  • Dark
  • Sour (as in lambic/wild sour, not “bitter beer face” sour)
  • High ABV
  • Bottle conditioned (most of the time it will say on the bottle)

There are exceptions, of course. Some people like to cellar Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, which is none of the above. I have one specific additional rule for my own cellar, which contributes to why I’ve been drinking mine down recently. I do not like to cellar a beer that I have not tried fresh before. I just don’t understand why you would cellar a beer when you have no baseline to measure the cellared beer against. I also try to stay away from cellaring beers with adjuncts like coffee since, in my opinion, the fading of those flavors does the original beer a disservice.

DO NOT cellar hoppy beers. Hop-forward beers, with a few exceptions (Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Stone Old Guardian and other hoppy beers that become an intentionally different beer when the hops fade), taste awful cellared. That IPA you picked up at the store was intended for you to drink fresh. By all means, feel free to experiment, but that Bell’s Two Hearted that’s been sitting in the back of your fridge for four months is going to taste like crap.

3. Some of my favorite “off the shelf” beers to cellar

These are some affordable, widely available beers that seem, in my and others’ opinions, to cellar well. Bonus points for labelled, yearly releases for allowing for the building of verticals.

  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout
  • Stone Old Guardian
  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
  • A good deal of Belgian-style ales (Quads/Tripels/etc.)
  • Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
  • Dogfish Head 120 Minute (not that readily available, but still)
  • Bell’s Expedition Stout
  • Orval (there’s a reason you can buy them pre-aged)
  • Fuller’s Vintage Ales
  • Most Jolly Pumpkin beers

With all of that in mind, there is some disagreement in the beer community over cellaring, so don’t just take my word for it. Googling “beer cellaring tips” bring up about a bazillion results, so go to town if you’d like more information. Beer Advocate has a good write up on cellaring here.

I’d also like your feedback. Do you cellar? If so, what is your setup like? What beers do you think do particularly well with a year or two on them?


Filed under Beer, Informational