Welcome to Cosmo's Beer Blog!

We’re a small group of friends and family scattered across the country who’ve all developed a thirst for craft and import beer. We decided that a blog would be a great venue for us to share our hobby. Here we will review beer, compare notes and challenge each other with "Beer Missions".

So welcome to our little world of discovering great tasting beer!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout

Last September, a good friend shared a bottle of Hunahpuh's with most of the bloggers here. We were all blown away by that amazing stout and ever since then, I have been very interested to try the base stout that Cigar City Brewing uses to create their Mayan inspired Hunahpuh's. Recently, the same friend was kind enough to share this foundation:

Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout by Cigar City Brewing
Style / abv: Russian Imperial Stout / 11.5%
Source / Temp: bottle / ?
Glass: Large Wine Glass

Appearance: Completely black ale with a thick mocha brown head.

Aroma: The aroma is both appealing and unusual. I smell cocoa powder, molasses, soy sauce, and I detect just a hint of alcohol.

Taste: I taste creamy molasses, dark cocoa powder, and a medium roasty finish. This is a very sweet brew, but the roasted malt finish balances the taste nicely.

Drinkability: Despite Zhukov's being an extremely thick brew with only medium carbonation, I find it to be surprisingly drinkable. Not drinkable like a glass of pilsner after mowing the yard in the hot summer sun, but rather drinkable like a cup of hot chocolate that you just can't put down on a cold winter's day.

As Zhukov's warms, I notice more roastiness in the finish to the point that it actually tastes a bit smokey.

Some aspects of this beer feel like they contradict one another: good and strange aroma, sweet and roasty taste, thick and drinkable body, highly alcoholic with almost no evidence in the taste or aroma. Yet somehow they all work together for an extremely enjoyable beer and one that I will seek out again.

I give Marshal Zhukov's 9 out of 10.

Eis Igian,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Canadian Breakfast Stout

Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) by Founders
Style / abv: Double Imperial Stout / 10.6%
Source / Temp: 750ml bottle / 55 deg
Glass: Medium Sized Snifter

Appearance: Black ale with a tan head.

Aroma: The first thing I notice is that this ale smells like a tame KBS. I pick up a light bourbon scent, chocolate liquor, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste: This is a very sweet beer. I taste creamy chocolate milk, a bit of coffee, tons of maple, and just a touch of bourbon. I am strongly reminded of a sweet Starbucks coffee. The only evidence of hops is a very slight bite somewhere in the middle. I do not taste any alcohol.

Drinkability: This smooth, creamy ale has just a little bit of carbonation. This is a dessert beer that while tasty, it is not very drinkable. I cannot imagine drinking much more than about 6 ounces.

As CBS reaches room temperature, the sweetness becomes over-the-top. I find myself with my nose in the glass, yet less and less tempted to take a sip.

I am glad that I was lucky enough to secure a single bottle of this interesting and lauded ale. It is a tasty brew that was fun to share with my fellow bloggers. I must admit, however, that while I will continue to hunt and scrap for bottles of KBS and Backwoods Bastard, I will not go to the same lengths for CBS. There is one exception: many who have had both say that CBS on tap is far superior to CBS in the bottle. So I will reserve my final judgement of CBS for the day that I have opportunity to sample it on tap... if that day ever comes....

I give CBS 8 out of 10.

Eis Igian,

A Zombie at the Beach

Fun Picture by Charles

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sun King Brewery: Osiris

Sun King Brewery Osiris
Type:  APA (American Pale Ale)

I first tried this beer as a sample in the Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis, Indiana right before the Three Floyds Anniversary celebration (good times) this year.  It was a great experience at the Sun King Brewery and it is amazing now out of the colorfully ornate 1 pint can.

Appearance - Pours with a full head and a light amber color.  

Aroma -  Fresh, crisp citrus…amazing and perfect.

Taste -  Absolutely perfect, just like the aroma.  Pours in rich and creamy with a….hate to use the word again, but 'perfect' carbonation tantalizing the tongue with 'perfectly' (dang it, can't stop using that word) balanced lasting hops.  The subsequent tastes repeat this process 'perfectly' till the bottom of the glass.

Rating - 10 out of 10

This is a close tie with Zombie Dust from Three Floyds for APA's, from the same great state of Indiana (what is going on over there?).  Because of Osiris and Zombie Dust I have a new found attraction for APAs and the relationship is growing.  We found another winner.  Great job Sun King Brewery you are amazing!

Broma Theon
(food of the gods)


Mikkeller 10 (APA)

Mikkeller 10
Type:  APA (American Pale Ale)

Appearance - A liquid very similar to a Hefe weisen or Belgian trippel with smokey liquid pours with a hefty  and lasting head.  

Aroma -  I would not have believed it unless I smelt it personally, but the smell that quickly dropped my expectations is…..wet dog.  Yes, the smell was wet dog with a side of hops.  Not very refreshing to start.

Taste -  Tastes more like a belgian trippel than an APA to me, but I'm fairly new to APA's so I'm trying to figure them out.  My absolute favorite APA is Zombie Dust by Three Floyds, but…I'll talk about that one in another review.  The citrus is definitely quality, but I just can't shake the 'wet dog' smell to really enjoy the hops.  Seeing that they brewed this limited release at De Poef, Belgium I am going to take a wild guess to understand why there are strong Belgium yeast overtones.

Rating - 6 out of 10

It was really hard to score it so low with the amazing complex flavors, but I just can't get past smelling wet dog while I am stuffing my face into the glass.  This is my first time trying anything by Mikkeller so I will try not to judge my next tastes of their beer based off of this limited release.  Till next time.

Broma Theon
(food of the gods)


Monday, November 21, 2011

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 11 (aka Endeavour)

Saint Arnolds Divine Reserve 11
Type: American Double, Imperial IPA

Appearance - While it pours with a full head, it quickly settles to allow you to enjoy the experience.  Waiting is sometimes frustrating when you want to taste a great beer.

Aroma:  Fresh honey with a slight hint of grape fruit.

First taste - Definitely taste the honey and the rush of my favorite flavors...hops!!  I imagine that this Divine Reserve 11 would have tasted even more amazing had it been completely fresh, but even after the many months of waiting for me to taste it, I'm impressed.  I admit that I have not found a beer that Saint Arnolds produces that completely captures my taste buds, but tonight...I found one.  Thankfully Saint Arnolds is smart enough to keep this one around for good and is releasing it as a normal production beer under the title, "Endeavour."  The vote was between the name 'eleven' and 'Endeavour' and Endeavour won.  I voted for Endeavour myself....who calls their beer eleven?  Really?!

Later tastes - Creamy, rich, a slight warmness, and the slightly bitter hoppy goodness that I love in my aftertastes. Some hate it, but I absolutely love it.

Rating: 9 out of 10

For its new name's connotation of the Space Shuttle Endeavor and for the James Cook's ship Endeavor, it represents the best that I've had from Saint Arnolds to date.  Good job Saint Arnolds, keep 'em comin'!!

Broma Theon
(food of the gods)


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Canadian Craze

Beer geeks around the world have long pursued Founders' Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS). Described by Founders as an "Ale brewed with Chocolate and Coffee aged in Maple Syrup - Bourbon Barrels" it is easy to understand its appeal. Of course many brews fall short of the delicious descriptions conjured up by marketing professionals but CBS has consistently received excellent reviews on websites like Beeradvocate and Ratebeer. Over the years CBS has become legendary. Part of this fame is also based on Founders reputation as masters of bourbon barrel aging. When Founders commits to aging ale in bourbon barrels, they rarely miss the mark.

Until recently, CBS was only available on tap and it's legend grew as the chosen few beer reviewers lauded it's amazing taste and aroma. Earlier this year Founders started bottling in large format 750ml bottles. Their first release was Blushing Monk and immediately people started speculating that CBS could be, or should be, next. Founders played their cards close to the chest as anticipation grew but in late August Founders announced that the next large format release would indeed be Canadian Breakfast Stout. The web was abuzz with anticipation and excitement and our little tasting group was no different.

On one of my many trips to the local bottle shoppe, I discussed the impending release of CBS with my friend and purveyor of great beer, Dave (or as he is called on Beeradvocate: backfat). "I'm not even going to bother trying to get it locally", Dave said. "It's going to be a bloodbath." I chuckled. Laura and I thought about driving up to the release party but ultimately decided to skip it. I figured it would be difficult to get, but I had always been able to track down any brew that I really wanted and figured this would be no different.

As the date for distribution grew closer, I began calling my various sources for rare beer. I could tell early on that store employees were being harassed by frenzied beer fans, concerned that they might not get a bottle of CBS. Was Dave right? Maybe I should have made the trip to Grand Rapids to secure my bottles... still, I wasn't too worried. I put my name on three bottle lists and stayed in contact with eight different stores. At the first store I was number 14 on a list, at the second I was number 5, and at my regular spot I was number 8. The only problem was that no one knew how many bottles they would receive. More time passed and rumors of extremely limited bottle counts began to surface. Now I began to lament my decision to not attend the release party in Grand Rapids. With no going back, I tried to call stores often enough to keep abreast of what was happening without becoming a nuisance. The problem was that with so many callers, beer stores were growing weary of any mention of CBS.

Finally distribution week came and the incredible stories began. People waiting outside stores who refused to make lists, some even sleeping in their cars. People hearing they would get bottles, only to find their store received none. Stores not selling a single bottle to the public but rather letting employees purchase their entire allotment. As I touched base with stores that did not make lists, I received the same news: either their bottle allotment was so small that they were already gone or they received no bottles at all. I still had hope as my name was in good position on a few lists. I spoke with the first store and found out that I was number 14 on a list for 12 bottles. I called the second store and found that I was number 5 on a list for no bottles. Uh oh. I called my last hope and found that I was number 8 on a list for 12 bottles! Okay, this would work out just fine... or maybe not. The shop kept taking names and as their list grew well beyond their allotment they decided that the only fair thing to do was to have a lottery. The list grew to around 40 names and the bottle count dwindled to 4 as their employees reserved bottles for themselves. At this point I was hopeful but not especially optimistic. I spoke with one of the employees who stated, "we're going to do the drawing at 5 this afternoon. Everyone just wants to get this whole Canadian Breakfast Stout thing behind us". I empathized with him for a minute before hanging up.

After work I decided to run over to the store and see how the drawing went. A group of people that included Dave and the store owner were quietly chatting as I entered. I smiled, congratulated them for being almost done with all the craziness, and asked how the drawing went. Dave pulled out a bottle of CBS and said, "isn't that a beautiful thing?" He held it forward and handed it me. As I looked over the label he said, "we just did the drawing and you won. That's your bottle." I paused for a moment wondering if he was kidding, but quickly concluded that Dave wouldn't be that cruel. I was a little stunned and a lot excited to realize that I would finally get to try this storied ale.

As Dave walked back to check some stock I said, "Man, you called it on the CBS release! How did you know that it would be so crazy?"

"Well, I figured this: bottle one of the most sought-after stouts in the world that tastes so good that you'd stab your best friend in the face just for a sip; it has to be crazy." I think I'll listen next time.

So last Friday night on the eve of the Three Floyds 15th Anniversary, I decided to open my bottle of CBS. It seemed appropriate as the group assembled included most of us who write here.

So next up... my review of CBS.

Eis Igian,