Firken Fest Review

First off…there were way too many beers to try. That was a good thing. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try a lot of beers that I wanted to. Here is my list of what I was able to try and my brief impression.

Rated them up to 5 stars

Dark Horse Plead the 5th Russian Imperial Stout – 4 ½
Very Bitter, a little harsh, good balance between sweet and bitter, very complex, overall my favorite Stout of the day.
Flat Earth Big Money Oak Aged Cygnus Porter – 4 ½
This was one of the most well balanced of all of the beers I tasted in the stout/porter category. You could smell and taste the oak just slightly, not overpowering though. A nice coffee aroma.
Fulton Worthy Adversary Imperial Stout – 4
This was a very balance Stout with nice coffee roastiness.
Bell’s Expedition Stout - 4
Very balance Stout. Amazing out of the Cask.
• Fulton War and Peace Russian Imperial Stout with Peace Coffee – 3
I think they used a bit too much coffee. Wow, lot’s of coffee.
• Surly 2010 Darkness Oak Aged, Dry Hopped – 3 ½
This was soooo overly sweet that it was almost a drain pour for me. Not sure why it was so sweet out of the cask because it tasted way different in the bottle. Maybe it was from the oak aging. Not sure. Too much dark fruit flavor in this one for me. Way too much going on in this one and not balanced at all.
• Rush River Chocolate Oatmeal Stout – 3 ½
This was a very interesting brew. It was completely overpowered by the chocolate. I’ve never had a beer this chocolaty in my life that didn’t have a crazy chocolate bitterness too it. It would be amazing with a chocolate dessert though!

Bell’s HopSlam - 5
This is the best HopSlam I’ve ever had. Out of the bottle it’s very hoppy in the bitterness, aroma, and taste. Out of the keg it’s pretty darn balanced. Out of a Cask this is the most well balanced, easy to drink, fantastic DIPA I’ve ever had and was my vote for best in show. Piny, Resiny hops, and a nice drinkable, not syrupy. Perfect
Southern Tier Unearthly IPA – 4 ½
This was a fantastic DIPA and I actually had to go back and try it again. It was a contender for best in show for me. Very bitter and hoppy and a little more abrasive then the Hopslam. A little syrupy. Fantastic hop aroma, and flavor.
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA – 4 ½
Wow, what a crazy beer. 13%. For such a strong beer, this one is a decent drinking DIPA. The bitterness was very strong if you’re a lover of that. Great hop aroma and flavor as well!
• Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA – 3 ½
This seemed to have the same hop profile as HopSlam to me but the syrupyness that I usually find in a Barley wine. Didn’t really work for me compared to the others.
• Great Divide IPA – 3 ½
This was a bit of a disappointment, also too syrupy for my taste.

Other beers I sampled
• Brau Brothers Elisha’s Old Ale – 2 - too sweet, drain pour.
• Boulder Beer Flashback India Brown Ale- 3 ½ - Good beer, not a brown though. More like a hoppy red ale.
• Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30 yr – 3 – interesting to try a beer that actually has Scotch in it. But I couldn’t drink more then 3 ounces of this. My Uncle Bob said this, and I agree, one sip I’d like it, the next, I wouldn’t. We had weird mixed feelings about this one.
• Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison Honey Ginger Girl – 3 – This almost tasted like a Belgian Wit with the addition of the spices.
• Surly Cynic – 3 - Also tasted like a Belgian Wit to me. Out of the can this is my favorite local beer though along with the Lift Bridge Farm Girl.

Beers I would’ve liked to sample
• Goose Island Citra Hop
• Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout
• Rogue Amarillo Dry Hopped American Amber Ale
• Rogue Chocolate Stout
• Rogue Shakespeare Stout
• Summit Oatmeal Stout
• Summit Winter dry hopped with Ahtanum
• Lift Bridge Chestnut Hill “A La Nutsack”

This was an amazing event. I tried many fantastic beers out of the cask which was such a treat. It was weird to not have clear winner as best in show in my mind. Of the ones I tasted, Bell’s HopSlam, Bell’s Expedition Stout, Dark Horse PT5th Stout, and Flat Earth Big Money Cygnus Porter were my favorites. Unfortunately Lift Bridge “A La Nutsack” poured out when I was in line. Oh well. Good times! Great beers, and congrats to all of the breweries for taking on the Cask challenge. It was certainly rewarding and many achieved some great renditions of their beers.

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