Firestone “Stickee Monkee”
Stickee Monkee is a limited-release Quadrupel brewed with an addition of Turbinado brown sugar and Belgian candi sugar, then aged for up to fourteen months in fine bourbon oak barrels. Its name is a nod to Belgian monks, but also references the Sticky Monkey flower that grows along the California coast. This was originally created in 2010 to fill in the sweet gap in the brewery’s barrel-aged Anniversary Ale blending program, but was just recently bottled for first time in May 2014. Firestone prefers the term “Central Coast Quad.”
On the nose, sweet aromas abound with brown sugar, butterscotch, and toffee. A big barrel presence gives hints of coconut, vanilla, tobacco, and leather. Malts smell like banana bread with graham crackers. Fruity notes of fig merge with orange zest and cinnamon.
The palate begins in sweet layer of toffee as a creme brulee flavor comes to mind. Malts accumulate into a sticky pool of molasses that stops just shy of cloying. Fruity hints emerge in a character like dried figs, raisins, dates, and plums. The bourbon barrel brings out vanilla, coconut, leather, and musty tobacco. Pushing even deeper, a subtle malt roast develops suggestions of gingerbread muffins with a touch of chocolate. Finishing flavors are salty like peanut brittle, enclosed by a poignant twist of spice with an outline of licorice, rising toward a bitter edge of orange peel. Alcohol eventually surfaces, yet while being disguised in bourbon, has little to offer apart from a gentle arrival of tannins. The final flavor remind me of German chocolate cake. Hop contribution is practically non-existent, appearing only as a light contribution of pine oil on the finish. Mouthfeel is chewy, smooth, and creamy with a full, well-rounded body that closes in heat. Alcohol proves to be incredibly deceptive, so drinkability is unhindered by its influence.
This will go down as my highest-rated domestic Quad. In some ways, it almost tastes more like a bourbon-aged Barleywine. Where most will simply fail to stand up to the greatness of traditional Belgians, this has given me a newfound respect for the American interpretation of a well-established classic. The oak adds a nice degree of complexity that tastes very complementary to the stylistic qualities of the quad. Barrel-aging a Belgian is unheard of, so this is a rather progressive approach as far as I understand. I do think it needs more Belgian yeast in order to to really taste traditional. This should perform wonders in a cellar. Okay, so it might lack the more intricate complexity of a genuine Belgian Quad, but I’m impressed. Stickee Monkee is a tasty treat, I highly recommend it!
Paso Robles, California
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Oh my god! Need!!!!
HELLO THIS IS SO SMART
Westbrook “Mexican Cake”
Mexican Cake is an imperial stout originally brewed to celebrate the one year anniversary of Westbrook, and due to its immense popularity, will now be released once every year during the month of May. The Mexican refers to the wonderful list of extra ingredients, including cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and fresh habanero. Delightful aromas come across like chocolate confections, the most prominent note resembling fudge with walnuts. Vanilla sweetness rounds out the middle register as malts gets smokey with hints of burnt coffee. Alcohol smells a bit like rum. More distant complexities include dark fruit, a pinch of cinnamon, and peppery spice.
The palate begins with smooth milk chocolate, settling into a burnt caramel sweetness. Roasted malts begin to accumulate toward a rich, sultry body of dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and burnt barley. Warm vanilla bean is intertwined along the way, supplemented by the earthy spice of cinnamon, which acts to provide subtle complexity without clear attribution of flavor. As the habanero begins to emerge from behind, I find a genuine flavor of fresh pepper fruit, followed by a burst of spice as capsaicin settles on the back of the throat where it continues as an aftertaste. Sweet malts re-emerge into a body of brown sugar, which acts as a counterbalancing force to measure up to the barrage of dark malts, spice, and 50 IBU’s of bitterness. Flavors of espresso fill in the remainder of the palate as smoky malts gather on the back-end. Hops provoke such minimal impact, they’re hardly worth mentioning except on the basis of their subtle support. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, generally quite ‘wet’ over a full, chewy body.
Overall, I find the bitter and sweet components united in supreme balance. Malts are the star of the show, and I would have it no other way. The presence of heat imparted by alcohol merges with the burn of the capsaicin, creating a complementary synergy, thus making it difficult to distinguish one from another. Mexican Cake is one hot item in the craft beer world, and distribution is minimal, so finding a bottle would be difficult. I’d like to thank fellow tumblr beer blogger, Holly George for picking up this bottle direct from the brewery. This is a memorable, tasty treat I hope to see again one day. I highly recommend it!
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
This was recorded by the Portsmouth Symphonia in an experiment where all the members of the orchestra would swap instruments with each other and attempt to play them to the best of their ability.
This is the result. And it makes me laugh every single time.
It tries to be so dramatic but it just falls flat. Love it.
This is my theme song
I cannot stop laughing
the song of my people
Oh my hahahaha