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I got into some bottles I've had around for a while last night and the real highlight was a 2011 bottle of Goose Island's Night Stalker imperial stout. I think that was the first imperial stout I've ever had that I loved, it's a beautiful beer, sDo rich and complex and really shockingly easy to drink for it's strength. I also had a bottle of Meantime's London Porter which was lovely, balanced, and had a really nice cocoa-ish flavour from the dark malts. And I also had a bottle of Unibroue's Terrible which I believe I last had Iast about a year and a half ago and was really great with notes of cherries in with the dark malts, and this time it was just okay. Don't know if it was the bottle diminishing with age or just that anything following the Goose Island stout will be overshadowed.

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What I've been on lately: Weyerbacher Double Simcoe 2XIPA, Cigar City Bolita, Bells Expedition Stout, Bells Two Hearted Ale & just had the privilege of drinking some of the Westvleteren monastery beer at $90 a six pack when it was released in the US for one day. Also drank the Armageddon (65% abv) worlds strongest beer a few weeks ago. Typically stick w/the IPA's & Imperial Stouts though.

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What I've been on lately: Weyerbacher Double Simcoe 2XIPA, Cigar City Bolita, Bells Expedition Stout, Bells Two Hearted Ale & just had the privilege of drinking some of the Westvleteren monastery beer at $90 a six pack when it was released in the US for one day. Also drank the Armageddon (65% abv) worlds strongest beer a few weeks ago. Typically stick w/the IPA's & Imperial Stouts though.

How is the Westvleteren? I saw some of that for sale--also saw the price tag on it--I didn't know it's availability was that limited (I knew that you used to only be able to get it from the monastery, but assumed, I guess wrongly, that it was now more widely available) but I was thinking that it might be worth the money if only because it's such a legendary beer.

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It's definitely worth the money. They come in a 4 pack so you can drink one right away, save one or 2 for special occasions & then shelf one for as long as you want as it just gets better w/time. But yes, the availability was only 1 day in the US. They did it because they are trying to raise some extra money to fix the broken roof at the monastery. Really pricey though if you're trying to find a one off online as people are selling them for obscene amounts of money. The St. Bernardus 12 is a supposive clone of the Westvleteren, I've had one the day after I drank the Westvleteren, it's a very good quality Belgian, there's things differences I noticed between them drinking them so close to one & other, but it's always available & really good.

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It's definitely worth the money. They come in a 4 pack so you can drink one right away, save one or 2 for special occasions & then shelf one for as long as you want as it just gets better w/time. But yes, the availability was only 1 day in the US. They did it because they are trying to raise some extra money to fix the broken roof at the monastery. Really pricey though if you're trying to find a one off online as people are selling them for obscene amounts of money. The St. Bernardus 12 is a supposive clone of the Westvleteren, I've had one the day after I drank the Westvleteren, it's a very good quality Belgian, there's things differences I noticed between them drinking them so close to one & other, but it's always available & really good.

Thanks, I'll keep an eye open for it when I hit up the store I've seen selling it at the end of the month. Pricey, sure, but still less than a trip to Belgium. Also thanks for the tip on the St. Bernardus 12, I'll try to find a bottle of that as well.

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I got a pack of the Westvleteren last year also ... I think I paid around 50 euro ($60?) at the time, but I've seen a few packs still circulating here for half that much again.

Graeme, I'd absolutely recommend that you try some if you see it, although it's tough to say where you should draw the line in terms of what you're willing to pay. I don't think that 10-20 euro / dollars per bottle is necessarily crazy, although you have to appreciate that it's not exactly a magical elixir - just a very good abbey beer. It's kind of funny that the monks' approach to brewing inadvertently made their product super desirable just by virtue of it being so thin on the ground. If you're into beer it's worth paying for the experience of trying it, I think. I was in a bar in Den Haag a few months ago and they were selling bottles for 14 euro apiece... I think that would be a good way to do it.

St Bernardus 12 is, as far as I know, the exact same recipe as Westvleteren 12. St Bernardus used to brew for the monks from the abbey until around 1992 and then the monks decided not to renew their licence and do it themselves instead. I've heard it said that the St Bernardus of today is, in fact, actually more like the Westvleteren of old in terms of the provenance of the ingredients used.

I tried a blind taste test with my last bottle of Westvleteren and a bottle of St Bernardus 12 (an expensive 3 euro in my local offlicence...). You can certainly tell them apart, although probably unless you had them side by side you might struggle with that. Either way, I would be hard pressed to say that the Westvleteren is any better, IMO, and bearing in mind how cheap the St Bernardus is in comparison I came away thinking what an amazing deal it was. Both are amazing beers... Really warm and fruity, alcoholic body and a kind of nutty / blue cheese note on the nose that you wouldn't expect.

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I tried Laguanitas "Brown Sugga" Sweet Release a few days ago. Ended up having three before realizing that the alcohol content was 9.9%.

Delicious from what I remember.

I was looking forward to that beer all year, but never showed up in the stores here. I have a bar that always has limited release beer on tap and they had one keg, so I did get a pint or two, but was also too drunk to remember what it tasted like this year.

I even went so far as to email Lagunitas and they told me the stores they shipped it to, which was helpful cause all the stores have their own beer/wine steward , but they were all positive they never got it this year. I must say this combined with the fact that Laguintas closes it's tap room on Monday and Tuesday has me a little irritated with them.

I drove from SF to Petaluma to get a beer on a Tuesday, only to find them closed. I have never heard of a brewery or bar being closed on a Tuesday, usually Monday is the standard day for a restaurant to be closed, but figured with as much beer as they ship and how much they are expanding recently they would be a 7 days a week operation. So eventually I got my pint of Lagunitas IPA at Applebees in Petaluma. There are a couple other interactions that I have been less than pleased, but nothing too serious.

I will get over it, but still to this day can't believe the tap room was closed and no Brown Shuggah this year.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is a winter delight! Seriously delicious, its like chocolate cake in a glass (and not that weird fake-coco taste of so many other beers). A good runner up is Samuel Smith Chocolate Stout that just got released.

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I was looking forward to that beer all year, but never showed up in the stores here. I have a bar that always has limited release beer on tap and they had one keg, so I did get a pint or two, but was also too drunk to remember what it tasted like this year.

I even went so far as to email Lagunitas and they told me the stores they shipped it to, which was helpful cause all the stores have their own beer/wine steward , but they were all positive they never got it this year. I must say this combined with the fact that Laguintas closes it's tap room on Monday and Tuesday has me a little irritated with them.

I drove from SF to Petaluma to get a beer on a Tuesday, only to find them closed. I have never heard of a brewery or bar being closed on a Tuesday, usually Monday is the standard day for a restaurant to be closed, but figured with as much beer as they ship and how much they are expanding recently they would be a 7 days a week operation. So eventually I got my pint of Lagunitas IPA at Applebees in Petaluma. There are a couple other interactions that I have been less than pleased, but nothing too serious.

I will get over it, but still to this day can't believe the tap room was closed and no Brown Shuggah this year.

Wish you had of told me you wanted one that bad. I would have shipped a sixer to you man. I also can't believe they are closed on mon/tues. They are getting to be a pretty big deal around this area.

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Wish you had of told me you wanted one that bad. I would have shipped a sixer to you man. I also can't believe they are closed on mon/tues. They are getting to be a pretty big deal around this area.

It wasn't so much that I wanted it so bad, it was just kind of another thing after the taproom incident and was just kind of like whatever. They aren't the only brewery I have dealt with that have been kind of flaky, but in some ways it's like a tattoo shop I guess. These people didn't get into making beer to be in customer service , but it becomes a bigger part of the job with the more success you have and you just kind of do the best you can and try to stay organized. As long as the beer tastes good I can't be too mad at them.

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It wasn't so much that I wanted it so bad, it was just kind of another thing after the taproom incident and was just kind of like whatever. They aren't the only brewery I have dealt with that have been kind of flaky, but in some ways it's like a tattoo shop I guess. These people didn't get into making beer to be in customer service , but it becomes a bigger part of the job with the more success you have and you just kind of do the best you can and try to stay organized. As long as the beer tastes good I can't be too mad at them.

You heard all about them dealing on the side right?

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No please do tell.

I'm guessing you heard of the Undercover-Shutdown beer they sold for awhile? Anyways, Laguanitas was dealing weed under the table during one of their tastings which started exactly at 4:20pm. You had to say some secret word and you would get a pint and a small amount of weed if you said the right challenge/pass. The ABC caught wind of them dealing and smoking weed at the tastings and sent undercover agents in to see if it was legit. It was and they were suspended from making alcohol for around 20 days.

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It sounds like an awesome tour.

- - - Updated - - -

very nearly bought a giant bottle (over a quart) of double bastard earlier today. Had to pass though, $85 was a bit much. I did pick up an '09 Stone Imperial Stout. I'm waiting for a good occasion to try it, perhaps after the fist session on my chest...

Nothing tastes better than good beer after starting chest pieces.

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Whoa! I love that Sweden is their second biggest market. I also forgot to mention that they did a little event with us where they busted out "ghost bottles" and crazy concoctions using some kinda super yeast. In addition, we've got their Winter Ale at the bar, very nice.. I also dig their Summer. I guess I like most of what Brooklyn does seasonally. And also the Sorachi Ace.. so good.

Brooklyn Brewery to open plant, restaurant in Sweden by end of year - NY Daily News

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