Recently in Clown Shoes Category

Very Angry Beast

| No Comments

Maybe this beast would not be so very angry if we didn't dress it up in clown shoes? Alright, so this is a 50/50 blend of Blaecorn Unidragon and Vampire Slayer that is then aged in bourbon barrels. I can't say as though I've been truly blown away by any of Clown Shoes' imperial stouts, but I've enjoyed them all, and I'm always down for the bourbon barrel treatment. In this case, it seems much better integrated than the Porcine Unidragon...

Clown Shoes Very Angry Beast

Clown Shoes Very Angry Beast - Pours a deep, dark brown, almost black color with half a finger of tan head. Smells strongly of vanilla, oak, and bourbon, with plenty of caramel and not much in the way of roast. Taste is very sweet, filled with rich caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon, with a hint of chocolate, roast and the tiniest inkling of smoke peeking through towards the finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied and rich, but not as heavy or chewy as some other BA stouts. Balance is spot on, maybe a bit on the sweet side, but still better off than, say, Porcine Unidragon. Overall, this is a very solid BA stout, maybe my favorite offering from Clown Shoes. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 11.5% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber). Drank out of a snifter on 8/30/13. Bottled on 7/18/13.

Somehow, this marks the fourth imperial stout I've had from Clown Shoes, and it's my favorite yet. I've never been a big fan of theirs, but this one did raise an eyebrow or two, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that Cognac barrel aged barleywine they're apparently working on...

Porcine Unidragon

| No Comments

The use of smoked malt in beer is often described as imparting a spicy, smoked meat character, almost like bacon. Most of the time, I end up wondering who put their cigar out in my beer, but in rare instances, that meaty bacon flavor actually seems like a real thing. In the case of Porcine Unidragon, those Clown Shoes guys have taken their rather burly Blaecorn Unidragon imperial stout, added a small dose of smoked malt, then aged the whole thing in bourbon barrels. Truth be told, they'd probably be better off calling this Bourbon Unidragon, as I don't really get much in the way of smoke out of this. Not that I'm complaining, because, you know, Bourbon! Lace up your Clown Shoes and get down:

 Clown Shoes Porcine Unidragon

Clown Shoes Porcine Unidragon - Pours a very dark brown color with a finger of light brown head. Smells of roasted malt with some chocolate, caramel, vanilla and just a hint of bourbon. Taste again features a heavy roasted malt element (perhaps that smoke too, but it's a light touch and I don't get any porcine notes) with a bourbon kicker in the middle, a little chocolate, caramel, vanilla and oak, and that roast returning in the finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied, moderate carbonation, lots of boozy heat, and just a hint of richness. So it's retained the base beer's attributes whilst adding in a welcome dose of bourbon and oak. It's not quite perfectly integrated, but it's an improvement over the base. As it warms up, it starts to come together better. Or I'm just getting drunk here. Overall, a little unbalanced, but a really solid beer. I'll slap a B+ on it, but I do think I enjoy this more than the base (which got the same rating).

Beer Nerd Details: 12.5% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber). Drank out of a snifter on 8/2/13. Bottled 4/17/13.

It's a good beer, easy to find, and dirt cheap for what it is (where else can you find a sub-$10 bourbon barrel stout that clocks in at 12.5% ABV?) I still wouldn't call myself a Clown Shoes fan, but these imperial stouts I've been having from them have been pretty good...

Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon

| No Comments

I give Clown Shoes guff for their lame marketing gimmickry and controversy, stuff like brewing a beer with Holy Water or mounting a half-hearted Presidential campaign (they chose "beer" as their running mate), but it's what's inside the bottle that counts. Unfortunately, the only beer they've made that really raised my eyebrows was Third Party Candidate... a collaboration with another brewery. Let's give them another chance, shall we?

Here we've got a big 12.5% ABV imperial stout. No gimmickry, no controversy, just a big beer with a quasi-portmanteau name coming from Black Unicorn mixed with Soul Dragon and a label that's actually respectable. Lets strap those clown shoes on and start this party:

Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon

Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon - Pours a deep dark brown color with a finger of light tan head. Smells like dessert; brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and a little roast. Really fantastic nose. Taste starts off with that roast character asserting itself right away, then softening into rich caramel and chocolate before the roast returns in the finish. Some hop character emerges in the finish too, a bitter balance to the big malts. Not quite as delicious as the nose had lead me to believe, but solid. Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, and a little chewy. Definitely a big beer, but it doesn't feel like a 12.5% monster either, not really much in the way of booziness at all. Perhaps because it's more of a sipper. Not exactly easy to drink, but for all the right reasons. Overall, a really solid RIS, and I liked it better than Vampire Slayer. It hasn't opened my third eye and brought about true enlightenment, but perhaps that is setting the bar too high. This is really nice anyway. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 12.5% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber). Drank out of a snifter on 4/20/13. Bottled 3/2012.

Again, this is a solid beer; consider my eyebrows mildly elevated, enough that I'd like to check out a couple more of their beers (that Porcine Unidragon sounds nice), but on the other hand, Clown Shoes doesn't really excite me too much either...

Voting With My Clown Shoes On

| No Comments

When I was putting together a trade with Jay from Beer Samizdat, I wanted to find an imperial red ale for him. He loves the style, but it's not ubiquitous enough that every brewer makes one, so I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to procure a good one (at least, one that's not already distributed to CA). There's a pretty good local take on the style called Atomic Raygun, but bottles are scarce and I know for a fact that the one at my local bottle shop has been sitting on the shelf for a long time (talk about that not so fresh feeling). Fortunately, I totally stumbled upon this Clown Shoes collaboration with Three Heads Brewing, a 50/50 blend of Eagle Claw Fist and Loopy Oatmeal Red Ale. Serendipitous!

It was released in preparation for last year's election, and the brewers encouraged a write-in vote for Three Heads founder and upstart presidential candidate Geoff Dale (he chose "beer" as his running mate). I was a little hesitant when I saw the bearded dude flashing the shocker on the label, but it sounded good, a bunch of strangers on the internet seemed to think it was decent, and looking at my other options, this was my best bet. Fortunately, Jay was quite happy with it, so mission accomplished. In fact, he liked it so much, I had to go out and get myself a bottle, just to see how awesome I am.

So, can this imperial red ale overcome our misunderstood friend, the elecoral college, what with the way most states implement a winner-takes-all, first-past-the-post system (the combination of which sorta encourages a two party system - what? Come on, work with me here...)?

Clown Shoes Third Party Candidate

Clown Shoes & Three Heads Brewing Third Party Candidate - Pours a very pretty dark amber color, robey tones, so much clarity, a finger of fluffy off-white head and plenty of lacing. Smells of sugary crystal malts and piney, resinous hops. Taste is filled with sweet, rich caramel, balanced out by a very well matched resinous hop flavor. Good balance of sweetness and bitterness, with a hint of booze apparent. Mouthfeel is rich and almost creamy, very smooth, with a hint of booze, though nothing that would indicate 10% (i.e. booze is actually well hidden here). Overall, we have a classic imperial red here, extremely well balanced malt and hop character, right up there with the best I've had in the style. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 10% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber). Drank out of a tulip glass on 3/3/13. Bottled 8/2012.

I did not realize this was bottled so long ago, but given the way an imperial red relies on malts for a lot of its character, it all worked out well enough in the end. It's currently listed as "Out of Rotation" on Clown Shoes' website, so I'm not sure if they'll ever bring it back... and come to think of it, so is Eagle Claw Fist... Jeeze, guiz, what'm I supposed to send Jay for our next trade? This is by far the best Clown Shoes beer I've had so far, so I'm actually looking forward to that imperial stout I have in the cellar now...

Vampire Slayer

| No Comments

Smoked beer week continues with Clown Shoes' second anniversary ale, a Smoked Imperial Stout called Vampire Slayer. I have to admit, Clown Shoes doesn't feel like my kinda brand. They seem to rely on marketing gimmickry and controversy moreso than quality, but then, I really haven't had many of their beers either. In particular, they appear to have some well respected imperial stouts, so I picked up a couple to give them a shot.

Perhaps I should have read this label a little more closely though, as I didn't immediately realize it was a smoked beer (I should note that it was readily labeled as such, I just wasn't being very observant), nor did I see that it was one of those beers made with gimmicky ingredients like "Holy Water" and smoked with "hickory, ash, and vampire killing stakes". I mean, it's no Dogfish Head, but Holy Water? Really? On the other hand, this thing is sporting a respectable 4.15/92 rating on BeerAdvocate, and we all know how much the opinion of a bunch of strangers on the internet means. So let's put on some clown shoes, sharpen our stakes, and see if Van Helsing would approve of this beer:

Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer

Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with minimal head. Smells of roasted malt with a little coffee character thrown in for good measure. The taste features a bit more in the way of crystal malt character, but the roast is certainly still hanging around as well... and it's brought a friend in the form of a smokey flavor that is actually very subtle. There's also a very well matched bitterness keeping all those malts in check, if not going all Black IPA on their asses. Mouthfeel is full bodied, on the thicker and chewier side, though not quite a monstrous beer. Well carbonated, but smooth, not dry, but no really stickiness to speak of either. Overall, what we have here is a very well balanced imperial stout that won't quite melt your face, but will perhaps make you grin in appreciation. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 10% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber) Drank out of a snifter on 1/18/13.

So it's not quite a revelation, but perhaps Clown Shoes have earned another chance, as I picked up another of their Imperial Stouts, Blaecorn Unidragon, a decidedly more traditional take on the style. Not sure when I'll get to it, but stay tuned anyway. Up next in smoked beer week, we strap on some proton packs and go Ghost Hunting, only to find ourselves with spectral... Dalmations? Find out what the heck I'm talking about tomorrow!

Clown Shoes Lubrication

| No Comments

My brother gave me three beers for Christmas, all of which were picked out by my nieces (9 and 7 years old). I've already mentioned the other two on the blog a while back, but this one looked familiar. I couldn't quite place why I recognized it, but I finally figured it out. Apparently this beer's label art caused quite a weird stir last summer when the Beer Advocate Events Director, Candice Alström, who found the label offensive. I don't want to get into the details (check the linked article above for that), but I find that claim for this particular label to be absurd (other Clown Shoes beers may be another matter, but there are many labels out there that are horribly sexist, so perhaps a more comprehensive tact would be more appropriate).

In any case, my nieces thought the robot on the label was goofy, which reminded them of me (I'm apparently known in my brother's household as "Crazy Uncle Marky"). I was touched and honored by their choice:

Clown Shoes Lubrication

Clown Shoes Lubrication - Pours a deep black color with a ton of tan head. Aroma is filled with roasted malts and bready yeast, with maybe a hint of hop character (I was expecting more, though with all that head, who knows?) The first thing that hits in the taste is that roasted malt with maybe a little coffee. The flavor intensifies through the middle and finishes bitter and dry. There's hop bitterness here, but very little hop flavor. It's well carbonated but surprisingly light bodied (maybe into medium bodied). Overall, I feel like it's unbalanced and a little disappointing, though to be fair, that tends to be my feeling on the style in general (the only American Black Ale/Black IPA that I've thought was a real success was Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. Otherwise, I'm usually left wanting a good stout or a good IPA.) Certainly not a bad beer and I'd rather have this than, say, a macro beer, but I was hoping for a bit more... B-

Beer Nerd Details: 6% ABV bottled (22 oz. bomber) Drank out of a tulip glass on 2/3/12.

I don't really see myself racing out to explore more from Clown Shoes, but I did appreciate the gift.

Categories

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID

About

Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

You might also want to check out my generalist blog, where I blather on about lots of things, but mostly movies, books, and technology.

Email me at mciocco at gmail dot com.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Clown Shoes category.

Cisco is the previous category.

Corsendonk is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.