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Tired Hands Bottle & Can Directory

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The other day, someone posted a thread on Facebook asking folks to post their top two breweries with the highest count of unique beers tasted (Untappd helps keep track of this sort of thing). For me, number two was Victory with 60 different brews.

Not too shabby, but regular readers (all 3 of you) who remember my epic recaps of hundreds of Tired Hands beers might guess that brewery would place number one. And they'd be correct! How correct? Oh, you know, something to the tune of 356 different beers. That's all. Ok, fine, before you start preparations for my intervention, there are a few mitigating factors. One is that, according to Untappd, there are 975 different Tired Hands beers (Beer Advocate only lists 769 beers though). So I haven't even had half of them! Second, the grand majority of these have been 4 or 8 ounce pours, with the occasional bottle and very rare pint (i.e. there were times where I've visited and had the equivalent of two pints, but that's 8 beers in 4 ounce increments). Finally, this is over the course of three years and while I used to pop over to Tired Hands every week, I've slowed my roll considerably of late.

Anywho, I've mostly given up on writing up notes when I visit, but I do tend to take note of their bottled offerings, so I'll probably continue posting these roundups from time to time, even if they're nowhere near as comprehensive as they once were. I've also managed to snag some cans from time to time, but they're generally released on Wednesdays at 4 pm or 5 pm and I have this thing called a job that prevents me from waiting in line for a few hours. I know, priorities, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Some of these are more detailed tasting notes, and others are more general observations, so take them with the appropriate mountain of salt.

Tired Hands Only Void Single-Origin Awake Minds Ethiopian Coffee

Tired Hands Only Void (Single-Origin Awake Minds Ethiopian Coffee) - Cold conditioned on heavy amounts of Awake Minds Ethiopian coffee from ReAnimator Coffee - I feel like people slept on this release, as I just kinda walked up an hour after the release had started and snagged a couple four packs. You all know I'm not a big coffee person and while this doesn't exactly change my mind, it was a superb example of the style. Tons of roast and coffee, rich, intense but incredibly well balanced. Not sure how these cans are drinking now (released in April), but worth looking out for the next release. Since I didn't take formal notes and it's been several months, I'll refrain from rating, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Tired Hands Living With Ourselves As We Are

Tired Hands Living With Ourselves As We Are - French oak fermented wheat Saison conditioned on heaps of Meyer lemon purée - Pours a very pale straw yellow color with a finger of white head. Smells of tart fruit, those lemons coming through here, but a nice dollop of funk and oak pairs well. Taste has a nice sweet backbone, plenty of tart fruit, again with the lemons, but maybe some other fruity notes making themselves known (vinous fruit?) and plenty of oak, finishing on those sour lemons. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, medium bodied, moderately sour, quite well balanced. Overall, this is very nice, one of the better bottles of the year... A-

Beer Nerd Details: ??% ABV bottle (750 ml). Drank out of a flute glass on 7/16/16.

Tired Hands Rustic Pentagram

Tired Hands Rustic Pentagram - Sour Mango Saison. Brewed with Wheat. Hopped with Amarillo. Fermented in one of our large French oak foudres. Conditioned atop freshly made mango purée. - Had this at the Fermentaria anniversary and loved it, but it's even better out of the bottle. Pours a very pale, almost radiant yellow color, only slightly hazy, with a finger of white head that leaves some lacing. Smells amazing, a beautiful funk character mixed with a well balanced mango aroma and some oak playing go-between. Taste is sweet up front, with those mangos coming through strong, almost immediately followed by a big sour bite, then comes something a little more earthy, funky, almost cheesy and gueuze-like, and a well balanced oaky streak ties the whole thing together, finishing with another sour bite. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, moderate to high acidity, but very well balanced. Overall, this is spectacular, best TH bottle in a while. A

Beer Nerd Details: 6.9% ABV bottle (750 ml). Drank out of a wine glass on 7/29/16.

Tired Hands Pineal
(Click to Embiggen)

Pineal - Have had this a few times on tap, one of Tired Hands' first recurring IPAs (and by recurring, it's like, once a year for the first two years? Though more often since they've started canning), it's always struck me as a pretty standard Tired Hands IPA. Fantastic, especially when compared to most other breweries, but not quite top tier TH single IPA. In the can? It's cloudier and juicier, I rather like it better. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 6% ABV canned (16 ounce pounder). Drank out of the can, like a man, on 7/31/16.

Tired hands Milkshake IPA
(Click to Embiggen)

Tired Hands Milkshake IPA - I went over the origins of this before in discussing the Northeast IPA, basically an IPA brewed with lactose, wheat flour, and strawberries - Pours a turbid, chicken broth looking pale yellow color with a finger of white head (I poured some out to see, but drank most out of the can). Smells great, huge wafts of juicy citrus, pineapple, orange, vanilla. Taste hits those big juicy citrus notes hard, lactose sweetness, mild bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, and chewy, well carbonated, did I mention thick? Overall, surprisingly enough, this is absolutely delicious. A

Beer Nerd Details: 7% ABV canned (16 ounce pounder). Drank out of the can, like a man, on 7/30/16.

Tired Hands Believers Club Bottle 1

Tired Hands Believer's Club Bottle 1 - Fermented and conditioned with our magickal Saison yeast in French oak barrels. It was conditioned atop a copious amount of mango at a rate of one and a half pounds per gallon of beer and then dry hopped with Mosaic. - Pours a slightly hazy but still radiant straw yellow color with a finger of white head. Smells great, lots of musty funk, stone fruit, mangos, oak. Taste is sweet and tart up front, some of that mango showing itself, followed by some earthy notes and oak, finishing on that sour mango swerve. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied, a tad lower on carbonation, moderate acidity, all very well balanced. Overall, this is fabulous, very, very similar to Rustic Pentagram and I could see it growing more complex over time too. We're splitting hairs here, so let's just go A- for now, though I'm guessing it will continue to evolve over time.

Beer Nerd Details: ??% ABV bottle (750 ml). Drank out of a flute glass on 9/2/16.

Tired Hands ROOMARAK

Tired Hands ROOMARAK - Saison brewed with local Deer Creek Malthouse barley and wheat, fermented and aged in a Vin Santo foudre with a ton of Merlot grapes from local Karamoor Winery - Pours a striking reddish orange color, robey tones, very little head that doesn't stick around at all. Smells very nice, musty funk, vinous fruit, oak. Taste hits that vinous fruit character hard, apparently that Merlot making itself known, even getting some wine tannin here, a little oak, finishing with a sour bite. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, medium bodied, only mildly acidic. Overall, an interesting wine/beer hybrid and a tasty beer. B+ or A-

Beer Nerd Details: ??% ABV bottle (750 ml). Drank out of a wine glass on 9/3/16.

Phew, I think that's enough for now. Next up on the Tired Hands bottle front: Parageuisia 6 and 7 are being released this Sunday. If you are in the area, it's worth trying to snag a bottle, they're wonderful.

Weyerbacher 21st Anniversary Ale

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It's been a while since I've checked in with the semi-local booze hounds up at Weyerbacher. They made a big splash with last year's Sunday Morning Stout, which might be their all-around best beer that is regularly available (I'm still partial to Whiskey Barrel Aged myself; alas, that was a one-off), but then my now legendary indifference to coffee dulled my personal response. As usual, my instinct upon drinking a well made coffee stout is to wonder what it would be like without the coffee.

On paper, Weyerbacher's 21st Anniversary ale seems to fit that bill perfectly. An 11.9% ABV imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, and vanilla beans. It sounds grand, but I've often found Weyerbacher's barrel aged entries boozy and unbalanced (or completely lacking in barrel character, which makes for an odd dynamic for sure). One reason Sunday Morning Stout has caught on is that it actually coheres into a well balanced little treat. Will this one fare as well? Well, sorta, but I'll tell you one thing: It really made for a nice palate cleanser after drinking gallons of VT IPAs over the past few weeks. Let's get to it:

Weyerbacher 21st Anniversary

Weyerbacher 21st Anniversary Ale - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a finger of tan head. Smells of vanilla, a bit of roast, dark chocolate, and hefty amounts of bourbon and oak. Taste starts off with that hint of roast and dark chocolate, followed by a sweet wallop of vanilla, then lots of boozy bourbon. Mouthfeel is full bodied and well carbonated, pretty boozy, not particularly balanced, though it does get better as it warms - this is a beer to let sit out a bit, methinks. Overall, this is a good, tasty little beer, it lacks the integration and balance of the best in style, but if you're a fan of vanilla and bourbon, you'll like this sucker. (For the record, I like vanilla and bourbon quite a bit.) B+

Beer Nerd Details: 11.9% ABV bottled (12 ounce). Drank out of a snifter on 8/6/16. Packaged On: 06/22/16

Definitely a contender for best Weyerbacher Anniversary beer I've had, but then, they tend to be a little hit or miss. I haven't done a good job keeping up with their Brewer's Select series of one-off experimental beers and I see they've now renamed it Jester's Choice. I shall have to keep an eye out for those beers. If one catches my eye, you'll probably be hearing about it on here!

Funky Buddha Nikolai Vorlauf

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We've already established that Funky Buddha has a thing for kooky ingredients that they are mystically able to incorporate into good beers. Now it's time to take a look at a more unassuming take on a classical style. Sure, it's got oats and lactose, but those aren't particularly unusual in a big imperial stout, so this is about as close as it gets.

At first glance, I could not find any information on this fellow Nikolai Vorlauf, so I concocted a story based on the bear pictured on the label. A performer at the infamous Moscow State Circus, Nikolai got himself into trouble when he started walking on his hind legs and... exposing himself to passers by (hence the censored strip on the label). Thus began Nikolai's decades-long quest for revenge upon the cruel taskmasters at the circus. Alas, this speculation was foiled by the truth (imagine that!) It turns out this beer is named after two different things. One is Nikolai Volkoff, a WWF wrestler famed for his bearhug (he teamed up with The Iron Sheik to win the tag-team championship at the first Wrestlemania). The other is a brewing term, vorlauf, which is the process of clarifying the wort being drawn out of the mash tun. Not as fun as my version, but hey, it works:

Funky Buddha Nikolai Vorlauf, look at the bear on the label

Funky Buddha Nikolai Vorlauf Imperial Stout - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with a finger and a half of tan head. Smells sweet, caramel and vanilla, hints of roast. Taste starts off sweet, that caramel and vanilla are here, typical milk stout feel too, a light smokey roast emerges in the middle, finishing on another sweet note. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied up front, but thinning out in the finish, low carbonation, maybe a hint of booze. Overall, this is rock solid, but nothing exceptional. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 9.5% ABV bottled (22 ounce bomber). Drank out of a snifter on 7/15/16. Bottled on 11/18/15.

Many thanks to Kaedrin beverage compatriot Steve for slinging this my way. More southern Florida goodies will be had in the near future, for sure, so stay tuned.

One of the most famous white whales in the beer nerd world is Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. Released in 2010, this sucker took the base Bourbon County beer and aged it in 23 year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels for two years. At the time, neither bourbon nor beer were as crazy as they are now, so these expensive bottles were actually on shelves for a bit before their reputation caught up with them. It is arguably considered the best stout ever made. Despite being called "Rare", there were quite a few of these bottles (the name is more about the aging process than the bottle count), so they became one of the most valuable commodities on trading boards. I have, alas, never gotten a taste of that original bottling of Rare, but Goose Island has gigantic balls and went ahead and slapped that label on another beer last year.

Now, living up to that reputation has to be excruciating, but Goose came up with an interesting successor at the least. Heaven Hill found a group of bourbon barrels in their warehouse that had been aging for 35 years*. For the uninitiated, bourbon is never aged that long. I won't get into details, but apparently it's possible for bourbon to get over-oaked and nearly undrinkable because of that. It didn't make sense to me either, but then I drank some over-oaked 20 year old bourbon this one time and now I get it. I'd also guess that 35 years of the Angel's Share would really knock down what's left in that barrel (for reference, the 16 year old Stagg lost 84% of its volume to evaporation, so imagine what happens over 35 years). As a result, the bourbon was never released (at least, not to the public), but Goose Island thought it might make for a nice heir to Rare. So they got their hands on these 35 year old barrels and filled them with Bourbon County base beer, aging them for two years (regular Bourbon county is aged for around 8-12 months). Then they went all out on the packaging (you guys, even the oak box this thing comes in smells fantastic) and sold these things for $60 a pop during last year's November release. Once again, there were a fair amount of these guys out there, but spread out across Goose's now very large distribution footprint. Also, beer dorks are a few orders of magnitude more obsessive these days, so the one place I knew was getting some in the Philly area had people lining up early on Thanksgiving night for the Black Friday release.

It was something I didn't expect to get ahold of easily, and indeed, it's trading pretty well these days and the secondary market is pretty bullish too. Enter local chain of beer establishments, The Pour House. For their third anniversary last Thursday, they broke out a case of Rare and would sell them for $85. It was unannounced too, so the crowds were bearable. This is indeed quite pricey, but we got a free glass out of the deal, it's a fair and typical bar-level increase on the $60 sticker price, far below the secondary market value, and when you split it across 5 people, it's pretty reasonable. And oh my, was it worth it.

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Rare 2015
(Click to Embiggen)

Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2015) - Yep, it looks like any of the other Bourbon Counties, black as night, minimal head, but if you swirl it around you can rustle some up. Smells amazing, huge wafts of caramel, vanilla, oak, and boozy bourbon. Only had a few ounces, so I made it last and just kept sniffing for a long time. Taste is like Bourbon County, only moreso. Sweet with caramel and vanilla, leavened by tons of oak and boozy bourbon. It's certainly hot and boozy, but I'm told it has mellowed a bit since the release (in November). Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, and chewy, almost velvety, but very intense. Lots of boozy heat, might turn off some baby palates, but I'm totally into it and the base clearly stands up to the bourbon creating a harmonious middle ground. Obviously a sipping beer, but a glorious sipper. Overall, I hate to buy into the hype, but this was phenomenal. A

Beer Nerd Details: 14.8% ABV bottled (500 ml capped and boxed, 3-4 ounce pour). Drank out of a tulip glass on 6/9/16.

It was a great event, and I didn't even mention the best part. Everyone who came got entered into a free raffle, and guess who won? Yep, I'm a lucky SOB and now the proud owner of a bottle of my own. I will, naturally, have to share this with some friends at some point, but I'm quite happy to be in such a position!

* The marketing line here is that they "discovered" these "lost" barrels, which is just the latest in a long line of bourbons that have used this excuse to jack up prices lately. Either these distilleries are just blowing smoke or they have completely incompetent inventory management practices. In this case, at least, the bourbon wasn't released, indicating that maybe they really were lost, but still.

Avery Callipygian

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Venus Callipyge is an ancient Roman statue depicting a partially draped woman with her head looking back and down, as if to evaluate her bare buttocks. Little is known of its origins or the original artist. Indeed, it is thought to be a copy of an even older ancient Greek statue, also of unknown origins. Let's just call the original sculptor Sir Mix-a-Lot, to recall a more modern appreciator of posteriors.

What does this have to do with beer? Well, Avery seems to think this 17.4% ABV monster is "well-rounded", which is a bit of a stretch. Full bodied and bodacious? Certainly! This is along the lines of something like Uncle Jacob's Stout, but with the ever-so-popular kitchen sink approach to ingredients. A big, bourbon barrel aged stout with coffee, cocoa, cocoa nibs, and vanilla beans added. I would make some sort of additional Baby Got Back reference, perhaps adapting it to beer, but I will not sully such a lyrical masterpiece and instead, will just get to it:

Avery Callipygian

Avery Callipygian - Pours a deep black color with half a finger of short lived tan head. Smells of rich caramel, oak, bourbon, and vanilla, a little of that coffee is apparent and gets more prominent as it warms, but this is no coffee bomb (nowhere near something like Tweak). Taste hits similar notes, rich carmel, oak, vanilla, coffee, and lots of boozy bourbon. Again, the coffee is there, but far from dominant. Still, there's enough to raise my coffee indifference meter a bit. Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, and chewy, lots of boozy heat. To some people a 17% ABV beer will never be balanced, but this one seems a little more out of whack than similar efforts, though it gets more unified as it warms. Overall, a nice tweak (pun intended? Sure, why not.) on the bourbon barrel stout, kinda like a more complex, even less balanced version of Uncle Jacob's... B or, what the hey, I'm feeling generous: B+

Beer Nerd Details: 17.4% ABV bottled (12 ounce). Drank out of a snifter on 6/3/16. Bottled: Apr 25 2016. Production: 1174 Cases.

I'm liking that these barrel aged efforts are becoming more widely available around here, even if my favorites tend to be the simpler versions. Still, looking forward to trying more of these in the near future...

Free Will Ralphius

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I have often mentioned my quest to find a local imperial stout that is aged in bourbon barrels and yet this goal still remains elusive (what we have seen recently is a rash of exceptional BBA coffee stouts, but my legendary antipathy towards coffee always makes me pine after the non-coffee variants). There have been many candidates over the years, and several of those have been very good on their own, but there's nothing that really approaches BCBS or Parabola levels, let alone anything that transcends the style, like Pappy Black Magick... Now we've got Free Will's take, dubbed Ralphius which, coupled with the picture of a dog on the label, presumably means this was named after a beloved pet named Ralph (or maybe my mind just goes there because I once had a beagle named Ralph). At 14.2% ABV with ample barrel character, I think we've gotten as close as ever:

Free Will Ralphius

Free Will Ralphius - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a finger of striking brown head that sticks around for a bit and even leaves a bit of lacing. Smells very nice, caramel, oak, vanilla, hints of chocolate and roast. Taste goes sweet up front, caramel, bourbon, oak, and vanilla, hints of roast, just a bit of hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, and chewy, well carbonated but appropriate for the style, a sipper, but not unapproachable. Overall, this is a great BBA stout, not quite top tier, but close enough and perhaps the best straight up local BBA stout that is regularly available! A-

Beer Nerd Details: 14.2% ABV bottled (12 Ounces). Drank out of a snifter on 05/21/16...

Free Will has been upping their game as of late, especially with their barrel aged stuff. I'm sure we'll see more from them soon enough...

2SP Bourbon Barrel Aged The Russian

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Delaware County is a weird place. I say this as a man born and raised there. Blue collar with lots of Irish Catholics (I wen't to St. Dot's and Cardinal O'Hara). I'm surprised there's not a Delco flag. It's weird for a place to choose its identity based on its county, but Delco is a way of life. Apparently. Alright, fine, I'm exaggerating for effect here, but there is something a little... off about Delco. The point is, when a brewery opens up there, you can expect them to embrace their roots and take pride in their county. Whatever that may be.

2SP is the recently opened (er, last year) brewery arm of Two Stones Pub, a small chain of solid little beer bars located mostly in Delaware. Head brewer and Delco's native son Bob Barrar made a name for himself brewing for Iron Hill Brewpub in Media, earning numerous medals at GABF and other big contests. One of his most famous creations is Iron Hill's Russian Imperial Stout, a beer that he's adapted for new life at 2SP. As local imperial stouts go, it's great and I look forward to seeing it around more often. Now they've put it in Bourbon Barrels and aged it for 8 months? Sold, even if it is a pricey bottle. I've often mentioned the need for a more regularly available local BBA stout; will this beer fill that need? Well, maybe?

2SP Bourbon Barrel Aged The Russian

2SP Bourbon Barrel Aged The Russian - Pours a deep, dark brown color, almost black, with a solid finger of light brown head that sticks around for a bit. Smells of molasses, caramel, vanilla, with hints of the bourbon and oak pitching in as well. Roast comes out a bit more in the taste, along with similar elements from the nose, light caramel and vanilla, with just a bit of vanilla and oak. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, well carbonated (moreso than typical for the style - not inappropriate, but it does lighten this beer up a bit more than it probably should), a nice sipper. Overall, it's solid, but not a top tier affair. Honestly, I might like the regular The Russian better... B+

Beer Nerd Details: 9.5% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a snifter on 5/20/16. Batch No. 001. Bottle No. 459.

I've generally enjoyed everything I've had from 2SP, so I'm looking forward to keeping tabs on them in the coming years. As for a world class local BBA stout? This isn't quite there yet, but we've got another candidate coming soon. Stay tuned.

Grimm Bourbon Barrel Double Negative

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New York City has quietly begun to establish itself with some standout breweries. They've always had Brooklyn, and last time I was there, Captain Lawrence was the lone savior on generally tepid taplists, but now places like Other Half and Grimm Artisan Ales popping up, putting out cans of beer that have godforsaken beer dorks lining up for hours.

Or wait, where is Grimm from? This label sez it's brewed by Grimm at Beltway Brewing Co, Sterling, VA. Looks like we have another Gypsy on our hands you guys (oops, they call themselves a "Nomadic" brewer, a thousand pardons for not glomming onto the right hipster codeword), and yes, it looks like they're collaborating their arse off as well. Some interesting stuff coming, too. In particular, they brewed a batch of Mosaic hopped Braumeister Pils with Victory (this will hopefully show up around here soon, and I'm most excited to try it) and collaborated with Fantôme on a saison. My kind of Gypsy, is what I'm getting at here.

So what we have here is a nice little imperial stout aged in 11 year old bourbon barrels (original batch was aged in Elijah Craig 12 barrels, so mayhaps the new NAS barrels were used for this?) No big whoop.

Grimm Bourbon Barrel-Aged Double Negative

Grimm Bourbon Barrel Double Negative - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with half a finger of light brown head. Smells of roasted malt, vanilla, caramel, and a little bourbon and oak. There's something I can't quite place here as well, not brown sugar, but maybe something along these lines. Taste starts very rich, some roasted malt character, and then that weird flavor I can't place, and maybe even some bitter hops in the finish. Mouthfeel is rich, full bodied, thinning out a bit towards the finish (not thin, but not as rich as the beginning). Overall, this is very good, but not top tier stuff. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 10.3% ABV bottled (22 ounce bomber). Drank out of a snifter on 4/22/16.

There's also a Maple Bourbon version of this beer which is, you know, sploosh, but I'm pretty on board with the whole Grimm program. I also recently got a taste of their Super Spruce Gose which was very impressive. At this point, I'm definitely seeking out more from these guys.

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

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