Julian, Please: South Carolina Triple Scissor Session from a State Where Scissoring is Probably Illegal

There are plenty of new upstarts in the South Carolina scene these days and JulianB was ever so obliging in sending me these releases from places I didn’t even know I should desire. Today’s reviews are a triple scissor session, three reviews that fully comply with the stringent BeerAdvocate standards of being at least 150 characters.  It was daunting reviewing a beer and writing more than even a single tweet, but somehow, I DID IT.

Pull down old glory and nestle into your Skoal dip cup for today’s South Carolina reviews:

Oh shit the C&D from Planters is forthcoming

Oh shit the C&D from Planters is forthcoming

This Porter pours clean and has a great slickness to it, shiny black like wet vinyl on a dominatrix right before you pass out from asphyxiation. The carb is generous but never grabs your crab legs or disturbs you. So far so good: this is an archetypical Porter aesthetic.

The Nose reminds me of Edmund Fitzgerald in the way it imparts roast and watery dark chocolate in parity, cascading and twisting into a double Helix of Porter genetic information. There’s a bit of a mineral waft to it hard like alkaline but it might just be stone cold Appalachian water from them Carolinas. The nose has a bit of latent racism in it, undeniably terroir from the hamlet this Porter originates.

The taste is almost identical to Firestone’s walker reserve Porter and is just classic toe to tip. The problem with this, if you perceive it to be so, is that it become unremarkable in the clinical sense: I don’t have a shitload to remark about this. There are a million analogs of this in every market and it demonstrates Seminar’s ability to operate within the BJCP style guidelines beautifully. Beyond that I would be reaching to differentiate this touchstone Porter.  Through all of this you might be like “THEY PUT FUCKING PEANUT BUTTER IN IT” but that’s my point, it doesn’t make a meaningful difference besides some oiliness in the mouthfeel.  It’s a standard porter, open up a Motherless tab if you want some deviant peanut butter content.

The IPA, however, is much shittier. I have plenty to say about that one.

such radiant IPA tones, lightning in a bottle

such radiant IPA tones, lightning in a bottle

First and foremost: this ipa looks like total shit. “Thanks for the pour of this American barleywine” you quip, but oh no my friend THAT IS A SINGLE IPA. It is clear and isn’t murky or turbid but for fucks sake look at that SRM. It is darker than most amber ales and doesn’t seem to give a shit about appearing refreshing or helpful. This is the Targrt customer service desk of IPAs.

The nose is smashed leaves, pine cones, Rosemary, a hint of lemon and a long honey sticky sweetness as though this beer was made with 100% Crystal. It feels like a session american barleywine, were such a thing to exist.

The taste doesn’t move far from the expectations set forth in the nose, a forest frolic where you get poison ivy on your tongue. All that sticky resin and tree bark drives it decidedly far away from those Citra juicy juice dreams you may have been anticipating.

the lack of quality in this photo was the medium replicating the subject

the lack of quality in this photo was the medium replicating the subject

It is anomalous to see a brewery with offerings this bipolar in execution. Two pillars of standard execution, one completely classic and crushable, the other, some huge armed Umbrella corp Tyrant hop monster. I was almost a Jill sandwich.

But what about some crazy diabetus kraken from the depths of the deep south?

oh shit you guys notice the foreboding shadow connoting impending doom, low angle implying dominance oh shit u guize

oh shit you guys notice the foreboding shadow connoting impending doom, low angle implying dominance oh shit u guize

Finally let’s review some megastout that Julian figured I needed to try: THE FINISHER from CONQUEST BREWING in INSUBORDINATION, South Carolina. At a certain point we are going to run out of metal and Cardinal names for stouts and they will be like “Walter the almost vanquished accountant: imperial stout aged in xml spreadsheets”

Anyway, this is a 17.5% abv stout brewed with honey. I like to imagine a bunch of husky dudes In black patent malt stained work shirts like:

“Alright brew bros, it clocked in at 17% abv and 1.041 FG, what now”
” we’ll add honey, oh and uh BROWN SUGAR. fucking obviously.”

The pour looks more nimble than I expected and is actually pretty legit. It sheets with clear legs but never goes full DME mess. It has a sweeeeet nose of nestle quik, fudge, mallow foam, honeycomb and cream of wheat.  Go ahead and dip your graham cracker into this one, it is a tasty campfire treat. 800 calories right before bed to give you those stress dreams you so badly crave; YOUR TEETH FALLING OUR PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY.

This was actually pretty delicious and shockingly never ventured into the intensely sweet and soy sauce realm that is Derk Lerd.  Despite not being barrel aged it had many components that would lead some to think this was a cognac or rum treatment, largely the brown sugar and tobacco roastiness I would assume.  Essentially this is a beer half complete as is practically begs for barrel aging.

Make it happen, Conquest.  Stop signing out of AIM while we are mid-cyber, leaving me with these BAL’s unreleased.


@westbrookbeer 2014 Barrel Aged Mexican Cake Set: IT’S A MEXICAN STANDOFF.

Last year people lost their fucking minds when these barrel aged releases dropped.  The inevitable comparisons to BA Huna flew left and right, people did predictable shit like asking for CCK and Blauw, and the bottle counts were in the hilariously low Floridian range, 200-300 each variant.

If you are new to the game, here you go:


TL;DR, in a huge upset, the apple brandy wasn’t the best, it wasn’t even second.  Jack Daniels was the best and everyone smiled khaki stained grins and felt content with the 1700 calories they just drank.  BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS YEAR?

Take a trip to Mexico by way of South Carolina, who incidentally, dont approve of Mexicans being in this country.

Take a trip to Mexico by way of South Carolina, who incidentally, dont approve of Mexicans being in this country.

So this year we have Four Roses (bourbon) Tequila and Double Barrel treatments.  Let’s just get right into this horchata gang bang already.

Let’s say this at the outset: they all look like Mexican cake.  Big surprise, can we move on and obviate the need for me to craft the same tired similes to obfuscated liquids? ALRIGHT GOOD.

Thank God they didn't name this North Korean Cake, this release might not have even happened.

Thank God they didn’t name this North Korean Cake, this release might not have even happened.

Third Place:

Four Roses Bourbon Treatment

I came in this year a touch wiser and placed my chips on this old standby to perform in a manner akin to the Jack Daniels treatment.  BOY, do I have some growing up to do.  This was simply too sweet and the bourbon profile didn’t mesh well with all the cinnamon and additions to the beer.  It was anomalous because the oak and dryness of Jack Daniels worked so well, but who knows maybe they had ultra saturate barrels? I AM JUST HERE TO SPECULATE.  It was easily the hottest and for 10.5% abv, shit was almost cloying on the nose with ethanol and fusel notes. Having hit my old 4R spot a few times I welcomed a spicy rye grain profile, instead it was a musky cinnamon bomb with cloying sweetness like a churro.  It was by no means bad, but with so many BA mexican beers out there these days, adjuncts falling out of their loose pink socks, you can do far better and give up far less.

"THAT GUY LANDED ALL THE MEXICAN CAKES!? He must be so cool in real life-"

“THAT GUY LANDED ALL THE MEXICAN CAKES!? He must be so cool in real life-“

Second Place:

Double Barrel Treatment

Alright so everyone talks about double BALs these days, but some people grew up under power lines or subjected to New Jersey public school systems.  Double barrel means it was casked in a barrel for a period of time, then racked entirely to a SECOND barrel.  It doesn’t mean you blended two different barrels together like some kinda slackjawed asshole.  This beer was aged 12 months in bourbon and rye whiskey barrels from Pritchard’s distillery. I don’t know if that means the former or the latter.  With such an overlap in the treatments, it really doesn’t matter.  However, I suspect this is more of a grand cru blend because it didn’t have that classic oxidized, flat, seemingly increased viscosity that double barrel treatments usually generate (DBH, DBD, etc.) No one gives a shit, just call it whatever generates them chubs.

This is a nice medium between the two variants, perfect balance of sweetness but intricate depth.  The chili and cinnamon doesn’t dominate, in a stout with THIS MANY POST-BOIL THINGS OCCURRING being focused and not sloppy in one respect is a brewing miracle.  This would outright be the best if the remaining deviant wasn’t so damn good and flat out interesting.  The alcohol is well integrated, the peppers show up as a cameo on the mid palate and never overstay their welcome and the barrel profile supports more than dominates.  Really tasty through and through.

With the right amount of additions, anything can become a top-tier gentleman's beverage

With the right amount of additions, anything can become a top-tier gentleman’s beverage


This beer is fucking phenomenal and easily the best of the Mexican Cakes made to date.  Usually, when I hear about a Tequila BA offering, it’s from Mikkeller or something and invariably will be raw, scratchy, HSV of the palate.  Nothing could be further from that result in this instance.  The tequila integrates flawless with the cinnamon, tames the sweetness and ratchets back the heat of the peppers.  It is like a beautiful Mexican Mr. Holland conducting a cascading symphonic opus.  The alcohol is imperceptible and this knocks out all of the other BA Huna variants even, with the exception of the untouchable apple brandy.  Whatever you have to give up for this single variant, disregard all else and get it.  They crushed it out of the park with this and set a benchmark for this increasingly crowded segment.

So there you have it, what’s that? Rank them globally? Alright, sheesh:

6. Four Roses Barrel

5. Apple Brandy

4. Wine Barrel

3. Double Barrel

2. Jack Daniels Barrel

1.  Tequila Barrel.

Don’t act like you serious care about this petty nonsense.  You’re still crying about how Pirate Bay got shut down, real srs life problems.