H.R. Beer Report Part One

This will be a “work in progress” for a while this evening. How long? That will depend on my liver…

So H.R. gave me a 6 pack of interesting beers. Looking it over, he tends to the darker beers and the higher % beers. I’m quite OK with that ;-)

So this evening I’ve begun “Sensory Evaluation” … at least that’s what it was called in my Viticulture & Oenology class ;-) (I really did have such a class – grape growing and wine making – at UC Davis where most of the California vintners get their education…)

I started with the Baltika Extra Lager Grade 9. This LOOKS like a regular light amber lager in the glass, but the bottle informs that it is an 8% brew. Visiting their web site:
Informs that they are now part of the Carlsberg Group:

Did you know that today, Baltika Breweries, part of the Carlsberg Group…
is one of the largest fast moving consumer good companies in Russia
is the Russian market leader with the share of more than 32.7% of the market (according to retail audit Q1 2017 Nielsen Russia in respect of both Urban Russia and Rural Russia markets)*
is the producer of Baltika brand – the No. 1 brand in Europe in terms (Euromonitor 2015)
has 8 breweries in Saint Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Tula, Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk. Together, they have an aggregate capacity of approx. 40m hl of beer per year
employ about 7,500 people
is a major Russian exporter of the products present in more than 75 countries, including Western Europe, North America and Asian Pacific region.

So looks like they are part of a “roll up” in the beer world.

So meanwhile back at the brew…

It’s a nice flavor and easy to drink. Normally high alcohol beer is a bit rougher on the palate, but this is nice. So it would be great as a “sleeper brew” where you pour some 3.2% crap for yourself and this for your “friend” and “drink them under the table” glass for glass….

Sidebar on Bachelor Parties: My Brother In Law had a sedate bachelor party with some beverages but not too over the top. After everyone else left, we had a “tequila shooter” face off. First off, I was about 30% heavier than him, so in a head-to-head, I had an unfair advantage. Not content with that, I supplied the tequila, lemons, salt, and the 2 shot glasses. Mine was taller and thin and dark blue glass and about 3/4 of an ounce… while his was clear glass (so looked smaller…) and a full ounce. Needless to say I got him way under the table… My mistake was telling him what I’d done.

Years later, at my bachelor party (that was mixed guys & dolls and with my spouse to be there) he arranged for a bunch of folks to do “1 on 1 shots” of whiskey with me. I figured this out in the first 4 or 5, but ran with it anyway. Fair is fair, and he’d found his revenge with a certain charm. So about a dozen or two into it I was toasted and everyone else had had 2 shots each ;-) I admired his creativity in a group solution.

So tonight I had 1/2 bottle of Saki with some sushi for dinner, then a Corona Premium. The point? I’m not starting this Baltika from a zero point. Since I can still type and spell, I’m pretty sure I’m not so far along as to be an unreliable reporter. Given that, it’s a pretty nice brew. Beats the pants off of things like ButtWiper, pardon, Budweiser, and I’d rather drink it than Coors or Miller or such. Just be advised that it’s got “kick” beyond the flavor profile. The flavor profile is that of a nice German Lager, but the kick is more…

Back in a bit with an update as I move on to the next brew….

Update One

Baltika 7 Export lager. At 5.4% alcohol and a lighter finish I ought to have started with this one first, but I guessed wrong. Oh Well. It is a lighter yellow color, and lighter on the palate. A nice lager like beer. Easy to drink and after what I’ve already had, easy to guzzle ;-)

It’s a nice brew and easy to drink. I’m good with that.

I’ll be a back in a bit when I’ve finished this beer and moved on to the next one.

Update Two

Trois Pistoles Belgian style Ale. 9 %

A very dark ale. Not very hoppy, but ales and especially Belgians, are more about the flavors from the particular yeasts and grain treatments (degree of roasting).

It’s drinkable just from the fridge, but seems to taste better as it warms toward room temperature. A rich but not thick or heavy pallet. Interesting flavors (that’s what Belgian Ale is all about ;-) and at 9%, two of these are equivalent to a whole 6 Pack of 3.2% beer.

The wife decided to prune the roses today and I was “assigned” to pick up the bits… A small bleeder and a pile of “stuff” for the pick-up folks later and I decided to try this one. I’m now part way into the 2nd bottle and there’s already a bit of a buzz. This is stuff with a kick, but it slides down Real Easy so’s you don’t expect it.

I like this beer, but it is more of a sipper than a guzzler. You could guzzle a few bottles, but then you would be loopy pretty quick.

OTOH, when you just want to get that warm happy feeling with a nice sipper with interesting flavors, this is a good one!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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19 Responses to H.R. Beer Report Part One

  1. H.R.had says:

    E.M.: ” Since I can still type and spell, I’m pretty sure I’m not so far along as to be an unreliable reporter.”

    Okay, that made me laugh, but not too loud as the missus is asleep and the trailer isn’t all that soundproof. I have had all of those brews before, which is why I picked them out for you and… I kept the brother bottles to yours for myself.

    I had the Baltika 9 and Baltika 7 two days ago while you were on the road. I concur with your assessment, particularly the #7. I find that one to be imminently drinkable and somewhere between a full German lager and a solid (not some wimpy ‘lite’) Canadian lager. I call the #7 taste ‘apple-y’ though it doesn’t taste like apples, just reminiscent of them. Served ice cold on a hot day and no one could complain about Baltika #7.

    I had no idea the Baltika #9 was nine percent. I thought it was 5 or 5.5 maybe. It’s a sipper beer; a little more complex and thoughtful. Probably best served on a Winter’s day in front of a fire and make sure there’s two of them.

    I just finished a Coppertail Brewing Co. (Tampa Fla.) ‘Unholy’ ale. I bought a six-pack in December as I was looking to try the ‘local swills.’ Well, I really liked it. It was not too hoppy, had a good mouth feel, no lingering aftertaste, and was somewhat fruity and earthy yet not particularly heavy. There was nothing on the label or 6-pack carton to indicate alcohol content, so it wasn’t until I was into the middle of the second 6-pack I had purchased that I got on the interwebs and found out that it was 9%!!! There is no real hint that it is a high gravity brew; solid, but not high gravity. As I mentioned, it’s drinkable cold or at warmer temperatures, so it’s a great one to take outside while slaving over a hot barbie. Start cold and it stays good until you’re finished.

    I already wrote about the Belgian style ale. Tonight I’m swilling Leffe Blonde Belgian Abbey Style ale, having finished my last bottle of ‘Unholy.’ I believe that American version actually beats the Belgians at their own game in that head-to-head match.

    Oh well. As long as you can keep typing, keep reporting. I’m particularly curious about your review of ‘Unholy.’ Of course, taste is unique to the individual, so what I find very likeable might taste like swamp water to you. We’ll see.

  2. H.R. says:


    E.M., I have a comment about the beers in the moderation queue. I had somehow tabbed to the ‘Name’ line and had added ‘had’ to H.R. before tabbing out to somewhere else.

    So when you get a chance, please bail out my comment by ‘H.R. had’.


  3. H.R. says:

    Huh?!? First post went through before I finished hollering for help.

    All is well.

  4. H.R. says:

    Huh?!? No it isn’t. Still in moderation.

  5. Another Ian says:

    Praise of Russian beer??

    H R and E M hauled into the Mueller investigation in 3, 2, 1 – –

  6. Saighdear says:

    Looks like it STILL IS a VERY Happy Ne Year! Sláinte
    ….Owned by / part ofthe Carlisle Group? really ;-) ? THought they were American TYRE Manuf’rs …. think you meant to say CARLSBERG – our very own Pan-european pisswater brewer – well – used to be a favourite tipple… but dunno if Uk bred carlsberg is as good asthe real MacKoy.
    Enjoying your stories isfa I understand what you’re talking about Cheers!

  7. H.R. says:

    @Saighdear: I can’t prove it, but I’ve always suspected that the Carlsberg executives sit in the board room where there’s a dartboard with all the brands they own pasted on the board. Someone throws a dart at the board to see which beer they will ruin next. The rest are left alone.

    The problem, as you pointed out, is that they have thrown a lot of darts and there are few remaining brands on the dartboard that haven’t been hit.

    Anyhow, that’s why they call it them ‘Board’ rooms. Other corporations’ dartboards just have Yes, No, and Stall For Time on them, in case you were wondering how the executives come up with some of their puzzling decisions. The more successful companies use a Magic 8-Ball instead of the dartboard; more accurate and better advice.

    (Anybody buying this? It’s as good of an explanation as any other.)

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    HR; A board of Directors is a committee. The average IQ in a committee is lower then the least of it’s members. Small wonder the decisions rendered are the worst of all the possibles. A decision must be rendered and no one person can be blamed for the result…pg

    As to beer, Cheers! Wish I could help in perusing the quality of the libations. Good to know we have our best man on that most important task. Besides I’m getting to old to do a good job of it…pg

  9. H.R. says:

    Hey, p.g

    We all know E.M. took his brewing equipment up to your place. and gave it to you. Get cracking on a batch and you’ll probably draw in people from 3 states away. I’m sure you could teach the Russians a thing or two about beer and blackberry brandy.

    ossqss has a similar story to the one you told about your beer fridge, which kept getting emptied by friends stopping by until you quit stocking the fridge. Then you found that you had fewer friends when your beer fridge remained empty. His fridge was being emptied by all of the neighbors.

    Anyhow the short version is that ossqss kept changing the brand of beer he put in his beer fridge until he hit on a beer that none, zero, nada of his neighbors liked. No more empty beer fridge problem for him. That’s probably why he can afford to send his kid off to college 😜 The long version of that story that ossqss told was quite entertaining.

  10. Rhoda Klapp says:

    Before my time in Texas I was not a beer drinker. At home in the UK I drank cider, either apple or pear. Cider is a bigger market there than in the US. My previous experience of US beer was of weak lagers and of brands with a distinction but not much of a difference, each having devotees. Coors banquet was my choice then. Returning years later, I found a revolution. There’s good beer everywhere. When we lived in Texas I drank Tupp’s. from a local micro.. I met their brewmaster in a 30-pump no-tv bar, and he knew all the beers, his own and his competition. I began to like west coast IPAs. Desachutes fresh-squeezed from Bend OR being my favourite. Unfortunately I can’t get it in Florida. But there are some fine locals, notably Jai Alai from Tampa.

    On return to the UK (I’m in FL on vacation only) I found imported west coast IPAs, llke Lagunitas and Goose, right there in the market, and a couple of UK emulators using imported hops. So all’s right with the world, really.

  11. R Shearer says:

    Did you have Professor Boulton at UC Davis? I met him once or twice.

  12. Michael L. Rankin says:

    E M: First time to comment, looong time lurker. For most of my life I have not drunk beer. Oh, did a few beers in college and first year or two after graduation. Found that weight control was difficult if I only drank beer. Switched to liquor. Drank beer on social occasions or out on deer lease. After I retired set up a small vineyard in rural Iowa. Bought lots of equipment of course, most of which was unused most of the time. Decided to make some brew. Bought a kit to make 5 gal from online supplier. Brushfire Smoked Brown Ale. Turned out terrific. My friends loved it. Five gal didn’t last long. Tried maybe 6-8 other kits. Typically one batch a month. Commercial beers don’t have near the taste of home made beer. Settled on Brushfire as favorite.

  13. Another Ian says:


    The Mad Magazine advertising treatment for the Coors slogan of old

    “Coors Beer: brewed with Rocky Mountain spring water. Lots of it”

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    And suddenly it’s morning…. ;-)


    OK, I’ve kicked it loose..

    @Another Ian:

    Not only that, but I took a Russian language class once! I can barely make out the name PROTON on the side of the rockets and can almost say “Hello how are you?”, so clearly that’s an issue /sarc;


    Didn’t I mention I was already 1/2 a bottle of Saki and a Corona into the evening? You’re lucky i could even spell the wrong name right! So just one sentence below what I typed, there was the quote I was copying the name from…. Sigh. Yeah, I think the carbonation in the Russian beer kicked loose the saki hiding out in the stomach ;-)

    I got to a third beer, poured and tasted… and then it was morning… So the review of that particular ( 9% IIRC !) brew will need to await a slightly later time…

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, the “last beer in the beer fridge” for OssQss was a bottom tier lite beer. Bush Lite?

    Per Decision By Committee:

    It is my thesis that the Group Decision Method is limited to the intersection of things all the members understand or can be made to believe. Since each person has greater strengths in one narrow area, and are largely clueless in many other areas, the places where they all have the same understanding level tend to be in the Clueless Expanse that makes up most of their world view. Then, those folks who know nearly nothing about an area can be convinced of nearly anything about it if the “pitch” is good or they they get some Vig out of it. So, for example, selling the board on the idea of using an All Electric Car Fleet will get solid approval if all of them are given one as part of the pitch; despite their knowing nothing about motor pool operations or how engines work, or comparative vehicle design advantages.

    In this way, having a board or committee make “decisions” assures that the lowest common denominator of all their understandings is the deciding one, and more decisions are made for reasons un-helpful to the company but beneficial to the committee. In the limit case you see this effect run wild at the UN where any crazy cockamamie idea will be voted in and up (especially as a “Treaty”) as long as good parties, kickbacks, and bribo is involved – without any regard to efficacy, reality, or damages done to others in the real world.

    IMHO, the reason for this is the requirement for “consensus” to make a decision. The most limited person on any given topic must either be sold a story (“There is always a story.” – E.M.Smith) or must have the solution firmly inside his / her understanding threshold (and that’s a very low bar to limbo under…). Otherwise you don’t get their vote and / or there is “dissension among the board” and nobody wants that in the news or minutes.

    This assures that no really new, bright, and innovative ideas or decisions are made. All decisions must be pallid and involve as little thinking as possible. Oh, and as the Lord High Mucky Mucks on boards see their time as terribly valuable, any and all topics must fit in at most a 1/2 page above the fold summary on any topic report presented. ( I wrote them for years… ) So if you can’t say it in one simple paragraph in high school English without any jargon or technical terms, forget it.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Rhoda Klapp:

    Once upon a time, in about 1982, I was sent to London to teach a Unix class for Amdahl. While there, we went to a local pub (on the west side somewhere not too far from the M4 IIRC) where I had the house beer on tap.

    It was just wonderful. Cool not cold (folks forget that English Room Temperature is more like 56 F than 76 F …) with a smooth even flavor and very easy to drink. Mild to middling hops. Semi-dark and with a slightly caramel nose.

    I forgot to ask the name…

    Ever since, I’ve wanted more of it. Never found one quite right, but many a good English Ale has been found.

    Now the USA has moved away from the 3.2 “Pisswater Beer” that was left after prohibition and rediscovered our earlier beer making roots. Joy is rampant in the world once again!

    I’m glad to hear you found West Coast IPAs in the UK. I’m right fond of them too! Lagunitas is a good one, but so are a dozen others.

    In Florida I’ve learned to just make the rounds of whatever brew-pubs are in a place. In Buena Vista in a shopping center just outside of the East entrance to Disneyworld there’s a couple of nice places. One is an Irish Pub, the other is something like SeaDog and makes their own stuff. They have some fruit flavored beers that are very nice (and I’m not keen on fruit in beer!).

    On Disney Property, in the area around a bit of lake near the Boardwalk Hotel, there’s both a sports bar with a nice selection (fully at the anti-clockwise end) and a brewpub (about 1/2 way clockwise) with some nice brews in several styles.

    Then there is “Drinking Around The World”. A Tradition among some select Disney Castmembers when the day was particularly daunting and often on a Friday after the week was done: You firmly remove your badge so you are “Off Stage” and just a regular person. Then you start at Mexico in Epcot (to the left as you enter). There are 12 major country pavilions. Each one has food and drink from their country. At each pavilion, you order one drink. Then advance. The intent it so make it all the way around the world. IIRC, Canada is last on the far right side.

    Unfortunately for me, I’ve never made it past the English Pub. In fact, my Florida Friend and I began to enter in the back gate that puts you at the Pub and just started and ended there ;-) Good beer. Good Pub Grub. Folks having a good time. Just love it. The French Wines are nice. The German beer is a good lager. But there’s something about a pub…

    IIRC, in Spring (or it might be fall…) they have a “Food And Wine” festival and add “carts” for other countries. So for example there’s an Australian exhibit with lamb and Australian beer. Then figure on another 12 to 20 of such. Nobody succeeds at “Drinking Around The World” then ;-)

    FWIW, one of my favorite beers ever was Steinlager.

    It’s a very strongly hopped beer but light in color and like a lager that’s fresh and aromatic. First sip I thought it was over the top on hops, but then it grows on you.

    Unfortunately, last time I went looking for it even the bulk has everything BevMo didn’t have it. It’s been a few years now since I’ve seen it anywhere in California. Oh Well.

    Pilsner Urquell is now my favorite but too expensive to buy all the time:
    It is a classic Pilsner and “just right” in so many ways. But locally it’s about $1.50 / bottle and I just can’t see drinking $10 at a sitting…

    If ever in the SF Bay Area Palo Alto or lower there’s a couple of very nice brewpubs. Gordon Biersch is a good one. This link says they have one in Burbank so maybe even in LA you can find them ;-) https://gordonbiersch.com/ while a search also claims one is in Las Vegas now:
    There’s also one in Palo Alto and we have one near Santa Clara in San Jose downtown.

    I’m especially fond of their Dunkles (darker heavier) but in bottles it gets a bit too “rich” (no idea why but the package beer is different from the fresh from the tap…) In bottles I prefer the Export (more of a regular lager).

    There’s also Tied House: https://www.tiedhouse.com/#!

    So wherever you are, just look up the local brewpubs and give them a try. Well worth it.

    Oh, and there’s also World Of Beers that has a whole wall of package beers from all over. There’s a couple of them in Orlando and near it, so likely others in Florida too ;-) Their web site has a “find local” search function: https://worldofbeer.com/
    Looks like plenty near Tampa:

    Amalie Arena
    401 Channelside Drive
    Tampa, FL 33602
    South Tampa
    402 S Howard Ave
    Tampa, FL 33606-2036
    Tampa International
    5311 Avion Park Dr
    Tampa, FL 33607-1416
    2815 E Fowler Ave
    Tampa, FL 33612-6210
    2878 Providence Lake Blvd
    Brandon, FL 33511
    9524 West Linebaugh Ave
    Tampa, FL 33626-1803

    Their on tap selection is usually pretty good as is the grub, but if you want something else, there’s more choices than you can ever try…

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. Shearer:

    Maybe, the name is vaguely familiar, but I don’t particularly remember… could be just a name I read on the rosters…

    @Michael L. Rankin:

    IMHO part of what caused American Beer to explode into an untold variety of great beers was the rise of the home brewer. Folks discovered they could make some very good stuff! Then some of them set up brew-pubs as their friends circle outgrew their garage ;-)

    There’s so many different styles of beer now, you can find something for everyone. From nearly tasteless Beer In Name Only to alcoholic syrup at 18% alcohol “Barley Wine” and all points in between. So lots of things to try and sure to find one you like.

    @Another Ian:

    I actually like Coors for when I’m working on a hot day. Easy to drink and doesn’t dehydrate you in the process. Generally I can’t drink beer with most meals. With things like Buffalo Wings and Fries, sure. But not with things like fish or pork chops with mashed potatoes. Yet Coors is mild enough to not overpower them.

    But yeah, after 2 or 3 of them it’s like fizzy water in terms of flavor. Then there is the utterly pointless Coors Light. WT? It’s like saying “Carbonated water from a factory where beer is sometimes made”… Just not worth trying. There was an arena football venue that only sold it and one other “lite” beer. Neither one was worth buying. I did try each, and regretted wasting the money…

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added another Update to the article about the Trois Pistoles Belgian…

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