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Basics and Blends 

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MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel

Saltfire - A Series of Singularities (Mosaic): Happiness to me is a single hop IPA or pale ale. Not only are they tasty, but they're an excellent education for your palate on what different varieties of hops can taste like. On top of that, this IPA is made with one of my favorite hops, Mosaic. I hope it can deliver the goods.

Pours an unfiltered golden orange hue with a sizable amount of foamy white head. It leaves a small amount of patchy lacing around the glass. It has a strong fruity fragrance—tropical, with lots of fresh mango juice and melon, as well as tangerine, grapefruit flavors and citrus. Additionally, there is berry sweetness—incredibly sweet like strawberries and blueberries. The back end has only a trace of grass and is gently gritty. Although there isn't much honey detectable on the nose, the perfume is nevertheless incredibly rich.

The flavor begins with a citrus jolt. Tangerine, grapefruit, and faint, musty orange. More tropical notes, including melon, mango and peach appear in the middle. Lightly spicy and bittersweet with a hint of pine and sticky honey at the finish. The carbonation is moderate, and the sensation is medium-bodied. Very plush yet not fluffy. relatively smooth to swallow. The alcohol's 7.3% warmth is quite modest.

Verdict: I thought this IPA was really great and lived up to the anticipation. For the last few years, this series of beers has been one that I look forward to every quarter. So I'm thrilled that I was able to sample a version with those Mosaic hops, which are so adaptable. Excellent work.

Kiitos - Anniversary Ale V: Kiitos commemorates their birthdays in style with a combination of their most well-liked and potent ales that they have aged in barrels. For the 5th Anniversary Ale, the Kiitos brew team selected the following Kiitos beers for blending: 60% of 6-month-old Imperial Barley Wine Aged in High West Rye Barrels; 20% of 3-year-old Barleywine aged in Wyoming Whiskey barrels; 20% of 3-year-old Imperial Stout aged in High West Bourbon Barrels. This beer finished at 15.5% alcohol and is Utah's booziest locally-made beer to date.

Anniversary Ale V pours a rich ruby bronze color and produces a delicate swirling espresso froth before luring the nose with an enticing concoction of coffee, cream, dark fruit, coconut, whisky, smoke, char and port.

Dark chocolate, light cream, molasses and honey meet the tongue with a dry, leathery sweetness at the very first taste. The middle palate exhibits a change to a feathery dryness as the malts tighten into a toasty, roasty, and smokey char as the intricacies develop, consisting of candied walnuts, coffee and charred bread. As indications of leather and smoke quickly follow, so does a fruitier taste that swirls around fig, date, prune, raisin and plum. The flavor becomes increasingly bitter, earthy, with a rye-driven grit and bordeaux wine in the aftertaste as hints of dark grape, cherry and berries develop.

Verdict: The lengthy aging of the beer has allowed for more mature sherry and port flavors to combine with dry malts as hints of fortified brandy mix with a long lingering of coffee and toast. The result is a full-bodied but leathery-dry beer. It has never tasted so delicious to turn 5 years old.

It goes without saying that Kiitos' big-ass, blended ale is in limited production and this blending will never be able to happen again. The Mosaic version of Series of Singularities is also limited, but Salfire should have plenty to last a couple of weeks. As always, cheers.

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