Sunday, February 12, 2017

Darkstar One: Broken Alliance

    Darkstar One: Broken Alliance is a Space Flight, Combat, and Trade Simulation game released on the Xbox 360 in 2010 after developer Kalypso Media upgraded 2006's PC release of the game with higher definition graphics and improved gameplay. There is a noticeable lack of this genre on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, so I was excited to see this game recommended by fans of the genre. Unfortunately the game turned out to be less of a "hidden gem" and more of a piece of space-junk that rips-off elements from nearly every popular Sci-Fi series.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Backmasking - Three Floyds Brewing Co.

    Backmasking is an Oatmeal Stout brewed by Three Floyds Brewing Co. in Munster, Indiana. This beer's name comes from many parents' worst fears when their children bring home a new album. Sure, little Johnny is a sweet boy now, but just wait until he listens to that rock music! It won't be long before your sweet little child is sacrificing goats to the dark lord! Named after the process of recording messages onto a track that can only be heard when playing the audio backwards, Backmasking just might be hiding a few secrets of its own.

    Gniksamkcab is a deep, black color. The tiny bit of light allowed through the dark liquid reveals a dark ruby tint. Upon pouring, a massive brown head forms, but quickly recedes into a thin, lacing leaving layer of bubbles.

    The aromas of dark, roasty malts, especially oats and chocolate, make up the majority of the beer's smell. This mix makes me think of the sweet, chocolate breakfast cereals little Johnny used to eat before switching to a diet consisting only of virgin's blood.

    Three Floyd's Oatmeal Stout is medium in body as well as in level of carbonation. Surprisingly, with an alcohol content of only 5.9% ABV, there is a slight bit of alcohol warmth on the tongue and back of the throat after swallowing. The beer finishes dry, but leaves a bit of stickiness on the lips.

Oh Johnny, you never should have been allowed to listen
to that One Direction album...
    Backmasking is surprisingly sweet, with a huge hit of chocolate malt and sweet oats. This brew reminds me of chocolate milk, only in beer form. There is a bit of roasted, smokey malt character to the ale, as well as a bit of piney hops. Overall the ale balances the super sweet flavors with the roastier, bitter flavors. Even with the sweetness, there is still a small amount of ethanol flavor that shows its head.

    It has always amused me that many bands labeled by the media as "evil" actually have better messages in their music than most of the songs on the radio. Other than the immature, angry minority making bad music in the first place, a good number of bands promote messages of peace, tolerance, and self-empowerment. The only major difference is that these messages are coming from performers who prefer a counter-culture style of theatrics for their performances. Think on that the next time your child is listening to music glamorizing getting drunk at the club and making regrettable decisions!

    While I found no hidden messages in Backmasking, I did find an enticingly sweet Stout that I surprisingly enjoyed. I'm content with my findings, as I'm not willing to drink the beer backwards to check for anything I might have missed. I do, however, think that the beer's sweetness could cause it to be a bit much in large amounts. Check it out, if you aren't afraid of any subconscious manipulation!

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Grapefruit Saison - Pipeworks Brewing Company

    Grapefruit Saison is a Saison brewed with grapefruit by Pipeworks Brewing Company in Chicago, Illinois. This particular beer has only been produced once, so it may be difficult to find at this point.

    Grapefruit Saison pours a hazy gold color with an ample, foamy white head. The foam leaves some slight lacing as the beer is enjoyed.

    This fruit Saison's aroma is where it's at. Huge, juicy grapefruit scents make my mouth water in anticipation of tasting the brew. Other citrus scents are present as well, though nothing as striking as the grapefruit aroma. In addition to the fruit scents, the beer features a good bit of Saison yeast scents such as clove and other spices.

    The beer is medium bodied and sports a medium level of carbonation which gives it a nice mouthfeel while effervescing the brew's wonderful fruit aromas. The Saison finishes dry on the palette. Grapefruit Saison comes in at an alcohol content of 7% ABV.

Who said good beers don't grow on trees?
    I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed in the level of grapefruit flavor in the beer. After the wonderful aroma, I would have expected much more than the subtle hint of grapefruit juice. The grapefruit flavor is still nice and goes well with the slight sweet, bready flavors of the Saison. The yeast also lends a bit of spice to the ale as well as some fruitiness that complements the ale's citrus flavors nicely.

    Pipework's Grapefruit Saison definitely has a lot of good Saison flavors in it, I just find myself wishing that grapefruit had been more the star of the show. Without the grapefruit flavors coming out more fully, this brew seems to me to be simply a decent Saison with a little bit of disappointment mixed in.

Amulets and Ale Rating:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sour Monkey - Victory Brewing Company

    Sour Monkey, brewed by Victory Brewing Company in Downington, Pennsylvania, is a transformation of their Golden Monkey Tripel. Classified as an American Wild Ale, Sour Monkey uses multiple yeast strains, including non-standard strains such as Brettanomyces, to achieve its sour profile. What results is a fruity, tart beer that is enjoyable to the last sip. Add in that each 22oz. bomber comes in at around $10 USD and you have a Sour Ale worth buying time and time again.

    Sour Monkey pours a golden, straw color with a 1", slightly off-white head. The beer's head retention seems low as the bubbles quickly dissipate, though a ring of white forms a light lacing down the glass.

    The Wild Ale smells sweet with a slight tart acidity. Fruity notes of peach and lemon are present in the aroma, alongside a slight hint of Brett. There is also a slight, yeasty spiciness to the beer's aroma; unsurprisingly similar to that of a Belgian Tripel.

Victory employs only the finest taste testers for their brews!
    Sour Monkey features a low to medium level of carbonation alongside a medium body which together give the ale a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. The ale's acidity causes a slight pucker, though nothing too intense. An alcohol content of 9.5% ABV completes the ale's mouthfeel with just the slightest bit of warmth; though none lingers after the beer is swallowed.

    Sour Monkey lives up to its name, though the ale isn't too sour. A pleasant lactic acid tartness accompanies fruit flavors of apples, peaches, and strong lemon flavors. Sweet malt notes balance the Wild Ale's acidic tang alongside a slight spice flavor which rounds things out.

    This ale was recommended by a local craft brew store, and I'm extremely glad it was. With just enough sour and sweet flavors, this American Wild Ale is extremely drinkable and enjoyable. While many Wild and Sour ales come with a hefty price-tag, Sour Monkey is extremely reasonable at its current price. Pick some up next time you see it, especially if you've never tasted a Wild or Sour Ale!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - Playstation 3

    Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a Japanese style Role Playing Game developed by Level-5. The game was released in two different versions; one for the Nintendo DS, and one for the Playstation 3. The DS version of the game was released in 2010 and was available only in Japan, while the PS3 version of the game was released internationally in 2013. Easily, the most notable aspect of the game is that Studio Ghibli (known for movies such as My Neighor Totoro, Spirited Away, and  Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind) worked on the game's animation as well as its soundtrack, creating a one of a kind gaming experience.