Beer Review: Terrapin Samurai Krunkles – Holy Mother of Paula Deen

This review isn’t going to make me a lot of friends, but every so often a beer becomes a victim of me feeling I have fawned over too many beers in a row. This time, that beer is Terrapin’s Samurai Krunkles (Side Project Vol. 17):

Samurai Krunkles is number 17 in Terrapin’s Side Project Series. It includes an impressive line-up of hops: Columbus, Nugget, Falconers Flight, Zythos, Sorachi Ace. It also includes green tea, jasmine rice, and ginger. I thought the subtle flavors of jasmine rice and green tea along with the not so subtle flavor of mucho hops would be an interesting challenge to parse. But…

It ended up tasting less like this:

And more like this:


Ding, with whom I usually agree about 0.05% of the time (although I respect his palate), had mentioned on Twitter that it tasted like pure butter. I decided to try mine a couple of days later. At first it was fine…

It poured a hazy orange, with a respectable head that dissipated at a medium pace to a ring. I could huff the hops, which seemed citrusy and resiny. And I could also pick up some zippy ginger. After my first taste, I thought it tasted nice. The ginger remained recognizable, the balance was good, and resiney and cistrusy hops had a good flavor and nice bite. I was about tweet Ding that he was nuts (as I usually do).

First things first, though. It was after work, and I was hungry and making dinner. So, I threw a handfull of Cheez-Its in my pie hole and took another sip. After that, it all went pear-shaped, and the beer started tasting like butter with a bitter, hoppy finish. It even gave me the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that I get when I am about to eat a hunk of fat or stick of butter (don’t judge, I needed the money).

I finished it. The strength of the butter taste came and went, but sadly never completely went.

So, what can we take away from this? I am not willing to proclaim diacetyl. Terrapin is a really good brewery. Also, many people have given this beer a positive review. And I haven’t found anyone else reporting this flavor (and according to Ding’s Twitter feed, his second bottle was apparently not as bad). So, I would say give it a try and see what you find. It’s always good practice picking out flavors (and maybe even off-flavors) in beer.

Perhaps it was a personal palate thing with the combination of flavors (strong Jasmine does give me a similar feeling in the pit of my stomach). In any case, don’t eat Cheez-Its with this beer. It only makes it angry.

Editor’s notes: You can check out Ding’s review here. And in the comments, Mark, of Kaedrin Beer Blog, points out that he has heard that green tea can impart a buttery flavor.


Beer Review: Terrapin Wake n Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout

Next up, Terrapin Wake n Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout:

A reference to making cookies in the morning, I guess.

The stink over Tenth & Blake (craft/import division of Miller/Coors) owning a minority share in Terrapin was renewed last week when it was revealed that Schlafly’s co-founders, as part of their retirement succession plan, were selling a 60 percent share to a local private equity firm, Sage Capital, LLC. This was met with widespread applause, because local is apparently awesome no matter what (even private equity firms), the plan included an opportunity for employees to buy some non-marketable shares in the company, and the sale was not to the Big Beer Boogeyman.

But I am a capitalist pig. So as long as your beer is tasty, I’m a fan. You know, as long as the beer isn’t made from the tears of orphans, or something…unless the orphans were crying already. What? Do you want orphan tears to go to waste!?

It's always OK to exploit ginger orphans. They have no soul.

This beer pours as dark as Cookie’s chuckwagon coffee left on the fire an hour too long. It has a quickly receding tan head. It smells like an espresso spiked with chocolate. At times, you can catch a whiff of dark chocolate milk or Kahlua. The taste is as advertised: coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and not too sweet at all. Also, the oatmeal gives a little creaminess to the mouthfeel, but it’s not all thick and whatnot like some big stouts.

I likey. And I don’t care who owns Terrapin. I would buy a bottle of this shyte from the damn ghost of Adolph Coors.

Fuck my parents right in the eye for naming me Adolph.

Now, tonight I get to taste Bell’s Black Note Stout. I hear it can cure cancer, world hunger, and gout.

Thank God! I can finally stop carrying around this comically large beaker full of green stuff.

The Haybag: It’s a little drier than I thought it would be, but that’s not a bad thing. My beer doesn’t need to taste like a Frappuccino.

Beer Review: Terrapin So Fresh and So Green, Green

Next up, Terrapin’s fresh hop offering: So Fresh & So Green, Green.

Apparently, some have their knickers in a knot about Terrapin converting debt held by MillerCoors into a minority equity share in Terrapin. Gasp…the big beer boogeyman.  I say pop a ‘lude, brochacho. As long as they keep making good beer, who the fuck cares?

Soon, that little turtle will be all mine. Bwa ha ha ha.

Terrapin decided to make their fresh hop beer with Challenger hops.  Which is an interesting choice in a beer supposed to showcase its hop character.  Challenger hops are a British hop often used in the British-styled Extra Special Bitter (ESB)…which sounds promising.  But, unfortunately, it seems the ever-witty Brits use “extra special” to mean “not very”.  ESBs aren’t hoppy.

I say, Nigel, another extra special sunny day in old London? Where's my ESB? Let's get pissed.

It pours a beautiful, clear copper; and it has a nice-looking head, which results in some lacing. There is a light smell of spicy hops…fairly underwhelming for a fresh hop beer.  The taste is a little better: a well-balanced front-end, a slightly spicy hop tail-end, and a dry finish. I kept waiting for more, like a luscious hop aftertaste.  But that was it.

In a beer-style that is supposed to be a love letter to hops, we get an airport-purchased postcard from a layover at Heathrow. Frankly, I found tonight’s TMZ coverage of Justin Beiber’s paternity suit more fulfilling than this beer.

CAUTION: Side effects of Bieber Fever may include pregnancy.

Perhaps I am a victim of my own expectations.  Maybe this would be a good beer for someone dipping their toe into the hoppy beer pool for the first time.

The Haybag: Disappointing.  Justin Bieber should have known better.  Oh, and the beer was lackluster and underwhelming.