Mike Castagno

Mike Castagno's picture
Beer Judge

Mike was born and raised in the Philadelphia area before going to school at Furman University in Greenville, SC for Chemistry. There he discovered craft beer from all of the local and nearby Asheville breweries. After moving back up north to Wilmington, DE, Mike stumbled upon an AHA Rally at a local brewpub and discovered that people were making high quality beer at home. He quickly jumped into the hobby and developed a passion for beer making. He’s been brewing since 2005 and has won a number of awards over the years. He relocated to Atlanta in 2007 and works in the field of polymer research & development. He loves to apply his chemistry and engineering knowledge to his brewing set up, always testing and optimizing. He decided to begin beer judging in 2009 to help make better beer and with dedication he has advanced to the rank of Master Beer Judge.

My reviews

Rum Barrel-Aged Gonzo

Flying dog beer rum barrel aged gonzo porter
Judges Rating:
84
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
32 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20

Low notes of chocolate, espresso, dates and prunes are expressed through the aroma when poured. There is a spicy alcohol note when cool that becomes quite aggressive upon warming, such so that it begins to overwhelm the other characteristics of the beer. There is a light oak quality with rummy... Read More

Infinite Wisdom Tripel

Infinite Wisdom Tripel Upland Beer
Judges Rating:
84
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
20 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20

With a Tripel, you are looking for a dry finish with a rocky head, moderate creaminess and a good balance between spicy phenols and fruity esters. In this example, isovaleric acid (sweaty) is prominent in the beginning with strong sulfur notes to follow. These issues dissipate over time. After a... Read More

Jomo Lager

Jomo Lager Starr Hill Beer
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

There is an intense aroma of toast and baking bread up front. The beer is copper in color and brilliantly clear with good head retention. There are ale-like notes of red berries (cherry and strawberry) as the beer warms a bit. Some unexpected characteristics showed up in the flavor for a... Read More

Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
19 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

The malt takes center stage over the hops in this Double IPA. Honey, biscuit and caramel stand out while a slight oxidative note creeps in. Underneath that are some light, herbal hops with a hint of orange and a subtle floral note to follow upon warming. The bitterness is nothing aggressive,... Read More

Orchid

Orchid
Judges Rating:
79
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
18 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
15 / 20

The beer pours a mahogany brown color with good clarity but the head dissipates immediately. Isovaleric acid (sweaty) and acetic acid (vinegar) dominate the aroma. If you can look beyond the vinegar, you might notice a slight smoky note with soft oak character. There are complex fruit qualities... Read More

Sea Monster

Ballast Point Beer Sea Monster Imperial Stout
Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

As if you walked into a trendy coffee house, expect a big waft of fresh roasted coffee, warm espresso, light ashy char and a hint of tobacco when you open this beer. There is a light earthiness with damp leaves, forest floor notes and tea with a light nuance of dried flowers. With all these ... Read More

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