My review of Iron Maiden Trooper Ale (a premium British beer)

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OK, you see my lovely bottle of Trooper Ale, a premium British beer created by Iron Maiden, specifically Bruce Dickinson, and Robinsons Brewery, a family brewery from the Manchester town Stockport crafting brews since 1838. If you’re reading this website and are a fan of any genre of Metal, then I will assume that you know who Iron Maiden is. I will also assume that you know that Iron Maiden has a song titled ‘The Trooper’ from their 1983 album Piece Of Mind. And, of course, if you know all that, then you know that the dead soldier on the label carrying the Union Jack is Iron Maiden’s famous mascot Eddie. Basically, this beer was created because Bruce Dickinson is a beer enthusiast and the band was approached about creating their own brand of beer. It’s that simple. Bruce did his research, hired Robinsons and off they went to create beer and Metal history.

So what’s so special about Trooper Ale? Well, for me, I wanted to find out what an Iron Maiden beer would taste like and that Iron Maiden logo and Eddie label made it very easy for me to drop down $7.99 per bottle at the local liquor store. Two bottles and $16 later and I have my beer! So the only real reason I bought this was because of the band/brand. I’m not a big drinker, nor am I a beer connoisseur, but I do occasionally like to have a few brews and when I do I’m very particular about the kind I drink. I like to taste my beer, I like a dark beer with different flavors and layers…..do I sound like a connoisseur? Seriously, I like to drink mainly British beer with the exception of a few local New England beers. My regular beer right now is Hobgoblin, another specialty beer I pay a lot for, but it has a distinctive taste…..that’s what I’m hoping for with The Trooper.

Like I said, I enjoy dark beers and The Trooper has a nice dark amber color to it so we’re off to a good start. I don’t usually sit and smell my beer but each brand is unique and this one smells very rich…..malt, caramel, toffee and some citrus to it. It’s not a fruity beer but a little citrus added in to the brew makes for a unique flavor, I think it’s a bit of lemon in this beer. What do I know? I could be totally off on the smell and it could be anything but that’s what I think. The only reason I smell the beer anyway is because someone told me to do it once and it would enhance my drinking experience. It doesn’t have the same effect if you’re sniffing the Coors Light or Natty Ice but it’s cool if you try different brews. First swig…..second swig…..a decent bitter ale. Definitely has a bit of an after taste but that’s where you can taste the different flavors. Do I sound like a beer connoisseur yet? Reminds me of Hobgoblin a bit, Trooper is a very rich beer, very smooth, 4.7 % alcohol…..so it goes down easy.

All in all, in my uneducated and Heavy Metal biased opinion, I think it’s a decent beer. I like the color and taste and I’ve downed my first bottle as I wrote this. Will I make The Trooper my beer of choice? Not at the import price of $7.99 for a pint but maybe I’d grab a bottle from time to time while I was getting a sixer of Hobgoblins or something else in the British section. If I found it on tap somewhere I would definitely give it a go a couple rounds but I’ve tried it, enjoyed it and now my bottle will be washed out and put in my Metal collection for posterity. Beer #2 is saved for the football game tonight!

If you want to get more information on Trooper Ale, head to Iron Maiden Beer. If you live in the Rhode Island/southeastern Massachusetts area, you can buy Trooper Ale at Yankee Spirits in South Attleboro, MA.

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CD Scavenger Hunt – October update

Here’s the update for October…..I’m finally caught up! It’s another small update as I didn’t want to spend a lot of money but I did spend a few bucks and grabbed some great releases…..

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Cheap Trick – Silver DVD (2001) – $10.01 used
Manowar – Battle Hymns MMXI (2010) – $20.25 used
Manowar – Battle Hymns MMXI (Metal Hammer Edition) (2010) – $20.25 used
Manowar – The Lord Of Steel (2012) – $20.25 used
Manowar – The Lord Of Steel (Metal Hammer Edition) (2012) – $20.25 used
Def Leppard – Viva! Hysteria (2CD/DVD Deluxe Edition) – $20
Motorhead – Aftershock (CD/DVD Special Edition) – $14

Very quick update here with only Ebay sellers and Best Buy getting my money this month. First up is the Cheap Trick Silver DVD that I won for $10.01. I’ve been immersing myself in all things Cheap Trick for a couple months now so I was able to borrow this from a guy at work and I loved it so I wanted a copy for my own collection. Won it on Ebay for $7.01 + $3 shipping. The DVD is a concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band and it’s an excellent show with a diverse setlist. I bought the four Manowar releases from the same seller who was selling them as a lot. I have both Battle Hymns MMXI and The Lord Of Steel on my want list for the last couple of years because I didn’t want to pay the high import price online. Usual Ebay prices for these are also high if not higher especially with decent shipping so I waited. I stumbled on this auction and grabbed the regular releases of both albums AND the Metal Hammer editions that came in the special Metal Hammer Manowar magazines. I didn’t get the magazines with these CDs but I’m psyched to have the CDs because I understand that they are a different mix. Honestly, $81 for all four CDs is a steal.

On to Best Buy where the exclusive editions of both new Def Leppard and Motorhead releases were available. The Def Leppard release was the exclusive 2CD and 1 Blu-Ray release and the Motorhead was the deluxe digipak with a bonus live DVD. Prices were comparable to online and record stores for the regular editions so I actually left the house and walked into Best Buy and dropped my $34.

Total = $125.01

Total (year) = $2034.84

Average Price (per item) = $11.83

Total CDs (year) = 153

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 5

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =8

CD Scavenger Hunt – September update

Continuing my late updates…..here’s September’s small hunt…..

Axe Witch – Hooked On High Heels (1985/2005 reissue) – $15.53
Michael Schenker Group – Rock Will Never Die (1984/2009 deluxe edition) – $12.80

A very small update for September as I only bought two CDs this month. There’s plenty of new releases that came out that I wanted to pick up but money gets a little tight sometimes and adding to my collection is a luxury. I did grab two CDs, one on Ebay and one on Amazon, both for great prices. First CD was the Axe Witch album on Ebay for just over $15. I like to collect certain record labels and one that is highly collectible is High Vaultage/Metal For Muthas. The label and imprint is long gone and the CDs are out of print so Ebay is the only way to acquire them. I’ve been watching various High Vaultage reissues from The Rods, Tank, Railway and Axe Witch for years and they are available for around $25…..I just don’t want to pay that much for them! When I find a low price, I go for it and winning this for $15.53 is an awesome price. The second CD I bought was another 2009 deluxe edition for the Michael Schenker Group by buying the live album Rock Will Never Die. My CD/DVD external drive died so I had to buy a new one and the best price was on Amazon. I was getting this no matter what so I decided to throw in a CD as well and knock one off the Amazon wish list. $12.80 is an awesome price for this CD because it ranges from $15 to $25 depending on the website or auction.

Total = $28.33

Total (year) = $1809.83

Average Price (per item) = $10.97

Total CDs (year) = 147

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =8

CD Scavenger Hunt – August update

Another quick update on my purchases…..let’s close out the summer with August’s update…..in November!

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UFO – On Air at the BBC 1974-1985 box set (2013) – $24
Uriah Heep – Very ‘Eavy Very ‘Umble (1970/2003 deluxe edition) – $10
Uriah Heep – Salisbury (1971/2003 deluxe edition) – $11
Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are (1973/2000 reissue) – $12
Michael Schenker Group – MSG (1981/2009 deluxe edition) – $14.50
Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack (1982/2009 deluxe edition) – $12.50
Michael Schenker Group – Built To Destroy (1983/2009 deluxe edition) – $8
Halford – Live In London (2012) – $8

Warrior – Ancient Future (1998) – $18
Warrior – The Code Of Life (2001) – $11.50
KK Wilde – Rock ‘n’ Roll (1991) – $11.50
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens – Play My Game (2009) – $9

I split this set of purchases up because I didn’t leave the house to go to the record store, I bought from Amazon and Ebay only. My birthday is in August and I’m a lot older now so presents aren’t important…..OK, yes they are! I can always count on my mom to drop my a card with $100 in it even at my ripe old age of 41 so I always thankfully take that $100 to the record store. This time around it was Amazon so I could get some albums that I would NEVER find in the record store. I bought a lot of deluxe editions of albums I needed to complete my collections. I bought the three MSG CDs to complete my deluxe series, the Deep Purple deluxe edition to keep that series going and I splurged on the first two Uriah Heep albums in deluxe form as well. The UFO box set is a 5 CD/1 DVD set of live recordings that I really wanted and refused to pay the $40 record store price and the Halford live album was a “thrown in” to keep the Halford collection growing, clear an item off my Amazon wish list and make it an even $100.

The second set of purchases were Ebay wins. I’ve been trying to complete my Warrior collection after reading an old Metal magazine I found in a box and it had an ad for Ancient Future inside. I did some research and it seems like that album and The Code Of Life are now hard to find in their original pressings from 1998 and 2001 respectively. I had been watching auctions for both original pressings float above $35 on Ebay so I decided to get into a bidding war on both when I saw a couple copies at low starting prices. I won both albums for a total of $32 (includes shipping) but it was a fight! I also scored an original pressing of the rare KK Wilde album Rock ‘n’ Roll for only $11.50. This album has gone down in price over the years, I’ve seen it go over $100 since I joined Ebay in 1999, so waiting years for a cheaper copy was well worth it. My last purchase was a new sealed copy of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens solo album that I already own but as a promo copy from the record label with no booklet and artwork, just a CD. I wanted an official copy and I found it for $9 total (includes shipping).

Total = $152.50

Total (year) = $1781.50

Average Price (per item) = $10.93

Total CDs (year) = 145

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =8

CD Scavenger Hunt – July update

I’m way behind on keeping you updated about my purchases so here’s a long update for July…..

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The Scream – Let It Scream (1991) – $8.50 used
Johnny Lima – Shine On (2004) – $8.50 used
Shok Paris – Go For The Throat (1984/2010 reissue) – $12

Sister Sin – Dance Of The Wicked (2003/2013 reissue) – $10
Queensryche (featuring Todd LaTorre) – s/t (2013  limited edition box) – $14
Oliva – Raise The Curtain (2013) – $11.50
A World With Heroes: A KISS Tribute For Cancer Care (2013) – $25

All the way back to July for this set of purchases! There really wasn’t much I was going to buy this month but I managed to squeeze in a few new releases and some Ebay scores. I started off on a quick Ebay hit by winning both The Scream and Johnny Lima CDs from the same seller for $16 total. I was sure I had The Scream in my collection but I was wrong so I wanted to fill the void quickly and I’ve been on the hunt for any Johnny Lima CDs at a decent price. My third Ebay win was an official reissue from Auburn Records of the first Shok Paris album. I already picked up a copy back in May but it was a bootleg reissue and not officially sanctioned by the band or Auburn Records. I made an Amazon purchase shortly after of some new releases that I hadn’t picked up yet…..Sister Sin, Queensryche and Oliva (Jon Oliva’s solo project, not Jon Oliva’s Pain). I had been watching the sale prices at the local record store but Amazon just beats them out everytime. I’m all about supporting my local record store but it’s actually becoming a hassle going there especially when the selection is always the same and the prices are comparable, if not better, at Amazon. Not to mention that I’m an Amazon Prime member so shipping is free and no sales tax! Looking at my notes, I saved at least $10 by going through Amazon. My last CD for July was a benefit KISS tribute CD for cancer care, organized by major KISS fan and rock writer Mitch LaFon and distributed through Pledge Music. $25 got me a double disc of 40 songs, plus exclusive download and iTunes bonus content and my money went to a great cause. Please follow the link to read more about the project.

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Heaven & Earth – Dig (2013) – $16
Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods (2013 Deluxe Edition) – $16
Whitesnake – Made In Britain (2CD) (2013) – $0
Satan – Life Sentence (2013) – $16
Scorpion Child – s/t (2013) – $13
Sirenia – Perils Of The Deep (2013) – $0
Butcher Babies – Goliath (2013) – $13
The Winery Dogs – s/t (2013) – $13
Seven Witches – Rebirth (2013) – $0
Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Sessions E.P. (2012) – $6
Geezer – Ohnwork (2005) – $0 used

I did make it out to the record store once in July for a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sale on all CDs so I made the 30 minute drive up to the Norwood, MA Newbury Comics to get a different selection from my two local Newbury Comics stores. I decided to get a lot of new releases obviously and I’m really out to stretch every dollar when I hit these type of sales so I went in with a budget of $100 and I spent $99! I got a bunch of great 2013 new releases and some of the free ones were actually on sale so I saved even more compared to the regular prices. My strategy is to group the highest prices together for maximum savings that way the higher priced CDs are free. I picked up the new Heaven & Earth and Amon Amarth albums for $16 each but I got the new Whitesnake live double disc for free saving the $16 sale price ($20 regular price). My next grouping was the new Satan and Scorpion Child albums for $16 and $13 and getting the new Sirenia for free, saving $13 on sale ($18 regular price) with the extra reward being that the Scorpion Child CD was on sale for $13 instead of the $18 regular price. My third grouping was the new Butcher Babies for $13 ($18 regular) and The Winery Dogs debut for another $13 ($16 regular) with the latest from Seven Witches for free and saving a straight $10. My last grouping was the Lynch Mob E.P. for $6, a CD for my daughter that cost $6 and the last Geezer record for free, saving $4 used. I wasn’t going to buy my daughter a CD because I have my own collection to think about it but how can you resist your kids? Plus, with sales tax, I would have gone over my personal budget so going a little over by buying my daughter a CD is OK!

Once I got home I decided to check my actual savings…..I’m a geek, what can I say? I selected every album and put them in an Amazon cart except for the Geezer CD which I found on Ebay and got a grand total of $122. I actually spent $93 on my CDs with $6 sales tax for a total of $99 at the record shop…..so I saved $23 going to the store. The savings continues when you look at the free CDs that totaled $43 and the sale prices that saved another $13. Had I bought all these CDs straight up at the record store it would have totalled $126. Did you get all that?

Total = $182.50

Total (year) = $1629

Average Price (per item) = $10.79

Total CDs (year) = 134

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =7