Tuesday night, fancy a beer? Beer reviews below....

Monday, 1 October 2012

Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale (Japan)


www.kodawari.cc
Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale
Kiuchi Brewery
5.5% ABV

Due to the popularity of the Belgium beer Hoegarden in Japan - Hitachino Nest (Kiuchi Brewery) decided to make their own version.  In 1998 the beer was brewed.  Because of Japanese tax laws stating that anything containing less than 50% malt could be taxed at a lot less than beer the brewery worked on a recipe that produced a result they were happy with and managing to brew with less than 50% of malt in the brew.  The brewery used flaked barley and flaked wheat along with pilsner malt to give it is flavour and Perle hops are used for bittering and Styrian Golding are used for aroma.  The addition of orange juice, coriander, nutmeg and orange peel adds to it's flavour profile.

Review

Subtle citrus notes are present on the nose along with the mild sweetness that is found in all wheat beers.  The beer itself is a hazy pale golden yellow beer with a quickly disappearing white head.  On tasting - the typical wheat beer characteristics are present very subtle spices are there along with the sweetness of the wheat and the citrus that is added from the oranges.  The beer has a well weighted medium body.  A pretty good wheat beer although wheat beers are not my thing.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 14/20  

Total 63%

Brew Dog Punk IPA (Scotland)


www.brewdog.com
Punk IPA
Brew Dog Breweries
5.6% ABV

Perhaps it's the first Scottish infact British beer that has been designed to replicate the hugely popular American Pale Ale style.  Throwing the book at the rules of classic British Pale Ales, Brew Dog have tried to capture what is exciting about the American style.  First brewed in 2007 Brew Dog have tried to market themselves as a post modern brewer.

Review

The beer is brewed with Chinock, Crystal and Motoeka hops and the combination gives it a bucketful of aroma - citrus and tropical fruit like passion fruit and guava are present along with the Maris Otter extra pale malt.  Appearance wise the beer is a golden colour with a frothy white head, it is quite cloudy and almost reminds me of a home brew.  On tasting the beer has a very metallic taste and not a lot else.  The beer did get better towards the end of the glass with a very subtle melon flavour.  This is along with the expected bitterness.  The beer has a medium body with a drying finish.

Overall this beer has an amazing aroma from the mix of hops but a very disappointing taste.  I wonder why it is so popular or well known?

Scores: -

Aroma 8.5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 4/10
Palate 3.5/5
Overall 10/20

Total 59%

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Coconut Porter (USA)


www.mauibrewingco.com
Coconut Porter
Maui Brewing Co.
5.7% ABV

Another in North America's long line of craft breweries doing some great forward thinking.  This one is from the Maui Brewing Co.

Roasted coconut is added to the dark porter during the brew process.  Initially this would seem like a marketing thing but the subtlety of the coconut does add a welcomed extra element to the final product.

Apart from the kegged variety, they distribute this beer in cans which staying true to their environmentally conscious ethos - allows the cans to be recycled thus doing their bit for the environment.

Review

On the nose you get rich dark malt.  Once poured it has a tan foamy head sitting upon an almost black liquid.  On tasting you get the rich dark coffee with bitterness as well as the coconut accompaniment on the back of the palate that helps balance the beer.  The beer has a medium body and overall is pretty good.  The richness of the coffee does seem to go hand in hand with the dash of coconut.

Try it if you can find it.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 3/5
Overall 16/20

Total 67%

St Peters Cream Stout (England)


www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk
St Peters Cream Stout
St Peters Brewery
6.5% ABV

The second beer that I have tried by Suffolk, UK based St Peters.

The Cream Stout is smoother and less bitter than a traditional dry stout. Fuggle and Challenger hops are used with a blend of four locally grown floor-malted barleys.

Review

The beer is a dark ebony liquid with an off-white head. The nose has burnt toast with a hint of rich coffee quality. Again the coffee is there in the mouth but quite light in flavour. The beer itself has a light to medium body but with some good bitterness. A very smooth palate combined with a higher percentage in alcohol makes for a "not too bad" winter beer.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 3/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 14/20

Total 62%




Saturday, 29 September 2012

Macs Brewery - Hop Rocker (New Zealand)


www.macs.co.nz
Macs Brewery Hop Rocker Pilsner
Macs Brewery
4.8% ABV

Review

A highly hopped Pilsner from New Zealand using Crystal Malt, Nelson Sauvin and New Zealand Cascade hops.

Review

Immediately beautiful summer aromatics are present with a gone off funky smell.  The beer is a pale golden liquid with a very fast disappearing white head.  It has a peculiar flavour - couldn't quite place it, possibly biscuit or off chocolate biscuit.  I wasn't a fan.  The beer has a light body with a grassy aftertaste.  This is a very different tasting pilsner, quite unique - but this one is not for me.

Scores: -

Aroma 6.5/10
Appearance 3/5
Taste 4/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 11/20

Total 58%

Delirium Tremens (Belgium)


www.delirium.be
Delirium Tremens
Delirium Brewing
8.5% ABV

This Belgian brewery was established in 1654.

Delirium Tremens was first brewed on Boxing day 1989.  Three different kinds of yeast are used in the brew to provide a distinct appearance and character.

The beer is brewed using a triple fermentation technique that they have been using for hundreds of years.

Review

On the nose this beer has grassy hop aromas with some good yeast characters.  The beer itself is filled with lots of spent yeast.  It is light golden in colour with a very foamy white head.  The beer has a nice balance of malt with the alcohol lingering on the palate.  The beer has a perfect light to medium body.

This is a very, very good lager.  Really refreshing and with great warmth from the alcohol.  A perfect Saturday night lager but too strong for a session on a tuesday.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 2.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 17/20

Total 69%

Murrays Dark Knight (Australia)


www.murraysbrewingbrewingco.com.au
Murrays Dark Knight
Murrays Brewing Co
4.5% ABV

One of the many excellent beers from this Port Stephens boutique brewery.  The brewery is now maintained by a former home brewing enthusiast Shawn Sherlock.  He actually gave up a PhD in Australian History to make his love of beer his career.  The brewery itself was set up by Murray Howe who was inspired during a trip to the U.S in 2004 when he discovered countless craft brewings and decided to come back to Australia and establish a brewery.

Murrays Brewery is definitely worth a visit (if you are ever in the area) and certainly worth the trip up from Sydney to sample some of their many interesting brews.

The Dark Knight is brewed with 6 different malts to create this porter style beer.

Review

A massive roasted coffee malt hit is immediate on the nose.  The beer pours with a dark ruby opaque liquid with a quickly disappearing tan head.  The beer has a bitter black coffee flavour is first noted with dark chocolate and tobacco.  The beer itself is quite flat with a medium body.

The beer is let down slightly by the lack of the life in the bottle although the flavours are great.

Scores: -

Aroma 7.5/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 8/10
Palate 3/5
Overall 15/20

Total 75%



Blue Tongue Pilsener (Australia)


www.bluetongue.com.au
Blue Tongue Traditional Pilsener
Blue Tongue Brewery
4.5% ABV

The now deleted Blue Tongue Pilsener is one of the best beers to have come out of the New South Wales' Central Coast.  The Blue Tongue Brewery now based in Warnervale (NSW) brews various beers under license and since the brewery has been bought by SAB the brewery has started to pull some of it's smaller brews off the shelves to replace with bigger names such as Peroni and Stella.  This is one of their victims...

Review

On the nose this beer has a little yeast, some attractive slightly floral tones from the traditional pilsner Chech Saaz hops.  The beer is a clear golden effervescent liquid with a white head.  There really wasn't much flavour going on though, the tiniest amount of sweetness and bitterness, almost not enough to comment though.  The beer has a creamy mouth feel with a light body.  A very refreshing Pilsner - very clean tasting.  A great session lager perfect for a summers day but let down with the lack of flavour.

Scores: -

Aroma 7/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 4/10
Palate 4.5/5
Overall 12/20

Total 63%

Estrella Damm Inedit (Spain)




www.estrelladamminedit.com
Estrella Damm Inedit
Estrella Brewing Company
4.8% ABV

 The Spanish beer that has been made with the intention of being the perfect beer to consume with food.  Not only that but it has been made with the assistance of Ferran Adria of El Bulli - one of the world's best chef.  The marketing behind the beer is good, it is well packaged and even comes in a wine bottle style that would look the place on any high end restaurant table.

The commercial description is as follows : -


"Aromatized with coriander, orange peel and liquorice.

Inedit means "Never been done before". In cooperation with the brew master of Estrella Damm, Inedit was crafted by the globally acclaimed chef Ferran Andria, Juli Soler and sommeliers Ferran Centelles and David Seijas from El Bulli Restaurant."



Review

The beer is a blend of a lager and a wheat beer - it has the usual characteristics of a wheat beer but quite subtle.  On the nose you have floral hops with the added aroma of cloves, orange peel with a little malt.  The beer is cloudy with a pale golden hue with an attractive foamy white head.  The flavours on the tongue  are of typical wheat beer characters but taste almost watered down.  The beer itself has a creamy mouthfeel with a light body.

Overall I was a little disappointed by the lack of flavour of the beer.  Although the bottle, the branding and the packaging is certainly a bit of a show stopper.  I do agree that this would pair many different foods successfully but to drink on it's own there is just not enough flavour on the tongue, the aromas are good infact the nose gets it over the line.

Scores: -

Aroma 7/10
Appearance 3/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 3/5
Overall 14/20

Total 64%

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Black Sheep Monty Python Holy Grail (England)


www.blacksheepbrewery.com
Monty Python's Holy Grail
Black Sheep Brewery
4.7% ABV

Black Sheep developed this brew in 1999 to commemorate 30 years of Monty Python.  Because of it's success in the UK and with a limited run in the US market proving very successful the brewery increased production and exporting to the US became a permanent fixture.


Ten years later on the 40th anniversary Holy Grail is still going strong. With more hops than a killer rabbit, it's a full-flavoured golden ale with a distinctively fruity flavour followed by the Black Sheep signature dry finish.

Marris Otter Malt is used in the brew along with buckets of specially grown hops.

Review

The beer pours with a clear golden liquid with a slight carbonation and a white head.  On the nose you have citrus and floral hop aromas.  The beer has a little warmth from the alcohol hints of the Marris Otter malt.   The beer has good bitterness.  The beer has a light to medium body.  

Not a bad drop but not mind blowing.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 15.5/20

Total 69%


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Marstons Pedigree Classic English Pale Ale (England)


www.marstonspedigree.co.uk
Marstons Pedigree English Pale Ale
Marstons Brewery
5% ABV

Pedigree is brewed in Burton upon Trent, home of the traditional English Pale Ale.  Established in 1834 Marstons is steeped in history.  Marstons has only ever been made using pure ingredients dedicated to preserving the integrity of it's brewing heritage.  The water here is a key factor in the production, Marstons only using pure Burton spring water.

Review

Once poured a clear golden brown liquid is presented with a light white foamy head.  The beer has bitter coffee malt notes on the nose.  Once tasted a slightly toasted malt flavour is there with some good bitterness.  The beer is medium bodied.  Overall this is a good beer with just enough qualities to ensure repeat consumption.

Scores: -

Aroma 5.5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 15/20

Total 66%

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Fullers London Pride (England)



www.fullers.co.uk
Fullers London Pride
Fullers Brewery
4.7% ABV

Fullers London Pride is one of the UK's better known beers and the leading premium ale.  This is the beer Fuller's is most famous for.  It's popularity has grown over recent years to have made it Britain's leading premium ale.

Taken from their website:-


Fuller’s London Pride is an award-winning classic. A rich, smooth and wonderfully balanced beer, its distinctive malty base is complemented by well developed hop character, from adding Target, Challenger and Northdown varieties to the brew.

Described by leading beer writer Roger Protz as “an astonishingly complex ale for its strength”, its flavour has been likened by Stephen Cox, beer writer and former campaigns director at CAMRA, to “the sensation of angels dancing on the tongue...”!

In the UK, draught London Pride is brewed to 4.1% ABV (cask and keg), while in bottles and cans it has a strength of 4.7% ABV, making it an ideal session-strength premium ale. In most of our overseas markets, a keg version at 4.7% ABV is available.

London Pride has twice been awarded Champion Best Bitter at the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival in 1979 and 1995, and achieved the ultimate accolade of Champion Beer of Britain in 1979. It has won a host of awards around the world, including being crowned Supreme Champion at the 2000 International Beer and Cider competition.


Review

London Pride contains a nice selection of hop varieties: - Target, Challanger and Northdown hops that contribute to it's slight nutty, malt tones.  The beer is a clear amber liquid with a white head.  On tasting there is a nice level of caramel malt driven flavour coming through.  The beer has good weight but a little flat compared to the majority of Australian beers.

This is a good beer- nothing outstanding but a good all rounder.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5.5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 16/20

Total 68%

Lord Nelson Three Sheets Pale Ale (Australia)


www.lordnelsonbrewery.com
Lord Nelson Three Sheets Pale Ale
Lord Nelson Brewery
4.9% ABV


The Lord Nelson Brewery is Australia’s oldest pub brewery brewing 100% natural ales since 1985.

Over this time they have become famous throughout the globe for fine, award winning natural ales. They brew with 100% natural malt, hops yeast and water with no added sugars, preservatives or additives.

The brewing process begins in the mash tun in the hotel's cellar and is fermented in the brewery in the rear bar level, before being conditioned in the cellar and served through the taps.
The Lord Nelson brew six mainstay ales and a number of seasonal’s throughout the year and also bottle two of these - the Three Sheets pale ale and Old Admiral dark ale which are available throughout Australia in good Restaurants, bars and independent retailers.

I haven't yet been down to the Lord Nelson but it would seem like one of the few places in Sydney where you can drink beer as it is meant to be drunk.

Review

The beer is poured and you get honey, citrus and a little yeast on the nose.  The beer is a light golden, slightly cloudy liquid with a white head with a little remaining yeast present.  The beer has the familiar pale ale characters on the tongue the bready yeasty characters like most good Australian pale ales, this one though maybe slightly milder.  The beer however only has little bitterness.  It has perfect weight and a great body.

A great beer, perfect for a session.  The weight of the beer is near perfection, the aromas are great but the slightly mild flavours drop the score a little.

Scores: -

Aroma 7.5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5.5/10
Palate 4.5/5
Overall 15/20

Total 72%

Sierra Nevada 2012 Southern Hemisphere First Harvest (USA)


www.sierranevada.com
Sierra Nevada 2012 Southern Hemisphere First Harvest Fresh Hop Ale
Sierra Nevada Brewery
6.7% ABV

This is Sierra Nevada's version of a first harvest or a fresh hop ale.  The hops in question are from New Zealand and are  shipped to California within a week of being picked.  Sierra Nevada are a hugely popular brewery in the United States and as the brewery has grown it seems more and more of their beers are making their way over to Australia and other countries too.

Being a fan of their pale ale I was quite excited to try this one.

Review

 Immediately once the beer had been poured - a knock-out of hop aromas were present.  Exotic fruit and banana were sitting on a back bone of malt.  The beer was a slightly opaque golden liquid with an off-white head.  You could get the banana more on tasting along with a ridiculous amount of bitterness.  The beer had a good medium body but the bitterness was intense.  Overall the beer was okay but it seems like Sierra Nevada have gone overboard on the bittering hops on this one.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4.5/5
Overall 14.5/20

Total 67%

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2012 (Australia)


www.coopers.com.au
Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2012
Coopers Brewery
7.5% ABV

The 2012 version of a very firm favourite amongst long time Australian ale drinkers.  The beer sells for a lot more than your standard beer but the high alcohol and the strong malt characters are normally worth the price tag.

Review

The beer was poured and the aromatics of the hops firstly belted me on the nose.  Some wonderful mid floral hop notes complimented the malt undertones.  The beer itself was cloudy with a light brown colour with the yeast still remaining.  The off-white head sat firmly on top of the beer.  On tasting you got liquorice and toffee characters with a little bitterness and considering the beer is 7.5% the alcohol was masked just right.  The beer had a light to medium body with a creamy mouthfeel.

This is a really good beer now and it that could also sit for a few more years with the high alcohol.  I will have to cellar a few of these and watch it develop.  Recommended.

Scores

Aroma 7/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 7/10
Palate 4.5/5
Overall 16.5/20

Total 78%

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2010 (Aged) (Australia)


www.coopers.com.au
Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2010
Coopers Brewery
7.5% ABV

I guess you could call this a little experiment to compare the 2010 Vintage Ale (that had been cellared for two years) to the 2012.

Coopers have an Extra Strong Vintage Ale range and they issue a slightly tweaked version every year.  It recommends short term cellaring to improve the beer.

Review

After removing the cap and pouring, you immediately notice black treacle notes on the nose along with the mellowed malt and alcohol.  The beer has an almost clear dark golden brown hue with a very thin just-off-white head.  On tasting the alcohol is still there and the dark treacle was apparent.   The beer had a medium body with a creamy texture.  On the whole it was a great beer with some really nicely developed flavours complimenting the warmth of the alcohol.

Scores: -

Aroma 6.5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 7.5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 16/20

Total 75%

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Old Golden Hen (England)


www.oldspeckledhen.co.uk
Old Golden Hen
Morland Breweries
4.1% ABV

The Summer Ale from the producers of Old Speckled Hen.  This is a lighter brew that uses lighter malt tones to create a lighter brother to the world famous Old Speckled Hen.  The brewery has been established since 1711.

Review

As soon as the beer is poured the skunky, fruity aromas from the Galaxy hops are apparent.  The beer is a clear golden liquid, with a slight fizz and a quickly disappearing white head.  The skunk flavour continues down on to the tongue without a great deal of depth.  The beer has a light to medium body.  Overall this beer is a good beer that is really refreshing.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 3.5/5
Overall 16/20

Total 67%

Friday, 17 August 2012

Negra Modello (Mexico)


No website available
Negra Modello
5.4% ABV

Mexican's most popular dark beer.  A Vienna style beer - a dark in colour, light in body beer.  This is a really popular beer within Mexico and also in the various countries that it is exported to.

Review

On the nose the beer has the immediate hit of warm alcohol masking the malt tones.  It has a very quickly disappearing off-white head sitting upon slightly cloudy brown liquid.  On the tongue the alcohol is apparent immediately along with a honey sweetness but barely any bitterness.  The beer has a very light body.  Overall this is  a very session able beer - a good all rounder with some good malt characters but still maintaining a very light body.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 2.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 16/20

Total 65%

Little Creatures - The Day Of The Long Shadow (Australia)


www.littlecreatures.com.au
Single Batch - The day of the long shadow - Special Ale
Little Creatures Brewery
8.9% ABV

The latest single batch from Little Creatures Brewery specifically brewed for the winter months, this christmas (in July) ale is aimed for the those cold winter nights.  This beer was purchased as soon as I heard about it (I took the last couple of bottles from the shelf) and haven't been able to find since -
The single batch brews are very popular indeed!

The beer is brewed with UK Sovereign and Challenger hops.

Review

When the beer is first poured - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, almost mulled wine and spicey hops are all on the nose along with background malts.  The beer itself has a clear dark red/brown hue with a tan thin head.  The alcohol hits the taste buds immediately and then the dark treacle is tasted before the bitterness.  The beer has a medium body and texture wise is smooth almost creamy.

This beer is great although very different.  Perfect for a cold winters night - with the fire blazing and the logs stocked high.  Just be prepared it isn't a quaffing session beer.

Scores

Aroma 6.5/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 3/5
Overall 16/20

Total 71%


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Black Sheep Ale (England)


www.blacksheep.co.uk
Black Sheep Ale
Black Sheep Brewery
4.4% ABV

Black Sheep has to be the quintessential Yorkshire brewery.  Producing a fine selection of beers ranging from the extremely strong Russian Imperial Stout to the light golden summer ale of the Golden Sheep to this; their flagship ale - Black Sheep Ale.

Review

The beer pours as a beautiful golden clear liquid and a white head. that disappears quite quickly.  The beer has a lager yeast aroma, tones of wheat and summer fruits.  The beer has a light palate with some mild bitterness from the hops.  The beer is light in body, infact too light to get a big score.

The beer tastes like a malty lager.

Scores: -

Aroma 4/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 3/5
Overall 14/20

Total 60%

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Asahi Premium Black (Japan)


http://www.asahigroup-holdings.com/en/brands/alcohol/index.html
Asahi Premium Black
Asahi Brewery
5% ABV

Asahi's venture in the world of darker more complex beers.  Using roasted barley malt, rice and maize to create this beer.

Review

The beer pours an almost black clear liquid with a just off white head.  On the nose you get roasted coffee immediately before a mellowing sweeter aroma is presented.  On tasting you get bags of the roasted malts along with a little bitterness on the back.  The beer has prefect weight to add to this terrific beer.

Great amounts of malt flavour balanced with a medium palate - a great beer.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 16/20

Total 72%

The Kernel India Pale Ale Galaxy (England)


http://www.thekernelbrewery.com/
The Kernel India Pale Ale Galaxy
The Kernel Brewery London
7.4% ABV

The tasting of this beer was actually by accident.  Whilst at the bar at a boutique beer cafe in York I asked the barman for a recommendation.  He then directed me to a few different beers that I had previously tried.  It was infact the guy stood to the side of me that told me to try this as it had won numerous awards and was currently number one in a few of the different beer charts.  He had specifically come in to have a few of these.  When the penny dropped and I realised what it was, I was relieved that the guy had given me the recommendation, so thanks to that guy!  I did feel bad however as I received the last beer in the keg.  So apologies to that guy too.

Review

This beer is designed for hop heads....  It must be as immediately you get punched in the face with the immense pineapple and exotic fruit aromas.  The beer is a clear golden liquid with a thin white head.  The beer is quite light in body for a beer of this strength but with the expected bitter finish of a beer this hoppy.

Beautiful intense aromas and very bitter.

Scores : -

Aroma 8/10
Appearance 3/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 3/5
Overall 16/20

Total 72%


Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout (England)


www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk
Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout
Samuel Smiths Brewery
5% ABV

A very special beer this one.  Another beer that was on my must try beers.  The opening of a Samuel Smiths bottle always seems like an occasion and this is no different.

Review

The aroma of Tadcaster itself is present once the beer is poured.  Sweet oaty notes immediately hit the nose with a smokey quality.  The beer has a dark ruby hue with a tan head.  The beer looks rich.  When tasting; the oatmeal gives a sweetness to the beer with the richness of the malt combining to add chocolate qualities.  The beer is actually quite light in body but with a full flavour palate, the beer has a dry finish.  Natural carbonation adds to the texture along with the exceptionally smooth texture.

This is a brilliant beer absolutely perfect for a Tuesday night beer.

Scores: -

Aroma 7/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 7/10
Palate 5/5
Overall 17/20

Total 80%

Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout (England)


www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk
Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout
Samuel Smiths Brewery
7% ABV

The beer is called Imperial Stout as it was originally brewed to withstand the abuses of shipping in foul weather to Imperial Russia.  It was a favourite with Russian nobility whose taste for fine food and drink was world famous.

This has won many awards over the many years it has been brewed.

Review

Initially on the first pour the dark black chocolate like liquid which is so dark it is hard to see if it is clear or opaque.  The beer has a brown head.  On the nose you get coffee and roasted barley notes.  On tasting you get the roasted coffee hit with a nice warmth of alcohol on the back of the palate.  The beer itself has a creamy, smooth texture with a medium body.  The beer is good, not the greatest but certainly good.

Scores: -

Aroma 5.5/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 15/20

Total 67%

Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale (England)


www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk
Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale
Samuel Smiths Brewery
5% ABV

Samuel Smith's flagship ale.  A very popular bottled ale that is exported to the American market from Yorkshire's oldest brewery.

Review

On first pour a dark golden brown ale is presented with a just off white head.  Not a great deal going on  on the nose - some subtle malt tones perhaps some walnut characters.  On the tongue you get some nice caramel characters along with the malt although not too much bitterness.  A perfectly balanced beer, this is a perfect beer for a session.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 5/5
Overall 15/20

Total 67%



Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter (England)



www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk
Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter
Samuel Smiths Brewery
5% ABV

The above webpage is just about as much information as you can find on the above beer.  But what the brewery lacks in marketing it certainly makes up for in amazing beers.  With an immense range of first class beers that are huge in the American market the only question that is to be asked is "Why won't they ship to Australia?"

The limited information on the beer states that the original well that was sunk in 1758 is still in use with the hard well water being drawn from 85 foot underground, malted barley, roasted malt, yeast and hops.  Fermented in stone Yorkshire Squares.

Review

The beer pours dark almost black liquid with a beige head, looking like black coffee.  A roasted caramel malt fragrance is on the nose with some dark fruit.   The taste is again of roasted malt with chocolate, coffee some caramel or fudge with a nice rich finish.  The beer is very smooth with a medium body.  Very well balanced and light carbonation.

Great beer - very session-able with some exceptional roasted qualities.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 16/20

Total 72%


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Otley Oxymoron (Wales)



www.otleybrewing.co.uk
Otley Oxymoron
Otley Brewing Company
5.5% ABV

This beer was one I have been looking forward to trying on a recent trip to the UK.  The Otley Brewery is certainly one of the most exciting breweries in the UK releasing quality beer after beer.

This aptly titled "Oxymoron" is a dark pale Ale.  Brewed in Pontypridd in Wales this continues along the lines of both innovation and pure class.  A limited release beer.  This contains more than 5 types of hops along with German Carafa malt.

I did enquire about this beer and currently they are not bottling this beer but do have future plans to bottle and export so look out for it.

Review

This cask conditioned beer was served at the Slip Inn in York, UK.  The beer was dark almost black in colour, a thick creamy looking beer with an off white head it certainly looked rather heavy.  Dark chocolate malts sat alongside piney hops and citrus notes on the nose.  Great depths of flavour with citrus possibly grapefruit on the palate, also maybe some black treacle or even liquorice.  Some smokey coffee malt flavours are also present.  Quite a surprisingly light beer despite the dark appearance but with perfect balance.  A good bitterness on the finish.

An amazing beer.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 5/5
Taste 8/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 18.5/20

Total 83%

York Brewery - Yorkshire Terrier (England)


www.york-brewery.co.uk
Yorkshire Terrier
York Brewery
4.2% ABV

York Brewery's award winning bitter.  This beer is one of the breweries more commonly known beer.  

Review

A golden clear amber beer with a small white head is poured.  There is a moderate malt nose, toasted toffee, some fudge and a light grassy hop note.  A little sweetness is felt on the palate with an average bitterness.  The beer has a medium body with a little oily texture.

An average session beer.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 3.5/5
Overall 13.5/20

Total 61%

Black Sheep Imperial Russian (England)


www.blacksheepbrewery.com
Black Sheep Imperial Russian
Black Sheep Brewery
8.5% ABV

Black Sheep's version of the 18th century porter that was first shipped to Russia and renamed Imperial Russian Stout.

This is the second time this has been brewed as the first batch was developed for the St Petersburg Imperial Stout Tasting in June 2011.  It proved so popular the brewery decided to brew it again and is now a permanent fixture of the Masham brewery.

Review

A dark, ruby liquid is poured with a tan head.  Chocolate notes are present along with umami or marmite characters.  The beer being 8.5% is obviously very strong and you can taste the warmth of the alcohol but there are some intense dark almost tar malt flavours.  The beer has a medium to heavy body.

This is too strong for a session or mid week beer but for something special this is worth trying.  Would be great with some strong cheese.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 3.5/5
Overall 16/20

Total 70%

Friday, 20 July 2012

York Brewery - Dragon Slayer (England)


www.york-brewery.co.uk
York Dragon Slayer
York Brewery
4.3% ABV

This beer was sampled on tap at the Blue Bell in Harrogate.  One of the York Brewery's many different beers.  York Brewery was established in 1996 with Nick Webster the head brewer leading charge.

Review

On first pour a beautiful golden liquid presents with a great creamy white.  Aromas of yeast and slightly aromatic hops, possible grass.  The yeast is there on the tasting along with slightly caramel sweet notes and a mild bitterness finishes. The beer is medium bodied with mild carbonation and a slightly dry finish.  I thought this beer was really good although I must admit at the time I had sampled a few other beers so my palate could have been slightly blurred.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 17/20

Total 74%

Brain's Original Stout (Wales)


www.sabrain.com
Brains Original Stout
Brains Brewery
4.1% ABV

This beer originally developed for Tesco is now available throughout the UK from the majority of outlets.

Review

A beautiful dark, ebony opaque liquid is poured along with a tan head.  Rich, chocolate malt aromas are immediately apparent.  When tasting the chocolate malt flavours come through with a possible tobacco even a little ash tray characters, but in a pleasant way.  The beer has a medium body with great weight.  The beer is good although I would have liked even more depth to the flavours.  It really does have good weight though.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 15.5/20

Total 69%

Worthington's White Shield India Pale Ale (England)


www.worthingtonswhiteshield.com
Worthingtons White Shield India Pale Ale
Worthingtons Brewery
5.6% ABV

This multi award winning beer has been a firm favourite with beer drinkers in the UK.  White Shield has so far earned 7 CAMRA awards.  White Shield is bottle conditioned and matured for up to 3 years.

Review

A mild yeast aroma is first apparent along with some faint malt.  The beer is a clear golden brown with a just off-white head with a gentle fizz.  The beer flavour has a perfect balance of hops and malted barley with a little bitterness at the end of the palate.  The beer has a near perfect weighted body.

Overall a really good beer.  Worth tracking down.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 7/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 16/20

Total 72%

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Coopers Celebration Ale (Australia)


www.coopers.com.au
Thomas Cooper's Selection Celebration Ale
Cooper Brewey
5.2% ABV

This beer has been designed and brewed to celebrate 150 years of brewing by the Coopers family run business in South Australia.

Taken from the Coopers Website: -


Coopers is now the largest Australian-owned brewery and this year marks a significant milestone in our history as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.
Coopers’ journey began on 13th May 1862, when founder Thomas Cooper produced his first beer.
Even then, Thomas Cooper’s sense of brewing excellence was evident through his use of only the best ingredients available and by the application of pride and passion to his craft. To this day the tradition continues, as Coopers sources the highest quality barley from South Australia and hops from interstate and overseas.
Our 150th anniversary milestone deserves to be acknowledged. What better way to mark the occasion than the release of a celebratory beer, aptly named ‘Celebration Ale’.
This ale is the culmination of careful planning and research by our Brewing team, resulting in a distinctive beer presented in kegs or eye catching 355ml bottles.
Celebration Ale is unique in that the water used in the brewing process comes from the brewery’s own deep aquifers, with the mineral composition modified specifically for ale brewing.
The barley is sourced from the maritime regions of South Australia. The pale malt from this barley is complemented by the use of crystal malt, giving the beer an appealing red hue and a nutty, slightly sweet aftertaste.
This 5.2% alcohol strength ale is both refreshing and moreish.
The aroma and flavour of Celebration Ale is further enhanced by the three varieties of hops used in different stages of the brewing process.
Firstly, the local bittering variety Pride of Ringwood hops, grown in the temperate climate of Myrrhee, Victoria, is added in the kettle.
Late hopping is achieved by blending Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand and Centennial hops from the USA.
The Nelson Sauvin imparts what is described as a “white wine fruitiness”, whereas the addition of Centennial results in a passionfruit, grassy and citrussy top note.
Coopers’ ale yeast characteristically produces its distinct tropical fruity esters, and all of these aromas and flavours combine together during a slow fermentation.
Some of the yeast remains in the final product for natural conditioning in the bottle, resulting in Coopers’ trademark sediment.
Join us in celebrating this special occasion by pouring Celebration Ale into your favourite beer glass; your eyes will be immediately drawn to the thick foam on top of a rich, ruby-red brew.The first mouthful will highlight the malt driven flavour, which is balanced by a refreshingly crisp bitterness, followed by fruity esters lingering in the aftertaste. Celebration Ale will match well with chicken, seafood, tangy cheeses, and fruit-based desserts.

Review

A nice balance of malt richness and aromatic and floral characters are on the nose once the beer is poured.  A golden cloudy brown beer with a just off-white head is present in the glass.  The beer perhaps doesn't have as much flavour as I would have liked.  I was hoping for more depth.  The beer however does have perfect weight - not too heavy with a good amount of bitterness.  This is a great session beer, a brilliant palate, would have preferred a touch more hop characters in there for even more   qualities.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 4/5
Taste 5.5/10
Palate 4.5/5
Overall 15.5/20

Total 71%

Little Creatures - Quiet American (Australia)


www.littlecreatures.com.au
Little Creatures Single Batch - The Quiet American
Little Creatures Brewing Pty Ltd
7.3% ABV

The Single Batch series continues with this the slightly ironically titled "Quiet American".

This has been brewed with Chinook and Cascade hops, stars of the US Pale Ale scene.

Review

At first pour the beer has some quite dark, honey sweetness, with a little yeast coming through, the Cascade hops providing the very dominant floral notes.  A dark cloudy golden colour is present with an ever so slightly off white head.  When tasting again the very floral aromas come through and with it I got some interesting flavours - pineapple, fruit salad and also a small amount of bubblegum.  The beer of course has a bitter finish which was nice.  A medium body is accompanied with good balance and light carbonation.  The beer is quite high in alcohol but to it's credit is not noticeable.

Another good Single Batch once again from the ever so consistent WA brewery.

Scores: -

Aroma 5.5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5.5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 15.5/20

Total 68%


Monteiths Winter Ale (New Zealand)


www.monteiths.co.nz
Monteith's Winter Ale (Doppelbock)
Monteith's Brewing Co.
6% ABV

The seasonal "Winter Ale", brewed using 4 different malts with the intent on Delivering a rich depth of flavours from New Zealand's famous brewery.

Review

Roasted malts are used and this gives the beer a roasted coffee, chocolate character.  I even got a very slight tobacco aroma.  The beer is a dark brown/ruby colour, slightly hazy with a just off-white creamy head.  The beer has enough malt to give it a good amount of depth and has a nice bitter finish.  It has a surprisingly light body.

This is a good beer, well priced with enough flavour to interest the fussy midweek drinker but it has a light body making it a great beer for session drinking too.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 3.5/5
Overall 16/20

Total 70%

Monday, 11 June 2012

White Rabbit Dark Ale (Australia)


www.whiterabbitbeer.com.au
White Rabbit Dark Ale
White Rabbit Brewery
4.9% ABV

This is the other beer that White Rabbit produce.

In their words...

"An intriguing dark ale that moves to it's own beat, our minds set about creating a beer that contradicted itself....rich dark and flavoursome but at the same time ever refreshing....malt driven but with the aromatic lift of generous doses of hops.
Raisin like ester characters derived through its open fermentation bind a balancing act of flavour with a malt bill that rewards the parched palette with a rich, dark colour without losing any sessionabilty qualities, which we love so much in a beer.
Passed through a hop back generously laden with whole hop flowers and then dry hoped in the open fermenters, at 4.9% abv this is a dark ale with plenty of reassuring bitterness....."

Review

A dark cloudy beer with an off-white head, a little fizz is present.  Once poured roasted malt flavours accompany bags of floral hop aromas with raisin bread characters in there too.  Some great flavours are in the mix, just the right amount of roasted malt flavour along with good bitterness.  The beer actaully has a light body despite it's dark appearance.  Overall this is a good beer, great for a long session but with some good flavours and depth to enjoy as a stand-alone.  For an increased score would have wanted even more roasted malt flavour.

Scores

Aroma 6.5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 15/20

Total 70%









Sunday, 10 June 2012

White Rabbit White Ale (Australia)






www.whiterabbitbeer.com.au
White Rabbit White Ale
White Rabbit Brewery
4.5% ABV

This is a modern Australian version of a wheat beer by the exciting, if not a little mysterious White Rabbit brewery.  White Rabbit is based up in the hills of the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia.  The brewery is owned by Little Creatures brewery based in WA.  This I think would explain some of the clever marketing and idea behind the two beers that they produce.

With the two beers they produce; they use traditional techniques coupled with modern day forward thinking ideas to try and achieve something that tastes unique.

Taken from their website - "The White Ale product story starts in medieval times with brewers’ experimentation with wheat & spice as the predominant ingredients of flavour. The Belgian monks played with coriander, orange peel and other oddball additions, and suspended the yeast to create a cloudy white appearance...hence the description.

With our “monkish” use of a specially selected belgian yeast strain and voracious appetite to create intriguing and delicious styles, we couldn't resist the idea of tackling the invention of a great Australian White.

Imagine Belgians snuggling out of the cold in wonderful little ale houses dreaming of places like Australia to drink such a beer."


Review


A cloudy pale amber beer is present once poured with a very attractive white head but disappeared quite quickly.  A little honey aroma starts to come through, a touch of yeast and a faint spice.  On tasting the White Ale the sweetness was definitely there along with a small lemon character and then a slight bitterness.  The beer itself is a little fizzy, very light in body and very easy to drink.  Overall not bad but I am not a huge fan of this style of beer (Wheat Beer) but I would say this is one of the better ones.

Scores: -

Aroma 4/5
Appearance 3/5
Taste 4.5/10
Palate 3/5
Overall 15/20

Total 59%
















Weihenstephaner Heffweissbier Dunkel (German)





www.weihenstephaner.de
Weihenstephaner Heffweissbier Dunkel
Weihenstephaner Brewery
5.3% ABV

The oldest brewery in the world is the claim from this famous German Brewer.  Established in 1040 but the monastery where the original monks brewed this beer was founded in 725!  The Bavarian brewery is renowned for it's Weissbiers.  It has quite a large selection of products. 

This is their "dunkel" or dark wheat beer.

Review

A wheaty, yeasty fragrance was present on opening and pouring.  Some darker malt tones came through too.  A cloudy brown beer with a very frothy off-white head.  On tasting you get the wheat with it's sweeter honey qualities possibly even a little banana character.  The beer was very lively with a creamy texture with a little bitter finish.

Scores: -

Aroma 5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 5/10
Palate 3.5/5
Overall 14/20

Total 54%




















Stone and Wood Pacific Ale (Australia)






www.stoneandwood.com.au
Stone and Wood Pacific Ale
Stone and Wood Brewery
4.4% ABV

Handcrafted by friends Brad Rogers, Ross Jurisch and Jamie Cook in Byron Bay.   The guys established the brewery in 2008 with the ethos behind this ale is to be the refreshing, thirst quenching hit after a hard day at the beach!


The boys use Australian grown barley and wheat with Galaxy hops and they use Byron Bay water in their mix.

Review

A lemon citrus hit is first present on the nose along with a massive skunk aroma.  The beer has a light golden, cloudy hue with a white head.  A really pleasant skunky flavour comes through when tasting a hit of bitterness and then more skunk!  Not much else to it, almost soft drink like.  The beer has a medium body.  Overall not bad, a little different almost unusually skunky but very sessionable.

Scores: -

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 3/5
Taste 4/10
Palate 2.5/5
Overall 14.5/20

Total 60%


Friday, 25 May 2012

Choc Hops Chocolate Stout (Australia)


www.mildurabrewery.com.au
Choc Hops Chocolate Stout
Mildura Brewing Company
ABV 5%

This is the first beer that I have tried from this Victorian brewery.  They produce five permanent beers along with seasonal beers like this Chocolate Stout which is a limited release.
The brewery was opened in 2004 and so far the brewery has won 22 medals for their beers including Silver Medal 2010 Australian International Beer Awards for their Desert Premium, Sun Light and Honey Wheat beers.  The brewery renovated an old historic theatre that they now run as a pub selling all of their beers on tap with some great food.

Review

Immediately the chocolate comes through, a malty chocolate (almost chocolate milk like) aroma is present.  The chocolate is not overpowering and infact works wonderfully.  A dark, flat beer with a tan head which disappears quickly.  The beer does has a dark chocolate flavour that is very bitter, roasted coffee comes through which compliments the beer.  I would describe the beer to have no sweetness, nice bitterness, a perfect weight to the body with a smooth finish.  I really enjoyed this beer I found it a great drop with not much to fault.  If you don't mind chocolate give it a go, it really surprises you how well it works.

Scores

Aroma 6/10
Appearance 3/5
Taste 6.5/10
Palate 4/5
Overall 15/20

Total 69%

Monday, 21 May 2012

St Peter's Ruby Red Ale (England)





www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk
St Peter's Ruby Red Ale
St Peter's Brewery
ABV 4.3%

The unmistakeable bottle of St Peter's Ruby Red Ale dates back to 1770.  The brewery now produces 12 year round beers in bottles plus a few seasonals; these include St Peter's Cream Stout and St Peter's Fruit Beer.  A total of 83,000 pints a week is somehow managed to be produced which is quite an output!  The original brewer Richard Eyton-Jones brewed a trilogy of fruit beers including Lemon, Ginger and Elderberry. 

The Ruby Red Ale is a tawny red ale with subtle malt undertones and a distinctive spicy hop aroma from Cascade, Styrian and Goldings hops. Ruby Red won a Silver Medal in the 2010 International Beer Challenge.


Review

The mix of hops are definitely apparent on first pour.  The aroma bursts out, fragrances of banana or grapefruit are pleasantly there.  Some of the darker malty characters come through and develop as the beer warms.  A tan head sits upon a dark, "ruby" cloudy liquid.  There are some good dark nutty, malty flavours with a good bitter finish.  The beer is creamy but quite flat.  I certainly enjoyed this one but was not blown away.

Scores

Aroma 6.5/10
Appearance 3.5/5
Taste 6/10
Palate 3.5/5
Overall 14/20

Total 67%