Altocumulus
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.01.18 from a can
Overall:
82 / 100
(Exceptional)
Dry-hopped Tangerine Berliner Weiss. Can bought for me by Jez for Christmas, reviewed by myself on a Saturday night.

Pours a very cloudy pale yellow colour, slightly saffron tinged. Head is decent when poured but just settles into an unstable ring of bubbles. Some clumpy yeast sediment plopped out of the can at the end, and I'd say it's a shame but the last beer I had that happen turned out to be a cracker. So I'm OK with it; looks fine.

Smells lovely; big rich citrus character with a real depth of sweetness and acidity but just overall a fresh zest to it all. Touch of musk and honey around the edges as well and some floral touches from the dry-hopping. Smells great; really great.

Taste is pretty good, for the style for sure. The late-hopping and tangerine character kicks off early, so the very slight grainy malt upfront quickly turns zesty and fresh, with a big citrus tartness but without a harsh or astringent character. It also softens the palate for the necessary tartness on the back, which is a bit more puckering, but also juicy like a good tart lemonade. Mild bitterness on the back as well really just mellows it out, and it tastes like some ingeniously subtle hopping that lets the wildness dominate but without overloading the palate. That's an unusual profile but very nicely balanced.

Sizzly mouthfeel; touch of puckering dryness. Not too much of either though and they're kind of necessary for the style.

This is very clever brewing. I've found that Sailors Grave do some silly, over the top avant-garde things, that often have too many elements, and I've found them hit-and-miss in the past. This, though, is high degree of difficulty that's been thoughtfully and professionally brewed. It's taken a while but this is the first beer that's really made me understand the love for them. Top tier stuff.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.75
Roasted Rye IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 13.01.18 from a can
Overall:
53 / 100
(OK)
12oz can purchased from Bottleworks in Seattle. No obvious best by date.

Pours a pleasant wood-brown colour, with a very pronounced head of beige, caused by some furious carbonation. Lacing forms in sticky clumps. The body has some weight to it—despite being forcefully carbonated, the bubbles form slowly and languidly when tilted. Looks pretty good.

Nose is pleasant enough. There's a more pronounced woodiness to it, that I think partially comes from earthy hops, and partially from the additional layers of malt. The rye gives a crackling grain note to the mix—somewhat savoury and somewhat spicy, with a slight grape must undertone. It's not bad.

Taste starts off similarly, with a pleasantly put together toasted grain character, a little like you'd get in an Altbier. But it's much more bitter, with a pronounced hop bite that almost turns acidic and ashy in the mouth. Carbonation is also a low point, with a frothy, fizzy heaviness to the back.

It's a bit of a shame that this is so out of whack, because it's a nice idea, and the malt structure in particular is nice. But this isn't a great beer as it's presented here.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Original Popsicle Ice Cream Pils (Buxton Collaboration)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
33cl brown bottle purchased for me by Jez for Christmas, almost certainly from Slowbeer. This was one of our crossover picks that we each bought each other.

Pours a clear gold colour, mild bead. Nice and clear. Head is white, sparse but foamy thickness of about 1 finger remaining. Lacing doesn't really stick around. Looks fine; pilsnery.

Smells... odd, but quite nice. Good fruity sweetness with a big tangerine kind of character and some orange peel. Some big apple-pear byproducts as well. Underlined by an odd sweetness which I'm guessing is lactose (yes, lactose) and if I didn't know what this was I'd find it a weird character that doesn't belong. It doesn't feel like it needs to be there, at least.

Tastes quite similar, really. It's a weird drop and possibly a bit of a waste, because it starts and develops really well towards the mid, with a nice zesty lime and orange character upfront that gets a nice sweet candied orange peel character midway like a really fresh witbier. Touch of floral character as well, but then the fruit goes away and you're left with a residual sickly sweetness which feels a little tacky and cheap and circusy, in the end. Like not enough balance or other flavours to counteract so it's just a sugar overload. And I think with a different intention this could have been a very nice pils; even a sweet one but it could've been balanced better on the finish.

Decent body for the style; bit of a malty presence midway and nice and smooth but dry as it goes down. Pretty good.

Drinks alright, and better than the blueberry one. It's weird though, and tastes like it could have been a cracking, refreshing pils, if not for the lingering saccharine character. So it's an unnecessary gimmicky spin on an otherwise pleasant beer.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
iStout Unchained
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas 2017; cracked it open at the stroke of midnight on NYE and spent the first hour of 2018 savouring it.

Pours a dark dark brown; pretty lacking in colour. Which is a good thing. Head is beige, too voluminous but a lovely density and texture, with some astounding lacing left behind. Looks cracking.

Smells quite lovely too. Big and chocolatey, dry yet sweet with a touch of roast and a big overwash of red wine. Actually gives it a slightly odd fruity character which may not belong; the base stout is obviously amazing; the oaky vinous notes add something, but I'm not wholly convinced it's a net gain.

Taste is very nice and toasty, and yeah the oak adds something, the main thing being it makes the palate linger a hell of a long time. Starts off quite roasty, but develops this rich cocoa-y chocolate midway, with some toasted marshmallow, coconut and musky characters before the finish has this weird long roasty bitterness just prolonged by the oaky vinous characters, which don't add that much character but they really draw it out with woody, sweet and nutty flavours. It's got a weird fruity chocolate flavour overall; somewhat odd but wonderfully idiosyncratic and just well-crafted.

Mouthfeel is soft, for the front, but a bit boozey on the back. Not ideal but pleasant in the drinking.

Drinks odd; lots of lovely flavours and complexity that I love, but it's also very challenging, so it feels like a bit of a reticent thumbs up from me overall.
appearance: 4.75 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Cuvée de Bois
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Blended barrel-aged wild ale. Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas 2017, tried on NYE 2017-18.

Cloudy orange colour, chunky sediment in the body. Head took some pouring to promote, but settles out to a thin rim of large bubbles. Lacing is really nice but otherwise looks nothing special.

Smells pleasant; bretty and oaky. Big buttery french oak character with some notes of vanilla as well. Big, tart, vinous kind of character with a hint of some citrus - maybe kumquat- and underripe berries as well. Pretty nice melange, well reined-in.

Tastes quite a lot on the tart and wild side. Quite vinegary really with a sharp spike of astringency halfway through and a long, lingering citric acidity to finish. Some nice fruit characters midway that give a freshness, and a pleasant bretty wildness follows on from this, but it's ultimately very acidic and needs refinement. What's really lacking is the oak; so much character on the nose but on the palate it's gone walkabout, and the lack of sweetness/woodiness is really what's allowing that wild acidity to take hold for the most part. It's a pleasant flavour but it really goes a bit overboard late on the palate.

Mouthfeel is a little tingly, with a decent body to it. Feels dry at the back from the pucker but I don't really feel it otherwise than an after effect. Pretty decent.

Yeah it feels very tart upfront but then it grows on me. The lack of oak is noticeable but it's not a shortcoming as I drink because the wildness is well-rounded. It's just the finish and the linger is a bit harsh and tart.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Mangofeber
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle given to me by Jez at Christime. Tried on New Years Evetime in front of the 9PM fireworks (on TV, I'm a sad old man).

A lot of chunky sediment in the bottom of the glass; decanted it a bit, but some inevitably slipped through the cracks. Head is white, decent and foamy and leaves some nice lacing. Those chunks are off-putting, but looks like a good beer overall.

Smells fruity and pleasant. Distinct mango notes with some miscellaneous tropical characters around the edges. Some earthy rye spice behind it as well, giving a slight soil aroma, with some tepid vanilla character as well. Smells decent; a bit sweet and not sure it's balanced.

Tastes fairly good too. Starts off tangy upfront that develops some nice complexities towards the mid. Mango, peach, juicy tropical characters with a big fruit flesh kind of flavour. Slight booziness towards the end, and not a lot of bitterness but it's decently balanced where the rye spice comes through late, and the hops finish clean so the finish is intriguingly crisp, with a slight piquancy that's quite pleasant. That's really rather pleasant.

Mouthfeel is quite nice, too; it feels thin but without being so. Genuinely don't feel the 8%, it's cleaned up but also thinned out so it doesn't feel boozey or marshy.

Drinks surprisingly well; the chunks, the slightly monotonous fruit on the nose, put me offside at first but there's an intriguing spicy character blending with the big juicy fruit and it's a good combo. Enjoying this more and more as I go through it.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.5
What's Planet B?
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 from a can
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
A "New England Pale Ale". Can gifted to me by Jez for Christmas, enjoyed by myself on New Years.

Pours a hazy pale gold colour with furious bead in the body. Head is visibly a bit too much when poured and a bit sparse, as it sinks quite quickly leaving very little residual lace. Body looks alright; head needs work.

Smells fairly pleasant; bit of resin that's quite sharp and solventy, but a decent fruity freshness behind it, delivering passionfruit and peach aromas. Very light touch of grain, yeah it's on par with what it promised, which is pretty good.

Taste is a little lacklustre. Starts fairly tangy with some tropical and stonefruit characters, light cereal grain note as well with a touch of caramel. Very thin on the mid-palate, with a residual apple-esque fruit character and then a slight citric bitterness late-mid without much finish. It really tastes like they've dialled back the hops in order to lower bitterness but the whole back palate is lacking character as a result. Needs more late-boil hops I feel.

Texture is foamy, slightly bitty. Actually quite pleasant. A big bitter finish could really send this to overdrive, in a bad way. As it is it's got more presence than the palate deserves.

Drinks fine; some nice characters and because it's a bit deficient in flavour it's unexciting but quaffable.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Perikles Rustic Pilsner
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas; shared with Father.

Pours a dirty golden colour; quite hazy for a pils. Head is a little fuzzy, light bubbles left and some whispy cloud on the top. Lacing is decent. Looks alright; yeah rustic and unspoiled.

Smells grainy, with a nice earthy hop bitterness as well. Nice sweetness to it with vanilla and toasty caramel characters, and a nice fruity ester mix of apple and apricot. A little bit dour to be honest; the sweetness could be amped up a bit to balance out the bitter aroma. But decent.

Taste is decent, too. Hints of caramel grain on the front that develops into some pleasant fruity hop esters, giving mostly apple and pear with a slight citric bitterness towards the back. Rest of the palate is grassy, slightly earthy and a little woody at the back. It's pretty decent, with quite a nice clean finish, just a little linger of light astringency that is a bit of a hang but not particularly puckering or drying. Ultimately yeah a slightly unfiltered, somewhat yeasty pils but quite clean.

Bitty, quite a pull on the back. Body is decent for the style but not astounding.

Drinks well; some character not overdone, finishes clean and quite refreshing.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Original Blueberry Slab Cake Ice Cream (Buxton Collaboration)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas 2017, shared with him and Father a few days later.

Pours a purply reddish colour; yeah the colours of blueberries in solution. Head has a slight purplish tinge to it as well but sunk to just a thin rim of bubbles. Lacing is fine. Looks interesting but not really inspired.

Smells weird. Very fruity and sweet with a big vanilla character, some buttery caramel as well as some berry sweetness - blueberries for sure, some cinnamon is big as well, and some mild cherry character. Smells very intriguing, with a good icecream character, fruit. Bit too sweet but does what it promises.

Tastes yeah a little weird. Has many of the same sweet characters underlying, with a creamy and vanilla malt character, touch of diacetyl but not harming the beer. The fruit over the top - predominantly blueberry, maybe some strawberry tartness as well - is actually quite acidic with a hint of infection. Doesn't last though and the finish is all sweetness, which cleans up that potentially unpleasant sourness but doesn't really all mesh together, and I feel the smell had a nice bouquet but the palate feels a bit disjointed and flawed in parts.

Mouthfeel is decently bold; a little bittiness on the back, but a good body otherwise.

Drinks weird, and the tartness midway is a bit off-putting and a bit too intense. The rest of the palate has a nice character and if it could have dominated it could be a pretty decent beer.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.0
The Mix - Apricot Funky Blender
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle shared by Jez at Father's place in Orange. Served blind, I think.

Pours a cloudy pale champagney colour. Film of tightly-packed bubbles around the edge. Slow trickle of bead through the body as well. Not much lacing. Looks flat, wild maybe.

Smells tart, with some bretty funk and a big fruity acidity; lemon, lime and passionfruit, maybe some melon as well. Earthy spice, with cinnamon and cardamom and black pepper. Some juniper as well and maybe a touch of vanilla sweetness. Very pleasant.

Taste is quite tart. Has a big citrus acidity to it, that starts on the front and undulates in waves all the way through, including a linger on the back. Some notes of melon and guava on there, with a rich fruity character midway, and then bretty wild funk takes hold late mid and turns it really quite tart, with a really puckering lemon juice/vinegar kind of astringency. Decent construction to it, but what it's really crying out for is more sweetness; just a bigger malt presence or some adjunct even that would take the edge off the acidity. Because it's nice but pretty strongly, even harshly, tart.

Mouthfeel is quite fuzzy and tangy, and a lot of lively bugs and weirdness fizzing around. Interesting; again maybe a touch thin.

Drinks alright; bit too tart to be nice and refreshing but some nice flavours and pretty good palate construction.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle served to me on Christmas Day 2017 by Jez, blind.

Pours a dark brown colour, with a slight red tinge at the edge. Head is beige, thin but some nice cascading when tilted. Dense rim of foam around the edge of the glass. Lacing is nice and sticky. Pretty nice.

Smells rich and boozey. Dark robust roast with a big bourbony oak coconut character as well. Slightly nutty, slightly boozey. Touch of some vinous notes as well that are mildly tart. Fairly standard for this style, and possibly a bit too subtle for what's obviously a pretty big beer. But pleasant for sure.

Taste is also quite subtle, but not in a meagre or weak way but rather very mellow. Has a big chocolatey character up fron that gets some big rich gooey fondanty type notes, then some rich booze with bourbony vanilla and coconut, that does dry up a bit late-mid and goes slightly ethanoic. It's a bit of a duff note really, not because it's strong but because the remainder of the palate complexity is a little thin towards the back. Decent coconut flavour, decent chocolate character but a bit of a gap late-mid which could use some beefing up; some roasty bitterness or smoke could work very well as it's really just raw booze.

Yeah mouthfeel is a bit hot again at the same spot. Smooth malt base otherwise. Decent construction.

Drinks pretty nicely; good but familiar flavours that aren't quite in the right balance to go down properly smoothly.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Tsjeeses 2015
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
Final beer of my 2017 #fletchmas Advent Calendar, enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Reviewed blind.

Pours a sedimenty dirty bronze colour. I noticed the sediment cloud forming as I poured, creating at the same time a nice frothy off-white head, which has sunk to a thin but dense film. Lacing is pretty nice. Looks alright, if a little odd.

Smells oxidised, but pleasant for all that. Noticeable fruity characters with currants, raisins, maybe a touch of cherry. Maybe I'm just in the festive mood so my mind's going that way. Treacle as well, with a slight brandy booze character hiding behind it. Smells like it's got a bit of age on it, but it's aged fairly well, too. Retains a fair bit of character.

Taste is similar, and a bit less pleasant really because the age really shows through here in a kind of dead, spent grain kind of way. Some nice boozey character late-mid, along with some rich dark fruit - cherry, raisins and figs, and some light brown sugar character. But the front is a bit wet cardboardy and the back is a bit earthy and wooden as well like it's had the malt character hammered out into a fibreboard pastiche. It tastes like it may have been a superb beer at some point but it's just been stored too long in a damp cellar.

Mouthfeel is pretty decent, actually. Obviously a bit of weight behind this; it's got a good malt body yet with the age, any residual booze heat has mellowed out so it goes down nice and smooth. Ultimately I'd rather have a lively palate and a hot mouthfeel than this smoothness on a muted palate, but still.

Yeah it's pleasant enough drinking. The lack of front palate character is unfortunate but negligible, but it's the scarcity on the finish that really leaves me hangin', Greenspan. Otherwise some nice character.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Vape Tricks
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 from a can
Overall:
49 / 100
(Not Great)
Day 23 of my 2017 #fletchmas Advent Calendar. Reviewed blind.

Pours a strange, confusing colour; kind of orangey-amber but with a pink tinge to it as well. Head also has a slight pinkish white hue to it, and it fizzes out steadily to leave just a ring of bubbles at the top. A swill encourages some life but it looks pretty fizzy all told so the retention just isn't there. Looks odd; not great but OK.

Smells interesting just based on the fact it came in a can. It's tart and funky, but actually not in a thin, Australio-soured way, it's actually pretty good. Fruity, with raspberry, apple and some blood orange character. A note of vanilla, and some subtle earthy funk behind it. Mildly vinegary with a slight corporeal, salty hint to it as well. Quite like it but I'm not sure it's really clear what it wants to be

Taste is, hmm yeah, definitely Australian or at least being soured by someone without a long tradition of cultured sour ales. Loses all the goodwill it had about midway; starts with a nice, subtle but distinctive tartness. Good use of fruit on it giving it some fresh zest, but it runs out of steam by the mid-palate to be replaced with a cloying bread yeast character that constitutes the entire back. Some light biscuity malt character and an odd phenolic bitterness late, but otherwise it's just a yeasty character that doesn't have enough wild unpredictability to keep that acidity going to the end, and it just dries up. I shouldn't be disappointed really, but I did hope for more from the nose.

Mouthfeel is fine; a little thin and a good pucker without going overboard. Decent construction to the texture.

Drinks alright; with subsequent sips the acidity on the front kind of softens the yeasty note from the previous sip, but it's just riding the coat tails of how dominant that kind of tartness is, rather than earning that flavour itself.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.0
Cake Hole Black Forest Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle given to me as day 22 of my 2017 #fletchmas advent calendar. Reviewed blind.

Ooh boy it's a beauty. Well it's nice and dark looking for a Friday evening. Dark cola colour with a glint of light at the bottom showing some nice fine bead. Head was nice when poured but has dissipated to a thin film of fine mocha bubbles. Lacing is decent. Looks pretty good.

Smells chocolatey and pleasant; has a good cocoa and slightly buttery vanilla sweetness, with notes of cake batter, maybe some cinnamon and a hint of roastiness like espresso hiding away at the back. I'm not a big fan of preponderous sweetness, but that's just a pleasant roast-balanced blend of desserty characters. Very good.

Taste is not quite as nice; there's a thinness apparent straight away that allows the roastiness to turn a little sour early on. Develops a kind of sour dark cherry character towards the mid, what with the general fruity esters that come through at that point. Some decent roasty bitterness on the back, but again quite thin so it becomes a little astringent yet weak, and not enough of that sweetness to make it interesting. It's alright, but just a fairly plain, and slightly bitter, dark ale.

Mouthfeel is not as thin as the light patches on the palate might suggest; there's a good malt base to it so although it's not thick, it's still quite smooth.

Yeah it's got plenty of decent characters but it doesn't quite have enough of each of them to reach a nice balance. As a result it ends up feeling a bit weak and underwhelming.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.25
Golden Era Golden Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.01.18 from a can
Overall:
59 / 100
(Decent)
Day 19 of my 2017 Advent Calendar. Reviewed blind.

Pours a cloudy, hazy pale orange colour. Pleasant looking head; tightly packed white bubbles forming a thin crown of sea foam. Lacing is decent; looks generally quite decent.

Smells hoppy, and pleasant. Not much to it; some stonefruit and citrus notes with a fair pithy, mildly resinous bitterness. Slightly woody too; touch of caramel malt but yeah, simple and unpretentious.

Taste has a lot more oomph than I was expecting; Patrician gravitas that is. Starts with a nice caramel malt that turns very earthy very quickly; the hops come on with a big wallop of flavour that packs a big, rindy grapefruity punch. Trails off leaving a slight astringency lingering, really quite dank and turns mildly dour. Yeah it seems to pack that punch but instead it's pulled back on the freshness, so it's all quite rindy and ascerbic. Impressive but not inspiring.

Has a nice texture to it; at least it's lively but with a good malt base to cushion it. Quite dry, puckering almost, on the back.

Drinks quite heavily; I wouldn't be surprised if it's in the 8 or 9% range for booze, but it may also just be too light-bodied for the level of hops they've got in there. Nice enough flavours but just too much whack and not enough gentle fondling.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Selfie IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.01.18 on tap
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
On tap at the Royal Albert, 5th January 2018.

Pours a pale orangey amber with a nice white foamy head; sinks in the middle but a nice dense crown of lace around the edge. Somewhat cloudy; looks pretty standard but good.

Smells lovely. Big fruity hop aroma, leaning on the citrus but a good belt of new world tropical aromas as well. Orange and passionfruit largely. Sherbety with a hint of pink grapefruit as well. Tangy, with some nice subtle caramel malts underneath it as well. Nothing less than I expect from these guys, but it's always welcome.

Taste is pretty nice too. Tangy hops start very early on top of a rather sweet caramelly malt upfront. Gives a big fruit juice character with sweet orange, plus passionfruit and mango. Develops a slightly biscuity character midway with a slight floury character to it as well, then the hops flourish on the back; really very little bitterness but this big fruity and floral character with honeysuckle, mango and peach complexities. Really quite inviting and moreish.

Mouthfeel is a little tingly, but there's just a mild viscosity to it that makes it really quite enjoyable. Yeah, good.

Drinks well; feels quite light and sessionable due to the low bitterness. Maybe a touch sweet is all.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Future Factory IIPA
Reviewed by Jez on 05.01.18 from a can
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
500ml tall can purchased for me by Sam for Christmas.

Pours a pretty hazy, but bright golden colour trending towards peach. Head is a fine crest of white that leaves excellent lace. Carbonation is very fine, and implies that there's a bit of weight to the body. Looks pretty good.

Nose is very hoppy—but in a really strong, herbal way, that reminds me of breaking open a pack of (perhaps old) pellets. It has zest and tangerine tones, but also loads of grass and herbal characters—the kind of thing you get when you over-hop something. It's maybe too sharp—or done with the wrong kind of hops that fail to provide that lovely fruit-bowl character.

Taste is better—it's more restrained, and there's a smoothness to the palate which is fairly intense, to the extent that it almost gets chewy. You almost want it to have a bit of bitterness at the back to cut it and provide some balance. But there's lots of fruity hoppy flavour on the palate even so. It's nice.

Feel is thick—heavy and almost gluey. It's impressive, but also makes me raise a skeptical eyebrow.

Overall—it's good stuff. There's some reliance on over-hopping, especially on the nose, and the palate is a trifle unbalanced. But there's nice things to it even so, and it's certainly a beer I'm happy to spend some time with.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Trappist Achel Bruin Extra
Reviewed by Jez on 05.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)
75cl brown bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with a bunch of workmates.

Pours a hazy red-brown colour, with a very frothy head of off-white that leaves long, chaotic streaks as it descends. Carbonation is quite high, which isn't unexpected, but it's also quite rapid, and removes the facade of quiet isolation and peace. Looks decent though.

Nose has some spice characters right from the get-go, with a kirsch-like booze connected with a pleasant dry aroma of pulverised white pepper. There's a touch of oaky, tannic red wine, like an old shiraz, and a slightly bodily aroma, which contributes to the fermented white pepper character. Very nice.

Taste is very good. There's still plenty of spice, and some cherry notes, but there's a good dollop of sweetness too, leaving some vanilla and marzipan. There's definitely some tannin notes on the back, and they're connected to the booziness, which provides a heady mixture to go out on.

Feel is a little frothy from the aggressive carbonation, but with a nice astringency from the tanins.

This is a good brew. It's complex and well-crafted to ensure that it maintains its balance. It's perhaps not the top-tier of the trappist breweries, but it's towards that direction.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.25
Mango Mango Mango (Stillwater Collaboration)
Reviewed by Jez on 05.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Strange, squat 330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam for Christmas.

Pours a very pale straw golden colour, with a evanescent head of white that merely becomes a kind of bubbly ring. Carbonation is persistent though, forming in large, languid bubbled that work slowly towards the surface. Looks decent enough.

Nose is very pleasant indeed, with a pronounced, almost fake punch of mango aromatics. They're fresh and bright, but more strongly tied to a slight vinous acidity, which gives a lovely character of sauvignon blanc. It's actually a really nice combination. And while that's kind of it, I love the combination.

Taste is also extremely good. It's not excessively tart, but it brings that sauvignon blanc acidity to the fore again, this time deepening it with characters of grass and green capsicum. The mango is still present too—it doesn't have the same sweetness to really complete the illusion, but the fragrance reverberates around the back palate, adding an unusual depth to the palate. Yeah, I like it.

Feel is very light, and perhaps slightly too frothy with carbonation. It doesn't properly connect it to the acidity, which would be a nice way for it to go.

Drinkable and fresh, with some really quite lovely mango characters. It's a very nice beer, that genuinely does something unusual. Nicely done.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Braggot
Reviewed by Jez on 04.01.18 in bottle
Overall:
35 / 100
(Nasty)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer.

Pours darker than expected: a deep mahogany red-brown, with a flimsy head of off-white that nonetheless promotes some streaky lace. Carbonation is rife, with chaotic streams whirling away when the glass is tilted. Body is also extremely light. For almost 7% ABV, I'd expect lighter, but I fear the honey has fermented out to nothing.

Nose is metallic and a little thin. There's a coppery undertone to everything, that's then just laced with the other characters. I get some clove and a little sharp, aniseedy booze. There's also a permeating suggestion of clipped grass over everything. It smells all a bit lacklustre,and not well-integrated anyway.

Taste is also not great. It's really very thin, and that metallic character gives it a slightly weird acidity. It's coppery in the same way that your mouth is after a pretty serious chunder. I suspect the honey ferments out to almost nothing.

Feel is insanely thin. It's almost watery, and doesn't allow the characters much chance to express themselves.

Nah. I think I'm genuinely still to have a great braggot, and this is certainly far from being a great braggot. The honey just makes it thin and uninteresting. There's just nothing else really going on.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.5 | drinkability: 2.5