81 / 100
2017 Release. Purchased from Santa Clara Liquors in Santa Clara, CA. Shared with Sam and Andrew in Sydney.
Pours a lovely deep dark-chocolate colour, not necessarily glossy, but definitely with some weight and heft behind it. Head is a loveyl, complex-bubbled crest of mocha that leaves tine, intricate lace. Carbonation is intensely fine, and static when the glass is tilted. Looks very good indeed.
Nose is very pleasant. Toasty characters, plus lots of chocolate, works with the booze to give notes of dates and carob. There's a brighter note, which almost gives characters of copper, balsamic and tamarind. As it warms, it gets sweeter, with sugared coffee and condensed milk. It's very pleasant.
Taste is also really good. It has a lovely balance of darkness and sweetness, and there's a very pleasant lighter note, almost an acidity, which has characters of coconut, and redcurrant. It has a really long palate, and it allows the characters to express themselves. Lots of coffee on the finish, again with a milky sweetness that never gets too cloying.
Feel is light but sleek, it actually is probably the source of the idea of tartness, because it has a bit from the booze which is comparable to acid.
Overall, it's a really nice beer. It has lots going on, and it has enough of a big body to support all the complexity. I'm a fan.
71 / 100
750ml brown bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with Sam and Andrew back in Sydney.
Pours a pinkish plum colour, with a very fine head of very pale pink that leaves expressive complex lacing. Carbonation is fine but very swift. Body is actually quite light, but it has a refinement to it which is pretty good. It looks a bit like very classy carbonated apple-boysenberry juice. That's a positive thing.
Nose is quite pleasant. It does have a sweetness from the berries, which give it a depth and roundness quite separate from the tartness, although the fruit does seem to contribute to the overall shape of the acidity as well. At times it seems a little bit dry, perhaps lacking some complexity. But I think it's honestly pretty solid and nicely made.
Taste is indeed a little simpler than it might be, but there is a refinement to it. The currant character is actually quite strong here, and quite connected to the acidity, which gives it a tart, almost pithy underripe fruit character. There's a slightly powdery, almost gritty character in the finish, which adds earthiness and a vegetative note. Hints of aspirin and seltzer in the finish.
Feel is a touch overcarbonated—it actually seems to exacerbate the acidity as well.
Overall, it's a nice beer—it's quite strong towards the acidity, which gives it a challenge to the palate. I've had similar beers which give you more complexity.
83 / 100
750ml brown caged and corked bottle purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA. Shared with Sam & Andrew back in Sydney.
Pours a deep golden colour, with just a hint of a suggestion of pink to it, and an offwhite head that foams up a lot, and settles out to a solid cm of cap. Carbonation is beautifully powdery, flowing in long streams when the glass moves. Long broad streaks of lace. Looks pretty good.
Nose is tart and bright, with a fairly strong stonefruit note that almost gives off almond kernel brightness. There's a vanilla character as well which is smooth, and adds some depth. As it warms, the fruit becomes a bit stronger, but it also develops mild characters of green peppercorns and a little leafy greens. It's very nice.
Taste is strong, with a genuinely prominent tartness. It does feel like it's unbalanced though, because the vanilla smoothes it out, and there's still plenty of fruit giving pithy skin notes. Light, soft finish, with fine carbonation and a dry, champagne character towards the back of the palate.
It's a really nicely done beer—it's very much the kind of dry complexity you get in a good sparkling wine, and the fruit notes are really well integrated. It's very nicely done all up.
70 / 100
750ml brown caged-and-corked bottle purchased from Tasty Beverage Company in Asheville.
Pours a pale lemon colour, with a very faint haze to it. Head is a crackling, looming mess of white that looks like smashed meringue and soft-serve ice cream. Lacing forms in globs. It looks raucous and wild. Body is fine and light, with minimal, tiny-bubbled carbonation.
Nose is quite pleasant. It has a fresh character of peeled green apple skin, with a fragrant spiciness that speaks of cloves and cardamom. But it's all smoothed with characters of vanilla and sweet pastry. It's really quite nicely pulled together.
Taste is a bit thinner, and it doesn't hold together as well as on the nose. There's a strong sharpness in the middle of the palate, which creates more of a boozy quality, and causes some of that smoothness to be lost. There's apple on the front of the palate, a hint more dried fruit towards the back, but the delicate spice notes are lost in the face of the booze.
Feel is very carbonated. It doesn't quite get to the stage where it's "fizzy", but it's not far off.
Overall, it's okay, but the nose was very good, and I was hopeful for something really delicately and beautifully crafted. This doesn't quite get there.
81 / 100
Pint can purchased from somewhere in New York, I can't remember where. Brought back to Sydney, where I shared it with Sam. This is an unblended foudre pull beer.
Pours a pleasantly hazed golden colour, deeper in hue in the glass than at the edges, with a finely created head of off-white which provides lovely long streaks of lace, and some tine specks. Carbonation is refined: powdery and swift through the glass. Looks good.
Nose is decent enough. It does have a touch of kerosene to it, which gives it a harsher than expected character beyond what you expect from a sour. But mostly it restrains this behind vinous, oaky notes, with a little bit of crushed vegetation and a touch of olive brine.
Taste is much better, however. It has a pronounced stonefruit sweetness, which gives it depth and juiciness, even though here the acid is also much more prominent. It stays in balance, with soft, powdery peach flesh towards the back, that's shredded with riesling and sauvignon blanc characters. Feel is lovely. Powdery but bright.
It does get quite acidic over time, and that makes it more of a trial to drink than it needs to be. But the production of those stonefruit notes is just really beautiful, and despite the additional tartness, it never feels out of balance at all.
82 / 100
Pint can purchased in Asheville. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.
Pours a pleasant deep dark cola colour, with a thin ring of beige bubbles that persist even after the head fizzles out. Body looks glossy and firm. It's a nice looking beer all up.
Nose is very pleasant, with a lot of those mid-darkness malts coming through to give it grain complexity. I get chocolate, liquorice, carob, caramel and cherry liqueur, but everything is skewed slightly towards the savoury, which actually makes for a very fine depth. I like it.
Taste is similar, but the characters are broken out so you can see the structure a bit more. It's sweet on the front, with light carob and caramel, mingled with a hint of tamarind and date. But it develops through a hint of spicy aniseed into a toasted grain note, perhaps like a heavy grain loaf dotted with dried cherry.
Feel is smooth and glossy, but shot through with that hint of cherry acidity. It's nice.
A lovely beer to drink, and one which allows its complexities to shine. It's really nicely made, and I'd love to drink it again some time.
77 / 100
750ml faux-ceramic bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with some folks from work. It feels like such a very long time ago that I reviewed Delirium Tremens, and nearly as long as I had it.
Pours a deep dark brown colour, with a foamy, Belgian-style head of off-white that foams up early, but settles down to a fine ring. Body is stylistically appropriate—smooth but light, with fine swirling carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is really very pleasant. It has those deep, organic classic Belgian notes of stewed tomato and spice. I get star anise, cloves, cinnamon and bergamot. I get dark hints of high quality milk chocolate and a hint of ink. But it's those rounded, organic characters that do it for me. It smells like ripping apart a fresh cauliflower, like walking through trellised grape vines, like the cellar floor of a thousand spilled barrel droplets. It's a very nostalgic, and very pleasant aroma for me.
Taste is also good, but not as fully realised as the aroma. It's thinner, for a start, which probably makes the beer overall brighter and more approachable. But it also removes some of the canvas for the complexities to show themselves. It starts out nicely though, with smooth rounded spice esters and a mild hint of chocolate and carob. Finish is quite weak though, and it peters out without letting everything express itself. That's a bit of a shame.
It's still a genuinely nice beer, and I love the craft that's gone into it. There's something truly wonderful about this style of Belgian brewing, and I'm very pleased we still get to enjoy it like this.
42 / 100
375ml brown bottle purchased somewhere in Denver. This is a "harvest cucumber saison", brewed with whole cucumbers, lemon zest and grains of paradise.
Pours a faintly hazed pale golden colour, with a coarse-bubbled head that settles into a loose ring that leaves little lace. Body is very thin and dry, although the carbonation is surprisingly languid in the glass. Looks okay.
Nose is decidedly odd. There is indeed a fairly pronounced pickle brine character to it, which gives a sweet/sour/savoury edge to the beer, which is slightly offputting. Scooped cucumber seeds, watermelon and rose also come through. It's a bit one note, in reality, with all of the notes coming seemingly from the pickle addition. and it does tend to overpower somewhat.
Taste is quite similar, but in some ways, it's actually slightly worse. There's a pronounced savoury-bitter character on the back, which works poorly with the pickle flavour, giving the slight suggestion that something is off—it's either a weirdly infected beer, or a weirdly bitter pickle. It has a mineral character, which is mostly washed around with the semi-sour lacto ferment note, but it doesn't quite cleanse it properly. Hmm.
Feel is fine. It's light and clean, but this also means that there's not much body to hide the weirdnesses.
And they are weirdnesses, overall. It wears them proudly, but perhaps misguidedly. The idea isn't bad, and even the pickle character isn't unpleasant in a beer. Just not this beer.
750ml dark green bottle purchased as part of the Wildflower Collective 2019.
Pours a deep, dense, opaque cherry red-black colour, with a faintly purplish-white head the persists as a very fine ring. Carbonation is powdery and fine, forming long lines of straight carbonation when tilted. Lacing forms in small circular specks. Looks good.
Nose has a strong cherry character, with a mild astringency to it as well—it's a kind of tight, plasticky sourness that almost gives characters of acetone and kitty litter. These are not necessarily bad things, they just speak of an intensity to the flavour. As it warms, there's a slight peppery note, hints of very old, oxidised red wine, and a kind of mossy dankness.
Taste is similar in a lot of ways, but it actually pares back the astringency a good deal. It still has heavy cherry characters to it, including a medicinal bit towards the back. But there's warmer, softer tones to the palate. It get musty suitcases, cinnamon and brown sugar, crumbling sandstone and halva. The astringency is still there, giving that slight overtone of something plastic and artificial, but it's mostly ephemeral, and it mostly due to the aroma sticking around.
Feel is soft and delicately carbonated.
Overall, this isn't one of Wildflower's best, and they know it. The Collective notes with this note that it is "the result of making use of a huge crop which otherwise would have gone to waste. It is not something we are likely to repeat or something we feel is hugely indicative of our ethos". So I pass on the caveat here.
85 / 100
2016 Vintage, 20.3% ABV. Bottle given to me by Aaron in Denver. Brought it back to Sydney where I shared it with sam on the occasion of the birth of his second child.
Pours a deep brown colour, not quite black. Lacks the glossiness of a rich, full-bodied beer, and there's some haze visible at the corners. Head is a loose cap of beige that settles out to a ring. It does obviously have a heavy body, but it's surprisingly light given the overall weight of the beer—fluid and seeming to lack density. I've definitely had lower ABV beers which look more ominous than this.
Nose is very oaky and woody. It has deep vinous tannins to it, which give characters of coconut, marzipan and cherry pip. Definitely loads of booze to it, but it's certatinly not as hot and harsh as the ABV suggests. As it warms it gets dark sweet tones of molasses and liquorice. It's very nice.
Taste is also pretty good. It is soft and warm, with smooth sweet characters of carob, dark caramel and black chocolate. But these are shot through with lighter notes: celery and apricot come through. There's a darkness on the black, like soft, black liquor—I get aniseed, wormwood, wintergreen and almost a numbing fernet branca note. It's smooth and hot all at once, which is a fun mix.
Feel is hot, numbing, but weirdly comforting.
This is a really good beer. In fact, it's genuinely better than the variations on it I've had in the past. It's also one of the best beers I've had overall from the Bruery.
89 / 100
500ml bottle given to me by my mate Aaron when visiting him in Denver. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam to wet his new baby's head.
Pours a vivid black-raspberry colour, with a vibrant, fine, candy-pink head, which turns to a pinot-stain ring as it goes down the glass. Body is glossy with a lovely fine bead. It's an exceptional looking beer.
Nose is extraordinary. Very lush raspberry weight, with a bright candy acid tartness. Slight aspirin character, seltzer and saline powder. There's a rougher leafy quality as well, with a hint of mild green peppercorn. There's a slight vinous hint of wine, but absolutely no suggestion of tannin. It's very good.
Taste is also good, but it's not as lush, rich or complex. Slightly briney on the front palate, with raspberry, cherry skin, zesty lemon and salt backing it up. Fine body towards the black, with a long vinous tartness—it's the kind of tartness you associate with a riesling or a sauvignon blanc, which is a trip given the colour. Soft, smooth feel, with just a velvet touch of carbonation.
This is a genuinely lovely beer. It has amazing complexity, and the softness on the palate is very good. But it's the lush fruit which really sets the beer apart. It's really good.
86 / 100
750ml caged and corked green bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with work.
Pours a rather burnished, brassy gold colour, darker than some, but not obviously oxidised. Head is a vivacious white froth to begin with but settles into a fine ring. Very mild, thin lacing. Body is smooth, and powdery lace rushes around when the glass is tilted. Looks good.
Nose is classic green-bottle funk, initially. It has a mild tartness, and a crushed vegetation sharpness. But it has softer characters as well, with vanilla and putty coming through. Warmer, it gives off crushed black pepper and apricot skin. It's complex, and very interesting.
Taste is really quite soft, but very pleasant. The stonefruit character is prominent here, and with that suggestion of vanilla smoothness, it gives ripe peach and apricot jam. But there's a pronounced lambic tartness to balance it, and this gives spritzy champagne-like qualities to the beer. It has a real sparkle in the back of the mouth, which lifts it into a very vinous zone. Finish has elements of green pear and powdered aspirin.
It's a really lovely beer, and one of those examples which just makes you remember why a gueuze is such a fine style. This is complex, but subtle and very well made.
48 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a translucent dark brown colour, with a loose-bubbled head of beige that leaves some scattered lace, and settles out to a foamy ring. Body is really very light, and the carbonation is swift and underwhelming.
Nose is also a bit of a disappointment. There's a fairly strong black olive note that comes through, giving a slight acidity, even though it's not obviously sour. Otherwise, it's savoury—I get brown bread, tyre rubber, buttered potatoes and coffee ice cream. Not unpleasant flavours in the big scheme of things, but not necessarily in balance for what this beer is trying to be.
Taste is a little better, but perhaps because it's not so muddled. Instead, it's rather simple, with a slick, reedy vanilla note and some characters of crushed vegetation. It has a toasty finish, but it's one of the few concessions to actually being a dark beer.
Feel is slick, but really quite weak and thin.
Overall, I'm not a fan. This is a RIS that seems to be brewed in name only. "We've made a Russian Imperial Stout", the brewers can say, without actually having to put the craft or the effort into doing it right. It's a poor example of the style.
69 / 100
Imperial pint can purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Freshness date of July this year, which is disappointingly close to now.
Pours a fairly bright, clear golden colour, with a fine and persistent white head that stays filmy on top of the body, and leaves exceptional, complex lace. Carbonation is fine, and it glides through the body in powdery waves. Looks very good; very refined.
Nose is a little flat, to be honest. It has a savoury grain note which forms the base of the aroma (which may be the result of age, given the freshness date), with a slight grassy overtone that lends elements of cut fennel and pool chlorine. Slight aromatics lift it a little, with a hint of citrus and crushed vegetation. But it's not overly inspiring in its current form.
Taste is a bit better. It's fresh and weedy at the front, with characters of peeled cucumber dusted with salt. There's a smoothness on the back, lending almost a fragrant vanilla overtone. Mostly, it's based around vegetative hops, but there's a smoothness which softens it a lot.
Feel is pretty good. It's soft and light, with a fine carbonation to enliven it just slightly.
Decent beer. Although I bought this yesterday, I suspect it's been sitting on the shelf for a while and I think it's the worse for it. But it's still holding up, and that's the sign of a well-made beer. As it stands, it's not a stand-out, stellar IPA, but it's very decent for an "old IPA".
76 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Bottles in late March, so it's about 2 months old.
Pours a pleasant, slightly hazy, but not opaque peach golden colour, with a gauzy head of white that leaves fine flecks of lace. Carbonation is also fine, and despite the weight of the beer, the body seems slick and fine. Looks good.
Nose is excellent, especially straight after the pour. It has a bright grapefruit sharpness, mingled with a crisp resinous note that smells like cracking a lovely fresh bag of hops. Under it are hints of stewed orange, clove and pepper. The spices get more prominent as it warms.
Taste is also pretty good. The main strength of it is, well, its strength, and the fact it doesn't show it. It has a lovely soft and light body, which allows the hops to shine enough to counteract the booze, with a smooth orange peel character on the back, and a very soft carbonation throughout. It has a slight muted pepper character in the finish—it might just be a little prickle of heat from the booze.
Feel is excellent. Soft and smooth, with a very refined velvet fuzz of carbonation.
Extremely drinkable. Dangerously so for such an immense beer. It shouldn't feel this good. But that speaks to the quality of the brew. I'm honestly quite the fan. I think this is the best beer I've had from Revision so far.
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a glossy black-brown colour, with a firm, persistent head of pale brown, that settles into a bubbly ring. Carbonation is fine, and the body looks fine but thick. Looks good.
Nose is quite similar to the regular Campfire Stout, with perhaps a slightly stronger lean on the roast from the coffee. But otherwise, there's definitely a lot of chewy sweetness, and a smouldering smoke character. As it warms, the coffee definitely comes out, giving a fresh grounds note mixed with characters of split grass and caraway. Nice.
The taste is okay. It has a really rather strong coffee character here that provides a robust bitterness, which defeats some of the delicate balance. You can still sense the sweetness in the body (although it's more of a feel than a flavour), but the smoke character mingles with the dark bitterness to come across slightly ashy. Finish has a suggestion of sweetness underneath the coffee—perhaps it's that slight marshmallow note.
Overall, it's certainly a decent beer. But it's a beer which genuinely feels like it deconstructs the purpose of its progenitor. The coffee isn't actually a good match here, and it has a tendency to railroad the other characters.
Bottle given to me by Jez for my birthday.
Pours a dark chocolatey colour with thin beige head that dissipates fairly quickly, giving a bit of a lacklustre crown of lacing. Fairly sparse that makes the beer look a little thin. But OK.
Smells roasty and pleasant. A good chocolatey note with very slight ashy bitterness to it that intensifies it a little bit. Fairly decent caramel character around the edges. Yeah, look it's somewhat sweet but otherwise has a good robust stout character to it. It's good.
Tastes... a little thin to be honest. Has a pretty decent chocolate note in terms of flavour but it's quite subtle and buried under an odd sort of spicy and ethanoic mid-palate that has some mild berry notes but otherwise doesn't have a lot of flavour to it. The finish feels a little adjunct-sweetened and has a surprising lack of depth to it where the nose promised a good roasty bitterness; it's just not there. It's not overall a bad beer but it's fairly dull as a stout and it's quite disappointing coming off the nose to this as a flavour profile.
Mouthfeel is somewhat thin for the most part, but the mid-to-late has a nice bittiness from the roasted malt. Not bad.
I'd say it delivers on its promise but fairly thinly. The chocolate and the stout are both fairly sub-par and it ends up like a bit of a sweet dark mild ale. It's like buying Lindt and getting Nestlé.
87 / 100
22oz brown bottle given to me by my mate Aaron, who's clearly a good friend. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a deep, dense brown-black, with a firm head of pale mocha that settles out quickly fine ring. Slight spotty lace, but not a lot. Body is slick and fine, but it's also surprisingly light and swift-moving. Clarity is also surprisingly high at the edges. Looks good all up.
Lovely aromatic characters, with big chocolate base. I get characters of rosewater, soaked cherries, cinnamon and a mild smoky chilli note. It's got lovely combinations between sweet and savoury, and those little flecks of spice which enliven it with a sense of danger. Great stuff.
Taste is delicious. It does have a strong chocolate character on the front, which develops spicier tones of cinnamon and pepper as it goes on. There's not a high chilli flavour, but it does develop a small glow of warmth on the back palate. There's a pleasant vanilla sweetness on the back—again a slight aromatic character of rose as well, and a long linger of dark malt. It's very nice indeed.
Feel is smooth and slick. But yeah, there is a lightness that's surprising. It doesn't harm the breadth and complexity of the beer though.
Overall, though. This is a lovely beer. It has such wonderful balance, and the flavours are really well thought-out. It's a clearly well-crafted beer, done by someone who knows their stuff.
74 / 100
750ml dark olive bottle, purchased as part of the Wildflower Collective. This is an Australian Wild Ale with NSW strawberry gum, which is an aromatic variety of eucalyptus.
Pours a slightly hazed golden colour; certainly more hazy than the regular Gold. It forms a small ring of bubbles on the pour, but within five minutes this is mostly gone, leaving the beer itself quite still. Body is light and fluid. Minimal carbonation to begin with, but very still by the end.
Nose is very interesting. The strawberry gum is prominent on the nose, giving sweet bush aromatics, with notes of strawberry bubblegum mixed with the crackle of dry undergrowth on a hot summer day. There's an interesting interplay between the herb and the wild ale, which gives a slight tartness, mingling with vanilla and clove. It's honestly a very clever combination.
Taste isn't quite as good, and it comes in waves. The olida is strong on the front, giving a pronounced leafy strawberry and rosemary note, but this clings to the acidity providing a measure of astringency on the mid-palate. This glides softly into a pleasant ephemeral smoke character, like a bushfire on the other side of town. The back is slightly vegetal though—the herb leaves a little too much vegetative character, and disconnects from the acidity. The finish is slightly floury—a character I do sometimes find in some bottles of WF.
Feel is pleasant—slick, but cut with acid.
It's still a very nice beer, and it's a really interesting expression of what they're trying to do, especially with providence of their ingredients. I can imagine this is just the first step in experimenting with indigenous herbs and spices (and, no doubt, fruits). And it is an auspicious step, if not the final destination—I can imagine it gets better.
62 / 100
Can given to me by Jez for Christmas; I've sat on it for a few months.
Pours a vibrant red-amber colour with generous off-white head, lovely and dense but sinks steadily to leave a thin crown after a little while. Some specks of lace around the edge of the glass. Looks good, but I'm not sure about it for the style, looks like a nice red ale. Still, good.
Smells, yes, smokey. I don't know if it's particularly appealing in that smokiness because it's a little weak so the end result is slightly sour with a meaty character and doesn't have a distinct smokiness to it. Some brown sugar and a slight citric character to it as well. Not bad but not distinct enough, and pretty simple.
Tastes kinda similar; a bit more interesting but the smokiness still feels a little muted and simple, and it takes on a slightly meaty but roasty kind of character as well without a distinct ashy or peaty or woody character, nor any blossoming complexity on the smoke palate. Strong malty backbone which is good for the style; burnt toffee ends up the dominant character with some mild cherry notes as well. Finishes fairly short (I guess? It's a lager after all) but feels less dry and more just sort of flat on the back, where the smokey character should linger and smoulder a bit. Quite palatable but largely because it dials back on a lot of the flavour.
Mouthfeel is pretty smooth; slight bitty texture midway through where some of the malt and yeast complexities make themselves more known than they did on the palate itself. But yeah, light and fluid and pleasant.
Overall it's a mixed bag. A well-made beer that introduces nice flavours but doesn't really work much with those flavours. For the size it feels a little simple and glib.