|Highest Rated||My Antonia (81 / 100)
||Average score||61 / 100 (Decent)|
|Lowest Rated||Faithfull Ale (35 / 100)
750ml brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a clear, extremely pale yellow with a fine and relatively steady head of white. Lacing is messy and streaky. Fine carbonation, although the body looks rather thin, so it doesn't stick around much.
Nose is indeed white vinous, and I can believe viognier, with a clean crisp acid coming through strongly. Some slightly earthy characters come through as well, more like oak though than botrytis. Dusty, dry and quite crisp throughout. It's a very well put-together aroma.
Taste is lighter, and without much acid, which is a bit of a shame. In fact, the back palate doesn't have much of anything, besides a musty grapeskin character and a hint of metal. Most of the roundness comes on the front, with a slightly fruity Belgian pale sort of basis that sets sweetness against the very light and rather dry body. It's a little bit disappointing after the aroma.
Overall, it's pretty decent, and the 9% is masterfully hidden at least. It promised a bit more than it delivered though, and it ended up being less exciting than I thought it might be. Lower your expectations, and you'll probably have a great time with it.
69 / 100
750ml DFH-embossed brown bottle, purchased from Whole Food SoMa in San Francisco.
Pours a pleasant bright orange-golden colour, with a fine, slightly filmy white head. Lacing is specked and intricate, falling away in great streaks down the glass. Body looks pleasantly fine, and holds misty, powdery carbonation. Overall, it's a good-looking beer.
Nose is less potent than I expected, but pleasant enough. Sharp, green hop characters give a resiny edge to the beer, while a rounded caramel character provides the bulk. There's some wheaty, husked grain characters which come through too, giving a raw, slightly rustic edge. The hops are present at least, but not particularly potent.
Taste is similar: big caramel malty sweetness provides the basis of this beer, while hops cut through a little but never become dominant. Light lemon-citrus characters, a musky, slightly salt-saline tone and some brisk peppery herbal characters on the back. Finish is dry, but with lingering medicinal herbal characters. It's not bad, but it's not really inspired.
Feel is light but smooth, kept in check by the hop character and a very fine carbonation.
Overall, this is decent stuff. It's quite well-balanced, pretty drinkable even for 8% ABV, and with a good amount of flavour. It is a little bit generic though, and in the end does feel a bit like a beer we've all had before.
750ml bottle purchased from Bevmo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a very light golden colour, with a white head that froths up initially, but then forms a flimsy film atop the body. The beer itself seems a little light, although it forms really nice fine carbonation. Some positives, some negatives to the appearance.
Nose is uninspired. Mostly flat, with a fermented sugar or grainy adjunct character, mingled with a cloying sweetness and a hint of paint thinner. Some sugary notes could be the currants, although it could just be booze. Unimpressed.
Taste is better only because it is blander. Light grainy sweetness through to the back, when there's a slight uptilt in metal and booze, and perhaps a slight fruity acidity on the aftertaste. Feel is exceptionally light, almost absent. Overall, a really unimpressive brew.
Urgh. I'm totally off DFH's beers. Why did I buy this one? I knew it was going to follow the same trajectory. Something about the promise of currants through the boil intrigued me. But like most Dogfish beers I've had, the intrigue is one thing, and the execution is quite another.
76 / 100
On-tap at the East Village Tavern in New York.
Pours a very decently solid black, just brown at the tips when tilted. Head is creamy, but puckered with bubbles, in light beige. Lacing is full, sheeting and strong. Body is surprisingly good, given the relatively low ABV. Nice fine carbonation. Looks really good.
Nose is toasty, but mild, with a good, slightly smoky notes and a touch of dark liquorice. Smooth and not overpowering, but a little less exciting as a result. Certainly very pleasant.
Taste is similar. There's no smooth richness or overt sweetness, but a pleasant moderated roastiness and a creamy feel from the fine carbonation. Light mocha and liquorice characters come through and get cleaned up by a nice dark roast on the finish. All of this is without the sweetness I might have expected, but this actually makes the beer more light and drinkable, while maintaining a good measure of complexity.
A nice beer. It's not crazy, overly exciting or particularly full-flavoured, but it's pleasant and easy to drink. A nice, moderate ABV stout.
40 / 100
Accidentally stole this from the fridge of our landlady's house when we were staying in New York. I realised I hadn't reviewed it, so, the crime being done, I figured I'd give it a shot.
Pours a deep red-hued brown, almost like a light red wine, with a large-bubbled scum on the top as an excuse for a head. The colour of the beer is gorgeous, and it has some heft to the body, but the head is disappointing.
Sigh. Nose is light, but slightly fruity, and with the sweet sense of fermented sugar. Smells too raw and spiritous for its 8% ABV, and like some of DFH's other hybrid beers, it lacks the complexity that is required.
Taste is very similar, or worse, because there's very little here at all. Very light empty feel with a hint of bland spirits and a grainy but weak finish. Little complexity and almost nothing on the palate. Very blandâc'mon, even the overdone spiritous burn would be better than this.
A very lacklustre and very uninspired effort from Dogfish Head. Unfortunately, it falls into their regular trap of having a theoretically interesting idea that turns into a very pedestrian brew.
81 / 100
Purchased from Tribeca Whole Foods. 750ml bottle explodes when opened. At least it's lively.
Pours a pleasantly hazed bright golden colour, just tinged with a burnished orange colour in the deepest parts. Head is frothy and full, forming from some ecstatic but fine carbonation, although it's pocked with large bubbles as well. Slight suds on the edges of the glass.
Nose is peppery and hoppy, with a touch of sulphur. Hop characters are more the leafy, organic characters of European varieties, although there's a twang of citrus flittering around as well. Decent pilsener nose, although not all that robust, especially given it's an imperial pils, supposedly "continuously hopped".
Taste is really good for the style. Bigger and fuller in most respects, but staying true to the crisp, hoppy character of a pilsener. Some glossy sweetness around the edges sets the crisp bitterness through the centre, which is bright, but almost silky in its cocoon. There's a hint of the booze, but it just accentuates the big characters of the beer, without forcing itself upon you.
Feel still has a crispness to it, despite the size of the brew. Een though you can feel the extra body and flavour, it stays true to its stylistic roots.
Great beer. I have something of a love/hate relationship with Dogfish Head; I love their experimentation, and their boundary pushing, but I often find their beers a little misguided and sometimes undrinkable. This is not one of thoseâthis is a big beer, no doubt, but one which has been put together with style and balance in mind. Great work.
75 / 100
What an awesome collaboration. So pleased we're really getting some craft beer love down here in the Southern Hemisphere, even if most of the impetus is coming from our New Zealand friends, who (let's face it), are killing our Aussie asses on the craft beer front.
Purchased this one from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill in Sydney.
Pours a dark, but relatively clear black-brown colour, with a light dusting of tan for the head. Body looks quite lightweight, although the carbonation is fine enough to stay quite static when swirled. Lacing is patchy and sudsy. Not a bad look.
Nose is a little meaty, with just a twinge of smoke character (certainly not a big emphasis). Some dark grains and a little leavened sweetness, perhaps sticky dates. Very nice.
Taste is similar, with big roasted notes on the front that slip away to a cleansing and soothing light sweetness on the back. Flavours of carob and dried fruits arise on the back with a smooth vanilla note, while the tantalising roasty, smoky character dances on the finish. Feel is light, but slick and smooth despite this. It makes for a nicely balanced and rather delicate palate.
Very nice brew, although probably not as out there and envelope-pushing as I expected from a trans-hemispheric collaboration between two breweries that are not averse to pushing the envelope individually.
But what they've come up with instead is a really nicely balanced, interesting, and drinkable brew. Let's hope for some more such collaborations in the future.
Pours a very dark, almost impenetrably dark, brown, but with ruby-red tinge up to the light. Head is extremely generous - beige in colour and tightly-pakced bubbles, nice cratering on top and small trails of lace. Retaining about an inch of head. A powerful-looking porter; does it have heart?
Smells very meaty and smokey. A good rich bacon aroma with very pleasant spicy notes around the edges; reminiscent of peat smoke but with some tasty cumin and star anise fragrances as well. It's still just a smokey aroma though, pleasant and rounded though it be.
Hard to get past the smoke aroma, but thankfully the taste doesn't stab you with it all the way through. Starts pleasantly dark 'n' quite mild, with roasted chocolatey malt and slight hints of burnt toast and espresso - especially late-mid where the smoke starts to show again and really accentuates the coffee notes. As I said, smoke emerges again towards the back, giving woody notes and a fairly sour meaty character, but interestingly gains a peppery spice on the back, with a slight licorice hang. Well-constructed porter palate with a nice addition of smoke on the back. Good job.
Fairly - though not complete - full. Slight note of carbonation late, not enough to be harsh but enough to expose the shortcomings of the body.
I kind of wish this collaboration had produced something more...tasty? Rather than experimental? But I also feel this beer recapitulates what I think of DFH in general - talented at brewing but never seems one to make a beer for general, everyday drinking.
Pours a dark brown, mostly black all the way through but brown up to the light. Head is ochre coloured, thin but retaining a thin whispy crown, with nice sticky lace around. And yeah, decent head. Looks good.
Smells quite roasty and really quite boozey. Chocolatey with a lot of caramel, a hint of vanilla but a great deal of ethyl alcohol as well. Hint of brandy on there with a touch of maraschino cherry, black pepper and star anise. Yeah, decent but a bit strong.
Taste isn't quite as strong, but has a robustness to it that is quite welcome. Caramel malt on the front with lots of cocoa-rich chocolate as it reaches the mid-palate, gathering hints of cherry and coconut on the way, to a small extent. Gets a slight sour spice edge late-mid with touches of liqueur, kirsch and maybe some aniseed and black pepper. Yeah, it's not bad, but a definite intensity to its flavour that keeps my enjoyment from frothing at my mouth.
A decent texture, smooth but a bit of boozey warmth to the back. Bit overcooked maybe, but otherwise OK.
Strong, but enjoyable enough. Couldn't have too many of these though.
Pours a shiny amber-gold, clear body with small amount of slow bead. Head is whispy and slightly sunken to a film with a few isolated clouds of bigger bubbles. Lace is beautiful; thick and sticky. Looks alright.
Smells extremely nutty and sweet. Massive chestnut character, with a smell similar to Chinese chestnut cake. Lots of malt, caramelly and sticky and just a very faint touch of hop at the back, mild citrus mostly. Pleasant smell, but I do feel the hops are subdued here.
Taste is similarly sweet. Kicsk off with lots of sticky malt, caramelly with a slight twist like tonic water or something, just a slight phenol on the early palate. Develops a large amount of nutty flavour on the back, mostly chestnutty with hazelnut tinges to it as well. Maybe a slight citric hop on the back, but more dishwasher detergent-esque than fresh fruit, and not a lot at that. It's bitter, though, just not that vibrant, piquant bitterness I expect from an IPA. Not bad, in fact pretty nice, just some key notes absent.
Fairly full body, at least on the front, then quite watery late and caps off very dry. Not a wonderful texture.
Yeah, I might drink one or two of these, but it doesn't wow me in a drink-all-night kind of way.
70 / 100
Bottled June 10, drank Feb 11.
Pours a bright copper-orange colour and an initially frothy head that collapses to an oily film and some decadently thick lacing. Body decently heavy for an IPA, with some good static carbonation. Looks pretty good all up.
Nose has certainly lost some hops, I fear this may too old a bottle. Grainy malt notes with some honey sweetness. A bit of malt liquor booziness to it as well, along with a slight greenness that may be the residuals of hoppiness. Certainly not a lot of hops on the aroma.
Taste is a lot better, with the bittering hops giving a pleasant nutty briskness to the finish. Front is full of light fruit and honey characters, but it gives it a decent basis for the mild bitterness on the back. Very nicely balanced all up. On the very back, there's a slight dry grain bread character, but it's the only off note on the palate.
Feel is light and mild, smooth enough--in some ways, quite like an English ale.
It's certainly a mild IPA, and while the age on it may detract from the nose, it actually blends things rather nicely on the palate, leaving a smooth and pretty drinkable brew.
70 / 100
Pours a very heavy deep brown, almost black, but with an edging to it that suggests something other than a stout. Head is filmy but supple, leaving a few speckles of lace, if nothing more. Very heavy and thick body, which I guess is to be expected in a beer weighing in at 12% ABV. Look pretty good.
Roasted, but surprisingly light nose, with some notes of crushed undergrowth, but minimal black charred characters. Instead, there's a light astringency and a leavened almost chemical character, that smells like old camera film.
Taste is smooth, but surprisingly light, with a little roasted grain and slight chilli flavour, if not the spice. Slight nuttiness on the back which if anything leavens it more, giving a light character to the dark flavours.
Feel is light. It doesn't match with the flavour.
Nice. Nutty and interesting, with some unusual flavours. Hints of spice and a really surprisingly well subdued alcohol character. Indeed, 12% is a shock when you discover the ABV.
A decent brew. It doesn't do anything astounding, however.
44 / 100
Pours a metallic golden colour with slight dull haze in the body. Head is unimpressive, thin rim of foam but lace is beautifully sticky and dense. Yeah, looks alright.
Nose is quite nutty and grainy, sweet with some stone fruit esters and some brown bread grain. Touch of chestnut on there as well, slightly caramelised, and a slight phenolic note hidden at the back (maybe Belgian?) Can't really fault it, except that I can't find any of the characters I was expecting either.
Taste has a sweetness for the most part, quite grainy especially on the mid, with slight caramel malt notes on the front becoming slightly bready with sourdough character as well. Finishes quite phenolic with a cough syrup hint and a touch of white peppery yeast as well. Not really bad, but not really very flavoursome either, and moreover, where's my cocksucking chilli? (Little nod to our mate Don Russell there) Some nice notes, but all lacking.
A bit lacking on the feel, allows the carbonation to show through too prominently. Don't love it.
Yeah, not a bad drop as a beer, but I find myself very uninspired by this.
45 / 100
Purchased in the USA at the wishes of @LaitueGonflable and brought back to share with him.
Pours a surprisingly light coloured orange yellow, with a fine bubbled head of white. Some sudsy lacing, and a moderately heavy, but not outrageous body. It looks rather tame, considering I know what's in it.
Really very little on the nose, almost nothing in fact. Perhaps a little capsicum, mixed with a bit of ass. Certainly something a little feral and organic. Meh.
Taste is also very thin and not very interesting. Some astringent booze characters, with a very light spice and a twang of crushed organics on the back. Not a lot of cocoa hints, although the organics may be attributable to unroasted raw nibs. Feel is wickedly thin.
Wow, it's not even that interesting, when I expected it to be challenging and perhaps a little disturbing. It ends up tasting more like malt liquor than anything else. Minimal character from the chilli, the cocoa nibs, or anything, leaves it coming out rather thin and insipid, with just a big alcohol burn for your troubles.
71 / 100
Pours a dark stouty brown with ochre head that is just a thin crown for me, with nice small, tightly packed bubbles though. Lace is wonderfully clingy but drops in slow-mo cascades. Pretty damn nice.
Nose is very meaty and smoky. Huge whiff of bacon with that really strongly smoked edge to it. Slight roasty bitterness underlying it, but yeah, not much other than smoked meat. Pretty nice aroma though.
Taste is less smokey and meaty, kind of just tastes like a strong stout. Slight vanilla sweetness on the front with a touch of darker caramel that gets slightly sour with a touch of smoke; melds nicely into a more bitter finish with espresso coffee and more oaky notes, quite nicely tamed by the end with toasty notes which trail off pleasantly to a bitter finish with some lingering sweetness. Yeah, very pleasant indeed.
Feel is a little bit thin. It's sticky and malty but somehow the body doesn't seem to be all there.
Surprisingly drinkable, this. Balance is there and for its obvious strength it's really quite gentle.
79 / 100
Purchased at Jackson Wines & Spirits in Lafayette, CA, and brought back to Australia to share with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a dark and heavy black - it's only with the greatest effort that I can see any hints of even deep brown to it - with a foamy and sticky head of light brown-beige. Lacing is superb, sitting in comical spiderwebs down the side of the glass. Body looks a little thinner than expected, but otherwise, it's a fabulous looking beer.
Nose is rich, roasted and rather sweet, with a lingering rauch character of smoked malts. Some toasted coconut and high-cocoa chocolate characters, but the smoky, bacony characters alway bring it back to a round savoury note. Very pleasant indeed.
Taste is smooth, but a little thin, and the complexities present on the nose don't quite translate to here. Lots of coffee and deep roasted characters, giving a black and ashy back palate, with a decent sweetness to pull it back, even a hint of blackcurrant. More odd notes come through as well, a slight turkish delight rosewater character and a fluffy marshmallow hint to increase the complexity of the sweetness.
Feel is surprisingly light, but it aids the drinkability.
Nice. A really pleasantly bold, but pleasantly leavened Imperial Stout. I'm nonplussed at the additions, I'm not sure they add much, but this is a very good beer nonetheless.
Pours a pale straw colour with a lot of haze; almost opaque. Head is... hang on, where's the head? Oh, it's not there. That's a shame. Yeah, no head at all. No carbonation. No lace. Look, I'm aware that stylistically head might be a difficult thing to produce, but face facts - that looks BAD.
Nose is intriguing, but not sure I like it. Lots of honey, with some tart notes on there, lots of floral nectar characters. Rose petals and slight metallic characters but very sweet. Oddest thing comes from a huge whiff of popcorn that seems to pervade all through that. Buttery and savoury; a very unusual smell and I'm really not sure about it at all.
Taste is...disastrous? Well, let's not be too hasty. Tangy on the front with lots of tart characters, mild lemon zest and almost vinegar notes. Simple and just that one note up to the mid, then finish gets bland and yeasty, a salty character and hint of dry bread on the very end. Fairly weird and overall frankly a bit bland. The start is nicely tart, but needs more of that on the finish. It's weak and very confused. The finish doesn't match the majority of the palate and it's just not very enjoyable. It has aspects that might be interesting if better handled, but as it is, it's just confusing.
Yeah, it's flat as could be expected, but a decent body for a low ABV. Just a bit dry on the back. Not much texture but okay for the palate.
Not a big fan of this beer. The finish needs some work and more flavour. I've said this before but DFH has my respect for their experimental nature only - their beers themselves just never really manage to get me into bed.
Purchased in San Francisco and carried back to Australia at the request of @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a hazy, and extremely light yellow colour. Head fizzles to begin with , but disappears very quickly, leaving it looking pretty flat and delapidated. Looks a little like lemon juice. It's as flat as that anyway. A bit average.
Nose is redolent with spicy and sour peach characters. Slightly medicinal, bit of green vegetation. Decent acid characters for a berliner weisse, with that slight upturn in fruity peach that is pleasant.
Taste starts light and peachy, with a lightly bitter peach-skin bite, but it then descends immediately into a huge and festering rotten yeast character. Minimal body, which is fine, but it has nothing to cleanse the very rank yeasty note that sits on the palate for far too long. Although there's minimal acidity on the palate, after a while, it feels like there's an acid buildup in my stomach, burning a hole in my intestines. All up, it's not a very pleasant experience.
Not a beer for me. Really, I haven't had a really pleasant Berliner Weisse from outside Germany, and this is yet another sub-par example. The peach character tries its hardest to give something to the beer, but it fails in my opinion. Not a great beer. Dogfish Head again try something different (and I love them for trying), but yet again they fall short.
73 / 100
Pours a darkish golden orange colour, with a filmy head of loose bubbles. Some lacing but not a lot. Some streaming carbonation from the centre of the glass. Looks heavy, but otherwise, a little lacklustre.
Lightly resinous on the nose, with a hint of fresh fragrance like rosewater or jasmine. Bit of booze and a light biscuit malt character. It's all a little subdued, but with some pleasant aromas.
Taste is similar, but with the addition of a drying oak character on the back that adds some resonance to the lilting hop fragrance and biscuity malt. Alcohol is well hidden, and I really do like the oak character, which is not overwhelming, but just adds finesse to the palate.
It's not a stunning beer, and given DFH brew some pretty extreme beers I was expecting something more overwhelming from an oak-aged IIPA. But it's surprisingly balanced and surprisingly drinkable - something certainly worth taking a look at.
Pours a nice glowing orange colour (glowing in terms of light refraction). Head was alright, off-white but now gone, leaving a mild cloud on the top and a ring of creamy lace. Slight haze in the body, makes for a pretty good-looking beer, lacking in places.
Nose is incredibly sweet and phenolic. Big whiff of orange marmalade with a hint of bubblegum, some vanilla, crème Anglaise but also a hint of fusel alcohol, which ties the whole thing up in a slightly messy pungency, sweet and strong.
Taste is quite spicy, very sweet. Lots of fruit - rotting fruit even - with orange, banana and pawpaw vying for supremacy. Gets spicy and phenolic midway with muchos black pepper character, a hint of clove, coriander and some mild ethyl alcohol that comes through late giving a noticeable liqueury strength and sweetness on the back. Feels very heavy on the back palate with the sweetness giving way unkindly to the distinct alcohol, tipping the balance and pointing out that there are a lot of flavour shortcomings here. Needs more on the front and less on the back.
Has a stickiness in the mouth reminiscent of a good late harvest botrytis but a lot thinner, and the viscosity adds a lot to the heaviness experienced on the late palate.
Not outright offensive but smacks of unbalance, and overexuberance matched by lack of finesse.
Drinking this beer makes me finally understand why Dogfish Head so frequently polarises people. I appreciate their passion and their esoteric love of all the wonders of beer, but uniqueness doesn't make this a great beer, or even a good beer. God bless them, but frankly if I were given the choice between this and a Corona... well, hmmm... It might make me think about the choice, let's just say that.
Pours a slightly hazy bold golden colour, with only minimal head provoked through a reasonably aggressive pour. Head disintegrates rather quickly, leaving on a film around the top. Lacing is ok. Overall, not a great looker, but pleasant enough.
Big slightly wine-like booze notes on the nose. Musty phenols, rather similar to a kellerbier, and a little spice, but nothing like the odd fragrances I was expecting. Rather more like a wine-filled cellar - the mustiness suggests age at least.
More strident alcohol notes on the palate. Sharp, somewhat astringent heat through the centre of the palate, and a lifting slightly herbal fragrance on the back, evoking rosemary and carob. Almost a fortified wine character to it though which makes up the bulk of the flavour, hot, heavy and slightly acidic. Mouthfeel is sharp with booze, with a light tingle from the acidity.
I can't say I'm a big fan of this. The wine notes are prominent, but there's not a huge amount of interest otherwise, and it feels as though it is far too alcoholic. An interesting experiment perhaps from Dogfish Head, but not one that I'd care to experiment with again.
Pours a murky red-tinged very dark brown. Almost black in parts, but not quite. Like Eminem it only wishes it were black. Head is an odd yellow colour, almost turmeric, and dissipates to leaves a bit of a rim. Lace is something else, thick and clingy. An interesting stout.
Nose makes me think it's a weizenbock, because there's lots of fresh-cut banana on that, full banana esters coming at me. Some slight hints of espresso behind it, some caramel notes and a hint or two of some clove and mild cardamom. But the banana is dominant, which spoils an otherwise decently complex nose (not the banana itself spoiling it, just the fact that the banana is so dominant).
Taste is strong, from the get-go. A fair amount of fruitiness, with more banana and a hint of dried mango at the front. Descends quickly into a robust roasted dark beer character, with lots of bittersweet chocolate, tobacco character and a hint of mint and coriander on the mid. Finish has a distinct alcohol kick; try as you might, 18% cannot be hidden, plus a slight sour edge with peppery notes. Never quite loses sight of that banana pulp, which re-emerges as a very interesting twist at the end. There's a lot of complexity on there but somehow I feel the flavour is subjugated by the strong booziness. Quite a fascinating beer but am not entirely sold on this.
Mouthfeel feels quick slick for what it is but it's mostly heavy, the very evident alcohol dries up the finish. Certainly to style but not the easiest drinking texture.
Am interested enough to keep sipping but it's not exactly a quaffer, let's face it.
73 / 100
Pours an oily black-brown colour, quite heavy, but slick, leaving just a few millimetres of light brown head around the rim. Static carbonation when swirled - the bubbling is incredibly fine and refined - it's like little trails of dust around the edge of the glass. Overall, a very impressive looking beer.
Nose is redolent with oak, vanilla and ripe banana - a huge sweep of incredibly sweet flavours is what really marks this as a classic high-gravity American stout for me. Darkness is hinted at on the nose, along with a slight hint of phenolic alcohol, but it's as though I'm just getting a preview here - a glimpse of what is to come on the palate.
Unfortunately, the first thing I notice on the palate is the carbonation, which is sharp and tingling, dancing like crazy on my tongue, leaving a slightly acidic impression. Following this, there are big notes of vanilla and greenish banana phenols, accompanied by a robust black ashy bitterness, but it's certainly lacking some fullness in the feel, and the tingling carbonation is slightly overwhelming. The booze notes start to assert themselves after just a few sips, and you can certainly feel its effect not long after starting.
There is no doubt this is a big, brash and unapologetic beer - in ways similar to the 120-minute IPA, I feel as though DFH may have pushed the envelope slightly too far with this one, and pushed it outside the realms of decency. That's not to say this beer isn't worthy of respect - it just sure makes it a challenge to drink.
80 / 100
Bottle purchased from New Beer Distributors, New York.
Pours a turbid, deep cloudy gold colour, with a filmy head of white foam, that only survives as a thin collar around the edges. Lacing is pretty nice, but I kind of expected an odd brew. The cloudiness is quite extreme, and the body looks pleasantly thick and heavy. Overall, a very pleasant looking brew.
Oh yeah, very odd nose, but I do remember similar spicy notes on the only other Sahti I've had the privilege to taste. Lots of vanilla flower, honey, slight spice of crushed undergrowth, big banana phenols and crushed marrowbone characters, mingling with sweet notes of spiced tea - notes of cardamom and fresh cut fennel. Such a wonderful melange of odd flavours. I love it.
Taste is quite similar, extremely smooth, with the sweet notes of vanilla and banana/clove present on the fore, followed by a striking phenolic bitterness rising out of the back, possibly the juniper, or perhaps the tannic notes of the tea making themselves felt. Overall, it's extremely fresh and clean, smooth and buttery in places, and exceptionally drinkable - rather reminiscent of a good hefe, in fact. Really extremely tasty.
It's hard to rate a style of beer of which I've had (now) a total of two examples. It's exceptionally drinkable and really very, very unique, and I find it hard to separate this from the Nogne O/Dugges collaboration. I think this is probably slightly lighter on the juniper bite.
Otherwise, this is a really drinkable and extremely enjoyable brew, cementing Sahti as a style for me to seek out and enjoy. I only hope the style enjoys more of a revival - it really is a tasty and unique category of beer, and this one is a lovely example.
76 / 100
Thanks again to BA lacqueredmouse for this one.
Pours a yellow-tinged (as in, bright) orange colour, opaque really, with large cloud, some light coming through the bottom. Head is modest but retains well, leaving a thin wispy cloud, and some nice trails of sticky cream-coloured lace. Pretty darn good.
Nose is quite funky with a lot of spice on there. Hints of banana cake are very prominent - sweet, slightly tart, but a really big whiff of nutmeg, ginger and clove. In fact, nutmeg is all over this. It smells like my mother's delicious spice biscuits. Slight capsicain aroma, like really hot chilli funk, at the back. I fucking love this nose. It's full of divergent, complex aromas, all of which I love, and it just makes me want to sit here and sniff all night.
Taste is also very nutmeggy - lots of pleasant, sweet spice, mixed with pleasant banana esters, some light leather, five spice, some clove, anise and maybe some citrus as well lingering behind. But ultimately a big mélange of spice. Lots of sweetness as well, with a slight bite at the back - more tart than bitter - but yeah, it starts sweet and the spice just comes along to complement it. I think it could use more funk, because the sweetness becomes a bit overpowering the more you drink, and makes it a little bit insipid. Fairly good texture in the mouth, although it feels too thin for what it's trying to do.
Very pleasant, but it's too sweet basically, and makes you wish it were more wild and gruff, because that would make it magnificently sexy. It's like making love to Anne Baxter while fantasising about Bette Davis.
Pours a murky brown-orange colour, with some loose-bubbled head initially. The head dissipates quickly, unsurprising considering the high alcohol content, but there is a little white fizz around the edges. Body looks surprisingly thin considering the strength of the brew. Overall, it looks good, if a little scary.
Extremely strong nose, full of spiritous alcohol and sharp high-alpha hop acids. Citrus is pungent, and the alcohol is redolent of brandy. Little sweetness, although there is a port-like residual sugar character lingering around - mostly the alcohol and the hops take charge, however.
Strong and pungent on the palate, initially brash with citric hop bitterness, before the tingling warmth of booze bellows up from the back, roaring a fire of spicy spirit-like burn through my mouth. The alcohol is the main-event here, slightly sweeter than pure spirits, but almost with the intensity. The hop character even takes a backseat to the booze. I can't deny it's confronting, but it's almost too much - perhaps there is a limit to just how far you can push beer after all.
Overdone. Too full of booze, and too straight up with its roar of dominant power. If you're after insanity, maybe this is the beer for you. For me, while it is in all respects unique, it's so far beyond the realms of decency, and so confrontingly undrinkable. Maybe it mellows with age. Maybe we'll see. Right now, I can't abide it, even if I can respect it.
73 / 100
Pours a golden urine colour with tan head, medium thickness with good retention, and a slow and miniscule bead. Lacing is wonderful and sticky, spewing rings around the glass. Not quite sure of how flat and clear the body is, but elsewhere excellent.
Nose is really nice, with a pungent, almost ticklingly strong aroma of hops, very tangy and citrusy but balanced out quite nicely with some rich caramelly malt. Hints of lemongrass and a lot of barley, pretty damned nice, but almost too strong. It makes my nose itch.
Taste is rich in malty goodness, with a great deal of barley and earthy toffee with an almond nougat kind of nuttiness around the edge, and a tart sizzle on the mid-palate not unlike lime. Has a very dank, potently rich and almost funky finish, with a lot of warming alcohol giving it a stately cognac character on the back, but never burning. It goes down smoothly, thanks I think to the hops which are there to lend it bitterness and an almost acidic back, but are noticeably ineffective in terms of exploding with hoppy bitterness.
In fact, the hopping seems very English and it gives this more of an American Strong Ale character than a DIPA. But it might just be that I'm used to the west coast Amarillo/Cascade hopped IPAs. The biggest character I get from here is the booziness. Very pleasant, this, but not a quaffer. Best enjoyed in moderation.
Pours a light amber-gold colour, with a thickish and rocky head of white foam. It disippates slightly, but leaves some good sticky lacing. Looks not unlike an English Pale Ale. Not bad, overall.
Some resin and spice on the nose, even a slight funk - it could be the pumpkin pie spices. Definitely something organic and slightly sulphurous on the nose, it's not terribly exciting or powerful, and the notes are just off enough to make you wonder if there's something wrong.
Taste is lightly sweet, with an initial spice hint that wells up until a rather phenolic bitterness on the back, fairly redolent with alcohol fumes. The spiciness is the only thing that keeps it from being thoroughly unpleasant, and while it does a reasonable job, I can't avoid that alcohol presence, which is very much pronounced for something weighing in at only 7%. Mouthfeel has a pleasant sheen to it, but the flavour is either thin or phenolically unpleasant, so it doesn't have much to work with.
Not one of my favourite American brews, and yet again I have to say I'm disappointed with a style of beer I wish I could get to like. Have I just had bad examples?? Something tells me that there's a beautiful, wonderful pumpkin ale out there somewhere... Unfortunately, this isn't it.
59 / 100
Pours a slightly burnished gold colour with modest beige head that sinks very quickly, but leaves some speckled lacing behind to remind me it was there. Leaves a thinnish crown. Pretty good, not spectacular.
Pretty standard barley aroma with some quite English, resiny hops coming through. Smells musty and quite tart. Quite a lot of vinegar, maybe a hint of barnyard and some metallic elements. Interesting enough, but I'm not that keen on it.
Taste is far more rich, with a nutty caramel kind of malt coming through nicely. An element of a mocha character underlying, quite sweet and lacking the funky sourness of the nose, although there is a slightly tart hit at the end and possibly in the mid, kind of bourbony, and the hops on the back are quite woody.
Am not getting much pumpkin, although there is a hint of spice on the mid - nutmeg I think, while there is a noticeable hint of alcohol on the back, but I think it's noticeable mainly because I wasn't expecting a heavy beer from the appearance and smell. Mouthfeel is quite nicely smooth but that booze hit makes me recoil just a bit. Fairly drinkable I guess, but again that zing marks it down a shade.
81 / 100
Pours insanely thick, a gooey rush of deep dark gold. Head is insane and the lacing is amazing - it leaves wonderful patches down the glass just from the slight dissipation of the head. Bubbles don't know what to do to punch their way out through the body, but they make a valiant effort. Looks wonderful.
Big piney, almost solvent like pungency on the nose. Pepper, latex, resin, citrus rind and acetone all bubbling and gurgling together in some insane witches' brew of powerful aromas. Oh so grand for an IPA - hoppy up the hilt.
Oh, before you even get a dose of those lovely hops, that heavy belting richness makes its presence felt, with a slick, thick, chewy texture coating the mouth. Once it's there it releases its bomb - a phenomenally astringent hop bitterness cascading over the tongue. Apart from the thick body, there's almost no whisper of the malt backing, but that's ok. That's what this beer is all about.
It's a big hop-bomb this one, almost to the point of insanity. It teeters oh so close to the edge of being irredeemable, but stays gloriously on our side of the realm.
76 / 100
Pours a delicious burnished amber colour, looks very thick in the body, lots of languous large-bubbled carbonation feeding a lightly filmy head of off-white foam. Lacing is good. Looks pretty tasty overall.
Oh man... There's something so classic about the American IPA that we just can't get in Australia. This aroma, full of sweet fruit and pepper, takes me right back to my last trip to the US. It's not as full on as some IPA aromas, a bit sweeter, and less of the pungent potency, but still very tasty.
On the palate lie those hidden apricots. Initial robust IPA character is then leavened by a sweet-sour dried apricot flavour, that adds a little bit of quirky fun. In all honesty, it fits rather nicely with the sharp hop characters. There is, however, not the level of back palate bitterness I would have expected. But again, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
A very drinkable brew. Undoubtedly odd, but assuredly enjoyable.