6 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam as part of the 2017 #fletchvent advent calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a very pale yellow colour, relatively clear, with a loose-bubbled white head that sinks very quickly, to the point that it has no head whatsoever. As a result, there's also no lace, and the carbonation look low. It's not a very exciting brew.
Nose is also very flat. There's a faint musty tartness to it, like you might get with a bad saison, but also savoury cereal notes, and a kind of woody hop character like you might get in a mass-produced Australian lager. I'm unimpressed.
Taste is worse. Like, seriously: what is this? Foul, cloying cereal sweetness that persists and persists from the mid-palate to the back, with overtones of vomit and semi-sour garbage water. It's foetid. I can't drink it.
Feel is pointless. I don't even care what it feels like because the taste already makes it painful.
I really hoped this was another troll pick. But it was a real selection; it's just unbelievably bad. This is the worst beer I've had as part of the advent calendar, and that includes the unpleasantness of the Erdinger Alkoholfrei.
71 / 100
XPA collab between RAH and Hargreaves Hill. Tried on tap at Royal Albert.
Pours an orange-tinted amber colour, slow but steady bead. Head is foamy and nice, with good thick retention and some nice lacing as well. Looks like a very impressive pale.
Smells like one too. All hops but a good complexity to the fragrance. Largely west coast hopping with lots of sharp and bitter citrus, lemon and grapefruit primarily. Some nice tangy passionfruit aromas lingering behind as well as an earthy peppery spice note. Well balanced with a nice light caramel malt note. Really bloody nice.
Taste is more new world than I'd expected. Creamy caramel and vanilla malt note underlies it and the first note on the hop bill is passionfruit, giving it a whole tangy passionfruit pudding kind of note, with passionfruit seed character on the mid. Hops get some bittering late, with dry grapefruit citric note, and a slightly astringent hang. Bit of a shame that it lingers so much because it's remarkably smooth for the most part, while still being potent, and I just think the back is just off-kilter flavour wise so it's all bitterness with none of the tang.
A bit of pull-back bitterness, body maybe stops a bit short with the hop oils dominating the back with their crackle and pucker.
Drinks really well but gets a bit full-on late. 'Gen X' is a pretty apt name, because it's got plenty of shit going for it but it's pointlessly bitter. Ooh snap, what witty millennial repartee.
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a dark brown colour, quite murky but visible colour flashes. Head is beige, nice density but doesn't really retain. Lacing is lovely and sticky though. Looks decent, but not amazing.
Smells potent. Kind of ethanoic, with a yeasty vegemite note and maybe some ink in there as well. Not unpleasant though, as compelementing it underneath is a nice dark chocolate sweetness, so it's a bit odd but quite promising as well.
Taste is quite roasty and spicy. Nice dark chocolate notes with a big raw cocoa kind of edge to it. Gets somewhat bitter midway; retains the chocolate but gets a burnt character along with it then gets a little piquant late, with some black pepper and a kerosene kind of note as well (not unpleasant but like a strong aged Riesling). It's fairly full on and a little sour on the back as well, which turns it just a bit in the wrong way. Otherwise a pleasant ballsy stout.
Feels a little thin upfront, but then gets some good substance towards the back. Not bad in the end.
Yeah, I'm enjoying it but there are a couple of rough edges that could be smoothed out while sticking within the style. Good export stout though.
See Jez's review for context. Reviewed from notes two years after drinking. Had to look up the order of Jez's reviews to find out what this was as I reviewed it blind and didn't write what the beer actually was.
Pours a dark-brown colour, with beige head, large bubbles and sparsely distributed. Lace is not that exciting. Otherwise, looks nice.
Smells somewhat hoppy, mostly. Fruity, with notes of apricot and passion. Some sweet cake-batter malt notes as well; caramel, vanilla, touch of buttery goodness. Smells a lot lighter than it looks. Could use some darker grounding, just for expectation management.
Taste is very bitter throughout. Again, not very roasty or dark though, it's a resinous, woody bitterness that runs throughout the palate. Notes of chewy caramel toffee upfront with some passion and citrus midway. Some resin comes through late, yeah it tastes light again. Could think you're drinking an IPA; doesn't have a lot of dark or roast characters. That's not a bad thing, but it seems off-colour; given that it's not a light beer it can have some dark characters and still be nice. Just seems a bit lacking as a result.
Decent body, bit of pull towards the back. Not bad.
Nice old beer, all things considered. Would like some more emphasis on the darker notes, because frankly it just needn't be dark-coloured for the way it tastes. Though all up it does taste nice at the end of the day.
75 / 100
Got a bottle of this in my Bridge Road beer advent calendar and thought I'd reviewed it; turns out I haven't.
Pours a burnished red-copper colour. Head is beige, pillowy and foamy and sinks nice and unevenly. Leaves a few specks of lacing behind. Touch of cloud. Looks beautiful.
Smells appealing and quite intriguing. Coppery, but with pungent apple fruit character, slight hints of lemon and tangerine and a touch of piquant black pepper. Grassy, and some nice toffee caramel malt underlying. Very pleasant.
Taste is very malty upfront, lots of sweet spice to it as well. Develops some herbal hop notes with a fresh zing of lemon midway, then a slight coppery bitterness towards the back. Dry pepper on the back as well. Quite spicy really, with a touch of fennel and other herbal notes. Finishes clean but a nice residual toffee sweetness hangs around to keep you drinking. Very tasty in spite of that metallic twang.
A bit sharp but smoothes out delightfully at the end, I think it's that residual malt base coming through on the end.
So it's possible I've never tried this beer and yes, I get the hype now. For so long I thought I'd tried this and just didn't agree with the hype, but this really is a great drop. Exciting, fresh and very well crafted.
69 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert during their HH takeover.
Pours a burnished amber, clear. Off-white head, fluffy and uneven. Good retention. Looks good.
Smells good. NZ hop notes with sharp citrus, passion and a touch of citra fruit salad. Sweet with an edge. Good.
Taste is hoppy, citric with fresh tropical fruit notes. Biscuity malt also with dry crumbly character. Resinous on the back and spicy with a touch of floor cleaner, but also pepper, grapefruit and finishes with mango/passion. Bit sharp but lots to like.
A bit of texture, then a bit too sharp on the back. Puckering. Bone dry. Needs more pad.
Good IPA notes. Feels dehydrating though, detracts a bit from the nice flavours.
61 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours disappointingly clear, pale gold. Head is white, a foamy cloud with decent lace rim. Could use a lot more cloud, otherwise OK.
Smells spicy, wheaty. Fresh cut grass, pepper, not a lot of fruit. That's OK; I like my hefes more on the spicy side.
Touch of fruit upfront. Gets bitter, peppery spicy midway. Touch of umami, oddly. Maybe capsicum, then green pepper, and a touch of fennel. Mildly sweet, decent spice but not really piquant. Slightly sour. Not my favourite hefe but not bad.
Decent mouthfeel, dry. Not a lot of texture. But not bad.
Drinkable but just not my favourite blend of hefe flavours.
83 / 100
750ml heavy-duty dark green bottle, number 27/50 from the original batch brewed at Hargreaves Hill Brewery by Denise from Moylan's and Kjetil from Nøgne Ø for Good Beer Week 2012. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to the brewday event, so I witnessed the beer being brewed. I tried it on-tap early when it was really quite astringent and too young. I felt like enough time had passed to crack open my single bottle.
Pours a lovely deep brown colour, with a good fine weight to the body. Head is a silky cap of off-white, almost creamy, and it leaves incredibly good lace as it goes down, even as the head becomes pocked with larger bubbles. Lovely fine carbonation. Looks very good.
Nose is very good, especially for 2 years old. The Aussie hops still come through remarkably well, giving it a sweet fruit note mingled with some more peppery herbal tones. Underneath this, the malt is robust, but subdued, providing some very nice sweetness that has some rounder, browner tones to it. I like it a lot.
Taste has a pithy lemon and grapefruit bite to it through the centre, but the roast has subdued a lot since I first tried it, and it's much the better for it. Here, it just provides a bit of structure and background—some brown bread, a little toastiness and some sweetness that makes the beer more coherent as a whole. The hops are very nice, though, and really drive it. The fruitiness is still here as an effervescent aromatic quality, but the sweetness of the beer is still based on the malt. It's very nice stuff.
Feel is smooth and solid. It's a really good basis for the rest of the beer.
Overall, I'm really impressed. This has integrated so well since it was first brewed. This is now a genuinely exceptional beer. Smooth, drinkable and very, very flavoursome. Better yet, the balance is here now, where it wasn't when it was young. This is a truly fully-formed beer, and I have to say an exceptional example of the style. I'm only sad that I'll never drink another bottle of it.
A collaboration between Hargreaves Hill in the Yarra Valley, and Bodebrown from Curitiba in Brazil. This was a bock that was then "hop-filtered" through Galaxy and Summer hops. Tried on-tap at the Royal Albert Hotel in Surry Hills.
Pours a solid, reddish amber hue, with a slight hazing, but not a lot. Body is decently weighted. Head is a frothy yellowish off-white and it forms a big crest that leaves sheeting lacing. Looks pretty good.
Nose doesn't have much going for it, despite the Lupolado of its name. There's a bit of chunky caramel and just a suggestion of rustic, earthy hops that give a slightly metallic twang. But there's not much else, and it's not particularly potent.
Taste is a bit better. More of that solid malty caramel character coming through with an organic uptilt like banana leaf. Full malt through the centre of the palate and more of that earthy, slightly herbal hop tone. Finishes with a touch of burnt caramel that lingers as a savoury sweetness.
Feel is pleasantly full and rounded.
Overall, it feels robust, but without a huge amount of flavour to it. It's decent enough, but it didn't really excite me either.
75 / 100
Pours a gold colour, lacking in cloud which I would have expected. White head, really rather dense and sticks around nicely.
Rubbery nose, with nice fruit characters and lots of spice. Anise, banana and clove, touch of vanilla. Decent, but a little bit lacking maybe.
Spicy and fruity on the nose with a touch of funk. Slightly metallic at times, all very subtle with slight spice and slight funk. Just a hint of banana towards the back. Not bad at all.
Nice texture, with slight carbonation but a bit bitty as well to create a solid body that still goes down easily.
Very drinkable, has the hallmarks of a big Belgian ale without the booziness.
On-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne. No Grisette style on BA, but it falls in a similar niche to a Saison, hence the classification.
Pours a pale golden colour, quite clear, with a white head formed solidly of large bubbles that crackly and pop their way out of existence. Lace is patchy as a result. Lots of fine carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Nose is fine in a generic Belgian sort of way. Slightly spicy with a hint of rubber and some banana esters. Overall, it's clean, but not huge, and not overly exciting.
Light grain on the front with some faint funky characters. This develops into a wheat-beer-like bubblegum character further on, with a clean but smooth finish. Very little crispness on the finish, allowing the rubbery character to come through in the aftertaste. Feel is clean and clear, and gives a polished professional edge to the beer.
Overall, this is very drinkable. I can't say categorically what a Grisette is after having tried this beerâin many respects it feels like a saison or a Belgian Paleâbut that's not a bad thing. This still feels solidly made.
75 / 100
Pours a very, very very dark colour. Need to hold it right up to the light to get a glimpse of colour. Head is just gorgeous. Ochre hue, beautifully dense and generous with great retention. Lace is amazing, head is amazing. This is an amazing-looking beer.
Smells a little bit salty. Just getting the main criticism out of the way first. Dark, sweet, with lots of espresso, chocolate and caramel, with plenty of nutty - almost rye-esque - notes as well, but yeah, there's a distinct hint of saltiness as well, which makes it a bit below what it could have been, at least in terms of coherence of aroma.
Taste bursts with flavour from the get-go. Loads of dark, roasty character that's big and black and back in black. But it gets sweeter, boozier and more nutty notes towards the mid with hazelnut, chocolate, salted caramel and some hints of creme de cacao, plus a touch of Irish cream. It's god a nice bitterness to it, with lots of strong burnt roasty notes. Not quite a dessert beer but could certainly be paired with something equally big and bold and blokey.
Texture is a bit sharp on the front, finishes decently, both sweet and dry. Not bad.
This is a challenging beer, lots of character but well finessed. Not a gateway beer; more a big, tasty statement for the already-converted.
92 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer, shared with @LaitueGonflable before our final 2012 Sydney Festival show.
Pours, just gorgeously. Like seriously black, thick and sinewy, with a full crest of mocha chocolate foam, that forms solid lacing is it recedes. Body is heavy and full. Apart from the slightly too-light colour of the head, it's damn near perfect.
Nose is rich and sweet, perhaps a little too sweet, with a grainy malt character coming through above everything else. Still, otherwise, it's rich with chocolate, mild roastiness and a bright astringency, almost cherry-like, giving a kirsch like potency. It's good, but there are some other characters that could make it great.
Tasteânow here's a real improvement. Big sweet roasty characters, with a bite of coffee-like astringency to clean it up. Gorgeous smooth chocolate, roast bitterness, subtle vanilla and sugary depth. Wow, this is good. In fact, I've not had this depth and fullness of character from a beer that didn't rely heavily on oak (and possibly bourbon) for the sweetness. Here, you can tell it comes from the depth of the grain, giving a rich, sweet fullness that is amazingly expressive.
Feel is exemplary. Thick and full, but sweet and open to interpretationâit allows the flavours to get stuck, and then explode outwards.
I was a bit up and down on this beer, but it's genuinely, amazingly good. It's so rich, thick and beautiful, and so obviously crafted with love and skill. The only thing I fault it on is its complexity. But if it's missing that, it makes up for it with raw, unabashed power.
Yes, Yes, Yes.
75 / 100
Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney. First IPA from Hargreaves Hill? I believe so. I do enjoy Hargreaves Hill, and I love IPAs, so I hope this is a treat. Named, apparently for the "melony" character from the hops. Ho ho.
Pours quite dark, a deep amber-bronze colour, with a deep hazing. Fine and firm sandy coloured bubbles form a solid head, with great sheeting lace. Looks pretty good.
Nose is sweet, with aromatic characters that suggests Amarillo, giving a biting green papaya and lightly citric tang to a big body of rockmelon sweetness. Slight hint of caramel malt, but the melon itself is the main source of the sweetness. Lives up to its name, at least.
Taste is similar. Again, the rockmelon comes through, with a bit of crisp greenness. Smooth palate, but surprisingly little bitterness, just a touch of pepper and sweat. Not really that much of an IPA as a result, but the palate is still tasty: smooth, fragrant and flavoursome.
Very drinkable and quite smooth. Not a big IPA, and probably almost stretching the truth in calling itself that, but it's very sessionable, and very tasty. And I'm happy with that.
75 / 100
Pours a deep reddish colour with arrestingly beautiful head - yellowy beige, perfect finger-thick volume, craterous bubbles on top and sinking slowly to leave trails of sticky lace behind. Stunner.
Smells really very lovely, but with a sting in the tail. Lots of sweet caramel maltiness with some vanilla notes, maybe a hint of diacetyl but not enough to spoil. Nutty touch and maybe some light floral hops. Sting is a slight ethanoic intensity at the back which renders the sweetness a bit of ambiguity. Overall very nice though.
Taste is a malty malt-bomb from malt street. Sweet and pleasant, caramel burst on the front that develops really pleasant, complex sweetness on the mid, barley and toffee and brown sugar with a nutty edge. Has a brandy alcohol heat late-mid and lasting onto the back, which is a bit lacking in the taste department. There's nothing declarative on the finish, just a lot of residual sweetness and a fair booziness. Maybe a touch of woody hop as well. Very enjoyable palate, not too sweet and not too heavy for the most part, but enough of both.
Not quite as thick on the body as I might have expected and as such the booze is really noticeable on the back.
Yeah, maybe not that drinkable and a bit unpolished in places, but a very enjoyable and tasty beer.
48 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a darkish, but very surprisingly clear copper colour, with a fine white head. Much lighter than is usual for this style, so much so that I almost think I have the wrong beer. Head is good at least, and the heft in the body makes me consoles me to the fact that this is really what I'm drinking. Overall, a little underwhelmed though.
Nose is rather sharp, with a surprising citrus twang above a toffeed malty character, almost like a gueuze-like infection. This takes over the aroma, leaving a sharpness that is not only unwelcome, but verging on unpleasant when you're expecting big dark, plummy aromas.
Taste is a little better. There's not the sting of citrus or acidity here, but the booze is poorly hidden, meaning a sharp vinous twang is the main event. Body is light, which is somewhat expected for the style, but without the other characters, that's poor compensation.
I'm quite surprised at this. Hargreaves Hill should be doing much better. I can only hope that the guy at the Local was wrong, and what I'm drinking is not indeed the Abbey Dubbel, as he contended.
81 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour, clear, metallic-looking. Head retains a thin crown and small, uninspiring trails of lace. A bit of tiny carbonation. Looks a bit bland, but not too bad.
Smells quite malty, with a good English toffee sweetness. Touch of brown sugar as well and wholegrain bread and a mild brandy booze note. Pleasant, strong and sweet aroma.
Taste is also very sweet and malty, with plenty of toffee and brandy snap that develops a decent boozey flavour on the mid, with a big medicinal edge. Sweet all the way through to the finish, with a big sweet biscuity flavour capping it all off. It's a malty, heavy beer, but really smooth; just a beautiful transition from start to finish as it swells and crescendoes. That's a good bocky palate.
Soft, silky feel helps it down, plenty of body but there's virtually nothing heavy about it, just a slight nip of booze as it goes down.
A cracker of a beer from the Hills. A surprisingly drinkable drop that I could serve with a dessert or just drink all night at a party. Look forward to this in bottles.
60 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant reddish bronze colour, with a fine and creamy head. Nicely clear in the body, although it sits heavy and still in the glass. Minimal lacing. Looks nice.
Sharp, pungent and a little earthy on the nose. A hint of acidity which doesn't sit so well with everything else, but it's perhaps balanced by a caramel sweetness. The earthy hops are good, however.
Taste is smooth with only a little sharpness, that comes across as a little bit metallic and medicinal, especially on the back. Some earthy tones, but not as pronounced as in the aroma. Not as good as the nose suggested.
Feel is surprisingly light, and the acidity adds a bit of sharpness.
It's drinkable enough. Not great, but not bad. In many ways it typifies off the generic and reasonably forgettable Aussie craft beer.
On tap at the Local's ANZAC Day SpecTapular fest.
Pours a hazy light blonde colour, with a very fine bubbled and retentive white head. Nice tiny bubbled carbonation. Really its absolutely spot on for the style.
Some pleasant phenols on the nose, slightly musty with a mild cereal character. Mild.
Taste is similar, with a direct phenolic bitterness through the center and a light astringency on the back. Yeast notes are a bit too dominant later, leaving an overly organic, slightly rank character in he mouth. Organic works in a Keller, this is perhaps slightly too much though. Mouhfeel particularly thin.
Not a bad drop overall, and it makes a decent stab at a peculiar style.
Pours a clean pale golden colour, with a densely packed head of small but visible bubbles, sinks to a fairly thin film, leaves some great thick lace around, and has a slow bead running up the edge. Pretty standard looking except for that great lacing.
Nose is sweet, with some nice tangy floral notes, lavender and rosewater in there with a German hop edge. Grassy and herbal notes and a hint of banana. Fairly sweet malt and grain for the most part. Not an exemplary keller smell but a very nice aroma.
Taste disappoints at first, with a very sweet grainy character descending into some tangy fruit notes, banana and citrus zest. Some piney edges to the hops, then gets slightly bitter on the mid, with a very Australian gritty earthy character. Finishes with a slightly malty flourish, and some notes of melon. Decently complex but I feel the palate is a bit unbalanced, could use more unity between the sweet and bitter.
Mouthfeel is a bit too viscous for a lager as well, quite thick as it goes down and it damages the quaffability. Certainly an interesting texture, but I like my non-bock lagers a little lighter in body.
A pleasant drop and certainly a decent effort, just lacking in a couple of areas.
Very pale cloudy straw colour with a billowy, pocked head of white foam. Dissipates to a ring of film pretty quickly. Not a bad look, though a little light.
Nice wheat tang on the nose. Zesty citrus with a light underlying skunkiness. Almost a hint of that meaty POR character. I thought it was good at first, but there's a number of bad characters which just well up.
Light sweet palate with a creamy edge. Light bitterness creeps in later, with a rather unpleasant bad yeast character. Leaves a residual bad taste in your mouth. A shame - otherwise it's quite pleasant. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, light and smooth.
Drinkable enough. I'm just disappointed that there's a few too many off-style and unpleasant characters.
(Note: I was served this blind, and was convinced it was a witbier - it certainly has more of the sharp citrus characters of a wit than the banana-clove phenols of a hefe).
Tried on tap at The Royston.
Slightly cloudy orange gold colour. Looks nice. Head is minimal, but what is there is solid. Good lacing
There's just a slight hint of diacetyl on the nose, but the hops drive through with a sharp fruitiness, leaving it just a bad memory. Still, it's a bit weak, but reasonably pleasant.
Taste is also quite reasonable. Quite sweet, and surprisingly un-hoppy. There's a residual bitterness, and it's pretty clean on the palate. Mouthfeel is excellent, very smooth and with a good amount of body.
Pretty nice overall, very enjoyable.