73 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer for Chris' birthday, he kindly shared it with me.
Pours a dark brown, clear colour. Head is bige, nice foamy sheets of lacing. Looks thinner than expected, but good lace. Excellent, even.
Smells complex and good. Smokey, boozey, roasty. Some brandy, bourbon, chocolate and bacon. Bit sweet, quite full-on. But interesting.
Tastes full-on and complex too. Big roasty notes, nutty with some sweetness. Pecan character, getting roasty and boozey late-mid with bourbon, brandy and some raw dark bitterness. Chocolatey and rich with some cinnamon character late as well which is a nice twist on a predictable sweetness. Smoothes out at the end, with the booziness not hanging out until the end thankfully. It's a big complex beast that ends up sweet and pleasant and good.
Smooth, bit of bite midway where boozey heat shows thru. Not bad, but not perfect.
Overall drinks well. Hot, and complex, and not really coherently one thing more than others so it's kind of a big complex beast of no particular identity, except for being a very nice stout.
77 / 100
Pours an orangey amber colour, slightly hazy. Head is off-white; nice and foamy, thins out but leaves some nice thick cascades of lacing behind. Looks fairly standard but great lace.
Smells bizarre. Huge sweetness with honeysuckle and stonefruit. Lychee, rose, spiced cake. Massively floral, melony, and just cakey sweet. Strange pot pourri that's enticing, in the way that your Grandma's perfume might be.
Taste is very similar. Huge floral sweetness, with lavender and lychee-rose, big peach, apricot and mango - and then chilli heat. Which is just the last thing I expected from this. But its insanely sweet as well, just this patisserie level of layers of sweetness with honey, toffee caramel and then that stonefruit and chilli. Its so bizarre, but I can't help but enjoy it and when it gets to the heat on the back it tempers the sweetness wonderfully. But its still really sweet. Yeah its fucking weird. And i love a beer that can do weird to this extent.
Slightly heavy but smooth, with plenty of fizz and heat sensations on the back. Really good texture though.
There's nothing I've had like this; I'm very impressed, and very confused. But I'm loving every sip by now.
78 / 100
2016 vintage - bottle given to me by Jez. Tried on my own at home, exactly how it should be. Fuck other people.
Pours a dark espresso colour, just a glint of dark brown on the edge when held up to the light. Head is beige, tiny bubbles, webs out a bit at the edges and simmers down to a thin rim. Some nice lace, but nothing spectacular. Looks quite good.
Smells dark, sweet and pleasant. Noticeable chocolate character, with some big peanuty and pecan notes that may actually be oxidation. Some nice espresso and general burnt roasty character. Robust, but ultimately sweet and creamy in character. Enticing.
Taste is yeah, impressive. Starts roasty, but with a big cocoa-rich chocolate character that gets stronger on the mid, where it's joined by a big espresso note. Some notable peanut character then as well before finishing with a drawn-out roasty bitterness, nice, earthy and spicy. Distinct bourbony booze character, don't get a lot of oak, it tastes mostly like a raw alcohol note like a stripped back cognac, and a bit lacking in the vanilla coconut notes I may have expected. It's made up for by its nice gooey chocolatey sweetness, and overall it's a nice winter warmer stout, still sweet and smooth but roasty and bitter too. Enjoyable.
Nice big body, but yeah it gets a bit rougher and sharper on the back with that big booze character.
Another white whale down, but I'm really unsure of the channels through which I got this, and the slight oxidation is an indictment of that. It's not a bad style at all to have 1 year on, but it does raise the question of how it would be different fresh. Hotter? Roastier and more bitter? More oaky? Who knows. It's tasting mighty complex and mighty pleasant, so I personally don't care but whether its fully what the brewer intended for someone like me to drink, well yeah. If it's any better than this fresh I can see why it's so well regarded. As it is, it's just a really solid, pleasantly warming stout.
750ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne for my birthday, courtesy of Sam. I thought I'd return the favour by sharing it with him.
Pours a very clear golden colour, with a frothy head of white that persists as a creamy film across the top. Fine lacing forms across the glass. Carbonation is fine, promoted by the fine but solid body, which causes it to be thicker than expected. Looks good.
Nose is weird. Despite the name and the ingredients, the dominant character is vanilla, with a rich, sweet melted ice-cream character being the keystone. There is some sweet tropical fruit sitting underneath it, that gives it notes of banana and coconut. Mango is probably there too, but it's so mixed up in the creaminess.
Taste is also very smooth and creamy—indeed, it's almost too sweet. Here, there's an extremely pronounced malt character too—the 10% ABV making itself felt—and it feels surprisingly heavy. The habanero comes to the rescue though, providing a punchy heat on the back that contrasts quickly and slightly painfully.
Feel is smooth and rich on the front, with an undeniable build-up of heat on the back.
An intoxicating, unexpected and perplexing beer. It's a little like a triple-fried egg sandwich with chilli sauce and chutney. Only the wrong ingredients don't even necessarily make this work.
12oz brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Bottled in April this year, so it's about 3 months old.
Pours a dark but watery brown colour, with a fine, bubbly head of beige that only really provides spots of lace. Body is quit thin, but the fine, languid carbonation gives it the suggestion of weight. Looks decent.
Nose is wonderfully sharp with mild-roast coffee. It has a pointed crispness from the beans, but the overall impression is really quite soft and rounded. There's a good deal of sweetness to it, for a start, and a creaminess that comes from the malt content of the beer. So it's not excessively sharp. I find it rather pleasant.
Taste is a lot more robust—strikingly so, and to the point where you wonder if it really needs a year or so to mellow. It's immediately riproaringly crisp and sharp with bitter coffee; a flavour that combines with booziness in the mid palate and becomes slightly chemical. The malt sweetness is missing here, which leaves an inky quality to the back of the palate—slightly medicinal and bitter.
Feel is sharp and direct. There's a heat from the booze, but a surprising lack of body to cushion any of the other characters.
Overall, it's not bad, but it's a surprising slog to get through it. It's a shame because the aroma is excellent. I suspect it will mellow with age, but at the same time, it may lose some of that wonderful fresh sharpness on the nose. And that would be a shame.
93 / 100
Found fortuitously on-tap at City Beer Store in San Francisco, where me and two friends seemed to have grabbed the last three glasses of it before it went off.
Pours a pleasantly slick, black ebony colour that seems to shine in the glass. Head is a frothy, persistent crest of pale brown that leaves excellent, sheeting lace. Body is slick and thick. Looks great.
Nose is excellent. Interestingly, it comes across initially as very nutty, which provides some really lovely basis and structure to the beer. On top of this is smooth vanilla characters, and oak from the barrel, with some milk chocolate sweetness to fill it out. It's supremely luscious.
Taste follows a similar curve, but the vanilla is dominant here, making the beer come across as extremely creamy and smooth. Slight booze notes become present, giving hints of cherry and liquorice. The back is slick and lovely, with a touch of blackcurrant. The creamy, vanilla note really works with a slickness from front to back. It's gorgeous—a supremely constructed BA stout.
Feel is sublime—you can and probably should say "perfect". Slick and clean, but with a lovely weight behind it. Love it.
Overall—yeah, this is special. I love Founders Imperial Stout, I love their Breakfast stout, but with KBS they've hit a pinnacle. It's just so good.
72 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased, most likely, from Dan Murphy's by my Mum and given to me for me birthday.
Pours a pleasant honey golden hue, quite clear and with a bit of weight in the glass despite its ABV. Head forms a fairly persistent cresy of eggy white, that leaves a few minor specks of lace. Carbonation is fine and surprisingly languid. Looks pretty good.
Nose is a standout here. Big, clean, very crisp and very pleasant hop presence, tending towards the resinous rather than the big fruit-salady or citric notes. But it's still balanced with a pleasant malty sweetness that gives it a depth which seems unusual given its fairly approachable alcohol content. Green, very tasty and very pleasant. I like it.
Taste is a little more lacklustre, but not significantly so. Here there's still a bit of solid malt, but it drops out pretty quickly, leaving the back a bit thin and dry. Still, that proves the attenuation is good at least. Otherwise, it's a very pleasant IPA-style palate, with hops forward and green and balanced by enough malt to create contrast.
Feel is pleasant enough, but certainly a bit thin towards the back. It's decent enough though.
Overall, it's a very pleasant beer given it only really packs a leading jab. It's got structure to it, and its faults are only really from its conception rather than its execution. Of course, you expect nothing less from a brewery like Founders.
43 / 100
Pours a vivid red colour, clear with white foam on top that doesn't stick around. Looks fruit beery, but OK.
Smells like raspberry cordial. Sweet, sugary, with green apple crispness giving a slight commercial cider feel to it. Not great, or good.
Taste like raspberry cordial as well. Maybe a touch of tartness from a berry or green apple ester and a touch of booze on the back. All just fruity sweetness. Meh.
Full body, just a slight kiss of alcohol which is not bad. Reminds you that it isn't just cordial you're drinking.
Most alcoholic raspberry cordial I've ever had. Seriously though, why? This is not pleasant. And why send to Aus? It just lowers one's opinion of Founders and I know they do amazing beers. This isn't one.
71 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse during the 4th of July Spectapular.
Pours a bright pinkish-red with a minimal head of pale rose that sits around in a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Minimal filmy lace. Body is pretty light, especially considering it's fairly solid ABV. Carbonation is fine, however. It looks pretty decent.
Nose is raspberries all over, perhaps with a little bit of leafy dullness to cut through the sweetness a little. Otherwise, it's really quite reminiscent of raspberry cordial. Not bad if you like raspberry cordial.
Taste is really quite similar. It's a piercing raspberry quality through the centre of the palate, almost touched with a slight acidity, but not in the manner of a true framboise lambic for instance. There's a slightly leafy or vegetative bud note to it as well that's not bad, it helps pull it away from the truly sickly.
Feel is pretty full, but lightened a little somehow to stop it from just being thick.
given its ABV, and the strength of the fruit character, I'm impressed with how well this manages to stay drinkable. It's really not bad to drink, even as a fairly sweet beer. It's not a favourite of mine, but I have to respect it to some degree even so.
76 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez. Drunk at my place on my own.
Pours a pretty damn dark colour. Pretty much black. Head is beige. Decent look but sinks quite quickly. Lacing is nice. But could use more retention, because it looked nice but didn't last.
Smells chocolatey, sweet and pleasant. Lots of caramel notes, vanilla and bourbony oak. Touch of candied dried fruit with currant and sultanas. Touch of roast for good measure. Superb. Almost as good as this type of beer gets.
Taste is a little yeasty. Might be past its shelf life, and unfortunate for the brewer. Lots of chocolate though, throughout. Some decent roasty character midway, somewhat spicy with some mild oaky notes late and touch of caramel and notes of caramel. Yeah, feel like this would be the most amazing flavour but it's just a bit old so the yeast is coming through and dominating. At the same time, at 10.5% this should be great for at least two years, and I can't imagine it's that old, so I feel maybe it has dropped off a bit somehow.
Fluid, somewhat sticky but mostly velvety smooth. Touch of bite but not a lot.
As much as I'd love to try this fresh, I don't love impy stouts fresh either. So it's hard to say I want this freshly bought but then cellared for a year. But that's what I want. Actually, it wasn't so hard to say that. I guess it's just hard to specify such conditions for every imperial stout review.
90 / 100
12oz squat brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a silky black. Even the cascade out of the bottle looks thick, and it sits even more heavy and dormany in the glass. Head is also extremely dark—an extremely rich cap of fine brown mesh. Not much in the way of carbonation or lacing, but this is all about its darkness and its depth, and it has that in abundance.
Nose is truly wonderful. Rich and dark in the way of a true imperial stout. This isn't smoothed out by oak, this is all constructed for smoothness from the base up. Dense, dark toffee with lashings of aromatic coffee, liquorice and toasted brown bread. As it warms, there's even some dark fruity notes, like the teeth-staining juiciness of overripe blackberries. Awesome stuff.
Taste is also extremely good. There is such a wonderful dynamic range to the beer as you take each sip. It starts smooth and caressing, with the slick feel giving it an extremely comforting entry. This is then challenged by a potent, but restrained roasted bitterness, backed by more of those fruity blackberry characters to help it go down. But before it becomes too much, there's a softening—a smooth, slightly dry sweetness that takes the impact away and lets the palate glide to a soft, toasty finish that lingers with savoury grain notes. The slickness in the body helps throughout—it adds a wonderful softness while maintaining body and richness, and this really helps it express its flavours.
Yeah, this is an absolutely cracking beer. Indeed, this may be making a solid play for my favourite non-barrel-aged Imperial Stout. There's such a wonderful structure, and so much complexity to it; and it also manages to stay very well balanced. It's truly lovely.
85 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a really genuinely thick and cloudy amber colour, almost with a touch of ruby to it. Head is a very fine ring of faint cream, that leaves nice concentric circles of lace down the glass. Carbonation in powdery and languid when tilted. All up, it looks pretty awesome.
Nose is also very good indeed. Firm woody barrel notes give a rich, heavy character, matched with masses of heavy malty sugar and a faint touch of smoke. There's something just a little bit medicinal to it—a little extra booze, perhaps—and it gives it an edge and a bite which helps elevate it above the heaviness.
Taste is also extremely good. It has a really firm caramel richness on the front, mingled with a slightly brighter burnt-sugar/toffee character. But this is only the start of the beer. Behind this comes some lovely boozy notes, a slight hint of smoke again, and a mild bite of cherry and pepper. Encapsulating everything is a very pleasant oak character, giving some vanilla smoothness all around the edges. It's a lovely beer.
Feel is thick and lovely. Smooth, rich and clean—providing the canvas for the beer to show off all its other wonders.
Yep. This is a really cracking brew. It's certainly heavy, but the balance is good, so it doesn't ever feel like too much as you continue to drink it. It has so much to offer, and it wraps it up in a package that means you can appreciate it all.
60 / 100
Pours a dark brown colour. Head is beige - bordering on ochre - and whispy. Lace is a bit thin. Looks OK.
Smells like coffee. Intense, burnt, spicy espresso, but more so, with a big kick to the gonads to get you up and about. Spicy, rich, earthy. Not much else though. More would make this a huge winner.
Taste is kind of similar. Big choco-malt flavour upfront and on the back as well. Touch of espresso as well, but more meek and feeble. Roasty, a bit spicy, kind of vegetative more than anything though. Like a coffee beer but underroasted.
Smooth body, has a bite on the back from the bitterness though.
Not hugely enamoured of this. It kind of sleepwalks a little through the coffee bear territory without ever enlivening the senses.
12oz brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pleasantly deep brown hue, ruby red when held to the light, with a very fine and fairly persistent film of yellow-beige. Lacing forms in spots, and the body is very rich indeed, holding fine rivulets of carbonation as its tilted. Looks pretty heavy and good.
Nose is rich and malty, with plenty of roast notes and a medicinal overtone. Slight smoky aromas permeate a little as it warms, along with a mineral sharpness. Booze inveigles itself as well, giving a heady boost of intoxication to the mix. Nice stuff.
Taste is initially big and sweet, but strangely enough it gets sharper as it warms, substituting a fine mineral, slightly medicinal tone for the broad sweetness at the start. There's still a burnt toffee character persisting, and more suggestions of smoke and booze. Aftertaste is quite blunt: without much lingering sweetness it drops off rather suddenly.
Feel is good, smooth throughout, and allowing some permeation of the sweetness even when it's a little lacking on the back.
It's a big beer, missing a little complexity (or maybe suffering a little from transportation), but with plenty to offer nonetheless.
81 / 100
12oz bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney.
Pours a solid deep brown, with a slightly pocked head of beige across the top of the glass which settles into a firm ring. Lace only forms dots, and the beer itself is less full and heavy as it might have been. Looks good though.
Smell is exceptional: big cocoa roasted characters, but hit with a huge, pleasant, boozy, slightly astringent and slightly spicy capsaicin character. Slight coffee notes, but not as much as they might have been. Instead, the raw cocoa bitterness comes through much more. It's surprisingly fresh: big and tasty.
Taste is much more integrated, and extremely pleasant, although for some reason it feels less aggressive and intense. Instead, the coffee works its way in pleasantly with some of the roasty oatmeal characters providing a broad and supple conglomeration of flavours. Feel is smooth and fine, perhaps lacking a little richness, but providing a broad basis for the interplay of flavours.
Overall, this is an extremely pleasant and well-integrated beer. It seems to have an almost fanatical following that I can't quite subscribe to, but it is indeed a lovely beer. I would certainly enjoy drinking it more often.
Dark brown colour, mostly black except at the very edge. Head is beige, thin and dispersed, leaving specks of lace behind. Looks pretty standard, but not bad.
Smells roasty and a bit stouty. Plenty of espresso but a nice sweet edge with unsweetened chocolate providing some balance, and a touch of pecan towards the back. Again fairly pedestrian aromas, but decently put together.
Taste is also fairly nutty, with sweet pecan and hazelnut flavour pervading. Not a lot of roastiness except the sweet and nutty notes are slightly darkened, to an overall fairly chocolatey flavour. Hint of licorice on the back and maybe a whisper of leather. Quite decent porter, but again there's nothing really interesting here, and ultimately it's a bit sweet and a bit bland.
Decent texture for the style, really. Foamy and dries up quite well. Yeah, nice.
A fairly standard effort; could use more oomph from somewhere but it's decent drinking.
76 / 100
Purchased in New York, brought back to Sydney and shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a very deep, murky almost-black, frizzled brown at the edges. Head poured dark and solid to begin with, but settles to a mild film of chocolatey brown. Body is very pleasantly firm and thick, and forms some nice fine carbonation when tilted. Overall, it's a decent looking brew, but not a spectacular one.
It's all uphill from there though. Big roasted, sweet/savoury notes on the nose, giving dark coffee, brown bread crust and a hint of red wine tannins. This is all smoothed with a mild malt sweetness and the suggestion of vanilla. Lovely blend, and while still rather mild and subdued, it makes for a very pleasant aroma.
Taste is similarly pleasant. Roasted notes form the basis, but these are assuaged by a mild milk sweetness and more of those vanilla overtones. Slight hint of leather on the aftertaste, along with a cleansing, but not prominent hop bitterness. Smooth and luxurious on the palate, while maintaining fluidity.
A really nice beer, and probably a holotypical American Porter. It's well made and solidly believable. Great drop.
77 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour, head is dissipated to a film with some bubbles around. Lace is lacklustre, as is most of this beer's appearance.
Smell is nutty and tasty. Sweet, with caramel, but salted caramel really, nice balance. Some leafy foliage on there, some lemon thyme, pineapple and tempura batter. Sweet, but so much else going on, each sniff is a new journey. Funderful.
Taste hits you on the front with big malt, caramelised barley that dwindles a bit midway, but leaving flavours of endive and some pineapple sweetness. Oaky on the back with big woody hop notes and lots of nutty character as well - almond, pecan and peanut. A bit lacking on the mid but otherwise, front is deliciously sweet, back is deliciously organic and cleansing. It seems like a little beer with lots of flavour.
Bit boozey on the back, kind of leaves with a lingering heat. Otherwise smooth but not greatly full. Not bad.
This beer seems like a 9-year-old schoolgirl with her hair in plaits who produces from her Hannah Montana schoolbag a massive morning star and proceeds to garrot every mofo in the vicinity with huge fucking spikes. It seems mild and harmless at first, but brother, it ain't.
Pours a russet-amber colour, slight dark tinge to it. Head is lacklustre with some nice trails of lace. Not much else to report.
Smell is sugary; nice and complex with malty toffee, raisins and sherry notes. Not hugely aromatic, but nice complex sweetness with a touch of hop resin for grounding.
Taste is a bit blarey; lots of malt on there with a huge flavour development, just earthy sweetness for the majority. Touch of toffee with figs and candied orange peel on there. Robust resinous hop late adds quite a bitterness that is almost phenolic in the way it dominates and subjugates the sweet palate. Not bad, but not a great synergy between the elements.
Not quite as full in the body as I expected given the nose, feels a little bit fizzy in the mouth.
Enjoyable beer, but just reminds me, really, of better beers in the same vein.
80 / 100
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in NYC, brought back to Sydney and opened with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a hazy reddish orange colour, with a crackling large bubbled head of yellow-white foam. Some speckled lacing, but minimal body. Some film across the top of the glass as well. Fine carbonation. Looks decent enough, but missing something.
Nose is sharp and slightly resiny, with plenty of earthy hops, much in the woody, almost ashy east coast style rather than the fruity, citric west coast style. Hints of rye come through with touches of sourdough bread and hefty dark malt. Pretty tasty.
Taste is very good, with a lovely balance between nutty grains, a touch more of that slightly sour bread character and a robust bitterness on the back, which lingers into a woody, resiny finish. It's all really well balanced, so at different points along the palate different elements stand up and make their presence felt.
Really nice beer, and big when it comes to flavour. Plenty of complexity to make it interesting, and nicely balanced. It could actually show off the rye a little bit more, but that also might make it more gimmicky, rather than having everything integrated as it is right now.
92 / 100
Purchased in New York and brough tot Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours an exceptionally light yellow colour, with a frothy but dissipating head of pure white. Really surprisingly light, both in body and colour. Exceptionally fine carbonation forms, and although the body looks fluid, the bubbles stay in suspension for a long time. Looks surprising, but pretty good.
Nose is a joy. Lovely fresh and crisp hop characters, giving slight citric overtones to a basis of rich stonefruit aromatics. Plenty of peach and apricot stone, with characters of lemon and pine. It's so fresh, bright and enjoyable. And way, way brighter and fresher than I expect from a DIPA, especially one of this weight.
Taste is also exceptionally good. The lightness on the body is no lie, although the fact that it's so high in alcohol is a continual shock. Here we get fresh orange-flavoured hoppiness with just enough body to cushion the increasingly sharp bitterness that comes through on the back, but without giving up any of the limelight the hops so rightly deserve. It's cleansing and fresh and bright, with citric aromatics still coming through and a lightness that makes you want to drink it all night.
Wow. I can't believe just how light, fresh, aromatic and drinkable this is for 9.4% ABV. But the extra potency allows for an absolute bombardment of hoppy freshness, which gives it a intoxicatingly bright and aromatic core. An absolute joy to drink. I'm sure I've not had a more drinkable beer of this weight.
83 / 100
Purchased at New Beer Distributors in New York. I believe this is my first Founders beer, being as though my forays to the US usually stick to the West Coast. Let's see how it goes.
Pours a rather dark orange, almost bronze colour, with a fine and filmy head of white that sticks in fine patterned lacing to the sides of the glass. Good depth of body, and it leaves some very good static carbonation. Good look all up.
Nose is very citric and sharp, with very classic C hop characters of lemon and underripe orange. Slight hint of booze, and a touch of sweet malt that blends with the hops to give a slightly woody, slightly nutty character. Pretty good.
Taste is very nice, crisp hop bitterness that melds with a bed of soft malt and flavours of marzipan and lemon. Leafy, fresh bitterness laces the back of the palate, giving a bite that adds to its refreshment. Really, really well balanced, while staying full-flavoured and robust.
Really good IPA. I'm biased towards the West Coast examples, so I'd say this is my favourite American IPA not from the West Coast. But the style is directed that way anyway, so I guess you could say it's just my prejudices showing again...