Murrays Brewing
from Australia (New South Wales)
33rd highest rated brewery (of 635)
Highest RatedMurray's Wild Thing Imperial Stout (90 / 100) Average score68 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedMurray's Ridiculoso (32 / 100) Number Tried110
Brown Town
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.09.17 on tap
Overall:
58 / 100
(Decent)
Coconut, almond and cacao brown ale brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival via a sampler.

Pours a brown colour, clear with beige foamy head. Nice lace, but it doesn't quite stick to the glass as much as I'd like. Good, though.

Smells chocolatey, slightly dark with a sweet coffee character. Fairly nutty as well. Decent brown ale notes, quite like a nut brown ale really.

Tastes dark, with a fair chocolate note. Slightly darker though; like cocoa-rich nibs but with a big and long bitterness to it as well. Hints of spicy coffee in the complexity and maybe a hint of clove on the late-mid as well. Hops are a bit grassy and maybe slightly herbal. Feels a bit off, like sweet but then very bitter and then the wrong kind of hops to match the roasty bitterness. Needs something more resinous, I feel.

Decent body with a hint of warming alcohol. Not bad.

Bit full-on, with a big brown malt flavour that doesn't have the right flavours so it ends up quite bitter without enough of the cacao. No coconut, either.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Fred IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 19.12.16 in bottle
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of the Beer Crate Advent Calendar 2016. Best before date of 15-<unintelligible>-2017. So it's in date at least.

Pours a very clear bronzed orange colour, with a coarse-bubbled, frothy head of white, that leaves long streaks of lace, rather pleasantly. Body is fairly light, and only holds a few fine bubbles of swirling carbonation. Looks decent though.

Nose is perfumed and flowery, with a pot-pourri kind of aroma. Notes of lavender and rose come through, along with some crushed cedar and pine. Malt has a mild, almost icy sweetness to it, providing a bit of sugary structure but no real backbone. It's nice enough though.

Taste is similar. There's a light, semi-savoury note from the malt, which provides some structure, but not a lot of sweetness. Hop bitterness works well through the centre of the palate, providing some balance, but not much more flavour. It's quite generic after a little while.

Feel is clean and clear, like you want your skin to be.

Overall, it's decent, but it's nothing really very exciting. It's in-date, but I can believe it's towards the end of the recommended range.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Paddington
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.08.16 on tap
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Oaked English Barleywine brewed for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival in Melbourne.

Pours a reddish amber colour, clear with nice foamy head, beige in colour. Looks a bit heavy and viscous, but pretty nice.

Smells intriguing. Big boozey oak notes, with a touch of bourbon, and some odd notes around the edge. Maybe some new world hops with a touch of passionfruit, and a hint of sourness, possibly oak-driven Brett? Touch of smoke too.

Yeah massively oaky on the palate. Big vanilla and huge coconut character, again develops a slight Bretty tartness late-mid, and a touch of odd fresh hop notes on the finish, with passionfruit. Sweet, big beer, slightly odd with a lack of coherence between the parts, but still the parts are pretty nice.

Full body as you'd expect, but an impressive lack of boozey heat. It's definitely substantial but not hot.

Nice barleywine in the end. Not sure if I totally 'get' it, it seems a bit chaotic and unbalanced so it doesn't totally float my boat, but I like it still.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Black Bear Black IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.09.15 on tap
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
On tap at the brewery, 20/09/15. Marketing material and conversations with staff didn't shed light on whether this is a replacement for Shawn's fault.

Pours a brown colour, definitely brown ale-ish rather than black. I've seen red ales this colour. Head has a slight beige tinge to it, nice lacing and decent retention, although all bubbles. Could be a bit darker but OK.

Smells resinous and citric, touch of NZ hop but otherwise seems mostly US west coast to me. Touch of chocolate grain as well as roasted malt, good balance and blend. Smells nice.

Taste is a bit lighter than expected. Some caramalt notes and a touch of butterscotch (not diacetyl). Then mostly hops, citrus and green apple and a fair resinous note that borders on medicinal. Decent but could use amping up that dark malt for a bit more interest. Tastes like a rich normal IPA rather than a black one.

Smooth, touch of pull from the hops to a dry finish.

Nice big-flavoured beer. Doesn't strike me as hugely exciting though or particularly drinkable in terms of balance.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Skully Red IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.09.15 on tap
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
On tap at the brewery, 20/09/15.

Pours a brown-tinged red, mostly amber. Head is off-white, small tight bubbles. Sheets of lace are nice. Clear. Looks pretty good.

Smells citric and piney. Touch of walnutty malt, slight bitterness on there. Mostly sharp hops. Not bad, could use a touch more malt.

Taste is a little malty upfront with a slight toffee edge and a slight dark chocolate note. Decent hop character late, bitter and resinous. Touch of citrus but mostly just dank hop notes. Not quite enough bang for the 'IPA' buck, but drinks nicely.

Smooth, good malt body. Touch drying from the hops late.

Decent, but could up both the malt and the hops a bit. Tastes slightly normal red ale-ish, possibly even veering into carbonated Irish red territory.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Moon Boy Golden Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.09.15 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
On tap at the brewery, 20/09/15.

Pours a pale gold with light bead. Head is decent, leaves some lovely thick trails of lace behind. Not bad, quite pale and fizzy looking.

Smells herbal and somewhat grassy. Some malt characters, honey, touch of apricot. Could use a few more esters but smells kind of nice.

Taste is pilsnery, grainy, notes of cereal and then some yeast character late-mid that develops a touch of phenol. Some grassy notes late. Enjoy a touch of that fruity NZ hop late, but it's not very strong or notable. Still, decent.

Quite full-bodied for the size. Decent texture.

Light and drinkable. Promises some things that it doesn't fully deliver, and that really make this sing. But decent.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
The Night Demon
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.09.15 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Winner of a homebrew comp (?) that was upscaled for a single batch. Tried from a bottle at the brewery, 20/09/15.

Pours quite pale for the style, reddish brown. Small film of bead around the edge. Decent lace. Looks heavy, could use more head. Plus quite pale.

Smells Belgian. Loads of dark, dried fruit character with a strong sweet vanilla note as well. Boozey, some phenols, loads of currant and sultana. Would love a touch more spice, but otherwise very nice.

Taste is sweet, boozey. Loads of complexity with dark sugars, treacle and fortified wine. Currants, sultanas and dried apricot. Dried mango even. Finishes a bit hot and boozey, inevitably but unfortunately. Not sure how you'd get those lovely complex sugars to get a bit longer legs. But if you did this would be spectacular.

Syrupy, fairly thick mouthfeel. Hot on the back. Not amazing.

Nice and big, complex beer. Lots of Belgian characters. Lots to like.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Brutus
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne. Easily the heaviest beer on the roster, clocking in at 16% ABV.

Pours a reddish-tinged golden colour with a very heavy body and excellent clarity. Head is off-white forming only a very fine ring. Lacing is quite impressive though forming crazy rings as it goes down.

Nose is heavy with sticky, oily hops that press through the moniker of resinous to become almost menthol-like. Coupled with this is an intense, thick sweetness which together is really too much.

Very sweet on the front palate, like oxidised sherry, and already with a big tingle of booze. Cloying crystal sugar on the centre of the palate that just gets replaced entirely by bitterness when the hops come in. It's like a dichotomy—it's either way too sweet, or way too bitter, and never in balance between the two. Finish is long and lingering with a slight burn from the booze.

Feel is incredibly thick.

I don't really want to drink it. It doesn't really taste great, and it's so thick and heavy that it takes a heavy toll for what you get out of it. Perhaps an impressive achievement, but I didn't like it much.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Brutus
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.06.15 on tap
Overall:
50 / 100
(OK)
16% 'Quadrupel IPA' brewed for GABS 2015. Tried in an evening session with the philosophy that it's the only time I'd be drunk enough to handle this while appreciating the inevitable lack of subtlety.

Pours an amber colour, touch of cloud with sparse cream-coloured head, quite bubbly. Decent.

Smells on NZ hops. Passionfruit dominates with mango, peach, a touch of apple and then a slight citric edge harking more to the US west coast; grapefruit and a touch of orange. Not overwhelming, just pleasant. For 16%, wow.

Taste is massively sweet, and cloying. Huge caramel flavour upfront that takes on a sickly honey note, then hops come through in flavour but have none of their cleansing power. Passionfruit and a touch of grapefruit, but there's nothing else there to stop the tsunami of overwhelming booze that follows. Urrgh.

Feels gluggy-thick, with massive booze heat taking over everything else.

Has a nice character as a beer, but at 16% it's just too much; the alcohol stomps everything else underfoot. At 12% I think this would be too much. At 7.5% it would be nice but then that's just Murray's Icon.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Fred IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.03.15 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
On tap at the Duck Inn.

Pale burnished gold. Nice off-white head, large bubbles. Decent retention and lace.

Smells like cantaloupe. Fruity, fairly stone fruity. Fairly subdued. Nice characters but just muted.

Taste is fruity upfront. Lots of stone fruit; bit of pawpaw that descends into citrus bitterness. Fairly mild overall, but with a fairly rough bitterness. Rough without being harsh, it just feels like it's out to wreck but doesn't have the potency to do so. Fairly decent IPA, but still a bit muted overall.

Decent texture. Bit of pull from hops, very decent body. In fact better than decent. It's fantastic. Smooth, just dry enough.

Apparently it's not as fresh as it has been, but still pretty nice, fairly subdued.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's / Frankie's Pizza Beer Monster BBQ II: Wilbur's Revenge
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.11.14 on tap
Overall:
82 / 100
(Exceptional)
On tap at Frankie's. Last beer I had for SCBW 2014.

Pours a mid-range brown colour, quite pale for the style. Head is beige, nice and dense and sticking around well. Good apart from the palour.

Smells not like what I expected. But it gets better, oh yes. First whiff is all new world hops: passionfruit and zesty finger lime on there, and somehow as you sniff that evolves into a meaty, smoky and subtly spicy BBQ type aroma. Sorcery is again happening in my glass, and I love it. Seriously I love the blend.

Taste is not like the nose at first; not a lot of that hop character. Instead it's just a rich, smoky flavour; meaty and sweet at first, and then bold and spicy mid-to-late. Finishes fairly clean for the front with some lingering pepper note and a touch of hoppy bitterness. Really nicely constructed smoke beer palate, not as bold as the marketing suggests, but bold enough and drinkable to boot.

Nice body; feels like there's rough edges from the booze and carbonation, but well padded by the solid malt base.

For 8% this is dangerous. The sweetness draws you in, the cleanliness keeps you drinking and the smoke keeps you interested.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.75
Vesuvius
Reviewed by Jez on 22.08.14 on tap
Overall:
86 / 100
(Exceptional)
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in the city.

Pours a very clear, and quite lovely pale golden colour, with a fine, slightly slick head of white that leaves nice lager rings of lace. Body is fine, but fairly light, especially for 7% ABV. Carbonation looks refined. Looks very good.

Nose is great. Clean, crisp and green New Zealand hop characters, with the tang of underripe lime and mild passionfruit. It's so clean and clear and direct. The only thing that I can envisage that would make it better is for it to be twice as strong.

Taste is indeed better though. This is clean and bright throughout, but beautifully balance to a perfect crispness. Hops elide with the underlying crispness to provide a clean, green vector of refreshment through the centre of the palate. Overtones of fruit— little pineapple, dragonfruit and kiwi give it a subtle complexity. Mostly though, this is just beautifully clean, light and drinkable. Feel is just right: light but slick, thin but crisp.

Overall, this is superbly drinkable stuff. I'm really extremely impressed. I tried this some years ago (without reviewing it) and I genuinely don't remember it being this good. But now this is a shining example of how good a flavoursome craft lager can be.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
In Bloom IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 17.06.14 on tap
Overall:
53 / 100
(OK)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.

Pours a pale golden colour with a white head that forms a fine ring of suds around the outside of the glass. Body is very lightweight. Lacing is patchy, but not particularly persistent. Looks okay though.

Very mild on the nose. Neutral grain comes through along with a little bit of uninspired hops that give off a little pepper and some dull savoury notes. I'm surprised and a little shocked, to be honest.

Taste is not much better. Faint tart grain notes come through with the lightness of the body giving a dull pall to the rest of the beer. Some sprightly carbonation and prickly hops towards the back don't help. It ends up quite weak. Feel has a little bit of weight to it, but again, there's not much to work with.

Overall, I really didn't much care for this. It felt a little pointless, especially at GABS, but even when put up against a lot of Murray's other great beers.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
Let's Get Ready To Crumble
Reviewed by Jez on 28.12.13 in bottle
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
A "Beer Mimics Food" beer brewed by Murray's in collaboration with Myffy Rugby from Timeout Magazine. I believe the concept was to create a spiced crumble beer without actually adding any spices: just from fermentation, yeast and the malt bill. Interesting concept. Tried on-tap at the Welcome Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week.

Pours a hazy amber colour with a touch of red to it. Body is fairly light, especially for 7.5% ABV. Head is white and quite bright, forming a fine ring with some larger bubbles. It leaves a little fine lace as it goes down. Looks decent.

Nose is slightly perfumey. Some berry aromas and a suggestion of vegetative sweetness. Pepper characters come through along with a Belgian, rubbery note. Something salty as well, almost like oysters. I can't quite work it out, but it's interesting at least.

Very light, mild entry on the palate that only leads to a thin rather reedy character on the mid-palate: carbonic without much sweetness or body. Quinine bitterness on the back leaves it a bit harsh. There's not much else to it. Were it not meant to be some sort of spiced crumble beer there might be something admirable about it.

Feel is very thin.

Overall, it's pretty weak, and I certainly didn't pick up any of the "mimicking food" aspect of the brew. Probably better to write this down as an experiment. It didn't really do anything for me.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.25
Murray's / Frankie's Pizza Beer Monster BBQ
Reviewed by Jez on 28.12.13 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
An 8% Cherrywood-smoked US Brown Ale brewed by Murray's in collaboration with Frankie's Pizza in Sydney for Sydney Craft Beer Week. Tried on-tap at Frankie's in their ridiculous frosted plastic mugs.

Hard to tell the actual colour or hazing because of the mug, but it's brownish certainly, looking murky in Frankie's clouded plastic. Head is lovely: a big, frothy head of pale mocha with some running bubbles. Lacing is thick. Overall, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say it looks really good.

Not much in the way of smoke on the nose: it's more toasty with some dark roasted notes and a little phenolic spice. It's pretty weak to be honest, without much of anything else. In some ways it's at least inoffensive, but it's also a little dull.

Taste is a bit better. More of that phenolic spice, perhaps a touch of booze giving it a Belgian note. Fairly clean on the back with some clinging bitterness. But... smoke, where are you? It's actually tasting more like an IBA than anything supposedly smoked, especially something with "BBQ" in the name. Light roast on the back perhaps has a touch of smoke to it, but it's weak. I'll rate it decently for flavour anyway: were I rating for meeting spec, it would be a different story.

Feel is frothy with a pleasant fineness. The promise of the head is delivered at least.

It's okay all up. The booze is relatively well hidden and it has a pleasant drinkability to it. I just feel like it's not much like it was supposed to be.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Auld Bulgin' Boysterous Bicep
Reviewed by Jez on 27.12.13 on tap
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Brewed in collaboration with (and I believe at the instigation of) Crafty Pint and his minions, originally as part of the media competition at Beervana in Wellington. I tried it (finally) on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.

Pours deep and dark, but still with a fair amount of clarity to the body, giving a reddish tinge through the liquid at the edges. Firm, filmy and fine head of beaige that leaves solid lacing. No tilting carbonation visible. Body looks a lot lighter than expected for 10% ABV.

Nose is dark and indeed slightly salty from the seafood additions. Mostly dark though, trending towards a hint of true roast, some vinous notes and perhaps a hint of cherry. Pretty nice.

Taste is clean and solid: nowhere near 10% ABV. Dark and roasty though, with just a hint of clinging booze. More of those vinous notes come through with a lingering round sweetness on the back, again reminiscent a bit of dark fruits like cherries. It's pretty tasty stuff.

Feel is a bit thin. Could certainly stand to have a bit more weight for 10%. I think it's doing a disservice to the complexities of the palate.

Overall though, this is a pretty tasty brew. It could add a few more dimensions, or else restrain the complexities that are there into a more coherent whole, but I was pretty impressed with it.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
The Caveman
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 02.12.13 on tap
Overall:
51 / 100
(OK)
Pours a slightly dark mahogany colour, a lot more pale than I would expect. Cream-coloured head, sparse and dissipating fairly steadily. Not bad.

Taste is strange, and not at all what I expected. No smoke at all on this, and actually quite a yeasty composition. Sweet, bready, grainy. Not particularly exciting.

Taste is dark, fair amount of spice to it. Roasty notes with a nice blend of clove, licorice and coriander. Slight phenolic finish and slightly dry. Decent flavours, but not really getting any smoke at all. Disappointing.

Nice body and texture though, it's clearly been put together well even if the flavours aren't hitting me.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Hell Of The North
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.08.13 on tap
Overall:
52 / 100
(OK)
Pours a vibrant red colour. Head is beige, pale, nice dense rim around the edge. Lacing is quite nice. Murray's definitely brew a good-looking ale.

Smells Belgian. Sweet, quite a lot of toffee with orange pekoe and brandy snap. Dry, though, coming through at the back; has a hangover feel to it which puts me off a bit.

Taste is sweet and strong. Toffee with, Belgian candi sugar, some brandy-soaked orange peel and cumquat. Bit strong, yet not a big complexity. Just big booziness. Tastes rather like an unnuanced maibock. Some more spice characters, either straight-up or by-products from the Belgian yeast would really make this sing.

Fluid, bit dry on the back. OK.

Can't say I love it. Would like more complexity to it.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.0
The Caveman
Reviewed by Jez on 03.07.13 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
A "smoked Belgo dark ale" from Murray's brewed for the GABS festival in Melbourne, which is where I tried it on-tap.

Pours a hazed brown colour with some weight in the glass, but remaining quite fluid. Head is a full film, rather creamy and light. Lace forms in pleasant rings. Some noticeable carbonation when tilted. It looks pretty good.

Bit phenolic on the nose with a big snappy bite. Some pepper spice comes through and just a hint of char smoke. There's also a strange vegetative character, that seems maybe to come from the malt more than the hops. It's strange.

Light round entry on the palate. A little seltzer bite to launch into some spicier characters: pepper, slight phenols, and a smooth rounded Belgian mid-palate. Some smoke is noticeable on the back, but it's just smoke, not the meaty, bacon-y smoked character you sometimes get. Finish is a little dry and a little watery.

Feel is light but quite filling. Not bad.

It's decent enough, but it's not hugely flavoured or hugely exciting. I've certainly seen better and more exciting beers from Murray's in the past.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
The Horror
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.05.13 on tap
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
One-off brew, Heart of Darkness base fermented with brettanomyces, released exclusively for Murray's Belgian Feast in March 2012. Tried and reviewed on the night.

Very dark brown, almost black. Head is OK but settles out to little else. Lace is not really there. Looks big; quite intimidating really.

Smells a bit crazy; organic and a bit wild. Big sour character, with a strong vegemitey note. Big yeast, slightly spicy. Rich and sludgey, but very pleasant.

Mostly imperial stout characters on the palate. Black, roasty and very spicy. Big strong vegemite yeasty notes with black pepper. Slight acidity upfront, and more late on the palate. Spicy more than roasty on the finish. Quite intense but very palatable.

Drying on the back but full, quite nice but a bit of pull from the Brett.

Nice interesting beer. I have such respect for brewers doing this sort of crazy thing, and when it's Mr Sherlock at the helm you're in safe hands. Other one-offs I've tried have had mixed results, but this particular incarnation has come off in really interesting ways. Great drop.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Murray's Vesuvius
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.05.13 on tap
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
On tap at Murrays at Manly, on my 28th birthday.

Pours a pale golden colour, bit of haze but slow bead as well. Head is white, medium density, good retention. Nice looking pils.

Smells largely hoppy. Lots of zip and zing from new world hops. Lime, pineapple, passion and touch of vanilla, all within a lighter lager shell, not heavy or cloying, just beautifully tanged up.

Taste is huge on the passionfruit upfront. That's the one note - fresh, seedy fruit character that descends into more stonefruity mid with peach and mango in there. Finish is slightly bitter, with a touch of booze flavour and some hop resins. Not quite clean enough for a pils, but there's lots of nice new world flavours here, mostly on the front.

Bit of carbonation sizzle to it on front and mid. A bit thin but a bit of presence on the finish.

The flavour is nice enough to carry this, but it's a little big for a pils and not quite big enough to be a knock your head off flavour bomb. Sits in 'pleasant beer limbo', but quite comfortably I think.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Angry Man Pale Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 06.04.13 in bottle
Overall:
53 / 100
(OK)
I've reviewed the Nirvana back in the day, but believe that the Angry Man Pale is more than a rebranding (and indeed, the Nirvana has been through an evolution since my first review), so here we are anyway. I remember when the Angry Man was their Brown Ale alone. Ah, nostalgia. Anyway, this was the standard 330ml orange and blue labelled bottle, which I purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.

Pours a hazed orange-gold colour, with a slight heft to the body and actually rather minimal carbonation. Head is a fine but minimal white crest, that leaves some streaking but minimal lace. The body indeed is thicker than I expected, and holds the carbonation that is there rather statically when tilted. Overall, it's decent without being particularly exciting.

Nose is faint with generic, slightly grassy hops giving an earthy vegetative character, laced perhaps with a slight citrus overtone. But mostly, it's grassy, with that character playing into the malt to give a grainy, perhaps almost cereal character. Slight pepper and leaf mold notes come through. Again, I'm a little underwhelmed.

Taste is similarly subdued. Mild smooth entry provides some basis, but very little hop flavour, or even true malt sweetness comes forward to provide much interest. Instead, there's a grainy nothingness to the palate, followed by a dirty bitterness on the back that even seems insipid as it passes away. Feel is decent: smooth and quite strong, but with little else to provide interest it feels a little pointless.

Overall: I'm massively underwhelmed. Surely the Nirvana was better than this. I suspect this has undergone a gradual change to such a degree that it now bears little resemblance to its original. Also, given the wide distribution this now has, I suspect it must be brewed under contract somewhere else. The contract shift may have made a slight difference, but my guess is that it was the gradual change that has eventually made this so weak.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Murray's Big Wednesday IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 02.03.13 in bottle
Overall:
52 / 100
(OK)
330ml bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford. Best before date of 30/10/13, so looking pretty good.

Uncaps with a sucking hiss, meaning some large foam forms inside the bottle, which then transfers to the glass. Body is a solid golden hue with some haze. Head is crackling and large-bubbled, but tires itself out quickly, leaving a fuzz around the edges of the glass and some froth in the centre. Body is surprisingly light. Looks pretty decent though overall.

Nose is sweet with mixed tropical fruit characters: guava, pear and a little mango. Mingled with this is a slight dried herb character: I'm thinking tarragon, which gives it a greener, slightly bitier edge. It smells a little bit like it's slightly old: perhaps like the hops were last season's. I don't see why, though, with a best before date well in the future. Hmm.

Taste is a bit more simple, and it benefits from the simplicity somewhat: here the hops do seem more straight-down-the-line. Green bitterness, some herbal tingle and a touch of sharpness on the end, almost a phenolic character with a touch of copper. It's actually a good deal more bitter than I remember it being—if nothing else, the bitterness steam rolls over the rest of the palate, meaning that those slightly unsavoury characters on the nose are unnoticeable here.

Feel is very much overcarbonated. It froths in the mouth too much, and leaves me feeling quite bloated.

Overall, this is not one of Murray's top picks from me. It's a bit all over the place, and it doesn't really do anything that particularly enamours me of it anyway. And yet I'm confused, because I remember this being a pretty nice easy drinking beer at some stage. Perhaps it's inconsistent over time too.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Murray's Bob's Farmhouse Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.12.12 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a straw-gold colour, slightly cloudy with off-white foamy head, decent retention. Nice haze, looks like a decent farmhouse ale.

Fruity and slightly malty on the nose. Plenty of funky and floral characters backing up to a decent saison-style complexity. Quite subtle oak with a nice slightly sour funk. Not bad.

Spice dominates the palate with lots of saisony organic funk as well. Slight alcohol warmth as it travels through. Rubbery, sprucey and quite herbal overall. Oak comes through more as a subtle dryness than as a big bold flavour that I'm used to. I could use more oak flavour to be honest, but otherwise it's a nice decent saison.

Bit of warmth from the booze, lots of pull from yeast on the mouthfeel. Alright.

Decent saison, but I kind of have a high yardstick for Murray's beers. It all seems a bit subdued here and in the company it's keeping it could really have made a bigger, more explosive impression.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's The Filth IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 19.11.12 on tap
Overall:
50 / 100
(OK)
This was brewed as a one-off for the Murray's Hoptoberfest dinner at their Manly location during craft beer week. It was a 100% Brett-fermented IPA, 11% ABV and packed to the eyeballs with hops. Take this review with a grain of salt: this was brewed to be extreme and to pander to the ravenous crowds who want insanity over balance and poise.

Pours a solidly hazed orange hue with a surprisingly light and liquid body. Head is solid and fine and quite pure white. Some spots of lacing, but the fluid body doesn't really let anything stick.

Aroma is immediately pummeled with a mineral bite, almost like chlorine at the start. Then the hops make their presence felt, leaving a raucous cacophony between the brett and the fruitiness. Think bitter melon, tough lychee skin or tropical juice that has been sat in the sun for too long. The mineral character gives it a saltiness as well, which is just weird.

The taste is actually a lot less cacophonous, but surprisingly less complex as well. The front bites with a biting, slightly phenolic pepper and chlorine mix, before the bitterness from the hops kicks in, leaving a raw line down the centre of the tongue and an astringent finish. It's only after all this has been left behind that the intense booze character appears on the aftertaste. It's powerful but slightly painful, and feels pretty unbalanced. Feel is quite thin and raggedly biting.

I think this needs to go one way or the other: it could really actually use some true acidity to it, taking it down the sour route and properly complementing the funk and all the weirdnesses that come with that. Or else, you could remove the brett funk altogether: for a start, the hopping feels way too high for the brett, melding to form that offensive chemical character.

Whatever happens, this felt very much like an experiment (as it was), but it's not one that I'm particularly keen to repeat.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Murray's Ridiculoso
Reviewed by Jez on 19.11.12 on tap
Overall:
32 / 100
(Nasty)
This was the final beer of the night at Murray's hop-focused Sydney Craft Beer Week dinner. It was brewed with a large proportion of isohop, giving it a lab-tested bitterness far, far above what the human taste buds can justifiably sense. As with the other brews at the dinner, this was an experiment, and wildly divergent from their regular range. Hence, take my review with a grain of salt: it's not indicative of Murray's as a whole.

Pours a light orange colour, with a very heavy haze. Body is solid enough, which isn't unexpected. Head is a solid, slightly frothy yellow-white crown that leaves some patches of lace. Looks decent enough.

Nose is intensely spicy and hoppy, tending towards grassy and funky. Big, pithy lemon rind suggests freshness, before the organic brutality comes through, leaving funk, earth and stacks of grassy, oily, bitter-in-the-nose intensity. It's too much.

But wait! Did I say it was too much on the nose? Holy crap, this is even worse on the palate. Bitter. Bitter. Bitter. Did I say bitter? How about long, and lingering and bitter? Really, this tastes of nothing, and numbs your tongue while it's doing it. Isohop? Check! That's about it. It's stupid. It's unreasonable.

This was always going to be this way. This is pushing beer far beyond the boundaries of sense and reason into something that was always going to be unbalanced and nigh-on undrinkable. That was its goal, and it achieved it. But really, this is a stupid beer that I'm glad only gets to exist as a gimmick.

(Note: I'd probably put this below Mikkeller's 1000IBU, but below the 1000IBU Light—it has the intensity of both, but less balance than the 1000IBU. Fortunately, it provides a little bit more backing than the 1000IBU light...)

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 2.0
Murray's Oak-Aged Icon 2IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 19.11.12 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
I had this as part of the Murray's Hoptoberfest Dinner at Murray's@Manly during Sydney Craft Beer Week. Pretty much what the name says: the Icon, oak-aged. Note that this was made as a one-off experiment: it's hence not indicative of Murray's beers in general.

Pours a deep bronze-colour, probably a shade or two darker than the regular Icon, from memory, with a solid, slightly billowy white head. Lacing is solid enough, and the body looks solid but fluid. Not bad.

Nose is full of oak, with the hops striving vainly for a look-in. This gives a slightly funky greenness to the aroma, along with a freshness like newly caught fish. But mostly it's oak: vanilla and smoothness with a slight sharp grassiness.

The front of the palate is dominated by the oak, with a woody vanilla flavour starting strongly, and leading into a smooth, oddly flat mid-palate. By the back, there's some prickly hop bite coming through, but it's rather grassy and a little bit lacklustre. Aftertaste has reverted back to the oak, with a very woody but smooth finish.

Smooth in the mouthfeel as well: this is probably the only aspect of the beer that is better than its counterpart.

It's a little bit overwrought at times: the oak is used a bit like a sledgehammer, and it doesn't necessarily complement the hops or the base beer overall. It has a smoothness, but it feels like too much, and the balance is off: it makes it a lesser beer than the straight Icon.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Bob's Farmhouse Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 05.08.12 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Had on-tap at GABS in Melbourne.

Pours a light yellow colour, fully hazed and with good weight behind it. Head is full and pleasant, and a bright white that almost strains towards pink. Looks good.

Bit of acid on the nose, but only a light, barnyard or rustic funk to it. The yeast is relatively clean and crisp, leaving just a bit of dustiness in the aroma. It's smooth enough overall, but not all that complex.

Light pepper comes forward on the front palate, before we get that bane of Murray's Belgian styles: the big phenolic upswell mid-palate, which really seems characteristic of all their Belgian-style beers. It really pushes the Belgian characters without subtlety. Finish is peppery and spicy, with some vegetal finishes.

Feel is peppery but in some way muted and blunted.

Overall: yeah, it's not bad. But Murray's seem to be doing a lot of Belgians in styles that are very difficult to get right. This is a classic example of that, and shows what a big gap there is between a "decent" Saison, and a "good" one.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Anniversary Ale 4 (2009)
Reviewed by Jez on 05.08.12 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a lovely dark red-brown, with a huge rocky and frothy head of off-white bubbles. Lacing and retention are excellent. Body looks slightly thin, but not overtly. Still looks very similar to its brethren. And that's no bad thing.

Absolutely delicious nose. Big fruity, luscious hops and rich toffee sweetness keeping it honest. Light acidity and slight metallic notes leaven the otherwise thick and heavy characters.

Very nice rich toffee and booze notes on the nose, with a spike of hoppy bitterness through the centre to ensure it doesn't get too thick or heavy. Mouthfeel is a little too prickly, but it doesn't detract. A year of age would probably help it.

It's a little raw this young - I found a year or two of age on the AAs really makes them blend better and cohere more spectacularly, but it's hard to deny this is a worthy beer young as well. My recommendation: buy six, or twelve, and try one a year as long as they hold out. It's a fulfilling experience.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Pilsner
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.05.12 on tap
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
Had this on tap as the 'Rudeboy' pilsner at Murrays @ Manly. As far as I know they haven't changed the recipe since it was simply the pilsner in bottles, but I just thought I'd make that clear upfront.

Pours a rude orange colour with a slow trickle of bead. Head is white, kind of spittle-looking with lovely cradle of thick white lace. Looks good.

Smell is bold and metallic, with touches of fruit at the edges: blood orange, kiwi and peace mostly. Nice and tangy but a bit of a heavy, rusty note overall that weighs it down slightly below crisp pilsner levels.

Taste is quite pleasant. Notes of kiwi, melon and orange peel on the front that gets quite zesty towards the mid-palate. A bit rich late-mid with slightly spiritous bitterness, then a bit grainy on the back but with a pleasant grassy hop note and some phenolic characters. Almost seems a bit overcooked, but it's clipped off for a decent aftertaste. Not bad.

Quite fizzy, but still remains a little bit heavy in the mouth; doesn't glide down like I'd want a lager to.

A more interesting pils than most on the market with lots of flavour; it could up the drinkability factor a bit more by thinning out the body slightly, it just feels a bit gluggy at times.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Libertine
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.05.12 on tap
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
First tried as part of Murrays @ Manly Belgian Feast, reviewed at the Local Taphouse.

Pours a slightly hazy chrome (?) colour with very eager head up the glass. Head is white, smallish bubbles but retaining a thin crown. Could be cloudier, but looks OK.

Smells decent. Not quite up on the funkadelic scale, but there's some nice earthy, organic barnyard aromas. Touch of lucerne and some stone fruit. A bit subdued but still, nice characters.

Taste is a bit more funky, with bolder and more prominent barnyard notes. Bitter in tone with some horse blanket character, touch of acidity but also some honey. Light and drinkable, with a mild spice and a touch of rubber as well. Not bad at all, very much on the drinkable side of farmhouse rather than the exciting side, where my tastes usually lie.

Mouthfeel is full, bit drying from the mid-palate on and finishing quite dry indeed. Decent.

Yeah, I question exactly how effective a farmhouse ale this is because it just seems a bit toned down. Good for drinkability, but you can get the same drinkability with more flavour as long as it's well-balanced. I feel this is all a bit toned down and repressed for me.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Spartacus
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.05.12 on tap
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a big fruity orange colour, kind of cloudy. Off-white head, small bubbles with thin crown retaining. Lace is OK, not very sticky. Looks good, though.

Smells very tangy and hoppy. Big passion, pineapple and lemon sherbet on there. Touch of paw-paw, white peach and thyme as well. Big and fruity, complex enough to intrigue in spite of its largely ungrounded nature. Very nice indeed.

Taste starts with more of those same big fruity hop notes - passion and mango on there, before the malt kicks in with its bold, sticky toffee presence. Gets those resiny hop notes, quite sticky and oily on the back, with maybe a lack of kick or cut to their presence, but the flavours are all pretty pleasant. Lots of melon, with a slight midori character, mango and lemon zest as well. Bitter and boozey, but with a nice twist of fruit both front and back. Heavy beer, but pleasant drinking, especially for the style.

Nice and full body, with a slight sharpness from the hops late-mid. Not bad at all, really.

Bit full-on for everyday drinking, but the fruit notes are intriguingly constructed from the hops - almost Belgian in the way they add mystique to the heavy booziness and stop the beer getting bogged down by its sheer size. I like it a lot.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Big Wednesday IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.10.11 on tap
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours an orangey colour with healthy stream of bead. Head is off-white, small bubbles that doesn't retain, just a thin crown with not a lot of lace. Good, although the head could be better.

Smells fruity and floral, nice tangy passionfruit aroma with some orange blossom and lemon zest. Slight hint of bitterness and a hint of caramel sweetness as well. Lovely and fresh and well-balanced nose.

Taste is big and tangy from the get-go. Very enjoyable malty underline with a touch of cake batter. Base gets overlain with hops - citric, floral and piney with lemon, passionfruit and paw-paw characters coming through. Tangy upfront but settles out to a nice citric and almost spicy bitterness late, but it's not at all too strong. Enough hop character for an IPA but toned down for maximum enjoyment. Really lovely.

Bit dry and sharp at the back of the feel. Body is slightly thin, but OK.

Could be slightly bigger for an IPA but it's flavoursome enough and drinkable as anything.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Easter Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 05.05.11 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst

Pours a deep golden colour. Very clear in the body, with a fine collar of white, not a huge amount of head proper. Decent body. Forms an edging of lace. Fine carbonation. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is spicy, but freshly so and rather light. I expected something thicker and heavier. Indeed, there's not a lot of sweetness or fruit at all. The basis is rather bready, with a hint of something syrupy, if not genuinely sweet—maybe fresh raw honey. It seems to capture an easter bun rather well.

Taste is definitely spicy, and there's not a lot of sweetness here at all; it's more like a raw bit of aniseed, spicy cinnamon and lots of pepper. Almost a touch of eucalyptus to it, making it biting and bracing. It's more refreshing and less wholesome and warming than I expected.

Feel is light, but it matches nicely with the spicy and light flavours.

A decent beer, and more importantly, an interesting beer. Spices are light, but the beer as a whole is light as well, so it matches together rather pleasantly.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Easter Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.05.11 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a shiny ruby colour, slightly paler around the edges. Head is dense but sunken to a film; slight brown tinge and nice clingy lace. Looks pretty good.

Ooh, nice hot cross bun smell. Lots of cinnamon with a sultana and raising character as well. Sweet but spicy and a slight touch of sour. Not quite as potent as it could be but it spot-on smells like an Easter bakery.

Taste is quite rich and a bit tart. Almost chocolatey at times but a slight undercooked dough flavour which sounds unpleasant but isn't. It's given a helping hand by the spice which is not quite there in any intense texture but certainly abounds in the flavour: mostly cinnamon with mild clove and nutmeg as well. Dried fruit is apparent at the back, rich, slightly sweet and a bit earthy and dark. It's a bit on the sour side for me, not sure if I could drink too much of this. But then, I'm not such a big fan of hot cross buns either and I think this pretty much has that flavour bang-on.

Decent body to it, but feels a bit empty and thin towards the back, without much texture.

Yeah, I don't know if this beer is entirely to my taste. I really loved the pumpkin ale and I feel that this kind of lacks the sweetness of that and errs more on the side of dried fruit which I find a bit rich for my palate. This is certainly wonderfully suited to the sales pitch and so lots of kudos for that but I can't say it'll become a beloved fixture for me on the Murray's drinking circuit.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Punk Monk
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.04.11 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a dull orange colour with fine haze throughout, rendering it largely opaque. Fine trails of bead all around the edges. Head is very pleasing - dense, a shade darker than white, retaining very nicely with some beautiful sticky lace. Looks a cracker.

Smells nicely fruity. Faint touch of something that might have been hops with a citric tang and some piney wood. Underlying fragrance of banana, peach and nectarine. Beautiful combination of lovely subtle esters, a touch of grassy funk in there, just nicely tangy, sweet and appealing.

Taste is an interesting one. Starts quite tangy with all those stone fruit notes hitting the palate - peach mostly, with banana and apricot as well. Develops a strong funky character midway with a domineering medicinal flavour; really quite bitter that kind of peaks late-mid where it gets a slight bitter rind note, then trails off for the finish. The back-palate is unfortunately lacking; just a lingering phenolic aftertaste that feels empty. Overall quite tasty, I just want it to finish stronger.

Nicely full body with a slight warmth from the alcomohol. Slight tingle, pretty decent feel.

Yeah, enjoying this quite a lot. It's an interesting twist on Belgian flavours. Would like the sweet front to last a bit longer and maybe some more funk on the back, but it's a pleasant drop nonetheless.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Retro Rocket
Reviewed by Jez on 12.04.11 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Oh Murray's, you do tease. After releasing two beers in the thinly-veiled FBB series, they come out with a 2.8%, heavily hopped beer they claim is "Australia's Smallest IPA". Ho ho.

Pours a bright burnished, reddish gold colour, with decent clarity. Head is fine and white, and the body has some heft to it, pleasantly. Lacing is patch. Looks good, especially the colour.

Really surprisingly sweet on the nose, partially from hop fragrance, but also with a thick golden syrup aroma, and a bit of buttery bread--it reminds me of naan. Really quite sweet, which I'm quite surprised about.

Taste is clean and light, with a decent bitterness, but not an overwhelming one--more of a light green organic character. Afterpalate again has that buttery character, this time reminding me of cinema popcorn. Very little body, as might be expected, although I thought the extra sweetness might be the result of a prematurely halted fermentation.

Quite drinkable and, unsurprisingly, light. It's a weird experiment, but Murray's, you guys are weird.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Retro Rocket
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.04.11 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a red-tinged, murky brown with decent head when poured, sunk to a thin crown of beige bubbles. Nice clumps of lacing. Colour is not 'pretty' but it's otherwsie decent.

Smells quite decently fresh and fruity with good citric hop aroma. Lots of woody notes, especially late with slight resinous pine fragrance. It's pretty much all hops here; I like, but it's par for the hop course with nothing too complex or interesting.

Taste is not bad at all; lots of citrus forward hops providing plenty of flavour. Lemon with some thyme and pine flavours as well, mostly on the front and mid-palate. Slight grainy flavour late, with a touch of puffed rice- then a bitter finish which is aggressive in character yet mild in intensity. Trust Murrays to rewrite the rulebook for 2.8% beers. As far as light beers go this is really quite tasty.

Mouthfeel is understandably thin but not flat and not too thin, plenty going on and easy to drink of course.

I think the real strength here is in this beer's restraint. As evinced by Billabong Brewing's misguided 4 Hop Ale, it's easy to really strangle a small body with too many hops. I think most of the hop additions here have come late so it all goes to flavour and aroma, but as @smithflipper said it's not big and hoppy enough to call itself an IPA. What you've got here is a beer that showcases pleasant hop character without any real body or punch to it. Ultimately anyone can throw hops in a light-bodied wort and make it fairly tasty.

So then, what's the point? Well knowing Murray and his philosophy I can only assume they've gone ahead and made this beer as a statement, a further attempt to encourage people to demand more from their beer; even at 2.8%. And while I'd still like more body since I never have any need to drink light beer, if there were a chance they could mass-produce this and flog it off to cricket arenas everywhere I'd be the first one in line to clamour from the rooftops.

Now having tried this excellent-for-what-it-is beer, what I'd really like to see is Murray's take on the light lager.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Imperious
Reviewed by Jez on 27.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
On-tap at the Local Taphouse for GABS. Apparently this is the first of Murray's FBB series. I look forward to more.

Pours a deep golden colour, a very refined hue. Fine head of white leaving surprisingly sudsy and heavy lacing for an 11% ABV beer. Body quite light as well.

Nose is delicious. Gorgeously big robust boozy notes with some orange rind sharpness the clean the edges. Not much hint of anything Belgian, but the fruity and pungent New Zealand hoppiness comes through. Smooth and round. Better balanced than the Spartacus, their other beer in this vein.

Taste is really quite sweet. Someone mentioned that they thought it might have had an incomplete fermentation. Hard to believe in a beer that's already this big, but it might be right. Some hop characters come through along with a hot, astringent booziness, but it's very heavy overall, and the sweetness gets a little cloying after a while.

I respect this for the big, heavy beer that it is. It has some genuinely nice flavours.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Imperious
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 24.02.11 on tap
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a metallic golden colour; head is nice and Belgian, fluffy and white with lovely puffy lace left behind. Lots of bubbles in the body. Very nice Belgian look.

Smells very sweet, almost candy-esque. Huge candied orange aroma with a touch of banana and pineapple as well. Odd; if I were expecting a big fruity English ale I might enjoy this but it's not what I expect from a Belgian.

Taste is also very sweet, with a crystallised fruit flavour all over it. Starts fairly saccharine with a slight passion edge but then develops more complex sweetness heading towards the mid, a touch of banana and apricot as well as some light golden syrup characters. Some spice on the back, but the yeast notes are minimal and as a result the booze is virtually undetectable. An odd beer but I'm finding a lot to like on the palate.

Bit of body to it but less than expected for 11%. A bit dry on the back; not bad.

Quite an enjoyable beer and kudos on hiding the booze so well, but I do feel like this is a lot sweeter than it really needs to be and as a result I couldn't drink that much.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Aphrodite
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.12.10 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a clear golden colour, medium-to-generous head, white in colour with small dense bubbles. Leaves some decent lace behind. Slow bead. Not sure about it as a wheat, but it looks good as beer.

Nice NZ hop character up front on the nose - citrus, passionfruit and some good phenols. Slight rubbery note, just going along with the flow. Not really balanced, but a good mix and provides a nice dry, crisp fragrance.

Taste is quite rich, with lots of metallic earthy notes. Big malt with a brassy edge and brown sugar on there with some slight vegetative-sour notes and odd sherbet tang on the back. Citric hops that are not very complex, just distinct and flavoursome. Definitely needs more wheat characters. As it is, it's largely just a hop bomb; some more spice or phenol would be welcome. Pleasant, but less than expected.

Lotza tingle with a slightly thin body to struggle against it. Could use more body, although it's okay for the style

Yeah a good quencher with nice flavour. I wonder if I'm unnecessarily kind to the first beer I have after walking up Albion street. But this is definitely drinkable.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Pumpkin Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 07.11.10 on tap
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)

Made it back to the Taphouse in time to sample it before it disappears for another year.

Pours a deep burnished golden amber colour, not quite the lurid orange of pumpkin, but close. Head is a full, fine crown of dense white bubbles. Lacing solid, and toffesugar sticky. Looks great.

Nose is sweet with light malts and hot with prickly spices of nutmeg and allspice. Slight aniseed note to it. Pumpkin character minimal, but the pie spices are right. It's a bit light overall apart from the spices, but tasty.

Taste is good, with a caramrlised roasted pumpkin sweetness on the back. Front is dominated by the spices, which indeed lend an anise character to meld with the malty characters. Heat from the spice on the back, I'm tending to think this more a spiced beer than a true pumpkin beer, but it's tasty, and the crispy pumpkin bits do appear on the back. Mouthfeel is light but sparkling. I'd love something thicker to more represent pumpkin pie.

Very nice brew nonetheless, and to be fair, the best pumpkin ale I've yet had the pleasure of sampling. Still, I think there are ways it could be improved to match up with my conception of the style, but it's tasty enough in its current incarnation.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Pumpkin Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.11.10 on tap
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.

Pours a golden-tinged orange colour with off-white head; decent when poured but sinks fairly quickly, retaining a thin crown. Slow and light bead visible through the beer's clear, kind of metallic body. Don't know what a pumpkin ale is meant to look like, but the colour is right and all else pretty good as far as beer goes.

Smell is quite spicey and a touch sour. Quite vegetative, with noticeable pumpkin aroma and distinct clove and ginger. Some star anise as well and maybe a slight peppery twang overall. I like the very light malty sweetness underlying and good healthy spice hit. This is good; it reminds me of a warm hearty pumpkin pie.

Taste has spice all over it. Lots of aniseed and clove on the front, descends ibto similar spice complexity with notes of butternut pumpkin and other vegetative character. Distinct spice on the back actually has a very slight heat to it with peppery character; maybe some cumin as well. Overall a nice palate construction with good malty tones underneath a spicy and slightly earthy bitterness. Yeah, I am quite impressed. Better than Dogfish Head's Punkin' Ale.

Fairly slick on the feel, but with a decent body. Maybe could use more stickiness to protect against that spice heat, because it's unnecessary.

A very decent spice bonanza. In fact, I've always thought I would like pumpkin ales but the others I've had have really disappointed. This, to me, is pretty much what it should be like, and trust Mr. Sherlock and his mad skillz to show America up in one of their pet styles.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Dark Knight Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Found this little beauty hiding in the fridge at the Old Fitzroy Hotel, Woolloomooloo.

Pours a deep mahogany colour with a burnt orange tinge. Nice dense mocha head retaining very well and leaving beautiful dense lace around the glass. Wonderful porter look.

Smell is nicely roasty, with cocoa, slight dusty character and a hint of coffee. But yes, mostly chocolatey; sweet with just a whisper of slight toasty sourness. Pretty decent.

Taste is roasty and fairly mild; lots of cocoa-rich chocolate up front and a slight woody note on the back. Yeah quite organic, with bark and vegetative notes running throughout the palate. A hint of mint and black pepper on the mid, slight sourness but just slight. Otherwise pretty tasty and sweet, very drinkable.

Fair amount of body but a slight rough texture midway and late. Could tone down carbonation a bit, but that's really the only criticism. A mild, drinkable drop, very enjoyable.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Dark Knight Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 15.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours quite an opaque black-brown colour, which looks dark and heavy, but ends up being quite thin and especially light at the edges. Still that's not bad in a porter. Head is a filmy but fine light beige.

Light dusty chocolate and a touch of acidity on the nose, backed up with a pleasant roasted grain note and a good whiff of vanilla. Nice.

Taste is toasted and mild, with a pleasant nutty twang and a hint of light-roasted coffee mingling at the back. Bit of beef gravy to it as well. Quite pleasant, savoury but mild. Dark in flavour but light in body.

It's a very sessionable porter, and a pretty tasty one. Lacks a wow factor, but it's pretty decent.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Spartacus
Reviewed by Jez on 28.09.10 on tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a lovely clear and bright orange, with a fine head of white bubbles, that leave a little sudsy lacing as they collapse. Minimal carbonation, and I'm suriprised at how fluid the body is for a 10% beer. It looks quite light and liquid. Good though.

Nose is fruity and ripe with big New Zealand hop characters. Notes of peach and passionfruit, with a slight citrus bend to it. Minimal spice, but I was told not to expect it despite Motueka and Riwaka being Saaz cultivars. Smells more like classic NZ hops like Nelson Sauvin. Lovely.

Taste is a little odd, and not quite as bitter as I expected. Some fragrant overripe fruit on the front, with a big dollop of melted toffee, and some candied orange peel. Later a small amount of warm bitterness hits the tongue, almost a melange of alcohol heat and true alpha bitterness. It recedes pretty quickly though, not leaving much of a hop oil coating on the tongue. It's quite pleasant, but not as aggressive as I expected.

An interesting beer, and one which is surprisingly subdued for all its statistics, and, lets face it, the rhetoric surrounding its release. Very tasty nonetheless.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Angry Man
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 30.08.10 from a growler
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
Thanks to BA lacqueredmouse for sharing this one with me.

Pours a bright ruby colour up to the light, but a nice deep brown otherwise. Head is cream-coloured, thin and rescinds to a thin layer of bubbles. Bead is slow but steady and there's some decent lace around. Pretty nice.

Smell is pleasant. Mostly malty, with a slight roasted edge. Delicious sweet toffee coming off that, nice caramel with a slight crème brulée caramelisation to it. Mild coffee at the back, not a lot of hop really. I like some hops in my brown, but apart from that this is a very tasty smell, malty and sweet.

Taste is quite roasty and dark, with a distinct sour, earthy character pervading underneath. Lots of dark burnt sugar on the front, giving toffee and some raisin notes, then gets earthy and slightly bitter with some espresso notes, more raisins and some dark cherry. Some cocoa on there as well and finishing off with a mild licorice spice. There is a slight hop note at the back, resinous and not very distinct, but very welcome. This strikes me a bit more as a dark ale than a brown ale, but style is open to interpretation and who the Hell am I to question the great Shawn Sherlock? Pretty tasty, anyway.

Fair amount of body but swills well, not too sticky or too thin. Has a slight sizzle to it which could be toned down a bit, but otherwise fine.

Good drinking beer. Fairly spikey flavour at times, but a very nice darker ale.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Heart Of Darkness
Reviewed by Jez on 16.07.10 on tap
Overall:
83 / 100
(Exceptional)

Fair classification as an American Impy Stout - it seems very American to brew a Belgian themed Imperial Stout...

Tried on tap at the Local Taphouse's July AleStars evening with Murray's head brewer Shawn Sherlock.

Pours a deep and roasted black colour, very thick in the body with a toasty brown crust of head. The head could be a little creamier methinks, but it looks extremely big, rich and tasty nonetheless.

Big and rich on the nose, but with definite Belgian yeast characters. Noticetably, some banana esters, lightened, perhaps more like crushed banana leaf, and something dry and dusty with dark cocoa. Extremely interesting.

Taste is great - big, unapologetic and boozy, but leavened with the Belgian yeast character coming through to round out the palate a little. Some phenols and a light cherry acetone character. Bitter roasted finish, but again, this is tempered by the yeast nicely. The sugar probably dries it out a bit as well. Shawn mentions chocolate on the palate, but I don't get a lot of that - the sweetness comes from the leavening easters of the Belgian yeast, and the lighter body which ensures the palate doesn't get overwhelmed.

Very nice brew. Very dark but leavened. Hard not to compare this to the Wild Thing, which I prefer, but the Wild Thing is more straight down unapologetically heavy and rich. I think the Heart of Darkness more drinkable for its relative lightness, but maybe not as intense, and groinally stimulating.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Sassy Blonder
Reviewed by Jez on 16.07.10 on tap
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)

My second taste, but my first review - this one's from the July AleStars evening at the Local Taphouse with Shawn Sherlock.

Pours a deep golden colour, dark for a pale, but pale for a dark. Head is frothy and pretty thick and forms some nice lacing, although it collapses within a minute or so of serving. Looks good overall.

Spicy on the nose, a little light, but quite sharp. A little fresh character on the nose the hints at hops without giving away a full-blown hop bouquet. Definitely some round Belgian yeast characters, giving a slightly meaty and bold fresh bread aromas.

Taste is very true to style. Clean and fresh on the fore, with a big welling of round Belgian yeast characters. Slightly phenolic on the back with a hint of sweaty grain. Very nice. Mouthfeel is light, but suitable for the style, perhaps a tad too frothy.

A very nice and very easy to drink Belgian style ale. The sharpness gives it some character, and it comes across as very true to the examples it's emulating.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Sassy Blonder
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.07.10 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a pale golden colour with very decent snowy head. Leaves nice trails of lace, sinks steadily leaving some whisps of white foam behind. Clear and champagney in its appearance, quite pleasant.

Nutty is my first thought on the nose. Fair kick of spice with nutmeg and dry champagney character. Mild Belgian yeast gives off some nice phenols and a slight crisp apple ester. Not bad, fairly simply Belgian nose though.

Taste is a bit lacking. Has fair malt on the front with some hints of pearl barley and a slight honey sweetness. Bitterness comes through around the mid, a slight earthy character with a hint of pine wood and lots of Belgian phenolic character. Not overpowering, bits of peppery spice and capsicum, green apple skin. Mild clove and aspirin towards the back. Yeah, a decent Belgian profile but leaves me a bit wanting.

A bit thin on the feel with a bit of viscosity but yeah, not very sticky. Carries the palate but just bearly.

A pleasant drop, has good flavour that doesn't overwhelm. Definitely sessionable but spicy enough to retain the interest.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Heart Of Darkness
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.07.10 on tap
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a heavily dark brown, almost pitch black with a mahogany tinge up to the light. Head is modest, sitting a long time in the glass but retaining a small half-finger's worth. Beige in colour. Lace is pretty decent, cascades slowly down and thick. Beautiful-looking stout.

Oh yeah, that's exactly the nose I was expecting. Lots of dark chocolate character with mild espresso bitterness. But lots of Belgian phenolic spice creeping up from behind. Slight green apple note with some vanilla and mild white peppery spice. Slightly sour with a milkiness to it as well, yeah great array of character but also great balance between the dark stout aroma and the Belgian spice notes.

Taste is...interesting. At first sip it seems a bit weak. Dark roasty notes that seem to swim a bit at first as though they're not pronounced enough. Mild espresso notes with unsweetened chocolate develop into a weak mid-palate but then go strong and roasty with growing strength on the back palate. Slight charcoaly bitterness that never quite reaches full burnt potential. It has a sweetness on the finish with hints of warming alcohol. But yeah, interesting. To my mind its weakest point is on the mid for sure. The finish makes it interesting but there is definitely a 'black spot' for flavour in the middle.

Swish mouthfeel. Pretty slick for something with such a high ABV. Good weight to the body but still maintains a nice fluidity. Very nice.

A strong-flavoured ale with a sweetness that makes it downable. Nice stout notes with a lot to like. I would suggest if it didn't have that flavour gap in the middle it might be less drinkable.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Punch & Judy
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 28.04.10 on tap
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Had on tap at the Local.

Pours a deep red-tinged amber colour, clear with a slow bead up the sides. Head is medium with small beige bubbles, retains a crown and leaves some pleasant trails of off-white foam. Nice-looking bitter.

Nose is very hoppy, with a distinctly floral tinge. Fair malt backbone with hints of English toffee, but predominantly a nice fruity hop character with some resinous notes, a bit of pineapple and rosewater. Pleasant and enticing smell.

Taste starts off sweet with a few notes of toffee and a nice barley flavour, hops come through not strongly, but distinctively, without a huge hit but a nice lingering presence from the mid to the back. They're quite floral in nature with some herbal notes and hints of mint, passionfruit and a slight medicinal character on the back. Not outrageously robust, but a lot of flavour for a milder beer and a lot to like.

Feel is light and fluid with a little bit of a harsh sizzle as it goes down. But a very nice body for how light it is.

Trust Murray's to brew a lighter beer well. A balanced, tasty beer without all the bells and whistles.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Punch & Judy
Reviewed by Jez on 27.04.10 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)

On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse ANZAC Day SepcTapular.

Pours a bright, deep golden amber color, with a tight bubbled sheen of white foam on the top. Looks light bodied, with a little persistent carbonation. Not bad.

Some light toffee malts and a very decent English hop character on the nose, melds together in a pretty true mix. It's reasonably light, but quite pleasant and true to style.

Light malt again, and a nice resiny hop character to keep it from becoming overpowerrjng. Some butterscotch through the centre, before a clean and single-minded bitterness sweeps through to clear it out at the end. Mouthfeel could use a cask conditioning - a smooth lack of carbonation would fit well. As it is, it feels too light and sparkly.

A lot of character for such a session-strength brew, but it all stays tight not to overwhelm the palate. As much as I like Murray's brewing the more extreme end of their spectrum, I'm gratified they can also brew simple classic styles so well.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Murray's Pilsner
Reviewed by Jez on 18.04.10 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a slightly hazed bright golden yellow colour, with a thick and foamy head of pure white foam. Head is excellent, and although it doesn't retain particularly well, the lacing is good as well. Overall, it really is an excellent looking pils; clean, sharp, and boisterous.

Pleasant sharp hops on the nose, resinous with citrus and crushed vegetation. Very clean and crisp - a slight hint of yeast to add a little depth. Not particularly strong or astringent on the nose, but there are lots of extremely pleasant characters.

Sharp hops on the palate, which is otherwise extremely clean and clear. The vector of bitterness spears through the centre, leaving a resinous sharpness on the otherwise clear an mild palate. Some residual sweetness on the back, but mostly this is a crisp, sharp and very drinkable pilsener.

While it doesn't have the amazing hop character or intensive fragrant bitterness of the best pilseners I've had (for example Victory Prima Pils), this is really an excellent example of the style. Murray's like to say they don't brew to style, but as far as I'm concerned, this is exactly what you want from a pils. It's crisp, sharp, clean and astonishingly drinkable. A really excellent beer. Another wonderful brew from Murray's.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 5.0
Murray's Shawn's Fault
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.03.10 on tap
Overall:
83 / 100
(Exceptional)
Ooh, such excitement surrounded this, I'd had a month of FebFast and hype leading up to the pivotal moment, drinking it the first day of tapping at the Local Taphouse. I was of course setting myself up for a fall with the expectations, but tried to stay objective.

Pours a dark colour, inky with a burgundy red tinge around the edge. Head is dark mocha cream-coloured, densely packed together and sinks to a thin film. The film sticks around well though. Lace is pretty impressive, gorgeous stickiness around the glass. A great-looking dark beer.

Nose is very sweet at first with huge tangy hops on it. An intense sherbet character with notes of pineapple, lemon and honey. A slight chocolatey undertone is revealed, just in an underlying richness, but it's all overlain with a really fresh, floral hoppiness. Overall sweet but not overly so, really unique and interesting aroma. I like it a lot.

Taste is more of the same but lessened. Lots of that tangy hop with more lemon sherbet notes, pineapple and a dollop of egg custard (flavour, I mean). Black roastiness comes through towards the back, very subtle with some dark chocolate notes, and a very slight charred meat sourness. Kind of falls slightly short on the finish as far as roastiness but is helped by a lingering hoppiness which is good, but could be a bit more bitter to cleanse.

Mouthfeel has a fair amount of body in spite of being a bit thin. I guess I'd call it slick, goes down very well but not without making its presence felt.

This is a really interesting brew, a nice balance between the pungent hop freshness and the deeper notes of the dark malt. Hugely drinkable, everything is in moderation but enough to give you a taste ride. I approve heartily of the attempt at brewing something different. I don't blame Shawn, I applaud him.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 5.0
Murray's Shawn's Fault
Reviewed by Jez on 07.03.10 on tap
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)

Murray's "India Dark Ale", a "full flavoured IPA brewed using dark malts", and named after (blamed on?) their head brewer. Tried on tap at The Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.

Not really black, a deep dark garnet ruby colour with a thick and frothy head of eggshell off-white. Lacing is excellent. Body looks fine, but not very heavy. Looks great, in fact.

Big hoppy nose, unfortunately with a hint of those butteracotchy hops I can never quite place. Otherwise full of sweet and heavy fruit fragrance. Quite potent and very offkilter for the appearance.

Taste is unique and odd. Big sweet hop presence at the front as though the flavours on the nose are the vanguard of the beer's forces. This is replaced as it continues with a surprisingly clean roasted grain character, which in some odd converse way, cleans up the heavy hop notes. Mouthfeel is very smooth which is really quite pleasant, and adds another layer of surprise to this already surprising and challenging brew.

A truly unique brew, although a style that seems to be on the ascent. Drinkable and unusual.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Anniversary Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 24.01.10 in bottle
Overall:
85 / 100
(Exceptional)

Tried the 2006 and 2007 vintage head-to-head recently with fellow BA laituegonflable. My notes on the 2006:

Light amber colour, lighter in hue than I would have thought, slightly cloudy with a fine head of yellowish off-white foam. Very dense and thick, with excellent lacing. Truly beautiful.

Nose is great - huge bouquet of dark fruits, grains and spices. Hints of raisins, cinnamon, port and candied orange-peel. Sweet flavours melt together to make an absolutely beautiful whole. Really great.

Mellow, rich palate, with hints of nuts, dried fruits and a carming alcohol finish. Not so much of the hop bitterness, but the sweet, juicy dark fruit characters provide all the complexity it needs. Mouthfeel is round and smooth, without being too heavy. A wonderful brew.

The 2006, with a year of age on it was decidedly superior to the young 2007. Hard to tell whether this is due to the cellaring, or the brew process itself (apparently the 2007 was matured in different oak barrels), but I recall being blown away by the 2006 when I tried it young as well.

By all accounts, this is a wonderful brew, and worthy of much praise. Bring on the 2008!

Edit: My review of the young 2009 is below (#4) My scores above still relate to the year-old 2006. (Does someone think we should split up the vintages into separate entries, perhaps?)

Pours a lovely dark red-brown, with a huge rocky and frothy head of off-white bubbles. Lacing and retention are excellent. Body looks slightly thin, but not overtly. Still looks very similar to its brethren. And that's no bad thing.

Absolutely delicious nose. Big fruity, luscious hops and rich toffee sweetness keeping it honest. Light acidity and slight metallic notes leaven the otherwise thick and heavy characters.

Very nice rich toffee and booze notes on the nose, with a spike of hoppy bitterness through the centre to ensure it doesn't get too thick or heavy. Mouthfeel is a little too prickly, but it doesn't detract. A year of age would probably help it.

It's a little raw this young - I found a year or two of age on the AAs really makes them blend better and cohere more spectacularly, but it's hard to deny this is a worthy beer young as well. My recommendation: buy six, or twelve, and try one a year as long as they hold out. It's a fulfilling experience.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Best Extra Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 28.10.09 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)

Deep ruddy brown, quite dark, but rather transparent at the edges. Head is a filmy ring of light beige bubbles. Lacing ok. It's not an amazing looking beer, but it's pretty decent.

Deep dark characters with a very robust boooze note. Hints of nuts and coffee, a little chocolate a hint of coconut. Really, it's quite a complex nose, and with some truly lovely characters.

Very smooth palate, very clean, but really without the complexity I'd expect. Some booziness, a little roasted characters, but it's quite subtle. It doesn't smack me in the face as much as I was expecting.

There's certainly things to like about this. It's not a huge beer, it's not something that's going to extremes. To be honest, I like Murray's because of their attempts at taking on extreme styles, and this one fails a little for me.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Best Extra Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 26.10.09 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a nice black colour, red tinged when held up to the light, with a thin rim of beige head. Leaves some nice sticky lacing, and some decent carbonation in there. Looks pretty good.

Pretty intense alcomohol phenols on the nose, some nice burnt characters with a hint of molasses and spice, but yeah mostly an intense boozey character, metho-esque. Interesting, not fantastic.

More stinging boozey character on the palate. Dark malt without much roastiness. Bit of a buttered popcorn character, slightly salty. Seriously smacks of alcohol, with a very harsh phenolic character on the back, and pretty simple. Just needs more flavour to compensate for the alcohol - and it's not that alcoholic.

Mouthfeel obviously a bit stinging, but has a nice full body and a good stickiness for all that. The alcohol kick is not repellant but is very noticeable.

Reasonably drinkable for its faults. Could use more roastiness or bitterness to cover the booze.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Sassy Blonde
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 17.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Biggest bottle explosion I've ever had. Fuck! Beer went fucking everywhere. So pissed off but managed to salvage most of a glass.

Pours a very cloudy apricot colour with beige fluffy head, inconsistent, but with a nice whipped look. Lacing is pleasant, if not immensely sticky. Fair amount of carbonation. Pretty nice, actually.

Certainly smelled nice when it was gushing all over my desk. Still smells nice now. Pleasant fruity characters to it, a fair tropical character with mango, apricot and a hint of pineapple, some piney notes on the hops as well, and a very slight musty character. Smells light, sweet and pleasant.

Taste is also nice, with fruity characters creating a sweet but slightly tart front palate with pear and apricot esters. Descends into a more dank, hoppy finish with an incredibly dry and musty finish, with elements of dust and musk, a nutty hint around the edge and a mild woodiness, almost like a nutshell. Nice Belgian tomatoey yeast oversees the transition to the finish, giving this an interesting acrid character overall.

Feel is smooth and fuzzy, very full with firm evidence of malt. Excellent considering the low ABV and the balanced sweetness.

This is a very well constructed ale, with an almost perfect balance between flavours. Finish is long but not overwhelming and the sourness of the yeast counteracts the sweet malt admirably. It's drinkable and inoffensive; I would love to see Murrays tackle a Belgian strong pale ale and really hammer these flavours home.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Port Stephens Whale Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 24.05.09 in bottle
Overall:
51 / 100
(OK)

Dark golden yellow colour, a little cloudy but not very. Doesn't look much like a wit. Decent frothy head that turns into a film. Lots of carbonation. Not bad, but not really wit like.

Reasonable, but a little thin nose of citrus and herbs. Very subdued, but the Curacao style candied orange peel is pleasant.

Reasonable, light entry, completely smashed with a large yeasty character. Quite dull, and rather thin with a strong coppery metallic aftertaste. It's not huge and it's not terribly interesting, not a lot of the fragrance promised on the palate. Mouthfeel is a little flat, but it feels like there's a lot of dissolved carbontion feels bloating.

It's not too bad. It's not unpleasant, but it's certainly not very exciting. Drinkable enough, I guess, but not nearly as good as some of Murray's other offerings.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Murray's Port Stephens Whale Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.05.09 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a golden colour with a lot of bubbly carbonation. Sparsely bubbled head sinks slowly but dramatically. A few specks of lacing here and there. Looks nothing like a witbier, in fact looks like a pale lager. Very blah.

Nose is better, good hit of spicy hops. Slight citrus character and a hint of fresh milled wheat but not enough, not very potent. Actually smells quite like a pale ale. Not a bad nose but again, not particularly witbiery.

Good spicy yeast character, with hints of coriander and clove on the mid-palate. Fairly prominent candied orange character hiding behind and persisting through the palate. Finish is quite grassy and a bit sour. Overall the fruit and spice are well balanced to give this good wheat characters, and the mouthfeel is tingly and pleasant.

This is quite drinkable but not quite spicy or potent enough to impress me. Tasty but not very impressive.
appearance: 1.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Wild Thing Imperial Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.11.08 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a very, very opaque black hue - possibly the blackest beer that's ever blacked. Held up to one of those energy-saver fluorescent light tubes it has the slightest glimmer of glow from beyond. The head builds slowly when poured but gathers momentum for a thick chocolatey cloud of foam that sticks around. It gathers a few pockmarks here and there and sinks slowly. Leaves delicious-looking lacing. Quite lovely lacing, really. Quite lovely everything.

Nose is thick and rich with a burnt, cocoa character, very aromatic even from a fair distance. It's a delicious nose and very pungent, but also a trifle simple. It's played very loudly, but it's still just the one note. And to be perfectly frank, while it's a great example of a stouty nose, it's not really that unique.

Taste is as powerful as a a turbo-charged steamroller with a jet engine, with a sour burnt character on the front palate which in all honesty is closest in taste to charcoal. It's unusual and arresting, but it certainly doesn't make one recoil, as eating charcoal might. This is largely thanks to the mouthfeel, which is deliciously creamy as it coats the mouth and glides down the throat. The palate is a little short but there is a nice lingering and drying finish with quite a coffee touch to it. The front is a little stinging really, but it tapers off to a bold-flavoured but subtle finish, and it's really only stinging because it's so incredibly potent.

This is certainly not a beer for everyday drinking, but for a special occasion or a beer tasting - fireworks.
appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Wild Thing Imperial Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 15.11.08 in bottle
Overall:
90 / 100
(Superb)

Pours from the bottle in a satiny black curve, smooth as polished alabaster. Looks like a cylinder of black metal in the glass. Colour is, genuinely, black. Black as hot tar, black as a Hallowe'en Midnight, black as the unyielding void of an ocean abyss. I've never seen a beer quite so devoid of light. Head is a very thin, but sticky and fine lace of chocolate brown bubbles. Sits looking dormant but dangerous. Lacing is superb, leaving cosmic rings in the wake of the black hole. What a dark, devilish and devious drink.

Wonderful aromas on the nose, and not just the rush of ashy blackness that a beer of this depth of colour might suggest. Deep sweet hints of chocolate, malt biscuits, and rum, and an amazing lighter note of berries, tea leaves or even citrus. This leavens the fragrance, leaving it balanced superbly between the heavy cremated body of Stoutness, and the fragrant lift of floral tropical fruits. Somewhere in there is the creamy, sweet middle; delicious, luscious, but conscious of the bane of many a stout in being too solid and charred.

The overwhelming character of this beer seems to be its texture. Even before the flavours appear in the mouth, there's the silky, glistening body gliding over lips and tongue, like rivulets of quicksilver. A sweet and slick caress coats the palate, and only after the touch does one notice the rich, permeating flavours arising like fragrant wafts. The darkness is here in force on the palate though, a deep, earthy, crushed cacao-nut bitterness, being stalked by the smoky spectre of High-roast carbonised coffee bean. There's a psychosomatic crunch to the palate, as the black flakes of the charred malt seem to be ingratiating themselves into the melange.

A full sweep of dark, diabolic deliciousness. By half a glass, I can feel the demonic grip of the 10%, but my palate has detected only a delicate dissonance, a dancing drop of dark rum or brandy. Delicious.

This is a exceptional and much appreciated beer. I cannot stress enough how wonderful it is that an Australian brewery brew beers like this. If it were not a stellar example of the style, I would still be grateful to Murray's. But a stellar example this is, and worthy of all the praise that can be bestowed upon it.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Murray's Nirvana Pale Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.04.08 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)
Nice-looking redwood kind of colour with a brown tinge. Good yellow head of lightly dispersed bubbles with nice thick lacing. Slight evidence of carbonation.

Nose is very good if typically pale ale-y, although I realise I shouldn't say that as a negative thing. A lot of fruit and floral hop aromas abound; really an exemplary pale ale kind of aroma, light but complex and interesting.

Tastes "darker" than I would have expected. A fair amount of fruit and hops remain from the nose but there is a roasty character I didn't anticipate. Hops dominate the front a bit, but it might be the combination with roastedness that makes it taste more bitter. It's very nice drinking though, with a very pleasant character and a nice blend of light fruitiness and grounded bitters. Similar enough to Little Creatures to be considered very good, but also with a few surprises in store. Mouthfeel is malty and pleasant.

Very pleasant, very drinkable.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Murray's Nirvana Pale Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 04.04.08 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a brilliant clear golden-orange colour, with a beautiful thick, solid crown of off-white foam. Dancing bubbles of carbonation stream at the perfect tempo from the base of the glass. This is truly a beautiful looking beer. Just absolutely what a pale ale should be.

Very fruity tropical nose, with notes of pineapple, passionfruit, melon and crushed leaves. Luscious and robust, but crisp and clean at the same time. It has plenty of oomph and character, but is also subdued. That's a good thing.

Clean, sharp front palate, accentuated with peppery hops, and a clean, rounded, earthy, vegetative flavour halfway though. Brusqe characters of grain husk and yeast on the back palate, but it's almost like this is the culmination of all the rest of the flavours. Mouthfeel is a tad heavier than I expected, but there's a nice fullness and roundness that comes with the extra body. Very tight, very robust, very drinkable.

Yes, this is a very nice beer all round. A great little Pale Ale which to my mind, may even knock LCPA off its mantle as Australian Pale Ale Supremo.

Top notch.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Murray's Anniversary Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.02.08 in bottle
Overall:
90 / 100
(Superb)
Pours a good mushroom cloud of mother-of-pearl foam, like an oyster with rabies. Slightly yellowish-tinged red colour with very impressive cloudy lacing around the glass. Very nice.

Dammit that nose is good. So much fruit and honey. Sweet, sticky and delicious. Hints of glacé cherries, apple and dates abound to create a complex bourgeoning bouquet of delicious and wonderful aromas, a real treat for the olfactory. Shit that's nice.

Wow, the taste is incredible - especially directly following the (younger) 2007 vintage. Palate is sweet, intricate and long. Lots of rich, blossoming flavours of sweet fruit with a touch of treacle. It's viscous, sweet and a wonderful blend of sticky toffee characters, alcohol power and a delicate floral hop finish. Great beer - very pleasant, lots of character and I would probably marry this beer if it were a woman but tasted exactly the same.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Murray's Icon 2IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.02.08 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a clear amber colour with ridiculously huge beige head. First pour was all foam. It's nice though, sinking at the top around the edges and webbing out with tendrils of cream-coloured lace. Damn fine-looking IPA; if only the head were more modest.

Lots of floral, grassy hops on the nose, with lots of fruit esters coming through with lemon, grapefruit and melon. Slight resiny touch as well with a slight hint of mould at the back. The assault is all floral and fruity, nice complexities and nice IPA characters.

Malty front palate with caramel and some sticky toffee underlying. Melds nicely into the mid where hop bitterness begins to emerge, but not with any great aplomb or vigour. In fact there's a hop complexity lacking for an IPA. But lots of nice fresh tropical fruit with passionfruit and pink grapefruit. A really pleasant trail on the finish with very little sharpness. The malt is still lingering so gives it a sweet edge, but mostly a nice bitter twang to remind you of its punch. Very refreshing beer and quite enjoyable, just a bit lacking in the IPA stakes.

Thick mouthfeel, but smooth, good body but not over sticky. Pretty close to perfection.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Murray's Grand Cru
Reviewed by Jez on 01.11.07 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)

Tried at the Australian Beer Festival in The Rocks 07.

The start was very inauspicious, but belied what this beer ultimately has to offer. I was pretty unimpressed with the appearance - a clear, piss-yellow colour with no head. What gives? It looks like Carlton Draught. Flat Carlton Draught at that.

Fortunately, it's all uphill from there. Decent Belgian-yeast nose. Hints of spice and honey and a really good solid body. It's pretty damn nice.

Taste is also very good. Decent spicy sweetness on the front, with a nice rich dried fruit character. The back has an alcohol harshness that's not entirely covered up. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a tripel, even with the drying character that comes from the candi sugar. But it's pretty decent overall. Very tasty.

It is pretty good, and may I just say well fucking done to Murrays for having the balls to brew us up an Australian Tripel. Can't stand up to the Belgians, but it's good to see us Aussies having a go.

appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Icon 2IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 01.11.07 on tap
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Tried on tap at The Australian Beer Fest at the Rocks.

Golden bronze colour, with a billowy white head. Fine carbonation. Looks good. Very nice.

Very strong hops on the nose, with a vegetative character as well. Aromas of freshly turned earth and crushed leaves. Very solid. Nice.

Very pronounced, almost constricting bitterness on the palate. It goes beyond the classic bitter character to a plane almost resiny, minty or hypersour. It's pretty crazy, but damn that's ballsy. The mouthfeel is like being kicked in the teeth from inside your mouth.

It's pretty heavy, too heavy to make it a good sessioner - and usually pretty pricey too - I just love the fact that this was the same price as any other beer on the day.

But it's impressive. Cheers to Murrays for bringing this to us!

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Murray's Sassy Blonde
Reviewed by Jez on 27.08.07 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)

Amber gold body capped with a white filmy head. The head disippates very quickly, leaving a collar. Decent lacing.

Belgian yeast is definitely prominent on the nose, hints of caramel, candi sugar, and a few fruity esters in there too. Nice. Light but true to style.

Taste is a let down, though, quite flat, with not much richness or character. There's hints of sweet caramel malt, and a grainy, earthy character there, but it's pretty weak and definitely disappointing after what the nose suggested. Mouthfeel is also very flat, almost to the point that you wonder whether it's carbonated.

It's not bad overall, and makes a decent drinking beer. Nice to see an Aussie brewery trying something like this.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.5