47 / 100
AIBA Homebrewer of the year winner 2017, tried as part of GABS festival in Melbourne. I actually don't know for certain if this was brewed at Colonial, but last year's was, and both homebrewers are from WA, and literally nothing mentioned the brewer, so Colonial is getting credit on this website nobody ever reads.
Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy with cream-coloured head. Dense and thick and crema-esque. Pretty good but maybe a touch pale.
Smells medicinal, with some odd sweet notes around the edge as well. Coconut, touch of cinnamon. Not very pleasant to be honest - an odd mix of phenolic and sweetness.
Taste is a bit odd; the dates that have been infused in the brew give it an odd fruity sweetness but it leans into sort of acetyldehyde territory. Similar characters to the nose too, with vanilla, caramel and dark fruit sweetness and a fair bit of medicine. Bit too sweet and phenolic.
Decent body, slight warmth from the alcohol underneath it.
Not great. It's a dubbel in essence, but has a weird tangy fruit note which feels like a flaw even if it's just the effect of adding dates to it. Ultimately just a bit too sweet but without it counteracting the phenolic effect so it tastes like artificially sweetened cough medicine.
78 / 100
Gose with rye and gin (meant to mimic something called a 'gin sling' I think? I have no idea, I'm a fucking beer drinker), brewed for GABS festival 2017. Tried at the festival in Melbourne.
Pours a straw colour, slight cloudy haze to it. Head is cream-coloured, foamy but doesn't stick around, as I expect from goses. Not bad.
Smells great. Really, surprisingly great. Some nice accentuated cereal grain upfront, with a big spice complexity to it. Rye but caramelly, and a fair touch of tangy fruit. That's so much better than I expected.
Taste is citric, mostly. Big lemon tartness but it has a lightness to the body which really helps it be palatable and refreshing. Some caramel malt underlying and a nice salt character on the back (oh yeah apparently there's seaweed or something in this as well?). Weird beer but in line with style and really well delivered. Tart, complex and ultimately refreshing.
Thin body and a bit flat. No big surprises there.
This is good. Maybe it's the rye, but so much better as a gose than I expect.
I retried this beer and it ended up my #7 beer of the festival.
71 / 100
Australian Homebrewing Champion 2016's beer for GABS, brewed at Colonial Brewing. Apparently.
Pours a gold colour, clear with sparsely webbed off-white lace that doesn't really stick around. Decent, could maybe use more substance to the head. Very clear, too.
Smells hoppy, with big passionfruit, pineapple and grapefruit character. Touch of apple tang to it as well. Mostly fruit with a hint of earthy spice as well. Not bad.
Big hops on the palate as well. Subtle malt character upfront but the hops take hold early, with grapefruit and passionfruit. Late-mid gets very dank, with a big resinous bitterness that keeps going. Cleans in the very end but it's a fair slog of bitterness to get through first. Pretty good.
Full body, maybe a touch too thick. Slight warming alcohol is nice without going overboard.
Pretty impressive double IPA. All hops, without being overly aggressive.
60 / 100
I have absolutely no idea how to classify this, it's a Reuben sandwich beer, with gin from West Winds. I mean seriously... GABS makes a mockery of style classifications sometimes. That's one of many reasons I love it.
Pours an amber colour, quite sedimenty with lovely thick head of beige foam. The head is really gorgeous, and the colour looks great as well. If there was ever going to be a reuben sandwich beer, it should look like this.
Smells a little smokey and maybe a touch meaty. Slight spice notes and a touch of espresso on there. Weird cocoa character comes through as well. It's odd, but I'm happy to give the palate a chance.
Taste is spicy, earthy. Notes of chocolate/cocoa upfront and then a fair coffee bitterness and spice on the mid-palate. Touch of clove towards the back. The malts give it an odd flavour and it's all a little confused. Could have been a nice English amber ale of sorts but there's an odd character that doesn't quite work.
Full body, slight tingle of carbonation which cuts through nicely.
I don't get a big Reuben character from this beer, nor do I really get much gin character. There's hints of the right characters but not as much as I expected or wanted.
On tap at House of Brews in Surfers Paradise.
Pours an orange-tinted gold, steady bead. Head is off-white, looks like it was sitting on the bar for a while before being brung me, sunk but lovely cradle of lacing left behind. Pretty cracking lager look.
Smells mildly floral and a big whack of tropical fruit. Geranium and lavender in there, maybe a touch of spice. Not a lot of oomph to the beer but the hop has pleasant aromas.
Taste is slightly fruity upfront, then a big punch of apricot midway, touch of pink lady apple as well. Slightly metallic tinge on the back, also some kiwifruit and herbal notes, slight earthiness to the finish, not very bitter but a fair comedown to earth. Nice crisp lagery finish; the bitterness could have dragged it down but it's well clipped. Decent construction.
Bit of fizz and quite sticky on the back with a final sizzle. Not great.
Decent lager, interesting hop, would be intrigued by the prospect of combining this with something airy like a citra or galaxy. Assuming this beer is single hop, I'm actually not sure.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a clear, golden colour, without much in the way of haze. Body is very light-weight, especially for its size. Head is white and fairly solid, leaving decent lace in its wake. Tilting the glass gives thin streams of carbonation. Looks OK.
Nose is pretty grainy. Faint stonefruit notes and rather peppery. It's very dull though and these characters are really very weak. As it warms, there's a touch of rockmelon skin as well, but again, it's a faint suggestion over a voluminous aroma of blandness.
Taste is worse. Thin, and very sugary on the front. Leaked weak emotion, slightly clingy with boiled ferns. Unpleasant. There's almost nothing to it, maybe a bit of pepper towards the end. Feel is very weak.
This is pretty bad, definitely tending to bad rather than just dull. It's a shame because these guys can do much better. Indeed, their Gary LeBron was one of my favourites from the festival last year. I hope 2016 is a better GABS year for Colonial.
Pours a straw colour, bit of cloud with foamy off-white head on top. Bit pale, but not bad.
Smells grainy, and fairly sweet, with malty characters upfront developing a touch of oatmeal. Somewhat Belgian; nothing special.
Taste is very sweet again, with a big malty front and a fair whack of cereal. Touch of rye spice midway as it goes into slight Belgian phenolic character but the whole thing remains sweet, and a little bit cloyingly so.
Bit of carbonation on the texture that might have been a flaw but helps to cut through the sweetness just a touch.
Not a bad drop, but nothing special, and a disappointment after last year's lovely musk saison.
75 / 100
A musk saison brewed for GABS 2014 in Melbourne, which is where I sampled it on tap.
Pours a pale straw colour, very solidly hazed with a pretty light body. Head forms a very fine, firm ring of white that leaves a little patchy lace. Looks decent enough.
Very herbal and spicy on the nose with a definitely pronounced musk character coming through pretty strongly. Alongside this are complexities of crushed rosemary and a little Vietnamese pepper. Very nice.
Definite musk on the palate, light and fragrant and sweet-spicy. Clean and light through the centre with the saison character giving a light dry back. Lingering fragrance of musk mingles with a residual sweetness that evanesces on the finish—the beer still feels quite light towards the back but the aromatics keep it tasty.
I was quite surprised with this beer overall. The musk and herbal aromatics work really quite well with the saison character. It's certainly an unusual beer, but one that I really took to.
62 / 100
Brewed for the Welcome Hotel's "Beer Mimics Food" event at Sydney Craft Beer Week. Tried there on nitro-pour, although the Welcome Hotel had given up on using the sparkler after the first couple of pours, so I'm not sure anyone actually got the purported meringue head that this beer was supposed to have.
Instead, we get a hazy orange hue, heavy in the body, but with almost no head whatsoever. In fact, it looked completely flat, despite the fine nitrogenation bubbles running through the body. It's a shame, but mostly put down to the servers.
Nose has a savoury tone to it, like puff pastry. Some sweet lemon aromas and a hint of sulphur. It's fairly interesting at least, and it's probably matching its spec, but it's a bit light overall.
Taste is also a bit light on the front, with a fresh citrus character coalescing into a bitter lemon flavour on the mid-palate. Long cling on the back, more of that bitter citrus skin note along with a touch of sweet pastry. Finish is actually rather bitter—more than I expected. Feel is light.
Overall, it's not bad. It did a pretty decent job at what it was intending to do. It would have been more impressive with the head, which would have given it a visual cue as well, but as it stood, it was still one of the more solid entries in the Beer Mimics Food day.
60 / 100
Pours a gold colour with slight cloud to it. Head is white, creamy-dense and just sticking like a great gelatinous glob on the top of the body. Beautiful hand-pulled look.
Smells quite sweet. Residual malt flavour with a touch of honey, caramel and lots of vanilla. Slight clove character as well. Could use a bit more spice.
Vanilla again on the palate. Again quite malty with some buttery notes but some decent spice character on the back - coriander mostly with a slight spike of white pepper. Amps up the spice as I would have liked on the nose, but still not enough to eradicate that sweetness which still dominates. Not bad.
Full body, fluid and almost thick. Again nice hand-pulled texture.
Creamy, sweet beer. Not really noticing the 'strong'-ness.
71 / 100
A 6.8% White Stout, with a description in the notes pointing out the difference between a "stout beer" in general and a "stout porter" in particular. This is the former, but not the latter.
Pours a solid golden colour, mostly clear in the body, with a pleasant heft to it. Head is very full and rich, and just turning creamy in hue. Lacing forms in pleasantly thick sheets and the carbonation seems to be so languid that it sticks to the glass. Looks good.
Smooth, rich caramel on the nose, indeed perhaps even trending towards white chocolate to provide a marvelous light counterpoint to its stout porter cousins. Some spice and eve a slight suggestion of vegetative chilli. It is a little light in weight, but it's very pleasant.
Light and spicy on the front palate before those sweet, smooth caramel characters come through providing a full-weighted mid palate. There's a hint of booze, but this quickly chases out much of the other characters, and then evaporates itself, leaving the back quite light and dry. Some body lingers though, leaving a pretty rich feel through to the end.
Overall, this is actually pretty lovely stuff. Smooth and solid and rich, without attempting anything too weird.
Pours a mid-amber colour with slight pink tinge; head is disappointing, but a ring of lace clings nicely. Light, steady bead. OK I guess.
Smells quite woody, actually, and smokey. Piney hops blend with grain husks, and a mild bacon aroma. Yeah, it's definitely smokey, and I can't think that's on purpose. I think it's just too much of one hop aroma that provides this overly woody character.
Taste is tangy, fruity upfront with a touch of cherry, vanilla and pine. Gets bitter quite quickly, but not very much so. Again woody with pine notes, touch of smoke and slight toffee. Develops a bit of fruity yeast characters on the back, that English Ale fermentation flavour.
Body is OK but could have been fuller, as the carbonation sizzles through a bit too much.
Bit odd overall, just not that coherent, but it's drinkable enough.
71 / 100
Tried on tap at the brewery 16/08/11.
Pours a dark cola colour with brown shining through at the edge. Head is off-white, fairly thick but dissipates to a thin film. Lace is alright. Pretty good.
Smell is a bit sweet. That classic cocoa-rich chocolate portery nose with a big glacé cherry hit, lots of raspberry, cinnamon and even pawpaw? Could use some more roastiness, it's just a bit too sweet.
Taste is better. Chocolate on the front develops bitter roastiness towards the mid with coffee and star anise and pepper. Nice rise of flavours towards the mid, then mellows out on the back with a touch of licorice, dark chocolate and spearmint. Espresso sourness on the hang which is unfortunate, but forgiveable as it's not too intense. Good palate.
Full enough feel, but not very thick. Decent tingle.
Yeah, a good porter. Does at times verge on stout territory, but sticks to its guns and leaves you satisfied.
58 / 100
Had on tap at the brewery 16/08/11.
Pours a pale golden colour with slow but steady bead. Head is white, tightly packed. Thin. OK.
Citrus on the nose, light and watery though, mostly, just a hint of some herb, bubblegum as well. Slight phenols at the back. Standard kölschy aroma, not very exciting.
Taste is slightly herbal and sour, light body with a hint of lemon thyme, blackberry and fresh cut grass. Finishes clean, bitter, with a slight vinous note giving me a hint of champagne towards the end, with a slight drying touch at the back. Not bad; have had better though.
Watery feel but a bit of carbonation bite to it.
I'm not really a fan of the style, as well documented in my previous reviews. This is drinkable and pleasant enough.
61 / 100
Had on tap at the brewery 16/08/11.
Pours a translucent pale straw colour, with not a lot of light penetrating. Head is white and whispy but fair density to it. Nice lace, not bad.
Smells tangy, plenty of orange with a hint of tartness, but mostly sweet. Touch of strawberry to it and maybe some clove. Decent wit, but a bit too sweet.
Taste is very refreshing. Tang upfront with light lemon notes develops into a mid-palate with lots of sweet dried orange peel and a hint of coriander. Touch of dried ginger on the back provides mild spice which dries up the palate fairly nicely. Not bad but ultimately it's just a wit.
Sizzly mouthfeel. Body is a bit thin so the carbonation shows through too much. could tone down that carbonation a bit.
Decent wit, pretty pedestrian. Certainly a good drinkin' beer.
On-tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.
Slightly cloudy yellowish gold colour. Decent head, with some really good lacing. Colour is a bit disappointingly light. Otherwise good.
Light fruity notes on the nose. Quite nice, but it's not particularly strong or robust. Really quite disappointing. You just wish that the subtle hint of fruity resin were more prominent.
Taste is better, more like what I want in an IPA, light fruit notes on the front and a clean and sharp resiny bitterness on the back, finishing with a lighty fruit bubblegum character. Lots to enjoy here. Mouthfeel is also good for the style, nicely smooth but leavened.
Overall, not bad. But I expect the nose to be the most prominent and impressive part of an IPA, and this fails there. Still it's drinkable enough overall.
Pours a pale apricot-tinged gold, with decent off-white head promoting some very pleasant sticky lacing. Maybe a slight haze in the glass, not much carbonation at all. Pretty average appearance, really.
Nose is very American with a good tropical element, a lot of passionfruit and pineapple, you know, the Cascade hop aroma. Lots of tang, with an almost tartaric zestiness. Sweet and tart, very nice IPA nose.
Taste is very IPA with hops dominating, almost stifling the palate in the middle. Starts reasonably sweet, with a pleasant pineapple character, then hops just take over, with a big phenolic "Whoomp! There it is!" in the middle and then a slightly herbal bitterness at the back, and maybe a bit of a bread yeast character which makes me think POR.
Not bad but not the delicious, flowering hop character I like, just a bit grittier on the back and sweeter on the front. Mouthfeel is slick and thin, but good for the flavours. Certainly decent drinking overall.