Rogue Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
from United States (Oregon)
30th highest rated brewery (of 635)
Highest RatedHazelnut Brown Nectar (91 / 100) Average score71 / 100 (Very Good)
Lowest RatedMorimoto Soba Ale (21 / 100) Number Tried74
Voodoo Doughnut Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 31.12.15 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
650ml pink Voodoo bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.

Pours a pale golden colour. Slightly cloudy with a thin ring of bubbles around the outside. Once these settle out it looks pretty flat and still. If you peer closer, there are some very mild streams of carbonation that form when the glass is tilted. Looks okay overall.

Nose is very lemony, but with a rather intense sweetness and the suggestion of jelly. There are some other notes; some coconut and a little bit of meringue, and some underlying suggestions of herbs, which are odd but not unpleasant. Overall, it's interesting, and probably does what it's supposed to.

Taste is similar. Here, the marshmallow/meringue character is prominent, with a little bitterness on the back similar to lemon pith. The flavours start to feel a little artificial as they go on, but they're at least decently realised in the beer. Feel is a bit thin. It's okay, but it adds to that sensation of the beer being stretched beyond its limits.

Overall though, it's pretty good. It's a decent entry in this catalogue of weirdnesses which is the pink-bottle Rogue/Voodoo series. This probably works better than some of the other missteps which characterise this set.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Voodoo Doughnut Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 28.09.15 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle purchased from the Oak Barrel, shared with Jez paired (serendipitously) with strawberry mousse, 27/9/15.

Pale amber gold colour, maybe lemonish, just by happenstance. Head is quite dense, quite nice but retention is not great, just fizzles down. Lace is OK.

Smells lemony and pleasant and quite sweet-citric. Touch of artificial, sweetened stuff like marshmallow and musk sticks. Maybe a touch minty? Really pleasant. Desserty and very American.

Taste is very sweet as well. Bit too much really; touch of citrus character. Lots of lemon zest midway, gets quite bitey midway, then finishes hugely sweet. Touch of vanilla, maybe some cake batter. Yeah, buttery caramel. Not bad but yeah a touch too sweet for my liking.

Touch of texture, decent body, maybe a bit too much pull from the citric character.

Drinks alright as an after dinner beer but could use more cut through on the back as it's very, very sweet.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.07.15 on nitro tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a brown colour, fairly dark. Head is tan, dense but not quite nitro-dense. Good medium retention though, looks good.

Smells chocolatey, with a good roastiness to it. Good and ballsy; not too robust with caramel notes and sweet coffee to balance. Very enticing.

Tastes dark, roasty. Chocolate notes upfront that descend into mostly roasty bitterness on the mid-to-late. Some notes of licorice and clove and espresso coffee, with a slight graininess midway through. Maybe a bit dour/bitter in the end, finishes a little ashy. But well constructed.

Smooth mouthfeel, nice full body with a touch of booze. Not totally smooth but pleasant.

Dry-ish. Nice flavours and good balance though.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Beard Beer
Reviewed by Jez on 29.01.14 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Brewed with yeast cultivated from the brewer's beard, that's probably enough to put some people off. But I'm game for anything. 22oz bomber purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill.

Pours a slightly hazy orange colour, strange because it looked quite clear in the bottle, so had maybe been disturbed. Head is a pancake-pocked film of pure white that leaves some streaky lace. Powdery carbonation. It looks decent enough.

Nose is slightly Belgian in character, with some hint of funky Brett-like aromas. Slight vegetative overtones, some green olive and a bit of spice. In any case, most of the aroma comes from the yeast, and it's fairly neutral otherwise. I guess that's the point.

Taste is bright, light, and fairly clean. Slight bready yeastiness on the back, along with a hint of astringency and a touch of spice. Finish is smooth bur rather empty: perhaps just a touch of salt or acid. Feel is light, but relatively smooth.

It's pretty drinkable, and honestly, pretty dull. Apart from the gimmick of its genesis, there's not a whole heap here that makes this stand apart. Unless you care, and know, what it is, it's a perfectly decent, perfectly forgettable brew.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Ale!
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 26.11.13 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a dark red-brown colour, murky. Head is pale beige, nice small bubbles but a bit thin. Decent, though.

Fucking intense aroma, but I love it. Huge vanilla-bean smell with cinnamon, Benedictine and chocolate liqueur. Utterly unique. Amazing.

Taste is more mellow. Vanilla again, with big cocoa-rich chocolate, some cinnamon and a touch of cardamom. Disappointingly weak at the back though. Sort of runs out of steam, like we're done with the flavour, enjoy raising the kids on your own now I'm done orgasming in your senses. Still that flavour upfront is great. I have no regrets.

Smooth, fluid mouthfeel. No complaints.

I tasted this blind, and have a feeling this will be right up there with my most positive deviations from the norm. But I found this an outstandingly idiosyncratic beer. Amazing flavours just socking you all right up in your tastebuds. No regrets. No complaints.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.5
Rogue Farms Roguenbier Rye
Reviewed by Jez on 09.11.13 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
650ml bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney.

Pours a very deep, but also relatively clear brown colour, with a truly excellent head of beige. The head stays solid right to the bottom, and is formed of a pleasant creaminess. Body is quite light, and the carbonation is furtive. It looks decent enough, especially the clarity, the head and the colour.

Nose is pleasant: solid toasty malts with a firm richness behind them, spiked with the unusually spicy and lightly tart character of rye. There's also some sweet, slightly fruity hop notes that come through, giving a slight overtone of tropical fruits to the aroma. Yes. Certainly pleasant.

Taste is smooth and full-bodied throughout, but a little light on flavour. This helps it retain a certain pleasant drinkability, and the hop character is also similarly muted, meaning the balance stays about right. Some slight spicy characters towards the back, and even a hint of smoke. It's quite good.

Feel is great: very smooth and rich throughout, despite the relatively low ABV.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this beer. It had a lot going for it, and managed to package it into a very neat and coherent brew. Another sign of the solidity of Rogue.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.0
Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 26.10.13 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
750ml bright orange cling-wrapped bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney.

Pours a deep reddish hue with good clarity, and a reasonably frothy, and slightly pillowy head of off-white that leaves a little bit of fine lace. Carbonation is decent enough, especially when the glass is tilted. Looks good.

Nose is full of pumpkin spice, sweet, clinging and quite full-bodied. Nutmeg, ginger, perhaps a touch of clove. There's a big suggestion of sweetness as well, which helps accentuate the pumpkin note, although there's not a lot of true pumpkin character noticeable: just the pie spice. It's still pleasant enough, though.

Taste is also pretty pleasant smooth. Decent sweetness to the body, minimal sharpness from booze or hops, and most of the characters accentuated by a pleasant residual spice note that gives clove and nutmeg mingled with brown sugar and crumble. There's a lightness on the back, but by then the spices have come and done their duty, so it's no bad thing—indeed, it's a slightly more refreshing beer than a Pumpkin Ale usually is.

Overall, yep: this is a pretty decent Pumpkin Ale. It's a style that can be a bit underdone or lackadaisical, but this has enough body and oomph to push it through to something worthwhile. I liked it.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Ale!
Reviewed by Jez on 21.09.13 in bottle
Overall:
33 / 100
(Nasty)
750ml classic bright pink Voodoo/Rogue bottle purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney, possibly because I couldn't fathom drinking an entire bottle by myself.

Pours an extremely dark but extremely fine clear brown like excessively filtered coffee. Head forms a fine and pretty pleasant head of mocha above it. Lacing forms in thin tiger stripes down the glass. Overall, it looks pretty decent.

Nose is intensely sweet, and I'm guessing this is where most of the effort has gone. Sickly coconut, chocolate, caramel and yes, perhaps some peanut butter provides an over-the-top American candy sweetness. Banana is lost in the mix, but I can envisage a little bit of fake banana ester candy character coming through as well. Mostly, though, it smells like a vat of melted peanut butter that someone has vomited a day's worth of carnival food into—in a vaguely good way.

Taste is weak. Extremely weak. Thin, reedy chocolate comes though, devoid of true sweetness and backed up by the ghost of peanut butter providing a shot of fatty somnolence to the finish. Feel is thin, taste is thin. Roast comes through on the back only because everything else has dropped out: the flavours that come through must only be aromatically derived—like Artificial Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter Doughnut Flavouring (221). Boo.

Overall: boo indeed. I quite enjoyed the Maple Bacon beer, despite what everyone else seemed to think of it. But this is piss-poor: this is thin, fakely flavoured and weak without any integration or any particular thought put to it. Very uninspiring stuff.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 2.0
Issaquah Ménage À Frog
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Last beer I had on-tap at Rogue's brewery in Newport OR during a recent visit.

Pours a lovely pure yellow colour, with a firm but translucent haze. Head is white, persistent and huge, although it leaves no lacing whatsoever as it falls. Carbonation is powdery when the glass is tilted. Looks good.

Big Belgian characters on the nose: buttered bread, baked beans, roundness. It's smooth, but sharp and pleasant. Awesomely traditional and very, very good.

Light buttery characters on the front, before moving into some smooth organics. Hint of floral notes (perhaps lavender) before a dry, phenolic finish. It's light but rather biting on the end, but leaves no ringing residuals on the aftertaste. Feel is smooth but light.

Overall, this is a very tasty brew, and a really good tripel. I'll admit, I wasn't expecting all that much: I find it rare to get a non-Belgian tripel that's really worthy of the style, but this is pretty damn good.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Dad's Little Helper Black IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
On-tap at the Rogue Brewery in Newport, OR.

Pours a deep amber hue. What's that? Amber? Yes, it's almost too light to be a Black IPA. It might have passed without commend had it been a "dark IPA", but black is pushing it. Head is a bubbly ring of white which forms some decent sheeting lace. Body weight is very solid. Apart from the colour, it looks pretty good.

Nose is fascinating: initially brusque and noticeable pine resin mingles with a big hit of roastiness and a dash of smoke, hitting the dichotomy of the style nicely. This morphs into a savoury salt and pepper character as I get used to it. Nice.

Light bitey hops on the front come forward, before the hops crescendo, and fight off an attack from the smokey malt character. The culmination is a biting, powerful, almost astringent aldehyde bitterness on the back. Phwoar. This is not holding anything back... Feel is surprisingly light, but it works: it's at least something keeping the beer in check.

Overall, there's no doubting this beer's power. But it sure harms its drinkability. Maybe I'll just have one.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Chatoe Rogue First Growth OREgasmic Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
On-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR.

Pours a hazy amber-golden colour, with a solid, almost gelatinous weight to it. Head is a yellowish-white, that forms a fine film and solid ring around the edge of the glass. Lacing is sticky and sheeting, carbonation is powdery. Looks great.

Bright and fresh on the nose, with clean, sharp nuances of white pepper and freshly broken twigs alongside a juice apricot sweetness. Very nicely balanced.

Front palate is light with a hint of pepper, before fruitier notes of citrus rind and peach come through. It's a bit tart and green all around, which develops into a biting wintergreen character on the finish. However, the end is rather clean, and has a rounded smoothness that almost hints at raspberries. Very interesting.

Overall, a very drinkable beer, with lots of interest, and a profile that just makes you want to drink it all day. Nice stuff.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Chatoe Rogue Rebel Hop
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Had on-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR.

Pours a deep golden colour, with a solid haze and firm body. Head is enormous, solid and intense, leaving a white puff right to the bottom, and excellent, persistent lace. Looks great.

Aroma comes forward with big green hops, and a slightly grassy grain hue. It has an echo of lemon to it, and a hint of apricot which gives it a deeper sweetness. Nice stuff.

Light entry on the palate, before we get fragrant notes of rose and incense on the mid. Finish is balanced enough, with some grassy hop characters coming through. It's mild enough until the aftertaste, where oily hop residue makes sure we realise what this hop's about.

Feel is smooth and quite light, but with a fine, refined sparkle.

Overall, this is really good stuff. It has some really interesting nuances to what is ultimately quite a pleasant drinkable beer.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Captain Sig's Northwestern Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Had this on-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR.

Pours a reddish-amber hue, I guess right on, stylistically, with an off-white head that forms a firm ring and no centre. Lace is patchy, but the carbonation is fine and sits nicely in the solidly weighted body. Looks pretty good.

Nose is disappointing: some light caramel characters, and a hint of reduced leafiness, that perhaps gives a suggestion of mint. Not much else, meaning it feels pretty empty overall. Eh.

Light entry on the palate, with some definite mint mid-palate. Herbal and fragrant going towards the back, until we hit some pepper and a slight hop bite on the finish. Aftertaste is quite clean. Feel is smooth.

Overall, hey, it's not bad. It's a bit dull for a red ale, but hey, you can't have everything.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Mogul Madness Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
87 / 100
(Exceptional)
On-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR.

Pours a deep red colour, quite clear, with solid weight behind it. Head is yellow tending to beige, and forms a solid ring. Fine, but arrogant carbonation. Who knows what I mean by arrogant.

Nose is big and juicy and sweet. Toffee comes through strongly, with touches of stewed dates, rum and brandy. It's Xmas pudding in a glass: heavy and sweet, no doubt about it, but with solidity and purpose.

Light toffee entry before a big welling of sweetness and more booze than expected hits mid to late in the picture. Dates and prunes come through along with a dusty roasted character that melds towards a slightly cutting astringency at the end. This helps clean out the palate from that clinging sweetness, leaving a very harmonious if cacophonic whole.

Feel is exceptionally smooth.

Drinkability: well, I'd think it was too heavy, but it's not huge overall. At only 6.6% it's actually light enough to drink more than one, and the awesome depth and complexity ensures you want more than one. Love it.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Chatoe Rogue Liberty Hop
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
56 / 100
(OK)
On-tap at the brewery, next to the Rebel Hop version of the same.

Pours a hazy golden colour, with a fine white head. Lace is patchy, but pleasant enough. Body is solid but dull. Overall, yeah, it's ok. Pretty generic though.

Nose has some pleasant melon and apricot aromas, unfortunately tainted with brusque grain and a hint of yeast. It's certainly not huge in any case, but the hop fragrances that are there are nice enough.

Light grain on the entry of the palate, before some middling hops come through lending some mild organics. Finish is slightly earthy, tending to meaty. A bit dull and uninspired. Feel is sparkly and very light.

Overall, this is pretty bland stuff. I'm not going to offend Rogue by comparing it to Budweiser, but the fact that Bud is even mentioned in this review is a bad sign.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Chatoe First Growth Good Chit Pilsner
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
On-tap at the Rogue Brewery in Newport, OR.

Pours a pale yellow colour, remarkably clear, with a light body and a fine, full head of white. Lacing leaves patterned rings down the glass. Looks good.

Aroma is bitey and sharp, with zesty lemon providing the bulk of the flavour. There's some pleasant pils grain undertones to it as well, and a hint of wet grass. Solid aroma overall: the characters are quite robust, more so than usual for beer that's not hop-dominant.

Palate is quite light, but there's flavours and complexities there when you look for them. Light organic matter on the front melds from grainy to peppery mid-palate. Some sharper material on the finish, with some slight phenol action giving up some anise and a lingering medicine character. Feel is very light, but surprisingly, not all that crisp.

Overall, it's very drinkable and enjoyable, and what's more it has a lot more interest than your average pils. Not bad, overall.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Chatoe Rogue First Growth Single Malt Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
50 / 100
(OK)
On-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR.

Pours a very pale yellow hue: very mild and light. Head is very frothy and egg white; it leaves firm rings of lace down the glass. Carbonation is streaming, but quite mild. Not bad all up.

Nose is very, very light and very, very dull. Some maltiness comes through along with a very faint hint of lemon, but it's not exciting or bold, and doesn't really give me anything insight into the malt itself.

Pale light entry on the palate, with a clean but empty mid-palate. There's a touch of bitterness on the finish, along with some husky grain. It's not unpleasant, it's just, well, not there. Feel is extremely weak. Almost watery.

I don't have a lot to say about this beer, because this beer doesn't have a lot to say about itself. Single malt? Is that interesting? Certainly not this one.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Nutless Brown
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Had on-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR. It was one of their range they had on that I'd not tried before.

Pours an amber-brown hue, with some hazing in the body. Weight is solid. Head is a bright yellow-white colour, forming a ring and not much lace. Looks decent, if not exciting overall.

Nose is very light. There's some toffee, or brown sugar giving the sensation of sweetness, but there's no weight behind it. Slight hint of peely citrus creates some contract, but it just feels empty overall.

Taste is better, and has some reasonable complexity to it. Nutty front-palate entry, with some mild malt and toffee sweetness. This turns somewhat savoury mid-palate, giving a hint of meaty gravy and beef juices. Finish gives some burnt toffee, a touch of roasty bite and a hint of cherry. Quite nice overall, with some interesting twists in the flavour.

Feel is too light. It's fluid enough, but would feel very empty if not for the twisty palate.

Overall, it's pleasant enough without being particularly good. Maybe it is just a beer that's missing something (shock).

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
New Crustacean
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.12 on tap
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
On-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR. Apparently, it's a "pale barleywine", brewed with entirely pale malts.

Indeed, it seems pale: a pale yellow colour, with mild hazing and a hugely solid body. Head is a powdery ring of white. Lace is intricate and complex. It looks like Hindu art. It's a great looking beer all up.

Nose is bright with sparkly hops. Hints of mint, pine, orange and juniper with a touch of jammy apricot giving it some sweetness. Whoo, this is a big beer. You can tell already.

Or can you? Actually, the palate is surprisingly light (or at least lighter than I expected). Some slight grain on the entry with a hint of raisins, before some pithy orange sharpness comes through like a dollop of rindy marmalade. There's a big biting bitterness on the finish, but it's smoothed and lightened somehow. Somehow. I just can't figure it out. Not from the feel, which is gloriously smooth and thick: it might just be the fragrance of it gives the impression of the big hop bitterness without actually leaving a huge whack of hop oil on the finish.

Fascinating stuff, and surprisingly good, given this could have just been astringent, fusel-full and harsh. Instead, we get a remarkably balanced beer for it's high ABV and aggressive profile.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 16.06.12 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
I saw this release many months ago from afar, thinking it would never reach Australian shores—fair enough, it didn't, but I hit American shores and looked it up myself.

Pours a pleasant clear amber hue with lots of fizzling carbonation feeding a very solid and stolid off-white head. Light bodied, but it's not a huge beer ABV-wise. Looks decent enough.

Ooh, nose is yes oh yes just what I wanted. Pleasantly organic smoky notes sitting above a woody, genuine maple sweetness, giving it an overt, almost intentionally sickly character, which, let's face it, is what you want out of a beer with a bright pink bottle. The smoke is really pleasant and directed, giving a wood-fired note, but always reminiscent of the sweetness inherent in the beer. Wonderful stuff.

Taste is a lot lighter, and the lack of body harms it, meaning that it can't actually sustain a genuine sweetness. Here, the smoke gives a slight crisp harshness on the front, which eventually slides away into a cushioning bed of maple essence and nutty malt characters. It's still very pleasant, and the maple syrup and the smoky characters still pronounce themselves fully—it's just that it doesn't really deliver that sweetness and fullness that you expect.

Overall, though, this is an excitingly different beer, and one that genuinely does do a good job of blending all the maple-bacon goodness that you expect. It's not as sweet on the palate as I thought it might have been, and that might aid it a little, but still, it's thoroughly intriguing and very enjoyable.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.5
XS Imperial Red
Reviewed by Jez on 19.07.11 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(Decent)
Small 7oz bottle, which I love. Perfect sampling size for one.

Pours a murky reddish-brown mahogany colour, with a fine head of beige. Almost frothed open when uncapped, and there was plenty of disturbed sediment, even leaving the last centimetre or so in the bottle. Nice heavy body. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is very malt-driven, with a big boozy alcohol presence as well. Caramel and port, with touches of brandy, raisins and butter, with only a slight herbal or grassy tone to suggest any hops. Oddly, it lacks a little roundness, as though it doesn't have the real sweetness of the characters, just their essence. Not bad, but not astonishing.

Taste is also very similar. Weak body that doesn't fill the palate, with just a whiff of overcooked toffee before a melange of booze and hop oil bitterness creeps in through the centre to the back. Shocked at the lack of body and sweetness—this feels unbalanced and empty even for what would be an insane hop-driven beer—it makes it feel stale, thin and rather insipid.

A big let-down from Rogue. I love American Reds and I love Rogue (mostly), but this dropped the ball on both counts from my expectations. It ends up being a pretty average beer, and it should be a lynchpin of their high-end range.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Santa's Private Reserve Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 16.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a red-tinged amber colour, big explosion of froth when I opened the bottle. Head is a nice beige colour, just a very thin crown of dense, clingy lace. Not bad.

Smell is very fruity and sweet. Quite tangy with citrus notes, some pineapple and dried apple. Touch of raising, cola and some sherbet as well. Nice complex sweetness with touches of tangy hops.

Taste is an intriguing one. Lots of sweetness upfront with zesty dried fruit - cranberry, raising and dried citrus peel on there. Then gets very dry midway while remaining sweet. Develops a toasty flavour on the malt, with lots of cocoa, a touch of pistachio and mild star anise (without the spice). It's largely just sweet overall but a nice roasty flavour at the end with a touch of hop oil that develops it into a darker, more wintry style brew. Still pretty simple but it's enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin with distinct carbonation sizzle. Doesn't spoil the beer, but there's nothing special or enjoyable about the texture.

A good beer and a nice wintry take on the style. Not amazing though; some decent flavours but doesn't form an exciting whole.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
John John Dead Guy Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 11.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
I do like Dead Guy, so I was interested to try this. It is imported to my home country of Australia, but this one was purchased in the US, where beer taxes are far kinder to the thinking beer drinker.

Pours a bright, hazed orange-amber hue, light at the edges, but deep and rich in the centre. Head fizzles out rather quickly, but leaves a decent collar of fine white around the edges. Almost no lacing is formed, but the body is thick enough to give rise to some static carbonation.

Nose is immediately potent and thick, giving huge sweet aromas of caramel, whiskey and buttery oak. Incredibly dense and robust, and the first smell I think I'd describe as "chewy". Impressive, if eye-watering.

Taste is along very similar lines, giving a very potent smooth buttery whiskey barrel flavour for the most part, without any of the alcohol bite. Oak all up in the joint, y'all. Smooth and very, very sweet. Finish tapers off, leaving very little malt on the finish; more a tannic, slightly oxidised, corky character like poorly stored port.

Feel is very smooth, but this just accentuates how full and melty and heart-stopping this beer is.

An incredibly slick and very buttery, oaky brew. Did I enjoy it? Not especially. Was it memorable? Oh, hell yes. This is a beer that will stick in my mind for a very long time, and that's something to appreciate.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Smoke Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 14.12.10 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a deep burnished bronze colour, with modest beige head that sinks steadily to a thin film. Nice lace, fairly strong haze as well, with not much carbonation. Good smokey haze.

Smells smokey, although I don't get much unless I swill it. When I do though, nice and potent with wood and bacon; but more woody than meaty. Slight vinous note which might just be oakiness. Nice subtlety, yeah quite good.

Taste is quite smokey with a burnt edge to it. Quite charcoally and quite a lot of spice. Nice mix; not all that smokey but a nice subtle burnt flavour running throughout the palate, with a good backup of malt. Spice is slightly overpowering, gives a slight sharpness to the back.

Mouthfeel is quite viscous, with not a lot of texture. Feels full and a bit flat. Could use more carbonation to cut through the smokey flavour more.

But a good blend overall and because it's not too meaty it's more drinkable than many rauchs/smokeds I've had.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Morimoto Soba Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 02.11.10 in bottle
Overall:
21 / 100
(Awful)

I can get Rogue in Australia, but this one never really gripped me enough to buy it for the exorbitant import price. But I was always curious so thought while in America, it was worth trying it out.

Pours a very clear light golden colour, with a fine-bubbled head of white. Lacing is extremely good, even if it sticks in obviously large bubbles around the glass. Looks decent enough.

Nose is really rather sweet, with an almost sickly malted grain cloyingness and a whiff of overripe apples. Nothing much of anything else, except a lingering butteriness that affixes itself to the sweetness and makes it seem worse.

Taste is weird, and confronting. Big welling of slightly corny sweetness, more of that faint apple aroma and a hint of something that could be spicy. Oh, it's such an unpleasant flavour - something that just rankles me, rubs me in completely the wrong way. Maybe I just really despite Soba, but in the beer, it's horrid. Feel is light enough, but doesn't do anything to protect against the rank flavours on the palate.

Oh, horrible, horrible. I can see that this is a beer that's likely to polarise opinion, but it has me firmly on the side of despising it. The sweetness is cloying and unpleasant, almost like the juice from a garbage bin. Maybe some people like this flavour. I think it's repugnant.

I'm so pleased I only spent the US price on this and not the AU price. It doesn't work for me at all - indeed I find it truly offensive - be warned that there is the rank possibility that you will hate this.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 1.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 1.5
XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter
Reviewed by Jez on 25.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)

Presented in an adorable 7 oz bottle. Just enough for a good taste.

Pours a really gorgeous deep red mahogany colour, with a crown of creamy off-white foam that's both heady and boisterous. Lacing is thick and intricate in the best English traditions of the genre. Looks a good drop of beer.

Such a lovely hybrid nose. Deep, slightly nutty, slightly roasted English malt characters (even though apparently the malts are local), with some odd blackberry hop characters mingled with sharper and more pungent West Coast aromas. It's very interesting indeed.

Taste is incredibly smooth and very well done. Despite the creeping hint of American hoppiness on the nose, the palate gives way to a creamy malt centre laced with a touch of very English feeling earthy organic hop bitterness on the back. Feel is divine, so smooth and yet so clear, a lovely feel for an English style ale. I feel like I've not had a better mouthfeel from a bottle.

7.1%? Pah! No such thing. This is a smooth and sessionable ale, roaring with character, but smooth and supple on the palate. A fabulous ESB, and a stylistically true one. Oh America, you never cease to amaze me.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Mocha Porter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.06.10 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark chocolatey colour with pale beige head, sinks fairly quickly, leaving trails of lace and bubbles on the top. Could use more head, but nice porta colour, looks a bit thin in the glass.

Nose is pleasantly sweet with nice roasty espresso notes, a nice earthiness to it and yeah, mocha character. Nice dark chocolate with a nutty edge, hints of almonds and a lot of pleasant coffee grounds. Very nice porter, nice mocha character.

Taste is nicely roasty which verges on ashy and bitter. A lot of espresso ground roastiness throughout, hints of oak, some unsweetened chocolate on the mid but yeah, gets a mildly sour note towards the back, reaching for espresso bitterness but never quite reaching it. Just falls short of its potential but there's enough there to help me imagine what it could be. Just tastes a bit watered down on the finish and seems to trail off from the pleasant bitter coffee sensation on the front. Nice, but not mind-blowing.

Mouthfeel I think is where the watered-down sensation mostly manifests itself, a bit thin and lacking in the body. Dry on the back but just an underwhelming palate for the most part.

Still a pleasant after-dinner beer. It is roasty and there are no unpleasant lingering flavours, just never quite reaches its flavour potential.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Sesquicentennial Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.03.10 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)
22oz bomber (I think?) bought from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a reddish-brown colour with fairly thick haze throughout - very decent head, ochre in colour and quite dense. Decent retention with some really delightful lacing. Fair carbonation as well, yeah everything here is decent.

Nose is very malty and hoppy, really nice aromas coming off that. A lot of west coast hoppiness and a large amount of sweet toffeed barley, with some nice spicy notes being given off by the hops as well. Overall, standard really, lots of malt and hops but still, nicely handled.

Taste is predominantly malty, a lot of rich, earthy tones with toffee, molasses and soil. Some hops come through late, with a bit of a woody bitter tone at the end. Slight citric character on the bitterness, but not aggressive as in Old Crustacean, for example. Look this is quite a standard beer, lots of malt, slight hoppiness, but it's really well-handled and balanced superbly.

Foamy and fairly well-textured, quite creamy but with a bit of roughness from the hops. Not ideal but certainly manageable.

This is an extremely drinkable, sessionable beer. The balance is brilliant and I could just quaff this all night.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 5.0
Sesquicentennial Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 24.03.10 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a cloudy reddish amber colour - deep and heavy looking with a robust frothy head of yellow-white. Good lacing. Looks a bit murky, otherwise very fine indeed.

Nose is a deliciously full blown West Coast hop aroma, lots of citrus, tropical fruits and pine. Sharp but resonant, full of juicy hop flavours. Very robust and full-bodied. I love it.

Taste is slightly disappointing, but only slightly. It lacks some fruit sweetness - lacks some of the big IPA characters. It has a slight crystallised sugar character on the back, and a thin bitterness following it up. Bitterness is muted, but it's also somewhat isolated, given the rather void sweetness. So it stays balanced, but also a bit empty. Not bad though. Mouthfeel is thick, with low carbonation.

It's a very nice beer, and for its somewhat empty palate it's more drinkable. Very clean, crisp and very enjoyable.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Chatoe Rogue First Growth Wet Hop Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 08.01.10 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)

Pours a deep and surprisingly thick orange amber colour, with a slight haze that just lets in enough light to make it glow. Two-fingers of yellowish-cream head sits slightly filmy on the top, leaving some lacing, but collapsing in short measure. Carbonation is extremely fine and it looks wonderful pushing through the residuals in the body. Overall, a really lovely looking brew.

Subdued nose, with not a huge amount of hop aroma. Some subtle sweet orange characters, spiced raisin bread and some honey-like malt are more dominant. Almost a cleansing ocean-spray type of note to it as well. Nothing that screams Wet Hop Ale to me. Also, I'm unfamiliar with Rogue's unique hop varieties, so I was looking forward to experiencing their flavours.

Taste is also very subdued, almost obnoxiously so. Very little in terms of flavour on the front, not even much malt - surprising given the body and the sweeter notes on the nose. Some savoury orange characters start to linger a little later, and there's a slight rosewater character that releases a little fragrance, but it's all very toned down and muted. There's a somewhat grating bitterness on the very back that lingers more as an aftertaste than anything present on the beer itself. It all comes together to speak of a mediocre beer to me. Mouthfeel is sparkling with tiny bursts of effervescence, but it doesn't have much to work with.

I think it's fair to say I found this a disappointing brew. It's not just that I expected more luscious fresh hop characters given the style, I found the beer itself to be a bit tepid and lacklustre. It's drinkable enough, but I would have had issues with it no matter what it styled itself as. Rogue does much better.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Smoke Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 28.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a bright deep bronze-gold colour, with a fluffy but large bubbled head of yellowish bubbles. Slightly cloudy body, which has some thickness, as the bubbling has to work its way up to form the head. Looks really quite lovely. The colour is just gorgeous.

Robust smoke notes on the nose, but pleasantly sweet. Rather like smoked and cured ham, with the lingering woodfire character providing some rustic charm. It's not complex, but it's a lovely smoky nose - not overpowering, not too sharp, but balanced very pleasantly between true smoke and sweetness. Again, it's a lovely drop.

Taste is more subdued on the smoke character, with some whiffs of smoky haze on the front, and a sharp hop bite on the back. Feels a little thin, and the sweet aromas present on the nose have abandoned the palate. It's quite refreshing, however, and I'm certainly glad that the smokiness isn't overpowering given the lack of body and sweetness (which would be sorely needed otherwise). Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but it's suitable for the style.

A drinkable beer, very much a Rauch - the smoke character is robust, but not overpowering. It lacks a little something on the palate - I really like my Rauchbiers to have some sweetness behind them, but otherwise it's a very pleasant and pleasantly smoky beer.

(My 600th review, how about that...)

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
American Amber Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 20.12.09 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)

On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse.

Really lovely red-orange colour, slightly cloudy, with a filmy but solid head off off-white fine-bubbled foam. Excellent lacing. Body a little thin, but otherwise awesome. A great looking beer.

A little smoke on the nose, quite a meaty, pan-juices aroma - it's also hard to dispel the image of dog-biscuits. Quite sweet after a while, not very hoppy. Full of malt and biscuit sweetness. Not a huge nose, but nice enough.

Taste is very similar. Subdued malt sweetness and a light copper bitterness on the back. Quite smooth, almost milky at the start, before the more rugged characters of the malt-grain and metallic bite kick in on the back. Mouthfeel is smooth but a little thin.

Very drinkable and quite enjoyable. Smooth, rich and flavoursome without being overwhelming. Nice.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Yellow Snow IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 17.12.09 on tap
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a cloudy amber gold colour. Not much head on it, but the Local Taphouse does occasionally serve their beers that way. Lacing is excellent though, implying to me that the head would generally be pretty nice, and the film that is there stays pretty consistent. Colour is a little lacklustre, not particularly bright and vibrant, but looks good overall.

Nose is redolent with wonderful west coast hop notes. Floral rosewater, some citrus, a little vanilla orchid and tropical fruit. It's certainly more along the floral sweet lines than the fruity sweet. It's not overpowering, just very pleasant.

Taste is so classic. Big notes of floral hoppiness, and a big citrus rind finish lending some clean bitterness on the back. Some slight butterscotch creeping in later, but it's subtle and forgivable. Really not riproaringly bitter, but very smooth. Mouthfeel is slick.

A very drinkable and very classic US IPA. It's not extreme, and it doesn't have a huge amount of complexity, but what it does have is a really pleasant flavour profile which means it's easy to drink.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
American Amber Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 17.12.09 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a slightly murky red colour with a brown tinge, nice ruby aspect. Head is off-white, good retention, medium density. Lace is nice, thick and sticky. Looks like a fine beer.

Nose is very malty with a light toffee aroma and a cakey malt touch. Slight mustiness from hops at the back, with a light floral edge. But mostly caramel and sweet; not overpoweringly so. Nice.

Taste also quite malty. Lots of caramel and butterscotch - a little diacetyl-esque but I don't think it is, it's just a particular malt character. Tastes like cake mix or cookie dough with buttery sweet flavours and a vanilla edge. At least at the front. Coming up behind is a refreshing wave of bitterness, one that verges on the phenolic, which is a bit much after such sweetness. A bit of a milder hoppiness would really hit the spot. Earthy with an acerbic battery acid character and a mediciney touch. Tempers the sweetness but leaves a little too much bandaid. Nice, but a bit too much of sweet and bitter.

A bit wet on the mouthfeel, watery rather. A bit of body as it goes down but not enough. OK for the flavour but lacking.

Not bad overall, could have been better.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Yellow Snow IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 17.12.09 on tap
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse Darlinghurst.

Pours an orange-tinged brown colour with fair amount of haze in it, very translucent with a medium thick beige head. Lace is delectable, speckly and sticky. Head could retain better, but otherwise looks like an exemplary IPA.

Lots of floral hops on the nose, very West Coast aroma with steamed pudding, apricot and pineapple esters. Perhaps the slightest bit heavy on the hops, they knock off the sweetness with a touch of the phenolic and smells slightly overwhelming. But I'm not complaining much.

Taste is very hoppy indeed. Lots of floral characters on the front, a bit of rose as well as some nice pineapple flavour. Hop bitterness kicks in very early, strongly and lasts considerably. Quite metallic with a big kiss of copper on there and a lot of nice earthy phenols. Aggressive yes, but tempered well; they trail off nicely, not leaving much of a hang, just a slight linger of medicinal bitterness. Tasty drop.

Mouthfeel is the badger in this particular diamond mine though - quite harsh, with over-carbonation. Needs some smoothing out, but a goodly amount of body.

Doesn't detract much though from a very tasty, thirst-quenching beer.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Juniper Pale Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 04.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)

Pours a pleasant bright gold colour, with a filmy head of very fine creamy white foam. Lacing is excellent, even though the head dissipates after a while. Lots of streaming carbonation looks a little out of place given the rather strong body.

Decent citrus and spice on the nose, a lot of grain notes, a little bready but quite full and flavoursome. It doesn't have a really fragrant floral nose, and the characters are a little odd, but it's pretty nice overall.

Taste is also a little odd. A little grain sweetness on the front before a little floral note mid palate. Then the bitterness turns up right on the back and quite full, in quite an unusual position. It's a little unnerving - I take it it's probably the juniper addition here. Mouthfeel is round and pleasant, despite the carbonation, it's pretty smooth. I like it.

Yeah, an odd little beer, but a pleasant enough one. It just jolts me in odd directions, so it keeps my interest, while challenging me at the same time.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Chipotle Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 20.10.09 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Chipotle Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.10.09 in bottle
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
Pours a pale orange with yellow tinge, no real head. Slight haze but mostly clear. Leaves a line of lace where head was, but nothing more. Fairly flat and dull.

Wow, smells like a brew day. Lots and lots of malt. Virtually nothing else, maybe a slight acrid character, light capsicum aroma. But really that heavy, dominant malt. I don't mind it but it's not fantastic.

Taste is quite savoury, for sure. Has a quite sweet sensation at the front, with elements of glazed fruit and pale malt, then gets quite salty and smokey afterwards, almost meaty as well, and with aspects of steamed greens and a peppery sort of flavour without much spice. Bit of a funky flavour, and then a very mild chilli bite right at the end. But it's funky more than spicy. Not bad, but not sensational.

Mouthfeel is fairly thin, a bit of viscosity which is good, but nothing to sink your teeth into in this brew.

I kind of wanted Rogue to blow the chile beer out of the water with this, but it just seems kind of savoury without being particularly pungent, spicy or full of character. Ultimately seems a bit tame, and a sort of muddle between chilli and smoked beer flavours. Not undrinkable but a bit blah.
appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
XS Old Crustacean
Reviewed by Jez on 08.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)

XS series in swing-top ceramic bottle. Brought back from California to share with mates here in Sydney.

Pours incredibly thick - an amazing gelatinous blob of liquid in the glass. The head looks like newly formed hot toffee, the bubbles are so stuck in the body that rolling the beer around in the glass leaves them static where they were. Body is a majestic mahogany brown, head is a crackling lace of yellow bubbles. Phenomenal.

Lots of toffee-heavy sweetness on the nose, but also a huge resonant hop aroma, and an undeniable spirituous spiciness, coalescing together into one big bad-ass nose. Every thing is big. No getting away from it.

Taste is either wrong, or just insane. This is incredibly bitter, more so than the most insanely hopped DIPA. Despite the huge sweet aromas, there's almost none detectable here - the bittering hops hold the palate to ransom, strangling every little bit of life out of it. There is, meekly peeking around the corner, the usually brash flavour of alcohol, but the hop bitterness so utterly trumps it, ruling with an iron fist. I'm not sure I approve greatly. Mouthfeel is thick at least, like expected.

To be honest, I found this to be a terribly difficult beer. Everything before the first sip indicated a big, malty, rich barleywine, but the palate was so completely skewed in one direction that I was left reeling.

I prefer more balance in my beers, but it's hard to disrespect it.

appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Chocolate Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)

On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.

Pours a deep, almost opaque black brown, jus with hints of lightness at the corners - looks like melted chocolate with blackberry syrup. Head is thick, heavy and big. Delicious. Lacing sublime. Hell yes, this is a beer!

Delicious cocoa nibs on the nose, sweet and dusty and rich. That's it, you have to admit, but god it's good.

Nice huge roasty chiocolate character on the palate too. Not very sweet, but the roasted rich bittersweet character of true dark cocoa-rich chocolate. Even a light resin peeping through. Very good.

Mouthfeel very suitable: creamy and smooth. Not terrible thick, but very good.

A very smooth, drinkable and delectable beer. Thankyou Local Taphouse for bringing it to our shores. It was better on tap here than in bottles in the US.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
91 / 100
(Superb)

Pours a lovely reddish brown colour with a filmy but sticky head of off-white. Excellent lacing. Clarity is great - a great looking beer all up.

Wow, a phenomenal sweet and rich nose of butterscotch, toffee and roasted sugar coated almonds. Deeper notes of milk chocolate and rye bread. Really good. Not the nasty diacetyl butterscotch you get in pale ales sometimes. This is all intentional and all phenomenal. What a nose!

Buttery sweet and smooth, just phenomenally delicious and tasty. Creamy mouthfeel, light, but with a wonderful slickness. Starts with a light roasted grain note, which just starts layering with sweetness after sweetenss until you have a wonderful sweet anarchy of Wonkaesque proportions. Rambunctious and happy - delicious.

A truly excellent, delicious and uniquely fun beer. Drinkable as long as you can cope with the insane sweetness.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 5.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Imperial Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
86 / 100
(Exceptional)

On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular. I'd had this before in America, but a chance to sample it on-tap on my home soil?? Phenomenal!

Black. That's all that can be said about the appearance. Not true, a big thick head of light brown bubbles crowns the abyss. Really quite creamy. Retention is excellent. Lacing phenomenal. Awesome looking stout.

Lots of espresso coffee and toasted grains on the nose, very tasty. Note very thick. Notes of smoke and very dark bittersweet chocolate. Really quite heavy and irrational. It makes you question your own existence. Phenomenal.

Great rich, butch and in-your-face palate. It dares you not to like its dark, rich and heavy roasted characters. Full of charred grain, sweet malt and heavy and thick as hell. Mouthfeel is chewy and rich.

Holy hell, an amazingly complex and heavy imperial stout. Very rich and blasted with alcohol. I'm pleased to sip it, but I couldn't slug it down.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
XS Imperial India Pale Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)

On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.

Cloudy yellow gold colour, with a very decent head of fine creamy foam. Lacing is great. Bubbles sit up when swirled. Nice indeed.

Some resiny hops on the nose. Not huge, but sweet with some tropical fruit. An unfortunate butterscotch note, but otherwise very fruity and flavoursome.

Taste is much better with a clean and crisp American hop bitterness which overthrows anything else. Some light buttery sweetness to it, but the passionfruit and resin bitterness clear it out. Mouthfeel is crisp, nice for the style.

Yeah, a very nice IPA. Has a lot of the nice fruit characters and comes out pretty drinkable. Note that I had this blind, and would have picked it more for a regular IPA than a double. Probably a slight markdown.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
St. Rogue Red
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
85 / 100
(Exceptional)

On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.

Beautiful brownish red the color of strawberry jam. Beautiful, slightly cloudy, and just great. Excellent lacing. Luminescent and amazing. I'm a fan. Colour is outstanding.

Really lovely American hop nose, fresh and pleasant, lots of amarillo and cascade. Redolent with the really wonderful American characters. I love it.

Lots of bitter-to-sour characters on the palate, very smooth, but with masses of delicious in-your-face American hop bitterness. It's not terribly complex, but it's tasty as hell. Clean and so American - I cannot express how much I love that character in my beer.

Drinkabkle and delectable. I really like this beer; a really good American hopped ale. It was a perfect way to end my evening of American beery goodness.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Dead Guy Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)

Lovely slightly cloudy gold colour, with a rocky and sticky head of white foam, with a lovely eggwhite sheen. Lacing is great. Some carb. Looks nice and thick. Lovely.

Some light hops and a sweet nutty caramel character on the nose. Hint of carob and toasted bread. All nice characters. Not extreme but pleasant.

Taste is more robust, a very nice clean bitterness, with a lingering grain and nut character leaving some nice sweetness on the back. It's very clean and crisp, puts me in mind of a ESB, and has the pleasant gritty hops to match. Mouthfeel has a nice slickness.

A very drinkable ale and most enjoyable. A really clean and lovely beer to start the day.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Chocolate Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.07.09 on tap
Overall:
91 / 100
(Superb)
Pours a very imperial-level dark colour, with brown mocha head, slight tinge of brown at the very bottom of the tulip, but otherwise pitch black. Head retains to a medium crown and lacing is to die for. That is a fucking king Henry shit of a beer.

Nose is insanely chocolatey. I mean, that smells like cocoa, if I'm honest. It dominates quite comprehensively. There is a dustiness to it, or a dryness, that makes me feel like cocoa powder should be coming up my nose. Maybe a hint of bourbon as well, but what an amazing smell.

Taste is a strong, rich, bitter cocoa experience, hints of milky chocolate in the front, then a bitter, roasty cocoa character on the mid that extends its mechanical claws in my mouth to expand its deliciousness. I almost heard it say "Go go gadget chocolate deliciousness". There is a slight bitter roasty espresso character on the back and maybe even some hops, of all things? Hops in a beer?? That stop it from being too sweet. Instead it's just fuck hot delicious.

That is very, very, very nice. So well built. Full of flavour, just pleasant. Mouthfeel is slick, nicely full. Great and suits it so well.

I'm a big fan indeed. What a fantastic beer. I could drink that for the rest of my life.
appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5.0
St. Rogue Red
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.07.09 on tap
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours very red, with a brown tinge, very hazy appearance. Head is deliciously beige and pretty thick, dissipates to a thin rim over the top. Pretty nice, excellent head and excellent lacing.

Nose is quite barleywine-esque, with a strong malt character and lots of burnt toffee. Hints of a herbal, coriander hop aroma, slightly citric and herbal, very nice actually. Very sweet, very herbal. Good barley smell.

Taste is sweet and toffee-esque, with a brash herbal hop flavour, a lot of toffee, and a big bitter finish. Has aspects of capsicum and tomato, and a good tropical hop hit with passionfruit/pineapple and a slight piney flavour. A bit of a mishmash, somewhat sweet but very bitter, doesn't blend as well as your average IPA might. Mouthfeel quite thick, maybe even too thick for such a bitter brew.

Overall a decent, drinkable brew, just a little imbalanced.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
XS Imperial India Pale Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.07.09 on tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a very hazy apricot colour, lots of cloud, with a delicious white head that has dissipated to leave a thin crown of foam. Lacing is to die for. What lacing. This beer has 'sexy' written all over it.

Nose is an intense passionfruit affair, with very strong tropical notes, very floral hoppy characters and an almost marmalade sweetness on the back. While it's not unique, it's fruity and complex, very pleasant indeed.

Taste has a long hoppy palate, with the front having notes of grains and biscuity malt, but they're quickly overpowered by an intense, very floral hop note with a lot of tropical fruit, hints of pineapple, guava and of course passionfruit. Has a mildly spicy, resiny finish; hints of white pepper and a little bit of anise - not as complex as I've seen, but yeah very decent drinking.

Mouthfeel is smooth, surprisingly dull though. Doesn't have much of a kick to it. Doesn't detract from the beer though which is a very decent drinking 2IPA.
appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Imperial Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.07.09 on tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Oh, pure pitch black pour. Brown head, burnt sienna in colour, very very thick and sinks like a sturdy, well-built ship with a holeproof hull. That is to say, it doesn't sink at all. Forms a thick frothy crown. Lacing is sensational. That's the beer to end all beers. I couldn't imagine a better-looking beer.

Nose is burnt espresso, very dark and slightly ashy, without the bitterness that goes along with that. Very pleasant, earthy roastedness. Slight espresso and cocoa. Slight hoppiness on the back as well? Very good indeed, but seems a bit subdued - doesn't have that nostril-tearing intensity I remember.

Taste is an intense, bitter roasted flavour, a lot of espresso, bitter cocoa and red grape skin, cherry and jaffa orange. Very tasty and sweet, with nice bitter roasted characters coming through on the mid-to-back, plus an insane kind of meaty, honey-roasted character. Very pleasant indeed, lots of dark characters but very drinkable.

Does have a strong alcohol hit on the back though which reminds me it's heavy going and not sessionable, but this is in all other respects a damned fine drop.
appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.07.09 on tap
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a cherry red colour with lotza bubbles around the edge, head is deliciously foamy but sinks to settle down as a thinly-pocked rim. Lacing is delicious beige foam. Clarity is delicious, looks like a nice claret. (that's an attempted pun)

Intense sugary sweetness on the nose. Intense molasses, hints of espresso, mint, nutty chocolate, wow that's insane. One of the most extreme noses, I can't believe "sweet" can be so strong. It's so intense and so sweet. But fuck it's nice. That's like a strong ice wine, with chocolate. Insane I tells ye.

Wow, chocolate icecream. It's like bloody eating chocolate icecream, only with a burnt toffee, brand snap sweetness after the mid as well. Finish has a bit of a hop driness on it, slightly herbal, hint of mint again, or maybe anise. Does have a slight nutty edge to it as well, like hazelnut.

Mouthfeel is nicely full, very slick. Holds the flavour well. That is an intense beer, so sweet and toasty, so many nice, insane and non-beer-like flavours. Great taste but I certainly couldn't drink that every day. I'm already diabetic but a daily dose of this would make me double-diabetic. Wow.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Dead Guy Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.07.09 on tap
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours an apricot colour with slight brown tinge and a delicious ochre head, couple of fingers thick but settles down to a nice thick crown. Lacing is spectacular and thick. Looks so damn fine.

Smell is delicious and fruity, with a big fresh pineapple hit and some excellent floral hops, plus hints of darker, sweeter fruits, maybe some dried apricot and some golden syrup. Complex, flagrant and pleasant nose.

Taste is quite a lot earthier, with a strong, dank hop that pervades most of the palate. Rich citrus-style flavours - cumquat and maybe some mandarin, with a thick, syrupy barley malt underneath on the front; floral, citric hops come through on the mid and then develop a wetter, more soily bitterness towards the back. This is blended with a sultana sweetness on the finish, quite splendidly actually. In fact, finish is really great - some licorice spice and an excellent warming alcomohol kick.

Mouthfeel nicely full and rich, almost chewy towards the end. A little bit intense on the mid overall, but that's otherwise a very pleasant beer.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
XS Old Crustacean
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Deep earthy red colour, like the dirt in Death Valley (maybe - I don't know, I've never been there). Head is amazing when poured - ochre in colour and medium thickness but produces a little puff of bubbles beneath that swim around before settling up into head, largely due to beer's heaviness. Tilting the glass produces more of this amazing effect, and lacing is not thick, but very clingy and resilient. Absolute incredible, unique-looking brew.

Nose is a rich, delectable bouquet of sweets. Sweet toffee, dates, maybe some cranberries at the back, and just the right amount of an earthy acidity to counterbalance the really rather pungent sweetness. Smells sweet, sticky, delicious and slightly fruity. Again sensational.

Taste is an odd shock to the palate after that smell. A deep, earthy grittiness abounds with a very unexpected burnt coffee bitterness. While it definitely lacks the toffee sweetness of the nose, there is definitely evidence of a very potent, prominent malt base, very thick and rich. Most of the palate is very bitter and tastes like it's been bombarded with hops, very astringent with a slightly phenolic character that comes around the mid and hangs well over the finish. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth but not quite as full as I would have expected. Overall, while the alcohol is very well hidden except maybe a twang in the middle, the dark, saturating earthiness of this renders it moderately less drinkable.

I'm not saying it has a bad flavour, just odd.
appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Dead Guy Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 10.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)

Ah, this is such a classic, right? How have I never got around to reviewing it before?

Pours a deep golden yellow, with great clarity and shine. A good fine bubbled head of off-white foam gurgles up then down, leaving some impressive lacing. Lots of spirited carbonation persists throughout the drinking. Looks pretty tasty.

Light floral hops and honey sweetness on the nose, hints of confectioners' sugar and a little ripe tropical fruit. But it's all very much subdued, not a huge and boisterous nose, but the sweet characters are all rather pleasant put together.

Again, pretty light on the palate, some initial honey notes, with a light coppery bitterness washing through to clean it up. The bitterness at the end grows more robust as time passes, leaving a stronger hop presence than I expected initially. Very clean and crisp, and the back palate astringency aids drinkablility.

Nice. Very drinkable and very clean, lots of very pleasant light characters swirling around. Not an exceptional beer, but a suitably solid one.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Chocolate Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 04.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a deep brown black, with a big head of milky chocolate foam. Lots of sturdy lacing, and the head retention is very good. If the head were just slightly creamier, it would be phenomenal, but it's pretty damn good as is.

Huge sweet cocoa characters on the nose, redolent with rich and heavy melted chocolate. Extremely sweet, almost a hint of fairy floss ramping up as well, but all with a delicate dusty grain note hanging around as well. Just plainly delicious as hell. Goddamn, what a insanely alluring nose.

On the palate, the dark grains come to the fore, with a rich roasted character, leavening to a light burnt cacao husk note. Light pepper mid-palate; finish is still rich and heavy - not a hint of dry or charred notes by the end. Mouthfeel is smooth, but it could be thicker and more coating.

A devilishly delicious chocolate stout. My only benchmark is Young's, which is a hard act to follow. I'm not convinced this is better, but it does a damn good job trying. Still, a very tasty brew, with tons of delicious chocolate character.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Imperial Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 26.03.09 in bottle
Overall:
89 / 100
(Superb)

Big and chunky 750ml ceramic bottle with swingtop. 2008 vintage.

A very thick, opaque black body is my reward, plus a crunchy dark toffee-coloured head of thich pancake bubbles. Lacing is extreme. The way the bubbles settle out on a pour tells how thick this is. Phenomenal.

Dark, rich, sweet, plummy, carbonised, charring, delicious. There's a pleasant organic overtone to it as well, with contributions from the aromas of turned earth and orange peel. What a great and mixed perfume of dark delicious scents.

Delicious, rich and sweet palate - thick as treacle and amazingly heavy. Like melted high-cocoa dark chocolate mixed with Benedictine. There's certainly a noticeable heat here too, but there's that levity in the palate again, a slight hint of citrus, which just accentuates the other complexities. It's like a touch of salt to bring out the spices in a rich meal. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel is very heavy and thick - it's like honey in the mouth.

Wow, what an impressive brew. Heavy as hell and extremely complex. Yes - those Americans sure know how to tkae the essence of a style and make it big and loud.

appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 29.05.08 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Cheers to my girlfriend for lugging this bomber back from the States for me.

Pours an extremely dark, opaque brown-black, with a sheen to the body. Head is also very dark, a rick milk-chocolate colour. Its crown is big, but rocky, composed of a lot of air, and not much creaminess. Carbonation abounds, in tiny thin streams of bubbles around the edge of the goblet. Excellent sticky lacing. This is a really nice looking stout.

Rich dark toasted notes on the nose, coffee, roasted malt, a little smokiness and a bittersweet hint of burnt sugar. There's even, hiding away at the back, the insinuation of oak. It's not a huge nose, but it's certainly got fine characteristics to it. Very pleasant.

Taste is initially quite smoky, with a brash wood-fire character on the front palate. This lingers around, mingling with flavours of charred meat, caraway and anise seed. The roasted characters are the ones surviving to the end though, with a long, dark back palate of roasty bitter ash. It's not a drying character, though - it stays smooth on the palate throughout.

Slippery, dark, dangerous. This is a well-made stout. It's not huge, by any account, everything is in moderation and everything is balanced. I had a great time chewing my way through it.

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