76 / 100
On tap at Preachers in Hobart.
Pours a burnished amber colour, somewhat hazy. Steady bead feeding a nice beige head that's foamy and retaining well. Fairly nicely dense. Yeah looks pretty good.
Smells lovely. Like a rye IPA should. Big fruity character, West Coast american hops with big citric notes, quite sharp and resiny as well with a good earthy spicy rye character underneath that kind of intensifies it but also provides a complementary character. Maybe a bit intense but good.
Taste is very citric and intense upfront, my first thought is too intense. But then the palate shifts midway with a lovely apple and tropical note coming in towards the late-mid, with some dried apricot and marmalade notes that enlivens and softens the big citric notes. Some subtler rye spice that properly emerges on the very finish but it's otherwise a nice caramel toffee malt character with some creamy notes padding the hops. Really interesting and lovely characters that makes a very intense palate really quite drinkable.
Little rough and dry when it's at its peak but the malt characters are quite well placed to pad the sides.
Yeah it is a double IPA even though its within single IPA territory. Hop notes are big and a little rough, but well constructed otherwise.
70 / 100
Day 16 of my #fletchmas Advent Calendar for 2017. Reviewed blind.
Pours a very hazy pale yellow colour, touch of orange to it. Head is white; decent when poured but just a little film of small bubbles by now. Lacing is not very sticky. Looks hazy, with nothing else of note.
Smells pleasant. Big floral and fruity aroma with lots of tropical character - peach, mango and passionfruit with a slight citric edge behind it. Touch of rosewater and some very mild sweet spice - vanilla I guess - behind it as well from the malt I think. Sweet with a tangy, bitey edge. Pleasant.
Taste is mostly fruity as well but a bit odd. Starts fairly sweet with a biscuity and vanilla malt base, turns quickly tangy towards the mid with that big tropical character, peach and mango. Turns sharp late-mid with an almost sour twist to it that really feels quite harsh in the mouth, quite astringent and pithy. There's an odd texture on the tongue as well, like carbonation fizz but more protracted and drawn out, it's like popping candy. It just has this lasting sizzle, and it's an odd sensation with that tart, sharp bitterness. But then it finishes oddly sweet again, like the caramelised grain has one last hurrah, like that bit in the new Star Wars movie where Han rises from the dead and kills all the porgs. Overall it's quite pleasant, but it's more interesting than pleasant, and it's at least partially interesting because it's not obviously coherent and it's a bit unusual and enigmatic.
Drinks in a lively, strangely balanced, yet somehow disquieting way, it just doesn't hold its parts together in a way that makes it a relaxing beer to drink. Instead it kind of keeps me on edge. But I find it intriguing for sure.
Bottle bought for me by Jez, drunk by myself.
Pours a dark umber colour, with nice bubbly beige head but it doesn't stick around, just leaves a thin spit-cloud of foam on the top. Lace is a bit slippery. Right colour but looks a bit thin and insubstantial.
Smells roasty and quite bitter. May be a bit cold, as it's mostly burnt coffee grounds, with a touch of bitter cocoa rich. Chocolate. Slight sour twist and maybe a hint of nuttiness but otherwise not much on the vanilla or coconut front. As it warms it certainly turns sweeter, gets some rich chocolate but still a bit sour-roast and bitter. Not bad though.
Taste is yeah, portery. Good chocolate malt character, with rich cocoa nibs towards the mid. Quite bitter mid-to-late, with espresso and some unsweetened sticky cacao. The coconut shows up very late; just an afterthought really but it's a pleasant character. Actually though it could have gone balls-to-wall bitter and I'd be OK with that. The sweetness on the back kinda lightens and weakens it in the end rather than blending with the bitterness to balance it. I feel like the porter itself is quite strong and the adjuncts just waft through the palate rather than really taking centre stage like they should. It's a very decent porter but I wanted more from the coconut in particular.
Good body, a little bit dry and coarse as it goes through the mouth, but it smoothes out by the end. Pretty decent.
A good winter drop, but at the end of the day I feel it's just a standard porter, and quite a bitter one that isn't as balanced as it could be.
76 / 100
Ooh yeah, here we go. IPA brewed with ghost chillies for GABS 2017, and tried there on tap. Before trying this I'd heard stories of people at the festival sweating, crying in trying to get through a sampler. This made my anticipation, of course, skyrocket.
Pours a very pale straw colour for an IPA. Foamy white head that doesn't stick around, unsurprisingly given the chilli presence. Not bad.
Smells really good. Big chilli presence, with vegetative notes, but hops as well. Lemon, capsicum aromas, touch of undergrowth as well. Smells awesome, love this combination.
Fuck. FUCK that's hot. Starts out like any other IPA; citrus lemon tang that gets strangled midway by huge fuckoff chilli heat. Tastes like a mouthful of chilli seeds, with some fruity chilli and capsicum flavours, and just burns and burns and burns all the way down. I love chilli heat, and I love this, but man it's a weird as hell sensation.
Body is thin. It's not like I expected the body to somehow dampen the effect of ghost chillis stabbing my throat but yeah, there's really no presence except for that painful burn.
This is really an amazing experience for a chilli and chilli beer lover. It's hugely, powerfully hot. It burns like fucking Hades and I love every minute of it.
I retried this beer because it was so enjoyable, and it ended up my #5 beer of the festival. Here's a link to me before enjoying a full glass of it:
And here's a link to an empty glass, which is supposed to prove I finished it (for the record, I did):
Molasses and rum porter, brewed for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival in Melbourne.
Pours a coffee colour, really really dark to the edge, almost black. Head is foamy, beige and medium retention. Lace is pretty good too.
Smells of rum, and I'm a bit put off from the start just because I don't like rum. There's some nice spice notes backing it up though; cinnamon, clove and a touch of oaky sweetness. Odd sourness as well. Yeah not sure what to make of the nose.
Taste is also rummy, fairly sweet for the most part with vanilla and chocolate underlying the whole palate. Some cinnamon notes towards the mid, with a good belt of oak on the back which may just be a sidenote of the booziness. Nicely constructed, in terms of front-middle-back with a trail off of bitterness that cuts off the sweetness.
Full body, decent level of carbonation and the alcohol is well-hidden.
Yeah, not bad. I don't get a whole lot of molasses but I get a fair bit of the rum. What's more, it's testament to Mountain Goat's brewing quality that even though this isn't the sort of beer I like, the palate is constructed in an approachable and pleasant way so I can still enjoy it.
84 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Royal Albert Hotel in Sydney.
Looks golden in the glass, but with a surprising red character through the centre. Clarity is very good, and it looks surprisingly sleek and a little thin in the glass. Head is a lacy mess of white, that leaves fine specks, but stays as a crufty mess atop the glass. Looks good.
Nose is strong on the barrel characters, tending even towards aged and a little oxidised. A hint of tin metal, some subdued earthy hops and a slight hint of cellar dustiness. There's still a lot of sweetness, which is the overriding character, with a bit of sherry, and more of that wood. It's very decent all up.
Taste really steps it up a notch. Impressive entry, beautifully smooth, light and balanced. There's a wonderful use of oak that lends an almost lively whisky kick that peters out to ephemeral booze on the back palate. Stacks of vanilla, woody oak, and mild, smooth vinous notes as well. Finish is creamy, but balanced with that slight sharpness from the booze. The mouthfeel is gorgeously balanced in particular.
Yeah, overall, this is cracking stuff. It's very complex, but it has such a wonderful balance—it makes it feel refined, and genuinely easy to drink despite its weight. I love the beautiful smoothness in it, which really allows the flavours to flourish. It's a really lovely beer.
82 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep black-brown, but free of haze. Body is oily and thick, holding fine, minimal carbonation when tilted. Head is a pale brown hue, forming a fine ring on the glass, and fine lines of lacing. Looks good.
Nose is smooth and overtly vanilla, with slick chocolate to back it up and provide depth. Slight metallic quality comes through as well, along with a fragrant dash of perfume. It's nice.
Toasty but bright entry on the palate, with a slight juicy wine grape quality matches with some oily slickness. Smooth on the mid-palate, with a big sweet, creamy vanilla ice-cream quality. The grapes come back towards the end, leaving a slight vinous quality and maybe a hint of cherry. This is mingled with lashings of chocolate sauce leading to a long linger of coffee and ink in the finish.
Feel is exceptionally smooth. I like it a lot.
It's so smooth and really drinkable. There's lots of complexities to explore as well. It's a cracking brew, and really well made. I loved it.
Pours a black colour, clear brown up to the edge with foamy beige head. Head could be a bit darker, but not bad otherwise.
Smells mildly oaky, with some vanilla and sugary rum characters blending with the big ballsy chocolate stout notes. Touch of clove on there as well. Not bad.
Taste is also oaky. Lots of rum sweetness with a touch of coconut and vanilla throughout the palate, with midway being mostly chocolate and finish developing some dark fruit sweetness. Decent oaking, with a bit of booze. Dark and fairly sultry sweet.
Full body, nice warming alcohol as it goes down. Good texture.
For a Mountain Goat barrel-aged imperial stout, it's pretty much on par. Maybe I have unfairly high expectations, but I just don't get a whole heap of loving feelings for this.
59 / 100
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney, after sampling the other storm-trooper themed Imperial pilsner from Feral/Australian Brewer.
Pours a very, very clear, pale yellow colour. Head is white, and forms a filmy mess of head that leaves only streaks of lace. Carbonation is surprisingly quite still—it's fine-bubbled when it's tilted but otherwise pretty minimal. Looks appropriate though.
Nose is rather mild. There's an odd lagery character that comes through a bit strongly, almost giving a whiff of rice or corn adjuncts. Hops are there, but they're almost an afterthought—slightly musky and a little sweet—they're certainly not the main event.
Taste is pretty similar, disappointingly. Really quite light on flavour in general, but with some odd dips that aren't necessarily all that pleasant. Slight bracken/fern bitterness matched with a weird corn-like sweetness. Some bite of hops comes through on the back. Not much booze is noticeable, maybe just like it should be: a big lager that you don't quite realise is as big as it is.
Feel is fine: clean and crisp. It works for the style of beer, but it doesn't do this beer any particular favours.
Overall, the other one I had the same night was the far superior Imperial Pils. Even though I found the Feral/Australian one leaning towards the lager a little heavily, this one seems to take on some of the features that give lagers a bad name. And so this really only can go so far.
72 / 100
A collaboration between Mountain Goat and specialty hot chocolate makers Mork made for GABS 2014 in Melbourne, which is where I tried it on-tap.
Pours a deep dark amber hue, clear in the body but solidly weighted. Head is pretty minimal, just forming a few bubbles of off-white that disappear pretty quickly leaving no lace. The beer also looks uncarbonated it's so still in the glass. Hmm.
Immediately after the pour, the spicy melange gave an aroma very much like a south-east asian curry. Chilli and coriander prickled early, but these settle into the more expected jaffa note of citrus and chocolate. Eventually, as things die out a little it even becomes rather mild.
Taste is better though. Plenty of jaffa chocolate on entry before those asian spice characters come through again: chilli, coriander, even a whiff of fermented fish sauce before a solid dose of aromatic galangal on the back. As this settles out we reprise the jaffa motif, which lingers through the aftertaste. Feel is nice and smooth, it works well with the flavours.
Yeah, I like it. Overall it's very interesting with oddities that give it its complexity. I like that the Mountain Goat guys pushed the envelope for this beer.
Spiced amber ale brewed for GABS 2013 in Melbourne. Tried there on tap.
Looks fairly pale for an amber ale, more of a gold colour really, with a bit of haze. Head is cream-coloured, large bubbles but retains OK. Not bad.
Smells quite sweet with a decent malt base to it. Touch of fresh coriander leaf, with some hoppy notes of pink grapefruit, pear and lemon. Not a lot of spice but a very pleasant amber ale aroma with a twist.
Taste is similar, very amber ale base with a touch of English toffeed malt before hops take over midway. Grapefruit, lemon and whispers of dry white pepper on the back. Again not a huge amount of spice, but nice amber ale characters nonetheless.
Body is slightly thin but carbonation is not overdone so it goes down fine.
Not sure what the intention was here, but I'm not really feeling the 'spiced amber ale' vibe. It drinks as a pretty decent amber ale, but I would expect Mountain Goat to put together a decent amber ale anyway.
640ml bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford.
Pours an extremely goopy and hazed reddish amber, with a very fine head that looks to form a creamy nitro-style cap to the beer, but settles out to just a ring. Lacing forms in tiny dots around the edge. The body is the main event here: thick, rich and solid, holding fine if slight carbonation in its wake. Looks pretty good all up though.
Nose, somewhat surprisingly, is very reminiscent of the standard Hightail Ale. Slight toasty grain characters with a supple but somewhat muted sweetness. Indeed, there's a slightly earthy hop bite to balance it, which gives it a slight metallic tone with a little pepper. As of now, I don't see the "triple" part.
Taste is a little better, however: more of that faint toasty grain on the front, and plenty of metallic hops on the back. In fact, the metallic bite lingers for a long time, propagated by the body, which is definitely richer and fuller than the regular or even the Rare Breed double. Along with the increase in body is a noticeable booze character, leaving a little heat, but more astringency, especially when paired with the metallic character on the back. At the end, it's coppery, almost rusty.
Feel is full and thick, but as I said, this actually harms it slightly as it's extending the back flavours.
Overall, it's about what you'd always get when you turn up the volume on the Hightail Ale. But the Hightail Ale's strength is in being flavoursome while staying light and approachable: once everything is raised to the nth degree there are some flaws which seem to get amplified. It's still drinkable, but I don't think it's particularly successful.
73 / 100
640ml bottle purchased from Red Bottle Liquor in Alexandria. Best before date of 30/11/2013.
Pours a very clear, and very ruby red colour: quite a lovely hue. Lots of large-bubbled carbonation streams through the body and forming a relatively thick and quite slick head of cream-coloured froth. Lacing is excellent, forming big wide swathes with internal intricacies. Really looks very good indeed.
Nose is pleasantly clipped with a crisp hoppiness that gives some citric tones and a dusky, slightly earthy tone. Not the fragrances I expect from the Galaxy listed on the label, but pleasant nonetheless. There's a pleasant grain fragrance to it as well that brings it into proper amber ale territory as well. It's actually a really nice amber nose.
Taste is clean and smooth for the most part, with a fragrant nuttiness from the malts. Hops provide balance, but not very much in the way of bitterness: just a slight metallic character on the back. Slight green leafy character comes through as well to meld with the grain and nut characters through the centre and towards the back. It's nice stuff.
Feel is good, rounded but slick: the hops at the end give it a little twist to finish it off, but the slickness in the mouth means that there's a real gravitas and persistence to the flavours.
Overall, this is well-crafted and very tasty stuff. The malt profile is expertly put together, and even though I feel like the hops might have dropped out of this one just a tad (it was maybe a couple of months ago that I bought it), it stands up very well, showing off its quality and stability. Good stuff.
Tried from a shared bottle at the Royal Albert Hotel in Sydney. This was the beer brewed as part of an event during Good Beer Week as a collaboration between Mountain Goat and Brooklyn Brewery.
Pours a cloudy, deep golden colour (a helles weizenbock, clearly—in the style of Weihenstephaner's Vitus). Head is a frothy white, quite fine, soft and light leaving a delicate tracing of lace as it goes down. Body is surprisingly light, but otherwise it looks good.
The aroma is weird, almost certainly intentionally so, but it doesn't work for me as much as it should. Spicy fruit on the initial whiff: passionfruit and green banana, dusted with a sharp pithy spicy, phenolic character. Under it though, and deeper, it has a very sweet, almost sickly candy character to it. It's like a bulbous conglomeration of the sweetest weizen yeast esters with the sweetest fruit-salad hops—overall it's powerful, but a bit bloated. (Everyone else I was with loved the aroma, though, so go figure).
Taste is also sweet on the front: carob, more of that banana-lolly weizen sweetness and fruit, but pulled back by a sharp hop presence pretty early on. This develops into a peppery note towards the back, turning grassy near the finish with a peely aftertaste. Plenty of clove in presence here as well—all above a smooth, sticky banana cake basis. Feel is light but sticky.
It's weird. And maybe a little too weird for me. The characters don't mesh as harmoniously as I've seen it done in the past (such as Brooklyn's other collaboration with Schneider), and it ends up being a bit cacophonous. The hops really permeate the palate, and perhaps the varieties chosen are just too fruity and sweet to complement the intrinsic fruitiness of the weizen.
But still: it's big, it's bold, it's full of flavour and it has an edge of exciting anarchy to it. These things make it worth searching out in any case.
49 / 100
Found these notes on my phone; I have absolutely no idea when/where I tried it, but I'm thinking probably at the Local Taphouse.
Pours an orangey colour, mild haze. Off-white head, quite dense but sunken a bit, big bubbles on the side. Looks quite good.
Smells very grainy with slight oaty note and hints of vanilla. Bit of booziness backing up, yeah wet grain and a hint of spice. Not bad, but am a bit uninspired for the palate.
Taste is quite heavy and sinky. Grainy upfront with a bit of sweetness, then quickly develops just spiritous, boozey flavour with an astringent bitter edge at the end, kind of pithy and lacking in fragrance. Not really hot and boozey, which I will put down to the lager yeast cutting off in attenuation, but it tastes heavy and a bit dour. It's almost there, but needs a lot more lift from later hopping or more carb maybe? Just a big ugly sister of the pils family.
Not bad, fairly slick but a bit dry on the back, almost cloying as well though, so not great.
Yeah, hot, straight down the throat like a hot stabbing poker. Needs a lift from somewhence.
69 / 100
Seriously, how have I gone this long without reviewing this craft beer classic? 330ml amber bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria. But it could have been anywhere.
Pours a solid amber hue, probably at the lighter end of the spectrum, with a perfectly clear body, and a fizzling effervescent head which eventually slutters itself out, leaving just some fine foaming across part of the top of the glass. Lace forms in some patchy streaks and dots. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is mild but pleasant. Some faint toasty grain characters with an up-tilt of faint herbal hop notes. Some peppery tones, and a rounded sweetness: perhaps not quite the "toffee" they claim on the label, but there's a glassy smooth character to underline everything. Like I said, it's all pretty mild, but it's quite pleasant.
Taste is still clean and pleasant, with perhaps a little more direct flavour than the nose was giving off. Light roasted characters, and indeed perhaps a toffee-like sweetness, without the weight or cloying sugariness. Some cleansing herb-and-lemon bitterness provides a modicum of balance to the beer, leaving a pleasant crispness on the finish.
Feel is smooth but light, with structure enough to support the beer, but remaining rather refreshing.
It's a very drinkable beer, and at pretty sessionable strength too. It perhaps doesn't have the in-your-face belligerence of some other Aussie craft (even some of the other purported easy-drinking, sessionable-strength brews), but this is a stalwart example of brewing beer well. Very nice stuff.
Pours a shiny reddish colour, thins out at the edge, with impressive, slightly thinning off-white head. Lace is very decent, sticking around like that kid who eats worms. Looks like a very nice beer indeed.
Smells quite malty, but with a very noticeable resinous hop character as well. Floats above with a hint of pine, rubber, granny smith apple and noticeable lemon. Could use a bit more earthiness from the rye, but it's a pleasant aroma, fresh and intriguing.
Taste is a little bit off, to be honest. Leans fairly heavily on the earthy rye which tastes quite rubbery. Again, a touch of some decent toasty malt upfront that doesn't quite fill its potential. Hops are over early, fruity and citric largely, with lemon and a twist of grapefruit, that gets bitter later. That organic rubber flavour re-emerges late, ending on an odd note that isn't nearly as fresh as it could have been. Not bad, but needs something more on the end.
Bit fizzy on the feel, carbonated from start to finish, contributes to my growing theory that there's not quite enough malt on this.
Not bad, but it's the kind of beer I like, and it doesn't really deliver on all fronts, so I'm left a tad disappointed.
75 / 100
Pours a reddish-brown colour; bit darker than I expected but appealing. Slightly cloudy, with creamy beige head of decent thickness. Good.
Smells sweet and spicy with a hint of Belgian funk. Anise, clove and a hint of banana on there. Loads of character nicely handled. Again, very appealing.
Palate is all fruit and spice; lacking a little of that organic funk which may have complemented this all really nicely. Bit sweet, with lots of star anise, some clove, nutmeg, banana and a hint of ginger. Could use a few more Belgian esters in there as it's mostly spice. I like it, but I've had quite a few from Mountain Goat like this, and would have liked more invention.
Quite dry texture, little bitty but goes down fairly well.
Aussie-spice-style Belgian brew. I like what they've done here, but I can't silence that whingey little bastard inside me that thinks they could have done more.
Bottle purchased from Beer Cartel by @epiclurk.
For all the Goaters' posturing on the label, this beer actually pours a lot lighter than expected: a deep brown-mahogany hue, with a very frothy, almost obscene head of mildest mocha. Lacing is great though, and the body is fairly solid. I wonder about the carbonation: it doesn't seem visible in the body much, but the head is pillowy and insubstantial, like it's being supported by a lot of CO2. Well, we'll find out, I guess...
Nose is a pleasant and workable mÃ©lange: bright, green, albeit slightly generic hops with a broad malty base and a hint of roast. The greenness of the hops becomes a little bit too prominent, almost giving a slight grassiness to the aroma: not the broad, fruity characters I expect from Galaxy and Cascade. As it warms, the malt gets a bit heavier, leaving a touch of chocolate sweetness. Overall, it's Good, but doesn't ever get beyond Good.
Taste is similar, although the hops are even less pronounced here. Mild malty entry gives some roasted but soft grain characters, before a slight spike in bitterness towards the finish. The ending is very smooth at least, with rippled waves of chocolate and coffee drifting off and away. The hop flavour perhaps only comes through near the front when you can still smell it, lending a faint citrus aroma along with some fruit skin. Feel is supple and smooth and very pleasant.
Overall, I'm happy enough with this, but it's not the most exciting (and far from being the most IPA-like) Black IPA. Given that it's a style that really needs to reign in and control the balance between it's conflicting elements, a small mishap on one side or the other can really make a big differenceâas I feel it has in this example.
77 / 100
Bottle from @Slowbeer shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a pleasant deep brown-black colour, with a solid and appreciable head of off-white beige. Solid colour and lacing. Looks really good.
Nose is indeed peppery, with a clean fresh citric fruity brightness. The pepper adds a pleasant American Barbecue character to the mix, which melds well with the faint roasty characters of the brew. Very decent.
Taste is light, but pleasantly savoury, with a good peppery bite and a dash of roasty dryness on the finish. It almost has a South East Asian spice character to it, giving a freshness like dried coriander and a touch of smokiness without any genuine smoked characters on the malt. It's really quite unusual, but clean and solid and it makes sense as a whole, although being genuinely weird as a beer.
Feel is fresh but solid, providing a genuinely clear basis for the beer as a whole.
Really pleasant beer. I love the spiciness that gives it such a robust refreshing SE Asian street-food character. It's unusual but so coherent. Lovely beer all up.
69 / 100
A "spiced red saison", tried on-tap at the Great Australiasian Beer Spectapular in Melbourne.
Pours a deep brown-amber hue with a partially hazy but very lightweight body. Head is slightly off-white forming a solid, full ring of foam. Colour is magnificent, and overall it looks like a really solid brew.
Nose is spicy and peppery with fragrant earthy notes of prostanthera and aniseed backed up by a rather off-kilter bubblegum aroma. Quite direct, if spiky. Pretty decent.
Taste is composed of similar characteristicsâon the front there's a shock of spicy, herbal and peppery characters, while the bubblegum and yeast notes fill up the back, with a dry lingering medicinal finish. Feels a little flat overall, and the finish is a disappointment.
Overall, a decent brew. It's flavoursome, not overwhelming, if a little bit of a misfired experiment.
78 / 100
Imperial Stout with rum, brewed at Mountain Goat as a three-way collaboration between Goat, Moon Dog and Matilda Bay. Tried at the launch at Mountain Goat during Good Beer Week in Melbourne.
Pours a deep black-brown with an inconsistent but very fine head of mocha coloured foam. Tight leopard-spotting lace. Body is firm and liquid. This really looks the business.
Nose is sweet but bright, with deep, dark high-cocoa chocolate notes leavened with a fresh, bright grassy character. That would drop out with a bit of age, and would probably really smooth out nicely. As it is, it's a bit young, but still very pleasant.
Taste is similar in some respects. It has a deep dark undercurrent throughout, but is leavened with that grassy greenness. It's not softened by being particularly smooth or sweet, although there is a touch of oak flavour on the back. It's more that the underlying lightness manages to force itself on the palate, and make you realise it's not just about the heavy dark malt.
Nice beer all up, in fact very good indeed. Longer aging would help it, but that would just be turning a very good beer into an exceptional one.
43 / 100
Pours a rather clear, and surprisingly light coloured amber hue. Head is full, fine and thick, and leaves wonderfully pervasive lacing. Very light-bodied, however, which I feel detracts from it somewhat. It's alright, but it could be better, especially if it were bigger.
Nose is crisp and generically hoppy with hints of musty, oddly sweet grain. There's a greenness to it that says "hops", but doesn't scream "HOPS!". It leaves it feeling like it really needed more dry hopping, perhaps with a variety a little more exciting than whatever they used here.
Taste is also decent enough, but generic and a little forgettable. Some faint, bland "hops" come through early, leaving a hint of spice and lupulin bite above a rather thin and empty body. On the back, the grain pipes up leaving a touch of slightly sickly sweetness that never really gets balanced by enough hops on the finish. Feel is also light and disappointing.
Really, exceptionally disappointed with this. Mountain Goat have done a couple of truly excellent left-of-centre IPAs in their Rare Breed series, and I always think that rye is a lovely addition to the style. But it's like they've forgotten everything that made their other IPAs good, and this is a true outlier in that series.
Pours a pleasant coppery amber colour, solid and meaty, with a frothy head of off-white bubbles, that sustain themselves really nicely. Plenty of intricate, honeycombed lacing as well. Good clarity to the body. Looks really nice.
Nose is balanced, with a struggle between big, sweet, slightly grainy malt characters and a fragrant, fruity hop buoyancy. It's probably fair to say the malt wins out, but the style probably calls for that, and it still does feel pleasantly balanced despite this. Nice.
Palate is certainly more skewed towards the malt here, with a deep grainy character and a slightly too obvious sugary sweetness from the crystal malts. Feel is smooth and liquid, which allows the flow of the beer towards the backâhere, there's just a touch of clean, vaguely fruity bitterness, a little like kiwi skin. It still feels balanced in a way, but the malt sweetness does get a little bit too cloying after a while.
A decent brew, but it's let down in some key ways. It ends up a little bit too sweet, and perhaps not interesting enough to warrant the effort it ends up being to chew through each mouthfeel.
70 / 100
Pours a lovely burnished amber colour, quite bright and extremely clear. Head is full and frothy, forming streaking lace as it falls down. Body is exceptionally lightweight, however, which is a bit disappointing for an IPA or an espresso. Ah well, can't win them all.
Nose is wonderfully realised, and pleasantly odd. Big fruity light-roasted coffee characters mingle beautifully with slightly spicy, slightly citric hops, with mellower tropical characters. Not a lot of sweetness, but this isn't about depth, or bodyâthis is about fragrance. Oh man. It sounded like a crazy idea, but the fruity coffee beans do gel and bounce of the fragrant hoppinessâlike so many crazy ideas, it just might work.
Unfortunately, the palate is far weaker, so much so that it's disappointing. Mild coffee spice comes through with a touch of hop bitterness, but no complexity and almost no true hop flavour. This, combined with the very light body, means that there's nothing to back it up and the finish falls away, limp and empty.
It's a beer all about fragrance. That's OK, but I feel as though this had the potential to be much, much better. I thought that my problem with the beer was going to be the melding of coffee and hopsâit's not, that works beautifullyâinstead, my problem is the fact that it just ends up too bland.
And I didn't expect this to be too bland.
Pours a red amber colour, off-white head that's quite bubbly but with good retention. Lacing is not bad at all; looks good.
Smell is mostly IPA, with nice fruity floral hops, lots of lemon and passionfruit, pineapple with pine bark and a coffee bitterness hidden behind it all that is quite odd. Doesn't quite mesh together and it would be easy to overlook the coffee if I didn't know it was there.
Tastes quite organic; vegetative and slightly sour with bitter coffee grounds blending with floral hops. Not as fruity or light as they might have been, with again not a great mesh between the two elements. Coffee kind of bitters, but also diminishes the hop flavour to make the finish just flatter than it might have been if the hops were just left alone.
Good body to it, quite smooth and a bit dry on the back. Great IPA texture.
Good brew and at no point did I not enjoy it, but it makes me wonder why bother making a coffee IPA, when all I can really taste is what would have been a delicious IPA, with this odd muting of the resins with a clashing coffee bitterness.
79 / 100
Had on-tap recently at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pours a dark reddish-brown, beautifully rich and full like black cherries. Head is thick and very fine-bubbled. Lacing is sticky, web-like and taut. Good heft to the body. Looks really, really good.
Dark raspberries and cherry sweetness on the nose which is uncompromisingly pummelled with citric hops. This tasty combination is cushioned with a very soft brown bread and slightly toasted character, a little nutty, warm and smooth. Nice.
Taste is light, with tangerine coming through very stronglyâdefinitely the biggest and most noticeable flavour. Hops are huge, giving sweet fruit with citric bite. The roastiness really only comes through on the back, and even the finish ends up with a green crushed leaf character.
A great beer. Very flavoursome, and a wonderful collaboration. It's almost a sensory overload after a while, and I love it. I really feel that the rest of the world has jumped into the next gear to catch up to the US craft industry, and when it catches it, it will sail way, way past.
84 / 100
Pours a very dark umber with glints of red up to the light. Pour forms a gorgeous cascade of bubbles flying up to form a magestic, tightly-packed beige head that retains about a finger of nice, sticky lace. Something special is happening in this glass, as well as in my loins.
Nose is a big, meaty whiff of tropical hoppiness. There's an earthy, piney and resiny aroma at first, putting me in mind of freshly-lain floor and sawdust, with just a touch of honey and some milk chocolate as well. When that initial burst disperses it instead uncloaks a delectable mélange of tropical fruits, with kiwi, banana, pawpaw and pineapple streaming out. Just a touch of fresh cut grass at the back to bring us back to the bitterness path. A scintillating blend of earthy and airy aromas that is primeval in its magnificence.
Taste starts out with a rich, creamy sweetness, dark caramel malts with some early pine resin notes from the hops. Develops further into a mid-palate which is rich in nuttiness; almond meal and walnuts mainly. The dark malt comes through largely towards the finish, with a nicely tempered roastiness, some cocoa and toast. The hops seem conspicuously lacking; there's a nice taming of the roastiness with a fresher, almost grassy bitterness on the back, but as far as distinct hop notes go they're not nearly so abundant as they were on the nose. I can't help but call the lack of hop intensity a fault in a "black IPA", even though the palate, in its perfectly poised dark/fresh equilibrium provides a generous, harmonic profile of complex nuances. A delicious beer but I fear one that falls short on the "India" factor.
They've really got all the body out of that 6.8%, and the carbonation is at just the right level to dry the palate but not sizzle on the tongue. Insanely good texture.
There is something very, very special happening in this glass and one can only hope that this carries through into the brew-collaboration scene in Australia. Frankly this is the beer I had hoped Epic and Dogfish Head could make together, but where they fell short, Goat Beer and Thornbridge have picked up the gauntlet and run with it. It's tasty, balanced and even thirst-quenching for its 6.8% darkness. Falls slightly short on the big hop notes, but streaks ahead in every other field.
On-tap at the Local Taphouse as part of the GABS festival. Served garnished with a slice of cucumber as the Goat boys recommended.
Cloudy, light lemon colour with a filmy and fine head. Sudsy lace, light body. No visible carbonation. Looks decent enough.
Sharp, crisp hops on the nose, with very bright and light organics. Certainly all together it combines to give a cucumber fragrance--sharp and clean. Nice.
Sharp green fruit at the start, giving an underripe sweetness. Cucumber comes in with big, slightly rotting organics on the back. Clean finish, but very weird. Bitterness also feels slightly too strong. Prickly feel.
A very strange brew this one, although one that I appreciate for its novelty.
75 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pouts a light golden yellow, with a little haze. Firm and frothy head of white that leaves some intricate lacing. Small carbonation streams. Looks very nice.
Nose is sharp and fresh, with big sweet tropical characters. Galaxy hops seem most prominent, giving of husky characters of passionfruit and banana lollies. Very sweet but fresh and complex as well. Nice.
Taste is lighter, but this adds to its refreshment. Similar in this regard to the Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, which in some senses drove this style in easy drinking Australian ales. Clean hops on the front, but with a nice crisp finish. Slight carbonic acidity and sparkling feel. Very dry on the finish.
Supremely drinkable, this is a winning summer ale. There is nothing quite like this style that I've tried elsewhere in the world, and this a beautiful style that I'd love to see us Australians claim as our own.
71 / 100
Pours a pale, very cloudy straw colour; head is white and fairly modest, slightly whispy with a thin ring around the edge of decent lacing. Decent all round, really.
Smells very galaxy hoppy. Lots of passionfruit with a crisp, clean bitterness to it, very light and Summery with nice fruit characters and a nice piney edge. Slight cumin on there and maybe a slight salty edge. Pretty damn nice and refreshing smell.
Taste is a bit weaker than the smell would imply. Just lacking on the front with touches of grain but not a lot. Warms up heading to the mid-palate with fruity and slightly floral notes. Gets slightly bitter towards the back, but mostly a crisp, clean and well-attenuated finish, light but with pine and passion notes and maybe a touch of cucumber providing a slight bitterness. Nice, but not mind-blowing.
Surprisingly full on the body but still the carbonation is too noticeable and distinct. Not bad though.
A crisp, clean Summery drop. Would like more distinct cucumber flavour for this beer to really wow the pants off me, but then does cucumber even have flavour?
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a pale gold colour, quite hazy with slow bead clearly visible. Head is white with modest bubbles and sunk to a thin crown with nice clouds of lace being left around, looks alright, yeah.
Smells quite passionfruity with nice resinous hop oil aroma giving off lots of crisp tropical fruit. Certainly galaxy here, but a bit meak overall, not lots of aroma. What's there is nice though.
Taste is quite tangy, especially on the front with tropical notes, then good galaxy hop flavour on late-mid: passionfruit and a touch of banana lingering. That evolves into moderately bitter finish, with slight yeasty notes; a bit astringent on the back but not too bad. Overall quite mild; doesn't quite have the crisp cleansing qualities of Stone & Wood pacific ale and falls slightly short in the flavour department.
Thinness on the body allows the fizz to show through too much. Not bad for the style but would like less bubbling.
Drinks well. Clean and easy, mild and modest ale, good Summer drop.
73 / 100
Pours a deep burnished brass colour, with fairly generous off-white head that retains quite well with big bubbles. Lots of carbonation, quite slow and steady though. Clear body, yeah a nice-looking brew.
Smells lovely and fruity. Lots of citric zest melding with a rich English toffee malt. Touch of coppery aroma and some pine resin on there as well. Rich malt, but nice balance with those citric and resiny hop notes. Nice.
Taste is very rich and malty. Lots of burnt sugar notes with caramel malt and an almost rye flake note on the front. Some ascerbic metallic notes towards the mid and an alkaline, soapy flavour as well. Hops are quite resiny and have that dour character I dislike slightly, but they're not used too strongly for bittering, so it doesn't overwhelm the palate. Thinking as an IPA it should be hoppier, but I'm kind of grateful - because the hops being of the kind they are too much would produce the really ashy bitterness that spoiled, for example, Marston's Old Empire for me. Very malty overall and has that English grassiness as well but all in good balance. Quite enjoying this.
Full texture, quite viscous with a slight tingle on the back. Leaves very dry. Not hugely enamoured here; there's too much of everything, needs to be tamed a little.
I could drink quite a few of these though; very enjoyable beer.
75 / 100
Pours quite a light coloured, but slightly bronzed amber hue, with an initially bubbly and full head of very pale lemon. Some lacing, although it's rather sudsy rather than sticky or intricate. Decent clarity. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pleasantly hoppy and sharp, with some grain and caramel to back it up. Bit of earthiness comes through the more I smell it - to be honest, it started out smelling sharp and fruity like American hops, but it has more of an English character the more it breathes. Nice.
Taste is crisp and sharp, with a level of bitterness which suggests American aggression to me. Crisp start, with a decent body to support some firm hop character on the back. Sharp bitterness, backed with light vanilla hints. Just a touch of phenol on the back.
Feel is crisp in parts, but with an overarching smoothness that is very pleasant.
Yeah, this is a lovely beer, and a very tasty one. We actually put it up against a (slightly old) AleSmith Summer YuleSmith, and this one was our preference. Good work.
Pours a pale golden colour with healthy yeasty haze. Head is white, pretty nice, sinks leaving a thin crown. Lace is beautiful; thick webs of foam, pretty damned nice.
Smells pretty unimpressive. Slight sweet notes with some citrus and that kolsch bubblegum aroma and some grass as well. But yeah, very underwhelming and plain with not a lot on it at all.
Taste is fairly impactive, although there isn't a lot on the front. Slight citric rind, but not much else. Some honey and medicine phenols come through late-mid and lots of carbonation sizzle which is aided by a dryness on the back. Some hints of bubblegum sweetness, some wattle and grassy/herbal notes. Not bad for a kolsch but still pretty plain.
Decent drinking, doesn't overload on the kolschy notes I don't like and has plenty of the kolschy notes I do like... whatever they are.
45 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a rosey bronze colour with puffy beige head, dissipates to leave a modest film of bubbles. Bit of haze, bit of slow carbonation. Bit pale, but not bad.
Nose is crisp but malty. Hints of a banana eater and some vanilla beans with cakey malt, caramel and a hint of cinnamon. Decent, but run-of-the-mill doppelbock notes that don't really burst with aroma.
Taste is very malty but with a lot of spice as well. Lots of caramel on the front with tangy banana notes and some medicinal phenols coming through midway. Alcohol is noticeable and has a heat to it that together with the phenols leaves a bitter, acerbic aftertaste.
Too bitter on the finish really, makes you forget the malty start because the long bitter finish subjugates the whole palate. Promising start is let down by the conclusion.
Mouthfeel is nice and full but a real sharpness from the alcohol.
I feel like this beer is over-attenuated, it's just sharp and while there is obviously a strong malt presence, too much of it turns quickly to phenolic alcohol flavour. It could probably benefit from some aging; at the moment it just feels rough around all the edges.
72 / 100
This is the second incarnation of this brew, sounds like the recipe has been changed quite a lot. Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a ruby-tinged amber colour. Head is generous, puffy. Nice off-white colour. Clear, not much fizz but I can forgive for the sake of the beautiful head. Great-looking IPA.
Ooh, hop bomb on the nose. Lots of lemon, juice and zest with passionfruit, tinge of pine wood, yeah hops all over that. Not overwhelming though, strong but not complex. Could use a touch more malt to balance but otherwise an ideal IPA smell.
Taste also very hoppy. Not much to start with or at least you don't really remember the front once the hops kick in. Lovely woody character to them, pine and oak with lots of citrus rind. Genuinely fresh bitterness and fruitiness with slight leathery bitterness to finish. Lingers with lovely citric hop. They've really got the IPA flavours spot on here as far as bitterness goes, if only the start were more interesting, there's just a bombardment of hops on the back.
A bit harsh on the feel, has a bite to the bitterness which is slightly off-putting. Good body to it though.
Yeah, the bite and bitterness are strong enough to lower drinkability slightly, but it's pleasant. I can picture non-hopheads disliking this.
69 / 100
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse.
Pours a deep slightly reddish amber colour. Good thick and frothy head of eggshell white foam. Lacing is excellent. A very nice looking beer.
Grassy lucerne characters front on the nose. Certainly green notes from the hops. Little fruit, but it's quite a fresh aroma. Bit of caramel as well, but only subtle, to remind you this isn't purely about hops. (Which, it arguably should be).
Taste is a good clean IPA palate - fresh and direct bitterness, with clean notes of pine and resin. Little body, or malt at all on the palate. This promotes the hops more than would be in the beer otherwise - it doesn't have a huge hop presence for an IPA. Quite thin, which aids the drinkability - it feels suitable for the amount of character in the beer.
Sinkable. Nice. Clean and fresh. I've had better, but this is not a bad example.
71 / 100
Tried as "Spiced Ducks Nuts" at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a nice red-brown colour, with a tinge of pink when held up to the light. Modest but nicely retentive head of beige bubbles. Lacing is pretty awesome and sticky. Looks a nice interesting one.
Nose is pretty sweet with a slight sour edge of funk. Elements of Christmas pudding, orange peel, burnt toffee on there. Nice earthy edge of spice as well. Smell is very pleasant.
Taste is quite interesting and unusual. Flavour is sour and organic at the beginning with elements of cooked veggies and an earthy funk kind of flavour. Slight dried fruit characters with a mild spicy edge to it. A very sweet syrup kind of flavour at first, far more interesting than if it were just sweet though, with a nice sour edge and vegetative bitter side to it as well. Very pleasant.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin and a bit fizzy, not as smooth as I would like it, actually a bit lacking in body. Not terrible but disappointing for the rest of it.
Overall a very pleasant drop, nice organic flavours and good drinking.
69 / 100
On tap at the Local. Pours a reddish hued brown, a little cloudy w ruby flashes. Head is small but solid off-white. Good lacing. Looks very nice.
Lots of aniseed on the nose, a little biscuit malt and a cut grass freshness. The licorice aniseed character is most dominant for me, and having it blind as I am, I can't pick the character (obviously, it's purely the star anise). Still it's pretty refreshing and tasty, and unusual for the style.
Anise again on the palate, but this time it's a slightly more phenolic note, with a hint of spiritous burn. Some dark malt, but it's pretty subdued in favour of the sharp characters and the crispness on the mouth.
An unusual beer this one, but quite refreshing and confusingly drinkable. Surprisingly easy to session.
Shit, what have I done with this? Opens with a huge pop and pours a glass full of head, with no liquid. Seems to be ruby red in colour and the head, which is Godzilla-esque in proportion, is creamy white and almost nitro-dense. Sinks frustratingly slowly, I want to pour the rest of the beer goddamit! A light bead in the brew and there is some gorgeous sticky lace around the edge. If the head were smaller this would look magnificent. Unfortunately the head makes it a bit silly.
Nose has floral elements, with pleasant hoppy aromas but also a dank or musty aroma, I think also arising from the hops. Hints of blackcurrant, cranberry and leather are evident, but mostly dominated by that musty smell. All in all it's a bit simple and a bit overwhelming, like stepping into a cellar that's been abandoned for years and has a bad case of rising damp.
A lot of malt on the palate, an earthy toffee flavour with a nutty edge. A dried fruit character is evident throughout, sultanas and dried apple coming through with that fairly crisp walnutty character, giving this a slightly sweet flavour with a bit of tartness just lingering behind. Finish is a bit of a trail-off, not much impact on the back palate but aftertaste has a distinct earthy bitterness, very resiny and mineral-esque, very English really, with a very slight savoury yeast character surfacing at the very end.
Mouthfeel is smooth, with a slight stickiness indicating a bit of body, pretty well constructed really. I can't say this is my favourite style, but this is a pretty good EPA nonetheless. It's drinkable and inoffensive, fairly well balanced, and a very pleasant feel. An unpretentious drop.
Pours a golden urine colour with a slight haze and sparse bead through the beer. Pillowy white head sinks to leave an uneven rim of lace but not huge amounts. Looks alright, pretty standard though.
OK, here we go. Nose is extremely floral and pleasant. A lot of tangy hops releasing aromas of citrus, pineapple sherbet and cumin. A lot of sweet fruit on it, candied orange peel, lemon air freshener, oh it's so lovely and blossoming. It's like stepping outside on the first day of spring and finding everything suddenly in bloom. Not joking - if Heaven has a smell, this is it. I could smell that all day.
...and a slight letdown on the first taste. For one, the texture is very smooth and foamy with very little carbonation zest. It's not a bad mouthfeel, but totally inappropriate for the style. Taste is pleasant enough, with a biscuity malt underlying a fairly fruity palate, hints of lemon and orange before a resiny hop thump at the back. Hops definitely don't work their way in subtly, but just flop onto the palate like a not-quite-dead escargot. Front palate is quite floral and pleasant but there is a very antiseptic bitterness as an afterthought, which is a letdown from the truly superlative job they've done here with aroma hops.
A pleasant drop, not as refreshing or clean as it could have been. Seriously, I'd happily just sit with a glass of this, sniff it to high heaven and then chuck it. I look forward to Mountain Goat releasing the powdered narcotic version of this.
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.
Extremely pale, slightly hazy yellow color with a filmy but fine head of white bubbles. Lacing is pretty good. Some beading carbonation not bad.
Some light hoppy notes, and a light rank character, not unlike Anchor steam. Some bread yeast pops up later, which is a shame, and rather rinses away my memories of the pleasant characters up front. Otherwise pretty true to style
The taste bombs heavily though. Very bready and thin on the palate. The bread note is dominant, and I can't say I approve. Some light fruit or American cherry notes, but not enough interest to detract from the fact that it's very weak and not very flavoursome. Mouthfeel is thin, but ok.
I'm not terribly impressed and worse, I'm disappointed. This is not much more than a thin bland lager. Drinkable in its way, but not very exciting. A real shame given some of the great American steam beers.
(Also, surely "Steam Ale" is a contradiction in terms??)
40 / 100
Pours a pale straw colour with slight haze but mostly translucent, pretty good snowy head that's settled down now into a thin ring around the rim. Pretty nice, but fairly standard.
Nose is a OK, but a slight Pride of Ringworm character, or bread yeasty anyway, comes through with a hint of corn, but otherwise a fair hit of malt and a slight bitter hop character, maybe some lime as well? Pretty average.
Taste has a very bread yeasty character and not much else. Pretty bland with some amber malt and some unpleasant hops. Nutty and yeasty with not much nuance. Good on Mountain Goat for brewing a California Common, but I'm really not sure if I should call this an American Pale Wheat Ale instead, what with the wheat malt and calling itself an 'ale'. This is a bit meh, not much to taste or recommend.
Mouthfeel is a bit tangy and fizzy but otherwise OK. Overall it's not too bad but if I don't ever drink this again I think I'll survive.