61 / 100
500ml brown bottle given to me by Sam as part of the 2017 #fletchvent advent calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a drab golden colour, with a middling amount of haze that doesn't add body, but stops the sparkling brightness it might otherwise have. Head forms a fine cap of white, but dissipates quickly, leaving only a couple of bubbles around the edge. Minimal lacing as well. I have to be honest: it's not a great looking beer.
Nose is pithy, with a rather pleasant citrus sharpness that suggests "hops" without shouting "HOPS!". Under it are some organic, but also fruity characters with a hint of banana and pawpaw. Mostly though, it's crisp and direct.
Taste is quite sharp, and a lot thinner than I expected. There's a pleasant pronounced bitterness through the centre that's almost earthy and organic. It's at times like the kind of bitterness you get from yeast; almost phenolic. That makes me think it's either got some Belgian yeast or even perhaps a touch of Brett to it—that might also explain some of those more unexpected fruit notes on the nose. It's interesting.
Feel is a bit light and sharp—despite the stillness of the body, it has a perk of carbonation to it.
Overall: it's pretty decent. It's somewhat confounding though—it could be any number of things and I'd nod and smile and say "ah yes, makes sense". If it's a straight up IPA I think I'll be a little more disappointed.
And on the reveal:
Moa Southern Alps White IPA. That... TOTALLY makes sense. It even maybe explains some of the more earthy bitterness from the botanicals (coriander spice, at least). It confused me, but then it made sense when I unmasked it, and I respect what it was doing as a style.
62 / 100
IPA Dubbel, brewed for GABS Festival 2017. Tried at the festival in Melbourne on tap.
Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy. Large bubbles for the head, beige in colour, sticks around alright. Looks alright, yeah.
Smells sweet upfront, with caramel and honey notes. Subtle hop character with a tangy grapefruit note and maybe some coconut as well. Not bad.
Caramel on the front of the palate, gets a bit richer towards the mid. Hops are pretty subdued but noticeable, with a touch of green apple tang on the late-mid. Some Belgian characters towards the finish with some phenolic character and a touch of spice. Not bad.
Touch of warming alcohol as it goes down; body is pretty decent.
Perhaps more dubbely than IPA-y and I think more hop character would elevate this beyond a fairly standard Belgian-tasting offering.
On tap at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.
Pours a champagne colour, fair bit of haze with cream-coloured head. Big bubbles, decent lacing. Not bad, standard witbier.
Smells sweet and spicy. Caramel malt notes that tend towards buttery as well. Decent orange notes and a hit of coriander. Nice sweetness and spice.
Taste is a bit blander, with more of those buttery caramel characters. Hint of citrus fruit, and some spice with clove and coriander, but following the mid it just gets yeasty, and bready. Too much, so that it kind of drowns the sweetness and spice, and basically the classic witbier characters. Disappointing.
Decent body, slight warmth at the back from the spice and/or alcohol (but I'm tending towards the former just because of the size).
Nothing special. Textbook witbier that doesn't quite have enough character to diminish the yeasty and phenolic notes at the back that become fairly distasteful in the end.
71 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a surprisingly deep golden colour, with a fine white head that foams up initially, settling back to a fine but persistent ring around the edge of the glass. Body is light, and the carbonation is beautifully fine and powdery. Lacing forms in small dots only. Mostly, though, it looks pretty good—what you'd expect for a pale lager.
Nose is pretty decent. Mostly clean and crisp, but with a slight skunkiness which isn't unpleasant. There's a sweetness underneath it though that seems unnecessary. It adds a suggestion of caramel which is unwelcome—when melding with the hop notes it turns a little earthy or grassy.
Taste is better, because it is very light-bodied, and this very much helps to dry out the palate. What's left is a slight bite from the Nelson Sauvin hops, which almost turns a little tart, and a mild semi-savoury finish, made up of grain notes and hop bitterness. It makes it pretty drinkable.
Feel is very nice. Pleasantly light and dry.
There's no denying that this is a beautifully drinkable beer. It's crisp and quaffable. While it may lack some chops in the area of pure unadulterated interest, it's well-crafted, and makes for an easy beer to drink. It's a quality lager, and these are too rare.
78 / 100
375ml dark green, caged and corked bottle, purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. 2014 vintage.
Pours a mulberry-tinged amber-red colour, with a fine, persistent and soft head of pale beige. Some slight spongy lace forms when the beer is tilted. Body has some fine weight to it, but much less that you'd expect for 9% ABV. Carbonation is refined and swift. Looks good.
Nose is pretty good, and follows the broad curved of the Flanders sour style. Some tart, cherry-like sweetness, plenty of vinous oak, and earthy qualities of leather and pepper. As it warms, there are more subtle fragrances: bay leaf, vanilla and rose. All up, it's extremely complex, and quite impressive.
Taste is also decent, but it feels as though there are holes in the palate. There's a lack of true biting acidity for one thing, which leaves the back swamped with vanilla-sweet oak notes. It's only really tart on the front, giving a clean riesling sharpness that develops into musky fruit. It could also use a more pronounced tannic character to give it bite—put it in red wine barrels and we'll talk, maybe. Finish is surprisingly (and disappointingly) empty, as it just glides away with the oak and the afterthought of its mild tartness.
Feel is smooth—it's actually a nice feel, but it again emphasises that you want more acidity with something like this.
Overall, please don't misunderstand me: this is a good beer, and it does a lot of things right. But this rather counterintuitively emphasises the things that could be improved as well. With these things improved on, this could be a world class beer.
1.5L bottle bought by Dad for my birthday. Opened and shared indiscriminately with as many people as possible at a BBQ.
Pours a pale gold with some cloud. Big, thick pillowy head that resembles marshmallow. Sinks unevenly and beautifully. Looks great.
Smells boozey, spicy; somewhat dry. Marmalade with a touch of apricot, pepper, and some oatmeal. Decent; to style.
Taste is fruity-jammy upfront, peach and orange notes then some bergamot midway. Gets boozey late-mid, slightly sharp and astringently bitter-boozey late. Nice integration at first, but a bit warm late, seems a bit off-kilter and could use some more spice esters perhaps, to dry it up a bit more. Otherwise decent.
Smooth, somewhat dry and very warm. OK body though.
I like it well enough, I like a good tripel, but it just seems a bit unbalanced - booze without flavour towards the back.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a faint salmon tint, very clear in the glass and very light in the body. Head is white and very full, leaving lace forming in sheeting streaks. Very fine, refined carbonation. It's a cracking looking beer.
Nose is clean and pleasant. Feijoa is unmistakeable in the aroma, matched with hints of long-aged lactobacillus faint notes of funk. There's even a slight twist of lambic plastickiness, which is nice.
Clean, vinous entry on the palate with a crispness like champagne. Mild fruit gives it a sweet-tart quality through the centre, although most of the action is late—full back palate with mild apple notes like cider and a lingering sparkling tartness.
Feel is very clean and clear.
Overall, I like it a lot. It's a solidly built sour with some interesting and entertaining twists. Feijoas are certainly a worthy match for sour beers.
Pours a pale pink colour with a slight brownish tinge. White head, hugely creamy texture retaining nicely. Looks good.
Some funk on the nose, but mostly fruit. Apple, green apple mostly, with loads of cider character, a touch of oak and a crisp edge to it. Fruity, oak and funk.
Taste is very cidery, to the point where Jez was convinced it was a cider. Pear and green apple dominate, with some slight chardonnay oak notes, maybe a whisper of barnyard towards the back. As a cider it wouldn't be too bad; as a beer it's alright, just a bit odd.
Thin body, goes down fluidly like a quencher. Not bad.
Sour; oaky, vinous. Cidery. Not really my thing but perfectly fine.
Bottle gifted by Jez.
Pours a gold colour, shimmery and clear. Head is white, a bit dense, some lace trails left behind. Could use more cloud and be a bit paler. But nice otherwise.
Smells lightly Belgian. Notes of orange peel, candied, and a touch of musk. Not a lot of hop; fruity but not hop. Still, fairly nice.
Taste is Belgian: spicy and fruity and quite pleasant. Candied orange peel, coriander, touch of pepper. Finishes with dry peppery spice; some fresh hop notes but doesn't have a big enough hop note for an IPA. Still, it's quite a winning flavour combination.
A bit drying and slightly harsh on the back. Feel like there's more hop here than I can taste, really.
Nice enough overall package but not quite IPA enough, and could just more complexity. Feel like it's dumbed down what could be a really interesting drop.
375ml green caged and corked bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria.
Pours a very hazy pale straw colour, with an initially frothy head of white. This settles out fairly quickly, residing as a thin fine ring around the edge that leaves minimal lacing as it goes down. Carbonation is fine although not particularly prodigious, only forming when the beer is tilted. Looks pretty good all up though.
Nose is wonderful. Big tart cherry notes mixed with an almost candy-like sweet-sour brightness. There's a sharpness to it as well which is very pleasant indeed—it pinpoints the acidity and the tartness of the cherries wonderfully. I like it a whole heap.
Unfortunately, it doesn't continue on the same trajectory when we get to the palate. Here, there's a flat, grainy basis that doesn't provide much for the cherry characters to work with—indeed, it feels really exceptionally dry, giving the aftertaste a pithy cherry pip character, but no acidity or fruit. There's a slight aspirin note towards the back, but otherwise it really just tastes quite thin, dry and bland. It's a shame.
Feel is also extremely dry, with the tiny bubbles of carbonation providing a bit of spritz.
Overall, it's certainly not bad, but the nose promised a lot more than the beer ultimately delivered. There's certainly pleasant characters here—and the cherry is really nicely utilised. I just feel that it would be showcased even better in a different beer.
71 / 100
Sampled on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne. Brewed with Motueka, Nelson Sauvin and Pacifica hops according to the guide.
Pours a pale golden colour with great clarity to the body. Weight is fairly light, which is okay for the style. Head is fine and pure white leaving some faint, streaky lace. Overall, it looks about right for the style.
Solid entry on the aroma. Stonefruit sweetness along with a bit of herbal sharpness to crisp it all up. This is atop a base aroma which is very clear and clean that allows the hops to sing. Really quite nice.
Light entry on the palate, perhaps a touch of acid from some of the hops. This leads to a nice neutral malt character that manages to stay fairly unobtrusive even as it lends a bit more body than you'd get from a regular pils. Clean, solid hop bitterness comes through towards the back, matched by a nice chewy malt sweetness that lingers in the finish. Feel is fairly rich, which works nicely.
This is a really very drinkable brew. I'd absolutely crank through a couple of these at the pub—and I'd be very happy to drink it again sometime.
74 / 100
Cheers to my brother-in-law for the bottle, purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. 375ml and like Moa is wont to do: it's green.
Pours with a rather disappointingly fluid and light body, and requires a bit of airtime to promote a head. Once this forms, though, it's pleasantly fine and creamy, and sticks around until the bottom of the glass. Lacing is good, forming in sweeping, fine bands. Colour is ostensibly black, but actually is an umber brown colour on the edges. Head is a pale mocha. Looks pretty good.
Nose is also pretty pleasant, while being a little weaker than I expected. Pleasant, rounded roasty characters with a hint of oak to adds some sweetness. Some vanilla comes through as it warms a little, but so does a bit of booziness, giving some fruity tones and a little pepper and medicine character. It's still pretty good.
Taste is also good, fairly broad, but with a lightness to the front palate. Some of those medicinal, slightly fruity characters appear towards the middle to back, possibly the Pinot, while on the back towards the finish is a good dose of char. Aftertaste is slightly astringent, with a powerful roast buildup that turns to bitterness after a while.
Feel is actually pretty smooth, even though it feels like it retains a bit of that lightness in the appearance. Still, it's very good.
Overall, yep, this is most definitely a good beer. It has a number of parts to it that I don't necessarily agree with, but it's still crafted with thought and rigour. Probably not the equal of the best Impy Stouts in the world, but a very solid example of the style nonetheless.
Pours a brown colour with cream-coloured head, sparsely webbed out and dissipating. Clear and a bit pale, but not bad.
Sweet dark malts upfront but lotza hops. Caramel/honey characters on the front and then a curious blend of US and NZ hop character, lemon and pine with some tropical fruitiness. Pleasant.
Taste is far more roasty, and lacking the hops the nose promised. Chocolate characters with a touch of rye spice and plenty of toasty warming characters on the back. Not quite bitter but spicy and hearty. Actually a very nice black ale but definitely lacking hops.
Decent mouthfeel - body is there to pad out carbonation so it's not really noticeable.
More black than IPA but sometimes I prefer it that way. Hops are in use on the aroma but the palate gives precedence to the roasted malts.
61 / 100
Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a deep, dark brown colour, clear at the edges, but otherwise seemingly hazy. Head is a faint brown without much consistency to it. No visible lacing. Looks ok, but not much better.
Nose is also ok, but seemingly pretty generic for the style: faint, slightly sweet citric hop character above a slight toasted bread note. It's very light overall.
Mild grain entry to the palate leading to some weak mid-palate flavours of orange and flimsy grain. Some roasted characters on the back with a suggestion of ephemeral hops, but it's very watery and leaves almost nothing to linger.
Feel is light and crisp.
Overall, it's not bad, really. But it's only "drinkable", not "interesting", and is certainly one of the less flavoursome IBAs I've had.
80 / 100
330ml green bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a deep but light golden colour, with solid haze, and a very frothy and full head of white that settles pretty quickly. Carbonation is very fine and sits solidly in the body when tilted. No lace. Overall, it looks pretty refined, no matter what else happens.
Nose is very pleasant. Fresh, clean hop fragrance, mingled with some odd fluffy sweetness: hints of rosewater and candy floss. There's a roundness to the aroma too: almost a Belgian yeast character, but not quite. It doesn't have the esters and spice, but it adds a depth. It's very pleasant indeed.
Taste is very good as well. Very clean, bright flavours, with tingles of zesty sweetness. Finish dives into a herbal greenness with a clean organic flavour. It's dried out by the end, with a pleasant tingle from the hops, but very refreshing.
Feel is solid: smooth, but with a pleasant fine effervescence to enliven the palate.
This is really good stuff. Superbly drinkable, with such refined flavours. This is just the sort of supreme balance craft lagers can deliver. Exceptional stuff.
Pours a darkish-brown kind of colour, cream-coloured dense head which is nice. Yeah, looks good.
Bit of roastiness from the cocoa on the nose which is quite strong. Nice vanilla weizen notes as well. Could maybe use a bit more weizeny spice, otherwise just smells like a brown ale.
Quite sweet on the palate, and not a whole lot of other character. Bit simple and subdued with more cocoa than weizen and more sweet than spice. Get some mild chocolate but not a lot of weizen phenols and it's those that would really bring this beer to life.
Fairly unimpressed with the mouthfeel. Bit flat and thin.
More cocoa than weizen. If the same cocoa notes were put into something with more classic spicy weizen esters, this could be really good.
39 / 100
Had on-tap at the Great Australiasian Beer Spectapular in Melbourne. This was a dark wheat beer brewed with chocolate.
Pours a clear reddish brown hue with a very filmy and light off-white head that forms an insubstantial ring. No lacing or carbonation noticeable. Body looks exceptionally light. Oh well, let's see where it goes from here...
Mild grain on the nose, but very flat and dull. There's perhaps a hint of cocoa, but very little else. It's just mainly weak and insipid. Unimpressed.
Taste has even less to offer, and I end up clutching at adjectives to describe what feeble characteristics it has. There's a touch of roast on the front, and maybe a hint of cherry mid-palate, but it's all extremely light and dull. The finish has a slight lingering bitterness, but that's not even wanted in this beer, as far as I can tell. Feel is exceptionally, almost rudely light and thin.
Not a beer for me, I'm afraid. This was weak, insipid and lacking any depth or true flavour. Very unimpressed.
56 / 100
Pours a pale gold with healthy carbonation and a dense white head that fizzes away, sinking slowly to leave a pleasant ring of lace. This is how I knew beer as a child: golden, fizzy and frothy. It really takes me back...
Nose is quite pleasant, floral and aromatic with hints of biscuity and caramelly malt, a large hit of rosewater and a slight tang like sherbet. A very weak suggestion of a phenolic aroma is too slight to make an impression. That lack of impression makes this nose a little too sweet, which is a shame because it's close to being excellent.
Taste is similarly sweet, with the same rosewater character and slightly tartaric edge. Malt is prominent and actually quite sticky on the mid-palate, makes this lager feel a bit heaver than usual. Hops are very floral but not really dominant, and the only significant hoppiness simply lingers on the back in a dank, earthy bitter king of way.
This beer is tragically close to supremacy. Its flavour is sweet, but not in a sickly adjunct way, and pleasant enough to make it unique among pale lagers, but it's slightly too sweet and doesn't leave cleanly enough to be a refreshing, enjoyable drop. A little more bitter hopping could make this a lager colossus, but at the moment it just doesn't really do it for me.
44 / 100
Crowd of bubbles on the bottom of the glass when poured, ochre orangey hue with light beige head. Thin, not-very-sticky lacing. Didn't get much head, but others did. The head is a bit fibrous. Can't say I'm mammothly impressed.
A lot of hops on the nose. Hint of bitter citrus, like lemon zest or something, but it's mainly quite a simple hop aroma. Again, not religiously overawed.
A lot of hops on the palate as well (five, maybe), but localised almost entirely within the middle of the palate. Front has a slight sweet and zesty zing and the palate tails off quite comprehensively to leave a lingering trace of what might have been a bitter finish. The palate is contructed a bit amateurishly, I would say, or by mad scientists saying "let's brew an ordinary beer an bombard it with hops for no reason!!!" There is a fair amount of flavour but the body is too thin to hold it up. Mouthfeel is a bit sinky and heavy in spite of this. It seems to want me to bow down and worship this, but I'm just not zealous enough. If I say zebra here, that will be four different z-words in this review. Appropriate, because if this beer were a letter, it would probably be a z.
Yes, that didn't make sense.
59 / 100
Amber-orange body with a big rocky head of white porous foam. Slightly cloudy, minimal carbonation. Lacing is good. Looks very fine.
Nice fruity tropical hop characters on the nose. Not very dominant though, and there's a creeping hint of roasted malt sweetness underneath. Nice, though.
Rather thin in the mouth but with a reasonable hoppy bitterness throughout. Not much else to it, not even much malt in the body to back it up, so it feels a bit unbalanced.
It's pretty clean and drinkable, no noticeable flaws really - just ends up being a bit one-dimensional.
70 / 100
Pale yellow colour with steady carbonation. Not much head although there was for a while. It dissipates. Not great, but acceptable.
Very floral on the nose. Literally, floral. Like a garden in springtime. Quite sweet and very fragrant, but simple. There's a one-smell fragrance to it.
Wow, taste is amazing, and singlehandedly restores the credibility of the Moa brewery. It's tangy and light and has an almost rosewater character to it. It's very tangy and citrusy but has a flowery spring-like character and texture. It is very like how a "harvest" beer should taste, however that is. Mouthfeel is a bit sharp but otherwise fine.
An interesting brew with a pleasant feel to it. Very drinkable. Frankly, Moa should abolish their wheat beer and just brew this instead.
74 / 100
Vaguely cloudy yellow body with a thin pure white head. Lots of streaming carbonation. Looks pretty nice.
Nose is amazingly powerful of citrus and sugar. Hints of lavender, cherry and kaffir lime leaf. It's like a sherbet lemon. Quite flavoursome, very fragrant, fresh and delicious. Great smelling brew.
Taste is very similar to the nose. Sweet citrus characters a hint of rubber and crushed vegetation, even a flavour of olive oil or rosewater; something exotic. It's quite bizarre, but I like it a lot. Mouthfeel quite uplifting.
This is a really pleasant, drinkable beer. I'm really surprised I liked it so much.