|Highest Rated||Epic Larger (89 / 100)
||Average score||71 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Ginipa (53 / 100)
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer. BB date of March 2019, so it's probably not at its freshest, but still within date.
Pours a very bright, very clear golden colour, with a fine white head of foam that sits as a light ring. Lacing forms in little dots on the edge of the glass. Body is fine, but with a bit of weight to it, which makes the carbonation a little sluggish. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is a bit dull, but there's a relatively pleasant juniper herbal character which does the bulk of the work. It suggests more of a German hop greenness than the traditional IPA character. Slight chalky malt character to it as well. Not bad, but I suspect when it was supr fresh it was a very different beer.
Taste is similar. There's a flatness which just makes the palate plod along. Bitterness does seem to come in juniper form, with an earthy, herbaceous quality to it. There's a little bit of orangey sweetness, which provides just a touch of balance. Otherwise, I think this is past its prime.
It's not bad, but it's definitely old, and I'm probably just more upset that this has so much time left on the Best Before. This is definitely past its prime.
71 / 100
500ml brown bottle, wrapped in black paper and wax-capped. Purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a pleasant reddish amber colour, with a fairly persistent ring of beige for a head. It uncapped without a hiss, but there is carbonation there, forming in swirling clouds when the glass is tilted. Looks pretty good.
Nose is slightly oxidised, but underneath this it's layers of malty sweetness, lifted by a slightly woody sharpness that gives the aroma of formic acid. There's an undeniable booze presence, which sharpens it to the point where it's quite potent, even in the nose.
Taste is pleasantly smooth, with all of those layers of malt providing cascading toffee-characters on the palate, one by one. It has a darkness to it, promoted by the additional booze, and some of the sharpness. Interesting the oak characters (assuming they're here), don't smooth out the palate—there's a character of oak here, but it's just the woody bite without the vanillin notes. So it might be that this is just aged in stainless and the characters come from somewhere else. It's decent though, and quite powerful.
Feel is heavy and slick. It suits the beer very well.
Yeah, it's pretty solid. It's far from being the best example of the style, but this is a style with a high bar. It's certainly a celebratory ale, and that's a good thing.
77 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. BB date of February 2018.
Pours a very clear thick, almost-coppery golden colour, with a loose head of off-white that forms a bubbly ring. Lacing is minimal. Carbonation is fine but sparse through a fairly slick body. Looks pretty good.
Nose is intense. All the lovely dank hop characters you want from an aggressive IPA. Malt behind it is as solid as it needs to be, and tempered to the extent that it feels a little bit rubbery when paired with the hops. Still, the hops are the star—dark, weedy, organic and luscious. I love it.
Taste is also good. There's a lovely cleanness to the body, almost tending towards crispness. But this leaves nowhere for the hops to hide. And why would you want them to hide? They're here in their sharp, organic glory, providing resin and greenness. If anything, the body is so well-tempered that it feels a little bit like seltzer water. That's an impressive feat, but I'd honestly like just a little bit of sweetness to match it.
Feel is light and a little prickly. There is a slight hint of heat but it's pleasantly melded into the hop character to somehow accentuate it.
Lovely, drinkable brew, with a expert application of hops. These varieties are used to their best effect here, and they showcase the dankness very well.
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas. Shared on NYE with Chris.
Pours a pale orange colour, cloudy somewhat. Head is off-white, almost yellow, nice and dense with a good cradle of lace left behind. Good retention, maybe to do with my plastic serving container though. Good old plastic. The beer looks good; great even.
Smells dank and fruity. Piney and passionfruit with a nice sweet, sticky character at the back and some good citric tang as well. Fairly standard; nice but standard.
Taste is pleasant. Fairly standard IPA too. Malt upfront, but just subtle and doing the rounds. Then the hops kick in, fairly NZcharacter with tropical fruit notes that then get quite sharp and peppery on the back and linger fairly spicy. Lemony, piney otherwise. Yeah pretty standard IPA and doesn't go quite enough on the nice fruity new world hops to carry it off on the back.
Decent body with a bit of pull that gets quite dry on the back.
Decent IPA, but nothing really special or groundbreaking.
73 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer by my bro and gifted to me for Christmas. Freshness date of October 2017,
Pours a lovely clear golden colour, with a fine, but filmy head that devolves into islands of larger bubbles. Lacing forms in nice tight spots. Body is fairly light and slick, but it holds nice static carbonation when tilted. Looks good.
Nose is suitably, er, pot-like, with a rich, dark herbal quality that elevates rather than dragging down the aroma. If anything though, it accentuates the grainy note in the malt: it adds a smouldering character to the aroma, which makes the malt seem darker than it is. But there's no faulting it for delivering on its name.
Taste is almost savoury. There's a really sharp piquant hop note to it, but it's mostly in the aromatics and flavour, and there's nothing like the level of bitterness you'd expect given the other hop notes. Instead, it again latches on the malt, giving a savoury toasted grain flavour to the palate. Feel is very clean and light. It works very nicely.
Overall, it's good, but it almost becomes a victim of its own success. It's clearly trying to accentuate every link it can between hops and weed, and it doesn't to a bad job. But it also succeeds in showing why that doesn't necessarily make for the best beer.
69 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne by my bro, given to me for my birthday.
Pours a beautifully clear, quite luridly yellow colour, with a fine foamy white head that makes a statement and then gracefully declines to a fine ring. Body is light and fluid, like you want and expect in the style of beer. Lacing is actually pretty minimal which is a shame—a crackling consistent set of rings would have set this off nicely.
Nose is punchy and bright on opening. Crisp, leafy, green hops with a surprising Kiwi bent to them (considering this is apparently hopped with American varieties—possibly, however, NZ grown). They're the main event and they're not having any of that dang malt character to bog them down. Slight citric pithiness to it maybe gives a suggestion of American hop varieties, but it stays clean and sharp and always towards that crisper, almost vinous edge. Strangely enough, after the carbonation dies back a bit, the hops are much more muted, meaning it loses its potency a little after its initial impact.
Taste is very clean, but actually also a little bit dull. After the hop deployment on the nose I expected some kind of delicious raid on my palate as well. But it doesn't eventuate. Instead we have a clean but very restrained hop front that tends towards leafy European flavours, and a back that surprisingly lets a bit of grain husk and barley sugar through. Finish has a bit of crispness, but a linger of that sweetness which makes it seem a tad lethargic.
Feel is pretty good—the sweetness suggests more body than it has, but there's still a pronounced crispness throughout and a bit of bite in the finish.
Overall, pretty drinkable and pretty enjoyable. It's not quite the beautiful example of the style I expected from Epic (Croucher and Emersons both do better), but that's like saying the other artworks in the Louvre aren't as good as Vermeer's The Astronomer. I'll see myself out.
72 / 100
Pours a lovely red amber colour, clear. Head is pale beige, small bubbles but retaining a nice thin crown. Some lace which is pleasant. Looks good.
Smells Belgian but smokey. Earthy, spicy phenols upfront then full meaty smoke at the back. Rauchmalz, touch of cherry wood; could use some freshening but otherwise very nice.
Taste is quite sweet upfront, some nice English toffee malt. Gets nice rich brown sugar upfront that transitions via BBQ sauce into a smoky back. Subtle smoke, not overwhelming. Just nice woody smoke that maybe ends a bit too soon. Nice spice on the back, touch of Belgian style yeast. But yeah, smoke is a lovely addition but could be more in your face or just last a tad longer on the finish. Still very nice.
Touch of carb, bit light overall. Not bad as it goes down though.
Nice smokey drop. Woody, somewhat savoury but a nice malt front that's quite well melded.
73 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant, very deep amber colour with good clarity. Body is quite dark, but the clarity helps it stay as an amber rather than pushing towards a brown. Head is a little flimsy, only forming a mild film of off-white pocked bubbles that leave little lace. Body has some weight but looks a little dormant as well. Looks decent overall though.
Nose is pleasant enough. Rather rough, slightly herbal hop characters come through, with a hint of spritz and lemon to give them a bit of a lift. Earthy malt notes are also noticeable, almost a suggestion of roast, along with something slightly bready or savoury. As it warms, oddly, there's a brightening of the aroma, with a little sherbet or zest coming through. It's actually pretty interesting.
Taste is also pretty solid. Good structure to the malt, with some mild sweetness to give it body, with more of those savoury tones across the top, giving a little more toastiness and with aromatic characters like burnt toffee or carob. This is balanced by a subdued bitterness, which allows some hop flavours to bounce around in the back of the palate, while not becoming too bitter overall.
Feel is reasonably good. There's a smoothness from the low carbonation, but a prickle from some build up of hop oils on the back of the palate and perhaps just a suggestion of heat from the slightly elevated ABV.
Overall, this is pretty solid stuff. I like a good hop-forward amber ale, and this is a pretty good one. The malt is nicely done in particular—if it were fresher, or if the aromatic hops were a bit more forward it would probably be superb.
500ml brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria. Shared with Sam on Xmas Eve.
Pours a dull reddish amber, quite clear in the body. Body is light and fluid, with an initially rather frothy head of yellowish-orange foam that settles out to a weak ring. Minimal lacing. Overall, it looks okay, but not particularly exciting.
Nose is a little bit muddled. There is a dusky smoky character to it, with a little more of a woody ashy note than pure smoke. This is perhaps a bit of fruit to the aroma as well, but certainly not a huge amount of hops.
Taste, interestingly, is more smoky, with a slightly toasty ashiness when the bitterness from the hops come in towards the back. There's a sweetness permeating everything though, almost like a woody maple syrup. It's perhaps a little too direct to work with the other characters, but I liked the counterpoint to the smoke. Feel is very light, which adds some cleanness, and helps make it feel more like a proper IPA.
Overall, it's okay, but there are certainly things that could be better. It's somewhat muddled in the middle, neither showing real bacon smokiness or being a really nice hoppy IPA. I feel like the concept could work though (and I've had better smoked IPAs in the past), so perhaps Mk II will improve on this offering.
69 / 100
Tried on-tap at Alehouse Project in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013. This is a collaboration between the two guys from Epic, plus the brewers from Hallertau and Liberty Brewing. (2 + 1 + 1 = 4! Clever, see?)
Pours a deep golden-reddish hue with some hazing. Body is very solid and hold some very fine, effervescent carbonation. Head is just off-white and forms a very, very fine crest which leaves intricate lacing. Looks pretty damn good.
Big, heavily weighted aromas on the nose: chewy, meaty and malty at its core, with some rounded fusty fruit characters that wallow in all the richness. It's fat. Some peach aromas are the only real lightness to it, where the malty, chewy, boozy characters stand out.
Rich, heavy entry on the palate too, moving towards some marmalade mid-palate. There's still stacks of sweetness though, and only a slight vegetative hop character until the back. Here the hop presence is more pronounced, with bitter heather characters coming through strongly. Even here though it feel heavy and boozy though, with port noticeable and the flavour flattening out once the heat has roared through.
Feel is great, and fits with the rest of the characters: intensely heavy and rich.
I was surprised at how sweet this was. It was always going to be heavy, boozy and hard, but the sweetness was what really surprised me: it almost feels slightly underattenuated. The hops try valiantly (and there are clearly buckets of hops in this, don't get me wrong), but they are fighting a strong foe in the malt here, and it feels just a little bit like it's not quite a fair fight.
Pours a golden amber colour, very mild haze to it. Head is cream-coloured, dense and retaining a beautiful crown on top. Very nice-looking IPA.
Big, tangy NZ hop character. Floral, fruity and pleasant with just a touch of ethyl alcohol on there as well; could just be mistaking the hop resins though.
Taste is more NZ hoppy goodness upfront; tangy with passion and pine on there. Develops a heavier edge towards the back, bit boozey with some phenols and quite a bitter finish. Decent IPA flavour but the palate falls a little short and I'm left with a slight hang that doesn't need to be as strong as it is. Simple concept, and nice though.
Feel a bit of booze too, maybe a little lacking in the body. Otherwise decent IPA texture.
Nice IPA, but to me it's just another NZ IPA from Epic. Doesn't quite reach the highs of Hop Zombie.
73 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a lovely, clear red-amber colour, with a solid, minimal, fine white head. Lacing is streaking, but relatively minor. Decent body to it, and I love the fine carbonation. The colour is also good: overall, it's a pretty decent looking beer.
Nose is fresh and pleasant, without really wowing me: solid I-would-have-said NZ hop sharpness, but perhaps it is a herbal, green English hop character. Decent but inoffensive malt backs it up, without really doing anything spectacular. Solid.
Taste is also solid, with a more dusky, herbal bitterness providing the counterpoint to the smooth malt. Again, the malt is solid and smooth, and the hops are suitable, but they really don't excite me. There's very little to fault, of course, and perhaps that makes me angry: it's dull without having any reason for being so.
Feel is pleasant and smooth. Light, certainly, but pleasant enough: indeed, the lightness probably helps mask the alcohol.
Overall: I'm not sure I've had a beer that is so faultless and yet so dull. It's infuriatingly good: solid, brusque english earthy hops, very fine and suitable malt. And yet I find very little that excites me. Perhaps consistency should excite me.
Served from a 500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a very clear, but quite bright burnished golden colour, with a solid enough head of faintly off-white foam. This settles pretty quickly to a musty ring and some larger pocked bubbles across the surface. Some patchy streaks on the inside of the glass. Carbonation is fine. Looks pretty nice.
Nose has a clear, but slightly dusty or earthy hop fragrance, some pine comes through along with a vegetative sharpness like carambola. Slight peppery overtones are noticeable, as is a little bit of wood shavings. It's not as fruity as some NZ hop varieties can make a beer, but it's clean and pleasant enough.
Taste is smooth and light for the most part, with a very clean malt profile that doesn't really do much more than provide a basis for the hops. The hop flavours are there, but are again a little less interesting than they might have been. Light dull fruitiness on the front, with a tingle of slightly resiny bitterness through the centre towards the back, with an uptilt in sweetness on the finish. Just enough lingering to clean up in the end. It's nice enough.
It's clearly a well-made beer. It's crisp, light, consistent with nothing to fault. However, it probably doesn't really jump beyond this to become something bigger and more exciting, and I don't believe the new hop variety really has anything unique enough to get excited about its future either.
70 / 100
Had on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Lovely pour: pale hazed orange with a firm body, and a full, gorgeous head of yellowish-white foam. Lacing is excellent, forming full sheeting rings around the glass. Carbonation is very solid, giving a vibrancy to the beer. Looks great.
Slightly rubbery on the nose, otherwise with something of a devolution to generic US hops. Clean citrus and some greenness, giving a prominent character of cucumber. It's quite spiky, but quite pleasant, especially when agitated or swirled.
Palate is clean on the front, with a touch of generic hoppy spice and some freshness mid palate. The hops disintegrate a little on the back, giving a slightly funky character like fragrant garbage, but by the end it's relatively clean and fresh again.
Overall, this isn't bad, but it's a bit generic. How is this different from Epic's other brews? Not by much: it feels as though it's the same ideas in a different beer. Still fine stuff from the Epic boys, but let's see them do something truly unique.
Pours a pale champagne colour with champagne-esque bead. Head makes it look like beer: nice foam, big bubbles with pleasant trails of lace around the glass. Looks good, and very nicely pilsnery.
Smells quite grainy, with a pleasant hint of some tart acid behind. Mostly cracked grain though, with pearl barley and a touch of corn. I'm getting a pleasant citric twang behind it, but I would like more, especially for a pilsner.
Taste is also more on the malty side, quite sweet actually. Plenty of caramel, vanilla with a metallic, almost medicinal bitterness behind that's really quite heavy and boozey. Yeah, maybe a bit sweet upfront that then turns too suddenly towards pithy and bitter without a nice smooth transition. Can't say I love this, it's a bit heavy and flat in the mouth and it sinks a little at the end.
Decent texture, with a bit of carbonation to lift the surprisingly heavy flavours, but not quite enough for me to love it still.
Not a huge fan, but it's not unpleasant. Bit disappointed, mostly.
75 / 100
Pours a lovely dark, opaque black-brown colour, crispy at the edges, with a fine, slightly creamy tan head. Lacing is superb. The body is surprisingly light, however, and doesn't seem as thick as the style or the ABV would suggest. But overall, a very good looking brew.
Nose is redolent with big complex coffee aromas, giving characters from the husky, to the chocolatey, to the burnt. There's a lovely sweetness to it, but also a freshnessâit reminds us of how fruity as well as how deep and dusky coffee can be. Yes, the coffee dominates, but there's a complexity to it even in its one-dimensionality.
Taste is smooth and light, with coffee bite on the front giving a crisp, oddly bright dark bitterness, that falls off into a soft, mellow chocolate finish. There's no harshness or residual bitterness on the finish, and the smoother characters from the added booze and possibly the coconut conditioning to much to make the ending a caress rather than a punch.
Feel is smooth enough, although I figured it would be a little heavier than it is.
Overall, a really nice brew from Epic, who have a tough record to continue when it comes to "really nice brews".
89 / 100
I'd been excited to try this since it was announcedâthe Imperial Pils is a style I feel has a lot to live up to, and often hasn't really delivered in the past for me. But put Epic in charge, and make it a New Zealand version? This was probably going to be good.
Pours classy and clear, a bright golden colour with great clarity. Atop the body sits a fine speckling of white foam, which leaves some solid, sheeting lager lacing. Carbonation is refined through the liquid, but slightly thicker than normal body. Looks good.
Nose is spectacularly bright and fresh with clear, bright and spicy hops, giving a twanging, zesty NZ abundance of aroma. Plenty of lemon, with fresh herbal overtones of spearmint and rosemary. It's defiantly fresh and clear and very exciting.
Taste finally hits the sweet spot for my expectations of the style. Brilliant fresh zingy hops speed down the palate, leaving zesty, jubilant citrus characters in their path. Under this, the herbal, greener, leafy notes give a pleasantly robust but understandable bitterness. The malt character is pushed almost entirely to the background, leaving only a slight mild nut character of marzipan on the finish. It doesn't fall into the trap of being too boozy or heavy, which to me is the bane of an Imperial Pils, often causing it to lose its connection to its Pilsener roots.
Feel is sparkling, but still light and bright, with just a hint of boozy heat to remind you that this is a big beer.
Yes, yes, yes! It pulls out all the classically beautiful NZ pils characters out and builds them up into a spectacular new form. A truly wonderful brewâan epic, larger-than-life lager.
60 / 100
Pours a shiny golden amber, clear body with vivacious head bouncing around as it pours, settling out to a thin crown of tight bubbles. Lace is decent, but nothing special. Looks nice though; good PA.
Smell bursts to life with piney and tropical NZ hops - passionfruit, paw-paw, mango and pineapple with a slight citric tang and a piney backing. Bit subdued after a while but retains that fresh fruity appeal. Great NZ PA nose.
Early taste is dominated by those fresh aroma hops, that don't quite pop in the mouth like I expected. More citric and piney, with a pithy edge late-mid. Slightly tart and slightly fresh, and then quite dry leading into the finish. A light woody note on the back with slight nuttiness as well. Decent palate but really lacking in those delicious NZ hops; I just want more, as far as flavour goes.
Light palate but a decent texture, not too carbonated but there's a presence in the mouth.
Nice drinkable beer, but there was far more promise than it delivered.
83 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a fine, very bright golden colour, almost gaudily yellow in the glass. Head is gauzy with large bubbles, but persists as a film down the glass. Lacing is patchy, and the body is very light. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is fresh and bright with Kiwi hops giving it a bold crispness. Plenty of citrus, with a pithy rindy character, and the spicy character of ginger. It's very fresh and bright, while retaining a clearness that suggests it will be very drinkable.
Taste is excellent, light, slightly doughy malt forms a basis on which the flavours mingle over the top. Slight bitter citrus, some metal with a very restrained hop character on the back, that just lends a touch of menthol. Later characters of floral honey and a twang of mint round it out, while keeping the dance between sweetness and bitterness flowing.
Feel is clear and light, relying on the hop bitterness on the finish to add crispness.
Cracking good beer from Epic, making an interestingly complex but brightly drinkable combination. Great work.
Pours a shiny golden colour. Head is white, fairly thin but desne. Lacing is sticky and thick and glorious. It's the only thing, though, that is glorious. Other than that a bit uninspiring.
Smells like popcorn - grainy but slightly savoury with a touch of citric hop and plenty of saltiness and earth to it. Woody maybe? And hoppy; yeah, fresh and pleasant.
Taste lags a bit. Fairly golden ale style - wheat and barley notes, quite savoury with a touch of salt and metallic hops. Citric on the mid that sort of diminishes by the end of the palate with a kind of drop-off of flavour, slight honey note at the end. A bit confused; nutty, grainy not quite sweet or bitter and not quite a synergy in the middle either.
Drinks alright, bit of a pull on the back from the hops. Yeah, quite dry but otherwise not too bad, fairly smooth.
This beer reminds me of a TV weatherman who's employed because he has meteorological gravitas rather than nice tits. I feel like I should trust him and enjoy him more, but I can't help wishing he just had bigger tits.
Pours a brilliantly clear and very bright golden colour, with a full and frothy head of pure white. This dissipates after a while, leaving a fine film across the top of the glass. Lacing is pretty ragged and anarchic. That's a good thing in my book. Looks pretty good.
Nose is bright, but a little coarse. It has some lovely, fresh citric New Zealand hop characters, but also a little woody or earthiness, and a touch of slightly generic Australian lager yeast (although I can't believe they'd deign to use such a thing). Mostly though, it's fresh, bright and crisp. Not bad.
Taste is lighter, but reasonably enjoyable. Flat opening with a crispness midpalate and a bitterness on the back that is not entirely pleasant. It's not a fresh and tight crispness, more of a generic lingering bitterness that suggests some old hops or something a bit tired.
Fresh and very drinkable, but with enough characters to make me wary. It's a real shame, because I'm a huge, huge fan of New Zealand beersâI honestly believe they currently brew the best beers in the world. But evidently, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, and this is a rare miss from the heights I expect from our friends across the ditch.
86 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour with light bead. Head is white, nice and tightly packed, slight trails of lace but not a lot. Looks OK.
Lots of sauvin on that nose. Sharp, tangy passionfruit aroma with lovely tropical characters creeping around it - peppermint, pineapple, cedar and plenty of citrus. It's all about the hops here, and the hops are good.
Taste is enjoyable, clean and well-balanced. Lots of malt with caramel upfront and a slight nutty edge; touch of pecan. Fresh floral and fruity hop notes hit early on the mid with passionfruit, lemon, sherbet, lime zest and fresh mint. Hop oils surface late, providing a robust bitterness that is earthy, rich, deep and just a strong but tender smack of hop. Beautifully handled with a steady hand on the rudder.
Full body, lots of texture, no rough edges though, just a light fizz. Great.
Again Epic shows why they are the kings of hop in the New World (imo, sorry 8 Wired and Emerson's). The temptation would be great to muck this up with too much bitterness, alcohol - too intense a flavour - but it's just a big, complex beer that also happens to be drinkable and pleasant. A true winner.
84 / 100
On-tap at the Darlinghurst Local Taphouse in Sydney, as part of the Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a very clear and bright golden colour. Head is full and frothy and bright white. Lace is a bit ambivalent, and the body is light, but it looks great for a crisp Kiwi IPA.
Nose is as fresh as you could hope for, clean crisp Kiwi notes of passionfruit, green apple, and pungent citrus. Still, very light, no malty sweetness or suggestion of backbone. But that just matches so well with the hop characters. Lovely.
Taste is very clean throughout, with a robust bitterness that balances nicely with a very faint malt character; it just provides a cushion. Exceptionally crisp and refreshingâit's just lovely how easy drinking it is for an 8.5% ABV double IPA. Finish give a touch of the tropical fruit flavours, with a green crispness to add a staccato finish.
So light and very well balanced, this is not the ridiculous hop-bomb I was expecting at all. Rather, it's a very soft, very crisp, light and easy to drink hoppy ale. So clean, so ripe, so fresh. Gorgeous.
77 / 100
Still on the epic New Zealand beer trawl. This one seems a suitable addition.
Pours a very clear and quite light orange-golden colour. Head is firm, but large-bubbled, forming a little sudsy lacing, but not maintaining a particularly solid retention. Carbonation is fine and streaming. Body looks pleasantly heavy.
Nose is (and I can't help but describe it this way) classically Kiwi--those lovely hoppy but fresh and sharp aromas. This one perhaps owes a little more to the west coast of the USA, with some fruity citrus characters of Cascade and Chinook, but the freshness is delicious. A little sweaty grain grounds it, but it's all about the hops. Big props for that.
Nose is weirdly smooth and drinkable. It certainly doesn't have the robust hoppy bitterness I was expecting. Here, we get a smooth sweet and fresh fruit character, with a good dashing of toffeed sugar. Just enough bitterness comes through to balance it and stop it from being sickly. As a result, it ends up clean, light and supremely drinkable.
Great work on this one. A very nice late-hopped brew that gives plenty of hop flavour and a balanced palate that does not assault the senses. A clever and well thought-out brew from Epic, who are genuinely doing some exceptional things.
75 / 100
Ah, merry Xmas to me from @laituegonflable.
Pours a deep coppery golden colour, bright enough to be called orange. Head is firm and full, and sustains itself for quite a while; a foamy polystyrene cap of surprisingly light white. Only small amounts of carbonation, and the lacing is sticky and full. Looks good.
Nose is big. Very big: a huge roundhouse kick to the nasal passages. Big American hop aromas of citrus and pine, very biting and sharp. I'm surprised in some ways, because I'd been expecting a big NZ IPA, but this is much more like the American style; full of Cascade, and possibly Chinook. Nothing of the new tropical-redolent Kiwi varieties. Still, it's incredibly intense and pungent, and the robustness is extremely worthy.
Pleasant bitterness on the palate, that stays straight and true right through to the back. Big bracing pine needle character with sharp and clinging hop oil on the back. I have to smack my tongue to get any sense back into it. Behind this, there's a nutty malt character, but it is well and truly under the thumb of the hops.
Feel is relatively light, but the clinging oily hop character gives it its own slickness.
There's no getting away from what the main event is here. This is a big and beefy hop-bomb, and it doesn't pretend to be anything else; it's not much point talking about balance or complexity here, this is a beer designed to be bold, brash, bitter and uncompromising. You have to give it credit for that.
76 / 100
Pours a dark redwood kind of colour; looks brown but distinctly ruby up to the light. Head is generous indeed, slightly more pale than beige, fluffy and sinking very slowly. Good head, body might perhaps have been darker for a stout.
Smells pretty special. Wonderful deep oak wood coming off in droves, with a delectable dark chocolate roast behind it. The wood gives off some funky notes of camembert, berries and port wine. All wonderfully balanced in a rich sweet-and-sour toastiness. Delicious.
Taste is nicely stouty, with rich roasted malt throughout the palate. Has elements of cocoa with some dark fruits - mostly sweet - and then a minor tart note late on the palate. Woodiness is relegated to the finish and is most welcome, providing a long dry finish with hints of funk and wagnall. There is a resiny hop character at the three-quarter mark, just a slight spicy spike that is well mellowed by that long woody finish. Would like a slight increase in the roastiness, as overall it seems more portery than stouty on the front, and the back is over-dominated (nicely, but still) by the wood.
Expertly constructed body with a lond silvery trail of texture. Lots happening in the mouth, but just robust and smooth throughout.
Yeah, a very tasty drop. I do like them more intense but this is drinkables as hells, yes? Mmm, coherent...
73 / 100
Bottles purchased at the Local Taphouse by @tobeerornottobe and shared with our group. Cheers, dude.
Pours a murky, quite opaque dark brown colour with sudsy lacing. Dark yellow-brown head which is fine but filmy. Nice.
Dark, roasted and slightly toasty grains on the nose. Round and relatively well nuanced, if a little light for a stout. Odd fresh apple skin characters come through. It's tasty, but I feel oddly hopped.
Dark characters come through again on the palate, but again the hops make themselves felt, adding a vegetative bitterness on the back. Mouth is a little mealy with oatmeal, feel is a little thin.
Nice, easy drinking stout, with some frivolous characters thrown in for interest. I've had better stouts, but this is a good bet. Nicely done.
Pours a gold colour. Head is decent, but sinks pretty readily, leaving some lovely lace around. Clear body with steady carbonation. Pretty good.
Smells very hoppy with lots of bitterness and fruity aromas - pineapple and banana with strong woody notes, yeah lots of wood - cedar and pine notes and a slight spice note as well. Yeah, pretty pleasant smell.
Taste is pleasant, enough malt at the start kind of caramelly, then hoppy with a fair bitterness. Fruity with cherry and apple notes and then finish comes through with a lot of wood notes. Very woody with a very dry finish, just has that fresh cut wood flavour all over that back palate.
Mouthfeel is a bit sticky, lots of body with gentle carbonation sizzle.
Decent drinking beer, but wood is dominant to an extreme extent and it kind of strangles the cleansing effect of the hops. Instead I'm left with a mouthful of wood flavour which isn't unpleasant, just not a clean sensation.
70 / 100
Pours a lovely amber-tending golden colour, with a frothy head of white foam that leaves some good lacing. Colour is just what I've come to expect from a New Zealand IPA. It's a nice look.
Nose is incredibly fresh, with big West Coast American hop characters. In particular Cascade, but perhaps with a tinge of the new genesis New Zealand hop varieties - Nelson Sauvin perhaps makes an appearance. Certainly a little passionfruit seed to it, but also a taint of butterscotch. Not much in the way of oak to it, but maybe that's coming.
Yes, there's something to it on the palate. A slight metallic twinge mixed with a light oaky character that melds interestingly with the light butterscotch/hop notes. It's an interesting flavour profile, even if it's not a classic IPA one. Mouthfeel is good, however: crisp where it needs to be, but not over carbonated.
It's a nice beer, but it grates against me just slightly. Perhaps it's that butterscotch note. Otherwise, it's a very fresh and very flavoursome beer - I think it deserves a little more exposure to the oak to really distinguish it from the Armageddon IPA, but it's still a tasty brew.
76 / 100
Pours a dusky bronze colour, nice cream head, leaves some beautiful thick lace. Head sinks slowly but surely. Slow bead up the glass, clea appearance. Pretty nice.
Lots of pleasant west coast hop character on the nose, notes of fresh pineapple and citrus zest. Slight resiny character, with a rich malty backbone indicating a touch of strength to it. But mostly fruity and sweet, smells very refreshing.
Taste is quite bitter and zesty. Starts with a tangy citrus character mingling with slight tartaric notes, then a distinct caramelised malt backbone that underlies the whole palate comes through. A bit of alcohol warmth emerges late but never bites, just adds a slight warmth and reminds me maybe that the bittering hops are not there in force - but then it's not an IPA so they shouldn't be. And there is a bitterness on the finish, slightly phenolic and comes through more as an afterthought than a distinct hoppy note. Nice clean finish makes this pleasant and refreshing.
Mostly smooth and pleasant texture, but a little bit sharp on the back. Not enough to put me off though, really.
Pretty much a cracker of a beer, not quite hoppy enough to be an IPA and not heavy enough for barleywine status, it's just nicely nestled in the middle of malty and hoppy. A good drinker, anyway.
83 / 100
Pours a dusty bronze-orange with decent bubbly head that sinks quickly, hugely fizzy throughout the body, large soft drink carbonation around the edge. Slight haze can't disguise the fact that this looks overcarbonated, like ginger ale. Lacing is good though. Ah, it's pretty good I guess.
Ooh yeah, spank my olfactory, baby! Spank me with those hops, Epic. Smells like an empty jar that once contained hop pellets. Large West Coast characters, don't think it's Cascade but possibly Amarillo, Chinook or even Perle? I'm guessing a bit here though. Hugely floral and piney, spicy with sweet spikes of fruit aroma. Herbal and grassy edge just positively reeks of revolting freshness. Yeah, try and sentiment-analyse this review, computational linguistics coder! I'm being ironic of course, it's a gorgeous smell. Hop-haters beware, you will hate this. I love all the different hop notes coming at me, smells refreshingly bitter. A ripper.
Taste starts with a typical pale malt character, then quickly a hop flavour takes over, piney and fruity at first with notes of fresh bark, slight (ever so slight) cardboard character and some fresh tangerine. Bitterness emerges late-mid, none of that enamel-stripping harshness though, just a pleasant spicy and phenolic bitterness that again has that herbal/grassy edge of fresh hop and other edible vegetation. Lingers 'til the end but finish also has a mellow caramel character that provides some sweetness before the aftertaste is over, leaving just a slight bitterness. An impeccably handled 'big' beer, full of flavour but not a bombardment, it's turbulent and violent but balanced. It's like watching a fight between Chuck Norris and Mr. T unfold in your mouth.
Unsurprisingly, the fault in this beer lies in the texture - the harshness from the bitterness can be forgiven by the balance in the flavour, but the carbonation sizzle just adds to its erratic nature and strips it of any potential smoothness in drinking. It does have a nice body though, it's able to hold up that bitterness.
But ultimately fine-tasting equals fine-drinking and that's what this is. Hate to use the lingo of the interwebs in a review but this is an epic beer from Epic.