61 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam, some time ago.
Pours a pleasant reddish-tinged deep amber, which gives it a refined mahogany hue. Head forms a fine ring that leaves spotty but intricate lacing. Body is surprisingly light, but it has a slickness, and the fine carbonation shows this off.
Nose is a bit dull, to be honest. It's not bad, but it plays mostly with a kind of plain, biscuity character like toasted grains, but there's not a lot of complexity behind it. The oak is definitely missing in aroma, although it does perhaps give an overall smoothness to the beer. But then again, this may just by dampening the overall experience, which is one of the main drawbacks.
Taste is a little better, although it is disappointingly simple even so. It has a kind of cracked malt character throughout, with some toffee notes that really just suggest plain sugar. It has a slickness to it, and I'll admit the alcohol is well hidden—but again that's just speaking to the fact that it's a bit bland. Finish has a touch of bite, and maybe the first suggestion of woody oak.
It's not bad, and it's certainly pretty drinkable, especially for its size. But it's also not really interesting, and you don't feel like it warrants being as big as it is—it's not providing a big complexity, or a powerful flavour profile. And that's a shame for a beer like this.
43 / 100
Tried on tap at GABS 2017. So this review needs to be read with the qualifier that the tasting notes talked about the use of tobacco in this beer, so I was expecting it. Turns out they couldn't field the tobacco-brewed beer due to tobacco/alcohol licensing laws or whatever...
Pours a coffee colour, pale brown at the edge. Nice dense head, beige in colour and good foamy lacing on the side. Bit pale, but certainly not bad.
Smells very sweet with loads of vanilla. Chestnut and cake batter on there as well, with a touch of cinnamon. Genuinely just smells like artificial frosting; sweet and cakey. Not great.
Tastes sweet, and buttery. Probably a touch of diacetyl but it's just big malty sweetness. Cake batter again, with a touch of vanilla, and maybe some dark fruit late-mid. Very little on the finish where it could really use that herbal tobacco character. Just lingers with the sweetness before petering out. Meh.
Thin body, flat, needs more oomph.
Very disappointing beer from these guys. Normally I love what they bring to GABS, and in previous years their sweet offerings have been some of the best. I think here they've gone with an intriguing concept that's had to be pulled at the last minute and so I'm left with an insubstantial cup of incoherent sweetness.
77 / 100
Tried in a taste at GABS 2017.
Pours a glossy, deep clear brown colour, with a solid weight behind it. Carbonation is mild, but fine when tilted. Head is a firm film of beige that forms lovely sheets of lace.
Nose is lovely. Rich, smooth mudcake batter give a sweet fattiness. Subtle smoke underpins it and adds complexity to the aroma. Other sweet characters of dark chocolate and marshmallow are also perceptible.
Marshmallow is noticeable on the front of the palate, backed up by fine chocolate characters that linger and turn savoury towards the mid. This has a lovely tobacco smoke note to it, which evanesces into long cacao drop. Feel is slick.
Overall, this is a lovely beer. It's rich and smooth, with a great deal of complexity to explore. These guys really have a great GABS pedigree for me.
Imperial Witbier brewed for GABS 2016. Tried on tap at the festival in Melbourne.
Pours a champagne colour, fairly cloudy. Head is foamy, large bubbles appearing on top, off-white in colour. Bit clear, but to style otherwise.
Smells grainy upfront, with a slight roasted chestnut note that descends into a fruity mid-palate with strong orange and a touch of banana. Notes of coriander seed and star anise towards the back and the finish is slightly dankly bitter as a result of the slightly-too-strong coriander.
Body is thin with a little tingle of carbonation showing through. Hint of warming alcohol. Bit more substance than your average wit.
Disappointing drop from 2 Brothers. It's a fairly standard wit with the ABV dialed up but without a corresponding balance between tang and spice that you'd want. Feels dry, dank and a little too hot.
80 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a firm amber brown colour, quite clear with fine, pleasant carbonation. Body has some weight behind it. Head is beige, forming a full, awesome head and full sheeting lace. Looks good.
Nose is great: nutty as hell with lovely Nutella praline notes (yeah, I've seen something like this before at GABS). Smooth and light though, which allows a little toasty malt to come through. It's very pleasant.
Front is nutty but quite clean, with a smoothness turning towards vanilla and toast in the mid-palate. There's a slight lingering bitterness that turns a bit sharp on the back, with with enough of that hazelnut character remaining to smooth it out. Slight bitterness on the back, perhaps with a bit of marzipan. Feel is light and thin, which is just a slight disappointment.
Overall, though, this is a really nice beer. It's got a lot going for it, and stays light and drinkable even with that firm nut quality. I liked it a lot.
76 / 100
Pours a brown colour, mild haze. Head is beige, a little more webbed than I would like but retaining nicely. Looks good.
Wow, hazelnut on the nose. Some chocolate grains with a touch of cocoa, caramel toffee sweetness on the mid as well. But then just hazelnuts. How the fuck does this smell like hazelnuts?
Hazelnut again on the palate. Touch of chestnut upfront, that develops some caramel sweetness and a touch of darker toffee. Vanilla comes through as well, then finishes nutty, slightly bitter hazelnut flavour that overall gives a praline character. Bit bitter, maybe herbal, on the back, but still, impressive.
Body is OK; goes down nicely enough.
Great beer. These guys have cornered the market on desserty beers at GABS.
This was an honourable mention for me at the festival.
77 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria. I drank this beer a lot on tap at the Mallow in Ballarat, but I'm not sure I ever got around to the bottled version.
Pours a bright, crisp, clear golden colour, with a frothy, vibrant head of white fed by strong streams of effervescent carbonation. Body is light but clean as it should be. The head leaves scaly tracks of lace as it goes down. Overall, it looks just as it should.
Nose is clean and fairly light, with a slight green hop crispness, perhaps not as pithy and pungent as I remember from the draught version. Malt is very clean and thin, giving a lightness to the aroma that doesn't ever get too sweet. It's a good combination.
Taste is unpretentious and very clean. Light thin pilsner malt gives a weak, but direct base through the centre of the palate, while the hops provide crispness through the centre. The carbonation, while seeming excessive in the glass, actually helps provide a slight sharpness to the palate, aided by the mildly acidic hop character. It's very well-balanced and very crisp.
Feel is light but with a very bright twinkle to it.
Overall, this is superbly drinkable, crisp and very, very refreshing. A well-balanced but flavoursome lager like this is one of the most underrated styles—and I've certainly not had as good a rice lager as this one. From memory, the version on-tap was even better, but this one—even though it's probably a little old—is still one of the most refreshing beers brewed in Australia. Cracking stuff.
71 / 100
Pours an amber colour with cream-coloured head. Large visible bubbles and settles out to just a disappointing rim. Lace is lovely though. Looks like a good heavy drop.
Smells sweet and spicy in equal measure. Loads of caramel toffee to it, with a touch of pineapple and a big belt of cinnamon and nutmeg. Very pleasant indeed.
Malty and caramelly upfront on the palate too, then the second half develops big fruity and spice notes. Touch of cinnamon, maybe some clove, and again a big nutmeg character. Fruity as well, with lots of raisins and a touch of brandy. Tastes like Christmas pudding. Nice.
Full body, with a light kiss of booze warmth towards the back. Bit of carbonation shows through that is unnecessary.
Bit on the intense/heavy side overall, it's a huge flavour bomb and it feels it. Quite nice, though.
74 / 100
Tried this many moons ago at GABS in Melbourne where it was released. I also have a bottle stashed away waiting to be sampled again (which I plan to do soon after re-reading my review from GABS). This is the version I tried on-tap at GABS, which was listed at the slightly higher ABV of 9.5%.
Pours a deep copper colour with quite good clarity in the heavy body. Head is yellow forming a full, bubbly ring around the glass. Lace is pretty decent and solid. Carbonation is very fine; when tilted the carbonation forms powder and the body looks sticky. Looks great.
Nose is spicy and pretty much on-target given their description: sticky sweet fruit cake, lots of semi-sweet burnt toffee, raisins with sharper orange peel notes. Dark fruits abound, but with a spiciness and a booze to give it an edge. Good stuff.
Spicy on the front of the palate. Sleek orange comes through before there are spicier notes mid-palate: nutmeg, cinnamon and brandy, giving a heady, spicy heat like Benedictine. Back is quite hot once the brandy character and its intrinsic booziness have had their say: peely aromatic abound from the front, but mostly it has a hot sharpness from the alcohol.
Feel is relatively light, partially because it's spliced that way by heat from the mid palate. It could be richer to mimic the sweetness of the aromas a bit more.
Overall, it's really good stuff though. It has loads of flavour and is always interesting after each sip. What's more it's exceedingly successful at delivering what the name promises.
69 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Bottle conditioned, reviewed with the yeast left in the bottle.
Pours a pleasant dark brown with good clarity to it. Head is a bubbly shock of beige that wears itself out pretty quickly, leaving a thin ring and a slight stream of lace. Body is very light. Looks pretty decent.
Pleasant toasty brown notes on the aroma, complemented with a pleasant muted hop fragrance. Raisin toast and weetbix with a green, but slightly earthy note of vegetation and herbs. Very nice.
Taste follows similar lines, with toasty flavours providing the bulk, and the hop flavours just providing a little spice and punctuation. It has an odd savoury character towards the back reminiscent of tamari. The carbonation is a little aggressive, providing a broad, airy character on the back the blocks the later flavours.
Feel is light and relatively clean, but also suffers a tad from the carbonation.
Overall, this is a pretty tasty brown ale. The flavours are pleasant, and well balanced. The carbonation could be toned down a little bit, but otherwise it's a solid package.
Pours a reddish brown colour; on the pale side. Head is whispy, off-white, lacklustre lacing. Looks OK; nothing really to recommend it so far.
Smells of caramel toffee. Hoppy notes as well, with citrus and pine coming through. Largely malty, but a nice tangy rim to it freshens it up. Pleasant.
Tastes a bit down. Nice flavours, but overall getting a thin and empty sensation from it. Upfront it's caramel, then touches of citrus, pine and a bit of resin. Finish is quite short and ultimately lacking. Touch of berry on the back. Nice flavour, but it really could be bigger and have more depth and I wouldn't be complaining.
Yeah, mouthfeel is a little thin as well. Bit of presence, but not a lot.
I like it. But I don't love it, and with the touches of flavour presented, this really could have been a beer I would love. If there were more there to love.
80 / 100
Pours an amber-red colour with creamy dense head, sightly beige tinge to it. Retains beautifully. Looks sweet, and great.
Huge malty nose, with plenty of late hop notes giving fruity, tangy and floral characters. No idea where the booze is at this point. Just sweet and floral and lovely.
Wow, what a malt bomb. Huge caramel flavour, thick and syrupy and goopy throughout. Caramel, toffee, sticky, chewy. So sweet but it's somehow so nice as well, without becoming too much. Noticeable booze here, but warm and pleasant. Not too complex, it's just one note throughout without diverging, but wow, really great and enjoyable.
Borders on sharp booze on the feel, but mostly just warm. Flat carbonation, all syrupy and thick.
Lovely sweet malt bomb. Not often I get a wholly sweet beer that I can even handle, but I actually enjoyed this. Just lovely.
70 / 100
Bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours a very, very deep amber, to keep in the spirit of what the brewers have called it. In reality, it's a deep russet hue, red-tinged and really quite dark. Clarity it excellent, and the head is fine, but relatively supple and persistent, staying as a fine film on the top of the glass. Lacing is patchy but solid, and while we're on the topic of solidity, that body, phwoar! Lovely, thick and juicy with very fine static carbonation. It's a really very good looking brew.
Nose is very pleasant, with deep dark fruit characters giving a juicy sweetness, melded with some lovely estery Belgian yeast characters. There's a hint of the booze to it, with a slightly sharper solvent-like tone to it, but it's mild and doesn't interfere with the rounded sweetness. Very nice.
Taste is a little flatter, and certainly missing the fullness of flavour I was expecting. Smooth entry leads to a mild, round port-like sweetness that eventually peters out leaving a dull and slightly cardboard-flavoured finish. On the end, a mild remnant of spice tries to give it a little kick, but it really doesn't have much luck. Feel is smooth and only very mildly carbonated, which helps, and would have really given an extra notch to the beer had it been fuller and more complex in flavour overall.
Still, this is good stuff from 2 Bros. There's very little off-kilter or our of character in the brew (leaving aside the slight oxidation that probably comes from me leaving it a little too long to open it), and while it lacks complexity, it's a pretty decent stab at a style that's really quite hard to get as complex as you want it to be.
81 / 100
Collaboration with Diamond Knot Brewery in Washington. Tried on-tap at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a dark bronze colour, quite clear, with a really hefty weight to the body. Big solid off-white head leaves some patchy lace. No visible carbonation. Looks good overall.
Big aroma, all sweet, all rich, and all fattening, even just from smelling it. Huge caramel characters, with sugary butterscotch, all cut with some tannic tea characters and leafy hops. Wow, it's big, bold and really delicious. Great stuff.
Surprisingly clean entry on the palate, before a hint of grain sweetness and a big upswell in sweet melted caramel. On the finish, there's loads of oak cleaned up by that tannic hop bite and a touch of booze on the finish. Lovely feel, creamy and solid.
Overall, this is awesome stuff. The only problem is that it's so huge you have to sip it... (But you don't want to...)
Pours a very dark amber colour, mostly red really. Head is off-white, just small bubbles and not a lot of foam. Lace is lovely and thick, as you'd expect. Looks decent, but nothing a 2-year homebrew veteran couldn't manage.
Massive sweet smell, but an odd savoury note as well. Huge caramel malt mixes with a big nuttiness - walnuts and macadamias, but a saltiness that borders on sweaty. It's a real peanut brittle kind of aroma; if that weird saltiness could get toned down it could be great.
Taste is very sweet, but not quite as explosively malty as one might expect. Lots of caramel and toffee on there with an underlying fruitiness - sherry, figs and marmalade add a nice tang to the overriding sweetness. Nutty notes come through late - caramelised macadamias and peanut brittle, still retains a hint of that salty character from the nose but it's quite successful in tempering the sweetness on this occasion. It's still just a big, syrupy-sweet beer, and points for hiding that booze behind the smooth, complex sugars. I actually don't love it but I can feel the technique involved on the palate more so than any other aspect, so good work, brothers.
Full and thick body as you'd expect, but no real texture to it. Can't say it's wonderful.
A nicely made beer, but it doesn't wow me.
Tried on tap at Biero Bar 18/03/11.
Pours a pale gold colour, clear with slow bead. Head is white and quite dense; retains a modest crown with nice dense lace. Decent.
Smell is fairly one note. Light dry grain with light phenolic hop overlying. Touches of grass, coriander and bitter melon. A bit bland but not a bad nose.
Taste is a bit rich and oversweet at first; detecting a bit of diacetyl overriding the sweet malt upfront. A bit of green apple midway that develops more fruity - even sweet - notes later. Could use a lot more bitterness; tastes a bit unbalanced overall. Sweetness keeps cropping up where it shouldn't be.
Bit of body to it, but it can't quite cover the carbonation fizz. It's par for the pilsener course, but I'm not overly impressed.
Yeah a decent beer to start with, but I won't be drinking this all night.
Pours a very dark oaky colour, almost black really, with ochre head sunk to retain a modest film. Lace is very beautiful; dense and sticky. Not much else to report because body is dark enough to hide anything else; maybe a bit too dark for a 'brown ale'; this is porter-dark.
Smell is very fruity and sweet; lots of banana, bubblegum aromas with rich sweet chocolate and caramel notes, a hint of jaffa and light cherry in there as well. Very intriguing nose, lots of complexity. Not sure if it's all what I want but since they're bizarrely calling this a "Belgian Brown Ale" I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Taste has lots of darkish malts on the front with brown sugar and chocolate. Descends into strong bubblegum flavour on mid-palate which I'm not a huge fan of, and has become too strong from the hints on the nose. Touch of mint on the back, and maybe some orange peel but yeah, it's that big fruity bubblegum flavour dominating and I find it oversweet and, to be honest, weird. There is a strong tingly spicey sensation as you drink, possibly overattenuated and just Belgian yeasty, but I fear it matches quite poorly with the particular fruit flavours present in this beer. Leaves my mouth feeling oddly sweet and dry. In that order.
Yeah, points for drinkability though as the alcohol is well hidden. It's also mild enough to be enjoyed. I just find the flavours a hodgepodge and the beer doesn't make a lot of sense overall.
On tap at Sydney's Local Beer SpecTapular.
Lovely reddish dark brown colour, with a fine bubbled head of crema foam. Very clear, which I actually don't like, but it's pretty tasty looking overall.
Quite a sharp roasted note on the nose, hint of spice like cinnamon, but otherwise quite roasted and raw, with a slight sour character coming up. Not bad, but pretty "Australian Dark Ale"-like. Typical.
Taste is prtety similar, although the sweet roasty note sticks around for a while, and is pleasant enough. There is a light sour note on the palate too, but I'm not wowed by this overall. Pretty thin on the mouth too.
Not an incredibly impressive batic porter. Certainly not terribly heavy or complex, and I can't say I'm a huge fan overall. It comes out as a pretty weak and generic Australian dark.
Pours a slightly red-tinged very dark brown, with a thin ring of head left from a decent froth, nice beige colour. Wobbles a bit, thick and gelatinous in the glass, looks pretty nice.
Nose is a big hit of intense coffee roastedness, slight vanilla/choc sweetness, hint of wood smoke as well. Robust and pleasant, a good man's beer with nice burnt aromas.
Taste is really quite tart, with the burnt character being there but not overwhelming. A sourness, almost balsamic vinegary in character, is the dominant flavour. Hints of espresso and cocoa behind it, but it's really more tart than anything else. Finish has a nice roasty bitterness and more what I'd expect from a Baltic Porter.
Quite nice drinking with good flavours, and a slick, slightly full mouthfeel. Not as thick as I expected from the gelatinous wobble it gives off when you swish the glass. Decent overall though, definitely decent.