|Highest Rated||Black Xantus (77 / 100)
||Average score||67 / 100 (Solid)|
|Lowest Rated||Red Nectar (58 / 100)
77 / 100
I've seen this a number of times and it never really grabbed my attentionâthis is probably because it has the same style and typeface as the other Nectar branded beers, which have been poor to middling at best. This is a wild exception, however.
Pours a deep, dark black-brown with a firm and creamy head of pale chocolate bubbles. Lacing is full, sheeting and solid, and adds to the perception of weight to the beer. Beautiful fine carbonation. It's perhaps not as heavy and oily as it could be (especially given it's 11% ABV), and perhaps not as dark, but it's a good looking beer nonetheless.
Nose is redolent with big oaky stout characters. Huge vanilla, toasted coconut and dark malts, with notes of bourbon, and a slight spice light capsicain. Hints of coffee come through as well, along with a very faint herbal note, almost giving a crushed coriander spice. But the big barrel-aged stout characters are dominant, and exceedingly potent. Yes indeedy.
Taste is also very good, and very robustly bittered, with a really good, heavy roasted character giving an ashy astringency and deep roasted coffee hints. This, of course, is all drawn back by the smooth, soothing bourbon and oak characters, which lay down vanilla and sweetness. A little light in the mouth; at least lighter than it could be. Booze is well-hidden though, although the uplift of spice is oddly congruent with alcohol heat.
It doesn't quite have the texture or complexity of the best examples, but it's a very nice brew anyway. A fuller palate and a more subtle sweet complexities would make this truly magnificent. But it could get there, and that's a great thing.
58 / 100
Red? Hardly. This is a coppery orange colour, without much depth of colour that I'd expect from a Red Ale. Still, it's bright and clear, and the head is finely created, sitting as a very tight white film on the top of the glass. Decent body. Not bad looking overall.
Nose is slight and sweet, with some subtle tropical aromas from the hops. A little bit of additional wholesome grain gives it a bit of depth beyond a hoppy pale ale or weak IPA. Nothing overly exciting, but not bad.
Taste is a little less exciting, to be honest. Here, there's a grainy main note that gives a wholemeal bread dryness throughout the length of the palate. Hops are noticeably absent, as is any hint of the sweetness on the nose. Perhaps, there's a slight uprise in bitterness on the mid to back, but it doesn't do much of a job on clearing out or complementing the grain.
Feel is pretty good actually, smooth and fluid with a balanced crispness.
Eh. Not a terribly exciting brew, nor a particularly well-crafted one, I feel. It's drinkable enough, but there are far better examples available surely everywhere that this one is available.