|Highest Rated||Deliverance (93 / 100)
||Average score||75 / 100 (Excellent)|
|Lowest Rated||Avant Garde (60 / 100)
Pours a dark reddish brown, nice colour. Head is beige, nice and dense with some decent lacing left behind in parts. Thin crown is easily revived.
Smells not as I expected. Some slight roasty notes, fair spice to it. Caramel in a big way and a bit of booziness to it as well. Vinous; brandy, some oak. Not bad characters but it doesn't smell very coherent.
Taste is similarly off-kilter. Some Belgian characters maybe, giving earthy spice, with a fair note of brown sugar and maybe a touch of lemon as well. Cherry, brandy on there, some vanillin oak notes and just quite dry and somewhat boozey on the back. Main thing it's lacking is sweetness, just feels burnt and bitter on the back, with a fair booze heat. Body is there, and texture really quite nice, but the malt doesn't show itself in flavour, and it's unbalanced as a result.
Just needs more residual sugar, or some other source of sweetness. It's a very nicely constructed beer but tastes a little dour and subdued.
78 / 100
750ml caged and corked bottle purchased from Ales Unlimited in San Francisco. Brought back to Sydney where, after wrestling with the obstreperous cork, I finally served it to Sam and Rich during a brewday.
Pours a hazed but pleasant deep brown colour, with a fairly frothy, full head of light crema. Body is fluid and light, but with a bit of depth to it, holding the fine carbonation well. Lacing is also excellent—although the body is fine and slick, the lacing sticks to the glass in long languid streaks. Looks very good.
Nose is pleasantly herbal, but with a leavened floral sweetness to it. There's a lilt of lavender and certainly the rosemary it's brewed with, matched with a solid base of mild malted sweetness. There's also a suggestion of honey to it, and indeed the floral tones may come from its fermentation. Overall, it's really very pleasant.
Taste is very herbal, with the rosemary and spices coming through quite strongly, especially on the front. Some resiny characters of myrrh and pine are also noticeable. But the base of this beer is a solid Belgian style. There are rummy sweet tones forming the bulk of the body, with a firm phenolic character on the back which cuts through, and accentuates some of the spicy notes with a hint of booze.
Feel is decent, light but slick, with just a buzz of carbonation to help promote the spices.
Overall, this is a really nice beer, and another good entry in Lost Abbey's repertoire. I like the spice, which integrates well and provides some unusual interest, but the beer underneath is very solid. The booze is used well, but is restrained in the flavour. Very good stuff.
71 / 100
750ml brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.
Pours a frothy black-brown, with a puffy head of pale brown: the lightness of everything is the giveaway that this is something other than a big porter or stout. Lacing is excellent. Body is quite light. Looks very decent.
Nose is actually surprisingly mild. Some fine grainy malt characters, and a touch of sharpness that gives it a slightly boozy or inky quality, but not a whole bunch more. It's fairly fine all over, but it's not particularly big or complex.
Taste is a lot better. Here, there's a sweetness of dried fruit through the centre of the palate, which has a raisin or even concord grape quality to it. Around this is the fine depth of sweetness with a bit of booze to it. On the back is a long, lingering sweetness laced with a spiciness from the alcohol. It's a nice mix.
Feel is light and slightly frothy. It's pretty nice.
Overall, yeah, another fine brew out of the Lost Abbey stable. It's certainly not different enough to stand out from the crowd, but it's a beer I'm perfectly happy to drink. But then, pretty much anything with the LA label on it is something I'm perfectly happy to drink.
76 / 100
750ml brown corked and caged bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I cracked it with Sam and Chris during a brewday.
Pours a bright yellow-golden colour, with solid hazing and a crackling, aerated head that foams itself out of existence pretty quickly. A fine mesh of white lace lingers atop the glass. Body is light and fluid. Carbonation is fine. Looks pretty good overall.
Nose is clean and bright, with some crisp funk that doesn't really get earthy or horsey. Some peach character comes through with a sweetness that reminds me a little of clipped grass. High carbonation is also noticeable here until it runs out of steam. Overall, it's a very pleasant nose though.
Taste is clean and bright, but certainly sweeter than many saisons. The peach character again runs through from middle to back, giving a slightly jammy character on the finish. Beyond this is a hint of pepper, and on the front is the earthiness of the funk that never really expressed itself fully on the palate. Alcohol is very well hidden—American saisons can often feel a little blunt, which allows the booze to show a little more, but there's none of that here.
Feel is great. Smooth but bright.
Overall, this is a really drinkable, and very enjoyable saison. There's a cleanness to the funk, and a smoothness from the additional sweetness. The peach character is what sets it apart, and it's a fine character for a saison. Very nice indeed.
76 / 100
375ml caged and corked brown bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Shared with Sam in Sydney.
Pours a turbid, murky mahogany brown, with a very fine head that doesn't really form with any verve. Body is incredibly thick, leaving a powdery mess of static carbonation when tilted. It looks really quite interesting, if a little confusing.
Nose is extremely strange, but with stacks of complexity and interest. Noticeable plasticky funk, a hint of smoke, and a syrupy tequila character from the agave. It's spicy, peppery and very unusual—I'm not sure I've ever had a beer quite like this before.
Taste is actually not what I expected from the nose. It does indeed continue some of the weird aromatic characters: especially the pepper and the spice, but there's a pronounced malt backbone giving it a true sweetness to support a lot of complexity. Again there's tequila notes, along with a rather interesting woody oak note that smoothes over the back palate. Feel is very clean and smooth, but with a prickly spice from all of the agave notes.
Overall, this is a really good, and a very unusual beer. It has a lot of really strange twists to it, but manages to pull together something reasonably coherent from the anarchy. I'm genuinely a fan.
70 / 100
750ml corked and caged bottle purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA. Shared with Frosty and Rich.
Pours a hazed, but firm brownish amber hue, with a full and frothy head of beige that sits pretty persistently. Frothy lace forms in sludgy streaks. Solid body and very form carbonation which forms in rivulets up the glass. Looks good.
Nose is slightly spicy, with a raisin and orange-peel character, but it's actually pretty muted overall. Slight pepper characters come around as well, especially as it warms. There's actually not a lot of sweetness or richness to it: more like the yeast has dried it out as well as adding all those lovely spicy estery characters.
Taste is similar, but with a smoothness that suggests a bit of body, even though the sweetness is still quite absent. Firm brown-sugar flavours are present without the ultimate sweetness, and the esters pick up a little on the back, giving a bit more of that spicy fix. Finish is actually rather smooth, and the alcohol is well hidden. Feel is clean but rich. Nice.
Overall, yeah, this is tasty stuff, if not as complex as it might have been. There's plenty of body, which is good, and a nice about of spice. Some extra sweetness would help, but overall, it's still a really nice beer.
70 / 100
375ml brown caged and corked bottle purchased from Whole Foods SoMa in San Francisco, CA. Shared in Sydney with Sam and Rich.
Pours a hazy pale golden colour, with a big, rocky, bretty head of white that leaves caves as it bubbles away. Lacing is chunky and excellent. Carbonation is fine: body has a little heft to it, but not a huge amount.
Nose is ripe and bretty. Slight acidity, but much more estery tropical fruits. I get tinned pineapple, a little mint and rosemary, sherbet and a mineral saltiness that probably stems from the same aromas as the traditional earthy, horsey Brett notes. It smells wonderful.
Taste is much, much more subdued, without a lot of Brett character apart from an extreme attenuation which leaves the beer very dry indeed. Clean grain characters on the mid-to-late palate along with a slight clinging bitterness reminiscent of the slight mineral character on the nose. It's quite clean, but it's only decent, without the complexities or intensity of the nose.
Feel is also a little light, although it doesn't have a lot to work with anyway.
Overall, it's really quite drinkable, but it promised more than it ultimately delivered. I still like it a lot, but I was expecting a new favourite from Lost Abbey looking at it, and so I'm a little bit sore that it didn't live up to its potential.
69 / 100
Pours a cloudy orange-amber. Opaque body. Head is huge, white, fluffy and dense and sinking in parts, but some wonderful lace is left behind. I think the colour could be more decisive: it's in-between shades. Otherwise pretty damn good.
Smells tart and spicy. Plenty of pepper, dry fennel notes, vinegary touch and some barnyard-phenol notes on the back. Lucerne, mouldy basement but freshened with a whisper of cranberry. Very appealing.
Taste is spicy and a whole lot sweeter than I expected. Actually quite sweet, with creamy notes, touch of malt and maybe some popcorn towards the mid. Back had a Belgian spice edge, dry white pepper and coriander seed, with a touch of candied orange. Finishes quite sweet, in spite of some gentle phenols bouncing around the palate. Would like the earthier notes to be plumped up more. Decent, though.
Full body, bit of pull at the back, but otherwise silky smooth and quite beautiful.
Bit confused by this beer. It promised a lot, and my issue is that the flavour's actually a bit insipid. Feels like there's a lot in this beer but the flavour is not felt in any meaningful way.
62 / 100
Large corked and caged 750ml brown bottle purchased from BevMo at Menlo Park, CA. Brought back to Sydney and cracked open with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a bright, hazed golden colour with a crackling, frothy head of white that leaves honeycombed lacing. Body is quite light, and the carbonation is actually surprisingly coarse, rising swiftly through the glass. Looks decent.
Nose is light and a little subtle. Mild rounded notes, a little salted caramel, some plasticky tones and a hint of pepper. There's a very faint lemon character sitting underneath everything, which is nice, but quite hidden. Not bad.
Taste is pleasant: light and slightly rounded, with the lemon character coming out a little more giving a rubbed zesty fragrance to the flavour. Smooth finish without the phenols or harshness that might have been there. Slight bite of seltzer on the back, but the feel is pleasantly smooth, meaning it doesn't get too sharp. It's certainly drinkable, but it is indeed pretty muted.
Overall, this was actually a pretty disappointing drop from Lost Abbey, who have genuinely done some of my favourite beers. This is reasonably pedestrian even for a standard Belgian Pale. While it's drinkable, it really doesn't bring anything interesting or exciting to the table: as a result I can't really think of when I'd choose to drink it again.
80 / 100
Pours a shiny golden colour, lotza head (lotza head), fluffy and white and sinking in nice, uneven craters. Lacing is very nice as well. That's a good amount of head.
Smells very funky. A real mustiness to it with a touch of mulch and gravel, but a nice acidic edge, giving lemon zest and green apples. It's been a while since I've had a good funky Belgian smell, so it's a welcome return to my olfactory. Could lean heavier on the sour though, 'tis a bit mouldy-bitter-smelling.
Taste is fairly funky as well, with a slightly sour, organic flavour on the front. Develops some lemon, ginger and mint notes midway that all blend with that organic barnyard mulchy kind of flavour, and the latter takes over the finish; idiosyncratically bitter and fairly mild for all that. Very nice.
Nice foamy texture, a bit dry on the back but leaves you feeling warm and loved.
Great beer, with a well-handled funky palate. Slightly off flavours are far from off-putting.
75 / 100
Uncorks with a sound like a gunshot, surprising, as up until the point at which it uncorked it was difficult to pry out.
Pours a pale golden colour, with a slight haze from the voluminous sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I poured off the top of this, but still some managed to be agitated enough to enter the glass. Head is a crackling mess of white, voluminous and exciting. Lace is excellent as this crackles down. Body is extremely slippery and fluid, although it looks like it has a bit of heft to it. Overall, it's a great looking beer.
Nose is crisp and dry, with hints of crackling champagne yeast and a dry sweetness like apple cider. Some spicier Belgian yeast notes come through, giving a slight phenol and pepper note to the mix. Very distinguished, if extremely dry.
Taste is smoother than I expected, with more pepper notes on the back. On the front we get a surprising sweetness from the apple characters, matched with a cutting segment of Belgian yeast phenols. The spicy bite on the back is pleasant enough to cleanse the palate, but never gets too brash or astringent.
Feel is great. Incredibly smooth, but staying light throughout.
This was a very nice beer, and a great Belgian-from-a-non-Belgian. This had style and sophistication far above its genesis. Good work.
74 / 100
This is my 1500th review on BeerAdvocate. Shame I couldn't share it with my regular beer-reviewin' buds @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe. Ah well.
Uncorks with a sucking thunk, followed by a smoky mist of COâ. Pours a light hazed golden colour, with an initially crackling and very frothy white head, that leaves sudsy, sticky clumps of lace (or what is rightly just big gobs of foam) down the side of the glass. Carbonation is streaming and fine. It looks a vibrant, alive beer, which is what you want from the style. Not bad.
Nose is bright and slightly acidic, with some spicy, peppery overtones and an echoey note of metallic copper. Green organics as well, along with some estery compounds of banana. There's a hint of something herbal hiding towards the back, possibly mint or coriander. Nice.
Taste is rather sharp and a little astringent, giving a big phenolic bitter bite on the centre of the palate, before dipping away to a crisp, slightly metallic finish. Some earthy overtones come through a little, as does that organic, herbal bitterness. It's rather sharp, biting and cutting, but it does have some of those nice rustic Saison spices as well. Feel is light and crisp, but the carbonation ends up being a little bloating.
A good beer, but I really did want it to be better. A touch of acidity on the palate would have helped, as probably would have a lighter touch on the spices (assuming they added someâif not, it's a good job they did getting the yeast to produce such flavours). But it's still pretty drinkable and pretty enjoyable. Unfortunately, my standards for Saisons and for The Lost Abbey are unreasonably high, so I did find this something of a disappointment.
86 / 100
Pours a dark currant colour, with a head that seems listless but doesn't take a lot of cajoling to breathe lots of life back into it. Nice sticky ring of lace. Nice.
Thick, sticky red wine nose. Thick, sweet and boozey, I mean it smells like port. Brown sugar on there, raisins, blackcurrants and golden syrup. And yeah, just that rich, ripe, late-harvest red grape sugar as well. Une tasty beer, indeed.
Taste is very sweet, rich, syrupy. A rich complex brown sugar front with golden syrup and roasted almonds on there as well. Mid-to-late is all red wine with huge port wine notes, cherry and a good claret booziness. The back is all sweet again, with an effect almost like the sugars are crystallising in my mouth out of solution. You only really get that with a really artisanal dessert wine, or some amazing beer. Delicious.
Syrupy, rich , a little bit hot on the back but otherwise pretty awesome.
Yeah, a big feisty bitch with a sweet, beguiling outer facade. Dangerous, bewitching demon-woman beer.
90 / 100
Purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA, and muled back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours empty and flat, a deep brown-black. No lace, no head-retention, obviously, because there's no head whatsoever. Despite this, there are tiny bubbles of carbonation trapped in the beer, which become apparent when it's tilted. I prefer a bit of head (don't we all), but it's not a bad look all up.
Nose is pungent and sweet and incredibly boozy, with huge port-like characters dominant. Big barrel characters: marshmallow, toasted coconut, boozy vanilla essence, with sharper notes of resin and glace cherries. Hoo-ey, what a nose. Almost too much to take in; about as complex and intense as any I've had. A winner.
Taste is wonderfully restrained, with a gorgeous vinous acidity tempering big sweet boozy notes of port, vanilla oak, and burnt toffee. Dark notes sit around the edges, giving a wisp of smoke here, a taint of charcoal there. It's a gorgeously malevolent and sneaking edge to a very sweet palate.
Feel is very smooth and supple, and the heat and booze gives it a sharpness that stops it from being too heavy.
Wow, wow, wow. From inauspicious beginnings (and much undercarbonation), this managed to blow me away. It's gorgeous, supple and incredibly complex. What a brew.
93 / 100
Pours a very, very dark brown - only really a dagger of dark brown piercing the body when held up to the light. Head is ochre, quite listless but leaving some nice trails behind. A swirl is quite effective in reviving it. Small bubbles, not too dense. Yeah, good colour, pretty good everything else.
Smells quite dark, yet not roasty. Lots of chocolate, dark and cocoa-esque with a Tia Maria edge. Yeah, very sweet, dark and liqueury, a touch of milk coffee and Irish cream almost and a big dollop of coconut lingering at the back. A really very fascinating smell, and very enticing.
Taste is quite sweet as well. Lots of chocolate, dark and sweet with some nectar notes on the front, and a touch of orange peel with more of that Tia Maria liqueuriness. Sweet, though, and nicely weighted with an obvious alcohol that only asserts itself through the fullness of the body and never gets hot. Pleasant touches of marshmallow with more Irish cream, caramel, some touches of cinnamon, milk coffee, and some hop notes towards the back giving apple characteristics. Some shiraz wine notes as well, berries and pepper, oh it's just intoxicatingly good. Wow. This is a cracker of a beer.
If a beer is this nice, I will drink it. It's a heavy drop and one for sharing, but it's amazing, so smooth, so tasty.
86 / 100
Very excited to find this at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley. Brought back to Australia with me, and shared with @LaitueGonflable.
I shouldn't have been surprised at the colour, but I was, a deep dark brown, opaque, only turning slightly lighter at the edges. Head is fine, and crispy, a roasted brown tinged ochre. Lacing is minimal, but the body is heavy, which may explain it somewhat. Looks very nice.
Nose is a fabulous melange of different flavours. Big chocolate characters, and lots of sweet vanilla, giving a rich, smooth basis. Some roastiness, and a lightly sulphurous egg character, which oddly deepens the other notes. Certainly hints of astringent booze, but they blend so perfectly with the vanilla, giving up characters of coconut and white rum. Ooh, so much devilish deliciousness. It's an astonishingly good nose.
Taste matches, although there is a lightening from the blending, giving a more pleasant hop character. This provides a counterpoint (and perhaps an excuse) for the strong boozy note which is present here. It blends very nicely with the roasted characters, which combine to form a chocolate liqueur complexity. Feel is smooth and robust.
Ooh, it's a lovely beer. Roasty, complex, boozy, chocolate, sweet and rich. Really fantastically good, and such an inspired blend of two other good beers. But where other blendings seem to just provide the average of their component parts, this one has synergy which propels it to true excellence.
75 / 100
Pours a very dark mahogany colour. Head is yellow-tinged beige but a bit lacklustre; thin film and some large bubbles. Lacing is small but some nice patterns; looks quite good.
Smells dark, unsurprisingly. Quite strong with a nod to burnt. Slight charred aroma with mild espresso notes and a touch or two of licorice, black pepper and cocoa. Slight wood-smoke at the back and slight unfortunate fusel alcohol. Good, though.
Taste is also quite dark and burned, and there is a strong, warming booziness as it goes down. In spite of that, it's remarkably smooth, with nothing huge or overpowering leaping out at me. A good espresso belt with lashings of roasty grain, mild rye note and a touch or two of leather on there, adding a mild oaky funk to the back. Slight nip of booze on the finish as well which is the lowest point, but a nice smooth stout-like beverage overall.
Yeah, smooth, just a slight desiccation from the alcomohol on the back.
It's a surprisingly well-balanced brew that goes down on quite friendly terms with my digestive system.
80 / 100
Purchased in the US and brought back to Sydney at the request of @LaitueGonflable. Cracked open with him and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours dark and black. Really, just black, not even some browning at the edges. It looks thick and oily as well, with an incredibly heavy body that forms miniscule carbonation bubbles when tilted. Head is very fine bubbled, but minimal overall, which is not really that surprising when you think of the ABV, but it is something of a disappointment. Overall, though, it's a very exciting looking brew, and it has some wonderfully deep characteristics.
Nose is dark and charred, with notes of iodine and coppery blood. No oak barrel character coming out, although I'm not sure this is oak conditioned - I just expect it from the style nowadays. Some sweetness, but like sugared coffee, it's just masking the roastiness. Nice.
Taste is very charred and black, but with a silky suppleness throughout that stops it from being overpowering. Finish lingers for a long time with a dark charred note, but there's some residual burnt sugar sweetness to leaven it. Marmite and coffee come forward as well. It would make a great breakfast beer. Booze is very well hidden among the other robust characters. Not a huge amount of depth to it - there's a great deal of flavour, but it doesn't get layered and intermingled with other more subtle notes.
Feel is wonderful. It's soft and smooth, but with a little tingle of tiny-bubbled carbonation throughout the length.
A very nice beer this one, and one that is incredibly robust and flavoursome. Doesn't have the fantastic balance and complexity I've had from some others, but it's still an excellent beer.
60 / 100
Pours a pale, almost fluoro-orange colour, glowing yellow where the light strikes the edges, very opaque and hazy. Head is fairly humble, bubbly and sunk in the middle. Leaves some beautiful webs of lace around. Lookin' good there, beer.
Smells quite hoppy, actually quite earthy and resinous. Fair amount of citric character on that providing some fruit, but it's a rindy fruit smell, quite bitter. Aside from that a slight pear aroma and lots of soil, leather and grass. Bit subdued overall but what's there is quite nice.
Taste is...interesting. Minty flavour starts off the front, then a fair amount of yeasty character. Plenty of grain, with puffed rice and wheat coming through, and just a slight bready note on the mid. Very bitter and phenolic on the back, just a huge aspirin bitterness and a slight ashiness to it as well. Really quite bold and I can't say it's pleasing me a lot. Nice at the start, but just a very mediciney finish. It's impressive, just not my cup of bitter aspirin.
Swills quite well in the mouth, a lot of body to it but a nice silky texture. A touch of carbonation foam as well makes it almost broth-like. Really quite nice feel.
The medicinal bitterness puts me off, but it's not terrible and I can enjoy large parts of this beer, just not the part that counts most - my remembrance of each sip.
76 / 100
Pours a pleasant orange-tinged golden colour, with a frothy and fine-bubbled head of white foam. Lacing is excellent. Body is really pleasantly cloudy, and looks solid and vibrant in the glass, like a liquified gemstone. Lovely.
Rustic and slightly tart aromas on the nose. A little crushed leaf, some hay bale and a really pleasant vinous or oaky acidity to piece it all together. Very nice BDG nose.
Taste is slightly tart on entry, but is wowed away by big earthy phenols that put this beer smack bang in the centre of its style. Hints of plasticene and leather, welling up through the back before a big spicy, phenolic bitterness on the finish. It's a boisterous Biere de Garde, and an unapologetic one. Mouthfeel is pleasantly leavened by some very fine carbonation, which balances the slight heat of alcohol detectable mid-palate.
A really nice beer and a very good Biere de Garde. I think it could use a tad more acidity on the palate, but that is just what would turn a very good beer into a spectacular one. This is a lovely drop.