69 / 100
Imperial pint can purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Freshness date of July this year, which is disappointingly close to now.
Pours a fairly bright, clear golden colour, with a fine and persistent white head that stays filmy on top of the body, and leaves exceptional, complex lace. Carbonation is fine, and it glides through the body in powdery waves. Looks very good; very refined.
Nose is a little flat, to be honest. It has a savoury grain note which forms the base of the aroma (which may be the result of age, given the freshness date), with a slight grassy overtone that lends elements of cut fennel and pool chlorine. Slight aromatics lift it a little, with a hint of citrus and crushed vegetation. But it's not overly inspiring in its current form.
Taste is a bit better. It's fresh and weedy at the front, with characters of peeled cucumber dusted with salt. There's a smoothness on the back, lending almost a fragrant vanilla overtone. Mostly, it's based around vegetative hops, but there's a smoothness which softens it a lot.
Feel is pretty good. It's soft and light, with a fine carbonation to enliven it just slightly.
Decent beer. Although I bought this yesterday, I suspect it's been sitting on the shelf for a while and I think it's the worse for it. But it's still holding up, and that's the sign of a well-made beer. As it stands, it's not a stand-out, stellar IPA, but it's very decent for an "old IPA".
44 / 100
Pours a gold colour. Slight orange tinge. Head is off-white and foamy with nice sticky curtain of lace left behind. Looks pretty good, could retain better.
Smells sweet and candied. Slight metallic character upfront with notes of orange blossom and lemon thyme. Smells under-attenuated. It's sweet in a big under-ripe fruit kind of way. Kinda meh.
Taste is yeah similar. Malt liquory kind of character. Big sweet grain character with buttery caramel notes. Then gets a round, orange marmalade character with residual sweetness on the back. It also feels a bit big but somehow not that strong because it feels under-attenuated. Just feels like there's sweet malt notes that are potential to be converted into interesting complexities but aren't quite there yet.
Bit of boozed character on the mouthfeel and then a slight fruity twang on the back. Not bad.
Yeah, feels unfermented, overly sweet, unbalanced and kind of unpleasant. Such a shame because there are otherwise nice characters peeping in around the edges.
57 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. It's some time ago as well, so let's see how it's aged.
Pours a slightly coppery golden colour, quite clear in the body, with a fairly broad head to begin with. This settles out to a thin ring though, and leaves minimal lace. Body has a bit of weight, although the carbonation moves fairly swiftly. Looks decent enough.
Nose has a touch of oxidation to it, coming across slightly coppery and metallic. There's a vinous note to it. There is something quite organic about it, perhaps it's the dandelion, but it gives a slight plastic tone to the aroma. Slight booziness as well is noticeable. I don't love it.
Taste is a bit better, because it trends more towards the sweeter, rounder characters of a Belgian Strong. There are weird spicy notes, but they dance over the top while the real beer does its thing trudging through the centre. The back has a slight hint of peach, but it's the first suggestion of it anywhere in the beer.
Feel is thick and juicy, with some heat in the back. The 9% is certainly not hidden.
Overall, this is actually kind of mediocre. All of the additional ingredients don't necessarily make a coherent story, and the weight and the balance are slightly off. I don't hate it, but it's certainly not a particularly stellar brew.
69 / 100
Pours a pale champagne colour with champagney bead. Head is whispy bubbles, white, sparse and webbed lace. OK.
Smells a bit subdued. Somewhat desserty, with cinnamon-stewed apple, notes of nutmeg, molasses and maybe some prunes. Decent but could use more aroma.
Taste confirms my suspicions and is quite heavy on the prunes. Stewed apple as well, and plenty of spice. Slight tartness but just comes across as fresh. An odd flavour mix, but a rewarding one.
Bitsy, but has a nice solid body and good fluidity.
I kind of want to dislike this, but it keeps pulling me back in. I feel like Michael Corleone, it's unsettlingly beguiling.
74 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from K & L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney, where I've apparently sat on it for a long time before serving it to Sam and Rich. It recommended drinking by Jan 2015, so we'll see how it goes.
Pours a clear golden hue, quite light and thin with some coarse-bubbled carbonation. Head is a flimsy, pocked cap of white that leaves some thin rings of lace. It looks decent, but nothing more.
Nose is pleasant, and interestingly fragrant. Slight mallow and sweet herbal notes balanced by a kind of savoury grain tone. A little suggestion of something like pine sap, and perhaps a mild touch of tartness. It's quite aromatic all up, and very interesting. I like it.
Taste actually works quite well. Throughout, there's a fairly solid, and fairly sweet malt character, that gives it a rather Belgian tone. But this is broken up with more of those aromatic herbal qualities. Mild vanilla, a little bit more reedy, crushed vegetation and a rather sweet fragrance I can't quite pinpoint. Interestingly, unlike many gruits I've tried, there's no real spice note, and it's refreshingly clean as a result—not overpowered with chai-like notes that can become very cloying.
Feel is surprisingly thin. Given it's quite a light-flavoured beer all up, it's probably a good thing, though, and helps it from being cloying.
Interestingly, it's quite drinkable for all its mild oddities. I can actually see myself sinking a couple of these. Of course, that's probably never going to happen, but it's certainly interesting enough to be a fine one-off experience.
22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with my brother Sam.
Pours a pretty deep golden colour, hinting towards a coppery tone, with a fairly fine head of shiny white that leaves intricate lace. Body is firm and bold and hold masses of tiny carbonation. Looks good.
Yep, nose has feijoa alright, and it's a distinctive smell, somewhere between lime and banana. It's fresh and bright, and very fruit-forward. There's a mild toffee sweetness behind it, perhaps a little Belgian yeast note, but not a lot from the tripel side of the equation. Still the fruit is really well done, and it certainly delivers what it promises.
Taste is also full of fruit, giving pithy flesh, more tropical notes and a tartness that attaches itself to some of the phenolic characters from the yeast. Carbonation gives a fine tingle, but also adds to an already fairly pronounced acidity. Finish is long with lingering underripe fruit and a slight vegetative organic finish.
Overall, this is very interesting: and the feijoa is really well showcased here. I'm not sure if you'd do much better than this in using that particular fruit in a beer.
69 / 100
650ml bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a boozy, rich cloudy burnished amber-brown, with a very solid head of yellow-tinged white that stays solid and static for a long time, eventually settling to a creamy film. Lacing is pretty decent: patchy tiny points all over the glass. Body is ridiculously heavy, and the carbonation sits around for a long time before sauntering to the surface when the beer is tilted. Looks pretty intense.
Cinnamon and sharp booze to begin with on the nose. Some earthy, slightly sharp coffee tones come through, mingled with the booze. Did I mention booze? As it warms, oddly, the cinnamon comes through more strongly. It's sweet and rich, but always cut with that heady alcohol character.
Taste is spicy and boozy, but built on a very solid basis of rich sweetness. More of that cinnamon character, more booze—a strangely thinning, plaintive character that sharpens but weakens the flavour. Finish is very biting, phenolic, boozy: with a rather sharp acetone character ending the piece. Even after it's gone there feels like there's a vapourised alcohol sitting in my mouth. Intense.
Feel is rich to start with, but the booze comes forward quite heavily. Leaving it hot and sharp.
Pretty difficult to drink except perhaps in particularly small quantities. I didn't get a lot of the purported dates, cherries or coffee, and what's left is something of a pretty messy quad. There are certainly things to like in it, and it's an impressive beer no matter what I think of it personally.
59 / 100
Pours a dark cherry colour, clear. Head is light beige, bubbly and foamy. Quite pleasant, but more lace/head would be nice.
Smell is very pungent and funky, almost to the point of offence. Sulfurous and solventy, slight salty sweaty note, oxidised red wine and masses of pepper. Fascinating, but I find it slightly unpleasant.
Taste is funky, peppery, dark and mysterious. Loads of tart, vinegary acidity from the get-go, with big dollops of merlot, black pepper, currants and burnt toffee/molasses. I like the acidity and the complexity, but I really couldn't drink too much of this.
Sharp pull as expected on the mouthfeel, finishes surprisingly thick and pleasant.
Can't say I'm fully reconciled with this style. I can see this particular example being well loved, but it doesn't quite sit right with me. Good luck to it.
74 / 100
Bottle purchased from Bevmo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney, Australia.
Pours a slightly hazed ruby red hue, with an inconsistent, bubbly head of pale beige. Body is pretty light and a little insipid. No visible lace. Carbonation forms when the beer is tilted, which belies the inherent lightness in the weight. It's an OK looking beer, but not better than that.
Nose is fresh, spicy and very, very odd. Bright, fruity sweet pepper characters with hints of genuine crushed black pepper and a vegetal plant skin kind of aroma. This is backed by a pleasant chocolatey sweetness that takes the place of the malt. In fact, aroma-wise this could be like any other beer: chocolate instead of malt, capsicum instead of hops. It's very unique.
Palate is a similar mixture, and actually really nicely captures the flavours of Mexican molÃ©. Genuine cocoa characters meld with a spicy, fruity chilli character, without actually getting too much heat from the peppers. Mild fragrance dances above, but at it's heart this is a chocolate beer not a chilli beer. Just as molÃ© is about the cocoa. It's fascinating stuff.
Feel is smooth, but slightly grainy. It has a decent basis that supports the rest of the beer though.
Overall, solid stuff. It's very interesting, and does a pretty good job of hitting its targets. Is it successful as a beer? There's very little to compare it to. I'm personally impressed at its style and experimentation, but I can't see this becoming a more widely accepted genre.
58 / 100
Pours a red-tinged dark brown, plenty of colour to it, with very nice beige head; fairly pale with nice density, sinks slowly but surely to a thin crown of bubbles with some wonderful lacing left behind. Looks pretty damn great.
Smells a bit completely insane. Massive weizen esters, but leaning heavily on the candy banana side, with huge banana sweetness. Also an equally odd side-note of smoke, with some bacon and charred wood, and maybe some peach in the mix as well. Totally didn't expect that, and I'm glad. Quite fascinating, I'm glad it blind-sided me but still, it's a bit too odd for me to love it.
Taste starts out banana cake-esque, there's plenty of that weizeny banana flavour but also a gooey sweet cake batter note with hints of butter and caramel. Not really a lot of dark notes which is a bit incongruous with the look and style, and it really just ends up fruity with more of that seed-heavy banana note. If I were a banana fan I might like it, but A) I'm not, and B) I'm also disappointed that there seems so little else to it, especially given the intrigue of the nose.
Not a bad feel, with a bit of body to it, slightly dry at the back and a bit heavy. Not bad.
Too much banana. What's great about good weizens is the balance between fruit and spice, and there's really a want of spice here. Decent brew, but a bit one-note.
79 / 100
Purchased in Berkeley, CA, and brought back to Australia, where I shared it with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a dark, but rather clear brown colour, with a reddish tinge when held to the light. Head is much lighter in colour than the body, forming only a mild beige crest to the beer. Lacing is exceptionally intricate. When pouring, it looked quite light and fluid, but in reality, in the glass it's quite heavy, and forms some tight static carbonation. Looks pretty great, all up.
Nose is like a mega-wheat beer on steroids. Huge esters of banana, with a genuine punch-to-the-nose aroma of sticky, fresh, heavy cloves. The clove even gives a deeper spice to the aroma, hinting at pepper and chilli. It's so potent that it almost verges towards the smokiness of a Schlenkerla Weizen. Daym, that's one heavy and fine weizen nose.
Taste is also a firm and strong weizen contender, but very cleverly, it's not overtly heavy, brusque or intense. This allows it to maintain the supple drinkability of a lower ABV beer. Smooth banana characters feed into a more potent, but still smooth heat of alcohol on the back. In fact, the very light feel probably helps with the drinkability, and by toning down the intensity of the flavoursâin a way, the feel itself isn't good, but it's as though it's sacrificing itself for the greater good.
This was quite a surprise. I expected a rather pedestrian dunkelweizen, possibly spiked with an incongruous alcohol burn, but instead we receive a beefed-up, but still wonderfully balanced example of the same.
75 / 100
New Belgium, ah... They always manage to not impress me enough to bring their beers back to Australia with me. And yet they're always consistent. Let's see how this one goes...
Pours a very clear, light and bright golden colour, with a fine and full head of white bubbling. Lacing is good; thin and fine, but sticky and intricate. Some fine carbonation, but not a lot. Overall, it looks like a fine drop of beer.
Nose is fresh and hoppy. Not pungent, but soft, spicy and fruity. Citrus notes dominate, with the sweeter endâoranges and tangerinesâgiving the biggest contribution. Lovely and fresh, and intoxicating. Quite gorgeous.
Taste is also good, but very subdued. Mild, but smooth on the palate, with an uplift of hoppiness that never moves beyond the sparse. Slight nuttiness on the back, with an organic burst of freshness. Green, a little citrussy, but certainly not a huge amount of bite.
Extremely easy to drink, this is an IPA that you could sit with all night. I'm pleased to say that this is one of the best NBB beers I've had. That it's one of their regular range is tellingâthey have got the basics just right.
Enjoyed at 10AM on a Sunday morning.
Pours a bronzey golden colour, clear body, mild bead. Head is modest, little more than a film of whispy foam. Nice, sticky lace though, on the plus side. Not bad, but alright.
Smells...interesting. Oddly metallic with some burnt wheat notes and overripe fruit - cherry and plum notes mostly. Strong grainy sweetness that doesn't quite sit right with the sour pungency. Intrigued, but not really enthused.
Tastes similar, I guess. Very malty with an odd white peppery note on the very front that gets a lot of molasses notes together with that quite metallic bitterness that builds with each gathering moment. Has its crescendo late-mid where it's quite coppery with an undertone of overripe plum. Decent brown sugar sweetness provides some balance, but then the flavours disappear and leave an unwanted grain notes on the back which is slightly insipid and yeasty. The finish here is the best part, mildly sweet but bold, if it only lasted longer.
A bit thin on the front, but in the mouth there's a fullness. The texture is a bit effervescent, although it leaves well enough.
Yeah, I couldn't attack too much of this, and not just because it's 10AM.
Purchased in the US and cracked open with @laituegonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a very clear and bright orange colour, slightly burnished, with a fine but light head of white bubbles. Lots of body to it, which means it forms some pleasant static carbonation when swirled. I like the colour - would have expected a sahti to be cloudier, but otherwise, looks pretty decent.
Nose is slightly metallic and phenolic. Some organic hints giving rise to a kind of honey-fermentation character, and a bit of gin-like spice. Smells of chemicals and booze for the most part. Often you get a whiff of that, but this is overdone.
Taste is very light on, really. Initial metallic sharpness dies off almost immediately, leaving a subtle bitterness and a bready yeast note on the back. Some hints of phenolics throughout, and there's still that chemical note coming through for the most part, leaving some green organics in its wake.
Feel is remarkably light and empty, given the look of it. Smooth enough: it feels like silky water.
Eh. Not really that interesting, and I feel a Sahti needs to be interesting in order to be good - they just have an oddness to them that rankles unless they have complexity to keep you interested. This one's very much the worst example I've tried, both other examples had oddity, but complexity and balance.
This one's surprisingly bland.
Clear light amber colour, with a very solid head of pale off-white. Good lacing. Bit clear, but the head is great. I don't know why, but it looks quintessentially "beery" to me. Quite tasty looking.
Bit of toasted grain on the nose, and a touch of yeasty bread dough. Some subtle hops, but not really robust; more like a faint lemony zing. OK though.
Smooth palate with a crisp English Ale maltiness, giving a nutty character. Bit of light bitterness on the finish. Light, but smooth on the feel at least.
A good general drinking beer, and one that's easy to session. Went decently well with Wing Stop wings.
74 / 100
Pours a clear, deep golden colour with a somewhat filmy, but fine-bubbled head of white foam. Lacing is good and there's a nice amount of large bubbled carbonation keeping it active.
Pleasant fresh hop character on the nose, a little fruity west coast aroma with an underlying hint of grainy malt, almost akin to an amber ale - fused with a sweet depth a little like cookie dough. Nice. Subtle but nice.
Clean and softly sweet base malt character on the front palate, which is sliced and counterbalanced with a fresh hop note through the centre, finishing with a light bitterness, very dry. It doesn't taste as though it's substantially more bitter than the average pale ale, but it has a sharper and slightly rougher hop character that beefs up the hop presence. Overall, very tasty and crisp.
This is a nice APA - clear and fresh and quaffable, but with a robust hop presence to keep it flavoursome and enjoyable. Very nice drop.
75 / 100
Pours a very nice deep red to red-brown colour, with a filmy head of taupe foam. No retention to it, but that's pretty much expected for the style. Minimal body with lots of streaming carbonation. Not bad. Looks pretty good.
I could smell it as soon as the bottle opened. Rich cherry acidity, with notes of pear, pinot noir grapes, oak and currants. Very strong, fruity and acidic, with a delicious roundness integrating it all together. Delicious.
Yeah, it's sour, but it's not instantly confronting. The deeper layers of oak and lighted roasted characters complement the sharp cut of acidity. By the time I've noticed quite how sour it is, the acid has tapered off slightly to a brusque but refreshingly dry finish. Still redolent of cherries with some other light fruit sweetness making a late but timid appearance. Mouthfeel is crisp and puckering, with a sparkling effervescence.
This is certainly one of the most acidic beers I've had, not as much as a Cantillon 100% Lambic, but close. That is exactly what they're going for, and I have to respect it. The fact that it has layers of complexity to compensate for the one most dominant is admirable, and I have to say I enjoyed the beer a great deal overall.
71 / 100
Pours a pale, cloudy but thin looking champagne yellow, with a small but frothy head of white bubbles fed by lots of fine carbonation. Lacing is sudsy. Overall, a pretty good look for a wit.
Nice aromatic characters on the nose. Nice Belgian yeast notes, fragrant spice and sweet citrus, not overly powerful, but very true to style. Clean and refreshing.
Light slightly citric entry, with a diminishing palate of dry yeast. Some light bitterness from the coriander on the back palate cleans it out, leaving me ready for my next sip. Mouthfeel is cleanly carbonated, enough to give a lilting zing to the palate, not overdone, which would make it either too bloating, or too fizzy.
A very decent witbier. Very clean and extremely drinkable. It doesn't pack a punch as much as the best Belgians (or the better Americans), but it's a very decent drop.
60 / 100
Pours a clear red-brown hue, with a small head of browning-white bubbles. Lots of spirited carbonation running up the edges of the glass, leaving a lot of audible crackling. Head dissipates after a while. Not bad.
Fair bit of funk on the nose. Some barnyard, oxidation, sweat and seltzer acidity, with sweet notes of cherry juice seeping through. Certainly pretty funky, which is what you expect from the style, and the kriek aroma provides some grounding. Nice.
Some acidity on the palate, with an initial sharp note that rapidly drops to a duskier copper bitterness. Tastes extremely oxidised, and quite full of funk. The cherry aromas on the nose are absent here, which is a surprise, and quite a disappointment. The major component is the copper character, which rather unpleasantly reminds me of blood. Mouthfeel is lightly effervescent.
This is an odd brew. It has the funk, but not the acidity of a Wild, and the cherry juice is really only hinted at. It's not undrinkable, but it is unusual, and I had some difficulty getting my head around it.
74 / 100
Pours a very deep reddish black, with lots of fine-bubbled carbonation. Creamy head of quite light beige foam leaves some excellent lacing. The carbonation is perhaps a bit worrying, but overall it looks pretty good.
Sweet mocha chocolate notes on the nose. Quite a dry and dusty character to it, with a hint of turned earth and spices. It's quite a mellow nose for a dark ale, certainly not burnt, coffee-like, or even very roasted at all. Still, I like it a fair bit. Very pleasant characters on the nose.
Also slightly subdued on the palate. A very pleasant hazelnut flavour is perhaps predominant. Very sweet, and extremely nutty, there's no hint of burnt or astringent characters. Creamy smooth in the mouth, very good indeed.
What a delicious beer; sweet, but not overdone, just like the Belgians do it. Lacks a bit of the true Belgian yeast character which would add some depth to the beer. But this is a super-drinkable brew, quite delicious - thanks to my tall Texan friend for recommending this one.
Pours a clear brown-amber colour with a pretty decent head of off white bubbles. Minimal carbonation, but excellent lacing.
Quite roasted aromas on the nose, hints of sourness, leather, a bit of copper. Certainly not a lot of hop freshness - this is just a decent malty beer.
Taste is also quite roasted, with rich malt characters, a little butter and biscuit. A little sourness again, and a vague hint of copper. That being said, it's rather flat, until the very end when there's a vague hop-pellet aftertaste. It's not the greatest note to finish on, but it's something different at least. Mouthfeel is quite nice, but a bit thin.
It's a drinkable enough beer. It's quite pleasant, it doesn't have any really noticeable flaws. But it doesn't excite me at all. And in the end I found that a bit disappointing.