77 / 100
12oz can purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pretty pale straw colour, hazy in the glass, but perhaps with just a suggestion of a ruby heart in the deeper parts of the glass. Head froths white initially, but settles out to a minimal, fine ring that leaves little lace. Carbonation is fine and rapid. Looks decent.
It's hard to deny that the first whiff of the aroma smells like Fanta. Once you get beyond this, there is a slight twinge more sophistication. A little earthy tone, perhaps some salinity, and even a slight yeast pong. Even the orange note feels a little sharper and more natural, which helps. It's quite pleasant.
Taste initially has a strong tart citrus note; orange pith and underripe juice. This is cut by the true tartness giving a faint lacto bite, mingled with a mineral character that suggests salt, but isn't quite salt in itself. Aftertaste continues the mineral note with a hint of chlorine. It's well-integrated though, and the flavours seem to complement and balance each other nicely. It makes for a good palate.
Feel is very clean and crisp, which again emphasises the drinkability.
Overall, it's a smashable beer with a definite skew to the unusual. But it also makes us wonder why it does feel unusual: it's a refreshing, tasty and very drinkable brew that would really work well as a summer drinking brew. Expect to see more Goses making the leap to the mainstream, if this is any guide.
84 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant deep brown, with a slightly filmy, but relatively persistent head of pale beige. Lacine is great, forming intricate streaks and swirls. Body is a little light, but otherwise it looks pretty good.
Nose is very pleasant. Spicy and sweet, like a dark gingerbread cake, laced with heady spices that give it a more rustic or amorous quality. Slight acidity comes through as well—it's not actually tart, but it gives it a wild quality like a shuttered barnyard filled with warm flatulence. Barrel character is also noticeable, giving it a deeper, boozier and more seductive note. There's a stack going on here, and I really like it, flatulence notwithstanding.
Ooh, the taste is really good here. It shrugs off any semblance of thinness or true acidity, and becomes a rich and comforting dark spiced mess. Rich gingerbread or fruit loaf notes give it a sweet-spicy basis, while the barrel softens it and helps integrates the flavours. Vanilla and ginger linger long into the back, with enough sweetness and basis to perpetuate it.
Feel is smooth but leavened, preventing it from getting oppressive. It's very nice.
Wow, this is genuinely really cracking stuff. I'm not sure I've had such a balanced spectrum of spices, coupled with such a rich beer, eminently deserving of it. This is genuinely cracking stuff. Smooth, interesting and ultimately very drinkable. All the characters are so well balanced that the whole seems so purposefully constructed. I'm very impressed.
60 / 100
On tap at Bitter Phew.
Pours a burnished amber-gold colour, clear with slight cloud. Steady trickle up to pillowy head, nice sinkage. Actually head looks cracking, rest looks OK.
Smells malty. Barley sugar is huge, just mega swetness on that. Butterscotch as well maybe simcoe? Some hops but all integrated into swet muddiness. Citric mostly. OK.
Tastes malty, sweet. Barley sugar is huge on that, just tastes like simple sugars, then some decently tangy hops. Some citrus mostly, touch of passionfruit but mostly resinous. Finish tastes boozey, sweet. Caramel and barley sugar. Not a huge fan.
Big body; hops really don't cut through until the end. This is a good thing.
Yeah more in my wheelhouse of DIPAs. But still remains so resinous, acidic, citric. Would like something to rein it in, it just feels so sharp and almost painful to me.
57 / 100
Any beer with "Bourbon Barrel Stout" on the label is going to pique my interest. Then, I was surprised to see that this is a relatively low-ABV version, and I was interested to see where this went: in the past my experience with bourbon stouts has almost certainly been limited to Imperial version. 22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a dark, murky black, browning at the edges. Head forms a very fine, silky ring after settling out quickly. Some very fine but quite minimal lacing around the edges of the glass. Carbonation is fine enough, but it moves through the body quickly. Overall, it looks decent enough.
Nose certainly picks up some bourbon: and oddly, more bourbon than oak, with a definite corn character coming through, and a spicy booze note, without a lot of smooth oaky characters. Certainly there's no oaky vanilla, coconut or rounded wood notes. What's there is that sweet corn character, laced with some darkness that comes through as a compacted vegemite character above some slightly overdone toast. Together, it's almost reminiscent of an acidity. It's weird, and I can't say I love it all that much.
Taste is also not all that great, but for quite different reasons. Here the lack of body is sorely evident, and it's what's missing the most from the beer. Thin entry, backed with lashings of sickly bourbon characters that drop out quickly. What's left is a bready, grainy character that lingers long efter everyone else has disappeared trying to avoid it. Finish has a slight kick of sweetness, again possibly the bourbon: but this has an almost butterscotch cloy to it. Feel is very light, but with enough stickiness to keep some of those flavours around for too long.
Nope, this doesn't work for me. In fact, this beer probably explains why my experience with bourbon barrel stouts has to date been only Imperial versions. The bourbon doesn't do anything for this beer, and in fact probably harms it. It takes over the stout, without providing much good characters itself. The flavours are assertive, but they just don't work for me.
Pours a burnished copper colour, quite a red tinge to it. Head is really quite beautiful - yellowed off-white, dense foam with sticky, sticky lace. Looks a treat.
Smells very nutty. Plenty of chestnut aroma, with sweet corn. Caramel & toffee backbone with some earthy notes underneath and maybe a hint of citrus hiding behind it. Quite pleasant, but overall too sweet for my liking.
Taste is also quite on the sweet side. Plenty of caramelised grain with toffee and a hint of chestnut. Nutty notes are more prominent on the mid with a touch of refined sugar. Back is all adjunct, with cornbread and a touch of citrus that doesn't cut the sweetness enough. Not bad; as a base flavour here it has the flavour that bad adjunct lagers probably aspire to. Trouble is it doesn't take this anywhere, and as a result it's a bit sickly, almost mediciney, and not very refreshing.
A bit sticky on the mouthfeel, not in a good way. Kind of feels claggy in the mouth and needs something sharp to cut through - hops or fizz, I'd take either one here.
Good cream ale, but as far as 'Summer' beers go I've had far more refreshing and enjoyable.
Pours a coppery orange amber colour, with a very good head of pale, off-white bubbles. Lacing is also good, forming in patchy circles. Clarity of the body is excellentâall up, in fact, it's an excellent looking beer.
Nose is slightly sharp and metallic, with an underlying cloying fruit sweetness, a little like green bananas. Hint of acidity to it as well, giving a whiff of slightly rank stomach acid. Ew. Is there something wrong with this bottle?
Taste is similar. Slightly rank unripe banana character with a mealy cereal mid-palate and a lingering melange of copper and sugar. Feel is grainy but persistent, with that sugar coating on the back sticking around for way too long.
Wow. I'm really suitably unimpressed with this. It's cloying, sugary and altogether rather unpleasant. Given how widespread this is, I was expecting something at least mild and inoffensive, but this genuinely not something I want to drink often, if at all.
60 / 100
Pours a dark, dark brown colour with a murky red tinge to it. Head is lacklustre, just a small film of dense bubbles. Luckily the lace it leaves is appealingly viscous, nice beige foam. Yeah, not bad.
Smell is very grainy. Lots of cereal aroma with puffed rice and corn providing sweet notes, but just a touch of light roast to it all. A hint of vanilla, milk chocolate and light cinnamon. Yeah, pretty sweet and ultimately just grainy. Pleasant, but underplayed and under-roasted.
Taste is fairly mild. Again with lots of grainy notes and quite sweet, but with a touch of dark roastiness providing some raw cocoa flavour blended with some rice notes, a touch of wholemeal bread and maybe some vanilla on the back? Finish is a bit lacking - has slight toasty bitterness that is quite prolonged but it's all very subdued. Nothing unpleasant here but I could just use more, it just tastes a bit watery overall.
Quite a lot of sizzle on the mouth and dry on the back. Bit thin overall so none of the dryness and sizzle is supported well. Not a big fan of this texture.
Yeah, mild and enjoyable enough stout. I've had more interesting oatmeal stouts though.
71 / 100
Pours a clear but very dark black-red, almost flashing with ruby, but almost too dark to see it. Head is a firm but filmy beige, getting towards crusty chocolate. Minimal lacing. Body is solid but a little light. It's alright, but I've seen better looking stouts.
Roasted notes with a hint of toasted oak, and a slight vinous acidity on the nose. Some deeper chocolatey notes come through, giving a good deep full character. Still, it's only subtle, and quite light.
Taste is where this beer comes into its element, with a big roasty character smoothed with a big dollop of vanilla, smooth cocoa and crushed grain sweetness. Still, very light, but it's also extremely approachable, and the smoothness makes you want to drink more and more of it. Mouthfeel is clear and smooth.
It's an extremely sessionable stout, which is a property that's often overlooked in the style. It has character to keep it interesting. It might be a little gentle and thin, genre-wise, but it's a more drinkable beer for it.
78 / 100
Pours a clear golden colour, very slow, small bead. Head is very bubbly, like an Aero® bar, but retaining very well. Lace is a bit small but it's there in specks. Looks pretty interesting and good.
Smell is very malty, with nice caramel coming off it and some tang from subtle hops. Quite floral in character with a slight nectar edge to them. Hint of nuts as well and maybe some slight bready notes on the back as well. Appealing and sweet.
Taste is also quite malty, very sweet on the front, with caramel and vanilla, a slight crème Anglaise note, then gets a slight citric twang and hints of crispa apple and pear. Slight bready note on the mid, kind of crouton-esque though rather than that yeasty fresh bread flavour. Finish is fairly earthy with a piney hop character, also a lot of that fresh lemon and slight banana note as well, although malt still remains 'til the end, giving a slight overcooked toffee note to the finish. Pretty damn pleasant overall though, nice and sweet and warming.
Mouthfeel is syrupy and full but with a nice bubbly texture as it goes down.
A sweet sensation that would probably kill you the next morning, kind of like having a one-night stand with your high-school crush. Sweet, sexy but ultimately dangerous.
76 / 100
A clear, but very heavy pale amber colour, with the head forming in a reverse cascade when poured. Head is foamy and large-bubbled, but retains well with lacing leaving globs of big-bubbled patterning down the inside of the glass. Looks pretty decent.
Truly pleasant American hop characters on the nose -- big citrus zing, with a bit of green freshness and a slight carbonic acidity. Hint of malty sweetness to it as well, but it's covered pretty well on the nose. Nice.
Taste is oddly dichotomous, with buttery-sweet malt characters lampooned by the sharp and redolent hop character cutting through the middle. Feel is surprisingly light for the look, and the abv, although it really aids the drinkability. Leaves it surprisingly approachable.
Quite a clean beer this one, pleasantly realised, and quite well-balanced. It's not the most exultant, or the most aggressive IPA I've had -- indeed, I think calling it an Imperial may even be a stretch -- but it's a very, very decent beer, and one that's extremely drinkable.