|Highest Rated||Saison Sauvin (95 / 100)
||Average score||74 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||The Sultan (51 / 100)
86 / 100
440ml can purchased for me by Sam as part of his 2018 advent calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a very deep black, with a huge, frothy head of honeycomb golden brown. Lacing is superb, forming lovely complex rings as it goes down. Body is thick, and hold fine carbonation that that flits into the head. It almost looks like a nitro beer, but I suspect it just big-bodied. Looks great.
Nose is very good. It has a really pronounced sweet coffee character, which I'll admit forms the bulk of it. But it's well supported by a pleasant deep malt notes, and aromatic characters of cola and chopped dark chocolate. It has a huskiness to it as well, which give off characters of dried grass, rattan and fresh ground white pepper. It's very good.
Taste is also very good, with a strong coffee character over the top, but loads of smoothness and sweetness to support it. It has a very dessert-like richness, like tiramisu or affogato. It has undertones of cherries and choc-dipped raspberries. Very smooth finish. It has the silkiness of melted high-fat vanilla ice-cream, with loads of punchy coffee to keep it lively. This is an impressive beer.
Feel is excellent. Super smooth and slick. It's one of the most impressive parts of the beer.
Overall, hell yes. This is a lovely beer. It's super smooth, super complex and with a balance of characters that doesn't make it feel like a mess, or overwhelm the palate. There's some serious thought been put into this beer, and it's put together brilliantly.
79 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez for Christmas 2017; cracked it open at the stroke of midnight on NYE and spent the first hour of 2018 savouring it.
Pours a dark dark brown; pretty lacking in colour. Which is a good thing. Head is beige, too voluminous but a lovely density and texture, with some astounding lacing left behind. Looks cracking.
Smells quite lovely too. Big and chocolatey, dry yet sweet with a touch of roast and a big overwash of red wine. Actually gives it a slightly odd fruity character which may not belong; the base stout is obviously amazing; the oaky vinous notes add something, but I'm not wholly convinced it's a net gain.
Taste is very nice and toasty, and yeah the oak adds something, the main thing being it makes the palate linger a hell of a long time. Starts off quite roasty, but develops this rich cocoa-y chocolate midway, with some toasted marshmallow, coconut and musky characters before the finish has this weird long roasty bitterness just prolonged by the oaky vinous characters, which don't add that much character but they really draw it out with woody, sweet and nutty flavours. It's got a weird fruity chocolate flavour overall; somewhat odd but wonderfully idiosyncratic and just well-crafted.
Mouthfeel is soft, for the front, but a bit boozey on the back. Not ideal but pleasant in the drinking.
Drinks odd; lots of lovely flavours and complexity that I love, but it's also very challenging, so it feels like a bit of a reticent thumbs up from me overall.
74 / 100
Tried on tap (sample-size) at GABS 2017 in Melbourne.
Pours a dark-brown colour, clear body with lovely dense, beige head retaining a nice crown. Great retention and lace. Looks great.
Smells a bit savoury, kind of corporeal from whatever souring bugs they've used here. Some citrus and green apple notes as well. By and large it's pleasant.
Tastes good. Nice caramel tinge to the malt, develops some nice sour characters midway that mingle and play off the hops really well. Big green apple character with some sharp grapefruit bitterness and acidity. No oak (that was promised) but a good wild barnyardy and citric interplay. Nice beer.
Decent texture, bit of carbonation sizzle to it.
Nice drop. Sourness that's offset by hop bitterness.
61 / 100
NZ sour IPA. Tried in a taster at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a deep brown colour, with some hazing. Body has some weight behind it and holds fine carbonation. Head is beige and firm in consistency, with thin rings of lace. Looks good.
Nose is sour, more just sour than a combination of the acidity and the hops. However, as it warms, the acidity turns to a kind of lemon drop aroma, and the hops gain a kind of herbal edge. It is a little dull though.
Taste is thin on the front, with a reedy, metallic character that developes into sharp acid through the centre. Back trends towards aluminium foil, while the finish is cleaned up by some latent hops, but leaves an after taste of aspirin.
Feel is very thin and sharp.
It's okay. But it's lighter than you might think, and the characters don't necessarily blend all that well. It's a bit of a miss for me.
74 / 100
Dry-hopped Belgian style ale with Brettanomyces. Oh boy. Bottle given to me by Jez, tried by myself in front of my computer, typing notes into this form.
Pours a deep orange-amber colour, with lovely generous head that sinks unevenly leaving a beautiful marshmallowy pillow at the top. Nice trails of lace around the glass but maybe a bit thin. Just specks after a while. Still, looks great.
Smells Bretty. Nice and tart, with a good funk to it, slightly spicy and earthy as well. Touch of berry to the tartness, and behind it all is this nice rich sweet malt character, cake batter with some nice pearl barley and some earthy rye spice. Smells amazing, just a gorgeous equilibrium between tart, funky, sweet and rich. Could maybe be a touch more tart but otherwise sublime.
Taste is a bit unexpected, quite radically different in fact from what I expected, but while it's different it's certainly not bad. There's a big, ballsy rich malt note throughout all of this, quite spicy with rye notes and a good burnt caramel toffee character especially towards the back. Brett doesn't really tart it up, it comes through somewhat fresh late-mid but then just adds to that earthy richness towards the finish, giving an organic barnyard type character and a touch of grapefruit tangy bitterness. Feels a little bit empty on the mid-palate where I expected the sourness to come through, and it leaves a little astringent hang which is not ideal, but otherwise there's plenty to enjoy here.
Mouthfeel is a little puckering, really dry from start to finish bu has a good padding on the back so it's not harsh. Like a good champagne really.
Drinks well, fairly tart but there's a good balance to it. The hang is a little unfortunate, which could have been avoided perhaps if the overall flavour had more tartness, it would at least make you want to compulsively drink more.
78 / 100
500ml brown bottle, tapered like a gueuze bottle. Purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. This is a collab with Modern Times, brewed at 8 Wired.
Pours a very bright, very pale yellow colour with decent clarity but a slight gauzy haze. Head is superb—pure, bright white and coarse-bubbled, it forms a chunky crest that leaves superb lace. Carbonation is swift and refined. Looks very good.
Nose is quite pleasant, and refreshingly subdued. There's a coherence to it though, providing a slight grain note, melded with some pleasant, mildly funky yeast characters, which give it a warmth and fug. It has those classic Belgian yeast notes that turn it slightly savoury‚ but they're teased with a brightness—perhaps a judicious application of hops—and these make it seem very balanced and fresh. Very nice.
Taste very much follows the same pattern. It's clean and bright and very drinkable, but without a lot of specific characters you can hang on to. There's a very slight soda-like tartness which gives it a bite like seltzer; there's just enough pale malt to support it without making it feel sharp and empty; there's a fragrance that elevates it. All up it comes across as very nicely thought out, very tightly controlled, and very well integrated.
Feel is great: clean and smooth, but with a lively spritz.
Overall, this is a really subtle, but very engaging and well-made beer. It's the sort of beer that you don't notice until long after drinking it, when you're looking for its equivalent and you can't find it. It's the sort of beer which should be a staple—if that happens, this beer would form a beautiful exemplar.
80 / 100
A 'soured' IPA brewed for GABS 2016. Tried there in Melbourne on tap.
Pours a champagne colour, clear with foamy white head. Retains a nice thick crown. Generally looks impressively pale and in line with the sort of style I expect. Nice.
Smells largely of NZ hops, with a big passionfruit character. Some cereal grains leaking through which don't need to. Touch of barnyard and slightly damp lucerne as well from the funky yeasts being used. Not bad at all but could use more cohesion.
Taste is all NZ hops upfront but it grows and grows into a beautifully palatable melange of complex flavours. Passionfruit and tropical notes, then sour citrus with strong lemon and lime that keeps building. Some vinous notes on the back, slightly sour and then crisply clipped off in the end. Really impressively clean after that huge burst of different flavours. Beautifully handled.
Body is insubstantial, as it should be. Nothing exciting texturally, but it suits the flavour.
An amazing drop. Not a whole lot of IPA character sticks around but there's a beautiful tart cleanliness to it. It's really just a testament to Søren's brewing talent, as this is a showcase of a really mature brewer showing an in-depth understanding of all the different processes that go into making a beer.
This beer ended up my number 3 beer of the festival.
74 / 100
Flanders Red Ale aged in red wine barrels - 2013 edition. Bottle given to me by Jez, enjoyed solo.
Pours a deep red colour, clear and vibrant with off-white head; fairly decent when poured but settles to a thin crown with nice lacing left behind. Would have liked more retention, but it's nice.
Smells lovely. Vinous, searingly sour with raspberry and sour cherry notes. Vanillin oak character as well with a slight bent of wild yeast that gives a hint of blue cheese. Lovely combo. Fruit, sour, wild.
Taste is fruity, somewhat bitter upfront with a slight sharp sour edge and some murky earthy funk. Gets a nice vanillin oak note late-mid, with a touch of sour cherry on the back, but mostly just a nice sweet oak note. Lots of nice flavours but not a huge complexity; it just sort of drifts in with various flavours and they drift out again. Works well together but it still feels like a young ageing process. It's a tasty beer but with some ongoing cultivation of this barrel system it would be magnificent.
Smooth, for the style. Nice body up to midway then a slight hint of twang on the back. Pretty great actually.
Not bad at all, but hints at magnificence and falls kinda disappointingly short.
69 / 100
They describe this 'best' as a 'Flanders Black Ale' which doesn't exist, so I guess it goes under Oud Bruin best. Or maybe Flanders Red, but I've made my choice. Bottle given to me by Jez; shared with Andrew.
Dark brown with beige head, creamy texture with some sticky lace behind. Lovely density, would love more of it. Looks great though.
Smells very tart. Big balsamic tartness with touch of strawberry, cherry and wild, untamed barnyard as well. Fresh hay lingering at the back. Smells fecund. Just full of life potential ready to burst forth and disseminate its goodness everywhere and impregnate the universe.
Taste is a touch strawberry-balsamic. Sweet fruit with a touch of tartness upfront. Bit of cherry, then gets quite a bitter organic note mid-to-late. Quite earthy, somewhat astringent. Touch of acid on the back, kind of balsamic as well in the sense of being a touch astringent. Yeah the hang is a bit unfortunate, kind of off and bitter. Quite nice flavours but just leans too heavily into spontaneous organics, unfortunately, without freshening up in the back.
Bit of pull but fairly foamy and good body.
I like it, but I could have loved it. Just don't think the wild yeasts and bugs have been fully reined in so they've just overtaken the remainder of the palate, and turned it a bit off.
82 / 100
Bottle gifted me by Jez; shared with people on NYE.
Pours a burnished red colour, somewhat cloudy. Head is beige, nice density but not a huge volume. Decent lacing. Could use more head but otherwise looks great.
Smells fruity and tart. NZ tangy tropical hops abound but matched beautifully with a vinegary tartness: a touch vinous and citric with passion and pineapple. Bit underplayed, but a great combo, beautifully realised.
Taste is sour upfront. Tart, vinegary note that gets more funk and barnyard towards the middle. Bit of lucerne and slight umami towards the back, then nicely cleaned up by tangy tropical hops. Passion, lychee, and some lemon. Not entirely clean so there's a mild off funkiness late but otherwise a lovely palate construction.
Nice body, smooth through the middle. Touch of pull on the back. Lovely.
Great combo and back to classic 8 wired after a couple of mid-range efforts at least in my recent memory. A lovely twist on an already great beer.
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Looks like you'd expect: like the Tall Poppy. Red and very clear, with a firm, but bubbly head of white that leaves specks of lace. Very fine carbonation, especially when tilted, when the bubbles become powdery. Looks good.
Nose is really pleasant indeed, but mostly because of the hopping, which gives it lovely bright citrus notes mingled with a bit of malt. Under it though is the suggestion of acidity which is definitely going to come through more. I get a little vinous tone, or maybe some underripe oranges. Interesting.
Taste is very weird though, in a way that actually finally makes the beer a bit of a questionable endeavour. Initial acidity melds with some lingering hop character to emphasise that tart orange juice character. Back is dry and semi-bitter, with some spicy overtones of fennel seed. I find it more palatable if I slam it back, but if I let it linger, there's a weird confluence of characters that I honestly don't much like.
Feel is thin and clean. Decent enough.
Overall though, I think this is a weird misstep. Maybe I'm just seeing too much Tall Poppy in it, which is genuinely one of my favourite beers from 8 Wired. As a result, it feels like a perversion of something dear to me, rather than something on its own terms.
500ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. Amazingly, aside from GABS, this is the first new 8 Wired beer I've sampled in 2 years. It's overdue.
Pours a nice, deep black-brown colour, with an initially coarse and rocky head of pale mocha, turning into a lighter filmy ring. Lacing forms in pleasant long streaks. Body is pretty light, and the carbonation flows through it very rapidly.
Nose is nice. Good smooth milky stout characters with some chocolate and cream notes to it. Coffee is the main additional flavour of course, giving a roasted character that integrates with the sweetness, just like a nice blend of espresso and lightly frothed milk. Perfectly pleasant.
Taste is also pretty good. There's a very moderated roast to it, that gives it the suggestion of strong coffee, but it's always pulled back rather pleasantly by the mild creaminess in the flavour. This sadly doesn't translate much into the feel, which is a little light and spritzy for this type of beer. Finish, however, it pleasantly tight and toasted, with a dryness from the coffee that leaves it pretty clean.
Overall, yeah, it's a nice drop from 8 Wired, and a pleasant return to new beers from them for me. I've liked some of their others a good deal more, but this is another solid entry from a brewery that rarely does anything wrong.
79 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a very, very pale yellow with solid hazing and a very light body. Head is white and only really forms a thin ring that leaves minimally persistent lace. Looks suitable for the style at least.
Nose is slightly sulphury and a little farty to begin with, but once this clears off, there's some pleasant lemon notes if no genuine suggestion of tartness. Clean in the end with some Belgian yeast notes. Quite pleasant.
Palate is better. Here, we get a nice tart but clean bite on the front with the flavour of lemon, turning pithy and smooth by the mid-palate. Back is very clean with a smooth downturn into a fine frothy finish, leaving the aftertaste very clean. It's well-structured and very nice.
Feel is very clean but with enough to support it. I like it.
Yep, this is a really good brew with lots going for it. Oddly enough, I'm not sure I retried this at GABS, but I'm pleased that it's made an appearance in bottles after the fact at least.
70 / 100
Pours a very pale straw colour, hugely cloudy as one would expect. White head, large bubbles, but retaining OK. Not bad.
Smells oaky and fruity. Peach ester with notes of coconut as well as green apple and crisp champagne. Not quite sour enough but loads of awesome.
Slightly tart on the palate. Champagne again with citrus that gets somewhat sour towards the back but finishes crisp. Touch of vinegar that gets slightly ascerbic. Not quite as much character as the nose promised, but nice enough berliner.
Decent body but no real texture to speak of. Not bad.
Very nicely put together Berliner Weiss, fairly to style though and nothing that really captures my attention.
71 / 100
Bottle gifted by Jez, shared with Andrew.
Pours a bright orange colour, slight haze. Head is off-white, a bit whispy and sparse. Slight cloud on the top, bit of lace around. Not bad.
Smells Bretty and oaky. Fair acid to it with pear notes, and decent vinous oak. Bit subdued, but very very nice for what's there.
Taste is even more subdued. Fair saison character to it, with some buttery chardonnay oak on the back. Some brett, some citrus, but yeah it just feels empty like there are big holes in the palate that are just missing. There's no reason at 7% it should be so empty. Nice flavours but I need more.
A bit of carb, slight pullback from the brett. Nice texture.
Drinkable, enjoyable. But makes me wonder what else could/should have been there.
Pours a brown colour with slight red tinge. Beige foamy head. Sizeable bubbles but retains thick and chunky. Looks good.
Smells hoppy. Touch of chocolate malt but mostly NZ hop character, with some lemon dish detergent and passionfruit. Pleasant.
Taste is lacking in roast. Some caramel malt character with a touch of cinnamon on the front, but then mid-to-back is all hops. New Zealand mostly, with lots of pine, passionfruit and other fresh, tropical flavours. Nice hop character makes it a pleasant drop but would like more roast in my black IPA.
Touch of alcohol on there is inevitable, but body is pretty nice so it's all padded pretty well.
Bit of a booze note, and overall more IPA than black. I like it, though.
76 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. <gulp!> they mention 2012 on the label, which I didn't notice until now—this may well be past its prime (unless they just didn't change their labels this year).
Pours a slightly haze, pale orange colour, with a very fine and pretty persistent head of almost-white. Lace forms in decent streaks with some patches. Body looks fluid, but solid, and holds very fine carbonation in streams. Looks good.
Nose: aw, hell yes and then some. I was afraid this would have lost something, but if it has, this must be absolutely mind-blowing fresh (I can believe that). Big sharp fruity citrus characters, mandarin, lemon, crisp greener characters like lime leaf. Everything is bright and crisp. There's a very neutral base underneath which is everything it needs and nothing it doesn't: it allows the hops to be in the limelight. Gorgeous.
Taste is solid, but not nearly reaching the peaks of the nose. Clean entry with a smooth, slightly silky malt character providing enough of a basis, before a pronounced but also relatively neutral hop bitterness slides through the centre of the palate. It brings some pine and a little pithy orange, and is pretty clean all up. Feel is very nice: smooth and clean, but providing that basis for the hops.
Overall, cracking stuff. If this really is the best part of a couple of years old, then I'm in awe of someone, or perhaps everyone in the supply chain. This would still be a great IPA if someone told me it was brewed yesterday: the hop aromas are blissful. For the next vintage, I'll make sure I get it as fresh as possible.
74 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Beer Cartel in Sydney. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a deep and heavy, but surprisingly clear brown-black, with a genuine clear red tinge at the edges. Head only forms as a bubbly mass in parts, deep orange-tinged chocolate. Minimal lace. Body is surprisingly fluid—I'm guessing even to get it to 16% ABV there's a fair amount of sugar added, which may explain this. Overall, it's decent, but by no means spectacular.
Nose is deep and pleasantly vinous, with a definite wine and oak character coming through. The roast is muted somewhat, but the aged character fills in for it: providing a solid earthy tone above a very strong, heady booze note. There's a suggestion of sweetness creeping in: otherwise it would really be very similar to a deep red wine character. It's good though.
Taste is also good: here there's a more pronounced sweetness, giving notes of coconut ice and copha, which offset the booziness and the intensity of the pinot noir. There's still a lot of oak, especially on the back, where there are woody notes right into the aftertaste. And as always, the wine is sticking around the edges, giving a dryness and a slight astringency. It's quite pleasant.
Feel follows this line: with the wine and the booze providing and drying astringency throughout above a solid malt basis.
Yeah, this is a good beer. The wine and oak certainly take over in general, but there's a well structured beer underneath. For 16% it's surprisingly supple—especially for a sugar-fed brew, which I assume this must be. Overall, I'm pretty impressed: it's an exceptionally rare beer of this strength that justifies why it should be this strong, and this does a pretty good job of that.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Beer Cartel in Sydney. Shared with my good mate @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a very clear, but very deep red colour, perhaps like a heavily oxidised rosé, or an extremely light pinot noir. Head is a very fine ochre colour, witting flat and smooth across the glass. Lacing forms in specks and hebrew characters. Body is exceptionally thick, and hold plenty of powdery carbonation. Looks very good.
Nose is... surprisingly dead. Slight oxidised waste water, a bit of flat extract, perhaps a hint of raisins, and certainly booze—but booze in a lackadaisical, uncaring way. It certainly doesn't arrive with purpose. There's a slight fudgey caramel character, but it's disappointing in the extreme. As is the nose in general.
Taste is better, certainly—perhaps because the booze was always going to be prominent and forthright here. And forthright it is: big, slightly crass heat burns through the centre and the back, while the caramel characters do what they can to cushion the blow, giving some breadth the the palate. Otherwise, it's quite sharp—better than the nose, but still hot without purpose.
Feel is ostensibly thick, but with a thin roaring piercing character that bites it all the way back.
Overall? Well, what the hell happened, 8 Wired? In general, Søren and his guys do wonderful, exciting things. But this is hot and messy, thin where it should be rich. It doesn't have much complexity at all, and ends up more akin to a heavy malt liquor than to a big rich, chewy Imperial Anything. Extremely unimpressed.
74 / 100
Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne during Good Beer Week.
Pours a deep brown colour, slightly hazed with a decent heft to the body. Head is a creamy beige, forming a solid film across the top and ringing lacing down the glass. Looks good.
Clean and bright on the nose. Orange zest comes through and a little fresh melon aromas. There's not much roast, but that's fine for me in an IBA—the nose is meant to confound the eyes.
Light clean brown malt on the entry, providing a pleasant basis for what's coming. Orange ramps up a little before some brighter hop characters coming through mid-palate. Clean and crisp, they blend nicely with the malt character. The back is dryer, with a pronounced bitterness, but maintaining that crispness and smoothness in balance.
The feel is just a little bit light, especially for 9.5%, but that does help in some sense, and to be honest, it must be harder to get such a light body in such a big beer.
And that's somewhat of the overarching theme of this beer. It's really surprisingly light and drinkable given its stats. This is at least partially because the flavours are so well melded together, but it's also probably just testament to what a good brewer is at the helm.
79 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour, slight cloud with a bit of bead through the body. Head is over-generous, fluffy and nice texture though. Decent lace.
Tangy and fruity on the nose. Lots of orange peel on there, with a touch of lemon, pine, passion and mild green pepper. Touch of star anise and champagne as well. Nice complexities, nice and pleasant.
Taste is also fairly tangy, a bit more acidic and bitter than expected. Quite a bit of lemon pith and zest on there, touch of orange peel as well. Some peppery spice, floral notes with lavender, frangipani and decent spicy phenols towards the back. Really quite pleasant.
Solid mouthfeel, bit of acerbic puckering bitterness towards the back though.
Really pleasant, great drinking but interesting wheat beer. I'm really a sucker for these sorts of beers at heart, and when Søren's on the case you know it's gonna be good.
79 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a juicy and thick deep orange, turning to amber in the depths, with a frothy, fine and very pronounced head of yellowish off-white. Lacing is spectacular and intricate when it forms, looking like a variety of alien limbs. Body is weighty, and holds powdery carbonation when tilted. All up, it's a damn fine looking beer.
Nose is gorgeously ripe and full, with powerful citrus tones, sweet fruit, peely acidity all sharpened by a green herbal presence which gives characters of basic and pine. Some smooth honeyed malt sweetness provides a counterpoint, and even though it's a lighter-style sweetness it does a good job of holding up its end. But really, this is gorgeous stuff—on the sharper end hop-wise, but the Kiwis do such a good job of that that it's completely understandable.
Taste is also good: big powerful resiny hop characters, solid if muted malt, again with a honey overtone, and a finish of pine and pithy lemon. My only issue is that here the sharpness is dominant, and it seems to push aside some of the more subtle hop flavours: the rounded citrus and those delicate herbal tones are lost amongst the piney bite that roars down the centre of the tongue. It's still a very good DIPA: the aggression is no doubt requisite in the style, but I feel like it could have been a better beer if played with a little more subtlety.
Feel is fluid but chewy and rich. Lovely stuff here, although that hop-bite is almost a feeling in itself.
Don't get me wrong. I love it, despite what I personally might want it to be. 8 Wired do a fantastic line in hopped-to-hell beers, whatever their category, so it shouldn't surprise me that their DIPA is aggressively bitter and brutal. It's completely understandable, forgivable and even perhaps inevitable.
88 / 100
This is my 2000th beer review, and what more deserving brewery is there for it than 8 Wired, who are really turning out some of the best beers in the world.
This one looks the part as it's poured into the glass: a sensuous slick of black-brown, that forms some slightly bubbly, deep brown head. Lacing is minimal, but the weight of the body ensures that there's something sticking to the glass at least. Body is surprisingly fluid, while maintaining its gravitas. Excellent stuff.
Nose is potent: big roasted stout notes, mingled with some softening oak characters, but the main event is the coffee, lending a brusque bittersweet bite that clears the sinuses. It's fragrant and bold, but still welcoming. It lends it fruitiness, oaten biscuits, and almost a vegetative piney character. Wonderful stuff. So powerful and complex, but so inviting.
Taste is also as good as you would expect. The coffee is powerful again here, but the base beer supports it. Firm chocolate, dark cacao, and biscuity, deep stout characters give an already roasty, burnt character, and to layer the coffee on the top just pushes it to excessive intensity. Excessive is too harsh: it's melodramatic and intense, and over-the-top, but that's exactly what it needs.
Feel is fluid and smooth, but with a sparkle or tingle from that coffee. Intense stuff.
Oh yes, wonderful stuff from 8 Wired. This is very intense and very complex, but hangs everything off that potent coffee character. It gives it a centre, a purpose, and allows you to comprehend something solid in the madness surrounding you.
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Given the yeast wasn't a big part of the beer (according to the label), I chose to pour this carefully without any yeast sediment, which gives it a good clarity and a bright pale golden appearance. Head is big and white and frothy, leaving sudsy lace, but collapsing under its own ephemeralness. Carbonation is large-bubbled and very boisterous.
Nose is very bright and hoppy, but in a rounded, blended generic way. There's not the sharpness of individual hops coming through: more, you get a melange of subtle fruits a hint of spice and some floral characters, with everything muted or truncated. There's a thin wheatiness to it as well, something which gives it some mild husky grain overtones. Interesting, but not stellar.
Taste is actually quite disappointing. Thin wheat characters and a husks-and-bottom-of-the-grain-bag earthiness combine with some mild, generic fragrances that hint at the memory of hops. Feel is weak and thin, and this has almost no body to go with it whatsoever. I feel like the wheat malt robs it of richness, and the lack of weizen yeast doesn't give the commensurate spice and complexity to fill the gap.
Wow. This is a deeply disappointing brew from 8 Wired. Indeed, even SÃ¸ren's blurb on the label seems filled with apologia. Sure, it's light and drinkable, but it's so light as to be almost pointless, and pointless beers are far from being this brewery's strong suit.
85 / 100
Pours a reddish brown colour, clear with foamy creamy beige head. Medium retention. Bit thin-looking, but not bad at all.
Smells spicy and roasty, lightish with decent complexity. Lots of coffee and spicy notes and a sweet touch on the back. Nice.
Spice and roast continue on the palate. Lots of coffee notes and a good toasty warm feel. Coffee, spice and malt with star anise, pepper and cinnamon, plus a nice sweet caramel note finishing off. Beautifully constructed palate, really quite lovely.
Mouthfeel is a bit dry from that spice but not too much. Full body, very nice.
Great brown ale. Didn't expect much from this but it's everything you could want from the style. Big, flavoursome, roasty but not too much. Brilliant drop.
79 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse's 8 Wired Makeover.
Pours a dark, dark brown. Pretty much black, with nice darkish beige head, fluffy and dense with stunning lace. Retains amazingly well. Pretty damn close to looking perfect. In fact, it pretty much does.
Plenty of coffee on the nose, roasty and spicy. Hints of pepper and espresso, some dark chocolate, caramel and vanilla. Good, bold and roasty with a decent spice, yet toned and mellow. Very nice stout.
Taste is also spicy and roasty, with lots of sharp coffee notes, hint of burnt character but nothing too astringent. Plenty of spice mid-to-late that never goes overboard, but a bit dry and has a big flavour of coffee mostly. It's very nice coffee but still lacking other darker flavours, could maybe use a bit more Belgian fruit. Plenty of Belgian spice at the back though, so it finishes well. Good palate.
Fairly dry mouthfeel, but great body to it. Yeah, very nice texture.
Great bold stout, loads of flavour but beautifully reined in. We're witnessing a master at work here.
77 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pours a solid enough black, with a foamy, mocha-coloured head, which is pretty persistent. Great honeycomb lacing down the inside of the glass. Lightish body when tilted, but still forming fine carbonation. Looks nice.
Fruity coffee on the nose, giving pleasantly, but lightly roasted characters, and a dark berry hint. Slightly green, clipped vegetation quality as well, suggesting gum or resin. It's really very pleasant. Light, but intriguing.
Taste is also good, with blends of fruity coffee beans, clipped grass, and a hint of resin. Clear hoppy bitterness on the back helps extend the palate, making it fuller than the body or ABV suggests. Roast characters provide the flavour framework, but the hops actually provide the basis.
Really nicely put together beer. Interesting, but coherent, and nicely balanced. It reminds me most of all of Mountain Goat's Seedy Goat Coffee IPA: it has the same fruity characters from the coffee, blended nicely and balanced with hops. Good job.
81 / 100
Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a heavy and extremely dark black-brown, with a crunchy and excitingly rich head of mocha brown. Body is extremely heavy, and forms some tight, dirty brown carbonation when tilted or swirled. Lacing forms in waves when tilted, but the only residual is the legs of the body itself as it's swirled. Looks very impressive.
Nose is extremely interesting. Instead of the big toasted, roasty, bittersweet charred grain characters I was expecting, the first smack is of fresh New Zealand hops, giving a crisp green vegetation and sharp fruit character. Sure, under this is a mellow roastiness that gives it a slightly deeper note, but it's really excitingly hoppy, which is a pretty unique experience. If anyone was going to do it, I'd trust it to the New Zealanders though, and 8 Wired in particular.
Taste is extremely smooth and mellow (I love that I've started each paragraph with "extremely"), with a caressing roastiness and a fluid back palate that is so supple that you don't even realise you're drinking anything. The hop character from the nose has disappeared, but surprisingly, the roast doesn't really come up to takes its place in the bitterness stakes. Instead, it's an exceptionally drinkable 10% ABV mellow smooth-bomb.
Another great brew from 8 Wired. I love the amped up hops on the nose, and the exceptionally creamy finish, that make this a dangerously drinkable brew. They continue to impress.
Pours a dark Hellish red, head is off-white-to-beige actually, with nice small bubbles and pleasant trails of lace. Looks pretty nice.
Smell is quite red, with metallic hops dominating. Overripe red apple characters, pear and touch of lemon to it, with cuprous metal and maybe some pineapple. Nothing outstanding though, smells like watered-down Belgian aromas mostly.
Taste is very metallic. Starts quite organic, with some banana notes, copper and rich soil, then develops mild citric notes midway and a touch of malt, maybe sultana-y but back is all metal. Just battery acid and copper on there with some mild sour notes. Really, quite unimpressed with the palate. Bland, mostly, and almost unpleasant.
Not a bad texture, bit thin at times though. Very dry on the back.
Drinking this beer is like kissing a dude with a moustache - you can definitely notice and feel that there's something there, but it's nothing you really want and the overall experience leaves you wanting.
Purchased from Slowbeer, despite Chris saying he was less than impressed with it. Oh well. Let's see how it ends up.
Pours a pretty deep mahogany red-brown colour, flashingly bright in places, which gives it the appearance of a gemstone. Head is very fine and full, a pale beige overtone that seems quite separate to the refined and bright body. Minimal lacing, and quite a light fluid body. Not bad.
Nose is dusty and a little dank, giving hints of oxidised booze, wet cardboard and wine cork. As it warms, it gains a little sweetness, perhaps the dark fruit character of sultanas. All up, it's a miss, feeling lacklustre overall, and really genuinely lacking in the individual characters it should have.
Palate is similar. Again, there's a thinness to it, that suggests an oxidation, or at least would in wineâmore dusty characters and cardboard. Very little body, and a booze that feels rather unrestrained, and unbalanced by sweetness or body in the beer. Finish is dry and tannic, and missing the point.
Wow. This is an astonishing miss by 8 Wired. They brew some of the very best beers in the world, in my opinion, but this is thin, insipid and missing the point of the style. Ends up very disappointing. I was hopeful that Belgium might have found their match in SÃ¸ren, but they can hold their head up and say "leave this to the professionals, son".
74 / 100
Pours a russety-copper colour with off-white head, nice and dense. Feel like the head could be darker. Density is nice, but only thin retention. Lace is lovely, bead is steady. Looks nice.
Wow, didn't expect that. Mango to the max on the nose. So fruity, with dried mango, passionfruit, apricot, orange peel, peach and pear all vying to be fruit supreme. Tangy, but it's really just sweet and fruity. Could use more tartness or funk, but still, points for gathering the complexities they have within what is ultimately just a very light, fruity aroma.
Taste is pretty damn tangy, also with the fruit thing. Lots of mango on the front that magnetises peach, passionfruit and guava towards the culmination. Lots of almost roasty bitterness on the back, might just be the combination of the funk and hops but it just tastes like there's been too high a roast on the malt. Nice balance. Touch of tartness late-mid and finishes more chocolatey than anything but it's a nice weird palate; it reminds me of those dark chocolate blocks where they mix in mango, lime and chilli. Rich, fruity, but still predominantly weird.
Fairly full-bodied, and smooth. Really nice texture actually.
This beer is too weird for me to love. But at the same time I have to admit to having a soft spot for weird things. And did I mention this is weird?
95 / 100
(Best of the Best)
Thanks to @epiclurk for the bottle for my birthday. Shared with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a very dark, almost amber-copper colour, way off for a saison, with a pock-marked head of lazy white foam. Lacing is goodâsolid and consistent, forming in rings as the beer goes down. Body is light, especially for 7% ABV, but that probably goes with the slightly twisted New Zealand style.
Nose is, yeah, wow, getting freaky with shit. Huge Sauvin Kiwi hop character of passionfruit, biting green redolence and vinous acidity. But along with this is a slight bodily organic funk that lends savoury and unsavoury characters in a wonderfully anarchic mish-mash of hedonistic chaos. Oh hell yes you can do this with a saison thankyou.
Taste is... oh god it works, but it's so weird, and it bastardises a style I hold so dear. The saison funk and acidity is present, but it's warped and twisted with the slight acidity from the Nelson Sauvin hops, giving a perverted clinging bite to the basis of pancake sweetness, throwing up weird characters of smoky barbeque sauce, melon, passionfruit soaked in bourbonâit doesn't stop. Every sip gives you something weird and unique; pummeling you with characters that shouldn't exist, and then showing you just how awesomely they work. It's sacrilegious.
Holy shit, what a beer. It does something so wrong that turns out to be so right. It makes me want to cry into my glassâbut whether I'm crying with joy or with sorrow, I can't tell.
93 / 100
Drunk as my official 1000th beer review. Unfortunately enjoyed by myself with just a few sips going to the wife, who didn't much like it.
Pours a very dark brown; the only colour is around the edges of the blackness. Head is ochre, nice and dense but doesn't hang around. Nice trails of lace left behind and a good crown can be formed with a quick swill of the glass. Very good.
Smell is beautiful and stouty. Sweet with plenty of chocolate character, nice savoury wood notes and plenty of spice that adds a slight sour touch. Hints of nutmeg, licorice root and jasmine to it, with floral hops coming through at the back to round it out. It's beautiful.
Taste starts quite sweet, with nice cocoa flavour begetting smooth creamy dark chocolate on the mid that's roasty and spicey in equal measure. Robust, piquant spice with aniseed, black pepper and nutmeg all in a lovely, smooth equilibirium. Reachs a spike of flavour late-mid, with a touch of espresso coffee and smoothing out with some fennel seed action and more dark, roasty chocolate at the back. Mmm.... it's a seamless, hemless palate; wherever you find yourself in it you'll be striking a beautiful note. It's tasty, smooth, complex, yet so drinkable.
Smooth and velvety nearly all the way through. A spike of heat late on the palate, with a bit of the booze showing its face but otherwise beautiful.
Cracking imperial stout, perfect for a Winter evening. Warm, roasty, sassy but smooth, so smooth...
72 / 100
Pours a dark brown, plenty of colour with decent beige head that dissipates after a while. Lace is nice, thin but sticky.
Smells nice; roasty and spicy with a touch of smoke. Lots of aniseed to it with some tobacco, mint and cherry. Nice sweetness underlying an otherwise pleasant, spicy, smokey aroma.
Taste is quite intense at first, massive roasty flavour with espresso bitterness. Lots of dark smokey flavours come through midway with a touch of peat and carob that mellows it out nicely towards the back but doesn't escape the really intense bitterness. Some more smoke would be helpful, to raise the palate to that pleasant complex and contrasting spicy character that was so effective on the nose. This is mostly just strong bitter flavours, roasted and quite burnt.
Nice and full, the body covers the slight carbonated fizz on the feel.
Yeah, decent complexity and nice porter notes, would just like a stronger smoke flavour to create more contrast in the palate. Otherwise very nice.
76 / 100
Pours a murky Hellish red with beautifully dense, but thinnish, beige head. Retains really nicely and leaves some cracking dense lace. Looks yeah, uh... cracking.
Smells quite hoppy, really, but with a good toffee malt base. Plenty of burnt sugar and treacle and a great hop hit cutting through with strong citrus and pine notes and a touch of peppery spice. Slight brandy kick to it as well. Cracking bloody nose.
Taste is pretty nice; not quite up to the standard of the nose. Pleasant, almost grainy - but heavy - malt on the front. A touch of English toffee and brown sugar that then gets slightly citric but without a huge hop hit; touch of pine resin and oak and leaves with a nice fruit rind bitterness. Rounded out with a slight lemongrass and white pepper aftertaste, this is a pleasant beer, absolutely. Not quite cracking, though.
A bit thin at first but gathers viscosity towards the back. Still not enough; feels a bit lacking. Rather than cracking.
Overall it's quite a cracking beer though; complex and full-flavoured with a really nice spicy fruity edge to it. Good job.
Pours a bronzey-amber colour with fairly opaque haze. Head is yellow-tinged beige and retains beautifully, leaving some very pleasant trails of lace. Sunk to a thin crown but all sticky and dense. Looks pretty good.
Smells a bit funny but pleasant. Very intense floral hoppiness with lots of passionfruit and pineapple. Odd saltiness at the back with a touch of pie crust. Yeah, that minerally salt character is distinctly odd, but it's otherwise nice.
Taste is a decent IPA affair. Slightly citric flavour on the front that dissipates into a malty mid with notes of burnt toffee and caramel. Hops come through on the back, but again very minerally with a salty, almost sweaty edge, blending with citrus and capsicum flavours and a mild but noticeable piney bitterness. Quite mellow finish in spite of its IPA leanings, and clean enough. Can't escape the oddness though.
Fair body but well structued. A bit dry on the back, but not puckering. Pretty good texture to it.
Yeah, I'm always in the mood for an IPA, but the overall flavour of this I find a bit unsettling. Almost want it sweeter, or at least more fruity. I applaud the unique take but it just doesn't entirely work for me.
91 / 100
Fortunately, I've tried this twice now. Once, at the hands of the generous Todd from Beermen.tv, and this second time as a gift from @epiclurk, shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable. Fortunately, this is a fresh batch, seemingly much fresher than the examples reviewed in previous reviews.
Pours a pleasant enough slightly hazed orange golden colour, with a fine and reasonably respectable head of white speckled bubbling. Lacing is soft but subtle, leaving a scattergun of specks down the inside of the glass. Looks suitable for the style.
Smell is phenomenal, and almost proves singlehandedly that there should be a style called "New Zealand IPA". Fresh and sharp New Zealand hop varieties, giving big spicy, biting and zingy characters of passionfruit, cut grass and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Capsicum characters and delicious fresh crushed citrus. it so fits the IPA genre, but gives it a life all of its own. It's just gorgeous.
Taste is really deliciously and devilishly balanced. There's a robust hop presence throughout, but it never gets beyond the level of balance, even though the sharp and aromatic NZ hop varieties give a very green and pungent character to the bitterness. Indeed, it spreads throughout the palate very delicately, leaving an imprint of bitterness on the back that just blends perfectly with the malt to leave a slightly nutty finish.
Feel is crisp and light. Maybe lacking a little body, but matching nicely with the sharp nature of the hops.
Wow. What a phenomenal IPA. The fact that the beer I compare it to in my mind is Ballast Point's Sculpin gives you an indication of its quality. But this beer doesn't merely sit in the shadow of one of the greats, it strikes out in a bold new direction, defining something uniquely its own. Just fantastic.
87 / 100
Purchased for me by @epiclurk and cracked open with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Genuinely gorgeous colour, a true deep ruby-hued red, almost like a deeply coloured rosé, with a full if large-bubbled head of beige foam. Some sticky lacing, and a really nice heavy body, which gives it a thickness and some sticky carbonation when swirled. Looks very nice indeed--a great look for a beer.
Nose is very heavily hopped, but with a sly subtlety to it, almost giving a twinge of aniseed and dry undergrowth. In some respects, it smells like a very freshly hopped beer that has got a little old, even though I know this bottle is fresh. Certainly some spicy richer characters; not just the prevalent sharp freshness of clean dry hopping. It's still very nice nonetheless.
Taste is--oh my god--just wonderful. Here, the slightly subdued hoppiness shows it full colours. Here, we have a brilliantly balanced beer. Here, we pull out all the stops to showcase the brilliance of the American Red Ale style (or as they prefer to call it an India Red Ale; an apt title). Lovely malt characters balance with the light fresh bitterness to give a subtle balance and a nutty finish that gives the classic hoppy red ale character. Just lovely.
Feel is just a little too thin--for a red ale, I'd really love some extra thickness, but it still does a good job.
A really, really lovely brew. A brilliant example of the style, and genuinely as good as some of the top American examples I've tried. Delicious.
76 / 100
Cheers for the Xmas present from @laituegonflable.
Pours a deep, black colour, with a filmy head of beige coloured foam. Lacing is firm, but sudsy, loose in placed. Body is very opaque, but the edges are lightened a little, giving some brighter emphasis of garnet brown. The highlights look bright, like a gemstone. Looks very decent.
Nose is very roasty and dark, but only with hints of smoke. But contrary to this being a bad thing, it gives it a big and strong character like an American Impy Stout. Very robust and very tasty, with chocolate sweetness mixing with the bitter roasted character laced with smoke. It's genuinely lovely.
Taste is smoother, but still relies upon its heavy roasted character, and only giving a nod to the smoke. Smooth entry with some sweetness on the fore that gets rushed offstage in favour of the roasted and slightly astringent bitter character. Smoke is always in the wings, mingling with, but not dominating the other characters. Light finish means most of the smoothness drops out, leaving the bitter roasted note.
Feel is a little weak and thin, but this, if nothing else, exemplifies that it's a porter rather than a stout.
A very nice beer, and another good brew from 8 Wired. Very smooth, but with oodles of flavour. Great drop.
Pours a reddish-brown colour with minimal head, off-white-to-beige in colour, but yeah, more of a rim than a head. Lace is gorgeous and sticky, cascading down the glass. Clear body, fairly flat. Doesn't matter though, colour is great and everything else is there for a good brown ale.
Nose is delicious. Sweet but with a really nice roasted edge. A lot of malt, brown sugar with caramel hints to both. Just a slight hint of roasted grain, plus a really nice floral hop character and hint of pineapple at the back. Bit of a diacetyl character but doesn't ruin it. Pleasant.
Taste is malty, pleasant. Lot of toffee on the front with slight sourness like undercooked dough, buttery note and then a nice darker flavour towards the back. Bit of toasty grain and yeah, maybe a merlot vinous edge. Feels a bit thin on the palate, sadly, but is largely sweet and malty, going down nicely. Bit of bitterness on the back, but it could use more. That's the story of this palate really, could use more of everything. A bit weak, but pleasant overall.
Slimy and a bit sticky on the feel, then dry as it goes down. Not bad, okay to suit the flavour.
A bit more flavour would make this beer delicious, but it's quite enjoyable as it is.
Tried on tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse ANZAC Day SepcTapular.
Pours a deeply opaque dark ruddy brown colour with a full head of meniscused beige bubbles. Lacing is excellent, and it looks pleasantly static in the glass. Nice look overall.
Nice chocolate notes on the nose, with a semisweet grain malt character. A little raisin toast as well. Pretty nice overall.
Taste is full of grainy roasted characters, with a slightly sharp bitterness through the centre, which may be nothing more than the latent hop presence. Finish is quite dark and roasted, leaving an ashy astringency on the back of the palate. It feels slightly too dark for a Brown Ale. Nice characters mostly, but the bitterness is too strong. Mouthfeel is smooth.
Not bad all up, a little difficult to stomach a lot of, but it has plenty of character.