|Highest Rated||XeRRex (94 / 100)
||Average score||71 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Red Rackham (36 / 100)
75 / 100
Earl Grey Double IPA, brewed for and tried at GABS 2017.
Pours a very, very pale golden colour, slightly cloudy with foamy white head. Odd but quite good.
Smells citric and tangy. Big orange and yeah, I guess bergamot note, with a good nutty grain character lingering at the back, touch of cake batter and peanuts. Fresh, and nice.
Taste is quite sweet upfront with a big vanilla malt character. Develops a good tea character midway, slightly herbal but with a good citric twang to it as well, definitely black tea notes to it. Develops a nice NZ hop character on the back, quite bitterness but not overblown. Pleasant.
Decent body with some nice warming booze notes to it. Good texture to pad out the strong characters.
That's a good drop. Nice tea, hop interplay, well balanced.
Retried and shortlisted, this ended up my #8 beer of the festival.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour, really only scraping into amber (okay, it's probably there), with solid hazing and a firm body. Head is a nice, persistent crest of cream-tinged off-white, still formed of fairly visible large bubbles. Lacing is good. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is weirdly generic. Sure, there's a slight toasty malt note that suggests the style, but it's only about as prominent as you'd get in a James Squire Nine Tales. Slight hop note weirdly adds to the sweetness, but there's very little hop character standing out on its own.
Taste is similar. It's a fairly solid, if generic malt-driven amber ale, quite thin in the body, but flavoured mostly with the grain additions and little influence from hops apart from just given enough bitterness. It ends up tasting like something brewed in bulk and then split and inflected according to a customer's demands. I'm a little unimpressed.
It's not a bad beer. It's a perfectly drinkable amber ale. But I'm struggling a little to work out what this is doing in the portfolio of the purveyors of Rex Attitude and Gunnamatta. It might well be drinkable, but it's also extremely uninspired and very unimaginative. I guess I'm just more confused than anything.
85 / 100
Smoked IPA with added chilli brewed for GABS 2016. Enticing prospect, especially given my underappreciated love for Morrison's similar beer at GABS 2015. Tried at the festival in Melbourne on tap.
Pours a champagne colour, fairly cloudy, with lovely beige head, thick foam that sticks around beautifully. Looks great.
Smells massively smokey, and meaty, with a touch of heat, like salami. Some complex spice notes in there as well, some tumeric and fennel around the edges and a distinct hot 'n' spicy character emanating off it. Loads of complexity; smells lovely.
Smoke is there on the palate too by the bagful. Starts quite sweet that allows time for the smoke to blossom out although it doesn't explode like it did on the nose. It lingers nicely though, to complement the big spicy heat that comes from the chillis but is not overwhelming. Some salty characters, touch of clove, and some undergrowth towards the back as well. Lovely and fascinating blend of savoury flavours that somehow manages to come together into an amazing beer palate.
Slight warming alcohol but it's just there as a complement to the big malt base. Nice.
Tastes great, and has some notes in there that just subtly elevate the whole lot. Great beer.
Although this beer was initially rated lower than Shenanigans' Sabotage, upon retrying this beer, it ended up becoming my #1 beer of the festival for 2016. Several full glasses of this later, both during the Sunday session in Melbourne and the Saturday night session in Sydney the following week, I've adjusted my original scores up to reflect what an amazingly good beer this is.
57 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne. This was on my very first paddle of the festival.
Pours a deep brown colour that may be clear—we could tell if it wasn't so dark. Body is solid with fine static carbonation forming when the glass is tilted. Head is beige, forming a solid ring and leaving solid sheets of lace. Looks very good.
Nose is immediately caught with vinegar and wood, giving a noticeable balsamic tone to the beer. There's a deep irony vegetative quality as well like crushed silverbeet and a medicinal or inky tone. It's interesting at least, but I don't love it.
Immediately tart on entry, combined with a wood character that's more like sawdust than oak barrel. Astringent and slightly medicinal in the middle, with a persistent bitterness that turns woody and vegetative on the back. Some lingering tannic notes make the finish and aftertaste quite dry.
Feel is tight, tart and slight.
I'm not a big fan overall. The tannins really harsh up the finish, leaving it floundering in the disjoint wash somewhere between a Flanders Red and a smooth Barrel-Aged Porter. I think it's a bit of a mess.
73 / 100
Pours a very dark brown but clear, with nice pale beige head that retains quite well. Looks good.
Smells pretty nice. Lots of red wine-soaked oak, very vinous overtones with a touch of dark fruit and licorice. Slight tartness to it. Pleasant.
Tastes slightly different from what I expected. Loads of oak to it without sweetness - it's all rich, even earthy, red wine - woody and vinous in equal measure. Touch of barnyard from the wild yeasts gives it a big funkadelic hit late. Not bad at all.
Decent body, slight texture but not overdone.
Tart, pleasantly oaky and vinous drop. Don't get a lot of PKB on there; the beer we all knew and loved is no more.
70 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. #2 of 3 in the Spoonbender Series with winemakers Some Young Punks. This is infused with botrytised viognier.
Pours a rather brownish black colour that looks translucent as it pours. Head is a fine, rather deep mocha-brown colour, settling out to a very fine ring after a while. Some very thin lines of lacing form as it's tilted. Body is slick and thick—hardly surprising for the 10% ABV. Looks good.
Nose is rather pleasant. There's a definite darkness to it—a really quite pronounced roasted character. But there is something around the edges that suggests the wine as well—it's a sort of oily sweetness that could just as easily be ascribed to the booze content of the beer, but I choose to believe it's the viognier grapes. It lends some slickness and a strange cutting quality to the base, which is definitely a strong porter all the way. Interesting.
Taste definitely has a vinous quality to it. Through the centre of the palate it's quite slick, but sharp with a slightly acidic overtone. This mingles with the roasted characters to accentuate the darkness of the beer as the mild tartness connects with the roasted bitterness (rather than, as I thought it might, provide a contrasting note). Booze is definitely noticeable on the back palate, and it too accentuates the slightly ashy bitterness, also lending its own evanescent vapour of alcohol. Feel is fairly light, especially towards the middle and the back, as some of the body disappears with the booze and the ascent of the wine characters.
It's a very interesting brew. I think I preferred the Sun Before the Darkness, but this may actually do a better job of subtly insinuating the wine into the beer. Moreover, this is a style where the wine doesn't necessarily fit quite so neatly, so I feel what they've done here is quite an achievement.
76 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. This is a Tripel brewed with candi sugar made from botrytised Viognier from Some Young Punks, in some kind of twisted collaboration.
Pours a deep, heavy and murky off-orange colour, with an extremely thick body. Head has trouble forming at all, mostly, I feel, because the body is too thick that the carbonation just can't be arsed. What does result is a very, very thin, fine ring of white around the edges, that against all odds leaves some streaks of fine lace. Carbonation is very fine and powdery, and almost static when tilted—again, it just can't be fucked moving through the thickness. Looks good.
Nose is immediately hit with a sticky dessert-wine sweetness—they've definitely got the character in here. But it's also laced with a slightly solvent alcohol character that gives it a real kick in the nostrils. Deep sweet tones almost lend a little character of tomato to the mix. As it warms, the booze becomes even more noticeable. It's utterly unique at least, and I'm appreciative of the fact that they definitely have the botrytis character to it.
Taste is, initially, disappointing. It's probably because my mind is expecting some kind of dessert wine sweetness, and this seems a lot more savoury and dry, and balances the botrytis character with a bitterness rather than the expected acidity. But, once you recalibrate there's a lot to enjoy: smooth entry leads to a blossoming of vinous booze towards the mid-palate, backed up finally by a firm malt note. It's grainy to some extent, but also accentuates the savoury character, especially as those odd tomato notes come through on the back along with a vague yeasty flavour. It's extremely complex, no doubt—and it's impressive that so many of the characters get a chance to express themselves.
Feel is slick but thick—despite the obvious weight to it, it manages to stay sleek and drinkable.
Overall, this is impressive stuff. I tried one of the Spoonbender Series beers from YB at GABS in 2014, but either it wasn't this one, or it has developed very well in the time since then—the one I tried certainly didn't leave the impression on me that this one did. This is the sort of beer you should sit down with and experience in its fullness.
Pours a pink-red colour, with pink-tinged head of dense creamy lace. Looks interesting, and pretty great beer-wise even notwithstanding the pink-ness.
Smells quite savoury, with a whiff of phenolic spice. touch of rye bread, cedar wood and a touch of lemon. Odd vegetative notes lingering at the back, I presume that's beetroot but the dominant aroma is just phenolic.
Taste is similar but more vegetative. Grainy malt upfront with oatmeal character and more of that rye bread note, then earthy towards the mid and late with a touch of cedar wood. Finish is phenolic and bitter. Decently constructed but tastes rather like a Belgian pale ale and doesn't really have a lot of the beetroot twist I was expecting.
Mouthfeel is quite thin, with carbonation creeping through. Disappointing.
Yeah, some maybe subtle, unusual notes but I'm not sure I see the point of them. The beetroot really shouts volumes in the colour but it gets drowned in generic Belgian yeast notes on the nose and palate.
57 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2013. This is a "heavily beeted Belgian blond" named in honour of Rowland S Howard.
And heavily-beeted it is: it pours a deep, deep red: artificial red, like overly-strong cordial. Quite clear in the body, but with only a light weight behind it. Head is a deep, foamy pink that leaves a solid ring around the glass, but not much lacing. It certainly looks interesting.
Nose is a bit disappointing: there's not much in the way of beetroot noticeable here, and the Belgian characters are a touch generic underneath. Roundness from the yeast, a very light hint of pepper and some earthiness. It feels a bit thin and reedy overall.
Some light pepper on the front palate, with some spritzy carbonation, before a phenolic bite comes through mid-palate. Earthy, vegetative and a bit raw. Finish is quite light and dry, crisp enough, but also following the pattern of being quite dull. No real flavour in the aftertaste.
Feel is very light.
The colour looks great: otherwise it's pretty generic and dull. It was a disappointing beer from these guys, who tend to know when and how to experiment with success. This was not such a successful experiment.
750ml bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill. Bottle shared with Sam.
Pours a coppery amber colour, not particularly dark, but not particularly light. Clarity is good. Head forms a big frothy cushion at the start, but settles to a solid half centimetre, pocked with large bubbles. Lacing is superb. Carbonation is fine, and the body looks like it has some heft to it, despite flowing quite fluidly. Looks pretty good.
Nose is clear and Belgian, laced with some odd characters that don't do it any favours. There's a noticeable metallic note coming through, along with a definite apple overtone. Some vanilla works its way in as well. Minimal phenolic spicy characters, although there's a slight dirty funk. It's ok, but somewhat skewed in an odd and slightly unpleasant direction.
Taste is a little better: it's smooth and round, and rather light, with some minerally characters providing the counterpoint. Mild caramel, some phenols here (at last), and a pleasantly dry finish. It's smooth and round and yeah pleasant without being very exciting.
Feel is also smooth, perhaps a little bit too heavy, but acceptable.
Overall, it's decent, but I'm really not sold on it overall. This is the second of the Yeasties' Majesty series I've had, and the second that I've been lukewarm about. I'll try another couple to see what happens, but I'm genuinely wondering why a brewery which does such good brews otherwise doesn't excite me with these special releases.
77 / 100
Pours a caramel amber colour, slight cloud. Head is white just a thin film, with some decent lace. Looks a bit heavy, but decent.
Ooh yeah, that's where it's at. From an arm's length, smoke. Smokey smoke. Meaty smoke. Spicy smoke. Beechwood, bacon, a touch of apricot in there for some reason, but yeah, all smoke. Pretty impressive.
Taste is burnt. So smokey that there's a touch of ashtray to it. Smokey bacon, ash, peat, yeah a touch of spice at the back - tobacco, cayenne pepper and sumac. Not a trace of the 10%. Although there are times when it tastes like one's mouth after a night of heavy boozing and chain smoking, it's otherwise dangerously delicious.
Bizarrely enough it actually feels a little thin, and so the big flavour punch is a bit sharp. I think maybe the flavour and the alcohol just slightly outweighs the body.
Very impressive brew. In spite of the flavour punch in the face I could drink it all night.
62 / 100
No spiel on the label of this one, just the familiar Raven motif and both Yeastie Boys and Liberty's logos emblazoned on the front. "3 of 3", and so it shall be for me. 330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Surprisingly, pours quite similarly to the other two in the series: quite light bodied, with a fine, but not particularly frothy head of beige. The lacing is a little bit less intense, and there may be a little extra heft to the body, but not enough to be noticeable. Colour is a deep dark brown: much akin to the Yakima Raven, whereas the Motueka had a hint of ruby red to it. Still, it looks pretty good, I'm just surprised how light and approachable it looks.
Nose is malty and sweet. Holy crap, where are you hops? Seriously, it almost smells like unfermented wort it's so sweet. Biscuits, caramel, perhaps a mild suggestion of roast, but not much, sugar tending towards tar. There's something nostalgic about it for me: I think it might remind me of some of the big Belgians I had early in my beer exploration, ones that seemed super sweet in comparison to Tooheys Extra Dry. But yeah, this is malty, and malty not matched by hops.
Taste is actually quite similar: big malt characters dominate, without the roast you'd get in a big 10% ABV stout, and without the hop bitterness I was expecting here. Instead, it is really still quite sweet, with the only balance being a suggestion of booze on the back: it mingles oddly with the malt to give a vague nutty, almond/marzipan kind of character. Some copper or metallic notes on the finish: this may be the lingering ghosts of the hops that were.
Feel is really quite shockingly light though, it makes it feel like a much lighter, much more approachable strength.
I'm really surprised at this. In many ways. It's much less hoppy than I was expecting, much to its detriment. It's huge, but doesn't feel huge. It's extremely sweet, but missing everything that a big sweet beer needs to balance it.
Whatever happens, this is easily my least favourite of the three. While the Motueka and Yakima Ravens had balance and structure, this seems somewhat overblown—worse yet, it really doesn't seem to fit in the sequence with the other two. Sure, beef it up to almost double the strength, but give us a commensurate bump in the hops as well.
69 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. I was very pleased to find it, as I had a bottle of the Yakima Raven and the nevaRRaven to match it with. This one was marked "1 of 3", so I figured it was the right one to start with.
Pours a deep brown, dark enough, with some reddish tinges when held to the light. Head is massively frothy at the start, settling down to a centimetre or so of fully frothed beige foam. Lacing is pretty persistent. Minimal carbonation is visible. Looks decent enough.
Nose is soft with that pleasant malt/hop balance that a good IBA can engender. However, the fragrance of the hops is actually pretty generic: I would have thought that you could have gotten something quite clear and singing out of the Motueka. Still, there's some pleasant green, slightly floral, slightly herbal notes, balanced with a touch of musty roast character to create a subtle counterpoint. It's a solid, but not particularly exciting IBA nose.
Taste is similar. Decent, pleasantly balanced dark malt with some fresh but pretty generic hop flavours. Some roast around the edges and towards the back, and a tingle of bitterness, that never goes too far or produces too much bitterness. Instead, it's a slightly herbal, almost minty character to blend with the malt. It's pleasant enough, but again, it feels like a pretty straight down the line IBA—Motueka surely can do more than this.
Feel is smooth and light, with a surprising tingle of aggressive carbonation on the back.
Overall, this is good enough, but I hope the Ravens are up from here. This was solid and forgettable, pretty much par-for-the-course when it comes to IBA. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I think Yeastie Boys can do better.
80 / 100
Pours a gold colour, with an inexplicable cloud for an IPA. Possibly the tea doing something to it? Head is white, foamy, and retains pretty well. Decent IPA but could maybe use a bit more colour.
Smells nice, with lots of NZ hop notes that of course I love. Slightly floral character from the black tea which not only adds floral notes but a bit of bitterness as well. Really nice balance struck between the tangy hops and tea leaves.
Slightly nutty malt note upfront, then taken over by NZ hops and again that floral tea character. Not too much, in the sense of not being heavy-handed. Pleasant. Hint of tea leaves on back, but floral hoppy notes balance it out. Rose, citrus and spice. Very pleasant.
Bitty texture, very dry on the back. Good for the style.
Really nice addition to the IPA style. To their credit, the hops are not overwhelming which allows the other flavours to play their part too.
EDIT: it's obviously been a long time since I wrote the notes for this and I couldn't really remember this beer too well, but looking at the notes it's easy to see why this beer won the best of GABS.
94 / 100
(Best of the Best)
It's been a long time since I first touched Yeastie Boys' Rex Attitude (although not since I last touched it), and I thought it was high time I reviewed their imperial version. This bottle was purchased from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours a thick, deep golden colour, with an initially frothing head that subsides pretty quickly to a fine ring around the edge. It looks sinister, yet refined. Lacing is pretty good, and the body is immense, like liquified fire. Love it.
Nose is everything you expect. Huge peat-smoked notes give earthiness, morbid campfire tales and a rich resounding sweetness. Big Islay whiskey characters turning towards rubber and even a bleary hint of raspberry. It's so big, so intense, so wrong and yet so, so, right.
Taste is wonderful, in fact probably even surpassing the aroma. This level of depth also gives it an edge of the regular Rex, adding depth, sweetness and a rigorous boozy note to that already complex and complicated flavour profile. Bright smoke comes through strongly on the front, before some of the boozy, slightly spiritous burn makes its presence felt. It creates a weird cacophony on the palate like burning naphthalene. Finish is clean, but with the echo of the booze and a tingle from the still smouldering peat. It's gorgeously untamed and gorgeously anarchic. Feel is superbârich with whiskey overtones but clean and crisp at the death.
This is magnificent stuff. It's not beer for every day (I mean, that's what the regular Rex Attitude is for, right?), but it's a beer for those occasions when getting smacked in the face isn't enoughâthis is a beer that will smack you in the face, then rip off your clothes and give you the best sex of your life.
61 / 100
Purchased this some time ago, but I'm not quite sure where from. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a pale golden colour with a fine and initially intense head of white, that froths up on pouring. This forms a mild, solid white crust atop the beer. Decent lacing forms as the head collapses. Overall, a decent, if not spectacular brew.
Nose is earthy, slightly vegetative and slightly grainy, with rustic, but solid elements coming through. Grassy celery, some earthy roots and a strained greenness. It's not bad, and it has those clean but dull English characters to it. But yeah, that's not super interesting.
Taste is similar. Light grainy malt, fresh but dulled English hop characters, and a mild, muted bitterness on the finish. Smooth feel helps a lot, and gives a cleanness to the palate. But it feels pretty dull and pedestrian overall. The only thing I'll genuinely say in its favour is that the 7% is completely unnoticeable.
It's a bit disappointing for such a big bottle release from Yeastie Boys. It feels like a very dull effort overall. In some respects it's pretty solid, but seriously, you guys do crazy shit! Give me some of that!
80 / 100
On-tap at GABS in Melbourne. This is the brew that ended up taking out the People's Choice award for the festival.
Pours a very faintly hazed golden hue, with a nice solid body. White head is slightly tinged with yellow, and is full, frothy and firm. Powdery carbonation. Looks good.
Pleasant hop characters on the nose, with perhaps a suggestion of Simcoe butterscotchiness, mingled with a pleasant green tea and slight tannin character. Pretty solid, and very decent.
Clean entry, in fact, almost spring water like in its light smooth cleanness, before some fruit characters come in mid-palate, giving a suggestion of raspberry leaf and weakly brewed black tea. Bitterness cleans up with a hint of tannin, but it's all fragrant and refreshing and never overdone. Very clean feel.
Drinkable as hell, and really very enjoyable. This was a worthy winnerâif not the biggest, most interesting or exciting beer, it sure was one of the most drinkable, and one of the ones I'd most like to try again.
74 / 100
Pours a pale metallic gold with a still body. Head is white foam, nice and dense with a thin trail of lace. Nice-lookin' IPA.
Smells NZ hoppy with massive tropical wham of passion, paw-paw and lemon. Light and fruity with a nice edge, but not a lot anchoring it. Still, pleasant.
Taste swims with lots of tropical fruit hoppy notes. Banana, paw-paw and kiwi vie for attention, with some sharper citric hops coming up behind for a big peak of flavour in the middle. Finishes bitter, hoppy with nice pine leading, then mildly astringent finish. Good IPA with very enjoyable NZ hop character. Ultimately quite predictable IPA territory though, doesn't take it out of the stratosphere.
Bit bitey on the front and dry at the back. Pretty nice body though.
Very nice IPA, but as I've tried so many I look to new examples to give me something innovative and exciting in some way. This is very good, but it's just another IPA.
76 / 100
Pours more golden than red, with head that's nice, dense and retaining well. Lace is pretty nice too. Needs more red colour for sure, but otherwise damn fine-looking beer.
Smells very pleasant with tangy fruit and lots of pie spice - cinnamon, clove and star anise primarily. Hint of raisin, with peach and citrus and a hint of pine resin late. Sultry and spicy, but a nice fresh twang. A real winner here.
Taste is Belgian and malty, lots of burnt sugar verging on quite roasty bitter. Molasses, with some clove and aniseed and a hint of pepper towards the back. Hit of hops on the finish with resiny notes and a fresh citric twang, but Belgian spiced malt lingers on the back. Very pleasant.
Smooth and full, quite sticky though. Would like more texture, maybe more hop pull or spicy yeast dryness.
Tasty brew with lots of flavour. Tangy and spicy but maintains a drinkability from good use of malt.
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a really worryingly light and burnished golden amber colour. Not a touch of red to it, and in fact the colour itself is a little bit insipid even for an amber. Head is a filmy off-white, which leaves some sheeting lacing. Light body, minimal carbonation. Really disappointing look, to be honest.
Nose is mostly sweet, almost overtly so, with some slight earthy hop characters and a slight nut character. Mostly there's a sweetness reminiscent of extract or unfermented wort. It's not all that good.
Taste is also awkward. Here, in addition to the sweetness and the earthiness, comes a slightly spicy Belgian yeast note, leaving a residual pepper and acetone note on the finish. It dries out the palate, leaving it astringent and stretched. Sweetness has dropped a little bit, at least, but the other characters clash in anarchy, and don't meld to make coherence, nor bounce off each other to create interest.
Doesn't work at all for me. The Belgian characters warp the palate unpleasantly, and the earthy bitterness doesn't do it any favours. This is a genuine miss for Yeastie Boys, who do some of the most interesting beers coming out of New Zealand (and hence, the world). But this is a pretty much failed experiment, for me.
84 / 100
Pours a very clear and bright golden colour, with masses of effervescent carbonation feeding a frothy and full white head. Body looks surprisingly light for 7% ABVâindeed, overall, the appearance could quite easily be mistaken for a pale lager of the almost-macro variety.
Nose is not, however. Big redolent hoppy goodness, with crisp New Zealand grassiness and cut zesty fresh citrus. There's a pleasant little swoop of grain in there as well, which is an interesting addition and deepens the aroma overall. It's perhaps not as insane, robust and potent as some of the best IPAs I've had, but it might just be that I've had them fresher. This is still damn good.
Taste is wonderfully clean and crisp, with a supple balance of honeyed malt and spritzy, cleansing hops. Light body helps here, lending a clear palate on which to stack the subtle layers of sweetness and bitterness. Slight lemon pith on the entry, with smooth clean malt through the centre and a soothing, slightly medicinal hop bite on the finish. Wonderful flavour for an IPA, while remaining clear and refreshing.
This is a lovely brew, clear and light, but bursting with flavour. Supremely drinkable for 7%, and with interest and complexity to keep you interested for a long time.
I also love that the "source code" for the beer is available, through a link given on the bottle (http://yeastieboys.posterous.com/private/yCmgJxeHrs). Adds another level of appreciation to the brew.
750ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a vibrant and alive golden colour, with a crackling head of white that leaves, intricate, complex and confusing lace. Body is pleasantly heavy, leaving very fine carbonation in its wake. All in all, it's a great looking beer.
Nose is less exciting than I expected, given the funk of Saison and the Nelson Sauvin in its genesis. Slight appleskin characters to it, with a touch of acidity, along with a slightly buttery smoothness and some mild spice. It's all extremely subdued, however, leaving a rather mild blandness as the overall experience.
Taste is similar, but you do have to appreciate that smoothness, as it gives a silky feel to the beer, and a refined note of vanilla. Still, there's very little note of the hops, the spice, the funk, the acidity I expected, and that's a long list of missing characters. What's left is a vague, generic Belgian character, which is pleasant and bright and drinkable, but missing much in terms of complexity and uniqueness.
I don't know. I expected more from a special release from Yeastie Boys. This is no doubt a decent beer brewed well, but I wanted a bit more edge, a bit more attitude. It ends up decent, but less than exciting.
Maybe I'm just spoiled by SÃ¸ren's 8 Wired Saison Sauvin, which was a much superior brew in the style.
62 / 100
Somewhat afraid this bottle might be a bit old. It was purchased a month ago, but hopefully it was fresh enough then. Best before date says March 2012, at least.
Pours a hazy, but relatively clear bronzey copper colour, with a very fine but flat head of off-white. Some patchy riddled lacing and some decent heft to the body. Looks pretty good.
Nose is incredibly rich and malty (and immediately makes me think I've waited too long to drink this, given the lack of hops). Almost smells like unfermented wort. Big sweet malt juiciness with flashes of dates, caramel and earthy yeast tones. Completely not what I expected at all (it would be great with an insanely fragrant hop presence of the top).
Taste is lighter, with some mild biscuity and sweet savoury caramel characters giving a basis to a decently bitter hop presence. Somewhat nutty characters come out of the amalgam, giving a lovely blend that I wish was accentuated by some additional hop fragrance. Feel is smooth and rich, and suitable for the heavy malt presence.
Needs more hops! Especially on the nose. I can only hope they fell out in the aging process, because this has the basis for a great, robust American Amber. Certainly, there's nothing stopping me from buying this again, but I wish this example was as good as I feel it could be.
77 / 100
Pours a nice deep-brown with dark-red tinge. Head is beige, lovely and dense but dissipates before too long, leaving gorgeous but sparse lace ring around the glass. Pretty damn fine.
Nose is predominantly roasty. Nice dark chocolate notes giving sweet and toasty in equal measure. Slight floral hop notes lend it a mild sour touch, and the back is all caramel grain. Very nice.
Taste starts out all hoppy, with enjoyable floral notes, touch of pine and mint. Lasts until the mid where the roasty grain takes hold and gives it a mildly sour cocoa throttle. Rich chocolatey notes on the finish for a decent roast that doesn't quite fill the palate with its goodness. The nice hops return on the very back with more of a fresh, lighter bitterness than one might have expected from the rest of the palate, but it leaves me wanting more of a robust portery finish. Still, the hoppy/roasty balance overall is definitely a winner.
A bit too much fizz, but it's not harsh, nicely padded by the decent body.
Good take on the porter/IBA trade-off here. Very drinkable and enjoyable, makes for a great session beer or a transition beer for dark ale skeptics. One to remember.
93 / 100
Tried on-tap as part of the New Zealand SpecTapular at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pours a very pale and rather clear yellow colour, with a decently fine head of white. Thin body, but it sustains some decent static carbonation. Lacing is very good. Looks very decent.
Holy shit, what a nose. Very peaty and smoky, with rich earthy overtones and a green crispness. Leather comes through, along with something slightly medicinal. Wow. I've never had a beer like that. Uniqueness alone puts this way up in my opinion.
Taste is even better. Here we get raw smoked and woody earthyness, gloves off and no hold barred, with dark peat and pungent resonating scotch whisky. It's like carbonated Laphroaig. Gorgeous. Even a bit of charcoal on the back, despite the colour.
Lovely, lovely, lovely. Yeastie Boys, you have offered me a new and unique beer experience. That's a rare thing, and I thank you from the bottom of my hear for it. What a beer.
82 / 100
Single malt peat-smoked whiskey beer. Feel free to disagree with my classification because this one spits in the face of convention. On tap at the Local Taphouse Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a pale golden colour. Head is white, nice and dense, pleasant lace and lots of bead. Looks good.
Woah. Smoke that, baby! Huge peat smoke, rich, meaty, massive forest-on-fire smell. This is a rauchbier cranked up to 11. Boozey and just swathes of rich meaty smoke. Amazing.
Taste is massive smoke. Bit of caramel malt upfront, then smoke, and more smoke. Big charred wood on mid, then more whoomph as more wood catches fire. Just an immense, sweet, meaty, smouldering smoke. As the palate adjusts to the complexity I get touches of vanilla, bacon, oak. Amazing flavour. Sweet, smoked to the max. Just wonderful.
Mouthfeel is a bit dry. Bit of fizz, not all that great. Maybe because of the Islay whiskey flavour I'm expecting it to be thicker and flat.
A beer that is both groundbreaking and ballbreaking. Great job boys!
71 / 100
Purchased as part of an order from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Yep, it pours black, at least, living up to its name, a deep black with just hints of translucent brown at the edges. Head is fine and filmy, leaving sheets of lacing down the inside of the glass. Moderate body. Looks very decent.
Nose. Oh wow, what a nose. In some respects, this epitomises what I imagine of the style. Lovely fresh, slightly fruity, but slightly sharp hops, above a perfectly pitched basis of crushed dark biscuits and grainy malt. It feels like they've struck the perfect balance here. Om nom nom.
Taste is a little more chaotic, giving the grainy, roasted notes without much body to back them up. Hop character is slightly muted as well, but provides a decent green vector of bitterness through the centre. Around the outside, the slightly toasty bread-grain notes rattle about the place, giving a robust portery character. Feel is loose, but pleasant.
A nice beer, and a very good example of the style. I'm still coming to terms with what this style should be, but I feel as though if they were all as good as this, the world would be a happy place.