To ؘl
from Denmark
358th highest rated brewery (of 635)
Highest RatedSmoke on the Porter Fire in the Rye (82 / 100) Average score68 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedSans Frontière (White Wine Barrel Aged) (55 / 100) Number Tried24
Ms Violet (2018 Edition)
9.0% Tripel from To ؘl
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.03.19 from a can
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Blackcurrant and plum tripel; can given to me by Jez for Christmas. Tried and reviewed live into this website as a reward after mowing the lawn on a hot day. Because you should totally fucking drink fucking big Belgian beers after mowing the lawn, you fuck.

Pours a deep amber colour, slight tinge of red but not the vibrant kind of colour you might expect from blackcurrant and/or plum additions. Head is lovely when poured, it sinks steadily but leaves some absolutely knockout lacing behind, thick tendrils of white foam that forms an abstract work of art on the glass. Nice dense foam to the head as well even if it's just a thin crown by now. Looks superb.

Smelled a bit rank when I was pouring it; up close it's not unpleasant but it's a pretty pungent fruit aroma; the plum is more dominant (thankfully) than the blackcurrant which still lends a candy sweetness to the fragrance but without taking over. Distinct phenolic characters as well that ground the sweet fruit but also clash with it a little bit and that's where that rankness comes in: it's very sweet but there's an earthy kind of aroma as well which gives the whole thing a hint of rotten compost. It's not bad in the finer details but there's something a little off-putting about it.

Taste is really quite sour, actually, and it's an odd thing really because it's clearly a big-ass beer, and the tartness comes from the fruit, but the end result with the phenols and Belgian spice notes comes across a little lambic-esque. But without the particular lambic bug characters. It starts out fairly predictably, giving a big rich plum note but also plenty of sweet blackcurrant character that continues to the mid-palate. Some malt starts rising up that adds body but also grounds the sweetness in more familiar beer territory and stops it floating off into fruit-juice land. The fruity notes then join with a phenolic spice and a rising ethyl booze character late so it ends up being fairly tart with a drying, slightly raspy mouthfeel largely from the effect of the alcohol. The tartness also doesn't linger like it would on a proper sour, in fact the finish is slightly short with the fruit sourness just fading away and a faint lingering earthy bitterness hangs around for a short coda. All up it's not a bad experience drinking it, but I feel it leans a little too heavily on the fruit and could use more complexity from the Belgian yeast and possibly some more distinct bitter-hopping as well.

Mouthfeel is very nice notwithstanding the booze. The body is full and very smooth, with a nice coating from the residual sugars that helps pad out the booze. The booze is more of a flavour than a physical sensation and that's a positive thing.

I don't know if I've had a tripel or a strong Belgian style from To Øl (I could look it up but I can't be bothered) but I feel I'd like to try this without the fruit being so central. Or possibly with a subtler fruit adjunct than blackcurrant. It's pretty nice, but it's a little too fruity and tangy for my liking.
appearance: 4.75 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Santastique
5.5% Witbier from To ؘl
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.08.18 from a can
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Can given to me by the Jezbot. Tried by myself.

Pours a translucent orange but not notably hazy. Head is white foamy when poured sinks to cloud of medium bubbles with trails of lacing left behind. Looks pretty good.

Smells spicy and fruity. Big candied citrus, with orange and a touch of grapefruit. Coriander and Cardamom dominate the spice bill, with some faint pink pepper. Nice blend of sweet and spice with a hint of fresh zest. Pleasant.

Tastes fairly phenolic, and a little astringent too. Some nice toffee malt upfront that descends into a fairly long bitterness a little early, with just a hint of fresh citrus early mid. Mid-palate is mostly earthy spice, with a big coriander hit, some black pepper and a medicinal note to finish up. Maybe a lingering hint of citrus on the back that's a little pithy but it does clean up the very back. Could be fairly unpleasant to finish, like strongly astringent if not for that last little clean note. But it doesn't have quite enough upfront so it just has this protracted bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is decent for the size; good texture with a little tingle to it.

Drinks alright, because of that cleansing note on the end. A bit too full on for constant drinking but it does get better.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 3.75
Sur Sorachi Ace
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.01.18 from a can
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Can given to me by Jez for Christmas. I'm really not convinced about classifying it as a Wild Ale but every other website calls it that. I mean it's a Bretted IPA so I feel it should be an IPA... but I just don't care enough; I was hoping other websites would say IPA as that's what I would call it but when there's consensus the other way, like I said I don't care enough to fight it. For the record though, you're wrong, everyone else.

Pours a burnished amber colour with stupidly effervescent head, sinks nice and foamy and uneven leaving some sticky lacing trails around. Looks pretty decent except for the exuberance of the head.

Smells pleasant; bretty funk giving a nice tart character with the sorachi ace providing buttery and citrus notes to complement. Smells quite sweet in the end; oaky and cake battery almost with some nice crystallised fruit characters. Yeah, enjoyable.

Taste is a bit rougher. Starts kinda oaky buttery with that sorachi ace having a big piney lemony note upfront, then the brett takes hold turning it kinda funky bitter and emphasising the rindy side of the citus notes. Odd cinnamon character early on too, and the finish has a slightly odd sweetness to it as well; I think it's the hop that just isn't that great for bittering, and it ends up providing a quirky vanilla malt character to it. In the end it feels bulbous in the middle with this big tart, funky flavour that doesn't really develop or go anywhere.

Mouthfeel is decent body wise, bit of pull throughout and especially on the back where it just feels puckering. Not great but not bad.

Overall drinks a bit too tart, and needs some earthier hops to ground it and take the edge off the tartness. It just feels like unadulterated citrus for much of it, and the sweetness on the front and back just stand in contrast to it rather than counteracting.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
Mr Blonde
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 03.01.17 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Belgian IPA with gooseberries. Bottle given to me for Christmas by Jez, shared with Chris on NYE.

Pours an orange colour, shiny yet quite dark. Head is voluminous, off-white and foamy, retains a decent crown but eventually settles just to a thin rim with large sides of lacing. Pretty good, very Belgian.

Smells yeah, like gooseberry. Big tangy fruity note, touch of spice. Dry and somewhat seedy as well. Not much in the way of Belgian or IPA really, but intriguing.

Taste is full on with the gooseberry. Tart, wild, that gets somewhat bitter on the back with a sourness that is astringent; more astringent than acidic. It's nearly all fruit, with just a touch of Belgian phenol on the very back and some hoppy bitterness late-mid but otherwise it could just be acidic fruit juice. Those other characters are welcome additions but it could have used more of them especially as they're meant to be the core of this.

Some texture to it, gets quite sour and acidic with a pull on the back. Not bad.

Yeah it's quite pleasant for the fact that it seems overly gooseberry. I like that the berries are strong but I feel it could have been a really nice complement to other beer flavours and it just dominates. I also fear there won't be so many other breweries trying this, because I feel it's a good idea but now it's been done others won't give it a shot, and this isn't done badly but it has gone a bit wrong.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
Mochaccino Messiah
Reviewed by Jez on 01.01.17 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(OK)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer Fitzroy for Sam, but he'd had it before so he generously regifted it back to me.

Pours a muddy, reddish brown colour, with a coarse-bubbled, frothy head of off-white, that looks a bit like scum in stormwater drain. Lots of patchy lace as well. Body looks very thin and light, but actually has a bit of weight behind it, and the carbonation is slow-moving through the glass.

Nose is pleasantly sharp with roast coffee aromas. They tend towards the kind of vanilla-sweet end of the coffee spectrum, but they're not backed up by a lot of natural sweetness in the base beer. As it warms, the coffee character turns slightly more earthy, which is a pretty pleasant diversion. Otherwise, it's a bit one-note and not overly exciting.

Taste is similar to some extent. There's a real thinness throughout, which means that the beer lacks sweetness. Despite this, the coffee character is much more chocolate-like than truly robust and cutting. It makes it feel like it's artificially sweetened, without any true body or weight behind it. Honestly, it makes it feel a bit sickly.

Feel is slick and smooth, but without much persistence towards the back.

Overall, I'm actually not very impressed. At most, it's a fairly pedestrian example of using coffee in beer. And if I were feeling particularly uncharitable, I would say it's actually something of a misstep. That suggestion of sweetness without actually giving us the sugar and body to back it up really feels like it's an error.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Fuck Art - The Heathens are Coming
5.4% Grisette from To ؘl
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 26.08.16 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle given to me by Jez. Sampled by myself, in front of the computer that I'm now reviewing it on, live. How exhilarating. This could be a new olympic sport.

Pours a pale yellow colour, quite vibrant, with white fluffy head, that sinks to a thinnish cloud after a while. Decent ghostly clouds of lace. Love the colour; would like the head to stick around a bit longer though.

Smells gorgeous. Underlying saison funk, but over the top it's just the distillation of the best parts of that. Fresh and fruity, with mango and pawpaw notes, plus a piquant spice character - white pepper, slight cornichon twist, and a sweet cinnamon type note at the back as well. Really appealing.

Taste is very much more saisony, and Belgian. That fruity ester comes through upfront, with a light caramel grain edge and a touch of citrus. Funk takes over early-mid, with some earthy barnyard and spice notes, quite savoury at times and turns quite phenolic on the back with a hint of rubber. Finish cleans it up quite nicely, the phenolic note peters out and is replaced by a subtle lingering lemon zest note. It leans a little heavy on the funky phenols, but just a little; it's otherwise very palatable and well-constructed.

Mouthfeel is tingly, maybe the body is a bit lacking as it's quite dry on the back, almost puckering. But not bad.

Nice Grisette; I'm not really au fait with the big difference between grisettes and saisons, but it feels like a fairly light-bodied and fresh saison that's eminently drinkable.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Smoke on the Porter Fire in the Rye
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 30.06.16 in bottle
Overall:
82 / 100
(Exceptional)
Smoke, chilli, rye. This couldn't tick more of my boxes if it tried, unless it also somehow managed to coherently put lychee into the mix. Bottle given to me by Jez, shared with Chris.

Pours a dark brown, murky at the edge. Head is hugely generous, ochre colour sparsely webbed. Not much lace and seems made of bubbles. Which it is.

Smells smokey, meaty, pleasant. Slight roast and a fair bit of sweetness, slight dark fruit. Very tasty.

Taste is dark, spicy, then syrupy late with huge smokey meat and a hint of heat at the back that builds. Glazed meat, chocolate, pepper. Yeah it's got pretty much everything I like in beer. Maybe a touch too sweet, and could use a bit more grounding earlier.

Smooth syrupy throughout, then hot and spicy on the back. Pretty great.

Could drink a lot of this; great balance between sweet, savoury and spicy. Touch more bitter and you'd have an all-time classic.

Edit: Didn't look at the ABV before I drank. Holy shit. Chris also made a comment that it didn't taste very alcoholic.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Nelson Survin
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 11.01.16 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle gifted me by Jez; shared with people on NYE.

Pours a dark burnished orange. Head is beige, pillowy foam. Lacing is alright. Body a bit cloudy and dirty. But alright.

Smells a bit burnt. Blood orange with some tropical hop notes. Bit resinous too, maybe a touch roasty, weirdly? Pleasant but a bit odd.

Taste is tart, and gets tarter. Spreads out across the palate and then develops some strong acidity late, together with hop resins. More blood orange and lemon pith. A touch boozey midway that gives a slight bourbony edge. Nice palate construction but the flavour is a little too pithy, could use some freshness or crispness. Possibly just some more lingering acidity.

Touch of pull, decent texture overall though.

Would like it a bit lighter. The booze tends to drag it down, whereas on a lighter body the acidity might be fresh and pleasant. Nice enough though.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Liquid Confidential (Sherry Barrel Aged)
Reviewed by Jez on 12.09.15 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
375ml green bottle purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA.

Pours a deep heady black-brown, with a rather coarse head of ochre, that stays as a decent crest and leaves some minor streaky lace. Body is slick and dense, but maintains it's fluidity even as it leaves slick, cloying edges on the glass.

Nose is immediately boozy, and very strongly so. The barrel, or the booze left in it is very prominent, leaving a really heavy oak and alcohol note. There is plenty of vanilla and coconut to suggest otherwise, but the sharp, slightly vinous booze note makes it seem more aggressive than otherwise. It's okay, but there's a great deal that harms it.

The taste, however, it pure class—indeed it makes me feel bad for ever lacking faith in this beer. This is a beautifully constructed toasty chocolate palate, with hints of coconut that just move it towards comforting chocolate cookie territory. Just a little roast and booze flick the back palate, giving a slight vinous hint with a little upkick of astringency on the back. It's well done.

Feel is slick and light. It certainly has weight behind it, but it feels very pleasantly restrained.

Overall, this certainly saved itself when it came down to the wire—in fact, it ended up being a very interesting and slick beer. The sherry barrel aging actually helps it a lot. Although I've not tried the other versions of this beer, I can imagine that this one really does something quite different. If I'm wrong, I welcome the other versions into my arms to correct me.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Stalins Organ
Reviewed by Jez on 17.03.15 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Listed as a "smoked pils/steam beer" on the importer's label.

Pours a pleasing, mildly hazed golden colour, with a firm white head of slightly frothy foam that sits around as a ring quite persistently. Some streaky lace forms, but the beer overall is quite light-bodied. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is rather pleasant. There is indeed a slight smoke that comes through, but it's balanced by a mild European hop character, and even a suggestion of green-bottle skunk, which is actually a nice match. The rest of the character is rather thin, but there's reverberations of other sweeter notes: perhaps a little carob or Milo. It's certainly interesting.

Taste is a little thin, but quite balanced and drinkable. Clean bitterness through the centre makes me feel a little like this is more towards the pils side of the labelled style, but there is still some very mild smoke to it as well—I'll be honest though, it's only a smidgin, and tastes perhaps more like what you can get with a slight savoury note—I may only attribute it to smoke because the label tells me so.

Feel is fairly clean, and with a slight metallic twang on the palate it feels slightly sharp as well.

Very drinkable though, with some interesting characters to it. It has a particularly pleasant aftertaste which allows it to feel a little uplifting and rather moreish. I only have one bottle of this, but I'd certainly be happy with five more to work through.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Raid Beer
Reviewed by Jez on 01.01.15 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.

Pours a very deep orange hue, certainly very dark for something claiming to be a pilsener. Head is a pleasant vapid froth of off-white, that leaves some fairly persistent and intricate markings of lace. Plenty of weight to the body, which is again a little surprising, but it does mean that the carbonation bubbles froth anarchically and languidly when the beer is tilted. Looks good, if off-style.

Nose is quite pleasant. Nice sharp hops come through well, with a type of grassy greenness at its core. There's an encapsulating malt character that provides some weight and basis to the beer, but doesn't really affect the flavour too much, which is nice. All up, it's fairly solid.

Taste is similar. Clean and bright hop characters first and foremost, with a slight dusty quality to the flavour. Some malt does come through around the mid-palate, which has a nice biscuity flavour to it. Finish is a little thick for a pilsener, but taken on its own terms, it's pretty decent.

Feel is fairly clean, but with a weighty quality more from the flavours rather than the gravity.

Overall, it's a pretty tasty package. It's certainly pretty solid stuff all up, with a good balance and a pleasant collection of characters. It's probably doing itself a disservice by calling itself a pilsner: as some sort of unspecified lager, it's just fine.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Hop Love Pils
Reviewed by Jez on 05.07.14 in bottle
Overall:
82 / 100
(Exceptional)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Freshness date on the top says 08/01/16. I'm sincerely doubtful it would last that long, but the fact that the date is so far in the future gives me confident it's quite fresh right now.

Pours a deepish golden colour, quite clear, with a big, frothy, eggy head that stays persistent and rocky throughout. Lacing is intricate and excellent. Light body. The colour is a little darker than I'd expect, but otherwise it looks excellent.

Nose has very crisp green hop characters, vegetative and sharp. I get some kiwifruit, a little grassiness, tending towards something a little metallic or even skunky, which aromatically can genuinely be a pleasant character in a pils. Very clean otherwise, bright and very pleasant.

Taste is great. Clean entry, with a sharp hop character that stays bright through the front and middle of the palate. Just a hint of nuttiness towards the back, which is pleasant, if unnecessary—with the bitterness on the back it lends a slight tobacco note to the palate. Feel is beautifully crisp and clean, with a sharpness to the carbonation that helps accentuate the refreshing quality of the beer.

Overall, this is a genuinely cracking pilsner. Hops are front-and-centre, but used absolutely in the way they should in a pilsner—this is neither a dull pale lager, nor is it a beer that could easily be confused for a hoppy pale ale. It's all crisp and bright, clean and refreshing—phenomenally drinkable.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.5
Baltic Frontier
Reviewed by Jez on 12.01.14 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.

Pours excessively cloudy, a dull dark golden hue with a crusty white head of frothy bubbles. Body is solid but pretty fluid and the carbonation is minimal but fine. There's also a very strange flock of bright orange floating bits that wander around the surface of the beer (is sea buckthorn orange? Any other ideas what this might be?*). My guess is it's yeast sediment clumping in strange ways—it's certainly the first time I've ever seen such a thing.

*Apparently sea buckthorn berries are indeed bright orange—so my guess is that that genuinely is what's floating in my beer.

Nose is excellent, however, despite the oddities of the appearance. Really vigorous hop presence gives a bright intensity, while herbal-savoury characters, possibly from the juniper come through as well. Herbal and fresh, bright and sharp and very fragrant. I like it a whole lot.

Taste is also good, but again quite strange. Front palate gives a clean bite, rather hoppy and bright with citric overtones. Body is quite subdued throughout. Tingling orange peel characters linger for a while, giving reminiscences of hot-cross buns and christmas cake, while a note of gingerbread sticks around on the back. It's damn unusual, but has those characters that you find in a citrus-infused IPA, so it has an odd familiarity.

Feel is pretty light, and probably not helped by the astringency of the juniper and the sea-buckthorn, but it works okay with the brew as a whole.

Yep, overall, this is a slightly weird, but pretty wonderful experiment from To Øl. The flavours are just strange enough to make it genuinely interesting, while maintaining a clarity and familiarity which make it drinkable. It's either very odd or very comprehensible, and I can't pick which.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Sans Frontière (White Wine Barrel Aged)
Reviewed by Jez on 31.12.13 in bottle
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
375ml lizardskin foil-sealed green bottle purchased from Slowbeer by Sam and given to me for Christmas.

Pours a deep golden amber colour, with an initially frothy head of white the settles out to a minimal bubbly ring around the edge of the glass. Body is very light, especially for 7% ABV, almost thin. No lacing. Looks certainly wild, but not bad overall.

Nose is very bretty, lovely funky, barnyard, grainy with tight acidity. There's an earthy hop presence as well, but not much contribution from the barrel. Pleasant enough, but a little bit weird.

Taste is similar, or perhaps a little worse: indeed here there's a dryness that permeates the rest of the beer, leaving a slight cider character on the back, while the hops deliver bitterness melded with a chalky yeast character. This makes the flat, dull character linger for a long while. Earthy hops are certainly present, but they don't mesh well with everything else.

Feel is quite good. Light, but dry. With some more complexity and a better structured palate it would be great.

Overall, this is a bit of a miss for me from To Øl, who usually do magnificent beers. This is the first funky beer from them I've had, but I expected something better. Not one of their best.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Snowball Saison Ale
8.0% Saison from To ؘl
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 26.11.13 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a gold colour, clear, with light bead. Head is lovely, generous with good fluffy density, clumpy lace. Looks great.

Smells pleasant: fairly fresh. Light grain and distinct fruity hop - citrus, pineapple, pear. Could use more edge, all very light and airy and a little lacking in substance.

Taste has more edge. Very hoppy from the start, resiny and woody with at times a chemically dank bitterness. Some lemon pith, roasted coriander seed, wattle and soil notes. Decent flavours, but very one-sided, some more sweetness or just grain upfront wouldn't go amiss.

Quite nice mouthfeel, actually. Bit of pull from the yeast, but it fills out the mouth nicely. Could use a bit more substance from this body in flavour form.

Nice-tasting beer, but not amazing drinking.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Dangerously Close To Stupid
Reviewed by Jez on 10.09.13 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a rather pale golden colour, with a solid haze and an even more solid head, forming a firm persistent crown of white froth. Some streaky lace is left behind. Body is quite fluid, and the carbonation isn't particularly noticeable in the glass even when tilted and swirled. Overall, though, it looks pretty good.

Nose is clean with hops for the most part, rounded with stonefruit characters and a suggestion of citrus. There's a faint carbonic and cardboard character that comes through a little bit, but not a lot, and it doesn't really harm the beer beside potentially muting the hops a little. It's a robust nose, but not really close to stupid.

Taste is also far from being stupid, but with a definite kick of resiny hops on the back that bends almost into a minty freshness in the finish. Front is more rounded, with peachskin and a decent malt presence to take up the weight. Finish has a slight medicinal bite to it, while the malt stays long enough to ensure length on the palate. It's pleasant.

Feel is also good: a decent balance to the rest of the characters.

This is probably a little bit old: I can imagine that were I to drink it fresh from the brewery it would indeed be Dangerously Close To Stupid—all of the marks of big hop characters are there. Until that day though, I'm perfectly happy to drink this mellower and more integrated version: it's a mark of quality that it's as good as this even when the hops have somewhat dropped out.

appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Black Maria
Reviewed by Jez on 17.08.13 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Beer Cartel in Sydney. Served to me blind by @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a deep, opaque brown, with a ridiculously frothy head of mocha foam that does settle down a little bit, leaving masses of crispy lace on the glass. Body is fairly light and fluid and there's no visible carbonation sticking around. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is lovely. Big fresh hops mingling with chopped dark chocolate to give jaffa and liqueur characters. Pleasant citrus notes, slight roast, and fresh fragrant cold-press coffee. Yep—it's a great nose for an IBA.

Taste is also good, and follows the mould well. Clean and crisp for the most part, with a pronounced hop character running through it's length, and lingering ephemeral roast characters kicking the back palate. Body is pleasingly light, but given some structure by a slightly chalky dry malt character.

Overall, this is a pretty damn good IBA. It's fresh and bright, but with a genuine hat-tip to the roast characters which give it its colour. It's that nice balance that's really worth achieving.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.25
Mochaccino Messiah
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.05.13 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Deep red-tinged brown colour, fair glint of light through the body. Head is a little whispy on the side, but decent density and nice milky-brown colour. Lace is OK. Bit of a mixed bag, but good.

Lots of coffee on the nose. Dark, roasty with a touch of char, and plenty of peppery spice. Dry with a woody edge, touch of cayenne and a hit of rich chocolate. Nice edge to a pretty plain coffee aroma.

Coffee again on the palate. Roasty and slightly dusty, with a bit of sourness at the back where it's undercooked, but then the rich, dark chocolate notes come in midway to add flavour backbone as well as a sweetness to the finish. Maybe a touch too much; could use a bit more of that bitter, spicy coffee on there. It's detectable but quite subdued, and it finishes a little weak as a result.

Fluid; a little thin, though, on the mouthfeel. Kind of adds to the general meek feeling on the back.

Not a bad after-dinner drop, particularly if chocolate's your thing, but it reminds me why mocha isn't my thin. A little too sweet, and not enough coffee character.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Walk On Water
Reviewed by Jez on 23.02.13 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Collaboration between To Øl and Mikkeller. Shared with my bro Sam.

Pours a cloudy golden hue with flecks of orange. Head is pretty fluffy, but relatively minor. Some speckled lace forms when the beer is swirled, as does a decent amount of carbonation. Body is indeed quite light, but it has a residual weight to it which cause the carbonation to be very languid. Overall, it looks pretty good.

Nose is pleasantly sharp with hops, and some booze, but really only a suggestion. Lots of orange peel, marmalade, a hint of tonic water and a little hay like grassiness. It's actually rather pleasant, and remarkably subdued.

Taste is also similar. Sweet marmalade character mingled with some fruity, citric hops, a little tea, some white pepper and some sweet sugar characters. There's some booze, but it's quite muted: indeed, it's more of a feeling than an actual flavour. In many other respects it seems extremely approachable and really quite easy drinking.

Feel is smooth and light, but with that tingle of booze.

Drinkability-wise this is quite extraordinary. I think it's a really nice, supple and drinkable brew. And yet it's 14% alcohol? That's insane. I could believe maybe 8%, but this is really shockingly light and refreshing for how big it is. And that's some masterful work.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.75
First Frontier IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 20.11.12 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Reviewed from a 330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.

Pours a very cloudy burnished orange colour, with an immensely frothy head of yellowish beige. The head collapses relatively quickly, leaving a scattershot decay of bubbly lace. Body is solid, although the carbonation rushes through it very quickly. The cloudiness is a little excessive, as, it seems, is the carbonation, but we'll see how it goes...

Nose is solid and fruit-forward, with big, although not particularly sharp, citrus and tropical notes. Some guava and pawpaw come through but the basis is in rubbed peely grapefruit and lemons. Some mild caramel sweetness underneath skews off the citric sharpness to add a mild menthol aroma. When you inhale long and hard, there's a piney or dark green vegetation character to it as well. It's strong and solid, all up.

Taste is a little thin: surprising, given the body and the ABV. Hops lead the way, with a resiny, slightly peppery and really quite bitter flavour right from the start through to the back. I don't mind bitterness, especially of course in an IPA, but there's very little sweetness or malt to balance it. The only suggestion is on the very back, where a faint toffee character lingers, trying to pretend it was there the whole time. Ultimately, it ends up bitter for no reason.

Overall, this is a slightly sub-par IPA for me. The aroma is good, and gives fair warning of the amount of hops in the beer, but overall it just doesn't make the grade in many areas.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Black Ball Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 18.06.12 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West, in Berkeley, CA.

Pours a deep, dark black; yep, opaque, deep, black, and opaque (did I mention opaque), with a ridiculously large head of mocha-beige foam that forms as a dangerous crescendo and threatens to overwhelm the lip of the glass. Lacing is excellent, as is the weight of the body, given what it is. Looks good.

Nose is smooth and roasty, but to be honest, a little generic. Sure, it has the pleasant clear dark malt characters, a mild nuttiness to cut through and an all round smoothness and roundness; but haven't we all seen this before? It's solid. Check. It's decent. Check. But I'm also a little bored by it.

Hmm, I have similar sentiments about the flavour, although it's solid, again. Surprisingly, it lacks a little body, and the nutty sweetness that was present on the nose abandons it here, leaving the roast and the dark ashy bitterness to do most of the work. There are other interesting notes though, including a flash of liquorice through the mid palate and an odd saltiness towards the finish. It's interesting, but not coherent enough as a whole. Feel is light but pleasant.

Overall, it doesn't quite work. There's a dearth of sweetness in the body that it really needs, meaning it leads too strongly with the ashy roasted character, but has nothing to carry it. In some senses, it feels to generic; in others it needs to be pulled back.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5