76 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Santa Clara Liquor in Santa Clara, CA. Shared with Sam back in Sydney over the Christmas break.
Pours a dense, silky black-brown, with a lovely fine head of deep brown that sits as a fine ring. Minimal lacing, although the carbonation is sinewy and fine, forming squalls as the glass is tilted. Body is sleek. Looks really good.
Nose is pleasant, but slightly oxidised. It has more of a sharp, direct sugar fermentation note than the regular bourbon BA version. It's spicier, and has very dark chocolate character to it that lends a suggestion of bitterness. Not really much maple, although the sharper sugar note could be a result of that.
Taste is also good, but it does have those same characters. There's definitely a touch of oxidation to it, which gives it a port or muscat-like character. Finish has a pleasant semi-bitter darkness—more like char than the heady aroma of coffee or dark chocolate. But it provides a level of balance to the beer.
Feel is surprisingly light. It doesn't stay long on the palate, but instead has a evanescent quality where the body evaporates quickly.
It's a good beer, but compared to its stablemates, this is a shadow. The maple character doesn't do much, except that it possibly lightens the body as the sugar ferments out. Still, it's a very good base beer, so that's hard to argue with.
74 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from somewhere in Australia, but I've lost track of where. It still has the Aussie importer sticker on it though. Batch #02 according to the printing on the bottle.
Pours a deep brown-black, with a surprising amount of lightness and slickness to the body. Head is a very fine, silky beige, almost with a slightly orange tinge to it. Carbonation is fine but swift, swirling through the glass as the beer is tilted. Looks good.
Nose is pretty nice. There is a dense kind of caramel fudge note to it, but it's matched by an equality of darkness, which lends a kind of butterscotch mocha note to it. It has other odd twangs as well, with a kind of kirsch cherry aroma; hot and metallic. It's pretty pleasant.
Taste is also good. It does revolve a lot around the kind of hot metallic note though, which isn't unpleasant, but which distracts from its main focus on fudginess. I leaves the front a little hot with some biting cherry notes, before it softens a little, leading to dark dusty finish, which is nonetheless underlined by a fatty caramel note.
Feel is a little bit lighter and slicker than the flavours really want, but it does have an oily quality which helps.
Overall, it's a nice beer, but it's not quite the rich, chewy goodness that it should be, or that other Evil Twin beers of its ilk are. But that's saying it's not at the peak of the genre, when in reality it's still extremely good.
78 / 100
Bottle muled back from NYC by Chris.
Pours a dark brown with small head, ochre in colour; slim lace that doesn't stick around. Seen better.
Smells awesome. Chocolate, caramel, vanilla is huge. Touch of cherry is rich and Christmassy. Biscuity, floury, sweet and beautiful.
Taste is sweet, rich with nice, slightly sour cherry note. Lots of vanilla and chocolate, finishing with a lovely caramel character. Cherry on the back is rich, but sweet and pleasant. Great beer with an interesting twist that works well.
Full, smooth, bit of heat on the back. Not bad.
Nice twist on the original nice desserty beer. Well put together.
100 / 100
(Best of the Best)
22oz brown bomber purchased from Ales Unlimited in San Francisco, CA. Brought back to Australia where I cracked it open on a brewday with Sam and Chris.
Pours a lovely sinewy black, with a deep brown head of slightly frothy foam that settles out into a firm ring. Some patchy lace, but that's not what you're looking at in a beer this heavy. Body is thick and silky. Carbonation is powdery. Looks the business.
Nose is wonderful. All of the bleeding-edge oak-aged vanilla and bourbon characters you would expect, laced with a foundation of extreme sweetness and twists of tomato and cinnamon. It's really excellent. There is something of the sweet biscotti to it as well, possibly entirely suggested by the name—but the naming is genius either way. I either taste it because of the name, or the name brilliantly describes the characteristics. I don't care which, I still love it.
Taste is also really excellent. Sublime even. Smooth entry leaves silky vanilla and sweetness through the centre of the palate, with leavened, slightly bulbous tones of vanilla custard and butter biscuits. Roast is bittersweet, and always coated with those lovely bourbon vanilla characters, but it leaves a fragrant, slightly aromatic bitterness towards the back. Mostly, though, it's just sweet, luscious, vanilla-potent and gorgeous. A truly phenomenal oak-aged stout.
Feel is perfect. Smooth, glossy, rich and beautifully full. It accentuates the flavours and deepens their development.
Yep—no kidding, this is a truly phenomenal beer. This is beer at its highest peak. The richness, the smoothness, the complexity—they make this beer into something absolutely sublime. Truly, one of the best beers I've ever tasted.
83 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Shared with Sam and Chris on a brewday.
Pours a lovely reddish amber colour, with a very fine bead to it. Head is an extremely fine gauze of off-white, pocked in places that leaves fine, intricate streaky lacing. Body has a bit of heft to it as well. Looks great.
Nose is awesome. Big, powerful, but extremely fresh US hops that give wonderfully clinging resin and citrus characters, but pinned down by a robust almost meaty malt character that adds weight and gravitas. The confluence is something semi-savoury, but still extremely bright fresh and delicious—it's almost the perfect aroma for a hop-forward amber ale.
Taste is lovely and light for the most part, with a clean, strident hop bitterness right through the centre. The malt is certainly lacking a little, leaving the beer craving a touch of sweetness, but it does provide a robust grain-forward character that balances the hops nicely. Feel has a fichness to it, but it still manages to stay fairly light. Nice stuff.
Overall, this is an absolutely cracking brew, and one of the best beers I've had from Evil Twin. It's also possibly one of the best American Amber Ales I've had. And I've had some awesome beers from both categories.
48 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne. Good to see an Australian city getting an entry in Evil Twin's Hipster series.
Pours a yellow-golden colour, firmly hazed and with some solid weight behind it that allows slow, thin streams of carbonation through. Head is whitish, leaving a thin, but fairly minimal ring that creates no lace. Looks okay.
Nose is light and woody, with a pronounced whiff of Pride of Ringwood—oh, I see now, use the most unfashionable hop in Australia. It leaves it a little bit savoury and dank. I'm not a fan.
Taste is crisp with empty malt laced by a crescendoing bitterness through the centre of the palate. Again, it's PoR though. Biting and slightly chemical on the back with a wickedly dry afterpalate that leaves the beer feeling extremely light and almost watery by the end.
Nope, I'm afraid not. While it has some of the "who cares" vibe of the anti-hip Hipster movement, this particular entry ends up tasting a little too much like VB.
78 / 100
33cl brown bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco.
Uncaps with barely a hiss, and pours a surprisingly light colour: still very dark brown, but translucent at the edges. Head forms a fine film with some coaxing, but otherwise settles out to just a ring with a sheen of oil across the top. Carbonation is minimal, but very fine. Some patchy lace. Looks pretty good.
Nose is excellent. It's big sweet stout territory, but this is bolstered by a big robust oatmeal and cereal character, laced with a little brown sugar. There's a surprising freshness to it as well, giving it a lightness and a slight herbal quality. It's perhaps not a beer with the ridiculous richness or potency of the very best, but it has some interesting twists to it.
Taste is smooth and supple. True to the nose, there's a freshness that lightens it a lot, giving slight herbal tones a little like curly parsley over the dark richness. Underneath there's that oatmeal, multigrain character to it, but extremely smooth and silky, meaning it has the same quality as a big sweet, heavy impy stout would have. Aftertaste has lots of bitter chocolate which provides an interesting diversion.
I love that something is twisted in this imperial stout. It has such a lightness to it which is quite unusual. This is despite the fact is still has stacks of flavour (and that most of the flavour is still malt-driven), and that it still tips the scales at 10% ABV. Really remarkably drinkable for all that.
74 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill. It's been some time since I bought it, but I thought the time was right to crack it open. Shared with Sam.
Pours a gooey, deep, rich black-brown colour, with a head that only forms languidly some time after the initial pour, but which consists of tiny mocha-chocolate bubbles that stay firm on the top of the glass. Body is rich. Carbonation is dark and fine. It looks the business.
Nose is a little bit of a let-down to be honest: big roasted characters come through giving it a stern backbone of darkness, but the sweetness is taken up by a somewhat unfortunate green apple character. This is minor, and there are other slick things which cover it: toasty raisin bread, coffee, high-cocoa chocolate. Overall, it survives, but it's not the blissful aroma that it could have been.
Taste is very good, however: supple and rich, heading strongly towards a dark bittersweet chocolate character. There's no room for deep oaky sweetness here, it gets all the sweetness it needs from the chocolate characters, and that's only sparing. Otherwise, plenty of booze, a smouldering roast smoke character and slick oily feel round this out and make it full and intoxicating.
Yeah, it had some hiccups, but overall, it pulled off a pretty neat performance. There's plenty to enjoy here no matter what, and if you're a fan of a big boozy stout, you're probably going to have some fun with it.
71 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Lovely clear, crisp yellow body, with a fairly fine and voluminous head of pure white that stays snowy and powdery atop the glass. Body has a little heft to it, and holds lovely fine carbonation when tilted. Lacing is a bit patchy, but otherwise, it's a really damn good looking beer.
Nose is also good. Slightly muted hop presence, with a pleasantly broad citrus quality mingled with a tangle of earthy characters and a little grainy but neutral malt. Still, it's mostly just pleasantly clean and bright, which is not bad thing, and matches the appearance nicely.
Taste is also decent, with a clean bitterness through the centre, supported by a very light malt character that lends a mild sweetness: almost the minimum requirement. Slight musky characters on the back and slight earthy hints in the finish dry it out slightly, but provide a little more hop complexity as well. Feel is excellent, clean and crisp while supporting the flavours.
Overall, this is an extremely drinkable and very, very well crafted brew. There's such a lightness to it to make it so clean and crisp, but also a lovely cached complexity. Very good stuff.
71 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne by Sam, who I shared it with, along with Rich.
Pours a deep, fluid brown-black with a loose-bubbled head of pale brown that only really settle as coagulation, not as a truly retentive crest. Body is surprisingly light, I'd say disappointingly so, although the carbonation is very pleasantly fine.
Nose is very pleasant: big chocolate notes with a hint of cherry, vanilla biscuits and a toasty undertone. Slight booziness, a touch of caramel. There's lots here, but it's all based on similar characters. If it had even just a little contrast it would be magnificent.
Pleasant, full sweetness on the palate, but without much in the way of body or feel. Clean clinging bitterness on the back: again slight suggestions of cherry or kirsch and a roasty bitterness giving slight tannins and a medicinal finish.
Feel is definitely pretty thin, although the sweetness in the flavour masks this somewhat.
Overall, this is good: definitely an entry in the sweeter end of imperial stouts. I did enjoy it, but because of the slightly medicinal finish and the slight lack of body, it didn't really go the distance.
41 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a rather thin golden hue, with some pale haze through it, and a head which seemed to form initially, but only went as far as becoming a mild ring of white. Very little visible carbonation. It looks exceptionally generic, except even the most generic pilsner usually filters out the haze. I'm unimpressed.
Nose is mild and green, with a pretty light basis, but a pleasant enough vegetative hop character to get it going. Slight sweet herbal note and some hints of esters, but that could just be other sweet characters coming from the neutral malt. It's ok—nothing to write home about, but fine enough.
Taste is slightly worse. Faint, neutral pale malt graininess on the front with an upturn in metallic hops which giving a clanging bitterness to the mid to back palate. It doesn't sit nicely with the malt character, which is weak and yet also slightly too sweet. Indeed, there's a clinging beet-sugar sweetness right through to the back which echoes some of the vegetative hop characters on the nose. Feel is light and fluid, but with an unpleasant stickiness towards the back as the sweetness stings the finish.
Overall, this is easily my least favourite effort from Evil Twin, and quite a slight on pilsners in general. I'm genuinely unimpressed.
57 / 100
Golden colour, decent head, OK lace. Bit of cloud. Yeah, pretty nice-looking pils.
Resinous hops and lots of them on the nose. Bit of spice and herb: basil, star anise. Butter, too. Touch of lychee. Not bad at all.
Taste is quite gritty and hoppy. Lots of sweet booze on the back, quite ethanoic actually. Not a lot of residual sweetness, tastes a bit overattenuated, very dried out. Lots of hop resins and bitterness. Just tastes a bit off-balance.
Bit hot on the back, OK body though.
A bit of a hot one overall. Too much bitterness, and a little too hot. Maybe in the pils style the malt's just disappeared so it just feels a bit unbalanced.
Pale gold colour, thin head. Lace is OK. Yeah, looks OK
Smells sweet. Honey with some rubbery notes; quite unpleasant. Royal jelly and wax notes on there. Nothing else to it, really. Meh.
Tastes like honey. Sweet, cloying honey. Lots of cereal, light, sweet, mild. Also unpleasant, it tastes like soft drink, in the sense that it's just sweetness with fizz. Some cloying yeast on the back. Yuck.
Not a bad body, actually. Bit squishy on the back.
Brewers, the equation is simple: don't put honey in beer. I'll say it again: don't put honey in beer. It will either ferment out the uncomplex sugars and taste ethanoic, or it will just taste. like. honey.
Far be it from me to tell you how to run your businesses, but if you put honey into your beer you will get a bad review from me. Not out of spite, but because I won't like it.
76 / 100
Pours a dark brown, with a fair bit of colour up to the light; off-white head. Decent enough.
Lots of coffee on the nose. Spicy, dark and roasty. Bit of sweetness as well. Really nice coffee-tinged nose, about the nicest I've seen.
Taste is sweeter, quite toffee-esque with roasty notes, some carob, rubber and sprucey pine needle notes. Pleasant; not too heavy on the coffee. Little spicy bitterness on the back. Nice.
Foamy texture, not bad. A little bit of boozey warmth on the back.
Nice brown ale, roasty but drinkable.
59 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a very faintly hazed orange-amber colour, with an initially massively frothing head of off-white. This evaporates quite quickly, leaving some patched, spotty lacing and a still relatively full, frothy and aerated head. Body is light and flat: the carbonation seems to have used all its energy in that initial burst.
Nose is clear, clean and hoppy, but somewhat generically so: it's a meandering mish-mash of fruity aromas, some citrus, some sweeter tropical notes. Underneath is a rather dank grainy malt note and an unfortunate cereal aroma like husked corn. It's also perhaps slightly old: it certainly has a slightly muted, weary character to it.
Taste is also a little bit muted. Very light malt character provides a watery, rather insipid basis, limp husky grains that mingle with the carbonation. Hops valiantly try to fill the void, with a pronounced and striking hop bitterness through the centre of the palate. Unfortunately, this adds to the imbalance in the beer: and it tastes thinner and sharper as a result. Finish is slightly metallic, and very hop-focused.
Feel is light and thin, but sparkling with zealous carbonation.
Overall, this doesn't work for me, and is easily the weakest of the series after trying the Williamsburg and the Sønderho (both of which were very good). This tastes like a souped up, but bland APA that ends up just becoming messy. Interestingly enough, that's exactly what it is.
80 / 100
Pours a very, very dark brown. Gorgeous ochre head, bubbly that settles out to a nice mottled crown. Decent lace. Colour is really quite gorgeous though.
Smells intense. Rich chocolatey aroma but a wood smoke note, loads of dark fruit reduction, raisins and prunes and a big pie spice note with traces of nutmeg and vanilla. Sweet; brooding and beautiful.
Taste is far more roasty, with bitter charry notes giving oak as well as some sour cherry character. Slight vinous, bit of smoke and some spicy prune as well. Plummy, cocoa notes and some pepper on the back. Dark and fruity; very interesting drop.
Slightly bitty feel and quite dry. Otherwise nice and fluid.
Lots of heavily-nuanced, variegated flavours here. Brooding, complicated beer that makes you want to love it, and maybe heal its pain a little.
61 / 100
Pours a murky dark, but clear, red colour. Sudsy white head, not much to it at all. Not much lace. Nice colour but otherwise pretty meh.
Chocolatey and Belgian on the nose. Lots of dark fruit and pie/cake spice. Sultanas, dates, figs and nutmeg, cloves. Slight tart note, but all part and parcel of the fruity edge. Intriguing.
Sour, and burnt at times on the palate. Largely a wild yeast note, with characters of currants, black pepper, brown sugar and molasses as well. Clove is big, some carbon and mediciney notes. Weird, a little off-putting at times but there's enough there to like.
Fluid mouthfeel, but a bit thin and a little bite at the end. Don't love it.
Not for everyday drinking; has some nice elements but it doesn't quite have as much balance as others of the style I've had.
81 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of their Scandinavian Tap Makeover.
Pours a deep red-hued black, but with minimal haze to the light shines through the body, revealing its true colour. Body is light, but chewy, giving a hint of thickness. Pale brown head forms a big, persistent and fluffy crown that leaves amazing lacing. Carbonation is fine and fast-moving. Looks great.
Nose is also excellent: deep roasted character, leavened to a pleasant nuttiness. Liquorice sweetness comes through with hints of Mexican rice and cacao: molé, perhaps. It's really lovely stuff.
Light entry on the front palate, with a prickle of aniseed, before toasty nuts, popcorn and smoked almonds come through, all wrapped up in a comforting sweetness. On the back, this develops to a dark chocolate note with some woody overtones. It's very good indeed. The only problem is that it cleans out pretty quickly on the back: perhaps a bit more residual body would let this cling on for longer. Although, having it finish dry possibly aids the drinkability.
Lighter in the feel than I expected, but it still works pretty well.
Solid, smooth, delicious. Yep, this was great stuff. Of the Scandi beers on tap during the makeover, I'm pretty sure this was my pick.
62 / 100
A honey Saison with one of Evil Twin's customarily weird names. Sign me up. Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of their Scandinavian Tap Takeover.
Pours a pale gold colour with some hazing. Body is solid, which is not surprising given its ABV. Head forms a firm ring of white that leaves some sudsy, reasonably solid lacing. Carbonation is fine, and stays pretty static when tilted, even though there's not a lot of it. It's a little strange.
Nose is veering from strange into genuinely weird. Big floral characters and earthy manuka honey aromas giving soil and smoke notes. Deep rindy citrus gets a look in as well, but everything is trumped by the fluffy, almost cloying floral sweetness. It's weird but not necessarily in a good way: in fact, it's almost suffocating.
Light, sharp entry on the palate at least cuts through the cloy and ensures that it doesn't sicken with sweetness. Some funky flowery overtones mid-palate leave a rather dry and floury (ho ho) finish. It's rounded enough, but feels rather flat and limp by the end. Feel is smooth and fluid. Not bad.
It does end up being a little bit too cloying despite the lightness the palate brings. There's a stack of honey in this, and it persists right through into the finished product. Even though you respect the power it squeezes out of it, it does end up being a bit hard to drink.
76 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of their Scandinavian Makeover.
Pours a rather deep golden colour with some fair hazing to it. Head is a persistent, silky white, pocked with small bubbles. Huge, webbing, full, solid lace. Surprisingly light body but fine carbonation streaming rather languidly despite this. Looks decent.
Nose is much better than decent, however. Sharp, prickly aromas of crisp Kiwi hops. Grassy notes and some herbal tones. Even something more organic and ostensibly unsavoury: perhaps wet carpet, 1950s Air Freshener. Oh yeah, that's ripe. I like it.
Taste is full and rich on the front, surprisingly malty given the nose. This provides a basis though, and it develops into a slightly nuttiness mid-palate, laced with sparkly hops and something dirty and hard. Sharp on the back with a big bite: some booze, some clinging oil. Aftertaste is brusquely bitter. Solid stuff.
Feel is very sharp, largely from the hops, but the malt basis gives it a fullness which is quite pleasant.
Yep, this is a very pleasant if big and scary beer. Nice stuff.
77 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. I'd tried the Williamsburg Hipster Ale, and was keen to continue my experience with the series.
Pours a lazily hazed deep golden colour, with a pocked head of fine off-white. It looks quite refined, languorous and sophisticated in the glass. Fine carbonation, and a relatively silky body. Some speckled lace. Overall, it looks pretty damn good.
Nose is smooth and fine with a solid basis in American-hopped pale ale territory. But here the wine barrels give it a smooth and woody richness: plenty of oak, some sharp, vinous acidity, and even a fleshed-out leafy character. It works very nicely.
Taste is clean and crisp, but always with a solid rounded basis. Big vinous character from the wine barrels, but this mingles nicely with the hop bitterness, to create a sour/bitter amalgam. This is genuinely significantly different from the other in the series I've tried: the wine barrel takes over, meaning it tastes like licking oak, with a hint of beer in the background. Not that that's a bad thing.
Feel is very smooth, but lightened by the mild acidity, and with a evanescent crispness.
Overall, this is a pretty impressive beer. I like how much the oak has taken over, and yet, it remains an easily approachable and reasonably familiar brew. Another great addition to Evil Twin's already impressive range.
76 / 100
Bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA, and brought back to Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a deep, but relatively fluid red-black colour, with a mocha brown head shadowed with a tinge of pink. Head is crackly and fine, forming large bubbles in a milky film on the top of the glass. Body, as I said, is extremely fluid and surprisingly thin, even though it looks like it has some heft to it. Decent looking beer. Decent, but not exceptional.
Nose is very sweet and quite rich, with a big chocolate cocoa character dominant, with undertones of coconut and cherry. The cherry actually comes through more strongly the more I leave it, but it's intimately entwined with the chocolate, so much so that you can't separate the two aromas. It's like a dark-chocolate coated cherry, or a truffle filled with kirsch. Very interesting, and really well done.
Taste follows a similar line, in fact really drawing a kirsch character out with the booziness of it running wild. Chocolate sits around the edges, but feels a little dry, and not as rich as it would have been on the nose. The main drawback is the lack of fullness and depth in the body. It feels surprisingly thin for all the flavours it's doling out, and ends up being a bit too astringent and biting through the centre without the cushion of extra weight.
Still, this is very good stuff, and really interesting stuff. I think it's probably the best cherry-stout I've had, and I'm a sucker for fruit in dark beer no matter how it's done. This probably comes off a bit heady and boozy, but you can easily enough make that just all part of the enjoyment.
Bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a murky brown hue, with a filmy, acidic-looking head of mild white. Pretty thick body, especially for the style, and the carbonation almost remains static when tilted. Very fine, spotty lacing. Looks flat, thick and a little ominous.
Nose is oddly savoury. Speckled salt and pepper sit above a round balsamic acidity the tends towards sweetness. The sweeter body gives hints of cherries and geranium. Very odd, and a little bit unpleasant.
Taste is maybe a little better. Here there's a woody note, much like an aged balsamic vinegar, but without the biting, cutting tartness that follows. There's a hint of dark grains giving a touch of biscuity sweetness, and a true slightly lactic acidity on the back the sharpen it up. It's pretty odd, again, but it works slightly better here.
Overall, it doesn't really work. It has such weirdnesses to it that aren't integrated or explained with the other characters or as a whole. Probably one of my least favourite sours.
73 / 100
Bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Opens with a distressing hiss and starts to bubble over the lip of the bottle. Caught in my glass, it forms a solid black-brown beer, with a frothy, but insubstantial head, that seems to have used up all of its oomph in spilling out of the bottle on the uncapping. Actually, the body, when tilted, looks a little bit less solid than I thought it might be. But overall, it's a decent looking Imperial Stout. Shame about the fizziness though.
Nose is much better. Big, deep complex roastedness, with an overlaid lovely sweetness. Hints of smoke, slight cherry and a touch of booze. Even hints of dusky earth. It's big and deep, and helpfully in one of my very favourite styles.
Argh, but my hopes are dashed again when I take a sip. Quite a thinness and a genuine lack of sweetness dominate the body, leaving a dusty roasted character hanging lonely in the palate. There are touches of booze, again with a touch of cherry hanging around pippy and stemmy like sharp kirsch. Yeah, genuinely missing depth and weight for a beer weighing in at 10% ABV. It's such a shame.
Really, this beer is pretending to be something it's not. It has a high roast and a definite booziness to it, but everything else is missing from what makes this style great. It's far from a bad beer, but I'm tempted to say that it *is* a bad Imperial Stout.
77 / 100
Purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a pleasant golden colour, with a slight hazing in the body. Head is full, foamy and shiny, forming excellent lacing as it subsides. Body is smooth but pleasantly full. Really, overall, it's a great looking pale ale.
Nose is light but sharp, with a really direct, clean citric hoppy character giving a piercing freshness to the aroma. Some smooth, grainy malt sits underneath, but it's light in volume and colour. Very pleasant overall.
Taste is similar, but perhaps veering to the more generic malt-hop APA balance. Some smooth light clean malt sits below a bright, slightly grassy, slightly citric hop bitterness that stays fresh and bright to the end, and cleans the palate out nicely, leaving only a hint of residual hop oil on the finish. Feel is very clean, but very smooth, with minimal aggression from the carbonation.
Overall, a really nicely balanced and extremely solid APA if not a groundbreaking one. Really happy with itâI hope I get to try the others in the series sometime.
73 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours an extremely cloudy orange colour with a full and vibrant head of just yellowish white. Lacing is patchy, but clumping, and pretty persistent. Moderately light bodied considering the strength and style, but it's not bad. Looks pretty good.
Nose is bright and fruity, in a pretty standard IPA way. It's slightly more round than most, without the sharp citric tone that marks a lot of IPAs. Here, there's a softer stewed oranges character to it, and a touch of something earthier, with some tea and crushed vegetation. Not bad.
Taste is similar. Quite bright but rather light, and very rounded, without a sharp bitterness. Indeed, the ending comes across with a strong orange peel character that gives plenty of flavour but little bitterness or crispness. Otherwise, hints of musk and pine break through, but they're subtle.
Good, but it never really breaks any new ground, and while it's a solid IPA, it's not an astonishing one.
80 / 100
Guys, I just love the name. I haven't the slightest clue what it means, but that doesn't mean I don't love it.
Pours just like a saison should: bright, hazed and light yellow in colour, with a very effervescent and bubbly white head. Body is relatively fine and light, lace is streaming and thick. Looks pretty good.
Nose is really bright, crisp and fresh, with a slight citric character, and more organic acidity, giving a green fragrance of crushed vegetation and mild organics. It's milder than some of the best Belgian examples, but otherwise it's spot on.
Taste is also good. Bright and clear, with a mild acidity and plenty of redolent green organics to lift and sparkle. Very light in texture, which helps the genuinely refreshing nature of the brew. It may not be as absolutely complex and sophisticated as the best examples of this (ironically rustic) style, but it sure hits the nail on the head when it comes to the purpose.
Exceptionally drinkable and extremely refreshing. This is a brew that does a great job of distilling the best aspects of the style. I've had three of Evil Twin's beers now (four if you include mixing the Yin and Yang into a Yin-Yang black-and-tan), and they are certainly a brewery worth watching. Great work.
69 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour with lovely off-white-to-yellow head, fluffy and thick with a finger and a half remaining after a while. Lace is pretty special. Slow movement of bead. Looks pretty magical.
Smells lovely. Lots of floral hops giving rose and citrus characters. Nice, sweet nuttiness comes through as well, with marzipan notes. Maybe a slight metallic character but sweet and fresh.
Taste is a bit disappointing. Nice, but there's less to it. Quite malty with caramel and peanut brittle nuttiness to it. Nice hoppy notes come through midway with some rosewater character, maybe some citric twang and woody notes late. Mildly bitter, yeah definitely citric, and overall quite pleasant. Could definitely use more bitterness though, as it's ultimately a bit sweet.
Syrupy and thick mouthfeel, with a bit of a pull from the hops on the back. Not bad, can't say it's wonderful though.
Nice beer, great flavours and so forth, just lacking a bit in the synergy between sweet and bitter, sweet and dry.
74 / 100
Pours a dark, dark umber, just mild colour up to the light. Head is ochre, thin but pleasant, with minimal lace but a nice bubbly look. Quite nice.
Smell is burnt and roasty. Quite meaty, really, with a corporeal saltiness trailing behind the fairly dark, charcoaly burntness. Woody, slightly sour and very organic with its burnt aroma. Quite like this, really, reminds me of a Friday night BBQ.
Taste is slightly lacking on the assault. Most of the flavour comes through mid-to-late with bitter darkness, that heavily-roasted grain giving burnt wood, some hints of dark cherry and bittersweet chocolate on the back. Balanced just enough with a brown sugar sweetness, but still the roastiness is allowed to take the stage. A big, bitter stout, but I like a good bitter, dark beer and there's enough sweetness here to keep you sipping; very enjoyable.
Surprisingly thin on the body, although not actually thin. Fairly smooth as it goes down, but I just feel myself wanting more body here. Bit hot on the back as well.
I like a good stout that isn't afraid to amp up the bitterness to 11. Especially one that takes the trouble to balance it well with sweetness.
78 / 100
Served alongside the Yin, and with the two combined.
Pours a brilliantly clear and deep amber-orange colour, with a phenomenally thick and frothy yellow-white head. Lacing is sticking and clumping. Body is extremely thick, and forms in gorgeous reverse-cascades through the head when poured. It's a heavy and brutal beer, there's no denying that. Looks great.
Nose is fresh and gorgeously hoppy, with big and aromatic citric characters, with a freshness I associate with Citra or New Zealand varieties. The malt is actually well hidden, but with the pure power of the hops, I'm sure it will be there to cushion and balance it enough on the palate. Wonderful.
Yeah, the palate is also big, and it has a green, clipped freshness, especially on the back that speaks to some of the new hop varieties. It also, however, has a rather hot character to it, and the bitterness is pronounced. It's as though the malt went a bit further towards dryness than was intended, and now we have extra alcohol and not quite enough balance.
It's a very nice double IPA, and to be fair, the additional heat and bitterness really does delineate it as a double. I really do like it a lot, and I almost feel like I'm being harsh on it, by not calling it spectacular.
78 / 100
Served alongside the Yang, and with the two combined.
Pours a gorgeously thick and very heavy deep brown, not quite black in hue. Head is voluptuously frothy and dark mocha in colour initially, although this settles to a hazy mesh on the top of the glass and a rout of large bubbles. Minimal lacing. Body is thick and heavy. Looks pretty great.
Nose is huge with roasted characters, and an almost peppery spiciness. Booze is noticeable, as is the hint of wood, which I love in a good imperial stout. It's darker, crispier and more robust and sharp than some imperial stouts. To be honest, I'm a sucker for the sweet, languid richness of the other kind, but this is also great, and it certainly has its place.
Again, the taste really gives it a sharp and very pronounced roasted bitterness, where often you find vanilla sweetness and a caress of oak and coconut in an American Impy stout. Here, there's a smokiness, a devilish darkness, and a biting and lingering, almost ashy finish. It's a profound and confronting stout, but it's hard not to respect it.
It's a really good imperial stout, if not one in the vein I particularly enjoy. But even so, if it were better, I would be crying in joy. This is still an excellent beer as it stands.
In totally different ways, and for totally different reasons, I actually ended up giving the Yin and the Yang exactly the same scores. I guess they do exist in perfect balance.