61 / 100
Oak-Aged Baltic Porter brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a dark-brown colour, really quite cloudy for the style. Medium density head, light beiege in colour. Looks alright, not sure about that haze though.
Smells quite sweet, fruity even, with some oaky notes giving vinous character and some rum sweetness. Touch of citrus on there as well as some dark fruit. Quite pleasant but a bit odd for the style, too. Maybe a touch sweet oak-wise.
Taste is decent. Spiritous sweetness from early-mid through to the back, with bourbon and rum characters. A nutty, chocolatey edge to the malt upfront that blends well into it. Touch of pepper on the back. I feel the oak dominates a bit too much as it's pretty much all there is to the back-palate. But it's not bad at all.
Good body, hint of alcohol but not too sharp. Decent.
Bit heavy in places, and in all honesty I'd be interested in trying this before the oak was added (or it was added to the oak, alternatively) as I'm not getting a lot of the base beer. But not bad.
They call this an 'oaked old ale'. I generally think of old ales as >7% but I'll go with what the brewers say. Tried on tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne, May 2016.
Pours an umber colour, good red tinge to it. Slightly cloudy with beige foam crown. Like the colour; otherwise looks alright.
Smells boozey and spiritous with a good belt of oak to it. Bourbon, rum and a hint of vanilla and cinnamon. Slight tang to it as well. Pretty nice.
Taste is also boozey. Oak is fairly strong, giving vanilla notes of bourbon, that develops some rich dark fruit sweetness late-mid. Slightly tart towards the back, maybe a hint of infection from the oak as well? Slightly funky/bretty. If it were really dominant on the back it would be fascinating and cleansing, but it's just an afterthought to a mostly boozey sweet ale.
Full body for the size, feels quite thick actually.
Fair bit to like in this, but not a whole lot to love; just doesn't do anything really interesting with the complexities they otherwise create in spades.
49 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015. Ah yes, I remember this well. I was so convinced that what I was given was cider that I took at back to the container only to be assured that this really was this beer. OK then.
Pours a very, very pale almost clear yellow, with no visible hazing. Body is very light and the head is white and quite persistent (maybe disproving my cider theory). Very light carbonation.
Ah, but what's this? The aroma is just like cider. Tart, crisp pear and apple with a slight linger of pepper. I find it hard to believe that this is beer, let alone that it's a hefeweizen.
Taste is similar. Appley, light slightly tart and crisp, heading into a carbonic character like soda water. Empty and dry on the back like sec champagne or, you guessed it, cider.
Feel is very, very dry, almost arid.
Drinkability is OK. But guess what, this isn't right. I've actually seen some other checkins of this post GABS and some folk seem to have a similar experience. To be honest, I still hope that kegs were accidentally switched at some point for some reason, but if not, this is a genuinely bad hef.
47 / 100
Straw-coloured, very very pale. White head, fairly sparsely bubbled but retaining nicely.
Smells of tangy fruit. Apple/pear with a touch of lemon acidity. Empty, with very little else. Certainly nothing hefeweizeny about it.
Taste is apple/pear again with lemon. Not hefeweizeny at all; tastes more like a crisp cider with a touch of acidity. Very tangy/fruity, nothing beery or weizeny at all.
Thin body, goes down quaffably but no texture.
Possibly the wrong beer? Sour and not hefeweizeny at all. Jez reckons they had the tap wrong. It seems to have been the same throughout the festival though, so I can only conclude it's a bad beer, and a bad weizen. Not unpleasant though.
Pours a dark-brown stouty colour, clear with tan head. Decent, could be blacker.
Roasty and stouty nose, with coffee and chocolate characters. Could have slightly more chilli aroma, but there is some vaporous chilli spice wafting through. Very complex, but lacking a little in the chilli stakes.
Oh. Did I ask for more chilli? Silly, silly Sam. Actually disappointly watery palate mostly, with a hint of roasty flavour towards the mid. Masses, just masses, of chilli on the end. Spicy and hot without a lot else suggesting itself. Aaargh.
Yeah, thin on the feel as well. Flat carbonation too allowing the chilli to strangle the mouth. Could use far more body.
I like a good chilli beer but this has nothing really going for it except the massive chilli heat. It needs to be a component, otherwise I might as well just drink from my crushed chilli jar. Not a big fan.
Bottle given to me by @epiclurk. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a murky mahogany colour, with a filmy head of off-white, that forms a more solid, but bubbly ring at the edges. Colour is very pleasant, body is decently weighted. Looks pretty good, all up.
Nose is intenseâsmokiness is the key, but it has a really savoury note to it, so that it smells like nothing less than Arnotts Cheddar Shapes. There's certainly something cheesy to it. Perhaps it's just the right balance of smoke, sweet and savoury flavours. It's very, very strange to be smelling cheese from your beer, but there you go. I'll pay it for it's unusualness.
Taste is lighter, and disappointingly a little too sweet. There's a caramelly tone to the flavour, especially on the front, which gives too much width to the palate, and oddly masks the smokiness. On the back, the smokiness has more freedom, and blends with a distinct roasted or bitter bite on the back to give a suggestion of char. It's very interesting.
Feel is a touch too thin, although it has a fineness which is quite pleasant.
Overall, pretty interesting stuff from a brewery I've been less than impressed with in the pastâin fact, I'd almost sworn off them, and probably would have bypassed this one had not it been a gift. I'm glad I didn't bypass it in the end, however; this gave me an interesting beer experience.
44 / 100
Stout brewed with chilli and chocolate. Hooey. Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a full black colour, seemingly opaque but strangely clear at the edges. Quite a light body as well for a stout. Head is a light brown colour, forming a solid ring that leaves chunky lacing. Looks pretty good.
Mild roasted characters on the nose, but it feels pretty empty. Like low-quality chocolate or American filtered coffee. Hint of berry to it, but it might just be the suggestion of the chilli.
Light mild chocolate on the front of the palate quickly descends into an oily sweetness, before everything is wiped off the face of the earth in the brunt of the BURN. CHILLI. BURN. BURN. CHILLI. The feel is intenseâit tingles with the chilli burn for ages. It's impressive, but seriously just destroys the palate.
Oh god. The pain.
43 / 100
Invercargill have not enthused me in the past. I've given them this third and potentially final beer to prove their worth to me.
This one pours a pleasant red-brown hue, with a good thick head of pale beige. Lacing is pretty solid. Clarity in the body is good, even if the body itself is a bit lightweight, especially for a 7% Wee Heavy. Hmm.
Nose is a little sweet with a slight apple cider character (oh no!), and a reedy thinness the cuts through everything. Despite the sweet flavours, there's no breadth or fullness. Hint of pepper as well, which is quite surprising and unexpected. Hmm.
Taste is... oh no Invercargill, this is not the redeeming palate you needed. Thin, slightly peppery start, with a long but one-dimensional bitterness through to the back. A hint of some roasted characters coming through the palate and lingering in the aftertaste, but otherwise nothing that marks this as a Wee Heavy. Palate is thin apart from the sharpness through the centre.
Very unimpressed. Stylistically? Not good. As a beer in its own right? Not good. Another well below-average beer from Invercargill. I've given them plenty of opportunities, but I'm afraid this is the third strikeâit will take something quite impressive for me to give them another chance.
Poured with a vigorous swirl part way throughâI only belatedly discovered that there's actually no sediment in the bottle, which is already a big detraction for a Saison, even one with a "not" symbol in its name.
Body is a rather deep golden colour with a foamy but rather insipid head of off-white. Carbonation is fine but stilted and perfunctory. Colour is way, way too dark for a real saison in any case, but I'm not particularly enamoured by any of the other characters either.
Nose is slightly sour with carbonic acidity, but also layered with a sweet apple acetaldehyde character and a floury yeast note. Ooh, way too sweet, nothing enough to cut through the sweetness.
Taste carries this theme on, but makes it more pronounced and perceptible. Here, the sweet apple brandy character comes through more, leaving a sickly trail of booze sharpness and cloying sweetness in a great, violent sweep across the palate. Acidity, what there is, lends an old lemon rind character to the mix, but it's shy and backwards. Finish gives a hint of dried lentils.
Feel is over carbonated with a thickness that adds, perhaps, to the cloy.
Wow. This is a really bad saison, probably one of the worst I've had. Beyond that, it's not a particularly drinkable beer, and far from the refreshing summer drop they tout on the label. Drain pour for me.
Unfortunately, I've had two below par beers from Invercargill now, and I feel it's going to have to be a great effort by the third to avoid me writing them off entirely.
330ml bottle purchased from the International Beer Shop in Perth. It always amuses me when beer travels over my head or right past me to the other side of the continent before getting to me.
Pours a hazy and opaque pink-purple colour, with a fine head of fairy-floss coloured foam. This dissipates very quickly, leaving only a fine ring of sketchy bubbles around the outside. Certainly a suitable colour for a boysenberry beer, or a boysenbeery berr, but otherwise a little insipid.
Nose is tart with unripe berry characters and a faint hint of lactic acidity. A bit of something musty and cellarlike as well, with a weird character of concrete dust. The berry aroma is very muted, but if you're looking for it, it's thereâhowever, it's so subdued that you'd almost be forgiven for not realising it's a berry-flavoured beer if served this truly blind.
Taste is mild, with a slight twang of carbonic acidity and an aftertone of raisin sweetness that evokes the boysenberry character, even if it doesn't truly exemplify it. Very little sweetness or acidity to it, meaning that once the initial flavour has been dumped, it peters out to a watery nothing much like seltzer water.
It's a very average brew, and missing a lot. Sure, it has some berry characters, but with almost nothing else at all. Very uninspiring.
77 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney for the Kiwi SpecTapular event. Still working through my backlog of reviews from what was a wonderful day of beer drinking.
Pours a dark, deep brown colour, hazed at the edges, but otherwise pretty much straight opaque. Nice filmy head forms sticky lace as the beer goes down.
Nose is bright but deep, giving chocolate, cacao and whiffs of freshly roasted coffee. Smells like a pleasant afternoon in a Sydney cafe. Nice.
Taste is dark and roasted, but with the sheen and glaze of pleasant metallic bitterness. It's not a particularly heavy beer, and I like the darkness in the flavour without the weightâit allows some brighter, sharper characters to come through. It also means it's surprisingly drinkable.
Yeah, this is a very nice beer. Drinkable and smooth. A very, very sessionable stout.
Pours dark, with a heavy red tinge to it. Ochre head, nice and dense. Lace is clingy and pleasant.
Smells quite toasty with a sweet edge. Chocolate notes, mild espresso and some milk notes. Touch of bitterness, mostly sweet. Pleasant.
Taste is not bad. Bit lacking on front-to-mid, quite milky with caramel and cream notes, just a touch of dark malt. Finish is somewhat roasty, with mild espresso bitterness and some cocoa as well. Bit bland, but decent stouty notes.
Mouthfeel is thin, unimpressive.
Yeah, not an exciting beer, but a decent, drinkable one.
Purchased from The International Beer Shop in Perth while on a visit.
Pours a pale and slightly hazed deep golden colour, with almost no head, just a patchy film of white fluff on the top of the glass. Lacing is minimal, but where it forms it appears in pleasant fine patterning. Eh. Not a great look, but not bad either.
Nose is plain and dull, with very little coming off it at all. Perhaps there's a slight whiff of greenery, and a touch of dusty grain. But that's it. Very disappointing, especially given what was promised on the bottle, and of the style in general.
Light and pleasantly crisp on the front palate, giving a decent oily bitterness, that is then pummeled by a Weetbix grain character and a big bread yeast finish. Eh. The flavours that stick around aren't the pleasant New Zealand hop flavours, but I do like the crisp and robust bitterness at least.
Still, this is a mediocre attempt at a great style. I believe it needs a whole heap more aroma, and to lay off the grainy malt a little. Some pilsner grain notes are great in the style, but only if they have the hops to back it up.
I think it's fair to say I found this very disappointing.