58 / 100
Sweet stout brewed with marshmallows, smoked malt, cocoa, wheat and biscuits for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a very dark, even black, colour. Head is disappointing, beige in colour but just some light bubbling around the edge. Heavy, and very dark looking. Not bad.
Smells sweet, with big chocolate notes, slight toffee sweetness and a hint of raspberry giving a touch of tang. Some light vinous and spicy notes playing around the edges. Not bad.
Taste is quite dark and stouty. Bittersweet chocolate upfront, that doesn't really sweeten up in the way I was expecting but rather goes more roasty without the accompanying bitterness. Instead continues sweet and ends up fairly saccharine to be honest. I think the darker malts could have been better utilised just for balance. Or some more hopping done subtly could just clip the overly sweet nature while allowing the same flavours to stick around on the palate.
Body is bogged down by the adjuncts, with a big gluggy feel that has an un-beery sensation. Hint of carbonation saves it from disaster, and as a result it's kind of curious, although weird.
Yeah, I don't get the big biscuity character which I think is the missing ingredient. Chocolate, marshmallow sweetness, and some underlying beery notes but it needs a savoury or bitter character to balance.
43 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne. Brewed with carrots, for which it has received a fair bit of media attention after the fact.
Pours a carrot-orange colour, very hazy but light in the body. Head is almost non-existent, but it's probably white. No lace, no noticeable carbonation. Looks pretty underwhelming.
Nose is dull. Maybe there's something slightly vegetative here, but really it smells like nothing. There's some very mild, clean funk or Saison earthiness, but even these are not particularly interesting. It's incredibly bland given what it set out to do.
If anything the palate is worst. Disappointingly thin opening followed by a dull, flat mid-palate and a thin finish that feels more like a bland pale ale than anything with an interesting concept behind it. Aftertaste is watery.
Feel is incredible light.
Is it drinkable? Sure. It's mostly flavourless. This was a really disappointing effort, because I can imagine how to get a carrot beer tasting rather pleasant. This is weak, uninspired stuff.
Saison brewed with carrots and spices for GABS 2015.
Pours an orangey amber colour, hugely cloudy; almost opaque. Head is white, sparsely webbed and not retaining. Looks OK; intriguing colour.
Smells predominantly of spice. Touch of carrot maybe but then do carrots have a smell? Sweet and vegetative I guess. Touch of cumin, mostly sweet. Surprisingly appealing.
Taste is a bit more saisony than the nose. Slight nutty malt becomes dry and champagney by the mid, and develops a slight barnyard note late. Distinct carroty sweetness from early-mid to the finish that complements it all quite nicely. Actually surprisingly nice, and refreshing.
Decent body, fairly well textured.
Sweet, with some pleasant cut-through notes.
Pours a gold colour, slightly cloudy. Head is white, large webbed bubbles, decent thickness. Looks OK.
Smells grainy, buttery with a bit of Pride of Ringwood hop note. Woody, slightly cardboardy but pretty blah. Could definitely use more edge.
Taste is grainy, with cereal notes, touch of bread and a big yeasty note. Grainy, not IPA enough at all. Weird base and just bland, bordering on unpleasant.
Decent mouthfeel, OK body with a touch of carbonation.
Not really IPA at all and just unpleasant flavours. Sorry, this doesn't really do it for me at all.
This is called a "Mild IPA", and perhaps rather misguidedly is modelled after Australia's cheapest, nastiest midstrength beer XXXX Gold. Well, each to his own, I guess—this supposedly at least ups the classic Cluster character and gives it the "craft beer treatment". Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour, rather clear with a very light-weight body: not unexpected. Head if a full frothy ring of pure white fed by streaming light carbonation. It's not exciting, but it looks pretty decent.
Nose achieves what it sets out to do: but that's no good thing. Yeasty and thin, with no body—excessively mild and almost no distinguishable hop presence beyond a certain leafy tone to the grain husk water. Um, no...
Light and empty in the entry, with a faint sweet grain character... And that about all it gets to. It stays weak and bland, with just occasional swellings of yeast or seltzer water. Nothing on the aftertaste: weak, watery and awful.
Feel is extremely light with a yeasty cloy.
Overall, I was shocked at how bad this is when I tried it (and it was only later that I discovered it was somewhat inspired by XXXX), and even looking back on it now there was nothing redeeming about it. It was a very poorly thought out experiment, in my view.
Had on-tap at the Baden Powell Hotel in Melbourne.
Pours a relatively clear golden colour, with a bit of patchy haze. Head is white but a little inconsistent forming patchy large bubbles. Lace is fine and spidery. Looks pretty decent overall.
Mild fruity characters on the nose with a touch of caramel or crystal malt sweetness that really gives something of a slight cloy to the aroma. Some stone fruit comes through, but the sweetness doesn't come from the fruit aromas. Not bad, but rather generic.
Light mild fruitiness on the front, almost like the character you get from late hopping with Galaxy. They say this is Sauvin and Cascade tho, so who knows... Back gets a slight husky sweet crystal grain character. Finish is clean.
Overall, it's drinkable enough, and it has some dull interest to it. Enough to make you go, "oh this has some interest to it" before you fall asleep again from the boredom. It just doesn't do enough to stick out.