|Highest Rated||Samael's Ale (95 / 100)
||Average score||74 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||The Kaiser (39 / 100)
86 / 100
12oz brown foil-capped bottle purchased from The Willows Market in Menlo Park, CA. This is a bottle of the 5th release.
Pours a deep oily black-brown, with a surprisingly frothy head of pale chocolate bubbles that persist as a fine ring. Body is thick, but with a fineness that suggests good attenuation. Lacing is excellent, forming in leopard-print patterns down the glass. Carbonation is fine and surprisingly swift, given the ABV.
Nose is excellent. It has a big, worty quality to it, with plenty of raw malt—but it's all intricately connected to the dark boozy notes. There's characters of espresso, tiramisu, oak smoke and tobacco, along with bittersweet suggestions of high-cacao chocolate and vanilla buns. The bourbon and oak work well too, although these get specifically tied to the smoke character, which adds a giddy twist. It's very good indeed.
Taste is also superb. There's a lot going on here, and I feel like I need to brace myself against the wall for a second before I really get a handle on it. It's bitter, there's no getting around that, and the bitterness is a beast, almost lashing out with hard coffee and liquorice. But there's softness to it with more vanilla from the oak, warm bourbon and affogato. The feel is slick, and hot with booze.
The bitterness builds up, and honestly, there's an aggression to it which stops it from being drinkable and enjoyable. But oh boy that's a complex and sophisticated beer beyond that.
83 / 100
Pours a dark burnished brown colour, with whispy beige head of large bubbles. Nice revival with a bit of tiltage, decent lace. Looks good but standard.
Smells chocolatey but a little tart, with some odd fruity character in there. Touch of raw cacao with that bittersweet edge, mild coffee note and some tart berries at the edge of it. Maybe a touch more sweetness would really augment this because it has all the hallmarks of a good desserty beer but not quite reaching the heights.
Tastes a lot richer, a LOT bitterer and it's the better for it. Has this lush velvety chocolate character upfront that just grows and floods the mouth with this expanding bittersweet roastiness. Develops some mild caramel and coffee character late-mid that helps augment the sweetness once the bitterness has started to take over. Some really strong and intense earthy spice with the roast on the back but a lingering creamy sweetness. It somehow manages to be intensely bitter and boozey but also creamy, sweet and desserty. It's a remarkable palate.
Mouthfeel is well-bodied but defiantly hot towards the back, just betrays its size as it goes down and becomes a bit too hot and a bit too intense.
Really surprising and challenging beer, but also has a delicious sweetness all over it that keeps you going back for more, even if it's obvious that more = pain. Quite remarkable too to have this soon after the similarly-sized Callipygian which was significantly worse and less interesting.
87 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Chuck's Hop Shop in Seattle. Shared with Sam during a brewday.
Pours a surprisingly light-bodied, but oily brown-black, with a lacy cap of beige bubbles. Lacing forms in tiny spots along the edge of the glass. Carbonation is powdery, and forms in squalls as the glass is tilted.
Nose is boozy and dark. I get notes of woody port, but also smouldering charcoal, a little vanilla and buttery pastry. There's also savoury notes of plaster and red capsicum. There's also a persistent darkness that gives coffee grounds and red wine tannins. It's impressive.
Taste is peppery, dark and really nicely coherent, given all of the complexities. There's pear and ginger, cayenne pepper, turkish delight, creme de cacao, rosemary lamb jus, vanilla creme patissière. Seriously. I could go on. The level of complexity, and the layers which reveal themselves sip after sip are exquisite. The feel contributes, with a pronounced heat that seems to strip back the layers, revealing more and more.
Overall, boom. I'm super impressed. This is an amazingly complex brew that doesn't necessarily derive much satisfaction from being coherent, but is happy being a Hieronymus Bosch painting. When all the complexities are this interesting, I'm very happy with it being a fascinating monstrosity.
57 / 100
Dark brown, lacklustre head with some medium bubbles around the edge. Decent reverse cascade when tilted but not much else to describe, not much lacing either. Looks heavy.
Smells oaky. Boozey with a whiskey edge to it, coconut and vanilla complexity otherwise. Roasty and yeah, spiritous, like cognac fumes waft off it if you keep your nose in it. Standard beer, with some nice oaky boozey strength, not delivered brilliantly.
Taste is actually a little off; like has a flaw to it, tastes a bit too fruity, like kinda acetyldehyde apple-esque? Has some dark malt with sweetness midway and then the late mid is largely roastiness with some lingering underattenuated malt, then some spiritous booze on the finish, again with that brandy fume character like it infiltrates the nostrils. Finishes oaky, like actually quite woody as well as that sweet Anerican whsikey note. Seems flawed, and covers those flaws in its size but not perfectly.
Mouthfeel is a little strong too, boozey on the back with a decent body for the most part. Not bad, yeah.
Yeah look I feel this is a classic example of a beer I probably like more than it deserves, because the big deep complexities cover the issues with it. Without it really covering them properly. So I almost feel like it's even worse, like it's big enough to taste better than it is. Mind you, I was surprised to learn that this is as big as it is because it's not as full-on as a 17.4% beer by all rights should be.
69 / 100
Pours a murky red colour, but visible throughout with nothing too dark in there. Head is dense but thin, just a rim of tightly packed bubbles after a while. Unimpressive lacing. Not bad.
Smells boozey, spicy and complex. Big pie spice notes with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Nice battery character as well (like batter-ish) with a caramel toffee and slightly buttery note. Touch of apple; maybe smells like mulled cider to me. Pretty pleasant.
Taste is incredibly sweet and potent and just gets significantly more potent as it goes through, it just keeps crescendoing. Figgy, datey sweetness upfront, with a big toffee malt base, that gets boozey and boozier and warmer as it goes through. Brandy character with a port sweetness, some vinous and oaky notes but just waxing sweetness and sweet dark fruit character. Leaves the spice behind although it is there, and just goes oaky, boozey and sweet. Not uninspiring, but a bit blarey and shoved down your throat as well. If it is properly compared with the previous beer [Epic Brewing Co "Fermentation Without Representation" Imperial Pumpkin Porter], the previous was better nuanced and just generally more palatable for being subtler and more drinkable.
Smooth, full and really creamy. The malt is huge, and it shows. The booze really doesn't seep through into heat or harshness on the body.
A bit too full on, but it's a sweetness I can tolerate when it's done in this huge fuckoff boozey way. It's just a bit strong and feels like being belted in the fucking face with a big sock full of half-frozen fruit ice that's mixed with brandy.
82 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Davidson's Liquor in Denver, CO. At the time of writing, this is, I believe, the third strongest beer I've ever had. Certainly the third strongest I've ever reviewed.
Pours a deep ruby red, with some fizzing carbonation to begin with that promotes a coarse, insubstantial head. This disappears quickly, leaving a dense, still and murky looking brew. Even when swirled, it doesn't give up additional carbonation.
Nose is rich and thick with pumpkin spices. I get loads of sweet cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of liquorice, and also a whiffy potency of booze. That actually adds to the spice character though, giving the heady, intoxicating punch of something like Sambucca. There's probably some pumpkin sweetness underneath as well, but it's somewhat obscured.
Taste is extremely long and rich. There's booze, there's spice, there's slight solvent characters, but everything is smoothed with oak and vanilla. It starts off sharp and hot, with peppery spice and an almost bitter medicinal character from the booze. But almost immediately, it's cushioned with smooth, dark malt—lots of sweetness, brown sugar and delicate cinnamon bun caramel. The back delivers a long vanilla and barrel character, almost turning tannic, but again always held up by the sweetness. Finish has toffee, port and raisins.
Feel is slick, hot and thick. It coats the throat.
Overall. Wowee. That is definitely one of the most intense pumpkin ales I've had—it has such a heat to it that it needs to be worth it. But the complexity to explore there is pretty deep. It manages to stay fairly drinkable despite its weight, and that's no mean feat.
62 / 100
Bottle shared with me by Jez for my birthday.
Pours a dark murky brown with light bubbly beige head. Nice reverse cascade on the tilt. Decent lace too. Could have more head, but otherwise fun.
Smells quite boozey. Strong brandy character, with some oaky sweetness, caramel choc and vanilla. Touch of banana and coconut; not a big roasty character but big everything else. Pretty nice.
Taste is big and oaky. Huge syrupy coconut character upfront. Nice vanilla sweetness alongside, that develops into some dark stouty sweetness with then strong boozey notes on back, kind of like marmalade but hot and brandy-esque. I like these kind of flavours but this is quite off-balance; hot and a bit astringent as a result.
Decent body but it really gets quite ethanoic and stripping on the back. What I expected from the nose but it's a bit much.
Yeah, has similar character to some of my favourite beers of all time but it's a bit overblown and strong.
22oz brown foil-capped bottle purchased from The Willows Market in Menlo Park, CA.
Pours a thin brown-black colour, with a fuzzy head of beige that ends up little more than a thin ring around the glass, leaving no lacing. Body is really surprisingly light and thin, certianly giving no indication that it's 11.5% ABV.
Nose is pleasant, without being really complex, rich or deeply interesting. Definitely some floral vanilla orchid characters, but they feel quite disconnected from the rest of the beer. Under that is a little dark chocolate and a touch of salty vegemite. Again, it has a thinness to it as well, which is unexpected, but not necessarily what I want in this kind of beer.
Taste is a bit better. Here, it connects with a kind of candy sweetness to give it some slickness across the palate. Back has just a touch of darkness, giving a very slight balancing bitterness. Mostly, the sweetness is balanced by the booze, which finally makes its presence felt with a biting medicinal character that is somewhat connected to the aromatic vanilla.
Overall, it's certainly decent, but there's something about this that doesn't match the potential of an 11.5% ABV beer from Avery. Usually this would be much better, and this feels a little underwhelming.
62 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars in Leura, Australia. That probably makes it grey as grey can be. According to the deciphered bottling date on the bottle, this was bottled in April this year, so not that old all things considered.
Pours a rather clear and light golden colour, with a fine head of white that persists in wonderfully streaking rings of lace. Carbonation is languid, forming streams of rather fine and slow-moving bubbles. Body is fluid and fairly light. Looks good though.
Nose is really very pleasant. Subdued, but flavoursome hops provide a little resin and pine, with a hint of some dusty citric characters as well. There's a touch of grain malt underneath, that provides a slightly savoury undertone. It's not as potent as it would be if it were super fresh, but it's reasonably good all the same.
Taste is a little more timid, and perhaps a little the worse for wear for its journey. Here the grain character is more pronounced, and it leaved the hops feeling a little bit flat and uninspired. Slight piney tingle sits on the middle, but this devolves to a rather generic bitterness at the end, mingled with a slight honey sweetness on the finish. Feel is smooth, and surprisingly, with a bit of weight behind it. Carbonation is nicely tempered.
Overall, it's a very drinkable IPA, even when a couple of months old. It's clearly well-crafted, and I look forward to having it super-fresh sometime. Until then, this grey-market import will do me nicely.
95 / 100
(Best of the Best)
Small 12oz bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney. March 2014 release date.
Pours a wonderfully clear amber colour, with a lovely fine crest of white that looks overtly bright compared to the body. Specks of lace, but not much persistence. Body is thick and fine, and although there's not a lot of carbonation, it's quite fine and static when tilted. Looks really very good.
Nose is wonderful. Big porty sweetness laced with huge tropical fruit notes. Fragrant overripe banana, pineapple and mango, all linked wonderfully with a rich spice that connects somewhat to a suggestion of pepper and booze. I really love it a lot.
Taste is just sublime. Lovely sweet, luscious toffee character, laced with fragrant tropical fruits again: here mango is strong along with a clean vinous note of port or botrytis semillon. Beautiful finish with the wine characters gliding to a fragrant, fruity finish laced with crisp toffee aromatics. Aftertaste has remnants of banana, and a lilting residual pepper spice. Booze is there somewhere but never affects the flavour, which is balances throughout. It's phenomenal, gorgeous stuff.
Feel is thick and rich. Beautifully done.
This is a truly phenomenal beer. The complexity is there, and there's so much to explore. More: there's some really interesting characters that you don't expect even for this style of beer. Even more still: it manages to be phenomenally well balanced, meaning it's supremely drinkable despite the weight. I genuinely love this beer—it's at the very peak of the craft.
75 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco.
Pours a deep red-black colour, quite clear when held to the light. Head forms a coarse mess of beige froth that leaves tiny, intricate lace. Body is solid without being heavy—it moves around quite smoothly in the glass. Carbonation is fine. Looks good.
Nose is extremely pleasant. Big toasty, nutty sweetness, with overtones of coconut, Nutella and vanilla. Smooth, and extremely potent. Slight popcorn characters come through too, which would be unusual were it not for the darker grounding that just make it become part of the sweetness. Really genuinely excellent stuff.
Taste is much more restrained, but still solid: clean, smooth dark malt with echoes of those aromatic nut characters. Slight liquorice tones and a hint of something slightly medicinal on the mid-palate. The main problem is that it's really quite light towards the back: it makes it feel thin, whereas the nose made it seem like it was going to be smooth, rich and luscious.
Very drinkable overall, and with some really great flavours to it. This could be a genuinely superb brew if it were a bit bigger... I say that, and then remember that perhaps the "bigger" version of this is something like Avery's Mephistopheles Stout. And, yes, that is a beer throbbing with indescribable power. I guess it's no bad thing to be the smaller, wimpier brother to a beer like that.
39 / 100
Pours a deep brownish amber, almost opaque, no head but a quick swish brings up off-white bubbly rim. Bit flat-looking.
Intensely sweet, with toffee, brandy snap and molasses; rum and apricot, and yeah, just fortified anything. Too strong, too sweet.
Taste is intense grainy, with creamed corn, rice syrup, soy sauce and a bit of spiritous rum note. Tastes underfermented and grainy yet strong. Not completely unnuanced and deep-end sweet. I don't like it, but I can get the merit in the palate, and know it's not an amateur brew.
Flat, bit of heat at the back. Fairly uninteresting texture.
Bit rocket fuel-y, malt liquor-esque, but not as overblown as I may have expected. I had this blind and it's given Avery a big hit in the average ratings. Another example of a style that doesn't need to be imperialised.
83 / 100
I was extremely excited to find a bottle of this at Platinum Liquor in Sydney. Avery were once one of my favourite breweries, and I could get their beers regularly in California. But then they stopped for some reason, and I haven't had anything from them for some time. Shared this bottle with Sam and Rich.
Pours an extremely cloudy orange-hazed murk with an underlying redness that I associate with a lot of Munich malt. Head forms a thin lattice of yellow-tinged off-white and leaves tiny specks of lace. Body is extremely thick and rich: bulbous and heavy in the glass. The cloudiness is probably not perfect for the style, but otherwise, I'm certainly looking forward to drinking it.
Nose is sweet and thick, but with a cutting bite like dried apricots, or perhaps more like apricot brandy—anything fortified with fruits in it, I guess. There's a strange, toasty caramel character to it as well, giving it oomph, sweetness in body, but without becoming sugary or sickly. I'm impressed.
Taste is also extremely good: big and rich, thick with an abrasive malt character that manages to balance itself seemingly by itself. In fact, I think the subtle booze character (which is noticeable throughout, but never forefront) is the thing which pares back the heavy sweetness, providing a biting cut to drag it back into a slight astringency. Finish certainly has a tingle of booze with more lingering apricot and barley sugar characters, but the feel manages to stay quite dry, meaning it's not thick and heavy after each sip. I'm again, pretty impressed.
Overall, this is an outstanding beer. I love the restrained richness: the malt characters, the booze, the feel which goes from rich and full to light and crisp. I somewhat stupidly feared that this bottle might be quite old (after all, it was clearly grey imported, and it was some time ago that I even acquired it), but this is the sort of beer which works well even if it is old: and if this bottle is past its prime, then goddamn this must be amazing at its peak.
61 / 100
355ml can, shared with @tobeerornottobe in Sydney, Australia.
Pours a clear, unassuming yellow, with a minimal, filmy white head, and an exceptionally light body. Fine carbonation and decent lacing, but it's hard to ignore the fact that this looks like a big pile of nothingâor at least, it looks like any other pale American adjunct lager.
From here, it's an upward trend, by the looks of things, with a bright, fresh hop fragrance giving an appearance. This lends a truly clean character to the brew, without compromising its light drinkability. Nice.
Taste is similar. A genuinely pleasant, if a little weak, clean pilsner body, lending enough hop bitterness to be crisp, without adding too much in the way of bitterness. Feel is exceptionally light, but spritzy with carbonation and suitable for the style.
As far as an American pale lager goes, it's pretty good. In terms of beer overall? Well, meh, it's clearing a very low bar. It's not too bad, and I like that it has genuine hop characters to it, but it's certainly below par when it comes to the "Avery" measure.
76 / 100
Pours a very dark brown, just a hint of mahogany up to the light. Head is beiege, whispy and cloudy but nice film left behind. Lace is pretty impressive. Good-looking beer.
Smells quite nutty and sweet. Hint of darkness but mostly sweet with brown sugar, vanilla, peanut butter and a hint of licorice. Yeah, nice sweetness, complexity, touch of spice. Bit savoury. Not bad at all.
Taste is darker on the front but very sweet as well. Lots of vanilla, with a touch of bourbon booziness. Good black pepper, star anise and some dark chocolate notes on there as well. Nice flavours from the booze on the back, but also sharpens up the finish with a hint of bourbon and maybe some port as well. Very nice brew.
Smooth, big, but a bit hot on the back. Just need to tone the booze down a bit and you're onto a winner (Yeah, good one, me giving Adam Avery advice).
Good beer, very nice flavours. A bit hot but plenty of craftsmanship to make something this tasty and flavourful.
78 / 100
Pours a surprisingly fluid black-brown, with a fine head of light brown bubbles. Some speckled lacing. Carbonation is extremely fine at least, despite the rather light body. It looks decent enough, but I've seen better looking imperial stouts, especially ones this heavy.
Nose is toasty, but not extremely strong, dark or complex. Slight vegetation or fruit characters come through, along with a touch of phenolic booze. It's a deep enough nose, but I've had far better.
Taste is way, way, way better. It has a really lovely sweetness and smoothness on the palate, balanced by a pleasantly dark roasted character, that only really realises as a nuttiness for most of the palate, then gives a roasted bitterness on the finish. It's still surprisingly supple and smoothâit doesn't have much roastiness or much booze, and a bit more aggression I feel would help.
I really like this beer. However, this style has the potential to really blow me away, and Avery is a brewery I believe has the potential to brew such a beer. I do really like this beer, But I wish I had have loved it so much that I proposed to it on the spot.
87 / 100
Dry-hopped rye saison? Did you just put three of my favourite beer-terms into a single beer? Is this even going to work? Let's let the great Avery Brewing Co answer these questions. Tried on-tap at Barcade in Williamsburg, NY.
Pours a deep and burnished amber-brown colour, with enough haze to catch and expel the light. Head is fine-bubbled, but a little weak and filmy. Not much lace, just the odd patch of foam left behind as the beer diminishes.
Nose is slightly bready, but with deep rye notes, giving its own acidity that mingles with the true funkâalmost gueuze-like notes of rubber and crushed leaf. The leafy freshness is the only real suggestion of the hops, but otherwise it's very niceâa weird mix, but one that works really well.
Taste is rather sweet, with clear rye notes singing out with a touch of bready acidity, and mingled notes of cacao nibs and carob. Some cleansing bite on the back and a touch of organic bitterness. Not a lot of acidity, really, apart from what is imparted by the rye, but this is actually welcome, as it would undermine the smoothness and the dark sweet characters. Smooth, complex, gorgeous.
Yep. I'm a fan. I love it when breweries put together something unusual that really works. Avery has done it again with their anniversary releases; this is an excitingly different but brilliantly realised brew.
71 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour. Head is off-white and dissipated to a thin cloud, but lovely cascading bubbles when it's swilled or moved. Haze is damn nice too.
Smell is lovely and hoppy. Lots of citrus tang with lemon, sherbet, and floral lavender notes, pine, sawdust and even some coconut lingering at the back. Nice complex hops, good malt base supporting.
Taste is also a pleasant affair. Good malt foundation upfront with rich caramel, toffee and honey-oat notes, quickly turns hoppy with a big citrus-forward bitterness, lemon rind and grapefruit on there, touch of rye and also some lemon sherbet. The lifted flavours don't quite last long enough, though, and the resounding finish is quite resinous, bitter, and just actually not as resonant as it could be. Good, not great.
Enough body to carry the bitterness, but smooth and light enough to drink. A winning texture and very impressively done for 8.5%
Good beer, very enjoyable, but where it might have shone, it instead goes with the flow a bit and becomes slightly pedestrian.
81 / 100
Purchased in the US for @LaitueGonflable, who wanted me to get as many Avery beers as I could before they start closing down their distribution.
Pours a pleasantly hazed golden orange colour with a fine white head that sinks to a film disappointingly quickly. Lacing is speckled, but the body is very fully and gelatinous. Looks chewy. I approve.
Nose is crisp and slightly resinous, with green hops forming the basis. A little bit of buttered bread coming through, but that's no doubt the very heavy body making itself felt. Very decent aroma.
Taste is probably even better, with that same buttery sweetness lending itself for a very smooth and supple canvas on which to paint hoppy goodness. Here, the hops form a crisp and enlivening dance of sweet lemon, mellow nuttiness and a slightly herbal finish. Feel is very slick and thick, but still, the buttery character lends smoothness.
A very nice IPA. Perhaps not the freshest and most robust example I've had, but very tasty and very sinkable. It's almost evil in how drinkable it is.
74 / 100
Tried as the Local Taphouse's bottle special.
Pours a darkish brown with red tinge. Head is beige and sunk, leaving a tight little cradle of sticky lace. Pretty decent.
Smell is incredibly sweet. So much brown maltiness with brown sugar, treacle on there as well as nice floral, nectary hints including Burdock, rosewater and sultanas as well. A big malt bomb here, very enjoyable and enticing.
Yeah, lots of dried fruit on the front of the palate: sultanas and raisins mostly; develops more malty notes midway with hints of brown sugar, molasses, golden syrup and a touch of cocoa. Quite dry on the back with some grainy, almost yeasty characters that get quite biscuity and actually give off a touch of cola. It's a lovely complex palate, very nice flavours all over.
Mouthfeel is smooth, but a bit thin. There's enough there for what needs to be but it's not an exciting or stimulating texture.
Yeah, that's a very enjoyable sweet, yet sessionable, beer. I'm a fan.
77 / 100
Pours a dark brown with a mahogany bent, with decent frothy head of ochre, sinking steadily to leave some whispy trails of lace behind. Nice head pattern, very nice everything.
Smells quite roasty and pleasant with some sweetness to it. Touch of coffee but with a dark caramel edge, toffee-esque really and I think some floral hops just peeking out, a tad grassy but lending it a welcome freshness. Not quite enough of anything but very enjoyable.
Taste is quite pleasant also, much dark flavour but mostly sweet with chocolatey notes, more toffee with a really nice brandied edge, yeah takes on a warmth towards the back with a nutty marzipan touch and a bitterness which is hoppy-grassy, resinous as well. Bit of darkness lingers on the back, roasty but not burnt. Very deft touch involved here, for an enjoyable, balanced taste experience.
Bit hot around the edges on the mouthfeel, esp. on the mid, and a bit of dryness around the back. Decent body otherwise.
Great drop of beer, really. Tasty and pretty damn smooth.
80 / 100
Purchased in the US, from a location that is apparently no longer getting Avery beers (sob!), brought back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours quite a deep, dark brown, so much so that it's fair enough to call it genuinely black. Good opacity and a foaming head of pock-marked beige bubbling. Lacing is anarchic. Looks great.
Very heavily dry hopped, obviously, as a big resiny and pleasantly sharp green hop aroma punches the nose. It has the American-style power to it, but oddly, not the American-style flavours. Much more of a continental European style, more resiny, slightly earthier, less fruit and citrus. It's gorgeous nonetheless.
Under this, is a pleasant dark, slightly grainy note, which again suggest German roots. Very nice indeed.
Taste is very interesting, with a much stronger grainy lager character coming through. Minimal hop bitterness, although a roasted grain note gives a dark pumpernickel toast character to the finish. This mingles with some of the earthy hop flavours to produce an interesting melange of whole grains sweetened with honey, and cleansed with organic greenness.
Feel is a little light, which is assumedly what the lager aspect lends it.
Such a wonderful mix of flavours make this an exceptionally good one-off brew.The bready, grainy characters give it heft and body, and the hop fragrance gives it vivacity. It's a great combination.
75 / 100
Pours a pale straw colour with mild turpidity to it. Head is white in colour but lacklustre, just a ring of foam with isolated bubbles here and there. A swish gives it about half a finger back. Lace is decent, not great. Not a great-looking beer in all honesty; hope it smells good.
Smells pretty good, actually. Funky with a mild amount of acid on there. Some citric notes in the background with orange peel and a light cranberry hint. A wet blanket funk at the back gives a slight nuttiness, but overshadowed by the refreshing tartness, nice and fruity.
Taste is fresh and pleasant; lots of fruit with some white grape skin and orange zest on there. Lots of tang and slight acid complexity towards the mid that has shades of an immature sauvignon blanc. Some marzipan character and light sweetness hanging at the back, fructose for sure with a hint of granny smith apples. Slight champagney dryness, then finish is funky with a hint of rain-soaked barnyard flavour, slight grassy hint to finish and just a touch of damp basement. Very refreshing though, and nicely balanced with mild flavours for the most part; just never overwhelms the palate.
Quite a bit of zip and zing on the feel. Nice tingle, good body. Just feels like a party in my mouth, and there's a stripper passed out on the couch.
I said at the start that this wasn't a good-looking beer. But it's got substance, and heart. One could totally fall for this beer.
81 / 100
Purchased at BevMo Sunnyvale, CA, and brought back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe after they helped me move house. @tobeerornottobe left before the event though and missed out.
Pours a slightly hazed pale straw colour with a voluminous head of fine frothy white head. Some sudsy speckled lacing. Not a lot. Fine bead of carbonation looks very refined indeed.
Nose continues the refined, almost champagne like quality of the beer. Light dry characters, and a slight nut-butter sweetness. Hint of vinous acidity, with a light honey character keeping it together. It's a delicious. Saisony? Not so much, but it has some truly excellent characters.
Taste is also very good, although the acidity is surprisingly absent here. Light sweetness, more nuttiness, a touch of fruit and a biting yeasty finish that is subtly bitter but quite dry as well. Very well put together. Feel is surprisingly smooth, and has some body. It's not immediately dry, but is sparkling and refreshing.
A lovely brew, and an extremely refreshing and refined one. If it doesn't have many true saison characteristics, it can be forgiven, because it's an extremely good and extremely well made beer. I enjoyed it immensely.
78 / 100
Pours a vibrant orange colour, very slight haze in the body. Head is mostly thin but leaves some pretty nice sheets of off-white lacing around the glass. Slow bead, looks pretty good.
Smells very malty, but with nice - and slightly odd - fruity notes. Some sort of tangerine on there and hints of pomegranate as well. Overall it's very malty with a huge caramel hit, but that tang just really peps it up nicely. I do maintain, though, that it's a bit odd.
Taste is quite heavy, but enjoyable. Huge maltiness to it, almost earthy with burnt toffee and some really nice orangey notes - orange syrup and orange blossom floral notes. Yeah, a fair amount of hop on the back, nice bitterness that doesn't quite quell the sweetness, it's all blended together with that sweet nectar and golden syrup lasting right to the end. An odd soft drink tang to it right at the end, not unpleasant, just odd. Yeah, I maintain, even now, that there's an oddness to this beer but it certainly doesn't put me off.
Fair foamy texture with a warmth from the alcohol on the back. Nice soupiness to it; pretty good.
Yeah, that tang gives this beer a pop! But otherwise it's still sweet and pleasant. A little heavy, a little odd, but really delicious anyway.
81 / 100
Purchased from City Beer Store in San Francisco, and lugged back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable and @ToBeerOrNotToBe.
Pours a thick and heavy dark golden colour, with a fine bubbled and frothy head of pale orange foam. Lacing is good, and it forms some very pleasant cascades. Extremely nice overall.
Pleasant sharp hops on the nose, but sweeter than pure aggressive citrus. More candied orange, with subtle pepper spice and a bit of cut grass. Pretty pleasant overall.
Taste is surprisingly smooth and gentle. Pleasant orange and tangerine bite, very clean with a pleasant dry finish. Minimal sweetness except for the esters off the hops, but it leaves it very subtle and very approachable. Mouthfeel is slick, but with lots of tiny fine bubbled carbonation. It's perfect for the style.
This is a really, really good beer. So pleasantly subtle, extremely drinkable, but with such characters and fragrant hoppiness. Lovely drop.
73 / 100
Pours a dark burgundy colour, deep red tinge in the light, beautiful beige head with a slight pink tinge. Dense and creamy, with a goodly amount of sticky lace, could be thicker. Pretty damned nice.
Lots and lots of funk on that nose, with some lemon juice, green apple notes, yeah, just kind of wild in general. Maybe a hint of some roasty malt notes but it's primarily sour with a washed rind cheese hint and green underripe fruit. Not puckering, though; pleasant.
Taste is nice. Good maltiness on the front, with dark roasty notes not to the point of being ashy. Funk comes through strongly on the mid with a note of cheese rind, some lucerne character and a good fruity note with hints of dark cherry and blackcurrant. Finishes very dry but never gets puckering, just a nice refreshing tartness. A nice rich beer overall with a nicely tempered funky sourness.
Feels a little thin and then the dryness is a letdown. With that much dryness I feel I'd want more texture.
A refreshingly sour wild ale, not overly done. Quite a nice balance.
76 / 100
Pours a deep reddish black colour, with a frothy and vibrant head of mocha-coloured creamy foam. Lacing is excellent. It looks active as well, an interesting characteristic for such a dark beer. Really nice, and very unique.
Nose is a big oaky whiff, like sticking your head in a used wine barrel. In fact, the oak almost precludes everything else - leaving big vinous notes, a touch of acidity and lots of strong wood characteristics. There is something a little sweeter behind it as well, like dates or vanilla, but mostly, the acidity and the vinous oak rule the roost.
Taste is more complex than expected, and doesn't have the big acidic characters I was preparing myself for. Deep dark tannins around the edges with a light vinous acidity which just highlights some of the other depth. Some almost Belgian-style round meaty characters, finishing a little roasted and dark. Feel is thin, but expected for the style.
A very decent American Wild. Pleasant complexity, lots of oak character, subtle acidity and a nod to the Belgian genesis of the style. I enjoyed it a lot.
61 / 100
Pours an extremely cloudy pale wheaty yellow colour - almost like lemon juice, with an initially frothy head of white bubbles which just dissipates to a light foam on the top. Only minimal carbonation. Body looks light and pleasant. I'm impressed by the cloudiness, which is often tamped down in the non Belgian examples. Looks very good indeed.
Nose is a little spicy, with hints of pepper and grapefruit rind, but it's rather muted. There's a light sour wheat character to it, and a round lightness, but it's all quite subtle. It doesn't impress me with robust fragrance.
Overly carbonated palate, sparkling and tingling with extremely zealous bubbling over the tongue from the first sip. The flavour is again very muted, perhaps even more so than the nose. Quite thin, with a light seltzer acidity and a wishy-washy spice note that I fear I only notice because I'm looking hard for it.
It's a pretty average wit, but it's drinkable as the style almost automatically implies. Not a huge amount to recommend it, but it's refreshing and quaffable enough. Just remember there are much better examples.
93 / 100
Pours a thick black satiny curve of delicious deep, dark malignity. Head is a full and creamy head of biscuit brown, filtering out with some wonderful cascading in the glass. Some lacing, the head is extremely fine. It looks deep, heavy, rich, malicious and captivatingly evil.
Lots of wonderful boozy, dark and sweet aromas. Certainly noticeable hints of roasted coconut, smoke, roasted almonds, even spit roasted meat. It's all so deliciously deep and dark and complicated. Very complex, and utterly delectable.
Very full and sensual flavours on the palate, huge notes of rich roasted malts, sweet deep toasty flavours of smoked chocolate, and again piquant notes of roasted meat. It fits together so well that you don't notice the oddities on the palate, they add some fascinating notes of interest, while still caressing your palate with the warm, smooth, silky touch of sweet roasty goodness. Absolutely phenomenally delicious.
Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, silky and amazing.
An incredibly complex and lusciously delicious treat. Very flavoursome, rich and complicated. It sticks itself in your face, but then caresses it gently. Wonderful.
90 / 100
Pours a very dark brown, almost black but with a brown glimmer at the bottom of the glass. Enormous mocha head, but I'm the only one from the three sharing this bottle who got any head. Sinks slowly, retains as a pleasant cloud, lacing is nice, a little slippery, but overall that's a shit-hot looking beer.
Nose is very burnt and dark with a strong resiny character, almost metho-esque with lathes of strong wood smoke, very burnt character. Impressively so, though, very potent - just black and dark and sour and carbon-based. Great nose.
Taste is...holy shit! That'll add a body's worth of hair to your chest. One sip explodes with flavour in your mouth. Burnt, dark, soldering roastedness that descends into an intense, biting alcohol all the way through the back, and finishes fiery and hot, so acrid and smoky and sizzles all the way down. It has the most bizarre afterburn long after the finish, still burning as it goes down. All of this would make me hate it if not for the fact that the taste for the most part is exquisite and deliciously sweet, with dark chocolate, oak and smoke flavours all through it.
Mouthfeel is thick and rich and that burn is unbelievably stimulating. This is a red hot stab in the guts of a beer. I love it, what an experience. It's painful and explosive but a magnificent treat nonetheless. A fine monument to brewing.
76 / 100
Pours languously, a thick bronze-copper colour, with a big head of fine yellowish bubbles. Not a lot of carbonation present, and what there is takes its time wallowing in the syrupy body. Lacing is excellent. Looks good.
Lots of hops on the nose, resiny pine, grapefruit and citrus. Not a huge sweetness to it - this is obviously the American hop-heavy style barleywine. On the nose at least, it could easily be mistaken for an American IPA.
Early alcohol heat hits with a tangy sweetness mellowing across the palate. This then dissipates leaving a crisp, but slightly blunt hop bitterness. I don't know if it's the heavy body, but it's not as sharp on the palate as the nose (or the "100 IBUs" on the label) would have you believe. There's a dark sweetness, like fruit compote, there which dampens the attack of the hops. Mouthfeel is sensual smooth, which also helps the drinkability.
This is a very pleasant beer. The sweetness sets it apart from what would otherwise be a high-alpha IPA, but it's a very complementary sweetness, which goes well with the hop character. I found myself enjoying this one a fair bit.