62 / 100
Earl Grey Vienna Lager, brewed for GABS 2017 and tried on tap at the festival.
Pours an amber colour, clear with large bubbly head, cream in colour and a nice retention. Maybe a touch pale for the style, but looks pretty good.
Smells vanilla on the malt largely, with a slight cocoa hint giving a touch of darkness, plus some citrus towards the back, maybe orange but feels mostly tangeriney to me. Not big on the Earl Grey, anyway.
Taste also kicks off with a vanilla character. Sweet for the most part of the front before a mild tang takes over midway. Herbal tea notes, and some complementary citrus towards the back, and finishes with a clean old world hoppy note, quite English really. Decent tang midway but otherwise just plain sweet/beery.
Thin body, decent texture though that goes down alright.
Thin and subdued, mild. Definitely could have upped all the flavours even within the realms of Vienna lagers.
62 / 100
Campari IPA, brewed for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival in Melbourne on tap.
Pours a gold colour, clear, with thin cream-coloured head, whispy. Looks alright, but a bit meh.
Smells fruity, mostly. Tangerine largely, maybe some bitter orange, so yeah, campari. Touch of passionfruit from the hops, and a fair bitterness overall. Not bad.
Very bitter on the palate. Campari bitter really. Orange tang from the front to the mid and then that Campari, ashy character towards the back, quite resinous with a big grapefruit edge as well. Orange, tangerine, yeah it's all citrus fruit, with varying notes of tanginess and bitterness, and a touch of tobacco. Not bad, does what it promises.
Thin body, shows through a bit too much texture.
Does what it says, but I'm not a big fan of what it says.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a reddish or amber black, quite clear in the glass, with a surprisingly light body. Head is a thin honey colour, forming a fine ring. Lacing is decent. Looks decent all up.
Nose has a slight vanilla barrel funk to it with a touch of acetic acid. Some oak and a light oxidised cardboard character. Slight hint of cocoa dust as well. It's got some interesting if disparate characters to it at least.
Light clean entry with a bit of cherry on the front. Mild tartness works in with a rather smooth toastiness mid-palate. Back has some tannins and oak, working rather well. Aftertaste is long and smooth, with vanilla coming through above the mild tartness.
Feel is light and astringent, working reasonably well.
Overall, this was pretty nice. It's not their most interesting offering for GABS, but I like that Young Henry's do tend away from their regular brand of rather bland mass-produced ales for festivals at least. This certainly was something like them going all out.
59 / 100
So this is apparently a blend of Young Henry's Chocolate Stout and Flanders Red. Just on the brief I'd expect the Flanders portion to dominate so I'm classifying it accordingly.
Pours a dark brown with a red tinge to it. White head, quite foamy but very thin and dissipates quickly. OK I guess?
Smells somewhat oaky and sweet, with coconut, vanilla blending rather uncomfortably with barnyard and a touch of chardonnay oak. Again, weird.
Taste is probably also uncomfortable. Vanilla sweetness upfront that descends into champagne acidity, with notes of barnyard and some green apple crispness on the late-mid. Don't really know what to make of this, it's kind of all over the place.
Decent texture though, body is smooth and it all goes down nicely.
Can't nail this one down at all. It's alright I guess but I think it probably works better in its component parts than together.
59 / 100
A sahti brewed with rye and botanicals, with the emphasis on Juniper. Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.
Pours a dunkel-brown colour with a fair amount of hazing to it. Head is a pale beige colour that leaves a firm, solid crest as it goes down, with some definite lacing. Body is quite solid, and leaves pretty fine carbonation in its wake as it's tilted. Looks good.
Mild sweet aromas dominate the beer, with a wheaten biscuit character noticeable from the start. The sweetness sticks around but something (possibly the botanicals) gives it a distinct suggestion of thinness. It's not bad though.
Light mild entry on the palate, with a little tartness and spicy fruit coming through towards the middle. The sweetness appears towards the middle-end, and doesn't back down, leaving a long linger of sweetness that makes it feel slightly unbalanced. Feel is full as a result, but I'm not sure that's an asset right here.
Overall, it's okay—the sweetness really sticks around when you don't want it to, but there's certainly some interesting stuff going on. At the very least, it's another beer that proves once again (after Divine Manchu last year) that Young Henry's don't do GABS by halves. And that's a great thing.
60 / 100
Pours a gold/amber colour, just slightly cloudy (was expecting more, potentially). Foamy white head sticks around OK. Not bad.
Smells savoury, spicy, saucy. HP sauce and barbecue sauce in there, with a big belt of tomato. Spicy; savoury. Unique.
Taste is similar with a touch of tartness as well. Apple cider notes with a touch of vinegar. More of that tomato note, both sweet ketchup and underripe fresh tomato on there, umami notes and a touch of salt. Errrm... weird.
Body feels a little light, but I think it would really make this a challenge if this flavour resembled the texture of sauce at all, so I'm grateful it's light.
A distinctly odd one. Will be a challenge to pretty much everyone, but it's growing on me. good on Adamson for trying something so completely whack.
2012 Australian Amateur Homebrewing Champion beer, brewed at Young Henry's for GABS Festival 2013. Tried on tap at the festival in Melbourne, May 2013.
Pours a coffee colour, clear with nice beige crown of foam on the top. Pretty-nice-looking, if a little pale for the style.
Smells sweet, with a touch of roast. Notes of chocolate and a subtle espresso character as well. Decent schwarz smell.
Taste is again pretty standard for the style. Slight maltiness upfront descends into darker unsweetened chocolate notes, with a touch of licorice spice and a slight dark caramel note. Decent darkish palate; quite sweet though.
Fairly light on body but it matches the palate and the style nicely. Slight touch of carbonation.
I'm not a huge fan of schwarzbiers as a rule because they seem to straddle a bunch of different styles. This is certainly a decently made example though.
Had on hand pump at the Royal Albert Hotel in Sydney. This is an oyster stout.
Pours a deep brown colour, relatively opaque but with a rather thin body. Fluffy, large-bubbled head of beige that froths from the pump at pour but then crackles its way out of existence. Fine, but almost no carbonation: about what you expect. Lace forms in specks.
Brown bread noticeable on the nose, a bit savoury, but wholesome and grainy. Rounded stout characters with a dusty savoury note that reminds me of miso. Roasted characters are there, though, with a flat filter coffee aroma.
Taste is a little better and more integrated. Rounded stout characters give a muted sweetness and a savoury roast character, while more brown bread comes through mid-palate. Slight hint of pancake towards the finish, although there's certainly less of the lip-smacking savoury character I've had from other oyster stouts.
Feel is pleasant from the hand-pump, as expected.
Drinkable and nice. I like the smoothness, I like the stout. The oysters have some presence (and could use maybe a touch more). Overall, this is a tasty drop from the YH guys.
75 / 100
How to even start on this beer? 1.5% ABV Kombucha beer, fermented with a traditional Kombucha SCOBY (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). I had no idea at all what to expect, and still this beer was way off what very faint expectations I might have had. Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours innocuously enough: a hazy golden colour with a solid hazing. Head forms a white, ringed crest, quite fine. Some lacing and lots of carbonation. Looks good.
Now it gets weird. Sweet and sour. Tomato ketchup. Brown Sauce. BBQ sauce. Smoky, funky, sickly sweet and piquant. And yet utterly captivating. "What the fuck is this?" I say, and can't stop myself going in for another sniff, and another, and another.
And it continues: spicy entry on the palate, pepper (where did that come from?), acid, more ketchup and malt vinegar. And now another direction? Smoky, burnt tea, Lapsang Souchong. And again, now it's savoury and dry. More HP sauce? Onion? Pepper? Where will this go next? It is *so* extremely bizarre—like out of the realms of anything I've ever tried.
I do believe that this is the most bizarre beer I've ever sampled. I can see how people would hate this—worse even, I can see people creating religions dedicated to the destruction of this abomination. But all it takes is a little acceptance and you can completely embrace this bizarre, misshapen monster. Utterly, utterly unique and outstanding. This was no doubt one of my highlights of the festival.
70 / 100
Long-neck enjoyed with a meal at Bloodwood Newtown.
Coppery red colour, lacking head a bit, just a rim, but leaves some vibrant off-white lace around. Not a bad looking real ale.
Smells English mostly, toffee malt and crispy caramel. I was thinking crystal malt but maybe not, with some sweet notes and mild passionfruit seed from the Galaxy hops, maybe a slight grassy hop note as well. Really quite pleasant.
Taste is very malt-driven, with strong caramel notes throughout. Toffee and a touch of milkiness to it. Crystallised sugar late-mid and finishes with slight spice and herbal hop finish. Clean, fairly austere and extremely drinkable.
Fluid, maybe a touch thin. Leaves a decent after-taste and feel.
The southern hemisphere hops work a treat with the English malt base. Perfect accompaniment to meats and risottos, as well. Tasty.
Tried on-tap at the brewery during Sydney Craft Beer Week. Beer was brewed to support local radio station FBi, and was brewed using Davidson plum but in the hoppy American Red Ale style, purportedly.
Pours, in fact, a solid amber hue, with perhaps a tinge of red to it, perfectly clear when held to the light. Body is really very light. Head is a pleasant creamy white hue that leaves impressive lace. Overall, it looks pretty decent.
Nose is hoppy, but with a slightly herbal, slightly ashy hop character for the most part. Slight cereal grain character comes through, possibly just the conflation of the leafy hops and the sweetness. It's solid and decent without being exciting.
Taste is mild and smooth on entry, again progressing into those slightly grainy malt characters mid-palate. Fortunately, the hops do manage to cut through it a little, leaving a relatively clean finish by the end. Aftertaste is smooth, with a rustic, slightly herbal bite to it.
Overall, it's not bad stuff. It tends toward bland rather than flavoursome, but it's solid enough.
58 / 100
Tried on-tap at the launch at the Royal Albert Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week. This beer was designed for maximum "umami" character: an altbier brewed with green tea and seaweed.
Pours a burnished golden colour, with a fine off-white head. Body is solid and holds its carbonation well. The head slips a little, but leaves solid, very complex lace. Looks really good.
Nose is slightly muted, much more than I expected: some slightly sweet maltiness, a touch of tea, tannins and a touch of pepper. There are some savoury, umami notes, along with an odd freshness, probably from the seaweed. It doesn't quite hit its stride, but it's not bad.
Taste is light and crisp, again with some of that savoury character, but this is secondary to the tea and the mild bitterness that comes out of this. If anything, the nose promised a little bit more complexity, and certainly a bit more true flavour: it seems a little thin on the palate.
It's interesting, but it falls somewhat in the middle of the road. Were it more extreme, it would be more interesting, and probably fall into the theme better. Were it more tasty, it could do more with less uniqueness. As it is it feels a little bland and uninteresting: and when a green-tea and seaweed beer is "uninteresting", that's a disappointment.