|Highest Rated||Devil's Advocate (73 / 100)
||Average score||59 / 100 (Decent)|
|Lowest Rated||Charmer (41 / 100)
640ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel.
Pours a surprisingly light brown-black colour, something you might expect for a porter, but not for an imperial stout. Head is a loose-bubbled beige, which leaves minimal lace. Carbonation is also very light. Body is surprisingly slight—it doesn't have the grip on the sides of the glass that you expect from a big stout. I'm underwhelmed.
Nose is pleasant—it comes across more like an export stout, with toasty rounded characters and a distinct nutty sweetness. It has a leafy organic character, as well, like green tea or dried parsley. However, that's again not necessarily what I want from an imperial stout. It's certainly lacking the bite and impact of a better imperial stout.
Taste is decent. Again, it comes across a little bit like a solid export stout, with toasty grain, chocolate and rounded nut characters. It really lacks body, heat and flavour of a really big stout. It's lightweight, especially on the back, where you might expect a slickness and a big welling of roast character. Instead it peters out to a smooth, but underwhelming finish.
Feel is smooth, but really lacking weight, especially for a 9% ABV beer.
Honestly, this is a good beer, and I'm quite enjoying drinking it. But to be perfectly honest, it's not a great example of an imperial stout. Nowadays, I think you pick up a 9% ABV stout off the shelf and you have expectations that this beer can't match.
62 / 100
Mixed-fermentation Berliner Weiss (Brett and Saison Yeast) with hops, brewed for GABS festival 2017. Tried there on tap.
Pours a champagne colour, very sedimenty and cloudy. White foamy head, retains well. Looks great.
Smells funky, not overly sour. Some sweet vanilla and spice notes to the malt, blending with a champagne vinous kind of character, with some lemon and underripe green apple around the edge. Hoppy, I guess, too. Quite pleasant.
Taste is a bit lacklustre compared to the nose. Not a whole lot on the front, then develops some saisony barnyard characters on the mid-palate before descending into a light vinegary tartness. Back is mostly citrus and it's more hoppy than anything, with a slight salty character lingering on the back. Bit confused and incoherent.
Decent body, holds its own against what tartness is there.
Bit uninspiring overall, just feels like a haphazard mishmash of different things, but there are some elements that could really pop if they weren't so concerned with doing so much with what's there and could emphasise the good characters instead.
70 / 100
IPA fermented with 100% Brettanomyces, brewed for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival in Melbourne on tap.
Champagne colour, sedimenty cloud throughout. Large bubbly off-white head. Not bad, I like the haziness.
Smells Bretty, with a fair tropical pineapple note as well. Caramel malt background, with a champagney tartness and a hint of corporeal funkiness. Bit sweet, oddly, overall though.
Taste is Bretty, funky and a nice sweetness upfront and underlying the whole thing. Notes of champagne and vinegar, with a funky barnyard note towards the back. Some pineapple tartness and zestiness and a note of peppery spice late-mid as well. Really pleasant and ultimately good balance.
Decent texture but the carbonation shows through quite sharply for some reason.
Decent drop. Doesn't fully 'wow' me, but there's plenty to like here.
On tap at the Keg & Brew.
Pours a pale golden, steady but prominent bead. Head is white, fluffy and nice. Looks alright; head is great though. Actually for the style, cracking.
Smells grainy and unimpressive. Definitely needs more hops for the style. Smells of vanilla, musk, corn and rice. Maybe a hint of citrus but not much. Needs more.
Taste has a big Belgian phenolic hit. Kind of grainy upfront, big husky flavour, sweet caramel then sulphurous midway. Gets dank and phenolic on the back. I'm not really feeling hoppy bitterness though, more yeasty bitter. Which is weird. Tastes lagery, but not India pale lagery at all.
Decent carb texture. Dry and textured as it goes down. Quite nice really, good body.
This is a marketing thing. If you called this a Munich Helles lager I'd be OK, actually it's a pretty nice example. But as something called an India Pale Lager my first and only question is where the fuck are the fucking hops. It's grainy, lagery; quite pleasant even. But not an IPL.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale straw colour, very hazed with some solid weight behind it. Head is a disappointingly faint ring of white that leaves minimal lace. Carbonation is also minimal. Looks ok, but not much better.
Nose is very dull. Faint doughy notes with a slight touch of apricot. Some grainy characters on the back with a flat whiff of flour.
Dry, peppery entry on the palate, turning sweet and cloying mid way through. It's too much to handle, and then it swings back the other way, going bitter and dry with just a linger of pithy fruit skin to provide any character. Long lingering bitterness in the finish, which isn't great.
Feel is actually pretty good: full and smooth, good despite everything else.
Overall, it's only just marginally okay. I'm not sure I want any more.
Pours a gold colour, fairly cloudy, almost sedimenty. Cream-coloured head, large bubbles. Not great, but the cloud matches the description.
Smells fruity, but not a whole lot going on. Apple, pear with a touch of bitter resin. Fairly pleasant, but a bit insipid.
Taste is right for the style profile. Caramel grains upfront developing into fruity hop notes. Apple, passionfruit, giving a nice freshness to the back without much bitterness at all though. There is an oatmeal character to the grain which permeates the back but gives a fair whack of sweetness upfront. Not bad.
Body is a little thin, sadly, for the ABV. Otherwise goes down nicely.
Fulfills the brief and is pretty nice, but I'm not sure I'm a big fan of the brief.
60 / 100
Pours a champagne colour, slightly cloudy with small crown of white foam. Not bad; could be even cloudier and I'd be OK with that.
Smells funky, with some horse blanket a touch of wet lucerne, some apple/pear fruity notes and a slight phenolic character. For the ostensible style, could be fresher. But not bad.
Taste is quite dry, and earthy. Buttery notes with a touch of French chardonnay oak, some moist lucerne and dry grass clippings, plus a decent belt of earthy barnyard funk. Again, I'm sort of missing the fresher, summery notes. It's a decent saison but no cigar in terms of the 'summer' factor.
Mouthfeel is OK - moderate body with slight carbonation.
Tastes like a very standard beer fermented with saison yeast. Not bad, but nothing special and I'm just failing to see the summery twist.
73 / 100
Tried from a bottle blind from @LaitueGonflable to accompany an Afghani dinner.
Pours a deep, volatile, boozy brown with lots of hazing in the body. It's quite fluid and liquid in the glass, but with a sense that it's big. Only minor head on it: it settles out very quickly.
Lots of phenolics and esters coming through on the nose. I got banana, weizeny spices and serious booze which gives of raisins, rum-soaked dates, and banana leaf. There's a slight sulphur character as well which isn't all that welcome, but otherwise it's pretty impressive.
Taste is thin and hot, with a withering ripeness and strength to the booze. Lots of dark fruit characters coming through but always pitted against that boozy sharpness which pierces and eviscerates it. Some stewed raspberry on the back along with a darkness that's almost inseparable from the booze. Finish is long, boozy and extremely sharp. It's intense stuff.
Feel is sharp, hot and boozy. It almost hurts.
There is impressive weight and heft of alcohol to this, and it plays with it well enough. The sharpness precludes it from being anything else but a sipper, but when you do sip and savour this it has stacks to show off.
59 / 100
They call this a "Eurasian summer saison", brewed with Chinese green tea, lemon grass and Sorachi Ace. Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour with some haze in the body. Decent weight behind it, especially for its low ABV. Head is a solid frosted cap of off-white that leaves sheeting lace. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is slightly musty and mushroomy. Some earthy characters and a bit of spice, but very little attributable to the ingredients they mention. Overall, as well, it's pretty light meaning that it's less interesting than it could be.
Sweet entry on the palate, with very little weight and a pleasant cleanness. Slightly plasticky from then on, though—some cloying artificial character becoming actually sweet and brittle like crispy toffee towards the back. Some drying earthy characters on the back maybe do something to bring it back towards saison territory, but the finish ends up weak, with a flavour like plaster.
Feel is light but buoyant. Not bad.
Overall, it is drinkable enough, but it doesn't do enough, or else it takes the flavours in weird directions that don't necessarily work. It's also not really much of a saison at its heart. It should have been better.
57 / 100
Bottle tried at Spooning Goats.
Lightish red colour, very clear. Head is off-white, very dense, thick, lovely and creamy. Far better than a bottle head has any right to be. Awesome retention.
Very floral nose, lots of rosewater, bergamot, some citrus tang with a touch of bitterness. Nice, but a bit subdued. More malt aroma would support and emphasise the hop notes, they seem a little empty and flighty now.
Taste is reasonably hoppy. Again, no really noticeable malt. Orange citrus zest, earl grey, some herbal bitterness and a touch of peppery spice on the back. Hate to keep bleating on about it, but I'd like a bit more malt, the hops kind of float here, and it feels a little thin as a result.
Decent body, but a little dry from the hops.
Acceptable for the style, but the hops are dominant without being particularly outstanding in potency or complexity. Could most obviously use more malt to create a base and emphasise the hops as well as provide balance, and make it go down smoother. Possibly more late hopping would help excite the palate as well. Bit disappointed in this to be honest, and I certainly wouldn't put it in the top 30 beers in Australia.
41 / 100
Having tried this a couple of times before out at Spooning Goats and Harts, I thought it was time I sat down at home and reviewed it. This particular bottle was purchased from Camperdown Cellars at Kingston Rd.
Pours a ruby-tinged amber colour, relatively clear, with a very carbonated, frothy and loose head of off-white. Body is pretty light and doesn't hold any of the carbonation. Lacing is streaky and patchy. The colour's nice enough, the head is a bit much.
Nose is disappointingly mild: some faint, slightly earthy hops mingle with a light sweetness: not really a maltiness though. Some dusty citric overtones, but nothing like what I expected: the hops seem dusky and dank rather than bright and crisp, and there's not a really good sense of malty basis to back it up: something I want even more in a Red Ale than an IPA or APA.
Taste is even more disappointing. Here, along with all the concomitant mildness from the nose, there's also a severe lack of body, meaning the beer feels reedy and thin. Mild, metallic entry before some flat, leafy, organic hops whimper into nothingness. Feel is flat and dry, especially on the finish, as it peters out without much being done.
Overall, I'm deeply disappointed in this brew. Wayward brew at Riverside, which has much better beers along similar styles—and this particular brew was rated more highly than any of Riverside's offerings in the Local's Hottest 100 poll. This is limp, lethargic and lazy: it doesn't have any of the power or flavour that it needs, and ends up being a very mediocre, forgettable affair. Sorry, guys.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Camperdown Cellars Kingston Rd. It's apparently a Keller "ale" made with malted rye and hopped with Hallertau. Ignoring the advice on the label, I swirled the bottle to release the sediment, resulting in a naturtrüb appearance.
The result is a hazed dirty golden colour, with a fine, slick and silky head of mild white. Lacing is streaking, persistent and decent. There's a little weight to the body, and the carbonation is moderated nicely. The colour is slightly dirty and lackadaisical, but otherwise, it looks good.
Nose is very estery and phenolic, with pronounced banana characters like a weizenbier, with green pear and apple notes coming through as well. There's a slight spiciness, perhaps from the rye: although I've not had rye give that direct a spiciness on the nose. Otherwise, there's a dusty character which is dry but relatively pleasant. Decent enough.
Taste is mild, rounded and much like a hefeweizen: which just confuses me more. Slight peppery characters around the edges of a palate which is mostly built on those mild banana phenols and the smooth, light malt. Finish is clean and crisp, with a lingering banana, and a touch of bread yeast. Actually, on the palate, I'm not getting a lot of the rye. I'd attribute the pepperiness more to the hops, which seem to be more noticeable here than on the nose.
Overall, this is a pretty nice beer. But goddamn it if it isn't a confusing one. A keller would traditionally be a lager: most likely something akin to an unfiltered German pils. This says it's an ale, which implies a kellerweizen, but it's got no wheat, only rye, which doesn't really make its presence felt. Plus, it has loads of characters that scream weizen yeast, but they don't mention this on the label.
So I'm confused indeed, and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I think I would have preferred a nice clean, sharp but rounded traditional Keller, but this is tasty enough and drinkable enough in its own way. Just don't take it as an epitome of the style.