70 / 100
Pours an amber colour, quite brown for the style, slightly cloudy with a nice foamy cream-coloured head. Looks alright, odd but intriguing.
Smells lovely and sweet. Huge salted caramel aroma, with uncooked dough sweetness and some burnt sugar toffee notes around the edge. It's very much just sweet, but it smells phenomenal.
Taste is a little bit of a let-down, just because the salt really dominates rather than elevating the sweetness as I'd expected from the nose. Still, lots of caramel flavour, cake batter and some toffeed edges. Overall still very sweet, but the salt just comes through in a really big way. Lingers a little sweet, and oddly so, almost insipid. Just not as good as the nose promised.
Decent body for the size, goes down nicely.
I like the idea, but the salt just takes it into a weird savoury territory where it doesn't belong.
Retroactively I can see why this got the people's choice award in the end as it's at the very least fascinating, but at the same time it didn't really work for me. Just quietly, Bacchus' Lemon Lime & Bitters beer last year - regarded as a bit of a failure by the brewer - was a far superior beer to this. But what do I know.
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans Hotel in Pyrmont, during the Bacchus Brumalia event.
Pours a clear, reddish black colour with a thin but actually quite slick body. Big head of beige forms early on that leaves very decent lace. It's a bit light-looking, but OK all up.
Nose is a little underwhelming, but it's coherent. Slight nuttiness laced with a touch of palm fruit—smells like the slightly fermenting fruit that the bats eat. The nuttiness wins though, giving huskier notes of coconut and brazil nut. Pretty solid.
Taste is also pretty good. Sligh coconut suggestion on the front, lightening a lot to the back and leaving only a sort of ephemeral fragrance. Very clean finish with a slightly metallic aftertaste. It works well enough for a schwarzbier.
Feel is surprisingly smooth on the front, but clean on the back, which makes a nice combination.
Overall, it's pretty drinkable stuff and certainly well-made. It didn't wow me like some of the beers at Brumalia, but this was part of a solid core that just trooped on in the background.
71 / 100
Tried on nitro-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont, for their Bacchus Brumalia event. This beer was brewed at Bacchus in collaboration with (of all breweries) Castlemaine Perkins, known mostly for Australia's favourite midstrength beer XXXX Gold.
Pours a very deep orange-tinted black. Firm and full body that looks good on nitro. Creamy and persistent head of fairly deep orange-brown that leaves excellent lace. Looks really very good indeed.
Toasty notes on the nose, with a decent rounded sweetness to give it some weight. A little chocolate comes through, along with a hint of smooth orange. On the back it gets rather toasty—heading towards a kind of dusty darkness. It's really quite pleasant.
Taste is similar, although there's a lightness through the palate that stops it from being as robust as perhaps I would personally like. This allows the back to turn slightly medicinal and the body to drop away. The finish is quite surprisingly light as a result. Feel is smooth, but affected somewhat by the medicinal cherry and slightly charred tone of the finish.
Overall, it's a pretty decent beer, and I'm genuinely impressed that Castlemaine Perkins got down and dirty with a beer like this. This is certainly my favourite beer that these guys have had a hand in.
83 / 100
A hoppy black rye lager brewed by Fortitude at Bacchus for Bacchus's Brumalia festival. Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont.
Pours a very decent black, with ruby hints at the edges. Slight in the body, but pleasant enough with a visible flowing bead of carbonation. Head is a mild, thin ring with leopard-slug spot lacing. Looks very decent overall.
Nose has a lovely crisp hop character, reminding me of the lovely uses of New Zealand hops. Definite greenness to it, with a fragrant crisp lightness leavening it all. Under this, however, is a very pleasant toasty, bold roasted character. It's a really nice combo and beautifully balanced.
Pleasant, clean, very light and crisp on the palate. More Kiwi hops add some crispness, but there's a solid structure behind it to give some fresh fruit, perhaps passionfruit and guava. Back is light and cream, with maybe just a little lingering contribution from the rye. Feel is crisp and bright, which works really well
This was a cracking beer. This was easily the best of the Brumalia beers I tasted, and genuinely one of the best Aussie beers I've had this year. It really just did everything right, and you ended up with a pretty superb drinking experience.
86 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a definitely odd colour, perhaps a could of shades deeper than a pub lemon, lime & bitters, but not far off. Reasonably clear in the glass too. Body is light, not unexpectedly for 2.7% ABV. Head is off-white forming a fine ring that doesn't leave much lacing. Carbonation is fine and streams swiftly through the glass. Looks good, and unique.
Nose is very fragrant, with bitters coming through along with orange peel and lemonade. This is all pricked and spiced with a bit of cinnamon and clove, very nicely indeed.
Front is really nice on the palate, with a tart, powdery lemonade character coming through along with some fragrant spicy bitters. Light, clean, well-constructed tartness through the centre with a hint of tartaric acid. There's a linger of bitters and spices and a fragrance like sugar-sweetened citric acid crystals. Aftertaste is slightly peppery and fresh, with a cleanness and a lingering unknowable fragrance in the finish.
Feel is light, tart and powdery. Very clean and perfectly suited to the beer.
Overall, this was so refreshing and incredibly interesting. An absolutely unique beer, and one of my stand-outs at GABS. This wasn't just a beer modelled after a Lemon Lime & Bitters, it was a unique beast with its own merits.
76 / 100
The second-lowest ABV beer at GABS is also one of the most enticing.
Pours an amber colour with slight pinkish tinge. Touch of cloud with nice foamy white head. Nice colour, it looks like Angostura.
Smells like Angostura too. Soft drinky, with soe nice sour lemon and grapefruit aromas. As interesting as a soft drinky beer can smell.
Taste is pleasant, and refreshingly tart. Loads of lemon and lime including pith and zest all over that, and finishes with a twang of bitters. Nice acidity to it and well handled to deliver an LLB flavour but a beery and particularly berliner weissy finish; tart and crisp.
Bit of pull on the mouthfeel, body is surprisingly full for 2.7% though.
Pleasant. Ross has kept the beer in this, but made it with good, emblematic character.
This beer got better the more you tried it, and on retrying was my #3 beer of the whole festival.
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont. A peanut-butter porter, so I was on board from the concept alone.
Pours a deep brown-black, with a very fine, creamy head of beige. It almost looks like it's on nitro (the Quarrymans didn't call this out, so I assume not). Fine bubbling at the edges when tilted, although it's rather still otherwise. Minimal lace. Body is firm, but slick and fluid. Looks good.
Nose is very sweet. Indeed, even sweeter than I was expecting. I get a bunch more vanilla than peanuts when it's fresh off the tap, but as it warms up, the nuttiness comes through. Of course Bacchus is going to get that flavour in there—it's been a rare experience when Bacchus have said their beer smells like something and then it doesn't. This ends up with the aroma of a warm peanut butter cluster.
Taste is smooth and quite dry on the back, with a firm nutty character looping from the mid-palate later. Slight linger of roasted peanuts in the finish, but no roasted malt to give it a slight bitterness is really feels like it needs. There's a faint toastiness, but nothing to cut through all the thick richness.
Overall, it certainly fits the bill, and it's pretty pleasant all up. It is certainly a little thicker than I would have ideally wanted, but to cut it with too much bitterness would be maybe to ruin the experience. If they made it three percentage points higher in alcohol, then maybe the booze could provide the balance and carry the sweetness the way it needs to.
I'm going stretch the categorisation of this, given it's a beer based on Kingfisher, that's spiked with curry spices. Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont, where they had it on as part of their State of Origin series.
Pours a pale golden colour, with some decent streaming carbonation. Nice fine head to it that sits rather minimally on the top of the glass, but which provides excellent full, sheeting lace. Body is light and pleasant. It looks perfectly reasonable for what it's trying to do.
Nose has a little bit of the spice, but is pulled back a lot by an odd vanilla character. To be honest, it's pretty mild all over and doesn't punch you with flavour, either curry-spice or otherwise. There's not a lot going on, but it's not unpleasant.
Taste is a bit better, with a pleasant cleanness and a decent hop bite towards the back. Again the spices are fairly mild, but perhaps psychosomatically flecked with turmeric, with a little heat in the finish. Finish is light and clean, but lacking crispness—it ends up just sort of petering out like drinking a glass of water.
Overall, it's drinkable enough, and it's fairly decent. It's not one of Bacchus's best individual offerings, but it's certainly another spoke in their amazing wheel of flavour.
78 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a pale gold, light at the edges. Head is white, thin and slightly creamy but just a rim really. Not sure how it should look; looks alright though, but not interesting.
Smells lambicy and pleasant. Tart, loads of berry notes. Brett, orange as well. There's an odd sweaty shoe character midway which is slightly off-putting but overall a nice tart aroma.
Taste is hugely puckeringly sour. Underripe berries abound, with cherry lactic acid and underrripe grapes as well. Touch of citrus midway through. Finish is clean, dry, with residual sweetness complementing the puckering character. Powerful, palate blowing, but excellently balanced and crafted. Sour, refreshing. Cleansing. Superb.
A bit too puckering for me. Bit of fizz too, which just adds to the layer-stripping texture of this in the mouth.
Drinks in a similar vein to a cantillon. Not quite as powerful or complex but has a similar enamel-stripping strength. It's a big credit to Ross but it's definitely the real deal here, relative to most Aussie sours. I do find Cantillons a bit off-putting though, as this is in a way as well.
77 / 100
Pours a cola colour. Seriously could be mistaken for flat coke in my glass at the bottom. Head is off-white but yeah, does oddly resemble a lamington in liquid form. That's mostly marketing I guess but it's good marketing at this stage.
Smells chocolatey; quite roasty and somewhat bitter, but a nice sweet character late, definite desiccated coconut note coming through. Yeah what can I say, it smells like lamingtons. I didn't even realise lamingtons had a smell until right now.
Holy shit. It... Umm... Holy shit. It fucking tastes like a cocksucking lamington. Coconut, that rich sticky, sickly chocolate note over the top. Awww man this is just pure nostalgia in a glass. This is Australian childhood summers. Picnics and barbecues in the park. I know I'm not describing flavours but this is so much more evocative than just flavours. It's a little thin at the back, could let that sweetness trail a bit longer but other than the emotive connotations, it's just a nice chocolatey coconutty beer.
A little thin, could use a bit more body to back up that syrupy sweetness.
Bacchus havecarved out a perfect little niche for themselves in dessert beers. This is possibly my favourite of the lot for purely sentimental reasons. Just such a precious icon captured so perfectly. Just yes.
Pours a golden colour, might have a tinge to it or maybe I'm just expecting it. Head is cream coloured and textured, little wobbly film of small bubbles. Lace is OK. Looks alright but head is very nice.
Smells wonderful. Huge floral aroma giving yes, elderflower I guess. Not too familiar with that, but puts me in mind of rose, gerbera and frangipani. Reminds me of Spring rather than Summer, but then it is Spring while I'm drinking this. Gorgeous aroma, well controlled.
Taste is a bit of a letdown. Does't have the burgeoning of the aroma, just subtle floral notes upfront and midway that kind of drop off to leave a slight yeasty character just blending with a clean floral finish. Bit of an unwelcome bitter note midway as well, bit too nectary, almost an over-brewed green tea note. Feel it could have worked better on the finish. Just seems to peak too early.
Fluid, no real rough edges, thin as befits the style but goes down a treat.
Decent but feel the flowers may have been added in odd ratios or at odd times, they aren't pulled off in the best ways.
Pours a pale golden colour, clear and eerily still. Head is just fucking lovely. I know all nitro heads are the same but I can't help falling in love with them. Call me a fool. Looks fascinating.
Smells likecoffee. Yeah can't say I expected that, even knowing what it was. Strong espresso notes but not overwhelming. Roasty but chocolatey. Warm; comforting really. But not much to it.
Taste is really, really very bitter. How actually do you do this in a pale beer, how is this possible, what magic does Ross Kendrick weave? Spicy, bitter espresso throughout that followed by a milder chocolate mocha finish that still retains an odd spiciness. Yeah, doesn't taste like beer. But looks like beer. Wow, even as seasoned a drinker as I am, beer can still come out of the woodwork and shock, not just surprise you.
Smooth, nitro goodness. No edges at all. Is that a good thing?
I've decided it is.
This is wizardry. At the same time I don't love it, it's just a little heavy going.
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont. This version is apparently 10% ABV, although it appear the beer fluctuates from batch to batch.
Pours a hazy Turkish-delight colour, slightly red-brown with a fizzy head of pale bubbles. Body is wickedly light for 10% ABV although the carbonation is fine. Overall though, it's hard to deny it looks a little bit like a soft drink.
Nose is quite pleasant. There's a touch of acidity and a sweet tartness like karkadeh with some rounded cherry characters adding a slight headiness. There's a pronounced banana stink coming through too, a little like jelly candy, and a touch of breadiness as it warms. The saison nuances are lost, in any case.
Taste is heavy with that banana character—almost steamrolling everything else. This is quickly followed by a great deal of bitter, astringent booze: stinky permanent marker, banana lollies and dirt. There's no acidity here, despite the aroma. Feel is tight and astringent, but really quite light in weight throughout.
Nope, sorry guys. This is a rare miss for Bacchus. At 10% it's way over the top and almost undrinkable. The idea is sound though—seriously, make it 5% and get some of the booze under control and this would probably be a refreshing little drop.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans Hotel in Pyrmont.
Pours a dark tone with reddish depths to it when held to the light. Head is extremely flat, only forming a few coarse bubbles around the rim. Body is very light. It looks rather underwhelming, truth be told.
It's up from here though. Nose is coconut all over, with a dry chocolate and cocoa overtone. There's something slightly meaty about it when it's all put together, but the lamington character is spot on. Pretty nice.
Taste is excellent, and nails the flavours. Coconut, chocolate soaked spongecake, along with a slight cherry note towards the back—this actually gives it the suggestion of booziness, despite being sub-5% ABV. Sweetness is fairly light, but the flavours are all there.
Feel is very light, but in some way this accentuates the desiccated coconut flavour and hence the lamington.
Overall, this is remarkably drinkable given it's so lamingtonesque. The lightness really helps it here, and despite all of the flavour it actually ends up feeling pretty damn sessionable.
79 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne. Brewed to be a "dessert beer with the flavours of Darrell Lea's Rocky Road".
Pours a red-tinged dark brown hue with some hazing in the glass. Head is off-white but disappears quickly, possibly because of god-knows what weird things went into the beer. Not much in the way of carbonation either, probably for similar reasons. The body looks surprisingly light for its ABV, but I'm sure it will make up for it.
And from the nose, it seems it will. Huge rocky road characters come out strongly, and weirdly, all of the individual characters get a turn. Chocolate, coconut, marshmallow, Turkish delight are all noticeable, mixed up in a boozy, kirsch-like melange. Some dark malt kicks in as well after the initial onslaught. Impressive.
Light Turkish delight characters on the front of the palate, before the booze creeps up a little giving a suggestion of booze or acetone that turns it more into straight, strong rosewater. This is smoothed out quickly, though, leaving a lovely linger of jelly and marshmallow—long and smooth through the aftertaste.
Feel is very juicy and ripe with lots of things working in its favour.
Overall, this genuinely delivers what it promises. It smells amazing and tastes great. If it's a bit heavy on the booze, that's maybe only because it needs that depth and weight to support all of the individual flavours. In any case, you won't be disappointed on the execution of the idea.
74 / 100
Tried on tap at the Quarrymans Hotel during their Bacchus takeover.
Pours an amber colour, nice dense head with pretty good retention. Nice lacing. Great stuff.
Smells smokey, slightly meaty. Touch of spice. Bit of sweetness. Subtle, but very tasty.
Holy pig! Taste is hammy and slightly smokey upfront, then hugely hammy, stuffed full of meaty goodness with a slight spice and sweet honey glaze character. Tastes like Christmas. Delicious.
Body is OK, gets bitty and slightly dry on the back.
Great meaty drop. More than just the smoke. I'm amazed, but mostly extremely skeptical, at the claim that this beer is 'vegetarian'. Part of me thinks that's just a really cruel troll by these guys, as it's one of the meatiest beers I've had the pleasure to encounter.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at Dejavu in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013.
Pours a bright, light red colour with solid hazing in the body. Weight is fluid but fairly solid. head is a pink-tinged white, creating a foamy styrofoam edge to the beer that leaves lace in specks. Looks good.
Nose is big and sweet, with all the aromatics of strawberry. Jammy, rich, sweet and sticky. There's not a hint of acid or tartness. It's extremely unusual and a little disconcerting, while still maintaining a pretty impressive true strawberry aroma.
Then, the beer spins on a dime. On the palate, the strawberry almost disappears. Light, crisp spritzy entry with the only suggestion of that fruit aroma we'll again see. Aspirin and biting acid on the mid-palate, clean and bright. Clinging tartness on the back, and dry as bone. White, dusty earth in the aftertaste. Feel is dry and acidic.
This is extremely refreshing, but utterly weird. I can't get over the difference between the nose and the palate: it's sweet and jammy in the aroma, but cuttingly acidity in the flavour. Very, very strange indeed.
43 / 100
Pours a brownish gold colour, bit of haze. Head is white, bit dense and thin and pleasant. Good retention. Looks good.
Smells fruity. Green apple, touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Really not very IPA: too sweet and not big enough.
Big acetyldehyde on the palate. Big, crisp, green apple, tart with packham pear and a touch of strawberry. Some hop pull but not very much, slightly dry but yeah mostly those byproducts. Quite meh.
Fizzy, dry, yeah a bit of body but not much.
Not a great IPA and feels quite watered down in many ways.
62 / 100
On tap at the Quarrymans Hotel.
Pours a dark brown with reddish tinge. Clear. Head is beige, dense but just a thin rim. Good retention though and nice lace.
Smells big and hoppy. Lime citrus with pine and strong caramel maltiness. Quite pleasant.
Taste is big and boozey. Notes of hop acid with citrus, passion and some mango but yeah a big sweet boozey heat which really detracts, as the other flavours aren't quite big enough to complement, especially the malt. So big, bits of tang but the big flavours feel like they're battling in your mouth rather than melding together.
A bit dry, slightly boozey and hot on the back.
Too big, but the flavours are right. They don't quite meld well though. Id like to try the 7-8% version of this, I think it would be bang on the money.
60 / 100
Tried at the Sydney Craft Beer Week launch party at the Vic on the Park.
Pours a dark brown colour, thin head, light beige. No lace. Pretty flat and meh; I don't think it could have been avoided, but doesn't fill me with much hope.
Smells weizeny. Wheat notes, with banana ester and bubblegum. Dark cherry medicine notes come through too. Sweet, but heavy. Decent.
Taste is chocolatey, with lots of bubblegum notes, quite phenolic towards the mid with medicine notes, cherry liqueur, touch of smoke. Strong, keeps bursting with new sweet and boozey flavours. Pretty decent, but far more weird than great.
A bit warm but not very. Decent body actually, bit drying on back.
Not an everyday drinker, a bit weird and quite heavy. But nice enough flavours.
Tried on-tap at Dejavu Bar in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013.
Pours a dirty, oily brown-bronze colour, solidly hazed but a bit dull in the colour. Weight is solid as well. Head forms a bubbly, pocked film of off-white that leaves fine streaks. Powdery carbonation. Looks decent enough.
Nose has a savoury component to it. Some earthy hops, but undermined by a sweat brown malt character. Slight toastiness, almost smoke and a fatty peanut butter character. Seems wrong to me.
Prickly hops on the front, giving white pepper and a bit of resin. Savoury characters come through again on the mid-palate, again with the suggestion of brown malt. The body is a bit overly sweet with some clinging meatiness. Finish is slightly salty and dry.
Feel is light with a bit of chewiness to it.
Overall, I'm not really a fan. Bacchus do awesome beers, and this should really be a walk in the park for them. It's only "okay" and it should be pushing for "awesome" or better.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at Dejavu in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013. This is something like a Canadian Rauchbier, done with maple syrup and plenty of smokiness.
Pours a reddish-brown colour, quite hazed in the body, and quite light with the suggestion of stickiness. Head is a solid crest of ecru. Big, sweeping streaks and sheets down the glass. Carbonation is very fine. Looks good.
Smoky sweet on the nose, but not as much smoke as there may have been. Instead, it has quite a chocolatey tone, along with some maple syrup character giving the memory of fake waffle batter. Still smells pretty good.
The syrup is front and centre on the palate, giving maple sweetness and light crispy waffle notes on the entry. Beyond this is a meaty, smoky bacon flavour that permeates through the the back. Dry lingering syrup, pancakes with a suggestion of char to wrap it up. Nice stuff.
Feel is smooth but fairly airy and light. It works with the smoke well.
Really freaking interesting beer. It's smoky and sweet with body and richness. It's hard not to compare it to the Rogue/Voodoo Maple Bacon Doughnut Ale, but this is significantly better: it feels real, and as though it was done with purpose and strength. Really good stuff.
79 / 100
Tried on-tap at Dejavu Bar in Melbourne during Good Beer Week in 2013.
Pours a deep, oily dark brown, almost opaque, but matching the chocolate theme nicely. Body is pretty light and fluid. Head forms a yellowed crema-brown in a solid, bubbly ring. Lace forms in specks. Looks decent enough.
Nose is awesome. Rich, gooey chocolate cake, rich cocoa with a buttery sweetness underlying everything. Milky hot chocolate. It's intense, sweet and rich. It could maybe have a bit more complexity, but in terms of delivering what they promise, they've nailed it.
Taste has a lighter entry, slightly toasty and dark, moving to more coffee characters on the middle. There's a light maltiness to it and some slightly savoury tones, before a dry, clinging character on the back suggests that chocolate cake flavour again. Really rich and long on the aftertaste: mud cake all over.
Feel is light, but fairly full, with a slight clingingness on the back.
Overall, this is a cracker of a beer: immensely flavoursome and intense. It's exciting, awesome stuff.
Tried on-tap at Dejavu Bar in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013. This is brewed to an ancient Scottish recipe, including grapes, mace and a whole chicken.
Pours a deep ruby-brown colour, very solidly hazed. Body is pretty heavy, even heavier than expected. Head is very fine and pretty thin, only forming a minimal ring of beige. Lace forms in tiny specks. Tilting the glass gives a rain of tiny bubbles. Certainly very interesting.
Nose is immediately weird. Musty and meaty with a definite smoky smallgoods character, and some porky frankfurter. Slight oak seems to come through, or a vinous character. Banana wraps it all up. It's very strange.
It just keeps getting stranger on the palate. Rose petal comes through, along with a musty, woody note. More of those smoky characters come through the centre, before the mace comes out towards the back, giving a biting medicine and chemical bitterness out of the spice. Feel is light and dry, again adding to the vinous note.
Yep, this is definitely weird. Bizarre in fact. There are so many complexities to this, and almost all of them are unusual and unexpected. I think this was the first beer that made me ask "what the hell are these Bacchus guys on?"
59 / 100
Tried on tap at the Quarrymans Hotel.
Pours a pale gold, some fizzy bubbles. Head is white and thin, small dense bubbles. Nice.
Smells a little fruity. Touch of apple, some pine but not a huge nelson sauvin character. Light ale esters and not a huge amount of hops.
Taste is more sauviny. Passionfruit tang with slight citric astringency. Gets some dry yeasty notes and hop acid on the back. Bitter, quite tangy, not hugely big but has that classic NZ hop pull on the back. Not bad.
A bit of carbonation, but yeah thin and lagery. Mostly.
OK drinking, but a bit of hop acidity and not big flavour synergy.
83 / 100
On tap at the Quarrymans Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours a dark brown colour, thin rim of head. Beige in colour, not much and not much lace. Nice colour, otherwise, cask beer.
Smells like maple and coffee, in equal measure. In the sense that both aromas complement and augment each other to the point of smellgasm. Spice of coffee and desserty syrupy sweetness of maple. Why are there not more things combining these two flavours? Get on that, people.
Taste is similar. Maple has a slight nutty character poking around the sides, with coffee roast and a bit of dry spice up the middle. Coffee doesn't taste as rounded as it smelled, and the maple isn't quite as sweet as it smelled either. On their own, I'd think the two flavours would really wow me, but next to the smell they're not that amazing. Nice, but more dry. It's strange that such a tasty palate should feel like a disappointment. On its own that palate would be a cracker, but the smell is miraculous.
Decent body, feels like a hand pump, though. English and untextured.
Seriously, cracking beer though. Your dessert and coffee in one go. A money saver at fancy restaurants. Get on it, people.
78 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Welcome Hotel in Rozelle as part of their Beer Mimics Food event during Sydney Craft Beer Week. This was probably the most triumphantly successful beer in that theme.
Pours a deep red-brown colour, solidly but note ludicrously hazed. Body is firm and fairly rich, with very fine carbonation. Head forms a pale beige crest, a little filmy but leaving some lace. Looks decent.
Nose is immediately successful in mimicking what it's trying to do. Plum sauce, sticky and sweet, smoky and porky. Clinging, heavy richness makes the sauce seem to drip with gooey lambency. Some spice is noticeable as well. Gorgeous stuff, and absolutely spot-on what it was attempting to do.
Similarly on the palate: indeed, it's just following on from the nose. Plum and prune characters on the front pepped up by spice on the mid-palate. Here we get some rum, bourbon and aniseed fragrance. By the end, the porky, rich sweet smoky character run riot: peppery, flame roasted meat, plenty of smoky drive. The spice builds up after a while, leaving it pretty hot on the back. Feel is great—matches the flavours nicely until that burn starts to accumulate.
Mostly, this is just damn great. It's extremely successful at what it was trying to do, and Ross from Bacchus also managed to make a supremely drinkable brew from it as well. This was a riproaring success as far as I was concerned.
76 / 100
This is an "Imperial American Red Ale" weighing in somewhere between 10-12%. The picture I have of the Quarrymans beer list, where I had it, listed it as 12%. It may change from batch to batch. Tried at the Quarrymans during Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours a deep, vivid dark red colour with perfect clarity. Weight is heavy but slick in the body. Head forms a pale yellow solid thickness that leaves bug sheets of lace. Lots of fine carbonation working its way through the thick body. Looks really impressive.
Nose is big. Big booziness, some spice and a rounded, fleshy sweetness—some fruit perhaps, more like apple brandy with salted caramel. It's powerful and heavy. I love it.
Taste is sharp on the entry with peppery booze notes, and a hint of chemical bitterness. This is well and truly wiped out in the mid-palate, as the sweetness well up. Figs, dates, heavy toffee and orange hard candy. Booziness on the back, with a hint of menthol and tobacco, but still with huge lingering sweetness. It's impressive if bombastic.
Smooth and boozy in the feel, with a tingle, partially from carbonation, but I feel mostly from the alcohol.
This is rich and full of flavour—it demands respect, and manages to stay fairly balanced even so. I guess it's about as reasonable as you can ever get from a beer weighing in at 12%.
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont during Sydney Craft Beer Week, as part of their Bacchus takeover.
Pours an extremely pale yellow, crystal clear in the body. Weight is very light, and forms a solid film of white for a head. Lace forms in decent sheeting runs. Stacks of streaming carbonation. Looks great for what it is.
Clean enough on the nose, with a bit of cat-pee Sauvin sharpness. Slight grassiness comes through and some grainy pils malt. Hint of sweatiness as well. It's okay, but they seem to have swept up all of the unpleasant parts of the Nelson Sauvin with the good parts.
Light and clean entry on the palate, again with a slightly herbal grassy tone. Bit of NS bite on the mid-palate, but again it's fairly light. Clean on the finish, which is pleasant enough, but also makes it a bit dull. When I had it the first time I had yeastiness: so dull is certainly preferable.
Feel is clean and watery, with a slight tingle.
Yeah, it's very clean and really quite drinkable. I've had better Nelson Sauvin-heavy pilsners though. This is good enough, but doesn't walk the fine line quite well enough.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont during Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours a solid-amber red with a little weight to the body. Good clarity and streaming fine carbonation feeding an off-white head, which becomes a firm ring. Not a lot of lace. Looks decent enough: the colour in particular is pretty nice.
Spicy and herbal on the nose. Caraway and dark bread reminds me of a German breakfast. Some sharp peppercorn characters and yep, a little juniper coming through as well, giving a slight freshness. It's pretty heavy, and pretty powerful. Impressive.
Cedar comes through on the entry along with more herbal notes: here there's stacks of juniper that mellows into more complex aromatics: pot-pourri, gardenia, pepper always with a woody undertone. Lingering savoury juniper onto the back. More meaty bread and a hint of bay leaf. Great stuff.
Feel is light and sparkly. Surprisingly, it makes a good addition to the herbal, spicy characters.
Overall, I'm pretty super impressed with this beer. It uses juniper in a powerful way, but never does it feel like it's overpowering. It just creates great complexity. Wonderful stuff.
82 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont, as part of their Bacchus takeover during Sydney Craft Beer Week. This beer is apparently vegetarian, which you would not believe from the flavour, which is 100% straight glazed ham.
Pours a reddish amber hue with a solid weight to the body. Head forms a very fine crest of white. Fine patterned lacing and very fine carbonation which gives the body a silky look to it. It looks pretty impressive.
Nose is lovely: sweet-smoky with definite meaty ham overtones. Maple glaze, scored roasted skin. There's a sharper note as well that's slightly ashy, but it works well with everything else. It's sweet, round, smoky and lovely.
Light smoky entry on the palate with a slightly flighty carbonation attacking it somewhat. Sweeter mid palate really delivers the ham, full and rich. Maple syrup also makes an appearance. Clean, mild bitterness on the back and an addition of a darker sharp character in the smoke. It goes on forever, with a cured, sweet smoke lingering in the aftertaste for a long time.
The feel is pretty good, but I again feel like there is a tad too much carbonation to it. I'd love to try it on cask.
Since trying it the first time, I've had cravings for the taste of this beer again. It's wonderfully unique and really well-executed. Despite its strangeness, I would most certainly drink this regularly if I could.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont during their Bacchus Takeover at Sydney Craft Beer Week. This is a witbier brewed with a proprietary blend of snake-oil... I mean, natural holistic spices and herbs or something called Kakadu Complex®, which includes Davidson plum, quandong, acai, rainforest lime, rosella, antioxidants, enzymes and bioflavanoids. Let's just forget we ever read that, shall we? Let's concentrate on the beer instead, which is actually very pleasant.
Pours a rose-pink salmon hue with solid wit-like hazing. Body is light but holds lots of big-bubbled carbonation. Head is a very pale pink, forming a solid foam across the glass. I love the colour: it's quite subtle but vibrant.
Nose is very good. Bright peach comes through with a rounded sweetness and a touch of banana or mangosteen. Tropical punch. There's a touch of acid to it as well giving a suggestion of unripe fruit. Not much in the way of spice, but otherwise very pleasant.
Light green apple on the entry with a hint of witbier yeast coming through. Banana and guava makes an appearance on the mid-palate giving a thick sweetness almost like vanilla custard. On the back a nutty note comes through, perhaps macadamia, before some sharper peachskin and carbonic notes come through. There's a little earthiness but still no witbier spice.
Feel is light but lingering as the flavours play out.
I would like some spice in it no doubt: it would cut through all the fruit characters a bit more. But it's pretty impressive nonetheless, with stacks of flavour that packs a punch. I really did like this beer a whole lot, despite the reservations I had.
Pours an amber colour with light pink tinge. Clear, with white foamy head. Nice retention. Looks intriguing.
Smells sweet, and odd. Milky white chocolate mixes with sweet raspberry compote and a slight touch of coconut. Delivers what it promises I guess, but this smell in beer confuses me more than anything.
Taste is also milky, with caramelised peanut notes upfront, then all creamy white chocolate notes. Some raspberry provides a whisper of tartness on the back. But yeah, that's it. Again, congrats on creating something odd, Bacchus, but I can't say I really love it.
Quite flat for a pils, could use a little more carbonation, particularly given the sweetness of the palate.
Could have toned down the white chocolate and let the raspberry through a bit more. The sweetness is not really my thing, and the tart notes that are there are sort of a comedown after the sugary front.
Tried on-tap at Vic on the Park during the Sydney Craft Beer Week launch party. This is an amped up version of Bacchus's Big Red (Cock) Ale, made darker and stronger, but still brewed with a whole chicken.
Pours a dark brown colour but certainly not black, and with a clarity that allows the light to shine through and show you the interior. Head disappears pretty quickly, and there's not much in the way of visible carbonation. Body is pretty thick. Looks decent.
I would easily have guessed that this was a weizenbock from the aroma: big, dark weizen characters come through strongly. Stacks of bubblegum and banana and a little bit of pepper, all trussed together with a noticeable boozy overtone. I don't get much chicken, but then who knows if you're actually meant to.
Taste is similar, with the booziness a little bit more pronounced. Still stacks of bubblegum flavours and banana esters running around in the roof of my mouth. There's also a slightly sharp, bitter and almost astringent character on the back. It's quite dark, with a bit of smokiness or something slightly savoury: but that might be a psychosomatic reaction for knowing that there's chicken in it.
Feel is solid enough, although the heat and the astringency get me down after a while.
It's interesting stuff. My memory is that I enjoyed the Big Red better: I think it utilised the interesting elements a bit more, whereas this is brash and somewhat violent. But it's impressive nonetheless.
71 / 100
The name says it all except for omitting the "WTF?". This is a tweaked version of their "standard" (and I use the word loosely) white chocolate pilsener, with the addition of raspberries. Tried this beer on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne, where this beer took out the People's Choice award of the 89 beers available during the weekend.
Pours a pinkish rose colour, relatively clear, and light in the body. Head is a foamy ring of very faint pink-white. Lace forms in solid streaks as the beer goes down. Looks pretty good.
Rosewater characters are noticeable immediately on the nose, with white chocolate creaminess, some musk and a character like sweet baking. Strawberry candy comes through as well. It's all a bunch of wackiness. It's insane.
Fruit on the front palate, closer to cherry than raspberry although it's sweeter with a touch of bite from (probably more than anything) the carbonation. The white chocolate dominates the mid-palate, before the back falls into a slight trap of acidity. Most likely this is noticeable just because the rest of the beer is so sweet and creamy. There's also a touch of bitterness, perhaps a plaintive reminder that this is really meant to be a pils. Together the sweetness and the acidity forms an aftertaste of sour chocolate. It's, um, strange to say the least, and utterly unique.
Feel is very light.
Overall, it's weird, and oddly successful. In some ways I was surprised by this beer, despite the fact it almost exactly does what it says it's going to do. I guess I just never expected it to do that so well.