Birbeck's Brewing Company
from Australia
Highest RatedTart-Shaped Box (71 / 100) Average score64 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedThe Merchant (54 / 100) Number Tried8
Tart-Shaped Box
Reviewed by Jez on 09.06.14 on tap
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.

Pours a solidly-hazed amber colour, very light in body and weight. Head is a yellowish off-white, but rather filmy and minimal. Not much in the way of lace. Carbonation is almost entirely absent, making the beer look still.

Nose is extremely vinegary on the front, with a big apple cider character dominant. This develops nicely though and ends up delivering some lemon pith, and oaky vinous notes like sharp young Sauvignon Blanc. On the back is a little funk and pepper. It's quite good by the end.

Orange peel character comes through on the front of the palate, rounding off into a sweeter deeper fruit sensation once the oak comes through. The back is incredibly sharp though, giving bitter-sour grapefruit and a harsh cut of malic acid. Feel is light but astringent. Pithy orange retrieves some semblance of decency to it. Long linger of that grapefruit sour-bitter melange. In the end, it's a journey, but not an unpleasant one.

Overall, it's hard to take much of. The power of the sourness is impressive though, and certainly gives the suggestion that with a bit more maturation this would settle down. Alas, this was a once off.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 29.12.13 on tap
66 / 100
On tap at the Welcome Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week.

Pours a coppery amber colour with large webbed bubbly head. Quite cloudy, looks nice, if a little bland.

Smells slightly tart, but not a huge wham of aroma. Touch of raspberry and rhubarb, some sweetness. Not highly distinct but nice enough.

Taste is more tart, quite dry. Raspberry notes, with plum, blueberry and a touch of detergent. Nice tart notes, not sure what I'm meant to be tasting but its pretty nice.

Thin body, but slight texture with a bit of pull on the back.

Nice drop: fairly good balance and drinkable, a little bit watery but otherwise nice.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Reviewed by Jez on 28.12.13 on tap
62 / 100
Brewed by Birbeck's in collaboration with chef Poh Ling Yeow, this was a "Beer Mimics Food" beer brewed for the eponymous event at the Welcome Hotel during Sydney Craft Beer Week, where I tried it on-tap.

Pours a pinkish copper salmon colour, very solidly hazed. Body has a little heft to it despite its ABV. Head forms a very pale pinkish crest that stays around in a light ring. Lots of solid carbonation. Looks pretty nice all up.

Nose is bright and rustically fruity. Some rhubarb, a bit of acid, some carbonic aromas above a buttery biscuit base. Not all that strong, but it's matching the spec at least.

Light fruit on the front of the palate, perhaps unripe pineapple. Raspberry comes through on the middle, again with a bit more acidity—almost vinous at this point. It drops off pretty quickly on the back, leaving just the memory of that acid. It makes it seem more empty than it is.

Feel is also a bit light.

Not bad overall though. It has some nice fruit characters, and it works relatively well. It wasn't one of the highlights of the day, but it was part of the solid core at least.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
The Merchant
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 29.11.13 on tap
66 / 100
Pours an amber colour, clear with off-white head consisting of large bubbles. Doesn't stick around for dessert. Am a bit disappointed.

Cereal grain on the nose, with a touch of peanut, caramel and an odd and unexpected banana twist. Light aroma, quite sweet. Don't love it.

More malty on the palate, richer with a bready touch. A hint of cardboard as well as some lemony, resinous hops, quite chewy. Big cedar wood character comes through on the back as well which is really very pleasant. A bit odd overall, with a very dry bitterness and woody finish. Not bad at all though, am pleasantly surprised.

Body is slightly thin, decent texture though. Nice enough.

Yeah, quite old school style. Woody, but dry and cleansing. Not a bad drop.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
The Merchant
Reviewed by Jez on 08.07.13 on tap
54 / 100
Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne in 2013. They call this a Black mid-1800's style English IPA. I've classified it as an English IPA, because as you'll see, it's really not black.

Pours a deep golden copper colour, clear in the body with a very, very light weight to it—very surprising for something 7.2% ABV. Head forms a solid-ring of off-white. Not much lacing and almost no carbonation. It looks a bit dead.

Medicinal aromas on the nose: black cherry and aspirin with some spice characters coming through. It's also sweaty and organic, with some earth and bark notes providing an underbrush leaf-mould character.

Very light entry on the palate, only a hint of weak, slightly water malt extract. Middle has some additional flavours at least: chestnut and that earthiness coming through, but it's still very weak overall. Back is very light, dry and dead. The feel is weak.

I'll give it some credit: it's very drinkable if it's really 7.2% ABV—somehow I doubt that it's really that strong, though. This tastes more like a substandard English pale ale than any type of IPA, black, mid-1800s or otherwise.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.75