|Highest Rated||Prima Pils (83 / 100)
||Average score||70 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Summer Love (54 / 100)
Pours a champagne colour, fair amount of cloud. Head is foamy, cream-coloured, nice and thick but sinks in parts. Lacing is special.
"Oh gawd yes" - me, on first smelling. Caramel grains and a touch of honey at the front, then loads and loads of hop complexity - grapefruit, pineapple, orange and lemon. Mandarin as well; so tangy. So sweet grainy too. Wowser. My only criticism is it's not very Belgian, but still when it smells this good you don't need Belgium.
Taste is very disappointing, actually. Honey sweetness on the front, then similar hop characters that just don't have the fragrance the nose promised. Grapefruit, with some passionfruit, maybe some coconut and a touch of dry spice. Just doesn't carry the flavour to the back. Here is where those Belgian phenols could really elevate it, but it just seems sweet and flatlining.
Full body, nice texture. A saving grace of drinking this.
This had such promise to be amazing, but honey malt dominates the palate, and it's lacking both Belgian and hops. Such a shame.
Pours a very pale straw colour, clear at the edge. Head is white and foamy but not very thick. OK.
Smells slightly medicinal. Lots of cereal grain, sweetness with a touch of oatmeal. Slight lemon citrus on the back. Bit too sweet for me.
Sweet and grainy for the most part. Tastes heavy and slightly medicinal in the sweetness. Finishes bizarrely clean, though, but could use more overt cleansing - specifically hopping.
Decent body, texture is OK as it goes down.
Yeah, tastes a bit too flavoursome without coming clean. Could use more hops.
73 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney during their 4th of July Spectapular.
Pours a pleasant bright pale yellow, with good clarity, and a frothy head that fluffs itself out and leaves chunky lace in its wake. Body is pleasantly light and clean, but it holds nice fine, slightly languid carbonation. Looks decent.
Nose is great. Firm hoppy crispness, with a little sweaty Belgian yeast behind it to give it a bit of an edge and difference. There's a rounded quality to the crispness that gives an odd character like tomato and basil. It's genuinely very pleasant.
Taste is also pretty good. Nice clean body for the most part, allowing a bright, subtle hop character to provide crispness and bite. It's supported by a pretty firm but neutral malt character, a little accentuated by the yeast. It's all pretty subtle, but it works together well. Feel is great—clean and bright, which helps the drinkability.
Overall, I really liked this. It's clean, and drinkable, but with subtle complexities to it that really make it very interesting. I liked it a lot.
Pours a pale golden colour, quite clear. Steady bubbling up to a white foamy head. Nice lacing. I wouldn't mind seeing a bit of cloud so I know it's all natural and farmhousey, but quite nice.
Belgian nose; fruity, sour and fresh. Organic funk with hints of phenols around the edge. Citrus and slight vanilla hiding at the back and a touch of fresh wood. Pleasant.
Taste is very Belgian. More bitter/phenolic with a mediciney edge towards the mid. Lightens off to a citric note, touch of herbs as well with basil and betel leaf. Generic Belgian, could use ramping up in the funky stakes for a saison.
Foamy and smooth in the mouth. A little dry at the end. Ideal for the style.
Decent saison but fairly generic.
75 / 100
Bottle shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a clear, bright, spring-like golden colour, with a fine, frothy and pretty persistent head of pure white. Where the head doesn't persist as head proper, it persists as lace, forming solid, chunky sheets down the inside of the glass. Carbonation is high, and it streams through the relatively light body very quickly. Looks fresh and good.
Nose is clean and bright, but with a fresh funk to it, giving a little bit of fuggy sweetness, and a light vegetative character. It also has a touch of acidity to it, but this is tightly coupled with the sweetness, giving it the suggestion of sour lollies. Not bad.
Taste is brusquer, peppery, sharper and with a vegetative bitterness. And to be honest, it works well. The sweetness is still noticeable, but it is drawn back and balanced by the biting rawness of the bitterness and the earthy funk. Little true acidity here, but the rustic, primal nature of the other characters work well. And despite these flavours, it ends up being surprisingly crisp, and easy to drink. Lovely stuff.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. It has some lovely rustic, earthy and dependable flavours to it, but manages to amalgamate them all into a clean, very drinkable beer. Good stuff.
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pleasantly hazed deep amber, with flashes of red to it. Head is full, frothy and reasonably persistent, maintaining the majestic crest synonymous with a good IPA. Lacing is sketchy and sticky. Looks good.
Nose is a pleasant mildly fragrant, slightly fruity hop bonanza, giving a fresh (if generic) American hop aroma. Looking underneath, there's a slight meaty savouriness to the malt and even a weird salty or smoky hint. This is a very, very subtle character, however, but it's what sets it apartâmostly this falls squarely in "generic IPA" territory.
Taste is light, nutty and clear, with a mild bitterness through to the back, and a fragrant if slightly muted and stilted hop character. Finish has hints of pine and lavender, giving a clear bite to the aftertaste. Feel is smooth and supple. The taste is, however, quite generic, and it feels slightly flat, as if it has been cut through and dynamically shortened.
A decent brew, but not one of the best IPAs I've had. It just feels a little flatter and more generic. Despite the intrigue promised on the nose, this really ended up being "just another IPA".
74 / 100
Dark red hue with a white head, nice and frothy and retaining well. Lace is pretty nice; not very sticky but creates cool patterns on the glass. Nice.
Smells tasty, but quite intense: very distinct peppermint notes with chocolate malt underlying. Hint of passionfruit maybe, but yeah a sharp, fresh yet rounded mint note mostly. Impressive, and I'm certainly not averse.
Taste is quite dark upfront with earthy, slightly roasted malt. Develops spicy notes midway with more mint, aniseed and some cocoa. Bit sharp, but the roasty malts come through late to soothe the palate. Maybe a bit too much pique in the middle but an impressive, refreshing, brooding dark beer.
Bit spicy and tickly on the front and quite dry. OK.
Intriguing beer with lots of mysterious personality, and a piquant spark of life that ignites, but also slightly overcooks.
69 / 100
Pours a very dark chocolate colour, brown at the edges when held up to the light. Head is off-white, nice and fluffy when poured, dissipated to a thin cloud with a pleasant rim of lace. Slight trickle of bead. Nice.
Smells chocolatey and grainy. Quite sweet, with a mildly bitter cocoa edge to it but largely caramelly and a touch of wet mash aroma to it, giving a fairly underattenuated sense. Touch of espresso at the back, but largely sweet. Not bad, expected more.
Taste is quite similar, quite sweet with a very noticeable freshly malted grain flavour. Touch of caramel and chocolate grain. Yeah very chocolatey really, with a touch of cola, some lemongrass, berries and peanuts, almost peanut buttery late with a touch of saltiness. Not as dark as it could have been, but it's a porter so even though I'm craving more stouty bitterness, I forgive this for its pleasant, lightly roasted-grain flavour and sweet but dry finish. Quite enjoying this.
Bit thinner than I maybe expected for 8.5%, comes across as really quite dry. There's a presence but it's not very thick or malty.
I've had better baltic porters especially from the US, but it's a nice inoffensive drinking beer.
75 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a very pale straw colour, you could almost indeed call it blonde. Head is firm and frothy, largely consisting of large bubbles of white. Minimal lacing, but with the very light body (appropriate), that's not unexpected. Looks decent.
Nose is crisp and hoppy, with an emphasis on the crushed green end of the spectrum, much like a pilsener in this regard. Hiding in there are slight fruit characters, but again they're sharpâlemon and a bit of grapefruit, perhaps. This mingles with a very pilsener-y grain character giving a touch of citrus and some savoury basis. Nice.
Taste is smooth and clean, with a very lagery tone to it. Crisp pilsener malt, green hops and a cleansing but mild bitterness to add brightness and crispness to the palate. It's bright, refreshing and exceptionally drinkable.
Extremely refreshing. You know, if someone said that Victory has stuck a different label on their Prima Pils, and called it an Ale I'd believe it. That's no bad thing, given that that's a great beer, but it also does feel a little like this beer is unnecessary as a result.
75 / 100
Pours a burnished copper colour with gorgeous gushing head that retains a couple of fingers of beige foam, and sticky lace. No real bead but all the action's up top. Looks great.
Smell is fresh and delightful. Lots of sweet caramel malt underlying, hint of bread grain, but largely just light floral hops, hint of lemon zest, rosewater and fresh pineapple and a touch of resinous bitterness as well. Bit subdued, but otherwise ideal.
Taste hits you with those hops right away. Resinous notes and a touch of fresh pine that develops malty notes as an afterthought for the mid. Touch of barley, English toffee and lemon curd, before hops take over for the finish. Slight tartaric sherbety twang gives a nice lightness, but the bitterness is separate, resinous and quite drying at the back. Still a nice blend between those different hop characters and the pleasant malt base. I likes.
Fairly full body but a slight harsh back as it goes down. It could be carbonation but I think it's more likely hop oils sharpening the finish. Not bad.
I won't lie and say I haven't had better IPAs, but I certainly haven't had a better IPA from Victory. Or even from Pennsylvania.*
* I haven't had any others.
75 / 100
Pours a very dark, mostly black colour but slight dark brown around the edges. Head is ochre, just beautiful, thick and dense with large bubbles on the top and sunk to a decent crown. Lace is quite nice, and sticky. Yeah, cracking imperial stout look.
Smell is really nice, but an odd character is hanging around, like some hobgoblin. Smells dark and roasty for the most part but a nice hoppiness to it as well, citric mostly. Touches of blackberry on there and a mild bready note. Makes for a fruity as well as dark and pleasant nose. Good.
Taste is nice; lots of dark roasty notes but they're not dominant or overexuberant at any point. Starts with a pear character that quickly turns darker, touches of espresso with some distinct blueberry flavours late on the mid and some cocoa and cola characters coming through as well. Mint, black pepper and a mild soapy touch make an appearance late. Pleasant palate with lots of good flavours.
A bit harsh at times on the mouthfeel, but a good body and good texture. Maybe slightly over-hot from the alcohol at the back, otherwise good.
Yeah, a good beer is a good beer. Heavy, but good.
79 / 100
Pruchased at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, and brought back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a deep and dark, almost opaque black, with just a slight curling of brown at the edges to prove that it's not actually crude oil. Head is foamy and incredibly chunky and solid, leaving 3D images of cave structures on the inside of my glass. Looks very good indeed.
Nose is dark and roasty, but with a very pleasant and extremely unexpected hop fruitiness coming through. In fact, instead of the aroma reinforcing the darkness I expected, it leavens it, giving a wonderful mix of dark grains, and dark fruits. Plum, black peach and heavy raspberry. It's quite delicious.
The taste moves this away from the lightness and fruitiness of an IBA or ABA, giving a true astringent black roasted character to the mix. Here, the dark characters take centre stage, giving a slightly smoky, roasted and charred bitterness. Still, the feel is surprisingly light, and there is a character that leavens it from being thick and heavy. Feel is surprisingly light. Indeed, I think a heavier body would help the beer.
It's a very good beer, and one which interestingly exemplifies the American approach to the big styles. This one gives some unusual characters where they're not expected, and ends up with a fascinating and complex brew.
72 / 100
Pours a gold colour, very shiny and clear with no carbonation. Doesn't need it though, because the head is retaining beautifully. Bubbly, but dense on top and thick. Lace is gorgeous, nice sticky webs. Great look.
Smells tasty. Lots of American hops, but a good malt base with sticky cake dough and some light cereal grain. Hops are floral and citric, nice fruity characters but yeah, nice floral fragrances coming off. Slight musky as well. Yeah, pleasant.
Taste is also pleasant. Malty for the most part, caramel with some rich vanilla bean and some slight vinous notes underlying that then evolve into the hoppiness, which is tasty; nice citric bitterness that finishes well. Yet it's still a bit subdued and could use more robust hopping. Nice citric zest and some woody, resiny notes; finishes with a touch of rosewater and some mild licorice as well. Yeah, not a mind-blowing IPA but a very enjoyable one, nicely brewed.
A bit harsh actually on the feel, just slightly too much bubbliness. A good thick, rich body nonetheless.
An enjoyable drop of beer that could have been more enjoyable.
Purchased in California, transported back to Sydney, and cracked open with @LaitueGonflable to celebrate my moving house.
Pours a light but deep golden colour, with a thick and frothy head of white foam, perfectly formed and amazingly rich. Lacing is gorgeous, a sudsy mess of collapsing bubbles. Colour is quite pale, and the body is surprisingly light, but otherwise it's a fine looking brew.
Nose is a little thin, some slightly resiny hop character, a slight medicinal character, but not particularly big or robust. Even a slightly musty grain note, giving a little rankness, and a slight whiff of yeast. It's not a particularly engaging nose, overall.
Taste is more pleasant, a slightly nutty bitterness with a light grain character on the back. Finish has a touch of hop oil to keep it fresh, and a dryness on the back palate which is refreshing. Quite a light feel, with a slight aldehyde character on the back.
It's decent enough, but this beer is a classic example of why the west coast beats the east cost in IPAs every time. It has the astringent hops, but not the flavour and the character. Pleasant enough, and drinkable in its way, but I can probably think of a score of other IPAs I prefer.
61 / 100
Spices. They don't mention which, but we'll see how we go with it anyway. Head is crackling and large and almost more white than I've seen from any other beer. It's really quite bright, light and blank, made up of large bubbles that sizzle themselves into oblivion. Body is a very pale and clear yellow colour, and the carbonation speeds through the thin body, trying in vain to keep the loose-bubbled head alive.
Funky nose, big on Belgian notes, but extremely phenolic. Meatiness, a little clove, sandalwood incense, crushed grass and something even more organic comes through. It's quite a classic Belgian nose, obviously brewed with a genuine yeast strain. They've done a reasonably good job of it as well - I feel as though something's missing, but I have a hard time working out what it might be, and as a result I think it ends up pretty good on the nose.
Taste is also pretty true for a Belgian styled ale. Quite light on the body, but that's to be expected, slightly phenolic flavours throughout, with spice reaching up to abrade the palate, and a pleasant bitter almond character on the finish. Feel is surprisingly flat for a beer with such lively carbonation, but the lightness in the body compensates for the somewhat sharp flavour profile.
It's an interesting brew, but not something I'd necessarily seek out again. There are better Tripels out there, especially from the Belgians themselves, and while this is a fair representation, it's also something that doesn't need to exist.
60 / 100
Pours a very pale, almost transparently pale yellow, champagney in character really, with a beautiful snowy head, dense and retaining beautifully but leaving some dense splodges of lace around. Slow bead trail up the glass, looks like a pretty awesome quaffing lager.
Nose is a sponge-cakey malt affair with a nice crisp, dry bitterness coming through as well. Some light sweetness and fruitiness blends with the bitters, hints of gooseberry, lemon and maybe some passionfruit on there. Bitterness is crisp, slightly metallic. A pleasant lager smell indeed.
Taste is funny, actually. Very rich and astringent throughout, with an odd, heavy maltiness playing prominently as well. Slight fruity sparkle on the front, a hint of green grape skin and lemon, then oddly sweet with a pancake batter maltiness and a hint of currants or something as well. Bitterness is metallic and alkaline throughout, noticeable mostly on the back with its astringency not cleaning up as well as it could, but not being overly strong, just most noticeable on the back. An interesting drop that I think suffers from lack of substance on the front, leaving it unprotected and unbalanced on the bitter finish.
Not bad feel though actually. Noticeable texture and malty body with a smooth feel, not sticky and no trace of carb sizzle. Some sizzle would be expected from a lager but I'm not very disappointed to find it missing.
A decent sipper but lacks a bit of cleanliness on the back.
83 / 100
Pours a very pleasant bright golden colour, with a robust and thick head of just creamy-white foam. Lacing is sticky and persistent, some pancake bubbling on the top of the head. Some rather lazily bubbling carbonation animates the beer. A really top-looking pilsener.
I could smell it as soon as I'd uncapped the bottle - a big and boisterous fruity hop cacophony. Notes of passionfruit, resin and sweet citrus, with a really pleasant, but very underplayed grain sweetness. It's clean and fresh and more pointed than, say, the hop explosion you'd get from an IPA, but it's bang on for this style.
Taste is also clean and fresh, with a nice sharp and direct vector of hop bitterness through the mid palate. Finish is extremely dry, which is just what you want, leaving a refreshing bite of underripe carambola or kiwifruit. Mouthfeel is just leavened with a little fine sparkling carbonation without feeling bloating or prickly.
This is crisp and clear, amazingly refreshing and thoroughly drinkable. This is a really well-made, spot-on pilsener. This is what beer's about.