|Highest Rated||CCC (85 / 100)
||Average score||71 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Pepper In The Rye (61 / 100)
73 / 100
500ml tall can purchased for me by Sam for Christmas.
Pours a pretty hazy, but bright golden colour trending towards peach. Head is a fine crest of white that leaves excellent lace. Carbonation is very fine, and implies that there's a bit of weight to the body. Looks pretty good.
Nose is very hoppy—but in a really strong, herbal way, that reminds me of breaking open a pack of (perhaps old) pellets. It has zest and tangerine tones, but also loads of grass and herbal characters—the kind of thing you get when you over-hop something. It's maybe too sharp—or done with the wrong kind of hops that fail to provide that lovely fruit-bowl character.
Taste is better—it's more restrained, and there's a smoothness to the palate which is fairly intense, to the extent that it almost gets chewy. You almost want it to have a bit of bitterness at the back to cut it and provide some balance. But there's lots of fruity hoppy flavour on the palate even so. It's nice.
Feel is thick—heavy and almost gluey. It's impressive, but also makes me raise a skeptical eyebrow.
Overall—it's good stuff. There's some reliance on over-hopping, especially on the nose, and the palate is a trifle unbalanced. But there's nice things to it even so, and it's certainly a beer I'm happy to spend some time with.
73 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert, 5th January 2018.
Pours a pale orangey amber with a nice white foamy head; sinks in the middle but a nice dense crown of lace around the edge. Somewhat cloudy; looks pretty standard but good.
Smells lovely. Big fruity hop aroma, leaning on the citrus but a good belt of new world tropical aromas as well. Orange and passionfruit largely. Sherbety with a hint of pink grapefruit as well. Tangy, with some nice subtle caramel malts underneath it as well. Nothing less than I expect from these guys, but it's always welcome.
Taste is pretty nice too. Tangy hops start very early on top of a rather sweet caramelly malt upfront. Gives a big fruit juice character with sweet orange, plus passionfruit and mango. Develops a slightly biscuity character midway with a slight floury character to it as well, then the hops flourish on the back; really very little bitterness but this big fruity and floral character with honeysuckle, mango and peach complexities. Really quite inviting and moreish.
Mouthfeel is a little tingly, but there's just a mild viscosity to it that makes it really quite enjoyable. Yeah, good.
Drinks well; feels quite light and sessionable due to the low bitterness. Maybe a touch sweet is all.
72 / 100
Can brought over by Chris for sharing.
Pours a deep rich amber colour, clear. Head is cream-coloured, decent but with scant retention, just a thin cloud of large bubbles. Lace is nice and sticky but more retention would be nicer.
Smells lovely. Big herbal hop character, with some citrus and big pine needle character that gets slightly peppery on there. Tangy with a slight nutty malt edge. Pleasant.
Taste is not bad; bit lacking in big hop character though. Decent malt underpinning it with caramel toffee, gets some nice citric notes midway with a long resinous finish that's a little sharp and also slightly heavy with some rich hop oils. Good palate journey though, it's not too blarey, well mellowed and constructed throughout with no real rough edges. Flavours are not amazing but it's a very well made IPA.
Smooth mouthfeel too; good malt base and just a slight pull from hops. Impressive.
Drinks well; really rather pleasant and tasty.
What's this, a beer without adjuncts or weird fermentation, brewed for GABS 2017? One that just neatly fits into a style category? Yes indeed. Tried at the festival in Melbourne on tap.
Pours a dark-brown colour, clear body with nice foamy beige-coloured head. Retains pretty well. Looks to style; pretty good.
Smells like a good IBA. Zesty and citric hops, with notes of lemon/lime blending with some stonefruit notes, mango and passionfruit as well. Pleasant, fairly sharp.
Taste is very hop-driven as well. Slight caramel character upfront but no other malt presence except to underline those hops that come on very early. Predominantly citric and west coast, with lemon-lime on the mid and then a long grapefruit bitterness towards the back. Quite bitter and very Cascadian. I do like my IBAs to have a bit more malt presence, but this is pretty good.
Body is a little thick, and there's a touch of booze on the back. It needs a big body to carry off those hops but I feel it's a bit too gloopy.
Pretty decent hop bomb, could maybe hold back just a bit on the bitterness and allow the malt to have more of a presence. But this is a personal preference rather than inherent problems with the beer.
Wheat and rye imperial saison, aged in Chardonnay barrels. Tried on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a pale gold colour, very slight haze. Head is white, large bubbles but decent density in parts. Lacing is good and clingy while the head has sunk. Looks standard, but decent.
Smells quite malty. Rich earthy toffee notes with a hint of chocolate. Light tropical fruit aromas on the side as well, hint of mango mainly. Hint of earthy spice at the very back. Quite subtle and you need to concentrate hard to get really anything but whats there is very pleasant.
Taste is surprisingly sweet, and quite pleasant. Big caramel toffee note with a hint of peanut brittle. Strange fruit note that might be from the chardonnay and there's a distinct buttery french oak note to support that, particularly late mid, but it adds an additional sweetness that is maybe a touch too far. Don't get a lot of rye from it, which I would obviously love since I love rye, and also because I think it would counterbalance the butteriness a bit too. Pretty tasty but just a bit too much on the oak and not enough grunt underneath it. Not much saison either, really.
Sizzly mouthfeel, big carbonation fizz while body is maybe a touch thin.
Drinks quite well but it's very flavoursome and doesn't quite clean itself up as the back is all oak and little else. Nice but a bit unbalanced. I'd love to try the base beer without the barrel-ageing because I feel it gets suffocated in here and it sounds great at least on paper.
75 / 100
Almost certainly the most divisive and controversial beer at GABS 2016, owing to the hilarious accident that the written description in the program neglected to mention the fact that this is chillied up to high fuck. For some reason, I went into this knowing of the presence of chilli, but so many people didn't, and hated it as a result. Called otherwise a foreign stout with cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee.
Pours a dark-brown, bit pale maybe with lovely thick head of beige foam. Bit pale colour-wise but otherwise looks great.
Smells chocolatey and sweet, plenty of roast and maybe some subtle spice notes that are a bit vegetative and earthy. Bit meh, just standard stoutiness.
Huge vanilla note upfront that develops into caramel grainy notes that retain their sweetness and get a bit toffeed midway. Fuck, that chilli is HUGE. Dry, scorching heat on the back that explodes. Yeah, it's a beer of two halves: really very sweet front and then just napalm on the back. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it's sort of lacking a bit of development in the middle.
Spicy heat is all over the mouthfeel, touch of warming alcohol as well.
Tastes kind of like eating chilli flakes, with big sweetness as well. Pretty amazing, but more transition/cohesion between the two elements on the palate would be great and really bring this to life.
Despite all the popular hate, this beer was earmarked for re-tasting on the final day for me. It failed to make my shortlist for beer of the festival in the end.
EDIT: I just realised the reason I knew this had chilli in it was because I read the brewer Q&A on Glen Humphries' blog beerisyourfriend.org in the lead-up to the festival. It wasn't mentioned on any official guide.
85 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Royal Albert in Sydney on CCC Day.
Pours a very deep golden colour, very clear, but with a depth that almost turns it toward amber. Head is a loose, pocked mess of yellowish off-white. Excellent lacing. Body is pretty firm, but still fairly slick and moveable. Looks good.
Nose is excellent. There's a big, bright sharp hop character which is immediately apparent—fresh and potent, trending towards pine needly sharpness. There's a little slight caramel or toffee behind it to support it, with a hint towards marshmallow sweetness. As it warms it becomes more peppery. It's really lovely.
Taste is also really good, but more due to the face that it's really rather similar to the Zoo Feeder. It has a similar lightness, and sits very smooth and drinkable with no hint of the booze. With the supple sweetness, it almost has a citrus candy approachability at the back—it's so soft. Finish has a slight peppery earthiness, which maybe gives it a hint of something different. It's nice stuff.
Feel is slick and smooth, but maintains that light, drinkable demeanor.
Yep, this is drinkable as fuck—almost dangerous due to how little you can feel or taste the booze. It's a cracking brew, really well made.
75 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a dark cola colour, clear with colour at the edge. Yellow-tinged beige head, fairly dense with some large bubbles. Looks pretty good, yeah. Fine brown ale.
Smells very nice. Chocolate notes with a nutty edge. Sweet but roasty and just enough woody savoury character; touch of spice. Yeah smells and looks good.
Taste is a little insipid upfront; tastes sweet yet watery and a bit empty. Mid palate redeems with a big ballsy roast character. Cocoa and some grain husk character that might just be nuts. Late mid rounds it off with light sweet notes complemented by dark bitterness which is really very appealing. Yeah, overall it's definitely a pretty great brown ale. Roasty, bitter sweet in good measure. Edit: As it warms, the nuttiness is far more pronounced upfront.
Smooth, fluid mouthfeel with a very slight dryness as it goes down.
Drinks a bit by the numbers at times, and I was expecting a bit more nutty magic - or at least more connection between the nuts and the roastiness. As it is it's a very fine brown ale with a nutty character upfront. There's nothing wrong with that but I was expecting more somehow.
73 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a mid-golden colour, quite clear in the glass and very solid in the body. Carbonation is very fine, and feeds a fine white head that stays firmly as a solid ring. Nice concentric rings of lace as well. Looks good.
Nose is very pleasant: it's a big IPA first and foremost, with fruit developing from the hops giving peach and pineapple and buckets of fragrance. Plenty of mid-malt to hold it as well. Slight pepper comes through as it warms. Very good stuff.
Light and smooth on the palate. My notes say "a bit blasty"—I don't know what that means now, but I like it so I thought I'd include it. Some bitterness comes through on the mid-palate, but the malt is also very heavy and tends to overwhelm it a little. Bitterness is a little generic on the back, and always menaced by lots of malt and booze.
Feel is very smooth.
In the end, it felt a bit heavy to live up to its promise. It's certainly a nice beer, but from an auspicious start it could have really wowed me—so it's a bit of a shame that it didn't.
Pours gold, slightly cloudy. Head is white, nice rim but not much retention otherwise. Not bad.
Smells fruity with little else going on. Bags of pineapple with passionfruit, peach and a touch of pear. Not very bitter; could use a bit more edge. Still, pleasant.
Taste is a little better. Retains that big fruit salad character with pineapple, passionfruit, pear and a touch of coconut. Slight honeyed edge to the malt leads in nicely to the sweet fruit flavours. Finishes fairly bitter but not as much as expected. I like this more than a lot of double IPAs but it still seems a little empty-fruity to me and could use more oomph.
Decent body but has a sharpness to the booze as it goes down.
Lots of hop flavour giving a complex melange; a little sharp on the texture for me.
72 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a dark cola colour, clear. Beige head, whispy. Decent retention around the edges. Looks OK. Smells chocolatey, grainy. Touch of cherry and a touch of lightly roasted coffee bean. Vanilla; sweet. Not bad at all.
Taste is mildly roasty upfront, fair sweet and chocolatey notes throughout. Nutty on the back; big nut-brown hazelnut character. Sweet vanilla as well and lots of biscuity malt. Could use a tad more US hops for the style. Great malt character but I would like a touch more balance.
Smooth; surprisingly good body for 5%. No real texture but that's OK. 4 o nice sweetish brown ale; feel it could use more balance as it just tips a bit too much towards sweet. But quite pleasant. 3.75
On tap at the brewery.
Pours a pale saffron colour, steady bead. Head is white, bit of froth on the top of the beer. Lace doesn't stick around. Looks OK.
Smells fruity. Mango, passion, lime and tangerine. Fresh and airy, could use a touch more grounding. Just feels unhinged and sweet.
Taste is, as the tasting notes imply - albeit a bit sexistly - more robust. Hops take hold early; still fruity but hugely citric, with big fresh lemon notes and grapefruit bitterness late-mid. Trails off with somewhat grassy bitterness. Could still use a touch more malt for balance, retains that airy sense of fruity hops with nothing underneath them. Bitterness is welcome but now unguarded.
Bit too much sizzle, could use more padding here too.
Pleasant summer ale with a fair robustness to it. Quite enjoyable.
78 / 100
On tap at the brewery.
Pours a pale gold with furious bead. Head is white, fluffy, small bubbles retaining well, fed from below by carbonation. Looks nice.
Smells heavenly. Fruity, fresh, light but full of character. Fragrant tea leaves, banana, mango, passionfruit and huge floral notes. Passionfruit. Musk sticks. Slight phenol. I am in heaven right now, smelling that.
Taste is a little bitter and maybe a touch boozey. Otherwise a very pleasant journey. Starts tea-like with notes of green tea and maybe some floral jasmine characters, then fruity with a touch of passion and mango and then that musk stick character late-mid. Finishes with a slight booziness, touch of belgian phenol and some late citrus character. Very pleasant flavour.
A bit of carbonation pull, but otherwise full, lots of presence in the mouth.
Hoppy bitter, green tea bitter, Jasmine floral. Wonderful blend of characters but maybe just a tad bigger than it needed to be.
77 / 100
On tap at the brewery.
Pours a lovely red-tinged amber colour, steady bead. Head is white, small bubbles retaining a thin crown very nicely. Odd colour, but very appealing and intriguing.
Smells saisony. Funky, with barnyard, rubber and lucerne. Up close there's a fruity twang to it; raspberry and a faint twinge of coconut. Very pleasant and great saisony nose.
Taste is funky and saisony from the get go. Touch of acid on there with fresh citrus zest. Notes of raspberry, passionfruit and vanilla. Finishes quite phenolic, bitter but funky. Tasty.
A bit sharp, lots of carbonation for a bit too much texture. Finishes very dry.
More of a bière de garde maybe, but an intriguinng fruit note provides a smooth balance to an otherwise excellent Belgian flavour.
73 / 100
Pale straw with a light haze; thin white head. Not bad.
Smells orangey with big note of funk. Touch of dusty pepper as well. Earthy; spicy, citric. Pleasant.
Taste is OK, lots of orange and fair funk. Spicy pepper, touch of lucerne and fair citric character. Not a huge saison; orange tempers it a lot in a good way. Excellent gateway saison.
Fizzy feel; decent texture. Not much else.
Nice saison with a twist.
Pale gold, touch of haze. White head is pretty dense. Decent retention. More lace maybe but good otherwise.
Smells a bit salty? Touch of new world hops. Passion, orange, but yeah a funny beachy character. Unexpected. Not bad.
Taste is hoppier, more citric. Big pulpy orange notes; touch of lemon, quite bitter. Fair caramel malt throughout, even on the back. Quite a potent pale ale; borders on IPA territory. Nice though; citric and fruity.
A bit sizzly from carbonation, as body isn't quite there to pad it.
Good, big pale ale. Plenty of flavour.
62 / 100
Very pale straw colour, fairly cloudy. Head is white, small bubbles, nice lace. Looks OK for style.
Smells grainy: corn, rice, but not very sweet. Decent, adjunct-infused ale.
Taste is more ricey. Sweet light flavours, fair cereal notes, bit bitter on the back. Just a touch of cleansing, yeah cream ale. Not a style I love, but OK when done well like this.
Thin, but decent. Bit smooth.
74 / 100
Dark red brown, beige head, thin with nice lace. Sticky; decent look.
Smells chocolatey with vanilla, cocoa, some caramel. Nice roast, nice porter.
Taste is pleasant: chocolate with vanilla and caramel, notes of cinnamon, pepper as well? Finishes sweet, chocolatey, dry on the back. Good porter.
Smooth, but a bit light. Not bad.
Nice porter, nicely made.
75 / 100
Golden with a touch of orange. Off-white head, nice density, dissipates after a while but leaves nice sticky lace. Looks nice.
Smells citric, passion with pine, resin, cedar green apple and spice. Needs malt? Just all hops, not bad.
Taste is good too. Malt is light, fairly sweet with peanut caramel notes, then distinct hop notes. Surprisingly dry with lemon and orange characters, some pepper on the bitterness . Clean on the back. Great IPA notes but clean; US brewers would be very proud of this palate. For example, the US brewer who brewed it.
Bit of pull from the hops, decent body holding your back though.
Lovely IPA, really very drinkable.
61 / 100
From a squealer purchased from the brewery by Sam, who shared it with me. Brewed with peppercorns and rye.
Pours a dusky golden hue with a minimal, thin head of white that sits in a tiny ring around the edge of the glass. Body is fairly light and mild, with some fine carbonation running through it. Head retention is minimal, as is the lacing. Looks pretty standard, but not bad.
Nose is slightly gritty and grainy, with a bit of earthy funk and a suggestion of dried apricots. On the back is something a little floral as well. Not much hint of the pepper. There's some interest there, but overall it's not something that has really gripped me by the balls from first try.
Taste is a little better. Here there's a slightly clean acidity towards the back, giving a lightness and bite that counterbalances some of the earthiness. Some very faint zestiness runs through the centre of the palate as well—which is another good balance because the body feels a little dank and grainy. Overall, it's not bad.
Feel is mild, but with a bit of weight through the centre.
Overall, it's a pretty drinkable brew. As the first beer I've had from a new brewery, it's a little underwhelming, but it's a solid enough Saison.
85 / 100
Squealer purchased from the brewery by my brother Sam at their opening night.
Pours a lovely amber-red colour, clear and burnished, with a very fine and fairly persistent head of off-white that sits in a fine crest atop the glass. Lacing forms in pleasant streaks. Body has a bit of heft to it, and holds fine carbonation well.
Lovely hop aromas on the nose: big, fresh and bright, with an underlying weight to the malt which gives it a little oomph. Together there's a lovely savoury tone to the whole thing: it's bright, but balanced and the malt and grain make a really lovely counterpoint to the bright, sharp hop characters. Love it.
Taste is also very good. Here the malt is more pronounced (as it should be?), giving a fullness and richness to the palate that allows the hops to seem very mellow by comparison. Here, they layer a zestiness that's really quite smooth and light, light lemon creme or lemon meringue pie with a touch of pepper towards the back. The smoothness to the palate is really what sets this apart—it's really quite gorgeous stuff.
Feel is clean but very smooth—perfectly weighted as it should be.
Overall, this is a stunningly good beer, especially from a new brewery. This is lovely, lovely stuff—probably one of the best red ales out of Australia right now, and there's some fairly stiff competition for that crown.