77 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a dirty golden colour, very hazy and a little thick. Head is full and frothy, staying as a persistent crest of white. Lacing forms in reasonable masses. Carbonation is quite minimal. Looks decent, but not much better.
Everything is on the up from here though. The nose is great, with a rounded sweetness spiked with some lovely German grain notes. There's something a little spicy and grassy to it too, which helps integrate the characters while providing its own sense of interest. Good stuff.
Taste is even better. Pleasant honeyed malts, with a prickly bitterness to balance it. With this come proper overtones of grain and mild metallic characters that add brightness. On the back, there's a smooth fruity sweetness that gives a little banana and peach. It's very pleasant.
Feel is relatively full-bodied, but that crispness from the bitterness helps sharpen it.
Overall, it's a really nice Maibock. The clarity is its one big flaw as far as I can see, but it's easy and pleasant to overlook that. Otherwise, I like it a bunch
72 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale orange colour, very hazy and with some firm weight behind it. Disappointingly, there's almost no head to it. So little that I can't even discern what colour it would be if it did form. Carbonation forms in fine minimal streams at least.
Aroma is great: it smells like a lemon drop or some other kind of lemon candy. Some toffee notes come through as well. As it warms though, it tends more towards straight sweetness, but it's still very pleasant.
Lemon pithy on the front palate, with no bitterness, turning smooth and fruity by mid way through. Persistent and oily citrus characters drive it towards the back, where it's clean but punctuated. Aftertaste is mild, with a slight medicinal note, and a little astringency—possibly from some hops that are unwelcome in the midst of all this lemony goodness. It doesn't persist however, leaving the beer rather clean ultimately.
Feel is full and firm.
Overall, even drinking a sampler I found the lemon getting a bit much after a while, so I imagine that drinking a glass might actually be a bit of a slog. Still, it's a big idea and very unique. You have to respect it for that.
75 / 100
Pours a gold colour, oddly sedimenty, really cloudy. Head is white and non-existent. I guess it's got lemon in it because that head is terrible.
Smells massively of lemon. Really puckering vibe to it, with zest and pith bitterness and all the vitaminy goodness. Not bitter, but tart-smelling. Touch of caramel grain for balance. Great.
Taste is much the same.Lemon sherbet upfront, then a deeper citrus flavour dominates the palate from the mid to the back. Sour/bitter towards the end and massively tangy. Fairly bitter but conspicuously lacking hops. All pretty pleasant but a more robust hop character would add amazing dimensions to a very tasty brew.
Body is very drying at the back, puckering even. Decent texture though.
Love it. So much lemon on it and so many layers of lemon. Could have been a winner, but as it was it was just an honourable mention from my top 10 of the festival.
62 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a faintly hazed bright golden colour, with twinges of orange at the deeper portions of the glass. Head forms solidly, creating a coarse, but persistent head of white. Carbonation is minimal. Body is light. Looks decent enough.
Nose is quite pleasant: initially, a sweet vegetative character comes through, almost giving a gueuze-like funk, but this disappears quickly, leaving a more rugged earthy tone to the aroma. As it warms, it becomes a bit simpler and more subtle but still very pleasant.
Taste is also decent, but missing some of the refinement that made the aroma so good. Slight herbal tones of rosemary and pine come through, but the basis is a rather flat sweetness with some granary overtones. Light yeast characters give it a zest at the end, but it also feels a little bit thin. It's a shame: while it's certainly drinkable, the aroma was suggestive of something much better.
Certainly drinkable, and enjoyable to a good degree, but there were hints it was going to be a lot better than it ultimately ended up. Still worth trying, but it could have been much more.
77 / 100
Pours a pale straw colour, huge cloud to the point of being opaque in the body. White head, quite sparse, but retaining OK. Looks very intriguing.
Some grainy notes upfront, cereal notes with some buttery character, but then piquant fruit on the back, lemon, orange and a touch of white pepper. Tangy and fresh, but maybe a little on the light side.
Bit of rye spice upfront on the palate which I wasn't expecting. Fruit, and hops take over midway. Orange, mandarin and a touch of lemon zest. A little bit bready as well with a yeast character on the back which normally would make me recoil but actually works really interestingly with the fruit character. I like this a lot.
Decent mouthfeel, bit of light carbonation but fine for the style.
Classic pale ale but with a really interesting twist. Very enjoyable.
57 / 100
A hoppy pale ale accented with Japanese Daidai fruit, apparently some sort of extremely bitter citrus used as an expectorant. Mmm. Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne in 2013.
Pours a very light honey yellow colour with ridiculously solid hazing. Weight is heavy, especially given what I expected. Head forms a foamy white ring around the glass, which forms lace in mild patches. Looks good.
Nose is slightly dusty and pretty mild. Some citrus rind comes through, but it's dirty and earthy with twinges of flour and yeast to it as well. It doesn't win me over, I'm afraid.
Light and bready entry on the palate as well. Some dry crispness help it a bit as it leads into a sharp citrus character with some bite. Back is dry, clinging and dusty, but lacking any real flavour. Aftertaste is clean and light, but dead.
Very light feel, despite the apparent weight in the body. Some bite from the citrus.
Overall, it's OK, but it has some elements which make it seem a little dull, and some which verge on being unpleasant. I feel it had more potential than this.
75 / 100
I've been sitting on this bottle for ages, for some reason, and never really thought of a reason to crack it. So I cracked it tonight for no reason whatsoever. 633ml tall bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a fine but heavy reddish amber hue, with a very solid hazing. Head forms a smattering of tessellated large bubbles across the top of the glass, leaving a sheen of yellow-white. Minimal lacing apart from the specks of a few of those broken bubbles. Carbonation is wonderful: blissfully fine and powdery, and the body is thick enough to make it near-static on tilting. Overall, it looks very good.
Nose is spicy and boozy almost from the very start. Rich, rummy sugar notes, with a heady waft of vaporous alcohol. Slight corky hints of oxidation, but only mild, and oddly suited to this style of beer. Fruity notes evolve from the booze: raisins and currants come to mind, along with a prickly cherry astringency. Overall, it's very potent but quite good.
Taste is less immediately sharp and boozy: instead, there's a tempered sweetness which coats the tongue, allowing the spicy, volatile components to warm and evanesce until you're practically smelling them anyway. More rum-like booze, sweeter notes of the sultana fruitiness, and a warming finish like cognac. Hops are probably there, adding their own subtleties to the spice, but this is more about body and booze than anything else.
Feel is smooth and silky, and perhaps not as chewy as I expected. This has a lightness to it despite its depth.
It's interesting to see a brewer play with some of the lesser-appreciated aspects of the beer flavour spectrum—here is a noticeably boozetacular barleywine that still manages to stay remarkably balanced and approachable.
73 / 100
Bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable from Slowbeer. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a slightly hazed orange-copper colour, with a eggy white foamy head that leaves branching, intricate lace. Body is light, but solid, and leaves amazingly fine carbonation. Surprisingly good.
Nose is light, but pleasant enough. Some fine yeasty notes and a touch of estery spice, balanced with a slight fruitiness that might be hops. This is all overlaid, however, with a touch of carbonic acidityâsomething that just makes it feel a little bit muted, perhaps a little bit too old.
Taste is light and clean, with a slight prickle of spice on the back, giving a hint of fennel and allspice. Some yeasty notes come through again, leaving a brusqueness that almost feels like a bite of lemon acidity on the back palate. Feel is smooth, but light.
Overall, this is pretty solid stuff. I feel like this particular bottle might be showing its age, but it has some very pleasant characters to it nonetheless. Nice.
72 / 100
Bottle purchased from @Slowbeer for me by @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a pleasantly burnished, slightly hazy golden-copper colour, with a fine, slightly bubbly head of pure white. Lacing forms in solid Urdu typography. Body looks very hefty for its ABV. Looks good.
Nose is clean, fresh and bright. Aromas of peach, sweet orange and lavender caress the senses, while a mild, slightly grainy sweetness gives some body. The lavender comes through more as it warms, banging off the sweetness to give an almost salty, sea-water freshness. It's really pleasant, actually, and a little bit unusual.
Taste is lighter, which is not unexpected, with mild smooth grainy malt forming a basis, before some mild citrus juiciness draws out the back palate. A slight crackle of pepper on the back cleans out the palate, but even then it feels a bit abrupt and abbreviated, without an oomph which allows the beer to finish properly.
Feel is smooth, however, with a lovely clean ride over the palate.
Overall, this is good stuff. It's light on the palate, which makes it easy to drink, but it has plenty of interest when you go looking for it. Another strong beer from Baird.
61 / 100
Purchased for me by @epiclurk from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours a deep brown-red colour, with a filmy, pocked but inconsistent head of mild brownish off-white. Some strong but patchy lace. Body is firm, but silky, forming a tight stream of carbonation when tilted.
Nose is disappointingly flat. Some grainy oat-like huskiness, with a faint hint of more depth from roasted grains and a hint of hops. Overall, it's really quite dull and generic.
Taste is also pretty flat, with a faint brown bread character coming through and little else. There's a subtle sweetness coming through, but it gets overwhelmed by the lightness and unsubtle booze that seems to overtake the palate. Feel is light.
Overall, this really falls down as a "strong scotch ale". It doesn't have the depth or the complexity I expect, or even the bludgeoning weight that would warrant the title. Overall, I'm pretty unimpressed.
86 / 100
Pours a burnt orange colour with massive tan head, fluffy and marshmallowy on top. Lace clings to the glass beautifully. Retains well. Does everything well.
Smells lovely: nice citric tang with tangerine, grapefruit and kaffir lime leaf. Mint and a hint of leather in there as well. Broody, spicy twist on an otherwise highly appealing fruity aroma. Yum.
Taste dips into great IPA territory, with nice salted caramel base overlain with spicy tangy fruit notes. Grapefruit, lime, pink lady apple with nutmeg, cedar wood and a nice resiny hop finish with distinct citric oils. Tasty, well constructed IPA. Hops star, but don't hog the spotlight from the other talented players.
Smooth enough, with a bit of body behind it. Bit too much pull on the back, but otherwise pretty great.
Wonderful beer and the best I've had from Baird. Tasty, complex and exciting with a big, impressive hop presence.
74 / 100
Pours a dirty orange colour with gritty suspension of yeast particles. Head is off-white, not beige, generous but sunk quite quickly with a hint of lace. Looks interesting, to say the least.
Smells fruity with a nice tang of citric notes, hint of pomegranate seed and waxy sherbet. Leafy as well, nice and fresh but quite unique.
Taste bursts with flavour, loads of fruit upfront with citrus and stone fruit, including guava and peach, developing. Little yeasty on the back, with a slight cloying sweetness, though a hint of tang remains to keep it clean enough. Quite intriguing; goodly amount of fruit, and pretty well balanced.
Full-ish body with slight pull at the back, slight acidity. Not bad.
Yeah, I like that. Interesting fruity characters overall but nice grounding to it.
83 / 100
Bottle from Slowbeer, on the second attempt
Pours a lovely bright, burnished orange colour, with an exceptionally fine, but partially filmy head of pure white. Som patchy lacing forms around the edges of the glass. Body is solid enough, and forms extremely fine carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Ooh, nose is wonderful. If only it came exclusively from hops I'd be clamouring for some of those hope right now. Big citrussy bite, with fragrant overtones of lychee, all laced liberally with the floral aroma of rosewater. It's so bright, so fragrant, so crisp and so excitingly unique. Yes, yes, yes!
Taste is a lot milder, but in some ways, this is rather good. Clean citrus zest bite with a touch of pithy kumquat bitterness on the finish. Touches of mandarin and marmalade through towards the back, all working wonderfully well with a smooth, but unobtrusive malt basis. Feel is smooth, but light, with enough depth to showcase the unique and interesting citrus characters.
Ooh yes, what a wonderful and wonderfully unique beer. I had some sort of conception of this beer before I bought it, and it delivered on my expectations beautifully. It's crisp, drinkable and refreshing, but twisted with unexpected quirks.
I'm so pleased I was successful in obtaining it second time around.
Pours a very dark mahogany colour with a red tinge. Head is beige, overly generous but that's OK since it looks good: dense and fluffy with beautiful lace. Bit too much head, but otherwise great.
Smell is very chocolatey, with a weird nutty, salty, almost corporeal edge to it. Very sweet, with cocoa, butter and a cake-batter aroma. Bit too sweet and clingy, definitely needs hops or something to freshen it up, or cut through the malt, or at least to be appropriate for the style.
Taste is less sweet, with dark malts taking the fore. Lots of dark caramel upfront with hints of English toffee, before becoming very chocolatey on the mid-palate. Hints of espresso coming through late and some spice characters - licorice, pepper and maybe coriander. Hint of some herbal hops at the very back, but it's mostly just roasty bitterness late. More like a really malty porter than any other style (including ABA), but not a bad beer for all its shortcomings.
Bit thin on the body, but smooth and easy drinkin'.
Would have liked more from this; like ordering a bride from a mail-order catalogue that's ten years out of date, I'm a bit disappointed with what I've received here.
76 / 100
Pours a golden orange colour with lotza carbonation; heaps of bubbles around the glass. Beautiful reverse cascade when poured, head is anl off-whte colour and nicely dense. Quite frothy and webbed out in a spun sugar style as it sinks. Nice indeed.
Smells very tasty; lots of hops, very fruity in character with nice complex citrus - lemon, lime and grapefruit with a touch of under-ripe pineapple and good wood resin notes as well, piney and cedary. Nice toffee malt to balance as well, very good IPA aroma.
Taste is really rather sweet. Lots of that toffee malt on there; quite sweet with a bit of richness and then lots of earthy hop oils on the back. Not a sharp bitterness, but a swelling complexity of floral hopnotes with citrus rind and rosewater for good measure. Woody characters come through late, but it's not dry in that way wood can be, because it's so malty with some syrupy sweetness for balance. Notwithstanding the above it's also quite a mild beer, even though the flavours are big.
Nice and full with lots of texture. It's a bit dry on the back from hop oils but decent enough.
Enjoyable drop, not overblown at all; rather a very nicely constrained bigger beer.
77 / 100
Purchased as part of an order from Slowbeer.
Incredibly carbonated, it's all I can do to prevent a good 8 centimetres of head forming on the pour. Body is a nicely hazed reddish amber colour, almost hue enough to be a Red Ale. Head is huge, but crackles and sinks until it's a manageable two fingers, leaving anarchic lacing in its wake. Quite light bodied, but that's not unexpected. Looks very tasty.
Nose is fresh with American hops, giving it a very classic US style aroma of tropical fruits and citrus. Slight dustiness to it as well, which may signify a slight lack of freshness, which is maybe to be expected having purchased it here in Australia. But there's certainly some big, cold and aromatic hop characters despite this. A very good nose.
Taste is light, but pleasant, with a noticeable hop flavour through the mid, that has dried out by the back. It doesn't really have a pronounced bitterness, but given that this is low-gravity IPA in the scheme of things, it probably couldn't have supported a whole heap more. Otherwise, we have pleasant sweet citrus characters, and a mild malt body to cushion everything. Feel is very smooth and slick.
A very nicely balanced IPA, and one which gives a good indication of the style as a whole. Carbonation is a little too high, which hurts the drinkability, but only slightly. Flavour-wise, it's delicious.
83 / 100
Purchased for me from Slowbeer in Melbourne by @epiclurk. Nice work =)
Pours a hazed and rather still orange colour, with a hint of floating sediment and some languidly forming carbonation. Head is fine, but puffs of pancake bubbles form on the off-white top. Lacing is sudsy but solid. Nice.
Smell takes me back to California. Really pleasant and genuine fresh West Coast hop characters coming through with lovely American freshness. Big citrussy rubbed lemon skin notes, with sweet marmalade and sharp leafy aromas. More subdued than the best examples, but really fresh, bright and stylistic all the same. Top nose.
Palate is also good, stylistically and absolutely. Sharp citric bitterness on the front, which rounds nicely before it crescendoes itself into harshness, mellowing to turned notes of nut and leaf. Barley sugar sweetness on the back. Very nicely balanced, but with a very robust hop bitterness to remind you what it is.
Mouthfeel is smooth and supple, with only minimal carbonation. Sits very pleasantly and softens the palate yet more.
An absolutely cracking IPA. One of the best I've had outside America, and I'd say a good match for most of those as well. Some may argue where the line between IPA and Imperial IPA is drawn, but I don't really care--this is a great beer.
Purchased for me from Slowbeer by @epiclurk. Cheers!
Pours a dark, but very solid dark red/burgundy hue--a cracking colour for a beer, although not the brown the name implied. Head is full and frothy, but frothy like meringue, crashing down quickly and leaving minimal lacing. Decent looking brew all up though.
Nose is pleasantly but mildly hoppy, giving some fresh sweet citrus notes, with just a suggestion of syrupy malt. Together, it forms a lovely balance, with the sweeter malt giving it a nice twist from the standard IPA/hoppy pale ale mould.
Taste is a little softer, or at least thinner. Here the hop bitterness doesn't mesh so well with the other characters, although the other characters are reasonably bold. Besides the sharp, direct humulus through the centre, we have a slight nuttiness and a rounded sweet malt extract character, but they seem to sit apart from the hops, and don't integrate well.
Feel is light and a bit thin. This lack may be one of the reasons for the lack of integration on the palate.
It's a nice beer, and solidly drinkable one, but this is a really great style, and I feel like this example is only par for the course.
46 / 100
Pours a slightly hazy burnished amber colour. Head is thin, but retaining a decent film of off-white bubbles. Very slow, light carbonation. Lacing is tasty, sweet and sticky. Looks good.
Smell is sour and fruity with some overripe apple and strawberry notes. Nice funkiness behind with a slight mustiness, hint of wet cellar and slight leather character. But overall just a slight fruit juicy aroma to it. Decent, but not gobsmacking.
Taste is wow, a bit...weird. Incredibly sweet and fruity but really kind of insipid, with rotting apple and pear notes. Kind of heavier boozey note on the back but not a lot. Really doesn't have much of a finish at all, just has that odd fruity sweetness on the front and a mild hint of bitterness, but nothing pronounced. Really drinks like fruit juice here, with a hint of funk but just very lacking on the finish and needs a great deal more to impress me.
Swills pretty well in the mouth with a lot of viscosity. Weird soupy texture as it goes down, like it's full of sediment but otherwise thin.
Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of sweet beers and this one is just insipid. I get that it's meant to be sweet but it needs something to balance it and clean up the palate. I really couldn't drink this in quantity. A quarter of a bottle is more than enough.
71 / 100
Pours a lightish orange colour, with an initially thick head of white, that cascades down until it's only a light film. Looks pretty heavy, and there's some pleasant static carbonation when it's swirled. Overall, looks pretty good, although the lack of head in the end is disappointing.
Nose is lightly sweet, with some whiffs of slightly funky banana esters, and a bit of brown sugar and dates. Quite sweet, and surprisingly, juicily dark. Quite pleasant though.
Taste is also quite sweet, initial big sweet melted sugar front palate, with a welling of slightly wheaty sourness coming through. Sharp finish, not quite a booziness, but not quite hoppiness either. I actually do like the fact that it contains some of the classic wheat beer characters. Feel is good.
Pretty tasty, although it's a little bit wayward, and it doesn't have the exciting depth and complexity as many another wheatwine I've had.