|Highest Rated||Sabotage (83 / 100)
||Average score||73 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Flower Power (61 / 100)
Bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor.
Pours a pale gold colour, head is very enthusiastic, settles down to a foamy crown of bubbles. Lacing is a little thin, body a little hazy. Looks fine, but not amazing.
Smells fine, and closer to amazing. Lovely Bretty aroma with a good champagne dryness as well as a beautiful fruity character - citrus and berries and melon. Slight spicy and almost savoury aroma on the back as well. Smells funky, and funk-ay.
Taste is not quite as funky. Or funk-ay. It's quite dry throughout, with a slight boozey character coming through midway giving it quite a dry chamapgne character. Fruity but then rather savoury late-mid with an earthy peppery spice like grains of paradise and coriander. Yeah it's pretty good saisony drinking with a touch of booze, but it just lacks the freshness and vibrancy of the nose - either from the fruit or from the brett. Just feels like a straightforward big saison. Maybe a bit old though, so don't mean to discredit it that much.
Mouthfeel is a little sharp with a big pull from the wild yeasts, then the boozey dryness kind of exacerbates it. Yeah needs more body to carry it off really.
Drinks well for all that; it's really quite champagne-esque in that I can sit and savour and enjoy sipping it without the flavour getting dull, or too intense for that matter.
74 / 100
750ml dark green bottle, purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt.
Pours a slightly hazed golden colour, with a frothy, large-bubbled head of white that crackles down to a filmy gauze across the top. Carbonation is lively, with swift-moving streams of bubbles rising through the body. The weight seems like it should be light, but in fact it has some heft to it when the glass is tilted. Looks very good.
Nose is great. Immediately, the use of the green bottle is apparent, giving a lovely combo of skunk 'n' funk. It's organic and herbal, but with a perverse sweetness like candied lime. There's lots of traditional saison funk as well—lots of pepper, a little latex and some banana esters all wafting around the place. It's a really quite cracking aroma for a saison.
Taste is a bit of a mish-mash. There's some floral notes from the jasmine, which clash with the sharper peppery notes, meaning neither gains supremacy. There's weirder notes around the back, with some rosewater and a little petrichor. Back is slightly minerally, and capped with a rather forthright carbonation—it makes the finish seem rugged, bitter and aggressive.
The nose is great on this one, and is absolutely the star of the show. Some of the other characters might well soften with a bit of age, and I honestly suspect that the funk will only develop over time. This might be one to hold on to for a little longer. I might even go and get myself another bottle for the cellar.
75 / 100
375ml can purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt. Love the bold, stark label design.
Pours a lovely bright lemon-yellow colour, with vibrant, refractive haze. Head is a foamy white, a little inconsistent,but leaving large globs of webby lace. Carbonation is fine, despite the lightness of the body. Looks good.
Nose is awesome. In fact, I could smell it from the moment I cracked the can. Lots of hop dankness—I was going to say Nelson Sauvin, but the can says Citra, Galaxy, Riwaka & Simcoe. I'll lay that green sharpness at the feet of everything except for Galaxy. Under it is a slight yeasty character—I suspect the only real contribution from the grisette base. As it warms, some of the other hop notes come through, lending sweeter fruit notes of mango and lychee. Still, it's a potent, riproaring nose. I like it a stack.
Taste is also pretty good. It starts clean and bright, with echoing hints of those sharp fruit aromatics—lychee is more prominent here, with other characters of carambola and underripe honeydew. There's some slight tart aromatics that come through as well—a bright Belgian character perhaps that provides a contrast to the fruit-forward hops. Towards the back, the yeast kicks up a bit, leaving a slight silty character on the finish. It's slightly unpleasant, but it's maybe the price you pay for those Belgian notes.
Feel is light and silky. It's almost ephemeral. I like it.
Very drinkable. I could see myself happily working my way through a stack of these. And you know what? I might just do that.
71 / 100
On tap at Harts, probably lower down in the keg as it was a week or so after Sydney Beer Week when this was launched.
Pours a deep orange amber colour, somewhat cloudy. Head is white, foamy with small bubbles apparent on the fringes. Thin retention but decent lace. Looks standard, fine.
That's how you do a tropical hoppy nose. It just smells like tropical juice; pineapple, passionfruit, banana and guava abound in that, with a very slight citric edge. Apricot, too. Just the right balance of sweetness, tang and even bitterness on there just to keep it grounded. Possibly some aromatic malts on there as well adding to the sweetness. But that's just a great nose; completely delectable.
Taste is pretty good too. As a pale ale it can't quite deliver the level of punch that the nose did (but seriously, that's how you do aroma), but there's still loads of that fruit punch flavour around; passionfruit, pineapple and banana all in equal florid measure upfront and through the mid palate. Develops a little tannic bitterness midway that continues to the end; largely citric but an odd metallic character to it as well. Generally light bodied with a slight fizz from the carbonation, and apart from the slightly tannic hang, very quaffable and appealing. Pretty good stuff.
Not as drinkable as it might have been; I'd say not even as drinkable as the Winston, which i believe is heavier ABV than this, but there's something very seductive about this beer on a summer day. Pleasantly fresh and vibrant.
61 / 100
Kettle-Soured Wheat Ale brewed for GABS 2017, tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a gold colour, very sedimenty with cream-coloured head, nice and foamy with a good crown retaining. Looks a little flat, but good for the style.
Smell is disappointing. Sweet, and insipid largely. Notes of champagne, green apple, with a crisp yeast note, and hints of cereal grain and vanilla. Could definitely use more acidity on the nose.
Taste is fine; distinct cereal grain particularly upfront, that sort of returns on the back together with a slight yeasty character. Green apple, and a slight hint of vinegar on the late mid cleanses it up quite nicely. Palate is decent and clean, crisp and mildly tart. Nothing spectacular at this festival but not bad.
Full body, surprisingly. Good texture for the style. It's quite chewy for the size.
Bit uninspired as an offering from Shenanigans. Could have put a much bigger Shenanigans twist on it, really, because it's fairly standard and as such kind of a mild cleanser and little more. I'd be impressed with something like this from a big-house brewery but I just have high standards for these guys.
73 / 100
I'm going to categorise this as an Altbier because it means I don't have to click anything on the drop-down style menu to change it. But for the record this is an altbier/dunkel hybrid. Bottle given to me by Chris, enjoyed by myself one Friday night.
Pours a dark red amber colour, nice German ale colour, very malty. Head is pale beige, small and thin crown that retains well but slim. Lacing is also thin but clingy and indicates a good malt base. Pretty good.
Smells malty, pleasant. Rich, earthy toffee - burnt sugar really, with molasses and a good chocolatey bitter edge to it. Hint of pepper and some mild stonefruit from fermentation on there as well. Yeah good malt bomb aroma, hope the palate has enough complexity to back it up.
Taste is malty too, but a little thin midway. Front is all dark caramel, that gets more burnt and slightly bitter toffee midway, nice and earthy towards the back. Finish is somewhat sweet, again it's all malt. There's maybe a touch of noble hop bitterness that cleans up the sweetness but has a very neutral flavour so it leaves you with malty sweetness without the cloying character that could otherwise have ruined it. Pretty nice, could use more complexity on the middle. I assume it's deliberately simple but it's also a little empty.
Decent body, as you'd expect. Bit of a grating dry texture at the back, possibly carbonation.
Good, traditional German malt bomb that has some shortcomings, but well constructed and balanced.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at Bitter Phew during Shenanigans' 3rd Birthday bash.
Pours a pale golden colour, solidly and consistently hazed, with a slightly firmer body than the original and a finer bead of carbonation. Head forms a frothy cap of white that crackles itself out fairly quickly. Looks good. 4
Nose is similar to the regular, but a little sharper and fuller. More pepper comes through, and there's a hint of booze that gives it a more pungent aroma like match-head phosphorus. Other aromas include lemon peel and a flat leafiness that smells like being in a manicured garden. Very sophisticated.
Taste is pretty similar to the original as well, with a pleasantly rounded fullness from the extra body. Mostly, though, it stays smooth and clean, with a peppery bite on the back and just a hint of the booze. It makes for a nice punctuation point in the finish though.
Feel is smooth but with a pleasing bite.
Overall, it's a nice brew, and I'm pleased it didn't overwhelm with booze. It's the sort of beer that is probably at its best around 4.6% ABV like the original, but this is a pleasant special edition anyway that managed to stay true to its roots.
70 / 100
Tried on-tap at Bitter Phew during Shenanigans' 3rd birthday celebrations.
Looks pretty much the same as the other beers in the series. Pale golden with solid hazing—a point of differentiation between them and the base beer when I've had it, which has been quite clear. Head froths substantually on the pour, but settles out to a minimal ring. Looks decent.
Nose on this one is sharper, with lemon and detergent notes noticeable on the front. The longer it goes, it gets some foamy, briney seawater notes as well, which are an interesting twist. It suggests there's going to be more acidity. But it's quite light all up. Decent though.
Taste is very light: in fact, it's not noticeably different from the base beer, and there's certainly not the acidity that the nose suggested might be present. It's clean and dry with a pleasant organic grain note to it. It's nice—I mean, the Shenanigans Grisette is a very good beer—but it's a bit of a disappointment for a special release.
Feel is light and clean, as is common in all these beers.
Overall, this was less exciting than the Brux or the Clausenii versions, but it did at least have something that pushed it over and above the base beer.
79 / 100
Tried on tap at Bitter Phew for the Shenanigans 3rd Birthday Party.
Pours a pale golden colour with solid haze. Head forms a frothy mess of white, but falls out pretty quick to just a white ring around the edge of the glass. Body is quite light-bodied. It looks pretty similar to the original, only more hazed.
Nose is amazingly good. Huge bretty frux fruitiness that gives sweet pungent characters of pineapple and dried lime. Aromas of candied peel come through as well, across the fine base note of the grisette, that has light grassy notes, with fresh grain and a peppery sharpness. Awesome stuff.
Taste is much lighter. There's a slight sherbet lemon character on the front, before diving into more of the expected notes from the base beer. Slightly peppery on the mid-palate with some organic aromatics like crushed leaves. Light, slightly tart with some lemon fruit in the finish. It's a nice base beer, and this showcases Brux to a really nice extent.
Feel is light and clean.
Overall, yep, this works really well. It's a lovely way to expose Brux, and the finished beer is fruity, funky and interesting. A fine brew.
Tried on tap at Bitter Phew during Shenanigans' 3rd birthday celebrations.
Looks like the others in the series: namely, it's pale golden in colour, hazy in the body, but lightweight. Head forms a froth of loose white bubbles that gives way to a gauzy ring. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is really quite similar to the base Grisette. It's perhaps just a shade sharper, with some pine or wood shavings coming through. Otherwise, it's mildly organic, with a slight grainy savoury note above a lightweight, refreshing aroma.
Taste is very similar to the original. Don't get me wrong, the Grisette is a lovely beer, but I want something from the Brett if it's being the supposed hallmark of the beer. Instead, we get the pleasant, but familiar light grisette tartness and fresh semi-savoury flavour. It's good, but I want something else.
Feel is clean and bright.
It's a lovely drinkable beer. Just like the Grisette. Of the four in the Brett series, this was the most underwhelming, because it felt as though the Brett hadn't really taken hold at all.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at Bitter Phew, during Shenanigans' 3rd birthday bash.
Looks the same as the others in the series. It's a pale golden colour, with a heavy hazing off tap, unlike the clarity that was in the Grisette in bottles. Head forms frothily initially, but settles to a coarse-bubbled crackling that remains as a white ring around the edge of the glass. Looks decent enough.
Nose is great, with a big green, fresh organic character. It's bright and sharp, with notes of banana leaf, kaffir lime, pineapple and pepper. It's a really lovely mix of flavours and shows off something good with the Clausenii strain.
Taste is clean, and slightly sharper. There's a hint of sherbet around the edges, and some funk to it, but it never gets rugged, earthy or raw. Otherwise, you can still feel the semi-savoury grain notes and a touch of acid in the finish. Nice.
Feel is light and sharp. Quite pleasant.
It's a lovely brew, and this one gets a definite, pleasing enhancement from the Brett addition. It's a toss up for me between this one and the Brux for my favourite of the four. But these two were clearly ahead.
73 / 100
Bottle bought by Chris and shared over a game of Euchre on the south coast.
Pours a golden orange. Head is fluffy, bubbly, retains well. Looks good. Decent pale head.
Smells hoppy. Good caramel malt character, slight metallic character. Fruit, floral notes as well. Smells like a good ballsy pale ale with good maltiness.
Taste is malty too, but hops come through quite early, a bit big. Big hops, tropical, citrus with pineapple, not too bitter, but big character, perfectly good fruity notes, touch of citric bitterness, quite a bite on the back. Good palate, good fruity notes with good balance on the back.
Decent body, good malt, not too dry.
Yeah, this is a good drinking beer. Balanced, with good tropical fruit notes. Good balance as well between the actual fruit adjuncts and the hops; I think it's a very clever hop bill for what they're trying to achieve here.
75 / 100
Bottle given to me by Adam as a bonus for a big purchase at Platinum. Given as a 'cleanskin' hence the lack of nice bowling-pin decoration on the pictured bottle.
Pours a burnished gold colour, with nice off-white head, dense and quite creamy with some specks of lacing and a thin crown retaining. Clear, slight bead. Looks pretty nice.
Smells pretty nice, too. Big rich coffee aroma, earthy and burnt and charry with a big leathery note, some bittersweet chocolate, slight caramel tinge and a slight spicy bite at the back. Appealing.
Taste is a little disappointing upfront, but only insofar as it leaves a lot of room to grow by the back. Front palate is a little bland, some light caramelised grain and a hint of cocoa, but then it grows that darker bitterness and complexity towards the late-mid, gathering some deep, rich espresso character towards the mid with a big earthy spice and bitterness towards the back. Big floral, grainy and spicy melange on the finish, with notes of bittersweet chocolate and some vegetative notes of undergrowth and capsicum. Overall a slightly odd mix as it's both very sweet and very bitter at the same time, but the balance is quite impeccable by the end, so it's really quite likeable.
Mouthfeel is fluid, fairly slick with a bit of substance towards the back and a slight drying texture probably from the adjuncts on the finish.
Drinks really quite nicely. The slightly bland beginning makes each subsequent sip easier despite the big complexities on the back, but it's very tasty and palatable overall with a good balance. Nice drop.
83 / 100
Oaked Coffee Chilli Oatmeal Stout brewed for, and tried at, GABS 2016 in Melbourne.
Pours a very dark brown colour, but with a clear body. Beige head, sparsely webbed and no real retention. Looks a bit flat, as I expect from a chilli beer. Great colour though.
Smells like jalapenos, as I've come to expect from Shenanigans and their use of chilli. Capsicum notes, dry with some accompanying pepper, cumin and a sensation of spice. Some salty notes as well, and a big hit of coffee. Big coffee and spice. Smells great.
Taste is roasty, and sweet, and a whole lot else as well. Coffee notes, some chocolate and a big dry chilli character towards the back, giving a large spicy heat that just augments the sweetness overall. The sweetness lingers through the heat on the back making it appetising even while the chilli gets pretty intense and even painful. It's a pain that I love though, and a familiar pain from these ingenious bastards.
Full body, wonderfully smooth with an undeniable chilli heat but a great velvety padding to keep you comfortable.
Wow. They do chilli like virtually nobody else (Garage Project excepted). What a great beer.
Later edit: This ended up my number 2 beer of the festival (although initially rated higher than my eventual number 1 I think)
79 / 100
640ml brown bottle purchased from Annandale Cellars. This is batch GRI004 hopped with Equinox & Helga.
Pours a wonderfully clear and bright pale yellow, with a good, fine-frothed head of white that settles out to a bubbly film. Body is light and clean, and the carbonation is fine, bubbling in tight streams. Looks good.
Nose is excellent. Really lovely clean hop bite accentuates a mild twist of pithy funk, moving it towards peachskin and lime peel. Slight earthy organics come through as well, lending it some crushed vegetation and a slight whiff of brown banana. Very nice stuff indeed.
Taste is very clean through the centre, with a straight-down-the-line palate of neutral malt, capped with a slight bite of zesty hops and a linger of earthy yeast. Finish is very crisp with just enough of a kick of bitterness to punctuate it. Quaffable, refined and quite delicate.
Feel is nice. Very light, but with a moderated sense of fine carbonation. I like it.
Immensely drinkable and very refreshing, with enough of a twist to make it stand out from the pack as a go-to easy drinking summer brew. This is a real winner for me.
82 / 100
Bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor.
Pours a deep, dark brown-amber colour, fair froth when poured; head is generous, cream coloured. Small bubbles, sinks slowly just by popping on the top. No real lace but then I'm impressed by the retention for a chilli beer. Looks very decent, though not sure what I expected.
Smells like my kind of beer. Big jalapeño whack on the front, with a dill pickle acidity, slight earthy vegetative note and hint of heat. Touch of cinnamon sugar and bready malt and overlying it all is a fresh tangy fruit note from hops; citric, slightly sweet. Not only smells beautiful, but it also smells like my best friend. In a best friend that I'm about to consume kind of way.
Taste is different to what I expected: it's really big on the malt upfront. Chocolatey, biscuity, maybe a touch of sticky rye bread. Develops tangy hoppy notes midway - lemon, a touch of grass and fresh herb notes and slightly sweet - then finish is somewhat bitter, with lemon pith mixing with that hint of pickly jalapeño heat, just a whisper of spice to liven up the party at the end. If I have a criticism, it's that the jalapeño should be more robust in the flavour (the heat sensation is there but less so the flavour); but nevertheless it's a beautiful drop, and one that I could share many nights by the fire with, discussing vintage cars and vintage women. I only hope it likes me as much as I like it.
A bit foamy and acidic through the mouth; the hops are maybe a bit raw here which bleeds into the slight heat from the peppers. OK though.
Add some lychee to this and you've pretty much made my dream beer - provided of course it worked together as well as this does. This is the beer I'd ask for from the beer genie. It's not perfect, but I'd be more than happy settling down with this and raising a couple of kids and a goldfish.
"Belgian summer ale with rye and oats". Bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor.
Pours a pale golden colour, with a touch of cloud. Head is a little disappointing, but the lacing left behind is very nice and picturesque, layers of foam. Not bad but standard.
Smells lovely and floral. Big musk stick aroma is dominant, with a touch of rosewater; largely sweet. Bit nectary, maybe a hint of agave syrup. Hint of Belgian yeast at the back. Pleasant.
Taste is sweet upfront, with that floral agave character, touch of musk on there as well. Gets a hint of acid midway, maybe some citrus, then Belgian yeast on the back. Earthy spice and medicinal notes, a little bit strong late, but then mellows out on the finish. Touch of fruit then, too, and maybe a hint of rye spice, though could use more rye overall and maybe a touch more florals. Just tastes a bit too bitter-spicy and as a result slightly dour.
Oats make their presence known on the mouthfeel. There's hints that the carbonation wants to show through the thin body, but it's smooth and pleasant sailing otherwise.
Decent brew. I feel like it could have been more fresh and tasty, with more flavoursome adjuncts to complement the yeast better. The yeast seems quite like a contrast to the other flavours and it doesn't all mix together as well as it might have.
76 / 100
640ml brown bottle purchased from Camperdown Cellars on Parramatta Rd.
Pours a deep, clear amber colour, with decent weight to the body. Head forms a very nice, very fine crest of off-white that settles down and coalesces into larger bubbles, but leaves some fine streaks of lace. Carbonation is also fine. Looks good.
Nose is great, and immediately interesting in the way Shenanigans does best. It's a lovely combination of fragrant, slightly fruity, slightly crisp hops, with a kick of fresh cut green capsicum and jalapeño spice. Slightly peppery as well. As it warms, there's a mild buttery sweetness to support it, but it's very much in the background—it's all about the hop-and-chilli aromatics here, and they're really good.
Taste is also good, and surprisingly different from the nose. Here, there is a very firm malt presence, giving some toasty, grain and biscuit notes to provide a broader base. Atop this is laced some mild peppery spice and true capsaicin freshness. The heat is subtle though, and it certainly doesn't immediately strike me as being "hot". As it goes along, there's a slight tingle of warmth the builds up on the back palate, but the jalapeño is clearly mostly for the aroma and flavour than for the kick—it's a delicate balance.
Feel is pretty light. It works well enough though, especially because it's got the extra element of the mild chilli spice.
Overall, it totally works, and in the beautiful way that Shenanigans have of either crafting something unique from tried and tested forms, or making something balanced and subtle from a more crazy idea. This is the latter, and I'm genuinely impressed with how drinkable it is. I'd happily session a few of these.
77 / 100
6.5% hoppy witbier brewed with jasmine and chamomile. Purchased from Camperdown Cellars, Parramatta Rd.
Pours a pale, hazy golden colour, with a very firm and fine head of pure white that persists as a pancake-pocked film after it deposits some impressive, intricate lace. Body is fluid, but some languid, rather coarse carbonation makes it seem a little thicker. Looks good.
Nose is excellent. Big, punchy floral characters, no doubt partially from the botanical additions, but with a pronounced hoppiness as well that gives undertone of guava and passionfruit. There's a slight rounded note as well that could be from the yeast, or the collaboration between the yeast and all the wheat. It's pretty damn awesome.
Taste is also good, but surprisingly less recognisable as a witbier to me. There's a fruity punch on the front palate, with a rather pithy quality like peel or skin (maybe the only real hint of wit), but then some strong herbal notes run over it. In fact, coriander is noticeable here as well, but for some reason it still seems quite apart from the style as I know it. There's a brusqueness to it, almost slightly tannic, and the bitterness is high on the back palate. It's these things perhaps that make it seem so askew to me, even though this really does taste a lot like Things That Should Be In A Witbier.
Feel is great. Bit of extra weight to it, but a fine carbonation to cut through, which further helps accentuate those botanical, herbal notes.
Overall, a very fine beer from the Shenanigans crew. They're genuinely doing some of the most interesting things in Australia right now, and it's their propensity to twist things slightly and still make them work beautifully that I really love. Keep it up.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne, and retried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney.
Pours a deep golden hue, hazy and pretty thick in the body. Head is a minimal ring of off-white that leaves miniature ring versions of itself as lace as it goes down. Carbonation forms in languid, single bubbles that leaves some lace as well.
Nose is incredibly intense with lime, giving a biting character of lime-juice cordial. There's a bitterness to this as well, giving it a pithy rind character. There is a touch of coconut lingering in here as well—it's potent at the very least, and that's something you have to respect.
Bitter entry on the palate, with that pithy lime coming through, but with a stark dryness contrary to the suggestion of thick sweetness on the nose. Coconut comes through giving it a slightly medicinal note turning oily towards the finish. Bitter linger on the back, a bit of kaffir and slightly astringent.
Feel is light but clinging.
Overall, it's an interesting brew, and certainly worthy of the boys from Shenanigans. It had mellowed a lot by the time it was seen in the wild outside GABS, and this helped the drinkability a lot. Once it was mature it was a very pleasant beer.
78 / 100
On tap at Bitter Phew.
Pours a pale gold, with a touch of cloud. Head is white, sinks to a film but lace is awesome for the style. Looks pretty great.
Smells fruity. Apple, pear, peach and passion. A touch of nut and nutmeg. Malty, but mostly light hops. Very pleasant.
Taste is hoppy from the get go. A little thin on the front, not much malt. Has big hoppy notes. Apple, citric, passion, grapefruit. Tangy, bitter. Clean on the back. Could use just a touch more malt, but the palate is exemplary for a pale.
Thin, touch of hop pull but not too much.
Drinkable all day. Wonderful for sessioning.
Pours a gold colour, slight cloud. Head is off-white, nice and dense and retaining a thin crown. Looks pleasant.
Smells coconutty. Not very bitter for an IPA without a lot of hop notes - just a touch of tropical fruit - pineapple maybe, but a fair bit of acidic, tangy lime on there as well which serves to accentuate the coconut. Not bad.
Taste is malty upfront; fair caramel note, before the adjuncts take over late. Pine wood hops, with a fair whack of coconut and a lot of zesty lime. The coconut comes through strongly on the back where I'd prefer a touch more bitterness. The lime maybe gives a slight dank, resinous note late but overall it's just not bitter enough.
Decent body with a touch of carbonation. Slight lick of booze warmth perhaps.
Quite good, but I feel there's an uncomfortable synergy between the coconut and the bitterness on the back; the latter should be taking over but the coconut just hangs around. Having tried this after Two Birds' Pina Colada, I wish the strength of the coconut here was transferred to that beer, I think both would have been better for it.