Pours a red colour. Beige head retains OK but lace is gorgeous. Seriously this lace is amazing.
Smells very sweet but with a nice dark fruity edge and a big cherry whiff. Slightly medicinal and heavy but not bad.
Taste is strong and robust and Belgian. Loads of dark fruit complexity with a nice cherry edge. Vanilla and malt upfront that moves into vinous territory, notes of toffee, pepper, coriander and lots of phenols on the back. Dips in and out of the "ow, that hurts" headachey booziness, but holds its own. Despite the flaws, it's very well controlled.
Body is a little thin and booze shows through as a result. Not great.
High degree of difficulty with this style always. Tastes boozey, strong, harsh even - which are all generally inevitable for quads - but this has a coherence to it that makes it worthwhile fare.
Pours a gold colour. Clear with cream-coloured rim of dense lace. Bit listless, but OK. More head would be good.
Smells a little grape lolly estery. Apple, touch of stonefruit and some grapefruit bitterness. Balanced with a touch of rich sweet toffee. Not an ideal blend, seems a bit off.
Taste is timidly sweet upfront and descends into weird fruitiness. Grapefruit/lemon predominantly with a fair amount of bitterness. Somewhat cough mediciney. Not great.
Full body with sharp alcohol on the back. Don't love it.
Bit weird, and lacks mid-palate shape or character. Feels heavy on the back as a result.
71 / 100
Pours a very dark brown colour. Clear with dark tan head - almost coffee crema coloured. Foamy density and retaining quite well. Looks good.
Smells of chocolate, with vinegar. I know that sounds worse than it smells. Roasty, but funky. Pretty nice.
Taste is smooth. Chocolatey, rich and cocoay for the most part. Some barnyard funk, again a touch of vinegar but mostly just sweet and portery. Not bad, but I'm wanting a bit more edge.
Body is so smooth. Full, with a touch of warming alcohol. Superb.
So much chocolate, I feel it dominates. I wanted more Brett funkiness. Nice, though.
43 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney during their 4th of July Spectapular.
Pours a pleasant golden hue with good clarity. Head is a thin, fine ring of off-white that leaves a little bit of bubbling as it settles down. Carbonation is mild through the rather thin body. Looks decent though.
Nose is clear and fairly clean, with a slight vegetative quality but some decent hop notes. There's a heightened sweetness as well, a little bit like a vanilla milkshake, which is unusual but not unpleasant. It's not classically biting and redolent with hops, but it's nice enough.
Spicy palate, with a little bit of sweetness at the front which almost immediately gets trumped by a undeniable crush of formic acid—that smell you get from crushed ants. Slight minerally quality on the back like smelted iron filings mixed with squashed prunes. I'm going to be honest, I'm really not a fan.
Feel is thin and clean, but there's enough lingering unpleasantness from the palate that it feels a bit nasty.
Yeah, I really don't much care for this. There seems to be something particularly wrong here. I'm not sure if it's just this particular keg, but I'm actually pretty disappointed.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse during their 4th of July Spectapular. This is a 100% Brett-fermented porter.
Pours a proper deep brown, fairly thick but with fine rushing carbonation. Head is a fine crest of brown, that stays as a pretty firm, persistent ring of mocha. Lacing forms in slight rings, but doesn't stick around for a long time. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pleasantly bold but with an edge of funk to it. Pleasant toasty edge to the brew gives it some weight, while the Brett gives it a slight oranic quality and a touch of mild acidity like kalamata olives. It's quite nice.
Taste is quite similar. Rounded, fairly sweet and pleasant dark malt characters around the edges of the palate. This is shot with a surprisingly subtle Brett note, giving a very light quality of reflected funk, and again a mild acidity like black olives. It's actually pretty mild for it's 100% Brett fermentation, and the malt grounds it in a way I wasn't necessarily expecting.
Feel is soft and smooth, with nice fine carbonation.
Overall, I'm actually pretty happy with this. There's some nice, unusual elements to the brew, but it's restrained enough to stay quite drinkable and pleasant, even with its odd complexities. Good stuff.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney during their 4th of July US Spectapular.
Pours a deep maroon, with reddish tinges to the brown. Head is a solid beige, forming a pocked mass of large bubbles at the edges and leaving some mild streaks of lace. Body is thick, and it forms nice fine carbonation. Looks pretty good all up.
Nose is pleasant and rounded, with a big sweetness that manages to be tamed by a slight bite of medicinal astringency. Hint of cherry comes through, as does a flat, smooth vanilla note. It's really quite pleasant all up.
Taste is thick and full, with vanilla forming a solid base that runs from front to back. Above this we get slight woody notes, a little more of that pleasant cherry medicinal quality, and some deeper fruit notes of raisins and dates. There's a touch of astringency on the back, which actually helps clean up the feel a bit. It's pretty tasty all up.
Feel is light enough to stay drinkable, despite the weight of the beer and the continued vanilla thickness.
Overall, I'm really pretty happy with this. There's a good deal of quality behind this, and it takes some restraint to get a beer that's this big to be as drinkable as this. I'm very happy with it all up.
61 / 100
Tried on-tap at Shake Shack in Covent Garden, London. A pint in a thin plastic cup. I believe I probably had this beer before at Shake Shack in NYC as well, but I didn't take any notes on it last time.
Pours fairly clear, with a faint haze to it, and deep golden in hue. Head is a frothy and persistent off-white crest. Lacing is solid, carbonation is fine. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is fair: clean malt underpinning with a touch of nuttiness. Very mild hops make an appearance, although they're fairly neutral—it's "hops" without much in the way of character. There's not a lot going on, but it's not bad either.
Taste is a little better. There's a tang of ginger or something spicy on the front, backed with some clean faint malt supporting it. Hop character is muted but pleasant leading to a slight sting of herbs or spice on the back. It's decent stuff.
Feel is pretty smooth but a bit lightweight overall.
Overall, it's pretty drinkable without being really interesting. It works fine with the smokestack burger I had, which I guess is the point, right?
62 / 100
So... interesting to find this here as a retired offering, since it was served at (and, apparently, brewed for) the GABS Festival in Melbourne, May 2013. At least, the one served at GABS has the same specs (incl. ABV) as this. So I'm guessing it was just a one-off revival.
Pours a straw colour, only slightly cloudy, when more would be OK for the style. White foamy head, retaining pretty well. Looksnice.
Smells like a wit. Loads of coriander with plenty of tangy orange as well. Some notes of cinnamon, star anise, clove and green pepper around the edges. Good witbier smell.
Taste is similar. Lots of candied orange particularly upfront before spice takes over midway and onto the back. Cinnamon and coriander that gets slightly astringent and leaves a slight bitter hang. Again, to style, and pretty decent.
Mouthfeel is slightly too fizzy, bit of carbonation shining through and I would have expected a bit more presence from the sediment.
Really surprising to find out it's 8.4% as it tastes and feels like a to-style wit. I guess, points for hiding the alcohol but at the same time I feel it should be bigger and more exciting for all of that. The main difference between this and a 5% wit is simply that this will get you drunk quicker.
Pours a redwood colour, clear body. Head is off-white, cream, small bubbles but decent retention. Gorgeous lace. Great-looking red lager.
Smells grainy. Pearl barley, oats, with a touch of honey and caramelisation. Slight herbal hop on the back; decent Germanic-style aroma.
Slight wet sourness to the flavour. Wet grain, with cereal, a slight roasted barley, brassy and grassy hop character on the back. A bit thin, slight warm lager note, but nothing special.
Smooth upfront but a bit of carbonation bite on the back. Would like a softer texture to suit the slight amp up in the flavour department.
Not a bad brew, I think it needs a touch more sweetness on the palate, just for enjoyment. Without it it's more of an everyday drinker, but I could really take pleasure from this if there were a sweeter edge.
80 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour, nice red tinge to it. Head is off-white, lovely, tight and clingy. Great retention. Looks great, like an IPA should.
Smells a little caramelly with hoppy overtones giving tangy lemon, grapefruit, lychee and some white pepper. Pleasant; not overly bitter.
Taste has significantly more malt. Caramel and toffee from the get-go starts to taste a little roasty towards the back, blending with bitter hop oils. Bit biscuity later, with spicy notes as well - pepper, cardamom and a touch of juniper. Slight Burtonised character, but nicely mellow with a very decent malt backing. This is just how I want an English IPA to be, and so few of them actually are.
Fluid mouthfeel ; a little bit drying from the hop oils. Not much carbonation; not bad.
Nice IPA, with good balance and pleasant flavours.
Cheers to Al from the Great Northern Hotel in Carlton for squirreling away this offering from Garrett Oliver and sharing.
Pours a cloudy gold with a slight rosy tinge. Opaque, slight bead. Head dissipates quickly, doesn't leave much lace. Interesting but could see some improvement.
Nose is quite funky, with spice and lots of vanilla sweetness. Some sweetish floral notes, caramel and honeycomb as well; interesting. Decent tart character, but could still use more to cut through the sweetness.
Tastes very sweet: caramel and buttery notes on there, gets a sour note late-mid with funky organic tartness and a hint of berry. Barnyard character as well, but then very dry and boozey on the back. Rummy character finishes off, sweet and syrupy with a big hit of ethyl alcohol. That acidity on the mid-palate is pleasant but it needs to last to the back to cut through. Very flavoursome, but I like that sour character best and I wish it were more of a hero here.
Decent body; bit fluid and very dry on the back.
Bit heavy overall; I hate to keep harping on about it but I just feel something's needed to cut through that big boozey body.
72 / 100
Reviewed from about 100mL left after using the rest in a lamb marinade (but that's another story). (oh OK, you asked; it worked really well in the marinade)
Dark-brown colour, clear with an orange tinge at the edge. Head is pale beige, foamy, with decent density. Retains with large bubbles. Not bad at all.
Coffee and medicine on the nose. Pepper, cherry and a touch of caramel for sweetness, maybe some vanilla as well. Spicy, roasty, sweet. Pretty much all you could want from a brown ale.
Taste has similar characters, but a bit more subtle, not as pungent. Chocolate, coffee, bit weak on the front-to-mid but gets more roasty and spice towards the back. Cloves on the finish and a touch of black pepper. Subtle, but nicely constructed palate for a well-balanced Autumnal beer (that's "Fall beer").
The body's there, but still feels a little thin and over-fluent. Bit of piquancy at the back.
Nothing too exciting, but it strikes me as a fairly quintessential brown ale, an archetype even. Plus it's really well-made and drinkable, so yeah, good work Brooklyn.
Pours a dark mocha-black, leavened on the edges with a touch of burgundy-brown, but otherwise quite opaque. Head is fine and soft, forming a pleasant milk chocolate ring around the edge. Lacing is veiny. Body is solid, and it forms nice fine carbonation when tilted or swirled. Overall, a very good-looking beer.
Nose is roasted, but also oddly acidic, with a oily whiff of vegetative pressings. There's a vaguely fragrant, jasmine-like overtone to it, which undermines the deep sweetness I feel it's trying to convey. Not bad overall, but not much like what I expected, and certainly no chocolate characters.
Flavour is nutty-black, with a thinness that is a little unbecoming, but marked with pleasant almond and sweet cacao characters. In reality, there's not much in the way of chocolate to it, but it has a pleasant raw, grainy darkness to it which is appealing enough.
Feel is surprisingly light, and allows that fragrant, burgeoning jasmine character to slip through quite prominently onto the palate.
Overall, it's good. I mean, it has to be good. But it's also a little odd, and doesn't live up to its name or to my expectations. A 10% stout, chocolate or no, should be better than this.
72 / 100
Lemon peel, ginger, wildflower honey and Italian lemon juice? Hey, I'm game, bring it on. Had on-tap at The Pony Bar in New York.
Pours darker than expected: a bronze, orange colour, with a fine film of white. Body is quite thick, although the carbonation is still rather coarse-bubbled. Almost no lace. Not bad.
Bitey and lemony on the nose, with crisp zest and slightly sour stomach acid notes. Rather fresh and clean, although this brings to mind something a bit medicinal like disinfectant. It's certainly odd, I'll give it that.
Light, resiny characters on the palate, with a touch of pine disinfectant and lemon sugar. Slightly buttery as well, which gives it a smoothness. Ends up, yeah, a bit medicinal, but rather slick as well. Finish is clean and surprisingly refreshing.
It's a weird beer, but surprisingly drinkable for all its insanity. It's still skewed and weird with every sip.
For what it's worth, this is one of the beers that really sticks out in my mind from my New York trip, and that has to be worth something.
78 / 100
Ah, the first beer of my US trip. For breakfast, no less. Nice, well presented "ace" bottle, corked and caged.
Pours a hazed and cloudy golden wheat colour, with a foamy and full head of white. Lacing is patchy, but sticky. Looks like it has some heft to the body, which is good. Nice fine carbonation. Overall, a very good looking saison.
Nose is zesty and sharp, but with organic overtones (ah, Saison funk and Sorachi Ace make a brutally good combination). Hints of coconut, lime, flax, raw wheat and linen. Although the citric Sorachi and the funky pepper Saison yeast characters sound like they would create a cacophony, in fact, they meld together into a creamy, smooth almost vanilla like combination, despite the fact you can still identify the individual spicy attributes. Great.
Taste is similarâquite smooth and creamy, but with a lift of citric acidity and a bite of organic bitterness on the back. Aftertaste gives off some of those tropical coconut flavours. Throughout, there's a raw, rustic funk, but the Sorachi characters seem to change the location to somewhere humid and Eastern.
Overall, a great beer, and a rather large and complex one. As it turns out, this goes somewhere very different from where I thought it might, which was a light, drinkable and refreshing brewâthis is a big, and robustly interesting beer; one that should be sipped.
74 / 100
On tap at the brewery, December 09.
Deep golden colour, with a good thick head of white foam. Lacing is good even as the head dissipates. The body looks a little static in the glass, but otherwise ok.
Nose is very nice, with citrus, sweet orange, grapefruit and kaffir lime leaf. Nice, I'd say more in the style of the West Coast US examples. A very clean, simple, but pleasant IPA nose.
Taste is also good. Some tannic notes of tea leaf bitterness, basil, lemon rind, turning a little gritty on the back. Really quite clean though, it never becomes harsh. Indeed, you could almost say it lacks enough bitterness, but it's integrated very nicely. It ends up smooth, tasty and very refreshing.
A very drinkable IPA. Tasty and clean. They don't seem to do extreme things here in Brooklyn, but they do do them right. This is a well structured and flavorsome IPA. Very worth, in my opinion.
39 / 100
Tried on tap at the brewery 12/09.
Pours a deep golden amber colour, with a decent head of white foam that leaves some good lacing. Lots of tiny carbonation. Looks a bit thin in the body. Overall, it's not bad; a bit generic, but done well.
Grainy sweetness on the nose. A little pencil-shaving hoppiness, and some yeasty funk that reminds me far to much of Pride of Ringworm, our most spurned and hated Australian hop. Not a fan.
Taste is similar. Some bready yeast character, wit a little grain sweetness. A little phenolic, almost chemical note on the back. Quite rank with bitterness on the back. Not a fan, really. Mouthfeel is spritzy and sparkling. Nice enough.
I'm not a big fan. It tastes very generic and bland, with its only characters being generall unpleasant. It's not undrinkable, but it's not particularly likeable. Brooklyn brews some far better beers.
On tap at the brewery December 09.
Deep clear red brown, with a filmy but solid head of beige foam. Lacing v good. Looks pretty good, head is a bit bubbly with loose-bubbled carbonation and a bit thin but otherwise.
Odd floral notes on the nose, might be honey, like Dave says. Some acidity, some crushed cacao chars. Oddly fragrant for a dark beer. I like it, it's unusual, but pleasant.
Taste is clear and pleasant, without being terribly interesting, which is a shame after some of the notes on the nose. Some spicy fragrance, a little chocolate powder. Quite a citric finish. The acidity contributes to the mouthfeel too, which is sparkling and clear.
Not bad, but not very exciting. It's a little bland apart from the nose, but undeniably drinkable.
On tap at the brewery, December 09.
Deep, dark but clear copper colour. Head is a filmy white, which looks oddly light for the rest of the body. Some lace around the edges from the collar of film. Some static bubbling when swirled. Looks nice.
Meaty characters. Some fragrance, surprising notes of cumin. Spicy and pleasant. Even a hint of vanilla. Unusual, but quite pleasant, and the characters work well together.
Bit too bland on the palate. Some spice and a bit of acidic seltzer character. Light copper again which seems prevalent in their beers. Finish has some metallic bitterness and is very dry with an extremely sparkling mouthfeel.
Pretty nice and drinkable, but a little bland and disappointing considering the promise of the nose. Nice enough though.
Tried on tap at the brewery December 09.
Deep clear copper character with a creamy fine head of white bubbles. Lacing is excellent. Looks a lot like a cask pulled English Ale. Very nice.
Very little on the nose, some amber malts with a slight citruc astringency. Even a slightly meaty character, but it's all extremely muted, and quite light. Overall, it comes across dull on the nose.
Some banana phenols on the back, initially smooth, with a slightly harsh bitterness mid palate. It's soothed by the end at least. Some dry metallic notes at the very end. Quite nice. Mouthfeel is clean, smooth and silky. Very nice.
One of the more interesting Brooklyn ales I've tried so far. It misses something on the nose, but it's pretty smooth, with a decent amount of character.
75 / 100
On tap at the brewery, December 09.
Really nicely cloudy pale yellow, just the right colour, although a little dull. Head is creamy and thick, a wonderful crown of white bubbles. Overall, a damn good looking hefe.
Very clear and traditional hefeweizen notes on the nose. Lots of clove noticeable. Smooth and fragrant, and very genuine. A really good nose.
Taste is also pretty true. Clove again noticeable, almost turning to charred wood in its spiciness. Clean and smooth with sweetness all the way through, leaving a pleasantly silky experience on the palate. Mouthfeel is generally creamy with just a light prickling of carbonation.
This is a very genuine hef. Lots of good true-to-style characters, with plenty of lovely fragrance. Australian brewers do a poor imitation of the style. At least here in Brooklyn, they do it right.
73 / 100
Tried with lunch at the Met Museum. Not the greatest venue for tasting beer, but a pleasant enough location in general.
Pours an orange golden colour, with a large bubbled but reasonably frothy head of white foam. Fair amount of streaming carbonation. Overall, it looks pretty good. A pretty decent lager.
Some sweetness on the nose, with a fruity-floral character that speaks of a really nice hop addition. Not as pungent as it might have been, or as sharp and redolent with hop-character, but very pleasant. It's milder than a pilsener, but shows good promise.
Taste is also pretty good. An initial sweet fruit note journeys towards acidity before the onrush of hop bitterness comes to clear it away. Not really dry on the back, but it does have a pleasant lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is sharp and spritzy, slightly too carbonated for my tastes, but it does suit the style, and I have to believe this is what they were going for.
Overall, a very drinkable and very flavoursome lager. Plenty of character to keep it interesting, but mild enough to be a true session brew.