Can given to me by Jez for Christmas, tried by myself one evening in February.
Pours a pale golden colour with clumpy bubbles stuck to the glass. Head is overly voluminous, fizzles out pretty steadily with a density that's maybe a touch too thin and sparse. No real lacing. Looks flawed, a bit odd, but not bad.
Smells surprisingly bitter. Kinda bretty really, with an earthy farmhouse kind of aroma. Touch of tangerine and grapefruit giving a slight freshness but it's otherwise just earthy, and quite spicy with a slight woody edge as well. Decent though.
Tastes a little better. Not that it was bad. Nice tropical fruit character on the midway and late-mid, with pineapple and some more tangerine. Sourness is not very pronounced but there's a slight puckering texture on the mouthfeel as it pulls towards the finish. Otherwise mildly creamy malt character and soft fruit notes. All pretty subtle, and not exciting, but I respect how restrained it is in the size and thinness and it's pretty refreshing.
Drinks pretty well; not necessarily something I'd return to with any relish but if it was all I had available all night I'd be pretty content.
Not sure how to classify this, because they call it a "Double New England IPA". But it clocks in at only 7.5, which to my mind is firmly in "American IPA" territory. But maybe not NEIPA territory? And it's just an amped up version of their NEIPA?
Anyway, this was day 1 of my #fletchmas 2017 Beer Advent Calendar prepared for me by Jez.
Pours an orangey-yellow colour, stupidly voluminous head at first, and yeah it's still a bit stupid. Sparse webbing out as it goes down. Frothy but insubstantial. Very cloudy body, lacing sticks in clumps. Looks alright apart from the gushing head.
Smells fruity and pleasant; a good one for a hot day kicking off Summer. Passion and mango in there, with a slight lychee, cinnamon and some phenolic character hiding behind it. Yeah slight earthy herbal note under fresh fruit. Pleasant.
Taste is of a similar nature. Tangy tropical fruit upfront, but a big earthy barnyard kind of character takes hold straight away with a big spicy edge to it as well, develops some organic rubber note on the late-mid. Some sweet fruit notes late, hint of caramelised banana and a slight taffy kind of character lingering. Would like it a bit more if there were more cleaning up; there's some nice characters but they overstay their welcome, and the freshness could dominate a bit more throughout.
Decent body; fair bit of substance to the texture but really quite dry on the back.
Drinks like a heavy summer ale; nice refreshing characters but also a ballsy, old-world brewing character underneath it that betrays a bit more strength of character than it needs. Decent though.
375ml can purchased for me by Sam as part of the #fletchvent Advent Calendar. This was Day 8.
Pours a very hazy straw yellow colour, with a thick, fine head of white that leaves some sheeting lace. Carbonation is very fine, with a shower of fine white springing up when the glass is tilted. Body has some slick weight behind it too. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is distinctly odd. It's mostly fruity, but with something slightly plasticky behind it as well. I get a little lemon zest, backed up by cut plasticene and carob. There's a little herbal note too, maybe thyme and fresh oregano providing a slightly bitter aromatic flick. Interesting stuff.
Taste is perhaps weirder, and perhaps it's just the same kind of weirdness only faster, the Max Power way. There's more sweet citrus on the front, but it's backed by a really weird organic note that's herbal but also artificial. It tastes a bit like quinine-heavy Schweppes Bitter Lemon, with a slightly bready aftertaste. Hmm.
Feel is chewy and smooth. It definitely has some weight behind it.
Overall, I don't mind it, but the oddities on the palate are enough to make me scratch my head, and almost enough to make me question whether the beer is actually any good. But I'll drink it, and that's the main thing.
70 / 100
Culture-soured New England IPA brewed with mango nectar, cardamom and milk sugar, brewed for GABS festival 2017 and tried there on tap.
Pours a pale colour, fairly cloudy. Head is white, foamy and retaining alright. Quite pale; looks pretty good.
Smells pleasant. Spicy, fruity. Big cardamom and stonefruit character, yeah it smells like a mango lassi without a lot of IPA, but that's OK too.
Tastes of mango first and foremost. Sweet and juicy and then gets tangy towards the mid. Bit of spice on the back; cardamom maybe but slightly peppery as well and generally just a sweet note for the back. Really quite pleasant, could maybe use a touch more bitterness to clean up on the back.
Thin body, but has a decent presence. Just feels a little light-bodied compared with what I expected.
Tastes good. Worth tasting and worth a revisit.
I did revisit and shortlist this beer but it didn't crack my top 20.
Bottle gifted to me by Jez for Christmas, shared with Andrew.
Pours an ominously red-tinged brown colour with nice tightly packed head, beige with tiny bubbles around the edge. Lacing is decent, with kinda small bubbles left around the glass. Decent retention; looks decent.
Smells tart, and pleasant. Big vinous notes with a rich sweetness reminiscent of balsamic. Slight herbal note of undergrowth with some slight oaky character as well. Mild choc malt character underlying; pretty nice bruin character.
Taste is maybe a little bland. Has a nice vinous note over it all, but the front is kind of caramel malty, with a touch of fruit, with plum and maybe some raspberry character. Gets a slight oaky cabernet note midway but it doesn't really develop, it kind of spikes gently but then flattens out on the back. Quite palatable as a result but somewhat less impressive and slightly simple, for the style.
Fluid, bit of pull to it and then dry and somewhat spicy on the back. Not bad, goes well with the flavour.
Tasty drop, but definitely tastes like a young brewing culture imitating centuries old techniques, it's got notes of that flavour but without any of the complexities. One of the better ones, still: it shows respect to the old traditions but it's just not part of it.
Pours a fairly brown colour rather than black, clear with medium cream-coloured head. Looks alright.
Smells roasty, with notes of chocolate, some very faint coffee, plus a sweet burnt sugar note as well. Whisper of some US hops at the back. Pretty nice.
Taste is very dry. Lots of roast that gets increasingly bitter with a decent coffee belt, some darker spice notes with star anise surfacing most noticeably. Not a big hop character on here which is a shame, but pretty decent palate overall.
Body is a little light on, and as a result carbonation a little more strongly felt than I'd like.
More black than APA, but decent enough beer.
3 Ravens' beer for GABS 2013. I tried it on tap there in May, and am still catching up on entering reviews for the 100-and-something beers I managed to sample.
Pours a deep brown colour with good clarity to it. Body is fairly solid. Head forms a solid, creamy ridge of beige that leaves sheets of lacing. Looks good.
Mild grain characters on the nose provide a basis, before there's a shock of bright, orange-citrus hops to counteract it. Slight roast does come through which bounces off the hop character to give a suggestion of rubber. All up, it balances out to be fairly mild in weight, but the characters do provide some nice contrast for one another.
Light crisp entry on the palate leading to the hops coming in mid-way through. These give some weak orangeskin characters, relatively dry and clean for the most part. The roast comes in on the back, providing a pronounced toasty note and a faintly drawn hint of char. This disappears before the finish, leaving just a toasty grain note.
Feel is a little bit light: it could certainly survive a bit more heft.
It's pretty decent stuff: well made and nicely balanced. It's not crazy, and it certainly didn't stand out all that much at GABS. But standing out at GABS isn't necessarily a benchmark for a good beer. And this is certainly a good beer.
Bottle purchased for me by @epiclurk.
I swirled the bottle halfway through the pour, then emptied it down to the dregs in the glass, in finest witbier style. The result is a very cloudy, and very faintly pink-tinged pale gold, with a depth of colour slightly heavier than expected. Head fizzles itself out pretty quickly, leaving a ring of very fine white foam that leaves minimal patchy lacing. Overall, not bad, but not altogether that exciting.
Nose is very pleasant indeed. Very fresh and fragrant citrus comes forward nicely, with aromas of bergamot or lemon myrtle. Yes, there's a light spice to it as well from the coriander, which adds a little piquancy to the other sweeter citrus tones. Overall, very aromatic and pleasant stuff.
Taste is a bit more pedestrian. There's still that mild sweet citrus tone, but there's a thinness to the palate, which isn't helped by the lack of true body or sweetness in the beer. Unfortunately, there's also a mild bread yeast funk on the back as well, that dries out the palate and leaves a slightly unsavoury character. But, for 99% of the time it's in your mouth, your mouth will have a good time.
Overall, it's a pretty solid stab at the style, with just a few flaws. Get rid of the flaws and this is probably one of the best Aussie witbiers out there: it certainly has some very pleasant flavours.
81 / 100
Bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra, when I thought 3 Ravens were going out of business. Perhaps the fact that I didn't buy it *before* I thought they were going out of business means I'm part of the problem.
Pours a pleasant deep red-amber hue, with a fine, but persistent head of dusty beige. Lacing is patchy but streaking. Body looks nicely solid. Carbonation is fine. All of these things add up to a good-looking beer.
Nose is pleasant, but oddly dichotomous. Big sweet estery banana characters form one half, while a most definite smoky, slightly roasted tone forms the other. Under this is a slinky, dark earthy tone, that gives a basis, but doesn't ever get in the way of the fight for supremacy. Who wins? Maybe the palate will reveal.
Taste is certainly laced with smoke, and the banana characters sit back a little, perhaps showing submission. Deep dark, slightly bitter roasted characters get to drive through the centre of the palate, leaving a direct trail in their path: a sharp vector of roasted crispness. They don't provide depth and sweetness, and that's a good thing in a bock: this is still a lager true to its roots. The fragrance from the banana is still noticeable on the back, providing a dancing counterpoint, but never detracting from the solidity of the beer and its genesis. Yes, yes, yes. This is a very good palate for a Bock.
Feel is light, but structured, providing enough basis for the beer, but not pushing its own agenda.
Overall, magnificent stuff from 3 Ravens. I always like the solidity of their beers, but this is the first time I think they've actually made me effusive in my praise.
74 / 100
Bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra, when there was a terrible rumour going around that these guys were shutting up shop.
Pours a very pleasant burnished, bright copper colour, with a filmy, slightly bubbly off-white head. Retention is pretty poor, all things considered, just forming a wide ring of bubbles and some speckled lace. Body is solid, and holds some fine carbonation when it's tilted. Colour is great: overall, it's a decent-looking beer.
Nose is earthy and slightly spicy, with some herbal elements, and some mineral characters coming through. Coppery and sparkling, with crushed parsley, leafy English hops and almost a hint of pine: it's not quite pine, but it has that slightly resinous sharpness. Very interesting stuff.
Taste is smooth but flavoursome. Bigger malty characters here, with a chewy grain note through the palate, balanced and kept in check by big earthy and organic hops, and a very slight bite of smoke. Not a lot in terms of raw bitterness, but the hops mesh with the deep, sweet toffee-like malts to give a character not unlike peachskin. It's fruity, and yet dusky and slightly biting at the same time.
Feel is smooth and solid: it forms a very decent base for everything else that's going on.
3 Ravens never give me a beer which really blows me away. But they never, ever disappoint me. This is very solid stuff from them yet again: a very decently made and very tasty ESB, tending to an English Strong.
69 / 100
Pours a rich red colour, amber up to the light. Head is off-white, very dense retaining half a finger. Decent lace. Looks good.
Smell is kind of grainy, with barley husks and a hint of some astringent hops, slight lemon but also some medicinal phenols as well. A bit subdued really; what's there is alright, but there's not a lot.
Taste is better; fairly grainy with slightly buttery malt, quite rich with nice barley and brown sugar characters, but it doesn't last long as sweetness, with a nice earthy bitter note midway, hint of pine wood and lemon that's really well balanced and handled. Nothing with a huge wow factor here, but very drinkable.
Pleasant body, bit of fizz on there but actually more sticky than anything.
Yeah, an inoffensive brew you could easily slam down. Nicely handled, as usual, by the 3 Ravens crew.
Pours a clear, golden amber colour, with a fine, slightly sudsy, but persistent head of off-white. Body is light and liquid, although it seems just a little flat. Not bad overall, but missing the wow factor.
Nose is mildly grainy, with a smooth, lightly crisp estery character, giving a slight whiff of banana and some green herbal hop characters. A hint of marzipan comes through as well. Interesting enough, if a little flat.
Taste is very smooth and light, and extremely quenching and drinkable. Light, slightly nutty characters on the palate, with just a tingle of herbal bitterness on the finish. It's not really, classically similar to a German Munich Helles, but it's close, and in any case, who cares: it's smooth and damn drinkable.
Exceptionally drinkable lager. Clean, smooth and fresh, with the edges polished to where they need to be. It's not a flavour bomb, but it's really clean and really nice to drink. I'd be perfectly happy drinking this regularly, and it would be a great beer to give to someone who's starting out on a craft beer journey.
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a goopy red-brown colour, with a generous heft to the body, and almost no head to speak of. Actually, that's unfair, as a vigorous pour gives a tenuous ring of white bubbles around the edge of the glass, and some fine filming across the top. Body is insanely thick for 5.7% ABV. Carbonation is fine. It looks, just a little bit too odd.
Nose is pleasant with a slightly sour rye spice and a hint of smokiness. Pleasant savoury notes come through, and a touch more roasted than the colour suggests. Not bad.
Taste is very pleasant, if light. There is indeed a smokiness to the palate, but it bounces off the light flavours of the rye, giving a spicy, smoky melange that is surprisingly refreshing. Minimal sweetness, and surprisingly little body, despite what it looks like.
Not a bad brew, if a somewhat subdued one. 3 Ravens do tend to brew pretty mild beers, even ones that are oddities of style like this one. But although they're simple in characters, I don't think I've ever disliked one, and this is no exception to the rule.
69 / 100
Gorgeously coloured, a bright, mahogany-tinged bronze. Great clarity in the body. Carbonation looks excessive however, shooting up in anarchic streams and feeding an overly frothy off-white head. Minimal body to the brew, and again, it looks ridiculously overcarbed, but the colour and clarity are excellent.
Nose is sharp with metallic hop characters, giving a herbal, almost medicinal brightness, that mingles with the exploding carbonation to give a hint of acidity. A little sweetness sitting behind it, but minimal. Not bad.
Taste is better. Really restrained and refined malt on the palate, giving touches of subtle grain balanced with a leafy noble hop character on the back and a touch of that metal again. Hint of smoke on the finish gives it a more rustic tone. Feel is light and sparkling, but not as bloating or gassy as the carbonation suggested.
Not a bad brew, if a pretty mild and unadventurous one. Captures some of the characteristics of the style pretty well, and it's pretty sippable.
57 / 100
Purchased from Beer Cartel in Artarmon.
Pours a rather dark red-brown colour--too red, at least, to be bronze--with a large a bulbous, heavily-carbonated head of off-white. Bubbles are too big for the style, and the body is light. I like the colour, but I can't say I'm much enamoured of the appearance otherwise.
Nose is pleasantly balanced between sweet and roast, giving a classic blend of refined but rustic English characters. Sweet honey and molasses come through, with a depth suggesting dark grainy bread and roast beef. It doesn't develop a lot, but it's very pleasant.
Taste is smooth, and pleasantly balanced. Some dark grain notes meld nicely with the residual sweetness, although the sweetness continues for too long onto the back. A bigger grain character, or some nuttiness would really help on the back palate. Feel is light and tepid, a disappointing attribute in this style.
3 Ravens have done some good things, and done them well. But this beer doesn't shine the friendliest of lights upon them. It's a mediocre style done in a pretty mediocre fashion. It probably matches it with, say, James Squire Amber Ale, but you're not getting anything more exciting than that from this one.
Purchased from Slowbeer as part of a big on-line order. Such a fortunate country are we that we have such a dedicated advocate for craft beer.
Pours a burnished copper colour, slightly hazed, although I avoided adding the sediment which clumped at the bottom of the bottle. Head is firm enough, forming some sudsy lace with a thickness like soft-beaten egg-whites. Collapses, however. Looks very still in the glass, with minimal carbonation. More like an English style pale ale in this regard.
Nose is sweet and a little acidic, giving some light green appleskin characters over a malty grain basis. Some crushed cookie sweetness seems to form the base, with only those mild slightly acidic fruit characters giving much sign of the hops. It's ok, but the style demands more.
Taste is certainly more malty than anything else, giving a certain chewy biscuit character to the front. Slight nuttiness on the back, but almost no hop character. Very mild, again, it strikes me as very unlike the classic American profile. Feel is pleasant and smooth.
It's decent, but for something so clearly American branded, it does very little to replicate the style. Hops! And more of them! Put them in and we might be talking.
Cheers to chrism86 for the sample of this one.
Pours a dull, brownish-amber colour with lotso fizz. Head is off-white, bubbly and sinks to a thin whispy ring of foam. Lace is sticky and decent. Kind of looks like ginger ale with lacing; a bit meh.
Smells quite grainy with an underlying phenolic note. Kind of tart with a fruit tinge and some mild gingerbread spice. Overall a bit of a generic aroma, but enjoyable enough.
Taste fills the mouth. Lots of caramelised malt on the front with tinges of toffee and some red delicious apple that gets more phenolic midway, then finishes with light dry grain notes. Decent overall but feels a bit unbalanced midway, where the slight phenolic yeast notes get stronger and drain away some of the grainy flavour.
Mouthfeel is quite full with a nice tingle. Good German texture; frothy but not overblown.
Overall a decent drop, but it strikes me as having sacrificed the smooth balance of the blond without adding a whole heap of rich complexities. Worth a drink though.
Pours a good - yes, bronze - colour, nice earthy red overtones on an otherwise brown body. Head is cream-coloured, nice froth up when poured but sinks to a thin crown after a short while. Steady carbonation all through the body keeps what's left alive, while some spots of lace around serve as a monument to what was there. How depressing.
Smell is quite grainy and earthy. A lot of fresh milled grain blend with grassy hop notes and a touch of a metallic aroma. Some dry cocoa powder notes at the back add a rich texture to the underlying maltiness. Overall a pretty mild, pleasant smell.
Taste is also very mild, but a good balance is my first impression. Starts quite grainy, slight dessicated texture from the carbonation and has a slight oatmeal flavour with a touch of lemon zest on the mid. Finish is uneventful, but in a good way. It's long, with no spike from the mid-palate onwards. It just continues on with slight citric and grassy hop bitterness being clean and dry and slightly mild. Very slight sweet grain note at the very end, and a touch of soapy flavour late-mid. Otherwise a smooth and well-balanced ale.
It's long been established that 3 Ravens do balance and mild well. I'd really love to see them attack something truly nutty and crazy, but it's nice to see smooth, sessionable ales like this out there as well.
Pours a murky red colour, brown-red really. Head is beige and pretty damned impressive, foamy and sudsy, sinking unevenly on top, leaving some thin but nice, sticky lace. Slight haze to it, pretty hot beer.
Nose is quite sour-roasty. A lot of coffee-grounds bitterness to it with some soapy notes, a lot of smoke and some almost raspberry character to it. There is definitely a fresh sweetness with a touch of tart. Kind of vinous notes and a touch of coconut as well. Pleasant, could use more fragrance though, have to sniff pretty hard to get that.
Taste is similar, a lot of smokiness to it, very sour and roasty - dark though. Has a berry character midway, giving slight tart acidity, while finish has good elements of oak and cedar wood, actually fresh and not a huge smokiness although it is there. Yeah, a very tart mid-palate, certainly not puckering. Hint of vinegar and some crisp apple. Nice finish too, I quite like that.
Very foamy texture in the mouth, very smooth as it goes down. Maybe a touch thin, but I like it.
Yeah, there's definitely a boldness to this flavour which doesn't quite charm me. It's good, not necessarily very drinkable.
Pours a pale translucent canary colour with positivie - if uninspiring - head; steady trickle of champagnesque bubbles keeps it alive from below. Nice murk in the body and an interesting spectrum to 'clear' at the base. I think serving this in a champagne glass was a good idea.
Nose is very pleasantly tart, with a good refreshing tingle to it. Lots of orange and lemon notes, slightly candied with hints of green grapes and apricot jam as well. Spice is vaguely noticeable, slightly peppery, no distinct coriander. Very Belgian smell though, tasty.
Taste is a little bit lacklustre. Well, it's not bad, more lack-fruit. Has a nice tart wheaty malty pervading most of the front palate, with slight citric notes and a dry white wine edge. Finish has pleasant spice, with coriander and more herbal notes, a slight tea edge and finished off with a hint of peppermint. Slight tartness at the back as well puts me in mind of raisins.
Feel is a bit dry on the mid but there's enough body to keep it slick as it goes down. Slight bite at the front, but otherwise no rough edges.
Seems a tad simple overall, but very decent drinking.
Pours a viscous dark red brown, with a hint of suspended sediment. Head is reasonably thick but a little loose-bubbled. Good lacing, and the body looks good. Overall a very nice looking beer.
Decent smoke notes on the nose, bit of woodfire, but with a lot of roasted malt notes as well - dark chocolate mocha and coffee. A little freshness comes from a whiff of carbonic acidity, and to be honest detracts a little. Otherwise a pretty decent rauch nose.
Slickness in the mouth with a roasty, smoky burnt character. Absolutely no sweetness to it, which personally I find a bit disappointing, only a light hint of chalky carob on the very back. The smoky character is not as dominant as many of the most robust rauchs, and I really would like a little more body and fullness on the palate, but otherwise it's pretty good.
I'm not convinced there is a better Rauchbier brewed in Australia - this makes a very decent stab at the style. It really lacks fullness and sweetness on the palate, but otherwise very decent.
73 / 100
Pours in a lovely satin curve of brown black into the glass, promoting a frothy but large-bubbled head of tan foam. Very dark, but not opaque - there's flashes of deep red visible at the edges of the glass. Head retention is pretty good too. Looks very reasonable indeed.
Nice chocolate and dark grains on the nose, quite sweet and even a slight oaky vinous character too it. Something comfortingly earthy and organic to it. For some reason it puts me in mind of Bear Republic's Black Bear Stout, which is a fine recommendation.
Taste is very roasty, with a pronounced ashy charcoal character. Very little sweetness, which is a real shame - a nice dark chocolate note could have rounded out the palate beautifully. As it is, we're left with the earthy roasted characters, some residual oak and a very dry finish. Mouthfeel is round and light.
A very decent stout - very drinkable and with some very pleasant characters. Once again, 3 Ravens have impressed me not with their abilities or desires to push the boundaries, but with a very pleasant beer made very well.
70 / 100
Pours an amber-brown colour, doesn't produce a lot of head, in fact none is left after about 20 seconds, although some frenetic fizz appears on first pour. Bead is moderately paced but soft and weak, like Chuck Norris if he were made of marshmallow. Produces some very nice lacing though, white and thick, saves this from otherwise looking very plain and watery indeed.
Quite hoppy on the nose with a strong and lingering fruit smell, hints of passionfruit, currants and banana. Has a hint of some darker molasses or something, but not strong, so doesn't overpower. Ultimately quite a good smell; smells sweet and clean with a very nice balance between floral hop loveliness and sticky barley sweetness.
Taste is quite malty, with a rich, syrupy sweetness and a nutty edge. Hints of walnut, treacle and pine wood. Finish has an earthy spice to it, certainly not overpowering, just like a whisper of nutmeg on the back. Finish is sadly not as flavoursome as the front, where all the malty goodness lies. It arrives early and tapers off the palate with a slightly grassy hop tinge. Quite earthy and organic throughout, with real wild bush notes being prominent, from the malt to the nutty edge and the hops.
Certainly not a nuclear bomb of a beer, but this is really, notably, inoffensive. Very clean drinking, leaves you with a pleasant taste in your mouth, a pleasant feeling from its noticeably full but not-too-heavy body, and yes, let's go there, a song in your heart. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is pretty much a perfect session beer. If only it had more of a finish.
73 / 100
I generally don't know why Australian breweries have a marketing obsession with the word "blonde". To me, nowadays, it always fills me with a type of uninterested lassitude. Why not call this an Altbier, like they do on the sixpacks? That's more appealing to me.
I guess I'll stop ranting and review the beer...
Pours a golden orange colour, not really blonde at all, with a tight, but small head of white foam riddled with large pancake bubbles. Lacing is pretty good. Looks very decent.
Light organic grain notes, with a hint of candied citrus and a pleasant noble hop fragrance, a hint of oak barrels or grape must. Quite rustic and pleasant, and spot on in terms of style.
Light organic notes on the palate, the dark hint of tobacco or tea leaves, with a very clean and clear backing, just hinting of grass or grain sweetness. Quite refined and well structured. Mouthfeel is slick, but light, and the carbonation is perfect, just a little levity around the edges, but otherwise clean and smooth.
This is a well made and very well balanced beer. It has some lovely notes to it. While it's not extreme in flavour, it's quite true to style. A very pleasurable experience.