46 / 100
Purchased at some wholefoods-type store in central Hong Kong, muled back to Australia for sharing.
Pours a deep, dark reddish-brown colour. Head is beige, nice and frothy when poured, sinks to a thinnish film but leaves a decent sheet of lacing behind. Fairly decent, could be darker.
Smells a little bit roasty, quite sweet but largely dry, with hints of espresso, molasses and licorice. Slight grainy, almost adjuncty sweetness floats over the top, which is unfortunate; the roasty notes that are there should be more prominent.
Taste is unfortunately sweet, and a bit segmented and detached. Lots of flavours coming through individually without a good coherence. Sweet grain, carob, espresso and char, with some vanilla notes and aniseed and black pepper. Put in a logical order, these flavours may have played out to great effect, but it's confused, and finishes very astringently while the predominant flavour is that carob.
Not a lot of body to it; goes down with a smoothness but I really want more substance.
From the brewery that brought me Echigo Pilsener and rice lager, this is an improvement, but for a 6+% stout it's disappointing.
10 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Pours a pale golden colour, clear and still. Head was white and existed at one stage, now it's disappeared. Looks rubbish, frankly.
Smells sweet and adjuncty. Yum. Lots of corn and honey and rice, with some blandness and shitness thrown in. Not much to enjoy, not even much to look for. Pretty poor.
Taste is also pretty poor. Bland on the front but also sickly sweet with lots of honey and white sugar/sucrose added. Corn, grain, pearl barley - yeah I guess it tastes rather like livestock feed. Very little to appreciate here, in fact very little not to make me go on a murderous rampage through a crowded shopping mall. Take note, breweries: brew better beer. It could save lives.
Decently full body, bit of carbonation at the end. It's what I'd expect stylistically, therefore it's alright.
Bland, overly sweet. Bad beer. Bad, bad beer. Naughty.
Can brought back from Hong Kong by @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a pleasantly dark, but relatively translucent red-black colour, with a nice fine head of mocha brown. Some lacing sits clearly around the edges of the glass. Body is quite liquid, surprisingly, keeping it fluid and dynamic. Not bad.
Nose is dim and slightly roasted, with a twinge of sweetness, and a rattling dark grain character, like the last coffee bean stuck in the grinder. There's also a hint of unpleasantness to it, something a little like rubbish heaped in a back alley, or leftover rice meal. It rather puts me off the taste.
Taste is thick with molasses and burnt coffee, giving a sweet, husky, crispened flavour, which works nicely against the smooth, slightly creamy and foamy mouthfeel. Very little sweetness, but the feel somewhat makes up for that. Finish is actually quite long, again helped by the feel, leaving some bitter grounds flavours on the back. The feel is really quite exceptionally good. While the flavours aren't as complete and full as they could be, there's very little to fault in how it feels in the mouth.
Looks good, smells quite unpleasant, tastes fine (well, OK at least) and feels sublime. A beer of contrasts. Thankyou.
Served to me blind by @LaitueGonflable, who purchased it recently in Hong Kong.
Pours a very clear and really disappointingly light-bodied yellow colour, with only a touch of white foam around the edges of the glass. No lace, not body, and a pitiful single stream of carbonation from one nucleation point in the glass. Looks like macro shite.
Nose is pounded with ricey adjuncts, leaving wet grain nothingness. To be fair, there's a touch of greenness to the brew, giving a lift above the abysmal, perhaps a touch of hops that really wants to break through. But really, this is a beer of nothingnessâit smells like a mildly more potent Asahi or something. Rice, way too much rice.
Taste is clean and clear, but that's about as good as it gets. Again, there's husky rice characters giving a mild sweetness and a very blatant emptiness, and just the touch of hops to bring it into the realms of "is-it-ok-I-don't-know!", but it's really weak and disappointing, really. It's light and drinkable enough, but really, it's not very good at all.
Really? What is this? My only opinion is that it's a very generic pale brew brewed to be quaffable and devoid of flavour by someone who knew what they were doing. It's not unpleasant, it's not offensive, it's not undrinkable: it's just goddamn boring as shit.
Pours a shiny ruby colour, clear and bright. Head is beige, nice and dense. Disperses to form a nice cloud with some fingers of lace behind. Great colour, great everything.
Smells very malty and nutty, with actually a not towards funk at the back. Rich English toffee malt with walnuts/marzipan edge. Touch of sourness as well, fresh cut grass, lucerne and black tea. Intriguing and enjoyable.
Taste is...less successful, in many ways. Taste starts off malty with a touch of English toffee to it, and contrives to go rapidly downhill from there. Flavour disappears, in essence - bland, grainy mid-palate with maybe a herbal touch to it, then a watery and bread yeast finish that lets go too soon. With the colour, and even the odd aromas, I expected a lot more flavour than this. Uninspiring.
Thin feel, mostly. A bit of presence on the back but just a watered-down grain texture overall.
A disappointment. I really thought there was something here, until I tasted it.
Purchased in the US, at some Whole Foods store. Can't remember which. Probably Los Altos. Anyway. @LaitueGonflable is very pleased I bought it because he got to share it with me back in Australia.
Pours a reddish, very pale rose hue, like a very light bodied red wine. Head is fine but filmy, leaving big bubbles around the edge, and a mesh over the top. Not a lot of lacing, but it leaves speckles here and there. Not a bad look overall.
Nose is grainy and a bit lacklustre, with some organic rice characters that remind me of before-bedtime warmed sake. Certainly, there's a very Asian Rice Lager kind of character to it. And not a lot of hops. That's bad.
Taste is similar, with a coppery character, and a sweet thinness, giving a cloying sticky rice abasement that really crushes any good characters on the palate. There's metallic characters on the front, cloying and unpleasant sweetness on the back, with a hint of rotting odour. Urgh.
Feel is thin, but sticky enough to leave the unpleasantness around for too long.
Blech. I was willing to give this the benefit of the doubt, but the longer I drank it, the more unhappy I became. Perhaps @LaitueGonflable is not happy I brought this back for him. Maybe he would have been happier if it had stayed far, far away.
Pours a pale straw colour with white head. Quite good when poured but sinks quickly, all bubbly and foamy with slow bead. No lace. Very dull, standard looking lager.
Not much on the nose. Slight metallic hop and some green apple crispness. Perhaps a slight rice character and some very light carbonation sourness. But very, very little, very unimpressive.
Immense sticky rice sweetness pervades the entire flavour. Slight thickness on the mid with predominantly sweet and sticky adjunct flavour. A mild bitterness like bamboo or other grass lingers on the back, but it's more of an aftertaste than an actual flavour sensation. Sweetness is unpleasant, what's more, almost mediciney. Not much else to mention, nothing really to recommend here.
Mouthfeel is oddly thick and syrupy considering it looks so light in body. Completely unpleasant.
Having badmouthed it enough, it does complement my Japanese teriyaki combo quite well. The sweetness still makes it a bit of a struggle, but for what it is it's not undrinkable. Just reminds me why I don't like Jap lagers.