I've actually had this multiple times before, but either my review's been lost or I've not actually reviewed it before. This was a 500ml clear bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a clear burnished golden colour, almost tending towards amber. Head forms a bubbly froth on pouring, but settles out to a modest ring with some slick film across the top. Minimal lacing, and the body looks quite weak. Not a great look all up: it would be better on a hand-pump.
Nose is much more like those banana lollies you get than true banana or even the eponymous banana bread. Sickly sweet, quite cloying and most artificial. Swirling it doesn't help much, although some of the malt comes through a little, giving some more golden syrup and treacle which strangely enough helps make it a little less sweet and cloying.
Taste is mercifully less cloying and sickly, but it maintains that artificial banana character right from the start to the back of the palate. Apart from that, there's a rather loose grainy malt character that oddly feels rather empty: as though there's no real substance to the sweetness of the banana. Fine but prickly carbonation also countermands some of the cloy, but adds a fizzy acidity to the mix which doesn't work well at all.
Overall, this is pretty poor stuff. The banana is a gimmick and no more, and it doesn't work with the other characters of the beer at all. It certainly doesn't live up to its moniker, a concept I can believe would actually make a rather tasty brew.
275ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a disappointingly light brown colour, only opaque due to the density of the beer in the glass. When tilted and held to the light, it's certainly a translucent weedy brown. Head is fine enough, leaving thick lacing and a solid persistent half-centimetre of off-white foam.
Nose is very odd indeed. Very crisp and brightâvery oddly so. Along with some faint hints of dark grains, there are big fragrant hints of appleskin and cinnamon, and a sweetness reminiscent of fairy floss (possibly the Brett, which I believe is used in the process). There are some deep boozy hints, but they're not framed in a consistent way, leaving the sweet, anarchic brightness to take over. Hmm...
Taste is better, leaving a smooth, if lacklustre roasted sweetness along the front palate. Some mild chocolate, and a hint of coffee come through, but both rather weak, and only leaving a faint impression on the finish, which is dominated by ground earth and a lingering roasted character. The feel is smooth, but far lighter than I expected. In some ways, I'm impressed at how well the booze is hidden, but to be honest, in a beer like this, at this volume, it could stand to be far bigger.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this. No, it's not a bad beer (in fact I can see why others love it), but it's amazingly bland for a 10% ABV beer in this style. I understand the push behind it, but it's not a particularly interesting RIS for me.
Really nice amber gold colour, with a robust head of beige foam. Excellent lacing. Frothy pour. Looks just like an English ale should.
Sweet toffee malt on the nose. Hint of organic grain, hay and grass. Nice English hops but very malty, surprisingly for a Bitter.
Lots of malt on the palate too, and a rich full grain husk bitterness, culminating in a dark caramel sweetness on the back palate. Not a lot of hops, although there's a dark fruit bittersweet character peeking its head around the malt backbone. Quite pleasant. Mouthfeel is very smooth, goes well with the maltiness.
A very drinkable beer. Perhaps a tad heavy on the sweetness, but it goes down very smoothly. A lovely drop.
62 / 100
Pleasant ginger-ale colour with foamy and delicious head, sticks around pretty well but webs out leaving sticky lacing. Light but steady carbonation, pretty sweet and nice-looking.
Sour, spicey nose with pleasant wine vinegar kind of acid and a subtle hint of ginger or maybe even chilli. Not bad but a bit sour really to appeal to me.
Taste is nowhere near as sour as the nose, with a pleasant dried fruit character dominating. Aspects of sultanas, prunes and again a sort of ginger hit. But very subtle. Malty for the most part although there is a hit of tartness on the mid-palate. This might be due to the carbonation which gives a fizzy, carbolic kind of mouthfeel. Not a lot of hops although they are at least apparent, if not obvious, on the back.
A decent drop, quite drinkable and with things to like.
90 / 100
Pours a pleasant red-tinged amber colour with very slow bead feeding a nice but drowning beige head. Very yummy lacing, makes a waterfall effect down the sides when tilted. Nice.
What an interesting, fascinating aroma. It's very sweet with a kind of cinnamon-caramel smell and hints of vanilla. Has a kind of rubber character on there too, but it's not unwelcome, mainly because it's not too dominant. Fascinating nose - very sweet, very pleasant. Loses half a mark only because it smells nothing like beer should.
Oh my god. I can't believe that tastes the same as it smells. In fact I can't believe how that tastes, it's incredible. A strong pavlova character with a slight cinnamon flavour without the spice factor. Vanilla, caramel, lightly toasted crême brulée, it's all there, begging me to dance with it, saying 'come to me, take me here, bend me over backwards and fondle me'. This is a multiple orgasm of a beer. It has the highs and lows of a Stravinsky concerto and the smooth, velvety texture of rubbing your hand along the hide of a cow after a very heavy rainstorm. In a word, exquisite. A slight, very slight hint of herbal hops at the very end of the palate reminds you that this ambrosia is beer. This is drinkable as anything and just so fascinating and unique. A top quality drop.
86 / 100
Lightly cloudy, opalescent red-brown, with a chunky thick head of yellow bubbles. Lacing is crafted by the gods, so amazing. Looks very, very tasty indeed.
Notes of kirsch and plasticene on the nose. Fruit, acidity and brandy, with light herbal notes. Wonderful.
Oh, what a sweet, smooth, and delectable palate. Redolent of creamy desserts, just like Christmas pudding with vanilla custard. Creamy and sweet, you can taste the ice-cream melting over the warmed, soaked pudding. Mouthfeel is wonderful, slick and creamy. There's a light, crisp herbal character over the top, which just serves to accentuate the creaminess underneath.
Young's just keeps rising in my opinion. This is a truly wonderful special occasion beer, creamy, delicious and unique. Just wonderful.
50 / 100
Pours a golden colour with a slight orange tinge. Good, steady carbonation. A bit of head when first poured, doesn't really hang around. Decent-looking, and very English.
Bit lacking fragrance-wise, but nice for what's there. A bit sour with a slight hint of citrus, quite a lot of hops, but could use more.
Surprisingly sweet on the front palate, elements of candied orange, but that's really it. Mostly watery and quite refreshing with a slight bitterness on the finish. Again, that's about it. Slight bitterness. I guess this is all in keeping with the style, smooth drinking with a minimum of flavour. Mouthfeel is a bit full, like swallowing soapy water. The body feels heavier than expected, given the lack of flavour.
46 / 100
The drink of England, eh?
Well, I've not seen many English lasses that look much better than this. Pours a gorgeous dark copper-amber colour with a very healthy carbonation streaming up the liquid, and a pillowy, thick head of beige foam, sticking around nicely but slowly drooping. This is definitely what an English ale should look like.
Nose is fairly simple, a very distinct aroma of English hops. A bit faint, maybe because I'm serving it a bit cold, but it's still definitely there. It's a mostly floral hoppy character and slightly balanced by a bit of a caramel malt aroma. Fairly good for what it is.
Palate is a lot maltier than I would expect, both from the nose and from the name of the beer. Very rich, almost earthy hops on the mid-palate with the back lingering in a copper, metallic kind of flavour, slightly sour, almost like when you put your tongue to the node of a battery. But the leadership is usurped by the malt on the front which also contributes to a thick, phlegmy mouthfeel. Not only does it feel phlegmy but it creates phlegm in my throat, almost like there's something lactic there. The head, when sipped, is delicious, like a strong Irish stout head. But it's here where that metallic aftertaste is strongest.
Overall, this is a fairly lacklustre example of a bitter. Mostly, it's not very bitter - it's too malty for that. Secondly, the palate, while having enough complexity to keep you interested, is fairly poorly balanced and the flavours are all essentially lined up one by one for you to count, rather than being released in a gush of flowering complexity. I could take it or leave it, really.
Nice golden yellow body, with a full, pillowy and frothy head of white foam. Great lacing. Looks nice.
Nice mix of malt and hops on the nose. Notes of biscuit and wet grain, mixed with gritty organic English hop flavours. Quite vegetative. Very pleasant.
Tingly and raw hop bitterness on the palate. Absolutely what I picture when I picture an English bitter; quite raw and sharp with a dirty organic back palate of pure bitterness. Mouthfeel full at the front with a pleasant effervescence creeping up later on.
This is a nice beer - a very well made English bitter. Truly, not my favourite style, but a good example of it. Raw, robust and true to its name.
70 / 100
Pours a lovely bright golden hue, with a slight hint of haze. Head is a yellowish film of pancake bubbles - some fine, some larger. The lacing is excellent, just what you like to see in an English Ale.
Nice fruit notes and sweetness on the nose - pineapple and a little tropical, with an underlying molasses maltiness and a light bread/grain character. Hint of something dusty as well, a little Fuggley English hop character perhaps. Nice.
Nice initial sweetness on the palate is quickly superseded by a wonderful dark and dusty English hop robustness which clears out any residual stickiness. For me, this showcases brilliantly those English hops, quite a pronounced bitterness, but not quite the sharp resiny or fruity characters of their American brethren. It's deeper and more mellow.
Mouthfeel is smooth on the initial palate but reaches a crescendo of exciting effervescence to complement the rise of the hops bitterness nicely.
Great beer this one. Fabulously drinkable despite its 6%.
81 / 100
Opaque and dark with a thin ochre head. Slight flash of brown (which isn't VERY flashy) when held up to the light. For a stout not bad, but just like a stout. Could use a bit more head.
Mmmm, delicious nose. Rich and chocolatey. Mind you, nice as it is, that's it. There's not much to it, it's just a really nice rich, sweet aroma.
Taste is more complex than the nose. It's dark and very cocoa-y. Rich and ever-so-slightly bitter on the back palate, but man that bitterness is just there to emphasise the rich potency of the brew. It's rich, wonderful, powerful, sweet and just a brilliant late-night ale. Really brilliant. Forget chocolate sauce, pour this all over icecream.
77 / 100
This has a very nice looking bottle. Unfortunately, looking at it unopened is about the greatest pleasure I got from this one.
Pours fizzily; an orange-copper body with a frothy almost-trying-to-be-creamy head, fed by masses of soft-drink like carbonation.
Pretty awful nose. A very intense smell of urine and fermented cidery apple juice. Not very pleasant at all.
The palate is slightly better in that it tastes of very little. Watery and weak. It's better than the off-smelling nose at least.
Very weak. What a joke. I've had better stuff from Young's. I just hope I had an off bottle or something.