Lemon Myrtle White IPA, brewed for GABS 2017 and tried there on tap.
Pours a straw colour, so cloudy it's practically opaque. Head is white, foamy and thick. Looks great, in a witbiery kind of a way. Love that haze.
Smells tangy and herbal but with a good dose of cereal sweetness on the front as well. Caramel, and maybe chestnut. Some light fruity notes on the edges. Probably more hop than wit, but all pretty good.
Taste is pretty good too. More of that chestnut flesh note on the front along with a general sweet malt character. Develops some honey towards the mid with a tangy spice note, mostly cloves. Some citrus lemon blends with the spice towards the back but feels more fruity and doesn't quite bring the tangy cleansing bitterness I would have liked.
Decent body, with a hint of warm booze. Not bad.
Fairly tangy white IPA, might be a bit on the heavy side and possibly not quite enough early hopping as it smells like an IPA but tastes more like a wit. Definitely not bad but doesn't quite combine the two aesthetics well enough.
77 / 100
Gose made with dried limes for GABS 2016. Tried there on tap.
Pours a gold colour, quite clear surprisingly, with a nice dense foamy head. Pretty plain body, but good head.
Smells funky, with a hint of subtle lime on there. Touch of spice, and maybe some salt but I think I'm convincing myself it's there rather than detecting it. Fairly witbiery overall.
Ooh, this is an interesting twist. Champagney flavour upfront, with a touch of slight subtle funk. Bit dried finger lime character that ends up blending with the slight salty hit to create a sherbety orange flavour which dominates in the end. Tartaric, slightly sour and really rather interesting. I like this.
Decent body for the size, goes down fairly smoothly.
Wow, I had mixed expectations for this (I'm not a gose apologist, and I don't understand why it's the big style at the moment), but this is a really pleasant, tangy twist on the style. Trust Little Creatures - an evil big brewery that in between drinking puppy blood and torturing orphans find time to make some really cracking one-off beers - to put forward such an interesting proposition, and do it so well.
This was shortlisted for beer of the festival, and ended up my number 10.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a yellow straw colour with some hazing to it. Body haz a bit of oomph to it, and holds fine, minimal streams of carbonation. Head is a solid white crest that collapses into a full ring that leaves similar rings of lace. Looks good.
Nose is great. Bright rosewater matched very pleasantly with some saison funk. This gives it a heady pot pourri note cut with some pleasant brighter citrus, and a little spice (perhaps cinnamon) and vanilla. It's very nice all up.
Light and peppery on the front palate, allowing the funk to come through a little more, along with some fruity citrus that stays pretty fragrant. Mid-palate is clean with notes of musk and rose but cut with sharper tones of pepper, marshmallow and sherbet. Back is light fruit and tart funk, but the aftertaste stays clean and lovely.
Feel is very light, with a touch of frothiness to it.
Overall, I think this is really very good. Little Creatures really do know what they're doing, and they've particularly had a couple of GABS beers which have been really fine. This is one of them.
75 / 100
Pours a champagney colour, touch of cloud with large bubbly head that sinks fairly quickly. Not bad, could use a bit more colour given this is a 'rose' saison, and a touch more cloud since this is a 'saison' saison.
Smells saisony, quite decently so. Champagne notes with pear, green apple and a mild funky barnyard hint. Rosewater comes through strongly, however, and it's a surprisingly good combo.
Taste is sweet and rosewatery as well. Lots of sweetness to it, with vanilla, sweet spice coming through as well, then a slight tilt towards the funky late. Chardonnay oak, champagne, green apple and a touch of citrus. Not hugely saisony though, just some touches of farmyard around the edges of this rosewater through line. Still, pleasant drop.
Thin body, fairly decent texture though.
Not hugely saisony, but a really nice beer. This was an honourable mention for me at the festival.
73 / 100
A blended wild-fermented beer with added plums aged on oak for 15 months. Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.
Very pink in colour from the plums and very hazy from, well, probably all the shit that's been happening to it. Head is pink and leaves a flimsy ring after a while that leaves no lace. Body is light, and allow little streams of carbonation to pass through with little interference. Looks decent enough.
Nose is very nice. Gueuze-like funk comes through with oak and proper sharp acidity. There's a little sweetness noticeable too that gives a touch of sherbet—this is perhaps a little out of character, but otherwise I really approve. Very nice aromatic stuff.
Light jammy sweetness on the front doesn't really ever get cleaned out, despite a fairly noticeable aspic acidity that leans heavily on the oakiness. Rose comes through as well, lending a little smoothness. On the back we get the fruit: not just the plum and sherbet, but an aroma like strawberry as well which lingers on the aftertaste. Feel is light but smooth.
Overall, I really like it. I have a feeling this is the first sour I've had from Little Creatures, but it sure is an auspicious beginning. Let's hope they ramp up a few more in the future.
Barrel-fermented red IPA brewed for GABS festival in Melbourne, May 2013. I assume this is just a barrel-aged version of their Shepherd's Delight but may also be a rejig of the recipe. Tried on tap at the festival.
Pours an amber colour, fair amount of cloud to it but virtually no head. Quite meh.
Smell starts out with deep caramel malts giving a touch of English toffee before resinous, floral and fruity hop symphony of grapefruit, lemon, pear and pineapple. Tangy, citric overall. Could use more oak though.
More woody character on the palate. Malty again upfront but a touch of sweet oak character. Hops are again tangy and fruity with pear and lemon mostly. Decent hop notes but again I sort of expect more complexity from oaking.
Decent body, little bit tingly as it goes down. Alright.
Maybe a bit more oaky/boozey than the Shepherd's Delight, but it leaves me feeling a little underwhelmed. Also, completely unrelated to the beer itself but I feel they missed a marketing trick with these two beers. The names are really great but could have been used on a couple of really disparate styles instead of one just being an oaked version of the other.
I've had this beer many, many times (as has any Aussie beer lover worth their salt), and I reviewed it very early on in my beer-drinking career, giving it an artificially inflated score when it was just about the only beer of any substance you could get in Australia. As such, I was keen to try it again at some point without the history and bias that had built up in my mind.
Knowing this, my friend Rich cleverly served it to me blind one Saturday afternoon, asking me to review it and pick what it was. Here's the result:
Pours a dense pale amber hue, deeply cloudy with a huge frothy head of eggshell white. Lacing is sticky and frothy, leaving maniacal streaks down the glass. The body is quite light though, and there's not a lot of visible carbonation. It does look very good overall.
Nose is slightly round with fresh hop characters, but also dusky and dark, with a faint grain husk character that makes it seem earthier than it is. Faint organic tones come through as well as a slight leafy note. Still, it's rather pleasant altogether.
Taste is light and clean. Pleasant straight up-and-down malt basis with a cleansing, but not particularly flavoursome hop balance. Back palate is slightly musky, which drops out quickly, leaving almost nothing in the finish. It's clean, but a little banal.
Feel is a bit light as well—a little more something, body, carbonation, or flavour in general, would really help it out.
Overall, though, it's a very drinkable brew. It's pretty light on flavour for the most part, but it has a vestige of interest running through it—it's enough to make me consider drinking it again.
And, I'll keep my original review below:
A beautiful looking beer. A clear, dark amber colour, with a good solid white head. Lacing sticks to the glass all the way down. 4.5
Wonderful sweet nose, definitely some aniseed spiciness and tropical fruits like mangos bananas and peaches. A heaven-scent (haha) aroma. 4.5
Very fine taste as well, complex and rich, punctuated by yeasty notes and floral hop bitterness. The after taste is very smooth, leaving you feeling refreshed and satisfied. 4.5
Yes, this is a very fine beer. 4.5
(Ed: no, it's not that good).
73 / 100
568ml imperial pint bottle purchased from Chippendale Cellars in Sydney.
Pours a fine rose red hue with a frothy head of white foam. This settles to a fine ring, but still looks pretty decent. Lacing is minimal and the body is a little light for the ABV, but not unacceptable. Looks pretty good.
Nose is bright and crisp from the offset, pleasing crisp and green fragrance: plenty of citrus (perhaps tending a little towards detergent, but we'll forgive it that), with a rugged earthy undertone. Some green grainy malt, but not a lot: the hops take charge, which is fine. Some additional complexities to the malt character would help differentiate it from a standard IPA.
Taste is very pleasant. Here there's a strong malt presence, which doesn't get in the way of the hops, but is more prominent than something just providing a platform. The hops are still quite dominant, however, providing a clean bright, fruity but sharp flavour throughout. Cleaner on the back, leading to a crisp pointed finish.
Feel is smooth and clean, perfectly suited to the beer.
It could do with a little bit more complexity to the malt character: otherwise, this is great stuff. Clean, bright, flavoursome and drinkable. Very happy with this—I think it's one of the better LC single batch range so far.
61 / 100
On tap at the Great Northern Hotel in Carlton during the WA PoO takeover, Good Beer Week 2012. Reviewed from notes.
Pours a red-tinged amber-gold, slight haze in the glass. Head is off-white, a foamy cloud, decent lace. Not bad.
Malty nose; buttery with a hint of some floral fruity hops peeking through but mostly malt based, a bit too much on the sweet side. More hops would be good, mostly because something is needed to temper the sweetness I'm getting.
Taste is sweet upfront: caramel, toffee etc. Back is quite mediciney with residual sugar and some dirty chocolatey notes as well. Quite gluggy and syrupy actually. Belgian notes, but maybe a touch underfermented. Cleansing hops needed badly.
Dries up a bit on the back, but decently full. Maybe a touch of booze heat as it goes down.
A bit of a confused beer; not quite one thing or the other and ultimately slightly muddy.
62 / 100
Pours a rich red colour. Head steadily grows with the pour, then a vigorous flurry of bubbles settles to form a tasty saffron-tinged crown of thick lace. Pretty beautiful-looking beer.
Smells resinous and piney, but a great, almost tart, citric hoppiness floating atop it all. Grapefruit, pineapple, some green pepper and turmeric, green apple and lime on the back. Could use a bit more malt presence for balance, but it's hard to care much since the hops smell so good.
Wow, the same issue is there on the palate. Hops dominate from the get-go, big lime-citrus flavour, touch of pine wood. Malt is there but it's a flimsy backbone, touch of toffee and some lightly toasted grain, but there's just a swirling haze of hop aromatics and esters raging around without ever finding firm ground to stand on. Muddled grapefruit, pine resin, cedar wood, green apple and then not a huge hoppy finish. Just a lot of hop flavour without much presence. More early hopping is probably needed, and maybe more malt body. There's promise here as far as flavour goes but it just feels quite empty.
Not a bad texture. Plenty of hop pull, but there's just enough malt to temper it.
Feel like they've gone really hop-mad here and have lost what a great flavour story can be told by a simpler hopping schedule and strong malt base. Bit too much new-world brewing and not enough respect for why old-school traditions exist.
Pours a brilliant red colour, clear and shiny. Head is a little overcooked, but nice colour and medium density. Lace is decent.Pretty nice.
Smell is spicy and sweet. Star anise and cinnamon are dominant; maybe a touch of nutmeg. Slight boozey note on the back as well. Quite sweet overall; a little bit more piquancy in the spice would be useful.
Tastes quite nice. Sweet and spicy. Caramel-tinged cake batter with a touch of banana. Nutmeg is dominant here, with some cinnamon, aniseed and vanilla on the back. Again, pretty boozey towards the finish, just unsheathed alcohol without enough flavour on the finish. Lovely, really, upfront, but needs more on the back.
Thick and pretty full, but with a nice texture.
Good concept, executed OK. The booze is just a bit too strong; otherwise a really nice beer.
Little Creatures' Single Batch pint bottle, purchased for me by Sarah.
Pours a clear, but rather thin amber colour, with a mess of bubbles forming a timid off-white head. Carbonation is fine, and belies the apparent lightness of the body, showing that it stays rather thickly in the glass. Minimal lacing. Overall, it's a decent looking beer.
Nose is sweet, malty and thin, with a disappointing resemblance to mass-produced English styles—thin honey characters, watery grain and a slight cloying apple sweetness. There's a hint of smoke, but it gets caught up with a carbonation acidity, and a tweaking hint of aniseed. It's a bit odd, and slightly wayward.
Taste is similar. More thin sweetness, with a spicy aniseed note towards the back that morphs into rosemary, or something sharp and biting on the finish. In reality, it's probably the very mild smoke, which turns up unannounced and unwelcome, and just skews everything in odd directions. Finish is slightly bitter but cloying, like super-sweet liquorice.
Overall, I was unimpressed. There was much that was weird in this beer, and almost exclusively, the weirdness seems to have detracted from the beer. Perhaps worse, it seems to have been done without purpose—at least, it's hard to see how this beer was meant to make a coherent whole. It seems distracted and fractious.
75 / 100
Bottle from Slowbeer, purchased by @LaitueGonflable. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a pleasant deep red-mahogany colour, with a very insubstantial head of off-white. The head merely sits as a bubbly film atop the body. The body is pleasantly heavy, at least, and holds some nice fine carbonation when tilted. Overall, it looks really good if you don't look above the surface.
Nose is pleasantly sweet and spicy, with some nutmeg and clove characters coming through, along with a stewed or dried fruit sweetness. It has a pleasant richness to it, which the spice just cut through nicely. Pretty good stuff.
Taste is also pretty nice, and nice in ways I didn't expect. Given the heavy sweetness on the nose, I expected this to be rich and chewy, but actually it retains a pleasant lightness about it from the spices, and the dark fruity sweetnesses add flavour, but not too much body. Additionally, the touch of booziness to it springboards off the spicy lightness to give a pleasant cut to the otherwise soaked palate.
Despite this lightness, the feel is very pleasant; it has a smoothness, but doesn't sit heavy and chewy. Good stuff.
Yep, good stuff from the Critters. Flavoursome, but balanced. Interesting, but integrated. Another single-batch winner.
On-tap at the Great Northern Hotel in North Carlton as part of the Pint of Origin event during Good Beer Week.
Pours a hazy gold colour, with a solid body. Head is filmy but firm and solid white. Fine carbonation streams through the tight body. Looks good overall.
Nose is sweet and round, with classic Belgian fruity esters and a little caramel malt character. It's cut slightly with a grassy hop character, but far less than I anticipated. It feels quite big too; you can sense the booze, even though it's not all that heavy. It's not badâwell made but a little underwhelming.
Taste is smooth and round, and helped by a very smooth feel. There's none of those harsh phenols or boozy heat that you often get with a poorly-made Belgian style ale. Hint of the grass again, but the US hops (such as they are) are really underplayed. The back is dry and crisp, with a slightly medicinal aftertaste.
Solidly made beer. It's not altogether that exciting, and I've had very few Belgian style beers outside Belgium that really do the styles justiceâand this beer doesn't do enough to make me think it's "not Belgian style" and so suffers the same fate.
75 / 100
Cask from the LC Dining Hall in Fitzroy as one of their "one-off" beers during Good Beer Week.
Bright, very hazy golden orange hue. Solid fine, egg white head that foams from excited turbidity, but settles down as the almost nonexistent carbonation fails to feed it. Lace is great, thick and rich just like cask should be.
Nose is bright clear and pleasantly floaral, with nice sweet hoppy characters giving characters of strong rose perfume and apricot stone fruit. Sharper green notes give a hint of herbsâperhaps rosemaryâbut they're trapped in the pleasantly deep sweetness. It's like an apricot danish with rosemary tinted pastry. Very nice.
Taste is lighter, with a clean fruity hop character through the front, with a touch of earthy bite, and a soft vegetative sweetness. Finish gets a bit of grain husk and some gritty yeast flowing through, along with a phantom bitterness that doesn't seem to hit the tongue as the beer goes down, but which builds up on the back palate after a while.
Feel is smooth and flatâclassic cask character.
Very drinkable, and really quite pleasant indeed. I love how smooth it comes across, and the clean roundness of stone fruit the Stella gives it. Very tasty brew overall, and a great tweak on the beer.
71 / 100
Thanks to @epiclurk for the bottle. I believe purchased from the Clock Hotel bottle shop in Surry Hills.
Pours a surprisingly light-bodied, but deeply coloured golden hue. Very clear, with a fine, but insubstantial and minimally persistent head of white. The body holds the carbonation reasonably well when it's tilted, implying that there is some heft to it. Looks reasonable enough, but not at the top of the style.
Nose is lovely, with a piquant zesty citrus character balanced beautifully with deeper and more vegetative resin characters. I don't know the hopping regime, but I suspect New Zealand hops, or perhaps Citra in the mix in dry-hopping. It's a really lovely nose, giving a wide, but beautifully balanced swathe of hop fragrances. Joyous.
Unfortunately, that's the apex of the beer. The flavour, while still pleasant enough, is much lighter than I expected, and truly lacking in bitterness. Big sweet malt characters dominate, with a slight twinge of toffee or butterscotch on the back where the hop oils should clear it out. This leaves a rather disappointing, and slightly meaty character on the aftertaste.
Feel is smooth, but very light. Carbonation is very low, which also makes the palate feel a bit limp.
Not a bad drop, but it could and should have been better. The nose is wonderful, but it really needed something bigger and bolder on the palate. It felt unbalanced towards malt, which is not the direction you want to take in a DIPA, especially a "big" one.
60 / 100
On-tap at the source in Fremantle several months ago. Never seemed to get around to entering my notes.
Pours a deep brownish gold with a fine and slick head of white. Foamy and rather boisterous lacing. Lots of carbonation slewing through the body. Looks decent, and fits the style well.
Minimal character on the nose, just a hint of malty grain with a uplift of sharp soda or citrus. Very bland, if not unpleasant.
Taste is similar. Grainy and clear for the most part, with a bit of fain fruit coming through. Phenolic finish gives a slight nod to the German style, but even still, it's very light and not particularly inspiring.
Stylistically, it's not too bad. They get a lot of the characters in there, but they're all very subdued. It's all just a bit too bland and unexciting.
75 / 100
Pours a very dark mahogany brown, ochre head, creamy and dense with lovely lace left behind. That's a fine-looking stout.
Smells roasty and stouty. Lots of mild roasted coffee with cocoa, black pepper and licorice root. Mildly done, with a decent overall balance of aroma, nice roasty stout.
Taste is dark, roasty for the most part with plenty of espresso notes but mild, slight sourness with goji berries, unsweetened chocolate and mild black pepper. Caramel on the late-mid before it gets darker and spicier towards the finish with some cedar wood and cumin. Not bad, not bad at all.
Decent body but a bit overcarbonated maybe? Kind of dries up too early.
Good export stout. Big flavours but retains a nice crisp finish for easier drinkability.
I'm on holidays, so this seemed like a suitable breakfast beer. Toasty and robust. Purchased from Slowbeer.
Uncaps without much of a hiss, implying very low or nil carbonation. Indeed, when poured, the head is a filmy ring of nothingness around the edges, although when agitated, it's a lovely dense deep brown colour. Body is solidly opaque. Looks pretty good.
Nose is roasted, but rounded with a pleasant sweet character, perhaps just a grainy bread note, but it's smooth. Slight vanilla notes. It's all pretty pleasant, and not as harsh and roasted as it could have been.
Taste is also quite smoothâthe very low carbonation helps here, although the liberally laced black, roasted malt gives it pinpricks of bitterness that almost resemble the tingle of carbonation. Otherwise, it has a pleasant smoothness and rather light body. This aids the drinkability, even though the flavours are not overly complex.
Pretty decent. It's a big enough brew that maintains a rather smooth and light profile. One of the better single release beers I've had from Little Creatures.
Pours a shiny colden colour with very appealing head, dense and fluffy. Sinks steadily, leaving some specks of lace behind. Looks pretty decent.
Doesn't really smell of much. Mostly grainy, with a cough lolly kind of aroma and some brown sugar as well. A bit phenolic as well, but mostly a non-event. Meh.
Taste is rich-ish, and kind of 'golden' in character, with some fresh wheat notes and golden syrup on the front that dwindles a bit for the mid-palate, before the finish takes over. Finish is quite phenolic but also grainy and sweet with a boiled lolly kind of flavour. Would like more cohesion in this palate between front and back, but it's not too bad overall.
Too much carbonation here, largely because the body is thin. Doesn't come across as too refreshing, sadly.
I think it's a decent enough marzen. But one of the reasons I think this is because Australian breweries just don't brew this style enough. Therefore I don't feel right holding this up to the high standards I would hold an indigenous German example to. Is this comparable to the best German marzen/oktoberfest? No, not in the slightest. But this isn't steeped in the tradition of German brewing. Until Australian breweries start offering more of these rarer European styles (and given the whole world's love affair with Oktoberfest, this shouldn't be a hard sell), this beer is going to remain a pretty decent offering, in my opinion.
59 / 100
Pours a clear and bright yellow colour, with a fine, but slightly filmy head of pure white. Carbonation is muted, but reasonably persistent. Lacing is slippy but sudsy. Body looks surprisingly heavy for a pils. Not bad.
Nose is sharp with eucalyptus when cold. As it warms, a little more dusty grain comes through. A slightly peppery note comes through as well. All in all, the sharpness is pretty good for the style. It's not as good as some, but it's not bad either.
Taste is a little disappointing, with a very light palate that really doesn't lend itself to anything. A light metallic uplift on the back gives a hint of crispness, but otherwise, it's rather thin and very light. Disappointing.
It's not a bad pils. It has a serve of crispness to aid drinkability, especially in hot weather, but it's far inferior to their Pale Ale, and far inferior to some really classic pilseners.
44 / 100
Interesting that I'd never reviewed this beer given how ubiquitous its sister Pale Ale is. Well, here we go. Thanks to @epiclurk for picking me up a bottle.
Pours quite a dark reddish amber colour, with a fine bubbled and rather filmy head of white. Lacing is excellent, as is the clarity, which gives it a very nice English ale "pint just pulled by the landlord" look to it. Not bad.
Nose is a bit meaty, with a definite earthy tone and a lightness that is very herbal. Almost certainly Pride of Ringwood in this which gives the meatiness and the slightly unpleasant earth character. Definite twangs of copper to it, which drags it into English territory, although the PoR gives it that classically unpleasant Australian flavour. Eh.
Taste is marred almost exclusively by the Ringwood, which gives it a truly unpleasant organic bitterness, and that sting-in-the-tail aftertaste a little like garbage juice. In there, there's some light peach and fruit characters, but they're very much overwhelmed. I guess it's unfair of me to be so prejudiced against one hop, but it really grates with me.
Feel is light and smooth at least, very much in the English style.
Nope. There's something off and unpleasant about this beer, and I can probably point the finger at one hop variety. It's a shame, given that Little Creatures other flagship is such a great beer. Eh.
39 / 100
Pours a clear brassy golden colour. Head is off-white, sinks to a very thin film. Great lace. Clear body, no carbonation. Good IPA elements, but no flash.
Smells musty and astringent. Quite hoppy but the wrong kind, it's all sour and musty. Not a lot of complexity and quite lacking overall. Frankly I expect better from Little Creatures. That's a poor, weak nose, very disappointing for an IPA.
Taste is anticlimactic as well. Not a lot on here at all. Some faint grainy character with sub-apparent citric notes on the mid-palate. Hop notes are very muted and as a result there is hardly any finish to this beer at all. Has a weak bitterness that it more apparent from the puckering effect on the mouth than any real flavour, and a slight vinous note very late. Quite musty, and boring. Not at all IPA-esque; a big disappointment.
This could almost spell the death knell of Little Creatures' limited release batches. I don't mean to be cruel, but this has a macro feel to it, like people who don't know or respect IPAs trying to master an IPA. This is not a hop lord, or a lord of anything. I just need to keep muttering "Brown Ale" to myself to remind myself of better times.
60 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse, Sydney.
Pours quite clear, and quite light, body looks a bit thin, but the head is excellent, really lovely white fluffy bubbling that leaves solid lacing - sudsy but complex. Nice.
Nose is sharp with slight citrus hints, but it's pretty light on. Sweeter notes of apricot and zest come through, but it's a tame nose all up, especially for an IPA.
Taste is light and not particularly sharp, some faint hop flavours come through on the fore, very restrained. Absolutely minimal bitterness which is a grave omission for the style. Mouthfeel is light and crisp.
It's drinkable, but no more. It's not particularly special. Ends up crisp and clean, but certainly lacking character.
74 / 100
On tap at Harts Pub with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a nice opaque black brown, the colour of dark chocolate.
Head is fine but crusty with good lacing. Decent body to it. Nice.
Nose is pleasantly, but mildly roasted. Hint of leather, vegemite and soy sauce, with a smooth sweetness to back it up perhaps vanilla pastry. Not really robust, but very pleasant.
Taste is smooth and rich, with really nice mild stout characteristics, roasted bitterness that lingers, but a sharp bite of something fresher on the back. It could be a pleasant hop bite, but it's disguised with the darkness. Really pleasant structure, and quite sophisticated.
Tasty brew. Nice, smooth and well crafted. Could use a touch more body, and a touch more strength on the nose, but otherwise its an extremely well made oatmeal stout.
60 / 100
Pours a very dark brown, only colour is around the edge when held up to the light. Head is very generous, beige-coloured with large bubbles around the side, but nice dense foam on top, sinking unevenly but slowly. Lace is small and speckly, but yeah, great-looking stout here.
Smell is dark fruits at first, quite sour with plum and raisin notes. Hiding behind is a roasty, almost burnt, bitterness, espresso aroma mostly but with some light cherry on there as well. Hints of cocoa and maybe some black pepper. Fairly standard smell for a stout though, all the roasty/sour notes of dark malt, not bad but also nothing out of the ordinary.
Taste is alright but a bit thin overall. Fairly chocolatey throughout with dark, slightly sour cocoa on the very front and then late-mid as well. Some dark fruit notes come through mid-palate with plum, raisins and a small hint of peach as well. Roastiness dominates the back with a nice char/deep-roast espresso bitterness. It's distinct but not very potent or full. Hint of tobacco midway as well spices it up a bit. The palate has a very dry finish - not entirely sure why as it's not needed. Not a bad palate profile but it seems a little watery with the flavour never quite reaching fullness. They could extract a bit more flavour without upping the strength too much.
Texture is a bit thin too, which doesn't help proceedings.
A decent attempt at an oatmeal stout but frankly it's not a huge deal better than a good garage-brew batch. Good drinking though, it's something pleasant to put in your mouth.
Pours a reddish copper colour with interesting slow cascade of bubbles up to form the thin bubbly beige head. Lace looks decent. Not sure about the colour, looks more red than brown. But otherwise good.
Smells quite fresh and pleasant. Good hop character to that, but not a huge amount. Slight citric note with a bit of detergent aroma to it. Bit of dark malt but not a huge amount, nice mild caramel edge to it. Decent, subdued. I do like those hops though.
Taste has an amber malt character to it. Hints of toffee at the start. Hops come through quickly and early, nice tangy notes with a hint of pine and mild lemon. Slight detergent again and whisper of musk. Malt lasts to the end but is slightly overpowered by hops. I like the hops but they're not powerfully bitter, just potent enough to dominate. A bit off-balanced, it lacks the sweetness of other brown ales I've come to love.
Body is okay, a bit of a fizzy texture and slightly thin but not bad.
Yeah, pleasant beer. Good bitterness, quite drinkable indeed.
74 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse Sydney.
Pours a dark amber colour, very deep but tending to brown rather than red. Head is filmy and big bubbled. Not sure how much that's to do with the pour. Good clarity. Looks pretty good.
Slightly doughty mixture of green hop fragrance and a light biscuit character. Together they give an odd fragrance like marzipan. Pretty nice.
Taste is really good, a fragrant new world hop bitterness, mixed with a light hint of fruit and a rounding malt sweetness to temper it slightly and provide a slight counterpoint. Mouthfeel light and crisp.
Yep this is a really nice beer. Little Creatures really don't do enough seasonal and one-off releases. This is a very drinkable and enjoyable drop, and I'd love to see them do things like this on a more regular basis.
70 / 100
Picked up to my great surprise at the Clock bottleshop in Surry Hills.
Pours a burnt orange colour with a faint yellow tinge at the edge, with lots of thick fizzy bubbles giving it a ginger ale appearance. Head is splendid, dense white foam that sinks slowly & patchily, leaving a faint trail of lace behind. The fizz dissipates, leaving a steady bead and a very good-looking IPA.
Ooh yeah, that's the Cascade. Fresh and citrusy with a lot of lemon pulp and orange zest, a hint of passionfruit seed, and some cakey malt underlying. It's a pleasant smell indeed but truth be told I don't notice a lot of difference between this and the pale ale, it's really not as super-hoppy as I'd expected. Just a little more citrus zing to it maybe.
Taste is fairly bitter from the get go. Starts with a slight caramelised malt character and the hops kick in immediately, giving off citric tang with lemon & orange rind, pineapple and passionfruit. Starts getting properly bitter right where it should, towards the back, with a yellow grapefruit sharpness, a hint of pine and even a slight solvent character like furniture polish, but not nearly enough to spoil.
Mouthfeel is fairly fluid with a bit of bite from the bubbles and hops on the back, quite a dry finish. Crisp, more than anything else.
I'm not sure why this is classified as an English IPA since its only hop is a quintessential American variety, but I guess it's much of a muchness. A solid IPA and a great testament to the wonders of the Cascade hop. If anything it just needs a bit more enamel-peeling bitterness.
Pours a rude red amber colour, the colour of toffee, with a very minimal head, basically just a ring of off-white bubbles. Bead is slow and uninteresting, while lace saves the day by being pleasantly sticky. Nice colour, too.
Nose is quite aromatic, fair floral hoppiness and a good malt balance, just lightly roasted, almost caramelised around the edges. Hint of citrus and peach, certainly some cascade or perle hops in there. Whatever it is, it's very pleasant in fragrance, sweet with a mildly bitter edge.
Taste is very malty, a lot of malt characters with toasted grain, toffee, pecans and soil. Flavour is full and impressive, but somehow without finesse; there's no profile to it, just a long blast of flavour. That's not such a bad thing, but I think a palate should be a journey. There is a finish - slightly floral and herbal without much bitterness, certainly not crisp enough to clean up the very heavy-flavoured palate.
Mouthfeel is one of the oddest I've experienced and I don't really know anything like it, but somehow it feels solid when it enters my mouth. I think it's bad, like there's just no texture to it, it's just a big lump of malt. No bubbles or stickiness, seriously I feel like my ears are blocking out sound when this beer is in my mouth.
There's nothing out and out bad about this, and for a 3.8% beer it's exploding with flavour. But I think it needs a couple of things - slightly more bittering hop, and more fizz. Apart from that, for what it is it's pretty great.
48 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour - almost looked silvery coming out of the bottle. Head is sparse fuzz and also sort of not a head but rather a thin film of bubbles. Slow carbonation, little lace. Looks like a dull impersonation of beer.
Nose is pungent, rather adjuncty, really. Strong whiff of some breakfast cereal grain, along with some corn aroma and a slight hoppy twang, kind of citrusy, but not very strong. It's OK balanced, but doesn't have much character to it.
Tastes OK, a lot of grain throughout, with a bran flavour on the front blending with some sweet corn for the mid and onto the back, which is sweet with honeyed notes. Hops are apparent but never really the driving force, mostly phenolic with medicinal notes on the mid and on the hang which is left after the finish. Bitterness hits at the wrong time on the mid, and doesn't clean up the palate, leaves a harsh astringency trailing behind the mostly sweet back palate.
Mouthfeel is decent, fair amount of zing from the bubbles, not full but certainly not thin. Sticky, if anything.
I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with this. Given the brilliance of their pale ale I'd think that Little Creatures could handle hopping a bit better. In this they just bite the wrong parts of the palate and send the whole flavour profile off kilter. It does have a fair punch though, for which I should be grateful. Still, not the best of the LC selection.
71 / 100
Pours a golden colour with a steady but thin bead up the sides. Slight bit of lacing, and not much head although looks can be deceiving, as the girl had to skim off the head twice while pouring.
Pleasant fruity nose with sour pineapple and paw paw seeping through. Subtle hint of floral hops. Nice.
Really nice fruity champagney flavour dominates with a subdued hop character on the front palate and then returning for the finish. Mostly the palate is very smooth and pleasant. Mild, almost, and able to quaff quite readily. Mouthfeel is sadly, however, a bit gritty and more difficult to plough through than the flavour.
Congratulations to the Eastwood Hotel for your latest arrival. Having this little baby on tap makes your pub worth drinking at again.
84 / 100
Pours a very standard amber colour, almost lagery in appearance with a good thick snow-white head. A good amount of steady carbonation and hints of sticky lacing. Pretty average appearance.
Nose is very pleasant with a strong hit of hops dominating with the slightest hint of pineapple or some other tropical fruit lingering in the background. It's subtle; perhaps a bit too subtle but it promises a smooth-drinking beer with pleasant hoppy flavours.
Taste is also very pleasant, with a hoppy front palate giving way to a decent long finish containing sweet fruity characters and a herbal hoppy finish. I wouldn't say overall it's the most complex drop but the palate is long, very pleasant and all the flavours are blended so that they announce themselves all at the right time. Basically this is a truly excellent everyday beer, with really nice flavours and a really smooth clean mouthfeel, and while it's not the most orgasmically brilliant beer I've ever had I think it'd be hard to improve upon it.
There's definitely a reason this is my beer of choice for everyday consumption.
Presentation: 330ml brown tapered bottle. Aesthetically pleasing blue on tawny yellow label bearing the LC label and Bright Ale. Best before date: 18 May 2007
Appearance: Pale golden honey-yellow, just tending to a hue like peach. Minimal carbonation, and I had to pour quite vigourously to induce any head. Still, this looks like a nice brew. Head collapses to a filmy collar quite quickly, minimal lacing.
Nose: Ooh yes. Very pleasant. Hints of tropical fruits, pineapple, passionfruit, plus a little aniseed. Nicely hoppy - my guess Cascade being dominant. Very pleasant indeed.
Taste: Hmm, more subdued than the nose. Little fruit sweetness, and none of the pert bitterness I was expecting after the fragrant nose. Still, there's a smoother type of grainy flavour here, with just a dollop of fruity, grassy hoppiness. This makes it very smooth drinking, without an overwhelming complexity. However, this seems to suit the beer, while not making it all that spectacular.
Mouthfeel is spot on for the taste - not over carbonated, but a little spritzy and refreshing.
My guess is LC were going for a slightly lighter, clearer, more simple-drinking beer than the Pale Ale here, and I think they've come up with a winner. The flavours of LCPA can end up being a little overpowering over a night, but this one would stay fresh and pleasant for longer.
Not as good as the Pale Ale, but definitely a good replacement for a long session.
96 / 100
(Best of the Best)
Gorgeous. Slightly cloudy light orange colour with a fluffy just-off-white head clinging to the top and sides of the glass.
Ohh. The smell is just wonderful. Sweet malt with hoppy tropical fruits, apricots, peach, guava, ripe banana. Honey notes and a slight hint of aniseed. Fragrant, complex and robust. This is a divine smelling beer.
Initial taste of fruitiness, as in the nose. Sweet malt again balanced by a wonderful bitter backnote that clings to your mouth. A rather dry finish, which leaves the mouth feeling refreshed. Mouthfeel is round, full and ultimately refreshing.
This is a damn, damn fine beer. Very hard to fault it. A wonderful job. Let's hope it stays this good.
I hear it's better on tap. If I'm ever in Perth, you can be damn sure I'll drop in for one, but bottle conditioned it's still powerfully good.