60 / 100
Served by Jez on a brewday someday in the past.
Pours a rude red colour, nice jaundiced head, with visible bubbles. Decent lacing left behind. Nice cradle of bubbles underneath the head too; not bad.
Smells sweet, lots of cake batter and caramel, lots of vanilla and Irish cream character as well. Slightly boozey, nice complex sugar but could use something else to balance it.
Taste is sweet, with some oxidation. Boozey, notes of caramel but a lot of raisins, touch of wet cardboard, yeah feels like it'd be nice enough, but it feels a little bit old. Medicinal slightly too. Quite refined and yet big and boozey. Can't say I love the experience.
Smooth enough, bit of heat on the back though. Decent.
Feels a bit heavy. Also tastes a touch old. Regardless, I don't call it a great beer.
61 / 100
A collaboration with Cigar City Brewing from Florida. 22oz bomber purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam, Rich and Chris.
Pours a ruby-tinged orange-amber colour with a fine, slightly pocked head of yellowed off-white. Lace forms in minor specks across the inside of the glass. Body has a fineness to it, but holds it's carbonation in amazingly static thrall. Looks pretty good.
Nose is woody first and foremost, with a maltiness providing the breadth and sweetness. Hints of vanilla and butter are dominant though, with the oak it's one major idea that forces through everything else. It's fairly strong, but not bad.
Taste is rather disappointing. Booziness provides a rather strong tone throughout, while the woodiness doesn't have enough sweetness underneath to really support it. It tastes rather spiritous and a little hot, especially towards the back, while the brittle toffee characters really have a hard time wrenching anything else out of it. Finish is a little metallic and a little buttery.
Feel is nice at least: fairly smooth, but with a pronounced sharpness.
Overall, this is too hot and too much of a mess, without enough character or complexity besides the booziness. It makes it really rather difficult to drink, despite the fact that I can respect the beer as a whole.
On tap at Top Hops beer shop in NYC. Reviewed straight onto the site via mobile. Apologies in advance for typos.
Pours a vibrant but slightly murky red colour, a bit cloudy. Head is big, creamy and dense with gorgeous sticky lace. Looks big and bold, but neither too big nor too bold. Just right.
Smells sweet and spicy, with an odd tangy character as well. Cinnamon, orange peel blend with the rye whiskey and oak which is quite strong. Bit boozey, but pleasant.
Taste is hot and boozey from the get-go. Big whiskey flavour with vanillin oak and some rum toffee. Lots of malt underneath helps to pad it but the dominant flavour is unmistakably oak and whiskey. Sweet, warming and big. Yeah it's a big 'in. But not a bad 'un.
Mouthfeel is a little hot and boozey, but fluid and fairly smooth.
For all its flaws, it doesn't turn be off nearly as much as it might have. Big flavour, a little lopsided but smooth enough overall.
78 / 100
I'll admit it: I'm a sucker for fruit-infused stouts, so this tickled me anyway. 650ml bomber purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a deep black-brown, with good clarity at the edges, and with a certain sheen of red-pink in the hue. Head forms with frothy ebullience and settles down to a fine ring. Lacing is minor and patchy, but present, at least. Body is surprisingly light, but the carbonation is fine. Overall, it looks pretty good: at least as good as it should look.
Nose is musty and dark, with a mild roasted character than nonetheless remains rather smooth and clean. Some leafy freshness comes through as well: perhaps a slight lift from being truly a straight, dark RIS, but no real raspberry character on the nose at least.
The flavour is where this beer starts to shine: here the raspberry is pronounced, providing a bright, fruity counterpoint to the roast and dry darkness. This is certainly based on a Russian Imperial Stout, which is often darker, roastier and drier than the American style. But the raspberry provides that lightness, the sweetness and the character that stops it from being too intense. On the back, there's a lovely mingling of the charred roastiness and the fragrant berry.
Feel is quite light: the dryness on the palate translates into quite a light, dry feel as well. However, given this is 9.3%, it's quite impressive how clean and light this feels. The booze is extremely well hidden.
Overall, yeah, I'm a sucker. This is a decent (if dry) RIS, made interesting with raspberries and gaining balance and structure in the process. I think that the fruit addition to big stouts is always interesting, and in this case I think it helps a lot. I'm a fan.
71 / 100
Pours a vibrant red colour, slight toasty note to the colour. Head is cream in hue, sunk to a thin film with some nice lacing left behind. More retention would be great, but it still looks very appealing.
Smells intriguing. Some light spicy notes all over that, with subtle coriander, cumin and pepper. Fruity esters hiding behind and complementing well; maybe some lime and pineapple with some English toffee malt underneath. Toasty, warming smell; very appealing again.
Taste is more toasty, particularly upfront that gets slight spice notes midway, mostly pepper with a slight nod to cloves. Finish is sadly far too sweet for me, treacly with a touch of cinnamon for an overall sticky-bun kind of flavour. Slight peppery hop note on the back is a welcome addition but it doesn't quite redeem. Not bad, and I can see others liking this a lot more, but it's just a tad syrupy overall.
Actually a bit thin in the mouth; hint of a drying pull as it goes down but otherwise yeah, slightly empty.
I can see nothing but a well-made beer in my glass, so I have to forgive it for its perceived flaws on my palate.
88 / 100
Had on-tap at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, OR.
Pours a solid black-brown, with a fine and full, but relatively bubbly head of caramel brown. Great lacing as it subsides. Solid body to it with a firm bead. Looks great.
Robust nose with big, smooth roasted characters coming through, giving caramel and a touch of light coffee. Creamy chocolate noticeable too. It's so smooth. Wonderful stuff.
Taste is smooth and clean, but with lingering complexities on the back. More sweet caramel, dark more brusque roasted coffee beans, and chocolate in a silky high-cacao way. All is layered with the smoothness of character which seems to epitomise it. Awesome.
Lovely drop. It's smooth, round, clean and complex. Everythign you want in an imperial stout. Love it.
Bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a flat, hazed orange-gold colour, with almost no discernible head. There's a touch of bubbles in a tiny ring around the edge, but only when it's tilted. Looks really underwhelming.
Nose is quite incredibly funky and sour, and not in a good way. Slight earthy rawness, an overt lemonade-like sweetness, and really, what feels like infected homebrew. Weird.
Taste is similar. There's definitely a funk to thisâreally it feels unintentionally infected. Direct, earthy, slightly dirty acidity, along with a gritty bitterness on the finish and an undertone of lemongrass, unwashed roots and all. Feel is sliced with the acidity, and oddly carbonated, given how flat it looks.
Overall, this is terrible. Reallyânot a chance was this intended to be this sour. It's not an intentional acidity, and it pings off the lemongrass unpleasantly, as well as obscuring the flavour itself. Way, way off.
76 / 100
Purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, brought back to Sydney Australia and opened with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours s deep reddish brown colour, with a fine film of quite light white coloured bubbles. Lacing is speckled and fine and tight. Body is firm and strong, and hold very tine carbonation. Overall, it's a really good looking brew.
Nose doesn't really scream Galaxy to me, but the reason for that might be in the luscious, overwhelming barleywine sweetness. Lots of caramelised malts and crystalline sugar characters, giving a deep sweet pool that other characters get lost in. There's a slight tin-foil like metallic twinge to it, which suggests some hops (although not Galaxy), but it's hidden really in the caramelised, rich, sweet sweet sweetness.
Taste is also good, with a true clear caramel barleywine flavour to it that dips out before it gets too heavy. Pleasant cleansing bitterness on the back manages to leaven and cut the palate and stop it from being too intense. Some mild buttery characters do perhaps make it a little chewy and heavy, but otherwise it's a very decent barleywine.
That kind of sums it up, in a way: it's a very decent barleywine. What it's not is a particularly good showcase for Galaxy, which is a lovely hop if used judiciously in the right place. I'll take this beer on its merits (and merits it has), but I'll secretly be a little bit disappointed.
Purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a brassy orange-amber colour, with a fine, but filmy head of off-white, that sits rather limply and stagnant on the top of the glass. Lacing is excellent, however, leaving leopard-spotted patches down the glass. Overall, it looks a bit flat, but not too bad.
Nose is lightly tropical and fruity, like processed breakfast juice. Mostly orange sweetness, with a touch of something else, perhaps some apricot, a little pineapple and banana. It's a little bit flat and a little pedestrian, and I certainly hoped for more from the NS hops. Oh well.
Taste is also very flat, in fact probably worse than on the nose. Here, there's nothing to back it up either: minimal body, and minimal structure to the hop character, leaving that flat tropical character to coast across the palate rather listlessly. There's little else to provide balance, complexity or even a foil to it genericness.
Quite disappointed in this. Of course, the extra Nelson Sauvin addition raised my hopes, but there wasn't a lot to it. Drinkable in its way, but drinkable in the generic way that most beer is.
61 / 100
Pours a rich red-amber colour with decent crown of cream-coloured foam, sinks to a cloud of bubbles. Lace is lovely and sticky. Nice.
Don't get a whole lot from the nose. Actually smells fairly ethanoic, with a sharp boozey aroma. Hint of vanilla, fresh straw and maybe some caramel sweetness. Would like more aroma, it's a bit lacklustre, although inoffensive.
Taste is far more sweet but still very lacking. Lots of toffee, touch of caramelised pecans for nuttiness, and some slight citric/herbal notes just taming the sweetness late and making it a bit dry. Booziness on the back with oaky bourbon notes, but it ultimately tastes like the sweetness is just swimming in an otherwise empty palate. Nice back, but otherwise uneventful and uninspiring.
Yeah, it's a light-tasting brew, but there's enough body there to keep it going; very dry and boozey at the back.
Feel like this beer misses the mark. There might have been a really nice palate here but it's just gone missing, and you're left with little more than warm booze notes and some sweetness around the edge.
61 / 100
Pours a suprisingly light reddish copper/amber colour, with a filmy, but relatively firm head of almost-white. Lacing is speckled and patchy in places, but it exists at least. Body is solid, and holds some large bubbled carbonation when swirled, or tilted. Looks alright.
Nose is slightly spicy, with undertones of vanilla oak and a touch of aniseed. It's a little thin overall, and the oak characters start to seem a bit sharp without some sweetness or body to back it up. It seems a little bit like it's an oak beer done for the oak and very little else.
Taste is similar, with oak and vanilla underpinning... well, very little else. Slight boozy twinges around the edge, again with a slight hint of spice, but it's all very hidden and underhanded. The only character that is confident enough to make itself felt is the oak, and that's always felt like a character to complement or accentuate other characters, not to be the be all and end all.
Drinkability suffers because of the heat, and the lack of complexities and characters to make it really worthwhile. I love bourbon oak in things, but maybe this beer is telling me that I just really like the base beer in others.
Pours a golden orange colour with minimal head, just a haze of whispy cloud on top. Lace is very nicely sticky, indicating a heaviness to it. Body is clear, light bead. Not bad; not great.
Smell is very malty and nutty. Plenty of rich caramel with hazelnut tinge and peeking out the back is a pleasant citric note. Mostly just big malty sweetness.
Taste is very nutty and very grainy. Strong malty notes with a big honey-oat flavour to it. Lots of grain - oats, rye and wheat seem blended in here with a touch of weak citrus lingering at the back. Some mild earthy, truffly notes towards the back where it becomes more savoury and bitter, but hmmm... overall it's just a big blend of sweet maltiness. Not too nutty that it becomes svoury but not sweet enough that it belies that nuttiness. Yeah, pleasant palate with nice overall blend of flavours.
A bit thin on the body, but smooth, and fairly pleasant.
Quite a pleasant drop - certainly the best braggot I've had. Definitely still an oddness to this but it's nicely balanced and surprisingly drinkable.
Purchased from the US to coincide with the Australian craft brewing industry's dappling in the world of Braggots. I thought it might be useful to have a comparison. Unfortunately, I was suitably unimpressed with the Braggots here.
Pours a clear and light golden colour, with a filmy head of fine white bubbles. Body is extremely heavy, almost gelatinous, in that you tilt it, and carbonation bubbles form and then give up on trying to push to the surface. Love the heaviness. Can't say I'm all that enamoured otherwise.
Nose is bland and slightly yeasty, giving a bit of bread dough character, and not a lot else. Slight hint of golden syrup, giving a little hint of sweetness, but I suspect it will be heavy, astringent booze otherwise.
Unfortunately, it's not even particularly strong or astringent, or anything on the palate. More of that faint bready yeast character, with a hint of plain sugary sweetness. Any honey character is well removed from the fermentation. Feel is light and bland.
Eh. Braggots, I feel, are not for me. This indeed ended up much like the examples I had from Australia, and although this is perhaps less astringent and offensive than the others I've had, it's still a very mild and uninteresting style.