74 / 100
Day 15 of my #fletchmas Advent Calendar for 2017. Reviewed blind.
Pours a clear gold colour with strong trickle of champagnesque bead up the middle. Head is white, decent promotion but quite whispy density so it settles out into a thin layer of tiny bubbles on top. Thin lacing. Looks clean, nice.
Serious hop aroma when I opened the can. On closer inspection it smells, yeah, hoppy. Fair passionfruit notes to it, with some apricot and mango. Hint of some citrus zest behind it giving just a touch of bitterness. Nice caramel malt notes underlying. Really nicely constructed aroma.
Taste is zesty and pleasant. Big, complex fruit notes abound with plenty of citrus on there - lemon and grapefruit predominantly, with some late tropical characters, peach and lychee, and then more of that grapefruit rindy bitterness late. Touch of pine resin as well, quite robust but not at all dour; slight peppery edge to the finish which just adds this late bit of piquancy to wake up the spirit of it. Clean, yet complex; very nicely constructed palate indeed.
Mouthfeel is a little harsh, actually; the big bitterness from the hops manifests more here than on the palate turning it almost puckering. Body is thin so it really grates through. Could definitely use a bit more malt base to carry this off.
Texture notwithstanding this is a very enjoyable drinking beer. Too strong for sessioning or everyday drinking but a good kickstarter for a Friday evening; well curated.
84 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert as part of the WA State of Brews event during Sydney Beer Week 2017.
Pours an orange colour, very cloudy; opaque really. Head is off-white, bubbly. Nice pillowy retention. Really well retained and good generally.
Smells hoppy, tropical. Maybe some nice tropical characters with some coconut aroma. Nutty, pawpaw, pineapple, sweet and pleasant. Yeah smells great.
Taste is really impressive. Huge coconut character throughout; big sweet nutty desiccated coconut notes with a hint of vanilla, then hops come through pretty big; tropical pineapple, pawpaw with a hint of passionfruit as well. Bit tart and strangely sour, But the coconut lingers with sweetness and nice nutty notes. That's amazing coconut character on a base beer that really complements it. This is smart brewing and smart use of coconut, and also one of the best uses of coconut in a beer, in that it really emphasises the flavour. Fantastic.
Smooth, really full towards the back. Really substantial. Fluid as well and feels milky towards the back. Really great.
Maybe a bit full-on with flavour, feels a bit heavy overall. Maybe a touch off with the fruity bitterness and the coconut mixing, like it's a big blaring cacophany rather than a seamless blend. I love the flavours and the blend but I can't deny its a bit much maybe. Certainly not something I could drink all night.
375ml can purchased for me by Sam as part of my 2017 #Fletchvent Beer Advent Calendar.
Pours a lovely bright yellow colour, almost like the colour of your pee when you've taken your multivitamins. Head is a fine ring of off-white that only really subsists and disintegrates. Body is firm and thick, implying it might be bigger than I think. Carbonation is very fine and languid. Looks good. 3.75
Nose is great. It's bright and brusque, with an unapologetic classic US hop aroma, that has fruit but also a sharp, piney punch. After a while, it turns slightly dusty, but when the can was opened, it was quite a delight. 3.75
Taste is also pretty good. There's a hint of additional sweetness, plus a slight punch of booziness to indeed suggest that it has quite a big body to it. The bitterness only really grips on the finish, but when it does it's pretty intense. It's quite herbal or medicinal, with a tacky bite, almost astringent. Finish is dusty, earthy and herbal. 3.5
Feel is decent, but the body drops out surprisingly on the back, leaving the continued cut of hops to finish off the beer. 3.5
Overall: it's decent, but it promised more than what it was going to be. I think it's a pretty solid beer, but it's let down in just a couple of areas. 3.5
Choc Vanilla Coffee Porter, brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival in Melbourne.
Pours a very dark coffee colour, really very dark even to the edge. Beige head, whispy with large bubbles. Pretty decent porter.
Smells hugely of chocolate, big and cocoa-rich, with a touch of sweet espresso and some darker roast. Very pleasant.
Taste is also chocolatey, quite rich and gooey with a slight vanilla sweetness especially upfront. Not a whole lot of coffee, it kind of smoothes and lingers on that chocolate note from start to finish. Pleasant and very decent but also very simplistic and single-minded.
Body is full, actually a little thick maybe and it makes the palate seem thinner. But not bad.
Yeah, Feral certainly know how to make a good beer. They haven't delivered anything exciting here, but it's a very solid drop.
73 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert, 11th November 2016.
Pours a dark reddish brown colour - very dark, murky. Head is beige, tightly packed but visible and distinguishable bubbles. Doesn't go anywhere. Nice colour, pretty good head.
Smells oaky more than anything. Big French oak notes, sweet and woody with distinct vinous notes. Underlying caramel malty notes, but yeah smells more like port - and oak - than anything else. Nice, but not as complex as it could have been as the oak just dominates.
Taste is huge. Big toffee caramel sweetness upfront that gets very big and boozey early. Oak comes through, again vinous with notes of spiritous booze as well. Finishes kind of dry, as well as heavy, with a lingering rich complex maltiness that is very pleasant. Oak is better utilised or balanced by that huge oomph on the palate than the nose, but generally it's yeah just big and pleasant.
Big, full, smooth. Touch hot on the back, but it's quite easy to down otherwise.
Delivers what it promises, and does a good - if not amazing - job of balancing all the huge fuckoff flavours. It's a little booze-centric but nicely constructed.
Bretted beer aged in Cabernet barrels for three months. On tap at GABS 2016.
Pours an orange-amber colour, fairly cloudy. Head is foamy, cream-coloured and retaining a medium crown. Looks good.
Smells soft-drinky, but in a good way. Tart but sweet, with some fruity lemon citrus notes and a touch of passionfruit. Mild barnyard hints, some dark fruit from the wine barrels and just a hint of oak. Not bad.
Palate is better oak-wise, it comes through fairly strongly late-mid. Slight graininess upfront that turns quickly fruity, with lemon and passionfruit still the dominant characters. Some barnyard bretty funk towards the back, slight tartness and lots of notes of fresh fruit. Nice balance, and pretty tasty.
Body is thin, slightly tingly, not bad style-wise but nothing remarkable.
Pretty nice Bretty pale ale. I don't get very overt hop notes but the fruit/Brett tartness is well combined otherwise.
71 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a very pale yellow-blonde colour, with a very coarse-bubbled, exorbitantly frothy head of white that crackles and pops its way down to a coarse-loose gauze-like film. Minimal lace. Body is very light indeed.
Nose is rather pleasant. There's a rounded, fragrant hop note which melds well with some slightly aromatic, estery yeast notes—they're not intense, but they add a note like a bright witbier. It's very decent.
Flavour is much more subdued, but that's not unexpected. Here, there's a thin, crispness built around very pale, very neutral malt. Hops are present, but only the barest amount to provide balance and accentuate that crispness. Finish is dry and almost a little bit tart. The only problem it has is that the carbonation is extremely high, making it feel gassy and bloating—a more subdued, finer bead would have been excellent, and would have added a refined character.
Overall, it's very drinkable (if not quickly quaffable), and makes a lovely clean fresh brew. I can certainly see why it's part of Feral's core range.
74 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a pleasant silky black-brown with a coarse-bubbled head of beige that fizzes out to form a chunky ring. Some weak streaks of lace. Carbonation is rapid and coarse-bubbled through a fairly light body. Looks decent, but it doesn't wow me.
Nose is great, however. Pleasant charcoal-smoked aromas atop a pleasant bittersweet chocolate basis, with some slightly livelier hop notes giving a bit of punch and lift. It's mild, but it's complex, and everything is well integrated in such a way that it feels like everything is in tandem. It's nice.
Palate is similar. There's a lightness to it, that stretches out the dark malts and the bitterness into a aniseed and cracker dryness. Smoke is present throughout, but it's much more subtle here—noticeable on the front, and adding to the slightly ashy roasted quality in the finish. Under it is a firm structure of interesting, slightly nutty malts, which give it firmness, despite the light body and the relatively low ABV.
Overall, it's a very well-constructed beer, and one that does something interesting, while remaining very drinkable and approachable. That's no mean feat, and Feral show themselves to be very competent craftsmen once again.
81 / 100
Tried on-tap at the K&B in Surry Hills, during their 33-tap Feral takeover.
Pours a lovely ebony brown colour, with a very fine head of tan that sits around as a creamy ring, and leaves excellent lacing. Body is firm and tight. Looks great, overall.
Nose is very pleasant as well. Mild chocolate toastiness, dusty and dry but still maintaining some richness. There's a very mild touch of smoke too, which is very pleasant. Smooth vanilla comes through as it warms, along with a touch of carob. Nice.
Taste is even better. It's smooth and rich, but restrained and balanced. Plenty of solid toastiness, with a pleasant nutty character. Slight smoke in the back, which just gives it a touch of its eponymous ash. But with the smoothness and the balance it really works. I like it a lot.
Feel is great. Sleek, slick and silky. Gorgeous.
It's amazingly done for 6.5% or so. There's a lovely smooth richness to it that speaks of a bigger beer, but this one maintains its easy drinkability. Great stuff.
85 / 100
On-tap at the K&B in Surry Hills, towards the later stages of their Feral 33-tap takeover.
Pours with a genuinely proper colour and haze. Deep, cloudy and yellow, with deeper hints of orange. Full in the body, firm and smooth, with a very fine, minimal head that nonetheless leaves impressive lace. It's a great looking beer.
Nose is tight. There's a little bit of pepper, a bit of crushed greenery and a slight undertone of acid. Fragrant Belgian roundness gives more fullness to the aroma. A little melon comes through, and with the mild tartness, even a suggestion of ketchup. It's very interesting all up, and genuinely pretty close to the style of the Belgian examples.
Taste is great. In fact, it's verging on brilliant. Lovely smoothness through the palate keeps it rich and firm, but the flavours turn mildly spicy, peppery and fresh. Lovely Belgian, rounded characters give is some base, but there's mild astringency, peppery phenols and a dryness on the finish that make it extremely drinkable. Lovely.
Feel is very smooth for the most part, allowing many flavours to be imparted, but is then cleaned up with that tight dryness in the finish. Love it.
Overall, this is a genuinely cracking saison, and absolutely bang on style as far as I'm concerned. La Sirène do a cracking Australian saison as well, but this may have actually pipped it—I'm not sure I've had a better example of the style from our shores.
Pours a bright orange colour. Opaque, so a big, vibrant colour. Trickles of bead. Off-white head is kind of thin. Tiny bubbles. Alright.
Smells fruity. Touch of funk and robust melon. Some medicine. Smells Belgian, not really saisony enough though. Some musk.
Taste is more saisony. Lots of funk; notes of fresh cut grass, hay, some medicinal phenols that aren't too strong. Somewhat to style, and yet has a heavy note late that I don't love. Good flavour profile overall though. Could just use a but of lightening up on the back.
Smooth, good texture. Decent body for the style.
Standard saison character but handled well. Could have been handled better but still, handled well.
On tap at the K&B, called 'Robust Peanut' on the tap. Assume it's the same thing.
Dark dark brown, disappointing head. I get the feeling K&B don't go in for promoting head. Small beige bubbles round the rim. Some bead bursting at the top. OK. Looks portery.
Smells robust, roasty and yeah, nutty why not? Decent savoury edge to a roasty and somewhat sweet porter. Pretyy decent construction.
Taste is peanutty upfront; somewhat grainy but a big nut character that develops into roasty, oddly sour territory midway. Just light under-roast coffee. Finish has some more of that peanut note emerge again, very welcome. Could use more of it through the middle though as the middle is an odd journey through astringency and sourness by way of coffee. Other than that there's some interesting and enjoyable sweet notes.
Decent body, little bit thin but it just adds to its fluidity. Quite pleasant.
Decent idea; could have really dialled the peanut up though in a big way. Apart from that, the base beer isn't that interesting so the nutty characters are tokenistic gestures that provide moments of relief.
72 / 100
On tap at the Catfish Fitzroy following two GABS sessions and accompanied by a cheesesteak.
Pours a gold colour, with lots of cloud. Head is white, foamy. Pleasant lace left behind.
Smells of coffee. Big espresso notes, and yet strong IPA character. Freshens up and adds zing to the coffee. Actually, to me coffee IPA as a style always made no sense, because it doesn't. Until I smelled this, that is. Wowzer.
Tastes a bit underwhelming. Kind of mild, with some fruity hops upfront on a sweet milk coffee mid-palate. Finish is decently hoppy. Doesn't sit totally right. I feel the mix was right on the aroma, but not quite on the palate.
A bit fizzy and sharp; decent body though.
Nice coffee IPA. Has it made the style make sense to me? No, because it doesn't. But it's still a great example of the style.
61 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert Feral Takeover during SCBW.
Murky red-tinged cola colour. Head is beige, comprised of tiny bubbles, retains a thin film. Lace clings nicely. Possibly a touch pale but nice.
Smells caramelly and roasty good. Touch of diacetyl, but in a good way, adds a buttery edge to the caramel malt sweetness. Not too much else to it; sweet brown ale notes.
Taste cuts out the diacetyl; plenty of malty notes upfront but gets dry and bitter late-mid, then finishes somewhat dry, also maybe a touch thin. I feel it could use a bit more on the finish for the style, has a very mild ale cleanliness which feels like a bit of a letdown. Not bad, but just missing something. Let's call it heart.
Fluid, fair bit of texture midway, dries upon the back. Bit rough maybe but decent.
Yeah it touches on plenty of the right notes but just has the sense of unfulfilled potential. Just a bit thin overall.
Pours a pale champagne colour, slightly cloudy with foamy white head. Quite a noticeable trail of bead through the middle; looks good.
Smells tart, funky, lots of complexity. Chardonnay, with some oak notes and a touch of vinegar. Some barnyard funk blending with fruity notes on the back - grapefruit and green apple and a slight savoury touch. Pleasant.
Taste is quite bitter. Nutty malt upfront with a touch of pecan, then delves into vinous territory with a touch of oak, vinegar. Late-mid starts to get acidic, with lemon and grapefruit on there before big phenolic bitter finish. Quite Belgian in the end, and a little strong. Not ideal but pleasant enough flavours.
Tingly carbonation; otherwise decent body.
Good way to start GABS festival 2013 with this one. Bit too much phenol and could use a bit more tartness. To be honest I was a little disappointed with this, but then that's what you get when you pair up two of the best brewers in the country - stupidly high expectations.
83 / 100
Pours a dark brown colour, clear throughout. Head is beige, bubbly and sparsely distributed with decent foam lacing left behind. Looks alright for style.
Smells a bit roasty, with a touch of licorice to the malt. Big blend of US and NZ hops add some contrast with citrus and passionfruit characters. A touch of spice as well. The hops are hugely refreshing for an otherwise dark aroma.
Chocolate upfront on the palate. Touch of honey as it descends into roasty back, but then a weird sideways turn with dry cinnamon and American hop characters. Touch of oak as well. Wow, gets better with every sip. It's so unassuming in many ways but ends up right smack bang in the middle of my flavour bullseye.
Decent body, goes down pretty smoothly. Yeah, nice.
Wow. Comes from nowhere but smacks your face with enjoyable flavours. What a great beer.
79 / 100
Had on-tap at GABS 2013 (erm, possibly 3 or 4 times), and also at the Terminus Hotel afterwards (and, erm, possibly more than one). In any case, I think it's fair to say that this beer is the cause of anything untoward I did on my final night in Melbourne. This review is from my first sampling of it. From notes.
This is an "extension" of their 2012 GABS beer Karma Citra, being an India Black Ale this time aged in French oak.
Pours a deep brown colour, with a reddish sheen shining through the clear body. Head is quite light, not unpleasantly so. Head forms a decent, solid ring around the glass, a foamy crema coloured cap. Lace forms in streams. Looks good.
Nose is pleasant, but a little muted, in that way that hops and oak can somewhat smooth each other out. Some slight pine aromas, a little citrus and some woody (rather than smooth) oak characters. It's nice enough, and about what you expect.
Taste is where the mixture of the oak and hops comes into its element, pleasant orange citrus characters mingle with the chocolate roast and vanilla cream from the oak to provide a mellow, rich and enticing whole. Light chocolate on the entry, with oak (playing vanilla this time) providing some smoothness. Then comes the hops providing orange overtones melding into a cleanness towards the back to balance the lovely, smooth malt and oak characters. It's silky in its flavour contours, leaving a lovely aftertaste that makes you want more (and more).
Feel is actually quite light, but maintains that smoothness—helped, no doubt, by the flavours, which are intrinsically so creamy and silky.
Overall, this is an outstanding drop. I actually wasn't expecting quite such an excellent beer, given it's just an adaptation of something existing. But they've not only managed to tap into that beer's goodness, they've crafted an interesting and unique brew in its own right. That'll teach me for doubting Feral.
59 / 100
Brewed for the Australian International Beer Awards dinner, this collaboration between WA's Feral and the ACT's Wig & Pen brings together two of Australia's finest brewers. They term this a "free range ale", with malts from the UK, wild and conventional yeasts from Belgium and the USA and Australian hops. Tried on-tap at GABS 2013 in Melbourne.
Pours a light golden colour without a lot of hazing. Head is white, foamy and full leaving sudsy lace as it falls down. Carbonation is very full as well, almost a little too much. But overall it looks good.
Nose is very disappointing and doesn't have the fraft and complexity I expect from either of these guys, let alone together. I get musty wine cork, a fractured, fusty yeast note and a suggestion of vinegar up in the sinuses. Despite all of this, it's actually rather light. It's a disappointment.
Unfortunately, the taste follows similar lines. Light, peppery entry moves to a pretty thin mid-palate: slightly vinous with a hint of grain. Finish lacks the clean acidity I was expecting and in fact ends up yeasty, earthy and rather bitter. Once it's gone all that's left is a dull dry drone in the aftertaste.
Feel is light and easy with some fine carbonation bubbling through it.
It's easy enough to drink, but has many drawbacks. I'm probably most disappointed because the pedigree of the beer suggested it was going to be magnificent. This should have been a hit, and it ended up being a mediocre footnote at the festival.
91 / 100
Had on tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne; writing this review from notes but suffice to say this was the beer of the festival for me.
Pours a very, very, very pale straw colour. Huge sedimenty cloud throughout, would be opaque but there's not enough colour so the light shows through easily. Head is white, foamy and retains OK. Very interesting-looking beer.
Sour, tart nose giving the impression of puckering already. Very funky but with wow, yeah that classic Watermelon Warhead aroma. Melony and fruity with a dangerous acidic note to it. Intense and magnificent.
Fruity and more puckeringly sour on the palate. Dry but with a huge watermelon fruit note, loads of funk and acid throughout but with the fruit notes just adding a bit of a sweeter character giving it a real sour candy edge. Champagney at times as well. Just bloody love this beer. Funky, wild, sour, untamed but still able to do tricks and entertain. Just wonderful.
Feels like I have popping candy in my mouth. Very dry and puckering at the back. Amazing.
Unique and wonderful drop. Fascinating, enjoyable; maybe a little too puckering but it's so tasty I couldn't care less. At 2.9% they should be serving this gem at every sporting venue. What a treat.
90 / 100
Had on-tap at GABS. A 2.9% Berliner Weisse, fermented with watermelon juice in chardonnay barrels.
Pours an exceptionally pale yellow. Indeed it's almost whiteâyou just can't get any lighter than that. Firm white ring of foam forms good lace. Fine carbonation despite the extremely light-weight body. Looks great.
Nose is, yep, everything you expect. Big watermelon character, which when mixed with the clean, bright acidity gives the sense of Jolly Ranchers, or indeed the eponymous watermelon-flavoured Warheads. There's a funk to it as well, that almost gives a juicy kalamata olive character. You know, just to keep you interested if liquified watermelon Warheads wasn't enough...
Lovely entry on the palate with the acid giving a crisp, sharp start, mingled with the soothing cool watermelon fragrance. Very little on the middle, before an upswell in funk leaves a green vegetative cleanness on the back. Acidity is piercing and full, and helps to create an exceptionally clean finishâthere's always the risk of some lingering yeast notes on the back in Wilds, and this does a great job.
Overall, this is a ridiculously delicious and ridiculously drinkable beer. I'm almost blasÃ© about Feral doing incredible sour beers nowadaysâevery one of them is amazing, so I'll only be shocked when they bring out one that's sub-par.
In summary: AMAZING STUFF FERAL KEEP GOING, THANKS!
80 / 100
Pours a solidly translucent, vibrant orange colour. Head is white, foamy in look with bubbles sinking it quickly. LAce is decent. Yeah, looks good.
Smells very funky and acidic. Big fruity character with kiwi and orange peel, plus a lovely spice blend at the back - vanilla, nutmeg and clove blending with the organic spice esters produced by the yeast. Genuinely lovely, pleasant nose.
Taste is tart and funky from the get-go, with plenty of barnyard character blending with slightly sharp acidity - hint of green pepper but mostly citric, some stone fruit and a dry cider note. Some of that spice on the back, vinegary, very funky and organic but fresh. Never reaches those heights of lambicus but it bursts with fresh, tart flavour. Very pleasant.
Decent texture, although it does get a bit sharp and bitey towards the back, finishing dry. Decent lambic feel.
Great effort with a tough style. They've managed to make it into a drinkable and refreshing brew.
79 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant cloudy dark apple juice colour, with a slight collar fine white film. Very fine body, that still retains its lightness. Specks of lace form on the glass when tilted. Tiny bubbles of carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is mildly sour, and quite clean. It doesn't have the big oomphy pungency of a gueuze, for example. Some lingering fruit skin characters, and a little fermenting fruit foliage. Interesting faint woody notes as well. Very nice.
Taste is lighter and less acidic than it might have been. Some apple skin characters with a bit of carbonic bite on the front. On the back, there's a strong peach tone and a lingering fragrant sweetness. But it doesn't hit sweet overall. Nor, for that matter, does it have a true biting lambic sourness; it's more like the wild fermentation just gives it a lightness.
Overall, it's a very nice beer. Very different in style to a Belgian lambic, but really emphasising some of the fundamentals about why wild fermentation can be so exciting. Go Feral!
Bottle purchased at Warners on the Bay by @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a very hazy and quite light golden yellow colour. Head is frothy and full, leaving some riddled streaks of lacing as it's tipped. Carbonation is fine, but there sure is a lot of it. Looks decent enough, but maybe just missing a little excitement.
Nose is lovelyâthe weird lemon-butter character that Sorachi Ace gives, atop a slightly rustic grain character, giving grass and hay as a solid basis for the hops. The lemon and butter gives a smoothness and sweetness.
Taste is crisp, but a little empty. Clear entry, with a crisp carbonation. A little bitterness mid-palate, before the buttery and slightly sweet hay character gives its funky load in the aftertaste.
It's a really interesting hop, and the lack of everything else in the beer means that it get shown off. I've seen it used to better effect in other beersâspecifically Mornington Peninsula's Sorachi Kolsch, and Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace Saisonâbut this is tasty enough.
86 / 100
Pours a cloudy pale orange-tinged straw colour with white head, quite dense with good retention. Lace is quite nice also. Yeah, good wit.
Fruity, mostly, with lots of candied orange peel and plenty of pepper to balance. Capsicaian, black pepper to the max. Yeah really spicy, fruity. Quite delish.
Taste is very sweet with nice citric twang, develops a very spicy peppery mid-to-late palate, lots of black & green peppercorns, star anise. But yeah very spicy without being overblown, just noticeable and exciting to the palate.
Quite a full body, with a drying character. Pleasant, slightly boozey though.
Every so often a beer comes along that reinvigorates a style, or a brewery. This does just that with the witbier. Admittedly it's not a traditional example of the style, rather it's an insanely great twist on those classic wit characters, with all the fruity, spicy and refreshing notes simply amped up but kept in an ideal balance. A bloody great beer.
86 / 100
I tried this long ago when it was available in Sydney briefly, but for some reason, neglected to review it. Here it is again, the remnants of the Feral Tap Takeover at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst, and this time I won't miss the opportunity.
Pours a cloudy, but rather deep golden colour, hazed appropriately, with a creamy and rather viscous and sheened head of white. Lacing is full, sheeting and solid. Looks the business.
Nose is spicy and sharp, with cracked white pepper dominant from the first whiff. Later, subtler characters of lemon curd and liquorice come through, but pepper is the main event. It's unusual, but it works so beautifully. The peppery spice is even oddly refreshing.
Taste is also strong on the spice, with pepper noticeable in the flavour, but not the bite or the heat. Slight bushy eucalyptus comes through along with a refreshing zest of lemon. It's unusual, but again, so well done.
I think it has become a better or more refined beer than last time I had it as wellâthen, I remember the anise dominating almost to the detriment of everything else. Now, this is clean, spicy, refreshing and cleansing: it's everything a witbier should be while also being completely wack, off-style and crazy.
Feral, you mad bastards.
79 / 100
On-tap as part of the Great Australian Beer SpecTapular at the Local Taphouse in February.
Pours a deep amber-brown colour, very clear, but certainly dark enough for an India Black Ale. Head is beautiful--gorgeous, even, a full bodied and creamy mesh on the top. Lacing leaves solid sheets down the inside of the glass. Looks phantastic with a 'ph'.
Nose is round and balanced--not the huge hop aroma I expected, but a very pleasant balance of citric spice and brown slightly toasted grains. Bit of carob aroma comes out of the confluence. Nice.
Taste is pleasantly nutty on the front, with a prominent bitterness that sharpens it to a refreshing point. Smooth body with length flavours. Lemon leaf organics noticeable, light astringency on the back. The hop bitterness is certainly pronounced here, but the dark body gives is a basis. Awesome.
Great brew, and a great example of the style. Shows what this style can be and what Feral can do. Great work.
80 / 100
Pours a murky brown colour, but translucent and clear. Head is a wonderfully dense, beige affair, tight, small bubbles providing some great lace. Cracking look.
Smells surprisingly dark, with big roasty notes as well as dark cocoa-rich chocolate. Lovely floral smell though from the hops, slightly spicy but a big load of nectar as well. Dark, spicy, hoppy. Pretty darn beautiful.
Taste is an interesting IBA one. Plenty of sweetish dark malt with plenty of chocolate and a touch of dark caramel as well. Hops come through midway, floral and piney with a touch of light cumin spice as well. They stick around to provide some bitterness for the back, but that roasty grain is still there making for a nice dark/light balance. Not hugely hoppy though and I'd like more. Very pleasant beer though.
Nice body, very slick and smooth as it goes down. Not quite seamless, there is a slight kick towards the back, but nonetheless a beautiful feel.
Cracking drop, and a good idea by the impossibly loud beer geeks at Feral ale stars a few months back.
86 / 100
Tried on tap at the Feral Brewing Ale Stars, Local Taphouse 07/12/10.
Pours a pale gold colour with distinct haze, almost opaque. Head is white, with lovely lace decorating the glass. Top of the head sinks in a concavity. Pretty nice-looking beer.
Lots of acidic funk on the nose - citric tinge and cranberries on there with a slight woodiness as well. Slight bubblegum character emerges as well, yeah very nice funky aroma, lots of great characters.
Taste is very funky with an odd but interesting sweetness. Caramel and vanilla on the front that is overtaken by sharp tart funk; underripe berry notes and lemon juice bur then the sweetness reemerges on the back, complementing that sourness just wonderfuly like a really great rich cheesecake or fruit liqueur. The sweetness moreover tames the acidity and lets the mouth recover from the spike of tartness. This is a wonderful beer, beautifully crafted and balanced and really hits me in all the right spots.
Fair body with a great texture as it goes down, not too puckering. Pretty damn nice.
A great beer - awesome palate and refreshing as hell.
Tried at Local Taphouse Ale Stars 07/12/10.
Pours a rich ruby red, with enormous off-white head; nice and dense, retaining very well but sinks slowly, leaving some quite phenomenal lace on there, tight and dense. Clear body; looks amazing.
Intense American and NZ hop character on the nose. Huge citrus with passionfruit seed, pine needle resin together with some caramel notes at the back. Largely just huge hoppy aroma, fruit and wood resin. It's nice, but I would like more complexity, it's just a wallop in the olfactory with hops and a bit unnuanced.
Taste is quite malty on the front - toffee with hints of pine needle coming through immediately after the first assault. Then a slight fusel alcohol burns through the mid-palate which is cut off nicely by the intense hop flavours -resiny and piney but with a spice to it and an asparagus vegetation edge to the bitterness. Nice flavours, but a bit short on the finish, like the intensity exhausts itself early.
Texture is a bit lacking; not as full as I would like. Texture is OK but I would like more gravity to the feel.
Yeah, a nice bitter beer but could have been better. It strikes me as a sort of Leeroy Jenkins brew; all power and needs more finesse.
75 / 100
Tried at Feral Brewing Ale Stars, Local Taphouse 07/12/10.
Pours a deep gilded amber, huge head filling half the glass! Beige and wonderfully dense, retains stupidly well since it's so big anyway, a bit of sinking would be nice. Lace is insultingly thick and transcendentally sticky. Not much bead, but it's not needed. Head needs some reducing but otherwise fantastically wonderful.
Smell is lovely, woody with a nice spicy and resiny mix. Vegetative oaky mote with hints of mint and some lemongrass and normal grass. Wonderful smell; trouble though is there's little more thsn wood showing through, with only a slight peck on the cheek from the hops, very meek by comparison. I like this because I like oaky smell but there's not much else to it.
Taste is indeed vanilla on the front, with lots of oak. Again quite spicy with more lemongrass and green peppercorns; slight honey note as well on the late-mid. Hops are not distinct, but they're sort of there to play second fiddle to the wood characters, and the fact is if they weren't there this would probably feel heavy-handed and over-vegetative and they clean it up without you realising it. Leaves very spicy with peppery and a woody vinous note. Nicely dry but would like less wood or more hops.
Good swilling texture; nice body with lots happening in the mouth. I'm glad I was invited to this particular mouth party.
The intensity of the wood makes this slightly less sessionable than it might have been. A more subtle oaky touch would have just blasted the Hop Hog into the stratosphere of drinkability but as it is there's something very tangible and savoury about it that just mars it slightly.
On tap as part of the Feral AleStars night at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a deep and vibrant cherry-red/amber hue. Head varies between huge and frothy to filmy and soft. Light beige colour to it. Decent static carbonation when swirled. Good body, lovely colour. It's a great looking brew.
Nose is redolent with citric hops, with nuances of other tropical fruits, peach stone and a little pine. Bit of nuttiness as well, but not a lot. Decent enough.
Sharp and bitter on the palate, with the bitterness just opening up enough at the end to let that light nutty character come through. Sharp apricot notes and plenty of hop bitterness throughout. Unfortunately, that waft of nut is the only red character coming through. Not a lot of roasted character, burned toffee or the like. In the end, the palate is nice, but feels a bit mismatched. Feel is full enough.
This is a lovely style of beer, but this one is missing the point a little. The bitterness is pronounced as it should be, but it's not balanced and matched with malt or roasted notes as much as I feel a red ale should be.
There are better American examples out there, for example Bear Republic's Red Rocket, or Ninkasi's Believer. The fact that I'm comparing this beer to those beers though must mean it's doing something right.
85 / 100
79 / 100
On tap at Feral AleStars with Brendan Varis at the Local Taphouse Darlinghurst.
Pours a clear, dark golden hue, with a huge head. I wonder how they'd pours this into a regular glass. Head is pure white, and leaves some excellent lacing, as would be expected. Minimal carbonation present in the body. Overall, it looks pretty good.
Peachy sweet candy on the nose. Masses of tropical fruit, but sweetened even more by the light vanilla characters coming through from the oak. Together they give a phenomenal sweetness like stewed apricots. Just lovely.
Taste is also delicious. Peach, vanilla custard and pastry, really quite sweet and clear, with surprisingly little bitterness. The only thing really akin to it is a slight hazelnut and almond character on the back that melds with the wood notes. It's a really lovely palate. Feel is a little thin, which is a shame, because a velvety pour would meld so beautifully.
This is a lovely brew, but it's quite far removed from its genesis as an IPA. Sure, the hops give it some of its tropical fruit characters, but the aging has made it lose a lot of its bitterness. Don't think of it as an IPA and you'll have a blast - this is a great beer.
A very well-respected Australian IPA I had not had the opportunity to sample until here at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a very light, and slightly hazed golden colour. Light in colour for an IPA, but still within style, I'd say. Head is creamy and rich as hell, a slightly yellow-sheened white. Body very light, but the lacing is superb despite this. Very good looking brew all up.
Citric notes on the nose, almost tending towards coriander with the hop character. The hops are prominent throughout, but mixed with a butterscotch sweetness which drags it down a bit. It's a bit one-dimensional in the hop character - ok, but I've had far better.
Taste is similar. Sharp citric characters form the hop character, over a toffeed butterscotch that runs the length. Some jammy characters late, with a cleansing bitterness that doesn't quite clear up enough of the sweetness. Feel is good for the style, and fair given the lightness on the body.
Didn't grip me. The sweetness, especially on the palate is too distinct, and the hops don't match or complement it nearly enough. Nice enough, but I've had better IPAs from Australia and elsewhere. I think it's fair to say I found this a disappointment.
73 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney. Was very excited to see it.
Deep golden colour, almost tending towards coppery amber, with a very full head of creamy fine lacing. Mostly clear in the body, with a very slight haze. Lacing forms in sheets down the inside of the glass. Very decent - looks quite sophisticated.
Nice hybrid mixture of characters on the nose. On one hand we have round Belgian yeasty notes giving off characters of bubblegum and spice, but the hops give resin and a little citrus; a freshness that's almost like pine needles. It's a nice blend.
Veers towards the Belgian style of things on the palate. Round, a little meaty, but cleansed with the mild hop characters, which are less pronounced in flavour. More bubblegum that gets bitten with phenols at the end. Mouthfeel is quite sharp with booze.
Smooth enough to drink, but with a bite that keeps it very interesting. Nice.
77 / 100
Pours a very dark mahogany with amazing guinnessy nitro head. Beautiful creamy and beige but actually kind of grey; retains well. Great cascade at first pour, then settles down and leaves some huge sticky lace behind. Pretty beautiful.
Smells pretty dark and chocolatey, quite spicy as well but with lots of floral hpps coming from it with rosewater and some phenolic notes as well. Cherry even? Pretty nice, good balance between sweet and spicy.
Taste is sweet and chocolatey with a lot of nice sweet, roasty but not very bitter flavours. No charred remains, more tangy notes at the end with a hint of cherry fruit and lychee. Mostly that sweet cocoa-rich chocolate. Nitro edge gives it a rich creamy feel and tames the finish, making it taste like rich caramel custard a bit. Nice roasty undertones temper the potentially dangerous sweet character nicely. Good balance, pretty damn nice
Yeah, creamy on the feel, a bit lacking in oomph though. Texture is a bit thin.
Yeah flavours are quite gentle and it's very palatable indeed, especially for the strength. Very well constructed.
75 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse. Almost looks like a nitro-pour with the creamy, creamy, silky and velvety head. Body is a deep dark black, quite opaque, but the head is a joy to behold. Good cascade in the head during the pour, and lots of static carbonation when swirled. Really excellent.
Nose is surprisingly fruity, with some hops cascading over a rich chocolate note. Roasted notes are dusty but with a sweet grain character. Nice.
Taste is smooth and dark, lots of chocolate on the fore, with an odd bitterness which seems to straddle the characters of charred roastedness and clear alpha hoppiness. Almost a pronounced IPA bitterness running through it. Perhaps mingled with this is the heat - it's hard to taste the booze (exceptionally well hidden if it genuinely is 11.5%), but there's something lightly astringent on the back.
Can't fault the mouthfeel though, which is glossy and rich.
Very drinkable, and very, very smooth; exceptionally so for the purported 11.5% alcohol - it felt far less than that. A very nice Impy Stout - probably one of the better ones I've had from Aus.
48 / 100
Deep, Hellish red colour with large head, dense and beige and retaining brilliantly. Body has a slight haze which helps with the scary Hell aspect. Lace is nice and thick, but not as sticky as I'd like. I'm just scared enough by the colour to give this a 4 and start singing Amazing Grace.
Nose is intense. Huge musty aroma with mildew and dust all over that. Quite savoury and spicy as well with paprika and black pepper notes. Lacks sweetness, really, is dominated by that mustiness. A slight woody and resiny character sneaks through on the back. Yeah, smells like it should be complex but isn't. Disappointing.
Taste is curious, not sure if that's a good thing. Has some weak sweet notes on the start, hint of white chocolate and caramel, then gets kind of sour with some fennel and hints of pine wood. Quite green, with some grape skins and crisp apple flavours coming through midway. Finish has a mild Belgian piquancy but lacks spice, has more of a sour, even funky, character, with more mustiness, notes of underripe banana, and quite a metallic finish. I'm disappointed with this, particularly from Feral. Lacks sweetness, balance and is also deficient in classic Belgian spice characters.
Mouthfeel is alright, bit of bite on the back, fair amount of body. Quite a foamy feel.
This isn't an out-and-out bad beer, but it's just considerably below Feral's high standards. If I sound harsh it's because I expect better from them.
On tap at the Darlinghurst Local's ANZAC SpecTapular.
Pours a really odd hazed orange colour. Quite light for the style with almost no discernible head. Just a ring of bubbles around the edge which stay stranglely static as it's swirled, as though they're part of the glass rather than the beer.
Nose is full of Belgian notes, however, with hints of liquorice, phenolic fruit and talcum powder. Not particularly robust but pretty true to style.
Taste is prominently based on Belgian yeast notes. Round buttery characters and a slight spice note. Finish is rather dry, with a light astringency coming to the fore. Feel is ridiculously flat though.
This tastes a little amateurish, like an early homebrew attempt at a Belgian ale. It has some recognizable characters but I don't feel as though the package is all there. Too many things are off.
71 / 100
Pours a deep, murky red colour, nice scarlet up to the light, with an ochre head, quite generous with nice dense bubbles. Sinks to a modest crown, with nice webs of lace. Bit dark for a barleywine, but very pleasant.
Nose is a good barleywine aroma, lots of nutty toffee notes and a huge hop aroma, lots of west coast American fragarance here, pine bark and a hint of passionfruit. A slight cardboard aroma creeps in from the hops, but fresher in character, bland without being dour. It's a decent BW aroma overall but not hugely aromatic.
Taste is a bit darker than I expected. Lots of dark, sweet malt, with hints of chocolate, walnuts, molasses, lots of burnt toffee and pecan. Some oaky hints come through midway and become more pronounced on the back. Some dark cherry notes as well. Hops are distinct on the back, slightly gritty and even powdery in texture, with a sharp alcohol bite. The hops don't strangle the palate the way they do in Rogue Old Crustacean (for example). Nice strong malty beer with good clean hoppy finish.
A bit sticky on the mouthfeel, doesn't have a lot of texture, actually feels thin for all its viscosity. Harsh alcohol bite on the back.
Decent drinking barleywine. The 11% is noticeable but not off-putting.
70 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse St Kilda.
Pours a golden orange colour with a clear body and generous off-white head. Slow bead throughout, great head retention and leaves some thick, delicious lace behind. Really nice looker.
Nose is very hoppy, extremely piney in character with a slightly sour resiny edge and a healthy dose of fresh fruit - pineapple, passionfruit and lemon. Lemon has a touch of air freshener about it, but nicely tangy. Very refreshing West Coast kind of character (and I mean West Coast US, by the way). Perfect for a scorcher like today.
Taste is a slight letdown, but only a slight one. Resiny hop notes take the fore from the beginning, although a decent citrus character comes through first. A bitter lemon-peel flavour is apparent on the mid, and an unfortunate bready character seeps through after this, but briefly. Some flavours of passionfruit seeds and even pomegranate, a really nice blend of fruit esters, but would prefer them to be a bit more prominent. The IPA bitterness is a little overpowering at the back with a slightly acerbic hang lingering. Just not quite as crisp as it could have been, but otherwise very good.
A bit of body to it, with a slight tingle, pretty smooth and slick feel.
Not bad drinking at all. A good American IPA, great West Coast character and a nice refreshing drop.
Pours a pale straw colour with strong head, creating a nice head of off-white froth, very densely packed at the top. Retains pretty well and leaves a nice sticky ring of lace. Slight trace of haze in the glass caps this off. Nice-looking brew.
Smells very citrusy; there is a distinct orange note there, slightly tart with a pleasant sweetness behind it. Not a great deal of spice although a slight peppery zing to it, and a slight candied aspect which gives this a slight soft drink aroma. Quite pleasant, definitely needs more complexity though.
Taste is again sweet with a long candied orange kind of flavour. The wit aspect is more prominent here though, with a zesty coriander spice on the back and mild peppery notes from the yeast. Hint of ginger as well, and maybe some white grape tannins as well contributing to that mélange of spice. Doesn't have too much of a bite though, and finish is blandly sour with a kind of apple juice flavour, lingers without must gusto and certainly without nuance. The sweetness that underlies the palate is, I think, a bit too sweet, and more spice or a more potent Belgian-ness is needed to counteract and make the palate more interesting. It has potential but falls flat towards the end.
Mouthfeel has a nice bit of sizzle and is quite smooth. It's good for what it is, I feel if the flavour were better, but still felt like this, it would be thin, but because the flavour isn't so powerful this feels quite appropriate. It's definitely quite sessionable but the lack of interest would bug me after a while.
70 / 100
Pours a dark, cloudy yellow. Haze is only slight, despite the rather vigorous swirling of the sediment I tried. Head was initially quite frothy, but dissipates to a film rather quickly. Lacing is very good though.
Nice resin and candied orange notes on the nose. Not particularly strong, but rather authentic. A hint of copper is the only unwelcome note. Otherwise, very nice.
Taste is also very decent, a nice smooth creamy wheat character, and a slight sour twang at the back. Mouthfeel is just great. A little too much carbonation could destroy the delicate flavours, but this is very subtle. There's a very slight bitter character creeping in at the end, which is unwelcome, but that's starting to nitpick what is an otherwise fine example of the style.
This is a witbier done particularly well. I'm not sure I've had a better one from Australia. It's not as big and flavoursome as some of the better ones I've had elsewhere, but it is a true and accurate representation of the style.