|Highest Rated||XeRRex (94 / 100)
||Average score||72 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Ham On Rye (27 / 100)
78 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased for me by Sam as part of the 2017 #fletchvent advent calendar. Reviewed blind.
Pours a deep brownish ebony, perfect for this 35 degree day we're having today, with a thin head of beige that survives as a very fine ring. Carbonation is also fine, rising through a silky slick body. Lacing forms as thin, sudsy streaks. Looks pretty decent all up.
Nose is very pleasant. Lovely dark toasty character with elements of chestnuts and roasted almonds. Atop this is a pleasant hint of smoke, autumnal and comforting. As it warms, it releases some other notes of dark fruits: winter berries and blood plums. Very nice.
Taste is smooth and slick—really very nice indeed. There's a lovely firm roast bitterness running through the centre of the palate, but it's fastened all around with elements of complexity. More dark fruits, subtle woodsmoke and even a slight savoury character giving a stocky aftertaste. It's really good.
Feel is slick and silky, with perhaps just slightly too much carbonation tingle.
Overall, this is a very nice beer. I suspect some sort of stout, but I think elevated by a bit more body that in turn allows those complexities to flourish. Fine stuff indeed.
Smoked beer with apples. Bottle shared with Jez at the Wild Rover in Surry Hills during Sydney Beer Week.
Pours a dark amber colour, decent colour with fine cloud. Some head; mild but retains well. Good colour to it. Off-white. Some lace, but mostly unimpressive.
Smells smokey; good apple and wood kinda character. Meaty but some good smokey woody and even fruit notes to it. Oddly sweet and fruity but some good aromas to it.
Taste is smokey, meaty; oddly fruity as well. Big apple and whisky character. Has some mesquite notes; sweet with fruity character late-mid; some weird sweet malt notes late that don't really work but seem deliberate. Some smoke, otherwise tastes alright.
Sticky sweet; had a big British feel to it. Not too bad but a bit too heavy.
Drinks alright, but a bit smokey and full on with a big sticky malt feel to it.
77 / 100
On tap at GABS festival 2017.
Pours an amber colour with a bit of haze. Cream-coloured foam on top, retaining a good crown. Looks good.
Smells big and smoky. Meaty, but woody with a slightly smouldering peaty note to it. Touch of herbal aroma and some light citric tones as well. It's basically just a huge smoke bomb but it's complex and interesting too.
Tastes huge on the smoke as well. Peaty with a really nice wood smoke character to it. Maybe a bit one-note but it's really nicely built on a nice malty foundation with a touch of fruitiness over the top to lighten it up. Almost a berry character, really. Good smoked beer, really tasty.
Slight alcohol warmth or maybe just a pull from carbonation. Just feels like the malt base is a little thin towards the back.
Good smoky, woody character. One note but delivers it really well. Great drop.
Retried this beer and it ended up my #2 beer of the whole festival. Really nice, unpretentious yet unapologetic smoked beer.
77 / 100
Tried in a taster at GABS 2017 in Melbourne. Brewed with hand-smoked malt that used iron-bark, stringy-bark and red gum in an offset smoker.
Pours an amber hue with solid hazing. Body weight is pretty decent, holding refined carbonation. Head is off-white and very firm, forming long streaks of lacing. Looks good.
Nose is great. Toasty first up, before it just gets laced with smoky, fragrant characters of native wood. I get sweet Manuka wood and fragrant eucalyptus notes that mingle beautifully with the smoke to provide something truly evocative.
Taste is light on the entry, turning sharp and fragrant with smoke and wood sap in the centre. This is a little medicinal, but it's cleaned up by a lovely savoury, smoky and meaty character towards the back. Finish is long, with a tannic, woody note that gives a sharp punctuation point to the end.
Feel is smooth, but sharpened with summer smoke and wood.
Yep, this is a pick. It's a lovely smoky bonanza, but leavened with other fragrances to create a heady mix. On retrying, this ended up being my #3 beer of the festival.
Smoked Martini-Spiced Ale brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours an amber colour, with an odd purple tinge (juniper??) Slightly cloudy, with large whispy cream-coloured head. Retains alright.
Smells floral, and tropical. Caramel malt notes with some apple, pear, mango, passion, yeah a bit fruity melange and finished with a hint of sweet spice. Pleasant, but not really what I expected.
Taste is a little more in keeping with what was promised. Still mostly floral and fruity with a good hop bill. Grainy upfront with apple, pear and floral notes midway, then finishes with a mild wood smoke character. Not quite clear what it's doing and whether it's really delivering on its promise, but it's quite pleasant.
Thin body, but pads decently, bit of carbonation as it goes down.
Not bad; not very exciting but a decent interplay between the smoke and botanical characters.
62 / 100
So Google searches keep trying to tell me that this beer is interchangeable with Beer Geek Bacon, which Jez has reviewed, but they're several years apart and also 0.5% ABV apart, so I don't think that's true.
Anyway, Jez gave me this bottle and I shared it with Chris after he shared Heady Topper with me. A fair exchange? No. I'm sorry but I just don't have spare fucking bottles of Westvleteren 12 lying around for such contingencies. Jesus.
Pours a dark brown colour, really deep brown and holds to the edge. Head is beige, nice and foamy but sinks to just a thin cloud with some really impressive lacing. Looks like a pretty good stout.
Smells stouty. Quite roasty, with spicy coffee and some dark chocolate. Cacao nibs, espresso and maybe some dark char. Decent, pretty standard.
Taste is similarly stouty; dark and bitter with some bittersweet chocolate, and some coffee roast, with a bit of lightness late on the palate that turns it a little sour, just with that light flagging of the bitterness. Roasty and slightly burnt but very little smokeyness, which is disappointing. Largely just roasty and dark and burnt.
A little thin, but fairly substantial. Just for the intensity of the flavour it's a bit thin.
Drinks alright but I'm a little disappointed at the lack of smokiness, and otherwise its a fairly standard coffee stout with burnt roast character.
79 / 100
Smoked/Spiced Stout according to the label. 330ml brown bottle, bottled in July 2015. Best before of July 2019, so it has a way to go yet.
Pours a surprisingly light prune-brown colour, only fully deep when it's at the thickest points of the glass. Head is a fine milky cocoa mesh that leaves nice intricate lace. Body is decent, with some fine-bubbled carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Nose is riproaring and smoky, with a pronounced peaty character atop a rather rich sweetness, that gives the fatty aroma of milk chocolate and vegetable shortening. There's a slight savoury, or meaty character, but this lends itself to interpretation as a grainy, wholesome note. All up, it's very tasty.
The flavour on the palate is also very good. There's a tight, striking smoke on the front, which develops into a richness of roast as some sweetness comes through the centre to support it. It continues to the back, where it picks up some spicy heat; piquant and delightful. It's really well-constructed, and with a lot of interest.
Feel is also smooth: it helps with that sweetness and richness which cements everything together.
Overall, cracking brew. The smoke is intense but purposeful, and it works with the spice very nicely. All up, I'm very happy.
82 / 100
Smoke, chilli, rye. This couldn't tick more of my boxes if it tried, unless it also somehow managed to coherently put lychee into the mix. Bottle given to me by Jez, shared with Chris.
Pours a dark brown, murky at the edge. Head is hugely generous, ochre colour sparsely webbed. Not much lace and seems made of bubbles. Which it is.
Smells smokey, meaty, pleasant. Slight roast and a fair bit of sweetness, slight dark fruit. Very tasty.
Taste is dark, spicy, then syrupy late with huge smokey meat and a hint of heat at the back that builds. Glazed meat, chocolate, pepper. Yeah it's got pretty much everything I like in beer. Maybe a touch too sweet, and could use a bit more grounding earlier.
Smooth syrupy throughout, then hot and spicy on the back. Pretty great.
Could drink a lot of this; great balance between sweet, savoury and spicy. Touch more bitter and you'd have an all-time classic.
Edit: Didn't look at the ABV before I drank. Holy shit. Chris also made a comment that it didn't taste very alcoholic.
69 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a slightly dirty-tinged amber with some suspended haze. Head forms strongly, leaving a good crest of grey-tinged off-white that gives firms vertical streaks of lace. Body is pretty light, but not unpleasantly so. Looks decent.
Nose is pleasantly smoky, with a rather comforting savoury quality to it, and tending more towards woodsmoke than the truly harsh peated character, which can often be medicinal, bitter or minerally. It's pretty light, although it has some other grain notes in there, which support the mild smoke nicely. It's well-constructed.
Taste is also pretty good. There's some nice mid-malts that give it structure and darker flavours to support the smoke. The back does take a little of the smoke too seriously, and when combined with a touch of bitterness, it tastes ashy. But it's a minor thing, and it adds a quality of bite. Finish is slightly smoky, almost with a slight fishy aftertaste. Don't let it put you off, it's all part of the unusual and complex dance that peat performs on the tastebuds.
Overall, this is pretty decent stuff, and it's a judicious use of peat-smoked malt. There's been thought put into how to make the peat work with the rest of the beer, and it ends up being a much better beer for that consideration and craft.
76 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery by my Dad. Shared with him and Sam. Bottled on "something"/14, but it's written in texta and is partially rubbed off. That's how you know it's good.
Pours a reddish amber character, quite hazed with an off-white head of coarse bubbling. Lacing forms in mild streaks, but overall, it's a little bit light. Very fine carbonation sites in a pleasantly weighty body. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is wonderfully peaty and smoky. Quite awesome medicinal brightness, with an underlying weird tropical character almost like pineapple and guava. It's smooth and rich under all of this as well, which gives it enough gravity and body to warrant the weirdnesses. I like it a lot.
Taste is also very good. There's a really nice cleanness to the body, but the beer persists with it's wonderful peaty notes that even turn a little bit peppery towards the back. The cleanness on the palate allows the sharp, smoky notes to shine, and it really works quite nicely.
Feel is a little thin, but it's OK.
Overall, I like it a lot. There's a lot of peaty smoky character to it that's really allowed to shine. And all of this is based on a surprisingly drinkable beer. It's good stuff.
75 / 100
Bottle brought back from Scotland by Father and shared with us.
Pours a brown-tinged amber, quite cloudy. Head is off-white, whispy bubbles. Doesn't leave much lacing. Not bad.
Smells peaty. But weird peaty. Burnt fossils, yeah a bit of petroleum, but also lots of sweetness giving raisins and brandy. Maybe sherry-cask too. Smells like a nicely casked Islay whiskey. Pleasant.
Taste is smoky, a fair bit more mild than the nose - meaty upfront, descends into dry, tobacco ashy mid, with lots of burnt carbon peaty character. Boggy, earthy, with notes of pepper steak and burgundy all with a touch of sweetness and maybe an unfortunate hint of solvent. Finishes lovely, sweet and pleasant though.
Decent body, a bit ashy-dry textured on the back.
Very pleasantly reined-in, well controlled peaty goodness. Good smoky-sweet balance with a bold character.
58 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour, very clear in the body with a surprisingly light and slight weight to it given it's (supposedly) 10% alcohol. Head is mostly white, with a slight orange tone to it that forms full thick bubbles and leaves decent streaks of lace. Looks decent enough.
Nose is slightly metallic and rather lagery. Some mild smoke comes through but less than I'd expect from something called "full boar bacon". Some bush spice is noticeable as well. Mostly, though, it's quite thin and dull.
Light entry on the palate, with just a slight sharp kick of smoke to it. Mid-palate is very weak, with an odd kind of watery sweetness to it. A hint of fire ash at the back, and an oddly fatty-but-light character on the back with the remnants of cold smoke.
Feel is incredibly light and thin for 10% ABV.
I mean, it's not bad, and really if this is as big as they say it is, the alcohol is really well hidden. But this surely should have been a whole stack more interesting, so it was quite a disappointment in the end.
69 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a yellowish gold colour with a solid body holding fine, very swift carbonation. Hazing is solid as you'd expect from a hef. Head is white, forming a fine ring that leaves some lacing.
Nose is initially quite good. Nice hef characters mingling with the smoke to give a pleasant smoked banana note. It's rounded and a little bit farty as well, with a touch of pleasant sulphur to it. There's something slightly vegetative as well, that works well enough.
Taste is lighter, with the banana still coming through on the front. Full smooth body through the centre leaves you in no doubt that it's a hef first and a smoked beer second. The smoke only really comes through on the back, and even then it's very subtle. Aftertaste lingers with a bit too much sweetness.
Feel is smooth, but with a cleanness from the wheat.
Overall, this is a solid effort. The smoke is subtle, but it does add an interesting dimension. I ended up liking this more than I was expecting to.
58 / 100
Pours a gold colour, touch of haze. Foamy white head, thin crown retaining. Bit more pale than I expected, but fine.
Smells of bacon. Full-on, in-your-face, knock-your-teeth-down-your-throat, rip-your-nutsack-off-and-eat-it smoke hit. Smoke smoke with full spicy bacony capacity. I expected a lot, and got more. Awesome.
Taste is disappointing and a complete letdown. Sweet, with caramel malt that stays fairly plateaued from front to back. Develops a weird medicinal character late-mid and then just a hint of smoke late. Fuck, that's disappointing.
Body is full, as you'd expect, alcohol is unnoticeable.
Could have been so much more, and ends up unpleasantly sweet to be honest. Look it's not as bad as that but it's just such a letdown given it smells so great.
Pours very pale gold, sedimenty cloud throughout. Head is off-white, large sparse bubbles with a thin crown retaining. Decent hefe look.
Smells smokey mostly. Meaty and a touch woody with just a hint of spice coming through and a slight phenolic-medicinal character on the back. Not a lot of hefe coming through but it's quite nice.
Taste is the opposite, somehow. Mostly banana with just a hint of smoke. Some spice characters towards the back with clove and coriander and a slight phenolic finish. Decent hefe with a bit of edge.
Body is thin and a little fizzy. Not great.
Decent hefe with just a touch of smoke. Not GABS exciting, but interesting nonetheless.
62 / 100
Pours cloudy pale golden with white head. Mid-sized, nice and creamy dense with specks of lace left behind. Nice revival; quite good overall.
Smells smokey. Like rich, slow wood-smoked meat, chewy and dense. Touch of spice, plenty of sweetness, not too much else to it. Metallic at times too. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I'm on board.
Taste is....sour??? Honestly, what the fuck is this beer? Yeah, tart lemony character all over that, ascerbic vinegar notes blending with that smoky meat character. Brett, maybe, with smoke; funky and organically weird... with smoke. Yes, that makes sense. Seriously, does the palate cohere? Not really, it's just like two distinct beers in one glass. Neither is bad, but together they're just weird.
Slight tart , puckering character. Body is a little thin.
This is just too experimental for me. I'm fine with trying disparate flavours, but I don't need them all at the same time. Almost feel like there's no effort here, it's just clashed together and it's discordant and off-putting.
79 / 100
750ml brown bottle purchased at the brewery in Austin, TX, and brought back to Sydney, where I shared it with Rich and Sam during a brewday.
Pours a pleasant peach-yellow colour, with a fine, slightly frothy head of white that leaves intricate patterns of lacing. Body is light and fluid and holds very fine carbonation. Looks really good, all up.
Nose is redolent with smoke, overlaid upon a very pleasant Belgian basis that gives it some rounded sweetness and a hint of something meaty and hearty. There are also some herbal, horticultural characters to it as well—maybe bay leaf, certainly the juniper comes through, with hints of tarragon and sage as well. It's bizarre, but I really like it.
Taste takes an amazingly bizarre u-turn, suddenly becoming extremely sour and funk-driven, with bready overtones and a heap of wet grain-sack. Despite this, there are still botanical notes from the juniper, lacing it with a gin-like fragrance, and lingering smoke that comes from both the aroma, and from the very last beats of the aftertaste, once the acidity has lingered for as long as it feels is polite. Pepper comes through more as it warms, which is a very pleasant counterpoint to the tartness. It's certainly extremely complex.
Feel is light, but with a bit of weight behind it—too light and it could let the acidity overwhelm.
Overall, though, this is a bizarre monster of a beer—extremely unusual and very idiosyncratic. It has some of the classic Jester King weirdnesses, and then adds a few more for good measure. This is definitely one of the stand outs from their range as far as I'm concerned.
74 / 100
650ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney, although I'd tried it earlier in the year at GABS in Melbourne. My concluding notes on the beer from the festival were: "I'm not sure how I'd go with a lot of this, but as a GABS beer, it's tops". Let's see how I go with a lot of this.
Pours a deep brown, with good clarity, leaving deep suggestions of red, or imperial maroon when held to the light. Head is wispy, only forming a clustered mass of large bubbles around the edge of the glass, rimmed with egg-white pale foam. Lacing forms in minimal streak. Body has some weight to it. Looks okay, but no more.
Nose is definitely odd. At first glance, it's smoky without much else, but subsequent sniffs give definite hints towards the umami of its name. Slightly salty twangs, certainly some bonito, savoury Japanese characters like miso soup, and a definite lingering suggestion of fish. Um. It's probably making its mark, and living up to its name, but it's certainly not a beer that makes me jump headfirst into it.
Fortunately, umami is a flavour best savoured on the palate—and here there's certainly a moreish quality to it that makes the beer rather delectable. Savoury but brusque on the entry, it gives smoky characters mingled with a slight clean bitterness (to remind you that this is beer, after all). Then Bam! it's like someone threw a bento box at you. More seaweeed notes, savoury, but slightly meaty, with an aftertaste that lingers with the flavours of peppered beef-tendon soup. Finish is quite clean, but with a dinstinct suggestion of acid—but then, maybe that's just the bile rising to my throat.
The mouthfeel is very strange. The umami character makes it feel thin, but all the meaty savouryness makes my mouth water and suggests a richness that isn't quite there.
Overall, yep, I'll have another. This is utterly unique, not just as a GABS beer, but as a beer I feel everyone should try. No, you can't ignore that savoury, unexpected character, but it makes for a confusingly interesting beer.
82 / 100
On tap at Frankie's. Last beer I had for SCBW 2014.
Pours a mid-range brown colour, quite pale for the style. Head is beige, nice and dense and sticking around well. Good apart from the palour.
Smells not like what I expected. But it gets better, oh yes. First whiff is all new world hops: passionfruit and zesty finger lime on there, and somehow as you sniff that evolves into a meaty, smoky and subtly spicy BBQ type aroma. Sorcery is again happening in my glass, and I love it. Seriously I love the blend.
Taste is not like the nose at first; not a lot of that hop character. Instead it's just a rich, smoky flavour; meaty and sweet at first, and then bold and spicy mid-to-late. Finishes fairly clean for the front with some lingering pepper note and a touch of hoppy bitterness. Really nicely constructed smoke beer palate, not as bold as the marketing suggests, but bold enough and drinkable to boot.
Nice body; feels like there's rough edges from the booze and carbonation, but well padded by the solid malt base.
For 8% this is dangerous. The sweetness draws you in, the cleanliness keeps you drinking and the smoke keeps you interested.
50cl brown bottle tried at Le Supercoin in Paris. Described as the following: "Ambrée au malt fume, douce et néanmoins amère; un nez d'orange confite et une fin de bouche tourbée". "Tourbée" means "Peaty", apparently. In any case, it sounded definitely interesting enough for me to try, and this is the brewery local to Le Supercoin.
Pours a brown-amber colour, very turbid, almost opaque. Head is a large bubbled frothy mess of off-white, that blows itself out to a bubbly ring. No lace. At the start, I'll admit it looks a little uninspiring.
Nose is sweet and slightly smoky, with a touch of saltiness coming through. There's a meatiness present and a lift from the carbonation that gives an aroma of violets. It's not particularly strong or pungent, but there's certainly some interesting things going on.
Taste is good. The sweetness is a little sugary hear, meaning it feels a little weaker in the body, and it has less breadth to explore some of the complexities. Flavours that come forward include brown sugar brûlée, smoke, watermelon skin with a mineral finish that speaks a little to the peat. Feel is quite light, which actually aids the drinkability nicely.
Overall, it's pretty solid stuff, although it got a little bloating after a while (50cl is probably too much for one person to drink). It lacks a bit of class and a lack of integration of the flavours, but there's certainly interesting things to explore with it.
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a dusty brown colour, quite dark, but certainly brown rather than black. Head forms a huge frothy crest initially, despite a careful pour, but settles into a centimetre or so of tan froth. Lacing forms in pretty tidy, solid streaks. Looks decent enough.
Nose is sweet-smoky, with a subtly ashy character coming from the smoked malts, but a stronger chocolate or toasted sweetness coming through from the other malts. Mild fruitiness makes an appearance as well, leaving a subtle suggestion of red grapes and cherries. Mostly, the chocolate and the sweetness win out, although the other characters add complexities to the aroma. Nice stuff.
Taste is a little simpler, but still pleasant. Solid toasted basis leaves husky chocolate and brown malt characters somewhere between sweet and savoury. Slight bite of roast on the back is accentuated by the smoke, making it seem a little darker than otherwise. The smoke flavours are quite subdued, leaving just a reminiscence in the aroma. Feel is quite light, but the sweetness that remains gives a vestige of body to the palate.
Overall: pretty decent stuff. It's solidly made, and the smoke, while subtle, is used to good effect.
750ml brown bottle purchased by my brother Sam from Slowbeer in Melbourne and gifted to me for Christmas.
Pours a very pleasant deep brown colour, solidly hazed and opaque, but with fluidity to it. Head forms a huge, chunky crest of beige to begin with, but settles out to a faint film pretty quickly as the carbonation crackles it out to nothingness. Body is pretty light. Looks okay.
Nose is pleasant enough, moderate smoke characters giving a strange lilt to the predominantly dark, malty body. Slight green vegetative or herbal notes are alive underneath this, and everything is laced with a rather potent overcarbonation. Some sweetness comes through as well, but a generic malt character more than the "brûléed sugar" mentioned on the label. Not bad.
Taste is pleasant, because it's a little bit lighter: clean entry lets the smoke and dark malt wrap around each other to provide a dry basis that does indeed remind me a little of Lapsang Souchong. Husky finish has a vague touch of nuttiness, but stays mostly dry and crisp—I like that dryness in a stout in any case, but with the smoke it works particularly well.
Feel is light and dry for the most part. It works well with the flavours on the body.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this for a 5.1% ABV beer. Its smoke character is pretty well integrated, and it has some nice flavours overall. It's not as complex as it might have been, but it's well-crafted. I'm perfectly happy with it.
75 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer by Sarah, and given to me for Christmas.
Pours a thick but fluid black-brown, with a dense, fine head of beige that takes on a more orange tone while the body tries to escape. Lacing is fine but minimal. Very nice fine carbonation.
Nose is excellent. Holy crap yes. Huge sweet smokiness giving BBQ characters and a fragrant savoury aroma. But this is above a very fine and rich chocolate/roast note basis, giving a firm breadth to work with. It's really, really gorgeous: rich, sweet, smoky, savoury, complex. It's extremely impressive stuff. Absolutely superb.
Taste is also good: it actually gets a slight smoked meat character to it that wasn't really there on the nose. There's also potent roastiness giving a strong char. The main issue is that there's a genuine lack of sweetness here, making it very dry for the most part, and turning the smoke flavours semi-astringent. Finish is very dark and very roasty. It's a bit of a shame, because the nose promised absolute divinity.
Feel is also a bit light, but it has a pleasant crispness to it at least: with a touch more sweetness in the flavour it would be very pleasant.
Overall, I'm impressed, even despite my reservations. This is a very tasty beer, with a smoke character that is absolutely beautifully crafted. I would love it to be better, because there's the foundations for an absolutely world-class brew here—and I want it to happen.
74 / 100
Tried on tap at the Quarrymans Hotel during their Bacchus takeover.
Pours an amber colour, nice dense head with pretty good retention. Nice lacing. Great stuff.
Smells smokey, slightly meaty. Touch of spice. Bit of sweetness. Subtle, but very tasty.
Holy pig! Taste is hammy and slightly smokey upfront, then hugely hammy, stuffed full of meaty goodness with a slight spice and sweet honey glaze character. Tastes like Christmas. Delicious.
Body is OK, gets bitty and slightly dry on the back.
Great meaty drop. More than just the smoke. I'm amazed, but mostly extremely skeptical, at the claim that this beer is 'vegetarian'. Part of me thinks that's just a really cruel troll by these guys, as it's one of the meatiest beers I've had the pleasure to encounter.
82 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont, as part of their Bacchus takeover during Sydney Craft Beer Week. This beer is apparently vegetarian, which you would not believe from the flavour, which is 100% straight glazed ham.
Pours a reddish amber hue with a solid weight to the body. Head forms a very fine crest of white. Fine patterned lacing and very fine carbonation which gives the body a silky look to it. It looks pretty impressive.
Nose is lovely: sweet-smoky with definite meaty ham overtones. Maple glaze, scored roasted skin. There's a sharper note as well that's slightly ashy, but it works well with everything else. It's sweet, round, smoky and lovely.
Light smoky entry on the palate with a slightly flighty carbonation attacking it somewhat. Sweeter mid palate really delivers the ham, full and rich. Maple syrup also makes an appearance. Clean, mild bitterness on the back and an addition of a darker sharp character in the smoke. It goes on forever, with a cured, sweet smoke lingering in the aftertaste for a long time.
The feel is pretty good, but I again feel like there is a tad too much carbonation to it. I'd love to try it on cask.
Since trying it the first time, I've had cravings for the taste of this beer again. It's wonderfully unique and really well-executed. Despite its strangeness, I would most certainly drink this regularly if I could.
500ml bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam and Rich. This is clearly my first Grätzer, so stylistically I'm only really going off the ingredients and the description on the bottle itself.
Pours a rather clear golden colour, with a decently frothy head, at least initially. Body is quite light and bright but holds a decent amount of fine carbonation within it. Minimal lacing. Looks decent enough.
Smell is strange, but definitely fills all of the things I was expecting of it: slight smokiness, mild banana wheat characters, and some noticeable acidity. There's a hint of menthol coming through along with some other sharper slightly spicy characters. Perhaps from the yeast, there's a sweetness that comes through too, giving an odd, almost phantom character of raspberries. It's very strange. But good.
Taste is strangely empty. On the front there's definitely a smokiness that comes through, along with a thin, reedy wheat acidity, by the mid-palate, all the body has dropped out, leaving very little sweetness, and not much in the way of those weizen banana characters (although there's a volatile hint of them still in the sinuses). On the back, there's a slightly salty/mineral character and some residual dry smoke.
Feel is very light.
Overall, it's very interesting: there's no doubt about that. And I'm glad to be able to say I've tried a Grätzer. There's some level of integration here which is rather pleasant, but overall it just doesn't grab me, despite the obvious uniqueness of it.
83 / 100
Small brown 250ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Shared with Rich.
Pours a cloudy golden colour, with a hint of orange. Head is a firm, creamy mess of off-white that forms pocked tiny dots of lace. Body looks pretty light, but with a very fine bead of carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Nose is intensely peaty, with a rich, earthy smoke character pretty much pummeling anything else into submission. Some medicinal characters, antiseptic and sharp with pine and leather coming through as well. Mothballs: pretty much just intensity, all of these incredible things. It's like a compressed Islay whiskey.
Taste is really quite good. Crispy burnt, smoky roastiness throughout, with the smoke coming through very strongly and the peatiness somewhat taking a sidebar. Sweetness is muted, meaning that there's a crispness in the body that's actually quite pleasant: it improves the drinkability and allows a slight acidity to punctuate the finish. Really lovely stuff.
Feel is light, especially for the ABV: it actually helps the beer, which is intensely flavoured.
Overall, I'm super impressed. "Almost undrinkable" they say on the label. I say rubbish. It's like Laphroaig in a crisp, refreshing approachable package. It's hard not to compare this to Yeastie Boys' Rex Attitude, which was my first introduction to a 100% peated beer. I still have a soft spot for that brew, as it was really revolutionary to me. But I feel as though the lightness in the body here and the pleasing crisp smokiness might actually make this better.
72 / 100
Pours a bronze colour. Bit of bead. Head is white and foamy, nice lace. Looks OK.
Smokey, meaty. Some peppercorn, maple glaze and some cloves. Pretty awesome. Meal in a glass.
Taste is smokey, meaty, with plenty of dry spice especially at the back. Oak smoke, black pepper, szechuan, clove and dry-roasted coriander seed. Gets a little astringent at the back, mildly mediciney. Otherwise a hugely impressive complex meat-smoke flavour, nice savoury beer.
Fairly smooth, fluid. Bit flat at times.
Not an everyday drinker, but a one-off experience to be savoured.
What a mouthful. But then again, it sounds like "what a mouthful" is a phrase heard repeatedly when Moon Dog and Yeastie Boys got together to brew this beer, if their selected song list is anything to go by. 330ml bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor at Bellevue Hill.
Pours a disappointingly not-purple golden amber hue, with a very large, frothy, and loose-bubbled head of off-white. Carbonation is rapid, and pushes through the body quickly, as if wanting to prop-up that head as much as possible. body has a little weight behind it, but less than I'd expect for 9% ABV. Looks decent though.
Nose is interesting, to say the least. Fruity sweetness, plenty of peat-smoke, a touch of acid, and some dirty, dusty tones all mingle together into... what? I can't really tell what this beer is trying to do. It's interesting, and very strange.
Taste is rather pleasant: notable peat smoke characters provide a dank basis, and some medicinal bite towards the back, while a sugary, almost candy-like fruit flavour provides a counterpoint. Hops are noticeable, providing a sharp vector through the centre and then swirling away into the medicinal peaty bite later. Carbonation is much too high, although this could be to do with the long time this has been bottle conditioning. I'm sure it was more palatable early on.
Overall, this is very interesting stuff. I'm still not sure what the hell I'm drinking, but that just probably means it was successful in the eyes of these mad bastards.
A three-way collaboration between Boneyard, 3 Ravens and Mash brewing. Tried on-tap at Josie Bones during Good Beer Week.
Pours a bright golden colour, with some orange behind it. A little bit hazy in the body, which is solid in weight. Head is a big foamy mass of white that leave big, persistent lacing. Some carbonation sticks around when tilted. It looks good.
Nose is sharp with smoke and citric hops: lemon and peat come through along with some light malt and a hint of salt. It's all very intense, but pointed as well: sharp rather than full.
Light clean malt on the entry of the palate, before the bitterness and the smoke takes hold. Lemon rind and smoky raspberry mid-palate before more of that salty twang, wood and sulphur towards the back. On the finish there's a hint more orange, leaving an evanescent twang of orange before the smoke clears. Feel is light.
It's pretty intense stuff. It doesn't perhaps have the purpose or strength of some really intensely smoked beers, and perhaps isn't as good as a result. But there are some interesting twists in here, and it ends up being a rather intriguing beer: and that's certainly something I like to see.
77 / 100
Pours a caramel amber colour, slight cloud. Head is white just a thin film, with some decent lace. Looks a bit heavy, but decent.
Ooh yeah, that's where it's at. From an arm's length, smoke. Smokey smoke. Meaty smoke. Spicy smoke. Beechwood, bacon, a touch of apricot in there for some reason, but yeah, all smoke. Pretty impressive.
Taste is burnt. So smokey that there's a touch of ashtray to it. Smokey bacon, ash, peat, yeah a touch of spice at the back - tobacco, cayenne pepper and sumac. Not a trace of the 10%. Although there are times when it tastes like one's mouth after a night of heavy boozing and chain smoking, it's otherwise dangerously delicious.
Bizarrely enough it actually feels a little thin, and so the big flavour punch is a bit sharp. I think maybe the flavour and the alcohol just slightly outweighs the body.
Very impressive brew. In spite of the flavour punch in the face I could drink it all night.
77 / 100
Pours a golden amber colour, with smooth dense head that's sunk to a thin film, with decent lacing. Looks a little listless and unexciting, but there are still some nice aspects.
Very smokey on the nose - woody, spicy and peppery, with a slight fruit edge. It adds a bit of sweetness, but also doesn't quite mesh with the smoke, so it could've been dispensed with. The smoke is the hero here, as it should be.
Taste is also pretty smokey. Lots of spice as well, with black pepper and turmeric making an appearance. Smoke is really nice nuanced - at times bacony, and at other times more woody and dry; I think it's nicely segmented by the intrusion of the rye, which I assume is where the spice is coming from. Still a slight fruity ester late, but it blends better here, as the smoke is billowy and variegated through the palate, so it's all part of a rich flavour texture. Very nicely made.
Little too much carbonation, for my taste. Body is a little on the light side, so the carbonation should be toned down for the style.
Could have had this with breakfast, but it's a decent appetite-whetter for dinner, also, and quite drinkable.
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.
59 / 100
Pours a reddish amber colour, slightly cloudy with foamy cream-coloured head. Alright look. I like the reddish tinge to it.
Massively smoky and woody on the nose. Smells quite a bit like a forest fire. Slightly meaty, but mostly wood. Not too overwhelming or muddy, just nice handle on it.
Taste is very malty, which kind of mars it a bit. Smoke is noticeable but not quite as strong or complex as on the nose. Kind of unpleasant sweetness with smoke floating on top of it. SPicy wood, with more spice than smoke coming through. Bit incoherent and a bit disappointing.
Decent body; bit of carbonation feel through but not too much.
Has a weird candy taste hanging around here. Not nearly enough smoke on the palate but there's enough there to throw it a bit off-kilter. I've had better.
94 / 100
(Best of the Best)
It's been a long time since I first touched Yeastie Boys' Rex Attitude (although not since I last touched it), and I thought it was high time I reviewed their imperial version. This bottle was purchased from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours a thick, deep golden colour, with an initially frothing head that subsides pretty quickly to a fine ring around the edge. It looks sinister, yet refined. Lacing is pretty good, and the body is immense, like liquified fire. Love it.
Nose is everything you expect. Huge peat-smoked notes give earthiness, morbid campfire tales and a rich resounding sweetness. Big Islay whiskey characters turning towards rubber and even a bleary hint of raspberry. It's so big, so intense, so wrong and yet so, so, right.
Taste is wonderful, in fact probably even surpassing the aroma. This level of depth also gives it an edge of the regular Rex, adding depth, sweetness and a rigorous boozy note to that already complex and complicated flavour profile. Bright smoke comes through strongly on the front, before some of the boozy, slightly spiritous burn makes its presence felt. It creates a weird cacophony on the palate like burning naphthalene. Finish is clean, but with the echo of the booze and a tingle from the still smouldering peat. It's gorgeously untamed and gorgeously anarchic. Feel is superbârich with whiskey overtones but clean and crisp at the death.
This is magnificent stuff. It's not beer for every day (I mean, that's what the regular Rex Attitude is for, right?), but it's a beer for those occasions when getting smacked in the face isn't enoughâthis is a beer that will smack you in the face, then rip off your clothes and give you the best sex of your life.
Bottle given to me by @epiclurk. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a murky mahogany colour, with a filmy head of off-white, that forms a more solid, but bubbly ring at the edges. Colour is very pleasant, body is decently weighted. Looks pretty good, all up.
Nose is intenseâsmokiness is the key, but it has a really savoury note to it, so that it smells like nothing less than Arnotts Cheddar Shapes. There's certainly something cheesy to it. Perhaps it's just the right balance of smoke, sweet and savoury flavours. It's very, very strange to be smelling cheese from your beer, but there you go. I'll pay it for it's unusualness.
Taste is lighter, and disappointingly a little too sweet. There's a caramelly tone to the flavour, especially on the front, which gives too much width to the palate, and oddly masks the smokiness. On the back, the smokiness has more freedom, and blends with a distinct roasted or bitter bite on the back to give a suggestion of char. It's very interesting.
Feel is a touch too thin, although it has a fineness which is quite pleasant.
Overall, pretty interesting stuff from a brewery I've been less than impressed with in the pastâin fact, I'd almost sworn off them, and probably would have bypassed this one had not it been a gift. I'm glad I didn't bypass it in the end, however; this gave me an interesting beer experience.
79 / 100
On-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne. This was called a "Smoked Manuka Beer", brewed with manuka leaves smoked over manuka sawdust.
I'll say this much: it isn't much to look at. A dirty amber gold colour, hazed with some chunky residue. Body is very light, and the head is almost non-existent, forming just some insubstantial yellowish bubbles. Pretty average looking brew.
Lovely aroma, however. It's an odd smoke/floral amalgam, giving fragrant honey notes laced with piquant bright smoke and sweet barbeque aromas. Lovely stuff.
Light floral entry on the palate, with some hints of rose petals, before the big smoky, gooey, fatty bacon and barbeque characters come in on the mid-palate. Finish is clean and lip-smacking, making a direct exit to a delicious beer. Feel is extremely light and could use more depth.
Such a weird amalgam, and one that works so well. I love what they tried here, and even better is the fact that they pulled off the attempt with such success. Great stuff.
78 / 100
I saw this release many months ago from afar, thinking it would never reach Australian shoresâfair enough, it didn't, but I hit American shores and looked it up myself.
Pours a pleasant clear amber hue with lots of fizzling carbonation feeding a very solid and stolid off-white head. Light bodied, but it's not a huge beer ABV-wise. Looks decent enough.
Ooh, nose is yes oh yes just what I wanted. Pleasantly organic smoky notes sitting above a woody, genuine maple sweetness, giving it an overt, almost intentionally sickly character, which, let's face it, is what you want out of a beer with a bright pink bottle. The smoke is really pleasant and directed, giving a wood-fired note, but always reminiscent of the sweetness inherent in the beer. Wonderful stuff.
Taste is a lot lighter, and the lack of body harms it, meaning that it can't actually sustain a genuine sweetness. Here, the smoke gives a slight crisp harshness on the front, which eventually slides away into a cushioning bed of maple essence and nutty malt characters. It's still very pleasant, and the maple syrup and the smoky characters still pronounce themselves fullyâit's just that it doesn't really deliver that sweetness and fullness that you expect.
Overall, though, this is an excitingly different beer, and one that genuinely does do a good job of blending all the maple-bacon goodness that you expect. It's not as sweet on the palate as I thought it might have been, and that might aid it a little, but still, it's thoroughly intriguing and very enjoyable.
Pours quite overtly carbonated; if it's not actually gushing out of the bottle, it at least foams slowly out of the top until poured. Surprisingly, though, the head is moderated, only about a finger or so of white froth on the top of a clear amber-golden body. The carbonation in the body is frenetic, however, and persists throughout. Body is light and fluid. Not too bad overall.
Nose is really quite exceptionally disappointing. A faint whiff of something smoky, mingled with a rather cidery thinness, with a hint of acidity and a vegetative cut grass character. Nothing like what I expected, and not particularly good overall.
Taste has a moderate smoky huskiness on the back, but otherwise, falls into the spritzy, light and sweetly vegetative trap yet again. Carbonation harms it, certainly, giving a fizzing acidity and temperament to the palate. It feels very weak and slightly amateurish, and really gives me nothing much to get excited about.
Keep going, HopDog. I promise I'll keep buying your beers if you keep bringing out interesting ones. Unfortunately, this example is far off the mark for me...
83 / 100
Purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a lovely hazed but bright orange golden colour, with enough clarity just to keep the light shining through. Head is filmy and insubstantial. Body has a bit of heft to it, while staying fluid. Looks very decent.
Nose is wonderfully weird and interesting, with nice mixtures of smoke, juniper, hay and green cut lucerne. Something sharper to it as well, with a pleasant spicy character. Really nice.
Taste actually improves on this complexity, adding a soft sweetness on the palate, and a really nice wholesome grain character. All of this is layered pleasantly with the sharp juniper, the rustic smoke and even a touch of eventual acidity to clear it out. This is all aided by the feel which is smooth at the start, but peppered with a fine carbonationâit mirrors the soft malt/sharp green characters in the flavour.
Really nice beer: as well as having interesting complexities, it has a really well thought out and well executed balance to the flavours. I'm really loving what Haand doesâthis one may be the finest of theirs I've tried to date.
500ml bottle purchased from the Adelaide Bier Shop.
Pours with very effervescent carbonation, requiring quick thinking to keep the foam from exploding out of the bottle. The carbonation stays fine and voluminous throughout, feeding a frothy but smooth head of off-white. Body is a cloudy deep mahogany colour, reddish in places, deep chestnut brown in others. Surprisingly fluid in the glass. Not a bad look all up.
Nose is smoky and sweet, with a type of meatiness to it that makes it feel solid and a little savoury. There are big caramel or treacle characters, which with the smoke mingle to give a glazed ham aroma. It's good, but I wonder if it will be slightly too heavy.
Taste is, contrary to all my expectations, too *hoppy*. On the back palate, we get a pronounced bitterness, that tends towards soapy grapefruit and rusty metal. This mingles with the (now dominated) smoke character to give quite an ashy finish. But the smoke flavour itself has almost disappeared, and the sweetness I was worried about ends up being overborne by the hops.
It's another interesting beer from Haand, but this one works a little less than some of their others. Again, they have some interestingly odd characters to it, but it's a little bit skewed towards anarchic here.
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a dirty golden colour, slightly hazy with a fine inconsistent film of white that forms soapy bubbles at the edges. Some mild lacing. Carbonation is fine, and there looks like there's heft to the body. Reasonable looking beer. Not great, but reasonable.
Nose is smoky but bland, with a whiff of malt extract and a sugary nothingness. Something of an adjunct character to it, that mingles with the smoke to make it feel harsh, dry and a little bit acrid.
Taste is very odd. Almost no sweetness and no body to it, leaving the dry smoke character to perform most of the work. This mingles with an oddly vegetative character, leaving a taste like tobacco ash or dog biscuits in the mouth. After palate reminds me of sucking on a banana leaf that has been used to steam fish.
All up, not a very pleasant beer, even if it is rather unique and interesting in its way. I prefer my smoke beers to have depth and body, otherwise they turn out dry and ashy like this one. It's interesting, but unbalanced and overpowered in one dimension, removing any possibility of complexity or depth.
84 / 100
Pours a slightly hazy, but pleasant enough murky red colour, with a fine but filmy head of slightly orange-tinged white. Speckled and insubstantial lacing forms when tilted, and the body looks a little thin. Not bad, but I've seen better.
Nose, ooh, now there's something wonderful. Big smoky notes, but tempered and pleasantly savoury. No meatiness to the smoke, more of a rustic charm, which melds pleasantly with the hearty, all-grain bread notes and a sparkle of something brighter and slightly crisp and fruity. Very pleasant indeed.
Taste is also excellent. Very big and pleasant smoky characters, but blended really nicely into a toasty grain flavour, that sinks towards roasted bitterness on the back. The transition is almost seamless, giving a very smooth ride through a plethora of smoky, roasted flavours. Some brightness coming through as well, although no particular flavours are distinguishable hereâit just gives a lift to the palate.
Feel is very light, which in some senses works to the advantages of the palate; but there's enough depth here to support more.
Very nice brew all up. I love the smoke character blending so well with the malted grainsâit really works the character into the beer to give a suggestion of how this would have been done in the past.
75 / 100
Bridge Road's 500th brew. I had this on tap at Josie Bones in Collingwood.
Pours a very fluid, dark brown colour with a really awesomely fine head, almost creamy in its consistency. No lace when tilted, and the body is light.
Nose is smoky and pretty roasted and dark, balanced with a smoothness that almost evokes a touch of vanilla. Slight sulphur to it, but given it's a "breakfast beer", I can just imagine eggs. Some spicy phenolic alcohol character, which is a little surprising. Very interesting, in any case.
Taste is very smooth and light, giving a nod to its lager genesis and increasing its drinkability. Flavours are smoky and dark, with pleasant mildly roasted characters and a hint of acidity on the back, almost like dark sour fruit. It has an odd smoothness which conflicts with the light, crisp body, but it's a pretty interestingly drinkable brew.
Nice. It's actually not as crazy as I expected, with just subtle smoke and a muddled moderated palate. In some senses, that's a bit disappointing, but it's more drinkable for it. For a special release, though, I'd love to see something more insane.
83 / 100
Drunk with a bowl of fruit and muesli for breakfast on the morning of my 1000th beer review.
Pours a very dark umber colour, quite opaque in its blackness, really. Tan head sinks fairly quickly but sticks with lace on the way down. Pretty good.
Smell is mostly smokey, with a nice meaty aroma that doesn't overwhelm the olfactory like a really woody smoke would. Sweet aroma behind it, with some dark fruit esters and pleasant spicey grain. Pleasant, and intriguing.
Taste is pleasantly smokey. Starts roasty, with a bit of a charred flavour that gets sweet midway, with some toasted cereal grain and honey that makes its presence felt without over-sweetening the palate. Smoke comes through late, with a nice dark woodiness to it that is really beautifully complemented by the roast of the coffee, it just adds a roundness that is close to perfection. Ends quite savoury with an espresso bent and really rounds out this lovely, warming meal-in-a-glass. Top stuff; I'm a big fan.
Bit of texture from the fizz, but a lingering and consistently mild one, not too bad at all.
I'm really impressed with this beer; Ben has definitely managed to find order in the chaos to create a truly unique drop of beer.
72 / 100
Pours a dark brown, plenty of colour with decent beige head that dissipates after a while. Lace is nice, thin but sticky.
Smells nice; roasty and spicy with a touch of smoke. Lots of aniseed to it with some tobacco, mint and cherry. Nice sweetness underlying an otherwise pleasant, spicy, smokey aroma.
Taste is quite intense at first, massive roasty flavour with espresso bitterness. Lots of dark smokey flavours come through midway with a touch of peat and carob that mellows it out nicely towards the back but doesn't escape the really intense bitterness. Some more smoke would be helpful, to raise the palate to that pleasant complex and contrasting spicy character that was so effective on the nose. This is mostly just strong bitter flavours, roasted and quite burnt.
Nice and full, the body covers the slight carbonated fizz on the feel.
Yeah, decent complexity and nice porter notes, would just like a stronger smoke flavour to create more contrast in the palate. Otherwise very nice.
93 / 100
Tried on-tap as part of the New Zealand SpecTapular at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pours a very pale and rather clear yellow colour, with a decently fine head of white. Thin body, but it sustains some decent static carbonation. Lacing is very good. Looks very decent.
Holy shit, what a nose. Very peaty and smoky, with rich earthy overtones and a green crispness. Leather comes through, along with something slightly medicinal. Wow. I've never had a beer like that. Uniqueness alone puts this way up in my opinion.
Taste is even better. Here we get raw smoked and woody earthyness, gloves off and no hold barred, with dark peat and pungent resonating scotch whisky. It's like carbonated Laphroaig. Gorgeous. Even a bit of charcoal on the back, despite the colour.
Lovely, lovely, lovely. Yeastie Boys, you have offered me a new and unique beer experience. That's a rare thing, and I thank you from the bottom of my hear for it. What a beer.
82 / 100
Single malt peat-smoked whiskey beer. Feel free to disagree with my classification because this one spits in the face of convention. On tap at the Local Taphouse Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a pale golden colour. Head is white, nice and dense, pleasant lace and lots of bead. Looks good.
Woah. Smoke that, baby! Huge peat smoke, rich, meaty, massive forest-on-fire smell. This is a rauchbier cranked up to 11. Boozey and just swathes of rich meaty smoke. Amazing.
Taste is massive smoke. Bit of caramel malt upfront, then smoke, and more smoke. Big charred wood on mid, then more whoomph as more wood catches fire. Just an immense, sweet, meaty, smouldering smoke. As the palate adjusts to the complexity I get touches of vanilla, bacon, oak. Amazing flavour. Sweet, smoked to the max. Just wonderful.
Mouthfeel is a bit dry. Bit of fizz, not all that great. Maybe because of the Islay whiskey flavour I'm expecting it to be thicker and flat.
A beer that is both groundbreaking and ballbreaking. Great job boys!
76 / 100
Cheers for the Xmas present from @laituegonflable.
Pours a deep, black colour, with a filmy head of beige coloured foam. Lacing is firm, but sudsy, loose in placed. Body is very opaque, but the edges are lightened a little, giving some brighter emphasis of garnet brown. The highlights look bright, like a gemstone. Looks very decent.
Nose is very roasty and dark, but only with hints of smoke. But contrary to this being a bad thing, it gives it a big and strong character like an American Impy Stout. Very robust and very tasty, with chocolate sweetness mixing with the bitter roasted character laced with smoke. It's genuinely lovely.
Taste is smoother, but still relies upon its heavy roasted character, and only giving a nod to the smoke. Smooth entry with some sweetness on the fore that gets rushed offstage in favour of the roasted and slightly astringent bitter character. Smoke is always in the wings, mingling with, but not dominating the other characters. Light finish means most of the smoothness drops out, leaving the bitter roasted note.
Feel is a little weak and thin, but this, if nothing else, exemplifies that it's a porter rather than a stout.
A very nice beer, and another good brew from 8 Wired. Very smooth, but with oodles of flavour. Great drop.
73 / 100
Pours a deep burnished bronze colour, with modest beige head that sinks steadily to a thin film. Nice lace, fairly strong haze as well, with not much carbonation. Good smokey haze.
Smells smokey, although I don't get much unless I swill it. When I do though, nice and potent with wood and bacon; but more woody than meaty. Slight vinous note which might just be oakiness. Nice subtlety, yeah quite good.
Taste is quite smokey with a burnt edge to it. Quite charcoally and quite a lot of spice. Nice mix; not all that smokey but a nice subtle burnt flavour running throughout the palate, with a good backup of malt. Spice is slightly overpowering, gives a slight sharpness to the back.
Mouthfeel is quite viscous, with not a lot of texture. Feels full and a bit flat. Could use more carbonation to cut through the smokey flavour more.
But a good blend overall and because it's not too meaty it's more drinkable than many rauchs/smokeds I've had.
71 / 100
Pours a murky bronze-orange colour. Head is modest but retaining very well; nice tightly-packed bubbles on top and some pretty special, sticky lace around. Fair haze in the body and a steady bead that's invisible except when tilted. Pretty good.
Smell is odd, quite smokey. Lots of charred meat and wood character with a slight brandy snap sweetness at the back. Slightly sour overall and frankly a bit weak. Could use more aroma, or more complexity to it. But nice for what's there.
Taste is quite roasty actually. A large caramel malt flavour on the front then develops into strong smokiness, with hints of bacon and wood smoke, some pine bark flavour on there. Mid-palate gets quite dark and roasty and that's what you're left with at the end. Some espresso notes and maybe a slight licorice spice with a slight bite of alcohol at the end. Really quite pleasant - the curious flavour of a smoked beer, but subtly melded into an enjoyable dark beer palate.
Fair body but feels slightly lighter than I would want. Leaves smooth, though.
Yeah, quite an enjoyable beer. Curious flavours done well, finely crafted into a pleasant beer.
80 / 100
Pours a deep true brown colour with a few accidental floaties of sediment. Looks pretty damn heavy and opaque. Head is full and frothy and extremely rocky, a big beige bubble of lace-giving divinity. Looks very rich and robust.
Odd smoked notes on the nose -- certainly smoked characters in general, but it's a green smokiness, with big rippling vegetation characters mingled with the smokiness. Smells like a wood fire in the heart of the jungle. Pretty nice.
Certain smokiness on the front of the palate, which fluctuates in and out of view for a while as a roasted, chocolate malt note dives into the mix. At the very end of the palate, when the sweetness dies away, you're left with the crackling embers of pure smokiness, which dances on the tongue with its dry, parched finish. Really unique and lovely.
This is a really damn good smoked beer. Probably one of my favourites. It has this lovely sweetness to connect everything, but the delicate smokiness takes the lead. Really interesting and very drinkable.
Pours a burnished brown colour with lacklustre beige head. Lace is something else - spectacular, letting me know this coal lady has a great body (what coal lady doesn't?), but head could stick around a bit more. I prefer my coal ladies to have heads. Body is clear with no real bead. Overall decent.
Smell is smoke-tastic. A lot of charred meat, bacon and just good old wood smoke on there. Slight cheesiness to it. Not a lot else, maybe a slight fruity tang, but yeah lots of meaty smoke. Simple but good.
Taste is quite charry. Has a slight spice at the front with mild caramel malt character. Smoke doesn't hit you until the mid-palate but then it's there, woody and meaty, with lots of that charcoaly, ashy, peaty flavour coming through on the back. Really cuts through that glazed meat character to leave a smokey bitterness that is surprisingly refreshing. I think I'm getting to the stage where I've tried enough smoked beers to "get it" and they need to offer me something special. This is a very decent example, well constructed palate.
Mouthfeel is a bit harsh around the edges but nice amount of body. Goes down roughly, but overall makes me feel alright.
Definitely couldn't slam a smoked beer at the best of times. This is okay, but drinkable is not the word that springs to mind.
79 / 100
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse for the Canadian SpecTapular.
Lightish red-amber hue, with a fine but slightly filmy head of white bubbling. Some fine carbonation, but not a lot. Looks decent without being exceptional.
Definitely lots of smoke on the nose, but it's a big peaty and earthy kind of smoke aroma. Even a little roasted grain coming through. All of this succeeds in balancing the nose quite well. Very nice.
Taste is superb. A really big and robust smoke presence throughout, matched with some fresh, green, slightly herbaceous characters, and a light drying of the palate to create some crispness on the back. Smoke continues to the end though, leaving a lingering whisper of wood-fire and turned earth. All too often the smoke in a beer appears on the nose, but gets lost on the palate. This one is a winner.
A really wonderful smoked beer, full of flavour and very classic.
74 / 100
Pours a bright deep bronze-gold colour, with a fluffy but large bubbled head of yellowish bubbles. Slightly cloudy body, which has some thickness, as the bubbling has to work its way up to form the head. Looks really quite lovely. The colour is just gorgeous.
Robust smoke notes on the nose, but pleasantly sweet. Rather like smoked and cured ham, with the lingering woodfire character providing some rustic charm. It's not complex, but it's a lovely smoky nose - not overpowering, not too sharp, but balanced very pleasantly between true smoke and sweetness. Again, it's a lovely drop.
Taste is more subdued on the smoke character, with some whiffs of smoky haze on the front, and a sharp hop bite on the back. Feels a little thin, and the sweet aromas present on the nose have abandoned the palate. It's quite refreshing, however, and I'm certainly glad that the smokiness isn't overpowering given the lack of body and sweetness (which would be sorely needed otherwise). Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but it's suitable for the style.
A drinkable beer, very much a Rauch - the smoke character is robust, but not overpowering. It lacks a little something on the palate - I really like my Rauchbiers to have some sweetness behind them, but otherwise it's a very pleasant and pleasantly smoky beer.
(My 600th review, how about that...)