330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours darker than expected: a deep mahogany red-brown, with a flimsy head of off-white that nonetheless promotes some streaky lace. Carbonation is rife, with chaotic streams whirling away when the glass is tilted. Body is also extremely light. For almost 7% ABV, I'd expect lighter, but I fear the honey has fermented out to nothing.
Nose is metallic and a little thin. There's a coppery undertone to everything, that's then just laced with the other characters. I get some clove and a little sharp, aniseedy booze. There's also a permeating suggestion of clipped grass over everything. It smells all a bit lacklustre,and not well-integrated anyway.
Taste is also not great. It's really very thin, and that metallic character gives it a slightly weird acidity. It's coppery in the same way that your mouth is after a pretty serious chunder. I suspect the honey ferments out to almost nothing.
Feel is insanely thin. It's almost watery, and doesn't allow the characters much chance to express themselves.
Nah. I think I'm genuinely still to have a great braggot, and this is certainly far from being a great braggot. The honey just makes it thin and uninteresting. There's just nothing else really going on.
49 / 100
Red Hill did a braggot for GABS? I genuinely don't remember this beer either in the lead-up or in the experience. Thankfully I have good tasting notes to remind me.
Pours a dark-amber colour, brown really. Clear with sparsely-webbed head of beige foam. Looks a bit darker than expected, but OK.
Smells sweet, medicinal. Kind of phenolic-spicy but a big hint of that honey-booze character that just produces clear ethanoic aroma. Not great.
Yeah taste is somewhat worse. Empty booze. Sweet notes upfront, with caramel and vanilla blending into maybe a touch of honey retention on the mid but then the simple sugar fermentation comes through and it's hot and insubstantial. Touch of roast midway and then back is quite medicinal. Not great.
Decent body, but flat without a lot of texture. Warming alcohol.
Yeah, braggots generally don't do much for me, nor does using honey in beer at all. Empty booze with musty notes. The roast here is the saving grace as it adds some much-needed character.
70 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. This is a labelled on the bottle as a "Chamomile + Lemongrass Braggot", actually being a chamomile-infused metheglin blended with a lemon grass small beer. It's certainly got the interest factor covered.
Pours a pleasantly bright and clear pale straw colour, with a rather fizzy head of white that pretty quickly runs out of steam, leaving it flat and slightly vinous appearance—just with a slight bead of carbonation. I'm note sure I've had many blended metheglins before, but I'm happy to believe that this fits the bill.
Nose is really very pleasant—smooth vinous quality, mingled with a nice aromatic, herbal quality of citrus. Lemongrass is certainly dominant, but there's possibly a pleasant aromatic chamomile quality giving it a slight lift. Quite pleasant.
Taste is also pretty pleasant. Light throughout giving a clean, slightly acidic bite, balanced with a honeyed sweetness, and some aromatic spiced apple flavours. Finish definitely stands on the spices—probably a little chamomile, with a mild character of cinnamon.
Feel is extremely light, especially given the weight of the ABV, bit it helps accentuate some of the citric characters on the palate.
Overall, this is a really nice, delicate braggot, and quite possibly one of my favourites. The spicy aromatics add some interest, while the light, gentle, and thinner body makes it more drinkable than it might be otherwise. Very nice stuff.
62 / 100
I'm perhaps a bit cautious trying this braggot, given the last Wild Honey Braggot I tried from Red Duck (Smells Like a Pony), we one of my most hated beers of 2012. We'll see how this one goes. 330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pretty clear, deep golden hue, tending towards brassy, with a fine filmy head of just off-white the persists as a ring. Some bubbling in the top as well. Minimal lace forms, and the body looks surprisingly light for its ABV. Interesting.
Nose is somewhat muted. There's a slight floral honey aroma, along with some spicy, slightly herbal, vegetative characters: dandelion and peppertree. It's actually relatively pleasant. And, mercifully, it does not smell like a pony.
Taste is similar to the nose for the most part, but with a much more pronounced honey flavour on the mid to late back palate, leaving a slightly earthy, slightly floral character, with those same organic overtones. Despite the honey flavours, there's actually very little sweetness to it. Indeed, the palate feels clipped somewhat, leaving an almost savoury character that works with the honey like a baked chicken drumstick. Booze is noticeable in both the flavour towards the back and as a sharpness in the feel.
Overall, though, this is quite drinkable in its way: I think it's probably the braggot I've most warmed to, but I'll admit it's a style that I don't enjoy all that much.
9 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
I think it's fair to say I have a complicated relationship with Red Duck. On one hand, you have superb beers like their Ox Imperial Stout, and their very drinkable Hoppy Amber, and on the other you have beers like... um... this one.
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a cloudy dark brown colour, with a galaxy film on the inside when swirled, but otherwise only forming a head due to turbulence from the pour. Fine carbonation and bead. Body is noticeably thick and sticky.
Nose delivers what it promises, at least partially: sweet, hot and sticky, with noticeably unpleasant barnyard horsey overtones. The heat gives a solvent-like intensity which accentuates the "pony" characters, while also infiltrating and violating your nostrils. I can't fault it for doing what it said it was going to do, except that smelling like a pony is a fucking stupid idea.
Taste is also noticeably unpleasant. Big sweaty, hay-like overtones, mingled with dung and rubbing alcohol. Very hot, and sickly sweet, just to ensure all the unpleasant characters get a broad basis on the palate. Despite this, it lacks complexity, and feels almost disgustingly light—I suppose it's unsurprising when the honey ferments out. This is really, really quite disgusting.
Yeah, I'm not pulling punches here: this is foul stuff. But by the same token, I would happily be effusive in my praise if they'd pulled the trigger on another weird endeavour and come up with something unique and interesting.
I can't believe Red Duck set out to brew a braggot that smelled and tasted like this: I can believe, however, that they came up with the name once they'd discovered the perverted places their experiment had taken them. This really shouldn't be—it's unpleasant, unrefined and undrinkable.
Pours a golden orange colour with minimal head, just a haze of whispy cloud on top. Lace is very nicely sticky, indicating a heaviness to it. Body is clear, light bead. Not bad; not great.
Smell is very malty and nutty. Plenty of rich caramel with hazelnut tinge and peeking out the back is a pleasant citric note. Mostly just big malty sweetness.
Taste is very nutty and very grainy. Strong malty notes with a big honey-oat flavour to it. Lots of grain - oats, rye and wheat seem blended in here with a touch of weak citrus lingering at the back. Some mild earthy, truffly notes towards the back where it becomes more savoury and bitter, but hmmm... overall it's just a big blend of sweet maltiness. Not too nutty that it becomes svoury but not sweet enough that it belies that nuttiness. Yeah, pleasant palate with nice overall blend of flavours.
A bit thin on the body, but smooth, and fairly pleasant.
Quite a pleasant drop - certainly the best braggot I've had. Definitely still an oddness to this but it's nicely balanced and surprisingly drinkable.
Purchased from the US to coincide with the Australian craft brewing industry's dappling in the world of Braggots. I thought it might be useful to have a comparison. Unfortunately, I was suitably unimpressed with the Braggots here.
Pours a clear and light golden colour, with a filmy head of fine white bubbles. Body is extremely heavy, almost gelatinous, in that you tilt it, and carbonation bubbles form and then give up on trying to push to the surface. Love the heaviness. Can't say I'm all that enamoured otherwise.
Nose is bland and slightly yeasty, giving a bit of bread dough character, and not a lot else. Slight hint of golden syrup, giving a little hint of sweetness, but I suspect it will be heavy, astringent booze otherwise.
Unfortunately, it's not even particularly strong or astringent, or anything on the palate. More of that faint bready yeast character, with a hint of plain sugary sweetness. Any honey character is well removed from the fermentation. Feel is light and bland.
Eh. Braggots, I feel, are not for me. This indeed ended up much like the examples I had from Australia, and although this is perhaps less astringent and offensive than the others I've had, it's still a very mild and uninteresting style.
Pours a deep reddish amber with no head at all. Ring of lacing left when tilted where the beer was. Not a great deal of cloud, but a heavy and thick-looking body, not bad. Not much to look at though.
Smells very malty but a big green apple cidery fruitiness to it, with touches of cinnamon and champagne as well. Fairly heavy but decent and sweet. Possibly one of the most winey beer smells I've had in a long time.
Tastes... you know what? Quite vinous, again. Fair malt on the front reminds you it's beer, with buttery and caramel notes, but develops a strong chardonnay character (this is helped by the buttery malt) along the way with tart crisp apple and lots of oaky notes. A good belt of funk as well, just slightly tart with citrus and maybe some apricot. Fascinating beer palate but can't say I love it; too much disparity between the buttery front and tart fruity back.
Very thick mouthfeel but a reall odd carbonation texture as well, with fairly sucking attenuation. Quite odd, and again too disparate.
Kudos for a fascinating beer and for producing such unique characters. But really just a bizarre, almost dadaist vibe all over this.
48 / 100
Big ups to @epiclurk for purchasing this for me--I'd missed the initial release and was happy to discover there were still bottles available.
Pours a flat and heavy hazy burnished golden colour. No head, no carbonation--it sits looking like a heavy mulled wine in the glass. There's certainly something medieval about it. Nicely thick though, and it leaves this sharp line of carbonation around the edge where it was poured to. Interesting appearance, to say the least.
Nose is very sweet, heavy, port-like and spicy, giving off some genuine spicy honey characters and a very intense booze haze. The more I smell, the more spiritous becomes the aroma, becoming like a trip of the DTs. Phew. Very powerful at least.
Taste is burningly boozy and heavy. Whatever sweetness was suggested by the appearance and heavily sickly body is gone, leaving a spiritous burn like cheap rum, and a biting acidity like cheap port. Phew. Feel is slight but sharp with alcohol.
Extremely hard to drink, even be it an unusual style. The honey just gets rampaged by the yeast, leaving very little body, and a very apparent and rampaging alcohol heat.
I mean, go for it--brew these odd styles, and push the envelope. Just don't expect a brilliant reception when they turn out like something fermented under a radiator.
48 / 100
Pours a cloudy, Hellish red with very lacklustre head, just a ring of bubbles sitting around the edge, no real lace either. Looks heavy, but very bland.
Smells curious. Very malty with a big sticky caramel and honey aroma. Touches of some capsicaian and other vegetative notes and a touch of green apple as well. Fermented honey gives a slight brown bread edge; it's sweet enough and quite boozey. Curious, but I'm not in love with it.
Taste is very hot and rich to the max. Burnt toffee flavours develop a hot brandy booziness on the mid with a malt liquor richness but a decent hint of brown sugar that helps add nuance to the sweetness. Finishes with a slightly bitter vegetative note with an unfortunate compost edge. Not very clean, a bit dour and almost drab, really. Overall, the biggest issue here is that despite its strength, it's not that flavoursome. It just doesn't have a lot of complexity, just richness and strength. Admittedly this is a bit old, but I would expect at 10% and no necessity for hops that it would hold up better than this.
Quite watery and thin on the feel, really surprising for the ABV and a bit of a shame. This I did not expect.
Yeah, too strong for everyday drinking and not a huge amount of flavour on the palate to like. A disappointment from Bridge Road; I've drunk better beer and better mead.
56 / 100
Thought I'd missed out on trying this one, and then, bang!, @LaitueGonflable surprises me with a bottle. Cheers!
Pours a pleasant reddish amber colour, with flashes of true ruby when held to light. Head is almost non-existent, just a few soapy bubbles around the rim. Looks pretty flat. Colour is nice enough, but the lack of head is disappointing.
Nose is dark and robust, with a good port-like twang. Actually a hint of madeira. Quite sweet, but with this robust darkness as well, and a slight acetone or boozy note. Interesting, but not particularly captivating.
Taste is in some senses rather thin, the feel in particular. The sweetness rather abandons it here, leaving just the dark aged character on the back with the port-like booziness. Some honey notes on the back, but the characters, not the sweetness. Not great, but with some interest.
An interesting brew, but not necessarily one I enjoyed that much. Too thin on the palate, and the characters it does have seem out of balance. Still very pleased to have tried it, however.