330ml bottle, I've no idea where this came from, but I found it in my beer cupboard. It could be quite old. This is a Rye IPA, specifically.
Pours a pleasant red-tinged amber colour, with a very frothy but persistent head of off-white. Lots of sudsy lace forming in thick clumps. Lightish body, with lots of swirling carbonation. Looks decent enough.
Nose does suggest age—it has the mildly metallic aroma of oxidised hops, but weirdly this works with a sharper, more shadowy grain character from the rye. There are notes of wet paper and formic acid, but a suggestion of full-bodied malt underneath to support it. In some ways, it now comes across more like a roggenbier, without the yeast characters.
Flavour is weakened a fair bit by its age. I suspect it's lots a lot of the hop character which would balance it, and moreover, that oxidation character has really flattened and bruised the malt. It does indeed taste rather metallic, with copper and aluminum foil noticeable, plus a kind of flat character on the back like chewing cornflour. Feel is also now overcarbonated, making the beer feel bloating and fizzy.
Overall, this is probably on me for putting a rye IPA towards the back of my beer cupboard. But to some extent, it shows the advantages of adding something extra to your IPAs. This could have been worthless had it been entirely based around its hops, but the added rye and malt complexity in general gives it some sense of longevity.
Pours a deep brown colour, visibly coloured though. Head is beige, pale and quite thin; just a thin rim left behind with some nice sticky trails of lace and a good reverse cascade. Maybe a tad heavy; unimpressive at first glance but evidently lots of substance.
Smells interesting; slightly tart in the service of a big vinous character. French Oaky with a slight funky Brett character to it. Notes of coconut and vanilla sugar as well. Hint of choc malt but it's primarily tart and oaky. Maybe a bit lacking in the beer character; it's mostly just ageing vessel and secondary characters at the forefront, but they're nice.
Taste has that oakiness upfront; develops beery characters towards the mid with some nice roasty bitterness, plenty of dark bittersweet choc as well. Gets a bit of a boozey strength late; brandyish and it's mostly flavour rather than heat so it may be quite attenuated and hence dry even at this strength. Caramel and slight clovey spice late-mid and a touch of that oak. But I feel it's a bit upside down; oak mostly on nose and front, and then booze on the back and it needs the oaky sweetness late to mellow it out a bit where it's quite boozey.
Mouthfeel is smooth for the most part; quite dry and almost delicately so, late. Like it could get too dry to handle but it holds itself together alright.
Yeah drinks like a big complex beer but i feel the attenuation on the back stops the complexities from spreading and expanding on the palate; ends up big, and a little dry, and not that deep.
12oz brown bottle purchased from The Willows Market in Menlo Park, CA.
Pours a rather clear deep mahogany—somewhere between ruby red and deep brown. Head is fairly persistent, forming in fine bubbles to start with and persisting as a mesh around the edge of the glass. Body is thick. It has a serious weight to it, and the bubbles that persist in the glass move sluggishly to the surface. Looks good.
Nose is quite potent. Plenty of spice from the rye, which gives a slightly herbal, grainy, grassy character. But there's sweet booziness underpinning it as well. I get port, oak barrel, and banana esters, along with a slight smack of chlorine or salt. As it warms, some of the sharper character do integrate a bit more, giving sweet coconut and dark chocolate. It's a really nice nose.
The taste is harder—it's certainly potent still, but here it definitely has an edge which makes it harsher. It has a hot booze through the centre of the palate, which then sits smouldering on the finish. It leaves some of the more delicate flavours behind, meaning the suggestions of coconut and chocolate are lost. There's spice from the rye though, and it creates a herbal character, and some thinness which exacerbates the harshness of the booze.
Overall, this had loads of potential, which it never really quite captured after the complexities of the nose. It's a bit of a shame, because it could have been magnificent. And the heat and lack of balance on the palate stopped that.
12oz can purchased from Bottleworks in Seattle. No obvious best by date.
Pours a pleasant wood-brown colour, with a very pronounced head of beige, caused by some furious carbonation. Lacing forms in sticky clumps. The body has some weight to it—despite being forcefully carbonated, the bubbles form slowly and languidly when tilted. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pleasant enough. There's a more pronounced woodiness to it, that I think partially comes from earthy hops, and partially from the additional layers of malt. The rye gives a crackling grain note to the mix—somewhat savoury and somewhat spicy, with a slight grape must undertone. It's not bad.
Taste starts off similarly, with a pleasantly put together toasted grain character, a little like you'd get in an Altbier. But it's much more bitter, with a pronounced hop bite that almost turns acidic and ashy in the mouth. Carbonation is also a low point, with a frothy, fizzy heaviness to the back.
It's a bit of a shame that this is so out of whack, because it's a nice idea, and the malt structure in particular is nice. But this isn't a great beer as it's presented here.
59 / 100
On tap at the Welcome Hotel during their Queensland State of Brews takeover.
Pours a shiny gold colour; steady bead with some nice dense foam on top; decent lacing. Looks alright, yeah.
Smells passionfruity, mainly. Tangy, somewhat sweet, maybe a hint of rye spice at the back. Simple; decent but uninspiring.
Taste is alright; a little bit dry throughout. Has a nice passionfruit tang midway that then develops some zestier lime on the back, and that lingers nicely. Malt is fairly light on, and doesn't have a big rye character although its a bit spicier and even roastier than the colour would otherwise suggest. Ultimately quite simple and one note; feels like it could even be a SMASH except that only using rye would be a bit silly. It just has that one-note on both the grain and hop front.
Light, so the carbonation sizzles through a bit. Yeah what I expected but it's not a great texture, a bit harsh.
Wouldn't mind seeing this same beer just amped up a bit to embrace the complexity that rye can offer; ultimately seems a bit simple and monotonous. Decent drinking though.
70 / 100
Bottle drunk on a brewday sometime in October 2017.
Pours a rich burnished copper colour, clear with steady trickle of bead up the sides. Head is pale beige, nice foamy texture on top with smallish bubbles around the edge. Foamy lace. Looks pretty bloody good, the head is maybe not retaining brilliantly but otherwise outstanding.
Smells curious; equal parts sweet and tangy. Big vanilla character, slightly creme anglaisey, caramel, with some citrus lemon tang, peach stonefruit character, some slightly peppery bitterness with lemon pith as well. Peaches and cream, but with a menacing bitterness. I like it.
Taste is a bit of a letdown, just because there were three or four distinctive threads to that nose, and the taste follows the least enticing. It's quite rich, with a nice toffee malt character upfront but quickly gets fairly bitter and somewhat dour, with an earthy peppery character. A hint of that sweet peach note blending with it but it's fighting an uphill battle against these peppery, earthy bitter notes with some citrus pith as well. It's a shame, because there are notes of that sweetness, and if it could emphasise them more together with this bitterness it could be amazing. Otherwise it's quite pleasant but ultimately a bit dour.
Fizzy and frothy in the mouth with a really solid malt base though, vivaciously textured but well-padded.
Yeah, I want to love this and I feel like with some tweaks I would have absolutely adored it.
71 / 100
750ml brown bottle purchased from The Willows Market in Menlo Park, CA. Tried with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a rather clear deep amber colour, with a lighter than expected head of pale beige, that leaves sticky, thick lacing. Head stays quite foamy right down to the bottom. Body has some weight behind it, but also some fairly swift, coarse carbonation. Looks pretty good though.
Nose is boozy. But this is mostly due to the fact that it's quite sweet—indeed, there are characters of chocolate and carob that are unexpected but forceful. There's a touch of wood, but it interacts weirdly in a way to make it smell rather grassy. Hmm. That's a bit of a shame. As it warms there's a slight smokiness and a hint of maple syrup
Taste is much better. Here, the disparate characters on the nose get put together in such a way as to be rather coherent. There's a hint of that maple syrup on the front, with a bit of grassy, spicy rye. The back has that carob character, but here it's a logical progression from the maple on the front. The finish is smooth with a woody oak that maybe needs a little bit longer to properly integrate.
Feel is slightly frothy, but reasonable.
Overall, it's good, but there are bits to this which don't quite integrate in the right way. I like it well enough, but a barrel-aged rye beer could be spectacular—this falls short of spectacular.
Cacao & Rye Brown Ale, brewed for GABS 2017. For the record my instincts were to classify this as a brown ale rather than a rye beer but then I noticed Dainton's Red Eye Rye (which one assumes has a close affinity with this) is classified on this site as a rye beer, so I felt I should be consistent.
Pours a brown colour, clear body with foamy off-white head. Bit pale for the style (brown ale) maybe, but not bad.
Smells decent. Some sweet chocolate malt on the front with a hint of vanilla. Develops some sweet spice later, maybe from the rye. Could maybe use a touch more roast from the darker malts.
Taste is not bad. Quite caramelly on the front and again maybe a touch light. Develops some nice roasty character towards the mid-palate though as well as a subtle rye spice giving hints of cinnamon and star anise. Distinct aniseedy note on the back. Quite roasty and pleasant on the back. Yeah, not bad.
Decent body, maybe a hint of warming booze? Or maybe just a slight spice kick from the rye.
Not bad; fairly spicy rye brown. Does what it says on the packet.
62 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA.
Pours a very clear bronze colour, certainly darker than golden, but not quite as deep as an amber ale. Head forms a frothy, coarse-bubbled mess of off-white that leaves pleasing, anarchic waves of lace. Looks good.
Nose is interesting. It's built much more around the rye than it is around a hop fragrance, but it's interesting nonetheless. There's a pleasant spicy cereal character, which is really noticeable, giving some rustic notes of hay and clipped grass as well. There are some hops as well though, and they combine with this fragrant grain character to give a floral note of pot pourri. It's quite pleasant.
Taste is a little more subdued. It's quite light-bodied, probably from the extensive use of rye, but there's not an appreciable hop presence that would maybe distract from the lightness. Instead, it feels grassy towards the mid-palate, and then just drops to almost nothing, leaving a void in the back.
Feel is also quite light. It would work if there were aromatic things going on with the palate, but it just kind of feels as though the beer is only half-constructed.
Overall, it's a bit of a shame, because there were good things in here. It would only take a few tweaks to get this from a middling, fairly mediocre beer, into one that had real interest, and which would stand out from the herd. It's a shame this didn't take a few more steps in this direction.
Pours a burnished orange colour, with slight haze. Head is off-white and beautifully whispy with thick billowing sheet of lace left behind. Looks malty and gorgeous.
Smells fruity and tangy. Citrus, passion and stone fruit. Nice malty undertone as well with caramel toffee. Sweet and tangy.
Taste is fairly typical IPA. Hops make their presence felt early but there's a really rich solid malt backbone with a sweet caramel toffee note that continues on the back. Hop oils with citrus and dank resin notes. Quite heavy and full on with that dark sweet malt, and the resinous oils but the flavours are all nice, even if they're a little emphatic.
Little bit too much pull, the malt presence is big on the palate and less on the feel.
I feel like it's not that nuanced or maybe not so skilfully constructed, but it's tasty enough so you forgive it a bit of unbalance. Overall it just feels like another IPA, and finding out later that there's rye in there I feel more could have been done with it.
74 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from Chuck's Hop Shop in Seattle.
Pours a relatively clear pale amber gold colour, with a fine, pocked head of pure white that leaves, thin streaming lace. Body has a good amount of weight to it, and it holds very fine, static carbonation when tilted. Looks like a nice beer.
Nose is weirdly malt-based. There's a structure to it that lends some caramel and toffee notes, with only a light, generic hop fragrance that gives a little herbal rosemary. There's something savoury to it as well, almost with a suggestion of smoke. It's quite nice.
Taste is better. Here, the body is pretty rich and thick, which allows the savoury notes of the rye to come through. The hops provide balance, but they're also not prominent. The back is slightly toasty, which is a surprisingly pleasant way to finish. Feel is smooth and slick.
Overall, I do like it a good deal. It's not a really stellar beer, but it's well thought through, and there's nice balance and structure to it.
On tap at the Ale Project.
Pours a deep red colour, slight brownish tinge. Touch of cloud. Head is mostly a cloud as well, on top. Decent film retaining with a touch of lace.
Smells kinda sweet, touch of malt, also touch of vanilla and toffee. Maybe some slight citric fruit notes, as well. Slightly brassy. Not bad but oak could be amped up.
Taste is malty, grainy, with caramel and toffee upfront. Develops nice rye spice notes, with some peppery edge and a mild bite of hops on the very back. Kind of lacking the oak, it certainly isn't very prominent except maybe as part of the sweetness. But it's a rye-infused malt bomb anyway, so yeah. Sweetness. Pretty decent but I expected more.
Smooth, fairly dry on the back, oddly. But OK.
Decent but from the phrase "oaked rye" my expectations sky-rocket. And this sort of fizzles out, could use more oak to burn to fuel it further.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco.
Pours a burnished copper colour, with tinges of red to the body. Head is a firm, pleasant, mottled crest of almost-white, the leaves great lacing. Body is really quite solid and thick, and holds languid carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is disappointingly mild. Thin, slightly woody character comes through, with some fairly dull grainy malt characters. Slight grassy edge is noticeable as well. But to be honest, there's not a great deal of any of it. As it warms, there's a slight spicy note, but again it's subtle.
Taste is a little more pleasant. It's quite full-bodied, which does it favours in the flavour department, although it does mean it loses a little bit of classic lager crispness (although at 7%, we were likely never going to get exactly that). Front palate has touches of dry leafy notes, with a touch of something herbal or medicinal. There's some evanescent sweeter notes in the mid, maybe giving a touch of strawberry, oddly enough, although the back has a more pronounced bitterness, and a touch of biting crispness (yes, it is there) that cleans any semblance of that.
Feel is indeed, pretty full. There's a lightness to it to some degree, but it is genuinely heavier than even other lagers I've had at this strength. I'm not quite sure what's causing it—there's not enough malt sweetness left to suggest it's underattenuated.
Overall, though, it's decent enough. It's not as exciting as I wanted it to be, and it just feels dull enough that it makes you question why you'd choose this over, well, something else? Anything else? It's just a little bit dull.
77 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a pleasant, clear deep orange colour, with a very fine, and persistent head of off-white. Lacing is superb, and the body looks slick and fine, holding very fine streams of carbonation. Really, it looks the business.
Nose is interesting. Initially, it was a little dull, earthy and a little dusty, but as it warms, it really opens up, with a pronounced Sorachi Ace character that's either actually Sorachi Ace or a combination of hops and heavy oak-aging. Either way, we get characters of dark fruit and plenty of wood, giving a slightly raw, earthy tone that's very different and really quite interesting.
Taste follows the same pattern, and here I'm definitely leaning more towards Sorachi Ace, to the point where it almost feels overdone—it becomes the main event, giving a tang of bitterness, mingled with those oaky, earthy tones that the commensurate notes of citrus can't quite elevate. Rye is present—it works with the bitterness on the back to give a lilting spicy character and thin out the body (which is already fairly light). The feel, as a result is a little less rounded than it might have been, but the very fine carbonation helps to promote a feeling of palate fullness anyway.
Overall, this is a very unusual beer for its style, and as a result, it's one that stands out from the crowd. I like that. I'd much rather a brewery did something unusual and interesting than continuing to refine an overrepresented style to its statistical mean. That's what craft beer should be about.
73 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Camperdown Cellars on Parramatta Road.
Pours a deep, proper red hue, dark but flashing with beautiful ruby hues when held to white or light. Head is a coarse-bubbled mess of off-white, that leaves excellent rings of intricate lace. Body has some heft and weight to it, and the carbonation forms in fine streams. It looks gorgeous—the colour in particular is spot-on and it's a hard thing to get just right.
Nose is also very fine. It has a fine, slightly restrained hop note that does give classic west-coast characters first up—a bit of citric grapefruit and some sharper pine or even liquorice/aniseed notes. But it seems to want to base itself around the malt. This is biscuity, but cut with a rather fragrant rye note of pumpernickel and crushed seeds. In the end, and especially as it warms, it becomes aromatic due to the malt rather than the hops.
Taste is also good, but here it does definitely skew towards the malt. There's some lovely structure here though. A little bit of firm body-heavy mid-malts give it weight, while the rye elevates it, gives it fragrance and graininess. Weirdly, the hops are very restrained on the back, leaving minimal bitterness, and not really tasting much like an IPA at all—it's still nice, but with the hop character to prominent I'd love it to kick in a bit more here.
Feel is good. Well-attenuated and rather light, while providing enough slickness for all the characters to express themselves.
Overall, it's a very good beer. There's craft to it, with a lovely malt basis, (beautiful colour), and a good aromatic quality that comes through from both the hops and the malt. Were this on-tap around town, I'd certainly drink more than my fair share.
83 / 100
A hoppy black rye lager brewed by Fortitude at Bacchus for Bacchus's Brumalia festival. Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans in Pyrmont.
Pours a very decent black, with ruby hints at the edges. Slight in the body, but pleasant enough with a visible flowing bead of carbonation. Head is a mild, thin ring with leopard-slug spot lacing. Looks very decent overall.
Nose has a lovely crisp hop character, reminding me of the lovely uses of New Zealand hops. Definite greenness to it, with a fragrant crisp lightness leavening it all. Under this, however, is a very pleasant toasty, bold roasted character. It's a really nice combo and beautifully balanced.
Pleasant, clean, very light and crisp on the palate. More Kiwi hops add some crispness, but there's a solid structure behind it to give some fresh fruit, perhaps passionfruit and guava. Back is light and cream, with maybe just a little lingering contribution from the rye. Feel is crisp and bright, which works really well
This was a cracking beer. This was easily the best of the Brumalia beers I tasted, and genuinely one of the best Aussie beers I've had this year. It really just did everything right, and you ended up with a pretty superb drinking experience.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a gravy-brown colour, slick, oily and thick with decent weight behind it. Head is almost white, forming on really as a very thin ring. Not much lacing, and minimal carbonation—indeed it looks fairly still.
Nose is quite toasty, with a touch of spice to it. Some slight vegetative hoppy notes turning a little bit herbal and peppery. Some rounded by grassy rye notes come through as well. It's OK all up.
Front is light and clean, leading to a touch of nuttiness in the middle with a pleasant, slightly bitey but clean rye body. Feel is a bit thin, and the back lacks fullness, but it's clean, if slightly soapy. Hops provide a bit of balance in the finish although they don't add any true flavour. It's solid enough.
It's a decent beer, nice enough without being terrible exciting. I think I've both had better examples of similar beers and better beers from HopDog though.
Bomber purchased by Jez for my 30th birthday. Shared with Andrew and Iain on a Saturday night.
Pours a red-tinged amber colour, touch of sediment. Head is beige, sparse bubbling at the edge but tiny bubbles across the surface. Deep colour; not bad.
Smells malty and hoppy. Touch of rye spice, with English toffee and hints of US west coast hopping. Pleasant spice notes on a rich sweet aroma. Like it.
Taste is maybe a touch old. Slight malty notes that are a bit empty-thin, touch of baked apple midway, then finishes with very light rye spice, slightly peppery and a bit earthy, almost tuberish. Not bad, but could use more hopping, to elevate it a bit.
A bit thin on the mouthfeel, fair texture to it though. Not bad.
A nice rye drop, but the hints of hops make me feel it would be amazing as a rye IPA instead.
72 / 100
Barrel-Aged India Brown Rye Ale brewed for GABS 2015.
Pours a darkish brown, lots of cloud to it. Head is fairly dense but a little thin, cream-coloured. Not amazing but OK.
Smells massively of rye. Big spicy character to it - earthy and piquant. Notes of US hops - grapefruit and lemon. Smells pretty awesome.
Taste is dominated by oak. It comes through bourbony and woody-sweet. Notes of nutty malt, maybe some dry spice midway. Grapefruit bitterness late is OK for balance but just adds another element. There's a few too many things going on here which I guess you could expect. I would love to try it without the oak.
Full body, slightly warm. Pretty nice and smooth.
Nice drop, but despite HopDog's pedigree for taking on way too much, they've just overdone it this time. No oak and this could be a cracker.
70 / 100
On tap at the Kingston Public House.
Pours amber cloudy, brownish reddish scorched earthish. Head is dense and off-white, a goodly film of lace sticks around, just a crown of tiny bubbles. Looks good.
Smells cracking. Big fresh wet hop character. Citrus, pine and resin blending with a pleasant rye spice. Earthy with some bready and some cinnamon notes. Lovely blend.
Taste is mostly rye; this comes with the territory of wet hopping I guess. Grainy, slightly toasty with lots of earthy spice notes; pepper and some coriander seed. Maybe even some turmeric. Finishes quite bitter, cleans up well but could use a touch more hop character. Think they've relied almost entirely on wet hopping for character so it's all there on the aroma and none on the palate sadly. Pleasant toasty rye spice but the nose promised a different dimension that doesn't come through.
Bitty mouthfeel; slightly grainy texture. Bit of a pull on the back. Fine for the style.
76 / 100
On tap at the Quarrymans, December 2014 sometime. Not sure from the name (which is all I have to go on now, don't even remember drinking it) whether it should be a Rye Beer or an Old Ale, but given how often I referenced rye in my notes I'm erring on the side of rye.
Pours a dark red, clear and nice character. Head is beige, small bubbles, nice cream texture at the top, some lace.
Smells very grainy, spicy, chocolatey, with a nice rye character and nice roundness. Pleasant.
Taste is dry, lots of chocolate with rye spice and some quite dry, peppery spice notes as well as some roast. Nice dry spice of grainy proportion giving roundness and nice end to the roasty start. Pleasant rye character. Nice beer.
Decently full, quite decent texture.
Nice rye beer. Roasty with great spice. Unpretentious but full of character.
72 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Apparently somewhere between an American Rye Ale and a Trappist, so one might say difficult to categorise.
Pours a pleasant, slightly hazed amber hue, with a fair head of off-white that stays pocked, but rather fine and fluffy at the edges. Carbonation is refined and tiny, forming little streams that race up through the glass. Body has a little weight to it, despite the speed of the carbonation.
Nose is certainly very odd. There's a rounded, almost bubblegum sweetness to it from the Belgian yeast, but this does pick up a little odd fruit from the hops—together it makes a plasticky fruity aroma like artificial strawberry icecream. There's a dustiness to it as well, perhaps a little tannic or leafy and earthy. It's certainly not unpleasant, and I like when a beer can twist things ever so slightly to give me a genuinely new experience.
Flavour is solid, but perhaps not as unique as the aroma was. Still there is a spicy, nutty character from the rye that also adds a slim crispness to the body, and a firm, earthy bitterness that lingers on the back. Around this is an odd structure of vegetative lightness and more of those aromatic, sweet characters that evoke strawberry icecream and other such frivolities. Feel is firm but light, with a broadness across the palate.
Overall, I liked it a good deal. Firstly, it's well-constructed, with nice balance and an easy drinkability. But more than that, it's got some interesting quirks to it that make it stand out beyond the pale—and I like that there's still always a beer in my future that seems unique.
83 / 100
330ml can purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a murky, deep orange colour, perhaps even with a slightly brownish tinge to it. Head is fine and firm, leaving a filmy crest of off-white and nice streaks of lacing. Body is very weighty, especially for its size, and holds a lot of carbonation. Looks very pleasant overall.
Nose is very nice indeed, with a strong nutty rye character overlaid with a very pleasant structure of fragrant hop tones. Pleasant citric tones come through, along with an almost icy green quality that seems both sharp and broad at the same time. I really like it.
Taste is also excellent. The malt is also strong here, giving a lovely nutty, slightly spicy quality to the structure of the palate. There is a pleasant balance from the hops, giving a little fragrant bitterness and more of those lively citric tones. Very smooth feel as well, with a creaminess that comes from the carbonation more than anything.
Really beautifully drinkable: this is most certainly my favourite brew from Beavertown so far. This shows a masterful use of rye to accentuate and enhance a hoppy beer—it's got the hallmarks of the very best beers that do just that.
Bottle purchased from Leura cellars.
Pours a dark amber colour, with beige head - sparse and fluffy and good. Retains well. Some lace. Good.
Smells toasty and good, with decent hop notes as well as caramel, earthy spice. Some star anise on there. Pepper, citrus. Not bad.
Taste is earthy, peppery, plenty of leather on there as well. Malty grains with dark husk notes and some chocolate character, plus some light citric hop on the back. Little bit on the heavy side, but nice drinkable characters otherwise.
A bit thin, some carbonation texture on the back. Fills out decently on the back.
Decent rye beer, could use just a bit more lightness to balance on the palate.
Pours a dark murky red with plenty of sediment. Trails of bead. Head is jaundiced off-white, dense and fluffy with gorgeous lace. Could do without the sediment, but that's not the beer's fault.
Smells oaky. Touch of coconut and some woody spice like cinnamon. Touch of kiwi and plenty of vanilla bourbon as well. Touch of earthy Belgian spice at the back. Very pleasant aroma.
Taste is massively bourbony. Big vanilla oak character but just stacks of booze as well, really quite unbalanced. Needs more natural malt body and a slower burn towards the booze on the finish. Just tastes like spiritous alcohol throughout and I'm missing the beer character, and the nuance.
Heat in the wrong place means it's bone dry on the back. Definitely needs more body.
What a disappointment. I like beers with this kind of character but it needs to be a complement to the beer flavour, not a substitute.
81 / 100
750ml caged and corked bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Rich and Sam during a brewday.
Pours a very pleasant hazed amber colour, which takes on a sheen of red when held to the light. Head is fine and wonderful, forming an almost reverse cascade with the thick body when poured. It settles out to a leopard spotted lace and fine half-centimetre of off-white foam. Body is weighty, holding a lot of snow-like powdery carbonation when tilted. It's a cracking looking beer.
Nose is very pleasant. Smooth sweetness, with a good dollop of caramel balanced with fruit overtones and a raw but rounded not from the oak. Definitely some vegetative characters—slightly spicy with the rye, although not as pronounced as it might be. Some apricot notes come through as well. It's very pleasant all up.
Taste is also very good. Big rounded smoothness from the oak guides the palate from start to finish. There's a lovely fresh woodiness to the front, lilting with a bit of spice and hop character to give a slight cedar note. This is smoothed by the body and sweetness, until the oak appears on the back with a pleasant smooth vanilla tone. A little spice and booze accentuate the finish, but nothing ever gets too sharp, thanks to the oak. It's very pleasant.
Feel is extremely smooth—apart from the lingering booze, which is certainly noticeable after a while, the beer is rounded into a coherent whole. The feel really helps create balance and structure.
Overall, impressively drinkable and very tasty. For 12%, it sure is very accessible. The oak works really well with this beer, and creates the narrative. It's really quite lovely.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne. A Rye Ale infused with rooibos tea.
Pours a very pale orange colour with a solid body. Hazing is firm throughout although some carbonation is still visible. Head is just off-white leaving a firm ring around the glass. Looks pretty decent.
Very strong tea characters on the nose, with a big tannin note right off the bat. Slight spice comes through as well, along with some peach and apricot stonefruit notes and a slight hint of wood smoke. It's all pretty nice.
Light entry on the palate that quickly gets a peppery, tannic dose from the tea. This is sharp towards the back, but there's enough malt to smooth through to the finish. Here we get more of the tea: spicy and earthy. It's really nice all up. Feel is mid-weighted, which is quite pleasant.
Overall, this was a pretty damn good beer. The tea was strong, but it gave the beer its character and style. And it ended up being extremely drinkable. I enjoyed it a lot.
71 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a clear, faintly red-hued amber, but possibly not even dark enough to be out of the category of an IPA. Head forms a thin mesh of off-white, leaving a few specks of lace as it goes. Body is quite light, although the carbonation is fine. Looks decent enough.
Nose is pleasant enough, with a muted hop presence giving a decent dollop of fruit above some lingering sweetness. There's a slight herbal tone to the hops as it warms a little, but the fruit-salad component genuinely wins out. Decent again, without being spectacular.
Taste is clean and rather good. Light, hoppy and fragrant while avoiding being overblown, but then bolstered by a solid malt presence which holds up the back of the palate. Lingering flavours suggest pineapple and papaya, with a sweetness and body that steps in to support it. The mouthfeel seems fuller as a result as well.
Yep, overall, this is pretty decent and tasty stuff. It smacks a little bit of "seen this before", and has an atmosphere of generic craft to it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's not a beer that redefines a genre, but it's a fairly solid interpretation.
62 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer by Sarah, given to me for Xmas.
Pours an extremely hazed brownish amber colour, with a decent head of white. Lacing forms in pale streaks, some fine carbonation, but not a lot. Looks decent enough.
Nose is decent. Firm hoppy bitterness, of a fairly generic sort, and some malt basis, thinned out by the rye character, which adds a slight acidity but not much spice. Citrus notes do come through a little bit, and are pleasant enough, but it's still all a bit samey.
Taste is similar. It's pleasant, but light and a little dry. Faint, clear hoppiness, thin body and a touch of grassy character on the back. Finish is quite dry, but the rye does leave a pleasant grain note that sticks around for a while. It's decent enough.
Feel is decent: thin but light, and it maintains the flavours that sit on the back.
Overall, yeah, this is decent. Decent. But Brew Cult do awesome things and this should be awesome. It needs more aroma, and a better integration of the rye on the palate—a bit of extra body might do that. Something. As it is, it has stacks of potential that needs to be realised.
78 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Camperdown Cellars on Parramatta Road in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant reddish amber colour, with an initially firm head of pale beige that survives as a filmy top with some bubbly edging. Some streaky thin lace. Looks decent enough.
Mmm. Nose is wonderfully good. Big bright, crisp hop fragrance underlined by a slight spicy rye note amidst a solid malt basis. Plenty of citrus, some vegetative overtones, herbs like basil, and a hint of pepper. It's very fragrant and fresh, and extremely tasty. I approve.
Taste is also good. Clean but solid malt basis with the rye used well: it gives a crisp, lighter and slightly vibrant tone to the heart of the beer. Atop this comes the clean, bright hop character. Some citrus, lemon ice-cream, slight sherbet and herbal tones, with a pleasing linger from the darker malt on the back. It rounds it out nicely.
Feel is also good. Solid enough for its relatively low ABV, but providing all the basis it needs while enhancing drinkability.
And drinkable it is. This is very clean and bright, while maintaining stacks of flavour. I'm really quite impressed that this beer manages to create such a strong and complex blend of hops and malt only weighing in at 5% ABV. It's exceedingly drinkable for what it is: I will certainly be checking out more beers from Cromarty.
69 / 100
Pours a red-tinged amber colour, almost umber in places. Head is quite potent at first but then dissipates quickly. Some clingy lace but quite whispy overall. Decent.
Smells quite resiny and sharp. Some tangy citrus notes and a touch of dry, dusty rye spice. Pineapple rounds it out. Bit sharp, but pleasant.
Taste is more grounded; nice malt notes drive the palate. Slight spicy edge to it with some coppery notes on the edge. Hops are spicy, resinous; could use a little more fresh tang but there's some fruitiness anyway. Earthy and spicy overall. Nice rye IPA character.
Decent body for the ABV but not enough, hops are sharp and pull on the back.
Nice rye IPA, good blend with hops and rye spice.
61 / 100
Brewed for the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular in Melbourne, May 2013. Tasted and reviewed on tap there.
Pours a straw colour, reasonably cloudy. Head is white, foamy, sticking around alright. Quite pale for the style but not bad otherwise.
Smells grainy, with a touch of rye spice but mostly some light cereal notes. Touch of caramel as well and a fair bit of dry peppery spice. Mostly cereal though.
Taste has a similar base with a fairly sweet residual malt flavour. Twist of rye spice on the mid-palate and then a citric hop note takes over which balances it alright. Overall still retains a big caramel note and overall it's quite sweet. Lacks some of the grounding that rye and west coast hops would usually provide.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin; body's noticeable but the carbonation comes through fairly strongly.
Decent enough pale. I do think that maybe Moylan's could have done something a bit more extreme for us Aussie yokels.
72 / 100
Pours a mahogany colour, quite cloudy with dense, tan head. Sticks around with decent lacing. Looks great, but not quite black.
Chocolate on the nose, with rye, caramel notes giving a touch of spice. Pretty damn nice.
Continues on the palate: rye, caramel with a touch of roast. Little bit of yeast pull late-mid. Roasty bitterness, still a decent espresso and spice continuing on the back.
Thin body, bit of tingly carbonation and very dry. OK.
Nice, dry spiced dark ale. Bitter and earthy. Good.
Moor's standard strange 660ml bottle purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Stanmore. Shared with Rich.
Pours a hazed, very pleasant bronze hue, with a decent body and good consistency of colour. Head forms a solid cap of off-white with yellow tinges that leaves streaks of fine leopard-spot lace. Carbonation is extremely fine. Looks very good.
Nose is laced with subtle smoke, giving a peppery overtone above a solid, slightly spicy basis that gives off a few estery notes of banana. There's a fluffy sweetness to it: not a truly solid maltiness, but an airy, whimsical quality that counteracts the stranger smoke and pepper characters. Not bad.
Taste is light and clean for the most part with a bite of bitterness at the back that has slight reminiscences of smoke, but perhaps not enough to make me think that the bitterness just comes from that source. Clean, slightly green finish with a slight vegetative bite and an aftertaste slapped with a dash of that pepper again. Pleasant enough.
Feel is light and I dare say slightly empty: a little more true roundness would help the body and perhaps broaden some of the characters it obviously wants to promote.
Overall, this is decent stuff, but I've had much better from Moor. This is still well crafted, but it didn't really do justice to the ingredients as much as it could have: perhaps I wanted it more extreme, and its restrained nature disappointed me a little.
72 / 100
Pours a reddish-tinged orange colour, slow bead, nice head of dense white lace. Looks very nice.
Smells quite resiny, spicy, but with nice fruit esters. Pine, oak, citrus and some nice rye spice. Dark cereal notes and brazil nuts as well. Yum.
Taste starts out quite melony, then develops some flavour of citrus and dark spice, wood resin and loads of dry rye spice, quite bitter to the point of astringency. Actually tastes a bit boozey without feeling boozey. Nice flavours, but quite strong; not for everyday.
Nice mouthfeel; decent texture but great body.
A bit strong, but I like it.
77 / 100
650ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a clear, deep golden colour, almost turning a burnished copper, with a full, frothy and pretty persistent head of off-white. Solid lacing and fine carbonation completes the picture. Good stuff.
Nose is pleasantly clean with bright citrussy hops, mangled with a bit of wine cork. Some light spice and earthiness comes through, possibly from the rye, but equally likely from some slightly brusquer hop characters. Hint of booze and some rich bread dough. Overall, it's a nice aroma.
Taste is clean and clear, with a crisp grainy character on the back. Hops provide a fragrant sweetness throughout, but only moderate bitterness, leaving the palate light and buoyant. Some clementine and pithy orange mid-palate, with a very pleasant crispness on the finish. Feel is very smooth and light, providing some basis without overwhelming anything.
Overall, this is a damn drinkable brew. The rye is subtle, but broadens the palate nicely, which is very nice. Often rye can make a beer sharper and spicier, but here it provides additional width of character. Very nice stuff, probably one of the best of Heretic's I've had.
56 / 100
Bottle purchased from the Beermongers in Portland, OR.
Pours a very clear amber-golden colour, with a futzy, fuzzy white head that leaves decent lacing. Pretty decent body and very fine carbonation. All up, it's a decent looking brew.
Slight grainy, textural nose. leaving huskiness with a bit of acidity and fresh, herbal grain notes. Touch of maple syrup to it, even. It's not bad, but it's not overly inspiring.
Taste is light and slightly spicy, with rye making a name for itself, but also unfortunately lightening the body to such a degree that whatever else comes through doesn't really get a chance to express itself. Some vegetative hops on the back leave a clinging cleanness, but the beer as a whole is slightly underwhelming.
Drinkable enough in its way, but a bit depressing as well. It could have used the springboard of the rye better to express some spicy hop characters. As it is, it's a bit bland and dull.
85 / 100
Wax-capped bottle picked up from the Pearl Whole Foods in Portland, OR. Drunk on the 4th of July, which seems appropriate, as it has what must be the most stupidly patriotic label I've ever seen.
Pours a very hazy golden colour, with a filmy head of white froth. Lacing is decent, however, leaving a patchy latticework down the sides of the glass. Relatively firm body too, which holds its carbonation well. Overall, it's decent without being particularly exciting.
Nose is great. Lovely sharp, pointed hops characters, almost New Zealand in nature, giving a crisp citrus and fragrant passionfruit note, above some dusty, peppery notes from the rye. Coming from the Antipodes, I'm much more inclined to attribute this to our side of the world. It's unusual in an "American" Rye, although I'd love to see more of the American hops which produce this type of aroma.
Taste is similar, and really nicely balanced. Sharp fruity hops dominate, giving greenness mingled with sweet but piquant citrus characteristics. Light peppery grain comes through adding almost no discernable body or sweetness to the brew, but nonetheless providing support for the hops. Very clean and exceptionally refreshing.
Feel is light but clean and staying out of the way of the main event.
Awesome beerâa really punchy, hoppy but balanced and drinkable Rye beer. The rye makes its presence felt, but like all the other characters, manages to sit nicely in coherence with everything. Top stuff.
Pours a pale, slightly burnished amber colour, with fluffy off-white head. Nice uneven sinkage but nice clingy lace left behind. Looks quite lovely, but a bit pale for an IPA.
Smells fairly nice. Fair few hops in there but nothing really aromatic. Slight buttery malt and mild sticky nuttiness from the rye. Yeah, all the characters are check, but it could really use more. Certainly shouldn't be afraid of late-hopping.
Taste is very sticky and nutty. The rye is certainly pronounced here. Sticky with toffeed peanuts, chestnut and oat bran, then hops dominate the finish, really resiny and dank with a large hop oil character. Hint of floral pine and lemon seeps through but an almost ashy, astringent bitterness overall. Could freshen this up a bit and I really wouldn't mind.
Full enough body, quite well-textured. Yeah, not bad.
I feel it's a bit oversaturated here. To compensate for so much early-hopping and rye, the base malt should be amped up a fair bit. I'd also split the hops and add more later on in the process to add more aroma.
75 / 100
Rye IPA, tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Pours a very light golden colour, almost straw-coloured in the bodyâpeculiarly light for a beer with a hefty rye addition. Head is a combination of fine film, and large bubbles pocking it. Fine carbonation and whimsical lacing. Looks alright. I certainly thought it would be darker.
Nose is light, but bright. Some sharp citric characters give is a brisk cleanness, but it really lacks potency. No hint of the rye yet, but it's nice enough.
Taste is very nice. Pronounced bitterness, mellowed by a smooth nutty character. Crisp, slightly vegetative quality to the flavours, laced with a bit of spice from the rye. The lemon citrus comes through on the back, giving a clean touch to the finish. Feel is very clear and drinkable.
Very refreshing beer with some interesting characters. The bitterness wells up a bit after a while, you feel unnecessarily, but otherwise a pretty nice (but light) Rye IPA.
330ml twist-top bottle that unscrews with a violent pop. Vigorous carbonation causes an enormous frothy, but insubstantial head of off-white, topping a dark golden body. Light bodied, which means that the carbonation rips through it like nothing else. Not bad, overall.
Nose is mildly spicy, certainly with perceptible rye overtones. Slight whiff from the carbonation, but the bready, grainy rye note is at the fore. It's pretty mild otherwise, but pleasant enough, and I'm pleased the rye comes through.
Taste is similar, with a dry grainy character giving a dexterity and classiness to the palate, in the way of a good continental lager, for example. Slight twinge of savouriness on the back, with a mild spice and very faint acidity in the finish. Feel is smooth, but pummeled by the overt carbonation.
Drinkable but for the excessive carbonation, and it has a subtlety and sophistication to it. Although this beer isn't terribly exciting, it shows skill in its creation. It genuinely has enough interest and complexity to it that I'll keep my eye on Kaimai in the future.
Pours a really gorgeous deep mahogany-red colour, almost ruby when held to the light. Head is minimal, but forms in a fine film across the top of the brew. Pleasant ring of off-white around the edges of the glass. Very light body, and almost no visible lacing. Colour is gorgeous though, and that's worth something.
Nose is spicy and lightly tart, with a bready sourdough character from the rye. A hint of sharp piquant bite comes through, possibly from the hops, but also possibly from the rye, giving a thinness and a sharpness that really almost dominates the other characters. Not bad.
Flavour is really very light, with a big bite of thin spicy acidity, probably from the rye (it doesn't have the underlying fragrance or bitterness to be the hops), and an underlying buttery, almost pure diacetyl character. It's a sweetness that is off, and almost unpleasant. Feel is very light, and just accentuates the light, slightly acidic characters on the palate.
I don't know what it is, but there's something wrong about this to me. It really doesn't have a lot of pleasant characters, as it should. The characters it has are thin, weedy and not fully-fledged. I can't say I'm a fan.
60 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour, quite orangey. Head is jaundiced beige, no real retention, just a cloud on the top with some trails of lace that do stick around. Yeah, not bad at all, except for the head retention.
Smell is fairly fruity, kind of fresh with a distinct lemon citrus aroma and a metallic tinge as well. A bit empty, lacking malt mainly and it's most just light tart/hop notes.
Taste is better but still lacks body and substance on the palate. Grainy upfront with mild bready notes, touch of barley, rye and caramel that develops into lemony tart notes. Mildly 'off' with organic notes that are quite bitter but not completely full, and borders on metallic at the back. Slight chemical edge to all of it, and ultimately just lacking a bit.
Thin, watery feel, but smooth, without dryness. Could use more body.
Yeah, not huge on this, but some borderline enjoyable flavours.
Pours a russet-amber colour, slight dark tinge to it. Head is lacklustre with some nice trails of lace. Not much else to report.
Smell is sugary; nice and complex with malty toffee, raisins and sherry notes. Not hugely aromatic, but nice complex sweetness with a touch of hop resin for grounding.
Taste is a bit blarey; lots of malt on there with a huge flavour development, just earthy sweetness for the majority. Touch of toffee with figs and candied orange peel on there. Robust resinous hop late adds quite a bitterness that is almost phenolic in the way it dominates and subjugates the sweet palate. Not bad, but not a great synergy between the elements.
Not quite as full in the body as I expected given the nose, feels a little bit fizzy in the mouth.
Enjoyable beer, but just reminds me, really, of better beers in the same vein.
80 / 100
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in NYC, brought back to Sydney and opened with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a hazy reddish orange colour, with a crackling large bubbled head of yellow-white foam. Some speckled lacing, but minimal body. Some film across the top of the glass as well. Fine carbonation. Looks decent enough, but missing something.
Nose is sharp and slightly resiny, with plenty of earthy hops, much in the woody, almost ashy east coast style rather than the fruity, citric west coast style. Hints of rye come through with touches of sourdough bread and hefty dark malt. Pretty tasty.
Taste is very good, with a lovely balance between nutty grains, a touch more of that slightly sour bread character and a robust bitterness on the back, which lingers into a woody, resiny finish. It's all really well balanced, so at different points along the palate different elements stand up and make their presence felt.
Really nice beer, and big when it comes to flavour. Plenty of complexity to make it interesting, and nicely balanced. It could actually show off the rye a little bit more, but that also might make it more gimmicky, rather than having everything integrated as it is right now.
76 / 100
Purchased from Whole Foods Tribeca in NYC, brought back to Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a pretty thick reddish amber colour, with a fine cream of off-white interspersed with large clusters of bigger bubbles. Fine lace graces the sides of the glass. Carbonation is refined and streaming. Looks pretty good.
Nose is wonderful. Plenty of slightly spicy rye sourdough character, with lashings of bright American hops to give it a cleansing green bite. Fresh, but complex and just a little different. Lovely.
Taste is a lot more subdued, but here the light and thin rye character gets more of the spotlight, with a subtle raw organic character and a touch of sourness. This is balanced on a solid bready malt base and cleaned up with a dash of hop bitterness on the finish. Feel is a bit too light, I feel)it has all these lovely heavy malt and hop characters, but not a lot of foundation on which to base them.
A very drinkable and flavoursome brew, nonetheless. I really enjoy the prominent rye characters, which make it different enough to be recognisable, while the rest of the recipe is tempered to make it approachable and drinkable.
Had on-tap at The Gutter in Williamsburg. Somewhat misleadingly named the "Summer Rye Ale" on the board.
Pours a clear, lagery yellow colour, with a filmy and insubstantial head of white. Fine bubbling rushing up the sides of the glass, and some patchy lace forms as it goes down. Light body. Colour is bright at least, otherwise a bit unappealing.
Nose is yeasty and dirty. Big whiffs of earthy dust and an awful aroma that almost reminds me of Pride of Ringwood, that most hated of Australian hops. Very pongy.
Taste is extremely light and mild, until and earthy bready yeast character and lashings of metallic bile give an encore on the back-palate which genuinely conjures up Aussie macro lagers. Minimal rye character, with an aftertaste of rye crisps. On top of this, the feel is very light and lacking.
Urgh. It's cleaner than a lot of the worst Australian beers, and it's not actually vomitous to drink, but still, it's very light and bland, with some genuinely unpleasant characters. I might be being harsh just because it reminds me so much of the worst beers I know, but that's probably reason enough to mark it down.
60 / 100
Had on-tap at Toronado. The bartender almost spat in digust when he realised they had a Sam Adams beer on tap (I think his words were "I knew this place was going to shit").
Pours a deep amber hue, almost brown, and very clear. Good fine head of white. Looks very much like a standard draft beer, for want of a better description. Body is light, but holds the fine carbonation like jelly. Looks decent.
Grainy on the nose, mostly generic roasted characters, but there is a bit of that slightly sour rye character. It's subtle though, and you only look for it when you know it's there. Rather bland otherwise.
Taste is quite similar. A little sweetness, and a bit of rye bite with that touch of odd sourdough acidity. Minimal hop character, although the bite may just be laced with a hoppiness. Very dry finish, and the body is very light. Not bad, but not that exciting either.
Eh. It's not that bad, at least it's crisp and rather refreshing, but it doesn't have a lot to offer in terms of complexity or uniqueness.
56 / 100
Tried on tap at the Sydney Local Taphouse.
Pours a clear, deep golden colour, with a fine-bubbbled head of white creamy foam. No lacing, even as the head dissipates, and only a light body. Looks decent enough, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Lots of spicy characters on the nose that form a heady bouquet. Crushed lemon leaves, hints of white pepper, coriander root and a touch of anise. All the characters are spicy and sharp and very fragrant. Nice.
Taste is similar, but with minimal body to back it up. Lots of spice, those aniseed characters are prominent, with a bit of detergent acidity, citrus sharpness, and bite on the back. Feel is a bit overcarbonated, and it leads to a slightly bloating experience. The spice is biting and fresh, but there's almost nothing underneath it. Some sweetness would help immeasurably.
It's an interesting beer, but certainly missing depth. I'm not sure when I'd choose to drink this. The spice cuts the pure refreshment value, and the low body makes it less suitable as a hearty meal-like beer.
Maybe you just drink it for novelty. That's what I did.
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse Darlinghurst.
Pours a pale golden colour, mostly clear but a very light haze. Steady stream of carbonation up the middle. Head is off-white, sunk to a thin film with modest lacing left behind. Makes for an okay-looking rye beer. But just okay.
Smell is very spicey and woody. Lots of clove, mixed with nutmeg and oaky notes. Lots of vegetative character as well, with star anise and a touch of chocolate if you look for it! Pretty nice; rye grain seems a bit subdued under the spice though.
Taste is more rye-like. Fair flaxy note on the front with tart grain, gets very spicey on the mid with clove, nutmeg and a touch of paprika. Quite dry on the back with more woody characters, pine, star anise and oak with more nutmeg blended in. Yeah, finishes very dry and attenuated with a slight champagney sensation. Pretty decent, doesn't have the marvelous complexity of DDC's Route des épices, but nice sweet spice blend complemented by subtle rye tartness.
Good texture, light but silky body. Just a bit overdry at the back.
Yeah, doesn't go overboard with the spice so it's mild and enjoyable enough. Pretty tasty and clean beer.
71 / 100
I do like a good Rye beer -- and one brewed with peppercorns? Well that just sets off my novelty alarm. Let's go.
Pours a pleasant deep red-brown colour, with a coarse-bubbled head of off-white foam that almost has a greenish tinge to it. Lacing is a bit foamy and loose. Body looks pretty solid and heavy for a 5% beer. Pretty decent all up.
Yup, there's pepper all over the nose, freshly cracked corns of spice, overlaid on a rather sweet smelling malt-base. Certainly not much in the way of rye, although I generally find rye giving a slightly peppery overtone to the aroma of beers in any case. It's very pleasant -- the pepper, while obvious, is a nice touch.
Taste is pleasantly done. Here, the hops come forward to add a pleasant bitterness which mingles almost indistinguishably with the pepper character. Perhaps a hint of rye astringency comes forward too. Finish is very light and dry, just leaving the prickly pepper residuals to dance across the back. Quite a sharp ending, and the more you drink, the more pepper spice builds up on the back of the throat.
Still, it is as I expected, a very interesting brew, and one which is surprisingly approachable. The bite of the pepper becomes a bit much after a while, but it's quite the unique brew. Certainly something to look out for if you're after something a bit different.
Pours a red-tinged brown colour, slight cloud fluffing out the body. Head is huge, but sinking, as all heads must. Retains a marshmallowy pillow in the middle and leaves slight specks of lace. Yeah fantastic head, the rest is pretty good too.
Nose is quite sour, also quite musty. Fair amount of orange and lemon rind on there with a slight funk, hints of white wine vinegar and cherries. Touch of cranberry as well and maybe a slight detergent note. Definitely needs more sweetness, it doesn't quite have the deliciousness of a sour ale, but lacks balance otherwise.
Taste is fairly funkatarium, with lots of musty, mouldy character coming off it. Aspects of brie rind and lucerne on there as well as some spicy phenolic notes, with hints of carraway and cardamom. Fair red wine character late mid gets earthy with soil and that general flavour of decay. Not the most appealing palate I've experienced, it's dark and has a slightly dismal overtone to it. There's not much in here that is fresh or uplifting. Not that it's bad, it just doesn't make me happy, the way a great beer should.
Bit of tart sizzle towards the back gives it some textue. Has a body that can carry it off, but not a lot to it otherwise.
Yeah, overall this beer just strikes me as depressing, like an attic that's been shut up too long with no windows.
Sharing a bottle with @LaitueGonflable and @thescotdownunder which I brought back from California. Always love sharing beer with good friends.
Pours a deep red colour, very red, in fact, almost like black cherry juice, with a huge and frothy head of beige bubbles. Not much to the body, especially considering it's 8%. Head leaves little lacing. Love the colour, but I'm a little bemused at the rest of the appearance.
Not a huge amount on the nose, although there's a little acidity and a bit of grainy malt. As it warms a little, there are some odd bubblegum characters, along with some more sophisticated rye notes. But it's not an incredibly robust nose.
Taste is also a little lacklustre, quite a thin body, with overly bombastic carbonation, reasonably weak for the most part before a slight upturn in roasted malt and rye characters on the back. There's an odd acidity running through it, which may be put down to the rye. It's decent, but there's something a little uninspiring about it. Carbonation hurts the feel, and leaves it a little bloating.
I've had better rye beers, and better beers in general. This is just a little too flat, a little too devoid of character to be truly inspiring. Drinkable enough, and the 8% is well hidden, but I was hoping for something much better.
87 / 100
Pours a rude ruby colour, with great beige head, visible bubbles, but nicely fluffy on top. Body is clear, showing steady thin bead, while head sinks slowly, leaving some nice - but thin - trails of lace around. Pretty damned nice.
Pleasant nose. Quite sour with that definitely-tart-but-beer character. Not sour like a lambic but that tart gristy grain character. The peppercorns definitely hit you on there, green and mildly spicy with a nice piquancy, a slight briney note to the spice, also kind of chilli-esque. Very intriguing, but also very pleasant.
Taste begins largely malty with a fair caramel and barley grain flavour on the front-to-mid, just a slight acidity from the rye that becomes more prominent towards the back. Some slight cocoa notes and vanilla sweetness takes us through to the finish. Now the main event - the pepper. Starts late-mid and complements the slight gherkiny tartness wonderfully, then gives a noticeable peppery bite right at the end that remains as a slight heat, just pleasantly spicy. This is my kind of beer; I love that spice sensation, and the rye gives it a great bite that really develops the palate well toward that end. Great and interesting flavours, used well, balanced, very enjoyable beer.
The mouthfeel is moderate, and sadly a little flat. Most of the sensations are that spice at the end - which I enjoy, but it could use a little more body and a little bit more sparkle from carbonation.
A bold flavour like this I can imagine putting people off, but I am a spicehead and it's just a hugely enjoyable, unusual sensation to me. I just love this beer to bits and could drink it all night.
Deep orange hue, clear in the body with slow, steady bead feeding a good thick head - make that great, with dense foam all around, sinks like whipped egg-white and leaves gorgeous streams of beige lace around the glass. A superb-looking beer.
Nose is nicely hopped, a lot of sweet fruity notes on there with floral hop cones, lemon, pineapple and pawpaw providing subtle esters. A nice malty backbone with caramel-like aromas, walnuts and a slight spicy ethyl alcohol scent as well. Decent-smeller, could use more hop - it's a bit sweet methinks.
Taste is a lot hoppier, and richer for the most part, than the nose. Starts off floral, quite fruity and sweet with lemon and lime tang, then gets quite bitter, earthy, almost acerbic with notes of peat smoke, soil and more walnuts. This joins up with a rich toffee malty flavour which emerges at the end, together with a bitter citrus peel kind of flavour, and some phenolic mediciney characters. Hint of alcomohol but not much, just get a sense of strength as it goes down. Quite tasty but not hugely so.
A bit thin on the feel, really, and fizzy in the mouth, then leaves very dry. Quite lagery in fact which is not quite suited to the heavier flavour.
A pleasant beer but not a fantastic one. Lacking in key areas for quaffing, namely texture and finish.
76 / 100
Pours a slightly cloudy deep reddish bronze colour, with a thick and pleasant head of egg-shell off-white foam. Lacing is exceptional, and though the head becomes rocky with bubbling, it stays pretty steady throughout. The colour is particularly good. I have to say I'm pretty impressed all up.
Nose is prickled with light gritty hops, over a rich, grainy base note. Some fruit esters from the hops come through, and the hop varietals really strike me as East Coast as opposed to West Coast. It's balanced, but it feels a little confusing, and the treacle notes of sweetness are perhaps slightly too prominent. That's speaking as though this were an IPA which it resembles in many respects - for the style, perhaps it sits nicely.
Taste is really good - the sweetness is muted, and we just have a tight but clear tussle between the dry grain notes and the vegetative hop bitterness. Feels smooth in the body, but surprisingly thin, leaving a note of refreshment on the palate. A bit of spice on the back completes the package. It's not tremendously complex, but it really pleasantly evokes American Craft brewing for me. Very nice.
Extremely drinkable, crisp and smooth, and hiding its alcohol very well. Feels rather akin to a good pilsener - the sharp hop note and the slight spice, the lack of sweetness, the crispness. It all adds up to a beer that goes down easily, bringing enjoyment on the way.
Pours a pale golden colour with beige head, medium-thick but retaining well. Made of small bubbles and leaves gorgeous lace behind. Body is still, but with a nice haziness to it. Not sure if it's exemplary for the style - as I'm not au fait with the style - but looks very good as a beer.
Nose is very hoppy. Lots of passionfruit seed, some pineapple, citrus and guava on there. Yeah, lots of fruit. Some notes of cakey malt behind, but not much complexity. Smells very bitter, possibly too much. Fruit is there but it's obviously hoppy fruit, needs more malt to balance it.
Taste is interesting. Notes of steamed pudding on the front that pervades through to the back. Slight musk on there and marshmallow notes. Fair starchiness in the malt. Hoppiness is prominent from just beyond the start, very floral and slightly piney, but not too bitter. Has a harsh resiny hit on the mid and finishes almost vinous, with a distinct woody character, quite fresh. Definite passionfruit note and some bread dough late. Definitely IPA-esque, but a real crisp lager character to it as well. Finish trails off a bit, but overall interestingly tangy.
Mouthfeel is dry on the back, a bit harsh for the most part. Not a big fan.
Not the best beer I've had, but certainly holds its own.
79 / 100
Pours a very light, slightly cloudy yellow colour, slightly burnished at the edges, with a very full, heavy and frothy head of white foam. I was expecting something darker from a rye beer, but only having had two before, I'm not sure I've got a lot to judge it on. Lacing is superb though, and the head in general is excellent, so overall it's a very nice looking beer. Just not what I was expecting. But everything straight this is a really excellent looking beer.
Light lagery hops on the nose. Quite sharp and clean, with some metallic notes and a good cleanliness that strikes through crisp and clear. Really, it's a very sharp but pure pils-style nose. Nothing cloying, sweet or heavy about it. Very nice.
Taste is also very clean and crisp, with an excellent straight push of light bitter hoppiness through the centre of the palate. Perhaps a slight tingle of spice around the edges, some phenols on the back, and a long, slightly dry, but refreshingly crisp and bitter finish. Mouthfeel is clean, but with almost no hint of carbonation.
This is an exceptionally clean and very drinkable beer. I'm very surprised, considering the style, but it presents itself like a really clean, crisp and exceptionally flavoursome lager, even though it's not. But there's a lot to like about that style, and this beer and its interpretation thereof. To be honest, I found this amazingly drinkable, crisp, refreshing and enjoyable. I'm a big fan.