English Stout
58th highest rated style (of 102)
Highest RatedTitanic Stout (84 / 100) Average score63 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedBlack (19 / 100) Number Tried66
Toowoomba
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 19.05.18 on tap
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Lamington-inspired stout, tried at the Catfish Fitzroy following the Saturday evening session of GABS.

Pours a dark brown, some big beige bubbles on the top. Sticks around without being really impressive or indicative of anything really impressive. Looks alright.

Smells a little boozey. Choc w hint of cherry; not much coconut. Ultimately a bit lacklustre actually, not much to it sweetness wise or lamington wise.

Taste is also a bit bland. Mild dark malt mostly giving a faint hint of chocolate just by virtue of not being very roasty. Hint of cherry on it. Hint of ethanol booziness on the back as well. Bit of simplified fermentation and not much nuance around the edges. Mildly sweet and OK but doesn't live up to its promise from its premise.

Smooth mostly, touch of rough texture on the back. Not amazing.

Drinks fine but it promised so much more than 'fine', just a bit more of the cherry or coconut and I'd be far more on board.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
Pikes Genuine Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.12.17 in bottle
Overall:
58 / 100
(Decent)
Day 14 of my #fletchmas Advent Calendar 2017.

Pours a dark brown, the colour of cold drip coffee. Yeah I'm that much of a hipster I use cold drip coffee in my mo'erfuckin similes. I thought there was some head when poured but fuck me if there's any now. At all. Or lacing. Weak. Looks like the sort of beer that should have fuckgasms of head and there's none. Fuck you, head. Colour's nice but otherwise nothing at all.

Smells decent; chocolatey, caroby really with a bland, slightly fruity dark sweetness with molasses as well. Hint of coffee spice, dark fruit and a slightly sweaty, salty aroma as well. Yeah, just a little off, in that it's a bit sweet and also a bit savoury, but overall has the hallmarks of a good dark beer.

Taste is better. Starts with that dark malty sweetness, some caramel and dark fruit characters that develops a molasses stickiness towards the mid. Roasty notes come through in good time to save it, with some bitter roasted coffee beans, and a light dryness towards the back where it actually thins out a bit. Body doesn't help because it is quite light on the tongue and also flat, uncarbonated. Touch savoury on the very back, maybe slightly peppery as well. Decent flavours but doesn't have much punch, as well as having a couple of odd notes.

Drinkable enough; not hugely impressive because it doesn't entirely make sense, but also doesn't really hold together in this balanced, quaffable package. But decent.
appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Dead Dog Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.12.16 from a can
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Beer number 15 in my 2016 Advent Calendar from the Beer Crate, and a welcome addition of a dark beer into the mix. Conveniently on the day when it suddenly dropped from 39 to 19 in Sydney. Reviewed blind.

Pours a dark brown colour, with flashes of red up to the light. Head is gorgeous – darkish beige, foamy and retaining a good three fingers thick. Some trails of lace left behind and sinking very slowly in marshmallowy clumps. Not just because of all the pale beers I’ve had, but it just looks excellent.

Smells burnt and roasty. Strong espresso spice with a good belt of sweet dark chocolate as well. Maybe leans a touch into over-roasted kind of charry territory and there’s a slight dark fruit character on there as well, maybe slightly vinous. Pretty appealing aroma.

Tastes similar. Largely roasty, with plenty of dark chocolate on there – loads of it really, with a creamy mid-palate and roasty front and back. Quite bitter upfront with a roasted espresso note, and then the finish has mild hop notes to clean it up a bit but leans fairly heavily on the hop oils combining with that roasted malt back to create a bitter, but moderately short finish. Could linger a little bit longer, as it’s quite nice with the sweet mid-palate merging into that bitterness and it could just stick around that bit more.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, but not seamless – there’s a bit of bite probably from the hop bitterness that just gives it a bit of a rough texture as it goes down. Otherwise pretty good.

A relief from all the pale monotony in this advent calendar, and a pretty tasty dark beer at that. It retains a nice dark bitterness at the same time as having a good chocolatey undertone, and is ideally matched for a day when Summer suddenly disappeared for the day.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Double Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 31.05.16 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
500ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria. Served at a fairly chilly Sydney winter room temperature.

Pours a pleasant ebony brown colour, with a coarse-bubbled, cola-coloured head that sinks to a persistent, but persistently-coarse film. Excellent lacing forms in creamy swirls and streaks. Body is fairly light, and the carbonation is swift as a result, but it's also quite fine. I can imagine it would be very fine on cask.

Nose is slightly dusty, with a lilting undercurrent of vanilla and cream. There's some sharper stuff in there as well, maybe a touch of aniseed and acetone. It's nice though, and once some of the overt carbonation blows off, it does have that smooth richness that you might get from a cask ale.

Taste is smooth in the base, but accentuated with a dry, sharp roasted note, almost trending towards burnt or ashy. It's only subtle, though, but it highlights the fact that there's very little in the way of mid-palate—it's certainly far from sweet, and there's no complex malts through the centre. It's smooth and mild underneath, with that biting character on the top. That's it.

Feel is actually pretty good. It could use a good hand-pump, natural note to it, but it's close to as good as you get from a bottle at this weight.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. It's classically English in style, and does the right things to highlight that fact. My issues with it are more issues with the style in general rather than issues with this particular beer. As it stands, it's really very good.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 16.02.16 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
On tap at Micro Bar in Reykjavik, October 2015.

Pours a dark coffee colour. Head is beige, mocha even. Dense and crema-esque with some bubbles appearing on the top, and it sticks like glue to the glass. Looks gorgeous.

Smells like coffee too. Roasty, burnt and bitter with a touch of sweet chocolate and maybe some complex spice. Vanilla is big as well. Not bad at all.

Taste is somewhat bitter, with some light roasty notes that thin out midway, typically dry stout-esque. Retains some espresso, light spice notes and mellow roasty bitterness, to finish with some unsweetened chocolate flavour. Nice drop, but I just love more oomph in my stouts, and would particularly love more of a linger on the finish here.

Smooth, fairly substantial body. Finishes with a little spike.

Decent stout with good, roasty bitterness. I'd just happily have it amped up in the flavour stakes and would just chug this.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Dark Side
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.11.15 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle drunk with dinner at some Italian place on Tottenham Court Road, I think.

Pours a dark mahogany colour. Head is off-white, just a rim of small bubbles around the edge. Settles out OK, looks a bit thin overall but good.

Smells chocolatey, cocoa. Touch of fruit - subtle raspberry, with vanilla and chocolate grain. Maybe could use some more roasty character. But otherwise very nice.

Taste is roasty, light bodied and not very substantial. As a result the flavour is somewhat sweet, chocolate grainy. Some light herbal hops towards the back, gives a decent mild bitterness for a stout. Clean, touch of spice on the very back. Clean drinking English stout; quite decent but somewhat plain.

A touch fizzy, feels a little thin.

Mild stout. I like my stouts with a bit more oomph. It's not quite dry enough for a dry stout but just feels a little thin otherwise. Nice and drinkable though.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Titanic Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.11.15 on nitro tap
Overall:
84 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours a dark brown, slight reddish tint. Nice creamy nitro head of light beige foam, sticking around nicely. Could be a touch darker maybe but I do love a good nitro pour.

Smells sweet and pleasant. Nice and chocolatey: cocoa nibs with caramel and vanilla. Touch of bitterness at the back but otherwise just smells yum; slightly subdued maybe.

Taste is stouty, dry. Lovely chocolate flavour through the middle though, which glides the dryness of the stout down. It's a little bitter at the front, then the unsweetened cocoa-rich chocolate mid, and finishes clean and dry like a 4.5% stout ought to do. Touch of coffee bitterness that lingers after the finish but not overly strong, just a reminder of what was. And what was, was a lovely beer.

Nitro pour gives it a smooth texture but there's a nice lift from the hops at the back, allowing it not to be overly creamy.

Cracking dry stout. I feel like an Aussie drinking stout from the source for the first time. Because that's effectively what I am.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Black Gold Scottish Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 15.07.15 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
500ml brown bottle purchased in the UK by my Dad. Shared with him and Sam.

Pours a deep light chocolate brown, with a coarse but fluffy head of pale beige. Lacing forms lovely long streaks. Body is fairly light and clean, and the carbonation, while fine is still pretty rapid through the glass. Looks decent.

Nose is pleasant enough. Mild toastiness creates some richness, while a little thin underlying vanilla character gives it some weight. It does have a little bit of levity though that stops it from being really full and interesting. It's not bad though.

Taste is also solid. It's still a little thin and light, but there's some genuine interest under it. Mild toastiness gives it some character, and ephemeral notes of smoke and minerals give it a bit of idiosyncrasy. The back is pretty thin and dull though.

Feel is thin and light—it's its greatest flaw to be honest.

Overall, it's OK. It's not great for the style, or even on it's own terms, but there is enough interest there that I'm attentive at least.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Black Gold Scottish Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 14.07.15 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle brought back from Scotland by Father.

Pours a dark cola colour, clear with tan head. Sinks to a rim of bubbles, but nice dense revival. Lace could be better. OK.

Smells big and vanilla. Caramel is big, slightly buttery. Nutty, sweet, desserty. Touch of coconut. Pleasant.

Tastes somewhat dark, mild - doesn't really have the sweetness from the nose. Mild roastiness and some nutty characters. A touch of vanilla late maybe, and fairly dry on the finish. Clean, with a big of roasty strength. Not bad.

A little bit thin, somewhat dry on the back. Decent for style.

Nothing offensive, but the nose promised some more sweetness whose absence on the palate leaves me a bit disappointed.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Oyster Stout (Brewer's Cut No. 13)
Reviewed by Jez on 19.04.15 from cask
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Tried on cask at Craft Pride in Austin, TX.

Pours an oily black colour that looks opaque but actually shows up clear at the edges. Body is solid and slick, with a mocha-brown crest from the cask that settles into a tight ring. Dry, intricate cask-style lace forms from the top down. Looks great.

Nose is solid and toasty with a slight mineral quality to it. But it's smooth as well—not so much the chocolate sweetness you often get with stouts; this one is more to do with the deeper malts, with an almost English/Maris Otter quality to the body. It's cut somewhat by a slight greenness or perhaps a salty sharpness from the oysters. It's pretty robust stuff.

Pleasant smooth, mild entry on the palate with a backing light cold-press coffee that doesn't stay sharp for long. Instead, it turns into a slightly toasted but rounded smoothness in the mid-palate, laced with a hint of dark berries. The back is a clean dive into a drier high-cocoa chocolate bitterness (finally, we say, a little chocolate!). Finish and aftertaste is very smooth—there's no harshness or bitterness at all, just a long soft diminuendo.

And of course the feel from the cask is excellent.

Yeah, this is an easy beer. Smooth, drinkable and very nice. It really like it a lot. If you see it to try it, I encourage it—if you see it on cask, I demand it.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.25
Black Perle
Reviewed by Jez on 08.03.15 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
500ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.

Fills my pint glass nicely, with a silky deep black-brown and a lovely fine head of mocha that stays persistently except that which leaves some really good English lace. Body actually is quite light and fluid when it comes down to it, and the carbonation is quite swift when the beer is tilted. Still looks pretty good—a nice English look to it.

Nose is very pleasant. Roast is quite high, both from dark malts and a lifting coffee aroma. Under it is a distinct smoothness—not genuinely sweet, but probably a more slick, silky quality from the lactose. As it warms, there's a slight savoury note that comes through as well, giving a mild saltiness or even a touch of umami. It's all very pleasant.

It's also really good on the palate. Here, there is a persistent chocolate structure to the malts, giving it some pleasant smoothness and the suggestion of sweetness on which the other characters can be layered. The coffee here gives it a lilting quality of berry fruits, aromatic and fragrant. Back is smooth with the milky lactose sweetness, but it's not cloying—there's a distinct dry roast bitterness on the back to cap it off. It's a really well-designed and executed palate.

Feel is really good for the ABV, and for the fact that it's in bottles. It has a smoothness and a slickness, and a wonderfully subdued fine carbonation.

Overall, this is so complex and rich for its 3.8% ABV. I'm not convinced I've ever had a beer with this richness and quality at such a sessionable strength. This is quality stuff—and the sort of beer I'd deeply love to session off a cask sometime.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.5
Fuller's Black Cab Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.12.14 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark brown with red tinge. Head is beige, small bubbles; not great retention but nice lace. Could be darker, but nice.

Smells pleasant. Nutty, almost salty at first, with a touch of oak and a touch of smoke. Roast is subtle, overall it smells sweet, oddly salty. Pleasant.

Taste is a bit dry, and somewhat bland. Doesn't have a lot of character to it, just mild roastiness, again a slightly savoury flavour with cracker note. Residual grain; some mild spice on the back and a touch more toastiness. Not too much to it, but not bad; fairly drinkable dark beer.

Bit thin, and watery on the body. Doesn't leave with much.

Not bad but a little underwhelming. Still, like I said, drinkable.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Fuller's Black Cab Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 01.12.14 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
500ml bottle purchased from Beer Cartel by Rich, who served it to me and Sam blind.

Pours a lovely 8-ball black, deep in colour and tone. Head is lighter, though, forming a film of large meshed bubbles across the top of the glass. Some patchy lace forms when tilted, along with some fine carbonation, despite the fact that the body is surprisingly light. Looks pretty nice.

Nose is pleasant. Light toasty notes, mingled with a slight smoky character. Some soft, mild sweetness like vanilla comes through a little as well, which is very nice. There's even a very vague suggestion of pepper, which works well. It is, overall, a little light, but the flavours it has are lovely, and are well-integrated. I like it.

Taste is lighter, but still with a richness to it. Smooth, milky stout characters come through, again a bit more vanilla, and a thin cast of toast across the top. The back is disappointingly empty, and it means that the beer seems to run out of steam quickly. There are certainly some nice flavours to it, but it feels like it runs out of ideas.

Feel is light, but with a slickness that would support more complexity. So it just makes me crave a bit more complexity.

Overall, it's decent enough. Solid and flavoursome, but it feels like there's a lot of potential there that's just not realised.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Double Espresso
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a dark brown colour, somewhat listless, with ochre bubbles forming a slim head on top. Some tiny specks of lace but not much. OK.

Smells interesting and very pleasant. Pungent, sweet oaky notes giving buttery caramel, vanilla, plus an unexpected belt of chipotle, or generic smoky heat at the back. Cinnamon and nutmeg as well. Great blend, I could smell it all night.

Taste is a little sour upfront, then spreads out into similar territory. Oaky notes throughout with cinnamon, vanilla and plenty of nutty caramel toffee. Some earthy spice and a touch of bitterness late, slightly vegetative note of chilli but no heat. Some of that heat could really bring this to life. Still has a slight roughness to the back. Don't get much coffee on it at all, but I do like it a lot.

Little thin, has a slight bittiness late-mid and gentle spice on the back.

Like this a lot, but I'm torn because I don't get a big coffee character from it. Beers that have a big coffee character I tend to like less though. Flavours here could pop out a bit more, but it's still loads of fun and well-balanced.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Double Espresso
Reviewed by Jez on 08.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml brown bottle shared with Rich and Sam on a brew day. I've lost all memory and record of where I got this from.

Pours a pleasing mild chocolate brown colour, with a light head of pocked bubbles that form a fairly steady ring. Lots of minor specks of lace across the side of the glass. Carbonation is very fine and restrained. Body is a little light, especially given it's a bit on the heavy side for a standard stout. Otherwise, though, it looks pretty good.

Nose is quite pleasant, with the coffee characters coming through quite robustly, and leaving a pleasant sweet coffee character like espresso-soaked savoiardi biscuits. INdeed, there's something of the coffee-heavy sweetness of tiramisu to the aroma. It's very pleasant, if somewhat one-note.

Taste is similar, although the lack of body here makes it seem less full and sweet. But the coffee character is still pleasant, with a rounded quality that truncates its bitterness. Mild biscuity characters come through along with a muted sweet alcohol hint on the back, a little like amaretto. It is actually quite nicely balanced.

Feel is definitely thin, but it doesn't overall harm the flavour of the beer, which is a good sign.

But this is certainly a very decent beer. The coffee character is utilised well, and while it doesn't perhaps do something really creative with it, the beer does manage to showcase the espresso of its name rather well.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 04.05.14 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
12oz brown bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Made with Rappahannock River Oysters according to the label, with proceeds benefiting the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration project.

Pours a deep brown, opaque either with haze or colour, with a fairly fine head of beige that settles out to a bubbly ring. Body is fairly fluid, but with a little weight behind it. Carbonation is fine but very rapid in its movement. Looks decent enough.

Nose is toasty with mid-level malts, giving a mild, English-style sweetness to it. Hazelnut characters come through along with a little cocoa and an undertone of coffee. It's fairly mild besides this, but it's certainly quite pleasant.

Taste is also pleasant, without being particularly bold or exciting. Solid fine dark malt basis gives it hints of dark chocolate and roast, while the body remains thin. This gives it a refreshing quality, which helps the drinkability of the beer, but doesn't necessarily gel that well with the flavours. Slight saltiness on the back is maybe the only touch of the oysters, otherwise they're absent as is typical.

Overall, it's solid stuff. It's not going to blows off your socks, but it's a decent beer made with skill and good execution.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Perle Ai Porci
Reviewed by Jez on 12.04.14 on tap
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Tried on handpump at Bir & Fud in Rome. This is an oyster stout, hence the "pearls" reference in the name.

Pours a solid, oily black colour, opaque with haze. Carbonation forms in a cloudy crest forming up to a frothy, persistent, pale-brown head. Lacing forms in patches and specks. Body is solid. Looks really good.

Toasty, nutty malt on the nose, but a little subdued. Some slight savoury characters come through with a little BBQ and saltiness. Some tannin comes through as well with a sharp wine sediment character. Overall, it's fairly light, but purposeful.

Light and frothy on the palate, some characters like milky coffee. Slight caramel tones come through, but not the true sweetness. The roast builds towards the mid and back, along with a red apple skin note. Finish is slightly medicinal or mineral like flint. Coffee lingers in the aftertaste.

Feel is smooth, frothy and light. Very nice.

Overall, this is a really solid, very easy-to-drink stout. The handpump really brought it out in its best light I think. It's a really cracking brew.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.25
BK
Reviewed by Jez on 06.04.14 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried from a 75cl bottle at Cipolla Rossa in Firenze.

Pours a deep brown colour, with reddish hints, and solid hazing that makes it opaque at the more dense parts. Body is solid, without much carbonation. It's all worked up into the head, which is foamy beige on the pour, but sticks it out with a frothy persistence. Lacing is intricate. Looks good.

Toasty, malty and rich on the nose, with a fragrance to lift it beyond the ordinary. Slight savoury tones add an umami mystery to the mix. There's lots going on here, and the aroma is big—it hits you right from the start and it's very exciting.

Relatively light entry o the palate, with some light spicy malt characters and a suggestion of roast. This leads to a solid, more approachable mid-palate, filled with clean brown malt and a fragrant yeast character, almost giving it Belgian tones and some fruitiness. The back drops out quite suddenly. This makes it rather clean on the finish at least and aids the drinkability, but there was the space to go big and bold here.

Feel is a little flat, but it's not bad, and certainly not out of place in a beer like this.

Overall, it's a really solid, very drinkable and very enjoyable beer. The malt character in the beer is really well constructed, and there's lots to enjoy. Certainly something I'd try again.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.25
Black Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 29.01.14 in bottle
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
330ml bottle shared with me by @LaitueGonflable.

Pours brown—definitely brown—and very hazed, which makes it seem darker. Body has a touch of weight to it, and allows fine streams of carbonation to permeate. Head is thin but fine, and beige in hue. Lace forms in fine specks. Looks decent enough.

Nose has a slight nuttiness to it: a bit of brown bread, some flowery hops making an appearance and an odd sweetness like marshmallow. Actually, overall it's a touch sweeter than I expected, but it still finds a sense of balance and order.

Very light entry on the palate, with almost no initial flavour. It's not until the mid-palate that I start to get some of the darker notes, with a touch of toastiness and a hint of aniseed. Subdued roast on the back, a little sudsy and some butter nut. Aftertaste is clean, but with a subtle clinging bitterness. Feel is rather light, but it's not bad overall.

Overall, this is fine from a drinkability standpoint. I think it's the best of the Prancing Pony lot that I tried. It's still a little bit generic and uninspired, but it certainly has some character, and it certainly has *more* character than some of their others.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
Black Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.09.13 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Not really sure how to classify this one, so feel free to update and correct.

Pours a dark-brown rather than black. Head is beige, bit thin but nice revival with a swill. Looks pretty decent.

Smells a bit pungent and funky. Bit burnt, bit peppery, but a noticeable petroleum kind of character as well. Caramel malt underlying; OK.

Tastes decent, actually. Fair chocolatey malt, bit of cocoa and a touch of light toast. Hint of peppery spice and herbal notes, some fennel and dill towards the back.

Smooth, full, nice body.

Bit confused as a black. Kind of sweet, some more malt would be nice. Kind of dark but kind of not, as well.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Paddy's Tout
Reviewed by Jez on 31.08.13 in bottle
Overall:
45 / 100
(Not Great)
500ml brown bottle purchased form Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.

Pours a rather clear reddish black, far from being truly dark or opaque. Head forms a full crest of off-white to begin with, but then becomes rather filmy after depositing some splodges of lace. Fine carbonation, extremely light body.

Nose is sweet with cereal grains, weetbix, and a dull dusty chocolate character. Sickly caramel comes through as well, all creating a sense of fullness without actually providing anything dark to counterbalance it. The cereal character also confusingly makes it seem quite empty: as though it's big and round, but devoid of richness or purpose. Unimpressed.

Taste is not much better. Sweet cereal characters through most of it, only saved by a dry dark character on the finish. This creates a dark chocolate and roast character to punctuate the end of the beer, but for the most part it has that leeringly sweet, but lacklustre, empty character that was prevalent on the nose.

Feel is woefully thin for a stout. I'm sure it would be better pulled from a hand-pump, but in the bottle it's just limp, dry and empty.

Overall, this is a damn average beer. It has some decent things to it, but all of the stout characteristics seem phoned it, like they don't care about the style at all. There are much, much better low ABV stouts out there.

appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 2.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 3.0
DarkNESS
Reviewed by Jez on 14.08.13 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
500ml bottle purchased from the brewery for my by my dad. Shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a pleasant, oily black, with a fitful, but reasonable head of mocha-beige. Lacing is great, forming persistently wherever it moves. Body is solid, even for its 4.1% ABV. Fine carbonation. Looks good.

Dark, cocoa-rich chocolate, with a pleasant floral rose overtone on the nose. Hint of smokiness to it to give it a dab of added complexity. Very chocolate-heavy though, giving it a rich sweet fullness. It's extremely pleasant.

Taste is also very good. Rich, pleasant sweetness, more of that wonderful chocolate character laced with a brittle smoky or char roasted flavour around the edges. The body is still smooth, but light from its low volume. This means despite the depth of flavour, it's extremely drinkable.

Feel is smooth and undoubtedly light, but with a fullness to supply everything the body needs.

This was a really good beer: I didn't expect it to be quite as good as this. The richness that comes despite the sessionability is almost alchemical. It's smooth and sweet in flavour but light and drinkable despite this. Really wonderful stuff.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.25
Young Henry's Mother Shucka
Reviewed by Jez on 01.07.13 on tap
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Had on hand pump at the Royal Albert Hotel in Sydney. This is an oyster stout.

Pours a deep brown colour, relatively opaque but with a rather thin body. Fluffy, large-bubbled head of beige that froths from the pump at pour but then crackles its way out of existence. Fine, but almost no carbonation: about what you expect. Lace forms in specks.

Brown bread noticeable on the nose, a bit savoury, but wholesome and grainy. Rounded stout characters with a dusty savoury note that reminds me of miso. Roasted characters are there, though, with a flat filter coffee aroma.

Taste is a little better and more integrated. Rounded stout characters give a muted sweetness and a savoury roast character, while more brown bread comes through mid-palate. Slight hint of pancake towards the finish, although there's certainly less of the lip-smacking savoury character I've had from other oyster stouts.

Feel is pleasant from the hand-pump, as expected.

Drinkable and nice. I like the smoothness, I like the stout. The oysters have some presence (and could use maybe a touch more). Overall, this is a tasty drop from the YH guys.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Nail Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 01.07.13 on tap
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
On-tap at Harts Pub in Sydney.

Pours a deep brown colour, lighter at the edges, but mostly consisting of a solid, heavy colour. Fine head forms a foamy, musky brown crest that leaves some middling but decent enough lacing. Looks like a solid, dependable stout: decent and tasty. Like it should.

Nose is relatively bland, but fine. There's nothing wrong with it: it's standard stout material. Fine, light dusty roasted characters, a little vegemite and a slight butyric suggestion (that is so faint I'm pretty sure it's not actually butyric acid). Quite restrained otherwise.

Taste is lovely. Toasty malt with a mild sweet uptilt and roast to balance it. Exceptionally smooth. Some char towards the back, but restrained, and just a hint of some banana esters coming through. It's all very nicely kept in balance, whatever is happening.

Feel is a little light, but that just aids the drinkability and sessionability.

And sessionable it is: this is a lovely, relatively lightweight stout. We need more sessionable, easy-drinking dark beers, and this is a good one. I like it a lot.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.5
Mash Kofee Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 22.12.12 on tap
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a reddish brown colour, slightly lighter than I'd expect from a stout. Tan head, large bubbles, retains OK. Not bad.

A little bit sweet on the nose, but plenty of roasty spice as well. Coffee comes through quite strongly. Not bad again.

More coffee on the palate, but tastes a little watered-down. Slight roast but lacks the robustness of a really decent espresso. Slight spice, but not a lot. A little bit bland, sadly, but drinkable enough.

A bit thin on the body, but works fairly nicely with the flavours.

I'm not generally a big fan of coffee stouts, and this is no real exception. Lacks the complexities that can make the difference between a beer with coffee in it and something that really accentuates both coffee and stout notes to become greater than the sum of its parts.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Southern Clam Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 09.12.12 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Marked with "Hint of the briny" and "Warning: Product contains shellfish", you're left in little doubt that this does indeed contain its eponymous clams.

Uncaps with a weird pop, not the standard hiss of released CO2. The beer looks great, however, a deep solid dark brown, with a fine, creamy and relatively dark mocha head. Light, fluid body holds fine carbonation, suggesting a little more depth. Some fine, sheeting carbonation. Looks good.

Nose is pleasantly smooth and roasted, but sharpened with a little spice and a lick of salt. There's something fresh and organic about it, almost a pine-forest aroma. The smooth, dark and slightly sweet malt character gives it a solid basis, however, meaning it stays true to its roots as a stout, while having some interesting curves along the way.

Taste is, on the surface, a pleasant roasty stout, but again there are kinks in the façade.
Slightly spicy, bitter aniseed overtones come through, as does more of that slick pine, or green organic character. I guess it's easy to put that down to the clams once you see the label, but it's not necessarily that flavour in itself. Some sweet apricot or stonefruit characters appear a little when it's warmer. Smooth finish, lengthened by some of those slightly organic, perhaps salty tones, which give the fading flavours a little kick to keep them awake.

Feel is rather light, but smooth, and with a perfect amount of weight to match the flavours of the beer.

Overall, this is impressive stuff. Really solidly made and beautifully, balanced, within style and yet with some interesting quirks to make you sit up and take notice. Great beer from a great brewery.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Black
Reviewed by Jez on 29.09.12 in bottle
Overall:
19 / 100
(Awful)
Bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable. It's a weirdly stubby little bottle, with almost no information on the label (well, not in English anyway).

Pour is actually pretty pleasant, a truly deep black colour, with a frothy mocha-brown head that settles to a large-bubbled pancake. Body is thicker than I expected, and holds some fine carbonation. Overall, it's a pretty decent looking brew.

Nose is also decent, if a little thin: dark roasted characters on the nose along with a slightly deeper, almost smoky character. There's also a very faint suggestion of sweetness, but it's melded with a slightly off-putting vegetative character. It's not enough to ruin it, and it still smells reasonably good overall.

Dear god, though, everything that was good up to this point gets steamrolled on the palate. Here, we're left with a truly ashy emptiness and a rather horrific empty aniseed character that tastes like Xmas liquorice allsorts from last year. Mostly, the palate is empty, but there's a lingering harsh bitterness on the back like the worst moonshined raki. Really awful: truly, truly offensive.

Feel is also abominable: empty and thin, with a kick at the back that makes me want to upchuck it immediately.

Overall, this is not the worst beer I've ever had. Indeed, the fact that it has a modicum of true flavour is something in its favour whatever that flavour happens to be. Unfortunately for this beer, its flavour is offensive in the extreme, and putting it to my lips is much more chore than pleasure.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 1.0 | feel: 1.0 | drinkability: 1.5
Mash Kofee Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 05.08.12 on tap
Overall:
49 / 100
(Not Great)
Had on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.

Pours a brownish black hue with a very thin, light body and no depth or haze to it. Head? No head. None at all, not even a slight bubbling at the edges. Looks very insipid.

Weirdly dull aroma as well. Some unpleasant woody PoR characters and a hint of something plasticky. There's noticeable roast, but there's almost nothing to it underneath. Very weak.

Very empty entry on the palate which continues with a weak, slightly watery mid-palate. The only real character comes at the end, with some coffee coming up to give a slight roasted finish. Feel is extremely light.

It's clean enough, and probably drinkable. But I'd probably get so bored drinking it that I'd fall asleep at the bar, fall off my stool and smash my head on the ground. Do you really want that on your conscience, Mash?

appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Brains Black
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.11.11 from a nitro can
Overall:
40 / 100
(Not Great)
Pours a very dark brown, almost black, colour. Head is creamy and dense with nice sticky lace. Looks nice.

Smells kind of banana-esque with a sweet grain nose mostly, but hints of fruit esters as well - banana yes, but also apple pear and sultanas. Hint of brown sugar as well; really could do with more dark or roasty aroma. Bit meh.

Taste is a little better. First impression is more very bland English ale stylings with that bland, slightly fruity grain note. Gets a bit of darkness midway, hints of some chocolate grain but never really gets off the ground and remains very bland, mild and uninspiring. Really not much to report and am a bit disappoint.

Watery again, not much to it. Quite smooth but also just thin and uninteresting.

Very sessionable beer, but I wouldn't really drink this if I had the choice.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Chocolate
Reviewed by Jez on 02.08.11 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(OK)
Love the Meantime bottles. Awesome. Now let's get to the beer. Served cold, as recommended on the bottle.

Pours a very faint and light-bodied brown, only an oily amber on the pour, with a frothy and large-bubbled head of light brown.Lacing is pretty solid, although the head dissipates rather quickly. Not bad, but the lack of body is very disappointing.

Nose is certainly chocolatey, with a dusty thin cocoa character coming through quite strongly. Smooth and quite sweet, it's a very pleasant aroma, and nicely done, if one-dimensional.

Taste is light, and indeed chocolatey, but here the chocolate characters seem to come more from the lightly roasted malt characters, which lend a bittersweet astringency to the palate. Feel is very thin, and the clinging bitterness and slight seltzer acidity on the back grate against the smooth chocolate characters. Mouthfeel is too light as well.

Eh. I've had better beers from Meantime. This is a pretty insipid one, with the chocolate adding little more than gimmick, to my mind.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Invercargill Pitch Black Black Beer
Reviewed by Jez on 18.06.11 on tap
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney for the Kiwi SpecTapular event. Still working through my backlog of reviews from what was a wonderful day of beer drinking.

Pours a dark, deep brown colour, hazed at the edges, but otherwise pretty much straight opaque. Nice filmy head forms sticky lace as the beer goes down.

Nose is bright but deep, giving chocolate, cacao and whiffs of freshly roasted coffee. Smells like a pleasant afternoon in a Sydney cafe. Nice.

Taste is dark and roasted, but with the sheen and glaze of pleasant metallic bitterness. It's not a particularly heavy beer, and I like the darkness in the flavour without the weight—it allows some brighter, sharper characters to come through. It also means it's surprisingly drinkable.

Yeah, this is a very nice beer. Drinkable and smooth. A very, very sessionable stout.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Choc Hops
Reviewed by Jez on 07.06.11 on tap
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Had on-tap recently at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. It was a Sunday night, and they had about 6 taps off, so at the time, this was about the most interesting thing they had.

Pours a dark and rather cloudy deep brown—certainly not a stouty black colour, with a fine ring of milk-chocolate coloured foam. Excellent lacing. Looks good.

Nose is chocolatey, but not too sweet and certainly not very heavy or cloying. Rather bright and light. That might just be thinness of character, but it's rather pleasant. Not a sign of the eponymous hops, however, which is a little disappointing.

Taste is light, but the milk chocolate character here is restrained and pleasantly smooth. Fine enough in the body, but you'd still call it thin. Not bad, but not particularly exciting.

It's smooth and easy to drink, and it's worth something for that. I don't know where the apparent hops were, but the glass I had
poured for me was almost hopless—it wasn't crying out for hops, but they probably would have made the brew more unique and interesting.

This is an improvement for Mildura in my books. I've not been impressed in the past, but it's good to see them stepping out with this sort of seasonal release.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Invercargill Pitch Black Black Beer
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.06.11 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Pours dark, with a heavy red tinge to it. Ochre head, nice and dense. Lace is clingy and pleasant.

Smells quite toasty with a sweet edge. Chocolate notes, mild espresso and some milk notes. Touch of bitterness, mostly sweet. Pleasant.

Taste is not bad. Bit lacking on front-to-mid, quite milky with caramel and cream notes, just a touch of dark malt. Finish is somewhat roasty, with mild espresso bitterness and some cocoa as well. Bit bland, but decent stouty notes.

Mouthfeel is thin, unimpressive.

Yeah, not an exciting beer, but a decent, drinkable one.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Happy Goblin Adam's Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 27.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
41 / 100
(Not Great)
Pours a dark-brown mahogany-tinged colour, no head. Just a couple of bubbles around the edge, virtually no lace. I know this is meant to taste like a chocolate milkshake but it don't really need to look like chocolate syrup does it? Listless, boring.

Smells like coco pops. Rich chocolatey smell but not a lot of cocoa, kind of has a carbon edge to it, with sticky rice and a touch of corn. Slight fart smell to it as well, there's a bit too much grain aroma so it's overly organic to the point of corporeality. A bit rank, really.

Taste is very sweet. Loads of sweet, dark malt just giving off thick, caroby chocolate notes. Golden syrup on there with molasses, sweet corn, honey, even a carrot juice kind of character. It's just overall flabby, insipid and smells like a homebrewed malt bomb with shitloads of malt extract dumped in the kettle. Sweet is all well and good, but you could totally up the roasty flavours and retain the overall sweet flavour, just add some nuance to the palate.

Thick, syrupy feel. No texture at all.

It's surprisingly not an unpleasant, unpalatable beer, but there's a real amateurish feel to it which I haven't gotten from Happy Goblin's other beers. The palate sweetness is overblown and it's unbalanced and muddy as a brew.
appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Arctic Fox Chocolate Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 06.05.11 on tap
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried recently on tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.

Pours a dark and opaque brown, with a fine, and crusty head of milk-chocolate brown. Body is rather light. Not a lot of carbonation, nor a lot of lacing, but it looks pretty smooth and pleasant overall.

Dark on the nose, with bitter cocoa, filtered coffee and tiramisu all prominent. All of it is bittersweet, and there's not a lot of stouty roasted grain—the roast comes from the coffee and high cocoa-content chocolate characters.

Taste is similar, but with a sliding suggestion of pouring cream on the back, which adds a little smoothness and a hint more sweetness. Otherwise, it's all roasty bittersweet cocoa, and a lightly ashy bitterness. It is, at the least, unmistakeable for anything other than a stout.

Feel is still quite light, and despite the creamy flavour, there isn't a lot of cream texture.

Decent beer. Darker and roastier than many a chocolate stout that I've had. Feels a little weak, but the bold bitterness makes it seem quite sophisticated.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Arctic Fox Chocolate Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.05.11 on tap
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
Pours a dark brown colour, definite brown colour up to the light although in the minimalist lighting of the Local Taphouse it's hard to tell. Head is beige, quite thin but retaining a good crown of whispy lace.

Smells good and chocolatey, with lots of rich cocoa notes on there. Sweet, but a good roasty bitterness to it as well. Hints of caramel and slight meaty note towards the back. Pretty enjoyable aroma.

Meh, to the taste. First impression of palate is empty. Weak, and quite watery on the front, with only a faint dark grain roast. Roastiness comes more to the fore midway-to-late with a sourness to it, hints of espresso with minimal amounts of unsweetened chocolate. But it's far more on the sour side than chocolatey, rich, roasty or just stouty. It reminds me a bit of the Redoak Belgian Chocolate Stout, and while it isn't nearly that bad it's a disappointment. The chocolate comes through far more on the nose than the taste.

Decent, full body, bit of texture to it, yeah not bad.

Just a bit lacking on the palate so it falls short of the yardstick. A lot of potential here, just doesn't deliver.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Happy Goblin Adam's Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 03.04.11 in bottle
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Brewed for Adam at Platinum Liquor: "For his love of sweet stout that tastes like a chocolate milkshake". This is basically a bigger version of their regular stout. Picked up at Platinum Liquor at the insistence of the eponymous Adam, who practically wouldn't let me leave without a bottle to try.

When it pours, it seems like no carbonation is forthcoming, but with some aggression, a fine film of beige forms atop the bulbous dark brown body. Heavyweight as it is, it forms good static carbonation when swirled, and feels big in the glass. Very undercarbed, but otherwise looks good.

Nose is sweet, but slightly pungent, giving some big banana esters throughout. Pleasant dark notes come through, giving a dusty and roasted resonance, but never enough to give me a true stouty black character. It smells a fair bit more like a sweetly dark Belgian ale.

Taste is also incredibly sweet (probably just like Adam likes), with only a slight tempering from the roasted grain. Booze is noticeable, but with the sweetness, it gives an after-dinner port-like character to the brew. It's a big brew, there's no doubting that. Feel is chewy and thick, the minimal carbonation is a real boon in that regard.

Very big and very tasty stout from Happy Goblin, probably one of the best of theirs I've sampled. Love that they're giving bigger styles a try. Could use some more blackened, charred characters to make it more "stouty", but it's a big and unapologetic beer as it stands.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
O'Hanlons Original Port Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 19.03.11 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill.

Pours with a mass and mess of frothy tan bubbles, that belie immense carbonation in the bottle. Foamy lacing as the sudsy foam settles atop a dark and opaque black-brown-burnt-orange body. Body is not particularly thick, but that's probably to be expected in a beer that only weighs in at around 4.8% ABV. Not a bad look, but I've seen much better.

Nose is sweet, slightly roasted, but buttery as well, giving a huge aroma of popcorn. Some lightly sweet notes of milk chocolate come through along with a whiff of carbonic acid from the boisterous carbonation. It's nice--some off characters, but it's nice.

Taste is darker, and the thinness in the body comes through a little too much here. Roasted, slightly bitter notes on the front, before a nutty finish with hints of the light chocolate sweetness round out the finish. I feel it needs more body, and the thinness really detracts from the palate. It would really benefit from a bit of extra smoothness.

Port is absent, despite the name, although who knows--perhaps some of those odd buttery characters are a result of the infusion.

Not the best English stout I've had; indeed far from the greats, but with just enough interest going for it to make it worthwhile.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Epic / Thornbridge Oak Barrel Aged Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 16.11.10 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a dark redwood kind of colour; looks brown but distinctly ruby up to the light. Head is generous indeed, slightly more pale than beige, fluffy and sinking very slowly. Good head, body might perhaps have been darker for a stout.

Smells pretty special. Wonderful deep oak wood coming off in droves, with a delectable dark chocolate roast behind it. The wood gives off some funky notes of camembert, berries and port wine. All wonderfully balanced in a rich sweet-and-sour toastiness. Delicious.

Taste is nicely stouty, with rich roasted malt throughout the palate. Has elements of cocoa with some dark fruits - mostly sweet - and then a minor tart note late on the palate. Woodiness is relegated to the finish and is most welcome, providing a long dry finish with hints of funk and wagnall. There is a resiny hop character at the three-quarter mark, just a slight spicy spike that is well mellowed by that long woody finish. Would like a slight increase in the roastiness, as overall it seems more portery than stouty on the front, and the back is over-dominated (nicely, but still) by the wood.

Expertly constructed body with a lond silvery trail of texture. Lots happening in the mouth, but just robust and smooth throughout.

Yeah, a very tasty drop. I do like them more intense but this is drinkables as hells, yes? Mmm, coherent...
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Epic Thornbridge Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 19.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)

Bottles purchased at the Local Taphouse by @tobeerornottobe and shared with our group. Cheers, dude.

Pours a murky, quite opaque dark brown colour with sudsy lacing. Dark yellow-brown head which is fine but filmy. Nice.

Dark, roasted and slightly toasty grains on the nose. Round and relatively well nuanced, if a little light for a stout. Odd fresh apple skin characters come through. It's tasty, but I feel oddly hopped.

Dark characters come through again on the palate, but again the hops make themselves felt, adding a vegetative bitterness on the back. Mouth is a little mealy with oatmeal, feel is a little thin.

Nice, easy drinking stout, with some frivolous characters thrown in for interest. I've had better stouts, but this is a good bet. Nicely done.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Carlton Black
Reviewed by Jez on 07.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
49 / 100
(Not Great)

Pours a dark brown cola colour, darker than Coke perhaps, but similar in body. Head is a surprisingly light tan, and is surprisingly large bubbled, forming a comb of bubbles around the edge of the glass - filmy otherwise across the top. Lacing is decent, although it just accentuates how light it is otherwise. All things considered, it's not a particularly good looking dark beer.

Some faint roasted grain and a hint of chocolate on the nose, giving a pleasant sweet-but-savoury toasty darkness. Charred bread, and coal embers are noticeable. It's not very robust, but it's quite pleasant. It certainly has pleasant characters there.

Taste is a little thin, which is perhaps to be expected, although the roasted notes and light cocoa sweetness are still noticeable. They waft around in the back of the palate, whereas the front stays meek and inoffensive. Certainly weaker than the average dark ale, but it's not unpleasant anyway.

Like I said: it's not unpleasant. That's pretty decent praise for a brewery which comes up with some of the most diabolical beers on earth. While it certainly is lacking, it has some pleasant characters, and I'd certainly rather down a pint of this than of Carlton Draught or VB.

appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Long Shot
Reviewed by Jez on 06.08.10 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a reasonably thick black-brown, quite viscous out of the bottle. Head is filmy, just a collar of espresso-crema lacing around the edge of the glass. Looks pleasantly heavy at least, and there's some nice static carbonation when it's swirled, implying some excellent body.

Nose is pleasantly sweet, but robustly roasted, giving a hint of depth and darkness. Even just a whiff of something smoky coming through, which just emphasises the darkness nicely.

Nice entry, smooth on the body and pleasantly roasted. Sweetness wells mid-palate, giving a pleasant impression of chocolate and vanilla, before it dries out a little, leaving some dark bitterness on the back. A well developed and very flavoursome palate, without being overwhelming. Nicely done.

A very nice beer - lots of complexity for its size, but staying pleasant and approachable. Out of interest, I drizzled a little on some cookies and cream ice cream and it made quite a tasty addition.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Three Boys Oyster Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 30.04.10 on tap
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a dark chocolate/cola colour, distinct umber tinge up to the light and ochre head. Hooray for different words for 'brown'! Head is disappointing, sinks quickly, leaves a ring and some pretty nice, but thin, lace behind. Looks pretty standard stouty, but good.

Nose is roasty. Nice amount of ashy bitterness with a slight solvent intensity to it. Slight caramel notes, but yeah, lots of dark toast, cocoa and yeah, slight savoury note - possibly from use of oysters? But I can't really tell as this is my first foray into that world. I might just be looking for hints of them. Smells good.

Taste is roasty throughout. Lots of dark malt, bitter chocolate and charcoal character, with lots of umami/savoury characters and nice rich undertones. The avoury notes take the edge off the ashy bitterness, which is still distinct, but yeah, addsa a sweetness and a rounded edge to the bitterness, although finish is still quite dark, just without the bitterness. Tastes kind of heavy, but a nice flavour and well handled.

A bit thin on the feel really, although definitely a bit syrupy on the way down. You feel it in the mouth but only much. Disapopointing.

Good balance overall, nicely handled beer. I'm enjoying that.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Three Boys Oyster Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 08.01.10 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)

Extremely dark black colour, it pours rather tamely at first, with not a lot of body, and barely a head forming. Fortunately, this is merely a momentary lapse, and with a bit more viguour a large frothy head of chocolate brown bubbles form, coalesce and then collapse, leaving some sudsy lacing on the glass. Looks pretty good - lacks some body, but otherwise fine.

Robust roasted black notes on the nose. All full belt of toasted grains, charred and twisted. Fragrant in its way, but there's certainly no sweetness, unless you count the ghost of chocolate, which rears its head with reference to the bitter crushed cacao bean character. Very dark, and in a way, quite one dimensional, but it's quite powerful, and that's worth a nod.

Same again on the palate. It's very dark and roasted - little sweetness, although a dusty cocoa character is apparent on the aftertaste. Mainly we have charred grains, a smoky note, ash and overcooked toast. Yeah, all these characters have something in common. Once again, I feel as though this beer is unashamedly just doing one thing, and doing it to the max. There's certainly nothing wrong with that.

Mouthfeel is unfortunately a bit thin - a heavier feel could have certainly added some depth and gravitas to the beer overall, and could even have added some dimensionality to the flavour.

Overall, this is a very tasty stout, especially if you're looking for something with big roasted flavours. Sure, it doesn't have the layers of some of the better examples, and I like a little sweetness with my blackness, but this an unapologetic beer, and for all it's robustness, it goes down easily.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Dragonhead Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 26.10.09 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a very dark colour, slight hint of mahogany brown held up to the light. Head is decent and foamy, with a rich ochre colour close to the beer and a lighter colour, leaving some dense sheets of lace, at the top. Looks like a very pleasant stout.

Nose is intense, with some strong espresso notes and a weird, intense phenol character, like methylated spirits or something even though it's not boozey, just quite sharp on the olfactory. Some unsweetened chocolate blends in, very nice indeed, and very impressive smell for 4%.

Taste is an odd mix, tastes like it's a weak solution of something, like quite watery with a sour, burnt character lingering behind. Gets more character later, with a dark coffee flavour and some red wine acidity. Hints of an umami savoury flavour and maybe some cocoa as well, but it's subdued. Sour tannins come through on the back, some unripe fruit. Decent and interesting, but can't say I love it. Kudos for getting so much complexity out of a lighter stout, but tastes a bit weak.

Mouthfeel contributes to that weakness, as it's quite watery. An odd syrupy texture saves it, but I don't think it's a great feel for the style.

Very drinkable for a stout. Subtle burnt character and nice dark flavours, but smooth, English and polite. I enjoy this, even though I'm not blown away by the flavour.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Dragonhead Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 14.10.09 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)

Very dark deep black-brown, with a very nice head of ochre-brown bubbles, which have a two-tone effect going on. Lauren thinks it looks pretty. Very dense, browning at the edges. Some very good lacing indeed. Lets no light through. Very nice indeed.

Lots of grains and oats on the nose - massive cereal characters, and a very slight underlying chocolate sweetness. Very rich and exciting.

Taste is absolutely lovely, a very and full smoky escapade, mingling coffee grounds, grain, grapeskin, and a finish of smooth rich mustiness. Mouthfeel is light but silky, delicately caressing, and accentuating the rich notes on the palate.

A really excellent and very enjoyable little brew. Smooth, deep and delectable, with plenty of character. To boot, it's very drinkable, and goes down incredibly smoothly. Very, very enjoyable.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Black Wych
Reviewed by Jez on 08.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)

Darkish brown, which is surprisingly clear when held to light. Head is a pancake bubbled crackle of milk chocolate dust. Not much lacing unfortunately; body is thick but not insane. Not bad.

Very intense sweet toffee nose. Very sweet and quite rich, with darker notes of dried figs or raisins, but certainly nothing dark or particularly burnt, a very sweet and subdued nose for a stout.

Very mild on the palate too, but very smooth and pleasant. Initial soft powdery chocolate, moving quietly to a light roasted grainy husk character. Very nice and very subtle. Mouthfeel is undoubtedly a little thin, but it's not bad.

An extremely drinkable mild English stout, smooth and inoffensive, with just enough character to keep you interested. I do like a nice drinkable English stout, and this is a good example.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Black Wych
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.07.09 in bottle
Overall:
53 / 100
(OK)
Very dark in colour with a very slight red tinge when held up to the light, but otherwise black. Head is nice and beige but strangely pink. Dense but with large pockmarks up the top, sinking a bit but leaves nice specks of lacing that aren't very thick though. Looks nice and interesting.

Nose is very burnt, with a woody character like oak on there, a lot of sour fruit, plummy and jammy with large espresso bitterness and a hint of spicy vegemite. A bit too sour to be rated as delicious, but pretty nice.

Taste is a bit of a disappointment; some decent bitter stout flavours, over-roasted malt with a bitter cocoa character, some woody flavours as well, mostly pine and maybe a hint of vanilla on the back, but really the palate is a bit flat, with a surprisingly watery character through most of it.

Weakly sour, with a really annoyingly thin feel, really doesn't grip me with flavour or body. Look it's not a BAD beer, just disappoints me with its lack of flavour. It's reasonably drinkable but just falls flat.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Northern Rivers Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.04.09 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a dense black with a crema kind of head. Lacing is a bit thin, but alright. I mean, this looks like a decent stout and there's not much more to say.

Sour, stouty nose with a hint of red grapes, coffee beans and cranberries. Quite aromatic, but a bit simple in spite of that.

Taste is not too bad at all. A slight smokey front with a lot of roastiness, but not intense and doesn't overpower the palate. Bold and manly, with a bitter kind of twist and a slightly sweet lingering with sour toasty notes on the finish. Very well balanced palate and very drinkable. It's strong and flavoursome, but pleasant. Goes down quite smooth and leaves a nice dark malt flavour on the end.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
What's Brewing? Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.04.09 on tap
Overall:
47 / 100
(Not Great)
Pours a dark chocolatey colour with a mocha head, very dense with slight pock-marking bubbles appearing on the surface. Sinks after a while. Leave a slight lacing film. Overall looks slightly watery for a stout. Quivers with the movement of me writing this review.

Delicious nose, very sweet and creamy with a latte kind of character. Hints of currants, nutmeg and Irish cream. Not much roastedness at all, which surprises me. I would expect it from a stout, but at the same time I personally am not too disappointed.

Tastes more like a typical stout and less like the nose. Sour, roasted coffee flavour but not burnt and with a slightly sour, currant kind of taste. The finish is a lingering, cloying lump of dark matter which is funny really, because apart from the sour cherry/currant aspect, the body palate is very lightweight and watery. Mouthfeel is very thin and there's very little mid-palate, apart from a carryover of the front sour coffee bean flavour. A little disappointing in the end, but still quite drinkable. Needs a bit more malt, is all I'd say.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Carlton Black
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.02.06 on tap
Overall:
58 / 100
(Decent)
Dark cedar colour, there is a head but it disappears quite quickly.

Chocolatey nose, not very pungent, particularly for a dark beer. Almost a hint of vanilla, although maybe my nose just tells me this as the antithesis of chocolate, because it's not really very powerful, and not what I expect from a stout.

Taste isn't bad, however I am not usually a fan of strong darker beers, and so I am led to believe that this one would generally be considered bland. It's essentially chocolatey and weak. There is (naturally) a dark beer flavour, but without the overwhelming chloriney, burnt-toast bitterness I sometimes experience. I am leaning towards giving this a rave review for a dark beer but I can step back from my own general mistrust of its style and appreciate that it's really too simple to be regarded as a truly great beer. It's very drinkable, I like it, but it's nothing to cream yourself over.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5