75 / 100
Manuka-Infused English IPA, brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a champagne colour, slightly cloudy. Head is white, foamy, medium retention and nice sticky lace. Maybe a touch pale but looks very good.
Smells gorgeous; big tropical notes with some mango, pineapple and passionfruit as well as apple and pear character. Bit ungrounded, and my question is whether this is really English in character. But really pleasant.
Taste is good, and builds on the nose quite well. Basic biscuity malt base, then develops those nice fruity characters from the hops, with apple, pear, mango, apricot and passionfruit all making a nice fruit salady mid-palate. The manuka comes through on the back with a slight herbal character and a touch of pine wood. Really quite enjoyable.
Full body, slight tingle from the carbonation which could be mellowed a bit more.
Yes, this is a nice beer. Again I'm a bit confused by calling it an English IPA because the hops seem to be quite new world in character. But the herbal sprucey notes really balance well.
I retried this beer and it ended up my #20 beer of the festival.
Difficult to classify this beer. It's a blend of a bright ale (hence English) and a Barrel-Aged Sour IPA (hence IPA, although seriously don't know where you can work barrel-aged sour in there as well). Brewed for GABS 2017, and tried there on tap.
Pours a champagne colour, cler body with foamy white head. Very pale for either of the two styles blended here; not bad.
Smells pleasant. Fruity, fresh and zesty mainly with some lemon and grassy notes. Maybe a hint of coconut and a general sort of nutty character as well. Not bad.
Taste is a bit disappointing. Cereal on the front, that develops a faint zesty citrus character about midway, and gets quite bready and yeasty as it finishes, a little bit cloying. No hint of oak and no real sourness except as an afterthought of some wild tart notes. Pretty disappointing really.
Mouthfeel is OK, decent texture that's got a fair presence in the mouth.
Not a bad cleanser actually just because of the ultimately English yeasty character, but a bit insipidly sweet and lacking the sourness (which I expected to make it cleansing).
On tap at the Royal Albert, not at the "Willie vs Willie" takeover but the day after. Leftovers, essentially.
Pours a deep burnished amber colour, slight cloud and pretty furious bead for the style. Head is off-white, nice and dense and foamy and retaining half a finger with small bubbles round the edges. Looks pretty good, maybe just a shade darker than I'd like.
Smells a little butterscotchy at first, with a PoR kind of edge to the hops. Slightly earthy, gravelly even with just some faint fruity notes round the edges. Not amazing; could definitely use something a bit more fresh.
Taste is definitely BAM! in that PoR space. Starts malty and quite pleasant with grain notes and a good caramel sweetness, but then the bitterness is bland yet blaring, with a monotonous cardboardy character and then a yeastiness on the back which isn't really welcome. I don't know the exact hop bill but I think going back a few years, BrewCult showed how well PoR can work in an IPA (more specifically IPL) bill, but it needs other hop varieties to elevate and produce more interesting dimensions. This is palatable but it's dull, and the bitterness falls short so the yeast comes through on the back. Disappointing.
Nice full body, carries through to the back where it's quite dry on the very end. Really quite good texture actually.
Yeah it's a little distasteful on the back and because it's quite big-flavoured but there isn't much lightness or freshness, it feels really heavy and bogged down. The sort of ale that lager drinkers like to make fun of, in fact.
An attempt to recreate an English 'Snake Bite' cider/lager cocktail but with an IPA in place of lager. And all in the one package. Brewed for GABS 2016. Tried there on tap.
Pours a golden-amber colour. Clear, with large bubbly cream-coloured head, retaining quite well. Not bad.
Smells hugely of apple. Nice citrus characters on there as well to round it off. Lemon with a hint of lime, some vague tropical notes and some honey sweetness as well. Pleasant.
Mostly sweet on the palate. Caramel notes upfront, then develops some fruity hop character, with apple along for good measure. Mango maybe, some lemon zest and all quite tangy. Not very bitter, so I feel it's lacking in the IPA stakes, but otherwise it's a decent construction of a sort of beer-cider hybrid, in a beer.
Body is a little thin too for the style, and there's a bit of sharpness on the back as a result.
Yeah, cocktaily. Nice fruit characters; really not bad and better than I expected.
42 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours a pretty deep, coppery amber colour, almost reddish in hue if not darkness. Head is coarse-bubbled and off-white, leaving some minor streaky lacing. Body is fairly thin with nice fine streams of carbonation. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is pretty underwhelming. There's a kind of dull cereal-like grain note underneath hops that give a vaguely perfumed note of maybe lavender and crushed leaves. It's very faint though, and not at all the robust hop aroma you expect from an IPA, even and English-styled one.
Taste is very similar. Very weak entry, with mild, generic malt and minimal suggestion of hops. Bitterness is also extremely pared back to almost nothing. There's a slight hint of fake lemon towards the back, that tastes more like detergent than the fruit. Finish is based around slightly savoury grain notes—that's actually a reasonable twist, and would be more welcome if the rest of the beer were better.
Feel is okay, but it has so little to work with. The lack of flavour intrinsic to the beer just ends up being exacerbated by the lack of body.
Very weak, very underwhelming. This is a poor-man's IPA, that neither captures the spirit of the American or the English version. It's more interesting than many a pale ale, but it's certainly less well crafted than even things like Cricketer's Arms' lager.
50 / 100
640ml brown bottle purchased from Annandale Cellars. I'm calling this an English IPA, because they don't specify its stylistic genesis on the bottle or on their website, nor do they list the hops used in it—calling it an English IPA is likely to make me more generous.
Pours surprisingly dark: a very deep amber hue on the cusp of not even really being pale enough for the English style "pale". Good clarity though, and a fine, persistent head that speaks of English ales in a pint glass. Body is sleek, with the carbonation fairly slow and languid. Looks okay, although the colour is a bit disconcerting.
Nose is odd. If I consider it an English IPA, it's a bit more stylistically accurate, because there are big malt notes here giving toffee, raisins and cracked grains. The only hop aroma is earthy, hay-like and organic, coupling itself very tightly to the malt. There's perhaps a slight pithy orange peel note, but that's perhaps looking vainly for something that's only slightly there.
Taste is similar or worse. It doesn't taste at all like what a consumer might expect from an unspecified "India Pale Ale". This is malt-driven, with toasty grainy notes all over it from start to finish. Slight crystal sugar characters form and disintegrate around the edges of the palate. While there is a bitterness, it isn't coupled with any hop flavour or fragrance, meaning it just bubbles up from nothing, providing a bite on the back without earning it.
Feel is slick and fine, with a mild carbonation. It's quite nice really.
Overall though, this doesn't hit the right notes for me. Again, if I'm generous, there's more here akin to an English IPA, but unless you specify that, it's honestly going to feel like a disappointment—a generic IPA means something specific to consumers nowadays. Even if you take it in a wider context it's not great. I'll probably pass if I'm offered another.
Part 2 of this review includes some brief notes on how the 'black and tan' of sorts, blending Part 1 and Part 2 together to make an Old-Fashioned-ish drink worked. But Part 2 reviewed separately first.
Pours a red-tingedorange colour, not a lot of head. Just a rim of bubbles. And it exploded upon opening, quite heavily. Annoying explosion, and it generally don't look great.
Smells fruity, slightly oxidised though. Touch caramelly, some pungent herbal notes and some maraschino cherry/raisin in equal measure. Yeah quite maraschiny. Which is not a word. Not bad, but I don't love it.
Taste is what it describes on the bottle. Big cherry fruit note, quite sweet and glazed, then gets some herbal notes, some light sage, mint and slight grassiness. Still tangy fruit lingers. Yeah, quite a decent, surprisingly mild IPA, touch of tea level bitterness, and a fair cherry twang. Maybe a touch too sweet. But fairly nice.
Smooth, but a bit flat and gluggy on the back. Not unpleasant.
Not a bad drinking beer, but not sure it's really going to come through in the cocktail.
NOTES ON THE BLEND:
Not bad as a cocktail, at all. Cherry notes are surprisingly strong. It's maybe a little muddy, like there's a lot going on. And yeah, the bourbon that wasn't quite there on the first part is not nearly as conspicuous as it would be in an old fashioned. But I'm quite surprised at how well it works.
As documented many times on this website, I'm not always the biggest fan of Moon Dog, in particular when they try to do too much and throw too much into one beer all at once, and this certainly seemed a recipe for this, but I guess when constructing two beers separately to make a blend, there's a thoughtfulness that they should use more often. The end result isn't perfect, but I feel it's a damn sight better than would have been a hypothetical attempt to combine all of these elements into one bottle.
Aargh, so nobody can really decide on whether this is American, English or "Australian" style IPA (although most would suggest the latter). I've gone with English simply because hop, and particularly American hop, character are conspicuously lacking. I feel like it might just be a BAD American IPA, and so my classification may just be to save the beloved American IPA style from falling in my stats, but seriously. This beer is an abomination and shouldn't be in the same conversation as Sculpin or Riverside 77.
Pours a burnished amber copper. Head is whispy, off-white with bubbles at the edge, some lace. Head is a bit thin but otherwise looks nice.
Smells fruity, tangy. Lemon but sweet like detergent; intense citrus but no real colour or nuance to it. Just a bit of tang. Maybe some DMS? And metallic on the back. Don't love it.
Taste is bitter; slight apple then gets cloying, yeasty on the back. Astringent soapy character and just uncooked pizza dough. Really oddly sweet and quite unpleasant. Hops seem oddly forward and don't do any cleaning up on the back. Yeah, buttery sweet and quite unpleasant on the finish. It's not a peak end, that's for sure. Makes me forget any enjoyment I got from the aroma, which wasn't great to begin with.
Decent body but feels kind of gluggy at the end. Too much body without much balance.
Don't think I'll finish this. Taste is actually quite unpleasant, and there is very little suggesting IPA of any variety here.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale golden colour, very clear-bodied a fairly lightweight. Head is off-white forming a firm ring that leaves minimal streaks of lace. Carbonation forms in streams, but tilting the glass doesn't provoke any more than than.
Nose is very inoffensive almost to the point of blandness. Slight woody hops perhaps come through and a hint of straw. Otherwise, there's almost nothing to it. At the least, it doesn't smell terrible.
Light entry as well, with a bit of odd estery banana notes. There's some surprising sweetness mid-palate almost giving a slight Belgian tone, and a tingle of bitterness on the back. Aftertaste has very little except a hint of toffee from the remnants of the sweetness.
Feel is very light and dull.
Drinkability is OK, mostly because it tastes of nothing. But to be honest, I really don't care that much.
Pours a gold colour, clear with nice foamy off-white head. Sinks quite quickly. Looks alright, maybe a bit pale/light though.
Smells sweet with honeyed oat malt upfront, and a touch of herbal and grassy hops backing up. Touch of pine resin as well, quite woody. Fairly English and to style.
Touch of honey upfront on the palate as well, then hops take over that are very woody in character, again with that pine resin note. Some herbal characters as well. Not as bitter as some English IPAs I've had, and that's a good thing, but still nothing really outstanding in terms of flavour either.
Body is a little thin but the texture is quite nice and smooth anyway.
Not a bad English IPA. But then, English IPAs generally regarded as 'great' are beers I don't much like. So maybe my thinking this is alright makes it a crap beer objectively. Still, it's drinkable, and stoically English in its bitterness. Not a standout at the festival but nice in its own right.
78 / 100
On tap at the Union Hotel.
Pours a dark burnished orange colour, fairly cloudy with bubbly off-white head, small but retaining a crowd of bubbles and decent lacing. Looks adroitly English.
Smells somewhat un-English. Fruity, with big musk sticks note, pineapple and lemon. Fresh and pleasant though, not overly aggressive, just hop forward and refreshing.
Taste is very very biscuity, with massive Maris Otter presence. Touch of rye as well maybe? Grainy, with nice caramel vanilla crumb character, before the hop bitterness comes through. Citric, fairly resinous but again not aggressive. Just bitter. Fairly sizeable alpha but not puckering, just a good cleaning herbal and resinous finish. Slightly woody right at the back. Pleasant.
Full, dries out gradually towards the back from hops. Marvelous.
Tastes like I'm sitting on the banks of the Trent. Marvelously clean, flavoursome and malt-balanced.
83 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a very deep reddish amber colour, almost brown in the darker portions, forming a lovely fine crest of pale beige that persists as a fein ring and some oily film. Body is full but liquid, moving around swiftly in the glass but holding its carbonation rather heavily. Looks pretty good.
Nose is very solid. Firm, earthy English hops supported by some fine grainy malt that gives a little richness and body to it. There's a faint twang of sweet lemon, but mostly it's the more herbaceous characters, perhaps a little blackberry bramble and dark tea instead. I like it a lot.
Taste is even better. In fact, here is perhaps where Hendo so well shows his understanding of hops. This is a very different sort of proposition to his usual fare: the citric, bright quality of the West Coast US varieties. Here we're working with the duskier, more herbal qualities of the English hops, and there's a wonderful malt structure underneath to really support it. There's a complexity to the body—layers of sweetness and more savoury grain toastiness—which really helps to both balance and showcase the qualities of the hops.
And they are present—not the blistering alpha-acidity of an American IPA, but a more subdued quality that allows some of the dark fruit characters to shine. There's some wonderful undertones of redcurrant, raspberry leaf and crushed earthy mint—these are the characters that English hops can do so well, and it really takes some forethought to bring these out.
Feel is also pretty smooth. I would genuinely love to see this on cask some time—I think the added richness and finer carbonation would make this a superb proposition.
Overall—this is remarkable stuff. I think more than anything this beer cements Brew Cult as a master of hops. With this beer they show that they can do the other varieties just as well as the big, oily, C-hop varieties they favour. This beer shows a deep understanding of just what makes a hop variety work. This is really excellent stuff.
33cl brown bottle tried at Erzbierschof Punkt in Winterthur, Switzerland.
Pours a nice deep amber colour with a slick, sturdy body. Clarity is excellent. Head is firm and eggy, almost pure white in colour that leaves good, streaky lace. Carbonation is fluid but fine, forming in tight streaks on the glass. Looks good.
Nose is a little mild. Some leafy hop notes, a little herbal mostly, with a touch of syrupy malt. Some banana leaf aromatics come through as well, but it's all a bit thin. It has the type of aroma you often get when a beer is a little old.
Taste is based around a thin golden syrup character, balanced by a firm, herbal bitterness through the centre. There are some interesting strawberry overtones to it, and a slight toasty, grainy quality like multi-grain bread. Finish has a little bit of nuttiness as well. It has some structure at least.
Feel is very light, but it works okay in this type of beer.
It's nice enough all up. It's drinkable, certainly. Although there are many hops in it, apparently, including noble European hops, English hops and American hops, it ends up tasting predominantly like an English IPA, and it's decent when taken as such.
500ml bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria.
Pours a quite clear but deep golden colour, with an initially frothy head of white that settles out to a rather thin film and clingy lace. Body is firm, and holds some vertical streams of carbonation when tilted. Overall, it looks pretty decent.
Nose is initially very potent, but settles out towards a more organic, woody hop character—bright enough, but with undertones of leaf mould and a little body odour. It's still rich and fragrant in its way, but it certainly leaves behind the concept of being truly clean and fruity.
Similarly on the palate, this has some bright crisp characters on the front, but it gets very earthy about halfway through, leaving the back a little raw and astringent. It's not bad, it's just quite different from where I thought it was going initially. Characters of orange and lemon myrtle turn rather woody quickly, leaving a herbal, almost medicinally bitter taste on the back.
Feel is clean and light. Nothing bad about that—and the lightness helps mask the slight upkick in alcohol.
Overall, it's pretty drinkable stuff. The earthiness ends up being something of a blessing—it makes the beer seem a little more unusual and interesting that it would be otherwise. It's a solid IPA in any case, but if it had followed the trend a little more it may have been more pedestrian.
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery while on the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
Pours a faintly hazed deep golden colour, with a rather bright white head that settles out to fine film and a smear of larger bubbles. Carbonation is very fine when tilted. Lacing is good. Overall, it's a fine-looking beer.
Nose is pleasant. Sherbet lemon, some barley sugar sweetness and something a little zesty. The sweetness permeates though, giving it a candyish tone throughout. As it warms, some herbal overtones come through giving a slight grassy aroma. Overall, it's not bad, but there are few questionable points to it.
Taste is similar. Sweetness is bold when it's cold, surprisingly, but after a while the hop bitterness masks the barley malt character a little. Slight zesty tones on the mid-palate prepare for a subdued but present hop character on the back. Body is lacking somewhat, making it feel a little empty and medicinal towards the finish—this is despite the perception of sweetness which never really goes away.
Overall, it's okay, but I had better beers from Fourpure, and better IPAs on the Mile in general. Despite the "Oregon, USA" inspiration they claim on the bottle, this beer just ends up tasting a little, well, uninspired.
81 / 100
Tried on cask at Euston Tap in London.
Pours a pale golden colour, fairly clear and bright but with a slight haze sitting in the beer. Head forms a foamy cask-like crest of just off-white. Solid body holding some very fine still off-cask carbonation. Looks very good.
Crisp and green and very prominent from cask. Slight herbal characters come through and plenty of bright citrus giving a lovely aromatic overtone to everything. Crispy grain basis leaves structure to it. It's a bit light on full-blown punch, but otherwise it's great.
Flavour is actually even better. Clean entry with that savoury grain/malt note before the pithy citrus comes through pleasantly. Bitter herbs appear on the back leaving a clean and crisp back palate with some lingering fruity bitterness. Aftertaste is clean and smooth.
Feel is also smooth, light and creamy. Very pleasant indeed.
Overall, it's a cracking drop. While it doesn't challenge the palate, there's something beautifully drinkable about the brew as a whole. Very drinkable, very crisp with lingering bitterness and brilliant balance. I really love it.
71 / 100
A collaboration between Dogfish Head and Wells & Young from the UK. Tried on cask at the Friend in Hand in Russell Square, London.
Pours a a nice, clear amber hue, with a very solid weight to the body. Head forms a foamy and fine tread, like a thick cask pour. Lace forms streaky, patchy characters. Tilting the glass leaves some fine but surprisingly minimal carbonation. Overall, though, it's a very fine cask pour.
Nose has some mild herbal characters, very much UK in style. Some spearmint comes through along with a light aromatic rosemary. Marshmallow is the main sweetness, with some fragrant green peppercorn. It's not huge, but it's quite pleasant.
Flavour is also fairly light, but with stacks of potential. Light entry, with clear malt, before a tingle of brightness from the hops that provides a vector against the otherwise smooth malt notes. Lingering bitterness comes through. Slight herbal citrus leaf bitterness provides that aftertaste.
Feel is very smooth: light and silky.
Very drinkable stuff, and very solidly made. It's lacking sparkle and crackle and that true impressive brilliance, but it's really very good overall.
Tried on cask at The Porcupine on Charing Cross Road in London.
Pours a lovely clear red colour. Deep but bright at the same time. Head is creamy in colour and consistency, and persists well as the beer goes down. Body is fairly light. Lacing forms in streaky rings. Tilting the beer leaves carbonation in snowy powdery swirls. Looks great.
Nose is a bit dull to be honest. Slight toasty characters but a bit too much underattenuated wort coming through. Some ashy notes make up the rest of the body, while a slight hint of almond tried to compensate. Okay, but not great.
Taste is slightly better. Toasty notes, plenty of English hops giving it a herbal, earthy character and a strong bitter finish. Feel consists of a solid rounded smoothness, which really helps where the malt character has somewhat disappeared.
Overall, it's pretty drinkable. It's lacking a bit of flavour, and sticks fairly strongly to a tradition that doesn't necessarily let the hops shine so much, but it's still fairly solid even so.
Brewed as part of Grifter's IPA-a-day during Sydney Craft Week. I tried this on-tap at Yulli's in Surry Hills.
Pours an orange-amber hue with very heavy hazing in the body. Some weight to the body and a white, slightly creamy head. Some streaks of lace. Looks pretty flat, probably like an English IPA should, but with the haze it just makes it seem a bit dull.
Nose is lacking somewhat: slight earthiness, slight vegetative notes but mostly a little bit lacking. I would have expected a little more, but there's not even much malt character coming through despite the 6.5%. It's fine, just dull.
Light, fatty entry with some thin sweetness. Mid-palate has more of the hop character giving a little bitterness, along with some very faint caramel, but very little power in the flavours at all. Aftertaste has a vegetative quality rather than much bitterness. Feel is indeed almost flat, but there's not enough character otherwise to keep it going, so it leaves it almost dead.
This isn't great. Unless it's trying to replicate the watered-down weaker-than-pale-ale colonial IPA, I don't think it hit the mark. It's like a flat, listless, lifeless bitter as it stands. Grifter have done much better than this.
44 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour, very cloudy with sparsely-webbed bubbles dissipating very quickly. Meh.
Smells yeasty and... nope, nothing else. Bready, maybe slightly sweet and yeasty. Meh, again.
Tastes similar, very bready and grainy. Touch of caramel on the malts upfront but then yeast takes over. Maybe a subtle touch of herbal hops on the back but mostly just sweet bread. Not great.
Full body, goes down very nicely actually. Good mouth presence as there's obviously a decent malt base.
Pretty unimpressive. English, in the sense of being stiff and not in any way expressive.
Pours an amber colour, clear with off-white head consisting of large bubbles. Doesn't stick around for dessert. Am a bit disappointed.
Cereal grain on the nose, with a touch of peanut, caramel and an odd and unexpected banana twist. Light aroma, quite sweet. Don't love it.
More malty on the palate, richer with a bready touch. A hint of cardboard as well as some lemony, resinous hops, quite chewy. Big cedar wood character comes through on the back as well which is really very pleasant. A bit odd overall, with a very dry bitterness and woody finish. Not bad at all though, am pleasantly surprised.
Body is slightly thin, decent texture though. Nice enough.
Yeah, quite old school style. Woody, but dry and cleansing. Not a bad drop.
Pours an amber colour, fair bit of haze in the glass. Cream-coloured head, foamy with decent retention. Looks great.
Grainy malt notes on the nose, touch of English toffee and a weird hint of possibly banana. Very English, in the sense of 'not giving anything away'. But decent.
Slight cereal grain on the front of the palate, some fruity notes as well then gets into slight sourdough character, cedar wood, herbal and grassy. Bitter, English. Pretty decent.
Good body, smooth and fluid. Nice.
Yeah, actually pretty good as a cleanser. Not really big and Burtonised like I expect from an English IPA but a very nice beer.
Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne in 2013. They call this a Black mid-1800's style English IPA. I've classified it as an English IPA, because as you'll see, it's really not black.
Pours a deep golden copper colour, clear in the body with a very, very light weight to it—very surprising for something 7.2% ABV. Head forms a solid-ring of off-white. Not much lacing and almost no carbonation. It looks a bit dead.
Medicinal aromas on the nose: black cherry and aspirin with some spice characters coming through. It's also sweaty and organic, with some earth and bark notes providing an underbrush leaf-mould character.
Very light entry on the palate, only a hint of weak, slightly water malt extract. Middle has some additional flavours at least: chestnut and that earthiness coming through, but it's still very weak overall. Back is very light, dry and dead. The feel is weak.
I'll give it some credit: it's very drinkable if it's really 7.2% ABV—somehow I doubt that it's really that strong, though. This tastes more like a substandard English pale ale than any type of IPA, black, mid-1800s or otherwise.
73 / 100
Tried on-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a bright orange colour, with hints of raspberry juice in it. Decent hazing through the solid body, which refracts the light pleasantly. Head is yellow, full and rich that leaves solid lacing. Body is undercarbed, which matches the style nicely. Looks good.
Nose is immediately very English: earth, sweaty hops with some caramel (or slightly darker malt). Leather comes through along with a rich rounded sweetness. It's all very well integrated. I like it a lot.
Light entry on the front palate with some peachskin earthiness and a herbal hop character. The earthiness continues through the middle and back, but surprisingly there's not much sweetness. Fortunately, it has some good body to back it up and cushion the hops, meaning that it could well just be hop-forward. Finish is rather light, but spicy with the tingling, retreating hops.
Feel is extremely smooth.
I really liked this. It's full, but smooth and supple. It has a richness to it that's very seriously understated. Much like the English themselves.
Pours a red-tinged dark amber, with big carbonation bubbles all around. Negligible head, just a bit of fizz that settles to nought. Intriguing colour but totally meh otherwise.
Smells quite metallic, with a sharp astringent malt-liquor note. Slightly caramelised but it's a bit sickly mediciney sweet, maybe overattenuated or just some simpler sugars added before fermentation, so it's sharp without having malt substance behind it. Not a great complexity to it. Bit unpleasant.
Taste is similar. Metallic and malt-liquory upfront in spite of low ABV. Sweet but boozey upfront with a big overload of malt, slightly cardboardy. Yeasty on back. Yeah overattenuated, there's quite a malty flavour but it goes nowhere and ends up yeasty. Could use loads more of everything. Like flavour, for instance.
Not a bad mouthfeel at first; full upfront, coats the mouth. Ultimately very empty though. I say not bad, I think I mean not 'as bad' as the rest of the experience.
There is a distinct benefit to this beer, which is its use in marketing other beers, because after drinking this you feel like drinking another, better beer to improve your mood, but you also feel like getting drunk so you will have more than one. Aside from that, this drinking experience is as empty as life itself.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Shared with Sam.
Pours a clear deep golden colour, with a slightly filmy, but reasonably solid head of off-white. Lacing is speckled and solid enough. Body is firm and holds fine carbonation when swirled. Overall, it looks solid.
Nose is excellent. Big herbal spicy sweetness reminds me of Pizza Shapes, spicy tomato, thyme, rosemary and sweet sumac. It's fragrant and lovely. There's not a lot of other basis for it, not much malt, not much hop or yeast character, but the spices are enough to carry it, and it's really quite lovely.
Taste is certainly a little weaker. Thin grain forms a reedy basis for the brew, with the spice providing the aromatics, but little of the sweetness suggested on the nose. There's still a little spice, some of the sharp herbs like rosemary, and a suggestion of sumac or something savoury/sour. But overall, it feels a little thin, like it's missing something.
Feel is very average. Weak, thin and unappetising, especially for a beer that's actually significantly above 5% ABV.
There is a good deal to like about this beer, but it's a shame there's so much that could obviously be improved. I love the spice mixture, but they could really brew a better beer with the same flavours. This is too thin, and ends up tasting a little like a pale lager that has been spiked with flavours. It should be better.
80 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour, nice red tinge to it. Head is off-white, lovely, tight and clingy. Great retention. Looks great, like an IPA should.
Smells a little caramelly with hoppy overtones giving tangy lemon, grapefruit, lychee and some white pepper. Pleasant; not overly bitter.
Taste has significantly more malt. Caramel and toffee from the get-go starts to taste a little roasty towards the back, blending with bitter hop oils. Bit biscuity later, with spicy notes as well - pepper, cardamom and a touch of juniper. Slight Burtonised character, but nicely mellow with a very decent malt backing. This is just how I want an English IPA to be, and so few of them actually are.
Fluid mouthfeel ; a little bit drying from the hop oils. Not much carbonation; not bad.
Nice IPA, with good balance and pleasant flavours.
49 / 100
Pours an amber colour, slight red tinge and slightly cloudy. Head is creamy-coloured, nice and dense and foamy. Nice-looking English style brew.
Plenty of malt on the nose with a touch of nuttiness. Hops are mild and woody and I guess English in character but there sure aren't a lot of them. Bit of sweetness but for an IPA it's a disappointing aroma.
Taste is not too sweet; more nutty malt upfront with a dry hoppy finish, quite earthy with a touch of POR but the notion of it actually being POR is absurd. Bitterness is prevalent but not very big. Touch of spice and quite rich and dark.
A little bit too much tingle on the texture, but alright.
Not a bad English IPA but it goes further to cement this as a style I don't really care for. I'm still waiting for one of these to prove me wrong, and since the English can't seem to do it I had hopes for the Italians. Oh well, no hard feelings.
73 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a lovely, clear red-amber colour, with a solid, minimal, fine white head. Lacing is streaking, but relatively minor. Decent body to it, and I love the fine carbonation. The colour is also good: overall, it's a pretty decent looking beer.
Nose is fresh and pleasant, without really wowing me: solid I-would-have-said NZ hop sharpness, but perhaps it is a herbal, green English hop character. Decent but inoffensive malt backs it up, without really doing anything spectacular. Solid.
Taste is also solid, with a more dusky, herbal bitterness providing the counterpoint to the smooth malt. Again, the malt is solid and smooth, and the hops are suitable, but they really don't excite me. There's very little to fault, of course, and perhaps that makes me angry: it's dull without having any reason for being so.
Feel is pleasant and smooth. Light, certainly, but pleasant enough: indeed, the lightness probably helps mask the alcohol.
Overall: I'm not sure I've had a beer that is so faultless and yet so dull. It's infuriatingly good: solid, brusque english earthy hops, very fine and suitable malt. And yet I find very little that excites me. Perhaps consistency should excite me.
74 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer by @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a perfectly clear amber hue, with a very fine white head that settles to an inconsistent film. Solid, but not spectacular body, with some fine carbonation streaking through it. Lacing is filmy, but again a bit inconsistent. Not bad, overall though.
Nose is great: it's a big, aromatic melange of English hops. Clean, almost creamy malt backs up the hops which give earthy, vegetative and woody notes: it all adds up to smoothness. Lovely stuff.
Taste is also good, in fact, probably even better. Broad nutty malt characters give a strangely aromatic basis, almost touching sultanas or Fruit n Nut chocolate. The hops integrate nicely with this, giving a slightly biting, slightly resinous overtone, leavening that flavours with grassy and hay-like vegetative aromatics. In fact, it's all nicely integratedâagain, it has that true smoothness to it.
Overall, lovely stuff. Clean and drinkable, but robust and comforting. It's not going to completely revolutionise your flavour profile, but it's very solidly and artistically made.
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney, during the Italian SpecTapular festival.
Pours a hazed bronze colour, with a filmy, bubbly ring of white. Lace is pretty decent if patchy, leaving some solid residuals as the head goes down.
Grainy malt on the nose, with just a touch of earthy hops to give some contrast. It comes across feeling a little skunky, to be perfectly honest. Eh. I'm unimpressed.
Light entry, with some mild earthy, and vegetative hop characters coming through. Body feels pretty light and dead, leaving the beer overall to feel incredibly bland. Very weak finish and pretty light mouthfeel as well.
Bland. Pointless. Dull. The question you have to ask is "why?". very unimpressed.
79 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer by @epiclurk.
Pours a really crystal clear deep golden colour, with a firm, frothy and very persistent head of pure white. Lacing is intricate, waving and speckled. Body is pretty light and the carbonation is big-bubbled and a little bit lethargic. Looks good overall, though.
Nose, oh yes, the nose! Big, sweet pungent citrus mingled with tropical fruits, peach skin, passionfruit and freshly crushed fragrant herbs. Wow, and such potency. The lilting, lyrical tone of the flavours belies just how powerful this is. Oh, just lovely stuff...
Taste is also very good. Solid if plain malty characters give a base, while some brisk but restrained hop character provides interest on the palate. It has that hop-derived nuttiness that I associate with Mikkeller's IPAs, which gives a clean flush of the palate without leaving too much residual, biting bitterness. Feel is a little weak, and although the malt provides a base, it's perhaps not strong enough to really provide a fullness to the palate.
Still, this is a lovely little IPA from Thornbridge. It has stacks of aromatics, and a solid, drinkable basis. And that aroma, oh god, that aroma...
61 / 100
Purchased this some time ago, but I'm not quite sure where from. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a pale golden colour with a fine and initially intense head of white, that froths up on pouring. This forms a mild, solid white crust atop the beer. Decent lacing forms as the head collapses. Overall, a decent, if not spectacular brew.
Nose is earthy, slightly vegetative and slightly grainy, with rustic, but solid elements coming through. Grassy celery, some earthy roots and a strained greenness. It's not bad, and it has those clean but dull English characters to it. But yeah, that's not super interesting.
Taste is similar. Light grainy malt, fresh but dulled English hop characters, and a mild, muted bitterness on the finish. Smooth feel helps a lot, and gives a cleanness to the palate. But it feels pretty dull and pedestrian overall. The only thing I'll genuinely say in its favour is that the 7% is completely unnoticeable.
It's a bit disappointing for such a big bottle release from Yeastie Boys. It feels like a very dull effort overall. In some respects it's pretty solid, but seriously, you guys do crazy shit! Give me some of that!
After writing an article about this beer in production, it was much anticipated, with the usual split of trepidation and intrigue in equal measure.
Pours a pale bronze colour, slight haze and steady bead feeding an off-white head. Head is nice and puffy, not overly generous and sinks with pleasant asymmetry, leaving a goodly amount of sticky lacing behind. Good-looking IPA.
Smelled pretty nice from the get-go, surprisingly enough. Pleasant fruity, with fresh apple notes, a touch of citrus and peach, then that more familiar earthy flavour, soil and grass, but not offensively bitter; gathering an almost cocoa note. Slightly metallic at the back. A bit muted from the IPA smells I'm used to, but it has its charms.
Now isn't that taste interesting. Decent caramel grain throughout the front, getting rich and almost chocolatey at times. Hops come through late, and are very different, and less flavoursome really than your typical IPA hops, ultimately lacking in nuance - it's hard to deny. Hints of citrus, bit of peach late-mid, and then a gentle bitterness that lingers. It picks up most of its potency and punch in the hang, with an astringent, slightly spicy aftertaste, bit dirty but not quite potent enough to be offensive.
Decent mouthfeel with plenty of presence. Bit prickly but not too rough.
This is undoubtedly the tastiest and most interesting use of POR I've tried. I think with the skill of Bridge Road they've constructed an interesting beer that brings out and emphasises the most enjoyable aspects of the whipping boy of Australian hops. I have to judge it, though, as an IPA, and I can't escape the conclusion that an IPA made using only a hop that is championed mostly for its cost-effective properties was always an over-ambitious undertaking. The beer falls short of the IPA mark, and it doesn't inspire me to start brewing with the hop myself. I can see POR being used more interestingly and with more finesse if others try this brew and enjoy it, but it's not going to spark off a craft beer POR renaissance.
61 / 100
Shared with two friends on a picnic rug, New Year's Eve 2011/12.
Pours a burnished amber colour with steady bead feeding off-white fluffy head, with nice sticky lace and good retention. Looks nice.
Smells a bit fruity and sweet. Brown sugar is noticeable, with pineapple, touch of banana and pear. Hint of clove at the back; all smells a bit sweet, maybe aged badly? Needs more tang to cut through.
Taste is similar with lots of fruit upfront: caramelised pineapple, pear and rockmelon that gets some tang and spice midway, resiny and woody bitterness that lasts to the finish. A bit sharp late, with a bit of acid pull and earthy, aniseedy spice late. OK but a bit off-kilter.
Frothy and mildly sticky feel. Not bad.
A bit off-balance in key parts, but pleasant enough drinking.
Pours a vibrant orange colour, quite translucent haze. Head is off-white, whispy and dissipated to a ring of bubbles. Lace is OK, but not very impressive. Looks quite standard.
Smells intriguing. Hoppy mostly, with side effects of pepper and herbal tea, mostly. Touch of soil, spearmint and an almost capery bitterness to it. Subdued, but not bad.
Taste is very tangy from the get-go and full of flavour in spite of what the nose said to me. Lemon tang upfront that descends into nutty main palate with nice rye-esque notes, quite sticky with a touch of wet grain on the back. Slightly herbal finish, hint of pine and plenty more nuttiness. Lots of flavour but largely unassertive, with a smooth journey of flavour for the most part. Quite nice; nothing amazing.
Full enough, nice bit of texture to it; fair amount of bittiness. Not bad.
Doesn't really wow me; kind of yells out to be grouped with a whole bunch of other beers similar to it. Hooray for conformity!
57 / 100
Pours an orangey amber colour with off-white head that's dense and crema-esque but with larger bubbles atop. Lace is nice, clingy but thin. Looks OK.
Smell is really rather odd. Big spicy orange aroma to that, sweet and glacé in a certain way but a citric tang to it and a slight booziness. Slight grand marnier kind of aroma. Touch of mandarin to it as well, and maybe some caramel malt underlying. I'm intrigued, but reserving judgement.
Taste is similar, but weak and largely missing actually. Tang on the front with slight orange and tangelo notes, descends into mid-palate which is frankly a bit insipid. Finishes stronger, with that grand marnier booziness, not very heavy though and could use more oomph. There's a spice to it and a richer citric note, but ultimately it's like a lightly spiced soft drink. Potential is there but some holes really need patching.
There's definitely body there and texture. Wish there were more flavour to go with it.
Drinks alright but there's room for improvement. I've seen other people use sorachi ace to far greater flavour results - our own homebrew operation included. Don't know what else to say; I'm disappointed.
Immediately on the pour, the head cascades out of the bottle like a madman, determined to make its impression on the beer as a whole. The result is a ludicrously large meringuey, pale-orange head of foam, forming a crufty, rocky bubble above the beer itself. Body is really quite dark for an IPA, a seriously deep amber hue, hazed and murky. Eh.
Nose is... unfortunately, rather unpleasant. Big sweet molasses and churned butter characters, giving a sweet and slightly nauseating aroma to the beer. Minimal hops, although a touch of earthy, tea or almost rancid chocolate character comes through, perhaps attributable to some (old) English hops. Wow. That's really, quite genuinely unpleasant.
Taste is perhaps a bit better, but perhaps only because it's lighter. Still, the rank, sweet butter character, and the hint of malty chocolate come through, but they're thinned enough to let whatever passed for hop bitterness expose itself. It's certainly not a matter of the hops cutting through, because these are weak and bleak as well. Feel is vague, salty and flat.
Very, very unimpressed. Surely, you can do better than this? This is a thin, lacklustre beer, bordering on truly offensive. This is weak for any style, let alone an IPA.
Please try again.
77 / 100
Pours a cloudy and very pleasant orange golden colour, with a speckled head of pocked bubbling. Foam is off-white, and a little flat, persisting only because of the large bubbles. Minimal lace. Body is quite thick and holds the fine carbonation very nicely. Looks pretty good, all up.
Nose is a very good exposÃ© on Sorachi Ace. Big sweet, oaky vanilla characteristics coming through, along with a slight spice and a sharp lemony character. Vibrant and fresh.
Taste is wildly fruity, with massive characters of apricot pie coming through, tinged with lemon and peach. On the back, we get slight wood tannins and a dry, almost puckering bitterness. Feel is smooth for the most part, but with the dryness on the back and the really fragrant front palate characters, it could support a little more sweetness.
Ah, what a unique hop and what a unique beer. This does a great job of showcasing one of the more unusual hop varieties around today. It leaves nothing out, and leaves nothing to the imagination. By the end of the beer, Sorachi Ace is lying quivering, naked and violated in front of you, without any of its secrets intact.
82 / 100
Bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours with a lovely frothy head of pure, smooth and silky white, above a bright, clear golden body. For some reason, and I think it's probably Sculpin, I now associate a really light coloured IPA with transcendance. This looks good in its own right, however, with tight, intricate lacing and fine retention. I'm excited to try it.
Wow, nose is really pleasantly hoppy, and almost attuned towards an American audience, with sharp citrus characters and fruity hints of pineapple and mandarin. There's a hint of the herbal, greenery-and-bushes type of English hop character, with a touch of tea and blackberry leaf, but this is much more subdued. It's a lovely, almost hybrid hop character.
Taste is also good, but rather subdued, with more of that slightly tannic tea hop character, and plenty of earthy greenery in the flavour. It's almost as though it's heavily hopped with low-to-moderate alpha hops, with nothing to give it too much astringency. Extremely smooth and clean and utterly drinkable.
Absolutely fantastic English IPAâI find it hard to think of a better one that I've tasted. This is fresh, bright, light, quaffable; all up: gorgeous.
Pours a slightly hazed, but very bright and light-coloured golden with a frothy and turbid head of off-white, that looks almost like the creamy English ale head formed from no more than perturbation of the beer. Rather light body, and very little perceptible carbonation. Looks pretty decent, a little like a cask pour.
Nose is bright and hoppy, with pleasant citric Amarillo characters subdued by a buttery English malt character, that makes it flatter than an American example would be. Hint of menthol to it. It's actually pretty mild, considering the hop-centric nature of the beer, but it's bright and pleasant enough.
Taste is indeed very mild, and here the light, grainy English malts come through to give a semi-sweet savour to the palate. Minimal bitterness, and even the aromatic Amarillo character is only sensed through smell. Feel is light but drinkable.
I feel it's slightly too sweet for what it is, and certainly a little too malt-driven for something named directly after a hop variety, but it's an interesting English American Pale Ale, and shows that the difference in the styles is not just down to the main hops.
38 / 100
Pours a golden amber colour with lovely dense creamy head and nice clingy lace. Slow bead. Bit paler than I'd expect, but nice.
Smells of diacetyl. Too sweet, with crème anglaise, butterscotch and vanilla beans. Hint of spice but conspicuously lacking hops. Disappointing; things gone wrong here, I feel.
Taste is experiencing similar issues, although hops are more noticeable. Front is all sweet with undercooked bread dough, butter and cloves. Switches joltingly to bitter without much progression, resinous and phenolic hops with a coppery metallic edge, a touch of aloe vera and pine wood. Off-balance and bitter, without any cleansing or refreshing hop notes.
Smooth mouthfeel, bit sticky really. Without those hops some fizz would be appreciated.
Yeah, a disappointment. This is the sort of thing that could put people off hoppy beers, when they've lost control a bit.
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer, in person, no lessâvery unusual for me.
Pours a deep and hazy, slightly bronze-tinged orange, with a frothing but subsiding head of off-white. Some lacing, although it's very ambivalentâsticking like crazy in some places, and not forming at all in others. The absolute lack of head retention is a bit of a let-down, but otherwise it looks ok.
Nose is sharp and hoppy, but oddly grassy as well, almost like some chinook got caught up in its business. There's a hint of the pleasant biting citric twang, but it's muddled, and less fragrant and fresh than many other citra-heavy brews I've had.
Taste is similar, in that the bitterness comes on strongly before petering out to a clipped grass organic finish. Lingering undertones of fresh orange peel, like they should, but it's all a bit muddled and fractured.
This is a shame, reallyâthe other two I've had in the series have been good, and I certainly prefer Citra to Bramling Cross in general (although probably not Nelson Sauvin), but I've had much better beers that put Citra to better use.
81 / 100
Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a cloudy orange-brown with a great head of waffly, speckled rocky off-white bubbling. Lace is great. Body is quite light, but otherwise it looks great.
Nose is sharp with green underripe passionfruit and tropical fruit characters, perfectly showcasing the hop variety. It's crisp, but fragrant and very potent. Awesome.
Taste is clean and crisp, with a big lingering bitterness. The palate is tempered with sweeter nutty characters which give a nice balance. Slight acidity from the hops. It's very pleasant.
Very smooth and easy to drink, but also crisp, clean, piquant and delicious. The hops give fragrant bite, but everything stays supple and connected. Very drinkable, and well balanced to the hop variety used. My favourite of the series, so far.
Yes, that's not a typo in the name, it genuinely says "Indian Pale Ale" on the label. Sigh. An inauspicious start from a brewery I want to be better.
Pours a deep coppery orange colour, with almost no head, just a fizzle on the pour. Looks limp and flat, and very underwhelming. (For what it's worth, my Dad left the bottle sitting out for four hours or so and swore it poured better after being exposed to the elements for a whileâperhaps it undertook some quick spontaneous fermentation...)
Nose is rather grainy and almost toasty, giving some darker characters to the mix. There's a whiff of cocoa to it as well. Very minimal hop character: a bit of grass, some tea leafâearthy, but not particularly robust.
Taste is similar. A bit of graininess giving a wholemeal bread character, some cooked veggies, and some frozen peas. Almost a touch of banana esters. No bitterness, no hop flavour. No, no, no... Please, not like this.
Overall, it's not a beer you'd be able to say is "hoppy", which is a bad sign for an India Pale Ale (or an Indian Pale Ale). Worse is that this gives prospective beer geeks a bad impression of a wonderful style.
Not a good IPA, and struggling to even be a good beer.
74 / 100
From the Local Taphouse, on-tap at their fabulous Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a clear, light golden colour, with a really good head of just egg-shell white foam. Lacing is strong and robust. Lots of streaming carbonation. Looks very lively.
Orange sherbet on the nose, and a bit of sweet, creamy fattinessâalmost a compound chocolate or candy sweetness, like some ridiculous thing you'd get in an Easter Show showbag. Soft and sweet and creamy. It's a supple and smooth nose, not a pungently hop-gasmic one.
Very soft and pleasant feel, with a very restrained mild and smooth palate. Sweet vanilla, with just enough earthy hop bite to leaven it. Light sweet orange characters; candied or stewed perhaps, like whole orange cake. Nice. Feel is very smooth, very pleasant.
A nice beer: smooth, restrained and creamy. A delicate and seductive brew.
75 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney. Good to see them get this onânow will they get the others, I wonder?
Pours a dark golden orange colour, almost coppery, with a fine white head. Lacing forms in clumps down the glass. The body is really nicely thick. Almost looks gelatinous.
Sweet and a little earthy, with some brown organic characters and a little dark fruit. Reminds me somewhat of a blueberry muffin. Bit of earthy leaf, giving a herbal touch. Nice.
Nutty on the palate, with a touch of almond skin giving it a round, and slightly astringent bitter bite. Only mild hop bitterness on the back, and although there's not any sweetness to back up what's there, leaving all the work to the thickness in the body. A little organic on the finish, giving very English earthy characteristics. Quite nice.
Looking forward to trying the rest of the series, if I ever get around to it. This was an interesting start.
57 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour with light bead. Head is a bit webbed, white in colour. Lace is nice, not so sticky. Looks alright.
Smells quite grainy, but pleasant. Touches of floral hops blending with strong, sweet, cereal grain. Yeah, touch of tang; not bad.
Taste is weird. Big massive coconut hit on the palate, starts with corn and then just coconut flavours abound on the mid-palate. Big sweet nuttiness and touches of oil. Some more hop really wouldn't go amiss, but it's intriguing and pleasant enough.
Bit of a sizzle, quite dry. Fair body.
Yeah, not sure how IPA this is really. It's a decent beer and I'd drink it, but it's just really lacking in hops, so not really to style.
50 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour with mild haze. Head is white, thin, with clingy lace. Bit odd for an IPA, but decent.
Smells fairly hoppy, but not IPA level. Fair bit of banana, bit of mango and citrus. Really quite sweet overall, touch of caramel. Could definitely use more oomph, it's a bit bland.
Taste is more grainy: lots of cereal, corn with some underlying grass, citrus and pineapple. Bland on the front with light caramel, back is very mildly hopped but again more of a PA level than IPA level. Dry, without much distinct bitterness. Mouthfeel is thin, kind of feels not all there.
Yeah, not very impressed for something calling itself an IPA. I just expect more.
58 / 100
Excessively carbonated, almost obscenely so, this beer forms a head in the bottle as soon as it's opened. Fortunately, it doesn't gush, but it seems that it's a close thing.
Pours a bright golden-copper colour, slightly hazed from a bit of disturbed yeast sediment, with a huge head, fully four fingers deep, of crackling white bubbles that leave sudsy residue as they collapse their way down under their own aerated anarchy. Way, way too carbonated, but the colour looks good at least.
Nose is extremely hoppy and fresh, giving resinous pine characters mixed with green coconut, pineapple, mild citrus and a medicinal hint of ozone. The released COâ confuses this all and makes it more effervescent and anarchic, but the base aroma is so good it doesn't matter. Lovely blend of hops.
Taste is very mild by comparison, giving only a slight organic bite on the end to signify any hops. Otherwise, rather thin and light, with just a slight wheaty grain character, thin but round. No bitterness. I guess all hops were extremely late additions, it's all aroma, with very little flavour and no alpha release.
Feel is thwarted by the bloating carbonation after a while, and even then, it's a thin basis on which to build a beer.
I've had much better from De Molen. While this has good things going for it, it ends up a relatively insipid beer overall. Drinkable in its way, and it has its place in the extensive De Molen range, but it has a hard job to stand up on its own.
72 / 100
On-tap at the Sail & Anchor, which has to be the best beer location on the West Coast, if not in the whole of Australia. This is one of a couple of house beers they had on tap.
Pours a hazed, golden orange colour, with a fine and fluffy white head. Slick body, but reasonably light. Minimal lacing, but decent enough overall. Fits the bill stylistically, in any case.
Nose is hoppy in the American style, giving aromas of fresh citrus. Some fruitiness, but it tends more to the clean, crisp green hops I associate with a good pilsener. Decent depth, marmalade sweetness comes through as it warms slightly. Nice.
Taste is clean and fresh. It doesn't push the envelope in terms of flavour or bitterness, but it comes out pleasant and sharp. Citrus, again a hint of fruit, and a little malt sweetness, but only ever enough to counteract and balance the other characters. Very decent, and definitely stylistic.
A nice IPA. Smooth, pleasant, stylistically good and very drinkable. Certainly something I'd be happy to drink regularly in locale.
Pours a bronzey gold colour with slight dirty haze, revealing a strong but slow plop of carbonation. Head is beige, decent when poured, developing nice craters on its dense surface, and some small but nick sticky lacing trails. Looks pretty decent.
Pleasant caramelly malt underlying, with prominent but not overwhelming hop aroma. Hops are equal parts citrussy and herbal, with a lemon tang and big whiff of mint. Pepperminty with a side edge of metallic brass and fresh-cut grass. Slightly stale in character, but plenty of aroma.
Taste is quite minty throughout. Bit of a peppermint bite on the assault, with a touch of rosewater that mellows heading towards the very nutty malt on the mid, touch of hazelnut and pecan. Hops begin quite early and are definitely unlike the hops I'm used to in flavour. Herbal, with mint, a touch of green tea and a side order of steamed greens that develops into a mildly peppery bitterness with a very dry finish. Bitterness is very mellow though, which I think is the key selling point of the hop, very austere and British with plenty of cleansing bitterness but virtually no bite. Pleasant and drinkable but nothing brash or arrogant about it.
Perfect analogy for the difference between Poms and Yanks here; it's not as in-your face and offensive as your west coast American hops but there's also something lacking in the excitement department.
73 / 100
Pours a murky-brown-amber and I've unfortunately got some floaties, not sure if it was a decanting problem or something to do with the beer. They look very protein-rich, anyway. Head is off-white and a bit slim, just a whispy cloud after a couple of minutes. Lace is quite nice and sticky. Don't look bad, don't look great either.
Smell is extremely sweet, with massive vanilla coming off. Caramel malt base blending with that whiskeyed oak aroma, giving vanilla beans and a touch of fresh-ground coffee as well. Almost Irish coffee really, with a faint booziness apparent as it warms up. I would like it more bitter and grounded, but the sweetness is pleasant and complex.
Taste begins with a fair amount of sweet grain, barley blending with oatmeal, with a caramelised and almost honeyed edge. This quickly takes on those sweet oak notes, giving me strong vanilla, creme anglaise and yes, even a touch of wood (wood you believe it!) Slight kiss of alcohol warmth as it reaches the apex of my mouth and then a welcome earthiness that doesn't quite reach bitter, on the finish, making it out not quite cleanly. Nevertheless a solid beer; well imbued with tasty wood notes. I just feel like more IPA notes - even a Burtonised IPA - would complement the sweetness more successfully. Would love to see Marston's Old Empire oak-aged in this way.
A little bit thin on the feel, which means that defence is lacking for what fizz is there. There's not too much though so it's not bad.
A tasty brew, and the balance is struck well enough to go down pretty easily.
75 / 100
Pours a lovely clear and bright orange-amber colour, with a full and thick head of off-white bubbles. Lots of fervent carbonation which strives to the top quickly. Lacing is excellent, leaving tiny tentacles of foam on its descent. Looks very nice indeed.
Nose is moderately fresh, but with a slight cidery overtone like peeled green apples. A bit of spice and a hint of turned earth, but certainly nothing of the tannic tea leaf or heavy dark organics I expect from English hop varieties, but not bad, nonetheless.
Taste is pleasant, with a very restrained bitterness sitting over some thoroughly pleasant caramel English malts. A little tannin character comes through here, but the palate is really nicely balanced between the leafy hop notes and the malty backbone. Feel is soft and smooth, with just a little bite from the hops and a slight tingle from the carbonation.
A very nice beer all up, and probably one of the best English IPAs I've had the opportunity to try. Missing a bit on the nose, but otherwise the package is solid.
73 / 100
Pours a deep burnished brass colour, with fairly generous off-white head that retains quite well with big bubbles. Lots of carbonation, quite slow and steady though. Clear body, yeah a nice-looking brew.
Smells lovely and fruity. Lots of citric zest melding with a rich English toffee malt. Touch of coppery aroma and some pine resin on there as well. Rich malt, but nice balance with those citric and resiny hop notes. Nice.
Taste is very rich and malty. Lots of burnt sugar notes with caramel malt and an almost rye flake note on the front. Some ascerbic metallic notes towards the mid and an alkaline, soapy flavour as well. Hops are quite resiny and have that dour character I dislike slightly, but they're not used too strongly for bittering, so it doesn't overwhelm the palate. Thinking as an IPA it should be hoppier, but I'm kind of grateful - because the hops being of the kind they are too much would produce the really ashy bitterness that spoiled, for example, Marston's Old Empire for me. Very malty overall and has that English grassiness as well but all in good balance. Quite enjoying this.
Full texture, quite viscous with a slight tingle on the back. Leaves very dry. Not hugely enamoured here; there's too much of everything, needs to be tamed a little.
I could drink quite a few of these though; very enjoyable beer.
Pours a burnished coppery orange colour, with a filmy head of white, that did froth a little at first. Plenty of carbonation, which seems to float throughout the beer, and not in streams. Eh. I've seen better. The head, in particular, is forgettable.
Nose is pleasantly fresh and hoppy for the most part, with an earthiness to deepen it. There's some caramel malt characters that come through as well, probably more strongly than they need to, and a sweet biscuit character that again drags it away from the hops, which should really be the dominant force.
Taste is quite flat for the most part, and quite thin in the feel, with very little body. Hoppiness sits up in a slender swathe in the centre of the palate, giving a sharp but reedy earthy character. Although there's little body, the back is dominated not by hop bitterness, but by a lingering malt flavour, sweet without the sweetness.
Overall, not a particularly inspiring brew. I believe the new Sleeping Giant is better than this one, which seems to do nothing but pay lip-service to the style. Very weak.
75 / 100
Pours quite a light coloured, but slightly bronzed amber hue, with an initially bubbly and full head of very pale lemon. Some lacing, although it's rather sudsy rather than sticky or intricate. Decent clarity. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pleasantly hoppy and sharp, with some grain and caramel to back it up. Bit of earthiness comes through the more I smell it - to be honest, it started out smelling sharp and fruity like American hops, but it has more of an English character the more it breathes. Nice.
Taste is crisp and sharp, with a level of bitterness which suggests American aggression to me. Crisp start, with a decent body to support some firm hop character on the back. Sharp bitterness, backed with light vanilla hints. Just a touch of phenol on the back.
Feel is crisp in parts, but with an overarching smoothness that is very pleasant.
Yeah, this is a lovely beer, and a very tasty one. We actually put it up against a (slightly old) AleSmith Summer YuleSmith, and this one was our preference. Good work.
Pours quite a deep orange-red colour, almost verging on red ale territory, but with excellent clarity in the body, although I'm tempted to say that's almost a negative. Head is large-bubbled and frothy, but pretty persistent and consistent nonetheless. Lacing is good. Overall, pretty decent.
Nose is slightly flavoured with lightly sweet citrus, but it's very mild. Mostly, there's a round grainy/bready note, which while not great for an IPA, isn't unpleasant in its own right. Certainly not enough aroma hops for the style, but it's not actually offensive.
Taste is also not offensive, but not particularly interesting either. Here, a coppery bitterness comes through, that sticks around for quite a while. Underlying it is a slight caramel and malt sweetness, with a twang of herbal uplift on the back. It's pretty mild though, which is a poor sign in an IPA - it should be riproaringly raw and full of flavour.
Feel is smooth enough, with a slight spritz of carbonation.
Eh. It's a decent enough brew, but it's really lacking in character, and it's not stylistically good. It's not a good IPA, but it's not an offensive beer to drink. I guess that makes it a "meh" all up.
48 / 100
Looks rather hazy in its clear bottle, but it pours a pleasantly bright orange golden colour, with a fine bubbled film of white forming the head, such as it is. Minimal carbonation and lacing - the carbonation is perhaps expected from the style, but the lack of lacing is disappointing. Eh, it's a decent look, but I've had better.
Nose is a little earthy and woody, with some slightly skunky crushed vegetation and a hint of pine bark. It's quite mild, and it's set against a light honey character, which again makes it milder from a hops point of view. Eh. It's pretty average.
Taste is also quite light on, although here the hops give a prominent pine tolling on the mid to back. Finish is surprisingly malty, with a honeyed grain note sticking around on the back. Feel is smooth on entry, but soon has a twang like seawater, and a aridly dry finish.
Wow, quite underwhelmed by that overall. This beer gives both English ales and the IPA a bad name. I think it's hard to drink, overall, and has neither the mild pleasantness to be enjoyable, or the character to be interesting.
Leave it be. You can do better.
79 / 100
Pours a lovely hazed orange amber, with a full and bountiful head of lovely crackling white. Head is very rocky, consisting of large bubbles, but this gives it some shape and texture. Lacing is sticky and intricate. Colour, tick. Head, tick. Haze, tick. This is a great looking IPA.
Nose is interestingly different from the others I've tried in the series so far, definitely more organic with the English hop variety. Citrus is still present, but with an earthy, leafy, tea-leaf tannic character to it as well that makes it feel darker and less buoyant. Quite fascinating.
Taste is also quite different to the usual Mikkeller single hop IPA. Here, the tannic bitterness from the English hops becomes very prominent, although it's not a particularly strong bitterness compared to the high-alpha American hops. Big earthy notes on the front, a bit of that classic nutty/marzipan Mikkeller character on the back. Feel is consistent with the others in the series, crisp and clean, but with enough body to support and showcase the hops.
I found this one to be one of the most interesting in the series, given that it uses a much different hop variety to the others. I have to say, I heartily approve. Indeed, I'm not sure I've had a better English-hopped IPA. Trust that Mikkeller would do a better job of it than the UK would.
It's a lovely brew, and the hops are different enough to give a really interesting experience.
Pours a rude red colour, more red than amber. Head is beige, fairly thin but retaining very well. Mostly clear but a slight haze and steady bead. A bit dark, looks more red ale, but very nice anyway.
Smell is a bit subdued. Not a huge IPA character but a slight rubbery note and hints here and there of caramel malt. Slight savoury note with it, but not a huge amount otherwise. I'm a bit nonplussed about this.
Taste is slightly odd. Starts sweet and gets increasingly sweeter. Lots of light caramel malt becomes cereal-esque with rice and sweet corn flavours. Then a fair brown sugar note on the back, with some fruit giving me pears and some ginger. Phenolic hops are reasonably strong but without much complexity, just an earthy bitterness on the back. Not a big fan, just feels a bit simple.
Quite a harsh buzz from the carbonation; not bad for the style but certainly don't love it.
Drinking this is alright, but it's not something I'd go back for.
70 / 100
Pours a very clear amber-golden colour, almost coppery, with a full, but large bubbled and extremely cratered head of white foam. Head is fed by some exceptionally large-bubbled and extremely vigorous carbonation, which is the only thing which seems to keep it going. It looks as though it would happily subside if given the opportunity. The carbonation is somewhat too extreme for me, but otherwise, it's a decent enough look to it.
Nose is... extremely unusual. Masses, upon masses of fresh oak character, implying the beer was lain upon new oak. But the freshness in the body and the aromas released by the effervescence give it fruity notes, and almost a skunky character. Together these mingle into odd nuances of jam-filled doughnuts, unroasted coffee beans and lemon-grass. It's like you don't quite know where the aroma is going to go next. I'm not sure I've had such an oak-heavy beer before - one where the oak itself provides the flavour rather than whatever was in the oak beforehand. It's quite a unique experience.
Taste is surprisingly boozy, and with the oak, it gives it a very whisky-like character. Vanilla-oak on the front, before a lightly noticeable hop bitterness on the back comes through to feebly battle with the huge woody flavours of the oak. Together, a light peach and apricot sweetness is created.
Body is quite full, although the smooth vanilla characters accentuate this fact more than the body itself. Slightly hot and astringent alcohol characters on the finish, which appear in a way that neither the oak nor the hops can counteract.
It's an extremely unusual beer, and almost an unusually extreme beer. The oak is exceptionally pronounced, and overwhelms most of the other characters. My guess is this is only substantially hoppier when compared to others in the Innis & Gunn range, the oak takes on a far, far more prominent role.
Still, all up it's a tasty brew, and the weird oddities in the flavour make it all the more exciting. I'm very pleased to have tried it.
61 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse prior to Brendan Varis @ AleStars.
Pours a hazy golden amber colour, quite dark for an IPA, but there's enough variation that it probably squeezes in. Very nice head though, a very fine white-bubbled number. Slight haze to the body, which I like. Overall, a very decent looking IPA.
Dusty and earthy on the nose - certainly smells like the aroma hops are English rather than American - almost giving a raw mushroom character. Slight pepper notes, with sweeter characters of marzipan and an unfortunate hint of apple cider. That being said, for the oddness, it's not unpleasant.
Taste is predominated by the apple character, which makes me suspect something's a little wrong with it. Grapeseed and must give a slightly less-sweet-than-purely-sweet note, and a peppery bitterness helps clean away the front palate, but it's certainly only an average palate. The body is smooth, however, and it has a very clear finish.
Not a bad drop all up, even for its flaws. The English hops are dead important for this beer though, and even their rather mild notes are mandatory to make this more than mediocre. But with everything in balance, it ends up a reasonably nice drop.
70 / 100
Had on tap at the brewery 07/11/10.
Pours a deep burnished red-amber with minimal head, just a whisp of foam left on top. Slow bead, clear body. Have had better-looking IPAs.
Smell is very malty actually, with nice fruity hop aromas just congregating around the edges. Hints of apple with grapefruit, lemon and a touch of passionfruit. Malt is rich and nutty with a hint of chestnut and walnut. Could use stronger hops, but overall nice.
Taste is also quite malty, very strong malt base with caramel and burnt sugar, then hops emerge slowly rather than accentuating themselves. Not a huge amount of hop character, just hints of lemon zest with more earthy walnut bitterness. Nice finish though, robust bitterness at the end with slight fruity overtones.
Smooth, with a medium-full body. Quite slick around the edges. Maybe a bit light to carry the full extent of the bitterness.
Definitely has more English IPA character with the rich earthy malt, but one of the more milder and more enjoyable English IPAs I've had.
70 / 100
Pours a very deep red-brown colour, with a frothy and creamy head of pale, pale orange, which retains in hills and troughs across the top. Lacing is fine and intricate. Some cloudiness in the body - the colour looks pretty dark for the style. The head is a magnificent piece of work, however.
Lovely citrus and ripe tropical fruit aromas on the nose. Sweet tangerine, pawpaw and light crushed vegetation comes through. Quite sweet overall. Could be more robust and in my face, but pretty good as it stands.
Taste is well balanced between malt and hops, but big on both. Sharp clinging bitterness through the centre of the palate. with oddly fresh twinges around the edges. Grain is noticeable on the back, even lending a light roasted character to the finish. Feels slightly astringent at the end.
Oddly, this is darker than I expected in both appearance and taste - one could almost argue it's a take on a highly-hopped American Red Ale. Still, it's a nice brew.
69 / 100
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse.
Pours a pleasant reddish amber colour, with a pleasantly full head of white foam. Good lacing, without a lot of carbonation. Looks pretty tasty. Almost more like a red ale though.
American hops on the nose, giving lots of fruit; almost overripe and squashy. Bit of butterscotch and biscuity grain characters to sweep it just slightly away from hop purity, but it's pretty nice.
Light sweet passionfruit tart characters on the palate, aided by the very smooth mouthfeel that feels like melted glass. It's surprising, but quite pleasant in an IPA. Taste is very clean, and the hops are muted, but robust enough to cleanse the palate.
Very drinkable IPA, with enough character to be interesting, but light enough to be sessionable and enjoyable.
80 / 100
Pours a deep bronze colour. Head is stunningly dense, white and generous and retains absurdly well. Nice haze in the body, not sure it should be there, though lace is pretty much perfect.
Appealing nose. Malty with plenty of floral hop character. Lots of sauvin on there and citric hop flavours with passionfruit. Whisper of phenols lingering at the back. Very nice indeed.
First thing I notice is that the mouthfeel is very creamy. Taste is pleasant. First hit of malt is caramel with a slight cream note. Hops come through a bit late and dominate the back palate but not aggressively. Fairly floral with citric notes and a slight licorice spice. Hints of splintered wood on the very back. A mild IPA but really pleasant drinking. Enough bitterness to be an IPA but really gentle, balanced and a nice, smooth texture.
I think this is a cracking drop.
77 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour, with dense beige head that sinks slowly, leaving really lovely lace behind. The clear body reveals a magical Disney-esque cascade of bubbles streaming up the glass.
Lots of hop on the nose, floral and herbal with hints of rose & curry leaf. Nice spice to it with a bit of turmeric and a nice citric undertone. Hint of caramelised malt as well, very enticing indeed. 4.5
Taste is intriguing, hmmmm, let me see... Flat malt at the front lets the hop come through early. Notes of fresh cut grass and flax gets slightly mediciney late on the mid. The cedar wood is strong on the back. Dominates really, and overwhelms the hops just a bit in their ability to cleanse the palate. The bitterneas lacks the zip of an American IPA but that is purely a personal preference and says nothing about this beer's quality. The only fault I have with this is the dominance of the wood on the back, and it could use more malt on the front just to balance it a bit.
Good body, lots of viscosity with a really nice dry finish.
I like this a lot, but the imbalance does mean I Couldn't drink more than one or two at a time.
77 / 100
Very iconic label, with the same iconic owl on the cap. I'd seen it a couple of times at the local craft beer purveyor, but only recently decided to pick it up.
Pours with a hazy body, a lovely reddish golden colour, with a light but frothy head of shiny pale foam. Lacing is really excellent, although the retention in the head is poor. Still, I love the colour, it's a pretty good looking beer all up.
Aged in cedar casks indeed. Huge cedar wood aromas on the nose, very prominent, which overpower everything, but which provide an unusual and delicious alternative to the regular spicy hops. I feel there is a mix of spicy, slightly piney hops in the mix, but it's hard to disassociate the two. Still, it's a pungent and quite memorable nose. Very enjoyable.
More piney characters on the palate, and the cedar character permeates here again. You can taste the wood, but it's a very different character from the deep, vinous oak notes on oak-aged beers. Quite a long palate, spicy along its length, gaining some light phenols towards the back, and finishing rather dry. Bitterness is pronounced as the palate continues, leaving a very decent IPA-level sharpness on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is crisp and sharp, a great match for the flavours.
What an unusual beer, but a deeply enjoyable one. Crisp and rather refreshing. It's certainly not an IPA in the traditional sense as it's classified here, but I'd be hard pressed to find a better categorisation for it.
72 / 100
This is the second incarnation of this brew, sounds like the recipe has been changed quite a lot. Had on tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a ruby-tinged amber colour. Head is generous, puffy. Nice off-white colour. Clear, not much fizz but I can forgive for the sake of the beautiful head. Great-looking IPA.
Ooh, hop bomb on the nose. Lots of lemon, juice and zest with passionfruit, tinge of pine wood, yeah hops all over that. Not overwhelming though, strong but not complex. Could use a touch more malt to balance but otherwise an ideal IPA smell.
Taste also very hoppy. Not much to start with or at least you don't really remember the front once the hops kick in. Lovely woody character to them, pine and oak with lots of citrus rind. Genuinely fresh bitterness and fruitiness with slight leathery bitterness to finish. Lingers with lovely citric hop. They've really got the IPA flavours spot on here as far as bitterness goes, if only the start were more interesting, there's just a bombardment of hops on the back.
A bit harsh on the feel, has a bite to the bitterness which is slightly off-putting. Good body to it though.
Yeah, the bite and bitterness are strong enough to lower drinkability slightly, but it's pleasant. I can picture non-hopheads disliking this.
69 / 100
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse.
Pours a deep slightly reddish amber colour. Good thick and frothy head of eggshell white foam. Lacing is excellent. A very nice looking beer.
Grassy lucerne characters front on the nose. Certainly green notes from the hops. Little fruit, but it's quite a fresh aroma. Bit of caramel as well, but only subtle, to remind you this isn't purely about hops. (Which, it arguably should be).
Taste is a good clean IPA palate - fresh and direct bitterness, with clean notes of pine and resin. Little body, or malt at all on the palate. This promotes the hops more than would be in the beer otherwise - it doesn't have a huge hop presence for an IPA. Quite thin, which aids the drinkability - it feels suitable for the amount of character in the beer.
Sinkable. Nice. Clean and fresh. I've had better, but this is not a bad example.
70 / 100
Picked up to my great surprise at the Clock bottleshop in Surry Hills.
Pours a burnt orange colour with a faint yellow tinge at the edge, with lots of thick fizzy bubbles giving it a ginger ale appearance. Head is splendid, dense white foam that sinks slowly & patchily, leaving a faint trail of lace behind. The fizz dissipates, leaving a steady bead and a very good-looking IPA.
Ooh yeah, that's the Cascade. Fresh and citrusy with a lot of lemon pulp and orange zest, a hint of passionfruit seed, and some cakey malt underlying. It's a pleasant smell indeed but truth be told I don't notice a lot of difference between this and the pale ale, it's really not as super-hoppy as I'd expected. Just a little more citrus zing to it maybe.
Taste is fairly bitter from the get go. Starts with a slight caramelised malt character and the hops kick in immediately, giving off citric tang with lemon & orange rind, pineapple and passionfruit. Starts getting properly bitter right where it should, towards the back, with a yellow grapefruit sharpness, a hint of pine and even a slight solvent character like furniture polish, but not nearly enough to spoil.
Mouthfeel is fairly fluid with a bit of bite from the bubbles and hops on the back, quite a dry finish. Crisp, more than anything else.
I'm not sure why this is classified as an English IPA since its only hop is a quintessential American variety, but I guess it's much of a muchness. A solid IPA and a great testament to the wonders of the Cascade hop. If anything it just needs a bit more enamel-peeling bitterness.
74 / 100
On tap at the brewery, December 09.
Deep golden colour, with a good thick head of white foam. Lacing is good even as the head dissipates. The body looks a little static in the glass, but otherwise ok.
Nose is very nice, with citrus, sweet orange, grapefruit and kaffir lime leaf. Nice, I'd say more in the style of the West Coast US examples. A very clean, simple, but pleasant IPA nose.
Taste is also good. Some tannic notes of tea leaf bitterness, basil, lemon rind, turning a little gritty on the back. Really quite clean though, it never becomes harsh. Indeed, you could almost say it lacks enough bitterness, but it's integrated very nicely. It ends up smooth, tasty and very refreshing.
A very drinkable IPA. Tasty and clean. They don't seem to do extreme things here in Brooklyn, but they do do them right. This is a well structured and flavorsome IPA. Very worth, in my opinion.
71 / 100
Pours a lovely bright orange-gold colour, although it was served with very minimal head (which I find a common trend in the US, unfortunately), just a filmy ring of white bubbles, that still left some impressive lacing. I can only imagine the head would have improved this. Good clarity in the body, a few minimal streams of carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Lots of sweet citrus rind / candied orange on the nose, with a good base of sweet, but not sickly malt. Some hints of peach and stonefruit, but a little subdued, and fortunately the sweetness stays clear of the stickier butterscotch type of aromas. Very tasty.
Taste is clear and clean, with a decent bite of hops mid palate. Finish is quite full, with the malt and honey sweetness sticking around for quite a while after the hops have disappeared. Nice round mouthfeel - perhaps the sweetness is a little too cloying, but I can forgive it this minor indiscretion.
A nice IPA, with character. Perhaps on the sweeter end for my tastes - I prefer the riproaringly hoppy or lusciously fragrant west coast style - but a good example all the same.
Had on tap at the bierhaus in Lobethal.
Pours an orange-tinged golden colour with a good pillow of foamy white head, sinks forming a healthy crown of small bubbles. Steady stream of carbonation through the brew. Nice looker.
Lots of malt on the nose, hints of golden syrup throughout. Some floral hops imparting a passionfruit aroma and some grassy character. Not bad, but having this after the pale ale I have to say this isn't as complex. Certainly not complex enough for an IPA.
Taste has lots of diacetyl very noticeable early on. Some malty notes that quickly turn over-sweet with syrupy notes. Hops come through early, giving off some nice phenolic notes and hints of grass and parsley. Finish is fairly bitter with some soil notes, and I appreciate the grounding of an overly sweet palate, but the palate is very unbalanced. It doesn't blend, or meld, from one flavour to another, just dumps you with sweet, and then dumps you with bitter.
Quite thick on the feel, yet also feels a bit harsh from the carbonation. Good fullness, but mediocre otherwise.
The right flavours are there but not in the right balance, too sweet at front, very bitter at the back. Flavours are too mish-mash to make this a smooth drop.
43 / 100
Pours a slightly orangey-golden colour with a little bit of head that disappears to leave a spit-like cloud on the top. Steady but light bead. Leaves some trails of white lace, looks pretty blah, really.
Smells very hoppy and English. Large bitterness with European hops - grassy and slightly citrussy. Aromas of tea, lemon and some caramelly malt, makes for a decent smelling hoppy beer, but ultimately (I think) has a bit of a pilsenery aroma. Lacks the fruity ale esters.
Taste starts off a bit buttery, with a fairly smooth malty front palate, bitterness comes in soon after, with the flavour of lemon rind followed by an astringent tea leaf character, quite grassy as well with a herbal edge. Bitterness eases off right towards the back to leave a slightly zesty finish, although it returns for the aftertaste. Slight yeasty edge to the aftertaste and very acerbic and distasteful, mediciney, like the taste of a crunched up headache tablet. Not much nuance to the aftertaste, just overly bitter. Rest of the palate is passable.
Mouthfeel quite thin and watery - slightly dry at the back, slight stickiness on there but mostly thin.
The hang really kills this beer for me. I sense a lot of Goldings hops, and I'm not really a fan, just needs more tempering of them, or a better blend.
Pours a nice rich redgum colour with a good frothy head that dissipates quite quickly to create something that looks quite unnecessarily like a soft drink.
Smells like a soft drink as well, it's sweet and malty with a golden syrup kind of character, yet the smell is light and frothy liked a malted milkshake. Lacking hops, for sure.
Tastes quite syrupy and light, like it's designed to be drunk quickly and easily but palate is not cleaned up at all. Not really pleasant or interesting. It is quite British in its maltiness, but it's British in the sense that it's utterly dull and polite and quietly dignified and it can't play cricket.
Mouthfeel full enough but a bit too sticky. Doesn't have much character to it, really quite a dull drop.
Pours a good resiny amber colour, with a fair medium-thick white head, no carbonation. Looks fairly mediocre.
Very nice, toffee, sticky, sappy qualities on the nose. Sweet but with a nice tart, bullish hop aroma, quite English with moderately herbal fragrance. Great nose.
A bit of rich, stouty fullness on the front palate, good sticky sweetness that is quite prominent throughout, with heavy malt. A slight English hop grittiness which is a bit too dirty for an otherwise very pleasant, well-structured malt profile. Seems almost nitro in its smooth feel, yeah really quite a pleasant drinking IPA.
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.
First off, love the name - it's a shame that when I went searching for it here, I notice about fifteen other beers with the same name.
Vaguely hazy burnished gold colour, with a decent head of white foam. Not bad.
Nice resin hops with a vague hint of chlorine. Some mandarin characters, quite sweet with a light resin note. Not bad.
Certainly mandarin one the nose, and lots of citrus on the palate too, but surprisingly not terribly bitter. Just a light note of it on the back palate. Quite syrupy and sweet. Not bad. Mouthfeel is quite thick. Nice.
Overall, a very decent brew. Very citrussy, the mandarin-skin character is very dominant, and I have to say I approve overall.
Pours a standard golden colour with decent frothy off-white head, lacing is very nice and sticky, slight bead. Pretty good, really.
Nose is very nice with a nice floral hop aroma, citrusy with an orange, almost jaffa nose, slightly liqueury, very sweet actually with a tangy citrus aroma. Very nice, maybe a bit one-note though?
Taste is tangy and pleasant, with a strong, liqueury flavour, very syrupy feel, with strong and sweet notes of orange, mandarin and cumquat. Slight bourbony hit to it, maybe just a noticeable alcohol, but I think there is that sort of flavour on the finish as well. Hops are a bit subdued in terms of bitterness, there is a rich, estery sweet and sour flavour to that without much dry crispness, but that's largely due to the mouthfeel which is overly sticky.
Drinking is OK, just want a bit more crispness on the finish. Could use more bitterness is all.
50 / 100
Pours a burnished orange colour with pock-marked white head, good thickness and leaves good lacing around the glass. Clear and pleasant. But not great.
Nose is tinged with honey, but also has a distinct corn or rice adjunct aroma, very sticky, kind of like sake. Very little hop on that. In fact, if it weren't for the appearance I'd swear it was Asian in origin. Pretty plain and dull.
Taste is also quite adjuncty, with a sweet, chemical flavour on the front. Dirty bitterness at the back, tastes kind of like drinking regurgitated bleach. Adjuncty sweet but with a funky, dirty hop flavour predominant. Mouthfeel is reasonably good though, certainly appropriate, quite full and smooth. But this is just overpowered by hops, which are not complex or pleasant enough, just a high acidity.
Burnished amber-gold with excellent clarity. A good thick head of white foam, it disippates a little to a loose filmed head of English foam. Lacing is excellent, as you'd expect, and overall, it looks a pretty decent English Ale.
Pleasant organic crushed vegetation on the nose, a little skunky funk, but certainly a meaty yeast aroma. Even something weirdly fishy. Strong aromas no doubt, and the hops are evident. I'm just not convinced their entirely desirable.
Light sweet palate, with a crescendoing English hop bitterness, that ultimately gives way to a rather unpleasant meaty character - like what was promised on the back of the nose. There's certainly some of those gritty and raw British hop notes, but they are rather subdued, and the sweet, sweaty meat characters start to dominate just a little too muh. Mouthfeel is reasonable, but a bit thin.
I'm afraid it's just a little too similar to every other English Ale. While there's things to like about the generic English Ale, this is unfortunately not much more than the generic example. Drinkable enough, but not anything other than a solid and predictable English hopped ale.
46 / 100
Pours a burnished copper kind of colour, with a decent amount of white head, very strong carbonation. Has a clear, filtered look to it. Not sure about filtering this but otherwise looks good.
Nose is very nice and fruity, but where are the hops? I expect hops from an IPA. Has elements of pear, cinnamon and vanilla, all very nice but this needs hops. Silly beer.
Taste is where the hops lie but yeah, with that gritty, English fuggles flavour. Intense, though. Doesn't have very much fruit, it's got a very grassy hop flavour. Quite earthy and in that gritty way I don't much like. Flavour is intense, but not breathtaking. Like a disgruntled English gentleman, it's bitter and unpleasant but still very polite and subdued. I may just be too obsessed with American hop varieties, but really I just think the yanks do a better IPA. Mouthfeel of this is good though, full and quite smooth with a slightly sharp edge.
This is drinkable enough, I guess...
44 / 100
Pours a fairly standard amber colour with a decent, generous white head of dense foam that disappears after a fair while. Bit of carbonation running through its mostly transparent body. This glass doesn't have the full bottle in it so I'm not sure if there's cloud further down. Nice bit of lacing when tilted, a very good-looking blonde.
A generous aroma of hops on the nose with a very sweet character behind it, sort of in a cinnamon-sugar mix kind of way. It's fairly aromatic but also fairly simple, doesn't really leap out of the glass in the way that your mirror image does on level 4 in the original Prince of Persia game.
There is definitely that sweetness on the palate, only here it's not a pleasant character that backs up the hops but rather a stickiness that lingers throughout the palate, taking away precious taste-time from those other beer flavours. There is a slight bitterness on the back palate but not as much as I would expect from something with bitter in its name. Front palate is a bit dusty and then that slight sweetness kicks in which actually just has the effect of toning down the flavour a bit. This isn't a very fat-flavoured beer (or phat-flavoured beer, for that matter), there's a simplicity that makes it not so drinkable - although the mouthfeel is a bit fuller than the flavour and quite nice actually. Nothing particularly nasty in it, just a whole lot of meh. At the risk of raising a few Scottish nationalist hackles, it's really typically English ale-y. Tasting this after Old Engine Oil I'm quite disappointed, I must say.
60 / 100
Pours a light yellow gold colour, with a very slight haze. Lots of foaming, rambunctious carbonation feeds a pure white head of small thick bubbles. Head turns a bit filmy after a while, but still leaves good carbonation. Nice looking beer.
Light metallic and citrussy hop characters on the nose. Coppery sweat character and a bit of barnyard funk. Otherwise just a light zesty sharpness - not a big nose, and not an entirely pleasant one. But not bad.
Light, clean sharpness on the palate - a clean bite of fresh hop character, which leavens into a dry but flat aftertaste. Mouthfeel is surprisingly round for something with a low ABV, and this much carbonation, feels quite slick and solid. It's a shame the palate just drops off.
At the end of the palate, it's quite watery, which is a shame, but it's a very drinkable brew. Of course, this beer is just another example to draw a firm line between the English IPAs and their American cousins (distant cousins). Still, this is one of the better examples, and it turns out surprisingly clean and refreshing.
74 / 100
Tried on tap at the Australian Beer Festival 07, although I should really go and check out the place itself sometime.
Slightly cloudy radiant orange gold, with a very nice white head. Very nice, this one looks good.
Slight toffee crystal malt sweetness on the nose, and a big bunch of luscious tropical fruit. Sweet, but balanced with a pleasant bitter hop note. Very nice.
Taste is also good. It's supremely balanced - with a great fruity character, a sharp bitterness to cut through the potential cloying sweetness mid way through, and then it finishes with a receding, dry refreshing character. Mouthfeel reasonably smooth. Very good indeed.
Very nice. Very drinkable. This is a well balanced, well brewed beer. Great stuff.
69 / 100
Pours a somewhat cloudy amber-copper colour. Head is comprised of coarse off-white bubbles. Reasonable retention, no lacing.
Smell has hints of tropical fruits, laced with pine resin and peppermint. A little spicy, a little earthy. Nicely complex and mouthwatering. The nose really makes you anticipate that first sip. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint...
Oh no... This one doesn't disappoint. Strong, bitter-hopped front palate, that relaxes to an almost minty, metallic aftertaste. Quite intense, and very powerful.
Mouthfeel is puckering, astringent and biting.
Pretty damn good. Well hopped, and if you can bear the feeling of the enamel being stripped from your teeth, you'll enjoy this one.
Wow. A broad, robust beer standing loud and proud. I couldn't drink it every day, but worth it every now and then. Probably the most interesting Kiwi beer I've ever sampled...
79 / 100
Red brown hue with a very good sticky ochre head. No carbonation, suits the style. Wonderful looking brew.
Syrupy toffee nose with a fragrant bit of hops. Really not quite as hoppy as I'd expect, but there's genuine fragrance there. Very pleasant.
Taste is quite fragrant, with roasted notes and a quickly crescendoing hit of pure hoppy goodness. This is a robust, assertive beer. It has a delectable creamy mouthfeel, which beautifully counterpoints the spicy, bitter fragrance in the beer.
I quite substantially enjoyed this beer. A very fine brew indeed.
56 / 100
Appearance: Quite dark amber, with reddish tinges. Good, thick off-white head, which creates good lacing. It's a pretty good looking beer this one.
Smell: Malty and biscuity, with a hint of a vegetative aroma. Smells quite bready, yeasty. Little hoppy fragrance, which kinda suits the style of the beer (that's the style the beer actually is, not the style it claims to be - coz this ain't no IPA). So far, this beer has far exceeded my expectations.
Taste: Quite a disappointment. Rather weak, very little depth. Mostly dry yeast flavours, a little toasted malt - but not rich and full like you expect from the smell. This is the sort of drink I was expecting, really, but the first impressions gave me hope that this might be better.
It's certainly not bad, it's just another standard dull beer. If I were a New Zealander, and had to choose a cheap swill to drink, this woulf probably make a good choice.
Overall, this was rather better than I was expecting, considering this gets swilled down by every second Kiwi I met. Certainly the best NZ macro brewed beer I tried.
A deep clear orangey amber with a solid thick head. It stays nicely for a fair while too, leaving some good solid lacing.
Caramelised fruit over a light hint of yeast. Wow this has a wonderful nose. Apricots, peaches, orange peel. It's complex, a little metallic and very solid. Very pleasant.
Well, the taste is quite a disappointment really. It doesn't have a hint of the rounded sweetness that was suggested on the nose. Rather sharp and matellic on the front palate disappearing quickly to a dry yeasty nothingness.
It's not a bad brew overall, but definately not a prime example of the style. It's quite drinkable and quite enjoyable, althougha touch simplistic in taste, and a let down after the wonderful smells.