375ml can purchased from Beer Cartel. It's an Irish Dry Stout, according to the label, which seems odd for what's been added to it. But there you go.
Pours a pleasant opaque ebony brown, with a persisten if thin head of pale beige. Lacing is solid, with intricate long streaks. Body is quite light, and the carbonation is fast: it's not the languid pour of a Guinness, for instance.
Nose is pleasantly spiced, with fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla coming through. There's not a lot of sweetness, but the characters are ones I associate with a big, rich stout. So I'm hopeful.
Disappointingly, on the palate, the genesis of it as a dry stout makes itself clear. It has a real lack of sweetness through the middle, in particular, with a slightly bitter finish from the roasted grains. Again, there's loads of spice characters through it, giving nutmeg and cinnamon, but without anything to catch them as they fall. It's a shame.
Feel is also too light. It would be fine for a drier, more sessionable stout, but this is crying out for more body to it.
Overall, it's genuinely a mismatch of characters. It could be a lovely beer—the spice notes are a good flavour in a stout, but this beer isn't enough to support it. Definitely not what I wanted from it.
71 / 100
33cl brown bottle purchased from Drinks of the World in Zürich.
Pours with a rather thin body, but a pleasantly deep black-brown colour. Head is flimsy, however, bubbling up like cola foam and then disappearing almost immediately, leaving only the thinnest hint of a ring around the edge of the glass. As a result there's no lacing either. Apart from the colour, there's not a lot to recommend it, unfortunately.
Nose is rather pleasant, however. Toasty malt, but with a pleasant sweetness that works together to provide a choc-coffee character. Some dusty characters come through as well, giving a dry lightness to the aroma as well. Pretty nice all up.
Taste follows a similar path: indeed, it may even be a little better here. Toasty sweetness on the front, with a surprising heft to the body, This develops into a sweet but spicy character later, with hints of aniseed and sweet pepper. Back has a robust roast character providing some dark bitterness and a drying finish. It's actually very tasty.
Feel is pretty full on entry, but dries out towards the back, which is a nice combination.
Overall, this ended up being very drinkable stuff. Despite the inauspicious beginnings, there's solid flavour and craft to it by the end, and I was surprised that ultimately this was a pretty tasty brew.
82 / 100
Tall, 500ml nitro-pressurised can with widget, purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Hisses with that gorgeous nitro explosion on opening, and pours a creamy off-white, which settles into a persistent reverse cascade, eventually (after quite a few sighs) resulting in a clear, red-tinged black, with a perfect cream of head. Lacing is spectacular, as expected. Very fine bubbling as it's tilted. Really, it looks just about picture-perfect. Just about as good as an Irish Stout can look, and almost as perfect as you can expect from a can.
Nose is smooth and creamy. No roast, perhaps a slight grainy toastiness, but more of that rich thick cream, some vanilla, and a suggestion of sweet spices: cinnamon and nutmeg—perhaps the only true darker tones to the aroma. Very nice.
Taste is clean and light. Smooth, creamy entrance. More spice, nutmeg, and a slight minerally character. Again, very little true roast: there's a tickle on the back of mild toasty darkness, and a synergy between the darkness, the mineral character and even a suggestion of smoke that leaves a slight phosphorous character lingering. It's very nice and very smooth.
Feel is as you would expect. Extremely creamy with almost no noticeable carbonation. Despite the richness it's relatively light, meaning it doesn't cloy in the mouth.
I really love a good Irish Stout, and I think this is a particularly good one. It's certainly much, much better than the locally contract-brewed Guinness you'd get here in Australia. At 4% ABV, this is exquisitely sessionable. Indeed, the whole can went down without a question, and I'm already craving another.
Large 750ml bottle of the Australian version (brewed by Lion under contract), purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours like no Guinness should ever pour, bubbly head and light bodied. Solid black colour at least, but the head is an abomination. Merely a film of largish bubbled beige foam. Some patchy lace. But really, this is not what Guinness or any Irish ale should look like. This looks like someone's put some flat black wort through the soda stream. It's just wrong.
Nose is quite spicy, with some dark notes of pepper and nutmeg, but also a sharp metallic character, and an oddly cardboard or plastic character: something slightly artificial. There's a charred mineral character as well, which is actually rather pleasant. It's not bad, but it's missing some smoothness, some sweetness, and some creaminess.
Taste is decent, but a little disappointing. Clean light entry with a spicy-mid palate, perhaps an apology for the lack of creaminess and the lack of true roast. Slight organic crushed floral characters, more of that fragrant spiciness, and stacks of metal. Indeed, there's a crispy aluminium character all over it, and some slight smoky Mexican spice on the finish. It's a little odd, and not at all really in character.
Feel is poor. Really bubbly, and yet light. In some ways it matches the disappointing characters elsewhere, but being consistently disappointing is not much of a recommendation.
Overall, this really feels like a poor mimic. It's fizzy, dank, only coincidentally roasty and very thin and weak. Having not tried the proper original version, I can only hope it's nothing like this.
77 / 100
So, I'm sure I've had this on-tap before (indeed Untappd tells me as much), but I'm not sure I've ever had it from the bottle. So here we go. This particular bottle is a 330ml number, emblazoned with the "Certified Space Beer" pap, purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.
Pours very pleasantly, a deep dark black-brown, with a smooth, slightly frothy head of pale chocolate. Carbonation is very fine, forming in sheets when the glass is tilted. Som speckled lacing, but not a great deal. Body is firm, but relatively lightweight. Looks pretty good all up.
Nose is very pleasant. Light dusty chocolate, with a slight roast kicker. Some smooth milky flavours as well. There's a hint of something perhaps a little savoury as well: some toasted, buttered dark bread perhaps. It all integrates nicely, making a very pleasant, very consistent whole.
Taste is also very nicely integrated and well balanced. Smooth entry, with some of those mild milk and chocolate characters, before a noticeable but tempered roast character gives some bite to the mid palate. Some lingering cacao overtones towards the back give a bittersweet finish. Feel is smooth throughout, really lingering on the back to give a stronger sensation of depth and breadth to the palate. It's really excellent in a beer only slightly over 5% ABV.
Really smooth and drinkable. Have I actually had this before? I don't remember it being so good. This is really nice, smooth, clean and balanced, with enough flavour to keep it exciting. I would love to drink this more regularly.
On-tap at Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA.
Pours a bronzey, brown-black colour, with relatively little hazeâindeed, light permeates it even despite its colour. Head is a milky mocha-brown colour, with a gorgeous silky consistency from the nitro-pour. It also leaves amazing lacing. Really, it's a great looking beer.
Aroma contains everything you'd expect: mild roasted notes, a touch of coffee, a slight sweetness which gives a hint of unfermented wort, crushed, brittle chocolate and a milkiness throughout. It's very pleasant, if in some senses just ticking the boxes.
Taste is unexpectedly different, however. There's almost nothing on the front, leaving everything to roar up on the finish, with clingy, watery coffee filling out to a roasted astringency on the back, leaving dollops of husky bitterness and roasted tobacco. Everything forms on the back, and it feels a little undeveloped as a whole. Feel is good, but less exciting than it should be.
Drinkable enough at the start, but with the build up of ashiness on the back harms it. I'm surprised to say I didn't find this as good as I'd hoped. But then, maybe I just have unreasonable expectations.
Pours a dark cola colour, almost entirely black with beige head, nice and dense crema look, decent lace left behind. Looks good, decent head retention.
Smells dark; roasty but a bit lacking with not too much malt. A bit sour and lacking as a result. Plenty of espresso with a touch of beetroot and some spice. Dark caramel as well; pretty standard stout, not too bad.
Taste starts reasonably sweet with some malt and a touch of brown sugar. Early mid some dark roastiness begins and starts growing to the back, which is quite bitter and slightly sour with mild espresso and a touch of cola. Bit flat on the back, maybe a hint of licorice but more piquant spice would be welcome. Bit sour late, bitter really, without body or enough balance.
Decent body, quite smooth, maybe a bit thin but for the ABV that's not too bad.
Decent stout, have had better, just feels lacking in places.
73 / 100
Pours a dark mahogany brown with beige, dense head. Settles slowly to a thin film of tiny bubbles, but some gorgeous lace. Pretty pale for a stout, but nice.
Smell is roasty and sweet. Plenty of rich espresso with a hint of licorice bite and some dark but sweet chocolate. Hint of raisin and port wine as well. Quite sweet, but a good roasty balance to it.
Taste is fairly sweet, with some vanilla and coconut-flesh notes early, mixing with roasty grain notes on the mid. Touch of spice with black pepper and cinnamon, then finishes sweet and dark with nice cocoa-rich chocolate and a dry, woody touch at the back. Very pleasant palate.
A bit thin on the body and empty, really. Goes down smooth but hard to notice while it's in the mouth.
Could be darker and I wouldn't be complaining, but it's been a while since I drank such a drinkable, tasty Irish-style stout.
76 / 100
Pours a pleasantly dark, but rather fine and light-bodied black-brown, with a silky smooth head of beige film. Lacing is complex and delicious. It's a pretty light-bodied stout, but apart from that it looks great.
Nose is smooth and bittersweet, with pleasant brown roasted characters giving dark chocolate and light coffee hints, along with a velvety vanilla sweetness. At the edges, you can pick up the real roastiness, and even a hint of smoke, but for the most part, it's smooth, approachable and delectable. Very nice.
Taste is a lot lighter, but still tasty, and the lack of body and alcohol means it's pleasantly sessionable. Smooth dark grain characters meld with the light sweetness to again give hints of bittersweet chocolate and burnt toast. Feel is smooth, but very light bodied, meaning you have to keep drinking it to realise... that you're drinking it. That's not so bad.
Very sessionable brew; in the style of those stouts that give you something full flavoured, but something easy to stick with all night. It's a fine achievement, and this is undoubtedly something I'd be happy to drink often.
73 / 100
330ml bottle with ring-pull cap purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. I can't quite say what drew me to this with everything to choose from in the store, maybe just because it's different from my usual fare of US IPAs.
Pours a dark and opaque black-brown, with a filmy head of beige on the top. Body looks very light and fluid, not trapping carbonation, or sitting particularly heavily in the glass. Lacing is perfunctory.
Nose is pleasantly roasty, but leavened and broadened by a nice and unexpected malty sweetness, giving characters of vanilla and pale cocoa. Milder than some, but nicely rounded and complex.
Taste is far drier and more bitter with genuine roasted stoutiness. Start is dry husky grain, and it finishes with a powerful ashy blackness. Perfectly suited to style, even though my heart wishes for a touch more sweetness to deepen it. Nicely done.
Plenty of character for a relatively low and light-bodied brew. A very robust stout.
Pours a pretty damn dark-brown, mahogany up to the light. Head is quite impressive. Sinking in the middle but leaving some beautiful foamy sheets of lacing. Am impressed, for the first time, with an aspect of a Myponga beer.
Smell is fairly weak and oddly dark. Slight chocolatey notes and weird vegemitey character. Really quite sour and something off about it. Don't like it very much, actually.
Taste is sickly sweet, with a huge molasses flavour to it. Some hints maybe of some dark notes, but it comes across as vegemitey, and apart from that it's just dirty-sweet, with rotting fruit. Just very artificial-tasting and nasty. Quite off-putting and very simple otherwise.
A bit of texture, but mostly just thick, actually goes down very flat. Pretty blah.
No. Myponga, you've failed yet again, this time at the one beer I thought you might not totally fuck up. Just give up brewing. I can't finish this.
44 / 100
Pours a chocolatey brown colour with very pale beige head that doesn't stick around. Lace is pretty nice and sticky; if there were more head this would look great.
Smell is very sweet. Lots of palm sugar and some milky chocolate notes. Yeah, quite chocolatey overall but in a fairly unpleasant sweet way. Have sniffed better things.
Taste is quite dark and sour, a strong bitter coffee-style hit with some odd fruit and vegetative characters around the edges. Yeah, it sort of has some mild roasty notes, but it's all thin and underwhelming, and doesn't quite carry the roastiness enough, just lacks some body so the roastiness is just weak, sour and a bit insipid. Not bad, but lacking in body and just flat drinking.
The thinness makes it fairly easy to drink, but certainly not a particularly impressive drop of beer.
41 / 100
Pours a muddy looking brown, with a very filmy head that leaves a slight sheen across the surface, and a collar of fine-bubbled beige. Some lacing, but not a lot. Looks rather thin.
Very sweet on the nose - big notes of honeycomb, heavily floral raw honey and some dark chocolate twinges. Almost too sweet overall, but it certainly has a robust flavour.
Wow, despite the sweetness on the nose, there's almost nothing on the palate. It's immediately extremely thin and almost devoid of character. Watery on the front, with a slight dark grain character on the back of the palate. Really, nothing. I'm extremely surprised, and I'm very disappointed.
I wasn't overly enthused by the prospect of the honey-sweetness on the nose, but at least if it had have been there, it would have had something on the palate. As it is, it ends up very mediocre indeed.
39 / 100
Pours a very dark colour with red tinge and fringes, thin ochre head that sits pretty defiantly as a crown, kind of like coffee crema in its appearance. Lacing is thick but wet, leaves some almost crystalline traces here and there. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is roasted and tart, with some carcinogenic burnt aromas, has a kind of chlorine character, blending with sweet dark chocolate and some dark fruit, glacé cherries and toffee. A bit of a confused nose, not quite one thing or the other. I think maybe a bit more of a roasted character dominating the sweetness would make it more robust and enjoyable. Not bad though.
Taste is quite a dark affair. Starts fairly sweet and meek, with fairly flavoursome chocolate notes suggesting themselves, descends into a really quite sour dark roasted flavour, with resiny notes and hints of walnuts, licorice and a funny salty character. Has an odd and quite unpleasant "off" character on the linger like rotting vegetable matter, very savoury and astringent.
The palate does have a sort of journey to it, but it feels unbalanced, like the flavours don't blend into each other very well. Overriding it all is that funky sour character which is quite off-putting really, it's very potent and robust here, and blended with the burnt malt character is a real struggle for the palate to enjoy.
Mouthfeel quite light, fairly smooth I guess, but very little body in spite of 6% and a lot of dark malt. I respect this for giving me more flavour than the draught but even still it feels like a watered-down stout. The robust flavour is more insipid, and the tartness is a pale shadow of what could be a powerful earthy bitterness.
Pours a dark brown colour, with enormous creamy carbonation surge up and down the glass, and two fingers of thick, impenetrable beige head. It's iconic. It's magnificent.
Smells a little weak, with a vanilla cream aroma and a slight cherry hint of tartness. No real roasty notes, sad for a stout. It smells "lighter" than it should, too buoyant.
Taste is similarly weak, and seems watered down. It sort of has the outline of a deep toasty stout, but without the filling. Has a similar cream kind of flavour with a gritty finish, like an overcooked steak but not very potent or rich. Almost feels like roasted malt was added as an afterthought. Mouthfeel is creamy, buttery, but not quite full enough to excite.
This is the stout for the masses, really. But its appeal as thick, solid lord of dark matter is hype, not reality. In actuality it makes me want to retch the more I drink. It's bitter and unpleasant without being complex. Not all that.
Pours a dark (yes, a stout is dark) appearance with a pillowy foam beige head sitting neatly atop it. The head sticks around for the encore. Thick, wonderful lacing.
Nose has a nice brown sugar kind of character blended very well with burnt and roasted espresso kind of aroma. Kind of like if you stirred molasses into your coffee. Very, very subtle herb fragrance destroys this analogy. Pleasant nose though, just a bit simple.
Taste is full of subtle roasted flavours with Arabica coffee certainly being an apt comparison. It's all very underplayed and mild, and yet the flavours flourish and penetrate the palate very well. What I mean is, it's not watery. There's a sweetness that kicks in around the mid-palate, but again it's not intrusive, just mellow and pleasant. Mouthfeel is velvety and smooth.
This is a very mellow, smooth drinking beer with a lot to recommend it. While not being a towering emperor of a brew, it's very pleasant drinking, good for a winter's night by the fire.