83 / 100
Choc-chilli porter, tried on tap at the K&B.
Pours a red-tinged cola colour, quite cloudy looking, with thin but nicely dense and creamy rim of beige head. Looks alright, and I think the pour was bad rather than necessarily the beer.
Smells of chipotle, and chocolate. Smokey character with a touch of vegetation, undergrowth. Dark but sweet and alluring chocolate underlying. Cocoa-rich but smooth. Maybe a touch meek but otherwise very enticing.
Taste is gorgeous. Big chipotle note upfront; smokey that develops some nice chilli heat running through the mid to late palate. Light caramel malt upfront that gets darker with some lovely rich bittersweet chocolate midway and underlines the whole finish. Lovely sweet-spicy interplay with a touch of pepper flavour, this silky chocolate character as well and some finishing roastiness. Really lovely, moreish palate.
Smooth, with the heat that starts to burn early on the finish and retains a nice lingering warmth that's really quite pleasant.
That's a cracker of a chilli beer. Lovely dark sweetness with plenty of biting spice but without going overboard, and intermingling it well with the other components. I want to try the sauce brewing range now.
77 / 100
Pours an orangey amber colour, slightly hazy. Head is off-white; nice and foamy, thins out but leaves some nice thick cascades of lacing behind. Looks fairly standard but great lace.
Smells bizarre. Huge sweetness with honeysuckle and stonefruit. Lychee, rose, spiced cake. Massively floral, melony, and just cakey sweet. Strange pot pourri that's enticing, in the way that your Grandma's perfume might be.
Taste is very similar. Huge floral sweetness, with lavender and lychee-rose, big peach, apricot and mango - and then chilli heat. Which is just the last thing I expected from this. But its insanely sweet as well, just this patisserie level of layers of sweetness with honey, toffee caramel and then that stonefruit and chilli. Its so bizarre, but I can't help but enjoy it and when it gets to the heat on the back it tempers the sweetness wonderfully. But its still really sweet. Yeah its fucking weird. And i love a beer that can do weird to this extent.
Slightly heavy but smooth, with plenty of fizz and heat sensations on the back. Really good texture though.
There's nothing I've had like this; I'm very impressed, and very confused. But I'm loving every sip by now.
62 / 100
Another weird "Let's throw lots of everything in and see what happens" GABS beer that's hard to categorise - sour beer with mango and sriracha. I've called it a chile beer which seems like the least worst option. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a pale straw colour, slightly cloudy with a thin rim of sparsely webbed white bubbles. Bit meh; inevitable with this type of beer though.
Smells like sriracha. Big vegetative chilli note, maybe a touch of sour vinegar character and a big cumin note. Not a lot of mango or fruit generally, but quite pleasant.
Taste is pretty nice too. Good fruity character with mango and orange peel in equal measure. Notes of sriracha including fruity and vegetative character, a hint of undergrowth to it and some general earthy spice notes towards the back. Bit weird, but I quite enjoy it. Not really any heat to it though.
Body is a bit thin, but the texture is fine as it goes down. If the sriracha came through really spicy it might be a bit much, so thankfully it's not too hot.
Decent fruity, tangy beer with a good chilli flavour on there as well. Surprisingly accessible given the weirdness of the proposition.
750ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne for my birthday, courtesy of Sam. I thought I'd return the favour by sharing it with him.
Pours a very clear golden colour, with a frothy head of white that persists as a creamy film across the top. Fine lacing forms across the glass. Carbonation is fine, promoted by the fine but solid body, which causes it to be thicker than expected. Looks good.
Nose is weird. Despite the name and the ingredients, the dominant character is vanilla, with a rich, sweet melted ice-cream character being the keystone. There is some sweet tropical fruit sitting underneath it, that gives it notes of banana and coconut. Mango is probably there too, but it's so mixed up in the creaminess.
Taste is also very smooth and creamy—indeed, it's almost too sweet. Here, there's an extremely pronounced malt character too—the 10% ABV making itself felt—and it feels surprisingly heavy. The habanero comes to the rescue though, providing a punchy heat on the back that contrasts quickly and slightly painfully.
Feel is smooth and rich on the front, with an undeniable build-up of heat on the back.
An intoxicating, unexpected and perplexing beer. It's a little like a triple-fried egg sandwich with chilli sauce and chutney. Only the wrong ingredients don't even necessarily make this work.
A chestnut and jalapeno brown ale brewed for GABS 2017. Normally I would classify "[RECOGNISED BEER STYLE] with adjuncts/chilli" as a [RECOGNISED BEER STYLE] (in this case, a brown ale) but in this case I'm going with the adjunct foremost just because the brewer, in his Q&A with Australian Beer Writer of the Year Glen Humphries, called it a "kind of but not-quite brown ale". Tried at the festival in a sampler.
Pours a darkish brown colour, pale enough to see that there's a light haze in it. Head is beige in colour, foamy and retaining nicely. Looks good.
Smells quite spicy. Jalapenos on there for sure. Notes of chocolate on the malt, a slight hint of smoke and a distinct turmeric kind of character as well. Pleasant.
Taste kicks off chocolatey, and quite sweet. The heat from the jalapenos builds subtly but surely as it develops some vegetative undergrowth and capsicum flavour late-mid and a strange but welcome fennel character towards the finish. Not a lot of chestnut but it would naturally get lost in this mix. Bit too sweet overall but the heat is welcome.
Body is a bit full and gluggy, also a bit flat which doesn't help as it could use more cut-through.
Nice heat, but not amazing otherwise.
I did retry this beer at the end of the festival, but it failed to crack my top 20.
76 / 100
Ooh yeah, here we go. IPA brewed with ghost chillies for GABS 2017, and tried there on tap. Before trying this I'd heard stories of people at the festival sweating, crying in trying to get through a sampler. This made my anticipation, of course, skyrocket.
Pours a very pale straw colour for an IPA. Foamy white head that doesn't stick around, unsurprisingly given the chilli presence. Not bad.
Smells really good. Big chilli presence, with vegetative notes, but hops as well. Lemon, capsicum aromas, touch of undergrowth as well. Smells awesome, love this combination.
Fuck. FUCK that's hot. Starts out like any other IPA; citrus lemon tang that gets strangled midway by huge fuckoff chilli heat. Tastes like a mouthful of chilli seeds, with some fruity chilli and capsicum flavours, and just burns and burns and burns all the way down. I love chilli heat, and I love this, but man it's a weird as hell sensation.
Body is thin. It's not like I expected the body to somehow dampen the effect of ghost chillis stabbing my throat but yeah, there's really no presence except for that painful burn.
This is really an amazing experience for a chilli and chilli beer lover. It's hugely, powerfully hot. It burns like fucking Hades and I love every minute of it.
I retried this beer because it was so enjoyable, and it ended up my #5 beer of the festival. Here's a link to me before enjoying a full glass of it:
And here's a link to an empty glass, which is supposed to prove I finished it (for the record, I did):
70 / 100
Honestly, this is another of those beers where I wish they'd just pick a style in the copy because it's otherwise impossible to categorised. Kettle-soured beer, inspired by Vietnamese dipping sauces and brewed with lime zest, coriander and Scorpion chillies. GABS 2016 beer. Tried there on tap.
Pours a gold colour, fairly sedimenty in the body. White head, foamy, retains alright. Looks alright, yeah.
Smells like hops. Fresh, fruity. Some caramel malt, mango and apricot abounding from the Citra hops. Not what I expected, but certainly not unpleasant.
Taste is a bit more nuanced and complex. Slightly tart fruit early on, with a mandarin and lemon character. Develops some yeasty notes towards the back, slightly organic and corporeal, then a little bit of heat on the back but not huge. Interesting drop, and more palatable than I expected. Hint: I expected to be drinking hot sauce.
The heat is felt on the texture more than tasted on the palate. Otherwise flat texture.
Another interesting chilli beer at GABS. Could clean up a bit more on the back as it's a little stodgy, but there's plenty for a chilli fan to like here.
70 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour; head is cream, bubbly on top with specks of white lacing left behind. Slow bead keeps the head alive. Not bad at all.
Smells big, malty and hoppy. Big chewy toffee character to it, with sharp citrus and a slight woody note verging on smoky. Touch of lychee and banana. Decent; could possibly in fact amp up the hop aroma despite its prevalence.
Taste is...insane? Wow, what the fuck just hit me? (Editor's note: I was reviewing this blind, as I often am) Big citric tangy flavour that then assaults the mouth, physically, with intensifying heat that comes across like a sweet poison. Yeah, it's a fruity cocktail with a hidden, vicious sting. My mouth has been ambushed and abused, and I love it.
Decent malt body, but it just paints the mouth with pain and fire. Still, I quite enjoy it.
This is a sneaky sniper of a beer. I feel it could maybe dial back the sweetness, because it just has this air of dishonesty when it pulls that sneak attack with the chilli. Not that I feel 'betrayed' by the beer but as a sensation the parts feel a bit inconsistent.
78 / 100
12oz brown bottle purchased from Spec's in Houston. Shared with Sam during a brewday in Sydney.
Pours like the Sculpin—clear, light and bright, with a good, frothy head of white that settles out to a pocked film, leaving fine, intricate lace in its wake. Body is good, with fine streams of carbonation. Looks good.
Smell is surprisingly mostly hoppy, with the habanero only providing a slight capsicum note around the edges. The hops in this particular bottle are actually a little bit muted, possibly because it's slightly old, or wasn't treated well on its journey from California to Texas. But I can imagine it's grand when the Sculpin character is laced with that kick of sweet chilli.
Taste is really nice. Here, there's a cleanness to the malt, with a mild barley sugar basis, and a firm Sculpin-like bitterness, which provides some pleasant bite. But then there's more bite. All around the edges of the palate is that slightly sweet tone of habanero, giving a flavour somewhere between mango and capsicum. And then comes the burn. This isn't overwhelming, but it provides a slightly stinging warmth on the back that hangs around the more you drink. It's a nice note, and it's rather gently done.
Feel is clean and crisp on the front, with that belting, warming kick in the back.
Surprisingly drinkable for its concept, and there's a good amount to enjoy in it. Honestly, I was always going to prefer a regular Sculpin to this, but this is a pleasant, unexpected and unusual twist on the classic that makes it something substantially different from its base beer. That's worth a lot.
82 / 100
Bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor.
Pours a deep, dark brown-amber colour, fair froth when poured; head is generous, cream coloured. Small bubbles, sinks slowly just by popping on the top. No real lace but then I'm impressed by the retention for a chilli beer. Looks very decent, though not sure what I expected.
Smells like my kind of beer. Big jalapeño whack on the front, with a dill pickle acidity, slight earthy vegetative note and hint of heat. Touch of cinnamon sugar and bready malt and overlying it all is a fresh tangy fruit note from hops; citric, slightly sweet. Not only smells beautiful, but it also smells like my best friend. In a best friend that I'm about to consume kind of way.
Taste is different to what I expected: it's really big on the malt upfront. Chocolatey, biscuity, maybe a touch of sticky rye bread. Develops tangy hoppy notes midway - lemon, a touch of grass and fresh herb notes and slightly sweet - then finish is somewhat bitter, with lemon pith mixing with that hint of pickly jalapeño heat, just a whisper of spice to liven up the party at the end. If I have a criticism, it's that the jalapeño should be more robust in the flavour (the heat sensation is there but less so the flavour); but nevertheless it's a beautiful drop, and one that I could share many nights by the fire with, discussing vintage cars and vintage women. I only hope it likes me as much as I like it.
A bit foamy and acidic through the mouth; the hops are maybe a bit raw here which bleeds into the slight heat from the peppers. OK though.
Add some lychee to this and you've pretty much made my dream beer - provided of course it worked together as well as this does. This is the beer I'd ask for from the beer genie. It's not perfect, but I'd be more than happy settling down with this and raising a couple of kids and a goldfish.
76 / 100
640ml brown bottle purchased from Camperdown Cellars on Parramatta Rd.
Pours a deep, clear amber colour, with decent weight to the body. Head forms a very nice, very fine crest of off-white that settles down and coalesces into larger bubbles, but leaves some fine streaks of lace. Carbonation is also fine. Looks good.
Nose is great, and immediately interesting in the way Shenanigans does best. It's a lovely combination of fragrant, slightly fruity, slightly crisp hops, with a kick of fresh cut green capsicum and jalapeño spice. Slightly peppery as well. As it warms, there's a mild buttery sweetness to support it, but it's very much in the background—it's all about the hop-and-chilli aromatics here, and they're really good.
Taste is also good, and surprisingly different from the nose. Here, there is a very firm malt presence, giving some toasty, grain and biscuit notes to provide a broader base. Atop this is laced some mild peppery spice and true capsaicin freshness. The heat is subtle though, and it certainly doesn't immediately strike me as being "hot". As it goes along, there's a slight tingle of warmth the builds up on the back palate, but the jalapeño is clearly mostly for the aroma and flavour than for the kick—it's a delicate balance.
Feel is pretty light. It works well enough though, especially because it's got the extra element of the mild chilli spice.
Overall, it totally works, and in the beautiful way that Shenanigans have of either crafting something unique from tried and tested forms, or making something balanced and subtle from a more crazy idea. This is the latter, and I'm genuinely impressed with how drinkable it is. I'd happily session a few of these.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep brown colour, with a little hazing to the body. Weight is very solid and it holds very fine carbonation. Head is a pale brown colour, forming a big solid ring that leaves very good lace. It's an attractive looking beer.
Nose has a big mix of chilli and chocolate, and an enlivened capsaicin vegetative crush. This gives it notes of dirt and nettles as well. Surprisingly, the chocolate actually dips as it warms, otherwise it's pretty good.
Taste is great. Light cheeky chocolate notes on the front touched with a dash of dried coconut and already plenty of spice. Chilli heat starts to warm the palate couple with smoother, melted dark choc notes. Carob and dessicated coconut round out the back, with a slight tingling linger of chilli in the finish.
The feel does start to burn after a while, but with the complexities, and a mild smoothness in the weight, you feel like it's earned it.
Without the "ow", I might have rated this higher, but I still thought it was an excellent use of chilli. Moreover, it's on-point as far as its concept goes, so I have to applaud the execution. I did like this a lot.
72 / 100
So I've classified this as a Chile beer, even though it's a sort of sweet stout-with-chilli. This is retroactive reclassification really, knowing now how strongly the chilli dominates.
Pours a dark coffee colour, with nice deep beige head, a bit webbed but looking decent.
Smells of chilli, vegetative. Underlying is a roasty malt base, touch of spicy coffee and coconut, maybe a touch of smoke and a hint of vanilla. Left-field from what I expected, but decent.
Taste is pleasant; roasty with a touch of cinnamon and just a whisper of coconut but then the chilli dominates mid-to-late and overall with a touch of real flaming heat. Chocolate comes through late and is really smartly balanced with the sweetness providing a padding for the chilli heat which is strong but not painful. Not much coconut but very nice nonetheless.
Decent body, slight warmth on the back from the heat.
Not what I expected, but good in a different way.
Note: this was my #9 beer of the whole festival upon retrying.
75 / 100
Can gifted to me by Jez for Christmas. Expectations extremely high.
Golden colour, fair sediment. Nice bubbly white head that sinks slowly. Medium sticky lace. Not bad.
Smells metallic and oddly vegetative. Touch of cinnamon and maybe some other earthy spice. Fair cereal grain character overall. Quite meh.
Taste is a farrrkin fireball. Whoa Jesus! It starts off innocuously enough, light malty grain notes followed by a slight lemony touch, then immolation occurs in the mouth. Hot, fiery burst of chilli heat that goes from middle to end. Wow, not for the faint hearted. But heat is all there is, doesn't make the mistake of adding vegetative chilli flavour, finish is quite fruity and tangy actually and an interesting contrast to that heat. Wow.
Kind of hard to judge the texture because that chilli heat is so overwhelming. Fairly flat, fluid, light bodied. Not bad.
So overall I'd say I prefer triple day of the dead to this but there's something just very special about this beer. It's surprisingly refreshing, or at least feels so. So even if you're in pain (I'm not, i love this sensation in beer) there's something pressing you to drink more. Yummo.
57 / 100
330ml can purchased from the brewery on a recent trip to Wellington.
Pours an unassuming, faintly hazed pale golden hue, with a thin, slightly fizzy and insubstantial head of white. This settles out to a mild ring and some pocked film. Carbonation is fine at least, but even a little thin—overall, it looks like a innocuous beer, if not an outright disappointing one.
Nose changes this, however. Here, there's an enormous floral aroma of rosewater, almost sickly and over the top. Under it is the maize, and there's certainly a corn-like cereal husk aroma to the underlying sweetness of the beer. You have to appreciate the power at least: it's an impressive aroma.
Taste makes yet again another perverted change in direction. Here, the habaneros kick in, with a powerful burn on the back that becomes your entire world for the duration of the sip. That's not quite true: beforehand, the rosewater dips long enough to let the watermelon flavours come through, and they're not an unpleasant addition. It's a sweetness that seems to blossom into a thousand pointed spears—the heat is really very fiery, and almost unmanageable. The flavours are all right—that burn is perverse.
This is a difficult beer to drink, by pretty much any measure. By the measure of most chilli beers, though, I like that it structures the other flavours to complement the heat—the rosewater and the watermelon are a very nice match. But the habanero in particular is too much; it's a heat that starts to hurt after only a few sips, and builds in such a way to make drinking it something of a trial. Perhaps it just needs the right food match—I'm thinking plain yoghurt and a couple of ice cubes for my blistered tongue.
57 / 100
Pours a red colour, dark and pleasant. Head is yellow-tinged, decent lace pattern left behind. Looks nice.
Smells chilli, with a bit of heat/spice pungency, and a lot of vegetative capsicaian notes. Could use more sweetness, or possibly some more smoke.
Taste is very intriguing. Vegetative, bit of cumin and a touch of pear, then follows with a big chilli or capsicum flavour. Drops off towards the finish a little, slightly earthy but not really a lot of flavour presence late. Might be enjoyed by people who generally dislike chilli beer, but I really love the heat usually, and I'm left wanting.
Thinnish body but a bit of presence at the end.
Kudos here for showcasing the flavour of chilli without capturing that flaming heat, but I just happen to be 'that guy' in the world who enjoys the heat of chilli beer and is less a fan of actual chilli flavour. I find this oddly lacking.
72 / 100
Had on-tap at 4 Pines during Sydney Craft Beer Week. This beer was brewed under the "Beer Mimics Food" mantle of the week. Specifically, this was created in collaboration with a local Sydney homebrewer to mimic a spice pulled pork sandwich. Mmm.
Pours a lovely hazy red hue, almost cloudy, but refracting light pleasantly. Body is really very light, surprisingly so, in fact. Off-white head forms a mild, smooth, clear crest. Lace is fussy and bubbly. Love the colour.
Aroma is wonderful. Mild, smoky chipotle chilli, pulled pork, pickled jalapeños, Mexican black beans, crushed pepper. It could probably be stronger, and punch me in the face more, but the aromas are just right: they've nailed what they were going for.
Slight meatiness on the front palate, stone-cooked meat, pepper and a little smokiness, but it all falls away pretty quickly. There's some mild roast towards the back, and a very faint hint of chilli, but certainly not enough to burn. Finish is smooth, but pretty empty: it's a little bit disappointing after what came before.
Feel is pleasantly smooth throughout, even when the flavour drops out.
Overall, this is very drinkable, and still very interesting. There are some really nice ideas here put together into a pretty neat little package. This was another impressive "Beer Mimics Food" brew from 4 Pines.
81 / 100
Pours a dark-brown cola colour. Head is beige and foamy but ultimately unimpressive. Looks like a flat lager with nice colour.
Nose is better: malty-sweet, roasty and slightly dry with coffee, chocolate, nice hint of green coffee beans; nice and roasty and well-handled aroma.
Malty character upfront, more coffee and chocolate. Nice roasty and dry spice notes around the mid. Nice build-up from the malt and nicely clean finish. Really good dark lager.
Noticeably sharp alcohol on the mouthfeel which is quite on the hot side. Decent body, but does get quite warm going down.
I didn't know there was chilli on this; good job with it really since it wasn't overtly noticeable. Bit of heat but no big chilli flavour; allowed the darker elements to speak for themselves. Really impressed with this.
69 / 100
On-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne. Classified at the festival as a "Strong Black Lager", brewed with cocoa nibs and chipotle chilli, "inspired by the Aztec beverage xocolatl". "Xocolatl" isn't an option, so I've classified it as a Chilli Beer.
Pours a mid cola-brown colour, with reasonable clarity. Body is very light, especially for 8% abv. Almost no discernible head: maybe just a ring of off-white that leaves no lace. Not all that appealing, to be honest.
Aroma is based around the dark characters: roasty grains and coffee come through strongly, along with something a little plasticky or rubbery. It's not bad, but it doesn't really give a hint at the ingredients that went into its creation.
Roast comes through again on the front palate, but the beer gains more complexity after this. Coffee lends a fruitiness to the mid-palate, and there's some hint of the chilli giving a fragrant peppery bite later on. Finish is bitter, devolving into those sharp dark black characters again, with quite an ashy aftertaste.
Feel is indeed far too light: far lighter than the characters need, and far lighter than I expected.
Overall, this is a decent brew: the fruity elements of the coffee and chilli are used judiciously and wisely so as not to overpower. But it's just missing out in some other areas which means the complexities of the flavours don't really get to show themselves.
74 / 100
Bottle purchased from Bevmo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney, Australia.
Pours a slightly hazed ruby red hue, with an inconsistent, bubbly head of pale beige. Body is pretty light and a little insipid. No visible lace. Carbonation forms when the beer is tilted, which belies the inherent lightness in the weight. It's an OK looking beer, but not better than that.
Nose is fresh, spicy and very, very odd. Bright, fruity sweet pepper characters with hints of genuine crushed black pepper and a vegetal plant skin kind of aroma. This is backed by a pleasant chocolatey sweetness that takes the place of the malt. In fact, aroma-wise this could be like any other beer: chocolate instead of malt, capsicum instead of hops. It's very unique.
Palate is a similar mixture, and actually really nicely captures the flavours of Mexican molÃ©. Genuine cocoa characters meld with a spicy, fruity chilli character, without actually getting too much heat from the peppers. Mild fragrance dances above, but at it's heart this is a chocolate beer not a chilli beer. Just as molÃ© is about the cocoa. It's fascinating stuff.
Feel is smooth, but slightly grainy. It has a decent basis that supports the rest of the beer though.
Overall, solid stuff. It's very interesting, and does a pretty good job of hitting its targets. Is it successful as a beer? There's very little to compare it to. I'm personally impressed at its style and experimentation, but I can't see this becoming a more widely accepted genre.
70 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse's Great Australian Beer Spectapular.
Opaque, deep brown colour with minimal head. The body is quite clear at the edges, but lots of cloud in the center deepens the centre. Pretty average look.
Roasty nose giving off lovely characters of dark chocolate. Grain bag huskiness gives some rawness and depth. A little coffee deepens it even still. Yum.
Taste is similar on the front. Thin slightly watery chocolate and husky dark grain on the back. However, just when you think it's finished, the big chilli spice roars up and coats the back of your throat with burning spice. Jesus! This is one beer you need a beer after to wash it down with. You have to respect the feel at least; after such a mellow unassuming entry, the big spice is like the twist at the end of an Agatha Christie novel. That's something.
A truly unique experience. I love how much variety and extremity is on show when the Local puts on a Spectapular. Australia's brewers really stood proud and tall.
Pours a dark murky brown, a cloud of black through the middle. Head is a bit lacklustre, thin without retention, ochre in colour without much lace. I think chilli kills head so I won't hold it agin this beer, but still looks a bit unexciting.
Smells very chocolatey with a touch of the coffeeness, so ultimately a lot of mocha on there. Slight vanilla note, but yeah, largely espresso/chocolate mix and not a lot of chilli. Not bad though.
Woah! Taste hits you with that chilli, but yeah it's not really there in the flavour. Mild espresso notes with mild cocoa and more of that vanilla. Palate kind of trails off in the mid though as that massive chilli heat takes over in a big way. Mercifully though, it doesn't have that capsicaian/rotting vegetation flavour, the chilli's just there to be hot, and it IS. We're eating chilli fries while drinking this but this beer leaves the fries, and the chilli flakes, standing in the starting blocks. What a great sensation to have achieved without the unfortunate flavour that often goes with it. Let's be objective though, the palate is weak-ish otherwise. I do dig that chilli heat though.
A bit of body there, yeah, but mostly just that heat at the back. It's more of a mouthfeel thing so let's mark it up there.
Not an everyday beer, but enjoyable for a taste. Can imagine this being very polarising, but I'm a fan.
44 / 100
Pours a metallic golden colour with slight dull haze in the body. Head is unimpressive, thin rim of foam but lace is beautifully sticky and dense. Yeah, looks alright.
Nose is quite nutty and grainy, sweet with some stone fruit esters and some brown bread grain. Touch of chestnut on there as well, slightly caramelised, and a slight phenolic note hidden at the back (maybe Belgian?) Can't really fault it, except that I can't find any of the characters I was expecting either.
Taste has a sweetness for the most part, quite grainy especially on the mid, with slight caramel malt notes on the front becoming slightly bready with sourdough character as well. Finishes quite phenolic with a cough syrup hint and a touch of white peppery yeast as well. Not really bad, but not really very flavoursome either, and moreover, where's my cocksucking chilli? (Little nod to our mate Don Russell there) Some nice notes, but all lacking.
A bit lacking on the feel, allows the carbonation to show through too prominently. Don't love it.
Yeah, not a bad drop as a beer, but I find myself very uninspired by this.
45 / 100
Purchased in the USA at the wishes of @LaitueGonflable and brought back to share with him.
Pours a surprisingly light coloured orange yellow, with a fine bubbled head of white. Some sudsy lacing, and a moderately heavy, but not outrageous body. It looks rather tame, considering I know what's in it.
Really very little on the nose, almost nothing in fact. Perhaps a little capsicum, mixed with a bit of ass. Certainly something a little feral and organic. Meh.
Taste is also very thin and not very interesting. Some astringent booze characters, with a very light spice and a twang of crushed organics on the back. Not a lot of cocoa hints, although the organics may be attributable to unroasted raw nibs. Feel is wickedly thin.
Wow, it's not even that interesting, when I expected it to be challenging and perhaps a little disturbing. It ends up tasting more like malt liquor than anything else. Minimal character from the chilli, the cocoa nibs, or anything, leaves it coming out rather thin and insipid, with just a big alcohol burn for your troubles.
4 / 100
(Bottom of the Barrel)
Bought at the brewery. I think it must have been some sort of horrible practical joke at my expense, by me.
Pours a golden colour, lots of carbonation bubbles feeding a mediocre head that dissipates quickly. Clear but a slight haze. Lace is non-existent. Extremely meh.
Smell is kind of nutty, but with an odd sweetness. A fair amount of chilli oil character, quite unpleasant really, pongy and phenolic and almost rotten. Certainly not appealing. At all.
Taste is hugely strong and vegetative, yeah lots of fruit tang on the front, then mega massive chilli hit, hugely spicy with just nothing but chilli on it. There's no flavour or complexity, just a massive chilli heat, from chilli. Congratu-fucking-lations, Myponga. You've put chillis in a beer. What talent. What innovation.
Thin and bland feel, just hot from the chillis. Pretty awful.
A boring - yet overpowering - undrinkable puddle of redneck piss. Quite an achievement, really - they've managed to make a beer that is dull as anything, yet also hugely repellent and unpleasant. Should I laud the Myponga brewery for producing undrinkable beer? They've been remarkably consistent and this just crowns it all off.
41 / 100
Pours an orangey-gold colour with modest white bubbly head that disappears quickly, leaving a whisper of foam around. Nice bronzey haze and decent but slow bead. Not bad, not great. More head would be appreciated, but not sure if I can expect that from the style.
Nose is sweet with an orange tinge to it. Maybe a hint of that chilli on there but very, very subdued. I wouldn't pick it if I didn't know it was there. It's mostly tangy with a mild citrus note, no spice really. Unfortunate, as without spice it's the bland smooth lager aroma, and it was a bad beer.
Taste is better. Tangy overall with yeah, more citrus character but a lot more capsicaian spice and savoury character with a big sizzly mouthfeel on the mid. Quite nicely complex on the palate actually, tangy but yeah, the spice works in quite nicely and leaves a nice breath of chilli heat on the back that lingers with the fizzy bite. I would hate to access a brewery like Myponga of craftsmanship but it's a nice touch of chilli that is complemented well by the fizzy, bland smooth lager. It's a decent chilli beer palate but ultimately it is just a bland lager with chilli added.
The chilli is, however, strong enough to lower the drinkability factor, and the feel is nothing exciting - thin body with a strong sizzle. Not a huge fan overall.
Pours a lovely golden copper colour, with a filmy ring of foam around the edge. Lacing is poor, and the body does seem surprisingly thin. Can't say I'm a huge fan of the head, but I do like the colour.
Nose is incredibly sweet - with a big dollop of strawberry jam, and a lingering whiff of spice; perhaps a hint of cinnamon or the chilli - almost a spiritous heat. The sweet and deep fruity characters are dominant though - but rather the leavened light tropical fruits, it's big, sweet and heavy characters. I'm not a huge fan.
Very thin body, with a vague hint of that sweetness before an onrush of chilli heat on the back of the palate, matched with the spicy capsicain flavour of peppers. It's not immediately spicy, but it builds the more you drink. No, it's harsh and very aggressive after a while, and I find it terribly difficult.
Very hard to drink after a while - this is not a well-balanced chilli beer, or one that uses the chilli to accentuate the other characteristics. It just grows as an unpleasant heat on the back of the throat - and it doesn't have the depth otherwise to back it up.
Pours a pale orange with yellow tinge, no real head. Slight haze but mostly clear. Leaves a line of lace where head was, but nothing more. Fairly flat and dull.
Wow, smells like a brew day. Lots and lots of malt. Virtually nothing else, maybe a slight acrid character, light capsicum aroma. But really that heavy, dominant malt. I don't mind it but it's not fantastic.
Taste is quite savoury, for sure. Has a quite sweet sensation at the front, with elements of glazed fruit and pale malt, then gets quite salty and smokey afterwards, almost meaty as well, and with aspects of steamed greens and a peppery sort of flavour without much spice. Bit of a funky flavour, and then a very mild chilli bite right at the end. But it's funky more than spicy. Not bad, but not sensational.
Mouthfeel is fairly thin, a bit of viscosity which is good, but nothing to sink your teeth into in this brew.
I kind of wanted Rogue to blow the chile beer out of the water with this, but it just seems kind of savoury without being particularly pungent, spicy or full of character. Ultimately seems a bit tame, and a sort of muddle between chilli and smoked beer flavours. Not undrinkable but a bit blah.
Pours like flat urine except for a light, slow bead. No head whatsoever although some weird soft drink fizz when first poured. No lace either. Just about the worst-looking beer I've ever seen.
Very astringent and pungent nose, very spicy in a bitter, gravelly way. Kind of organic, like rotten vegetable matter. Not much else, just that - yes, chilli - aroma. Marks for pungency, marks off for simplicity and general unpleasantness.
Taste has actually a really nice chilli fire, no doubt due to the oily presence of the pepper itself. Slight astringent vegetable sensation on the front and then a vinegar kind of character on the mid. Tastes of spice on the back, peppery and fiery, but it's mostly present just from the burning feel as it goes down, which is really the only good thing about this weak, flat urine. Although I like the burn, I don't know where to rate it up actually, because the taste is weak and uninteresting, mouthfeel apart from the burn is thin and watery, and because of the intensity it's not actually drinkable. I mean, really, if you want this sensation you can eat a whole chilli, or pour boiling water down your throat but I wouldn't call either of those experiences "drinkable".
Congratulations on putting a chilli in a bottle, Cave Creek. Feel free to brew a beer next time.
Pours a piss poor clear urine colour, the type of urine you see when you're really ill, with absolutely no head. No fizziness. Looks like tepid dessert wine. No thanks. Possibly the most unappealing looking beer I've ever seen.
Lots of capsicum and chilli characters on the nose. Extremely spicy and fragrant - certainly not what you expect, but it's certainly not unpleasant. It has a very pleasant herbaceous vegetative bent to it. And that's what you want from the style.
Sweet entry, with a riproaring hot sauce burning on the back. Extreme chilli, tingling even several seconds after the sip. All the flavours are brutalised by the hot character. Unique as it is, it ruins any semblance of flavour this beer may have had.
Mouthfeel is absolutely unique, no denying it. What other beer scalds the skin off the inside of your mouth and nasal passages? Unfortunately, that's not really a good thing.
What a dichotomous beer. I'm not sure I've ever given such wildly varying scores for the different elements. It makes me think that the pleasant elements are really just random fluctuations, and the beer is not terribly good overall. Interesting? Sure. Unique? Undeniably. Drinkable? Not a chance.
77 / 100
This was a highlight of the Australian Beer Festival for me a few years back, but having tried a lot of Outback's other beers lately I came to this with a newfound sense of trepidation.
Pours a standard golden with a steady, rhythmic carbonation feeding a thin, but defiant white head. Appearance is clear and leaves a bit of lacing. Decent appearance.
Big chilli whiff on the nose. Fiery and spicey and very rich in an earthy sort of way. Spice is not lofty and dainty as in a witbier but deep and growling. Smells like a stomach ulcer. That's the smell of potent, tract-flaming chilli. There is little else, but the particular airiness of this smell could only be produced in a light, aerated liquid, like beer. I love the smell. So manly.
Taste is not impressive in any beer sense, but certainly leaves other impressions. Has a slight malt base which has a reasonably nutty kind of flavour to it, and a reasonable hint of grass on the mid-palate. Late in the game, an appearance by that robust, organic chilli flavour that starts as a soil-esque brusqueness on the tongue and then crescendoes as a stinging, yet delightfully warming tickle at the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but I definitely dig that chilli sting.
This is a unique drinking experience and, goddammit, an enjoyable one. I guess this review may be scoffed at because I'm not particularly au fait with the style, but the flavour here (As a singular example) really speaks volumes to me.
This is obviously not a cleanser because that chilli lingers pretty powerfully, but it's such a great finisher because it kills off everything else. In short, I really do love this beer.
69 / 100
Tried at the Australian Beer Festival, Sydney, 1st October 2006...
Now I'm going to face the wrath of my fellow BAs here and say that I think this one was pretty good!
Looks a reddish amber colour with minimal head, and minimal carbonation.
The nose is initially overpowered with the smell of chilli, but you can detect other nuances there. There's quite a sweetness there behind the pungent chilli, by the end I'd decided it smells like a Thai spice rack.
The taste is quite sweet and surprisingly fruity. Well, I guess technically, chilli is a fruit, but this is almost like a cherry flavour to it. The chilli just lends flavour, not heat, and to be honest I actually think it works rather well.
I didn't think this was going to work, but I have to say it's actually amazingly drinkable. It goes beyond a gimmicky idea to something that's actually suprisingly pleasant.