72 / 100
330ml squat Belgian-style bottle, purchased from Bucket Boys.
Pours, indeed, quite hazy—also darker than most hazy IPAs though, which is the first hint that this is different from normal. It's a deep orange colour, with a very fine off-white head that leaves some fine bubbles of lace. Body is slick, holding fine carbonation. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is definitely fruity. It has a sharpness to it, a little bit like some dried pine needles, but mostly it has a broad base of sweet pineapple and juicy orange. It's not incredibly potent, not is it terribly complex, but it's pleasant all the same.
Taste is odd, it has quite a drop in the palate about mid-way through, that moved from a fruity front-palate to a dry, savoury bitterness. It has an almost demi-sec yeast quality on the back, reminiscent of the dryness you get at the very end of a tripel. But the fruit on the front is pleasant, and the juxtaposition of the two characters is certainly interesting.
Feel is also surprisingly full-bodied. Even when the flavour drops out, it has a light chewiness towards the back.
Yeah, this is a nice beer. It's drinkable, it's different from what you expect, and it clearly has some craft behind it. It's a beer I'm certainly very happy to have sampled.
Pours a champagne colour with nice dense cream-coloured head. Good bead too. Very nice looking beer.
Smells mostly medicinal and Belgian. Hint of tropical fruit, but otherwise just phenolic. Not too bad.
Taste is boozey and sweet. Caramel and honey upfront, develops some nice hop character midway, with passionfruit and a general NZ hop fruitiness, but then they disappear and are replaced by a robust brandy-esque booze character. Not great.
Thin body, and carbonation is really fizzy. Maybe a bit hot on the mouthfeel too. Bit weird texturally.
Like the idea of the beer, but it's mostly booze, and lacking cleansing hops to balance.
62 / 100
IPA Dubbel, brewed for GABS Festival 2017. Tried at the festival in Melbourne on tap.
Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy. Large bubbles for the head, beige in colour, sticks around alright. Looks alright, yeah.
Smells sweet upfront, with caramel and honey notes. Subtle hop character with a tangy grapefruit note and maybe some coconut as well. Not bad.
Caramel on the front of the palate, gets a bit richer towards the mid. Hops are pretty subdued but noticeable, with a touch of green apple tang on the late-mid. Some Belgian characters towards the finish with some phenolic character and a touch of spice. Not bad.
Touch of warming alcohol as it goes down; body is pretty decent.
Perhaps more dubbely than IPA-y and I think more hop character would elevate this beyond a fairly standard Belgian-tasting offering.
330ml brown squat Belgian bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with some workmates. Freshness date of September 2018, so a fair while to go.
Pours a rather dark golden colour, almost amber but with decent clarity. Head is a coarse-bubbled foam to begin with but settles out to a finer film of pocked mesh. Carbonation is fine and languid through a light, fluid body. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is already a bit dead, I suspect. There's a pronounced mid malt character that gives a touch of metal, mingled with a slight leafy tea character from the residual hops. There's a suggestion of booze, but it's not solvent-like or too punchy. It smells pretty decent—I'd be interested to see how it tastes fresh.
Taste is pretty good. There's clearly craft here, because a beer this big in alcohol shouldn't taste so light and mild. It has a smooth entry, with a fine bubbling of carbonation, that leads towards a slight, subtle metallic bite in the late palate. Finish has a slight boozy astringency, but it's really very mild, and just manages to punctuate the ending nicely.
Feel is light, another achievement for a beer of this weight.
Overall, it's very nicely put together. It certainly shows off the brewer's skill, if not the hops that were probably present when it was fresh. I'd love to try it again closer to the source and with less age on it. I can believe it would be magnificent.
Pint enjoyed over lunch at the Lord Nelson with my workmates.
Firstly, look at that photo. Look at it. Now what on earth would possess you to call something like that a 'wit' IPA? It's things like that that make me wonder if the beloved Lord Nelson actually gets beer. There was a possibility that I reached during my review (below) that the tap may have been connected wrongly or mislabeled. But then they actually said on the tasting notes above the bar that it's deep copper in colour - why call it 'wit' then? I mean who or what is that meant to be appealing to or achieving when this is what is delivered?
Pours a dark red colour, clear yet a bit murky. Head is beige, small, bubbly with some whispy clumps left behind, good lace. Colour is not what I expected at all, but it looks nice and malty otherwise.
Smells like malt vinegar. Big and vinous notes with odd sour notes, weird fruity character that's quite unpleasant. Sharp and weird.
Taste is a bit maltier, good big caramel sweetness, that develops some hoppy character, but it's odd and by-producty mostly. Slightly citric on the back, look honestly I think this keg might be connected incorrectly, the hops are mostly just after products, slightly fruity and sharp, and the beer is all malty and caramelly with a slight vinegar note as well. Definitely no Belgian or wit characters though. Oh ok the tasting notes say it's copper in colour so maybe it's correct but wtf does it have to do with wit???
Nice mouthfeel actually: nice smooth maltiness, slight drying character. It does linger with a tickle at the back of the throat.
Not unpleasant, but it's a confusing sell. And more malty than it is hoppy in the first place. So it's neither an IPA nor a wit. Actually quite a good beer for drinking, but it's poorly named and categorised.
61 / 100
Belgian IPA with gooseberries. Bottle given to me for Christmas by Jez, shared with Chris on NYE.
Pours an orange colour, shiny yet quite dark. Head is voluminous, off-white and foamy, retains a decent crown but eventually settles just to a thin rim with large sides of lacing. Pretty good, very Belgian.
Smells yeah, like gooseberry. Big tangy fruity note, touch of spice. Dry and somewhat seedy as well. Not much in the way of Belgian or IPA really, but intriguing.
Taste is full on with the gooseberry. Tart, wild, that gets somewhat bitter on the back with a sourness that is astringent; more astringent than acidic. It's nearly all fruit, with just a touch of Belgian phenol on the very back and some hoppy bitterness late-mid but otherwise it could just be acidic fruit juice. Those other characters are welcome additions but it could have used more of them especially as they're meant to be the core of this.
Some texture to it, gets quite sour and acidic with a pull on the back. Not bad.
Yeah it's quite pleasant for the fact that it seems overly gooseberry. I like that the berries are strong but I feel it could have been a really nice complement to other beer flavours and it just dominates. I also fear there won't be so many other breweries trying this, because I feel it's a good idea but now it's been done others won't give it a shot, and this isn't done badly but it has gone a bit wrong.
47 / 100
330ml brown bottle with a style of "IPA-ish". Bottling date is 30/04/2015, so it's more than a year old. Best before claims it'll last two years, but I have my doubts. Purchased as part of a bulk order with some folks from work.
Pours a bright golden colour, with good intrinsic clarity to the body, but filled with tiny chunks of floating sediment. These don't haze up the body at all, but stay in suspension in clumps. Head froths up with large, persistent bubbles, causing a rocky, turbulent head. Chunky lace. Looks decent.
Nose definitely smells old. Musty, slightly oxidised characters give a hint of copper and heated aluminium foil. There's some hop character, but it's a kind of musty vegetal character. The good part is the malt, which is firm, savoury, slightly grainy and (just a little) grassy. It provides enough basis, but most of the other characters are past their prime.
Taste survives mostly due to the malt again. Here, it's genuinely pleasantly nutty and rounded, despite a relatively light body. It provides a semi-savoury basis, and the dulled metallic hops are muted as a result. There is some suggestion of their former glory, with a slight bitter orange note towards the back, but there's not really enough of them left.
Overall, don't believe the best before date. I don't know what this was like when it was fresh (although I'd certainly be keen to try it), but this is certainly tasting oxidised and past its prime. Despite the fact this reckons it's got another 10 or so months in it, this is only true if you ignore the style (-ish notwithstanding), or if you're expecting that very aged style. To me, it just tastes geriatric.
On tap at GABS 2016.
Pours an amber colour, off-white head, foamy with a bit retaining. Looks alright, pretty standard for the style.
Smells like an IPA, yeah. Caramel malt, with big tropical fruity notes - mango, passionfruit, pineapple and apricot. Hops have a sharpness to them but it's a nice mix.
Taste is predominantly new world hops. Big tropical character, with passionfruit and pineapple very noticeable. Develops some nice Belgian notes towards the back, with phenolic characters, touch of pine wood, and some resinous character together with a grapefruit bitterness on the back. Quite bitter, really. Pretty tasty.
Body is a bit thin, and the carbonation comes through very sharply as a result. Touch of warming alcohol.
Not a bad drop. The characters are certainly on point.
74 / 100
Belgian-style brew with Bruny Island pepperberries and HPA035 experimental hop variety. Tried in a bottle at Preachers Bar.
Pours a golden colour with large whispy off-white head. Clear, some bead. Sparse webs of lacing. Alright but a bit thin looking.
Smells Belgian, fairly phenolic with light apple/pear notes and a mild tropical fruit salad hop character as well. Mildly fruity, mildly spicy. Not bad.
Taste is pleasantly fruity: light and pleasant. Notes of apple, orange peel, slightest hint of grapefruit late-mid. Tangy, fairly sweet. Some spice notes towards the back. Actually very smooth throughout, good fruit tang and then spicy bitter finish but great transition between the two. Nice Belgian and nice harvest blend. Fresh, smooth drinking.
Foamy, fairly full bodied.
Well constructed beer. I thought it an odd choice to do Belgian style with a hop harvest focus, but it's really well combined and balanced.
Bottle gifted me by Jez at Christmas; shared with folks down the south coast.
Pours a dark orange-amber, with off-white head, whispy on top and large bubbles at the edges. Bit of lacing left behind. Bit of cloud. Pretty decent.
Smells decent. Good citric hop notes with peach and passion too. Bit of mint, some spicy notes as well. Yeah, good blend of Belgian phenols and some fresh hop aroma.
Taste is a bit disappointing. Metallic largely, with some phenolic notes midway. Quite bitter and a bit soapy towards the back. Sour, woody characters as well. Dry Belgian yeast notes, but not a lot of the IPA flavour coming through, really. Not bad Belgian palate but a bit sour overall, not enough lightness or indeed hop bitterenss.
Bit of presence in the mouth, some bitty notes, decent body.
OK but seems more IPA-esque on the nose and more Belgian on the palate. Drinkable though.
44 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a startling colour like stewed rhubarb, which was quite surprising until I read the back and discovered it's brewed with hibiscus flowers. Head is frothy and pretty solid, staying as a fairly full, meringue-top of pale pink. Lacing is clumpy. Body is light. Once you get over the colour, it looks pretty decent.
Nose is surprisingly mild. There's a little bit of vague earthy spice and a sprightly kind of tartness. The hibiscus gives it a suggestion of fruit and mild bite, a little like green apple juice. I'm struggling to find much IPA in there, to be honest.
Taste is similar. There's a slightly earthy bitterness on the back, which feels at least partially due to yeast characters rather than hops, but layered over this is that weird tartness from the hibiscus and a slight mineral astringency. There's just not enough pleasant flavours in there, and some of the other flavours take off a little too much and become a little bit aggressive.
Overall, I'm not a fan. This had things that were mildly unpleasant about it and not enough good things to counteract them. It's not a bad beer, but it feels a little like an ill-conceived beer, or a beer that doesn't warrant its existence. I mean, I'll try it once, as part of a series, but it's certainly pretty disappointing.
Pours a burnished orange-amber colour. Head is off-white-yellow, sparse bubbling on top but some pleasant sticky lacing. Not bad, could maybe use some more head.
Smells malty/honey, with crunchy nut cornflake aroma. Touch of hops too, maybe some fruity character. But yeah, really sweet, crusted grain. Alright.
Taste is malty too, plenty of grain. Touch of citrus late-mid and a touch of pepper as well. Yeah, starts fairly grainy, with plenty of sharp notes late that aren't too overblown. Just nice citrus twang and a piquant, spicy note late. At the same time, I don't love it; it seems a bit too gloopy and sweet, even with the hops. Maybe they seem a little oily or resinous too and that exacerbates the sweetness.
Decent body, decent texture. Not too sharp.
Not a bad drop, certainly decently made. It just doesn't really do much for me, and the gears in the works kind of grind a bit.
60 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Spec's in Houston, TX. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.
Pours a mildly haze golden orange colour, with a coarse, slightly frothy head of off-white that leaves fine, intricate lace. As it settles, it becomes more of a film, but stays fairly persistently. Looks pretty good all up.
Nose is quite pleasant. There are some fragrant, slightly fruity, but more herbal hops, and a slightly syrupy sweetness underpinning everything. This turns slightly metallic and a touch oxidised, but this is often a character that goes hand-in-hand with Belgian yeast, so it doesn't seem out of place. Nice enough.
Disappointingly, this character feels a bit more prominent on the palate, giving it a rather rummy or dark sugar note, balanced by a rather pronounced, bitter herbal hop character on the back. It means that those fruit tones are mostly gone. Alcohol is actually quite well hidden at least, which is a bit surprising, given some of the other characters.
Feel is full but a bit sharp, and actually with a touch of heat—although you can't taste the booze, you can apparently feel it.
Overall, it's okay. There are things to like and things that make me a bit skeptical. I like that it doesn't feel like 9% ABV, but at the same time you question whether it warrants being 9% ABV as a result. Happy enough to have sampled it—unlikely to get it again.
58 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a very faintly hazed golden yellow colour, with a fine, minimal ring of white foam by way of a head. Some minor specks of lace. Body is fairly light, but the carbonation looks pretty static when it's tilted. It looks okay.
Nose is slightly honeyed, with some broad, but very faint Belgian tones, and hoppiness that's honestly nowhere to be found. I know they're celebrating homebrew with this beer, but it genuinely does feel a lot like an uninspired batch from your uncle's garage. There's really not a lot to it.
The taste doesn't much help this, but it is better than the rather dull aroma would make you believe. There's some mild stone-fruit characters in the mid-palate here that add some buoyancy and interest to the brew as a whole. Hop character is still subdued to the point that having "hoppy" in the name is insulting, but it has a structure to it here that at least works a bit.
Feel is light, with a little rounded character that comes from having carbonation that's finer than usual.
Overall, this is okay, but it feels a little bit as though Ballast Point released this label as an excuse to pump out some substandard beer into the market. What's more, it's a little bit insulting to some of the very, very fine homebrew that's out there.
75 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Freshness date of 11/14/15.
Pours a pleasantly haze yellow colour, with a fine, slightly filmy heady of white that ends up as nothing more than a minor ring. Lacing forms in tine streaks and spots though, which is quite nice. Body is light and fluid. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is great—very fresh and towards the sharper end of the spectrum, with a good pine needle resinous character up front. Under this though, it's balanced with some rather broad, sweet fruit notes. Pineapple comes through strongly, as does a little mango and sweet lemon. It's nicely done.
Taste is also pretty good. Here, the pineapple note is quite noticeable, and it really provides a pleasant sweetness to rest everything else on. It's bolstered somewhat by the malt, which is present, but very neutral, which means it provides sweetness to couple with the sweeter notes of the hops, without providing and distinct flavours of its own. Yeast character is actually fairly neutral as well, despite it being a Belgian strain—I think it helps accentuate those fruity notes, without adding too much of its own twist. Bitterness is fairly mild, but it does provide a crispness and balance on the back.
Feel is fairly good too—light, but with a bite from the hops and a mild carbonation.
Overall, this is a nice IPA. I'd not necessarily be able to guess it's a Belgian-yeast-based brew, but there are signs on it that show where it's been used in the beer's craft. Mostly, it just feels pretty crisp, drinkable and tasty. Plenty to enjoy.
22oz bomber purchased from Barney's in Rosebery.
Pours a clear, amber golden colour with a firm body and fine carbonation. Head is a little bit coarse, but settles into a bubbly ring and leaves decent enough lace. Looks OK.
Initial whiff gives plenty of big hoppy notes, but the volatile stuff leaves pretty quickly, leaving a rather dank sherry/oxidised note in its wake. It suggests that the bottle's a bit old. There is a big sweetness to it, and it does have a touch of the estery Belgian notes. It's got the characters in there though, so it's maybe just a bit tired.
Taste is a bit better, with a decent, smooth palate that plays up those big, rounded Belgian notes. The oxidation still takes the corners off though, and although there's some mild bitterness, it's very muted, remaining only really as a mild spiciness. It's pleasant though. As it warms there are some more complexities. Some stewed orange peel and macerated apricots, perhaps. And the more you drink, the more the bitterness builds up, so it starts to feel more appropriate as it goes along. By the end, it seemed pretty good.
Feel is solid and full, but with a slickness that keeps it from being too heavy or cloying.
Overall, it's solid stuff. It's a pretty serious beer at 10% ABV. It doesn't harm it all that much, as it doesn't come through too strongly, but that also makes you wonder whether it needs it either.
Bottle shared by Jez on 27/9/15.
Metallic gold colour, steady but slow bead. Head is off-white, foamy around the edge with some trails of lace left behind. Looks pretty good, with a good strength to it.
Smells hoppy; fruity and somewhat sweet with a touch of boozey marmalade to it. Yeah, brandy cordial and some tropical/citrus notes. Pretty appealing.
Taste is similar but really quite boozey midway. Maybe some dank hop notes mixing with it. Quite malty upfront, with some orange marmalade notes filling up the early palate, then some citrus notes midway just spike, then finish is mostly boozey and somewhat resinous. Quite bitter, dank. Has a sharp ethanoic character on the very back as well. Not sure what it's missing but there's just a stodginess to it. Maybe some spice as every sweetness is very syrupy and every bitterness is very dank, so it just needs some more piquancy to cut through.
Somewhat thick, quite a nice texture with a bit of heat late.
Decent shot at an unusual style, just feels a bit heavy-handed and stodgy.
Pours a champagne colour, fair amount of cloud. Head is foamy, cream-coloured, nice and thick but sinks in parts. Lacing is special.
"Oh gawd yes" - me, on first smelling. Caramel grains and a touch of honey at the front, then loads and loads of hop complexity - grapefruit, pineapple, orange and lemon. Mandarin as well; so tangy. So sweet grainy too. Wowser. My only criticism is it's not very Belgian, but still when it smells this good you don't need Belgium.
Taste is very disappointing, actually. Honey sweetness on the front, then similar hop characters that just don't have the fragrance the nose promised. Grapefruit, with some passionfruit, maybe some coconut and a touch of dry spice. Just doesn't carry the flavour to the back. Here is where those Belgian phenols could really elevate it, but it just seems sweet and flatlining.
Full body, nice texture. A saving grace of drinking this.
This had such promise to be amazing, but honey malt dominates the palate, and it's lacking both Belgian and hops. Such a shame.
73 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney during their 4th of July Spectapular.
Pours a pleasant bright pale yellow, with good clarity, and a frothy head that fluffs itself out and leaves chunky lace in its wake. Body is pleasantly light and clean, but it holds nice fine, slightly languid carbonation. Looks decent.
Nose is great. Firm hoppy crispness, with a little sweaty Belgian yeast behind it to give it a bit of an edge and difference. There's a rounded quality to the crispness that gives an odd character like tomato and basil. It's genuinely very pleasant.
Taste is also pretty good. Nice clean body for the most part, allowing a bright, subtle hop character to provide crispness and bite. It's supported by a pretty firm but neutral malt character, a little accentuated by the yeast. It's all pretty subtle, but it works together well. Feel is great—clean and bright, which helps the drinkability.
Overall, I really liked this. It's clean, and drinkable, but with subtle complexities to it that really make it very interesting. I liked it a lot.
750ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. 12%?? Well, I didn't see that before I cranked open the bottle. Oh well, what's done is done.
Pours a pleasant deep orange hue, with slight hazing. Body is full, and rather syrupy, unsurprising for the ABV, even were it to come out very dry. Head is initially quite frothy and full, which to be honest, is again pretty impressive for the weight of the beer. Looks good all-up.
Nose is dusty and slightly dank, with an earthy quality coming through and mingling with a suggestion of hot alcohol. Some hops are noticeable with a slightly leafy, herbal quality, perhaps a little like crushed fresh spearmint. Otherwise, there's some mild peppery tones and a little bit of smooth lemon as it warms up a little. Not bad.
Taste is a lot hotter, and the booze here is certainly pretty strong. Still, it's quite a bright, light entry on the palate, with a clean, dry start reminiscent of a low-body Belgian ale. Then comes the booze, some of those more peppery characters, and a distinct quinine bitterness from the earthy hops—it feels a little bit harsh when mingled with the booze. The body is good though—it feels light what with all the tight, prickly characters in the flavour, but has some weight to offset the dryness.
Overall, this was interesting enough, and clearly well-made. I question the need for it to be quite as strong as this though. 12% makes it a big, big beer, and not to the better, in my opinion. Still, there's certainly things to enjoy in it, and I'll happily drink the bottle, even if it takes me a little time.
A grapefruit Farmhouse IPA brewed for GABS in Melbourne, which is where I tried it on-tap.
Pours an orange golden colour, slightly hazed in the glass with a fairly solid body behind it. Head forms a light, firm white, fuzzy with bubbles. Carbonation forms in small but independent bubbles, reiterating some of the weight in the body. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pleasant, but fairly light overall. Some sweet citrus comes through along with a more generic hoppiness, backed up by a little hay-like funk. There's just not much of it, which is a shame, but the flavours are very pleasant.
Light, citric entry on the palate, which is also sparkling, providing a suggestion of seltzer weakness. Citrus comes through the centre giving a bit more fruit and a more generic "hoppy" IPA character again. Clean and rounded on the back with a little sweetness, although the aftertaste drops out very quickly. Nice weight to the body at least while it's there.
It's a nice beer all up. There are some good bits to it. If it's a little light overall, it also helps it in being pretty drinkable. I liked it.
60 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a solid yellow colour with fair hazing in the glass. Body is pretty hefty but doesn't capture carbonation much. Head is a firm ring of white that leaves some streaks of lace as it goes down. Not bad.
Nose immediately screams antiseptic to me: lots of piney Dettol giving a true astringency. As it warms, slightly sweeter notes come through, giving a little pineapple and a slight dustiness. But it's a little problematic, to be sure.
Light, dry entry on the palate with some fruity characters coming through: more pineapple in particular. The back has more of that piney bitterness, but the finish is bone-dry, leaving the hops to scrape at nothing. There's the hint of booze to the finish as well, although I'd say 9.5% of alcohol is actually fairly well hidden. Feel is full.
Overall, the bitterness is a bit overwhelming and a little unstructured and unbalanced. It doesn't do it for me, but there's no doubting it's a big powerful beer—and I love TLB for doing it.
375ml lizardskin foil-sealed green bottle purchased from Slowbeer by Sam and given to me for Christmas.
Pours a deep golden amber colour, with an initially frothy head of white the settles out to a minimal bubbly ring around the edge of the glass. Body is very light, especially for 7% ABV, almost thin. No lacing. Looks certainly wild, but not bad overall.
Nose is very bretty, lovely funky, barnyard, grainy with tight acidity. There's an earthy hop presence as well, but not much contribution from the barrel. Pleasant enough, but a little bit weird.
Taste is similar, or perhaps a little worse: indeed here there's a dryness that permeates the rest of the beer, leaving a slight cider character on the back, while the hops deliver bitterness melded with a chalky yeast character. This makes the flat, dull character linger for a long while. Earthy hops are certainly present, but they don't mesh well with everything else.
Feel is quite good. Light, but dry. With some more complexity and a better structured palate it would be great.
Overall, this is a bit of a miss for me from To Øl, who usually do magnificent beers. This is the first funky beer from them I've had, but I expected something better. Not one of their best.
75 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse.
Pours a day-glo orange colour, big opaqueness. Head is off-white, almost yellow. Nice lace. Looks awesome. But a bit weird.
Smells fucking awesome. New world hops mixing with funky saisony barnyard notes. Gets a big fresh grassy character, touch of rubber. What a great mix of funk and hops. Superbly blended.
Tastes similar, with plenty on the funky side. Saisony notes, with hop notes giving passionfruit and pine and a touch of mango. More hoppy towards the back and a lack of saison notes to be honest. Decent, but leans heavily on the hop characters. Nice, but i feel the nose blended the two aspects more successfully.
Bit of an edge of carbonation . Feels a bit rough on the back. OK body though.
Although it has more hop notes than saison , it's very tasty. A good refreshing beer.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a fair golden colour, with some floating sediment even with a fairly careful pour (an even more careful pour may avoid this, but I feel I was conservative enough). Head is initially quite bubbly and broad, but settles down to quite a fine if thin white crest that leaves very solidly, firm lacing. Carbonation is fine like the very best Belgian brews.
Nose is certainly missing some hop presence, even the subtle character you often get in a BIPA: only a fine earthiness above the sweet, grainy malt. Ah yes, BB date is 08-2013, so this probably explains it. The base beer is solid though, with solid malt and some fairly neutral but noticeably Belgian yeast notes giving a little bit of spice. With a bit of a brighter hop aroma, it would be very good.
Taste is initially sweet, and slightly nutty, with the malt giving a biscuity tone and the yeast leading to some odd esters of vanilla and coconut. Bitterness definitely comes through on the back, providing a solidly crisp finish accentuated by a faint hint of booze. It's remarkably drinkable for its size at least, leaving a cleanness on the back which makes the beer rather moreish. Feel has some weight, but the fine carbonation helps keep it light.
Overall, I like it fine. I'll try another bottle fresher to check it out with more hop character: more aroma and a tad more bite on the palate and this would probably be a really outstanding beer.
69 / 100
Tried on tap at the GABS Festival in Melbourne, May 2013. Just a little note that irks me about the name of this beer: to follow the conventions it really should be "An American Werewolf in Brussels". Completely irrelevant and pedantic, I know, but I felt it had to be said.
Pours a champagne colour, hugely cloudy. Head is snowy white, foamy but clinging together nicely and retaining a nice finger thickness on top. Wonderful; one of the best-looking beers at the festival.
Smells largely hoppy. Lots of fruit on there with banana, apple, pear, lemon and a big fresh pineapple note. Touch of Belgian phenols lingering behind, just whispers really, but otheriwse a really lovely hop-driven aroma.
Taste is a bit more on the Belgian side. Sweet malt notes upfront that are not helped along by the hops which are also quite sweet in this case and not adding a lot of bitterness - banana and pineapple mostly. Touch of clove and then some spicy phenols on the back. Not bad.
Decent body with a little touch of carbonation. Fine for the style.
Among my favourite Belgian IPAs, and [Edit] became one of my top 5 beers of the festival. Felt a little underwhelmed at first, but gets better the more you drink it.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney during the first day of Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours an opaque golden yellow colour with pretty decent heft to the body. Head forms a decent, full mesh of white that leaves some minimal streaky lace. Carbonation is also minimal, but quite fine where it forms.
Nose is good: funky and bright right off the bat. Some citric hops come through with organic, slightly herbal undertones. Orange peel and brett. Slight vanilla character comes through along with a little vanilla and a faint astringency. Good stuff all up though, and quite potent.
Light zesty entry on the palate paired with a clean malt character and minimal funk. Indeed the funk stays out of the mid-palate as well, leaving some citrus, energy drink powder, orange skin and a slight astringency. The astringency swells slightly towards the back, bringing in the funkier characters: earthy, organic and peppery. Good bitterness on the back. Feel is clean and bright with a little heft.
Overall, this is very drinkable and refreshing and full of flavour. It's nicely balanced as well—overall, very good stuff.
330ml bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours an extremely hazy, murky amber colour with a film of lazy bubbles across the top and which almost disappear completely soon after pouring, leaving the beer looking flat and dead. Body is very thick, and there is some carbonation noticeable when the beer is tilted. The haze is a bit too much though, and the lack of head is disappointing: 11.5% it may be, but they've got a hard-working yeast working there.
Nose is strangely malty. Malty? That's not what I would have guessed I was going to smell. Yeah, I'm guessing Mr Biscuit Malt and Mr Special B are coming out more strongly than anticipated here. They railroad the hops back to a supporting role, so that they only give a weak vegetative spice character—together with the overly sweet malt it creates a character of vanilla. And how about some presence from the Trappist yeast? No, not a lot: there's certainly a booziness that does give off some faint estery notes, but not much, and it doesn't work well with the other characters.
Taste is, if anything, even more disappointing. Big boozy, slightly astringent palate which streaks through the centre of my tongue in a fiery trail. The malt characters aren't here, fortunately, but I can still sense their aromatics bringing the joint down like a depressed hippie. Piney characters on the back of the palate: with the alcohol heat it gives it an antiseptic character. It's all evaporated pretty quickly. Despite the size of the number of the package, it's finished quite dry.
Overall... wait, let me add my standard Moon Dog disclaimer here. There's something so awesome about these guys—they take risks all the time to push the boundaries, they take the risks that other breweries are too afraid to. But unfortunately, risks often throw up disasters. It's maybe overly dramatic to call this beer a disaster, but it sure is a mess at least: if not Hurricane Katrina, it's at least that southerly buster that knocked over all your pot plants.
77 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Bottle conditioned, but reviewed without the sediment.
Pours a brilliantly clear neutral golden colour, with a reasonable head of frothy white, that settles down as the bubbles coalesce. Long simple streaks of lace. Body is relatively fine and slick. Carbonation looks relatively vibrant.
Nose is immediately sweet and pungent, with a pithy citric note laced with buoyant sweetness. Lemon candy and fairy floss, slight plasticky overtones with a hint of bubblegum. Some slightly organic tones come in as well, with a crushed sweating vegetation character noticeable. Overall, it's actually very pleasant.
Taste is similar. Sweet candy esters come through from start to finish, giving sweet aromatics but not requiring too much actual sweetness and thickness in the body. The body is mostly clean and clear with a slight prickle of hops towards the back that evokes that vegetative character present on the nose. Flavour profile is very clean throughout, but well integrated, hiding some layers of complexity. Very nice.
Feel is good. Clean and crisp, with a pleasant lightness and a touch of effervescence.
Overall, this is a fine beer. Plenty of pleasant characters, and a little interest to set it apart from the crowd. The flavours are well-integrated and the beer feels well structured and well thought-out. Very good stuff.
On tap at Vices & Versa.
Pours a shiny glossy golden colour. Head is beige, nice lacing but head doesn't quite retain. Pretty good.
Banana, cinnamon, sugar-poached fruit, and star anise all vying for attention on the nose. Interesting.
Taste is all Belgian. Plenty of spice esters on there. Pepper, star anise and clove with some brown sugar, espresso and maybe some raisins towards the back, plus vanilla on the finish. Not a bad heavy Belgian character. Pretty sweet.
A bit foamy in the mouth. Very dry on the back.
Decent beer. Lots of spice, fair sweetness, but a bit too dry which doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the palate.
12oz bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a pale golden colour, pretty dark for a wit-anything. Indeed, I've had non-white IPAs that are paler than this—but perhaps the white is from the botanicals: it does say "brewed with spices" on the label after all. Head froths up initially, and then settles to a mild, reasonably pleasant inconsistent film of white. Very fine carbonation, reasonable body. Looks very decent despite the colour.
Nose is spicy and slightly acidic, with a slightly sweet organic tone to it. It's a little earthy, but a bit more like rotting wood. Hops are muted at best, perhaps just a faint resiny hint of cedar coming through. In fact, the longer it goes, the more woody it seems. It's interesting.
Taste is a little flat, and certainly missing some potency in terms of hops or in terms of spice. Mild clean wood-veiled, but otherwise neutral malt forms the bulk, with a wheat character that lends it its acidity. Some spice and a little lemon pepper through to the back. Finish is clean and a little empty.
Feel is light but smooth: it's missing some roundedness—perhaps it's using a more neutral yeast than you'd otherwise find in a spiced brew like this.
Overall, this is reasonably tasty stuff—it's certainly something I could see myself drinking regularly. I don't feel it really does all that could be done with the style, but it's interesting enough in its way. I'm pretty happy with it.
61 / 100
On tap at the Great Northern Hotel in Carlton during the WA PoO takeover, Good Beer Week 2012. Reviewed from notes.
Pours a red-tinged amber-gold, slight haze in the glass. Head is off-white, a foamy cloud, decent lace. Not bad.
Malty nose; buttery with a hint of some floral fruity hops peeking through but mostly malt based, a bit too much on the sweet side. More hops would be good, mostly because something is needed to temper the sweetness I'm getting.
Taste is sweet upfront: caramel, toffee etc. Back is quite mediciney with residual sugar and some dirty chocolatey notes as well. Quite gluggy and syrupy actually. Belgian notes, but maybe a touch underfermented. Cleansing hops needed badly.
Dries up a bit on the back, but decently full. Maybe a touch of booze heat as it goes down.
A bit of a confused beer; not quite one thing or the other and ultimately slightly muddy.
62 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse Darlo on launch day.
Pours a pale golden colour. Bit of haze. Head is thin, with a white rim. Lace is unimpressive. Looks OK, but nothing spesh.
Smells Belgian, with mild hints of fruity hop. Slight phenolics, but mostly a light summery hop note. Fairly light, and could use a bit more oomph.
Taste is alright; fair hop notes early. Apple, pear and touch of mango. Some Belgian phenolic spice notes towards the finish. Fairly light, a bit of bitter Belgian spice toward the back, but yeah drinkable, enjoyable enough, but doesn't really capture my attention.
Decent body, bit boozey on the back.
I'm not a big fan of the style, and I wasn't particularly excited when I heard this was the style the St Kilda alestars had settled on - it seems a bit 'on the nose' for a collaborative style mashup. That said, this is pretty decent; nice balance and quite approachable if a little hot.
Pours a dusty orange colour; decent cloud, bit of bead feeding a thin white crown of tight-bubbled head. Lace clings nicely. Maybe more head would be nice, but otherwise looks great.
Smells rank from the pour. Nice, wild organic notes with a touch of lucerne, some raw bread dough and a whisper of vinegar at the back. Maybe a touch yeasty, but the tang of the hops is pleasantly refreshing.
Taste is very grainy indeed. Lots of cereal notes, honeyed oat and puffed rice on the front with a touch of caramel. Hops come through midway, with some grassy and slightly herbal notes. Decent earthy bitterness, fairly mild which is nice but a bit too mild so the sweetness is not totally balanced out and cleansed. I like it well enough, but it just seems a little drab.
Not bad, really. Lots of texture, quite bitty with a bit of fizz.
To be honest I'm not seeing what the big deal with this beer is. Implications seemed to be that this would change my mind about Belgian IPAs. It's a little different maybe and perhaps a bit more cohesive but it still strikes me as quite a middle-of-the-road drop.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. This was brewed as a collaboration between Mornington and the Local Taphouse's Melbourne AleStars, coupled with the Sydney AleStars' collab with Hunter Beer.
Pours a hazed golden colour, quite bright and vivid. Head is a foamy white that falls down rather inconsistently. Some streaky lace forms in patchy, loose ribbons around the glass. Body is light and fine, holding powdery carbonation. Looks pretty good.
Nose is full of Belgian spice, phenolics and pepper, but with a ripe fruity overtone from the hops. Characters of leafy bracken, green pepper, lemon sherbet and citrus leaves. It's a very nicely constructed amalgam of the hops and Belgian yeast characters. Very nice indeed.
Taste is similarly done. Round, slightly sweet Belgian characters, giving estery fruity characters that dry out to a peppery hoppiness on the back. Organic and bright and very nicely balanced. Spicy, slightly earthy finish, with a little hop bitterness building up on the back over time. The malt provides some structure, but nothing more, this is a work choreographed for hops and yeast.
Feel is light but smooth. Quite drinkable and fluid.
Yeah, this is really nice stuff. Very nicely balanced, superbly drinkable and with a structure that provides meaningful character and complexity. Really excellent stuff: in with some of the best Belgian IPAs I've had.
83 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour with a bit of cloud; off-white head sticks around nicely. Lacing is gorgeous. Looks great.
Smells interesting. Citric, tangy with a touch of sour. Lemon, some grapefruit and mild phenolic notes at the back. Rindy, but fruity. Quite pleasant.
Creamy upfront with light vanilla notes, then lots of tangy fruit. Lemon with a slight vinegar acidity as well, cidery and slightly woody, touch of buttery Chardonnay on the back. Zippy and refreshing, a lot of tang but doesn't lean too heavy on the bitterness. Really enjoyable.
Smooth mouthfeel, but a bit of bitter puckering on the back, which is unnecessary.
Great quenching Summery beer. Delicious.
72 / 100
Bottle purchased from Belmont Station in Portland. Despite its proximity to Deschutes, this is actually the Boulevard version.
Pours a really lovely bright but hazed golden yellow colour. The haze adds a lovely sheen and sparkle to the body of the beer. Head is firm, fine and lovely and frothy, but mild and light at the same time, leaving about as much residue as a cloud. Very little lacing, and very little weight to the head itself. It really looks very good indeed, though.
Nose is clear and bright, but somewhat grassy, leaving a slightly prickly vegetative note in the aroma. There's a subtle hint of seawater, or perhaps chlorine to it too, not in a bad way, but in a fresh, slightly too eager brightness kind of way. Perhaps a dot of pepper to it as well, something that gives it something slightly spicy. It's OK, but I was expecting something a little bit more full and better integrated.
Taste is clear and bright, with a brusque, peppery note on the back. Light leafy hoppiness pervades throughout, but I think there must be a good dash of the wit botanicals in here as well: there's certainly an insidious spicy character that drifts through. The 7.5% ABV is hidden pretty well, but there could be a dash more body to support the beer overall. Feel is a little light as a result.
Overall. This is decent stuff. It's a nicely put together White IPA which leans a little heavily on the White, while maintaining some of the aggression of an IPA. I'm probably not the biggest fan, but I'm a fan nonetheless. But just in fair weather.
77 / 100
Bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. I also tried this on-tap at Belmont Station in Portland, but decided to forego reviewing it so I could do so when I shared this bottle with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a pure lemon golden colour with a pure white head that crackles down to a film, leaving impressive rings of lace as it goes. Body is pleasantly light and fresh. There's some hazing to the body, as you'd expect. It looks solid and well-made. Impressive stuff.
Nose is green, pungent and organic, with the brett characters taking up a role in subjugating the true hoppiness behind this more vegetative, earthy whole. That being said, there are real hop characters noticeable, giving some lemon tree leaf and kaffir lime. The funkiness adds a level of solidity and almost robust meatiness to the brew. It's fascinating stuff.
Slightly less impressive overall on the palate: thinner and less complex, but still bearing the characteristic Anchorage flavours. Brusque organic funkiness with a mild, regulated acidity, this time backed with a crisp, light body and some tingling green hop characters. Some bitterness on the backâwith the brett making itself felt it almost ends up yeast and earthy.
Feel is its main drawback as far as I'm concerned. It's very thin, and leaves the bitterness (which let's face it, is not particularly strong) to rule the aftertaste, without even putting up a fight.
Still, this is a really good brew: refreshing, solid and very, very enjoyable. Other Anchorage beers might be better, but this really nicely fits into the range. Great stuff.
80 / 100
Tried at the GABS festival in Melbourne on Doc's birthday. Have to be nice. Oh and not sure how white IPAs are classified elsewhere on BA but thought American IPA was the safest option.
Pours a pale straw colour with a slight cloudy haze. Head is white, sparse bubbling but sticks around reasonably well. Very pale for such a big beer; definitely intriguing.
Lots of complexity on the nose. Sweet, but spicy, with loads of hops - citrus, passionfruit, pine, mango, really quite lovely. Almost meaty at times, it's so big and those wit and hop notes just bounce off each other in fascinating ways. Really very good.
Again, big hops on the palate. Pine and spruce with lovely fresh floral hops backing up, giving plenty of fruit - citrus and passion and pineapple, tropical and complex but with a big alcohol kick to it as well. Spice comes through late as well as those weizeny esters that give so much more and add to the all-round complexity. Definitely a winner.
A bit boozey and dry, with the phenols, hop oils and yeast together with the alcohol really drying up the palate. Could use a slightly sweeter finish, but otherwise good body.
Very complex without becoming clouded and muddy. Hops are well utilised and the beer is big without tipping the balance at heavy. Enjoyable drop.
On-tap at the Great Northern Hotel in North Carlton as part of the Pint of Origin event during Good Beer Week.
Pours a hazy gold colour, with a solid body. Head is filmy but firm and solid white. Fine carbonation streams through the tight body. Looks good overall.
Nose is sweet and round, with classic Belgian fruity esters and a little caramel malt character. It's cut slightly with a grassy hop character, but far less than I anticipated. It feels quite big too; you can sense the booze, even though it's not all that heavy. It's not badâwell made but a little underwhelming.
Taste is smooth and round, and helped by a very smooth feel. There's none of those harsh phenols or boozy heat that you often get with a poorly-made Belgian style ale. Hint of the grass again, but the US hops (such as they are) are really underplayed. The back is dry and crisp, with a slightly medicinal aftertaste.
Solidly made beer. It's not altogether that exciting, and I've had very few Belgian style beers outside Belgium that really do the styles justiceâand this beer doesn't do enough to make me think it's "not Belgian style" and so suffers the same fate.
58 / 100
Pours a russeted dark oaky-brown colour, with tang head, nice and dense on top. Bubbles out but retaining with nice density. Lace is decent but nothing amazing. Looks good, though.
Smells big and hoppy at first - initial assault is twangy citrus and pineapple but then the malts kick in, all chocolate and dusky with a pleasant sweet grain note, but just enough kick of roast to keep it grounded. Very much the kind of smell I like. Good job, Moon Dog, in targeting me specifically with this aroma.
Taste is sadly less refined. Starts with slight tangy ale esters on the assault that develops more roasty brown ale notes midway, touch of cocoa and licorice, but this then clashes with the Belgian notes, musty spice that verges on funky and gritty, with some capsicaian flavour, turmeric and a caper bitterness. All in all it's quite muddy, and lacks coherence between the sets of flavours. It's caught in a centrifugal flavour spiral where it spines further out from the centre of what I think they're going for. It's a bit over-ambitious and maybe an attempt to be more left-field, where they've lost sight of the essential goal of creating good, tasty beer.
Bit boozey and hot through all of this, has quite a sharp note on the back. Not quite enough body, for the size.
One shouldn't be afraid to scale beers like this back. It's cool to try something different, but the number one goal should be creating nice beer, and I feel they've gone all in too quickly here.
78 / 100
You crazy Moondoggers.
Pours a cloudy (and I mean cloudyâso cloudy that it's opaque at the thickest part of the glass) deep leather brown colour, with a filmy, bubbly head of beige. Body is goopy and thickâyou can see it even on the pour, as the syrupy liquid enters the glass. Decent fine lacing, and struggling carbonation. Looks good; at least, it's the sort of beer you look at and expect something interesting.
Nose is nicely done. Big mix of roasted grain sweetness and bright, sweetly aromatic hops, giving soft candied citrus and raisin/currant notes. Slight hint of peppery spice as well, possibly from the yeast, and a fresh green vegetative character. Yes, very good indeed.
Taste is clear and bright on the front, with citric hop flavours coating the palate, before a bang of astringent booze hits mid palate. This explodes and then dissipates, leaving the roasted grain character to mingle with a kirsch-like dark fruit and peanut skin character on the back. Burping gives another wave of resiny hops. Feel is smooth and thick, with a slight stretch from the alcohol heat.
The alcohol is a little too noticeable, and doesn't add a great deal to the beer, but otherwise this is very solid. It delivers what it promises, and has a touch of the anarchy which makes Moon Dog exciting. Probably my favourite of theirs to date.
77 / 100
Pours a pale amber colour, nice golden tinge up to the light. Very opaque though. Head is hugely generous off-white with sparse bubbling and clumps of lace left behind. Marshmallowy top. Looks very decent.
Smell is just lovely. Loads of brett going wild, sourness with cassia, orange peel and underripe berry notes. Sour, but nice sweetness adding balance - citrus, berries and a touch of oatmeal on the back. It's really, really nice.
Taste starts out kind of sour, citric really, but develops into strong fruity mid-palate that's actually quite sweet, with peach, apricot and raspberries. Brett comes through late, giving kind of off mouldy cheese kind of flavour that doesn't quite mesh as far as the aftertaste goes. It's nice overall, but the finish could be toned down a bit, as it's a little on the astringent side. Otherwise the flavours are nice, just seems a bit off-kilter late.
Not bad on the feel for the most part, but you can sense that pull from the wilder yeast at the back and it gets to the point of puckering.
Not an everyday drinking beer, really, but well worth a taste.
84 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, after trying their Whiteout Wit and deciding I needed to pick up every beer this brewery brews. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a very hazed orange-yellow colour, light, but dark, in that it retains all the light it collects. Head is a wondrously full crown of frothy white, like fairy floss, leaving intricately intense and insane lacing. It looks full, insane, intense and exciting.
Nose is bright with big hoppy characters, perhaps just underpinned with a fragrant funk of spicy acidity. The mainline is tropical fruits and citrus, giving fresh rubbed zest, slight bubblegum characters and a fruit sweetness. All this is balanced with a gorgeous funk, giving organics, acidity and barnyard aromas. It's an amazingly complex and gorgeously realised aroma. It is hard to imagine better.
Taste is light and dry, with a touch of acidity from the brett, but mostly realised with a dry body and sharp bitterness from the hops. Despite the crsipness on the finish, lingering tones of pineapple and other tropical fruits come through on the finish, lending a fragrant and exciting finale to the beer. Feel is very light, as brett tends to do, drying out almost to extremity.
Another exceptionally unique and very nice beer from Anchorage. They have a really good handle on beers to brew with funk and finesse. This is bitter and robust and fruity, but also dry, funky and sharp, giving a wonderfully cacophonic whole.
I love this brewery. I can't wait to see what they do next.
79 / 100
Pours a very pleasant coppery colour, slightly hazed, although there's not sediment in the bottle. Head is fine, for the most part, but is filmy, and forms in large bubbles otherwise. Some patchy and very inconsistent lacing. Not that great, to be honest.
Nose is, indeed, that great. Big citrussy American hop character, with the blunting that comes from a pleasant round Belgian yeast character. Very crisp and very lovely. It brings together the best of both world in such a lovely fashion. Almost the classic BIPA nose.
Taste is also very nice, and really exemplified the wonderful blend of the two styles. Rather sweet cleansing Belgian body, with a lightness that improves the drinkability and a pleasing citric hop bite that gives crispness to the end and a lengthened bitterness. Feel is smoother than the average IPA, but very pleasantly leavened.
This is a lovely beer. It's pretty much a light American IPA that is spliced with the interest and roundness of Belgian yeast to give it something surprising. A very clear exemplar of the style, and one of the best of the style I've had.
85 / 100
Purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours very clear for the most part, until a sludge of dark brown yeast slurry makes a dash for escape. Preventing most of it from entering my glass, this leaves it a hazed bright golden bronze colour, with some floating sediment. Head froths and crackles down to a very light bubbling on the top. Good lacing. Body looks a little light, but that's probably not unexpected for the style. Looks very decent.
Nose is certainly more Belgian in character than hop-centric, although it is greener than usual. Big, crisp characters of holly and some spicy Belgian phenols. Slight clove and pepper. It has all those hallmarks of the unique hoppy Belgian style.
Mmm. Taste is much better. Subtle soft spice on the palate, lightly sweet fruits mid with a zing of citric lemon rind on the back. Pleasant mild bitterness, and a very clean and refreshing green organic character. Wonderful blend of flavours, but so subtly and expertly assembled. Gorgeous.
Feel is smooth and soft, and just pleasant.
Smooth, rich, flavoursome, but pleasantly unique. This is a lovely drop of beer--one which accentuates the Belgians' commitment to craft, not just extremity.
77 / 100
Pours a dirty gold colour with slight sediment. Lots and lots of head that sinks steadily, but beautifully puffy and gorgeous lace left behind. Mother pearl colour, marshmallowy on top. Biutiful.
Smells nice and sour, plenty of citrus with some good barnyard funk; hint of berry and a cool, sweet cinnamon spice as well. Yeah, touch of apple as well; pretty darned pleasant.
Taste is fairly malty. Plenty of caramel with rich buttery cake malt and good earthy bitterness as well. Some pine notes, and fruitiness, with hints of apple, melon and some earthy phenolic notes. Some mildly corporeal characters at the back, almost a charcoaly flavour with a woody edge adding to it. Quite beautiful palate, plenty of character throughout.
Reasonably smooth on the feel, but a bit thin. There's a chewiness to it as well and not heavily carbonated so it's decent.
Lots to mull over here. Plenty of character but a real mild drinkability as well, in spite of the ABV. Pleasant drop.
76 / 100
Very cloudy and pleasantly hued orange-golden colour, with a massive and rather impressive head of white. Sticky lacing in proper Belgian-style lace down the inside of the glass. Looks very impressive and very appealing.
Nose is lovely and sharp with citric American hoppiness, but with a round and sullen Belgian yeast character that adds some meat and spice. slight hint of astringent booze to it too, which is not unexpected in a beer weighing in at 9.2%, but it's a bit like seeing the man behind the curtain--I'd be happy just experiencing the complexity of character without the alcohol.
Taste is very subtle and very pleasantly balanced. The hops here settle down a bit, leaving the Belgian yeast to give it the slightly spicy and slightly phenolic bite on the back of the palate. There's still a greenness on the front, which gives a refreshing and fragrant uplift to the beer, but here, the Belgian notes come into prominence. Feel is light and crisp, but with a pleasant smoothness.
Yeah, it's a good blend, and it's a good use of the blend. Individually, the hoppy characters and the Belgian spice wouldn't make either a good IPA or a good Belgian Ale, but together they mesh nicely to complement one another. What you end up with is a rather tasty and rather unique brew.
Pours a pale, shiny golden colour, very translucent with a few floaties. Head is hugely generous, white and webbed out quite a bit. It sinks slowly and leaves nice trails of lacing around the glass. Interesting, looks like an innoculated brew perhaps?
Smells a bit bland. Sour wheaty notes with some peach and other stone fruit characters coming through, as well as an odd meaty note, kind of mildly spicy with a slight saltiness as well. Intriguing. Am I a fan? Let's say I'm a well-wisher, in that I don't wish this beer any specific harm.
Tastes more curious. Quite strong, with a good belt of funk. Quite sour on the front with wheat malt and a touch of crisp apple that gets a strong barnyard flavour with much leathery flavour and a noticeable booziness that borders on phenolic. An odd stickiness that doesn't quite reach sweetness but has that dessert wine texture, and a touch of bitter peppery spice at the back. Fairly clean, not entirely but enough to be refreshing. Decent.
An odd mix of styles, at times I feel polarised within myself. But it's at least very interesting.
70 / 100
Purchased in the US and brought back to Australia, before I realised the same beer was available on our fair shores. Oh well.
Pours a cloudy and pleasant bright golden colour, with a very full and frothy head of white. Clumpy lacing left as it collapses. Body is pleasantly light and fluid, given the ABV, but I'd expect nothing less from a Belgian style ale. Looks very pleasant indeed.
Nose is characterised by a mild European hop character, blended with a hint of solvent like phenols and some earthy herbal overtones. Quite sharp all up, and although I know it's hopped heavily, a lot of the sharpness seems to be consistent with the characters you'd get on a regular Belgian strong pale. Nice enough though.
Taste perhaps even more so simply connects with its Belgian roots. Light and dry on the front, with a slight welling of phenols on the back, perhaps a slight dip into more of a hoppy alpha acid bitterness, and a light and crisp finish. Bit of metallic twang on the back.
Feel is light but fluid and smooth. Very pleasant.
A good Belgian style ale, but not one that rocks me. Indeed, I feel like the extra hop additions are to the detriment of the base beer, and not intense enough to really rock the flavour spectrum.
73 / 100
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney. Was very excited to see it.
Deep golden colour, almost tending towards coppery amber, with a very full head of creamy fine lacing. Mostly clear in the body, with a very slight haze. Lacing forms in sheets down the inside of the glass. Very decent - looks quite sophisticated.
Nice hybrid mixture of characters on the nose. On one hand we have round Belgian yeasty notes giving off characters of bubblegum and spice, but the hops give resin and a little citrus; a freshness that's almost like pine needles. It's a nice blend.
Veers towards the Belgian style of things on the palate. Round, a little meaty, but cleansed with the mild hop characters, which are less pronounced in flavour. More bubblegum that gets bitten with phenols at the end. Mouthfeel is quite sharp with booze.
Smooth enough to drink, but with a bite that keeps it very interesting. Nice.
74 / 100
Pours a pale gold with translucent haze. Head is modest, white, nice specks of lace being left behind as it slowly goes down. Steady carbonation throughout the body. Looks good, but I'm not quite sure about that much haze in a BPA.
Nose has a huge sweet aroma. Lots of fruit with fresh pineapple, citrus, lots of cake dough and light toffee edge to the malt. Slight hint of dry-roasted coriander seeds at the back, just enough to spice and funkify this delicious fruity smell.
Taste is very fruity and tangy. Lots of candied pineapple with slight passionfruit and almost a berry character as well. Lots of cinnamon comes through on the mid with a baked apple sweet/sour character as well. A hit of phenolic Belgian yeast bitterness underlies and comes to the fore at the end. Pleasant but a little overpowering at the finish line. Could use more complexity in the sweet front, it's a little too refined-sugar, while finish is clean but leaves a hint of dry-ash feel.
A pleasant drinking beer with a couple of challenging flavours, but goes down smooth. Very enjoyable.
58 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour, quite clear in the body, but with a nice dense head, creamy coloured and nicely packed together, sticking around loyally. Lacing is alright but a bit thin, and no real carbonation of which to speak makes head sink a bit listlessly. Not bad though.
Nose is intensely malty. Seriously, it's bread, corn, barley, all these grains concentrated and exploding with aroma. It smells like a brew day, really. Just immensely oaty and grainy. I don't mind a grainy beer, but it is overdone, very grainy, almost savoury.
Taste is similar, a lot of earthy grain, like oats and corn, with a slight malty character but a lot of soil character and a bit of a salty character. Slight bitterness at the back, with an organic character, slightly funky, and a fair but modest kiss of alcohol. But yeah, it's quite simple - very malty, with more savoury character than anything else. Could definitely use more fruit, more spice maybe, and definitely more sweetness, considering how malty it is otherwise.
Mouthfeel is alright, feels a bit bland in the mouth but thick and syrupy as it goes down. Perfectly fine for how it tastes.
Yeah, it's not bad, just has all this flavour potential that feels subdued in its simplicity.
76 / 100
Pours a very light golden yellow - quite clear, and to my mind, slightly too pale, with a firm, but filmy head of white bubbles. Good lacing on the glass as the head subsides. Looks pretty decent, if not exceptional.
The nose is a robust conglomerate of round Belgian yeast and sharp, straight hops. The Belgian character is almost visible - with huge slightly funky round notes of tomato and creamed corn, and the hops are quite European in character. None of those fruity, sharp or citric American varieties. Comes across as a big Belgian Pale with a hugely beefed up aroma. I love it.
Yeah, the palate is very much in the same vein. Very robust Belgian yeast characters, and light-bodied grainy sweetness, before a slightly phenolic and robust, but not tongue-slicingly bitter hop character pervades the back. Finish is quite dry and light-bodied. It really feels like a Belgian Pale with the volume turned up - perhaps some of the characters slip into overdrive, but that's ok. This is what American brewing does.
Yeah, I liked this a lot. A really good interpretation of the style. As far as straight IPAs go, you're not going to find yourself with a ballistic hop-bomb, but it's got the raw, ragged and souped-up American edge to a classic European styled beer. Awesome.
79 / 100
Pours a muddy dark yellow-orange colour, with a possibly hallucinatory green tinge. Head is a pleasantly full two fingers of creamy foam, off-white in colour, and a little rocky. It collapses after a while, but leaves some reasonably good lacing. Pretty decent looking brew, all up.
Some biscuit and green spice on the nose - quite herbal, with a sweet vanilla Belgian yeast character on the back. Round and smooth, it gets better as it warms, becoming more mellow and a little sweeter, providing a little more grain sweetness. Very pleasant.
Taste is round and succinct, very subdued, but very classy. A very pleasant classic Belgian pale sweetness on the front, hints of vanilla and shortbread, before a really pleasant green hop character on the back, like crushed vegetation. It's a really mellow and pleasant juxtaposition. Mouthfeel is spot on, a smooth entry to go with the roundness on the palate, but with a spritzy finish to match the hop note.
An exceptionally drinkable brew, and one which highlights what the Belgians do best. I've recently been drinking huge and flavoursome US craft brews, and this beer puts them in context. It shows what you can do with a more moderate taste profile, by blending disparate elements flawlessly, and providing impeccable balance. This is a big winner.
77 / 100
Pours an absolutely delightful creamy, cloudy golden wheat colour, with a full, tight bubbled and extremely generous head of white foam. Lacing is superb. A truly phenomenal looking Belgian ale.
Absolutely luscious nose, full of fresh hop fragrance. Fruit, crushed herbs, pepper, spice, bubblegum, all in a rollicking and exciting package. Golding, Spalt, Tradition and Saaz, it says on the bottle. Obviously I've been limiting my hops favouritism to American varieties - I never would have picked it, but together these hops create a sensationally delicious aroma.
Light creamy opening on the palate, quite dry with a welling bitterness from the hops and a staunch strike of alcohol heat. Very little sweetness, but the hop fragrance is still perceivable in the sinuses. The palate is mostly based on bitterness, and it feels very slightly unbalanced. Mouthfeel is initially silky, but fades to a sharp crispness that helps accentuate the hops.
A fragrant and exciting drop, bursting with character. It lacks a bit of sweetness and body on the palate, but otherwise very fine indeed.
70 / 100
Pours the colour of unhealthy urine, kind of orangey-yellow. Good healthy bead feeding a modest but good snowy head that's still there. Thin but sticky and delicious lacing. That's a quite fucked-upingly good looker. I could fuck this beer.
Tropical, pale ale-y kind of nose. Lot of American hops - probably Cascade, but not sure. Smells very refreshing, with those hops mixing with a citrusy pineapple kind of smell. It's wonderfully tangy and light.
Taste is quite bitter throughout, but especially on the back palate and finish. First flavour is again kind of tangy with quite a refreshing bent, and descends quickly (maybe a bit too quickly) into that very hoppy finish with a slight lemon squash flavour to go along with it. Mouthfeel is light and frothy, like toothpaste. But yeah, really pleasant and drinkable, main palate is a bit short but otherwise very nice.
70 / 100
Pours just deliciously - a brilliant golden orange with a thick and solid head of lightly-toasted marshmallow. Body is clear, I left the yeast sediment in situ. Fair amount of very fine carbonation racing from the etchings of the tulip. Lacing is excellent. Looks great.
Spicy vinous characters on the nose, with a hint of pepper and overripe bananas. Light biscuity grain notes as well, but just wafting around, not particularly solid. There is a tickle in the sinuses that indicates the touch of alcohol. Otherwise, just spicy and sweet. Very pleasant.
Initial brandy warmth on the palate, tingling across the tongue. Once the flavours arrive, there's a sharp acetone character that dips to a deeper, fruitier base, with a lingering alcohol and hop bitterness. The 10.5% is definitely there - it's just not hidden by the other big flavours of fruit sweetness and that big hop character; surprising for a Belgian. An interesting beer, and (I'll say it again) a big one.
It's quite smooth, but it's a heady brew, and the alcohol edge is just a little too raw for me.
75 / 100
650ml bottle carefully carried back to Australia from San Francisco.
Nice bright golden colour, almost tinged with organge. Head is a pillowy, marshmallow head of white foam. Lacing is great. Slight haze in the body. Looks great.
Nose is phenomenal. A wonderful bouquet of pineapple mixed with Belgian yeast, the sweet semi-savoury character of a good Belgian pale. Not a huge amount of the sharper more peppery hops, but the tropical fruit characters are nice.
Wow, the hops are certainly there on the palate, a robust bitterness all through, a full bodied sharpness, with an underlying hint of salt. There's something very odd lingering in the back of everything though; the sweet richness of a Belgian. Mouthfeel is quite light, but still slick. Nice.
This beer certainly lived up to my expectations for the style. A very interesting hybrid, and one that I'll enjoy again for sure.
70 / 100
I'd love to save this, and pair it with its brethren on the final tasting, but I've come in far too late, and I'll be back in the land of Oz long before the time comes. So here goes with 080808.
Pours a very light yellow-gold with good clarity, although there is a slight hint of haze to the body. Head is initially creamy thick with tiny bubbles of pure white, but this dissipates to a collar of film around the edges. Lacing is good.
Nice Belgian yeast characters on the nose, and a hint of phenolic alcohol. Light notes of herbs and wintergreen, but certainly not a big hop presence like the bottle suggests was the inspiration for the brew. More sweet and round, like the Belgian ales in this way, slightly more subdued than say La Guillotine or Duvel for example.
The hop character is more pronounced in flavour, with a decent bite of hop oil coating the mid-palate. There's a sweetness as well, quite a dry sweetness, but like the Belgians in this regard. Fair amount of heat on the back palate as well, this may fade with age. Mouthfeel is light, suitable for the style.
I know I'm drinking this before its time, and perhaps it shows, but at the moment this is a pretty run-of-the-mill Belgian Pale to me. It's drinkable enough, but I'm not sure there's enough there to even make it last another four years.
Oh well, if I'm around for 12.12.12, and happen to chance upon it, I'd still give it a go.