77 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a dirty golden colour, very hazy and a little thick. Head is full and frothy, staying as a persistent crest of white. Lacing forms in reasonable masses. Carbonation is quite minimal. Looks decent, but not much better.
Everything is on the up from here though. The nose is great, with a rounded sweetness spiked with some lovely German grain notes. There's something a little spicy and grassy to it too, which helps integrate the characters while providing its own sense of interest. Good stuff.
Taste is even better. Pleasant honeyed malts, with a prickly bitterness to balance it. With this come proper overtones of grain and mild metallic characters that add brightness. On the back, there's a smooth fruity sweetness that gives a little banana and peach. It's very pleasant.
Feel is relatively full-bodied, but that crispness from the bitterness helps sharpen it.
Overall, it's a really nice Maibock. The clarity is its one big flaw as far as I can see, but it's easy and pleasant to overlook that. Otherwise, I like it a bunch
58 / 100
750ml corked and caged bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA. Shared much later with Sam and Rich in Sydney.
Pours a dull orange-amber hue, with a fair bit of haze and a rather thick body. Head dissipates rather quickly, leaving a persistent and fine, but rather minimal ring of yellowish off-white. Carbonation is very fine when tilted. It looks okay all up, but not particularly exciting.
Nose is rather worty, a little flat and overly sweet. There's some toffee-caramel characters that feel quite overt, and perhaps a touch of metallic oxidation, which is maybe not unexpected given it's got a bit of age on it. Looking beyond that, there's a faint hint of something peppery, perhaps a little bit of leafy noble hops as well. It's not huge, however.
Taste is a little better. Here there's some structure and purpose from the malt, giving a slight German grain fragrance and a lilting flavour of honey which moves from floral to sticky, and dominates the back palate. Finish is actually rather dry from the lager yeast, giving a slight bite of peppery lightness in the end.
Feel is thick throughout, with a touch of bite and burn in the end, although it finishes rather clean.
Overall, it's decent enough, but I feel I've hung onto it for too long. There's some pleasant characters there, but they're really just trying to fill the traditional mould, and the beer doesn't necessarily stand up to scrutiny after it's aged for as long as it has. So take this with a grain of salt.
58 / 100
On tap at the brewhouse, July 9th 2013.
Pours a gold colour, clear, with thin head. Lace is OK but yeah, looks a little heavy. OK for the style.
Smells mildly citric, with a soft drink kind of note. Maybe some malt and herbs. Pretty uninspiring, would like more aroma depth or complexity.
Taste is a little creamy, actually, with a touch of vanilla and some boozey notes. Marmalade, touch of whiskey. Orange maybe and a mild rye spice. Quite boozey and dry, have had better and more nuanced helles Bocks. But not overall bad.
Foamy, very foamy. Not hot in the mouth, but a bit sharp/warm on the very back. Not bad.
Decent enough Helles Bock, but I wouldn't mind the same finish on a bolder, more flavoursome palate.
Pours a pale gold colour, bit of sediment. Head is listless and small. Lace is thin. Yeah pretty bland-looking.
Smells grainy and bland. Generic herbal hop bitterness is subtle and, otherwise, all light cereal with a touch of honey and puffed rice. Fairly bland and generic; not badly handled.
Taste is horribly sweet and syrupy upfront, big honey note with touch of vanilla-cinnamon and puffed rice. Bitterness comes through, giving it a cough syrup mediciney flavour. All over kind of malt liquory, not so heavy but jut a big rocket fuel kind of sweetness and excess for the point of excess.
Decent texture but a bit thick and gloopy, could use more cut through.
Not a fan. Unnuanced, too sweet, weird by-product flavours and unpleasant.
61 / 100
Pours a golden amber colour, very cloudy indeed. Head is white, foamy, sticking around all right. Bit cloudy for a Maibock, but nice-looking.
Smells very malty, hints of cereal grain to it. Pistachio, marzipan and a touch of cinnamon. Maybe a slight piney hop over the top of it. Not bad.
Taste is pretty simple. Largely malty, with a slight fruity edge midway, maybe green apple on there. Could use a bit more tang as it's all very sweet, with a hit of booze towards the back. Nutty characters throughout the palate but mostly just caramel malt. Not bad, could use more layering of flavours.
Not hot, but a bit of booziness. Very dry on the back.
On the sweeter side of Maibock and could use some bitterness to cut through.
Bottle purchased in South Africa, muled back to Australia by my mum, isn't that nice?
Pours a very pale golden colour, with significant haze and a significant amount of sediment. Head is a very fine but very minimal white. Light body, and no lace at all. Overall, I'm not overly impressed.
Nose is weak and slightly sweet, with a slightly grassy overtone and a butterscotchy, unfermented wort character. Perhaps German in genesis, but it's a pretty amateurish example.
Taste is sharp and slightly keroseney, with a fusel-like solvent astringency, above a buttery but thin sweetness. Some eucalyptus or something fragrant but unpleasant at the same time on the back. Some floury, or yeasty notes finish it off. Blech.
Yeah, this isn't very good. It's not awful, but it's just got nothing but awful flavours—fortunately, nothing is too strong to overpower it, and it just feels pretty bland overall.
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse as part of their Italian SpecTapular festival.
Pours the colour of peach juice: cloudy to boot, but with a weak white head that leaves a minimal ring. No consistency to the body and no lacing. It looks pretty poor for a maibock, to be honest.
Grassy malt on the nose with some sweetness, and organic characters of wood shavings and a lilting vanilla bean fragrance. It's interesting, but despite the interest, it's pretty mild and weak.
Light and dry on the entry, with a touch of flowery fragrance. Mid-palate we get into some mild phenolic notes, which would work in a maibock if there was clarity of vision elsewhere. Instead, we get a really flat mid-to-late palate, with a grainy, yeasty finish, and a dose of woody, old hop character on the finish which does no one any favours.
Feel is flat and dead.
Overall, I'm unimpressed. There were some good characters to it, but the poor characters trumped the good characters quite convincingly.
Had on-tap at Elysian Brewery in Seattle.
Pours a clear golden hue, with a minimal, but pleasant creamy white head. Some sudsy lace forms. Body is very light, leaving swirling, very free carbonation. Looks decent enough.
Nose is mild and sweet, with very little else going for it. No bite, no phenolics, no hops. I mean, not much of anything, to be honest. There's the malt, a hint of sweat and that sugary note which makes up the bulk of it. It's like really bland toffee.
Taste is similar. Some honey characters with some malt and a bit of a grainy, savoury note towards the back. There are some phenolics here, but they're the only thing which provide anything in the way of a cut to the sweetness. Feel is smooth, but it's a brief glimpse of something better in an otherwise very dull wasteland.
Pretty bland and uninteresting. I can't say I'm overly impressed. It's neither stylistically very good, or interesting, and to be honest, I'd prefer Elysian to just try to be interesting.
Had on-tap at the brewery in Healdsburg.
Pours a hazed, deep golden hue, with a firm, chewy body. Head is a white, verging on creamy, forming a solid fine crown that leaves great lace. Carbonation is decent. Looks pretty good overall, stylistically and aesthetically.
Some medicine is immediately noticeable on the nose, backed up by a solid grain note. Hints of black cherry, pepper and other sharper fruit notes with some phenolic elements coming through. Not bad.
Slight grain entry and stonefruit pith or skin leads to a crescendo of spice and some phenols on the mid-palate. Bright finish with a touch of astringency, and more of those cherry notes givine a flourish of sweetness and a determined bite.
Feel is light and crisp. Pleasantly so, in fact.
It's not bad, all up. It perhaps turns up that astringency a little too much, and doesn't gain much in the way of complexity from it. But it's solidly made, and perfectly pleasant to drink.
Pours a dark, murky red colour with slight oak tinge. Head is beige, also with very slight russet tinge. Small bubbles, nice and creamy on top and retaining half a finger, with impressive carbonation. Looks pretty damned nice.
Smells very malty, but with a touch of sourness - lots of dark fruit with plums, raisins, figs and dried apricot. Plenty of brown sugar malt for sweetness and a lingering trace of metallic rust on the back. Not bad, but would like the fruit's sweetness more emphatic.
Taste is alright, although first impressions lead me to surmise that it's a bit old - that slightly sour dried fruit character pervades the front, but drops off sharply. Midway the malty goodness takes over and it's for the best, with some brown sugar, molasses and figs coming through late. Hint of redcurrant and maybe some slightly phenolic spice. Not a bad drop, bit of a non-sparkler though, in the world of stronger lagers. Just lacks diversity in its flavours.
That carbonation shows up sure enough, not entirely defended by the decent malt body. Not bad for the style though, it's nice to have a bit of texture.
Yeah, strong doesn't necessarily equal fascinating, and while there's big flavour here, its intonations and depth are a bit lacking.
Pours a clear and deep honey-hued amber-orange colour, with a fine ring of white film around the edge of the glass. Pretty decent weight to it, and the carbonation forms in lovely tight bubbles. It looks pretty decent, all up. Not brilliant, but decent.
Nose is sticky and a little sweaty, with grassy hops coming through above a very grainy and slightly earthy base. Very classically European characters to it, but more like a generic Euro lager with the volume turned up than the green, noble freshness you can get. Only average, to me.
Taste is similar, in that it has a rather biting metallic hop character through the centre, but swirling sweet malt rushing around the outside. Again, its genesis seems to be rather in the generic Euro lager style, but with a bigger hop note through the centre and a heavier body backing it up. Booze is noticeableâdespite the heavy body, it doesn't have enough heft and character to support such a level.
Hot, generic and rather unpleasant. It's perhaps not actually offensive, but it's unnecessary in its weight and aggression. I've had far, far better.
56 / 100
Pours a clear amber colour with slightly off-white head, not much bead, not much retention. Lace is alright. Doesn't amaze me, but it does just look lagery and a bit heavy.
Smell is very grainy, quite sweet with vanilla, lots of puffed rice and barley notes. Enjoyable enough, but very simple.
Taste is similar; lots of grain upfront, barley with puffed rice, vanilla notes and some booziness that doesn't have much character, just kind of hot with not much flavour. Could use longer, more complex graininess. As it is, it's a bit simple and unbalanced, sweet upfront and hot on the back and nil in the middle.
Feels okay, but with a bit of a syrupy texture, could use more carbonation to cut through.
It's decent as far as style is concerned, but not really a masterful palate. The beer just doesn't really interest or impress me.
I do like Dead Guy, so I was interested to try this. It is imported to my home country of Australia, but this one was purchased in the US, where beer taxes are far kinder to the thinking beer drinker.
Pours a bright, hazed orange-amber hue, light at the edges, but deep and rich in the centre. Head fizzles out rather quickly, but leaves a decent collar of fine white around the edges. Almost no lacing is formed, but the body is thick enough to give rise to some static carbonation.
Nose is immediately potent and thick, giving huge sweet aromas of caramel, whiskey and buttery oak. Incredibly dense and robust, and the first smell I think I'd describe as "chewy". Impressive, if eye-watering.
Taste is along very similar lines, giving a very potent smooth buttery whiskey barrel flavour for the most part, without any of the alcohol bite. Oak all up in the joint, y'all. Smooth and very, very sweet. Finish tapers off, leaving very little malt on the finish; more a tannic, slightly oxidised, corky character like poorly stored port.
Feel is very smooth, but this just accentuates how full and melty and heart-stopping this beer is.
An incredibly slick and very buttery, oaky brew. Did I enjoy it? Not especially. Was it memorable? Oh, hell yes. This is a beer that will stick in my mind for a very long time, and that's something to appreciate.
81 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour, clear, metallic-looking. Head retains a thin crown and small, uninspiring trails of lace. A bit of tiny carbonation. Looks a bit bland, but not too bad.
Smells quite malty, with a good English toffee sweetness. Touch of brown sugar as well and wholegrain bread and a mild brandy booze note. Pleasant, strong and sweet aroma.
Taste is also very sweet and malty, with plenty of toffee and brandy snap that develops a decent boozey flavour on the mid, with a big medicinal edge. Sweet all the way through to the finish, with a big sweet biscuity flavour capping it all off. It's a malty, heavy beer, but really smooth; just a beautiful transition from start to finish as it swells and crescendoes. That's a good bocky palate.
Soft, silky feel helps it down, plenty of body but there's virtually nothing heavy about it, just a slight nip of booze as it goes down.
A cracker of a beer from the Hills. A surprisingly drinkable drop that I could serve with a dessert or just drink all night at a party. Look forward to this in bottles.
Pours a pale golden urine colour with nice light white head of dense foam. There's a bright golden haze on the body and a slow but persistent carbonation. Lacing is very clingy and nice. Looks like a pleasant beer indeed.
Smells very fruity and malty. Quite a boozey aromatic strength to it, with some golden wheat character and plenty of apricot, peach and a fair vinous note as well. Slight grain husk dourness just at the back is the only hiccup, with it otherwise smelling like a nice, sweet brew.
Taste is quite malty on the front with a strong and liqueury base, but a very effervescent mouthfeel to remind me it's lagery. Fruity on the mid, with more apricot character and some marzipan bitterness. Noticeable phenols towards the back, with a slight medicinal note and a touch of nuttiness, then finishes fairly dry, with a tickle of heat from the alcohol. Nice beer, strong and sweet but with a nice refreshingly bitter finish.
A good beer to bridge the Summer/Winter divide. A bit strong to be thoroughly quenchable but more refreshing than your average big beer.
60 / 100
Pours a dark ruby red colour, clear with light, slow bead. Head is retaining pretty well for bock a, and hooray syntax for! Lace is not bad either, quite good, yeah. Thought at first it should be darker but it's categorised as a Maibock so yeah, perfectly acceptable.
Nose is very sweet, with large amounts of toffee, brown sugar, treacle even and a slight honey-glazed ham edge. Yeah, just all those sweet things with a slight funky aroma later, slightly meaty I guess. Interesting, but a little sweet for my liking.
More sweetness on the taste. Huge honey and burnt toffee flavour comes through quite early with dark roastiness, hints of dark chocolate and molasses, and then a slight licorice character towards the back as well. The grain gets slightly earthy on the back but not enough to clean up the palate entirely. Thick, syrupy feel contributes to this as well and then becomes very dry on the finish. Not bad and certainly a decent attempt at a bock but not really to my taste. It just needs more gravitas and needs to be cleaned up somehow with hops or more bitter roastedness. Just a malt bomb really.
Had this as a 60mL sampler and not sure I could handle much more of it, but I give it points because I just don't think I'm a big bock fan. It's just sweet and heavy.
76 / 100
On tap at the Darlinghurst Local Taphouse's ANZAC Day SpecTapular
Pours a hazed brilliant red amber colour, with a extremely fine bubbled head of yellow white foam. Lacing is superb, really looks like an excellent beer.
Big and dominant caramel malt notes on the nose. Lots of homemade toffee, and an aroma of frozen bread. Even something savoury to it as well. It's a fascinatingly rich and interesting nose.
Smooth entry, with lots of huge caramel notes stretching out from the entry to the very finish, which ends sift and sweet. Mid palate is dominated by some almost astringent phenols which go the the verge of stripping my tongue before the malt character comes back. Really interesting.
A really good drop this one. Malty and rich up the wazoo, with smoothness on the palate and a maibock sharpness to cut it back slightly. Heavy on the palate, of that there's no doubt, but it's a fascinating and enjoyable beer.
71 / 100
Pours a clear, golden colour with white head, visible small bubbles, slow bead and lacing that is dense and quite sticky, falls slowly down the glass. Looks drinkable, but fairly standard.
Nose is quite hoppy, fairly phenolic in character, but with a pleasant cakey malt aroma underlying that. Hops are quite bitter, with hints of lemon rind and grapefruit; some grain husk and soil as well. Not bad, just a little heavy on the bitter side.
Taste is an interesting one, very malty for the most part with cakey, caramel notes all over that, a hint of orange zest, and some tangy notes resembling sherbet almost. Finish is quite bitter and ever so slightly phenolic, but doesn't have any astringent bitterness, just a clean bittering off balanced very well with amber maltiness, with an almost raw sugar character at the back. Simple but surprisingly pleasant, it has a very enjoyable sweetness, slight hints of spicy sourness and zest throughout.
Mouthfeel is quite thick, aids the sweetness, but nothing clunky or syrupy, still manages to go down smoothly.
A pleasant drop, although I prefer Dead Guy as far as Maibocks go. Am quite enjoying this.
69 / 100
Pours an absolutely gorgeous colour, a vibrantly clear orange-gold colour, with a thick and fine head of white foam leaving some good lacing. Tine finy lacing around the edges, but it looks pleasantly full-bodied. Really looks excellent.
Crisp grains and noble hops on the nose, vegatative slightly green notes, with a type of cereal sweetness. Quite refined, if not incredibly complex.
Crisp palate, redolent with hoppy phenols, and perhaps just a whiff of solvent-like booze. Grain notes are present around the edges, and fill in the back of the palate, lending a bit of depth. Carbonation is fine, but assertive - stylistically rather good. It's really quite pleasant altogether - it's not the most complex beer - but the style is not the most complex style either.
There's things to like about it - it comes across as slightly too heavy, a little too boozy for the style, but otherwise it's surprisingly crisp and drinkable. In any case, it's an excellent American example of a non-American style, which for me once again proves that the US can not only do extreme beers that push brewing to their boundaries, but can brew really good traditional styles as well.
70 / 100
I originally wrote this review on my phone, and then lost it, so it's not as complete as once it was.
Pours an orange colour without much in the way of head, some thin trails of lace left behind as it goes down, with a clear steady bead. Nice colour, but otherwise pretty meh.
Quite malty on the nose with caramel notes, toffee, a nice earthy richness to it, even a little bit dark for the appearance with some roasty notes. Some distinct hints of herbs - rosemary and parsley at the back, and a little floral aroma. Quite nice.
Taste is very malty and rich, with a strong earthy molasses flavour providing a good hearty backbone. Towards the mid there come some resiny notes with hints of pine and lavender as well. Very organic overall with a soil-esque structure providing an almost corporeal flavour, with a slight saltiness making this actually quite a savoury drop. Nice, interesting flavours, fairly good balance and fairly unique. I would hesitate to call it an English spin on a German style because I'm not familiar enough with the Maibock to make that call (and it's similar enough to Rogue's Dead Guy), but the maltiness has a nice English edge.
Mouthfeel is quite smooth but a bit harsh towards the back.
Quite a nice drinkable drop, balanced and smooth.
Pours a golden copper colour, with an intiailly frothy, but ultimately filmy head of off-white bubbles. No lacing, and the head looks rather thin. Boisterous large-bubbled carbonation is a bit worrisome as well. Otherwise not bad.
Some herbal greenery on the nose, a bit like crushed basil, along with a raw bitter note, reminiscent of English hops, but either concealed, or slightly warped by the other aromas in the beer. A slight wet grain sweetness to it as well. Not bad, but not astonishing.
Taste is rather dry, with an initial English Pale character of thin grainy malt, before a clear phenolic bitterness comes through, reminiscent most to me of Fraoch heather ale. Finish is very dry, with a light copper character. The bitterness is odd, but not unpleasant. Mouthfeel is tingly but tight, a bit of smoothness wouldn't have gone astray, but it's more refreshing for how it is.
Yeah, a drinkable brew. Nothing to knock my socks off though, and considering the style is slightly off-centre, I was expecting something a little bit different and a little more exciting.
76 / 100
Lovely slightly cloudy gold colour, with a rocky and sticky head of white foam, with a lovely eggwhite sheen. Lacing is great. Some carb. Looks nice and thick. Lovely.
Some light hops and a sweet nutty caramel character on the nose. Hint of carob and toasted bread. All nice characters. Not extreme but pleasant.
Taste is more robust, a very nice clean bitterness, with a lingering grain and nut character leaving some nice sweetness on the back. It's very clean and crisp, puts me in mind of a ESB, and has the pleasant gritty hops to match. Mouthfeel has a nice slickness.
A very drinkable ale and most enjoyable. A really clean and lovely beer to start the day.
73 / 100
Pours an apricot colour with slight brown tinge and a delicious ochre head, couple of fingers thick but settles down to a nice thick crown. Lacing is spectacular and thick. Looks so damn fine.
Smell is delicious and fruity, with a big fresh pineapple hit and some excellent floral hops, plus hints of darker, sweeter fruits, maybe some dried apricot and some golden syrup. Complex, flagrant and pleasant nose.
Taste is quite a lot earthier, with a strong, dank hop that pervades most of the palate. Rich citrus-style flavours - cumquat and maybe some mandarin, with a thick, syrupy barley malt underneath on the front; floral, citric hops come through on the mid and then develop a wetter, more soily bitterness towards the back. This is blended with a sultana sweetness on the finish, quite splendidly actually. In fact, finish is really great - some licorice spice and an excellent warming alcomohol kick.
Mouthfeel nicely full and rich, almost chewy towards the end. A little bit intense on the mid overall, but that's otherwise a very pleasant beer.
71 / 100
Ah, this is such a classic, right? How have I never got around to reviewing it before?
Pours a deep golden yellow, with great clarity and shine. A good fine bubbled head of off-white foam gurgles up then down, leaving some impressive lacing. Lots of spirited carbonation persists throughout the drinking. Looks pretty tasty.
Light floral hops and honey sweetness on the nose, hints of confectioners' sugar and a little ripe tropical fruit. But it's all very much subdued, not a huge and boisterous nose, but the sweet characters are all rather pleasant put together.
Again, pretty light on the palate, some initial honey notes, with a light coppery bitterness washing through to clean it up. The bitterness at the end grows more robust as time passes, leaving a stronger hop presence than I expected initially. Very clean and crisp, and the back palate astringency aids drinkablility.
Nice. Very drinkable and very clean, lots of very pleasant light characters swirling around. Not an exceptional beer, but a suitably solid one.