Can gifted by Jez; drunk some time at some place or other.
Pours a nice deep brown, umber glow at the edge. Head is generous; beige coloured with a fair foaminess at the edges despite being quite dense overall. Retains well as a result but has some uneven sinkage. Looks good.
Smells insanely hoppy. Like it's basically an IBA here. Huge citrus- tangerine and lemon aroma, with some tropical new world characters as well. Some dark chocolate and caramelised roast grain lingering behind that is very pleasant but it's hops front and centre here. Pretty nice.
Tases quite nice. Decent maltiness upfront that develops that sharp citrus and slightly resinous hop character early-mid that takes over the mid-palate before softening a fair bit towards the back. Some sweeter caramel and chocolate grain notes late, blending with the lingering afterthought of some dank bitterness. Ends up quite a robust dark beer with a big kick in the middle. Pretty good.
Mouthfeel is a little rough; decent body but lots of tug and pull from the hops that just sharpens up the texture a bit too much.
Drinks well but I don't think it needs the hops to be so blarey; I know Padden loves his hops to be front and centre in everything but I feel they should be a lot more subtle in this style (even at its full Americanness) while still being present.
375ml can purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt.
Pours a very decent deep brown colour, with a coarse, gauzy head of beige that leaves some decent streaks of lace. Carbonation is fine, but minimal, rising in dribs and drabs. Body has a bit of weight, but maintains a softness. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is very nice. Nice toastiness, but hops are still at the forefront, as is Akasha's way. The selection is pleasant here—not contrasting sharp fruit or citrus with the darkness, but going instead for more muted hop tones that lend a little wood and earthiness. Very pleasant.
Taste is surprisingly light in the body—it lacks sweetness, relying on some of the dark characters to create structure underneath the hops. Here, although they're still a little herbal rather than fruity, the hops are much more identifiable, and the separate themselves fully from the malt. As a result, it comes across more like an India Black than a fully rounded brown ale. Feel is quite light as well.
It's still nice, but I was hoping for something a bit different. I'm on board with Akasha's hop-forward style, but I feel as though they could have still made a hop-forward brown ale that made a bit more sense. Here, the hops don't mesh all that well with the malt characters. It's still a tasty drinkable beer, but I believe these guys have it in them to make a superb brown ale on its own terms, not another IPAish beer masquerading as one.
On tap at the Welcome Hotel's Queensland State of Brews takeover during Sydney Beer Week 2017.
Pours a deep espresso colour. Somewhat cloudy. Head is pale beige, with lovely sheets of lacing left behind. Just a thin film retaining though. Looks pretty decent.
Smells a little diacetylly maybe. Caramel toffee with a hint of butterscotch; some roasty malts and a hint of marshmallow. Sweet; ultimately pleasant.
Taste is a bit bland. Has some decent dark roasty notes, giving some simple chocolate and bitterness, but then the diacetyl comes through late-mid, giving an unpleasant tannic character with some one-note dark sweetness that lingers on the back. Really not a particularly well-made brown ale, seems fairly straightforward in principle and a bit sweet and off in execution, sadly.
Decent body; feels a bit thin and dry on the back, slightly astringent.
Yeah, a bit flawed with the diacetyl kind of marring some decent brown ale notes, that aren't that spectacular anyway but quite by the numbers.
Pours a dark umber colour; very slight red tinge to it. Head is beige, very small bubbles around the top. Nice cascading and decent sticky lacing trails. Looks pretty good.
Smells sweet and malty with a good belt of fruity character as well. Slightly vinous, with a big rich toffee aroma, just a mild tartness to it which isn't quite enough to balance out the rich gooiness which is really all over this. Pleasant but a bit overblown.
Taste is not quite what I expected. Darker, roastier and also much thinner. Still a dominant malt character with nice toffeed grain, developing a hint of some roasty char notes, maybe a slight meaty character that tapers out a bit at the end, leaving some residual dark toffee sweetness, maybe some plummy and fig notes as well. Not a lot of roast ultimately; just lingers with a slight charry bitterness on top of a thin caramel flavour. Intriguing given how heavy it felt from the nose, but not especially exciting.
Nice smooth body; slightly dry as it goes down but doesn't leave you feeling desiccated. Quite nice, really.
Decent drop; not quite roasty enough to pack that much punch but the overarching character is still roast, so it doesn't quite succeed as a sweet malt bomb or anything else it might have been either. But it's well put together and drinkable.
59 / 100
Served blind to me by Jez at our mother's birthday lunch.
Pours a russety amber colour, clear with furious bead. Head is beige, tightly packed bubbles staying alive from the bead below. Lacing is decent. Looks alright, yeah.
Smells spicy and sweet. Some vegetative notes that get kind of minerally with a slight phenolic edge. Otherwise nutmeg and cinnamon, touch of ginger, slightly tart. Not bad; pretty standard and some slightly off characters.
Taste is distinctly spicy, it's all about cloves. Big apple pie clove note that's quite sweet but then gets hugely clovey and aromatic late-mid. Some rooty notes midway with ginger and yam kind of character. Slight soda fizz on the late, and yeah a really earthy dark astringency on the back with that spice. It's quite nice in theory but really feels deficient on the sweetness and so the spice is dominant and slightly bitter rather than a nice complementary character. Seems a bit simple too.
Distinctly fizzy, foamy in the mouth. Little bit malty, maybe medium-bodied but largely just textured and a bit busy. Curious.
Drinks alright, like a root beer really. Feels a bit lacking in key areas - could use some hopping maybe, and some more malt for sure. But ultimately tastes like a thick sarsparilla or something.
74 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Chuck's Hop Shop in Seattle. Shared with Sam back in Australia, during a brewday.
Pours a properly pleasant mid-brown colour, with good clarity in the body. Head is a fine crest of taupe that leaves minimal lacy streaks. Carbonation is fine, and it looks like the body has a little bit of weight to it. Looks good.
Nose is also quite pleasant. There's a toastiness matched with a little dried fruit and a hint of sharp copper. It's smooth, but complex, with a spice and elevation that's unexpected. There's lots of good stuff in here.
Taste is also very nice. Really, it's just lining up things here. It has a smooth, solid, backbone of malt, which never gets to the stage of being too sweet, but it's bolstered by lots of bready, toasty grain characters which give weight and coherence. Atop this is a pleasant lilting fragrance, not as sharp as on the nose, of sultanas and tobacco.
Feel is very nice. Smooth and slick.
Honestly, this is just a lovely beer to drink. It's mellow, it's coherent, it's interesting and it's beautifully balanced. There's a lot to appreciate in a beer like this.
70 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from Davidson's Liquor in Denver. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam.
Pours a very pleasant very clear brown colour, with ruby flashes to it. Head balloons upwards in a big mass of beige froth, but settles out to a pillowy meringue that leaves thick sheeting lace. Looks pretty good, honestly.
Nose is quite pleasant. There's rounded spice, with a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon, and a bunch of pleasant dried ginger. Mostly, though, it tastes like pumpkin spices. There's also a slight tartness—a suggestion of something coppery, or perhaps a bit of saison funk. Hmm.
Taste is pretty decent. It is quite thin, which does give it a slight suggestion of that acidity, but it's very much just due to the sharpness and bite of the spices. There's a bit of malt depth as well, giving it a slight roastedness on the back palate. It has a bright anise character which is wonderfully punchy.
Feel is a bit light, and very frothy with carbonation.
Overall, it's a decent beer. There are a couple of things that I don't like about it, but in the end it presents a pretty coherent package.
59 / 100
Imperial Brown Ale brewed with honey, spice and nuts. To resemble a baklava, presumably. Brewed for GABS 2017 and tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a deep brown colour, very cloudy presumably from the adjuncts, with a pale beige-coloured head, dense and creamy. Maybe a bit pale for something that's an imperial brown ale, but looks pretty good.
The nose is very complex, but maybe a bit incoherent. Hints of chestnut, peanuts, honey and a big clovey aniseedy note as well. Feels like they went in with the intention of doing a big sweet nose with a hint of spice and it's gone the other way instead.
Taste is predominantly sweet. Caramel malt note with a hint of honey towards the middle and a fair nutty edge to it as well. Nutty, sweet, honey, really. Bit of weird spice towards the back but doesn't really draw it together, just seems a mishmash of different sweet and spice characters.
Decent body, hint of warming alcohol but feels a bit empty midway as well.
Tastes a bit off, maybe a bit of ethyl alcohol from the fermented honey. Good nuttiness that tries valiantly to guide it into a coherent palate profile but it just feels a bit overcooked.
58 / 100
Coconut, almond and cacao brown ale brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival via a sampler.
Pours a brown colour, clear with beige foamy head. Nice lace, but it doesn't quite stick to the glass as much as I'd like. Good, though.
Smells chocolatey, slightly dark with a sweet coffee character. Fairly nutty as well. Decent brown ale notes, quite like a nut brown ale really.
Tastes dark, with a fair chocolate note. Slightly darker though; like cocoa-rich nibs but with a big and long bitterness to it as well. Hints of spicy coffee in the complexity and maybe a hint of clove on the late-mid as well. Hops are a bit grassy and maybe slightly herbal. Feels a bit off, like sweet but then very bitter and then the wrong kind of hops to match the roasty bitterness. Needs something more resinous, I feel.
Decent body with a hint of warming alcohol. Not bad.
Bit full-on, with a big brown malt flavour that doesn't have the right flavours so it ends up quite bitter without enough of the cacao. No coconut, either.
Peanut Buttery Choc Brown Ale, brewed for GABS Festival 2017. Tried there on tap.
Pours an amber colour, too pale for a brown ale. Head is beige and more the right colour. Retains alright, foamy. Too pale, but not bad.
Smells nutty, for sure. Big peanut character on there with some subtle sweetness. Decent.
Taste is quite good. Chocolatey malt character that develops some sweetness and roasty character in equal measure. Roasty on the back and nutty on the mid; does what it promises and does it pretty well.
Body is a little thin but it's fine for the style and the size.
Not bad, but ultimately a bit unexciting. I think a more ballsy chocolate character could have made this really interesting because otherwise it's what it says on the label without any big bangs of flavour.
62 / 100
Vanilla Maple Bourbon Brown Ale, brewed for GABS 2017 and tried there on tap.
Pours a brown colour, slightly cloudy with beige head, large bubbles retaining OK. Pretty good, stylistically apt.
Smells sweet, chocolatey. Big toffee character to the malt as well as some spice notes. Not a lot of vanilla, maple or bourbon, but not unpleasant.
Taste is sweet, too, with a big toffee malt character upfront. Chocolate notes take over midway which feels like the general roasty brown ale malt character. Hint of cinnamon towards the back and then transitions into a hint of vanilla, with a bit of booze. More bourbon than maple, but yeah pleasant.
Decent body, nice warming alcohol. Good texture to it.
Not bad, but not a great synthesis of its parts. Ultimately just a bit too sweet, and some more roasty notes plus more booze would elevate all those flavours in a big way.
70 / 100
330ml brown bottle, in the usual pleasing Moo Brew shape, purchased somewhere in Tasmania by my Dad. Surprisingly, I discovered I'd not reviewed this before, although I've certainly had it multiple times.
Pours a pleasant red-brown colour, deep in hue but brilliantly clear when held to light. Head is a somewhat underwhelming crest of patchy off-white bubbles. Some streaks of lace. Body looks very light. It looks decent all up though.
Nose is pleasant. It's subtle and subdued, but it has a very nice and compact toasted note that gives body and depth to the aroma. Some suggestion of chocolate sweetness, but also a faint herbal note that stops the sweetness from becoming dominant. Nice stuff.
Taste is also pretty good. Some sweetness on the front, with a pleasantly controlled roast structure providing balance. There's a slight creamy note towards the back, which has the danger of drifting towards being lactic, but the toasty character sweeps in in the finish, giving a savoury character to stem the threat.
Feel is quite light and fluid actually. It suits it, because at 5%, it's only meant to be a fairly lightweight brew.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. It has a nice structure and is clearly well-made. It's not the most exciting beer in the world, or in this style, but it's not trying to be either. It delivers well what it should.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer Fitzroy for Sam, but he'd had it before so he generously regifted it back to me.
Pours a muddy, reddish brown colour, with a coarse-bubbled, frothy head of off-white, that looks a bit like scum in stormwater drain. Lots of patchy lace as well. Body looks very thin and light, but actually has a bit of weight behind it, and the carbonation is slow-moving through the glass.
Nose is pleasantly sharp with roast coffee aromas. They tend towards the kind of vanilla-sweet end of the coffee spectrum, but they're not backed up by a lot of natural sweetness in the base beer. As it warms, the coffee character turns slightly more earthy, which is a pretty pleasant diversion. Otherwise, it's a bit one-note and not overly exciting.
Taste is similar to some extent. There's a real thinness throughout, which means that the beer lacks sweetness. Despite this, the coffee character is much more chocolate-like than truly robust and cutting. It makes it feel like it's artificially sweetened, without any true body or weight behind it. Honestly, it makes it feel a bit sickly.
Feel is slick and smooth, but without much persistence towards the back.
Overall, I'm actually not very impressed. At most, it's a fairly pedestrian example of using coffee in beer. And if I were feeling particularly uncharitable, I would say it's actually something of a misstep. That suggestion of sweetness without actually giving us the sugar and body to back it up really feels like it's an error.
500ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a deep dark amber colour, probably a couple of shades from genuinely brown to me, but that's also partially because it has extremely good clarity. Head is a nice yellow-tinged off-white, fine and filmy. It forms a very pleasant ring, and leaves nice spotty lace. Carbonation is very fine, and languid, in a decently weighted body. Looks good.
Nose is a little light. There's certainly not a great deal of caramel, or sweetness in general, but there's a dark, minerally character to it which could be the result of the salt. Otherwise, there's perhaps a slight biscuity note underneath, but in general there's not a huge amount to it.
Taste is similar in some ways. There's a lightness that permeates it and really disavows any genuine character of sweetness or caramel. Instead, there's a surprising dark bitterness on the back, which isn't pronounced, but due to the lack of many other flavours, becomes dominant. There's a slight mineral character on the back, probably from the salt, but something about the faint grain notes turns it slightly towards the flavour of plain salted corn chips. The finish, especially early on has an unfortunate yeast note as well, that leaves it slightly dirty and cloying.
Overall, I'm not a big fan, as you can probably tell. Doc is a man who takes risks and who tries new things, but sometimes those risks just aren't going to come off. This is an example of that. It doesn't deliver what it promises unless you're being particularly generous, and what's left is a fairly underwhelming brown ale.
62 / 100
Brewed for, and tried at, GABS in Melbourne, May 2016.
Pours a brown colour, slightly cloudy with nice beige lacing. Head looks gorgeous. Generally looks good.
Smells of banana, yeah. Notes of vanilla-caramel, chocolate and a slight cinnamon sweet-spice note as well. Candied, sweet caramelised banana though. Banana icecream. I wish I liked banana more because it's really dominant here.
Taste is sweet upfront. Chocolate, caramel and a touch of vanillin oak towards the mid. Back palate is quite medicinal. There's banana on the front but it just declines and the sweetness doesn't retain so the back is quite phenolic and strong. Bit of a shame.
Decent body, slight alcohol warmth. Not bad.
I'm not a big fan of banana, but the overall desserty sweetness had me intrigued until that bitter, medicinal finish. Just feels like the intentional adjuncts lost control to some by-products of fermentation, sadly.
Brewed for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival in Melbourne.
Pours an amber-brown colour, clear with foamy beige head that doesn't really stick around. Looks quite pale. More head would be nice too.
Smells like a good American brown ale. Caramel malt, just faintly roasty with some cake battery sweetness. American hops come through strongly. Citric, floral. Notes of rosewater and lemon. Pleasant.
Taste is fairly big on the hops as well. Again the malt upfront is cake battery and caramel-sweet, then American hops give resins, lemon and grapefruit. Lacks roasty character for my mind. Tastes more similar to one of those Black IPAs that embrace hops rather than black. Nice beer, but not quite to style.
Decent body, with tingly carbonation. Not bad.
Yeah, a nice hoppy brew but it feels fairly conventional so the fact that it doesn't quite have enough roast to make it prototypically brown ale is a mark against it.
Spiced brown ale, tried on tap at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.
Pours a dark-brown colour, clear with foamy off-white head. Doesn't really stick around and looks listless. Bit pale too, but not bad.
Smells like a brown ale - distinct coffee note with some subtle spice notes around the edge. Pepper, clove and maybe a hint of smoke. Decent balance.
Taste is quite earthy. Some coffee tinges to the roasted malt, gets a peppery spice towards the back, a little bit bitter as well, with clove and aniseed and fennel for good measure. Decent palate.
Little bit of heat from the spice towards the back, peppery though and doesn't linger. Decent otherwise.
Yeah, that spice just tickles the back of the throat. Feel like the spice mix could be more cohesive, it's just a general sort of batch thrown together rather than suiting any particular flavour purpose. Quite a nice beer but I'm just not sure what it's meant to be doing.
62 / 100
Pours a darkish amber colour, clear with foamy beige head. Retains nicely. Looks a bit pale, but OK.
Smells nutty, and sweet. Peanut character is definitely there, together with some sweet spice notes mostly from malts. Vanilla, cinnamon on there. Definitely sweet; peanuts are a bit subdued but there.
Taste is a bit more on the savoury side with a big peanut butter character. Some caramel sweetness on the front and a hint of oak towards the back. Not a lot of roast character which could have grounded this better; it's a bit too sweet overall but not bad. Delivers on its promise for the most part.
Decent body, quite a nice texture for the style.
Peanut buttery; fairly nice construction but it's not really my thing.
75 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a dark cola colour, clear with colour at the edge. Yellow-tinged beige head, fairly dense with some large bubbles. Looks pretty good, yeah. Fine brown ale.
Smells very nice. Chocolate notes with a nutty edge. Sweet but roasty and just enough woody savoury character; touch of spice. Yeah smells and looks good.
Taste is a little insipid upfront; tastes sweet yet watery and a bit empty. Mid palate redeems with a big ballsy roast character. Cocoa and some grain husk character that might just be nuts. Late mid rounds it off with light sweet notes complemented by dark bitterness which is really very appealing. Yeah, overall it's definitely a pretty great brown ale. Roasty, bitter sweet in good measure. Edit: As it warms, the nuttiness is far more pronounced upfront.
Smooth, fluid mouthfeel with a very slight dryness as it goes down.
Drinks a bit by the numbers at times, and I was expecting a bit more nutty magic - or at least more connection between the nuts and the roastiness. As it is it's a very fine brown ale with a nutty character upfront. There's nothing wrong with that but I was expecting more somehow.
62 / 100
'Imperial Brown Ale' aged in muscat barrels. On tap at Cammeray Craft.
Pours a brown colour, fairly bright at the edge. Beige head, foamy and not very dense. But retaining well. Very well in fact.
Smells sweet. Chocolatey with a sweet boozey note coming through. Touch fruity, maybe a bit too sweet and jammy. Nice balance otherwise.
Taste is extremely sweet. Vanilla and a touch of chocolate that quickly goes marmaladey, fortified wine with big muscatel, orangey and cumquat notes. Liqueuery and sweet, with candied citrus, sultanas and more vanilla late. Could use more chocolate, or roast. It's pleasant but it's more fruity sweet and needs more earthing.
Sharp on the back; really boozey hot. That texture starts quite early and doesn't feel padded enough to carry it off.
Nice sweet drop; needs something to balance the sweetness though; probably more roast.
69 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a slightly muddy brown colour, with a bit of tiny fine carbonation through the rather heavy body. Head forms a fine ring of yellowish off-white that leaves streaks of lace. Looks decent.
Nose is nice, with a fresh hop aroma giving a sweet fruit-salad aroma. It's quite big and certainly very sweet, forming something between mango and lemon. It turns a little grassy as it warms, but when it's in its stride it's very pleasant.
Pleasant, bright fruit bite on the front of the palate, with a sticky sweetness like dried apricots. The mid-palate lacks body though leaving it floundering somewhat with a lack of sweetness. It's very dry on the finish, but with that fruit still lingering around in an aromatic way. Oddly, I'm not sure I got a single hint of brown maltiness at all from this beer.
Feel is quite full, but it just evaporates towards the back.
Overall, it's a nice enough brew. The fruit characters are pleasant enough on their own. It's not a huge beer, but I did enjoy it.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a dark brown colour, very hazy and solid in the body. Head is a pleasant yellowish-beige that forms a really creamy and full mass that leaves good firm lace. Carbonation is very fine, and almost static when tilted. Looks great.
Nose is disappointingly weak. There's a light coffee character and a bit of mid-malt toastiness but not much else. There's maybe a slight suggestion of nuts if I'm looking for it hard—but then again, if you look hard enough you find anything.
Light brown malt on the entry as well, with a touch of chocolate and bitter roast. Middle is a little too dry, leaving the body quite empty and crying out for some sweetness. Finally on the back we get a hint of dry peanut and a suggestion of salt, eventually falling into a slightly chewy finish.
Feels pretty full, but lacks body to really give it that weight.
Overall, it's okay, but really it could have been a lot better, and I can believe 4 Pines is up to the task. So I'm not quite sure what happened.
80 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a firm amber brown colour, quite clear with fine, pleasant carbonation. Body has some weight behind it. Head is beige, forming a full, awesome head and full sheeting lace. Looks good.
Nose is great: nutty as hell with lovely Nutella praline notes (yeah, I've seen something like this before at GABS). Smooth and light though, which allows a little toasty malt to come through. It's very pleasant.
Front is nutty but quite clean, with a smoothness turning towards vanilla and toast in the mid-palate. There's a slight lingering bitterness that turns a bit sharp on the back, with with enough of that hazelnut character remaining to smooth it out. Slight bitterness on the back, perhaps with a bit of marzipan. Feel is light and thin, which is just a slight disappointment.
Overall, though, this is a really nice beer. It's got a lot going for it, and stays light and drinkable even with that firm nut quality. I liked it a lot.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep garnet red that seems to have reasonable clarity to it. Body is quite light, holding some faint carbonation. Head is beige, forming into a solid ring that leaves concentric circles of lace. Looks good.
Nose is good. Big banana sweetness with some fragrant marshmallow notes and a crushed vanilla cookie base. Yep, they've got the flavours you want if you're mimicking the dessert. It's quite nice.
Smooth entry on the palate, a little bit dark and dull, before the lift of meringue and marshmallow in the mid palate. There's some banana and chocolate later that falls slightly, leaving the back a little bit dry, but not unpleasant.
Feel is very smooth, and it works well with the flavours.
Overall, this was indeed a good beer that lived up to its concept. I thought this might have been making a play for the People's Choice winner at GABS, but it only finished in 7th place.
75 / 100
Pours a brown colour, very cloudy. Head is cream-coloured, webbed but not really retaining. Shame about the head as it otherwise looks nice.
Smells sweet and pleasant with caramel and a touch of dry cocoa. Lots of hops - US primarily but a touch of new world tropical tang. More hops than expected. Smells very good.
Taste is malty upfront, fair toffee sweetness with a slight touch of roast. Hops come through late and lift rather than balance or clean out the malt. Somewhat herbal actually, still giving a US west coast tang but somehow more mild and austere than expected. Woody at times, fruity at others. Great construction of a US brown ale palate.
Body is a little thin but the texture carries it through - smooth and just a touch dry on the back.
Surprisingly good beer based on a fairly middling brief. I do tend to underestimate Kooinda sometimes but I really wasn't expecting anything this good.
This was my #6 beer of the festival.
Tried early in a session as this beer seems to sell out quickly.
Pours a brown colour, disappointingly clear (I like cloud) with rich tan head, dense and thick and wonderful. Looks great.
Smells very light - almost non-existent. Some light peanut character and maybe a touch of vanilla sweetness. Needs more choc.
Taste is pleasant but again pretty light-on. Chocolate is the backbone but still subtle, but which I mean just not flavoursome. Nice peanut note late that helps me see the Snickers, but still there's not a great deal to this palate when there could have been so much.
Body is thin, feels OK though.
I don't get you, 4 Pines. You do some amazing one-off brews and made the concept of "Beer Mimicks Food" your own, and yet at GABS you're always so disappointing. Even when you've got a perfect GABSy idea, you under-deliver. Nice beer but bitterly underwhelming.
Pours a brown colour with a red tinge. Clear with dense beige head, sticks around nicely. Looks nice.
Smells sweet, with massive banana character. Chocolate on there as well and maybe just a slightly medicinal edge. Huge toffee character on the malt. It delivers what it promises; I don't much like banana, but wow.
Taste is similar. Caramel toffee malt upfront that gets darker and chocolatey on the mid-palate, then gets another big sweet, banana ester on the mid-to-late with a touch of sweet spice to it as well. Quite pleasant, just not really my thing.
Decent body, slight alcohol warmth as it goes down, not sure it really suits. Could have been smaller and retained the flavour punch from the adjuncts.
Not really my thing, but I can see people liking this a lot.
76 / 100
Pours a brown colour, mild haze. Head is beige, a little more webbed than I would like but retaining nicely. Looks good.
Wow, hazelnut on the nose. Some chocolate grains with a touch of cocoa, caramel toffee sweetness on the mid as well. But then just hazelnuts. How the fuck does this smell like hazelnuts?
Hazelnut again on the palate. Touch of chestnut upfront, that develops some caramel sweetness and a touch of darker toffee. Vanilla comes through as well, then finishes nutty, slightly bitter hazelnut flavour that overall gives a praline character. Bit bitter, maybe herbal, on the back, but still, impressive.
Body is OK; goes down nicely enough.
Great beer. These guys have cornered the market on desserty beers at GABS.
This was an honourable mention for me at the festival.
Pours an earthy brown colour, head is simply pale just off-white, lovely and dense. Maybe a bit uniform, but nice-looking. Have seen better retention and better lace. Intrigued.
Smells somewhat sour but more a wet-grain sour. Plenty of caramel too, and a light roast character. Maybe some fruity hops, maybe a touch of oak to it as well. Yeah, it's coming through strongly now. Coconutty oak, maybe a whiff of booze as well. Nice.
Taste is nearly all oak. Big, empty vanilla flavour with a bit of caramel and popcorn sweetness to it. Touch of spice midway through, then finish is just sweet coconut and vanilla oak - touch of rum and lacking a real bite. Sort of trails into sweetness and gives me an insipid kind of vibe. Certainly not unpleasant, but I feel there's complexity in here that it's just brushed past, without really delving into it.
Thin - there's some body there but it just swills through. Decent but flat.
Flavours are OK, but there's nothing really interesting or creative going on here.
62 / 100
Pours a reddish-brown colour, pale at the top. Head is off-white, small tight bubbles but not much to it, doesn't stick around or to the glass. Fairly mediocre, but nice colour.
Hello! Peat, my old friend I assume. Big smouldery smoke - earthy, woody and spicy, but dry - not much sweetness to it. Yeah, touch of star anise and Chinese five spice to it. Fairly one note, but when it's this tasty it doesn't need additional notes.
Taste is smokey upfront and then smouldering on the back. Ashy, burnt out and, if I'm being honest, unpleasant. Has more dimensions upfront, some woody character but the back is hollow and tastes a little like an ashtray, or like when you accidentally breathe in some ash flicked off your cigarette in windy conditions. Here's what it needs extra dimensions - it's just too dry at the back and needs sweetness, or an additional character - oak, maybe, or hops, or just more malt body, to balance the ash flavour. I'm not anti- this type of beer, but that flavour in isolation is not highly quaffable.
Body is decent but leaves with nothing. Flavour lingers - could use more texture on the finish to cut through.
Can't say I love it, but I like parts of it, a lot.
71 / 100
33cl brown bottle purchased from Erzbierschof in Winterthur, Switzerland. This one's aged in 19-year old Balbair casks, hence the name. Drunk with Rich and Sam.
Pours an reddish-hued brown, quite clear with a touch of haze as it was poured. Head forms a very pale white ring of fine bubbles that sits pretty still. Minimal lacing. Body is light and fluid. Some fine carbonation visible. Looks alright, but nothing special.
Nose is mostly nutty with some brown malt coming through, and touched with ephemeral hints of whisky and oak. This gives it a rather more interesting aroma than the thinness otherwise might have suggested. As it warms, the whisky becomes more prominent—it promises a severe dose of booziness as well, that I don't believe will be delivered by its 6% ABV weight. Still, it's quite pleasant.
Taste is quite pleasant. There's a smooth, candy quality to the sweetness which is a good companion to the brown nutty characters. There is some booze towards the back of the palate, with a slight kick of aromatic whisky vapours. Feel is quite thin throughout, but it does linger a little on the back, giving a bit of a boost to the barrel notes. It's pretty decent.
Overall, this is pretty solid. I can't escape the fact that having had this after the Laphroaig-cask version (the 14), this is certainly the lesser in terms of flavour. But this may actually be the better integrated and more fully-realised. Here, at least, the whisky characters work with the beer rather than overriding them with awesomeness. I still prefer the 14, but this does have its charms.
81 / 100
33cl brown bottle purchased from Erzbierschof in Winterthur, Switzerland. Brought back to Australia, where I cracked it with Sam and Rich during a brewday. This one is aged in Laphroaig casks, which immediately got me on-side.
Pours a slightly ashy brown colour, with some haze and a hint of red when held to the light. Head is quite pale, forming an almost white ring of fine bubbles that doesn't do much in the way of lacing. Body is fairly light too. Not bad.
Nose is indeed indebted to its barrel-aging more than anything. Huge peaty whisky notes, the Laphroiag is immediate recognisable. There is something that distinguishes it as beer though—there's a lightness from a lack of booze compared to a big Scotch, and a sweetness from the malt which gives a slight character of brown sugar. It's nicely twisted in any case, and even were it just to smell of Islay whisky, I wouldn't have been complaining.
Taste is also extremely good, and extremely indebted to the genesis of its whisky. Lovely medicinal smoky quality on the front, which is then cushioned by a fine sweetness and a slight nutty quality from the beer. It doesn't have a lot of body at all, and the back does feel rather thin, but the flavours are just right. It also feels a bit weak due to the lack of heat I expect to accompany these flavours, but it's the more drinkable for this.
Do you want a way to sink pints of Laphroaig with impunity? This beer is going to give you a pretty close approximation. Like the other wonderfully peated beers I've had before it, I like this a great deal—it's a flavour that's particularly close to my heart. Sadly, I'm not sure if this one's produced any more, but I for one would certainly be on board for more of the same.
72 / 100
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a dark cola colour, clear. Beige head, whispy. Decent retention around the edges. Looks OK. Smells chocolatey, grainy. Touch of cherry and a touch of lightly roasted coffee bean. Vanilla; sweet. Not bad at all.
Taste is mildly roasty upfront, fair sweet and chocolatey notes throughout. Nutty on the back; big nut-brown hazelnut character. Sweet vanilla as well and lots of biscuity malt. Could use a tad more US hops for the style. Great malt character but I would like a touch more balance.
Smooth; surprisingly good body for 5%. No real texture but that's OK. 4 o nice sweetish brown ale; feel it could use more balance as it just tips a bit too much towards sweet. But quite pleasant. 3.75
On tap at Cammeray Craft.
Pours a light brown, cola looking colour. Head is beige, but thin and disappointing. Wobbles too much overall, just looks thin and a bit sad. Perfect colour for a brown though.
Smells lovely. Big, bold raspberry aroma coming through tart and fresh and delightful. Big sticky chocolate aroma as well, reminds me of fondant with raspberry coulis. Maybe a touch on the tart side, but at other times beautifully balanced.
Taste is a little light on the chocolate side and it suffers as a result. Decently full and pungent raspberry character, fruity and tart and fresh and just, realistic. Has a mild backbone of choc malt but it doesn't go dark enough to balance or provide any additional dimension. So despite the pleasantness, it just feels like a raspberry drink.
Feels maybe a touch thin, but still has just enough presence to feel beery and good. No texture but that's not to its detriment for the style.
Enjoying it, but not as much as I might have. Nice characters from the raspberry but not enough from the choc; just not brown aley enough.
79 / 100
12oz bottle purchased from Whichcraft in Austin, TX. Didn't make the cut to take back to Australia.
Pours a pleasant reddish brown colour, which is quite clear in the body, but with the suggestion of some mild suspended sediment. Head is a lovely fine crest of beige that settles into a firm ring that leaves good streaks and patterns of lace. Carbonation is fine but vivid through the body. Looks very good.
Nose is really great, just what you want from a hoppy brown. Firm, bold malts give a touch of nutty toasted character and a suggestion of mild chocolate, while the hops integrate with these to elevate them and stop them from getting too earthy or dank. Hop character isn't that iconic by itself—it's certainly not a bold citric note—it's more that they just work with the malt to heighten that experience. It's really very well done indeed.
Taste is also very good. Smooth entry leads to some very mild nutty notes with a touch of aniseed. Malt flavour is fairly firm and slightly toasty, but the body drops out a little towards the end of the mid-palate. This leaves a slightly too-overt flavour of hops in the finish that turns the last vestiges of the roast slightly medicinal. Still, there's a good consistency to the whole thing which cushions some of these problems. It's still a ripping beer.
Feel is pretty smooth and full, with just a tingle of booze to remind you that this isn't an easily quaffable session beer.
Overall, this is a really well-made brew, and one that really integrates the characters well into something coherent and tasty. I really like it a great deal, and could see myself drinking more of it if, alas, I hadn't just had my last one.
58 / 100
On tap at the brewery, 7th March 2015.
Pours a light brown colour, bit of cloud. Head is cream coloured, nice density with a thin cloud left. Bit pale for a brown ale, but OK.
Smells somewhat chocolatey, roasty, a bit banana weizeny perhaps with notes of caramel toffee and mild coffee hiding at the back. Could use more oomph but not bad.
Taste is quite pleasant; decent roasty notes with a mild smoke residual. Plenty of chocolate, caramel and some mild banana vanilla notes as well. Touch of medicine at the back which is unwanted. Could use more pronounced hop notes, which I was expecting from the style.
Bit of sizzle; seems a little thin. Has a nice velvety texture but maybe body is a bit thin so carbonation shows through.
Don't think Rich's strength is in brown ales. The ingredients are right but the idea seems muddled and off-kilter.
62 / 100
On tap at Cammeray Craft.
Pours a pale cola colour, fair amount of colour at the edges. Head is beige, somewhat jaundiced. Nice density, thinnish though. Decent lace. Looks quite nice, maybe a bit pale.
Smells brown aley. Brown sugar with mild espresso spice, touch of roast bitterness. Juniper and pepper. A bit simple, pedestrian brown ale notes but decent enough.
Taste is fruity and fresh upfront then brown aley on the back. Berries with raspberry and blueberry upfront, touch of caramel midway before mild balanced roast on back. Surprisingly* bitter finish, could use a touch more coherence with the front fruity character. Quite ashy really, which might be nice as a finish for a dank, bitter beer but it's just oddly fresh upfront for how bitter it finishes.
Fluid, medium bodied but goes down nicely. No rough edges.
*. Note: In the original tasting notes I typed on my phone, this word was written as "Urpsirisingky". Just wanted that preserved for posterity because I found it hilarious.
76 / 100
12oz can purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Brown Ale in a can is a fine thing to behold.
Pours a firm, clear but deep ruby-tinged brown, with a fine, subtle head of beige that stays small but fairly persistent, become pocked a little over time. Lacing is good, forming in sticky sheets. Carbonation is quite minimal. Looks good all up though.
Smell is pleasant enough without being particularly robust, but there's a pleasantly structured nuttiness to it, along with some twinges of dark fruit. This isn't a hop-forward brown ale, but it doesn't feel like the hops are lacking—instead, this is built around the layers of darker, sweeter aromas.
And in the taste, we see why. This is a really pleasantly put together brown, with bags of nutty, toasty and slightly bittersweet malt to create layers and textures to the palate. This isn't some kind of IPA-in-disguise, this is a properly built Brown Ale, with complexities from the malt, bitterness from the roast (yes, yes, and a little bit of hop character) and a linger from a touch of extra booze. (OK, the booze isn't typical proper Brown Ale material, but it does a pretty good service here). Feel is slick but long, with a tingle from the additional alcohol heat in the back.
Overall, lovely stuff, truly. This is a cracking brown ale with bags of character and complexity, woven together into a compelling package. I really enjoyed it.
72 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Called a "Hot Chocolate Ale" on the bottle.
Pours a dense brown, with some hazing to the body and a firm, thick head of pale milk chocolate brown that settles out to some islands of larger bubbles surrounded by a fine ring. Lacing forms in streaking slashes down the glass. Carbonation is fine, but rapid, suggesting that there's a little less body to the beer than it looks like. Looks good overall though.
Nose is pleasant, with some noticeable chocolate and cacao characters, but a rather odd floral quality coming through as well. It's a little like dark violets or jasmine, perhaps, which sits above the sweeter notes of the basis. There is a suggestion of dark malt as well—a slight touch of roast, perhaps, or deeply toasted bread. Pleasant all up.
Taste is a tad drier, but mostly filled with similar characters. Toasty malt with some chocolate overtones, that develop into a rather rugged roast bitterness on the back. The finish is very dry, leaving these notes to become slightly ashy. Beyond this is the effervescence of those floral characters; more jasmine-like here, perhaps bolstered by the faint suggestion of chilli, which just tickles the olfactory nerves in the finale.
Feel is a little light, but it does have the coating effect of the chocolate and ashy roast to contend with, which gives it a bit of a boost.
Overall, it's a very interesting brew, and it perhaps reins in some of the more fanciful characters that I often associate with Red Duck, producing a much more coherent beer as a result. That being said, there's still some unique notes here, so despite everything, it still feels very much like a brew from those crazy guys down in Alfredton.
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney City. A collab between Nomad and Cigar City, this is an American Brown, brewed with riberries, the common name for the edible Lilly Pilly fruit.
Pours a pleasant and firm brown colour, solidly hazed. Head is creamy and pleasant forming a good cap of beige. Carbonation is very fine through the body, although the body is quite light and fluid. Lacing forms in wonderfully solid sheets. Looks good overall.
Nose is brown for the most part, but with an odd vegetative quality that comes through right from the forefront. It leaves the aroma slightly green and a little dank. Some sweaty hops come through as well, perhaps more grassy than anything else. There's certainly not much in the way of the riberry.
Taste is pleasantly brown, and the vegetation is gone, fortunately. There's a firm bitterness from the hops on the back, which balances it nicely. Some slight greenness—not the vegetable character on the nose, but more herbal and dusky than perhaps it wants to be. In any case, there's certainly not enough lilly pilly character to make it noticeable, or even to move it away from the pure brown ale. Feel is very pleasant though—lively, but fine creating a silky vivacity.
It's a really nice brown ale. It really is. But the riberries are nowhere to be found. Were that not its gimmick, I'd be really happy for it to be as it is. It had that very pleasant balance of darker malts and hops that distinguish a good American Brown. But this plays up the lilly pilly in the name and the marketing, and I just don't see it—they're just not used to their full potential. Treat it as a good Brown Ale. Don't expect anything that unusual from it.
72 / 100
7.5% version, brewed for GABS 2014 in Melbourne, which is where I tried it on-tap.
Pours a deep, reddish-brown colour that has a darkness which makes it seem hazy, although it's quite clear at the edges. Body is solid in weight, and holds some fine carbonation. Head is beautiful—full and firm, beige in colour, and persistent all the way down, leaving full edges of lace as well. Looks very fine indeed.
Nose is a little thin, toasty with some coffee overtones and some fragrant almost perfume characters. There are some less salubrious qualities too: something almost organic like BO, and a bit of ash. But here, the thinness helps a little bit at least.
Taste is nice. Toasty entry, almost savoury with a dry chocolate character and cold-drip coffee developing through the mid-palate. There's a smoothness after a while as well, which leads to a pleasant vanilla cream cleansing quality on the aftertaste. Feel is very smooth and very nice.
Overall, by the end, this turned into a pretty cracking beer. Very drinkable, very smooth and really very nice indeed. Good stuff, guys.
83 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Shared with Sam and Chris on a brewday.
Pours a lovely reddish amber colour, with a very fine bead to it. Head is an extremely fine gauze of off-white, pocked in places that leaves fine, intricate streaky lacing. Body has a bit of heft to it as well. Looks great.
Nose is awesome. Big, powerful, but extremely fresh US hops that give wonderfully clinging resin and citrus characters, but pinned down by a robust almost meaty malt character that adds weight and gravitas. The confluence is something semi-savoury, but still extremely bright fresh and delicious—it's almost the perfect aroma for a hop-forward amber ale.
Taste is lovely and light for the most part, with a clean, strident hop bitterness right through the centre. The malt is certainly lacking a little, leaving the beer craving a touch of sweetness, but it does provide a robust grain-forward character that balances the hops nicely. Feel has a fichness to it, but it still manages to stay fairly light. Nice stuff.
Overall, this is an absolutely cracking brew, and one of the best beers I've had from Evil Twin. It's also possibly one of the best American Amber Ales I've had. And I've had some awesome beers from both categories.
75 / 100
Brewed for GABS 2014, the notes in the guide say it's an "American Brown Ale with a whiff of smoke, a touch of sout and a fruit salad bowl of hops". Tried on-tap at the festival.
Pours a light amber colour (brown is probably pushing it slightly), but with a very pronounced haze that makes it look a little darker. Body is solid and firm. Head forms a decent full yellow/off-white cap that stays persistently and leaves sheets of lacing. It looks fine, except that this does not look like a brown ale.
Nose is good however, and we can start to forget any questions we might have. Peachy, hoppy and fragrant characters drive it forward into a big tropical sweetness. As it warms and the volatiles move on a little, some of the other notes come through: perhaps something peppery and a little savoury. It's really very pleasant.
Clean entry on the palate, maybe with just a touch of carbonic bitterness. Middle has the smoke coming through: with the sweetness it has the flavour of manuka or perhaps mango-habanero-minus-the-spice. It's subtle though and works in lockstep with the other characters. Finish has a very clean bitterness to it that develops into a touch of eucalyptus with the smoke on the aftertaste.
Light feel, but with a smoothness that helps integrate everything.
Overall, I liked this beer a good deal. It had lots of character and managed to work the characters together really quite well. Nice stuff.
79 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne. Brewed to be a "dessert beer with the flavours of Darrell Lea's Rocky Road".
Pours a red-tinged dark brown hue with some hazing in the glass. Head is off-white but disappears quickly, possibly because of god-knows what weird things went into the beer. Not much in the way of carbonation either, probably for similar reasons. The body looks surprisingly light for its ABV, but I'm sure it will make up for it.
And from the nose, it seems it will. Huge rocky road characters come out strongly, and weirdly, all of the individual characters get a turn. Chocolate, coconut, marshmallow, Turkish delight are all noticeable, mixed up in a boozy, kirsch-like melange. Some dark malt kicks in as well after the initial onslaught. Impressive.
Light Turkish delight characters on the front of the palate, before the booze creeps up a little giving a suggestion of booze or acetone that turns it more into straight, strong rosewater. This is smoothed out quickly, though, leaving a lovely linger of jelly and marshmallow—long and smooth through the aftertaste.
Feel is very juicy and ripe with lots of things working in its favour.
Overall, this genuinely delivers what it promises. It smells amazing and tastes great. If it's a bit heavy on the booze, that's maybe only because it needs that depth and weight to support all of the individual flavours. In any case, you won't be disappointed on the execution of the idea.
70 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS.
Pours a deep reddish-brown colour with some mild haze in the glass. Body is solid. Head is firm and fine, leaving a slightly orange-tinged beige cap to the beer. Not much in the way of lace or visible carbonation. But it looks good.
Nose is brown and toasty, with a slight aromatic vegetative quality like capsicum spice. It's a solid, if a little dull aroma—mild in its way, but otherwise pretty good.
Round brown toasty entry to the palate sets you up for what's coming up. No, there's a hint of coffee, that's not it... the back has a little vanilla and a mild capsicum character... Wait, did I say "mild"? Holy hell, here's the burn—huge spicy chilli fire wrecks the aftertaste with a heat that doesn't go away. It's more of a feeling that a flavour, and it hurts. Hot hot hot. By the time I took more than a couple of sips, I could not longer taste anything—and yet it's quite insidious the way it creeps up.
It's intense, and the flavours on the palate are quite nice until the wrecking ball, burn-and-salt-the-fields aspect of the chilli comes in. It's a bit much in the end, and I doubt I could take much more than a sample.
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a very hazy, almost dirty brown-red colour, with a very fine head of pale yellow cream. This settles out to a film with large, tesselating bubbles across the top. Lacing forms in wavy streaks. Looks decent enough without being really that exciting.
Nose is quite pleasant. Biscuity maltiness gives a broad brown base, while there's a slight crispness to it that provides a slightly metallic twang. There's not a great deal of hop fragrance, perhaps just a twinge of lemon peel, but the malt isn't overwhelming so it doesn't seem unbalanced. Decent stuff.
Taste is fairly similar—again there's not much hop character, even towards the back, but that minerally character continues on, giving a lightness and crispness which offsets the brown, crunchy malt base. Smooth characters of marshmallow and wholesome brown rice come through a little as it warms. It's not amazing, but it's certainly solid and serviceable.
Feel is very light. It actually works given it's riding up towards 8% ABV.
Overall, this is solid—I was hoping it was going to be breathtaking, and it's certainly not that, but it's decent, well-balanced and generally fairly flavoursome.
Tried on-tap at Open Baladin in Rome.
Pours a very dark brown, deep with colour but also very clear. Head is frothy on the pour and quite light, finessing down to a fine lace on the glass and a small, persistent cap. Light body. Fine carbonation. Looks very good.
Nose is dark and spicy. Liquorice comes out strongly along with a slight hint of kirsch. Herbal rosemary-laced hop characters, but mostly it's spicy, sweet notes that makes it up. Malt is on the toasty end of things with a hint of brown sugar. It's certainly interesting.
Taste is lighter, but still rather spicy on the front- and mid-palate. Liquorice is still strong, with a fresher anise character to it, underpinned by some toasty malt. Only towards the back do we get some bitterness. Finish has overtones of molasses. Feel is smooth, but light, belying its weight.
Overall, it's solid enough stuff. It's not a superb beer, but it's still a pretty good one.
74 / 100
Tried at the Sydney Craft Beer Week launch party; my reviewin' app says it was on tap but I'm not entirely convinced of that.
Pours a deep brown colour, head is beige; dense, with nice lace. Pretty nice.
Pleasant brown ale notes on the nose. Lots of chocolate, roast and a touch of vanilla. Sweet, brownie goodness. Pleasant indeed.
Taste is more roasty, quite bitter but still very decent chocolate notes, some vanilla and almond marzipany notes. Some orange peel on the back. Touch of coffee on the finish. Yeah nice roast, chocolate, fairly smooth and creamy. Not seamless; there's a bit of bite but nice and pleasant.
Drinks like a nice brown ale. Desserty and pleasant.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Welcome Hotel in Rozelle during their Beer Mimics Food event for Sydney Craft Beer Week. This was a collaboration between Dennis and the Welcome Hotel itself, and if I remember correctly has chianti or grappa or some other sort of Italian booze in it.
Pours a deep ruddy brown, solidly hazed with good weight to the body. Head is a big hemispherical bulb of brown that leaves some sudsy lace. Some fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is toasty. Noticeable coffee aromas, some brown bread and a bit of toffee. Slight meatiness comes through as well, as does a decent amount of wood. It's pretty aromatic and pretty damn good.
Light entry leaves some burgeoning booze to provide sharpness. This blossoms into a chewy, boozy mélange on the mid palate, spliced with stacks of wood characters. More coffee comes through leaving a slight spicy sharpness. On the back comes the real sweetness, giving sticky date, liqueur-like coffee tequila and gingerbread spice. Feel is a little sharp: smoother would make things integrate even better, but all up it's pretty damn tasty.
One of the best beers at the event, from a brewery that's really pulling out some interesting and tasty things. This was good stuff.
An 8% Cherrywood-smoked US Brown Ale brewed by Murray's in collaboration with Frankie's Pizza in Sydney for Sydney Craft Beer Week. Tried on-tap at Frankie's in their ridiculous frosted plastic mugs.
Hard to tell the actual colour or hazing because of the mug, but it's brownish certainly, looking murky in Frankie's clouded plastic. Head is lovely: a big, frothy head of pale mocha with some running bubbles. Lacing is thick. Overall, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say it looks really good.
Not much in the way of smoke on the nose: it's more toasty with some dark roasted notes and a little phenolic spice. It's pretty weak to be honest, without much of anything else. In some ways it's at least inoffensive, but it's also a little dull.
Taste is a bit better. More of that phenolic spice, perhaps a touch of booze giving it a Belgian note. Fairly clean on the back with some clinging bitterness. But... smoke, where are you? It's actually tasting more like an IBA than anything supposedly smoked, especially something with "BBQ" in the name. Light roast on the back perhaps has a touch of smoke to it, but it's weak. I'll rate it decently for flavour anyway: were I rating for meeting spec, it would be a different story.
Feel is frothy with a pleasant fineness. The promise of the head is delivered at least.
It's okay all up. The booze is relatively well hidden and it has a pleasant drinkability to it. I just feel like it's not much like it was supposed to be.
61 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Welcome Hotel in Rozelle during their Beer Mimics Food event for Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours an extremely cloudy brown colour, darker than it would otherwise be because of the opacity of the haze. Head is very fine forming a decent ring around the edge of the glass. Light weight in the body. It looks fine enough.
Nose is bright with coffee, in a refined and rather fragrant aroma. Slight sweetness, but not enough: there's certainly only a hint of the banana bread, more something savoury and slightly grainy. It smells like afternoon tea.
Taste has pleasant coffee flavours working off a stretched thin malt basis. Some clinging roast on the back, but again it's pretty thin overall. The coffee addition is done nicely, but there's not much else there to back it up. It's pleasant enough in its way, but it's not all that interesting.
Thin in the feel—rather disappointing.
Overall, this is okay. But it's far from the best use of coffee in a beer, and doesn't really deliver what it promises in its name. 4 Pines have done much better Beer Mimics Food beers in the past.
Supposedly an 'imperial brown', brewed for GABS 2013. Tried there on tap.
Pours a deep mahogany colour, not quite dark brown but with a bit of cloud to prevent too much light through. Cream-coloured head, bubbly but sticking around well. Looks pretty nice.
Smells fairly roasty. Coffee notes with a touch of burnt sugar plus some faint hints of spice. Nice roast, some coffee notes. Standard, but good, brown ale aroma.
Taste is quite sweet, particularly upfront with a decent residual sugar note. Develops more standard roast characters towards the back, with a touch of espresso. Good counterbalancing act but remains fairly sweet throughout.
Body is quite thin and there's a touch of dry booze warmth on the back. Bit meh.
Decent brown; not really tasting all that imperial, but good characters. Reliable beer from a reliable brewery.
Pours a deep amber-red colour, huge cloud throughout, not really letting light through. Beige head, foamy density and sticking around nicely. Bit more red ale than what I was expecting, but nice.
Caramel malt notes upfront, descending into faint tangy hop character. Passionfruit and a touch of lemon but really, really subtle, almost hidden. It's the 'wet hop' factor again - the aroma is there but I really have to hunt for it.
Grape. Red grape on the palate, huge and unmistakeable. Touch of grapefruit bitterness late, some cedar wood characters and a big dank finish. Vinous for the most part, and a bit off. Not what I was expecting.
Thin body, slight tingle from carbonation. Finishes very dry.
Tastes a bit off. From the description and aroma I was expecting something more fresh and hoppy. Not a terrible drop, just a bit off-kilter.
76 / 100
Pours a dark red, murky. Head is beige, bubbly. Pleasant enough, nice colour. Not spectacular.
Smells grainy, sweet, with a bit of roast on there giving a touch of coffee, caramel and vanilla. Quite sweet, malty. Decent.
Taste is more roasty, but plenty of that sweet vanilla flavour, caramel, particularly upfront, then finish is nicely dark, bitter territory. Smooth transition from sweet to bitter though. My kind of brown beer.
Bit dry at the back, leaves a touch of sandy tongue on the finish, but OK.
I like a well-made brown ale a lot. And this is a well-made brown ale. Good dessert pairing.
62 / 100
On tap at Johnny Farina in Ottawa.
Pours a red-tinged brown colour. Clear, bit of bead. Head is beige; decent bubbling. Retains OK.
Smells intriguing. Bit of sweet corn and some brown sugar, quite slight and thin. Sweet, lacking in roasted notes a bit, but not too bad.
Taste is slightly vinous. Has a brown sugar note with some thin port, touch of cider vinegar and apple notes. Sweet; sugar with a touch of cider. Not bad.
Drinks OK; has a slight body but goes down fairly smoothly.
Maybe a bit thin as a brown ale, but drinks OK.
Pours a red-tinged dark brown. Head is beige; medium bubbles but nice irregular sinkage. Lace is good.
Smells decent. Good roasty notes with decent coffee edge, touch of spice, but sweet. Brown sugar, cinnamon and pepper. Very pleasant; what I want a brown ale to smell like.
Taste is very roasty and spicy. Big coffee notes on there, quite dry, with black pepper noticeable, some red pepper as well as notes of cumin, cayenne and charcoal. Really rather bitter, but OK.
Carbonation is noticeable upfront but settled on the back by decent body. Not bad.
Gives a more portery vibe than a brown ale. Not a bad thing, but still makes me want to mark it down a bit.
12oz brown bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a cloudy brown hue, burnished to reddish hues some places at the edges. Head is frothy and pleasant: quite fine and slick and pale beige in colour. It forms pleasing rings of lace as it goes down as well. Body is fluid, but it has some heft to it. Looks pretty good overall.
Nose is also good. Pleasant brown malt characters giving it a richness and some sweetness, while the spices lend undertones of fennel and caraway, which work well with the malt. There's a faint resiny hop character, that also veers into aniseed, like the fennel. Overall, it's also pretty good.
Taste is smooth and solid, while perhaps losing a bit of it's structure and its uniqueness. Here, all the characters have been sanded down to remove all the rough edges: it's very coherent and integrated. However, the edges, the spices and the uniqueness were what made the nose interesting, so while it's solid stuff, it's also a little bit more pedestrian here on the palate.
Feel is smooth, but with a weakness on the back.
Overall, this is decent enough, but it promised more than it could deliver. There were plenty of pleasant things about it, and it integrated them all well into a genuinely solid package. But it didn't go beyond that, and I feel as though it really could have.
69 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Bottle conditioned, reviewed with the yeast left in the bottle.
Pours a pleasant dark brown with good clarity to it. Head is a bubbly shock of beige that wears itself out pretty quickly, leaving a thin ring and a slight stream of lace. Body is very light. Looks pretty decent.
Pleasant toasty brown notes on the aroma, complemented with a pleasant muted hop fragrance. Raisin toast and weetbix with a green, but slightly earthy note of vegetation and herbs. Very nice.
Taste follows similar lines, with toasty flavours providing the bulk, and the hop flavours just providing a little spice and punctuation. It has an odd savoury character towards the back reminiscent of tamari. The carbonation is a little aggressive, providing a broad, airy character on the back the blocks the later flavours.
Feel is light and relatively clean, but also suffers a tad from the carbonation.
Overall, this is a pretty tasty brown ale. The flavours are pleasant, and well balanced. The carbonation could be toned down a little bit, but otherwise it's a solid package.
58 / 100
Tried on-tap during the GABS festival in Melbourne. This was a fresh-hopped "harvest ale", brewed quite dark and with some added rye.
Pours a deep amber-brown hue, solidly hazed and rich in the body. Head is full and frothy and very yellow in colour. Surprisingly, despite the weight and the fullness of the head, there's not much lacing as it goes down. Otherwise it looks pretty good.
Nose is disappointing. Slight toffee sweetness on the front with a light, leafy hop character and some rather burnt overtones and a medicinal ointment character. It doesn't really win me over, and doesn't match what they describe in their tasting notes.
Light, rounded entry on the palate moving to a chewy caramel centre. It's still very light though, meaning that the hop bite on the back turns a little phenolic without things to balance it. And the aftertaste has a residual burnt note which isn't softened by any real malt or complexity of flavour.
Feel is ok: pretty full and rounded, which just makes the lightness in the flavour a little more disappointing.
Overall, I wanted this to do more. This was a pretty bland offering, but it had the potential to be much better.
One of White Rabbit's special release beers during Good Beer Week 2013 in Melbourne. Tried this on-tap at the Great Britain Hotel in Richmond as part of the Victorian Pint of Origin series.
Pours a reddish amber colour, with some solid hazing. Weight is decent. Head forms a solid ring, filmy and fine, with a creamy white sheen to it. Lace forms in inconsistent sheets. Overall, it looks pretty good.
Slight maple biscuit characters on the nose, with a hint of very mild smoke. Some pepper characters as well, but it doesn't have a big robustness to it. It's pleasant enough, but could be bigger, even with the same characters.
Light peppery entry, dusted with a little roasted brown malt character. Some lemon comes through as well on subsequent sips. More lemon comes through on the mid-palate with a sweeter tinge, and some vague baked smoke notes. Finish is light, but with a dry biscuity character and pie crust. Again, a whiff of smoke, but pretty mild.
Feel is light, but with some subtle weight behind it.
Overall, this has some nice characters, but it's all just a little bit light. The complexities and flavours are very interesting: had it been just a touch bigger and more expressive I would really have been on board with it.
76 / 100
Pours a dark brown, with a fair bit of colour up to the light; off-white head. Decent enough.
Lots of coffee on the nose. Spicy, dark and roasty. Bit of sweetness as well. Really nice coffee-tinged nose, about the nicest I've seen.
Taste is sweeter, quite toffee-esque with roasty notes, some carob, rubber and sprucey pine needle notes. Pleasant; not too heavy on the coffee. Little spicy bitterness on the back. Nice.
Foamy texture, not bad. A little bit of boozey warmth on the back.
Nice brown ale, roasty but drinkable.
Deep red-tinged brown colour, fair glint of light through the body. Head is a little whispy on the side, but decent density and nice milky-brown colour. Lace is OK. Bit of a mixed bag, but good.
Lots of coffee on the nose. Dark, roasty with a touch of char, and plenty of peppery spice. Dry with a woody edge, touch of cayenne and a hit of rich chocolate. Nice edge to a pretty plain coffee aroma.
Coffee again on the palate. Roasty and slightly dusty, with a bit of sourness at the back where it's undercooked, but then the rich, dark chocolate notes come in midway to add flavour backbone as well as a sweetness to the finish. Maybe a touch too much; could use a bit more of that bitter, spicy coffee on there. It's detectable but quite subdued, and it finishes a little weak as a result.
Fluid; a little thin, though, on the mouthfeel. Kind of adds to the general meek feeling on the back.
Not a bad after-dinner drop, particularly if chocolate's your thing, but it reminds me why mocha isn't my thin. A little too sweet, and not enough coffee character.
57 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA. It promises to be inspired by a "perfect brewed iced mocha". Let's see.
Relatively clear russety brown colour, with a fizzling head that forms and the dissipates, leaving only a suggestion of a ring. Body is light, but pleasant enough, and it hold very fine carbonation. No lacing to speak of, but then there's almost no head to speak of either. Looks ok, without being particularly good.
Nose is mildly roasted sweet coffee, perhaps with some chocolate overtones, but mainly coffee: indeed there's a whole-bean roundness to what is otherwise quite a sharp tone. It doesn't have the intensity of ground coffee. It's quite green as well, with a lifting quality that stops it from being truly one-dimensional. Not bad.
Taste is milder, and weaker: and I think it might be the addition of a cocoa and sugar sweetness, which instead of complementing the coffee character just dampens it. This means that instead of the sharpness that was present on the nose, there's a watery nothingness, perhaps tinged with some limp sugary sweetness that doesn't do much. It's disappointing, because the coffee character present in the aroma was quite engaging.
Feel is light, and because of the lack of flavour, feels pretty weak too.
Overall, it's OK, but no better than that. It really did have some promise, but unfortunately it just drifted a little too close to banality by the end.
61 / 100
355ml bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a really quite red colour, deep ruby, especially when held to the light. Clarity is good, and the head is solid: it started out pouring quite frothy and loose, but settles down to a solid, almost creamy persistence. Beige in colour. Lacing is full and strong. The body is fluid, but looks pretty solid. Overall, it's a pretty decent looking brew.
Nose is malty, sweet with a nutty grain character giving it some structure. There's a brightness from the hops too: although they say "spice", I get more of a lemony tone which just sets off the malt characters nicely. Again, solid stuff.
Taste is not as big as it could have been, but it has some pleasant nuttiness, some crisp, delicate grain character and a clean, slightly soapy finish from the hops. In fact, the hops are stronger than I want them to be: the sweetness shown on the nose doesn't really come through, and what promised to be a solid malt-driven beer ends up being a little piercing and a little flat.
Feel is also a little weak. Thin, and surprisingly dry.
Overall, this promised more than it delivers. I like the aroma, and I like how it looks, but when it comes down to it, it's a little bit distracted and rather pedestrian. It would be fine to drink without thinking about it, but it doesn't really stand up on its own under scrutiny.
81 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of their Scandinavian Tap Makeover.
Pours a deep red-hued black, but with minimal haze to the light shines through the body, revealing its true colour. Body is light, but chewy, giving a hint of thickness. Pale brown head forms a big, persistent and fluffy crown that leaves amazing lacing. Carbonation is fine and fast-moving. Looks great.
Nose is also excellent: deep roasted character, leavened to a pleasant nuttiness. Liquorice sweetness comes through with hints of Mexican rice and cacao: molé, perhaps. It's really lovely stuff.
Light entry on the front palate, with a prickle of aniseed, before toasty nuts, popcorn and smoked almonds come through, all wrapped up in a comforting sweetness. On the back, this develops to a dark chocolate note with some woody overtones. It's very good indeed. The only problem is that it cleans out pretty quickly on the back: perhaps a bit more residual body would let this cling on for longer. Although, having it finish dry possibly aids the drinkability.
Lighter in the feel than I expected, but it still works pretty well.
Solid, smooth, delicious. Yep, this was great stuff. Of the Scandi beers on tap during the makeover, I'm pretty sure this was my pick.
Pours a reddish brown colour; on the pale side. Head is whispy, off-white, lacklustre lacing. Looks OK; nothing really to recommend it so far.
Smells of caramel toffee. Hoppy notes as well, with citrus and pine coming through. Largely malty, but a nice tangy rim to it freshens it up. Pleasant.
Tastes a bit down. Nice flavours, but overall getting a thin and empty sensation from it. Upfront it's caramel, then touches of citrus, pine and a bit of resin. Finish is quite short and ultimately lacking. Touch of berry on the back. Nice flavour, but it really could be bigger and have more depth and I wouldn't be complaining.
Yeah, mouthfeel is a little thin as well. Bit of presence, but not a lot.
I like it. But I don't love it, and with the touches of flavour presented, this really could have been a beer I would love. If there were more there to love.
62 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a pleasant deep brown port colour, with a slightly fizzling bubbled head of yellowish-white. This dissipates almost immediately, leaving just a fuzz around the edge of the glass. Looks pretty flat by the end of it. No visible carbonation or lacing.
Nose is a pleasant nutty brown. Smooth and warm, without going to far towards roasted or astringent. There's a pretty strong sweetness mingled with a slight aniseed bite to pull it back. It's pleasant enough. Solid, dependable stuff.
Taste is similar enough. Smooth, mildly nut roast characters, without a true darkness. Some light coffee flavours and a bite towards the middle and back that cuts through everything. Strangely enough, there's not much sweetness here, but the nutty basis provides some breadth to the palate at least. Feel is clean and light.
Solid enough stuff. It has some of the classic brown characters—the nuttiness, the very mild roast, and some of the smoothness on the nose. It's nothing extremely exciting (even, I'd say, if you regularly get excited over Brown Ales), but it's easy to drink and smooth enough.
74 / 100
Pours a deep reddish brown colour, clear with decent foamy head, beige in colour. Good-looking, bit more on the red than the brown side, but nice.
Malts take the fore upfront with a good roasty note as well lending it a bit of dryness as well. Subtle, but nice blend of sweet and toasty notes. Not bad.
Wow, nutty. Peanuts up the wazoo on the palate. Slight roastiness comes through later and all floating on a subtle malt backbeon, but yeah the nuttiness almost gets savoury at times. PRetty interesting drop.
Bit thin on the body, but OK texture.
It does taste a little like homebrew. A good one, but it's got a standard "to-style" sort of flavour with a slightly unpolished finish.
Pours a brownish-amber colour, not quite brown. Head is beige, foamy and quite dense. Nice, English-ale-style head. Otherwise decent too.
Nutty and malty on the nose, very sweet but pretty decent. Fair amount of grain coming through as well; don't mind this at all.
Caramel on the palate, again mostly malty with a fair sweetness to it. Gets a little dry on the back. Runs a fairly predictable course for a brown ale, nothing standing out as particularly innovative, but decently made and enjoyable.
Bitty texture, nice body.
Yeah, could maybe use a bit more roast to get it more into the 'brown' ale territory. Nice enough characters but it's not particularly memorable.
69 / 100
Brewed by Australian champion homebrewer Barry Cranston at Bridge Road for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTapular. I tried it on tap at the festival.
Pours a clear reddish-brown hue with a light body. Head is full and frothy, forming a genuinely yellow colour that leaves some firm, sudsy lace. Looks pretty good.
Nutty grain on the nose, with some bright, clear rustic notes that suggest harvested wheat and turned earth. There's a sweetness to it that's almost a vanilla smoothness. Very pleasant indeed.
Light entry on the palate, with some smooth vanilla characters midway through. Finish has a slight nuttiness to it. It's pretty light all up, but well-balanced and pretty inoffensive. Feel is good: smooth and creamy.
Very drinkable. Not very exciting. Still, it's a very solid, well-made beer, that to be honest I'd be happy to drink regularly. Good stuff, Barry. Good stuff, Bridge Road.
81 / 100
Bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a reddish deep brown colour, with a frothy and rather vibrant head of yellowish-white. Lacing is good. Body looks solid. No visible carbonation, although the body is pretty opaque, meaning it'd be hard to see it even if it were there. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is pleasantly rich, sweet and deep, with pronounced brown malty characters giving sweet biscuit and sugared oatmeal goodness. There's an organic, grainy kick to it, but it's just a lilt to the rich deep, sweet brown characters. Yum.
Taste is lighter, especially in the feel, but the brown, grainy goodness sticks around, with a mildly roasted character lengthening the palate to a dusky finish like toasted brioche. Clean grain for the most part makes it feel good and wholesome. It's very pleasant. Feel is perfectly suitable. Only mildly carbonated, letting the malt coast through the slickness.
Really nice beer, and an impressive first effort from this brewery for me. Tasty, well-made stuff.
Had on-tap at the brewery in Newport, OR. It was one of their range they had on that I'd not tried before.
Pours an amber-brown hue, with some hazing in the body. Weight is solid. Head is a bright yellow-white colour, forming a ring and not much lace. Looks decent, if not exciting overall.
Nose is very light. There's some toffee, or brown sugar giving the sensation of sweetness, but there's no weight behind it. Slight hint of peely citrus creates some contract, but it just feels empty overall.
Taste is better, and has some reasonable complexity to it. Nutty front-palate entry, with some mild malt and toffee sweetness. This turns somewhat savoury mid-palate, giving a hint of meaty gravy and beef juices. Finish gives some burnt toffee, a touch of roasty bite and a hint of cherry. Quite nice overall, with some interesting twists in the flavour.
Feel is too light. It's fluid enough, but would feel very empty if not for the twisty palate.
Overall, it's pleasant enough without being particularly good. Maybe it is just a beer that's missing something (shock).
85 / 100
Pours a reddish brown colour, clear with foamy creamy beige head. Medium retention. Bit thin-looking, but not bad at all.
Smells spicy and roasty, lightish with decent complexity. Lots of coffee and spicy notes and a sweet touch on the back. Nice.
Spice and roast continue on the palate. Lots of coffee notes and a good toasty warm feel. Coffee, spice and malt with star anise, pepper and cinnamon, plus a nice sweet caramel note finishing off. Beautifully constructed palate, really quite lovely.
Mouthfeel is a bit dry from that spice but not too much. Full body, very nice.
Great brown ale. Didn't expect much from this but it's everything you could want from the style. Big, flavoursome, roasty but not too much. Brilliant drop.
Ruddy amber hue, decent brown-ness to it, at least, with a very fine but inconsistent head of pure white. Body is firm, and it leaves some pleasantly light carbonation. Minimal lacing. Decent, but not inspiring, overall.
Nose is mealy, corn and cereal coming through unpleasantly with a mild barley huskiness. Nothing in the way of hops, and if you claim to be an "Imperial" brown, be prepared to be savaged for a lack there. Really, it could be a faint adjuncty pale. This is very poor indeed.
Taste is no better, and is in fact, potentially worse, with a really pronounced acidity through it that is genuinely worrying. Flat, empty palate, slight toasty graininess, but mostly empty with that perverted carbonic character coming through and suggesting weakness, if not outright infection.
Holy hell. This is a really bad beer. I'm afraid I just got a bad bottle, but the infected, acidic character is so mild that I don't believe it would have rested at this point rather than obliterating the entire beer. In fact, what we have is just a very bland, very mild, characterless beer. It's offensive in its emptiness.
62 / 100
Purchased at Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a mild brown colour, with good clarity, but almost no headâwhat forms is a fine ring of flimsy suds. Very light body, no lacing. Overall, it looks pretty insipid, to be perfectly honest.
Nose is mild and pleasantly grainy, with an organic, musty wholesomeness to it, but very little else. No, I lie, there is a hint of something hoppy to it, giving it a mild sweet lemon character. But this is hidden under the malt, which while dominant, is not particularly strong.
Taste is mild and grainy, with a crispness on the back that seems to come more from the carbonation than from hops. Wet malt sits on the back, cloying slightly, and giving a mustiness to the aftertaste. Feel is suitableâpretty light, but with a slickness that speaks to the malt.
Overall, it's a bit dull, but not bad. It's light, obviously designed not to overwhelm the palate. It succeeds there, at least, but there are much better beers that do the same thing.
59 / 100
On-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a deep amber hue, quite clear with a light and fluid body. Head is fine and firm, and coloured just barely beige. Good lacing. Looks really good overall.
Limited aroma: slightly nutty with a hint of grain and malt sweetness. It's direct enough, but simple and not particularly complex or interesting.
Taste is perhaps even more generic. Light nutty grain characters on the front, but the weight of the body means it slips away very quickly. Solid malt through the centre, but again, there's almost nothing on the finish, partially due to the lack of body weight.
Nothing particularly special about this. This is a drinkable beer, but it really misses interest and complexity. I'm left thinking that I just don't care.
72 / 100
Reviewed from about 100mL left after using the rest in a lamb marinade (but that's another story). (oh OK, you asked; it worked really well in the marinade)
Dark-brown colour, clear with an orange tinge at the edge. Head is pale beige, foamy, with decent density. Retains with large bubbles. Not bad at all.
Coffee and medicine on the nose. Pepper, cherry and a touch of caramel for sweetness, maybe some vanilla as well. Spicy, roasty, sweet. Pretty much all you could want from a brown ale.
Taste has similar characters, but a bit more subtle, not as pungent. Chocolate, coffee, bit weak on the front-to-mid but gets more roasty and spice towards the back. Cloves on the finish and a touch of black pepper. Subtle, but nicely constructed palate for a well-balanced Autumnal beer (that's "Fall beer").
The body's there, but still feels a little thin and over-fluent. Bit of piquancy at the back.
Nothing too exciting, but it strikes me as a fairly quintessential brown ale, an archetype even. Plus it's really well-made and drinkable, so yeah, good work Brooklyn.
Good to see some more US breweries getting a showing in Australia. This one purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a solid and rather sensuously thick deep brown colour, quite dark and opaque in the deeper parts. Head is a fine topping of mocha-white, with some speckled lacing around the edge of the glass. Carbonation is fine, held beautifully by the body of the beer. Really looks good.
Nose is mild, nutty and slightly peppery, with a hop character that comes through as a point of clean, but direct sharpness. Husky grain, a bit of burned toast, and a hint of bittersweet chocolate come through, along with a dusty, dry note. It's almost as though it's going to get much of its bitterness from the grain, not the hops. Let's see.
Indeed, there are noticeable roasted characters on the palate, but the bitterness is clearly discernible as being hopsâthere's a sharp, clinging oily quality, but actually very little hop flavour besides the lupulin bitterness. This, however, mingles with the overtones of chocolate, brown sugar, and the spike of faint booziness to make it seem quite roasted and huskily bitter. Feel is smooth, but the sharpness and the surprisingly noticeable booziness tend to extenuate that a little.
Decent enough drop, but not particularly complex or full, and tending a little towards unbalanced. I've certainly had better American Browns, but this one does the job, if unimaginatively.
48 / 100
Pours a shiny red colour, clear, with nice beige head; visible bubbles but a nice dense foamy top. Lace streaks around the glass. Good-looker.
Smells quite potent. Malty sweetness with a fair quantity of hot booze behind it. Slight weizeny esters - banana and vanilla, touch of coconut maybe and some brass. Could be more toned down heat-wise and yet more kick could be added, with hops or spice for balance. Not bad, though.
Taste is quite disappointing. Just lacks a lot of the character of the nose - grainy with a touch of rye bread, some corn notes and a distinct pear-apple ester. Hint of copper towards the back but ultimately finishes thin and flat, without really much flavour at all. Not offensive; not really anything. Like a hollowed-out shell of a nice American ale.
Bit of body to it, but not a lot of texture. Strikes me as dull.
Really needs a whole lot more done to it. It's bland, in spite of the hints it displays of bold flavours.
70 / 100
640ml tubby Anchor bottle, shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a really pleasant deep red-brown, almost mahogany hue, quite transparent and clear, with a filmy and bubbly head of turmeric coloured foam, bright when swirled. Some speckled lacing, decent weight to the body. Looks pretty fineâit certainly looks like a beer that has had some craft put into it.
Nose is mild with sweet sugary characters, and a hint of spice. I get very little hint of the Citra, although there's a powdery sweetness and rosewater hint that gives it a bit of a lift. OVerall, it's pretty mild, but pleasant enough.
Taste is better, with the malt coming through, giving a toasted raisin loaf character along with hints of banana bread. This is balanced (and perhaps accentuated) by a slight hop astringency, which adds its own complexity, but seems more to enhance the malty charactersâmuch as a judicious dash of salt brings out the flavours in a savoury dish. Feel is clean and very light.
A solid enough beer, and a well-made one. But while it has no obvious flaws or faults, it just not that damn exciting.
Ah. Hemp, that most traditional and requisite of all beer ingredients. Ahem.
Pours a pleasant deep dark brown colour, flashing with red when held to the light. Head is filmy but solid enough, quite fine bubbled and leaving patchy lacing. Pretty fluid, light bodied. Overall, it looks pretty decent. Decent enough, anyway.
Ooh, nose is really nicely nutty and smooth, with a touch of sweet malt holding it all together. Perhaps, there's just a twinge of seltzer acidity, but I may just be projecting what I fear it may taste like. As it stands, the nose is quite pleasant.
Taste is indeed a lot thinner than I expected, although it doesn't have the seltzer water character I was expecting. Instead, there's very little sweetness, and the nutty character when it comes in is laced more with a slightly bitter roasted note, which without any malt to back it up, tastes empty and cold. Clinging grain on the back gives it a slightly unpleasant aftertaste.
Feel is very light and very generic.
It could have been better, but there's something pedestrian about the way this is brewed. It has some pleasant characters that could really have been developed, but it's as though no one cared enough to make it happen.
Pours a dark mahogany brown, with the only colour visible at the edge. Head is cream-coloured, dissipates to practically nothing with a thin rim of lace. Looks slightly stagnant, but otherwise nice.
Smells malty with a slight sour, yeasty edge. Touch of carbon and some sweet corn aromas, dull nutty edge at the back. Falls short of malt-bomb status but not much else there.
Taste is fairly dark, and predominantly malty. Starts with caramel grain and a slight licorice spice on the front. Develops roastier notes later which are nicely rounded with a touch of blueberry and raisins. Some pepper on the back which dries the palate as well as adding spice. Yeah, nicely rounded brown ale palate.
Nice body, bit too much tingle though.
A brown ale to sip and enjoy with two of your favourite cheerleaders.
75 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse for the Mikkeller Tap Takeover.
Pours a hazy reddish brown colour, quite bright, but also quite light. Head is a little frothy, but mostly filmy and slight. Body has some depth to it, pleasantly, but the colour and the head look a little bit dull.
Nose is brown and dark, giving some roasty grains and a hint of slightly meaty, slightly sweet characters. A little sharpness to it, that adds an almost spicy, slightly aniseed character to it. Not bad.
Taste expands on the meatiness, almost giving a slight smoke character, but balanced and almost nutty, with a pleasant round sweetness. Bitterness comes through on the end, giving a twinge of sharpness to finish.
Nice brew. Very decent. I can't remember how it went in bottle, but it's pretty decent on tap as well.
85 / 100
Pours a rich red colour, Hellish but strangely alluring, with massively generous beige head that sinks steadily, retaining just enough fluffy crown to get me excited. Lace is just heavenly, sticky trails all the way down the glass. Just wonderful.
Smells very tart and funky. Lots of vinegar with nice cranberry, raspberry and lime characters. Lots of toffee malt underlying and some lovely nutmeg, crème anglaise and even coffee behind the tart exterior. Wonderful, complex, damned enticing nose.
Taste is odd. Just not tart. Rich, brooding and dark with touches of flavoured balsamic throughout, almost as if filtered through a coffee spelt. Quite sour, but a lot of cinnamon and rich, round nuts - pecans, almonds and a good belt of burnt sugar. Tartness comes through late, with a cidery type of sour that cleans up the darker, chocolatey palate nicely without quite delivering that final punch of sour the nose had made me anticipate. This is an odd beer; far more enjoyable than it should be for its oddness, and not quite coherent enough in one 'theme' to really wow me.
Full-bodied with a bit of pull from the tartness but not very puckering. Quite lovely, really.
Odd, but I love its unexpected twists and turns. It's unique, but more than that it's really lovely and drinkable as well. Superb.
71 / 100
The nights are closing in here in Australia, and although datewise it's completely the wrong time of year for this brew, the chill in the air suggested that a Christmas beer was a good idea. This bottle was purchased as part of an order from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
It pours a very pleasant deep red-brown colour, with a relatively frothy head of beige foam that doesn't retain as much as it could. Some lacing. Body looks reasonably solid, but it doesn't trap the carbonation, or look particularly gelatinous. Not a bad look though. The colour, in particular, it very nice.
Nose is deep, grainy and subtly sweet, with dark cacao and spice cake coming through. Quite an earthy bent to it, with some leaf mould and woody notes, and a touch of clay. Nice.
Tasty is rather woody and nutty, giving some raw shelled almond characters, with a lightly roasted backbone. Finish has a lightly astringent bitterness to it, almost a touch of spicy aniseed. Feel is a little thin; I think just a touch more body, and a touch more sweetness would really make this great.
Not a bad drop all up, but a little thin after a while, and the astringent characters started to get a bit too pronounced after drinking more than a little of it.
But it warmed me up nicely, and that was the point, anyway.
From a hand-pump at Toronado in San Francisco.
Pours a dark reddish-brown colour. Clear enough. Head if fine, but not the creamy solid mess I'd expect froma hand pump. Lacing is chunky and solid, at least. Very fine carbonation, but it also looks latent and flat. Not bad, but not huge.
Roasty and mild nose, with a bit of grain and light thin filtered coffee. It's all a bit gritty and dirty, only challenged by a slight sweet vegetables character. Not all that appealing.
On the palate, it's very smooth from the hand pump, but overall if feels a bit thin in flavour. Some mild grain that gives a cereal sweetness with a slight dusty cocoa note. Long finish which gives off the most interesting characters of cherry and marzipan. Not bad.
Very smooth, but light on the palate gives it an adorable texture.
Overall, it's drinkable, but it's missing somethingâmaybe it's depth, or maybe it's fullness of palate. Overall, it's good, but I was hoping for great.
74 / 100
Tried as the Local Taphouse's bottle special.
Pours a darkish brown with red tinge. Head is beige and sunk, leaving a tight little cradle of sticky lace. Pretty decent.
Smell is incredibly sweet. So much brown maltiness with brown sugar, treacle on there as well as nice floral, nectary hints including Burdock, rosewater and sultanas as well. A big malt bomb here, very enjoyable and enticing.
Yeah, lots of dried fruit on the front of the palate: sultanas and raisins mostly; develops more malty notes midway with hints of brown sugar, molasses, golden syrup and a touch of cocoa. Quite dry on the back with some grainy, almost yeasty characters that get quite biscuity and actually give off a touch of cola. It's a lovely complex palate, very nice flavours all over.
Mouthfeel is smooth, but a bit thin. There's enough there for what needs to be but it's not an exciting or stimulating texture.
Yeah, that's a very enjoyable sweet, yet sessionable, beer. I'm a fan.
Pours a dark brown, mostly black all the way through but brown up to the light. Head is ochre coloured, thin but retaining a thin whispy crown, with nice sticky lace around. And yeah, decent head. Looks good.
Smells quite roasty and really quite boozey. Chocolatey with a lot of caramel, a hint of vanilla but a great deal of ethyl alcohol as well. Hint of brandy on there with a touch of maraschino cherry, black pepper and star anise. Yeah, decent but a bit strong.
Taste isn't quite as strong, but has a robustness to it that is quite welcome. Caramel malt on the front with lots of cocoa-rich chocolate as it reaches the mid-palate, gathering hints of cherry and coconut on the way, to a small extent. Gets a slight sour spice edge late-mid with touches of liqueur, kirsch and maybe some aniseed and black pepper. Yeah, it's not bad, but a definite intensity to its flavour that keeps my enjoyment from frothing at my mouth.
A decent texture, smooth but a bit of boozey warmth to the back. Bit overcooked maybe, but otherwise OK.
Strong, but enjoyable enough. Couldn't have too many of these though.
70 / 100
Pours a very heavy deep brown, almost black, but with an edging to it that suggests something other than a stout. Head is filmy but supple, leaving a few speckles of lace, if nothing more. Very heavy and thick body, which I guess is to be expected in a beer weighing in at 12% ABV. Look pretty good.
Roasted, but surprisingly light nose, with some notes of crushed undergrowth, but minimal black charred characters. Instead, there's a light astringency and a leavened almost chemical character, that smells like old camera film.
Taste is smooth, but surprisingly light, with a little roasted grain and slight chilli flavour, if not the spice. Slight nuttiness on the back which if anything leavens it more, giving a light character to the dark flavours.
Feel is light. It doesn't match with the flavour.
Nice. Nutty and interesting, with some unusual flavours. Hints of spice and a really surprisingly well subdued alcohol character. Indeed, 12% is a shock when you discover the ABV.
A decent brew. It doesn't do anything astounding, however.
90 / 100
Pours a slightly burnished brown-bronze colour, with reasonable head, cream-coloured and dense, but reduced to a thin crown. Lace is pretty nice and silky. Steady bead as well. Good-looker, could be browner.
Smells great. Beautifully sweet with loads of brown sugar and just a mass Christmas pudding aroma. Lots of plum, currants and a nice raisiny sweetness, plus wonderful cinnamon spice. Very slight sourness, but mostly rich and sweet and wonderfull complex. Beautiful Christmas brew.
Taste is quite a deal more rich and robust. Starts with toffee and brown sugar sweetness that swills around in the mouth before getting to the mid-palate which is surprisingly robust, plenty of eggnogg-y booze and some burnt toffee notes verging on roasty cocoa. Then back is all the pudding notes, with rich dried fruit, apple and dates and figs and touches of cinnamon spice and even a brandy note as a bonus. Quite wonderful, just a rich, sweet, warming brew, really puts one in the mood for a magical white Christmas. If only I weren't in barmy Australia.
Not the best mouthfeel, in all honesty. Too much carbonation tingle that really shows up on the palate. Body is decent but could be fuller to cover that carbonation. Not greatly enamoured. This is the pitfalls of making such a rich and flavoursome brew without upping the alcohol content, the mouthfeel becomes thin by comparison.
Notwithstanding the feel, a wonderful festive beer. Beautifully complex and the flavours are just lovely and balanced. I wish I had more.
84 / 100
2009 Vintage. Opened on Christmas Day with @LaitueGonflable and our dad.
Pours a very pleasant deep coppery brown colour, with a fine head of light pale yellow. Lacing that is formed it tight and fine. Haze in the body occludes the carbonation, but it looks pretty decent. Overall, it's a lovely looking beer.
Nose is rich and sweet and spicy. Big nutmeg characters, and a very traditional Christmas pudding character. Dried fruits, deep caramel sweetness and plenty of lightened spice. Smells delicious.
Taste is possibly even better, giving a slight spicy brandy character to mingle with the brown sugar, crushed spice and dried fruit characters. Lovely hint of booze on the back just works perfectly, and is surprising given the low ABV. Feel is smooth and slick, minimal carbonation, but this matches extremely well with the sweet and smooth characters on the palate.
A fantastic beer, and a wonderful drop to celebrate Christmas with the family. A year of age on it? Wonderful. I'm not sure what it's like fresh, but the integration and balance is just right a year on. Really lovely.
Pours a very dark oaky colour, almost black really, with ochre head sunk to retain a modest film. Lace is very beautiful; dense and sticky. Not much else to report because body is dark enough to hide anything else; maybe a bit too dark for a 'brown ale'; this is porter-dark.
Smell is very fruity and sweet; lots of banana, bubblegum aromas with rich sweet chocolate and caramel notes, a hint of jaffa and light cherry in there as well. Very intriguing nose, lots of complexity. Not sure if it's all what I want but since they're bizarrely calling this a "Belgian Brown Ale" I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Taste has lots of darkish malts on the front with brown sugar and chocolate. Descends into strong bubblegum flavour on mid-palate which I'm not a huge fan of, and has become too strong from the hints on the nose. Touch of mint on the back, and maybe some orange peel but yeah, it's that big fruity bubblegum flavour dominating and I find it oversweet and, to be honest, weird. There is a strong tingly spicey sensation as you drink, possibly overattenuated and just Belgian yeasty, but I fear it matches quite poorly with the particular fruit flavours present in this beer. Leaves my mouth feeling oddly sweet and dry. In that order.
Yeah, points for drinkability though as the alcohol is well hidden. It's also mild enough to be enjoyed. I just find the flavours a hodgepodge and the beer doesn't make a lot of sense overall.
76 / 100
Pours a clear but dark brown colour, with a good frothy and very serious-looking head of beige foam. Lacing is sudsy. Minimal streaming carbonation. Looks very decent.
Nose is pleasantly and lightly roasted, with some sweeter notes of brown sugar or maple syrup. Dried apricots come through along with something slightly sudsy. There's a very distinctive candy character to it as well - orange sherbert, perhaps. In any case there's something sweet and pleasant amongst the roastiness. It's very nice.
Taste is pretty good too, although the sweet characters are missing. Roasty, with a definite Sierra Nevada (or perhaps West Coast generally) bitterness on the back. No roast bitterness, just enough grain character to give it depth. Feel is light and pleasant.
It's a really good beer, very tasty and really well balanced. It's different enough to give some oomph to a beer line up though. Lovely.
76 / 100
Pours quite a dark and very opaque brown colour with an exceedingly fine head of beige foam. Lacing is sticky and stays in sheets down the glass. Lovely. Body looks very thick and heavy. Lovely looking beer.
Nose is full of roasted nutty characters, with a hint of booze and slight wine mustiness. Hint of dusty chocolate powder and a tantalising spirit spiciness. Quite sweet, but dark and refined. Very delicious.
Taste is quite boozy, with some sharp spiritous character mixing with the roasted biscuit character and the extra cocoa chocolate bitterness. Finish is surprisingly but pleasantly dry, with a dusty high roast grain character lingering throughout. Feel is surprisingly thin on the back. It suits it in a way, but almost feels like it needs something more to support it.
Very nice brew, and one which is susceptibly drinkable.
74 / 100
Thanks to BA lacqueredmouse for sharing this one with me.
Pours a bright ruby colour up to the light, but a nice deep brown otherwise. Head is cream-coloured, thin and rescinds to a thin layer of bubbles. Bead is slow but steady and there's some decent lace around. Pretty nice.
Smell is pleasant. Mostly malty, with a slight roasted edge. Delicious sweet toffee coming off that, nice caramel with a slight crème brulée caramelisation to it. Mild coffee at the back, not a lot of hop really. I like some hops in my brown, but apart from that this is a very tasty smell, malty and sweet.
Taste is quite roasty and dark, with a distinct sour, earthy character pervading underneath. Lots of dark burnt sugar on the front, giving toffee and some raisin notes, then gets earthy and slightly bitter with some espresso notes, more raisins and some dark cherry. Some cocoa on there as well and finishing off with a mild licorice spice. There is a slight hop note at the back, resinous and not very distinct, but very welcome. This strikes me a bit more as a dark ale than a brown ale, but style is open to interpretation and who the Hell am I to question the great Shawn Sherlock? Pretty tasty, anyway.
Fair amount of body but swills well, not too sticky or too thin. Has a slight sizzle to it which could be toned down a bit, but otherwise fine.
Good drinking beer. Fairly spikey flavour at times, but a very nice darker ale.
Pours a reddish copper colour with interesting slow cascade of bubbles up to form the thin bubbly beige head. Lace looks decent. Not sure about the colour, looks more red than brown. But otherwise good.
Smells quite fresh and pleasant. Good hop character to that, but not a huge amount. Slight citric note with a bit of detergent aroma to it. Bit of dark malt but not a huge amount, nice mild caramel edge to it. Decent, subdued. I do like those hops though.
Taste has an amber malt character to it. Hints of toffee at the start. Hops come through quickly and early, nice tangy notes with a hint of pine and mild lemon. Slight detergent again and whisper of musk. Malt lasts to the end but is slightly overpowered by hops. I like the hops but they're not powerfully bitter, just potent enough to dominate. A bit off-balanced, it lacks the sweetness of other brown ales I've come to love.
Body is okay, a bit of a fizzy texture and slightly thin but not bad.
Yeah, pleasant beer. Good bitterness, quite drinkable indeed.
74 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse Sydney.
Pours a dark amber colour, very deep but tending to brown rather than red. Head is filmy and big bubbled. Not sure how much that's to do with the pour. Good clarity. Looks pretty good.
Slightly doughty mixture of green hop fragrance and a light biscuit character. Together they give an odd fragrance like marzipan. Pretty nice.
Taste is really good, a fragrant new world hop bitterness, mixed with a light hint of fruit and a rounding malt sweetness to temper it slightly and provide a slight counterpoint. Mouthfeel light and crisp.
Yep this is a really nice beer. Little Creatures really don't do enough seasonal and one-off releases. This is a very drinkable and enjoyable drop, and I'd love to see them do things like this on a more regular basis.
Pours a reddish-brown colour with minimal head, off-white-to-beige in colour, but yeah, more of a rim than a head. Lace is gorgeous and sticky, cascading down the glass. Clear body, fairly flat. Doesn't matter though, colour is great and everything else is there for a good brown ale.
Nose is delicious. Sweet but with a really nice roasted edge. A lot of malt, brown sugar with caramel hints to both. Just a slight hint of roasted grain, plus a really nice floral hop character and hint of pineapple at the back. Bit of a diacetyl character but doesn't ruin it. Pleasant.
Taste is malty, pleasant. Lot of toffee on the front with slight sourness like undercooked dough, buttery note and then a nice darker flavour towards the back. Bit of toasty grain and yeah, maybe a merlot vinous edge. Feels a bit thin on the palate, sadly, but is largely sweet and malty, going down nicely. Bit of bitterness on the back, but it could use more. That's the story of this palate really, could use more of everything. A bit weak, but pleasant overall.
Slimy and a bit sticky on the feel, then dry as it goes down. Not bad, okay to suit the flavour.
A bit more flavour would make this beer delicious, but it's quite enjoyable as it is.
Tried on tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse ANZAC Day SepcTapular.
Pours a deeply opaque dark ruddy brown colour with a full head of meniscused beige bubbles. Lacing is excellent, and it looks pleasantly static in the glass. Nice look overall.
Nice chocolate notes on the nose, with a semisweet grain malt character. A little raisin toast as well. Pretty nice overall.
Taste is full of grainy roasted characters, with a slightly sharp bitterness through the centre, which may be nothing more than the latent hop presence. Finish is quite dark and roasted, leaving an ashy astringency on the back of the palate. It feels slightly too dark for a Brown Ale. Nice characters mostly, but the bitterness is too strong. Mouthfeel is smooth.
Not bad all up, a little difficult to stomach a lot of, but it has plenty of character.
76 / 100
Pours a dirty burnt brown colour, opaque with a huge amount of cloudy haze, and an enormous voluminous head, several inches of retention with a nice aerated bubble cloud, dense at the top and not really sinking. Doesn't leave a lot of lace. Nice, but kind of lacks substance. Lots of head and a cloudy body do not a good beer make; it needs to mean something.
Nose is very grainy. Quite English in character with a lot of sweetness. Fair amount of brown sugar, chestnut character (like an Asian chestnut cake), and a bit of diacetyl that falls short of over-sweetening it. Slight nutshell-woody bitterness and a slight alcohol twang as well. But a pleasant sweet nose, for its minor faults.
Tastes malty and sweet, quite roasty as well. Yeah, pleasant - a lot of toffee, bittersweet with brown sugar, a slight toasted bread note and a bit of oak. Slight licorice spice on the mid and towards the back, the latter of which coincides with an alcohol bite, which is a little hot and quite noticeable, more vodka-esque than a smooth scotch warmth. This is a sweet beer with the right amount of bitterness and edge at the end to clip it off. You've got to hand it to Nøgne Ø, they sure know flavour, and how much is enough. Tasty.
Creamy and gorgeous mouthfeel. Definitely not thin but it just slips through the mouth. Unfortunately a snakebite of booze at the end is a little bit harsh. Otherwise perfect.
Yeah, the Naked Island do it again. A tasty, solid beer from a brewery of true quality.
73 / 100
Pours a very deep and distinguished dark brown colour, with good clarity. Head is boisterous and frothy, leading to a very solid two fingers of mocha-white. Lacing is crispy shards of tight bubbling around the edge of the glass. The colour is wonderful, especially with the beautiful clarity letting in a little light. Looks very nice indeed.
Potently delicious nose, full of coffee-chocolate and roasted grains. Dark barley notes are prominent, with sweeter nuances giving depth of character. Even a little brash salty charred character coming through, along with a scintillating port-like alcohol hint. Very nice - rich, but refined.
Taste is also good. Initially roasted and dark, with a sprightly and robust bitterness, but this mellows considerably into a slightly sweet nutty character that sits on the palate. The construction is good - it feels as though it's inverted from the general stout/porter character of finishing bitter and dry, and the light, chocolate-nut sweetness the lingers on the finish is a pleasant surprise. Mouthfeel is a little weak, and a little thin. In some senses it goes with the rather lighter palate, but I feel a deeper, fuller body would have helped.
A very pleasant and very drinkable brew. It feels rich and heavy, but goes down very smoothly. A very tasty drop.
85 / 100
Pours a dusky red brown, the colour of a good port, with a sensational off-white head that is generous when poured, then sinks around the edge leaving a nice dense pillow of foam in the middle and some nice sticky lace. Nice steady bead as well. To my mind this is the perfect look for a carbonated beer.
Excellent smell as well. Lots of nice roasty malt notes, but not bitter, slight rankness to it like undercooked veggies. A lot of sweetness behind, with brown sugar and toffee notes tempting me in. Has a real scotch ale smell to it, really. Nice balance and good character.
Taste is far maltier, with a very noticeable grain character throughout the palate. Fair amount of roastiness, with toasted grain and burnt toffee coming through pretty much single file (one after the other, I mean), not too much rounded complexity around the edge. Slightly sour character comes through late, quite like a light coffee or unsweetened chocolate, and finish has a slight creaminess to it, but there is a roasty bitterness right at the back, just left as a tingle, and slightly medicinal in character.
A rich texture throughout, nice and robust for how alcoholic it is, and nice and smooth as it goes down.
A most pleasant drop, mild yet nicely flavoured, with a well-balanced palate that is easy to quaff. I'm intrigued now to try something else brewed at/by De Proef Brouwerij, as it shows a great deal of craftsmanship.
On tap at the brewery December 09.
Deep clear red brown, with a filmy but solid head of beige foam. Lacing v good. Looks pretty good, head is a bit bubbly with loose-bubbled carbonation and a bit thin but otherwise.
Odd floral notes on the nose, might be honey, like Dave says. Some acidity, some crushed cacao chars. Oddly fragrant for a dark beer. I like it, it's unusual, but pleasant.
Taste is clear and pleasant, without being terribly interesting, which is a shame after some of the notes on the nose. Some spicy fragrance, a little chocolate powder. Quite a citric finish. The acidity contributes to the mouthfeel too, which is sparkling and clear.
Not bad, but not very exciting. It's a little bland apart from the nose, but undeniably drinkable.
91 / 100
Pours a lovely reddish brown colour with a filmy but sticky head of off-white. Excellent lacing. Clarity is great - a great looking beer all up.
Wow, a phenomenal sweet and rich nose of butterscotch, toffee and roasted sugar coated almonds. Deeper notes of milk chocolate and rye bread. Really good. Not the nasty diacetyl butterscotch you get in pale ales sometimes. This is all intentional and all phenomenal. What a nose!
Buttery sweet and smooth, just phenomenally delicious and tasty. Creamy mouthfeel, light, but with a wonderful slickness. Starts with a light roasted grain note, which just starts layering with sweetness after sweetenss until you have a wonderful sweet anarchy of Wonkaesque proportions. Rambunctious and happy - delicious.
A truly excellent, delicious and uniquely fun beer. Drinkable as long as you can cope with the insane sweetness.
On top at the Sydney Local's Beer SpecTapular.
Cloudy light brown colour, with a fine bubbled head of white foam. Lacing is good, with a nice bead to it. Overall looks pretty tasty.
Quite a ripe fruit character on the nose, my bro Sam might be right about NS hops. Light sweetness from the malt, but the sharp fruit character really does stay prominent. Really quite hoppy. Not amazing, and out of character.
Again, pretty hoppy on the palate too. Starts nice and rich, with a brown sugar and wholemeal bread flavour, but the hops soon shear through it, leaving a crisp residual bitterness. I'm not sure it suits the style, but it is a perceived American trait to overhop everything. Mouthfeel ok, not too thick, not too thin.
It's a drinkable beer. I'm not overwhelmed with happiness for having drunk it, and it doesn't strike me as really unique and tasty, but it does have character.
81 / 100
Pours a cherry red colour with lotza bubbles around the edge, head is deliciously foamy but sinks to settle down as a thinly-pocked rim. Lacing is delicious beige foam. Clarity is delicious, looks like a nice claret. (that's an attempted pun)
Intense sugary sweetness on the nose. Intense molasses, hints of espresso, mint, nutty chocolate, wow that's insane. One of the most extreme noses, I can't believe "sweet" can be so strong. It's so intense and so sweet. But fuck it's nice. That's like a strong ice wine, with chocolate. Insane I tells ye.
Wow, chocolate icecream. It's like bloody eating chocolate icecream, only with a burnt toffee, brand snap sweetness after the mid as well. Finish has a bit of a hop driness on it, slightly herbal, hint of mint again, or maybe anise. Does have a slight nutty edge to it as well, like hazelnut.
Mouthfeel is nicely full, very slick. Holds the flavour well. That is an intense beer, so sweet and toasty, so many nice, insane and non-beer-like flavours. Great taste but I certainly couldn't drink that every day. I'm already diabetic but a daily dose of this would make me double-diabetic. Wow.
Pours cartoon brown and very hazy, with a pleasant beige crown of foam. Lacing is sensational, and can't see any carbs because of the have. Head is great, lacing is great, I love haze. That's a great look.
Nose is quite tangy, good caramelly sweetness but a tangy sauvin hop aroma as well at the back gives it a hint of passionfruit, pineapple and lemon. Hint of leather as well, nice and complex, could be stronger though with more fragrance. Need to really sniff to get the smell.
Taste has a sweet grainy character, lots of seedy, nutty flavours with cereal overtones, and then a floral sauvin hop bitterness on the back, which is nice, but doesn't suit the flavour very well. Should be more malty on the finish, and the hops really overpower. Mouthfeel is quite tingly with a bit of puckering on there, again it's not a bad mouthfeel, but I don't think it suits the style. I think this is a decent beer gone awry. Nice flavours, but in the wrong combination and ratio.
61 / 100
Pours a pinkish brown colour with decent off-white head, not very thick, retains reasonably well, but remains quite thin. Lacing is speckled and pretty good. Decent-looking beer.
Nose is quite sweet and sticky with a molasses aroma and an almost raspberry kind of fragrance, quite light and fruity actually, mostly sweet but definitely a refreshing kind of character. Not very complex or pungent, but good.
Taste is a lot heavier, with a lot of hop coming through on that, taste has aspects of honey, puffed rice and treacle, hops are quite prevalent though with a grassy, floral flavour, quite inoffensive and really quite cleansing. They don't suffocate, anyway. Mouthfeel is full and nice, totally appropriate for the flavour. Just a bit funky for me to drink all the time; taste is just a bit 'off'.
Pours a very nice golden amber colour with a pretty decent head of white foam, which leaves some good lacing. Minimal carbonation, but it looks a very decent ale.
A light corny sweetness on the nose, unfortunately quite unpleasant. Lots of grain notes, but the corn sweetness takes over leaving it very generic. no hops, no complexity. Very dull indeed.
Very similar on the palate. The corn sweetness is pronounced, although there is a light coppery bitterness on the very back. Mostly, it's sickly and corny - full of adjuncts and, unnaturally for beer, very sweet. Mouthfeel is particularly thin - it just adds to the weak, unpleasant characters of the beer overall.
This is very thin, and not very pleasant. Compared to the other Mexican beers I've tried, it is a notch above, but that's not saying much. It only happens to be drinkable by default.
Pours a clear dark garnet brown, with a decent thin head of beige foam. Some lacing. Looks rather thin in the body, but otherwise pretty decent.
Nice dark raspberries on the nose, with a very pleasant dark aromatic character, a little tannic. Raspberries are really the main event here though, and they smell pleasantly genuine. Not hugely sweet, either, which is refreshingly pleasant.
Palate is unfortunately a little thin, and the Raspberry and Brown of the name don't mesh together so well here. Some initial notes of berry quickly dissipate in the thin, nondescript midpalate, before the darker grain notes bring up the rear and add a dash of roasted astringency. The mouthfeel is possibly the real culprit, there's very little body to the beer, and the flavours are struggling in a liquid textured like seltzer water.
Still, it's drinkable enough, and although the characters don't quite mingle as well as they might have, it's not unpleasant.