English Brown Ale
37th highest rated style (of 102)
Highest RatedYoung's Christmas Pudding Ale (90 / 100) Average score64 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedNewcastle Brown Ale (29 / 100) Number Tried63
Brown Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 03.04.17 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle muled back to the mainland by Father Fletcher. My father, not as in some Catholic priest called Fletcher.

Pours a dark reddish brown, with overly voluminous head. Good density and texture to the bubbly foam as it sinks, without leaving a whole lot of lacing behind. Looks alright, but could tone down that head; it's not true to the style and looks more like a carbonation issue.

Smells slightly roasty and chocolatey. Not smack in your face ballsy, just dark, earthy and slightly spicy with a slight herbal character lingering at the back. I do like my brown ales more on the ballsy American side but as a milder drop, this certainly ticks all the right boxes.

Taste is much more exciting than I gave it credit for. Lovely blend of rich nutty chocolatey malts pop in the mouth from the get go. Sweet yet roasty throughout that develops a good dark, lightly burnt bitterness on the back without being charry or astringent. Lingers with a faint cocoa-rich chocolate finish which is just lovely. As is this palate generally.

Mouthfeel is a little prickly, as the body is necessarily light. Carbonation just sizzles a little as it goes through and leaves a bit raw. Feels consistent with that excessive head at the start and could be quite easily fixed, I feel.

Nice drop, good rich nut brown ale with a really nice sweetness balanced with an overall clean, no-frills finish. Traditional but really well made.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Lambshank Redemption
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.07.16 on tap
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
A "Sunday Roast" brown ale. I'm calling it an English Brown, since the Sunday Roast feels so English. Tried on tap at GABS 2016 in Melbourne.

Pours a brown colour, really very cloudy. Dense head of beige foam. Looks great, brown ale-wise.

Smells sweet, with an odd cocoa character upfront, then a touch of salt and some medicinal character. Rosemary comes through strongly as well. At first it's off-putting, but it really grows on me.

Tastes salty. Some sweet vanillin malt upfront, then gets a touch spicy midway with cinnamon and star anise character. Hint of smoke towards the back and finishes a little phenolic and medicinal. Not bad, but it doesn't really capture that lambshank essence that I'd hoped for, kind of shies away from it.

Decent body, fluid but substantial.

Yeah, touches of a Sunday Roast, but it doesn't quite get there. I would still hold up 4 Pines' 2013 "Sunday Roast" Beer Mimicks Food beer as the benchmark for this type of thing - and I mean beer mimicking food generally, not just beer mimicking a roast dinner.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Haunted Sword Dark Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.01.16 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Bottle as part of my Bridge Rd #craftbeercountdown Advent Calendar.

Pours a dark brown with coppery tinge. Head is way too voluminous when poured, but sinks nice and unevenly. Sparsely bubbled and beige with decent trails of lace. Decent, but way too much head.

Smells pleasant. Fairly mild for a Moon Dog offering, with light chocolate and faintly roasted malt notes. Subtle hint of hops in the head, phenolic slightly with an overall maraschino kind of sensation. Not amazing but on point.

First taste is more intense. Big blossoming roasty malt note that gathers bitter momentum as the palate moves through. Touch of chocolate midway with a playful shove of hoppy bitterness in the middle as well: citric and resinous with a touch of raw acidity. Finishes bitter chocolate, slightly undercooked so it lingers a little sour, like weak coffee. Nice sweet notes in there, it's a shame it doesn't stick around. It's alright, but incredibly bland from Moon Dog. I don't know why that should bother me, but it does.

A bit too much froth and fizz, it sizzles as it goes back as body is a bit thin.

Decent drinker but I keep searching for the wicked twist and it's not there. Honestly i think this could actually be better as a mild. Same flavours toned down even more for slamming. I mean for Moon Dog this is astoundingly restrained, yet it has all the appearance of a dark mild ale but then has a Moon Dog 'amp it up to eleven' twist (or in this case, 5) which doesn't work so well.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
King's County Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 06.09.15 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
40cl brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer.

Pours a pleasant reddish brown, with copper or golden hints at the edges. Head forms a firm, bubbly crest to begin with , but settles out to a fine, pocked ring of beige that leaves some very mild streaks and pops of lace. Body is quite lightweight. Looks decent overall though.

Nose is slightly sweet, with a mild nutty character and something slightly sharp, perhaps a little like almond skin. There's a touch of something darker in there giving it a mild roasted character, but not much. Mostly, it's smooth and sweet.

Taste is pretty good as well—solid English style brown, with some thin nuttiness around a mild brown-sugar sweetness. Despite this, the feel is quite light and a little thin, aiding the drinkability and stopping it from getting to claggy, although this does diminish the potential for true complexity.

Decent enough stuff. It's a pleasant, reasonably tasty and quite drinkable English brown ale, with some classic characters. I liked it just fine.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Almonds of Steal
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.

Pours a very hazy amber-brown colour with an off-white head almost the colour of orange-flavoured sherbet. Head is a fine, firm ring that leaves some sheeting lace. Carbonation is fine through the solid body. Looks pretty good.

Very mild in the aroma, with almost nothing to it. There's a very faint hint of vanilla, and a flat, neutral mid-malt character. If you search hard for it, you maybe fine a slightly sweet nut praline character, but mostly it's pretty weak.

Light and dry on the initial palate too, but there's some brown malt to give it some basis here, and this allows a lovely nutty character to develop in the middle along with a more biscuity malt note. Back has some sweet chocolate Oreo crunch to it, and a dry finish with lingering sweetness, and just a touch of grass.

Feel is full enough—it's pretty decent for 5% ABV.

Overall, after a slightly inauspicious beginning, this turned out reasonably nicely. I was happy with it by the end.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Bogan's Breakfast
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.

Pours a dull coffee brown with some hazing almost making it opaque. Body is solid, but there's no head whatsoever—just a couple of colourless bubbles. No lacing, and no visible carbonation, making the beer look very flat and dead.

There's maybe a hint of coffee on the nose, but mostly it's weak and grainy. Slight grape hints and a bit of roast—again possibly the coffee. Eh.

Weak watery entry on the palate giving some flat, soaked grains and a slight coffee, medicinal character which makes the mid palate seem full and dour. Dry finish adds to the suggestion of thin wateriness.

Feel is thin.

Overall, it's really just dull. Yeah, it's got coffee in it. So do so many other beers. It's been done, and much better than this.
appearance: 2.75 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.25
Almonds of Steal
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 16.06.15 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Pours an amber colour, fair amount of cloudiness throughout. Foamy off-white head, retaining pretty well. Could be darker/browner, but looks nice.

Smells nutty sweet, like a good nut-brown ale should I guess. English toffee with a faint whisper of roastiness. Quite sweet; not bad.

Taste is similar. Bitter nut character to the malt that develops caramel toffee sweetness midway, then finishes somewhat bitter with a slight medicinal edge, not too bad. Quite nutty, maybe a touch of amaretto/marzipan on there which I'm recoiling from a bit, but overall quite nice. Sweet.

Tingly carbonation on the feel, otherwise fairly mild and pleasant.

Nice characters, but a touch sweet for me overall.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Bogan's Breakfast
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.06.15 on tap
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a brown colour, clear with no head. Spit-cloud of bubbles looks off-white. Bit listless.

Smells sweet upfront with caramel and chocolate notes. Touch of spice, coffee and slight roastiness. I don't love it as it's a bit sweet for me, but it's still likeable.

Taste is similar upfront: chocolate developing a fair coffee hit midway, notes of clove, star anise and some herbal character late. Slight roast overall but nothing too pungent. Tastes a bit empty, with a hint of spice. Not bad though.

Touch of warming alcohol for some reason; maybe body is a little thin but yet it has some mouth presence.

Very middling brew. Sweetish brown ale, doesn't really stand out at this festival.
appearance: 2.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Dream Date
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.03.15 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle from Chris, who presumably bought in some North Parramatta bottlo.

Dark brown amber, nice off-white head of decent density. Pleasant lace. Nice and sweet.

Smells mildly oxidised. Brown sugar, caramel and date notes. Some cinnamon and nutmeg. Smells like cinnamon donuts.

Tastes similar. Quite sweet, lots of brown sugar, date notes, some cinnamon. Trails off early but plenty of pleasant sweetness on front and mid. Some oxidation, caramel, toffee. Sweet, fairly dark. Fairly dark dried fruity flavoured.

Decent texture, fairly light throughout.

Not bad, nice date notes. Bit old, but it's not too much of a detriment since the oxidation kind of suits the other flavours.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Nice Guy, Dud Root
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.11.14 on tap
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
On tap at the Royal Albert Feral Takeover during SCBW.

Murky red-tinged cola colour. Head is beige, comprised of tiny bubbles, retains a thin film. Lace clings nicely. Possibly a touch pale but nice.

Smells caramelly and roasty good. Touch of diacetyl, but in a good way, adds a buttery edge to the caramel malt sweetness. Not too much else to it; sweet brown ale notes.

Taste cuts out the diacetyl; plenty of malty notes upfront but gets dry and bitter late-mid, then finishes somewhat dry, also maybe a touch thin. I feel it could use a bit more on the finish for the style, has a very mild ale cleanliness which feels like a bit of a letdown. Not bad, but just missing something. Let's call it heart.

Fluid, fair bit of texture midway, dries upon the back. Bit rough maybe but decent.

Yeah it touches on plenty of the right notes but just has the sense of unfulfilled potential. Just a bit thin overall.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Nail Brown Dunn Brown
Reviewed by Jez on 07.08.14 on tap
Overall:
43 / 100
(Not Great)
Tried on-tap at the Quarrymans Hotel in Pyrmont. Interestingly, I'd tried the Hughe Dunn Brown before the regular one.

Pours a ruddy, slightly cloudy brown colour, with a fine thin ring of off-white. It looks pretty light and a little bit listless in the glass. Fine carbonation at least and a few minor streaks of lacing. Looks okay.

Nose is rather bland. There's a touch of fatty butter coming through, with just a suggestion of sweetness. A little tartness perhaps tending towards a faint spice like nutmeg. Mostly it's just flat though.

Taste is very empty. Again, there's a hint of buttery slickness to it, some cake batter and a faint thin brown malt character—but very little overall. On the back is a slightly unpleasant lingering caramel, but not true brown malt character. Carbonation is restrained, at least.

Overall, this isn't great, and it's fairly bloating for its 4.5% ABV. It's really very sweet throughout, but leaves you with a sense of emptiness—it really lacks true flavour and definitely lacks complexity. I think it's only on par with the lower tier of brown ales out there.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 2.5
Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 23.03.14 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Tried at Brewberry in Paris. 12oz brown bottle.

Pours a slightly hazed reddish brown with a fine, relatively light body. Head forms a thin layer, fed by some fairly subdued carbonation. Bubbling is fine, in both the body and the head though. Minimal lace. Looks okay.

Nose is fairly subdued as well. There's some mild, but pleasant brown sweetness, a hint of burnt sugar and perhaps a little faded hop presence. Under it is a little savoury, almost salty roast and a touch of vegemite. Not bad, but not superb either.

Taste is fairly similar, but with a slickness and a bit more heft in the body to keep it smooth. Fairly empty entry with more of that brown sugar note coming in after a while. Light fruity tones come through on the mid-palate, with a touch of roast and a suggestion of cherry on the back to clear it up. It's pleasant enough.

Feel is fairly light, and pleasant enough.

It's not bad, but it's not really all that great either. It's solid enough in its own way, and pretty drinkable for its 7% ABV. It doesn't do anything particularly out of the ordinary, but it's certainly far from being uninteresting.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Hughe Dunn Brown
Reviewed by Jez on 15.02.14 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
750ml heavy dark green bottle (#346 of 700) purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney by my brother-in-law and given to me for Christmas. Yeah, he's alright.

Pours a deep, dark brown, almost black in hue, with flashes of red when held to the light. Head forms inconsistently: quite frothy on initial pour, but settling out to a filmy mess that leaves good lacing. Rather light body; there's some fine carbonation that swells through it, but it's quite lightweight. Looks decent.

Nose is a slightly musty brown bread basis, without a lot over the top to add complexity or richness. Oddly, there's a strange lemony character that dominates more than anything—it's odd and not all that good.

Taste is certainly better. Here there's a solid roasty malt basis that stays firm and driving throughout. There's still not a stack of complexity though. Light lemony hints come through again, some wavering toffee notes evanesce in the background. Feel is very light, slightly frothy and adds a fullness to the palate—it's one of the high points of the beer to be honest.

Overall, it's a solid brew. But only solid. For a beer that comes in an individually numbered bottle, I'm a little underwhelmed.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.5
Old Hooky
Reviewed by Jez on 15.02.14 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
500ml bottle served to me blind by @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a lovely clear amber, bright and clean. Head is a pleasantly foamy beige, that settles to a pocked head of film. Some fine specks of lace as it goes down. Carbonation is fine, body looks like it has a bit of weight to it. Looks good.

Nose is slightly sweet and malty, but with some English estery notes coming through, a little rose and blackberry. Some slightly herbal, slightly earthy hops come through as well, giving a moderately peppery tone to it as well. It's quite pleasant.

Taste is pretty clean and pleasant: light malty entry, some grainy notes with a couched fruity sweetness towards the back. Clean, leafy hop character just dries out the back slightly, but it retains enough sweetness to keep the back palate going. Feel is nice and smooth, but with a lightness that helps the drinkability.

Yep, very drinkable, and really very enjoyable. It's well-made, very clean and consistent, but with enough flavour to keep it interesting. I enjoyed it a lot.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Kichesippi 1855
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.09.13 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
On tap at Darcy McGee's in Ottawa.

Pours a deep burnished copper, big off-white fluffy head. Sparse webs on the side, good retention. Looks good.

Smells like a good amber ale. Malty, with fragrant floral hops on the side. Touch of toffee, rosewater and coffee crisp. Pretty appealing.

Starts nicely. Brown light-roasted malts giving rich chocolate and roasty notes, before some hop oil bitterness comes in, slightly soapy but with grapefruit edge. Finishes with a slight yeast note, slo a touch of butter. Not bad, but some flaws in there for sure.

Decent body, but a little sharp midway.

Nice start to Ottawa beer for me. Big flavour, well-constructed.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 27.04.13 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a dark, cloudy brown colour, with a massively frothy head of large-inconsistent beige. It's pillowy, cloud-like and is going to be a pain to chew through. Body is quite light, and a little insipid. Holds little to no carbonation. Overall, it looks a little bit unappealing.

Chocolate and roast, with dark fruits on the nose. Some dusky cocoa, peanut brittle and some organic, earthy notes, like rich, loamy soil. There's a whiff of coffee in there as well, but it's well behind everything else. Overall, though. It smells pretty nice.

Taste is light and a little spritzy on the entry: this bottle seems to be a little too carbonated, meaning the flavours have to develop after the attack of fizz on the front. Once they come through, they're rather pleasant: mild roast coffee, rounded husky nuttiness, and a touch of that loaminess mingling with a slight English hop bitterness on the back. It's a little tannic more than crisp with hops as it finishes.

Feel suffers substantially from the carbonation, which is very much too heavy.

Overall, this is decent enough, but too carbonated: I'll try it again some time in a smoother form, where I'm sure it will be rather pleasant.

appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Raven Cream Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 05.08.12 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
On-tap at The Whip in Vancouver.

Pours a deep ruby red: brilliantly so, like blackberry juice. Head is a full, creamy off-white that sits solidly above the body. Some decent mild, patchy lace. Love the colour though. It's so vibrant and rich.

Nose is mild and smooth, and rather English in style. There's a touch of toasty malt along with a slight fizz of carbonic acid. Yeah, mild, but smooth sums it up. It's tasty as it is, without being revolutionary.

Taste is similar. Thin light body, with stacks of light creaminess in the feel. Surprising for the colour, there's not much in the way of roast or real malt character until the very end, where some grainy notes, some milt toasty characters and a touch of nuttiness come through. Feel is very, very smooth indeed.

Overall, this is a nice ale. Solid, firm and creamy, while maintaining a very English-like restraint. Good stuff.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
King's County Brown Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 06.06.12 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark leathery brown colour. Froths over when opened, head settles out before long into a bubbly foam on top. Lace is OK but nothing great. Looks alright.

Smells chocolatey and pleasant. Hint of leather on there with some honey, espresso coffee and peppery spirits. Sweet, mostly roasty. Slips slightly into an odd sourness, but decent, appealing aroma overall.

Taste is brown-ale-esque. Pleasant roasty notes with dark chocolate, coffee sponge and some peppery spice. Maybe a touch of spruce and a mild citrus character that sort of waters down the roastiness a bit. Late palate is quite mild and a little watery, but the upfront flavours are pleasant enough to make you go for another sip, and another.

Bit thin, watery, yeah not a lot of texture. Late mouthfeel has a pleasant dryness but otherwise it's pretty lame.

Pretty typical brown ale. Nice flavours, nothing overwhelmingly big about it. To style. Could drink it, though.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Saint Botolph's Town
Reviewed by Jez on 15.10.11 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.

Bottled in May, so this one is a few months old. Pours a deep, but somewhat ruby-hued brown, with a fine and filmy head of ochre-beige, riddled with large-bubbles. Lacing forms in pockets around the edge of the glass. Not bad.

Nose is mild and nutty, with some pleasantly smooth lightly toasted malt characters. Lifting it is a slight peppery spice and a hint of bright cinnamon. It's all pretty mild, but it's really nicely integrated.

Taste is a bit flat, but has a pleasant hook of nutty grain through the centre, and a dry slightly bready finish. Bitterness is present through the centre, but very subtly executed so there's no resin or oiliness to it. It does feel dulled and muted somewhat, especially on the feel.

I wonder if this really needs to be fresh to be so good. This had some pleasant characters, but everything was muted, mild and a little flat. This helped it all integrate, but also made me shrug a little bit as well. So what?

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Mornington Peninsula Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 31.08.11 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Birthday present from Slowbeer from the lovely @epiclurk.

Pours a fine, deep brown colour, with a firm and pretty persistent head of light ochre. Patchy speckled lacing forms as the beer goes down. Body looks a little thin, but suitable enough—the carbonation is rather loose, however.

Nose is light with touches of roasted malts and sweeter dried fruit notes. Above this is a surprisingly crisp fragrance, almost like a clean hoppiness giving some lift and buoyancy to the nose. Almost a touch of preserved lemon or pawpaw. Very pleasant.

Taste is very light and mild, but with some lovely toasty characters on the back, giving a hazelnut smoothness and a lightly cleansing dark bitterness. Quite a smooth mouthfeel despite the relative lightness of the body—the carbonation is very subdued on the palate.

Very easy-drinking brown ale, with enough characters to tickle the palate, but a smoothness that makes you want to gobble it down. MP seem to have the uncanny knack of making flavoursome beers that are rippingly easy to drink. Great work.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Bolita Brown Double Nut Brown Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 30.08.11 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark espresso colour with thin beige head, little bit whispy but delicate trails of lace indicate a decent body. Looks good.

Smell is dark: smokey and chocolatey largely. Big boozey hit giving scotch and chocolate liqueur notes, with an ethanol, characterless edge. Some cocoa and woody notes round it out nicely, but not seamlessly. Pleasant enough but seems empty.

Taste is actually quite savoury. Roasty but without a lot of sweetness so kind of burnt flavour to it, all pretty subdued. Late-mid is quite boozey with a slight bourbony edge to it, but it all ends really quite early without much of a finish. Almost seems creamy on the back, where the roastiness drops off. Mouthfeel is velvety and creamy, really, with a thick body that belies the oddly empty palate.

There are all the flavours there of a thick, big flavour bomb, but it just falls short on the wham factor that I otherwise expected.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Bolita Brown Double Nut Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 20.08.11 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Very Good)
750ml bottle purchased from New Beer Distributors in NYC, brought back to Sydney to drink with @laituegonflable and @tobeerornottobe during a brewday.

Pours a very deep brown colour, quite opaque with some floating sediment. Head is quite incredible. I can't think of a way to describe the colour except "bright brown". It's light brown, but with a vivid orange hint to it that makes it stand out. Retention is good enough, and the body looks thick. Lacing is a bit patchy, but otherwise, it's a great looking beer.

Nose is toasty but sweetened with touches of coconut and sweetened almonds. Although the sweetness comes through, it doesn't feel particularly full. The characters, while sharp, don't evoke much complexity. Otherwise nice.

Taste is similar. It has a pleasant nutty character on the back which mingles with a touch of roast malt and a hint of bitterness, either from some husky astringency, or from early hops. It's smooth and has sweet characters of coconut and dark chocolate, but again, it doesn't have a great deal of fullness—this also means that the booze is more noticeable than I feel it should be.

Nice beer, but I wish I loved it more. It has a lot of nice characters, but it's missing cohesion for me.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Mornington Peninsula Brown Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.03.11 on tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Very Good)
Tried on tap at the brewery.

Pours a murky soil colour, cola-esque really with orange tinge. Head is beige, sunk to a thin cloud with some unimpressive lacing. Decent colour, not all that great overall.

Smells decent with a very chocolatey aroma. Lots of cocoa butter on there with slight vanilla and a touch of glacé cherry. Brown sugar as well, and a mild dark fruit adding both sweet and tart at the back. Excellent brown ale smell, all the right sweetnesses and darker notes.

Taste is quite pleasant. Darkish caramel on the front is rich and fairly sweet. Develops darker chocolatey notes towards the mid with cocoa and some brown sugar. Finish is dark, sweet and slightly tart with raisins and a hint of black pepper on there.

Bit thin on the front and finish is really rather dry; a bit too much.

Still, a nice darker brown ale, good blend of sweet, roasty, tart, spicy, for an anjoyable drop overall.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Baird Angry Boy Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 17.03.11 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Purchased for me from Slowbeer by @epiclurk. Cheers!

Pours a dark, but very solid dark red/burgundy hue--a cracking colour for a beer, although not the brown the name implied. Head is full and frothy, but frothy like meringue, crashing down quickly and leaving minimal lacing. Decent looking brew all up though.

Nose is pleasantly but mildly hoppy, giving some fresh sweet citrus notes, with just a suggestion of syrupy malt. Together, it forms a lovely balance, with the sweeter malt giving it a nice twist from the standard IPA/hoppy pale ale mould.

Taste is a little softer, or at least thinner. Here the hop bitterness doesn't mesh so well with the other characters, although the other characters are reasonably bold. Besides the sharp, direct humulus through the centre, we have a slight nuttiness and a rounded sweet malt extract character, but they seem to sit apart from the hops, and don't integrate well.

Feel is light and a bit thin. This lack may be one of the reasons for the lack of integration on the palate.

It's a nice beer, and solidly drinkable one, but this is a really great style, and I feel like this example is only par for the course.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Fanny Gertrude's ANZAC Bickie Beer
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 24.02.11 on tap
Overall:
51 / 100
(OK)
Slightly burnished golden amber colour, lack of head really but small trails of lace around. Small, slow bead through the clear body. Looks a bit flat and unimpressive.

Smells very sweet, with nice coconut notes but a darker side that has touches of children's cough medicine about it. Yeah, there's a "dissolved in water" edge to the sweetness; seems weak and simple. Not a bad smell, I like everything that's here but there's not enough and it doesn't bode well for the flavour.

Taste is similar; there's plenty of sweetness with vanilla, coconut, a touch of brown sugar and some molasses but ultimately it's just weak and lacklustre. Slight oatmeal note as well towards the mid, but the finish is short, and fairly watery, with a touch of boozey bitterness. Not enough, however, to save this palate from mediocrity.

Thin feel, I guess but has a bit of texture as it goes down thanks, I'm sure, to the oats used.

Sweet enough and not bad, but I want a lot more flavour and body.
appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Jacobs Ladder
Reviewed by Jez on 11.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
51 / 100
(OK)

Bought from a bottle at Knopwood's Retreat in Salamanca.

Pours a burgundy or reddish-amber colour. Minimal head from the pour, even with some vigour applied. A little carbonation, but it's large bubbled and doesn't conduce the foam. Thin body. Looks pretty average.

Nose has a bit of malty grain, but very thin and light--a little roastiness is present, but it's fleeting. Also something green and organic, with a little bit of acidity. Not bad, but still, pretty average.

Taste is rather sweet but thin. Carob is dominant, giving a light watered-down malt character. Thin backbone, and very little body to it, although some sweet roast does come through on the back. It reminds me of dodgy black lagers, or poorly crafted dark ales. Bit of acidic black in the finish.

Not great. A poor example of the style. But where as a poor example of a pale lager would be utter shite, this does just end up "not great".

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Black Mac
Reviewed by Jez on 22.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)

Had from a bottle in Auckland Airport. Nice to see some tasty brews available. No Hop Rocker, sadly, but this will do nicely.

Pours a deep and dusky red-brown, almost like aged red wine, with a filmy head of fine foam. Reasonable lace, but not a lot, head leaves a little to be desired, but around the edges it's very tightly bubbled at least.

Nose is quite subtle, with some dusty roasted malts, a touch of chocolate and a light aniseed and blackberry note. Pleasant enough.

Feel is quite thin, it's quite noticeable from the start. Similar characters on the palate to on the nose. Roasted malt rules here too, but it's all quite light on. Some subtle dark berry characters on the back and a light lifting spice. Hint of hop oil on the very back - bitterness lingers briefly on the finish.

Decent brew all up, one in quite the English style, but with a few tricks up its sleeve. Tasty enough to keep me going in transit, anyway...

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Nutter
Reviewed by Jez on 07.09.10 on tap
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)

Very deep brown colour, although it's clear there's a good deal of clarity to it. Head is minimal and filmy, but it leaves some very finely patterned lacing. Carbonation is fine, and stays static in tiny bubbles when swirled. Not bad.

Lots of liquorice and aniseed on the nose, quite sweet but with that underlying spice. Not much in the way of nuts, although the almond perhaps lends a slight marzipan character. Aniseed rules there though.

Taste is similar. Almond skin gives a rugged undertone to flavours of bitter orange peel, more aniseed and liquorice. Quite thin on the palate, could use some more depth. Bitterness comes through on the back, but it's almost a medicinal bitterness from the almond essence and aniseed. Very little hop character. Mouthfeel is certainly too thin, however. It's very odd, but it's not unpleasant.

A drinkable brew. Interesting and quite pleasant, with plenty of character. It's missing the raw excitement and aggression that I feel is missing from all Redoak brews, but it's doing something well, and it's certainly more interesting than most.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Brown Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 02.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a dark redwood colour, very murky and brown. Head is a creamy beige and just gorgeous, with marshmallowy dense top, fluffy and sinking around the sides. Lace is a bit thin, but it is there. Looks damned tasty and nice.

Nose is quite malty, with a fair amount of caramel and toffee coming off. A slight sourness hides behind, hints of oak and some cereal grain. Floral character as well with a touch of mint. Has all the right brown ale elements and then some.

Taste is quite malty, a lot of chocolate and cocoa flavours abounding. Has some caramelised flavours distinct on the front and back, while mid-palate is a more sour affair, giving off lots of oak with bitter chocolate and some fig notes. Also a slight herbaceous character, like the sap note you get when there are tree leaves in your mouth. Nicely dissipates by the end though, leaving a pleasant slightly roasty sensation with some poignant coffee notes.

A little sharpness on the tongue makes it feel a little thin, or perhaps overcarbonated. But there's a nice spongey texture to the rest of it, pretty good feel.

A well-balanced, drinkable ale with plenty of flavour and character. Nøgne Ø's Imperial Brown Ale was a cracker; this, on the other hand, is a cracker. (Ironic tone probably lost in written form).

Quite frankly, it's not that I have a particular bias towards heavy, boozier beers; it's just nobody else seems to be able to brew a 4.5% beer that tastes nearly as good as this. Good work yet again, Norway!
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Nutter
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 28.06.10 on tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a dark murky red burgundy-colour but mostly black. Head is beige, sparsely webbed and sinks slowly. Doesn't leave much lace but does retain quite well and overall looks good.

Smell is very fruity. Lots of berry notes and hints of citrus peel and plum. Really quite tangy, but a pleasant sweetness underlying with nutty malt notes and a mild chocolate hit. Pleasant, but does lean oddly heavily on the tang.

Taste is a lot darker, although starts out with more of that citric tang. A hint of orange sherbet and some fresh berries descend midway into a very nice chocolatey malt palate. Sweet, fairly rich, not bitter at all really, just some nice hints of fruity acid cutting through the bold, black sweetness. Hints of some currants on the back, roasty and sweet-dry. A really tasty beer, useful as a warmer. Toasty, fruity, rich and enjoyable.

Medium body, goes down nicely. Nothing special on the feel but has no rough edges so it's perfectly fine. Bit dry at the back which is not ideal but it can be forgiven because of the overall smooth texture. Very drinkable beer.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Hobgoblin
Reviewed by Jez on 28.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)

Pours a deep ruby brown, with great clarity just like the bottle promises. Initially, it looks like no head is forming, but after a slight pause, a whole bunch of tiny bubbles coalesce out of the body, leaving a frothy light beige layer on the top. Good lacing. Not a lot of carbonation, but the bubbling that does exist is exceptionally fine. Looks very nice.

A little malty sweetness on the nose, with a hint of dried banana, and a slight port character. A light metallic phenol character is also present, which ensures the nose isn't overly sweet overall. It's quite light, but it's a very nice English ale nose.

Taste is initially smooth, but with a crescendo of darker grain notes and a zing of metallic bitterness. Finish is quite phenolic, as though the natural grain and hop notes have been replaced by something artificial. I visualise it as though what starts in a verdant forest slowly morphs into an industrial city of steampunk pipes. Lacks sweetness and smoothness on the rest of the palate. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, although the latent carbonation becomes noticeable here.

Not bad, overall, but the most important element is disappointing - the harshness on the back is quite disconcerting, and while it stays pretty drinkable, it's not something I'll seek out with alacrity.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
White Rabbit Dark Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.10.09 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dusky red-brown colour with very cloudy appearance, almost opaque with healthy beige head, good retention. Lace is a sticky film, thick, sticky and gorgeous. Hell of a looker.

Nose is quite sweet and spicy, a lot of malt and steamed pudding aroma with aspects of nutmeg and cinnamon as well, maybe a hint of clove. Slight herbal aspect. Not very pungent though for all that, smells very enticing but could just use more, should punch you with enticement. Not a subtle seduction technique I know, a punch in the nose, but still...

Taste is unusually tart. Has a pudding, cakey kind of malt base to it, quite English really, then assaulted by a bit of a sour and slightly bitter spice character. Hints of lemon zest, mustiness and a bit of funk.

Mouthfeel is quite slick but mostly just thin I think. A little bit of zing and leaves very dry. Almost a vinous dryness and I feel like this would hangover the fuck out of me.

Drinking is quite nice though, phenolic and astringent but not palate-destroyingly so. Seems interesting but a bit thin.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.5
White Rabbit Dark Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 30.09.09 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)

Pours a ruddy red-brown colour, quite clear, and certainly not particularly dark, but the head is a nice yellowish white cloud. Lacing is good. Overall it looks very pleasant indeed.

Some dusty grain on the nose, a little roasted character, and a faint whiff of banana. Even something else fruity, like apricot sits behind the dusty grain characters which is what is most prominent. Very pleasant, if not particularly big.

The grain is more prominent on the palate, and the phantom fruit characters disappear entirely, leaving it quite dry, and unfortunately rather thin. It has a pleasant wholemeal bread character on the palate, and the back is refreshing, but I feel as though the nose promised more than the palate delivers. Ends up feeling a bit thin.

Still, it's a very drinkable and quite sluggable beer, much like the English ales I can only imagine it is styled after. Refreshing enough, and it goes down very smoothly. Not bad at all, overall.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
James Squire Amber Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 17.09.09 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)

(Another glaring omission from my reviewing history).

Pours a burnished deep copper amber colour, with a good head of yellowish-white film. Lacing is excellent around the edges, and there's lots of tiny streaming carbonation, but it's not helping the head retention. Overall, it's a pretty decent looking beer. Quite tasty.

A bit of sour grain mash on the nose, plenty of malt, with a little tingle of seltzer water. Quite round and full, coppery, malty, certainly not much in the way of hops. A decent nose. Not astounding, but decent.

Smooth on the palate, initial copper bitterness forward, followed by a light roasted nutty character entering part way through. Some yeastiness on the back but this is minor compared to the pleasant grain and nut characters. Overall, pretty tasty, and pretty drinkable.

A very drinkable Amber ale, with a very decent amount of character. Certainly good when you want a malty sessioner.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Holgate Nut Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.09 on tap
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)

On tap, at the Sydney Local's Beer SpecTapular.

Brilliantly clear dark amber brown, with a fine bubbled head of creamy offwhite bubbles. Excellent lacing, just gorgeous as hell. Awesome really really wonderful looking beer.

Lovely rich roasted grain notes on the nose, lots of dark bread rye caraway and a nutty sweetness lying underneath. Lightly astringent notes of charred hazelnuts.

A really lovely roasty sweetness on the palate just toasty and delicious. It's not terribly complex, but the flavours are really nice. Mouthfeel is rich and slick and shiny. Just wonderful

An excellent beer, with a great drinkability. Has roastiness, character but nothing is overdone. Delicious.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Holgate Nut Brown Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.07.09 on tap
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a deep cherry red colour with pleasant yellowy beige head, not ridiculously thick but sticking around bloody well. Very small bubbles, almost nitro-dense, with divine sticky lacing.

Rich, sweet but dark smell, kind of jaffa-esque with an espresso roastedness behind it. Some dark cocoa as well, maybe even some Irish cream. Brooding and delicious, I like that smell a lot.

Taste is very nice but a bit of a hodge-podge. Very sweet and toffee on the front, gets more roasted in the middle with hints of burnt cereal grains, barbecued corn and rich cocoa. Slightly metallic hops with moderate phenols on there, while finish is a bit dry for my taste. Rich, burnished toffee and kind of brassy on the back palate.

Pleasant smooth mouthfeel, but a bit watery for the fullness of the flavour. Pleasant, smooth drinking, with a lot of good characters to enjoy here.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Grand Ridge Moonlight
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.06.09 in bottle
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)
Pours a dirty orange colour with a large beige head, very dense and good retention, although forms an interesting topography by sinking in places. Lacing is pretty thin, carbonation pretty steady. Looks extremely OK.

Very, very malty nose. Malt-tastic. Sweet brown sugar smell with burnt toffee and almost a corporeal smell, like sweat or something. (Sweat is probably the clean version) Fairly simple, with very little in the way of hops, just smells sweet. For all that it's not bad though.

Taste is also very malty, although front has a slightly salty edge, again with that slightly corporeal character. It's very organic anyway, like a raw vegetable character. Malty majority of the palate is slightly nutty and fruity with a Christmas cake kind of vibe to it, although the malt is interrupted halfway through by the increasing hop influence, very metallic in taste and that leave a slightly bitter hang, soft enough to be enjoyed but a bit too sharp in flavour to be savoured. That's not to say they're overly sharp in particular though, because the whole palate is a very mellow affair, like listening to Deep Forest on a bean bag.

Mouthfeel is smooth, to help it along the way, and quite full which is good for a lighter alc/vol beer. Fair amount of flavour on this, but quite simply constructed and easy drinking. Decent effort, really. They should definitely serve this at the SCG instead of VB midstrength, that's all I'm saying.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Young's Christmas Pudding Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.04.09 in bottle
Overall:
90 / 100
(Superb)
Pours a pleasant red-tinged amber colour with very slow bead feeding a nice but drowning beige head. Very yummy lacing, makes a waterfall effect down the sides when tilted. Nice.

What an interesting, fascinating aroma. It's very sweet with a kind of cinnamon-caramel smell and hints of vanilla. Has a kind of rubber character on there too, but it's not unwelcome, mainly because it's not too dominant. Fascinating nose - very sweet, very pleasant. Loses half a mark only because it smells nothing like beer should.

Oh my god. I can't believe that tastes the same as it smells. In fact I can't believe how that tastes, it's incredible. A strong pavlova character with a slight cinnamon flavour without the spice factor. Vanilla, caramel, lightly toasted crême brulée, it's all there, begging me to dance with it, saying 'come to me, take me here, bend me over backwards and fondle me'. This is a multiple orgasm of a beer. It has the highs and lows of a Stravinsky concerto and the smooth, velvety texture of rubbing your hand along the hide of a cow after a very heavy rainstorm. In a word, exquisite. A slight, very slight hint of herbal hops at the very end of the palate reminds you that this ambrosia is beer. This is drinkable as anything and just so fascinating and unique. A top quality drop.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5.0
Young's Christmas Pudding Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 12.04.09 in bottle
Overall:
86 / 100
(Exceptional)

Lightly cloudy, opalescent red-brown, with a chunky thick head of yellow bubbles. Lacing is crafted by the gods, so amazing. Looks very, very tasty indeed.

Notes of kirsch and plasticene on the nose. Fruit, acidity and brandy, with light herbal notes. Wonderful.

Oh, what a sweet, smooth, and delectable palate. Redolent of creamy desserts, just like Christmas pudding with vanilla custard. Creamy and sweet, you can taste the ice-cream melting over the warmed, soaked pudding. Mouthfeel is wonderful, slick and creamy. There's a light, crisp herbal character over the top, which just serves to accentuate the creaminess underneath.

Young's just keeps rising in my opinion. This is a truly wonderful special occasion beer, creamy, delicious and unique. Just wonderful.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5.0
Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 02.02.09 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Downtown Brown
Reviewed by Jez on 21.09.08 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)

I love Lost Coast's labels - it's like Reg Mombassa meets Pablo Picasso. Not only don't we get the craft range of the States in Australia, we don't get the coolest labels either.

Anyway...
This one pours a deep mahogany brown with a vague haze. Head is a thin film of yellowy-beige bubbles. Carbonation is minimal. Looks nice though - I like the colour.

Not a lot on the nose. Hint of roasted malts and a touch of smokiness. Other than that, it's pretty plain. Not a bad nose, but not a lot to it.

Taste is also quite subdued. It's a pleasant, nutty dryness, with a hint of roasty goodness on the back palate. Quite thin, a little sweetness, but very dry at the end. There's not a huge amount there, but it's quite tasty. Feel is moderate with a slight uplift of effervescence.

It's not an overly impressive beer, but it's tasty enough, and it's extremely drinkable. This would make an excellent session as far as I'm concerned. A decent, mild, English style Brown Ale.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Newcastle Brown Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.03.08 in bottle
Overall:
29 / 100
(Nasty)
Pours a flat, reddish-brown colour with zero head and zero carbonation. Admittedly it's a chug-by-the-pint ale so carbonation, head or anything interesting would diminish from its purpose, but frankly it just looks really really dull.

Smell is okay, a fair amount of floral hops on the nose with a subdued hint of roasted dark ale aroma. Ever so slightly sour.

Taste has an unpleasant sickly sweetness on the very front palate which follows on nicely to a fairly hoppy mid palate with a slight burnt or roasted character, which would probably stand to be greatly increased. At the moment, with the quite sweet hit on the front it tastes like coffee diluted with lots and lots of sugar. Mouthfeel is watery and still. Not all that great, really. I guess it's mild enough to drink, but I wouldn't.
appearance: 1.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 2.0
James Squire Amber Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 10.03.08 in bottle
Overall:
60 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a nice redwood colour with a creamy dense head of white tinged with ochre. Leaves a very thick film of lacing around the glass.

Nose is very nice. Spiced fruit mixed with brown sugar. Not very complex, it's basically an odour in a straight line but the characters are very pleasant.

Taste is unusual, in that it doesn't really taste like it smells. The fruit which was spicy and vibrant on the news here tastes sour and off. Lots of hops flourish throughout the palate but there's far more of a sour than bitter character to this. The palate is long, but there isn't that much complexity. I'm not that much of a fan of sour beers and although this is nowhere near as sour as your average lambic, I'd say this is no exception. Mouthfeel is nice, smooth and creamy.

Overall, a respectable drinking beer with an acquired flavour.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Grand Ridge Moonlight
Reviewed by Jez on 20.02.06 on tap
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)

Light brown with some flashes of red. Good off-white head. Some carbonation, minimal lacing.

Nose is nutty and sweet, Quite nice. Not much fragrance, but it does well within the confines of being a light beer.

Quite a sweet start on the palate, which peters out to nothing very quickly. Hints of nutty caramel, but the flavours disappear so quickly you don't have much chance to savour the good parts.

Needless to say this is in a class above other "light" beers. It does suffer from some of the problems they face, but this has a damn sight more character.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 3.0