69 / 100
Pours a pleasingly dark brown colour, with a frothy, thick head beige, which crackles down to a persistent couple of fingers, leaving webby lacing. Carbonation is fine and swift, and the body is really very light. Looks pretty good though.
Nose is toasty and rather refined. There's a hint of cacao in it, but mostly it's built on sturdy malt—not overly sweet, not overly grainy, not overly savoury. It's somewhere in between all three. There's a slight whiff of carbonic acid, which might imply an oversupply of carbonation (and would explain the head) and a hint of something like glace cherries. It's nice all up.
Taste is very nice, but quite light. The palate is quite thin, but it's lengthened by a really persistent roasted malt character. Entry is a little sharp and dry, before dark chocolate and anise well up in the centre of the palate. The sweetness (what little there was, anyway) drops away, leaving the back rather bitter and robust. Feel is quite light, but the length of it gives it legs.
Overall, it's a nice drop. It's got a robust bitterness on the back palate which gives it oomph. Otherwise it might have been clean and forgettable. But there's nice things going on in here.
61 / 100
Whole coffee export stout, brewed for GABS festival 2017. Tried there on tap.
Pours a brown colour, with thick beige head; doesn't have the thick crema character of a nitro head but pretty nice-looking. Maybe a touch pale too, for a stout.
Loads of coffee on the nose. Spicy, sweet and roasty, with notes of sweet chocolate as well. Yeah, big sweet coffee character. Pretty nice.
Taste is really sweet. Some grainy notes upfront with a touch of peanut, then coffee takes over but it lacks the oomph of the nose, it tastes instead like a bit of a weak, sugared coffee. Like Vietnamese milk coffee in fact. Which is a bit of a shame. Could use more bitterness to balance.
Decent body, goes down pretty nicely.
Drinks alright, but definitely needs more oomph from the coffee as it's all a bit meek and sweet.
81 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of a bulk order with some work folks. BB date of January this year, so it's past, but it shouldn't matter so much for a stout, I figure.
Pours a deep, propery ebony black colour, with a firm crema-like head of malt mocha that persists as a very fine cap. Body has a bit of weight to it, and the carbonation is fine. Lacing forms in waving, intricate rings. Looks good.
Nose is really very pleasant. Proper deep roast characters, leavened with notes of sweet coffee. There's even a suggestion of oak mingled with the sweetness, which is very pleasant, and a little unexpected.
Taste is also great. It has a really lovely, brusque roasted character, giving a lovely bitter note through the centre of the palate. But around this, there are lovely aromatics: vanilla, milk chocolate, espresso. It's structure is strong too, meaning it has a very pleasant sweetness to provide the body to the beer. The back ends with some toasty, biscuity notes. Yeah. Very good stuff.
Feel is slick. It has a smoothness to it, but is light enough to not become chewy.
Overall: I'm impressed. This is a beautifully structured stout, with complexity but also coherence. That's exactly the kind of thing I want in any beer anyway, but it's particularly nice in an approachable-weight stout like this one.
73 / 100
On tap at Bitter Phew.
Pours a very dark brown, just a film of colour on the outline. Head is pale tan, nice and foamy with a good slow sink, leaving curtains of lace behind. Looks like a pretty impressive drop.
Smells appealing. Roasty undertones with a good belt of rich chocolate sweetness, good cocoa character. Hint of coffee, caramel and vanilla as well. Mostly chocolate, without being too sweet. Excellent.
Taste is quite roasty as well, more so than the nose suggested. Rich coffee flavour with spice notes, a slight burnt character midway and some really bitter dark chocolate - that type that has undertones of berries, which are what sort of emerges here as well. Nice underlying malt creates enough sweetness to carry it, but the late mid is really very bitter. Finish is not too strong but maintains a level of bitterness that's bold without being unpleasant. Not amazing and a bit dour compared to what the nose promised, but not unpleasant at all.
Decent body, bit of texture to it. Quite strong mouthfeel really, you couldn't accidentally have it in your mouth without noticing.
Good stout; nose gave hints that it could be a magnificent sweet chocolatey stout and it's a little bitter and mildly astringent instead. But well constructed.
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a dark brown colour, quite murky but visible colour flashes. Head is beige, nice density but doesn't really retain. Lacing is lovely and sticky though. Looks decent, but not amazing.
Smells potent. Kind of ethanoic, with a yeasty vegemite note and maybe some ink in there as well. Not unpleasant though, as compelementing it underneath is a nice dark chocolate sweetness, so it's a bit odd but quite promising as well.
Taste is quite roasty and spicy. Nice dark chocolate notes with a big raw cocoa kind of edge to it. Gets somewhat bitter midway; retains the chocolate but gets a burnt character along with it then gets a little piquant late, with some black pepper and a kerosene kind of note as well (not unpleasant but like a strong aged Riesling). It's fairly full on and a little sour on the back as well, which turns it just a bit in the wrong way. Otherwise a pleasant ballsy stout.
Feels a little thin upfront, but then gets some good substance towards the back. Not bad in the end.
Yeah, I'm enjoying it but there are a couple of rough edges that could be smoothed out while sticking within the style. Good export stout though.
79 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Forest Lodge Hotel during Pint of Origin – SA, during Sydney Craft Beer Week.
Pours very richly, with a deep, glossy black body and head that's full and dark, smooth and persistent, leaving intricate last. Carbonation has a slightly light, listless quality through a thicker than usual body. Mostly, it looks really good.
Nose is very slick and sweet, impressing with big notes of molasses liquorice and vanilla. All above a firm, believable and solid stout base. It's a really significant step up in complexity from the regular (which is a fine beer itself).
Taste is also very good. Apart from a very solid base of rich malt, there's a lovely woody note, giving a vanillin fragrance and hints of campfire smoke. Bitterness is restrained, but provides a a balance on the back. Afterpalate drops a little bit, but here's where the wood flavours dance most prominently, so the lack of body allows these characters to shine.
Feel is a little light. Make it 8% and we'll talk.
Overall though, I'm very impressed. The Best Extra Stout is a good beer, no question, but it took putting it in wood to really allow some of its best characters to flourish. This is great stuff.
75 / 100
Almost certainly the most divisive and controversial beer at GABS 2016, owing to the hilarious accident that the written description in the program neglected to mention the fact that this is chillied up to high fuck. For some reason, I went into this knowing of the presence of chilli, but so many people didn't, and hated it as a result. Called otherwise a foreign stout with cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee.
Pours a dark-brown, bit pale maybe with lovely thick head of beige foam. Bit pale colour-wise but otherwise looks great.
Smells chocolatey and sweet, plenty of roast and maybe some subtle spice notes that are a bit vegetative and earthy. Bit meh, just standard stoutiness.
Huge vanilla note upfront that develops into caramel grainy notes that retain their sweetness and get a bit toffeed midway. Fuck, that chilli is HUGE. Dry, scorching heat on the back that explodes. Yeah, it's a beer of two halves: really very sweet front and then just napalm on the back. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it's sort of lacking a bit of development in the middle.
Spicy heat is all over the mouthfeel, touch of warming alcohol as well.
Tastes kind of like eating chilli flakes, with big sweetness as well. Pretty amazing, but more transition/cohesion between the two elements on the palate would be great and really bring this to life.
Despite all the popular hate, this beer was earmarked for re-tasting on the final day for me. It failed to make my shortlist for beer of the festival in the end.
EDIT: I just realised the reason I knew this had chilli in it was because I read the brewer Q&A on Glen Humphries' blog beerisyourfriend.org in the lead-up to the festival. It wasn't mentioned on any official guide.
77 / 100
Foreign Extra Stout with wild mint and cacao husks, aged in Cabernet barrels for GABS 2016. Tried at the festival on tap.
Pours a dark-brown colour. Slight hint of cloud to it. Head is beige, foamy and retains well. Fairly decent stout. Good, even.
Smells chocolatey with lots of dark fruit, sultana notes. Hint of oak on there and naturally a light roast character. Generally a bit sweet, to style but not amazing.
Huge musky oak on the palate. Chocolatey upfront that develops some floral characters midway and some woody character. Finish is minty, and gives a big chocolate mint slice flavour to the proceedings overall. Sweet, floral, herbal and just a hint spicy. The mint is prominent and has a herbal medicine hint but works well with the chocolate to be just a fresh and elevating factor. Very nice.
Full body, decent with a hint of alcohol. Good stout feel.
Surprisingly good beer. From the concept it was always likely to be pretty good, but this is really good.
This beer ended up my number 6 beer of the festival.
74 / 100
Bottle gifted me by Jez, enjoyed by myself.
Pours a very dark coffee colour, with a glint of brown at the edge. Head is beige, forms a gorgeous reverse cascade upfront then settles down to a thin crown with some ruffles of lace around the top. Pretty cracking looking stout.
Smells roasty, with some bittersweet chocolate on there and a slight metallic tinge that isn't so desirable. Fairly dark, roasty, bitter. Touch boozey, maybe some brandy.
Taste is more cohesive, with some roasty notes throughout, but plenty of sweet caramelised grain and chocolate on the mid-palate. Spice on the mid-front and a slight peppery spike towards the finish. Finishes quite clean but a hint of coffee bitterness that lingers lightly. Well-constructed stout palate; sweet notes throughout but a nice toasty, stolid bitterness to finish.
Decent body with a slight carb texture late and a hint of boozey warmth late. Not bad.
Nice export stout, well constructed with a bit of booziness but not overboard. Nicely bitter finish.
73 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a deep, vivid black, with a huge, coarse-bubbled head of pale chocolate, that ends up spending all of its energy on volume, and settles out to be a coarse craggy cap with minimal lace. Body is very light and fluid for the style. I'm intrigued, but suspicious.
Nose is really genuinely very interesting. Big roasted notes of darkness, with twinges of aniseed and liquorice. But beside this runs a persistent strand of Belgian funk, almost a hint of barnyard, or the plasticky aroma you get from a gueuze. This latches pretty well into the aniseed note, and adds its presence into the construction of the aroma. It's unusual, but I definitely appreciate it.
Taste is also pretty good, with a little stilted reminder of that Belgian weirdness. Light, dry entry, with plenty of roast, followed by a rounder, slightly emptier mid-palate, that lets some of that funk come through, tied to a light, ephemeral sweetness, like the inside of a compound-chocolate easter egg. Back is a little sticky, with a lingering hint of something dark and chewy.
Feel is pretty light and frothy. It has that classic Belgian uber-carbonated feel to it, which seems to work less well in a beer like this.
Overall, it's a weird beer, straddling two traditions and perverting both in good ways. It's not a real Export Stout, but yet it stands quite apart from the Belgian tradition as well. Take it on its own terms though and it's certainly enjoyable.
Bottle brought back from Port Macquarie and gifted to me by Chris, shared with Jez.
Pours brownish, with beige-tan head, whispy bubbles on the top. Fairly unimpressive, but OK colour.
Smells caramel and toffee, with a touch of dark roast. Maybe some light espresso. Quite pleasant, dark and sweet.
Somewhere espresso-y upfront. Has notes of toffee and chocolate truffle midway. Slightly bitter late-mid, then finishes roasty without a lot of bitterness. Pretty decent export stout. Bitter, with a touch of sweet strength.
Oddly dry, bit of a thin body. OK for style.
Decent, but not an amazingly tasty export stout. Drinkable enough.
76 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a deep brown colour, rather hazy with a slightly oily weight to the body. Head is beige, forming very filmy bubbles that leaves middling streaks of lace. It looks decent enough.
Nose is rather odd. Cola comes through to me early on, along with a bit of cherry, black olive and wood. Together it gets slightly astringent. But the flavours are interesting and somehow it manages to be quite pleasant.
Taste is great. Light, toasty and crisp with a biting cherry character on the front, leading to a smooth, tart and fruit-focused mid-palate. Body and darkness provide weight, and develop into notes of coconut and red-wine tannins towards the back, giving a hint of astringency again. Aftertaste lingers, with a bite of cherry and smooth oak. Very nice.
Feel is light and slightly dry. I like it well enough as a canvas for this beer.
It's smoother and drier due to the tartness. It works with these characters well enough, and I like it a good deal as a result. I can imagine the non-soured version might be even more to my tastes.
79 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery. Served to me blind by Sam.
Pours a deep brownish colour, with a fine, but rather loose-bubbled head of greyish mocha that leaves threads of lacing. Carbonation is fine, and the body has a bit of weight behind it. Looks decent enough.
Nose is quite pleasant. A little chocolate cake batter, perhaps a bit of doughy brownie, with a touch of vanilla. Some pleasant dusty dark malt comes through too, giving it a bit more of a rigorous dark beer note. Overall, I like it.
Palate is really very dark—and very pleasant indeed. There's a pronounced roast character that gives it a sharp bitterness, but this is mellowed by a wonderfully full body that lends some sweetness and richness. All of this is underpinned by some really lovely nut characters, giving a little brittle peanut and even a hint of cashew and brusque amaretto. It's got a good deal of complexity to it—I really do like it a lot.
Feel is a little light and thin, but with the complexity, it's got enough to express itself.
Overall, from a rather inauspicious start, this really ends up being a pretty cracking beer. I love the malt complexity on the palate in particular—it gives it interest, while the beer remains really drinkable and quite exciting.
Pours a black colour, slight red tinge at the edge. Head is beige, large bubbles, looks a little fizzy. Not amazing.
Smells of what it promised. Cherry, coconut and chocolate. Sweet roast. Not bad.
Taste leans far more heavily on the cherry, with a slightly sour and rich base developing some dark fruit as it moves towards the finish. Chocolate and coconut play around the edges with a touch of red wine midway and a solid roasty finish. Not bad at all.
Decent body with a touch of carbonation sizzle. Slight booze warmth. Fine I guess.
Solid export stout. Not sure what it's missing really, but I'm just not quite on board.
Can muled back by Mother.
Pours a very dark brown, slightly reddish colour but nice and dark. Head is beige, nice and sparse but clumps together at the edges. Doesn't retain, but lacing is OK.
Smells rich, slightly roasty and dank. Chocolate and vanilla on there, slight chemical roastiness with notes of petroleum. Touch of cherry. Smells nice.
Taste is kinda spicy, roasty. Touch of dried fruit on there with cherry notes and lots of raisin sweetness. Peppery, maybe a slight spent coffee grounds character. Bitter, fruity, nice notes. Touch of oxidation but not from age, just tastes a little fortified maybe.
Smooth, bit of bite. Kind of a little thin on the end. OK.
A pleasant drop. A lot of character and fairly nicely balanced.
39 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Hypermart, Kupang City, Indonesia. This beer was perhaps the only local beer I found that wasn't Bintang during my stay in Indonesia.
Pours a dark, slightly oily brown, with a fairly staid and rather thin body. Head is a weak, coarse, off-brown colour that fizzles out quickly like you'd expect from a glass of Coke. Carbonation is also quite rapid, again enhancing its resemblance to some kind of soft drink. Hmm.
Nose is really quite sweet. Carob comes through strongly along with an artificial sweetness like processed chocolate-flavoured syrup. There's a caramel-like basis to it that really makes it feel unbalanced. There's perhaps a slight overtone of something metallic, but it doesn't cut through nearly enough to provide any real counterpoint.
Taste is a bit better, as there's a bit of dryness in the body that helps alleviate some of the worst of the sickliness. Some liquorice comes through and perhaps a suggestion of pepper. It's still mostly based around that solid sweetness as was the nose, but it's not as obscene at least.
Feel is pretty light, despite the sticky sweetness—again, it brings up its resemblance to Coke.
Overall, it's not a really nice beer. Moreover, the sweetness is bemusing in the hot climate—I could, indeed, believe the appeal of clean, very dry stout to complement the local offering of thin, fizzy lager. But this beer is a poor choice—the fact that I'd choose a Bintang over this is a sad indictment.
75 / 100
Tried on-tap at the brewery on the Bermondsey Mile. The version I tried was 8.2% ABV.
Pours a deep, opaque black-brown with a fairly heavy weight behind it. Looks almost gelatinous in the glass. Head is a yellowed mocha brown with a fair, fine consistency to it that helps form lots of streaks and rings of lace. Carbonation is a bit coarse. Looks good overall.
Nose is toasty and warm. Roast comes through suggesting a touch of acid. Rounded sweetness like marshmallow is also present. Everything is well integrated and coherent. It's smooth and very aromatic.
Light acidic entry from the darker malts—it's just a buzz and disappears quickly, leading to smooth brown mid-malt characters and a solid body. Crispness on the back gives a smack of lemon and rye crackers with lingering overtones of dark chocolate and cherry. Finish is dry, leaving cocoa powder duskiness on the back.
Feel is smooth but light—perhaps another suggestion of lower-than-average pH.
Tasty, roasty and interesting. The flavours are well integrated overall, making it seem like a more intentional beer. Despite the aggression that's present it all still seems coherent.
86 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Smooth deep, relatively clear black-brown, with a very solid and retentive head of pale mocha. Some streaking lace and fine carbonation. Looks pretty solid.
Smell is gorgeous. Rich, gooey chocolate boxed in by beautiful crisp roasted characters, with a brighter note of fresh ground coffee or capsicum. There's a berry or cherry aroma too which works beautifully, giving a different kind of sweetness. As well as this there's a crumble aromatic brown sugar character which just lends it this sense of warmth and connection. Lovely stuff. Really lovely.
Taste is also extremely good. Clean and bright roast provides a basis, while those lingering berry sweet fragrances dance around the outside. More chocolate, almost a touch of smoke, but mostly just so beautifully rounded and integrated. It's really gorgeous.
Feel is mostly rounded and pleasant. It's not a highlight, but it very much supports the other greatnesses in this beer.
Overall, I'm extremely impressed. This is lovely stuff, well melded and well-integrated. Plenty of delicious flavour but brought together with skill. Absolutely cracking brew.
87 / 100
650ml bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a rather light-bodied brown-black hue, with a very minimal head that forms as a fuzz of mild brown and then almost disappears entirely. No lace, no visible carbonation. I have to say it looks a little underwhelming.
Nose, though: amazing. Buckets of coconut, kaffir lime, turmeric up the wazoo. Some candied orange characters, along with a hint of the depth of the stout. Spicy and sweet, with a richness like wandering through a south-Asian marketplace. It's fresh and bright, and yet dank and deep at the same time, just like a big, rich Indian curry. Fan-bloody-tastic.
Taste is also excellent. Here the spices take the depth a little more seriously, with some of the more earthy tones coming through more strongly. Still lots of turmeric, pepper, kalonji mingled with lighter herbier tones of fenugreek and coriander. Better yet is that the beer rises up to support it, with a solid chocolatey tone on the back. After a while, the pepper character builds up, leaving a pronounced spiciness on the finish, but it's only a suitable effect from the flavours.
Feel is a little too light for my liking: I think it could do with a little bit more body in both the flavour and the palate. That may make this superb.
Overall, I'm very impressed. This is a supremely interesting beer that manages both to do something unique, and to provide a balanced and comprehensive beer experience. Extremely interesting and engaging stuff.
80 / 100
375ml stubby brown twist-cap bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford.
Pours a pleasant deep black-brown, with a firm, chocolatey head of bubbles that settle out to a persistent film. Lacing is speckled and spotty. Body looks quite pleasantly fluid, but holds what carbonation there is rather firmly. Overall, it's reasonably pleasant.
Nose is dusty with pleasant mild roast, some meaty characters, and a pleasant sweet spiciness. There's a depth to the darkness: plenty of sweetness to back it up: suggestions of toffee, raisins and milk chocolate, and even a suggestion of the extra alcohol, which gives some rich aromas of port. It's very pleasant stuff.
Taste is also good. Long but mildly roasted palate, leaves a pleasant toasty sweetness throughout its length. Browned sweet bread, nutella, chocolate, toasted nuts. This is backed up by a slight upkick in the darkness towards the end and a pleasantly dry and relatively crisp ending. Some of the deeper burnt toffee and sugar characters come through too, lending some complexity. It's far more exciting than I expected or remembered.
Feel is a touch light, especially for 7.4% ABV, but that does help with the crispness at the end, which is beneficial in my mind.
Overall, this is a cracking stout. Smooth and drinkable, but with complexity and richness of flavour. It's very well structured and dangerously drinkable. Easily the best dark beer brewed by one of the big boys here in Australia, and a very good beer in its own right.
75 / 100
Pours a dark-brown colour with beige head. Large bubbles but dissipates quite quickly. Bit watery-looking, to be honest. Meh.
Smell is nice and chocolatey. Bit of roast and sweetness but also fairly dry, just like an Export Stout should be. Sweetness doesn't overwhelm. Me gusta.
Bit roasty on the palate, particularly upfront. Reined in well so it never gets too big or bitter. Chocolatey notes on the mid-palate, with a hint of some nuts and maybe some dried fruits late. Finishes very clean; very decent stout.
Smooth drinking feel, nothing really going on though. Bit thin and flat but decent complement to the palate.
Great take on an often overlooked style. Very drinkable and enjoyable.
77 / 100
On-tap at the brewery in Seattle.
Pours a deep black hue, with a crema-like head of thick, frothy brown. Fine, spidery, crackling lace like smashed creme-brÃ»lÃ©e toffee. Body is a little thin, but otherwise, it looks great.
Nose is toasty, burnt and crisp and unapologetically so. There's no faux-stout sweetness to this one: it's like high-carbon roasted coffee. At least it makes its point with confidence.
Taste is again low on sweetness, but for this, it manages to stay smooth, rich and full. The darkness and the roast has a paradoxical brightness to it, as though the biting dark is the highlight of the palate. It's acrid, toasty and solid. Good stuff. Feel is light, but with some smoothness.
This is a stout-lover's stout: none of this "stout as dessert" nonsense here. It's not exceptionally heavy, it's not sweet at all, but it manages to pull everything together in a coherent if forthright whole. Great stuff.
73 / 100
Bomber purchased from Whole Foods in Pearl, Portland, OR.
Pours a very pleasant deep black-brown, with a very frothy and persistent head of mocha. Lacing is punchy and bubbly, but sticks well. Body is firm. Looks very good indeed.
Chalky cocoa on the nose, with a hint of carbonic bite to it that lessens its impact. Roasted notes come through with a touch of bland husk and char to it. There's not significant depth, but it's pleasant.
Taste is nice, and suits the style well. It's charred, dry and crispy, with a very pronounced roast. Malt sweetness is muted, leaving the roast to really come out stronglyâthat's what I want from an export stout, and this delivers. Finish is bone-dry. Almost puckering. That's powerful stuff.
Feel is dry and light on the finish, but with enough power to support the flavours at the start.
Yeah, I'll pay that. That's really powerful and unapologetic, and it works as it is. I can imagine you could make an imperial version of this that I'd enjoy more, but this is under no qualms about what it's trying to do, and for that it's successful.
77 / 100
On-tap at GABS. I've never been that impressed with McLaren Vale's other brews, but this one turned the tide quite well.
Pours a dark brown, rather translucent and insipid colour, with a disappointingly light body, and a minimal, fizzy off-white head. No lace, no visible carbonation. Looks disappointing, but that's about the last disappointing thing about it.
The nose is a wonder: deep roast characters caressed by a lovely sweetness, mild coffee char and a robust fullness of flavour. Everything is harmonious, and powerful. It's a lovely aroma.
Taste is surprisingly empty on the front, but it quickly wells up with a full roasty character and sweeter chocolate and brown bread characters, before a dance of roast bitterness and delicate sweetness appears on the finish.
Feel is surprisingly light, but the flavour is full, and it sticks around nicely.
Really smooth and really drinkable. Stacks of flavour for a 5.5% ABV stoutâenough to make me want to session it. Very impressed.
41 / 100
Awesome label. Mine was stuck upside-down as well, which I feel adds some character.
Unfortunately, this absolutely gushes on uncapping. Obscenely overcarbonated, I'm left with about a third of a bottle once it has settled enough to do a pour. Pale brownish in colour, with an ironically minimal head after the gushing carbonation has worn itself out. Light-bodied with a fair amount of cloudy sedimentation. Eh.
Nose is mild, with a slight Belgian-yeast roundness to it, and a touch of cinnamon spice. It also has the slight twang of acidity, and a thin watery character that gives the faint suggestion of pretty generic homebrew.
Taste is battered by the carbonation, which is still present with a vengeance. Bubbling through the palate, I'm left with strained taste buds by the time the flavours actually come through. There's actually a pleasant roasty bitterness to this which comes through late and adds a touch of sophistication. But this sits above that insane seltzer water character and the thin spicy character from the yeast. There's little else to recommend it.
Wow. I can't tell you how disappointed I am with this. Any Belgian should be better than this: you guys have such a long and wonderful brewing tradition to draw upon. This is very amateurish, verging on genuinely unpleasant. And the carbonation is a joke.
75 / 100
Pours a very dark mahogany brown, ochre head, creamy and dense with lovely lace left behind. That's a fine-looking stout.
Smells roasty and stouty. Lots of mild roasted coffee with cocoa, black pepper and licorice root. Mildly done, with a decent overall balance of aroma, nice roasty stout.
Taste is dark, roasty for the most part with plenty of espresso notes but mild, slight sourness with goji berries, unsweetened chocolate and mild black pepper. Caramel on the late-mid before it gets darker and spicier towards the finish with some cedar wood and cumin. Not bad, not bad at all.
Decent body but a bit overcarbonated maybe? Kind of dries up too early.
Good export stout. Big flavours but retains a nice crisp finish for easier drinkability.
I'm on holidays, so this seemed like a suitable breakfast beer. Toasty and robust. Purchased from Slowbeer.
Uncaps without much of a hiss, implying very low or nil carbonation. Indeed, when poured, the head is a filmy ring of nothingness around the edges, although when agitated, it's a lovely dense deep brown colour. Body is solidly opaque. Looks pretty good.
Nose is roasted, but rounded with a pleasant sweet character, perhaps just a grainy bread note, but it's smooth. Slight vanilla notes. It's all pretty pleasant, and not as harsh and roasted as it could have been.
Taste is also quite smoothâthe very low carbonation helps here, although the liberally laced black, roasted malt gives it pinpricks of bitterness that almost resemble the tingle of carbonation. Otherwise, it has a pleasant smoothness and rather light body. This aids the drinkability, even though the flavours are not overly complex.
Pretty decent. It's a big enough brew that maintains a rather smooth and light profile. One of the better single release beers I've had from Little Creatures.
Pours a pleasant deep and dark black. Really nice and opaque, with a pleasantly dark head of foamy but sturdy bubbling, that leaves chocolate brown lacing in sticky clumps like climbing ivy. Body has some weight to it, but still seems a little thin for a stout. Otherwise, a very decent looking beer.
Nose is dusty with sweet chocolate and a dappling of roasted malt. Certainly not black and charred, and not particularly potent.
Quite a light palate for a stout as well, with some roasted grain characters on the front and a baked nuttiness on the finish. A little oily on the back, which does a decent job of spreading the darker notes around. Feel is smooth enough, but not a lot of body to it.
Decent enough, and surprisingly easy to find in the more generic pubs in Hobart. Wish there was such a good option readily available in the shite pubs I occasionally have to visit in Sydney.
57 / 100
Had with lunch at Jam Packed at the old IXL warehouses in Hobart. One of the Cascade range that doesn't make a big appearance in Sydney.
Pours a dark black-brown in the body, with a moderate thickness. Head is crunchy and big-bubbled, although it takes a fairly vigorous pour to inspire it--light brown in colour.
Roasted malt on the nose, tending to that blackened sourness. Kalamata olive oil comes to mind. Light hints of dark chocolate, but it's all pretty mild. Not a big and boisterous stout nose.
Taste is a little sweeter, but still with that light weakness--it tastes a little like hot water that's had a small amount of chocolate dissolved in it. Some roasted bitterness on the back, but not enough, and the sweetness does tend to be the dominant character, weak as it is.
Quite light in the body, with a thin finish.
More like Tooheys Old than a true stout. Drinkable enough, with a bit of character, but nothing to write home about.
Pours a pleasant opaque black-brown with a decent full head of beige foam. Although it isn't particularly heavy, it looks the part. Lacing is good, and I certainly like the colour.
Nose has a nice roasty edge, but still a very slight PoR twang -- it's perhaps dogfood that is always brought to my mind when I smell it. Mostly pleasant roasted malt though, and a slight dry edge which carries it through. Pleasant enough.
Taste is good. Nice roasted stout characters, minimal sweetness but a very pleasant lingering dry finnish, that stays slightly ashy and black throughout the back palate. Mouthfeel is smooth enough. Perhaps missing a little depth.
This is a very decent stout, and one of the better ones that is readily available here in Oz. If it lacks the depth and complexity of the best examples it can perhaps be forgiven. It's a pretty decent brew all up.
Pours a very, very dark colour with slight red tinge around the edge. Head is minimal, sinks to an ochre ring, while lacing is deliciously sticky and consistent around the glass. Good-looking stout, for damn sure.
Nose is sour and smokey, nice roasted malt but has very little ashiness. Smells quite meaty, with a slight caramel edge as well, bit of bacon, wood smoke, light medicinal phenols, nice stouty nose. Impressive but subtle, and pleasant.
Taste is quite black, with some over-roasted characters there but none of that burnt, charcoaly bitterness. Has nice flavours in fact, but ultimately is a bit lacking in taste. Quite caramelly, with some hints of burnt toast and a slight mint character around the edge and some sour cherry flavour as well. Nice flavours, just not enough of them, ultimately seems like it's holding something back.
Mouthfeel is fairly syrupy, not much fizz, but a little bit of texture from a boozy thickness. Not bad, but not special.
Quite a drinkable stout, the right sour and bitter flavours, subdued enough to quaff, really.
77 / 100
Pours a very deep black, brownish at the edges, with a filmy, but consistent head of mocha brown foam. Some nice lacing. Body isn't quite as thick or languid as it might be, but otherwise a damn good looking brew.
Lots of deep dark, but pungent characters on the nose. Toasted coconut is noticeable, hints of oak, smoke and charred grain. It's not overwhelmingly black, but there's an awful lot to it. Very nice indeed.
Very deep, rich and succulent on the palate. There's a really nice sheen and smoothness to it, that glosses over a lot of the charred ashy characters which form the bulk of the body. It's a subtle sweetness, that takes the edge off the darkness. It's not as insane as some of the best, or most intense stouts I've had, but it's pretty good.
A very nice, and very smooth stout. Plenty of character, and quite drinkable. Not as insane, or as complex as the very best examples, but it is flying high.
Very dark colour, slight reddish tinge up to the light. Thick and dense ochre head, sinks steadily but looks nice, like frozen coke. Leaves a ring of lacing at the top. Not too special. Otherwise looks great.
Smells quite sour, a lot of burnt notes, but not overly so. A hint of some unsweetened dark chocolate and roasted coffee, and a sharp hint of booziness as well. Oddly enough blends quite well, but not perfectly balanced.
Taste is quite sour. Chocolatey on the front palate, then gets a fruity, almost wheaty organic sourness to it, dark though, roasted and with a light espresso touch to it. Doesn't have a great deal of flavour, just hands out a slightly roasted malt and maybe a touch of oak as well.
Mouthfeel is not bad, very middle of the road though, not very full but certainly not thin. Leaves a little dry, not bad.
Alcohol is very well hidden and frankly I'm not sure where because there isn't really a huge flavour here, I'm very impressed. It's all well and good for American brew-bullies to bombard heavy beers with hops to disguise alcohol, but I think here they've just utilised flavour well.
Very, very drinkable overall. Possibly the most drinkable Asian beer I've ever had, in spite of being dark, and 8%.
Pours a deep opaque black with a huge bug loosebubbled head of mocha-cream foam. Lacing is superlative. The head looks a little too much like styrofoam to my mind, but it's pretty nice.
Quite odd on the nose. Some dark roasted notes, with a really unnerving hint of weed killer. There's something sharp there - it reminds me of wandering into the garden shed. Otherwise the toasted, slightly smoky aromas are pleasant - maybe it's just a boozy hint that's putting me off, but it's certainly odd.
Deep and toasty palate, crusty and dark at the start, but mellowing to a rounded high-cocoa chocolate sweetness. The full body of the palate is rather short, but there's a single note of carbonised bitterness which lingers through the centre as the rest subsides. A hint of booze just pops up near the end. It doesn't have the complexity to be truly great, and the mouthfeel is certainly weaker than is warranted, but it's not bad all up.
A pretty pleasant stout. It certainly has a good handle on the roasted bitterness. I wish it had upped the sweetness and the body a bit, and lengthened the palate. But not bad overall.
Pours a very dark brown, only gets brown when held up to the light, otherwise just black. Head is beige and generous, although sinking steadily with craters appearing on top. Leaves a lovely film of cream lace. There seems to be some strong carbonation, which I'm not sure if I like, but otherwise looks great.
Nose is rich and chocolatey, with some nice roasted grain husks and a lot of cocoa, with a slight vanilla character. Sourness on the back, acrid in nature, from a charcoal, over-roasted character. It does, though, help to ground what could otherwise be a too-sweet nose.
Taste is quite stouty - starts out fairly mild with a slight bitter roasted coffee character, becomes more sour with that smokey charcoal character - quite subdued, but there. Finishes oddly sweet; odd in the sense that I wasn't expecting it, but it's quite nice. It has a cocoa character to it and it just floats up and doesn't overwhelm, leaving a light bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is not as full as it might have been, and is really very dry and almost puckering.
A smooth, drinkable stout and, I must say, a pleasant surprise from Cascade. It's a bit mild for a stout but that just makes it more palatable. Good effort.
Pours dark brown and somewhat vegemitey. Good creamy head was there but then dissipated fairly quickly to leave a sad-looking liquid behind.
Lots of wood-smoke aroma on the nose, with a slight tart fruitiness. Large dark oak character. Curious definitely, not all that pungent though.
Flavour is very smokey, like a spit-roast suckling pig. A lot of toasty flavours with a sour bent, hints of cherry and oak. Tastes a bit odd chilled and may actually be better warmed up a bit. Mouthfeel is fairly thin but goes down fairly smooth.
Definitely the better of the Bintara beers, more interesting and complex.
38 / 100
Pours a very slightly red-tinged glass of blackness with a nice espresso-coloured head of visible bubbles, about 1 finger thick but sinks quite quickly to a thin crown. Does leave some excellent lacing behind though, thin but very clingy. Looks decent, but not an amazing stout.
Nose is very sour and smoky, a lot of ash, oak and just general wood smoke. Slightly meaty aspect and a hint of tobacco. Quite acrid, really, without much of a sweet or fruity character. For all the darkness it's not very potent. Actually not very impressed.
Taste is mostly a heavy-roasted coffee character, very strong toasted grain flavour with a slight woody aspect to it, oaky or perhaps even pine, with a very light stonefruit character, plum or cherry. A slightly sweet flavour comes through on the very back, slightly latte-esque with a bit of a milky note to it.
Mouthfeel is really quite thin, with the flavour kind of releasing itself more from an emanating aroma than any substantial body. I'm really surprised to find out this is 6.3%, it feels and tastes really quite thin.
It is of course drinkable, because there's nothing outwardly unpleasant about this. It certainly has good moments, but the flavour is weak and simple, and there just isn't enough to this. If I were pressed I'd want to refer to this as a girl's stout, but really I just think it's a poor one. (Yes, pour your waves of hate on me, female beer drinkers)
49 / 100
This version I tried was brewed and canned in Myanmar under license by "Myanmar Brewing Co." Maroon can with a lion motif. Has won awards all over Europe if you believe the can. 8% ABV, no freshness date.
Tried at a small Italian restaurant in Nyaung-U, Bagan, Myanmar.
Pours a very deep black, with a coarse-bubbled espresso crema head. Reasonable lacing.
Nose is reasonable for a stout. Lots of coffee, hint of roasted sourness. Ends up feeling a little weak however - no doubt because it's served ice cold to counteract the cloying heat here.
Extremely ashy strong palate. Very stout indeed. Crisped blackened malt, with a hint indeed of maraschino lingering around the back. Palate stays dry and powdery for a long time. Ends up feeling almost puckieringly sour.
Actually pretty robust and impressive, especially once it's warmed.
While Myanmar should be on of those places where no one should ever have thought to brew a stout (and in fact, brews exclusively a pale swill to chug down a parched, dry throat), I was impressed to find this.
56 / 100
Black and yellow can with a rather Jaguar-looking panther on the front.
Brewed and canned under the "supervision" of Cambrew it says - I guess that's a generic label which means this could have been brewed by anyone, right?
Very dark brown-come-red-come-black body with a loose-bubbled crema coloured head. Head sticks around, but is not particularly creamy or thick.
Oxidised red wine permeates the nose. Sour malt, with an almost acid citrus tang. Also a final smoky aroma. Lots of stuff going on at least.
Nice chocolatey roasted palate on the front, which then dries out quickly to an oaky finish. Really quite smooth, not a hint of the astringent ashiness you get in some stouts. The alcohol is hidden very well. This one drinks very easily.
Mouthfeel is too light, however. No creamy fill...
Not a bad stout... Better than the other Asian standard ABC Extra Stout. It drinks a lot smoother than its 8% would suggest, in my opinion.
57 / 100
Deep, opaque black-brown. Strong, fluffy, ultimately filmy head leaves little lacing. Very viscous.
Wood smoky nose, quite heavily scented with rich dark malts. Hints of BBQ flavouring and pine resin. What a weird smell. Interesting, but weird.
Very smoky on the palate too. It's like a rauchbier. It almost tastes like drinking bacon. It ends quite astringent and sour. Is this what they were aiming for?? As it stands, it's very surprising, but rather interesting. Rather refreshing for a black.
This was the best of the Bintara range, but more because it had some interest than because it was an impressive beer in its own right.