330ml brown bottle, purchased for me by Sam as part of my 2017 #fletchvent advent calendar. Reviewed blind, with my post-blind notes at the end.
Pours a fairly clear bright golden colour, with a frothy, coarse-bubbled head of white that flattens out to large bubbles around the rim of the glass. Minimal lacing. Carbonation is rampant and fierce. It has some questionable aspects, but mostly it seems pretty okay.
Nose is lagery, in a good way. There's a clean, dry, slightly dusty grain character to it, which has a pleasing brusqueness. It connects nicely with that hint of carbonic acid from the enthusiastic carbonation. It has just the suggestion of acidity as well, but not enough that I think it's actually sour. It's nice though.
Taste is very similar to the aroma, which I have to say is just a little bit of a disappointment. I was thinking the nose could have been clean, and the taste could have given me a nice twist. But instead, it plods along on the tried-and-true path. It's not a bad path: clean, bright, grainy with a touch of yeast on the back, and just enough bitterness to provide some crispness. It's a nice (I assume) lager.
Feel is actually a little too prickly with that carbonation. But it's suitable for the style at least, and it might just be due to this bottle.
Overall, it's a nice, clean, drinkable beer. I certainly wouldn't say no to a couple of these. Groundbreaking it is not, but there's plenty of scope for a beer like this in an advent calendar.
Morrison English Bitter. Well fuck me: that's actually a disappointment. I stand by the fact that it's clean and drinkable, but I honestly don't necessarily want that lager character in an English Ale. Indeed, it's almost the style of beer I least want to be anything like a lager. And the overt, aggressive carbonation is particularly bad if they were going for an English Ale. Nope: this is one of those times when the beer is fine, but the label on it just isn't.
62 / 100
Day 11 of #fletchmas Advent Calendar 2017. Obviously classifying it as an English bitter, because Australian bitter isn't a thing, unless this beer makes it so. Spoiler: it won't.
Jeez I caught a whiff of those hops as soon as I opened the can. Pours a pale gold colour, mild haze and steady population of bead through the body. Head is white, foamy with visible bubbling at the top. Lacing could be stickier but is decent. Looks decent.
Smells, yeah, hoppy. Primarily US west coast character with a big pongy lemon character, maybe some Mosaic as well as it gives me kind of a sweet orange character as well, and a hint of some tropical NZ hop character as well. Very faint malt backbone, but it's there. Not sweet, but like a good spent grain mash tun. Wet, grainy. It's all very pleasant and nicely constructed.
Taste is actually mildly disappointing, but I'm thinking it's just a fragrant pale ale now whereas my mind went IPA straight away on smelling, so just readjusting my mindset. Yeah, big fragrant citrus upfront that kind of dissipates midway, with a slight chemical soda water kind of bitterness through the mid-palate, then some muted grapefruit notes on the back with a touch of metallic character as well. Definitely spent grain notes too, and in the sense of it being bland and a bit wet and sodden like all the malts have been wrung clean from it; it's quite bland in terms of malt base, and the hops are just not that vibrant and feel strangely suppressed.
Mouthfeel is a little thin, too; some sharp hop pull towards the back that keeps me from wanting to savour it in favour of slamming it down - is that a good thing? If it's intentional I guess so.
But regardless, the flavour isn't quite balanced enough to be a full quencher. The hops, the malt all just feel a bit muffled and bland, but it's clearly meant to taste fresh and drinkable. It's not bad in this sense either but it's just not that great.
Late edit: makes perfect sense when I find out what this is. I feel the hops are too fragrant for the style as they give a different impression while drinking. I also suspect there's some PoR in the hop bill, which is not a bad thing but it explains why it feels a bit muted.
75 / 100
Got a bottle of this in my Bridge Road beer advent calendar and thought I'd reviewed it; turns out I haven't.
Pours a burnished red-copper colour. Head is beige, pillowy and foamy and sinks nice and unevenly. Leaves a few specks of lacing behind. Touch of cloud. Looks beautiful.
Smells appealing and quite intriguing. Coppery, but with pungent apple fruit character, slight hints of lemon and tangerine and a touch of piquant black pepper. Grassy, and some nice toffee caramel malt underlying. Very pleasant.
Taste is very malty upfront, lots of sweet spice to it as well. Develops some herbal hop notes with a fresh zing of lemon midway, then a slight coppery bitterness towards the back. Dry pepper on the back as well. Quite spicy really, with a touch of fennel and other herbal notes. Finishes clean but a nice residual toffee sweetness hangs around to keep you drinking. Very tasty in spite of that metallic twang.
A bit sharp but smoothes out delightfully at the end, I think it's that residual malt base coming through on the end.
So it's possible I've never tried this beer and yes, I get the hype now. For so long I thought I'd tried this and just didn't agree with the hype, but this really is a great drop. Exciting, fresh and very well crafted.
61 / 100
On handpump at the Porcupine. Described as a best bitter but not sure if they mean ESB.
Pours a burnished copper, fairly light with yellowy beige head, small bubbles on the top. Fairly standard bitter look.
Smells kind of malty, toffee with a hint of minty hop. Some burnt sugar caramel and maybe a touch of floral botanicals as well. Not bad but quite subdued.
Taste is malty from the get go. Big British toffee character getting caramel and slightly burnt midway. Hops take over, quite English with herbal notes and a spiky touch of fresh cut grass. Fairly decent bitter notes, lingers nicely on the back. Not really sensing an American influence here except that it's slightly bolder than an English bitter. But then is it meant to be an ESB, in which case it would be anyway?
Creamy, almost uncomfortably viscous if held in the mouth, like it's changing state into a plasma consistency. I think it's just the larger malt body on cask but it's slightly odd.
Nice drop, fairly big flavoured for such an otherwise subdued, English style.
500ml brown bottle brought back from the UK by my Dad. Shared with Sam.
Pours a dark reddish colour, quite clear and a little bit thin in the body. Head is a pale, off-white colour, that only really forms as kind of pocked broad bubbles. Carbonation is quite fine though, which looks pretty good. It's pretty standard, but ok for that.
Nose is quite thin and oddly sharp. There's a hint of minerally sharpness to it, but mingled with a slightly vegetative sweetness that gives it a thin barley sugar. Almost slightly salty in a way.
Taste is also thin and a little weak. clean and light, and a little sharp, with again the sharpness seeming to come from the malt or the graininess. There is a very slight smokiness on the back which is a pleasant piece of interest, almost giving a weird character of pizza. I mean it's not good, but it's minimally interesting at least.
Feel is woeful. Very thin.
Overall, I didn't like it much. This is thin, generic and without any real integration or interest. Really, this is a bitter of the lowest common denominator.
49 / 100
Bottle brought back from Scotland by Father and shared with us.
Pours a reddish amber colour, nice whispy, foamy head. Beige. Just a film of bubbles but easily revived with a swill. Looks pretty good.
Smells herbal. Notes of green tea, oregano, and burnt sugar/toffee. Touch of vanilla/peanut brittle. Mild and inoffensive.
Taste starts malty; toffee notes with a quick change into grassy, earthy and somewhat herbal bitterness. Finishes clean, inoffensive. Fairly one-note, nothing very impressive. Not much character.
Dry, quite a bit of drying texture. I don't love it.
A little over-emphasised on the flavour that is grassy and herbal, enough to make it not quite quaffable. But otherwise also uninteresting, clean. Sort of boring without being pleasant.
56 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from the brewery by my Dad and cracked open with me.
Pours a clear, dark golden colour, quite dense in the glass. Head is foamy initially but settles out fairly quickly to almost nothing, leaving little in the way of lace either. Doesn't look particularly exciting.
Aroma has some earthy hops along with a slight nuttiness from the malt. Unfortunately, underneath all of this is a very slight acidity that gives the impression of a very slight lacto infection. With other hops though, the acidity could almost be written off as a citrus note, but I don't think that's the case here. Otherwise it would be pretty solid, and in some sense, the lacto makes the other characters stand out a little bit more.
Taste is pretty reasonable. Nutty maris otter forms the basis, while a pleasingly solid bitterness runs clean and light throughout the palate. There's a bit of a bit in the back: some nuttiness or intensity of malt that develops into an earthiness on the finish. Some horseradish aroma evanesces in the aftertaste. There's not much hint of the lacto on the palate at least.
Feel is light. It's okay for the bottle, but I have a feeling this would be much better on cask.
Pretty drinkable all up, despite its flaws. One of the better beers I've had from 1859. Get rid of the lacto, put it on handpump and it would be a very solid example.
74 / 100
On cask pull at the White Horse in Parson's Green London.
Pours a very clear light golden colour, light in the body, but with a full, fine and solid head of white that sits like a nitro tap. Lacing is excellent. Carbonation is fine when tilted, otherwise still. Looks very noble in the glass.
Nose is crisp and bright, and certainly hoppier than I expected. Slight zesty lemon characters, green herbal notes and quite earthy. Some bready grain comes through as well. Overall, it's fairly decent.
Taste is also good. Clean crisp and bright bitterness gives it a solidity and an earthy underpinning. Slight floury grain comes through, but mostly things are nicely in balance. Feel is actually pretty light. I expected a bit more on the body, but you can't have everything.
Very drinkable overall, and very pleasantly sessionable. At only-just-3%-ish, it's a beer you could sit on for a long while. I liked it a lot.
75cl dark green bottle purchased from Domus Birrae in Rome.
Bottle uncaps with a massive fizz and pours with a huge amount of froth from a gentle pour. Starts out with a massive, crackly, aerated head like an overenthusiastic cask. Body is a clear pale amber colour, with massive of coarse carbonation running through it. The carbonation is surely too much, but otherwise it looks pretty decent.
Nose is mild but pleasant enough. Clean malt, and a hint of earthy hop characters that don't scream fragrance, but which integrate well with the body. It's all pretty muted and subtle all up, but not bad.
Taste is even a little better. The malt is still fairly neutral and flat, but the hops provide a pleasant streak of bitterness through the centre to the back of the palate. Carbonation is certainly slightly too high, as it froths and tingles a bit especially on the back. Again, it's a little muted, but here it seems to make a bit more sense.
Feel is a little weak, and harmed by the carbonation. I'd love to try it on hand pump, or less-carbonated sometime.
Overall. It's solid, but not as exciting as it might have been. The carbonation in this bottle in particular is a significant drawback—otherwise the beer is dependable and a little dull.
58 / 100
Tried on-tap at Archive in Brisbane.
Pours a pale copper colour, quite clear and bright. Pale off-white head forms a firm ring around the glass. Streaky, British-style lace which suits it. Not much carbonation. It's hitting all the criteria for sure.
Malty and grainy on the nose with a fair bout of sweetness. Slight metal notes along with a medicinal caramel character giving some menthol and frozen vegetables. Slightly herbal tone, but not the earthy English hops I expected.
Light, metallic bitterness on the front before some empty sweetness comes through in the centre. Slight maltiness comes through with a suggestion of dusty grain bag. Diluted caramel on the back, finally with a bit of earthy bitterness.
Feel is light, could certainly be richer, but it's not bad, and it helps with the sessionability.
It has this weird sweetness running through it, and those vegetable characters, the menthol and other things make it seem a but funky. But overall, it's pretty reasonable.
Tried on-tap at the Guilty Rogue in Brisbane.
Pours a pleasant coppery golden colour, very clear and bright. Weight is solid but fluid enough. Head is a persistent, bubbly mass of offwhite, leaving coarse streaks down the glass. Stacks of carbonation. More than you'd expect.
Rusty grain notes on the nose. Slight sweetness with some mild apple characters coming through. A little citrus suggests hops, but it's mostly earthy and based on the grainy malt characters. Decent enough.
Taste starts clean and crisp with a hint of metallic bite. This mellows into a more generic grain body, with some cleanness. Sweetness continues through to the back, where there's a hint of meatiness, and (unfortunately) a hint of PoR, which doesn't do it any favours.
Feel is a bit light, but quite clean.
Really quite drinkable. It's a bit dull for the most part, but it has its place, even in the already relatively generic James Squire lineup.
62 / 100
Pours a gold colour, clear with lovely dense creamy head on top. Pretty nice, hand-pull look bitter.
Smells fairly plain with the exception of the Riwaka hops. Oh, how we all missed you during the shortage! Touch of puffed rice but then passionfruit, pineapple and all manner of nice tropical notes. Touch of cedar wood as well. Light, but fragrant and inviting.
Hops are more subdued on the palate, which I guess was to be expected. More of that puffed rice character with light passionfruit, pineapple towards the mid-palate. Nice subtle bitterness, true to style but still could be slightly more cleansing.
Oh dear the mouthfeel is pretty poor. Just watery, and flat. No presence at all. I guess it's stylistically OK but it really could have augmented the palate with a bit more texture.
Another solid, chuggable beer from Townshends. Not exciting, but enjoyable.
500ml bottle bought by my dad in Loch Ness and brought back to Australia for me. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours, indeed, a truly red hue, with a filmy but relatively fine head of off-white. Speckled, persistent lacing. Body is actually quite thick and holds fine carbonation in its gelatinous thrall. Looks decent enough.
Nose is fruity from the get-go. I'm getting red appleskin, but not in the bad ethyl hexanoate kind of way. Otherwise solid, slightly chewy malt characters and a clean English hop aroma. Later a little white pepper comes in as well. It's quite pleasant.
Quite light and subdued on the palate. Mild mid-coloured English malt characters come through, with a slight sketching of earthy hops providing a counterpoint. Finish is light but persistent, with a smooth finish that doesn't abbreviate itself.Some slight earth and wood-toned hops make an encore appearance just before the end. Pleasant enough.
Feel is relatively smooth, but tending towards being a little thin.
Overall, It's decent stuff, but a little forgettable. There's certainly nothing wrong with it, but neither is there anything that makes me stand up and take notice. A solid English-style bitter that does its job on nothing more.
58 / 100
Tall 500ml nitro-can with widget poured into my straight-edged pint glass. Purchased from Dan Murphy's Alexandria.
Pours a milky white, as expected from the nitro, settling out to a deep copper colour with an exceptionally fine head. Nitrogenation is extremely fine, and leaves an icy patterning on the inside of the glass. Lacing is as excellent as can be expected. I know I'm a sucker for a nitro pour, but I really think it looks excellent.
Nose is relatively smooth and bland, but with a noticeable taint of eucalyptus to me. Some mild cardboard comes through as well, and a flatness that I often find in nitro beers. It's not overly exciting, to be honest.
Taste is relatively smooth and light as well for the most part, steady and flat with some mild English grain characters. On the back though are two separate and noticeable flavours: more of that eucalyptus note, which gives a buzzing, slightly numbing finish to the brew, and an unforgettable metallic twang on the finish that leaves a tingle on the aftertaste. It's not bad: in fact, it's akin to a true bitterness coming through, but given how smooth and creamy this was otherwise it was a bit of a surprise.
Mouthfeel is good, of course, from the can, but feels a little bit light even so.
Overall, it's a perfectly drinkable English ale, while not being a particularly exciting one. I do love the effect the nitro gives it, and if that just makes me a sucker for a gimmick, then I guess I'm a sucker.
60 / 100
500ml clear bottle purchased from Stanmore Cellars in Sydney. Very clear and certainly not bottle conditioned.
Pours a very clear golden colour, slightly darker in the deeper placed. Head is relatively full and white, persisting as a very fine, almost creamy film that leaves some patterned lacing. Carbonation is very fine. Looks pretty decent.
Skunky, light-struck aroma at the start, brisk and green and pungent—I'm actually not averse to that smell, although it does tend to dominate everything else. Once the volatiles are gone, and I've swirled it a few times, some other characters come through: mild earthy hops and a deep caramel and reduced condensed milk character. Some plasticky remainders of the light struck character continue to the end however.
Taste is a little weak, but not unpleasantly so. Mild sweaty hops are noticeable from start to finish, although they're something of a constant—they don't swell and ebb or express themselves very dynamically. Underneath is a reasonably constant malt character, with a slightly aromatic edge that gives a faint lemon and carob tone when set against the hop presence.
Feel is cool and smooth with just a slight prickle from the carbonation.
Overall, it's decent stuff. I'll try it again sometime from a bottle that's not clear and not so clearly light-struck, but given that's how it comes there's not much I can do about it. But I'm reasonably happy to take it as it is.
71 / 100
Dark amber colour, slightly mahogany with generous off-white head that sinks to a nice crown of lace with a few clumps around. Nice-looking bitter.
Smells a bit POR-y with earthy, mildly spicy bitterness. Pepper on there, soil with nice malty notes over the top with caramel and vanilla on there. Decent English herbal hops and nice malt balance, but it's still just OK.
Taste is very malt-driven, with lots of caramel, cracked grain and vanilla, then gets nice hoppy bitterness that's quite mild: herbal, grassy and a bit spicy on the back, adds some piquancy but otherwise nice, subtle bitterness. Clean and quite palatable. Not my ideal beer but it's well constructed and able to be quaffed.
Bitty at times but smooth enough, not too bad.
Decent bitter. Clean, drinkable but a nice malty flavour for the most part.
61 / 100
Burnished amber colour, with off-white head. Decent density at first but then settles to a disappointing thin crown of small bubbles. OK but nothing great.
Smells kind of beery, but a nice fresh fruitiness probably berry-related underneaht. Hint of apple, decent juniper character and a touch of lemongrass. Seems not good at first impression, but that fruity pepper really freshens it up a lot.
Taste is quite spicy and piquant for most part. Little bit malty upfront, soft and caramelly with a touch of toast. Gets more juniper tang and peppery spice on the back. Bit sour and astringent, maybe should be served colder but I like the flavours to speak for themselves and it's a little bitter on the back. Quite a nice twist on a traditional bitter-fresh brew.
A bit sharp carbonation-wise, dries up quite a lot. Bit more body wouldn't go astray, or if the bitterness on the palate were softened just a bit.
Interesting drop, could be quite refreshing but is a little robust at times. Would certainly support any campaign to have this replace the midstrength arse juice at most sport stadiums.
12oz bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a clear orange-tinged amber hue, tending towards being truly amber, with a fizzling white head that settles down quickly to a film and a ring. Body is pleasantly light, but a little limp. Lace is patchy and inconsistent. It looks decent without inspiring anything.
Nose is mild and slightly dim: some faint malt characters and a husky grain note provide the basis. Above this, however, is a pleasant hoppy note, oddly floral and yet quite green: perhaps like some fragrant flower clippings. A slight aromatic herbal tone as well. It's a little odd, but it's not unpleasant.
Taste is a lot weaker, and really quite disappointing: there were the suggestions of a resurgence with the floral characters on the nose, but this has just dimmed again to "bland" for me. Light watery malt character, like the very last runnings of sparge water (or, for that matter, dishwater), with a slightly metallic, but listless and uninspired hop character. Feel is either light or prickly with carbonation. Neither of these attributes help the beer.
Overall, a very disappointing brew: this is limp, flat, and dull, and due to the carbonation and the prickle of the metallic hops it's not even that drinkable. I've actually not had a lot of Goose Island's regular range of beers (although I've loved some of their special releases), but I'm starting to get the impression that they are far below my expectations for them.
500ml bottle given to me blind by @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a pale, hazed golden colour, with an excessively frothy large-bubbled, off-white head. Minimal lacing, suggesting the body is thin as well. Looks a little bit flat.
Nose has a pleasant leafy hop fragrance to it: I'd suggest English hops, but it has an underlying sweetness to it that suggests Galaxy to me. Some mild nutty malt as well. Smells pleasant enough, but a little weak.
Taste is similar, although it has a smoothness from the very light carbonation, which helps. Light fruity hops, more forming fragrant sweetness than real bitterness. Some clean leafy notes on the back however, when the body has dropped out somewhat—it makes the back rather dry, but it's clean and pleasant nonetheless.
It's not spectacular, but it's very pleasant and drinkable. Solid, without being exceptional, or particularly exciting.
69 / 100
Classic flat green 500ml St Peters bottle purchased for me by the in-laws for Christmas.
Pours a pleasant (indeed) ruby red colour, with a fine white head of tiny bubbles that settles to a pleasant film. Fine carbonation is visible when the glass is tilted. Some patchy streaks of lacing form as well. Overall, a pretty good-looking beer.
Nose is quite hoppy, with a crisp herbal bite and almost the hint of American strength to it. The suggestion of citrus, along with a poignant rosemary bite. This is underscored by a solid, slightly caramelly malt sweetness, perhaps a bit richer than the hops should really allow. Overall, though it's a pleasant aroma.
Taste is smooth but a bit timid. Light malt characters come through pleasantly, but there's no richness; hops give more of that herbal flavour, but there's no bite and little to no bitterness. Still, we get a light dance of dark citrus and a balanced low-calorie caramel to balance it somewhat. It's decent enough.
Feel is smooth and light and pleasant enough.
Overall, this is very decent stuff. Solidly, if unimaginatively made and providing a pleasant drinking experience. I think it's one of the stronger entries in the St Peters range.
Bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra. Shared with @tobeerornottobe
Pours a solidly weighted coppery golden colour, with a patchy filmy white head. Some mild carbonation, and a bit of disturbed sediment in this particular pour. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is mild, and slightly woody, with some earthy hops and a pleasing grainy malt character that pretty much wins out. It's all a bit subdued, but it's pleasant enough.
Taste is similar, but here the maltiness comes through pleasantly, giving a solid, slightly nutty backbone to the beer. Feel is rather smooth but light, and somewhat diminishes the effect of the hops, which are present, but mild, only giving a slight herbal twinge. Some water carbonation notes on the back is the only real drawback.
Overall, this is a solid and pleasantly banal beer. It doesn't do anything particularly interesting, and it doesn't do anything challengingâsometimes, you're just in the mood for that.
71 / 100
Bomber purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.
Pours an exceptionally clear yellow colour, with a forthy, large-bubbled head of white, that settles to an unassuming and relatively unappealing film. The body has a surprising weight to it given its exceptionally low ABV, and it's the only thing that makes me rate the appearance as other than extremely unappetising.
Ok, maybe the other thing is the aroma, which I snuck a sniff of beforehand anywayâit's wonderfully fresh, bright, fruity and hoppy, with the emphasis on the clean, crisp, bright West Coast resonance, along with a touch of something green, herbal and organic. It's perhaps only this which hints at its genesis in the English style. Many other things prove that this does not truly fulfill that style.
Taste is a lot weaker, but you probably expect that in a beer that is intentionally designed as a sessioner. Quite a clean, light, herbal hop fragrance through the centre, with some rosemary, pepper and leafiness, but with almost nothing underneath: perhaps just a moderated grain character that holds in in check, but doesn't really support the hop flavours. It's certainly sessionable, and far from unpleasant. Feel is smooth enough and suitable for what it is.
Pretty drinkable brew, with much to offer. This is not making a play for best beer in the world, but it sure is refreshing, clean, easy to drink and enjoyable. Very decent drop.
44 / 100
Pours a metallic bronze colour with nice smooth nitro-head of brilliant white. No bead - of course - and lace is nice 'n' dense. More head would be nice, but good for what it is.
Smells very English. Rich earthy malt with a slightly sour red apple aroma, hint of honey, wattle and grass. Pretty standard, and can't say it really enchants me.
Taste is very mild, almost non-existent on the mid. Grainy hints upfront but mid-palate is watery and uneventful. Slight, polite English hops on the back with a touch of lemon zest adding just a hint of tang, but yeah, there's nothing here - it's a high volume session ale that's sacrificed flavour for drinkability. Ultimately hollow.
Fairly smooth but there's a real watery blandness, just feels wet in the mouth.
I could drink this in high volumes. I wouldn't really want to, though, unless I were simply planning on getting wasted.
Bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable.
Uncaps with a massive hiss that almost makes me jump out of my seat to run somewhere with the gushing bottle, but instead, it sits rather dormant in the bottle. Pours very light in colour, most certainly a golden hue rather than a deeper copper or amber, like many bitters I've had. Atop this you see the fruits of that massive carbonation: an enormous, rocky and frothy, large-bubbled head of off-white. Lacing is sudsy and clumping. It looks a bit insane, to be honest.
Nose is bright with fresh but earthy hops, giving a tea-like aroma to the beer. Ah, East Kent Goldings are much maligned, but every time I have a beer heavily steeped in their aroma I fall for them a little bit more. A little sweetness complements this, but there's not a lot. I think it's rather pleasant, to be honest.
Taste is certainly pretty light-on, with a mild tannic bitterness through the centre, a very light body, and way too much carbonation. Not much hint of that sweetness, but there's a touch of nut butter giving a little weight to the body as a whole. Feel is aggressively carbonated, and interferes with the flavours, as well as making it uncomfortably bloating.
Too alive, or somethingâthe carbonation is easily the main flaw in an otherwise solid beer. Unfortunately, it almost overwhelms to such a degree that it's hard to tell that there genuinely is a solid beer underneath.
50 / 100
Pours a pale, hazy golden colour, with an oily, subsistent head of white. It barely stays alive, but manages to form some pretty lacing as it goes down. Fine carbonation. I can only imagine it would be lovely from a hand-pump or cask. But it looks decent enough now.
Nose is slightly hopped, with a green leafy aroma that mingles with sweet acetaldehyde characters of turpentine and apple brandy. To be honest, it's a bit offputting, with a chemical buzz that feels unnecessary and sharp. The sweetness is also a little offputting, giving some estery characters that seem out of place.
Taste is better, but only because it's extremely bland. Light damp grain characters with a yeasty, floury finish that give a dryness, but no crispness or refreshment. Slight earthy hops on the back, but they're also dry and flat, and giving very little in the way of character. Feel is light and smooth.
Very disappointing. It's extremely flat and rather flavourless. I can't find a freshness date on the bottle, but it feels like perhaps it's a bit old. I've liked the other Ridgeway beer I've had, but this one is blander than the most generic English Pale.
On-tap at The Lucky Shag in Perth.
Pours a deep, slighty hazed bronze colour, with a off-which but creamy English head. Beautiful lace forms as this collapses. Looks good.
Nose is quite mild, with a touch of earthy organic English hops and some deep, hidden but relatively sweet malt and a touch of minerals. Nice enough. Mild, but nice.
Taste is also smooth and mild without ever offering much more than that. Bit of malt sweetness coming through but very minimal body and an earthy finish. Feel is exceptionally thin for what it is.
It's drinkable enough, and decent enough. Not huge, but smooth and quaffable.
Had on tap at the Sail & Anchor, 17/08/11.
Pours a burnished amber colour, mild haze and steady stream of bead. Head is slightly off-white, lovely and dense with nice lace. Pretty great.
Smells quite hoppy, in a herbal way. Slight tartness with citrus, lemongrass and a good dose of mint. Actually smells bitter without a lot of aromatic substance; but not bad.
Taste is really very bitter. Gentle enough grain upfront with touch of barley husks, then develops early hoppy bitterness; a bit POR dirty with hints of rocket, medicinal phenols and just very astringent overall. Just POR really, but a slight lighter lift late-mid. Finish is all dour.
Decent enough body with OK texture.
A fairly pedestrian effort without a lot of the flavours I've loved in PAs. The only beer from Nail I'd had prior to this was the Clout Stout, so it's only natural I'm a bit disappointed with this very standard offering. Have we made this our national beer style? If so we should keep looking.
70 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Sackville Cellars in Rozelle, a nice little bottlo that often has some interesting beers.
Pours a very deep reddish copper colour, with an initially frothy and large-bubbled head of beige, that settles down to a pleasant, fine English film. Body is light, and there's a surprisingly vivacious amount of carbonation, but otherwise it looks good.
Nose is a bit mean on aroma, giving up little besides a touch of earthy hops and a very minimal crushed petal freshness. It's all extremely restrained to the point of boredom. Had better.
Taste is a lot better, incredibly smooth and mild, with a good nutty grain character towards the centre and a touch of earthy, slightly twanging metallic hops to finish up. Very smooth and clean, but with that subtle, comforting body that English ales do so well.
Very drinkable brew, if very much in the milder-is-better, balance-is-everything mould of the old school of English brewing.
57 / 100
Purchased from Beer Cartel in Artarmon.
Pours a rather dark red-brown colour--too red, at least, to be bronze--with a large a bulbous, heavily-carbonated head of off-white. Bubbles are too big for the style, and the body is light. I like the colour, but I can't say I'm much enamoured of the appearance otherwise.
Nose is pleasantly balanced between sweet and roast, giving a classic blend of refined but rustic English characters. Sweet honey and molasses come through, with a depth suggesting dark grainy bread and roast beef. It doesn't develop a lot, but it's very pleasant.
Taste is smooth, and pleasantly balanced. Some dark grain notes meld nicely with the residual sweetness, although the sweetness continues for too long onto the back. A bigger grain character, or some nuttiness would really help on the back palate. Feel is light and tepid, a disappointing attribute in this style.
3 Ravens have done some good things, and done them well. But this beer doesn't shine the friendliest of lights upon them. It's a mediocre style done in a pretty mediocre fashion. It probably matches it with, say, James Squire Amber Ale, but you're not getting anything more exciting than that from this one.
69 / 100
Bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor from their currently dwindling stocks of New Zealand craft beer. Let's hope they start filling it up again soon.
Pleasant coloured burnished copper hue, with a crackling honeycomb of foam on the top which settles in concentric rings of lace. Body looks pleasantly thick, with some good heft to it-nice to see in a beer of this ABV. Overall, looks very tasty indeed.
Nose is very traditional, giving earthy and peppery tones of tobacco and tea leaf tannins. Slightly pungent burnt rubber character is pleasant as well, but it melds itself nicely in with the other earth English hop characters. Whatever it says about "New World" and "NZ Hops", they're not the classic aromas I associate with them.
Of course the taste is where it gets into more sessionable territory rather than raw power, but there's still plenty to enjoy. Pleasant nutty characters on the back with a lightly herbal and slightly tannic bitterness to finish. Husky grain notes are noticeable, as is a little of that burnt rubber that was present on the nose--almost gives it a tone of phosphorous, like a freshly lit match.
Feel is a little too thin, but I knew the illusion of body in the appearance would be hard to live up to. Still, it aids the sessionability, which is good for this style.
Yep. This is a nice beer, if a sessionable one that you could slug all day without much difficulty. Plenty of character for its lightness. If only they served this "mid-strength" beer at the cricket instead of the watered down macro sludge we have to live with.
60 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant reddish bronze colour, with a fine and creamy head. Nicely clear in the body, although it sits heavy and still in the glass. Minimal lacing. Looks nice.
Sharp, pungent and a little earthy on the nose. A hint of acidity which doesn't sit so well with everything else, but it's perhaps balanced by a caramel sweetness. The earthy hops are good, however.
Taste is smooth with only a little sharpness, that comes across as a little bit metallic and medicinal, especially on the back. Some earthy tones, but not as pronounced as in the aroma. Not as good as the nose suggested.
Feel is surprisingly light, and the acidity adds a bit of sharpness.
It's drinkable enough. Not great, but not bad. In many ways it typifies off the generic and reasonably forgettable Aussie craft beer.
Pours a dark-brown-tinged amber, slightly murky and cloudy in the glass. Beautiful dense beige head when poured, sinks to a majestic crown of large bubbles in a cradle of nice webbed lacing. Bit of furious bubbling at first but that's gone. Pretty damned nice.
Smells crisp and hoppy. Good dose of malt with a slight nutty edge, backed up and overridden, in fact, by crisp hop cuttings, slicing through with sharp lemon notes, some chives and lemongrass, a good belt of passionfruit and some pink pepper as well. You know when I just start listing ingredients I'm pretty impressed, this is a lovely nose, fruity and spicy and good.
Now the acid test, and the taste is less good. Plenty of malt throughout the palate - good job considering the ABV - slight cakey malt at the front that develops a buttery character towards the mid. An odd cherry note on the assault that almost makes a return towards the finish, as the beer gets a slight earthiness from some kind of hop - which is not prominent enough for me to discern the variety - that provides a slight piney bitterness that gets more flaxy and resinous towards the end. Hop bitterness is also not strong enough to stave off a slight cloying yeast on the finish which provides an unfortunate finale.
Quite harsh fizz on the feel which can be expected given the low ABV and resultant lack of body. Goes down alright but definitely some shortcomings.
I had really high hopes for this given the nose, but the palate doesn't quite live up. I've maybe been a bit harsh though because this is very enjoyable for all its faults. I feel like this is rather like what Billabong Brewery were trying to do with their 4 hop ale, construct a low ABV beer and hop it up to make it flavoursome. While this hasn't completely succeeded it's a good beer and more than a match for your typical midstrength.
Pours a pale golden colour, a bit flat and stagnant in the body although head is quite nice; slightly off-white and decent dense with some nice lace left here and there where it's sunk. Retaining overall but nice, naturally flawed sinking in spots as well.
Smells almost Belgian. Lots of brown sugar and honey, with some odd sour grain notes coming through. Slight vinous characters and hints of canteloupe as well. Some hop resins but mostly a really burnt-sugar sweetness. Not bad, but can't say I love it.
Tastes fairly bitter overall. Note of burnt sugar on front that descends into oddly burnt flavours with some wood characters, pine resin and some soil on the mid. A good hit of burnt sugar on the very back. Quite medicinal, notes of leather and almost a saltiness to it at times, but it's mostly low and earthy flavours coming through. Again, can't say I'm a huge fan. Definitely lacking in key areas, especially the front and the back has no profile, just flatly bitter and dull.
Texture is not bad, a bit on the thick side which it needn't be, but alright.
Yeah, I know this style of beer is meant to be quaffable in large quantities, but this one is not for me.
48 / 100
Part of my NYE 2010 celebrations.
Pours a orange-red colour, with a pleasantly fine head of white foam. Minimal lacing, and the body is light, but that's probably to be expected. Looks pretty lacklustre all up, but still in style at least. That's worth something.
Nose very minimal. Hints of roasted grain and a slight tangy acidity that may come from... well, anything. It's a very minimal nose. Not offensive, but neither is it very interesting. Smells like pale grain soaked in seltzer water. Eh.
Taste is a little better, although it's still rather thin and rather insipid. Some pleasant grain characters on the fore, backed with that same carbonic acidity as was on the nose. Light, watered down feel, again like a sessionable English ale, but also like a light watered-down thing.
Wow. Overall, I'm really not impressed with this at all. It's a shame, because otherwise these guys do some decent beers. But for a special release bomber, this is woefully uninspiring. Flat, thin, insipid and very devoid of character. Certainly not a recommendation from me.
43 / 100
Pours a clear golden colour, with a full-bodied head of smooth white foam. Lacing is sublime: thick, sudsy, foamy. It's the perfectly classic English lace down the insides of my glass. Colour is a bit lackluster, but otherwise, pretty good.
Very mediocre characters on the nose, giving a big whiff of malted grain, a little rough sweetness, and a buttery lard character. Certainly, it gives off enough of the English style, but by the same token, it's almost prototypically English leaving nothing to the imagination, and with very little depth.
Taste is possibly even worse. the malt comes through at the start, with a faint barf character on the back, giving a slightly astringent and sour bitterness. Very light body, minimal sweetness and minimal complexity. Feel is light and smooth, but very, very dull.
Eh. Smooth enough. It's a drinkable and skullable beer, but certainly nothing I'm going to remember fondly.
Pours a good - yes, bronze - colour, nice earthy red overtones on an otherwise brown body. Head is cream-coloured, nice froth up when poured but sinks to a thin crown after a short while. Steady carbonation all through the body keeps what's left alive, while some spots of lace around serve as a monument to what was there. How depressing.
Smell is quite grainy and earthy. A lot of fresh milled grain blend with grassy hop notes and a touch of a metallic aroma. Some dry cocoa powder notes at the back add a rich texture to the underlying maltiness. Overall a pretty mild, pleasant smell.
Taste is also very mild, but a good balance is my first impression. Starts quite grainy, slight dessicated texture from the carbonation and has a slight oatmeal flavour with a touch of lemon zest on the mid. Finish is uneventful, but in a good way. It's long, with no spike from the mid-palate onwards. It just continues on with slight citric and grassy hop bitterness being clean and dry and slightly mild. Very slight sweet grain note at the very end, and a touch of soapy flavour late-mid. Otherwise a smooth and well-balanced ale.
It's long been established that 3 Ravens do balance and mild well. I'd really love to see them attack something truly nutty and crazy, but it's nice to see smooth, sessionable ales like this out there as well.
61 / 100
Pours an orangey amber colour, with flat and unimpressive head. Slow but steady trickle of bead and some fairly sticky white lacing. Standard bitter appearance, everything where it should be and nothing more.
Nose is alright; very English with caramel malt and a hint of vanilla cream. Faint grassy hops at the back with a hint of tea leaves. Not bad, quite sweet and pleasant but also very standard.
Taste is fairly clean. Very small sweetness on the front with a hint of wild honey, then long bitter finish starts fairly nice with slight herbal hop notes and a hint of blackberry; finishes with slight resinous notes. Fairly steady palate, with bitterness taking on very slight astringency at the finish but otherwise flat and reliable. My ultimate impression is bland, but it's clean and well constructed.
Mouthfeel has a bit of body behind it but there's a fizziness to it that is not going to be welcomed with a hug and tonguekiss from me.
Yeah, easy drinking ale. As I said, flat and reliable. Probably a good cleanser, but less good for starting off a session and getting me excited about beer.
Pours a very pleasant burnished bronze colour, with flashes of red through it. Head is fine and filmy, and leaves beautiful patterns of lacing down the inside of the glass.
Pleasant English hop fragrance on the nose, giving some resin and wood flavours, with a darker lilt of tobacco leaf. A bit of caramel maltiness as well, that balances it. Pretty nice.
Very smooth on the palate, with some burgeoning grain sweetness through the front, before a welcome addition of bittering hops cleanses the back, and gives a much needed balance. Slight hint of marzipan on the very back. Feel is very pleasantly smooth, with just a leavened hint of carbonation.
A very drinkable brew, and a mild but pleasant English bitter. Not a very robust one, but it's nice enough.
59 / 100
Pours a pleasant deep amber hue, with a fine bubbled head of off-white bubbles. Lacing is excellent. Decent body. All up, it's a really good looking English Ale.
Grain and a little butterscotch sweetness on the nose, cut through with a lightly green hop character, that smells a little like poster paint. The sweetness is quite pleasant at least. Pretty decent.
Taste is surprisingly thin given the thick look in the body, and the sweet characters on the nose. Some butterscotch on the front, but it washes away into a mid-palate emptiness before a slightly earthy hop bitterness on the back. Mouthfeel is slick at least, but it doesn't have a lot of body to it.
It's a drinkable enough English beer. There's some sweetness to it which is mostly balanced be the bitterness, and it looks right proper. There's something to the emptiness though that leaves me too feel a little empty after drinking it.
Quite a light golden colour in the body, this beer pours with a crackling white head of large bubbled foam which is audible as it dissipates, leaving a wonderful honeycomb lacing down the inside of the glass. Great clarity. Looks very decent.
Nose is rather sweet and rich with malt, giving rise to aromas of early-stage processed sugar. Something rough and slightly salty in there too, almost a whiff of dry dog food. Certainly something grainy and husky.
Pleasant smooth entry; when swilled, I can feel the carbonation crackling against the roof of my mouth. Really nice mouthfeel for a bottled beer. The palate yields flavours similar to those on the nose - some rough grain, sugar syrup and quite a flat back palate, which isn't unwelcome, but it does leave something of a hole.
Drinkable enough all up. It certainly has some things going for it. Quite easy to drink - it would make a very pleasant summer beer. It's light enough and clean enough that you could give it to a macro-lager drinker to get them to try something different.
44 / 100
Pours a nice, rich golden colour. Head is mostly gone, if it was there at all. Lacing is thin, fairly slippery. Looks like a standard bitter, only without the head.
Nose is pretty subdued. Some malt giving off English toffee, with some mild caramel notes and a hint of spicy hop. Slight tea character and a fair amount of grassiness. Pretty dull nose, not much to it.
Taste is kind of light toffee with a lot of cereal character. Hints of pearl barley, oats, and some pecan nuttiness come through. Not a lot of pronounced hop notes but bitterness is sustained nicely, sort of floats to the surface with grass and herbal tea characters. Pretty plain overall, and maltiness goes on a bit too long, really needs more hops to leap in and rescue the palate, just clip it off and cleanse the palate.
A bit foamy on the feel, not a bad body, decently thick. Quite smooth going down.
A mild ale, not a great one. Possibly good as a cleanser, but can't see anything else this would be good for. Certainly not very good for tasting.
73 / 100
Had on tap at the Local.
Pours a deep red-tinged amber colour, clear with a slow bead up the sides. Head is medium with small beige bubbles, retains a crown and leaves some pleasant trails of off-white foam. Nice-looking bitter.
Nose is very hoppy, with a distinctly floral tinge. Fair malt backbone with hints of English toffee, but predominantly a nice fruity hop character with some resinous notes, a bit of pineapple and rosewater. Pleasant and enticing smell.
Taste starts off sweet with a few notes of toffee and a nice barley flavour, hops come through not strongly, but distinctively, without a huge hit but a nice lingering presence from the mid to the back. They're quite floral in nature with some herbal notes and hints of mint, passionfruit and a slight medicinal character on the back. Not outrageously robust, but a lot of flavour for a milder beer and a lot to like.
Feel is light and fluid with a little bit of a harsh sizzle as it goes down. But a very nice body for how light it is.
Trust Murray's to brew a lighter beer well. A balanced, tasty beer without all the bells and whistles.
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse ANZAC Day SepcTapular.
Pours a bright, deep golden amber color, with a tight bubbled sheen of white foam on the top. Looks light bodied, with a little persistent carbonation. Not bad.
Some light toffee malts and a very decent English hop character on the nose, melds together in a pretty true mix. It's reasonably light, but quite pleasant and true to style.
Light malt again, and a nice resiny hop character to keep it from becoming overpowerrjng. Some butterscotch through the centre, before a clean and single-minded bitterness sweeps through to clear it out at the end. Mouthfeel could use a cask conditioning - a smooth lack of carbonation would fit well. As it is, it feels too light and sparkly.
A lot of character for such a session-strength brew, but it all stays tight not to overwhelm the palate. As much as I like Murray's brewing the more extreme end of their spectrum, I'm gratified they can also brew simple classic styles so well.
46 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse's ANZAC Day SpecTapular.
Pours a seemingly uncarbonated and headless murky amber colour. I don't have a huge amount of love for all those adjectives I just used. Overall it looks a bit insipid and joyless.
Very little on the nose a slightly oily metallic character, like a barrel of light sweet crude. A little grain, but really very little. Not a lot, can't say I'm terribly impressed.
Taste is a little better, some banana phenols with a grainy note like breadcrusts. Not a huge amount, even still and it feels a bit stale and timid. Mouthfeel is fine, some slight carbonation in an otherwise smooth beer.
Not a great fan overall. It's drinkable enough, but not particularly interesting.
59 / 100
Pours a cola colour, brown with a yellow tinge up to the light. Head is beige, but doesn't stick around. Nothing left, really. Some lace but a bit slippery. Interesting colour, otherwise unimpressive.
Nose is a nice sweet affair, largely malty with toffee edge, also a hint of cola and some cherry notes. Bit of brown sugar, oak as well and some black peppery spice. Quite a nice piquant smell.
Taste has a robustness to it with a lot of woody notes coming through early. Slightly sour in aspect with some burnt toffee notes, some of that black pepper spice and some burnt toast bitterness at the back. Overall is a bit subdued and quite simple, kind of weakly dark in flavour. The bitterness is nicely done but it's not overly interesting. A mild beer.
A bit of sizzle on the mouthfeel which is unusual, quite thick for the most part. A bit meh.
Yeah, quite a drinkable beer, although it's nothing exciting.
Pours a deep copper brown with some bubbling cola coloured head to begin with, that disappears to almost nothing immediately. Big bubbled carbonation. Doesn't look very nice overall.
Very minimal nose. Bit of grainy malt, hint of harsh hops. Maybe Pride of Ringwood. Minimal. not great.
Taste is similar, some grain, darkness and a bit of slight banana phenols. Mouthfeel is prickly and bloating. I'm really not much of a fan. It's thin and overcarbonated, and feels very amateurish, like kit homebrew.
It's drinkable enough, but it doesn't strike me as particularly interesting. Also bloating. Not a fan.
Not quite sure what relationship this beer has to the old Southwark Bitter, if it's a clone or a tribute or just a coincidence. But anyhoo.
Pours a pale golden colour, head is modest white, sinks to a thin crown of visible bubbles. Fast, steady but small bead from the base of the glass. Body is Coopers cloudy. Looks OK.
Nose is good and bad. A fruity sense at the start, with crisp green apple notes and a tart, unripe aroma with hints of pear as well, but the more I sniff the more I get a dirty POR aroma, not quite overwhelming but definitely there, ready to ambush you with dour bitterness.
Taste is bland to begin with, although there are some hints of citrus rind on the front palate. Sinks immediately into an unpleasant bitterness, lots of soil and gravel notes and some wet cardboard to boot. An overdose of POR grit and grain husk. Finish is meek and early, like there isn't nearly enough malt to carry the palate, and the bitterness basically clamps down immediately after the start and nothing else is forthcoming. Tastes bland, unpleasantly bitter, actually quite distasteful.
Feel is a bit harsh, and clearly for the wrong reasons, no delightful alcohol warmth or anything. Unimpressed.
Not a very pleasant experience, has too much bitterness and not enough flavour. Can't say I expected a lot, but meh. A bad beer.
60 / 100
Pours a rude red copper colour, head is minimal - cream in colour, nice sheets of lace cling to the glass. Not much carbonation. Appealing English-style brew.
Smell is quite sweet with a distinct crème Anglais kind of character. I'm not getting much hop but there must be some, because the malt is not overpowering. Simple nose though, fairly unimpressive if not unpleasant.
Taste has a great deal of that malt at the front, creamy with a hint of musk. Hops come through midway, quite herbal with hints of lemongrass and basil. Slightly meaty on there as well with fair amounts of bitterness, very mellow at the end. Leaves a slight herbal tea aftertaste. Not bad, simple English bitter.
Mouthfeel is a bit wet and thin, a little bit of glaze texture on the back, not bad for the style but nothing special.
Clean drinking ale, probably good as a cleansing ale though, not a starter.
Pours a cloudy orange yellow, with cream-coloured thin head. Light bead, and good sticky lace. Pretty nice.
Nice malty smell, with slight caramel notes, hints of some spicy hops with the aroma of capsicum and tobacco. Not bad at all.
Taste has a lot of tang on it. Some citrus, mandarin and some pine resin. Litle bit sweet on the mid, with a bready malt character as well. Finish is quite bitter, but short with a little bit of a dank hang. Not great, but alright.
Nice bit of stickiness on the feel, quite full overall. Bit of a tingle. Quite good actually, gentle on the palate.
Fairly drinkable, but could have been more. Bit more of a bitter finish, maybe a bit more malt for the front.
70 / 100
Pours a slightly pale, slightly cloudy golden colour. Head is quite sizeable, small but visible bubbles constituting it. Bead is steady and fairly thick, head sinks and leaves a nice ring of white lace.
Smells quite sweet and malty, with a light toffee edge (light, like when you mix water with sugar and boil it), and a hint of crème anglaise. Little floral aroma from hops but it's submissive. Smell is mostly on the sweet side. Pleasant, but simple.
Taste is an odd one. Has a malty backbone to it with hints of that creamy English buttery sweetness, although a bitterness remains prevalent throughout. Slight acerbic character on the front palate, with a slight battery acid phenolic edge and a hint of black tea. Bitterness subsides slightly on the middle and then returns, potent as ever, for a double dip on the finish.
It's herbal and quite phenolic, real alkaline edge to it, which demands attention but doesn't really detract from drinkability. Well, the aftertaste IS mildly unpleasant, but very mildly.
Mouthfeel is slightly full but not sticky, a little bit foamy from the carbonation, pretty fine really.
An interesting brew. Quite chuggable. The aftertaste seems like a shame, and yet it also feels just like an idiosyncratic quirk which should be celebrated. In all honesty I enjoy this a great deal. I just feel like maybe I shouldn't. But I do. So screw you, indecision.
Pours a reddish brown with a moderate haze in the glass, slowly forming beige head that retains quite well, thanks in no small part to a healthy bead which feeds from the bottom of the glass. Very English colour, good elsewhere as well.
Nose is actually quite lagery in a sense, just very bitter with little malt character. I think it's just that there's a slightly German hop character to it, bitter and slightly spicy, with a hint of pepper and green tea on there. Slight caramelly malt lingers at the back, smells good, yeah smells bitter.
Taste is again very bitter. Slight hint of biscuity malt at the front but otherwise a mostly tasteless, watery introduction. Hops come on gradually but with crescendo force to create a herbal and phenolic, slightly spicy bitterness towards the finish, hint of vanilla on there and some woody character, maybe some eucalyptus as well. Slight breadiness on the very back is a disappointment, because it feels like an accident, just happening to emerge from the murkiness of the pleasant hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is slick, with a sharpness around the bitter finish probably not to everyone's taste but I quite enjoy it. Quite thin but with a fair punch to it. At 3.8% I would hardly expect a syrupy brew.
My first taste of any Burtonised brew - or at least, a Burtonised brew that makes a big deal about being Burtonised, and I have to say pretty decent. A well-constructed, hop-heavy bitter, clean and crisp and well worth a drink. A few niggles render it a little bit unsessionable, but overall a very decent drop.
69 / 100
Re-reviewed, 17th August 2013. my original review was frankly full of shit.
Pours a light amber, not much carbonation. Thin layer of marshmallowy head. Looks decent, bitter-style.
Smells grassy, touch of citrus. EKG almost certainy and maybe a touch of Bramling X? Grassy, touch of tea, very fresh and pleasant. Enticing.
Vanilla malt upfront. Lots of caramel malt with cracked grain and cereal, then English hops come through midway, grassy with a touch of citrus. Slight herbal note and touch of apple. Mild, but flavoursome and pleasant English bitter.
Coats your tongue as it goes through. Smooth, maybe a bit thick. Decent.
Good cleansing ale in this case, but at the same time I could slam these all night. Pleasant.
46 / 100
Pours a golden hue, thick white head of small but visible bubbles, good retention and fair carbonation. Lacing is fairly decent. Not sure a bitter should be as pale as this, but otherwise looks pretty good.
Strong musty notes on the nose and a very acrid smell with a slight citric character. Fair aspects of honey, and some herbal hops, like a hint of oregano. Not all that well balanced though, and nly reasonably pleasant.
Taste is interesting, such as it is. Slight pale malts on the front palate. Reasonably nutty mid-palate with a prominent raw grain flavour. Has a slightly astringent aspect towards the back, with herbal hops and an earthy, gritty bitterness. Too subdued though, lingers not very cleanly and just leaves a slight bitter hang.
Mouthfeel is a bit too thick and viscous for the flavour, for which I would recommend or expect a bit more carbonation.
Flavours are overall decent though, just doesn't have a great complexity to hold my interest for very long. Drinkable for what it is.
Really nice amber gold colour, with a robust head of beige foam. Excellent lacing. Frothy pour. Looks just like an English ale should.
Sweet toffee malt on the nose. Hint of organic grain, hay and grass. Nice English hops but very malty, surprisingly for a Bitter.
Lots of malt on the palate too, and a rich full grain husk bitterness, culminating in a dark caramel sweetness on the back palate. Not a lot of hops, although there's a dark fruit bittersweet character peeking its head around the malt backbone. Quite pleasant. Mouthfeel is very smooth, goes well with the maltiness.
A very drinkable beer. Perhaps a tad heavy on the sweetness, but it goes down very smoothly. A lovely drop.
62 / 100
Pleasant ginger-ale colour with foamy and delicious head, sticks around pretty well but webs out leaving sticky lacing. Light but steady carbonation, pretty sweet and nice-looking.
Sour, spicey nose with pleasant wine vinegar kind of acid and a subtle hint of ginger or maybe even chilli. Not bad but a bit sour really to appeal to me.
Taste is nowhere near as sour as the nose, with a pleasant dried fruit character dominating. Aspects of sultanas, prunes and again a sort of ginger hit. But very subtle. Malty for the most part although there is a hit of tartness on the mid-palate. This might be due to the carbonation which gives a fizzy, carbolic kind of mouthfeel. Not a lot of hops although they are at least apparent, if not obvious, on the back.
A decent drop, quite drinkable and with things to like.
59 / 100
Pours a browney-orange (amber, I guess you could say) hue, very clear appearance with no sediment. Good, very dense creamy head, not going anywhere. Good bit of webbed lacing.
The soap from the bathroom lingers on my hands and is encroaching on the smell of this beer, but I think it's also just a bit weak. Possibly poured too cold. It smells quite sweet, with a cinnamon-sugar element as well as a fairly distinct sour element reminiscent of underripe grapes or cranberries. Quite nice but could use more aroma.
That mouthfeel is magnificent. Very, very creamy and smooth, like Kilkenny only smoother, feels like I'm pouring soothing cream down my throat. Flavours are underwhelming, either as a result or just coincidence. Slight sour elements with the slightest hint of a burned flavour on there. Not much of the cinnamon promised on the nose. A hint of apple on the front but just a hint. Finish is slightly bittersweet, could maybe use a slight bit of extra hops, but it would be very easy ot overdo this, and OH! That mouthfeel... Seriously, don't change a hop for me. *drools*
50 / 100
Pours a golden colour with a slight orange tinge. Good, steady carbonation. A bit of head when first poured, doesn't really hang around. Decent-looking, and very English.
Bit lacking fragrance-wise, but nice for what's there. A bit sour with a slight hint of citrus, quite a lot of hops, but could use more.
Surprisingly sweet on the front palate, elements of candied orange, but that's really it. Mostly watery and quite refreshing with a slight bitterness on the finish. Again, that's about it. Slight bitterness. I guess this is all in keeping with the style, smooth drinking with a minimum of flavour. Mouthfeel is a bit full, like swallowing soapy water. The body feels heavier than expected, given the lack of flavour.
Nice golden yellow body, with a full, pillowy and frothy head of white foam. Great lacing. Looks nice.
Nice mix of malt and hops on the nose. Notes of biscuit and wet grain, mixed with gritty organic English hop flavours. Quite vegetative. Very pleasant.
Tingly and raw hop bitterness on the palate. Absolutely what I picture when I picture an English bitter; quite raw and sharp with a dirty organic back palate of pure bitterness. Mouthfeel full at the front with a pleasant effervescence creeping up later on.
This is a nice beer - a very well made English bitter. Truly, not my favourite style, but a good example of it. Raw, robust and true to its name.
80 / 100
Pale yellow when first poured, massive tower of delicious pillowy white head with great retention. Little bit of lacing. I think there should be more sediment but I'm using a 200mL glass and there's a lot of this still in the bottle. Gets a bit of cloud by the end.
Nose is ripe and fragrant, lots of fresh fruit, maybe a bit sour from underripeness (that is, the hypothetical fruit that these malt esters produce). A touch of banana, some passionfruit, guava even and a hint of strawberry - although that just may be a slight tannic edge. Good generous smell of hops blends well. Delicious.
Far more full-bodied on the palate than is suggested by the nose, and not so airy and fragrant. Rich bittering hop dominates with a slight grittiness which is not unpleasant but certainly unexpected in a golden Summer ale. The finish is extremely dry and feels like there's sediment getting caught at the back of my throat. It's not bad though, it's like a very good dry riesling finish. The star here is the palate. There is a rich bouquet of flavours here that makes it hard to pinpoint specifics. But it's slightly tonic, bitter and quite fresh, but bold and flavourful. Mouthfeel is a bit dry but mostly fluid, goes down smoothly.
A really interesting drop - chock-full of character and with a huge deal to like. Really pleased I bought this.
46 / 100
Pours a flat, redwood appearance similar to a lot of English ales such as Speckled Hen, with a slightly yellow tinge. No head but a thin ring of white around the meniscus which leaves a thin film of lacing around the glass. Not too bad, but a bit flat. Would prefer more foam.
Nose has slight toffee characters with a distinct herbal hoppy character. A little subdued, but nice characters and very typical of the style they're aiming for I think.
Tastes "darker" than it looks, there is quite a full body to it with a burnt, gritty character on the front palate with a considerably long hoppy finish. Flavours are rich and inviting but because it is a bit gluggy on the mouthfeel it's not very refreshing. Ultimately the palate is also a little simple with a bitter finish being its defining characteristic, but having said that there are good flavours for what's there.
Pours an extremely light yellow colour with a thin filmy head. This is a bitter? You could mistake this for Carlton Draught.
Almost nothing on the nose. Almost a bit of banana ester, but not much else. Eh. What's going on here? Not a fan.
Taste almost has the ester character of hefeweizen, like banana flavoured bubblegum. Seriously, it's like candy. Nothing like a bitter and overall pretty awful.
This beer is a travesty. Seriously. What the hell? It's *ok* to drink (just), but a bitter?? Get over yourselves.
Pretty healthy dark reddish-bronze. Good loose-bubbled, slightly greenish head. Little carbonation. Good lacing.
Decent spice hop oil on the nose. Pretty vegetative and herbal. The Saaz is definitely prominent, but not a lot of malt. Decent though.
Malt on the palate, peppered with a sprinkling of resinous hops. The hop bitterness is delicate, and a little subdued, really. It's mostly the aroma of hops which is noticeable. Palate is based on toasted malt. It's still pretty decent.
Mouthfeel is a little thin, but not too bad. A creamier feel would have boosted this beer significantly.
It's a pretty nice drinking beer, with a bit of character. Worth a look.
70 / 100
Very fine, thick, languous carbonation through a golden amber body. Very fine head of white meringuey foam. Looks like there's a haze in the body, but it's just those little bubbles roaming their way gently to the top.
Lightly fruity hops on the nose. Hints of tropical fruits. Also a hint of caramel or malt sweetness backing it up.
Taste is quite strongly hoppy and bitter, with a long fragrant flavour through the palate. Long, yeasty flavour, which doesn't detract, but just adds a pleasant dryness to the end of the beer. The mouthfeel is wonderful from the cask; beautifully silky and creamy.
Very, very nice. This one is an awesome package for a beer that seemingly weighs in at under 4% ABV. Supremely drinkable.
Good looking beer. Thick and rich cloudy amber colour, with a decent head. Almost looks like you could chew your way through this one.
Spicy bitter notes on the nose, with a hint of malt, but overall pretty subdued.
The palate is a lot better. Long, fragrant and robust. Pretty good caramel malt flavours. This one has its basis on the malt, but the strong, rich flavoursome bitterness wins it over. Most enjoyable.
69 / 100
Served out of a wonderfully widgeted big English can.
Pinkish copper body, with a slightly pink-tinged dense creamy head. Good lacing sticks to the glass all the way down.
Good toasted, roasted malt aromas on the nose, with a light hint of fragrant citrus, which increases the flavour.
Creamy, rich coating palate. Roasted notes dominate the flavour, finishing dry and astringest, and ultimately refreshing.
A very drinkable and enjoyable brew.