Monday, 16 July 2012

Summer Wine Brewery Cohort

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is Cohort, a Double Black Belgian Rye-PA from Summer Wine Brewery (Holmfirth, UK). I'm down to the last three beers from my recent Summer Wine haul, with this offering being one of the most intriguing remaining in the cellar. I'm a big fan of black IPAs- somehow roasted malt and hops compliment each other spectacularly- but I'm not sure how much impact a Belgian yeast can have when faced with such an array of flavours as those featured in this beer. Should be interesting to find out though, so check out the review after the pic....

Cohort (7.5% ABV) pours a jet black colour with a beige head that settles to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer. The aroma is quite subdued but still delivers that characteristic black IPA quality, with grapefruit, roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and some resinous pine in the background. The hoppy fruits and the darker aromas from the roasted malt compliment each other well, with neither one overpowering or predominating. The taste delivers more of the resinous hop qualities as opposed to the citrus fruits, with the roasted malt firmly in the background manifesting itself as licorice and yeast extract. The hoppy bitterness is quite pronounced, delivering a bite to the back of the throat and some tartness along the sides. There are also some brown sugar notes, and midway through drinking the Belgian yeast starts to make itself known with a slight phenolic spiciness during drinking, accompanied by the usual sherbet-y effervescing carbonation. The rye sweetness is detectable every so often despite the myriad of flavours present, particularly towards the end of the beer as the hop power starts to diminish. The mouthfeel is quite light and the beer is moderately carbonated, but I personally would have preferred more of the carbonation activity that Belgian yeasts are renowned for to have come through, as it would've supported the hops and darker flavours better. Overall, this is a rather interesting beer with flashes of brilliance and cohesion, but because there's so much going on with the hops, malt and yeast it can also be rather imbalanced, with periods of time during drinking when nothing much is going on. It's a good idea and I certainly think the combination of ingredients work well together, but I wouldn't get this again in a hurry. 

Until next time....

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