Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 24- Bristol Beer Factory Double Milk Stout

Good evening all. The big day is only hours away, so I've decided to break out quite a special stout for the penultimate beer of this year's advent calendar. It's Double Milk Stout, an Imperial Milk Stout from Bristol Beer Factory. This was meant to be in last year's 12 Stouts of Christmas collection but it wasn't quite ready at the time and so has finally been unveiled this year after a fair time spent in Speyside whisky barrels. Review after the pic....

Double Milk Stout (7.0% ABV) pours a jet-black colour with a short-lived off-white head. The aroma is very light, with lactose, roasted malt and some very subtle hints of coffee and chocolate. Drinking the beer is also a very balanced and nuanced experience, with lactose, coffee, milk chocolate, a touch of Speyside sweetness, smoked malt peatiness and some tartness in the finish. Mouthfeel is on the thick side with some light carbonation, which is perfect for what's on show. Incredibly smooth and drinkable, get a bottle of this whilst you still can!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 23- Northern Monk Brew Co Strannik Imperial Stout

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is another imperial stout, which is very fitting considering the awful weather we've been experiencing down in Devon; it's Strannik Imperial Stout from Northern Monk Brew Co (Bradford, UK). Review after the pic....

Strannik Imperial Stout (9.0% ABV) pours a jet-black colour with a thick off-white head that settles to a thin film over the surface of the beer. Lovely rich aroma with chocolate, coffee, caramel, soy sauce and some light hops in the background. Oily mouthfeel and quite a bitter drinking experience, with chocolate, coffee, smoked malt, soy and some tartness in the finish. Definitely a sipper as this can start cloying very quickly, but the alcohol is well-hidden. Decent beer, not as spectacular as I was hoping for but still worth a try.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 22- Bristol Beer Factory Belgian Conspiracy

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is Belgian Conspiracy, a Belgian Golden Ale from Arb... sorry, Bristol Beer Factory! From the looks of things it's going to deliver some American hop power and a healthy dose of Belgian yeast, so I'm definitely looking forward to it! Review after the pic....

Belgian Conspiracy (7.5% ABV) pours a golden colour with a decent white head that maintains itself over the duration of the beer. Aroma is a mix of sulfurous malt and very light Belgian yeast character, with some grassy hops in the background (the odd citrus note is also present). Drinking the beer is when the Belgian yeast makes itself known, with plenty of spice, esters and a nice bitter kick from the hops. Once the bitterness has subsided some grapefruit flavours are noticeable in the finish. The aroma of this beer initially put me off (typical golden ale smell of sulfur and biscuits) but the taste more than makes up for it which is certainly a good thing! Not their best but still worth a try.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 21- De Struise Brouwers Black Damnation IV - Coffee Club

Good evening all. The big day is almost upon us, so I feel it's time to break out a few of the big guns. Tonight's beer is Black Damnation IV- Coffee Club, an Imperial Stout from De Struise Brouwers (Oostvleteren, Belgium). This is a rum barrel aged version of Black Albert, and if it's anything like Mocha Bomb or Black Mes then I'm in for a real treat! Review after the pic....

Black Damnation IV- Coffee Club (13.0% ABV) pours a jet-black colour with a thick brown head that settles to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer. Surprisingly light yet rich aroma, with caramel, licorice, oak, chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, molasses and a hint of rum in the background. The Belgian yeast imparts a fair bit of effervescence during drinking, and mingles nicely with the chocolate, raspberry, coffee, rum and caramel on show. The alcohol is worryingly unnoticeable during drinking but does warm up the chest slightly in the finish. Very light body (probably a result of the yeast and the candy sugar), making this a ridiculously drinkable imperial stout. Highly recommended!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 20- Rocket Science Ales Jupiter

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is from a brewery that I've never encountered before, picked up during my recent visit to Favourite Beers in Cheltenham. It's Jupiter, an Imperial IPA from Rocket Science Ales (Yate, UK). Review after the pic....

Jupiter (8.5% ABV) pours a hazy amber colour with a bubbly "cask-style" white head. Great aroma with resin, grapefruit and some honey sweetness supporting everything in the background. Drinking the beer delivers a similar tropical fruit whack, with resin, pine, grapefruit, mango and caramel. The hops pack a pleasing bitterness that can cloy if you're not too careful, which is harder than it sounds when considering the flavours on show. Solid DIPA, I'll be looking out for more beers from this brewery in the future.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 19- Celt Experience/Master of Hoppets Danish Monster

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is a collaboration between The Celt Experience (Caerphilly, Wales) and  YouTube beer reviewer Master of Hoppets; it's a lemon-infused IPA made as part of their Shape-Shifter series and you can find the review after the pic....

Danish Monster (6.2% ABV) pours a light amber colour with a short-lived white head that settles to a thin film over the surface of the beer. Straight out of the bottle the aroma smacked me in the face with fruity hops, honey and a hint of sulfur in the background. The hops alternate between grassy and tropical fruits, and sometimes a bit of resin comes through. Malty sweetness and grapefruit hit first during drinking, segueing nicely into the lemon/citrus notes before the hoppy bitterness takes over and lingers in the finish. This can be slightly cloying, but overall it's a very drinkable beer with a very satisfying hop blast.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 18 and Day 15 Reprised- Arbor Ale Sauvin Non-Blanc and Wild Beer Co Whiskebeest

Good evening all. Steve over at Beers I've Known very rightly called me out on my lack of reviews for the days I listed in yesterday's post so to rectify this I've decided to review two beers today, which should officially get me back on track with this year's shambolic advent calendar. Tonight's beers are Sauvin Non-Blanc, a Bière de Garde/Saison from Arbor Ales (Bristol, UK), and Whiskebeest, a barrel aged Imperial Stout from Wild Beer Co. (Somerset, UK). Review after the pic....

Sauvin Non-Blanc (6.0% ABV) pours a hazy amber colour with a white foam that settles to a thin film over the surface of the beer. Plenty of Belgian yeast character in the aroma, along with funk, vinous notes from the Nelson Sauvin hops, pear drops and some candy sugar sweetness. On the palette the malty presence is more dominant, with esters, apple, funk, sherbert, malt sweetness and a light hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is quite thick, which compliments everything very well. Top beer, get it whilst you can!

Whiskebeest (12.0% ABV) pours a jet black colour with a very short lived off-white head. Loads of smoked malt in the aroma from the barrel ageing, accompanied by coffee, dark chocolate, licorice, yeast extract and some caramelised sweetness. This richness continues during drinking, with whisky, soy sauce, yeast extract, acetone and some tartness in the finish. Good beer, but the mouthfeel is a bit too thin and doesn't quite cut through the qualities imparted by the barrel ageing enough. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 15, 16 and 17- BrewDog Santa Paws and Salopian Black Ops

Good evening all. Tonight's post should be a triple bill to cover the recently lapsed days, but criminally I don't actually have any pics or tasting notes for the beers I consumed on Sunday (Sierra Nevada's Brux and Three Floyds/Brouwerij De Molen Zes Zes Zes) so you'll have to be content with the idea that they were very good indeed! The other two have been documented so you can enjoy my musings of BrewDog's Santa Paws and Salopian's Black Ops below. Review after the pic....

Santa Paws (4.5% ABV) pours a ruby colour with a frothy off-white head that maintains itself during drinking. Not a lot going on with the aroma, predominantly roasted malt and a hint of caramelised sweetness but these aren't as powerful as I was hoping for. The taste continues this theme with caramel, a hint of yeast extract and some light hops coming out in the finish. The mouthfeel is quite watery which adds a further downer to the drinking experience. Not their best beer and not one that I'd recommend.

Black Ops (7.4% ABV) pours a pitch-black colour with a thick off-white head that settles to a film over the surface of the beer. Fantastic aroma with grapefruit, mango, caramel, licorice and roasted malt mingling together superbly. Fortunately the taste delivers on all that the aroma promises, with tropical fruits, coffee, licorice and some resinous notes. Juicy mouthfeel and virtually no bitterness in the finish, this is a top beer that I'd happily get again.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 13 and 14- Bristol Beer Factory Whisky and Bourbon Cask Imperial Stouts

Good evening all. I'm back with another double beer review to make up for my lackadaisical blogging. Tonight's post is rather special as it's a double teaming from Bristol Beer Factory in the form of Whisky and Bourbon barrel-aged incarnations of their imperial stout, produced as part of last year's "12 Stouts of Christmas" collection. Unfortunately BBF aren't producing a similar series of stouts this year, so I thought it would be a fitting tribute to finally get round to trying these beers during this year's advent calendar. Review after the pic....

Whisky Cask (10.5% ABV) pours a jet-black colour with a short-lived caramel coloured head. Lovely rich aroma with yeast extract, licorice, coffee, dark chocolate and some whisky residing in the background. The whisky comes out a lot more during drinking, imparting some light alcohol character which mingles nicely with the oily mouthfeel. Great beer and a further reminder of how much the 12 stouts collection is missed this year.

Bourbon Cask (10.5% ABV) pours much the same but with a slightly lighter head. Vanilla bourbon and yeast extract aroma (great combination when they mix together!) and plenty of licorice. Lovely rich bourbon flavour with oak, licorice, caramelised sugar and yeast extract in the background. Similar balance of flavours to the Whisky Cask, mouthfeel has a bit more carbonation to it which is certainly complimentary. A pair of excellent beers!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 12- Anarchy Sublime Chaos

Good evening all. For the first time in a while I'm doing an advent calendar post on the corresponding day, quite the rarity indeed! Tonight's beer is Sublime Chaos, a Stout from Anarchy (Northumberland, UK) brewed with Ethiopian coffee beans and New Zealand hops. Review after the pic....

Sublime Chaos (7.0% ABV) pours a jet-black colour with a thick off-white head that maintains itself throughout drinking. Lovely piquant coffee aroma supported by yeast extract, roasted malt and a hint of sweetness. The first sip of this beer is quite tart with the coffee dominating everything, but each subsequent sip is more balanced and allows the nuances of the beer to come through nicely- coffee, toasted notes, dark chocolate, caramel, licorice, some subtle hop character and a light tartness in the finish. Wasn't expecting much with this one but it turned out to be a very good offering, highly recommended.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 10 and 11- Van Eecke Poperings Hommelbier and Mikkeller Weizenbock

Good evening all. The work Christmas party derailed my advent calendar plans last night, so here's another double post. Tonight we've got Poperings Hommelbier from Van Eecke (Poperinge-Watou, Belgium) and Weizenbock from Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark), respectively a Belgian Ale and (unsurprisingly) Weizen Bock. Review after the pic....

Poperings Hommelbier (7.5% ABV) pours a golden colour with a short-lived white head. Very heavy malt aroma accompanied by bittering hops, candy sugar, Belgian yeast and a hint of funk. Marzipan, esters, honey and a light alcohol burn during drinking, with a splash of hop-derived grapefruit coming out in the finish. Solid beer, wish I hadn't waited this long to try it!

Weizenbock (8.5% ABV) pours a hazy amber colour with a short-lived white head. Aroma is packed with wheat, candied fruits and caramel, whilst the taste is surprisingly light with the aforementioned aromas only noticeable through retrohaling. Mouthfeel could be thicker for this style of beer, but the alcohol content isn't noticeable. Wouldn't get it again, there are definitely much better examples of this beer style!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 8 and Day 9- A Plethora of Bottles and Anchor Brewing Company Our Special Ale

Good evening all. Another lapse means another double-headed blog post; Day 8 didn't go quite as expected (see below) but Day 9 continues the tradition with Our Special Ale from Anchor Brewing Company (San Francisco, California). Tomorrow I'm fairly certain that I won't be able to do Day 10's post, so I'll see you all on Day 11 for yet another double bill! For now, review after the pic....

After a long week of lab work (following on from two weeks of fieldwork) I slammed a load of beers with a mate to celebrate, so I'm going to let the pic speak for how Day 8 went- essentially the equivalent of opening multiple advent calendar windows in one go!

Our Special Ale (5.5% ABV) pours a ruby colour with a luscious tan head that maintains itself well throughout the course of drinking. The aroma is reminiscent of a scotch ale to some extent, with caramelised sweetness, light hoppiness and some raspberry kicking around in the background. Candy canes and candied fruits also spring to mind (quite the Christmas staple in my household whilst I was growing up). Candy sugar, roasted malt, nutmeg, allspice and some toasty notes during drinking, all wrapped up in a thick, velvety mouthfeel that prevents the flavours from cloying too much. A surprisingly complex beer that I'll certainly be looking out for again next Christmas.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 6 and 7- Buxton Brewery Smokey and the Band-Aid and Siren/Mikkeller/Hill Farmstead Limoncello IPA

Good evening all. In what seems to be becoming a recurring trend I was unable to do an advent calendar post last night, so enjoy two reviews to make up for this second lapse. Tonight we've got Smokey and the Band-Aid and Limoncello IPA from Buxton Brewery (Buxton, UK) and Siren Craft Brewery (Berkshire, UK) respectively. The former is a smoked rye porter and the latter is a mental collaboration with Mikkeller and Hill Farmstead that aims to replicate the flavour of the eponymous Italian lemon liqueur, so let's get to it after the pic....

Smokey and the Band-Aid (7.0% ABV) pours a jet-black colour with a short-lived cream coloured head. The aroma is predominantly phenolic smoked malt backed up by toasty notes, caramel and soy sauce. Tasting the beer there's some light tartness on the palate accompanied by smoked malt, yeast extract and a hint of sweetness in the finish. Good mouthfeel which supports the subdued flavours well, making this a very decent offering from an excellent brewery.

Limoncello IPA (9.1% ABV) pours a hazy golden colour with a white head that maintains itself during drinking. Light aroma with biscuit malt, flowery hops and a hint of lemon in the background. During drinking is when things get interesting, as the tartness builds in intensity whilst the lemon mixes nicely with the bitterness and citrus character of the hops. Unlike yeast-derived tartness, this amplifies during each sip and has a much longer finish. Very deceptive on the alcohol as well, and despite the sourness this is a surprisingly drinkable beer so be warned! Definitely a one-of-a-kind beer, seek it out and be amazed.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 5- Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noël

Good evening all. Tonight's beer has been in my collection since last Christmas but I'm only just getting around to drinking it- let's hope the extra storage time has paid off in some way. It's Spéciale Noël, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale from Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs (Honnelles, Belgium). This is one of the few overtly Christmas-themed beers that I'll be drinking for this year's advent calendar, so it might help me get into the festive spirit as it's been noticeably absent so far. Review after the pic....

Spéciale Noël (9.0% ABV) pours a murky copper colour with a short lived white head; unfortunately the yeast in the bottle is quite clumpy and so most of it ended up in the glass! The aroma is more subtle than I was expecting, with light esters, nuts, spice, candy sugar and some dark fruits. The nuttiness comes across significantly during drinking and in the finish, virtually obscuring any other flavours that might be on show aside from some acetone/alcoholic notes. Carbonation levels are also surprisingly low, which leads me to think that this might be a bad bottle. As a result I'm not massively impressed with this, but I might try and pick up another bottle in the future to confirm or deny my current opinion. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 3 and 4- Brouwerij De Molen Mühle & Bahnhof & Weird Beard/Northern Monk Bad Habit

Good evening all. Apologies for the lack of an advent calendar post yesterday- to compensate and catch up I'm going to do a back-to-back review of two beers which should sort everything out nicely. Tonight I've opted for Mühle & Bahnhof from Brouwerij De Molen (Bodegraven, The Netherlands) and Bad Habit from Weird Beard (London, UK) and Northern Monk (Bradford, UK), the former being a gose (sour wheat beer) and the latter being a hoppy tripel. This is certainly shaping up to be a good night of drinking, so let's get onto the reviews after the pic....

Mühle & Bahnhof (9.2% ABV) pours a dark copper colour with a very short-lived bubbly white head. On the nose there's lactic acid, caramel, oak and bourbon; the latter imparting a pleasing richness with some burnt notes in the background. In comparison the taste isn't particularly overpowering; the tartness is certainly on show (backed up by the barrel ageing) and there's a nice dose of alcohol in the background but nothing else is discernible until the sourness has subsided, leaving a malty finish with some lingering sweetness and a subtle hoppiness. Unusual but still well worth trying!

Bad Habit (8.6% ABV) pours a rich golden colour with tonnes of white head and a cascade of carbonation maintaining everything very nicely. The aroma is packed with Belgian yeast esters, marzipan, malt, funk and some fruity hops in the background. The hops kick up some bitterness and grape character, but the malt is the most dominant presence both during drinking and in the quite-dry finish, along with plenty of spice and a hint of that stank fonk. Great mouthfeel for the flavours on display though, making this a great example of a UK-brewed tripel from a couple of up-and-coming breweries. 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 2- To Øl Yeastus Christus

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is another offering from Copenhagen in the form of Yeastus Christus, a Saison from the gypsy brewers To Øl. Emblazoned with some very cool bottle art and being one of my favourite beer styles has certainly amped up the anticipation, so let's get to the review after the pic....

Yeastus Christus (7.4% ABV) pours a hazy golden colour with a short-lived white head that dissipates to a thin halo around the inside of the glass. Loads of funk and vinous notes in the nose, with some light fruity hoppiness in the background creating an aroma similar to Fantôme Saison (which always reminds me of those Superted multi-vitamins they used to sell in the late 90s!). Tasting brings up ginger, cloves, funk and a subtle bitterness in the finish, all wrapped up in a thick mouthfeel that compliments the drinking experience. Another surprisingly relevant beer for the Christmas season, although I can't help but think that this beer would be slightly improved by some form of wine barrel ageing.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Beer Advent Calendar 2013 Day 1- Mikkeller Crooked Moon Tattoo dIPA

Good evening all. It's been quite some time since I wrote one of these blog posts and quite a lot has changed; I'm now living up in Nottingham working as an analytical chemist but still finding time to enjoy the finer beers in life, which has lead me to realise that it's already the first day of December and I should probably try and do another beer advent calendar at the very least. I haven't intentionally sourced any of the beers that I'll be reviewing and I'll probably be a bit rusty for the first few, but it's a good excuse to drink a beer a day in the run-up to Christmas. First up is Crooked Moon Tattoo dIPA, a double IPA from Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark). Review after the pic....

Crooked Moon Tattoo dIPA (9.0% ABV) pours a hazy orange/sunset colour with an inch of head that maintains itself well over the course of the beer. The nose is more subtle than I was expecting but still packs a decent amount of grapefruit, caramel, pine, some vinous notes and a hint of funk in the background. The hops eventually show themselves during drinking, with plenty of tropical fruits, lip-smacking bitterness and enough sweetness to balance everything out. Great mouthfeel and conditioning on this one too, making it dangerously drinkable- mine certainly didn't last long! Another solid DIPA from the ever-consistent Mikkeller, with enough resinous quality to ease anyone into the Christmas spirit!