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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Double Stout - Hook Norton Brewery (4.8% ABV)

I'm back! After a nigh-on 3 month hiatus... Had to take a break from writing about beer for a while as I was becoming stale. I still might be stale, but I fancy writing about the lovely beers I come across again...

This specimen is a double stout from Hook Norton. It pours a deep walnut brown with a slight ruby hue when held up to the light. It's capped off with a tan coloured wispy head that goes to a thin layer after a minute or 2 and offers a touch of lacing on the glass

Nose throws out plenty of roasted malt goodness; really nutty with an underlying hint of chocolate and coffee. Floral hops do come out (just) and there is a pleasant fruity sweetness

Good mix of complex flavours. Definite smokey woodiness to this, with a complex mix of coffee, cocoa and fruit cake with raisins & plums. The hops give a good spicy bitterness to help give a clean, dry finish.

Full bodied, smooth and well balanced. There is a good level of dryness to keep you wanting more. A pleasant stout with lots of flavour

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bigfoot Ale 2013 - Sierra Nevada (9.6% ABV)

I'm slowly working my way through the Sierra Nevada range, and this is another new style for me: a Barleywine style beer.

Well, it definitely looks good with its dark copper and ruby colour, topped off with a thick, soapy head that sticks to the glass. The nose is intense with a healthy amount of orange zest and pineapple. A touch of tropical fruit is evident, but the winner is the toasted malt mixes brilliantly with the alcohol to give a rich, sweet, malty aroma.

The taste is just as vibrant and aggressive, but in a good way! Thick, chewy malt base of toffee, toasted grains with lashings of booze soaked cherries and prunes. The hop flavour then kicks in to give grapefruit and pineapple, before a wonderful finish of spicy grass, fruity tartness, some citrus pith and a good helping of resinous hop flavour that lingers forever.

This is at the top end of what one might consider full bodied. The mouthfeel is thick, rich, boozy, sweet, chewy and a bunch of other adjectives which I can't be bothered to type. The carbonation is spot on, and the balance of malt and hops is brilliant. Perhaps the ABV is a tad on the strong side, and it is ever-present on the palate, but it seems intentional as it fires the flavours up to 11.

Brilliant, it's just a shame that I probably won't get to have this again... Booooo!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Russet Multigrain Bitter - Loddon Brewery

This is another brewery that I have never heard of, but thanks to the power of BeerBods, it has come to my doorstep to keep me company. Not sure what to expect from a multigrain beer, but I think it contains every type of malt base (excluding adjuncts) that you can use!

Dark colour of chestnut with a modest white head that drops to a thin layer after a minute or two. The nose is port-wine with hints of grain and dark fruits.

The first impression on tasting is the complex mix of grains in here; oaty, grainy, malty and honey sweet. Almost like an alcoholic cereal breakfast bar. Definite vinous feel, with slightly sour black grapes with earthy hints of walnut. The Fuggles & Styrian hops give that distinctive 'English' hop flavour finish with a touch of pine, citrus and a pleasantly smooth bittersweet linger.

Medium/full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel. Finishes moderately dry and is dangerously drinkable - this went down far too easy and would happily session this over a long afternoon in the garden. The carbonation is nondescript, but when it's this tasty, it's barely of any consequence.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale - Sierra Nevada (6.7% ABV)

Well, this is a big bottle! Most of Sierra Nevada's beers that I have come across thus far have been in small volumes, and this beast is a whole pint; and at 6.7%, this should do a good job of getting me nice and sleepy

The label goes into great detail about the speciality hops that go in to this, and the label design is typical of SN, and looks very pretty.

Pours a vibrant copper colour, with the smallest bubbles imaginable spewing from the bottom of the glass. Topped off with a brilliant, creamy off-white head.

The nose? It is quite formidable... You really get that wet hop goodness wafting up with dominating pine and resin with a kick of citrus. Toffee and biscuit with a mild toast is underpinned by a boozy layer of fruity sweetness.

The onslaught continues on the tongue. Chewy, thick malt at first has a distinct toffee and biscuit flavour, with a hint of wood chips. Figs, raisins and syrup then come to fore and coat the palate, before a hint of pineapple and mango wash over. Then the hops kick in and cleanse that sticky, fruity maltiness away with lashings of hop oils, pine and a hint of tobacco. Long bittersweet linger and those oily hop flavours seem to stay forever!

Full bodied with quite a heavy and creamy mouthfeel. The bitterness and sweetness is perfectly balanced, and is complemented by a moderate dryness. The alcohol is a touch on the solvent side and overstays its welcome a little.

But, who cares about that when this is so deliciously lovely. Another corker from SN

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Epic Saison - Wild Beer Co. (5.0% ABV)

This is my first bottle of Wild Beer, and for a fledgling brewery which only started in October 2012, they have quickly established themselves as one of the top dogs in the industry. This is also my first Saison, so lots of new things on offer for me here!

Pours a golden straw colour and produces a deep meringue-like white head with tonnes of carbonation in the glass. Looks very 'Belgium'. Nose is predominately Belgium yeast with aromas of clove &bubblegum, with a hint of ginger, lemon grass, spice and a meaty smokiness.

The flavour is very different to anything I have tried before. Biscuit with a touch of honey at first which gives way to a distinctive smoky character with a hint of saltiness. Spicy grass and sour lemon juice blend with bitter orange marmalade in the middle, before a finish of gentle hop bitterness winch deliver a bunch of herbal and peppery rocket leaf flavours. Slight mineral tang at the back which is probably noticable as there isn't much linger from the other flavours.

Medium bodied with a dry and crisp mouthfeel. Carbonation is brisk; very easily drinkable and would definitely benefit being paired with some sticky ribs or Chinese duck. On its own, it's nothing special, and felt a tad too sour for me, but that is representative of this style. Will definitely try again in the summer when the BBQ gets fired up

Monday, 29 April 2013

Ivanhoe - Ridgeway Brewery (5.2% ABV)

Another week, another Beerbods, and this pale ale from Ridgeway is the perfect accompiament to a warm spring evening. This is a bottle conditioned, with a label that sticks to medieval 'theme' of the Ridgeway range.

Pours a clear amber and is capped by a decent frothy white head that drops down to a thin layer after a minute or two.

Nose is malty goodness with lashings of toffee and cherries and fruity yeast aromas - lovely smell.

Initial malt hit is brown bread, toffee with a hint of chestnut. Mildly earthy character with a touch of citrus come at you, before the fruity yeast flavours envelop the palate; watermelon, bramble fruits and maybe some strawberry in there too. Finishes with a brisk bitterness and pine hop flavour.

Full bodied for a pale ale, minimal carbonation and finishes a tad too astringent. However, this is a brilliantly constructed ale that has great depth of flavour and is balanced perfectly. The bottle conditioning help add a bucket of fruity flavour, and blends well with the pre leant warmth of the alcohol

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Organic Pale Ale - Samuel Smiths (5.0% ABV)

Got me a job lot of Samuel Smiths beer in my latest haul, and this is my second bottle, after the very successful Imperial Stout

Pours clear amber, and is capped by a lovely thick off-white head. Tons of lacing and good retention.

Nose is all sweet caramel and crystal malt goodness, with hints of green apples, bramble fruits and a waft of alcohol warmth.

Taste gives you brown bread and a mildly yeasty character at first, which develops into salted caramel and toffee, roasted walnuts, wood chips, dried leaves, and then you get the fruity sweetness from apples and raisins. Finishes bittersweet and slightly metallic with a clean, mild pine bitterness.

Medium/full bodied with moderate to high astringency, although it manages to avoid being unpleasant. Carbonation is brisk and helps deliver a smooth and easy drinking beer.

Decent beer, this. It's not going to stick in my memory for any reason, but it's worth trying out



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