Author Archives: 2hopheads

Deschutes Brewery ‘Not The Stoic’ Belgian Quadrupel


22279595_757034764480671_881489524923112817_n“Aged and sequestered in select oak casks. The result – a contemplatively brewed quad created in homage to all those who doubted the original. This unrepentant rendition is definitively Not The Stoic. (Released April 2014).”

Served in a snifter. It hits the glass with a deep and murky brown hue which forms a finger of tanned foam on top. The head falls away and settles to a thin veil. Despite the diminishing head it still paints a nice wavy lace as we imbibe.
The nose offers a lot of residual sweetness – a lot like a barleywine only more complex due to the Belgian aspect. It’s teeming with brown sugar, alcohol, banana bread, clove, raisin, cherry, red grapes and black pepper. Also getting a lot of caramel and toffee, butterscotch and molasses. Brilliant.
Oh wow that syrupy sweetness really comes on strong. Plenty of assistance from the booze here but nevertheless those sugary and super sweet dark fruits like raisin, fig, plum and cherry fuse with the banana and spicy rye notes beautifully. Seeing a bit of dryness around the mid palate as it surges in to a sweet finish which offers apple, plum and subtle caramel on a length.
Sticky, chewy and gelatinous in the mouth. Medium-full body, mild-moderate co2. 12% ABV.
Quadrupel or barleywine? That is the question. We could literally cut down the centre of the two styles here although the slightly stronger Belgian yeast component maybe just inches forward in the end. All of that aside it’s still a really good drop that deserves respect.

8 Wired 2015 Grand Cru – Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Sour


22281691_757034254480722_5368377065850443332_n“Aged on currants and cascara with brettanomyces and pediococcus in Pinot Noir barrels. Then blended into a red wine foedre for further ageing..”

Served in a tulip. This attractive little number boasts a crimson red body and a short tan head. Retention is poor as it rapidly reduced to a ring with spotty lace following it down.
The aroma is super complex. There’s certainly no lack of woody oak and vinous tannins. Quite earthy, spicy and tart with plums, cherries and pomegranate making a distinct appearance. The sourness is bold but bearable, taking on a somewhat sour apple and slightly acetic approach. Some faint hints of aniseed, barnyard, alcohol and musty cellar room to further complicate things! Quite nice actually.
The flavour profile is similar to the aroma but with a more pronounced sourness. The strong oak, vinous tannins, the slightly tart plum, pomegranate and cherry…all here along with a lifted booze and spice character. Our main concern would be that it gets a bit too vinegary by the end but then again in light of this the subtle earthy note does take a bit of the edge off.
The texture is sharp, tangy and acidic with pretty good co2 considering the two years spent in the bottle. Medium body.
Yeah we can’t say that we’re blown away but there is definitely some potential here. We’ve locked a couple more of these away so here’s hoping a few more years will be kind to this slightly unrefined ale. Good but not great.


Knee Deep Brewing Co ‘Tahoe Deep’ Double IPA


22405409_757033954480752_7306163943081760209_n“Tahoe Deep is an 8.5% ABV Imperial IPA brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and CTZ hops. It’s golden/orange appearance produces fragrant floral, and juicy tropical fruit aromas that lead up to a resinous pine finish. A true West Coast-Style IIPA.”

Served in an IPA glass. She pours a reasonably clear golden orange with a thumb of creamy white foam taking shape on top. Head retention is good and the lacing is even better.
Oodles of west coast hop character on the nose – kind of reminds us of the IPA’s of old with its pithy and slightly acidic grapefruit, orange peel and tangerine. It also has a clean and fresh note to it…plenty of pine needle, light florals, fennel and grassy/herbal hops. The malt is delicate, dry, maybe a little earthy with a woody accent to it. Very well layered.
It hits the taste buds with a fair bit of vigour. A short and flavoursome burst of citrus fruits, pine and semi sweet malt is quickly eclipsed by a spiky line of booze (8.5%) and aggressive bitterness midway. Despite that it does bring a certain citric/grapefruit element to the table as it leads in to the sharp, piney and warming finish.
Quite full on and prickly in the mouth, definitely doesn’t try and hide the booze. Fairly moderate body and co2 with a feisty 66 IBU.
One of those in-your-face west coast IPA’s. Let’s be fair, it is a double IPA so it’s naturally going to be a bit of a palate wrecker but it could mellow out a little on the booze and bitterness….nevertheless it’s a good drop with truck loads of fresh hop flavour and aroma.

Omnipollo ‘Noa Pecan Mud’ Imperial Stout


22290053_755785907938890_2422864796795902777_o“When I was 12 I dreamed of becoming a pastry chef. Call this a creative outlet. Thick, rich and excessively decadent, this beer aims to bring back childhood memories. Brewed with aromas.”

Served in a snifter. We’re met with an impenetrable black pour with a thumb of brown foam topping it off. Slow reduction, settling to a film that provides a healthy lace as it subsides.
The nose, although similar to the original Texas pecan Ice cream, is unique in its own right. It’s definitely a lot more centralised on the roast and the true character of the pecan nut. It’s big on cocoa, chocolate and vanilla. It’s so nutty that it also brings out hints of Brazil nut, hazelnut and roasted almonds. It’s caramelised and sugary, packed with chocolate, vanilla and marshmallows. Hot damn!
This is truly and incredible taste sensation. On one hand we have the earthy, roasty and nutty pecan pie and on the other is this delicious hint of artificial sugars like marshmallow, cotton candy and vanilla slice. Erm….how the hell do they do that!? The booze (11%) and some bittersweet chocolate then leads in to a long and drawn out finish that provides sweetness, bitterness, warmth and roast.
The body is full and the texture is chewy and sticky with low co2.
Another sensational drop from Omnipollo. It reveals a bit more unrefined sharpness as opposed to the pecan ice cream. That is literally the only criticism we have. That aside, it is a remarkable drop. World class stuff.

Little Brewing Co 2016 Vintage Xmas Ale – Quadrupel


22195650_755785517938929_752211307981373282_n“Like a Christmas cake in rum, this Belgian Dark Strong festive beer has aromas and flavours of rum, dried fruits, spices & sweet alcohol.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. The 2016 vintage offers a murky brown pour with chestnut edges. It only manages a wispy cap before it retracts to a ring. Wet and streaky lace is seen following it down.
Just a heads up….you may hear us saying this a lot during this review but it’s very similar to the 2015 vintage with its dominant notes of raisin, fig, toffee, port, plum jam and clove. There’s certainly a stronger presence of spice in this year’s release, it’s showing a bit more pepper, five spice and nutmeg. And what would a top shelf quad be without banana bread, sourdough and apple pie? Impressive.
The flavour profile hits that Christmas cake character perfectly. Fistfuls of yeasty spice, banana, gingerbread, dates, figs and dark fruits envelop the front palate. Just an inkling of warmth which is monumental considering the 11.1% ABV. Caramelised pear and a warming peppery spice ties it all up with some good duration on the back end.
Sticky, thick and gelatinous in the mouth. Co2 is perfect and the body is full and well rounded.
Tell ya what, stand the ’15 and the ’16 side by side and it would be very difficult to choose which is better. Although the ’15 had a bit more complexity the rye component in the ’16 puts a whole new spin on it. Really not a lot of difference between this and the likes of Westmalle and Rochefort.

Founders Brewing ‘Doom’ Barrel Aged Imperial IPA


22228496_755785281272286_7685799719456239865_n“Doom may be impending but that doesn’t mean you have to fear it. A collision of worlds, the intense hop character of our imperial IPA mingles with the warm vanilla and oak notes imparted from time spent in our favorite bourbon barrels. Like all good things, Doom comes to those who wait.”

Served in an IPA glass. Slightly hazy amber hue with a steady stream of co2 rising up to retain the solid two finger head. Healthy lace work sticks to the glass as it ebbs.
The nose is very dank, very heady and boozy with a firm showing of bourbon from the months aged on bourbon barrels. In light of this though, we still pick up undertones of pine resin, woody oak, stewed citrus and grassy/herbal hops. Certainly can’t ignore the sticky and almost syrupy malt structure either. Good Lord this smells incredible.
Wow, the flavour hits the taste buds for six! Not on palate-wrecking level but bloody close to it. We get an overwhelming rush of burning alcohol and aggressive bitterness on entry. Some residual sugars and caramel malt sweetness hang around but never get the chance to make any real impact. Tasting woody oak and vanilla as it rolls in to a sharp and ultra bitter finish that offers piney and grassy hop notes on the rear.
The texture is quite sticky and dense but also extremely bitter and dry. Co2 is low and the 100 IBU ain’t afraid to show us.
Barrel aged IPA’s?! Now we’ve seen it all. It literally takes the preconceived idea of drinking them fresh and throws it out the window…..or in this case, in to a bourbon barrel. Definitely a slow quaffer and a pretty good one all the same.

Omnipollo/Buxton Original Texas Pecan Pie Porter


22195508_755398857977595_520070486629531753_n“Part of the Buxton/Omnipollo ice cream beer series, Texas Pecan is a pecan caramel porter brewed with vanilla and lactose.”

Served in a snifter. It hits the glass with a pitch black body and forms a short brown cap on top. The head fades to a ring with reasonable lace work as we indulge.
The aroma is absolutely divine! Like liquefied chocolate and pecan pie in a glass. It’s got sweet and nutty overtones for days with that feature pecan centre stage. There’s endless back up from bittersweet dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee to marshmallow, milk sugars and caramel. The booze is there but it’s ultimately well disguised. Brilliant.
And it all rolls right in to the flavour profile too! Mouth-watering waves of pecan pie, vanilla, caramel, nutty malts, lactose and cocoa flow majestically from the front and through the mid palate. It hits a super sweet syrupy note as the warming booze is injected. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee and mild roast then finishes it all off in style.
The mouth feel is dense but surprisingly silky considering the 10% ABV. Medium-full in body. Really warming and well rounded, lovely stuff.
This is our 2nd crack at Omnipollo and Buxtons ice cream series and it has just set the bar very high! The pale ale, although decent, was a tad underwhelming and has nothing on this delicious and slightly hedonistic porter. Seriously impressive drop here folks.

Omnipollo ‘Selassie’ Imperial Coffee & Vanilla Stout


22140818_754646994719448_1032221227691968140_n“10 speciality malts make up this majestic Imperial Stout conditioned on heaps of coffee and vanilla beans. Simple, yet complex.”

Served in a snifter. This literally pours like engine oil. It constructs a healthy two finger head which holds together remarkably well, eventually establishing a thick overlay. Lacing is thick and soapy as it ebbs.
There’s more than a few words that come to mind here. Big, black and dangerous are the first. Rich, sweet and complex would also pass as the coffee, cocoa, chocolate, vanilla and spice takes the lead. The depth just keeps diving as we uncover hints of licorice, raw cacao, leather, heavy roast and an inkling of booze (which is amazing considering the hefty 11% ABV).
Holy moly the palate is totally inundated with moreish flavour here. What we can isolate is coffee, dark chocolate, charred wood, heavy roasted malt, tobacco, molasses, subtle whisky and a gorgeous hint of vanilla. It has a slightly nutty note in the middle before delivering a kind of semi sweet, roasty and almost creamy finish with vanilla, coffee bean and bitter dark chocolate on the back end.
Thick and dense texture, almost syrupy with full body and low co2. The booze is warm without any harsh and unrefined nature to it.
Sweet baby jeebus that is a damn fine drop. There is actually nothing more they could do to improve on this…..seriously amazing stuff. Kudos Omnipollo.

Little Brewing Co 2015 Vintage Xmas Ale – Quadrupel


22195768_754646508052830_7404020866250263857_n“Like a Christmas cake in rum, this Belgian Dark Strong festive beer has aromas and flavours of rum, dried fruits, spices & sweet alcohol. This is the brewery’s highest ABV% beer yet and a new regular beer in their Mad Abbot range.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. Dark brown hue which reveals chestnut edges when held to the light. A finger of finely beaded head forms before it recedes to a thin sheet. Seeing some nice wavy lace work as we imbibe.
The aroma is giving off some incredibly sweet and sticky perfumes. Truck loads of dark fruits: prunes, raisin, fig and blood plums. Equal amounts of yeasty spice and phenol, apple pie, maple syrup, caramelised pears, gingerbread, cola, toffee and dark berries. Boozy accents of Sherry and port with undertones of doughy malt. Wow!
The flavour backs up the aroma really well – it’s super sweet, absolutely flush with raisin, prunes, treacle, gingerbread, Candi sugar and cola on a length. Relentless.
So nice and sticky in the mouth, really coating the whole palate. The 11.3% ABV is predictably evident and so it should be! Low co2. Medium-full body.
Even though TLBC has fallen on hard times we still believe they are one of, if not the best Belgian Style brewers in Australia. This 2015 vintage further solidifies our position. Best of luck for the future Warwick & Co (we can only hope it involves brewing more craft beer)


Amager & Wicked Weed ‘Mandarina Man’ Tropical IPA


22141118_754645694719578_9010044871705654580_nThe description of this beer is simply way too long and strange to post but once we realised it was a collaboration brew with Wicked Weed it all started to make sense. It may possibly be that these two brewers had a bit of the wicked weed before coming up with the story? Who knows, any who on with this review.

Served in an IPA glass. Light golden yellow in appearance. Soft haze, mild co2 and a wispy head that eventually settles to a film. Lacing is wet and streaky as we go.
We’re a tad undecided with this aroma. It’s mild, citric and summery but it’s extremely one dimensional and lacking substance. We pick up plenty of mandarin, lemon, tangerine and some unripened mango. The malt backing is a little dry and bready but mostly shy and ineffective. Some piney notes here and there. Average.
It doesn’t get any better in flavour as an acidic and tart citrus flavour gets things started. It’s a bit like biting in to an unripened mandarin. Hints of orange peel, sour fruits, tangerine and dry bready malts roll in to the somewhat delicate and dry finish which actually offers some decent length.
A bit of a mineraly texture, mild-moderate co2 and body. The 7% ABV is well concealed. 45 IBU.
OK, be sure to check your pour! As we poured the remainder of the bottle there were some big floaties and a tonne of suspended sediment. Looks very unflattering. It’s lacking depth, it’s unattractive and offering little in aroma and flavour. Disappointing.

Omnipollo/Buxton Original Ice Cream Pale Ale


22089861_754645324719615_6641528912010522053_n“The original ice cream beer from Buxton & Omnipollo. This pale ale is brewed using oats, wheat & lactose to give it a full, rich texture. It is then loaded up with fresh vanilla pods to create this truly unique beer.”

Served in a shaker. It pours out a hazy orange hue which sports a thumb of loosely held foam over the top. The head recedes to a film and weaves a healthy lace down the glass.
Not really a great deal of ice cream for an ‘ice cream pale ale’. Sure, it’s creamy with vanilla overtones but it’s the slightly tropical hops that we pick up the most initially. Lots of light and semi sweet florals, hints of caramel, oats and a touch of orange blossom. Starting to get more of the lactose and vanilla ice cream as it warms.
Oh yeah, the flavour turns it up on the ice cream component – super creamy, loads of vanilla bean and creamy lactose. Again we taste a subtle floral hop with hints of light orange citrus and a soft sweet malt structure. It signs off with an assertive hop bitterness and a lingering taste of vanilla bean and cream in the tail.
Soft creamy texture with a firm bitterness developing late. Medium body and co2. Well hidden ABV also (5.6%).
Definitely improved once it had about half an hour out of the fridge. Those creamy vanilla ice cream flavors and aromas really benefit from it. Pretty cool novelty but one is probably enough. Are we blown away? Not really. Looking forward to their darker beers TBH!

Wells & Youngs (Courage) Russian Imperial Stout


22007487_753004418217039_8198147773603105582_n“As Originally brewed in 1795 for Catherine the Great of Russia. Enjoy now or allow to mature in the cellar. Brewed to perfection only once a year, Courage Imperial Russian Stout enjoys a rich, espresso body with pear overtones and an intriguing fresh smokey, fruity finish.”

Served in a snifter. It hits the glass with a black that is literally blacker than midnight. It aroused a short brown cap which deposits a consistent set of rings down the glass.
Wow, lovely aroma, very well composed but also bursting with rich dark chocolate, coffee, dried dark fruits, cocoa, treacle and roasted malt leading out. Certainly getting that subtle pear/apple note that is prevalent in these old school English porters and stouts. Getting hints of booze coming through but for 10% it’s very nicely contained.
It’s pretty full on upfront. Not sharp or aggressive but just packed with rich roasty flavour such as bitter dark chocolate, coffee, earthy malt, raisin, peat, tobacco and a subtle spicy aniseed/licorice accent. The booze does come through but it also brings a hint of Sherry and rum with it. A touch of crusty bread before a roasty finish with a bit of dryness rounding it out.
It’s not overly heavy in the mouth. It’s dense but progresses well over the tongue. A bit of warmth and a bit of drying bitterness developing late.
Flavor and aroma-wise this RIS sits quite high on the list but historically this beer is somewhat of a trail blazer. There wouldn’t be such a thing as Russian Imperial Stout if this particular beer was never brewed. Respect to Barclay Perkins and Courage who now brews the exact same recipe that was brewed for Empress Catherine II back in 1781. Incredible.

Amager & Trillium ‘Sigtebroad’ NEIPA


22045785_753004118217069_3614015923388914764_n “It appears that the word “sigte” – in English “to aim” – can be taken back to the Viking era, where a “Sigtebrød” would be baked very hard as a substitute for a traditional longbow in areas where wood was scarce or even absent. After the victorious battle the Viking could then toast their bread bow on a traditional Anglo Saxon toaster. Illustrations of this bread bow have been found in several places in Ireland and Scotland, but not until recently did the confused archaeologists realize, what exactly was going on. Several hundred years later, Danish settlers in Minnesota brought the old Viking bread with them, and it soon gained widespread popularity. Also the bakery girls of blonde, Danish descent selling the bread, became popular to an extreme degree, and local Minnesotans soon nicknamed them “sigte broads” for their good looks. In some areas the baker even had to arm his sigte broads with a traditional Danish long knife to dishearten the most intrusive young, male bread costumers. All very weird, but indeed very true.”

Served in an IPA glass. Pouring a cloudy orange with a loosely packed head which inflates to two fingers before retracting to a rocky overlay. We’re seeing a wet and spotty lace clinging to the glass as it ebbs.
Definitely a lot of orange citrus character emanating. Slightly tangy, slightly spicy and a little tropical as a hint of citronella comes through. We didn’t notice it initially but the dry and bready undertones offer a solid balance and a bit of depth. Lots of grapefruit, citrus rind, mango, pine and lychee too. Impressive.
The flavour comes on nicely – juicy, tropical and citrusy with a firm spicy rye/cereal malt at the base. Like the aroma we’re getting more of the doughy malt as it settles but the hop driven notes of pine, stonefruit, citrus and grassy hops set up for a dry and bitter finish with plenty of length in the back end.
Creamy texture, nice and full in the mouth and perfectly carbonated. Well concealed bitterness and alcohol (6.8%) too.
Amager have always been a busy brewery but this recent project of collaborations with popular up and coming American breweries is really cool…..and genius we might add. We don’t see much of these rare American breweries down under so keep it coming guys!

Frenchie’s ‘La Perouse’ Biere De Garde


22007508_753003714883776_357993650228411214_n“BIERE DE GARDE is a style from Northern France, malty, complex, lean and very refreshing. Deep golden in color it exhibits flavours or malt, white stone fruit and spice. This is the kind of beer that would have been drunk in high quantities by the sailors of Laperouse from Kamchatka to Australia. The legend goes that the beer took them of course and therefore reached Botany Bay eight days after the first fleet.”

Served in a stemmed tulip. Hazy golden orange appearance. The pour doesn’t really stir up a great deal of head, swelling to about half a cm before settling to a ring. A wet and streaky lace is seen as we imbibe.
There’s quite a fair bit going on here. Plenty of fruity esters, yeasty spice, angostura bitters, caramel and subtle woody/oak tannins coming through. It has flashes of saison-like candied citrus with a very light funky sourness tucked in right behind. Maybe just a hint of herbal hop and alcohol poking through as well. Very neat.
The palate is somewhat dry, woody and grainy which develops a bit of warming booze as it progresses. Just a suggestion of lemon drops and honey that has a spicy and herbal hop character cutting in. The finish is again a little dry and woody with a mild alcohol warmth in the tail.
The texture is light and drying. Co2 is moderate and the body mild-medium.
They’re kind of strange beers these – complex and typically woody and funky but the fruity aspect adds a certain freshness to it. This one is light and pretty easy to put back but we wouldn’t say it’s all that sessional. Not bad.

Brouwerij De Molen ‘Hel & Verdoemenis’ Imperial Stout


21766479_751657141685100_572248130306343406_n“Translation: Hell & Damnation. Brewed with brown malts, an English traditional specialty malt, we created an Imperial Russian Stout that has won prizes at festivals across Europe from Sweden to Italy. It’s big (10% ABV), black, roasted and complex. We are convinced that not trying this ale will be a mortal sin to your taste buds and beer experience.”

Served in a snifter. As predicted this monster hits the glass with an impenetrable black body that dons a thumb of foamy brown head on top. Steady reduction with thick blotchy lace decoration following it down.
Geez the aroma is rich and really complex. Every scent that has ever crossed our mind when reviewing dark beer is right here. It’s roasty, charred and leathery with everything from dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, molasses and burned wood to sweeter notes of toffee, treacle, vanilla, fig and marzipan. Getting hints of stewed and dark fruits as it warms. Wow.
Oh bejeezus! The range of flavours covered from start to finish is simply incredible. It starts somewhat late with a fusion of sweet dark fruits, roasted coffee and bitter chocolate before a crescendo of rich, charred and slightly peated flavours dominate the palate. It further intensifies with Sherry, burnt toast and a firm presence of booze just for good measure. It rolls in to a bittersweet finish that lingers for an eternity on the rear.
Dense and full bodied in the mouth. Quite dry and bitter with a good warmth provided by the 10% ABV. “Hell and Damnation”. It sounds sinister and slightly undesirable but once this sweet sweet liquid passes the taste buds it’s anything but! 100/100 on Ratebeer too we might add. Faultless.

Red Hill ‘Dubbel Life’ Belgian Dubbel


22008360_751656841685130_638067550920588303_n“Made with a 100% Belgian Malt bill from Castle Malting creating a beer dark brown in colour with malt flavour of dark fruit and warming alcohol. Our own inhouse (former) chemist, brewer Ajay was in charge of brewing up our own Belgian candi sugar, caramelising the sugar into a rich dark caramel toffee, then cooling it back to a solid rock. This was used in the boil adding caramel, chocolate and nutty flavours and keeping the beer light in body and easy drinking, even at 7.3%”

Served in a Trappist tulip. It pours out a deep amber with a copper tint. It struggled to produce much head as it swells to a finger and immediately retracts to a ring with limited lace work as it ebbs.
The nose offers some nice and traditional Belgian dubbel aromas – caramel, toffee, fig, cocoa, banana, clove and candi sugars. There is one component we dislike though…that is the funky and slightly vinegary character that’s happening. Call us old school but funky, tart, sour notes should be reserved for just that…sours. Not a bad aroma it just left us wanting.
The flavour follows the nose with a good foundation of sweet Belgian dubbel flavours like caramel, toffee, banana, clove, earthy fig and truffle but again we find that slightly tart and vinegary flavour distracting. It’s light in the lead up to the finish and a bit short in the tail as well.
Pretty lean and light on in texture. Slightly lifted co2 with quite a well concealed 7.1% ABV. Pretty smooth overall feel in the mouth.
We absolutely love this brewery and with exception to one or maybe two their beers are top notch. This one though….it’s a bit 50/50. We froth over big, dense and super sweet Belgian dubbels but this one was lacking that rich malt, spicy yeast and bubblegum notes that make them so bloody good. Slightly disappointing.

Sierra Nevada 2017 Edition ‘Hoptimum’ IIPA


21768105_751656441685170_491669836068992678_n“Our brewers selected the finest, most flavorful hops, pushed them beyond their limits and forged them into this all-new triple IPA. This reimagined Hoptimum is our hoppiest beer yet, providing a blend of tropical and citrus hop aroma that delivers a refined yet aggressive character.”

Served in an IPA glass. Amber to orange appearance with a healthy two finger crown forming on top. The head holds together superbly and weaves a nice thick lace down the sides of the glass.
We’re getting fistfuls of grassy, citric and piney hop character leading out. In support are heady notes of candied lemon, hop oils, aniseed, ripe grapefruit, dank pine resins and just a pinch of alcohol creeping through. It’s quite well balanced on this sweet and slightly syrupy/honeyed malt base. That’s a fine aroma right there.
It opens up with a rush of dank resinous pine, bitter citrus and a delicate honey malt sweetness on the flank. A fleeting hint of passion fruit before the warming booze ensues. From there it’s aggressive and bitter with grapefruit, citrus rind and grassy hops going the distance on the back palate.
The texture is thick and full bodied but it does get a nice lift from the vibrant co2. Aggressive bitterness (65 IBU) along with significant warmth from the booze (9.6%)
A very well constructed imperial IPA. And we say imperial as it’s clearly not a triple IPA when it’s weighing in at under 10% ABV. Semantics! We have to give credit where it’s due. This is a big, bitey and in-your-face American IPA that went down a treat on this hot spring day.

Bell’s Brewery ‘Third Coast’ Old Ale (Barleywine)


21617561_750410778476403_2062480755628173381_n“Third Coast Old Ale starts with a rich, caramel base, and finishes with a heavy hop bitterness. Sharply intense at first, it will age gracefully, adding complexity and subtlety in your cellar. Go ahead, test your patience.”

Served in a snifter. It pours a murky chestnut hue that’s capped off with a short tan head. It collapsed to a halo which posts inconsistent rings down the walls of the glass.
Monstrous aroma! Like a glass full of syrup and fortified wine. This is the 2015 release so the hops have all but dropped out, although there still is a delicate hint of pine and grass hanging around. Loads of sweet dark fruits like prune, raisin, plum and figs. Relentless wafts of toffee, caramel, butterscotch and treacle with earthy and somewhat cocoa powdery undertones. So many dimensions.
The flavour backs up perfectly with super sweet (but far from cloying) notes of port, dark fruits, spice, alcohol and hints of earthy tobacco. Feeling a bit of heat with an assertive bitterness through the mid as it rolls in to quite a well balanced finish that boasts a gentle dryness with lingering malt sweetness on the back end.
The texture is dense and chewy with low co2. 10.2% ABV presenting firmly. Slightly drying on the rear.
The brilliant flavour and aroma certainly makes up for the drab and boring old strip. We would love to see how this would go fresh because it is drinking pretty damn fine right now (even without the hops). So obviously it’s a beer that would age well, good thing we have a few left in storage!

Six Strings ‘DOUBLE’ dark red IPA


image“With double the malt and triple the hops, this is the amped version of the red IPA. The use of caramel and chocolate give it the red colour. A resiny, citrus smell dominates from late hop additions. At 10% and 100IBU this IPA will have you seeing double!”

We love the red IPA so we are frothing over this. First crack of the can elicits that same hoppy aroma of the red IPA but way more booze. Pours a beautiful mahogany/Amber red with a creamy 15mm almost- tan head that sits like a cumulus cloud and doesn’t budge. Very very slowly recedes leaving a honeycombed lacing effect on the glass. Aroma of pine, resin, grapefruit, toffee, booze warmth, subtle chocolate sweetness. First sip is heaven. All of the above aromas but a booze undertone that doesn’t overpower yet warms the belly like a aged red wine. There is almost a barley wine thing going on here. We thinking dark fruits, prunes, port like etc. This is a solid beer. Full body here, like your eating it. It’s luscious on the tongue. Bitterness is amazingly subdued for 100 IBU. It just blends into the 10% Alc volume leaving a grapefruit like tartness on the back palate. This has definitely registered on the brain. Slight buzz going on. The resin, pine and toffee/caramel malts match so well and disguise the booze undertone also. We don’t get as much smoked flavour like we got from the original but it’s there in the background. So sticky on the lips this brew. The lacing down the glass backs this up. Relatively mild carbonation going on. Wow. This has to be up there with the champagne bottle series ‘1-3’ as being their best brew to date. We could easily do another but will likely pay for it. Oh well who cares, your only young once right? Exceptional drop. We hope this is not just a limited release and never re-appears. Better than the red IPA hands down. Hard to fault.

Six Strings Brewing Co TPA – Tropical Pale Ale


imageThis tropical pale ale is decidedly hoppy and full of tropical fruits like passion fruit and pineapple. Mellow malt flavours and smooth finish evoke chilled out summer days

Poured into a shaker glass we see a hazy hay -like/light golden colour with a bubbly 10-15mm white head that retains really well. Lots of lacing on the glass. Plenty of CO2 here. Aromas of light caramel malt, bready dough yeasts, some passion fruit and pineapple. First sip yields flavours reminiscent of Stone & Wood’s Pacific ale. Soft malt, wheat, light caramels, subdued passionfruit and pineapple. It’s smooth on the palate and leaves some bitterness on the back-palate that lingers. Slightly drying. We note an IBU of 15 and thought that was quite low. It’s light in body and sitting at 4.2% Alc vol we see why. Carbonation is actually mild in the mouth when comparing to the pour. It all just glides effortlessly down the gullet so your ready for the next sip.  We notice virtually no lacing down the sides of the glass. As we near the end we haven’t noticed any change in flavour compared to the start. We are a touch disappointed with the tropical hoppyness. If your going to call it a tropical pale ale, make it count. Im sure some more passionfruit/pineapple/lychee flavour could have been summonsed in the brewing process. You could easily smash a 6 pack of these on a warm day though. Meh.