Author Archives: 2hopheads

Five Barrel ‘Norvell’ Christmas Ale

Rating:

“Evocative of the season, winter ales have a tradition in the US, the UK, Belgium and elsewhere. English winter beers are normally called winter warmers, and tend to be dark, full in body, sweet and stronger than average (5.5% ABV and up). They are rarely spiced. American winter beers are usually called Christmas or holiday beers, and are almost always spiced. Belgian winter beers are often slightly stronger (by 1–2% ABV) versions of flagship beers. If they are spiced, the spicing is usually more subtle than American versions. Five Barrel Brewing have brewed a Christmas beer each year since we opened in 2015. This year’s version is a Belgian Dubbel that utilises orange zest and nutmeg in the kettle.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: It pours an attractive deep crimson red with a short khaki head. Fair retention and spotty lace left in its wake.

Aroma: We’re always slightly hesitant when Aussie breweries take on the Belgian Dubbel. From memory the last time we were impressed by an Aussie-brewed Dubbel was Hawkers’ Aquavit BA expression and that was some time ago! Smells very spicy, malty sweet, lots of toffee apple, fruit cake and apple pie. Hints of blood plum, dates, banana bread and caramelised pear as well. Not a traditional aroma but not bad by any means.

Flavour: Quite deep, layered and complex. A very short cameo of phenols up front which morph into more of a fruit cake kind of affair. Kinda tangy/kinda tart red fruits, prunes/dates, clove, nutmeg and caramelised orchard fruits across the mid-palate and then very delicate toasted malts, toffee apple and earthy hops leading into the finish. Good length on the back end too.

Mouthfeel: Dense yet slightly creamy and lifted by a vibrant Co2. Medium body and the 7.3% ABV is pretty well placed.

Overall: We’ve been see-sawing the entire time. It’s a rather well brewed beer – nicely balanced and full flavoured etc but it’s so far from a traditional Dubbel that we can’t say we’re totally sold. Not bad.

Bottle Logic ‘She Shot First’ Tropical Hazy IPA

Rating:

“When the mission went to hell, Eve didn’t take chances… #SheShotFirst. This Hazy IPA is an evolution of one of our opening-day beers, brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe, and El Dorado hops, and now finished with a clean shot of sweet pineapple and vibrant passionfruit.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Murky pastel orange complexion and a thumb of white fluffy head on top. It steadily recedes and settles to a fine overlay. Healthy lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Incredibly sweet and juicy but it’s also impeccably balanced. Heady notes of Frosty Fruits lift out of the glass and fill the nostrils with fresh orange/juice, passionfruit, mango and pineapple. Really well countered by a dry and grainy malt profile, a subtle chalky note and bread crusts. Dead set this smells bloody divine.

Flavour: We like that they’ve dialed back the fruity sweetness a touch. It allows the slightly musty and chalky malts to come through more as opposed to the aroma. It’s still chock-full of tropical fruity goodness though – Frosty Fruits, passionfruit, pineapple, orange citrus and mango all rolling into a much greener finish with hints of pine and herbals.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, pillowy and well aerated. The perfect amount of effervescence gives it a refreshing lift. 6.4% ABV so it’s not overly boozy.

Overall: High quality stuff from a world class brewery. It just does the right things at the right time. Brilliant offering.

Bottle Logic ‘Mint Condition’ Imperial Mint Stout

Rating:

“Mint Condition is a 10% dessert stout inspired by mint chocolate chip ice cream. Brewed with lactose, chocolate malts, and mint, then finished through 95lbs of TCHO Chocolate Ecuadorian cacao nibs — this beer is just dead-on ice cream. It’s utterly perfect.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a finger of brown foam resting atop. The head gradually recedes and forms a ring which draws a wavy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: This is literally like boozy after dinner mints in a glass. Usually, we get turned off when these kinds of beers get artificial, but this may well be an exception. The mint aspect resembles creamy mint frosting then the big Stout base comes through with dark chocolate, molasses, cocoa and chocolate biscuit. Hot damn this is gonna be mint! ????

Flavour: Wooowwwww! We don’t think an Imperial Mint Stout could be brewed better than this. It’s literally a mirror image of the aroma. Tasting like a boozy after dinner mint in liquid form but the clincher is the 10% ABV is so well buried. At no stage does it decelerate either…it’s just an absolutely delicious mint-infused, dark chocolate biscuit in liquid form from start to finish.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly light texture for the style. It still feels like it has weight to it though. Low-ish Co2 and a very well hidden ABV.

Overall: There really isn’t much more to say. This is bloody superb. If you (like one of us) could easily sit down and polish off a packet of Mint Slice biscuits in one sitting, then wrap your laughing gear around one of these. It will cost you a little bit (roughly $30-35 bucks a can) but it is worth every cent. Magnificent.

Mason Aleworks ‘Nightmare Water’ Triple Hazy IPA

Rating:

“What do dreams about water mean? Water represents the unconscious, the place our minds go and the thoughts we have when we are not paying attention. Ever dream about a Hazy Double IPA with 100% Citra Incognito Hops? Nightmare Water is just this! Let your tastebuds and unconscious free and discover notes of citrus and floral and aromas of passion fruit. Nightmare Water has said to be cleansing and healing but not ‘yet’ confirmed. It will however, leave your palate with a nice juicy finish.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Hazy pastel orange with very faint sandy golden edges. It forms a finely beaded two finger head which maintains its shape. A brilliant cascading lace is left in its wake.

Aroma: Smells like it’s a bit long in the tooth i.e muted and stewy but we’ve only just realised this behemoth weighs in at 10.5% ABV so that may explain it. It’s still too shy and subdued for our liking though. We’re getting delicate hints of canned fruits like peach, pear and mango but there’s this off-putting scent of plastic and what we can only describe as rotting citrus. No good.

Flavour: Oh my what has happened here? We can’t be certain if this beer is off/infected or whether it’s just brewed terribly coz what we’re tasting is this extremely unpleasant stewy sweetness which is emphasised by ripe paw paw and papaya. We don’t mind this in some IPA’s but when it’s totally unbalanced like it is here it’s in sink pour territory.

Mouthfeel: Pretty full, chewy and dense. Co2 is low-ish and the 10.5% ABV is pretty well hidden.

Overall: Our first crack at Mason Aleworks and it’s nothing short of an absolute fail. We couldn’t find a BB date on it so it’s gonna go down as a potentially infected beer.

Bottle Logic ‘Leche Mole’ Imperial Sweet Stout

Rating:

“Chocolate Mole-Inspired Sweet Stout • 10.6% ABV • Leche Mole is a mocha milk stout brewed with lactose and finished through cacao nibs and a medley of Anaheim, Ancho, Chipotle, and Guajillo chili peppers for a rich, chocolate mole-toned flavor.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy brown overlay which disappears almost instantly. And where’s there’s no head there’s no lace.

Aroma: Well she’s definitely deep and complex. Not only can we get the heat from the chilli’s but we can pick up the capsaicin (the ingredient which gives chilli its red capsicum aroma and flavour) as well. Then there’s the rich notes of raw cacao, molasses, creamy lactose, spicy vanilla bean, cinnamon, white pepper and a very faint hint of Vegemite all competing for the attention of the olfactory’s. Ooft!

Flavour: Bottle Logic hey…these guys are freakin masters. There’s a really short cameo of sweet lactose/vanilla and what seems like either maple or honey before the tidal wave of heat from the chilli encapsulates it all. What’s impressive is behind the chilli’s are the robust flavours of heavily roasted malts, coffee, raw cacao, nutty chocolate and peppery spice which all extend into the long and fiery finish.

Mouthfeel: Extremely dense and muscly. Full body, low carbonation. The 10.2% ABV is well hidden by the heat from the chilli.

Overall: Once again we thank not only BL for being so awesome but Carwyn Cellars for having the amazing nouse to get these world class beers to our shores again. High fives all round.

Stoic Amber Ale

Rating:

“A malt focused, heavy-bodied Amber Ale with a hint of sweet caramel and notes of toffee.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep rusted amber pour with a short tan head which settles at the rim. Rather scarce lacing as we go.

Aroma: Distinctly sweet but in an excessively artificial way…its dominant scents are toffee and dark fruits like raisin, plum and dates with hints of earthy caramel, floral and mildly fruity hops, sweet spices and jam on toast. We must admit as it settles the confectionary side tapers off and it all begins to come together quite well.

Flavour: Much to our surprise it’s a lot hoppier than we’d anticipated. The usual suspects are here – toffee, caramel, nutty syrup and dark fruits – but the floral and slightly citrusy hop profile enjoys some of the attention. The mid-palate totally drops away but fortunately it finishes with a dry hop bitterness, spicy caramel and toffee. The length ain’t too bad either.

Mouthfeel: A little watery but it’s ultimately smooth and palate friendly. Co2 is on the lower end and the 5.3% ABV is a little lost in the ether.

Overall: Certainly some weak points but some positives at the same time. Regrettably, it seems they still haven’t shaken off the homebrew vibe we got when we first visited the brewery a few years ago ????

Aslin ‘Yellow Starfish’ IPA

Rating:

“This one’s got the same base as our OG recipe with a little spin. Bru-1 hops bring in a bit more citrus to mingle with Citra and a touch of pine to balance it all out.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Hazy pastel yellow with a frothy four finger head forming on top. It takes an age to reduce and leaves a smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Proper summery vibes on this one. Really light, refreshing and zesty citrus overtones with freshly picked pine needle, pineapple, green mango, unripened peach and a very subtle touch of lemongrass and thyme. There’s something uniquely Australian about this…which is strange as it has no Aussie hops and it’s brewed in the States. Dunno, we dig it but.

Flavour: Again, super light and effortless to drink. Although all the flavours are delicate it still has a lot on display – zesty lemon and lime, fresh pine needle, a range of unripened tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and peach which roll into more of a pithy and herbaceous finish which draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, zippy and light on. Light-moderate body and an energetic Co2. The 5.7% ABV surprised us a little but it’s actually perfectly weighted.

Overall: Our 2nd entry for Aslin and we must say it’s notably better than the first. It’s well into session territory and the light refreshing nature of it emphasises that even further. Solid.

Beer Zombies ‘Axe Brews. Vengeance’ Double Hazy IPA

Rating:

“Prepare to have your taste buds axed, we have taken this hazy double ipa to the next level with enormous mounds of Galaxy & El Dorado hops. Hitting you with juicy peach, pineapple whip, over ripe mango and a hint of dank resin to round out the backend. There is no hiding from the Axe that Brews Vengeance!”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pours a slightly muddy dark orange to sandy golden colour with a loosely packed thumb of white foam atop. The head breaks up but manages to weave a thick, sudsy lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Seems a tad muted on first meet. It is quite juicy, quite nectary and sweet though. Canned peach, ripe orchard fruits, juice concentrate and slightly dank herbs make up the bulk of the aroma. Fleshy tropical fruits like mango, rockmelon and paw paw mingle with caramel and a gentle touch of toffee but luckily a hint of pepper takes the edge off the intense sweetness.

Flavour: Much more of the same here – lots of stewy, fruity sweetness but thankfully a hearty bitterness pulls it all into line. A soft jab of peppery spice is crucial to the fine balance it has on offer. The resinous/dank and piney aspect is also dialled up a bit more too and it actually finishes quite pithy and bitter which is great.

Mouthfeel: Fluffy and well aerated. Medium body and the Co2 is spot on. The 8% ABV is noticeable but fairly well behaved.

Overall: Our first entry for Beer Zombies. Weird name, weird artwork but in the end not half bad beer. It’s no Treehouse or Monkish but it’s respectable.

Aslin ‘Windjammer’ IPA

Rating:

“Dry-Hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Chinook, and Centennial” 

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Slightly hazy pale golden complexion with a tonne of very fine suspended sediment. It forms a healthy two and a bit finger head which holds its shape. Excellent lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: First thing we notice is a real weedy, resinous character but it’s quickly morphed into a heady onion-like scent which we haven’t smelt in an IPA for yonks! Lots of unripened peach and nectarine, woody and slightly earthy tones, white florals, hints of spice, pine and subtle orange also coming through. The vibe is sorta old-school but it isn’t. More of a No Coaster if we had to pick.

Flavour: Similar to the nose. Upfront it’s a tad resinous, piney, weedy…almost a bit dank. Tasting green onion/shallot, unripened peach, pineapple and mango. Peppery herbs like rocket and basil feed into the earthy/woody cedar. It develops a subtle pithy-ness late in the piece which helps set up the dry, bitter and citrusy finish that draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light on, drying up post swallow. Mild-medium body with good Co2. The 6% ABV slots in neatly.

Overall: Our first crack at this Virginian brewery. We’re getting splinters in our bum coz we’re fence-sitting. Can’t decide whether we like it or not. It ain’t bad.

White Bay ‘Right On’ Coffee & Vanilla Porter

Rating:

“HOLEY MOLEY OOLEY DOOLEY! This friggin beer slaps! Brewed on a complex base consisting of of ale malt, heaps of crystal and specialty malts, wheat and oats. We let this baby take it’s time, fermented cool and conditioned for ages. Post conditioning we conditioned this beauty on Indonesian vanilla beans and an absolutely magnificent Brazilian coffee blend from our neighbours at Little Marionette. An absolutely joy to drink.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a fizzy dark brown head which disappears almost instantly. Absolutely zero head is left which means zero lacing.

Aroma: Oh my my my this smells the goods. The coffee aspect is utterly divine…it gives off a fresh cold drip quality which is eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-the-head kinda stuff. Nice and neat little addition of sweet milk sugar/lactose to take the edge off the bitterness as well. Sensual notes of raw vanilla bean, dates/prunes and chocolate ganache adding more appeal to this already impressive aroma.

Flavour: Excellent transition to the palate. It delivers a strong punch of sweet espresso on entry followed by a balancing act of vanilla bean and creamy lactose. Delicious notes of lightly charred malt, dark chocolate and cocoa cross the mid palate and shift into a well balanced finish of espresso bitterness, ash, vanilla and creamy lactose.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, silky and nicely weighted. Medium-full body and finely carbed. The 6.8% ABV is incredibly well concealed.

Overall: Magnificent stuff here from White Bay. Very finely detailed and stylish. Pretty sharp pricing on it too. Only good things!

Tumut River Brewing ‘Tea Innit’ English Brown Ale

Rating:

“A brown ale with tea in it.. We love the occasional cuppa so we decided to combine some fine English tea with the finest artisanal dark malts from our good mates at Voyager Craft Malt and tin it. The result is a smooth and very drinkable brown ale that showcases the stunning flavours of the malted barley with a subtle hint of tea for the perfect arv refreshment . Smashing innit!”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Light mahogany with a deep ruby red tint when held to the light. It forms a finely beaded two finger head which slowly peels off. Lace rings mark each sip on the glass on its way down.

Aroma: We must give credit to TRBC, they’re always pushing the boundaries when it comes to edgy beers. Sometimes they pull it off and sometimes they fail miserably. We’re not going to call this too early but this may potentially fall into the ‘failed miserably’ category. Classic Brown Ale nuttiness though, delicate milk chocolate and toast on one hand and then the spicy, grassy and earthy tea on the other. Interesting.

Flavour: Oh wow okay. The characters that were already sorta clashing on the nose are now in all out warfare. We absolutely love Brown Ale and we both don’t mind a cuppa every now and then but you’d have to be a true die-hard Englishman to dig this. There’s simply no cohesion between the mildly roasted malts, nuts and spicy tea and unfortunately it maintains this position through to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly rigid and a bit chewy. Mild-moderate body, low-ish Co2. The 5.3% ABV is neither here nor there.

Overall: Well…not much more can be said at this point. It’s a sink pour. Which we hate to do coz we do actually like what TRBC put out (most of the time). This though….this was an exception.

Fontaine ‘Harvest’ Farmhouse IPA

Rating:

“New world meets old world. At Beer Fontaine we love Saisons. We love Hops. We’ve dry hopped this farmhouse ale with piles of Saaz Lupomax & NZ Motueka Hops to create A fresh & funky IPA. This beer was Crafted with Australian & Belgian barley malt, Australian Triticale, Saaz, Moteuka & Nelson Sauvin Hops, Farmhouse Yeast.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Nice bright golden pour with a sturdy three finger head perched on top. Excellent retention and lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: Man there’s no getting away from that Farmhouse yeast profile! We’re getting strong wafts of bubblegum, banana runts, barnyard and musty funk. Also big wafts of straw/hay and wheat grains on offer too. Candied orange, tangerine, white grape juice, freshly sliced pineapple, quince paste and aniseed just to add some further depth and complexity. It certainly isn’t short on character.

Flavour: Hhhmmm. Dead set this is bloody intricate. We’re getting everything from sweet tropical fruits, candied orange/citrus and spicy rye to wheat grains, dank herbs and musty funk. Then there’s the barnyard qualities, quince paste and a strange earthy-ness all rolled up into one. It has a very unappealing finish to it and unfortunately that lingers on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Light on and somewhat fluffy but it has a flat carbonation to it. The 6.7% ABV is pretty well hidden though.

Overall: We must admit the M.O of this brewery is very left-field so it’s no surprise this was an eccentric beer. Our issue is it’s untidy and it doesn’t really gel. It’s a shame it didn’t really come off in the end coz we do like this brewery.

Reub Goldberg ‘Reub’s Gold’ DH Pilsner

Rating:

“A crisp, easy drinking Pilsner with Zappa & Sabro Cryo hops adding bright notes of candied orange peel & lemon zest.”

Glassware: Flute.

Appearance: Quite dark for a Pilsner – deep golden amber pour (possibly oxidised) with a billowing three and a bit finger head. Good retention and healthy lacing following it down.

Aroma: We don’t believe it’s diacetyl-infected but the malt profile displays a tonne of honey, light caramel and buttery biscuits…all of which can be attributed to light IPA’s and Pale Ale’s on any given day. Throw in the additions of Zappa and Sabro Cryo hops and you couldn’t be blamed for thinking this was a Pale Ale. We get it’s a new world Pilsner but sheesh!

Flavour: Right now the only aspect that makes this a Pilsner is the Lager yeast. Light sulfur/vegetal notes and a hint of DMS manifest but they’re rather easily drowned out by an overarching malt sweetness and candied citrus, nectary fruits, coconut and mint. It does at least have a dry, fruity finish but it’s cut a bit short.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, chewy and a little tired. Mild-medium body with flattish carbonation. The 4.8% ABV is on par for the style.

Overall: In our opinion it’s landing somewhere between a new world Pilsner and a summery Pale Ale. We’re sure some will dig that about it but for us it was just confusing and mediocre.

Banks ‘Pecan Can’ BA Imperial Pastry Stout

Rating:

“Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pastry Stout. Conditioned on toasted pecans, marshmallow fluff, toasted coconut, and vanilla bean after being aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. We advise sharing and enjoying this luxurious, intricate, and utterly excellent barrel-aged stout slowly, like a great wine, to allow the beer to open and highlight the lovely components on exhibited by this special brew Contains lactose.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black pour with a short and finely beaded brown cap. It gradually reduces and settles at the rim. Nice legs on the glass as we hook in.

Aroma: Smells good. Exceptional balance between the sweet and spicy Bourbon/oak and the rich, roasted malt structure. The toasted pecans are pretty subtle…picking up their nutty and mildly woody profile which is impressive considering everything else happening within the beer already. Definitely getting the coconut and vanilla too. The marshmallow opening up later on. Wow, it’s all here.

Flavour: Pow! Is this The Bruery or Banks?! They’ve hit this one outta the park. Seriously complex upfront – super roasty, nutty but also a tad sweet from the vanilla, marshmallow, Bourbon/oak etc. Actually the latter really doesn’t show through a whole lot but it’s not that big of a deal as it’s so incredibly well layered with everything else. A nice big roasty bitterness to finish too.

Mouthfeel: Dense AF. Full bodied, low-ish Co2. The 10% ABV is well integrated.

Overall: Just pure Pastry Stout goodness. Absolutely jam packed with flavour and character. Tell ya what if they could’ve pulled more out of the Bourbon barrels it’d be an easy 10. Still, a very impressive offering.

The Garden Brewery Double Imperial Affogato Stout

Rating:

“Huge pastry stout inspired by the Italian classic. Laden with cold-brew Espresso, Cacao Nibs, Tonka Beans, Milk Sugar and Madagascan Vanilla pods.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black complexion with a rapidly vanishing head. No head = no lacing.

Aroma: Our quest to find an Affogato Stout that even remotely tastes like Affogato now brings us to the Garden Brewery. And on first acquaintance we’re not overly impressed. We get this weird and unnecessarily sweet confectionary character that doesn’t resemble Affogato at all. Once we break it down we do pick up the Tonka beans, vanilla and coffee but it just doesn’t vibe.

Flavour: OK it’s gelling a bit more here. The Stout base has turned up and is now offering a bit of bottom end – raw cacao, espresso coffee and chocolate. Still, this weird artificial sweetness we got on the nose is spoiling it. Kinda reminds us of a nutty syrup (probably their way of promoting the liqueur aspect). Then it all drops into a weak and molasses-like finish which ain’t working.

Mouthfeel: Nice and slick, medium-full body. Co2 is spot on. The 10.7% ABV is well concealed. This is probably the best part of the beer.

Overall: Well the quest continues. Seriously, why is it so effin hard to find a Stout that can portray the basic flavours of an Affogato?! We think this is our 5th attempt with no joy. Good thing we’re committed!

La Sirene X Starward ‘Dark Star 2.0’ BA Chocolate Stout

Rating:

“Part 2 of our long standing collaboration with one of the pioneers of Australian Whisky. DARK STAR is our well-known Praline that has been thoughtfully aged in freshly disgorged premium STARWARD whisky barrels for 12 months.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Matte black with an extremely fizzy brown head which disappears rather quickly. Only the finest of rings is left and there’s no surprises that it doesn’t lace one bit.

Aroma: We remember all those years ago when the OG Praline Stout was released. Way back before the explosion of Pastry Stouts. We recall being blown away so it’s really cool to see this barrel aged expression. Big wafts of Belgian chocolate, hazelnut, nougat and toffee upfront (just as the original did). The Starward whiskey is nicely woven through…adding a touch of Port/Red Wine, Apera/Sherry, orchard fruits oak and spice.

Flavour: Hhhmmm we had an inkling it was going to display a bit of tartness and it does. Thankfully it’s only a short cameo and the nutty, chocolatey and caramel-filled middle washes over. There’s a slight bitterness and a robust roasted malt which sets up for a nutty, mildly roasty and vinous finish which lingers on the back palate nicely.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light and effervescent. A little pucker on the lips too. Medium body. The 6.3% ABV is uncommonly low for a BA Stout. We don’t mind it though.

Overall: Not as thrilled by it as we had hoped. Starward are yet to produce a whiskey we like though so that could have something to do with it. The Praline Stout base was the best part in our opinion.

De Molen ‘Mout & Mocca’ Imperial Coffee Stout

Rating:

“Bourbon infused coffee imperial stout-ish, released at Borefts Beer Festival 2019.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a thin tan head that quickly fades. It forms a wafer thin ring and unsurprisingly lacks in the lacing department.

Aroma: Smells good but quite muted. We get subtle soy sauce/Vegemite which usually indicates age and funnily enough this bad boy was bottled in November ’18. Normally we’re not averse to buying already aged Stouts (actually, we actively seek them out) but buying one expecting it be fresh-ish then receiving this reflects poorly on the bottlo. Anywho…we press on.

Flavour: We’re not totally sure if the beer has turned or not. The big roasty base, dark chocolate and coffee is certainly detectable but they’re tired and as it progresses the subtle Vegemite and soy sauce creeps in and somewhat spoils it. The finish is still nice and roasty, chocolatey and the coffee features rather well.

Mouthfeel: Pretty full, chewy, a tad oily. Low-ish Co2. The 10% ABV is very neatly tucked away.

Overall: Our guess is this Stout is right on its turning point. 4 years isn’t too bad for a non-barrel aged Impy Stout so no ill feelings toward the brewery. We do feel a little ripped off by the bottlo though, at the very least they should make buyers aware of its age. Especially when paying full price!

Jervis Bay ‘Bayswell’ Red IPA

Rating:

“Named after the very rare, but oh so amazing swell on the shore of our enclosed bay beaches. This one’s a bit of a chameleon: starting out with hints of passionfruit, pineapple and stonefruit, mango comes through as it warms a little.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Very attractive copper red to deep amber complexion with a nicely held two and a bit finger head. Good retention and healthy lacing down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Dead set we only had to lift the glass off the table before we could smell the goods. Each time we swirl and take a whiff it changes slightly… initially it was all sweet and chewy malts then it was fruity, piney and a tad resinous/oily. Now it all seems to have merged and is displaying this extremely intense amalgamation of the two. Magnificent.

Flavour: We probably bang on about this every time we review a Red IPA but the balance is so crucial with this style and we’re glad to say they’ve nailed it here. The sweet and fairly robust malts lay down the perfect platform for the fruity, resinous/piney and slightly fleshy hops to work off. There’s a really pleasant tussle all the way through to a well drawn out finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick, chewy and gelatinous. Medium body. Nice vibrant Co2 and a well behaved 6.1% ABV.

Overall: Not surprised by the quality of this one bit. Jervis Bay is a seriously underrated brewery and deserves a lot more attention. Solid stuff.

Sunday Road ‘Summer Samba’ Fruited Sour

Rating:

It’s the time you have all been waiting for – a Sunday Road sour! What better time to drink this refreshing brew then under the hot Australian sun! Let the sounds of Summer Samba dance around your ears, while waves of raspberry, bursts of boysenberry and hints of vanilla take your taste-buds on a waltz of their own.

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Pouring a slightly rusty strawberry red with a short and fizzy white cap which quickly retreats to the rim. Not a whole lot of lacing to speak of.

Aroma: Smells like a bunch of fresh berries that just got thrown into a blender. Super aromatic and very summery vibes. Obviously the raspberry dominates but the blackberries do punch through with their delicate, musky and floral character. Nice and basic Sour base in support – light, citrusy and mildly funky – letting the feature ingredients do all the talking as it should. Solid start.

Flavour: Bursting with it. All sorts of mixed berry notes swirling around…mostly raspberry, strawberry and blackberry with very tenuous hints of blueberry and tart green grapes/gooseberry as well. Some wheat grains, hay and straw add a slight earthy-ness while tart green apple/pear roll into a crisp and fruity finish which lingers nicely.

Mouthfeel: Light, clean and mineraly with just the right amount of effervescence. Mild-moderate body. Liking the 5% ABV too, it’s a tad higher than your standard Kettle Sour but it hides it well.

Overall: This is the 2nd instalment of SR’s summer samba. In our opinion it was probably released a little too early but that aside it’s a cracking sour.

Boatrocker ‘Hello Stranger’ Red IPA

Rating:

“Hello Stranger is our take on a red IPA that brings the hop complexity of an IPA together with the malty goodness of something a little darker. We’re really excited to be back in the swing of working with bolder malt driven beers, and you better believe this is only the first of many to come.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Very deep amber colour with a reddish-bronze glow. It only manages a short tan cap which settles at the rim. Spotty lace sticks to the glass as we go.

Aroma: The malt bill has a seriously chewy sweetness to it. Big and moreish burnt toffee overtones are backed up by rich caramel, maple syrup, butterscotch and honeysuckle. The hops (which balance out the malts brilliantly, mind you) offer more of a floral character with additions of sweet nectary fruits like passionfruit, mango and peach. Some boiled candy notes thrown on top for good measure.

Flavour: Interesting. This distinct earthy quality shows up here and we feel it creates this third wheel kind of vibe. It didn’t need it to be honest. The malts were sticky and sweet and the hops were doing a decent job at counteracting them. Still, the bones of the beer are pretty good and the balance is reasonable. The finish progresses nicely too…chopping from sweet and sticky to dry and fruity a few times.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy, chewy and gelatinous. Medium body, well carbed. The 6% ABV adds no more warmth than it needs to.

Overall: Look, it’s not Boatrocker’s best beer but it’s still somewhat decent. One of those try and fly sorts that aren’t all that memorable.