Author Archives: 2hopheads

Drake’s Brewing Co ‘Drakonic’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

27971850_814728222044658_2449728514515034882_n“A big, malty beast of a beer that exemplifies the way we roll here at Drake’s. Two-row malt is blended with Chocolate malt, roasted barley and dark Crystal malts to make up the grist. Only one hop addition, Columbus, is added for bittering, allowing the abundance of malt in this beer to shine through. Drakonic is smooth and dense with flavors of licorice, coffee and chocolate and a slightly dry finish. Enjoy.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Predictably black as midnight with a big and well retained three finger head perched on top. Thick, blotchy lace is sticking to the glass as we indulge.

Aroma: Big, rich and muscly with this subtle emphasis on bourbon whisky. Huge presence of licorice, dark chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, charcoal, glazed cherries and coffee in support. A soft vanilla bean and plummy accent to it as well, has a bit of sweet and sour to it. Good depth and complexity going on.

Flavour: It has the roasty/toasty notes dialled in. It’s getting a fair bit of help from this mostly sweet but ever so soft tart cherry character. Licorice, coffee, powdered cocoa and what seems to be a herbal hop flows through the mid and lands on a dry finish which provides charred wood and light chocolate in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Chalky, rather dry and direct. Medium body, mild-moderate co2. An assertive 40 IBU and a punchy 8.7% ABV.

Overall: Not completely sold but it’s a decent imperial stout. Lovely aroma, good follow through in flavour, good body. It just seemed to lack that knockout blow. We were hoping for a bit more to be honest.

Mr Banks Brewing Co IPA

Rating:

27971809_814667105384103_6306781245678578328_n“We all know IPA’s are all about the Hops & Truck Loads of them. Bitter? Of course! Hoppy? You Know It!! ENJOY.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Nice bright amber/orange hue with a slight Hop haze. Two fingers of foamy head forming on top, good retention and good lace work down the glass.

Aroma: Certainly favouring the tangy orange citrus – sugar coated orange, tangerine, mandarin etc. Unripened pineapple, white peach and mango also getting a good look in. A bit of spice maybe…fennel seed, subtle pepper. The malts are bready, just a hint of sweetness creeping in. Decent.

Flavour: Taste follows the nose without as much intensity though unfortunately. Definitely getting the tangy orange notes out in front. Grapefruit, citrus rind, grassy hop – all the usual suspects. It all mellows in to a dry, semi spicy finish with good length in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dry, bitter, a little warming (6.4% ABV). Mild-moderate body, assertive bitterness. Customary texture really.

Overall: Neither here nor there. We’ve heard really good things about this IPA but it hasn’t really wowed us. Guess that’s the downside of high expectations. Look, it ain’t a bad drop by any means it’s just an everyday IPA.

Brouwerij De Ranke Cuvee

Rating:

28058389_814193965431417_1595269039963052667_n“Cuvee is an ale of mixed origin like many Belgian breweries used to make. The production process is nearly the same as for the Kriek, the difference being that no cherries are added. It’s a naturally acidified ale in which we try to reach the perfect balance between sweet and sour. This amber-coloured ale contains 7% vol. Alc. and can age really nice.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Slightly hazy burnt orange/amber. The head swells to about two and a half fingers before receding to a collar. Excellent lacing clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Tart, funky, acetic and complex. Lemon warheads, semillon, angostura bitters, lime juice, fresh pear, passion fruit and salted vinegar make up the bulk of it. A fair bit of citric acid and some oak undertones add another layer of depth. Just a suggestion off sweet malt there at the base. Brilliant.

Flavour: It doesn’t come on overly sour or funky, which is how we’d rather it. Plenty of lemon/lime juice, grapefruit, citrus rind etc. Tasting that lacto funk in the background – kind of dry, a little fruity and vinous in its delivery. Sour apples, a bit of straw and a touch of musty oak to finish.

Mouthfeel: Quite light on actually. Approachable for a 7% sour. Vibrant co2 – Spritzy and gassy. Mild bitterness. Very drinkable.

Overall: Absolutely hitting the spot on this scorching 35 degree arvo. Probably one of the first times we’ve ever truly enjoyed sipping on a sour. We’re not huge fans of the style but we really savoured this one. That’s saying something!

Mikkeller ‘Waves’ American IPA

Rating:

27867332_813663898817757_9201350325993105615_n (1)“A 7.3% IPA Simcoe, Amarillo & Mosaic hops. Aromas of dank tropical fruits. Flavor of pineapple and Guava with a balanced bitterness.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Relatively clear golden complexion with a thumb of white foam topping it off. Steady reduction, settling to a thin film that coats the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Plenty of stonefruit coming through on this one. Dried apricot, peach and white grapes with a good backing of fresh white bread. Pine, ripe yellow grapefruit, grain husks and botanicals hanging around in the background. Maybe just a suggestion of warming booze tickling the nostrils.

Flavour: She’s got the bitterness, got the malts, got the body…but it just doesn’t have the hop flavours. We can detect plenty of grainy/husky malts, maybe a hint of peach and grapefruit but it’s very restrained. White grapes, orange peel and soft peppery spice finish it off.

Mouthfeel: Dry, light-medium feel. Moderate body. Good co2 and we’ll concealed ABV (7.3%).

Overall: From a West Coast IPA angle it doesn’t really stack up. Points for offering something a little different though. Most probably not a return-to beer but in some ways it’s enjoyable. Not bad.

Bad Shepherd California Lager

Rating:

27972091_813270085523805_1475834481938515108_n“Our take on the California gold rush Steam Beer. Brewed with the pale ale malt and Cluster hops used in the 19th century, combined with woody Northern Brewer hops. We then round it out with the ever reliable Cascade and the Australian Ella hops to create a piny, woody and grapefruity aroma backed up by light fruity esters and a light malt body. Finishes slightly bitter but crisp and dry.”

Glassware: Footed flute.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber that builds a big three finger head. Retention is excellent and the lace work is even better.

Aroma: Lager or pale ale? We’d be doing well to get it right in a blind tasting. Can’t find many lager qualities here but we are getting a lot of citrus-forward hops, passion fruit, mango, pineapple, caramel and buttery malts. Maybe just a hint of corny DMS and cereal grains but really, it’s all ale here.

Flavour: Even more confusing than the aroma. It’s ever so slightly tart upfront. Mostly lemons but it’s flirting with that sour region. It recovers with more mild citrus and unripened fruits only to finish on a slightly metallic note with an off putting chemical flavour on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy, light and rather refreshing. 32 IBU and 4.7% ABV. Mild-moderate body.

Overall: We don’t know what’s happened here. Either the brewers have it all wrong or it has been infected. Far from your typical California common….and unfortunately not in a good way.

 

Shenanigans ‘Flight Path’ Dunkeled Edition

Rating:

27657341_813147645536049_8351225016265706038_n“Flight Path is usually a hoppy red ale infused with Flight Path, Double Roasters ‘house coffee blend’ but not this year. This year we couldn’t decide if we would re-brew Flight Path or Malt Assault for our winter release. After a lot of thought, we decided to brew both – in the same tank. This is a big brown malty lager with a late hit of American hops, & finished with cold drip coffee made from Flight Path coffee blend by Marrickville’s finest, Double Roasters. It’s a Malt Assault on the Flight Path.”

Glassware: Dimpled mug.

Appearance: Deep chestnut brown with a two finger cap resting on top. The head peels off but still manages a healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Intriguing to say the least. Certainly getting a lot of the coffee coming through with its alluring roast and subtle bitterness. It actually works particularly well with the malt sweetness, kind of off setting it if you will. Undertones of earthy truffle, cocoa, charcoal and salted caramel filling it out.

Flavour: Nicely dominated by the coffee although it’s still well tempered and allows a lot of the malt sweetness to creep through. Becoming more earthy and slightly roasty as it rolls in to a somewhat muddled finish with a dry toasty note enduring on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Nice and slick, medium-full body with a dryness developing late in the piece. Nicely carbonated.

Overall: What a mish mash! It would make sense though, the beer is literally a blend of their Autumn and Winter seasonals spiked with a good helping of cold drip coffee. Can’t say we’re totally blown away but it’s a reasonably good offering.

Brouwerij De Ranke ‘Simplex’ Kolsch

Rating:

27867692_812641305586683_9025628438558642103_n“For the first time since 2013 Brewery De Ranke launches a new, permanently available beer, Simplex. A fresh, light beer that resembles the bitter, hoppy pilsners from the sixties, although it is in fact an ale. “This is a beer we developed out of nostalgia for the old-styled pilsner”, say brewers Guido Devos and Nino Bacelle.”

Glassware: Tumbler.

Appearance: Hazy straw gold with a fair bit of suspended sediment. It forms a thumb of finely beaded foam which holds together well. Tonnes of webbed lacing clinging to the glass as we go.

Aroma: Quite complex for a kölsch. Getting subtle hints of Belgian yeast esters, straw, white pepper, earthy farmyard, orange zest and coriander. It has that touch of biscuit malt but it’s mostly grainy and crackery. Lively little saison-like fusion through it.

Flavour: She’s acting a bit more like a kölsch on the palate – grainy/husky malts on entry moving to straw, spice and earthy hops in the middle. The finish is dry with bitter grassy hop, straw and mild spice.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, dry and light on. Sturdy bitterness (50 IBU) developing late and persisting. Only 4.5% ABV which is remarkable considering the amount of body to it.

Overall: Not your typical kölsch. Loving the Belgian esters on the nose with a big flavour profile to back it up. Plenty of character crammed in to this unconventional offering.

Alvinne ‘Mano Negra’ Bordeaux BA Chilli Stout

Rating:

27973845_812251938958953_7079274328034130698_n“Variant of the regular mano negra with chill added & aged in bordeaux wine barrels. Abv: 10%.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Bit of a gusher! Pours a deep cola hue with some light penetrating around the edges. Fizzy two finger head which vanished almost immediately. Zero lacing as we indulge.

Aroma: Quite funky. Lots of red wine, vinegar, musty oak, truffle, dried chilli, earthy spice and berries/cherries. Lots of vinous tannins beginning to open up as it warms, really starting reveal those complex, dry and musty Bordeaux barrels. Very elegant.

Flavour: Lots for the taste buds to isolate here. Funky and slightly tart upfront. Woody oak and wine tannins quickly overtake as the subtle warmth from the chilli weighs in around the mid palate. Then ash, bitter dark chocolate and peppery spice before a long drawn out heat from the chilli is enjoyed on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy, dry and warming with a focus on that vinous tannin. Mild-moderate body and high carbonation.

Overall: Not a beer we’d normally reach for but we’re thoroughly glad we did. It’s fun and rather unique. We’d love to try the bourbon barrel aged version!

Mikkeller ‘1000 IBU’ Imperial IPA

Rating:

27751832_812204988963648_2236216437895687488_n“Brewed as an experiment of how much hops can put in a beer. 1000 IBU has a theoretical 1000 International Bitterness Units and is (of course) dominated by hops!”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Gorgeous mahogany hue with a big puffy three finger head. It maintains its shape and leaves a smattering of lace as we hook in.

Aroma: Thick, saturated and sweet-ish. Not really the big hop bomb we were expecting it’s rather malty sweet and dank AF. Getting overtones of rotting leaves, tree bark, stewed fruits, treacle, orange peel, mandarin and pine resin. Sturdy caramel malt structure at the base. Strong booze presence as well…stings the nostrils!

Flavour: Palate-wreckingly brilliant. She comes on super strong with rich and sweet malts before a tidal wave of hop bitterness and grapefruit acidity washes over. A sharp booze burn digs in midway with paw paw and papaya carrying through in to the ultra dry and bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Dry, aggressive and uber bitter – really living up to the name. Medium-full body with good co2.

Overall: Does well to follow through with the hype. The integral part is the robust malt profile, without that it’d be close to undrinkable. The novelty factor is excellent but that’s where it ends, any more than one and you’ll be buzzing and your palate would need repairing.

Drake’s Brewing Co ‘1500’ American Pale Ale

Rating:

27752392_811788189005328_1900294361461971574_n“An American Pale Ale. For batch number 1500, Josh & Brian decided to brew a big hoppy beer, yet make it quaffable by keeping the alcohol level down. Turns out everyone liked it so much, that it is now brewed year-round. Loads of Simcoe and Amarillo hops are blended in the fermenter, just after fermentation has finished, to impart a huge aroma of pine and citrus.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Hazy golden orange with a finger of well kept head over the top. Nice streaky lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Jam packed full of American ‘C’ hops – citrus, pine, wet grass, orange zest, subtle resins and earthy spice. Soft buttery malts in the background, moving in to caramel and honey as it settles. Fairly well balanced. Nice aroma.

Flavour: Good impression of orange peel and light grapefruit acidity upfront. Pine, hop oils, resin and grassy notes across the mid. Subtle dry and bready malts carry in to a bitter, grassy and piney finish with reasonable length on the rear.

Mouth feel: Spritzy, crisp and snappy with medium body and a well concealed ABV (5.5%). Average IBU (48) gaining a bit more traction in the swallow.

Overall: Pretty flawless APA. Somewhat safe though, getting a little on the uneventful side. Not a bad drop by any stretch of the imagination it’s just a middle of the road offering in our opinion.

Founder’s Brewing ‘CBS’ Canadian Breakfast Stout

Rating:

27540815_809845042532976_3869567755264525454_n“CBS was born when we stumbled upon some bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. We opted to put the same base beer as KBS, an imperialized version of Breakfast Stout, in the maple barrels and, after one taste, we knew we had something special. Rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate meld together in what can only be described as a transcendental drinking experience.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Black as midnight. It builds a healthy two finger head that retains extremely well. Good lace work as we indulge.

Aroma: Oh my goodness! Take the breakfast stout and blend it with the KBS then add a good helping of maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and voila! You have an unrivalled aroma that can only be drooled over. I mean, sweet baby Jesus how the hell do they do it?! Just magnificent.

Flavour: Perfection, absolute perfection. For one, the 11.7% ABV is somehow nestled in and among a litany of incredibly delicious flavours. Everything that makes the KBS so good – whiskey, oak, dark malts, molasses, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, caramel and dried raisins – is right here. But it’s boosted by a syrupy sweetness….an elegant sweetness that is just…oh man.

Mouth feel: Thick, chewy and silky. Just a hint of warmth as it hits room temperature. Low co2, full body.

Overall: We’re almost speechless. OK, it’s only February ’18 but we may have already found our beer of the year. This is bloody phenomenal, it’s going to take something monumental to beat it. A masterstroke from Founders.

Kaiju! Beer ‘Betelgeuse’ Double Red Ale

Rating:

27544798_809844599199687_8877479790879160422_n“American Amber Ales are like American Pale Ales but with more body, more caramel richness, and a balance more towards malt than hops (although hop rates can be significant, like in this one). Expect an enormous and delicious beer. Brewed for the Great Australian Beer Spectapular (GABS) 2015.”

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Candy red with soft pink highlights. It constructs a frothy two finger head which holds together well and works a fine lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Super sweet, sticky and malty as rich toffee and jaffa erupt out of the glass. Quite heavy on the booze – 10% ABV in fact. Picking up a lot of cocktail fruits like pineapple, guava, lychee and paw paw. Undertones of Malibu rum, toffee apple, Cointreau and burnt orange tying it all up. Weird, wacky yet wonderful.

Flavour: Veeeery hefty booze presence – prickly and slightly overpowering. It kind of hinders the delicious flavours that want to come through. We certainly get a good dose of sweet caramel malt and toffee but there isn’t enough hop character to balance it out. Bottling date shows its 6 months old so that could be part of the reason.

Mouth feel: Dense, sticky and sharp. Medium-full body, moderate co2. Mild bitterness.

Overall: Can’t actually remember this from GABS ’15 so we’d really like to try it fresh. Being an American style red ale we were hoping for a bit more hops. Just a little too heavy on the booze as well, we’d love to see it dropped to around the 8% mark in our opinion.

Drake’s ‘War Pigeon’ Double IPA

Rating:

27750933_809844445866369_8071991172416778190_n“Our newest IPA is dry and bright with the golden hue of a fading day. What starts as a faint hum builds to a roaring crescendo as the War Pigeons take to the sky. A telegraphed warning comes over the wire, but it’s too late. You’ve been hit. We deployed the freshest hops in our hop arsenal and the payload is a blast of dank, floral citrus. Surrender to the aromatic blitzkrieg as the hops rain down.”

Glassware : IPA glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy and golden/amber in colour. It forms a big three finger head that holds its shape and decorates the sides of the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Good old traditional West Coast IPA laden with piney hop oils, grapefruit, orange rind, white peach, unripened pineapple, woody spice and biscuity malts at the base. Plenty of floral character making its way through as well – lavender and lemongrass which offers a somewhat herbal accent. Lovely stuff.

Flavour: Clean, citrusy, fruity and well supported by a bready and slightly biscuity malt structure. Hints of guava, pineapple and pine resin roll in to a nice and tidy finish that offers subtle grassy notes, pithy citrus and herbals with good duration on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, reasonably clean and oily. Some warmth from the booze (8%) but pretty well contained. Medium weight and good carbonation.

Overall: Solid IPA. There’s a lot of similarities to SN hop hunter with its super clean and polished profile. Haven’t seen this brewery on our shores before so here’s hoping we see more of them. Really good DIPA.

Mikkeller ‘Windy Hill’ NE IPA

Rating:

27459335_809844219199725_331396491039173476_n“Windy Hill IPA dry hopped w/Mosaic & Simcoe”.

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Conventional cloudy mustard yellow with a whopping three and a half finger head. Excellent retention and lacing for days! Looks superb.

Aroma: While it does offer some breakfast juice notes it doesn’t overshadow. There’s still loads of mango, pineapple, cream, lemon sherbet and hints of grapefruit. Somewhat pithy, getting some orange peel acidity peeking through as it settles. Maybe a hint of pine showing as well. Very nice!

Flavour: Good transition from the nose. Not a huge focus on the fruit juice aspect which allows more pineapple, cream and zesty citrus to come forward. Picking up a subtle white grape acidity with a very delicate and slightly dry cracker malt at the base. Nice well rounded finish with a dry bitterness in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Gelatinous texture, a touch creamy as well. Medium body and co2. Well behaved bitterness (70 IBU) and booze (7% ABV).

Overall: Brilliant interpretation of a NE IPA. Pulling that fruit juice back a fraction to let some of the other hop flavours and aromas in to the mix. Top notch drinking.

Bad Shepherd Brewing Co. American Pale Ale

Rating:

27540468_809843875866426_3702944819991578938_n“A big bold hoppy take on the classic American Pale Ale. Packed with American and Australian hops including Cascade, Columbus, Galaxy, Mosaic and Crystal, and supported by a firm malt backbone. Finishes clean with a firm bitterness. A mouth-watering aroma blend of passionfruit, orange and pine!”

 

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Hazy burnt orange hue with a short cap sitting atop. It peels off to a film which still manages to weave a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: From the brewers ramblings it would seem that they have modelled the beer off the classic pavlova. Tonnes of passion fruit, mango, peach and berries coming through along with a buttery caramel/biscuit malt in support. Nice big piney notes cutting in as well. Not bad.

Flavour: Sits nicely poised on the palate. Lots of American hop character slicing its way through the rather sweet and robust caramel malts on entry. Subtle injection of grapefruit midway before a bitter finish reveals orange peel and pineapple on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Quite bold, creamy texture with a pleasant bitterness in the swallow. Spritzy co2 and medium body. 5.2% ABV – basically immaterial.

Overall: Middle of the road APA. Would we seek it out again? Probably not. Certainly not a bad drop it just isn’t all that memorable.

Moylan’s ‘Ryan Sullivan’s’ 2015 BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

27750373_809673702550110_1021722607295274813_n“Chocolate truffles, cocoa, espresso coffee, burnt currants, the sweetness of a sherry – all come to mind when enjoying an Imperial Stout. A rich porter of English origin brewed to withstand the long voyage from London to Czarist Russia. The classic “Winter Warmer”. Big, Strong, Malty Stout.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: It hits the glass with an obsidian hue and three fingers of brown foam emerging on top. Decent retention and wavy lace work as we imbibe.

Aroma: Very complex. The years this was allowed to age has really rounded it out. Some initial tartness which is a little unwelcome but it softens in to an oaky, cherry-like character once it settles. Getting some charred malts, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, dark fruits and currants with an earthy truffle note coming through gently.

Flavour: It has that hint of barrel aged tartness on entry. Cherries, plums and vinegar explode before it mellows in to mild chocolate and coffee notes in the middle. Nice transition in to an earthy finish with that tart cherry sticking to the gums.

Mouthfeel: Oily, astringent and sticky in texture. Lifted booze (10% ABV) and mild-moderate co2.

Overall: A pretty damn fine impy stout if you ask us. Tonnes of cherry aroma and flavour but enough barrel and earthy malt to pull it back in to line. Not really what we expected but a good drop either way.

Founder’s ‘reDANKulous’ Imperial Red IPA

Rating:

27540219_809673282550152_4419119045372350993_n“reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA is a no frills, bold 9.5% ABV India Pale Ale. It pours a pleasing burnt amber with some sweetness due to the Caramalt and roasted barley used in the malt bill. But hops are the true headliner in this elaborate sensory experience. The spicy, piney, tropical complexities of Chinook, Mosaic and Simcoe hops hit you right away with their dank aroma—and they stick around. Take a sip to have your palate simultaneously walloped and caressed in all the right places. Combined, the hops take the beer to 90 IBUs. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s reDANKulous.”

Glassware: IPA glass.

Appearance: Rusty amber with a nicely held two finger crown perched on top. Head retention is great, posting a thick and soapy lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Rich, comforting and boozy with those stewed stone fruits out in front. Pine resins, cocktail fruit and chewy caramel malts for days! Slightly toasty, golden syrup, chlorine, cookie dough, burned orange and dank, dank, dank! Totally in-your-face but still quite well balanced we must admit.

Flavour: It’s an all out assault on the palate – big, bitey pine resins, grapefruit, stinging booze, citrus rind and fennel all but squash the lovely but subtle sweet caramel malt backing. Stays quite aggressive as the dank hops surge forward in to a super bitter finish which provides a nice malty sweetness in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Gelatinous texture. Full bodied, mild-moderate co2. 9.5% ABV and 90 IBU – both strident and rather palate – wrecking.

Overall: It’s an enormous beer, one for the adventurous drinker. Pronounced booze and hop bitterness with only a little to counter it. Approachable? No! Dank AF? Hell yes!

Dortmunder Actien Braurei (DAB) Pilsner

Rating:

27545139_809672812550199_2149952061301305138_n“Following the introduction of the bottom-fermented brewing process in the mid-19th century, a new beer type became popular and shaped the consumption habits of beer drinkers. The fresh, pale brew with its mildly hoppy flavour became one of the star products of its age. That is why Dortmunder style is considered a milestone in the development of beer culture in the world and became a synonym for superior quality.”

Glassware: Footed flute.

Appearance: Bright golden colour with 100% transparency. Nice big three finger head that retains brilliantly and decorates the sides of the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Classic pilsener nose, good uplift from the hops actually, getting a good nose full of Hallertau and Perle character – spicy, herbaceous and earthy with a suggestion of light florals. Clean and sturdy malt backing of rice crackers, sourdough and cereal. Simple but well structured.

Flavour: Rather dry, husky and earthy with a spicy accent upfront. Picking up a bit of grassy/herbal hop through the mid. Grainy cereal malts tailing in late as it delivers a crisp and slightly drying finish with more herbal hop/botanicals on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Fuller than most pilseners but still kept somewhat clean and crisp. Co2 is a tad flat and the 5% ABV is moderate.

Overall: Getting quite generic here but traditional European pilsners have been hitting the spot this summer. This one…. Hhmm…so so. It wouldn’t stack up against better German pilseners but it still offers some nice conventional qualities. Not bad.

Brouwerij De Halve Maan ‘Brugze Zot’ Dubbel

Rating:

27067198_806476446203169_7033801945690186160_n“Brugse Zot Dubbel is a dark brown beer, leaning towards ruby ​​red. Brewed with six special malts, the beer has a unique and rich aroma in which the scent of honey, almond, chocolate and even brown sugar can be discovered.”

Glassware: Trappist goblet.

Appearance: Big and billowing four finger head that surges up and over the rim of the glass. It sits atop a very deep chestnut/brown body with crazy amounts of lace as it ebbs. Very attractive beer.

Aroma: Oh wow, unexpectedly sweet and fruity with a heady scent of either blackcurrant or blackberry leading out. More dark fruits and candied berries as it warms. Sticky toffee and caramel, syrup, spicy phenols, subtle chocolate and timber also coming through. So juicy and sweet but it’s no way cloying. Superb aroma.

Flavour: It’s not coming on as strong as we’d like. Some dark fruit sweetness, brown sugar and faint yeasty notes that impart adjunct spices, Christmas cake and prunes. It starts to fall away mid-palate and finishes somewhat weak, bitter and slightly spicy.

Mouth feel: Creamy texture, nice and vibrant co2 with medium weight. Well masked 7.5% ABV.

Overall: A fairly decent dubbel but it has nothing on the Trappist breweries like La Trappe or Rochefort – it seems to lack that depth and complexity in flavour. Not bad but not great either.

Young’s Special London Ale

Rating:

27072558_806470756203738_9011592309726723291_n“Young’s Special London Ale is the UK’s No.1 bottle conditioned ale. It is an unpasteurised, living beer, matured in the bottle for a fuller, more complex, multi-dimensional, fresher taste. Without artificial carbonation, the only fizz is the natural effervescence created by fermentation.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Relatively clear amber colour with a healthy two finger head forming on top. It slowly retracts and dispenses a fine lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Big malty notes erupting out of the glass. Oodles of caramel, toffee, bread crusts, hay and toast. Solid hop bill as well, it almost results in an English IPA with its zesty orange citrus, floral notes and soft spicy characters. Some dried stonefruit coming through as it settles. Surprisingly good, really good actually.

Flavour: Delicious malt profile that provides sweet caramel, toast and honey. Like the aroma there is a sturdy hop presence bringing stonefruit, marmalade, apricot and earthy spice. It hits a slight dryness midway then surges in to a long, sweet and kind of spicy finish with a hint of grassy hop in the tail.

Mouth feel: Texture is drying but also smooth as silk. Moderate co2 with medium body. Very well hidden ABV (6.4%).

Overall: We are really surprised by this. Here we are thinking this would be a straight forward traditional ESB but it’s far from it, she’s crammed full of malt sweetness and spiked with a big hop profile. Teetering on the edge between an ESB and an English IPA. Impressive.