Author Archives: 2hopheads

Coastal Brewing ‘Old Bar’ Best Bitter

Rating:

“A straw coloured English Best Bitter brewed in the English Black Country style. Smooth and sessionable sitting at 4.0% ABV – perfect for an Autumn evening. Named after ‘Old Bar’ – a beautiful coastal town to the north of Forster where the brewery is located.”

Glassware: English Pint

Appearance: Almost 100% clear golden complexion with a short yet well retained cap on top. Healthy lacing as we go.

Aroma: Classic Euro-centric spicy and herbal hops with additions of light florals, mild lemony citrus, cut grass, earthy/woody notes and semi sweet malts. Not a whole lot else really…it’s just super crisp, almost Pilsner-esque daytime neck oil.

Flavour: Follows the nose with Noble hops for days – peppery spice, grassy herbals, florals and slightly earthy accents fuse with the subtle honeyed malts. Very delicate citrus across the mid palate leading in to an ultra clean finish which offers some grassy and spicy tones on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Again very Pilsner-esque – light, crisp and clean with super soft bitterness and fine carbonation. 4% ABV definitely has it in session territory.

Overall: Even though we’ve tried many of CBC’s beers before this is actually our first review. It’s very basic but essentially it’s true to style and bloody easy to put back. Not going to break down any doors but it’s a fairly decent drop.

Cloudwater ‘DDH Pale’ Pale Ale

Rating:

“Our Double Dry Hopped Pale is brewed to soup up your downtime by delivering the hop flavour intensity of our DIPAs at a moderate ABV. Doubling our standard Pale Ale’s 8g/L dry-hopping rate to 16g/L delivers a bold, juicy, hazy, and intensely aromatic beer. Out of our hoppy beer range, this sets the marker for balance between drinkability and flavour impact.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Opaque pastel yellow with a thumb of pillowy white head on top. It reduces rather quickly but still manages a tonne of lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Sweet orange citrus and soft fleshy stonefruit in spades. Slightly softer notes or grapefruit, pine resin, weedy herbals and a very subtle touch of peppery spice. Quite a dry and bready malt profile to it…hinting at doughy white bread and oats. Really pleasant aroma.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with sweet-ish orange citrus and ripe stonefruit overtones. Definitely a resinous quality getting amongst it but less piney as it was coming across on the nose. Grapefruit, unripened peach and subtle rind developing late before shifting to a somewhat dry, resinous and spicy finish. Excellent length on it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy and well rounded. Mild-medium body. Only weighs in at 5% ABV so it’s certainly approachable.

Overall: This is our go-to UK brewery for Hazy’s. This one, although not as juicy as some, is still smooth as silk and totally crushable. Another fine offering from Cloudwater.

Spencer Trappist Brewery Imperial Stout

Rating:

“A massive, roasted, malt-forward American Trappist take on the Anglo-Russo Imperial Stout tradition.  Luxuriantly frothy foam, waves of coffee, chocolate and caramel sensations, a generous blend of dark fruit flavors.  Intense and robust.”

Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a finely beaded two finger crown. The head holds together well and works a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: A lot fruitier than anticipated. Dark fruits, mostly dates/prunes, raisin, fig and blood plum entertain some yeast esters – banana runts, apple/pear and earthy spice. Lashings of toffee and caramel, carob, cookie dough, licorice and roasted dark malts. Undertones of ginger bread, pumpernickel and warming booze for good measure. Complex but very luxurious.

Flavour: Oh yeah…a bit more of an emphasis on the roast, coffee and dark chocolate with the yeasty Belgian accents working in the background. Nice and fruity through the middle but well balanced by a gritty earthy-ness. Hits a real yeasty Trappist ale note late in the piece then finishes roasty, earthy and chocolatey.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full yet really well balanced. Slightly creamy texture with a soft carbonation. 8.7% ABV is reasonably well disguised.

Overall: We’re really digging what these guys are putting out. Being the only American Trappist brewery they have a traditional Belgian perspective but they offer a new world approach to their beers. This Imperial Stout is the perfect example. Keep em coming!

Foghorn Brewery ‘Sligo’ Foreign Extra Stout

Rating:

“Sligo Extra Stout was awarded the Champion Stout at the 2015 Australian Craft Beer Industry Awards.  It is a big, dark, roast beer as it should be – brewed in tribute to the Export Stouts of old but with a modern craft approach. Layers of dark chocolate and roast coffee character with a strong hop bite. Clean and drinkable for its size but a good winter warmer just the same. Named after the great west coast Irish County Sligo, Sligo Extra Stout is for the lovers of all things dark.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with a big and puffy two and a half finger head. Excellent retention and tonnes of lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: The first thing we notice is the almost black IPA nature of it… obviously the stout characters dominate but it’s super hoppy! Lovely blend of piney and citrusy hops weave through the rich and somewhat dry roasty notes. Cordial hints of chocolate, coffee, toasty malts and light roast are basic yet finely executed. Diggin it!

Flavour: Really hitting those black IPA notes again – piney, citrusy and kinda earthy hops burrow their way in to the dry, gritty and roasty notes of chocolate, coffee, mild char, burnt toast and very mild smoke. It really dries out midway and delivers a dry and slighty creamy finish with lingering roast, piney and earthy hops for days.

Mouthfeel: Dry, slightly soapy with mild-medium bitterness. Moderate body. 7.6% ABV is very well hidden.

Overall: Hitting all the right notes…it really shows that dry foreign export stout quality. Four to the floor stout but in true Foghorn fashion it’s got an American twist with those piney and citrusy hops. Solid drop.

Mountain Culture ‘Eudaimonia’ Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

“A Russian Imperial Stout that we’ve thrown our heart, soul and everything left in the brewhouse into, with the hope that its darkness be your guiding light. FYI, etymologically, Eudaimonia consists of the words “eu” (“good”) and “daimōn” (“spirit”). At 10%ABV, it’ll blow your hair back. In the best way.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impassable black with a loosely held brown head. It quickly forms a collar with scarce lacing as we indulge.

Aroma: Very smooth and placid for a RIS. On first meet you wouldn’t think you had a beasty 10%er in your glass and that says two things – 1) they’ve hidden the booze well but 2) it’s a little lackluster for the style. There’s a hearty albeit subtle base of molasses, licorice, black coffee, charred malt and mild ash. Some earthy gritty-ness and burnt toffee buried deep. Not bad but as already mentioned a bit too delicate.

Flavour: Wow she’s as smooth as a baby’s backside. We’re certainly more welcoming of its laid back nature on the palate. Shows a hint of sweetness upfront with the gritty roasty malt and coffee following close behind. A hint of warmth through the mid, licorice, ash and light smoky notes forming late and complimenting the milk chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel: Dense, super oily and gelatinous with low Co2 and an extremely well concealed ABV (10%).

Overall: Somehow they’ve made it approachable… it’s not every day you hear that about a RIS. Not too bad if you ignore the beer oyster as well (congealed yeast for those who are a little freaked out about that)… totally harmless. Just looks like shit!

Mornington Peninsular Brewery ‘Cabin Fever’ BA Tripel

Rating:

“In this time of self-isolation we want to ease the cabin fever with this rich brew. Aged in Cognac barrel this massive beer has a yeast-driven complexity with a noticeable malt sweetness.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Bold amber with orange highlights. It only manages a short head which slowly peels back to the rim. Decent lace as we go.

Aroma: Hella funky. Kind of has this strange soapy thing going on initially…can’t say whether it’s a byproduct of the barrels or the beer. Maybe a combination of both? It’s uniquely floral with unmistakable green grape and dry white wine qualities from the cognac barrels coming through. Undertones of green apple, dried apricots, mild esters/phenols and young oak. Still slightly undecided.

Flavour: Showing a bit more sweetness which we’re liking. Not before a short cameo of dry white wine and slightly tart green grapes though. A hint of dry woody oak is fused through the delicate notes of dried fruits i.e raisin, apricot and apple/pear leading in to an ultimately complex and warming finish with lingering cognac in the tail.

Mouthfeel: A little slippery with mild-medium body. The lack of body really exposes the burn from the 9% ABV.

Overall: Can’t say we’re at all impressed by this. Apart from the lovely cognac accents the base Tripel is quite ordinary…hardly any conventional aromas and flavours to be found. Pretty cut and dry.

Clown Shoes ‘Mocha Sombrero’ Mexican Chocolate Stout

Rating:

“Mexican-Style Chocolate Stout with Coffee and Vanilla. Bring me my cape. Now, bring me my sombrero. Now. Bring me the coffee. The brave luchador has become quite the sensation, but without proper caffeination and hydration, he would be nothing. Mocha Sombrero takes our Mexican-Style Chocolate Stout recipe and alters it with additions of Coffee and Vanilla. Pronounced dark malt flavors mix with sweet vanilla notes for a full-bodied and approachable stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with a big and frothy three finger head. It takes an age to break up and eventually settles to a thick overlay which makes a mess on the glass.

Aroma: One of the first things we’re loving is the heady wafts of freshly ground coffee beans. Big additions of fresh vanilla, roasted malt, spice and marijuana smoke (how do we know what that smells like we hear you say!?). What we’d like to know is how they manage to acquire that specific aroma! It’s interesting coz it somewhat fades as it settles.

Flavour: Nice and roasty upfront. Fresh coffee and vanilla is certainly front and centre. Layers of chocolate, gritty earthy-ness, subtle smoke, mixed spice (star anise, cinnamon, pepper) and burnt toffee giving rise to subtle toasted marshmallow late in the piece. The finish is roasty, sweet-ish, kind of bitter and spicy with coffee hanging on for days.

Mouthfeel: Rather lean for a stout of its size (7% ABV). It doesn’t affect the intensity of flavour one bit though. Medium body, mild-moderate Co2.

Overall: More than enough here to chew on. But is it memorable? Unfortunately not. Once we’re past the feature coffee and vanilla there isn’t a whole lot else backing up. Not bad but not great.

Mountain Culture ‘Paperwork’ Hazy Pale Ale

Rating:

“Upfront you’ll get a massive hit of clean citrus…lingering spice makes a brief appearance before the smooth, oath body steals the show. It’s paperwork you’ll enjoy.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Hazy golden orange with a tightly packed head on top. It slowly reduced but held on long enough to weave a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Absolutely reeks of citrus, sappy pine resin, herbals and peppery spice. The citrus characters really open up and provide a zesty mix of mild pithy rind, tangy orange and tangerine, ruby grapefruit and candied lemon. Loving how the spicy and resinous pine is intertwined through. Gorgeous malt profile on it too – really dry and doughy. Very nice way to kick things off.

Flavour: Again, citrus takes centre stage with an array of different characters – zesty, pithy rind and grapefruit, slightly sweeter orange, tangerine and candied lemon. Herbal spice, pine resin, grassy hops also getting amongst it. The malt hints more at smooth oats and crusty bread as it finishes dry, grassy, herbal and resinous. Good legs on it too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth yet dry and well rounded. Medium body and Co2. 5.4% ABV we like… slightly lifted for the style but adds a bit of grunt.

Overall: The hype is officially real folks. MC can now create a buzz over a plain old Pale Ale! Mark our words these guys are going to the top. Let’s hope they swat away the offers of big bucks and stay indy. Kudos.

Sierra Nevada ‘BA Narwhal’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Deep in our barrel room, out of light’s reach, our legendary Narwhal Imperial Stout rests in bourbon barrels for nearly a year. After aging, it emerges anew: rich with notes of oak, vanilla and coconut layered onto the Stout’s malt flavors of dark chocolate and espresso. Enjoy this beast of a beer.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a finger of brown head perched on top. Decent retention and lacing as it subsides.

Aroma: Bourbon barrels eat your heart out! It has similar characteristics to the Buffalo Trace barrel aged Ramjet we reviewed recently – big, beefy and menacing but with gorgeous shades of burnt toffee, vanilla, toasted coconut and spice with a very dank old oak character. It’s pure impy stout too – rich, roasty/charred, dark chocolate, espresso, licorice etc etc. All the usual suspects. Superb!

Flavour: Old Narwhal is fitting for this beer as it’s as big as a whale! Intense Bourbon barrel hits the taste buds and hints at vanilla, caramel/toffee, spice and subtle Sherry. The impy stout base plays a good support role with its char, chocolate and licorice notes. Traces of molasses, leather and ash work their way in to a big and warming finish that goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and muscly. Plenty of warmth from the 11.9% ABV but at the same time it’s tempered. Mild-moderate Co2. Full bodied.

Overall: Almost on par with the likes of Bourbon County and the like…in your face bourbon, aged oak and rich stout characters. Yes please!

All Inn Brewing ‘Blind Axeman’ Amber Ale

Rating:

“A sturdy but sprightly malt base provides a firm foundation for fresh fruit and spice notes to show off a little.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: deep amber with two fingers of fluffy foam atop. Good retention and healthy lace clinging to the glass as we go.

Aroma: Tantalisingly sweet and caramelised…yet well balanced we must add. Tonnes of nutty malt, caramel, toffee, butterscotch and honey with hints of lemon, pine needle, dark fruits i.e raisin, fig, dates and earthy spice. Some mild herbaceous notes coming through as well. All Inn all (pun intended) a very pleasant aroma.

Flavour: Very similar to the nose but with a slightly more lifted hop profile and bitterness. Delicious waves of caramelised malt suggests toffee, caramel and butterscotch which meet with a slightly piney and citrusy middle. Delightfully nutty and toasty malts pick up and move in to well balanced finish of caramelised malt, piney hops and moderate dryness.

Mouthfeel: So well balanced…like a beer on a barrel. Mild stickiness, medium body and Co2. 4.7% ABV. Absolutely in session territory here.

Overall: We haven’t graced our palates with an All Inn beer since we visited the brewery all those years ago. This is quite a good amber ale – sweet, nutty, well balanced. Definitely doing all the right things. Solid drop.

Mountain Culture X Wildflower ‘Family Fuelled’ Saison

Rating:

“Mountain Culture x Wildflower Family Fuelled is a beer made with our mates at Mountain Culture Beer Co. We brewed this old school can-conditioned saison together in late Feb at their place with pale Schooner grains from Voyager Craft Malt. Mashing in real cool and slowly ramping the temp over a couple of hours, it was boiled with fresh & aged spicy, noble hops, knocked out warm and open fermented w/o temp control in a flat bottom tank with our favourite pure culture saison strain. Amongst both of our favourite styles to make and drink designed to be enjoyed as it was made… with friends who feel like family (well maybe on zoom at the moment). We’re pretty proud of that and wanted to celebrate it in this beer.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pale golden yellow with a soft haze. A thumb of fluffy white foam rests atop and works a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Wow this is about as traditional as you can get. The yeast esters dominate – banana runts, clove, pear and a touch of bubblegum. Nice and dry, floral, a little musty with plenty of barnyard funk/horse blanket, citrus rind, pepper, Angostura bitters and herbs. Kind of has traits of a top shelf Belgian Tripel. One of the better Saison aroma’s we’ve enjoyed lately.

Flavour: Dead set spot on for the style. There’s a rush of funky, yeasty and bretty flavours to the fore. Backed up by peppery spice, orange citrus and rind, stonefruit and Angostura bitters. Some floral honey, wheat grains/hay, herbals and a dry musty barnyard funk which leads to a spicy and yeasty finish with good duration.

Mouthfeel: Light on, crisp, mineraly. Mild-medium body. The 4.5% ABV is surprising considering the amount of flavour happening.

Overall: A really impressive Saison but we shouldn’t expect anything less from two breweries who are at the top of their game. Mountain Culture though…they can do no wrong!

Ocean Reach Brewing Oatmeal Stout

Rating:

“Winter needs a warm, hearty stout, which is why we brewed a limited edition, 7.9% monster with enough oats to fill two local supermarkets. It’s so chocolatey and silly smooth that you’ll want it to be winter all year long.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with two fingers of tan foam which stays the course. Slow reduction which allows for good lacing down the glass.

Aroma: Interesting. Initially we thought it was super hoppy but that has quickly changed to a kind of rich, dark and ink-like scent. We’ve just put our finger on it…it reminds us of those Artline permanent markers. Picking up hints of chocolate and floral hops but man we really can’t get past this sharp and almost menthol-like chemical aroma. Unfortunately it’s spoiling it.

Flavour: We were sincerely hoping to get around the same issues we were having on the nose. Although it’s not as prominent we can still pick up that chemical driven note that hints at ink or phenols. Roasted malt and chocolate peek through but the finish is simply sharp and boozy.

Mouthfeel: Tinny, prickly and slightly watery. The 7.9% ABV is quite evident. Medium body, mild-moderate Co2. Not ideal.

Overall: Have we got a bad can? All we’ve seen and heard about Ocean Reach has been positive but honestly this is pretty lousy. Smells and tastes a bit, well we won’t say infected, but it definitely seems phenolic. Very mediocre stuff.

Bentspoke ‘Flemm’ Barrel Aged Flemish Red Ale

Rating:

“First brewed by Richard over 15 years ago, Flemm is one of the original barrel aged sour recipes in Australia. Co-founders of BentSpoke Richard and Tracy first fell in love with barrel aged beers on a trip to Belgium, which included a guided tour of the famous Rodenbach brewery. A local farmer sitting at the bar of a brasserie close by, guided their beer choices and made sure they felt welcome. And, you guessed it; the farmers name was Flemm!”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown, almost black, with a very faint mahogany hue. Just a short head emerges but it quickly forms a halo with minimal lace as we go.

Aroma: Smells the goods! Quite a hefty malt bill which brings a gorgeous fusion of sweet and earthy notes to balance the slightly tart cherry and blackberry. There’s a lovely albeit subtle hint of aged oak which really gives the nose its depth and complexity. Undertones of cigar skins, farmyard funk, rum & raisin and sweaty sourness. Diggin it!

Flavour: Similar to the nose in the sense that there’s very mild sourness but lots of chocolate and lightly roasted malt. There’s subtle cherry and dark fruit tartness upfront with a kind of rich and toasty oak through the middle. It finishes with a hint of smoke and funky dark fruit sweetness which holds on nicely.

Mouthfeel: Musty, somewhat thin and slippery. Mild-medium body with low Co2. 5% ABV. It’s surprising how it offers good length considering the light texture.

Overall: We thought we’d give this a run purely off the back of their Lambic (which from memory was their ’19 GABS beer). It was sensational. Although this was good it didn’t have the finesse that the Lambic did. Still, a very difficult style which they’ve executed pretty well.

Clown Shoes ‘Zen Garden’ NEIPA

Rating:

“Stack up enough work frustration, and even the Grim Reaper needs a peaceful retreat. Or even to quit his job and go on a craft beer journey! Grim’s Zen Garden is a much-needed escape from the grind. It’s time he overcame his existential crisis and achieved a long-sought state of Zen! We suggest that you seek your own inner peace in with this Double Dry Hopped New England India Pale Ale, flush with full-bodied, hazy flavor from a wheat and oat in the malt bill and a steady stream of hop additions.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Golden amber with medium haze. It forms a thumb of finely beaded foam which maintains its shape and works a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Not quite the juice bomb we were anticipating but still jam packed with soft fleshy stonefruits and orange citrus. Fairly piney/resinous, sappy and tropical with a hint of grapefruit and or rind. Picking up some candied notes which seem to work in to the sweet malt profile. Not your conventional American NEIPA but it’s nice and well rounded.

Flavour: Good transition from the nose. Catching all the stonefruit and orange citrus overtones with the more subtle pine resin, grapefruit and unripened tropical fruit in the background. A bit of pithy rind through the mid leading to a sweet-ish finish full of acetic orange citrus, semi sweet malt and pine resin.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, creamy, finely carbonated, medium body. Hardly any bitterness and the 6.7% ABV is unbelievably well hidden.

Overall: So good to see Clown Shoes back on Aussie shelves. Smart move shifting in to 500ml cans too. As for the beer itself it’s not an amazing NEIPA but it definitely holds its own. Not bad.

The Bruery ‘Cherry Pie’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Slice into this bold barrel-aged imperial stout and experience the nostalgia-inducing aroma of a warm cherry pie. Full-bodied and smacking of freshly-picked tart cherries, rich artisan vanilla, cinnamon and hints of brown sugar. This bakery is open for business.”

 Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a healthy two finger head. Excellent retention and lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: There’s only a few times when we can say that an aroma smells exactly like the food its imitating but this smells exactly like a cherry pie! Bursting with sweet and tart cherries, cinnamon, buttery pastry, vanilla, strawberry jam, plum jam, melted chocolate, caramelised pear and apple. We keep picking up hints of candied lemon which is strange yet it kind of works. Not much in the way of bourbon barrels but it doesn’t matter as there’s already enough happening.

Flavour: Holy moly, so much to unpack! Macerated cherry, cinnamon, vanilla, jammy red berries, cocoa, lightly roasted malts and caramel/toffee. The bourbon barrels show up a little bit more here with very faint woody oak and dark fruits. Pretty clever usage of bourbon barrels because they emphasize the same flavors already present (toffee, vanilla, spice and caramelised pear/apple).

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, medium bodied. It’s remarkable how well they’ve hidden the 10.2% ABV. Co2 is perfect.

Overall: These guys just keep getting better and better. We’ve mentioned it before but the shift in to 500ml cans was a masterstroke. And this Bakery series has us totally hooked! Loving it.

Nomad X Rogue ‘1 Brew Nation’ Wattleseed Brown Ale

Rating:

“Rogue is famous for their Hazelnut Brown Nectar and one of Nomad’s favourite native ingredients is wattleseed for its nutty taste. So bring these brewers together and it had to be a wattleseed brown ale. With a mix of Australian and NZ malts the result is a medium bodied brown ale with gentle sweetness from the malts and a nuttiness from the wattleseed.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep chestnut with faint ruby red hues. It forms a loosely packed head, a finger and a half in height, which collapsed pretty quickly. Scarce lace as we go.

Aroma: Not really picking much up other than uber conventional Brown Ale qualities – nutty malt, toast, milk chocolate and dark fruits. A bit metallic…gives off that blood-like note. Hints of cherry begin to open up as it settles. The wattleseed comes through somewhat earthy with very subtle coffee and tree bark. Pretty timid but it ain’t bad.

Flavour: Similar to the aroma…lacking oomph. Pretty much just a stripped back Brown Ale with its four to the floor nutty malt, toast, lightly roasted malt and subtle coffee. The wattleseed is practically MIA, there’s delicate malt sweetness and a very faint touch of vanilla but the finish pretty much falls off a cliff.

Mouthfeel: Slippery, a little thin and watery. Mild-medium body. Co2 and ABV (5%) neither here nor there. The exact opposite of how we like Brown Ales to be.

Overall: Pretty disappointed. Especially when considering Rogue had a hand in this. It’s bereft of any real character. We’re sure a few die hard Poms would dig it but that’s about it.

White Bay ‘Embrace The Space’ IPA

Rating:

“In a world where we are constantly redefining the term “normal” and reality seems to exist on a plane of shifting sands; Embrace the Space is an IPA brewed for enjoyment in these socially distant times. Tune in, tune out, disconnect, reconnect, stockpile, deplete. Embrace the Space.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden amber complexion with a fluffy two finger crown. Good retention and healthy lacing down the glass.

Aroma: Fairly straight up and down – pine resin, grapefruit, orange peel, mandarin, candied lemon. Undertones of grass/vines, herbals, soft tropical fruits and a rather biscuity and nutty malt profile. It’s probably not going to win any awards but it’s clean and offers enough to chew on.

Flavour: More of the same basic Aussie IPA characters – inoffensive, mildly bodied and flavored. The standouts are toned down pine and grapefruit with muddled citrus and grassy hops in support. Biscuity type malts with a smooth fruity finish. Could do with a bit more length to be honest.

Mouthfeel: Probably its biggest strength – super smooth, a little creamy and medium bodied. Co2 is spot on. 6.5% ABV is very well concealed.

Overall: It won’t receive much hype but it’s still a well executed IPA. Very clean, sessional and moderate. It is slightly pedestrian though but then again the upside is it will appeal to the entry level IPA drinker. Not bad.

Boatrocker 2020 ‘Roger Ramjet’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Roger Ramjet is our bourbon barrel aged version of the classic Ramjet. This years release has been aged in ever so delicious Buffalo Trace barrels for a little over 10 months. The result is pronounced bourbon character, balanced by the barrel notes of vanilla, coconut and oak. Full bodied, rich, and decadent, with all the complexity of the Ramjet base (chocolate, roast, malty)”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black and totally impenetrable. It forms a short brown head which gradually recedes and settles at the rim. Some spotty lace as we go.

Aroma: The Buffalo Trace barrels are really prominent. Straight bourbon gives way to classic notes of vanilla, brown sugar, all spice and toasty oak. Subtle impy stout characters here and there – rich molasses, charred malt, dark chocolate and espresso. Intense! It should be marketed as a can of Buffalo Trace bourbon with a splash of imperial stout!

Flavour: Holy moly…the impy stout characters have come to the table. Aggressive and charred…lots of dark chocolate and molasses, licorice, espresso and burnt toast. Enter the Buffalo Trace barrels again bringing that signature toasty oak, vanilla, spice and brown sugar/toffee with it. The finish is big and menacing and chock-full of bourbon-y goodness.

Mouthfeel: Oily, slick and full bodied. Plenty of warmth from the booze (10.9% ABV) and more than likely boosted by the bourbon.

Overall: 10 months in first use barrels…now it all makes sense! Interesting that they’ve opted for the bottle/can split…Boatrocker say they want to see what the effect of bottling and canning would do to the flavour profile over time. We shall see as we got a bunch of both cans and bottles ourselves! Solid drop.

Mr Banks ‘Straight To The Fudge Room’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“A big, decadent and sweet Imperial Pastry Stout loaded with toasted organic pecans, cocoa nibs, Tahitian vanilla beans and lactose. This big luscious Imperial Stout is one to be slowly savored and enjoyed. Packing a serious flavour punch but still very drinkable for the big ABV. Its the perfect companion to sip on next to a crackling fire or as an alternative to Chocolate Eggs this Easter Sunday.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Opaque black with a thumb of brown foam holding its shape on top. The head is retained well enough to weave a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Quite muted considering what we have here. We were expecting to be slapped in the face with a big roast and tonnes of good pastry stout sweetness. Ok, it is there…mild toasted nutty-ness, fresh vanilla bean, cocoa, caramelised chocolate malts, marshmallow and toffee. Just nowhere near the intensity we’re after for the style.

Flavour: A little bit better. Certainly emphasized by a bit of warming booze (which come to think of it, was well disguised on the nose). We can get the toasted pecans – which is a lovely touch. Roasted malt, vanilla, cocoa, milk chocolate and toasted marshmallow offering some support. Incredibly smooth finish with a mild lingering roast and vanilla sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Very slick, creamy and ultra smooth. 11% ABV as stated before; evident yet well behaved. Medium body. Mild-moderate Co2.

Overall: Halfway through we realised that the smoke in the air (from back burning) could have affected the aroma. Then again the flavour profile wasn’t as intense as we’d hoped either. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we were a little disappointed.

3 Fonteinen ‘Zwet.Be’ BA Porter

Rating:

“A dark porter-like beer from 3 fonteinen, brewed with Lambic yeast.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Glossy black with a finger of brown head emerging on top. It holds up well and works a webbed lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Here we are thinking 3F, one of the best Lambic breweries in the world, this will be sour AF…nope! It’s nice and meaty with good helpings of roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruits and toasty/woody elements. Undertones of coffee, vanilla, toasted almonds, cola lollies and a hint of farmyard funk. There’s a very minimal trace of tart acidity in this albeit very delicate. Phenomenal!

Flavour: The Lambic comes through just a little bit more. Tart fruits like cherry and blueberry, subtle lemon and vinegar are quickly encapsulated by chocolate, coffee, toast, woody oak, earthy licorice and cocoa. Nice little roasty-ness through the mid leading in to more chocolate, coffee and toast in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Quite light on. A little thin but it’s saved by the massive flavour profile. Mild-moderate body and Co2. 7%?! Where the hell have they hidden that?

Overall: Totally out of the left field for 3F, we had no idea they had a beer like this in their repertoire. Just goes to the show the expertise of the brewers. Solid drop.