Ocean Beach Brewing ‘Hazy Pineapple IPA’


imageGlassware: poured into a shaker glass.

Appearance: hazy, yellow cloudy apple juice with a 10mm max sudsy but light white head that drops away over 30 secs leaving a rim of soap like residue. Very faint small carbonation coming up the outside of the glass.

Aroma: definite whiffs of pineapple, melon, pine/splice, alongside citrus like some grapefruit and lemon. Has a grassy /herbal touch. Slight booze aroma.

Flavour: we now get more grains on the palate. Soft caramels but not too cloying. The grapefruit certainly is there, with orange and some mild lemon, alongside sweet pineapple, some papaya, spice. Definitely a mix of tropical and citrus with some pine and sugar.

Mouthfeel: we note the Alc vol of this brew sits at a very smashable 6% and it’s well blended. Bitterness is low to medium with mild spice tingle at the backend. Medium body. Carbonation is low also. Certainly has a drying effect of the palate…double dry hopped here using Azzaca and Cashmere hops. As the can says..it’s a well rounded mouthfeel and each sips goes down well.

Overall: it’s a nice drop. Is it amazing? No. We get the pineapple and at least it’s hazy looking. We can say it’s better than some of the other efforts from this brewery. We would have again if we need to.

Pizza Port ‘Ponto’ Sessionable IPA


89356870_1321237734727035_7290785569976614912_o“Named after the southernmost beach and surf break in Carlsbad, Ponto truly embodies the spirit of the southern California lifestyle. Refreshingly light in body and low in ABV, there is certainly no sacrifice in hop character with this sessionable IPA. With a hefty dose of American and New Zealand hops, this beer is bright and filled with hints of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit. Rumored to be a favorite among the disc-golf community, this beer is the perfect accompaniment to any outdoor activity.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Bright gold with a pale yellow hue. It forms a healthy two and a bit finger head which hangs around and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Oh man it has that classic West coast IPA nose. Dirty big pine bomb with bucket loads of Citra hops that yield lemon drops, yellow grapefruit, eucalyptus, citrus rind and the faintest hint of ginger. There’s actually quite a prominent malt profile – grainy, earthy and semi sweet. Great stuff. The balance is dead set spot on.

Flavour: She drinks like a highly charged IPA just without the hangover the next day. Crammed full of old school ‘C’ hops – piney, dank, grassy, pithy citrus, spicy herbs/tea leaf, lemongrass and green mango. Again, a decent malt bill throws in a mix of semi sweet grains and earthy husks to balance. Nice crisp finish with plenty of pine and citric bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light on yet it holds up nicely. Mild-moderate body. Perfect Co2. 4.5% ABV. Nailed it.

Overall: Gotta love how the yanks consider 4.5% ABV as sessional. In Australia we call that full strength! Then they whack it in 500ml tinnies for good measure! Jokes aside this was a corker of a session IPA.. crushable yet full flavoured. Solid stuff.

Piha beer ‘Endless Summer’ Double Hazy IPA


87262416_1320154364835372_1567707777944518656_o“Endless Summer is our contribution to the haze craze. A juicy double hazy IPA.”

Glassware: IPA
Appearance: Hazy golden orange with two fingers of loosely packed foam atop. It reduced steadily and posts blotchy lace on its way down.

Aroma: Real fruit salad kind of affair. Loads of stanky stone fruit i.e ripe rockmelon, papaya, mango, peach, maybe a hint of apricot. Plenty of grapefruit, orange and mandarin for good measure. Just the slightest touch of frosty fruits and or mild juice concentrate but it’s very well infused. Nice and clean malt profile to it. Bloody ripper of an aroma.

Flavour: Those dominant stonefruits certainly carry through from the nose. Soft fleshy papaya/paw paw, rockmelon, mango and guava with massive support from the citrus element – predominantly grapefruit and orange…maybe a hint of tangerine. Pine resin, peppery spice and pithy bitterness sets up a dry and warming finish which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely tempered and a little creamy in texture. The 8.4% ABV is very well hidden.

Overall: This is our first entry for this new Kiwi brewery. Pretty damn impressive way to get things started – it’s juicy, fruity, it’s got delicate bitterness and warmth. Great mouthfeel. Just so well balanced! Two thumbs up.

Wicked Weed ‘Botanica’ BA Sour w Strawberry & Rhubarb


89162634_1319424144908394_6346074497807810560_o“The next release in our Canvas Series is Botanica. This gin barrel-aged sour sour ale ages on 1.5 lbs per gallon of bright strawberries and earthy rhubarb. Gin lovers rejoice! Available at the Funkatorium and Brewpub now.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Bright amber orange with 100% clarity. Hardly any head as it all settles at the rim. Very minimal lace as we go.

Aroma: Truly world class stuff. Every ingredient just shouts at us yet it still maintains such balance and poise. The strawberry and rhubarb just sings in all of its sweet and tart glory while the subtle characters of the gin barrels and direct lacto sourness provides the stage. Really liking the subtle herbals/botanicals provided by the gin too. Brilliant.

Flavour: In true WW fashion this short and sharp cameo of lacto sourness strips enamel off the teeth. Strawberry sherbet, slightly tart and earthy rhubarb, botanicals, dry and musty oak, sweaty lacto funk and juniper berry balances out with a kind of jammy sweetness. That delicious sherbet-like note returns late in the piece and helps finish off an incredible flavour profile.

Mouthfeel: Sharp-ish sourness, medium-high acidity with spritzy Co2. Mild body. Pucker rating sits at 3.5/5 and that 7.2% ABV is dangerously well hidden.

Overall: Another absolute corker from Wicked Weed! Honestly these guys deserve a spot in the top 5 best sour breweries in the States. Phenomenal.

Hargreaves Hill ‘Pursuit Of Hoppiness #4’ Tropical IPA


“The Pursuit of Hoppiness is an ongoing speciality series in which we explore the somewhat endless possibilities in the art of brewing with hops. Drinkers are given an exclusive look into the brewing process, with varieties, additions and time frame listed on the can label.
No.4 uses juicy new world varieties which add tropical character and aroma and will transport you to the oasis of your dreams.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Pale golden yellow with a fairly heavy haze. It forms a thumb of foamy white head which holds its shape and decorates the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Exactly what the can portrays – tropical island fruits such as pineapple, passion fruit, rockmelon, lychee, green mango, lime and orange citrus. Getting quite a strong presence of pine needles from it as well. Subtle earthy notes buried deep…sort of feeds in to the grainy malt profile at the same time.

Flavour: It comes on with a bit of tangy citrus, green mango and rockmelon closely followed by slightly more acidic citrus and light florals. Maybe just a flutter of peppery spice coming through, pine and passion fruit leading in to a somewhat juicy finish jam packed with tropical persuasion.

Mouthfeel: Extremely light and crushable. Finely carbonated with the 6.2% ABV reasonably well concealed. Maybe flirting with being a bit thin if we had to criticise.

Overall: Definitely the lightest release in the series but then again they’re brewing to the season which makes sense. Can’t say we’re totally sold on it…just a tad underwhelming. Still looking forward to what variation they’ll do next though!

Garage Brewing ‘R.I.C.C.I’ Imperial Coffee Stout


87792316_1314828725367936_4095597452445351936_o“A decadent imperial stout fermented with organic dates then dosed with medium roast La Primavera coffee, sourced from Guatemalan cafetalero Raul Ricci, grandfather of Garage’s very own Maria. A complex malt bill including roast and caramel malts, oats, wheat and rye contributes to a rich, velvety smooth dark chocolate base.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black…as expected. It forms a thumb of finely beaded brown foam which holds together and leaves beautifully cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: We’ve said it a hundred times before and we’ll say it again: coffee and stout are one of the best blends ever created! The huge coffee overtones marry up to the somewhat sweet milk chocolate malts perfectly. Getting tonnes of marzipan, licorice and vanilla with more delicate touches of brown sugar, maple and toffee fudge. This has got the olfactory’s absolutely singing!

Flavour: Although still quite sweet there is much more of a pronounced roast and espresso bitterness. Caramelised brown sugar and vanilla soften the strong espresso, charred malts, cooking chocolate and warming booze. The warmth and bitterness kicks up another notch but flavour isn’t sacrificed…it still holds on to heady notes of raw espresso, chocolate and charred malt as it finishes with an assertive roasty bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Dense and chewy. Just a slightly lifted Co2 hands it a bit of liveliness. Booze (11.5% ABV) maybe a touch too enthusiastic.

Overall: Certainly a respectable coffee stout but yeah, just a couple of small things get in the way of it being a world class drop. Pretty damn good but.

Wildflower X Jester King ‘Nothing Fancy’ BA Australian Wild Ale


87392873_1312294885621320_4928862515649052672_o“This is a very pretty beer. It shares the best parts of the WF and JK cultures with a meld of citrus and stonefruit that carries from the nose directly to the palate. Luke, Boots and I shared this beer after a warm, busy day of cellar work at the brewery and it was just about as perfect as it can get, immensely refreshing, subtle funky complexity and very high drinkability. I’m really proud to put our name on this beer.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Pale gold with a mild haze. Very minimal head with the little amount retreating to the rim. Patchy spots of lace as we go.

Aroma: Crisp, fruity and showing subtle yet gorgeous barrel character. Bright notes of dragon fruit and peach, lime, lemon sherbet, lacto funk, citric acidity, vanilla and cheese cave. Kind of has that musty old sweaty sock thing going on. Absolutely on point aroma. Perfectly balanced too. Superb.

Flavour: Good transition from the nose – again, bright and crisp flavours of zesty citrus (lemon and lime), peach, dragon fruit, passion fruit and subtle tropical fruit. Nice tempered sourness…gentle acidity with some sweaty funk, farmyard and wheat. Keeps nice and dry as it rolls in to a snappy finish full of zesty citrus and soft barrel musty-ness.

Mouthfeel: Crisp (apologies for sounding like a broken record with this word), light on and perfectly carbonated. 5% ABV…again, spot on. Mild-moderate acidity. Sour drinking at its finest.

Overall: We’ve pretty much summed it up already. This collaboration with JK is simply flawless. Wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more aggressive sourness but that’s a personal preference plus Wildflower’s base Golden Sour is meant to be more entry level anyway. Brilliant drop.

One Drop Brewing ‘5 Brett’ Saison


87273474_1310917115759097_8601730096908206080_o“5 Brett Saison, based on our popular house saison, is a mixed 7 grain base with a melange of additions including pink peppercorns, mandarin peel, cardamom and Tasmanian pepper berries, then bottle conditioned with 5 variants of Brettanomyces, wild strains that impart offbeat qualities like barnyard funk, tropical fruit, and earthy pepper.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pale golden amber with two fingers of rocky white foam on top. It slowly reduces with thick blotchy lace in patches.

Aroma: Heady notes of Angostura bitters, citrus rind, candied lemon and lime, mature chardonnay and barnyard funk. Kind of smells a bit like an old fashioned. Definitely picking up some cracked pepper, sour cola lollies, herbal spice (aniseed, basil and curry leaf). Theres something quite tangy happening here but just can’t put our finger on it.

Flavour: Changes fairly dramatically. Very dry and musty, strong on the barnyard funk and herbal spice – aniseed and peppery basil. Pithy grapefruit and citrus rind bitterness midway moving in to a rather strident finish with lingering pepper and rind on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Dry and a little astringent. The 8.2% ABV certainly adds another layer of warmth. Mild-moderate body with a slightly lifted Co2.

Overall: Love the edgy-ness of the beer – 5 different strains of brettanomyces, spice adjuncts over an already complex style…then boosted up by a mammoth 8.2% ABV. The texture and aggression would be our only criticism. Other than that it’s an impressive drop.

Perennial Artisan Ales 2019 ‘Abraxas’


84313573_1302208006630008_6357157596490629120_o“Imperial Stout with Ancho Chilies, Cacao Nibs, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Beans”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black as midnight with a quickly fading dark brown head. It settles at the rim with little lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: Sweet baby Jesus this smells good…kinda like chai latte, iced mocha and hearty stout all rolled in to one. Then topped off with that classic acidity from the chilli peppers. The olfactory’s are in a spin trying to work out which scent dominates. Ultimately nothing does, it’s simply an amazing concoction of spice, peppers, charred malts, chocolate, espresso, vanilla, raw cacao, cola and toasted marshmallow. Freakin amazing!

Flavour: Again that chai latte note features quite prominently with its array of mixed spice, milk froth, vanilla and mild coffee. A surge of charred malt, chocolate, cacao and licorice is beautifully balanced by a touch of cola syrup and muscovado sugar sweetness. Then it all levels off in to an incredibly smooth finish with lingering warmth, spice, espresso and cocoa.

Mouthfeel: Oily and slick. It’s truly amazing how some of these U.S breweries achieve such a low density while maintaining a full body and massive ABV (11.5% in this case).

Overall: We think it’s safe to say that the ’19 vintage is better than last year’s. We found the ’18 was too eager on the spice front where here they’ve struck that perfect middle ground. Flawless.

Alvarado Street X To Ol ‘Pool’ Double IPA


84676065_1299821286868680_4760807188455227392_o“Collaboration Double IPA with our buddies, To Øl Brewing in Denmark! We didn’t hold back on the sexy hops, this one is all Nelson, Mosaic & Strata.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Hazy pastel orange pour topped off by a finger of fluffy white foam. The head holds its shape nicely and weaves a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Definitely a strong fruit salad presence – mixed citrus, stonefruits, berries, tropical fruits etc. Tart funky white grape/chardonnay quality from Nelson Sauvin also coming through. Pine, dank weedy-ness and evergreen, even a hint of lemongrass and fennel. The malt bill offers a bit of crusty white bread but it’s really all about those hops! Superb.

Flavour: Almost better than the aroma! And that rarely happens! It opens with a burst of soft fleshy stonefruit i.e rockmelon, papaya, peach, maybe a hint of apricot creeping in. Dank herbs/weed, pine resins, lemongrass and mixed citrus cutting a nice line through and then stretching in to the ultra smooth and creamy finish with a flutter of pithy orange peel on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, chalky, nicely aerated Co2. Medium body. 8% ABV…very well concealed. Dangerously crushable for its size.

Overall: Can’t ask for too much more really. This is our 2nd entry for ASB and both have been world class. The Countach probably pips this at the post…not a lot between it though. Absolute cracker of a hazy.

Cigar City 2017 ‘Hunahpu’ BA Imperial Stout


84332739_1297943050389837_2735655775392235520_o“We brew Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout once a year and release it only at the brewery on the second weekend in March. We will continue to do so until the end of the cycle.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Sump oil with a short fizzy head which takes on an incredibly dark bronze/ochre brown-like colour. It doesn’t hang around long… eventually forming a collar with spotty lace as we go.

Aroma: So much to unpack. The chilli and cinnamon seem to come through the strongest. This is despite a wealth of rich and hedonistic dark malts, raw cacao, salty dark chocolate, raw vanilla bean, toffee fudge, licorice, espresso, soy sauce/molasses and cigar skins. Also picking up a faint hint of peppermint but it’s surely our olfactory’s confusing the scent of the chillies. Amazing!

Flavour: Follows on with the dominant cinnamon and chilli peppers. Well supported by vanilla, raw cacao and mild dark fruit sweetness. Soy sauce and salty dark chocolate hanging around the mid then leading in to a warm and spicy finish with tonnes of charred malt, espresso and dark chocolate on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Thick beer soup…but with added oiliness and warmth from the 10.2% ABV and chillies. Low Co2.

Overall: The depth, complexity, richness and unrestrained vigour is what makes this stout so sought after. Very similar to the ’16 vintage but maybe a bit less Asian spice and more chilli, salty chocolate and cacao. Mind blowing…as usual!

Cigar City ‘Konigsberg’ BA Imperial Stout


83049388_1290259871158155_4481787408324493312_o“Inspired by the confederation of merchant guilds that dominated trade in the Baltic and North Seas for 300 years, this beer is the coalescence of a Cognac Barrel-aged Baltic Porter, a Brandy Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, coconut, cinnamon and vanilla beans. Merchant sailors from London to Königsberg would be pleased indeed.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown head which quickly forms a collar. Reasonable lacing for the lack of retention.

Aroma: Huge barrel expressions – damp musty oak that hasn’t seen the light of day for years with the brandy offering lovely dark fruity notes alongside rich toffee and subtle maple syrup. Loving the addition of coconut, vanilla and cinnamon…although mild they go a long way to filling out he nose. Tonnes of licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, ash and chocolate brownies. Incredible depth.

Flavour: Just a big melting pot of dark and roasty malts – molasses, coffee, dark chocolate, licorice, charred oak and truffle. Beautifully (but delicate) brandy/cognac accents hit a port-like sweetness with the damp musty barrels also getting a look in. Cinnamon, vanilla, toasted coconut and red peppers building late and reaching well in to the raw, roasty and decadent finish.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly lighter than anticipated. It’s not thin…more oily and slick with low Co2. Amazing feat considering the 11.2% ABV.

Overall: Once again Cigar City bring the goods, these guys are the masters of raw and aggressive impy stouts. It’s quite similar to Hunah so anyone who’s had that experience should know the level of quality here. Well in CC!

Angry Chair ‘Popinski’ Russian Imperial Stout


83026749_1289420381242104_4492274691964141568_o“Popinkski is our rich and flavorful Russian Imperial Stout. This beer packs quite the punch. Please drink fresh and with a comrade.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a wispy brown overlay. It quickly retreats to the rim with thin rings posted down the glass.

Aroma: Super rich and menacing AF! Oozing with complex dark malts, espresso, molasses, dark chocolate, licorice, charred wood, muscovado sugar, toffee fudge, cherry ripe and very subtle vanilla/toasted coconut. It really sweetens up a lot as it settles – kinda resembles a boozy black coffee with a few too many spoonful’s of sugar. Phenomenal aroma.

Flavour: Oh wow it comes on with severe aggression. Unsweetened espresso, molasses, charred wood, raw cacao/dark chocolate, burnt toast, leather, chocolate bullets and an almost red pepper-like warmth (could also have something to do with the 10% ABV). Gorgeous finish…raw espresso bitterness but countered by a rich velvety sweetness which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: So dense you could chew on it…one of the most viscous beers we’ve had. Extremely low Co2 with the 10% ABV discernible for the most part.

Overall: What a way to kick off proceedings for this brewery. We’d heard plenty about them so we were naturally very keen to get our hands on anything from them. This is just the epitome of a RIS – big and unrelenting with huge body and depth. Top notch stuff.

Wild Barrel ‘Hazy Star’ Hazy IPA


83003576_1288993994618076_4562097081942016_o“Hazy juicy IPA dry hopped with Galaxy &Nelson.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Hazy orange with a huge fluffy four finger head. It takes a lifetime to reduce and once it does it leaves a thick blotchy lacing in its wake.

Aroma: Two of the biggest and brightest stars of the Southern Hemisphere come together in this American IPA. Straight off the bat those classic peach and passion fruit notes lead out with the more subtle lime, gooseberry and mature Sauv Blanc from Nelson in support. Also picking up hints of stonefruit, mixed citrus and leafy herbs i.e basil and thyme.

Flavour: Not really popping as much as the aroma. Muted notes of stonefruit i.e peach, rockmelon, paw paw…tangy orange, some candied lime, gooseberry and passion fruit. Very little malt coming through – white bread/crusts if anything. Soft fleshy fruits, tangy orange and a hint of rind in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Nicely balanced, light-moderate body. Slightly dry and chalky texture. 7.1% ABV has a bit of attitude but mostly well behaved.

Overall: Not totally sold on this one unfortunately. The aroma was superb but the flavour profile and slight astringency let it down. Pretty cool to see these U.S breweries embracing the Antipodean hops like this though.

Cycle Brewing BA Hazelnut Imperial Stout


82187866_1285434498307359_6503476897358282752_o“Bourbon barrel aged over 1 year, hazelnut and cocoa nibs from Pinellas Chocolate Company.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense engine oil with a minimal head which forms a thin ring instantly. Some spotty lace here and there is as good as it gets.

Aroma: Holy moly there’s dessert stout then there’s this bad boy! Hazelnut definitely leads out – a bit of a mix between raw and roasted but either way it’s heavenly. A bit of a hazelnut syrup starting to open up as it settles. Around it we get robust cocoa, espresso, chocolate, bourbon oak, toasted coconut/vanilla, charred wood and mild molasses. One of the most dynamic aroma’s we’ve had the joy of inhaling for a while.

Flavour: Absolute replica of the nose…cue the cheer from our taste buds! Dominant syrupy hazelnut with a flutter of the raw and roasty versions. Cacao, liquid chocolate, bourbon oak – vanilla, toasted coconut, caramel and spiced toffee. A touch of lightly charred wood before a kind of sweet, nutty, roasty and oaky finish lingers for an eternity.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably smooth, creamy and viscous. The 11.5% ABV is that well hidden it’s nuts. Super low Co2. Like thick stout soup!

Overall: This is now our 3rd entry for Cycle and although they’ve all been world class this one is on another level. This hazelnut definitely owns the almond. Brilliant drop.

Wicked Weed ‘La Mure Morte’ BA Sour w Blackberries


82371163_1284695735047902_4720661562203832320_o“Barrel-Aged American Sour Ale with Blackberries.”

Glassware: Teku

Appearance: A ravishing deep ruby red with a short and fizzy head which hastily forms a collar. Patches of broken lace here and there.

Aroma: Smells freakin amazing! Even though blackberries have a much less distinct profile they’re on parade right here – earthy yet sweet and tart and fusing with the natural vinous accents imparted by the red wine barrels (which also add a lovely damp and musty oak character). Super sour notes of classic lambic too…sweaty, barnyard lacto funk. Top shelf stuff.

Flavour: She ain’t messing about. Very sharp yet short-lived rush of tart berries and lacto sourness which we can literally feel taking layers of enamel off our teeth! It really mellows out in to a fruity middle full of blackberry pulp, vinous oak tannin, spice and fruit acids which lead in to a juciy finish with mild tartness and delicate oak for days.

Mouthfeel: Quite sharp and acidic upfront but almost creamy and velvety post-swallow. Mineraly, soda water-like texture… definitely adding to the light feel.

Overall: Absolute pin point precision from Wicked Weed. Very hard to fault it as everything compliments the next. Really well balanced too which we’ve found to be a slight downfall in some previous offerings. Impressive!

Parallel 49 ‘Filthy Dirty’ IPA


82241561_1283393891844753_5142240742931955712_o“It’s time to get down and dirty. This West Coast IPA may be full of filthy amounts of fruity and tropical hop character, but it’s nothing but clean on your palate. All those other IPAs are a boar, we’re here to hog the spotlight.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Deep bold amber with good enough transparency. It notches up two fingers of khaki head before peeling off. Nice wavy lace in its wake.

Aroma: Like taking a step back in to 2010! Proper old school, pine-driven West Coast style IPA balanced only by a hefty caramel malt sweetness. Maybe a bit of cloying honey too. Has a bit of a grainy, unfinished wort scent to it as well. But like the good ol days it’s supported by tonnes of grapefruit, orange/rind, dank sappy resins and weedy/tea leaf herbals. Some good and bad to it.

Flavour: The malts yield a fair bit of artificial sweetness along with a very subtle hint of buttery diacetyl. Still, nice hop profile which does counter a little…pine, grapefruit and orange rind pithiness, grassy/weedy herbs and distinct florals move in to a dry and bitter finish with some good ol West Coast aggression on the back.

Mouthfeel: Dry, bitter, a little prickly. Medium bodied. The 7.2% ABV is relatively well concealed. 76 IBU…we get every bit of it. What you’d expect from the style though.

Overall: There’s high points and low points all the way through. It’s quite messy at times and it actually reveals the inexperience of the brewer(s). Not fans at all.

Three Floyd’s 2019 ‘Dark Lord’ Russian Imperial Stout


82241864_1281693892014753_4512238928316596224_o“Dark Lord, a 15 percent ABV Russian imperial stout that is brewed with coffee, Indian sugar and Mexican vanilla.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Blacker than the ace of spades and topped off with a wispy brown overlay. Despite this it holds up nicely and leaves a cascading lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Big and muscly with layers of molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, ash and prunes/dates. The latter definitely building as it settles. Getting a lot more sweetness out of it now – cola syrup, muscovado sugar, sweet espresso, earthy spice, toasted coconut and or burnt vanilla. Nailed it! Could one expect anything less from such an esteemed RIS?

Flavour: Jeez there’s a lot to unpack. It’s incredible how there’s so little aggression. Slick and velvety molasses, muscovado sugar, licorice, sweet espresso and this pie crust/wheatmeal biscuit-like character which is hard to pin down. Lots of sugary dark fruits i.e dates, raisin, cherry. Subtle vanilla, coffee, molasses and chocolate on the long and drawn out finish.

Mouthfeel: Insanely smooth, sticky and gelatinous. The thing is 15% ABV for Christ’s sake it doesn’t even drink like an 8%er! Full, slick body, low Co2. Perfection.

Overall: Our take on Russian Imperials are that they’re aggressive palate wreckers but not DL! No…somehow they’ve managed to tame the beast and turn it in to a palate-friendly adventure that leaves us wanting more. It’s just in a class of its own really…no other way to put it.

Moonraker ‘Sails Meeting’ Imperial IPA


82338993_1281316968719112_4955735799602610176_o“Imperial IPA with Mosaic, El Dorado, Citra and Vic Secret.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Super hazy golden orange complexion. It builds a three finger head before gradually peeling off to a fine film.

Aroma: Juicy, tropical fruity hops in abundance – mango, pineapple, melon, guava, sweet orange citrus, ruby grapefruit and paw paw leading out. Some dankness to it…mostly piney with hints of forest floor and evergreen fused through. A hint of that Frosty Fruit/concentrated juice sweetness with a dry, bread crusty malt bill. Classic hazy aroma.

Flavour: Bam! The beer just went up a few more notches! So juicy and silky smooth. Proper fruit salad – citrus, tropical fruits, stone fruits and passion fruit in spades. Subtle hints of pine and resin, some apple/pear coming in to the fold. Crazy smooth finish with distinct stone fruit hanging around on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Remarkably soft, creamy and approachable…which is outrageous considering the ABV (8%). Hardly any bitterness, medium body and finely carbonated. Dead set spot on for a hazy.

Overall: Moonraker who?! The States just keep pumping them out don’t they. We wish an Aussie brewery could get even close to this level…and this is from an otherwise unknown microbrewery in Cali. Two thumbs up from us. That is an absolute cracker!

Cycle Brewing ‘Rare Dos’ BA Imperial Stout


82228701_1280476552136487_5974533971000688640_o“Rare Dos aged in whiskey barrels for over one year.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pours like sump oil with a quickly fading dark brown overlay. A bunch of loose bubbles settle at the rim with spotty lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Big, mean and aggressive. The year and a bit spent in whiskey barrels has had a huge impact…yielding light peaty notes, old damp oak, salted dark chocolate, rich and earthy espresso and treacle. Massive support structure of raw vanilla bean, charred malts, cigar skins, leather and iodine. Ooph..this is one deep and complex number.

Flavour: Certainly carries that aggression and raw earthy character through from the nose. Strong whiskey components (peat, damp woody oak, cereals), dark chocolate and espresso, brandy, leather, charred malts and burnt toffee. Again, raw and earthy in the finish – whiskey dominates with damp woody oak and charred malts which linger for days.

Mouthfeel: Rich and warming with a dense viscosity. 11% ABV…evident as to be expected. Full body, low Co2. Ominous stuff.

Overall: Definitely not for the faint-hearted. This beast is a raw, scaled back whiskey barrel aged impy stout with serious aggression and disdain for the palate! But we freakin love it! Kudos Cycle.