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.

Toppling Goliath ‘Mornin Latte’ Imperial Coffee Milk Stout


82561776_1278452659005543_347199027290308608_o“Imperial Coffee Milk Stout brewed with lactose and a careful blend of cacao nibs giving it a dark chocolate, toasty and toasty sweet coffee taste.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a short and dark tan head which doesn’t hang around long. A halo is quickly formed with consistent rings each sip.

Aroma: Woowww! Smells just like a Dare iced coffee that is insane! So sweet, milky and sugary yet still resembling a latte really well. Getting high off this almost raw coffee bean scent…heavenly! Gorgeous waves of cocoa, chocolate and vanilla in support. Subtle roasted malts in the background. We’d kill to try a bourbon barrel aged version of this. 10/10 for the aroma that is just the cream of the crop!

Flavour: It kicks off with an interesting licorice-like taste before the luxurious coffee and vanilla takes hold. Surprisingly little milky/lactose sweetness on the palate… we’d be more inclined to say piccolo rather than latte at this stage. Lots of cocoa and chocolate sauce, toasted nutty malts and mild char/ash in the finish. Good legs on it too.

Mouthfeel: Dense, creamy, sticky and full bodied…exactly what we were after. The 8.9% ABV is so well hidden with a very tight and fine Co2.

Overall: This is the epitome of a coffee stout. Jam packed with coffee, vanilla, lactose, chocolate and roasty malts brought home with a dense and sticky viscosity. If you love your stout you love your coffee then get all over this. Guaranteed you won’t be disappointed. Top shelf.

Wild Barrel ‘Catch You On The Hazy Side’ NEIPA


82056654_1277456092438533_858428009575612416_o“NEIPA dry hopped with Galaxy & Citra.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Super hazy pastel orange with a billowing three finger head which is hardly going anywhere! Once it does it makes a beautiful lacey mess on the glass.

Aroma: The can says dry hopped with Galaxy and Citra but there are scents here that we’ve never got from either of those hops before…namely this slightly tart and funky red currant and or pomegranate-like character. We’re actually really digging it though. Other more classic notes of zesty orange, passion fruit, grapefruit, peach, nectarine and rock melon are all here in spades. Loving this!

Flavour: Definitely loses that tart and funky red currant character and dials in on the hazy – stone fruit and tropical fruit galore! Rockmelon, papaya, guava, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, orange, peach and grapefruit. Literally a fruit salad. Gorgeous fruit smoothie-esque finish… creamy, juicy fruits with no bitterness. Superb.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth, creamy and juicy. Ultra low bitterness, well concealed ABV (7.5%). Finely carbonated. Medium-full body. Practically faultless.

Overall: Jeez what a find these guys were! Stumbled in to Page Bottler not knowing and left with a few. Gonna have to find more now this is an absolute cracker!

Parallel 49 ‘Trash Panda’ Hazy IPA


82835331_1276857069165102_7649611348615102464_o“The urban trash panda will spend most of its life scouring garbage bins for the dankest, juiciest hops that the Northwest coast can offer. Don’t be fooled by this bandit’s cute little mask – this snarling vermin won’t leave any can unturned.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Hazy burnished orange with a thumb of sturdy white foam rested atop. The head is retained well and leaves a smattering of lace in its wake.

Aroma: A bit of a citrus bomb – yellow grapefruit, orange (and rind), lemon/lime, some pretty dank piney notes leading out as well. Theres something quite old world about it…offering a strong floral bouquet, dank herbals and earthy/grassy accents like a good English IPA would. Subtle hints of melon and stonefruits also getting a look in. Good depth here.

Flavour: Somewhat similar to the nose: clean piney notes, minty herbals, orange peel, tangerine, weedy resins and apple/pear. The latter holding up the most through the mid with that orange peel pithy-ness building in to a dry piney/grassy finish which endures quite nicely on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Pretty inoffensive for the style – soft and smooth. The mild ABV (5.5%) probably adds to the approachability. Medium body and Co2.

Overall: We honestly weren’t too sure what to expect here. An unknown Canadian brewery with an early 90’s style rock band cover as the graphic it could have gone either way. In the end and funnily enough it’s a bit middle of the road…nothing exciting but not too bad either.

Westbrook ‘Mexican Cake’ Imperial Dessert Stout


82207406_1276810875836388_6971142739324829696_o“Way back in December 2011, we brewed our first anniversary beer – a serious imperial stout aged on cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers. It was so delicious we decided to bring it back once each year.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thumb of dark brown foam resting atop. Slow and steady reduction…forming a collar with spotty lace trailing it down.

Aroma: Very intriguing – we can certainly pick up the spicy accents – mostly peppers with delicate touches of cinnamon, star anise and vanilla. It’s unique in the way that it doesn’t seem heavy at all – there’s minimal char and deep roast, mild dark chocolate and coffee aromas. The only dominant stout characters are the cacao, milk chocolate mousse, subtle licorice and carob. Then spice and peppers really opening up as it settles.

Flavour: Again, really hiding the heaviness of the style well. It drinks more like a big and boozy dark ale if anything. The spicy notes do a lot of the talking – the habanero peppers muscle up against the delicate cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Cacao and mild dark chocolate feature nicely before it rounds off on a warm peppery finish with a dry roasty undertone.

Mouthfeel: Light on and inoffensive – apart from the lingering burn of the habanero peppers. Very uncharacteristic of the style… considering the weight (10.5% ABV).

Overall: This is our 2nd entry for Westbrook and they have gone over and above what we were anticipating. This is impressive not only from a non barrel aged perspective but how they’ve managed to keep it so light and approachable. Lovely drop

Rabbit & Spaghetti Golden IPA


82462143_1276612695856206_2108292135848509440_o“Brewed in honour of Lt Edgardo Simoni (AKA The Fox) an Italian soldier captured in North Africa and interned in Australia during WWII. He infamously fled custody 3 times and cheekily assumed the identity of a door to door cosmetics salesman in Melbourne. He rose to be the company’s number one sales person whilst concurrently being Australia’s most wanted man.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Clear golden amber with a big and frothy three finger crown. Good retention and thick soapy lace clinging to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Pretty basic tropical fruits and sappy resin with spicy floral and orange citrus highlights. It fills out with quite a sweet caramel malt alongside a flutter of bush honey and eucalyptus-like herbals/florals. Maybe just the slightest hint of tea leaf coming through too.

Flavour: Weak and somewhat watered down notes of semi sweet caramel malts, honey, spicy pine resin, orange citrus and tropical fruits i.e mango, pineapple and stonefruit. Sets up for a fairly soft and uneventful finish which pulls up pretty short.

Mouthfeel: Thin and slippery over the tongue. There’s a vibrant Co2 which gives it a bit of texture though. 4.7% ABV – very light…could explain the lack of intensity.

Overall: We can never be too hard on the winemakers who try their hand at brewing as it’s not their day job. Although this is kinda weak and watery with muted flavour. Good for the entry level craft drinker that’s about it.

Cycle Brewing ‘Joyous Almond’ Imperial Dessert Stout


81865844_1275429285974547_7640890331621228544_o“Vanilla barrel aged imperial stout treated with vanilla beans, cinnamon, chili peppers, and cocoa nibs.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Black as midnight with a short and fizzy brown head. It steadily reduced and manages a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Big and meaty. Super rich molasses and soy sauce yet it still offers a lovely toasted coconut and treacle character. Picking up a unique scent of after dinner mints mixing in amongst lavish notes of dark chocolate, bourbon oak, raw coffee bean, earthy raw almond, vanilla and charred malts building late. A bit of a mild warming booze here too.

Flavour: Getting quite a lot of coconut upfront. Less natural flavor, more toasted and bourbon-infused with a hint of spicy vanilla. Underneath is a hedonistic fusion of marzipan, chocolate cake, old bourbon oak, toasted nutty malts, toffee fudge and burnt brown sugar sweetness which goes on for days on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Pretty slick with a bit of dense stickiness. Medium-full body. Quite a lively Co2 for such a big BA stout. Typical of the Yanks…no ABV! Our guess is over 10%.

Overall: A very impressive stout. It may not have the finesse of say, 50/50 or 3 Floyd’s but it certainly has depth and complexity. Cracking drop.

Jindabyne Brewing ‘Kiandra’ Golden Ale


81542640_1274945476022928_3308675666186076160_o (1)Fresh, nutty malt with hints of caramel give our golden ale a solid backbone to underpin the delicious hop combination. Predominant aroma and flavours of fresh passionfruit and pineapple, with complexity and depth.”

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Golden amber with full transparency. It forms a sturdy two finger head which maintains and works a thick sudsy lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Very traditional and old-world kind of feel to it. Beautifully balanced though. Biscuity malt structure with soft fruity hops – mostly passion fruit, mango, pineapple and melon. Just a hint of buttery sweetness, mild herbal and floral notes and a white grape-like tartness. So much depth for the style.

Flavour: So crisp and clean…we reckon it’s all down to the pure mountain water they use. Perfectly balanced malt to hop ratio – biscuity and slightly nutty malt gives way to the fruity and floral hops. A hint of pithy orange peel late in the piece finishes with a soft dry bitterness, marmalade and buttery toast.

Mouthfeel: Super clean, crisp and effortless. Mild-medium body. 4.2% ABV. Definitely a stayer.

Overall: We’re absolutely loving this brewery! In this day of crazy haze and sourness these guys are sticking to tradition and brewing old word faves with absolute perfection. Honestly JB deserve more attention than they get!

RAR Brewing ‘Layer Cake’ BA Imperial Stout


“Imperial dessert Stout aged in red wine barrels.” DDH Double IPA Hopped with Citra, Citra Cryo, Azacca & Vic Secret.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy brown head forming on top. It swiftly reduced to a thin halo with a wet lace left in its wake.

Aroma: Quite a complex number with a lot of it coming from the red wine barrels. Muted notes of chocolate cake, Cherry Ripe, coconut, marzipan, chocolate mousse and spicy bourbon. The latter surely a byproduct of the barrels which impart an enormous amount of vinous red berry tartness and musty oak. A fair bit of the booze showing too…really stings the nostrils.

Flavour: Producing more on point dessert stout qualities – macerated cherries (with some natural tartness coming through), dark and milk chocolate, coconut, vanilla, marzipan, almond biscotti, chocolate mousse, mocha and subtle notes of oak and vinous red wine in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat slick, oily and sticky. Not a great deal of body to it but it still holds up nicely on the palate. Low co2. 10.2% ABV pokes through here and there.

Overall: At first we thought it could have done without the aging in red wine barrels but it became softer as it settled. We’d still love to try the non barrel aged version though. Not a bad drop.

Mr Banks ‘Playground Insults’ DDH Double IPA

“DDH Double IPA Hopped with Citra, Citra Cryo, Azacca & Vic Secret.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Turbid pastel yellow with a sturdy two finger crown. It holds its shape and weaves a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Brimming with tropical fruits, citrus and pine. Smells super fresh (package date shows October). Mango, guava, pineapple, paw paw and orange citrus in spades while notes of spicy resin, lactose, creamy oats and vanilla bring up the bottom end. Has that classic white bready malt happening as well. Bloody ripper of an aroma right here.

Flavour: Nice transition from the nose. There’s a burst of tropical fruits, orange citrus, spicy pine resins and lactose moving in to tangy orange and unripened stonefruits through the mid. Very faint hint of pithy citrus/rind before a super smooth finish full of tangy orange, mild citric bitterness and pine resins.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, soft and well rounded. Holds a medium body with ultra low bitterness and an almost completely hidden 8.5% ABV.

Overall: Another excellent Hazy from Mr Banks. Sauce had better be watching their backs as these guys are coming for that top spot. Keep em comin boys!

Westbrook ‘Chocolate & Sea Salt’ Imperial Stout


80192842_1263496993834443_4419486472449556480_o“For our 7th Anniversary Beer, we went big on the chocolate and added a little salt to make it interesting. Luscious notes of liquid cocoa and a smooth salinity make this beer deliciously decadent.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a quickly fading dark brown head. It forms a thin halo but still manages a healthy lace as we indulge.

Aroma: Dark and devilish. Really has that dessert stout thing going on…tonnes of chocolate, licorice, vanilla, red peppers, cocoa, marshmallow, charred malts and mocha. The addition of sea salt is a bit of a masterstroke. We were a bit hesitant at first but it really adds a nice touch of savoury salinity and balance.

Flavour: Again, really dialling in on the dessert stout character – milk chocolate, vanilla, mocha, cocoa, licorice, roasted malts. The salty aspect kind of playing two hands i.e salted chocolate but also a strong hint of salted caramel coming through. Beautifully sweet, salty and roasty finish with incredible length.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but not as thick and dense as most imperial stouts. Could be the lack of barrel aging perhaps? Low co2. Very well concealed ABV (9.5%).

Overall: For a beer that we were a little unsure about it has really come through. It’s big and bold yet sweet and nicely balanced. And let’s not forget the risky addition of sea salt which in a way was the quiet star of the show. It’s our first crack at this American brewery and we’re impressed!

Cloudwater Brew Co ‘Participate In This Area’ Hazy IPA


81484876_1263031417214334_66512817028595712_o“This one-off IPA is designed to showcase a range of bold flavours, while retaining an element of balance. Punchy, slightly savoury, resinous notes intertwine with succulent fruit flavours in a modern IPA that doesn’t hold back, yet is still smooth, soft and rounded.”

Glassware: IPA

Appearance: Hazy pastel orange with a thumb of off white foam perched on top. Good head retention and fine lace work clinging to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Quite interesting actually, there’s some juiciness here but the creamy tropical fruits and spicy resins are more dominant. We keep picking up this really strange scent…the only thing we can familiarise it with is that gamey and ever so slightly smoked aroma we get when we walk in to a butchery. It’s really weird but as meat lovers we’re kinda digging it!

Flavour: Insanely smooth, fruity and creamy with literally no sign of any bitterness or booze. Literally brekky juice! Lovely pine resins, pithy citrus and zesty orange with a doughy white bready malt filling it out. The finish is fruity, creamy, mildly dry and well drawn out.

Mouthfeel: So smooth, tempered and velvety soft. Still holds a nice weight though. Minimal bitterness with the 6.7% ABV nowhere to be seen.

Overall: A very impressive Hazy from this English brewery. They’re still leading the way in the UK when it comes to the style in our opinion. Top notch stuff.

Robin Hood Brewing Pale Ale


80481608_1262934463890696_3030908216914477056_oNO DESCRIPTION

Glassware: Shaker.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden amber pour with a loosely packed finger of head resting atop. It slowly reduced to a collar with reasonable lace as we go.

Aroma: Very shy notes of stonefruits and jammy orange citrus. Kind of malty sweet – bready and biscuity with mild hints of caramel and toffee. Somewhat of an English tone to it…. we’re guessing from the hops….possibly EKG or even a lower alpha acid Aussie hop like Pride Of Ringwood with its herbal spice and mild fruity characters. Not bad but lacking excitement.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose. Mostly earthy and spicy orange citrus, melon, an inkling of marmalade and herbs. Again quite malty – bready/toasty, semi sweet caramel and honey offering a lovely overall balance. Soft, delicate finish: toasty, jammy, slightly dry and a little short on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Light on with a frothy co2. Mild-medium body. Low bitterness and ABV (4.5%).

Overall: Definitely has an English/Euro approach to it. It ain’t a bad beer it’s just very uneventful although we can’t be too harsh as the brewer (Rob Paulazzo) is actually a winemaker so credit to him for having a crack.

Boatrocker ’19 ‘Fat Santa’ BA Imperial Stout


80881660_1258654620985347_983657620860567552_o“Fat Santa is a rich, decadent example of a barrel aged imperial stout. This year, we’ve changed it up a bit and headed to the Northern Hemisphere for inspiration. Same incredible Ramjet base, but aged in 1st use Buffalo Trace barrel. The result is simply stunning… BIG bourbon character, with luscious coconut and vanilla from the wood, we’ve complemented this with our Holy Trinity of Tonka beans, Vanilla Beans and Coffee Beans. The perfect end to a big Christmas dinner, or maybe an ever so suitable entry to festivities?”

Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Pitch black with a wispy brown head which quickly retreats to the rim. Spotty lace sticks to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Oh my goodness this is some classy stuff right here. It’s packed full of rich roasty malts, Vegemite, dark chocolate, burnt toast, coconut, hints of soy sauce, leather and coffee. 1st use Buffalo Trace barrels also give it an almighty hit of classic American bourbon – caramel, spice, sweet rum and vanilla. Oh my Lord that is good!

Flavour: Typically when an aroma is this good it transitions in to flavour…and that’s exactly what it does! Straight off the bat we’re getting an incredible fusion of bourbon barrels, coconut, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, charred malts, treacle, spice, dark rum, dates and an almost roasted almond-like nuttiness which really draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily, warm and comforting. Full bodied with low CO2 and a perfectly positioned ABV (10.9%). Spot on for the style.

Overall: This is going to be one of those beers where get all sad once we take our last sip. At $30 a pop were a bit hesitant to fill up the cellar with them but there’s no question it will age gracefully. Top notch stuff.

Brouwerij Lindeman’s Kriek


80807130_1257880791062730_3579022219424038912_o“Beer of spontaneous fermentation. Lindemans Kriek is made from one-year-old oak-aged lambic and pure cherry juice. Red, slightly cloudy colour. Deliciously fruity with the fresh flavour of freshly picked sour cherries. Its sharp and full-bodied flavour gives way to a perfect balance between sweet and sour.”

Glassware: Teku

Appearance: Tis a gorgeous beer to look at…ruby red with a deep pink head which swells to a finger before slowly forming a collar. Laced well as we go.

Aroma: Definitely not what we were expecting! It’s very artificial with its dominant cherry sherbet and Dr Pepper-like sugary sweetness. It has hints of cola syrup at times as well. Picking up a slight musty-ness which is interesting as it’s not barrel aged. Kind of earthy deep down, minimal funk with just the slightest hint of aniseed. Weird. Don’t know if we’re digging it or not yet.

Flavour: Detecting a bit more tart cherry but still not getting much true and natural flavour of the fruit though. Again this Dr Pepper-like cherry cola thing happening is so unexpected and something we’ve never tasted in a Kriek before. It really doesn’t deviate a whole lot as it pretty much finishes how it starts.

Mouthfeel: Nice and spritzy with vibrant CO2. Light, aerated texture with the 3.5% ABV supporting that. Very approachable.

Overall: We don’t pretend to be Kriek guru’s but we’re pretty sure this isn’t your traditional representation of the style. Which is strange coming from such an esteemed and well established brewery. Tell ya what though it would go well on a stinking hot day but happy to give it a miss until that happens though.