Category Archives: Ales

Founders Brewing ‘Curmudgeons Better Half’ BA Old Ale


“What tames an old ale like Curmudgeon? The tender embrace of oak and sweet maple, that’s what. The result is Curmudgeon’s Better Half, a harmonious matrimony of our deceptively smooth old ale brewed with molasses and time spent aging in bourbon barrels that have previously held maple syrup. Because all counterparts should be sweet, rich and utterly delicious.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: She pours an attractive copper red with a thumb of lightly tanned foam atop. Steady reduction and healthy lace as we go.

Aroma: That base of gutteral sweetness, caramelisation and old damp oak is so synonymous with this brewery. The way the maple bourbon barrels are intertwined is a masterstroke. Tonnes of barleywine-like residual sugars, caramel and toffee, molasses, dark fruits-a-plenty, cola, peppery spice and dried eucalyptus. Amazing!

Flavour: Oh so Founders! Incredibly sweet – lots of residual sweetness, maple, caramel and brown sugar yet it’s so perfectly balanced by the spicy bourbon, damp woody oak and slightly menthol-like herbals. Seriously aged hops late in the piece moving to a warming finish full of damp oak, residual sugars and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and gelatinous. Unbelievably smooth and palate friendly for 12.7% ABV. Low-ish Co2 and full bodied.

Overall: Should one expect anything less than perfection from Founder’s? Nope! Coz that’s exactly what this is. Old ale or Barleywine? Who cares when it’s this good.

Eden Brewery ‘Fallen Phoenix’ Imperial Kottbusser

67263170_1133040546880089_2413172627033030656_n“In celebration of Eden Brewery’s second year, they have released this unique brew. The “Fallen Phoenix” is based on their flagship Phoenix D Kottbusser where the traditional taste of honey, molasses,oats and wheat are joined by gourmet chocolate and over 50kg of honey comb. Think cold melted violet crumble. Made to be sipped nice and slow.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades! It forms a short tan head which slowly retreats to the rim with a neat wavy lace sticking to the glass as we indulge.

Aroma: Thick, rich and dark roasted malts hit the olfactory’s like a freight train. So much to unpack! Tonnes of molasses, licorice and treacle, plum jam, espresso coffee, chocolate, raw tobacco, port and subtle honeycomb on the edges. Just a flutter of warming booze tickles the nostrils.

Flavour: Complex layers of booze-fuelled roasted malts, espresso, licorice and sharp yet semi sweet molasses get things underway. A nice line of sweetness – honey like but with a hint of vanilla – passes through before it rolls in to a robust and warming finish with port, vanilla and molasses drawing out on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Dense and chewy AF! The viscosity is next level. It feels like a flat-ish co2 but with a subtle lift.

Overall: That’s an absolute pearler! We reckon there’s always that one beer that puts a brewery on the map and for Eden this is it…it’s rich, decadent and dangerous but above all else it’s well structured. Superb.

Sailors Grave ‘Grapefruit & Yuzu’ Farmhouse Ale

imageGlass: Poured into a shaker glass.

Appearance: Pours a big oversized white chaotic bubbly head that slowly fades down to nothing. Faint rim. Colour of golden yellow. Looks like a wheat beer.

Aroma: Smells like a barn. Sweet and earthy. Funky yeast noticed, wine like Chardonnay, banana, mild clove, with some interesting mandarin- lime like whiff. Interesting. Don’t get grapefruit.

Flavour: Very different on the palate. First sensation is mild carbonation  which leads into funk and sourness, with a combination of booze, wine, and citrus. Bitterness certainly there but more tart and wine like. We note yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit and this must be the strange flavour that we admit we haven’t had before. The booze heat is possibly more than we expected. Tends to surround the palate. Again reminds us of a funky wheat beer. Grapefruit subdued but present.

Mouthfeel: dry, tart, funky. We are surprised there is no alc vol % stated? It says 1.5 std drinks..hmm. Mild body and mild to moderate length. Booze heat lingers at the end.

Overall: Its a nice drop. We have educated ousrselves on Yuzu. Would we buy Not memorable. It’s a tad wine like. Maybe the booze needs to be less?

Modus Operandi ‘Majestic Leopard’ session ale

imagePoured into a shaker glass we see a very light coloured/hazy yellow colour with plenty of carbonation sizzling away from the bottom. White of white 10mm head that slowly fades but retains beautifully. We note this brew was canned on the 26th February so it’s super fresh.

First sniff elicits a complex nose with plenty of stone fruit like peach, pine, rose petal, citrus like lemon and white grapefruit, peppery spice, light doughy malts and cut grass. We like it. First sip yields a similar hit. It’s got nice, not over- the- top bitterness from the citrus hops mixed with bready like dough malts/yeast, light caramels, a peppery spice, and more pine. Definite citrus flavours of white grapefruit, and lemon rind. It’s quite drying on the palate. Mouthfeel is light’s not entirely watery but it’s thin enough to smash down easily, and still contains enough flavour to savour right to the end. It’s got an earthy like body to it also. We note 5% Alc vol here and think it’s jammed full of flavour. You could have a couple of cans before thinking “ok I’m feeling pissed”. Carbonation stays low also. It’s got that NEIPA feel yet it’s not as tropical fruit juice as most are. It’s like an IPA due to the array of floral and tasty hops on offer. It’s also ale-ish due to the smash ability of a 5%-er. As we finish up we get some patchy lacing here and there and are enjoying the aroma of the empty glass. This is certainly tasty. It’s a bloody good effort as usual from a fantastic and on the pulse brewery.





Cupitt’s India Black Ale

22851698_765032927014188_6241533746304581756_n“Loads of new world hops are combined with roasted malts to create a blend of pine, citrus, dark chocolate and coffee; finishing with a clean, refreshing bitterness that has you coming back for more.”

Served in an IPA glass. We cast our eyes over a dark cola-like colour and a healthy two finger head that holds together really well. Reduction is minimal and the tight, webbed lacing looks awesome as it ebbs.
Pow! The olfactory’s are bombarded with anabsolutely magnificent set of roasted and hoppy aromas. The malts offer a rich, dark and heavily roasted profile packed full of espresso coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa, cheap leather and tobacco while the hops offer a herbal tea leaf character, pine, citrus, aniseed and hints of passion fruit. Maybe a subtle suggestion of mixed dark berries in here too. Brilliant.
The flavour backs up the aroma with this incredible blend of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts that work in to a leafy, herbaceous and citrusy hop profile. Some short and sharp jabs of booze (7%) are absorbed by the piney hops as hints of treacle and burnt toast roll in to a dry, bitter and roasty finish.
The texture is frothy, dry and slightly sharp at times. Medium in weight and bolstered by an assertive 70 IBU.
Without a doubt this is the best beer we’ve tried from Cupitt so far. Right from outset it was forthcoming and aggressive but measured and well balanced. A fine drop that’s for sure.

Bright Brewery ‘Black Diamond’ India Black Ale

15965250_631310580386424_3165288506610104021_n“Bright brewer’s first India Black Ale is a tribute to the black diamond ski runs of Victoria’s alpine snow resorts. Those most challenging runs of Hotham and Falls Creek are our playground in the winter, and this beer is our salute to all who conquer them.”

Served in an IPA glass. Jet black in appearance. A big three finger head lays on top, boasting excellent retention as it weaves a healthy lace down the walls of the glass.
This smells pretty bloody good folks. We take in a brilliantly well balanced combination of spicy and earthy hops above a heavily roasted malt base of espresso, burned wood, tobacco and licorice. She’s quite vinous as well, imparting hints of leaves and fresh herbs. Maybe a slightly medicinal character in here but all in all it’s a very good aroma.
There’s a good density in the mouth. It’s also quite creamy and full bodied with an assertive hop bitterness cutting in. Co2 is nice and vibrant and the 5.7% ABV is discrete.
There’s actually a big impression of piney hops on the front palate. Layers of earthy malt and tobacco take over as the punchy herbal hops are introduced mid way. The flavour reverts back to the piney hops before it finishes on a blend between dank grassy hops and roasted dark malts. Reasonably good length on the rear.
Although we’re frequent travellers to the NSW ski resorts the same rule applies – the black diamond runs looks fun but they should never be underestimated. Just like this beer, she may only come in at 5.7% ABV but there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Fine offering.

Moon Dog Craft Brewery ‘Old Coughlin’s Diet’ Old Fashioned

12241302_451706368346847_5216951258350939058_n“There are many schools of thought on how to make a classic “old fashioned”. To cherry, or not to cherry? Perhaps with orange? rye, bourbon, or even rum or cognac? Such big looming questions, and so little time! We here at Moon Dog seek to distill such complexities. Sometimes anyway, and this is one such time! We present to you our extraordinary-mix-two-beers-together-to-make-a-beer-that-kinda-sorta-tastes-like-an-old-fashioned-ish-drink-of-sorts!”

Wow, only Moon Dog are capable of putting together words that whacky. It’s not at all surprising to us either that these guys have once again shown their extensive creativity with this brand new concept of drinking craft beer. The mixing of these two different styles (one being a cherry IPA and the other being a barrel aged dark ale, of sorts) together is a first for us and to be honest, a fantastic idea. Let’s crack on. Served in to a beer tulip. The deep crimson hue is capped off with a healthy three finger head that maintains nicely, only skimming off a cm or so, effectively retaining a thick blanket over the top. Laced well. The aroma is dense, dank and woody. The two do combine surprisingly well. Initially offering wafts of rotting wood, cherry fudge, sherbet, oak, parsley, cough medicine and bourbon. A mixed bag if we’ve ever smelt one but that’s exactly what we feel the brewers are after here. A somewhat amalgamation of sweet, tart fruits with woody, bourbony earth. Surprisingly smooth in texture. The bitterness is set at a mild 50 IBU and the 7.6% ABV is well hidden. The body is medium-full with a decent weight holding it down. Slightly dry. Quite complex. An infusion of slightly tart fruits and a woody earthiness opens up on the palate. A delicious dark fruit sweetness bridges the mid as a mild hop dryness develops, delivering a dry, bourbony finish with a well extended length on the rear. The kings of unconventional strike again. The overall idea has to be admired. A solid return to a top shelf Australian brewery that we hold in very high regard.

Emersons ‘red rye’ 2014 trans Tasman challenge

imageWe loved emersons more before lion Nathan nz bought them out but they still brew nice beers and we have a fondness for Dunedin NZ, and this is a challenge between them and little creatures brewery. The story goes that each brewery challenge the other to make a style of beer that’s new to them with all new ingredients provided by the challenger (in this case by little creatures, and the main additives are topaz and ella hops, with naked oats which are hull less and have a higher nutrient value). We love it. Poured into a shaker, there is a 1cm head which takes time to fade, and in the end leaves half that. There is a gorgeous Amber/mahogany hue with very minor carbonation. Lovely tropical fruit nose with a herby, resinous touch. Mouthfeel is full and there is a contained bitterness on the palate with mild to medium carbonation only. Presence of sweet malt here and a spicy, almost breath mint finish to it. Definate grapefruit here also and maybe stewed apricot? There is patchy lacing on the glass as we imbibe. Sitting at 6.2% alc vol, it’s well blended with the sweet malt and creaminess of the rye. This is a friggan awesome drop. Very, very tasty and we are extremely interested in trying the repost from little creatures. A must try for the craft beer lover.

Big sky brewing co. ‘Trout slayer’ Wheat ale

imageThis is our first crack at this breweries range. Bought from Little Rumors bar in Sydney and served in a shaker glass. Clear golden pour with good clarity whips up a persistent half inch head that retains. Good lacing. Very bright and floral aromas of peach, citrus, mandarin, biscuit malts, spice, grain and subtle bubblegum. The mouth feel is soft and slightly dry with mild-medium carbonation. Flavour profile initially offers up grain and hops with a soft presence of wheat malts. The mid-palate is a continuation of the fore flavour and finishes slightly dry with hints of stone fruit and grain. 5% ABV. Well, it’s a very simple beer with no real exciting additions. Sessional, but the $8 price tag isn’t worth it. We’re sure it would be much cheaper from a bottle shop but all in all it’s a bit bland and boring. Probably won’t try again.

Two Birds Taco wheat ale

image“{Two Birds Taco is brewed using ale and wheat malts, with an addition of flaked corn. Citra and Amarillo hops contribute citrus and fruity characters, which complement the additions of coriander leaf and fresh lime peel. The beer pours a hazy shade of pale and we use a clean, ale yeast to allow the fresh flavours to shine. 5.2% ABV, 28 IBU”.

An interesting concept this one. From the two chicks at two birds comes this wheat ale that’s brewed with the addition of corn, lime peel and coriander. Sounds delightful but is it a hype?!? Pouring a straw/gold with plenty of bubble, it looks like a cloudy pale ale. Initial nose is that of floral hops, citrus peel, grainy wheat malts and a suggestion of lime juice. Certainly if you think hard enough, there is corn there on the palate but more cereally like corn flakes. The herb-like nature of the hops is probably driving the coriander character harder than the addition of actual coriander. There is an extremely mild peppery end palate which is the jalapeño addition. This brew sits at 5.2%. All in all, the mouth feel is a tad watery, but we feel that it’s a decent crack at a taco. We think that all the elements are there as what was described, but it was just missing the knock out punch. Maybe it needed more chilli spice at the end? Maybe add some avocado? Anyways, we can’t bag it too hard, it was a tasty beer.

Harviestoun ‘Ola Dubh’ 18 Old Ale

imageThis brew from the lads in Scotland is a beast. This ale has been aged in 18 year old highland park whiskey casks and the name ola dubh means black oil..when you pour it, you certainly can see why. Pours mat black and has no head or lacing. Strong scent of smoky malt, chocolate malt, molasses. Nice oily mouthfeel like all good dark beers. Definate whiskey undertones when you swish it round the gob. The booze factor is also prominent – 8.0%.. Stings the nostrils. Very mild carbonation. Of interest, the highland park whiskey was once named the worlds best spirit. Hints of toffee and almond here. Overall, a pungent, sweet, smokey ale. Must try if a whiskey lover

Rogue ‘Voodoo Doughnut’ Bacon Maple Ale

image“Rogue Ales has collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Bacon Maple Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a baker’s dozen number of ingredients including bacon and maple syrup from one of Voodoo’s signature doughnuts”.

Wow..crazy beer. Love the pink bottle. First whiffs emanate smokey meats with the sweetness of the maple. Pours almost like an IPA with that deep copper hue and a big frothy head which fades off. On the palate, there is the smoked malt and from observation of the bottle, there are 3 types used in the brewing. Not sure about the doughnut aspect of the beer but there is definately that sweet, savoury mix going on. Bacon is actually used in the brew and the smoky flavours, combined with the selected malts and pure maple is a great mix. Lots of lacing on the glass as we push this puppy down. Of note also is the famous pacman yeast.. The head brewers beard yeast. There is also a mild hop/bitterness thrown in amongst the other flavours. Sitting at 5.6% , this beer as an experimental is a cracker. The flavour profile is balanced superbly. This beer is really expensive ($32) but as a craft lover, who cares. Just drink’s a special drop.

Storm festive cloudy ale

imageLet’s get one thing straight, this beer is crap. It’s purchased in ALDI, and really we shouldn’t have bothered. It pours straw coloured and looks like a lager but with no bubble, carbonation or head. Looks like apple juice. The label states a cloudy pale ale… There is nothing cloudy about it. It’s got a slightly summer ale -ish flavour like Monteith’s summer lager but way, way weaker.  It has little ‘craft’ flavour at all. It is 4.6% ABV and made in N.Z. All in all, don’t bother..stick to Leo , or Mythos which are the other beers sold in this supermarket.

Nørrebro Bryghus ‘globe ale’ Cream ale

image“Nørrebro Bryghus has launched a new beer, Globe Ale, which is Denmark’s first carbon neutral beer. The new beer comes in natural continuation of the brewery becoming – also as the first in Denmark – carbon neutral on its energy consumption as of 1 March, 2009”.

Once again, here is another Norrebro beer we first tried years ago and fell in love with. It’s taken us some time to track them down but we eventually found them. Poured into a shaker glass the appearance displays a clear amber orange with a short 7-8mm white head that disappears quite quickly, forming a halo around the edge of the glass. Laced poorly. Clean and refreshing citrus aroma with hints of stone fruit, peach, lemon and some grainy malts. A lovely caramelized viscosity comes through as well bringing with it a gorgeous toffee sweetness. Mildly carbonated with a light and creamy mouth feel. Upfront the palate displays hints of grains and biscuity malts. A slightly fruity/hoppy mid-palate is developed but unfortunately it drops away to a short finish with a delicate lingering bitterness on the tongue. It’s 4.8% and along with almost every Norrebro beer it’s so damn sessional. The only down side is it’s a bit too thin. Regrettably this brewery is very hard to get beer from, we don’t know why because this stuff is delicious.

Founders brewing co. ‘Curmudgeon’ Old ale

image“Think classic seafaring ports, local pubs and weathered old fishermen. This old ale is brewed with molasses and an insane focus on the malt bill, then oak-aged. The result is a rich, malty delight that’s deceptively smooth and drinkable”.

We are becoming huge fans of this top shelf American brewery. Brews like the breakfast stout, all day IPA and the backwoods bastard are just a few of their delicious beers we have thoroughly enjoyed. Served in a beer tulip the light ruby/copper pour produced a two finger head that slowly diminished to a thin film over the top. Minimal lacing though. Very complex aroma, similar to a Belgian Dubbel or a Quad as we picked up raisin, oak, black currant, burnt toffee, licorice and spice. As we delve deeper in to the aroma it begins to remind us as more of a lighter version of a barrel aged stout. A little dusty but nevertheless, we were pleasantly surprised. Texture in the mouth is full and round with mild carbonation. Medium-full bodied. Similarly the complex flavour mirrors our surprise to the aroma. Molasses shows up on the palate initially with additions of spice and dark fruits. A slight booze burn and oak in the mid deliver a finish of burnt sugar and caramel. An earthy undertone lingers nicely on the back end. Good duration. 9.8% ABV. This is a very respectable offering. An easy 8 stars.

Beaten track brewery gibb river rye

“Pours a light yellow with a slight cloudiness due to suspended sediment. Grainy sweetness from the malted barley and rye. Fistfuls’ of Galaxy hops stuffed into the kettle and fermenters: citrus and passionfruit everywhere. Enough bitterness to make life interesting and a little dryness on the palate. Colour – Pale Straw.”

FromBeaten track brewery gibb river rye kalgoorlie WA, this rye pale ale is really quite good. The pour is quite cloudy but there is a nice balance of the flavours here. At only 4.7% it’s so drinkable and you can taste the rye used. It’s subtle but thoroughly enjoyable. We bought this from the international beer shop in perth.. We had never seen it before but we are stoked that beer this good is coming out of such a remote place in australia.

Innis & Gunn original ale

Innis & Gunn original ale“This is our firstborn brew, whose accidental discovery started our story in 2003. Its originality also lies in its singular taste – notes of biscuity malt and vanilla swirling within a creamy, mellow character. A pioneering beer, its flavour finds favour with brewing juries, blind tasting panels and barflies alike”. Picked up this interesting looking beer at Dan Murphy’s, it is the first time we’ve ever heard of this Scottish brewery. Served in a shaker glass the translucent amber pour managed to construct a finger of white head before completely collapsing away to nothing at all. Quite a complex aroma here, initially it’s so obviously British – anti fruit with big sweet malts and earth coming forward with additional wafts of oak, vanilla, whiskey, damp wood, butterscotch and honey putting an exciting spin on it. There is also a really sweet, floral undertone in here too, similar to pot pourri. Really good depth. The mouth feel is a little thin with low carbonation. Medium bodied. From the outset flavours of whiskey, oak and vanilla dominate the taste buds. The mid-palate picks up sweet, almost cloying toffee malts and dough delivering a malty finish with lingering oak and a subtle alcohol warming. At 6.6% ABV we can’t fault the levels of flavour here, although it does become very sweet. Although the price is pretty cheap one is definitely enough. OK without bringing anything spectacular.

Wells banana bread beer

Wells banana bread beer“This dark golden coloured ale hugs the palate with great intensity. Its malty aroma is complemented by the gentle nose of Banana. Its flavour unfolds with a sensual sparkle and a smart crispness, which balances its aroma perfectly. Tropically fruity; its ripe banana flavour, emphasised by a hint of bitterness, comes from the addition of real fair trade bananas and finishes with an emphatic, steely dryness. ”

Well there’s no need to waste much time here and break this beer down. Served in a shaker glass the amber brown pour produced a small 1/2 inch head that slowly collapses. Minimal lacing. It’s called a banana bread beer for a reason, so along with the standard English aromas of toasted malts, caramel and subtle nuts the main feature of the beer is front and center. The mouth feel is slightly thin and a bit watery. Mildly carbonated. The flavour profile is very 1 dimensional and cloyingly sweet with an over-representation on the banana. Heavily outbalanced. To be honest we won’t be trying this ever again. Horrible.