Category Archives: Brown Ale

2 Brothers ‘DK’ Choc Banana Brown Ale

Rating:

“A collaboration with our gaming mates over at Bartronica Melbourne.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep brown with faint mahogany highlights. It whips up a frothy three finger head which slowly breaks up and leaves a blotchy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: As anticipated the two feature flavours – chocolate and banana – present the strongest. It gives off this Choc Banana smoothie scent but it’s supported by an alluring mix of nutty malts, cola, cocoa, light roast and vanilla. Quite sweet and indulgent yet fairly well balanced at the same time.

Flavour: Certainly follows the nose with banana and chocolate front and centre. There’s a delicate roast underpinning it while the nutty malt continues through the mid. Chocolate, banana, vanilla and cocoa all make a rendezvous in the finish with good duration on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, sticky, medium bodied. Fairly flat Co2 but that’s preferred for this style. 7% ABV…. extremely well concealed!

Overall: Some things are just meant for each other. Bacon and eggs…tomato and basil, chocolate and banana…and 2 Brothers and Brown Ales! This style is obviously their strong point. Good on em, stick to what you’re good at right?!

Dollar Bill 2020 ‘Autumn Parlay’ BA Belgian Brown Ale

Rating:

“14 months of barrel aging has highlighted the toffee and caramel notes in this Belgian Brown ale, which was then rested on acorns and oak leaves. Gentle licks of acid lead you across the forest floor in this one!”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Gorgeous deep amber hue with a thin veil of fizzy head atop. Real stunner. Posts a neat set of rings as it subsides.

Aroma: One thing strikes us immediately…the magnificent balance. As the reasonably sharp lacto sourness greets the olfactory’s so does the light and sweet malts which bring a mix of caramel/toffee, woody notes and as the label sums up perfectly – forest floor. Getting mixed berries, dried leafy herbs and sherbet as well. Excellent depth and complexity.

Flavour: Oh wow this is interesting. It leans more on the brown ale side with the sweet and sticky malts just getting its nose in front. Acidic jabs of vinegar and lemon are nicely fused through. Sour apple, toffee and earthy dark fruit then move in to a kinda dry and funky finish with woody notes on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Well rounded, mildly acidic. A little sticky at times. Pucker rating hits a respectable 3/5. 7% ABV fairly well buried.

Overall: Unsure whether DB were late releasing this or we’re just late to the party. Either way we’ve missed the brilliance of Parlay over the past 6 months. Solid stuff, as always!

Grassy Knoll Coffee Brown Ale

Rating:

“We’ve teamed up with fellow locals – Abstract coffee to create this wintery little number. Generous additions of single origin – Ethiopian Guji coffee beans added late in the fermentation. Doing this imparts all of the delicious coffee flavour and aroma without the added bitterness you get from brewing the coffee with heat.
We think it’s the perfect blend between a Single-O cold brew and a classical old school brown ale. The result leaving you with a discerning confusion on where your morning cuppa finishes and your afternoon bevvie begins.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Mahogany with a thumb of finely beaded tan foam. The head holds its shape and works a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Pow! The vigorous coffee finds its way to every corner of the olfactory’s. It’s like sticking your shnozz into a bag of coffee beans. It ties in so well with the conventional brown ale characters as well – nutty and slightly toasty malts, milk chocolate, treacle and toffee fudge. Jeez I don’t think we’ll be sleeping tonight!

Flavour: Not as much intensity as the aroma but still packing a strong coffee punch with hints of burnt milk, roasty malts, chocolate and cocoa in support. The coffee continues through to the finish and lingers for an eternity. Can’t say we’re complaining though!

Mouthfeel: Body holds up alright. A bit more density would be good but it’s still sufficient. Smooth creamy texture, finely carbonated. The well disguised 5.8% ABV is the winner here.

Overall: Very respectable. We’ve heard little about this gypsy brewer from Bondi but this corker certainly puts them on the map. Diggin it.

Old Wives Ales ‘Choc Walnut Brownie’ Brown Ale

Rating:

“Smooth, full body, rich, well balanced Choc Walnut flavours. We recommend you let this warm up a little before drinking…or drop a scoop of bourbon bean vanilla ice cream in it, your call!”

Glass: English Pint.

Appearance: Dark brown with just the slightest inkling of cherry red at the base of the glass. It forms a thumb of tightly held tan foam which retains well and leaves excellent lace on the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow. It’s the liquid version of a rich, boozy and decadent chocolate brownie. Melted chocolate oozes out of it with supporting notes of fudge, cookie dough, vanilla/lactose, raw walnut, caramel, cherry cola and a really subtle yet strangely pleasant hint of bubblegum. That’s a freaking awesome aroma.

Flavour: Straight up chocolate brownie on the front palate…it’s insane how similar it is to a real brownie. It isn’t until the mid palate that the sweeter notes of creamy vanilla, cookie dough and earthy walnut begin to develop. Melted chocolate, caramel, fudge and nutty malts then deliver a smooth, creamy and nutty finish which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Well weighted, creamy and smooth as silk. Kind of an aerated Co2. 6% ABV very well concealed.

Overall: Pretty impress stuff. Incredibly well balanced and imitating a chocolate brownie to a tee! Two thumbs up from us.

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Isolation Cake’ Nitro Brown Ale

Rating:

“Shake ‘n bake your way to dessert beer brewtopia, where banana caramel milkshake meet chocolate cake in the form of this creamy nitro brown ale.”

Glassware: English Pint

Appearance: After a good shake it goes in aggressively and provides a deep chestnut colour and a thumb of creamy bone white head that ain’t budging. Awesome lace work as it subsides.

Aroma: Very creamy and sweet. Initially we get banoffee, caramel, vanilla, milk chocolate, esters, dark fruits i.e glazed cherry and dates/prunes, subtle mixed spice and marzipan. It’s a truly gorgeous set of aromas but it seems to tighten up a little as it settles. It could also be that we’ve inhaled this beauty too much and the olfactory’s have become accustomed ha ha.

Flavour: Mirror image of the aroma – banoffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, sweet dark fruits and nutty malt. Some earthy-ness to it but it’s more in the sense of truffle or marzipan. It dries up a bit as it finishes sweet and creamy with yeasty/estery qualities on a length.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, frothy and well rounded. Medium body. The 6.9% ABV is ridiculously well hidden.

Overall: We honestly didn’t know what to expect with this but it has far exceeded our expectations. It’s sweet, creamy, yeasty, nutty, a little complex. Very nice!

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.

Brouwerij Kazematten ‘Sante’ Brown Ale

Rating:

“The Grottenbier was created by one of the greatest Belgian brewers, Pierre Celis. The aim of Grottenbier is to see what the influence of a constant low temperature, such as in a cave, does to the evolution of a beer taste. In 2002, Pierre sold the beer (name and recipe) to Brouwerij St. Bernardus, where it has been commercialised for the last ten years. When De Kazematten became a possibility, St. Bernardus immediately saw a new home for the Grottenbier. The dream of Pierre became reality. The cooperation with the marl caves of Valkenburg and Kanne will continue in the future as well. In these marl caves you can experience what the low temperature do with the maturisation process of the Grotten Santé. Like the Grottenbier has matured there for the past 10 years, we will do the same with the Grotten Santé.”

Glassware: Chalice.

Appearance: Brown with chestnut hues. It builds a big but loosely held three finger head which collapsed. Little lacing as we go.

Aroma: We knew we were in for something a little unconventional but this is truly unique. It smells almost a little sour with oodles of funk/farmyard qualities – esters, banana split, raisin and toffee apple. Picking up strong wafts of cola and aniseed, tobacco, flat apple cider, plum, caramel/toffee, cinnamon and wheat grains. Holy moly, a real mixed bag…but bloody impressive!

Flavour: The best way to describe it is if a Hefeweizen and a brown ale had a lovechild then this would be it. Banana, spice, esters and candi sugars on one hand and on the other are nutty malts, caramel, toast and mild herbal hops. Then throw in the wheat grains, cola, dark fruits and plum and you’ve got a seriously edgy beer in your hands.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light, mildly bodied. Close to being watery but there’s just enough Co2 and booze to offer some grip.

Overall: Certainly not short on character (with the whole fermenting in caves caper). The novelty factor is also a strong point but one bottle is more than enough…gets a little hairy by the end. Not a bad drop but.

Alvarado Street Brewery ‘Coconut Boogie’ Imperial Brown Ale

Rating:

“Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Toasted Coconut! Chocolately notes from layered roasted malts in the base beer combine with the creamy, decadent flavor of caramelized coconut for an experience not unlike almond joy candy.”

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with a thumb of brown foam perched on top. Steady reduction with decent lacing.

Aroma: Fairly subdued which is a tad surprising. There is a lot going on but we really need to dig our noses in. We pick up the coconut instantly – nice and fleshy like a freshly sliced coconut. Maybe a hint of Bounty bar in here too. Plenty of chocolate, vanilla, nutty malts, Malibu and a bit of booze also coming through.

Flavour: Wowsers now we know where all the aroma is…it’s been sucked in to the flavour! The flood gates open and send a raging torrent of coconut (fresh but also dessicated), chocolate, Malibu, vanilla, lightly roasted malts, coconut biscuits, cocoa and mixed spice. It pretty much holds this line then finishes with a nice roast, sweet coconut and bitter dark chocolate. And length for days!

Mouthfeel: Aerated and creamy. There’s a lively carbonation which also adds a bit of frothiness to the texture. Fairly light on with the 8.5% ABV intermittent.

Overall: We were a little unsure at first but once the beer hit the taste buds we knew we had the goods. This is now our 3rd entry for ASB and we’re yet to have anything less than superb. Keep em coming!

Bad Shepherd Double Choc Hazelnut Brown

Rating:

“It returns! Our most requested and highest rated brew — A special double chocolate variation of our Hazelnut Brown, rich in chocolate with the addition of real cocoa, amped up the creaminess and dialled up the strength.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Dark brown with faint cherry red highlights. Two fingers of frothy mocha head is well retained and laces nicely.

Aroma: It does exactly what it says. If they used fresh chocolate and hazelnut then we must give them extra credit as there is a tonne of it here. All the usual suspects are also here in abundance – toasty nutty malt, caramel/toffee, fresh wholemeal bread, vanilla, sweet dark fruits and delicate coffee/cocoa. That’s a bloody ripper of an aroma.

Flavour: Excellent transition on to the palate. Chocolate, hazelnut, almond, vanilla and caramel all rush the entry. Good carry through the mid picking up hints of toast and earthy hops as it surges in to a nice roasty finish with lingering coffee, roasted malts and chocolate on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth and silky but with enough body to hold it up. There’s a slightly lifted Co2 which we like. 7.2% ABV is well cloaked.

Overall: This is a top shelf drop. It’s been a long time between drinks for us and Bad Shepherd and going by this it shouldn’t have been! The perfect Easter beer!

Nogne O Imperial Brown Ale

Rating:
91774256_1341096026074539_1172306912511787008_o“There is a long story to this malty ale. It was first brewed in the spring 2006 in Nørrebro Bryghus in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a joint brew between Nøgne Ø and Nørrebro. Nørrebro calls their version “Double Knot Brown”.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep mahogany with two fingers of tan foam on top. It gradually peels off but leaves excellent lace on the glass.

Aroma: Exactly the big old malt bomb we were hoping for only this offers an extra flutter of whiskey and cacao. Quite earthy, certainly dissociated from it’s sweeter English counterparts. Hints of coffee, lightly roasted malts, cooking chocolate and an almost cherry-like fruitiness. Some warmth from the booze creeping in. Very unique. Almost on Porter level.

Flavour: A damn fine Porter…oops we mean brown ale. There’s more than enough chocolate, coffee and roast to tick that box. Even the usual suspects like nutty malt, toast and caramel are all amped up like they’re on steroids. The warming booze also plays a part as it leads in to a slightly assertive finish with lingering coffee and roasted malts on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Not watery but still kind of light like a traditional brown should be. Mild-medium body with the 7.5% ABV fairly noticeable.

Overall: It has been a seriously long time between drinks for us and Nogne O. Can’t explain why really, maybe it’s the rise of quality Aussie breweries urging us to look local instead of international? But beers like this is why we loved them all those years ago. It’s big, aggressive but balanced and right on the money. Cracking drop.

New England Brewing Brown Ale

Rating:
76897496_1232172380300238_791212892379676672_o“We never imagined that our English style 4.5% Brown Ale would win so many hearts! Classic flavours of caramel, chocolate, nuts and coffee are balanced by Australian hops, creating a rich reddish-brown coloured ale that loves pint glasses.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Light cola pour with a deep burgundy hue when held to the light. Big and frothy three finger head which peels off with little lace to show for it.

Aroma: Conventional notes of sweet, toasty and biscuity malt with distinct nuttiness and milk chocolate in support. A very fine roastiness to it as well. Undertones of vanilla, cheap leather, dark fruits and iodine filling it out. That’s a very traditional brown ale aroma right there.

Flavour: As expected…driven by the toasty, nutty and biscuity malts with subtle hints of chocolate, dried fig, toffee and doughy brioche. There’s a very faint earthy roast before it kind of falls away in to a mild finish with semi-sweet nutty flavours on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Lean and slightly watery. A flat-ish CO2 certainly doesn’t help. Low ABV (4.5%). Not really what we’d call an exciting texture.

Overall: We’ll concede that the brewers are going for a traditional English brown ale so we’ll go easy. In our opinion it’s too thin and watery and lacking that rich sweetness we’ve come to expect from top shelf brown ales. It ain’t bad it’s just not going to be a return-to beer.

Range Brewing India Brown Ale

Rating:
70460026_1172806389570171_2133216629931114496_n“For this hoppy dark delight we’ve dry hopped an india brown ale with a whack of Lemondrop hops. With a hint of roast from the darker malts and a pleasant citrus hop hit, this is a spring delight. A smooth balance and low back end bitterness make this one a real treat. Dark, but also hoppy.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Deep chestnut brown with a looseley held thumb of tan foam perched on top. The head retains well and sticks a thick sudsy lace to the glass.

Aroma: Very interesting. We haven’t tried many India brown ales before so this is somewhat exciting. In simple terms it’s just like a black IPA but with less roast and more nuttiness. The brewers have used “Lemon drop” hops here which is also very new to us…imparting obvious notes of candied lemon, herbal tea, mixed citrus and fresh rockmelon. Something kind of floral in here too. We dig it.

Flavour: Again, very similar to a black IPA just a lot less aggression with a smooth nutty malt character. There’s a very faint roasted note which hints at coffee and chocolate but it’s countered by the slightly fruity and herbal hops. It tapers off in to a mild finish which stops a bit short.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but bordering on watery…we’d have loved to see a bit more density there. CO2 is spot on and the 6.2% ABV is cleverly hidden.

Overall: Definitely has the fun factor but there’s questions over whether they nailed it. The aroma is great but it all seemed to go downhill (slowly, mind you) from there. Probably our least favoured out of the 4 SKU’s we’ve now tried from Range.

Mikkeller ‘Awful Gato’ Imperial Brown Ale

Rating:
49664314_1012520355598776_3100128005800853504_n“Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Vanilla and Coffee.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Virtually black but revealing a cola hue at the base of the glass. A thumb of tan foam emerges but eventually retreats to the rim with a wet lace drag running down.

Aroma: Intense coffee and vanilla get things underway. A rather sweet coffee though – surely a cold drip as opposed to fresh coffee beans. The vanilla works very well in tandem we must say. It’s also getting great support from the nutty malts, milk chocolate, lightly roasted malts and cocoa. Very alluring!

Flavour: Getting that delicious sweetness from the vanilla but more of a roasted bitterness from the coffee (making us question our comments on the aroma). Bitter sweet chocolate, cocoa and burnt toast definitely adding to that. Some hop bitterness developing late as it finishes dry and roasty with a mild boozy burn in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Has a good viscosity to it. Weighs in at 8.9% AbV so some warmth is to be expected. No IBU to be found…we’d love to know where it lands because it’s quite bitter.

Overall: We’d also love to know whether the brewers intended on this being a kind of spin off of an Affogato. It has the ingredients but it missed a trick if that’s what they were after. Either way it’s a cracking brown ale.

Treehouse Brewing Co ‘Bear’ American Brown Ale

Rating:
47422255_992280064289472_4335099062391930880_n“Bear is Tree House brewer Brendan’s recipe and his first scaled commercial beer. It has all the characteristics of a classic English Brown Ale with a distinct American twist. Bear is one of the best food beers we have ever had – it pairs brilliantly with nearly everything… including nothing!  A lovely and unique example of a brown ale.  Brewed in honor of those who leave a lasting and influential impression on our lives.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Deep cola pour with a thumb of tan foam resting atop. It holds its shape and leaves a healthy lace in its wake.

Aroma: Picking up the traditional nutty and toasty malts which one would expect from a brown ale. Undertones of wholemeal bread crust, coffee, caramel, sweet milk chocolate and subtle cocoa are infused with mild dark fruits and earthy spice. It all really gels together beautifully.

Flavour: There’s a nice fluidity to it – opening with mild roast, nutty chocolate, coffee and semi sweet dark fruits. It becomes somewhat earthy and crusty mid way as it touches on a bit of grainy malt, toast and subtle hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Rather light on, the lifted co2 assumes a bit of extra weight when it really isn’t there. Very smooth overall texture which is impressive considering the 6.4% AbV.

Overall: Look it isn’t going to garner the same hype as say the Very Green or Haze but it is a fine representation of the style. It’s kept quite conventional with minimal American influence (by that we mean massive hop additions). Respectable.

Mountain Goat In-Breed Series ‘Westy Kong’ Hazelnut Brown Ale

Rating:
38190260_916314978552648_6510804768695255040_n“It’s time to get it on like Westy Kong! Our latest Rare Breed is an In-Breed brewed by our very own barrel wrangler, Westy. Westy loves brown ales and he’s been waiting so long to get this one on the go he’s gone just a little bit nuts. Hazelnuts, to be precise. Hazelnut meal was added to this classically silky brown ale and the result is a multi layered flavour hit of caramel, biscuit, delicate hazelnut, chocolate and coffee, rounded off with a moderately bitter finish.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Deep chestnut colour which reveals ruby red hues when held to the light. It forms a dense two finger head that persists and works a magnificent lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: In some ways it’s your run of the mill brown ale and in other ways it isn’t. The hop profile is almost all American so it’s no surprise to pick up pronounced citrus notes, pine, light florals and spice. Although they almost battle with the hops we are getting roasty and buttery hazelnuts along with the usual brown ale base of biscuits, roasty malts and dried dark fruits. Intriguing.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with this almost black IPA-like assortment of citrusy American hops and toasty malts on entry. Upfront it’s all orange-infused chocolate, jaffa, pine and earthy spice with the hazelnuts and dried dark fruits coming through the mid. A late hop bitterness then rolls in to a nicely balanced fusion of citrusy hop and toasty malts in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat slick and velvety at first then drying in the swallow. Mild-medium Co2 with similar body. The 6.4% AbV is well concealed though.

Overall: Not fussed really. We were expecting a nice malty, nutty number but we get a weak black IPA inspired ale which is just weird and unnecessary. The frustrating thing is the typically dominant American hops pretty much drowns out most of the feature flavour, which were the hazelnuts! Confusing.

The Bruery 2017 ‘Mash & Coconut’ Imperial Brown Ale

Rating:
36313572_883933645124115_4297111008666714112_n“This is our bourbon barrel-aged imperial brown ale, Mash, stretching to new levels. Mash & Coconut features nearly 400lbs. of toasted coconut per batch, which ratchets up the complex, native coconut character and complements the oaky and vanilla notes that are imparted to the beer as part of its extensive maturation in bourbon barrels.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Two fingers of loosely packed head sits atop the seriously deep amber body. Gradual reduction with some wet lace drag down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Mostly sweet with a strong backing of residual sugars, bourbon barrel, vanilla, toasted coconut, booze, dark fruits and muted nutty malts. Getting some chewy caramels/toffee but like the rest it’s quite adjunct and unconvincing. Initially it’s all a little muddled but to its credit once it settles it does start to come together.

Flavour: Much better. It finds a nice balance between the super sweet malts and the toasty/woody barrel characters. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have that reinforcement through the middle, it kind of falls away and reveals a lot of the 13% ABV a bit too much. We pick up some dark fruit, coconut and subtle bourbon in a less than impressive finish.

Mouthfeel: It holds some weight but no where near enough for a big barrel aged imperial ale. It’s medium in body with a healthy co2 to prop it up.

Overall: Somewhat difficult to recap. Once we found a positive we found a negative and vice versa. At its core it’s a solid beer but it’s just too inconsistent.

The Bruery ‘Autumn Maple’ Imperial Belgian Brown Ale

Rating:
33817386_862339783950168_5675952216859475968_n“Brewed with 15 lbs. of yams per barrel (in other words, a lot of yams!), this autumn seasonal is a different take on the “pumpkin” beer style. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, maple syrup, and fermentation with our traditional Belgian yeast strain, make this bold and spicy beer perfect for a cold autumn evening. We have also created bourbon barrel-aged, barrel-fermented, and darker variations of Autumn Maple.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Light brown to mahogany with a big and fizzy two and a half finger head emerging on top. Steady reduction with patchy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: A seriously complex little number! It’s spicy, earthy, sweet, syrupy and yeasty with a warming booze behind it all. Tonnes of Belgian candi sugars with the nutmeg, clove and star anise dominating. Sweet potato, maple syrup, caramelised brown sugar, fresh cinnamon sticks and subtle vanilla just to make it all the more interesting.

Flavour: Quite heavy on the spice front. We’re getting a lot of nutmeg, clove and pink peppercorns that draws out all the way to the finish. Definitely getting some Belgian yeast/phenols coming through – pear, apple pie and banana runts along with earthy spiced pumpkin and molasses. It takes on a bit of cloying sweetness with a flutter of orange peel, spice and maple syrup on the close.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, viscous and sticky but still quite moderately bodied. Medium co2 with a discernible ABV (10%).

Overall: We hold this brewery in very high regard but the flavours are slightly muddled here…. yes it’s extremely complex but the balance just isn’t quite there. As it’s Autumn here in Australia we’ll drink to the season but probably won’t seek it out again.

Firestone Walker 2017 ‘Bravo’ BA Imperial Brown Ale

Rating:
33540538_861542030696610_5845851364923539456_n“We proudly present the 2017 Vintage of Bravo, our Imperial Brown Ale aged in retired American oak bourbon barrels. Although Bravo was the first strong ale brewed for our Anniversary Ale blending program over ten years ago, it has yet to see its own bottled release, until now. Balancing rich toasty and chocolate malt flavors with a gentle balance of noble hops, Bravo is brewed to showcase barrel flavors with massive bourbon barrel notes that morph as the beer warms in the glass.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Light mahogany with burgundy hues. It doesn’t produce much head, eventually settling to a halo with thin rings clinging to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Biiiiig!! Lots of nutty uplift initially. Excellent follow up from those caramelly sweet and woody American bourbon oak barrels. It flows in to soft creamy vanilla, burnt brown sugar, cola syrup and an earthy spice like nutmeg or star anise. And who could possibly miss that stinging booze burn?! Phenomenal nose.

Flavour: It’s as big as Ben Hur but there’s so much nutty chocolate malt to offset it. Waves of sharp bourbon oak roll through with a touch of dark fruit (figs, dates, licorice etc) late in the mid. A bit of alcohol warmth early in the finish with lingering notes of bourbon, charred oak and serious dryness in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and somewhat creamy yet sharp and a touch leaner than we would have liked. 13.2% ABV and 28 IBU.

Overall: Outstanding offering. It’s huge, boozy and malty so this baby will age gracefully. Yes OK it’s probably obvious but let her come up to just below room temperature before cracking this bad boy. Let it open right up. Brilliant drop.

Akasha Brewing Co ‘Water Buffalo’ American Brown Ale

Rating:
30515832_840031406181006_6318594614148202496_n“The Water Buffalo is an American style brown ale displaying a dark brown hue and off-white head. The deep caramel, toast and chocolate flavours are balanced perfectly by the fresh citrus and pine character from the classic American hops.”

Glassware: American pint.

Appearance: Chestnut colour with a thumb of loosely packed tan foam sealing it off. It peels back to a halo which posts a set of rings as it ebbs.

Aroma: Lots of black IPA qualities on the nose. It’s marketed as an American brown ale and with Akasha’s love of everything USA we aren’t surprised. Roasted malt, coffee, earthy and bitter chocolate meets subtle pine, citrus and grassy/herbaceous hops. It’s a match made in heaven.

Flavour: Absolutely delicious. Subtle hop characters initially but they’re instantly enveloped by a dark roasty malt which offers coffee, bitter chocolate and treacle. But just as we say that a mild citric bitterness cuts through with a hint of orange peel but again it’s seized by those dark roasted malts that finish dry and toasty with subtle hop bitterness in the tail.

Mouthfeel: It holds a nice weight but the lifted co2 gives it a lighter feel than it probably deserves. Well hidden 6.6% ABV and a tempered 60 IBU.

Overall: Brown ale eh?! That is a black IPA through and through! That is all. Other than that it’s a bloody solid drop.

 

Behemoth/Chur ‘Brave Bikkie’ Brown Ale

Rating:
19601414_837041463146667_9213005477786396898_n“Coconut, cocoa nib brown ale. This beer was originally brewed for Beervana’s festive beer 2014. We picked up a gold medal and best in class trophy for it. It has been described as a macaroon, a liquid lamington, a bounty bar in a beer. It is a desert beer without being too sweet. It was a crowd favorite and one of the biggest selling beers at Beervana again in 2015. This beer is not the easiest to make so we will likely only make it once a year (if that). So if you see one snap it up.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Deep mahogany which reveals a dark red hue when held to the light. It builds a huge three finger head that reduced and leaves a healthy lace clinging to the glass.

Aroma: Big and roasty with loads of chocolate, cacao, nutty malts and a hint of truffle. Absolutely loving the creamy coconut and vanilla bean, not only is it uber aromatic it also balances out those dark malty notes. Getting a slight suggestion of coffee in here too. Magnificent.

Flavour: We’d say it’s somewhere between a bounty bar and a lamington. It even has that light and fluffy sponge cake taste and texture. It may only only be a one trick pony but the chocolate, coconut and subtle roasty notes are thoroughly fulfilling. Excellent length on the back palate as well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and aerated, light on and a little thin. Somewhat confusing though as it does hold up well. 6% ABV is nicely disguised.

Overall: A bloody decent drop. Not dense and rich enough to pass for a dessert beer but it’s still quite indulgent. Another impressive beer from this impressive Kiwi brewery.