Category Archives: Brown Ale

Stockade Brew Co. Oak Aged Yankee Brown Ale

Rating:

21314827_744964782354336_5063208419194954954_n“This American Brown Ale was stored in various liquor barrels, sourced from Lark Distillery in Tassie. With a natural, toasty malt flavour, the barrels have imparted an ever-so-slight sour note which fully compliments the touches of bourbon and port which shine through.”

Served in an English pint. It hits the glass with a pecan hue and generates a fizzy finger of head. It reduced to a film which works a modest lace down the walls of the glass.
Holy moly. We were expecting complexity but not at the levels we’re being shown here. It has earthy, spicy, sweet, sour and woody all wrapped up in one. The olfactory’s are hit with a wave of truffle, carob, licorice, figs, earthy malts, sauna room, cherries and dark fruits with a syrupy port character opening up as it warms. Wow, the way it keeps improving is incredible. Very impressive aroma.
Quite a bit of sourness initially but it’s softened by the woody oak and eventually upstaged by the tart cherries and earthy fig through the middle. The longer it sits on the palate the stickier and sweeter it gets, showing not only brilliant progression but a complex dark fruit/port note that really goes the length on the back end.
It’s surprisingly highly carbonated and tart in the mouth. Moderately bodied with a somewhat frothy and aerated texture. The 8.9% ABV is discernible in patches but ultimately well concealed.
Definitely not what we were expecting that’s for sure. The initial sourness hands it this kind of Flemish oud bruin character and reminds us of 8 Wired’s Grand Cru at times. That is a damn fine beer. We’re stoked that we have another three in storage, can’t wait to see how they improve in the coming years.

Australian Brewery & Bucket Boys Breakfast Brown Ale

Rating:

20622051_730978747086273_3095706853348410373_n“Made with real honey alongside Golden Naked Oats and Lactose for body and sweetness. A tasty breakfast treat.”

Served in an English pint. It offers a deep cola hue with a big and fluffy three finger head. Retention is good, allowing a thick and wavy lace to stick to the glass as we imbibe.
There is a lovely contrast on the nose – really sweet and creamy with this lightly roasted chocolate malt filling it out. Seeing some nutty characters coming through along with the sweet milk sugars over the top. The only detraction is the subtle hint of metal but everything else is spot on.
It holds a nice weight in the mouth. One thing we hate is a thin and watery brown ale but this one is nice and creamy with medium body, mild co2 and a well hidden 6% ABV.
All of the flavours come on really nicely. The lactose sweetness, the milk sugars and the honey (which certainly isn’t as inhibited as it was on the nose). Tasting those dry and grainy oats through the middle as it delivers a toasty and slightly nutty finish with good duration on the back palate.
That’s a mighty fine brown ale right there. This isn’t our first crack at Australian Brewery’s range but it is our first introduction to Bucket Boys beer. Cheers to Jonathon and the rest of the crew. And yes we agree wholeheartedly….this IS how you make porridge.

Deep Creek Brewing Co ‘Dusty Gringo’ India Brown Ale

Rating:

image“Dusty Gringo India Brown Ale represents the rugged edge of the Wild West cowboy. A swig of this tasty brew charges your senses with the aromas of a mountain range of malt, and a hop kick reminiscent of that trusty steed’s hoof. The floral and citrus flavours imparted from the Cascade, Amarillo and Centennial hops, ride on a powerful chocolate malt base. A strong companion to explore the badlands.”

Served in an IPA glass. Dusty gringo presents an attractive mahogany hue with cherry red highlights. It forms a finger of tan foam that gradually peels off and settles to a fine overlay. Hieroglyphic style lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.
Getting a somewhat muted aroma until we got our noses right in the glass. A hefty chocolate malt base is uncovered offering earthy characters, hints of coffee and burned toast. The hops balance it out nicely with its citric and slightly piney undertones. A bit of a spicy element to it as well – white pepper mainly and just a pinch of aniseed and nutmeg in there. Not bad, a touch of complexity to it.
Nice weight in the mouth. It’s creamy with medium body but there’s a certain fullness that’s filling it out. Not overly bitter with the 6.8% ABV pretty well buried. It’s dangerously sessional.
The flavour is nice and direct with the subtle citrus and piney hops balancing out the roasty and earthy malts upfront. A subtle roasty cocoa flavour is carried through the mid, developing an espresso bitterness that leads to a dry, grassy hop finish.
One thing has to be said about this brewery and that is the impressive artwork on the can. In this day and age brewers fight for the buyers eye on the shelves and this one certainly caught ours. What’s going on inside the can is good but nothing breathtaking. Well balanced and surprisingly sessional but nothing to get super excited over.

Rogue ‘Hazelutely Choctabulous’ Brown ale

Rating:

imageRogue have taken their chocolate stout and hazelnut brown nectar and combined the two to create Hazelutely Choctabulous – dark and decadent with a rich nutty flavour up front followed by a chocolate truffle finish.

Poured into a pint glass we see a dark brown/black colour with a massive tan head that doesn’t budge initially and reminds us of a chocolate brownie. It then very slowly compresses down onto itself. When the head eventually passes it leaves thick lacing on the glass. Aromas are delicious. Fresh hazelnuts, mild chocolate, sweet malt, light caramel, and roast. First sip is more nutty and roasted on the palate. We get hazelnut but it’s not as aromatic. We  get the chocolate sweetness. More a milk chocolate hit. We get more roasted malts, ash, and a earthy or woody complexity. We like the idea of truffles. Body is moderate and we see the Alc vol of 5.7% which sits silently behind the roasted malt and nuttiness. We are amazed at the IBU rating of 75?! We have had IPAs which are more bitter than this at 75. It’s a testament to the brewing. It all just glides down very smoothly with a nice nutty, ashy, chocolately body. Good length on the palate. Patchy lacing on the glass now that we near the bottom. We like the dominance of the hazelnut rather than the overbearing sweetness of drinking a litre of chocolate. It’s not top shelf but it’s nice and quaffable and we would have again.

4 Pines Cherry Coconut Brown ale

Rating:

imageThis brew is an addition to the Keller Door small batch. It uses roasted coconut, and macerated cherries.

Poured into a pint glass we see a dark mahogany with red hues. There is a off white/tan head that dissipates instantaneously, leaving just small bubbles around the rim of the glass. Definite nose of cherries with the added aroma of sweet malts, an a buttery/almost chocolate hit with roasted coconut in background. Reminds us of an iced Vovo biscuit with that jammy aroma. First sip is not as good as the aroma. There is tartness from the cherry like a sour, with very mild bitterness as stated on the bottle (IBU rating 17). Mild carbonation on the tongue. Mild to moderate body at best as it’s quite watery on the palate. Doesn’t hold well in the mouth. The flavours just dry up really and there is just a mild sourness with some nuttiness from the coconut and roasted malts. Sitting at 5.5% Alc vol it’s mild drinking for sure and does glide down the gullet smoothly. We would like more creaminess from the coconut in the body, and we lose the chocolate aroma that we somehow got in the aroma initially. Basically it does what it says and points for that but we would think a bit more depth to the body and this would be tastier.

 

Balter Brewing Company ‘Alt Brown’ Ale

Rating:

17522774_666680133516135_4529259305887965279_n“More classic blues than death metal, this Brown Ale is for those who love a bit of extra character without getting dark and bitter. A smooth melody of malt plays counterpoint to clean and subtle hop notes. It’s nutty, roasty and toasty. Perfect with tunes in the background and friends at the table.”

Served in an English pint. It hits the glass with a chestnut hue that’s covered by a compacted head that recedes to a thin wispy film. Some patches of lace seen but it’s pretty scarce.
Pretty stock standard aroma – roasty chocolate malts, toast, almonds and macadamia nut. Some sweeter notes in here too, a bit fruity in its delivery; cherry and blackberry are offering a delicate balance. Getting a fleeting suggestion of metal which is a little unsavoury but mild enough to disregard. Not bad.
In the mouth it’s a little too thin. Co2 is low and the body sits around that mild-medium mark. Simply not enough bottom end for a dark beer.
Nice and malty upfront. We’re getting the lightly toasted malts with hints of cocoa and sweet cherry that progress forward in to a somewhat weak and watery middle. It’s continued with a soft fruity note that leads in to a light nutty finish. Just a fleeting hint of dryness and sweet caramelized malt on the rear.
We get that the weather up on the Goldy is warm for three quarters of the year and a dark beer option is a must have, but this offering just seems to lack character and the fullness one comes to expect from a brown ale. The flavours are there and they are well balanced but it’s missing that defining factor that would see us return to it. Needs some tweaking.

Alesmith Brewing Co. Nut Brown Ale

Rating:

16999020_652106731640142_2975233282458849230_n“AleSmith Nut Brown is a tribute to one of our favorite British styles. Deep mahogany in color, its rich, malt-forward flavor profile balances notes of biscuit, mild cocoa and earthy hops. A creamy mouthfeel and full body enhances its drinkability, making Nut Brown an extremely sessionable ale that embodies our commitment to quality.”

Served in an English pint. She pours a pecan brown with a finger of lightly tanned foam mounting on top. Gradual reduction, eventually settling to a fine film with scattered patches of lace sticking to the glass as we indulge.
Very traditional style on the nose. Quite rare from this quality American brewery as they would usually put a new world spin on it but this one stays true with a lovely earthy character that takes on the nutty malts, light toast, subtle coffee, tobacco and buttery toffee really well. They’ve nailed it.
The texture is light and effortless while the sprightly Co2 gives it an unsuspecting lift. A low IBU of 17 on top of a mild-medium body makes for a pleasant drinking experience. Very nice.
There’s a pretty smooth transition in to flavour here. A lovely assortment of nuts like almond, hazelnut and walnut take on a soft and subtle roast the carries across the mid. Traces of grain husks, caramel, earthy hops and mild bitterness wraps it up with a moderate length in the tail.
It must be tough for some American brewers to offer these kind of beers. What with products like the big 4 ‘C’ hops and many others who would want to brew traditional earthy, European inspired ales? Well these guys have…and they’ve done it brilliantly with its Newcastle brown ale-esque character. Solid beer with all bases covered. Another cracker from Alesmith here.

Bacchus Brewing Co. ‘Sex, Drugs & Rocky Road’

Rating:

14991953_597417253775757_6047948647124716665_n“Sex Drugs & Rocky Road – Amber Ale – 500ml (Alc 8.2%). Daryll Lea Rocky Road dessert in a glass. flavours of Peanuts, Chocolate, Marshmallow, Turkish Delight, Cherries & Hazelnuts. Gold Medal Winner AIBA 2014 & Runner-up peoples favourite of GABS 2014.”

Served in an English pint. The deep chestnut pour aroused a head that swells to about two fingers in height before it retracts to a thin sheet with spots of lace left in its wake. We definitely have an unhealthy obsession with Bacchus at the moment. But hey, who can blame us when they’re brewing beers that taste like chocolate bars and dessert!? This time around they’ve turned rocky road in to a beer and all we needed was one whiff to know they have hit the nail on the head. Wafts of Turkish delight, marshmallow, nuts, glazed cherries, vanilla and coconut are all encased in a milky chocolate malt coating. So indulgent! The feel of the beer in the mouth is light and gassy – far more carbonated than we were expecting. It works well though. The 8.2% ABV is extremely well hidden and the body sits around the medium mark. As it hits the lips we get a subtle salinity followed by a sweet salted caramel note. Then comes the wave of rocky road flavours – marshmallow, Turkish delight, nuts and chocolate. A gentle bitterness perks up around the mid and leads in to the smooth, decadent and super indulgent finish. On top of the delicious flavours, smooth texture and dangerously addictive aroma it actually improves as it comes up to room temperature. The Co2 settles and it becomes fuller in body. Geez if these guys aren’t careful our infatuation could quickly reach stalker level! Excellent offering keep it coming lads.

Stone Brewing Spotlight Series Imperial Mutt Brown Ale

Rating:

14705877_582677311916418_2447246710249360611_n“Stone brewers Drew Neldon and Steve Via won this year’s annual in-house Stone Spotlight Series brewing competition with this hefty brown ale—an impressive result considering that one of them had never encountered a brown ale he liked before tasting this one. Given layers of flavor from Vienna, Victory and Chocolate Wheat malts, and warming, refined sweetness from Honey Malt and turbinado sugar, it’s a rich and soothing beer brewed with respect to traditional English methods and New World innovation. The British-American bulldog of the craft beer world? Perhaps. Best in Show? Absolutely.”

Served in an English pint. This bad boy pours to a dark brown complexion with a fluffy two finger head forming on top. The thick tan head maintains most of its height, only peeling off a smidge as it discards a healthy set of rings down the walls of the glass. In true Stone fashion they’ve hopped the bejesus out of it. To their credit, as usual, they’ve done it impeccably. No sooner do the rich chocolate malts come through do the bitter and earthy hops to balance it out. Again, just as that roasty, nutty note advances this very delicate fruity hop character pulls it back. In support are toasty malts, dark fruits, vanilla and a somewhat burned toffee note to fill it out. Impressive. The beer holds a good weight in the mouth. Full bodied and creamy in texture but remarkably effortless in the swallow. The 9% ABV is masked really well, Co2 is mild and the 45 IBU provides a cheeky dryness in the tail. Plenty of malt forward chocolate, cocoa and roast on the front palate. A mild bitterness takes shape as fruity hops and bready malts battle it out across the mid. For a moment the malts take the lead just before an assertive bitterness rounds out and provides an incredible balance between the roasted malt and grassy hops on the rear palate. In summary we’d have to agree with the brewers. She’s a total mutt – a complete cross between hops and malts but damn they’ve done it well. If it were a dog it would probably be called a bullstaff. Half British bulldog and half American staffy. Solid and robust yet soft and sweet.

Founder’s Brewing Co. ‘Sumatra Mountain’ Imperial Coffee Brown Ale

Rating:

14595749_576705942513555_3485613438384894515_n“This bold, imperial brown ale gets its body from a team of malts including Caramel malt for sweetness, flaked barley for dense foam, a bit of Chocolate malt for its deep color and Aromatic and Munich malts to add even more depth. German and Perle hops add a touch of bitterness to balance the malty sweetness. The addition of rich Sumatra coffee takes this perfectly balanced imperial brown ale to a decadent level.”

Served in an English pint. She presents a mahogany complexion with a thumb of cappuccino head forming on top. As it recedes a wavy lace pattern is left clinging to the glass. There’s just something about Founders that excites us and once the olfactory’s get a whiff of this bad boy we know exactly why. Very subtle hints of the KBS creep in here as a decadent blend of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, nutty malts, vanilla, tobacco, toffee and delicate spice combine to create this moreish and seriously captivating aroma. In the mouth it’s medium-full and creamy with a super smooth transition in to the finish. The 9% ABV is incredibly well hidden as a gentle bitterness develops in the swallow. The flavour profile on this drop is simply immense. Upfront we get bold coffee notes that are emphasized by roasted malts and chocolate. Also contributing to the deliciousness are hints of vanilla, burnt toffee and Asian spices that flow across the mid. A mild bitterness is picked up here as a subtle alcohol warmth ushers in a roasted finish with lingering coffee notes on the back palate. This is one of those beers where we savour every last drop. Superb! She’s so smooth yet packed full of roast, spice and bitter espresso. A layered nose, full in body and finished off with a well drawn out back end. Damn that’s a good drop. Kudos Founders.

Clown Shoes ‘The Barista’ Breakfast Brown Ale

Rating:

13614946_545153509002132_453531683990216086_n“A Clown Shoes legend, Brown Angel put away her dancing shoes to focus on extracting espresso, brewing coffee and pouring latte art with zen-like focus. The Barista Breakfast Brown is crafted with Maris Otter malt, flaked oatmeal, cold brewed espresso, milk sugar and the spirit of angel wings.”

Served in an English pint glass. The mahogany body is capped off by a fluffy two finger head which holds up nicely. It gradually reduces to a thick overlay that leaves a trail of dense, sudsy lace clinging to the glass. Very aromatic on the nose. We get roasted nuts, toast, oats, espresso, cocoa and vanilla pods leading out. Like if that’s not enough already there’s a plethora of undertones like dark chocolate, dough, almonds and hints of aniseed/licorice in support. Well, if the brewers are comparing this to the Brown Angel they’re already miles ahead in our view. The mouth feel is effortless and slightly creamy with medium body and mild-medium Co2. One aspect that must be pointed out is the unbelievably well hidden ABV (9%). If we didn’t know any better we’d have guessed it to be around the 6-7% mark. Superb. The use of oats in this brew play a central role in the make up of the front palate. A sugary lactose sweetness cuts through the slightly bitter espresso and dark chocolate notes across the mid and reunites with creamy flavours of vanilla and soy. It finishes with a delicious roast that sweeps back around to punctuate with notes of coffee, licorice and bready malts. Wow, this is a tasty Brown Ale. The additions of espresso, oats and milk sugar really make all the difference here. A solid Maris Otter malt base gives it a nice, full mouth feel while the additional flavours add the unique character to it. Very palatable ale here.

Big Shed Brewing ‘Frankenbrown’ American Brown Ale

Rating:

13062060_509912169192933_2489661979868849852_n“Our hoppy dark monster won’t raze a village but it will drop some badass funk on your taste buds. The high percentage of specialty grain brings the soul of malt, biscuit and coffee notes. The bitterness and aroma comes from the hit of hops added throughout the boil as well as dry-hopping. All this is backed upwith a higher than normal alcohol making for a beer that is right on. Can you dig it?”

Served in an English pint. Quite an elegant looker – a deep mahogany centre working to a chestnut edge. On top an egg shaped head inches up to about two fingers then retracts and settles to a thick, fluffy overlay with a tonne of lace left in its wake. A lovely equilibrium is happening on the nose. We’re getting those gorgeous dark malts, cocoa, nuts, tobacco and mild roast working harmoniously with the piney and slightly vinous hop accents. It actually comes off a bit like a black IPA at times – nicely roasted but possessing a prominent hop aroma. We like it. In the mouth it’s spritzy and slightly dry with a thin-ish texture. It’s quite light on with moderate body and a super easy swallow. ABV sits at 5.3% so it’s not at all aggressive. Very approachable. The flavour profile is a case of the old switcheroo. We’re getting a more hop-forward front palate with the likes of pine needle, vines and dried tea leaf being emphasized by a mild bitterness. Hints of roasted malt, cocoa and nuts annex to the subsiding hops and lead in to a toasty finish with a palatable back end of toffee and mild roast. Some good legs being shown too. All in all it wasn’t a bad beer. Although there’s nothing overly memorable about it either. Good balance, a good hop bill and a robust mat base but there still seems to be something missing. There’s no knock out blow for us. A decent drop but we’ve had better brown ales.

Mad River brewing co ‘Humboldt Brownie’ Double brown Ale

Rating:

imageThis Californian brewery has a thing about no story on their labels, so we don’t know much about this drop, other than its a double brown ale (9% alcohol vol.) brewed with cocoa nibs, and that this beer is part of an artisan serious (2 of 6). It’s obviously trying to replicate a chocolate brownie, which sounds delightful.

Poured into a pint for maximum joy, we get a cola colour with no head at all in this glass. We see mild carbonation bubbling up to the surface, which looks oily. No lacing either due to his oiliness. Definite aromas of chocolate, molasses, nice roasted malts and dark ripe fruits. First sip is very pleasing. Gentle alcohol heat which does not overpower combines with a smooth milk chocolate, and spice on the lips, alongside a surprising mild citrus hop hit. It’s unbelievably smooth and balanced for 9%! The alcohol balance here really brings out the cocoa, and you certainly can imagine having a chocolate brownie. The hop bitterness sits very gently on the tongue, again with mild citrus flavour. This must be the cascade and willamette hops used after researching this beer on their website. Toffee and nutty flavours from the malts combine perfectly on the palate, and adding the cocoa nibs gives it a mild sweetness but not sickly. It’s almost drying but again it’s so smooth and balanced that no faults can really be found. The surprisingly medium sized body enables you to smash it down comfortably without feeling pissed. This is a damn fine beer. This almost equals the breweries’ steelhead double IPA in terms of enjoyment, and balance. Brilliant double brown ale here.

 

 

Hop dog beerworks ‘Taxidermied pachyderm’ India rye brown ale

Rating:

image“After our mind bending GABS entry for 2014, we decided to one up ourselves for 2015. This patchwork craziness is a box ticker of immense proportions. Not only is the Taxidermied Pachyderm pentagonally hopped, it’s also barrel aged, brewed with 40% rye malt, and bursting out with lashings of caramel, chocolate and hop bitterness. It’s sewn together in the most extreme of ways, stitched up from a modest list of all the things that we love – your Gran’s Singer couldn’t have done a better job.”

The fact that the GABS festival now comes to Sydney is enough to make any New South Welsh craft beer fan drop their Spiegelau’s. But when the brewers of some of the better beers of the day start bottling those brews….it’s pure heaven.

Served in an English pint. Pouring an almost flat-looking cola appearance with next to no head whatsoever. Even an aggressive swirl of the glass struggles to activate any foam. It seems it’s always either over carbonated or under carbonated with Hopdog beers. (Except for the horns up rye IPA, which is a brilliant beer) The aroma of this beast is something that has to be experienced. Wafts of lemon juice, citrus rind, solvent, metal, white vinegar and to add a touch of normality….a hint of yellow grapefruit. Very acidic. It’s actually quite hard to put this aroma into one word but if we had to it would be this……bizarre! In the mouth it’s dry with a slightly metallic texture. The Co2 level is mild and bitterness is firm. Quite a sharp acidity on the palate too, really tickling the edges of the tongue. The flavour profile isn’t as perplexing as the aroma as a robust sourness invades the taste buds initially. Some mild dark chocolatey malts do appear in the background but they are quickly drowned out as a sharp, citric astringency develops through the mid. The sourness continues in to the finish with an assertive dryness that’s drawn out long on to the back end. Extremely unique beer here and certainly not for the conservative beer drinker. We honestly thought this was much better on tap at the GABS festival. The bottled version doesn’t do it any favours.

Six string brewing co. ‘Bobby’ Brown ale

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imageWell, the name Bobby Brown says it all really. If you’re an 80’s baby (like us) then there is no need for an introduction. For the unfortunate souls that either missed out or chose to ignore his drug-induced, fashion-forward music videos and sometimes bizarre public displays…..well, fair enough. We like to remember him for the funked up, iconic 90’s anthem, ‘humpin around’. What a song! Once we felt the need to reminisce on this retro hit it was time to actually review the beer, so on we go.

Served in a pint glass. The mahogany pour reveals some gorgeous ruby red hues when held against the light. Topping it off is a solid one and a half finger beige crown that holds well, gradually deconstructing and retaining at a good 5-6mm. Decent head retention, drawing some nice, spotted lace trails as we imbibe. The first thing we realise is that this isn’t your standard malt-driven brown ale, the substantial fruity hop profile that’s being lifted will tell you that. A brilliant fusion of pineapple, passion fruit and lychee over malt-forward wafts of caramel, roasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder and fig is a solid example of the brewing finesse on show here. Two completely different aromas from opposite ends of the spectrum being married together is not only hard to balance but very easy to get wrong. Impressive. In the mouth it has moderate weight with a smooth, creamy texture. Minimal grip on the tongue but a delicate bitterness offers a little tickle as it slides down. Nice, well-rounded mouth feel with mild-medium carbonation. Bitter hops and tropical fruits dominate what little malt flavours we can taste upon entry. As the bitterness subsides, hints of caramel and nutty malts develop through the mid and lead to a dry, roasted finish with reasonable length. The 5.1% ABV we thought was too low at first but we changed our minds by the end of the beer as it lends session ability but at the same time offering extra flavour. Really good beer this one, we have always thought of six string as a one brew wonder (as their dark red IPA is delicious) but recent brews such as their anniversary ale and this brown ale has worked heavily in their favour. Keep it up boys, we like where you’re heading.

Dogfish head beer ‘Palo Santo Marron’ Brown ale

Rating:

imageFollowing numerous recommendations from fans and fellow craft beer lovers alike, we thought it was high time we gave this ale a nudge. After all, it is brewed by one of the best American breweries on the market.

Served in a beer tulip the dense, muddy brown pour allows no light to filter through whatsoever. Crowning it is a compact 1 finger brown head that gradually reduces to a fine layer with reasonable lace being omitted. Really ominous-looking beer, it actually presents itself as a RIS. And as we were expecting, a rich, complex and pungent aroma was awaiting us. The dominant scents emanating are bitter espresso, brandy, licorice, molasses sweetness, oak and prunes. A tonne of undertone aromas here too, we detect hints of cherry cola, soy sauce, vanilla, toffee malts and obviously a sharp astringency from the 12% ABV. Incredible stuff here, so complex. The mouth feel is thick and super creamy, gripping the tongue on the way down. Mildly carbonated with full-ish body. Well, it’s safe to say that the richness and complexity follows on to the flavour with a sharp alcohol burn to get things underway. Bitter espresso, molasses and woody notes gradually intensify as they lead in to the mid-palate. Another short alcohol sting bridges on to the long and drawn out roasted, espresso finish. Excellent length on display here. Really impressive stuff. We can understand why we were being ushered in to trying this, like no brown ale we’ve ever tried before. We now recommend it to you. Mammoth beer.

Dogfish head beer India brown ale

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imageWith an already distinguished name and quite possibly one of the best IPA’s in the world comes this India brown ale. No little one liners or phrases for this beauty, maybe just a suggestion of the confidence that the brewers know of what is to come for our palates. Let’s see.

We served this in an IPA glass and we are met with a dark brown appearance with some attractive ruby red hues when held against the light. We can’t help but be reminded of the 60 minute IPA again here as the clarity is amazing, even more so as this is a pretty dark beer. The head is reasonable, initially rising to about a finger before reducing to a ring without much lacing. It really isn’t a concern when we are taking in some truly gorgeous aromas. Quite complex actually. Our first thoughts are big juicy wafts of ripe cherry and prunes with a suggestion of fig, toffee and cranberry. Then in comes this sweet, caramelised character of brown sugar and brandy which has a woody/oaky undertone to it. Almost hickory-like aroma comes in late too. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant aroma, we just can’t stop sniffing the aromatics this beer is producing. In the mouth it’s smooth with an oily texture. Carbonation is mild-moderate with somewhere between medium and full body. Kick starting the flavour profile is a delicious mix of ripe cherry, fig and subtle cocoa. All three of these flavours carry forward through the mid picking up extra flavours of brandy, caramel and coffee that all reconvene in the finish along with a little warmth from the ABV (7.2% which may we add is very well disguised). Good length and honestly it’s remarkable how the brewers have juggled so many flavours without confusing any of them. This is an absolute pearler of a beer you would be silly to give this a miss. We were right, who needs phrases and one liners when you know your beer is this good. Phenomenal.

Prickly Moses ‘Black panther’ IBA

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imageQuite a decent little microbrewery this one. Better known in the beer world as Prickly Moses this winery/brewery is situated in the Otways in rural Victoria, officially by the name of Otway Estate.

Served in a shaker glass the opaque black pour whipped up a big, rocky 2 finger tan head that holds well, eventually settling to at least a 1 cm crown. Excellent head retention with thick, sudsy lacing being strewn all the way down the glass. It doesn’t take much of a twirl to lift the big roasted aromas out of the glass, instantly the olfactory’s are inspired by rich, roasted espresso, chocolate, mocha, vanilla and caramel. We love the way the late hopping gives not only balance but the bitterness an extra edge with a subtle, yet sharp addition of grapefruit. Very nice. In the mouth the malts are offering a creamy texture as the mild carbonation and moderate body are brought alive by the IBU (68). Upfront a subdued alcohol warmth and the moreish chocolate malts and espresso bitterness blends brilliantly into an assertive hop dryness through the mid palate. A caramelised sweetness picks up hints of toffee and molasses as the roasted finish lingers well on the back end. Good length. 6.2% ABV. To be honest this beer has well exceeded its expectations, from the pour through to the finish this beer is elegant, well balanced and true to its style. Damn fine brew.

Mornington Brown ale

Rating:

image“Mornington Brown is an English-style brown ale, brewed using classic imported English ale malts. Our Brown displays all the wonderful rich and toffee characters associated with these malts. Pouring a deep golden brown with hints of red, aromas of toffee, brown sugar and raisins greet the nose. The palate offers more toffee and raisins, with a supporting cast of chocolate and nuts. Rich, full-bodied, smooth and moreish.”

Here we have the brown ale from this Victorian brewery. It’s an English style using the English ale malt that you taste from a lot of the beers tasted in many classic pommy pubs. It has that Classic caramelised toffee aroma, almost chocolatey from the roasted grain. Pours a nice golden brown with a faint ruby hue, arousing a huge head, about 3-4 fingers in height. We were worried it was over fermented due to the high carbonation at the start but it subsides mid way through. There was little lacing on the glass but a 5-6mm cap existed right until the end which surprised us for a English style ale. The mouth feel is rich so at 5% ABV and the flavours shine. More chocolate, hazelnut, mild coffee and also the smell of raisin that a good Belgian beer contains. This is a real tasty ale..we definitely like what we see from these guys. We want more.

4 pines ‘Kellerdoor’ Imperial India brown ale

Rating:

imageBig fans of this breweries ‘Kellerdoor’ range. As you will see in our ‘Whats going on’ section we visited this brewery a couple of months ago and we were very impressed.

Served in a beer tulip the deep brown pour whips up a frothy 1 finger tan head that retains quite well leaving good lacing. Aroma is really interesting, complex as a black IPA would be as there are the distinguishable hoppy scents like pine, lychee, passion fruit and citrus but the earthy characteristics such as the caramel, nuts and roasted malts come through softly and really take the edge off. Really well balanced aroma, neither side win the battle. In the mouth it’s silky smooth with medium carbonation. Medium-full body. The ‘India’ aspect is displayed well upfront with the 70 IBU rating offering a slightly aggressive bitterness. Subtle grapefruit flavours are detected before a caramelised, malty mid-palate mutes any dryness in the mouth. The finish offers good balance with a nutty, yet bitter back end. 8% ABV is actually really well buried. Nothing outstanding going on, just a well balanced and surprisingly easy drinking imperial IBA.