Category Archives: Brown Ale

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.

James E Pepper ‘1776’ 2015 BA American Brown Ale

Rating:

29216442_828605243990289_5233765718620635136_n“James E. Pepper brewed an American Brown Ale and aged it in oak barrels. The Ale was aged in the same oak barrels in which James E. Pepper recently aged their 1776 Straight Rye Whiskey. The Ale is a deep, dark brown ale, that, when served, could be mistaken for a stout. The taste is sweet with coffee, vanilla and oak notes shining through. The rye comes through a bit on the finish.”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Dark brown hue with a lot of thick suspended sediment floating around. It builds a big two and a half finger head which collapsed to a collar. Laced well despite the diminishing head.

Aroma: We unreservedly love the whisky so to get strong wafts of the spicy and at times even sweet and buttery nose is so fulfilling. Behind the gorgeous whisky notes is a seriously smooth, malty and nutty affair, supported by hints of vanilla, toffee, chocolate and subtle licorice. Just a touch of oak in here too. Superb.

Flavour: Delish! Essentially what they’ve done is wrap subtle notes of the whisky up inside a malty coating of a brown ale. Sweet nutty malts on the front end with the spicy, buttery and caramel notes of the whisky through the middle. It finishes with warming booze, toffee, vanilla and woody oak tannins on the rear.

Mouthfeel: A bit of warmth from the 10% ABV. Thick and almost silky texture. Lively co2 which is quite the surprise considering the profile of the beer.

Overall: After a year and a bit in the storage unit we thought this bad boy was ready for consumption. It brings three years of age in total now and it’s done wonders. We may have to go and get ourselves a couple more!

Feral Brewing ‘F 15’ BBA Imperial Brown Ale

Rating:

26196331_796753763842104_7976658623485187260_n“A dogfight 15 years in the making, this anniversary ale celebrates all the Mavericks who helped us throughout all our brewing adventures. Aged for six months in Heaven Hill Distillery bourbon barrels. This special brew also pays tribute to the weird and wonderful WIll Irving, as he’s knocked up more flight hours in the Swan Valley brewhouse than we’ve got knocked up geese. A champion in the brewery, he’s crafted one of the most diverse and respected ranges of beer anywhere on earth. Australia’s beer landscape today is an infinitely better place thanks to him. Cheers mate!”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Dark cola hue with a short yet extremely well retained head forming on top. We’re seeing a wavy lace dispensed as we imbibe.

Aroma: Ooph….complex! What initially came off as a subtle hint of sourness quickly takes shape as the result of aging in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. Hints of toffee and vanilla come through with a surge of wet oak barrel in support. Some nutty undertones here and there with a suggestion of metal creeping in. Subtle chocolate, prunes and molasses filling it out.

Flavour: We’ve given this bad boy about 30 mins to come up to room temperature….almost. Lots of bourbon flavour upfront – caramel, toffee, vanilla and rye spices. A bit of nutty malt, some dark fruit sweetness and a light roast gets another helping of spice as it finishes toasty, slightly dry and woody. Excellent length on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Steady and quite approachable. No harsh burn at all which is incredible considering the 9% ABV. Slick texture, moderate co2 and body.

Overall: What started with a bit of apprehension has finished with total satisfaction. Come to think of it, it is unbelievably smooth and so well balanced for its weight. Certainly improves as it warms too. Impressive drop.

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.