Category Archives: Dark Ale

Bacchus Brewing Co. ‘Lamingtonne’ Imperial Dark Ale

Rating:

15965504_628251787358970_6625057226194984572_n“Imperial version of our best selling lamington dark ale. No longer mimicking the light cake of the original, this is a full on luxurious coconut chocolate cake”.

Served in a beer tulip. The obsidian body is capped off by a finger of fizzy tan foam that rapidly collapsed to a collar with minimal lace being left behind.
To any Aussie the word ‘lamington’ should instantly make you salivate. For anyone who isn’t familiar with them they are an Australian culinary masterstroke that takes sponge cake, a coating of melted chocolate and is finished with sprinkles of coconut flakes. In other words….bloody delicious!! And who else to turn it in to a beer but Bacchus?! Once again they’ve got it dialled in with moreish wafts of coconut, chocolate sauce, raspberry jam, espresso, dark fruits, vanilla and a faint hint of booze. Pure indulgence folks!
Like so many of Bacchus’s dessert beers the Co2 level is lifted and gives the otherwise thick texture a bit of an unsuspecting boost. There’s also a belly warming heat from the 10% ABV as well but that should be a given.
We thought the aroma was exceptional…The flavour is dead set spot on. Once the initial warmth from the booze subsides the delicious coconut, chocolate, dark fruits and sweet doughy malts carve out that true flavour of the lamington. The finish is super sweet, boozy and a tad salty, which was weird, but nevertheless it doesn’t effect the overall experience of the beer.
Props again to Bacchus you’ve nailed it! The coconut, chocolate, jammy fruits and dark malts all combine to produce a beer that emulates a lamington to perfection. An uber boozy and liquefied lamington that is. We raise our glass to you good sirs.

Bacchus Brewing Co. Snickers Chocolate Ale

Rating:

14666124_579326725584810_3093289848330470885_n“Snickers Chocolate Ale – 500ml (Alc 6.3%). From the first pour you will be hit by the heady aroma of chocolate & peanuts. The flavour doesn’t disappoint, rich caramel, chocolate & salty peanuts blend perfectly in this amazing dessert beer. Formerly called Snickers Amber Ale, we’ve given it a slight name change.”

Served in a beer tulip. Pouring a dark brown with some faint mahogany hues revealed when held to the light. A creamy two finger head assembles on top but it collapses to a fine film with scattered lace being dispersed around the glass. After a few whiffs we’re confident in saying that these guys have nailed the snickers component – front and center are the peanuts while hefty wafts of chocolate, caramel, cocoa and nougat push up in support. Maybe a hint of lactose, hinting at marzipan in its delivery. That’s about it but why would they need anything else when they’ve got this aroma dialed in. Brilliant! In the mouth it’s full and creamy with an interesting little saltiness on the lips. Nice touch. Co2 is bang on. The progression over the tongue is just so smooth and effortless its simply a real pleasure to drink. If there’s only one downside it is that the flavour doesn’t have the same level of impeccable execution as the aroma. This is in no way a negative though as the palate is awash with, chocolate, caramel, nutty malts, cocoa, subtle vanilla and marzipan. Just a very mild bitterness preludes a soft dryness in the finish as the sweet sweet flavour of snickers endures on the back end. Way to set the bar so high there Bacchus! This is only our first crack at this breweries range and…wow…what an initiation. This is just down right delicious. Kudos Bacchus.

Modus Operandi ‘Carribean Queen’ dark ale

Rating:

image“A sumptuous dark ale brewed with coconut, lactose and milk chocolate. This decadent lady tastes like a Lamington and brings the fat child out in all of us.” Hahaha funny.

Poured into a shaker glass, we see dark brown/Amber with a creamy 10mm tan head that retains exceptionally and is full of compact carbonation. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, mild fruit hops and vanilla. First sip yields a rich sweetness with contained bitterness. Flavours consist of mild chocolate, a buttery backbone which must be the coconut used, sweet malts which must include the lactose sugar, a subdued bitterness from the hops, and espresso like flavours. Really tasty. Body is medium to full, with great length. Mild carbonation on the palate, but definitely sipping only for this one due to density and enjoyment. It’s 6.7% Alc vol but you can’t taste any booze burn. Back palate showcases more sweet chocolate, nutty malts, vanilla, and a smoothness that is delicious. So easy to drink. All the flavours just gel really nicely. Coconut is subdued here though. Not the dominant flavour but certainly adds to the fat content or density. The lactose also adds the creaminess that is tasted. We not so sure of the Lamington connotation. Don’t not get that jammy hit. We smelt the mild fruit hop aroma but it doesn’t flow through the palate. The coconut is very mild. Maybe more coconut and slightly more jammy/marmalade hops and this brew would be  killer. Good beer though.

 

Garage Project ‘Cookies & Cream’ Dark Ale

Rating:

1005544_465712533612897_7557056305675698471_n“A touch of sweet indulgence made in collaboration with Auckland’s iconic Moustache milk & cookie bar. Brewed with Belgian yeast, dark caramelized malts and milk sugars to create a beer with a rich, juicy dark malt and biscuit character with just a hint of chocolate and a touch of spice. Go on, treat yourself.”

Ever since the first Garage Project beer we bought back in early 2013 these guys have always had the propensity to be creative with the artwork on their labels. Just recently they’ve stepped it up a few notches with the introduction of cans along with some really intricate strips on their bottled range. They return with another interesting piece here – a swirly and almost tripped out pattern that kind of reminds us of a vanilla milkshake with raspberry swirls down the glass. An ode to the milk & cookie bar perhaps. OK let’s roll on.

Served in a beer tulip. The attractive crimson appearance is covered by a frothy three finger crown. Some wavy lace patterns are omitted as the head gradually subsides. It’s distinctly Belgian on the nose. A sweet, grainy scent is nicely worked in to a somewhat creamy and lactosey character initially. Cookie dough comes through while a subtle hint of white chocolate drops is uncovered. What isn’t working well is this unwelcome fresh pear/apple scent that is usually an aroma imparted by Belgian yeast. It works well with Belgian beer, just not as well in this dark ale. The mouth feel offers a good consistency. Co2 is up and the body holds a decent weight. The 6.2% ABV is well concealed and the light texture makes for effortless progression down the throat. A tasty combo of dark malts are offset by a subtle creaminess upfront as a delicate bitterness flows through. As it carries across the mid a slight roast comes forward leading in to a mildly dry and doughy finish with reasonable length to the rear palate. We’d have to admit this wasn’t what we were expecting. It’s similar to Lord Nelsons Old Admiral where we were hoping for something thicker and creamier. Don’t get us wrong though, the cookies and cream flavors do come through but in our opinion this yeasty pear/apple flavour really didn’t work in well with the fundamental character of the bale. Not bad, we’re just a little deflated by it.

Hunter beer co. ‘Xmas pudding beer’ Dark ale

Rating:

1546043_221460388038114_1282697350_nTried this on tap in a tasting paddle at the brewery in the Hunter Valley. Mahogany/brown appearance with a thin filmy head over the top. The short head maintained for a few minutes but receded to a halo without much lacing. The aroma offers moreish wafts of clove, cinnamon, dates, dark fruits caramel and brown sugar. Quite complex actually. Mildly carbonated with a rich, creamy mouth feel. The palate follows on from the aroma with slightly complex notes of clove, dates and roasted chocolate malt. A slight warmth from the booze (8% ABV) and cocoa is drawn out nicely on the back end. Good length. As it says on the tap logo, this beer is literally a liquid alcoholic Christmas cake in your glass. Nice work, they achieved exactly what they were after. We really enjoyed this one.

Moo brew dark ale

Rating:

image“This Dark Ale is inspired by the American Brown Ale style. It presents dark with a deep cherry-red tint. The palate has caramel and chocolate, and a lightly roasted finish. Hop bitterness and aromatic character are balanced and pleasantly textured. Serve with chocolate, caramel and coffee-based desserts, with Mexican Molé, grilled white meats or aged cheddar”.

We were lucky enough to try this on tap a few times on our recent trip to Tasmania. Unfortunately we didn’t get to the brewery but it’s certainly on the cards. Served in a beer tulip this beauty pours a characteristic porter-style darkness with an edge of tawny copper red. The tightly packed 2 finger beige head retains well as it omits plenty of sudsy lacing down the glass. The aroma is gorgeous, packed full of dark sugary fruits, caramel, roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee and mocha. Something a little funky in here too, like tart berries/cherries. Fuller bodied with mild-medium carbonation. Round and chalky mouth feel. Initially the flavour is packed full of rich roasted malts, coffee and a muted bittering from the earthy hops. Some hints of chocolate in the mid moves forward and finishes with a mild roasted nuttiness with good duration. 5% ABV is a touch under what we were expecting but never does it subtract from the depth of the body in this beer. Session ability is out but full flavour is in. Top notch dark ale from a top notch Tasmanian brewery. Great beer.

White rabbit dark ale

Rating:

White rabbit dark ale“An intriguing dark ale that moves to its own beat, our minds set about creating a beer that contradicted itself. Rich, dark and flavoursome but at the same time ever refreshing. Malt driven but with the aromatic lift of generous doses of hops. With the help of traditional open fermentation tanks we let our Dark Ale yeast play… and it likes to play hard. Yeast normally does its thing in closed tanks that tends constrains it work, but with open tanks (that are just like a big soup tin without the lid), the yeast is allowed to run wild”.

Brewed by the guys at Little Creatures, which unfortunately got sold to a huge parent company that doesn’t care much for the real craft beer industry. Anyhow, this dark ale was served in to a shaker glass with the deep mahogany/brown pour boasting attractive red hues. Atop sits a one and a half finger tan head that retains well, settling to a decent covering over the top. Good lacing. Not a great deal of character in the aroma, what we could manage to pick up were subtle wafts of sweet malts, cocoa, nuts, caramel and plum. Not too bad. The mouth feel was creamy with mild carbonation and medium body. Upfront, roasted malts and chocolate work their way into a slightly sweeter mid-palate. The finish has a nice nuttiness with caramelised hints of toffee and cocoa. 4.9% ABV doesn’t really help the slightly thin body, but essentially it’s brewed commercially for sessional drinking so we guess they achieved what they were after. Meh, it’s just not crafty enough for us.

Lord Nelson Brewery ‘Old Admiral’ Dark Ale

Rating:

Lord Nelson Brewery Dark Ale“Old Ale – our strong, full bodied malt driven ale has hints of caramel, balanced with generous hop bitterness. Red with black highlights.”

This is a top shelf beer from this institution of a brewery that is situated in The Rocks, Sydney. Served in a beer tulip it pours a dark brown with a frothy 1 finger brown head that collapses almost instantly to a lonely patch of foam on top. Laced poorly. A very English ale-driven aroma here, very nutty with a tonne of bready and caramel malts coming forward. The firm ABV of 6.1% may also be driving the dark fruity wafts of Christmas cake and ripe cherry that lead to a subtle decadence from hints of chocolate and cocoa, really give this aroma another level of depth and complexity. The taste is quite similar to the aroma with this delicious mix of caramelised toffee, dark malts, rum, subtle alcohol and nuts that finish off a well rounded ale. Quite an oily texture happening in the mouth, the only downside is that it’s a tad slippery and it could be a little fuller. It has a slightly complex flavor so it isn’t a long session beer, we would recommend a pint or two but after that, inebriation comes knocking. Definitely worth a nudge (as it’s quite well priced) and even better on tap at the brewery. A decent beer from a highly regarded brewery here. Good offering.