Poured into a pint glass we see a ruby red colour with a nice fat 20mm off white head that just sits there like a cumulus cloud. Retains gloriously as slow bubbles emerge from below. Minimal carbonation seen through the deep red. Patchy lacing on the glass evident. The initial aroma produces a tang that is off putting. Is it a sourness? Is it umami? Is it stale? Gee wiz not a great start. Maybe some bread dough there, some caramel but the ‘tang’ overpowers. First sip produces smoked or ash flavours with again a tang like white vinegar. What is going on here?? Is this beer off? We are thinking we need to try a fresh version of is drop because if this is the real deal then it’s dreadful. Bitterness is contained on the palate with a mild body that is easily sessionable. Sitting at 4.1% Alc vol it explains the aforementioned comment. Like most ales it has watery body and you can this brew sitting in an English pub. Some lacing sticking to the glass as we imbibe. More flavours of caramel mixed with red malts and English bittering hops. It’s just that nose that you want to know why it’s so tangy. It’s sharp and we not sure whether it needs to be there. Hard to judge here. It’s smooth and sessionable. Hmmm.
“Raise your glass to the light and this dark beer shows off its beautiful red underbelly. Intense tropical, piney aromas lead in to equally intense tropical flavours with hints of cranberry, honeydew, melon and ginger. Finishes with a subtle tartness derived from our secret spice ingredient. Beware its bite.”
Served in an IPA glass. The deep, rich mahogany pour is capped off by a finger of tightly held foam that gradually shrinks to a fine film that struggles to produce much lace.
Geez this is one complex and malty number we don’t know where to start. Obviously she’s sweet but in a artificial killer python (pardon the pun) kind of way. It’s gelatinous with candied sugars, tonnes of caramelized toffee and sugar syrup, raspberry coulis, strawberry jam, over-ripened rock melon, mango, hints of alcohol and even a trace of cinnamon. Ok….what the hell do we have here?!
In the mouth the texture is pretty chewy and plump in body. We’re gobsmacked at how well the booze (11.1% ABV) is buried among the rich flavours. A slow and steady quaffer here folks.
The flavour is also quite complex. Upfront we get a burst of over ripened fleshy fruits, slightly tart berries, chewy caramelized malts, toffee and a subtle alcohol warmth. Once it comes up to room temperature the alcohol does present a bit more as do the super sweet malts. The finish is potent and sharp with a focus on the rich and heavy residual sweetness and spice on the back end.
Far out that’s one seriously complex drop. Obviously not for everyone and mainly for the extremely adventurous craft beer drinker. Final thoughts are that it’s better consumed cold and share it with a friend. But more to the point, bask in its moreish complexity because it’s one seriously decadent ale. Kudos Bacchus!
Well, it may already be 2016 but who says we can’t still enjoy a Christmas beer? And what an interesting label we have here. Yes, we’ve all seen our fair share of provocative puns but for us this one almost takes the cake, excuse our pun.
As she’s an IPA well serve this in to an IPA glass. The heavily clouded copper appearance is topped off by a tightly compacted head that slowly shrinks to a halo with a few random spots of lacing. We tried this little beauty on tap at the KB a couple of months ago but don’t recall it being this complex. Brilliant balance on the nose though, the all Aussie hop bill of Galaxy, Topaz and Enigma hand this aroma its appealing scents of apricot, guava, pineapple, rock melon and peach. Slightly acidic but that may be the combination of fruity hops and a hefty 7.5% ABV tingling the olfactory’s. The rich malts provide the balance by offering sweet wafts of caramel, honey and buttery biscuits. Plenty to like so far. In the mouth it’s dense and quite sticky with a moderate Co2 level. The 65 IBU is a little surprising, it is quite restrained and feels more like 50-55 bitterness-wise. A potent cocktail-like mix of booze, fruity hops and caramelized malts lead out, transitioning to a caramel/toffee malt driven mid palate. The alcohol warmth returns before a heavily sweet and slightly dry finish rounds it all out. Excellent length. Decent offering, we just don’t know if we’re completely in to it. It’s very sweet almost to the point of being cloying but thankfully the fruity hops do pull it back a bit. For the most part it’s a solid drop, there’s just a couple of minor features that we weren’t all that keen on.
“This ale is based on ‘American Imperial Double Red Ale’ according to the British Ale Style Guide. With a dark red brownish colour, a firm creamy head and lots of fruity aromas on the nose, this ale has a big, malty body with late bitterness. The Red has been crafted with big dry hop aromas coming through from citrusy and tropical fruity hop varieties. With late lingering bitterness it is in perfect harmony with the fruity hop aromas. This Thoroughbred goes well with Asian and Curry dishes and presents well when matched to blue cheeses and smoked meats.”
Served in an IPA glass. The cloudy copper hue arouses an off-white two finger overlay that steadily reduces to a thin sheet over the top. Some healthy lace trails are left clinging to the glass. The aroma of this beauty is something to behold. Before you even put it to your nose you’ll get a gorgeous waft of candied and juicy tropical fruits. Lychee, pineapple, mango and passion fruit all spring to mind instantly. Adding even more depth and sweetness is the robust caramel malt backing that exudes wafts of sherbet, artificial berries and caramelized sugars. All of this held together by a brilliantly masked but traceable alcoholic scent. Excellent balance. Absolutely superb aroma. In the mouth the 7.9% ABV reveals itself with a slight warming on the tongue. The hefty malt profile smooths it straight out, leaving a really silky and velvety texture on the palate. Once again smooth and brilliantly balanced. Upfront it’s like an explosion of tropical fruits, sweet caramel malts and a gentle alcohol warmth. Almost like a fruity summer cocktail that tantalizes the taste buds. As it progresses through the mid the assertive bitterness (60 IBU) replaces the lapsing alcohol burn. Juicy lychee, pineapple and mango power on through to a heightened hoppy finish, lingering on the back palate nicely. This right here is one of the main reasons why we love craft beer. Absolutely delicious, and a world class India red ale. Simply brilliant….We loved it. If you couldn’t half tell!
It comes as no surprise to us that this amber/red ale picked up the coveted trophy at Australia’s International Beer Awards last year (2014). We’ve almost got through Kaiju’s whole range and we can say with conviction that they are one of our top 5 best Aussie craft breweries at the moment. Served in a shaker glass. Pours to an attractive deep red/copper hue that holds a creamy two finger crown over the top. The head is retained relatively well, only peeling off a fraction before settling to a thick covering. Laced well. Smells absolutely divine! kind of like how a good red IPA would, with this sweet toffee/caramel malt base and it’s tiers of tropical and resinous hops filling it out. The malts also go deeper offering nutty undertones and suggestions of brioche and biscuits. As much as we are hop fiends, it’s a welcome change to see Kaiju producing a more malt-forward ale. It also highlights their versatility. The slightly dominant malts also add to this really smooth mouth feel. It’s got a nice coating texture to it as the hops work their magic drying up the tongue on the back end. The 6.5% ABV is only subtle and the Co2 is moderate. Medium bodied. The hop profile is a bit more prevalent on the palate. Flavours of grapefruit and pine resin upfront enjoy a delicate caramel malt backing. Midway, a toastiness comes through which is accentuated by a dry finish with sweet caramel and toffee on the rear. A brilliant show of balance is provided from start to finish here. From the hoppy aroma with sweet malt undertones to a palate that offers a nice, flowing progression of hop bitterness and soothing malts. Kaiju do it again with another cracker ale!
The latest brew from these crazy craft brewers is really appealing to us because we don’t mind a Bloody Mary, and to have it incorporated into a red ale is just bloody genius! The ingredients are as follows…75kg of tomato purée, vegan Worcestershire sauce, celery salt and chilies. This beer could be absolutely brilliant, or terrible. Here goes.
On pouring, there is a lovely amber- red with a surprising amount of carbonation that leaves a minimal head with no lacing. A big whiff elicits definite spice from the chili, but also a cider like or sour aroma, and we see on the bottle that cider yeast is used. First sip is a bit bizarre. You get definite chili, you get definite vegetable salt, and you get that tomato flavour sticking to the back of your throat. This is a mild but certain fishy flavour and this must be the Worcestershire sauce. There is mild carbonation in the mouth, with a medium body and a nice smooth end to it. As you continue to drink, the initial vegetable hit subsides and there is this clean, smooth spice from the chili and a satisfying ale-like flavour. We see this drop is 7.6% but you would never know it as all the other flavours of the Bloody Mary mask it. From a craft beer perspective, it’s a brilliant attempt. We love that a cocktail and a beer have been brewed with excellent results. These guys continue to amaze us…what next? Beef stew beer? We reckon these guys could do it.
This is the new bad boy from moondog…a Hungarian barrel aged imperial red ale, using saffron. Whoa. We are nervous and excited at the same time cause the alc vol of this brew is 14.1%! Here goes. Poured into a tulip glass, there is a monstrous head of yellow/white which sits there without budging. We are left with 10mm head as we sip. There is a dark ale look to this, almost ruby red in the light. Immediate smell of plums, raisin, saffron, pineapple, oak, booze and honey. Mouthfeel is massive, almost chewy. Strong but hidden booze merges with Belgian sugars, honeyed malts, drying bitterness, vinous oak and the spice from the hops/saffron/oak. There is massive wall of lace down the glass here. Definate oiliness on the palate also. This is a massive beer but we think the 2013 is slightly better. Not to take anything away from this brew, cause we like the complexity of the brewing.
“The Irish are famous for many things, like leprechauns, the colour green and a public holiday dedicated to drinking beer. And it’s one of their beers – the traditional red ale – that we’ve perfected just for you. The Blackhorse Red Ale follows the Irish recipe before deviating with our own unique finish to give a slightly darker colour and strong smooth malt profile. The hint of caramel is certainly no surprise given the beer’s hue, and roasted barley makes itself known too. This is the beer for anyone who ‘likes a good red’ – it even matches to red meat and cheese, just like its grapey cousin”.
Our 3rd instalment of this breweries core range, and spruiked by the head brewer as their signature beer. Served in an English pint the glowing copper-red appearance is very easy on the eye. Capping this liquid beauty off is a 1 finger beige head that reduces to a halo around the edge of the glass. Mild lace. Straight off the bat we can tell this is the head brewers signature beer, the first thing we love is the display of balance between the fruity hops and the nutty, caramelised aromas. If we are correct, Galaxy hops would be providing the tropical fruity wafts while the malt backing is offering chewy caramel, honey, nuts and fig jam. Gorgeous aroma. In the mouth it’s sticky and well rounded. Much better carbonation levels with a steady stream of fizz providing a persistent head and decent bubble on the tongue. Good body. Upfront we taste sweet, toffee malts, caramel and nuts. A mild hop bitterness cuts through the sweetness to offer a little balance through the mid, while the nutty, medium sweet finish provides decent length on the rear palate. 5% ABV which is about on par for a red ale. Every element of the aroma and flavour is very representative of the style, the brewer has done a good job at nailing the basics which in turn produces this quality drop. Big ups.
Served in a shaker glass, our first attempt at a pour yielded nothing but a glass full of foam so be very patient. Once we lost half the bottle we finally got to enjoy a muddy mahogany brown appearance with a rocky 3 finger tan head that settled to around a 1/4 inch crown on top. Laced really well. The aroma instantly explains the ‘smokey’ red on the label as dominant smoky and peaty wafts emanate initially. Some decent funk too. Underneath lies complex wafts of tart berries, oak, cider, toffee, whiskey, plum and a hint of liquorice. Quite phenolic as well. Wow, so much happening. In the mouth it offers a frothy texture with high levels of carbonation. Medium-full body. Upfront we detect heavy peated flavours that weigh in on the tongue. Tart berries, oak and citrus from the clever addition of Amarillo hops carry forward through the mid-palate and finish smokey with a mild dryness. Great length. The 5.1% ABV is surprisingly low considering the depth of flavour, the brewers have done really well to pack so much in without it being higher. We’re not terribly fond of smoky beers but this one is certainly an exception. Good to see it’s not only fine wine coming our of this region, but great craft beer too.
“Unleashed from the tanks, Heartbreaker is an alluring amber ale that’ll seduce you like a lover and leave you wanting more…This latest limited release by The Mash Collective draws on the three creatives’ shared affection for rock music, the land and Australia”.
This is a great idea for the craft beer movement. A collaboration between brewer, musician and native chef. Brewed by Stone & Wood, from Byron Bay NSW, this beer is a red ale. We can smell the peach and lemon aromas here. A real earthiness. The more we read the label we see that Australian quandong and pepperberry are used in the brew…fabulous stuff. This brew pours a ruby red/ mahogany colour and there is a tight 2-3 mm head. We taste the gentle toffee malt from a typical ale, but we get a light heat from the pepperberry. It must be the mildness of native pepper, cause we know what pepper is like on the palate from brews like Dieu du Ciel’s route de epices and brew cult’s pepper steak porter. In your face. We have to give credit though to the smoothness of this drop. It’s clean, and at a 5.5% ABV it’s a really nice ale that could be consumed in a round of a few dudes at a good pub. This epitomises the beauty of craft brewing. Good job.
“Although Red Ale is not really one of the traditionally English styles they do exist and are typically 3.8% – 4.8% abv, red coloured from crystal malt in combination with pale ale malt, well attenuated so sometimes a bit harsh and frankly a bit on the dull and boring side. If ever there was a style crying out to be given some guts this is it and Imperial Red Ale is the way to do it.”
This brewery is situated in South Stoke, England, and it follows in the footsteps of other imperial-style beers. Our first crack at their range. Pouring a deep glowing amber, this brew has all the characteristics of English style beers. The rich caramel nose from the caramalt is evident, and the use of amber malt showcases the deep appearance and the bready sweetness well. There is very little head here, and mild carbonation in the glass and mouth. The thing we like about this pommy drop is that for a 10% ABV ale, it’s really quite smooth. The bitterness blends in nicely to mask the booze burn on the throat. There is a very mild peppery spice on the back palate, likely from certain hop varieties used. The brewers describe this beer as having a ” savage English bitterness”, but we don’t wholeheartedly agree. It’s far from it, given the smoothness of the brew. Recommended to be served at room temperature to cool in a wine glass. We really dig this beer. Basically, it’s a well balanced (for its strength), imperial red ale.
“Back in the day, we brewed Red Trolley Ale as our first holiday beer. In the spirit of the season, we made like Santa in a fat suit and stuffed it full of caramel malts. So many folks got on board that we decided to brew it year round. Years later, Red Trolley Ale remains the perfect beer to make any occasion festive”.
Another top North-West Coast American micro-brewery this one, their pale ale and IPA are both brilliant beers so we’re expecting another belter of an ale here. Served in a tulip glass the ruby red/mahogany pour produces a half inch of tight beige foam that collapses slowly to a thick collar. Laced reasonably well. The aroma is giving off sweet, caramelised wafts with a lovely addition of juicy berries. Toffee, raspberry, raisin, Jaffa, brioche and plum are just a few of the sweet scents we’re picking up. The mouth feel is quite oily with mild-medium carbonation. Medium bodied. The flavour is packed full of caramel malt and sweet juicy fruits. Although there is a delicate balance that’s struck between the two, the cloying sweetness does get a little overpowering as we near the finish. Additions of toffee and subtle booze (5.8% ABV) are evident in the mid-palate with a sweet sticky finish to round it all off. Maybe a touch too sweet for us, a higher presence of hops would have been a great inclusion to balance this ale out a bit more. Points for a classy brew but we just weren’t sold on it. The Pintail pale ale and the Tower 10 IPA are much better.
“IRA is heading out of the brewery this week in Rare Breed format. We’ve used some specialty kilned malts to throw a red hue and produce some great caramel / toffee aromas and flavours. No less than five hop varieties including Cascade, Amarillo and Ahtanum. 6.6% ABV, 60 BU’s.”
We’ve recently tried 8 wired’s version of the IRA and scored it a 10/10. We put Mountain Goat on the same shelf as 8 wired so this should be a great test to see who reigns supreme. Served in an IPA glass the deep ruby red pour produced a one and a half finger head of off-white foam that retains well. Thick spotted lacing is being strewn all the way down the glass. The aroma boasts an excellent balance of caramel malts and stone fruits. Plenty of depth in the nose here. Additions of either raspberry or strawberry, tangerine, subtle grapefruit and some subdued peppery spice add brilliant character to this aroma. Medium carbonation in the mouth with a vibrant bitterness (60 IBU), full bodied along with a slightly effervescent texture. An assertive hop bitterness initially teams up with grapefruit and orange peel which leads to a rich, malty mid-palate along with hints of caramel, jaffa and toffee. Again, bitter notes of grapefruit carry forward and is rounded off by a firm bitter finish with lengthy duration. The 6.4% ABV is spot on. This is a brilliant IRA, not a lot of difference here but we feel the 8 wired just pips it at the post. Huge recommendation from us though, top shelf stuff.
“This is an ale that is not afraid of standing tall among other great beers. The intense, sharp and fruity hoppiness is backed by its complex, caramel-like malty structure. Big, yet refreshing. Bold but balanced. This beer has been designed to have it all, to be the greatest common denominator”.
8 Wired Brewing….personally our no.1 Kiwi brewery. This hopped up red ale we poured into a shaker glass. The appearance displays a deep ruby red with a solid two and a half fingers of off white head that retained and releases blotchy lace trails down the walls of the glass. The aroma is pitch perfect with loads of malty driven goodness. Within the aroma a battle between the bitter hops and the smooth caramel malt creates a plethora of gorgeous fragrances. Grapefruit, marmalade, resins, pepper, nuts, caramel and Jaffa are just a few we’re picking up. Absolutely brilliant aroma. Can’t fault it. Mild-medium carbonation with a dry mouth feel. Mirroring the aroma, the palate is alive and vibrant. Initially the big, bitter notes of grapefruit are nicely balanced out by a slightly roasted hint of caramel and malt. Again the roasted characters come out in the mid-palate accompanied by a sharp peppery spice. Smooth malty finish with hints of caramel and nuts round off an impressive palate. Great length. 7% ABV is evident but not enough to note in flavour. Again, impressive. Big ups to Søren for this one. Truly outstanding brew.
“Australia holds a special place in our hearts here at Karl Strauss Brewing Company. After all, while on a trip through Australia it was the Sail & Anchor Hotel that provided the inspiration to start a brewery in San Diego. (…) Medium body with well balanced malt and hop characteristics. Pours a bright red hue in the glass, with lingering hoppy, grapefruit and tangerine aromas”.
USA meets Australia in this red ale collaboration. Poured into a shaker glass the appearance displays a ruby red with a white, bubbly two finger head which collapsed quickly to a collar. Laced poorly. Slightly roasted characters are coming through on the nose. Caramel, toffee, toast and orange peel stand out the strongest. All these on the back of a roasted malt sweetness to balance. The only downside is it has a subtle metallic waft at the end which doesn’t really work. Medium carbonation with a dry mouth feel. Medium body. Initially we picked up bitter citrus I.e grapefruit and orange peel. The mid-palate continues on with earthy hints of caramel and malt with a dry, bitter finish. Good length. 6% ABV is spot on and is nicely hidden. To be honest it has the potential to be a really good red ale but its just missing something. Take nothing away from it though, a decent enough offering from this American/Australian collaboration.
“ABV ain’t all that: Boneyard Red Ale is a session beer that you can drink all day, all night, and all day again (and all night and all day and so on and so forth, forever). It’s food friendly, sensibly sessionable and surprisingly full flavoured. Liberal use of specialty malts evocative of bread crusts, your granny’s Anzac bickies and toasted hazelnut join with bucketloads of new world hops for fruitiness and balanced bitterness to form the true craft beer drinker’s mid-strength. Get on it; stay on it”.
This is our first crack at this relatively new breweries range. Hailing from North Melbourne, Victoria this little team boasts some handy skills. A couple of restaurateurs, a culinary king and a brewing genius. With a posse like that, how can you go wrong? Poured into a shaker glass the appearance displays a deep ruby red with a beige 2 finger crown. Good head retention, releasing some nice patterns of lace down the walls of the glass. The aroma is quite jammy with sweet additions of raspberry, apricot, caramel, brioche and subtle chocolate. Absolutely gorgeous, we just can’t get enough of it. Medium carbonation with a silky soft mouth feel. Medium-full body. To be honest we weren’t expecting a gob full of flavour as this is only a light mid strength (2.9% ABV) but we were dead wrong. The palate boasts distinct full bodied flavours of chewy caramel, toast and dark fruits. Good length, again it is a surprise considering the low ABV. Delicious lingering hints of berries and toffee round off a surprisingly tasty mid-strength ale. Most mid strengths lack body and mouth feel but this is an exception. Great start to this breweries range.
“Our aggressive Imperial Red Ale is a massive mix of smooth malts and West Coast hops that have no patience for the lupulin leery. This crimson beer starts with caramel-like malt flavor that can’t suppress the assertive, citrusy hop finale”.
This brilliant American brewery just keeps them coming. Served in a shaker glass, the ruby red pour whips up this one and a half finger beige head that swells but but recoils and eventually settles to thin blotchy layer over the top. Laced reasonably well. the aroma is simply brilliant, firmly malt driven with a big resinous hop presence. Pine resins, nuts, treacle, grapefruit and red berries form a gorgeous base of fragrances. In the mouth it feels smooth and well rounded with mild-medium carbonation. Medium-full bodied. The flavour offers up some slightly roasted features initially. A viscous hint of treacle comes forward with an aggressive hop bitterness to balance it out. Malt, caramel and nuts in the mid are slowly enveloped by a big bitter finish with notes of grapefruit and pine resins that draw out well on to the back end, displaying really good length. A dry hoppy bitterness lingers on the palate nicely. At 8.5% ABV the slight alcohol burn adds to the body and is quite well hidden. Just a class brew this one. Up there with the Bridgeport ‘Kingpin’.
“When the Fat Cat was brewed I was looking for a distinctive hop that might play against the caramel-like malt profile. Nelson Sauvin was one of the only types of hops at the time that was available fresh from the 2008 harvest. The choice was not difficult as in 2006 at the Helsinki Beer Festival I tasted a beer made only with this hop. The malt used is a mixture of British Maris Otter and German münchenermalt along with caramel malt, husked chocolate malt and raw barley from rich New Zealand soil.”
This brewery would have to be in the top 5 best Danish breweries. Served in a shaker glass the murky amber pour boasts gorgeous copper hues. Atop sits a 1 inch beige head with good retention which allows spotted lacing to be strewn all the way down the glass. Aroma is dominated by resinous hops and pine with a refreshing herbal character also coming through. Sweet undertones of peach, forest berries, candy and toffee add depth to an already magnificent nose. In the mouth it feels smooth with medium body. Medium carbonation and an assertive bitterness marry up well with the slightly earthy fore-flavour. Pine, berries, grapefruit and subtle hints of caramel are all driven on a caramel malty backbone that essentially produces a highly palatable red ale. 4.7% ABV is a tad low, we thought a slightly higher volume would have really benefited but that aside it’s a good offering.
This beer pours the typical red almost mahogany like colour with a lasting creamy head. Aroma is malty with caramel,grass and pine notes. Hops dominate the fore flavour which is obviously from the dry hopping but not too bitter with hints of orange,pine and toffee. At 5.2% it’s a good sipping beer,plenty of flavours to pick up. Good but not great
“Red Rocks is a rich ruby red ale with loads of chewy malt character. There wasn’t a lot of restraint shown in the hopping of this beer. We had a fair bit of whole cone Nelson Sauvin hops in the fridge and they all went in. The end result is a nice balance of malt sweetness and bitterness, with some assertive hop aroma and flavour. Red Rocks Reserve is fast becoming one of our most anticipated annual releases. A base red ale is brewed and then with a nod to an ancient brewing technique known as ‘Stein Bier’, the beer is passed through a giant hop back containing rocks, super heated in a hard Manuka wood fire to over 500c. Finally, the beer is given an additional pass through a hop back stuffed full of whole cone Nelson Sauvin”.
A decent couple of Kiwi gypsy micro-brewers here that brew out of the kegs of the better-known Tuatara brewery. Served in a shaker glass the copper red pour produced a fingers worth of beige head that retains and laces well. The aroma offers a really refreshing marriage of vinous hops, zesty citrus, nuts, caramel, pine resins and biscuit malts. In the mouth it’s quite light on and has a smooth caramelized feel to it. Upfront the flavour consists of sweet malts and toffee that slowly develop into a slightly assertive hoppy mid-palate that’s delivering a pleasant dryness that accentuates the 7% ABV on the tongue. The finish mellows into a sweet and sugary, almost herbal finish with lingering nutty notes on the back end. Essentially a very well balanced beer that we would definitely recommend to any craft beer enthusiast. Big ups to the boys across the ditch.