Category Archives: Brown Ale

Five barrel ‘Wildside’ American Brown Ale


“Brown Ales originated in the UK where dark beers started to vary more and more as Pale Ales started to grown in popularity. The influence of traditional Porters are evident as you usually see darker malt take center stage, providing a rich and bitter malt character, as well as colour. Our American Brown Ale uses the classic UK Brown Ale profile with a fuller body and bigger hop profile. We’ve incorporated UK and American hops to add a layer of familiarity and a nod to the heritage of the style. It is an amazingly drinkable beer, and one that we’d like to see more of!”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Muddy light brown with mahogany highlights. A thumb of tan foam is assembled and holds its shape well. Patchy lace as we go.

Aroma: Pretty basic four to the floor fragrance. A solid base of toasty and nutty malts, burnt cocoa, delicate coffee, earthy/woody notes and soft dark fruits. The hops do create that crucial Black IPA-like quality but it ends there…it’s really hard to call out any particular scent. Maybe just the slightest hint of pine creeping through but it’s way too gentle. Citrus rind…hhmm…again, maybe? Here’s hoping the flavour kicks off.

Flavour: Nope, unfortunately it’s more of the same restrained hops and typical malt characters. As we push on we’re finding that the restrained hops are more dominant than the malt. And thats saying something. At times we’re reminded of that meme of the stickman prodding the lifeless being on the ground saying “do something”. It barely offers anything but a light toasty-ness, a wee hint of nutty malt and coffee in the finish.

Mouthfeel: It holds up alright actually. A slightly lifted Co2 definitely helps. A tad watery, mild-medium body. 5.8% ABV is tucked away quite well.

Overall: Well that was an unpleasant surprise, we must admit. It’s very rare to see such an average beer from 5 Barrel but that’s exactly what it is. Just lacking in almost every department. Except for the mouthfeel! Disappointing.

Surly Brewing Co ‘Coffee Bender’ Coffee Brown Ale


“REFRESHING LIKE AN ICED COFFEE, AROMATIC LIKE A BAG OF FRESHLY ROASTED BEANS, AND SATISFYING LIKE YOUR FAVORITE BEER. Guatemalan coffee, roasted locally, is added to our house oatmeal brown ale. Cold press coffee aromatics and intense coffee flavors are balanced by the oats in the malt bill, resulting in a cappuccino-like creaminess.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep chestnut pour with a finger and a half of lightly tanned foam. Good retention with a wet lace being dragged down the glass.

Aroma: Huge wafts of coffee emanating off. If we had to guess we would have said Bolivian coffee as it offers strong dark chocolate with hints of vanilla and herbal spice but after a quick check on their website it reveals Guatemalan coffee was used (we were close!). The base is excellent too; plenty of nutty, toasty and creamy notes that marry up with the coffee brilliantly.

Flavour: The intensity of the coffee is scaled back a bit and is replaced with super smooth and creamy chocolate, nutty malts, earthy/woody cocoa, burnt milk and vanilla. But let’s be honest the coffee is still the name of the game here and it reenters with its bittersweet chocolate, mild florals, toffee and delicate smokiness. Lovely sweet and roasty finish rounding it all off.

Mouthfeel: So dense and creamy…and so incredibly smooth! Minimal bitterness, medium-full body. The 5.5% ABV is perfectly positioned.

Overall: Proper stoked to see some of Surly’s beers on our shores as we’ve been keen to try their wares for ages! And as anticipated this American brewery doesn’t disappoint…strong yet well balanced coffee, creamy, well layered, full bodied and delicious! Top notch stuff.

Revel ‘Browntown’ American Brown Ale


“Revel’s Browntown American Brown Ale pours a deep amber brown with a toasty warmth and smooth rich flavour. In true Revel fashion we’ve loaded this this one up with US flavoured hops; Cascade, Amarillo, & Williamette to provide a fruity & piney aroma with plenty of bitterness to balance out the malty body. One to be savoured!”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Pours a nice deep mahogany with a sturdy two finger head resting atop. Excellent retention and lace work as it ebbs.

Aroma: We can pick up the Black IPA-like scents as it sits idle on the table. Under the nostrils the big roasted malts are amplified further displaying milk chocolate, mild coffee, licorice and molasses. All the while the hops counteract with their piney and citrus-driven aromas…more of an orange citrus approach and finding a unique Jaffa quality in the process. Excellent aroma.

Flavour: Pow! It even drinks like a softer black IPA too! That perfect marriage of roasted malts and Pacific Northwest hops combine to create this super flavour we can best describe as herbal dark chocolate. As it rolls on the bitter coffee, roasted malts, piney hops and mild orange citrus all finish off in style. Good length happening as well.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth and silky with a moderate hop bitterness forming in the swallow. Medium body, Co2 is spot on. 5.3% ABV is smack bang in the middle of a traditional and a crafty Brown Ale.

Overall: We’ve had our eyes on this mob for a while but have never taken the leap. To be honest we’re not thrilled with the mundane label but if the quality of the beer is like this then who cares?! Excellent interpretation of the style; it’s rich, in-your-face and muscly. Superb!

Staves ‘Loco Coco’ Double Coconut Brown Ale


“Dark brown colour with a medium, thick beige head that diminishes gradually to an outer ring with small patches of lace. A beautiful aroma of roasted malt, toasted coconut and chocolate, medium bodied with characters of toasted coconut, milk chocolate and a hint of coffee. The finish is roasty coconut, toffee, muesli and coffee.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Kinda deep rusted amber with a thumb of tan foam perched on top. The head slowly recedes and leaves a fine wavy lace down the glass.

Aroma: First thoughts are lots of vanilla and toasted coconut, milk chocolate, nutty and toasty malts and a hint of booze which plays into the subtle touch of Malibu. Guess you could say it tastes a bit like a liquefied boozy Bounty Bar. Mild raw coffee bean and milk sugars in the background. Really delicate earthy hops to be found right down deep. Not bad.

Flavour: Tastes like syrups were used and the balance upfront is a tad skewed. Don’t get us wrong though it’s still flavoursome…plenty of sweet coconut, vanilla, brown sugar, nutty malts, light roast, raw coffee and oats. A nice cameo of hop bitterness midway to break it all up. A slightly cloying sweetness is picked up late in the piece but is alleviated by the returning dryness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very inoffensive for 8.2% ABV. A little creamy, a little sticky. Flat-ish Co2. Medium body.

Overall: It’s a funny one coz we’re not crazy about it but it’s not half bad. It has a few minor faults but it also has some strong points. Don’t mind us while we sit on this comfy old fence.

Old Wives Ales ‘Not’ Hazelnut & Vanilla Brown Ale


“It’s all right there in the name! Rich layers of hazelnut backed up with vanilla and lactose in this pastry-inspired brown ale.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep crimson to light mahogany with a thumb of tan head emerging on top. There’s a slow and steady reduction which settles to a fine film. Laces reasonably well as we imbibe.

Aroma: The hazelnut component really jumps out of the glass while the vanilla is a little bit more unassuming. Once it all settles it does begin to step up though. As for the base Brown Ale…very nice. It’s grounded by the lightly toasted and nutty malts, coffee, subtle caramel and toffee, mocha, white marshmallow and earthy hops. Loving the overall balance and proportionate approach.

Flavour: First thoughts are that something is clashing. We can’t quite isolate it but it’s coming off as a medicinal and slightly off-putting fruity flavour. It’s a shame as it’s only for a few seconds after the delicious introduction of hazelnut and before the continuation of the roasty and milk chocolate driven malts. The positive is that it does subside and the hazelnut, vanilla, coffee, milk chocolate and toffee are free to do their thing to finish.

Mouthfeel: Nice and dense which we always look for in a Brown Ale. The Co2 is restrained and the 6% ABV is extremely well hidden.

Overall: Look in general it’s a good Brown Ale it’s just unfortunate we were picking up that kinda weird fruity/medicinal flavour. Anywho, we won’t hold it against them it’s a fairly decent drop.

Hawkers ‘Nostalgic Tones’ India Brown Ale


“Crack this can, pour it in a glass and let the sultry brown hue reminiscent of a bygone era tickle your retinas.  A luscious hybrid between a toffee-laden malt backbone and hop-centric aromatics deliver a beer that’s rich in character and modern in style.”

Glassware: IPA.

Appearance: Kind of a muddy light brown number with a fluffy two finger head forming on top. Good retention and healthy lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: As a style we really dig India Brown Ales…they land somewhere between an American Brown Ale and a black IPA and usually show traits of both. Straight off the bat we get the sweet and semi-rich malts displaying the classic toffee/caramel, nutty and milk chocolate with the piney, citrusy and mildly floral hops equally up to the task. The most gentle of additions of toasted coconut from the Sabro hops too.

Flavour: It has literally been flipped around and we love it when the brewers manage to do this as the hops are now doing most of the talking with their nice punchy bitterness upfront and piney, slightly citrusy and woody accents coming in over the semi sweet toffee and nutty malts. This tussle then sets up for a beautifully balanced finish with a delicate roasty-ness drawing out.

Mouthfeel: A little dry, creamy, a good touch of bitterness in the swallow. Co2 is perfectly positioned and the 7% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: A very fine offering from Hawkers. Excellent balance between the hops and malts but not only that’s it’s very all tidy and in tune. Diggin this one.

Cavalier White Choc & Macadamia Brown Ale


“Celebrating a 10 Year Anniversary, this Cavalier Ale is full of nutty, white chocolate notes and nitro adds to its creamy head.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with a big and creamy three finger head that holds together nicely. Not a whole lot of lace but there’s consistent rings marking each sip as we go.

Aroma: We could smell the white chocolate as we were pouring it into the glass. Loving how they’ve integrated the white chocolate in with the natural chocolate aromas of the roasted malts…the result smells like a freshly opened block of Top Deck! Also plenty of creamy macadamia, vanilla, cocoa and this strange herbal hop accent which quite honestly is plain old weird and could do without. Other than that it’s a fantastic aroma.

Flavour: It would be an absolutely delicious Brown Ale if it weren’t for this undesirable herbal hop note that has carried through from the nose. It tastes a little like mint choc chip but it has a slight chemical-like note which is a damn shame otherwise it really would have worked in well…even though it has nothing at all to do with the 2 feature flavours!

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Could have been a bit more considering it’s on nitro. Nice and rounded though, medium body. 5% ABV is well positioned.

Overall: This is a strange one. Honestly if they had called this a white chocolate and mint choc chip Brown Ale we’d be talking it up. The macadamia gets a bit lost in the whole herbal hop/mint kerfuffle though, which sucks. Look, not a bad drop it’s just confusing.

IronBark Hill Hazelnut Brown Ale


“A smooth and medium bodied classic English style Ale. A very malt forward beer with biscuit, toffee and nutty flavours which dominate the palate. 5.2% ABV.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Displaying a deep amber with a candy red tint. Our vigorous pour yields an almost flat beer with little head and very little lacing.

Aroma: The hazelnut component is front and centre as expected. There’s a lovely earthy/toasty sweetness that this particular nut brings that works so well with not only Brown Ales but other medium darks like Ambers and Dark Ales. The hazelnuts are embraced by a hearty malt profile which offers robust notes of toast, buttery biscuits, toffee, tobacco and mild coffee. Getting a hint of something fruity too which is a nice touch.

Flavour: Quite flat and watery. This was our worry from the outset when it poured with almost no Co2. Then again, English ales are traditionally flat so we’ll cut them some slack there. The hazelnut doesn’t stand out as much, it’s kinda fallen back into line with everything else and what we’re getting now is a wider scope of the nutty malts, toast, caramel/toffee, doughy bread and subtle orange/marmalade.

Mouthfeel: Flat, a little lean and slippery but smooth as silk. Low Co2, moderately bodied. The 5.2% ABV is well placed.

Overall: Look it’s not going to blow the roofs off any houses but at its core it’s a fairly well executed Brown Ale. In saying that one of our biggest gripes with any dark ale is a thin body and unfortunately it’s guilty of that. Not bad but not great either.

Bad Shepherd Hazelnut Brown Ale


“A toasty and malty ale loaded with the rich nuttiness of roasted hazelnuts. Brewed with real hazelnuts, vanilla and a splash of Frangelico. Smooth and nutty with a dry clean finish.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Lovely chestnut colour with two fingers of lightly tanned foam perched on top. Good retention and reasonable lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Loving the fact they’ve used real hazelnuts…it just adds that raw element that syrups don’t provide. Obviously the nutty and somewhat earthy notes of hazelnut dominate but there’s some solid support from the toasty malts, cocoa, milk chocolate, vanilla, mocha and toffee fudge. Just a beautifully balanced and rounded aroma.

Flavour: Even better than the aroma. And that is rare! The hazelnut is front and centre with its delicious nutty earthy-ness, then the back up arrives bringing oodles of chocolatey goodness, cocoa, vanilla, caramel/toffee, toasty and nutty malts, subtle roast and a flutter of mild coffee. This deliciousness surges in to the roasty and nutty finish and draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Nice and muscly but also fluffy and well rounded. Medium-full body (which we love in Brown Ales) with moderate Co2. The 5.6% ABV is well contained.

Overall: That is a bloody ripper of a Brown Ale. We probably did it the wrong way around…reviewing the double version before this original but it doesn’t really matter as this bad boy holds its own. Sensational drop.

Ballistic X Craft Cartel Affogato Brown Ale


“Aroma of espresso coffee and milk chocolate, with a hint of ice-cream. The taste is of subdued chocolate, malt sweetness and creamy vanilla. The lactose gives the beer a luscious rounded mouthfeel which coats the inside of your mouth.”

Glassware: English pint.

Appearance: Gorgeous dark cola to mahogany with a frothy three finger head. It slowly deconstructs and drags a wet lace down the glass.

Aroma: Nice, dark and roasty. Loving the amount of bottom end…plenty of heavily roasted malts, espresso and light campfire/ash. As she settles the vanilla and lactose open up and start revealing the sweet ice cream-like notes. Chocolate and cacao, burnt toast, earthy spice and a touch of licorice also getting a look in. Good depth… hopefully this all carries in to the palate!

Flavour: Well it holds up pretty nicely. More of a blended profile as opposed to the aroma; roasted malts, chocolate and coffee fused with the sweet and spicy vanilla, lactose and nuts. Picking up the ashy flavours late in the piece as it delivers a roasty and toasty finish with lingering coffee and dark chocolate on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth and oily. A slightly lifted CO2 hands it a bit of extra life but it still sits a little on the lean side. Mild-medium body. 5.5% ABV is nicely placed.

Overall: It’s a good beer but it just falls short of the mark for us. The Affogato side was portrayed well but for one of us Affogato is a favourite dessert and without the addition of either Frangelico or Kahlua it just isn’t complete! Either way it’s not a bad drop.

King Tide ‘Cows With Guns’ India Brown Ale


“Geared with toasted malts and cranked up with resinous hops. Cheers to an epic local bike track!”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Light chestnut brown with a big three finger head. It takes an age to reduce and leaves a smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Straight away we get a nose full of those gorgeous toasty chocolate malts.. throwing out cocoa, light coffee and roasted nuts. Although it’s hopped more than your typical Brown Ale the hops don’t really cut through as much as we’d like.. shy-ish notes of pine resin, subtle citrus and dank/weedy herbs. Not half bad but.

Flavour: Promising start of sharp piney hops, resin and pithy grapefruit with the roasty/toasty malts giving it some bottom end. It holds rather well with the citric bitterness and dank weedy herbs coming through the other side and leading on to a nutty/toasty finish. Some fairly aggressive bitterness on the back end too.

Mouthfeel: Just a tad too light on for our liking. Nicely balanced though, good Co2. 6.7% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: A pretty decent representation of the style. Well balanced, full flavoured, a bit of grunt to boot. A fine offering really.

8 Wired ‘Aces & Eights’ Texas Brown Ale


“Poker is in our blood, in fact, it is a true urban legend that our brewery was funded with money won in a poker game. But unlike a poor sucker dealt Aces & Eights – known as the dead man’s hand – we’re still alive and kicking. Just like the hoppy zip in every mouthful of this American style Brown Ale.”

Glassware: American Pint.

Appearance: Brown with dark copper highlights. It only manages a thumb of finely beaded foam but it retains incredibly well and leaves a cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: We’re uncertain why – what is obviously an American Brown Ale – is labelled a “Texas Brown Ale”. Is it hopped with Texan bred hops or does it have something to do with its geographical proximity to Nevada i.e casino’s? What is certain is that we pick up a beautifully balanced aroma full of nutty choc malts, toast, oats, coconut flakes, pine, mild citrus and herbals.

Flavour: Quite shy. Yeah we can taste the nutty malts, cocoa, citrus and piney hops but overall it’s very restrained. Nicely balanced though, we’ll give them that. A mild hop bitterness kicks out midway and is offset by the slightly toasty and roasty malts which finish it off. Decent length on it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and silky, a little creamy. Mild dryness in the swallow. Medium body. 6% ABV is nicely positioned.

Overall: Underwhelming to be honest. We see American Brown Ales as a step back from black IPA’s yet this is nothing of the sort. Too timid and weak for our liking.

Port Brewing ‘Board Meeting’ Coffee Brown Ale


“Brewed for the early risers, who sacrifice sleep and warmth for a the first meeting of the day aboard a wave to shore. Added in 2013 to the Port Brewing year-round lineup, Board Meeting is an amplified Brown Ale, brewed with liberal additions of coffee from local San Diego roasters, Ryan Brothers and cocoa nibs sourced from famed San Francisco chocolate maker TCHO. Deep coffee flavor gives way to layers of bitter dark chocolate and a creamy vanilla body.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Dark brown pour… bordering on black with some very faint cola highlights. Short brown head which quickly fades so there’s very little lace as we go.

Aroma: It’s funny coz it actually smells better further away from the nose. Sitting idle on the table we get the gorgeous coffee and cocoa then right up under the nostrils we get a slight bitterness and a hint of syrupy sweetness. It does also offer a bit of roast, mixed spice, vanilla and aniseed/licorice so it ain’t all bad! It’s actually a pretty damn good aroma.

Flavour: Wow it all comes together here. Big punchy coffee notes, bitter chocolate/cacao, roasted nuts, a flutter of vanilla sweetness cutting through as well. Sugary dark fruits like raisin and dates enter the fray and lead in to a mildly roasty finish with coffee, chocolate and a very delicate hint of ash on the outer.

Mouthfeel: Just enough meat on the bones. Mild-medium body, slightly oily texture. Co2 is spot on for the style. 8% ABV is well hidden too.

Overall: It’s one of those times where the beer was so close to a 10/10 but still so far! If they were to tweak the aroma and thicken up the body there’s no reason why it couldn’t be the perfect Brown Ale.

2 Brothers ‘DK’ Choc Banana Brown Ale


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

Glassware: English Pint.

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

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

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

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

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

Dollar Bill 2020 ‘Autumn Parlay’ BA Belgian Brown Ale


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

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

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

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

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

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

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

Grassy Knoll Coffee Brown Ale


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

Glassware: English Pint.

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

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

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

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

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

Old Wives Ales ‘Choc Walnut Brownie’ Brown Ale


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

Glass: English Pint.

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

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

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

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

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

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Isolation Cake’ Nitro Brown Ale


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

Glassware: English Pint

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

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

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

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

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

Nomad X Rogue ‘1 Brew Nation’ Wattleseed Brown Ale


“Rogue is famous for their Hazelnut Brown Nectar and one of Nomad’s favourite native ingredients is wattleseed for its nutty taste. So bring these brewers together and it had to be a wattleseed brown ale. With a mix of Australian and NZ malts the result is a medium bodied brown ale with gentle sweetness from the malts and a nuttiness from the wattleseed.”

Glassware: English Pint.

Appearance: Deep chestnut with faint ruby red hues. It forms a loosely packed head, a finger and a half in height, which collapsed pretty quickly. Scarce lace as we go.

Aroma: Not really picking much up other than uber conventional Brown Ale qualities – nutty malt, toast, milk chocolate and dark fruits. A bit metallic…gives off that blood-like note. Hints of cherry begin to open up as it settles. The wattleseed comes through somewhat earthy with very subtle coffee and tree bark. Pretty timid but it ain’t bad.

Flavour: Similar to the aroma…lacking oomph. Pretty much just a stripped back Brown Ale with its four to the floor nutty malt, toast, lightly roasted malt and subtle coffee. The wattleseed is practically MIA, there’s delicate malt sweetness and a very faint touch of vanilla but the finish pretty much falls off a cliff.

Mouthfeel: Slippery, a little thin and watery. Mild-medium body. Co2 and ABV (5%) neither here nor there. The exact opposite of how we like Brown Ales to be.

Overall: Pretty disappointed. Especially when considering Rogue had a hand in this. It’s bereft of any real character. We’re sure a few die hard Poms would dig it but that’s about it.

Brouwerij Kazematten ‘Sante’ Brown Ale


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

Glassware: Chalice.

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

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

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

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

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