Maredsous 8 (231 of 1001)

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.95

At long last I’m getting round to this one, a beer that I must have picked up around eight or nine months ago and have had it in the cellar since then, with no real attempt made to drink it in that time. The beer was originally brewed by the Maredsous Abbey near Namur in Belgium, or at least an early version of it was, up until 1963 when the monks began leasing the name to the Duvel Moortgat group who now make this beer. This is one of three Maredsous beers and the only brown beer of the trio, meaning this one probably the cloesest thing to the monks original due to the fact that up until the 1970′s and the success of Leffe Blonde, blonde Abbey beers weren’t very common at all. The original version of this beer was one that was only brewed at Christmas each year but that gradually changed over the centuries and by the time Duvel started brewing it, it was already a force to be reckoned with.

Maredsous 8 - Brune

Appearance (5/5): Dark caramel brown to mahogany in colour with a one centimetre tall, foamy white head on top with amazing retention. The head actually looks quite creamy and barely budges over the opening few minutes, also managing to leave some nice lacing on the sides as well.
Aroma (9/10): Sweet on the nose with a strong sugar presence and a lot of over-ripe fruits as well. I could detect some figs, cherries and a little plum as well. There is tonnes of sweetness and dark fruits to this one along with a boozy, alcohol laced aroma that isn’t too overpowering and gives the beer a nice edge to it. There was some treacle as well and some caramel too, overall the beer is quite complex on the nose and very well balanced.
Taste (7/10): Very sweet as expecting going by the aroma with a lot of the same fruits making an appearance here including the figs and cherries along with some dates and a huge amount of sugar coming from all of these. There is is a definite alcohol taste to this one is areas and some caramel too that adds to the sweetness and some malts in addition to this.
Palate (3/5): Smooth and incredibly sweet as I’ve already mentioned, there is a lot of carbonation in this beer as well with some alcohol coming through as well. The body is a medium one that borders on light medium in places and some dryness towards the end.

Overall (15/20): This one started great with the look and the smell of the beer impressing in particular, sadly the taste couldn’t match the amazing start with the sweetness overpowering in places and the beer seeming a little bland occasionally as I worked my way down the glass. It is definitely up there with some of the best looking beers I’ve had and the head retention was incredible but the taste was lacing a little and it’s probably not one I’m likely to try again.

Brewed In: Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat
First Brewed: 1963
Full Name: Maredsous 8 – Brune/Bruin
Type: Abbey Dubbel
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: The Cave (Glasgow)
Price: £2.80 (approx.)

InishMacSaint Fermanagh Beer

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Finally. This one is a beer that I was on the lookout for on my last few trips to the north of Ireland, a beer from what I believe is (or was at one point at least) the only brewery in County Fermanagh. The beer from the Innismacsaint brewery is one that was recommended to be well over a year ago and at the time I was unable to find in anywhere in the area. I finally managed to acquire a bottle from O’Reilly’s off-license in Lisnaskea just before the end of last year and decided to hold on to it, bringing it back to Scotland and finally trying it over the weekend there. The beer is one that proves quite difficult to get a hold of, even in Fermanagh where I’m told it sells out pretty quickly from most places that take delivery of it; in fact I managed to grab the last two bottles in O’Reilly’s that day. It is a beer that is hand crafted at a microbrewery/farm in the west of the country and is one of only a few beers that the brewery makes.

Inishmacsaint Fermanagh Beer

Appearance (5/5): Cloudy and golden in appearance with a large, three centimetre tall head that is a foamy white in colour and leaves touches of lacing on the sides of the glass as well. Retention is pretty good with this one and it holds at about a centimetre tall in height.
Aroma (6/10): Some citrus notes and an almost astringent aroma with some subdued hops and a little biscuit. There is a few malts coming through and some spice as well, particularly towards the end.
Taste (7/10): More malty than the nose with some stronger biscuit flavours coming through as well. There is a little citrus from the nose with some faint sweetness and a touch of spice too. Again some subdued hops come through in places and there is a slightly bitter taste too.
Palate (4/5): Light medium bodied and smooth on the palate with the odd watery spot in there too. There is a nice medium bitterness throughout with some spice and a lingering wet finish with strong carbonation as well.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad beer but not a great one either, the taste is pretty much standard fair for the style with some biscuit malts and subtle hops but not a lot else really. There is some spice and a few bland patches around the middle but besides that is was business as usual and it was very similar to most other golden ales out there.

Brewed In: Drumskimly, Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Inishmacsaint Brewery
First Brewed: Brewery since 2009
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: O’Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.50 (aprrox.)

Hello, My Name Is Mette Marit

April 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

Following on from Hello, My Name is Vladimir, this will be my second Brewdog beer from their Hello, My Name Is… series in as many weeks. This one is the Norweigan influenced Metter-Marit, the name of which was censored on the bottles sent to Norway. It will be my third in the series, the other being Hello, My Name Is Beastie which was the Scottish offering for the series and one I tried in January last year. I picked this one up before Christmas alongside another in the series with the name Sonja, a collaboration with the Evil Twin brewery that I will probably review here in the near future. The twist in the version of the double IPA is that it is brewed using Norwegian Lingonberries, not that I’m familiar with them or anything but I’m looking forward to trying this one.
Hello, My Name Is Mette Marit

Appearance (3/5): Orange amber in colour with a thumb-sized, bubbly head that is very slightly off-white and slowly reduces in size to sit about half its original size after about thirty seconds before finally settling as a thin lacing on top. The beer is quite clean and looks relatively still as well.
Aroma (6/10): Sweet with some tropical notes but it is the floral and herbal ones that start to take over after the initial burst of fruit. There is some berries, lingonberries I presume although I’m lost as to what they are exactly other than that they are Norwegian according to the label on the bottle. The sweetness gets a little stronger as the beer goes one and there is some pine hops as well; not as many as I would have expected or liked but the aroma isn’t a bad one.
Taste (6/10): Sweet floral notes, some herbal ones too and a lot of berries (again, lingonberries I imagine) although with a few other sweet fruits and faint hops which I wasn’t expecting consider the beer is a double IPA. A few sweet malts make an appearance too but it’s the berries and floral flavours that dominate here.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and some sweetness throughout. There is a slight citrus tang and hints of spice with a little alcohol as well but not a lot. It was pretty easy drinking with a warming, boozy feel towards the end.

Overall (13/20): This one was a fairly disappointing Brewdog beer and definitely not up to the standard of the previous two in this series that I’ve tried from the brewery. The beer was still drinkable and had a nice feel to it but the taste wasn’t much like a double IPA and wasn’t all that exciting or bitter either.

Brewed In: Fraserburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Imperial/Double IPA
Abv: 8.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.00 (approx.)

Paradigm Shift

April 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

This one was one of two new Williams Brothers beers that I picked up in Good Spirits Co. in Glasgow the other week there after learning that the shop had a few new bottles in. The other was their Double Joker IPA that is now available in bottles, actually this is one of three if I count the Williams Brothers and Brooklyn Brewery collaboration ‘A Wee Bit’ that I also purchased from Good Spirits a couple of weeks previous to that. This one is a hopped-up amber ale that is a rarity for Williams Brothers beers in that it comes in 330ml bottles as opposed to the usual 500ml, the only other like that I can remember is their Impale IPA that I’ve tried a few times now. This beer was one that I wasn’t even aware existed until I noticed it for sale in a couple of bottle shops so I can’t claim it’s one I’ve been looking forward to in the same way I have been with their Double Joker but hopefully this one is a pleasant surprise and slightly more American in style than most Williams Brothers beers usually are.

Paradigm Shift

Appearance (4/5): Dark amber to caramel brown in colour and very clear, with a thumb-sized head on top that had reasonable retention. It held well, slowly reducing to about half its original size and leaving some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (6/10): Initially quite a hoppy beer with some light fruits and a hint of tropical fruits on top. There is a little spice in there and some citrus as well as some sweet malts and toffee. Further hops come through and there is a touch of biscuit too. A nice smelling beer but it just seems to missing that cutting edge and could have been a touch stronger as well.
Taste (7/10): A bitter beer, more so than I had been expecting and infused with some nice citrus and tropical fruit flavours that mirror the nose well. I could detect some biscuit and caramel malts as well as some toffee too. Touches of sweetness come through alongside some orange. A definite improvement on the nose and quite a nice taste.
Palate (4/5): Fairly smooth and quite a bitter beer with some alcohol coming through and a slight citrus tang on the tongue with moderate carbonation and a light medium body.

Overall (15/20): A nice new beer from Williams Brothers, it’s been a bit since I last tried a new one of their beers. This one is good with a pleasant hoppy and bitter taste , although as I mentioned it seems to be missing that something special that would set it apart from the crowd. Definitely a worthwhile purchase but I’m not overly sure it would be one that I’d pick up again if truth be told.

Brewed In: Alloa, Scotland
Brewery: Williams Brothers Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.20

Sixpoint Sweet Action

April 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.5

This one is my third review of a Sixpoint beer this week, and what will probably be my last for sometime since this one plus the previous two, Bengali Tiger and The Crisp, are the only cans from the brewery I am able to get my hands on in the UK for the time being. The beer is what I think will be my first ever cream ale which is nice as a new style of beer from me is getting increasingly rare these days. It does however mean that I don’t have a clue what to expect going in but I am hoping it will be a good first introduction to the style of beer, we shall see though.
Sixpoint Sweet Action

Appearance (5/5): Caramel amber in colour with a thumb-sized, foamy white head that seems quite creamy once it settles. The head also leaves some good lacing on the sides of the glass as it is drank and holds pretty well throughout.
Aroma (7/10): Sweet malts and some subdued hops on the nose although the smell is definitely a very light on with only a few faint floral notes, some light caramel and even fainter still , some sweet fruits to round things off.
Taste (6/10): Quite sweet tasting with some malts that hint at caramel, some sweet fruits and a touch of bitterness coming through. There is some further caramel and biscuit flavours with a few lager hops but the taste is again quite basic.
Palate (3/5): Creamy although still with a thinner body than I was expecting, it was probably light medium at best but it was exceptionally smooth and quite easy to drink with low carbonation and a fairly wet finish.

Overall (12/20): This one was a fairly average Sixpoint offering that was drinkable with the sweet and creamy feel being a highlight for me. The main problem with Sweet Action was that both the taste and the smell seemed too light and basic for me to really enjoy it and to be honest its not a beer I’ll be likely to pick up again, especially if Bengali Tiger is also available.

Brewed In: Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America
Brewery: Sixpoint Brewery
First Brewed: 2005
Type: Cream Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Crystal Palace (JD Wetherspoons), Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £2.49

Sixpoint The Crisp

April 14, 2014 1 comment

Rating: 3.45

A second Sixpoint beer in the space of a few days now, this one being another I picked up at a J D Wetherspoons pub in Glasgow after recently finding out that they were available in their pubs. This one follows on from the same breweries American IPA, Bengali Tiger, that I reviewed a few days ago and quite enjoyed. I’ve haven’t heard quite as much about this offering as I had the previous but again it is a beer I’m looking forward to trying, particularly because a good German style pilsener is hard to find these days, especially one that hasn’t been brewed in Germany. I’m expecting a refreshing and crisp beer that is easy to drink, we shall see if that is what I get but I’m optimistic going in at least.
The Crisp

Appearance (4/5): A very clear, light golden colour with a lot of visible carbonation showing through plenty of bubbles rising to the surface. The beer is topped with a half centimetre tall, foamy white head that hold pretty well and leaves some nice lacing on the sides as well.
Aroma (6/10): Light pilsener malts and some grassy hops with a crisp and clean aroma that has some bittersweet notes coming through and faint citrus with a few earthy notes as well. It was a fairly light smelling beer and pretty much as I was expecting for the style.
Taste (6/10): A light and clean pilsener taste with some earthy bitterness coming through and a few malts as well. There was a light citrus and lemon taste with some grassy hops on top of that. Again quite a basic and straightforward taste from this one but it wasn’t a bad beer.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and clean on the palate with a naturally crisp finish as the name hinted at. The beer was a good thirst quencher with carbonation levels about medium and sat on top of a light medium body with a slightly bittersweet finish.

Overall (13/20): This one was a decent pilsener and not a bad offering from Sixpoint, although it wasn’t in the same league as their Bengali Tiger I’m afraid. The beer was a pleasant and crisp one that lived up to its name at least whilst being fairly enjoyable and refreshing without really standing out from the crowd or matching some of the better German or Czech pilsener offerings.

Brewed In: Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America
Brewery: Sixpoint Brewery
First Brewed: 2010
Also Known As: Sixpoint Sehr Crisp Pilsner
Type: German Pilsener
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Crystal Palace (JD Wetherspoons), Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £2.49

Bengali Tiger

April 11, 2014 2 comments

Rating: 4.0

My first ever Sixpoint beer here, an American IPA from the Red Hook based Brooklyn brewery those beers have recently became available in J D Wetherspoon pubs in the UK. This alongside two other cans, their The Crisp and their Sweet Action, are now easily available throughout the UK. I was only made aware of this about a fortnight ago and quickly decided to arrange a visit. On this occasion I only managed to sample the Bengali Tiger but I should be making a return visit this weekend to try the other two. This one is one the brewery’s flagship offerings and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to order it a second time rather than trying something new.
Bengali Tiger

Appearance (5/5): This one looks pretty much perfect; it is a bright amber to orange colour with a thumb-sized, foamy white head that is straight and holds incredibly well over the course of the beers life, with only a minor reduction is size and it leaves a lot of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Pine hops and strong tropical fruit notes with a lot of citrus and some clean, sweet malts that hints at some caramel. There was touches of grapefruit too but the pine notes seemed to dominate, particularly at the start. Lighter on the nose than I was expecting overall but it is a nice one.
Taste (7/10): Bitter pine hops and some grapefruit come through from the nose along with some citrus as well. The beer is a definite American IPA tasting one with good lemon flavours and some light malts as well to mix it up a little. The beer was a very bitter one and there was some nice touches of orange towards the end as well.
Palate (4/5): A very bitter offering with a medium body and smooth body. Carbonation was quite lively and there was a dry and tangy feel to it with a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Overall (16/20): A very hoppy and enjoyable beer that was heavy on the pine notes and flavours with plenty of bitterness as well. You could tell the beer was a strong one but it still went down fairly easy, so much so that I went back to the bar for a second can. Very good stuff and one that I’d have again, although I’m looking forward to trying the other two Sixpoint beers that J D Wetherspoon pubs are selling before I go back this one a third time.

Brewed In: Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America
Brewery: Sixpoint Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2005
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.4%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Crystal Palace (JD Wetherspoons), Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £2.49

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