10 Finger Discount

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

I received this beer last week as a belated housewarming present and was pretty pleased to get it, it’s probably not a beer I would have got a chance to try as there are so many out there that I’d probably pick before it in truth but it is a beer that I’ve spotted on a few occasions now locally. The beer is one of a series of collaborations that the Siren Craft brewery made with Danish brewers To Øl, this one being a follow up to their 5 Finger Discount. It’s one I’m looking forward to trying as I believe that the majority of beers I’ve tried from Siren have proved to be good ones and although the same can’t be said about To Øl, they are a brewery that have been getting good reviews and I’ve been starting to see a lot more of their beers available so that surely must count for something.

10 Finger Discount

Appearance (4/5): Dark and hazy amber to bronze in colour with a fairly large, two inch head on top that is almost overflowing before it settles down and slowly reduces in size over the opening two or three minutes to leave a centimetre tall one that is  white and quite creamy looking with the odd touch of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Quite hoppy and definitely lively on the nose, I’m not entirely sure of the cedar wood mentioned on the bottle but the beer certainly has a pine and floral smell that is strong and easy to detect. There is some citrus and the beer has a nice balance to it with some sweetness and the odd tropical fruit note coming through alongside some background fruits and bitterness.
Taste (7/10): Following on from where the nose left off, this one is definitely bitter with a lot of hops and in particular strong pine flavours backed up with a little citrus and a floral middle that also features some grapefruit and hints of orange. The beer is a strong tasting one with a some sweetness balancing thins out well.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and really quite bitter with a strong finish that is dry and lingers long after each sip is taken. There is some sweetness in areas and particularly towards the end but it is definitely the bitterness that wins out, falling just short of overpowering. The alcohol seems to be hidden for the most part with only the faintest touches of it making themselves known and overall the beer has a good balance.

Overall (16/20): I enjoyed this one from Siren & To Øl a fair bit, especially when the intense bitterness had time to settle a little and the beer was allowed to open up some. There was a good balance to this one and although it is a relatively strong beer alcohol content wise, this was mostly hidden and the beer went down easily with a lingering bitter finish that was very nice and exactly what I was expecting from the beer. This was a solid effort from the two breweries and is one that I wouldn’t mind getting to try again at some point in the future.

Brewed In: Finchampstead, Berkshire, England
Brewery: Siren Craft Brew / To Øl (collaboration)
Full Name: Siren/To Øl 10 Finger Discount Citra IPA Aged On Cedar Wood
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Valhalla’s Goat (Glasgow)
Price: £3.45 (Gift)

Stronzo MacLovin

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.15

Back to Denmark now for what will be my nineteenth beer from the country and my first from the Stronzo Brewing Company based in Gørløse, around forty kilometres north of Copenhagen. This was one of several beers from the brewery that the Brewdog online shop started to offer earlier this year and also happens to be the only one of theirs that I opted to grab a bottle of. The beer came highly recommended (from Brewdog anyway) and was featured in their pick of guest beers back in March so I’m hoping it lives up to the hype. The word ‘Stronzo’ is Italian and roughly translates as ‘asshole’ so I imagine that’s at least part of the reason for Brewdog suddenly stocking their beers, well that and their love for all Scandinavian breweries; hopefully that love is well placed.

Stronzo MacLovin

Appearance (4/5): Pours a very dark, opaque brown colour with a thin, quarter centimetre lacing on top that looks quite foamy and shows little initial movement, managing to completely cover the surface. Surprisingly even after a few minutes the head hasn’t moved any and if anything it even looks slightly more creamy and a little taller as well.
Aroma (9/10): A definite malt filled aroma upfront with some earthy and peat like notes before some alcohol starts to come through. This was quickly followed by some sweetness and more caramel than I was expecting, some vanilla manages to make itself known as well. The nose was quite a complex one with some darker fruits and sugars coming through from the middle on wards but the beer maintains a good balance throughout with figs and dates plus a slightly nutty smell right at the end; excellent stuff.
Taste (8/10): Like the nose, this one starts fairly malty and definitely quite dry with more alcohol coming through than with the nose but without overpowering. This is cut of with the sugar and sweetness from the darker fruits that featured in the nose, some spice making an appearance too. There was big hits of caramel and toffee around the middle, again matching the aroma before the roasted flavours and woody bitterness start to close things out.
Palate (4/5): Quite a smooth but dry tasting beer with some solid alcohol coming through without overdoing it. The beer is big of flavour and fairly complex but strikes a good balance and goes down quite easily despite the strength. The body was about medium, as were the carbonation levels, maybe just shy of medium in fact but the beer was great on the palate nonetheless.

Overall (17/20): Another very good Danish beer, it’s not often I pick up a bad one from the country (excluding the usual mass produced crap anyway). This one proved to be very drinkable despite its strength and went down easier than I was expecting, especially considering I’m not exactly a huge fan of the Scotch Ale style of beer; maybe if they all tasted like this one then I might be. Very enjoyable from start to finish, Brewdog sure do know their stuff when it comes to importing Scandinavian beers it seems.

Brewed In: Gørløse, Denmark
Brewery: Stronzo Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Scotch Ale
Abv: 8.7%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £5.00

Fourpure IPA

October 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

This is a beer from a relatively new London based brewery, Fourpure, that I recently stumbled upon when in my local bottle shop picking up for seasonal pumpkin beers before they disappeared for another year. Whilst in the shop I happened across this can, mainly opting for it because it was a new London brewery that I’d yet to see anything from but also because it states on the label that the beer is ‘Inspired by Oregeon, USA’ so I’m hoping the hops are showcased with this one. As I’ve probably mentioned countless times before, I’m enjoying seeing more craft beers in cans and it good to see a UK brewery offering their entire core range in this format – they even claim to be the first UK craft brewery to do this for their entire core range. Coming in at 6.5%, the beer should be packed with flavour and it’s one I’m definitely looking forward to trying; I’ll wait until I’ve done so to see if it’s a brewery I want to see more of but all signs look positive at this stage.

Fourpure IPA

Appearance (4/5): This can was absolutely filled to the brim, it was overflowing when I opened it and it poured a light to medium amber colour, topped with a foamy white head about a centimetre and a half tall. Retention is fairly good with the head receding slightly before holding at just under a centimetre tall after a couple of minutes.
Aroma (8/10): Quite hoppy and definitely American influenced straight off the bat, the beer is loaded with pine and tropical fruits notes, some citrus like hops and a nice bitterness to get things going. The beer certainly smells fresh with some sweetness and sugars coming through on top of the juicy fruits notes and citrus. This one was an excellent smelling beer with some mango and pineapple rounding things off very nicely indeed.
Taste (7/10): Starting quite lively on the taste buds with some strong citrus and huge amounts of bitterness, the beer tastes like an enhanced version of the nose with strong hop flavours and a huge floral taste that came across more pronounced than anything with the nose. There was some of the mango and tropical fruits flavours present as well but given how strong the bitterness and hops were, it made these quite difficult to detect and enjoy properly. Some lemon and pine made an appearance towards the end and the bitterness was present throughout.
Palate (4/5): Very bitter on the palate with a medium, well carbonated body and a fairly lively feel to it. The beer was quite dry and slightly chewy towards the end with a lingering bitter finish that seemed to go on and on.

Overall (15/20): Fairly good stuff from Fourpure, the highlight being the wonderful smell of the beer but it was let down ever so slightly by the taste with too much bitterness and citrus coming through early on that threw the balance of what was otherwise a very good offering. It was a good but fairly standard and dare I say ordinary American style IPA that could have used something a little different to make it a truly excellent offering.

Brewed In: Bermondsey, London, England
Brewery: Fourpure Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2013
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.20

Dogfish Head Sixty-One

October 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Another Dogfish Head beer now, my third ever from the Delaware based brewery and like both of its predecessors (90 Minute IPA and Midas Touch) this one is another beer brought back from Virginia for me by my sister. Despite only have tried two the brewery’s beers before I am a huge fan and would love to have tried more of their stuff, sadly due to the fact their beers rarely make it beyond the east coast of the Untied States being gifted them from a returning relative is my best chance of trying new ones. This particular offering, of which I now have two bottles, is a version of Dogfish Head’s best-selling 60 Minute IPA with one new ingredient, syrah grape must from California, added during brewing. This one comes in half a percent stronger than the standard 60 Minute IPA at 6.5% abv. and since I’ve never tried the original I’m not sure what to expect from this one – altohugh I suspect it will be a good beer. Launched in March 2013 and coming in at 60 IBU, the beer is continually hopped and will be the first of five new Dogfish Head beers I’ve been lucky enough to get hold of; I can’t wait!

Dogfish Head Sixty-One

Appearance (4/5): This one pours a fairly bright looking amber colour that boarders on orange to red at times and is topped with a half centimetre tall, foamy white head that is slightly taller than a fine lacing but only just. The beer seems a touch cloudy and there is little in the way of head movement over the opening minutes.
Aroma (7/10): This one starts much like your typical American IPA with some citrus and pine notes but these aren’t particularly in your face and seem to have a nice balance before some floral notes and sweetness start to come through. The grapes mentioned on the label definitely start to come through quite early on with various fruits backing them up and some further sweetness and malts following on not far behind. The hop bitterness is quite subtle but you can tell it is there and some wine -like notes round things off nicely.
Taste (7/10): This one starts of with some citrus and pine but it’s definitely lighter than the nose suggested. This is followed by some white grapes and a very slightly acidic taste that is reminiscent of white wine before some sweetness and malts begin to come through and level things out. There is a touch of bitterness and hints of tropical fruits as well but the grapes seem to be the most pronounced and noticeable.
Palate (4/5): This one is quite a smooth beer with more carbonation than I was expecting, it comes out just past medium and has a nice tang to it with hints of spice too. There is some sweetness coming through on top of a medium body and there is a hint of alcohol towards the end of proceedings but overall it is a very drinkable beer.

Overall (15/20): This one was quite a good effort from Dogfish Head and on its own a really nice beer but when it follows on from the previous two from the brewery that I’ve tried it has to be said that this one definitely wasn’t their best. The beer was enjoyable and easy enough to drink but the white grapes seemed to be more pronounced and noticeable than I would have liked.

Brewed In: Milton, Delaware, United States of America
Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
First Brewed: 2013
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Virginia, United States of America
Price: Gift

Secret Des Moines Triple

October 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

This one is the last of three beers I received as a gift, brought back from France for me the other week and is another that seemed to cause confusion when I was looking it up online. It appears that the beer is either brewed across multiple sites in both France and Belgium like Grimbergen Ambrée that I reviewed previously, or that at one point production was moved. Like that offering, I have come to the conclusion that the version I tried was brewed in northern France so I will list it as such here. The beer is a bottle fermented tripel that has also been dry hopped so I’m expecting big things from this one, particularly due to the fact that I really enjoyed this style of beer; let’s see how it rates.

Secret Des Moines Triple

Appearance (5/5): Fairly light looking golden in colour with a slight yellow tinge and plenty of visible carbonation showing thanks to the abundance of fine bubbles rising to the surface of the beer. There is a two centimetre tall, bubbly white head on top of the glass with relatively good retention for the first couple of minutes before it slowly fades, but only a touch.
Aroma (7/10): This one kicks off with some coriander and plenty of yeast on the nose, this is followed by quite a fruity aroma that includes some grapes and apples. The beer is typical of the tripel style and fairly juicy with hints of alcohol and a lot of spice before further fruits round things off.
Taste (6/10): The taste starts quite fruit with a pleasant combination of pear, grapes and apple coming through before some yeast and hints of floral hops make an appearance. There is some of the alcohol from the nose in there too but this isn’t particularly strong and I could also detect some citrus and a nice helping of spice. The taste wasn’t a bad one at all, I just felt it could have used being a bit stronger and more pronounced.
Palate (4/5): This one was a smooth beer with a nice balance and the majority of the alcohol content well hidden, only a touch of it is detectable on the nose and in the taste. The beer is quite spicy with a light medium body and what I would consider subdued carbonation levels.

Overall (13/20): This one wasn’t a bad beer, although in truth it probably wasn’t much better than average either really. The taste was quite nice but could definitely have been stronger but the smell was at least a little more pronounced. As I’ve said, a nice beer but not one to look out for or one I’d pick up again in truth.

Brewed In: Ronchin, Nord, France
Brewery: Grain d’Orge
First Brewed: Brewery since 1898
Type: Abbey Tripel
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: France
Price: Gift

Pannepot (268 of 1001)

October 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

A huge Belgian beer now, this is one that I picked up late last year from the Beers of Europe website with a view of drinking it over Christmas but as it turns out I ended up buying far more beers than I had time to drink so this one was been sitting waiting to be drank ever since. Since it’s almost time to start planning what I’ll be drinking this Christmas I thought I better start getting through last years stash first, this one being the last bottle from my Beers of Europe order at least. Coming in at 10%, this 2012 vintage from the De Struise brewery  in Oostvleteren, Belgium takes it’s name from type of local fishing boat that are known as a ‘Pannepot’. Apparently the beer is not particularly well known in it’s native Belgium when compared to more famous Quadrupel’s available there but it seems to have gained a following in the United States among craft beer fans who have a liking for strong, dark beers so hopefully it will be well worth its place on the 1001 beers list as the 268th such beer I have reviewed here.

Pannepot

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark beer that pours an opaque brown colour with a tiny bit of ruby in there and topped with a bubbly, light brown head that initially sits about half a centimetre tall before disappearing almost completely save for a few odd, tiny bubbles around the circumference of the glass.
Aroma (8/10): Strong on the nose with a smell that is dominated by dark, ripe fruits that includes dates, plums, raisins and some currants. There is lot of sugar to this one that gives the beer a sweet and alcohol tinged smell yet somehow doesn’t seem quite as strong as it should given the alcohol content, perhaps that will change in the taste. Some caramel malts start to come through, as does hints of acidity but these are relatively minor and masked by the rest of what is a fairly complex yet well balanced aroma.
Taste (7/10): This one certainly packs a punch with a strong taste consisting of some strong fruit flavours that mirror the nose and include dates, plum and currants among others. There is a fair amount of sweetness to this one with but also some acidity and an almost wine like taste that features some grapes in the mix as well. Again alcohol features in the taste but at least some of the 10% abv. was masked by the ripe fruits and sugars.
Palate (3/5): Very sweet on the palate and strong but there is still less alcohol showing that you might expect. There beer is a smooth, medium bodied one that has some acidity to it yet still manages to go down relatively easily, especially considering the the high abv. on the bottle and carbonation is about medium.

Overall (14/20): Very nice stuff from De Struise here, the beer was exceptionally sweet throughout with quite a complex mix of dark and ripe fruits that seems to at least partially mask some of the alcohol content of the beer. It was definitely an enjoyable beer and one that went down well but I’m not entirely sure it is one that I’d go back to again, mainly because it was so strong.

Brewed In: Oostvleteren, West Vlaanderen, Belgium
Brewery: De Struise Brouwers
First Brewed: 2004
Type: Quadrupel
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: BeersOfEurope.co.uk
Price: £3.79

#Mashtag 2014

October 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.4

It’s that time again and I’m sitting down to review the 2014 edition of Brewdog’s annual #Mashtag release, a crowd sourced beer that follows on from the first ever #Mashtag that was voted for and brewed in March last before being released a few months later. Brewdog launched the concept on Twitter, Facebook and via their website blog, giving fans a chance to vote on each aspect of the beer from a list they provided with a brown ale coming out on top last year. For this years edition, a process that I again voted in, the winner was declared to be an Imperial Red Ale with blood orange, lemon peel and orange peel thrown in during the brewing process as an added twist. It is brewed using hops from New Zealand, Germany and the United States; it’s definitely one I’ve been looking forward to since voting closed. The tagline reads “#Mashtag 2014 – a beer for the people, by the people” so hopefully it is one that will please the people (and more importantly me)!

#Mashtag 2014

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark copper to amber colour with a clear body and a one centimetre tall, foamy white head on top that is a beige to creamy colour with the odd bubble. The beers head retention is good with no movement over the opening couple of minutes before it eventually turns to a slightly creamy looking one that is about half its original size.
Aroma (8/10): Starting very hoppy,the beer has a lot of resinous pine notes and a strong citrus aroma. The beer seems quite thick with a lot of bitterness showing and some orange in there too before the sweetness starts to come through and balance things out. There is some sweet malts and a little caramel that sit in the background along with some faint alcohol notes but these don’t seem overly strong or noticeable thankfully.
Taste (9/10): There is quite a strong and in your face bitterness to this one that I enjoyed with some strong pine, grapefruit and citrus flavours that features some orange too. The alcohol was also noticeable, more so than it was with aroma, and the sweet malts and caramel seem to have more of a presence here too. The beer almost tasted like a double IPA at times but the sweetness definitely balanced things without crowding out the bitterness towards the end; excellent stuff.
Palate (5/5): This latest Brewdog effort was very smooth on the palate, more so than I had been expecting given the high alcohol content. The body was a medium one but carbonation was a little lighter and the beer almost felt syrupy at times with some alcohol coming through, particularly towards the end.

Overall (18/20): This one was an excellent Brewdog beer in almost ever sense of the word and is probably my favourite beer of theirs, no mean feat considering this one will be the 69th beer from the brewery that I have reviewed here. The beer had an excellent balance and a wonderfully hoppy, bitter taste that went down a lot easier than it should have. This is definitely on of their beers that I would love to see brewed on a regular basis, or at least on a semi-regular one; I’ll have to grab another couple of bottles of the stuff before it’s gone forever.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Imperial Red Ale
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £3.50 (approx.)

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