Guinness Dublin Porter

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.15

This one was definitely another spur of the moment type purchase, I spotted the beer from Guinness alongside another from the Dublin brewery titled West Indies Porter (a review of which will follow in the near future). I wasn’t planning on picking any more beers until I had managed to get through my current stash but the fact that these were new beers, and what more, offered at a special introductory price – yup, I save a few pence, at least! Anyway, I’ve tried a couple Guinness beer now and the majority have proved to be worthy purchases either down to them being enjoyable to drink or simply because they were something a little different, as a result this was one I was looking forward to trying when I sampled it over the weekend,. Let’s just say it was quite a disappointment and it won’t be a beer I’m returning to, hopefully it’s West Indies partner in crime is a drastic improvement on this one.

Guinness Dublin Porter

Appearance (3/5): Dark ruby in colour with a thin, quarter centimetre tall head that covers the surface and holds well over the opening minutes, the beer looks opaque and still as well.
Aroma (3/10): Really like on the nose, I’m surprised at just how hard it was to detect much in the way of anything from this one other than some very light roasted malts and even fainter caramel and chocolate. Quite a poor aroma from this one so I’m hoping the taste will be a marked improvement.
Taste (4/10): Like the smell the taste was fairly weak as well but it did at least offer something in the way of flavour. There was some light malts and caramel again, a hint of sweetness and fizz with something that wasn’t unlike cola in places; again this was pretty poor stuff.
Palate (2/5): Medium bodied, smooth although some fizz and dryness features as well. The beer was relatively easy going down but it wasn’t all that enjoyable, it seemed watery and bland throughout.

Overall (9/20): This one was a particularly poor offering from Guinness, I didn’t really enjoy it at all with the aroma almost non-existent and the taste lacking some as well. Other than some light roasted malts and faint chocolate there wasn’t really much going for this one at all and all I can do is hope that the West Indies version from Guinness I’ve got to try next is a lot better than this one proved to be.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: St. James’s Gate Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: English Porter
Abv: 3.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Morrisons
Price: £1.50

Sierra Nevada Porter

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.35

Time for my eighth beer from Sierra Nevada, another American brewery that I do my best to pick up any beers from that I can find (depending on the price of course) and will be my first from them I enjoyed a bottle of their Tumbler back in January. My local bottle shop recently took an order of this one and I was amazed to find that I hadn’t actually tried this one from the brewery before, particularly given that it is one of their year round offerings. First brewed in 1980 when the brewery was founded, this one must be doing something right and is one that I have spotted a couple of times in the past, I had just wrongly been assuming I had already tried it but now I will finally get the chance to give it a go.

Sierra Nevada Porter

Appearance (5/5): A chocolate brown and quite dark body with a larger than expected, two-fingers tall head that seems quite foamy. The head is a beige-brown colour and holds very well indeed, there seems to be little in the way of movement over the opening two or three minutes anyway and some nice lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (9/10): A combination of light, roasted malts and strong chocolate with some lighter coffee coming through initially, the beer seems relatively sweet and also manages to seem well balanced on first impressions. There is some light spice and sugar present with some further malts, I’m definitely glad I gave this one some time to warm up a little before pouring it, it seems to have helped the nose with some dry, darker fruits coming through and even some hops manage to make an appearance; excellent stuff.
Taste (8/10): Like the aroma, the taste of this one is excellent with some a great mix of roasted malts and chocolate with the hops the featured towards the end of the nose making themselves more known in the taste. There is some coffee as well with some light caramel and to a lesser extent some of the dry fruits from the nose too.
Palate (4/5): Very smooth and highly drinkable, this one was real easy going down with some sweetness throughout and about medium carbonation on top of a medium, almost thick body.

Overall (17/20): Another excellent beer from Sierra Nevada as I’ve come to expect from the California based brewery, this one’s best bit seemed to be the fact it was so well balanced with no one flavour overpowering the rest, I even managed to detect the hops coming through in this one with relative ease which is fairly unusual for such a style of beer. Great from the get go, I’m just disappointed it has taken me so long to actually get round to trying this one but it’s certainly been worth the wait.

Brewed In: Chico, California, United States of America
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
First Brewed: 1980
Type: American Porter
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60

Bourbon Baby

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Now for a beer that I picked up when it was released back in March this year, Bourbon Baby from Brewdog. This beer was brewed as part of a collaboration with London based Honest Burgers for something known on Twitter as ‘#BrewBurger’ whereby Brewdog came up with this barrel aged Scotch Ale and the guys at Honest Burgers made the burger to accompany the beer. It was available for a limited time at the burger chains stores as well as from through Brewdog and the burger also toured several of the brewery’s UK bars although I never managed to try it. Since it’s claimed to be a perfect beer to accompany a burger I thought I’d hold back on drinking this one until I could try it alongside some burgers and give my own verdict, and finally that day has arrived so here goes.

Bourbon Baby

Appearance (3/5): Dark brown in body with a slightly murky appearance and the odd ruby tinge around the edges. The beer has a slightly bubbly looking lacing on top that fails to cover the surface entirely and gets more patchy as time goes on.
Aroma (8/10): This one was really quite sweet on the nose with more coming through than I had been expecting, there is some oak and plenty of vanilla upfront with some faint bourbon and wood like aromas backing them up. The beer is excellent on the nose with some grain and a solid chocolate aroma that also features some darker fruits and sugar giving the beer a complex but well balanced aroma throughout.
Taste (8/10): This one starts with a good helping of butterscotch, some sugar and more of the vanilla from the nose. Again the beer is sweeter than I anticipated with plenty of chocolate backing these flavours up, there is even some oak and darker fruits in there too. I started to notice a slightly bitter flavouring towards the end of this one with pleasant roasted malts coming through as well, a great tasting beer from the get go and not entirely what I had been expecting.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and a strong sweetness throughout, definitely coming through stronger than I expected with the vanilla playing more of a part than I reckoned for. There was some bitterness dotted throughout with light carbonation and a great balance.

Overall (16/20): Another highly enjoyable Brewdog offering, this one definitely goes some way to covering for the disappointment I had after trying their Magic Stone Dog collaboration with Magic Rock and Stone. Despite the fact it probably wouldn’t be my first choice of beer to pair with a burger I can see why people would enjoy the two together, it was smooth and not too light with plenty going for it; definitely one worth trying.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Scotch Ale
Abv: 5.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £4.00 (approx.)

Magic Stone Dog

September 17, 2014 1 comment

Rating: 3.15

A fairly new beer from Brewdog here, this one was brewed in collaboration with Greg Koch from Stone Brewing and Stu from England’s Magic Rock brewery. The beer was released just last month and I quickly picked up a bottle, I’m always fearful that these limited releases from Brewdog will sell out fast when in truth they rarely seem to. The beer was brewed at Brewdog’s new brewery on the eve of their AGM and was labelled as an American pale ale by them but is in truth a hybrid saison/pale ale but I’m confused as to what exactly that’ll turn out like; hopefully it’ll be a good one though.

Magic Stone Dog

Appearance (3/5): The beer initially looks like a saison, either that or a watered down American pale ale but I’ll trust the commercial description and treat it as the pale ale it claims to be. The beer is quite clear with a finger-sized, foamy white head on top that has decent retention initially and looks like it’ll leave some minor lacing on the sides of the glass too. Colour wise is is a light amber to golden colour and there is the odd fine bubble rising to the surface too.
Aroma (4/10): Again it seems more like a saison or at least a Belgian ale with some spice and yeast upfront, quickly followed by some citrus notes and pepper. Some sweetness also comes through with the odd tropical fruit and some pineapple but it the yeast that seems to be most pronounced, at least initially anyway. Towards the end there is a fusty and kind of odd aroma though, it is almost like dust or suit on the nose and this definitely takes away from the smell quite a bit although it wasn’t exactly a classic before that.
Taste (7/10): Much like the smell was initially, there is some Belgian style yeast and plenty of citrus coming through with a solid helping of spice and some lighter tropical fruits, in particular some pineapple and touches of mango seem the strongest. The beers taste was a marked improvement on the aroma in my eyes and some subtle hops helped to round things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Slightly spicy with a strong citrus tang and hints of sweetness throughout. The beer was light medium in body with medium carbonation and a some tart throughout.

Overall (13/20): I had high hopes for this one going in given that it’s a collaboration between three excellent breweries but in truth it failed to deliver, at least in part. The beer was quite enjoyable but it wasn’t as good as I’ve come to expect from these three craft breweries, the aroma in particular being a real disappointment and what brought the beer down some in my opinion of it.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog / Stone / Magi Rock (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.40

The Kernel Export India Porter

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.2

Another beer from what has become on of my favourite breweries over the last couple of years, The Kernel. This one will be my fifteenth beer from the London brewery yet it will be my first dark beer of theirs, with thirteen of the previous fourteen either being American pale ales or IPA’s and the final one being a saison. This one seems to be one of the beers that the brewery produces on as a semi-regular basis and I have spotted it a number of times over the years but never picked a bottle up for one reason or another, until now. It is seemingly also available at various different strength depending on the release with it ranging from around 5.8% to 6.3%, with the hop strains used seeming to impact on the abv. of beer but but the version I will be reviewing comes in at 6% abv. and is very much one that I am looking forward to trying, let’s just hope it’s as good as some of their IPA’s and pale ales.
The Kernel Export India Porter

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black with a thin, foamy head that is light beige in colour and holds for a few minutes, managing to cover the surface of the beer as it does so.
Aroma (8/10): This one turned out to be quite a hop-filled beer on the nose, certainly more so than I had been expecting with more coming through than with any other porter I had tried previously. There was a strong American hop influence on the aroma with hints of citrus and tropical fruits before some strong coffee and chocolate notes started to come through as well. This brought with it some sweetness and sugar before the hops, notably the tropical fruits and some pine, began to re-emerge and make themselves known again. Enjoyable and definitely something different, this one started very well indeed.
Taste (9/10): The taste started with some pine hops and light citrus from the American style hops that featured heavily on the nose. There was a strong coffee flavour that followed this and some cocoa/chocolate started to come through as well. I could detect some sweetness from this and then a pleasant tropical fruit taste soon after. A great tasting beer that matched the aroma well and went down a treat.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and subtle carbonation. There was some sweetness present throughout that helped the beer go down so easily and the balance seemed like a good one with some hints of dryness towards the end of the beer.

Overall (18/20): Yet another outstanding beer from The Kernel, they never seem to let me down. I wasn’t expecting anywhere near as many hops coming through in this one but they proved to be a welcome addition and the beer definitely worked well as a result. It’s certainly one of the most hop-filled dark beers I’ve tried and I wasn’t sure how this one would rank alongside some of the lighter IPA’s or America pale ales from the brewery but it more than held its own, it’s definitely one I’d pick up again as well.

Brewed In: London, England
Brewery: The Kernel Brewery
First Brewed: 2011
Alternate Name: The Kernel Export India Porter (Colombus, Simcoe, Bramling Cross)
Type: English Porter
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £3.60

Electric India (6.5%)

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

This one will be a fairly quick review of yet another Brewdog beer with the brewery accounting for 67 of the beers I’ve reviewed on this blog now. This one, Electric India, is the 2014 version of a beer of the same name I reviewed here last year and to be honest wasn’t particularly impressed with so I’m naturally hoping this years slightly weaker version is a step up. I’m not sure to what extent the recipe has been altered or if it is just the abv. that has been reduced but it is again another beer brewed at the company’s AGM with the help of their shareholder and the reason I’m picking up this years release after initially deciding not to is becuase it was relatively cheap in my local bottle shop (actually working out cheaper than it would have been from Brewdog themselves) and because I’m a sucker for a new Brewdog beer, even if it’s technically not a new beer as such. Anyway here goes and let’s hope it’s an improvement on 2013 or at the very least markedly different otherwise I’ll definitely be giving next years a miss if the brewery decide to launch one.
Electric India (2014)

Appearance (3/5): Really light and very clear golden to straw in colour with a half centimetre head that fades to a patchy lacing after about thirty seconds then almost disappears completely. Very similiar to last years offering but perhaps not quite as good, mainly as a result of the poor head retention.
Aroma (7/10): Funky on the nose to start, some sourness and hints of citrus backing this up. There is some light hops, plenty of lemon and some spice but the beer isn’t all that different to last years offering; it’s enjoyable but not a classic.
Taste (6/10): Sour and tarty to begin, the citrus and lemon from the nose are especially strong here and some background malts come through with the subtle hops. Again there is some spice but the tarty flavours come out strongest with some orange peel in there too.
Palate (4/5): Light medium bodied, quite a lot of carbonation coming through without seeming over done. There was some spice apparent throughout and the beer definitely felt lively with a dry and tangy finish.

Overall (13/20): Almost identical to last years offering in every single way, only the alcohol was different apparently and I couldn’t notice that anyway. Perhaps the orange peel used in the brewing process was more pronounced but it’s hard to remember given I last tried this one a year ago but I very much doubt I’ll pick it up again.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2014 (Original version 2013)
Type: Saison
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Far Skyline

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.55

Another new release here, this one a new beer for July from the Derbyshire based Buxton Brewery that will be my second beer from them and one that follows on from their Ace Edge that I reviewed here last month. That particular offering was one that I quite enjoyed and seeing as I’m not long back from Berlin I thought this would be a good choice for me since it’s a style I don’t often get to try and one that seemed to be fairly hard to find in Berlin which I was surprised at. This is one I’m looking forward to so hopefully it can carry on from where Ace Edge left off and deliver another excellent Buxton beer since it a brewery I’m beginning to see a lot more of north of the boarder.
Far Skyline

Appearance (2/5): Sits a cloudy lemon colour with a thin, bubbly white head that disappears very quickly after you finish pouring. The colour isn’t the most appealing and the lack of head here was quite disappointing as well.
Aroma (6/10): Lots of lemon and citrus notes to start with, there is some tropical fruits to a lesser extent as well with some hops following them. There is a sourness throughout this one and some background fruits round things off.
Taste (5/10): Quite a funky tasting beer with tonnes of sourness, some citrus as well and in particular some lemon. The tropical fruits from the nose are present here as well and seem slightly more pronounced but still fall short of being considered strong. There was some light wheat and yeast in there too with a little grapefruit and bitterness towards the end.
Palate (3/5): Spicy with a light body and plenty of carbonation, the beer even seems quite fizzy. There is a strong tang with a sourness throughout and a dryness towards the end.

Overall (9/20): Quite a poor second offering from Buxton, this one never got close to reaching the heights of their Ace Edge with far too much sourness for me. The dry-hopping mentioned on the label did have a positive effect on this one but it wasn’t enough to turn it around for me and as such it’s not one I’ll be going back to in future.

Brewed In: Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Brewery: Buxton Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Berliner Weisse
Abv: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60

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