Innis & Gunn Rum Finish

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

I spotted this one in Asda the other night and wasn’t going to pick it up at first, but after quickly checking to see if I’d tried it before I assumed I hadn’t as the name was new to me and the alcohol content was lower than the closest named beer to it that I had already tried, Innis & Gunn Rum Cask. As you have probably already guess, the two beers are most probably one and the same with this one being a minor tweak on the last bottle of it I tried back in 2011, once I actually drink it I’ll know for sure but I definitely have my suspicions already. I’ll mark this one as a new beer regardless though since the name, and more importantly the abv. of this particular bottle are different from the last at least.

Innis & Gunn Rum Finish

Appearance (4/5): Initially sits with a thumb-sized, foamy head after a somewhat aggressive pour before slowly reducing in size to sit at about a centimetre tall. The head is a light beige to creamy white colour and there is touches of lacing left on the sides of the glass as I move the beer about in the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Starting with some dark malts and a lot of sweetness, there is quite a lot of vanilla and butterscotch notes coming through, seemingly a constant with most Innis & Gunn beers I have tried. There is some oak notes as well and some sugar too with some alcohol and spice rounding things off. The smell is a relatively strong one but I’m looking forward to tasting it.
Taste (7/10): Like the aroma, this one starts quite sweet with the oak and malts from the nose coming through alongside plenty of sugar, vanilla and background fruits. I could detect a slight bit of grain and alcohol with hints of caramel and toffee in there too; not a bad tasting beer and while it didn’t quite match the heights of the smell it didn’t fall far short.
Palate (4/5): Smooth for the most part with a slightly warming feel from the alcohol and a very sweet mouthfeel throughout. Carbonation levels are about medium for this one, maybe slightly stronger and the body is a slightly creamy one with a good, balanced finish to the beer.

Overall (13/20): The more I drank of this one the more it reminded me of the breweries Rum Cask and everything in the beer leads me to believe that this one is merely a reworking of that offering, albeit with a slightly weaker alcohol content. I did seem to enjoy the beer more this time around, perhaps it was just a little fresher but in truth there wasn’t too much of a difference between the two and had the abv. of this one been the same then I’d probably not have bothered reviewing this one.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: circa. 2014
Type: Scottish Ale
Abv: 6.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Asda
Price: £1.66

Xingu Gold

September 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.0

Launched at the start of summer 2013 to mark 25 years of Xingu Black I believe, this is sadly a beer that I never actually wanted to try but somehow ended up drinking anyway. Prior to heading out to a local Brazilian restaurant the other week I made a point of checking the beer menu of the place online and was pleasantly surprised to find that they sold bottles of Xingu Black, another Brazilian beer and one that features in the 1001 beers list. As it turned out I arrived at the restaurant only to find that Xingu Black had been replaced with this one, Xingu Gold which is a beer I also looked into and one that neither features on the 1001 beers list or receives particularly encouraging reviews online. Despite this and seeing as it would be another new beer for me I opted to give it a go, it was a Brazilian restaurant after all and the only other choices were your usual macro pale lagers. Anyway, it wasn’t long fatter trying this one that I appreciated what the online reviews were onto and began to regret ordering a bottle; Xingu Gold is a very poor offering and has all the hallmarks of a cheap beer you’d pick up on holiday – terrible stuff, I just hope Xingu Black is a lot better if/when I finally get to try it.

xingu gold

Appearance (2/5): Pours a very clear looking, light golden colour with a little in the way of visible carbonation. There is a small, foamy white head on the surface that disappears completely over the course of about a minute.
Aroma (4/10): Very faint on the nose with some minor sweetness and corn, there are hints of citrus as well but these are particularly faint. Grassy hops seem to account for most of the aroma towards the end of the beer which can only be described as weak on the nose.
Taste (4/10): Matching the nose, the beer tasted fairly light with some faint corn and even fainter grassy hops. Basically the beer tasted cheap and bland with little going for it at all.
Palate (2/5): Smooth bodied but coming across too thin and quite bland as well. There was light medium carbonation and a very light body, it’s only redeeming quality was that it wasn’t repulsive so I guess that’s something.

Overall (8/20): This one was a really bland and quite boring beer that reminded me of a cheap lager you always seem to pick up on holiday that is only good for drinking in the sun. There was nothing exciting about this one although it thankfully wasn’t off-putting or disgusting to drink, it just wasn’t all that enjoyable either.

Brewed In: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Brewery: Cervejaria Sul Brasileira
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Viva Brazil, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £3.50

Moinette Blonde (265 of 1001)

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A beer that is considered a benchmark for high-strength, bottle conditioned golden ales now, a Belgian beer I picked up towards the end of last year that will be the last beer from my Beers of Europe order in the run up to Christmas last year. The main reason I have put off trying what will surely be another excellent Belgian beer until now is partly because of the strength, although it is only 8.5% but the main reason was because I felt it would age a lot better than some of the other beers I’ve picked up since but now it’s finally time to give this one a go and check another beer off the 1001 list. The beer will be my second from the Dupont brewery and follows on from their Saison Dupont that I enjoyed here some time ago and despite not being as well-known (to me at least) Moinette Blonde outsells Saison Dupont at home in Belgium so hopefully that is a sign of good taste and this one can perhaps surpass the saison, let’s find out.

Moinette Blonde

Appearance (4/5): Golden yellow in colour, slightly cloudy looking and topped with a finger-sized, foamy white head on top that doesn’t move much at all over the opening minutes. Quite a decent looking beer with better head retention than I had been expecting and some initial signs of visible carbonation too.
Aroma (7/10): Initially strong yeast on the nose with plenty of citrus notes coming through, mainly lemon but some tart and funky smells back this up well. Some fruits, notably apples and peach, start to come through around the middle plus a little coriander, with plenty of pepper and spice balancing this out well.
Taste (8/10): This one matches the smell fairly well with the yeast and lemon present early on, albeit a little more subdued here. There is the apple from the nose too and some pear coming through as well not to mention the spice and pepeer. I could detect some grass and some subtle hops feature towards the end, backed by some floral flavours too.
Palate (4/5): A very dry beer with a light-medium body and above average carbonation and a slightly grainy palate that features some alcohol and quite a crisp finish.

Overall (16/20): Another highly enjoyable Belgian beer, this one was reminiscent of a saison early on and not being the biggest fan of the style I was initially worried but the funk, tart and Belgian yeast died down some and the fruit flavours and spice slowly took over. The beer was a well balanced some and despite the alcohol content it still managed to go down easily, While it’s not a beer that I’d go back to time and again, I would definitely consider trying again at some point in the future.

Brewed In: Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie Dupont
First Brewed: 1955
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: BeersOfEurope.co.uk
Price: £2.59

Guinness West Indies Porter

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.95

My second new beer from Dublin’s St. James Gate Brewery, this one a ‘West Indies’ porter that follows on from the bottle of Dublin Porter from Guinnnes that I reviewed here last week. That particular offering was a bit of a letdown and given that this one comes in considerably stronger at 6% abv. I’m expecting a lot more from it that the last bottle offered me. Like the Dublin Porter, the only reason for me picking up this bottle was down to the fact I recognised the brewery (naturally) and it was a new beer on special but hopefully it’ll prove to be an astute purchase, let’s find out.

Guinnness West Indies Porter

Appearance (3/5): Black in colour with the odd tinge of ruby and a thin, half centimetre head that is bubbly, beige and disappears after about thirty seconds to leave a patchy lacing that struggles to cover more than a quarter of the beers surface. This one doesn’t look at all like the Guinness I know and love.
Aroma (6/10): Roasted malts and a few hints of alcohol with a fairly nutty aroma that has some solid sweet notes to it and a bit of grain as well. There was a good balance to the nose without it really exciting and there was some hints of cocoa and milk in there too.
Taste (6/10): Sweet initially with a solid backing of roasted malts and nutty flavours. There was some hints of darker, dry fruits on the tastebuds as well and I could detect some alcohol coming through a little stronger than it did with the nose. A fairly enjoyable taste with some sugar combining with the fruits to further reinforce the sweetness of this one.
Palate (3/5): Touches of grain on top of a dry and fairly sweet beer that was medium bodied and featured similar carbonation levels. Some alcohol from the middle on gave the beer a nice warming, slightly grainy feel for what was a smooth beer for the most part.

Overall (11/20): This one wasn’t a bad beer from Guinness, the problem was that it wasn’t an exciting one either and it failed to impress me much beyond the fact that it was so much better than the last bottle from them I tried, their Dublin Porter that was launched alongside this one earlier this month. Definitely a drinkable beer but not one that had much else going for it over similar beer and in truth I’d stick to Guinness Draught over a bottle of this stuff every time.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: St. James’s Gate Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Porter
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Morrisons
Price: £1.50

Guinness Dublin Porter

September 17, 2014 1 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.)

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