Mangoes on the Run

July 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

An eighteenth review of an Innis & Gunn beer now and one that I stumbled across in a local supermarket recently and quickly grabbed given it is apparently a limited edition offering from the brewery and I wasn’t sure how long it would be available for. The beer is a new from that was released in early summer 2018 by the brewery and is the most fruity offering I’ve seen from the brewery given they usually stick with butterscotch tasting beers as well as their Innis & Gunn Lager Beer that was become quite popular of late. This one will be my first new offering from the brewery since trying their Gunpowder IPA and Blood Red Sky English strong ale back to back in March so it’s not been an overly long wait between beers from the brewery but this was one that definitely intrigued me and it does seem to get good reviews online so I’m quite looking forward to cracking it open now.

Appearance (4/5): A bronze looking beer with a surprisingly clear body and a very nice, two centimetre tall, foamy white head that looked quite thick and creamy at point with a white colour and very good retention with it holding for the first couple minutes with little reduction in size; a great start to the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Quite sweet with some nice sugar notes coming through in the early going, there was some mango as you’d expect but some strawberries and touches of orange and apricot too. The beer is slightly tropical but it was also a little artificial with some sweeteners coming through alongside faint malts and background grassy hops too. It’s a nice and balance nose with some grain and bread like notes at the end too, very nice stuff and on I can’t wait to taste.
Taste (7/10): Fresh with some nice mango and to a lesser extent apricot coming through, the beer was slightly artificial with a few sugars coming through alongside faint citrus and tropical fruits sitting in the background too. It’s balanced with some light malts and bread flavours coming through as well as some grain but the fruits definitely dominate. It’s slightly sweet towards the end with subtle hops seeing things out; very nice stuff.
Palate (4/5): Lively and quite fresh, the beer is well-carbonated with some sugars and a very slightly artificial feel to this one. It’s easy going with a light-medium body and a good balance with the tropical fruit sweetness going with with the light malts, although the former seemed the strongest.

Overall (14/20): Much better than anticipated, the beer was definitely a sweet and fruity one with some nice sugars and apricot but the mango dominated as expected. There was a slightly artificial feel at times but it was balanced with some background light malts and bread ones too with citrus and grassy hops featuring as well. It was a nice beer that proved easy to drink without being anything spectacular, it was slightly grainy nearer the end with some subtle hops coming through as well.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Morrison’s (Glasgow)
Price: £1.50


St. Feuillien Triple (388 of 1001)

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.35

A first beer from the St. Feuillien brewery for me now, a brewery that only opened in 1988 by the same family that owned the Friart brewery that closed eleven years previous. This one is a beer first brewed in 1998 and unlike other beers from St. Feuillien, this one is not contract brewed at Brasserie Du Bocq but made in Le Rœulx at the brewery. This one is a beer that takes inspiration for Westmalle Tripel, a beer that I’m a big fan of, so I’m hoping for big things from this beer.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light and bright golden straw colour, the body is very slightly hazy too and the beer is topped with a foamy white head that sits just over a centimetre tall and looks quite creamy on the surface whilst sitting with very good head retention given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Floral and fresh in the early going, the beer had a subtle sweetness to it from a nice banana aroma and touches of lemon in there as well. Around the middle some spices and faint citrus start to come through as well as light clove following on behind. There’s some grain and a little alcohol showing on top of the herbs and light malts to round off what was a light and zesty beer.
Taste (9/10): Following on well from the nose, the beer was floral and zesty with some banana, cloves and grassy flavours coming through with some faint coriander and Belgian yeast coming through as well. There’s a few nice hops and touches of malt, mainly bread malts, coming through from the middle on as well before some alcohol grain nearer the end. It didn’t seem the most complex Belgian triple out there but it was an excellent tasting one with pepper, apples and pear coming through at points too; great stuff.
Palate (5/5): Medium bodied but still seeming quite light and floral with a zesty, dry feel that was quite sharp and very strongly carbonated. The beer was fresh and tangy with a great balance and some nice sweetness, mainly from the banana at the start and it was seen out by a very nice warming alcohol feel that was a great way to finish things.

Overall (17/20): This one was a very nice triple with a pleasant sweetness in the early going from the banana before some nice floral flavours and spices started to come through alongside some nice yeast and touches of alcohol. It was very well balanced and quite easy to drink despite the strength with some bread and pale malts with a little apple and pear in there too. Perhaps not a beer that hits the heights of Westmalle Tripel but it’s not too far off it either and one well worth its place on the 1001 beers list too.

Brewed In: Le Rœulx, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie St. Feuillien
First Brewed: 1998
Type: Abbey Tripel
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Brussels)
Price: €1.52 (approx. £1.35)

Character Assassination

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Brewed in collaboration with south London based Gipsy Hill, this one is my first beer from the Electric Bear Brewery based in Bath and is on that I picked up recently alongside a couple of Trappist beers at my local bottle shop, opting for this one given it’s a one-off New England IPA and it’s the height of summer here. A new beer for 2018, this one was canned in late May and should still be relatively fresh so it’s one that I’m looking forwards to cracking open. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gipsy Hill over the last couple of years but surprisingly haven’t tried anything from them yet but this one was the first time I’d seen or heard anything about Electric Bear so I’m interested in finding out more and perhaps picking up something else from them in future if this one is any good.

Appearance (4/5): A lot lighter and clearer than I’d expect for a New England IPA, the beer is a light amber with some golden tinges and a thin, half centimetre head that’s foamy and white but starts turning patchy towards one side more quickly than I’d have liked; not a bad looking beer but I’d place it closer to lager than a New England IPA on first looks.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly tropical on the nose initially with some subtle grapefruit and orange coming through but nothing too pungent or overpowering in the early going at least. There was some citrus notes and a little tangerine further on with a couple grassy hops followed by a moderate bitterness and hints of mango and peach further on; it’s definitely an American IPA aroma but it’s not as dank as anticipated.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some pine and grapefruit bitterness that is followed by some nice orange and tangerine flavours, the beer is again slightly tropical with touches mango, apricot and peach bringing in the middle. It’s a solid IPA taste with some grain and a hint of alcohol nearer the end but it wasn’t a anything special or out of the ordinary with a faint sweetness and further bitter flavours seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with some bitterness showing from the start without it being a dank one really. There was fine carbonation that gave the beer a lively feel and it was quite dry and sharp too. The balance was as you’d expect for the style with the bitter hops and tropical flavours dominating and a touch of the alcohol coming through near the end.

Overall (/20): This was a strange one in the sense that it was a pleasant and enjoyable beer but I feel like there was some false advertising involved where the label states that it’s a New England IPA but it was very much a standard American IPA with very little dank flavours coming through but instead a slightly tropical and bitter beer with the usual grapefruit and pine flavours as well as some mango and apricot further on. It was okay offering overall but one that ultimately left me disappointed given I was expecting something completely different from what I got after reading the label on the can.

Brewed In: Bath, Somerset, England
Brewery:  Electric Bear Brewing / Gipsy Hill (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2018
Full Name: Electric Bear / Gipsy Hill Character Assassination
Type: New England IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.30

Abstrakt AB:13

July 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My third beer from Brewdog’s Abstrakt series now, this one follows on from their outstanding AB:10 that I tried way back in late 2013 and their AB:19 that I finally got around to trying around Christmas time last year. This one is a 2013 release from the brewery that I’ve had since then and it’s a cherry imperial stout that is aged for fourteen months in sherry whisky barrels to give it some of its taste. I believe I picked this one up from the Brewdog online store roughly five years ago and had always been saving it for around Christmas time each year but I’d never get around to trying it so I decided to scrap that recently and finally crack the bottle open and see how it tastes now it’s five years old. I’m expecting big things from this one given how good their AB:10 was all those years ago, I still enjoyed the AB:19 but that didn’t quite hit the same heights so at the very least it should be interesting to see  how this one turns out; the beer itself is numbers 8659 of 9972 so there can’t be too many of these left kicking about either.

Appearance (4/5): A very dark, cola like black colour with very thin, bubbly lacing on top that was a fiery brown in colour but faded quite quickly to leave not much of anything upstairs but that was to be expected given both the age and strength of this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a dark, oak like nose with a lot of roasted malts and liquorice upfront alongside a solid base of alcohol grain and an earthy bitterness from some coffee and chocolate notes. It’s slightly sweet with some caramel and dark fruits showing, mainly some dates and prunes but also a few sugars come through to help out. It’s a heavy aroma with some raisins and toffee towards the end to see things out; very strong stuff.
Taste (7/10): Dark fruits and alcohol flavours kick things off, it’s definitely got a sherry taste to it with some darker malts and chocolate following on behind, I managed to get some cherries alongside prunes and dates with a few raisins following on behind. It’s slightly sweet the caramel and a toffee taste further on alongside molasses and a few hints of vanilla and oak.
Palate (4/5): Fill-boded but after five years there’s very little carbonation showing, although it doesn’t seem flat given the type of beer it is. It’s loaded with alcohol from the start and shows pretty much all of it’s 11.3% abv. from the first sip. Some touches of sweetness by way of the chocolate and vanilla, not to mention the dark fruits and cherries helps to make it a drinkable offering but it’s not one to be rushed.

Overall (15/20): This one was a very strong and boozy beer from the start with a tonne of alcohol showing and a little sweetness further on from the dark fruits, molasses and vanilla. It’s a beer to take your time with and sip rather than rush through it given the strength and the age of the beer, although it holds up quite well for a bottle that’s been sitting in my attic for the best part of five years. It’s a thick and chewy, full-bodied beer that I’m glad I’ve finally tried but it was just that little bit too strong for my liking so I doubt I’d have picked it up again had it been a regular from Brewdog and it doesn’t quite hit the heights of either of the previous two Abstrakt beers I’ve tried.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: BrewDog
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.3%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Price: £10.00


July 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A third beer from Brouwerij Alken-Maes now, this one follows on from their Judas and Grimbergen Ambrée offering despite the fact that the later of those two is actually brewed in France as well. This one is the last review of a beer that I managed to try in Belgium last month and leaves me with only a couple more from the country that I brought home with me left to try. The beer itself is one that was actually brewed by another brewery, Brouwerij Louwaege, between 2001 and 2007 until brewing switched to Alken-Maes. I sampled this one on my last night in Brussels before returning home when I stopped by the À la Mort Subite bar in the city after reading about it online but to be honest the beer selection wasn’t what I’d hoped for when compared to other famous Belgian bars so I settled on this one since it wasn’t a beer I’d seen or heard of before, here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): A light but bright golden colour, the beer is slightly hazy with a lot of fizz in the body and a large, fluffy white head that eventually settle just over a centimetre tall with a lot of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly spicy with a lot of citrus and biscuit notes opening things up followed by some yeast and light alcohol towards the middle but nothing too strong. There was some floral hops around the middle too with a nice bite to it and some banana and apples seeing things out.
Taste (8/10): Floral and quite fresh with a lot of biscuit flavours that were a touch stronger than the nose. There was some nice yeast and light fruits further on with banana and apple both showing as well as some grapes and pears before orange flavours and some spice seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Floral and quite tangy with plenty of spice and a dry, crisp feel. The beer was relatively sharp with some alcohol showing at times and a lot of yeast at points too. It was very well-carbonated with a medium to full body and quite a fluffy feel.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice and light beer with a fluffy feel at times but one that had strong carbonation and a sharp, crisp finish with a dryness throughout. It was well-balanced with only a touch of alcohol showing and although the nose could perhaps have been stronger there was nice apple and banana flavours coming through with some yeast and spice as well. Fresh and easy going, the beer was surprisingly good and one that I’d happily pick up again if I found it in the UK.

Brewed In: Jumet, Walloon, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Alken-Maes
First Brewed: 2001 (Brouwerij Alken-Maes since 2007)
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: À la Mort Subite, Brussels, Belgium
Price: €5.50 (approx. £4.87)

Cantillon Lambic

July 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

As mentioned previously when reviewing the bottle of Lindemans Faro that I tried here recently, this one is a review of my first unblended lambic and as a result it means I’ve not tried a least of of every style of beer listed on the RateBeer website after going out my way to try and find on like this in Belgium. The beer is one that I eventually found on cask at one of the Moeder Lambic bars in Brussels on my last full day in the city last month. This one is my fifth review of a Cantillon beer but only my first since trying their Blåbær Lambik when I visited Copenhagen a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to get a bottle. This one is probably not a beer I’d have opted for had it not been to complete my styles list given there was quite a few other beers from the brewery available at Moeder Lambic that I’d have went for instead but it’s definitely one I’m glad I found and here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Bright golden in colour with a clear and still body that was topped with a surprisingly fluffy looking white head sitting about a centimetre and a half tall before losing a third of that after thirty seconds or so. The head itself has a slightly bubbly texture and eventually disappeared after being left to sit for a couple of minutes.
Aroma (6/10): Quite still, almost flat on the nose but with some light citrus and sour notes starting to come through after a few seconds. The beer was definitely light at this stage with some lemon touches and orange notes but I felt it could have been a lot stronger. There was a couple of earthy touches further on but it wasn’t exactly what I’d class as an inviting nose sadly.
Taste (6/10): Opening more sour tasting than the nose suggested, the beer is earthy with some lemon and plenty funk kicking things off. It’s not an overly pronounced beer but it was strong than the nose with some white grapes and bitterness towards the middle before touches of citrus seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Softly carbonated, almost flat but not unexpected for a cask beer despite this being my first Belgian cask and first lambic on cask too. The beer was sour with an earthy tart to it and some hints of acidity as well. The balance wasn’t too bad despite it not being overly pronounced and it was a light-medium bodied beer with a dry feel as well.

Overall (12/20): Definitely an interesting beer from Cantillon, I can only assume this one is a good beer based on the reviews online but it’s definitely an acquired taste and one that I wasn’t quite ready for when I tried this one. The beer was quite light and flat with a light body as well, overall the beer was dry and earthy with a sourness throughout and quite a lot of tart flavours too. A new style that I’m glad to have tried and perhaps I’ll get to sample another like this at some point when I’m next in Belgium but I can’t imagine it’s a type of beer I’d pick up very often sadly.

Brewed In: Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
First Brewed: Brewery since 1900
Type: Lambic – Unblended
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Cask (250ml)
Purchased: Moeder Lambic Fontainas (Brussels)
Price: €3.70 (approx. £3.28)

Kriek De Ranke (387 of 1001)

Rating: 4.2

A review of the last beer from the 1001 beers list that I managed to try over in Belgium recently, although I do still have two more reviews of beers I tried over there to add here as well as still having to try a few bottles that I brought home with me too. This one is a third review of a De Ranke beer for me now with it following on from their Guldenberg and XX Bitter offerings that I had back in 2014 but wasn’t particularly taken by. Like this one, both those beers featured on the 1001 beers list as well but thankfully this one was a beer I definitely preferred to those. I managed to try this one when I stopped by one of the Moeder Lambic on my last full day in Brussels before heading home and was pleased to see it available after previously spotting a bottle in the UK but opting not to buy it given the rather expensive price, so I’m please I got to try it eventually.

Appearance (4/5): Sitting a pinkish red in the glass with rose tinges, the beer was opaque and topped with a pinkish white head that sat about a half centimetre tall and was a little patchy towards on side of the surface.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fruity nose with some sour notes in the early going too, it opened with a nice combination of tart and cherry with some further sweetness from the sugars towards the middle. Around the middle and towards the end there was some raspberries with a touch of bitterness and funk coming through followed by some acidity and grapes towards the end.
Taste (8/10): Definitely more sour than the nose, the beer opened with a lot of cherries and sugar on the taste buds with some strong bitterness too. It’s a lively tasting beer with a funky middle that has some orange and raspberry flavours backing it up. There wasn’t much alcohol showing at all and it seemed lighter than it was with some funk and further fruity flavours seeing things out.
Palate (5/5): Fresh and strongly carbonated, the beer was quite lively with plenty of funk and sweetness in the early going alongside a tart sourness. It was slightly more bitter than anticipated with a nice balance that hid the alcohol content and made it an easy one to drink.

Overall (16/20): Strong and lively with a lot of tart and cherry kicking things off, the beer was fresh and well-carbonated with some nice sourness in the early going too. I found the beer to be slightly more bitter than expected with the taste but it remained balanced with a nice fruity twist soon after with raspberries, some orange and more cherries featuring alongside a sugar sweetness; excellent stuff and one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Dottignies, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij De Ranke
First Brewed: 2000
Type: Lambic – Fruit
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Moeder Lambic Fontainas (Brussels)
Price: €4.90 (approx. £4.33)