Ten FIDY

March 5, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.15

This beer was me treating myself in Brewdog Edinburgh recently and grabbing quite an expensive Russian imperial stout that ended up costing me £9 for the can but it was a beer that I had been planning on trying for some time and even buying it online it’s not exactly the cheapest beer out there. Coming in at, yup you’ve guessed it, 10.5%abv. this one is a huge beer from Oskar Blues and will be my fourth beer from the brewery so far. Currently ranked on the BeerAdvocate website as the ninth best Russian imperial stout in the world, this one is a beer that I’ve been looking froward to sampling for some time and I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to do so once I’d spotted it behind the bar recently.

Ten FIDY

Appearance (4/5): Pitch black in colour with a tiny, foamy head around the edges of the glass that is a light tanned brown colour. The body of the beer is opaque.
Aroma (9/10): Starting with quite a strong chocolate aroma, this one is semi-sweet with some sugars coming through early on before a bit of coffee starts to make an appearance. Some roasted malts are present but I was surprised at how little of the fairly strong alcohol content was showing on the nose, there was some present but it certainly wasn’t overpowering or as strong as I had expected from the beer. The beer is rounded out with some oak and vanilla notes at the end and overall there is quite a good balance to this one.
Taste (8/10): Strong chocolate and cocoa kick things off here, there is some sweet sugars making an appearance too with a touch of coconut coming through as well surprisingly. Some oak like flavours and vanilla are present and the alcohol that was so well hidden with the nose is more noticeable here but stops short of overpowering again thankfully. Touches of coffee bitterness round things out.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and creamy on the palate, this beer has a medium to full body and quite a nice alcohol bite to proceedings. Coming through with soft carbonation throughout, he drink was quite dry towards the end with hints of coffee bitterness as well.

Overall (17/20): This beer was a pretty impressive offerings from Oskar Blues yet again, much as I’ve come to expect from the Colorado based brewery. Despite the huge abv. of this one the beer managed to remain drinkable, and more importantly enjoyable, throughout with plenty of flavour packed into the can whilst managing to keep a good balance too. For an imperial stout I didn’t think the beer was overly complex but I did like it, I just don’t think it’s one I’m likely to return to all that often since there are several other American brewed imperial stouts out there that I prefer to this one.

Brewed In: Longmont, Colorado, United States of America
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
First Brewed: 2006
Type: Russian Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.5%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Brewdog, Edinburgh, Scotland
Price: £9.00

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout (294 of 1001)

March 5, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.05

My first beer from California based North Coast Brewing now, this one is a bottle of their famous Russian imperial stout that I picked up roughly (I think) about a year ago from the Good Spirits Co. bottle shop in Glasgow and having been saving ever since. Originally released on-tap back in 1995 before being bottled a year later, the beer is named after the famed Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, a man whose portrait also features on the beers label. The beer itself is currently the most frequently rated beer on the BeerAdvocate website and is also the 22nd most highly rated on the site so I can only assume this one is going to be an excellent brew. In addition to this flagship offering, North Coast also release an annual ‘Old Rasputin X’ beer that was originally released in 2006 to celebrate ten years of the beer, this version is aged for the best part of a year in bourbon barrels and comes in at a slightly higher abv. as well.

Old Rasputin

Appearance (5/5): Pitch, opaque black and topped with a surprisingly good head for the abv. of this one, it sits at about half a centimetre tall and is a foamy, light tan colour. The head also has fairly good retention, sitting at its initial height for about a minute before fading to a fine surface lacing with a little more build up around the edges.
Aroma (8/10): A strong, very typical Russian imperial stout type aroma straight off the bat with this one that has a lot of chocolate coming through alongside quite a rich, slightly sweet aroma. There is some vanilla coming through with some dark, ripe fruits too and a touch of sugar. A few roasted malts and some hints of coffee start to make an appearance towards the end but it is the chocolate that dominates from the outset but the beer isn’t the most overly pronounced on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Strong chocolate flavours with a coffee backing and some sweetness but not quite as much as there was with the nose. There is some dark fruits with currants, raisin and dates all featuring with a touches of alcohol coming through as well. The beer is definitely a strong one with some roasted malts and bitterness at the tail end of things.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and a moderate amount of alcohol coming through. The beer is lightly carbonated and has hints of both sweetness and bitterness coming through, the sweetness initially stronger but it starts to fade after some time.

Overall (15/20): This one was definitely a very nice imperial stout from North Coast but at the same time it wasn’t one that managed to blow me away or indeed to live up to the heights of some of the other American brewed imperial stouts that I’ve tried over the last few months. The beer was highly drinkable despite the strength, although some alcohol was noticeable throughout; an enjoyable beer but just not my favourite of the style.

Brewed In: Fort Bragg, California, United States of America
Brewery: North Coast Brewing Company
First Brewed: 1995
Type: Russian Imperial Stout
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £5.50 (approx.)

Wild Beer Millionaire

March 5, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

The second of two beers that I tried recently in The Hanging Bat beer café in Edinburgh and my third beer from Somerset based Wild Beer Co. here. This one follows one from the breweries Fresh and Madness IPA beers that I have reviewed here previously and since both of those were beers that I thoroughly enjoyed I decided to give another beer from the brewery a try when I spotted this one on-tap over the weekend. Whilst this one didn’t truly reach the heights of the previous two Wild Beer Co. offerings that I have mentioned, this one was still a pretty good beer and easy enough to drink that it is well worth picking up if you get the chance.

Wild Beer Millionaire

Appearance (4/5): Dark, opaque black with a thin lacing on top for a head that has slightly more build up around the edges and a touch of lacing on the sides.
Aroma (7/10): Plenty of chocolate upfront with some lighter coffee and cocoa notes coming through as well. There is some sweetness appearing around the middle with some darker fruits and a rich aroma from this one. The salted caramel is present as promised as well but I found this quite light and fairly hard to detect, I’d probably have missed it had I not been looking for it.
Taste (7/10): Rich chocolate and some sugar with further sweetness coming through early on here, there is a milky taste to this one as well. The salted caramel from the nose is also present and more easily detectable than it was with the nose, a few darker fruit come through as well. Towards the end there was some butterscotch and vanilla flavours present plus a hint of coffee bitterness to finish things off with.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and quite creamy to drink, the beer has quite a sweet palate and proved very easy to drink as well. Carbonation was quite soft with this stout and the finish was a lingering bitter one.

Overall (15/20): Not a bad stout at all from the Wild Beer Co. and one that went down easily thanks to the good balance between the chocolate and the caramel, although the later was quite hard to detect on the nose. Definitely an enjoyable beer and a very smooth beer at that but I’m not convinced that it is a beer I’d go back to in the future.

Brewed In: Shepton Maller, Somerset, England
Brewery: The Wild Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Stout
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Draught (Schooner)
Purchased: The Hanging Bat, Edinburgh, Scotland
Price: £3.70

Magic Rock Ringmaster

March 5, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Time now for what will be my second review of a Magic Rock beer and one that follows on from the bottle of their Highwire American pale ale that I reviewed here just over two years ago now. Ringmaster is the breweries flagship pale ale and is one that I managed to find on-tap at The Hanging Bat beer cafe in Edinburgh over the weekend, the first time I’ve tried one of this breweries beers on-tap so it wasn’t an opportunity to be missed – hopefully I can find some more of their stuff in the near future as I’m particularly keen to try both their Cannonball IPA and Rapture amber ale sometime soon.

Magic Rock Ringmaster

Appearance (4/5): Pale golden in colour with a slightly cloudy body and a thin, fine bubbly head on top that is white and sits as a foamy surface lacing after a minute or so.
Aroma (7/10): Medium strength citrus hops and some floral notes hit you first with this one, there is a touch of light pine as well though and some fruity notes that includes pineapple and grapefruit appear soon after. There is a few pale malts making an appearance with a grassy aroma in there towards the end too.
Taste (7/10): Quite floral tasting initially with a grassy hop like taste that features some pine and topical fruits, most notably the grapefruit and pineapple from the nose but also some mango and further citrus as well. I could detect a touch of spice and a few pale malts helped balance things out towards the end.
Palate (4/5): Quite a bitter beer without seeming overly intense, there was a tangy feel to the beer thanks to the citrus and this helped make the beer quite a dry one, particularly towards the end. The body was about light-medium and carbonation level seemed moderate with the beer coming across as quite a crisp and clean one at the end.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite an enjoyable session offering from Magic Rock, whilst it wasn’t one that hit the heights of their Highwire pale ale it was still a very nice beer and one whose main strength lay in how easy it was to drink.  The beer packed quite a lot of flavour into its 3.9% abv. and although the nose could have been a little stronger it certainly couldn’t be considered weak or watered down. Good stuff again from Magic Rock and definitely a beer worth trying, particularly if your looking for a decent session beer.

Brewed In: Huddersfield, England
Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing
First Brewed: circa. 2011
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 3.9%
Serving: Draught (Schooner)
Purchased: The Hanging Bat, Edinburgh, Scotland
Price: £3.00

Brooklyn Blast!

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

This bottle is one of three American beers that I picked up from Good Spirits Co. in Glasgow recently, the other two being Founders beers that I will review here at some point in the near future. Seeing as this one was the only IPA of the bunch, the other two being dark beers, I’ve decided to give this one a go while it is still relatively fresh. The beer will be my eleventh from the Brooklyn Brewery and my first since I tried their Summer Ale in May last year, I do believe this one will be the first double IPA from them I will have tried though. When I spotted the beer in the shop recently I had initially assumed it was a new (of at least relatively new) Brooklyn offering that had made its way to the UK but as it turns out the beer was first brewed ten years ago and this is just the first time I’ve spotted it anywhere on these shores and it’s definitely on that I’m looking forward to now that I have a bottle.

Brooklyn Blast!

Appearance (4/5): This one pours quite a light looking and cloudy yellow to amber and is topped with a small, quarter centimetre tall head that is made up of small, foamy bubbles and fades to a fine lacing across most of the surface after about forty-five seconds.
Aroma (8/10): Quite fruity on the nose with a lot of apricot coming through early on to accompany the abundance of hops and floral notes that kick things off. There is a real tropical style aroma to this one with citrus hops and lemon making an appearance as well. It seemed quite lively on the nose with some fresh pine and grassy hops with a hint of malt coming through right at the end; definitely a good smelling beer and one that I’m looking forward to trying.
Taste (6/10): The taste is kicked off with a lot of pine and hoppy bitterness, there is a huge amount of dried apricot as well and some of the citrus and lemon from the nose features too. There is an almost sourness to proceedings with quite a tropical taste that had some oranges, grapefruit and hints of pineapple in there as well.
Palate (3/5): A light-medium bodied beer that seemed quite tangy and very well carbonated, perhaps this could have been toned down some but it isn’t anything that’s likely to ruin the beer. There was a sourness to the beer in places and to be honest I didn’t feel the balance of this one was all that good really but it was certainly a bitter one throughout.

Overall (13/20): This was a beer that started out really well for me, there was a lot of tropical fruits on the nose and plenty of hops too but when it came to the taste I felt it was all over the place with too much sourness and the hops being overpowered by the apricot and citrus flavours. The beer still remained drinkable but it was a real let down after smelling the beer, the balance seemingly off a little and a body that felt over-carbonated into the bargain.

Brewed In: Brooklyn, New York, United States of America
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
First Brewed: 2005
Type: Imperial/Double IPA
Abv: 8.4%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £4.80

Pedigree New World Pale Ale

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

Now for a bottle that I picked up at a Morrisons supermarket recently due to the fact that it was on offer at 95 pence a bottle but also because it was what I assumed at the time to be a new beer from the Burton-on-Trent based Marston’s brewery; as it turns out the beer was actually first brewed back in 2013 but Morrisons obviously want to get rid of their stock quickly for some reason. The beer takes it’s name from one of Marston’s most popular beers, Pedigree which is one that I reviewed here way back in January 2011, soon after starting this blog, and comes in at 4.1% abv. rather than the 5% of their standard Pedigree. That particular offering wasn’t a beer that I was very fond of at the time and as such it’s not one that I’ve tried since but hopefully this one can go one better and prove itself a decent beer.

Pedigree New World Pale Ale

Appearance (4/5): Golden amber with a clear body and a thumb-sized, foamy white head on top that is made up of a tonne of tiny bubbles. There is a lot of visible carbonation showing with this one initially but this died down quite quickly as the head halved in size and left a little lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Starting with a few medium strength hops, this one has the odd floral note coming through alongside plenty of fruit aromas and further English style hops (despite the bottle promising New World/Australian ones). There is hints of mango an pineapple coming through at least and I could detect plenty of citrus along with lighter malts and a touch of caramel.
Taste (6/10): The taste starts off much like the nose with a lot of hops and citrus coming through but again the beer seems quite English in its style. There is a faint tropical taste coming through with some lemon backing it up and quite a few floral flavours and whilst enjoyable the beer certainly isn’t anything special I’m afraid.
Palate (3/5): Quite a tangy beer with lots of fizz to it and quite a well carbonated body but the balance between flavours didn’t seem to have the best balance. The body was a light medium one and the beer was quite dry, particularly towards the end.

Overall (12/20): This one was a bit of a let down if I’m totally honest, the nose wasn’t all that bad but the taste proved to be fairly standard and the ‘New World’ taste and blend of hops mentioned on the bottle never really materialised. Sure the beer was drinkable but it was far too similar to most other Burton-on-Trent brewed beers that you can easily pick up in a UK supermarket.

Brewed In: Burton-on-Trent, England
Brewery: Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
First Brewed: 2013
Full Name: Marston’s Pedigree New World Pale Ale
Type: English Pale Ale
Abv: 4.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Morrisons
Price: £0.95

Vagabond Pale Ale

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

The last of the four beers I picked up as part of the 2014 Prototype Challenge ran by Brewdog and follows on from their All Day Long, Alt Amber and Hop Fiction offerings that I reviewed here previously. This particular beer actually came out top of the public vote when the challenge was launched at the end of last year and that is part of the reason I decided to save it until last, hopefully I have actually left the best until the end but if I’m honest then it’s going to have to be one hell of a poor beer to fail to beat the previous three offerings. It is actually the first ever gluten-free beer that Brewdog have brewed and shouldn’t be confused with one of their previous beers, Vagabond Pilsner which was briefly available as a draught beer in Brewdog bars back in the summer of 2013.

Vagabond Pale Ale

Appearance (4/5): This one pours a clear bodied, light copper colour with red tinges and looks still in the glass. The head was a foamy looking, cream coloured white one that fades to a fine lacing covering the surface after about forty-five seconds.
Aroma (7/10): Finally a beer that actually smells like a Brewdog one here, it starts with some citrus hops and caramel with the odd floral note featuring as well. Nothing is in your face or overly pronounced but the nose initially seems to be a good one. Some earthy notes backed up with some background fruits and biscuit come through as well and beer is a good one on the nose at least.
Taste (8/10): Quite tangy initially with a lot of citrus and spicy flavours kicking thing off nicely, there is caramel malts adding some sweetness too. The biscuit from the nose follows before the hoppy bitterness really kicks in, helped along by some nice floral flavours.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and well carbonated with some nice fizz without seeming gassy or unpleasant. The body was a light-medium one with  quite a crisp feel to proceedings and plenty of bitterness throughout.

Overall (14/20): At long last a beer from this Brewdog prototype challenge that can be considered as a good beer, don’t get me wrong it’s not a classic but it is enjoyable and definitely drinkable, particularly when compared to other gluten free beers I’ve tried in the past. While it’s not one I’m likely to pick up more than occasionally it was easily the winner of the four beers I tried in this ‘gimmick’ annual release from Brewdog.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: The Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £1.80

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