Achel 8° Blond (301 of 1001)

Rating: 4.15

My first beer from the Achel brewery, the smallest of the six Belgian Trappist breweries with an annual output of around 4500hL. The breweries history goes all the way back to 1648 when it was started by Dutch monks but it was destoryed during the French Revolution before being rebuilt in 1844. The brewery again closed when the monks left in 1914 thanks to German occupation during World War I and it wasn’t until 1998 that the current brewery was reopened and production started beer again with the Achel 8° beers being introduced in 2001.

Achel 8° Blond

Appearance (4/5): Clear and really light amber with a thin, bubbly white head on top that sits about a half centimetre tall before gradually fading to leave a thin surface lacing that’s quite patchy without disappearing completely.
Aroma (6/10): Quite malty with a lot of spice coming through at the start along with some Belgian style yeast and a few floral notes. There is a slightly grassy aroma with some bread notes and grain with a tiny bit of skunk; not what I was expecting and one that reminded me of lager in some ways but it wasn’t bad at least.
Taste (9/10): Spicy with some citrus and fruity flavours up front, namely some grapes, apples and pears that impart some sweetness on the palate. The beer is quite light with a few malts coming through from the start and some coriander and cloves featuring from the middle onwards; very nice and a lot better than the nose indicated it would be.
Palate (5/5): Light bodied and very well carbonated, this one is quite a sweet beer with a crisp, dry finish and touches of spice in there as well. The balance was excellent with this one and it was remarkably easy to drink with the alcohol content well hidden throughout.

Overall (17/20): I wasn’t sure about this one when I first cracked the bottle open, appearance wise it was okay and the smell wasn’t particularly interesting but the taste of this one was exceptional and the balance was excellent as well. Despite coming in at 8% abv. the alcohol content was remarkably well hidden and the beer went down very easily with a light, sweet and fruity taste that was distinctly Belgian with some yeast and plenty of spices coming through from the start.

Brewed In: Achel, Limburg, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij der Trappistenabdij De Achelse Kluis
First Brewed: 2001
Full Name: Trappist Achel 8° Blond
Type: Abbey Tripel
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
Price: £2.69

Emelisse White Label Imperial Russian Stout Rum(BA)

Rating: 4.4

This beer is another monster beer that I tried on my first night in Amsterdam last month at the Arendsnest Proeflokaal bar in the Canal Ring area of the city and it is also the final beer from my trip that I still have to review here. Having thought I was only stopping off for a quick beer or two I decided to go for some of the stronger Dutch offerings available only for them to start catching up on me relatively quickly. This particular beer comes in at 11% and is one of many similar beers from the Emelisse brewery falling under their ‘White Label’ banner for their Russian imperial stout; one of which I am led to believe features in the updated version of the 1001 beers list. I opted for the rum barrel aged version of the beer that was released in the second half of 2014 but hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to try a couple of the others at some point in the future, whether I can find them in the UK or not is a different story though.

Emelisse White Label Imperial Russian Stout Rum(BA)

Appearance (4/5): Pitch black in colour and almost resembling cola with a thin bubbly head on top that is a beige colour with some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): This one was really quite sweet on the nose with a lot of chocolate and burnt malts coming through early on and some darker fruits following them. There was a few sugars with dates, prunes and some raisins on the nose whilst the alcohol was noticeable throughout, this was mainly the rum but some hints of coffee closed things out.
Taste (9/10): This one matches the nose quite closely, there is a lot of sweetness and some warming alcohol notes coming through early on; presumably the rum imparted on the beer from the barrels it was aged in. Some dark fruits such as plums, dates and raisins start to come through soon after the alcohol fades a little and then some dark, toasted malts make an appearance with a warming finish that has some lactose and burnt sugar coming through.
Palate (5/5): This one was a ridiculously smooth beer for an imperial stout that clocked in at 11% abv. and despite some of this alcohol showing early on in the taste as well as the smell, the beer was still highly drinkable one that went down easier than it really should have. The carbonation levels were soft and there was a boozy feel throughout with a warming finish.

Overall (18/20): This one was a real pleasure to drink, an incredibly smooth and drinkable beer despite the huge alcohol content. There was a lot of flavour packed into the beer and as a result it went down easily whilst managing to rank alongside some of the better American brewed imperial stouts that I’ve tried in the past; excellent stuff.

Brewed In: Kamperland, Zeeland, Netherlands
Brewery: Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Russian Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Arendsnest Proeflokaal, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: €7.50 (approx. £5.56)

Hello, My Name Is Little Ingrid

Rating: 3.85

A beer I have been looking forward ever since I heard it was being introduced, Little Ingrid is a new beer from Brewdog that was launched earlier this month and one that I specifically went out of my way to pick up given the fact it is a session version of Brewdog’s cult classic, Hello My Name Is Ingrid. The original Ingrid was a beer released mainly for the Swedish market and the one that launched the Hello, My Name Is… series from Brewdog. The beer was available in the UK on a couple of rare occasions and it is still a probably the beer from Brewdog that I most want to try so I knew I couldn’t miss picking up this session version when I had the chance. Little Ingrid is a Scandinavian cloudberry infused beer brewed with four different hop varieties and one that I can’t wait to crack open now.

Hello, My Name Is Little Ingrid

Appearance (4/5): Clear amber in colour with a thumb-sized white head that is a thick and foamy looking texture with good retention and some visible signs of good carbonation as well. Slowly the size of the head is reduced over the opening minutes but it doesn’t seem to lose much of its height.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a strong aroma is instantly detectable from the moment I opened the bottle, the beer smells quite fresh with a lot of tropical fruits hitting you to begin with. Definitely a fruit beer on the nose with some nice sweetness coming through along with some touches of pine hops and citrus. There is some peach and apricot in the mix with a little bit of grapefruit and some berries too, not a bad-smelling beer at all this one.
Taste (7/10): Like the nose, this one starts quite fruity with a lot of pine hops and citrus coming through along with the tropical bursts that featured early in the aroma. There is some bitterness but for the most part the sweetness wins out and I managed to detect some peach along with various other background fruits but it wasn’t quite as good as the nose had hinted at sadly.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and light-medium bodied, perhaps this one could have been a little fuller-bodied but that is a minor complaint. The beer was quite sweet with the hops adding some bitterness to proceedings and that balance was okay too. Carbonation with the beer was pretty much as you’d expect from an American style IPA and fell somewhere around medium with the beer seemingly quite refreshing and going down easily too.

Overall (15/20): This one certainly delivers what the label promises, it’s a session IPA through and through thanks to refreshing taste and the relatively low alcohol content; I could certainly drink a few of these in one sitting. The beer was sweet and fruity with a lot of tropical flavours and a nice balance that helped the beer down. It wasn’t quite as hoppy as I’ve come to expect from some of Brewdog’s IPA’s but some did feature and this was a beer that I rather enjoyed and wouldn’t mind seeing again from time to time.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 4.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasg0w)
Price: £2.40

Kessog

Rating: 3.35

Kessog from the Loch Lomond brewery based in Alexandria, just south of the Loch is the second of two beers from the same brewery that I picked up at the local shop attached to and owned by the Oak Tree Inn brewpub in Balmaha at the start of this month. The beer, along with the bottle of The Ale of Leven, were the only in the shop that were both Scottish brewed and that I hadn’t tried before; sadly there didn’t seem to be anything on offer brewed in the pub next door. Since my visit to Balmaha and picking up these two beers, I have noticed that Aldi supermarkets now sell the odd Loch Lomond beer so if this one is any good I might be tempted to pick a few of their other beers up since the price is also more reasonable at Aldi.

Kessog

Appearance (3/5): Quite a dark, almost murky brown with some red tinges and a thin, foamy head that is a light tan brown in colour and just about covers the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Quite nutty on the nose with quite a lot of malts coming through early on and the slightest touch of sweetness. There is some caramel in there and a little sugar with some roasted notes and the odd dark fruit coming through towards the end.
Taste (7/10): A nutty tasting beer with a nice chocolate taste that imparts some sweetness along with some darker fruits coming through. There was a few roasted malts coming through and a touch of grain but overall the taste was quite a good one and one that I enjoyed more than I thought I would.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and some sweetness coming through, the beer was also well carbonated and a lot of spice in there with a clean finish.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad effort from the Loch Lomond brewery in the end, I didn’t think this one started particularly well but it started to grow on me as I worked my way down the glass. I doubt it’s one that will leave a lasting impression but it was enjoyable enough despite the fact I’m still not sure it is actually supposed to be a brown ale or not; I’ll list it as that anyway though.

Brewed In: Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Brewery: Loch Lomond Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2011
Type: Brown Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Oak Tree Inn Shop (Balmaha)
Price: £2.99

Categories: Brown Ale Tags: , , , ,

Jaw Drift

Rating: 3.0

My fourth beer from Jaw Brew’s Glasgow brewery now and a bottle that I picked up at the weekend from the Shawlands Farmer’s Market after spotting them selling beers there a couple of weeks ago. This one follows very quickly on from the bottle of Fathom that I had from the brewery a couple days ago and is one that I can only hope is better than that offering, which to be honest was pretty pathetic. I did enjoy the first bottle I tried from the brewery, their Wave hefeweizen but the Fathom as well as the bottle of Drop I’ve tried since have both been terrible so I’m hoping this one can even things up for the brewery and persuade me to go back in a couple of weeks and pick up the rest of what they brew.

Jaw Drift

Appearance (4/5): This one thankfully pours a lot better than Fathom from the same brewery, the beer is a medium, hazy amber colour and is topped with a huge, three inch tall head that is foamy white and almost spills over the sides of the glass but settles as a cone shape on top of the beer with good retention and a lot of lacing left on the glass.
Aroma (5/10): Fairly light on the nose with some earthy malts and a few floral notes but nothing overly strong or noticeable for that matter. There is a few vegetable adjuncts coming through but thankfully there doesn’t appear to be any skunky notes or off-smells. There is some sweetness in there and a few grassy hops but not a whole lot else really; at least it wasn’t an off-putting aroma anyway.
Taste (6/10): Light and earthy malts with some touches of sweetness and a little corn, the beer almost seems like a lager right at the start but with a bit more bitterness. There is some grassy hops carried through from the nose and a faint bit of citrus but other than that there’s not a whole lot going on; a drinkable but fairly average tasting beer. 2.75
Palate (3/5): Smooth for the most part with only a touch of grain, this one is a light-medium bodied beer that is strongly carbonated and quite crisp with a dry, semi-bitter finish. There is a touch of skunk right at the end of the beer but it doesn’t quite spoil the beer at least.

Overall (10/20): This one is a fairly average, English style ale that remained drinkable throughout but will no doubt be distinctly forgettable. The taste wasn’t that bad with some pleasant malts but there wasn’t a whole lot else going on with this one really.

Brewed In: Hillington Park, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Jaw Brew
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Shawlands Farmers Market (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Jaw Fathom

May 17, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 1.85

This one will by my third beer from Glasgow based Jaw Brew, a brewery whose beers I’ve recently started picking up at my local farmer’s market directly from the brewery. Having previously enjoyed a bottle of their Wave wheat beer and then being disappointed by their Drop golden ale, this is a beer I’m not sure what to expect from but it is still one that I hopeful with be a nice one. This one is will be my ninth mild ale and my first since being disappointed by Brewdog’s All Day Long earlier this year, it’s not a style I get to try all that often nor is it one of my favourite styles but this is still one that I’m looking forward to cracking open.

Jaw Fathom

Appearance (1/5): This one looked very poor with absolutely no head on top of the beer, it pretty much looked like a pint of flat cola when I poured (quite aggressively) it from the glass. It was black in colour and still but it looked pathetic really.
Aroma (6/10): Fairly sweet on the nose to begin with quite a few dark malts and some hints of coffee coming through along with some earthy notes. There is a bit of chocolate in there too and a touch of grain, thankfully it smells a lot better than it looks.
Taste (4/10): Sweet and earthy to start with, there is a fair amount of chocolate coming through early on with some roasted malts and a hint of sugar but other than that the beer seems quite plain and ordinary with a slightly nutty flavour following on at the end. There was some smoky patches around the middle and towards the end but the beer wasn’t a pleasant tasting one at all if I’m honest.
Palate (2/5): Smooth bodied and quite light, lighter than I’d been expecting for such a dark beer anyway, coming in around light-medium bodied with a really sweet mouthfeel that is also quite oily. The balance isn’t great either and the beer proved a struggle to finish with it seeming fairly bland too.

Overall (5/20): I had high hopes for this one despite the fact the last beer from the brewery that I tried wasn’t a good one but I was surprised at just how bad this beer actually was, it had a terrible taste and balance not to mention the fact it was one of the worst looking beers I’ve seen in a long time. I didn’t enjoy this one at all and hopefully the next Jaw Brew beer I try will be a lot better than this one.

Brewed In: Hillington Park, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Jaw Brew
First Brewed: 2014
Type: English Dark Mild Ale
Abv: 4.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Shawlands Farmers Market (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Westvleteren 8

Rating: 4.5

My second Westvleteren beer post in relatively quick succession now and what is the penultimate beer I have to review from last month’s first to Amsterdam; it’s taken me a while but there is light at the end of the tunnel now. This one follows on from the bottle of Westvleteren XII I recently reviewed and as it happens I was lucky enough to try both on the same day on my final night in Amsterdam. I ordered this bottle as my first beer in the Café De Spuyt bar after visiting once I’d found out they were one of the places in the city that frequently stocked Westvleteren beers although I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to order another bottle of the XII and probably would have if I thought I could handle a second bottle only a couple hours after the last. Anyway, that’s now two Westvleteren beers down and leaves me with only the Blond version left to try, hopefully I can pick a bottle up on my travels in the near future.

Westvleteren 8

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark coloured brown, almost murky in appearance and it didn’t look all that different from Westvleteren 12 as I recall although the lighting in the bar I was in wasn’t the best. There was some sediment in the glass and the head was slightly thinner than I’d expected, sitting a fine, bubbly white colour on the top and just about managing to cover the surface of the beer.
Aroma (9/10): Not quite as strong on the nose as it’s bigger brother but it was a long way from being considered weak with quite a strong sweetness coming through early on alongside some dark, dried fruits such as prunes, dates and apricot. Some cherries also featured and the beer was quite malty with some caramel adding further sweetness towards the end.
Taste (9/10): Dark fruits kick things off in the taste department here with some plums, figs and dates coming through alongside the prunes and apricot from the nose. There was a lot of sweetness coming through as well with some spice and yeast thrown in for good measure and the beer had quite a malty taste that was complimented by some vanilla and banana flavours as well as some faint touches of bubblegum.
Palate (5/5): This one from Westvleteren was an exceptionally smooth and perfectly balanced beer that came through a little sweeter than I’d been expecting but went down a treat. The beer had good carbonation and came through lively and crisp yet still seemed creamy in places and it was also quite an easy beer to drink with only faint hints of the alcohol content showing as I worked my way down the glass.

Overall (18/20): Another absolutely amazing beer from Westvleteren, they’re two for two now and I’ll hopefully get to try the third beer in the roster sometime in the near future to find out if they can manage the clean sweep. This one was quite a sweet beer with a lot of dark fruits and caramel but the balance remained great and it was a pleasure to drink with a nice alcohol kick giving the beer a warming feel towards the end; excellent stuff.

Brewed In: Vleteren, West Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: Westvleteren Abdij St. Sixtus
First Brewed: Brewery since 1838
Also Known As: Westvleteren VIII
Type: Abbey Dubbel
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Café De Spuyt (Amsterdam)
Price: €13.50 (approx. £10.00)

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