Farmageddon Mosaic IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Only my third beer from the Farmageddon brewery based in the north of Ireland and a beer that follows on from their very disappointing White IPA and their Gold Pale Ale, although it should be noted that this is the first of the brewery’s beers that I’ve tried outside of Ireland. I was surprised to find bottles this one available a local Irish bar over the weekend and decided to give it a go despite the fact the other beers from the brewery that I’ve tried have both failed to impress. Coming in at 6.1% abv., this one appears to be one of several mosaic IPA’s that the brewery produces and they do appear to be produces a lot more beers than I remember from when I was last in Ireland at the start of the year; hopefully that means I’ll get to try a couple more from them on my next visit too.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light looking beer, this one is a golden colour that sits semi-cloudy in the glass but is a relatively still looking beer. There is a thin lacing on top of the surface that manages to cover about half of it with a little more build up around the edges of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): The beer was slightly more malty than I’d expected going in and opened with a lot of caramel sweetness coupled with some bread malts in the early going. These were followed by a pleasant burst of citrus and hints of pine as well but it wasn’t an overly bitter beer thanks to the balance which held up throughout. Some floral touches featured down the stretch with some vanilla and butterscotch right at the death which was a nice surprise.
Taste (7/10): The taste was a slightly more sweet one than the nose let on and it opened with some good butterscotch and vanilla flavours before some bread and light floral touches came through nearer the centre. There was some pine around this point too and the grassy flavours make themselves more known too with a subtle burst of hops not far behind. Some citrus and pale malts showed towards the end which helped make this one taste much better than expected before some faint bitterness, a caramel sweetness and the odd herbal touch seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite sweet with some vanilla and caramel helping this in the early going. The beer was smooth and very easy going with a nice balance and the odd citrus burst adding a slightly floral tang. It was a well carbonated beer with subtle bitterness throughout and it was definitely easy to drink, very sessionable too despite the strength of the beer since the alcohol content was well hidden too.

Overall (15/20): This one was a surprisingly good offering from Farmaggedon and miles better than anything I have tried from them before, I almost never ordered this one based on previous beer from the brewery but this one has definitely changed my opinion of their beers and I’ll be on the look out for more of theirs the next time I’m in Ireland. There was a lot of citrus and pine but the biggest surprise with this beer was the sweetness thanks to tonnes of vanilla and butterscotch throughout. It was an easy beer to drink with a great balance and is definitely one I’d have again.

Brewed In: Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Malone’s, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.50 (approx.)

Pump Action Poet

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Another Brewdog review now and other limited release from the brewery, this one hot on the heels of their Semi-Skimmed Occultist that I recently reviewed here and quite enjoyed. This time is the turn of their Pump Action Poet stone fruit IPA that was released earlier this summer and is one that I managed to try on-tap at on of their Glasgow bars a couple of weeks ago. The beer is one that I was looking out for (like more Brewdog new releases) but since I couldn’t justify an online order for this alone I decided to stop by one of their bars and give it a go. Coming in at 7.5%, this one seemed like a good summer beer going in thanks to the stone fruit and tropical flavours so I was definitely looking forward to trying it when I finally did mid-June this year; here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber coloured and fairly clear looking, there was a thin and foamy white head on top that was very slightly patchy looking towards the middle. There was some touches of lacing on the side of the glass and head retention was about average for the style as well.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a hop-filled offering on the nose, particularly in the early going with some pine and a huge amount of grapefruit coming through alongside a sharp alcohol aroma and of the advertised stone fruits as well. It’s definitely a fresh beer on the nose with some orange and mango nearer the centre, I got touches of citrus and pineapple in there as well before a few lighter malts rounded things off nicely.
Taste (7/10): Like the nose, this one was again quite a fruity offering with some touches of alcohol coming through in there early going but they were toned down slightly from the nose. There was a little spice from some chilies around the middle which provided plenty of heat but thankfully didn’t overpower. Towards the end there was a nice combination of mango and citrus with the odd tropical flavour pushing through which made for fairly strong but enjoyable taste.
Palate (4/5): Strong and quite fresh, this one was showing more alcohol than expected as well as being more spicy than usual for the style but neither seemed to overpower and they both worked well together. It was also quite a juicy beer with touches of tropical fruits throughout and the odd lighter malt to help with the balance which made it easier to drink than usual for a 7.5% beer.

Overall (16/20): Quite a strong beer throughout with more heat than anticipated and a subtle alcohol kick that was apparent throughout but somehow the beer seemed to work and the balance wasn’t too bad either. Opening with a nice burst of fruits to give the beer quite a fresh feel, there was some mango and pineapple alongside the usual orange and citrus flavours. The beer was fairly bitter in the early going to thanks to a pleasant combination of pine and grapefruit as well as the stone fruits, although these seemed to have disappeared come the taste. Definitely an interesting and enjoyable beer from Brewdog but I’m not sure I’d rush back to have it again were it on their permanent roster of beers.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.5%
Serving: Keg (Schooner)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.56

Montseny Aniversari IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The second of two Montseny beers that I managed to try when in Barcelona recently, this one being the third I’ve tried in total from the brewery and follows on from lasts years Malta as well as their Lupulus pale ale that I tried just before this one. I originally grabbed this one over another beer from the brewery’s roster after being misled by the anniversary part of the name and incorrectly assuming that it was a one-off, limited release from the brewery but it has in fact being available since 2012. Formerly known as CCM Anniversary IPA, the beer appears to be a year round offering from Montseny and managed to win a silver medal at the Barcelona Beer Challenge last year in the American IPA category so in hindsight it is still a beer that I’d have picked up had I known more about it; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it earlier this summer.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a medium amber colour with a fairly clear body, this one didn’t have much in the way of a head but there was at least a thin white lacing on top that just about managed to cover the surface of the beer but it could have been a little better.
Aroma (6/10): Herbal hops and a few citrus notes open things up here, there was a little malt coming through in the early going too but nothing overly strong. Towards the middle the grassy flavours started to come through and I managed to get some lemon in there but other than that it was quite a standard beer on the nose; it could definitely have been a little more varied though.
Taste (7/10): Quite a bitter offering in the early going with the taste, the beer was fresh and had a lot of citrus showing along with a few basic fruits and a very slightly tropical taste at times. Towards the middle there was some pine and the odd floral flavours, some grassy hops showing too before the malts from the nose started to come through from the middle on. It was quite a fruits and easy-going beer with some further fruits near the end that made it a slight improvement on the nose.
Palate (4/5): Fairly bitter on the palate thanks to the strong malt presence but also quite fresh at point with plenty of fruits and citrus coming through which in turn provided a nice tang in the early going. It was definitely a more malty beer than expected but it seemed easy-going and the fruits helped the balance a lot, as did the good carbonation levels.

Overall (14/20): This one was quite a nice offering from Montseny and definitely the best of the three beers from them that I’ve tried thus far, surprising given it is the only one of the three not to feature in the 1001 beers list. The beer opened up with quite a malty taste but there was enough fruits and citrus flavours backing them up to keep things balanced and interesting throughout. That being said, the balance could perhaps have been a touch better but for the most part it was a nice beer and one that I wouldn’t be against having again; it’s probably not one to go hunting for though but it is worth trying at least.

Brewed In: Sant Miquel De Balenyà, Catalonia, Spain
Brewery: Companyia Cervesera del Montseny
First Brewed: 2012
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Barcelona, Spain)
Price: €1.99 (£1.75 approx.)

Marks & Spencer Jester IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

The second Marks & Spencer beer I’ll have reviewed in quick succession now, this one is another brewed exclusively for their UK supermarkets and this time it comes from the Adnams brewery, making it the eighth beer of theirs that I’ll have sampled. I used to pick up a lot more of Adnams beers, mainly because they were so easy to find in supermarkets but also because they were often good beers, their Broadside strong ale in particular was one that went down well but this will be the first of theirs that I’ll have reviewed here since trying one of their disappointing attempts at a ‘craft’ beer when I tried their Dry Hopped Lager back in August 2015. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m not overly fond of these supermarket exclusive beers but every now and again one surprises you and although not great, the bottle of Marks & Spencer Citra IPA from Oakham Ales that I tried last wasn’t too bad at all so I’m hoping for more of the same with this one.

Appearance (4/5): Light amber to copper coloured, this one took quite an aggressive pour to form a bubbly white head that’s a about half a centimetre tall but it managed to hold relatively well and leave a tiny bit of lacing on the glass as well; not too bad in the end I guess.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some earthy hops and a few biscuit notes, this one sadly isn’t as fresh as I’d been hoping for on the nose and is most definitely an English style beer with some subtle bitterness coming through early on. It’s a more sweet beer towards the middle with some caramel malts showing before the odd light fruit and slightly floral aroma start to come through.
Taste (6/10): Again quite earthy with some subtle hops coming through not far behind but they’re not overly strong at any point. The beer is fairly subdued throughout with a hint of sweetness showing on top of the earthy bitterness at times, a few touches of caramel and perhaps some vanilla are showing. Towards the end a few lighter fruits feature but nothing stands out and they all seem to merge into one before some light spices see things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied with a solid earthy bitterness coming through from the start but one that is backed up with a little bit of sweetness too which helps to balance the beer out nicely. It’s smooth but fairly basic with a semi-dry feel, soft carbonation and a lingering bitterness at the end.

Overall (13/20): This one turned out to be a fairly standard English style beer that is apparently a taste that I’m no longer a fan of if this one is anything to go by sadly. The beer opened with some earthy bitter flavours that were a little one-dimensional but the sweetness around the middle was a nice touch and a step in the right direction, sadly it wasn’t maintained and there wasn’t much towards the end of the beer to really keep me interested; definitely not a beer that I’ll pick up again.

Brewed In: Southwold, England
Brewery: Adnams
Full Name: Marks & Spencer Single Hop Variety Citra IPA
First Brewed: 2015
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Marks & Spencer (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Marks & Spencer Citra IPA

July 10, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.55

The first of two Marks & Spencer branded beer that I’ll be reviewing in quick succession now, this is one that I picked up a couple of weeks ago from the shop when trying to use up the last few points of a gift card I received; the beer will however be my sixth of this time from the shop. The beer itself is brewed by Oakham Ales and that was part of the reason I picked a bottle up, part of me was hoping that it would be a similar offering to their excellent Oakham Citra that I’ve enjoyed on a number of occasions since first reviewing it year roughly five years ago. The last Marks & Spencer exclusive beer that I tried was a bottle of Sambrook’s Battersea Rye in September 2015 but since it is not a shop that I regularly visit then that’s not really too surprising I guess. A single hop variety beer, this one is my fourth Oakham brewed beer and follows on from their Jeffrey Hudson Bitter that I checked off the 1001 beers list early last year and I’d be happy if this one was just as good as that was.

Appearance (3/5): An orange tinged amber that is semi-cloud and topped with a somewhat disappointing, quarter centimetre head that is foamy and white in colour but it does manage to cover the surface at least.
Aroma (7/10): Starting with a nice burst of, you’ve guess it, Citra hop that give the beer quite a fresh nose in the early going, this one is surprisingly strong in the early going and had a few fruits and citrus notes backing the hops up. There is a couple of grassy hops coming through with a touch of straw before the odd tropical notes came through around the middle. There was quiet a few juices showing with this one and that was a pleasant surprise too; most notably some pineapple and grapefruit came through nearer the need of what was a good beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Again quite juicy and following on well from the nose, there was a good helping of citrus and tropical fruits in the early going with the mango from the nose coming through before the odd earthy hop showed itself. There was a light bitterness as you got nearer the end but these didn’t manage to drown out the fresh and juicy fruits which were here in abundance. Around the middle some pale malts made themselves known as well but it was the juicy flavours that seemed to dominate.
Palate (4/5): Sitting somewhere around light-medium to medium bodied, this one was surprisingly crisp and not as dry as I’d expected either. There was plenty of bitter hops in the early going and there’s a nice citrus tang coming through as well at times. There’s a nice balance to the beer and it’s quite easy to drink as well, although it fades ever so slightly right at the end but it’s still a good one.

Overall (15/20): Surprisingly good stuff for what is essentially a supermarket beer, albeit one that’s from Oakham Ales. The beer is quite enjoyable from the start, the strong citrus flavours and bitter hops kick things off well and the beer manages to hold its own until the end with some earthy hops and a few pale malts showing at times. It’s not quite good as Oakham Citra from the same brewery but it was an enjoyable one that went down better than I’d expected.

Brewed In: Peterborough, England
Brewery: Oakham Ales / The Brewery Tap
Full Name: Marks & Spencer Single Hop Variety Citra IPA
First Brewed: 2013
Type: American IPA
Abv: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Marks & Spencer
Price: £2.50

Innis & Gunn American IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

Trust Innis & Gunn to cause yet more confusion with their beer names but this is another example of just that. I picked this one up recently in an Aldi supermarket thinking I would finally get to try their ‘original’ IPA having previously seen it on a number of occasions in various Glasgow bars but it had all but disappeared in recent years until it started reappearing over the last couple of weeks at various supermarkets. Sadly it turns out that this one is actually a different beer, the original being a 7.7% version but this one only comes in at 5.6%. The beer is occasionally listed online as the brewery’s ‘American IPA’ but I’ll list it as their 5.6% IPA here and hopefully I’ll get to try the original at some point too.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a fairly light looking but very clear amber, the beer is topped with quite a nice, two centimetre tall head that is very foamy and thick looking. The head forms a dome shape at the top of the beer and holds quite well, leaving a little lacing on the sides as it eventually starts to recede but it is a nice looking beer.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with a good amount of hops, certainly more than I’d expected going in and it was quite pleasant as a result with a good combination of citrus and pine, touches of orange and lemon managed to make an appearance too. It wasn’t an overly strong beer but it got my attention straight away thanks to the hops but also the subtle sweetness that brought in the middle of the beer. Some biscuit notes and a faint touch of caramel feature as well before some herbal notes and an almost tropical aroma see things out nicely; it’s just a shame it wasn’t that little bit stronger.
Taste (6/10): Much like the nose, the taste opened with a nice helping of citrus along with plenty of pine hops but nothing was overly bitter. There was some light tropical flavours that came through earlier than they did with the nose but were about the same strength, they did give the beer a relatively fresh taste though. Around the middle some biscuit malts and the odd earthy flavours showed with some sweetness from subtle caramel malts making themselves known as well. It’s not too complex a beer but it was a pleasant one with herbal and floral flavours seeing things out but there was a little too much perfume showing for my liking at times.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and quite crisp, the beer has a lot of floral touches and seems dry in the early going too. It’s a balanced beer that has some sweetness showing off the back of some caramel malts and the odd fruit but for the most part it was a semi-bitter, fresh beer but also one that was a touch lighter than I’d have liked at times sadly.

Overall (12/20): Not a bad stab at an American style IPA from Innis & Gunn considering their beers usually take more of a traditional route but this one was pleasant enough at times whilst still being miles behind what other brewery’s are putting out at the moment. It’s got some nice citrus and pine touches in the early going, a few biscuit flavours and the lighter caramel notes add some variety too but overall the beer is quite basic and predictable as well as being quite floral towards the end with a lot of perfume-like flavours showing too sadly.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2017
Also Known As: Innis & Gunn American IPA
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

Semi-Skimmed Occultist

July 10, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.9

A new limited release, small batch beer from Brewdog that was launched in March this year and will be my 134th different beer from the brewery so far. This one follows on from the bottle of their re-released Hop Rocker offering that I reviewed here at the end of May and is one of countless Brewdog beers that I have in my cellar, still awaiting a review. This is actually a beer that I’ve been looking forward to since first hearing about it in one the brewery’s newsletters towards the end of last year (or possibly at the every start of this one) and I was quick to pick up a can at their Glasgow shop soon after its initial release, just in case it disappeared quickly. Brewed as an 8% abv. sweet stout that could almost be considered an imperial stout, the beers seems to have attracted fairly positive reviews online and I’ quite excited to crack this one open now.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a nice looking beer when I initially poured it, this one sits a dark and opaque looking brown to ruby-black colour that is also very still looking. The beer is topped with a beautiful, foamy head that is tan coloured and dome-shaped, holding incredibly well over the opening few minutes which is doubly impressive given it is such a strong beer. It quite thick and creamy looking once the head eventually starts to subside slightly but it doesn’t lose very much of its head at all and looks excellent throughout, holding steady as I work my way down the glass and leaving plenty of lacing along the way too; a perfect start.
Aroma (6/10): Perhaps not quite as strong a beer on the nose as I’d anticipated for an 8% stout but it wasn’t exactly a weak one either and some solid roasted malts opened the show alongside touches of coffee and some early hints of sweetness. There was a nice amount of cocoa and chocolate notes showing in the early going too with a bit of caramel thrown in for good measure. Nearer the middle some of the milky aromas and lactose started to come through, adding a little to the sweetness along the way but definitely not stealing the limelight any. There was a little vanilla nearer the end with some further roasted malt bitterness and faint touches of smoke to see things out but it’s definitely one that could have been just a touch stronger; the alcohol was very well hidden throughout though.
Taste (7/10): Opening much like the nose before it did, this one kicks off with a lot of roasted malts but it’s thankfully a little stronger this time around with some hints of alcohol grain managing to sneak in there as well. There was a lot of sweetness early one from the chocolate, caramel and touches of chocolate malt too, a faint taste of vanilla wasn’t too far behind either. It wasn’t an overpowering taste by any means and it was definitely closer to what I’d expected going in that the nose was, there was a lot of oats and some earthy bitterness around the middle with a bit of coffee to back it up as well. Towards the end the sweetness really began to take hold with some milky touches and further bitter malts seeing things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, perhaps just a touch lighter than expected for an 8% stout but it was far from thin and there was a lot going on anyway. The beer opened with a plenty of roasted malts and a solid helping of sweetness from the caramel and chocolate backing it up, some vanilla to help out as well. The beer was surprisingly easy to drink throughout and the balance was a good one, some faint alcohol showed at the start of the taste but was masked completely with the nose and it only started to seem like an 8% offering nearer the end of proceedings. Overall it was an incredibly smooth but quite sweet offering that went down a treat.

Overall (16/20): Excellent stuff from Brewdog here, the beer got off to a perfect start after I poured it where it looked fantastic sitting in the glass; the nose however was a very slight let down given that it wasn’t quite as strong as I’d been expecting but it was still a pleasant enough beer aroma-wise. Things were turned around completely with the taste and the beer started to come into its own with an early roasted bitterness that quickly lead to an abundance of sweetness that really made the beer; a combination of chocolate malts, lactose and vanilla with some caramel thrown in for good measure all worked well together. The beer was smooth and balanced with a subtle kick thanks to the alcohol as well; it’s just a shame that it’s a limited release from the brewery otherwise I could see this being one I’d go back to at some point in the future.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Sweet/Milk Stout
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse (Glasgow)
Price: £3.56