Posts Tagged ‘amber ale’

Massey Red Ale

Rating: 2.95

The third of three new Hillstown beers that I picked up in Tesco recently whilst visiting Ireland, this one will be my fifth overall from the brewery after I also tried a couple of there beers at the end of last year and into the start of this one. The last beer from the brewery that I reviewed here, The Goats Butt hefeweizen was actually the best that I’ve tried from the brewery so far and their The Spitting Llama before it was a decent beer too so I’m hopeful this one turns out decent as well. The beer itself is an Irish red ale and is one I picked up as part of an offer in Tesco, overlooking a pale lager from the brewery in favour of this one so perhaps I’ll head back at some point and try the lager too since I’ve enjoyed the last two from the brewery.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark amber that that’s somewhere between copper and mahogany in colour and topped with quite a thick head that’s a creamy texture and off-white in colour, starting about an inch and a half tall and managing to hold quite well over the opening few minutes which was impressive.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly floral initially which wasn’t expected but the caramel and sweet malts come through straight after with some nice earthy notes and a little citrus at this point too. It was a fresh beer but quite balanced too with a couple background fruits that included apple, light berries and some apple too. It wasn’t the most varied or pronounced offering on the nose but it got things started and wasn’t offensive in anyway at least.
Taste (6/10): Opening with some floral touches again and a few biscuit malts, the beer was more earthy tasting than the nose hinted it but for the most part it was quite sweet. Towards the middle some berries and fruity esters started to show but it was a relatively subdued taste for the most part with some caramel towards the end alongside some faintly nutty flavours.
Palate (2/5): Smooth and medium bodied but softly carbonated and a little bland at times, it was definitely a subdued beer and not the freshest feeling either. This was a subtle sweetness around the middle after a floral start but the beer seeemed a little one-dimensional and didn’t have enough going for it to really grab my attention sadly.

Overall (11/20): Quite disappointing from Hillstown again here, the beer was fairly one-dimensional and basic throughout with some floral flavours opening things followed by some biscuit malts and background fruits but not much beyond that. It was quite earthy yet bland at the same time with a few nutty flavours and malts coming through but it’s definitely not the best nor is it one that I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Randalstown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Irish Red Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.75


Kinnegar Devil’s Backbone

Rating: 3.15

My ninth from Kinnegar and beer that follows on from their Crossroads American IPA that I had last and very much enjoyed. This one is the last of the four beers from the brewery that I picked up in Donegal Town and might be my last new offering from the brewery for a while as very few of their beers make it over to Scotland. It’s a beer that I read a little about a few years ago and highlighted as a beer I was looking forward to trying from Ireland which is why it was one of the beers from Kinnegar that I was quick to grab.

Appearance (4/5):A caramel to copper amber, the body is hazy and the head sits about a centimetre tall and tan coloured with a foamy texture that covers the surface well and has a few bubbles sitting on top as well. Head retention is okay as well with about half the height disappearing over the opening minute but the surface remains covered for the most part before eventually getting thinner around one side.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some bread malts and biscuit initially but it wasn’t the strongest on the nose, I had to let it open up a little to let the aroma come through. There’s a few earthy hops showing and a slightly butty aroma too with hints of spice but I was really looking for this one to be stronger and show me something which it really didn’t sadly.
Taste (6/10): Thankfully a little stronger than the nose with some nice biscuit malts and earthy hops coming through initially. Towards the middle I got background sweetness and hints of caramel before a few bread malts and hints of toast started to come through; it’s definitely more pronounced than the nose but still not a strong beer really.
Palate (3/5): Earthy and quite sharp, the beer was a light-medium body that could have been a little fuller but it didn’t seem thin at least. The carbonation levels were moderate and there was a subtle bitterness throughout but it definitely seemed a tad bland at points. It’s relatively well balanced but still not the greatest, probably because it wasn’t as pronounced as I’d have expected or liked.

Overall (11/20): Quite a disappointing offering from Kinnegar, especially after how much I enjoyed their Crossroads IPA but this one was far too subdued and light, particularly with the nose which was bordering on weak at points. Things improved slightly come the taste with more of the bitter malts and earthy hops coming through alongside some biscuit flavours but it’s not a classic and I can’t imagine it’s one that I’d pick up again either.

Brewed In: Rathmullan, County Donegal, Ireland
Brewery: Kinnegar Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Paul’s Off License (Donegal)
Price: €3.25 (approx. £2.85)

De Koninck APA (380 of 1001)

June 28, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.9

My first beer from Antwerp’s De Koninck brewery and a beer that I actually tried in Bruges the day before I travelled to Antwerp, in the end I actually had this one a couple of times when I was in Antwerp as well though. The beer is an amber Belgian ale that has been brewed in the city since 1930 and is my 380th beer from the 1001 beers list to be reviewed here. Despite apparently being quite an easy beer to track down abroad, this isn’t a beer that I can recall seeing outside of the odd specialist beer website and it’s not one I’d heard much about before travelling to Belgium but I knew I’d have to try it given I was visiting Antwerp and thankfully it was one that I quite enjoyed.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber coloured, edging towards dark in colour with a fairly clear body and a centimetre tall, foamy white to light-tan coloured head that holds well and covers the surface throughout.
Aroma (7/10): Dark malts and some caramel kick things off with some touches of sweetness coming through alongside a nutty aroma that dominated. Further on there was some pale malts and a few earthy notes with the odd sugary touch coming through before a little banana showed towards then end and some yeast and spice seen things out.
Taste (8/10): Similar to the nose with some earthy malts and a slightly roasted flavours coming through alongside a solid caramel sweetness and a couple of light hops too. It was a sugary taste around the middle with some light banana and cloves following on behind. It was a relatively light tasting beer for the colour with some bread malts and few spices rounding things off.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and quite dry, the beer was strongly carbonated with a fresh and slightly sweet feel but it wasn’t an overpowering one. The beer seemed quite balanced but subdued with a few spices but it was very easy to drink as well.

Overall (16/20): This one was an excellent beer from De Koninck, very smooth and balance whilst seeming quite refreshing too. It was an easy beer to drink with a nice caramel sweetness from the start and some good nutty flavours, although these seem a little strong on the nose than with the taste. There was a good mix of earthy malts whilst keeping the beer relatively light tasting but it’s definitely one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Antwerp, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij De Koninck
First Brewed: 1930
Also Known As: De Koninck Amber / De Koninck Antwaarpse Pale Ale
Type: Amber Ale/Red Ale (Belgian Ale)
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: ‘t Brugs Beertje, Bruges, Belgium
Price: €3.50 (approx. £3.09)

Scuttlebutt Amber Ale

February 3, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 3.3

My first beer from the Scuttlebutt brewery and only my third beer from Washington state, this one follows on relatively soon after the can of Evo IPA from Two Beers which was the last offering from Washington that I had tried when I reviewed that one towards the end of last year. Like that previous offering, this one from Scuttlebutt is another beer that I picked up from my local bottle shop after noticing it was reduced on a recent visit; opting for it based solely on the fact that it was the first time I’d seen on of the breweries beers available in the UK and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. Although not an offering that gets particularly good reviews online, this is a beer that I’m looking forward to cracking open given it is the first of two beers from the brewery that I now have to review since I’ll soon be giving their Hoptopia double IPA a go too.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber to copper coloured and quite clear looking, the beer has a nice sized head on top that looks quite creamy and sits as a wavy, off-white that manages to hold well in the early going.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a basic, earthy nose opens things up with some light caramel and subdued hops alongside an earthy bitterness and some nuts. There was less hop bitterness than expected with some honey, spice and basic fruits making up the rest of the nose with some biscuit seeing things out.
Taste (6/10): Following on closely from the nose, the beer again started quite earthy with some caramel touches in the early going too. It was a semi-sweet beer with some nutty flavours and lighter fruits, apples in particular coming through with some basic biscuit malts not far behind. Towards the end there was some funk and sourness starting to come through with a couple of light spices seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and semi-sweet, the beer was earthy and quite dry throughout with a few subtle spices further on. The balance was quite a basic one that bordered on poor with more sourness than anticipated sneaking through with some funk further on but it was certainly interesting at least.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a strange beer in that it started as very much an amber ale with some sweetness and basic malts coming through alongside a few nutty flavours and biscuit but further on there was a lot of sourness and funk coming through, particularly towards the end which made the beer seem a little unbalanced. It was drinkable throughout but definitely not a classic that I’d rush back to, it just seemed a little strange and the sour touches weren’t at all what I’d be expecting.

Brewed In: Everett, Washington, United States of America
Brewery: Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.
First Brewed: circa. 2003
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

Rathlin Red

January 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.8

The final beer of those that I picked up and tried while in Ireland over the Christmas holidays, this one is a County Antrim brewed beer from the Glens of Antrim brewery that I sampled on my last night in the country. Like a lot of the beers that I tried over the holidays, this one is another from a brewery that I’ve not come across before and is one that I picked up in a local bottle shop for that reason alone. The beer is an Irish red ale that I was surprised to learn uses Slovenian hops and will likely be one of my last new Irish beers until I return to the country later this year, mainly because I’ve tried most of the beers from the country that manage to make it to Scotland already

Appearance (3/5): A dark caramel amber that was hazy and topped with a half centimetre tall head that had a bubbly texture and white colour; it managed to hold well initially before a couple of patches slowly formed around a minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Quite earthy with a lot of toasted malts and some background sweetness, the beer had some toffee showing initially with a touch less caramel following on behind. Around the middle I started to get some honey sweetness and a few biscuit malts with a roasted aroma seeing things out.
Taste (5/10): Sweeter than the nose with a lot more toffee showing and there was probably slightly more caramel coming through as well. These were followed by some biscuit malts, toasted flavours and a little bread with some nutty touches further on. Towards the end the sweetness continued with some honey and vanilla showing as well as some spice and basic malts.
Palate (3/5): Falling just shy of medium bodied, the beer was slightly lighter than I’d been hoping for but it was quite a smooth one with plenty of sweetness showing throughout. The balance wasn’t the best in truth and it wasn’t overly enjoyable either sadly but it was moderately carbonated and dry towards the end with a toasted bitterness seeing things out.

Overall (10/20): Quite a disappointing offering from Glens of Antrim and one that I’d been hoping for more from, it was a little poor with the sweetness a little more pronounced than expected too. There wasn’t a great deal of variety to the nose and although the beer did improve slightly with the taste, it’s not likely that it’s a beer that I’d go back to again.

Brewed In: Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Glens Of Antrim
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Irish Red Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.79

Beehive Brae Red Honey Beer

December 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

My second review of a Beehive Brae offering now, this one being the red (or amber ale) version of a beer that is following on from their standard Honey Beer that I reviewed here just over a year ago. This one is another that I recently received as a birthday gift, having spotted it on a few occasions at various restaurants in the Glasgow area but never getting round to trying it until now.  I actually have a few bottles of this local beer to try so I’m hopeful that it will prove to be a good one and at least a slight improvement on the last offering from the brewery that I tried as well.

Appearance (3/5): Dark copper to mahogany coloured with an semi-opaque body and a half centimetre, foamy head that is beige and fades to a thin lacing around the circumference around ten seconds later.
Aroma (6/10): Quite nutty with some light malts and a hint of toffee to start, there was some nice sweetness as expected from a honey beer before some subtle honey and sugars added to this towards the middle. There was a slightly earthy smell coming through that had a faint fruit backing near the end to see things out.
Taste (6/10): Slightly more sweet than the nose with some nice toffee and caramel coming through with a few stronger sugars following soon after. There was a lot of honey around the middle with a slightly more nutty taste and some basic malts further on.
Palate (3/5): Smooth with a light-medium body that was strongly carbonated and almost seemed overdone at times. There was some strong sweetness throughout this offering with honey combining with the toffee and caramel but it wasn’t sickening or as strong as some other honey beers I’ve tried thankfully. It was relatively easy to drink but quite basic and not overly pronounced either.

Overall (10/20): Quite a basic but very sweet offering, this one was loaded with honey as well as some toffee and caramel at points too. There was some earthy malts and nutty flavours further on but it wasn’t overly varied and wasn’t one that I would rush back to either.

Brewed In: Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Brewery: Beehive Brae
First Brewed: circa. 2015
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Scotland)
Price: Gift

Boyne Amber Ale

September 21, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.45

The third of the three beers from the Boyne Brewhouse that I managed to pick up while over in Ireland at the end of last month and the start of this one; the beer follows on from Boyne’s Saison that was quite disappointing and their only marginally better Pale Ale. I’m hoping it’s a case of saving the best to last with this one though and hopefully it will prove to be a better beer, otherwise I can’t see this being a brewery that I pick any more beer from up when I’m next in Ireland later this year.

Appearance (4/5): A darker, almost caramel colour that has a half centimetre tall, bubbly head that is a creamy white and slightly foamy looking but manages to cover the surface well. The head retention was okay too, initially sitting well then start to break up a little after about forty-five seconds to a minute later with a patch of lacing holding in the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a malty nose with some sweetness in the early going too, there was some caramel notes with the odd sugar to back them up and hints of bread not too far behind either. A couple of faint biscuit notes featured towards the middle alongside lighter hops and a earthy aroma but it could have used being a little stronger in my opinion.
Taste (6/10): Semi-sweet with a little caramel and the odd biscuit note coming through, there was a touch more sweetness than there was with the nose and I managed to get some earthy flavours coming through soon after. A combination of sugars and some bread malts featured around the middle with a moderate bitterness seeing things out but again the beer wasn’t quite as strong as I’d have liked.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and sweet with a few sugars featuring from the start. The beer was relatively crisp and slightly dry at times whilst the nose in particular was a little weak but the balance wasn’t a bad one and it was easy to drink. Carbonation levels were about average for the style of beer and there was a nice bitterness to see things out as well.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad amber ale and easily the best of the three beers from the brewery that I’ve tried now, although it was still a little weak at times and far from a classic offering. Opening with a nice helping of sweetness that was backed up by pleasant biscuit malts and some caramel flavours, this one was a balanced beer that proved quite easy to drink throughout without being anything special. It was crisp and dry, especially towards the finish with a nice bitterness to see things out as well, although I’d have liked it more had it been a little stronger.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67