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Posts Tagged ‘amber ale’

Little Bastard Ale

Rating: 3.35

Continuing the theme of my recent reviews here, this one is yet another German beer that I managed to try but this time the beer is one I had at home after ordering it from the Brewdog online shop earlier this month. The beer in question is Little Bastard Ale from Stone’s Berlin brewery and will also be my first from them, despite the fact that I’ve spotted a number of their beers available over the past few months. This particular offering was a later summer 2016 release from the brewery and is a toned down version of their Arrogant Bastard Ale that I’ve reviewed here in the past and thoroughly enjoyed so I was hoping this would be more of the same; here’s how that turned out.

Appearance (4/5): Copper amber and quite a still looking beer, the drink is topped with a half centimetre head that is a light tan colour and has a bubbly texture to it. The head retention isn’t too bad really but it slowly fades to a thin lacing that turns slightly patchy after a minute or so with minimal lacing on the sides.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly more sweet than I’d expected going in, this one opened with some biscuit notes and a solid caramel aroma that was backed up with some toffee and the odd bread malt. It was definitely more of a malty beer with hints of butterscotch adding to the sweetness with a few subtle fruits coming through as well. Towards the end I could detect some figs and cherries with only subtle grassy notes coming through at the end.
Taste (6/10): Again quite a sweet offering but the beer was definitely toned down a little from the nose with the biscuit and in particular the caramel taking more of a back seat this time around. There was some bread malts coming through with more grassy flavours this time around but it still wasn’t a hop-filled beer by any means. Some toasted flavours and more of the sweet malts started to come through around the middle with a couple of subtle fruits as well but it could have been a little stronger in truth.
Palate (3/5): Quite a sweet offering, particularly at the start with a lot of malts coming through as well but the balance didn’t seem too bad overall. The beer was relatively smooth and clean, coming through as a lightly carbonated offering that started well but seemed to fade a little too quickly for my liking.

Overall (13/20): My first beer from Stone’s Berlin outpost and a fairly average one on the whole; it got off to quite a good start with plenty of sweet malts and caramel flavours coming through on the nose but by the time it got to the taste these had faded a little more than I’d have liked and the beer suffered as a direct result. It was a clean and easy to drink beer, the dark fruits with the nose were quite enjoyable too but not enough of the good notes seemed to carry over to the taste and by the end of this one it had begun to turn into a struggle meaning it’s not likely I’ll pick this one up again.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company (Berlin)
First Brewed: 2016
Full Name: Stone (Berlin) Little Bastard Ale
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.61

Marcus-Bräu Rotbier

Rating: 3.3

Now for a somewhat random beer that I managed to sample in Berlin when I visited the city over the Easter weekend, last month. This one is a beer from the Marcus-Bräu brewpub that is based in the Mitte area of the city and is a place that I stumbled by one afternoon when wandering about the area, before quickly deciding to stop in and see what they had on offer after discovering it was a local brewpub. The beer I went for was one of three that they had on-tap the afternoon I visited and is also the first review of a rotbier that I’ve uploaded to this site as well; I have previously tried some of the style though. The other offerings that day were a lager and a wheat beer as I recall and I was planning to stay for more than one but in the end decided against it, I was happy that I managed to try one of the brewery’s beers though and here is what I thought of it.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a cloudy and almost murky looking amber coloured beer that has some orange tinges running through it as well. The beer is topped quite a large, two-inch tall head that is creamy white in colour and frothy looking but manages to hold quite well initially with some good lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some earthy hops and a subtle floral base, this one had a lot of biscuit notes coming through along with a few sweet malts. There was touches of caramel and burnt toast nearer the middle of the beer, I managed to detect a little bread at this point too but it could have perhaps been a touch stronger; a pleasant, earthy bitterness seen things out.
Taste (6/10): Following on in a similar vein to the nose, this one opened with a lot of biscuit and bread malts before some earthy bitterness and touches of spice made themselves known towards the middle. The beer was a little stronger than it was with the nose and some faint caramel managed to come through before being followed by a few sweet malts but again the beer was a somewhat basic offering.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite smooth, the beer was earthy with a subtle bitterness to it and soft carbonation. It was a little basic and the nose seemed weaker than I’d have liked but it wasn’t a bad one on the whole.

Overall (14/20): This one was an okay offering overall, it was quite a subdued beer with nothing really standing out but I guess part of that was down to the fact that the balance was quite a good one. The beer opened with some sweet malts, biscuit flavours and a touch of caramel which blended well together and made it quite an easy beer to drink but I’m not sure it’s one that I’d order a second of.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Marcus-Bräu
First Brewed: crica. 2016
Type: Rotbier
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Berliner Marcus Bräu, Berlin, Germany
Price: €4.50 (appox. £3.81)

Brewdog Beatnik Imperial Red Ale

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

A second beer under Brewdog’s Beatnik Brewing Collective banner now, this is another beer that is brewed by company shareholders (of which I’m one but I’ve nothing to do with this beer sadly) and available only to these Equity for Punks members in Brewdog shops and online. The beer is my first imperial red ale in a while, I’ve only tried two or three others of this type of beer but it’s definitely on that I was looking forward to trying when I seen Brewdog were releasing another. The beer follows on from the Bounty Hunter as my second Beatnik beer and it again uses quite a standard and fairly average label to distinguish it from other Brewdog beers and I’m not sure how many bottles were brewed but the beer no longer seems to be available online or in Brewdog’s Glasgow bars so I guess I was lucky to grab a bottle a couple of weeks ago when I spotted it.

beatnik-imperial-red-ale

Appearance (4/5): A clear bodied amber to caramel red that’s topped with an impressive, three or four centimetre tall head that looks quite foamy and holds pretty well. There’s some light lacing on the sides and the head is a very slightly off-white to cream colour that looks great; a very good start.
Aroma (8/10): Quite hoppy initially but with a lot more sweetness than expected, there’s a combination of caramel and biscuit malts that kick things off before some touches of boozy alcohol and lighter fruits start to come through. The beer is lively with some hints of pine and citrus on top of a toffee base. Some further sweet malts back things up nearer the end with a bit of spice and some floral touches in there too.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, the taste kicks off with the same sweetness thanks to plenty of caramel malts and toffee coming through alongside plenty of sweet biscuit malts and spice. It’s a malty offering that features a plenty combination of spice and citrus around the middle before subtle fruits make an appearance; there’s a little berries and raisin with touches of blackcurrant in there too. Towards the end some further dark fruits and spices feature with a light bitterness rounding things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and definitely a sweet beer, this one is quite a lively offering too with above average carbonation for the style and some nice spices too. Around the middle there was a light citrus tang and although it’s very sweet at times, the balance was better than expected. It’s an easy one to drink and quite moreish too with a lot of fresh, floral hops adding to the bitterness.

Overall (15/20): This one was a pretty good beer and a rare imperial red ale for myself, it was definitely a sweeter than expected beer with a lot of caramel and toffee flavours opening things up alongside the biscuit malts. Some pleasant darker fruits and berries came through with the taste and added a new dimension that wasn’t there with the nose and the beer had enough hop bitterness to keep it interesting too. It was quite an enjoyable beer from Brewdog under their Beatnik Brewing Collective banner and although I probably enjoyed their Bounty Hunter offering marginally better, this one is still a beer well worth trying if you can manage to find a bottle.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Full Name: Brewdog Beatnik Brewing Collective – Imperial Red Ale
Type: Imperial Red Ale
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: BrewDog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £3.89

O’Hara’s Notorious Red IPA

August 3, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.65

The second O’Hara’s beer that I’ll be reviewing in fairly quick succession here and my third from the Carlow brewery of late, following on from O’Hara’s ‘OPsession and their Curim Gold offerings respectively. The beer is one of three O’Hara’s beers that I picked up at the same time on my recent trip to Ireland, with a review of a White IPA from them to follow after this one. This one is a new beer that was first released around February this year and was my ninth beer in total from the County Carlow based brewery, a brewery that I usually do my best to pick up new beers from whenever I’m in Ireland. I’ve tried quite a few good ones from them over the years and going in I was definitely hoping this would be one of their better offerings, here’s what I thought of it in the end.

O'Hara's Notorious Red IPA

Appearance (4/5): A light copper to caramel amber colour with a thumb-sized, foam head on top that’s a creamy white colour. Over the opening minute the head slowly receded to settles as a thin lace but it managed to leave a touch of lacing around the sides of the glass as it done so.
Aroma (6/10): The nose was a caramel one initially with a light bitterness coming through alongside it and a few sweet malts not too far behind. The odd earthy note showed and overall the nose seemed quite creamy with some bread malts and a touch of sugar nearer the middle. A few pale malts followed and there was some toasted flavours in there with some hop bitterness and a few background fruits down the stretch; not the strongest beer on the nose but it was at least quite varied.
Taste (7/10): Quite a malty tasting beer that was semi-sweet and came through with a pleasant caramel taste and some earthy touches, although neither was as dominant as they were with the nose. There was a pleasant pine bitterness and some background fruits around the middle with a touch of bread too. Some citrus flavours followed alongside a few biscuit and earthy malts and the beer was an enjoyable tasting one without being quite as complex as the nose.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and coming through with a semi-sweet feel, the beer was quite dry but also fairly crisp with a moderate bitterness running through it and an earthy feel overall, although some hops and citrus did feature. It was a lightly carbonated offering that was easy-going and held a nice balance too.

Overall (15/20): Not a bad offering from O’Hara’s at all here, probably not quite as good as some of their best beers but a decent one nonetheless. It proved to be quite a well-balanced offering from the Carlow brewery with just enough hop bitterness and fruits coming through to keep it interesting although the earthy flavours had more of a say with the taste overall. It was an easy one to drink and came through with a decent caramel taste as well; excellent stuff from the brewery and one I’d happily pick up again given the chance.

Brewed In: Muine Bheag, County Carlow, Ireland
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Red/Amber Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Ballast Point Even Keel

November 23, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 3.85

My sixth beer from Ballast Point now and one that I picked up over the weekend at the new BottleDog shop from Brewdog in Glasgow as thanks to being inspired to grab a few beers from the brewery after reading about their resent purchase by Constellation Brands for $1 billion the other week. I’ve also read that Brewdog will no longer be stocking their beers after the current batch sells out and I’d been wanting to try their Grapefruit Sculpin but sadly they had already sold out so I settled for this and another two from the brewery that I hadn’t tried yet. Despite the fact their recent takeover will mean they have more funds available for expansion, I doubt I’ll get an opportunity to try many more Ballast Point beers after I get through they ones I have left in the house as Brewdog seemed to be the only ones importing any of their stuff to the UK; you never know though, I might get my hands on some Grapefruit Sculpin yet. This one is actually my twelfth beer that falls under the session IPA category and the beer must have been one of the first of the style when it was introduced way back in 2006, although it was probably labelled different back then as no one was really talking about session IPA’s until a couple of years ago. The beer is well hopped with one and a half pounds used per barrel when it is double dry-hopped so I’m expecting plenty bitterness from a beer that won silver at the 2007 California State Fair and a bronze at last years Brussels Beer Challenge.

Ballast Point Even Keel

Appearance (4/5): This one pours quite a nice and bright, medium amber colour with a very clear body and a half centimetre tall head that is white and bubbly. Head retention of this one was okay with it sitting for a bit before fading to a thin and soapy lacing on top of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): This one is quite fresh on the nose with pine and floral hops to start with but they did seem ever so slightly subdued initially. There is some touches of spice and grain coming through early on as well with a few biscuit note around the middle before some of the tropical fruits start to make themselves known. The nose seemed well-balanced with a few lemon and citrus towards the end but the pine was the most dominant, almost resinous at times and definitely pleasant.
Taste (7/10): A combination of pine, citrus and floral hops kick things off with the taste and some spice backs it up in the early going. Again the beer was fresh with some light but earthy malts coming through around the middle with touches of biscuit and a very faint sweetness. There is some grapefruit and a slight acidity around the middle and heading towards the end with a very nice bitterness too.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and very fresh with a lot of citrus and floral touches coming through and sitting on some spice as well. There was a nice bitterness running through this one for the start and I got some decent sweetness from the malts as well which also helped balance things out nicely.

Overall (17/20): This one was quite a fresh and hoppy beer that packed a tremendous amount of flavour into its 3.8% abv. and there was a lot more to it that I’d been expecting going in. The hops initially seemed a little light and subdued on the nose but this definitely sorted itself out come the taste with plenty of hops showing alongside some resinous pine and nice citrus flavours. A really nice beer and one of the better session IPA’s that I’ve had, it’s up there with Stone’s Go To IPA and Founders All Day IPA although it maybe just falls slightly short of both of them but it’s still an excellent beer.

Brewed In: San Diego, California, United States of America
Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company
Full Name: Ballast Point Even Keel Session IPA
First Brewed: 2006
Type: Session IPA
Abv: 3.8%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Brewdog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £2.80

Born To Die 27.11.2015

November 12, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 4.4

Following on from the 04.07.2015 dated version that I had back in June, this one is the second in the Born To Die series from Brewdog that takes inspiration from Stone’s Enjoy By beers. I managed to try a bottle of this over the summer after ordering a bottle online so I was in two minds about reviewing it again when the second edition came out but after finding myself in Brewdog’s DogHouse bar/BBQ joint recently and spotting it on tap I thought I’d do so and compare it to the bottled version as I went. I’ve since learnt that there has been a few small changed to the recipe since the first edition hit the shelves so I feel justified in giving the new draft version a separate review here despite the beer being the same one for the most part; this one definitely seemed fresher anyway and I can see this beer a beer that I go back to time and time again, with each new release.

Born To Die 27.11.2015

Appearance (4/5): Light amber in colour with a semi-clear body and a thin, quarter centimetre tall head on top that is quite and leaves some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Fresh and very hoppy on the nose with a good mixture of orange and peach coming through early on. There was plenty of pine and grapefruit, especially as the beer started to heat up a little and was given time to breathe. I managed to detect some mango alongside plenty of hop bitterness and a few hints of alcohol too. There was a lingering bitterness on the nose that was similar to the bottled version, maybe even a little better.
Taste (9/10): Following on in a similar fashion to the nose, this one was again a very hoppy and fresh IPA with a lot of hops coming through from the very start, most notably of the pine and citrus variety. This was followed by some sweet malts and a caramel but there was also a good amount of grapefruit, tropical fruits and mango in there too before touches of alcohol and a lingering bitterness come through right at the end; this one was an excellent beer and a step up from the bottled version.
Palate (5/5): A smooth and well carbonated beer with a very fresh feel as you would expect given the concept of the beer. There was a slight warming alcohol feel to proceedings and a nice tang from the citrus that helped the beer going down frighteningly well. The balance seemed excellent and the palate was quite a deep, complex one.

Overall (18/20): Amazing stuff, this one was another excellent offering from Brewdog and tasted every bit as good as their first version of the beer and then some. There was tonnes of flavour coming through, most notably a pine hop bitterness with some great, sweet malts off that back of it. There was some great fruity flavours and a nice tropical taste in places giving a fresh, lively tasting beer that went down incredibly well. I’m always in two minds about ordering a beer that I’ve already tried (or tried a version of), especially when I’m out somewhere with so much choice and plenty of new beers for me to try but this one was outstanding and I’m glad I went back to it, I’d do it again given the chance.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Imperial/Double IPA
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Draight (Half Pint)
Purchased: BrewDog DogHouse (Glasgow)
Price: £4.65

Williams Brothers Pavlov’s Dog

October 29, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 3.05

Another new beer from Alloa’s Williams Brothers brewery now and one that I managed to pick up over the weekend after spotting it for the first time when I wandered through the beer aisle in an Asda supermarket for the first time in a while. I’m more used to picking up new Williams Brothers beers in Aldi supermarkets since they’re usually a bit cheaper there but I made an exception for this one despite the fact I’ve still got quite a few other beers to drink in the house already. Despite being a new beer that looks to have been first introduced in later 2014, the name is somewhat older with Williams Brothers previously using the name for a lager/IPA hybrid prototype back in 2012 for an event in Edinburgh but that doesn’t seem to have been a beer that ever caught on.

Williams Brothers Pavlov's Dog

Appearance (3/5): Copper to caramel amber and topped with a centimetre and a half tall head that is foamy looking at slowly shrinks in size to leave a quarter centimetre tall lacing that covers the surface well. The body is fairly clear and relatively still looking as well.
Aroma (6/10): Quite malty with some roasted notes and caramel coming through alongside a few earthy hops and a touch of toffee. There is a background nutty aroma to the beer and I got some grassy notes rounding things off; it’s a fairly light and traditional nose but not a bad one thankfully.
Taste (6/10): This one kicks off with a lot of malts and caramel with touches of sweetness off the back of that plus some roasted flavours. It’s quite earthy towards the middle with a few grassy and floral flavours trying to make themselves known before some biscuit malts appear. Again it’s quite a traditional beer with the odd background fruit on top of that, most notably some apples, dried fruits and faint hops.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite malty with not much in the way of carbonation. The palate is a relatively dry one and there is some sweetness off the back of the light, background fruits that feature throughout but it’s slightly more bitter than anything else. The balance of the beer was okay with it going down easy enough but it didn’t exactly leave me wanting to rush back for another sip sadly.

Overall (13/20): This one was an average, easy-going session style beer that went down well but didn’t really do much to stand out from the crowd. It was an inoffensive beer that wasn’t quiet boring but at the same time it definitely won’t go down as a memorable Williams Brothers offering that I’ll rush out to get again. There was some nice malty flavours and touches of bitterness along with some pleasant background fruits but beyond that it didn’t really have a whole lot to say sadly.

Brewed In: Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
Brewery: Williams Brothers Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Asda
Price: £1.99