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Mahou Negra (352 of 1001)

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.1

This one is only my second review of a beer from one of Spain’s biggest brewery’s, Mahou and follows on from their Mahou Cinco Estrellas that I sampled on-tap in Glasgow back in March. This one is the brewery’s flagship dark beer and is actually one that I’ve been on the lookout for over the past year and a bit, having previously tried to pick it up last year when I first visited Barcelona but surprisingly I was unable to locate a bottle. I also attempted to have family members get me a bottle on their trips to Spain but finally I managed to find it in a Carrefour supermarket on La Rambla on my recent trip to Barcelona; better late than never I guess. The beer is another from Spain on the 1001 beers list that I’ve be able to check off and means I only have three more from the country to try and a review of Montseny Lupulus will follow in the coming days, so technically I only have two more to pick up now. As for the beer itself, this one is a dunkel style lager that was first brewed back in 1908 and it wasn’t really one that I held out much hope for before trying it, I really only wanted to check it off the list and had assumed it would be much easier to find than it proved to be. Anyway, here’s what I thought of the beer when I tried it at the start of the month.

Appearance (4/5): Copper brown and semi-opaque looking, the beer is topped with a centimetre tall head that is foamy and tan brown in colour with okay retention but it eventually turns slightly patchy after a minute or so; it’s certainly better than I had expected though.
Aroma (5/10): Dark malts and some caramel notes opening up proceedings here, there is some roasted notes as well but it wasn’t really anything that I hadn’t been expecting. I managed to detect some spice nearer the end but overall it was quite a one-dimensional beer on the nose and not overly exciting sadly.
Taste (6/10): The taste kicked off in a similar fashion to the nose with some basic malts and roasted flavours before a nutty taste started to appear nearer the middle followed by some hints of caramel along with some light spices. There was a few bread malts following on from this with hints of toffee adding to the sweetness from earlier on which meant that this was a slight improvement on the nose but still not exactly a classic.
Palate (3/5): Light medium bodied with a slight tang and quite an easy to drink feel to it, the beer was quite basic and one-dimensional but not off-putting at least. There was some sweetness from the caramel and toffee flavours but the main point to note was the roasted, nutty feel to the beer that dominated throughout.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a basic beer on the whole and pretty much what I’ve come to expect from mass-market beers like this, although it was relatively easy to drink. The beer kicked off with some nutty flavours and a touch of caramel to impart some early sweetness to proceedings. There was a strong roasted bitterness to the beer throughout with touches of toffee nearer the middle that helped add to the earlier sweetness, a few burnt flavours managed to sneak in too though. It’s probably not a beer I’d go back to again, even if it was more readily available to me but it was at least another off the 1001 beers list and it remained drinkable throughout.

Brewed In: Alovera, Spain
Brewery: Mahou S. A.
First Brewed: 1908
Type: Dunkel
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour supermarket (Barcelona)
Price: €0.85 (£0.75 approx.)

Edge Padrino Porter

June 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

Only my third beer from Barcelona based Edge Brewing now and another that I managed to pick up when visiting the city a few weeks ago. This one is a beer that follows on from the same brewery’s Hoptimista IPA and Squiffy Sailor offerings, both beers that I enjoyed and both that I picked up here in Glasgow so this one will be the first from the brewery that I’ve reviewed in Barcelona despite the fact I’ve visited the city twice in just over a year now; I really should have picked up a few more when I had the chance. The beer itself is an American style porter that was initially released in early 2014 and appears to be one of the brewery’s most readily available options if you go by the amount of reviews it has online; it’s also pretty popular too. Anyway, here is what I thought of the beer when I had it at the start of the month and hopefully I’ll be able to pick up a few from from the brewery before I next visit Barcelona, whenever that may be.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark looking beer, this one pours a mahogany colour with an opaque body and quite a thick looking, centimetre and a half tall head that was a tan brown colour. There is some visible carbonation running through the body of the beer while the surface is covered well by the head which holds relatively well.
Aroma (7/10): Dark malts and some early sweetness kick things off here, there was some caramel with a touch of alcohol nearer the middle as well. There was a good combination of cocoa and roasted malts around the middle too with some burnt toast and the odd hop sneaking in before some coffee and subtle spices seen things out alongside a little grain.
Taste (7/10): Quite a malty beer with some solid roasted bitterness and touches of alcohol that carried on from the nose, there was a little sweetness from the caramel at this point too. The beer was a pleasant some with a nice variety of darker fruits coming through which added to the sweetness and helped balance out the darker, more roasted flavours from the middle of the beer as well as tasting good.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite thick at times, there was a little more alcohol showing in the early going than I would have liked but it was a pleasant beer that went down relatively easily. Some hops did manage to sneak through at times, particularly with the nose but that is something I’d have liked to see a little more of but there was some nice sweetness and touches of spice to shake things up a little which made for a good mouthfeel overall.

Overall (14/20): Quite a nice Spanish brewed porter and another cracking beer from Edge despite the fact it’s probably not the best style of beer to be drinking in the warm weather but is was still an enjoyable one. There was a nice malt bitterness to proceedings with a couple of hops sneaking through in the early going, mainly on the nose but some did show in the taste as well, albeit to a lesser extent. There was some solid roasted flavours with the odd alcohol grain appearing at times but it wasn’t an overly strong beer which meant it was a relatively easy one to drink and one of the better Spanish beers I’ve tried of late, although that’s not always saying too much I guess.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Edge Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Porter
Abv: 6.9%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Simply Basic Supermarket (Barcelona)
Price: €3.50 (£3.06)

Buxton Axe Edge

June 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

A beer that will be my fifth from Derbyshire based Buxton now, this one will be my first since trying their Quadrupel offering over the Christmas holidays at the very end of last year and is quite a similar offering to the first Buxton beer I ever tried, their Ace Edge that I had back in August of 2014. This particular offering is the original version of Ace Edge, a beer that was modified slightly to use Sorachi Ace hops and give the beer more of a lemon taste so it should be interesting to see how this one compares. I picked this one up a couple of weeks ago when placing an order on the Brewdog online shop since they were having quite a decent sale at the time, otherwise this might not have been a beer I was drawn to given I’ve spotted it in a number of bottle shops over the years and never got around to trying it; this being despite the fact that I really enjoyed the bottle of Ace Edge when I tried it a couple of years ago.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a nice looking beer when initially poured, it sits a medium amber to orange colour in the glass but looks quite hazy. The head is a good one, sitting just over a centimetre tall and looking quite thick and creamy with a creamy white colour to it. Head retention is excellent with little movement or reduction in size over the opening couple of minutes and plenty of lacing left on the sides of the glass when I take a drink. 4.5
Aroma (7/10): Fresh on the nose in the early going with some subtle pine and citrus notes kicking things off before the odd grassy note made an appearance. It’s not an overly strong beer initially but I did get the odd touch of caramel sweetness nearer the middle. Floral touches and bread malts appear nearer the end of this one with some light tropical notes sneaking in as well; it’s definitely a pleasant beer on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Starting with plenty of hops, this one is a fresh beer that has a nice combination of pine and citrus to start before a few tropical flavours start to come through; most notably some mango and apricot but touches of orange and grapefruit feature as well. Around the middle the caramel sweetness and a few bread malts start to come through but they don’t seem as pronounced as they did with the nose, the beer was dominated by the citrus flavours at this point. Towards the end there was more of a hop bitterness with floral flavours and a touch of spice coming through as well. 3.75
Palate (4/5): Fresh and balanced with a medium body and plenty of hops showing throughout. The beer was lively with strong carbonation and proved easy to drink as well, the mouthfeel a dry and crisp one down the stretch. 4.25

Overall (17/20): Another really enjoyable beer from Buxton and very much on par with their Ace Edge offering, although this one definitely seemed more balanced and easy to drink. The beer looked fantastic after I poured it and there was a lot of early citrus and pine coming through to get you interested from the start. I liked the touches of sweetness and the tropical flavours were nice but I’d have liked to see more of the later when it came to the nose. Overall it’s a great beer from Buxton and one that I’d happily go back to again at some point in the future.

Brewed In: Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Brewery: Buxton Brewery
First Brewed: 2011
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.00

Hop Rocker

Rating: 3.55

One of  the original three beers Brewdog ever made now, this is one that I picked up over the brewery’s 10th anniversary celebration last month when they released this one alongside their original recipe Punk IPA and another old-school beer of theirs, The Physics. This is a beer that was originally brewed in 2007 and retired within a couple of years so it’s one that I never managed to try at the time but thankfully I’m getting a chance now. The beer is an American style pale lager from the brewery but given the name, I’m expecting at least a decent amount of hops coming through and it should be interesting to see how this one compares to some of their later attempts at pale lagers, particularly their classic 77 Lager and their current Kingpin lager. This one will be my 133rd beer from Brewdog and more than a few of them have been lagers over the years but it’s not a style the brewery are particularly good at in my opinion so it should be interesting to see how this one tastes given it’s ten years old and they tend to rotate their lagers on a fairly regular basis these days.

Appearance (4/5): Golden coloured and fairly clear with a couple of amber tinges through the body and an impressive, three centimetre tall head that is creamy looking and quite thick initially. There’s some nice lacing on the sides of the glass with the head maintaining good retention as well, there’s only a slight reduction in size over the opening minute or so and it’s definitely better than anticipated so far.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a malty aroma to the beer initially, there was some early caramel sweetness with a few hops backing them up earlier than expected. There was some lighter type fruits nearer the middle of the beer with some grassy notes too, I could detect a faint touch of butterscotch and bread malts follow it up. It’s a little more pronounced on the nose than expected too but it seemed fresh and fairly lively too.
Taste (7/10): The taste, like the nose, was again quite a malty offering with some early sweetness coming through from a combination of bread and caramel malts. There was a definite hop presence at this point too with some grassy hops and touches of citrus coming through alongside a combination of basic fruits that add a subtle freshness to proceedings before some malt bitterness sees things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and strongly carbonated, the beer is fairly fresh but the balance certainly wasn’t the best, it seemed a touch gassy at times and the grassy hops were more pronounced than you’d expect from this type of beer. It’s a pleasant offering that was relatively easy to drink but it did seem slightly dated at times too.

Overall (15/20): This one turned out to be quite an interesting beer from Brewdog and one that started well with some nice caramel and bread malts to give the beer an early sweetness before some of the grassy hops and subtle bitterness started to come through. It was a very strongly carbonated beer that seemed overly gassy at times but was still pleasant enjoy, my biggest complain however would be the balance of the beer with it seeming a little aggressive at times and definitely a little dated too; that probably explains why Brewdog stopped brewing it in truth. It’s on that I’m pleased I’ve managed to try but I’m not sure I’d go back to it again if it was a permanent offering either.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2007 (2017 re-release)
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.28 (approx.)

Bayreuther Hell

Rating: 2.35

The final beer of those that I managed to try when visiting Berlin over the Easter weekend in April of this year, it’s only taken me a month but I’ve finally gotten through my backlog of reviews to upload here and sadly this isn’t a case of saving the best to last. This one is a beer that I tried on my last morning in the city, having initially forgotten it was sitting in the hotel fridge the night before. The beer is one that I spotted in a number of shops over the course of the weekend and I knew I’d end up trying it at some point, especially considering it’s not one that I’ve seen available in the UK before either. Originally a 4.8% offering, the alcohol content of the beer has since been raised ever so slightly to the 4.9% abv. it was when I picked up a bottle near my hotel in the Alexanderplatz area of the city. Since this is the last of the German beers I have to review for the time being, I imagine this one will also be my last review of a helles style lager for a while but you never know I guess.

Appearance (3/5): A very clear looking, golden straw coloured beer with a thin, half centimetre tall head on top that was a foamy white that left the odd touch of lacing on the sides of the glass as the head disappeared to leave a thin surface lacing after the first minute or so.
Aroma (3/10): A terrible smelling beer in truth, this one smelt of cheap corn and basic adjuncts with a faint vegetable aroma to proceedings. There was some skunky notes around the middle but not a huge amount, the beer was fairly bland overall though with some lager malts and hay nearer the end; very poor stuff.
Taste (5/10): Corn and lager malts open things with the taste and there was some fairly light vegetable adjuncts with a touch of skunk imparted on proceedings as well. Around the middle a faint hint of citrus started to come through and I got the odd grassy hops too which was a slight improvement on the nose but overall it was quite cheap and basic tasting.
Palate (3/5): Thin and quite light on the palate, this one was a fairly skunky offering at times and came through as a bland, cheap tasting lager. There was some faint hops and a hint of sweetness around the middle but  with was lightly carbonated and not as crisp as I’d have liked. It was a smooth beer for the most part but it wasn’t particularly easy to drink or enjoyable sadly.

Overall (7/20): This one can only be classed as a terrible lager, the beer was cheap and bordered on nasty at times with only a faint touch of sweetness and basic hops hinting at anything in the way of flavours. There was some skunk and vegetable adjuncts at times which wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for going into this one and it was easily one of the worst beers I tried on my recent trip to German; a definite one to avoid for me.

Brewed In: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Brewery: Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu
First Brewed: Brewery since 1857
Type: Helles Lager
ABV: 4.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Price: €1.60 (approx. £1.36)

Dolden Berg Sturer-Bock

Rating: 3.3

Another random beer that I managed to try in Berlin when visiting last month, this one is actaully the penultimate beer from the trip that I’ve still to review here. The beer is one that was picked up for me from a Netto supermarket in the Alexanderplatz area of the city and appears to be one that is brewed exclusively for the retailer and available only at their stores, it is brewed at the Jacob Stauder brewery in Essen though and for that reason I’ll list the beer under that particular brewery. The beer is one that I had in the late afternoon back at my hotel and to be honest I wasn’t expecting a great deal from what was essentially a supermarket own-brand, strong beer but it turned out to be at least slightly better than expected without being one I’d rush back and pick up again; here’s how it turned out.

Appearance (4/5): A malty looking, almost caramel amber coloured beer that was semi-clear and had quite a nice and thick looking head sitting on top of it. The head was a foamy looking one, sitting a creamy white colour with some nice lacing on the sides of the glass and looking much better than I’d expected.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong beer on the nose, this one kicked off with a lot of caramel malts and some early sweetness as well, it seemed relatively thick on the nose too with some solid sugars and darker fruits featuring nearer the middle. I managed to detect a combination of plums, raisins and some dates with a few sticky grains in there too. Towards the end some of the alcohol starts to show and it did seem stronger than the 7.5% abv. listed on the bottle but it fell short of being overpowering at least.
Taste (6/10): A very malty beer with a lot of sweetness in the early going, there was some strong hops coming through as well with a touch of warming alcohol backing it up. Towards the middle there was some citrus before darker fruits started to come through, I got touches of plum and raisins with some dates rounding things off nicely but it wasn’t an overly complex really.
Palate (3/5): Quite a thick, almost full-bodied beer that was very malty and strong, opening with a lot of sweetness before some touches of warming alcohol and grain showed up. It definitely seemed stronger than the 7.5% listed on the bottle but remained drinkable, it’s definitely not one to rush though. There was an abundance of sugars in there too, coupled with the fruits and this one was quite a sweet offering that was light on bitterness and perhaps just a touch too strong for my liking at times.

Overall (14/20): Quite a boozy and strong offering with a lot of sweetness throughout, it’s probably not the best beer to kick off the night with but it was drinkable and enjoyable at times without ever threatening to be a classic. There was a lot of dark malts and fruits coming through, most notably plums and dates but nothing out of the ordinary for the style really. It’s one that’s worth trying if you stumble across it, mainly because it’s not as bad as you’d expect from the price but it was probably just marginally better than average and not one I’d be likely to pick up again.

Brewed In: Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Brewery: Privatbrauerei Jacob Stauder
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Doppelbock
ABV: 7.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Netto (Berlin)
Price: €0.69 (approx. £0.60)

Berliner Kindl Weisse Waldmeister

Rating: 2.1

A third review of a beer from the Berliner Kindl Schultheiss brewery for me now and not entirely a new one, this is actually a beer that I managed to try about three years ago when I first visited Berlin but at the time it was one that I had straight from the bottle and never properly reviewed. I recently managed to try another bottle when visiting Berlin last month though and this time I had it back at the hotel to fully appreciate it rather than just swigging from the bottle as I walked about the city. It’s not exactly a classic beer but it feels right drinking it in Berlin and it’s not one available back home so I ended up having a couple of these over the Easter weekend I was in the city. The beer follows on from the bottles of Berliner Pilsner and Berliner Kindl Weisse from the brewery that I tried three and four years ago respectively as my third from the brewery, I did also manage to try the red Himbeere version of this beer too but it’s not one that I properly reviewed again sadly so a post for that one will likely have to wait until my next visit to Germany.

Appearance (2/5): Quite a ridiculous looking lime green colour that doesn’t look like a beer at all, this one was semi-clear with a thin white head on top that was about half a centimetre tall and bubbly to being before fading to a patchy lacing soon after.
Aroma (4/10): Quite sweet on the nose as I’d expected,this one also had quite an artificial nose to it with a lot of apple and some lime with touches of citrus sitting in the background. There was a lot of sugars in there as well but beyond that and the apple there wasn’t a whole lot to say about the beer really; it was more juice and syrup than beer really.
Taste (4/10): Sweet and very syrupy, this one was a very artificial tasting beer that was dominated by apple flavours but also had some lime coming through as well. There was a lot of sugar coming through from the start as well but that and some faint citrus was about all there was to this one; it didn’t even seem like the usual radler taste that I’d been expecting and seemed to have a very fruit juice like taste at times, along with being far too sweet into the bargain.
Palate (2/5): Light bodied and ridiculously sweet, this one was a dry but not very well balanced beer that seemed artificial and fake at times. There was a slight tang from the citrus coming through around the middle and it was moderately carbonated but it didn’t seem much like a beer to me.

Overall (10/20): This is a strange beer and despite being one I’d tried previously, I was still surprised by just how sweet and sugary it was which is something that was seemingly masked by the fact that usually I would drink this one straight from the bottle. The beer was overly sweet and came through as more like a fruit juice at times, there was some lime and citrus in there but the apples definitely dominated from the start and it wasn’t the most well balanced beer either. It was drinkable and I wouldn’t say it’s a beer that I’d never have again since it is so readily available in Berlin but it is definitely not one to look out for.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery:  Berliner Kindl Schultheiss Brauerei
First Brewed: circa. 2000
Full Name: Berliner Kindl Weisse Mit Schuß Waldmeister
Type: Berliner Weisse
Abv: 3.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Price: €1.50 (£1.30 approx.)