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Posts Tagged ‘brewed once’

Character Assassination

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Brewed in collaboration with south London based Gipsy Hill, this one is my first beer from the Electric Bear Brewery based in Bath and is on that I picked up recently alongside a couple of Trappist beers at my local bottle shop, opting for this one given it’s a one-off New England IPA and it’s the height of summer here. A new beer for 2018, this one was canned in late May and should still be relatively fresh so it’s one that I’m looking forwards to cracking open. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gipsy Hill over the last couple of years but surprisingly haven’t tried anything from them yet but this one was the first time I’d seen or heard anything about Electric Bear so I’m interested in finding out more and perhaps picking up something else from them in future if this one is any good.

Appearance (4/5): A lot lighter and clearer than I’d expect for a New England IPA, the beer is a light amber with some golden tinges and a thin, half centimetre head that’s foamy and white but starts turning patchy towards one side more quickly than I’d have liked; not a bad looking beer but I’d place it closer to lager than a New England IPA on first looks.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly tropical on the nose initially with some subtle grapefruit and orange coming through but nothing too pungent or overpowering in the early going at least. There was some citrus notes and a little tangerine further on with a couple grassy hops followed by a moderate bitterness and hints of mango and peach further on; it’s definitely an American IPA aroma but it’s not as dank as anticipated.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some pine and grapefruit bitterness that is followed by some nice orange and tangerine flavours, the beer is again slightly tropical with touches mango, apricot and peach bringing in the middle. It’s a solid IPA taste with some grain and a hint of alcohol nearer the end but it wasn’t a anything special or out of the ordinary with a faint sweetness and further bitter flavours seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with some bitterness showing from the start without it being a dank one really. There was fine carbonation that gave the beer a lively feel and it was quite dry and sharp too. The balance was as you’d expect for the style with the bitter hops and tropical flavours dominating and a touch of the alcohol coming through near the end.

Overall (/20): This was a strange one in the sense that it was a pleasant and enjoyable beer but I feel like there was some false advertising involved where the label states that it’s a New England IPA but it was very much a standard American IPA with very little dank flavours coming through but instead a slightly tropical and bitter beer with the usual grapefruit and pine flavours as well as some mango and apricot further on. It was okay offering overall but one that ultimately left me disappointed given I was expecting something completely different from what I got after reading the label on the can.

Brewed In: Bath, Somerset, England
Brewery:  Electric Bear Brewing / Gipsy Hill (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2018
Full Name: Electric Bear / Gipsy Hill Character Assassination
Type: New England IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.30

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Abstrakt AB:13

July 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My third beer from Brewdog’s Abstrakt series now, this one follows on from their outstanding AB:10 that I tried way back in late 2013 and their AB:19 that I finally got around to trying around Christmas time last year. This one is a 2013 release from the brewery that I’ve had since then and it’s a cherry imperial stout that is aged for fourteen months in sherry whisky barrels to give it some of its taste. I believe I picked this one up from the Brewdog online store roughly five years ago and had always been saving it for around Christmas time each year but I’d never get around to trying it so I decided to scrap that recently and finally crack the bottle open and see how it tastes now it’s five years old. I’m expecting big things from this one given how good their AB:10 was all those years ago, I still enjoyed the AB:19 but that didn’t quite hit the same heights so at the very least it should be interesting to see  how this one turns out; the beer itself is numbers 8659 of 9972 so there can’t be too many of these left kicking about either.

Appearance (4/5): A very dark, cola like black colour with very thin, bubbly lacing on top that was a fiery brown in colour but faded quite quickly to leave not much of anything upstairs but that was to be expected given both the age and strength of this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a dark, oak like nose with a lot of roasted malts and liquorice upfront alongside a solid base of alcohol grain and an earthy bitterness from some coffee and chocolate notes. It’s slightly sweet with some caramel and dark fruits showing, mainly some dates and prunes but also a few sugars come through to help out. It’s a heavy aroma with some raisins and toffee towards the end to see things out; very strong stuff.
Taste (7/10): Dark fruits and alcohol flavours kick things off, it’s definitely got a sherry taste to it with some darker malts and chocolate following on behind, I managed to get some cherries alongside prunes and dates with a few raisins following on behind. It’s slightly sweet the caramel and a toffee taste further on alongside molasses and a few hints of vanilla and oak.
Palate (4/5): Fill-boded but after five years there’s very little carbonation showing, although it doesn’t seem flat given the type of beer it is. It’s loaded with alcohol from the start and shows pretty much all of it’s 11.3% abv. from the first sip. Some touches of sweetness by way of the chocolate and vanilla, not to mention the dark fruits and cherries helps to make it a drinkable offering but it’s not one to be rushed.

Overall (15/20): This one was a very strong and boozy beer from the start with a tonne of alcohol showing and a little sweetness further on from the dark fruits, molasses and vanilla. It’s a beer to take your time with and sip rather than rush through it given the strength and the age of the beer, although it holds up quite well for a bottle that’s been sitting in my attic for the best part of five years. It’s a thick and chewy, full-bodied beer that I’m glad I’ve finally tried but it was just that little bit too strong for my liking so I doubt I’d have picked it up again had it been a regular from Brewdog and it doesn’t quite hit the heights of either of the previous two Abstrakt beers I’ve tried.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: BrewDog
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.3%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £10.00

Very Big Moose

Rating: 4.55

Another beer from Fierce brewing, this one a collaboration with Brewdog and the staff from their Aberdeen bar as part of Brewdog’s Collab Fest 2017; this one the winner of the event in October last year. An imperial stout with touches of cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon and coming in at a strong 12% abv., this one is a beer that I was looking forward to trying but never managed to make it to a Brewdog bar during the event itself so I thought I’d missed out on trying the beer until I spotted it online over Brewdog’s AGM weekend in April this year. This one is a beer I’m very much looking forward to trying and it follows on from the can of Very Big Moose: Tonka that I reviewed here recently as well, that one being a collaboration with Brew York that used tonka beans in the brewing process so I’m interested to see how this one compares.

Appearance (4/5): Very thick looking as it pours, the beer is opaque and jet black in colour with a half centimetre tall head that is foamy and covers the surface initially before breaking up in the centre but holding around the edges of the beer; it’s better than expected for the strength of the beer anyway.
Aroma (9/10): This one gets off to a strong start with a lot of chocolate and alcohol grain kicking things off, there’s a background sweetness to though with some vanilla notes coming through in the early going. Further on I got some dark, almost roasted malts and oak coming through with more sweet alcohol that resembles rum at points. There’s the odd spice towards the end with a bit of cinnamon but the chocolate and vanilla are strongest throughout; excellent stuff on the nose.
Taste (9/10): The taste follows on in a similar fashion to the nose with some strong chocolate flavours upfront alongside the same vanilla sweetness that carried on from the nose as well. There’s some rum and alcohol grain showing towards the middle but more of this is masked than anticipated with some darker malts and cocoa covering it for the most part alongside some spices.
Palate (5/5): Full-bodied and quite thick throughout, this one was smooth and strong with a warming alcohol feel from the middle on and as a result the end of the beer was quite a boozy one. The beer had an excellent balance and a lot of the alcohol content was hidden but you knew it was a strong one with a touch of dryness towards the end and plenty of sweetness throughout thanks to the chocolate and oak but mainly the vanilla flavours that featured heavily from the start.

Overall (19/20): Outstanding stuff from Fierce and Brewdog, this one is loaded with flavours and opens with a strong sweetness that was mainly down to the vanilla but also some chocolate malts and oak too. It’s a strong one with some rum and alcohol grain towards the middle but it remained quite easy to drink thanks to the smooth body and excellent balance. I went in expecting this to be similar to the Tonka version of the beer that Fierce done with Brew York not long after this one was initially release but this version is so much better and has a lot more going on as well. There was some nice roasted flavours towards the end with background spice, in particular cinnamon coming through to round things off exceptionally well; an amazing beer that I could drink again and again (although not in one sitting) and I’m thankfully I picked up another one to try at a later date now – believe the hype.

Brewed In: Aberdeen, Scotland
Brewery: Fierce Beer/Brewdog (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £5.60

Choco Libre

June 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

A December 2017 release from Brewdog that I actually tried on-tap just before Christmas but never properly reviewed at the time so I was pleased to finally grab a bottle when I spotted it available on the Brewed online shop a couple of weeks ago; I had feared that I might have been too late and missed my chance. The beer is limited released, 8.2% imperial stout from the brewery that I quite enjoyed when I tried it a couple of months ago and is brewed with Mexican spiced chocolate and features hints of vanilla, cinnamon and chillies which definitely makes it seem like a winter beer but I’m sure it’ll taste just as good now.

Appearance (4/5): Really thick looking as it poured,this one was jet black and opaque with a tan brown head on top that was bubbly and foamy in each measure, starting about a quarter centimetre tall before fading to a thin surface lacing soon after.
Aroma (6/10): Opening quite dark with a hint of coffee and some roasted malts to kick things off, it’s not quite an overpowering aroma that you often find with an imperial stout but there’s definitely a noticeable aroma. Slightly further on there’s some chocolate notes but they’re definitely not as noticeable as expected, I did get a little spice and chocolate around the middle too. Towards the end a faint alcohol smell followed by a vanilla aroma that made an appearance and helped by adding to the sweetness but I’d been expecting a little more from the nose in truth.
Taste (7/10): More pronounced than the nose with some dark malts and roasted flavours kicking things off before some chocolate starts to come through and is backed up by touches of spice as well. Again there is a vanilla sweetness around the middle and towards the end but it’s a touch stronger than with nose. A little further on some faint hints of coffee bitterness show with some darker fruits and sugars seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied and quite a smooth beer with a background spice to it off the back of the chocolate. The beer was a little light on the nose but came through stronger come the taste with a good vanilla sweetness to it as well. It’s a well carbonated beer that was fairly well-balanced too with a warming alcohol finish too.

Overall (15/20): This one didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts with the nose little than expected and far too weak for an 8.2% abv. imperial stout but things turned around slightly come the taste with the dark malts and chocolate flavours more pronounced by that point. It was spicy at points without overpowering and some nice vanilla flavours added to the sweetness whilst simultaneously helping the balance. It’s definitely a nice beer and one that I’d have again if I spotted it whilst out but I remember it being better the first time I tried it; perhaps that was done to me having quite a few before it though.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £2.94

Pleasures In The Darkness

June 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.0

Beer number six from Wylam for me now, this one being a collaborative offering between the Newcastle based brewery and Kendal based Hawkshead that I picked up a couple months ago and am just getting around to trying now. This one follows on from bottles of Wylam’s Club of Slaughters imperial stout and their Nomi Sorachi pale ale, both of which I tried towards the end of last year after picking them up on a visit to Newcastle last summer. This particular offering is one that I was looking forward to and Wylam definitely appear to have upped there game given the first couple I tried from them were fairly average bitters and pilsners so an imperial stout is nice to see; that being said, there Club of Slaughters was quite a terrible take on the style so I’m hopeful this one is a major improvement on that one.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a very thick and oily, jet black colour and forming a nice, two or three centimetre tall head that was bubbly and brown in colour but took a fairly aggressive pour to get there. Head retention isn’t great but to be expected given it’s an 11% abv. beer with it fading to quite a thin lacing around the circumference after about twenty seconds before disappearing completely soon after.
Aroma (8/10): Strong on the nose with a lot of coffee and dark chocolate notes opening things up, immediately you notice some touches of alcohol in the early going too with some grain coming through. It’s a dark and heavy beer with dates and liquorice alongside a vanilla sweetness and some sugars. There’s a lot of complexity with raisin and even the odd smoky note starting to come through with an earthy, roasted malt bitterness at the end along with some more dark fruits; excellent stuff.
Taste (8/10): Dark malts and some sweetness kick things off in the early going with a lot of alcohol showing at this stage too but not quite overpowering. The beer was a rich one with some dark fruits coming through that included the prunes and raisins from the nose with some dates too. Around the middle there was a lot of cocoa and chocolate making itself known with a vanilla backing and some caramel at this point too. It’s quite a rich and dark tasting beer with a good amount of sweetness to help the balance and some dark oats further along too.
Palate (4/5): Thick and full-bodied, this one is a very dark beer with a smooth feel that is very lightly carbonated but surprisingly well-balanced given the amount of complexity. It’s a strong one with some alcohol upfront and a warming finish that was slightly boozy and had some sweetness in there too.

Overall (16/20): Quite a strong and rich beer that opens with a lot of alcohol and as a result seems quite boozy and warming, especially nearer the end but it was well-balanced for the most part with some nice caramel malts and chocolate flavours complimenting the coffee bitterness and roasted malts. It was a beer that I had to sip away at and definitely couldn’t rush but it was a pleasant and smooth one with good complexity and nice variety too.

Brewed In: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Brewery: Wylam Brewery/Hawkshead Brewery (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.70

Cloudwater DIPA v3 2018

June 13, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 4.15

Following on from my recent review of their DIPA v3.1, this one is a similar offering from Cloudwater but this one is a closer re-brew to their original DIPA v3 from 2016. The main changes between this beer and the original are the type of yeast used (WLP095 instead of Vermont ale yeast this time) and the abv. has been reduced from 9% to the current 8.5% but since I never got to try the original this one one I was eager to try. Some of the reviews I’ve seen online have been mixed with a lot of people preferring the original but I’m still hoping this will be a good one as I’ve yet to try a back IPA or double IPA from the Manchester based brewery.

Appearance (4/5): Hazy orange to light amber in colour and topped with a half centimetre tall, bubbly white head that covers the surface well initially before starting to turn patchy at one side.
Aroma (7/10): Not quite as pronounced as I’d expected to be honest but there was some citrus and pine opening things with a few background grapefruit notes. It’s got a hint of tropical fruit to it and some grassy touches before a few caramel notes start to come through and impart some sweetness as they do. It’s slightly resinous towards the end with a few floral and herbal notes coming through and the balance was quite good too but I’d have liked it to be a little stronger on the nose if I’m honest.
Taste (8/10): Coming through stronger than the nose did, the taste kicks off with some citrus and pine hops that are moderately bitter and backed up with some mango and apricot flavours as well as a couple more background tropical fruits that include grapefruit and papaya. It’s a fresh taste with some stone fruit followed by some caramel and earthy malts but neither of these seemed as strong as they did with the nose since the hops and tropical fruits came through more pronounced this time around; very nice stuff.
Palate (5/5): Very fresh and bitter with plenty of hops showing from the start, although they did seem a lot more pronounced with the taste and it was quite a resinous beer too. It’s a crisp and tangy beer that’s well carbonated and very well balanced too which made it easier to drink than is the norm for an 8.5% abv. beer; excellent stuff.

Overall (17/20): Fresh and tropical with plenty of mango, apricot and orange coming through from the start but I’d have liked to have seen the nose coming through a little stronger. The beer is very well balanced and easy to drink with the majority of the alcohol content hidden by the hops and tropical fruits as well as the touches of sweetness and caramel malts further on; great stuff and definitely a beer that I’d pick up again if it wasn’t a limited release.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2018 (Original recipe from 2016)
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Cloudwaterbrew.co
Price: £4.50

Cloudwater DIPA v3.1

June 13, 2018 2 comments

Rating: 3.75

Not quite a re-brew but a beer that takes inspiration from a previous Cloudwater release, their DIPA v3 from back in 2016, a beer that I sadly never managed to try after only finding out about the series near it finish when v10 was released. This one changed the original recipe slightly and uses flaked outs as well reducing the bitter hops whilst increasing the dry hops; the alcohol content has also been reduced from 9% to the current 8.5% abv. too but this is still a beer that I’m excited to try given how good some of Cloudwater’s previous DIPA’s have been. This was one that I ordered online directly from the brewery along with a couple of other new beers to take advantage of their free delivery in May offer so I’m eager to see how it compares to the DIPA V3 2018 that I ordered at the same time, that one being a closer re-brew of the original 2016 recipe with minor tweaks.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a thick looking and very hazy orange to apricot colour that is topped with a half centimetre, bubbly white head initially but it’s one that disappears soon after to leave only the odd tiny patch of bubbles on the surface; a nice coloured beer but poor head retention lets it down some.
Aroma (7/10): Very dank and tropical on the nose with a lot of apricot and mango initially, there was some citrus too though and plenty pineapple. It was quite a sharp nose around the middle with some floral notes and an almost metallic smell that had some pine and grapefruit further on. It was quite fresh but definitely seemed a touch rough around the edges with some herbal touches at the end to see things out.
Taste (7/10): Again quite fruity with lots of tropical flavours including the mango, apricot and pineapple from the nose as well as some papaya and citrus this time around. It’s again quite a dank beer with some resinous pine hops and grapefruit coming through with a sharp taste the matches the style of the nose. It’s quite astringent and bitter with some overripe, juicy fruits rounding things off at the end.
Palate (4/5): Sharp and a very dry beer, there was a lot of hop bitterness and resinous flavours with some oily touches around the middle. It was a relatively full-bodied beer, especially for the style, and was well carbonated and refreshing. Only a touch of alcohol showed nearer the end and it was fairly juicy throughout but was perhaps just a touch too rough and sharp for me to really enjoy it.

Overall (15/20): Strong and hop-filled, this one is dank and resinous with plenty tropical fruits coming through with both the nose and the taste; a good combination of citrus, apricot, mango and pineapple show with both. There was an addition of some papaya and some further background fruits to the taste and only a hint of the 8.5% abv. was showing with this one but the biggest letdown for me was the mouthfeel that seemed a little rough and sharp, almost metallic at time and that was something that took away from the rest of the beer sadly and stopped me from enjoying it as much as I had with some of Cloudwaters previous offerings; it was still a nice beer though but without trying the original I can only assume this one isn’t as good based on some online reviews I already read.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Cloudwaterbrew.co
Price: £5.50