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Cloudwater Motueka Pilsner

Rating: 3.4

My sixth in total from the Cloudwater brewery and I’m pleased to report that their beers seem to be more readily available north of the border than was previously the case; always a good thing. This one follows quickly one from the can of their DIPA v13 that I reviewed here recently and is actually another can from the brewery that I picked up alongside that one, the other being the can of their Seville Orange Sour that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t particularly impressed with so hopefully this one turns out a little better. This one is a limited release pilsner from the Manchester based brewery and part of their Spring/Summer series of beers and I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a couple more of their beers in the near future; hopefully they will be slightly more reasonably priced than this one was though.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring quite a light and very clear golden colour that isn’t too far off of a straw colour, the beer is topped with a fairly nice looking head that is white and foamy, sitting just over a centimetre tall and holding quite well into the bargain. There is a lot of visible carbonation with the beer and the clarity of the drink is excellent, the head also looks to leave some nice lacing on the sides of the glass as well when I start drinking it; nice stuff so far.
Aroma (6/10): Quite fresh on the nose but definitely not the strongest in the early going, this one opens with some subtle grassy notes and a little citrus lemon which makes it seem lively initially. There was some faint herbal touches around the middle and I got a hint of biscuit as well before the odd hop makes an appearance around the middle. Towards the end some hay and light sweetness feature with it seeming quite refreshing at this point as well but it could have been a bit stronger really.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, this one is a fresh and lively beer in the early going with some lemon coming through again but the hops from the nose come through a lot earlier this time around. There was some herbal touches with a little citrus and hints of grassy hops around the middle, a subtle hint of hay is also present before the malts start to make themselves known. Towards the end there is a combination of sweet malts and biscuit flavours to see things out but it still feels like a lager to me, albeit it a fairly good one but certainly nothing outstanding.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and fresh, the beer was a relatively crisp and lively offering that was well carbonated and balanced but could definitely have been stronger. It was a nice lager on the palate and it’s always nice when none of the usual skunk flavours are present but it certainly wasn’t anything spectacular from Cloudwater and I’m not sure it’s one that would grab anyone’s attention really.

Overall (14/20): Nice stuff for a lager from Clouwater, this one was quite a lively and fresh offering that was pretty easy to drink thanks to the decent balance but in truth I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that it wasn’t a little stronger, particularly in the early going with the nose. There wasn’t too much to the beer that stood out either, I got some light malts and biscuit flavours coming through alongside the usual grassy hops and hay plus some pleasant enough lemon and citrus flavours but there was nothing to really grab my attention and I’m not sure it’s a beer I’d go back too, especially not at the same price as what I paid for this can; it was okay but could definitely have been better.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Pilsner
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.10

Cloudwater DIPA v13

May 12, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.95

My third beer in this series from Cloudwater, having previously tried their DIPA v10 and DIPA v11 offerings and enjoying both a great deal; this one is however the first time I’ll be trying one of the beers in the series in from a can because the previous version were in a bottle and on-tap respectively so it should be interesting to see how this one compares. This one is also the last in the monthly series from the brewery meaning it was one of the most sought after too, I was lucky to see my local bottle shop posting that they had some in so I quickly headed round to grab a can before it was too late. At the time of drinking, the beer also had some pretty impressive reviews online and was ranked as the 8th best beer on the RateBeer website in the double IPA category as well as being fiftieth on their list of the top beers listed on the site; not a bad feat even though it has since slipped out of the top fifty overall beers since the weekend.

Appearance (4/5): A hazy orange colour that looks quite like but is very cloudy and opaque, the head is quiet a thin one though and sits about a half centimetre tall before fading to quite a small, bubbly lacing after about thirty seconds or so. The beer does look incredibly thick sitting in the glass though and it is quite still too; not a bad start.
Aroma (7/10): Not overly strong on the nose right away, the beer starts with subtle lemon/citrus notes before the hops start to come through; there was a nice combination of mango and orange followed by touches of peach but it definitely wasn’t as strong at this point as previous offerings in the series have been. Around the middle of tropical notes and faint grapefruit start to come through, overall the balance on the nose is quite good as well but nothing was truly jumping out at me and grabbing my attention up until this point. It’s a solid DIPA on the nose but I felt that previous offerings were slightly better. Things do improve some and gather some strength after the beer is given more time to open up but I’d have liked this to show earlier.
Taste (8/10): Thankfully the taste kicks off a lot stronger than the nose with some good hop bitterness in the early going before touches of citrus and pine coming through alongside the grapefruit from the nose. There was a little more sweetness at this point too with the mango and peach from the nose featuring strongly here with some malts following on behind. It’s quite a fresh tasting beer with some pleasant floral flavours coming through as well and it seemed juicy towards the end; good stuff and much better than the nose in my opinion.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with a smooth, quite tangy feel that was also pretty dry. The beer is well-balanced with an early bitterness that is soon joined by a subtle sweetness that stays with the beer throughout. It’s very easy to drink despite the 9% abv. and the alcohol content is exceptionally well hidden too; great stuff and very enjoyable too.

Overall (17/20): Excellent stuff again from Cloudwater, they are definitely a brewery that know how to make excellent DIPA’s and this one is no exception. The beer started a little slower than I’d have liked and the nose was far from as strong as previous offering but it wasn’t quite weak either; it did eventually open up with some nice citrus notes and the odd hop but it could definitely have been stronger. Thankfully things improved substantially come the nose and plenty of hop bitterness featured alongside strong malts and various tropical fruits to give the beer an excellent taste. It’s probably not as good as some previous offering from the brewery, especially there DIPA v10 & v11 in this series but it was still a great beer and one I’d have again; if only the nose was a little better than it might have been something truly special.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £5.90

Brewdog Tropic Thunder

April 5, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.25

New for 2017 from Brewdog, this one was the winner of the brewery’s ‘HomeBrewDog’ competition and the highest rated of the 307 beers that entered the contest. Created by Tom Doyle, the beer is a tropical style stout that features cocoa powder, chocolate and some orange beer for good measure. I first seen this one available on the Brewdog online shop towards the end of January but since I didn’t want enough beers to justify an order I was hoping I’d find a bottle in one of their bars but on the several occasions this year I’ve failed to spot it and had almost given up hope of trying it. Thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, I managed to find a bottle in a Tesco supermarket recently and quickly grabbed myself a bottle (it was even cheaper than what Brewdog list it for on their website which was an added bonus). The beer should be a nice twist on the stout style of beer and is one that I’m quite looking forward to trying now that I’ve managed to get my hands on a bottle; hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a dark beer, this one was pretty much black in appearance with an opaque body and quite a thick looking head on top that was foamy and beige in colour. Starting about an inch and a half tall, the head had good retention with very little initial movement or reduction in size, whilst it also left some nice lacing on the sides as I worked my way down the glass; excellent stuff.
Aroma (8/10): Fairly malty and dark on the nose with some strong chocolate notes and a helping of early sweetness. There was some lingering smoky aromas nearer the centre of the beer and a few coffee notes backed them up. Towards the end there was some faint fruits making an appearance, I’d assume this was the orange but it was too subtle to really tell; either way it was still a nice beer and one that was very easy on the nose into the bargain.
Taste (8/10): The taste opens much like the nose did with a good combination of dark malts and roasted flavours alongside some strong chocolate as well. There was some smoke coming through soon after but there appeared to be slightly less here than there was with the nose, the sweetness instead being the more pronounced this time around. There was some lighter fruits nearer the end and this time I was able to detect some subtle orange flavours with a nice, mellow bitterness seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with a strong roasted feel to the beer, it was definitely a dark offering with some nice bitterness in there too. The orange and various other fruits added a subtle sweetness that sat on top of the moderately carbonated body. Overall the beer was quite sweet and creamy with a lingering bitter aftertaste; very nice stuff.

Overall (17/20): Excellent stuff here from Brewdog, well sort of since it was a homebrew winner after all. The beer is a very pleasant one with a good amount of dark malts and chocolate flavours working well with the light fruits and zesty flavours from the orange and imparted a subtle sweetness in the process. There is nice complexity to the beer and it proved quite an easy one to drink, the malts doing there part to completely mask the alcohol content of this one and a moderate bitterness seen things out nicely as well; a very enjoyable beer and one that I wouldn’t mind having again at some point.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Foreign Stout
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £2.19

Fitzbräu El Gran Jefe Porter

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Another review of one of my homebrew offerings now, this one being the third such offering that I’ll have reviewed here and one that follows on from the bottles of 1 Hop and Wishaw Local #1 that I reviewed here way back in 2014; it’s been a bit of a wait between beers. This one is the first non-IPA that I’ve attempted to make and should fall under the American porter style since it’s a well-hopped chocolate porter. The name translates as ‘The Big Chief’ from Spanish it is one that I wanted to brew for a while but never seemed to find the time. It always seems strange rating my own beers but hopefully it won’t be such a long wait before the next one since I already have an imperial stout bottles that should be ready in a couple of months.

el-gran-jefe-porter

Appearance (4/5): Really dark and opaque brown in colour, it’s almost murky looking and is topped with a large, foamy head that is beige and dome-shaped. Head retention is pretty good with plenty of lacing left on the side of the glass too and it had the odd bit of sediment in the body too, although not an excessive amount thankfully.
Aroma (7/10): Roasted malts and some subtle hops kick things off here, there was some touches of chocolate that were followed by some grassy aromas and a little citrus. It was semi-sweet but wasn’t an overly strong beer on the nose, at the same time there wasn’t any off-notes and it seemed quite nice thankfully.
Taste (7/10): Darker malts and some roasted flavours open things with some chocolate in the early going too. There was a subtle hop bitterness with touches of citrus and grassy hops before some sweetness and hints of toffee came through right at the end.
Palate (4/5):
Medium bodied and quite smooth but perhaps just a touch lighter than I’d hoped for when brewing this one; it wasn’t a thin beer though and did manage to seem like a porter. There was hints of sweetness throughout, especially thanks to the chocolate but as well from the toffee at the end, with the beer also seeming relatively fresh and balanced.

Overall (15/20): This one was quite an enjoyable beer that managed to open up with some pleasant chocolate malts and some hints of roasted malts too, there was a general earthy feel to it at times with some hints of sweetness too. I enjoyed the subtle touches of hop that managed to come through and perhaps I’d consider adding a few more if I ever brew this beer again. It was a touch lighter than I’d have hoped for but it didn’t affect the beer too much since it proved quite easy to drink and is probably one of my better efforts thus far, maybe only the Wishaw Local #1 rating higher.

Brewed In: Wishaw, Lanarkshire Scotland
Brewery: Fitzbräu
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Porter
Abv: 5.25%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Homebrew
Price: N/A

Brewdog B-Side Vermont IPA

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.05

Yet another new Brewdog beer now and this one is a new release from them for 2017, following hot on the heels of their New England IPA brewed in collaboration with Manchester’s Cloudwater brewery and released a few weeks ago. This one is a small batch offering from Brewdog under their B-Side label and appears to be available only at some of their UK bars on keg only. The beer, like the New England IPA, is a ‘Vermont’ style IPA that seems to be the latest craft beer trend coming out of the state but it’s one that I’m fully behind if the beers are all as good as the first of the style that I tried. I spotted that my local Brewdog bar had this one on-tap recently and was hopeful of trying it when I visited over the weekend, thankfully it was still available and managed to have it a couple of times over the course of the evening; here’s what I thought of it at the time.

brewdog-b-side-vermont

Appearance (4/5): Quite a cloudy yellow beer that is very much like the brewery’s collaboration with Cloudwater what that I reviewed here previously, their New England IPA. The beer is opaque looking and topped with a foamy white head that is about a quarter of a centimetre tall by the time I got it back to my table, about thirty seconds after that it fades to a thin surface lacing but there is at least some nice lacing sticking to the sides of the glass.
Aroma (8/10): Fresh on the nose with a lot of citrus upfront that are accompanied by a more subtle pine hop aroma. There is some floral hops coming through in the early going too but it’s the tropical fruits that take centre stage, and in particular the pineapple notes are the most noticeable. There was some sweetness and a couple of further background fruits nearer the middle of the beer though and I managed to detect some mango and apricot in there before touches of lemon and a floral bitterness see things out.
Taste (8/10): Matching the nose well, this one opens with some strong hop bitterness that is just a touch stronger than what came through with the nose and it is followed up by some touches of pine and tropical fruits; the mango and apricot again feature with the pineapple from the nose a little weaker here but still the most noticeable of the tropical fruits. Around the middle there is some sweetness off the back of some caramel flavours and other sweet malts. Towards the end some lemon and grassy hops start to come through as well and round things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and a very fresh, lively beer that has a subtle bitterness that again reminds me of the recent New England IPA from the brewery. There was a pleasant tang to proceedings with some sweetness nearer the middle thanks to some caramel as well as the tropical fruits. The balance of the beer was a good one and it turned out to be a very easy beer to drink but I felt it could have been a touch stronger at times to make it a great palate.

Overall (17/20): Another very nice ‘Vermont IPA’ from Brewdog and as expected after seeing it pour, the beer was quite similar to their recent New England IPA brewed with help from Cloudwater but sadly this one wasn’t quite as good. This particular offering was a slightly lighter version the same beer with the pineapple flavours again coming through strongest on top of very pleasant floral and subdued pine hops to give the beer quite a fresh, balanced taste. Despite not being the better of the two Vermont IPA’s I’ve tried from the brewery, this beer is still an excellent one that is well worth trying and I’m hopeful it will turn into a regular offering from the brewery in the coming months; very enjoyable and one I’ll try to have again soon.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Also Known As: Brewdog Small Batch Vermont IPA
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.4%
Serving: Keg (Schooner)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £3.47

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

Brewdog New England IPA

February 27, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 4.6

A new collaborative offering from Brewdog now, this one brewed in conjunction with Manchester’s Cloudwater brewery and was released in bottles and on-tap at the beginning of February too much fanfare online at the time. The beer is actually one that I’ve already managed to try straight from the keg on two occasions, trying it at Brewdog’s DogHouse bar in Glasgow a couple of days after its release and very much enjoying both schooners I had of it. I opted not to give the beer a proper review at the time given I’d already picked up a bottle of the stuff the day before with a view of reviewing that one but I can confirm it’s an excellent beer. The beer is labelled as a ‘Vermont IPA’ that uses Mosaic and Citra hops to give a more subtly hopped flavour but shouldn’t be confused with Brewdog’s B:Side: Vermont IPA that has been released in small batches at their UK bars and is a beer I hope to try soon. Possibly one of the best Brewdog beers that I’ve ever tried and seeing that it is another limited release from the brewery, it’s one that I plan to try as much of as possible before its gone forever.

brewdog-vs-cloudwater-new-england-ipa

Appearance (5/5): Pouring an unusual coloured yellow amber, this one has a very cloudy body that is pretty much opaque. The head is a centimetre tall, foamy white one that eventually settles about a quarter of a centimetre tall but continues to cover the surface of the beer well; a great start.
Aroma (9/10): Very fruity and hoppy in the early going without being an overly pungent nose, there is some nice pineapple notes kicking things off before some touches of peach and orange make themselves know but overall it is a very juicy aroma initially. Some tropical notes that included some lemon, mango and papaya came through around the middle with some further hints of pineapple at this stage too. The beer was very fresh on the nose from the start with nice bitterness that was a little more subtle than expected but definitely still noticeable.
Taste (8/10): An excellent continuation of the nose with an early burst of tropical fruits kicking things off again, the pineapple in particular being quite noticeable. There was some peach, apricot and a little mango following on behind this and I could detect some of the orange, papaya and citrus lemon soon after. The beer was very fresh tasting with some faint pine and grassy flavours nearer the middle before a very subtle hint of sweetness made an appearance along with a touch of spice. There is a nice bitterness nearer the end that’s quite floral and juicy, helping to round the beer off very nicely indeed.
Palate (5/5): Medium bodied and quite a bitter offering without being pungent or too resinous, the hops provided more of a juicy, floral bitterness that was backed up with a nice citrus tang. The balance of the beer was near perfect, the fruits all working well together and the subtle sweetness nearer the end added a nice dimension as things drew to a close. It was a lively carbonated beer that was very fresh and surprisingly easy to drink; outstanding stuff.

Overall (18/20): Excellent stuff from Brewdog and Cloudwater here, this one is a great beer that grabs your attention straight away thanks to the abundance of fresh hops and juicy flavours that kick things off. It’s a more subtly bitter taste than I’ve come to associate Brewdog with but it is great with plenty of pineapple and a great combination of tropical fruits and citrus flavours backing it up. The balance of the beer was particularly good with the hints of sweetness nearer the end coming quite unexpectedly but they very much appreciated. This one is easily up there with the best beers Brewdog has produced and it makes me all the more excited to try a couple more from Cloudwater as well; this one is definitely a must try.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog/Cloudwater (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Brewdog vs. Cloudwater New England IPA
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.8%
Serving: Bottle (660ml)
Purchased: Brewdog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £6.08