Posts Tagged ‘brown ale’

Blackjack The River

August 3, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

The last of the four beers that I picked up in Manchester now, after a recent visit to the city in late May of this year. The beer follows on from the bottle of Squawk Porter I had recently as another offering that I picked up from the Beermoth bottle shop in Manchester are it was recommended that I visit. The reason for picking up this beer is because I was down in the city for a Bruce Springsteen concert on his The River tour and it would have been a shame not to grab a beer sharing a name with the tour. Described on the bottle as being a ‘Farmhouse Brown Ale’, I was quite intrigued when I spotted this on the shelf and to be honest I’m not really sure what to expect. Of the few mentions of the beer I’ve since looked at online, it appears to be leaning more to the bitter/brown ale side of things but it should be interesting to see if it resembles a saison or farmhouse ale any when I crack it open; either way, it’s a new type of beer and one that I’m definitely looking forward to sampling now.

Blackjack The River

Appearance (3/5): Caramel brown in colour and quite dark looking with some amber touches running through it and a cloudy appearance. The beer had quite a large head that sat several inches tall and initially seemed to grow some, sitting as quite a foamy, dome shaped one on top of the beer that managed to leave nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong nose to this one and plenty of earthy notes to open things up alongside some grain and a very nutty base to proceedings. There was a slightly odd aroma around the middle that I couldn’t quite put my finger on but assumed it was the brewery’s attempt and getting some of the promised saison qualities in there and it was a failed attempt at some funky notes; if there was any then the malts definitely drowned them out. There was a lot of bitterness towards the end and the beer certainly seemed like an English style brown ale on the nose, no sign of anything else really.
Taste (6/10): Following on from the nose, the taste was quite malty too but there was a touch more variety at least with some faint funk in there and a few roasted flavours. It definitely wasn’t anything special but it was nice to see the odd biscuit malt around the middle and some faint citrus down the stretch.
Palate (3/5): A medium bodied beer that wasn’t particularly interesting really, it was quite dry though and generally had a fairly nutty feel to it with some grain and rough patches in there too. The finish was also a dry one that came through with quite a bit of bitterness as well.

Overall (10/20): This one was quite an average beer overall and definitely one that disappointed me personally given that fact I was looking forward to a nice saison/brown ale hybrid beer but in fact was greeted by a basic brown ale that featured a touch of funk around the middle. The beer was dominated by English style malts and a strong nutty taste with little else save for some basic funk and citrus to vary things; a poor effort and not one that I’d go back to.

Brewed In: Denton, Greater Manchester, England
Brewery: Blackjack Beers
First Brewed: circa. 2012
Type: Brown Ale/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Beermoth (Manchester)
Price: £2.40


Kihoskh Brown Braids Ale

April 18, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.35

The first of two ‘Kihoskh’ beers from Mikkeller that I picked up in the Copenhagen store of the same name on my recent trip to the city and it will be my sixteenth offering thus far from the brewery. I picked this one up alongside a bottle of Kihoskh Ipalot in the same store I grabbed the previously reviewed Tiger Baby, and enjoyed it on my penultimate day in the Danish capital, having only opted for this one after spotting it as part of a multi-buy offer in the Kihoskh store, not realising that at the time that it was a store exclusive collaboration with Mikkeller. As I previously mentioned, Kihoskh was a store I wish I’d know had a basement prior to visiting but despite me not going downstairs, the shop had a massive selection of Mikkeller beers in their fridges (easily the most I’ve seen in one place) as well as a few big name American beers that are pretty much impossible to find in the UK but I’m happy to have went for this one in the since it’s unlikely to be available anywhere else.

Kihoskh Brown Braids Ale

Appearance (4/5): Medium brown in colour with a large, inch tall head that’s foamy looking and holds well initially before halving in size after about a minute and there was quite a few bubbles rising to the surface of the beer, although it took quite an aggressive pour form a head of this size.
Aroma (6/10): This one was a really light beer on the nose sadly, there was some semi-sweet notes and a background caramel aroma to open things up along with a few lighter malts but overall it seemed a touch subdued. There was some faint chocolate coming through around the middle followed by the odd grassy hop and touch of citrus at the end.
Taste (7/10): Like the nose, the taste was a lot lighter than expected from this one with a pretty basic flavour as well. There was some earthy malts and light caramel to open things up before some burnt malts and a little chocolate started to come through but it seemed quite one-dimensional in the early going. There was some touches of citrus and orange that sneaked through with a semi-sweet bitterness that was complimented by some citrus and floral hops towards the end of this one; nice enough but certainly not as dark or full of flavour as I’d expected.
Palate (3/5): A very smooth beer that came through with some subtle sweetness and a moderate bitterness but still seemed weak and lighter than expected, sitting somewhere around a light-medium bodied beer. It was fairly easy-going but definitely basic with average carbonation and a pleasant balance.

Overall (13/20): This one was at times an interesting beer with a few hints of a light IPA coming through but to be honest it was also a pretty forgettable beer with the nose a little weak and the taste seeming quite one-dimensional but other than that it was okay I guess. I’d been expecting a lot more malts and roasted flavours, perhaps with a lightly hopped, bitter taste that hinted at some sweetness but what I got was a basic, light and disappointing beer (by Mikkeller standards).

Brewed In: Copenhagen, Denmark
Brewery: Mikkeller
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Brown Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Kihoskh (Copenhagen)
Price: 28 Danish Krone (approx. £3.08)

Brewdog Hopped-Up Brown Ale

April 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

A 2015 Prototype Challenge offering from Brewdog now and the only one of the four they released in December last year that I managed to grab a bottle of at the time, although it turns out that I managed to try their B-Side Milk Stout on-tap which later became their Jet Black Heart; variations of a beer that featured in the challenge. The eventual winner of the competition was in fact the new headline offering from the brewery, their Jet Black Heart nitro milk stout which took over 40% of the votes whereas this brown ale ended up coming last of the four and taking about 12% of the votes cast so I’m not particularly optimistic going into this one after reading up on it a little. As I found in previous years, there is usually one good or average beer in these types of four pack releases from Brewdog and the rest is basically filler, although the year both Jack Hammer and Cocoa Psycho featured together back in 2012 is an exception that strings to mind and I wonder if that is something the brewery has been attempting to avoid a repeat of since. Anyway, here’s a review of only my second brown ale from Brewdog and the first since trying their #Mashtag 2013 in September of that year; wish me luck.

Brewdog Hopped-Up Brown Ale

Appearance (4/5): A semi-clear body that is a medium brown in colour and it’s topped with a slightly off-white head that is creamy looking and sticks to the sides of the glass slightly; retention is pretty good too with little movement over the opening couple minutes, holding even as I worked my way down the glass.
Aroma (6/10): This one starts with a slightly malty nose that comes through with some bread notes and touches of light caramel notes. There’s a few citrus hops that are a little fruity coming through soon after the malts and there was a little mango making an appearance too. It seems quite balanced on the nose with some light sugars and a few background fruits but it didn’t seem a particularly strong beer on the nose to be honest.
Taste (5/10): Matching the nose, this one again starts quite malty with some earthy flavours and nutty touches coming through. There was a little caramel and toffee showing itself towards the middle of the beer but the hops from the nose are definitely less pronounced at this stage, although some did appear. There was a touch of sweetness and some faint mango and citrus coming through but it could have been a little stronger and closer to it was with the nose. Towards the end there was a moderate bitterness and some subtle chocolate flavouring as well as the nice roasted taste that seen things out.
Palate (3/5): This one came with a light-medium body and a slight tang from the citrus hops as well as a moderate bitterness off the back of that which stayed towards the end. The beer could have used a fuller body and the balance wasn’t a particularly good one really but at the same time it wasn’t the worst either. The finish was a little harsh with an earthy feel that was semi-dry and moderately carbonated as well.

Overall (11/20): This one started okay with some nice citrus hops and a little mango sitting on top of a malty, almost earthy base that also featured a rounded, nutty flavour but things started to fade pretty quickly after that to be honest. Come the taste, the mango and fruits were a little less pronounced as you sipped away at the beer and with the exception of the nose, the balance was a pretty poor one with the finish seeming quite harsh too. I can see why this one came last out of the four beers in the prototype challenge, it’s miles behind the winner Jet Black Heart and I can’t imagine this is one that Brewdog will resurrect at any point in the future either.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Brown Ale
Abv: 6.3%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Drygate Bottle Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.20

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

June 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.05

This year round offering from Rogue will be my sixth from the brewery and is a beer I picked up a couple of months ago on my first trip to the Whole Food Market in Giffnock having heard a lot about their fairly good craft beer selection. I’m not entirely sure why I opted for this particular beer but it must have had something to do with the breweries reputation, anyway pick it up I did and I’d been putting off trying it for a while until I realised the best before freshness date was only a couple of months away. The beer is apparently a good one having won gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 Great American Beer Festival as well as a bronze in 2010 and a silver in 2008, not to mention the excellent online reviews it usually gets. The beer itself was originally brewed back in 1993 by brewmaster John Maier for the American Homebrewers Association’s convention that year and has been a favourite ever since so hopefully it will be one that I enjoy despite not usually being a big fan of hazelnut.

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Appearance (4/5): Quite a deep, dark brown in colour with a thin, half centimetre tall head on top that sits as a foamy looking beige in colour before turning to a patchy surface lacing around thirty seconds later. The body is an opaque one and there is some signs of visible carbonation showing too.
Aroma (9/10): The smell opens up with a solid nutty aroma that naturally has some good hazelnut notes in there alongside some nice sweetness and a touch of butter; there is maybe even a little banana and faint vanilla in there too. The beer seems quite bitter towards the end with some nice coffee notes showing through with a few sweet malts and a bit caramel of caramel to see things out. It’s quite a sweet and unusual aroma but it’s definitely a good one and I can’t wait to try the beer now.
Taste (8/10): Following on well from the nose, this one again starts of quite sweet with some caramel and butterscotch alongside a good hazelnut base that has some fruits sneaking through as well. Some toasted and sweet malts come through around the middle with some nice bitterness and touches of banana from the nose; it’s not quite as sweet as the nose but it’s not a million miles away either.
Palate (4/5): Smooth bodied and falling somewhere around medium, the beer is almost creamy in places and goes down remarkably easily with no alcohol showing and a slight bit of bitterness in the finish. It’s quite a sweet beer on the palate and carbonation is around medium as well; an interestingly balanced beer from Rogue and one that I enjoyed.

Overall (15/20): This one was a real surprise to me, a really unusual but highly drinkable beer that came through with solid hazelnut base plus plenty of sweetness and touches of fruit on top. The balance was a good one with nothing overdone and it went down silky smooth, I wasn’t overly sure about it when I picked it up a couple of month ago but I’ve really been impressed with this one from Rogue.

Brewed In: Newport, Oregon, United States of America
Brewery: Rogue Ales
First Brewed: 1993
Type: American Brown Ale
Abv: 6.2%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
Price: £3.00 (approx.)

Squiffy Sailor

June 18, 2015 2 comments

Rating: 3.8

Squiffy Sailor will be my second beer from Barcelona based Edge Brewing, a beer that follows on from their Hoptimista IPA that I tried a few weeks ago after picking both up at my local bottle shop last month. One of a few beers from the brewery that was available, I opted for this one as it’s been a while since I enjoyed a good brown ale as it’s not a style I get to try many of, plus it’s always nice to try new Spanish beers since not that many make it to the UK (pale lagers excluded). Speaking of which, the beer will be only my thirteenth from Spain despite the fact I’ve visited the country countless times over the years, maybe I’m due a return visit after all.

Squiffy Sailor

Appearance (5/5): Pours a deep mahogany colour and it is topped with quite a large, three or four centimetre tall head that’s a foamy texture and sits a light tan colour in the glass with superb retention, there is absolutely no movement or reduction in size over the opening couple of minutes and there is some lacing left on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): A nutty aroma upfront with the nose, there is some earthy malts and a touch of toffee coming through with some light bitterness backing it up and some faint background fruits as well but there’s nothing that really sticks out with this one, it’s just a pleasant and well balanced smelling beer.
Taste (7/10): The taste starts much like the nose, there is some nice nutty flavours and a touch of bitterness with some background fruits coming through a little earlier here; I got some bread, caramel and a bit of toffee too which added some sweetness to the beer. Is was quite an earthy taste with some hints of coffee bitterness towards the end and again no flavours dominated here either.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with nice carbonation and a smooth feel, the beer was earthy and bitter with an excellent balance and a slightly dry, toasted malt finish that added further bitterness to proceedings.

Overall (14/20): This one was a really nice brown ale, as I’ve mentioned it’s not a style I get to try all that often and it must be said that it’s probably not my favourite style of beer but this one was an exceptionally well balanced and easy to drink beer that makes me question why I don’t pick up more brown ales when I get the chance. Nothing really stood out with this one other than the balance but it was an enjoyable beer and one well worth trying if you stumble across it.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Edge Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American Brown Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £2.80


May 18, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 3.35

Kessog from the Loch Lomond brewery based in Alexandria, just south of the Loch is the second of two beers from the same brewery that I picked up at the local shop attached to and owned by the Oak Tree Inn brewpub in Balmaha at the start of this month. The beer, along with the bottle of The Ale of Leven, were the only in the shop that were both Scottish brewed and that I hadn’t tried before; sadly there didn’t seem to be anything on offer brewed in the pub next door. Since my visit to Balmaha and picking up these two beers, I have noticed that Aldi supermarkets now sell the odd Loch Lomond beer so if this one is any good I might be tempted to pick a few of their other beers up since the price is also more reasonable at Aldi.


Appearance (3/5): Quite a dark, almost murky brown with some red tinges and a thin, foamy head that is a light tan brown in colour and just about covers the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Quite nutty on the nose with quite a lot of malts coming through early on and the slightest touch of sweetness. There is some caramel in there and a little sugar with some roasted notes and the odd dark fruit coming through towards the end.
Taste (7/10): A nutty tasting beer with a nice chocolate taste that imparts some sweetness along with some darker fruits coming through. There was a few roasted malts coming through and a touch of grain but overall the taste was quite a good one and one that I enjoyed more than I thought I would.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and some sweetness coming through, the beer was also well carbonated and a lot of spice in there with a clean finish.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad effort from the Loch Lomond brewery in the end, I didn’t think this one started particularly well but it started to grow on me as I worked my way down the glass. I doubt it’s one that will leave a lasting impression but it was enjoyable enough despite the fact I’m still not sure it is actually supposed to be a brown ale or not; I’ll list it as that anyway though.

Brewed In: Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Brewery: Loch Lomond Brewery
First Brewed: circa. 2011
Type: Brown Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Oak Tree Inn Shop (Balmaha)
Price: £2.99

Categories: Brown Ale Tags: , , , ,

Palo Santo Marron

February 14, 2015 2 comments

Rating: 4.05

A huge beer from Dogfish Head now and you’ve guessed it, this one is another that I received as a gift from a family member returning from the east coast of the United States last year; it is literally the only way to get a hold of Dogfish Head beers in the UK. Coming in at 12% abv., Palo Santo Marron takes its name from the Paraguayan Palo Santo wood that the brewing vessels are made of and that the beer is aged in. Translating as ‘holy tree’, the wood is used in wine making in South America and now it’s used in North American beer brewing as well. This one will be my seventh Dogfish beer and I’m hopefully it’ll rate among some of the truly excellent beers that I’ve tried from them as it’s the last of their beers that I have left for the time being.

Palo Santo Marron

Appearance (4/5): Dark brown in colour with some parts looking even darker than that, there is a thin looking head that is tan brown in colour as well and holds surprisingly well consider the strength of the beer, there is little movement at all from it. The beer is an opaque one and there is some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass as well.
Aroma (8/10): Faint hops and some stronger malts coming through with some toasted notes as well. The beer is slightly sweet in parts with some faint caramel and a little chocolate coming through before some oak and vanilla notes see things out, there is a touch of alcohol as well.
Taste (8/10): Coffee and dark chocolate kick things off with some nice malts and roasted flavours coming through soon after. The beer was again slightly sweet with some vanilla making itself known alongside a little grain and alcohol. The oak and wood from the nose is present in the taste as well with a slightly bitter flavour coming through as well.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a nice warming feel thanks to the big alcohol content of this one. The beer has a medium body with light carbonation and seemed relatively easy to drink. There was some sweetness, particularly towards the end, and a little bit of bitterness as well.

Overall (17/20): A very nice beer from Dogfish Head once again, this one had an enjoyable taste to it and went down a lot easier than I had imagined going in. The nose could have been a little more pronounced with some notes proving a little difficult to detect but once given some time to open up things started to be a little more noticeable. The alcohol was fairly well hidden with only small amount coming through and the sweetness in the taste was very nice. A great beer overall and definitely one that I’d like to try again, hopefully I can get my hands on another bottle somehow.

Brewed In: Milton, Delaware, United States of America
Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
First Brewed: 2006
Type: American Brown/Strong Ale
Abv: 12.0%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Virginia, United States of America
Price: Gift