Posts Tagged ‘brown ale’

Liefmans Goudenband (379 of 1001)

June 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

A new beer from the 1001 list now and another that I tried whilst in Belgium a couple of weeks ago, this one a Flanders Oud Bruin from Liefmans that will be the 379th from the list that I’ve have reviewed and the bottle I sampled was a 2016 blend from the brewery. I managed to find this one at a mussels restaurant when visiting Bruges and quickly ordered a bottle with my meal, surprised to see it on the menu in what appeared to be a tourist restaurant in the city. This beer uses several dark and pale malts which are lagered for at least a year before there are mixed with other younger beers in the Flemish style, with the beer apparently still tasting good ten years after bottling. This one is one of the strongest beer in the Liefmans portfolio and is one that I’m very glad I managed to find in Belgium because I’ve yet to see it available anywhere in the UK, here’s what I thought of it when I tried it a few weeks ago.

Appearance (4/5): Dark brown to mahogany in colour with a dark copper tinged bottom and a quarter centimetre head that is bubbly looking and creamy in colour. The head itself is slightly patchy on the surface and there is some sediment through the body of the beer as well but head retention isn’t too bad thankfully.
Aroma (7/10): Sour on the nose initially with some cherries and a light sweetness showing, there was plenty of sugars alongside a few lighter malts. Around the middle there is further sourness with a tart-like aroma coming through as well as a touch of alcohol to round things off.
Taste (7/10): Sour but somewhat more subdued than the nose, if only slightly. The beer was quite tarty with some nice cherry flavours and a little apple coming through before light caramel and some darker malts started to make an appearance further on but it wasn’t overly complex given the alcohol content, which incidentally was quite well hidden here.
Palate (4/5): Sour but quite sweet at the same time, the beer had a medium body and was well carbonated with a strong and lively feel to proceedings. There was some dry touches a light alcohol towards the end but for the most part this was well hidden with the beer seeming quite well-balanced and easy to drink too.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a good blend with some nice sweetness and more so some sour flavours that were complimented by the tart and background fruits, most notably the cherries but also some apple as well. There was a lively but balanced feel to the beer with most of the alcohol content hidden and it proved quite an enjoyable and interesting beer without it exciting too much or being one I’d rush back too; it’s definitely well worth trying though and is one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Oudenaarde, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Liefmans
First Brewed: 1956
Type: Flanders Oud Bruin / Sour Ale
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Poules Moules, Bruges, Belgium
Price: €5.50 (approx. £4.84)


Angry Boy Brown Ale (368 of 1001)

November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

Following quickly on from their Yabai Yabai Strong Scotch Ale, this one was the third beer from Baird that I managed to try from them in Japan and the second of the day; it was also my second keg offering from them after previously enjoying their Rising Sun Pale Ale in Tokyo a couple of days previously. Like the review of the Rising Sun Pale Ale, this one is another beer from the brewery that features on the 1001 beers list and is actually one I found in a bar in York a few years ago but never got round to ordering at the time so I was definitely keen to try it in Japan if I managed to find it anywhere. After reviewing this particular Japanese beer from the 1001 list, I am now left with eight more to check off and given this was the last Baird offering for me to try I decided to pay their Harajuku taproom in Tokyo a visit towards the end of my holiday in order to tick it off. Originally beginning life as a seasonal offering and a 6.2% abv. beer back in 2001, this one is now a regular in the Baird line up and the version I tried came in slightly stronger at 7% abv. as well.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber and quite clear with a one and a half centimetre tall, foamy head that is an off-white colour and holds with good retention over the opening minutes with some nice lacing on the sides and quite a thick look to it.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a light aroma here, there was some caramel and a slightly nutty smell with a couple of roasted malts and grains following on behind. The beer seemed fresh on the nose with a few subtle hops further on and grassy touches nearer the end without it ever really being as strong as I’d have liked.
Taste (7/10): Light, almost roasted malts and nut flavours kick things off with the taste before some subtle hops and citrus start to come through towards the middle. The beer was again fresh with a grassy hop taste further on and faint caramel that carried over from the nose featuring towards the end without it being as sweet as the nose, it was at least slightly stronger though.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite a clean beer on the palate, this one had some subtle hop bitterness coming through and it was moderately carbonated and easy to drink but also a little basic at times.

Overall (14/20): Quite a pleasant offering from Baird, albeit one that came through slightly lighter than expected but at least it was fresh and had some bitterness showing too. The beer was easy to drink and balanced with some subtle hops showing without being overly pronounced and overall the beer was quite a clean, sessionable offering that was well worth trying too.

Brewed In: Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan
Brewery: Baird Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2001
Type: Brown Ale
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Baird Tap Room Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
Price: ¥600 (£3.97 approx.)

Kyoto Brown Ale

October 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

My second review of a Kizakura beer now and another that I picked up in Kyoto at the end of last month when visiting the city, this one following on from their Kyoto Pale Ale that I reviewed here last. Like that previous offering which was labelled as a pale ale but was in fact a kölsch, this one is again mislabelled with it falling closer to the altbier style than the brown ale listed on the can. Given the last I had from the brewery wasn’t a beer that I really enjoyed, I almost never picked this beer up but decided to in the end since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find it outside of Kyoto and it’s unlikely that I’ll be back in the city any time so but I was definitely hoping it would prove a better beer than the pale ale before it.

Appearance (4/5): Clear bodied and copper amber to brown in colour with a beige head that was bubbly and one centimetre in height before fading to a quarter of that after thirty seconds or so.
Aroma (7/10): Initially a little boozy but that soon passed to reveal caramel malts and some earthy notes as well as a little sweetness. The beer was slightly fresher than expected with some bread malts and a couple of earthy touches before a subtle bitterness seen things out.
Taste (7/10):
Earthy malts and a caramel sweetness kick things off with some earthy hop bitterness in there too. Towards the middle some floral touches feature but thankfully it’s not as boozy as the nose was in the early going. Further on and some nutty flavours show themselves along with some biscuit and bread malts right at the end.
Palate (4/5):
Smooth with a medium body, the beer was semi-sweet thanks to the caramel malts and the odd sugar that featured. The balance was good throughout which made it easy to drink and there was a lingering bitterness at the end which balanced the sweetness out too.

Overall (14/20): Quite an enjoyable beer from Kizakura and definitely the better of the two beers from them that I’ve tried so far, this one seemed well-balanced thanks to the caramel sweetness and subtle bitterness that featured throughout. It was an easy-going beer that came through stronger than a lot of the other Japanese craft beers I’ve tried recently, the boozy notes at the start of the nose being my only minor complaint with this one.

Brewed In: Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Brewery: Kizakura
First Brewed: circa. 2007
Also Known As: Kyoto Bakushu Alt
Type: Altbier
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Daily Yamazaki (Kyoto)
Price: ¥324 (£2.15 approx.)

Categories: Altbier Tags: , , , , ,

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.)