Archive

Posts Tagged ‘dark beer’

Mahou Negra (352 of 1001)

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.1

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

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

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

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

Edge Padrino Porter

June 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

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

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

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

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

Bock Damm (350 of 1001)

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

The second ever beer brewed by Barcelona’s Damm brewery and introduced way back in 1888, this beer is still one of the most popular dark beers brewed in a country those beer scene is almost completely dominated by pale, blond lagers. This one is a beer that features on the 1001 beers list and as a result is one that I’ve been looking to try on my last few trips to Spain but was surprisingly unable to find it one previous visits before finally stumbling across it at the tail end of last month when returning to Barcelona. The beer is actually available in a number of pubs and some supermarkets in the city which makes it all the more odd that I wasn’t able to pick it up sooner but I eventually sampled a pint of the stuff in a local bar just off the Placa Reial in Barcelona city centre just over a week ago. Despite the name of the beer, this ‘bock’ is actually much closer to a Munich style dunkel lager and due to it’s lack of bitterness was in the past aimed at female drinkers in its advertising campaigns while the bottle itself features the image of a goat which was added as a play on the fact that the word ‘bock’ translates from German as billy-goat.

Appearance (3/5): Dark mahogany coloured with an opaque body and quite a thin head on top that was a foamy texture and slightly off-white in colour; there’s was some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass and the surface was covered well too.
Aroma (6/10): Quite nutty on the nose initially with some basic roasted notes and malts coming through in the early going, there was a touch of caramel in there too. The beer turned out to be lighter than expected on the nose which was surprising given it was such a dark beer but some hints of sweetness did manage to appear alongside some grassy touches nearer the end.
Taste (6/10): The taste started off in much the same vein as the nose with a lot of nutty flavours and some lighter caramel sweetness backing it up, there was faint biscuit and some roasted malts in there too. Around the middle I managed to get some lighter grassy flavours but there was no sign of any hops or bitterness and it came across as quite a basic offering.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and moderately carbonated, this one was a semi-sweet offering thanks to the touches of caramel coming through at times. There was a fairly basic feel to the beer and it seemed a lot lighter than expected too but the balance was a decent one and it proved easy enough to drink without being an overly enjoyable one.

Overall (10/20): Quite a basic dark beer that wasn’t quite as strong or as pronounced as I’d been expected with the majority of the taste coming through the roasted malts and faint caramel that featured throughout. There was no sign of any bitterness or hops to the beer which sadly made it seem quite bland and basic but the light sweetness off the back of the caramel was at least somewhat enjoyable. It’s definitely not a beer to go hunting for but it’s always nice to check another beer off the 1001 list even if it’s not a great one.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Damm S. A.
First Brewed: 1888
Type: Dunkel
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Cerveceria Canarias, Barcelona, Spain
Price: €4.60 (£4.01 approx.)

I.C.A. Malalts De Malta

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

The first review of a beer that I managed to try on my recent trip to Barcelona now, this is an 11.5% Sapnish brewed quadrupel from the Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana based in Barcelona and it will be my first beer from them, although the Belgian Rye Fruit APA Citra-Mango that I tried in Barcelona last year was brewed by Piris Beer at the I.C.A. brewery. I ordered this one on-tap at the Abirradero bar in the city on my second day in the city since it’s not everyday that I stumble across a kegged quadrupel, and a Spanish brewed local offering at that. The beer promised a strong malt taste with plenty of cherries which swung it for me over some lighter beers on the menu, many of them also from the I.C.A. brewery but sadly this was the only beer of theirs that I managed to try on this trip; hopefully I’ll pick up a few more on my next visit to the city.

Appearance (4/5): Dark mahogany coloured with a thin, foamy head that is half a centimetre tall and slightly off-white, sitting with a bubbly texture and some faint lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Dark malts and plenty of cherries kick things off here as expected, there was some faint alcohol coming through as well but thankfully it was less pronounced than I’d feared given it was such a strong beer. There was a nice combination of dark fruits near the middle with some raisins and dates both featuring but the cherries from the start still dominated. Towards the end things started to fade a little quickly and at times it seemed lighter and less complex than you’d expect from such a big beer but it was still fairly nice throughout.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, there was again a nice combination of cherries and very dark malts with some dates and raisins coming through slightly earlier this time around. I managed to get some light alcohol again but it seemed a fraction stronger than with the nose, there was some pleasant spices and a touch of bourbon at this stage too. Still not as strong as you’d expect from an 11.5% beer but slightly more complex than with the nose, the beer was fairly sweet down the stretch with some sugars and ripe fruits featuring too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and lightly carbonated, this one was a strong offering with some alcohol showing but it was still a lot lighter and less pronounced than you’d have expected from the high alcohol content. It wasn’t a particularly complex offering either, besides some early spice and a darker fruits there wasn’t much coming through at all and it bordered on basic at times; it’s definitely not a beer than impressed me much sadly.

Overall (12/20): Quite disappointing overall really, this one wasn’t an overly strong or complex offering and to be honest that’s what you expect when you pick up an 11.5% abv. beer. The promised malts and cherries were in attendance from early on which meant things got off to a decent enough start but there wasn’t much following on from there and it was all a bit underwhelming really. Some alcohol grains and a touch of spice make an appearance nearer the end, there was some further ripe fruits and sugars too but it definitely wasn’t complex and it was one that I just couldn’t get into really.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana (I.C.A.)
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Quadrupel
Abv: 11.5%
Serving: Draught (250ml)
Purchased: Abirradero, Barcelona, Spain
Price: €4.50 (approx. £3.93)

BRLO Porter

Rating: 3.25

A German brewed porter now and another craft style beer that I managed to pick up in Germany recently, this one being a beer that I grabbed in a local shop in the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin on my visit to the city before sampling it back at my hotel later the same evening. Definitely a local beer, this one is brewed by the BRLO brewery based in the city and is one that I noticed is available at quite a few craft beer bars dotted about the city so my hoping was that it would be a good one. Falling somewhere between an English porter and a Russian imperial stout, the beer comes in at 7% abv. and is one that I was quite looking forward to trying when I picked it up; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last month.

Appearance (4/5): Not quite as dark looking as expected, this one was a caramel brown to light mahogany colour that was topped with a half centimetre tall, bubbly head that was tan brown coloured and foamy. Head retention was quite good from this one and there wasn’t really much in the way of movement or reduction in size in the early going which was a bonus.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some sweet malts and caramel, there was a couple of darker fruits making an appearance in the early going with plums and dates both featuring. Towards the middle there was a combination of sugars and raisins with a toffee malt nose nearer the of the beer which made it seem more like a Vienna lager or a doppelbock at times but it wasn’t a bad-smelling beer at least.
Taste (6/10): The taste kicks off with plenty of sugars that carried over from the nose but there was also some darker fruits in there too; most notably some plums, raisins and dates. Towards the centre I could detect some earthy hops and a solid caramel flavours but on the whole it was a fairly standard and basic tasting porter really.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and coming through with a lot of sweetness, the beer was crisp and fairly smooth but not a particularly enjoyable or interesting offering on the whole. The palate was a clean one and the beer didn’t seem as heavy as you’d expect from a 7% abv. porter which as a result made it seem slightly cheap and far too sweet sadly.

Overall (13/20): This one was quite a disappointing and fairly poor porter overall, it wasn’t quite as heavy or dark as I’d anticipated but it was far too sweet at times sadly, mainly down to the amount of sugar coming through but also thanks to the dark fruits that featured heavily as well. The main problem with the beer however was the fact that it wasn’t as advertised and came out tasting almost nothing like a porter at times, there was a lot of caramel and toffee with some subtle hops but it was also quite cheap and had a little too much alcohol showing as well; very disappointing really.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Lemke
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Porter
ABV: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Price: €2.25 (£1.92 approx.)

Lemke Imperial Stout

May 12, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 4.25

Very likely the penultimate Lemke beer that I’ll be reviewing on this site for quite some time now, this one is the fourth of five beers from the brewery that I managed to sample when visiting Berlin last month and stopping by two of the brewery’s brewpubs in the Mitte area of the city. This one is by far the strongest of the five beers that I managed to try and it follows on from the review of their Hopfen Weisse, Original and 030 Berlin Pale Ale beers that I added here previously. This offering an imperial stout from the brewery that comes in at 11% abv. and is one I managed to grab a bottle of when leaving the bar on my first visit with a view of sampling it at my hotel at some point over the weekend, I also wanted to grab a bottle of their double IPA by never quite got the chance; maybe next time though.

Appearance (5/5): Really dark brown looking, bordering on black with an opaque body that is topped with quite a thin, half centimetre tall head that covers the surface well. The texture is a foamy one that also looks thick with no break up in the opening few minutes which is quite impressive given the strength of the beer; it looks quite still in the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Quiet a strong and dark beer as expected, there was a good combination of caramel and darker malts to open things up with some touches of alcohol not too far behind but thankfully nothing too strong. Towards the middle some dark fruit notes started to emerge, I could detect some cherries and prunes with some plum and raisin in there too, all of which added some nice sweetness to the beer. It was a relatively complex offering from the brewery with oak and some hints of vanilla down the stretch; a good start.
Taste (8/10): Again opening quite sweet like the nose, there was a lot of dark fruits in the early going here with the prunes, plums and raisins from the nose all featuring and coming out strongest initially. These flavours were followed by some cherries before a chocolate aroma featured near the middle with some coffee and roasted malts backing it up. It was again a complex offering with some light alcohol and caramel flavours coming through at the end to see things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied but quite a strong and smooth offering, this one opened with a lot of warming alcohol but thankfully feel short of overpowering the beer. It seemed relatively complex with more sweetness showing than expected thanks to the combination of dark fruits showing throughout. The beer also had a pretty good balance and proved quite easy to drink with moderate carbonation coming through as well; it’s a difficult beer to fault really.

Overall (17/20): This one was another pretty nice beer from Lemke, it opened as quite a complex offering with a solid combination of darker fruits and malts coming through that were backed up with a subtle alcohol taste but thankfully not a lot. There was some caramel sweetness and touches of vanilla in there too, some oak not far behind which all worked well together and gave the beer a nice balance. It was a pleasant one to sip away at with the smooth body and variety of flavours helping this considerably; great stuff.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Lemke
First Brewed: circa. 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brauhaus Lemke am Alex (Berlin)
Price: €5.00 (£4.20 approx.)

Saku Porter (345 of 1001)

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Only my second ever beer from Estonia now, this one follows on from the bottle of Viru from the country that I reviewed here way back in June 2013 having been impressed with the nice bottle design but ultimately being disappointed with the beer itself so I was hopeful this one would be better. The beer is a Baltic porter that appears in the 1001 beers list as one of only two Estonian offerings featured so I fully expected this one to be a decent offering when I picked it up on my last day in Warsaw when visiting the city last month. Brewed once a year as a winter seasonal, this one was originally brewed in the town of Saku before production was moved to the Aldaris brewery in Latvia in the winter of 2009/10, since both are now owned by Carlsberg but naturally I’ll still list this one as an Estonian beer. It was at this point that the beers alcohol content was reduced from the original 7.5% to its current 7.0%, although the bottle I picked up came in just under that at 6.9% abv. for the winter 2016/17 edition of the beer.

Appearance (4/5): An opaque offering that was a dark brown to mahogany colour and came with a few red tinges running through the body as well. There was a light beige head on top that started off quite bubbly, sitting about a centimetre tall before fading to leave a slightly patchy lacing after about thirty seconds or so with the odd bubble rising from the base of the beer too.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a malty offering with a lot of chocolate notes coming through in the early going alongside some vanilla sweetness and touches of caramel. It was a sweet beer but some earthy bitterness featured early too which helped to give the beer a nice balance on the nose, some coffee smells featuring too but they were definitely more subtle. It was quite a strong beer on the nose with some grain and hints of alcohol coming through nearer the end but overall it was a pleasant smelling beer.
Taste (7/10): Starting with a combination of sweet malts and chocolate in the early going, there was some dark malts and caramel sweetness too with the odd sticky flavours towards the middle. I could detect some liquorice and an almost cola like taste with plenty of sugars coming through soon after and then a couple of roasted malts down the stretch before some hints of alcohol seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied with quite a creamy, smooth feel to proceedings and plenty of sweetness too. The beer was syrupy and sticky at times with plenty of malt bitterness and the odd touch of alcohol towards the end giving it a slightly warming feel that seemed stronger than the 6.9% abv. of the beer.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a big, strong beer that opened with a lot of sweetness thanks to the chocolate and caramel flavours sitting on top of a sugary base and some warming alcohol nearer the end. There was a nice complexity to this one as well as a good balance, I felt it was slightly stronger than a 6.9% beer should be but it was still highly drinkable and one well worth trying; I’d go as far as to say that I’d have it again if it was more readily available in the UK.

Brewed In: Saku, Harjumaa, Estonia
Brewery: Saku Õlletehas
First Brewed: circa 1990
Type: Baltic Porter
ABV: 6.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Carrefour Express (Warsaw, Poland)
Price: 9 PLN (approx. £0.80)