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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

Born To Die 17.03.2017 (9.5%)

March 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.95

My third review of a beer in Brewdog’s Born To Die series of beers and my first since late 2015 when I tried their 27.11.2015 edition on-tap at one of Brewdog’s Glasgow bars. The reason for me trying that particular version is because there was a slight recipe tweak between that and the original 04.07.2015 version that I’d tried earlier in the year, plus it’s always nice to try a beer on-tap as well. I’ve now decided to give the latest release from the brewery a fresh look since the abv. of the beer has been dumped up from its original 8.5% to 9.5% and I’m quite excited about that. The beer is probably my favourite Brewdog beer that’s not a one-off, special release and I usually try to get my hands on each new edition of the beer when it’s released; hopefully it’s still as good this time with the updated recipe.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber in colour and quite a clear body, the beer is topped with a thumb-sized head that is foamy white but also has a couple of bubbles sitting on its surface. There was quite good retention considering the strength of the beer, only a slight reduction in size occurred initially and there was a lot of visible carbonation thanks to the fine bubbles that were rising to the surface throughout.
Aroma (7/10): Really fresh and with a lot of citrus in the early going, there was a lot of hop bitterness that featured some pine and grapefruit notes alongside a sticky sweetness. Hints of alcohol started to feature nearer the middle of the beer but thankfully some lemon, orange and pineapple notes managed to cover them for the most part before some sweet malts and biscuit flavours came through as well. Towards the end there was some further tropical fruits with the beer seeming fairly complex but not quite as strong as I’d expected given the previous offerings in the series from Brewdog.
Taste (8/10): Following on well from the nose, this one is again quite a hoppy beer with a lot of fresh flavours coming through from the start, the pine and grapefruit from the nose being quite pronounced but there was some tropical fruits coming through earlier this time too. The beer featured a nice combination of orange, lemon and pineapple with a little mango in there as well plus it was a touch stronger than the nose which helped things too. Around the middle there was some faint hints of alcohol that came through with a bubbly citrus tang and some oily hop flavours that were quite resinous before some light spice seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite tangy with an oily hop bitterness, particularly nearer the end of the beer. There was a strong, resinous bitterness to proceedings with a fresh, crisp feel and some nice sweetness from the tropical fruits. The beer was a dry one that had some prominent alcohol touches from around the middle on but nothing that was likely to overpower. The balance was also a good one with it going down easier than expected but I’d have liked to have seen the nose come through slightly stronger.

Overall (17/20): Quite a strong and very hoppy offering from Brewdog, just what I’ve come to expect from those in their Born To Die series of beers. This one opened with a lot of resinous pine flavours and plenty of grapefruit too before some hints of alcohol came through nearer the middle. It was also a fairly sweet beer from the middle on thanks to the tropical fruits and the citrus gave it a bubbly feel too; nice stuff from the brewery but I’m afraid it’s not quite as good as the last in the series I tried so hopefully the tone down the alcohol a little next time.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial/Double IPA
Abv: 9.5%
Serving: Bottle (660ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £6.94

Cloudwater DIPA v10

January 25, 2017 3 comments

Rating: 4.35

Only my second ever Cloudwater beer, this despite the fact that the brewery seems to becoming more popular by the day of late. This offering is the tenth in a series of double IPA’s from the Manchester based brewery that continually tweaks their double IPA recipe with each release. This one follows on from the brewery’s Lapsang Lichtenhainer offering that I tried back in March and to be honest, it wasn’t one that I found enjoyable at all so I’m very hopeful that this one will prove to be a must better beer than that one. I picked this one up a couple of days before Christmas and although it isn’t exactly a winter offering, I thought it would finally give one from this series of beers a try; hopefully it’s as good as I’ve been told.

cloudwater-dipav10

Appearance (5/5): A really cloudy beer that is light amber in colour but bordering on yellow to faded orange, finished off with a foamy white head that is almost creamy in texture. Head retention is pretty good with the beer, it holds remarkably well given the strength of the beer  and there’s even some touches of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (9/10): Pine and grapefruit notes open things up here but there is also some nice touches of mango too. The beer isn’t particularly pungent given the abv. of this one but it wasn’t weak either and there was some fruity, tropical smells around the middle before the malty base starts to make itself known. Towards the end of the beer some floral touches and further bitter hops round things off nicely.
Taste (8/10): The taste opens as a continuation of the nose with plenty of pine and grapefruit alongside some floral bitterness and a combination of tropical fruits; peach, mango and apricot all featuring early on. There was some earthy malts around the middle that also imparted some nice sweetness on proceedings before a few citrus touches and further resinous pine flavours brought things to a close.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and medium bodied, this one was quite a lively and fresh beer that was a touch thicker than I’d expected. There was a slight tang around the middle from the citrus which made it an easy drink to get through. There was a nice balance to the beer that was particularly enjoyable.

Overall (17/20): Great stuff from Cloudwater here, a very enjoyable double IPA that was incredibly well-balanced and very easy to drink given how well the alcohol content was hidden. There was some great bitterness opening things up alongside plenty of resinous pine flavours that also made beer a relatively sweet offering. An excellent beer and one that I’d definitely like to try again; I’m also interested to see what the other beers in the series are like given the chance.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.40

#Mashtag 2016

November 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

The fourth beer in Brewdogs annual #Mashtag series, a beer voted on for by the public via social media and a beer that is usually quite an interesting offering. The three previous offerings in the series have been enjoyable ones, the last two in particular going down well with the 2014 edition currently sitting as the third best Scottish beer I’ve tried and the second best I’ve had from Brewdog; not bad considering how many beers of each I’ve had over the years. On trend that has continued over the last few years with this one is that the beers have become increasingly stronger, starting with the original #Mashtag 2013 which came in at 7.4% before increasing to 9% with #Mashtag 2014 and then again to 10% abv. last year with #Mashtag 2015; this year the beer is only marginally stronger than last with this one sitting at a pretty big 10.5%. Like a couple of other Brewdog beers before it, this is another that is being labelled as a triple IPA (their Anarchist/Alchemist from a few years ago springs to mind) but for the purposes of this blog I’ll count it as my 49th double IPA. Brewed with a combination of US hops, sour berries and oak chips, this one should prove to be quite an interesting offering and it’s one I’ve been holding off drinking since picking it up from the brewery’s online shop a couple of months ago but now seems like as good a time as any to crack it open and see how it rates; if it’s as good as either of the last two in the series then I’ll be very happy indeed.

mashtag-2016

Appearance (4/5): Quite a clear bodied beer, this one pours a medium amber colour and is topped with what turned out to be quite a nice, creamy head that sits about a half centimetre tall is a slightly off white colour. Head retention okay with the size slowly reducing to hint at turning patchy then eventually breaking up a touch in the centre of the beer. All things considered, a particularly given the strength of the beer, this one is a great looking double IPA and one I’m looking forward to trying all the more now.
Aroma (9/10): Very strong opening up, this is quite a hoppy beer on the nose initially with a lot of pine and grapefruit notes alongside a somewhat resinous smell. This was quickly followed by a sticky sweetness that helped mask a lot of the alcohol in the beer and there was a combination of tropical fruits in there helping out as well; in particular some peaches and mango. Around the middle a few hints of caramel and strawberries started to come though which made for a somewhat unusual but interesting aroma that was backed up by some hop oils and further bitterness. The balance on the nose was surprisingly good and there was certainly a lot going on, I was also impressed by how little of the 10.5% abv. was showing at this point; excellent stuff.
Taste (7/10): Opening in a similar fashion to the nose, this one is an incredibly strong-tasting beer with a lot of resinous pine and hop bitterness in the early going. The beer is intensely bitter but comes through with more alcohol in the taste than expected given how well this was hidden with the nose; it wasn’t quite overpowering but the sweetness didn’t do enough here to cover it for my liking. There was some strawberries and mango along with a few peaches and the odd citrus flavour coming through around the middle though and these helped balance things out slightly but I’d definitely have liked less grains and harshness showing towards the end if I’m honest. Some caramel did feature down the stretch and there was an earthy bitterness complimenting some sticky sweetness right at the end though but it didn’t quite reach the heights of the nose sadly.
Palate (3/5): The palate with this one starts quite sharp and aggressive with a lot of resinous pine hops and oils coming through, there’s plenty of bitterness off the back of this and the beer seems a touch harsh from the alcohol grains. There’s a some sweetness that does its best to cover some of the alcohol but the beer still have quite a warming feel to it and it is relatively thick on the way down too. Carbonation levels are somewhat muted with the beer, it sits around moderate and got tougher to drink the longer I sat with it; the flavours were definitely nice but it was just that touch too strong really.

Overall (16/20): Quite an interesting beer from Brewdog, it opened up quite well and the nose in particular was excellent with a lot of resinous pine and some nice fruits coming through; the combination of strawberries with the mango and peach was quite enjoyable and unexpected. The taste of the beer, as well as the palate, was a slight letdown if I’m honest though and it seemed to be a little too harsh and very slightly overpowering with a huge amount of the alcohol showing from the start. It was still an enjoyable beer but it didn’t seem as good as the last two in the series sadly; a nice beer but not quite as good as I’d hoped.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Imperial/Double IPA
Abv: 10.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £4.50

Of Foam And Fury

October 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.4

My third beer from the Galway Bay brewery now and like the previous two, this is another than I had to travel to Galway in order to get my hands on. Following on from the brewery’s Buried At Sea & Full Sail offerings, both of which were very enjoyable beers, this is one that I’m really looking forward to trying. The beer is one that I picked up in the McCambridges of Galway shop over the summer after having it near the top of my ‘Irish beers to try’ list for quite some time. Widely regarded as one of the islands best beers, this one is a double IPA that comes in at 8.5% abv. and was first introduced in late 2013 before going on to be one of the brewery’s most popular offerings. Like the majority of Irish craft beers this isn’t one that I’ve spotted outside of Ireland, and to be honest I’ve only seen it in Galway itself so I doubt it’s one that’s likely to make it to Scotland anytime soon but it’s definitely one that I’ll be on the lookout for the next time I’m over in Ireland if it’s half as good as the online reviews suggest it will be; let’s find out if it is.

of-foam-and-fury

Appearance (5/5): Quite a bright looking beer, this one sits as a cloudy orange colour that boarders on amber and is topped with a respectable, one centimetre tall head that’s quite thick and foamy looking; it’s fits the name at least. Retention is very good as well here, there’s almost no movement at all over the opening minutes and the head manages to stay throughout the time it took me to finish the beer, there was also some touches of lace on the sides of the glass on the way down too; excellent stuff.
Aroma (9/10): Quite a strong nose as I’d expected, the beer opens with a solid tropical aroma that’s coupled with some grapefruit and pine notes; there was a mix of orange, mango and apricot coming through with some citrus not far behind. There’s a nice floral aroma around the middle of the beer and a couple of sweet malts make an appearance to help the balance; some brown sugars and caramel make up the bulk of this. Towards the end some touches of alcohol show but only faintly and there is some further fruits in there too.
Taste (8/10): Opening up quite a bit more bitter than the nose hinted at, this one was very hoppy with a lot of tropical fruits in the early going; in particular some mango, apricot and orange from the nose show but there is also some grapefruit, passion fruit and peach in there. Around the middle there is a lot of sweet malts and caramel coming through, just like with the nose, alongside some biscuit flavours and a bit of pine too. It’s definitely a strong beer with a lot going one and it’s rounded off by some pleasant floral touches and some touches of citrus; excellent stuff.
Palate (4/5): Quite a thick, full-bodied beer with a huge amount of hops coming at you from the opening bell. There was tonnes of bitterness to this beer and it seemed relatively fresh with moderate carbonation levels and a few citrus bursts. There was a resinous feel to the bitterness at points and it was sharp too with quite a dry finish that seemed to linger.

Overall (18/20): This one was a truly excellent Irish beer, easily coming in as the best beer from Ireland that I’ve tried and well ahead of the next closest which coincidentally happens to be another Galway Bay offering; their Full sail IPA. The beer opens up with a lot of tropical fruits, some nice pine bitterness and some sweet malts helping the balance the beer some. It was full of flavour from the start, the combination of fruits early on being particularly good and the relatively high alcohol content was also quite well hidden too. The beer was an easy one to drink and well worth the fairly high price I paid for the bottle; it’s definitely one worth hunting for if you find yourself in Ireland at any point.

Brewed In: Galway, County Galway, Ireland
Brewery: Galway Bay Brewery
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: McCambridges of Galway (Galway, Ireland)
Price: €7.15 (approx. £6.44)

Stone Mocha IPA

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

Stone is definitely my go-to American brewery and this one marks the nineteenth beer from the brewery that I’ll have reviewed here; it’s also another IPA from the Californian brewers. Introduced in its current form back in February, this Mocha IPA is a re-branding of a beer originally available as Liberty Station 2nd Anniversary Mocha IPA from Stone’s World Bistro & Gardens but now distributed under the Stone label. The beer is a summer seasonal that I ordered back in August this year from the Brewdog online shop and I thought I better get around to trying it before the summer is a distant memory here. Almost a cross between an IPA and a stout, this I’d forgotten how strong this one was before getting ready to crack it open only to remember that it’s a 9% abv. beer and one that should definitely prove to be interesting if nothing else. Stone are usually pretty good when it comes to all things IPA so I’m expecting a lot from them in what will be my first new beer from the brewery since trying their Sorry, Not Sorry IPA back in February; hopefully it’s just as good as that one was.

stone-mocha-ipa

Appearance (4/5): A slightly orange tinged amber colour, this one had a hazy body and was topped with a surprisingly good-looking head for such a strong beer; it sat just under a centimetre tall and was a cream looking white one. After about thirty seconds or so it started to recede slightly, settling as a thick looking lacing that covered the surface well and had the odd bubble sitting around the edges too.
Aroma (7/10): Quite an unusual nose for a double IPA, there was surprisingly few hops to open things up and instead I got a solid cocoa nose that was quickly followed by some white chocolate and coffee aromas. There was a little roasted malt and barely coming through as we got nearer the middle of the beer and only then did some background citrus, orange and faint pine come through. This wasn’t at all what I’d expecting going in but the smell was still pleasant enough with some earthy hops and a milky chocolate seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Somewhat of a change up from the nose, there was definitely a lot more hops and bitterness opening the taste up that the nose indicated there might be; I got some pine, faint grapefruit and a little orange in the early going before some citrus and apricot featured nearer the middle of proceedings. The beer was still had a lot of chocolate showing and came through as a stout/IPA hybrid that was unlike anything I’ve tried before; the hop bitterness and touches of alcohol were there but it definitely wasn’t an overpowering hop presence and there was some further coffee flavours to round things off as well; very interesting stuff.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, maybe just slightly thinner than that but quite a well carbonated beer and one that came through with a nice hop presence once you got past the nose. There was a surprising amount of chocolate in the early going and this added a slight sweetness to the beer that gave it that sweet stout feel but it still seemed more of an IPA than anything else. There was touches of alcohol coming through in places but from the most part it was balanced and well hidden with it seeming quite easy to drink throughout too.

Overall (17/20): This one has got to be up there with the most unusual beers I’ve tried, particularly because this one is coming from a very well-known and respected brewery but it’s unlike anything I’ve tried before. A beautiful combination of stout and double IPA, the chocolate and roasted malt opening that was heavily laced with coffee was very nice and the nose had almost no fruits or hop bitterness showing. The IPA side of things definitely made itself more known with the taste, there was a lot of juicy fruits and tropical touches with a solid bitterness and this helped with the balance down the stretch too. The beer was interesting from the start and very enjoyable too; definitely one to look out for if you’re in the mood for something a little different.

Brewed In: Escondido, California, United States of America
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (355ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £4.75

Hello, My Name Is Ingrid

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.05

Probably the beer I’ve been most wanting to try from Brewdog now, this one was a beer that they initially released way back in 2011 as a limited release for the Swedish market and since then it’s made a couple of brief appearance on-tap the odd Brewdog bar in the UK over the years. This one was the first beer the brewery brewed in their ‘Hello, My Name Is…’ series but will actually be the seventh in the series that I’ve tried and with the exception of the last I tried, last years Holy Moose offering, they have all been excellent beers. Earlier this year Brewdog launched their ‘#ReBrewdog’ poll that gave everyone a chance to vote on which past Brewdog beer they would like to see re-brewed and this one was a clear winner in the poll. I managed to pick this one up last month from Brewdog’s online shop after it was re-released as a shareholder exclusive and now I’m finally able to give it a try; it’s been a long time coming. The beer itself is brewed with Swedish cloudberries and was initially brewed in collaboration with BeerSweden, the Swedish importer of Brewdog beers and it’s one I can’t wait to crack open now.

hello-my-name-is-ingrid

Appearance (4/5): A bright caramel amber colour, this one had a slightly hazy body but not many bubbles rising to the surface. The head was a thin, half-centimetre one that was foamy in texture and faded over the opening minute or so to leave a thin surface lacing that looked like it was about to turn patchy without actually doing so.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fruity opening, there’s some nice peach and mango notes to start things off here and they are quickly followed by touches of citrus and pine. A few malts start to appear as we get nearer the middle, with some grapefruit accompanying them before a little sweetness and some caramel touches sneak in. It’s a refreshing introduction to proceedings with a pleasantly hoppy start before some apricot and orange round things off very nicely indeed; an excellent start.
Taste (8/10): Fresh and hoppy to start, there’s a very nice bitterness opening things up and it goes a step further than with the nose. There’s some pine and grapefruit in there before some apricot and mango follow on behind. There’s an excellent juicy taste around the middle of the beer that is coupled with some sweet malts and faint caramel, although neither are as strong as they seemed with the nose.  Towards the end there was a slightly floral taste with some citrus and berries, the later presumably the cloudberries mentioned on the label of the beer but it’s not exactly a fruit I’m overly familiar with really; overall the beer was a great tasting one though and it went down a treat.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and medium bodied, the beer is a sticky sweet one that comes through with plenty of bitterness that gives the beer a refreshing feel. Overall it’s quite balanced and was very easy to drink despite the strength. There was a touch of alcohol showing in parts but for the most part the juicy fruits and hop bitterness was enough to cover most of this.

Overall (17/20): Pretty nice stuff from Brewdog here, I can see what all the fuss was about when this one was first released back in 2011. The beer opens with quite a fruity taste that was loaded with pine and grapefruit hops but still seemed fairly juicy and fresh. There was a nice bitterness to proceedings and the alcohol content remained well hidden throughout as well. It’s definitely not an all-time best from Brewdog but it is a pretty nice beer and one that I’d happily go back to again were it to find itself as a regular offering from the brewery and it’s certainly well worth looking out for while it’s still available.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2011 (re-released in 2016)
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £2.95