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Dark Revolution So.LA

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

Another beer that I picked up from the Wee Beer Shop in Glasgow just before Christmas, this one a Salisbury brewed beer from Dark Revolution that I picked up in the hopes that it would be quite a fresh and lively pale ale with plenty of hops showing. The beer was a relatively well priced one and that was part of the reason I grabbed it given I’d never heard of the brewery before but the bottle also appealed to me for some reason and reminded me of beers from the Wild Beer Co. that I’d enjoyed in the past so I decided to give it a go; here’s what I thought of the bottle I eventually tried at the start of this year.

Appearance (3/5): Pale and hazy amber looking, this one is topped with a centimetre tall head that is white and foamy but manages to hold well initially but the beer itself looked relatively thin when it was being poured.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some citrus hops and a background sweetness, the beer had some mango and apricot notes to start and was quite light overall. There was a nice bitterness showing throughout with touches of straw and orange towards the end as well.
Taste (6/10): Lighter than expected but matching the nose well, the beer opened with citrus and pine hops alongside some tropical fruits that added some sweetness to proceedings. There wasn’t a great deal of strength to the beer but some straw and grassy hops seen things out alongside a faint bitterness.
Palate (2/5): Quite light and almost watery at times, the beer was a bland offering for the most part but some hop bitterness did show at times. It was a dry beer that seemed quite smooth but was lacking in variety and came through quite weak from the middle on.

Overall (9/20): Very disappointing stuff from Dark Revolution, I went into this one expecting quite a strong and hoppy pale ale with plenty of citrus, pine and tropical fruits with a nice caramel backing but in the end it failed to deliver; some pine and citrus did show but it was far too weak and little else came through to back them up. The beer definitely seemed quite weak and bland with only a slight sweetness further on and some basic grassy hops to see things out.

Brewed In: Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Brewery: Dark Revolution
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.30

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Buxton/Stillwater Subliminal

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My sixth beer from Buxton now, this one a collaborative offering from them and the Baltimore based Stillwater Artisinal that I picked up from the Brewdog online shop back in April when it was heavily discounted. The beer is a one-off from the brewer that was released in late 2016 and is one that I’ve been saving for the Christmas period since it’s a relatively strong 10% abv. offering. The beer follows on from their Axe Edge as the first beer from Buxton that I’ll have reviewed here since June of this year, that one being a beer that I actually picked up alongside this one earlier in the year; the only other Stillwater offering I’ve tried was their collaboration with William Brothers for their Stravaigin Croft Saison that I tried way back in June 2013 which was an enjoyable offering so it should be interesting to see how they do with an imperial stout.

Appearance (4/5): Very thick and dark looking as it poured, the beer is pitch black and opaque with a centimetre tall head that’s medium brown in colour and foamy before it starts to break up slightly at one side after about twenty seconds or so but it’s a good start considering the strength of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some roasted malts and a coffee aroma, the beer has touches of chocolate through it in the early going and is very dark with some alcohol notes coming through as well. It’s a semi-sweet offering that has some caramel malts and a little sugar sitting in the background with touches of smoke towards the end as well; a pleasant beer but slightly more alcohol showed than I’d have liked.
Taste (7/10): The taste was kicked off with some chocolate and roasted malts alongside a strong alcohol kick that carried on from the nose, there was some liquorice and sugars in there as well though. Towards the middle I got some of the smoke and wood flavours that were hinted at with the nose and there was a coffee bitterness further on that rounded things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Quite a boozy, full-bodied beer that was thick and came through with a lot of alcohol showing, something that I’d have liked to have been better hidden but the beer was still a drinkable offering. It was quite a warming drink towards the end with a subtle bitterness from the roasted malts and coffee flavours as well as a caramel sweetness backed up by some sugars. It was moderately carbonated and the balance was okay, although as I’ve said there was perhaps a little too much alcohol at times.

Overall (15/20): Strong and boozy with a lot of alcohol showing but this one was also quite a complex offering that opened with some dark malts and chocolate alongside a caramel sweetness which gave it quite a rich, warming feel. I’d have liked a better balance with less alcohol showing but the beer was still a drinkable one with a few roasted malts that turned smoky with some wood flavours towards the end; definitely one worth trying, especially for the price I paid for it but there are better imperial stouts out there too.

Brewed In: Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Brewery: Buxton Brewery/Stillwater Artisinal (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.57

Wylam Nomi Sorachi

December 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

Another new beer from Wylam now, this one being my fifth from the brewery and one that follows on from their Club of Slaughters imperial stout that I reviewed here a week ago. This particular offering appears to have been introduced in 2016 and is a single-hop American pale ale from the brewery that again indicates they appear to be moving away from the more traditional ales that I previously associated with the brewery. I believe this one is also the penultimate of the Wylam beers that I have to review, if I remember correctly then I also have another imperial stout from the brewery that I picked up in Glasgow last month still, and try to that I definitely one that I’m looking forward to, even in spite of the fact that their Club of Slaughters offering wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped for.

Appearance (4/5): An almost peach amber colour that was topped with a surprisingly large, three centimetre tall, bubbly white head with a wavy surface. The beer also had a hazy body and head retention was good initially with some nice lacing on the sides and quite a thick look to it.
Aroma (7/10): Surprisingly sweet on the nose with some herbal notes in the early going and plenty of biscuit malts to back them up. The beer was semi-sweet with a little caramel coming through early on alongside some basic spices but it was definitely an unusual aroma with some citrus followed by touches of coconut towards the middle; something that’s more common in a porter or stout but rarely seen with an American pale ale. It was a pleasant nose with some hop bitterness further on and touches of lemongrass before toffee and a vanilla sweetness seen things out along with the odd bread malt.
Taste (6/10): Not quite as sweet as the nose but it was still a close one, there was some nice coconut carried over from the nose and showing much earlier this time around, there was a strong perfume taste to the beer too with some herbal touches and a couple of citrus hops. Further on some basic fruits and spices started to come through with a little coriander and some hop oils before a caramel and toffee combination seen things out.
Palate (2/5): Light-medium bodied and quite strongly carbonated, the beer was fresh and sweet with a nice variety as well. The addition of some coconut added to the sweetness of the beer was was quite unexpected as well but it seemed to come at the expense of the beers balance at times. There was some herbal spices and a hop bitterness that done its best to balance out the beers sweetness but it was a difficult one to drink at times sadly.

Overall (11/20): Quite a hop-filled beer but one that was overly sweet and lacking a balance which made it a difficult one to drink too. The beer started well and the nose in particular was a good one thanks to the surprising addition of some coconut to go with the vanilla and caramel notes but when these carried over to the taste then the beer seemed overdone and began to turn sickening a little further on. There was some interesting flavours and a nice variety to this one from Wylam but it was a little sweet and overpowering for me so it’s not one that I’d pick up again sadly.

Brewed In: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Brewery: Wylam Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Fenwick’s (Newcastle)
Price: £2.49

Bede’s Chalice

December 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

My first new tripel in quite some time and my first beer from the Durham Brewery as well, this one is another that I picked up from the Fenwick’s department store in Newcastle when I visited over the summer months, grabbing it alongside a couple of beers from the Newcastle based Wylam brewery and another from Durham, the next from them I’ll be review will be an imperial stout which should make for a good winter beer. Seemingly first released around ten years ago, this one isn’t a beer that I heard of before and it’s also a rarity in that it’s a fairly high alcohol content beer but it comes in a 500ml bottle which is a nice bonus; it also seems to be an offering that is highly rated online and it’s definitely one that I’m looking to cracking open now.

Appearance (4/5): Slightly bright amber but very clear looking with a thin, half centimetre head on top that was foamy and white but faded to a thin lacing on the surface after thirty seconds or so; it breaks up slightly around the edges but it’s not a bad looking beer given the strength.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a sweet nose and one that opens up with a lot of sugars and a candy-like aroma in the early going with touches of yeast and spice in there as well. This is followed up by some nice fruits that includes some orange, pear and even some pineapple with a hint of coriander and some grapes in there too. It’s a fresh beer on the nose and has a little alcohol showing at times but for the most part the 9% abv. is relatively well hidden. Further on I got some nice touches of bread malt, caramel and some herbal notes too but it was definitely a sweet one on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Not quite as sweet as the nose, the beer starts with some strong alcohol grains that were better hidden with the nose but there is still some caramel and bread malts coming through alongside a few earthy touches. Around the middle the grapes, pears and some apples start to show on the taste with a hint of citrus and orange too before some spice and Belgian yeast featured towards the end.
Palate (4/5): Opening with plenty sweetness on the nose but more of a warming alcohol feel with the taste, this one was definitely a strong beer and the balance could have been better as the alcohol content was quite apparent when it came to drinking the beer; it wasn’t as noticeable with the aroma though thanks to the abundance of sweetness coming through. It was a well carbonated offering that came through with a light-medium body and had a solid kick to it thanks to the high alcohol content but it was still a fairly easy beer to drink.

Overall (15/20): Quite an interesting beer, this one opened with a huge amount of sweetness and fruits on the nose with some caramel malts towards the end but come the taste these characteristics took more of a backseat as the alcohol content of the beer made itself known alongside, although there was still some fruits and sweetness at this point too. It was a strong beer with a light body, still easy to drink but one with a definite kick towards the end too.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: West Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2007
Type: Tripel
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Fenwick’s (Newcastle)
Price: £3.99

Club of Slaughters

December 7, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.25

A fourth Wylam beer now and one that comes after a five-year gap with the last beer from the brewery I tried being their Bohemia pilnser that I sampled back in December 2012. The other two beers from the brewery that I’ve sampled, their Angel and Rocket bitters, were both pretty standard fair but the Newcastle based brewery seems to have upped their game of late and I’ve started to see a few more adventurous offerings from them available. I picked this one up when visiting the city over the summer and also grabbed another couple from them on the same visit that I’ve yet to try. I then spotted yet another imperial stout from Wylam in a Glasgow bottle shop last weekend, a beer that I quickly picked up. This particular offering from the brewery, despite the name suggesting otherwise, is apparently a vegan friendly beer that was first introduced in late 2015 and as yet is not one that I’ve seen available in Scotland but perhaps that is something that will change going forward since last weekend was the first time that I’d spotted any Wylam beers north of the border.

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black and almost oil-like with a foamy brown head that is just under a centimetre tall but holds surprisingly well for a fairly strong beer. The head does slowly fade to leave a thin surface lacing in the middle with a little more build up around the sides but it doesn’t look too bad at all.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong beer on the nose with a lot of alcohol showing in the early going as well as a lot of peated malts that gave the beer a type of whiskey aroma. It was slightly sweet towards the middle with some rich and dark fruits coming through alongside some mint that was unusual but enjoyable before the beer was rounded off with some liquorice and alcohol grains.
Taste (6/10): Opening with the same peated malts that featured heavily with the nose, the beer wasn’t quite as strong this time around but there was some strong alcohol grains and smoky flavours present that threatened to overpower at points. I got some roasted flavours around the middle of the beer with touches of mint further on with some more malts seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): A very strong beer with plenty dark and roasted touches that were quite smoky too that’s to the peated malts. The beer was loaded with alcohol and seemed stronger than the 8.8% abv. on the bottle, the balance in particular being a poor one that made it a slow one to get through; not a great one of the style at all and one I’d avoid in future.

Overall (13/20): This one was a very strong beer from the outset and one that was loaded with peated malts, smoky flavours and some wood which all gave the beer a whiskey feel to it in the early going. The alcohol that came through seemed overdone and made the beer seem a lot stronger than the 8.8% advertised on the bottle, it was also a bit of a struggle to finish too, although the surprising addition of some mint to the nose and taste was quite enjoyable but other than that the beer seemed poorly balanced and was a relatively poor imperial stout sadly.

Brewed In: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Brewery: Wylam Brewery
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Fenwicks (Newcastle)
Price: £3.49

Northern Monk Faith

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

This one is my fifth Northern Monk beer and one that seems to be a new offering for 2017. The beer is one that I picked up from my local bottle shop last month and sampled right at the beginning of September since I wanted to try it fresh. Following on from their Mocha Porter that I tried and wasn’t overly impressed with back in January, this one is my first pale ale from the brewery and it was one that I was quite looking forward to given the brewery’s love of hop-filled, bitter beers. Thankfully the beer was a little better than the last offering from the brewery that I tried but it wasn’t a great one in truth, here’s what I thought of it when I drank it either this month.

Appearance (4/5): Fairly light looking with a light amber to golden body that is slightly cloudy and topped with a two and a half centimetre tall head that is white and holds well initially. There is a little lacing left on the sides of the beer and the head holds for the first couple minutes too; a nice start.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly fresh on the nose with some hoppy touches and a citrus aroma that is complimented by some pale malts. It’s a little basic overall but some grassy notes and lemon come through alongside a faint caramel smell; it could definitely have been a little stronger though.
Taste (6/10): Opening with a citrus and lemon combination, the beer is fresh with some earthy hops and biscuit. It’s a clean and fresh with touches of biscuit and cereal coming through nearer the middle and a faint bitterness to see things out; again it’s a relatively basic offering.
Palate (4/5): Clean and quite crisp, the beer is light-medium bodied and quite fresh too. It’s an easy to drink offering that came through with a nice balance and some floral touches later on.

Overall (13/20): This one was an okay pale ale from Northern Monk, it was a little basic at times and it wasn’t as bitter or hopppy as I’d expected either. It was a drinkable offering with some citrus and touches of sweetness but it’s not one I’d have again I’m afraid and it was a little bit of a disappointment to boot.

Brewed In: Leeds, Yorkshire, England
Brewery: Northern Monk Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Can (440ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.20

Cloudwater DDH Ella Ekuanot Pale Ale

July 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

A seventh Cloudwater beer for me now and my first since having a can of their Motueka Pilsner back in May, a beer that was fairly average at the time. I was looking forward to trying this one last week when I ordered it in my local Brewdog beer, mainly because I’ve had some great Cloudwater beers in the past and this one was only my second keg offering from the brewery; the other being their excellent DIPA v11 that I tried towards the end of January this year. This particular offering is a spring/summer offering for 2017 from the brewery and is another of their double dry-hopped beers that I’ve been hearing so much about of late. From what I’ve been reading online, this one seems to be a keg only offering from Cloudwater so it’s one that I’m glad I managed to try while it was still available and here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): A semi-bright looking beer that was amber in colour and came with a cloudy body, topped with a somewhat disappointing head that was little more than a thin white lacing around the sides of the glass. There was a faint bit of lacing on the side wall of the glass too but beyond that there wasn’t a whole lot going on and the surface of the beer was quite patchy too sadly.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh with some pine coming through early on the nose, there was some touches of grapefruit and the odd tropical smell too, a combination of passion fruit, pineapple and orange all making an appearance at this point. A few solid floral hops followed towards the middle and the nose seemed balanced initially, I managed to get some citrus and a little sweetness coming through though before some mango and further floral touches seen things out.
Taste (7/10): The taste of this one matches the nose well and opens with some citrus and floral hops, there was a nice touch of pine showing around this point as well and the beer was definitely a fresh one. There was plenty of tropical flavours showing with mango, peach and pineapple all coming through along with some orange in there too. Following this I managed to detect a hint of further sweetness from some of the malts and there was the odd grassy flavour to see things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and quite crisp, this one was a lively beer that came through with solid, fine carbonation and a nice tang in there from the citrus too. Throughout it was a relatively bitter beer with some dry touches nearer the end but for the most part it was a juicy, balanced beer that went down well.

Overall (16/20): Another enjoyable beer from Cloudwater, this one was a great sessionable offering that went down well and was both crisp and lively throughout. There was solid carbonation levels to the beer and the balance was good as well, a combination of tropical fruits working well with the sweeter malts and floral bitterness; excellent stuff and one that’s well worth trying if you get the chance.

Brewed In: Manchester, England
Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.40