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Posts Tagged ‘ipa’

Slot Machine

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A second new Brewdog beer from 2017 in quick succession now, this one a American IPA styled rye beer from the brewery that follows on from the recent review of their Make Earth Great Again limited release. This one from the brewery is a seasonal that was introduced something around September and thankfully I was able to grab a bottle a month or so later when I spotted a few in my local Morrison’s supermarket. Opting for a 660ml bomber of the beer, this is one that I’m looking forward to since Brewdog are most definitely at home when brewery American style IPA’s and the rye twist on this one should prove interesting. As the last seasonal for 2017 from Brewdog, this one takes more of a winter feel and is more malty that their last two seasonal beers that preceded this one, their Hop Fiction and Electric India offerings and it should be interesting to see if this one makes a return or is replaced in next years lineup.

Appearance (4/5): Pour a dark copper colour that was edging towards mahogany brown and a lot darker than anticipated, sitting with a large head that was between four and five centimetres tall with a foamy texture. The head looked surprisingly thick and creamy with very good retention as well before slowly losing some of its initial height after a minute or so.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a hop-filled aroma kicks things off here with nice pine and orange hops coming through in the early going before some grapefruit and the odd tropical notes showed themselves further on, the combination of mango, citrus and peach seeming the most pronounced of the fruits. It was definitely a fresh and lively beer with a little caramel coming through as well as some toffee and subtle spices that seen things out.
Taste (8/10): Slightly darker than with the nose, the beer opens with some caramel malts and the odd earthy malt too; both of these featuring much earlier than they had with the nose. There was some hop bitterness towards the middle with the citrus and pine from the nose alongside some rye spices, mango and peach before being rounded off with some grapefruit and finally some caramel sweetness at the end.
Palate (4/5): Medium-bodied and quite well carbonated with a fresh and lively feel to the beer, this one was tangy from the start with nice hop bitterness and a few spices coming through as well. The beer had a nice balance throughout and seemed resinous at points thanks to the pine and grapefruit but despite being relatively complex for the style it was still an easy on to drink.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite a nice American IPA that was definitely darker than expected and the rye aspect of the beer was a pleasant one as well. Initially there was some nice citrus and pine hops that kept things fresh and lively before some caramel malts and earthy flavours started to sneak in with the taste. There was a nice balance to the beer and it was well-carbonated too which helped it go down easily; a nice seasonal offering from Brewdog and one that I’d like to see again next year.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA/Rye Beer
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (660ml)
Purchased: Morrisons (Glasgow)
Price: £2.50

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Grand Kirin IPA

November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

The second beer in this series from the Kirin brewery now, this one is a new beer from them for 2017 that was released around the same time as their Grand Kirin White Ale that I reviewed here a short time ago. This one is actually a beer that I tried earlier on during my trip to Japan without review it but eventually I got around to it when I returned to Tokyo towards the end of my holiday and was struggling to find new beers in the local convenience stores late at night. This beer will be my sixth review of a Kirin beer here as well, with the majority of those being beers that I found in Japan so I imagine this will be my last new one from the brewery for quite some time too.

Appearance (3/5): A slightly darker than average amber colour for the style that had a clear body and a thin, foamy white head on top that was more of a surface lacing than anything else but it did at least cover the surface of the beer without any patches initially.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some light hops and citrus, there was some grapefruit and lime in the early going with this one too and it had quite a zesty, fresh feel on the nose with some biscuit and bread malts coming through further on. Around the middle I got some pleasant grassy notes and a subtle tropical sweetness with the odd sugar in there too.
Taste (6/10):
Fresh and quite zesty tasting initially with some citrus, lime and orange flavours coming through alongside a resinous pine taste and some grapefruit. Towards the middle these flavours were backed up by a few tropical fruits; most notably some mango and apricot but neither were particularly strong. Towards the end some biscuit malts from the nose came through to see things out alongside some earthy malts too.
Palate (4/5):
Somewhere around medium bodied with a fresh feel than anticipated for a mass-market beer like this one but it was helped with the zesty touches and citrus that featured in the early going. There was a solid bitterness throughout the beer with a nice balance and a sessionable feel that had some nice sweetness from the middle on which made it a basic but easy-going IPA that I’d happily have again.

Overall (14/20): This one was definitely a better than expected IPA from Kirin , particularly when you consider they are more at home putting out cheap pale lagers but this one wasn’t too bad at all. It was quite a fresh beer with a liveliness about it that went well with a hop bitterness and citrus that featured from the start. It was definitely an easy beer to drink as well, going down nicely thanks to the balance with a subtle tropical sweetness leveling out the bitterness and some nice malts towards the end too; this is one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Tokyo, Japan
Brewery: Kirin Brewery Company
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Family Mart (Sin-Okubo, Tokyo)
Price: ¥297 (£1.97 approx.)

Minoh W-IPA (366 of 1001)

November 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.5

My first and final new Minoh beer that I managed to try in Japan now, this one being the only one of their beers to feature on the 1001 beers list and the one that I was most hoping to try from them during the course of my trip. The beer is a 9% double IPA that follows on from their Minoh Stout that I reviewed here recently. Initially released sometime around 2006, the beer became a regular from the brewery in 2008 and has been one of their most popular ever since; thankfully it is a year round offering as well which meant I was able to grab a bottle when I was in Osaka recently. Checking this beer off also means that I now only have to try another ten Japanese beers to complete those listed in the 1001 beers book, although sadly one of those appears to no longer be available now.

Appearance (4/5): This one pours quite a dark amber to caramel colour with an opaque body and some sediment floating about initially before settling at the bottom of the glass. The head was a centimetre tall one that looked frothy and was a creamy white to light tan colour that had excellent retention over the opening few minutes, holding much better than expected from a 9% abv. double IPA; there didn’t seem to be any movement or reduction in size over the opening five minutes and there was some nice lacing left on the sides of the glass as a bonus too.
Aroma (9/10): Quite strong with a lot of hops showing in the early going, there was plenty going on and this is what I’d been expecting from a strong double IPA with a nice combination of resinous pine and floral hops kicking things off. There was some citrus and a good helping of tropical fruits in the early going as well, I got some mango, apricot and grapefruit with a little pineapple not too far behind either. Further on there was some sweeter notes starting to come through with caramel and biscuit malts but it was a balanced, lively nose that I really enjoyed.
Taste (9/10): The taste matches the nose well with some strong pine and floral hops getting things going alongside some solid citrus flavours, although the beer wasn’t quite as pungent or resinous as it had been with the nose. There was some tropical fruits towards the middle with the mango and apricot from the nose being the dominant pair but the pineapple and some peach weren’t too far behind. Like the nose, there was a good amount of sweetness further on with the caramel and biscuit coming through a touch earlier this time around and some bread flavours featuring as well. It’s definitely a lively and hop-filled beer with some spices towards the end and a few further floral flavours as well; very nice stuff.
Palate (5/5): Well carbonated and almost a full-bodied beer, this one was very fresh and lively with a lot of hops coming through from the start to contribute towards a very bitter, resinous beer that went down great. There was some of the alcohol content coming through at points but for the most part it was well hidden and nothing seemed to overpower thanks to the excellent balance of the beer, the sweet malts and caramel working very well alongside the pine and floral hops not to mention the tropical fruits too.

Overall (18/20): This one was an excellent and highly enjoyable double IPA that grabbed my attention almost immediately thanks to the strong hops and resinous pine notes that greeted me opening the bottle. There was a lot going on with this one thanks to a combination of tropical fruits balancing well with sweeter malts and citrus. The beer was fuller than expected and quite varied too with good carbonation and the alcohol content was hidden well too. Excellent stuff from the start and a beer that I’m every glad I managed to find, it was definitely the best beer I managed to try on my trip to Japan and probably the best from the country that I’ve ever tried; a must try if you can find it and one well worth its place on the 1001 Beers to try before you die list as well.

Brewed In: Osaka, Japan
Brewery: Minoh Beer
First Brewed: circa. 2006
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Yamaya Nagahoribashi (Osaka)
Price: ¥410 (£2.72 approx.)

Coedo Regista IPA

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

My first Codeo beer now and another that I managed to try at the Craft Beer Works Kamikaze bar in Osaka on my last night in the city, this one being a fairly new release from the brewery for 2017 that I managed to try on keg. Sadly this was the only beer from the brewery that I managed to try while in Japan recently despite reading a little about them before travelling; I did however see a couple of their beers from time to time in various convenience stores but for one reason or another never picked any up. This particular offering is an American style IPA that comes in at 6% abv. and was first released in August or September of this year so again it’s a Japanese beer that I got to try while it was still very fresh.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber but a little brighter than usual, the beer had a half centimetre head that was foamy with it looking thick and sitting with slightly more build up around the edges but retention was good throughout.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with a subtle hop bitterness and some pine notes, the beer was fresh and had a little citrus sowing too. Towards the middle I got some bread malts and faint caramel featuring alongside touches of sweetness but it wasn’t quite as pronounced as I’d have liked from the style. There was some spice and light floral bitterness further on with tropical fruits that included some mango and apricot seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some pine hops and a little citrus that matched the nose well, there was some tropical fruits that came through earlier than they did with the nose; most notably some mango, peach and apricot. It wasn’t overly fruity or as hop-filled as expected but there was a solid floral bitterness throughout and some bread and caramel malts towards the end to see things out.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and slightly resinous in the early going with a touch of citrus providing a nice tang as well. There was good carbonation to the beer but it wasn’t as strong as expected, something typical of a lot of the Japanese beers I’ve reviewed here recently although there was some touches of spice seeing things out.

Overall (14/20): Definitely a beer that started out well with some pleasant pine and citrus flavours coming through alongside a few tropical fruits that were more pronounced with the taste than the nose; these consisted mainly of mango and apricot with touches of peach at times too. Around the middle some sweetness started to show as well as the odd pale malt and caramel flavour but it wasn’t quite as pronounced as expected for an American IPA which meant I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I’d have liked too.

Brewed In: Kawagoe-shi, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Brewery: Kyodo Shoji Koedo Brewery
Type: American IPA
First Brewed: 2017
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Craft Beer Works Kamikaze, Osaka, Japan
Price:‎ ¥750 (£4.97 approx.)

Out of Envy

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

A first beer from a Ushitora brewery now and one that I managed to try on keg at the very start of October, on my last night in Osaka at the Craft Beer Works Kamikaze bar in the city. I had a look for this beer at the time and couldn’t find much about it, from what I understand it is quite a new beer that was only released at the end of September so I’m glad it’s one that I managed to try while it was still fresh and new.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber and slightly cloudy with a thin white head that was more a surface lacing than anything else but did at least leave some further lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with a lightly hopped aroma and some good citrus notes, the beer had touches of grapefruit coming through as well but wasn’t anywhere near as strong as I’d have expected from a double IPA sadly. There was some pale malts and touches of spice around the middle of the nose and a couple of background fruits seen things out but it was very weak for the style.
Taste (7/10): Thankfully coming through stronger than the nose, the taste of this one starts with a nice combination of citrus and grapefruit before touches of spice and a floral bitterness appear towards the middle. There was some pale malts a little further on with some a subtle bitterness seeing things out; definitely an improvement on the nose but not quite a must-try for me.
Palate (3/5): Sitting around medium bodied, the beer was very light on the nose but at least came through stronger with the taste despite remaining quite a basic tasting beer throughout. There was a pleasant hop bitterness with a good floral feel to it while it was also well carbonated but I couldn’t get over it being so light and, at times, so weak.

Overall (13/20): Quite a disappointing beer for what was a pretty rare Japanese brewed double IPA for me, the main problem with this one being how light it was on the nose and that was something I struggled to get over as I was drinking this one. The beer opened with some light hops and a grapefruit nose that had some floral touches backing it up but it never really got going until the taste. It was far too weak for my liking and quite basic too, although it was well-carbonated and the alcohol content was relatively well hidden but it’ still not one that I’d recommend.

Brewed In: Shimotsuke-shi, Tochigi, Japan
Brewery: Ushitora Brewing
Type: Double IPA
Full Name: #209 Ushitora Out of Envy DIPA
First Brewed: 2017
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Craft Beer Works Kamikaze, Osaka, Japan
Price:‎ ¥750 (£4.97 approx.)

Ichijoji Destroy Angel

October 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

Following on from the previous review of their Joshuaku Plum Ale, this one is my second beer from the Ichijoji brewery and another I had at one of their Kyoto taprooms a few weeks ago. This one was a beer that was freshly kegged when I tried it and one of the stronger beers available across the 10 or so taps in the bar, a 6.6% offering that I was hoping would be more pronounced than the last beer from the brewery that I tried on my visit.

Appearance (4/5): A bright, cloudy amber to orange with a half centimetre had that’s slightly bubbly at points but for the most part sits as a foamy white before starting to break up slightly in the middle after about forty-five seconds or so.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with a lot of lemon and a solid floral aroma, the beer is fresh with some orange and citrus notes but none are particularly strong sadly. There was some perfume like notes around the middle with a herbal backing and some touches of bread malt nearer the end; again one that could have been stronger but it was a pleasant enough nose despite this.
Taste (6/10):
 A touch weaker than the nose and almost bland at times, there was some lemon and citrus but it was definitely toned down sadly. There was some pale malts and a subtle bitterness towards the middle with touches of fruits sitting in the background; most notably some pine hops.
Palate (3/5):
Light-medium bodied and semi-fresh without ever really being strong enough for my liking; it was definitely lighter than expected from a 6.6% abv. beer. There was a hop bitterness around the middle with a dryness towards the end and the body was smooth for the most part but it needed to be stronger in my opinion.

Overall (14/20): This was a beer with a pleasant enough taste and it was definitely the better of the two beers from the brewery that I tried during my time in Japan but like the Joshuaku Plum Ale before it, this one just wasn’t strong enough at any point and almost seemed weak and bland at times too. There was some hop and pine bitterness at times and the nose wasn’t quite as bad as the taste but it never really got going sadly.

Brewed In: Kyoto, Japan
Brewery: Ichijoji Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: English IPA
Abv: 6.6%
Serving: Keg (270ml)
Purchased: Ichi-Ya Bar, Kyoto, Japan
Price: ¥648 (£4.29 approx.)

Yo-Ho Aooni

October 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

My second Yo-Ho beer in relatively quick succession and like the can of Yona Yona Ale from the brewery that I tried before it, this one is another can that I grabbed from a Lawson’s Station in Kyoto on my trip to the city a couple of weeks ago. The beer is one of the more readily available craft offerings in Japan and one that I found at numerous stores across the country but it’s not one that I was aware of prior to my visit. Brewed as an American style IPA, the beer is also the second of four beers from the brewery that I will be review here following my trip.

Appearance (4/5): Medium and clear amber with a fizzy body and a centimetre tall head that is foamy and white. Head retention is okay with the beer settling down with a half centimetre, wavy looking head after a minute or so.
Aroma (6/10): Quite light on the nose with a relatively fresh aroma that comes through with biscuit, earthy hops and a little citrus too. There was some floral touches and a slightly funky aroma further on but in truth there wasn’t a lot to the nose after that other than some lemon and basic hop bitterness seeing things out.
Taste (6/10):
A touch more hoppy than the nose, the beer opened with some pleasant floral notes that was backed up by some citrus and pine. Further on and some light malts came through with a biscuit backing but it was quite similar to the nose for the most part with a couple of background fruits, most notably some grapefruit, seeing things out.
Palate (3/5):
Moderately bitter with a medium body and more of an earthy feel to it than expected. The beer was floral and bitter with a basic feel but it still seemed easy to drink for the most part. There wasn’t a great deal of variety to it and the balance could have been a touch better too.

Overall (13/20): Quite a basic IPA from Yo-Ho and one that wasn’t quite as varied or bitter as anticipated going in, there was some earthy bitterness throughout and touches of pine/grapefruit but nothing seemed particularly strong or adventurous. Some background fruits and citrus towards the end made sure it remained pleasant enough but I feel it was definitely missing something.

Brewed In: Nagano, Japan
Brewery: Yo-Ho Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2008
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (350ml)
Purchased: Lawson’s Station (Kyoto)
Price: ¥242 (£1.60 approx.)