Archive

Posts Tagged ‘ireland’

Guinness Antwerpen Stout

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.2

The final beer that I picked up on my recent trip to Ireland now and what will be, I think anyway, my thirteenth beer from Guinness and one that I was surprised to see when I stumbled across it in a Tesco supermarket in the north of the country. This one is apparently a beer that has been available to the Belgian market since 1944 and also goes by the ‘Guinness Special Export Stout (Belgian Version)’ name as well. Coming in at 8%, it’s definitely one of the stronger offerings from the brewery that I’ve tried and I was also quite surprised at how cheap it was selling for. Following on quickly from the brewery’s Milk Stout, I went into this one with high hopes and thankfully I was not disappointed.

Appearance (4/5): Very dark ruby in colour with a larger than expected head, it sat about three centimetres tall and was a tan beige colour with a foamy texture that had the odd bubble through it as well. After about a minute or so it starts to lose some of its initial height but it’s got quite good retention given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a strong and rich nose initially with some chocolate and plenty of sugars coming through that give the beer a nice sweetness to it. There was definitely a lot more complexity to the beer than expected from the brewery with some rich notes and touches of coffee making an appearance around the middle. Towards the end some darker fruits begin to come through and round things off; raisins and plums with the odd date making up most of the aroma right at the end.
Taste (9/10): Opening with a combination of chocolate malts and further sweetness from the sugars, there was some coffee following on behind and the taste definitely matched the nose in the early going. There was some darker fruits that seemed to appear much sooner than they did with the nose, again there was dates, raisins and some plum which added some complexity to proceedings. Overall it was a rich taste with some roasted malts right at the end and it was stronger than expected too.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite rich with a sweetness to it in the early going that was relatively complex and very smooth. The alcohol content was fairly well hidden with a faint touches showing nearer the end but it was still a strong beer that was well carbonated and quite easy to drink too.

Overall (18/20): This one was a very nice beer from Guinness and easily one of the best, if not the very best, that I’ve tried from the brewery so far. There was a lot more complexity to the beer than anticipated with it coming through quite rich and sweet, plenty of chocolate and darker fruits featuring alongside some nice coffee and roasted flavours. It was a balanced and smooth offering that went down much easier than I thought it would and it’s definitely a beer that I’ll be on the look out for again.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: St. James’s Gate Brewery
First Brewed: 1944
Also Known As: Guinness Special Export Stout (Belgian Version)
Type: Foreign / Export Stout
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.68

Advertisements

Boyne Amber Ale

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

The third of the three beers from the Boyne Brewhouse that I managed to pick up while over in Ireland at the end of last month and the start of this one; the beer follows on from Boyne’s Saison that was quite disappointing and their only marginally better Pale Ale. I’m hoping it’s a case of saving the best to last with this one though and hopefully it will prove to be a better beer, otherwise I can’t see this being a brewery that I pick any more beer from up when I’m next in Ireland later this year.

Appearance (4/5): A darker, almost caramel colour that has a half centimetre tall, bubbly head that is a creamy white and slightly foamy looking but manages to cover the surface well. The head retention was okay too, initially sitting well then start to break up a little after about forty-five seconds to a minute later with a patch of lacing holding in the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a malty nose with some sweetness in the early going too, there was some caramel notes with the odd sugar to back them up and hints of bread not too far behind either. A couple of faint biscuit notes featured towards the middle alongside lighter hops and a earthy aroma but it could have used being a little stronger in my opinion.
Taste (6/10): Semi-sweet with a little caramel and the odd biscuit note coming through, there was a touch more sweetness than there was with the nose and I managed to get some earthy flavours coming through soon after. A combination of sugars and some bread malts featured around the middle with a moderate bitterness seeing things out but again the beer wasn’t quite as strong as I’d have liked.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium bodied and sweet with a few sugars featuring from the start. The beer was relatively crisp and slightly dry at times whilst the nose in particular was a little weak but the balance wasn’t a bad one and it was easy to drink. Carbonation levels were about average for the style of beer and there was a nice bitterness to see things out as well.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad amber ale and easily the best of the three beers from the brewery that I’ve tried now, although it was still a little weak at times and far from a classic offering. Opening with a nice helping of sweetness that was backed up by pleasant biscuit malts and some caramel flavours, this one was a balanced beer that proved quite easy to drink throughout without being anything special. It was crisp and dry, especially towards the finish with a nice bitterness to see things out as well, although I’d have liked it more had it been a little stronger.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

Boyne Pale Ale

September 19, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.1

Only my second from the County Meath based Boyne Brewhouse and the second of three beers from them that I picked up when visiting Ireland at the end of August. When visiting a local bottle shop in the north of Ireland I managed to pick this one up along with their previously reviewed Boyne Saison that I found quite disappointing and another beer from them that I’ve yet to review here, their Boyne Amber Ale. This one also goes by the less obvious name of ‘Born in a Day APA’ and is an American pale ale style offering that I was definitely looking forward to trying when I picked it up but given how average and unlike a saison the last beer from them I tried was, I began to have doubts prior to opening this one; here’s what I thought of it anyway.

Appearance (4/5): Quite cloudy to start with a bright amber body that was topped with a thin, half centimetre head that was bubbly and white before fading after about thirty seconds to leave a thin surface lacing that had more build up around the edges.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and quite lively with some citrus in the early going before the biscuit malts and floral hops start to make themselves known. There was a little sweetness coming through with touches of pine and a few pale, almost earthy malts towards the middle. It’s a relatively clean nose with some bitterness sneaking in but the balance was good and it was a pleasant enough start.
Taste (5/10): Pine hops and lots of biscuit flavours kick things off here, there was some earthy bitterness and touches of citrus not too far behind either though. Whilst seemingly not as fresh as the nose was, the beer was some grassy touches and a nice helping of earthy malts around the middle but towards the end it started to seem a little one-dimensional and boring at times, it proved to be a little basic tasting too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite fresh with a crisp and floral feel, there was a subtle tang coming through at times too and the beer seemed balanced.  Overall it was a basic beer on the palate with average carbonation levels for the style and some dryness at the end.

Overall (12/20): The better of the two beers that I tried from the brewery so far but this one was still quite an ordinary pale ale that was closer to an English one than the American one advertised, there was more of a biscuit and earthy malt taste than I’d have expected from an American pale ale although some lighter citrus and floral touches did feature. It was well carbonated and crisp but beyond that it was quite an average and not one that I’d seek out again really.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Also Known As: Boyne Brewhouse Born in a Day APA
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

Guinness Milk Stout

September 19, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.75

The first of two new Guinness beers that I managed to try on a recent trip to Ireland last month, this one is a new release for 2017 and was only made available some time around March this year; as yet I’ve not spotted it in Scotland so I was quick to pick a bottle up when I spotted it in an Irish Tesco store a couple of weeks ago. Released as part of Guinness’s ‘Brewers Project’, this one follows in the footsteps of their Dublin Porter and West Indies Porter offerings that I tried upon their release a couple of years ago; my hopes going into this one was that it would prove a slightly better beer than either of those two did at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Very dark ruby in colour, bordering on black and sitting with an opaque body. The beer had a thin, centimetre tall head that was bubbly looking and a light brown colour, settling as a thin surface lacing after a minute or so and leaving slightly more build up around the edges of the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a light nose with some subtle sweetness and touches of sugar coming through in the early going, there was a lactose aroma that was backed up by the odd darker malt but it could definitely have used being a little stronger. There was some milk notes around the middle with lighter coffee ones too but beyond that it was quite a basic offering with little bitterness to be seen anywhere either.
Taste (7/10): Opening a little sweeter than the nose, this one opened with some milk sugars and touches of coffee which featured much earlier than it did with the nose. There was some touches of chocolate following on behind and thankfully there is more showing here than what there was with the nose too, it’s nowhere near as light this time around. Towards the end there was a further helping of sweet malts and pleasant creamy flavours with a subtle bitterness seeing things out as well.
Palate (4/5): Quite a smooth and balanced offering, this one was a creamy beer that had a touch more carbonation than expected and sat somewhere around moderate. It was a lively offering for the style with plenty of sweetness and it was also a very easy to drink beer into the bargain.

Overall (15/20): A much better beer than I’d been expecting from Guinness here, this one was balanced and very drinkable with some pleasant sweetness in the early going that was coupled with touches of malts and coffee, some fainter chocolate flavours featuring as well. The only downside to this one was that it wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped for at times; although the taste was a slight improvement on the nose, the aroma definitely seemed a touch weak at times.

Brewed In: Dublin, Ireland
Brewery: St. James’s Gate Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Sweet Stout
Abv: 4.3%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.80

Boyne Saison

September 14, 2017 2 comments

Rating: 2.55

The first of three beers from the Boyne Brewhouse based in Drogheda, Count Meath that I managed to pick up as part of a multi-buy offer on my recent trip to Ireland at the end of last month. Like the majority of the beers that I usually pick up when visiting Ireland, this one is another from a brewery that I wasn’t aware existed prior to my trip but the fact it was part of a special offer in the bottle shop persuaded me to grab it along with two others from Boyne. This one is an Irish brewed saison, a style that I was never a huge fan of but I’m slowly beginning to enjoy some of the better made beers of the style and picking this one up I was hopeful it would prove to be a decent offering too.

Appearance (3/5): Quite a cloudy looking beer that was golden in colour and topped with a thin white head that sat about quarter of a centimetre tall initially before fading to a patchy surface lacing after about a minute or so.
Aroma (5/10): Semi-funky on the nose with some lemon and touches of sweetness coming through but nothing seemed overly strong to begin with. There was some sugars and background tart coming through with the odd grassy hop but it was definitely a light nose, especially for a saison.
Taste (5/10): Quite a funky taste initially with some tart and citrus in the early going which were thankfully more pronounced that the nose was but again seemed weak for the style. There was some light malts and sugar towards the middle of the beer before some grassy touches and a faint hint of hay seen things out.
Palate (3/5): Sharp and crisp with plenty of carbonation and a good bite on top of a light-medium body. The beer was a lot weaker than expected with the tart and funk seemingly taking a back seat at times whilst the finish came through as quite a dry on.

Overall (7/20): A very basic and poor saison that was much weaker than any other of this style that I’ve tried sadly. Beyond the initial burst of citrus and tart there was nothing to suggest it was a saison, there even seemed to be more sweetness than funk and sourness down the stretch which was disappointing; very basic and one-dimensional as well as being one to avoid.

Brewed In: Drogheda, Count Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Boyne Brewhouse
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £1.67

The Full Irish

August 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A first beer from Eight Degrees Brewing now but my 56th Irish brewed beer in total, although this one is my first new offering from the country in a while since I’ve not visited the country since January and there seems to be a lack of beers from the south of the country that make it to the UK. This one is actually a beer that I’ve been on the lookout for on my recent trips to the country after finding it listed somewhere as one of the better Irish beers to try, I have also hopeful of picking this one up on a planned visit to Cork but since I spotted it in a local bottle shop I decided to grab it while I had the chance.

Appearance (4/5): Light amber and semi-cloudy in appearance, this one was an almost bright yellow colour that sat with a decent looking head in the early going. The beer was topped with a white and foamy looking number that started about a centimetre tall and held quite well over the opening minutes, leaving a nice bit of lacing on the sides of the glass into the bargain.
Aroma (7/10): Definitely a malty beer with plenty of bitterness to open things up alongside some caramel sweetness and the odd toasted not that set the tone for the rest of the beer. There was some subtle hops and the odd floral aroma coming through with touches of citrus not too far behind, a combination of orange and peach also featured at this point with faint pineapple rounding things off nicely; it seemed well-balanced on the nose but slightly understated.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, the beer opened with quite a malty taste that featured some citrus and floral fruits alongside some earthy bitterness. Towards the middle the sweetness from the nose started to come through, there was a caramel and toffee combination that worked well with some tropical flavours following on behind; I could detect some pineapple and faint apricot at this point with orange and light mango flavours coming through as well. Towards the end the grassy touches and pale malts started to come through but it was a nice beer at this point, if perhaps a little weak at times.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite soft levels of carbonation, the beer was balanced well but seemed quite dry overall with good levels of bitterness showing. There was a slight tang from the citrus and orange flavours and the beer was quite sweet, particularly in the early going thanks to the caramel flavours coming through. Overall the beer was an enjoyable one to drink and one that went down well but I would have liked it to be a little stronger at times too.

Overall (15/20): Quite a nice offering from Eight Degrees, this one was definitely one of the better Irish beers I’ve had of late but still wasn’t a standout or a classic really. It opened a lot more malty than I’d expected with the hops taking more of a backseat and an earthy bitterness coming to the fore. There was a freshness about the drink though and it was quite easy to drink with some subtle tropical fruits and citrus coming through around the middle. The taste could perhaps have been a little stronger but it was definitely a nice beer and one well worth trying if you get the chance.

Brewed In: Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland
Brewery: Eight Degrees Brewing
First Brewed: 2014
Type: American IPA
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.00

O’Hara’s 20th Anniversary Imperial Stout

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

My eleventh beer from the Carlow Brewing Company now and what I believe will be my ninth under their O’Hara’s banner. The beer is a limited release that has been available since around March of 2016 as a 20th Anniversary Imperial Stout to celebrate twenty years since the original brewery was founded back in 1996. I stumbled across this beer while I was visiting Armagh in the north of Ireland last month and quickly picked up two bottles, trying one the next evening while keeping a second to age and see how it tastes at a later date. Labelled as a complex brew with rich coffee and chocolate notes, the brewery mentions that the taste should continue to develop for years and I’m hopeful it will prove to be a good decision in picking up two bottles. This one will be my first imperial stout from the brewery but I have tried two other stouts from them previously, their O’Hara’s Leann Folláin dry stout which I reviewed here back in July 2015 as well as trying their excellent, flagship O’Hara’s Irish Stout numerous times over the years so this was definitely one I was looking forward to going in; here’s what I thought of it.

oharas-20th-anniversary-imperial-stout

Appearance (5/5): Quite a thick, dark beer that is black in colour and comes with an opaque body. There was a one and a half centimetre head on top that was foamy looking with the odd bubble near the centre. Head retention was quite good, particularly for the strength of the beer and there wasn’t much movement or reduction in size over the opening minutes really. Eventually losing about a third of its initial size, the head manages to leave some nice touches of lacing on the sides of the glass as I started to drink the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly fruity on the nose initially, there was a sweet-smelling beer that opened with some cherries and a hint of plum coming through alongside an excellent helping of chocolate and plenty of darker malts. There was some coffee notes nearer the middle of the beer and I got some touches of spice too but further sweetness was added thanks to some vanilla and oak notes. Despite being a beer with quite a high abv., this one didn’t have an overly strong nose but there was some burnt sugars and roasted notes that brought things to quite a nice close.
Taste (7/10): Opening with quite a lot of milky notes and some lactose, there was a definite milk chocolate taste to this one in the early going with some touches of liquorice in there too. I found this one to be quite a creamy tasting beer that featured some pleasant coffee flavours towards the middle, although they seemed a little subdued when compared to those from the nose. There was again a hint of spice and some darker fruits coming through towards the end, hints of plum and cherries featuring alongside some raisin and figs before the vanilla from the nose seen things out. It’s quite a nice tasting beer but I’d have liked it to come through just a little bit stronger really.
Palate (3/5): Quite a creamy beer that came through quite balanced and smooth with a medium body that could perhaps have been a little fuller. There was touches of spice nearer the end of the beer and it also turned out to be slightly boozy at that point too, something not unexpected for a 10% abv. beer. There wasn’t quite as much complexity to this one as I’d have liked in truth but the balance was nice enough and carbonation wise the beer sat somewhere around moderate; the sweetness being the most memorable things about this one in truth and something that got stronger as things went on.

Overall (14/20): Quite a nice beer overall without being a standout, although to be honest I was probably expecting more from this considering it’s a 20th anniversary beer from the brewery. It opened with some nice sweetness thanks to the sugars as well as some dark fruits then later on some vanilla but it definitely wasn’t the strongest tasting beer, something I wasn’t expecting to say about one coming in at 10% really. It had quite a smooth, creamy feel with milky chocolate dominating the taste but it could have been darker and more complex. It’s one that I’m still glad to have picked up and tried but I’m hoping the bottle I’m ageing turns out to be better than this one.

Brewed In: Muine Bheag, County Carlow, Ireland
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: The Wine Store (Armagh)
Price: £3.99