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Edge Padrino Porter

June 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

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

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

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

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

Common Grounds

June 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

A late 2015 winter seasonal release from Magic Rock now and a beer that I managed to pick up from Brewdog’s Glasgow bottle shop a couple of months ago but am just getting round to reviewing now. The beer is actually one that I managed to try on-tap between picking it up and now, sampling it at a Glasgow bar in late March and quite enjoying it so I thought it about time I finally gave it a proper review. The beer will be my fifth from the brewery and my first since trying their High Wire Grapefruit offering back in February of last year and not enjoying it quite as much as I’d hoped. Common Grounds will also be the first dark beer from the brewery that’ll have reviewed here, the other four from them have been American pale ales or, in the case of their Cannonball, an IPA.

Appearance (3/5): Dark bodied, almost black in colour and with a thin, tan brown head that’s bubbly and fades to a patchy lacing that sits in the centre of the glass after about thirty or forty seconds. The body is opaque and the beer looks relatively still in the glass too; not a bad start but I’d have liked the head to stick around a little longer.
Aroma (7/10): Very strong coffee notes on the nose to kick things off, this one was slightly stronger than expected too with a nice amount of roasted malts and some earthy bitterness in there too. Some touches of chocolate made themselves known as things got nearer the middle but the coffee was definitely the dominate smell, some faint cocoa and vanilla did however add a hint of sweetness as things got closer to the finish. The beer was relatively well balanced on the nose with a nice variety to it and some milky lactose and further earthy notes seeing things out.
Taste (7/10): Again quite a dark beer and one that follows on well from the nose but the coffee is certainly dialled down every so slightly at this stage without giving too much up to the other flavours. There was some strong roasted malts and a little vanilla off the back of them, the coffee definitely still dominating but there is more room for the the lactose and chocolate flavours to come through this time around as well. I managed to detect touches of spice and even a little caramel towards the end but everything worked well and went down easily.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite thick on the palate, the beer is moderately carbonated with a crisp feel that is also quite smooth. There is a nice balance to flavours and plenty of variety to them as well which makes the beer go down very easily. It’s quite a strong tasting beer and is for the most part dominated by the coffee flavours but they don’t overpower and it’s pleasant drinking throughout.

Overall (16/20): This one was quite an enjoyable beer from the outset, there was a huge amount of coffee coming through and plenty of chocolate and cocoa backed it up, there was even some lactose in there to balance it out slightly. The beer had touches of sweetness nearer the middle with the caramel and some sugars grabbing your attention alongside hints of spice and the faintest of vanilla too. I really like this one, the coffee dominated but didn’t overpower and it was quite easy to drink despite the fact it got off to a poor start appearance-wise with the head fading far too quickly for my liking; nice stuff though and one I’d have again.

Brewed In: Huddersfield, England
Brewery: Magic Rock Brewing
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Porter
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £3.09

BRLO Porter

Rating: 3.25

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

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

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

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

Saku Porter (345 of 1001)

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

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

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

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

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

Okocim Mistrzowski Porter

April 21, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.65

My first beer from the Okocim brewery now, a brewery which was one of the few Polish ones I was aware of before my first to Warsaw last month. This particular offering is a strong Baltic porter from the brewery that comes in at 8.9% abv. and is one that I managed to pick up when on a night out of the city back in March; it’s taken me longer than expected to get round to adding my review here though. Although not a beer that features in the 1001 list, another from the brewery does so I was also keen to try this offering when I spotted a bottle in the fridge behind the bar. Not to be confused with the brewery’s Okocim Porter, the offering that I’m reviewing here appears to be a more recent beer having only been introduced sometime around 2013, here’s what I thought of the bottle that I tried.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a really dark brown colour, this one is topped with a quarter centimetre head that is foamy and sticks to the sides a little; it’s a still and opaque bodied beer but it’s nothing special in the early going really.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly dark malts open the nose up with touches of grain coming through from the alcohol as well, there was a hint of caramel malt as well. The beer seemed earthy with some chocolate notes and a little cocoa towards the middle before some fainter fruits seen things out. Overall the beer was well-balanced on the nose with slightly less alcohol showing than expected but some did manage to sneak through all the same.
Taste (7/10): Definitely more malty than the nose indicated, there was a lot of earthy flavours in the early going but they were thankfully backed up by a little sweetness that came from the chocolate flavours and some sugars. The taste seemed semi-bitter with some caramel malts in there as well as some smoke nearer the end to make a nice beer without it being a standout offering.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied with a smooth feel for the most part and some early alcohol touches that kicked the nose off. There was some smoke showing at times too but for the most part the sweetness from the chocolate and the malts seemed strongest, and carbonation wise it was quite a soft beer that coupled with the smoothness made it an easy one to drink.

Overall (15/20): Quite a strong beer with plenty of sweetness that managed to cover most of the alcohol malts and grains that appeared in the early going, there was a slightly warming feel to the beer nonetheless though. The beer was just shy of being full-bodied offering and together with the smooth feel, it was quite an easy beer to drink despite coming in so strong and showing some alcohol grain at times. The smoky flavours near the end of the beer weren’t too bad either but I’m still not sure it’s one that I’d rush out to try again, mainly because of the strength of the beer though.

Brewed In: Brzesko, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Brewery: Browar Okocim
First Brewed: circa. 2013
Type: Baltic Porter
Abv: 8.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Verado Bar, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 10PLN (appox. £1.96)

Żywiec Porter (343 of 1001)

March 22, 2017 3 comments

Rating: 3.8

Currently ranked as the fifty-first best Baltic porter in the world according to the BeerAdvocate website, this one will be my ninth Polish beer and only my second offering from the country that appears in the 1001 beers to try before you die book, although I do have another three reviews of beers from the book to follow this one in the near future. Żywiec Porter is my second beer from the brewery of the same name and follows on from their flagship pale lager offering that simply known as Żywiec. That one was a beer that I first reviewed here back in late 2010 as the eighth beer from the 1001 beers list and my first Polish offering from it, just over six years later I’m finally trying another. This Baltic porter is my first new one from the list in a couple of weeks and takes my total to 343 beers from the 1001 but it’s also a beer that I’ve been on the look out for over the last few years because I felt I’d have a chance of finding it in the UK, as it turned out I had to travel to Poland where it appeared to be readily available but at least I’ve finally sampled it.

Appearance (4/5): This one pours jet black in colour and is opaque looking too but there’s not too much in the way of a head other than a thin white lacing that was patchy towards the centre of the glass. Most of the surface was covered though and the beer wasn’t a bad-looking one considering how strong an offering it is.
Aroma (7/10): Fairly dark on the nose with some good roasted notes opening things up alongside some nutty smells and less alcohol than I’d anticipated, although some was present at times. There was some faint toffee notes with a little caramel and sticky sweet aromas in there as well but nothing seemed to overpower thankfully and it was quite a balanced nose.
Taste (7/10): Sticky sweet malts opened things here, mainly a combination of caramel and toffee flavours jumped out at you first but some toasted malts and even some roasted ones from the nose featured as well. The beer was strong with plenty of sugars and the odd nutty taste coming through before some faint alcohol seen things out. It wasn’t the most complex given its strength but there was a nice taste to it and was also quite dark.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied with subtle carbonation coming through but it was quite an easy beer on the way down, this despite the fact that some alcohol was showing and it was also quite a strong beer throughout. There was a lot of sweetness from the start and the balance worked out to be a good one which was a bonus; very nice stuff indeed.

Overall (16/20): This one was definitely a strong beer, that much was clear from the start when a lot of toasted malts and some hints of alcohol start to come through but thankfully it wasn’t as overpowering as I had feared it might be. There was a nice amount of chocolate coming through in the early going with plenty of sugars but the balance remained good and the beer was definitely drinkable. Towards the middle and end some caramel flavours along with some toffee start to make an appearance and turn this one into a beer that’s not quite a classic but still well worth trying.

Brewed In: Żywiec, Poland
Brewery: Grupa Żywiec
Full Name: Żywiec Jasne Pelne
First Brewed: 1881
Type: Baltic Porter
Abv: 9.5%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Oki Doki Hostel, Warsaw, Poland
Price: 9.50PLN (approx. £1.92)

Fitzbräu El Gran Jefe Porter

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Another review of one of my homebrew offerings now, this one being the third such offering that I’ll have reviewed here and one that follows on from the bottles of 1 Hop and Wishaw Local #1 that I reviewed here way back in 2014; it’s been a bit of a wait between beers. This one is the first non-IPA that I’ve attempted to make and should fall under the American porter style since it’s a well-hopped chocolate porter. The name translates as ‘The Big Chief’ from Spanish it is one that I wanted to brew for a while but never seemed to find the time. It always seems strange rating my own beers but hopefully it won’t be such a long wait before the next one since I already have an imperial stout bottles that should be ready in a couple of months.

el-gran-jefe-porter

Appearance (4/5): Really dark and opaque brown in colour, it’s almost murky looking and is topped with a large, foamy head that is beige and dome-shaped. Head retention is pretty good with plenty of lacing left on the side of the glass too and it had the odd bit of sediment in the body too, although not an excessive amount thankfully.
Aroma (7/10): Roasted malts and some subtle hops kick things off here, there was some touches of chocolate that were followed by some grassy aromas and a little citrus. It was semi-sweet but wasn’t an overly strong beer on the nose, at the same time there wasn’t any off-notes and it seemed quite nice thankfully.
Taste (7/10): Darker malts and some roasted flavours open things with some chocolate in the early going too. There was a subtle hop bitterness with touches of citrus and grassy hops before some sweetness and hints of toffee came through right at the end.
Palate (4/5):
Medium bodied and quite smooth but perhaps just a touch lighter than I’d hoped for when brewing this one; it wasn’t a thin beer though and did manage to seem like a porter. There was hints of sweetness throughout, especially thanks to the chocolate but as well from the toffee at the end, with the beer also seeming relatively fresh and balanced.

Overall (15/20): This one was quite an enjoyable beer that managed to open up with some pleasant chocolate malts and some hints of roasted malts too, there was a general earthy feel to it at times with some hints of sweetness too. I enjoyed the subtle touches of hop that managed to come through and perhaps I’d consider adding a few more if I ever brew this beer again. It was a touch lighter than I’d have hoped for but it didn’t affect the beer too much since it proved quite easy to drink and is probably one of my better efforts thus far, maybe only the Wishaw Local #1 rating higher.

Brewed In: Wishaw, Lanarkshire Scotland
Brewery: Fitzbräu
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Porter
Abv: 5.25%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Homebrew
Price: N/A