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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

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The Physics

August 22, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.4

Another beer re-released by Brewdog as part of their tenth anniversary celebrations back in April, I picked this one up alongside their original version of Punk IPA that I first tried years ago and a new beer for me, their Hop Rocker that I’ve since reviewed here as well. This is one that I probably just missed when getting into craft beer and one that the brewery stopped brewery not long before I regularly began looking for new beers in the supermarket but it was always one I’d wanted to try based on the number of reviews it has online, although I can’t remember if they were good ones or not now. Apparently this one was the inspiration for one of Brewdog’s flagship, year-round offerings in their 5 A.M. Saint which is a beer of theirs that I’m quite partial to so hopefully this one will be just as good. An added bonus to this one, thanks mainly to the large discount I received when ordering, this one worked out as quite a cheap beer for a Brewdog offering.

Appearance (4/5): This one pours quite a dark, almost mahogany amber that definitely has a caramel look to it upon closer inspection. The beer is topped with quite a thick looking, creamy head that is a tan brown in colour and quite wavy looking on the surface too. Head retention is excellent here though, there is almost no movement over the opening couple of minutes and there is hints of some lacing being left on the sides of the glass too; a better than expected start to this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite malty and sweet on the nose in the early going, there was a few burnt notes initially but for the most part it was a caramel aroma that seemed to dominate proceedings. The beer was somewhat sticky on the nose with some toffee malts coming through alongside a biscuit aroma and plenty of further sweet malts. There was a roasted nose following on from this and a few subtle fruits and hops sneaked in towards the end but it was definitely the caramel and toffee that dominated here.
Taste (6/10): Again this one was quite a sweet beer but it didn’t seem as thick or full as the nose did and the caramel flavours took a lesser role here, it was the burnt toast and biscuit flavours that seemed to come to the fore. There was a lot of darker, more earthy malts at this point too with not as much sweetness showing as the nose indicated although some subtle fruits and raisins did show themselves around this point too. Towards the end the beer was quite bitter-tasting with the sweetness all but gone sadly but it was still a drinkable offering at this stage.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied but falling somewhat short and flat carbonation wise, the beer could definitely have done with a little more in this department. Opening as a very sweet and malty beer, things seemed to fade with taste and the bitterness came into its own at this point, there was quite an earthy feel to the beer at this point too and it definitely suffered as a result in my view, whilst still remaining drinkable throughout.

Overall (14/20): Opening very well, this beer got off to an excellent start thanks to how good the nose was when it came through with tonnes of caramel malts and sweetness, some toffee backing them up as well. Things changed after that though, the taste being an altogether different affair with less sweetness and caramel but a lot more bitterness and earthy flavours which weren’t too my liking after the great opening to the beer. Throughout it remained an enjoyable beer but sadly the change of direction wasn’t completely to my liking and I feel like I would have liked this one more had the caramel flavours continued throughout; nice stuff but nowhere near as good as the brewery’s 5 A.M. Saint for me I’m afraid.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2007 (re-released 2017)
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.29 (approx.)

Little Bastard Ale

Rating: 3.35

Continuing the theme of my recent reviews here, this one is yet another German beer that I managed to try but this time the beer is one I had at home after ordering it from the Brewdog online shop earlier this month. The beer in question is Little Bastard Ale from Stone’s Berlin brewery and will also be my first from them, despite the fact that I’ve spotted a number of their beers available over the past few months. This particular offering was a later summer 2016 release from the brewery and is a toned down version of their Arrogant Bastard Ale that I’ve reviewed here in the past and thoroughly enjoyed so I was hoping this would be more of the same; here’s how that turned out.

Appearance (4/5): Copper amber and quite a still looking beer, the drink is topped with a half centimetre head that is a light tan colour and has a bubbly texture to it. The head retention isn’t too bad really but it slowly fades to a thin lacing that turns slightly patchy after a minute or so with minimal lacing on the sides.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly more sweet than I’d expected going in, this one opened with some biscuit notes and a solid caramel aroma that was backed up with some toffee and the odd bread malt. It was definitely more of a malty beer with hints of butterscotch adding to the sweetness with a few subtle fruits coming through as well. Towards the end I could detect some figs and cherries with only subtle grassy notes coming through at the end.
Taste (6/10): Again quite a sweet offering but the beer was definitely toned down a little from the nose with the biscuit and in particular the caramel taking more of a back seat this time around. There was some bread malts coming through with more grassy flavours this time around but it still wasn’t a hop-filled beer by any means. Some toasted flavours and more of the sweet malts started to come through around the middle with a couple of subtle fruits as well but it could have been a little stronger in truth.
Palate (3/5): Quite a sweet offering, particularly at the start with a lot of malts coming through as well but the balance didn’t seem too bad overall. The beer was relatively smooth and clean, coming through as a lightly carbonated offering that started well but seemed to fade a little too quickly for my liking.

Overall (13/20): My first beer from Stone’s Berlin outpost and a fairly average one on the whole; it got off to quite a good start with plenty of sweet malts and caramel flavours coming through on the nose but by the time it got to the taste these had faded a little more than I’d have liked and the beer suffered as a direct result. It was a clean and easy to drink beer, the dark fruits with the nose were quite enjoyable too but not enough of the good notes seemed to carry over to the taste and by the end of this one it had begun to turn into a struggle meaning it’s not likely I’ll pick this one up again.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company (Berlin)
First Brewed: 2016
Full Name: Stone (Berlin) Little Bastard Ale
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.61

Marcus-Bräu Rotbier

Rating: 3.3

Now for a somewhat random beer that I managed to sample in Berlin when I visited the city over the Easter weekend, last month. This one is a beer from the Marcus-Bräu brewpub that is based in the Mitte area of the city and is a place that I stumbled by one afternoon when wandering about the area, before quickly deciding to stop in and see what they had on offer after discovering it was a local brewpub. The beer I went for was one of three that they had on-tap the afternoon I visited and is also the first review of a rotbier that I’ve uploaded to this site as well; I have previously tried some of the style though. The other offerings that day were a lager and a wheat beer as I recall and I was planning to stay for more than one but in the end decided against it, I was happy that I managed to try one of the brewery’s beers though and here is what I thought of it.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a cloudy and almost murky looking amber coloured beer that has some orange tinges running through it as well. The beer is topped quite a large, two-inch tall head that is creamy white in colour and frothy looking but manages to hold quite well initially with some good lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some earthy hops and a subtle floral base, this one had a lot of biscuit notes coming through along with a few sweet malts. There was touches of caramel and burnt toast nearer the middle of the beer, I managed to detect a little bread at this point too but it could have perhaps been a touch stronger; a pleasant, earthy bitterness seen things out.
Taste (6/10): Following on in a similar vein to the nose, this one opened with a lot of biscuit and bread malts before some earthy bitterness and touches of spice made themselves known towards the middle. The beer was a little stronger than it was with the nose and some faint caramel managed to come through before being followed by a few sweet malts but again the beer was a somewhat basic offering.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite smooth, the beer was earthy with a subtle bitterness to it and soft carbonation. It was a little basic and the nose seemed weaker than I’d have liked but it wasn’t a bad one on the whole.

Overall (14/20): This one was an okay offering overall, it was quite a subdued beer with nothing really standing out but I guess part of that was down to the fact that the balance was quite a good one. The beer opened with some sweet malts, biscuit flavours and a touch of caramel which blended well together and made it quite an easy beer to drink but I’m not sure it’s one that I’d order a second of.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Marcus-Bräu
First Brewed: crica. 2016
Type: Rotbier
Abv: 5.3%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Berliner Marcus Bräu, Berlin, Germany
Price: €4.50 (appox. £3.81)

Brewdog Beatnik Imperial Red Ale

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.85

A second beer under Brewdog’s Beatnik Brewing Collective banner now, this is another beer that is brewed by company shareholders (of which I’m one but I’ve nothing to do with this beer sadly) and available only to these Equity for Punks members in Brewdog shops and online. The beer is my first imperial red ale in a while, I’ve only tried two or three others of this type of beer but it’s definitely on that I was looking forward to trying when I seen Brewdog were releasing another. The beer follows on from the Bounty Hunter as my second Beatnik beer and it again uses quite a standard and fairly average label to distinguish it from other Brewdog beers and I’m not sure how many bottles were brewed but the beer no longer seems to be available online or in Brewdog’s Glasgow bars so I guess I was lucky to grab a bottle a couple of weeks ago when I spotted it.

beatnik-imperial-red-ale

Appearance (4/5): A clear bodied amber to caramel red that’s topped with an impressive, three or four centimetre tall head that looks quite foamy and holds pretty well. There’s some light lacing on the sides and the head is a very slightly off-white to cream colour that looks great; a very good start.
Aroma (8/10): Quite hoppy initially but with a lot more sweetness than expected, there’s a combination of caramel and biscuit malts that kick things off before some touches of boozy alcohol and lighter fruits start to come through. The beer is lively with some hints of pine and citrus on top of a toffee base. Some further sweet malts back things up nearer the end with a bit of spice and some floral touches in there too.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, the taste kicks off with the same sweetness thanks to plenty of caramel malts and toffee coming through alongside plenty of sweet biscuit malts and spice. It’s a malty offering that features a plenty combination of spice and citrus around the middle before subtle fruits make an appearance; there’s a little berries and raisin with touches of blackcurrant in there too. Towards the end some further dark fruits and spices feature with a light bitterness rounding things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and definitely a sweet beer, this one is quite a lively offering too with above average carbonation for the style and some nice spices too. Around the middle there was a light citrus tang and although it’s very sweet at times, the balance was better than expected. It’s an easy one to drink and quite moreish too with a lot of fresh, floral hops adding to the bitterness.

Overall (15/20): This one was a pretty good beer and a rare imperial red ale for myself, it was definitely a sweeter than expected beer with a lot of caramel and toffee flavours opening things up alongside the biscuit malts. Some pleasant darker fruits and berries came through with the taste and added a new dimension that wasn’t there with the nose and the beer had enough hop bitterness to keep it interesting too. It was quite an enjoyable beer from Brewdog under their Beatnik Brewing Collective banner and although I probably enjoyed their Bounty Hunter offering marginally better, this one is still a beer well worth trying if you can manage to find a bottle.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Full Name: Brewdog Beatnik Brewing Collective – Imperial Red Ale
Type: Imperial Red Ale
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: BrewDog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £3.89

O’Hara’s Notorious Red IPA

August 3, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.65

The second O’Hara’s beer that I’ll be reviewing in fairly quick succession here and my third from the Carlow brewery of late, following on from O’Hara’s ‘OPsession and their Curim Gold offerings respectively. The beer is one of three O’Hara’s beers that I picked up at the same time on my recent trip to Ireland, with a review of a White IPA from them to follow after this one. This one is a new beer that was first released around February this year and was my ninth beer in total from the County Carlow based brewery, a brewery that I usually do my best to pick up new beers from whenever I’m in Ireland. I’ve tried quite a few good ones from them over the years and going in I was definitely hoping this would be one of their better offerings, here’s what I thought of it in the end.

O'Hara's Notorious Red IPA

Appearance (4/5): A light copper to caramel amber colour with a thumb-sized, foam head on top that’s a creamy white colour. Over the opening minute the head slowly receded to settles as a thin lace but it managed to leave a touch of lacing around the sides of the glass as it done so.
Aroma (6/10): The nose was a caramel one initially with a light bitterness coming through alongside it and a few sweet malts not too far behind. The odd earthy note showed and overall the nose seemed quite creamy with some bread malts and a touch of sugar nearer the middle. A few pale malts followed and there was some toasted flavours in there with some hop bitterness and a few background fruits down the stretch; not the strongest beer on the nose but it was at least quite varied.
Taste (7/10): Quite a malty tasting beer that was semi-sweet and came through with a pleasant caramel taste and some earthy touches, although neither was as dominant as they were with the nose. There was a pleasant pine bitterness and some background fruits around the middle with a touch of bread too. Some citrus flavours followed alongside a few biscuit and earthy malts and the beer was an enjoyable tasting one without being quite as complex as the nose.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and coming through with a semi-sweet feel, the beer was quite dry but also fairly crisp with a moderate bitterness running through it and an earthy feel overall, although some hops and citrus did feature. It was a lightly carbonated offering that was easy-going and held a nice balance too.

Overall (15/20): Not a bad offering from O’Hara’s at all here, probably not quite as good as some of their best beers but a decent one nonetheless. It proved to be quite a well-balanced offering from the Carlow brewery with just enough hop bitterness and fruits coming through to keep it interesting although the earthy flavours had more of a say with the taste overall. It was an easy one to drink and came through with a decent caramel taste as well; excellent stuff from the brewery and one I’d happily pick up again given the chance.

Brewed In: Muine Bheag, County Carlow, Ireland
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Red/Amber Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reilly’s (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29

Brú Rua

January 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

Another beer from a new brewery for me now, this one hailing from Ireland’s Tidiest Town; Trim in County Meath. The beer is their Irish red ale and it’s another that I grabbed from a local off-license in Fermanagh over the holiday season just gone by. I was attracted to this beer from the three or four from the brewery available on the day and decided to give this one a go based pretty much entirely based on the name of the beer without ever knowing what it translates to. It’s actually a beer that I’ve spotted before when I’ve been in Ireland but for one reason or another I’ve never tried it before now, my thinking going in was that if it proved to be a good one then I’d probably pick up some more from the brewery at some point in the future.

Brú Rua

Appearance (4/5): This one sat with a slightly hazy looking body that was a light copper colour, almost amber in appearance with a centimetre tall, foamy white head that leaves some nice lacing on the sides of the glass while it sits there with nice retention over the opening minutes.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a fruity nose initially, the beer comes through with some nice sweetness from a few caramel malts and there’s a citrus backing to proceedings. Touches of orange and a few sugars seemed the most noticeable around the middle before some grassy notes and floral touches seen things out.
Taste (7/10): The taste kicked off with some sweet malts and a few floral touches, some peach and orange flavours seemed most pronounced along with further citrus flavours and a couple grassy hops. There was some hay and herbal touches around the middle with a subtle pine and grapefruit combination making itself known as well.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a medium body and quite a dry palate, the beer featured quite a crisp finish that was complimented by fairly strong, lively carbonation and a couple of herbal touches; the finish was a moderately bitter one too.

Overall (14/20): This one was a pretty decent Irish ale and it certainly came through with a lot more flavour than I’d been expecting, there was some nice citrus flavours and basic hops that definitely worked well together. The beer was a fresh and fairly lively one with good caramel sweetness and biscuit flavours going down easily and the balance wasn’t bad either; a pretty good beer and one that surprised me some too.

Brewed In: Trim, County Meath, Ireland
Brewery: Brú Brewery
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Irish Red Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Reillys (Lisnaskea)
Price: £2.29