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Disco Forklift Truck

Rating: 3.8

An eleventh review of a Drygate beer now and surprisingly this will be my first new one from the brewery since I tried their collaborative Raspberry Saison offering that they done with North Brewing around this time last year; hard to believe considering how local this brewery really is but it’s usually the same couple beers from them that I see when I’m out and about. This is actually a beer that I’ve tried a couple of times since it was released around April last year but I’ve not properly reviewed it, previously trying it one various nights out or straight from the can. The beer is a mango flavoured tropical pale ale that was released as part of the breweries ‘studio’ range of beer but now seems to be one of their more readily available offering, I picked this can up in a Tesco supermarket earlier this month so hopefully they’ll start stocking a few more from the brewery in the near future.

Appearance (4/5): Light amber in colour with an almost apricot coloured tinge to the beer which also had a very cloudy body. There was a thin, centimetre tall head on the beer that was bubbly and held well over the opening minute with no reduction in size whilst managing to still cover the surface well.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fruity initially with some tropical apricot and citrus notes kicking things off with some pine hops in there too which give it an IPA-like nose in the early going. There was some resinous pine leading to the middle of the beer and I got some of the promised mango and orange too before some of the malts came in and the beer started to seem more like a pale ale at this point too. It’s a fresh and lively smelling beer with touches of tropical fruit and a subtle bitterness seeing things out nicely.
Taste (7/10): Quite fresh and fruity with a combination of resinous pine and mango kicking things off, both coming through slightly stronger than they did with the nose but without totally dominating. There was a nice variation of tropical fruits towards the middle of the beer with some apricot and citrus featuring before some fainter malts appear nearer the end of proceedings.
Palate (4/5): Light-medium to medium bodied and very fresh on the tongue, this one was quite well balanced and quite hop-filled as well, with a definite oily feel to it. There was a subtle tang from the citrus and the beer was quite easy to drink with a nice variety to the flavours coming through but it seemed more IPA than pale ale at times, that’s not necessarily a bad thing though I guess.

Overall (16/20): Fresh and lively the plenty of tropical fruits and an oily hop bitterness, this one was as promised with the mango mentioned on the can coming through quite early with the taste but thankfully not overpowering or dominating proceedings, whilst the beer remained an easy one to drink throughout. Towards the end some of the expected sweet malts and subtle touches of bitterness started to come through as well and the hops started to subside but this one definitely a beer that I enjoyed and one that I’ll be having again soon.

Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2016
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £1.85

Hop Rocker

Rating: 3.55

One of  the original three beers Brewdog ever made now, this is one that I picked up over the brewery’s 10th anniversary celebration last month when they released this one alongside their original recipe Punk IPA and another old-school beer of theirs, The Physics. This is a beer that was originally brewed in 2007 and retired within a couple of years so it’s one that I never managed to try at the time but thankfully I’m getting a chance now. The beer is an American style pale lager from the brewery but given the name, I’m expecting at least a decent amount of hops coming through and it should be interesting to see how this one compares to some of their later attempts at pale lagers, particularly their classic 77 Lager and their current Kingpin lager. This one will be my 133rd beer from Brewdog and more than a few of them have been lagers over the years but it’s not a style the brewery are particularly good at in my opinion so it should be interesting to see how this one tastes given it’s ten years old and they tend to rotate their lagers on a fairly regular basis these days.

Appearance (4/5): Golden coloured and fairly clear with a couple of amber tinges through the body and an impressive, three centimetre tall head that is creamy looking and quite thick initially. There’s some nice lacing on the sides of the glass with the head maintaining good retention as well, there’s only a slight reduction in size over the opening minute or so and it’s definitely better than anticipated so far.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a malty aroma to the beer initially, there was some early caramel sweetness with a few hops backing them up earlier than expected. There was some lighter type fruits nearer the middle of the beer with some grassy notes too, I could detect a faint touch of butterscotch and bread malts follow it up. It’s a little more pronounced on the nose than expected too but it seemed fresh and fairly lively too.
Taste (7/10): The taste, like the nose, was again quite a malty offering with some early sweetness coming through from a combination of bread and caramel malts. There was a definite hop presence at this point too with some grassy hops and touches of citrus coming through alongside a combination of basic fruits that add a subtle freshness to proceedings before some malt bitterness sees things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and strongly carbonated, the beer is fairly fresh but the balance certainly wasn’t the best, it seemed a touch gassy at times and the grassy hops were more pronounced than you’d expect from this type of beer. It’s a pleasant offering that was relatively easy to drink but it did seem slightly dated at times too.

Overall (15/20): This one turned out to be quite an interesting beer from Brewdog and one that started well with some nice caramel and bread malts to give the beer an early sweetness before some of the grassy hops and subtle bitterness started to come through. It was a very strongly carbonated beer that seemed overly gassy at times but was still pleasant enjoy, my biggest complain however would be the balance of the beer with it seeming a little aggressive at times and definitely a little dated too; that probably explains why Brewdog stopped brewing it in truth. It’s on that I’m pleased I’ve managed to try but I’m not sure I’d go back to it again if it was a permanent offering either.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2007 (2017 re-release)
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £1.28 (approx.)

Shilling Unicorn IPA

April 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.0

My first beer from the Glasgow based Shilling Brewing Co. and a beer that I managed to try on-tap at the end of March in their brewpub based in the city centre of Glasgow. It was my first visit to their brewpub despite it opening last summer in a very central location, although now I’ve been once I imagine it would be long before  a return visit. I opted for the brewpubs flagship Unicorn IPA on my first visit despite the bar launching two sour gueuze beers on the night I visited, my thinking was that it must be a good introduction to their beers and luckily my suspicions turned out to be correct.

Appearance (4/5): Medium to bright amber with a centimetre and a half tall head that was foamy white and looked quite thick and held very well, sitting on top of quite a clear body.
Aroma (7/10): Starting with some nice citrus notes and a little lemon, the beer had a pleasant biscuit base to proceedings with some earthy malts and a subtle bitterness coming through as well. It wasn’t an overly strong offering but some butterscotch sweetness and a slightly floral aroma did feature further down the line which gave it a nice balance without it being overly complex.
Taste (7/10): The taste was a fairly bitter one to begin with, more so than the nose with some earthy flavours backing it up before some biscuit malts and hints of citrus showed themselves. There was more malts this time around too with some butterscotch and vanilla sweetness seeing things out nicely.
Palate (5/5): Full bodied and quite fresh, the beer came through with a lot of earthy bitterness as well as a slight citrus tang. It was quite an easy-going and smooth beer that was also quite creamy and seemed almost like a cask beer at times; excellent stuff.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice one overall, it was a smooth and creamy offering with a full body that had me thinking it was closer to a cask than a keg offering at times. This coupled with the nice sweetness and the good balance to the beer made it quite an easy one to drink without it being overly complex or a standout offering; it’s one I’d have again though.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Shilling Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Draught (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.20

Brewdog Tropic Thunder

April 5, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.25

New for 2017 from Brewdog, this one was the winner of the brewery’s ‘HomeBrewDog’ competition and the highest rated of the 307 beers that entered the contest. Created by Tom Doyle, the beer is a tropical style stout that features cocoa powder, chocolate and some orange beer for good measure. I first seen this one available on the Brewdog online shop towards the end of January but since I didn’t want enough beers to justify an order I was hoping I’d find a bottle in one of their bars but on the several occasions this year I’ve failed to spot it and had almost given up hope of trying it. Thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, I managed to find a bottle in a Tesco supermarket recently and quickly grabbed myself a bottle (it was even cheaper than what Brewdog list it for on their website which was an added bonus). The beer should be a nice twist on the stout style of beer and is one that I’m quite looking forward to trying now that I’ve managed to get my hands on a bottle; hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a dark beer, this one was pretty much black in appearance with an opaque body and quite a thick looking head on top that was foamy and beige in colour. Starting about an inch and a half tall, the head had good retention with very little initial movement or reduction in size, whilst it also left some nice lacing on the sides as I worked my way down the glass; excellent stuff.
Aroma (8/10): Fairly malty and dark on the nose with some strong chocolate notes and a helping of early sweetness. There was some lingering smoky aromas nearer the centre of the beer and a few coffee notes backed them up. Towards the end there was some faint fruits making an appearance, I’d assume this was the orange but it was too subtle to really tell; either way it was still a nice beer and one that was very easy on the nose into the bargain.
Taste (8/10): The taste opens much like the nose did with a good combination of dark malts and roasted flavours alongside some strong chocolate as well. There was some smoke coming through soon after but there appeared to be slightly less here than there was with the nose, the sweetness instead being the more pronounced this time around. There was some lighter fruits nearer the end and this time I was able to detect some subtle orange flavours with a nice, mellow bitterness seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with a strong roasted feel to the beer, it was definitely a dark offering with some nice bitterness in there too. The orange and various other fruits added a subtle sweetness that sat on top of the moderately carbonated body. Overall the beer was quite sweet and creamy with a lingering bitter aftertaste; very nice stuff.

Overall (17/20): Excellent stuff here from Brewdog, well sort of since it was a homebrew winner after all. The beer is a very pleasant one with a good amount of dark malts and chocolate flavours working well with the light fruits and zesty flavours from the orange and imparted a subtle sweetness in the process. There is nice complexity to the beer and it proved quite an easy one to drink, the malts doing there part to completely mask the alcohol content of this one and a moderate bitterness seen things out nicely as well; a very enjoyable beer and one that I wouldn’t mind having again at some point.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Foreign Stout
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Glasgow)
Price: £2.19

Brewdog Hop Fiction Pale Ale

March 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

This one was a new release back from Brewdog way back in the summer of 2015 but it was one that almost completely slipped under my radar after I wrongly assumed it was the same beer as the brewery’s Hop Fiction IPA that was released towards the end of 2014. That particular offering was a prototype beer that I reviewed in early 2015 and wasn’t particularly taken by so I opted not to have it again when I’d assumed it was released with a proper label later that year. As it turns out, the beer was tweaked some with its alcohol content reduced from 6.5% to it’s currently 5.2% as well as it changing from an American IPA to an American pale ale in the process. Today the beer is the spring seasonal from Brewdog and when I released it was a beer that I hadn’t actually tried I then made a point of picking up a can from the Glasgow BottleDog on my last visit and seeing how it compared to the original version that I remember, here’s what I thought.

Appearance (4/5): This one is very light bodied and looks more like a lager than a pale ale at times given its light golden colour that is incredibly clear looking as well. There is a few bubbles rising to the surface of the glass and the head was a fairly decent looking one initially with it sitting about a centimetre tall before it roughly halves in size. The texture of the head is a bubbly one with it eventually turning slightly patchy and although it certainly wasn’t as I’d expected colour wise, it wasn’t a bad-looking beer.
Aroma (6/10): Fresh and floral on the nose initially, there was also some nice citrus notes coming through alongside touches of melon and lemon. It’s not an overly complex beer on the nose but some subtle tropical notes some through, most notably grapefruit and peach coming through. Overall it was quite a zesty but there wasn’t much sign of any malts coming through thus far.
Taste (6/10): Citrus and grassy hops with a few floral touches and a solid lemon taste open this one up. There was some slight tropical flavours coming through with touches of grapefruit and peach in there. Like the nose the beer was relatively zesty with a little orange in there too but it was also quite fresh which was a plus.
Palate (3/5): Slightly thinner than I’d have liked, this one sat somewhere around light-medium bodied with a nice tang and quite a crisp feel to it. The beer had a lot of zest on top with a strongly carbonated feel to proceedings and a fairly fizzy body too. There was a nice floral bitterness from the start as well but the balance could probably have been better, the citrus seemed to dominate a little too much at times.

Overall (13/20): This one turned out to be a bit of a strange beer in that it was a modified version of the early Hop Fiction IPA from the brewery but ended up still tasting like an IPA to me really, there was no sign of the malts or sweetness I’d have expected from a pale ale. It was dominated by floral hops and strong citrus flavours that gave it a zesty feel whilst also being quite dry and strongly carbonated. There was some grassy hops and lemon coming through at times and perhaps it turned out a fractional better beer than the original IPA prototype version but it’s almost to close to separate them and I doubt I’d have either beer again; I definitely struggled to tell the difference between the two.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: BrewDog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £2.23

Born To Die 17.03.2017 (9.5%)

March 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.95

My third review of a beer in Brewdog’s Born To Die series of beers and my first since late 2015 when I tried their 27.11.2015 edition on-tap at one of Brewdog’s Glasgow bars. The reason for me trying that particular version is because there was a slight recipe tweak between that and the original 04.07.2015 version that I’d tried earlier in the year, plus it’s always nice to try a beer on-tap as well. I’ve now decided to give the latest release from the brewery a fresh look since the abv. of the beer has been dumped up from its original 8.5% to 9.5% and I’m quite excited about that. The beer is probably my favourite Brewdog beer that’s not a one-off, special release and I usually try to get my hands on each new edition of the beer when it’s released; hopefully it’s still as good this time with the updated recipe.

Appearance (4/5): Medium amber in colour and quite a clear body, the beer is topped with a thumb-sized head that is foamy white but also has a couple of bubbles sitting on its surface. There was quite good retention considering the strength of the beer, only a slight reduction in size occurred initially and there was a lot of visible carbonation thanks to the fine bubbles that were rising to the surface throughout.
Aroma (7/10): Really fresh and with a lot of citrus in the early going, there was a lot of hop bitterness that featured some pine and grapefruit notes alongside a sticky sweetness. Hints of alcohol started to feature nearer the middle of the beer but thankfully some lemon, orange and pineapple notes managed to cover them for the most part before some sweet malts and biscuit flavours came through as well. Towards the end there was some further tropical fruits with the beer seeming fairly complex but not quite as strong as I’d expected given the previous offerings in the series from Brewdog.
Taste (8/10): Following on well from the nose, this one is again quite a hoppy beer with a lot of fresh flavours coming through from the start, the pine and grapefruit from the nose being quite pronounced but there was some tropical fruits coming through earlier this time too. The beer featured a nice combination of orange, lemon and pineapple with a little mango in there as well plus it was a touch stronger than the nose which helped things too. Around the middle there was some faint hints of alcohol that came through with a bubbly citrus tang and some oily hop flavours that were quite resinous before some light spice seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite tangy with an oily hop bitterness, particularly nearer the end of the beer. There was a strong, resinous bitterness to proceedings with a fresh, crisp feel and some nice sweetness from the tropical fruits. The beer was a dry one that had some prominent alcohol touches from around the middle on but nothing that was likely to overpower. The balance was also a good one with it going down easier than expected but I’d have liked to have seen the nose come through slightly stronger.

Overall (17/20): Quite a strong and very hoppy offering from Brewdog, just what I’ve come to expect from those in their Born To Die series of beers. This one opened with a lot of resinous pine flavours and plenty of grapefruit too before some hints of alcohol came through nearer the middle. It was also a fairly sweet beer from the middle on thanks to the tropical fruits and the citrus gave it a bubbly feel too; nice stuff from the brewery but I’m afraid it’s not quite as good as the last in the series I tried so hopefully the tone down the alcohol a little next time.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial/Double IPA
Abv: 9.5%
Serving: Bottle (660ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £6.94

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