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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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Heidi-Weisse

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A new beer for 2017 from West, this one seemingly introduced earlier in the year to replace the since retired West Hefeweizen that I’ve tried on a number of occasions over the years and usually enjoyed. This is a rarity among West beers in that it is widely available in bottles around Scotland with their St. Mungo being the only other in that regard but it’s also a beer that I’ve tried previously on-tap at the brewery and thought it was a decent enough beer so it’ll be good to give it a proper review this time. This one will be my seventh review of a beer from the brewery and despite it being so close to me, this one will be my first new review of a West beer since trying their West Berlin for the first time back in July 2014 making this one long overdue.

Appearance (4/5): Cloudy and quite dark with the body an almost murky golden colour that is topped with a three-centimetre tall, foamy head that is white and holds well initially with a few bubbles rising to the surface as well.
Aroma (7/10): Light on the nose with some wheat and cloves in the early going, there was some nice banana notes too. Around the middle some coriander started to make itself known with a little citrus and some bread malts in there as well.
Taste (7/10): Wheat and some cloves kick things off with the taste, there was some lemon and faint spice a little further on before the bread malts from the nose made an appearance, coming through a lot earlier this time around. Towards the end the beer was a relatively sweet one with some background fruits and nice banana flavours seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Quiet a lively beer with a sharp feel that was well carbonated and quite crisp as well. It was a fresh, easy beer to drink and the balance wasn’t too bad either with no one flavour overpowering.

Overall (15/20): Pleasant stuff from West, this one was quite a fresh and lively beer that seemed balanced and easy-going with some nice banana and wheat flavours throughout. Definitely a beer that I can see myself having again, it’s not a classic wheat beer but it was still a slight improvement on the West Hefeweizen that it seems to have replaced and that can only be a good thing.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: West Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Hefeweizen
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Scotland)
Price: Gift

Make Earth Great Again

December 7, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

Possibly another marketing gimmick beer from Brewdog, this one is a protest against global warming and the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement, with all proceeds are donated the 10:10 Climate Action group as a result. Launched on the night I tried it in a Glasgow Brewdog bar last month, the beer adopts a popular Donald Trump campaign slogan and comes through as a 7.5% abv. farmhouse ale which I ordinarily wouldn’t have went for but it was launch night and I was in the bar so I thought I might as well give it a try. Since this one is only available as a limited release from the brewery, I can’t imagine this is one that I’ll get another chance to try but it turned out to be quite an interesting beer and one worth trying while you still can, particularly if you’re a saison fan.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a clear bodied beer,t his one was a light amber colour with a thin and foamy head on top that had a little more lacing on the sides of the glass but wasn’t too bad a start.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly funky with some lemon and faint tart coming through, the beer was fresh with a few good citrus notes towards the middle but nothing too strong really. Further on I detected some subtle coriander and spices with a few background hops as well.
Taste (7/10): Lemon and tart kick things off here, there was some fresh flavours to the beer as well as some funk and the odd pale malt nearer the middle. Again it wasn’t an overly strong offering but some nice spices and hops made an appearance towards the end to round things off.
Palate (4/5): Medium to light-medium bodied and well carbonated, the beer was relatively fresh and easy-going with some subtle funk and tart throughout. Overall it was quite lively on the palate with some sourness further on and a subtle kick from the alcohol that was enjoyable as well.

Overall (14/20): This one was a decent sour saison that was quite crisp and lively with a subtle hit of funk and tart but one that remained balanced and easy to drink. To be honest, the beer really isn’t anything special despite it being drinkable and easy-going but thankfully it’s a limited release from Brewdog and one that will probably not be around for too long.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 7.5%
Serving: Keg (Schooner)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.50

Big Black Berry Chew Chew

December 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

A second Fallen beer in quick succession and one that follows on from their Grapevine pale ale that I reviewed here recently, this one however is a slightly stronger beer that comes in and 10% abv. and is labelled as a “salted caramel, blackberry and blackcurrant milk stout” which certainly isn’t a style of beer that you see very often. I spotted this one in a local bottle shop alongside the brewery’s raspberry version of the beer and was tempted to pick that one up as well but opted to see how this one goes before grabbing that one as well, so hopefully this one turns out to be as good as the last beer from the brewery that I tried.

Appearance (4/5): Dark ruby with an almost purple hue in places and topped with a quarter-inch foamy head that took a fairly aggressive pour to form and is a light brown colour with purple hues through that as well. It is patchy towards the centre but I don’t have too many complaints given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Surprisingly fruity to begin with, there is obviously a lot of the blackcurrant and blackberries coming through in the early going with a subtle hint of cherry too. The beer seems fresher than I’m used to for an imperial stout with some good sweetness and tart notes in the early going as well. There are followed up by the salted caramel advertised on the can as well as some lighter fruits that give the beer a juicy aroma to it. There’s some milky notes further on with some darker malts and roasted notes seeing things out but it’s a lighter smell than expected from such a strong beer with the fruits dominating for the most part and it is certainly something different too.
Taste (7/10): Slightly darker than the nose with lactose and milk flavours coming more to the front alongside the berries from the nose and the blackcurrant too. It’s again sweet and fresh, very juicy too with and little caramel towards the middle that only added to the sweetness before some of the tart from the nose started to come through and eventually eclipsed what was showing on the nose. Again it was an unusual beer for an imperial stout and definitely something different to what I’m used to, it was enjoyable as well which was nice but I’m not totally convinced by it in truth.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and definitely a little lighter than you would expect from a 10% abv. beer but at least it wasn’t a thin offering. The beer was fruity with some nice sweetness and tart showing in both the nose and the taste plus there was good variety to the beer whilst the balance wasn’t too bad either; it was perhaps a little too sweet at times but it remained drinkable throughout anyway. Despite coming through at 10% abv. and being labelled as an imperial stout, the beer was surprisingly light on alcohol flavours and grain, the rest of the fruits seemingly masking the alcohol content completely.

Overall (14/20): Quite an unusual beer here, this one is labelled as an imperial stout but at times seemed closer to a sour or fruit beer with plenty of blackcurrant and berries coming through in the early going, accompanied by some caramel and milk flavours but both of these definitely seemed to take a back seat to the fruits. The alcohol content of the beer in particular was well hidden and it was surprisingly easy to drink, although the sweetness did seem a little overdone at times sadly. It was a varied beer with a lot going on and it was unlike anything I’d tried before but I’m not convinced that it would be a beer that I’d rush back to again I’m afraid since there is already a lot of better imperial stouts out there waiting to be tried.

Brewed In: Kippen, Stirling, Scotland
Brewery: Fallen Brewing
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.80

Fallen Grapevine

December 6, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 4.15

M y first ever beer from Stirling based Fallen Brewing, this being despite the fact that it’s a fairly local brewery and their beers are regularly available in my area but for some reason I’ve never tried anything from them before. This one is an American pale ale that I found on-tap at the Schilling Brewing Co. bar in Glasgow recently and enjoyed the sample that I had of it so opted to give it a proper try. Launched around the same time the brewery opened back in 2012, this one is apparently one of the brewery’s core offerings and as good a beer as any for my first one from them; although a further review of an imperial stout from Fallen should follow shortly after this review.

Appearance (5/5): Bright and cloudy looking, the beer is an orange to caramel amber colour that has a centimetre tall, foamy white head with good retention sitting on top. The head holds well over the opening minutes and looks quite thick with some bubbles around the sides as well; an excellent start indeed.
Aroma (7/10): Not a huge nose to this one really, there was some nice pine and grapefruit notes kicking things off with a slight hint of perfume further on. There was a few citrus notes and some biscuit malts towards the middle alongside subtle floral hops. Towards the end I got a nice sweetness with some caramel in there too and a few background fruits rounded things off; most notably some peach and apricot.
Taste (8/10): Following on well from the nose and opening with some grapefruit alongside a pleasant caramel sweetness, the beer definitely wasn’t as bitter and didn’t have as many hops showing as the nose but it still seemed fresh with some pine and subtle fruits coming through; the peach and apricot from the nose both featuring along with some orange and lemon flavours too. Further on and some stone fruits and a floral bitterness made themselves known with touches of mango to see things out at the end.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and very fresh with a consistently bitter feel throughout, this one was lively with some solid floral hops and a nice citrus tang in there as well. The beer seemed quite balanced as well with the caramel providing a nice sweetness that worked well with the hop bitterness and tropical fruits. It wasn’t the strongest beer in the world but there was nice varied and everything seemed to work well together too.

Overall (17/20): This one was a surprisingly good first beer from Fallen for me and one that was a lot more varied and bitter than I’d anticipated when I ordered it. The beer opened with some good grapefruit and pine bitterness with a few floral hops not too far behind and some nice caramel that helped keep the balance of the beer and prevent the hops from overpowering further on. Falling somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA given the hops that featured, the beer was an easy on to drink and I’d happily have it again.

Brewed In: Kippen, Stirling, Scotland
Brewery: Fallen Brewing
First Brewed: 2012
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 5.4%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Schilling Brewing Co., Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.80 (approx.)

Deaf Mermaid

December 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A free birthday beer from Brewdog here, although I opted only for a half pint rather than a full one since I was in a hurry. This offering from Brewdog is a re-release of a beer that previously came in at 5.2% but was made available again earlier this year as a keg-only offering available at their UK bars for a short time. My first review of a new Brewdog beer since trying their Mandarina Lager offering back in August, this one wasn’t a beer that I was holding out much hope for but thankfully it turned out to be a fairly enjoyable offering, here’s what I thought of it when I tried it at the end of October.

Appearance (5/5): Very clear golden in colour with a foamy white head that was about a centimetre tall and quite thick looking with good lacing left on the sides and excellent head retention.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fresh on the nose with some light hops and citrus kicking things off alongside a few lager-type malts. Towards the middle some earthy hops started to make an appearance with touches of pine and mango coming through as well, and there was some zesty lemon not too far behind those. It was a juicy and fresh nose with some floral hops seeing things out nicely.
Taste (7/10): Not quite as fresh or lively as the nose but there was some tropical fruits and hops kicking things off alongside some grassy flavours and pale malts which seemed more dominant but fell short of overpowering. It was almost a hybrid pale ale/lager offering that reminded me of Caesar Augustus from Williams Brothers at times. Further on and there was some nice grapefruit flavours alongside touches of pine but the nose was definitely a little stronger and better, it was still a nice tasting beer though.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, perhaps slightly lighter but balanced and fresh with the nose in particular coming through relatively strong. There was a zesty feel to this one and it was well carbonated with a smooth body and dry finish that made it quite sessionable too.

Overall (14/20): Surprisingly good stuff from Brewdog, particularly because I wasn’t overly optimistic about this one on the way in but it was a fresh and enjoyable beer from the outset. It was almost a cross between a pale ale and a lager with some nice citrus and floral touches working well with the earthy hops and grassy flavours. It was sessionable and easy to drink too with a few subtle tropical fruits coming through further on and the head retention was excellent as well.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: Free

Trash Soda

December 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

My first non-Japanese beer in a while now and one that I tried a few weeks back on a return visit to the Drygate brewpub in Glasgow, opting for a new beer from the brewery that I hadn’t seen previously. This one is a rotating (or perhaps one-off) release from the brewery that appears to have been introduced in September this year and was definitely one of the better beers from the brewery that I’ve tried, coming through quite strong and with plenty hops. The beer will be my twelfth review of a Drygate beer and is my first since enjoying another of their American pale ale’s when I had their Disco Forklift Truck back in May this year. A beer that I really enjoyed, this is one that I had a couple of times at Drygate until eventually the keg was done but hopefully it is a beer that becomes a regular for them in future since it’s one I’d definitely have again.

Appearance (4/5): Quite cloudy with an amber to yellow body that was topped with a thin, quarter centimetre head that was white and foamy looking, leaving a touch of lacing on the sides and covering the surface of the beer well.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some nice hops and plenty of citrus, the beer was fresh without being overly strong and there was some nice resinous pine sitting in the background too. It was a fresh and lively nose with some grapefruit towards the middle and a few background fruits further on which made for a good start to the beer.
Taste (8/10): Fresh tasting with some nice citrus and pine coming through, the later being slightly less pronounced than with the nose but still remaining noticeable. I managed to detect some grapefruit that carried over from the nose with some floral bitterness and orange flavours further on and some lemon rounding things off nicely too.
Palate (4/5): Medium and quite fresh, the nose in particular being a lively one with a nice tang coming through from the citrus as well. The beer was balanced well and quite easy to drink with a floral bitterness seeing things out nicely.

Overall (16/20): Very nice stuff again from Drygate and definitely one of their better beers, this one had quite a fruity feel with a lively body that was well carbonated and some nice resinous pine kicking things off. It was balanced and very easy to drink with plenty of citrus too; definitely one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Drygate, Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Drygate Brewery
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Drygate FT002 – Trash Soda
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Drygate Brewery, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.70