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Mangoes on the Run

July 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

An eighteenth review of an Innis & Gunn beer now and one that I stumbled across in a local supermarket recently and quickly grabbed given it is apparently a limited edition offering from the brewery and I wasn’t sure how long it would be available for. The beer is a new from that was released in early summer 2018 by the brewery and is the most fruity offering I’ve seen from the brewery given they usually stick with butterscotch tasting beers as well as their Innis & Gunn Lager Beer that was become quite popular of late. This one will be my first new offering from the brewery since trying their Gunpowder IPA and Blood Red Sky English strong ale back to back in March so it’s not been an overly long wait between beers from the brewery but this was one that definitely intrigued me and it does seem to get good reviews online so I’m quite looking forward to cracking it open now.

Appearance (4/5): A bronze looking beer with a surprisingly clear body and a very nice, two centimetre tall, foamy white head that looked quite thick and creamy at point with a white colour and very good retention with it holding for the first couple minutes with little reduction in size; a great start to the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Quite sweet with some nice sugar notes coming through in the early going, there was some mango as you’d expect but some strawberries and touches of orange and apricot too. The beer is slightly tropical but it was also a little artificial with some sweeteners coming through alongside faint malts and background grassy hops too. It’s a nice and balance nose with some grain and bread like notes at the end too, very nice stuff and on I can’t wait to taste.
Taste (7/10): Fresh with some nice mango and to a lesser extent apricot coming through, the beer was slightly artificial with a few sugars coming through alongside faint citrus and tropical fruits sitting in the background too. It’s balanced with some light malts and bread flavours coming through as well as some grain but the fruits definitely dominate. It’s slightly sweet towards the end with subtle hops seeing things out; very nice stuff.
Palate (4/5): Lively and quite fresh, the beer is well-carbonated with some sugars and a very slightly artificial feel to this one. It’s easy going with a light-medium body and a good balance with the tropical fruit sweetness going with with the light malts, although the former seemed the strongest.

Overall (14/20): Much better than anticipated, the beer was definitely a sweet and fruity one with some nice sugars and apricot but the mango dominated as expected. There was a slightly artificial feel at times but it was balanced with some background light malts and bread ones too with citrus and grassy hops featuring as well. It was a nice beer that proved easy to drink without being anything spectacular, it was slightly grainy nearer the end with some subtle hops coming through as well.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Morrison’s (Glasgow)
Price: £1.50

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Abstrakt AB:13

July 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My third beer from Brewdog’s Abstrakt series now, this one follows on from their outstanding AB:10 that I tried way back in late 2013 and their AB:19 that I finally got around to trying around Christmas time last year. This one is a 2013 release from the brewery that I’ve had since then and it’s a cherry imperial stout that is aged for fourteen months in sherry whisky barrels to give it some of its taste. I believe I picked this one up from the Brewdog online store roughly five years ago and had always been saving it for around Christmas time each year but I’d never get around to trying it so I decided to scrap that recently and finally crack the bottle open and see how it tastes now it’s five years old. I’m expecting big things from this one given how good their AB:10 was all those years ago, I still enjoyed the AB:19 but that didn’t quite hit the same heights so at the very least it should be interesting to see  how this one turns out; the beer itself is numbers 8659 of 9972 so there can’t be too many of these left kicking about either.

Appearance (4/5): A very dark, cola like black colour with very thin, bubbly lacing on top that was a fiery brown in colour but faded quite quickly to leave not much of anything upstairs but that was to be expected given both the age and strength of this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a dark, oak like nose with a lot of roasted malts and liquorice upfront alongside a solid base of alcohol grain and an earthy bitterness from some coffee and chocolate notes. It’s slightly sweet with some caramel and dark fruits showing, mainly some dates and prunes but also a few sugars come through to help out. It’s a heavy aroma with some raisins and toffee towards the end to see things out; very strong stuff.
Taste (7/10): Dark fruits and alcohol flavours kick things off, it’s definitely got a sherry taste to it with some darker malts and chocolate following on behind, I managed to get some cherries alongside prunes and dates with a few raisins following on behind. It’s slightly sweet the caramel and a toffee taste further on alongside molasses and a few hints of vanilla and oak.
Palate (4/5): Fill-boded but after five years there’s very little carbonation showing, although it doesn’t seem flat given the type of beer it is. It’s loaded with alcohol from the start and shows pretty much all of it’s 11.3% abv. from the first sip. Some touches of sweetness by way of the chocolate and vanilla, not to mention the dark fruits and cherries helps to make it a drinkable offering but it’s not one to be rushed.

Overall (15/20): This one was a very strong and boozy beer from the start with a tonne of alcohol showing and a little sweetness further on from the dark fruits, molasses and vanilla. It’s a beer to take your time with and sip rather than rush through it given the strength and the age of the beer, although it holds up quite well for a bottle that’s been sitting in my attic for the best part of five years. It’s a thick and chewy, full-bodied beer that I’m glad I’ve finally tried but it was just that little bit too strong for my liking so I doubt I’d have picked it up again had it been a regular from Brewdog and it doesn’t quite hit the heights of either of the previous two Abstrakt beers I’ve tried.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: BrewDog
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.3%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £10.00

Cranachan Killer

Rating: 3.4

A fifth beer from Fierce Beer for me now but only my second from the brewery that isn’t a collaboration with another brewery, the other being their NEIPA Red Rye that I enjoyed back in April when I picked up a couple cans of the stuff to try. This one is a fruit beer from the brewery that caught my eye when I spotted it in the supermarket recently and decided to give it a go, it has been a while since I last had a fruit beer with the very disappointing can of Asahi Red Eye that I had back in Japan last year probably being the last and I’m hopeful this one is a better beer than that one proved to be. I did notice that Aldi seemed to have a few Fierce beers on their shelves as well so with any luck I’ll be able to pick up a couple more the next time I’m in as well.

Appearance (4/5):A cloudy pink to orange colour with a thin, bubbly head on top that was an off-white and faded in the centre after twenty or so seconds to leave a bit of laces around the edges but not much in the middle.
Aroma (6/10): Very sweet and quite fruity too, there’s some raspberry and a little sugar in the early going with touches of strawberry and what seemed like a few more summer berries towards the middle. It’s a little artificial on the nose with some faint tart and funk further on as well as the odd pale malt but the fruits and the raspberries in particular dominate this one.
Taste (6/10): Opening with more tart than the nose and some touches of raspberry quite early on, it’s again quite fruity and fresh as well as being slightly less artificial than the nose seemed. Towards the end some pale malts and subtle grassy flavours seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Very tarty and sweet in the early going with some sugars and funky touches coming through. The beer was quite fruity with a light-medium body and fine, lively carbonation. It’s a dry beer with a sharp feel but it went down well had quite a good mouthfeel for the style.

Overall (12/20): This one was quite a nice fruit beer with good raspberry flavours and tart opening things up with plenty sugars too, it did seem a touch artificial on the nose but this settled down and seemed slightly more natural with the taste. It had some strawberries and background berries in there as well but it was the raspberries that seemed strongest; all in all a nice beer for the style but probably not one I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Aberdeen, Scotland
Brewery: Fierce Beer
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Fruit Beer
Abv: 5.5%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

Very Big Moose

Rating: 4.55

Another beer from Fierce brewing, this one a collaboration with Brewdog and the staff from their Aberdeen bar as part of Brewdog’s Collab Fest 2017; this one the winner of the event in October last year. An imperial stout with touches of cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon and coming in at a strong 12% abv., this one is a beer that I was looking forward to trying but never managed to make it to a Brewdog bar during the event itself so I thought I’d missed out on trying the beer until I spotted it online over Brewdog’s AGM weekend in April this year. This one is a beer I’m very much looking forward to trying and it follows on from the can of Very Big Moose: Tonka that I reviewed here recently as well, that one being a collaboration with Brew York that used tonka beans in the brewing process so I’m interested to see how this one compares.

Appearance (4/5): Very thick looking as it pours, the beer is opaque and jet black in colour with a half centimetre tall head that is foamy and covers the surface initially before breaking up in the centre but holding around the edges of the beer; it’s better than expected for the strength of the beer anyway.
Aroma (9/10): This one gets off to a strong start with a lot of chocolate and alcohol grain kicking things off, there’s a background sweetness to though with some vanilla notes coming through in the early going. Further on I got some dark, almost roasted malts and oak coming through with more sweet alcohol that resembles rum at points. There’s the odd spice towards the end with a bit of cinnamon but the chocolate and vanilla are strongest throughout; excellent stuff on the nose.
Taste (9/10): The taste follows on in a similar fashion to the nose with some strong chocolate flavours upfront alongside the same vanilla sweetness that carried on from the nose as well. There’s some rum and alcohol grain showing towards the middle but more of this is masked than anticipated with some darker malts and cocoa covering it for the most part alongside some spices.
Palate (5/5): Full-bodied and quite thick throughout, this one was smooth and strong with a warming alcohol feel from the middle on and as a result the end of the beer was quite a boozy one. The beer had an excellent balance and a lot of the alcohol content was hidden but you knew it was a strong one with a touch of dryness towards the end and plenty of sweetness throughout thanks to the chocolate and oak but mainly the vanilla flavours that featured heavily from the start.

Overall (19/20): Outstanding stuff from Fierce and Brewdog, this one is loaded with flavours and opens with a strong sweetness that was mainly down to the vanilla but also some chocolate malts and oak too. It’s a strong one with some rum and alcohol grain towards the middle but it remained quite easy to drink thanks to the smooth body and excellent balance. I went in expecting this to be similar to the Tonka version of the beer that Fierce done with Brew York not long after this one was initially release but this version is so much better and has a lot more going on as well. There was some nice roasted flavours towards the end with background spice, in particular cinnamon coming through to round things off exceptionally well; an amazing beer that I could drink again and again (although not in one sitting) and I’m thankfully I picked up another one to try at a later date now – believe the hype.

Brewed In: Aberdeen, Scotland
Brewery: Fierce Beer/Brewdog (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £5.60

Brewdog Hop Shot

Rating: 3.85

Another new Brewdog beer for me now, this is one that was actually released way back in later 2016 as a one-off from the brewery that I have spotted a few times on the Brewdog website but have continually avoided picking up but since I had a 30% off discount recently I decided to grab a bottle and see how it rates. Coming in at a massive 22%, this eisbock comes in an unusually sized 110ml bottle that’s a third of the standard sized bottles from the brewery but it’s a strong beer so that seems sensible. This one will actually be the second strongest beer that I’ve ever tried and follows on from the similarly styled Watt Dickie offering from the brewery that I tried back in December but didn’t really enjoy; hopefully this one proves to be a little more palatable. Labelled as a quadruple IPA, this one is brewed with grapefruit peel, oranges and yuzu as well as some pine hap and resin so I’m expecting something with a few hops showing despite the fact that the beer was bottled about a year and a half ago.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring as quite a thick beer, this one was a bright amber colour with a clear body and absolutely no sign of a head despite an aggressive pour. It was a still beer with a clear body but that was to be expected given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a lot of hops kick things off with some grapefruit and pine coming through too but it definitely wasn’t as resinous as normal for such a strong IPA, it was a super strength offering though so it’s not a total surprise. There was a lot of heavy alcohol notes with some grain around the middle too but some orange and even a little banana showed at this point followed by some peach and background sweetness too. The beer was surprisingly complex on the nose with the alcohol dominating but enough other characteristics showing to keep it interesting.
Taste (7/10): Incredibly strong stuff with a lot of oily hops kicking things off followed by some nice grapefruit and pine. There was a tonne of alcohol and grain in the early going with some sweet malts, I got some caramel and sugars as well as some marzipan too but the alcohol definitely dominated. There was some spice near the end with hints of orange and a couple background fruits, mainly peach and mango but touches of apricot too.
Palate (4/5): Very thick and full-bodied, the beer was an oily effort with a touch of carbonation that made it seem crisp and even tangy at points. It was sporadically sweet too with quite a warming feel further on and some faint spice came through alongside the oily hop bitterness that closed things out.

Overall (15/20): Very thick and strong, the beer is oily with a very hoppy feel and quite a lot of bitterness as well. There’s a lot of alcohol grain that seems to dominate but there was some citrus and even some banana coming through as well, something I hadn’t expected. It’s definitely one to sip and very much a one-off beer but it was more drinkable than anticipated despite the alcohol content and how boozy it was.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Eisbock/Imperial IPA
Abv: 22.0%
Serving: Bottle (110ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £4.55

Choco Libre

June 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

A December 2017 release from Brewdog that I actually tried on-tap just before Christmas but never properly reviewed at the time so I was pleased to finally grab a bottle when I spotted it available on the Brewed online shop a couple of weeks ago; I had feared that I might have been too late and missed my chance. The beer is limited released, 8.2% imperial stout from the brewery that I quite enjoyed when I tried it a couple of months ago and is brewed with Mexican spiced chocolate and features hints of vanilla, cinnamon and chillies which definitely makes it seem like a winter beer but I’m sure it’ll taste just as good now.

Appearance (4/5): Really thick looking as it poured,this one was jet black and opaque with a tan brown head on top that was bubbly and foamy in each measure, starting about a quarter centimetre tall before fading to a thin surface lacing soon after.
Aroma (6/10): Opening quite dark with a hint of coffee and some roasted malts to kick things off, it’s not quite an overpowering aroma that you often find with an imperial stout but there’s definitely a noticeable aroma. Slightly further on there’s some chocolate notes but they’re definitely not as noticeable as expected, I did get a little spice and chocolate around the middle too. Towards the end a faint alcohol smell followed by a vanilla aroma that made an appearance and helped by adding to the sweetness but I’d been expecting a little more from the nose in truth.
Taste (7/10): More pronounced than the nose with some dark malts and roasted flavours kicking things off before some chocolate starts to come through and is backed up by touches of spice as well. Again there is a vanilla sweetness around the middle and towards the end but it’s a touch stronger than with nose. A little further on some faint hints of coffee bitterness show with some darker fruits and sugars seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied and quite a smooth beer with a background spice to it off the back of the chocolate. The beer was a little light on the nose but came through stronger come the taste with a good vanilla sweetness to it as well. It’s a well carbonated beer that was fairly well-balanced too with a warming alcohol finish too.

Overall (15/20): This one didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts with the nose little than expected and far too weak for an 8.2% abv. imperial stout but things turned around slightly come the taste with the dark malts and chocolate flavours more pronounced by that point. It was spicy at points without overpowering and some nice vanilla flavours added to the sweetness whilst simultaneously helping the balance. It’s definitely a nice beer and one that I’d have again if I spotted it whilst out but I remember it being better the first time I tried it; perhaps that was done to me having quite a few before it though.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £2.94

Brewdog Small Batch Dry-Hopped Pilsner v2

June 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

The second of two beers that I tried when finally visiting Brewdog’s new Edinburgh bar at the end of last month, this one following on from their Eight-Bit collaborative offering that I reviewed here last. This particular beer is an slightly tweaked offering (hence the ‘v2’ in the name) and I would usually avoid this type of beer from them given there track record with new pale lagers but I decided to give this one a go as it was about the only beer the bar was selling in a pint serving that I hadn’t already tried. I’m not sure if this is a beer that we’ll see again from Brewdog but it was nice enough to become a regular pilsner from them, although it would need a few chances and tweaks before I decided to rush out and try it a second time.

Appearance (4/5):A light, golden amber colour with straw tinges and semi-clear body that was topped with a foamy white head, starting about a centimetre tall and fading to a thin surface lacing after thirty seconds or so but not looking too badly for the style of beer.
Aroma (6/10): Not the strongest nose in the early going, there was some corn and a slight sweetness opening proceedings with a subtle bitterness too but I struggled to get too much off this one really. There was no sign of the dry-hopping implied by the name and it was definitely a basic smelling lager.
Taste (7/10): Corn and hay kick things off with a nice citrus backing that had some grassy hops pushing through as well. It’s a slightly fresher than the nose with some subtle hops that started to grow on me as things moved on. Towards the end some earthy hops and light hay started to come through but the highlight seemed to be the citrus.
Palate (4/5):Light medium bodied and quite basic throughout, the beer had a subtle citrus tang at points and a light hop bitterness with a hint of sweetness at the start from the corn too. Very much a basic beer on the palate but it was quite clean and easy-going with a crisp feel towards the end as well.

Overall (14/20): After not getting off to the greatest of starts given the nose, the beer continued as quite a basic one but started to improve slightly as things moved on. There was some pleasant earthy flavours and some citrus whilst it remained well-balanced and easy to drink throughout without ever really exciting too much; perhaps with a few tweaks it might make a decent permanent offering from the brewery though but there is definitely some work to be done.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2018
Type: Pilsner
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Keg (Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog Lothian Road, Edinburgh, Scotland
Price: £4.95