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Brewdog New England IPA v2

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

A new release from Brewdog now and one that was only introduced by the brewery just over a week ago but it was one that I was eager to try so I made a point of visiting one of their bars and sampling it on-tap within a day of its initial release. The beer is a reworking of an early collaboration between Brewdog and Cloudwater brewing based in Manchester, their New England IPA which I consider to be the best beer that Brewdog has ever released so naturally I was looking forward to this one. The beer is an 8.5% abv. double IPA which comes in a fair bit stronger than the 6.8% of the original so I did have the fear going in that the quality would suffer like it did when the brewery increased the strength of their Born To Die beer earlier this year only to reduce it again with the next release in the series. I’ve only tried a few New England style IPA’s so far, mainly because it’s still a relatively new style of beer but it is definitely one that I’m a big fan of and I was hoping that would carry over to my first double IPA in the New England style with this offering; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last week.

Appearance (4/5): Very hazy golden in colour with a yellow hue to it, the beer was quite bright and opaque looking but sadly there wasn’t an overly impressive head to it, all that was left by the time I placed it on the table was a thin, foamy white lacing that was turning slightly patchy but the colour was a nice one.
Aroma (7/10): Not an immediately strong beer on the nose given it was an 8.5% abv. offering but there was a good combination of citrus and pineapple to kick things off before more touches of tropical fruit appeared nearer the middle. Some subtle hops showed around this point too with a few juicy notes and touches of orange and lemon nearer the end. Overall it was a very fresh offering but one that I’d have preferred came through stronger than it did.
Taste (7/10): Starting in a similar fashion to the nose, the taste kicks off with a combination of citrus flavours that is mainly orange and lemon but with some pineapple not too far behind either. The beer was again very fresh with a subtle bitterness off the back of the hops throughout,  there was some juicy flavours and a few tropical ones sitting in the background too which all seemed slightly stronger than with the nose and as such were a welcome change.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and sitting with a medium body and a nice balance too, the beer definitely wasn’t as strong as anticipated for an 8.5% beer and for the most part the alcohol content was masked behind the subtle hops and the tropical, juicy flavours. There was quite a lively feel this one at times, likely from the citrus in the taste and there was moderate carbonation throughout but it was a little lighter than I’d have liked which stopped it from being as good as the original version in my opinion.

Overall (15/20): Very nice stuff again from Brewdog here and ordinarily this would be a beer that I would have loved but given it’s a reworking of the best beer I’ve ever tried from the brewery the bar is naturally set a little higher for this one. The beer open with a pleasant citrus taste that was backed up by some pineapple and the odd tropical flavour, the balance was good too and surprisingly little of the alcohol content was showing so the beer was easy-going and highly drinkable. The main disappointment for me was the fact that the beer was a lot lighter than expected, the nose in particular coming through weaker than expected and overall the original version of this beer was much better in my opinion.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog/Cloudwater (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: Brewdog vs. Cloudwater New England IPA v2
Type: Double IPA
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse (Glasgow)
Price: £4.28

Pump Action Poet

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.8

Another Brewdog review now and other limited release from the brewery, this one hot on the heels of their Semi-Skimmed Occultist that I recently reviewed here and quite enjoyed. This time is the turn of their Pump Action Poet stone fruit IPA that was released earlier this summer and is one that I managed to try on-tap at on of their Glasgow bars a couple of weeks ago. The beer is one that I was looking out for (like more Brewdog new releases) but since I couldn’t justify an online order for this alone I decided to stop by one of their bars and give it a go. Coming in at 7.5%, this one seemed like a good summer beer going in thanks to the stone fruit and tropical flavours so I was definitely looking forward to trying it when I finally did mid-June this year; here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber coloured and fairly clear looking, there was a thin and foamy white head on top that was very slightly patchy looking towards the middle. There was some touches of lacing on the side of the glass and head retention was about average for the style as well.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a hop-filled offering on the nose, particularly in the early going with some pine and a huge amount of grapefruit coming through alongside a sharp alcohol aroma and of the advertised stone fruits as well. It’s definitely a fresh beer on the nose with some orange and mango nearer the centre, I got touches of citrus and pineapple in there as well before a few lighter malts rounded things off nicely.
Taste (7/10): Like the nose, this one was again quite a fruity offering with some touches of alcohol coming through in there early going but they were toned down slightly from the nose. There was a little spice from some chilies around the middle which provided plenty of heat but thankfully didn’t overpower. Towards the end there was a nice combination of mango and citrus with the odd tropical flavour pushing through which made for fairly strong but enjoyable taste.
Palate (4/5): Strong and quite fresh, this one was showing more alcohol than expected as well as being more spicy than usual for the style but neither seemed to overpower and they both worked well together. It was also quite a juicy beer with touches of tropical fruits throughout and the odd lighter malt to help with the balance which made it easier to drink than usual for a 7.5% beer.

Overall (16/20): Quite a strong beer throughout with more heat than anticipated and a subtle alcohol kick that was apparent throughout but somehow the beer seemed to work and the balance wasn’t too bad either. Opening with a nice burst of fruits to give the beer quite a fresh feel, there was some mango and pineapple alongside the usual orange and citrus flavours. The beer was fairly bitter in the early going to thanks to a pleasant combination of pine and grapefruit as well as the stone fruits, although these seemed to have disappeared come the taste. Definitely an interesting and enjoyable beer from Brewdog but I’m not sure I’d rush back to have it again were it on their permanent roster of beers.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.5%
Serving: Keg (Schooner)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.56

Innis & Gunn American IPA

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.2

Trust Innis & Gunn to cause yet more confusion with their beer names but this is another example of just that. I picked this one up recently in an Aldi supermarket thinking I would finally get to try their ‘original’ IPA having previously seen it on a number of occasions in various Glasgow bars but it had all but disappeared in recent years until it started reappearing over the last couple of weeks at various supermarkets. Sadly it turns out that this one is actually a different beer, the original being a 7.7% version but this one only comes in at 5.6%. The beer is occasionally listed online as the brewery’s ‘American IPA’ but I’ll list it as their 5.6% IPA here and hopefully I’ll get to try the original at some point too.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a fairly light looking but very clear amber, the beer is topped with quite a nice, two centimetre tall head that is very foamy and thick looking. The head forms a dome shape at the top of the beer and holds quite well, leaving a little lacing on the sides as it eventually starts to recede but it is a nice looking beer.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with a good amount of hops, certainly more than I’d expected going in and it was quite pleasant as a result with a good combination of citrus and pine, touches of orange and lemon managed to make an appearance too. It wasn’t an overly strong beer but it got my attention straight away thanks to the hops but also the subtle sweetness that brought in the middle of the beer. Some biscuit notes and a faint touch of caramel feature as well before some herbal notes and an almost tropical aroma see things out nicely; it’s just a shame it wasn’t that little bit stronger.
Taste (6/10): Much like the nose, the taste opened with a nice helping of citrus along with plenty of pine hops but nothing was overly bitter. There was some light tropical flavours that came through earlier than they did with the nose but were about the same strength, they did give the beer a relatively fresh taste though. Around the middle some biscuit malts and the odd earthy flavours showed with some sweetness from subtle caramel malts making themselves known as well. It’s not too complex a beer but it was a pleasant one with herbal and floral flavours seeing things out but there was a little too much perfume showing for my liking at times.
Palate (3/5): Light-medium bodied and quite crisp, the beer has a lot of floral touches and seems dry in the early going too. It’s a balanced beer that has some sweetness showing off the back of some caramel malts and the odd fruit but for the most part it was a semi-bitter, fresh beer but also one that was a touch lighter than I’d have liked at times sadly.

Overall (12/20): Not a bad stab at an American style IPA from Innis & Gunn considering their beers usually take more of a traditional route but this one was pleasant enough at times whilst still being miles behind what other brewery’s are putting out at the moment. It’s got some nice citrus and pine touches in the early going, a few biscuit flavours and the lighter caramel notes add some variety too but overall the beer is quite basic and predictable as well as being quite floral towards the end with a lot of perfume-like flavours showing too sadly.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2017
Also Known As: Innis & Gunn American IPA
Type: American IPA
Abv: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Glasgow)
Price: £1.49

Semi-Skimmed Occultist

July 10, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.9

A new limited release, small batch beer from Brewdog that was launched in March this year and will be my 134th different beer from the brewery so far. This one follows on from the bottle of their re-released Hop Rocker offering that I reviewed here at the end of May and is one of countless Brewdog beers that I have in my cellar, still awaiting a review. This is actually a beer that I’ve been looking forward to since first hearing about it in one the brewery’s newsletters towards the end of last year (or possibly at the every start of this one) and I was quick to pick up a can at their Glasgow shop soon after its initial release, just in case it disappeared quickly. Brewed as an 8% abv. sweet stout that could almost be considered an imperial stout, the beers seems to have attracted fairly positive reviews online and I’ quite excited to crack this one open now.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a nice looking beer when I initially poured it, this one sits a dark and opaque looking brown to ruby-black colour that is also very still looking. The beer is topped with a beautiful, foamy head that is tan coloured and dome-shaped, holding incredibly well over the opening few minutes which is doubly impressive given it is such a strong beer. It quite thick and creamy looking once the head eventually starts to subside slightly but it doesn’t lose very much of its head at all and looks excellent throughout, holding steady as I work my way down the glass and leaving plenty of lacing along the way too; a perfect start.
Aroma (6/10): Perhaps not quite as strong a beer on the nose as I’d anticipated for an 8% stout but it wasn’t exactly a weak one either and some solid roasted malts opened the show alongside touches of coffee and some early hints of sweetness. There was a nice amount of cocoa and chocolate notes showing in the early going too with a bit of caramel thrown in for good measure. Nearer the middle some of the milky aromas and lactose started to come through, adding a little to the sweetness along the way but definitely not stealing the limelight any. There was a little vanilla nearer the end with some further roasted malt bitterness and faint touches of smoke to see things out but it’s definitely one that could have been just a touch stronger; the alcohol was very well hidden throughout though.
Taste (7/10): Opening much like the nose before it did, this one kicks off with a lot of roasted malts but it’s thankfully a little stronger this time around with some hints of alcohol grain managing to sneak in there as well. There was a lot of sweetness early one from the chocolate, caramel and touches of chocolate malt too, a faint taste of vanilla wasn’t too far behind either. It wasn’t an overpowering taste by any means and it was definitely closer to what I’d expected going in that the nose was, there was a lot of oats and some earthy bitterness around the middle with a bit of coffee to back it up as well. Towards the end the sweetness really began to take hold with some milky touches and further bitter malts seeing things out nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, perhaps just a touch lighter than expected for an 8% stout but it was far from thin and there was a lot going on anyway. The beer opened with a plenty of roasted malts and a solid helping of sweetness from the caramel and chocolate backing it up, some vanilla to help out as well. The beer was surprisingly easy to drink throughout and the balance was a good one, some faint alcohol showed at the start of the taste but was masked completely with the nose and it only started to seem like an 8% offering nearer the end of proceedings. Overall it was an incredibly smooth but quite sweet offering that went down a treat.

Overall (16/20): Excellent stuff from Brewdog here, the beer got off to a perfect start after I poured it where it looked fantastic sitting in the glass; the nose however was a very slight let down given that it wasn’t quite as strong as I’d been expecting but it was still a pleasant enough beer aroma-wise. Things were turned around completely with the taste and the beer started to come into its own with an early roasted bitterness that quickly lead to an abundance of sweetness that really made the beer; a combination of chocolate malts, lactose and vanilla with some caramel thrown in for good measure all worked well together. The beer was smooth and balanced with a subtle kick thanks to the alcohol as well; it’s just a shame that it’s a limited release from the brewery otherwise I could see this being one I’d go back to at some point in the future.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Sweet/Milk Stout
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse (Glasgow)
Price: £3.56

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

May 28, 2017 1 comment

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