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Posts Tagged ‘scotland’

Merchant City IPA

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.1

A new beer from a new brewery now, this one is my first time trying a beer from the newly launched Merchant City Brewing Co. after they started releasing beers towards the end of 2017. The beer is one that caught my eye given the name of the beer and is one I picked up from a local bottle shop for that reason alone but I was also quietly hoping decent beer too. This one appears to be one of around six beers that the brewery currently makes and I did notice a few others from them in the shop when I grabbed this one but I felt I should probably see what this one was like before committing to any more from them.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber with a hazy body and quite a large, four centimetre tall head that was creamy white and faded to leave a patchy surface lacing over the opening few minutes with some touches of lacing left on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (5/10): Quite a bitter and earthy beer on the nose initially, there was some nutty notes and a slightly dark aroma that had some nice roasted malts in the background too. It was somewhat fruity further on but it definitely seemed basic and wasn’t a great start at all.
Taste (5/10): Tangy with some citrus in the early going before the nutty flavours that the nose hinted at started to take over alongside a background sweetness and some light fruits. Again it was a basic beer with some toffee and the odd earthy hop showing but I definitely wasn’t impressed with this beer sadly.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with a subtle citrus tang coming through on top of what was quite a smooth beer. It was a dry offering towards the end with an earthy feel throughout and moderate carbonation that made it seem slightly fresh at times.

Overall (10/20): Quite a disappointing one this, it was a very basic and earthy tasting beer that did have a slight tang showing early on with the taste but there definitely wasn’t much going on with it beyond that. The nutty flavours seemed to dominate and there was a subtle sweetness from some fruits at times too but it’s not a great one; it remains to be seen if I decide to give the brewery another chance or avoid them completely in future.

Brewed In: Glasgow, Scotland
Brewery: Merchant City Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2017
Type: English IPA
Abv: 5.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60

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Brewdog/Beavertown Coffee and Cigarettes

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Released at the start of summer last year, this beer is a collaborative offering from Brewdog and London based Beavertown that I picked up soon after it was released but was purposely keeping to try over the holiday season, finally getting round to it on my last day off before starting back work again. A huge imperial stout that comes in at 12.% abv. and is aged in three different types of whiskey casks before being blended together again; Islay, Bourbon and Rye whiskey casks were all used during the brewery process with this one. The beer itself was one that I wasn’t too sure about picking up but it was one of the few I hadn’t tried from Brewdog when I was visiting their bottle shop so I decided to grab myself one for winter, here’s what I thought of it when I finally got round to cracking a bottle open.

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black in colour, this one looks like oil in the glass and is topped with a half centimetre foamy head that is a light brown colour and settles as a fine surface lacing after thirty seconds or so but is still pretty good considering the strength of this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a strong nose kicks things off here, there was plenty of coffee initially with a touch of chocolate backing it up and adding some sweetness to the equation along with subtle liquorice notes too. Around the middle the ‘cigarette’ side of things started to make itself known with some strong smoked notes and touches of wood coming through, a hint of oak showed itself here too. It was definitely a dark beer on the nose with some peat and warming alcohol aromas at the end, as well as some subtle vanilla sweetness.
Taste (6/10): Mirroring the nose, the beer opens with strong chocolate and cocoa flavours alongside a solid coffee taste that was slightly bitter. There was some alcohol showing soon after with the beer having quite a strong kick to it which made it seem boozy and warming then from about the middle on there was some wood and smoked notes coming through with some of the vanilla (or possibly coconut) sweetness from the nose carrying through as well. At the end there was a definite whisky taste with peat malts and some darker fruits coming through as well, most notably I got some raisins and plum but it was definitely the alcohol that dominated nearer the end.
Palate (4/5): A very strong, full bodied beer that was loaded with alcohol from the start and definitely lived up to its 12.1% abv. content although at least some of the alcohol was masked by the chocolate and vanilla sweetness along with the coffee bitterness and wood flavours but I felt these could have been stronger. The beer was a softly carbonated offering that was quite warming at the end and came with quite a strong kick to it but I was hoping for a slightly better balance to make it an easier to drink offering in truth.

Overall (15/20): Very strong stuff from Brewdog and Beavertown here, this one is a huge beer that initially opened with a lot of chocolate and coffee but was quickly followed by a tonne of alcohol alongside some wood and oak flavours; there was also quite a strong whiskey taste with peat malts and further alcohol showing towards the end. It was a difficult beer to drink, particularly with the wood and smoked flavours nearer the end and the fact that the beer didn’t have the best balance, something that I felt held this one back and prevented me from enjoying it as much as I have other imperial stout I’ve tried recently. It was quite a complex offering though with some rich touches and darker fruits towards the end but I felt the alcohol dominated too much and I doubt it’s one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog/Beavertown (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.1%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £9.64

71 Mandarina Sky

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

Seemingly a new beer from 71 Brewing that was only released at the start of December, this was a beer that I had right at the end of the year after picking it up at one of my local bottle shops just before Christmas. This one was the first time I’d seen or heard anything from Dundee based 71 Brewing and it’s a beer that I was persuaded to buy since it’s the first time I’d spotted a New England IPA from the Scotland that wasn’t brewed by Brewdog. The beer will be my fourth of the style, or my fifth if you count Brewdog’s New England IPA v2 which was closer to a double IPA given the alcohol content, I am quite a big fan of the style though and I was definitely excited going into this one.

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a medium amber colour with a hazy body, there was the odd bit of sediment coming from the bottle but it settled fast and sank to the bottom. The head was a fluffy white one with a creamy looking on top and wavy, covering the surface well and sitting about a quarter inch tall.
Aroma (7/10): Quite lively and almost pungent, the beer opens with an astringent nose that is loaded with citrus and pine hops that hinted at being slightly resinous too. There some oranges coming through with a little biscuit further on with a few background fruits in there too; I got hints of strawberry and some mango with a little apricot too.
Taste (7/10): Opening with a lot of pine and citrus hops, the beer is again slightly pungent and resinous but it has settled down slightly from the nose. There was some touches of mango and apricot showing early with a few earthy flavours further on whilst the orange from the nose was a little stronger here and worked well with some mandarins and background fruits.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied but definitely a fresh and lively beer that was semi-sweet from the fruits and definitely a bitter offering thanks to the hops and resinous touches. It was a balanced beer that was moderately carbonated and a dry but smooth one.

Overall (15/20): A decent first offering from 71 Brewing, this one was quite a fresh offering that came through with plenty orange, pine and summer fruits but stayed balanced and drinkable throughout. It was lively and easy-going with a smooth feel throughout but it almost seemed like a standard American IPA rather than a New England style offering, something that was a minor disappointment but it was still a very nice beer that was well worth trying.

Brewed In: Dundee, Scotland
Brewery: 71 Brewing
First Brewed: 2017
Full Name: 71 Mandarina Sky – MS001
Type: New England IPA
Abv: 5.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Wee Beer Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.60

Watt Dickie

December 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

A strange on this and a beer that I picked up approximately four years ago, not long after it was released as a one-off from Brewdog back in 2013. The beer is a huge 35% abv. offering that sits closer to a spirit than a beer but started life as an IPA before being freeze distilled and ending up in its current form that is somewhere between an imperial IPA and an eisbock. It is a ‘beer’ that I picked up when it was launched mainly due to the novelty of it and that’s part of the reason I’ve only just opened it now, it should at least be interesting but I’m not holding out much hope for it being a classic. It will be by far the strongest beer I’ve reviewed here so far but I have also tried Brewdog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin offering which comes in just a little lighter at 32% and that’s not exactly a beer that I’ve rushed back to try again either.

Appearance (3/5): Dark copper and very thick looking, this one pours with absolutely no sign of a head and is very still in the glass too; slightly disappointing but in truth it was as I’d expected given the high alcohol content of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Huge alcohol notes on the nose initially, this one is slightly sweet with some toffee before some brandy type aromas and plenty of alcohol coming through. It’s got some peated malts and hints of sherry a little further on too with a subtle touch of vanilla right at the end; there’s a little more to it than I’d initially anticipated which is a pleasant surprise.
Taste (4/10): It took a while to build up trying this one, I wanted to give it some time to open up after pouring but once I finally took the plunge I was greeted by an initial sweetness that was very warming and loaded with alcohol, it somehow managed to seem stronger than the 35% abv. listed on the bottle upon first taking a sip. Once the initial burn passed, there was some sweet malts and toffee coming through alongside touches of brandy and sugar. It was a strong beer as you would expect but also one that was like drinking a spirit and it was definitely a beer to sip rather than rush through, sadly the taste didn’t seem quite as varied or easy-going as the nose was either.
Palate (3/5): Thick and very warming thanks to the abundance of alcohol coming through, there was naturally quite a kick to what was a relatively sweet beer and it was a difficult one to get through as well, I took much longer than anticipated for such a small serving of the stuff.

Overall (9/20): Very strong stuff and nothing like a beer in the traditional sense of the word, this one was a boozy spirit with tonnes of alcohol showing throughout and a warming kick to it was well. There was a little variety to the nose, something that I wasn’t expecting but the taste was pretty much what I thought it would be like going in with plenty of alcohol and a burning feel to it that dominated throughout. It’s one that I’m glad I’ve managed to try but I can’t see me ever giving it a second go, even if I manage to see it again somewhere in the future; dangerous stuff indeed.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Eisbock / Imperial IPA
Abv: 35.0%
Serving: Bottle (60ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £4.50 (approx.)

St. Andrews Mocha Porter

December 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.15

A random English porter that I picked up in Lidl the other day after stumbling across it for the first time in one of their stores, this one will actually be my second from the brewery and is a beer that follows on from the bottle of their Oatmeal Pale that I sampled back in the summer of 2014 but wasn’t overly impressed with. I picked this one up on a whim, mainly as it was one of the few in the store that I hadn’t already tried and because I’m partial to a decent mocha porter so I was hopeful that this one would be a slight improvement on the last from the St. Andrews Brewing Co. that I tried; here’s what I thought of it in the end.

Appearance (3/5): Quite a dark looking, opaque bodied beer that was black and topped with a thin, foamy head that was beige and started about a centimetre tall before fading to a patchy lacing that was more just a patch in the centre and round the circumference with little else showing.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some earthy notes and a little coffee, the beer is dark and roasted initially but not overly pronounced. It’s a beer that slowly opens up with some grains and subtle chocolate coming through alongside hints of sugar and milky notes then some light bitterness seeing things out.
Taste (6/10): Similar to the nose in that the taste is kicked off with some coffee and an earthy bitterness that had a few grains showing as well. There was no sign of any sweetness this time around with the roasted malts coming through much stronger than before, masking the chocolate that I’d been expecting following on from the nose, and there was a lot of earthy flavours seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and quite bitter, it’s softly carbonated and a little sharp at points with the bitterness dominating as well; I’d like to have seen a better balance with more of the sweetness carrying over from the nose. Definitely not the easiest beer to drink, it was quite a basic offering but pretty much what you would expect from the style I guess.

Overall (13/20): Quite a standard porter, this one was definitely a bitter offering that opened with some milky notes and sweetness on the nose but turned to a much more earthy, roasted tasting beer when it came to actually drinking the beer. There was some grains and it seemed relatively sharp despite the soft carbonation but I was looking for something a little more if I’m honest.

Brewed In: St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Brewery: St. Andrews Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2013
Type: English Porter
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Lidl
Price: £1.49

Beehive Brae Red Honey Beer

December 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

My second review of a Beehive Brae offering now, this one being the red (or amber ale) version of a beer that is following on from their standard Honey Beer that I reviewed here just over a year ago. This one is another that I recently received as a birthday gift, having spotted it on a few occasions at various restaurants in the Glasgow area but never getting round to trying it until now.  I actually have a few bottles of this local beer to try so I’m hopeful that it will prove to be a good one and at least a slight improvement on the last offering from the brewery that I tried as well.

Appearance (3/5): Dark copper to mahogany coloured with an semi-opaque body and a half centimetre, foamy head that is beige and fades to a thin lacing around the circumference around ten seconds later.
Aroma (6/10): Quite nutty with some light malts and a hint of toffee to start, there was some nice sweetness as expected from a honey beer before some subtle honey and sugars added to this towards the middle. There was a slightly earthy smell coming through that had a faint fruit backing near the end to see things out.
Taste (6/10): Slightly more sweet than the nose with some nice toffee and caramel coming through with a few stronger sugars following soon after. There was a lot of honey around the middle with a slightly more nutty taste and some basic malts further on.
Palate (3/5): Smooth with a light-medium body that was strongly carbonated and almost seemed overdone at times. There was some strong sweetness throughout this offering with honey combining with the toffee and caramel but it wasn’t sickening or as strong as some other honey beers I’ve tried thankfully. It was relatively easy to drink but quite basic and not overly pronounced either.

Overall (10/20): Quite a basic but very sweet offering, this one was loaded with honey as well as some toffee and caramel at points too. There was some earthy malts and nutty flavours further on but it wasn’t overly varied and wasn’t one that I would rush back to either.

Brewed In: Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Brewery: Beehive Brae
First Brewed: circa. 2015
Type: Amber/Red Ale
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Scotland)
Price: Gift

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