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Posts Tagged ‘scottish ale’

Innis & Gunn Rum Finish

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

I spotted this one in Asda the other night and wasn’t going to pick it up at first, but after quickly checking to see if I’d tried it before I assumed I hadn’t as the name was new to me and the alcohol content was lower than the closest named beer to it that I had already tried, Innis & Gunn Rum Cask. As you have probably already guess, the two beers are most probably one and the same with this one being a minor tweak on the last bottle of it I tried back in 2011, once I actually drink it I’ll know for sure but I definitely have my suspicions already. I’ll mark this one as a new beer regardless though since the name, and more importantly the abv. of this particular bottle are different from the last at least.

Innis & Gunn Rum Finish

Appearance (4/5): Initially sits with a thumb-sized, foamy head after a somewhat aggressive pour before slowly reducing in size to sit at about a centimetre tall. The head is a light beige to creamy white colour and there is touches of lacing left on the sides of the glass as I move the beer about in the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Starting with some dark malts and a lot of sweetness, there is quite a lot of vanilla and butterscotch notes coming through, seemingly a constant with most Innis & Gunn beers I have tried. There is some oak notes as well and some sugar too with some alcohol and spice rounding things off. The smell is a relatively strong one but I’m looking forward to tasting it.
Taste (7/10): Like the aroma, this one starts quite sweet with the oak and malts from the nose coming through alongside plenty of sugar, vanilla and background fruits. I could detect a slight bit of grain and alcohol with hints of caramel and toffee in there too; not a bad tasting beer and while it didn’t quite match the heights of the smell it didn’t fall far short.
Palate (4/5): Smooth for the most part with a slightly warming feel from the alcohol and a very sweet mouthfeel throughout. Carbonation levels are about medium for this one, maybe slightly stronger and the body is a slightly creamy one with a good, balanced finish to the beer.

Overall (13/20): The more I drank of this one the more it reminded me of the breweries Rum Cask and everything in the beer leads me to believe that this one is merely a reworking of that offering, albeit with a slightly weaker alcohol content. I did seem to enjoy the beer more this time around, perhaps it was just a little fresher but in truth there wasn’t too much of a difference between the two and had the abv. of this one been the same then I’d probably not have bothered reviewing this one.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
First Brewed: circa. 2014
Type: Scottish Ale
Abv: 6.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Asda
Price: £1.66

Traquair Bear Ale

June 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.15

Another beer picked up as part of the Aldi summer beer festival now, this one from the Traquair House brewery in Peebleshire that I was pleased to stumble across on my last visit to Aldi. I wasn’t aware that Traquair did any more beer other than the two I have previously reviewed here, their Jacobite and House ales that both feature in the 1001 beers list. The name comes from the Bear Gates situated on the ground of Traquair House, a set that has been closed 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charles was supposedly the last person to walk through them. I’ve only ever seen those two for sale in Scotland and even they are quite rare unless you’re actually on the look out for them so to find another of their beers in a supermarket was surprising. Described as somewhere between a traditional Scottish ale and an Old Ale, this is one that I’m looking forward to trying more down to how good the other two I’ve tried from the brewery were than down to how good I think this one will be on its own; hopefully it tastes as good as the other two, although I’m sceptical to say the least.

Traquair Bear Ale

Appearance (3/5): Dark caramel brown in colour with a clear body and a thin, patchy lacing on top of the beer builds up a little around the circumference but leaves a lot of bare patches in the centre.
Aroma (4/10): Definitely a malty aroma with a lot of earthy notes coming through and plenty of bitterness as well. Roasted notes appear around the middle and some subdued fruits as well but the earthy smells and strong malts dominate from the off with a strong nutty aroma backing this up. There is some spice but some off-notes seemed to appear throughout as well and I wasn’t particularly impressed with this one.
Taste (7/10): Thankfully this one picks up a little in the taste department and doesn’t seem to have the same seemingly off notes that the nose featured. There was a strong and quite malty flavour coming through with a nutty taste too and some lighter fruits as well. There was a nice bitterness to this one with some caramel as well but this is fairly light.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with low carbonation and a very smooth feel with a soft and slightly bitter and dry mouthfeel.

Overall (13/20): This one got off to a shaky start with the aroma seeming quite poor with a little too much spice and some notes that seemed a little off in places. Thankfully the taste was a lot better with a lot of malts and some light fruits offset with a solid bitterness throughout and the beer proved an easy one to drink and turned out a lot better than I thought it would after the nose.

Brewed In: Innerleithen, Peebleshire, Scotland
Brewery: Traquair House Brewery
First Brewed: 1996
Type: Old Ale/Scottish Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Wishaw)
Price: £1.99

Innis & Gunn Spiced Rum Aged

April 1, 2014 3 comments

Rating: 3.6

Now for what will be my eighth Innis & Gunn beer, another that I was given as a gift for Christmas and the first of two of the brewerys beers I am planning on reviewing in quick succession. This particular offering is a Scottish ale that over Caribbean Spiced Rum infused oak so I am expecting a sweet and boozy taste to this one. This is another Innis & Gunn limited release that first appeared in late 2012 and is packaged, disappointingly in another clear bottle but at least this one also comes boxed to protect the beer some; God only knows why the brewery persist in using clear bottles.
Innis & Gunn Spiced Rum Finish

Appearance (4/5): Pours a medium amber with a head that is white and made up of small bubbles with just under a centimetre in height and not bad retention either; the beer is quite still and very clear as well.
Aroma (6/10): Sweet with some nice butter and vanilla upfront, along with some alcohol and nice touches of oak. There is the rum that gives the beer its name following this and it comes through stronger than I was expecting to be honest with a fair amount of alcohol, some spice and various fruits too. The beer was a pleasant smelling one with some malts in the mix as well but the strength of the alcohol coming through was a little much for my liking.
Taste (7/10): Sweet malts with toffee and caramel, a lot of vanilla and butterscotch as well with plenty of alcohol infused in the taste. There is some oak and malts further in as well but the alcohol and spices seem to dominate along with a strong taste of diluted rum.
Palate (4/5): Fairly smooth and warming from the spices and rum with only some grain coming through and a medium body and some sweetness throughout. There is more alcohol coming through that I would have liked but the beer wasn’t a difficult one to drink.

Overall (14/20): This one was somewhat of a mix bag with a great mix of sweet malts, spices, vanilla and some rum but the alcohol content of the beer was all to apparent throughout and not particularly well masked. The sweetness and the oak flavours helped things slightly but this one wasn’t one of my favourite Innis & Gunn offerings I’m afraid.

Brewed In:  Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Innis & Gunn Brewing Company
Full Name: Innis & Gunn Spiced Rum Finish Oak Aged Beer
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Scottish Ale
Abv: 7.4%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Aldi
Price: Gift

Dark Island (Cask) (69 of 1001)

March 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

Since I had already tried this one before in a bottle back in November 2011 I wasn’t sure about trying it again on cask when I spotted it in my local the other week but seeing as it is the Orkney Brewery’s biggest seller and that it has been crowned Champion Beer of Scotland more than once I thought it might actually be a cask beer worth trying. As I mentioned in the review of the bottle, this one was first brewed back in 1988 and has being going strong ever since, proving to be one of the brewer’s best beers, although I did enough Skull Splitter a lot more. Still after trying this one it turned out to be a decision I didn’t regret as it was one of the best cask beers I’ve had and it seemed to make up for in taste and smell what it lacked in appearance. A nice beer and worth a try in both the bottle and on cask if you get the chance.

Dark Island

Appearance (3/5): Pours an opaque dark ruby colour, almost black with a thin, beige coloured  head that is more of a thick lacing than anything else.
Aroma (7/10): Dark malts and a light chocolate aroma followed by some roasted malts and a mixture of darker fruits, notably raisin and plum giving a rich smell overall.
Taste (7/10): There is a sweet mixture of toffee and chocolate malts along with the darker, rich fruit from the nose and some darker malts in there too.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and medium bodied with a fruity sweetness on the palate. There is a touch of dryness at the end too.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad beer, especially for a cask ale but not quite as good as the bottled version in my opinion and I’d choose that version over this one every time. There was a lot more flavour than I had been expecting from the cask and there was a good mix of dark fruit and rich chocolate. The beer went down pretty well and is one of the better cask ales I’ve tried since starting this blog.

Brewed In: Stromness, Orkney, Scotland
Brewery: Orkney Brewery
First Brewed: 1988
Type: Scottish Ale/Old Ale
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Cask (Pint)
Purchased: The Malt (Wetherspoons), Wishaw, Scotland
Price: £1.25

Williams Brothers 80/-

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

A return to my second most visited brewery now, this one will be my fourteenth beer from the Williams Brothers brewery based in Alloa, Scotland and my second in as many weeks, following on from their Joker IPA I tried again last weekend. This particular offering is an eight schilling style Scottish Ale, a style I’ve had a few of in the past, initially thinking it’s not a style I’m going to enjoy but for the most part it is one that is usually done quite well. This one was another bottle I bought in Morrisons over the weekend due to the fact it was a new beer for me and that it was slightly reduced, my only hope was that it would be drinkable and as it turned out it definitely was; it’s one to keep an eye out for but it’s probably not a classic.

Williams Brothers Eighty Schilling

Appearance (4/5): Quite a dark mahogany brown colour with a pretty thin looking, foamy head that is light brown in colour and stays as a consistent covering on top of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Rich on the nose with some chocolate and darker malts initially plus some sweeter malts and a hint of caramel and toffee. There are a few lighter, caramel hops and some milk chocolate towards the end.
Taste (7/10): This one starts with some sweetness and a good blend of milky chocolate plus some good, darker malts. The chocolate was backed up with a little spice, a nutty caramel flavour and some light hints of toffee towards the end.  The beer is pretty creamy tasting and is rounded of with some earthy hops and a touch of bitterness.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied but still fairly thick and with a good, creamy texture. There is a good smoothness to the beer and carbonation is moderate with a dry finish and some nice sweetness throughout.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad beer overall, for some reason I always think this isn’t going to be a style of beer that I enjoy but it usually turns out to be not a bad offering every time I pick an eighty schilling style beer up, perhaps I’ve just been lucky but either way this was a beer that I enjoyed. Quite a nice sweet and milk chocolaty flavour that seemed more like a light milk stout than a Scottish ale but an enjoyable offering regardless and one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Alloa, Scotland
Brewery: Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Full Name: Williams Brothers Eighty Schilling Scottish Ale
First Brewed:  circa. 2009
Type: Scottish Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Morrisons
Price: £1.50

Greenmantle Ale

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.5

This one is the flagship beer from Broughton, first brewed as far back as 1979 (possibly 1980). Named after a John Buchan novel of the same name, Greenmantle is the first beer brewed by the Broughton brewery which takes it’s name from a village the aforementioned John Buchan spend much of his childhood although I have no idea why the folks at the brewery are so fond of him. This is a beer I’ve spotted in the supermarket a few times but am only now getting round to sampling whilst Tesco hand it at a slightly reduced price, hopefully it’ll be worth it and I might considering trying it again regardless of the price.

Greenmantle Ale

Appearance (3/5): Pours quite a fizzy looking, clear brown colour with a centimetre tall head that is foamy looking and halves in size before settling down.
Aroma (7/10): Lots of malts upfront with a bread like aroma and some sugar but not a lot. There is some darker fruits too with fig and some raisins and prunes featuring along with a bit of sweetness, all of which is quite light.
Taste (7/10): Very malty upfront with some sweet, sugary malts and a lot of darker fruits including prunes and raisins from the nose. There is a bread like taste as well and some sweet, earthy flavours with a light sprinkling of hops.
Palate (4/5): Not quite full bodied but a thick beer with a sweet and fizzy feel to the beer and a slightly dry finish that has good bitterness, a general fruity feel and strong carbonation.

Overall (14/20): A nice, light tasting beer that is a pleasant way to start the evening without being all that strong. The majority of the taste is a malty one with some darker fruit that is pretty refreshing and goes down well with a good balance. This one would make an excellent session beer, although the malty flavour might get a bit much after more than a couple of bottles.

Brewed In: Biggar, Scotland
Brewery: Broughton Ales Ltd.
First Brewed: 1979
Full Name: Broughton Old Jock Ale
Type: Scottish Ale
Abv: 3.9%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco
Price: £1.70

Cairngorm Wildcat

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

This one is a beer I didn’t know too much about when I decided to pick it up and still don’t really, it was on special in Sainsburys and that’s why I opted to grab a bottle. It’s a Scottish ale from the Cairngorm Brewery Company, my third from them in the last month following on from their Blessed Thistle and Black Gold. Both of the brewer’s beers I tried recently were on the good side of average so I’m hoping this one will be a bit of a step up.

Cairngorm Wildcat

Appearance (5/5): A nice deep copper colour that is clear and topped with a two fingers tall, foamy white head that settles in a nice, thick looking dome shape.
Aroma (6/10): Relatively light on the nose with some earthly hops and nice, roasted malts along with a touch of sweetness and some light grain. This is rounded off with some bitterness and a touch of toffee too.
Taste (6/10): Pretty much like the aroma with some earthy malts and hops plus a bit of bitterness that compliments the sweet malts. It is more bitter towards the end with a sort of burnt caramel/toffee taste as well.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and an almost creamy, bitter feel to the beer with a touch of grain and a dry finish.

Overall (13/20): This one looked great but started to fade after that, it had a nice body and a good creamy palate but it was lacking in both taste and smell with the beer relying too much on the earthy malts and hops taste. It was drinkable but probably not a beer I’d have again, it was just too plain.

Brewed In: Aviemore, Scotland
Brewery: The Cairngorm Brewery Company
First Brewed: circa. 2003
Type: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Abv: 5.1%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Sainsburys
Price: £1.59