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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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Character Assassination

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Brewed in collaboration with south London based Gipsy Hill, this one is my first beer from the Electric Bear Brewery based in Bath and is on that I picked up recently alongside a couple of Trappist beers at my local bottle shop, opting for this one given it’s a one-off New England IPA and it’s the height of summer here. A new beer for 2018, this one was canned in late May and should still be relatively fresh so it’s one that I’m looking forwards to cracking open. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gipsy Hill over the last couple of years but surprisingly haven’t tried anything from them yet but this one was the first time I’d seen or heard anything about Electric Bear so I’m interested in finding out more and perhaps picking up something else from them in future if this one is any good.

Appearance (4/5): A lot lighter and clearer than I’d expect for a New England IPA, the beer is a light amber with some golden tinges and a thin, half centimetre head that’s foamy and white but starts turning patchy towards one side more quickly than I’d have liked; not a bad looking beer but I’d place it closer to lager than a New England IPA on first looks.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly tropical on the nose initially with some subtle grapefruit and orange coming through but nothing too pungent or overpowering in the early going at least. There was some citrus notes and a little tangerine further on with a couple grassy hops followed by a moderate bitterness and hints of mango and peach further on; it’s definitely an American IPA aroma but it’s not as dank as anticipated.
Taste (7/10): Opening with some pine and grapefruit bitterness that is followed by some nice orange and tangerine flavours, the beer is again slightly tropical with touches mango, apricot and peach bringing in the middle. It’s a solid IPA taste with some grain and a hint of alcohol nearer the end but it wasn’t a anything special or out of the ordinary with a faint sweetness and further bitter flavours seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied with some bitterness showing from the start without it being a dank one really. There was fine carbonation that gave the beer a lively feel and it was quite dry and sharp too. The balance was as you’d expect for the style with the bitter hops and tropical flavours dominating and a touch of the alcohol coming through near the end.

Overall (/20): This was a strange one in the sense that it was a pleasant and enjoyable beer but I feel like there was some false advertising involved where the label states that it’s a New England IPA but it was very much a standard American IPA with very little dank flavours coming through but instead a slightly tropical and bitter beer with the usual grapefruit and pine flavours as well as some mango and apricot further on. It was okay offering overall but one that ultimately left me disappointed given I was expecting something completely different from what I got after reading the label on the can.

Brewed In: Bath, Somerset, England
Brewery:  Electric Bear Brewing / Gipsy Hill (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2018
Full Name: Electric Bear / Gipsy Hill Character Assassination
Type: New England IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.30

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

Trooper Hallowed

Rating: 3.35

Apparently the fourth the a series of beers inspired by the band Iron Maiden, although it is only the second the series that I’ll have tried after not being much of a fan of the 2013 original Trooper when I tried it not long after it was released. This offering from Robinsons is a Belgian style dark ale which is the only reason I picked this one up when I spotted it in the shop last year, well that and the fact the bottle cap was a good one. The beer is the sixth from the brewery that I’ll have tried with the last being their Mojo Pale Ale last year and that wasn’t particularly great either, in fact the only okay beer I’ve had from Robinsons is their Old Tom English strong ale from five years ago so I’m not holding out much hope for this one now and likely wouldn’t have bothered with it had I remembered this before picking the beer up.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber in colour with a surprisingly clear body and a thick looking, creamy head that was a light tan colour and holds about a centimetre tall after starting roughly double that size.
Aroma (5/10): Surprisingly light and one-dimensional on the nose, there’s some semi-sweet malts with touches of sugar in the early going as well as some faint butterscotch touches. Further on there is some darker fruits and touches of smoke, I got a little plum and fig but neither truly grabbed your attention and it seemed a touch weak at times without being a really bad nose.
Taste (6/10): Opening with a lot of sweet malts, there was more here than with the nose as well as a lot of dark fruits that included some of the plum and fig from the nose as well as some raisin and prunes. It was a little more pronounced at this point too with some alcohol grain and basic spices before some caramel malts and touches of banana came through to add to the sweetness.
Palate (4/5): Quite a sweet beer with a medium body that was slightly lighter than anticipated, the beer was a finely carbonated offering that had some alcohol showing which I thought could have been better hidden given it wasn’t an overly strong beer. There was some sweet malts and spices nearer the end and the balance was fairly good too without it being a beer that grabbed your attention.

Overall (13/20): This one was a bit up and down at times, it started well with some nice sweetness from the malts and dark fruits but there wasn’t a whole lot to it after that it seemed a little weak and one-dimensional at times. It was Belgian influenced at times as the bottle suggested but it fell far short of what I’d expect from a Belgian brewed beer of this style. It’s a better beer than the original Trooper beer in this series from Robinsons but it didn’t do enough for me to make it a beer that I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Stockport, England
Brewery: Robinsons Family Brewers
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Dubbel
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: B&M Bargains (Glasgow)
Price: £1.25

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

Durham Temptation

Rating: 4.2

This one is my second Durham Brewery beer now and follows on from their Bede’s Chalice that I had back in December after picking the bottle up alongside this one last year at the Fenwick’s store in Newcastle when I visited the city in July. This one is a 10% abv. imperial stout and one that I was quite surprised to see available in a 500ml bottle from a UK based brewery, normally these type of beers are restricted to a smaller 330ml bottle or a larger sharing bottle but seeing this in the shop made it an easy choice for one to pick up.

Appearance (5/5): Jet black with an opaque body and a half centimetre, foamy head that’s a light tan colour and managing to cover the surface well. Surprisingly there wasn’t much reduction in size over the open couple of minutes and the head started to look quite creamy with the odd bubble on the surface too; a great start given the alcohol content on this one with the heading holding on for well over five minutes as I let this one heat up a little after coming out of the fridge.
Aroma (7/10): Not a huge aroma but still quite a strong one with plenty of chocolate and coffee notes kicking things off and giving this one a roasted, dark nose. There’s some alcohol grain in the early going with touches of sweetness dotted about the place too; mainly sugars but a little vanilla and even some light caramel too. It’s earthy further on with the roasted notes coming back alongside a few nutty notes and hints of dried fruit seeing things out without anything dominating.
Taste (8/10): More pronounced than the nose with some chocolate malts and dark, roasted flavours coming through a little stronger this time around as well as a little more of the alcohol content coming through. It’s an earthy tasting offering that’s got some liquorice as well as the dried fruits from the nose, there was some raisin and hints of plum too. Rounded off with some further sweetness and sugars as well as some dates and prunes, the beer seemed quite complex but stopped short of overpowering or having any one flavour dominating.
Palate (4/5): Strong but balanced, this one is a full-bodied stout that had some alcohol showing with the nose and a little more with the taste which made it quite a warming and boozy feeling beer from the middle on. It was a moderately carbonated beer but the balance was very good with some nice sugar and dried fruit sweetness complimenting the dark and earthy malts from earlier on and helping it go down quite easily despite the strength.

Overall (18/20): Excellent stuff from Durham, this one got off to a cracking start with a solid head that stayed put throughout the beers life and was one of the best I’ve ever seen on such a strong beer. It’s dark and malty to open with lots of roasted notes and flavours coming through with some chocolate and a little sweetness off the back of this too. Further on I got some dried fruits and sugars coming through as well as some of the alcohol content but it wasn’t too strong, just enough to give the beer and warming and boozy feel that I enjoyed a lot.

Brewed In: Durham, England
Brewery: Durham Brewery
First Brewed: 2005
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Fenwick’s (Newcastle)
Price: £4.49

Ewe Rebel

Rating: 3.9

A second beer from Whitewater in quick succession, this one following on from their Maggie’s Leap that I reviewed here last and is another I picked up whilst in Ireland; my tenth in total from the brewery. This one is relatively strong from an Irish brewed IPA, coming in at 7% abv. and is one that I picked up pretty much for that reason alone, my thinking being that it would actually be more American in style which can only be a good thing for this type of offering; I’m quite a big fan of the brewery’s Hoppelhammer beer and that’s one I’ve picked up a few times now so hopefully this one turns out to be a similar offering and I can go back to again in future.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a hazy amber with orange and light copper tinges, the head is a centimetre tall one that sits quite foamy and covers the surface completely with little subsidence or reduction in height over the opening minutes which was nice to see.
Aroma (7/10): Fresh and quite fruity on the nose initially with some citrus hops and touches of pine coming through as well. The beer is sweeter than anticipated with a few caramel malts in the early going too, there’s touches of biscuit in there too though. Beyond that some mango and orange shows, as does a little grapefruit to add the the bitterness before some subtle spice and sugars see things out.
Taste (8/10): Opening with some nice citrus hops again, the beer was fresh but probably not quite as sweet at the nose with some orange and mango still coming through alongside a few other background fruits. It’s an balanced taste with the sweet malts and caramel from the nose still featuring with a few sugars further on too but they’re a touch less pronounced than the nose without being weak.
Palate (4/5): A medium bodied beer that was fresh and lively with fine carbonation and a nice tang. It opened very sweet before settling down some with a good combination of background fruits working well with the caramel and sweet malts. It was relatively well-balanced and easy going with a smooth, semi-dry finish as well.

Overall (16/20): Really nice stuff from Whitewater and easily one of their best, this one buck the recent trend from them and is a very enjoyable beer that kicks off with a pleasant sweetness from the caramel and sweet malts followed by some nice citrus hops and subtle tropical fruits. It was a balanced and easy-to-drink beer with a fresh feel and good carbonation levels, definitely one of theirs that I’ll pick up again when I’m back in Ireland.

Brewed In: Saintfield, County Down, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Whitewater Brewing Co.
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Dolan Centra (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.00