Impy Stout Taste Testing 2 – The Big Boys

This was huge. In terms of beer sites like Ratebeer and Beeradvocate these are two of the most highly rated beers in the World. I mean I have wanted to try these beers for years and thought I might never get the chance to.

We kicked things off with a warm up to get us moving….

Hair of the Dog Blue Dot DIPA (7% ABV)


Rating per style (DIPA) – 7

Rating –  8.5

More of an IPA but what a great IPA! Smooth (from the rye), Well bodied and carbonated and just a really good level of bitterness. A beer that I would love to knock back a few pints of…very moreish.

On two the big grand daddies of my favourite beer style…

Three Floyds Dark Lord  Russian Imperial Stout (13%ABV)


Rating per style (Impy Stout) – 9

Rating – 9.25

Finally get to try this beast. White wax. Pours with light head though is dark as night. Nose is all alcohol, dark chocolate, soy and honey. In the mouth it is brutally upfront. Dark fruit, molasses, honey, and roast vie with eath other through the thick, viscous body. Kind of like a mead/imperial stout hybrid – it’s about as full on as it gets. A bomber would be difficult to finish, but sharing between three was just about perfect. A sipper of the highest quality. Would I line up for it once a year (This is only released one day a year, form the brewpub in Indiana)? Yeah, but more so for the event than the actual beer. Still a great event beer. 

Alesmith Speedway Stout (12% ABV)


Rating per style (RIS) – 8.5

Rating – 9

Very much a Double Stout. Like a big roast stout x 2. Initially disapointing on the nose as it warms the coffee and chocolate work their way to the top. In the mouth it is a wave of chocolate and coffee with the bitterness hitting the back of the palate. Drinkability is really high. In fact i could finish off a bottle of this by myself easily. Much more a subtle, complex beast than I was expecting. A masterclass in how to brew a big roasty moreish beer.

These were complimented nicely by a Moa Barrel aged Impy Stout from New Zealand and a Mikkeller Black from Denmark, which at 17.5 % ABV was like drinking motor oil mixed with port (in a good way though!).

Finally after a cuban cigar we finished on a Double Bastard – one of my all time favourite beers, but by this time my palate was so fatigued from drinking these hulking beers that it lost a bit of it’s potency. I will rate it in terms of my collective experience with the beer which I have drunk about a dozen times, including an aged 2006 version at my japanese going away party!

Stone Double Bastard (10% ABV)


Per Style (American Strong Ale) – 9.5

Rating – 9.5

Just a big kick in the balls. Big malt, big hops, but really well balanced. Seek this out!

light serf drinks dark lord

Cheers to Jason and Nate for sharing these beers and a big good luck to Nate as he heads to Scotland to live for a few years. Lucky sod!

Published in: on March 6, 2010 at 12:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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Australian 4 pack

Well I really want to start praising the efforts of Aussie brewers a bit more here at WHCFYWAC (what a mouthful!), so with that in mind I drunk four aussie brewed beers on a quiet Saturday night. Ordered from Slowbeer they were all pretty decent.

Moo Brew Pale Ale (4.9%)

Australia (Tasmania)

Per Style (American Pale Ale) – 8

Rating – 7

Really well made. The malt body was spot on with a nice citric/floral hop finish. Could use a bit more hops to really balance it out, but otherwise well recommended. I imagine on tap at the brewery would be sublime.

Brew Boys Maiden Ale (4.9%)

Australia (Adelaide)

Per Style (Pale Ale) – 7

Rating – 6.5

Malt centric Pale, maybe a hybrid of English and American styles. Maybe an Australian Pale Ale? Solid drinking, just slightly one-dimensional. Still I would drink again on a hot day round a BBQ.

Red Duck Bengal IPA (7%)

Australia (Victoria)

Per Style (IPA) – 7

Rating – 7.5

Really nice. Big malty body and at 60IBUs pretty damn hoppy. Gets more malty as it warms with could be a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it. The old man liked it.

Holgate Double Trouble (8%)

Australia (Victoria)

Per Style (Dubbel) – 4

Rating – 6

Mmmm. Points for trying a difficult style, but this didn’t really work for me. Big raisin and plumy type flavours, but doesn’t quite gel in to a workable finished product. Not  bad by any stretch, just a bit sloppy (like my posts sometimes).

I really enjoyed these beers. To some the ratings might not reflect that, but perhaps my standards are a bit high. To give you an idea of how much  I enjoyed them here is a rating of xxxx…

Castlemaine xxxx bitter ( 4.8%)

Australia (Queensland)

Per Style (Pale Lager) – 6

Rating – 2

No such thing as a ‘bad’ beer, but this is pretty lowest common denominator. Skunky hop nose, mouth is light with off flavours and mild bitter finish.

None of these craft beers were mind blowing, but they were all good drinking and there wasn’t a beer I didn’t enjoy drinking, even the Holgate. Will try to rate more Aussie beers down the line, as the scene is growing and developing and producing some very good beer.

Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Where to buy beer in Brisbane?

When talking to people they often ask me where I get my beer from in Brisbane. There is only one answer – Nectar. Located on Boundary St, West End, without this place I would go crazy at the lack of good beer options in this town.  Nectar has a great range of many styles from pale lagers to pale ales and IPAs to stouts, Imperial stouts (my favourite!) and anything in between. You will find matilda bay, james squire and little creatures rubbing shoulders with southern tier, mikkeller and nogne 0 (sorry this keyboard can’t do the scandanavian symbol). They will have Dieu de Ciel soon (a famed french canadian brewery – I can’t wait!). No VB, XXXX or Tooheys here! Lots of aussie micros here too – so get out and support small aussie brewers!

Carl the manager is friendly and attentive and always willing to help you if you are a bit overwhelmed by the choice. With some 800 beers it can take a while. It is a bit on the pricey side (in comparison to xxxx or vb), but then again I look at it like fast food compared to a good restaurant. You can drink cheap piss water (ie xxxx, tooheys, vb) etc or you could shell out a bit more and enjoy an infinitely superiour beer in all respects. The choice is yours.

I think they are open everyday – any way the link to their site is here.

PS. This is in no way a paid advertisement. I just want to inform people of my favourite beer shop in Brisbane. Take it or leave it. I know what I’ll be doing….

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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1000 on the board

Well around four months or so in to the new blog and we have passed the 1000 hit mark (thanks mum!). Very happy to see that. Hopefully I can increase the information about Aussie beers in the near future. But looking at now I thought I would look at my cellar ;-p and run through it. Yesterday my American order arrived for some very rare beers. It was expensive but I’m pretty happy right now. Here’s what I have –

From my Yankie order –

Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomee – Aged in Bourbon and Oak Casks for a year with cherries and wild yeast.

Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout – Huge Imperial Stout from this coveted brewery.

Russian River Consecration – Barrel Aged for six months with currants and wild yeast.

Nectar Ales Black Xantus – Aged in Bourbon Barrels this rare Imperial Stout is limited to 2000 cases.

Alesmith Speedway Stout – I have wanted to try this ever since I got in to ‘good’ beer. Another Imperial Stout!

Port Old Viscosity – Partly Aged and blended Imperial Stout.

From Nectar (Southern Tier now available in Australia!) –

Southern Tier Chocolat – Imperial Stout with Dark Chocolate.

Southern Tier Un*Earthly – Enormous Double IPA.

From Slowbeer –

Rochefort 10 – Best beer in the World IMHO. Brewed by Belgian Trappist Monks.

Zywiec Baltic Porter – A great example of the style.

Also got some other beers that I’m hoping to share  with my good friend this weekend….

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone..Hope 2010 brings you everything 2009 didn’t. It’s been a turbulent year. I came back from Japan, My Brother and Best Friend both got married and a myriad of other highs and lows made themselves known to me.

Well anyway, here’s my label for a beer i hope to start producing (yes, I hope to finally get in to homebrewing). It will be a big, hoppy IPA – something that seems to be in scant supply in Australia.  Anyway this is a rough pick – but you get the idea –

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm  Comments (3)  

2009 Photo wrap up

Decided to throw up a few pics that I found recently that I haven’t put up.

A while back I enjoyed a bottle of Pumpkin beer from Hop Juice! Cheers for the hook up mate!

Southern Tier Pumking (9% ABV)


Rating – 9

Per Style (Fruit/Vegetable) – 9.5

Found this pic on Ratebeer. This is my beer porn. All Imperial Stouts and probably the best examples of the style.

Jacaranda tree on our street that reminds me a lot of Cherry Blossoms. They flower for a short time, but are very beautiful.

Double fisting in Popeyes.

Two local escaped mental asylum patients atBaird Numazu Taproom, Japan.

Clearing out the beer bottles before coming back to Australia.

Drinking a Dogfish head World Wide Stout (18%!) in Summer…probably not the best idea in the world.

Here’s to 2010!

Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 3:46 pm  Comments (3)  
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Christmas Story 2009

‘Twas the week before Christmas and it was bloody hot to be sure. Little Johnny used to have it real good. His local bar in Yokohama, Thrash Zone, was the Sh@t. Then it was time to go back to Australia. Brisbane to be exact. And the only beer bar in town was called the Platform bar. Life went down hill from there. Now see this ‘beer’ bar had eight taps. But these usually held macro beer, disguised as  craft beer. James Squire, Matilda Bay and to a lesser extent the Little Creatures range. A few local brewers produced a few lame beers (unfortunately MT is not served here – decent beer). They once had Feral Hop Hog IPA from Western Australia on tap so that was pretty exciting, but otherwise it’s rubbish. The bottles would set you back a bit (they are making a premium profit here for a ‘premium’ bar roflmao). Also, all tap beers were served in a belgian style tulip/chalice, irregardless of style. Unless you ordered a weiss.

Quite often this place was closed for no reason or they had an event on, so locked out anyone not involved with said event.  Half the time little Johnny walked straight in and out shaking his head at the selection available. See this bar didn’t advertise their selection on the website (I’m not going to bother linking it) so you had to physically see the menu to know what they had. The staff were generally backpackers so knew nothing about the beer they served. It’s wasn’t their fault – they were merely making ends meet.

So here he sits at the computer and  Little Johnny sheds a tear and  grimaces at another weekend ahead without any good christmas beer.

Haha sorry but I had to write this piece on this true cock up of an establishment because I’m at my wit’s end here. Local Taphouse we need you here in Brissie!

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 7:05 pm  Comments (3)  

Imperial Stout Tasting

‘beers such as xxxx and vb are enjoyed by so many because they are watered down to such a bland consistency they offend no one’

Recently had a tasting with Nate. It was a purely Imperial Stout Tasting, which is my favourite style and definitely a love it or hate it style.

Imperial Stout being defined as –

‘usually extremely dark brown to black in color with flavors that are intensely malty, deeply roasted and sometimes with accents of dark fruit (raisin, fig) or milk sourness. The bitterness is typically medium and often the low side of that. Imperial stouts are strong and often exceed 8% by volume. ‘

We were lucky enough to pool our resources and taste Imperial Stouts from Australia, New Zealand, USA and Scotland.

1. Murray’s Imperial Stout 2008 (10%ABV)


Rating – 8.5

Per Style (Imperial Stout) – 7

Poured a pitch black with lovely tan head. Nose was of coffee and roasty flavours. In the mouth it was full bodied and viscous. Lots of coffee, toffee and some licorice. Well made Impy definitely more on the roasty side.

2. Pink Elephant Imperious Rushin’ Stowt (11% ABV)

New Zealand

Rating – 9

Per Style (Impy Stout) -8

An interesting one. Nose was huge kind of raspberry. In the mouth it had a lot going on but was quite hot. The alcohol wasn’t well hidden. Sweet and almost resinous. A big beer definitely and with a bit of tweaking could be world class.

3.Stone Russian Imperial Stout (10.8%ABV)


Rating – 9.5

Per Style (RIS)  – 9.25

The big daddy. So complex and full of life this would be a desert island beer for me.  Rich, full, chocolate, dark fruit etc. Just about as good as it gets. Only gave it a 9.25 for the style because there are a few other beers I want to try before giving it the perfect 10.

4. Brewdog Tokyo (12%ABV)


Rating – 8

Per Style (Imperial Stout) – 6.5

Hmmmm…a tough one. Lovely big nose. Lots of dark fruit jumps out at you. In the mouth it’s a little thin for the style. Still quite good though lots of the jasmine, fruits and chocolate. The oak chips don’t really make themselves known to me. Very good but not quite there.

Momma Mia!

Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 7:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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Bridge Road 6 Pack

A month or two ago I sent out an email to the breweries of Australia that I felt were doing good things ATM. Surprise, surprise I only got two responses, from not surprising two of the better, If not best breweries in Australia. Bridge Road down in Victoria, and in particular the head brewer Ben is producing some flavourful and inspired brews was the first to email me back (the other was Murrays if you must know) and he duly sent me a six pack of his offerings as well as two 750ml bottles of bigger beers that I will rate in the near future.

Obviously I want to state that the reviews are done with a clear consequence in that I rate them as I see them and will not be giving special favour to this or any brewery.

So without further ado..the ratings….

1. Bridge Road Bavarian Wheat (5%ABV)

Rating – 6.5

Per Style (Hefe Weiss) – 6

So close..Looks a treat, identical to german standards. Nose is banana and clove. In the mouth it is smooth and decent drinking, although had a slightly astringent aftertaste. Still the best aussie hefe I have had.

2. Bridge Road Australian Ale (4.4% ABV)

Rating – 5.5

Per Style (Pale Ale) – 6

Pours a light yellow fizzy looking colour. Nose is subdued – toffee and faint hops. In the mouth it is light bodied and reasonably well balanced. Solid but not going to blow you a away.I think this would be a good gateway beer for macro (xxxx,vb,tooheys) drinkers.

3. Bride Road Pale Ale (5%ABV)

Rating – 7

Per Style (Pale Ale) – 8

Good body, nice mouthfeel and decent hoppy finish. All in all a very good, solid APA(American Pale Ale).  One of those beers you could sit down and sink a few.

4. Bridge Road Celtic Ale (5.3% ABV)

Rating -5.5

Per Style (Red Ale) – 6

This is probably the only disappointment. Poured a deep amber hue with fizzy head. Nose is unique malt, although not too interesting. In the mouth it is a little thin but has a unique character. Didn’t really agree with me.

5. Bridge Road Bling IPA (5.6% ABV)

Rating – 7.5

Per Style (IPA) – 7.5

Their best beer. Really good. Beechworth seem to like uping the malt, thankfully this is reasonably hoppy as well. Not in West coast territory, but still quite bitter on the finish. Nose is dominated by the malt and this baby is dark for the style. Pretty easy drinking and reasonably balanced.

6. Bridge Road Robust Porter (5.2% ABV)

Rating –  7

Per Style (Porter) – 7.5

Nice malty pour – dark and lovely head retention. Nose is of chocolate and toffee although a bit subdued. In the mouth it is medium bodied. Deep toffee and licorice – in a mild way. Would probably be very good on tap.

So all in all some good to very good beer. These guys are only young and still developing but the promise is definitely there. They could be heavyweights in the future with  a bit more experience. You can get the Australian ale and Pale Ale at Dan Murphys (Just be careful – DM don’t really look after their beer that well) and the others usually at better establishments. The IPA is highly recommended, but all were good.

On a side note they recently brewed a Imperial Porter oaked in Wine Barrels (from a very much in demand small winery I heard). I like that they are experimenting with this kind of unique brewing. It is good to see and advantageous not just for the brewery, but the Australian scene in general, to push the envelope.

Cheers Boys!

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What do people want in a beer?

I was out drinking a few beers with an old mate last night and it got me thinking…what does beer mean to different people and what do they like or enjoy? With something like 60 styles of beer (some of which I have never tried) it seems there is something for everyone. It seemed that my friend enjoyed sweeter beers, whilst I am more of a hop lover.

It’s easy to say that this style or that style are crap (for want of a better word) but they all have their fans. Everyone appreciates different aspects of beer drinking. Notice I said driking, not mindlessly consuming. I love  Imperial Stout or a big, hoppy beer, but these might be too much for many people. Just as I am not a big fan of chilli in food, it would be off puting for me go to an indian restaurant and order a super spicy vindaloo special, I can appreciate that my idea of the ideal beer may not always be for everyone.

Having said that, there are always ways to introduce people to the wonders of craft beer. One thing I have learnt is to not give (for example) a VB or XXXX drinker something at the opposite end of the beer spectrum. Sometimes a little shift sideways can help people to open up to other possibilities.  I guess what I’m trying to say that anyone can be open to new experiences if it’s done in the right way.


Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm  Comments (1)