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)

USA

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)

USA

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)

USA

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)

USA

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)  
Tags: , , ,

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  
Tags: ,

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….

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)

Australia

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)

USA

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)

Scotland

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)  
Tags: , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

San Diego shows us how it’s done

Got in to a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA last night. This was a kind of trade with Hop Juice (cheers mate!) so unfortunately it isn’t available in Australia. Wish it was though – apparently the boys over in Japan are enjoying from the keg right now! Lucky bastards! Oh well I am more than happy with this fantastic piece of beer as art from the bottle.

sculpin IPA1_1(This photo courtesy of Chuwy’s Blog cos my camera is f#$%ing up. Notice the screen in the background. Very Japanese Chuwy – Nice contrast with the beer!)

Ballast Point Sculpin (7%ABV)

America

Rating – 9

Per style (IPA) – 10

I love a good IPA and this is about as good as it gets. Unfortunately nothing in Australia comes close to this (not even the Epic Armageddon although it is a good effort). Huge pineapple, mango and citrus nose. In the mouth it is full yet so smooth. Lots of citrus and pine in the mouth, coating the tongue. Strong, but not overly aggressive. The malt profile is there but it takes a back seat to the hop bill. I could imagine this as the perfect gateway beer in to NWIPAs (ie Hoppy Beers) . However once you’ve had this little would stand up in comparison. The Green flash WCIPA would be the only IPA that could compare to this. World class and then some. i could still taste the hops in my mouth after drinking a bit of absinthe and I fell asleep sniffing the bottle! Sad I know but desperate people do desperate things hahaha.

Published in: on November 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

The Big Boppers (testing new rating system)

I thought I would try something new when rating beers. It occured to me that when rating particular styles the average rating would be well above the ratings for other beers and vice versa. I.E. a Imperial Stout, Baltic Porter or NWIPA will almost always rate higher for me than a pale ale or a pilsner if they were all to be compared on the same 10 point scale.  Therfore I will now rate the beers with a per style rating (in comparison to other beers of the style I have tried to compare their true worth) . Let’s see If this works out!

Let’s start with some big beers…

IMG00064-20091017-1917

Thorogoods of Burra Billy B Apple Beer (12% ABV)

Australia

Overall – 7.5

Per Style (Fruit beer) – 9

Very interesting beer. Nose is Lambic like. Tart and vinegary initally folllowed by some sweetness.  One of those must try beers, but definately not everyday drinking. Also slightly one dimensional in it’s profile.

IMG00061-20091016-2038

St Ambroise Milliseme Vintage 2009 (9.8% ABV)

Canada

Overall – 7

Per Style (Barleywine) – 7

Nose is all toffee and fruit. Mouthfeel is a bit of a let down as not quite as intense. Still not overally sweet like I generally find barleywines to be. A good, dependable BW.

3223907305_4a2aea60f6

Durham Temptation 2005 (10% ABV)

England

Overall – 7.5

Per Style (Imperial Stout) – 6

Oily and smooth. This has a huge port, pit fruit and burnt wood nose. A bit less intense in the mouth. Same flavours as nose. Well done, but a bit traditional for me for the style. Cheap though (for this type of beer)!

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

The Nanny State

Australia has really turned in to a indidualistic smoothering, leftist, archaic Orwellian State. I don’t want to ramble on for too long but I have to get these off my chest. There are a number of beer related issues that the government has intervened in, generally for the wrong reason (IMHO).

For a start are the taxing laws, which make it difficult for budding Australian craft beer brewers to make a good product. If it’s not taxing (raping?) beer via the alcohol content (which makes it difficult for brewers to experiment and bring us new and exciting styles) it’s making it difficult for the craft brewers with ridiculous licensing and production laws. The federal government will no doubt say it is trying to protect us…but what from? Good beer? Damn, better go have a xxxx or vb then. Better yet maybe a xxx Bright Lager or VB raw!

This link illustrates some of the problems. http://www.fairgocraftbeer.com.au/

To top this off now in Queensland the government are considering replacing glass glasses (ironic huh?) with plastic glasses in bars, to quell the (supposed) growing number of glassings (ie using your glass as a weapon of blunt force on someone’s face or body) that have been a problem of late in drinking establishments in this state. Firstly, I am sure this is not a new problem that has experienced a surge in ‘ popularity’, but rather something concocted and jumped on by the media and in turn government. Having said that, when I talked to my good friend in Adelaide he had never heard of the term ‘ glassing’.  So is it really a problem? I personally have never experienced or witnessed the use of the glass as a weapon, but the government, in all it’s poorly placed conservatism is acting as if most civilians can’t go out for a drink without deciding to use our drinking vessel as a weapon to inflict harm apon another like wise inclined individual.

Lastly (and certainly not least), are the bloody import tax laws, that make imports of most ‘luxury’ (ahh inverted commas –  gotta love ’em) items, of which beer is included, so damn expensive. Don’t get me started on my feelings to the fact that for example I could drink a Samichlaus beer in japan for 600 yen ($7 Australian?) while i have to pay about $12 here in Australia, If I can get it at all. And before you say “oh Australia is too far away, or the population is not big enough to support this type of product” I point to New Zealand, where I have seen examples of cheap import products abound, not to mention a wider variety of consumer choice.  Australia also has the 4th highest per capita beer consumption in the World, so there is obviously a market (albiet brainwashed by macro brewers producing macro pale lager swill). Anyway, I am not here to talk macro economics, but surely there has got to be some give and take. This is the lucky country after all!

This government is killing good beer! Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world and i am tired of seeing it. Anyway I’m tired and going to bed before I have a coronary….

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The first annual Great Australian IPA (with year round availability) challenge 2009 grand final event

Last weekend I put what (through my research) have been described as two of the best, If not best available IPAs in Australia to the test. I have a little rating system to make it easier (for you and me both!)…

So without further Ado..

IMG00037-20090925-2058

Jamieson ‘Beast’  India Pale Ale

7% ABV, about 60 IBUs

Apperance: 8/10 – Unfiltered. Dark amber, small head.

Aroma: 7.5/10 – Lots of fruit, more from the malt than hops though.

Taste: 8/10 – full bodied, lots going on. Reasonably hoppy (very hoppy for Australia!).

Overall:  7.75/10  – Lots of promise. I would personally tone the malt down a bit just to let those hop babies breathe, but otherwise very good.

Vs.

Bridge Road ‘Bling’ India Pale Ale

5.8% ABV, ? IBUs (probably around 50 by my estimation).

Apperance: 8/10 – Highly carbonated, big froathy head. Burnt Amber colour.

Aroma: 7.5/10 – Again malts up front, with citrus hops in the tail.

Taste: 7/10 – more a session IPA. Malty with a hop balance that never overpowers.

Overall: 7.5/10 – A well made beer no doubt, just slightly tame but undoubtly classy.

therefore…,

Winner – Jamieson ‘Beast’ IPA.

That was a close call. Both are very good. The Bling IPA is probably easier to get and the lower ABV may be preferable to some, so that may well balance the rating, but side by side I just preferred the Beast a tad more.

Any comments, queries, amusing anecdotes?

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 11:30 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , ,

Australia’s Strongest Beer

IMG00032-20090924-1900Went down to Nectar in West End last night and picked up a few beers. As I was walking towards the city I decided to crack one open…that being Grand Ridge’s Supershine (7.5/10). At 11% this is Australia’s Strongest commercially produced beer. Australia has a draconian law in place that the higher the alcohol the more tax charged, which effectively discourages a lot of brewers. Having said that though I picked this up for $6, which isn’t too bad. This is a Barley wine. Good example too. Thick and tasty and quite resonant. Not quite up to some of the examples out of America but still pretty good. I recommend procuring a bottle If you can. I drank it on the riverside (as you can see in the pics) in a glass thankfully procured from the staff at Nectar. Very relaxing….

IMG00034-20090924-1903 BTW these pics were taken on my phone so don’t complain!

Published in: on September 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm  Comments (13)  
Tags: , , ,