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Black Sheep: Riggwelter (England: English Strong Ale: 5.7% ABV)

Visual: Light chestnut brown coloured body with reddened hues. Middling sized brown froth head. Still.

Nose: Milky chocolate. Cocoa dust. Lightly earthy. Crushed peanuts. Light caramel. Raisins.

Body: Liquorice. Lightly earthy. Cake sponge. Milk texture. Light ginger bread. Light prickling. Greenery. Malt chocolate. Raisins. Light charring.

Finish: Gingerbread. Earthy bitterness. Greenery. Nutty. Bitter chocolate dust. Light milk. Bitter coffee remains. Peppery. Dry treacle.

Conclusion:This shows how earthy hop flavours, and even liquorice notes, both of which are so often a weakness in badly made beers, can be used in satisfying and robust ways.

I think a lot of it comes from the balance of the weight of the beer to its drinkability. This is weighty with a slight milky, creamy grip and thickness at the core but around that is a dry general bitter like feel. The slight dryness is what makes it easy to drink, the thickness adds enough to make the earthier bitter notes more manageable and less wearing that they can be in lighter beers.

There is a gingerbread and peppery spice throughout it – a savoury tingling set of flavours that complement the solid earthy bitterness well without contradicting them too much. It is a very traditional set of bitter notes but behind that the extra malt weight gives hints of dark fruit, raisins, and even manages to make that hint of liquorice feel like a welcome release rather than an off note. It makes for very much the heavier take on the traditional earthy British bitter.

If that earthy bitterness, even a strong ale take on such, does not appeal to you then this will probably not be one you find to your tastes. If, however it does not put you off then you may find, like I do, that this stands on the ideal point between a weightier ale, and a drinkable bitter. Old school but done right.

Background: When the parents came down to visit, as well as the beer from Christmas I mentioned in some previous notes, they also brought a box of Black Sheep beers for me. Many thanks again! Black Sheep are good brewery up north, named after the creator who was the black sheep that left the Theakston brewery to set up his own. Which makes sense. Anyway, this is one I had many times back in the old days, but had not revisited recently, so was looking forwards to trying it again. Went with Jack Off Jill again as backing music, Sexless Demons and Scars this time.

Big Drop: Waterslide IPA (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear gold. Moderate sized off white head that leaves suds. Reasonable amount of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Gooseberry. Cake sponge. Sponge hop character. Gentle bitterness. Sweet lime touch. Apricot touch.

Body: Prickly. Moderate bitterness. Kiwi. High hop character. Light greenery. Grapefruit. Very soft toffee. Fresh sour dough.

Finish: Good bitterness. Prickly hop character. Kiwi. Slight charring. Mild gooseberries. Gunpowder tea. Grapefruit.

Conclusion: This is a nicely bracing, quite clean bodied yet bitter IPA that is matched by some subtly used tart fruit notes. There is quite the wake up call from this low alcohol beer!

It is very prickly. The bitterness has a nice presence but that prickly hope character is what really defines it. Little needles of joy prickling into your tongue. They are closely linked with the bitterness, but separate enough that I considered it worth emphasising.

Now if that was all that was there it could get wearing or even overly harsh, especially in a low abv beer where the malt isn’t really there to balance it. So, with that in mind I am very glad for the gentle gooseberry and grapefruit fresh release. It is subtly done but brings a lovely tingling freshness, not quite mouth cleaning feel but has that air of tartness which, when combined to the bitterness, is why I call it a wake up call of a beer as it kicks that out at you.

There is a gentle touch of apricot as a high note in the aroma but unfortunately it never really comes out in the main body. Instead we get a balancing kiwi note that gives a solid middle around which the lighter flavours and hop prickle can dance – a core to the beer that allows everything else to work.

This is a lovely IPA that balances bitterness, freshness, gentle edges and prickly kick. Definitely a hit with me. Heck, despite being a low abv beer as it is, it comes closer to my taste in IPAs that a lot of the modern full alcohol IPAs!

Background: Another Big Drop seasonal release – this one for the Summer Season. The seasonal releases tend to be where I find the ones I really enjoy in their range, where they put out that tad higher quality – so I hope the same happens here. Coming in at 60 IBU they describe it as a “Southern Hemisphere & New World hop powerhouse”. This was grabbed from Beercraft as I once again raided their low alcohol selection. Went back to Laura Jane Grace’s recent release At War With The Silverfish for background music, it is a fairly short album but fits a gentle drinking session well.

Black Iris: I Push My Fingers Into My Pies (England: Imperial Stout: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thick brown dash of a head.

Nose: Apple strudel. Caramel. Marzipan. Toffee apples. Cherry bakewells. Liquorice touch. Strawberry yogurt.

Body: Thick. Slight bitter chocolate. Liquorice touch. Cherry bakewells. Golden syrup, Apple pies. Vanilla toffee. Toffee apple. Slight milk. Black cherry.

Finish: Sour dough. Crushed bourbon biscuits. Apples. Icing sugar. Strawberry cream. Bitter cocoa. Slightly bitter. Brown bread. Bitter coffee. Almond slices.

Conclusion: This is odd, in so many ways. Which, looking at the ingredient list, you may be thinking that this should not surprise me. However, even knowing what went into this it manages to express itself in unusual and unexpected ways over and over again.

The base stout is stodgy, with a kind of bitter cocoa but in a muted way. It is slightly bready in heaviness, slightly milky in the creaminess of the texture, so with these combined it is definitely a thick, chewy stout. Which makes it even odder that the elements of the base stout are so oddly muted. It is definitely present, definitely weighty but in a fairly bready nondescript way with bitter chocolate and coffee there but slightly lost.

So, with all that in mind, back to the oddness of this beer. I feel like the base described above is muted in a deliberate move to make room for the unusual ingredients and give those flavours room to roam. The thing is that while this has cherry and strawberry (and vanilla and almonds) in it, those are not the most evident flavours. So what does stand out? What is the first super evident note? Apple strudel. Yeah I didn’t see that one coming either. There is a super sticky apple filling style, sticky toffee, and every combination in-between. Nice, but deeply unexpected.

Now, I will admit, nestled away in the midst of this muted imperial stout of toffee apple strudel is , in fact, a 100% recognisable cherry bakewell set of notes. It is like there is a calm at the eye of the stout tornado and there the bakewell nestles. It is still slightly muted, not super sweet, but absolutely there are recognisable as the dessert they were going for.

So, I would say it is not great because of feeling slightly muted in a lot of elements, but it is far from bad. It is a lot, and I mean a LOT, a lot of often clashing elements but it is fair fascinating if not best set up. The base feels like it is muted, but the strudel and everything with it feels sickly. I’d say don’t grab if your main interest is the bakewell gimmick, as that is but a small part of this.

To be a really good beer it probably would either need a bigger use of the base Imperial Stout flavours, or more dedication to the bakewell gimmick – right now if feels just slightly underwhelming if interesting. So, not really one I would recommend but it is an enjoyable mess.

Background: I grabbed this one for a few reasons, but the main one being that it is a cherry bakewell imperial stout and the contrast between an imperial stout and a bakewell being combined in one thing intrigued me. To try and achieve this goal they used cherry and strawberry puree, vanilla pods, lactose and almonds. Another reason was the artwork which has a nicely spooky look in striking black and white. That cool design led to me picking some heavier music for drinking – Noctule’s Wretched Abyss – some Skyrim inspired black metal which went along perfectly. This is another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Shepherd Neame: 1698 (England: English Strong Ale: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear caramel brown. Fizzy white head of moderate size but does not last long. Some small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Light toffee. Light black cherry. Light chalk.

Body: Christmas cake. Light chalk. Odd mix of thin and chewy mouthfeel. Light liquorice. Brown bread. Slight sulphur. Walnuts.

Finish: Light chalk. Light liquorice. Brown bread. Christmas cake. Almonds. Slightly earthy. Greenery and sage. Dry marzipan.

Conclusion: I don’t know if the time in the bottle hurt it rather than helped it, despite this being bottle conditioned, but when I first took a sip of this it felt like something there wasn’t working. It felt a bit light up front. Now it was close to working, there was subtle toffee and black-cherry in the aroma, which is a good standby of an English Strong Ale, but those elements didn’t follow through into the body.

The body instead calls to Christmas cake, but with a savoury walnut like backing before heading out into an earthy and even more obviously nutty finish. Which all seems pretty appropriate as this was first bought at Christmas and – well Christmas cake is pretty obviously appropriate to that, and I can just about wedge the nuttiness in under that to claim there is some sort of thematic consistency going on here. Probably.

It feels light early on, which is a fair flaw – occasionally showing the weight this beer needs, but it was disappointing. As time goes on the layers seem to build up so it feels a lot more present at the end, which makes it much more satisfying. As said at the start, initially this felt like the time in the bottle had hurt rather than helped it, and it was very much that early lack of weight that was the most obvious tell of that.

So, how is it when it has had some time to build up that flavour and weight? Well now it is very nutty, which is ok but I do feel disappointed that the Black Cherry and the Christmas cake notes seem to have fallen by the wayside as they could really have done with some more play. In return there has been an increase in savoury greenery and earthy hop bitterness which does the job at rounding it out.

Overall, takes a while to get going, but solid when it does – nutty, earthy and very present. Not shiny and exciting but a solid enough beer to spend time with.

Background: This beer has had quite the journey to get to these tasting notes. It was originally grabbed by my family for when I was going to head up last Christmas. Anyway, so covid was everywhere, so I never went up north, but since my family don’t drink this style of beer they kept it until we could finally meet up. Many thanks! So, this is now fairly close to its best before date of November 2011, but as it is bottle conditioned hopefully that should not be an issue, or may even make it better. We shall see. Went with Garbage V 2.0 as backing music, because that album is a classic and thus should be listened to regularly.

Paulaner: Oktoberfest (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 6% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Moderate small bubbled carbonation. Large white mounded head.

Nose: Cake sponge. Vanilla. Soft citrus. Orange zest. Dry toffee. Slight sulphur.

Body: Bready. Moderate bitterness. Cake sponge. Palma violets. Fresh dough. Slight oily bitterness. Slight sulphur. Light toffee. Peppery.

Finish: Peppery. Moderate bitterness. Light charring. Moderate hop character. Palma violets. Slight orange. Bready.

Conclusion: This is a breadier, heavier Oktoberfest beer. It starts out fairly gentle, with soft citrus notes in the aroma and a restrained sweetness, but as you put your head down to start sipping you find something very different.

The body is bready and peppery with a moderate bitterness that, while not as heavy as some German Pils, is still higher than the average German lager and gives some heft to it. The body is so slick, and just a bit oily that this higher bitterness never feels harsh, just like a bitter velvet wrapped kick.

There is a gentle toffee touch, and that familiar noble hop palma violet like touch which show a bit more varied influence from the malt and the hops, but in general it is solidly bready, bitter and a bit peppery at its core.

It has just the slightest sulphurous touch around the edges, which is pretty unusual here, and it adds to the weightier character this beer brings. Despite that this is still very obviously a lager, it isn’t trying to pretend to be something else – it has a generally clean feel, not highly carbonated thankfully, and has a slight oily sheen that is very much a clean lager oily style rather than the heavier stickier style you tend to get in an ale.

This isn’t one of my favourite beers, it feels like an odd compromise between the sulphur touch and weight of an ale and the clean character if a lager and the two seem to weaken each other, but, with that said.- I do like the bitterness it brings. When you have that nice bitterness and hop character combined with the more easy drinking lager character it makes for something that still has a home with me

Not 100% for me, but I still kind of dig it.

Background: So, another Oktoberfest beer, and another of the official big six. After many years of it being fairly hard to find a good range of Oktoberfest beers I am feeling spoiled this year. This is my third tasting note of one of the big six, and fourth I have actually tried. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, who have had a decent amount in. I actually have a Paulaner glass amongst the many and varied glassware so I pulled it out for the occasion. I went back to Jack Of Jill: Clear Heart, Grey Flowers for backing music, still a favourite album that goes from melodic to screams in a heartbeat and has such great gothic punk influenced tunes.

St George Distillery: The English – Original (English Single Malt Whisky: 43% ABV)

Visual: Very pale, slightly greened touch but mostly clear. Fast thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Viscous. Apples. Pencil shavings. Dry cake sponge. Moss. Slight neutral vodka alcohol character. Water makes slightly oily. Lighter fluid touch. More water makes lightly sulphur touched. Crushed rocks with a lick of salt.

Body: Smooth. Gentle toffee. Cake sponge. Slight cream. Mild chocolate eclair sweets. Everything done in a subtle way. Neutral alcohol character. Water adds more toffee and chocolate eclairs. More water turns to crushed rocks and apples.

Finish: Wood shavings. Fudge. Apples. Clean alcohol but smooth. Light aniseed. Water adds cake sponge. Toffee. More waters adds crushed rocks, pears and a nail varnish air.

Conclusion: This needs water, not because it is harsh, as it is not (though there is a kind of neutral alcohol sheen to the whole thing, it is just a smooth alcohol sheen if that makes sense?). It does however definitely need water. Not too much water though. Adding more than just a gentle pour turns this into a slightly gritty rocks thing that loses most of the better notes. I am, however, getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, with the sweet spot of water this is a gentle, very gentle, toffee and fudge thing with a slightly creamy flavour – though without the associated weight. There are slightly heavier chocolate eclair hard sweet notes, but by slightly I do mean slightly, neat it was so light as to feel almost vanishing which is why it needed water so badly. Water actually makes it that tiny touch heavier and makes the so very slightly heavier flavours stand out more. So yes, add a drop of water to this to get it to open up.

Some of the apple and pear notes I remember from the very young spirit of the Chapter 6 release actually manage to still survive through to this expression, but not much.

Overall it is not exactly impressive. Neat it has some clean alcohol sheen and light flavours, too much water and it gets a bit gritty. At its best it is gentle and easygoing, but even with the extra flavour the water brings out it is not as interesting as a well developed smooth lowland which seems its direct competitor.

It is ok, but there are so many other gentle drinking whiskies that give so much more for the experience that I cannot recommend this one.

Background: Last time I ran into the St George Distillery they were using the name “The English Whisky Company”, now they are just listing it as “The English”. Which means every time they make a crap whisky I can now use the “I hate the English” joke. Anyway, this has no age statement but I did notes on their Chapter 6 whisky back in 2012 so I’m guessing they have at least 10 year whisky lying around. I am also fairly sure than is not youngest whisky they used in this from the notes. This was part of a three pack of miniatures grabbed from Independent Spirit, which had this along with a peated take and a rum finished one. Will be trying those another day. Was chatting with friends again while doing these notes so no backing music this time.

Cantillon: Zwanze 2021 – Parasol (Belgium: Fruit Lambic: 5% ABV)

Visual: Slightly darkened apricot skin. Brown bread colour touched thin head.

Nose: Very fresh lemon. Citrus tart orange. Slightly bready. Light horse blankets and hint of sulphur.

Body: Pancakes. Jiff lemon. Crumpets sans butter. Peppery. Lemon juice. Orange juice. Honey. Gooseberries.

Finish: Peppery. Orange juice with bits. Lemon juice. Tart grapes. Menthol touch. Light peppermint.

Conclusion: This is so freaking citrus as heck and fresh. It absolutely bursts with the citrus notes from the aroma right to the last embers of flavour from the finish of the last drops that you sipped. There is so much orange and lemon styled notes and they all feel so natural and so fresh. Clearly themselves , something a lot of other fruits seem to find hard. Those fruits are still enjoyable in how they mesh with the sour lambic, but these are possibly the most cleanly identifiable fruit notes in a lambic I have encountered.

Like nigh every Cantillon that exists that isn’t the whole story though. This isn’t as sour or mouth puckering as you would expect from a Cantillon. It feels like the citrus character has mellowed the tartness, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to examine. There is a lovely low level peppery character that is such a good underline to the very fresh experience. On the other end of the scale it has a sweet honey touch that just pops up the experience a bit.

It hasn’t got the grace of a lot of Cantillon beers, but it is just bursting with flavour in every direction. I really enjoy it, even in its graceless nature. Is is so different, that freshness is unlike anything I have seen in lambics before, a very clean bright freshness rather than the sour, puckering freshness of most lambics. It may not be classy, but I just love that it shows there are still things to be discovered in what can be done with lambics.

We need someone, possibly even Cantillion to take this idea and run with it as if they can do this on first try (or technically second based on their attempt 70 years ago) then I’m sure that they can polish it up to something special. As is this is still fun as hell.

Background: This is it, I finally did notes on a Zwanze day beer! I have had two before, but never did notes. For those who are not aware, Zwanze day is when Cantillon releases a unique beer each year, and a limited number of places around the world have access to put it on tap. I happen to be lucky that Moor’s Taproom is competitively easy to get to and have had Zwanze day events for a few years now. I missed last years Zwanze as, well covid and lack of vaccines. This year I was still nervous, but they split the event into three smaller groups, with drinking done outside and that helped me decide to give it a go. This years Zwanze is a blend of lambic and citrus fruit (mostly orange says nigh every site I look at). Apparently they tried a similar thing about 70 years ago, but ended up with corks exploding out of bottles from the re-fermentation and the brewers running for cover and getting drenched. Thankfully it seemed more stable this time. I love that little story, tales behind beers and drinking them is one of my favourite things about this pastime. I nearly missed out on this despite being at the event – my booking was for between 16.00-19.00 and I am used to the Zwanze pour being later in the event in past years, so was not too worried when my train was delayed so I was 15 mins late. Turns out they did it as the first pour of the night! Thankfully they trusted me that I was not trying to grab a second and poured my Zwanze for me. Many thanks! There was no abv listed but the staff let me know if was 5% abv when asked.

Cantillon: Fou’foune (Belgium: Fruit Lambic: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy dark lemon juice to apricot skin. Thin white rim of a head.

Nose: Tart. Grapes. Apricot skin. Oats. Light horse blankets. Wet with fruit remains apricot stones.

Body: Tart. White wine. Fresh apricot that alters to dried apricot over time. Grapes. Thick grape syrup tart middle. Acidity. Cider. Dry oak. Lightly bitter.

Finish: Tart grapes. Apricot skin. Honey. Apricot syrup. Tart apples.

Conclusion: This a comparatively relaxed and yet still very flavoursome Cantillon. It does have the acidity of a Cantillon, but the fruit choice seems to have gone a long way towards keeping it from being too mouth puckeringly sour.

The apricot is delivered remarkably well. It comes through as drier apricot skin like notes front, then that sweeter clinging dried apricot notes in the middle, into a slightly syrup like release at the end. In fact that syrup character does show in the middle as well, just there it is more just the thickness with a slight grape taste that gives a lovely release from the drier Cantillon base. Finally there is a low level oat feeling bitterness underneath it at all times.

These three layers make it work wonderfully – the sweeter fruit touches gives release from the sourness. The tart Cantillon style, while not as high as usual makes for a solid rewarding main middle and the dry bitter touches ground it. Around all this the rest of the rewarding complexities of the fruit roam and reward you.

This probably the best introduction to Cantillion I have seen. Delicious, fruity but reins in the more mouth puckering side of Cantillion without completely hiding the sourness. I never thought I would find an easy drinking Cantillon, and I still haven’t, but I feel this is the closest thing we will ever get to it and it is lovely.


Background: Sooo Fou’foune is a bit of a rude word it turns out. I am so innocent and had no idea until anyone told me. Honest. Anyway, an advantage of of drinking with others at Zwanze day is someone let me know the rude pun of the name. This is unusual in that it is a lambic made with apricots, which is very far from a standard lambic fruit choice. This is listed in “100 Belgian beers to try before you die” where they oddly say that the taste has “little or no apricot or peach” – I have seen arguments that this beer is at its best when very fresh, so possibly the fruit fades fast and I was very lucky to try it on tap at the aforementioned Zwanze day when it was, I presume, very fresh. I only did notes on this and the Zwanze day beer, but the tap list at the Zwanze day event at Moor Taproom was immense. Magic Lambic was on, Camerise, Menu Pineau, Nath and more. I wish I could have spread my drinking over several days so I was in good tasting condition to do notes on more! So many rare Cantillon beers I had never seen anywhere else. I looked up the abv for this online as it was not listed, most say 5.5% which is what I put. Some say 5%. So around that region.

Demoersleutel Beer Engineers: Intergalactic Bounty Hunter (Netherlands: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin brown dust of a head.

Nose: Milky coffee. Coconut dust.

Body: Creamy texture, slightly oily. Nut oils. Nougat touch. Coconut. Lots of creamy coffee. Quite thick. Bitter cocoa. Toffee.

Finish: Creamy coffee. Chocolate ice cream. Coconut. Cream. Nougat. Bitter cocoa.

Conclusion: Oh, this is very nicely balanced. Also there is a good chunk of coconut. However we all know about my love of coconut in stouts, so lets concentrate on that balance first.

This is creamy of body and fairly thick, it doesn’t show the full 12% abv in weight but it definitely uses the malt to give that thick, rewarding mouthfeel very well. Despite that thickness and the creamy notes the (and heeeereee we go!) coconut notes actually makes the whole thing come across a tad drier than you would expect. It means that, while there is significant weight to this, it is far from sickly sweet and a while it has a light shimmer of an alcohol tell over whole whole thing it doesn’t feel “boozy”

There is a nice oiliness to it that comes along with a savoury nuttiness that, again, keeps this from getting sickly. The bitter cocoa dusts adds lovely bitter character while still keeping with the bounty chocolate bar theme which I am 90% sure the name calls to. They do have Bounty chocolate bars pretty much everywhere right? I’m not going to find out it is just a UK thing, right? The sweeter notes edge in with toffee hints at the edges, but in general this feel that it completely wants to be the beer take on a bounty chocolate bar, without descending into a boozy, sickly sweet mess as a lot of dessert themed stouts do.

And it manages it. Darn impressive.

It is sweet enough, just enough sweetness put out then everything else is used to bring this high alcohol beer down to being a restrained beast. So much going on here that I’ve not even touched on the mild coffee that bleeds out over the edges, the nougat thickness, or the lashings and lashings of coconut.

Oh yes this has coconut.

This is a very well made beer.

Background: This caught my eye at Independent Spirit as it is made with coconut. I love Imperial Stouts made with coconut when they are well done. Adore them. It is also made with coffee, but I’m here for the coconut. The can lists it as 12% abv, but a lot of people online list it as 10%. I wonder if that is something to do with the fact I’ve heard this a bigger brewed version of a beer they did previously? Maybe that was 10%? Not sure, not managed to find confirmation. As you can see this is one of the rare beer’s where I have done multiple shots of the can so you can see more of the art as it is very cool. Not tried anything from Demoersleutel Beer Engineers before, but I do like the name, so much more evocative than De moersleutel Brewers. Went back to David Bowie’s Blackstar as music for this – something lovely and haunting to back a big beer. Still so emotional an album even years on.

Insel: Swimmer’s Saison (Germany: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear caramel brown touched body. Lots of small bubbled carbonation in the body and a thin off white head.

Nose: Fruity esters. Slight sulphur. Sugared lemons. Orange skin. Brown bread. Sage.

Body: Iced tea. Wet charring. Touch of brown sugar. Orange skin. Touch of chalk. Lime touch. Hard fruit sweets. Sugared water. Wet teabags.

Finish: Orange skin. Brown sugar. Dirty water. Wet teabags. Herbal. Sage.

Conclusion: Saisons have been fairly varied in style in my experience. Some have been these lovely fresh and hoppy bitter things, Some have been earthy, spicy and rustic, some have been oddly textured in an almost steam beer way, some have been slightly sour. Absolutely none have been anything like this low abv take.

On the nose it is fairly interesting – it is fairly fruity in a citrus way, with a touch of sage savoury spice, which is a reasonable call to the more herbal saisons. Behind that is a fairly neutral bready backing, but it still has enough interesting there that I had hope.

The body is, by comparison, a bit watery. It feels like sugared water meets brown sugar and then has had a teabag dunked a few times into the the resulting mix, but not enough to add any real layered flavour.

The fruity, interesting notes are still there, but the base behind it feels like empty wet air. While the breadiness of the aroma wasn’t exciting it was solid and gave a strong base from the other notes to work from, while here the more interesting notes get lost in the beer’s watery depths.

This coasts through the beer into the finish, where a pleasant orange character sits over a dirty sugar water emptiness once more. It isn’t that the beer is vile, but fairly empty for the most part, so the better notes end up falling flat and the beer as a whole feels muddied and unfocussed.

It is an unusual low abv beer, but still shows the teabag and iced tea notes clearly that are the bane of the low alcohol style and doesn’t push anything heavy enough to offset them.

While I appreciate a different style choice for a low abv beer, this doesn’t do much with it at all.


Background: This was the second Insel beer I bought from light drinks, and I think, the last beer I have from that batch to do notes on. This is well reputed, but after being disappointed with their similarly well received wet hopped pilsner I was more nervous coming to this one. Was surprised to see a low alcohol Saison, not a common pick for low abv beer, but I’m always happy to see experimentation. I will admit, while it adds nothing to the beer, the paper wrapped bottles do make this look fairly fancy. Went back to Ritualz – CDR for music while drinking. Been a while since I put that on and it is lovely evocative dark electronic tunes so thought it was time to give another spin as fine background music for drinking.

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