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Cooper’s Choice: Inchdairnie Distillery – Finglassie Lowland Smoke Madeira Finish (Scottish Single Cask Lowland Whisky: 53% abv)

Visual: Pale, slightly greened grain colour. Very slow puckering comes from the spirit.

Nose: Tarry. Oily. Peat smoke. Cinder toffee. Salty. Fudge. Water adds moss. More salt. Slight crushed rocks.

Body: Thick and oily. Slightly tarry. Sweet red dessert wine. Sweet raspberry yogurt. Slightly drying. Vanilla toffee. Strawberry jelly. Water makes smooth. Sherry trifle touched. Chocolate toffee and chocolate liqueur.

Finish: Tannins. Shortbread. Cake sponge. Peat smoke. Dried beef slices. Madeira soaked raisins to fruitcake. Strawberry jam. Water adds melted toffee to chocolate and vanilla toffee. Oily peat. Tarry.

Conclusion: Ok, after encountering some dead distilleries’ take on a peated lowland and absolutely loving it, I’ve been searching for a modern day, more easily available, peated lowland.

This may not be super easy to get, being from a new distillery with, so far, very few releases, but it is both from the lowland area and fairly heavily peated. So, does it fit the bill?

Well it isn’t a traditional lowland. Instead of that smooth triple distilled light style it is slightly salty and with a thickness that calls more towards Island or Highland than to Lowland, so it didn’t fit that niche I was hunting out. However …

This is still great.

It’s oily, almost tarry in a way that reminds me of some of the heavier Mortlach expressions I have encountered, mixed with those slightly salty, rocky Islay like notes. It is still smooth though, which calls to the lowland origins – and is impressive considering the over 50% abv.

So, I’m guessing even without the unusual cask finishing this would still be a solid whisky, but boy does that Madeira finish make it stand out. There is a vanilla sweetness at the start, but as you get deeper into the whisky it mutates into a sweet raspberry, almost jelly or jam like notes which somehow work so well with that oily peat. The sweetness is understated and yet so rounded and well developed in the character it delivers. It makes for an odd, peaty, oily, trifle like feel – which works better than that sounds.

Neat it is still slightly alcohol touched, which again, this is 50% abv and up that is not a surprise, but water turns that into a very slick drink. It is still peaty and oily, don’t worry on that note, but now the red fruit notes are clearer and the base becomes sweeter and smoother, with choc toffee notes that make it more peaty dessert feel, a heavier sweet note that again works brilliantly with the peat.

It’s genuinely good, the base oily peat spirit is very well expressed and matches well with the almost dessert wine feeling Madeira influence to make an enthralling experience. Not the peated lowland I was looking for, but one I’m glad I encountered instead.

Background: As referenced in the notes, I deeply enjoyed some peated lowland whisky I had tried, that are not defunct, so when I saw this – a new distillery, doing a peated lowland it caught my eye. Looking on their website they seem to be doing a wide range of experimental whisky so it may be one to watch in the future. Doesn’t seem to be many official bottlings yet so was happy to get my hands on this Cooper’s Choice independent bottling. Finglassie or also KinGlassie seems to be the distilleries name for their heavily peated expressions. They also seem to have a rye release which is very unusual for a Scottish distillery. This is cask 409, one of 270 bottles, and was finished in a Madeira cask. Bought from the always great Independent Spirit, this was drunk while listening to Cancer Bats: Psychotic Jailbreak – I’d seen them live a few times and really enjoyed the energy of their live performances but had not bought an actual album of their until now.

Mash Gang: Alpha Delta: High Definition (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy pale lemon juice coloured body. Thin white loose bubbled head.

Nose: Lemon juice and grapefruit. Lightly tart. Light flour like hop feel and light bitterness. Grapes. Light peach.

Body: Flour feeling. High hop bitterness. Light charring. Greenery. Sour lemon juice backing. Light menthol. Grapefruit.

Finish: Lemon juice. Flour. Gunpowder tea. Grapes. Menthol. Grapefruit.

Conclusion: This is odd in many ways, but mainly that is is a low abv beer that manages to come across as very, well, beer like, and yet not in a style that a see much in the normal beer world. Maybe, I have encountered a beer or two in the vague ballpark as this, but in general it feels like a low abv beer that is happy to experiment and be itself rather that trying to ape the style of a higher abv beer.

Well, that or my finger really isn’t on the pulse of beer styles any more and beers like this are turning up everywhere. Which is possible.

It is actually a really good style I would like to see more of. It reminds me of an XPA (which is itself an odd style) with heavy bitterness and an out of the way dry malt base, but lightly soured in a way that takes away what can be an overly harsh feel to the XPA style.

I mean, it is still harshly bitter, with a flour like, clingy hope feel into gunpowder tea and charring at the end, it is just the light tartness makes it all much more manageable.

Flavour-wise it has gentle tart lemon juice and grapefruit notes as the main job, generally tart fruit juice like notes that work well with the bitterness.

It isn’t perfect. The harsher notes can become too present but it is a really good beer with the deliberately out of the way malt character of the style meaning that those elements don’t feel like a tell of low alcohol like they normally would, instead feeling like a natural part of the beer style.

Drunk blind I would not have guess the actual abv of this, and would have still very much have enjoyed it. A very impressive, very experimental beer and a great one at the low abv.

Background: Took me a while to work out the name for this – initially misread the symbols on the front of this as ADHD, and did a double take before realising it was a Delta symbol in the middle. Anyway HD stands for High Definition, the name which is only actually visible on the side of the beer. Nothing like making it hard for me to work out what your beer is called. This was grabbed from Beercraft which tends to have an interesting low alcohol selection. This being a collaboration with Alpha Delta who I haven’t encountered before, and described as being inspired by a New York State Sour Pale Ale, it definitely caught my attention. Looking online it uses El Dorado Incognito, Citra Spectrum, Talus and Mandarina Bavaria for the hops and has Orange oil, Madagascan bourbon vanilla, malic acid, yerba mate, and green coffee bean in it. I had to look up what some of those were! Also they describe the malt bill as including “rye, spelt, wheat and oats and features multiple grain size of the same variant “ – So, well they went full on in on making this an odd one. For appropriate background music I went for Polyphia – New Levels, New Devils. The odd math rock stylee seemed appropriate.

Barton Distillery: 1792 Small Batch (USA: Bourbon Whiskey: 46.85% ABV)

Visual: Darkened, slightly browned gold. Mainly slow puckering comes from the spirit.

Nose: Cereals. Wisp of smoke. Shreddies. Quite dry. Slight butter. Peppery. Vanilla. Slightly dusty.

Body: Slick. Honey. Vanilla. Slight peach. Lightly waxy. Vanilla yogurt. Flower petals. Light strawberry. Toffee. Water lightens and makes more generic.

Finish: Butter. Peppery to rye crackers. Dried apricot touch. Brown bread. Slight chives. Vanilla yogurt. Water adds slight sulphur and general cereals quality.

Conclusion: This reminds me a bit of Maker’s Mark, just bigger. That is a good thing though, Makers Mark was my go to bourbon for many a year and bigger is generally welcome.

It has the same slightly rustic, peppery and cereal led character but here with extra touches that really pushes it up a notch. The mouthfeel is slick, but a bit waxy, a bit buttery, which makes everything a bit more interesting behind the more traditional vanilla and toffee flavours. There is even a wisp of sulphur adding a touch of weight. Not peat smoke, just a slightly sulphur touched dry air to the whole thing.

There are hints at fruit notes at the edge which is unusual for a bourbon. Nothing showing through strongly, just calls to rounding apricot or strawberry that adds a faint sweetness to what is a dry, cereal led whiskey.

A lot of those flavours are enhanced by the bigger mouthfeel. The slightly waxy, touch really gives grip to a slick bourbon. Despite the touch higher abv it only shows in grip and flavour, no real extra harshness. In fact, on that note, don’t add water to this, it only mutes what is an already good bourbon. In my opinion obviously, I’m not going to slap the whiskey out of your hands if you think differently.

It isn’t a must have bourbon, but feels like a posh Makers Mark and that is no bad thing. Definitely better, but still an easy drinking bourbon and worth the extra pounds it costs. I enjoy it very much.

Background: Fairly simple story for this one. I had a bourbon shaped gap in my whisky selection at the time, was perusing the whiskey selection in Waitrose and noticed this one. Was not silly money, seemed to have a good reputation, and so I grabbed a bottle. Simple. Didn’t know much about it at the time so not much else to add. Had seen IDLES live recently, my first gig for years due to the darn plague going around, so went with IDLES: Crawler as backing music. Enjoyed the gig but was a tad worried that I was pretty much the only darn person masked up. Sigh.

Fallen Acorn: Emperor: Brandy BA Simple Tricks and Nonsense (England: Imperial Stout: 15.4% ABV)

Visual: Black. Utterly still. No head.

Nose: Brandy soaked sponge. Sherry cream. Sherry soaked raisins. Fig rolls. Caramel and milky chocolate, also biscuity which together gives a Twix Bar image. Mild licorice. Nougat.

Body: Very smooth, into a cake sponge feel. Nougat. Brandy soaked raisins and brandy sponge. Chocolate cake sponge. Chocolate liqueur. Liqueur filled chocolate sweets. Trifle sponge. Chocolate flapjacks. Cognac touch.

Finish: Rum sponge. Chocolate cake sponge. Liqueur filled chocolate sweets. Chocolate flapjacks. Golden syrup touch.

Conclusion: Ohhh, it has been a long time since I have had an imperial stout like this. This is very big, but oh so very smooth. Like, a 15% and up abv beer should not have this smooth a texture. Early on it just slides down your throat. It is not that it is thin, but it is nothing like what you would expect. An utterly still beer on pour and utterly slick on swallow. It does quickly move on from that to a chocolate sponge fluffy feel and flavour, but that fluffy character is still lighter than you would expect from the abv. It feels very influenced by the super smooth take that was common in the USA in roughly the middle 2K era.

I haven’t had the unaged beer, but I’m guessing is was probably pretty smooth and not too carbonated to begin with, but if so, the ageing has really emphasised both point until this feels like a smooth chocolate liqueur, sans some of the alcohol fire. (Again, impressive considering the absurd abv this has).

On top of that this is laden with the barrel aged flavour – not that I would haver recognised the barrel correctly and guessed brandy sight unseen. Yes, this has tons of brandy soaked cake sponge flavours, and a kind of raisins element, but there are so many odd spirit flavours that seem to come out of the beer and barrel interaction that I would have been hard pressed to guess a specific one. It tastes like shoving a mouthful of varied liqueur filled chocolates in your gob at once and washing it down with an imperial stout.

It results in a beer that I respect for brewing quality and enjoy for bursting spirit flavour, it is very good, but I will admit I prefer my imperial stouts a bit more chewy in feel. I mean, this is recognisably strong despite its slickness and smoothness – mainly from those spirity flavours and , while smooth, still a noticeable alcohol character. I still would have preferred a touch bigger thickness in mouthfeel. Oddly this actually ties into the one big flaw of the beer, don’t let it warm to room temperature. Normally I quite like letting my stouts warm, but this becomes very boozy and noticeably alcohol touched when at room temperature. It doesn’t gain the thicker mouthfeel I wanted, just become very more obvious in its alcohol feel which does not benefit the beer. Still, slightly chilled this is lovely.

Still, despite those quibbles, overall this is very well done. It is a huge wave of spirity flavour and very well made base imperial stout. However, at 25 quid odd a pop I have to be critical about it for the little flaws as for that money you should demand excellence. It is very good indeed, but not 25 quid a go good.

Background: Emperor brewing have a massive reputation for making imperial stouts. I have encountered them in on collaboration before and found it pretty darn nice. So, a short while back I was discussing them at a Mill’s beer tasting at indie spirit, and one of the other people there mentioned that Fallen Acorn had done a collaboration with them and, shockingly, was still in stock on their store. You had to buy them in a set of three different barrel ageing, so it was a tad expensive, but I bit the bullet and grabbed them. Many thanks to the guy who mentioned it to me, if you ever read this! Since then looks like they sell them individually now, but ah well, no complaints. This is meant to emulate German chocolate cake in style, and was made with lactose and aged in Brandy barrels. Due to being a large bottle and huuuge abv I saved some of this for another day, stopping up the bottle. I am not as young as I once was. Music wise i went with Bloodywood – Rakshak. Yep they finally have their first album out and it is amazing!

Starward: Ginger Beer Cask #6 (Australia Single Malt Whisky: 4 Years?: 48% ABV)

Visual: Dark copper to bronze, with reddish touches. Very slow puckering comes from the spirit.

Nose: Ginger. Menthol. Peppermint. Dessert wine. Toffee touch. Rose wine touch. Dried apricot. Rose petals. Water adds more menthol, more ginger and burnt brown sugar.

Body: Smooth front into a lightly burning strength. Sour red wine. Tannins. Butterscotch, Ginger. Vanilla. Fatty butter. Dried apricot. Apple. Water makes slightly waxy, but smoother. More ginger. Even more water brings out a strawberry touch.

Finish: Fiery ginger bread. Sweet ginger beer. Grassy. Dry oak. Tannins. Bitter red wine. A waxy remaining air. Water adds lots of ginger and fatty butter comes out. Sulphur candles air. More water makes peppery.

Conclusion: Ok, let’s get it out of the way quickly. This is, obviously, heresy, but is it tasty tasty heresy?

Well, it answer that I will first examine nearly everything else I can, because I am an evil shit. Like a lot of warmer country aged whisky this is thick and chewy, with an unusual texture, that reminds me of whisky that has been directly gas heated (from the few times I have had a chance to try whisky described as such anyway) . Anyway, this has a distinct feel that I can best describe as slightly like the fluffy feel of a steam beer, but not. I am good at this words lark honest. Despite the higher abv and being younger whisky it is fairly smooth initially, the alcohol does become noticeable fast, but never painful and easily dealt with by adding some water.

The base whisky has a rose wine air to it, with more red wine like notes around edges. Early on it feels more towards the red wine, but even a few drops of water soothes it towards the more rose style. That lighter wine touch seems to allow a lot of room for lighter, menthol like notes to roam around over everything.

A lot of the evident character is in the feel, as well as that lightly gassy fluffy touch mentioned before, there is a waxy sheen at the end and a sulphurous candle touch in the air and feel, heck even a kind of fatty butter touch. The quicker ageing in a hot climate really gives it some feel. On that is a lightly sweet, red and rose wine touched whisky, with some more traditional sweet vanilla and such notes as well, but a lot is in that mouthfeel.

So, ginger beer finish eh? The ginger is very evident, as you can probably tell from the main notes above. The ginger thankfully doesn’t overpower the whisky but I is very clear indeed. Lots of spicy ginger early on, with sweeter ginger beer touches mixing into that vanilla style as it integrates into the whisky, then out into a peppery spice dryness in the finish. While the ginger is clear it feels like the edges fade nicely into the whisky making it feel like a coherent whole. It doesn’t feel out of place, it stands out as a dominant element, not an alien one. It is worth noting that it is far more integrated with a drop of water, being a tad more fiery neat, but still never an issue.

So, conclusion, tasty heresy. Now I will admit I hope, tasty though it is, this doesn’t become a popular trend in whisky – a craze that the bigger distilleries copy – as I am enjoying very much here as the exception, not the norm, and also as I feel a lot of the less heavy whiskies would not cope half as well as this does with it.

As is, while I am not as crazy about it as a lot of its fans, this is definitely tasty heresy.

Background: Starward has been on my radar for a while, then Independent Spirit did a comparatively recent Starward tasting, where I got to enjoy a good chunk of their line up, It was a very good night. There, lots of people were raving about a whisky that was not in the line up though. A Starward that had been finished in Ginger Beer casks. Now that sounded like a horrible mess to me, but everyone was so enthused about it I decided, when it turned up, to give it a go and see if it was worth the hype. First thing I noticed is that it is in 50CL bottles, which is an odd choice and always makes the bottle look like it is slightly further away than it really is. The whisky was distilled 2017 and bottled 2021, so is somewhere around 3 or 4 years in age. Whisky in hot countries always seems to age very differently, and requires less time to become quality, if very different, whisky so I was confident this would not taste as young as that sounds. It is a mix of Apera (Australian Fortified wine) and red wine aged whisky, that then,as the name suggests was finished in ginger beer casks – the distilleries own ginger beer casks in fact. So lots of very different elements from a Scotch or Irish whisky there. I went with Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero as backing music, the fact this concept album was initially set in 2022 seems far too accurate these days.

Holy Goat: Blood Eagle (Scotland: Fruit Flemish Red: 6.66% ABV)

Visual: Hazy cherry-aid red to black cherry centre. Reddened off white medium sized head.

Nose: Cherry yogurt. Wheat flecks. Sour red wine. Black currant and crushed red grape skin. Thick. Strawberry. Brown bread.

Body: Tart. Sweet plum. Sweet red wine. Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Sticky gummed brown paper. Lightly fizzy. Fizzy lemon sherbet. Peppery bitterness. Rye crackers. Black cherry.

Finish: Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Sweet plums. Light tart raspberry. Gummy – Gelatine sweets in general. Brown bread. Bourbon air.

Conclusion: This is very rewarding, with thick gummy brown paper style take on the sticky, sour red Flemish ale at the base but has been filled in every inch with some twist and turn that makes it stand out.

The fruit is the most obvious twist, as you might expect, sweet plums are there, but the sour notes and tart fruit notes are more evident. There is a raspberry freshness and sour black cherry, often in a slightly artificial style that calls to the sour gelatine fizzy sweets that exists. It is gummy in its thickness and the flavours really vinous with lots of red wine and red grape notes hanging around even as the main fruitiness is waning.

Around that is a peppery, slightly bitter character into a brown bread grounding. Savoury in general, slightly spicy, and slightly spirity in a bourbon to rye style. It is a mix of lower grounding notes that bring you down from that tarter flavours, and tells of the alcohol still present there.

So much to examine as you can probably tell, and while the flavours are wide ranging they never clash. If I had to criticise it I would say that the gumminess builds up over time to become very sticky at the end, and a bit too present, but this only becomes an issue at the very end when the more savoury gumminess tends to dominate and the fruitiness lightens.

Overall a very impressive and fun to examine sour beer.

Background: Oh, Holy Goat, I have had a few of these before and have been blown away by them, so I really needed to pull my thumb out and actually do notes on one of them. This one is, ok deep breath, based on a Flanders Red and a British stock ale, fermented with wild yeast, blended with an amber sour that had been aged in rye whisky barrels, then added in blackcurrant and redcurrant that had been used in a prior Flanders red, then a mix of smoked and unsmoked plums – with the smoked plums done on red wine staves – were added in. Follow all that? Because I think I got lost somewhere. Anyway, grabbed from Independent Spirit, this was drunk while listening to Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers: Bought To Rot.

Ridgeway: Good Elf (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear yellow gold. Some small bubbled carbonation in the body. A centimetre of tight bubbled white head.

Nose: Kiwi to lime. Slightly crusty bread hop character. Light vanilla. Light bitterness. Fresh bread dough.

Body: Soft lime. Vanilla. Hop prickle. Thin custard. Sweet grapes. Slight sulphur feel.

Finish: Sour dough. Prickly into fluffy hops. Lime and grapes. Vanilla. Icing sugar dusting.

Conclusion: This is the opposite of what you tend to expect from a Christmas beer. It is light in colour, low in abv, golden ale like in hop use with a fresh hop prickle and green fruit flavours. I don’t think it goes the traditional Christmas route at even a single point.

I mean I’m not saying it isn’t nice, it is just unexpected.

The body is crisp and clean at the base, but with a slight real ale like sulphur touch that gives it a bit more weight and grip than you would expect. While not a heavy beer it definitely doesn’t have any watery elements that shout low abv, and that bit more grip means that it can give a nice solid prickle of hop bitterness without having to resort to an all out assault of hops to overcome the drawbacks of a thinner beer.

The fruitiness is sweet green grapes, with brighter lime takes and heavier kiwi touches under. It isn’t anything super fancy but matches the golden ale style well and gives some sweet release from the impressively but not overpoweringly bitter hops.

Overall it is a really good low abv beer that feels like it should be around all year rather than hidden away fro Christmas.

Background: So, we are into February, time for me to start doing Christmas beer notes. In my defence I didn’t do much at all around Christmas, sorry for that. Will try and get things going again. This is a low alcohol beer grabbed from Independent Spirit. Ridgeway also do a Bad Elf beer, which is higher abv but also seems not much like a traditional Christmas ale in style. This is its low abv cousin. Went with The Royal They: Foreign Being as backing music.

Buffalo Trace: Blanton’s: Single Barrel Gold Edition (USA: Bourbon Single Cask: 51.5% ABV)

Visual: Visual: Deep, slightly bronzed, gold. Slow, thin streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Rye crackers. Peppery. Alcohol tingle evident. Warm orange creme. Subtle menthol. Warm custard. Red grapes. Water makes smoother and brings out more rye crackers.

Body: Warming. Honey. Peppery. Very mild aniseed. Peach syrup. Slightly astringent. Water adds apricot. Red grapes. Fatty butter.

Finish: Dry oak. Juicy grapes. Custard. Wholemeal crackers. Drying. Peppery. Water adds menthol. Vanilla. Slight savoury cream touch.

Conclusion: This is so rewarding, so recognisably bourbon but with tons of elements I would not normally associate with the style and the mix makes it stand out as something special.

At its base it is a slightly rye crackers tasted peppery thing. So I am guessing that there is a moderate amount of rye in the mash bill – but I could be wrong. Along with that there is some of the traditional bourbon style vanilla backing it but less so than you would imagine. It is slightly drying and astringent from the alcohol weight when taken neat, but not especially so, especially considering the over 50% abv.

Above that is a honey sweetness, along with a slight strange more custard like sweetness that seems to be there in place of the more traditional vanilla in most areas. This is still in the ballpark of bourbon expectations, it just feels like higher abv and care taken in its selection has given it a weightier, bigger expression of which the custard replacing the vanilla is the most obvious element.

What makes it really stand out is a slight sweet peach syrup note, and a sweet grapes touch – in a red grapes style that I really would not have expected considering that, with this being bourbon, it will have been aged in virgin oak, and so I cannot attribute to subtle use of sherry oak ageing like I normally would. Even more there is subtle green grapes and menthol touches that are wonderful and unexpected extra flourishes over the bourbon base. These elements are noticeable neat, but become super evident with a touch of water smoothing out the more astringent alcohol notes.

These all combine to give it a subtle, but impressive variety of flavour, while still delivering the expected bourbon notes very well as a base that everything else works from. It is covering a complex range, but without sacrificing what bourbon is known for best and that combination makes it probably the best bourbon I have tried. Very impressive.

Background: I’ve missed a chance to pick up some Blantons a few times before, it has a great reputation as a single cask bourbon and always vanished while I was umming and ahhing in on if I should grab a bottle. So this time when some came into Independent Spirit I grabbed a bottle right away, the Gold Edition in fact. There is a lot of information on the, very pretty indeed, bottle – everything from barrel number, rack number, warehouse and date dumped. Most of it doesn’t tell me anything as I don’t know where those places are, but it is a nice touch. Really brings out the individuality of this single barrel expression. There wasn’t a new Miracle Sound release for 2021, so for music I picked up his earlier album – Level 6 – and went with that as backing music.

Rok Soba: 777 Lucky AF Tripel (England: low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear caramel brown. No evident carbonation. Thin grey white head.

Nose: Brown sugar. Squeezed orange. Golden syrup.

Body: Thinned down golden syrup. White sugar. Iced tea. Bubblegum. Lightly chalky. Brown sugar.

Finish: Iced tea. Brown sugar. Orange juice. Chalk touch. Banana chewy sweets.

Conclusion: I see what this is trying to do. That is always the best opening for a set of notes isn’t it? Really makes you think that the following paragraphs are going to be praising what a top notch beer it is, no?

A lot of tripels tend to have a feeling of high residual sugar, which is present here. I presume from adding sugar or similar directly to the beer to make up from lack of malt? Maybe? The can lists sucralose which I presume is it – I dunno, not a brewer myself but this level of raw sweetness is very unusual in a low alcohol beer.

Any which way this is very sweet, with lots of brown and white sugar notes. On the good side the beer even manages to call to the fruity esters that turn up in a lot of Belgian beers. It is a, slightly artificial admittedly, set of banana and orange notes, and some very artificial bubblegum notes behind that. I don’t think the bubblegum was meant to be part of the theme, but it isn’t actually bad.

The issue comes with this beer, that, even more so that for a lot of low abv beers, this is very iced tea tasting, and even looks kind of iced tea like. So, what you end with when you mix that and the good points is something that tastes like an over sweetened iced tea rather than a tripel beer.

So, while it does have calls to a tripel it really fails to sum up what makes that beer enjoyable, and fails to present a decent alternative with what it does do.

It isn’t actively horrible, if I may damn it with that faint praise, but basically it tastes like very sweet iced tea. Which, if you want that, is fine but I kind of wanted a tripel and this isn’t that, despite those fruity notes which I will praise.

Ah well, a bold experiment at least.

Background: Originally I thought this was just called “Lucky” but everyone online seems to list the 777 from the art as part of the name. Which seems just like confusing label design to me, but what do I know? Rok Soba seems to be a whole thing with festivals, clothes and such, drinks seem to be a side project and from the can it looks like this was contract brewed in Belgium. Anyway, another one grabbed as part of a low alcohol batch from light drinks as the idea of a low abv attempt at a tripel amused me. Went back to the great Svalbard: When I Die Will I Get Better? As music. Top notch album.

Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing: Lager Day Saints (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Very pale, slightly yellowed body. Moderate amounts of small bubbled carbonation. Massive white mounded head.

Nose: Flour. Soft vanilla yogurt. Cake sponge. Slight chalk. Vanilla toffee. Dry marshmallow. Slightly dry overall. Slight gherkin note as warms.

Finish: Light sweet pineapple. Flour. Lightly milky. Slight fruit syrup. Vanilla toffee. Light chalk. Popcorn feel. Slight cake sponge.

Conclusion: This is very fluffy, slight dry and slightly tart yet sweet. I will admit that was not what I was expecting from a lager, not even a low abv one, so give me a few moments to realign my assumptions and come back with fresh eyes.

Ok, here goes.

Ok, well this isn’t really refreshing despite the light tartness and dry main body, which is odd. There is a flour touch along with a fluffy feel that makes it slightly mouth clinging to drink so works against any more refreshing notes.

The pineapple combined with the flour and light cake sponge notes actually make me think a bit of pineapple pizza when I drink this. Sans the tomato part natch. I didn’t say it was a perfect match. It is however, not what I was looking for in a beer. It isn’t that this is horrible, more that I drink this and think “Why does this exist?” It doesn’t hit any need I have for beer, or drink in general. Considering how many beer styles, and in fact drink styles that are out there which I enjoy it really should have managed to hit one just by accident, so missing every single one is quite the feat.

As it warms the tartness gains a gherkin touch which is odd and really doesn’t fit. I keep feeling that it isn’t so much that this is badly brewed per se , more that it is assembled from a random bunch of flavours that don’t mesh together. I think they made what they intended to make, I’m just not sure why.

Not for me, not actively bad, just I cannot see any reason to go to it at all.

Background: Didn’t know much about this one going in, had just seen a new brewery to me doing a low alcohol beer when I grabbed a batch from light drinks so decided to give it a go. The can says they are aiming for the Munich Helles lager style using a “unique yeast” and Hallertauer mittelfrueh hops. I really hope I spelled that right. I’d recently picked up Unleash The Archer’s album “Apex” and put it on as backing music, it is a wonderfully over the top concept album telling a sci-fi tale, so totally up my alley. Not much else to say here this time.

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