Sharp: Wolf Rock (England: Amber Ale: 4.8% ABV)
Visual: Very dark black cherry red to brown. Large chocolate dust coloured froth head that leaves suds.
Nose: Caramel and cinnamon. Sweet nuts – sugared almonds? Malt drinks.
Body: Cinnamon. Nutty. Malt drinks. Slightly thin when chilled. Prickling character. Some hop character. Cashews. Slightly earthy. Toffee. Sour cream tang.
Finish: Peanuts. Sugar icing. Cashews. Light greenery. Acrid notes – gunpowder tea.
Conclusion: This feels like a bit of a stylistic mash-up, a red ales remix shall we say. Right at the bottom of it all it feels like the dry Irish red take on the style – slightly sour, quite dry and kind of harsh at the edges.
At the top end it is toffee sweet and caramel touched, more towards the big malt base you get in the craft beer interpretation of the amber ale, admittedly with less hop influence than those beers have. The middle, managing the two, is a menagerie of nutty notes notes from sweet almonds to green touched cashew notes. It runs the gamut of those but relies on top and tail for other notes.
It is a nice conceit, but never becomes more than its parts. It can feel light at times, especially cool, and as the beer goes on the acrid and heavier notes soon outstay all but the most sickly sweet and unpleasant of the balancing sweetness.
So, a beer that opens well but can’t keep the momentum up. By half way through it is getting leaden and the earthy backing that is nigh imperceptible at the start becomes centre stage.
It has its moments but ends far weaker than it starts.
Background: The second of three beers gifted to my by a colleague at work. Many thanks. Anyway, just found out this is MolsonCoors owned. Wonder when that happened? (A quick googles says 2011 – I have my finger on the pulse of big brewery buyouts it seems). Anyway drunk while listening to Erock’s cover of the One Punch Man theme, been reading the manga – it is quite amusing and I’m hoping the anime hits these shores soon.