Lawman: Elixir: Zig-Zig-BA: Sherry Halliwell (Scotland: English Strong Ale: 7.4% ABV)
Visual: Murky, hazy blond to peach skin. Virtually no head. Rim of bubbles and a thin dash of grey for a head.
Nose: Musty hops. Sour grapes. Peat smoke and bacon. Sherry. Soaked raisins. Sour stewed apricot. Very slight prunes. Fudge. Vanilla.
Body: Vanilla. Quite light texture, slightly watery when cool. Menthol. Sherry trifle. Light citrus undertone – pineapple. Cherries.
Finish: Menthol. Ash. Oatmeal. Raisins. Musty hops. Slight liquorice. Sweet pineapple. Smoked meat. Lemon cakes. Sherry trifle. Hopped bitterness.
Conclusion: Ok, this doesn’t work (Spoiler warning by the way!) but I respect the direction it is trying. It is just, well, it is a bit of a mess, but an ambitious mess. I’m not going to disrespect that.
This has a lot of vanilla laden throughout it – almost enough to suggest it was Bourbon barrel aged, rather than its chosen sherry ageing; but that is soon dispelled by big sherry trifle coming through clearly afterwards. In fact lots of sherry notes hit – with sherries and spice throughout. Underneath that there is some cloying hop character, in a slight citrus styled pineapple coming floating through. The hop character is kind of muggy though – that kind that can get old fast, and doesn’t deliver the fresher notes very cleanly. I think it is due to ageing the beer – time in the wood has given added complexities, but has worn out the pleasant sides of the hop character pretty quickly. Odder still this has smoke and sulphur stylings – moderately used, not heavy – but possibly in a kind of charred woods style? Any which way it gives a sulphurous real ale on tap touch to this.
All sounds interesting, no? What makes it a mess rather than an enjoyable beer is the slightly lighter texture – it is just slightly thin and watery. Not hugely so, but it means that the sulphurous element feel heavier than they should, and the musty hops are given too much emphasis. It interferes with what should be a complex rich ale. The sherry notes, the vanilla, all of them would benefit from more grip, and the sulphur and muggier hops would be mellow background notes with a heavier ale and so would work better.
A beer that aims for the stars, and with a thicker beer may have succeeded. I respect that, but it didn’t really work. Ah well.
Background: So, a Spice Girls reference. Huh. At this point the standard thing would be to bash the Spice Girls, but feh they did well for themselves with some harmless pop. Can’t really get too worked up about it. I think my music snobbery has worn off with old age. Enjoy what you like and all that, even if it isn’t my taste. Anyway- they call this beer a KK ale – a mostly forgotten beer style – which seems to be a heavily hopped, higher abv blond ale. So, that intrigued me, and a bit of Sherry Barrel ageing intrigued me more. So I grabbed it. Another Independent Spirit beer – got some other establishment beers coming up shortly. Decided to go with some appropriate music for this; So, of course, with this being Spice Girl linked, I was listening to Ihsahn -After. Real brain breaking stuff.