Archive for April, 2022


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!

%d bloggers like this: