Category: Beer Tasting Notes

Burning Sky: Liberty Brewing: Descent Into The Maelstrom (England: American Pale Ale: 6.66% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon juice. Small white head.

Nose: Pineapple juice and coconut. Dried banana. Orange juice. Tropical fruit juice. Smooth.

Body: Tart white grapes. Pineapple juice. White wine. Coconut. Dried apricot. Light nettles and hop oils. Peach. Light cloying touch.

Finish: Light wood. Coconut. Moderate bitterness and hop character. Tart grapes sheen. White wine. Pink grapefruit. Dry.

Conclusion: Now this one really shows the New Zealand side of the rainbow collaboration – lots of tart fruit hop action with the base dry and mostly out of the way. You do get a recognisably dry pale ale character and accompanying bitterness in the finish, but the main body is fruity all the way.

The main, high concept pitch for this, if I had to give one, would be a beery pina colada. Lots of coconut notes laden through a pineapple fruit juice base beer. Then that carefully layered over the aforementioned pale ale bitter finish. It doesn’t just do that and rest on its laurels though, oh no. It brings slight tart grapes and pink grapefruit to really let the tart character shine – the tartness is fresh but far from overwhelming; It keeps gently refreshing rather than goes for sour and puckering.

Considering that the inspiration colour for this beer was orange it is odd that the orange is actually fairly gently used here. Just there at the back. The barrel ageing seems restrained as well – the beer is fairly smooth which often points to the barrel ageing, and there is a definite white wine air, but nothing pushed too hard as to hurt the base beer. Then again, maybe it is just the barrel ageing matches the dominant characteristics so well – it is hard to say.

Very good indeed. It doesn’t quite make the “My Favourite” list, despite the evident quality. The only, tiny thing against it is that it is a very specific beer for a very specific time. Even beyond being a very summer refresher styled beer, you really have to be in the right mind for it. It is not an anytime kind of beer. If you had it too often I feel the charm would fade. That very minor point aside though, this is great. Had occasionally this is dry, refreshing, complex yet easy to drink. A very specific kind of art, but definitely beer art.

Background: Confession time – was convinced that I had done notes on Burning Sky beers before and wasn’t too impressed by them. Turns out the only one I had tried was a collaboration and that was awesome. Awkward. I had been avoiding a brewery for no good reason. Liberty Brewing on the other hand, this is my first encounter. Another in this year’s rainbow project set of beers. Two brewers, from two countries, working together and given a colour for the theme of their beer. This one is “Orange”. Grabbed from Independent Spirit this is made with “Deep breath” orange zest, pink grapefruit, fermented with Belgian yeast, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops and aged in a white Burgundy wine cask. Seriously they pull out all the stops for this rainbow series. Drunk while listening to Metallica – Master of Puppets. No link to the beer, just haven’t listened to them for ages.

Beavertown: Oskar Blues: Tempus Project: Phobos (England: Weizenbock: 9.1% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown and mostly opaque. A couple of inches of brown bubbled froth that leaves suds.

Nose: Nutty and malt chocolate. Cashew nuts. Light menthol and mint leaves. Cinnamon. Lightly vinous.

Body: Malt drinks. Nutty. Vinous. Subtle port notes. Orange zest. Coriander. Stewed banana. Bready. Light to moderate bitterness. Light cloves.

Finish: Slight sour grapes. Malt chocolate drink. Madeira cake. Chocolate shavings. Bitty orange juice. Nutty. Smoke. Walnuts.

Conclusion: Oddly this reminds me of Bristol Beer Factory’s Vintage Ale – both are malt led, chocolaty, drinks with a hell of a lot going on. So much so in fact that it doesn’t quite mesh. So, that is your short overview of what is going to be the general theme of these notes.

With that said, it is strange that initially the nose is fairly simple – nutty and malt drinks. I was actually worried this was going to be a too simple beer. How silly of me!

The first thing that starts coming out to break up that image is the vinous notes – from sour grapes, sweet Madeira cake to slight port. Not dominating but definitely rounding notes. Good use of barrel ageing that still lets the base beer breath. I approve! Now the base is not the most complex thing, bitter chocolate over nutty notes – but it is definitely solid enough to set up for what is a mass of infusions and ageing influence.

Another similarity to the BBF Vintage is in the fruitiness throughout – still quite malty, like malt choc orange through to a fresher orange juice style. It is a good element, but it is the element that most shows the integration of flavour issues thee beer has – it doesn’t quite line up with the others, instead seeming to float around aside from the rest.

Now despite that the beer is not bad – in fact I am tempted to grab one to age, like I did with vintage, see if it mellows out and matches up a bit better. It is just with the fruit, vinous, nutty, malt led and spice touched beer there is so much going on that it feels unfocused. So, not clearly defined, but surprisingly easy to drink, especially for 9% and up. The solid bitter chocolate to malt drinks base is charming as is, but is they smoothed it out and got everything in a line it would be amazing.

So, pretty much like BBF Vintage before it a mixed up beer, but with a lot of charm. If I grab one to age I will you now how that goes.

Background: OK, lot to describe in this beer. It is a weizendopplebock aged for 8 months in Madeira barrel – infused with smoked bananas, walnuts, pecans, dates and figs. Oh, and oats as well as the expected wheat. So, yeah that interested me – especially with both Oscar Blues and Beavertown at the helm. That sounded like a match made in heaven. This was drunk after a session playing the new Doom and having my first encounter with the Cyberdemon and stomping its dick into the dirt. Having a beer called Phobos after playing Doom is very appropriate as any fan will tell you. To keep the feel going was listening to Carcass: Surgical Steel, for that real visceral metal feel. Decided against the Aventinus glass for this one – at 330ml it would probably get lost in the big weizenbock glass. Instead went for the Teku glass – always a good one for mall bottles and big flavours. As you may have guessed, this is another one bought from Independent Spirit of Bath.

Wild Beer Co: 8 Wired: Black and Blue (England: Sour Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to peach hazy body with moderate white head.

Nose: Fresh and acidic. Fresh apples. Horse blankets. Peppered beef slices. Lightly salty. Flour. Light smoke.

Body: Acidic. Apples and pears. Tart. Apricot sweetness. Light vinegar notes. Fizzy. Chalk touch. Slight strawberry. Slight sulphur. Lemon.

Finish: Pineapple. Fresh. Flour touch. Slight strawberry. Slight black liquorice. Lemon.

Conclusion: Ok, hello, welcome to holographic flavour time again. For those of you not accustomed to the term (understandable as I think I am the only one who uses it this way) it is how I describe the experience with sour beers where amongst the sour flavours you suddenly get a host of unexpected flavours; Seemingly like an illusion caused by the shock to your tongue. It is a pretty cool thing and one of the things I love about sour beers.

This has pretty sharp sourness and acidity – not Cantillon level, but just a step past the level used by most sour beers, and beyond what I would imagine would be the comfort zone of people not used to them. As a result it isn’t one to use as an introduction sour – it hits the back of the throat with an acid burn and carries a light vinegar touch

There are slight rounding in characteristics, such as light flour and sulphur touches – possibly from the charred oak, or maybe not, but it does give a nice bit of contrast to the acidic apples and such like. It gives a slightly steam beer like texture to the middle, which for some reason feels kind of appropriate.

Pretty satisfying, but does feel a bit like a base beer to be worked from rather than the finished article. Once you get used to it, it taste pretty solid but no frills. The charred oak and the peppercorn are fairly subtle in their influence – definitely better than being overly dominant, but this could do with a little extra polish and piazza before being ready for the prime time.

Worth noting, though possibly, in fact probably psychosomatic – after I read the bottle and where the name came from, I got a kind of rare steak image of flavour around the acidic notes. Wonder how much of that was all in my mind. Anyway, a good sharp base – worth taking to some time to work from this.

Background: I am amused by the rainbow project – an attempt to link up British and world brewers ( this year New Zealand), give them a colour to use as inspiration ( in this case blue) and let them go hog wild on a collaboration. So, apparently inspired by black and blue streaks (because of course) this is a unhopped, non boiled sour ale that has been aged in charred bourbon casks for six months, and with green, black and white peppercorns added in. Never a boring moment. I love that Wild Beer co are bringing so much sour beer experimentation to the UK, and 8 wired is easily one of my favourite NZ brewers, so lots of hope for this one. Took my time with this one, was doing a full disk and system backup on my computer so had plenty of time to go. Drunk while listening to Iron Maiden: Book of Souls again. Had been debating with people at work who found it a very poor album. Still have to disagree, more an album experience than any individual song, which I can see would put people off, but very listenable as that. This was grabbed from the ever reliable Independent Spirit of Bath.

Law Man: Obsidian: Barrel Aged Stout (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 8.4% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. No head despite a vigorous pour.

Nose: Smokey coffee. Raw coffee beans. Vanilla toffee. Bitter cocoa dust. Light moss. Bready. Slight sour cream notes.

Body: Smooth. Treacle. Smoke. Moss. Milky chocolate. Sour cream. Bitter cocoa. Bourbon.

Finish: Charred oak. Cocoa pops and milky chocolate. Grassy. Bitter. Sour cream. Alcohol air. Rye. Bourbon

Conclusion: This feels paradoxically light and yet overly harsh beer. Odd. It has very smooth mouthfeel – in fact the front feels like it lacks grip resulting in the chocolate notes coming in kind of floaty and lacking weight. Then as you are digging into that to try and investigate suddenly charred oak and harsh bitterness seems to set up shop on your tongue, just coming out of nowhere.

It is an odd, not entirely pleasant, experience. Doubly odd as the aroma is excellent – absolutely booming with tons of coffee and tiny hints of treacle amongst cocoa dust. You get full on roasted bean character just floating out of the glass.

By contrast the body, well it still has that treacle character, but now in a slightly artificial way. It is kind of similar to what a bunch of low abv dark beers use to build up the body to compensate for the lack of malt, but this is far from low abv. it is a gosh darn imperial stout and shouldn’t need to use such tricks. While they use whisky barrels for the ageing, the general feel of this is more towards the rougher edge of bourbon. That is not a slight on bourbon – there is plenty of good stuff out there – but this isn’t it. The influence seems the more simple rye crackers and alcohol air rather than the sweet subtleties that a good barrel can bring.

It is a pity, as there is something unusual and kind of worthy in there. There is this slightly savoury, mossy character mid body, and a grassy finish that hints at a more grounded beer, one with more weight and an almost Springbank influenced character. Something decent. Something with more weight to it. As is the beer doesn’t have enough weight to manage the barrel ageing, it loses the heavy stout middle, becoming overly smooth, and those empty moments get filled with the rougher spirit notes. Like this, the grassy notes, instead of being a pleasant backing, instead match with the charred character for a rough finish.

There is a good beer in there somewhere – some chocolate, some coffee, but overall it doesn’t really mesh. A rare case where barrel ageing seems to have actually hurt a stout.

Background: Saw this at Independent Spirit, a whisky barrel aged version of their base Obsidian stout. It had good buzz about it so I grabbed a bottle despite not having tried anything from law Man before. Drunk while listening to Bowie: Black Star. Heavy haunting music for heavy beer. Not much else to say, I’ve really been spoiled by great barrel aged Imperial Stouts over the years so any new one has a lot to live up to.

Brewdog: Chili Hammer (Scotland: Spice IPA: 7.2% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear yellow. Lots of carbonation but only a small white head.

Nose: Pineapple. Fresh. Slight musty hop character. Chilli seeds. Apricot.

Body: Apricot. Moderately dry. Light brown sugar, then a chilli kick. Chilli seeds and chilli powder. Moderate heat. Light custard and vanilla sweetness. Light tart character. Mango and peach.

Finish: Dried apricot. Chilli seeds and chilli powder. Medium warmth. Pepper and dried beef. Smoke. Bitter hops.

Conclusion: I really can’t get much more detail for my notes from this – I’m sure there is more to it – in fact on early sip there is a distinct fruity, hoppy character that really shows the Jack Hammer base is there. It is just that before I can put words to it the chilli rushes up and kicks everything else away. It is like a race against time to try and decrypt the beer on each sip. Which is my way of apologising for the slightly simple notes this time.

Time does help with this – you can get acclimatised and a bit more balance comes into the game. I’ll see what I can do with this.

The main surviving hop fruitiness is a light tart and apricot character – most of the actual, brutal, Jack Hammer bitterness is fully subsumed under the chilli. By the time the finish rolls around you start getting some complimentary hop bitterness, but not much.

The base under that is pretty dry, which always contributed to the harsh kick of Jack Hammer – it didn’t get in the way of the harsh notes. It is the same here but more so. Over time you can get soft vanilla softness, backed by a slight sweet peach character but it is subdued.

I was unimpressed initially, but time to acclimatise, and a bit of heat to let the aroma start coming out, leads to a bit more balance. More fruit coming out means that the chilli doesn’t seem so harsh, and the beer doesn’t seem so one note. In fact by the end of the beer it is actually quite juicy, which is very surprising – the Jack Hammer base fruity hops really start doing more in the second half of the beer. I guess it is a testament to what a beast that base beer is that it can, eventually, rise to match such intense chilli flavour.

So, like Neon Overlord before it, it is not overly my thing. However, despite weak first impressions, I think this ended up the more impressive of the two through sheer weight of flavour.

Background: As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. Then again, I am not a huge fan of chilli beers so it probably evens out. I probably only even grabbed this as it was a Brewdog beer and I tend to enjoy their stuff. Grabbed directly from the Brewdog Store, this was drunk while listening to the Ramones Anthology – some old school punk for the self proclaimed punk brewery. Anyway, this is one of this year’s many Jack Hammer variants – the original being a highly popular very hop bitterness heavy IPA. This, as you may have guessed, is the chilli added variant.

Odyssey: Ego Wars: V2 (England: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Light hazy banana yellow. Massive large bubbled yellow white head that leaves lace.

Nose: Pumpkin. Peach. White bread. Gentle hop character. Light grapefruit. Light custard slices. Coriander.

Body: Big bitter kick and hop oils. Pink grapefruit. Prickly. Peppery. Peach. Dried apricot. Fresh squeezed raspberry. Light toffee. Kumquat. Slight cloying touch.

Finish: Bitter hops. Hop oils. Resin. Grapefruit. Peppery. Cloying sour dough character.

Conclusion: In Citra vs Galaxy it seems the winner is pure alpha acid bitterness and hop character. Both Citra and Galaxy rock big flavour and aroma from their hop character – lots of fruit notes – this however leads, follows and ends with huge hop bitter kick. Subtle? No. In a way though it is refreshing. Refreshing as a concept rather than a refreshing beer – it is more heavy duty than refreshing flavour wise. No it is refreshing as a lot of big IPAs these days seem to emphasise the fruit, and going with very big sweetness – minimising or heavily counterbalancing the bitterness. It is good to see a non nonsense bitter hop assault of an IPA again.

While the other, fruitier characteristics are secondary they are far from absent. You get a mix of tart grapefruit notes and sweet peach that are the main hop flavours coming through. From memory I would say Galaxy is showing more than Citra. The main flavour is Galaxy – Citra seems to bring the freshness. Very fresh and just enough sweetness – just what I needed to make the hop assault survivable – definitely a good wake up call of a beer.

The malt base is pretty clean and dry – some soft toffee backing, some cloying dough like twisty – but really this just lets the hops run wild – tart and bitter.

A very good IPA – flavoursome but it doesn’t forget to bring the alpha acids that are in the history of the IPA. There is some complexity under the high bitterness, but goes more for intensity. I think many will find its rough bitter edges a flaw. I don’t. In a world of super smooth IPAs this isn’t afraid to be harsh.

I respect that.

Background: Never saw ego wars 1. Hope this isn’t one of the cases when the sequel is worse than the original. Anyway, the name seems to relate that each beer has two hops competing in it. In this case Citra Vs Galaxy. Two good hops there. Not tried Odyssey beers, but the label looks cool and an IPA is a good go to for checking out a brewery in my opinion. Drunk while listening to Against Me! Shape Shift With Me again. Not quite as good as Transgender Dysphoria Blues but still a very good album. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Hoppin’ Frog: Karminator (USA: Doppelbock: 9.3% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark caramel to reddish brown. Moderate browned head. Some evident carbonation, but less than expected.

Nose: Massive port, raisins and fruitcake. Glacier cherries. Chocolate liqueur undertone. Malty. Toffee.

Body: Thick. Fruitcake. Marzipan. Sultanas and glacier cherries. Brandy cream. Toffee pavlova. Salted caramel. Light cloves.

Finish: Glacier cherries. Dried banana. Fruitcake. Raisins. Madeira. Brandy cream. Fudge. Salted caramel. Cloves. Honey. Brown sugar. Lightly peppery.

Conclusion: Well, this is a big one – in bottle size, abv and flavour. Very thick body – so much so that I would not have guessed it as a lager styled beer if I had not known. Mouthfeel wise it feels similar to the super smooth American take on the Belgian ale. Flavour wise it is half way between the dopplebock it is and a strong ale take on an ESB. It is huge.

The smoothness, the malt character and the subtle banana and cloves all shout top quality dopplebock. The fruitcake and port can be dopplebock notes, but the intensity of them is very ESB like. This isn’t a barrel aged beer, but with the Madeira and port notes coming out you could have fooled me. In fact the smoothness says barrel ageing as well – but no, this is all just from the craft of the brewers. Impressive.

As an experience this is booming, silky and fruity. It slips down easily but the varied vinous aroma and notes happily declares its abv strength where the alcohol feel does not. This isn’t a beer that replaces my beloved weizendopplebock Aventinus, but it feels like a not Weizen take on the same concept – and that makes it very appealing to me. it runs a similar set of notes, delivered differently and in a smooth American manner. It is a dangerous beer. Complex enough to drag you in, and the lager style makes it far too easy to drink. While it is booming there are subtle spice notes at the edges – and the yeast, though mainly clean, does add a few funky edges it seems.

A beer of weight and gravitas. Have it on its own, not as part of a session, take your time and appreciate it. Do so and you will be rewarded with an excellent beer. Definitely not a session beer in any sense, trust me on that. Treat this as you would a strong Trappist ale and it will reward you similarly.

Background: Haven’t had a dopplebock for a while by my memory. Which is admittedly poor due to drinking. So, this gave me a chance to break out the Aventinus glass again. Anyway, grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer shop, this is from the Hoppin’ Frog brewery – I’ve seen their large bottles pop up around a bit, but never got around to doing notes for one of them. So here goes a chance to change that. Drunk while listening to some Bratmobile and Heavens To Betsy – a bit of riotgrrrl punk fun. For some reason I near always listen to these two artists back to back. I blame “Gone Home”

Brewdog: Neon Overlord (Scotland: Spice IPA: 7.3% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to grain. Small white head. Clear body with moderate carbonation.

Nose: Fresh mango juice. Chilli seeds. Quite fresh. Slight fresh banana. Mild hop character. Crushed custard cream biscuits. Mango chutney. Slight sulphur.

Body: Mild warmth up front, builds quickly. Mango chutney. Poppadoms. Stewed apricot. Chilli hits back of throat on swallow. Stewed banana.

Finish: Wholemeal nans. Chilli seed and warmth. Green peppers. Mango chutney. Slight smokey barbecue sauce and beef.

Conclusion: Not sure if time has mellowed this, or if my tastebuds have adapted to it. I had a can about two weeks back and it kicked my teeth in with chilli heat. Now it is survivable even for a chilli wuss like me. Also I think I chilled it a tad longer this time, maybe that helped?

The main base seems pretty dry and unobtrusive – either that or there is a base there and the residual heat has just overcome it. The heat starts off fairly gentle up front, but can still kick at the back of the throat on a swallow. While I am not a big fan of chilli heat, I do love the flavour you can get from chilli (For example, huge fan of chipotle when cooking, but really need to be careful with how much I add). Here the actual chilli flavour mainly comes late body and into the finish – it comes in a slightly smokey, slightly meaty set of notes. Either that or it is a result of a slight sulphur character the beer has, but for now I’m attributing it to the chilli.

Any which way, the main flavour for the beer is instead the mango – delivered in a very mango chutney way. Then again, between that and the nan notes in the finish I wonder if I am being slightly psychosomatic here and giving everything a kind of curry house element in the description due to the ingredients. Apart from the mango there is a general stewed fruit character but nothing else is particularly well defined.

I am a bit split on this, and yes it is due to the chilli – with the chilli character most of the subtle notes of the beer are lost – It is a brash kicking beer, though admittedly that is kind of the point of it. Criticising it for that would be like criticising clowns for not being funny. That is the point.

On its own points it balances well – you get the mango, you get the chilli – the base is drinkable, dry and gets out of the way fast. So, does what it says, does that well, doesn’t do much else. Not overly for me, but not one I would avoid, despite the chilli being higher than my preference. Could do with more chilli flavour, less chilli heat in my opinion, but I would nearly always say that. Guess it isn’t aimed at me. *shrug*

Background: Lovely can for this one, grabbed directly from the Brewdog shop. This is an IPA made with Habanero chilli, coriander seeds and mango. I like chilli for the flavour, but am terrible with the heat so I don’t tend to have many chilli beers, but I like Brewdog’s stuff so decided to give this a try. As the previous line may indicate, I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. To offset my weak heat resistance to chilli I had some milk on standby. Drunk while listening to Crossfaith: Xeno – with the neon imagery of their videos it seemed to match.

Kees: Barrel Project #05/2016 (Netherlands: Imperial Stout: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. White swirl and loose bubbles over it but no real head.

Nose: Caramel. Thick. Molasses. Treacle toffee and chocolate toffee. Chocolate liqueur. Alpen. Rye bourbon. Shreddies and fresh white toast.

Body: Belgian chocolate. Bitter cocoa. Thick vanilla fudge. Orange liqueur. Nutty. Rye bourbon. Bready base. Light earthy notes. Figs. Cream. White sugar. Very smooth.

Finish: Wholemeal bread. Rye bourbon. Chocolate biscuits. Earthy notes. Bitter cocoa. Lemongrass. White sugar and white chocolate. Raisins. Bitter coffee cake. Nutty and praline.

Conclusion: Big, yet restrained. Bourbon backed, yet earthy. Thick, yet smooth and somewhat light at times. Ok, you have my attention beer, are you going to earn it?

The base, while you can feel the oatmeal stout thickness, slips down very easily – it is smoothed, I presume, by its time in the oak. A lot of the notes in there are the expected ones – bitter cocoa, chocolate – albeit in a very high quality Belgian style, fudge. Everything very well done. There is however an unusual, restrained rustic earthy set of notes – common in standard stouts, but something that big booming imperial stouts often neglect. It is unusual to find the more savoury notes working against the sweetness.

It is a good look, especially against the bourbon ageing. The more rustic side of the bourbon character seems to match the earthy notes well giving shreddies and rye style characteristics which ground a heavy flavoured beer. Thankfully neither side dominates, the beer or the bourbon – there are orange sweet notes from the bourbon boom, and distinct spirit characteristics, but the beer is big enough to take it and layer the bitter chocolate flavours over the top without losing either.

Initially, when chilled, it was a tad too light but heat brings it out into excellent balance. It is still smooth, but with a bit more grip to let it really shine. It can still have thin moments, but generally the oatmeal stout character pulls it through. Warmth also brings a bit of dark fruit play, which is nigh always a good choice.

So, generally good? Aye, very much so. Downsides? Well the cocoa notes can stick to the tongue, as if you have been licking the cocoa itself. Occasional thin notes as well, but not really much on the downsides.

As I always say, the Imperial Stout category is a packed one, and this doesn’t shift out the top few. However this is more savoury and grounded than most, while still letting the flavours boom. Well done and less over the top than many in the category which is worthy of respect.

Background: An Oatmeal Stout Aged on Heaven Hill barrels, as you can probably read on the bottle. There was a whole bunch of the Barrel Project beers at Independent Spirit and since I have been hearing good things about Kees I decided to grab one of them. I went for this one as 1) I love oatmeal stouts and 2) In My experience Heaven Hills’ barrels do lovely work for barrel ageing a stout. Anyway not much else to say – this was a big beer so broke out some big music. Iron Maiden: A Matter Of Life And Death. Seriously love that album, barely a bad track on it.


Wiper and True: Toast: Collaboration 08: Amber Ale – Bread Pudding (England: Amber Ale: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Overripe banana to caramel brown, with a murky, cloudy mid body. A mounded inch of toffee touched white froth for a head.

Nose: Bread and butter pudding to spotted dick (The dessert). Suet. Light strawberry. Fresh. Lightly milky.

Body: Strawberry and cherries. Milky. Cinnamon. Bread pudding. Moderate hop character and bitterness. Slight resin. Mild passion fruit and dried mango. Kiwi. White grapes.

Finish: Cherries in bread pudding. Semolina. Strawberry. Light bitterness. Light kiwi. Milky. Light pine and resin. Toast and dried mango. Hop bitterness grows. Slight hop oils and herbal character. Slight granite.

Conclusion: Wiper and True’s Amber Ales were the first beers of their that really brought them to my attention. Slightly resinous and herbal matched with red fruit sweetness – I bring that up as those are characteristics that this thing also wears on its sleeves. The bread pudding characteristics are more subtle. There is an added milkiness to the beer, and while it is subtle, the bread pudding character is still definitely there – but it it is more a backdrop for the fruitier elements.

I actually find the subtlety of the bread influence mid body odd as in the aroma it is pretty overwhelming. It is kind of raisin packed, but still definitely bread pudding. In way I am glad that the body has much more going on, as it would be a bit simple otherwise, but I am also mildly disappointed as I would loved to have seen more of what that characteristic could do. But, aye they probably made the right choice – if it had been bread pudding dominated it would have become wearing pretty quickly I guess.

This is pretty far from wearing or one note – good red fruit malt characteristics, subtle dried tropical fruit from the hops that rises up to dominate as it warms, nice bready backdrop and a very nice toast character to the finish. Combined with the aforementioned resin and herbal elements and the hop oil sheen it gives a lot to get your teeth into.

Frankly, you can’t go wrong with this beer. Amber Ale is a kind of hit and miss style for me – the style is pretty wide open to definition so often you are not quite sure what you will get. Here though, Wiper and True have, again, hit it out of the park. Am I disappointed it didn’t do more with the bread character? Yes. Does that make it anything less than an excellent beer? No. This is freaking great.

Background: I liked the idea of this one – Wiper and True working with Toast, who put their profits to try and fight food waste. It is made with brandy soaked raisins, and some of the malt replaced with leftover bread, and some lactose as well. An odd set. I refer to Wiper and True as The Kernel of the west. Very good quality and I highly recommend them. Drank while listening to The Algorithm: Brute Force again. They work well as drinking music for me – intense, but without words to intrude on the writing. The beer was grabbed from Independent Spirit.

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