Category: Beer Tasting Notes


brewdog-omipollo-flat-pack-fruit-bat

Brewdog: Omipollo: Flat Pack Fruit Bat (Scotland: Fruit IPA: 6% ABV)

Visual: Cherry-aid red. Moderate carbonation. Large reddened froth head.

Nose: Musty hops and bitterness. Tart raspberry. Greenery hint. Slightly bready. Vanilla milkshakes.

Body: Tart raspberry. Gripping hops. Raspberry yogurt. Vanilla milkshake. Thick mouthfeel. Some bitterness.

Finish: Brown bread. Fresh raspberry. Good hop character. Vanilla and vanilla yogurt. Quite heavy bitterness. Charring touch. Resin. Slight earthy hops and greenery.

Conclusion: Recently in a set of notes I talked about the joy in a deep, complex ale versus the fun of a simple beer done well. This is most definitely in that second category.

This is very much fruit orientated – fresh in the raspberry – and with a good gripping mouthfeel which I’m guessing comes from the lactose that was used in brewing it. Definitely uses that thick mouthfeel to push the smoothie angle well – very fruity to match that. It is a much creamier texture than you would expect from an IPA because of that. Still mouth freshening from the light tartness of the raspberry – but tends towards the sweeter side of the fruit usage.

The IPA, hop side, of things is more shown in the bitterness and feel than in any fancy hop flavours. It feels kind of musty, slightly sticking hops, resinous and slightly charred in the finish. From the aroma through to the back end it is just (“Just” he says) a solid hop character – nothing too bitter, but with a kind of bready character and influenced mouthfeel backing the smoother front and raspberries. The finish is where it finally starts to really kick with high bitterness now mixing with those charred notes and a touch of greenery.

So, despite the flavour, mouthfeel and freshness wise being very much about the tart smoothie concept, it still manages a resinous, very bitter (in the finish) IPA like character to back it up.

So, not complex, but delivers on what it promises and what it sets out to do. A great balance of fruit and beer. You definitely feel both and in good quantities. A good general drinking beer with a big character and lots of quality.

Background: As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer – I am also quite a fan of Omnipollo, despite not trying much of theirs while I was in Sweden. This, bought directly from the Brewdog shop, is an attempt an an IPA raspberry smoothie. Whatever that would be. Apart from this it seems. It is made with wheat, oat, milk lactose, vanilla and raspberries and single hopped with mosaic. This was drunk while listening to some Zodiac Zoo – a band I got into due to one of their weird sounding tracks on the original guitar hero which sounded like a guitar hymn to Azathoth– the rest of their work didn’t quite live up to that, but it still strangely discordant rock.

dawkins-the-unrepeatable

Dawkins: The Unrepeatable (England: Golden Ale: 3.8% ABV)

Visual: Very pale lemon juice. Moderate white head froth head that leaves suds. Some cloudy lines laced throughout the body.

Nose: Lemon juice. Clean hop character and bitterness. Hop oils. Lime notes. Fresh. Lemongrass and bubblegum. Resin. Greenery. Flour.

Body: White crusty bread. Lemongrass. Slight brown bread. Slight apricot. Some bitterness. Some kiwi.

Finish: Greenery and kiwi and lime. Dried apricot. Flour. Mint leaves.

Conclusion: Ok, the aroma to this beer promises a heck of a lot – lots of freshness, lots of lemon, and lots of influence from my beloved hop – Sorachi Ace. Now, obviously not all of the ten hops are getting a look in here – that would be nigh impossible, but at this point it had a heck of a fresh and full aroma. It is just that this number of different hops tend to be a matter of diminishing returns, and more of a gimmick than an actual need for that many varieties. Still, very impressive first impression.

Mid body, well, it loses a bit of the variety from the aroma. It is not as fresh, more a kind of gentle bready backing. Still quite a lemony beer, with some lemongrass backing and a bit of greenery – but loses some of the distinct characteristics of the aroma. It is pleasant, with a not too high level of hop bitterness. I think a lot more could have been done with the hops it had available as it feels like the beer has less complexity than a careful use of two of the three hops together generally has. I’m not complaining about the flavours you do get – a fruity, hoppy, but gentle blond ale. I’m just not seeing it as that unusual for the hoppier end of the blond ale spectrum.

So, as a hopped up blond ale – weirdly enough it needs a bit more flavour, and a bit more grip for the flavour it does have. It can tend towards the bland end about a third of the time – when it is on it is satisfying, but not special.

So, a good general ale, but not a taste spectacular that such a hop choice deserves. A beer where more is definitely less, but still generally good enough even if it is less than the sum of its parts.

Background: Originally brewed for Bristol Beer Week 2016 – don’t know if this is the same batch as its “Unrepeatable” name would indicate. It is made with Rakau, Mosaic, Galaxy, Admiral, Citra, Delta, El Dorado, Azacca, Sorachi Ace, and Amarillo hops. The difference here is that is is high hopped, but not an IPA. Not even a session IPA thank flip. Anyway, using this many different hops can result in a mess but I thought it would be fun to try, so I grabbed it from Independent Spirit of Bath. Drunk while listening to a bunch of Erock’s Meet metal videos, starting with Heathens. I don’t like the original song, but I am currently obsessed with covers of it. Go figure.

wild-beer-co-smoke-n-barrels-autumn

Wild Beer Co: Smoke ‘n’ Barrels: Autumn (England: Smoked Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy caramel brown. Moderate off white head.

Nose: Blue cheese. Barbecued sausage. Smoke. Light caramelised brown sugar.

Body: Caramel. Blue cheese. Brown sugar. Light golden syrup. Orange zest and cloudy apple juice. Treacle toffee. Light chalk. Cinnamon and strawberry notes.

Finish: Light oak and smoke. Cloudy apple juice and a touch of orange juice. Cinder toffee. Slight peppermint and nutmeg. Sausage.

Conclusion: Ok, Autumn, this is very definitely Autumn. From the colour of the beer, the smoke, the sweet bonfire night treacle and cinder toffee notes, to the almost more winter touched additional spice – this really calls to mind the curling orange leaves and burning fire of an Autumn night. So – step 1 – appropriate imagery – achievement unlocked!

So – step 2 – does it taste good. Yep. Simple answer. From the aroma through it has a mix of wonderful blue cheese and barbecued cooked sausages; Which are some of my favourite elements that you can get out of smoking a beer.

The lovely smoked flavours are layered over a solid caramel to treacle toffee base. A nice, brown sugar touched, sweetness. Feels like a black lager more than an ale most of the time, but that works well with the sweetness and style. Very big flavour, yet the texture makes it very easy drinking. The only real flaw does come out here though – the black lager like notes can result in an occasional lapse into thin treacle being the sole element – which I tend to associate with lower quality beers. Generally however the other flavours are built up enough that the treacle is but one element in a fine set beer.

Finally, onto this is added a gentle spice and fruitiness. Wonderfully understated – it uses them to accentuate the rest of the beer rather than dominate it. The mix of nutmeg spice, apples and orange zest give rounding notes – warming in the case of the spice, and giving much needed freshness from the fruit that goes against the treacle and sweet dominant main character.

Genuinely easy drinking, yet packed with flavour – Wild Beer Co have swung and missed with a few of their recent beers for me – but this hits it out of the park. A good beer any time, and a perfect beer for the Autumn season.

Background: I grab most Wild Beer co beers that come out – the bottled ones at least. While some of their recent beers have been better ideas than they have been beers, the Smoke ‘n’ Barrels series has been pretty solid -with even the weaker gose entry being ok. This one sounds pretty cool – Smoked, like all of the series – it is made with apples and apple juice, and the wood used for smoking is apple wood. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit – though I have to question the “Autumn” bit, we are in full on winter now, right? Hope we don’t have to wait too long for the actual winter entry. Drunk while listening to a whole bunch of The Eels. Oddly bittersweet music.

brewdog-ace-of-equinox

Brewdog: Ace Of Equinox (Scotland: Session IPA: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed main body. Some carbonation. Moderate sized white head.

Nose: Passion-fruit. Fresh. Digestives. Moderate hop prickle and bitterness. Slight thick musty notes. Dried pineapple. Flour. Slight smoke?

Body: Prickly. Fresh. Vanilla toffee. Flour. Black pepper. Fresh grapes. Slight chalk. Somewhat spritzy.

Finish: Slight musty bitterness. Sulphur. Slight sparkling mineral water. White grapes. White pepper. Charring.

Conclusion: Ok, this is very different to the other “Ace of”s and, in fact, quite different to the vast amount of other session IPAs. Which, good or not, does mean that I can’t just go on my usual session IPA rant here. I actually need to write new material. So let’s have a gander.

While it does not taste it, I have a feeling that the malt base must be as dry as the other ones in the range – they are all based on the same recipe after all – and there are hints of dryness in the character, along with a very peppery character which would normally indicate that the low abv session IPA curse of over dryness has hit here. However, the bullet is neatly dodged by the spritzy, quite fresh, hop feel. Not huge, nor with a large range of flavour – it is kind of grape like (and let’s face it, it is possible that some of the pepper character comes from the hops as well) and even has that kind of mineral in mineral water taste. Not deep, and in fact not notes that you normally hunt out – but the freshness that comes with them really keeps the dryness in check early on.

By the time the dryness comes to a head it is matched by a much bigger bitterness than before; A bigger bitterness than you would expect from a light beer – not so much in the mid body, but when mixed with the charring and pepper in the finish it is quite the punch.

So, the range of flavour is on the simple end of the scale – though on actually making a sessionable yet bitter IPA this does a lot better than I expected when starting it. Heck, the malt base even seemed to bring some of the usual toffee and vanilla notes you would want from an IPA.

So, not as good as the awesome Neck Oil – but a refreshing and punchy beer. Definitely lacking in depth, but I could imagine kicking back a few as long as it is chilling with friends rather than examining them. A fair decent social lubricant, but not one of the greats.

Background: Last of this year’s “Ace of “ series. A single hopped session IPA. Frankly I very rarely get along with session IPAs – this range started off fairly weak, but the has become ok over time. Which is not really high praise. Hopefully this one will break the trend. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer, and this was grabbed direct from Brewdog’s online store. This was drunk to the odd music mix of Propellerheads and Slipknot. Very 90s.

Kees: Barrel Project #04/2016 (Imperial Stout: Netherlands: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin grey-brown dash of a head.

Nose: Toffee. Prickly alcohol. Bourbon. Vanilla. Treacle toffee. Chocolate liqueur. Wet wood. Chalk dash. Mild ginger bread.

Body: Chocolate liqueur and frothy chocolate fondue. Vanilla. Blended whisky. Slight sour cream twist. Prickling alcohol touch, but light and smooth underlying texture. Caramel. Light peppermint. Cocoa.

Finish: Charcoal and charred oak. Milky chocolate. Slight gherkin sour fresh note. Caramel. Cocoa pops in chocolate milk. Light peppermint. Bitter coffee.

Conclusion: I found the oatmeal stout from Kees in this Barrel aged project to be a tad too smooth and light – oatmeal stouts should have a bit of weight to them. This as “just” an imperial stout, is still a tad light in its smoothness, but is in a style that suits more, and also, oddly actually has a bit more weight to it.

Flavour wise this really runs straight down the middle of what you would expect for what it is. It’s a barrel aged Imperial Stout and brings cocoa, smooth chocolate and a hint of coffee at the base – the barrel ageing bringing in caramel and vanilla notes. So nothing really unexpected. Warmth actually thickens it up just enough from the slightly light touch when chilled. So all very competently done.

Not having had many grain barrel aged beers, I would say that this comes across as a mix of prickling blended whisky character and bourbon sweetness – which sounds about right from what I would expect single grain to give. So again, it is spot on to expectations – not more – not less. Very smooth, very refined, but doesn’t surprise in the least. Not a bad thing when what you expect is a high quality imperial stout. Doesn’t stand out beyond that though, still can’t complain about it being very well done.

So – basically a very good, treacle toffee, smooth chocolate, vanilla caramel and touches of bitter coffee Imperial Stout. If you want to dig there are slight sour cream notes and slight peppermint hints, but mainly it plays in straight. No regrets, but no soaring new experience.

Just a very good barrel aged imperial stout. Just I say….

Background: Second of the Kees’ Barrel Project beers I have grabbed from Independent Spirit. The first I tried was good, but a bit light – but generally good, so decided to give this one a go. This one has been aged in Girvan single grain barrels – since I had a bit of a Girven experience last year it seemed a nice thing to try. I am as big fan of Imperial Stouts, but try and pace out having them, lest they become commonplace to me.

Siren: Ten Dollar Shake (England: IPA: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy and hazy apricot to fruit juice with some bits visible. Large off white head.

Nose: Mango. Hop oils and resin. Slightly musty. Quite bitter. Smoother late on. Mashed banana. Cream. Apricot and peach.

Body: Creamy. Banana milkshake. Light hop oils and bitterness. Mango, kumquat and kiwi.

Finish: Shortbread. Cream. Hop oils and bitterness. Banana. Slight flour. Kiwi. Lemongrass. Pineapple.

Conclusion: I’m so glad that this didn’t cost me an actual ten dollars, or it’s current UK equivalent. Mainly because the pound exchange rate is in the toilet right now. Fucking Brexit. Anyway, that is not to say this is not good. In fact give me a 75CL bottle of this and I will not just happily drop best part of ten quid on it, but I would happily drink the entire lot myself as well. Bloody lovely it is. So that is any suspense gone from this set of notes now isn’t it?

This sells the “shake” aspect of its imagery very well – creamy, a good, almost thick milky texture, but doesn’t go so far as to compromise the elements it has chosen to accentuate from the IPA style. It is thick, fruity as well, with all those banana and mango notes that go very well with milkshakes. Also kiwi, which I don’t think is a big milkshake choice – it may be – buggered if I know. Anyway, there are the hop oils, moderate bitterness and resin character that tells the IPA style – not too heavy in that bitterness but it keeps a lot of the familiar hop character despite the creamy nature of the base beer. In fact with the creamy sweetness it feels like a creamier, fruitier take on a USA East Coast IPA style.

This is just wonderfully juicy – I am sure that some of the flavours came from the hops – especially ones such as banana and kiwi where that fruit was not used in making this, but in general it feels like far more comes from the fruit infusion. It just feels juicier and clearer than you normally get from hops alone. So this is creamy, hoppy, fruity, smooth and big. Good set. This is good both as a beer and for delivering on the promise the beer’s name makes. Definitely try this one, it is top bombing.

Background: After a quick google I confirmed my suspicions that this was originally brewed in collaboration with a Brewdog pub (in this case Shepherd’s Bush) for collabfest 2016. Then I looked at the back of the bottle and found that it was mentioned there, so I could have saved a few mins. I have not done a collabfest run the past few years – they were fun but I’m trying to spread out my notes a bit- was very Brewdog heavy during that time. Any which way, this is the bottled version grabbed from Independent Spirit. This is an IPA made with lactose, mango, papaya and passion-fruit. Another quick google told me this was not, in fact,a Pulp Fiction reference as I thought – theirs was a 5 dollar shake. Maybe it is just inflation. Drunk while listening to the Diamanda Hagan anthems – if you have a high tolerance for B move excesses in every fashion her reviews are great – check them out. If any of gore, nudity or swearing put you off – best avoid.

de-cam-oude-lambiek

De Cam: Oude Lambiek (Belgium: Unblended Lambic: 5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow to lemon juice. Loose, real ale like large bubbled dash of a head.

Nose: Dry. Fresh crusty bread. Sulphur and hard boiled eggs. Smoke.

Body: Sulphur. Hard boiled eggs. Still. Oats. Light dried apricot sweetness. Light vanilla. White grapes. Dry lemon. Nutty. Dry Madeira. Palma violets.

Finish: Dried oak. Eggs. Sulphur. Dry raisins and Madeira. Tannins.

Conclusion: As I started sipping this I thought – Am I a philistine? On this matter and in general. This is a very well reputed lambic, and, while I am not going to insult it, on first sip I really couldn’t see why the massive raving about it. Could be a hype issue. Once you have your expectations way up for a beer, it is hard for anything to live up to that. Well, let’s just take a look at this again, as just another beer, not as a hyped up lambic, and maybe I will get a better handle on it.

Ok, well chilled down it is a bit empty – odd as often lambics work very well cool, but without the liveliness of a geuze this doesn’t seem to able to trade as much on the dryness, tartness or sparkling mouthfeel. Because of this it needs to do more with the subtle flavours, which it doesn’t manage initially – just an empty kind of eggy and sulphur character. It still has quote a dry base, but not with that teeth tingling character I get with geuze – just around equivalent to a good APA level kind of dry.

So, let’s let it warm up a bit – now the flavours develop. A more nutty, dry Madeira touched undertones come out. Ok now I can see what people like about this a bit more. As mentioned, oft lambics work well chilled – this seems to need a bit more heat than most – still cool, but not fully chilled.

So, now with light fresh notes – not many but there. It actually reminds me a bit of aged sake in a way. Both share the similar dry Madeira notes and dark fruit touched character along with a few lighter fresher notes. Though this differs in that it has a slight, but distinct, sulphur character and a real ale like beer texture backing it up.

So, as mentioned I am starting to get the love for this beer. It isn’t a must have for me, but it is very nice – like the negative exposure of a standard lambic; Still instead of fizzing like a geuze, dark fruit notes instead of fresh ones, but still a lambic. Still drinking it now, and it gains more as it warms more – more nutty, more tannins and more subtle dried dark fruit notes. Ok, not quite up to the hype, but each time I let it warm a bit more I have come to appreciate it more as more Madeira base and rich complexity comes out. I can take my time happily with this one.

Background: I am not 100% sure this is an unblended lambic as it is generally listed as – the name makes me think it is – blended lambics tend to be called Geuze in the name. Also the fact it is still and not fizzy unlike most geuze. However Belgian Experts website says “The Lambics used to make this unparalleled blend come from Girardin, Drie Fonteinen, Boon and Lindemans, while the casks used to age the beer come from Pilsner Urquell.”. I think I can square this circle by maybe a) There are two different beers by this name? b) One of the sources is wrong? or c) Possibly the lambics are blended then aged in oak at De Cam and it only counts as geuze if they are blended after oak ageing? I do not know – if anyone has more information please let me know in the comments. Any which way, something unusual grabbed from Independent Spirit. Drank while listening to Anthrax – Amongst the living. Yes again. I am excited that I will hopefully see them live next year.

Wild Beer Co: Of The Sea (England:Wheat Ale:7% ABV)

Visual: Yellow gold with a thin white dash of a head.

Nose: Bubblegum. Calamari. Slightly salty.

Body: Vanilla toffee. Raspberries. Slightly rubbery. Oily. Mussels. Salt. Crab paste. Slightly cloying. Bubblegum. Sour cream.

Finish: Raw eel sashimi. Slight brown sugar. Slightly rubbery. Slight cardboard. Charred bitterness. Thousand Island Dressing. Sulphur. Salt. Lemongrass.

Conclusion: Ok, first up – It has been ages since I had lobster – I tend to use my available funds on expensive beer more than expensive food, so it is not something I am much of an expert on. So, when this is inspired by lobster bisque, I really can’t tell you if it matches that. However, I have tried to match the closest flavours I could find while drinking this.

It, well, it isn’t a total train wreck, I will say that. Though admittedly that is never a good start to a set of notes. It is pretty much the second worse “damned with faint praise” after “It doesn’t taste like Hitler’s putrid puss filled jizz”. So, let’s move on and examine the beer shall we?

Well, to concentrate on the positive – solid toffee base with some tart raspberry edges, nothing too intrusive, a solid back for the unusual character to work from. Also, there is definite seafood character – kind of calamari, crabs and mussels. They have completely dedicated themselves to this thing’s seafood concept.

Ok, right, so, the downsides. This is really rubbery and salty – not in an awesome Islay kind of booming way, More in a kind of sulphur filled, bringing the beer down with off flavours kind of way. In fact there are a lot of off notes, maybe they are intrinsic to the seafood being used to make it, but they taste very similar to mistakes during the brewing process.

Overall, in the seafood notes that work the crab paste and calamari are the highest and most dominant. The other dominant notes, well there is a bubblegum and lemongrass like character, which actually makes me think a lot of the Sorachi Ace hop – no idea of they used it here, but the tastes are similar. I love that hop, but the flavours here make it feel more artificial which is something this beer really doesn’t need.

So, I love the idea, and dig the innovation, but – this beer really doesn’t work. Sorry.

Background: I have no idea what style this is. There isn’t an acknowledged seafood category that I am aware of. The bottle mentioned a large amount of wheat being used, so I’ve shoved it under Wheat Ale. I also considered spice/herb/vegetable beer, but that seems to ignore the main point of it. I also considered traditional ale, as that is a good catch all, but this seems pretty much the opposite of traditional. Anyway, this was a beer I was excited to try for sheer audacity, but was nervous it was going to suck. The reason why is kind of simple to see – this is and ale made with – Cockles and lobsters, kombu (edible kelp), dulse seaweeds, sea salt, saffron and star anise. I love Wild Beer Co’s innovation, though as of recently they have been about 50/50 with on if they actually work. Sometimes their ideas outreach their ability to implement them. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Anthrax, Amongst the Living.

To Øl: Roses are Brett (Denmark: Saison: 6% ABV)

Visual: Deep cherry red. Red touched inch of froth. Some carbonation mid body.

Nose: Tart raspberries. Natural yogurt. Slight yeast funk character. Strawberry. Light pepper.

Body: Raspberries. Sour cream. Charred bitterness. Rose wine. Slight bready backing. Milky character. Slight funk sourness. Sour lime. Mandarin orange.

Finish: Rose wine. Sour dough. Charred bitterness. Raspberry. Orange juice. Lemon curd. Kiwi.

Conclusion: Sometimes I praise beer for their complexity – sometimes being able to dig deep into a beer; being able to take your time and find a shifting, ever evolving beer is a great reward. Other times it is enough just to find a beer that does what it does very well and doesn’t shift from that. This is that second type of beer.

It is a very raspberry filled, slightly tart beer with a bready backing, some funk and sour character and a few sour fruit notes that spin off from that main core set. It is that beer at the beginning and that beer at the end.

What sells it as a beer that is more than that simple description is the feel – With a very recognisably saison mouthfeel, slightly rustic and bready, kind of funky with a slight milky smoothness. It lets that lovely sharp raspberry float in the air and do its thing, without losing such a distinctive beer character. It has a feel that doesn’t interfere with the main flavour that lets it keep it simple without being dull. Bravo.

The other fruit flavours mentioned earlier are an extra note there, though they definitely feel like they spin out of the sourness of the main raspberry flavour – you get lime sours, notes of lemon freshness and the like. They are all similarly fresh, tart and sour notes that just add a bit of sparkle. The oddest other flavour you get in the mix is a kind of rose wine feel – possibly that is why the beer is named as it is, or maybe that beer’s name is what caused the image to come to mind for me.

Any which way, this is lovely – from a minute or so in you know what you are getting for the rest of the beer, but it is polished so well that you can just lean back and enjoy it as it is. It strips out everything it doesn’t need and just delivers what it does best. Very good indeed.

Background: This is one grabbed on a whim from Brewdog’s guest beer selection -To Øl, like a lot of the Scandinavian craft beer scene, is solid as hell and the idea of a brett and raspberry saison sounded like just the thing for me at the moment. As the second raspberry infused beer back to back for doing notes on it was interesting to mentally compare it to the De Molen raspberry beer. Anyway, felt like some weird and heavy music to go with this so put on Buckethead’s Cuckoo Clocks Of Hell – a guitar virtuoso’s crunchy, metal like, heavy album.

de-molen-framboos-and-framblij

De Molen: Framboos and Framblij (Netherlands: Fruit Beer: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown. Massive browned white loose bubbled head.

Nose: Cinnamon spiced raspberries. Strawberries. Raspberry Liqueur filled dark chocolate. Fresh and sweet. Light coriander.

Body: Earthy hop character. Peppery. Quite bitter. Very frothy feel and slightly wheaty. Raspberry yogurt. Malt chocolate. Vanilla.

Finish: Earthy notes. Wheaty and popcorn feel. Malt drinks. Hoppy bitterness. Pepper. Greenery.

Conclusion: Well, this is lively -the head keeps frothing on pour to a massive mound. No matter how gentle I tried to be, it always filled the glass. Maybe I should have used a glass with a bit more room, like the Tripel Karmeliet one.

I was expecting something more out of both the base ale and the raspberry infusion I have to admit – This feels like an solid, earthy, British style bitter that has then been subtly influenced by the raspberries to create a sweeter backing for that bitter style ale. It has a bit higher hop character and bitterness than that description would call to mind -but hopefully you should get the gist.

The raspberry is far more evident in the aroma – which leads you to expect a fruitier beer than the one you finally get. While the earthy, slightly greenery tinged hop character is much more what you actually get, laid over a malt chocolate drink bitter chocolate base. It actually feels like a hand pumped real ale in some ways – with that slightly bitty sediment touched texture – really grounded which the raspberry doesn’t challenge, but does enhance by the way of contrast.

So, you get a much more bitter led beer than expected – fairly simple in the flavours delivered but solidly done. Without the raspberry this would be a fairly middle of the road bitter. With the raspberry, well it give it a bit of sweetness and subtle tartness that it really needs to give it some depth.

An ok ale, considering who comparatively rare it is I wouldn’t say it is worth taking your time to dig it out – it is very similar to a group of raspberry dark ales that I have run into on a real ale tap around town over the years and it doesn’t really add much above that. If you run into it that this is fair enough, but hardly stand out, or probably even the best of what you would find in the style.

Background: Apparently this is a fairly rare one, originally for Borefts Beer Festival 2016, there has since been some bottled, of which I grabbed one from Independent Spirit. This is a dark ale made with raspberries. Drunk while listening to some Anthrax, after finding out they will be touring again next year. De Molen have been pretty darn reliable at turning out decent beers, especially kind of unusual ones, so I though this should be decent. Apparently the name is some kind of pun, but one that doesn’t really translate well. Ah well.

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