Category: Beer Tasting Notes


Veltins: Pilsner Alkohol Free (German: Low Alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Clear pale yellow. Large mounded white head. Very small amounts of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Clean. Slight fresh sour dough. Low amounts of bready hop character and bitterness. Soft vanilla yogurt.

Body: Vanilla toffee to yogurt. Clean. Hop oils. Light chalk touch. Low hop character and bitterness with gentle hop prickle. Slight frothy to sherberty feel with a lemon touch of flavour. Touch of greenery.

Finish: Toffee. Crushed mint leaves to peppermint. Light chalk. Jiff lemon. Vanilla.

Conclusion: This is very gentle, very smooth, with little in the way of rough edges. It’s got a moderate toffee and vanilla led flavour, and enough of that that thankfully the gentle character doesn’t make it an empty beer.

There isn’t much bitterness to this for a German pils – there is generally a very low amount of hop feel and such, though the hops do impart a gentle oiliness that definitely helps the beer.

The only rough edge to this, and kind of but not exactly a low alcohol tell, is the slight chalkiness. However while it is something that shows up in low alcohol beers it is not that harsh, nor exactly unusual in standard abv lagers so I can’t complain too much.

There isn’t a lot to examine here – it is gently sweet vanilla toffee to a slightly more neutral vanilla yogurt character. There is some restrained hop expression, and with that added you now have 90% of the experience of drinking this beer covered. That said, as a gentle drinking, sweeter end of the lager scale beer, this does do the job.

Considering the utter lack of any alcohol in this, the higher end malt styled sweetness is actually quite impressive, even if the beer is gentle overall. Doubly so when you take into account that this can’t lean on the hops to cover up the holes as many of the more showy low alcohol beers do.

So, not a special beer, but a well done low abv take on a gentle drinking sweet lager, and I can respect that.

Background: Yet another one from the Light Drinks batch I ordered of low to no alcohol beer. This one however is familiar to me. This is one of my Dads favourite low alcohol beers, so I decided it was time for me to give it a go and get a set of notes out of it. I was surprised to see I have never actually done notes on the standard Veltins on this blog. Something I overlooked. I must get on that one day. Not much else to add – went back to Garbage: No Gods, No Masters for background music. No I have still not picked up any Rammstein to act as backing music for German beers. I definitely should change that.

Good Karma: Love That Feeling Hefeweizen (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale lemon juice coloured, just slightly hazy clear body. Very thin white head.

Nose: Lemon juice. Creamy. Cinnamon. Scones with strawberry jam and cream. Scones with raisins. Slight wort mash. Fresh sour-dough.

Body: Orange zest. Lightly creamy. Cinnamon. Strawberry jam on scones. Sweetened lemon juice. Traditional lemonade. Slight sulphurous dough. Greenery bitterness.

Finish: Lemon juice. Strawberries and cream on scones. Orange juice. Traditional lemonade. Iced tea.

Conclusion: First things first, this doesn’t really taste like a hefeweizen. On the other hand it does taste reasonable. It tastes kind of like a fruity cream ale but with some low alcohol tells. Which isn’t the worst thing it could have been.

So, what elements are there that do seem hefeweizen like? Well there are lemon and orange citrus notes, albeit in a sweeter way than a traditional weisse. There is some bitterness but very gentle, also tiny hints of a wheaty character but nowhere near standard weisse levels. Similarly it is quite clear of body for a hefeweizen. It isn’t quite krystall weisse looking on the eye, but still pretty clear.

What it shows mostly though is something very different – a creamy character and the most odd scones with jam and cream style. Not unpleasant but deeply unusual. It is an enjoyable, creamy, fruity thing that seems closer to a cream ale than a hefeweizen.

There are low alcohol tells that show over time, most notable the iced tea like character. However since the beer already doesn’t feel much like its designated style, and the flavours match the thing it actually it, it doesn’t hurt the beer that much.

A bit odd, with nice and unusual flavours. A beer that manages to miss its intended style so much that it ends up as a reasonable example of a different one.

Background: This is another one from the Light Drinks batch I ordered of low to no alcohol beer. Good Karma list themselves as “We’re part of a culture shift towards a more sustainable, diverse and equal society.” I don’t know any of the details but I applaud the sentiment. They also say they “ brew beers that are made traditionally without any unnecessary fancy processes or even need any additions like lactose..” which must make it especially hard to make low abv beers, so I respect their dedication as they are really make life hard for themselves. Apart from that this is my first encounter with them so not much to add. No music this time, notes were done while chatting with friends,and sharing my thoughts on the beer live.

Spaten: Oktobetfestbier (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear pale yellow. Some small bubbled carbonation mid body and a surprisingly small white bubbled head.

Nose: Slightly gritty hop bitterness. Quite clean overall. Palma violets. Cake sponge.

Body: Vanilla. Toffee and caramel. Slight oily character and good bitterness. Cake sponge. Very light greenery. Touch of sweet raspberry.

Finish: Palma violets. Green grapes. Hop oils. Good bitterness. Slight fluffy hop character. Sweet raspberry yogurt chunks.

Conclusion: You know, while I wouldn’t say I have given Oktobetfest beers grief here on this site, I would say I have underappreciated them in my writing.

Some of that comes from the fact that I have not always been drinking and doing notes on the best examples of the style. Some of it comes from the notes that I did in my earlier days where I had less appreciation for the finer points of the varied lager styles.

Anyway, I am enjoying this. The body uses a surprisingly thick mouthfeel, with good but not excessive bitterness, a reasonable oiliness and a range of sweeter and fruitier notes that are quite unexpected.

The sweetness here was a lot more than I expected, slightly toffee and caramel in way that gives a slight extra weight of flavour to match the extra mouthfeel. This then seeps out into a fruity and sweet raspberry yogurt chunks that gives a bright end to the beer. I both really like this, and can’t have too much of it. The thickness makes it a comparatively heavy and slow drinking beer.

Though with that said it thankfully never gets too sweet. The bitterness and oily character, while not heavy, does the job just enough to balance it flavour wise. So the flavour is good, but it can’t hide the impressive weight that makes it slow drinking despite the not too huge abv.

It’s a nice range of flavour and experiences, with the bitterness and hop character always bubbling along underneath even when the sweeter notes are ascendant. This is not a favourite beer, but probably my best experience with an Oktoberfest so far, and still pretty darn good with that.

Background: I think this is my first encounter with Spaten. It is, at the very least my first set of notes from them. With that out of the way Oktoberfest is here! Ok, technically it is not, Oktoberfest is cancelled due to covid, which makes sense, but the time for Oktoberfest beers is here! Which is predominantly in September despite what you would think from the name. Spaten is one of the official six of Oktoberfest – the others being Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau and Paulaner. Of which Hofbrau is the only one I have done notes on. I really should pay more attention to beers from such a big event. Anyway, to try and set things right I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. I don’t have much German music so went with Bad Religion: The Gray Race as backing music for this as it has a German language version of Punk Rock Song on it. Yes it is a loose tie, sue me. I really should have at least one Rammstein album I could use for such things. I’ll add that to my to do list.

Nirvana: Dark and Rich Stout (May Also Be called Kosmic Stout) (England: Low Alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Black, with red hues at the edges. Still body. A thin grey dash of a head.

Nose: Musty. Wet cardboard. Wet teabags.

Body: Wet teabags. Iced tea. Nutty. Chalk touch. Mild liquid chocolate. Wort.

Finish: Wet teabags. Tannins. Lightly nutty. Slight chocolate. Wort. Mild coffee comes out very late on in the beer.

Conclusion: This is a stout? Wait, I’ll go one further, this is a beer? Wait I’ll go further, this is not considered cruel and usual punishment if served to prisoners? Going back to the first question, they do realise there is more to a stout than just being dark, right?

This is utterly dominated by low alcohol tells. There are so many tea bag notes, and iced tea tells, and even worse this generic wort mash just mehness that fills so much of the beer. Again this is in something called a stout. It feels very artificial and raw, as if it only got half way through the brewing process. Which, considering the abv makes sense, but not in a good way.

Over time you get a generally nutty character, even some melted chocolate notes, but they are pushed so far below the general wort like character that it really isn’t worth the effort to excavate them.

The wort character gives it a rough edge, that oddly even feels like an alcoholic rough edge in an ALCOHOL FREE DRINK. This is either impressive or a crime so bad it should be punishable by death.

So, erm, this barely counts as a stout so calling it one feels like false advertising. It is also terrible as any kind of beer.

Avoid it. It is shit.

Background: Ok for once I will open up with the music I listened to while drinking this, as I have since realised I 100% should have gone with Nirvana Nevermind. I did not. Instead I went with Ulver : The Assassination of Julius Caesar, which is awesome as most Ulver is. Anyway, this is another one from Light Drinks from the batch I grabbed. Not tried any from Nirvana before, but I have seen them advertise a lot of Facebook. This may or may not be a good sign. Stouts seems especially hard to do in low alcohol beers, though a day before having this I tried another stout from that Light Drinks batch that was amazing. However I did not do notes. I must try to grab another can to do. It was spot on. Not much else to add – This is listed on the bottle as Dark and Rich Stout, but everything I can see online suggest that this is the same beer as their Kosmic Stout even though I couldn’t find that name on the bottle. I may be wrong though. From the ingredients list it seems actual chocolate was used to make this. Also “natural favourings” which is an ever usefully vague term.

Insel: Skipper’s Wet Hopped Pilsner (Germany: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Slightly hazy banana yellow body with toffee hints. Massive yellow white mounded head. Some very small bubbles in the body.

Nose: Very herbal. Greenery. Sage and onions. Slight vanilla. Very slightly oily.

Body: Charring. Herbal. Charred bitterness to gunpowder tea. Slight sulphur and smoke.

Finish: Gunpowder tea. Greenery. Dill leaves. Very herbal. Sage and onion. Charred bitterness. Paprika.

Conclusion: Ok, I know that it says wet hopped in the name, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this damn evident. This has greenery, sulphur and high bitterness to a level I would have expected in a moderate wet hopped IPA, so it is a bit of a surprise seeing this level of intensity in a lager.

So, this is still a lager, but quite thick feeling and sticky. A lot heavier that your standard clean pilsner, and with an even higher level of charred bitterness than I see from even the more hop forward pils.

Initially I found it too harsh, and I say that as a lover of hugely bitter IPAs. I am an utter fiend for the bitter hops normally. This, however had bitterness in a very gunpowder tea, charred and heavy way with very dry bitterness. Thankfully the thicker body to the lager I mentioned gives a lot to work with that bitterness so it makes it manageable.

Apart from that bitterness, this beer is also super herbal. Intense amounts of greenery themed spiciness that sticks around for a very long time. On that note, I am amused that since herb means bitter in German (or so google translate tells me) the back of the bottle lists herb/bitter as one of the flavour poles and is marked very high in that, inadvertently being more true than it ever intended as this is both super herbal and super bitter. So, they managed to sum up both of the main poles of this beer with just one entry. Very efficient.

This is so very different. I’ve seen very few lagers anywhere close to this, and absolutely no low alcohol beers like this. It feels like someone half and halfed a wet hopped IPA and a super bitter pils then just dumped a ton of herbs in it.

For me, it is too herbal for me to want it as a general drinking beer, but I am fascinated by it. Really well made, very different, just another one that is not 100% for me.

Background: So first time I read this breweries’ name I misread it as “Incel” which gave me pause. Thankfully I was wrong. Anyway I had heard very good things about this wet hopped pilsner, and it has won a bunch of beer awards that I was too lazy to look up. It may even have been some of the awards that actually mean something. Anyway, I put in an order of low abv beers from Light Drinks. We are blessed with a bunch of websites that sell a huge range of low abv beers these days, and this seemed to have a bunch I wanted to try so I gave them a go. Went back to Berried Alive: Fuego as background music for this, some intense stuff against the low abv. Though it turns out not low bitterness.

Trillium: Fated Farmer Blackcurrant (USA: Fruit Sour Beer: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black-cherry red. Thin purple hued rim of a head.

Nose: Wet oak. Blackcurrant. Tannins. Sour red wine to Pinot Noir. Cake sponge. Walnuts.

Body: Dry. Dry white wine. Sour blueberry. Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Acidic apple and acidic at back of the throat. Vinegar touch. Sour black cherry. Dry mead touch.

Finish: Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Blueberry sherbet. Sour cider. Slight vinegar. Blackcurrant. Pinot noir. Sour black-cherry.

Conclusion: Ok, some sours suit chilling way down brilliantly. Not this one. You can chill it down a bit, but any more than that, as I did, and the mid body loses pretty much anything but acidity and vinegar touches. So, give this just a lick of warmth, ok?

Though, that said, chilling never seems to hurt the aroma. Even fairly heavily cooled down this boomed dark fruit, red wine and oak. Very full bodied, very sour, but not so much it loses that fruit that really reminds me of a New Zealand style Pinot Noir.

As previously mentioned the body is very harsh when overly cold, oddly dry white wine like more than any other flavours, which is very unexpected for something this dark fruit led. As it warms though it brings a lot of sour fizzy dark fruit sweets and blueberry mixed with black-cherry notes. Oddly there are very few blackcurrant like elements – it seems the beer saves those for the finish. Even like this, slightly warmer than before the body is probably the weakest element, with an acidic apple to light vinegar character that seems to push the fruitier elements way.

As the main acidity seeps away in the finish then the blackcurrant really comes out. It is still sour, just now sour in a blackcurrant style. It really hangs in the air, very obvious, very long lasting and still fairly darn sour.

The sour beer aspect of this beer feels unpolished, but the fruit seems to hold up well. It doesn’t have the huge, almost shimmer holographic range of flavours I associate with some sours, but it still has good depth beyond the blackcurrant. It sits very solidly in the range of notes you would expect from a New Zealand style Pinot Noir, with some sour black cherry fizzy sweets and blueberry thrown in there as well.

So, between those two poles, this is a reasonable beer. At its best when showing that Pinot Noir like style matched to the sourness, at its worst when it is mostly acidic and vinegar styled.

Not a must have but uses a fruit not often seen in wild beers, and shows off the fruit well, even if it doesn’t do it consistently. I dig it at its best, I just wish it was more consistent.

Background: Independent Spirit has had a couple of batches of Trillium in, first up a huge amount of their New England IPAs, then a bunch of their fruited sours. I kept meaning to do notes on one of them as Trillium has a fairly huge rep, but they are also kind of expensive, so I put it off. Until now! This one, as you may expect is a sour ale made with Blackcurrants. Shocking I know. The only date I can see on the bottle is 02 May 19, which I presume is the bottling date. So about two years old, which would be worrying if this was an IPA, but for sours like this it should be fine. Fruit does wane over time, but with fruited lambics coming out with a few years under their belt, I’m guessing this will be fine. Not much to add – I went with Jello Biafra: Tea Part Revenge Porn for background music (No I am not typing out the bands whole name, even though me saying I’m not typing it probably took me longer). I’m a big Dead Kennedys fan but have never checked out his solo work. Pretty good so far, a lot of that old school DK energy still there.

Deya: Boxcar: Crocodile King Barley Wine (England: Barley Wine: 11% ABV)

Visual: Hazy peach skin to gold. Moderate yellow white head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation to the body. Some streaks of sediment visible from the pour.

Nose: Honey to mead. Golden syrup. Blueberry touch. Light earthy hop prickle. Golden Grahams cereal. Nettles. Light chalk touch. Peach. Cake sponge. Apricot.

Body: Vanilla. Peach syrup. Honey. Hop prickle. Very syrupy. Custard. Apples. Blueberry. Vanilla cake sponge. Thick alcohol tingle. Treacle. A mix of brown and crusty white bread. Apricot. Orange juice.

Finish: Toffee liqueur. Boozy alcohol air. Cake sponge. Licorice touch. Blueberry. Crusty white bread.

Conclusion: This is made with lots of English hops, and for once that doesn’t mean “tastes like soil”. There are flavours I recognise from single English hop beers, but also this shows a lot of influence from flavours I would normally attribute to older school USA hops, but more on that later.

Anyway, with the hop talk pushed to later – this is big! I know, shocking for an 11% abv barley wine, they are notoriously so subtle normally. This is straight up honey and golden syrup style early on into vaguely more restrained vanilla and toffee liqueur mixed with custard as you get into it. It is thick and syrupy from the aroma through to the mid body. It is very sweet but shy of becoming actually sickly. Now, mid body is where the weakest element of the beer hits – a dry, slightly rough alcohol character. In an 11% abv beer some alcohol tells are expected, and in fact sometimes welcome, but this shows itself in a quite raw way that doesn’t really work well.

To look on the bright side this does mean that the later end of the beer expresses the sweet notes in a more dry way which helps ground the beer – but even with this taken into account it isn’t the best element for a beer.

Now if it stopped here it would be a decent, if slightly rough in the middle barley wine.

So, those hops, huh?

There is a low level hop prickle, and a touch of earthiness which may be what came to mind when you heard this was made with English hops, but after that is a layer of blueberry, touches of apple and the like. I don’t know what exactly was used to make this but the blueberry reminds me of what you can get from Bramling Cross when it is used right. Then, there is a layer of apricot and peach hops, stuff that I would normally attribute to USA based hops, from the wealth of those notes that used to exist in mid 2000s USA IPAs. So, since this is made with British hops I’m guessing that it comes from the big malt sweetness interacting with the hops, but however it is made it is a nice note.

The hops add a nice extra touch, not something that dominates, not ignored, just adding some layers to that super sweet malt body.

So, it has some issues handling the alcohol, but has a lot to offer to offset that which I appreciate. A pretty darn nice barley wine that has just a few issues.

Background: Boxcar, Boxcar, Boxcar, I know that brewery name. Why do I know that brewery name? **Searches this site** Ah that Best Bitter they did that was pretty good. I swear sometimes I only do this site as it makes up for my memory being shit. Anyway a Deya Boxcar collaboration – a Barley Wine emphasising English hops. Fair enough, that bitter I mentioned used the hops well while keeping a call to traditional styles. This should be interesting. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went back to teen years for the music – with Republica’s Live At The Astoria album. Still got a soft spot for that band. As is to be expected, teen years tend to leave an impression.

Orkney: Dark Island Reserve (Scotland: Old Ale: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin brown head that quickly vanishes to just a rim and a dusting.

Nose: Very vinous. Very spirity. Sour red wine. Rich sherry. Alcohol soaked raisins. Rum. Honeycomb. Golden syrup cake slices. Charcoal dusting. Hot fudge cakes.

Body: Cake sponge. Light charring. Smoke. Brown bread. Bitter core. Dry toffee. Thick feel after being light for a couple of seconds. Dry rum. Sour grapes. Dry sherry. Bitter chocolate cake. Lightly sour touch. Brown bread. Dry plums and dry figs.

Finish: Bitter chocolate cake. Sour touch. Sour grapes. Sour figs. Bitter cocoa dust. Wet moss. Smoke. Dry sherry.

Conclusion: Ok, this took me a bit of time for me to get my head around. Mainly because the aroma, the body and the finish all feel massively different while still having enough in common to give a coherent theme.

The aroma is the most spirity, vinous thing you are likely to encounter any time soon. It is thick as hell, heavy, with thick sweet syrup notes and tons of the old ale style and dark fruit notes. Every element you can imagine from its description is here and huge.

So, with that in mind, on first sip I was expecting pretty similar. Instead I got a drier, bitter chocolate cake, smoke and charring thing up front. Bitter in character but fairly subtle despite its weight. Then, over time, the old ale style sourer but still thick and heavy set of notes comes out. Subtle sour grapes, but more evident than that are the dry spirity notes. Far drier in how that are expressed in the full bodied aroma, but most definitely there.

The finish flips that a bit. It still has the bitter opening but then goes heavily into the sour, old ale like notes first, before finally the dry spirit notes show themselves around the edges.

It is not an instantly rewarding mix, which is kind of why I find it so engrossing. It had my interesting instantly with the aroma, but I had to take my time waiting in the body as it slowly laid its cards out after that, making you wait for the best notes at the latter half of the beer. It is never a bad beer, still solid early on, but the best comes to those who wait.

The beer never ends up the boozy beast that the aroma promises, and I kind of miss that – it smelled like it was going to be epic, but the drier, old ale sourness meets dry spirity character meets smoke and dry chocolate cake thing is a heck of an experience, and not one I can say I have seen like this elsewhere.

This earns its reputation, just takes a short while to do so. Give it that time and you will be rewarded.

Background: I have known this beer by reputation for ages, but somehow never got my way around to grabbing a bottle. Which changed last Christmas when I had a 750ml bottle to myself for lock-down Christmas! I didn’t do notes on it then, and have meant to for ages since. So this is me doing that , finally pulling my thumb out and doing something. For some reason this, smaller bottle, stylizes the name as DRK ISLD RSRV. Maybe because they hate me. That is most likely. Anyway, this is Dark Island that has spent time in whisky casks. Makes sense. Though considering the Dark Island I tried was sub 5% and this is over 10% I’m guessing they brewed up the recipe a bit. That or it was a heck of a wet barrel and there is a serious amount of whisky in this. Which seems less likely. Anyway, I think this was one of the earlier attempts at barrel ageing beers in the UK, but I couldn’t be sure on that. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Ulver: ATGCLVLSSCAP. I wanted something haunting to go with something this big, and as always Ulver provides. Considering the album is basically live improvised remixes of existing songs it speaks highly of Ulver that it is still so amazing.

Paulaner: Weissbier Non-Alcoholic (Germany: Low alcohol: 0.0% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy banana yellow body. Huge mounded white head. Lots of small bubble carbonation, but hard to make out in the cloudy body.

Nose: Dried beef slices. Crisp. Brown bread. Vanilla. Cinnamon.

Body: Vanilla. Iced tea. Light fudge. Light banoffee. Cinnamon. Thick mouthfeel. Custard.

Finish: Orange zest. Cardboard bitterness. Malt chocolate. Dried beef slices. Custard. Wheat. Teabags.

Conclusion: Dried beef slices? Dried beef slices notes in a weisse? I’m as shocked as you are, but yep, there it is. Not a heavy note but there is a savoury, kind of meaty thing that hangs around the beer. Straight up, that isn’t the best note to have – but let’s put that to one side for now, look at the rest of the beer, and then we can come back to it.

So, the beer is fairly thick, giving a good texture with quite a sweet set of toffee and custard notes, even a hint of banoffee that calls to the banana notes you would expect from a weisse, just in a more dessert way. This applies to a low of the notes – the spice comes across more cinnamon than cloves or the more savoury spice of a lot of weisse beers. It isn’t bad, just sweeter and more easy going than expected.

The low alcohol is visible, as is often the case, in iced tea like notes mid body and dry teabags in the finish. Despite them managing a good texture with what malt they had, there is no hiding that this is an alcohol free beer.

So, looping back to the start and bringing that dried beef slices back into the conversation. It is still the same – just this dry, savoury note that seems to hand around the beer. With the fairly big sweetness it doesn’t manage to intrude too much – a flaw definitely – but not more so than those evident low alcohol tells. Just something to be aware of.

It is pleasant enough, but has a lot of non beery characteristics. It does the job if it is what is available, but is far from my main choice for low abv drinking.

Background: I don’t think I’ve ever tried the alcohol version of Paulaner Weisse so I can’t make any comparison between the two, but the beers I have tried of theirs have been very enjoyable. So, anyway, I saw this as part of the low alcohol selection at Beercraft, and decided to grab it for a try. Not much else to add apart from the fact I went with a bit of a mix of erock tunes on youtube as backing sounds. Found his most recent take on Mortal Kombat Meets Metal and fell down a bit of a rabbit hole of his music.

Ingenious: Birthday Three (USA: Imperial Stout: 12.5% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black. The head fizzes up but doesn’t last long. Slightly fizzy in general.

Nose: Chocolate cake. Coffee cake. Walnut. Alcohol tingle. Flat cola. Icing sugar. Lactose. Chocolate liqueur.

Body: Thick. Chocolate cake and chocolate cream. Bitter cocoa. An even thicker twist to the feel in the middle. Sweet licorice. Black cherry. Sticky toffee pudding. Light chalk. Gunpowder tea. Fizzy cola bottles.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Bitter chocolate cake. Chalk like touch. Coconut. Treacle sponge. Flat cola. Cinder toffee.

Conclusion: From the clean feeling aroma and the smooth pour I was expecting this to be a tad light in its texture despite the 12.5% ABV. I have seen quite a few imperial stouts from the USA that feel a lot lighter than the abv would suggest.

Well anyway that was stupid of me. This is sticky as heck, gripping like treacle. Odd as the beer doesn’t leave an obvious dark sheen on the glasss as you swirl it, but despite that it clings to your tongue like its life depends on it.

(Maybe it does? Maybe this beer is alive and it realised beyond the throat is a giant pit of acid. Maybe it was sapient and trying to survive. Unlikely though)

Anyway, this starts very much like the chocolate birthday cake and icing style that it deliberately evokes. However over time this gets stickier and stickier, into first treacle sponge and then sticky toffee pudding like character, all drenched in flat cola notes.

Ok, I know that sounds horrible, but it is actually ok. Not great admittedly, but ok. Still, best part of a tenner buys a lot of better than ok stouts, and this costs best part of a tenner is all I am saying.

Still, early on it is a lovely, chocolate cake tasting, slightly bitter cocoa tasting beer. That cocoa especially really helps it not get sickly early on. However as the beer grows that cocoa just can’t compete and this soon becomes sickly, and I mean really sickly.

So, yes this does manage its aim of Birthday Cake the beer at the start, and ends up sticky toffee pudding the stout. Which may be for some people. Apart from that there are slight chalky and gunpowder tea style notes that seem to be trying to rein in the beer and failing, and some intresting cinder toffee at the end.

Even at its stickiest there is still a slightly drier, more standard cake set of notes underneath, but it doesn’t manage to make that the main expression.

So, it is ok, but too sticky by far. That may be making you think “darn this is for me!” and if so, more power to you, but personally I will not be returning to this one

Background: It is surprisingly hard to find information on this beer online, so I’m going to just go with the information on the Beer Bruvs website where I bought it. A blend of imperial stout aged in Blanton Barrels, and imperial milk stout conditioned on birthday cake, frosting, vanilla beans and possibly dynamite?

I presume that last one is a joke.

I presume.

Anyway odd as hell, but sounded like it could be fun and my last encounter with Ingenious was for a similarly odd sounded beer and that was great, so decided to give it a go. From the name I guess they brewed this for their third anniversary of starting? Again very little information I could find online.

Went with a mix of tracks from Run The Jewels :RTJ2 and RTJ4 while drinking. Gave a nice bit of energy to the session.

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