Tag Archive: 5-8% ABV


Wild Beer Co: To Øl: TrØffeler (England: Saison: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Large white head.

Nose: Chestnut mushrooms. Ground pepper. Quite fresh. Fresh sour dough. White pepper. White wine. Sulphur.

Body: Dry. White pepper. Dry lemon juice. Earthy bitterness. Dried mushrooms. Spritzy to soda water.

Finish: Spritzy. Soda water. Chalk touch. Peppery. White wine. Sage. Dried meat chunks. Coriander.

Conclusion: This is very spritzy, very peppery, mixed with some earthiness and spice over white wine dryness. That last element is especially odd as this has been aged in sweet Sauternes wine casks so you would expect something sweeter, but hey, I can only call ’em as I see ’em.

The body is softly lemony, which is probably the most normal element going on here. When that lemon is combined with the spice it feels like it calls to a more traditional take on a Belgian wit, but with a heavier, earthy saison edge to it.

I’m finding it hard to say exactly what the truffles bring here – there is a chestnut mushroom like note, a general set of savoury notes mid body, but nothing that stands out as massively unexpected, nothing that says unusual ingredient rather than beer hop character. Then again, my knowledge of truffles is entirely from truffle oil. So, for all I know this could be super truffly and I am just ignorant. I hear truffles are quite earthy, so maaaaybe that is them?

Anyway, this is easy drinking early on, and very earthy and spicy late on. In fact a bit too much spice for me. Reined in at the end this would be super drinkable and an awesome mix of wit and saison notes. As is it starts out good but feels a tad rough by the end.

So, not too stand out, but has promise for tweaking with.

Background: So, I am a huge fan of To Øl, they are very talented and turn out amazing beers. I am also a fan of Wild Beer co – they can be variable, but when they are on they are on. However the reason I bought this is not because of either of those. It is because it is made with truffles. I mean, WTF right? Terrible or great that was something I wanted to try. To be more specific this is made with truffles, sage and aged in Sauternes barrels. Saw that Crossfaith are coming back to Bristol later this year so put on a mix of their tunes while drinking. This was another one bought from Independent Spirit.

Advertisements

Oud Beersel: Green Walnut: 2017 (Belgium: Lambic – Fruit: 6% ABV)

Visual: Clear dark yellow. Large yellow-white head.

Nose: Oats. Horse blankets. Crushed nuts. White chocolate touch. Dried apricot. Moss.

Body: Acidic apple. Acidic pears. Lemon sherbet. Tart and acidic. Tart grapes. Cashew nuts. Dry white wine.

Finish: Lemon sherbet. Cashew nuts. Moss. Tart apples to cider. Dry white wine. Earthy notes, Charred notes.

Conclusion: Now this is nutty, very distinctly nutty, however lambics are fairly often nutty so I am unsure where the lambic base influence ends, and the green walnut addition begins. So, Let’s look at it as an overall beer for now, and see how things go from there, ok?

It comes in initially pretty tart and acidic on the main body, after you have moved past the fairly stereotypical horse blankets and oats aroma. The body comes in as a dry cider to dry white wine mix that gives a short sherbety burst before heading back to drying the mouth, leaving just a slight sweet sheen to keep it away from its ultra dry brethren. Throughout this is a kind of cashew nuttinesses, along with a mix of green nut flecks and moss notes that definitely call to its name. Psychosomatic due to the name? Who knows, but it gives an earthy, savoury middle to the beer that works well. Now, as mentioned the nuttiness becomes quite a bit element to the beer, maybe walnuts, but I would find it hard to say specifically.

Slightly sweet, but still tart, grapes come to again offset the hugely dry character so it doesn’t become harsh. Despite that, over time, the finish does gain a slight charred note that can come with a dry lambic. While this is not perfect, so far it has not harmed the beer as much as similar encounters with that element, so it isn’t a show stopper.

So, this feels pretty close to the standard lambic at the base – definitely more nutty than most, but I’m not sure if it is the most nutty. Time has brought out a lot more nuts than were evident at the start though, and considering the fact I have run into some pretty darn nutty lambics without the walnuts it seems to be doing ok. It is pretty dry, but not super dedicated to that part so doesn’t go too harsh or hard. Not a real stand out lambic, just a very solid one that leans into the nutty side of a lambic. I can’t complain, but it doesn’t feel super different for the odd ingredients used.

Background: This one has been on my radar for a while – a lambic made with green walnuts, a fairly unusual choice and so something worth checking out I felt. However at over 20 quid a bottle I kept finding other things to try. So, I finally bit the bullet and grabbed it from Independent Spirit. Hope it works out. Put on Heavens To Betsy – Calculated. Recent bullshit on various places online have put me back in a listening to Riot Grrrl punk kinda mood again.

Northern Monks: Sharknado 5 – Global Swarming (England: IPA: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Reddened apricot. Large strawberry touched head. Hazy body. Lots of small bubble carbonation.

Nose: Blood orange. Crisp hops. Salt touch. Moderate bitterness. Vanilla. Coriander.

Body: Blood orange. Sour cream. Lime. Thick. Brown bread. Hop oils. Pink grapefruit touch. Strawberry. Milky.

Finish: Sour cream. Blood orange. Salt. Fresh lime. Hop oils. Pink grapefruit.

Conclusion: Ok, a beer based on the delightfully shitty Sharkando movies should not be actually this good. Seriously. It feels a lot thicker than its 5.5% abv should bring giving a real creamy and milky feel, but in a slightly more savoury sour cream style so that the bright blood orange and pink grapefruit notes have something solid to work against.

The tart fruit needs that base, and boy does it use it – the beer feels very thick and heavy, but despite that the tartness manages to make it refreshing. The blood orange is really clear and sharp in its expression and the light sea salt touch accentuates every other flavour that it rubs up against.

The IPA feel is impressive in its precision of expression. There is a crisp hop aroma that prickles on the way in, but then the body leaves that out so it doesn’t break up the tarter character, instead expressing itself in a hop oiliness that adds to the thickness and lets the bitterness wait to seep in slowly during finish when the tart notes have finished doing their thing. It doesn’t feel like a traditional IPA while still being recognisable as being within the style.

Very bright, tart, and yet late on strawberry sweetness and vanilla notes come in to round it out. It is wonderful in how it uses all the extra ingredients to make it a bigger and better beer. Now we just need Northern Monk to make a “The Room” beer, or more likely a beer to promote the Best F(r)iends part 2? Please. It would be awesome.

Background: So, I tried this a while back, saw it, grabbed a can, drank it, but didn’t do notes. Mainly grabbed it for fun, but it was a genuinely good beer so I went back to buy another can to do notes on and … they had sold out. I had underestimated the demand for beer based on shitty movies. Then again, I enjoy the sharknado movies – they are terrible, yes, but enthusiastically terrible, and that counts for a lot for me. They are no “The Room” sure, but it is self aware stupid, and I saw an interview with … the director I think .. where they actually used the word “logic” in relation to the movie. Because of course. Anyway, the beer, I found one final can available at the Beer Emporium and grabbed it, resolving to actually do notes this time. Which I did. This is a beer made with blood orange and sea salt, which both sound tasty and are thematically appropriate. Put on Testament – Low again while drinking. No real reason, just really been digging that album recently.

Wild Beer Co: Rooting Around: Winter (England: Vegetable/Herb/Spice: 7% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown. Massive browned head. Very lively to pour.

Nose: Malt chocolate. Choc limes. Earthy. Sweet, cloying apricot. Dessert wine. Pine cones. Orange rind. Paprika.

Body: Orange jelly sweets. Sour grapes. Cloying sweet wine. Treacle. Chives and other herbs. Mulled wine. Rye crackers. Liquorice. Cherry pocked biscuits.

Finish: Cherries. Dried apricots. Sugary sweet wine. Boiled bark. Mulled wine. Malt chocolate. Rye bread. Rock salt. Golden syrup. Palma violets.

Conclusion: Well, this is very much dedicated to the foraged elements conceit, but despite that remember to be a beer as well – a beer that is backed by a heck of a lot of vinous notes from the barrel ageing. They are trying to pack in a lot here, let’s see if it works.

The base feels closer to a dubbel than than the actual dubbel I tried recently for their 2018 Smoke N Barrels, though that isn’t saying much. By itself it feels more towards an ESB style malt character with chocolate notes coming out -however it is pepped up by rye spice notes and a liquorice element that makes it all feel more earthy and more ready to fit in with the foraged root character.

Onto that is layered the sweet, thick Sauternes wine notes that go from cloying stewed thick apricot to the sour grapes of a tarter wine, to a golden syrup like dessert wine style. It seems to have reacted here with the base beer to show off a real fruit sugar styling to the sweetness. Initially it felt intense and cloying, but soothed over time as the more grounded base worked with it.

The rooting around foraged style is actually a robust middle to this beer. It is oaken like stewed bark, matched with herbal and spicy notes. The spiciness blends nicely with the rye to create a robust, forest imagery filled, set of notes.

It is a weird beer. Lots of intense notes, lots of prickly notes, lots of elements that don’t blend in with each other, instead all struggling for dominance. However it is never dull and never bad. Not a favourite of mine, but probably the best of the rooting around series, and the best at showing what foraging can add to a beer, especially if you make it one element rather than the sole element.

Background: I left off grabbing this one for a while. The Rooting Around series, a series of beers made with locally foraged items, missed more than it hit in my opinion. However it was recommended to me on the Alcohol and Aphorisms Facebook page, so I thought, what the heck, why not? This is a beer made with rock samphire, Douglas firs, tonka beans, orange peel and a mix of oats, rye and barley in the malt bill. Then that whole mixed up mess was aged in Sauternes casks. This is either going to be great or terrible with a set-up like that. Put in Ozzy Osbourne again while drinking this, prefer the earlier years tracks on the album I think. Anyway, another one grabbed from my Wild Beer supplier that is Independent Spirit.

Northern Monks: Patron’s Project 11.01: Rhubarb Sour: Made In The Dark (England: Sour Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Reddened apricot. Cloudy. Large off white and slightly yellowed head.

Nose: Dry and tart. Turmeric and tannins. Dry rhubarb. Cooking apples. Strawberry.

Body:
Without Popping Candy: Gentle rhubarb tartness. Red Grapes. Hop Oils. Light vinegar notes. Plum. Strawberry. Turmeric.

With Popping Candy: Similar but with popping feel in your mouth. Rhubarb and custard sweets. Raspberry hard sweets. Oilier and thicker. Lightly creamy.

Finish:

Without Popping Candy: Apples. Rhubarb. Tart sheen and lightly oily. Brown bread. Plums. Earthy notes. Lightly creamy.

With Popping Candy: Sweeter. Blackpool rock. Strawberry.

Conclusion: Initially I though that the popping candy I got with this was defective. You see I put it on my tongue aaand .. nothing happened. So then I took a sip of the beer to go over it. Nothing happened. I then took a larger mouthful and held the beer in my mouth and … nothing happened. Then finally the little fuckers started popping. If you are wondering why I am eating sweets and drinking, well, I kind of explain in the background. Kind of. As much as it can be explained.

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself here. So, they recommended trying the beer with the provided popping sweets, which I eventually did, but I decided first to do some sips au naturel and compare the beer from before and after. Because that is the kind of rebel I am.

As a stand-alone beer it is a solid enough sour. The rhubarb is there, there is a decent thickness, but not so much it gets sticky. It shows both the tart and earthy side of the rhubarb, along with some darker fruit notes and a nice oily hop sheen.

So how is it with the popping candy? Well the first thing I noticed is that by itself the sweets seemed to have a slight rhubarb character of its own. The second thing is that it kept sticking to the bloody roof of my mouth in a lump. Anyway, once I started drinking I noticed it seemed a little thicker – I don’t know if that is just I am holding it longer, but it definitely felt thicker, creamier and heavier.

Apart from that it seemed very much the same beer – there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference apart from the performative aspect – which I think is the whole point of the beer. The drinking ritual it creates is fun – especially when the sweets finally start popping and you enjoy the drink amidst the feeling of impacts in your mouth. However, for all it is fun, I don’t think the beer is overly enhanced by it.

Then again, the base beer is pretty decent by itself. Probably The best of the rhubarb sours I have encountered. There is good rhubarb character, good hop oil thickness and good plum backing and nicely tart and earthy as previously said. I actually would be interested to see what happens if they ditch the sweets touch and just concentrate on re-brewing this a bit bigger and thicker as I think that could be an excellent beer.

Background: Ok, this is one of the odder beers I have done notes on. In fact that was pretty much why I grabbed it – it is a sour beer made with forced rhubarb, which sounds up my alley enough. It also contains a small packet of popping candy, tucked away in the beer’s base, to eat while drinking it, which is another level strange. Hence why I have two sets of notes above. I decided to first try the beer just as is, then add in the popping candy and see how it changed things. If you peal back the label you find underneath a guide to tasting this – which is in the dark, lit by a single candle, put candy in your mouth then take a sip. Now, I cannot be trusted near naked flame when drunk, so I did the closest I could. I tuned off the lights and lit the from only by the shine of my VDU, with the Fire Watch desktop background glowing out. Similar enough, right? Anyway, all this theatrics seems to come as this beer is a collaboration with Lord Whitney – so yeah, that explains a lot. To add to the mood I put on Ulver – Shadows Of The Sun to listen to. Still the most genuinely beautiful album I have heard.

Wild Beer Co: Smoke and Barrels 2018: Islay Whisky (England: Smoked Dubbel: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Black. Opaque. Small bubbled carbonation. Caramel head with dark brown troughs in it.

Nose: Liquorice. Gin. Gooseberries. Sour plums. Medicinal meets broth. Tart black cherries.

Body: Tart. Liquorice. Bready. Iodine. Sour black cherries. Tannins and teabags. Gin and juniper. Medicinal and salt.

Finish: Medicinal. Sour red grapes. Teabags. Woody. Peppery. Tannins. Tart raisins. Smoke and dust.

Conclusion: Well, even having had the un-aged version of this, I was not expecting this to be as tart as it was. With it being a Dubbel at the base, and Islay barrel aged I was expecting a lot of big things, but not something this mouth refreshing.

The aroma didn’t really give it away – it has tart hints but that meets a brothy and medicinal character from the time in Islay oak that gives thicker and meatier imagery. So, when I took a sip and got a sour Flemish bruin meets dubbel kick it was kind of a shock.

It is all about the dark fruit, sourly delivered – backed by medical Islay character that makes the mouth sparkle. The oddest large element is the tarter notes that feel very gin influenced with sloe and juniper floating around there.

Now I will admit that for the first few sips I was not a fan – I was expecting something closer to the 2017 version, something tart but still recognisable as a dubbel, just with enhancements from the special ingredients. Instead I find something utterly dominated by them.

So, I decide to take my time and try and work out how to describe it- imagine a dubbel mixed up with a gin, a rodenbach grand cry and a shot of Caol Ila and … well you roughly have this. It is heavy duty with sour, medicinal and tannin notes all mixing. It is a bit prickly edged as beers go and feels like it needs a more solid core for the notes to work around. While the fruit character is dark and sour it isn’t in a thick way that gives a solid core to work from. It does gain a bit by the end though, resulting in a smokey, full flavoured, sour dark fruit beer – which if not perfectly delivered is bloody intriguing.

So, unusual, prickly edged and tart- no polish, all experimental. Intriguing, smokey and pretty tasting – but needs a bigger body to make it all work. Good but not a must have.

Background: From a quick look around I think this is the same beer, or at least a very similar beer to the one that Wild Beer Co released as the Winter 2017 Smoke and Barrels. What makes this different is it has spent the intervening time in Islay barrels ageing. Which is pretty much why I grabbed it. I love a good Islay whisky. So, to go over it again, this is a dubbel brewed with smoked malt, infused with cherry and chestnut wood and made with sloes smoked with liquorice. Which is a thing apparently. Anyway, another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – I was expecting something big and slow to drink (no sloe puns please) so put on the excellent moody tunes of Godspeed you! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! To listen to. Utterly awesome experimental tunes that make great drinking music.

Northern Monk: Patron’s Project 10.02 DDH Raspberry Ripple Doughnut IPA (England: IPA: 6.3% ABV)

Visual: Very bitty filled dark apricot body. Large off white head.

Nose: Raspberry ripple ice cream. Bitty orange juice. Peach. Light hop character. Light tart notes.

Body: Strawberry sherbet. Tart raspberry and hard raspberry sweets. Umami touch. Tangerine. Pink grapefruit. Creamy. Vanilla fudge.

Finish: Hop oils. Gooseberry. Tangerine. Tart apples. Pink grapefruit. Raspberry hard sweets. Melon.

Conclusion: Ok, point one – this has the most sediment I have e..e…ever seen in a beer, and trust me, that covers a lot of weird and wonderful experiences. Point two, this both nails its core concept in some areas and utterly ignores it in others,

The first hits are very obvious raspberry ripple ice cream notes, and then there are various different raspberry imagery hits throughout the beer in an artificial, hard sweet kind of way. However once the hops hit they come in a very different way – lots of green and orange fruit notes – from melon, grapes, gooseberry, tangerine and orange juice. Shoot you even get pink grapefruit notes for variety. Very tart very fresh, very natural fruit – it is a heck of a contrast.

Everything initially comes across fresh and sherbety. Then comes the tart notes, then finally the creamy thickness. I’m not sure if I would say that this calls to doughnuts, but that is just because it changes so much and pushes so much out of it. The one constant throughout though is the sweetness, with the fresh character coming close second for time present, but the sweetness is the always present characteristic – be it fruit, sweet hard sweets, vanilla or whatever it is always pushing something sweet at you.

Over time the elements start to merge together – the tart notes become backing to sweet raspberry and vanilla icing, backed by strawberry sherbet. You even see some, but nor much of the IPA backbone – some hop oils that bring light bitterness, but generally it is just a backing.

It is an intense and strange beer – not one to have often as it is bloody sweet – but had now and again as a one off – yeah I love it as that.

Background: Another local collaboration beer by Northern Monks – this one with the Temple Coffee and Doughnuts shop. From a quick google it seems that there was no actual doughnut used in making this, despite the level of bittiness of the beer giving that impression. I have been informed, and checked that if you take the labels off the cans, there is a ton of additional info on the beer and the collaborators on the inside of the label and on the can. Which is cool, but now I’m wondering what I missed out on the other Patron’s Project beers by not looking inside the labels. Ah well. Also with the level of sediment I was quite worried this would make the glass a total shit to clean – thankfully most of the sediment didn’t stick, so it wasn’t that bad. This is another one from Independent Spirit and I put on Nightwish – Dark Passion Play while drinking. My mate says the albums with a different singer are better for enjoying Nightwish, so will have to give them a try some time.

Cloudwater: Forest and Main: Wind Suit (England: ESB: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Murky apricot to brown. Huge caramel brown mound of head that finally settles on late re-pours. Small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Dried apricot. Gritty hop feel and solid bitterness. Dried grapefruit. Dried pineapple. High hop prickle. Tangerine.

Body: Prickly, gritty, big bitter hop character. Malt chocolate toffee. Grapefruit. Mandarin orange. Choc orange. Pineapple. Bubblegum.

Finish: Choc orange. Mandarin orange. High hop bitterness and gritty hop feel. Pineapple. Pink grapefruit. Wheatgerm. Malt choc toffee drinks. Granite. Bubblegum.

Conclusion: Ok, call me an old fashioned fuddy duddy if you will, but, in my mind ESB is a style that should have a solid malt presence. This feels hopped like an IPA, with just a darker coloured and more cloudy base behind it. Like the ESB equivalent of a Black IPA. I mean, I like hops, heck, I love hops, but not every beer style needs to be dominated by them.

Ok, that is my old man whine over, let’s see how this does as a beer in itself then. Well, mixed. I can’t deny that it has massive presence – from the pop of the cap thick fruity notes float out of the bottle – dried fruit notes, or more correctly, dry takes on fruit notes, if that makes sense.

Sipping it, it is very prickly, very fresh in its hop bitterness. Unlike a couple of other Cloudwater beers recently though it thankfully manages to not suffer from hop burn. It still has a kind of gritty, rocky, quite rough hop feel, but done on the down low as a subtle element of the beer. Not my favourite but style I will say, but while the bitterness is high, the grittiness is an element that does not intrude too much thankfully.

Below that is fresh tart fruit – using grapefruit and pineapple for the old school tart hits against pink grapefruit and a range of fresh orange notes for the new hop style influence. This is the best element of the beer – fresh feeling and making the most of the new hop trend to add really bright notes to this beer.

The malt below that is … muddled. Toffee to choc toffee or choc orange sweets. It feels gritty again, murky in taste like the dirty river cloudiness that the beer has on the eye. It is ok, but a bit rough.

So, despite the fact that yes, I am looking at this side eyed as it doesn’t match what I would expect an ESB to be, I think that I can say that, aside from that, the hop forwardness really doesn’t work to its best here. It just feels rough and out of place. The flavour is great, but the feel that comes with it always makes it feel like something is out of wack.

Now it doesn’t ruin the beer, but it definitely makes it sub optimal. It has an odd mouthfeel that doesn’t match what it is doing with the flavour, and isn’t an intriguing element by itself.

Good hops in a beer that doesn’t really reward it for that.

Background: I’ve been mixed on Cloudwater so far – some stonkers of beers, some real let downs. They have a huge rep and when they are on point they hit it, but they are a tad more variable in quality than I like. Still, I was intrigued by their last ESB, which was an unusual take on the style, so when I saw this collaborative ESB I thought I would give it a try. Don’t know much about Forest & Main by comparison, will see how that goes. Lots of unusual elements – uses JW Lee yeast – lots of hop use including Simcoe and Mosaic which I am a huge fan of. Put on Evil Scarecrow – Galactic Hunt to listen to for this – looking forwards to seeing them again later this year. This was another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Odyssey: Ego Wars: Simcoe vs Wakatu (England: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy bruised apricot. Large brown to caramel touched head of loose bubbles.

Nose: Grapefruit. Blood orange. Flour. Tart. Jiff lemon. Tangerine. Very fresh.

Body: Tangerine. Vanilla. Pineapple and grapefruit. Passion-fruit. Malt toffee drink. Malt biscuits.

Finish: Blood orange. Fluffy hop character. Palma violets. Some hop bitterness. Malt biscuits. Kumquat. Hop oils.

Conclusion: Wow this is fruity – the malt part of the body pretty much gets out of the way quickly, taking with it the rougher notes of the hop bitterness, and just lets the fruit side of the hops do their thing.

Over time a kind of malt biscuit core does reveal itself – a fairly neutral weight – again letting the fruit character show itself and do the heavy lifting. So, the fruitiness then – tart orange dominates, lovely bright notes backed by an equally tart pineapple and grapefruit set of notes that give a mouth tingling air. This is the bright and beautiful core of the beer.

The neutral backing of the malt feels like both a benefit and a curse here. A benefit as it lets the hops shine, and boy do those hop shine. However it feels like if they used the malt base to add to the beer, rather than just get out the way then this may be on its way to being an all time classic. By making the malt such a neutral element it doesn’t intrude, but can’t add to the beer either, so it feels like they are missing a trick. I will admit that is a minor point, the malt does do its job which is to let the bright hops really shine, so I shouldn’t give them too much grief.

Looking at the two hops used, I think the Wakatu hop is the one that wins out in this ego war. While the beer does show some oily hop notes over time and a vegetable hoppiness that I associate with Simcoe, the Simcoe hop feels like a bit player with none of the huge alpha acid hoppiness it normally brings on show. Instead it just provides a backbone from the brighter fruit notes here. It isn’t the star, but it does its job so the Wakatu can shine.

A very good, very bright IPA that is a great hop showcase. It just feels that with a bit of malt tweaking this could be an all time great instead of just good.

Background: Last Ego wars I had was V2, they seem to have given up on numbering since then but a quick google tells me this is V5 of Ego Wars where they make a beer with two big hops going head to head. I’m a big fan of Simcoe, not tried much Wakatu, so should be interesting to see what it brings to the table. Huge fan of Odyssey beers, especially their hoppy beers, so this was another must grab from Independent Spirit. Put on Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues while drinking – probably still Against Me!’s best album in my opinion.

Art Brew: Doppelbock (UK: Doppelbock: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Large Carmel brown touched looser bubbled creamy head.

Nose: Malt chocolate. Grated chocolate. Roasted nuts and cashews. Vanilla. Creamy.

Body: Hot chocolate. Black cherries. Grated white chocolate. Marshmallows. Chalk touch. Sour cream and chives. Moderate earthy bitterness. Treacle touch. Vanilla toffee. Bitter cocoa.

Finish: Bitter cocoa and earthy bitterness. Cashews and roasted nuts. Coffee cake and chocolate cake. Chalk.

Conclusion: While it takes a few moments to build up, this is actually a pretty robust and heavy beer – it just sneaks up on you rather than jumps out at first sip.

It is not that it hides things though – there is a creamy, thick hot chocolate vibe from the get go, but it uses that to sneak up a Trojan horse of bitter cocoa and earthy British style hops in under your guard.

There is also a slightly rough chalk character, but thankfully that doesn’t make as much impact. However time makes a fool of the expectations that the heavy front gave – light marshmallow and vanilla toffee notes slightly soften the beer back again. It is still big in the earthy and chocolate bitterness but more manageable and enjoyable, especially with hot chocolate and marshmallow imagery mixing.

By the end it has an enjoyable balance, possibly leaning a bit heavily on the earthy notes, but a fairly solid beer, if nothing too out of the ordinary. A slightly more earthy interpretation of the doppelbock style that is good but not exceptional.

Background: Decided it was time to return to Art Brew again, they were my go to on cask for many a year when I first moved to Bath so I still have a soft spot for them. Don’t think I’ve seen a Doppelbock from them before, so this is going to be interesting. Played some The Royal They while drinking – a band I had just been introduced to via Welcome To Nightvale. This was another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit.

%d bloggers like this: