Tag Archive: 8-10% ABV


Bosteels (AB Inbev): Tripel Karmeliet (Belgium: Tripel: 8.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear, medium brightness gold. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Massive mounded white head.

Nose: Peppery. Coriander. Wheaty bitterness. Vanilla. Orange zest. Lightly earthy. Turmeric.

Body: Peppery bitterness. Oily character. Menthol, with a sap like core. Greenery touch. Vanilla. Thick. Sweet brown sugar. Orange zest. Wheaty. Crusty white bread. Brown rice.

Finish: Peppery. Slightly oily. Good bitterness. Brown rice. Orange zest. Lemon zest. Brown sugar. Grapes.

Conclusion: What I’ve always like about this beer over this years is that, quite frankly, it is an utter mess, but a glorious mess in that and one I’ve always enjoyed.

That may sound strange, but follow me on this one. It is distinctly peppery in its characteristics, yet that spice works alongside brown sugar raw sweet notes at its heights. Despite a dry edge this has a oily feel to the core, with accompanying bitterness. Yet that texture also comes across as a sap like menthol thickness that refreshes rather than bites. You have orange zest fresh notes working against a savoury brown rice base. So many notes you normally wouldn’t find together all cohabiting here in perfect harmony in an oily, dry, sweet, citrus, spicy, etc, etc way.

It is a high alcohol beer, and feels it, but in a way that shows itself as an odd, well attenuated kind of alcoholic haze. There is nothing too evident, but there is always a dry alcohol shimmer that makes you take care of what you are drinking, without hurting the overall experience.

It comes with a lovely cornucopia of flavours that somehow mesh despite the fact that they really shouldn’t and should just make an utter car wreck of a beer instead. Bitterness, sweetness, alcohol, savoury, sweet, spicy, I’ve been over this already, it just plays with so many flavour styles.

It is a joy, but one I am sure is not for everyone as it is a lot of a mess, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a big fan, and there is a lot to enjoy here if you go with it.

Background: This is one of the Belgian beers I first encountered many a year ago, when I was just starting on my beer hunting journey, and a big fan of it I was back then. So of course I never did notes on it until now. I even had a Tripel Karmeliet glass, which was one of my favourite glasses, until I broke it. It turns out that being drunk often around glass can cause breakages. Who would have thought it? This was picked up from Waitrose, but many places seem to have it in, it is fairly easy to get. Though the Brexit related delivery issues of recent months seem to make it harder to find in some places. Went with Crass – The Feeding of 5000 for music. Crass is one of those well reputed, classic punk bands that passed me by back in the day so I thought I would make an effort to check them out. Impressed so far.

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.

Halve Maan: Straffe Hendrik Tripel Wild 2021(Belgium: Sour Ale: 10% ABV)

Visual: Clear, slightly hazy yellow gold colour body. Some small bubbled carbonation. Medium sized, unbalanced layers of white mounded head.

Nose: Funky yeast. Cane sugar. Brown bread. Sulphur. Cheese puff crisps. Sour dough. Pepper. Light greenery.

Body: Lime touch. Vanilla. Funky character. Cheese puff crisps. Mature cheddar. Peppery. Dry. Cane sugar. Greenery. Tart grapefruit,

Finish: Peppery. Mature cheese. Funky character. Smoke. Raspberry air. Dry vanilla fudge.

Conclusion: Ok, I know what a Straffe Hendrik Tripel tastes like. I know in general what sour beers taste like. With all that in mind, I was in no way expecting what this tastes like.

I mean, there are hints of the base tripel here – cane sugar notes, some dry fudge, but way drier than normal. This is attenuated as heck and with that has the peppery character turned way up.

Added into that is a huge amount of yeasty funk, a touch of sulphur, cheese puff crisp mouthfeel and wisp of smoke that gives a wonderful texture and style to this whole thing. This is then tarted up with grapefruit and lime like notes, and in fact a general tart yet dry freshening character that should be familiar to anyone who has has some experience with wild yeast made beers.

It makes for something that calls to the dryness of a lambic, but is most definitely not a lambic. It has the cane sugar notes of a tripel but is definitely not a tripel. It is fluffy , full textured and plays very much to showing this unusual mouthfeel, but is not limited to that. It lets some thicker, sweeter notes out, but still is led on by its dry core. There is such contrast of feels, flavours, aromas and styles that makes it fascinating in every moment to explore.

So, I love it and yes, I have one set aside to age – I want to see what this does over the years. I highly recommend it if you are into wild, sour beers but don’t want to limit your experience to just lambics. This has such good tart, funky character matched to a super dry tripel and works both to perfection.

Background: First problem I had with this is, should I list it as Sour or Tripel? It is based on Straffe Hendrik Tripel but made with wild yeast which make it sour soooo. In the end I went with sour. Sue me. Looking online it seems that there is some variance between the releases of this. The 2015 version came in at 9% as one example. Anyway, this looked very interesting so I grabbed one to do notes on and one to age for later – wild yeast tends to be amazing for beer ageing. I had the chance to visit the Halve Maan brewery while in Bruges – a nice wee tour, great view of the city from the building top, and some unfiltered, unpasturised beer available at the end of it. All nice. Not much else to add, this was bought from Independent Spirit, and I put on Nine Inch Nails: The Downwards Spiral while drinking. Yes I am in a happy mood a lot currently. Why do you ask?

Struise: Pannepot: Vintage 2020 (Belgium: Belgian Strong Ale: 10% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to almost black. Thin off white dash of a head. No visible carbonation bubbles.

Nose: Raisins. Plums. Very rich. Cocoa dust. Licorice. Brandy cream. Slightly dry fudge.

Body: Smooth. Brown bread. Cake sponge. Sherry soaked raisins. Bitter red wine. Bourbon whiskey. Warming alcohol. Licorice touch. Bourbon biscuits.

Finish: Dry fruitcake to Christmas cake. Glacier cherries. Raisins. Vanilla cake sponge. Watered down bourbon whiskey. Bitter red wine.

Conclusion: Shortly after finally doing notes on Chimay Blue, I return to talk about another big Belgian beer that is in the “how have I never done notes on this before” camp. It is a surprisingly well populated camp. I did do notes on the barrel aged Reserve version, but not the standard

So, having had this many a time before, I return to it, with no surprise that it turns out it is great. It opens with full on dark fruit, spirity notes, and with drier takes on what would normally be sweet flavours. The body hides the 10% abv very well. It feels heavy, sure, but always far from feeling boozy. In fact, one of my few minor complaints with this is that it can feel just slightly light early on, leaning into a smoother take on the mouthfeel in a way I associate with the USA take on the style. Now, this is only in the mouthfeel side of things, the flavours always have those delicious edges and the texture does build up over time allowing it to come up to its proper potency by the end.

The body is heavy into the fruit cake, sherry and bourbon, with a mix of other vinous and spirity touches really making it feel like a treat. Not a simple, sweet beer for that pleasure, but a rewarding mix of heavy flavours. In fact, considering the complete lack of any fancy barrel ageing going on here, this somehow manages to taste oak smoothed and spirit aged. Such an impressive feat.

The only off flavour is a liquorice light touch, which isn’t even that bad, it is just liquorice isn’t my favourite flavour in most beers – so with this being well integrated it is just the fact it isn’t 100% my thing, and that is the worst I can say here.

This is complex and rewarding in a huge way – it never takes the easy road to get there, but rewards you with an intoxicating (literally considering the abv) mix of flavours that it restrains just enough to not be overwhelming.

A wonderful, worthy, beer

Background: I tried Pannepot many a year ago, pretty early into my beer exploring days. Think I may have started the blog around that time, or maybe just before. I’d grabbed a batch of beers from a now closed shop in the Netherlands – Which, back then was one of the few ways I could get some of the hard to find beers I wanted. Things are so much easier these days, I am spoiled. Anyway on their website they mentioned De Struise and Pannepot in particular as getting a real buzz about it. Of course they were trying to sell me stuff so they would say that, but I grabbed a bottle anyway and that is how I found De Struise beers. Amazing stuff. I did a set of notes on the barrel aged Reserve edition shortly after, but never actually returned to do notes on the standard beer, though I drank it many a time. So here is me, grabbing a bottle from Independent Spirit and actually pulling my thumb out and doing notes on it. Needed some happier tunes at the time, so went with Andrew WK: You’re Not Alone. It is cheesy, and a lot of the self help sounding sentiments in the spoken pieces are bollocks, but it is such a fun rock album that I adore it.

Drastic Measures: Road Warrior (USA: IIPA: 8.5 ABV)

Visual: Pale, slightly cloudy lemon juice. Large, mounded white frothy head that leaves suds.

Nose: Lemon curd. Vanilla toffee. Cream. Apricot. Grapefruit. Slightly sulphur bitterness. Passion fruit.

Body: Grapefruit. Tart. Resinous. Good bitterness and some hop oils. Apricot touches. Slightly sulphurous. Greenery. Gooseberry. Passion fruit. Marmalade.

Finish: Grapefruit. Good bitterness. Gritty hop character. Resinous. Dry apricot. Gooseberries. Light malt chocolate. Dry mango. Marmalade.

Conclusion: Ok, yep, this is exactly what I want from an IPA (Double or otherwise). Though initially I thought it wasn’t going to be from first encounters with the aroma. It wasn’t that the aroma was bad, it was very pleasant. It was just kind of sweet so not what I was expecting from a beer that was pitching itself as a west coast IPA.

Over time a bit of sulphur and bitterness comes out in the aroma, closer to what you would expect, but by that point I had already started sipping. So let’s jump ahead to that and see how it went.

It opens up tart, with full on grapefruit against sulphurous, resinous bitterness. A dry mouthfeel in general that is offset by the tart grapefruit notes. Over time other dry fruit notes come out,with dry mango and passion-fruit giving a thicker flavour that the dry body would otherwise suggest. The tartness is helped by some gooseberry notes that help contrast, until, at the tail end, a most unexpected dry and yet sweet take on marmalade notes give a final unexpected burst before leading out into the resinous hops in the finish.

So, the beer opens up soft and sweet, rapidly stomps on that with a tart character and dry bitterness, then roaming though dry fruit, before surprising you with the mix of sweet and new tart fruit at the end without sacrificing the dry west coast style.

If it wasn’t so expensive to drink in the UK I would be drinking this a darn lot as it is gorgeous. Which, considering the abv of this big beer, I guess I should be thankful for. The high cost of this is saving a lot of damage to my liver.

A great IPA.

Background: Beer Bruvs got a new batch of beers in recently. They specialise in smaller craft brewers in the USA, so have my interest. People who read this blog a lot may remember last time their canned on dates were very variable – which was quite a hit when you got a nine month old highly hopped IPA that was far past its best. Still, it sounded like these were teething troubles for a new company – it sounds like they got far more stock in than they could turn over quickly for a new start up. So I thought I would grab a batch from this new set and see how they did. It was much better, everything I got was between one and two months old, which is a perfectly fair time to get stuff over from the USA, especially with the current situation. So good news, hopefully will keep it up, as this is looking so much better. Anyway, don’t know much about this brewery, but it was a double west coast IPA and that was all I needed to hear. Went back to Rise Against: Appeal To Reason as backing music while drinking. Not up there with Endgame but still a good album.

Chimay: Blue (Belgium: Belgium Strong Ale: 9% ABV)

Visual: Dark caramel brown. Slightly creamy inch of browned head that leaves lace.

Nose: Walnuts. Brown sugar. Crushed coffee granules. Yeastie touch. Puff crisps. Slightly creamy at times, slightly dry at others. Cinnamon touch. Orange skin.

Body: Bitter chocolate to malt chocolate. Bitter, just slightly milky coffee. Yeastie feel. Walnuts. Peppery. Quite savoury. Cashews. Slight mature cheese. Brown sugar. Lightly bitter.

Finish: Cashew nuts. Malt chocolate. Walnuts. Lightly bitter. Slight mature cheese. Generally nutty. Peppery. Mild Palma Violets.

Conclusion: This is both smother than I remember, yet also showing the nicer rough edges of the style that come out of my favourite Belgian Trappist beers. It really eschews the sweeter side of the trappist beers, it is not heavily bitter, but much more savoury – nutty, often in a cashew style way.

There is a chocolate character, but it is in a more malt chocolate drink kind of way, which again leans away from the sweetness, this mixes with a milky, lightly bitter coffee style to really emphasise the point. The beer is smooth in feel, slightly funky but not heavily so, slightly peppery, and it has all the rougher Belgian beer edges coming from the flavours rather than any harsh alcohol or imperfections in the brewing.

Any sweetness used is subtle, even the brown sugar notes feel restrained, behind a more prevalent savoury, nutty character. Savoury really does seem to be the word of the say here – from the nuttiness, to the unflavoured puffy crisps, to a very mild amount of mature cheese, it feels restrained in style, but powerful in the weight of character. It underlines this with moderate but well managed peppery character and bitterness.

There is a lovely feel backing this, a gentle yeastie funkiness giving a bit more character to the mouthfeel and a lot to feel, taste and examine.

This was my first Trappist and still great. I have had better since, but I am never going to shun this one. It is high quality, restrained in showiness, but big in flavour. Delicious.

Background: As mentioned in the main notes this was the first Trappist beer I ever tried, found it in York while drinking with a mate. I had been getting into German Weisse beers, and was intrigued to find something different and new to me from Belgium.They had red, white and blue, and with me being young, I went with this, because this was the one with the highest abv. Hey I never claimed young me was smart. Or current me. There are more Trappist breweries around than there were back in those days, when there were only seven recognised Trappist breweries (or maybe six at the time, it may have been during the time when Le Trappe were temporarily not recognised). I once had nearly tried all the Trappist beers that existed. Nowhere near any more. Anyway, this was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Laura Jane Grace’s Stay Alive.

Trappistes Rochefort: Tripel Extra (Belgium: Tripel: 8.1% ABV)


Visual: Hazy lemon juice colour. Evident sediment in the body and a moderate sized white tight bubbled head.

Nose: Slight lemon. Bready hop bitterness. Dry. White pepper.

Body: Sherbety mouthfeel initially. Dry attenuated character later. Naan bread. Lemon sherbet. Cheese puff crisps. White pepper. Slight mature cheddar. Lemon juice.

Finish: Moderate bitterness. Moderate yeastie funk. Wotsits crisps. Slight mature Cheddar. White pepper. Dry lemon. Slight sulphur.

Conclusion: Now this is definitely an interesting one. A lot of Tripels go for the sweeter route, with either evident residual sugar, or a smoother malt sweet style.

This says “Fuck that noise”

This is dry, very well attenuated, with lots of flavours that would normally be expressed in a sweeter way instead being so dryly done that they come across almost savoury here.

Yet it also defies the smooth American take on the Abbey Tripel style – it has good levels of bitterness, which is very unexpected, a savoury yeast funk that calls to the rougher edges of some of the best Belgian takes. It has all the polished brewing skilled mixed with a touch of rough gem style you would expect of a Belgian Tripel, just drier.

This slightly different take allows it to play with more unusual flavours. The dry lemon matched with an unleavened bready bitterness for a refreshing yet savoury base – then with white pepper spiciness and subtle mature cheddar notes that give the complexity and challenge. There is a lot more savoury style than you would expect.

So how good is it? Well it may not win a place as a favourite, return to often beer for me, but it 100% got my attention, and with that I enjoyed it more than most other Tripels I have had recently.

It is a challenging one, and doesn’t declare itself as a must have for me as there are just some aspects that don’t quite click – but those are more personal things than signs of its quality, I still dig it, and would still recommend it in general.

A more bitter, more attenuated, more different Tripel. Brilliantly made, just not for everyone nor one for every time.

Still worth trying.

Background: I’ve had a few of these, before doing notes today. This is the first time it poured with the very evident sediment mentioned in the notes. As a huge fan of Rochefort, hearing that they were turning out this – a rare new beer release from them, was very interesting so this was a must grab. So grab it I did, from Independent Spirit. Yes again. Went with Stay Alive by Laura Jane Grace as music while drinking. I’m a big fan of Against Me! So was interested in this solo album. In other thoughts, was nice to have an excuse to break out the Trappist beer glasses again

Equilibrium: Super Fractal Laboratory Set (USA: IIPA: 10% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy peach skin to apricot coloured body. Medium sized bubbled white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Cake sponge. Muggy hop bitterness. Pine needles. Custard slice. Mango. Apricot skin. Grapes.

Body: Mango. Pomegranate. Cake sponge. Thick. Peach. Marshmallow but dry. Custard. Honey syrup. Watermelon jolly ranchers. Resinous. Gherkin like sour touch. Hop oils

Finish: Pine needles. Muggy bitterness. Granite touch. Savoury, lettuce like touch at the end. Honey.

Conclusion: This feels heavy. Thick, kind of savoury and with a bready to cake nature. It is kind of sticky as well – the fruity feels dried but in a way that clings to the tongue.

There is sweetness, predominantly expressed as a honey, again sticky notes that hangs around for a long time at the end. However, considering the abv it comes across moderately attenuated in a way that I would not expect. Not dry, but restrained, drier than the malt load would suggest.

The bitterness is, again, moderate. Some resinous character, a good level of bitterness but slightly muggy rather than prickly, and slightly oily but not the main character. It isn’t lacking in bitterness, but it isn’t exactly the front either.

The front is instead an odd, slightly muggy, slightly dry, fruit set of unusual notes; Rocking with pomegranate and mango more than the more common choices. There are hints of sweeter release, but generally it is kind of savoury, slightly soured unusual notes with some dry sweetness.

It gets a bit sweeter over time and feels much more clinging – the flavours and hops last long, long into the finish. It is decent, but a tad too sticky kind of clingy for me. The thick body and dryness keeps every flavour around, but without those notes that pop out to make it feel more welcome and complex over time.

Still, decent – lots of flavour and identity, just not quite expressed to a style of my preference.

Background: Ohh, a new brewery to me from the USA. With the smaller USA craft brewers being pretty rare in the UK these days I was again happy to snap up something to try. There seemed to be a lot of variants of this Super Fractal beer, so being a science fan I grabbed the Laboratory Set variant and thought I would see where it would take me. Yep, a very formal selection method used. This is called Triple IPA, but I have to admit I always thought 10% fell under the high end of a double IPA. Feh, I’m listing it under IIPA anyway for ease, but I am fairly sure 10% abv is not in the triple range. The base beer – Super Fractal is described as having a simple grain bill, the can doesn’t list ingredients so I’m not exactly sure what that entails, to which this adds massive Citra hopping. Cool. Ok, let’s see how that goes. Went with Ulver: Flowers of Evil when drinking – a brighter sounding but still musically complex work from the always great Ulver. Oh I bought this at Independent Spirit.

London Beer Factory: Zia Tiramisu Imperial Stout (England: Imperial Stout: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Medium sized creamy brown head that doesn’t last long.

Nose: Cocoa. Cream. Chocolate dust. Tiramisu. Creamy coffee. Light liqueur touch and light alcohol. Chocolate cake.

Body: Chocolate liqueur. Alcohol prickle. Creamy coffee. Tiramisu. Honey. Cocoa dust. Lightly peppery.

Finish: Honey. Cream. Chocolate liqueur. Light pepper and bready notes. Milky coffee. Caramel.

Conclusion: Ok, this is a Tiramisu stout, that much is unmistakable. Yet it has honey notes. That was Flavourtown’s thing! Stop your beer gimmick infringement darn it!

Comparing the two actually makes for some interesting points though – so I think I’m going to follow that idea and see where it goes.

For all I started talking about the honey, as it was unexpected, this really has a lot of the tiramisu that it promised, so I will give it points for that.

Compared to the Imperial Porter of Flavourtown, this is thicker (as you would expect) with a creamier character, mixing cocoa, cream, coffee and, well, tiramisu. It isn’t solely dominated by the concept, but it definitely pushes it. It is generally sweeter and thicker, but doesn’t have any one flavour as strong as the honey was in Flavourtown, so despite being sweeter overall and having more alcohol, it feels more balanced.

It has a similar slight peppery contrast, but generally this rides heavier on the sweetness, so much so that it seems honeyed (despite the lack of any ingredient like that being used). However it never feels sickly.

Overall it feels like what a dessert stout should be – definitely a stout, definitely a dessert, and most importantly wears its beer characteristics on its sleeve. They are a few off notes, the alcohol is a tad present, and it could do with a touch more range, but generally it does exactly what it promises and is well worth a drink.

Background: I have a mixed relationship with Dessert Stouts. As an occasional treat I love them, something big, sweet, different and decadent. However sometimes they seem to overly dominate the beer scene, especially ones laden with many ingredients that overwhelm the base beer. Thus this one caught my eye, boldly boasting that “No tiramasus were hurt in the making of this beer”, and odd ingredients limited to oats and lactose from the look of it, so looked like a nice balance of dessert and beer, in theory at least. Anyway, first encounter with London Beer Factory here, and they have those completely pull off lids, which, despite being a good idea, always unnerve me for some reason. Grabbed from Independent Spirit, I went back to The Royal They’s self titled album for this. I should buy more of their albums.

Arbor: Tiny The Welder (England: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Dark yellow to caramel brown body. Two inches of caramel touched frothy head that leaves suds. Body is semi clear.

Nose: Pine needles. Light vanilla custard. Pineapple. Slightly resinous hop character and bitterness. Quite clean. Fresh cake sponge. Palma violets. Creamy peach. Crushed custard cream biscuits. Jelly babies.

Body: Big bitterness. Big hop character. Light charring and sulphur. Apricot and peach. Pineapple and grapefruit. Palma violets.

Finish: Peach syrup. Good hops. Growling low level bitterness. Pineapple. Custard. Pink grapefruit. Palma violets.

Conclusion: Ohh, this is a big one. While its name is (I am 90% sure) a reference to Pliny The Elder, I get the feeling that they aren’t trying to duplicate that beer as this is a very different beast.

Whilst dry, this doesn’t skimp on the malt load. It has slightly dry vanilla and custard that gives a sweet and yet well attenuated base that allows a real growling hop bitterness to get going over it. The hops and bitterness are high but not super brutal and the sweetness mellows the heavy hops, creating a flavoursome but not harsh character.

Beyond that it teases you with sweet apricot and peach hints, in that USA, mid 2K hops way, and then BOOM pineapple and tart but not overwhelming grapefruit. Big fresh notes over that sweet malt base – the drier base really giving the flavour room to roam. Love it.

It feels like a wonderful call back to the tart hopped big bitterness double IPAs that used to be omnipresent when I was first investigating the USA craft beer scene. Lovely malt use that is just dry enough, and just slight sweetness, aided by tart fruit notes with great hop character.

I adore this one. Now I hope it sticks around, and we see more beers like this so the style makes a comeback.

Get it.

Background: A few reasons why I grabbed this one. 1) Arbor have been pretty good as of late, showing both a respect older beer styles and a willingness to experiment. 2) The name is, I am fairly sure, a pun on Pliny The Elder, the very well reputed American beer, which amused me. 3) From that pun name I was fairly sure this would be an older school take on an American IIPA, which is exactly what I was looking for at the time. I went with Bodycount: Bloodlust as music while drinking – not really linked to the beer, just really been listening to No Lives Matter and the like a lot recently. This was another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit.

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