Tag Archive: 8-10% ABV


Northern Monk: Finback: Patron’s Project 3.05: Once, Twice, Three Times a Whale (Mosaic Edition) (England: IIPA: 8.2% ABV)

Visual: Custard to apricot coloured body. Very large, loose mounded white head that leaves suds

Nose: Mandarin orange. Very fresh. Crisp hop character. Lightly wheaty bitterness. Tangerine orange. Soft vanilla custard. Light, tart pineapple. Slight flour.

Body: Orange to tangerine. Vanilla custard. Oily hop character. Low bitterness. Slight resin. Slight flour. Light pineapple. Peach. Slight greenery.

Finish: Fresh tangerine. Slight resin. Oily hop character. Low bitterness. Slightly milky and creamy. Grapefruit. Growing hop character and bitterness.

Conclusion:I’m torn. No, wait that is a terrible way to start talking about this. Let’s try a different tack. This is creamy and fruity in a way that reminds me of the NEIPA interpretation, but, despite the low levels of bitterness they use in it, it still features enough oily hop feel and resinous notes to make it feel like an actual damn IPA. I approve.

Ok, so after that, now to get to – I’m torn, but not in a Natalie Imbruglia way. Let me explain. This is tasty, tasty, very ,very tasty, but with that it is a bit simple. There is lots of bright fresh mandarin orange and tangerine notes that make you sit up and smile. Then there is tart pineapple to grapefruit notes under backing a soft, creamy to vanilla custard base. Delicious, so delicious, but for the most part that is your experience for the entire beer.

Ok, it doesn’t 100% stick at that – the hop character gains a touch more resin and bitterness over time, while never quite betraying its NEIPA creamy and fruity style. There is some progression, just not very much.

You know what? I’ve talked myself into it. I am no longer torn. This is ruddy good. Maybe it could do with a tad more complexity but this is a double IPA that calls to NEIPA but doesn’t forget the IPA at its heart, and shows the mosiac fruit flavours in full fresh burst.

So, yeah, not torn any more. This is very good. Get it.

Background: This is a Patron’s Project beer. Yet when you lift up the label there is no additional information hidden underneath. It is like someone just told me Santa does not exist. I am let down. Anyway, the final name in this collaboration is James Butler, a tattoo artist who I presume did the artwork for the label. I’ve loved Northern Monk Patron’s Projects so far, so when this three times hopped with Mosaic IIPA turned up in Independent Spirit it caught my eye. Put on Some Marie Davidson to listen to while drinking – only just discovered her music – haunting electronic gothic feelings stuff. Very moody. She sings a lot in French, which I don’t understand, so if you listen and it turns out it is super obscene please don’t blame me. Unless you enjoy that, in which case you are welcome.

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Haand: Cervisiam: Frontaal – Death By Disco (Norway: Imperial Stout: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Lots of small brown sediment bits visible, especially if held to light. Creamy brown head.

Nose: Syrupy, artificial blueberry syrup. Bitter cocoa. Bitter coffee. Blueberry cheesecake. Strawberry jelly (Jello for non UK). Slight smoke. Sour dough. More natural blueberry. Aniseed.

Body: Thick. Alcohol tingle. Blueberry. Raspberry jelly. Caramel ice creamy syrup. Vanilla ice cream. Mild aniseed. Blueberry cheesecake. Honeycomb. Rough bourbon.

Finish: Blueberry. Lactose sheen. Bitter cocoa. Blueberry cheesecake. Slight bitter prickle. Sour dough. Slight smoke. Alcohol notes. Raspberry jelly. Rough bourbon.

Conclusion: What gets me here is how this seems to artificial when the aroma first slips out of the glass, yet very natural in the berry notes as time goes on. The whole beer feels caught in that dichotomy between natural and artificial feeling notes

This is a big beer with weight that brings a very blueberry cheesecake style, smothered in bitter cocoa style from the base stout. So there are definitely worse looks it could go for as the first impressions for the beer. There is a slight smokiness to the beer as well, a wisp that again adds weight.

So pretty good and very far from sickly sweet which was my first worry from the artificial aroma. At times it even feels like it leans a tad too heavily towards the savoury side, with bready notes becoming dominant – but it doesn’t happen often enough to hurt the beer.

What does hurt the beer is a strong alcohol feel that seems to emphasise the more artificial, syrupy blueberry notes and create a raw and artificial sprit character. These come late on an especially out into the finish where they are most evident.

There is a lot of good to this beer, even some good character in the artificial notes – for example the ice cream syrup, jelly and fruit notes are welcome as sweet bursts against the smokey offset. It feels like it is the alcohol, spirity character that really hurts it. It is a rough kind of neutral spirit to cheap bourbon kind of note that doesn’t ruin the beer, but definitely highlights the weaker artificial elements.

A good base beer, but one that needs to a lot of polish for it to pay off its promise. I can’t recommend it as is, but I do hope that they give it some work to make something really good from this.

Background: Yeah I know it calls itself a sweet stout as well as an Imperial Stout – at 10% abv I am happy putting it in the imperial stout side of things for a category. Anyway, mainly grabbed this as I liked the idea of blueberry sweet stout, and Haand have been interesting so far, if not quite having a beer I have tried yet that 100% wowed me. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Had recently grabbed Rise Against – “Appeal To Reason” cheaply so put it on while drinking. Not quite formulated an opinion yet – seems solid so far but not really dug into it yet.

Northern Monks: Amundsen: Monocromicon: Patrons Project 14.02 (England: Imperial Stout: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Creamy inch of coffee froth coloured brown head.

Nose: Light tart cherry. Milky coffee. Cocoa dust. Smooth. Cake sponge. Tofu.

Body: Tart cherry sour sweets. Tart black cherry. Condensed cream. Milky chocolate fondue. Tart apple sweets. Sweet grapes, both red and green. Chewy. Vanilla toffee. Plums and figs.

Finish: Tart apple sweets. Twigs. Milky chocolate. Cocoa dust. Tart cherry sour sweets. Slight bitter coffee. Milky.

Conclusion: This is interesting, I spoke in a previous set of notes about tart fruit notes in a beer making them feel slightly light, This has tart cherry sweets notes and tart apple sours notes a plenty, but the base beer is still hugely thick, creamy and sponge style chewy against that. It is a fight of flavours and feel that in the end comes out as a victory for the drinker.

What would be lightness in another beer comes across here as smoothness instead – while chewy and creamy the beer doesn’t feel super weighty because of that smoothing influence. At the base of the flavour is a bitter cocoa take on the imperial stout, a nice robust element so that the jelly sour sweet fruit notes aren’t sickly and artificial feeling due to a bit of bitterness behind them.

It is a wonderful worker of a beer, solid imperial stout bitter cocoa and slight coffee base, giving creamy and sweet thickness that then allows the unusual sour fruit sweet notes have a chance to work, and it is that little twist that makes the beer stand out.

The use of the sour fruit sweets character is great, it doesn’t overwhelm the imperial stout character, it just adds. The base imperial stout shows some dark fruit character already and it takes that and enhances it into a fresher, brighter style.

So, down side ? Well it may not be as heavy beer as some would like, as mentioned it is smoother rather than heavier, but it still packs some weight. That is about all I can call as possible criticism.

It is a great imperial stout, a different imperial stout and a superbly crafted imperial stout. It stands out even in the packed range of high quality imperial stouts as it is so different and yet still awesome. Grab it.

Background: Ok, I love the name, artwork, Death metal style logo and Necronomicon reference in this beer. It is also an imperial stout made with Cherry, Muscovado, cocoa and tonka beans. There was no way I was not buying this beer. It even comes with codes to listen to Nomasta metal tunes. Not heard of Nomasta before, but went to their band-camp page and had a listen while drinking. This was another one grabbed at Independent Spirit. It is also my second time drinking this beer, did it first time without notes and liked it so much I grabbed another can to do notes on.

Northern Monk: Wylam: Moobing On Up (England: IIPA: 10% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy opaque apricot. Large loose white head.

Nose: Peach. Apricot. Peppermint and menthol. Mild bitter hops. Hop oils. Palma violets. Resin. Vanilla.

Body: Resinous. Creamy peach. Peach melba. Oily hops. Dried apricot. Peppermint. Menthol. Grapes. Cream. Prickly hops underneath. Blood orange. Vanilla toffee and vanilla custard.

Finish: Hop oils, seeping dark bitterness. Resin. Heavy hop bitterness. Grapes. Menthol and peppermint. Blood orange. Charring. Gunpowder tea.

Conclusion: Ok, this is cloudy, is it a NEIPA? Or at least a Tripel IPA style of NEIPA? If so I may have to temporarily revise my opinion of the style.

From the first moments of pouring it is oozing peach and apricot notes as the aroma seeps out of the glass. There is a kind of menthol, peppermint note that I was intrigued by, but simultaneously I was worried that it would get wearing over time.

I shouldn’t have been worried – while the fresh fruit notes are accompanied by those menthol notes as we head into the body there is a lot else in there to contrast it – from cream to blood orange notes. It is very fresh and fruit up front, but it hints at resinous elements and hop oils already, elements that are going to play a much bigger part as time goes on.

The bright, creamy front sinks into resinous, oily hoppiness – a slow progress that assimilates and overwhelms the menthol notes. It lets them be interesting at the start, but moves them out of the way before they can overstay their welcome. It does keep the fruit, but builds up the oiliness, and bitterness slowly so you don’t notice until it takes the front and it is kicking your throat out. In a good way.

Then it allows the malt through, soft sweetness with toffee and such balancing the now “dank” oily hop character. In the last few moments rougher notes come in – charring and gunpowder tea – what would be off-putting if they had arrived earlier but gives just a final pep as the beer is heading out. This beer is lovely, intense and with a huge range.

It is such a fine beer, that if the bullshit tabloid articles were true, would definitely be worth getting moobs to drink (or … foobs? Hmm, that probably doesn’t work. i tried for not assuming all beer drinkers are blokes, anyway …) . I am very impressed. So much so I am tempted to imitate the can and throw an unironic dab. It is that good.

Background: I missed out on “I Like To Moob It, Moob It” – a beer taking the piss out of the ill researched articles in papers about hoppy beers giving you man boobs. It sold out damn fast, and seems to have bloody good rep. So when I saw this brewed up triple IPA version, hopped with Citra, Ella, Vic Secret, Enigma and Topaz I figured it was definitely worth a grab. Though I nearly made a mistake – with it being high abv I thought it would be ok to sit a short while before drinking, thankfully I overhead in Independent Spirit that it had a short three month best before, so managed to drink it before it went out of date. From past experience I figure the beer would be fine, but I always feel I should try and do notes while the beer is still in date, to be fair to it. Since it is the 20th anniversary this year, I put on Garbage v2.0 yet again. Bloody awesome album.

Cloudwater: DIPA Citra Cryo (England: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Large off white head.

Nose: Dry peach. Apples. Hop oil sheen. Apricot. Hop prickle. Slight yeast funk to fresh brown bread.

Body: Apricot. Vanilla custard. Thick. White grapes. Hop oils feel. Candy floss. Apple pie. Raspberry popping candy. Sour dough.

Finish: Blueberry. Apples. Grapes. Vanilla. Fudge. Hop oils and bitterness. Tangerine. Apple pie. Hop prickle grows over time. Clean sheen. Dried apricot. Nettles and moss. Dried pineapple.

Conclusion: I’ve been trying a few Cloudwater beers recently, with mixed results. Some have been great. Some have been rough as a badger’s arsehole. So, which is this? Great? Arsehole? Great arsehole?

First impressions are positive. Thick, slightly hop oils in feel but with low backing bitterness. Very good in mouthfeel enhanced by a light hop prickle, but generally dominated by a heavy, creamy feeling, body.

Ok, wait, hold on, I skipped past the aroma and went straight into the main body. Well mainly because the aroma isn’t the most notable element here. It is there, but more as something to lead you in. The first sip feels like the real first impressions, with everything else just to get you to that point. The aroma is still thick – slight muggy dried fruit, slight oily character, slight hop prickle – but overall slightly closed, but in a way that promises more, so you go to that first sip quickly.

The bitterness is low but present with the hops showing more as a prickly, then oily character, to make sure that this is recognisable as an IPA. Also it is massively fruity from the hops, but that element deserves a paragraph by itself.

So, the fruitiness of the hops. First up, the expected notes from Citra are there – lots of those apple notes that the hop does so well. Lots of sweet apricot and peach that is so common with American hopped beers. Over the time it takes you to drink it other notes come out though. Much less expected notes. From blueberry, tangerine to grapes and more, all showing their face and adding to the flavour profile. Behind that is a savoury thick character which gives a real weight to the beer, something that I’m guessing is the Simcoe influence.

It’s got some sweet raspberry hard candy, popping candy and vanilla custard notes against that – sweet notes pricking through in the midst of the oily, savoury base. They tend to be submerged under the huge fruitiness, but show through in patches – they seem a tad artificial in feel but generally give a nice bit of pep in the middle of the beer. It reminds me a bit of the sweetness in the Raspberry Doughnut beer from Northern Monks, but with a very different backing to the sweetness.

So yeah, this is Cloudwater when they land it good. A swing and a hit.

Background: Ok, one, for a beer called Citra Cryo I was kind of expecting it to only be hopped with Cita. I was wrong, they also use Centennial and Simcoe. Guess the Cryo hops are thing they wanted to boast about though. Don’t know what Cryo hops are? Don’t worry I googled it and I’m still confused. Something, something low temperatures. Something, something hop dust. Something some less off flavours. Anyway, feck it, proof of the pudding is in the eating – or drinking in this case. Let’s see what the new hops do in the real world. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, drunk chilled as the heat wave finally broke with a lovely rain storm, with background music of the awesome Garbage self titled album. Still holds up as guitar led indie pop from the 90s. I don’t care if it makes me old, that album is great.

Firestone Walker: Leo Vs Ursus: Fortem (USA: IIPA: 8.2% ABV)

Visual: Apricot colour with a light haze. Lots of small bubbled carbonation and a yellowed mound of bubbles for the head.

Nose: Floral. Vanilla. Tangerine. Pine cones. Crisp. Pickle touched hop oils deep in. Oily in general later on. Pumpkin. Apricot.

Body: Apricot. Prickling. Carrot cake. Peach syrup. Vanilla. Thick whipped cream. Slight sour cream. Sour grapes. Hop oils. Dill pickle touch. Sour dough. Creamy kiwi and lime. Oily bitterness. Pumpkin.

Finish: Oily bitterness. Mandarin orange. Peach. Prickling hops. Sour cream and chives. Dill pickle touch. Dried apricot. Creamy lime. Vanilla custard.

Conclusion: Firestone Walker, long time no see, hope you hold up to my memories. So, I was happy to see from early on onwards that it is complex and layered as all get out. It is lightly floral and tart at the start, then the aroma seeps into heavier, oilier notes bringing out mustier and thicker dried mango, pumpkin and apricot notes that finish off the nasal experience. That may sound bad, I mean it in a good way, a crisp introduction that leads to a full experience.

Now the hops are less prickly and bitter than you would expect. Then again I found out while drinking this that it is over a year old, so that could explain a lot. It is instead an oily, seeping slow bitterness instead of the fresh hop kick. Or maybe the beer was like that all along and age did nothing. If you have drunk it fresh please let me know.

The fruitiness hasn’t been reduced though – thick apricot matched against a savoury carrot cake contrast that also gives a heavier character to this – a fuller feel, made fuller still by a mild savoury cream and chives note which adds a slight sour tang under the sweeter character.

The beer starts initially only ok due to the lighter hop presence, but builds weight and matching thick, oily notes that bring huge fruit range and light savoury contrast. Now, not every note hits it out of the park – there is a dill pickle sourness if you dig deep into it which needs a bigger contrasting flavour to make it work. Then again that could be due to age again, and fresher hops would have matched it better. Any which way this is generally the kind of IIPA I like – Big, rewarding, not overly sweet, nor assault bitterness, but balanced in the elements.

So, now I wonder would this feel rougher fresh, bigger? Would I have enjoyed it as much young, or has age turned it into my kind of beer? I enjoyed it, that is the main thing, however it came about.

Background: Been a while since I did a Firestone Walker beer – a few stores seem not to store them since Duvel Moortgat bought them up. So, while I was grabbing a few rarities from beerhawk online I put in a can of this. Thought I would see how they were doing post being bought up for myself. I did notice during drinking that this was canned over a year ago. Now I am not part of the cult of freshness that says fresh is always better – even big IPAs I’ve found can sometimes do with a few weeks to month to settle down before drinking, but a year is quite a time for a hop led beer. Ah well, let’s see how it goes. It was very warm when I drank this, so was nice to have a good chilled IIPA to sip down. I put on Garbage V2.0 on to listen to – 20th anniversary of its release and it is still great. Also I feel old.

Odyssey: Juice Vibe (England: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Light lemon juice to apricot. Cloudy body with a large white to yellow head.

Nose: Pineapple. Peach. Crisp hops. Light flour. Grapefruit.

Body: Very prickly hops. Chocolate toffee. Juicy peach. Pineapple. Grapefruit. Juicy apricot. Greenery. Dry. Light resin.

Finish: Chocolate toffee. Prickly hops. Light greenery. Hop oils. Vanilla yogurt. Pineapple. Hop bitterness and light hop burn. Light chalk. Hop oils.

Conclusion: Ok, this is not what I expected from the beer I first looked at when pouring it. On the eye it looks like of like the juicy New England fruity style, and with a name like “Juice Vibe” I presumed it would be solidly settling into that area.

Next up the aroma promised something a bit different – a tarter beer, possibly hopped in a west coast style. It felt dry, with pineapple and peach, with touch of grapefruit hinting at a possible mix of New Zealand and USA style hops. This seemed to be concentrating on the now classic fruity hop varieties, rather than the odder new wave of hop flavours – it looked to play an old school mix of tart and sweet notes.

Now we move onto the body that follows through on that with big pineapple as you would expect and a dry body wrapped around … chocolate toffee notes? What is such a sweet and big malt body doing poking its head in here and ruining my attempt to sum up this IPA using beer stereotypes?

So, New England cloudy look, west coast on the nose, a mix of east and west coast on the body. That is about as mixed up as it can get, right? Not quite, there is a heavy prickly hop character on the nose, a touch of greenery as it goes on and even a chalk touch that gives a grounding to this heavily tart beer.

Now, of all the things this does do, what it does not do is heavy bitterness. Oh it does have hop bitterness, probably enough in fact to put off someone who doesn’t like hops, but generally the bitterness is more a backing to the greenery hop character.

For a beer called Juice Vibe, this is nothing like fruit juice – unless you are drinking really fucked up fruit juice. However this East, West, New England, greenery and resin IPA is an intense beer, with slight dank touch, but not intense in a hop assault way – a real mix up of beer.

So mixed up as hell, unpolished, with pretty much everything shoved in – I like it, but I wouldn’t blame anyone who doesn’t.

Background: It is no secret that I bloody love Odyssey beers, especially their hop forwards beers. This is an Odyssey beer that is hop forwards, was I ever going to not buy it? Anyway, yeah another one from Independent Spirit, I should just get my wages put directly into their account and save time. Not much else to say on this one – put on Gogol Bordello – Multi Kontra Culti Vs Irony – been a while since I listened to their earlier stuff.

Uiltje: Imperial Pineapple Weizenbock (Netherlands: Weizenbock: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice to apricot. Thicker streams evident within the body. Large white head.

Nose: Wheaty. Yeast funky. Cheese puffs. Evident pineapple. Tart. Mature cheese.

Body: Pineapple. Honey. Liquorice notes. Creamy. Fizzy mouthfeel. Tart lemon juice. Yeast funk. Tart grapes. Light brown bread. Light raisins.

Finish: Tart pineapple. Lemon juice. Orange rinds. Eel sashimi. Tart grapes. Light raspberry hard sweets. Sherbet. Light peppercorn. Vanilla yogurt. Apricot fruit sugars.

Conclusion: This is lush, but doesn’t look or taste anything like my usual expectations from the style. Now I have tried lighter colours weizenbocks many a time, but this is not just different from the dark heavy things I usually expect from the style, it is also different from the heavy malt sweetness lighter coloured weizenbocks. This feels like a belgian style wit, that has just had the abv shoved way up. And had pineapple added.

It has a lot of yeast funk in it, creating a thick mouthfeel, then adds light peppercorn notes against fruit sugars and a slight hard sweet character as the yeast esters and the high abv mix.

Though I am aware that in talking about the thicker textures, the yeast funk, the sugar notes and the mild spice I am dodging around the mean point. That is that all of that is backing for huge amounts of fruit. Now, obviously there is pineapple done in both tart and sweet ways, with both the fresher and more sweet like notes of the body mixing to create a refreshing yet sweet beer. Against that though are tart grapes and fresh sherbety lemon notes to lemon juice tartness. All that adds to both sides of the equation, keeping it tart enough and juicy enough that the sweetness of the bigger abv doesn’t get wearing.

It is a weizenbock meets a wit freshened up to become what feels like a summer refresher of a beer that would knock you on your arse if you tried drinking it as that due to the abv. Thankfully the higher sweetness of the beer gives an Abbery Tripel style impression which means you are aware of what it is, even if the alcohol isn’t evident, saving you from getting drunk accidentally.

It has not quite got the complexity of a pure weizenbock but is wonderfully fruity, and still has a lot to dig into – a lovely summer beer.

Background: Tjebbe Kuijper of Uiltje Brewing came down to Independent Spirit a short while back while he was doing a collaboration beer over in Bristol. Got a chance to ask him some questions, and also try samples of a bunch of their beers. This was one I had my eye on for a while and was glad to try it. I asked how come they came to make it, as pineapple seems an interesting choice, as I tend to think of dark heavy beers for weizenbock, so a lighter one with pineapples seems an odd one. He explained this was a brewed up version of one of their other beers, so was a beer designed for lighter abv given the abv of a wezienbock. Glad they did, really enjoyed the sample I tried, so went into these notes expecting it to be good. I drank this after coming back from the awesome Avengers: Infinity War, put on some History of Guns – their Acedia rehearsal releases to be exact, and broke this open.

La Trappe: Quadrupel (Netherlands: Quadrupel: 10% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany polished red touch in a clear fizzy body that has a small grey, evenly spread head.

Nose: Sawdust. Honey. Fresh toffee. Fresh fudge. Fresh crusty white bread. Lightly creamy. Shaved red wood.

Body: Cherries and shortbread. Fizzy mouthfeel. Honey to golden syrup. Liquorice touch. Sherbet lemon. Hop oils to generally oily. Gummy sap. Frothy. Nutty.

Finish: Clean, bitter oils. Palma violets. Light greenery. Sap. Oily. Licking varnished wood. Resin.

Conclusion: This starts out a fairly standard Quad – big hit of cherries, honey and fudge notes. Basically the big sweetness you expect to come with the big abv and big malt bill. However it soon moves on from there.

It starts the change with the more oily character coming out – some of it is hop oil notes, but generally it is just a more oily, into thick sap feeling character that gives a chewiness and stickiness to the beer along with light resinous notes. Already with just this extra element it feels different to the big sweet quads out there.

Then it gains more range – a palma violets to noble hop feel and taste, light greenery that starts seeping into an oily nutty character. The nutty character sticks around, going into a more nutty weight as the sweetness behind it bleeds away just leaving a soft vanilla and creamy backing.

This feels like what would happen if a biere de garde met a quad – big and oily with slow sweeping flavours. Considering the comparison I am now wondering what ageing would do to this? On one side the fizzy sherbet notes help offset the heavier notes and I feel they would be lost with age, but I can imagine this becoming a smooth still bodied beast with time.

Creamy backed, oily fronted – nutty with sparks of the fruity quad style. A very different quad and worthwhile as that, if not quite as fine as St Bernardus or Westvleteren at their best.

Background: Having the USA Spencer Trappist beer recently reminded me that while I had tried a lot of beers from the first non Belgian Trappist brewery – La Trappe, I had never actually done notes on any of them. So I grabbed this quad from Independent Spirit – from my memory it was my favourite of their beers when I first encountered it, so thought it was a good one to return to and see how it held up to memory. Had been to a Propagandhi gig the night before so put on Potemkin City Limits to listen to – in my opinion still their best album.

Wild Beer Co: Dr Todd (England: Sour Ale: 9% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot. Thin off white head.

Nose: Thick honey. Peat. Smoke. Salt. Ginger. Chilli air. Marmalade. Wet rocks.

Body: Heavy. Honey. Salt. Chalk. Treacle. Smoke. Dry back. Ginger. Medicinal. Crunchy medicine tablets. Brown bread.

Finish: Honey. Dry beef slices. Medicinal. Salt. Crunchy tablets.

Conclusion: Ok, I can definitely see why the drink this is based on is called Penicillin if this beer is anything to go by. Under everything is a dry note, like crunched up medicine tablets, chalk backed by a medicinal Islay note. It it wasn’t such a terrible idea to take painkillers with booze I would imagine this is what it would taste like.

Probably. I, of course, have never tested that. That would be silly. Don’t mix booze and painkillers everyone!

The other element that stands out in this beer how how strong the special ingredients used show through; There is a ton of honey, and as indicated before the Islay ageing is really obvious -from the salt to the peat smoke, to the medicinal character, it is all there. Then there is the definite ginger influence that comes though into an almost mild chilli air at some times. Subtle this thing ain’t.

So you get a real honey sweet Islay whisky poured over the corpse of a thoroughly crushed paracetamol, into a beer and you end up with this. It is definitely interesting, and actually – for all the taste goes to the harsher end of the spectrum – it is also enjoyable. Not one to have often though. It feels like it is deliberately challenging you and daring you to still enjoy it.

Now you can step up to that dare and enjoy it, and it is worth it, but it is not a general drinking beer in any shape or form. In fact this calls to the feel of an actual complex cocktail more than any other beer I have encountered – if that is a good or bad thing is up to you.

Hard to get used to, but ultimately enjoyable – however the crunched medical feel and taste is for very specific occasions only and for very specific people only.

Background: Ok, so this was inspired by the “Penicillin Cocktail”. Something I have never tried so cannot really compare it to. To give you an idea, this is made with lactose, honey, lemon, ginger and then aged in Islay whisky barrels. This sounded like the type of experimentation in beer I could get behind, so grabbed a bottle from Independent Spirit. Put on Scroobius Pip vs Dan Le Sac – Repent, Replenish, Repeat while drinking – a nicely dark edged spoken word to hip hop styled set of tunes that I though deserved returning to.

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