Tag Archive: 8 Wired


8 Wired: Hippy Berliner (New Zealand: Berliner Weisse: 4% ABV)

Visual: Pale lager yellow to grain look. A small amount of small bubbled carbonation. Thin white head.

Nose: Quite thick. Passion-fruit. Oily resinous feel. Light bitterness and hop character. Slight apple. Oats. Slight fresh lemon.

Body: Fresh and acidic. Tart apples and tart white grapes. Dry mango. Slight cloying twist centre. Oats. Light kiwi. Light bitterness.

Finish: Tart white grapes. Elderflower. Vanilla. Light hop bitterness. Flour. Light salt.

Conclusion: This is very unlike most Berliner Weisses that I’ve had – in fact it feels like what Bonaparte wanted to be; It is a berliner that tries to match that freshness with extra flavour from a good use of hop character.

Things are distinctly different from the off – while it has fresh undertones, the aroma is quite resinous with this muggy passion-fruit character. It feels like a heavy resinous hop styled beer, not something I’d associate with most sour beers, but it doesn’t eclipse that aspect either.

The beer below that aroma is closer to expectations with fresh lemon and acidic apple; Smoother and lighter than most berliner weisses in harshness but still recognisable in the style. It actually feels kind of elderflower drink like as an additional unusual characteristic – the sour character mixes with the moderate fruit hops to give this refreshing characteristic about halfway between the two. Odd, but nice.

Overall it is refreshing – despite its unusual takes it ends up not feeling that revolutionary. The odder elements come together over time to balance pretty well, losing some of the odder edges, but making for a better beer.

It is not a must have, but does the job well – the hop usage feeling like a nice replacement for the adding of syrup that is traditionally common. Not bad at all.

Background: 8 Wired! I love these lot’s stuff, but they turn up comparatively rarely in the UK – so when I saw this one in Independent Spirit I grabbed it. With it being a brightly coloured, hip and happy bottle, I decided to put on Paradise Lost – Gothic as music. They just seemed to go so well together. This is a Berliner weisse, hopped with American and New Zealand hops – wasn’t sure how well that would work – oft hops get over used these days to wreck an originally not hop based style. Still when done well a pinch of hops can really rock a beer in new ways, so happy to give a go.

Advertisements

Wild Beer Co 8 Wired Black and Blue

Wild Beer Co: 8 Wired: Black and Blue (England: Sour Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to peach hazy body with moderate white head.

Nose: Fresh and acidic. Fresh apples. Horse blankets. Peppered beef slices. Lightly salty. Flour. Light smoke.

Body: Acidic. Apples and pears. Tart. Apricot sweetness. Light vinegar notes. Fizzy. Chalk touch. Slight strawberry. Slight sulphur. Lemon.

Finish: Pineapple. Fresh. Flour touch. Slight strawberry. Slight black liquorice. Lemon.

Conclusion: Ok, hello, welcome to holographic flavour time again. For those of you not accustomed to the term (understandable as I think I am the only one who uses it this way) it is how I describe the experience with sour beers where amongst the sour flavours you suddenly get a host of unexpected flavours; Seemingly like an illusion caused by the shock to your tongue. It is a pretty cool thing and one of the things I love about sour beers.

This has pretty sharp sourness and acidity – not Cantillon level, but just a step past the level used by most sour beers, and beyond what I would imagine would be the comfort zone of people not used to them. As a result it isn’t one to use as an introduction sour – it hits the back of the throat with an acid burn and carries a light vinegar touch

There are slight rounding in characteristics, such as light flour and sulphur touches – possibly from the charred oak, or maybe not, but it does give a nice bit of contrast to the acidic apples and such like. It gives a slightly steam beer like texture to the middle, which for some reason feels kind of appropriate.

Pretty satisfying, but does feel a bit like a base beer to be worked from rather than the finished article. Once you get used to it, it taste pretty solid but no frills. The charred oak and the peppercorn are fairly subtle in their influence – definitely better than being overly dominant, but this could do with a little extra polish and piazza before being ready for the prime time.

Worth noting, though possibly, in fact probably psychosomatic – after I read the bottle and where the name came from, I got a kind of rare steak image of flavour around the acidic notes. Wonder how much of that was all in my mind. Anyway, a good sharp base – worth taking to some time to work from this.

Background: I am amused by the rainbow project – an attempt to link up British and world brewers ( this year New Zealand), give them a colour to use as inspiration ( in this case blue) and let them go hog wild on a collaboration. So, apparently inspired by black and blue streaks (because of course) this is a unhopped, non boiled sour ale that has been aged in charred bourbon casks for six months, and with green, black and white peppercorns added in. Never a boring moment. I love that Wild Beer co are bringing so much sour beer experimentation to the UK, and 8 wired is easily one of my favourite NZ brewers, so lots of hope for this one. Took my time with this one, was doing a full disk and system backup on my computer so had plenty of time to go. Drunk while listening to Iron Maiden: Book of Souls again. Had been debating with people at work who found it a very poor album. Still have to disagree, more an album experience than any individual song, which I can see would put people off, but very listenable as that. This was grabbed from the ever reliable Independent Spirit of Bath.

8 Wired Semi Conductor

8 Wired: Semi Conductor (New Zealand: Session IPA: 4.4% ABV)

Visual: Lemon yellow. Small white head that leaves white suds. Low carbonation in the body.

Nose: Peach and orange. Kiwi and prickly hops. Touch of brown sugar and dry malt.

Body: Grapes. Unleavened bread. Bitter. Soft texture. Gooseberry and pineapple. Toffee malt. Prickly nettles. Apricot and peach. Vanilla.

Finish: Unleavened brown bread. Some charring. Grapes. Pineapple. Kiwi. Nettle prickle. Apricot. Dry.

Conclusion: 8 Wired and hops. 8 WIRED AND HOPS IN AN IPA! Well, hellloooo nurse. This is a very soft and gentle beer. Well, it feels soft and gentle as a texture and base flavour , hop wise it prickles with bitterness.

Now, it, of course, cannot live up to the sheer joy and weight of hopwired and superconductor. Its bigger cousins have the advantage of having larger range to play with. Here the flavour is a mix of soft toffee malt and vanilla, to juicy fruit and slight tartness, that styling that 8 wired excel at.

Now, for all this is sounding awesome so far, there is a very noticeable drawback that seems to have been brought in by the session style. There is a not exactly unpleasant, but not enticing unleavened bread style mid body, that becomes a harsher burnt charring at the end. It feels like a side effect of unhandled hop bitterness, kind of like the runoff from the main body. It isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t help the session style, and is far from the polished masterpiece that make up their other IPAs.

Still, it is very easy drinking for the bitterness, and it is still well done for flavour. It does the job ok, but does highlight the problem in trying to make a good session IPA, a style that is still a bit of hard sell for me.

Background: An IPA, from 8 Wired you say. On tap. Seriously I could not order my schooner fast enough. Or my 2/3 of a pint for those of you who hate the term schooner. Yeah, 8 Wired have a very good rep with me. This was drunk while chatting with friends in the midday sun outside Brewdog Bristol. I still hold that session IPA is an odd term, but that fight may be long lost. Oh, and the term for someone electronically breaking into a computer system is cracker not hacker. #stillfightingoldlinguisticbattles.

8 Wired Mighty Imperal Ale

8 Wired: Mighty Imperial Ale (New Zealand: American Strong Ale: 11% ABV)

Visual: Deep cherry red. Dash of off white head. Head becomes larger and somewhat toffee edged when I filled up the glass with the last of the bottle.

Nose: Smoke. Smoked bacon. Fruitcake. Caramel. Shortbread. Thick. Cherries and cream.

Body: Thick. Salt touch. Smoked meat platter. Toffee. Very smooth. Lots of cherries and cream. Vanilla. Somehow rough edges right at its core. Oak.

Finish: Liquorice. Dry smoke. Drying feel. Light cream. Salt touch. Chocolate. Meat platter.

Conclusion: Now this is an interesting work. Smooth cherries, vanilla and fruitcake in a very layered, decadent silken style. Then, against that, there is a heavy oaken, salt touched and hugely smoked meat style that is actually quite punishing and thus utterly unlike the underlying sweetness.

So, that means the beer is a mess, right? Somehow, no actually. The layers, in their two distinct groups are layered carefully over each other. The weightier elements seem to sink through permeating everything over time. So the beer starts sweet but smoke touched and slowly builds to a rock salt and smoked meat crescendo.

That extreme smoothness of texture means that all the rough edges it has must come from the flavour and it certainly uses them well, mixing the flavours where they meet to create contradictory sensations.

The best part of the beer is the build up, the slow progression. About three quarters of the way in it peaks too early, and, while still good, the rest of the beer doesn’t have the same feeling of rich contrast or the promise of more to come.

So, 50% a beer of sheer joy and class, about 25% of peaked awesome, and 25% of merely ok. I’ll take that

Background: 8 Wired are probably my favourite of the New Zealand craft beer scene at this point, and that is a fairly skilled group of brewers. As is often the case, Brewdog’s guest beer section is facilitating my 8 Wired needs. Not much else to add to this one, was listening to Scroobius Pip’s/B Dolan’s Soldier Boy (Kill Em) while drinking.

Bumaye

8 Wired: Bumaye (New Zealand: Imperial Stout: 16% ABV)

Visual: Black. Rim of suds.

Nose: Raisins. Figs. Fruity red wine. Brown sugar. Hint of smoke. Dates. Fruitcake. Coconut. Treacle. Nougat.

Body: Syrup and treacle. Charring. Liquore texture. Bitter chocolate. Coffee notes. Nougat. Spiced fruit notes. Cherries. Truffles. Red grapes. Cinder toffee.

Finish: Very bitter chocolate. Glacier cherries. Shortbread. Coffee. Bitter red wine. Brown sugar.

Conclusion: So it’s that time again, insanely high abv, barrel aged Imperial Stouts. Ok, I’ve got a lot to say on this one, so give me a moment to sit down and compose my thoughts. Though mainly the sit down part. My alcohol tolerance has gone with age.

This things tastes like those cherry liquore filled bitter chocolate sweets you can get. Very harsh at first, but richly rewarding. The massive bitter chocolate even manages to push the pinot noir influence into second place for influences on the beer and that is saying something. Not to say that the barrel ageing isn’t influential, especially in the aroma, it just isn’t the number one influence.

Speaking of the aroma…daaamn.. seriously if anyone can make a beer that tastes like this smells then I will love them for at least five minutes. Maybe even six. There are dark fruits, coconut, red wine, nougat. It is like someone took all my favourite Imperial Stout elements and put it in one haze floating over the beer.

The body just can’t live up to that. Sorry, it just canna. It is great though, nougat through chocolate then down into a finish of red wine…through chocolate. I did mention chocolate has a big influence right? On the other hand there are so many elements that make it almost triflesque with the fruit and wine rising up, but a trifle layered in chocolate fondue. That analogy also just about fits with the spiced side of the fruit you get. Presumably someone had soaked the fruit for the trifle in rum, because, why wouldn’t you?

It is spicy, dark, refined and heavy. Great, even if not quite what the aroma promised. When you accept what it is you find something not entirely unlike an alcoholic Turkish delight and lovely at that. Albeit with much more bitter chocolate.

I very much enjoyed this, the closest comparison I can find is the 666 version of hel and verdoemenis, though I would say this is the sweeter take. This happily manages to stand alone on its own two feet, maybe not the best, but as the unique thing it is it manages to make itself the best in a crowd of one.

I’m glad I’m sitting down. Wow that was good beer.

Background: 8 Wired have been my favourite brewery from NZ for a while now, so when I got the chance to get my hands on this Pinot Noir aged Imperial Stout, well of course I did.

C4 Double Coffee Brown
8 Wired: C4 Double Coffee Brown Ale (New Zealand: Brown Ale: 8% ABV)

Visual: Chestnut red brown. Moderate coffee coloured large bubbled head.

Nose: Roasted nuts. Massive rich coffee and milky coffee. Creamy. Shortbread. Slight cheese puffs.

Body: Rich rounded coffee mixes with bitter coffee. Big hazelnuts. Bitter chocolate. Some milky chocolate. Slight cheese yeastiness. Kiwi and grapes in the coffee.

Finish: Very bitter coffee. Roasted nuts. Bitter chocolate. Slight mature cheese dusting. Kiwi fruit. Vanilla.

Conclusion: If you have looked through the notes above you may have noticed that I have basically just been listing coffee and chocolate, with whatever qualifying adjectives I can find. Pretty much all the flavours come from those two root elements, but describing it as such really doesn’t do the beer justice. In the style of Beer Geek Brunch Weasel the coffee is an element distinct in itself that can be dissected and analysed as much as the beer can.

There is a fruitiness to the coffee, subtle vanilla notes to the bitter chocolate. Rich and rounded they are backed by the understated base beer which adds nuttiness and a very slight note of mature cheese, an almost yeasty feel that is texture more than anything else.

I am very impressed by how they do this, the brown ale part of it is much closer to the American interpretation of the style than the tarter UK take. It is sweet, frothy and very malty and doesn’t have the acidic touch you can get in the UK.

It all comes together in a way than means that the small number of elements have a fractal complexity below and a luxurious style. It is utterly smooth and just builds to a wonderful symphony of flavour.

I wish I had enough experience of coffee to describe it better. So instead I will concentrate on that odd, very light cheese like element that starts out intriguing and becomes a vital element. It is a yeastiness style around which the coffee builds and this means that the beer character is kept intact so you don’t just feel you are drinking alcohol coffee. Overall this is a show of excellence in a crowded coffee beer market.

I love this beer.

Background: Picked up from Brewdog’s guest beer selection, this sounded a bit special. Coffee has been used in a lot of imperial stouts, but not so often in the oft overlooked Brown ale to my knowledge. 8 Wired have done pretty solid by me so far, so I put in some Nine Inch Nails and broke this open.

Dogwired

Brewdog: 8 Wired: Dog Wired (Scotland: Imperial Pilsner: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellowed gold with a slight apricot hue. Moderate ripe banana coloured head with bubbles mounded up around the edges. The head leaves lots of lace.

Nose: Lemon. Pineapple. Good hop character and bitterness. Pink grapefruit and blood orange. Vanilla toffee malt character.

Body: Pink grapefruit. Bitter hops. Lemon meringue. Toffee and custard. Pineapple. Apricot.

Finish: Liquorice. Lemon and grapefruit. Good hops and bitterness. Elderberry air. Crisp. Vanilla toffee.

Conclusion: This is a seriously hoppy lager. It just screams NZ citrus all the way through. The aroma promises it all, tart, bitter and hoppy with huge fruit flavour.

The body cuts cleanly between the two poles of crisp lager texture and big hoppy bitterness. Similarly the flavours are balanced between the tart freshness against the sweet toffee malt flavours. It goes down too easily, the flavour of the beer is so full that you could, hypothetically, hold it on your tongue for ages. However when chilled down you find it so easy drinking that it is easy to swallow it down, forgetting to take time to fully appreciate it.

It works nicely through the beer as well, with the big hops present early on and the backing malt coming out after the half way point to dominate, preventing the hops from getting dull

In fact it is only in the finish, once you have performed that too early swallow of the delicious body, that you find the only flaw. Amongst the dry, next sip inducing feel, there is a liquorice flavour which , while not unpleasant, feels out of place.

Ok, also the near seven percent abv on a beer that both encourages you to swallow an has a finish that encourages the next sip is dangerous, however that is more a point to be aware of than a flaw.

Despite those minor points this is great, huge hoppiness, huge depth of flavour, and subtle complexity. The citrus to toffee flavour is almost dessert like beneath the hops. Lovely.

Background: BREWDOG! 8 WIRED! Seriously, there is few collaborations that could get me more excited. Hair of the Dog/ Three Floyds probably would. Anyway I digress. Erm, by the way I mean a collaboration between Hair Of The Dog and Three Floyds. Not HOTD and Three Floyds Slash Fic. Really. Anyway, digressions, yes. Drunk at Brewdog Bristol on tap and also grabbed a bottle to drink at home. I haven’t broken the bottle open yet so this is all based on the tap version.

Dog Wired 2

Superconductor
8 Wired: Superconductor (New Zealand: IIPA: 8.8% ABV)

Visual: Hazy amber, off white dash of bubbles for a head.

Nose: Fudge. Pineapple. Hops. Digestives. Slightly closed in the hop character. Dried apricot.

Body: Good big bitterness. Digestives. Hops. Light custard. Tangerine. Pineapple. Grapefruit juice. Grapes. Fruitcake base. Toffee. Dried apricot.

Finish: Growling bitterness and hops. Pineapple. Elderberry. Grapefruit juice. Toffee.

Conclusion: A New Zealand hopped IIPA, five words and it is already right up my alley. Ok, technically NZ and USA hopped, but it’s an NZ beer, so I’m concentrating on that part. Heavy in hops and kicking out the bitterness in a very much “I hardcore you” mold.

Lots of fresh pineapple and grapefruit citrus notes, intensely and challengingly so in fact. The hops are similarly intense with bitterness that rates as impressive. Underneath there is the expected toffee and malt base but it plays second fiddle to that overriding hop action. Some IIPAs seem over sweet and lose the hops to that sweetness, no risk of that here.

On a technical scale I would say it isn’t as good as their stand IPA, Hopwired. It isn’t as balanced or rounded. Then again, considering that hopwired is pure awesome that isn’t much of a criticism. It is a full on assault IIPA. Intense, maybe a tad single minded, but it remembers to bring the flavour.

Despite the single minded assault it does have a decent amount going on though, lovely digestive biscuits and huge citrus flavour, so single minded but not single note. There are definitely more rounded IIPA’s but it is no slouch.

The base is understated, more rounding in the excesses and following out the finish than anything else. The toffee and malt outlast the hops though, so at the end they can finally earn their place in the flavour spectrum.

While not as rounded a beer as some others it is a delicious fresh hop kick and despite the mass of citrus it never feels too sharp. In fact over time it softens rather than rises, and the base again starts to earn its way.

Not the best but a very proficient IIPA.

Background; After I raved about the excellent hopwired IPA my sister mentioned that the same brewery did an excellent Imperial IPA called Superconductor. Now, over a year later, I finally found it in the UK. So I bought it. and drank it. Expectations were high after hopwired and I was really looking forwards to it.

8 Wired: The Sultan (5th Release) (New Zealand: Quadruple: 10% ABV)

Visual: Deep copper red. A thin off white rim of suds and bubbles.

Nose:  Masses of raisins. Malt. Bitterness. Old stone monasteries. Cherries. Slight wheat chaff.

Body: Sultanas. Fruitcake. Liquorice and glacier cherries. Very big and booming. Some bitter chocolate. Port. Can froth slightly to a sherbet style. Plums. Brandy cream.

Finish: Tongue coating oils. Solid bitterness. Rum and raisin. Liquorice. Brown sugar. Bitter chocolate. Digestives. Prunes.

Conclusion: Now, I have had a few American abbey style beers recently and nice as they were they seemed to go very smooth in their interpretation of the style. This on the other hand remembers that Belgium beers should kick.  Admittedly this is a quadruple, which makes it much easier to do so, but still. They really let you feel as well as taste the flavour on this one.

Despite that kick it still manages to mask the abv pretty well. The thickness of sheen and sticky fruit flavours ride shotgun, riding the weight the abv brings so it never seems burning. Various port and rum like touches do give a hint of the strength, but overall it is well masked.  A very well done way of working with not against the styles strength.

Like Lost Abbey’s Lost and Found this has added fruit, in this case sultanas rather than raisin puree, however here they really stand out. The sultana aroma just roils over the glass and the flavour hovers mid body. The body is slightly smooth in the American style, but it never compromises on the power to integrate it. Frankly an amazingly competent take on a heavy Belgium style. One of the beest non Belgium takes on it in fact.

Sod it. That’s a too restrained complement. For the mix of smoothness to raw power and flavour combined with a good integration of unusual ingredients I would say this stands tall for a beer of any country. Spirit like touches, slick and fruity body, yet amazingly easy to drink.  This is a damn good beer.  A fine combination of fruitcake, bitterness and class. Not quite above the best of the Belgium like Rochfort or Westvleteren, but against anything else it does the job.

Background: The fifth release of the Sultan beer from 8 Wired, a set of New Zealand brewers I’ve come to get quite a bit of respect for. My sister had mentioned the beer before, and since I was trying to decide which 8 Wired to try next that swung it.  Thanks sis.  According to the bottle this was brewed with dark candy sugar and sultanas. The Quadruple is a wonderful Belgium style, and I’m always intrigued to see other countries take on it. Though I will admit I usually find the Belgium originals better. Drunk while listening to Paradise Lost: Tragic Idol

8 Wired: IStout (New Zealand: Imperial Stout: 10% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black with a deep brown froth that cannot survive in the high alcohol environ it is birthed in.

Nose: Treacle and cider toffee. Light roasted character. Slight chalk and a stewed apples style to its freshness

Body: Thick frothy texture with lots of sweet treacle. A big bitterness comes out in the middle to compensate. Molasses. Light hints of aniseed at times. Tiny amounts of rocks and salt add a slight edge. Tiramisu and cider toffee add a mix of sweet flavours.  Malt loaf. Milk chocolate. Slow building coffee.

Finish: Chocolate and a significant heap of bitterness. Camp fire smoke and ashes. Slight salt and grit. Slow growing hops. Even more cider toffee after a while. A slight sliced apple tartness. A mix of very bitter chocolate and coffee.

Conclusion: If I may start with a slight meandering digression.  You know how Islay whisky tends to be insanely distinctive, with rock and salt styling, all rough edged that you will either love or hate?  Even the milder distilleries such as Bunnahabhain have it as a notable element even if it is not dominant.

I bring that up as there is a similar character to this Imperial Stout, we aren’t talking Laphroaig level obviousness, but if I may compare to Bunnahabhain, it has a similar noticeable back whilst letting the forefront do its own thing.  This rough character is also evident in its hop level which is a notable, if not excessive part of the beer.

These elements, the rock, salt, and hops are laced throughout the main body until the hops take centre stage in the rising bitter finish.  Sometime the treacle and chocolate main body can seem underpowered early on in the beer, though they gain momentum and become much more forthright about half way through the bottle.

There is an interesting clash then from the rough flavour and the lovely smooth texture. In some ways reminds me of Southern Tiers Choklat Stout but without the same issue of pushing it to a level where it becomes irritating rather than intriguing.

Plenty of interesting flavours, from the cider toffee to the slight smoke, like most of 8 wired’s beers this is far from dull.  Best shows itself in its smooth texture and slow growing flavours, but some may be put off by the number of rough edges it brings to play.  For me it’s an impressive Imperial Stout, though not one of the best.

Background: Unfortunately nothing to do with my beloved IBeer, instead being a brew from the 8 Wired Brewery, so far notable for their excellent IPA (And according to my sister their Imperial IPA is even better, must keep an eye out for that) 8 Wired appears to be one of many brewers that use other peoples facilities to make their own beers.

%d bloggers like this: