Tag Archive: Bath Ales


moor-bath-ales-st-austell-dark-knight-weisse

Moor: Bath Ales: St Austell: Dark Knight Weisse (England: Dunkelweizen: 5.1% ABV)

Visual: Dark reddish brown. Large bubbled brown head.

Nose: Nutty and soft lemon mix. Tobacco. Wheaty. Malt chocolate. Slight cloying sour cream note.

Body: Malt chocolate. Vanilla toffee. Tobacco. Wheat. Moderate thickness of texture. Light coriander. Smoke. Light lemon and lime hop character.

Finish: Wheaty. Malt chocolate. Brown bread. Lightly nutty. Moderate bitterness and hop character. Smoke. Light lime hops.

Conclusion: This is definitely, well, darker that the usual Dunkel Weisse flavours. A standard dunkel weisse, to my mind, deals with the wheat and malt chocolate notes as a base – which admittedly this does – but I haven’t encountered one that brings this stodgy, smokey tobacco flavour to the middle like this does.

It has just mildly more hop character than you would normally get as well – not hugely so, just some more noticeable bitterness and some subtle citrus hop flavours under the bigger malt, tobacco and malt.

It is pretty pleasant – it has a good texture that is generally smooth but with a bit of a wheat grip. It cleaves close enough to the standard dunkel weisse style but pushes things just slightly towards a heavier experience. Pleasant, ya know?

Nothing in it pushes it to special – but it is a well done beer in a style variant I have not seen done before. I think this could be a good beer to go with beef dishes – it is not complex enough to be heavily examined by itself, but is strong flavoured enough to complement the meat I feel. That is a guess. I haven’t tried it with beef yet.

So, solid, smoked – not stand out great but no complaints.

Background: Hit Moor’s tap-house recently and very much enjoyed the beers there – so decided to grab this collaboration of theirs from Independent Spirit for more Moor beer tasting note goodness. This was back from before I had finished Dark Souls 2 and was hammering my head against the Frigid Outskirts area. Seriously, screw that area. Anyway, basically I needed a good beer is what I am saying. Drunk while listening to more of the epic goodness that is Two Steps From Hell.

Bristol Brewers United: Smoked Porter : Bristol Collaboration 2012 (England: Porter: 6% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown with a red hue if held to the light. Dustings of vanilla froth coloured head that is more froth than bubbles. The head leaves a coffee cup side like trail as you drink.

Nose: Smoke. Rye bread. Dried beef jerky. Slight roasted elements.

Body: Very malty. Toffee and vanilla at the back. Smoke. A charred undercurrent and occasional liquorice trick.  Slight jelly like fruitiness with pineapple chunks. Slick and thick texture that comes slightly oily.

Finish: Slightly oily. Roasted and with a lot of smoke. Slight medicinal touch. Bubblegum. Still highly malted.

Conclusion: So do many hands make light work, or do too many cooks spoil the broth? Or other clichés.

Also, holy shit, how many breweries exist in one sodding city, and they all managed to get together to make this? Impressive.

The beer really shows the influence of the varied brewers involved.  It feels like new school fruity hops, an old school roasted base, very smooth character, restrained smoke and slight oiliness, all combined into an amazingly easy to drink pint.

Put it all together and, well, I have to say I’m impressed. The flavour is sweet but balanced by the roasted elements and smoke. It’s very BBF in its mix of old and new elements. There is a very solid sweet malt base which they build everything else off. This allows the smoke to be layered upon, and even just the very slightest Island medicinal character in the finish to keep you on the toes.  Very, very restrained though, more a hint that a full element so don’t let that put you off if that’s not your scene. The main elements are the sweet and smooth.

It is a restrained enough beer that you could manage a couple without being sickly, but it is still full of flavour.  It is a sign of the more old school brewers influences that this seems very well designed to take full advantage of the real ale and cask style to give a distinctive full bodied character.

Overall, yeah, if you can try it, do. It is extremely good.  Maybe I am being biased by the fact that it is such a big collaboration, or maybe by the fact that it is such a limited run. I can’t promise I’m not being influenced by that, all I can say is I really enjoyed this beer and I hope you do to.

Background: A collaboration between (deep breath) Bristol Beer Factory, GWB, Bath Ales (Which oddly, is in Bristol), RCH, Zero Degrees and Arbor Ales. That is some serious talent there.  I had to do some ringing around to hunt this down. Many thanks to James, the manager at The Salamander, who contacted me to let me know that it was on cask. (As of today it is available, there’s not much of it so if you want to try it I would advise going right away). Due to not having my camera on me at the time the photos are from a set taken on BBF’s Grain Barge – thanks to my mates for help with that one.

A Rare Update

I recently got to try Rare Hare on tap, and it was so different to the bottled version I thought it worth adding a note to the original tasting note on the differences. The new details can be found at the bottom of the original review here

Bath Ales: Fools (England: Bitter: 4.8% ABV)

Visual: Clear light cherry red into a tanned brown, moderate bubbled off white head.

Nose: Lots of toffee, crisp hops, caramel and blackcherry. Treacle and hint of aniseed. Vanilla.

Body: Warming malts, fizzy texture, treacle, caramel and charcoal. Crushed herbs and spices. Nice bitter core.

Finish: Bitter, aniseed, milk chocolate, burnt meat and campfire ash. Hops and slight sourness.

Conclusion: A lively sweet bitter, good bitter hops tied to a sweet body and crushed herb influence. Available each year around the time of the Bath Comedy Festival it makes for a decent pint and relaxes you into the mood for light hearted jocularity.

Even outside its set milieu it’s a decent pint with deep bitter sweetness oxymoronically combined. The herbs add to, rather than dominate the flavour. Almost tastes like a well put together Christmas season bitter, in a good way.

A sturdy beer, that’s no joke (ho bleeding ho ho)

Bath Ales: Rare Hare (England: ESB: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Dimming sun orange red with a decent off white head.

Nose: Syrup, light sweet hops and lots of fudge. Sweet and subtle, custard doughnuts.

Body: Sugary sweet. Toffee, glazed doughnuts. Fluffy textured. Milk chocolate. A dessert of toffee meringue style. Marshmallows. Slightly fizzy. The sweetness is counterbalanced by solid malt back to keep it together. Touch of orange as you swallow, caramel and then some bitterness to keep it all together.

Finish: Slight bitter hops, more toffee and bitter chocolate. Candyfloss. Real bitterness comes in at the end.

Conclusion: With its irregular release schedule this beer lives up to its name. So what is this elusive hare?

Its main body is a strongly malted bitter with a range of sweet delicacies within it. None shift the main body instead adding layer upon layer of flavour, softening and rounding it.

After the 3 years of build up waiting for this beer to be released again it’s easy to be somewhat underwhelmed as it is still a standard ale, if very well done, however that would be unfair to it.

Its subtle sweetness and layered flavours are impressive, well managed and integrated very well. The bitter finish makes each new sip again appreciated for the returning sweetness.

Very well done, not a show off as you would expect from its rarity. If this was a regular beer it would be a brilliant choice for a “Pint of the usual”. As it is, enjoy it for what it is when it’s in for a week or two.

A Rare Update: Rare Hare on Tap

This is such a different beer on tap that I thought it necessary to add a little update here. It’s significantly more vinous and complex, placed side by side it would be difficult to consider they are the same beer.

The slight sourness was the first hint, as well as Madeira and toffee elements that now are added to the nose. Much more fruity on the body, with red wine and raisin, then a bitter malty chocolate finish.

Like most of Bath Ales, this seems to work so much better on tap. The wonderful mix of bitter, red wine and Maderia works very well.

Bath Ales: Festivity (England: Porter: 5% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown black with a quickly dissipating brown head.

Nose: liquorice, bitter charcoal. Aniseed, cherry and cinnamon come through on a large lungful.

Body: Bitter chocolate, more liquorice. Fruitcake, raspberry and smooth cream. Slightly dry middle. Treacle. Malt and oak. Cherry then a creamy chocolate near the end.

Finish: liquorice. Dry. Burnt charred elements. More bitter chocolate. Slight cotton wool feel.

Conclusion: Much better on tap. That doesn’t mean this is a bad beer, but versus the tap version it doesn’t compare. The tap version is thicker creamier and much more satisfying.

Still

Aside from that it’s got decent burnt notes and cherry influence in the Porter. Its one of my preferred Christmas Beers to grab, it’s got just enough smooth and harsh playing out in it and slips down easily. Not a showstopper but worth waiting to grab.

Pleasant and relaxing, worth getting a couple of bottles in for the year ahead.

Oh and if you see it on tap, grab it, its stonking great like that

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