Tag Archive: Beavertown

Brewdog Vs Beavertown: Coffee and Cigarettes (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 12.1% ABV)

Visual: Black. Brown coffee rim of a head and a dash of a head across the main body.

Nose: Tar. Peat. Brown sugar. Smoke. Thick treacle and caramel. Ash. Honey. Rich coffee. Crushed muscat grapes.

Body: Ash. Smoke. Mild bitter chocolate. Rich coffee beans to coffee cake. Light carrot. Smoked meat. Spiced red grapes.

Finish: Milky chocolate. Smoke. Smoked meat. Shortbread. Bitter coffee. Slight salt air. Slight carrot cake. Cocoa dust. Ash. Spicy grapes. Treacle.

Conclusion: You know, you can rarely criticise Brewdog beers for not matching their concept. This, well it matches the concept to a tee. This has coffee, rich and full up front with thinner and more raw notes at times; This also has ash, smoke and such cigarette imagery. Quite peated and full up front, dry and smokey at the end, with smoke meat dished out throughout to help the idea.

Despite all this, which is impressive, I am a tad disappointed. Please let me explain why. The aroma is a booming beast – tarry, smokey and meaty. It hints and brown sugar and rich, sweet and spicy dark fruit. Frankly amazing. Not quite explaining the disappointment, am I? Give me a mo.

None of the above is entirely absent from the body, but it is far more restrained. Drier really, and a touch lighter. Not thin, but far from the beast of an aroma that dragged you in. A lot of the notes aren’t their at the start as well, they take a long time to develop. The spice grapes especially take some time to build up, so the initial impression are a distinct let down from the wonderful aroma.

When it has built up is is a) Very good and b) still nowhere near as booming as the aroma. While the nose is tarry, caramel thick and full of the burnt sugar the body is dry coffee cake and cocoa dusting. Not bad but distinctly different in intensity.

It is still good though – lost of coffee, spice grapes and caramel taste late on – lots of salt air but far from Islay heavy duty. It is drier than most Imperial Stouts, lighter all times but still complex with tons of well defined smoke and coffee notes. So, despite my criticism I enjoyed it – just a tad too dry, a tad too reined in. Small flaws but with a bit extra boom this could have been a classic.

So, good beer that does the concept well and well balanced. Maybe they made it how they did as a bigger beer would have blown out the balance. Who knows? Any which way, very good, but not ten quid a pop good. For that cost I demand a lot from a beer. Nearly worth it, but not quite for me. Hopefully I’ve given you enough info to decide for yourself if you think it would be worth that much to you.

Background: As I always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This one, a collaboration with the excellent Beavertown brewery, is one with a heck of a lot shoved in. Made with oats, muscovado sugar, coffee then aged in three different whisky casks – Islay, Rye and Bourbon it sounds like from the description at the Brewdog Store. This was drunk while listening to the experimental funk, guitar mash up wonder that is Praxis: Transmutation. Not broken that out for a while, still weird and awesome.

Beavertown: Oskar Blues: Tempus Project: Deimos (England: Weizenbock: 8.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Large brown loose bubbled froth for a head that leaves a sud rim.

Nose: Potpourri and dry spices. Chilli seeds. Chocolate malt drinks. Slight smoke. Cashew nuts.

Body: Tobacco. Spicy. Sweet cherries. Smoked meat. Slight charred oak. Spiced rum. Sour red wine. Frothy feels. Walnuts.

Finish: Smoked meat. Dried banana and pecan pie. Slight cloves. Gingerbread. Light charring. Lightly dusty. Dry spice. Sour red wine. Mild bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: Well, this is more immediately interesting that its Madeira aged cousin. Though it anything it feels even less like the common expectation of a weizenbock. That said, they both share the same flaw of a a fairly weak aroma – This time slightly simple in a dry and spicy fashion.

What grabs as soon as you reach the body is a mix of spice, tobacco and spiced rum. Very big up front notes from first sip, behind that however it is just as mixed up as Phobos, but in a very different way. While that beer felt like Bristol beer Factory’s Vintage ale, this actually feels like a weizen heir to an unaged Hair Of The Dog Adams in the mix of smoke and complexity. That said, this had nowhere near the smoothness or richness of Adams – instead being cursed with clashing complexity.

However, it is slightly more balanced complexity than its cousin. The smoke and vinous notes give a more weighty beer which means the nuttiness and spice have a much more solid base to work from. That weighty base is also what seems to overpower a lot of the weizen character I think – so mixed blessing, but still a blessing. I’d therefore say of the two barrel aged Tempus project beers I prefer this one – it manages to get a coherent image out more up front and immediately, just throwing flavour after flavour and seeing what sticks. It still has some confusion, but powers through it to a degree.

Stuffy and smoked, with smoked meat and charring – yet vinous, malty, and even fruity in a way, but dominated by dark notes. Probably still not one for drinking now – again I feel age may do this good, the question (answered a few days later and added to the background) is which of the two should I grab to age?

Background: Second of the Tempus project beers I have tried. The first being Phobos, which I found mixed up but generally pleasant. Like that this was bought from Independent Spirit. This is a *deep breath* Smoked banana, walnuts, pecans, dates and figs infused beer aged in Sherry Barrels. So, a normal beer ya know. After doing these notes I decided to grab a bottle of this one to age and see what happens. This had a fair mix of tunes while listening – mixed up tunes for a mixed up beer. We are Sex Bob-omb and Ill Manors were only two of the tunes to give an idea.

Beavertown: Oskar Blues: Tempus Project: Phobos (England: Weizenbock: 9.1% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown and mostly opaque. A couple of inches of brown bubbled froth that leaves suds.

Nose: Nutty and malt chocolate. Cashew nuts. Light menthol and mint leaves. Cinnamon. Lightly vinous.

Body: Malt drinks. Nutty. Vinous. Subtle port notes. Orange zest. Coriander. Stewed banana. Bready. Light to moderate bitterness. Light cloves.

Finish: Slight sour grapes. Malt chocolate drink. Madeira cake. Chocolate shavings. Bitty orange juice. Nutty. Smoke. Walnuts.

Conclusion: Oddly this reminds me of Bristol Beer Factory’s Vintage Ale – both are malt led, chocolaty, drinks with a hell of a lot going on. So much so in fact that it doesn’t quite mesh. So, that is your short overview of what is going to be the general theme of these notes.

With that said, it is strange that initially the nose is fairly simple – nutty and malt drinks. I was actually worried this was going to be a too simple beer. How silly of me!

The first thing that starts coming out to break up that image is the vinous notes – from sour grapes, sweet Madeira cake to slight port. Not dominating but definitely rounding notes. Good use of barrel ageing that still lets the base beer breath. I approve! Now the base is not the most complex thing, bitter chocolate over nutty notes – but it is definitely solid enough to set up for what is a mass of infusions and ageing influence.

Another similarity to the BBF Vintage is in the fruitiness throughout – still quite malty, like malt choc orange through to a fresher orange juice style. It is a good element, but it is the element that most shows the integration of flavour issues thee beer has – it doesn’t quite line up with the others, instead seeming to float around aside from the rest.

Now despite that the beer is not bad – in fact I am tempted to grab one to age, like I did with vintage, see if it mellows out and matches up a bit better. It is just with the fruit, vinous, nutty, malt led and spice touched beer there is so much going on that it feels unfocused. So, not clearly defined, but surprisingly easy to drink, especially for 9% and up. The solid bitter chocolate to malt drinks base is charming as is, but is they smoothed it out and got everything in a line it would be amazing.

So, pretty much like BBF Vintage before it a mixed up beer, but with a lot of charm. If I grab one to age I will you now how that goes.

Background: OK, lot to describe in this beer. It is a weizendopplebock aged for 8 months in Madeira barrel – infused with smoked bananas, walnuts, pecans, dates and figs. Oh, and oats as well as the expected wheat. So, yeah that interested me – especially with both Oscar Blues and Beavertown at the helm. That sounded like a match made in heaven. This was drunk after a session playing the new Doom and having my first encounter with the Cyberdemon and stomping its dick into the dirt. Having a beer called Phobos after playing Doom is very appropriate as any fan will tell you. To keep the feel going was listening to Carcass: Surgical Steel, for that real visceral metal feel. Decided against the Aventinus glass for this one – at 330ml it would probably get lost in the big weizenbock glass. Instead went for the Teku glass – always a good one for mall bottles and big flavours. As you may have guessed, this is another one bought from Independent Spirit of Bath.

Beavertown Bloody 'Ell Blood Orange IPA

Beavertown: Bloody ‘Ell: Blood Orange IPA (England: IPA: 7.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy ripe banana yellow and moderate sized, sud leaving, white head.

Nose: Mandarin orange. Chocolate toffee. Crisp hops. Quite malt led.

Body: Orange. Pumpkin. Some greenery. Hop oils and good bitterness. Fudge. Malt chocolate. Mango.

Finish: Chocolate toffee and fudge. Moderate bitterness. Fresh orange juice. Hop oils.

Conclusion: For a blood orange IPA I have to admit I was expecting a crisper, drier, IPA in order to really let the tartness show itself. Therefore I was surprised by the level of very sweet character in the malt led base of this beer. It runs with darker sweet flavours, a kind of chocolate toffee to fudge mix – far darker notes than the very light body’s colour would suggest.

The orange is present, but not as prominent as I would have expected. The tart, fresh and fruity notes are fleshing out the malt base and accentuated by similar hop choice that brings mango and pumpkin like notes that complement the orange well. The orange notes do build up over time, which leads to them having a more prominent character by the end.

It is bitter but not heavily so for an IPA, with the hop seem to be giving more of their hop oils for the mouthfeel rather than for bitter hop character.

Without that hop character the beer would feel a bit like an orange topped sweet dessert – maybe chocolate cheesecake and orange style. Maybe. With the, mild, bitter hops and hop oils it ends up a bittersweet and fresh mix. Not blowing my world, and a far more gentle beer than I expected, but uses its flavour range well. So ends up a slightly bitter, orange topped, chococlate cheesecake in the end.

I am great at descriptions. Honest.

A bit odd, but decent. I’m not a sold on it as many people are, but have no particular complaints.

Background: Last time this turned up in Independent Spirit it vanished before I could grab a can, so this time around I made sure to get a can. From a quick google looks like they did use orange zest and orange juice late boil to make this – I wasn’t 100% sure without checking. Drunk while listening to Ulver: Shadows Of The Sun – seriously amazing album and brilliant for relaxing and drinking, just so haunting and beautiful.

Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA

Beavertown: Neck Oil Session IPA (England: Session IPA: 4.3% ABV)

Visual: Lemon juice pale yellow. Mounded white froth and large amounts of carbonation.

Nose: Fresh. Lemon on pancakes. Clean. Lightly musty as it warms. Digestives. Kiwi.

Body: Light lemon. Prickly but mild hops. Vanilla and mild toffee. Milky notes. Ovaltine back. Caramel as it warms. Orange juice. Very mild milky coffee.

Finish:Squeezed lime. Ovaltine. Popcorn hop character. Bready. Moderate bitterness. Kiwi. Very mild milky coffee.

Conclusion: Now I am nearly always kind of down on the session IPA as a style, but this is pretty much the one and only session IPA so far that I respect. Time to put it on the autopsy table and see what makes it tick. Or something. That metaphor may not have made sense.

What really stands out is that it isn’t too dry. Dry can work with a big IPA or Imperial IPA, but in the session case it always seems to end up tasting like a badly built American Pale Ale to me. While this does not bring spectacular flavour levels, that slightly creamier body means that it has a lot more leeway in how it brings its flavours. It can make it as drinkable as a session IPA should be, and still let it lean dry at the finish, but by that point it has already delivered the flavours well.

Flavour wise it keeps it simple – soft lemon, mild kiwi back, with hop bitterness present but somewhat understated. It works more as a slow build up than an instant kick. Over time you get a lingering bitter finish, but, again, soft enough to session.

The sweetness rises as it warms, soft toffee into caramel. Because of that sweetness the horrid cardboard notes of many a session IPA are absent. You can feel at the edges where they could come out, but they are kept under control.

Designed for the session, it doesn’t instantly shout to be respected, but it has just enough flavour, just enough body, just enough bitterness to enjoy at that point. Time is what brings it respect, that it holds up to the session it is built for. By half way through the can it is going nicely, and keeps plenty of room to continue growing – lime notes build slowly and an initially simple beer gains enough respect to be one I return to again and again. In fact each session IPA I drink seems to make me respect it more as I see how so many others can fail.

Every brewer, please ask Beavertown for advice. They can do session IPAs. Most of you can’t.

Background: Yes, it is here, the one session IPA I speak highly of. I have mentioned it enough times, and drunk enough cans that I thought I should finally do notes on it. So I grabbed a can from Independent Spirit, and got to work, It is also part of the end of an era. Yet another notebook full of notes. Time to move on to pages new. Here’s to all of you, cheers!

Beavertown Applelation

Beavertown: Applelation (England: Saison: 8.7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow. Large white head. Moderate carbonation.

Nose: Funky yeast. Soft pastry. Light apple. Fresh buttered popcorn. Pepper. Wheaty.

Body: Apple. Vanilla. Pastry. Buttery shortbread. Custard. Gingerbread. Pepper. Brown bread and sour dough.

Finish: Sweet apple pies. Vanilla. Brown bread. Orange. Oatmeal. Moderate Madeira notes.

Conclusion: Apple in a beer? I’ve wondered a few times how well that would work, but have drunk comparatively few examples to test the hypothesis. This works a lot better than my last experience – the saison gives a soft, but just slightly rustic base to work from. In fact the entire feel is amazingly gentle considering the abv. There is flavour notes that gives hints to the strength, mainly a dry Madeira like finish, but the mouthfeel is amazingly smooth.

The beer feels like mashed up apple pies, pepper and an oatmeal breakfast all shoved into a beer. So, pretty enjoyable then.

It feels laid back with that soft character, using only a small amount of bitterness under the quite natural tasting fruit sweet core. The mix of saison to fruit works well – it goes with a much more gentle saison interpretation than most, not heavy in rustic, spice or hops. The slight rustic element it has gives a slight steam beer/Californian common style feel – an almost direct gas heated kind of thing, which makes it far more easy drinking than a near 9% abv beer should be.

It is very well made, the apple enhances it but does not dominate and that steam beer freshness means it doesn’t get too heavy. If I had to criticise it is that it doesn’t change much – it plays the same notes from beginning to end. Also it feels so sessionable that I want it to be one to take for an easy drinking run, but don’t do that. 9% is dangerous. I may die.

So a good take on an apple beer. I wish it could come in at a lower abv, as a session beer it would be perfect. That is probably impossible, but this is a still a fun use of fruit in beer.

Background: Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit, this time mainly because I love how Beavertown can images look. Plus I love the idea of apple in beer, even if a lot of implementations can let the idea down a bit. Drunk while listening to more of the Superbursts that I grabbed from Warren Ellis’ web site ages back. Don’t seem to be online any more. Anyway, yes, a saison, made with apples I presume from calling itself an “Apple Saison” but they could just be referring to the flavour.

Beavertown Bellwoods Barrel Aged Moose Fang

Beavertown: Bellwoods: Barrel Aged Moose Fang (England: Black IPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: Black to very dark brown. Thick brown head that leaves mounds at the side.

Nose: Malt chocolate and cashew nuts. Ginger bread. Chunky marmalade. Spirity. Cocoa dust. Cream.

Body: Milk chocolate and cream. Zesty orange. Strawberry crème. Bitter cocoa. Slightly spirity.

Finish: White and milk chocolate mix. Marmalade. Lemon sherbet. Bitter cocoa. Strawberry crème.

Conclusion: Ok, orange zest and Armagnac aged – that is a mix that results in one chunky slice marmalade infused beer. Thankfully I like marmalade. I am like Paddington Bear, but less cute. And an alcohol fan. Well, Paddington Bear may have been an alcohol fan. We shall never know.

This tingles, spirity, yet with smooth character at the back end. Between the marmalade and the spirit character the barrel ageing really seems to have had its wicked way with this beer. Because of this the base beer is somewhat kept to the back – A creamy, chocolate base beer that mixes sweet white chocolate with bitter cocoa. Or so it seems; Considering how much an influence the barrel ageing has, it is hard to say exactly where that portion ends without drinking the unaged version. That isn’t a dig at the beer – that creamy characteristic gives great texture and backing and lets the beer slip down nicely, However it is very evident that the marmalade characteristics are the main thing.

It is very satisfying but a touch one note – at around 9% abv and 500ml I would say that it is a perfect beer for two people to share. The flavour otherwise gets a tad sickly by the end. I know this as I mistakenly thought it was a 375ml bottle so drank the whole thing myself. Oops.

Anyway, had in smaller, shared measures it is a bright, sugar sweet shock, delivered by a sweet yet mellow base. The base is sweet, but still less than the sugar shock high notes so still manages to drag the sweet barrel ageing back from the, well, edge.

I think that with shorter barrel ageing this would have been better balanced and so awesome. As is it is fun, but kind of like watching a guy get shot out of a cannon twenty times. Cool, but a tad repetitive. Still fun and well made.

Background: Bellwoods is a Canadian brewery, so of course they have Moose and hockey imagery on the bottle. I don’t know why I even had to google to find that out. I should just have known. I kind of gave up on beer style and went with ratebeer’s call of Black IPA. This sure as hell is not a standard Brown Ale, but I was kind of stumped on where to put it. Anyway, this is the final beer that I was given at Christmas, this one from Matt. Many thanks :-). This has been aged in Armgnac barrels, and made with cocoa nibs, vanilla pods and orange zest. So now you know.

Wild Beer Co Beavertown Blubus Maximus

Wild Beer Co: Beavertown: Blubus Maximus (England: Sour Ale: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy red. Cherry hued large bubbled head.

Nose: Malt vinegar. Cream cheese and chives. Beef burger. Coriander. Fresh wholemeal bread. Peppermint.

Body: Lightly dry and acidic. Cumin. Dry blueberry. White wine. Bready. Crushed leaves. Blackcurrant.

Finish: Minty. Barkley husks. Leaves. Blackcurrant cordial. Carrot and coriander. Mixed nuts.

Conclusion: You know, I spent my first run through a glass of this trying to put my finger on that odd spice note that wrapped itself around the beer. It was intruding into every nook and cranny. Then I looked at the bottle and noticed it was made with bay leaves. In retrospect it should have been obvious.

That still doesn’t explain where the grilled beef burger notes came from, but I guess some mysteries must go unanswered. By the way, I am not kidding, pretty much my first though on encountering the aroma was “Who is grilling burgers?” It has that slightly fatty oily meat smell. But nice.

Anyway, all that description seems to lack is one big expected element. Blueberries. It is my way of saying a think they could have gone a tad lighter on the spice – this could pretty much be called Herbus Maximus instead of Blubus Maximus – it is that dominant.

Now, the blueberry, or at least dark fruit flavours, are there. Not heavily though – the main body is comparable to a not too sharp lambic. It has a similar wine like character and the fruitiness comes across subtly over that. In fact the base seems very impressive indeed – the problem is that it is hard to tell under the herbs and spices. It doesn’t make it a bad beer, but very different from the expectations give by the bottle and that does make it a weaker show than I thought it would be.

This becomes less of an issue, but still an issue, as it warms. The blueberries become bigger and sweeter as it warms and that is much needed – it is a much more robust beer near room temperature, by which I of course, mean non heat wave room temperature. We don’t want it boiling. With a lighter hand with the bay leaves then this could have been a very good beer – as is it is interesting, but flawed.

Background: Another fruit based collaboration after Rubus Maximus – this one with spell, blueberries, buckwheat and bay leaves. In the bottle it says “a **** ton of blueberries” So four ton I presume, that is the only thing that could mean. Drunk as the rain hammered down outside, temporarily breaking the heat wave for a while. I am not made for heat. Just saying. Grabbed from Independent Spirit. Of course.

Beavertown Skull King Double IPA

Beavertown: Skull King Double IPA (England: IIPA: 8.7% ABV)

Visual: Slightly cloudy apricot. Large off white bubbles head. No visible carbonation.

Nose: Pine. Floral. Resin. Grapefruit. Good bitterness. Dried pineapple. Digestives. Dried passion fruit.

Body: Bitter. Kumquat. Passon fruit. Kiwi. New York style cheesecake. Quite dry. Some fruit sugars. Frothy mouthfeel.

Finish: Kiwi. Bitterness. Grapes. Hop oils. Bready. Slight gritty touch.

Conclusion: Oh, hello, another very dry IIPA, following quickly on the heels of Restorative beverage for invalids and convalescents. Is this starting a trend? I can but hope. This one really keeps to a low level of sweetness for an IIPA, there are some fruit sugars but I didn’t get any of the expected big toffee or similar backbone. Interesting.

This does provide something a bit different – from the understated, more floral and pine nose, to the dry and solid dry fruit body, to the bready hop oil finish. This shows a side to IIPAs less used, the lack of sweetness also means that it needs a less intense bitterness against that backbone to create a much larger impression on the mouth due to the lack of contrast.

This feels closer to the more traditional IIPA style than the sweeter IIPA tradition, despite its higher abv. It reminds me a bit of Pliny The Elder in that regard.

Overall it takes everything and delivers it a more restrained way. Still intense, but there is a muted edge to the flavours, a grounded feel – everything dry or drying.

I like what it is doing, and if I hadn’t had “Restorative beverage…” first I would probably be even more impressed. As is, I prefer Restorative as it just nails it better. Still, this is the more different beer and I like that it keeps away from expectations. This really doesn’t follow the trend of the style and I respect it for that.

Background: Grabbed from one of the few available at Independent Spirit! thanks guys! This is the first ever canned double IPA in the UK, or so I am told. Beavertown have been solid so far, and I need to get around to reviewing their neck oil session IPA. Also my friend lives near their brewery and keeps taunting me with the fact he regularly gets to try their beers. Anyway, they have made the can a bit more textured here, which combined with the cool image on it gives a great first impression. Drunk while listening to some Anthrax – Worship Music. A big beer deserves some big music.

Siren Beavertown Magic Rock Rule Of Thirds

Siren: Magic Rock: Beavertown: Rule Of Thirds (England: IPA: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon to apricot. Thick white bubbled head. Cloudy centre.

Nose: Pineapple. Crushed biscuits. Resin. Kumquat. Dry mango. Lemon juice. Moderate hops prickle. Dried apricot.

Body: Big bitterness. Sharp pineapple. Grapefruit. Some toffee and digestives. Light gritty feel. Elderberry.

Finish: Pink grapefruit. Good hops. Digestives. Big bitterness. Pineapple. Elderberry.

Conclusion: Some IPAs wake you up with bitterness, this, instead goes straight to the tart citrus trip.

It never hides it, never even tries, as soon at the bottle cap pops off – bam – pineapple – sharp as can be. There is a ton of citrus fruit in the aroma – a huge mix, but when you go to the first sip, it is straight back to pineapple. Well pineapple and grapefruit. Even cold it has a nicely gripping texture, not thick so much, more something that really grabs the taste buds and lets the citrus shock and awaken.

It is interesting, as despite definitely being about the citrus shock, it actually has quite a big bitter character as well. Despite being big when you see it, you only actually find it every now and then. The main place is in the finish, though it is very obvious in your first few sips, before the citrus has really got a hold.

It is like it does have huge hops, but half the time it vanishes rapidly as soon as the tartness hits, meaning that you only notice it when you are paying attention.

The malt base, slightly toffeeish, also nigh vanishes for most of the time. It shows a few hints top and tail, almost just showing up so it can say its there.

The tartest IPA I have had for a while, and an impressive wave of what I would guess holds a chunk of NZ hops in its IPA action. One note, but it is one hell of a cool note.

Background: So, a mix of the three IPAs from their respective breweries. Pretty good breweries as well. So I grabbed a bottle from the rapidly diminishing pile at Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to Ulver: Shadows Of The Sun. Which I still hold is one of the most beautifully haunting albums ever.

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