Tag Archive: Brew By Numbers


Brew By Numbers: Broaden and Build: C5 India Pale Ale – Blood Orange (England: IPA: 7% ABV)

Visual: Pale grapefruit juice colour – opaque at the top, and clear around the edges. Large white, loose head.

Nose: Orange rind. Vanilla. Fluffy hops. Tangerine.

Body: Prickly hops. Malt chocolate and toffee. Bitty orange juice. Vanilla yogurt.

Finish: Tangerine to blood orange. Toffee malt character. Crisp hops. Moderate bitterness. Prickly feeling. Peppery. Nettles.

Conclusion: OK, orangey, yep this has orange notes, got that. Not 100% sure it is screaming blood orange to me, but definitely orangey.

This still manages to surprise me though. The malt bill does not come through in any way like what I expected. It hints towards East Coast style IPAs with the malt use coming through with malt chocolate and toffee styled darker sweetness. Not what I would expect for a blood orange IPA, and not what the lighter coloured body on the eye made me expect. It makes for a very solid malt base, the heavier character possibly is why some of the lighter orange notes don’t express themselves as much as they may have as they have to contend with that dark sweetness. Instead the malt provides a solid base for a prickly, nettle like hop character and moderate bitterness.

Now, its most direct competitor, or point of comparison, is Beavertown’s Bloody ‘Ell. I prefer that for its fresher and more orange emphasising character, but they are very different beers despite sharing a similar base conceit. This is more solidly beer like, really showing the base malts and the hop prickle – I can respect that. The orange is a dominant characteristic, but this isn’t afraid to let the beer do a good chunk of the work as well.

Its a very solid beer. Good use of the special character but not excessively so. I prefer a bit more out of the way malt in my IPAs but that is personal taste, this is still solid.

Background: Been a while since I grabbed a Brew By Numbers beer, and I’ve only had one, pretty decent, encounter with Broaden and Build. Keep meaning to grab more BBN beers though. They have a huge rep behind a fairly simple numbers based facade. So, I saw this, and I remember enjoying my previous encounter with a Blood Orange IPA from Beavertown, and wanted an IPA. So I grabbed it. Another Independent Spirit beer, who are, understandably, closed at the moment. My heart is breaking still. In respect there is no music listed for this tasting note, and no it is not just because I forgot to write it down.

De Molen and Brew By Numbers Name and No 01

De Molen and Brew By Numbers: Name and No:01 (Netherlands:American Pale Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Massive yellowed to white loose bubbled heads that leaves sud rings.

Nose: Wheaty. Rhubarb. Soft jiff lemon. Coriander. Vanilla ice cream. Orange zest. Vanilla.

Body: Lightly tart. Rhubarb. Tayberry. Lemon juice. Brown bread. Lightly earthy hop character. Banana bread.

Finish: Lemon juice. Wholemeal pancakes. Earthy. Pepper. Light hop bitterness. Unleavened bread. Slight funky yeast character.

Conclusion: This seems surprisingly normal beer, all things considered. A lightly tart beer, but not really all that crazy. I was expecting different considering the use of buckwheat and rhubarb. Anyway, this is a well grounded, slightly brown bread and earthy base that sets up a neutral platform for the tarter flavours to work over. The tartness is a gentle mix of unsweetened fruit – nothing too harsh, nothing more than you would get in some of the tarter fruit pies. The grounding bready feel is much more present than any tart notes. There is a Belgian wit spice character top and tail – pepper and coriander styled, giving a bit of life to it.

As a drink it is on the solid side of satisfying, kind of stodgy, bready feeling – appropriate considering the Dutch pancake inspiration. The rhubarb is subtle but well done and just tart enough to liven up the dry base. Despite that it does have a kind of basic feel to it – in contrast to the oddity of what went into making the beer. Best pitch I could give is like a more leaden hopped and simple Orval that has been spiced up by a touch of tart fruit to get over that flaw.

Still, pretty drinkable, just for all it has it should feel more special. It is an unusual beer, but somehow manages to not feel like one. It feels kind of run of the mill. The odder characters fade into the background – it slips down satisfactory but never sparkles.

More solid that it feels like it should be, but solid enough, which is no bad thing.

Background: Ok, they had me at “Dutch Pancake Pale Ale”. Grabbed from Independent Spirit, this is made with buckwheat, rhubarb and lemon zest. Interesting set. So far De Molen have been excellent in the beers they turn out, Brew by Numbers have a huge rep – so far most of the stuff had from them has been good but not world shaking. Drunk while listening to Foo Fighter’s eponymous album. Not listened to any of their new stuff as I dropped out back while they were denying HIV caused AIDS, and even though they have recanted that, never really got back into them. Their early stuff is still cool and I slip back into it every now and then. Also, as you may have noticed from the photo, holy shit this pours lively. I was doing a gentle pour and it still needed three attempts before I could get enough room to empty the bottle.

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