Tag Archive: Buxton


buxton-omnipollo-original-rocky-road-ice-cream
Buxton: Omnipollo: Original Rocky Road Ice Cream (England: Imperial Porter: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Slight head on pour which quickly vanishes.

Nose: Praline chocolate. Peanut butter. Marshmallow. Grated bitter chocolate. Vanilla ice cream. Condensed cream

Body: Silken chocolate. Peanut butter. Fudge. Chocolate fondue. Praline. Light rum and raisin ice cream. Madeira. Lightly chalky. Marshmallow. Vinous red grapes undertones.

Finish: Vanilla ice cream. Peanut butter. Marshmallow. Chocolate ice cream. Salted peanuts. Cocoa dust.

Conclusion: Ok, the marshmallow style is utterly nailed here. Seriously, it lands large with a fluffy mouthfeel and sweet taste. The whole Rocky Road imagery is shown with creamy notes layered over a solid praline to cocoa dust base. It is a solid, sweet – yet with a bitter cocoa backbone Imperial Porter. A very good start.

So, image wise, for its Rocky Road ice cream inspiration it does it brilliantly in a lot of ways. When chilled down the mouthfeel and flavour give a lot of vanilla ice cream style, without the low temperature hurting the vast range the beer brings.

The biggest departure from the theme is in how it deals with the nuttiness. This is massively peanut styled nutty, Early on it feels like a pure peanut butter stout. Now, yes, nuts are used in rocky road, but in my experience they are never this dominant. The other elements do earn their place though, balancing it better as time goes on. Even with the heavy peanut butter early on, as a beer in itself this is excellent – in fact better than most intended peanut butter stouts that I have tried – and over time the marshmallow and ice cream complexities rise around that. Even at the end of the beer the peanut butter dominates a bit much to be called a perfectly accurate rocky road beer, but it is a good enough call, and that does nothing to stop it being an excellent beer.

It is definitely on the sweet end of the dark beer style, it would be sweet even for an Imperial Stout, let alone Imperial Porter – very creamy, very thick – but the mix of bitter cocoa and savoury nuts gives it enough grounding that it doesn’t end up in the sugar shock range.

What really sells this is that the gimmick isn’t all the beer has, good as that is. As it warms subtle spirit and vinous notes come out. They are often still in an ice cream style – say rum and raisin impressions, but they turn what could be a gimmick beer into a genuinely good imperial porter on all levels.

I have a lot of time for this – it really lives the gimmick, with a few concessions which makes it a better beer. Very good as a sweet Imperial Porter up front, with a lot of complexity at the back. I applaud this fantastic beer.

Background: Ok I love rocky road ice cream and all similar desserts. So when trying to decide which of the “ice cream series” to try this one jumped right out at me. Grabbed from Independent Spirit it is made with cocoa nibs and lactose sugar. Also the image on the front looks like a walking green turd. But you can’t have everything, can you?` Drunk while listening to Brassick – Broke and Restless. Just found out they actually have an album out, but I never knew as I just kept track via bandcamp which didn’t list it – I must check it out.

Buxton Origo Patersbier

Buxton: Origo: Patersbier (England: Belgian Ale: 4.0% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow gold with hazy string throughout. Small white head.

Nose: Brown bread. Mashed boiled eggs. Light sugar dusting. Mild caramel.

Body: Sweet and hoppy. Popcorn style hop character and cane sugar. Brown bread. Low level bitterness. Quite dry. Vanilla. Apricot and fruit sugars. Light custard and lime.

Finish: Brown bread and some bitterness. Light white sugar. Sour greenery. Light chalky character. Bitterness grows over time.

Conclusion: A gentle Belgian is what I am thinking here. This is pretty much session strength and flavoured to match – pretty much solid in the middle of style expectations. While initially underwhelming it builds up carefully. The aroma gives you little to work off, but does show that brown bread character that will later become the mainstay of the beer.

A dry, initially light but soon robust bitterness breadiness is what you get as you sip along. It is refreshing but at the low abv it does not catch the complexities that even slightly stronger Belgian ales can bring. Instead it relies on a light, sugar dusting like, sweetness to back the main character.

It is one of those beers that feels like the perfect base waiting for the (Literal or, most likely and more preferable, metaphorical) spice to be added to it. It definitely doesn’t offend and the rising bitterness is both drinkable and well done, but, when you get past that, there isn’t much else.

A good solid session start, but it feels like it needs more work to perfect.

Background: Grabbed from Independent Spirit, this is one of a range of Belgium inspired beers coming out from the Buxton brewery. Patersbier (literally “Father’s Beer” in translation) is the weaker abv beer that monks brew for their own drinking. You don’t see many of these around, either from the original Trappist breweries, or from people copying the style. Drunk while listening to David Bowie’s Black Star again. That is still one haunting album.

Buxton Omnipollo Yellow Belly
Buxton: Omnipollo: Yellow Belly (England: Imperial Stout: 11% ABV)

Visual: Black. Thin brown bubbled head.

Nose: Snickers bars. Chocolate ice cream. Lots of peanuts. Creamy. Very milky coffee.

Body: Creamy – condensed cream. Snickers. Big amount of peanuts. Or possible Reeses peanut cups. Bitter cocoa. Sugar dusting. Boozy feel. Thick texture. Treacle. Brown cane sugar.

Finish: Caramel. Peanuts. Bitter cocoa dust. Digestives and shortbread. Treacle. Brown sugar.

Conclusion: Damn. Think of a blended up snickers bar, but in a beer. I would say a “marathon” bar for old times sake, but, let’s face it – fighting long dead linguistic battles is not going to win me any favours here.

Anyway, this is stupid levels sweet, awesome stupid that is. There is not a huge range of notes but they are very well defined and well themed as well. Very sweet imperial stouts can become over exposed very easily, but thankfully this came when I have not had many of them for a while, so as a fresh again experience I absolutely loved this.

This is a very creamy beer as well, doesn’t hide the alcohol character either, but instead uses it as a boozy thick character. No burn, no harsh edges, but there is no mistaking this is a big beer.

I want to talk more about this beer – about its creamy texture, the sheer dominance of peanuts to peanut butter flavours over the bitter cocoa – but so much can be summed up in the few short words. Snickers bar beer. It deserves a better description than that, more detailed and florid, but that is what it is. I mean I could go more into comparing to Reeses peanut butter chocolates but I would kind of be over egging the whole thing. You get the idea, right?

So, please accept my apologies- I’m saying less than I should. Let us all just accept that this is a dangerously sweet, dangerously high abv, dangerously high quality beer. Take your time, keep off sweet imperial stouts for a while, then treat yourself to this. It is worth it.

Oh and fuck the far right and racists in general.

Background: Grabbed at Independent Spirit. First made as part of the rainbow collaboration where each team of breweries was given a colour theme to use. Ok, that bottle kind of looks like a Klan uniform, which kind of worried me until I realised that was the point, and why it was called Yellow Belly. I can’t find the original quote but to paraphrase they said this was brewed with no nuts, because the Klan didn’t have them either. I loved that so I grabbed a bottle.

I was going to disagree slightly with the bottle quote about acting anonymously as part of a group being one of the worst cowardice, by pointing to a counterpoint of protesting groups who require anonymity to prevent retribution from the authorities, until I found a fuller quote to put it in context

 
“The political situation throughout Europe is in turmoil right now, National Front, Sverigedemokraterna, British National Party, EDL, Dansk Folkeparti, Vlaams Belang, Lega Nord, Fremsrittspartiet, Sannfinländarna, Golden Dawn….the list goes on and on. From Omnipollo’s Henok Fentie; “One thing that struck us while the preliminary political polls where being presented during election night was that the actual support for the Swedish fascist party was in reality 40% higher than what people had disclosed when asked (face to face) what they voted for just after casting their ballot. At the same time the polls were more or less accurate when it came to other parties on the political scale.” What does this mean? One thing that it could mean is that although people vote extreme right they are on average not as prone to admitting to it as people voting for other parties are. Being a coward can mean many different things, but protesting anonymously at the expense of people’s freedom and right to co-exist without showing your face is one meaning that is particularly relevant at this moment in time.

 
So, with all this in mind, for our ‘Yellow’ beer, we made an 11% Peanut Butter and Biscuit Imperial Stout. Except there are no peanuts or biscuits in it. And then we dressed it in the most hateful, cowardly-anonymous costume we know of.

 
This beer, whilst attempting to make a commentary on the current political winds blowing through Europe, is above all, meant to be enjoyed as a celebration of all things new, open minded and progressive. Taste, enjoy and don’t be prejudiced.”

 
I can’t disagree with that, and will raise a glass to mocking racists everywhere.

Buxton Battle Horse

Buxton: Battle Horse (England: Black IPA: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Moderate loose bubbled beige head.

Nose: Pine cones. Resin and grapefruit. Apple pie. Hops. Malt drinks and roasted character. Light coffee.

Body: Sweet into bitter chocolate. Milky back. Apples. Charring. Shortbread. Light medicinal touch and slight smoked bacon back. Big hop bitterness. Grapes and peach undertones. Thick. Resinous.

Finish: Bitter, big hop character and roasted nuts. Toffee chocolate malt drink. Hop oils. Light apples and apricot. Grapes. Light smokes. Light medicinal and smoke.

Conclusion: Ah, the huge abv black IPA, the ever reliable beer style to go to when you want a beer to kick your teeth in and make you like it.

This one doesn’t push any of the core elements of a black IPA ahead of any of the other, instead it just lounges happily across the various opportunities of the style.

If you can dig down deep enough then at its base it has stout like bitter chocolate that leads out into sweeter notes, soothed over by toffee malt drinks. Combined with the creamy and thick texture I have the feeling that it would be fairly solid even as just a beer in itself without the other elements.

But you do have to dig deep to get that base beer – moving through a standard (Well, high quality, but within the standard range of a BIPA) mix of big resin and hop oils bitter introduction – which calls to the root IPA style much more clearly than most BIPAs. The use of the initially light, but quickly growing fruit hop flavours are sharp and clear.

There are alcohol influenced harsher elements – a touch of medicinal and salt – along which a peaty whisky feeling smoky bacon thickness to the body. Somehow despite the intensity of those flavours they quickly fall behind the creamy body and the big fruit hops. Even more so than that the rougher roasted notes seem to soon fall by the wayside, only resurging to add texture to the finish to underline the beer experience.

So, this beer is genuinely good – starts ok, like a good Black IPA but without a stand out quirk. Then the beer builds up layer by layer – the hop flavour comes out as it warms, it is such a contrast to the base malt and the combination of the two show how a Black IPA can be the best of both worlds.

Intensely sweet, fruity yet roasted and bitter – it is a BIPA up there with Sublimely Self Righteous Ale. It takes longer to show its greatness than that beer, but hits the high notes in a fresher, more call to standard IPA way. get this beer.

Background: Buxton’s 100th brew, a double black IPA. Buxton have a great reputation, I’ve only had a couple of their beers though. not sure why, just never really got around to having more. Picked up from Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to some Sabaton, mainly Coat Of Arms.

Buxton Brewdog Rough Cs

Buxton: Brewdog: Rough Cs (England: Speciality Grain: 5% ABV)

Visual: Amber to brown. Caramel touched thin head.

Nose: Brown sugar. Dry hops. Slight smoke, barley and pineapple.

Body: Prickly bitterness. Thick frothy texture. Touch of chalk. Toffee malt. Oatmeal flakes. Apricot.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Chalk. Toffee. Grapefruit touch. Pineapple. Charred touch. Dried raisins. Oatmeal.

Conclusion: This is a fun wee one, both exactly what a lager should be, and also kind of not. Ok, odd starting point, let’s break that down a bit.

On the awesome side, this has a lovely texture. Thick and frothy, the oatmeal really has given weight to this, and sometimes feels almost rye touched at times. The joy of this is pretty much as much about texture as it is anything else. The rough lead out after sipping, the big main body – it is always keeping things interesting in how it feels.

Unfortunately, possibly because of the huge influence of the texture, the big weight of feel, you find that the actual influence of hop flavours seems too light. There is mainly bitterness and prickle feel, but not much actual either traditional or craft lager flavours. There is some soft fruit you get behind, a light tartness, but the texture really seems to be the main point.

On the unusual, but neither bad nor good side, it doesn’t feel refreshing like a lager. Which is why I say is exactly what a lager should be (the awesome innovation) and not ( It really doesn’t have that crisp refreshing character). In fact in many ways it does feel dissimilar to expectations of a lager, some ways a good thing, others not, but different. The thing is the more it succeeds in one, the more it fails in the other, the feel and the refreshing seem to eternally be in conflict.

It makes for something that is easy to drink, but has presence, but if it is going to go that way I feel it needs to embrace it, if it isn’t going to be refreshing, use that texture to deliver a bigger flavour.

Even so, it isn’t dull, just could do with committing more to what it is – it is flavoursome in itself, if not in a huge range. What it does do is very different – not a sessionable lager, but worth a try.

background: Beer 8 of collabfest, and night was drawing in. Despite drinking a lot of water and taking breaks, it was at this point that I decided to draw day one’s limit at ten beers. Also at this point the guys from Wild Beer Co turned up and gave some samples, and a nice chat – plus posed for photos. Which was nice. Anyway, this is an oatmeal amber lager, and as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.

Buxton Double Axe
Buxton: Double Axe (England: IIPA: 13.6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot to browned. Large off white head made of small froth bubbles. Some sediment in the glass.

Nose: Very resinous. Heather. Bitter hops. Brown bread. Shortbread. Dried apricot and pineapple.

Body: Very bitter. Golden syrup cake. Resin and hop oils. Pineapple. Apricot, and peach syrup. Slight alcohol air at the back of the throat. Lemon cakes. Kumquat.

Finish: Lots of bitterness. Buttery shortbread. Hop oils and resin. Grapefruit. Lemon cakes. Brown bread. Light spirit air.

Conclusion: I was given good advice on this one, chill it down, but let it warm a touch before drinking. It is true, there is a syrupy alcohol feel when it is chilled down, but just a small raise in temperature reins it in and lets the beer really show itself. Thanks for the heads up to the guys at Independent Spirit.

This feels like an even higher abv take on “I hardcore you“, it uses a similar intense bitterness and resinous character against a mass of sweet fruit hop flavours that boom mid body. The contrast is both intense and enjoyable, though the alcohol does come in from the back of the throat to the finish just a bit too high, and it does give a spirity air.

The fruit is really pushed mid body, emphasising the apricot and lemon cake, it saves the harsher elements for the way out. There in the finish you get the pleasurepain of very bitter notes, more an experience than discernable individual flavours.

So, a very fresh fruity mix of apricot and peach for sweetness, then pineapple and grapefruit for sharpness. Not the most original mix, but there is a reason it is a classic. The resin and hops are really fresh, and really intense – I imagine it will reduce with time, but here and now it is massive. It isn’t used as efficiently as, say “Enjoy By IPA“, but this wasn’t designed with that goal in mind.

However, as you may have noticed, I am describing this beer in relation to two of my favourite IIPAs. So is it as good as those two? Just below actually, but still pretty darn good. It’s just a touch too alcohol touched, but does give great intensity in exchange for that. It feels raw, which does give it charm, but the alcohol touch that comes with that feels unnecessary. Despite that minor flaw it is well worth a bottle.

Background: Double Axe Handle is the name of an aerial wrestling move. Not sure why the name brought that to mind, but it did. This was literally pressed into my hands by the guys at Independent Spirit. Apparently it is quite a hard one to find, therefore it was my duty to buy and review it. Good sales technique, and as you see, it worked. This is pretty damn fresh. Bottled on 19/08/2014 and drunk 01/09/2014. I think that is fresher than the Enjoy By IPA I had. Drunk while listening to the Pottymouth album by Bratmobile.

Dark Pale Of The Seven cs

Brewdog: Buxton: The Black Pale of the 7 ‘C’s (England: Black IPA: 4% ABV)

Visual: Black. Ash coloured thin head with browned touches.

Nose: Good hops. Passion fruit and kumquat. Lime touch. Quite wheaty.

Body: Solid hops and a creamy texture. Popcorn feel to the hops. Kumquat. Light charring and burnt malt. Passion fruit.

Finish: Charring. Good hops. Light lime and kiwi. Pepper. Spice racks.

Conclusion: I’m not quite sure on this one, I’m listing it as black IPA just because I’m not sure if black pale is actually a style. If not it should be. As a black pale ale it is solid, but as a black IPA it doesn’t compare to the range of giants against it. It has a solid bitterness and nice vegetable hop effects that puts out a BIPA like bitterness level at a pale ale abv which is work done well. There is a very nice punch of flavour to weight of abv ratio and so I am impressed with that.

I think the problem is that I can’t help but compare it to those higher abv beers, as this doesn’t bring nearly the range of flavour that the big guns do, nor the sheer excellence of texture. It is more a surprisingly sessionable bitter beer, the flavour is big but not excessive to put you off a few pints.

So I wonder, is what I am calling its flaw actually its strength? It manages to call to mind the black IPA flavour a much lower strength. Surely I should be complementing it on that rather that contemplating how it looks weak in comparison. I mean its getting compared to the big guns at 4%, bloody hell that aint bad.

So, I would say a solid beer with a good chunk of flavour and one you can enjoy a few of. Not the best by far, but hey, they do a lot with what they have.

Background: Collab Fest 2013! Every Brewdog bar collaborated with a local brewery to make a beer for the fest, resulting in a grand total of twelve beers released over one weekend. So, what could I do? Normally I limit myself to two of three reviews in a session, but these would only be on for the weekend. So, for you, my readers, I sat in one eight hour stint, drinking thirds, with a glass of water and a chapter of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone between each drink to help clear my palette. I suffer so for you. This was the tenth beer of the day. It is made with Challenger and Citrus on bittering, Citra, Centennial and Cascade for aroma and Columbus and Chinook on dry hopping. So the seven ‘c’s. Bad puns make my head hurt. It was getting quite dark by this point in the day, and half way through the drink they announced “Raucus Rubus” was now on tap, finally meaning I had access to the last of the twelve beers.

%d bloggers like this: