Tag Archive: Crate

Crate: Sticky Toffee Stout (England: Stout: 5% ABV)

Visual: Black and opaque body. Still. Thin brown dash of a head.

Nose: Oh yeah, sticky toffee pudding. Roasted notes. Sticky toffee sauce as well. Chocolate.

Body: Light charred bitterness. Bready. Golden syrup sponge. Burnt sticky toffee pudding. Burnt brown sugar. Unleavened bread.

Finish: Sticky toffee pudding. Charring. Brown sugar. Slightly earthy. Golden syrup. Peppery.

Conclusion: This tastes slightly burnt. I mean it tastes super sticky toffee pudding styled, but also kind of like they burnt it while it was cooking. So, very much a good news / bad news kind of situation.

Chilled it also feels too thin, but give it a bit of heat and that sorts that out sharpish. It is still not thick, but feels very much present.

The main core is that sticky toffee pudding – a bit heavy, a bit burnt, but definitely recognisable as the dessert it is emulating. It is rounded out by earthier, breadier notes. They come across as what would be grounding notes in a sweeter beer, but here it seems very heavy as what would be the sweeter notes are instead delivered in a very dry and slightly charred way.

So, that sounds quite harsh on it, it is ok as a beer. I mean, very good at delivering its core conceit, but feels like it leant in too hard on trying to counterbalance the dessert style with dried, charred and earthy burnt notes when it was already fairly heavy and results in feeling a bit stodgy, and never hits the high notes that would help it rise to the occasion.

It’s ok, again I say that but I feel I must emphasise that as I feel like I am really slagging on it. It is ok but doesn’t really grab me. It doesn’t really deliver the standard stout notes that would work as nice rounding here, nor willing to go full crazy with the sticky toffee sweetness.

Great on implementing the idea, only reasonable as a beer.

Background: Sticky Toffee Pudding. Yep I’m a fan of that, so despite the fact I am slightly worn out on the dessert take on stouts I was attracted to this one. Helps that it was a normal abv stout, rather than its imperial variant as most of the dessert beers are. Noticed that Warren Ellis had put out another Spektrmodule, so listened to that while I drank this. This was another grabbed from Independent Spirit. Good luck to them in these hard times!

Tasting Notes: Crate: Best

Crate Best
Crate: Best (England: Bitter: 4.3% ABV)

Visual: Chestnut brown to red. Still. Moderate off white head.

Nose: Cherries. Sour apple tang at edges. Fruitcake and roasted nuts.

Body: Frothy sherbet feel. Roasted nuts. Slight apples. Quite thick in feel. Vanilla. Malt chocolate. Almonds. Red wine.

Finish: Bitter and nuts. Light earthy hops. Vanilla. Stewed apples. Cinnamon. Pears. Dry hop bitterness.

Conclusion: Strange, I was just asking recently what it took to make a good best bitter. Now I have an answer right here in a glass.

I will admit it doesn’t stay massively from the formula but it does it damn competently. Lots of roasted nuts and chocolate malt drinks with this great frothy texture that makes it all stand out. This is the centre point of the beer and what it always comes back to, there’s earthy hops in moderate to round out the edges but not too heavy.

What makes it work is that they don’t leave it there, but have this vanilla sweetness that lingers at the back which smoothes everything enough that you can just let is slip down nicely, riding that texture down. Furthermore they have that essential ingredient for the best bitters, that slight sourness that keeps it going, here implemented with light apple and pear flavour around it. Done very subtly but rounding out the flavour and keeping the beer from getting too heavy. Late on this seems to shift, the tartness melding with the heavier elements and gaining a sour red wine touch that is probably the most exotic and best twist the beer has, giving that touch of sparkle to it

Now for the most part it is nothing revolutionary, but it plays very well. In the middle it seemed to be getting a tad too heavy, but that additional red wine touch at the end managed to put a stop to that. So, no, not that unusual, but very solid. A very good template for how to do a best bitter. The bitter market is very crowded and has a lot of dull entries, and you could do a lot worse that use this as a fine introduction to its finer range

Background: I’ve already gone over my problems with ukmail and the beers kindly provided by ales by mail. This is another one of those beers. I’ve not tried anything from Crate before, but liked the minimalist look of the bottle label.

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