Tag Archive: Heretic

Left Handed Giant: Heretic: Monuments (England: Saison: 8% ABV)

Visual: Pale lemon yellow with a gold hint. Large white mound of a head.

Nose: Raspberry. Wheaty. Light cloves. Light dried banana. Flour. Soft bitter red wine.

Body: Pomegranate. Cherry picked digestives. Wheaty. Peppery. Light lemon. Slight sour red wine. Apircot. Funk. Raisins. Plums. Moderate, earthy, low level bitterness.

Finish: Rum. Pomegranate. Raisins. Turmeric. Dry red wine. Dry plum notes. Milk. Port notes. Lightly earthy with a yeast funk.

Conclusion: I’ve had to take quite a while with this one, as it isn’t a beer that instantly jumps up and punches you in the face with what it is all about.

It is a gentle rustic style saison rather than the highly hopped take on the style – slightly milky, oaty mix with the rustic and wheaty notes that makes a soothing background that the pomegranate notes can come out from in a natural feeling and not too heavy way.

There is an earthy bitterness that becomes, well, present over time if not overly evident. The barrel ageing starts off light in raisin and plum backing notes, but becomes fully fledged with sour and bitter red wine notes coming out by the end after flirting with sweeter red wine notes for a moment before. It is never heavy, more a robust body that is a competent part of the beer, but doesn’t feel overly dominant.

It is both blessed and cursed in its balance – it is definitely barrel aged, but not so much as to make you go “wow” but also not to lose the base beer. It is definitely showing its fruit, but I would not call it a fruit beer for better and worse. It has a good rustic base, but the other elements of ageing and fruit mean that you don’t really get to see it at its best.

So, it is balanced, super easy to drink but… also 8% abv at that. At a low abv this would be a fairly awesome beer that you could drink forever. As it is is a master-work of balance that uses that balance to deny itself the large moments that would justify the 8% abv.

So it is very good and very impressive, but can’t quite earn the high abv, nor work as a session beer, so it struggles for a spot in the drinking line up.

Background: This came on my radar for a couple of reasons – one, I dig saisons and they don’t seem to pop up as often as I would like, so new ones tend to catch my eyes. Two, this is made with pomegranate puree, which was unexpected – saisons also seem to be a beer style where people don’t try the odd experimentations as much as some other styles. Finally – burgundy barrel aged, another bit of experimentation that often is overlook with saisons. So I grabbed a bottle from Independent Spirit to give a go. Put on Television Villain again while drinking – so proud of those guys for their awesome music.

Heretic Hazlenut Chocolate Porter

Heretic: Chocolate Hazelnut Porter (USA: Porter: 7% ABV)

Visual: Black. Medium sized milky coffee coloured head.

Nose: Milky chocolate. Praline. Hazelnuts. Marathon chocolate bar (Or Snickers for young ‘uns). Nougat.

Body: Very smooth texture. Milky coffee and bitter chocolate. Praline. Light hop prickle. Peanuts. Milk chocolate. Oatmeal. Toffee. Creamy, with chocolate liquore late on. Coffee.

Finish: Praline and nuts. Solid bitterness. Toffee. Creamy.

Conclusion: This is one smooth beer, like luxury chocolate pralines and ground up nuts smooth. It declares itself straight away in the aroma, which is half hot chocolate drink with praline, and half a melted marathon chocolate bar. It is big, thick, and absolutely makes you want to drink it.

The body then, is both awesomely smooth, and also not quite what you expect. From the aroma I expected a somewhat thicker body, almost nougat chewy style or thick hot chocolate, instead it is lighter – with massive flavour but it slips down very easily.

So, technically smooth is good, but it does clash with expectations, I anticipated something else. Lighter as it is, it feels almost weightless. Still, it is wonderful to drink, and with just a touch of bitter prickle to give it an edge over its very dessert like main imagery.

Bigger mouthfuls also give a bit more weight and a bit of toffee and cream flavour, amongst the nuts and high quality chocolate – however big mouthfuls are dangerous at 7% abv.

So, overall, very nice, with great rounded and luxurious flavours and great creaminess. While the lighter nature works against it initially, it does mean that it builds up over time and gains more grip – improving throughout the glass. By the end it is creamier again, and has quality coffee to match the chocolate, with nuts always present as a smooth mid note.

It is a hair breadth from being one of the top of the game – There is still something not quite there with the texture, but it is a very slight matter. Overall it is very high quality – well worth a drink even if it is just off the top few.

Background: Picked up from Independent Spirit. Seriously I say that so much it is becoming cliché. Anyway, oddly after picking up this bottle I found another Heretic Porter on tap at the Bath Brew House, and it was lovely. So I was looking forwards to this. The label describes how it won third place in a beer competition when it was first entered, then later beer of the show. So, I’m guessing they are proud of this beer. This was drunk with friends, and had a strange conversation on how praline is pronounced, which involved comparisons to Stalin…e at one point. We may have strange conversations when drinking.

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