Tag Archive: Homebrew


The Talabheim Brewery Otto's Last Stand

The Talabheim Brewery: Otto’s Last Stand (England: English Strong Ale: 7% ABV)

Visual: Dark and cloudy, a very dark brown to black body and bubbled beige large head.

Nose: Figs and raisins. malt chocolate. Light tart grapes. Vanilla. Vinous.

Body: Big. Figgy pudding. Liquorice underneath. Malt chocolate. Bitter and slight charred underneath. Brown bread. Tart grapes. tingling texture. Vinous. Vanilla. banana.

Finish: Fig rolls. Malt chocolate drink. Dried sultanas. Light charcoal dust. Tannins. Brown sugar. Banana. Cloves.

Conclusion: Homebrew day! This is such a nice one as well. Ok, time for the high concept pitch – it tastes kind of like a brewed up, higher abv Fuller’s ESB. It has that figgy, dark fruity character and malt chocolate baking writ large.

The extra abv allows it a bit more weight, pushing a vinous sour grape backing and thicker body with it to make it a more boozy figgy pudding dessert style joy. Beneath that it manages to work a solid base, bitter and slightly charred to keep it from becoming too sweet.

It ends up being a three way for the style between a well balanced ESB, a vinous English strong ale and the sweet high notes of a barley wine. It is, frankly, a dangerously drinkable brew. At times the mix of raisins and light banana notes makes me think of a UK ale interpretation of the great Aventinus.

And no I am not just saying that because I have it, and because it is a home brew the chances are you do not. It is genuinely impressive.

Ok, to be fair, flaws then. Well, it is very boozy and sweet – if that isn’t your thing then this will not be. It can be a touch overly alcohol tingling, with the sweetness dominating the flavour. I have a feeling a few years in the bottle would really do this nicely to make this a real masterpiece. Hmm, I have none left though. Sad face. Still only a few minor rough edges to this gem of a beer.

This is the best tasting beer that most people will not get to try.

Background: Homebrew tasting notes time! Two bottles were donated to me by a workmate a while back (Many thanks) and I asked if he could check with the home brewer if it was ok to do notes on them. By the time I had got the OK I had already drunk them. Thankfully another workmate had a bottle spare I could have, so I nicked that to do these notes, again many thanks. As you can probably tell the homebrew is Warhammer Fantasy themed. This was drunk while listening to More Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. I cannot recommend them highly enough as a hardcore punk band, great energy.

Kinanshuu

Homemade Kinkanshuu: Made March 2002 (Japan: Kinkanshuu: ABV No Idea)

Visual: Apricot. Very viscous.

Nose: Lime. Thick, pungent and slightly musky. Key lime. Almond. Lemon sorbet. Bitter almond.

Body: Menthol. Apricot and almond. Very thick syrup. Candy floss. Golden syrup. Lemon.

Finish: Candy floss. Blood orange and apricot. Light lime.

Conclusion: What a difference the choice of fruit makes. From what I know this is made on the same recipe as the umeshuu, and this is still syrupy and thick; this, however has a much bigger contrast between the elements within.

There is lots of citrus lime to give a tart touch, and odder still there is a fresh menthol feel that pretty much completely changes the experience. While the sweetness here is actually probably bigger and more candy floss like than in the umeshuu, the extreme contrast between the two elements actually means that it is actually easier to drink. That fresh menthol somehow cuts it away and leaves you enticed to have more.

There is great sharp, mouth wakening elements, and when it is sweet it dances on the tongue, somehow thick and viscous yet can cut through that in a moment to deliver the fruitiness. As you can probably imagine this is a wonderful combination that makes the most of what the base can deliver.

Sweet , fruity and fresh, a drink of contrast and complexity. Very enjoyable, surpassing even the Umeshuu. When given the chance, this was the drink I returned to.

Background: I said in the Umeshuu review that I had not have much experience of that, so it would be a simpler review than normal. I have never tried kinkanshuu before, so this is your insight into my first awakening into this drink world. This again, was homemade in Japan, and brought back by my friends, who kindly let me try some of it. Many thanks to both Darren and Maki for their kindness. While made in 2002, this was drunk in 2013 – a rare treat. A quick google as we drank revealed that kinkan is apparently a type of kumquat. Who says drinking doesn’t help your education? Again, I had to use my phone camera – so apologies for the low quality photo.

Home Made Umeshuu

Home Made Uneshuuu (Plum Wine) May 2002 Edition (Japan: Umeshuu: Unknown abv)

Visual: Honeyed to apricot, and very viscous.

Nose: Marzipan. Plums. Sugar dusting and stewed apricots.

Body: Honey. Plums. Almonds. Marzipan. Very thick texture. Syrup soaked sponge.

Finish: Stewed banana and honey. Plums.

Conclusion: My first umeshuu review! Ok, there is a good chance some of you have never tried plum wine, so I may have to set the scene. Depending on the quality, these things can go from cloying level syrupy sweet and simple, to quite delicate and complex. They are often drunk with ice, and I tend to find that the cheaper they are, the more sickly they are without soda or ice. The higher quality I tend to prefer neat, and drunk by the measure.

This one is sweet and thick, but comes with sweet almond and marzipan in a delicate touch over heavy syrup sweetness. The plums are well defined, rich and full with a good character of the actual fruit, but despite that are actually a secondary note behind the marzipan. You find the fruit greeting you after the initial sweetness has worn down.

That sweetness in the front, rather than being fruity, is closer to honeyed, though not quite to the level to give the impression of mead. It wavers close to being sickly, but relies on the delicate marzipan to make it less syrupy sweet. It doesn’t make it less sweet, but gives a less cloying nature to it that makes it very easy to drink.

A surprisingly delicately touched, fruity and lovely umeshuu.

Background: So, something a bit different here. My friend came back from visiting his wifes family in Japan, and brought back some home made uneshuu with them. They offered me the chance to do a review, and in the style of Beowulf Mead, I decided to give it a shot. Made in 2002 and drunk tail end 2013, this was a treat to be offered. This is a bit of a simpler review than normal as I am nowhere near an expert on umeshuu, so can’t do my usual comparisons (not that I’m an expert on beer and whisky either, but I do my best!). I only had my phone camera with my so the photo is a tad more rubbish than usual. Many thanks for the kind chance to try this umeshuu. どうもありがとうございます

Geordie Yorkshire Ale Homebrew (England: Bitter: Unknown)

(Thanks to Paul Henderson For Providing This Beer)

Visual: Hazy amber with a light white head. Misty but still translucent.

Nose: Quite sour and bitter with a touch of sour mashed cherries. Slight meat characteristics which don’t mesh well.

Body: Moderate hops, with a quite bitter back. Slight nut and almond character. Feels almost sour brown ale / lambic in some of the acidity, Surprisingly thick feel in the mouth. Touch of honey nut cornflakes.

Finish: Raspberry for an instant, burnt wood. Quite dry end and roasted nuts. Occasional baileys like characteristics. Slight lambic again evident in the sourness.

Conclusion: So we take a look at the first beer to come from the stable of the mead master, and its not a bad first run.

The first impression is the weakest with elements on the nose having a meat character which intrudes on the intriguing sharpness.

The main body recovers well with nut characteristics and sour brown influence, yet is quite easygoing in the punch as it works to a very nutty finish. The sharpness does not always mesh but when it does it gives an edge to the beer to keep your attention.

I cannot rate it as high as the fabled mead, but it bodes well for future batches.

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