Tag Archive: Irish Ale

Eight Degrees: Sunburnt (Ireland: Irish Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy caramel to red with a cloudy centre. Moderate fluffy brown head.

Nose: Lots of malt chocolate and toffee. Cashew nuts. Slightly roasted. Milky coffee. Slight cinnamon. Orange.

Body: Slight roasted character. Malt chocolate. Kiwi. Soft orange to choc orange. Mild malt loaf. Strawberry.

Finish: Crushed peanuts. Malt chocolate and toffee. Slight roasted character. Slight chalk touch. Choc orange. Slightly dry. Milky coffee. Slight minty menthol. Strawberry.

Conclusion: Normally I find Irish red ales a bit too dry and roasted for my tastes. I like the idea of them but the implementation can be a bit too drying and harsh for me. This, therefore was a welcome beer in blowing that complaint clear out of the water.

This has some of those dry, roasted, nutty notes and it definitely leads out with a dry nuttiness, however it is far from defined by that. Instead this has a very solid toffee core of sweetness that mixes up the style. It rises up mid body, but then eases out at the tail end, into the finish and lets the dryness come back – this makes the dry moments much more manageable and also makes them more an enjoyable and distinct element when they do arrive. Above that small, but critical change to the beer there is also more flavour brought in by that thicker core – you get soft orange, light kiwi and sweet strawberry – all that would look out of place in an overly dry beer.

You end up with a beer that uses the drier red ale style, but isn’t dominated by it. The sweetness is present, but grounded by a very milky coffee character that mixes with it in the middle. The hops bring flavour, but it doesn’t go high on bitterness, nor rely on the hop flavours – it just uses them as subtle enhancement to turn this into a satisfying sipping ale.

So, pretty mellow and easy drinking. A good twist on the style but doesn’t abandon it. Solid.

Background: This is the second to last beer from the Honest Brew‘s set that a friend gave me for my birthday. Many thanks! Don’t know much about Eight Degrees brewing – so this is a new one on me – interesting times! This was drunk after seeing Goodfellas on the big screen, which was a hell of an experience. Broke out some Iron Maiden for drinking music as well.


Kilkenny: Kilkenny Irish Ale (Ireland: Irish Ale: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: A slightly mahogany brown. Clumpy off white bubbled head but low carbonation.

Nose: Slight sour dough. Dry malt and malt chocolate. Dry roasted peanuts. You can smell the carbonation, if that makes any sense.

Body:  Burnt malt. Dry nuttiness. Resin and pine cones (Don’t ask how I know that one). Slightly fizzy texture. Touch of jelly babies with the sugar licked off.

Finish: Dry. Barley. Peanuts. Bit of charring.

Conclusion:  It’s that Irish beer that isn’t Guinness as it is unfortunately so often know.  They are very different beers despite that association, being completely different sodding styles for one.  They closer they come to sharing elements is that sour dough touch that gives a slightly cloying taste.  Apart from that, different worlds.

The beer is very dry and slightly nutty, with not much wild play to it.  Very stripped down it is dry and refreshing, nutty but no showmanship.

It’s a hard beer to place then. I mean it’s not vile, and not deserving of scorn, but I can’t help but find it a touch dull.  The role of slightly sour refresher does not release it from the need of actually being interesting.  It’s strange but these days I find myself more forgiving of a terrible beer that has ambition that a beer that is merely competent and dull.

I fear I shall have to damn it with faint praise. Nevermind. A very dry beer and follows this goal thoroughly and competently.

Background: One of Michael Jackson’s 500 recommended beers.  There is apparently a weaker version on draft in Ireland itself. Described as having toffee notes it sounds somewhat more interesting that its bottled version reviewed here. Despite oft being known as, that non Guinness beer, it is in fact brewed at Guinness brewery. Go figure.

Rebellion: Red (England: Irish Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Burnished red with a decent toffee brown bubbled head. The head doesn’t last though.

Nose: Huge toffee and caramel. Milk chocolate. In fact in many ways a liquid Cadburys caramel bar. Black cherries and treacle.

Body: Raspberries and bitterness. Mainly smooth but with a slight chalkiness. Treacle or possibly cinder toffee.

Finish: Bitter chocolate and pebbles. Bitter and greenery. Cinnamon and slight charcoal. Cherries.

Conclusion: Now as a huge punk music fan I am quite the sucker for beers with rebellion in the name, objections to the commercialisation of dissent aside.

Of course it is a touch of a double edged sword. It some bugger passes you a passable ale with a fancy name like that you can’t help but feel a bit let down. Kinda like anyone who listened to Blink 182 really, well if you remove the word passable anyway.

Unlike Blink 182 however this is not complete shite, thank goodness for small mercies. It’s got a powerful sickly sweet nose, a tad too much chalkiness on the body (too chalky seems to be the new over carbonated for annoying beer traits) and slightly syrupy on the finish.

A pretty standard pint, not bad at all but if it’s rebelling against anything then its rebelling against innovations on brewing.

Background: Initially I thought the brewery was called the “Marlow Brewery”, research indicated that the breweries actual name is Rebellion, with “Marlow Brewery” as a reference to its location.  Given as a present from Martin, this beer was intended as one I did not have to tasting note, so I of course immediately tasting noted it.  Mainly because I’m slightly contrary (on a slightly more serious note, thanks Martin)

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