Tag Archive: Moor


Moor: Hoppiness (England: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Darkened apricot skin coloured body, with a moderate sized white creamy head. There is a very small amount of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Apricot skin. Peach. Black liquorice touch. Muggy hops. Slight tart grapes.

Body: Grapes. Grapefruit. Malt toffee. Medium sticky hop character. Apricot. Dry fudge, yet in a sticky way. Light charring. Slight sulphur. Pineapple.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Dry hoppy character. Toffee. Light grapefruit. Good bitterness. Apricot. Black liquorice.

Conclusion: Ok, I have an IPA type, and that type is this beer. My love for West Coast IPAs is well know, but I also have such a soft spot for this distinctly more local take on an IPA.

It has that real ale thickness and grip, along with that slightly sulphurous touch that a lot of real ales have on hand pump, and combines all that with a range of hops that bring out my favourite hop flavours from the mid 2000s.

The old friend of hop flavours is definitely the peach and apricot notes. They aren’t pushed too hard, but are there and welcome as I haven’t seen them much recently as newer hops get the centre stage. Similarly, hello there light grapefruit tartness and a sweet yet tart pineapple mix. Not as overlooked as the apricot, they still get some show these days, but still good to see again. This feels like the best hits from my misspent hop loving youth, delivered in a more sticky, thick real ale way than you often find.

In a trade off for that, as often found in actual cask IPAs the hop feel and bitterness is not as clear as in its non live counterparts. Instead of crisply bitter hops it is a sticky, muggy hop thing, which is an acquired taste, but again one I love and I have missed a lot in my experience with a lot of recent IPAs.

So, it has all the strengths and some of the flaws of that style, as is to be expected. One being that there is a very small black liquorice style touch in the aroma and the finish, I think expressing from the slight sulphur touches, and that liquorice style I have never been a fan of, but I am happy to take the bad with the good here.

There is a moderate toffee and malt chocolate style to the body, not heavy but again that real ale like thickness makes it stand out more than you would expect for the flavour’s intensity.

This is peak cask ale style tradition (in a can) meets mid 2000’s hop flavours all made with years of built up brewing skill. For all the good and all little bad that comes with all that, and it is definitely far more on the good side of things. I adore this and can definitely drink a lot more of it.

An IPA pretty much made for me.

Background: I have tried this a few times recently and swore to grab a can to do notes on, which I finally did – grabbing a can from Independent Spirit. This is part of Moor’s canned “Live Beer” range, which seems to be basically an attempt to do real ale style beer, but in a can. I doubt they will ever get a CAMRA says this is real ale stamp, but in my experience they deliver that. Moor don’t list the chosen hops for this, just saying it is a crossover of their favourite IPA elements from around the world. Laura Jane Grace: At War With The Silverfish. had just been released as I was prepping to do notes on this so I put it on while drinking. A lovely small burst of a mini album, feels more varied than her last solo release with lots of different styles on show.

Moor: Agent Of Evil (England: Black IPA: 7% ABV)

Visual: Black and opaque. Two inches of brown froth mounds of a head that leaves a sud rim.

Nose: Bitter coffee and coca dust. Slight ash tray. Empty, used coffee cups. Sour dough. Wholemeal flour. Light peppermint and chives.

Body: Milky chocolate. Chocolate cake. Crushed peanuts. Charred bitterness. Brown bread. Roasted character.

Finish: Bitter chocolate cake. Dry roasted peanuts. Charred bitterness. Ash. Earthy hops. Slight choc lime. Peppery. Ground spice. Bitter coffee.

Conclusion: This is definitely taking the hopped stout like interpretation of a Black IPA. I will admit I generally prefer the the opposite take – the fruity hopped dark malt style BIPA. Even with that said, considering the dearth of new Black IPAs around here recently I welcome a new entry into the style.

So as the hopped stout like take of a BIPA, this seems to be doing a very British hop take on that – earthy and spicy in how the hops come across with solid bitterness but pretty much no bright notes. Very robust, and nothing too fancy. Earthy and peppery early on with some more prickly spice notes in the finish. So, fairly simple in the hop use – dark, charred, almost all bitterness and earthy spice. So, I guess it will be up to the malt to provide the contrast.

Actually, the malt is, well, still fairly grounded. A mix of bitter coffee and cocoa, done in a quite roasted and robust way. So, definitely feeling very stouty. There are slight milky touches, but mainly goes with bitter chocolate in a bitter chocolate cake kind of way. With very little sweet character this ends up a fairly hefty beer. The only concession to sweetness is a slightly creamier chocolate cake centre that shows up if held.

It’s not a top of the range BIPA, but for all its heavy character it is still pretty darn drinkable. It feels like an earthy British IPA meets British Stout meets Black IPA. A worthy entry and makes me wish even more that more people were turning out new Black IPAs at the moment.

Solid, not a game changer but solid.

Background: So, I want new Black IPAs. This, while not new new, is mostly new to me. I had it on tap in the Moor Tap Room a while back. They also do a standard IPA- Guardian Of Peace, which I really should do notes on at some time, as if my memory serves me right, it is a bit tasty. Anyway, yeah Moor are very reliable in turning out decent brews, and I wanted a Black IPA, so I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. I went with the ultra optimistic ( I may be lying about that bit) History Of Guns album Acedia to listen to while drinking.

Lost and Grounded: Moor: Left Hand Giant: Berry Lush (England: Fruit Witbier: 4% ABV)

Visual: Black cherry red. Huge strawberry red head. Small bubbled carbonation in the body.

Nose: Blackcurrant cheesecake. Blackcurrant jam. Twigs. Strawberry. Thick. Tart grapes.

Body: Wheaty. Sharp lemon. Blueberry. White pepper. Tart blackcurrant. Charring. Tart grapes. Gooseberry.

Finish: Tart blueberries. Noble hop oils. Subtle blackcurrant. White pepper. Charred bitterness.

Conclusion: There is a massive disconnect between the aroma and the taste in this one. The aroma is hugely jammy, packed with fruit flavoured jelly notes (aka Jello for our American friends). It is sweet and thick. I was kind of worried that the sweetness was going to dominate the body too much and end up with a simple, one notes, sweet thing.

That definitely did not turn out to be the case.

The first hit of the main body is a sharp lemon note that seems fairly much like your standard expectations of a good wit, which was encouraging. It was good to see signs of the base beer evident through the berries. There also was a strong white pepper character that called to the spice use in a traditional wit. However that element isn’t too well used, combining with charred notes that make the beer feel unnecessarily harsh.

At this point the fruit is pretty much non existent, and the beer was feeling really lacklustre due to the harsher notes, the lack of fruit and the base beer being overwhelmed by the charring and spice. So, massively flawed, but not in the way I expected it to be.

This however turns out to be a beer that works better when warmer and with a bit of time to air. The rougher notes subside, though do not totally vanish. The berries rise without taking over and the base wit feels like it has some room to roam.

It is still not great, but is far more drinkable than it was before. Showing evident traditional dry, lemony wit character with subtle berries backing it up. There is still too evident pepper and charring which hurt it – however if they managed to turn that down a bit then this would be a heck of a better beer.

Bad start, reasonable end, but definitely needs work.

Background: This seems to a collaboration of some of the great breweries we have in the west country – Moor is an old fave of mine, while LHG and LAG are comparatively new kids on the block, but with some tasty beers already out from each. I’ve been feeling like a Belgian style wit for while, so when I saw this one – made with blackcurrant puree, at Independent Spirit, I figured it was worth a try. Put on a bunch of White Zombie for some retro b-movie style metal fun.

Moor: All Dayer Deadpunk Session IPA (England: Session IPA: 3.5% ABV)

Visual: Just slightly cloudy yellow with middling off white head.

Nose: Brown bread. Quite fresh. Floral and lemon.

Body: Fresh lemon sorbet. Creamy vanilla ice cream. Pineapple. Brown bread. Prickly nettles. Slight dried apricot.

Finish: Brown bread. Mild lemon curd. Nettles. Mild guava. Vanilla. Peppery. Wheaty. Moderate hoppy bitterness.

Conclusion: A session IPA that is, for once, actually delivered at a session ABV. I haven’t brought this up too much, but most so called session IPAs are not really session abv for me – lower than a standard IPA yeah, but for me you need to be 4% abv or below to be genuinely a session beer. I will admit that very few beers keep to that these days, as abvs have ballooned a bit. This, at 3.5% abv, is nicely in the session bracket for me. So, with that discussion aside, how does it for flavour in this hard to master style?

Average. Which, compared to a lot of its contemporaries in the session IPA range, isn’t that bad. It is quite bready, which seems to be a common theme in session IPAs, but it avoids the excessive dryness that makes many of them wearing.

It also has a general lemon character to it – straying occasionally into fresher pineapple or more peppery finish at times. Not a huge range, but it does the job. Similarly the body is present in feel, and in malt flavour, but not exactly heavy. I guess it helps with the session characteristics but means it is much more average when you are having just the one.

As a session beer it isn’t stand out and it feels more like a lower abv APA than any kind of IPA. However it does do the job – The flavour works over several drinks and it has the abv to carry it.

Not a must have but does what it sets out to do, and is far from the worst session IPA I have had.

Background:Ok, I will admit it – I mainly grabbed this due to the whole “Brewdog trademark the word Punk in beer” controversy. Because I have listened to their arguments, and them pointing out some errors in reporting, and it still sounds bullshit to me to try and stop people using the word “punk” in beer. Seriously – limiting use of “Punk IPA” sure, just punk? Nah, sod off. So this beer, so named for, and made for, the Deadpunk festival amuses me. Also Moor make good beer, so that helps. So, I listened to some punk music when drinking it, right? Nah – still on a metal kick, so went with some Evil Scarecrow. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, yes again.

moor-bath-ales-st-austell-dark-knight-weisse

Moor: Bath Ales: St Austell: Dark Knight Weisse (England: Dunkelweizen: 5.1% ABV)

Visual: Dark reddish brown. Large bubbled brown head.

Nose: Nutty and soft lemon mix. Tobacco. Wheaty. Malt chocolate. Slight cloying sour cream note.

Body: Malt chocolate. Vanilla toffee. Tobacco. Wheat. Moderate thickness of texture. Light coriander. Smoke. Light lemon and lime hop character.

Finish: Wheaty. Malt chocolate. Brown bread. Lightly nutty. Moderate bitterness and hop character. Smoke. Light lime hops.

Conclusion: This is definitely, well, darker that the usual Dunkel Weisse flavours. A standard dunkel weisse, to my mind, deals with the wheat and malt chocolate notes as a base – which admittedly this does – but I haven’t encountered one that brings this stodgy, smokey tobacco flavour to the middle like this does.

It has just mildly more hop character than you would normally get as well – not hugely so, just some more noticeable bitterness and some subtle citrus hop flavours under the bigger malt, tobacco and malt.

It is pretty pleasant – it has a good texture that is generally smooth but with a bit of a wheat grip. It cleaves close enough to the standard dunkel weisse style but pushes things just slightly towards a heavier experience. Pleasant, ya know?

Nothing in it pushes it to special – but it is a well done beer in a style variant I have not seen done before. I think this could be a good beer to go with beef dishes – it is not complex enough to be heavily examined by itself, but is strong flavoured enough to complement the meat I feel. That is a guess. I haven’t tried it with beef yet.

So, solid, smoked – not stand out great but no complaints.

Background: Hit Moor’s tap-house recently and very much enjoyed the beers there – so decided to grab this collaboration of theirs from Independent Spirit for more Moor beer tasting note goodness. This was back from before I had finished Dark Souls 2 and was hammering my head against the Frigid Outskirts area. Seriously, screw that area. Anyway, basically I needed a good beer is what I am saying. Drunk while listening to more of the epic goodness that is Two Steps From Hell.

Moor Benny Havens Scotch Whisky Barrel Aged

Moor: Benny Havens: Scotch Whisky Barrel Aged (England: Barley Wine: 10% ABV)

Visual: Deep bruised apricot skin. Coffee froth beige head. Much creamier and larger head on second pour.

Nose: Apples. Pepper and ritz crackers. Gooseberry and grape skin. Brown bread. Dried apricot. Blended whisky. Musky. Very milky coffee. Paprika.

Body: Golden syrup. Cloves and pepper. Aniseed. Pear drops. Fairly smooth texture but spicy. Apricot. Cinnamon. Brown bread. Lightly spirity. Toffee. Blended whisky. Apples. Caramel.

Finish: Light charring. Milky chocolate. Aniseed. Mulled wine. Light gin. Toffee. Greenery. Smoke. Apple. Honey. Hop oils. Dried banana.

Conclusion: Bit of a mixed up wee beast this one. Can’t say I disapprove. This leans towards the good side of disorganised, but because of that it does lack a lot of polish.

So, let us rewind a few moments and let’s try to break this down. Note one is that this is spicy – a fact that I would, at a guess, put at least part as whisky influence, but it is hard to say – depending on the region the whisky is from, a barley wine can push a lot of similar notes to a whisky. This feels half way between a Highland whisky and a European peppery noble hopped beer. I am going out on a limb by saying that as I have no idea if either were used to make this -it is just the flavour impression it leaves. The whisky feels a tad spirity in a blended whisky way, but that could just be the already high abv of the beer.

At the base, under all that, is a heavy honey to golden syrup barley wine – a tad rough but with a smooth mouthfeel. Around the edges you get fruitiness, from apricot to gooseberry, rounding notes and most probably the most subtle part, especially compared to the whisky, hop oil and spice punch. Late on a large apple character does grow out of it though to surprising prominence.

So, yeah, a mix of barely related notes – it isn’t one I’d recommend as high art, but there is something to its eclectic mix that I enjoy. So, not polished, nor near the high end of the barley wine style, but it definitely has charms. Decide from the notes if you think that means it will be one for you.

Background: Been far too long since Moor have graced these pages, so here it is, grabbed from Independent Spirit (I promise drinks form another source will turn up soon!). This is scotch whisky barrel aged – I am unsure if all Benny Havens is barrel aged or not, so I listed it in the name – if anyone knows please comment and let me know. Drunk while listening to a bit of a mash up – Erock’s excellent Mad Word meets metal and Rise Against’s Help Is On The Way being the stand outs. I seriously love the song Mad World – one saw a busker doing it on the London Underground and hung around for the entire song. I may have been mildly drunk at the time, but it was still cool.

Revival Moor

Moor: Revival (England: Bitter: 3.8% ABV)

Visual:  Pours very lively and cloudy. Clears to a hazy banana to gold with ripe banana skin coloured bubbled mounds. The head leaves suds as the beer is drunk.

Nose: Mango and apricot. Ripe banana. Touch of pineapple. Custard cream biscuits.

Body: Nice bitterness. Grapefruit and mango. Dry bitterness. Pineapple. Good hop character. Grape syrup undertones.

Finish: Bitter. Kumquats. Quite dry and moderate amount of hops. Grapes. Slight malt drinks.

Conclusion: This is a nice treat. Moor Beers seem to be following me around the country at the moment, so I thought it was time to do another review. Hand pull from cask as well which tends to suit Moor well.

This one has good hoppiness and lots of citrus notes that belie its modest abv. The mango and kumquat is quite dry but with the fresher grapefruit notes balancing.  It makes me think of a real ale take on Dead Pony Club. Thicker textured and drier in the hops as suits the hand pull, but with similar flavours and they are similarly refreshing and easy to drink.

The body has more weight, and seems less sharp. The hops are much drier as mentioned, especially in the finish. There is a bit of malt drink style flavour which works as a quite neutral base. It doesn’t show itself much, mainly only peaking through when the hops pull back.

There is plentiful hops, which are used to good effect. The bitterness is thus just enough, bracing but doesn’t kill the chance to session it. The flavours may be just a touch too dry, but not overly so. It feels more that the beer is highly attenuated, possibly could do with touch more sweetness at the base. It is a point if I have to pick flaws, but not particularly intrusive.

All in all a very welcome beer.

Background: First on the way home I ran across my friends from capoeira. Now I couldn’t pass that by, so we played some music and some capoeira.  Energized yet simultaneously drained I headed home, where, armed only with baking soda, vinegar and a plunger I faced in vicious contest Man Vs Blocked Sink. Spoiler warning. I won.  Then I found I had accidentally stolen Gira’s glasses that he had left with me during Capoeira. So I cleaned up and rushed back into town to give them back to him.

Thus Gira and I ended up in the Raven where they are having a bit of a beer festival.

I tell you all this so you understand one thing. I earned this bloody pint.

Moor beers have been following me. A Somerset beer, I ran into them while I was in London, then they were waiting for me back in Bath. Since they are generally good beers I could hardly pass up the omen could I?

Moor: Northern Star (England: Golden Ale: 4.3% abv)

Visual: Hazy lemon, with a large bubbly white head that contains mounds and troughs within it.  The main body has a few small bubbles within it but not much.

Nose: Really fresh, jiff lemon. Very crisp. Ice cream. Touch of pineapple. Very slight bitterness. Elderberry.

Body: Solidly bitter. Lemon meringue. Quite sherbet like. Pineapple. Slight fruit syrups. Slight bitter ale like sourness. Dried apricot

Finish: Gooseberry and hops. Pineapple. Quite dry bitterness. Honey. Dried apricot and mango.

Conclusion: What a deceitful little aroma. Ok it does prepare you for the lemon and the slight citrus tartness, I’ll give it that. What didn’t it do? Hint at any real bitterness.

Thus while the beer is not insanely bitter, the kick I got on first sipping it hit far harder that you would expect. It’s all in the timing I guess. It’s the surprise really. I was slightly better prepared on the finish where you get big lasting bitterness coming once again.

Despite the fresh citrus nature the play of the bitterness is far closer to that of the Bitter style than it is to the lighter Golden Ale which the flavour plays to. Notably it also has that slight sourness that a lot of bitters have that make them so refreshing.

Combine the two and you get a golden ale of impressively thirst quenching nature and solid bitterness. There are some minor downsides to this that the beer is tailored more towards thirst quenching than a large range of flavour, but I can’t fault it too much for that.

A side note if I may. Most beer pouring advice indicate to not disturb the yeast within. Here I would advise the exact opposite. Not only does a swirl to add the yeast add additional dried fruit flavours, it also makes the beer cloudy in a way that gives the impression of a tropical fruit drink. Which amused me somewhat.

In fact the yeast added version had much more sweetness to go with the impressive bitterness. Combined I find the extra flavour is well worth it.

An absolute thirst quencher balanced nicely between bitter and golden ale. A few bottles of these between friends would make a good standby of a summer drinking session, be it barbecue or chat. It does what it set out to do and it does it very well.

Background: While I have been muted on response to a few Moor beers here over the years, I have grown quite fond of them. Generally finding that the cask versions take the beers I enjoyed, but found not exceptional, and really ratcheted all the good qualities up.  As of such, I have taken to revisiting their bottle range to see what else may lie within. Bought from Beers of Europe, this is apparently the same beer as Nor’Hop. I say apparently as a quick Google search indicates the abv is different (4.1% vs 4.3%), but I guess generally the same beer. Also, despite the jokes of my friends, I did not mistakenly buy this thinking it was brewed in the North.  The bottle does warn you of the beers impressive bitterness, and if I had read it before drinking the beer I would have been less shocked. However I try to avoid reading such notes until after I drink lest they influence my review.

Moor: Fusion (2010) (England: Old Ale: 8% ABV)

Visual: Black with a creamy beige head.

Nose: Mocha. Bitter, yet quite fresh – pear drops. Twigs and roasted nuts. Slight apple. Rounded out with light vanilla yogurt. After time distinct coffee comes through.

Body: Vinous character and very slick textured. Grapes. Bitter back. Fruitcake. Light coffee comes through in the centre. Milky chocolate drinks. Quite sour touches. Light apple crumble and light toffee

Finish: Fresh yet matched with dry malt and bitter chocolate. Sour. Cooking apples. Slick almost liquore feel.

Conclusion:  Now I recently tried the Old Freddy Walker which makes up the base of this beer, and it was pretty good, but often its sour elements overpowered its subtleties.

This then smoothes out the excesses that came before it and really give the flavour room to roam.   This really makes the base beer so much more appreciable. The sourness lightens and now is only an interesting influence on the chocolate filled middle.

Where it goes the extra mile is that slight extra freshness and fruitiness that the apply brandy casks bring.  Again this is subtle and not overpowering, but gives that slight smoother and more complex to the beer. A light apple crumble element that makes it deliciously easy to drink.

Still carries a lot of the vinous tendencies that I have come to expect in old ales, so its like drinking a wine porter.

So what are the flaws then, well it does take a while to properly get into gear, but when it gets going you can forgive it that. It doesn’t quite bring enough to the table to enter the world shakers league, but when that’s the worst criticism I can level then its damn good sign that they made the beer good.

Background: This is a beer based on the “Old Freddy Walker” ale but aged in Somerset Cider casks. Old Freddy Walker was I beer I enjoyed, but had several flaws that made it one I would not go for regularly.   According to Moors website, only 700 beers were made foe each of the 2010 and 2009 releases.  This 2010 release was drunk in the first third of 2011. Incidentally their tagline “Drink Moor Beer” gets on my nerves something rotten for a reason I cannot explain.  Drunk whilst listening to Gogol Bordello:  Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher) a song I highly recommend.

Moor: Old Freddie Walker (England: Old Ale: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Utter opaque black with a cream coffee brown head.

Nose: Bitter coffee, charcoal. Chalk. Red wine and sour gooseberries.

Body: Milk chocolate, raisins. Fruitcake mixed with figs. Bitter and bready. Rum with white wine underlay. Slightly oily. Black cherry.

Finish: Slick, but with a chalky hint. Bitter, touch of black cherry. Vinous. Lots of fruitcake, bitter chocolate and grapes.

Conclusion: I’ve often talked about how the environment of drinking affects the beers, and in the case of darker beers cold is the worst enemy, freezing up their pleasing aromas and accompanying tastes.

Such was nearly the fate of this beer.  The initial pour seemed lacklustre and weak until I noticed the cold feel of the glass. Short moments of heating later I returned to the tasting with significantly improved results.

Sour and almost wine like front and finish, the dark fruity beast that makes up the main body is sandwiched between these challenging bookends. There is still a wine influence to the body, but with fruitcake and milk chocolate mixed into its bitter traits.

The beer seems to play catch me if you can with your taste buds, the rich flavours often seem fleeting before its sour gooseberry counterparts. It doesn’t always work, but it is a very distinctive stylistic choice for the beer, and really stands out from the crowd. This is a beer you wrestle meaning from rather than an open book.

The sour sometimes overpowers the complexity, but it’s a good shot at something different.

Background:  Ratebeer lists this as a porter, when taste wise I could swear that it is its close cousin, the old ale. Oddly the bottle text agrees with me so I’m going to go with old ale here.  Moor is a beer company with a great rep, but one that I’ve never really understood. The beers I’ve tried aren’t bad, but none so far have shaken my world.  This is part of my continuing quest to work out their appeal.

Addendum:  Recently I had this on tap. Much smoother and thicker, with less sourness. The beer was significantly better on cask and on that I would highly recommend it.  A really great beer

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