Tag Archive: My Favourites


timorous-beastie-21-year-sherry-edition

Douglas Laing: Timorous Beastie: 21 Year Sherry Edition (Scottish Blended Malt Whisky: 21 Year: 46.8% ABV)

Visual: Dark gold.

Viscosity: Very slow thick streaks.

Nose: Strawberry yogurt. Blackcurrant. Moderate oak. Vanilla. Mince pies. Dry. Water adds dried apricot and stewed fruit notes. Treacle. Oily character. Later you get red wine, port and more blackcurrant.

Body: Strawberry. Lots of sherry. Dried spice. Thai 7 spice jars. Dry. Sultanas. Water makes sweeter and spice raisins.

Finish: Blueberry. Mince pies. Dry. Vanilla. Sultanas. Thai 7 spice. Water makes much more spicy. Slight marzipan. Red wine.

Conclusion: This is very sherried, emphasising the drier end of the spectrum as well. It seems sweeter on the nose than it actually turns out to be – on the aroma it promises almost strawberry yogurt kind of notes. However this sweetness doesn’t really penetrate the body. Instead you get darker fruit, mince pies, Christmas spices and dry wine – it gives quite the intense but not harsh character.

There are some light sweet notes – some vanilla, and some parts of the blueberry are sweet, but these elements are rounding ones, not the notes emphasised.

It is nice enough like that – a bit one note but I was enjoying it – water however brings out a slight stewed fruitiness that gives it that tiny hint extra sweetness it needs. Now it is very rewarding, balancing and giving a huge range of flavour within the sherry style.

Then if you give it just a bit of time it rewards you yet again – giving much more red wine and dark fruits amongst the suet mince pie dryness. It is a brilliant example of sherry work here, emphasising it to heavy degree without become so overpowered by it that it becomes one note and dull which can be a flaw on heavily sherried whisky.

It is just fruity enough to let that re-emphasise the dry spiciness. Very nice and complex. I heartily approve. As a vinous, fruity, drying and sherried whisky in equal measure this is a big one I have no hesitation in recommending if you can afford it.

Background: So, Independent Spirit did another one of their Uber whisky tastings – their last one was the first of their tastings I went to and was sensational, so of course I jumped on this one. This is the first of five whiskies had that night. As it was a social event, and due to having more whisky back to back than I normally do for notes these may be slightly shorter and more scattered notes that usual. I did my best for you all though. Kicked off big with a 21 year blended malt. Don’t think I have ever tried standard Timorous Beastie – however its existence led to me winning a pub quiz once as the image of the mouse on the front meant that I knew what animal the term refers to. See? Drinking is good for knowledge.

buxton-omnipollo-original-rocky-road-ice-cream
Buxton: Omnipollo: Original Rocky Road Ice Cream (England: Imperial Porter: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Slight head on pour which quickly vanishes.

Nose: Praline chocolate. Peanut butter. Marshmallow. Grated bitter chocolate. Vanilla ice cream. Condensed cream

Body: Silken chocolate. Peanut butter. Fudge. Chocolate fondue. Praline. Light rum and raisin ice cream. Madeira. Lightly chalky. Marshmallow. Vinous red grapes undertones.

Finish: Vanilla ice cream. Peanut butter. Marshmallow. Chocolate ice cream. Salted peanuts. Cocoa dust.

Conclusion: Ok, the marshmallow style is utterly nailed here. Seriously, it lands large with a fluffy mouthfeel and sweet taste. The whole Rocky Road imagery is shown with creamy notes layered over a solid praline to cocoa dust base. It is a solid, sweet – yet with a bitter cocoa backbone Imperial Porter. A very good start.

So, image wise, for its Rocky Road ice cream inspiration it does it brilliantly in a lot of ways. When chilled down the mouthfeel and flavour give a lot of vanilla ice cream style, without the low temperature hurting the vast range the beer brings.

The biggest departure from the theme is in how it deals with the nuttiness. This is massively peanut styled nutty, Early on it feels like a pure peanut butter stout. Now, yes, nuts are used in rocky road, but in my experience they are never this dominant. The other elements do earn their place though, balancing it better as time goes on. Even with the heavy peanut butter early on, as a beer in itself this is excellent – in fact better than most intended peanut butter stouts that I have tried – and over time the marshmallow and ice cream complexities rise around that. Even at the end of the beer the peanut butter dominates a bit much to be called a perfectly accurate rocky road beer, but it is a good enough call, and that does nothing to stop it being an excellent beer.

It is definitely on the sweet end of the dark beer style, it would be sweet even for an Imperial Stout, let alone Imperial Porter – very creamy, very thick – but the mix of bitter cocoa and savoury nuts gives it enough grounding that it doesn’t end up in the sugar shock range.

What really sells this is that the gimmick isn’t all the beer has, good as that is. As it warms subtle spirit and vinous notes come out. They are often still in an ice cream style – say rum and raisin impressions, but they turn what could be a gimmick beer into a genuinely good imperial porter on all levels.

I have a lot of time for this – it really lives the gimmick, with a few concessions which makes it a better beer. Very good as a sweet Imperial Porter up front, with a lot of complexity at the back. I applaud this fantastic beer.

Background: Ok I love rocky road ice cream and all similar desserts. So when trying to decide which of the “ice cream series” to try this one jumped right out at me. Grabbed from Independent Spirit it is made with cocoa nibs and lactose sugar. Also the image on the front looks like a walking green turd. But you can’t have everything, can you?` Drunk while listening to Brassick – Broke and Restless. Just found out they actually have an album out, but I never knew as I just kept track via bandcamp which didn’t list it – I must check it out.

odyssey-imperial-hop-zombie-blood

Odyssey: Imperial Hop Zombie Blood (England: IIPA: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Deep black cherry red. Thin off white head.

Nose: Cherry pocked biscuits. Clean hop character and hop oils. Fresh pineapple and pink grapefruit. Caramel shortbread.

Body: Black cherry and red cherries. Caramel. Shortbread. Good hop bitterness. Pink grapefruit. Hop oils. Kiwi.

Finish: Hop bitterness. Clean hop oils. Black cherry yoghurt. Pineapple. Pink grapefruit. Dried passion-fruit.

Conclusion: Fucking yes. 4 days into 2017 at time of drinking. Seven days in by time I upload this, and we have already the first truly awesome beer of 2017. That was fast.

This has super clean hop character delivering solid bitterness and hop oils without any rough characteristics. There is a moderate malt sweetness, but a lot of the impressions come from the hops bringing tart fresh notes in everywhere; Though there is also a big cherries flavour which I am pretty sure is from the base malt. The two mix, cherries and tart grapefruit hop notes, giving a sweet and fresh mix that sparkles.

There are no off notes here, no rough edges – the flavours are big but polished to an inch of their life. Often I miss rough edges in the beer, but this keeps the intensity – bitter, not harsh. It feels like a super cherry touched amber ales meets Hardcore IPA. It really balances the sweet, bitter and tart fresh notes. In fact, on the Hardcore IPA comparison – this feels like what Brewdog wanted to do with their Hop Kill Nazis and similar but never quite reached.

Odyssey have always impressed me in all my, few so far, encounters with them – this is where they really hit the big time for me. If they can keep up this quality then they will become a legend of brewing -if this is a one off high then they have already more than justified their existence amongst the greats.

So, a polished cherry malt beer with solid shortbread weight to keep the base ready to handle everything else – allowing a huge mix of tart fruit flavours to do their thing. Find this. Grab it. Drink it. Maybe even keep the bottle label after you drink it is it is awesome as well. Try this if ever you can.

Background: So, I was wondering if I should shove this under Amber ale or IIPA? It is very Imperial Amber Ale like, but hop style is straight IIPA. They describe it as a *grinds teeth* Double India Red Ale. So, guess IIPA it is then by the “sticking as close as possible to how the brewer calls it rule”. Anyway, my last experience with Odyssey was good, and the bottle label for this is awesome, so I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to Dead Kennedys: Plastic Surgery Disasters – something about the album cover seemed to match the bottle label for this – and I do like a good bit of punk.

brewdog-rye-hammer

Brewdog: Rye Hammer (Scotland: IPA: 7.2% ABV)

Visual: Light clear yellow. Good sized white bubbled head. Some small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Rye crackers. Passion fruit. Moderate hop character. Soft peach. Brown bread. Thick aroma.

Body: Big peach and peach melba. Passion fruit. Good hop character. Custard and toffee malt character. Strawberry hints. Apricot. Brown bread and rye crackers.

Finish: Rye crackers and light spice. Pineapple and kiwi. Moderate hop bitterness. Grapes. Strawberry. Brown bread. Slightly dry. Pepper.

Conclusion: Ok, after being mostly ok on the Jack Hammer variants over the past year – good but not great – I think I have finally found the one that I adore. It is odd that this is the stand out one for me, as generally I am not a huge fan of beers not originally designed for rye having it added. Beers designed for rye tend towards good, but added afterwards it generally seems to result in a weaker beer than the original. This, however, works,

I think part of it is that it doesn’t mess with the base Jack Hammer too much. You still get the massive fruit range, the good hop punch, the sweet but not excessive malt base – all the fond elements that have been carefully honed since the beer’s original release, all on show here.

The rye just adds to that – extra spice and peppery notes to the finish. Extra weight given to the back that gives it more impact from the base as well as the hops. The rye doesn’t seem to take away from anything in the beer, it just gives it a bit more to play with. More flavour, more character, more range.

I already liked Jack Hammer, a bit of a one note assault as it was – it had a good amount of fruit and hops, but it was the same notes the whole way through. This makes the beer much more full, gives more grip, so the flavours have more to examine. There is possibly a tad less raw bitterness – it is hard to say – I have got so blasé to high hop bitterness over the years that I may just not notice it as much.

The most normal of the Jack Hammer variants in that it does not vary as much from the base, but also the best. It keeps all the juicy and fresh fruit character, all the hops – the biggest difference is in the finish – there is some rye shown throughout, but in the finish it is far more with the bready and spicy rye character. The biggest joy from this is that this is a great beer,a great Jack Hammer with that bit extra I never knew it needed. Awesome stuff.

Background: Fourth and final (for this year at least) Jack Hammer variant from Brewdog. This one, as the name suggests, is made with rye. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. The original Jack Hammer was a fun wee hop assault that I enjoyed initially and has grown on me more over the years as they tweak the recipe. This was grabbed from Brewdog Bristol, and drunk while listening to Mobina Galore again.

jura-tastival

Jura: Tastival (Scottish Island Single Malt Whisky: 14 Year: 51% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed gold.

Viscosity: Quite slow thick streaks.

Nose: Treacle toffee. Cinnamon. Honey. Cinnamon rolls. Light tar notes. Thick. Sugared orange. Stewed fruit. Water adds cinnamon pears.

Body: Strong. Alcohol presence. Orange liqueur. Spiced rum. Treacle toffee. Cinnamon. Water makes cinnamon pears. Slight charring. More water adds apples, a touch of salt. Vanilla toffee and treacle.

Finish: Malt chocolate and light oak. Spiced wine notes. Cinnamon and pepper. Light charring. Water adds treacle and chocolate liqueur. Light salted rocks.

Conclusion: Jura have been a go to whisky for me for a while now. Their entry level stuff is very nice, and generally not too expensive – while their Prophecy expression stands out as a great, complex peaty whisky. This is different again from those. The higher abv gives it a bigger, thicker character and a lot of room to roam.

This is a dark, rich expression with deep chocolate liqueur notes and light charring – all darker notes which calls to Bowmore Darkest or some of the Dalmore series for inspiration. It has that similar, very luxurious character, albeit with a strong alcohol punch if taken neat, and they are accentuated by a definite cinnamon sweetness and rum to red wine spiciness. It really, even when with the force of being neat, gives a decadent dark dessert feel. Death by chocolate meets cinnamon doughnuts.

Water soothes out the alcohol weight and gives hints of lighter notes hidden below it; Never huge, but there are feelings of subtle cinnamon pears and such like in there. Also water brings out, on the opposite side, subtle more traditional island characteristics – light salted rocks – again very minor, but gives it a grounding so it is not just a sweet, thick whisky.

Overall these just balance out an already very good experience – it gives hints of the more familiar expressions of Jura, but matched with that luxurious chocolate and cinnamon – making it like an island character backed dessert expression. Just enough added edge to make it unusual.

Very nice indeed, and probably now my tied favourite Jura with Prophecy.

Background: The 14 year is from a quick google that says the youngest spirit in this is 14 years. Anyway – this was my first tasting note done at The Hideout – a new whisky bar in Bath. Damn they have a nice selection – will try and take advantage of them to get some more unusual whisky tasting notes up on here. It is always nice to be able to try the more unusual stuff by the dram. This one is the Jura whisky done for the 2016 festival and has been aged in Palomino Fino, Amoroso and Apostoles sherry casks. Which actually goes beyond my knowledge of Sherry, so I will assume that is good.

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wild-beer-co-smoke-n-barrels-autumn

Wild Beer Co: Smoke ‘n’ Barrels: Autumn (England: Smoked Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy caramel brown. Moderate off white head.

Nose: Blue cheese. Barbecued sausage. Smoke. Light caramelised brown sugar.

Body: Caramel. Blue cheese. Brown sugar. Light golden syrup. Orange zest and cloudy apple juice. Treacle toffee. Light chalk. Cinnamon and strawberry notes.

Finish: Light oak and smoke. Cloudy apple juice and a touch of orange juice. Cinder toffee. Slight peppermint and nutmeg. Sausage.

Conclusion: Ok, Autumn, this is very definitely Autumn. From the colour of the beer, the smoke, the sweet bonfire night treacle and cinder toffee notes, to the almost more winter touched additional spice – this really calls to mind the curling orange leaves and burning fire of an Autumn night. So – step 1 – appropriate imagery – achievement unlocked!

So – step 2 – does it taste good. Yep. Simple answer. From the aroma through it has a mix of wonderful blue cheese and barbecued cooked sausages; Which are some of my favourite elements that you can get out of smoking a beer.

The lovely smoked flavours are layered over a solid caramel to treacle toffee base. A nice, brown sugar touched, sweetness. Feels like a black lager more than an ale most of the time, but that works well with the sweetness and style. Very big flavour, yet the texture makes it very easy drinking. The only real flaw does come out here though – the black lager like notes can result in an occasional lapse into thin treacle being the sole element – which I tend to associate with lower quality beers. Generally however the other flavours are built up enough that the treacle is but one element in a fine set beer.

Finally, onto this is added a gentle spice and fruitiness. Wonderfully understated – it uses them to accentuate the rest of the beer rather than dominate it. The mix of nutmeg spice, apples and orange zest give rounding notes – warming in the case of the spice, and giving much needed freshness from the fruit that goes against the treacle and sweet dominant main character.

Genuinely easy drinking, yet packed with flavour – Wild Beer Co have swung and missed with a few of their recent beers for me – but this hits it out of the park. A good beer any time, and a perfect beer for the Autumn season.

Background: I grab most Wild Beer co beers that come out – the bottled ones at least. While some of their recent beers have been better ideas than they have been beers, the Smoke ‘n’ Barrels series has been pretty solid -with even the weaker gose entry being ok. This one sounds pretty cool – Smoked, like all of the series – it is made with apples and apple juice, and the wood used for smoking is apple wood. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit – though I have to question the “Autumn” bit, we are in full on winter now, right? Hope we don’t have to wait too long for the actual winter entry. Drunk while listening to a whole bunch of The Eels. Oddly bittersweet music.

green-flash-cellar-3-blanc-tarte-barrique

Green Flash: Cellar 3: Blanc Tarte Barrique (USA: Sour Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Thin white dash of a head.

Nose: Dry and lemony. Light pepper. Cheese puffs. Orange rind. Pomegranate. Heather and light smoke. Mild Madeira.

Body: Quite tart. Apples and tart cider. Crushed meringue. Vanilla. Passion-fruit and pomegranate. Quite smooth. Light cheddar. Lemon juice into lemon curd. Madeira cake. Tart white grapes. Subtle raisins. Dry white wine.

Finish: Sweet cider. Vinegar touched notes. Sweet meringue. Smooth Madeira. Dry oak. Light ginger. Jiff lemon. Orange juice. Tart white and red grapes.

Conclusion: On first sip I was nearly ready to, well – not write this off but, file it under the interesting cider like beer but without much depth cupboard. I have oddly specific mental cupboards. Sue me.

Damn I am glad that I took a bit more time to get to know the beer. I am doubly glad that, at 750 ml, there was plenty of time to get to know it.

Initial notes are a mix of tart apples and sweet cider – quite dry on the feel despite the sweet notes that pop up, and the vanilla contrast it holds. There is a bit more to it, a few nice fruit notes underneath. It is pretty nice at this point – not too sour, but fairly – some feel of the spice used rather than any immediate flavour, but overall refreshing.

What changes it from that level is when the more subtle notes come out. Underneath everything is a Madeira cake and raisin character, while at the high end tart grapes and white wine character make it sparkle. This takes from a good but standard beer to one that travels a journey – one that goes from dry and sparkling, through the fresh cider like notes, to subtle soothing dark fruit and wine. Never is any element isolated, each managed to bleed through slightly to the others – but each one has its time to shine and show off.

You end up with a beer with just enough acidity to hit the back of the throat and remind you, but that is as harsh as it gets. In return it gives plenty of flavour, a soothing but rich experience. The bottles says they aim for a lambic like ale, and while it does not feel overly close to that, it manages to be an excellent distinctive sour in itself.

Background: 2016, batch 1 it says. So hopefully they will do future batches of this. Drunk 2016, so without additional ageing time. Also says 14 IBU. I love it when they give you all these extra details on your beer. Anyway this is sour ale, intending to call to the lambic tradition that has *deep breath* Seville orange peel, Chinese ginger and grains of paradise – it was then aged for between 12 and 36 months in red and white wine barrels. Damn. Anyway, first time doing notes on Green Flash beer – think I have tried them on tap at Brewdog pubs before. Drunk while listening to The Prodigy – Music For Jilted generation. Going a bit old school for a while it seems. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit of Bath.

Stone: 6th Anniversary Porter: 2016 Encore (USA: Imperial Porter: 8% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Large moderate froth browned head.

Nose: Cinnamon and wood chip dust. Smooth chocolate shavings. Bitter cocoa powder. Smoke and hazelnuts. Choc orange. Smoked beef.

Body: Sherry trifle and bitter cocoa. Smoke and smoked bacon. Brown bread. Hop bitterness. Slight sour cream. Brandy cream. Malt chocolate. Madeira. Roasted character. Light choc orange.

Finish: Smoked bacon. Bitter cocoa dust. Light oak. Smoke. Slight hop bitterness and roasted character – bitterness rises over time. Rum soaked raisins. Blended whisky air.

Conclusion: It really is obvious that Stone Brewing love their hops, so much so that even their porter feels stuffed full of hop bitterness. Thankfully that isn’t all they bring to the game – for one the body is pretty smoothly done, and with that the hop bitterness doesn’t cling – so despite the high bitterness and high abv it doesn’t become painful as thick and sticky hoppy dark beers can do.

The main backbone of the beer is a bitter cocoa to malt chocolate fest – very solid, and again smooth enough to not be bracing instead pushing high quality chocolate flavour. It is subtly rounded by smoked bacon flavour, which, let’s face it – there is very little that doesn’t make better. It gives extra weight without needing a thicker beer, and does that without needing to be dominant. It just lurks in the beer, waiting for the chocolate to fade out, then it rises up to fill the void.

That ideas sums up a lot of this beer – nothing is in a rush; Notes rise up and fade as and when they wish. If you hold the beer long enough then new notes, or old notes resurging are always there waiting to reward you. This feels like the epitome of a slow enjoyment beer. It doesn’t want to rush and neither should you.

For example – as time goes on first sweet sherry trifle and brandy cream like notes come out to sweeten up the beer, then later on blended bourbon notes come out as well. Of the two the sherry is the better addition. It gives and nice fruit and creamy side note that real adds some warmth and depth to the beer.

That final note – the blended whisky is pretty much the only weak point of the beer. Not terrible but it is slightly rougher and not as well integrated as the rest of the notes. Just a bit too raw spirity and rough – though it does only come out when the beer is warm, and is only a minor flaw… Therefore I have no problems recommending this to high heaven. The base is solid, the smoke works without dominating, and the extra barrel ageing makes it special. Definitely grab if you can.

Background: Ok, explanation time, this is not the Stone Porter brewed for their 6th Anniversary – or it is, it is brewed to the same recipe as part of their encore series for their 20th anniversary. Re-brewing old lost classic. This is their smoked porter, brewed to higher abv, more hops and conditioned on French and American oak. They lost a good chunk of it back in 2002 during brewing so it was a very small release. This, in 2016, was a bit easier to get hold of -grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer selection. I am a big fan of Stone Brewing, especially their hoppy beers, which is at least 90% of their beers. They love hops. Drunk while listening to Garbage:Strange Little Birds, which if not as good as their first two albums, has definitely earned its place as a good, offbeat, powerful album.

Hoppin’ Frog: Karminator (USA: Doppelbock: 9.3% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark caramel to reddish brown. Moderate browned head. Some evident carbonation, but less than expected.

Nose: Massive port, raisins and fruitcake. Glacier cherries. Chocolate liqueur undertone. Malty. Toffee.

Body: Thick. Fruitcake. Marzipan. Sultanas and glacier cherries. Brandy cream. Toffee pavlova. Salted caramel. Light cloves.

Finish: Glacier cherries. Dried banana. Fruitcake. Raisins. Madeira. Brandy cream. Fudge. Salted caramel. Cloves. Honey. Brown sugar. Lightly peppery.

Conclusion: Well, this is a big one – in bottle size, abv and flavour. Very thick body – so much so that I would not have guessed it as a lager styled beer if I had not known. Mouthfeel wise it feels similar to the super smooth American take on the Belgian ale. Flavour wise it is half way between the dopplebock it is and a strong ale take on an ESB. It is huge.

The smoothness, the malt character and the subtle banana and cloves all shout top quality dopplebock. The fruitcake and port can be dopplebock notes, but the intensity of them is very ESB like. This isn’t a barrel aged beer, but with the Madeira and port notes coming out you could have fooled me. In fact the smoothness says barrel ageing as well – but no, this is all just from the craft of the brewers. Impressive.

As an experience this is booming, silky and fruity. It slips down easily but the varied vinous aroma and notes happily declares its abv strength where the alcohol feel does not. This isn’t a beer that replaces my beloved weizendopplebock Aventinus, but it feels like a not Weizen take on the same concept – and that makes it very appealing to me. it runs a similar set of notes, delivered differently and in a smooth American manner. It is a dangerous beer. Complex enough to drag you in, and the lager style makes it far too easy to drink. While it is booming there are subtle spice notes at the edges – and the yeast, though mainly clean, does add a few funky edges it seems.

A beer of weight and gravitas. Have it on its own, not as part of a session, take your time and appreciate it. Do so and you will be rewarded with an excellent beer. Definitely not a session beer in any sense, trust me on that. Treat this as you would a strong Trappist ale and it will reward you similarly.

Background: Haven’t had a dopplebock for a while by my memory. Which is admittedly poor due to drinking. So, this gave me a chance to break out the Aventinus glass again. Anyway, grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer shop, this is from the Hoppin’ Frog brewery – I’ve seen their large bottles pop up around a bit, but never got around to doing notes for one of them. So here goes a chance to change that. Drunk while listening to some Bratmobile and Heavens To Betsy – a bit of riotgrrrl punk fun. For some reason I near always listen to these two artists back to back. I blame “Gone Home”

wiper-and-true-toast-collaboration-08-amber-ale-bread-pudding

Wiper and True: Toast: Collaboration 08: Amber Ale – Bread Pudding (England: Amber Ale: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Overripe banana to caramel brown, with a murky, cloudy mid body. A mounded inch of toffee touched white froth for a head.

Nose: Bread and butter pudding to spotted dick (The dessert). Suet. Light strawberry. Fresh. Lightly milky.

Body: Strawberry and cherries. Milky. Cinnamon. Bread pudding. Moderate hop character and bitterness. Slight resin. Mild passion fruit and dried mango. Kiwi. White grapes.

Finish: Cherries in bread pudding. Semolina. Strawberry. Light bitterness. Light kiwi. Milky. Light pine and resin. Toast and dried mango. Hop bitterness grows. Slight hop oils and herbal character. Slight granite.

Conclusion: Wiper and True’s Amber Ales were the first beers of their that really brought them to my attention. Slightly resinous and herbal matched with red fruit sweetness – I bring that up as those are characteristics that this thing also wears on its sleeves. The bread pudding characteristics are more subtle. There is an added milkiness to the beer, and while it is subtle, the bread pudding character is still definitely there – but it it is more a backdrop for the fruitier elements.

I actually find the subtlety of the bread influence mid body odd as in the aroma it is pretty overwhelming. It is kind of raisin packed, but still definitely bread pudding. In way I am glad that the body has much more going on, as it would be a bit simple otherwise, but I am also mildly disappointed as I would loved to have seen more of what that characteristic could do. But, aye they probably made the right choice – if it had been bread pudding dominated it would have become wearing pretty quickly I guess.

This is pretty far from wearing or one note – good red fruit malt characteristics, subtle dried tropical fruit from the hops that rises up to dominate as it warms, nice bready backdrop and a very nice toast character to the finish. Combined with the aforementioned resin and herbal elements and the hop oil sheen it gives a lot to get your teeth into.

Frankly, you can’t go wrong with this beer. Amber Ale is a kind of hit and miss style for me – the style is pretty wide open to definition so often you are not quite sure what you will get. Here though, Wiper and True have, again, hit it out of the park. Am I disappointed it didn’t do more with the bread character? Yes. Does that make it anything less than an excellent beer? No. This is freaking great.

Background: I liked the idea of this one – Wiper and True working with Toast, who put their profits to try and fight food waste. It is made with brandy soaked raisins, and some of the malt replaced with leftover bread, and some lactose as well. An odd set. I refer to Wiper and True as The Kernel of the west. Very good quality and I highly recommend them. Drank while listening to The Algorithm: Brute Force again. They work well as drinking music for me – intense, but without words to intrude on the writing. The beer was grabbed from Independent Spirit.

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