Tag Archive: Omnipollo


Omnipollo: Buxton: Texas Pecan Ice Cream (Sweden: Imperial Porter: 10% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Froths up a head that vanishes nigh instantly.

Nose: Pecan. Cashew. Coffee cake. Cocoa dust. Light charcoal ash. Caramel. Creamy.

Body: Blackcurrant and liquorice. Slight sherbety feel. Chocolate liqueur. Slightly bready. Crushed pecan. Lactose feeling, yet slightly light mouthfeel. Light chalky feel. Caramel.

Finish: Chocolate bourbon biscuits. Crushed peanuts. Blackcurrant liquorice sweets. Milky. Leaves sheen on tongue. Dry fudge. Pecan pie.

Conclusion: I’m fairly sure Texas Pecan Ice Cream isn’t made with blackcurrant and liquorice. I mean, I could be wrong – ya know, not being from Texas and all that, but I’m still fairly sure.

You may be wondering why I am saying that, it is an odd way to open up the notes. Well, I say it as, while the nuts definitely dominate the aroma – on taking the first sip this came in big with those old blackcurrant and liquorice sweet character. Nice, but completely unexpected given the beer’s concept.

The nuttiness instead rises in the body as the beer warms – so don’t worry about that. There is a similar progression in the texture – while it does have a lactose, creamy mouthfeel, early on it feels deceptively light. I do wonder if this difference in texture is part of what makes an Imperial porter stand out from an imperial stout – they are such close linked styles. The weight does grow over time, but even late on it doesn’t have the fullness you would expect of a lactose infused, 10% abv beer. Even feels slightly sherbety against some chalk feel, and still slightly light. Unusual.

So – it is different to what I expected from the description – early on it is very enjoyable in the blackcurrant and liquorice it brings, and that always plays as a backing to the main beer. The nuttiness becomes quite present over time mixing with creamy caramel and fudge sweetness – it isn’t quite pecan ice cream to my mind, probably would need just a bit more body to sell that imagery – it isn’t bad at all, but it really feels like a bit more work, a bit more body and this could be a huge beer and much better.

Pretty good, a mix of the core concept with a radically different imperial porter base, but not 100% on point.

Background: I very much enjoyed the Ominpollo and Buxton collaboration Ice Cream themed beers when I first ran into them about a year ago. Seeing that Independent Spirit had one of the ones I had missed back in stock, I decided to grab it and give it a try. Made with vanilla and lactose sugar, along with wheat and oats in the malt bill – though not, it seems, any actual pecans. I could be wrong on that so don’t quote me on that one. Drunk while listening to The Algorithm – Brute Force. Missed seeing them live last year despite having tickets, which was a pity, but great electronic, mathcore style fun to listen to when drinking.

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Omnipollo: Buxton: Original Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie (England: Fruit Beer: 6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice look with a thin white head.

Nose: Freshly squeezed lemon and traditional lemonade. Meringue. Milk touch. Apples. Squeezed lime.

Body: Tart lemon juice and lemon curd. Apple pie. Sugar dusting. Very fresh. Thick texture under the sharp front. Cream. Lime cordial. Tart grapes.

Finish: Lemon juice and pancakes. Squeezed lime. Peach and vanilla. Cream. Toffee ice cream syrup.

Conclusion: This is fresh, very fresh – lemony as all get out – yet despite that it is not overly acidic, nor sour as you would often expect with that fresh kind of lemon flavour. It is actually sweet, while still keeping that freshness and surprisingly creamy under the sharper front.

Not that lemon is the only note here – there is plenty of tart lime elements, and even a few sweeter fruit notes such as peach and apple. However, lemon definitely dominates, with lime as a close second. Anything else is way down the intensity list.

It is decent -fresh faced and pretty easy to drink. Not quite lemon meringue for me, nor quite ice cream – but there are enough calls to it that I can see why they picked the name. It is creamy, and as mentioned, very much lemon.

It isn’t the most complex thing though – shoot, barring the thick mouthfeel I would understand mistaking this thing for fruit juice. Alcoholic fruit juice admittedly – they don’t 100% hide that alcohol, but still fruit juice.

So, aye, super complex it ain’t. One for examining it ain’t. For something easy going, easy drinking and refreshing – sure! It is sweet, creamy and fresh – hits a lot of the instant satisfaction buttons there. So an immediately satisfying, tasty and fun beer – but with no depth under the surface. Good for a warm day, good for when you want to enjoy a beer but not get too deep into it.

Background: Ok, this is actually a beer that was conditioned with lemon juice. Huh, did not realise that – the bottle ingredients only list barley, wheat, oats and lactose – so I was surprised to find it listed as a fruit beer. Guess it explains how they nailed the lemon flavour so well. Anyway, I grabbed one of the ice cream series (easily recognisable by the walking poo on the bottle) tail end last year – so when I saw this one back in Independent Spirit it had to give it a go. Both Omnipollo and Buxton are rock solid breweries in my eyes, so a good background to this one. This was drunk while listening to Ritualz CDR. A haunting weird set of electronica I have not broken out for a while.

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.

brewdog-omipollo-flat-pack-fruit-bat

Brewdog: Omipollo: Flat Pack Fruit Bat (Scotland: Fruit IPA: 6% ABV)

Visual: Cherry-aid red. Moderate carbonation. Large reddened froth head.

Nose: Musty hops and bitterness. Tart raspberry. Greenery hint. Slightly bready. Vanilla milkshakes.

Body: Tart raspberry. Gripping hops. Raspberry yogurt. Vanilla milkshake. Thick mouthfeel. Some bitterness.

Finish: Brown bread. Fresh raspberry. Good hop character. Vanilla and vanilla yogurt. Quite heavy bitterness. Charring touch. Resin. Slight earthy hops and greenery.

Conclusion: Recently in a set of notes I talked about the joy in a deep, complex ale versus the fun of a simple beer done well. This is most definitely in that second category.

This is very much fruit orientated – fresh in the raspberry – and with a good gripping mouthfeel which I’m guessing comes from the lactose that was used in brewing it. Definitely uses that thick mouthfeel to push the smoothie angle well – very fruity to match that. It is a much creamier texture than you would expect from an IPA because of that. Still mouth freshening from the light tartness of the raspberry – but tends towards the sweeter side of the fruit usage.

The IPA, hop side, of things is more shown in the bitterness and feel than in any fancy hop flavours. It feels kind of musty, slightly sticking hops, resinous and slightly charred in the finish. From the aroma through to the back end it is just (“Just” he says) a solid hop character – nothing too bitter, but with a kind of bready character and influenced mouthfeel backing the smoother front and raspberries. The finish is where it finally starts to really kick with high bitterness now mixing with those charred notes and a touch of greenery.

So, despite the flavour, mouthfeel and freshness wise being very much about the tart smoothie concept, it still manages a resinous, very bitter (in the finish) IPA like character to back it up.

So, not complex, but delivers on what it promises and what it sets out to do. A great balance of fruit and beer. You definitely feel both and in good quantities. A good general drinking beer with a big character and lots of quality.

Background: As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer – I am also quite a fan of Omnipollo, despite not trying much of theirs while I was in Sweden. This, bought directly from the Brewdog shop, is an attempt an an IPA raspberry smoothie. Whatever that would be. Apart from this it seems. It is made with wheat, oat, milk lactose, vanilla and raspberries and single hopped with mosaic. This was drunk while listening to some Zodiac Zoo – a band I got into due to one of their weird sounding tracks on the original guitar hero which sounded like a guitar hymn to Azathoth– the rest of their work didn’t quite live up to that, but it still strangely discordant rock.

Omnipollo Noa Pecan Mud Imperial Stout

Omnipollo: Noa Pecan Mud Imperial Stout (Sweden: Imperial Stout: 11% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Dark caramel rim of a head, and some small suds over the main body. Leaves a viscous sheen in its wake.

Nose: Massive dry roasted nuts. Pecan pie. Brown sugar. Milk chocolate and chocolate fondue. Fudge. Madeira cake. Custard.

Body: Moderate milky coffee. Pecans. Bitter cocoa and milk chocolate mix. Light choc orange. Sherry trifle. Creamy. Vanilla ice cream

Finish: Milky chocolate. Pecans. Fudge. Creamy. Bready notes. Bitter cocoa. Rum and raisins ice cream. Nutty.

Conclusion: Big imperial stout time again! Oh, how I have missed you. This one opens up big with an aroma that just booms nuts – both pecan and dry roasted. Initially it is an all nut assault that slowly slides out into chocolate and Madeira notes at warmth opens it up. Good start.

The first sip didn’t impress quite as much, it took a few seconds to get going. It was never empty but there was a moment where it was more just feeling the texture rather than tasting the flavour. It wasn’t until the second sip that I really started getting more than that. It is worth the wait though – that pecan and chocolate style comes through – initially light then building to an intensity to match the aroma. The flavours progress interestingly as well. Initially big and creamy, as it warms it becomes drier in the pecan notes and a slight chalky backing grounds it and stops the sweetness from becoming sickly.

The finish takes all that and adds a little bit of rum and raisin sweetness, matched by the aforementioned light chalkiness, giving a little twist on the way out. This however is only a small overview, as the notes above attest there are lots of subtle complexities to find in here.

So, this is big and sweet, booming and nutty that makes for a savoury contrast, all complemented by side notes that fill in the Pecan Mud Pie imagery excellently. The only thing that stops this being one of my favourites is the strength of competition in the Imperial Stout range. That is it. On like for like comparisons this is far better than Genghis Pecan, and so stands out as the top of these sweet yet savoury touched Imperial Stouts. So, very good job, good quality, and because of the pecans a bit different. A good package all round.

Background: Had a hard time finding the name for this, it is only written on the back of the bottle and was partly smudged away. Yes the big smily face of this is what caught my attention, the promise of a pecan mud stout what made me buy it. This was another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to Alleujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! By Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I had been playing Dark Souls for the first time during the day, and after dealing with that brutal difficulty I needed good music and beer to relax. That game does not hold your hand at all.

Buxton Omnipollo Yellow Belly
Buxton: Omnipollo: Yellow Belly (England: Imperial Stout: 11% ABV)

Visual: Black. Thin brown bubbled head.

Nose: Snickers bars. Chocolate ice cream. Lots of peanuts. Creamy. Very milky coffee.

Body: Creamy – condensed cream. Snickers. Big amount of peanuts. Or possible Reeses peanut cups. Bitter cocoa. Sugar dusting. Boozy feel. Thick texture. Treacle. Brown cane sugar.

Finish: Caramel. Peanuts. Bitter cocoa dust. Digestives and shortbread. Treacle. Brown sugar.

Conclusion: Damn. Think of a blended up snickers bar, but in a beer. I would say a “marathon” bar for old times sake, but, let’s face it – fighting long dead linguistic battles is not going to win me any favours here.

Anyway, this is stupid levels sweet, awesome stupid that is. There is not a huge range of notes but they are very well defined and well themed as well. Very sweet imperial stouts can become over exposed very easily, but thankfully this came when I have not had many of them for a while, so as a fresh again experience I absolutely loved this.

This is a very creamy beer as well, doesn’t hide the alcohol character either, but instead uses it as a boozy thick character. No burn, no harsh edges, but there is no mistaking this is a big beer.

I want to talk more about this beer – about its creamy texture, the sheer dominance of peanuts to peanut butter flavours over the bitter cocoa – but so much can be summed up in the few short words. Snickers bar beer. It deserves a better description than that, more detailed and florid, but that is what it is. I mean I could go more into comparing to Reeses peanut butter chocolates but I would kind of be over egging the whole thing. You get the idea, right?

So, please accept my apologies- I’m saying less than I should. Let us all just accept that this is a dangerously sweet, dangerously high abv, dangerously high quality beer. Take your time, keep off sweet imperial stouts for a while, then treat yourself to this. It is worth it.

Oh and fuck the far right and racists in general.

Background: Grabbed at Independent Spirit. First made as part of the rainbow collaboration where each team of breweries was given a colour theme to use. Ok, that bottle kind of looks like a Klan uniform, which kind of worried me until I realised that was the point, and why it was called Yellow Belly. I can’t find the original quote but to paraphrase they said this was brewed with no nuts, because the Klan didn’t have them either. I loved that so I grabbed a bottle.

I was going to disagree slightly with the bottle quote about acting anonymously as part of a group being one of the worst cowardice, by pointing to a counterpoint of protesting groups who require anonymity to prevent retribution from the authorities, until I found a fuller quote to put it in context

 
“The political situation throughout Europe is in turmoil right now, National Front, Sverigedemokraterna, British National Party, EDL, Dansk Folkeparti, Vlaams Belang, Lega Nord, Fremsrittspartiet, Sannfinländarna, Golden Dawn….the list goes on and on. From Omnipollo’s Henok Fentie; “One thing that struck us while the preliminary political polls where being presented during election night was that the actual support for the Swedish fascist party was in reality 40% higher than what people had disclosed when asked (face to face) what they voted for just after casting their ballot. At the same time the polls were more or less accurate when it came to other parties on the political scale.” What does this mean? One thing that it could mean is that although people vote extreme right they are on average not as prone to admitting to it as people voting for other parties are. Being a coward can mean many different things, but protesting anonymously at the expense of people’s freedom and right to co-exist without showing your face is one meaning that is particularly relevant at this moment in time.

 
So, with all this in mind, for our ‘Yellow’ beer, we made an 11% Peanut Butter and Biscuit Imperial Stout. Except there are no peanuts or biscuits in it. And then we dressed it in the most hateful, cowardly-anonymous costume we know of.

 
This beer, whilst attempting to make a commentary on the current political winds blowing through Europe, is above all, meant to be enjoyed as a celebration of all things new, open minded and progressive. Taste, enjoy and don’t be prejudiced.”

 
I can’t disagree with that, and will raise a glass to mocking racists everywhere.

Omnipollo 42 Passion Fruit and Lime Witbier

Omnipollo: 42 Passion Fruit and Lime Witbier (Sweden: Belgian Style Wit: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale hazy lemon juice. Massive loose fragile white bubbled head.

Nose: Crisp. Light kiwi. Slightly soured. Wheat and lightly earthy. Lemon juice. Coriander.

Body: Lightly tart. Shredded wheat. Moderate bitterness. Light kiwi. Tart lime. spirtzy feel like a touch of white wine.

Finish: Squeezed lemon and lime. Shredded wheat. Sour dough. Kiwi. Solid bitterness. Dried passion fruit. White wine dryness.

Conclusion: Would this beer work better if the base beer was more rounded before you started adding the extra ingredients in? Hard to say, but it does feel like the underlying wit has been either neglected, or hidden by the fruit. The base beer isn’t bad, but it doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the character a top end wit should have.

It has a solid, if somewhat leaden hopped bitterness, and a slightly cloying sourness, but the usual tart character and spice is very muted and lacking from the beer. The fruit does add a bit to help offset that. While muted the fruit is there, especially creating a kiwi kind of note in the interactions, and it is this that gives most of the flavour where the base is lacking.

By doing this it does become a passable wit, refreshing due to the sour, slightly cloyed nature, and the flavour comes from the fruit backing. It is evident though that the quirk is basically propping up the wit though.

So, it comes in as drinkable, in fact that is the most impressive quality. It is very easy to drink, but not especially impressive. Still at least it avoids going the over sweet route that a lot of shoddy wit’s go for. An ok beer , but not much above that.

Background: This is how easy I am to sell to. I see a bottle with no label on the front. I look at it, I see it only has the (pictured) label on the back. I buy it. I have no willpower. So, a wit made with Passion fruit and key lime, part of Omnipollo’s “Magic Numbers” small batch series. This is my first experience with Omnipollo, so I’m hoping they will be good. Picked up from Independent Spirit, which is probably a surprise to no one by now.

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