Tag Archive: Oskar Blues


Beavertown Oskar Blues Tempus Project Deimos

Beavertown: Oskar Blues: Tempus Project: Deimos (England: Weizenbock: 8.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Large brown loose bubbled froth for a head that leaves a sud rim.

Nose: Potpourri and dry spices. Chilli seeds. Chocolate malt drinks. Slight smoke. Cashew nuts.

Body: Tobacco. Spicy. Sweet cherries. Smoked meat. Slight charred oak. Spiced rum. Sour red wine. Frothy feels. Walnuts.

Finish: Smoked meat. Dried banana and pecan pie. Slight cloves. Gingerbread. Light charring. Lightly dusty. Dry spice. Sour red wine. Mild bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: Well, this is more immediately interesting that its Madeira aged cousin. Though it anything it feels even less like the common expectation of a weizenbock. That said, they both share the same flaw of a a fairly weak aroma – This time slightly simple in a dry and spicy fashion.

What grabs as soon as you reach the body is a mix of spice, tobacco and spiced rum. Very big up front notes from first sip, behind that however it is just as mixed up as Phobos, but in a very different way. While that beer felt like Bristol beer Factory’s Vintage ale, this actually feels like a weizen heir to an unaged Hair Of The Dog Adams in the mix of smoke and complexity. That said, this had nowhere near the smoothness or richness of Adams – instead being cursed with clashing complexity.

However, it is slightly more balanced complexity than its cousin. The smoke and vinous notes give a more weighty beer which means the nuttiness and spice have a much more solid base to work from. That weighty base is also what seems to overpower a lot of the weizen character I think – so mixed blessing, but still a blessing. I’d therefore say of the two barrel aged Tempus project beers I prefer this one – it manages to get a coherent image out more up front and immediately, just throwing flavour after flavour and seeing what sticks. It still has some confusion, but powers through it to a degree.

Stuffy and smoked, with smoked meat and charring – yet vinous, malty, and even fruity in a way, but dominated by dark notes. Probably still not one for drinking now – again I feel age may do this good, the question (answered a few days later and added to the background) is which of the two should I grab to age?

Background: Second of the Tempus project beers I have tried. The first being Phobos, which I found mixed up but generally pleasant. Like that this was bought from Independent Spirit. This is a *deep breath* Smoked banana, walnuts, pecans, dates and figs infused beer aged in Sherry Barrels. So, a normal beer ya know. After doing these notes I decided to grab a bottle of this one to age and see what happens. This had a fair mix of tunes while listening – mixed up tunes for a mixed up beer. We are Sex Bob-omb and Ill Manors were only two of the tunes to give an idea.

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Beavertown Oscar Blues Tempus Project Phobos

Beavertown: Oskar Blues: Tempus Project: Phobos (England: Weizenbock: 9.1% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown and mostly opaque. A couple of inches of brown bubbled froth that leaves suds.

Nose: Nutty and malt chocolate. Cashew nuts. Light menthol and mint leaves. Cinnamon. Lightly vinous.

Body: Malt drinks. Nutty. Vinous. Subtle port notes. Orange zest. Coriander. Stewed banana. Bready. Light to moderate bitterness. Light cloves.

Finish: Slight sour grapes. Malt chocolate drink. Madeira cake. Chocolate shavings. Bitty orange juice. Nutty. Smoke. Walnuts.

Conclusion: Oddly this reminds me of Bristol Beer Factory’s Vintage Ale – both are malt led, chocolaty, drinks with a hell of a lot going on. So much so in fact that it doesn’t quite mesh. So, that is your short overview of what is going to be the general theme of these notes.

With that said, it is strange that initially the nose is fairly simple – nutty and malt drinks. I was actually worried this was going to be a too simple beer. How silly of me!

The first thing that starts coming out to break up that image is the vinous notes – from sour grapes, sweet Madeira cake to slight port. Not dominating but definitely rounding notes. Good use of barrel ageing that still lets the base beer breath. I approve! Now the base is not the most complex thing, bitter chocolate over nutty notes – but it is definitely solid enough to set up for what is a mass of infusions and ageing influence.

Another similarity to the BBF Vintage is in the fruitiness throughout – still quite malty, like malt choc orange through to a fresher orange juice style. It is a good element, but it is the element that most shows the integration of flavour issues thee beer has – it doesn’t quite line up with the others, instead seeming to float around aside from the rest.

Now despite that the beer is not bad – in fact I am tempted to grab one to age, like I did with vintage, see if it mellows out and matches up a bit better. It is just with the fruit, vinous, nutty, malt led and spice touched beer there is so much going on that it feels unfocused. So, not clearly defined, but surprisingly easy to drink, especially for 9% and up. The solid bitter chocolate to malt drinks base is charming as is, but is they smoothed it out and got everything in a line it would be amazing.

So, pretty much like BBF Vintage before it a mixed up beer, but with a lot of charm. If I grab one to age I will you now how that goes.

Background: OK, lot to describe in this beer. It is a weizendopplebock aged for 8 months in Madeira barrel – infused with smoked bananas, walnuts, pecans, dates and figs. Oh, and oats as well as the expected wheat. So, yeah that interested me – especially with both Oscar Blues and Beavertown at the helm. That sounded like a match made in heaven. This was drunk after a session playing the new Doom and having my first encounter with the Cyberdemon and stomping its dick into the dirt. Having a beer called Phobos after playing Doom is very appropriate as any fan will tell you. To keep the feel going was listening to Carcass: Surgical Steel, for that real visceral metal feel. Decided against the Aventinus glass for this one – at 330ml it would probably get lost in the big weizenbock glass. Instead went for the Teku glass – always a good one for mall bottles and big flavours. As you may have guessed, this is another one bought from Independent Spirit of Bath.

Oskar Blues Chaka
Oskar Blues: Chaka (USA: Belgian Strong Ale: 7.9% ABV)

Visual: Reddened amber. Moderate yellowed tight bubbled head that leaves lace curtains around the glass.

Nose: Very much bananas. Very yeastie. Wholemeal bread undertones. Malt loaf. Vinous cherry notes as it warms.

Body: Banana. Yeastie. Funky feel. Cheesy puffs. Raisins. Light gingerbread. Jelly comes out if held on tongue. Lime touch. Gooseberry jam. Cherries as it warms, and vinous notes.

Finish: Coriander. Light bitterness. Gooseberry jam. Bready.

Conclusion: Belgian style ales from America. Why are they obsessed with making them so smooth? Or at least so it seems this end of the pond. Oddly enough, considering often I prefer the rougher style, in the case of this beer I really am not complaining.

Possibly because this beer is so distinctive, very much its own thing, and more using the Belgian style as a base point rather than a template. This thing calls itself Chaka, which I initially read as chakra – a mistake which led me to think that Ying/Yang more applied here. To my mind anyway. Cooled down this beer is full of the Belgian blond banana, yeast, light ginger and coriander styles. Smooth as a banana milkshake, but definitely using Belgian blond as a base. Warmed up it started gaining raisins, cherries and vinous notes in a very dark Belgian ale style. How the hell did they do that? Two very separate styles separated here by only a few degrees change in temperature.

In both expressions there is the full yeastie feel and fun, a slight breadiness and kind of gooseberry jam charm that links the two, seemingly inexplicable different, interpretations of what is, in the end, exactly the same god damn beer.

Overall it is a very impressive beer. Indebted to the Belgian style, but not shacked, milkshake like but still distinctly a beer. Vinous touched but not heavy. This is very much a beer that stands out on its own and a very good beer at that. Recommended.

Background: Well, what do you do when you are waiting in a bar for them to release a new beer at 18:00 hours? Well, in my case, open a William Gibson novel (Spook Country to be precise) and order a half of one of their beers from a recent Oska Blues tap takeover. Unsure of which to go for I asked for advice, and this was the beer that resulted. Many thanks. Rate beer lists this as 8%. I know in bars the tax rate on beer changes at certain points based on abv, and there is a 0.2 accuracy leeway for listing strength in bars. I have a strange feeling one of the tax jump points is 8% for some reason…

Shipwrecker Circus

Brewdog: Oskar Blues: Shipwrecker Circus (Scotland: Barley Wine: 10.2% ABV)

Visual: Dark black cherry red to brown. Mound of beiged head.

Nose: Gritty hops. Charring. Pineapple. Bitter. Pencil shavings. Malt chocolate. Stewed fruit. Blended whisky air. Jam.

Body: Grapefruit hops. Treacle. Cherries. Quite bitter prickling. Apricot. Smoke. Shortbread and strawberry jam. Condensed cream. Malt chocolate. Pineapple hops. Blended whisky and toffee.

Finish: Treacle. Black cherry. Hops. Resin. Gooseberry jam. Pineapple hops. Diced nuts.

Conclusion: Have you ever wondered what a black IPA barley wine would be like? No? Well why bloody not? Such a thing would be so cool, hypothetically at least. Anyway, I’m guessing it would taste not entirely dissimilar to this.

Lots of hops for a barley wine, lots of citrus, resin and prickling. The base however is still sweet as expected, thicker though with treacle and jam laden shortbread in big doses. It is that contrast that gives rise to the comparisons to the Black IPA style, ok that and beer colour, but mainly that the dark treacle sweetness, the hops, charring and harsher edges all remind me of the BIPA rather than its lighter IPA cousin.

While there are some whisky like flavours the body is smooth and not alcohol burning, instead giving condensed creamy style elements that are a remarkable contrast to the hop prickle. You do get hints of the alcohol in the flavours, but never in the burn, and that bodes well for it now and for when it is aged.

The beer is a distinct hit, lots of pineapple and citrus flavour, lots of hops, lots of dark sweetness and good shortbread and jam with a much needed malt backbone. So lots of everything.

It is worryingly easy to drink for the strength and delivers the flavours as easily. Not one you forget in a hurry either as the flavour lingers long after each sip. A full on BIPA Barley Wine, and the answer to the question of what the hell that would be like.

Background: So, shortly after the joys of Oskar Blues they do a collaboration barley wine with an eye punishing garish coloured bottle. Not much to mention on this one, apart from the usual admitted bias for Brewdog beers I had little expectation going in and had just broken it open for a nice relaxing night.

Dales Pale ALe

Oskar Blues: Dale’s Pale Ale (USA: American Pale Ale: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Slightly hazy orange gold. Large loose bubbled off white head.

Nose: Dry hoppy bitterness. Pineapple. Dried apricot and stewed fruits. Figs. Crushed malt biscuits.

Body: Big pineapple. Juicy peach. Good hop character. Custard cream biscuits. Grapefruit. Big hop character. Figs. Bitter. Vanilla.

Finish: Great hop bitterness. Dried apricot. Liquorice touch. Tropical fruit juice. Plums touch. Very drying. Slight peppermint.

Conclusion: Damn this is hard to sum up in words. When you write down the individual elements it looks textbook, hops , pineapple and peach with a biscuit back. It sounds like an American Pale Ale but it doesn’t come close to summing up how good this actually is.

It is all in how the elements stack up. The hops are bracing but still allow the fruit elements to show themselves. The finish is drying but not painful or gritty. Despite a not too thick texture the flavour does feel thick, like stewed fruit mashed together, however that lighter texture delivers it with crispness that just slides down, wonderfully easy drinking.

So as you can see it is all in the combination, not what the elements are per se, but in how they are linked together. Like the beer equivalent of how it’s the synapse connections in the brain rather than the size of the brain that counts.

The flavour is thick and juicy, rolling around with tropical fruit flavours that slowly subside into the growling bitter finish. Also despite that high bitterness the beer is distinctly not an IPA, the biscuit body and the fruit dominating over the hop character makes it a defining testimonial to the place of the pale ale in drinking. Now if I had to pick I would say Three Floyds: Alpha King is the better beer, but this feels the better American Pale Ale. It is just so easy to drink, and thirst quenching, it feels like they have stripped out all the extraneous bits to leave just the ideal of an APA.

Utterly hoppy, fruity and moreish. This really is the pale ale writ large. My words don’t do it justice, it defines the style to me.

Background: I’ve drunk this once before, but when I went back to get one to review they were sold out. However Brewdog’s guest beer section have come to my rescue as they got them in stock recently and I grabbed a few. Since I had drunk it before I knew that, barring a massive difference in batches, that this was going to be a positive review, but I wanted to share the joy.

Little Yella Pils

Oskar Blues: Mama’s Little Yella Pils (USA: Pilsner: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow to grain. Moderate white loose bubbled head. Low to moderate carbonation.

Nose: Lightly malty. Crisp. Touch of hop bitterness. Banana sweet.

Body: Sweet banana. Malt biscuits and crisp bitterness. Sherbet lemon taste and feel. Pineapple. Peach.

Finish: Malt biscuits, dry hops and bitterness. Jiff lemon on pancakes. Slight pineapple. Slight lime. Quite dry.

Conclusion: How very civilized this beer feels, like all the elements are carefully waiting their turn to express themselves, then when they get the chance they do it is a measured but present manner.

There’s the crisp lager character and similarly crisp hops, balanced rather than big. There is the malt sweetness with banana touches, and a malt biscuit solidness done without being too heavy. That slight sherbet feel lets it move out into restrained lemon and apricot flavours. Unlike some craft beer interpretations this feels like a lager, it doesn’t try to be “big” like an ale, but it still manages to fit it so many elements, with slight tartness, bitterness and well crafted flavours in there. As I say, civilised, nothing trying too hard to grab the limelight and embarrassing itself while shutting out the other flavours.

Now it isn’t perfect, the hops are just a tad muggy in the finish for example, but for the most part it shows the hard to do balance of being restrained rather than booming, yet keeping the complexity in an easy to drink lager. So, on that point, by far the most important point, it does the job right. The sweet and tart flavours exchange places politely, the hops to citrus deftly exchange like dance partners. It is never dull, but always a lager and so easy to drink.

Not perfect, and not like the best of bohemian pilsners that turn out flavour masterpieces, but an excellent casual drinking lager.

Background: Ok, while I’ve not been reviewing many, I’ve drunk quite a few Oskar Blues beers recently and they have been impressing me so far. So I decided to give their Pils a chance, for one thing a pils in a can seems less weird than an Imperial Stout. Its less of a shock to the systems. I grabbed this from Brewdog’s Guest Beer selection. Drunk while listening to Erock’s “No More Heroes”. I found out about the guys music from his “* Meets Metal” range on youtube and decided it was worth throwing some money his way to see what his own tunes sounded like. Fun guitar work and beer, good times.

Ten FIDY

Oskar Blues: Ten Fidy (USA: Imperial Stout: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Creamy frothed up brown head.

Nose: Roasted yet smooth. Milky coffee, very rich. Fudge. Distillery air. Slight cloying cream.

Body: Creamy. Sweet. Condensed cream and milky chocolate. Bourbon touch. Very smooth. Fudge. Becomes more bitter late on in the beer. Raisins.

Finish: Bitter chocolate orange. Slight roasted hops character. Bitter coffee. Bitter grated chocolate flakes. Slight gin air. Slight tart black cherry.

Conclusion: Well, damn, this came from a can? Ok, I am used to craft beer in a can now, but a big imperial stout? That is a new one, let’s go!

It is, big that is, a mix of sweet and bitter aroma into an indulgently sweet and smooth as silk body, then finally into a forceful bitter finish. Even better the bitterness rises throughout the beer, interlacing with the sweetness mid body to create new experiences throughout the beer lifecycle. It is like a book that changes slightly every time you read it.

Oh, yes I forgot to actually mention exact flavours didn’t I? Chocolate, coffee, fudge, condensed cream, ok frankly you know the score. You have most likely had imperial stouts before, you know the various base styles an imperial stout can have, and you know that it is how they implement it that makes the difference.

Here, as you can probably tell, they do it with style, balancing the journey so that no one element dominates. It is a bit spirit touched though, now this does give it nice bourbon like flavours, but also that spirit air that shows the not quite integrated alcohol. Still, the strength also seems to bring subtle undertones of dark fruit with it so I can take that trade off.

So a few alcohol based flaws, but still a great massive imperial stout that is well with hiking through the flaws, the occasional rough elements are well worth the journey.

Background: Some days you just want to relax with a big Imperial Stout. Monday was one of those days. So I did. Yes it took me until Friday to put the write up online. I am lazy. Anyway, Oskar Blues for some reason I always accidentally call Osaka Blues, I blame Japan. I’ve drunk a few Oskar Blues beers before, including a few on Cask at GBBF. This is my first review however. Drunk while listening to Ulver: Childhood’s End, both trippy and relaxing, perfect for relaxing with strong beer.

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