Tag Archive: Saint-Germain


Saint-Germain Nøgne Ø Rhub’IPA

Saint-Germain: Nøgne Ø: Rhub’IPA (France: IPA: 6.9% ABV)

Visual: Clear at first glance, but if held up light then the light reflects off light sediment within. Large white crisp bubbled head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Floral. Dry lemon. Light crisp bitterness. Lightly wheaty. Pineapple.

Body: Light tartness and bitterness mix. Subtle rhubarb that rises as time goes on. Pineapple. Slight granite edged base. Sweet peach syrup taste and texture.

Finish: Sugared rhubarb pie. Moderate bitter hops. Grapefruit touch. Dry unleavened bread. Lemon. Dried apricot and peach.

Conclusion: I have always been a sucker for a good stick of rhubarb, all the way back to my young ‘un days. My love of IPAs, well that came later – but it is still a long time allegiance.

So…

Rhubarb IPA anyone?

Well, it does have rhubarb and IPA – the tartness of the rhubarb working better with the hops here than the similar concept grapefruit IPA “You taste better when you are scared“. Here the rhubarb is a subtle but definite presence, and the bitterness also has a solid but not excessive kick. Even better, either from the hops, or from the mixing of the different elements, there seems to be a nice range of tart flavours – grapefruit and pineapple standing out, with some small fruit sugar sweetness behind. It isn’t the most efficient melding of flavours, but considering there is little out there like this for comparison, it works the rough edged bits well.

Now, under that, the base ale doesn’t work quite as well – there is a dry, kind of unleavened bread character- it isn’t too heavy mid body but works its way out into the finish where it doesn’t quite work. Maybe this was needed as a base for the other elements to work, but it feels out of place here and unnecessarily rough – it draws attention away from the better front elements.

Now it doesn’t ruin the beer – and the peach syrup sweetness does help keep it at bay for some of the time, but it is a flaw, and a consequence that can come with doing something a bit unusual. So, yeah, it is an element that reduces this to just a fun odd beer rather than a high quality one. Don’t get me wrong, I am charmed by this and its tart to hop balance but on the technical scale it is far from a perfect 6.0.

Still, have fun with it – sometimes you don’t need perfection and a good old try will take you far enough.

Background: A brewery from France I had only run into as part of a Welsh collaboration beer, oh and Nøgne Ø. So a blend of new and exciting and old reliable. A good balance. I grabbed this from Independent Spirit as the idea of an IPA made with rhubarb juice intrigued me – I love rhubarb. I drank it election day as I saw the result predictions as by that point I needed a brew to commiserate. Ah well. Drunk while listening to the Gunflower’s New EP, and Miracle Of Sound’s Metal Up. Both punk and metal awesomeness. Oh, also I love the little swing tops that the use for the bottle. They are so darn neat.

614 Annees

Celt Experience: Saint-Germain: 614 Annees (Wales: Imperial Porter: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Loose off white head.

Nose: Rye. Toffee. Bourbon. Orange zest. Malt chocolate. Peppercorn. Vanilla. Light nuts. Treacle.

Body: Chocolate liquore. Thick. Brown bread or bagel. Molasses. Treacle toffee. Fudge. Rye spice. Sweet orange liquore. Cinnamon. Cream centres.

Finish: Rye. Orange. Dry spice. Light lime sorbet and orange sorbet. Charring. Smoke.

Conclusion: A competitor for the place of awesome cask porter that can go head to head with Bristol United’s Collaboration Smoked Porter. Both are collaboration ales, both porters, though this is a tad stronger, and this uses rye instead of smoked malt.

This thing is smooth, sweet and huge. Even the aroma feels chewable, and the body more so. It mixes molasses, treacle and fudge, with even the spice coming in as sweet cinnamon. You do get hints of the drier rye spice, but far from too harshly, just harsh enough to add a bit of backbone to it.

What brings such joy for this is the unexpected level of chocolate fruit centres you get in the sweetness, light orange and lime in a subtle sorbet style some times, and in line with the thick creaminess of the over the top flavours at other times. The texture definitely helps – it is very creamy, very much a feel that allows the flavour grip. It is like a slightly harsh dessert with smoke and spice.

The treacle and toffee are thick as sin, but they do not overwhelm, there is so much going on. The flavours are complex, from the sweet surface notes, to hints of spice below. There is such great contrast, and such a great feel that you can return to it again and again.

Easily a competitor with Collaboration Smoked Porter. Not session beer, no, a heavy and decadent Celt Experience. They have done themselves proud here. This is lovely.

Background: Last of the three cask ales I reviewed at the Cardiff CAMRA beer festival. I drank more beers after, but I don’t tend to trust my tastebuds enough for a review after three. This big boy I saved for last, a strong porter made with rye and cascade hops. This was made in collaboration with the French craft brewers Saint-Germain, who I don’t think I have run into before. Incidentally this beer fest had a bloody Fosters stand. A busy Fosters stand. My friend, below, shows our shared opinion on this matter.

IFeelSickTonight

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