Tag Archive: Salt

Salt: The Queer Brewing Project: Flavourtown (England: Imperial Porter: 8% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin brown dash of bubbles instead of a head.

Nose: Fresh dough. Slight crushed bourbon biscuits. Crushed crunchies chocolate bars.

Body: Smooth chocolate fondue. Light mead. Peppery. Caramel. Clean texture and mouthfeel. Honey.

Finish: Light earthy character. Watery chocolate. Honey sheen. Caramel in a Twix bar style. Milky coffee. Sheen of choc toffee. Cocoa.

Conclusion: What makes the difference between an Imperial Porter and a higher abv stout? That is the eternal question. Technically there are style guidelines, but in practise it seems to vary wildly. In this case I would say the difference is in mouthfeel and general weight of the beer.

While this is not a light beer by any means, it is only late on that it ever starts to show the full weight of the 8% ABV and even then it is very smooth for the style. That is in mouthfeel anyway, flavour wise this booms all the way. All the way to …flavourtown. Haha. Haha.


Anyway, this is smooth chocolate with honey and mead notes – in the finish those honeyed notes especially linger. Despite the strength and lasting flavour it doesn’t feel artificially intense or sweet, which feels a tad confusing. You have big long lasting flavours, but somehow restrained.

It has a little in the way of earthy and peppery notes, but at its core it comes in with that rich cocoa and honey, with only subtle influence from the common coffee porter notes. Despite the sweet notes it it quite dry, especially into the finish. It is odd, like a lot of the beer it feels slightly contradictory in its ways.

The beer does get thicker over time, feeling slightly honey thickened by the end – still not Imperial Stout like weight – more like a thicker mead, but so different from the start. Still not quite sure how that happened.

But, is it good? Kind of. Feels like it is honey balanced over a gentle sweet core at the start, but by the end it is honey on full blast which gets over powering. I enjoy it, but is an occasional drink, not a frequent one. Starts subtle, ends outrageously mead filled. Decent if unbalanced.

Background: The Queer Brewing Project! Cool idea, with some of the profits going to LGBTQ charities and Salt are a good brewery to match, so it was an easy choice to drive into Flavourtown! Whoop whoop! So what did they go for? An Imperial Porter made with honeycomb dust. You don’t get many Imperial Porters, possibly because of the confusion in what exactly one is, so it was an interesting one to grab from Independent Spirit. Went back to the 90s with Faithless: Reverence as backing music while drinking.

Big Drop: Salt: L’il IPL (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow to grain coloured body. Good sized off white bubbled head. Small bubbled carbonation in the body.

Nose: Wheaty hop character. Peppery. Bitter. Crushed pepper seeds. Crisp. Lime. Lemon sherbet.

Body: Clean vanilla. Lemon sherbet. Crisp mouthfeel into fluffy later on. Moderate bitterness and hop character. Soft lime. Palma violets.

Finish: Peppery. Lemon sherbet. Good hop prickle. Slight hop oils. Quickly growing bitterness. Soft lime. Fluffy vanilla popcorn. Kiwi. Late on tannins and teabag notes come out.

Conclusion: Ok, this may actually have topped Big Drop’s Pale Ale as the go to for best low alcohol beer. It’s got a lovely clean lager feel, with none of the odd, chemical feeling notes that some low alcohol beers have.

The crisp, easy drinking style comes through with some soft palma violet notes that call to the hop use of the European lagers, and similarly a touch of hop oils with it. It makes for a fine base over which the heavier IPL hop weight is laid.

While this has a simple set of flavours from those heavier hops – a mix of lemon sherbet and lime notes are the most obvious fruity character – this light touch provides room for a solid hop feel and bitterness that prickles the tongue. It is lightly peppery in a way that adds to the urge to take another sip to deal with that hoppiness. Very drinkable.

In most lagers this hoppy encouragement to sip again would be as dangerous as it is enjoyable – but since this is 0.5% abv this is perfect to have as many as you want!

Now, late on there is a slight tannins and teabags like note that gives away the low abv, but generally this is a nigh perfect low alcohol IPL for session drinking.

This needs releasing as a stand alone beer right now.

Background: Third of the four low abv collaboration beers Big Drop did to celebrate their third anniversary. This India Pale Lager is a collaboration with Salt, who are epic at hop forward beers. Big Drop are epic at low abv beers so, yeah, I was excited for this one. The box of beers was grabbed at Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Garbage – Bleed Like Me. Not their most famous album, but one I have a soft spot for.

Salt: Track: Tramshed DDH IPA (England: IPA: 7% ABV)

Visual: Just slightly cloudy peach to lemon juice colour. An inch of yellow/white bubbly froth for a head.

Nose: Pineapple. Crisp hop character. Flour. Soft vanilla. Soft peach.

Body: Big peach. A flavour like a non sour gherkin. Tart grapes. Lightly oily hops. White bread. Prickly hops. Slight nettles. Slight vanilla custard.

Finish: Peach. Apricot. Slightly oily and resinous character. Fluffy hop character. Slight bitterness. Pineapple.

Conclusion: Ohh, this is a good IPA. The cloudiness made me worried it was going into full NEIPA mode, and would have none of of the lovely hop character I crave, but, despite the fact it it wears the NEIPA style fruitiness it also has a very pleasant hop character which pushes it closer to the other IPA styles. IMHO anyway.

It is very juicy, with peach, tart grapes and an odd gherkin/pickle like note but without the sourness. Kind of hard to explain, but it is a nice, more savoury note against the huge sweet fruitiness. But again, fruit aside, what makes it work is that hop character. Crisp and clean in the aroma. Lightly oily and resinous in the body, into a fluffy style with present but muted bitterness in the finish.

So, maybe it is like a NEIPA in a few ways, but different enough in the ones that count to me. Fucked if I know which style it actually falls under – the style guidelines don’t exactly match either way. What it does match is the good hop character to sweet fruit, and just a light pineapple fresh character. There is so much fruit that it feels like it matches just enough old school IPA to a touch of what actually works in a NEIPA to the benefit of both styles. It has a slightly dry take that makes me think of West Coast IPAs, while using a touch of vanilla custard malt styling that makes me think East Coast.

Any which way it is a lovely mix up of an IPA. Deffo recommended.

Background: My first experience with Salt was a good one – they managed to put out an impressive Session IPA. A style I’m often not a big fan of, so when I got the chance to grab a full on IPA from they I decided to give it a go. I had a slightly hard time working out who the collaborator was – from the small icon on the can it looked like it said “TAACW”. Turns out it is track. Guess that font doesn’t handle being shrunk well. Don’t think I’ve tried anything from them before – though with over 2000 tasting notes these days I will admit I lose track some times. No pun intended. Went back to Tool: Fear Inoculum for drinking music. It is sooo good. This is another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit.

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