Tag Archive: Siren

Siren Stillwater When The Light Gose Out

Siren: Stillwater: When The Light Gose Out (England: Traditional – Gose: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Black. Fizzes to a dark head which vanishes quickly. Evident spitting carbonation. When looked at when it settles it looks slightly like coke.

Nose: Hibiscus. Chinese stir fry. Light wood. Brown bread. Nutmeg. Lightly acidic.

Body: Tart. Light apple. Salt touch. A thin treacle element. Sour black cherry touch. Light lime. Roots. Slight charring. Dill pickle and gherkin. Light unsweetened cola bottles.

Finish: Fresh. Thin treacle. Salt. Light vanilla toffee. Light liquorice. Lime. Gherkin. Light lactose and nutmeg.

Conclusion: Ok. Apparently (see background) authentic style gose time, and a dark gose at that. That is a new one on me. Ok, this is going to be odd – I have had a bare handful of gose before, and considering one was bourbon aged I’m guessing they weren’t too traditional. Who knows, maybe time travelling bourbon barrels were used a lot in the old days. I’ve heard stranger things*

So, how do I try to work out how this goes? Step by step I guess.

The beer isn’t half as acidic as I expected – it is fresh, but not really acidic. Also while there is a salt touch, and it does seem to introduce a thirst, it isn’t too heavy on that element either. So a lot of my expectations coming in are already undercut. I am pretty much looking at an outside context problem here.

Not too much is given away up front in the aroma, sight roots, slight stir fry veg, slight nutmeg. All slight, very quiet and subdued. So I am had to dive in to start working it out.

The first sip is fuller, but even more confusing. Light apple tartness, and a thin treacle, or almost cola bottle element, with small saltiness. It is a beer that almost feels absent in texture as it fills the mouth – you get it more early on, but the more you get the flavour, the less you feel the beer, resulting in odd dark flavours seeming to float almost separate from the beer itself. Just hovering with a slightly charred darkness.

It is somewhat earthy as it builds, with roots and nutmeg, stir fry and salty gherkin – it doesn’t get heavy, but gives the main backing to the beer. I really don’t know what to make of it – this streaked sweet notes through a thirst inducing grounded yet mildly tart beer.

It is surprisingly soft to drink, yet full of odd elements – not harsh in the elements, but so full of unexpected elements that I expect a lot of people may not find it to their tastes, even though no one individual element is that challenging.

As it warms the cola backing rises, and the texture thickens, giving context for the other elements. Overall it is one of those beers that while I can describe it, I don’t quite feel competent to critique. I need more reference points. As is, it is a beer that reminds me of what a wide range you can get in the world, and I am intrigued and absorbed by it, I can even say I enjoyed it.

Such a mix of elements, an almost vegetable root beer. Absolutely fascinating.

Background: Gose! That once nigh dead style, that seems to be getting a resurgence. There is a lot of talk about an “authentic” gose. I am not really able to comment on that, I’ve only had a few. I will be hitting Goslar in the future, so will try some gose at the home of gose. Then again a lot of people say that their gose are not traditional, and the most authentic style is at Leipzig. Beats me. Anyway, in preparation I am grabbed a couple of gose beers from Independent Spirit. I have been told this is the more traditional of the two, a black gose made with volcanic black salt and hibiscus.

*admittedly none that turned out to be true, but still, I heard them.

Siren Beavertown Magic Rock Rule Of Thirds

Siren: Magic Rock: Beavertown: Rule Of Thirds (England: IPA: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon to apricot. Thick white bubbled head. Cloudy centre.

Nose: Pineapple. Crushed biscuits. Resin. Kumquat. Dry mango. Lemon juice. Moderate hops prickle. Dried apricot.

Body: Big bitterness. Sharp pineapple. Grapefruit. Some toffee and digestives. Light gritty feel. Elderberry.

Finish: Pink grapefruit. Good hops. Digestives. Big bitterness. Pineapple. Elderberry.

Conclusion: Some IPAs wake you up with bitterness, this, instead goes straight to the tart citrus trip.

It never hides it, never even tries, as soon at the bottle cap pops off – bam – pineapple – sharp as can be. There is a ton of citrus fruit in the aroma – a huge mix, but when you go to the first sip, it is straight back to pineapple. Well pineapple and grapefruit. Even cold it has a nicely gripping texture, not thick so much, more something that really grabs the taste buds and lets the citrus shock and awaken.

It is interesting, as despite definitely being about the citrus shock, it actually has quite a big bitter character as well. Despite being big when you see it, you only actually find it every now and then. The main place is in the finish, though it is very obvious in your first few sips, before the citrus has really got a hold.

It is like it does have huge hops, but half the time it vanishes rapidly as soon as the tartness hits, meaning that you only notice it when you are paying attention.

The malt base, slightly toffeeish, also nigh vanishes for most of the time. It shows a few hints top and tail, almost just showing up so it can say its there.

The tartest IPA I have had for a while, and an impressive wave of what I would guess holds a chunk of NZ hops in its IPA action. One note, but it is one hell of a cool note.

Background: So, a mix of the three IPAs from their respective breweries. Pretty good breweries as well. So I grabbed a bottle from the rapidly diminishing pile at Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to Ulver: Shadows Of The Sun. Which I still hold is one of the most beautifully haunting albums ever.

Siren Maiden 2013

Siren: Maiden 2013 (England: Barley Wine: 11.1% ABV)

Visual: Dark red brown. Large coffee froth brown frothy head. Cloudy.

Nose: Shortbread. Bitter red wine. Raisins. Gin. Green grapes. Slightly dusty. Barley. Cherries. Choc orange and toffee.

Body: Raisins. Malt chocolate. Bitterness. Resin and hop character. Cream. Honeyed barley. Light cherries. Light bitterness. Madeira.

Finish: Charred oak. Malt chocolate. Flavoured vodka. Bitter. Slight resin. Toffee liquore.

Conclusion: I’m still drinking as I wrote this, still trying to work out the final piece of the puzzle. Still letting the beer warm and seeing where that takes me. Mainly because it feels like there is more to come, but I want to get my ideas down while they are still fresh.

This is very smooth, the aroma is light and subtle, though still shifts well enough to call to a wide range of notes. The body though, is somewhat less wide ranging. It feels just a mix of dark malt, resin and bitterness, with raisins pushed as the main flavour element. It mixes that smooth texture with a resinous touch and soft spirit prickle – it is a nice feel, easy to drink but warming so to warn of the strength, but it doesn’t seem to hook its flavour onto this. The base building blocks of flavour are too much of the show.

I’m swirling the beer, and still all I’m getting really is raisins and malt chocolate. It needs more. Interestingly it is more bitter than your average barley wine, more resinous and even with some hop character. It is a nice feel, but again it is all about the base, without the needed shine. The bottle promises a variety of oak ageing, but they take their time to show.

I say take their time, as literally as I wrote that, about two thirds of the way through the bottle, I’m finally getting a few more notes. I’m glad that I took to writing to slow down my drinking of this, as it seems to have given it what it needs to get going. It is still not a showstopper, but a light build up of toffee liquore is coming out. The resinous elements mean that is nowhere near as sickly as you would imagine, you still getting the charring and resin up front, but there is a creamy spirit just nicely adding to it now.

Now the barrel ageing seems to have added a nice contrasting spirit and smoothness. It has a quality, but it only shows late on. Here at the very end it transcends its previous limitations. Finally the creaminess has come, the raisins have become full on fruitcake and the spirit touch has become Madeira like. Everything has finally reached a satisfying crescendo.

Of course I am near the end of a strong beer, that could be the alcohol talking. I get drunk easily.

So, a beer of delayed enjoyment, and because of that I can’t whole heartedly recommend it, but when it finally comes through it takes all the elements and makes from them a very smooth, and interesting drink. A beer of final moments enjoyment.

Background: So far Siren have made a bunch of beers I have found interesting, none perfect, but never dull. So, when I saw they were doing a anniversary barley wine that had been blended from a bunch of different barrel ageings I thought I would give it a try. Where did I pick it up from? Why Independent Spirit of course. Drunk while listening to some “Heavens To Betsy”. Again you ask if I have been playing Gone Home recently … how does everyone know? Seriously, play Gone Home. Thankfully the heat wave has broken now, so I could enjoy this at a reasonable background ambient temperature.

Neither Imperial IPA

Siren: Cigar City: Grassroots: Neither Imperial IPA (England: IIPA: 8.3% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to orange. Large sudded yellow to white head and some sediment in the body.

Nose: Pink grapefruit. Pineapple. Fluffy hops. Custard cream biscuits. Rhubarb. Tangerine.

Body: Grounded bitterness. Slightly earthy. Rhubarb and gooseberry. Light raspberry. Tangerine. Creamy feel. Vanilla and toffee. Grapefruit. Strawberry notes. Honey.

Finish: Earthy hops. Soil. Robust bitterness. Gooseberry. Malt chocolate. Raspberry notes. Light toffee. Honey.

Conclusion: Hmm, odd one this. Reminds me a bit of Shiga Kogen SOBA. It has a similar texture and those rhubarb like notes. It has that slightly thicker creamy texture that makes the earthy bitterness used here a bit more grounded and clinging.

Contrasting that earthy bitterness in the finish the main hop usage is fresh. (No and I don’t mean in a 1980’s slang fashion..ok, ok, well that as well, but that wasn’t my first intent). It has slight tart pink grapefruit and rhubarb. This element comes through clean as a whistle in the aroma, but the more grounded feel of the body calms the hop freshness, turning it into a dessert like mix with creamy and toffee notes. Less sharp, more rounded. The finish then feels old school English IPA in its slight soil character, pushing the tartness to the edges. You also get a discernable honey element that can be discovered early on in the beer, even if it never becomes a front note – more just increasing the sweetness to make up for the reduced malt.

I’m mixed in my opinion, the variety is impressive, the contrast interesting and frankly works better than most beers that try to mix earthy and sharp characters, so in that they have done good. That earthy finish though is just a tad too heavy, it doesn’t leave you appreciating what came before as much as it tramples upon it.

Still, interesting up until that point and so I will not linger too much on it, much as it is a notable flaw. The rest of the beer shows a mix of styles from American IPA aroma, hybrid body and English IPA finish. The hybrid body is where it peaks as the best of both worlds, and so it does earn its place as a beer to enjoy. So despite the flaw it is well made enough and interesting enough to be worth it.

Great aroma and body. Crap finish. It does enough to pull beyond that.

Background: Siren, upcoming UK Brewery, Cigar City, USA Legend. Grassroot. I dunno, I’ll have to look into them. Anyway, put it together and I just had to grab this Imperial IPA. Yes Imperial IPA, it still counts to round off IPA week. This is made with the adjunct corn which is usually avoided by most brewers – here used in a call back to early post prohibition ales. Also honey, because, well, honey. Drunk while listening to “Gold Teeth” by Scroobius Pip vs Dan Le Sac.

Undercurrant Barrel Aged

Siren Craft Brew: Wine Barrel Aged Undercurrent (England: American Pale Ale: 5.1%)

Visual: Hazy yellow apricot. Small white head. Evident sediment.

Nose: Horse blankets. Menthol. Sulphur. Tart white grapes. Meringue.

Body: Sour lemon juice and grapefruit juice. Pineapple juice. Blueberries underneath and grapes. Apricot.

Finish: Dry. Pineapple. Tart. Grapefruit. Dry hop character.

Conclusion: Goddamn it! This is another one of those beers where I end up trying to work out if I enjoyed it, or if I’m just intrigued by how very odd it is. I mean, it doesn’t really affect me that much, I’ve already drunk it, but I need to work out exactly where I stand and how to get the experience across to you lot so you can work out if you want to drink it.

It is very full of different tart fruit juices, like someone has poured a bunch of fruit cartons together and shook them up. On the other hand the aroma has slight horse blankets and sulphur notes that calls to lambics, though without the same level of class; this means that the aroma is probably the weakest part of the set.

Initially it is a bit too sour and one note to be workable, however it is not long before the sourness pulls its wonder trick – those secondary , almost hallucinatory notes. Here they are expressed with fruit sweetness in blueberry and apricot style. Yes it is more fruit notes but the sweetness is much needed for contrast and brings the beer back from the edge and back into the intriguing zone.

The pale ale character seems to mainly be shown through the texture, a dry feel of well done attenuation. Most of the flavours you would expect from a pale ale are subsumed below the tartness.

From the two odd elements, the odd barrel ageing and the yeast, I would say that the yeast definitely defines the beer more. You see a lot of brett characteristics from the aroma, the tartness and the flavour range. The wine notes seem more rounding elements, but they do integrate very well with the tart character of the beer.

Hmm. It is a very odd beer; works from one note to wide ranging, doesn’t show much of its base beer style but wears another style’s characteristics with ease. Overall I will say I enjoyed it, quirky as it was. Thanks for taking the time to walk through this with me.

Background: Picked up from “Independent Spirit”, this is not my first run in with Siren, but it is the first I’ve reviewed. I was intrigued by the concept, a chardonnay aged Pale Ale, even more intrigued that they had shoved some Brett in there as well. Drunk while listening to some Scroobius Pip. Always good music. I have not drunk bog standard undercurrent so couldn’t tell you how it compares.

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