Tag Archive: The Kernel

The Kernel London Sour Raspberry
The Kernel: London Sour: Raspberry (England: Berliner Weisse: 2.9% ABV)

Visual: Beautiful deep hazy strawberry red. Red fizzing head that vanishes quickly. Good level of carbonation in the body.

Nose: Tart raspberry. Light acidic apple. Strawberry yogurt. Twigs. Lemon sherbet.

Body: Sparkling and dry. Dry raspberry. Bitter middle. Tonic water. Light strawberry. White wine. Lemon.

Finish: Dry white wine. Dry raspberry. Tonic water. Lemon slices. Sulphur. Light salt. Mild apple cider.

Conclusion: I’ve given this time to warm up, lest it be the chill that is affecting it, but no, this still tastes kind of empty in the middle.

Good start, eh?

The aroma is great, with softly done acidic and tart fruit – a grace that matches the beauty of the deep red body. That body, when sipped, is like dry white wine with subtle fruit floating within.

Now it actually is sounding really good, right?

It really plies the dryness, tingling in the mouth and giving a clean teeth feel as the acidity strips them down. It has the mouthfeel just right. Problem is that the wine like notes are a backdrop, and the fruit burst is too short and it leaves you with just a middle that feels like tonic water with a slice of lemon in it. Just slightly murky, slightly sharp, but not doing too much in there. When the raspberry is rising it does the job nicely, but that experience is too intermittent to be relied on.

The finish especially ends up feeling just like tonic water,and feeling that way for so very long – normally a long finish is a good thing, but you need positive notes to last out with. The fruit needs more presence, or the base to have more character, or something.

The best bit is probably the start of each sip, when the fruit hits clear and refreshingly – everything after that is downhill. I seem to be going against the trend of opinion on this one it seems – I don’t think it works too well. The end feels slightly salty, like a gose, but without all the character that a gose brings to match that.

To be fair to the beer I did then try it with cheesecake, and the contrast does help, making the lighter notes more evident, but overall I would say avoid; The rest of the internet says they love it. So, take your pick and take your chance I guess.

Background: Apparently this was very popular when it was on tap at Collona and Hunter, me, I just grabbed it at Independent Spirit as I had never tried a sour from The Kernel and wondered how they would do. The Kernel are a solid brewery that I tend to turn to more on tap than in bottles. I am not as big fan of them as many, preferring Wiper and True who I refer to as “The Kernel of west country”, but still a good brewery. According to rate beer this is in their top 50 Berliner Weisses. Huh. Drunk while listening to a random mix of tunes for general chilling.

The Kernel: Imperial Brown Stout London 1856 (England: Imperial Stout: 10.1% ABV)

Visual: Black. A moderate coffee brown creamy head which is unusual considering the abv.

Nose: Roasted nuts. Dry and dusty. Bitter chocolate shavings. Slight sour cream touches.

Body: Bitter, with lots of dry malt and moderate solid hops.  A slight taste like that gum you lick to seal envelopes.   Chocolate malt drinks. Light liquorice and sourness. Twigs.

Finish: Still a dry bitterness. Slight resinous and gummy touches. Whole meal bread. Nuts. Duty with touch of bitter coffee.

Conclusion: You would think with the number of imperial stouts that I’ve tried recently that they would get a tad samey. However instead it seems to just have beaten home exactly what a wide range of sub styles resides within that category. This for example is a beer that feels old. The slight mustiness and sourness backed by bitter solid flavours. It all harkens to the earlier ara that its name refers to.

Old does not mean badly crafted however, for all it brings images of brown paper and vinegar to mind in its wrapping and style it is still solidly tasty. Reserved for an imperial stout, yet has a solid hold on its use of bitterness and sourness. The hints of chocolate and malt that leak out are all the more enjoyable for their not being omnipresent.

So a solid beer that does not burn with its weighty potency. Never showy, but quality none the less.

Background: The last of a wide range of imperial stouts I ended up with in my cupboard. This one is from a London based brewery called the Kernel which has done ok so far, though I’ve not had a wide range of their beers.

The Kernel: India Pale Ale: Columbus (England: IPA: 7.4%)

Visual: Clear peach and amber. An inch of nigh white solid head that has a slight crushed lemon skin colour dusted over it.   Moderate bubbles on the body.

Nose:  Very fresh lime and crisp prickly hops. Apricot. Fine ground flour. Tart pineapple juice or maybe a touch of grapefruit. All backed up by a nasal kick of mild crushed chilli seeds.

Body: Very tart. Pineapple and pear. An odd flavour that could possibly be compared to gherkins.  Passion fruit and dry wheat hops. Solid bitter and malt back. Touch of sweet peach to contrast.

Finish: Gherkins again and solid bitterness. Gooseberries. Slow building hops and greenery. Dry bread styling.

Conclusion: Now this one is deeply unusual. I have got used to what to expect from an IPA, and even what to expect of the different styles within. Then I get a wild outlier like this which comes as a bit of a shock to the system.

It has the citrus freshness and hops, that is not so unusual I hear you say.   Well true, but add in a light chilli like tingle, tartness and an almost gherkin like flavour to the middle and the whole beer has gone a touch topsy turvy.

It’s a jittering IPA, prickly like cactus and bringing it’s hops along with it.  While it isn’t something to have everyday, the slow prickle, greenery and bitterness in the finish gives it a distinct presence that matches the body well. Beyond that the roaming chilli like touches hang around at the back of the throat and don’t let you forget the beer for a while.

To contrast there is just enough subtle sweet fruit in an attempt to offset the off main body, and it does the job of that well enough.  Overall a well made oddity.  Well enough off the beaten track to give a good kick upside the expectations, but not well suited for regular drinking

Background: The Kernel is London based Brewery which seems to be getting some buzz about it recently so I had to check it out.  With it being a London based brewery of course the most natural place to get its beer from was a bottle shop several hundred miles away in York. So that is what I did. Columbus seems to turn up a lot in combination, but I think this is the first time I have run into the hop on its own.

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