Tag Archive: Top Out


Top Out: First Ascents – Yukatan Honey Wheat Wine (Scotland: Bearley Wine: 10.2% ABV)

Visual: Very dark red to brown. A beige, thin bubbled centimetre of a head.

Nose: Honey. Brown bread baps. Dry mead.

Body: Honey. Black pepper. Brown bread. Dry mead.

Finish: Brown bread. Black pepper. Clear honey. Flour. Cloudy honey.

Conclusion: Ok, honey, bready, black pepper. That was a fairly short set of notes. Ok, I put a bit more than that but it took a while, for nearly half the beer that was all I had written down. Let’s take a moment and see if I can find a bit more to dig into here.

Ok, well, the honey character comes across very thick and full initially, but quickly become a kind of dry mead character that then just lasts and lasts – so, some kind of progression going on there.

The peppery and bready notes mix well to create an oddly savoury experience in the midst of this, especially considering the sheer amount of honey flavours. Despite occasional sweet honey notes it is generally very well attenuated with little residual sweetness.

And with all that said, eh, I have to admit I am having a hard time getting excited. I like mead. I like honey. I just kind of need a bit more in a beer than only that.

So, to look at the positive, it does express the honey in a very varied way – dry mead, cloudy thick honey, clear honey sheen. All good, but I need more.

A very honey beer that ends up kind of boring.

A pity.

Background: While I haven’t grabbed many of their beers, Top Out have been pretty solid in what I have encountered from them. This is a wheat wine made with Mexican yucatan honey, which is something a bit different. Been on a barley wine kick recently so a mead like take on that sounded right up my street. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went with Getter – Visceral for this while drinking. Not my usual kind of music but works nicely for a backing to drinking.

Tap Out Dark Abbey

Top Out: Dark Abbey Style Beer (Scotland: Belgian Strong Ale: 8.9% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Dusty off white bubbles over the body.

Nose: Bitter chocolate. Slight sour grapes. Prunes and raisins. Slightly dusty. Coffee remains. Vinous.

Body: Port. Raisins. Fruitcake. Sour grapes. Tobacco. Chewable. Chocolate. Figs. Liquore feel. Ripe banana.

Finish: Madeira cake. Raisins. Rich and slightly sweet. Raspberry cream. Slight tobacco. Fruitcake. Touch of marzipan around the edge. Malt chocolate. Ripe banana. Brown sugar.

Conclusion: After I finished this review I looked to the web to see what others thought and found this was getting middling but not special review. Boy do I not have my finger on the pulse of the beer community as this is bloody lovely.

Calling very heavily to the dubbel in style it is hugely complex and open to examination with dark fruits, chocolate, vinous notes and influences. It walks that line between the over smooth liquore feel of the USA take on the style and the harsh edged full character that defines my preferred Belgian origin of the style. The match of the two allows the really ultra smooth raisins and figs to come without losing that big chewy yeasty character of the Belgium interpretation. It feels like it should age wall as well. I will have to try.

There is also a wonderful sourness, vinous in character that permeates and offsets the sweet aspects and Madeira flavours in the same way that the rough yeastiness offsets the liquore feel. It is just somehow rough edges and balanced smoothness simultaneously.

Not as big on feel as many Belgian varities of the same abv, which does mean it is different, but also dangerously drinkable. Frankly of all the non Belgian attempts at the style this is easily one of my favourites. A fantastic job. Now while the rest of the web seems to say otherwise, I stand here and say, try this, you may love it for the great beer it is.

Background: Not “Tap Out” Despite how the logo makes it look that way. A pity, I had a wealth of Kurt Angle jokes lined up. Picked this up at Independent Spirit, I’ve not tried any Top Out beers before but was interested in seeing a UK take on the Belgium Style. For beer style I was leaning toward Dubbel, however at the abv and style I guess Belgium Strong Brown ale is probably fair, so in this case I will go with rate beers suggested style. Drunk while listening to some Lacuna Coil, been a while since I broke them out to listen to. According to the bottle this is their first limited edition beer, long may they continue.

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