Tag Archive: USA


Barton Distillery: 1792 Small Batch (USA: Bourbon Whiskey: 46.85% ABV)

Visual: Darkened, slightly browned gold. Mainly slow puckering comes from the spirit.

Nose: Cereals. Wisp of smoke. Shreddies. Quite dry. Slight butter. Peppery. Vanilla. Slightly dusty.

Body: Slick. Honey. Vanilla. Slight peach. Lightly waxy. Vanilla yogurt. Flower petals. Light strawberry. Toffee. Water lightens and makes more generic.

Finish: Butter. Peppery to rye crackers. Dried apricot touch. Brown bread. Slight chives. Vanilla yogurt. Water adds slight sulphur and general cereals quality.

Conclusion: This reminds me a bit of Maker’s Mark, just bigger. That is a good thing though, Makers Mark was my go to bourbon for many a year and bigger is generally welcome.

It has the same slightly rustic, peppery and cereal led character but here with extra touches that really pushes it up a notch. The mouthfeel is slick, but a bit waxy, a bit buttery, which makes everything a bit more interesting behind the more traditional vanilla and toffee flavours. There is even a wisp of sulphur adding a touch of weight. Not peat smoke, just a slightly sulphur touched dry air to the whole thing.

There are hints at fruit notes at the edge which is unusual for a bourbon. Nothing showing through strongly, just calls to rounding apricot or strawberry that adds a faint sweetness to what is a dry, cereal led whiskey.

A lot of those flavours are enhanced by the bigger mouthfeel. The slightly waxy, touch really gives grip to a slick bourbon. Despite the touch higher abv it only shows in grip and flavour, no real extra harshness. In fact, on that note, don’t add water to this, it only mutes what is an already good bourbon. In my opinion obviously, I’m not going to slap the whiskey out of your hands if you think differently.

It isn’t a must have bourbon, but feels like a posh Makers Mark and that is no bad thing. Definitely better, but still an easy drinking bourbon and worth the extra pounds it costs. I enjoy it very much.

Background: Fairly simple story for this one. I had a bourbon shaped gap in my whisky selection at the time, was perusing the whiskey selection in Waitrose and noticed this one. Was not silly money, seemed to have a good reputation, and so I grabbed a bottle. Simple. Didn’t know much about it at the time so not much else to add. Had seen IDLES live recently, my first gig for years due to the darn plague going around, so went with IDLES: Crawler as backing music. Enjoyed the gig but was a tad worried that I was pretty much the only darn person masked up. Sigh.

Buffalo Trace: Blanton’s: Single Barrel Gold Edition (USA: Bourbon Single Cask: 51.5% ABV)

Visual: Visual: Deep, slightly bronzed, gold. Slow, thin streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Rye crackers. Peppery. Alcohol tingle evident. Warm orange creme. Subtle menthol. Warm custard. Red grapes. Water makes smoother and brings out more rye crackers.

Body: Warming. Honey. Peppery. Very mild aniseed. Peach syrup. Slightly astringent. Water adds apricot. Red grapes. Fatty butter.

Finish: Dry oak. Juicy grapes. Custard. Wholemeal crackers. Drying. Peppery. Water adds menthol. Vanilla. Slight savoury cream touch.

Conclusion: This is so rewarding, so recognisably bourbon but with tons of elements I would not normally associate with the style and the mix makes it stand out as something special.

At its base it is a slightly rye crackers tasted peppery thing. So I am guessing that there is a moderate amount of rye in the mash bill – but I could be wrong. Along with that there is some of the traditional bourbon style vanilla backing it but less so than you would imagine. It is slightly drying and astringent from the alcohol weight when taken neat, but not especially so, especially considering the over 50% abv.

Above that is a honey sweetness, along with a slight strange more custard like sweetness that seems to be there in place of the more traditional vanilla in most areas. This is still in the ballpark of bourbon expectations, it just feels like higher abv and care taken in its selection has given it a weightier, bigger expression of which the custard replacing the vanilla is the most obvious element.

What makes it really stand out is a slight sweet peach syrup note, and a sweet grapes touch – in a red grapes style that I really would not have expected considering that, with this being bourbon, it will have been aged in virgin oak, and so I cannot attribute to subtle use of sherry oak ageing like I normally would. Even more there is subtle green grapes and menthol touches that are wonderful and unexpected extra flourishes over the bourbon base. These elements are noticeable neat, but become super evident with a touch of water smoothing out the more astringent alcohol notes.

These all combine to give it a subtle, but impressive variety of flavour, while still delivering the expected bourbon notes very well as a base that everything else works from. It is covering a complex range, but without sacrificing what bourbon is known for best and that combination makes it probably the best bourbon I have tried. Very impressive.

Background: I’ve missed a chance to pick up some Blantons a few times before, it has a great reputation as a single cask bourbon and always vanished while I was umming and ahhing in on if I should grab a bottle. So this time when some came into Independent Spirit I grabbed a bottle right away, the Gold Edition in fact. There is a lot of information on the, very pretty indeed, bottle – everything from barrel number, rack number, warehouse and date dumped. Most of it doesn’t tell me anything as I don’t know where those places are, but it is a nice touch. Really brings out the individuality of this single barrel expression. There wasn’t a new Miracle Sound release for 2021, so for music I picked up his earlier album – Level 6 – and went with that as backing music.

Untitled Art: Non Alcoholic: Chocolate Milk Stout (USA: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin off white to grey head.

Nose: Crushed bourbon biscuits in chocolate milkshake. Cocoa dust. Milky coffee.

Body: Milky chocolate. Chalk touch. Slight cold tea hints. Creamy mouthfeel.

Finish: Crushed bourbon biscuits. Milky chocolate to chocolate milkshake. Chalk touch. Slight iced tea. Coffee beans. Lactose.

Conclusion: This is probably the best alcohol free/ low alcohol stout I have had. Mainly for one big reason. It utterly nails the mouthfeel, which seems to be a stumbling block for so many low alcohol beers. It is slightly creamy, nicely slick on the tongue, and with just the lightest chalkiness so it isn’t pure creaminess and has some contrast, but not so much it feels off. It is thick enough, not super thick, but definitely replicates the grip of your average milk stout.

Impressive.

Flavour-wise it leans very heavily on the chocolate for the character, going from sweet but dusty cocoa dust, to a smoother chocolate milkshake sweetness, to a heavier crushed bourbon biscuit style. So, as you may have guess, not the hugest range – but a pleasant one. There is some milky coffee backing, which is another nice traditional stout note, and a mild coffee bitterness with that, but the milky chocolate is the main game.

There are some low alcohol hints but very well hidden indeed – the aforementioned chalkiness is one hint normally but here is made very much part of the stout character so I don’t even know if that counts. There are some iced tea notes, but they are only just noticeable if you specifically look for them as they are way below the chocolate notes that cover it.

If I had tried this blind I am fairly sure I could have mistaken it for a standard abv milk stout, and a good one at that. Not super complex, but super impressive for what it pulls off.

I recommend it highly for filling your alcohol free stout needs.

Background: I grabbed a can of this in my last Light Drinks batch, it was quite expensive for an alcohol free drink so I only grabbed one, and didn’t do notes when I broke it open. Which I instantly regretted as I loved it. So when I put in another order I grabbed another can specifically to do notes on. This is that can. It is made with cocoa nibs which explains a lot. Went with the light and poppy Japanese Breakfast: Jubilee for backing music. I heard them mentioned a few times so checked them out and they are some nice, more chilled music than I normally get.

Buffalo Trace: Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye (USA: Straight Rye Whiskey: 64.5% ABV)

Visual: Bright orange gold. Fast thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Very peppery and rye crackers touched. Stewed apple touches. Vanilla. Sour dough.

Body: Honey. Peppery. Rye spiciness. Quickly becomes tingling. Pumpkin and pumpkin spice. Oily. Water adds a strawberry touch. Slight grapes. Lots of oily charring. Orange cream touch.

Finish: Dried mango. Oily character. Smoke touch. Tobacco. Chewy. Pumpkin. Water adds tropical fruit.

Conclusion: Another very, very strong whiskey, but this handles the abv so much better than the George T Stagg before it. There is still the spice and the rye, even more so with this being a straight rye, but it manages to make room for more evident fruit notes to round it out. The mix of the spice and fruit manages to come together in a lovely synergy of pumpkin and pumpkin spice among the heavier charring and peppery notes.

Even though it does work as a whiskey neat, I will say a drop of water, and just a drop is needed, and really brings out the character. This big oily charring character comes out, with the oiliness really helping to balance the charred style, and under this thick heavy character you find more subtle notes poking their way through.

It is dark, oily, and while stealing the word dank from beer notes would be the wrong term, it calls a similar set of imagery to mind. The oiliness can however express itself as oily grape notes or even occasionally adding an oily strawberry character into the mix.

Later on an orange cream note comes out – while this is not part of the Van Winkle mash bill set it seems that orange character is still hard to avoid. Not that I am complaining. While this is very impressive, the abv of this still numbs things for me. I just don’t have a system that can handle this abv and still notice the subtleties that this may hold even with a drop or so of water to help break it up. However, even taking it as is, I’m feeling so many hints around the dark, spicy core that I feel that people who can handle the abv will appreciate more. If it wasn’t for the nature of the tasting, I would have experimented with water more but I wasn’t confident I could use the available water and not drown it.

Another utterly fascinating one, still not 100% for me as that abv is punishing but there is so much going on I very much enjoyed its massive weight of character despite that.

Background: One more time – So, it has been about a year and half since Independent Spirit did one of their whisky tastings. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on right now, probably something small and unimportant. So they opened with this – a six USA whiskey, predominately bourbon, rare as hell set of a tasting. Joking aside, I was nervous about going, due to, well covid and not wanting to be a virus spreader, but it was held in the well ventilated, covered back area of Wolf Saloon, which had a decent amount of room as well, so I thought I would give it a go as part of my attempt to return to being social in this new world. Of the six whiskeys I had already done notes on two, and this was the sixth and final whisky of the evening. This, a straight rye, was the first non bourbon of the evening and with its huge abv the second that I had to add water to in order to manage to appreciated. Chris from Independent Spirit did give a lovely amount of info on the naming background of each whiskey, but I will admit due to alcohol I have forgot most of the fine details. Thomas H Handy was the creator of a famous rye cocktail in New Orleans called the Sazerac and this is named after him basically.

Buffalo Trace: George T Stagg (USA: Bourbon Whiskey: 65.2% ABV)

Visual: A darker bronzed gold, with more orange gold hints. Thin slow puckering comes from the spirit.

Nose: Heavy. Rye crackers. Wisp of smoke. Dry. Dry treacle. Touch. Chilli seed. Paprika. Burnt brown sugar.

Body: Thick, Oily. Gets fiery quickly. Strawberry touch. Very drying. Water adds a tiny touch more of the strawberry, Quite oily. Almost a hop oil feel but not flavour. Brown bread.

Finish: Oily. Charred touch. Spicy. Chilli seeds. Nutmeg. Mulled spice. Touch of greenery. A touch of water adds tannins and fatty notes.

Conclusion: Unsurprisingly for the abv, this is freaking massive. It has a fiery touch, which, again is not unexpected, but there is a lot more than that. When you sip it rapidly evaporates, drying and desiccating your mouth, and leaves behind a real chilli seed spicy tingling character that fires up that now sensitive tongue.

Neat it is so very harsh, with a treacle character that still comes across as very dry and spicy. So, for the first time in this tasting session’s notes I added water, and boy did it make it a lot more manageable. Now it has an oily thick feel that allows it to very mildly sooth your mouth to manage the heavy spice and burning, and so you can finally appreciate that wide spice expression more fully.

With this just a drop of water this still has really heavy, dark and charred notes, but no longer harshly so. It has as more neutral, savoury bready character at the base to work from, oiliness for the grip and the spice doing the main show. There is even an almost smoke touch, but not in a traditional peaty way, just an edge note from the spice. There are now even hints of softer notes at the edges, nothing I could quite get a grip on though. Possibly they would develop with more water, or if I had a better handle on the high abv but as it was they were just hints of more that may be there but I could not really describe.

It is formidable and challenging. In a way it feels like the Islay of bourbons. Not in direct flavour, peat or Island character but in that it has those challenging, heavy flavours that take time to get used to and are definitely an acquired taste.

More intriguing than enjoyable for me, but I can see the appeal for others.

Background: So, it has been about a year and half since Independent Spirit did one of their whisky tastings. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on right now, probably something small and unimportant. So they opened with this – a six USA whiskey, predominately bourbon, rare as hell set of a tasting. Joking aside, I was nervous about going, due to, well covid and not wanting to be a virus spreader, but it was held in the well ventilated, covered back area of Wolf Saloon, which had a decent amount of room as well, so I thought I would give it a go as part of my attempt to return to being social in this new world. Of the six whiskeys I had already done notes on two, and this was the fifth whisky of the evening. While not a straight rye, this apparently has a moderate amount of rye to it, making it the first bourbon to have a different mash load of the evening – with the various Van Winkles and the Weller all starting from the same mash load out. While most of the bourbons I had neat as bourbon often doesn’t take water well, this was the first one where I had to add a drop as it was too massive for me neat. Chris from Independent Spirit did give a lovely amount of info on the naming background of each whiskey, but I will admit due to alcohol I have forgot most of the fine details. Basically George T Stagg was a big name, so the whiskey is named after him.

Buffalo Trace: Old Rip Van Winkle: 10 Year (USA: Bourbon Whiskey: 53.5% ABV)

Visual: Bright orange gold, in an almost lucozade style in the light. Fast thick steaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Touch of smoke. Lots of varied breakfast cereals. Shreddies. Maize cereals. Moderate rye crackers and peppery character. Brown bread. Crushed leaves. Brown sugar. Thick and slightly musty.

Body: Thick and warming. Oily. Vanilla. Dry oak. Treacle touch. Heavy. Buttery. Fudge. Brown bread. Orange cream.

Finish; Tannins and astringent. Peppery. Toffee and vanilla. Dry fudge. Buttery and slightly fatty.

Conclusion: This is heavy. Now the alcohol is doing a lot of the work in making it so, with a more dry character up front, but then allowing the fattier, oilier notes to come through after. There is a lot about the mouthfeel and texture that it doing the heavy lifting here to make seem very different to the other Van Winkles.

It is still slightly peppery, but initially it has none of those orange notes I usually associate with the Van Winkles. Instead, behind the fatty character is a mix of brown bread and lots of breakfast cereals into a sturdy toffee and fudge character. Still quite dry in how it is delivered, thick of body and very heavy.

Like this it is very much about the feel for me rather than the flavour. The oils, the thickness, the fatty character that is all what makes it interesting. The flavours are not unusual, but that feel really works what can be done with the abv.

Finally, late on after some time to air, the orange cream notes do finally make an appearance. It seems no amount of abv can fully hide this Van Winkle note for too long.

Not a favourite of mine, but a stand out for being different from the usual Van Winkle fare.

Background: So, writing this for the second time, it has been about a year and half since Independent Spirit did one of their whisky tastings. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on right now, probably something small and unimportant. So they opened with this – a six USA whiskey, predominately bourbon, rare as hell set of a tasting. Joking aside, I was nervous about going, due to, well covid and not wanting to be a virus spreader, but it was held in the well ventilated, covered back area of Wolf Saloon, which had a decent amount of room as well, so I thought I would give it a go as part of my attempt to return to being social in this new world. Of the six whiskeys I had already done notes on two, and this was the third whisky of the evening and the only Van Winkle of the set I had not tried yet. Chris from Independent Spirit did give a lovely amount of info the background of each whiskey, but I will admit due to alcohol I have forgot most of the fine details. This is a wheated bourbon, and each of the Van Winkles use the same mash load. After trying this I had Pappy Van Winkle 15 again for the first time in years – this time I found a softness of mushy cooked apples and pear notes, and some tropical fruit I had not found before, making it a smoother thing than I remembered before.

Buffalo Trace: W L Weller Special Reserve (USA: Bourbon Whiskey: 45% ABV)

Visual: Very bright gold, almost lucozade bright. Very fast thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Peppery spice. Rye crackers. Orange sorbet. Honey. Cream. Light milk.

Body: Honey. Honey nut cornflakes. Wheaty thickness. Lightly peppery. Smooth, but with a grip. Toffee to toffee liqueur. Cream. Orange cream. Oily. Sap. Apple notes over time.

Finish: Slight sulphur. Honey nut cornflakes. Touch of smoke. Wheat flakes. Peppery. Vanilla. Charred oak. Toffee liqueur. Grapes. Menthol and sap mix.

Conclusion: The first impressions I got from this was of a lot of spice – mainly a mix of peppery character and a touch of rye crackers. Which is more what I would have expected from a rye heavy whisky than a wheated bourbon like this. It reminds me of the Van Winkle range (for a reason that turned out not to be a coincidence as I note in the background below), even having that slight orange note to it.

That spice I mentioned is there for the whole whiskey, but it is far from the whole story. It is smooth, yet with a slightly fluffy grip that in some ways reminds me of the soft grip you get from a weissebier. I would say it makes sense but I have not encountered this in any other wheated bourbon, so I think it is just a coincidence.

Flavour wise it has a soft toffee to toffee liqueur set of notes underneath, a gentle slightly milky feel and sweeter flavours under the spice front notes. The ahem wheaty feel and pepper character makes it never completely smooth, but the toffee cream touch to the core does make it a lot smoother than most of its similar contemporaries and calls to the impressions of a far smoother whiskey.

Now, as discussed in the background, it has a lot of reason for tasting kind of similar to the Van Winkles, especially in that orange touch, but it has a lot of differences apart from that smoother character. It has a slight menthol touch that makes it fresh, and lots of honey assisting the sweetness. While it starts spice and rye, the longer you take to sip it the smoother and smoother it will get, with more vanilla, honey and finally even apple coming out for a more soothing end to the dram.

It is basically a smoother, slightly more toffee take on the Van Winkle style, but that description doesn’t do it justice. There are touches from grapes, to that creamy note. I actually mildly prefer it to a good chunk of the Winkle range. It is not as forthright, but smoother and with that character of its own that makes it distinctive.

Background: I’m going to be copy pasting the bulk of this over the next few notes, so apologies if it becomes repetitive but a lot of the info will be the same – So, it has been about a year and half since Independent Spirit did one of their whisky tastings. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on right now, probably something small and unimportant. So they opened with this – a six USA whiskey, predominately bourbon, rare as hell set of a tasting. Joking aside, I was nervous about going, due to, well covid and not wanting to be a virus spreader, but it was held in the well ventilated, covered back area of Wolf Saloon, which had a decent amount of room as well, so I thought I would give it a go as part of my attempt to return to being social in this new world. Of the six whiskeys I had already done notes on two, and this was the first and allegedly easiest to find whisky of the evening. Well I guess it is easier, just that does not mean easy. Chris from Independent Spirit did give a lovely amount of info the background of each whiskey, but I will admit due to alcohol I have forgot most of the fine details. This is a wheated bourbon, and uses the same mash load as the three Van Winkles that came after it. Apparently the main difference is that each barrel is sampled and select ones chosen for the Van Winkle range, the rest for this cheaper but still expensive on the aftermarket bottling.

Trillium: Fated Farmer Blackcurrant (USA: Fruit Sour Beer: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black-cherry red. Thin purple hued rim of a head.

Nose: Wet oak. Blackcurrant. Tannins. Sour red wine to Pinot Noir. Cake sponge. Walnuts.

Body: Dry. Dry white wine. Sour blueberry. Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Acidic apple and acidic at back of the throat. Vinegar touch. Sour black cherry. Dry mead touch.

Finish: Sour cherry fizzy sweets. Blueberry sherbet. Sour cider. Slight vinegar. Blackcurrant. Pinot noir. Sour black-cherry.

Conclusion: Ok, some sours suit chilling way down brilliantly. Not this one. You can chill it down a bit, but any more than that, as I did, and the mid body loses pretty much anything but acidity and vinegar touches. So, give this just a lick of warmth, ok?

Though, that said, chilling never seems to hurt the aroma. Even fairly heavily cooled down this boomed dark fruit, red wine and oak. Very full bodied, very sour, but not so much it loses that fruit that really reminds me of a New Zealand style Pinot Noir.

As previously mentioned the body is very harsh when overly cold, oddly dry white wine like more than any other flavours, which is very unexpected for something this dark fruit led. As it warms though it brings a lot of sour fizzy dark fruit sweets and blueberry mixed with black-cherry notes. Oddly there are very few blackcurrant like elements – it seems the beer saves those for the finish. Even like this, slightly warmer than before the body is probably the weakest element, with an acidic apple to light vinegar character that seems to push the fruitier elements way.

As the main acidity seeps away in the finish then the blackcurrant really comes out. It is still sour, just now sour in a blackcurrant style. It really hangs in the air, very obvious, very long lasting and still fairly darn sour.

The sour beer aspect of this beer feels unpolished, but the fruit seems to hold up well. It doesn’t have the huge, almost shimmer holographic range of flavours I associate with some sours, but it still has good depth beyond the blackcurrant. It sits very solidly in the range of notes you would expect from a New Zealand style Pinot Noir, with some sour black cherry fizzy sweets and blueberry thrown in there as well.

So, between those two poles, this is a reasonable beer. At its best when showing that Pinot Noir like style matched to the sourness, at its worst when it is mostly acidic and vinegar styled.

Not a must have but uses a fruit not often seen in wild beers, and shows off the fruit well, even if it doesn’t do it consistently. I dig it at its best, I just wish it was more consistent.

Background: Independent Spirit has had a couple of batches of Trillium in, first up a huge amount of their New England IPAs, then a bunch of their fruited sours. I kept meaning to do notes on one of them as Trillium has a fairly huge rep, but they are also kind of expensive, so I put it off. Until now! This one, as you may expect is a sour ale made with Blackcurrants. Shocking I know. The only date I can see on the bottle is 02 May 19, which I presume is the bottling date. So about two years old, which would be worrying if this was an IPA, but for sours like this it should be fine. Fruit does wane over time, but with fruited lambics coming out with a few years under their belt, I’m guessing this will be fine. Not much to add – I went with Jello Biafra: Tea Part Revenge Porn for background music (No I am not typing out the bands whole name, even though me saying I’m not typing it probably took me longer). I’m a big Dead Kennedys fan but have never checked out his solo work. Pretty good so far, a lot of that old school DK energy still there.

Ingenious: Birthday Three (USA: Imperial Stout: 12.5% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black. The head fizzes up but doesn’t last long. Slightly fizzy in general.

Nose: Chocolate cake. Coffee cake. Walnut. Alcohol tingle. Flat cola. Icing sugar. Lactose. Chocolate liqueur.

Body: Thick. Chocolate cake and chocolate cream. Bitter cocoa. An even thicker twist to the feel in the middle. Sweet licorice. Black cherry. Sticky toffee pudding. Light chalk. Gunpowder tea. Fizzy cola bottles.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Bitter chocolate cake. Chalk like touch. Coconut. Treacle sponge. Flat cola. Cinder toffee.

Conclusion: From the clean feeling aroma and the smooth pour I was expecting this to be a tad light in its texture despite the 12.5% ABV. I have seen quite a few imperial stouts from the USA that feel a lot lighter than the abv would suggest.

Well anyway that was stupid of me. This is sticky as heck, gripping like treacle. Odd as the beer doesn’t leave an obvious dark sheen on the glasss as you swirl it, but despite that it clings to your tongue like its life depends on it.

(Maybe it does? Maybe this beer is alive and it realised beyond the throat is a giant pit of acid. Maybe it was sapient and trying to survive. Unlikely though)

Anyway, this starts very much like the chocolate birthday cake and icing style that it deliberately evokes. However over time this gets stickier and stickier, into first treacle sponge and then sticky toffee pudding like character, all drenched in flat cola notes.

Ok, I know that sounds horrible, but it is actually ok. Not great admittedly, but ok. Still, best part of a tenner buys a lot of better than ok stouts, and this costs best part of a tenner is all I am saying.

Still, early on it is a lovely, chocolate cake tasting, slightly bitter cocoa tasting beer. That cocoa especially really helps it not get sickly early on. However as the beer grows that cocoa just can’t compete and this soon becomes sickly, and I mean really sickly.

So, yes this does manage its aim of Birthday Cake the beer at the start, and ends up sticky toffee pudding the stout. Which may be for some people. Apart from that there are slight chalky and gunpowder tea style notes that seem to be trying to rein in the beer and failing, and some intresting cinder toffee at the end.

Even at its stickiest there is still a slightly drier, more standard cake set of notes underneath, but it doesn’t manage to make that the main expression.

So, it is ok, but too sticky by far. That may be making you think “darn this is for me!” and if so, more power to you, but personally I will not be returning to this one

Background: It is surprisingly hard to find information on this beer online, so I’m going to just go with the information on the Beer Bruvs website where I bought it. A blend of imperial stout aged in Blanton Barrels, and imperial milk stout conditioned on birthday cake, frosting, vanilla beans and possibly dynamite?

I presume that last one is a joke.

I presume.

Anyway odd as hell, but sounded like it could be fun and my last encounter with Ingenious was for a similarly odd sounded beer and that was great, so decided to give it a go. From the name I guess they brewed this for their third anniversary of starting? Again very little information I could find online.

Went with a mix of tracks from Run The Jewels :RTJ2 and RTJ4 while drinking. Gave a nice bit of energy to the session.

Other Half: Showers DDH Mosaic (USA: IPA: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot juice colour. Massive loose white bubbled head. No evident carbonation.

Nose: Gritty bitter hops. Marmalade and orange shreds. Fresh dough. Light greenery and herbal notes. Slight sulphur. Cake sponge. Flour. Apricot.

Body: Egg yolk texture. Tangerine and blood orange. Milky. Eggplants. Nettles like bitterness. Apricot skins. Peach. Hop oils.

Finish: Bitter hop oils. Bitter Seville orange. Marmalade. Melon. Gritty, prickly hops. Slight charring. Egg plants. Nettles. Gunpowder tea.

Conclusion: This is the tie breaker! So far I have had one Other Half IPA that was kind of meh (Which is the one I did notes on) and one I really enjoyed (The Nelson Suavin hopped Triple IPA – Which, of course, ended up being the one I did not do notes on), So with the score at one all, I decided to grab one more Other Half IPA to see which way it fell on the quality scale. Just the one more though, these things are darn expensive in the UK, so one more is all I can justify splashing out on.

This started out well. Hmm, ok correction, after not getting much from the aroma initially – maybe due to the fecking massive frothy head getting in the way – After that, THEN it started well.

The texture is that odd, thick character that seems to be Other Half’s trademark. A thick, egg yolk feeling thing which seems to come across as either positive or negative depending on the quality of the beer strapped on top of it.

So, what does this do with that texture? Well generally orange to marmalade notes, delivered in varied ways from sweeter marmalade to more bitter orange notes. Not unexpected, that is pretty much what I expect from mosaic hops, though here it does have some edge peach and apricot like notes which were nice.

Early on it has some bitterness and hop character that didn’t mesh too well. As time goes on that element fades, which is a mixed blessing. It reduces the rough edges, but also it removes the hop character which is what I come to IPAs for. Ah well, I guess not all IPAs are aimed at my preferences and that is fine.

FINE!

There is still a nice hop oil character under there, as well as some matching bitterness, but the bitterness is not clearly defined – a kind of general, muggy bitterness for lack of a better term.

As a tie breaker beer this is not meh, but not great. It really rocks the marmalade orange and apricot notes a clear and sometimes bitter way. Very good hop use in that side of things. The eggy, thick texture is ok, so works, but the more general hop prickle and bitter hop character is ill defined and occasionally harsh here.

So if fails to break the tie as it is half way between the other two. Ok, but not great or bad. Fuck. So, not bad but not worth the high UK cost. Lovely expression of the mosaic flavours but the backing beer doesn’t quite pull it off.

Background: Other Half really have to work on making their beer naming clearer. I thought this was just called Showers but nope, there are many beers called Showers, this is Showers Mosaic Double Dry Hopped. That last bit isn’t just a description it is a name indicating this is a different beer to other Showers. Making a name clear and easy to work out was obviously not on the table here. Anyway as indicated in the main notes I have had mixed encounters with Other Half, some matching their apparently huge rep, others less so. So I grabbed this one, going for the mosaic hop as it is one I have grown a huge fondness for. I mentioned when I first grabbed an Other Half beer that it was fairly darn fresh, even now this is canned on 13/05/2021 so at time of drinking was only three months old – pretty good for getting over from the USA. As before this was grabbed from Independent Spirit. I went with Caracas: Surgical Steel as backing music, been on a general metal music kick recently which is the whole of the reason.

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