Tag Archive: Weird Beard Brewing Co

Weird Beard Hanging Bat Jack's Rye Smile

Weird Beard: Hanging Bat: Jack’s Rye Smile (England: Barley Wine: 11% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark red brown. Large inch of creamy brown froth head.

Nose: Roasted nuts. Chocolate cake sponge. Bourbon. Orange. Tart raspberry crème. Lightly milky. Coffee cake. Light cellar’s air.

Body: Malt chocolate. Coffee cake. Vanilla. Bourbon. Orange. Slight sour lime spirit. Slight rye crackers. Tingling alcohol feel. Custard slices. Golden syrup.

Finish: Sour lime liqueur. Vanilla toffee. Bourbon. Sour dough. Malt chocolate. Light pepper and spice. Alcohol air. Caramel. Coffee cake.

Conclusion: I’ve really been working my way through the different adjunct wines recently. This one is probably one of the better ones to have come out of my recent flirtations with the styles. If I had to say why, I would say it is because the base beer seems to match the barrel ageing so well.

The rye influence makes this taste a tad black barley winesque, albeit this is smoother than most black barley wines I have had – it plays with soft coffee cake, nuts and malt chocolate. There isn’t as much rye spice character as I would expect, possibly because of the big sweet malt dose, backed up by the barrel ageing. There is a lot of big flavours to overwhelm more subtle spice.

Speaking of the barrel ageing, it comes across very clearly, without dominating – they instead seem to complement each other very well. There is lots of vanilla, and in fact more raw “Bourbon” feel than almost any barrel ageing I have encountered. I think this may be because the base, whilst big, is less dominating that say an Imperial Stout, so it really seems to let that spirit character play. It adds a distinct alcohol air to it all in a boozy fashion.

The two work very well together, with vanilla backing the coffee cake, and the bourbon air lasting out over the slightly peppery finish. The bourbon ageing also seems to bring some of that orange spirity notes into play as well – at least I think it is the bourbon, it seems to have shown up in a lot of American wood barrel aged beers recently.

While not superlative, it is good. Unfortunately the high golden syrup sweetness plays away from its strengths. The main core of sweetness is average, all the fun comes from the more mellow surrounding notes. However there is a lot to recommend in the surrounding notes. If the alcohol had been a tad better hidden this could have been a very luxurious, sipping, malty rye ale. As is it is still very welcome and with a hell of a lot of character.

Background: Grabbed from Independent Spirit this is a rye wine that has been aged in bourbon barrels – and from the name I would guess Jack Daniels, but that is just a guess. I ended up losing half of the bottle in a slight mishap, so this was based on about 300-400 ml worth, which I figured was more than enough for a set of tasting notes. Drunk while listening to the Jet Set Radio OST, which is fantastically funky and awesome, even if it does miss out my two favourite tracks from the game.


Weird Beard Le Debauche Pankot Palace

Weird Beard: Le Debauche: Pankot Palace (England: Sweet Stout: 5.4% ABV)

Visual: Black. Moderate brown froth head that raises easily on a swirl.

Nose: Massive spice – Herbs, paprika, turmeric and the like.

Body: Spicy. Cinnamon. Chives. Lightly milky coffee. Dried lemons. Bombay mix. Lactose. Strawberry. Tea.

Finish: Lemon sorbet. Pepper. Spice. Salted lemon. Tea. Chives.

Conclusion: Wow. Much spice. Much smoothness. Much mixed. Now, I’m not an expert on Masala Chai, but I have an odd feeling a lot of my notes above could be summed up by just the words “Masala Chai” if I was.

This is very spice dominated, but in a soothing way, not a hot one. There are a lot of greenery notes, light pepper and a dried lemon freshness and sweetness. Also, I googled after drinking and found out Masala Chai is tea based. I am not surprised – while the base milk stout has a milky coffee note the overall beer more shouts tannins, teabags and tea.

Normally this much spice would put me off – It dominates the beer, hiding nearly of the base below. However here it makes the beer just so soothing – like a nightcap mix of a herbal tea and a porter. Ok a herbal tea and a milk stout here, but what you can taste of the base beer is kind of porterish. Anyway, it is all mashed into one gentle, sleep inducing, beer.

It really concentrates on doing one thing and doing it well -in this case using the spice, As of such I cannot see myself having it often, but as an occasional burst of soothing and unusual it is lovely.

Background: A Masala Chai Milk Stout, or so the bottle says. I mainly grabbed this from Indepedent Spirit as the bottle looks awesome, I have never tried Masala Chai so had no idea what to expect. This was made with 10 KG of Assam tea and bags of mixed garam masala. Well, the batch was, I presume not just this one bottle. So, yeah, took a chance on this one. Hope it works out.

Weird Beard Safe Word

Weird Beard: Safe Word (England: IPA: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Deep yellow. Moderate off white to browned head. Moderate carbonation. Some floating veins of what I presume to be fruit.

Nose: Gooseberry and pineapple. Tart, thick and musky. Vanilla fudge. Apricot. Nettles.

Body: White grapes. Smooth. Some bitterness and hop character. Malt chocolate drinks. Sour grapes. Bitterness and hop character rises.

Finish: Toffee. Greenery. Tart white grapes. Malt chocolate drinks. Apricot. Hop oils. Quite dry.

Conclusion: They made some interesting choices with the brewing of this one. I would have imagined that for a berry IPA they would have matched it with the cleaner, more bitter and more attenuated take on the IPA style. Not so. Instead, at its base, this has the sweeter, almost chocolate touched, toffee heavy IPA style. The only exception is the finish which is drier, though still slightly heavy.

The berry influence, based on what I can work out, seems like a mustier, more greenery touched mix of gooseberry and white grapes. The fruit doesn’t dominate, instead creating a musky, thick layer that seeps into the body like moss spreading over a tree. It creates a very greenery touched, thicker IPA than usual, with a hop oil character mixed with more hints to the hop’s natural budding state than most. That isn’t the only hop influence, there are a lot of extra, non berry like notes, which seem to come from the hops.

Does it work? Mostly.

The heavier malt base becomes a bit wearing over time. With having the more musty fruit character on top of the sweet base it emphasises character over easy drinkability. Not a bad trade off but one to be aware of. Despite that the unusual fruit definitely makes its mark and that is what keeps the beer interesting. It seems here to have the tartness of gooseberry, the sweetness of grapes and the mustiness of furry berries.

Not one to return to over a session, but a fun one. I think I would have preferred the drier expression I expected as I think that would have been less leaden by the end – but then again, what beer in the world can compare to the perfect beer of the mind.

And ok and different beer, not one I would repeat regularly.

Background: As a chokeberry IPA, Safe Word has to be one of the most awesome beer naming ever. In my ever so humble opinion. This was part of the 2015 Brewdog collaboration fest, which I missed. It was a mix of being a bit unhappy with a few Brewdog promotions and the fact that it had got to the point where there were too many beers to do in one weekend. Doing a weekend long comparison run was always fun for me. Maybe as they get bigger they could split into two events, maybe a south and north collabfest? Anyway, thought this would be fun to try. Drunk while listening to Svalbard’s awesome “One Day All This Will End” album. Check it out if you like metal. I don’t think I have ever tried chokeberrys so I am kind of guessing about their influence on the beer. Grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Weird Beard Marble Bullfinch You Taste Better When You Are Scared

Weird Beard: Marble: Bullfinch: You Taste Better When You Are Scared (England: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot flesh. An inch or so of off white bubbled head that leaves suds.

Nose: Pink grapefruit. Melon. Light nettles.

Body: Pink grapefruit. Light hop character. Pineapple. Malt drinks. Acrid touch at the back. Peach fruit syrup. Light toffee.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Acrid touch. Pineapple. Fruit syrup. Muted musty hops. Lactose touch.

Conclusion: So, acidulated malt is a thing? You learn something new every day. usually something pointless, but today is a good day. However, for a beer crammed full of hops and acidic grapefruit juice on top of the acidulated malt, it is odd that it feels quite so traditionally malt led.

Don’t get me wrong, the flavour is a mix of pineapple and pink grapefruit – however I’ve had New Zealand hopped beers that tasted sharper than this. mainly Nelson Sauvin single hop admittedly.

There is just such a malt drink back, kind of a touch American brown ale style and it makes what should be a sharp beer actually feel slightly leaden. It tastes ok, but doesn’t really taste like an IPA, in that there is no real bitterness or hop kick, and the tart character definitely lacks against expectations.

As a beer in itself it is ok, slightly tart but generally fairly mellow. Against what it is pitched as it is fairly disappointing. It isn’t bad, but the special ingredients actually seem to contribute less than what you get with a judicious use of hops, and that special character seems to have killed what the hops themselves bring. Heck, straight up grapefruit juice has more of a kick.

An experiment that doesn’t really pay off.

Background: A collaboration! Woo! I’ve run into Marble and Weird Beard a bunch of times now, Bullfinch are a new one on me. This is made with 100KG of acidulated malt – the kind of malt often used for berliner weisse and such like, and is added along with fresh grapefruit juice. So, a grapefruit IPA – of course I grabbed it, I am easily hooked with such things. I have the attention span of a cat near a red laser pointer. Picked up from independent Spirit, and drunk while listening to the ever cool Sabaton: Coat of Arms.

Weird Beard Sadako Ardbeg Barrel Aged

Weird Beard: Sadako (貞子): Ardbeg Barrel Aged (England: Imperial Stout: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Black. Thick creamy brown head of half a cm size.

Nose: Chocolate. Iodine. Beef slices. Peat and smoke. Brown bread.

Body: Thick. Brown bread. Charring. Iodine. Drying salt. Greenery. Sour dough. Some malt chocolate behind. Meaty back.

Finish: Brown bread. Smoke. Drying. Bitter chocolate. Salt and rocks. Sour dough. Iodine.

Conclusion: When you have a cask as booming as Ardbeg, you really need a big beer to go against it for cask ageing. For a case of it being done right check out De Molen’s Hemel & Aarde Octomore Barrel Aged (Yes I am aware that Octomore is from Bruichladdich – I’m just comparing intense whisky casks).

This, well oddly it tastes more Laphroaig than Ardbeg to my eyes – possibly because the barrel ageing only lets the harsher and more medicinal elements through, without the weight of the base whisky to contrast. Ardbeg was always a peaty beast, and you get that here, but it never was as medicinal as Laphroaig, which is why this is such a surprise.

The aroma is sheer quality Ardbeg, with the depth that entails, but the body comes in more as an assault of medicinal, salt iodine and the like. As I say, very Laphroaig. The feel backing it is a thick bready character – a heavy texture but flavour wise it feels quite neutral as a base for the whisky influence to work from. As it warms you do get a much needed peat meatiness that comes out, the whisky aging now giving it the backing it needs.

Now, you may notice at this point I’m talking a lot about the whisky influence but very little about the beer influence. There is a reason for that. The beer is damn near killed here – on the finish there is some bitter chocolate, and all throughout there is some sough dough, but generally? The beer just can’t compete.

Overall it is a hell of an experience, but not overly a great beer. For Ardbeg and Laphroaig fans this may mix things up a bit for you by delivering flavour but in a thicker, longing lasting experience.

For most everyone else – it just doesn’t gain much from the beer side of the equation. Just backing Ardbeg with brown bread. Meh I guess, it definitely shows the Islay style, but doesn’t add anything to it. Ah well.

Background: I tried to guess this thing’s translation without looking – I failed. I recognised the second Kanji as “Child” so, knowing this is a barrel aged beer, guessed it may be barrel or oak child. Then I found out there was a non barrel aged version so that screwed up that idea. Anyway, turns out Sadako is a women’s name, with literal translation of Chaste Child. In my defence I really haven’t needed to know the Japanese letter for “chaste” much in my use of Japanese. I’m fairly sure it is also the name of the antagonist ghost in “The Ring” but I may be wrong in that. Anyway, yes Ardbeg aged – Ardbeg is one of the heaviest duty Islay whiskys, so this should be interesting. Drunk while listening to early era Slipknot. No mocking me, I was a kid when I got into them and I like to listen and reminisce sometimes. This beer was grabbed from Independent Spirit. Incidentally, wax on bottles of beer was amusing for while, now so many beers have it that it just gets annoying. Stop putting tests between me and my beer damnit.

Weird Beard Sorachi Face Plant

Weird Beard: Sorachi Face Plant (England: IIPA: 8.1% ABV)

Visual: Hazy caramel brown, large off white head.

Nose: Musky. Pine cones and lemon grass. Bready. Dried apricot. Thick and malty, with toffee most emphasised. Resin. Good bitterness and hops.

Body: Dill pickle. Lemongrass. Hop prickle. Key lime. Good bitterness. Bubblegum. Toffee malt character. Tangerine. Kiwi.

Finish: Good bitterness. Popcorn. Dill pickle. Good hops. Toffee. Tangerine.

Conclusion: Sorachi Ace beers should never be anything approaching normal. It should be the scary clown of hops, but unlike a clown it should have you entertained and joyful as you shit yourself in terror. So, nothing like a clown then. I should pick a different simile. Anyway…

This has a wonderfully mental hop character, lemongrass, prickly dill pickle, dried apricot, big bitterness and subtle bubblegum. It is a crazy ride of expressive flavours that run through bitter, tart and sour. Possibly umami (or however it is spelt) for all I know. Ok, I have no idea on umami, but definitely those other ones.

The malt base is toffee sweet, a bit of tangerine sweetness as well – which I think may be part hop part malt interaction. As an IIPA, it has a much sweeter base than most Sorachi Ace beers I have had and it creates a very nice contrast. In accordance with the prophecy.

It is probably up there with IPA Is Dead for my favourite use of the hop. This has a stronger malt base backing it, so isn’t quite as pure hop expression, but makes for a beer that is broader in range (also I think it uses other hops as well, but Sorachi is definitely the star)

It is a genuine hop marvel – very solid sweet malt base, still big bitter and full madcap flavour. A definite go to for your sorachi ace infusion.

Background: I love Sorachi Ace. Like seriously love Sorachi Ace. So when the people at Independent Spirit mentioned this was good beer, all my willpower to not buy new beers until I had cleared out the cupboard a tad – well that just vanished. Anyway, drunk while listening to some Svalbard – a local metal band, their stuff is up for streaming so check them out.

Weird Beard Boring Brown Beer Bourbon Barrel Aged

Weird Beard: Bourbon Barrel Boring Brown Beer (England: Brown Ale: 8.2% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark brown. Moderate beige wet bubbled head.

Nose: Citrus fresh. Roasted nuts. Malt. Sourdough. Dried apricot.

Body: Vanilla. Roasted nuts. Kiwi. Cherries. Malt chocolate. mint leafs and dough. Citrus edge. Slight alcohol burn on swallow. Toffee.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Spirit air. Bitter and charring. Prickly tingle. Bitter hops. Toffee.

Conclusion: I am a sucker for a bit of tongue in cheek. *rereads first line* Maybe I should rewrite that…nah it’ll be ok. Anyway, a barrel aged “Boring Brown Beer” that has to be…

Eh, ok, kind of dull.

Ok, that was harsh. What we have here is a brown ale. I’ll call it an American style brown ale as it seems to lean more to the malt chocolate interpretation over the slightly refreshing UK fare. The base style has been enhanced with a few soft vanilla oak aged notes, thought it doesn’t seem to be a heavy influence. The bigger alteration is the large infusion of hop bitterness. The roasted nut style it has calls a bit back to the UK style, but mainly I see USA influence.

It is ok, but I think they made a mistake with the base beer bitterness being a bit high. I get a lot of the generic hop bitterness character in the main play, but the more interesting notes are lost out at the edges.

Hmm again maybe a bit harsh there, there is a sort of mint leaf prickle very subtly done low down in the beer, and the hops do give a bit of citrus and kiwi at the edges, or so it seems. They aren’t very well pushed so it is hard to say. I think because they threw everything and the kitchen sink at the beer, I can but feel disappointed that it us just ok. Not actually really dull, but in no way lives up to its idea.

It is an ok brown ale, a bit spirity in the finish, and some of the flavours don’t mesh, but ok. There is a kind of sour dough element that just doesn’t work here, but the rest mainly holds up. Overall, probably not really worth grabbing I would say. Not bad, but you can easily find better. I still love the idea though.

Background: Ok I bought this because of the name. Ok, and because it sounded cool. Huge IBU, bourbon aged, chinook hop brown ale. Sounded fun. I really should get around to reviewing Weird Beard’s “Little Things That Kill”, which is an awesome beer. So awesome I tend not to wait until I am in a reviewing mood before drinking it. Anyway, trivia! I bumped into Bryan Spooner from Weird Beard at GBBF once. My attempts to subtly work out if he was who I thought he was resulted in him thinking I was hitting on him. So, that’s my meet the brewers tale of the day. Oh, the heat wave was back while I drunk this. Which is not nice. Drunk while listening to “Suffer” And “Recipe for Hate” from Bad Religion. “Recipe for Hate” is still probably my favourite album of BRs. Oh, also this was bought at Independent Spirit.

Camden BearD
Brewdog: Weird Beard Brewing Co: Camden BearD (England: American Pale Ale: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Quite hazy marmalade to brown. Off white dash of a head.

Nose: Chunky marmalade. Lemon and shortbread. Grapefruit. Smooth hop character.

Body: Moderate but growing bitterness. Smooth and slightly milky. Porridge. Background pineapple notes. Mild marmalade.

Finish: Malt drinks. Moderate bitterness. Shortbread. Light citrus air. Very dry in its bitterness. Wheat.

Conclusion: So we open the collaboration fest with this easy going number, well easy going in flavour at least. The body has a quite stodgy feeling to it, with an oat porridge character that becomes very dry and noticeable in the finish. It has been said about Japanese food that the experience is as much about the texture as the flavour and there is a similar character to this beer, there is much more to examine how it feels than how it tastes.

The taste is quite mild, but there is interesting notes there with a mix of marmalade and pineapple, which helps to freshen up the oat feel. It isn’t bad but that porridge feel keeps pushing itself back into the forefront. It makes it too drying, and makes it less able to be sessioned which is the style that the flavour seems to favour. The texture is almost like that of a saison, but without the crispness in the hop character. The marmalade flavour plays a similar part that the spices would in a saison, bringing it to life a bit. This is by far the most interesting character of the beer.

It’s ok, but doesn’t really catch the imagination. I don’t hate it, but neither is it a beer I would pick to have again, it just doesn’t have a niche it really fills.

Background: Collab Fest 2013! Every Brewdog bar collaborated with a local brewery to make a beer for the fest, resulting in a grand total of twelve beers released over one weekend. So, what could I do? Normally I limit myself to two of three reviews in a session, but these would only be on for the weekend. So, for you, my readers, I sat in one eight hour stint, drinking thirds, with a glass of water and a chapter of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone between each drink to help clear my palette. I suffer so for you. This, the first beer of the day, is a pale ale made with wheat and tons of American hops. I was unsure if I should put it under England For Weird Beard, or Scotland for Brewdog. In the end I plumped for England. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog Beers.

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