Tag Archive: William Brothers


Williams Bros: Birds and Bees (Scotland: Golden Ale: 4.3% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold. Large mounded frothy white head.

Nose: Lemon cakes. Lime sorbet. Crisp hop character. Clean. Cake sponge.

Body: Lime zest. Bread dough. Slight sulphur. Lemony. Peppery.

Finish: Dough. Light sulphur. Lime. Lightly earthy and peppery. Decent hop character and bitterness.

Conclusion: This is what I would call a simple beer, but done well. It had a few points I initially took as flaws, that I am now enjoying as I come into the tail end of the beer.

So, to take the basics first, this is a gentle lemon and lime filled golden ale with crisp hop feel. Gentle up front, saving the bitterness for a hoppy and bitter finish. Tidy. Simple, but refreshing and pops the bright notes.

The flaw? Or the initially flaw seeming element, is that it is slightly sulphurous, especially in the finish. It felt kind of like it is backed by partially cooked dough amongst that and early on it felt a bit stuffy, which got in the way of the gentle sipping golden ale character.

So, yeah, early on I disliked it, but as time went on it altered, adding an odd steam beer like feel to the experience. A kind of fluffy feel that I oddly associated with direct gas heated whisky. Long story. Anyway, it is a rougher edge but now goes well with the hop punch at the end of the beer to give a nice underline to the thing.

For me anyway, your mileage may vary.

Nowt too showy, but a drinkable hoppy golden ale that slips down nicely.

Background: Back to Flavourly again, where my parents kindly bought me a box of beer to be sent to me. As always many thanks. A few I had done notes on before, and a few I just drank in general, but I made an effort to keep a few for doing tasting notes. Of which this is one. See, backstory is easy! William Bros first came to my attention years ago, back when they seemed to concentrate on brewing with older traditional ingredients. They have widened their range a lot since those days. Anyway, went with New Model Army: Impurity for backing music while drinking. Remember seeing them live a few years back, epic show, man I miss live music shows.

William Brothers: Profanity Stout (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 7% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown black. Creamy beige suds for a head.

Nose: Coffee and cream. Fruitcake and raisins with a brandy style touch. Rich chocolate and a light waft of citrus. Maybe grapefruit hop touch there. Slight greenery like crushed leaves.

Body: Smooth. Bitter hops but not aggressively so. Bitter chocolate, Belgium style. Coffee. Almonds. Hint of citrus hop character – kiwi and passion fruit. Apricot.

Finish: Growling hops and bitter chocolate. Pineapple air.

Conclusion:  Damn it! I so wanted to use a “Profanity Stout, bit shit” joke and then the Williams Brothers have to actually go and pull out a decent beer just to annoy me.

Life is pain some days.

Anyway, while not in the same level of bitterness as some of the American experiments this still stands as quite the hoppy stout. The highly hopped stout is a beer style that I have a love/hate relationship with. Some days I find them delightfully aggressive, some days I just fight them sticky, sickly and simple.

This one balances it well. The hops do kick but the main body is slick and it doesn’t linger past its welcome. The hop finish is similarly growling but not grating.  It keeps the main flavours simple and distinct. A small range but well defined. Suitable as subtlety oft becomes murky against aggressive hopping.

So it has forthright flavours that punch out of the glass yet sit well on the tongue with just enough mild citrus hopping to keep it fresh. This is a distinctly well made stout. Not quite world class, but it presents the chocolate and coffee character well against a new age hopping and keeps away from many a potential brewing mistake.  You can do far worse than this one.

Background: Williams Brother brewery and I have had a mixed relationship. Some beers I have found just dull, yet some have been ingenious and using distinctly odd ingredients that perk my interest.  This one is part of their run of beers aimed at getting amateur brewers recipes made into more widely available beers.  Found as part of the new beer range at Sainsbury’s where I grabbed a batch of beers I hadn’t tried before for sampling.  This one was picked mainly because it was called profanity stout. Yes I’m shallow.

William Brothers (Heather Ales): Ebulum: Elderberry Black Ale (Scotland: Traditional Ale: 6.5% ABV)

Visual:  Dark, almost black but with reddish hints. Treacle brown head of decent bubbled style but little lasting power.

Nose: Coffee and liquorice. Slight sourness.

Body: Elderberry, coffee and bitterness. Almost black lager in its styling. Black cherry. Fizzy feel. Treacle and slight chocolate cake.

Finish: Liquorice, bitter. Sour grapes. Milk chocolate. Slightly oily thick feel to the remnants. Aniseed.

Conclusion:  While this beer is listed as a black ale by its makers the main body of it seems to call with great familiarity to the black lager style. The elderberry elements match up surprisingly well with this.  A slight sharpness against coffee and chocolate underpinnings, and is some larger sips brings in almost stout like touches.

Lovely mix of flavours, in a lot of ways it is a great nightcap ale (good thing too as I was nackered when I drank it).   It’s very soothing and very rounded it flavour, with that slightly thick final feel which soothes.

Balancing sour berries, black lager and stout, try tell me the sound of that doesn’t appeal.

Background: Drunk whilst exhausted after a weekend of Capoeira, where its relaxing qualities were well appreciated.  This beer was a gift from Dylan (Thanks Dyl), and is also if I remember rightly one recommended by the late great Michael Jackson (the beer hunter of course).  Drunk whilst listening to the OST from series 5 of Doctor Who which aided the relaxation.

William Brothers: 80 Shilling (Scotland: Bitter: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Dark ruddy red with mild carbonation and a decent caramel coloured frothy head.

Nose: Toffee sweetness and malt. Slight smoke and rockiness. Rounded and appealing.

Body: Very fizzy and chalky. Bitterness and hints of treacle gets lost in a thin body. Some caramel too but its all far too thin. If you warm it a bit some liquorice does come through.

Finish: Blackboards and chalk, dry and unappetising.

Conclusion: A nose that promises so much is unfortunately matched to a body so fizzy it would embarrass Carlsberg. It seems to try so hard but the body is far too weak and fizzy to deliver on what the nose promises.

You can sense something hiding behind the fizz but it just isn’t allowed to come out and play. The beer does admittedly get better later in the pint as the excessive fizz dissipates and some nice liquorice comes out, but that isn’t enough to save it.

Disappointing – a bad beer is just bad, but a beer that promises so much and then doesn’t deliver, that’s just wrong.

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