Tag Archive: Wychwood Brewey

Wychwood: Harper’s: Medusa (England: ESB: 5% ABV)

Visual: Dark chestnut brown to red clear body. Good sized beige to caramel tight bubbled head.

Nose: Malt chocolate. Roasted nuts.

Body: Cherry. Earthy bitterness. Malt chocolate and malt toffee. Slightly creamy. Shortbread. Slight gummed brown envelopes. Lightly sour and tart undertones.

Finish: Creamy. Earthy bitterness. Light menthol. Bitter cocoa. Pepper. Brown gummed envelopes. Dry. Tart apple. Very watered down vinegar tart touch. Soft cherries and cream,

Conclusion: This is… this, this is actually really good. I have to admit that, with it being an Auldi own brand beer kind of thing, I was expecting something fairly middle of the road. Not expecting something bad, just something average. Yes I fell into the beer snob trap, because I am really enjoying this.

Its got a solid malt chocolate base that edges into richer or more bitter cocoa notes at times, alongside that slightly sour and refreshing note that you get in a good, drinkable bitter. Similarly it calls to a bitter in that earthy hop character that comes in the traditional British take on the style. By itself that would result in a generic but satisfying beer, but this goes a step further. Cherry and cream notes make for sweeter high end notes and helping the drinkability is a lightly tart apple undertone.

It is very easy to drink, yet has this soft chocolate middle that seems out from the earthy bitterness and makes it feel soothing, welcoming and very rewarding. So, this is really a very good anytime drinking beer that mixes traditional British bitter notes with sweeter malt ESB character to make a bloody good beer.

Remind me to double check my beer snob assumptions every now and then, so I don’t make mistakes like this again. Well worth a try.

Background: First of all, this is listed as being made by “Harper’s” which is Auldi’s home brand beer. Looking online, that is just a cover name for whoever contract brewed it for them, in this case Wychwood, who are owned by Marston’s. Oh this just gets confusing. Anyway, this was part of a bunch of beers given to me by a colleague at work. Many thanks! The rest I just drank, but I decided to put this one aside to do notes on. Worth noting the Harper’s Wild Bill IPA was solid as well. Put on some Brassick (self titled album and their EP) to listen to while drinking. I’m always glad to see new punk bands still bubbling up after all these years. Solid stuff as well.

Wychwood: Dr Thirsty’s No 4 Blond (England: Golden Ale: 4.1% ABV)

Visual: Gold, clear and still. Moderate white head that leaves lace.

Nose: Sweet lemon. Vanilla. Wheat to muesli. Mild cream. Orange zest.

Body: Lime, lemon and orange. Lightly tart in the fruit. Light chalk. Light milk. Moderate bitterness.

Finish: Lemon curd and cream. Light chalk. Moderate bitterness. Orange. Wheaty. Light sour grapes. Muesli. Lime. Muggy bitterness.

Conclusion: This an unusually tart blond beer. I am 90% sure that this, and most of Wychwoods bottled beers, are pasteurised and I think that could be part of what causes it, oddly enough. The pasteurised bottled beers tend to have a different mouthfeel that makes the flavours of the base weaker, but here contrasts the tarter flavours so they seem to pop more.

Generally it works pretty well – you have a mild, slightly milky, blond base contrasted with a good range of of orange, lime and grape notes all delivered with freshness and tartness. Now, it doesn’t all work – the pasteurised feeling body also seems to make the bitterness come in slightly muggy and rough which works against the gentle feel of the rest of the beer.

I am wondering if this would work a lot better on cask. It is ok, but it feels like one of those beers that would really benefit from the bit of extra body and character that you could get from a real ale on a hand pump. It especially feels like it would help give a better hop presence as that element gets a bit wearing in its roughness by the end.

So, good in its use of citrus, has a slightly weak base, and results in a reasonable, if middle of the road beer. Not stand out nor terrible.

Background: This was another gift from my mate Tony – many thanks. Also this one doesn’t suck. Wooo! Wychwood beers used to be a standby of mine in the old days – not so much these days, but they are still an ok go to. Not tried this one, and I don’t drink as many blond ales as I should – it is a decent style but easy to overlook for more shiny styles. This was drunk while listening to Bratmobile – Pottymouth. Really cool Riot Grrl style punk that I should listen to more than I do.


Wychwood (Marstons): Bah Humbug (England: English Strong Ale: 5.0%)

Visual: Reddened mahogany brown. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Browned inch of a bubbled head.

Nose: Lightly roasted. Light nutmeg. Malt drinks.

Body: Caramel. Cinnamon. Light chestnuts. Slight chocolate, grows over time. Quite treacle texture and slight flavour as well. Soft vanilla notes. Nutmeg.

Finish: Cinnamon and nutmeg. Slight vanilla. Slight brown bread. Light oak notes. Soft treacle. Butterscotch.

Conclusion: This feels like your standard, non real ale, bottled ale – but spiced up for Christmas. Ok, went a bit “damning with faint praise” on that opening – but please do not read that too harshly, let me expand.

The base has that smoother feel that I find tends to come with pasteurised beers, with accompanying higher levels of sweetness. It has less evident texture than the real ale version which I have also tried, and a cleaner sweetness. Kind of a clean caramel and light treacle style backed by some vanilla. As is indicated in the opening that is kind of standard for this kind of beer, to my eyes at least. From the colour of the beer I would also admit to expecting it to be closer to the chestnut coloured bitter style of ale, as for that this seems a tad light on the bitterness and hop stylings. However on the malt side it matches exactly to expectations.

Instead of notable bitterness and some earthy work from the flavouring hops, this actually goes to work with the spices in the same space. Moderate but present – they call to Christmas with the nutmeg matched with cinnamon sweetness. It is a pleasant, slightly warming flavour – very gentle in intensity, but despite that the spice is the main flavour here. It is nothing out of the normal, but solid and matches the season it is picked for nicely.

Soothing malt base, moderate spice – no complaints, does what you would expect. Some people dislike the distinct feel and taste of the pasteurised beers, but it matches the spice usage here. As mentioned, I have also tried the lower abv real ale version – It has a better, more gripping texture – the flavours are less distinct, but in that have more subtle meshing between them and with lower evident sweetness. Either way it is a solid enough drink for the season, but not one to actively hunt out.

Background: Not sure if this still counts as English Strong Ale, as it is down from its old 6% abv of years gone by. However I’m not putting it under spiced beer as the cinnamon added to the beer doesn’t dominate that much in intensity and it doesn’t really match any other style cleanly. I had drunk the lower abv, real ale, take on this in a pub the day before, but this, pasteurised bottle version was provided by my family while I was back home for Christmas – many thanks!

Wychwood Brewey: January’S ale (England: Bitter: 3.8% ABV)

Visual: Pours cloudy initially then settles to a ruddy amber with a creamy layer of off white head. As the beer is drunk it leaves this layer as a descending ring around the glass.

Nose: Cinnamon and cream, light peanuts and ginger. Quite fresh orange.

Body: Nice heavy set bitter with a creamy texture. Tangerine and lime. Smooth nuttiness. Very solid feel with slight vanilla.

Finish: Dry growing bitter and dry hops. Marmalade. Long lasting gritty bitterness and slight freshness.

Conclusion:  The January Sale this beers namesake “amusingly” refers to is one of my most hated times of year, with packed crowds, fights for over hyped bargains,  and rising tempers, thankfully this beer does better than that.

A solid and slightly sharp pint, with a nice citrus orange touch to it.   Drunk with food its simple but solid nature balances out very well. Its decent punch of flavour is not easily overpowered, but it does not mask the flavours in your meal

Not the most fancy of drinks, it’s very much a social beer with mates, and works well as that. A good background pint, solid but unremarkable. I have to say I wouldn’t so hunting for it, January sale time or no.

Background:  Wychwood have a good reputation with me, as much for running a local punk/metal bar as much as for the quality of their beers.  The beers are solid, but oft unremarkable.  This was drunk as a lunch pint with lasagne which it balanced nicely. If the name didn’t give it away, this is Wychwood January released monthly ale.

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