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Arbor 2014 Freestyle Fridays #44

2015 April 7
by John

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Well I saw Friday on the label and was after some kind of hot weather session beer but this is an “excessively hopped black ipa”. Dangit, what a way to start a reviewing session!
Pleasantly had a lychee nose, maybe gooseberry? I don’t know what a gooseberry is but sounds like the kind of berry that has a sour-y tart-y thing going on.
Great taste, despite the 1200 theoretical ibus (for reference, regular ipa is like 60). A beer this big goes through so many flavours on its tour of one’s tasting (find better word) system: immediately sweet and viscous, quickly giving way to a bitter party right in the middle of your tongue which intensifies over a minute. Then a bit of dark chocolate for a while (like the bitter kind). Then burnt stuff. Then you brush your teeth.
7%

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 

Endeavour 2010 Reserve Pale Ale

2015 April 7
by John

Graham: Great looking bottle, with ample information about the beer. Looks a little like cloudy apple juice, which suggests that there is a bunch of fresh yeast still in it. A light bodied beer, maybe a bit reminiscent of Coopers Pale Ale. Dry, lingering finish. I think the addition of a little bit of wheat malt lightens it up.

A good session beer.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

John: Cloudy beer, probably ’cause it’s made from rainwater (har har). It’s pretty dry – you get a first hit of alcohol before the maltiness comes through. Would be good to knock a few back on a summer’s afternoon. Could be rounded out with a few more hops, but pleasant all the same.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Green Flash Brewing Co. Hop Head Red

2015 April 7
by John

It’s a red IPA! Woohoo! I don’t think I’ve had too many of these in my time – maybe one or two – and I do like the idea of them. The Hop Head Red comes from the Green Flash Brewing Co in San Diego. It has a bunch of suspended solids in it that after standing for a while sort of stratify, giving you the impression of a dense, flavourful beer. The nose is more malty than hoppy, and the taste is more hoppy than malty and I would rather have it around the other way – probably just my current mood though. The sweetness stays out of the way until the aftertaste and it’s fairly subtle. The Amarillo hops are plenty ‘there’ and as far as an IPA goes it hits the mark. Maaaaaybe a touch too carbonated. 7.0%

Sorry about the non photo…phone died.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

2013 May 9
by John

En anglais: (or more fittingly ‘in englisch:’) “Original Schlenkerla smokebeer”. 5.1%

Yup, smells like a campfire! It’s got a great deep red colour that I’m a huge sucker for, and it’s pretty creamy with a nice full body….just like a suckling pig! The first sip heralds a frontal malty sensation with low carbonation that makes one think they’re chewing caramel. Though perhaps I shoudn’t overstate it – as with most German beers (in my humble opinion), wouldn’t hurt to have a touch more balls in the malt area, if only to balance out the smoke taste a bit. But then again it wouldn’t be as smoky then, would it? Argh I dunno, it’s probably alright haha….

Verdict: enjoyable.

(Disclaimer: this is another beer provided to me by my boss, and after the last less-than-shining review I’m trying to encourage more of this behaviour)

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Rodenbach Grand Cru

2013 January 31
by John

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This beer was kindly donated to me by my boss, so naturally it has a pre-drink score of 100%. I was warned that it might not be to my taste, but upon seeing/smelling it I thought otherwise – a deep browny red with a very malty nose (I note that basically no one else on the internet says this haha), and dare I say I could smell the oak that two thirds of the beer has been sitting in for two years.
And then it got…less good. Kneejerk reaction was that it tastes like wine, to which the blurb on the label alludes, but on second thought this beer is liquid gobstoppers. Lowly and finely carbonated, it’s pretty acidic on the centre of your tongue and makes your gums salivate from the sourness. I spose it’s not as bad as it sounds (and this review’s not helping the chances of more free imported beer from my boss); it was novel while it lasted.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Graham had a sip but didn’t take any notes, so I’ll try to describe his reaction:

*wince*

6%.

St Ambroise Scotch Ale

2012 September 19
by John

From one of my favourite brewers comes ….
The label says it is a STRONG BEER….7.5%. Its pretty good, has a lingering taste of molasses I think. The label also says there are tones of vanilla and butterscotch which I’ll agree with. Nothing really unexpected, I’d buy this again if it was on the shelf.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest

2012 September 15
by John

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Mmm mmm goody! This one is a “fresh hop ale” with hops grown in NZ. There is a delicious sweetness and fruitiness to this, dare I say like a kiwi? HAR HAR! I can’t decide if it’s the malt or the hops leading the flavour but it comes on as a crescendo (haha – “crescendo”) of freshness like a face wash ad and every sip is as enjoyable as the last. Holy crap batman this is what I should brew next time. [Takes another sip] argh what flavour are
you?!?! I’m pretty bad at picking fruits, but kiwi ain’t such a bad guess. Maybe that and a hint of a darkish berry…let’s say a blackberry :p. The low carbonation is spot on. Good thing there was a whole pint!
6.2%.
Raiders got nailed, 38-10 or something.

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Mikeller American Dream

2012 September 15
by John

The label is all in Danish. I can’t read it except for 4.6%. Mikeller is a great brewer, have had a few of their beers at the Pumphouse in Sydney. This one’s an American Lager with a whole bunch of hops in it and makes for an interesting beer. On first sip it sorta vaporises before you swallow it like champagne does but at the same time there’s this big hoppiness that hugs your mouth. Nice colour and well carbonated.

I’m going for the Raiders now, have this compulsion to go for the underdog – it’s 20-10 against them and not looking so good…

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Brewdog Punk IPA

2012 September 15
by John

 

 

Oooohhh yeah it’s been a while since I’ve had a night of doing nothing and I’m pretty stoked to get through a few beer reviews tonight while watching the Rabbitohs v Raiders game (we’re 10min in, think I’ll go for the Rabbits…)

First in line is the Brewdog Punk IPA. I wanted to start with something lighter but there’s nothing else cold in the fridge. I was pleasantly surprised by how light (in colour and taste) this actually was, despite a reasonably heavy nose. You can throw it back pretty easily – while I’m writing this particular sentence I’ve almost finished it – maybe because the aftertaste doesn’t hang around too long. Like the Brewdog Hardcore IPA it seems well balanced and it sits right in the middle of the palette. This would be a great after-work beer for me, it’s got enough kick to make it interesting but it’s not overly weighty. Too bad they make it on the other side of the world.

5.2%

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

A Fine Day For A Brew With A Bro

2012 September 9
by John

Been a while since I brewed with Graham, but I got caught out on a Sunday with no ingredients (I thought this would be a huge money-maker day for the home brew shops, but alas they’re all closed) so my bro kindly offered what bits and pieces he had and we semi-followed a recipe for a Red IPA:

Steeped 400g Munich grain, 250g crystal malt, 260g dark crystal malt, 55g chocolate malt for 30min. Added to that 1.5kg pale lager extract and 1.5kg amber caramalt extract and brought to the boil. 60g of Northern Brewer hops at 60min, 38g Cascade at 30min and 45g Goldings at 5 min. Pitched some Irish liquid yeast (can’t remember the name of it) at 22°C…

We were going for an IPA with a strong malty backbone, hopefully the balance comes out right. The recipe was similar but suggested heaps more extract (!). Stay tuned for the review in about 4 weeks time…