Advent Beer – Spiritual Matter

There wasn’t a sound as I opened this bottle, not even a hint of a phzzzt. Nothing, nada, nowt. Not a good start. It poured a slightly murky straw colour, with absolutely no head what so ever. The only bubbles I managed to coax out of it were the kind that you get when pouring water from a great height into a glass. There was a distinct grapefruit note on the nose, with a bit of tangerine around the edges.

It smelt really nice and I was hoping that even though it poured as flat as a pancake, it would still be drinkable. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The grapefruit and mandarin notes from the nose were there in the mouth, but so was a nasty off taste. It wasn’t there to start with, as the initial flavour was the afore mentioned grapefruit and mandarin. But it soon battered everything else into submission and lingered long into the after taste.

I’ll buy another bottle though, as I imagine this could be a really, really nice pale and hoppy beer, if it was carbonated. My first Advent Beer drain pour…

Advent Beer – Second Quarter

As I was in Paris over the weekend, I have a back log of Advent Beer to get through. So this bottle of Cambridge Moonshine Second Quarter is actually Friday’s bottle. I bought it from the Bacchanalia, where Ed was telling me that it’s the second runnings from an imperial stout that he’s brewed, hence the second in the name.

It didn’t have much of a phzzzt when the crown cap came off, which left me a bit worried. But it poured jet black in the glass, with a decent enough tan head. In reality the body was a really, really dark brown, that only revealed itself when held up to the light. The head didn’t last, it dropped to a thin covering fairly quickly.

At this point, I should start going on about the smell and the taste and I would if I could access me notes. I’ve started using a voice recorder app on my phone, as it’s quicker for me to speak my thoughts than to write them down. For some reason, it’s not letting me access the recording for this beer, it claims it’s there, but just wont play anything, quite annoying. So the following is very brief…

I’m pretty sure it had lots of roasted notes on the nose, with coffee and chocolate in the mix. It had a nice weighty body, with roasted malt flavours, coffee and chocolate. The coffee coming first and then the drying dark chocolate flavours in the after taste. The condition was also spot on.

I do know that I thought it was a fantastic beer though. It’s definitely one I’ll be buying more of.

Advent Beer

I’m quite annoyed. On Tuesday a load of posts on this blog were missing, vanished, disappearing into the ether. I luckily managed to recreate them via Google cache and wrote a couple of new posts, one detailing what had happened and the other the list of my advent beers. So imagine my surprise this morning, to find that both the explanation and advent beer list posts were both missing. In their place, the original missing posts and their comments were back, but it meant that I had to recreate this list from scratch, as I couldn’t find a cached copy on line. My hosting company hasn’t responded to my query about why it’s happened yet, which is most unlike them, hence my annoyance.

Anyway, it’s December, that means that it’s time to do some more advent beer. Last year I modified the list half way through, hopefully I wont be doing the same this year, but I am going to Paris this weekend, so some French beer might suddenly appear next week. So without further ado, here’s the beers on my advent beer list, they will be drank in some sort of random order, that days beer being pulled from a hat.

Un-Obtainable Perfection and Dunkelweizen

One thing that I always find annoying about British wheat beers, is the lack of information on the bottle about what to do with the yeast. I find most British ale yeasts to be detrimental to the taste of the beer if poured into the glass, so I’d rather know what yeast has been used to ferment that wheat beer, so I know wither to pour it in, or to leave it out. So what to do with these two?

This bottle from Cambridge Moonshine caught my eye in the Bacchanalia, as it has totally different branding to all his other bottles. For my money, it’s much better than the old moon thing he had going on before, yes, it’s just some text and while it’s just clean and simple, it’s gets my vote. I decided to pour Un-Obtainable Perfection clean and deposit the yeasty trub into a small glass to see what it tasted of.

It poured an orange amber colour with a huge rocky white head. The head was being fed by a maelstrom of bubbles and seemed to get bigger, before settling to a good two fingers. It did eventually drop to a very good covering, but it took a while. I’m not sure what I expected the nose to smell off, banana, cloves and bread like a German wheat beer, or gingery, peppery spices like a Belgian wit. To be honest, it would have been nice if it had smelt of anything…

For a beer that made such a loud phzzzt and had so many bubbles teaming up the inside of the glass, it was really quite smooth in the mouth. It had some subtle spicy and vague banana bread notes that lead to a very drying of the mouth and this was without the yeast. I found the after taste to be really quite offensive, I’m not sure if I can tell you why though. It was either some sort of massive spicy overload or a yeasty off taste, either way I found really quite bad.

On this tasting I’d have to say that this beer really isn’t for me. I nearly got a taste of it on cask at the recent Cambridge CAMRA Octoberfest, but I was too busy necking Hopshackle Hopnosis and it went off. I’d really like to try it on cask and see if the nasty after taste is still there or not.

    a href=””>Cambridge Moonshine
  • Un-Obtainable Perfection, 5.5%, 500m

I knew that Marble had brewed a Weizen, but I didn’t know they’d brewed a Dunkelweizen until I saw it in the Bacchanalia. It poured a really deep brown colour with light tan brown head. the head didn’t form particularly easily and didn’t really hang around for long, dropping to a patchy covering fairly quickly. Again, I poured this beer clear and dumped the yeast into a little glass, which smelt really strongly of hops. Much more so than the actual glass of beer, which had subtle bready plummy notes.

It was smooth in the mouth and as you would expect from the ABV, had quite a hefty body. having said that, it really didn’t drink to it’s ABV and felt like a much weaker beer. It some drying yeast character, but was mainly malty and reminded me of rich stewed plums. The after taste was lingering sweetness and a slowly drying palette.

After drinking about half the glass, I decided to shove all the yeast from the small glass into the big one and see what effect, if any, it had. The nose was instantly transformed with a noticeable hop character coming to the fore. The taste was slightly changed too, with more of an edge to the initial taste and a feeling of bitterness around the mouth. It still wasn’t bitter, the maltiness was still the main flavour, but the hops were there round the edges, which they hadn’t been before. Definitely one to dump the yeast sediment into.

  • Marble
  • Dunkelweizen, 8.2%, 500m

The Golden Pints 2010

Originally I was going to do my own round up of the year, I didn’t do one last year as I felt that I’d not been blogging for long enough. This year I felt that I had drank enough to have some thoughts I wanted to share, but then Andy and Mark posted about The Golden Pints. So I decided to combine my thoughts and The Golden Pints categories for this post, hence why I’ve given my top three beers and then a few highly recommendeds.

Now, I don’t normally hold much truck with lists and stuff, they are very personal after all and never seem to align with my view of things. So take this lot with a rather large pinch of salt, it’s only my opinion at the end of the day.

Best UK Draught Beer
  1. Thornbridge Bracia
    I had this at the Euston Tap the day after they opened, it was truly magnificent and while I’ve only had a ½ pint, it stood head and shoulders above anything else I had this year.
  2. Thornbridge Seaforth
    Supposedly an all English version of Jaipur and on this tasting in January, better than its stable mate. Utterly sublime…
  3. Thornbridge Kipling
    Beer of the festival at the Cambridge CAMRA summer beer festival and just about as perfect a beer as you can get for an early summers evening in a crowded tent.
Honourable mentions
Hopshakle Resination, Oakham Chinook, Thornbridge Raven
Best UK Bottled Beer
  1. Thornbridge Halycon 2009
    It took me a while to get hold of, but once I did, I bought every bottle I could find. Only one other beer has come close all year, including foreign imports.
  2. Moor Fusion
    The only beer to render me utterly speechless this year. I couldn’t take notes, I was so blown away…
  3. Marble Dobber
    You can keep your Punk IPA and your Jaipur, this is now my "go to beer".
Honourable mentions
Hardknott Infra Red, Hardknott Æther Blæc, Moor JJJ IPA, Cambridge Moonshine Transforming Tomorrow
Best Overseas Draught Beer
  1. Birra del Borgo ReAle Extra
    Stole my heart when I was in Rome earlier in the year and when I went back recently, it was just as good.
  2. Mikkeller I Beat yoU
    To be honest, it could have been any one of about 10 Mikkeller beers in this slot, but this was the last beer I had in Rome recently and it was an absolute hop monster.
  3. Grassroots Broken Spoke Blackened IPA
    A massive US West coast style IPA, but black. It messed with my senses and tasted sublime. Could have been any of the three Grassroots beers I’ve tried this year though, all of them were spectacular, the Rye Union Porter especially.
Honourable mentions
Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout, De Molen Rasputin, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Bernard Unfiltered, Hornbeer Black Magic Woman, Birrificio del Ducato Bia IPA, Birrificio San Paolo Ipè (Extra Hop)
Best Overseas Bottled Beer
  1. De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis 666
    Possibly the best beer I’ve had this year. Along with the Thornbridge Halcyon, it stands head and shoulders above everything else.
  2. Stone Arrogant Bastard
    I waited 13 years to try it after first seeing an (empty) bottle, it was so worth the wait.
  3. Mikkeller Single Hop IPA Simcoe
    Like drinking liquidised lychees, I’d have drunk more if it wasn’t so expensive and hard to get hold of.
Honourable mentions
Birra del Borgo Duchessic, Saison Dupont, Jandrain Jandrenouille IV Saison, Odel IPA, Dogfish Head Paolo Santo Maron, Hornbeer Oak Aged Cranberry Bastard, Nøgne Ø Porter, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Rogue John John Dead Guy Ale
Best Overall Beer
So hard to choose between Thornbridge Halcyon 2009 and De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis 666. But if I really had to choose between the two, then only as I had more of it, Thornbridge Halcyon 2009.
Best Pumpclip or Label
Anything by Marble.
Best UK Brewery
  1. Thornbridge
    They’ve produced the best UK beer I’ve had this year.
  2. Marble
    Catching Thornbridge up fast, Dobber is sublime.
  3. Moor
    I just wish I could get a moor regular supply…
Honourable mentions
Hardknott, BrewDog, Adnams, Fuller’s
Best Overseas Brewery
  1. Mikkeller
  2. De Molen
  3. Birra del Borgo
Honourable mentions
Grassroots, Nøgne Ø, Rogue, Stone, Hornbeer, Amager
Pub/Bar of the Year
  1. Brasserie 4:20, Rome, Italy
    Possibly the best pub in the world and fantastic food too.
  2. Bir & Fud, Rome, Italy
    The best pizza I’ve ever had, all washed down with lots of amazing Italian craft beer.
  3. Ma ‘Che Siete Venuti a Fà, Rome, Italy
    Could also lay claim to being the best pub in the world, it certainly has the nicest landlord I have ever met.
Honourable mentions
The Euston Tap, London; Cask Pub & Kitchen, London; The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge
Beer Festival of the Year
  1. Cambridge CAMRA Summer beer festival
    Only as I’m now a fully paid up member of the foreign beer bar team…
  2. The Cambridge Blue Winter Festival
    Thornbridge Jaipur, Seaforth and Raven were all on sparkling form.
Supermarket of the Year
Independent Retailer of the Year
The Bacchanalia, Cambridge
Online Retailer of the Year
myBreweryTap and BEERMerchants
Best Beer Book or Magazine
Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher
Best Beer Blog or Website
  1. Martyn Cornell’s Zythophile
  2. The Reluctant Scooper
  3. Real Brewing at the Sharp End
Best Beer Twitterer
The HardKnott’s (@HardKnottDave and @HardKnottAnn); it’s like a Twitter soap opera…
Best Brewery Online
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Orval with chips ‘n’ mayo
In 2011 I’d Most Like To…
Continue to try new and interesting beer and widen my horizons by trying new styles and retrying those styles I think I don’t like.
Open Category: Best Landlord
Manual from Ma ‘Che Siete Venuti a Fà
Within two minutes of meeting me was giving me free beer across the road in Bir & Fud. On subsequent visits, he opened things like Cantillon Zwanze 2009 and gave me bottles to bring home. The nicest beer person I’ve met all year.

Advent Beer: 800 Years Of Discovery

I let me wee lassie pick today’s advent beer and it it’s another strong one. I’ve had this beer lurking at the back of the beer cupboard for ages, so it’s about time I got round to drinking it. It’s one of a series of special beers that Cambridge Moonshine produced for the 800th Anniversary of Cambridge University, I’ve had a few others from this series, see here and here.

Moonshine 800 Years of DiscoveryIt poured a deep copper colour with a fairly easily formed light brown head. The head didn’t last and was completely gone by the time I got through the first quarter of the bottle. The nose doesn’t reveal much, there’s no discernible hop character, just some subtle crystal malt character.

It looks like it’s well conditioned, but the mouth feel, even though it’s not bad, doesn’t feel like it’s particularly well conditioned. It’s quite smooth, with, I suppose, an almost wateriness to the taste. I suppose it’s more of a malty juiciness than actually being watery though. The blurb on the side of the bottle claims there should be some grapefruit in the mix, I couldn’t detect any, instead I got some subtle green apple.

I can’t really say that this is a good beer, which is a shame. On the plus side, it didn’t drink like it was 9%. On the negative side, it’s too much like a failed homebrew. It could just be this bottle though, I’ve had it since last year and not treated it all that well, so your mileage may vary if you manage to track one down.

Advent Beer

So Christmas is fast approaching, as is evidenced by the amount of tat that has appeared in all the shops since the beginning of the month. My kids are quite excited about it all, especially their advent calendars, I couldn’t really care less as it’s not December yet.

In an effort to regain some of the childhood wonder for the whole thing and be less bah humbug, I’m going to do a beer advent calendar for myself. I know this has been done before on blogs, but I’ve got a backlog of beer to blog about and this seems like a good enough reason to get through some of them.

I’ve selected twenty fives beers from my stash, they are listed below. I’m going to print their names out and put them all in a hat, then each day I’ll pull one name out of the hat and that’s the beer I’ll drink and blog about. I thought it was easier to do it randomly than try and put this lot into some sort of preference order.

There will be a bit of a break over the weekend of the 10th, 11th and 12th as I’m Rome, but I’m sure I’ll catch up when I get back.

Transforming Tomorrow versus Transforming Tomorrow Oak Matured

I’ve had a hit and miss relationship with Cambridge Moonshine‘s beers over the years, some have been stellar, some rather less so. Transforming Tomorrow is a beer that I’ve already had the joy of sampling from a wooden cask, evidently according to someone in the know, the cask was infected. Evidently you needed to be a bit of a wine buff to detect this though and as I don’t drink wine…

Moonshine Transforming TomorrowThe Bacchanalia tweeted that they had received a limited stock of oak matured Transforming Tomorrow bottles, so I popped in to pick one up. For some reason I decided to hold onto it and it’s been sitting in my beer cupboard for months and months. I then spotted normal Transforming Tomorrow bottles one day, I suddenly thought I could do a comparison between the oaked and unoaked versions, so I grabbed one.

I decided to do the oak matured version of Transforming Tomorrow second, mainly to avoid having my taste buds wrecked by what ever tastes were going to be thrown up. So I opened the normal version and it poured an ultra deep brown, almost bordering on an impenetrable black. If you held it up you could see the browness through the edges. A tan head was slow to get going, but then sprouted and grew very quickly. It dropped back to a covering pretty sharpish, although it stayed at a covering all the way down the glass.

I could smell a rich thick treacle, liquorice type note coming from the beer as it was poured. The treacle, liquorice were joined by dark chocolate notes on the nose, this is no hop bomb.

The mouth feel was big and thick, it’s a very full bodied beer. There was more treacle, liquorice and chocolate in the taste, but an assertive carbonation ripped through the mouth and almost swept them away. If anything, this bottle had a bit too much condition, the cask version was much smoother. There was some bitterness in the after taste, it’s similar to what you’d get from a 85% plain chocolate, quite dry. There was also a noticeable alcoholic note, rum according to the label. It wasn’t like the throat burn you get on some high ABV monster, but it was there, just around the edges warming the mouth and reminding you that this isn’t a small beer.

Moonshine Transforming Tomorrow Oak MaturedNext I opened the oak matured Transforming Tomorrow, which being exactly the same beer looked exactly the same in the glass. The nose is pretty much the same as well, there was maybe a touch of something like a woody apple cider note in there, but it was quite faint. I was expecting more vanilla and buttery notes, like an Innis & Gunn, but there wasn’t any, thankfully.

The taste was mostly the same, but this bottle had probably even more condition than the last, it was a bit rough in the mouth to start with. The same tastes are there, but some are more amplified and some are more muted. The dry chocolate bitterness for example, wasn’t really there, the alcoholic notes had a more pronounced rum taste about them.

There’s was some vanilla and accompanying butteriness, but it’s no where near the levels of other oaked beers I’ve had, like Innis & Gunn. There was also a general woodiness to the taste that had a slight green apple, cider kind of edge, but again it was very subtle and melded well with the other flavours in the beer. When I’d finished the glass, the back of my throat did feel like it was coated in a woody tobacco though, it felt a bit odd.

I’d definitely buy and drink both beers again, although I think I’d lean more towards the normal unoaked version if pushed to choose. Either way, Transforming Tomorrow is a beer that you should really track down and try, it’s really, really nice.

Upcoming Cambridge Beer Festivals

There appears to be a few beer festivals happening in Cambridge next month. While in The Cambridge Blue last Friday I noticed a poster advertising their Octoberfest, which runs from Thursday the 7th to Sunday the 10th. There will be around 70 odd German ans 20 odd British "German Style" beers on offer, plus German food.

Cambridge CAMRA are holding their fourth Octoberfest on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th at the University Social Club on Mill Lane. They hope to have all five* of the 2010 Munich Octoberfest beers from Augustiner Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu. Plus local breweries Cambridge Moonshine and Milton are evidently providing Octoberfest style ales. Finally:

Hopshackle is hoping to produce us a Hacker-Pschorr style Octoberfest beer, this harks more back to the days when Octoberfest beers were darker than the blond versions of today.

Which sounds pretty awesome! I’m hoping to work all day Saturday, so if you’re around pop in and say hello.

Finally, I was walking past The Pickerel on Saturday and noticed that they has a poster up advertising their second Courtyard Ale Festival, which is running between Wednesday the 13th and Sunday the 17th, so it clashes a bit with the CAMRA festival. I just hope that it’s not too cold for them and thus the beer is in better condition than their last festival.

*There is no mention of any beer from the sixth Munich brewery Hofbräuhaus.

The Reviews That Weren’t

Moonshine Pigs Ear PorterWhen I started this blog, the idea was to tick the Good Bottled Beer Guide. As the months have passed, I’ve realised that my tastes lie in a different direction that the majority of the bottled beer produced in this country. It’s hard to get motivated to try yet another 3.8% brown session beer, no matter how good it is. You could say I’m going through a phase and maybe I am, only time will tell.

Old Chimneys RedshankI went through a phase earlier in the year where I took notes on a beer, but never got round to blogging about it. I want to clear all the notes out of my phone, but I don’t want to loose them. However, I can’t actually remember drinking half of these beers, so I’m not going to tart up the notes in anyway, they’re here, in the raw, for my benefit. If you find them useful, then so much the better.

So here are the beers that never got a review:

  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Scarlet Tiger, 4.9%, 500ml
  • Not much of a head, nice dark amber colour, maybe a hint of ruby. Malty nose with fruity notes, gives a sense of body, a tadge of alcohol perhaps. Very smooth mouth feel, malty fruit pudding that dissipate quickly to a long drying bitterish finish. Very, very nice.
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • India Pale Ale, 5.6%, 500ml
  • Thin rim of head around the outside of the glass. Strong straw colour, slight chill haze. Was expecting hoppy nose, but more malty, with very vague grassy tinge. Strong bitter after taste, but not really a bitter or hoppy taste. Vague homebrewesque notes maybe and not as full bodied as you expect.
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Black Rat Milk Stout, 4.5%, 500ml
  • Very dark, but not black. Not really any head and any there was dissipated quickly. Doesn’t really smell of much, maybe a vague fruitiness. Smooth taste, but a tadge lacking in something. It’s got an unpleasant edge to it that appears and disappears relatively quickly.
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Brimstone Pilsener Lager, 6.1%, 500ml
  • Light straw colour with a good head that dissipates to a small covering. Think I’m getting a cold or this doesn’t smell of anything in particular. Maybe a tadge of grass? Effervescent mouth feel due to high carbonation. Considering the ABV surprisingly light. A bit too effervescent for my taste…
  • RateBeer Moonshine
  • Red Watch Blueberry Ale, 4.2%, 500ml
  • Pours a pinkish amber colour with a good head that dissipates to not a lot. Quite a bit of sediment was lifted when pouring. One nostril blocked so not really detecting much on the nose. A very a fizzy mouth feel that is drying but juicy at the same time. You can taste the blueberries.
  • RateBeer Moonshine
  • Chocolate Orange Stout, 6.7%, 500ml
  • Pours a really dark chocolate colour, dark enough to be opaque. Not really much of a head, just a rim around the edge. Smells dark, malty, earthy roasted fruity notes. Maybe a hint of alcohol. Thick, gloopy almost, rich smooth mouth feel with a roasted after taste that dissipates with a bit of bitterness. Not sure I can taste any orange though…
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Hairy Canary Lemon and Ginger Ale, 4.2%, 275ml
  • Poured a strong golden colour with a hint of a haze. There was a bit of a head, bit it dissipated over the next few minutes to leave nothing. Massive ginger nose with the lemon coming through it. My wife thinks it smells like dish washing liquid. The large ginger nose is not replicated in the taste, the ginger is really subtle. There is a larger watery lemon taste that cuts through and over powers, it also makes the body feel a bit insubstantial.
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Pale Ale 1914, 5.7%, 275ml
  • Pours a hazy amber colour, a few bubbled with a head that dissipates to a covering round the edges. Smells nice and bitter with an earthy, biscuity undertone. Nice taste, a bit of fizz on the tongue from the conditioning. Some toasted notes coming through the initial bitterness. Nice amount of body, with some digestive biscuit maybe…
  • RateBeer Moonshine
  • Harvest Moon Mild, 3.9%, 500ml
  • Pours a very dark red, so dark you can’t see through the pint glass. Head doesn’t last very long and totally disappears. Smells like a mild, dark roasted coffee notes, but lacking the full body back up. Lovely smooth mouth feel, roasted malts, some bitterness and a long drying finish. Surprising amount of body, not the least bit watery.
  • RateBeer Moonshine
  • Pigs Ear Porter, 4.5%, 500ml
  • Pours a really deep brown red, you can just, just see through it. Not much of a head, dissipates to a loose rim around the outside. Not really sure what it smells like, there’s not much going on. There’s something there, I just don’t know what it is. Smooth, roasted, but there’s an underlying taste that isn’t good. A bit of lactic dryness as well, I think a previous bottle was better.
  • RateBeer Moonshine
  • Achievement, 4.1%, 500ml
  • Pours a straw colour with a head that dissipates to a rim very quickly. Quite well conditioned with lots of bubbles. Smells like a session bitter, a tadge of grass and some hops. Effervescent mouth feel, but it doesn’t detract too badly. Although it does quench the fruitiness that charges through the mouth. Very pleasant, although probably a bit cold as straight from the shed.
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Red Clover, 6.2%, 275ml
  • Pours a murky brown with little head. Cloudiness might be due to cold as straight out of the shed. It cleared up as it warmed up. Malty spice nose, more than just cloves going on, rich moist fruit pudding type of thing. Some sour notes in there, full bodied, but with a tinge of wateriness. Spicy notes of the cloves running through the after taste.
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Redshank, 8.7%, 275ml
  • Pours a deep brown with a good head. The head dissipates to a rim quite quickly. Smells strong with wisps of alcohol. Malty, with a vague fruitiness hiding away. Smooth, malty, a bit of fruit. Warming alcohol finish. Really nice. REALLY NICE.
  • RateBeer Young’s
  • Bitter, 4.5%, 500ml
  • Pours a light copper colour with a good head that dissipates after a few minutes, with some lacing, to leave a skin over the top. Smells of flowery fruity bitterness. Feels quite harsh in the mouth due to heavy conditioning. Otherwise it’s really nice with a wonderful lingering fruity after taste.
  • RateBeer Young’s
  • Special London Ale, 6.4%, 500ml
  • Pours a copper colour with a decent head that drops to a full covering. Smells heavy with a hint of its strength. Biscuity tones maybe. Heavy mouth feel that has a creamy biscuity after taste.
  • RateBeer Old Chimneys
  • Golden Pheasant, 4.7%, 500ml
  • Pours an inviting golden colour with little head action. Lack of head could be due to storage in shed though. Smells grassy with a hint of flora. A tinge of biscuity malt as well maybe. Light, almost watery that is then backed up by some biscuity malt. Then a lingering drying finish. Not particularly bitter, but really drying.
  • RateBeer Oldershaw
  • Alchemy, 5.3%, 500ml
  • Pours a lovely dark straw colour with a good head that takes a while to dissipate, but still gives a covering. Not a lot going on on the nose, maybe some vague grassy notes, plus a hint of something I can’t quite put my hand on. Quite full bodied, maybe some biscuit notes, with a very lemony citrus taste that comes to the fore and dominates. Can still taste the lemon during the long lingering drying after taste.
  • RateBeer Three B’s
  • Knocker Up, 4.8%, 500ml
  • Pours a very dark ruby brown with a good cream head which slowly dissipates. Good condition from the bottle. Smells buiscuity, like a digestive, with vague coffee roastedness. My wife thinks it has some spice in there like gingerbread or similar. Starts off innocuous and smooth, then a sharp almost unpleasant roastedness cuts through. Not sure what the unpleasant taste is from, but there is something there, that I don’t like. Definite drying lingering liquorice after taste. It’s nicer as I get through the bottle, smoother, but there is still an under taste that I’m not liking.
  • RateBeer Humpty Dumpty
  • Porter, 5.4%, 500ml
  • Pours a really deep brown, nearly black. Not much head, just around the edge of the glass. Not much phutzz when opening the bottle, but in good condition. Watery roasted notes on the nose, not a lot else. Quite a bit of body, that’s hidden behind some roasted notes. It’s like it’s going to be watery, but it’s not, as the body comes in. The roastedness is subtle and not too grating. However, there is a creamyness in the background, sort of lactic in nature. Half way down the glass I’m not liking this at all, really not that pleasant…
  • RateBeer Pitfield
  • 1824 Mild, 6%, 500ml
  • Pours a really deep dark copper brown. Fantastic beige head that settles to a skin over the surface. Good condition. Smells of a vague roastedness as well as some sort of fruity tone, maybe green apple? Tastes like a bad homebrew, green apples and loads of drying yeast. On further tastes the green apple is a bit muted, but the drying yeast is still there. Most of it went down the sink, very disappointing.
  • RateBeer Humpty Dumpty
  • Swallowtail, 4%, 500ml
  • Pours a dark straw colour with basically no head. Lots of little bubbles though. Really doesn’t smell of much, maybe a vague grassy flowery note but hardly anything, maybe some malt. Pleasant, good body, not particularly bitter, but refreshing with it. Has a fruity tone to the after taste that is then replaced by a buiscity flavour.
  • RateBeer Humpty Dumpty
  • Reedcutter, 4.4%, 500ml
  • Pours a golden straw yellow with a good head that dissipates to a covering. Good conditioning, lots of little bubbles. Doesn’t really smell of much to be honest, at least I can’t smell anything. Nice if unspectacular. Has some sort of fruity tinge to the after taste, they claim pineapple, quite probably. As I finished the bottle, there is a noticeable malty backbone and I find myself really quite liking it. Wish there was another couple of mouthfuls.
  • RateBeer Humpty Dumpty
  • Hop Harvest Gold, 4.9%, 500ml
  • Pours a really pale golden colour with a big head that holds quite well and leaves a good covering. Looks like it has good condition with lots of little bubbles. Not an overpowering smell, just a hint of something in the background. Some citrus maybe. Quite a harsh mouth feel due to some effervescence. Hoppy, but not overly so, nice malty tones too. Would be nicely balanced if not for the effervescence. Fruity after taste, but in a British hop way. Nice.
  • RateBeer Adnams
  • William Godell, 4.5%, 500ml
  • Pours a dark copper brown with a good cream head that dissipates to a covering. Has a subtle bitter aroma that covers the malt. Hard to put your finger on it being citrus or grassy. Nice mouth feel, not too bubbly. Nice malty body with enough bitterness to cut through. Drinks well through the bottle.

Young's BitterOldershaw AlchemyHumpty Dumpty Hop Harvest Gold