SOME COMMERCIAL BREWS
Beers & wines tend to taste better if kept still in a (preferably) cool (not the fridge) dark place for a week or two prior to drinking. These are MY opinions only & I try not to dismiss drinks because they are “not to my taste”, some people swear by the likes of canned Kestrel/Stella/”Bud” etc. but then a lot of these people just seem to swear. Terms like “low in taste” & “biscuity” are my observations and not criticisms, we all have different tastes/likes & all opinions are equally valid.
When tasting beers it is best to have an open mind, do not expect all beers to taste like a can of “smooth”, or all lagers to taste like the European or Australian named drinks brewed in the U. K. & served extremely cold in the pubs (it helps kill any residual taste). When trying a new beer or style, dismiss all your prejudices & do not disregard a beer simply because it is different. If sampling more than one drink at a time, start with what you think to be the one with the lowest taste & alcohol content & work up to the strongest, eat a plain, un-buttered, cream cracker between different drinks.
Ensure your beer is at the correct temperature & try to choose a glass whose shape is conducive with the type of beer being drunk. When beer tasting I like to use a stemmed goblet style beer glass, holding the stem helps stop the beer from getting too warm from handling, the colour is easily seen & the shape, slightly narrower at the top, helps to enhance the aroma. After washing a glass it is best to rinse it in clean water before drying.
Pour the beer carefully to avoid too big a head & also to minimise the disturbance to any yeast deposits in the bottle, unless of course, you are sampling a Trappist/Abbey or wheat (weiss or wit) beer. Fill your glass about ½ way; hold it to the light to check the colour, clarity, condition (rising bubbles) & the head. The latter may soon disappear but could remain to the (bitter?) end, with some beers froth tends to cling to the glass; it may also form intricate patterns called (Belgian) lacing or lace work.
Smell the beer, a quick swirl of the glass will help release the aromas. If you over-filled your glass (see the above paragraph), you may now be wet!
Finally taste the beer, sloshing it around the mouth like those wine-tasters on some T. V. programs may seem pretentious, especially whilst in the pub, but it actually helps to reveal the more subtle flavours, note that beer drinkers do not then (usually) spit it out! I like to have at least two bottles of each beer as sometimes we may get the odd duff one.
A good book to read for details of how to pour & review beers, with superb pictures of how different beers look & their ideal drinking temperatures, is the “Great Beer Guide” by the late lamented Michael Jackson, I borrowed the copy from our library so many times that my (occasionally) wonderful wife finally bought me one as a Christmas present. (You could always print this page & leave it lying around as a hint.)
COMMERCIAL BEER LIST
Because many beers/biers are from several countries you may see several words spelled differently i.e. Triple/tripel.
(Italic notes in brackets indicate brewer’s parameters where known, i. e. colour, hops used etc.).
In 2011 I became aware of two possible trends by independent “brewers”. Firstly, I noticed some IPA styles, with colours around the low-teens EBC, with a good aroma, full, floral hops (late hopped?) & a very, very in the long aftertaste, unstable yeast. Secondly is a very bitter bitter (note the alliteration) where the hops the mix of hops were horrible & too strong
Could it be that some brewers sell mass produced beers that are sold by independent “brewers” or is it just a coincidence?
A lot of “regional” beers have been included thanks to Phil (“The Ale Seeker”) Ward.
DISCLAIMER:- These notes are primarily for my reference purposes only. Hopefully you may disagree with most of my comments but I’m not bothered.
Achel 8 Blonde, Belgian Trappist beer 8%, good, lasting head/some condition, around the 10EBC mark with sight cloudiness & some aroma. The taste/aftertaste had some yeastiness, herbs/spices - some coriander & orange?, well balanced, a bit like Orval? Quite wonderful & adding the yeast - Wow!
Achel 8 Bruin, Belgian Trappist beer, 8%. V. good head/condition, around the 40-50EBC mark with some aroma. The taste/aftertaste had some yeastiness, herbs, and a hint of cocoa & just a touch of fruitiness.
Achel Notes: The Cistercian Abbey of Saint Benedict ceased brewing in 1914 when Belgium was under German occupation. The Germans dismantled the Abbey in 1917 in order to nick all the copper (750Kg). Fortunately, for us at least, brewing re-started in 1998, their Brothers, the monks from Westmalle & Rochforte Abbeys, helped with the re-building. I’d like to see such co-operation in the U. K. (No, not the nicking bit, we’re far too good at that!). I have only tried the “8” beers &, as a gentleman, I preferred the blonde, Achel 5 (5%) is also brewed in both versions & an Achel Extra 8 (9.5% - 750ml, bruin only) is available, try this if you can, it is considered to be an outstanding beer.
Acorn Brewery Conquest 5.7%. A “well hopped traditional IPA”. (From Barnsley.) Poor head/cond., mid-teens EBC. Flowery (citrusy?) hops with a little harshness in the aftertaste. Well worth trying.
Acorn Brewery (Barnsley) Conquest Blonde 4%. Very low teens EBC, no head, little cond. Very nice hops & well balanced.
Acorn Brewery Old Moor Porter 4.4%.
Black! Poor head for the style but some lacing. Black malt followed by a touch of chocolate malt, some hop flavour, an (acrid) dry taste. I’ve tasted better.
Adjid Ename Abbaye Tripel. A bottle fermented Trappist beer of 9%. Had a massive head & lots of bubbles, some clinging & a colour about 10EBC. Had a metallic taste (Fuggles/Hallertaue?).
Adnams Southwold Bitter 4.1%. 30ish EBC, somewhat low cond./head, chewy malt & assertive hops – rather bitter but non the worse for that, long finish.
Adnam’s Southwold Winter Beer 4%, chocolate malt, Fuggles & Boadicea hops, serve @ room temp, taste intensity 5. Nice aroma, deep red colour (around 50EBC) with little head/cond. A well balanced ale with hops in the taste & aftertaste, some complexity. A warming ale on a cold night! Not for bland, cold, gassy, mass produced Euro-lager drinkers!
Adnams Suffolk Strong Bitter 4.5%, reasonable initial head, fair condition & quite clingy. Dark brownie-red colour around 50EBC, flowery hops leading to a biscuity finish.
Affligem Blonde 6.8%, 8-10˚C Belgian Abbey ale. A nice spicy aroma, V. good head/cond, in the 10-15EBC range. Lots of orange peel & spices (inc, anis seed & caraway?), some may find this slightly over the top.
Alpha Edel Pils 5% from the Netherlands (that’s Holland to you & me). Approaching 10EBC, poor head & condition & on the bland side.
Anchor Steam Beer 4.8% from San Francisco. Reasonable head & condition, around 25 EBC. Quite a malty taste with a bitterish aftertaste but not really to my taste.
Ampleforth Abbey Beer, a dubbel 7%, brewed & bottled by Little Valley Brewery (under contract for Ampleforth Abbey). Contains malt, wheat malt, cane sugar & hops. Very dark, little head, good cond. Phenolic (industrial plastic) taste & no aftertaste. VERY DISAPPOINTING.
Asahi Black Lager 5% (roast, rice & maize). Decent head/cond., gentle roast barley taste, no noticeable hop taste. OK.
Badger Blandford Fly 5.2% is an excellent Ginger Beer <20 EBC.
Badger First Gold 4%. Named after the dwarf hop used in it’s making. “A dark ruby brown colour” quoted, it appeared to be mid-twenties to me. Poor head & no cond. Malty taste with gentle hops. OK but somewhat disappointing.
Badger Golden Champion Ale 5%. Very light (<20 EBC). Very pleasant, full flavoured easy drinking beer with a slightly harsh finish.
Badger Golden Glory 4.5%. Very similar colour to other Badgers (<20 EBC) & the same “biscuity” finish. A definite taste of the contained peach blossom extract.
Badger Original Ale, 3.8% had a modest head, decent condition, >25 EBC & had the “Badger” taste, quite a good session beer.
Badger Tanglefoot 5%. (Styrian Goldings.) Around 20- EBC, very biscuity in the bottle, draught excellent.
Banks’s Bitter 3.8%. Poor head, very poor cond. (A second bottle was OK.) Colour around 20-25 EBC or so, hops noticeable but fairly restrained, Fuggles & Goldings are used in the floral mix proving a very gentle complexity.
Banks’s Mild 3.5%. Good aroma & around 50-60EBC, “light chestnut”, poor head/cond. Fairly bitter tasting with dark malts- biscuity. Not my cup of tea!
Barngate’s Tag Lag 4.4% contains wheat. Little head/cond., well pronounced hops with a harsh aftertaste (they say spicy). Around 20EBC.
Barbãr Blond Ale 8.0% with 2%honey, coriander & bitter orange peel. Early teens EBC, reasonable initial head, poor cond. & hazy. I did not like it very much! (Honey?)
Bass, brewed in the UK (Luton), re-imported from Canada! 5.1%, poor head/condition, nice gold colour, not too bad but nothing special, not like the old Bass.
Bateman’s 4X, 4.8%, around 20 EBC. Similar to Black Sheep?
Batemans Christmas Eve Molasses with a touch of spice! 4.4%. This beer spoilt my Christmas Eve! No head or cond., nice aroma. Sweet spices in the aftertaste. If this ale was homebrew …..
Bateman’s Combined Harvest 4.7% contains “roasted barley, wheat, rye & oat malts”. Very small head, condition O. K., colour <20EBC.
Batemans Dark Lord Dark Ruby Beer 5.0% with wheat. Nice aroma & dark (around 60 EBC) in colour, poor head & fair cond. Nice dark malts with a roasty aftertaste.
Bateman’s Victory Ale, 5%, brewed to commemorate Nelson & his crew at Trafalgar 21~10~1805. Uses Liberty hops, around 30 EBC, small, short lived head & poor condition, malty with a slight “burnt plastic” taste (Crystal malt?). Not to my taste.
Bavaria Holland Beer 5%. Yellow, <10EBC, head OK good cond., not as bad as I expected but had some harshness.
Lousy web site with even lousier muzak.
Becks (5% ABV bottled). No comments!
Bergenbier 4.8%, a Romanian lager made with malt, maize & hops, best drunk at 6°C or less. Poor head, zero condition but not too bad.
Bernard Special Dark Beer (Cerne Pivo), a dark Czech lager, 5.1%, un-pasteurized & in swing-top bottles. The head & condition did not last too well, almost black in colour, had a slight but of-putting aroma & a slightly bitter chocolate taste with some fruit – a bit like a diluted Wychwood Hobgoblin taste. I guess these dark lagers (see Herold) are just not for me.
Belvoir Brewery Beaver 4.3%, bottle cond. Good head/cond., slight haze, 20EBC or so. Very hoppy but it has a slightly harsh edge (4 hop types used).
Bier du Boucanier, a Belgian “Golden Ale” & “Traditional Beer” 11%. A very light coloured strong flavoured Bier O.K.
Bière Spèciale 4.8% “imported Premium” French lager with malted barley, maize, hop extract, colour (???) in the form of ammonia caramel & CO2, “selected by Tesco”. Why? I found it had a very poor head/condition, a golden colour around 10EBC. There was a slight aroma from the hops & just a hint of them in the watery taste followed by some harshness in the after taste. To be fair this sells at about £1.40 per litre (Aug 2009), about ¼ to 1/3 the price of “normal” beers & should be OK as a cold thirst-quencher on a very hot day.
Birra Moretti, 4.6%, malted barley, corn & hops, from Milan, Italy. A pale yellow around 6 EBC, head OK but cond. not so good, good lacing. Not a lot of taste but that was not a problem, clean & gentle, not bland but subtle. VG.
Bitburger Premium Pils 4.8% brewed in Bitberg Germany using hops & hop extract. Poor head, initial condition fair, nice straw/gold colour <10EBC & good aroma. TASTED EVEN BETTER THAN IT LOOKED. A malty taste leading to a strongish, dry, prickly hop (37-38EBU?) flavour & a long aftertaste.
Black Paw Brewery Dark Seam 5%, 12°C. The name suits it. V poor head, OK cond. Dark malts come through, some depth.
Black Sheep Brewery Ale 4.4% (13°C) contains some wheat malt, around 20 or so EBCs. Good head, decent condition with some clinging to the glass. A bit more complex than the XB. (Challenger, Fuggles, Goldings & Progress.) EXCELLENT. (From Masham.)
Black Sheep Brewery Emmerdale 5% made with Maris Otter malt, Goldings hops & Demerara sugar. Around 20 EBC, small head, good condition & some clinging. Full-flavoured heavy weight beer with a light-weight name, some metal with a long dry bitter (marmalade) finish, shame about the name!
Black Sheep Brewery Riggwelter 5.7% (13°C). Decent head, fair cond., 60ish EBC. “Dark” tasting with a lasting aftertaste. Some complexity.
Black Sheep Brewery Yorkshire Square Ale 5% (13°C). Initial head/cond befitting a Yorkshire ale with good lacework. Around 20EBC & slightly hazy. Good balance between malt & hops. Not initially “obvious” but in grows on you.
Blanche du Brasseur 4.5%. Notre Maitr-Brasseur, Brasseur Saint Omer, France, all on the label. A very pale & cloudy wheat beer, smelled of vinegar, tasted of sick! May have been spoiled by Summerfields Supermarket storing it in direct heat from an industrial heater @ 1m!
Blue Moon Brewing Company Blue Moon (USA) 5.4%, an un-filtered wheat beer with oats, orange peel & coriander in the “Belgian” style. Brewed by BMBC in Canada, imported by Coors(!!!??).Poor head/cond. for the style, cloudy, in the mid teens. A hint of coriander in the mouth & aftertaste. Not bad but somehow a little disappointing.
Boon Framboise 5%, 8°C, 1050, attenuation 87%, 22EBU, 32EBC. A Belgian Flemish lambic with French spelling of the name, 25% (240g/litre – site) raspberries & 4% cherries are added. My bottle had a 5 year “life”. A poor head & slight condition with a very clear, dark (raspberry) red colour. A slightly sour raspberry aroma & these characteristics were very prominent in the refreshing taste, like a spritzy dry red wine with a touch of sourness & oak in the lingering finish. One of the more drinkable lambics for the un-initiated (like me).
Boon Kriek, Belgian Cherry Lambiek Fruit beer, 250g cherries/litre, 6.5%, ?°C, 1056, attenuation 85%, 24EBU, 40EBC.
Not much head/cond. Dark cherry colour. A “cocktail cherry” aroma & taste ensued, mild Lambic taste with a long aftertaste. WONDERFUL.
Boon Mariage Parfait, Belgian Oude Geuze, 8.0%, 10-13˚C. Like the Framboise this comes in a corked Champagne style bottle. My beer was a 2004 Vintage with a staggering best before & very specific date of 15 Sept. 2028!!!
I drank mine in Jan. 2010. Produced by blending 90% of 18+ month old lambic with 5% each of 3 year old & young lambics. The beer is matured for at least 2 years. “Is it all worth it?” You may ask. Well, my sample had a very good head/condition with a slightly hazy, orangey colour in the mid-teens EBC & a good aroma. The initial taste was of dried apricots & orange peel leading on to a very long bitter finish with lemon peel & cherries, adding the yeast added to the taste. There was some acidity & sourness but more subdued & refined than in other sour/lambics etc. I have tried. The simple answer to the question posed is YES! It is undoubtedly one of the most unusual, complex & rare beer in the world. TRY IT! I USED TO LIKE THIS!
Boon Oude Geuze 6.5%, a Lambic bier. I used to like this!
Bosteels DeuS Brut des Flanders, Blonde Bier Brut 11.5% (2-4°C). Brewed in Belgium, it is then transported by tanker to near Epernay in the Champagne area of France, where it is re-fermented like a sparkling wine. Costing about £12 a 750ml bottle at the time of writing (2008), this is one of the more expensive beers available in the U. K. & highly rated by privileged nobodies who seem to be born into money or are over-paid glorified “clerks” in the “City”. My intention was to see just how good this beer is & give an honest, un-biased opinion. Well here it is: The beer looked like a sparkling wine & had a slight taste of liquorice, a little citrus fruits & a dash of aniseed. Unfortunately it was quite “dull” tasting & very disappointing. I’d rather have had a proper beer or even a cheap sparkling wine, this is only fit for tasteless bankers/toffee-nosed journalists & other pretentious moneyed idiots (it even comes in Dom Perignon style bottles to emphasise the pretensions of the beer & its’ drinkers).
SUMMARY: As you may have guessed from my little rant, I was not very keen on this beer & found it hard to believe that it is made by the brewers of Kwak. Two of my drinking friends have also sampled this beer & I am in the minority (again).
Box Steam Brewery Tunnel Vision 4.2%. 20 or so EBC, little head/cond. Tasted smoky! (Honest.)
Brains Dark 3.9% bottle conditioned (real ale – pale, chocolate, sugars, Fuggles & Goldings) from Cardiff. Decent head, good condition, very dark, roast barley/coffee/dark taste, not a lot of hops, very drinkable.
Brakspear Double Dropped Bitter 3.4%, Pale, Crystal & Chocolate Goldings & Fuggles (site says Fuggles & Styrians). 20+ EBC & reddish, little head/cond. A full flavour of malt & hops with a lasting, hoppy aftertaste. Too”heavy”.
Brakspear Triple 6.7%, uses molasses & rum along with Pale & Black Crystal malts & Oats with Target hops. Approx. 40EBC, poor head, zero cond. (Bottle conditioned!) Some malt followed by plenty of hops – well balanced.
Budels Pils from the Netherlands (Donker) 5% made from organically farmed barley malt & hops. Good bright yellow/gold colour, poor head V. G. condition, nice floral bouquet & hint in the after taste, a nice full flavour.
Budweiser U.S.A “The King of Beers”, more like “The *** ****** of Beers” (name changed to protect the innocent, i. e. ME.), may look nice but over-hyped, little (taste), bland, cloying & one dimensional, contains 30% rice (probably cheaper than sugar). Their Admen boast about it being sold fresh when it is supposed to be a LAGER! They seem proud to depend on the ignorant &/or stupid people who buy this rubbish. Avoid their exceedingly tedious web tip (sorry, site).
Budweiser Budvar Premium lager 5% with Saaz (Zatec) hops, the Czech “original”, despite what some Americans would have us believe – much better AND matured for 90 days! Small, short-lived head, good condition & a beautiful golden colour. Not bad at all, although I personally think it slightly over-rated.
Brugse Zot Blond, 6%, Belgian bier brewed from four different malts & two hops. Poor head, fair condition & an orangey colour in the low-mid teens EBC. An enjoyable beer with orange peel & coriander in the taste which was enhanced by adding the sediment.
Brugse Zot Dubbel, Dark 7.5%, brewed using 6 malts & Saaz hops. Poor head/conditionwas a dark reddy brown colour 55EBC or so, typical of the style with some malt & chocolate leading to a good finish. The slight yeast added to the taste.
Brugse Notes: Like Straffe Hendrick, it is brewed by the Belgian Halve Maan in Brugge (Bruges). Legend has it that, around 1488, the townsfolk of Bruges organised a colourful parade of merrymakers & fools to welcome Emperor Maximilian of Austria (Archduke of Austria, German King & Holy Roman Emperor?). When asked for money to provide a new madhouse he answered: “Today I have seen nothing but fools. Bruges is already one large madhouse!” Since then the people of Bruges are called “Brugse Zotten” (fools of Bruges). This may explain the bottle labels/caps.
Caledonian 80/- ale 4.1%, crystal & roast malt, Poor head/condition, around 40 EBC, pleasant hop (Fuggles, Goldings, WGV), malty, slightly burn taste/aftertaste, dry. EXCELLENT. The draft version was a little disappointing, rather two dimensional.
Caledonian Brewery Distant Sun 4.2%. Competent brew but does not stand out like the others.
Caledonian Flying Scotsman 4%, a recent edition (Dec 2011) to may local. It makes a welcome change to have a beer served there! EXCELLENT beer & site.
The bottled version (only once tried) was vastly inferior, poor head, cond. fair & very disappointing.
Caledonian Brewery Golden XPA Pale, 4.3%, draught. A golden pale ale using Optic & wheat malts & Cascade, Hallertau & Northdown hops. Rather hoppy VG.
Caledonian Brewery Road to Rio, 4% Nice.
Caledonian Brewery Summer Valley American Pale Ale,4.1%.“Cascade hops the embodiment of American Pale Ale, offer spicy and grapefruit qualities, Centennial hops intensify the strong citrus aroma.” ACE!
Caledonian Brewery Commonwealth Gold, 3.8% Nice.
Cameron’s Strongarm, 4% from Hartlepool. The label states “Ruby red ale” & is the perfect description, it is around 50EBC. The head & condition were both very poor, this is probably why it was not very nice &for me).
Cartmel Racecourse Hurdler 3.5%.Little head, fair condition & a very slightly hazy 10-12EBC. Good hops in the mouth with a long, long finish.
Carling Black Label (draught) UK. Surprisingly this has a (very) slightly stronger/nicer taste than the usual too-cold pub lagers.
Carlsberg Elephant beer 7.2% is a strong Pilsner, named after the two pairs of life-sized stone elephants that form part of the “Elephant Gate” at Carlsberg’s brewery in Copenhagen, Denmark. Poor head & condition, golden colour around 10EBC or so & some aroma. A gentle malt taste followed by the hop bitterness. Hints of barley sugar in the taste/aftertaste. As with the Zubr Jasne Pelne (see below), I’m wondering if the picture on the label (an elephant in this case), has anything to do with the taste of the contents.
Chimay Red or Rouge, 7%, 10-12°C Trappist, Brune/Bruin uses malt, wheat, sugar & hops. Around 45EBC with lots of “floaters”, very modest condition & a short lasting head. Yeasty tasting with some fruit, uses Chocolate malt(?), vanilla(?), hops & (not too intrusive) herbs/spices, vinous – a bit like a good red, warming. Much of the taste was similar to the aroma. Nice & subtle, does not leap out & grab you.
Chimay White, Blanche or Cinq Cents, 8%, 10°C min, blonde Tripel Trappist beer. Good initial head, poor condition, around the mid-teens EBC, quite a clean, dry, hoppy taste with some tangy orange peel evident in the taste/aftertaste, some barley sugar.
Chimay Blue, Bleau, Grande Reserve, 9%, 15-18°C, dark Trappist beer, contains barley, wheat & sugar. Modest head, condition O. K., dark ruby-red colour around 50+EBC. Looks & tastes like a big Brother to the Red (I’ll have to stop using that joke) with a warm, fruity vinous taste with the gentle hops it is almost like a good red wine, some chocolate, orange peel, coriander & Hallertauer coming through? Reviewed in July 2008, my bottle was marked (in foreign) BBE 2013! (Stick that up you jumper Budweiser USA!)
Chimay Bleu Blue Dark Trappist beer 9.0%. Slightly different label & cap. Headjust OK, no cond.
Chimay Notes: The silent Cistercian Trappist Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont at Chimay (pronounced “She-may”), Belgium, was established by Westvleteren Brothers around 1850 & the brewery completed in 1862, production started the following year. The Chimay Red must be the best known Trappist Ale here in the U K & the names refer to the bottle cap colours. I was quite amazed at the quantity & looseness of the yeast in all three bottles, definitely un-pasteurised & a lot was suspended in the beers, probably ideal for cloning as only one yeast is used for the primary & secondary fermentations, the yeast some effect on the taste. The three main beers are available in 330ml crown-capped bottles & 750ml corked bottles; the Blue is also available in a 1500ml bottle. The beers are considered to taste better from the larger bottles owing to “bulk maturation”. Three beers, all WELL WORTH THEIR REPUTATION but Chimay also brew the Dorée at 4.8% from similar ingredients to the Red. This beer is only for consumption at the abbey or at the nearby inn Auberge de Poteaupré which is associated with the Abbey. Chimay also make cheeses.
Cobra Premium Beer 4.8% (Lager). Very yellow, no head/cond. One conciliation, it had no discernable taste!
Co-operative Strong Brown Ale, 5%, 200 cals & 20g cabs/500 ml, made by Thwaites (who should have known better) from malted barley, ammonium caramel (a cheap substitute for coloured malts) & hops. Slight head/cond., 50EBC or so & a harsh nastiness in the taste/aftertaste (ammonium caramel). Not really a brown ale but an ale with added colour!
Coors Lite 4.5% (draught, brewed in Burton-upon-Trent). Billed as “The light taste of the Rockies”, I thought a cool mountain stream could possibly have more taste &, hopefully, less colour!
Copper Dragon Golden Pippin 4.2% (draught 3.9%). Very clear, early teens EBC, head/cond OK, some aroma. A citrus followed by the hops. Competent but with a little “edginess” to the hop taste.
Coniston Brewery Infinity IPA 6%. Maris Otter, Mount Hood, Challenger, Goldings & Armarilo hops
Poor head/cond, around mid-teens EBC. A good strong, hoppy ale with very nice hops.
Corsendonk Agnus 7.5% Belgian bottle conditioned (wheat?) beer. An Abbey beer that has an “occasional” taste of Goldings.
Contreras Mars Especial 6.5%, 7C, Hallertau, Styrian & Brewers Gold. Head OK, good cond, colour about 30ECB. This beer is not particularly outstanding (for a Belgian beer) but is very drinkable. Yeast fairly(?) neutral.
Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer 4%. Head/cond poor, colour in the low – mid teens & a gingery aroma. The beer had a sharp ginger taste & a long aftertaste. A good, refreshing drink, the ginger came through as strong but not overpowering.
Crabbie’s Black Reserve Alcoholic Ginger Beer 6%, serve “ice cold”. “Oak matured with extra ginger for enhanced strength & taste”. Very small head, no cond with a colour in the mid-teens. An initial citrus was followed the good ginger bite. Excellent.
Crew Brew’s Triple A 3.9%. A BIG & long-lasting head, v. good cond., mid-20’s of so EBC. Best described as “pleasant”.
Cropton Brewery Yorkshire Moor 4.6%. Silly, stiff head 1 part beer, 5 parts head, almost no condition (bottle cond.). Contains pale, crystal & roasted malts, Fuggles & Progress hops. At around 20EBC (“RUBY”?????) it contains very little coloured malts. I told them “I think they may have a problem.” No reply, but they took the beer off the market!
De Koninck Amber 5.2%, Saaz hops. Around 40EBC & very clear, not much head, fair cond., coriander & orange with a hoppy aftertaste. Good!
De Koninck Blond 6% Belgium. Saaz hops. No head/condition, i.e. flat. Colour approaching 20EBC, malty aroma & taste. Rubbish! My second bottle (sample) had an exceptionally poor head/condition but tasted much better (but not enough).
De Koninck Tripel 8% Belgium (9°C). Uses cane sugar & Saaz. Like a scaled-up (8:6) version of the Blond, a reddish colour >20EBC, just as flat, just as horrible! De Koninck – “The King” – not by my samples.
Delirium Noel 10%. Colour around 40, good head, poor cond. Quite intense taste, long aftertaste, VG.
Delirium Nocturnum 8.5%, barley malt & hops, around 50EBC. Spoilt by lack of cond./head & by the nasty taste (liquorice?).
Delirium Tremens, an 8.5% Belgian strong golden ale from Eastern Flanders, made from barley malt & Saaz & Styrian hops, fermented in 3 stages & named after a medical condition (DT), 10°C. A golden yellow colour around 10EBC, a modest but long lasting head, fair condition with flowers & a touch of orange peel & spices in the aroma & (a sharpish) taste. The yeast intensified the orange peel taste. Is the colour & taste similar to Duvel? Probably, but possibly a little more assertive, an exceptional beer.
Delirium Tremens Red Cherry Beer 8.5%. Looks like a red wine, poor head/cond., cherry aroma & watery tasting. Uses cherry, cherry juice, elderberries, flavouring, & other chemicals, coriander & orange. Very disappointing!
Derby Brewing Co Old International 5%. Note this beer was over a month OOD. Around 30EBC & cloudy, poor head/cond. very hoppy/fruity.
Dortmunder Actien Brauerei (DAB) Original 5%. 7EBC or so, very low carbonation, poor head (O.O.D.). Subtle metallic taste (Saaz?). The web site (English bits available) states 4.8%, 22 EBU & O. G. of 11.2% Plato (1044.8).
Ducassis 3% (Belg) is the first top fermented beer to be made with real blackcurrant berries (30% blackcurrant berries juice). Fruited but with no added sweetening. Red, little head/cond.
Duvel (Pronounced “DOOv’l”) Classic Belgian bottle conditioned golden ale, 8.5% bottled the recommended is 6°C but I find 4 or 6° is much better. Uses barley malt, Styrian & Saaz hops & yeasts derived from the Scottish McEwan’s brewery. <10EBC, very good tight, fluffy head & modest condition with some glass clinging/lacing. A full, clean, slightly orangey flavour, some lovely, slightly floral hops (Styrians?). Some say it tastes better with the (slight, stable) yeast deposit swirled into the glass, I found it did (slightly) enhance the taste. Lots of “slight”s are mentioned in this revive but the V. G. strong beer is very far from slight.
Efes Pilsner 5% from Istanbul, Turkey uses malted barley, rice & hops had a small head/condition & an unusually fruity taste, worth trying?
Eisbrau Czech Traditional Beer (Pilsner) 5%. “A full-bodied lager …. smooth & aromatic beer with distinctive hop character” just about sums it up. Around 10+ EBC, modest head for a lager, lots of bubbles with some clinging to the glass.
Elgood’s Cambridge Bitter 3.8% torrified wheat, invert sugar & roast barley, Fuggles & Challenger hops. Hoppy, but Fuggles & Challenger? I’m not so sure as the taste was not too good.
Ename Blond Abijbier 6.5% brewed by the Brouwerij Roman in Belgium for the St. Salvator Abbey at Ename. Modest head/condition, around 10EBC, had a good hop character & came in a Duvel-style bottle. For a bottle conditioned Abbey style beer there was very little yeast in the bottle, AND it was quite stable. Use a search engine translator for the web site.
Erdinger Dunkel 5.6% with “roasted malt”. Much darker then the 50ish EBC I expected & with a much weaker chocolate (& black?) malt taste. I found it a little better than the Weissbier.
Erdinger Weissbier 5.3% “aus Bayern” contains wheat & barley malts & hops. Excellent head & condition but, unfortunately, to me, not much taste.
Estaminet, 21EBU, 6EBC, 5.2%, malt, maize & Saaz hops, Belgian lager 4C, OG 1050, attenuation 82%, 21EBU, 6EBC. Almost zero head/cond. Nothing special.
Exmoor (Ales) Beast Strong Ale 6.6% (a Porter style) using Chocolate & crystal malts with Challenger & Goldings hops. Reminiscent, but not the same as the old Guinness, 200+ EBC, a nice gentle roasted taste (subtle - chock malt?). SUPERB.
Flowers IPA 3.6%, was very hoppy, a good one to finish on.
Fosters Lager 4% (draught). With drinks like this it is easy to see why some people think the Australians have no taste.
Founders (Dry Hopped) Pale Ale 5.4%, hopped to 35 EBU with Cascade hops. Another interesting beer sent to me from Phil. No head/cond., colour around the mid-teens & good aroma. The taste? Well hopped with no trace of harshness & a good, lingering after-taste, lots of loose yeast which was “neutral” tasting.
Freeminer Brewery Grim Reaper, 4%. Quite hazy with liquorice in the nose & taste, some wheat germ bread, quite a roasted taste for the colour (around 15 EBC), some oak. Quite bitter, poor head/condition & slight clinging, a bit grim.
2009 This bottle now appears to be brewed by Integrated Bottling Solutions, unfortunately such a name tends to imply the intended market is Yuppies & other assorted simpletons with money but no taste. The head was small but a very good condition & some aroma. Nice flowery hops hit first, leading on to some maltiness, & this is where the beer fails, it had a long “tired” aftertaste.
Franziskaner Weissbier Hefe-Weissbeir 5% (11.8% Plato less primer) Munchen, has 75% wheat. A very good head/condition, low teens EBC & cloudy, the taste had a hint of bubble-gum & cold (Heinz) baked beans. To me this is ONE OF THE BEST.
Franziskaner Weissbier Kristallklar 5% Munchen. Big head, lots of bubbles, pale straw colour <10EBC. Drinkable but not a patch on the bottle conditioned Hefe-Weissbeir.
Fuller’s ESB 5.9% (cask 5.5%), pale ale & Crystal malts, Northdown, Target, Challenger & Goldings hops. 25-30 EBC with a good balance of malts & hops, the latter being well pronounced. Extra Strong Bitter that lines up to it’s name.
Fullers London Pride 4% draught, 4.7% bottled, around 20+ EBC with Target, Challenger & Northdown hops. A modest head/condition, some lacing, had a very strong complex flavours – Cooper’s marmalade, Lucozade & metal. A long finish.
Früli Strawberry Beer, 4.1%, uses strawberry juice. Looks awful with a cloudy pink colour, as expected for the beer style, but with head or cond. The taste was cloyingly sweet & no match for the likes of Boon etc. for their fruit beers. Trüli awful!
Gambrinus Premium Traditional Lager, 5%, made from malt & hop “product” in the Czech Republic.
The web-site is not very good, I could see no bits relating to their beers, the only bit I could understand was promoting Kevin Costner, that, I could not understand! Poor head & condition with a colour in the mid-teens EBC, some aroma & hops in the taste & finish. Slightly better than the third (?) rate “actor” & web site.
Gold Label 8.5%. Oh dear, how much have the mighty fallen! I believe that Tennant’s of Sheffield introduced Gold Label (10%) in 1951 & that Whitbread’s (10.9%) also produced Gold Label. Now that AB Inbev have taken over the manufacturing, it is only available in cans. As well as being reduced to 8.5% other characteristics have almost been removed like colour & taste, any “character” has been completely destroyed.
The Canadian company, AB Inbev, also manufacture such “brands” as Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Skol, Brahma, Michelob, Jupiler & Labatt’s.
Gouden Carolus Ambrio 8% is a bottle conditioned Flemish strong Brown ale from Belgium, made from malted barley, maize, sugar, hops & possibly some orange peel & coriander. What a mess, it opened like Vesuvius! Froth everywhere! As expected it had a big head with lots of lacing but surprisingly not all that much condition the colour was 40EBC or so. Some orange in the spicy & unexpectedly hoppy (Fuggles?) taste & the long aftertaste. This beer joins the other 87 in my top-ten! By the way, the name means “Golden Charles”.
Gouden Carolus Hopsinjor Blonde 8% Goldings, Spalt, Hallertau & Saaz. 50EBU, 9EBC. Excellent head/cond., slightly cloudy but not as hoppy as I was expecting. Mild orange & coriander – got more intense as the level went down, nice yeast!
Gouden Carolus Noël 10.5% 11EBU, 80EBC, 3 hops & 6 herbs & spices. Poor head/cond, herbs & spices very evident in the taste/aftertaste (cardamom?) but overall it was very disappointing & monotonous, probably due, in part, to the lack of condition.
Gouyasse Blonde 6% (Goliath), 5-8°C (Belg.). Cond. fair, no head to speak of, low teens EBC. Coriander (or something) evident. OK(+) but nothing special for Belgian ale, but the dregs lifted it, bringing extra depth.
Gouyasse Triple 9%, 8-12°C (Belg.). Poor head/cond., low teens EBC & slightly cloudy – lots of “floaters”. Hallertauer(?) in the aroma & taste. 2nd bottle better, good lacing. Again nothing special for Belgian ale.
Grace Mighty Malt Premium. Non-alcoholic, made with malt, sugar, CO2, colour (E150c – a caramel) hops & vitamins. I could taste the malt & the E150c(?). It was not nice!
Great Newsome Brewery Stoney Blinks 4.1%, Fuggles & Goldings. Poor head/cond, mid-teens EBC, very odd hop flavour!
Great Newsome Brewery Yule Do 4.3%, Xtal, Northern Brewer & Pilgrim hops + late whole Armarillo & Bramling Cross. 20-40EBC? Good head/fair cond. & some lacing. A slightly complex taste with a good hop finish. Good for Christmas, in fact a good beer. Home brewed Woodforde’s Wherry can knock spots off it!
Great Orme Brewery Orme 4.2%, from Glan Conwy, North Wales, based on a traditional Welsh recipe. Maris Otter, crystal & chocolate malts. 35EBC or so, not much head/cond., hoppy but (possibly) spoilt by the lack of cond.
Green King Abbot Ale (draught 5%). A lovely coloured drink with a dry (Fuggles?) hop taste & aftertaste. Made with pale crystal and amber malts, Challenger & late-hopped with Fuggles. 2015, 20EBC? Harsh hops.
Green King Abbot Reserve Ale (draught 6.5%). Challenger, First gold & Fuggles. Had a similar very hoppy taste to the Abbot Ale but was less harsh & astringent. Brewed especially for J. D. Wetherspoons’ 2008 Beer Festival this was one hell of a beer!
Grimbergen Blonde 6.7% Belgian Abbey beer with barley & wheat malts. Golden coloured, around 10+ EBC, modest head, good condition & fair aroma, the taste hints of wheat, honey & slight herbs. An excellent beer. (Similar to Leffe?)
Grimbergen Dubbel Abdijbier brewed by Alken-Maes, Belgium. 6.5% uses barley & wheat malts. Poor head with some lacing, poorish condition, deep ruby colour (50-60 or so EBC), quite “gentle” tasting with a hint of chocolate with some herbs/spices, a slightly vinous finish, nothing wrong by any means, but it was not really to my taste.
Grolsch Premium Lager, 5% Holland, swing-top bottle. Around 6EBC or so, fair head, very good condition & lots of clinging to the glass. Strong aroma & taste, especially for a lager. Saaz? Around 2009 a new, modernized, aesthetically inferior style bottle was introduced, I can accept this change but the “new” beer is AWFUL, tastes like a “Euro-lager”!
Grolsch Premium Weizen, 53%, malted wheat, malted barley & hops. The head was OK but no condition, a hazy 10EBC or so. What bothers me is the lable on the neck which tells me that this won the title “The World’s Best Wheat Beer” in the 2007 World Beer Awards.
Guinness Extra Cold (draught) bears little resemblance to the old Guinness, lacking the roast malt & hop character. Reminds me of the CAMRA slogan “real ale is cool, keg beer is just cold!”
Guinness Foreign Export Stout 7.5%.
1) Dublin brewery. The head was O.K. but fairly short lived, leaving “rings” & some lace work. Astringent, dry, some sweetness, tarry, sour, acrid, vinous, burnt, dark fruit grabs you by the throat, bitter hops, what else can I add? Totally different from the normal draft/bottled Guinness’s. Not for the uninitiated. Did I mention complex? Sorghum is not used.
2) Nigerian brewery. This tasted completely different, no head/condition, slight aroma, syrupy sweet, liquorice in the taste/aftertaste, no complexity, almost one-dimensional but possibly meant to be drunk very colt in a very hot climate. Sorghum, wheat, malt, barley, roasted barley & hops are used.
Guinness Special Export Stout (Belgian Guinness) 8% is brewed for Antony Martin, Belgium at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. Whilst 0.5% stronger than the “FES” above it is also relatively subdued, less assertive in its taste.
Guinness: Unfortunately their exceptionally tedious web site is not as good as their beers which are now less of a concern to them than the “branding” of their company, their tacky merchandise & their adverts. Many real people believe that Guinness have “dumbed down” their beers & their company over the last two decades or more, the branding monkeys have now taken over. The pathetic advertisers don’t realize that we want a proper beer, not a brand! No wonder they are in trouble.
Gulpener Korenwolf Wheat Beer 5%, 4-10°C from Holland contains wheat, spelt, barley & elderflowers (thankfully, to me, not obvious in the taste). Named after a rare wild indigenous hamster, this is a lovely soft, furry, subtle drink. It was not until I opened the bottle that I realized the glass was a beautifully rich Navy Blue colour, almost as nice as the contents.
Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Dunkel 5%, Munich, Germany. What a disappointment, 50ish EBC, poor head, good condition, some slight taste of dark (chocolate?) malt, no hops, quite bland & watery.
Harnas a 6% Euro pale lager brewed by Browar Okocim S.A. (Carlsberg), Poland. A reasonable head, VG condition & left “rings” in the glass, a darkish golden colour (>10EBC), O.K.
Hapkin 8.5%, Alken Maes (Heineken) is a top fermentation beer, re-fermented in the bottle. Blond colour with an imposing, creamy head. Flowery Saaz hop flavour. Smooth malty character. Sparkling, perfumed fruit flavour. Not dissimilar to Duvel but with a little less head/cond. & a little more “character” & a more lingering aftertaste.
Harbour Brewing Company Pale Ale 6%. Decent head with some lacing but virtually no cond. Colour a hazy 20 or so EBC, taste very good citrussy hops (Cascade).
Hatherwood Golden Goose “craft ale” (made by Wychwood) 3.8% from Lidl & uses pale & Xtal malts, finished with Fuggles & Styrian Goldings. Poor head/cond., around mid-teens EBC, on the minus side of acceptability.
Hatherwood Ruby Rooster “craft ale” (made by Wychwood) 3.8% from Lidl & uses pale Xtal & chocolate malts & Fuggles, Goldings, Cascade & Styrian Goldings. Poor head/cond., around 60EBC. Wishy-washy!
Harvey’s Blue Label 3.6%. Around 12EBC, no head, virtually no cond. Old, stale taste, very disappointing.
Harvey’s India Pale Ale 3.2%. Fuggles & Progress hops. Mid-teens, poor head with a fair condition, interesting hop taste/aftertaste.
Harvey’s Tom Paine Bitter 5.5%. V. poor head, no cond., 20EBC with disgusting hops!
Henry’s Pigs Swill, 4.5% contains wheat & barley (barley & wheat surely) & English Goldings & Target hops (I would have thought Target hops & late hopped with Goldings). Very little head/cond., around 50+EBC. Putting the glass to the mouth, a nasty sensation appears (& not touching the mouth!). The balance is all wrong – malts & hops alike. “Traditional Lincolnshire ale” – I don’t think so, UTTER PIG SWILL!
Hepworth Brewery Hercules lager 5% Uses a Swiss strain of Hürlimann yeast (as used in Hürlimann Samichlaus – 14% ABV! – Ideal for cloners?) 10EBC or so, no head & poor cond. & a rather odd taste. Yuck!
Herold Bohemian Black Lager 5.2% from Czech Republic, like a very poor Irish Stout, AVOID AT ALL COSTS! (See Bernard Special Dark Beer)
Hobson’s Town Crier 4.4% with wheat. Low teens EBC, slightly hazy, modest head/cond. NOTHING TO SHOUT ABOUT.
Hobson’s Brewery Old Henry, 5.2% & is bottle cond. 10-12°C, contains maris otter, Goldings & Challenger. Good head, fair cond., mid 20’s EBC, a bit insipid.
Hoegaarden Witbier 4.9% from Belgium (9-10°C). Less than 5EBC, a hazy, very pale straw colour, a smell & taste of corn, some bubble-gum and a long dry finish (good aperitif?). Good initial head, poor condition & clung to glass sides, very “clean” tasting with some acid, the flavour intensified with the yeast “swirled in” & a touch of orange & other flavours appeared. Subsequent bottles have seemed very lacklustre (recipe changed?). (Saaz for bitterness, EKG for aroma, 20EBU).
Hoggleys Mill Lane Mild 4%. Drink @ room temp. Good head/cond., almost black in colour, fruity taste with a slightly harsh aftertaste (black malt?), not too bad!
Holden’s Black Country Mild 3.7%. Dark! – Well over 50EBC (dark chestnut red). Head/cond. OK with a nice, “warming” aroma. Tastes of chocolate/black/roast malts, full of flavour, very enjoyable. 2nd bottle better.
Holden’s Golden Pale Ale 3.9%. Poor head, good condition, nice golden colour & hoppy (Goldings?) taste.
Hop Studio Gold 4.5% (12°C) from York – a “contemporary fine ale”, presumably aimed at the “bankers” etc. Contains Maris Otter & Caramalt + Goldings & Motueka hops. V Poor head/cond & a VERY cloudy 25 or so EBC, I could not see through the glass. On the plus side, it was very pleasantly well hopped, followed by a citrus aftertaste. It should be named “SLUDGE”.
Huyghe Belgian Tripel Beer, 8.5%, 75cl, in a corked & wired bottle, serve chilled, taste intensity 6. Mid-teens + EBC, some haziness, decent head/cond. with an interesting “Winey” aroma, coriander (& orange?) coming through in the aftertaste. A good example of a tripel.
Huyghe Belgian Wheat Beer, 4.5% uses orange peel & coriander; serve chilled, taste intensity 5. Less than 10EBC & cloudy, tasted a little like weak orange, otherwise the taste was “wishy-washy” & probably could have improved with a proper wheat beer head & condition. Not a touch on Franziskaner. A disappointment from both Huyghe & M & S.
Ilkley Brewery Mary Jane 3.5%, 1% crystal, Cascade & Amarillo hops. 10+ EBC, no head, v. poor cond. but with a wonderful, flowery hop taste.
Innis & Gunn Original oak aged beer, 6.6% from Edinburgh was <20EBC, pleasant aroma, small but lasting head & condition O. K. It is matured for 30 of its 70 days in old (Bourbon) oak casks, thankfully (for me) the oak was not “obvious”, giving, as stated on the bottle, vanilla & (light) toffee notes. Typically Scottish in that it was malty rather than hoppy. Well worth a try.
Isle of Mull Brewing Company McCaig’s Folly Dark Ale 4.2%. Reddy-brown colour around 40EBC, coloured & wheat malts. Small, long lasting head & good condition. Very lightly hopped (typical of a Scottish ale) but I found it slightly acidic/sour. Expensive & not to my taste at all.
Isle of Mull Brewing Company Terror Of Tobermory Special Ale 4.6%. A dark ruby coloured Scottish beer used 3 coloured & wheat malts. Very poor head & condition with a weak (watered down) roasted taste. Again, expensive & not to my taste.
James Fenwick’s alcoholic Ginger Beer 4%. Northumbrian brewed using only water obtained from Hadrian’s Spring & no “additives” etc. used. No head as anticipated & condition virtually nil. The ginger content was adequate, unlike most, with a distinct bite to the taste & leaving a lingering aftertaste. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it ever more if it was bottle-conditioned – with some sediment left in the bottle.
Jenlain Blonde Bier De Garde 7.5%, Duyck Brewery, Jenlain, France (6-8°C). This could have been a Belgian bier to me, with its high alcohol, pale colour, low hopping rate & slightly “herby” taste, all it lacked was the big stiff head. Beautiful!
(“Ordinary” is 6.5%, 25EBU).
Jennings Snecklifter 5.1% draught, from the Lake District. A dark, nutty brown colour, roasted malt in the nice aroma & taste, some chocolate, long bitter finish, full flavoured.
Jennings Snecklifter 5.1% bottled. Basically like the (good) cask ale.
Jeremiah Weed Root Brew 4%. “Brewed with fruit, alcohol spirit & flavourings.” An unimpressive, mild, somewhat sweet ginger beer with a hint lemon. OK (Not really a beer.)
Jeremiah Weed Sour Mash Brew 4%. “Brewed with fruit, alcohol spirit & flavourings.” No head, soon lost it’s (artificial?) condition, colour a cloudy mid-late teens. Hints of ginger & other flavours. One dimensional. (Not really a beer.)
John Smith’s Cask (draught) is one of the few normal pub beers that I find quite acceptable.
Judas 8.5% made with barley & wheat by the Alken-Maes brewery in Belgium. A golden colour around 10+EBC, a poor head with slight lacing & no condition. To me it had an odd “edge” to the aroma & taste.
Kasteel Triple 11%, 9°C from Belgium. This comes bottle conditioned in a “Duvel” bottle, poor head/condition, a golden colour around 10EBC Some herbs in the aroma & taste (EKGs?). Not a lot of taste for the ABV, O. K.
Kelham Island Brewery Riders On The Storm 4.5%. 40ish EBC, poor head, fair cond., sweetish, malty taste, decent hop taste.
Kingfisher Premium Lager (India) 4.8%, brewed under license in the UK. Colour about 12 (contains some caramel, why? Also some glucose syrup??). Poor head/cond., uneventful at best!
Kirkstall Brewery Dissolution Extra IPA 6%. Mid-teens in colour with a decent head but no cond. with some lacing. Strong tasting malt & hops with a slightly nasty taste, long aftertaste. Powerful.
Kloster Andechs Weissbier (Weißbier) Dunkel 5% (Ger) Hallertauer aroma hops are used. The Kloster Andechs Bräustüberl is part of Andechs Abbey where Benedictine Monks once lived. Cond OK, poor head for the style, 50EBC or so, A nasty, plastic taste.
Kopparberg Pear Cider 4.5%. Is this a Swedish attempt at what the British would correctly call a Perry, made from 100% pears or is it Pear Cider made from apples & pears? A possibly industrial, artificially carbonated drink with a slight but chemical taste & cloying sweetness in the taste & aftertaste, this is surely aimed at the very young. I did not even contemplate trying the “Summer Fruit” version.
Kronenbourg 1664 5%, contains barley, wheat, hops inc. some aromatic hops (Strisselspalt?) from Alsace. The label says that this, “La premiere biere Francaise” (I feel sorry for the French); lager is made in the UK by Scottish & Newcastle. Look! I only bought it for the free glass! All right? (P. S. Whilst the glass may be much better than the beer, it ain’t all that good either.)
La Chouffe Blonde, 8.0%, OG 1064 & 4-10˚C is a Blond (Saison?) ale from the Brasserie d’ Achouffe in the elf-inhabited woodland region of Ardennes in Belgium. Made with barley, sugar, hops & coriander. My bottle had a poor head/condition & a slightly hazy orangey colour <15EBC. The beer was very enjoyable despite being slightly devoid of some of the characteristics I expected for the style, it had subdued coriander & gentle hops, ideal for those who dislike the more assertive brews. Adding the yeast added more taste but an abrupt finish.
La Gauloise Blonde “refermented” (i.e. bottle cond. but no sediment in the Duvel-shaped bottle!) Belgian beer, 6.3%, 22EBU, 10.5EBC, 5-12°C. Head & condition O.K., looks like a lager – 10EBC or so, good aroma & superb taste. Quite “light” for the ABV, its taste belies its strength, drink with care! Good web-site.
Lancaster Brewery Lancaster Red 4.8%. Err red! In the 30’s, not much head, fair cond. Hoppy but a bit odd in that department, but it certainly grew on me.
La Trappe Blond Trappist beer 6.5%. At around 15EBC or so this beer was O. K. but possibly let down by the poor head/condition.
La Trappe Quadruple Trappist beer 10%. A very dark orangey colour around 45 EBC with a poor head, slight lacing & no condition. I could taste ALMONDS, not that this was a problem but it was like drinking marzipan! Despite lacking the complexity of most Trappist beers it is still very good.
La Trappe Notes: The only Trappist beers produced outside Belgium are made in the Bierbrouwerij de Koningshoeven, Netherlands. The beers are developed and brewed in collaboration with the monks of the O.L.V. Koningshoeven Abbey. During the French Revolution thing were decidedly dodgy for any French religious orders. In 1880 the Abbot at the Trappist monastery Sainte-Marie-du-Mont on the Mont des Cats, Northern France, sent a monk, Sebastianus Wyart, to find a safe haven in a different country. Wyart decided on the Netherlands. Near Tilburg, in the territory of the village of Berkel-Enschot, he found a field of heather, with some small farms and a sheep cage. The local population called these farms ‘the Koningshoeven’ (the Royal Farms), because they used to be owned by King Willem II. The sheep cage was converted into a preliminary monastery & a small brewery was set up in 1884, it now provides the main income for the monastery.
Lefebvre Belgian Kriek 3.5% contains water, barley malt, wheat, hops, cherry juice (15%), sugar & Acesulfame K & “flawors” which I think means that some aroma bits have been added (cherry blossom?). A nice cherry red colour & strong cherry aroma, poor head & condition. A strong cherry & chemical taste/aftertaste with an overpowering cloying sweetness.
Lefebvre Blanche De Bruxelles / Floreffe Wit / Manneken Pis Belgian White 4.5%, 2-5˚C contains barley malt, 40% wheat, sugar, coriander & curacao. A cloudy lemony colour, <10EBC with a good initial head & a poor condition. A slight lemony aroma & taste, the latter became “watery” leaving an “empty” finish. This beer has several names, I’ve just given three, I think the last one is the most fitting.
Leffe Blonde 6.6%, Belgian Abbey Bier had a decent initial head, a poor condition & some clinging to the glass. A golden – orangey colour around the mid-teens EBC. Quite a full flavour with hops, orange & coriander with a long finish, deceptive.
Leffe Brune 6.5%, Belgian Abbey Bier containing roast malts. Apart from the 50EBC or so (deep garnet) colour, comments are generally as for the Blonde but the dark (chocolate?) malts add some extra dimensions & red wine character to the taste. In my opinion it is by far the better of the two.
Leffe Radieuse 8.2%, 15-18°.C Belgian Abbey Bier had a poor head & no condition with a dark reddy colour approaching 50EBC. A red wine taste with fairly strong herbs present in the aroma, taste & aftertaste. Personally I was not very keen.
Llangollen Brewery Welsh Black Bitter 5.5%, 12-13°C, bottle cond. Good “tight” head & black. A taste of black malt? Well balanced, like a good porter.
Liefmans Kriek Cuvee, Cherry Flemish Brown Fruit beer, 6.0%,
Lindemans Kriek Cherry Lambic Fruit beer 3.5%, 2-3 °C. 25% Cherries? Bad head/cond. Nasty artificial aftertaste.
Lion Red Beer 4% from Lion Breweries Auckland (UK). Low condition, small but long-lasting head & some clinging. A golden/amber colour in the mid-‘teens. Not a lot of taste, a slightly metallic taste, easy drinking, (2 ½ months O. O. D.).
Lowenbrau Original 5.2% Munich. Colour around 5-6 mark, very poor condition, modest, short-lived head that never quite disappeared & some clinging. Quite a subtle flavour.
Little Valley Brewery Withens IPA, 3.9%, uses Cascade hops, serve cool, bottle cond. Colour early teens EBC, very poor head/condition with some clinging to the glass. Assertive hops with a hint of harshness in the long finish.
Lymestone Brewery Foundation Stone 4.5%, with (spicy) Boadicea & Pilot hops. Low teens EBC with a very slight haze, fair cond & not much head, leaving some lacing. Some malt coming through with a good, long, gentle, clean hoppy finish. EXCELLENT.
Lymestone Brewery Stone Dead 6.66%, “rich, dark, imperial stout having enough bite for anyone looking to satisfy their thirst. Coffee, burnt toast and bitter fruits dominate whilst Styrian Goldings slowly seduce the palate.” Very dark, initial head & cond. OK. The label says it all apart from the complexity.
Malheur 10, 10% Belgian bottle conditioned beer, very light (lager) colour, massive head & wheaty taste. Not really my style.
Mallisons Brewing Company SPA (Session Pale Ales), bottle cond., 4.1%, 10-14°C, uses 3 different hops – this time Experimental 366, Ella & Centennial. Brilliant creamy, thick head & good cond., 10ish EBC. Very nicely hopped, possibly a bit too much for a “session” beer? A good “finishing” ale!
Mann’s Brown Ale 2.8%, barley & wheat malt, “Brewed & bottled for Usher’s Brewery”. Well over 100EBC, very poorly carbonated. Gentle dark malts/chocolate but how disappointing! A later beer, brewed by Marston’s, had some aroma, a fair cond. & a better taste.
Maredsous 6 Blonde 6% 6-10°C made from barley malt, hops, sugar & yeast & bottle conditioned for two months in a Duvel-style bottle. With a poor head & condition this beer left some lacing & was a coppery colour somewhere in the mid-teens EBC. There was very little but stable yeast in the bottle. Like other Abbey/Trappist beers, this was not disappointing.
Maredsous 8 Dark Abbey beer 8.0%. Poor head/cond., 30-40EBC, nice aroma & taste, interesting with a “darkness” in the taste/aftertaste.
Maredsous 10 Tripel 10% 6-10°C. Similar but slightly more subtle & obviously stronger than the Blonde.
Maredsous Notes: The beers are brewed at the Abbaye de Maredsous, Denée, Belgium “according to the Benedictine tradition”.
Marston’s Burton Bitter, 3.8% made from spring water containing trace elements of gypsum (calcium sulphate), i.e. “Burtonized”, colour approaching 30EBC, poor head/cond., nice aroma, gentle flavour with some biscuit in the finish but ultimately I thought it a little bland.
Marston’s Double Drop 4% - named after a brewing process, late hopped. Little condition, head not much better & around 20EBC. The hops were horrible & too strong.
Marston’s Oyster Stout 4.5%, Fuggles & Goldings. Head/cond. O.K., a rather “smooth” taste with complexity in the finish.
Marston’s Pale Ale 2.8%. A slightly red 20EBC or so, poor head & (just) fair cond. Drinkable, nice hops but no finish, rather bland.
Marston’s Pedigree Exceptional Premium Ale 4.5% brewed in oak casks, this is evident in the taste, poor head, and fair condition. Around 20 EBC, biscuity & some (not too much) wood. The label states “Serve cool not cold.” very good advice.
Marston’s Pedigree Six, (draught) 6% brewed exclusively for J. D. Wetherspoon with Fuggles & Goldings hops, had a very distinct hoppy flavour, you must try it if you get the chance.
Marston’s Brewery Staffordshire IPA 5.5%, serve lightly chilled, taste intensity 6. Around 20EBC, poor head/cond. As expected the ale was the very hoppy with a strong cirtusy taste/aftertaste, to me, the hop choice of spoiled it, I would have chosen a less harsh variety or used a more subtly mixture.
McEwan's Champion 7.3% from Edinburgh with barley & wheat. Very dark Red (Garnet) in colour with a full malty flavour & a surprisingly sweet taste & finish. Unfortunately for me, it had a slight taste of something that I did not like, still, I thought it a good beer.
Meantime Greenwich Black IPA 5.7%, American style, 7 dark malts & British & US hops, serve cool, taste intensity 4. Well it was very BLACK. The head & cond. were very reasonable with a “chewy, dry, quite intense taste & black (& chocolate) malts coming through, some complexity with a long, lingering aftertaste. Very good & interesting ale, a perfect antidote for “smooth” beers. Very expensive but BEAUTIFUL!
Meantime London Porter 5.5% with 7 malts, serve cool, taste intensity 5. Poor head, cond. OK & some lacing, deep garnet in colour. The taste was quite intense, as befitting a good porter but, personally, I did not like the finish – the wrong choice of hops?
Moinette Bruin 8.5% (Belg) 12°C, contains barley malt, sugar & hops, bottle cond. Small head, matching cond. & a nice dark red colour around 45ish or so. Strange aroma (not nasty) & the taste/aftertaste is very pleasing, with a gentle complexity & long, “dark” aftertaste. Getting more intense as the glass contents went down, it gave me a felling of “well-being”.
Morland’s Old Speckled Hen (5.2%) was assertive with a very strong taste/after-taste that took some getting used to. Had a slight burnt plastic taste that I’ve come across with some beers & kits (crystal malt?).
Morland’s Old Speckled Hen (5%), crystal malt, Challenger, Pilgrim, First Gold & Goldings. 2015, 30+EBC, good head, OK cond. Metallic hops.
(Nick Stafford’s) Hambleton Ales Stallion 4.2% uses crystal malt, roast barley & Northdown hops. I was given an out of date bottle, the contents had a very good initial head that never fully disappeared, some clinging to the glass & an excellent condition. In the mid 20s EBC, a good nose & a very dry, nutty taste, the roast barley was subtly evident in the aftertaste & there was a good hoppiness. Full of taste & character, a credit to (North) Yorkshire. To me the beer had two bad points, first of all why does Nick have to stick his name in front of the brewery name & then the price, my 500ml bottle had the original price of £2.80 still attached, surely no beer is worth that! (At the time of writing.)
Naylor’s Pinnacle Bitter 3.9% Cascade & Perle. A copper coloured, hand-crafted draught by the Naylor brothers near Keighly, Yorkshire. An excellent beer, I thought it had Goldings!
Naylor’s Porter 4.8%. Another excellent beer, some hop flavour, again I thought Goldings, with chocolate malt & a touch of roast barley in the finish.
Nethergate Old Growler (Porter) 5.5% (now 5?). It took me one bottle to get used to it & another bottle to enjoy it. Challenger & Fuggles?
North Ridings Brewpub Peasholm Pale Ale 4.3% “Uses a blend of lager, Munich and wheat malts and generous quantities of American Citra hops.” Low teens EBC & orangey &cloudy, good head/cond./lacing. Very hoppy with a long citrus farewell with no nasty hints (unlike some similar tasting US hops). To me it is an excellent beer to finish on as the taste could slightly overpowering for a “session”.
Nottingham Brewery Extra Pale Ale 4.2%. Not much head/cond, early teens EBC & very clear. OK but balance was a bit off, I didn’t like the hops.
Oakham Ales Inferno, 4.4%. Using a blend of five hops from the Yakima Valley (the first American Viticultural Area established within Washington State). Firstly I noticed the pale, cloudy colour (10-12 EBC?) followed by the “big” aroma. The head/cond. was very poor. The taste was full of flowery hops, best descried as wonderful!
Oldershaw Beers Old Boy 4.8%. No head, almost zero cond., colour around 20 – nice deep copper. Rubbish!
Okocim Beer, a lager from Brzesco, Poland, 5.5%, malt & hops. Poor head, condition O.K., around 12 EBC. A slight aroma, some hops in the taste & a very short finish. Nothing special.
Okocim Mocne 7%, this lager includes malted barley & hops. Short-lived modest head, poor condition & a colour in the mid-teens. Slight aroma & some maltiness in the taste. Part of the Heineken group who class this beer as a “malt liquor”, I thought that was an intended inferior product, aimed at those who just wanted to get drunk quickly. Nothing special.
Orkney Brewery Dark Island 4.6%. An award winning ale that contains Chocolate malt, crystal malt, wheat & First Gold & Goldings hops. Dark! Not much head or cond. OK but noting special – too much like other dark ales/porters.
Orval, Belgian Amber Trappist ale 6.2%, uses malted barley, candy sugar & hops, 12-14˚C. This brewery has just one beer (actually it has a diluted, 3.2% “Petite Orval” for the monks & local outlets) in just one size/shape bottle, my bottle had a life of 5 years! Around 20-25EBC & slightly cloudy, it had a superb head but slight condition. Quite a dry acidic taste & a “rounded” hoppines, with noticeable Goldings (late Styrians/WGV?) in the aroma & taste (fruity/orangey), not Orval by any means! The taste is far from “passive”, aided by the addition of the yeast. A joy to drink. The Cistercian Abbey Notre-Dame d'Orval monastery is situated near Florenville, in the province of Luxembourg, south-east Belgium, in the immediate vicinity of the French border and close to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Ossett Brewery Treacle Stout, 5%, uses black treacle, roast malts & Cluster hops. 45 or so EBC, slightly harsh aftertaste. Grows on you.
Ostravar Premium Czech lager 4.3% uses barley malt, maltose syrup, barley, hops & hop extract. Poor head, good condition, golden colour around 10EBC, aroma & metallic taste/aftertaste, quite bitter (Saaz?), dry & very enjoyable (got better the more I drank!).
Old School Brewery Hopscotch 3.7%. Around 10EBC & slightly hazy, poor head, slight cond. The taste was wonderful Y hoppy – GB & US hops (citrus).
Oud Beersel Bersalis Kadet 4.5%, un-pasteurised. A golden (<10) colour, small head, fair cond. Tasted “Belgian” – contains grist & nice with the yeast thrown in.
Palm (Extra Amber Speciale Belge? – No name on label.), 5.4%, OG 1049.6 excluding priming sugars, attenuation 84%, 4°C, 21EBC, 18EBU. Made from barley malt, maize, hops vitamin C, alginate & E224. V. poor head/cond, around 20EBC with some malt in the taste/aftertaste. Nothing to write home about & contains some dodgy substances, but not bad.
Pauwel Kwak (pronounced “K-vac” - I think) 8.4% after 2008, was previously 8.1%, 5-6°C. Belgian top fermented dubbel beer. Thanks to Tesco I can now use my Kwak glass imported from Belgium by my old friend & ex-work colleague Glenn Ford (he also brought me quite a few of the other Belgian beers reviewed here & helps sample some of my home-brews). Around 30EBC, quite a good head, very well maintained with some clinging to the glass & a nice aroma. Some chewy toffee in the warming malty taste. The dedicated glass is an indicator of how level-headed you are, when you near the end of a glass, the beer attacks you in the form of a mini-tidal wave, if you dribble evenly from both sides of your mouth you are indeed level-headed! VERY DIFFERENT, VERY GOOD.
Paulaner Original Münchner Hell, 4.9% from Munich Germany. The head was short lived, quite a good condition, <10 EBC. The taste was not too bad & it had quite a long finish.
Paulaner Salvator 7.9%. A deep red 50ish EBC, V. poor head & condition. Malt in the slight aroma & taste which also had (dark) toffee & some bitter chocolate.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro 5.1% from Rome. Pale cider colour, around 5EBC, good condition with poor short-lived head. Soft, metallic aroma & taste with a long finish. Saaz hops, NICE.
Petrus Blonde, 6.6%. Initial head OK, fairly poor cond., around 10EBC & a gentle bite in the aftertaste.
Pheasantry Brewery PA Pale Ale 4%. Colour about 10, not a lot of head, virtually no cond. Nice & hoppy (Cascade?) but little else.
Phesantry Brewery Lincoln Tank Ale 4.2%. Poor head/cond., 20EBC & hoppy. Not very nice/insipid, a little watery. Some hops but nothing else!
Plzen Pilsner Urquel 4.4% from the Czech Republic. Colour in the low teens, small head, decent condition, good aroma, lots of crisp, peppery hops, long aftertaste, a good, quite complex lager.
Prospect Brewery Big John, 4.8%, 12°C. Very decent head/cond. & very dark like a stout. Dry, dark malts & hops in the mouth. Good.
Pshenychne Weissbier Etalon 5% from the Ukraine. Wheat & barley malts & top fermenting yeast. Very good, it even had the cold baked beans aroma/taste.
Purity Brewery Pure UBU 4.5%. Maris Otter, Crystal, Black & Wheat malts with Hallertau, Northern Brewer & Cascade hops. Late teens in colour, fair head/cond. & a very lovely taste/aftertaste.
Purple Moose Brewery Madog’s Ale 3.7%. The Purple Moose Brewery is a micro-brewery in Porthmadog, North Wales. Abysmal head/cond., colour is an “amber/red” around 20EBC. Quite prominent hop flavour, OK but nothing special.
Purple Moose Brewery Snowdonia Ale 3.6%, pale & Xtal malts used. No head & a very poor cond., a “Lucozadey” (“golden”) 15-20EBC. Very nice hop flavour, in fact the beer was very nice.
Quantock Brewery Royal Stag (bottle cond. IPA) 6%. V poor head.cond., 30EBC or so & cloudy (bottle cond. combined with non-flocculent yeast?). A bit hoppy, nothing special, a bit bland & watery. One dimensional.
Quartz Extra Blonde 4.4%. A “Lucozade” coloured brew in the mid-teens, small head/good cond. A little bland but OK.
Quartz Heart 4.6%. Poor head, fair cond., 20 or so EBC. Odd hop choice, not very nice.
Ridley’s Old Bob, Strong Premium Ale 5.1%. Poor, short lived head, no cond, 30-40 EBC or so, citrus hops, not bad balance but if this passes as “award winning” …. A second bottle had a much better condition & taste, the hops came through more (because of the cond.?).
Ringwood Doondoggle 5%. A blonde ale using First Gold & Fuggles hops. Colour in the mid-teens, fair head/cond. & a good aroma. A complex ale that leaves you with a strong, hoppy farewell. Great!
Ringwood Fortyniner 4.9%. Made with Goldings, Progress, Fuggles & Challenger hops in a not nice mix. 20 EBC or so & poor head/no cond. I was bitterly disappointed.
Ringwood Old Thumper 5.6%. 30EBC or so with a poor head & very poor cond. Stunning hops with some complexity.
Robinson’s Dizzy’s Dark Side 3.8%
Robinson’s Old Tom 8.5% from Stockport. Almost no head or condition, very dark ruby-red & dark malts on the nose. Very gentle, refined taste, slightly warming with hints of Port & chocolate malt. Originally produced in 1899. It won “Best Ale” in the 2009 World Beer Awards (some good stuff in there to -
Rochforte 6, dark Belgian Trappist beer, 7.5%. A coppery red colour around the mid 20s EBC. Red fruit, chocolate & maltiness was there, as usual for Trappist ales, there was lots of very loose yeast which seemed quite “neutral” in taste.
Rochforte 8, dark Belgian Trappist beer, 9.2%. Very deep garnet colour, good head & condition. A complex rich, dry, dark, fruity, malty taste with vanilla & some chocolate in the finish. Well worth a try, but I personally thought the taste too gentle/delicate for such a potent brew. My bottles were in-date by 5 years! 60EBC, 20EBU.
Rochforte 10, dark Belgian Trappist beer, 11.3%. Seemed to me like the big Brother (pun not intended, honest) to the “8”, as though the ingredients had been “scaled up”. Rich, treacly, bonfire toffee & lots of lacework.
Rochforte Notes: The Trappist Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy produces three beers, called “6”, “8” & “10”. The figures relate to the beers O.G., in traditional Belgian brewers degrees &, as in other systems, have no direct correlation to the beers strength, which is dependant on the gravity drop during fermentation. Adding some of the yeast to my “8” & “10” beers enhanced the flavours, especially the “vanilla”. Both beers left me with a feeling of “well being”. Both bottles had a 5 year “life”.
Rochefort 8 Dark Trappist beer 9.2%. Good creamy head, not much cond., about 50 EBC & good tasting yeast. At 9.2% this bier is very deceptive!
Rodenbach Grand Cru Dark Flemish Red 6.0%. Poor head/cond. & tasted somewhat sour (apples?), interesting.
Rothaus Pils Tannen Zäpfle (which means "small fir cone") 5.1% (Ger). About 10EBC, modest head, poor cond with slight lacing & a pleasant aroma. Hoppy with a little complexity in the aftertaste.
Rodenbach Grand Cru, Dark Flemish Red, 6%, 1056, attenuation 85%, 8EBU, 60EBC, 6-8°C made from malt, maize, sugar & hops, 33% “young” beer is added to 67% of two year old beer then matured in oak vats. Mine had a poor head/condition, a dark red colour. The aroma was like a sour red wine, this was also reflected in the sweet-sour taste, along with red fruits & of course the red wine & some oakiness, followed by a lingering aftertaste. Apparently this is in the top ten of most connoisseurs beers, whilst not in mine (I’m not too keen on sour beers), it is certainly a very interesting brew. Sourer & more intense than the Rodenbach.
Rodenbach, Flemish Red-brown, 5.2%, 1049.2, attenuation 80%, 9EBU, 65EBC, 6.8°C made from malt, wheat, maize, sugar & hops. Good aroma, small head, zero condition & mild sourness. 25% aged 2+ years in matured oak vats, 75% young ale aged 4-5 weeks, it produces a vinous, fruity ale with some complexity & delicate sourness
Ruddle’s County 4.7% “Brewed to be distinctive.” Well it is! Small head & matching condition with some clinging to the glass. Colour estimated to be around 30 EBC but a much “darker” taste.
Rudgate Brewery Battle Axe 4.8%. Fermented using the “square” method & a strain of “Yorkshire”(?) yeast. Head/cond. O.K. with a colour of around 40-45EBC (“chestnut brown”). Pleasant taste with a touch of chocolate malt & a dry, bitter finish.
Rudgate Brewery Ruby Mild (cask version) 4.4%. 60EBC or so (dark ruby), it says “nutty” on the label, I’ll not disagree, little head/cond., a roasted aroma & with a long, warming aftertaste. NOT like a weak, watered down & “caramelised” bitter normally “marketed” under the name of “mild” but a well designed & BREWED Yorkshire beer.
Rudgate Brewery Ruby Mild Premium (bottled version) 4.8%. 50+ EBC & no head/cond. Dark/roast coming through, some aftertaste.
Sagres 5%. Named after the town of the same name it is Portugal’s second best lager from Lisbon, made by Central de Cervejas (SCC) under the control of Dutch brewer Heineken with malt, non-malted cereals (maize or rice) & hops, probably aimed at the “Bud” or Euro lager drinker. A golden colour, 12ish EBC, although on the “light” side it was much better than I expected & was probably spoilt by the poor head & condition. There was no unpleasantness in the taste/aftertaste & could be ideal for a hot summer’s day.
Rubbish web site.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager, brewed in England by Shepard Neame. 4.8% two-row pale malt blend & Caramel 60 to 11 SRM Hallertau Mittelfrueh & Tettnang Tettnanger to 30IBU, 175 cals. Modest head, poor cond. colour late-teens (an observation only)
Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout 7%, roasted barley & sugar is included. 150+EBC (est.), just a hint of dark, ruby red. Good aroma but no head/condition. Burnt raisins best describe the taste. Not a bad beer but I expected more.
Saison Dupont. Amber Belgian Saison beer, 6.5%. Orangey flavoured – yeasty, good head & good condition, quite strong,
about 10EBC & cloudy, very interesting. Barley malt, sugar & hops. Top fermenting. Very nice.
Saltaire Brewery Cascade Ale, 4.8% (87% Maris Otter, 10% torrified wheat, 8% & 3% pale Xtal & Cascade & Centennial hops), ideal info. for “cloners”. Early teens EBC, not very good head, cond. OK. Good hoppy taste but that is all.
Saltaire Brewery Goldings Ale, 1042, 4.2% from Sir Titas Salt’s wonderful town by the river Aire in West Yorkshire. Ironically the visionary humanitarian industrialist Titas was totally against alcohol. The Goldings are used for aroma only & First Gold provide the bitterness. All the malts used, & their percentages are listed on the label (80% Maris Otter, 10% torrified wheat, 7% Vienna malt & 3% Xtal), ideal info. for “cloners”. Small head, fair condition with the colour in the mid-teens – a bit like barley sugar, this was also hinted at in the taste, as were the Goldings but there was a slight “unpleasantness” in the taste/aftertaste.
Saltaire Brewery Triple Chocolate Stout, 4.8%, contains 20% pale oat malt, 12% chocolate malt, 4% torrified wheat with Fuggles added as bittering/aroma hops. Cocoa, chocolate syrup & chocolates essence are also added. Almost black in colour, unsurprisingly it smelt of chocolate with a matching (bitter) taste. Surprising a lot of taste for its strength. A lovely stout.
San Miguel 5%. Like most popular brands, this Spanish lager tends to leave me cold, nothing nasty, just not to my taste.
Schneider & Sohn Aventinus brewed in Kelheim, Germany is an 8.2% wheat Weizebock, O.G. 1078-83 best served at 8-12°C. Around 45EBCs with some wheat & chocolate malt in the aroma & taste which also included a slight acidity. The head was poor & the condition not much better. Not to my taste at all.
Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen 5%, Frankfurt, Germany. Malted barley, wheat malt & hops. A good initial head, slight clinging, very poor condition, slightly hazy & around 10-15EBC. Not my favourite, poor taste with a nasty edge (to me).
Scottish & Newcastle Newcastle Brown 4.7% contains barley & wheat malts. Poor head & condition, 50ish EBC & had a “woody” taste, in my opinion it is very over-rated.
Scottish & Newcastle (?) 80/-, 5% draught in pub some crystal/roast malts. Although this was about on the border for me regards heavier beers, it was very enjoyable.
Shepherd Neame Bishops Finger 5.4%, (10-13°C) EKGs. From the oldest brewery in Britain which dates back to 1698, the name refers to an ancient Kentish signpost, on the Pilgrim’s Way, pointing towards Canterbury. This beer was first brewed in 1958 to celebrate the end of austerity, here in the UK – their first strong ale produced after twenty years of malt (& lots of other stuff) rationing. How do I know all this stuff? I read the label. A dark orangey colour around 25EBC, poor head/cond. full of flavour, some crystal, a dark marmalade aftertaste. A bit too strong for “normal” drinking. A strong, long dry, bitter, orange peel aftertaste, not really to my taste BUT I’m getting used to it now, it is a quality ale.
Shepherd Neame Early Bird spring hop ale, 4.5%. The Early Bird hops give a nice earthy aroma/taste/aftertaste. Around 20+ EBC, good head/condition & good clinging.
Shepherd Neame Gentleman Jack 5%. Little head/cond., around 30EBC, tasted not too bad but a bit “mixed up”.
Shepherd Neame India Pale Ale, 6.1%. Poor head/cond., mid 20’s EBC. Decent hoppy taste.
Shepherd Neame Late Red, an “Autumn Hop Ale” of 4.5%. A good clingy head & decent condition with a reddy brown colour around 40 EBC. Quite bitter & very dry & astringent with some liquorice & tannin, possibly a bit thin, a very long finish.
Shepherd Neame Single Hopped Kentish Ale, 4.5% with EKG’s. Mid-teens colour, good head but cond not so good. The beer smelled & tasted very hoppy, long aftertaste.
Shepherd Neame Spooks Ale 4.7%, uses “3 malts” inc. roast barley & hops are added at 4 stages. Lovely aroma, head/cond. O.K., “dark ruby” colour – 60 EBC or so. Fantastic, citrusy hop taste, one to “finish off” on.
Shepherd Neame Spitfire 4.5%. (10-13°C) around 20EBC. Head O. K. with some clinging to glass, some metal & possibly some wood in the taste/aroma, quite dry, malty & hops in the aftertaste. First Gold & Target?
Skinner’s Betty Stogs 4%, Betty Stogs was a Cornish woman in folklore. Very poor head/cond., very clear, colour in the mid-late teens (“copper”). Tasted quite hoppy with a long finish but a little un-balanced in the hop dept. OK but flawed.
Sharp’s Doom Bar 4.3% Contains malted barley. Mid 20’s EBC, fear head/cond. Decent hop flavour with some malt.
Summerskills Brewery Devon Dew 4.7%. NOTE:- the Plymouth brewery uses Goldings hops & recommend adding the yeast & served lightly – I like this advice! Early teens EBC, VG head with a decent cond. but tasted horrible. The hops definitely didn’t taste like Goldings! (More like privet?!)
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2007 6.8% is made each year specifically for the Winter Season & Michael Jackson states that the hops vary from year to year (roll-on next Winter!). The head & condition were not too good in either of my bottles, a colour in the mid 20’s and a good aroma. (Made with bittering, late & dry hops to a staggering 62EBUs.) A complex beer that initially grabs you by the throat & has a strong hop finish leading on to some malt. DEFINITELY A BEER TO CELEBRATE! Sierra Nevada beers help to disprove the myth that all American beers are crabby, tasteless concoctions.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 5.6% bottle conditioned & from San Francisco. Small head, modest condition, amber coloured around 20EBC, an orangey perfumey taste that was quite hoppy, leaving a (sometimes) bitter after-taste, the yeast was a bit loose for a commercial beer (purely an observation). Some complexity, lovely to look at & not too bad to drink.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest 5% USA contains barley. This lager was a strong golden colour with a very poor head & fairish condition. The aroma was good and the taste quite full.
Silly Pils 5% (11.2° Plato) (Belg), 3-6°C, 7.0 EBC, pale ale malt, Saaz hops & Hallertaur hops. Appears darker – 10-12 or so, good head/cond with a good hoppy taste, nice hop mix.
Silly Pink Killer 5% (11° Plato.), cloudy pink colouring 25 EBC (Belg). Top fermentation beer with pink grapefruit. Ingredients: Water, malt, wheat, grapefruit juice, flavourings, sugar, yeast, coriander, orange peel, Hallertauer hops. Modest head/cond., cloudy with a strong (gingerish?/grapefruit?) taste. Very interesting & very enjoyable.
Slaghmuylder Kerstbier or Biere de Noel 5.2%, a Belgian Christmas lager, I think. Translating the Dutch info on the label gives “bottom fermenting” whilst the French gives “fermentation high” the web site is no help. The label also says “blond bier”. A yellow 10-12EBC colour with soma aroma, decent head, no condition & some lacing. With a lemony, hoppy (Goldings?) taste it was more like an ale. A fairly long aftertaste. Well worth a try.
Slater’s Premium Best Bitter 4.4% uses Challenger hops. No head, almost no cond., 30/40EBC, nicely hopped but flat.
Slater’s Premium Bitter 4.4%. 30EBC or so with not much head/cond. O. K.
Springhead Maid Marian 4.5% uses Maris Otter Pale malt, Cluster hops & Nottingham Ale yeast. A fairish head/cond., colour a hazy early-mid teens. Not too bad.
Springhead Robin Hood 4% uses Maris Otter Pale, Crystal & Dark Crystal malts, Northdown hops & Nottingham Ale yeast. No head to speak of & a very poor cond. “Chestnut brown” in colour (20EBC?), “malty flavour with a dry hoppy finish. Why is this beer weaker than the Maid Marian? Ultimately it was disappointing. 2nd bottle had a bit better head/cond but that was all.
Sleaford Stout 4.2% (12°C). Very dark, little head/poor cond. Horrible smell & taste – liquid industrial plastic! Too much black malt?
“SMOOTH” Beers & “PUB LAGERS” are, in my opinion, ideal for people who do not like beer & lager as, at best, they are very bland. Possibly best described as brewed (manufactured?) by accountants, marketed by over-paid idiots who have sold their souls & drunk by the gullible (brain-washed by the pathetic advertising “people” into “thinking” they taste good). What rational human being would want to drink something that has to be chilled so much to disguise the fact that it is tasteless? As Michael Jackson states, it is the flavour of a beer that makes it great. Still, they are hugely popular.
Somerfield Best Ever Bavarian Wheat Beer 5.3%. Looked right (good head, cond, cloudy, colour - around 10+EBC, smelled right & tasted right) - slightly acidic, wheat, cold (Heinz) baked beans etc. & it’s even from Bavaria! Best ever? Perhaps not, but I think it is very good.
Soproni 4.5%, brewed in Sopron, Hungary by the Heineken group. Modest head, left some lacing, fair condition, slight aroma, some taste & a slightly dry hoppy finish. Better than I expected for a Euro lager.
Star of Eastbourne East India Ale, 6.5%. Poor head/cond., mid teens EBC, fairly hoppy, O.K.
Stella Artois (5.2% ABV bottled). No comments!
St.Bernardus Abt 12, Dark Belgian Abbey beer, 10.5%, 6-10˚C. Head/condition OK, 50ish EBC with herbs/spices in the aroma & chewy, malty (choc.?), warming taste.
St Bernardus Wit 5.5% 33cl, brewed at the St. Bernardus Abbey, it had a cloudy colour around10 with a poor head & cond. with coriander & orange in the taste/aftertaste. Pierre Celis (of Hoegaarden fame) was involved in the making; this bier was also a bit one dimensional.
St. Feuillien Blonde7.5%, malt, sugar, hops & vit. C ??? Around 10 EBC with a short lived head & a poor condition, some herbs/spices in the aroma & sharp taste.
St. Feuillien Cuvée de Noël, 9%, an Abbey beer from the St-Feuillien Brewery, Le Roeulx, Belgium. A very dark (50+), reddish beer with a poor head, slight clinging & poor condition (second bottle was very much better) in a Duvel style bottle. The rich, warming dark taste (chocolate?)/after taste had some herbs/spices (cinnamon?). Better than the sum of the parts, one to savour.
St. Feuillien Saison 6%, contains some vit. C! 10+ EBC, head OK, no cond. I looked like a wit & had some depth with some coriander & orange, the yeast was tasty.
St Louis Glühkriek (Belgian fruit beer with cherries), 3.2% & 20% fruit, 65°C. Spontaneously brewed with barley & wheat malts & sugar, sweetener is added. Not much head/cond. but nice lacing, around 20-34 EBC & red. Taste dominated by cherries (unsurprisingly) & long, lingering aftertaste. I enjoyed it “cold”. Tastes rather watery with a blackcurrant finish. Different but not impressed.
St. Georgen Brau Keller Bier 4.8% (draught) from Germany uses Hallertau & Select hops. I think this lager would probably appeal to the most ardent of ale lovers. Matured in oak barrels, slightly darker than most lagers, it was a little hazy (un-filtered) & made with low carbonation (small head & modest condition for the style). Surprisingly hoppy, it had definite similarities to a good British beer.
St. Peter’s Best Bitter 3.7%, pale, crystal & Goldings hops for aroma. Little head/condition, a red/orange colour around 20EBC. A touch of caramel? Low hopping rate
St Peters Mild, 3.7% with chocolate malt. Head/cond. almost non-existent (brewery “style”), 60EBC or so. Nice chocolate malt in the taste/aftertaste. Tasty!
St. Peter’s Organic Ale 4.5% from Suffolk. Star-bright, orangey colour in the mid-teens & virtually no head or condition “Lower carbonation gives the beers a refreshing, less gaseous palate than many bottled ales.” Says their web site. Hints of Lucozade, marmalade & metal in the full flavoured taste & long aftertaste (Goldings?).
St. Peter’s Ruby Red Ale 4.3%. The label says Styrian Hops (site says Cascade!). It was red, colour about 50EBC. Poor head/cond, had a gentle spiciness & a good gentle spiciness in the aftertaste.
Staffordshire Brewery Black Grouse Stout 4.5% - 8°C. Abysmal head/cond., taste not too bad, dark malts & hops, full-bodied & sweetish finish.
Staffordshire Brewery Cottage Delight Lazy Cow 4.5%. Lager & Wheat Malts with Goldings & Cascade Hops. No head/cond., mid-teens EBC, strong hops & very horrible.
Staffordshire Brewery Danebridge IPA 4.5%, 11°C. Contains malt & wheat. Early teens EBC, modest head with a modest cond. A good example of a modern IPA.
Staffordshire Brewery Rudyard Ruby 4.7%, 13°C, uses Xtal & roast malts. Head/cond. poor, colour a star-bright 50 or so EBC. Not a very nice taste (to me).
Staropramen Premium Czech Beer from Prague, 5% is a full-flavoured lager made from barley, maltose syrup, Saaz hops & hop extract. Poor head & fairish condition, malty taste leading to a pleasantly strong metallic hop finish. A darkish gold colour around the mid-teens.
Steenbrugge Blond, Belgian Abbey beer with grut, 6.5%, 8-12°C, OG 1056, attenuation 90%, 23EBU, 60EBC. A rich golden colour, low teens EBC, no head/cond. A light taste followed by a “darker” aftertaste. Not bad but a little bit disappointing.
Steenbrugge Bruin, Belgian Abbey beer with grut, 6.5%, 8-12°C, OG 1058, attenuation 80%, 23EBU, 11EBC. Very modest head, condition OK, grut & chocolate malt on the taste. Very enjoyable.
Steenbrugge Tripel, Blond Belgian Abbey beer with grut, 8.7%, 8-12°C, 1071.2, attenuation 90%, 28EBU, 12EBC. Bottle conditioned, small head, mediocre condition with a colour around 15EBC. The grut (or gruut) tastes better than it sounds. Surprisingly heady & enjoyable ale.
Steenbrugge Wit - Blanche, Belgian Witbier, 60% malt, un-malted wheat, sugar, hops & spices (grut), 5%, 4°C, 1047.2, attenuation 80%, 12.5EBU, 6EBC Cloudy, head/cond. somewhat low for the style, tasted OK.
Steenbrugge Notes: Beers brewed in St. Peter’s Abbey, West Flanders, founded in 1084 by St. Arnold.
Stevens Point Brewery Point (Wisconsin - USA) Point Amber Lager (all malt) 4.7%. Mid-teens EBC, fair cond. & a decent initial head & some lacing. Good aftertaste. Taste a bit like an ale. Not bad at all.
Stevens Point Brewery Point IPA 5.6%. Mid-twenties EBC (rich copper), head/cond. Not too good. Nice & hoppy, Cascade hops used? If so, the usual nasty taste I associate with them was missing. Marvellous, full taste & long aftertaste.
Straffe Hendrik (Strong Hendrick), a bottle conditioned Tripel style Belgian Ale, 9.0% from the brewers of Brugse biers. Poor head/cond. With an orangey colour around 15EBC. Lots of orange peel with a shortish finish, a bit like a scaled up Affligem Blonde.
Švyturys Ekstra (pronounced “Shvee-to-res” - Lighthouse) 5% is a Dortmunder/European Export style lager with barley malt, rice & beer yeast. Produced by the oldest working brewery in Lithuania (1874). Head O. K., condition poor, well balanced – not insipid, not strong, undemanding but not bland, should appeal to most tastes.
TaaKawa (“Fruit of the forest” pronounced “take-away”? Joke – it’s actually “tar-car-wa”) 5%, “indigenous ale of Aothearoa” (Maori NZ) contains leaves of the indigenous herb KawaKawa along with malted barley & hops. KawaKawa is also the name of a small town situated near the tip of the North Island but the plant is a member of the Piper family (as is black pepper) & grows mainly in the forests of the Northern Island. Its many uses are cultural in the spiritual, medicinal sense as well as a cooking spice. My bottle of this Maori ale was made in New Zealand, imported into the Netherlands & somehow found it’s self in sunny Doncaster. Despite having “ale” printed on the label, this looked & tasted like a lager with Hallertaue (?) hops. A lovely star-bright gold colour in the low teens EBC but it had no head or condition; this is possibly a good reason why I did not enjoy this beer. At least it took away the taste of the Theakston’s Bitter (keg) that I had earlier in my local.
Tesco Hefeweiss Wheat Beer 4.9%, produced in Germany. Very good head/condition, cloudy, around 10 EBC, bubble-gum flavour, nice, well worth a try.
Tesco Finest Belgian Abbey Beer (no Abbey mentioned on label) 6.5% “traditional Trappist style” on bottle (see ingredients!). “Belgian Wheat Beer” on site. Contains malted barley, sugar, invert sugar, hops, lactic acid, hop extract, ascorbic acid, yeast & ammonia caramel, “contains gluten” says the label but not mentioned in the ingredients, neither is the wheat. Around 11EBC with poor head, virtually no condition, some herbs. I always thought that Abbey beers were bottle conditioned. NOT THE FINEST BY FAR, AN INSULT TO ABBEY & TRAPPIST BEERS & THEIR PRODUCERS.
Tesco Finest Traditional Porter 6%, made by Harviestoun. Poor head/cond., coffee aroma & a wonderfully strong complex taste.
Tesco Finest French Wheat Beer 5% bottle conditioned, contains barley & wheat malts, wheat starch, orange peel, coriander, glucose syrup, hop extract & pellets. Looked like frothy pineapple juice, unfortunately not that nice. DISAPPOINTING – NOT THE FINEST BY ANY MEANS.
Tesco Organic Lager 5%, contains sugar, has “Caledonian” written on the bottle. Poor head/condition, around 10 EBC, not quite star-bright with a very slight sediment in the bottle. Nothing special (or bad), easy drinking, well worth a try.
Tesco Revisionist California Common Steam Beer (Marston’s) 4.7%. Mid teens in colour, not much head & fair cond., Nice hoppiness & malts.
Tesco Revisionist Hefewieizen Wheat Beer (Marston’s) 4.8%. Dry hopped with Hersbrucker & Marynka. Contains CO2 but is “cold conditioned”, a matter of semantics? Tried later, again, not much head & fair cond., cloudy yellow colour, about early teens EBC, tasted of orange rather than banana (as the label stated). Mid teens in colour, not much head & fair cond., Nice hoppiness & malts.
Tesco Simply Dark Ale, 4.5%, with Xtal & chocolate malts, Fuggles, Goldings & Styrians. A dark colour – over 50EBC or so head/cond. (a 2nd bottle had a good head) fair with some lacing. Good, rich, fruity flavour, nice balance – malt & some hops.
Tesco Simply Golden Ale, 4.5% with lager malt, Goldings & Fuggles. A golden colour in the early teens EBC, no head but a fair cond. Quite hoppy with a little spiciness & quite a long aftertaste. Not sure about the balance.
Tesco Simply IPA 5%, pale & lager malts, Goldings, Fuggles & Cascade hops. Small head with good cond., colour mid- late teens. True to the style, Nice.
Tesco Simply Stout, made by Marston’s, 4.5%. Contains pale malt, malted wheat, caramel, black malt, roasted barley & chocolate. & Tetra Hop Gold (Terrahop Gold?), Goldings, Sovereign, Fuggles, Progress, Admiral & Bobek hops & it’s called “Simply”? Very enjoyable - dark malts with some hops, not overpowering.
Theakston Bitter (draught) is possibly the nearest thing to beer sold in my local (made by ICI?), after a visit there I like to drink a small bottle (250ml) of homebrew to take away the taste.
Theakston Smooth Dark. Take one Theakston bitter, water it down, add some caramel & a touch of roast barley (if your are lucky) & you end up with a horrible mess, this mess is called Theakston Smooth Dark.
Theakston Old Peculier 5.6% with barley (some chocolate?) & wheat malts, had chewy malts with black treacle, toffee, Demerara sugar & raisins & was very smooth with a strong, long dry finish, a very good drink. Colour around 100EBC, a very dark ruby red. Modest head/ condition. Not my favourite but it deserves its’ reputation, very interesting & quite unique.
Theakston XB 4.5% 40-45 EBC, malty & quite smooth. Good head, decent condition with some clinging to the glass.
Thwaites Premium Thoroughbred 4% “Robust golden colour”, poor head/condition, very hoppy (dry hopped), full flavoured, dark marmalade with dry finish. Similar to Fullers London Pride?
Thwaites Lancaster Bomber 4.4%. Around 20+ EBC, slight metallic taste, a very good all round beer. (Fuggles, Goldings & Styrians.)
Thwaites Wainwright 4.1%. Head/cond fair, a mid-teens colour. Named after Alfred Wainwright (the walker) but not at all pedestrian, went the extra 16093.44 metre.
Thwaites Very Nutty Black 3.9%, bottle cond. Very black, somewhat nutty. “Export Strength” – 3.9%? Rather subtle taste/aftertaste (spicy?).
Tiger “World acclaimed” Lager Beer 4.8% (was 5% prior to 2009), 4-6°C. This version of the famous Singapore beer was made for export, under license in China. Nice goldy colour, very poor head & condition. Had a pleasant but slight initial taste that disappeared almost immediately, nothing like the real thing!
Timothy Taylor Landlord strong pale ale 4.1%, 4.3% draught, 52-58°F (never heard of Celsius? Around 11-14°C) from Keighley, West Yorkshire. An orangey-red colour around 20EBC, the term strong refers to the taste which has some complexity, enjoyable, despite my bottle having a very poor head & no condition (another bottle was much better), draught is also V. good.
Titanic Brewery Nine Tenths Below, an IPA, 5.9%. Mid-teens EBC, slight haze, abysmal head. The hops come through in the aftertaste (citrus) with a slightly odd twinge. I absolutely hate the references to the ship, some cold be taken as flippant at least!
Tom Wood’s Bomber County 4.8%. 35 or so EBC (deep red), not much head/cond. Strong, hoppy taste with a strong (citrusy?) aftertaste. OK.
Tom Wood’s Harvest Bitter 4.3%. No head/fair cond. Some sweet followed honey & hops (both were quite prominent) in the taste/aftertaste leaving a nasty edge.
Tom Wood’s Jolly Ploughman Premium Lincolnshire Ale 5%. Colour around 30-40with a modest long-lasting head/ condition & some clinging. A strong taste with some roast malts. Should I have expected “flowery” hops?
Tom Wood’s Lincoln Gold Ale 4%. Contains pale & lager malts. 20EBC. V poor head/cond. & very gentle on the senses & a touch of complexity, nice hops.
Trappist conspiracy theory? If the Monks let us have these beers, what are they keeping back for themselves?
Treboom Brewery Baron Saturday porter 5.2%. 5 different malts, with Northdown & Willamette hops. Poor head/cond., 60+ EBC. Black malt coming through, long aftertaste. OK but nothing too special.
Tripel Karmeliet 8.4% uses Styrian hops & 3 grains - malted barley, oats & wheat. Very similar to Duvel but not so good? Too much botanicals? Still, good!
Triple Moine 7.3%, 25EBU, 9EBC & bottle-conditioned beer brewed in Belgium & goes down well.
Troubadour Blonde 6.5%, 14EBC, 30EBU. Head/cond. OK, nice & hoppy, especially in the aftertaste. Coriander & orange?
Troubadour Obscura, 8.2%, 110EBC, 35 EBU. Dark, good head, lousy hops, UGH!
Tsingtao (China) 4.7% (lager). Little head/cond., a disgusting colour, very insipid taste.
Tuborg Pilsner 4.5% from Copenhagen, Denmark. Very small head, poor condition & slight clinging to the glass. Light in colour (<10EBC), taste & hops, nothing special, probably best as a cold thirst quencher on a very hot day. After three bottles, with bloody cuts to my thumb & middle finger (honest), I finally mastered opening a bottle with the “NEW! RING PULL”.
Tyskie Premium Lager 5.6%. Polish lager, <10 EBC, good condition but rather poor head, a lovely drink.
Two Roses Brewery (Barnsley) First Edition Pale Ale 4%, serve cool, bottle cond. Lower teens EBC with a good aroma. Full, floral hops (late hopped?) & a very, very slight harshness in the long aftertaste, unstable yeast, but the taste …. floral hops (late hopped?) & a very, very long aftertaste, unstable yeast.
Urthel Hibernus Quentum (9%, around 4EBC), a bottle conditioned Belgian Tripel wheat bier, even with very careful pouring it was literally all head, when some bier did settle it had swirling clouds of bubbles. A great taste/aftertaste/ mouthfeel, the flavour getting more intense as the as the cloudier bier at the bottom of the glass was reached.
Urthel Tonicum Finiboldhus (7.5%, around 15EBC) is a bottle conditioned Belgian amber wheat bier with excellent head/condition. Another good bier!
Unsworth's Yard Brewery Sir William Marshal’s Crusader Gold 4.1%. Poor head/cond, mid-teens EBC (gold). O. K.
Ulverston Laughing Gravy 4%. Pale, crystal, chocolate malts, torrified wheat & Armarillo & Goldings hops. All the beers are named after Laurel & Hardy films, Laughing Gravy was a dog. Stan was born in Ulverston. The beer had a good aroma, poor head & a matching cond. & around 35EBC & red (they say “copper”, but who’s arguing?). It was a well balanced ale with a good hoppy taste/aftertaste. V. G. The beer was a very fitting tribute to Stan (&, of course, Ollie).
Vedett, Belgian Pils form the Duvel Moortgat brewery, 5.2% 3˚C. Very pale (<10EBC) with a very poor head & condition & “some hops”. The drinking temperature given (3˚C) is a good indicator of what to expect but at least it is better than some of the “popular” lagers from Australia, the US & Europe. The complete antithesis of Duvel!
Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne from the Brouwerij Verhaeghe, West Flanders, Belgium. O.G. 1064, 6.2%, serve 8-12°C, made with malt & wheat, it is a dark Flemish red sour ale & boy is it sour! It is also dark, red, sweet, red fruits (strawberry), acidic, vinous, vinegary (?), but never at the same time! (Apart from the “dark” & the “red” bits.) This beer is reputedly best after about a year & the finish is very, very long. This beer is the epitome of complexity; unfortunately I’m not too keen on it. My second bottle was drunk a year later with four months left in the “date”, it was less aggressive but the drinking temp. was around 5˚C. The web site is probably best viewed using your search engines’ “translate” option.
Verhaeghe Pils 5.1%, 12P (Belg) Saaz. Poor head, good cond. & had a golden colour in the early teens. Pleasant, hoppy taste with a long aftertaste.
Viru (pronounced “Veer-oo”) is a premium 5% lager brewed in Estonia from barley, sugar & Saaz hops & packaged in an interestingly shaped octahedral (8-sided pyramid) bottle. A very pale colour, head O. K. but very poor condition, the taste was “low” but not insipid.
Vratislav Premium Czech Lager 5%, brewed & bottled in Prague “selected by Tesco”. Short lived head, poor condition, 10+ EBC, strong after-taste - like a mass produced generic pilsner. OK(ish). Bottle/label style very similar to Pilsner Urquell, Czech Pilsner, Primator etc.
Wadworth’s 6X, my bottle 4.3% was very hoppy, a drink to finish off on.
Wall’s Summer Gold 3.9%, 12°C & bottle cond. From Northumberland, it contains English & American hops. Lower teens EBC & slightly hazy, excellent head/cond with a good aroma. Full, floral hops (late hopped?) & a very, very slight harshness in the long aftertaste, unstable yeast.
Ward’s Best Bitter 4.5% bottled, 4% draught, 8-12°C, Xtal malt & Goldings, bottle conditioned with “hopped sugar”. “A Fine Premium Ale”, agreed! Fairly light, around 20EBC with poor condition/head although it lasted very well with some clinging, lots of “floaters”. Good aroma, tasted of malt & “flowery” hops with some barley sugar, butterscotch, metal & possibly oak, a touch of harshness & a long finish.
Warsteiner Premium Verum, 4.8%, German “Eine Konig Unter Den Bieren” Pilsner style made with “Hopfenextrakt”. Like a cider in colour, <10EBC, modest head with lots of bubbles & slight clinging to the glass. A slight metallic aroma/taste/finish, O.K. but a bit cloying & “lacking”.
Watermill Inn & Brewing Co. Dog’th Vader 5%, contains dark malts. Initial head was good, poor cond. O.K., nothing special.
Weihenstephan (“Sacred Stephan”) Hefe Weissbier, 5.4%, 14EBU (9-12°C) from the “World’s oldest brewery” (1040) situated in Bavaria, Germany & uses wheat & barley malts. Good head/condition, EBCs in the low ‘teens. Yeasty taste with hints of spice, cold Heinz beans, bubble gum & some fruitiness. A very good, a full flavoured wheat beer - one of the best.
Wells Banana Bread Beer 5.2%, made with malt, sugar, maize, hops, “Fair Trade” bananas & banana flavour (artificial?). Short lived head, poor condition, around 20EBC, banana aroma the taste is like banana toffee. Not as bad as it sounds.
Wells Bombardier 5.2% English Premium Bitter uses Challenger hops for bitterness (34EBU) & Fuggles for aroma & crystal malt. It now comes in a 500ml bottle rather than the traditional 1 Imperial Pint bottle (568ml). Dark red around 35 EBC, small head with some clinging, has a fullish “dark” taste, more malty than hoppy (taste & aroma). The web site attributes the colour to the use of crystal malt but the label tells us E150C (ammonia caramel) is also used, as is the stabilizer E405 (classed under “Emulsifiers, Stabilisers, Thickeners and Gelling Agents” as Propane-1,2-diol alginate).
Wells Bombardier Burning Gold 4.7% again comes in a 1pt. bottle. Uses Fuggles & Goldings & has a bright golden yellow colour, a modest head & an excellent condition. Inexplicably my second bottle opened like a F1 driver’s bottle of Champagne. Unfortunately I thought the “dull” taste let it down.
Wentworth Bumble Bee 4.3%. Uses local honeys & oilseed, lime flower, borage & heather blossoms. NO HEAD & NO CONDITION!!! Quite a nice flavour with some honey coming through.
Westmalle Dubbel, dark Belgian Trappist beer, 7%. A dark ruby colour, 50+EBC, there appeared to be lots of little lumps of yeast in suspension, had a short lasting head & poor condition. The prickly taste attacks the mouth & tongue, quite a malty taste with some chocolate, raisins, vinous & slightly syrupy. A lovely complex & warming beer.
Westmalle Tripel, blonde Belgian Trappist beer, 9.5%. Colour in the low to mid-teens (EBC) with a lowish head/condition & some lacing. Again the taste attacks the mouth & tongue with some citrus, herbs/spices & strong, bitter orange peel, this was also present in the aroma & long finish.
Westmalle Notes: The Abdji Der Trappisten Van Westmalle is the home of a Cistercian order situated in Westmalle in the Belgian Province of Antwerp. Napoleon booted them out of Normandy, France, after starting an anti-church campaign in 1793. The Abbey (Our Lady of the Beloved Sacred Heart) was founded in 1794, obtained Trappist status in 1836 & brewed their first beer 1st August, 1836 & started selling it in the 1870’s. Westmalle Extra 5% is a “single” brewed generally only for the Monks to drink (keeping the best for themselves?).
Wheat beer/Weiss/Weissen/Wit Bier Notes: Heffeweisens & those with labels marked “Mit Heffe” (or similar) contain yeast sediment, this is part of the drinking experience & doesn’t give you the squirts, this propaganda is perpetuated by big unimaginative, girls blouses who drink “macho”, highly advertised, light coloured crystal-clear lagers & beers. I personally like to pour most of my wheat biers into the glass, replace the (carefully removed) crown cap & return the bottle to the ‘fridge. When my glass is nearly empty, I recover the bottle, give it a good swirl & pour the contents, sludge & all, into my glass, this heightens the aromas & tastes. Other styles – Abbey/Trappist & even lagers may also “improve” with the addition of some yeast.
Whitechapel Porter 5.2%. Brewed by Shepherd Neame for Asda. Cond/head not too good. Dark & black malts followed by the hops. A good porter, full of flavour.
Williams Bros. Brewing Company (Alloa) March Of The Penguins 4.9%, OG 1050, Pale Ale Malt, Oats, Roast Barley, Chocolate Malt, Dark Crystal, Malted Wheat. Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Cascade + Orange Peel. “Smooth, creamy stout” – just about sums it up! Poor head/cond.
Winster Valley Brewery Best Bitter 3.7%??
Witkap Stimulo 6%, a bottle-conditioned Abbey style beer from the Brouwerij Slaghmuylder at Ninove, about 20 Km due east of Brussels, Belgium. A nice pale yellow around 10EBC, a short-lived head with some persistence, some lacing & a very poor condition. Then we get to the taste. Wow! Intensive mouth-filling, nose-tingling prickley (Goldings?) hop flavour but not all that bitter, some orange peel taste also came through followed by a very long finish. The dark yeast sediment was fairly stable & slight for the style; it added discernable bitterness to the taste. SUPERB!
The beers were known as Trappist until sometime in the 1960s. The label shows a white-hooded monk drinking beer. Witkap refers to the white hoods worn by Cistercian monks; I think Pater translates as Father, I’m not sure if “stimulo” refers to “single” as it is also known by this name or if it refers to the stimulating effect this beer has, dubbel & trippel biers are also brewed here.
Wood’s Parish Bitter 4% (O.O.D.). Pale & Crystal malts, Fuggles & Goldings hops used at various stages of the boil. Wood’s own yeast. Poor head/cond., 20-30EBC, some hoppiness.
Wold Top Brewery Against The Grain 4.5%. Around 10EBC, little head & no cond. Nice aroma/taste but too hoppy in the very long finish.
Wold Top Brewery Mars Magic 4.6% from the Yorkshire Wolds. Using Progress hops with “dark crystal malt with a hint of roast barley in the brew” gives it a slightly smoky flavour/aroma & around 50EBC or so of colour. Nice!
Wychwood Black Wych 5%, very dark “Spell binding Stout” uses Progress hops. Poor head/condition with a dark, dry taste with roast malts & perfume aftertaste. Not too bad but to me it was a bit thin, a bit lacking.
Wychwood Fiddler’s Elbow 4.5%, made using wheat, malt & Styrian Goldings. Less than 20EBC, slight head, reasonable condition, with earthy, citrousy hints & a long hoppy finish. V. G., so far my favourite from Wychwood.
Wychwood Gold Hobgoblin 4.5%, wheat, malted barley & 4 hop varieties. A gold colour – 10EBC, head/cond. OK. Odd tasting hop mix –not quite right but ever changing (complex) & got better as the contents of the glass disappeared.
Wychwood Goliath 4.2% uses Pale & Crystal Malts (ruby colour). English Fuggles & Styrian Goldings hops. Initial head & cond. O.K., about 20-30 EBC. Malty & hoppy but not keen on the hop mix – gave a harsh taste.
Wychwood Hobgoblin 5.2%, good creamy head with some lacing, almost no condition, <50EBC, pale, chocolate & crystal malts, Fuggles & Styrian Goldings (slightly odd taste). Full flavour & strength, very good. The draught can be even better.
Wychwood Scarecrow 4.7%, an organic PA, uses Target hops. Not much head, cond OK & somewhat cloudy mid-teens EBC. Quite hoppy but not up to Wychwood’s usual standards. (4 months O.O.D!)
Wychwood Wychcraft 4.5%, a blonde ale using 3 malts & 3 hops. Late teens EBC, slightly hazy, good aroma, decent cond. & poor head. Good tasting malts & hops.
Wye Valley Butty Batch Premium Ale 4.5%, bottle cond. Maris Otter, Crystal malts, flaked barley, malted wheat, Fuggles, Goldings & Bramling Cross hops. Decent head/cond., early teens, OK.
Wyre Piddle Brewery, Piddle In The Hole, 3.6%. Colour in the mid 20’s, little head, good cond. Some nastiness in the hops/finish. Tastes much better than the name suggests.
Yetman’s Orange Beer, 4.2%, Xtal malt, Fuggles & Goldings. Bottle conditioned. Very good & long-lasting head/cond, 25 or so EBC, good mixture of hops but on the low side. All in all, a decent all-rounder.
York Brewery Yorkshire Terrier 4.2% contains malted barley & wheat. A poor head/condition but with some clinging, colour <20EBC, a nice hop character (Goldings?) & a very long finish. A good Yorkshire ale. (OF COURSE!)
York Brewery Centurion’s Ghost 5.4% contains malted barley & wheat & hint of chocolate & roast malts. Very dark with a poor head & condition, similar to “Little Red Devil” but more taste/aftertaste. Balance was all wrong, no at all satisfying. Should be exorcised!
York Brewery Little Red Devil 5.4% brewed for the Bottled Beer Company. Very dark with a poor head, condition OK, best described as “lacking”.
Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co. Hawes Golden IPA, 5.9%. Munich & Vienna malts & Cascade, Amarillo & Herkules hops.
Well, where to begin with this amazing IPA, the head was very big, the cond. was very good, it was more like a Belgian ale! The hops were very prominent with distinctive flavours. VERY DIFFERENT! Another point to Yorkshire!
Young’s Christmas Pudding Ale 5.5%. A garnet colour around 50EBC, tastes of dark fruit with some spices, coconut, oats treacle, & metal. Obviously not a drink for regular supping as it was a bit sweet & cloying towards the end, although I may have drunk it a bit too warm. A quality beer. A few years later (2008) it was more like a Christmas “flap-jack” ale as it seemed to taste much more of oats, treacle, cocoanut followed by a hint of chocolate & possibly some cinnamon. A different recipe? Head/cond O.K.
Young’s Champion Live Golden Beer 5% bottle conditioned with Marris Otter barley & “Styrian hops from Slovenia”. Like a lager in colour, citrusy flavour, not too demanding or heavy, possibly a bit too light/cloying/cidery. Slight solid yeast in bottle (worth cloning?).
Young’s Waggledance 5%, contained honey with Fuggles & Challenger hops. A rich golden colour around 15 EBC & very good condition. Tasted very mellow (low hop rate) with some honey. Not full on flavour, a bit lagerish with some bitter after taste but a quality beer.
Zubr Jasne Pelne 6% A Pale Lager brewed by Prerov, Czech Republic Smallish head, condition O.K., a golden (10EBC) colour had a woody taste, the picture of a buffalo on the label may have been significant.
Zywiec (pronounced “Jeu-vee-etts”) Polish Lager 5.6%, malted barley & hops, complete with a temperature sensitive label to indicate the correct drinking temperature. Very poor head/condition & low in taste, nothing horrible, just low in taste.
New Beers to review.
Abbaye de Rochefort 8
Duval Triple Hop (limited edition) 9.5%, Saaz, Styrian Goldings, dry hopped with Mosaic.
De Dolle Oerbier
La Chouffe Saison
Straffe Hendrik Wild 2015
SOME TYPICAL BEER DRINKING TEMPERATURES (°C).
These figures are a rough guide; they should only be regarded as “typical” as all beers may not conform, especially amongst the Abbey/Trappist beers. I have collated the information form various sources & cannot vouch for their accuracy or whether a degree or three deviation makes any discernable difference.
Abbey/Trappist <8.5% ABV
Abbey/Trappist 8.5% + ABV
Belgian Strong Ale
Biere de Garde
Bitter, ESB, IPA, Old ale, Pale Ale, Strong Ale
Bock, Double Bock
Irish Red Ale
Lager inc. Munich & Vienna, Helles
Old brown Lager (Bruin)
Pilsner, Golden Lager
Porter inc. Alaskan
Scottish Ale inc. Strong & Wee Heavy
Stout, Dry, Sweet, Milk, Oatmeal, Oyster, Irish
Weiss/Wit/Wheat - dark
Weiss/Wit/Wheat - light
Wheat - Belgian
Rubbish beers & lagers