Saturday, 26 January 2008

Review: De Ranke Père Noël

De Ranke Père Noël from Brouwerij De Ranke
Rating: B+

Appearance: Light brown in color, more than amber. Clear. Nice head, moderate retention and lacing.

Smell: Complex aroma of spicy hops, toasted malts, Belgian yeast, and interesting assortment of Christmas spices in the background that fortunately remain in the background and nondescript.

Taste: Solid bitterness, which I was expecting from de Ranke. Sweet toasty malts, Belgian yeast flavor and caramel are balanced nicely by the bitterness. More complex and balanced than the XX Bitter, but I think I prefer that one in the end, precisely because it is less balanced. Works as a seasonal, however.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Light-medium body, appropriate carbonation. Perhaps drinkability would have been improved by dropping the spices. Otherwise, XX bitter plus more malt is a good description. As a Christmas seasonal, though? One of the best.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-26-2008 17:00:50

Review: Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius from Milton Brewery
Rating: B

Sampled at Cambridge Winter Ale Fest, 2008

Appearance: not quite pitch black, small head that has good retention but each bubble is surprisingly large, if that makes sense. Some lace.

Smell: coffee, chocolate, and a slightly off-putting sourness that is worrisome.

Taste: thankfully, the sourness that is hinted at in the nose does not follow through to the flavor. Coffee, chocolate, roast, and slight toast notes predominate. Pleasant. Bitterness is solid, but hop character is nondescript.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, silky, carbonation a little light, but as expected in the UK out of a cask.

Drinkability: Moderate, a little high in alcohol for sessionability.

Serving type: cask

Reviewed on: 01-26-2008 16:54:51

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Review: Double Stout

Double Stout from Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd.
Rating: A-

Appearance: very dark, deep garnet in color. Two finger, off-white head that exhibits excellent retention and lacing. Bottle is well-presented, with helpful tasting and pairing notes. Either the label has changed since the picture was posted, or it's a different label on each side of the Atlantic.

Smell: iced coffee aroma, with a bit of toast. smells great, with a bit of malt sweetness (cocoa?) in the background as well

Taste: brown bread, coffee, decent hop backbone. dark fruits in the middle, cocoa shows up at the swallow and resolves to a smooth, easy finish. the best British beer I've had since I arrived here, I think.

Mouthfeel: moderate body, good carbonation

Drinkability: High! Recommended. Only problem is it's from Oxfordshire instead of Cambridgeshire :)

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-24-2008 19:49:33

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Review: Branik

Branik from Pivovar Staropramen Pražské Pivovary
Rating: C

Appearance: Amber color, very clear. Lots of carbonation, some lacing, decent retention.

Smell: some cooked corn, grain, and in the background, spicy hops and tin.

Taste: Mediocre, sweet malt, with some dry graininess. Acid at the finish. Little hop character, some grassiness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: watery, light body, undercarbonated by the end of the bottle, or maybe I was just drinking slow. Would not re-purchase.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-23-2008 17:35:22

Friday, 11 January 2008

Review: Kozel Svétlý

Kozel Svétlý from Pivovar Velké Popovice a.s.
Rating: B-

Brought back from my girlfriend for me after a visit to the Czech Republic.

Appearance: Light, golden amber in color. Billowy white head that sticks around. Effervescent looking carbonation. No lace.

Smell: Grass, slight overripe fruit, generally mild aroma.

Taste: Light Saaz flavor prevails. Seems slightly watery. Bitterness is right for the style. Refreshing, at any rate.

Mouthfeel: Light, fizzy, but insipid finish & aftertaste.

Drinkability: Moderate on merits, but refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-11-2008 15:36:05