Beer O'Clock Show

Month: December 2013 (page 1 of 2)

The 12th Beer of Xmas

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For my 12th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

It’s been emotional and now we’re at the end. Here’s  the recap from the last couple of days of the #12beersofxmas

Magic Rock ‘Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady’ Imperial Brown Stout (10.5% ABV / 660ml)

I’ve been excited about this one. Very excited. Lots of friends have drunk this and advised the best way to do it and how wonderful it’s going to be and I was just hoping it was going to live up to the high expectations.

I’m now a dab hand at getting through a wax seal (having done it once during this run) and after I got through it and cracked the top I was instantly greeted with sweet piney, roasted aromas. I simply could not wait to get this into the glass.

day 12The pour is thick, black (even though it’s a brown stout) and leaves a lovely creamy brown head. There is a big boozy aroma from the glass and you get coffee laced with cream while at the same time almost getting a whiff of JD and coke.

The taste is like nothing I have ever sampled before. It’s like a smooth espresso and the bourbon ageing is coming through in every gulp. But it’s not harsh, it’s smooth, it’s warming and it just makes you keep going in for more.

Big piney aromas continue throughout the drink, there is a thick flavour and finish, but I just can’t get over how smooth it is.

As I near the end of the glass the smoothness continues, but the roasted flavours begin too give way and there’s slight fruit tones in there. This is so well balanced and so well delivered – I am so pleased I left this one right until the very end of the run.

As I finish New Year’s Eve and head into a 31 day dry spell, I’m happy to be going to bed in the embrace of a bearded lady.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 11th Beer of Xmas

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For my 11th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

Check out what happened on Day 10 of the #12BeersofXmas by clicking here

Good George, Wild Beer & Burning Sky ‘Shnoodlepip’ (6.5% ABV / 330ml)

I’ve been a little bit ‘concerned’ about this beer. There are a lot of flavours supposedly going on in this glass and I’m not sure what to expect. I’m doing this blog live tonight, so let’s see how we go…

day 11Once the cap is off, the aroma is nothing special, but the pour is stunning. In comparison to last night’s beer that was as flat as a pancake, this is bubbly, lively, fizzing and leaves a lovely pure white foamy head. The beer itself is a deep amber colour in the glass and has a much more appealing, lightly fruity flavour.

Before I take the first sip, just a reminder about this beer – spelt, pink peppercorns, saison and brett yeasts, wood aged in French red wine barrels, passion fruit and finished with hibiscus flowers. Now do you understand why I may have been ‘concerned’?

On the first sip I’m getting wonderfully sour, fruity notes. No bitterness so to speak of, but you get the passion fruit on the aftertaste. Then there’s a warming. Now this could be from the peppercorns but it’s a similar warming and feel that I get when I drink red wine, so I’m guessing this is from the barrel ageing.

It’s very easy to drink and is most refreshing. You’d have to be careful if you were surriounded by this one as I imagine the 6.5% ABV would sneak up on you.

The head is lasting well down the glass and I’m now getting an aroma similar to that of Haribo Tangfastics and a mouthfeel like I’ve been punched with a handful of them. I think I’m getting most of the flavours, although I have to confess that I have absolutely no idea what hibiscus tastes like.

The finish is smooth and really coats this mouth and as I near the end of the glass I’m beginning to wonder why I was so concerned about this drink.

In summary, a wonderfully unique collaboration that is perfectly balanced and marries and number of flavours with skill and precision.

Tomorrow the #12BeersofXmas ends with the big one – Magic Rock’s BBBL.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 10th Beer of Xmas

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For my 10th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

Ilkley ‘Speyside Siberia’ Oak Aged Saison (8.8% ABV / 330ml)

Yesterday’s recap…

Day 10. I’m beginning to feel the effects a little now too. I don’t think I’ve ever drunk this many days in a row, and right now the Dryathlon is looking positively exciting. I have a constant headache, I’m always thirsty and I’m not getting full nights’ worth of sleep. I’m not just drinking the one beer a day as there are warm up beers and cool down beers plus there have been guests. Oh so many guests. But I’m nearly there and I’ll be damned if I’m giving up now.

day 10Today’s beer is one that I had the pleasure of enjoying the original version in the summer and this 700 limited edition bottle run really excited me. The same beer but aged in Speyside Whisky barrels, so it’s going to be awesome right? Wrong.

On cracking the bottle I was instantly hit by the sugary, yeasty aromas that I’ve come to expect from a saison. The pour was thick and resulted in an orange beer in my glass but something was missing. Ah yes, carbonation. There was none of it. No fizz, no head, no nothing. In fact the finished product was more reminiscent of Beavertown’s ‘Uncle Joe’ kvass than anything else.

On first taste I was hit by the big boozy flavours from the whisky, which continues to warm after the initial swig but there was just nothing else.

Where were the rhubarb and custard sweets that I so enjoyed in the flavour of the original?

Where was the fizz? Where was the crisp hit that I’ve come to except from a saison?

There was just, well, nothing. A little sugary sweetness, a bit of a tart finish and then nothing. And all too quickly it was over.

A very disappointing night on the #12BeersofXmas.

Only two days to go now – NYE is the big one and before we get to that there is tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. The Shnoodlepip. A beer that I think scares me a little. Only time will tell.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 9th Beer of Xmas

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For my 9th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

You know the format by now – click here for yesterday’s recap

Marks & Spencer / Meantime ‘Bourbon Barrel Aged Greenwich Ale’ (6% ABV / 750ml)

Day 9Once the cork is popped (yes, cork) this pours avery deep red colour with an off-white creamy head and aromas of toffee, caramel and liquorice.

Unfortunately, that where it all seemed to end. None of the flavours followed through, there a slight roasted maltiness going on in the background and a hint of a bitter finish but very little else. As it warmed in the glass a little, there were some woody aromas and a more roasted after taste, but still nothing exciting. Very disappointed in this – not a lot else to say really.

My mate James liked this one though and said that it complimented the chilli and smokey cheeses that he was enjoying.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 8th Beer of Xmas

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For my 8th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

I realised I may have messed up a little with the recap yesterday (been sorted now) so I’ve made sure that today’s recap of yesterday is right. You can check it out here.

Firestone ‘Double DBA’ Barrel Aged Imperial Special Bitter 2012 (12% ABV / 650ml)

day 8This was the third ‘big’ beer in as many days. Magic Rock Strongman on Xmas Day at 12%, Thornbridge Imperial Raspberry Stout yesterday at 10% and now this.

Upon cracking the bottle open you’re hit by big, boozy aromas with a raisin sweetness and a big hit of bourbon.

The first taste is all sweetness – there’s toffee, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, cream – it’s all there and backed up with that prominent bourbon edge. It comes across like a barley wine, but it’s not and it has a really stealth-like kick to it and that 12% really creeps up on you.

As it’s warming, the spirit air to it really comes to the forefront in the glass and the booziness comes through stronger and stronger but it’s still not over-powering. It’s sweet, easy, smooth and very enjoyable. There’s no bitterness in there, just a perfectly balanced beer.

I was sharing this with my mate James, he’s clearly a heathen as his reaction to this beer was “OMFG, why do people have to fuck with beer?”. Like I say, heathen.

I enjoyed this. From the minute it was open until the final sip, I found it almost the perfect beer to enjoy over the course of the evening. Shame I only bought one bottle.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 7th Beer of Xmas

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For my 7th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

So while yesterday was all about the Strongman, today normal service resumes…

Thornbridge Hall / St Eriks ‘Imperial Raspberry Stout’ (10% ABV / 500ml)

Another blog that I’m doing live and I’m already a good halfway through this bottle as I start.

First thing I’m going to say is “wow”, followed by “wow” and then just one more “WOW”. As soon as the top is off there are sweet fruity aromas flooding out of the bottle and waiting to get into the glass. The pour is fairly thick and black and leaves a lovely thick creamy (and possibly pink tinged) head. The fruit aromas continue in the glass and there’s only the slightest roasted hint in the background.

On the first taste, the is the sharp, tart, berry hit from the raspberries, followed by more sweetness, a little sugar and then an ever so slight bitter roasted hint right at the very end.

day 7THIS IS AMAZING. It’s more sour than stout but then there’s the roasted finish. It’s also a very sneaky 10% as I feel that it’s far too easy to drink at this ABV and I  may be regretting this very soon.

I’m just getting more and more of the fruit as the beer warms and the bitter, roasted finish is so well balanced that it just keeps pulling you in for more.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say this is probably one of the best stouts that I’ve ever tasted. Well for 5 more days at least…

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 6th Beer of Xmas

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For my 6th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

This is the BIG one – I know there are a few of us doing this today, but before we get onto the review, here’s yesterday’s Storify recap.

Magic Rock ‘Strongman’ Barrel Aged Barley Wine (12% ABV / 660ml)

I’ve been waiting a while for today. In fact, since the day the wax-sealed bottle of magic arrived on my doorstep, I’ve been planning the drinking day meticulously. When I set out on the #12BeersofXmas journey, the whole thing was built around drinking Strongman on Christmas Day, with dinner, like you would a fine wine.

First problem though was getting through the wax! I’ve never had a bottle that has been wax sealed before but after some hacking, I finally revealed enough of the bottle top to get the opener latched on to release even more magic into Christmas Day.

day 6The beer poured very thickly, dark orange with a full on ‘craft haze’. The initial aroma was of oranges, peaches and sherbet. There were also big piney, citrusy notes to back up the initial fruit aromas. It was like a tropical paradise that was laced within hidden hops waiting to jump out and sink their fangs into me, releasing their magical venom. Ok, enough of that, what did it actually taste like?

Well, there was the expected thick, resinous feel to the beer and I was instantly hit but the citrus fruit flavours, leaving an initial fresh, sweet hit of hops. There was a soft bitter finish and a slightly warming feel afterwards but the sweetness hangs around like your favourite Aunt or Uncle on Christmas Day.

As the beer begins to warm, the flavours seem to be constantly changing with the exception of the big citrus notes and warming finish, I’ve been getting the aforementioned fruits, toffee, caramel and on occasions smoke. Somewhere in there is the original Un-human Cannonball, I know it’s there, but it’s like it’s playing hide and seek with me – one mouthful it’s there, and the next it’s gone.

This is an absolute triumph of a beer from Magic Rock, and worked perfectly for me today. I’m so looking forward to next year’s release….

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 5th Beer of Xmas

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For my 5th beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

Here’s your daily catch up from yesterday courtesy of Storify!

Harviestoun ‘Ola Dubh 18’ Whisky Cask Matured Ale (8% ABV / 330ml)

I’m doing this one ‘live’ today as I drink the beer. Now I’ve gone on record on the show a number of times in the past to rave about both Harviestoun and the Ola Dubh series and this was the reason that this particular bottle earned the honoured place of ‘Xmas Eve Beer’ in the run down.

day 5The initial aroma was of smoked cheese (yes, really) and this soon gave way to the dark roasted malt laced with the whisky that this original ‘Old Engine Oil’ has been maturing in. It’s a very dark, viscous liquid that oozes out of the bottle and leaves a wonderfully creamy coloured head.

The first mouthful tastes like absolute heaven. It’s thick, warming, roasted, boozy and smooth all at the same time. It leaves a lovely smooth finish and almost no bitterness on the aftertaste – this is such a well balanced beer that you can pair with cheese or chocolate (or both) – as Shaun Voss from Harviestoun proved recently at the event that I attended at The Gun in the Docklands.

As it’s warming in the glass, the boozy aroma is becoming more prominent, but if anything the flavour and finish is becoming smoother.

This really is a great beer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every occasion I’ve tried it.

Tomorrow, it’s time to take on the big man – Magic Rock ‘Strongman’ will be taking pride of place on day 6 of the #12beersofxmas

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 4th Beer of Xmas

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For my 4th beer of Xmas my ture love sent to me…

Click here for the Storify summary of what was being enjoyed on day 3, now onto today’s beer.

BrewDog ‘Mix Tape 8’ Oak Aged Belgian Tripel / TIPA Blend (14.5% ABV / 330ml)

I’ve been quite excited by this beer – a blend of a Belgian tripel and a Triple IPA that have both been oak aged in Scotch Whisky barrels for two years. What could possibly go wrong with this?

Upon opening, immediately greeted by a sticky sweet aroma. It pours a lovely deep amber colour with good, subtle carbonation and a consistent thin head.

Aromas of oak and whisky (well, you’d hope so really wouldn’t you?) greet the nose as the glass is lifted for the first taste… Thick, big, boozy flavours. The sticky sweetness of the aroma follows through on the initial wash and is then followed by heat. Warming flavours and a very sweet finish.

day 4There’s very little of the tripel coming through, there’s very little of the TIPA coming through. It’s more like a barley wine than anything else. There’s almost no hop profile, but there is warmth. And heat. And more warmth. And a little more heat. Did I mention the warmth?

There are some thick treaclely toffee notes, and hints of smoke. There’s no yeast profile coming through like you would expect from a tripel, so that feels like it has been completely lost. There’s no hop slap coming through from the TIPA, so that feels like it has been completely lost. Maybe the two parts of the blend were in the Scotch Whisky casks for too long? The problem is that I just can’t get past the big, hot hit on every swig. I’ve never been a fan of spirits, so I don’t enjoy the warm hit that a neat spirit leaves. I’m struggling to get past this to find anything more interesting to say.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

The 3rd Beer of Xmas

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For my 3rd beer of Xmas my true love sent to me…

Before we get onto the big review of the day, here’s a look back at the action on day 2 with another Storify post

Truman’s ‘London Keeper’ 1880 Double Export Stout (8% ABV / 750ml)

Right then. There have been a few reviews of Truman’s first beer from their new brewery circulating the blogging community since its release and most seem to say the same thing. I’m going to jump straight in and agree – it’s a great beer but it’s not ready yet.

day 3After cracking the wax seal (had to comment on that as never done it with a beer before) there is little initial aroma from the bottle. It pours really smoothly, with light carbonation and a small creamy white head. On the first taste it’s light, smooth with a hint of roasted coffee and then there’s a hint of black berries in there – where the hell did that come from?!

This is one of the easiest stouts I’ve ever drunk. It’s in no way heavy going and really doesn’t taste like a stout – in fact as it’s warming it would be quite difficult to mistake this for a DIPA if you were blind tasting.

As I’m closing in on the end of the bottle, I’m getting piney hops on the aroma and new flavours are emerging. This really has been a most enjoyable romp through the history books with Truman’s.

Now to quantify my original statement , “it’s not ready yet”… All of the above flavours are there but are in no way washing over me. I think given a few years (I have a second bottle that I’m ageing) this will be an even more stunning beer than it is now.

#12BeersOfXmas – leave a review of your beer for today below (or a link to your blog) and your Twitter name so we can give you a shout out. Merry Beermas!

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