Slow Beer

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Recent Tasting Notes

Murray's Brewing "Wild Thing" Imperial Stout (15/20)
Fantastic looking beer (as most Imperials tend to be) with a choc orange creamy head. Thin but effective. Nose shows some chocolate sweetness, hints of licorice and a touch of roast. All quite elegant. Flavours definitely get better as the beer warms up and you could just about drink this at room temperature. Sweet malts very early, then a slightly weird tangy lemon kick, before the palate slips into dark bitter chocolates. Good length. Flavours are relatively tight and I think this beer needs a couple of years in the cellar.

Holgate Christmas Ale (16/20)
Sarsaparilla-like in appearance; no head and and brown/tan in colour. Cola and chocolate malts on the nose with good underlying sweetness and Belgian-like funkiness. Flavours are fantastic. More chocolate and meaty malts and the sweetness underpinning the palate shows very good intensity yet never gets dumb and simple. This brewer has stepped up more than a few gears in the past year.

Greene King Suffolk Vintage Ale (10/20)
I thought this beer was all 'go' after a few sniffs; bright yet dark fruited sweetness, almost sarsaparilla-like. The palate, however, was a huge let-down. This beer was masquerading as a soft drink with light weight cola-like flavours....not beery notes at all. Just give me some hops and malts!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cellar Notes - Unibroue La Fin du Monde

Bottled: September 2006
Tasted: October 2008 (12/20)

Better consumed early me thinks. I've had this drop a few times within 12 months of bottling and it is clear this a very smart beer. However, medium term cellaring hasn't really helped here. The sweet chunky malts and yeasty character has largely disappeared in the mouth although still shows in the aromas (albeit in a modest way). Still too much fizz here and I don't think this helps the flavour. Structure is fine but the flavours ain't.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Cellar Notes - Bottling Date Resource (Updated for Oud Beersel)

I find the whole aged beer / cellaring thing quite fascinating. Unfortunately, and unlike wine, determining bottling dates for many beers can be a difficult task. Below I've pulled together a few bottling date conventions:

Note that all data with respect to the trappist beers has been sourced from Danny Van Tricht at (great job BTW).

Dore: 4 years from best before ('BB') date
Blue: as per vintage year
Red: 4 years from BB year
White: 3 years from BB year

St Bernadus (our educated guess - happy to hear confirmations)
Triple: 3 years from BB date
Pater: 3 years from BB date
Prior: 5 years from BB date
Abt: 5 years from BB date

La Trappe
Blond: 2.5 years from BB date
Dubbel: 2.5 years from BB date
Tripel: 2.5 years from BB date
Quadrupel: 3 years from BB date

As per label bottling date

Oud Beersel
20 years from BB date

6: 5 years from BB date
8: 5 years from BB date
10: 5 years from BB date

Dubbel: 2 years from BB date
Tripel: 2 years from BB date

Gouden Carolas
Classic: 3 years from BB date

Unibroue - See below (unless vintage dated on bottle)
It's easy to translate the bottling date from the code printed on the bottle. For example, 'C08071726Q' translates to:

C = month (ie March)

0807 = day & year (ie 8th March 2007)

1726 = time (ie 5.26pm)

Q = location (ie Quebec)

If anybody has bottling date 'rules' or conventions for any other beers I'd love to get hold of them.


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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Festive Ales

The silly season is well and truely underway! So, what better reason to get stuck into a few Festive Ales from some of Australia's best craft breweries.

Holgate Christmas Ale 8.5%
A Scottish wee heavy infused with ginger and aged on french oak.

Red Hill Christmas Ale 7.5%
A strong belgian ale that is deep orange in colour and posseses a big spicy hop aroma from Red Hill's own Hallertauer & Tettnanger hop varieties.

Red Oak Christmas Cheer 6.2%
Our tastings notes: Chocolate brown with a thin creamy head. Earthy nose, sweet spices, cinnamon, a little musty. Shows complexity. Palate is largely similar but just lacks the weight and intensity promised on the nose. Despite this a well built beer.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

St Ambroise Arrive!

We are pleased to announce the arrival of another excellent North American craft brewer!

McAuslan hail from Montreal, Canada and their St Ambroise range of ales have hit our shelves.

The following are available: $4.70 each/16.90 4pk

- St Ambroise Pale Ale
- St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
- St Ambroise Apricot Wheat

Check them out at


Friday, December 12, 2008

Cellar Notes - Cantillon Kriek

Bottled: March 2008
Tasted: December 2008 (16/20) (9 months old)

It probably comes as not great surprise that this beer is still very very young. Great colour; bright and cheerful cherry red with goo depth. Aromas are powerful and jump out of the bottle the second the cork is popped. All about tart and dry fruits. Palate is very intense and dominated at the moment by salt, vinegar, acid, spice. Quite medium-bodied despite the sourness, but needs time for the fruit to come through. Another classic.

Bottled: June 2005
Tasted: April 2007 (14/20) (22 months old)

Fully loaded hard core lambic style. Very kriek in appearance but nose and palate suggests, strongly, unsweetened lambic. High on acid and tart fruits, right through the nose and palate. Very unyielding right now. One of those rare beers that seems far too young to consume.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Emersons APA - Last Vintage Ever!

Hi All,

So much beer & so little time!

The much covetted Emerson's APA has just arrived in store. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of those tasty american hops this is the last time it will be available!

As always, stock is relatively limited (small batch release), so to save your dissapointment please be quick!


Murray's Anniversary Ale 3

Hi All,

Murray's Anniversary Ale 3 has finally hit our shelves! Our aloocation was rather small as this is an extremely limited brew (only 1,000 bottles brewed!).

Be quick, as we suspect they won't last long! This is definately one for the cellar, so don't miss out.

If you wish to reserve some email


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Recent Tasting Notes

Barefoot Radler (11/20)
Far more in the soft drink genre than beer but I guess that's not totally unexpected for the style (4.2% abv notwithstanding). Lemonade driven nose is quite pleasant. I couldn't help but enjoy the flavours; more lemonade but a nutty / bran-like flavour provides a nice underlay. There is certainly a time and place for beers of this style.

Moo Brew Stout (16/20)
I've heard good things about this beer and am happy to confirm that the 'mail' is spot on. Although labelled as a stout this beer strays into the Imperial space with classic fruitcake flavours and a heavy toast / roast from the malts. Hints of sweet marzipan add a layer of complexity to the aromas. Similar to taste, and a very firm bitter kick on the finish. On the whole shows a lot of balance.

Moo Brew Hefeweizen (12/20)
Standard issue hefe here and a more than passable interpretation of the German genre. Mild wheat and spice on the nose and palate. Palate gets a touch oily with more spice on the finish and a late kick in the back palate from some lemon flavour.

Moo Brew Pilsner (16/20)
Good stuff this but not what you would call classical, rather it continues a trend of very good Antipodean new worldly pilsners and is right at the front of the class with Murray's, Emersons and Wanaka. Good lifted nose of fruit, particularly passion fruit; very pretty. Palate goes into overdrive with masses of sweet fruits but with an undeniable pilsner edge.

(Side note: I consumed this beer with a strong King Island 'black' cheese and this had the incredible effect of lifting the flavours significantly. This must be MB's best beer?)


Murray's Anniversary Ale 3

Now, I'm of the opinion that Murray's are undoubtedly one of the best craft breweries in the country. Whether you are a fan or not, you can't deny that they are consistently pushing the boundaries and producing brilliant beers.

The current release is their Anniversary Ale. A barley wine by name, however oak maturation and exposure to the brettanomyces yeast strain produces an ale that will keep you guessing.

If you want to know more, follow the below link:

Stock will be hitting the shelves mid-late next week. Be quick, as this is an extremely limited release!


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