Slow Beer

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cellar Notes - Gouden Carolus Classic

Bottling: September 2006
Tasted: Jan 2009 (14/20)

3 years looks about right for this beer. Fresh bottlings have shown a heavy palate with plenty of 'stewed fruit' malts but some medium term cellaring has certainly lightened the beer up. Aromas show a lot of life with funky, meaty, stinky malts and a hint of sarsparella. Chocolate, licorice and cola flavours emerge early in the palate but the intensity thins out as a woody note kicks in. Nice sliver of chocalate runs right through the palate. Not convinced additional cellaring will enhance the beer further.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cellar Notes - Boon Framboise

Vintage: 2005
Tasted: Jan 2009 (14/20)

Colour is holding up well; a genuine mix of orange and brown. Aromas are very attractive and show a surprising rich level of strawberry fruit, almost of confectionary-like intensity. Good stuff. Palate does a complete about face and is dominated with a bitter, sour fruit. I can’t quite put my finger on the fruit flavour; probably very sour grapefruit comes closest. All in all I thought this beer was looking pretty good if you dig sour fruits. Maybe best drunk inside 5 years from vintage.

Vintage: 2003
Tasted: April 2007 (13/20)

Dirty blood red, almost dull brown in colour. Unexpected, perhaps the result of both ageing and a touch of oxidation. Thin persistent head of good depth. Fruit driven nose, a little tart, but the sweet berry fruits are very evident. The first couple of sips were marred (almost severly) but a pongy, bitter sulphuric-like kick. Like bottle stink in wine. This character did subside over time but still always lurked in the background. Otherwise the palate looked decent; aged strawberries, a hint of old wood, and fading tart fruits. I reckon this might have looked better as a 2 or 3 year old.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Cellar Notes - Unibroue Fringante

Bottled: November 2004
Tasted: December 2008 (13/20)

I don't think this beer has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. Appearance as per previous notes although there's plenty of floaties now in the glass. Still a meaty, yeasty, cooked fruits style (ie very Belgian). Finish is relatively modest in terms of intensity although some mild burn from the alcohol lifts the palate a touch. Not sure there is much point cellaring beyond 4 years?

Bottled: November 2004
Tasted: July 2006 (14/20)

Matched the Duvel (glass?) shape well. Big fizzy head, quite creamy in texture early but settles over the 10 minutes and breaks up. Vibrant pale orange, a touch cloudy, very Belgian. Very Belgian again on the nose, rich yeasty notes, and perhaps a trace of nettles of herb hops? Powerful palate; meaty, vegemite like, extracted fruits, earthy malts drive a flavour profile that is also very balanced for a 10%er. Very appropriate fizz levels carry the beer well as I sense it would cloy without the lift from the bubbles. Intensity faded a little over time, forcing a 1 point notch back.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cellar Notes - Chimay White

Bottled: 2007
Tasted: January 2009 (13/20)

I haven't had a great track record cellaring triples and this is no exception. Looks fantastic; massive billowing head, pure white, and a nice apricot coloured body. Chunky lacing too. Nose shows mild malt sweetness, some spice and a touch of aniseed. All very faint. Palate is dominated by fizz and light, but dirty, sweet malt character. Finishes surprisingly dry with a mild aniseed edge. Not much to advocate further cellaring, let alone hanging onto it for as long as I did.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Beer Travel - Atticus Finch

I think Melbourne has been doing these small bars really well for a couple of years now.

The big difference with Atticus Finch is that much effort is put into the beer, wine and spirits list. Heavy focus on micro and the unusual, including a number of local whisky options! (I have never seen this in town before).

Only 4 beers on taps but good ’uns (inc. 2 x Two Bros). Fair pricing. Great pre-drinks option as there are some cracking eating options very close by. Service is casual and very friendly. I’d rather have a quiet beer here than just about anywhere else in Melbourne.

Decent review from The Age here.............


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recent Tasting Notes

Krombacher Pils (13/20)
Not bad. A full bodied pils that doesn't rely on higher than normal alcohol to get its point across. Looks and smells textbook with a golden amber hue, fizzy white head and a wheaty grainy nose. Palate is quite sharp with what seems to be a serious aniseed bitter edge. Has a tinge of sweetness in there as well but essentially this is a dry pils. Good fizz levels for summer drinking.

St Helier Pear Cider (8/20)
Dead simple and sweet friendly style. You would struggle to find 5% abv here, let alone 1%! Lots of lifted confectionary pear fruits across the nose and palate. Just the smallest element of bitterness on the finish. Very commercial crowd pleaser style. (2 5 4 3 8)

St Helier Apple Cider (7/20)
As per the pear version this is very much a hit and giggle style. Soft confectionary fruits although a hint of bitterness and perhaps licorice firms the flavours up a touch. Hard to believe there's alcohol in this drink.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Avonmore Estate Pale Ale (14/20)
A complete surprise on the upside. I bought this at a local farmers and almost felt sorry for the owner (brewer?) given it was quiet and it looked, at first glance, like some contract job that was being sold purely on a heavy organic theme. Well there's no doubt this is a serious organic offering with strictly certified inputs but the flavour and structure is equally serious. Soft fruit sweetness on the nose, probably hop derived. The palate is lean, perhaps a touch elegant, but there is no doubting the quality hop structure (and associated bitterness) that the beer provides. It's firm with hop bitterness and resin, and a sweet / sourness (so to speak) kicks in late. All things relative this is impressive.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Recent Tasting Notes

Cascade Lager (4/20)
Oh well! Couldn't really have expected much could I? There is little doubt I can most, if not all crap Aussie macros blind and I'll add this beer to the list. Corney malts provide a slightly stale but bearable flavour profile. Of course the mandatory high fizz levels drown out everything else. A big 'pass'.

Cascade Draught (8/20)
Seems to be the staple tap offering for pubs in Tasmania's south. Quite similar to the forgettable lager model although the malt weight has been stepped up a notch. I thought the tap version was average but this sample, straight from the bottle, showed the same crappy industrial malts but slivers of sweetness and genuine bitterness made this beer acceptable (just!).

Boag's Wizard Smith Ale (11/20)
Must be this mob's best beer? Not much of a claim of course! The Golding hops are used to great effect and provide a very genuine English Ale feel with nice earthy / grainy flavours running right through the palate. Malts revert back to macro averageness and there is too much fizz, but, not a bad effort from these guys.


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