Fierce beer – Night Shift (6.5%)

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Another month and another release from the amazing Fierce beer brewery in Dyce.

As the nights draw in and the weather changes I find myself moving from lighter beers to something a little darker. Happy Fierce have provided, with a darker take on the 5% pale ale…called day shift.

This black IPA also sports probably the most outlandish label I’ve seen on a beer bottle. I don’t think I remember seeing a vulture in a gimp mask on any bottle of beer or to that end anything I’ve purchased before!

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The beer pours a dark brown almost black colour with an almost mahogany hue around the edges. The head is beige and remains on the beer long after pouring.

The nose is full of citrus pine, soft roasted malt aromas and this followed by notes of roasted pineapple. As the nose develops notes of fresh herb and dark chocolate come through but this is all bound together by an overarching citrus hop aroma.

The flavour is initially very smooth almost like a stout but as it develops a huge punch of resinous, bitter hop flavour comes through. Notes of roast malt and chocolate come through the middle of the taste. The finish is long lasting, with that huge resinous and bitter citrus flavours which dominate throughout.

This is a gorgeous beer which fits the season very well. It’s available from Thursday so please go get some!!

 

Fierce beer – Bourbon Barrel Aged Cafe Racer (9%)

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Sometimes it takes something a little bit special to drag me to my keyboard. Having a little less emphasis on beer in my life was a necessary evil, but this wasn’t one I could ignore.

Especially when it arrived by special delivery on a motorbike….

Having started life as a home brewery about 200 yards from me; watching Fierce move from a stove top brewery to their current home with it’s gleaming stainless steel embellishments has been a joy!

The beer it’s self is a dark roasted coffee and vanilla porter which has been lovingly aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels. If I’m honest that sounds like a fantastic combination!!

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The beer pours as an oily, black almost opaque liquid which lightens to a deep brown colour around the edges.

The nose is much lighter than I expected; but intense with coffee, dark chocolate and a slight dark fruit kick from the bourbon. These move in to a chocolate and roasted malt medley finishing with a boozy desert note not unlike tirimasu. A lot going on!

The flavour is intense with cold brew coffee, and bitter chocolate. These are lifted from becoming too bitter by sweeter dark fruit and caramel notes. The bourbon and toasted oak from the barrel come through at the end, giving this beer a balance not often seen in barrel aged beer.

The finish is long with a caramel and coffee notes along with a slight touch of bourbon.

This beer is something special and very worth getting your hands on!

Launching at Thistle Street Market in Aberdeen on September 24th, go get some!!!

 

Holiday Blog 3 (Stigbergets – India Pale Ale 6.3%)

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If there is a conclusion that I’m coming to, it’s that the Swedish beer seen has exploded over the last few years. I’ve been coming to the beautiful country for a long time and I can not remember seeing this many breweries and brewing such a wide variety of beers!

Next on a long list of beer I am going to review is Stigbergets India Pale Ale; another Gothenburg brewery! They are based in the Majorna area of Gothenburg and they pride themselves on self sufficiency and keeping their beer local.

This IPA weighs in at 6.3% and has been brewed with simcoe and citra hops.

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The beer is a cloudy orange/amber colour with a thick white head which remains long after pouring.

The aroma is sharp with pine resin and citrus. This is followed by notes of orange and a soft malt sweetness, the end of the aroma has a roasted note which creates a lovely balance.

The flavour is very orange and grapefruit dominated to start with. This is followed by notes of pine resin and herb. The finish has a soft sweetness stone fruit.

The mouthfeel is slightly oily and drying and the bitterness lingers long after drinking.

It’s been amazing to see so many breweries appear in this city in such a short time.

If you ever see this please try it!

Cheers!!!

Holiday beer blog – 2 (O/O brewing)

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Local and great tasting the label said so why the hell not.

I visit Göteborg quite a lot and it’s a city I have a great deal of affection for. When I see a new brewery pop up I always feel like I have a bit a of a vested interest. O/O or to clear up any confusion oh oh brewing (as it would be said) are a brewing project started by Olle Andersson & Olof Andersson in 2011 who brew at Stigbergets bryggeri in GBG.

I will be reviewing two beers, their Pretty Pale Ale and Bohemia (a saison).

The first beer is the Pretty Pale Ale which weighs in at 5.5% and is made with “lots of flaked oats and fruity hops”.

The beer pours an amber to orange colour with a medium cream coloured head which lingers atop the beer,

The nose has mango and a roasted tropical fruit note. This is followed by notes of lychee, white grape and lemon sherbet. This is balanced out by a malt sweetness at the end of the nose.

On tasting there are notes of lemon, lime and lychee followed by stone fruit. In the middle of the taste you are hit by pineapple and a soft black pepper. The taste ends with a note of sweet orange.

Next is the Bohemia which is a saison (5.0%), brewed with pilsner malt and saaz hops.

The beer pours a golden colour with a thick and bubbly white head which lingers on the beer.

The nose is very fruit forward with red and slightly darker fruits which are complimented by a slight ginger note. This is followed by notes of malt, clove and a slight hint of tropical fruit. The nose ends with a dry herbal aroma.

The taste is initially quite spice and citrus forward. This is followed by notes of red fruit, softer lime and an almost hibiscus note. The end of the taste is sweet and has notes of wheat sweetness and herbal dryness.

The finish is dry and refreshing, perfect for long summer days!

It is fantastic to see a city teaming with so many good breweries which are easily accessible!

O/O are the tip of what seems to be in the pipeline in this city and I’m very lucky to be able to try their beer!

Cheers!!

Holiday beer blog (number 1- Lättöl)

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Finally after a long wait and a very early morning I have made it back to Sweden for my annual holiday (hopefully it’ll be a bit more permanent soon).

As I arrived in Gothenburg the temperature is up to 22 degrees Celsius. As it’s a Sunday unfortunately the government owned alcoholic drinks monopoly the Systembolaget which leaves me with one option, the local supermarket which is only allowed to sell beer of 3.5% and under by law. This means my first holiday beer blog will be about Lättöl which is the common name for this type of beer.

The beers I’ll be reviewing, 3 in total are: Södra Pale Ale, Gotlands Bryggeri Sleepy Bulldog Best Bitter and Jämtlands Bryggeri Steamer.

I Started with Gotlands Bryggeri Sleepy Bulldog Best Bitter, which is a modern take on the traditional bitter by adding Australian hops (Their words not mine).

The colour is a clear dark orange / amber colour in the glass with a thin cream coloured head which dissipates quickly.

The aroma is better than expected with notes of tropical and stone fruit coming from the glass. There are also notes of herb and the slight musty aroma which is to be expected with Australian hops. Soft notes of caramel and toffee follow with a faint almost pine note at the end.

The flavour isn’t quite a exciting I’m afraid, there are soft notes of stone fruit, soft caramel and light citrus but this is completely overpowered by notes of herb and fruit stem which I find a little off putting.

The mouth feel is dry and bitter with a herbal flavour lingering.

Next I tried Jämtlands Bryggeri Steamer, a steam beer which is apparently aromatic and fruit but otherwise gives little away.

The beer pours an almost a dark orange almost red colour, with a thick which head which dissolves to a film on top of the beer.

The nose is rich with caramel, red and dark fruits almost giving an aroma of dates. In the background notes of orange and lemon peel try to come forward with a herbal presence at the end.

The flavour is refreshing with notes of her lemon and ginger to start, this is balanced by notes of caramel, red and dark fruit and a soft spice. This is very complex and fantastically drinkable at the same time!

The finish is rich and slightly dry.

Finally I will look at Södra pale ale. This beer in unfiltered and dry hopped which is all the information they give.

The colour is a cloudy light orange with a thin white head.

The aroma comes bursting from this beer! Hits of lime, mango, pineapple and soft sweet malt stream forward. This is followed by hints of pine and sugar syrup.

The flavour is resinous but follows with hits of tropical fruit and grapefruit. The sweet malt and slightly herbal kick follow this is the ulimate low ABV American pale ale!

The finish is drying with a tingle of hops down the center of the tongue.

As things would go this is probably not the most exciting trio of beers I could’ve reviewed but on the other hand I feel it’s great to have a range of go to (this review is by no means exhaustive), of beers at a lower percentage which are easier to have with a meal or in the evening when working the next day.

Cheers

Fierce Beer – What A Melon (5.5%)

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In quick succession I am going to review another Fierce Beer. This time their watermelon wheat beer What A Melon.

My first review of their beer was Ginja Ninja which is a ginger beer which comes in at 5.2% ABV and is brewed with habanero and lemongrass.

The beer was inspired 21st ammendment’s Hell or High Watermelon.

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The beer is a deep orange colour and pours with a yellow tinged head. The head remains on the beer long after it’s poured and as it hits the glass you’re hit by a aroma not unlike the watermelon flavoured Jolly Rancher candies.

The nose itself is perfect for “summer” or at least the slightly warmer weather which we’re having. There are hits of strawberry, watermelon followed by citrus peel and soft sweet malt. The end of the nose has a slight hint of spice and banana.

The flavour is cleaner than the nose portrays with drier citrus and herbal notes. The watermelon remains but is less prominent. There are notes of red berry with a soft sweetness following. The finish of the taste is a clean watermelon and lemon note.

The mouthfeel is slightly oily and drying but that doesn’t detract from the flavour and refreshing profile of this beer.

The beer is available in bottle and keg and perfect for the summer!

Cheers!

Fallen Brewing – Local Motive (3.9%)

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C’mon baby do the loco-motion…. I may have gotten this wrong…

Fallen are a Scottish brewery based down in Stirlingshire.

The Fallen brewing company has been set up by Paul Fallen, a former homebrewer who decided to try his hand at brewing commercially. The brewery is based in near Kippen in Stirlingshire and their products have only been on the market since July 2012.

The brewery itself is based in an old railway shed which was renovated and moved in to in 2014. Previously Fallen brewed with Traditional Scottish Ales in Throsk, Stirlingshire.

Local Motive is a Session IPA originally brewed for the Cross Keys pub in Kippen which but in this case Mosaic hops have been added.

The beer is made with East Kent Goldings, Celeia and Mosaic hops and a malt bill of Maris Otter, Crystal, Vienna, Melanoidin and Flaked Barley.

In colour the beer is a deep amber to orange colour with a thick off white head which remains on the beer.

The nose has soft stone fruit, citrus, notes of orange peel and a light herbal note. A slight sweet and roasted malt note follows at the end.

The flavour has notes of soft fruit and citrus up front. This is followed by light notes of herb and lemon. The finish has notes of roasted malt and white grape.

The finish is slightly dry but this complements the light body and soft fruit notes in the beer.

This beer is easy drinking and hugely flavourful. This beer would be perfect for drinking outside in the summer sun… If only we had some!

Cheers!

Fierce Beer – Ginja Ninja (5.2%)

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Luckily for me I’m not a million miles away from Aberdeen’s newest craft brewery and it’s always nice to get to review something early!

Fierce Beer were established only this month and have already produced beer which has been met with rave review. The beers don’t conform to the usual first steps a brewery would take but that seems to be embraced by brewer Dave Grant.

The beers could be described as different or experimental and that is a trend which continues in beer I’ll be reviewing!

Ginja Ninja is a ginger beer which comes in at 5.2% ABV and is brewed with habanero and lemongrass.

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The beer pours a darker yellow to lighter orange colour with a thin white head which remains as a film atop the beer,

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The spice and ginger notes emanate from the glass immediately. Notes of chili and sweet malt follow. In the background lemon and lime aromas follow balancing out the nose.

On tasting ginger, lemon and lime notes flow forward, followed by notes of herb and spice which are much more subtle than the nose promised. The habanero chili follows as a warmth which dries the palate as opposed to the expected burn. The finish has slight salt and drying note.

The mouthfeel is slightly dry and begs you to take another sip of this very complex beer!

Although small at the moment keep an eye out for this experimental brewery which is producing beer of the highest quality!

Cheers!!

Cloudwater Brewery.

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Cloudwater are a young brewery based in Manchester co-founded by Paul Jones and James Campbell. The brewery launched in spring this year and demand is by far out stripping supply only 12 weeks after launch!

I was able to get a hold of three of their beers: Session IPA, IPA and Bergamot Hopfen Weisse. The first thing I have to comment on is the labeling which is in my humble opinion is just gorgeous! It’s produced by the Textbook Studio from Salford.

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The first beer I will look at is the session IPA

It’s made with perle, centennial, citra and mosaic hops. It weighs in at 4.8%

I hope this is going to hit my summertime beer craving (although in Scotland it’s more perma-autumn) .

In the glass the beer is hazy orange/ amber with a thin yellow stained white head.

The nose is instant orange leaves and citrus with a grassy tang. There are note of citric acid sweetness pop . This is balanced by a combination of roasted and sweet malts with a resinous pine finish!

The flavour is grassy and herbal up front with more resinous notes following, but this is balanced out by the citrus note in the beer. The malt reveals a softer and slightly more complex side to this beer with the roasted and sweeter notes playing off the more citrus and pine notes working a treat!

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Next up is the Spring IPA 2015!

The beer pours a deep cloudy orange colour with a thin off white beige tinged head.

The nose is much more pine and resin this time. There are notes of grapefruit and lemon in the background. The malt gives a roasted balance to a slightly peppery note in the background. There is a slightly sweet grassy note at the end.

The flavour is….sublime. Notes of lemon, lime resin and malt sweetness hit you directly in a fantastically balanced quartet! This is followed by a bitter grapefruit punch and notes of spice in the background. As the taste finished there is a building bitterness and dryness which begs you to take another sip!

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The last beer I tried was the Bergamot Hopfen Weisse.

Lighter oramge/golden colour with a thick white head.

Weirdly traditional hop nose with notes of herb red fruit and orange peel but that’s where the similarity ends with notes of citrus and resin leading to a slightly more American feel to this wheat beer.

The taste is a cross of American and European hops which give this beer a herbal yet citrusy finish. The balance is just fantastic!

The finish is dry and sweet

For a new brewery to start with such a strong set of beers is very impressive and I hope to be able to find them more often! I was able to get a hold of these from the Deeside Drinks Emporium in Banchory.

Cheers!

Black Metal Brewery

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The Black Metal Brewery are an Edinburgh (Loanhead) based brewery. Founded in 2012 by friends Jaan and Pan they are currently brewing on Top Out’s 1000 Liter brew kit. They released their first beers in August 2014 and I’ve been able to get a hold of two of them from Alesela.

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The first beer I tried was the Yggdrasil which to cut a long story short is an immense tree that is central in Norse cosmology, in connection to which the nine worlds exist. In this case it’s also a strong pale ale hopped with amarillo weighing in at 6.6%.

The beer is a deep cloudy orange colour with a thin white head.

The nose has hits of pine resin, orange and notes of fresh herbs. There are also hints of sweetness and a sligtly dry almost wooden note.

The flavour is a huge hit of resin and grapefruit pith. This is followed by notes of herb, malt sweetness and lemon.

The finish is very dry with a lingering herbal note. The beer is refreshing and very well balanced!

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Next is Will-o’-the-wisp  is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached. In this case it’s a smoked juniper ale, which weights in at 6%.

It pours a dark reddish brown colour and is very hazy in the glass. The head is a thin white film across the beer.

The nose is initially a burst of sweet smoke, followed by hits of juniper and malt sweetness.

The flavour is very juniper forward with notes of sweet malt and citrus. This is balanced out by a dry smoked note at the end of the taste.

The finish is dry and slightly sweet. The balance of this beer again is superb.

For a very young brewery the balance of these beers are amazing and are very worth looking in to!

I was able to get mine from Alesela.

Cheers!