Monday, 31 January 2011

Marks & Spencer Cheshire Brown Ale

 Another produced by the Frederic Robinson breweryfor the Marks & Spencer range, 4.7% and 500mls, costing £1.99 I think.
It has a nice reddish brown colour, minimal bubbly head which dissipated soon.
Aroma - malts, reasonable strongish malts at that, nutty.
In the mouth its got light body (as the bottle says), flavour that seems to work its way around the whole mouth, strong malt again, smooth and a light caramel hit.
Whether this is a good representation of the style of a 'brown ale' i'm not qualified to say, I'll leave that to others to declare but i found this a perfectly pleasant pint, very drinkable.

Bigger Flickr picture

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Gotta Lotta Bottle pt 2.

In starting construction of the light box I pretty much followed the web advice, my box was not quite square, and the longer sides were a little flexible so rather than remove the top flaps I cut them down and doubled them over and tapped them up for a little extra stability.

I actually used a sheet of A1 white card rather than order ‘Bristol board’ and for the material I bought the cheapest white sheet from Tesco. I fitted the white card inside and glued it in, and then put the longer curved length in. Masking tap placed the material around the outside.

I bought a cheap desk lamp and placed the brightest bulb I had but as you see from this photo this is not adequate. I need to get a bulb similar to the one described in the instructions. However the first shots i took are not to shabby, i'll put them up next.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Erdinger Weissbier & Grolsch Weizen

Your author was an idiot tonight, going in for a night shift when i was not supposed to be working. Doh!
So on my return i opened a Brains Black and wrote up my notes on two wheat beers that soothed me the other night.
There is something comforting about wheat beers i find, soothing, comforting, they make you sink into the furniture, but the lightness and spices keep you floating just enough with their freshness
The first was one i think i have had before but never wrote up or photographed. Erdinger Weissbier, lovely hazy golden in colour, a thick creamy and foamy head. The body holds so well in the mouth, smooth, good carbonation, banana, vanilla, yeasty and crisp. Solid.
The second i have not seen before, in fact i cannot remember when i last had a Grolsch pilsner full stop, it must be 15 years at least. I will rectify that soon, although i do not recall seeing it in any shops recently.
Grolsch (premium) Weizen, a similar golden colour, another frothy white head, perhaps not as creamy as the Erdinger. The Grolsch has slightly more pronounced clove and banana aroma, but is that because i tasted it second and it was thus fresher in my memory?. Slightly sweeter, banana and clove again, fruitier and wheaty.

Two lovely beers, and i could have had 2-3 more of either of them, although if i have to say then the Erdinger was preferred.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gotta lotta Bottle pt 1.

Amongst my aims for this year of trying more beers, and promoting good welsh beer to you  dear readers, was the aim of improving my blogging.
One aspect of that was to also improve my photography, and to that aim i looked at other beer shots on Flickr and decided as a little DIY/Blue Peter thing to build myself a light box. A quick google and the first entry is practically this instructional post.
I have followed this, its really easy, with a few slight alterations along the way. The reason is to go from photos like this (my half way stage refreshment)

to this (the lighting does need altering but you get the jist)

More to come soon.

Monday, 24 January 2011

M&S Southwold Winter IPA

Quick review of this beer, picked up, obviously, in M&S the other day. Funny enough when i got home i read a review of this beer by Darren at Blog o' Beer, which made me want right there and then. But it was mid morning so i put it off til after i picked the kids up from school, seemed the sensible thing to do!
Brewed for them by Adnams its 6.7% and 500mls. Not sure though i can add to much more to Darrens post really, but cut n' pasting would be a tad lazy.
Okay, lovely amber brown colour, frothy but diminishing head. Nutty malty aroma, good sharpness - grapefruit, nice medium body with a bit of dry fruit in there.
As i write this i'm supping a Marble Dobber, full on good smack in the face grapefruit there, but this Winter IPA is more rounded, calmer, and one i would drink more than the Marble i suspect.

Edited 25/1 to correct abv %. 
2nd edit:
Crap, i forgot the FABPOW with this beer. Rowntrees Randoms - went brilliantly, light juiciness and sweetness with the IPA dryness and sharpness. High class here!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Samuel Smith Imperial Stout

 Yes another Samuel Smith beer, and yes you've probably had it before.
But i haven't, in fact its my first Imperial Stout. This blog grew out of the photos and brief notes i'd been adding to my Flickr stream, which was to chronicle all the new beers i was trying. And trying beers like this one was of my aims, styles that were new to me, styles i had thought i would never like.

So this Imperial Stout stuff, i'm not going to go into its history, probably you know it and if you dont then start here and then best to search zythophile or Barclay Perkins for true beer history and fact. Trust me, hours will pass before you know it on these 2 sites!

Cue picture:

This has a lovely coffee cream aroma to it, and its colour is pretty black, coca cola black when you get further down and hold to the light. As you see a good cocoa powder brown head.
At this point my wife reminded me to put the bins out, so a couple of slurps and i was down the garden. As i avoided the dog shit in the back lane that some selfish bastard had left i noticed the constant warming, almost burning, still hitting my lower oesophagus. But this contrasts with only a little alcohol in the mouth.

It has some deep malts in there, and something is sitting on side of my tongue. I forget my tongue map so not sure what that might be, or did i read that tongue maps were wrong all this time? Must follow that one up.

It has perfect carbonation, and the little gas i do let escape gives me liquorice burps. As it warms you also get sweet chocolate and some hop bitterness.

Excellent beer.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Brains Festival Cheer

A belated Christmas entry here, bottles have just appeared on my Tesco's shelf or i only just noticed them which could be accurate also.
Although this bottled is labeled Festive Cheer, on the Brains website their seasonal beer is called 'Fir King Good Ale' but then to confuse things they also use the name Festive Cheer in the beer's description.
Onto the beer, 4% and 500mls, and if we go back to the website they say its:
An ale full of rich flavours for the festive period. Brewed using Aromatic Malt and bursting with a medley of spicy hop flavours.
Festive Cheer is a deep amber coloured ale with a warming finish.

It has very little aroma, a little spice, certainly cinnamon and clove. Taste has a peppery element, and those spices again. Some toffee in there too.
No evidence of the warming finish, and I think to say 'bursting' with flavour would be rather strong, but its not a bad beer, very light and easy to drink.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Pale Ale

So far from Samuel Smith i've had the Oatmeal Stout and the Taddy Porter which were both excellent bottled beers, so lets go for 3 out of 3 shall we?
I have high hopes also as people commenting here on Samuel Smith beers generally have nothing but high praise for them, another reason i picked up several of their bottles last time. Still in the box is their India Ale and (really looking forward to) the Imperial Stout.
I actually opened this a couple of nights ago, but visitors and a poorly daughter have kept me from reviewing it.
5% and 550mls of copper coloured lovelyness.
As expected a wonderfully smooth drink, creamy head, biscuit malt aroma and a little floral perfume too. Taste is a light caramel malt, this goes down so well, you've drunk half before you realise and i had to think about what i had just tasted! Hoppy dry end to it with a little light bitterness.
Although this doesn't stand out proud like the above mentioned bottle in their line, its extremely drinkable and a great example of quality brewing.

Monday, 10 January 2011

A Paulaner Oktoberfest, De Koninck, and a Brewdog Zeitgeist

A couple more from the bottle box i picked up the other day, this time my first Oktoberfest beer, and a well known name - De Koninck. And then one i found on the shelf for the first time in a Tesco's near me, namely Brewdog Zeitgeist. Which is a little weird as i had only just read the night before The Baron's review of this beer. And he made it sound like i would be stupid to leave it on the shelf.

So Saturday whilst watching last Sunday's Zen, which was rather good, i opened the zeitgeist (330mls, 4.9% abv). Great label, very cool looking, nice artwork. In the glass its a deep deep brown almost black body, very little head. It has a slightly sweet berry flavour and a light chocolate bitterness, a light creamy body. This was very enjoyable, I'll pick up some more definitely.

Last night i opened the other two mentioned above, firstly the Paulaner Oktoberfest which was a refreshing start to the evening, its golden body shimmering through the glass, with good carbonation. Aroma was sweet, honey and some malt. Taste was again slightly malty with a light syrupy quality. It was not bad and i could see if i was given a few more they would go down quickly, although i suspect and i'm not sure why but this is the sort of beer that stinking hangover's are made from.

I moved onto the De Koninck next, a small 25cl bottle at 5% abv, which apparently when they filtered and pasteurized it, they had the taste filtered out too. Its strange, its not a bad beer, very drinkable but i was struggling to find any aroma or flavours at all. Very carbonated, little head, as it warmed a little there was a crisp apple aroma but that was it. Taste wise it had the faintest hint of sweet malt and caramel, very little alcohol for a 5% beer. Strangely also it had a medium body, i would have thought it would be thinner. Perhaps i missing something in this. Still as a refreshing evening beer its easy, an uncomplicated drink that went down well.

Edited 10/1/11 for spelling. I will be definitely be picking up more zeitgeist, not defiantly picking it up. Although Brewdog probably like the defiance element. 

Friday, 7 January 2011

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

I was a little concerned about this, after reading peoples comments on the Ghostdrinker post about the smokiness and some able to only drink a half. Doesn't sound fun to be honest, and on ratebeer people talking of it tasting of meat, its beer for christ sake, i mean come on, meat???.

Its described as: 
"Bamberg’s speciality, a dark, bottom fermented smokebeer, brewed with Original Schlenkerla Smokemalt from the Schlenkerla maltings and tapped according to old tradition directly from the gravity-fed oakwood cask in the historical brewery tavern."

 The disinctive taste is made in the malting process thus:
In order to stop germination and to stabilize the involved biochemical processes, the green malt must be dried (kilned). That is where the secret of the Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer lies. A beechwood log fire underneath the kiln heats the air, and the smoke gives the malt its typical smoky flavor.

Okay, onto the beer, i thought of the two i bought i would start with the Marzen rather than the stronger Urbock.  And i dusted off my big big Krusovice glass for the pour.
Upon opening a sniff from the bottle gives me....bacon?!! A real smoked bacon aroma, woody ash too.
Its colour is a dark ruddy brown, with a small froth of a head.
Next another surprise, its not as smoked in the mouth as i was expecting, a good medium body with smoke yes, but a sweetish malty taste too. And before i knew it I'd drunk more than half of it, a dryness was forming in the mouth. The second didn't go down as quick but it was okay, i had some German ham from Aldi with it, and that worked too.
So in all an interesting experience, still a little apprehensive about the Urbock though!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A dull day turns good.

A manual handling study day is not the most exciting thing in the world, in anyones world. But on the plus side it meant i was around the corner from the Cardiff beer shop mentioned in previous posts. Seeing as i worked all over New Year on nights i thought a little treat was in order.


Paulaner Oktoberfest - never had an oktoberfest beer, there was a choice of 3 but i choose this one.
De Koninck Belgian beer
Samuel Smith Old brewery pale ale - yup i went for another Sam Smith, well actually 3 of them!!
Samuel Smith India Ale
Samuel Smith Imperial Stout
Durham Brewery Evensong - where as last time they had a few of this brewery's bottles and i was, on ChrisM  advice hoping to get their stout Temptation, but this was the only bottle left on the shelf! not complaining i'm sure it'll be good stuff.
Marble Dobber
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier  Marzen and Urbock. - smoked beers, i felt the need to try these, why not?

Again there was alot of choice, i was almost tempted by the Cantillon gueuze but it was a bit pricey, next time i will pick up an Afflingem blond, and Westmalle tripel, and they had the Australian Coopers sparkling ale which i almost took off the shelf this morning.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Rising Sun 'Bloody Stout'

 From the Far East comes a special bottle, an oatmeal stout recipe, with an added essence. Blood. O+ precisely, which is over here the most common blood group but thus also the most required. Perhaps its a rarer group in Japan hence the exclusive limited run of 1000 bottles by the Shai-Hulud brewery. 


Okay so i'm joking but the reason for the above was a curious few search results that ended up at this blog over Christmas. As i commented before the tracker i have on this site shows the search queries that lead here, usually 'brewdog ipa tesco' or some variant of this.
I sometimes get blood/stout ones because of the blog title, i presume people googling whether stout is good for your blood.
Recently following the post on the Old Bear's Christmas Pudding ale i got quite a few linking stout and adding it to the christmas pud, and a few 'blood pudding' hits also.
But the one that creeped me out just a little was originating from Japan that had googled 'can i drink my blood in a stout' or something similar, i cannot remember the exact phrase. 
I'm sure it was just a miss-phrasing or mis-translation but it was one that made me look twice!

Unless of course Ilan at the  Bike for Beer blog is getting really adventurous in that Japanese brewery!!!  Mind you Stuart Howe probably beat him to it.

Samuel Smith Taddy Porter

I opened this on Boxing Day after a day visiting the in-laws and entertaining the kids. With them tucked up in bed i opened the Taddy Porter and hoped it was as good as their Oatmeal Stout.
It is almost black in the glass with a light chocolate creamy head.
The aroma is also a milky chocolate and coffee, lovely. This follows through in the mouth, wonderful smoothness, a slight burnt smokiness, more chocolate and coffee bitterness, and i felt it almost had a little cherry like sweetness.
Last time i beer shopped in Cardiff and picked this up they also had the Samuel Smith Imperial Stout amongst others, i think thats next on my list!

bigger picture here