Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Mort Subite (Kriek)

Mort Subite (French for "sudden death") was the one that got away, the final beer we didn't quite get to in our wonderful AlesByMail tasting session recently. It's brewed with Belgian cherries and is 4.5%abv.

This is the first lambic beer we've reviewed. It's a style of beer from a part of Belgium, and is distinguished by being spontaneously fermented by being exposed to that regions 'wild' yeast, rather than the scientifically controlled process of normal brewing. This gives the beer a dry, cider-like and sour taste. Doesn't sound overly appealing, but let's see.

Out of the bottle its a fizzy auburn tumult, almost red, with a strong persistent pink head. The nose is a pungent cherry-sherbert yeasty waft, not unattractive although a little alien to a standard ale drinker.

The first sip is a big-style cherry hit, almost akin to 70's cherryade. I'd like to say it's followed by other notes, but the fact is the cherry is so powerful that once it dies, a short drying of the tongue leaves not a lot else.

It's not unpleasant, and does come across superior to some other fruit beers I've tasted. The tart nature of cherries suits a beer foundation, unlike the sickliness of some other fruit.

All in, not a bottle I'd seek out - it comes over as perhaps just a little bit too champagne-cocktail, although as a schnifter after a meal it's not a poor option.


5/10 - Fun and fruity - possibly the best a cherry beer can be, albeit a bit one-dimensional

- The Broadside

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Hop (Greene King)

If there is one thing we here at the bunker like it's hops. Now Greene King don't have a great scoresheet here, but will "Hop: A beer to dine for" excite out tastebuds?

It pops open and pours with gentle fizz, only to see the foamy white head completely disappear within 10 seconds, leaving the flattest looking beer I've seen. The nose is fresh lemon, slightly peppery.

The initial taste is really quite sweet, gentle malt, leading to soft fruit, even peaches. Tasty yeast in the middle, instantly draws the mind to Old Speckled Hen. The finish is smooth mellow bittering, more sweet lemon lingering to the end.

6/10 An interesting ale, fresh and mellow. One fans of Old Speckled Hen should definitely to check out. MY thanks goes out to Bunker co-host Paul for providing this one to sample, i won it as a bet by out scoring him in our local 6aside league.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

IPA is dead (Brewdog)

Citra big pineapple, pine, raw dry hop smell, sweet malt powers through to finish. Not huge bitterness, but big dry hopping lingers in the tongue. It's like Hardcore IPA blended with SN Torpedo. 9/10

Sorachi Ace tangerines, clementines smell, hints of lychees.
Tastes of smooth creamy lychees, maybe even lemongrass, a tingle of dry hops at the finish, but not big bittering. Immersed in Japanese terrior. 7/10

Bramling X, big lemon citrus on the nose, sweet apple on the initial taste. The end is a rather sharp gin and tonic finish. 8/10

Nelson Sauvignon big tropical fruit, mangoes and pineapple, not quite as sweet smelling as Citra. Definite hints of Savingon Blanc as the crisp, sharp hops kick in. The finish is huge tropical fruit, this is beery Lilt. It's amazing that hops can add such tropical flavours, you'd swear there was fruit juice in here. 8/10

So which is best? (sorry but that's what we do here at the Bunker)

The uniqueness of the Sorachi Ace and the tropical fruits of the Nelson Sauvignon are very different, but not necessarily something you would want regularly. The Bramling X has some big flavours, but does it lack a bit of depth? Or is it just over shadowed by the others?

For me Citra wins out, fresh and piney, with a lovely dry finish to the hops.

An education in hops from Brewdog, if you have any interest in beer you should seek out and try these. Try the Brewdog Shop.

1st Citra
2nd Bramling Cross
3rd Nelson Sauvignon
4th Sorachi Ace

Thanks to Brewdog for providing. I suggest you go buy your own here

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Baltic Night (Compass)

Pours smooth with an inky pitch soul, there's enough black depth here to interest Stephen Hawking.

A suggestion of a rusty head soon evaporates to nought, leaving a few roast and barley tones in the breeze and a considerable air of threat. Also, unusually for a stout a clutch of hops dances on the nose.

The sip is quite extraordinary. Typically with the stouts we've had, hearty big dark flavours come along all together, and mosh for attention in robust tapestries of taste. Baltic Night though is an altogether more subtle affair. It's roasty and bitter, but smooooth. Coffee tones slide in like an advanced driver overtaking on a rainy night, before a simple yet very effective dry chocolatey finish closes the deal.

It's altogether the most cohesive and well planned stout I think I've had. Everything here fits like gears in a swiss clock. There's very little of the classic stout 'munch', and more a craft-beer style invitation to sip again. This is dark beer by design.

This 4.8%abv Compass ale has won the odd award and rightly so. It's delightful to sip by itself, but I'd suggest this is one stout very suitable for accompanying rich food, without bulldozering the palate.

8/10 - Delicate and designed to delight, this is a Bang and Olufsen stout, brewed with care and intention.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

London Porter (Meantime)

If there is anything the bunker loves as much as beer, it's a bit of history. After Meantime's amazing 10/10 IPA we were excited about this historic Porter, a recreation of the 1750s London Style.

Pops open with little fuss, pouring a deep chestnut, mahogany at edges where light penetrates. A lovely balance of those trademark porter aromas coffee, chocolate and a less expected fruitiness.

Slightly prickly and thin on the tongue to start, but developing to bolder sweet malt flavours. Ripe fruit takes over in the middle, rich plum and stewed fruits add a tangy sweetness before fading into the finish. The finale is like the last mouthful of a fine coffee, lingering deep coffee with some sharper roasted malt bitterness.

8/10 A fine example of a classic historic beer style.

Thanks to Meantime Brewery for providing the sample, I suggest to seek one of these out. Available in most good Sainsburys.

Thanks Stringers

A big thanks to Stringers for sending these two lovely looking beers through. Based in Ulverston Cumbria their brewery is 100% renewably powered, which gets a big thumbs up from us

I've heard great things about the IPA on twitter so can't wait to review!

You can buy their beers here at mybrewerytap or alesbymail

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

7 Giraffes (Williams Bros)

This beer is made using 7 malt varieties, hops from around the world, with elderflower and lemon zest added. That's a lot of flavors going on, does it work?

Pours deep golden with a simply fantastic foamy head and light carbonation. The smell is devine, caramel, a lovely whiskey sweetness, mixed in with noticeable fresh wet grass. The very definition of balance.

After such a smell the palete craves the first sip. Wow. Amazing malt blasts through, sweetness, dry bitterness, that whiskey edge again, superb diversity of flavour. The final malt gift is a hint of smokiness before a delightfully smooth passage to the hop finish. Gentle bittering builds on the tongue until fading to leave a sharper lemon zing and a noticeable hint of elderflower intertwined with some more tropical hop fruitiness.

9/10 Outstanding. Amazing diversity of malt flavours, with a deliciously fresh finish, all in perfect balance.

You can buy this beer here, and at the amazing price of £16.30 for 12 I strongly recomend you do!
Thanks goes out to Williams Brothers for providing this to review.