One woman's ale journey

A beery boozy journey with delightful snacks along the way and a book in my hand.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Wychwood Diceman

Wychwood is a brewery that rarely disappoints and Diceman is no exception.  

It's a jet black stout with a thick, tight, beige head that is surprisingly robust.  The aroma is a little uninspiring; malt and treacle on a strong metallic base, however, the ale redeems itself in the taste test.  It is a lovely stout with notes of treacle, malt, dark fruit, and liquorice followed by a hint of chocolate to give a bittersweet chocolate finish.

It has a medium body and it's well carbonated with hard but not harsh bubbles that somehow manage to give a silky smooth mouthfeel.

Diceman is like a liquorice toffee in a glass and I loved it.  It's just a shame it lost a few points in the aroma as it deserves a higher score than 3.75/5.  It's the taste that counts so Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Wychwood Brewery, Witney, Oxfordshire
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Monday, 9 May 2022

Staggeringly Good Post Imperial Porter

A maple syrup and vanilla porter?  YES PLEASE!

I had my eye on this on Instagram when I saw it being brewed and ordered one as soon as it was canned.  I was not disappointed.

It's a very dark brown ale with a small, loose, rapidly vanishing tan head that leaves a patchy foam.  It smells SO boozy, which isn't a surprise as it has an ABV of 10%.  The aroma is mouthwatering with notes of malt, treacle, chocolate, maple syrup, liquorice and vanilla.  There's so much going on, it's like you smell something different with every sniff.

Full marks for flavour!  Wow, this is impressive.  It's a dark and decadent brew with treacle toffee, maple syrup pancakes, malt loaf and liquorice all having a party in my mouth.  Mouthfeel is perfect with low but firm carbonation, and a full body that looks slightly syrupy as it clings to the glass but doesn't feel sticky on the tongue.

This is a very special beer.  It's one to savour and take your time with as I didn't want it to finish.  It is everything a dark ale should be with treacle and maple sweetness balanced with burnt roastiness.  I was impressed that the high ABV didn't leave a strong alcohol taste in the mouth, simply a warming bourbon finish.

Very highly recommended and one Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Staggeringly Good Brewery, Portsmouth
10% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.75/5

Monday, 2 May 2022

Seven Bro7hers Throw Away IPA

Seven Bro7hers have found a unique way to upcycle less than perfect cereal - make beer with it!  What a brilliant idea!  Cornflakes rejected by Kellogg's have found its way into Throw Away IPA.  

Throw Away IPA is a hazy orange-hued golden ale with a loose, frothy off-white head that disappears to leave a patchy layer.  Although quite lightly fragranced, it smells of sweet, juicy fruit on an underlying base of hops.

Much like the aroma, the flavour is very very weak and there's not much taste to it at all.  It tasted like a very watery squash to me with a slight bitterness in the aftertaste.  A slight buttery corn flavour develops after a while but an overall weak flavour coupled with a thin, watery body completed the whole disappointing experience.

Although it's a great idea, there's just nothing much to it at all.  It's not a drain pour by any means, it's just like lightly flavoured sparkling water.  It's not for me so Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Seven Bro7hers Brewery, Manchester
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 2.75/5

Monday, 25 April 2022

BAD Co. Off-Tempo 0518

Off-Tempo is an experimental range from BAD Co. brewed to explore flavour and style and their milkshake IPA 0518 is a cracking result.

It's a deep golden, slightly hazy ale with a decent sized, loose but surprisingly robust off-white head.  I poured it slowly and carefully, leaving just a tiny bit of sediment in the can.

The aroma is a tropical fruit explosion.  It's so fruity with notes of pineapple, mango, lemon and grapefruit bursting out of the can the moment it is opened.  The overall flavour is juicy tropical fruits but the addition of lactose gives it a smooth, creamy taste and adds some sweetness to the initial bitterness.  It's thin bodied with relatively low carbonation but the bubbles are quite prickly and left my tongue pleasantly tingling.

It's a very refreshing and easy drinking IPA.  I much prefer a sweet rather than pithy IPA so this one was spot on for me.  Hopefully BAD Co. will deem the experiment a success and brew this milkshake IPA again in the future.  Ale Be Seeing You!

Brewed by Brewing & Distilling Company Ltd, North Yorkshire
5.8% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 18 April 2022

BrewDog Puppy Love

A milkshake IPA containing lactose, Puppy Love is a limited edition Valentine's Day beer from BrewDog.

It's a hazy deep yellow colour with a small, loose, rapidly vanishing off-white head.  Once the head has gone, it looks like a glass of orange squash.  It has the most amazing aroma of fresh, juicy raspberries with a hint of zesty citrus.  

The flavour is quite light and it's very refreshing.  It's citrussy but there's no bitter pithiness at all, there's a definite hit of sweet not tarty raspberries and there's also a slight hint of tropical fruit that's almost perfumy like lychee.  Lactose gives an overall creaminess to the taste.  The body is thin and ever so slightly watery with low, firm carbonation.

With a lower than usual ABV for an IPA of 4.7%, it's very easy to drink and I really enjoyed it.  It's limited edition for 2022 but I hope it's brewed again next year.  Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by BrewDog Brewery, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
4.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 11 April 2022

BrewDog Quench Quake

Although I'm not sure they should be considered a beer, I keep being drawn to fruity, refreshing sours - the more lip-puckering the better.  So, I thought I'd try Quench Quake, BrewDog's grapefruit and tangerine sour but I was a little disappointed to be honest.

It's a lovely bright golden colour with a small, rapidly disappearing off-white head.  Once the head has gone, it looks like a glass of cider.  I leaned in for a sniff and was very disappointed; it smells just like a lager and lime!  

There was no lip puckering in the taste, although the zingy grapefruit citrus had a good attempt at pinging my tastebuds.  It does have a sour taste but it's not overly so, it's like it can't quite make its mind up what to be between a lager and a sour.  Body is unsurprisingly thin and watery and carbonation is low and soft.

Whilst it's tasty and fruity, it's nothing exciting.  There's not even any lime in it, but to me it just tasted like a lager and lime with far too much lime in.  It's maybe one for those who like alcopops, which isn't me, so Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by BrewDog Brewery, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
4.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3/5

Monday, 4 April 2022

Corsendonk Pater Dubbel

Pater is a dark brown, mahogany tinged Belgian dubbel with an amazingly tight and frothy cream head.  It looks absolutely splendid and I couldn't wait to dive in for a sniff and a sip.

The aroma is so deliciously malty with a hint of tangy hops, as you would expect from a Belgian beer, along with notes of boozy fruit, like you get in a Christmas cake.  It also has a slightly soapy floral fragrance that was a bit strange and prevented it from scoring full marks for aroma.

It redeemed itself in the taste though.  It's very malty with notes of dark fruit, liquorice and treacle followed by a slightly dry, bitter coffee finish.  It really does have a lovely sweet/bitter balance.  It's very well carbonated and full bodied, giving a full tongue-tingling experience and resulting in one or two bubbly burps.

This is a lovely Belgian dubbel with a sweetness that reminded me of treacle pudding and Ale Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Corsendonk Brewery, Belgium
6.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 28 March 2022

Innis & Gun Mangoes on the Run

Mangoes on the Run is a beautiful deep golden, orange hued ale with a large, frothy, and surprisingly robust off-white head.  There is no sediment at all so I got every last drop out of the can.

I was expecting a strong smell of fruit when I opened it but it's mainly just hops with a slight hint of fruit that's more citrus than mango.  Although I was a little disappointed with the aroma, it redeemed itself in the taste.  It's definitely mango!  The flavour is very hoppy with notes of caramel, biscuit and citrus and it has a very bitter, pithy citrus aftertaste that lingers.

It's thin bodied with low, reasonably soft carbonation that feels quite smooth in the mouth with a little bit of a tingle on the tongue.

It's what it says on the tin and Innis & Gunn deserve a round of applause for getting the unmistakeable taste of mango just right.  The pithy aftertaste was a little too harsh for me which is where it lost marks so although Ale not Be Seeing You again, it's worth trying if you like pithy bitterness.

Brewed by The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company, Edinburgh, Scotland 
5.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.25/5

Monday, 21 March 2022

Siren Broken Dream

Broken Dream from Siren is a deliciously dark stout brewed with lactose.  It's a dark brown ale with a decent sized tan head that's very loose and quickly disperses to leave a flat appearance.

It gets full marks for aroma with notes of coffee, chocolate and malt.  It smells so rich and decadent that I couldn't wait for my first sip.  The taste is lovely; much like the aroma, it's a mouthwatering combination of coffee, chocolate and malt.  The sweet chocolate (and lactose) takes the edge of the bitter coffee to give a perfectly balanced stout.

It's a medium bodied, semi-smooth stout with low, tingly carbonation.  It's not one of the more expensive stouts either - currently priced around £2.30 for a 330ml can, which is amazing value for money.  It's so tasty that Ale definitely Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Siren Craft Brew, Berkshire
6.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 14 March 2022

Black Sheep Milk Stout

Black Sheep is one of my favourite breweries so I had high hopes for their award winning Milk Stout and I was not disappointed. 

Brewed with lactose, it's a velvety black stout with a tan head that is thick, tight, creamy and robust, as we have come to expect from Black Sheep.  The head lasts a lot longer than the beer did, that's for sure!

The aroma is quite light with notes of malt, chocolate and hops that you would expect in a stout.  The flavour is delicious; it's so chocolatey and malty that it's almost the same sort of flavour as a chocolate Horlicks.  It's so smooth, creamy and full-bodied that it's silky smooth in the mouth.  It's perfectly carbonated - it's not too fizzy so it retains a lovely smooth mouthfeel.

It's a very well-balanced stout with an initial hit of sweet malt and vanilla contrasting with a slightly bitter chocolate and coffee finish.  It feels like a hug in a glass - it's so delicious and easy to drink that Ale definitely Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, North Yorkshire
4.4% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 7 March 2022

Brew York Mos Eisley Catharina 2020

As a Star Wars fan I just had to try this guava, coconut and lime sour from Brew York and I was not disappointed.  It looks, smells and tastes like it could be served at the Mos Eisley Cantina.

It's a hazy golden yellow beer with a small, loose, rapidly vanishing head that ends up looking like a glass of fruit juice.  It smells like juice too with a delicious fruity aroma of guava, sour fruit and a hint of coconut.  It has a strange sweaty smell too so it's not an overly appealing fragrance.

Thankfully, it didn't taste sweaty!  The mix of guava, lime and coconut is delicious and although the tangy fruit flavour isn't mouthpuckering, it's definitely a sour.  It has a medium body and low, prickly carbonation so it has a smooth mouthfeel like fruit juice but with an added bit of fizz.

Very fruity and refreshing, it tastes quite boozy and the flavour develops as you drink it to really bring out the lime and coconut flavour that had originally been overpowered by the guava.

I'm not sure I would call a sour a beer so they're not my usual tipple but with a Star Wars theme, it had to be done.  I'd recommend trying it but I wouldn't necessarily have another one as it was a bit of a gimmick for me. 

Brewed by Brew York Brewery, York
6.5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 28 February 2022

Ayinger Celebrator

Ayinger's Celebrator is a bottom-fermented dark doppelbock beer from Germany.  It's a lovely dark mahogany colour with a rapidly disappearing loose beige coloured head.

It smells like a German Christmas market: roasted malt, slightly sweet, spicy and a hint of smokiness.  The flavour is a little lighter than I expected (I was expecting a big hitter from the aroma and the 6.7% ABV).  It's everything you normally get in a dark beer: treacle, malt, liquorice, caramel, roasted nuts and a dark chocolate/coffee bitter finish.

Body is quite thin and medium carbonation produces a tingly but not too fizzy mouthfeel.  I love the intense malt flavour and the chocolate/coffee bitterness seems to develop as you drink it.  It feels quite warming and boozy, so it would be the perfect beer for a dark winter night.

I'm glad I tried it but I probably wouldn't have one again.  It's worth trying if you're a dark ale lover but Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Ayinger Brewery, Germany
6.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 21 February 2022

Vocation & Yeastie Boys - Breakfast Club

I have a sweet tooth so this collaboration between Yorkshire's Vocation Brewery and New Zealand's Yeastie Boys caught my eye.  

It's a stout so it's an unsurprising dark brown colour but what is surprising is the head: it's light brown but it has a hint of pink from the blueberries.  The smell of blueberries bursts out of the can the minute it is opened, along with sweet caramel, roasted malt and a little smokiness.

The taste is candy sweet, predominantly blueberries and pastry but there's an underlying smokiness that I found a bit odd.  It's so softly carbonated that it's as smooth as silk when you drink it and it has a lovely full body that I love so much in a stout.

As much as I loved the blueberries in this, it was spoiled by the smokiness that really seemed to take over.  Although I quite enjoyed it, I really wish I had drank it fresh as I think I had left it a bit too long (even though it was well in date).  If I try one again, I'll definitely drink it straight away so there's every chance that Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Vocation Brewery, West Yorkshire and Yeastie Boys, New Zealand
6.9% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.75/5

Find out more at Vocation Brewery and Yeastie Boys

Monday, 14 February 2022

Siren Yu Lu

Yu Lu is a session pale ale from Siren brewed with Earl Grey tea and lemon zest.  I do like an Earl Grey now and again so I was really intrigued by this beer.

It pours a sunny golden yellow with a loose, frothy and off-white head.  There is an ever so slight haze but I didn't notice any sediment in the can.  It looks very fizzy but it doesn't maintain the head for long, leaving a thin patchy layer that really tries its hardest to lace the glass.

The smell is so fruity and appealing: sweet, juicy tropical fruit and bitter citrus.  The taste is a weakened version of the smell with an added floral hint from the Earl Grey tea.  It just tastes so weak, like very diluted tropical fruit squash.  The bitter finish is a little stronger to it does finish on a high.

So very fizzy and thin bodied, it's like drinking carbonated pop, albeit pop that has little taste and has been strongly diluted.  It is very refreshing though and it would be a real thirst quencher on a sunny day (not that we get many of those in the north east of England).

It's too weak on flavour for it to be a memorable beer so I don't think I'd buy it again.  Sorry Yu Lu, Ale not Be Seeing You again.

Brewed by Siren Craft Brew, Berkshire
3.6% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3/5

Monday, 7 February 2022

Fyne Ales Maverick

Fyne Ales Maverick is quite an impressive sight - it's a nutty brown, dark amber ale with a tight, cream coloured head that barely budges.  Definitely full marks for appearance.

It has a lovely traditional bitter smell: tangy hops, sweet toffee, malt and a slight citrus/metallic hint.  It tastes like a traditional bitter too, although it's quite a light flavour of malt, toffee, tangy hops and a dry, metallic bitter finish.  The toffee flavour intensifies as you drink and it's a nice contrast to the lingering bitter finish.  Body is thin but not watery and it's quite fizzy so it gave my tongue a good tingling.

It's nothing extraordinary, just a good old traditional bitter, so it didn't score exceptionally high but I do enjoy a nice bitter so I'd have this again.  Ale Be Seeing You!

Brewed by Fyne Ales Farm Brewery, Argyll, Scotland
4.2% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 3.5/5

Monday, 31 January 2022

Peninsula Puro Tropikal

It's time to visit the continent with a session IPA from Spanish brewers, Peninsula.  

Puro Tropikal is a very lively beer that pours a hazy orange with a huge frothy, cream coloured head.  It has a strong aroma of grapefruit and tropical fruit with a slight floral hint.  I prepared myself to be hit with a pithy bitter bomb as I nervously took my first sip but I was very pleasantly surprised.

The taste is perfectly balanced with bitter grapefruit blending with sweet tropical notes of pineapple and mango, finishing with a dash of pithy bitterness.  It's well carbonated and has a medium body, making it a very refreshing beer.

After smelling it I thought this would taste so pithy but it's surprisingly pleasant.  It's not overly bitter and even though it's quite fizzy, it's incredibly easy to drink.  I'd definitely put this on my IPAs to drink again list - Puro Tropikal, Ale Be Seeing You again!
Brewed by Cervecera Peninsula, Madrid, Spain 
5% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 24 January 2022

New Bristol Crème Brûlée Stout

I have a sweet tooth so I've been very excited to see a lot of beers based on desserts being brewed.  I have never had an actual Crème Brûlée but if it tastes anything like this stout from New Bristol Brewery then it's a dessert I will be sure to love.

The stout pours a lovely dark brown colour with a small semi-tight tan head that disperses to a thin layer.  I was expecting some sediment in the can but there was none at all so I got every delicious drop out.

The smell is to die for!  It's buttery, sweet and sugary with notes of creamy vanilla custard and caramelised sugar - just what it says on the tin.  The flavour isn't as strong as the aroma, but it's lovely.  It's not as sweet as I expected but it's deliciously malty with hints of caramel and a burnt toffee, almost liquorice, aftertaste that lingers on the tongue.  Even though it has quite a high ABV at 7% there's no harsh alcohol taste at all. It's full bodied with decent carbonation, although I prefer my stouts a little smoother.

It really is a lovely milk stout and well worth trying if you can get your hands on one.  I'll certainly grab one again if I see it so Ale Be Seeing You!

Brewed by New Bristol Brewery, Bristol
7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.25/5

Monday, 17 January 2022

Pilot Cocoa Morello

WOW!!  This Cocoa Morello stout from Edinburgh brewers Pilot is simply awesome.  It's such a shame it was only in a 330ml can as I could've drank this all day, although with a mighty 7.1% ABV I might've been a bit sozzled.

It's a deliciously dark stout with a loose, frothy beige head that dissipates to a patchy layer.  The aroma is amazing: chocolate, vanilla and tarty cherries create a sweet and sour smell that had my mouth watering.  My first sip did not disappoint as I drifted off to beer heaven with the flavour of tart cherries dipped in sweet chocolate on my tongue.  It's well carbonated with bubbles that are robust but not too harsh and it has a full, almost syrupy body that clings to the glass.

I really can't fault this stout and it scored full marks across the board.  It's something a little bit different that works surprisingly well.  The overall flavour is perfect: it's not too sweet and not too sour.  The chocolate flavour is more sweet than bitter and it blends beautifully with the slight sourness of the cherries.  Absolutely AWESOME and without a doubt Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Pilot Beer, Edinburgh
7.1% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 5/5

Monday, 10 January 2022

Darwin Tall Ship

Wow!  This is lager, Jim, but not as we know it!  I thought Tall Ship would be my least favourite out of the mixed pack I bought from local Sunderland brewers, Darwin, but I really enjoyed this amazing craft lager.

There is some sediment in the bottle so even with a careful pour, this pours a slightly hazy golden yellow coloured ale with a surprisingly robust, tight off-white head that lasts and laces.  It has a delicious hoppy aroma with additional notes of biscuit and caramel which gives it a sweet edge.  The smell reminded me of malted milk biscuits that I used to love dipping in my tea.

Brewed with Czech Saaz hops, the flavour is creamy caramel and biscuit with a dry, slightly bitter finish.  With a medium body and good carbonation that's not too fizzy, it could easily be mistaken for a blonde ale in a blind taste test.

Refreshing, tasty and so easy to drink, this is a stunning craft lager from Darwin.  I actually can't believe how good it is and if you haven't discovered Darwin Brewery yet, then I urge you to visit their webshop here to try it for yourself.  Plus, if you have an SR, NE or DH postcode you can get your order delivered cheaper or even free!

Brewed by Darwin Brewery, Sunderland
4.1% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4/5

Monday, 3 January 2022

Anspach & Hobday The Ordinary Bitter

Bitter is one of my favourite styles of beer so I was really looking forward to trying The Ordinary Beer from London brewers Anspach & Hobday and I was not disappointed.  It is awesome and it definitely gets a big thumbs up from me.

It's a very lively beer and it couldn't wait to burst out of the can complete with a huge frothy and tight cream coloured head.  The beer itself is a deep golden, amber colour (as you would expect from a traditional bitter) and it has a slight haze to it.  The head lasts very well and laces thickly on the glass.

Notes of caramel, biscuit and malt combine to create a mouthwatering aroma, along with a slight hoppy sourness and hint of sweet dark fruit and fresh pine.  The flavour is equally mouthwatering with a combination of caramel, malt, toffee and biscuit exploding on the tongue and finishing with a subtle bitterness.  Low, soft carbonation and a medium body give a super-smooth mouthfeel and with an ABV of 3.7% it's a very easy drinking bitter.

This should be called The Extraordinary Bitter as it is absolutely lovely.  I love the added sweetness and the light bitter finish with no hint of pithy citrus at all.  Perfectly balanced, it leaves a lovely sweetness on the lips and a bitterness on the tongue.  I highly recommend The Ordinary Bitter and it's no surprise that  Ale Be Seeing You again!

Brewed by Anspach & Hobday, London
3.7% ABV

My rating:

My Untappd score: 4.5/5