Newstead Brewing Liquidambar Amber Ale

Total Score: 7.1/10 Malt1Caramel1BrownSugar1Nonicpint1

Next up on the Newstead Brewing chopping block is this Amber Ale. Now we know exactly what we’re getting in an Amber Ale these days, and that thing is: Malt, malt, malt, and? You guessed it; Malt… and a tiny bit of hops. So really what I’m looking for in an Amber Ale is a complex malt profile and if I don’t get more than three malt flavours I’m getting the hell out of dodge (malt-dodge). As far as Newstead is concerned in relation to the other micro-breweries popping up all over Brisbane like some sort of delightful viral rash, these guys rate a little above average to me (Green Beacon do a better job IMHO).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: A nice cloudy Russet brown body with a light but dense beige head that soon reduces down to a lace ring. I do like my beers murky but it’s borderline inappropriate for an Amber Ale to have this much haze. 7/10.

S: So far so malt – the nose immediately hits with a frankly quite bold note of malt syrup (if you’ve ever homebrewed you would know this smell off by heart). Following this there are notes of caramel, brown sugar and *BINGO* that fourth malt character FTW: Molasses. It’s rich, wanton and malty on the nose and that’s exactly what you want here. 9/10.

T: Malt syrup dominates the flavour… a bit too much – with hints of caramel and molasses, some light citric hop notes in the background – it’s definitely not as complex as the aroma suggested. However it’s not bad by any stretch either, it’s probably one of the better Aussie Amber Ales out there, I think Mr. James Squire has met his match. 7/10.

M: Mid to light, a touch watery, with a light but dense carbonation – a little better than average. 6/10.

D: What a letdown from an awesome aroma though? This is one beer that would be a stand out if it tasted as good as it smelled, but there you go, we do get those beers. As far as an Australian Amber Ale goes we’re not exactly flush for choice with excellent examples and with the limbo bar set so high this Newstead brew doesn’t even have to lean back to get through. Bit of a shame that, because we have the talent here to brew Ambers as well as the US, but the effort is left wanting. 6/10.

Food match: A nice Prague-style beef goulash (with dumplings!) would go well with this.

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