Total Score: 7.75/10
Greene King, who I am familiar with, we’re not besties but I don’t mind Ruddles County in an English Bitter pinch (cor that is a decent EB undone by being marketed in a clear bottle and said, rightly so, perceptions around that). Where was I going with this train of thought? I really want an English Bitter now… haven’t had one in at least a year… there’s a style I really miss. Oh yeah, I’m reviewing Greene King Strong Suffolk Dark Ale. Twelve Days by Hook Norton is probably my favourite in this style, though I am strangely limited in my knowledge here (given I love anything that is strong when it comes to beer), so whilst I may not be the best judge on the subject of an English Strong Ale, I will give it a red hot go.
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Almost opaque cola, deep brown, body with a decent beige 1 centimetre head that sticks around for quite a while and leaves a sticky lace on the way down. Rather intimidating yet at the same time inviting brew we have here. 7/10.
S: Diacetyl off the charts – it’s like toffee had sex with butterscotch and had caramel babies right here! Hard to get past the amount of toffee/butterscotch/caramel in this aroma without my salivary glands activating (yes I love toffee, my teeth seem to hate it though). Not much else in this malt-heavy beer/style… I’m bracing my teeth as we speak. 8/10.
T: Totally not as sweet as expected, and all-round spot-on balanced with sweetness/herbal bitter note. Flavours are: Toffee, butterscotch, burnt caramel, earthy touch, tobacco leaf and slight woody note. Wow, that balance is on point – I suspect this has some age on it, it’s definitely had time to settle in. 8/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a thin/UK pub carbonation, hey it works for this beer and many other English styles – I embrace it. Could use a bit more body. 6/10.
D: Glad I came across this one – it’s really given me an (albeit slight) English Bitter fix and rekindled memories of my own journey through Old Blighty [PS: Scotland rules!]. Will definitely pick this up again as I’m still trying to find places that have English styles in SE Queensland… any suggestions are most welcome. After moving back to Brissy from ‘Berra and having my local go from Plonk (i.e. the craziest huge selection of beer I’ve seen assembled in one building) to having a local that has a decent selection but seriously lacking in English beers… well I guess I miss them brews. TL:DR; Tasty brew this. 8/10.
Food match: Some sort of pheasant, roasted, with gravy, veggies and a Yorkie.