Doctor’s Orders Nucleus

Total Score: 6.4/10 Clove1Orange1Peppercorns1Nonicpint1

My (you see as I’m the Doctor in this scenario) Orders haven’t wowed me yet. I did have a stab at their Electrolyte Serum Rhubarb Wheat, but found it a bit too weird-for-its-own-good, which is surprising because I barely ever find beers to be that, but there you are. Now I’m giving Nucleus a shot because I quite fancy oats in my beers – they lend a nice amount of body to brews, and more body is rarely ever a bad thing when it comes to beer. When it comes to people? Perhaps, but beer “no”. So this brew is based on their 2011 Belgian oatmeal IPA named Pulse (they will eventually run out of medical pun names one hopes). Nucleus contains Target, Chinook, Citra and Amarillo hops, wheat, oats and malt, and an unnamed Belgian yeast strain.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed amber-tinged golden body with a healthy white cappuccino foam head that settles around half a centimetre, some bits of lace on the side of the glass, good head retention, looks tasty too. 8/10.

S: Spicy/clove yeast character upfront, cardamom too, orange and citric flourishes with a solid bready malt base. The balance between sweet/spicy/bitter in the aroma is spot on. Overall the aroma is very clean and moreish – this is one of those brews you really want to dive straight in to… and so I shall. 8/10.

T: Orange/citric bitterness and clove/cardamom spice strike from the front, mid-palate comes through with a dry/bread note – think lavosh (middle eastern unleavened bread), medicinal/slightly grassy hop finish. Bit too dry for a Belgian Pale Ale and suffers because spicy and dry flavours tend aggravate each other, which is a shame because there is a decent base beer in here – but *said in a Joker voice* WhY sO DrY? 6/10.

M: Also Doctor’s Orders (I feel like I’m questioning my own decisions here) how much oatmeal was used to make this beer? Because this is one MOFO mid to light body with a thin but dense carbonation – not something you would expect from an oatmeal brew… it’s a bit pathetic oat-wise. 5/10.

D: Too dry, too thin body-wise, but otherwise alright: would be my overall assessment of this brew. As the 2nd Belgian yeast beer brewed by an Aussie I’ve had tonight it is a reminder of how incredible these Belgian brewers really are at understanding yeast. Both of these beers have been flawed in a similar way and there’s a scientific term for it: high attenuation – too much here. 6/10.

Food match: Apart from a glass of water – crumbly cheese platter.

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Bacchus Brewing Saison Du Melon

Total Score: 6.25/10 Peppercorns1Biscuit1GreenMelon1Tulipglass1

Back to Bacchus again! Can’t help myself can I? Well this brew #19 of theirs for me, and they (i.e. Ross) never cease to amaze me with the weird/wonderful combination of beers they come up with. This one is Saison Du Melon, a Saison brewed with Dupont’s (of Saison Dupont fame) yeast strain – which should make this an awesome Saison as I love me some Saison Dupont. So where does the “melon” come in to the equation? This is the Ross Kenrick brilliant bit: utilising that most melony of hops [FYI I once dated a Melanie who ironically had quite a melony personality] Huel Melon hops. Melon-driven hops and Saison yeast with a Pilsner and wheat malt base – what did I say: brilliant! Let’s see how she goes then.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Clear golden body with a crazy active white head that fizzled out to pretty much nothing – interesting reaction from the Dupont yeast perhaps? Although Saison Dupont usually fashions itself a decent head. Must be something else. 6/10.

S: Aroma is totally driven by that spicy/peppery Dupont yeast, hint of Diacetyl (butterscotch note) as well. Not much else in there, is there anything from the hops? Hard to tell through the yeast and Diacetyl (which TBH is a bit unacceptable in a Saison anyhow). This beer is behaving oddly like one I made Saison yeast – had a fizzler of a head and Diacetyl in it too. 5/10.

T: Touch funky/weird from the get go. Spicy/peppery barnyard characters mixed with a dry cracker base and a light melon character – luckily the Diacetyl isn’t noticeable here, otherwise that would probably be a drain-pour scenario. Finish is bone dry and thirst-inducing. Not bad. A really different take on the Saison style with the stripped back flavours and the dryness in the finish – the yeast has less to work with and as a result contributes less to the flavour profile than say, I don’t know, Saison Dupont. In any case it tastes more like a Lager than a Saison. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a very excitable carbonation – let’s just say I couldn’t count the burps I had on both hands. Yeah a bit too much CO2 here. 6/10.

D: Yeah ended up with more of a Lager than a Saison here, which is a bit disappointing because the promise of a melon flavoured Saison was really what drove me to buy this. Bacchus has few misses among their hits but this is one of them. Although, that said, if I was rating this as a typical Adjunct Lager it would have scored a bit higher for me. 6/10.

Food match: Pizza, if you can handle all the burps this beer induces.

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Stillwater Artisanal Ales Superhop IPA

Total Score: 7.15/10 Coriander1Peppercorns1Pineapple1Nonicpint1

Stillwater Superhop IPA is Neo-Tropic. NEO-TROPIC. Get it? Forget that Old-Tropic crap – Neo-Tropic is the future of all hopped beers… Morpheus-Tropic? Maybe, one day, but it’s Neo-Tropic for now peeps. Viva Neo-Tropic! PS: There is no spoon. So far I’ve tried one other beer from this gypsy brewer Stillwater: Existent – it was decent enough, a bit Dubbel-like in flavour (less of a Saison as it was advertised), however it was nothing to write home about… even though I did write (at) home about it… as a review… you know, that thing I do… for 6 years now… wow, it’s really been that long? I’m still working my way up to the big daddy quadruple digits (#1000) too… only 88 more reviews till my liver retires, yay!

Poured from a 500ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Cloudy pale straw body with a nice 1 centimetre white cappuccino foam head that sticks around for a while… looks New England IPAish, perhaps that’s what they mean by “Neo-Tropic”? Just say “NEIPA” Stillwater – everyone else is. Sheesh, still waters do indeed run deep. 8/10.

S: Piney/herbal hops upfront mingle with dry cracker and a juniper-esque back note. Aroma comes across dry and spicy, a bit like a Gin in that respect. Hopefully more hop character comes through in the flavour because this ain’t great (or tropical) so far. 6/10.

T: Yep, my old nemesis: hop fade (BB date is May 2018 but no way is a year passable on a hop-driven IPA, sorry). Flavour hints at a lychee/pineapple past but the present is pine/juniper/pepper and a long dry cracker middle. Finish is medicinal herb medium bitterness. Aftertaste lingers with a herbal bitterness and pepper – reminiscent of rocket. Further sips introduce a tropical sugariness that clashes with that peppery character. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied with a nice sharp, dense carbonation that plays well here. Hop oils? None noted, happens with hop faded beers unfortunately. 8/10.

D: So less tropics, more juniper and spice. Another brew altered beyond recognition by hop fade – I’m going to have to get out to the east coast of the US sometime – I’m missing heaps of awesome beers and I know it. Still it didn’t stop this IPA from being pretty drinkable, just made it a bit so-so and lacking in hop character, what can I do? I’ve been avoiding reviewing east coast APAs and IPAs for this reason but I actually thought Stillwater was west coast for some reason. 8/10.

Food match: This is one dry/spicy beer, try a spicy sausage with mustard here.

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To Øl Grätze Mille

Total Score: 7.2/10 Smoke1Flowers1Wood1Stein1

This is my first Grätzer beer, which is based on the Grodziskie style (Polish Smoked Beer) from those cool cats at To Øl in Denmark. So I’ve been hunting down a Grätzer/Grodziskie since I first heard of it about a year ago – I find the style, made with oak-smoked wheat malt, a rather interesting proposition, plus I’ve heard Grätzer/Grodziskies have tart characters and a high but soft carbonation. Of course Grätze Mille isn’t a straight out Grätzer/Grodziskie being made with 1000 oranges per 1000 litres and having salt (it appears) added to it. Still it’s a dipping of my toes into a salty/sour/smoky water that I may one day love and become accustomed to… hopefully others will make it over to Australia as well.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Cloudy pale straw body with a massive white sea foam head that rapidly dissolves leaving a splotchy patchwork of lace. That carbonation action is crazy hyperactive but dies off so quickly, how odd. 7/10.

S: Floral, orange blossom with lemon notes, hint of smoke as well giving out a smoked ham vibe (less a bacon that I am familiar with from the beechwood-smoked brews of Bamberg). A wisp of sea salt in there as well. Overall lasting impression is that of the floral character though. 8/10.

T: Definitely an acquired taste from the outset – smoked ham, charred wood and campfire smoke throughout and dominant, with hints of sea salt, orange, lemon and floral notes. Finish is dry with a touch of spice. Flavour is a bit like a bull in a china shop for better or worse. 7/10.

M: Mouthfeel is a bit of a disappointment – as I imagine it is in other Grätzer/Grodziskies – thin watery bodied with an excited carbonation, it feels like this style could use more body/depth here but I guess then it wouldn’t be traditional if had that either. The low 4.1% ABV must also be a factor here. 5/10.

D: As an interesting foray into a new style (for me) I didn’t mind this (though I imagine it’ll take some warming up to outright enjoy it). However having no basis for comparison makes it difficult for me to “rate to style” I’m reckoning other Grätzer/Grodziskies are of a similar vein to this brew. I’m quite keen to get some traditional (as much as can be for a tradition that died out last century) Polish versions of this style… something in a 500ml bottle to give my thirst a real smashing, in summer, by a campfire – that’s the dream ay. 8/10.

Food match: Polish cold cuts on bread, with a pickle, and some relish… yes.

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Green Beacon Uppercut Imperial IPA

Total Score: 9.25/10 HopFlower1PapayaMango1Biscuit1Tulipglass1

My, my, Green Beacon have been busy little beavers lately – The Whaler, Sad Rude Future Brew and now Uppercut Imperial IPA. It must be said however that The Whaler and Uppercut are in fact brews that they’ve been doing seasonally for a while but are only now available in can. Of course I could try them all at the brewery – it being only 7-odd K’s from where I live, but then that would involve having beer drinking friends… or friends at all [insert: smallest violin here]. In any case they did it! They canned some of their delicious mojo so I don’t need any friends, I can get drunk in the privacy of my own home, HUZZAH! PS: If you live in Brisbane, and you live/breathe beer (I believe some sort of beer gills would work best), please PM me.

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Surprisingly clear golden amber body from GB – the kings of pale straw brews, head is a chalky off-white cappuccino foam affair that subsides to a thin blanket – impressive at 8% ABV. Not much lace on the side of the glass though. 7/10.

S: BIG facepunch of an aroma: Piney/citrus hops, hit of lychee and paw paw as well… wow, this is in-your-face stuff, I love it! Sweet to the point of a large pile of sugar which you must guard from angry angry bees, and there’s a hint of spirit in it as well, but those are minor detractions from an otherwise superlative aroma. 8/10.

T: Damn GB know how to balance a beer! That facepunch aroma translates well into the flavour: Piney/citrus/lychee/paw paw hops with a nice (that knows where it needs to be) caramel/biscuit malt base. The amazing part is the balance – not too sweet (as I was expecting) with a mid to light bitterness in the finish. There’s that tingly feeling on the tongue that I get from heavily hopped beers as well, which shows that GB didn’t skimp on anything. TBH this flavour beats out epic brews like Pirate Life IIPA and Blackman’s Angry Reg – it’s such a well-crafted hop punch. 10/10.

M: Medium bodied with a decent heft of hop oils and a thin but dense carbonation – right on the money, though a bit more body wouldn’t go amiss. 8/10.

D: Easily Brisbane, possibly Australia’s best IIPA: I’m calling it. Flavour is hop heavy as the best American Imperial IPAs are, but the balance is where it deserves the most commendation – and I think they nailed it with the ABV at 8% – whereas Pirate Life and Blackman’s have theirs at 8.8% (which is a bit too much) – this is the most sessional IIPA I’ve had in a long time (coming from someone who has reviewed 30 IIPAs FYI), bloody bravo to Green Beacon, you total legends! 10/10.

Food match: Green papay… I’m not going to say it. Spicy Thai dishes. There.

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Blackman’s Brewery Loral IPA

Total Score: 6.85/10 Flowers1Lemon1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

Lo(ral) and behold! A new brew from those chaps at Blackman’s – purveyors of beers with people names such as Reginald, Ernie, Arthur, Mervyn and Angry Reg… he’s a bit of a problem Angry Reg (too tasty IMO). Loral IPA is one of their seasonal releases – a single hop American IPA showcasing that intriguing candy drop/floral hop flavoured Loral hop. I recently got a measure of this hop in Stone’s decent Ghost Hammer IPA and it was an intriguing brew. Bit of a speciality hop this Loral, and I look forward to finding it as a cheeky addition to beers in the future because its flavour is reasonably unique, and let’s face it – we’ve all had enough of the citrus/piney combo that has (admittedly) served us well over these many years but needs to step aside lest beer flavours become stagnant IMO.

Poured from a 330ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Cloudy with what I suspect are hop & yeast particles floating around in a deep amber body with an off-white sea foam head. Not a fan of that sea foam head (you know when the bubbles are big and disparate – that’s what I mean by sea foam. Though I do like my IPAs cloudy. 6/10.

S: Perfume floral fragrance mingled with a solid biscuit base. Touch of lemon/pear candy drops as well – yep that soon-to-be-classic Loral aroma! The only major detraction to the aroma is how airy and light it is, but that’s a personal preference there – I like BIG beers and at 5.8% ABV I’m not expecting BIG. 7/10.

T: Begins sour/slightly acidic lemon, punches in some floral notes, hint of pear, dry cracker and biscuit base, and gallops towards a dry potpourri finish. You have to appreciate floral beers to like this IPA – otherwise you might find it a bit wishy-washy. Personally I think the flavour is good, but lacking just a touch of kick from the lower than usual ABV (for an IPA at least that is on the lower end of the scale). 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, lacking a bit in the body, with a thin carbonation (also lacking here). 6/10.

D: Cruise city this brew – it’s like Mervyn in that regard – maybe a bit too cruisy for its own good. Otherwise I didn’t mind this at all, not quite as big a floral hit as I recall Stone Ghost Hammer IPA, but still a floral hit nonetheless. If you want something just a little bit different than the masses of citrus/piney/tropical IPAs clamouring at the fridge door of your local bottle-o then maybe give this a go, otherwise it’s a tad hit/miss. 7/10.

Food match: Light salads or chicken based dishes.

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Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei The Cannabis Club Sud

Total Score: 3.9/10 Corn1Tea1Coriander1Stein1

Here’s an odd one: hemp beer. Never had that before. However I’ve often described beers with a “cannabis” hop aroma/flavour before, so I’ll be interested in seeing if that rings true with this brew. The brewery that makes this is Weißenoher Klosterbrauerei, and so far I’ve only reviewed one beer from them: Bonator – which is a Doppelbock I quite enjoyed (rated that one rather highly) so here’s hoping The Cannabis Club Sud is up to snuff as well. True story: I once tried smoking cannabis, but I didn’t inhale as I imagined that might one day wreck my hope of being a US president… turns out only US born citizens can become the president, so yeah if anyone has any pot: I’m game.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Almost clear, with a slight haze, yellow-tinged amber body with a 1 centimetre white cappuccino foam head on top. Not sure what to expect from a 5% hemp water beer but it looks a touch darker than most Adjunct Lagers so yeah… 5/10.

S: Aroma has a distinct hemp note (smells like a bag you might buy in a Bali marketplace) with a mixture of green herbal and dusty/earthy characters. There’s a dry grain character as well from the malt base. But otherwise this aroma is pretty stock standard Lager. I’m curious as to why they went in the Lager direction as a Pale Ale would have suited having hemp added to it more IMO. 6/10.

T: Bizarrely sweet upfront with corny/grain notes, pretty unpleasant, with a green vegetable mid palate, notes of hemp, black tea and earthy characters coming through, finishes with a slight herbal hit. The flavours are rather discordant and don’t add together at all. This isn’t the worst tasting beer I’ve encountered (Victoria Bitter still wins that dubious honour) but it’s not far off. The reason I believe is that the sweetness comes out of nowhere – when drier characters would work better with that green/herbal/tea taste that hemp adds. 3/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, very flat though, this could definitely use more carbonation… (or any carbonation). 5/10.

D: It was the best of beers, it was the worst of beers, it was the age of beerdom, it was the age of beerlishness, it was the epoch of wort, it was the epoch of brewing, it was the season of Ale, it was the season of Lager – in short, this beer is not a good beer in any Dickensian sense of the word, it is also no tragedy, though I won’t ever buy it again. What an odd, sad brew. 3/10.

Food match: Probably best not to entertain the thought of food with this…

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