Bacchus Brewing Deathstar American Barleywine

Total Score: 6.05/10 Caramel1Passionfruit1Biscuit1Tulipglass1

Yet another reason to celebrate: It’s my 15th Bacchus review! Yay!!! Bacchus, and by extension head brewer Ross Kenrick, are Australia’s answer to Mikkeller, i.e. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, Denmark’s answer to Bacchus. I’m pretty glad that Bacchus began bottling their gold and selling it to my local Black Sheep bottle shop, as it has given me the chance to taste these weird and wonderful (and occasionally not-so-great) creations. This one: Deathstar American Barleywine, contains the following (as head brewer Ross must not be a fan of the Reinheitsgebot): Water, barley, candi syrup, passionfruit, dextrose, hops, and yeast. Oh and there’s a Star Wars theme with this brew in the hops: Galaxy, Falconers Flight, and Orbit – Rad!

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Fizzy head – straight off the bat – very fizzy… it’s like pop rocks in a glass [80’s reference, sorry kids… you shouldn’t be reading this anyway]. Caramel coloured body, with a head… when it was there… that had an off-white, almost yellow tinged, colour. Bizarre stuff. 4/10.

S: This beer is decidedly caramel/toffee/molasses and whatever malt flavour you can throw at it. Not much in the way of hops – admittedly my fault as I’ve had this beer in my fridge for some time (brew date is: 23/12/16) – again my fault, I should have got into this much much earlier… oh well, I’ll re-review the next batch. Weirdly not getting any passionfruit aroma though – passionfruit doesn’t fade does it? 5/10.

T: Flavour is a remarkable step up: Passionfruit is there, along with a big caramel/biscuit base. The whole thing comes across like a glass of Pavlova, or a passionfruit meringue – pretty tasty. The 12.2% ABV is pretty well hidden, though there is a bit of warmth in the oesophagus. Missing the hop flavours though, bit of a shame I left it in the fridge so long, lesson learnt. Sweet/bitter balance is pretty even, with sweetness winning out just a touch. Aftertaste has a touch of herbal bitterness. 7/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied, flat carbonation – again I’m expecting that this was due to how long it’s been sitting in the fridge, mea culpa. 5/10.

D: I’m keen to get my hands on a fresh batch of this as, even though it aged terribly, the flavours were on point, and it was hard to tell where the alcohol went as I soon succumbed to a tipsy state without even noticing (though bkazxm, skdhjfb) [exactly!]. I hope Bacchus experiment more with this style. 6/10.

Food match: Fried Wookiee with a side of Sarlacc chips.

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Ægir Bryggeri Tors Hammer

Total Score: 7.3/10 Caramel1DarkFruits1Coriander1Tulipglass1

Time to take on the mighty Mjölnir, aka Thor’s Hammer, the mythical weapon of mass weather destruction (or creation, depending on your viewpoint – or what you’re standing under during a typhoon). This Tors Hammer comes from Ægir Bryggeri – those guys from that fjord who I’ve been reviewing brews of this last week. At 13.2% ABV this is easily the biggest beer I’ve had all year (sorry about the January jokes… come back in Feb if they bother you that much). Actually the last time I had a beer stronger than this was back in 2014 (Moon Dog’s Jumping The Shark) it really has been more than a year, so 😛

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Presents a thick murky sepia body, yeast clumps evident, with a thin beige head that quickly subsides to a lace ring and naught much else. Pretty normal to have a non-existent head at 13.2% ABV, so no disappointment there. The yeast clumps however… 7/10.

S: Quite dark fruit driven with stewed plum, date and raisin, along with toffee and a hint of brandy. Expecting enough sugar for me to speed dial my dentist and ambulate myself to the nearest ER for immediate insulin injections – here’s hoping Ægir Bryggeri can balance it out somehow. 7/10.

T: Super sweet toffee hits upfront (I actually felt my dental fillings quake in fear) with the above noted dark fruits throughout and a sharp brandy-flavoured booze hit towards the finish. Aftertaste evokes some bold bitter herbal notes. So it is fairly well balanced, bit on the sweeter side but you expect that with a Barleywine, however that booziness is a touch on the aggressive side… I mean I’m looking to get drunk here, not so trashed that I bet away my house and car then wake up with swear words shaved into my head… that’s more a Friday night deal for me. 7/10.

M: Pretty dense bodied and oily… carbonation is near flat, as much you would expect given the style/ABV. 8/10.

D: So it’s a big fat drunken malt-fest of a brew, but it’s hard to fault it for that is what Barleywines generally are – they’re the John Belushi of beer styles: Loud, brash and rambunctious at the best of times, and smacked out at the worst. Overall, and apart from a bit of booziness, Tors Hammer fits the Barleywine profile well. All it really needs is finesse… and a free Berocca with every purchase. Note to self: Don’t forget to drink that pint of water before bed. 8/10.

Food match: I’m thinking Viking food – giant slabs of meat would help right now.

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