To Øl Mochaccino Messiah

Total Score: 8.45/10 Coffee1HopFlower1Caramel1Nonicpint1

Flat-White Jesus! Where have you been all my life?! The latest mad creation from those creative chaps (and chapettes!) at Danish brewer To Øl: Mochaccino Messiah. Wait, Danish, that gives me an idea [note to self: Danish-flavoured beer. Not the people, the pastry smart-ass]. To Øl claim inspiration for wanting to substitute “the morning mochaccino coffee with a beer. You get the nicely roasted chocolate malts, some creamy lactose for the milk and a shot of nutty espresso coffee in your mug.” Woo-hoo! To Øl’s own Founders Breakfast Stout! Only it’s a Brown Ale brewed with barley, oats, lactose, hops, and coffee. Sounds like a tasty treat. IMO I think every brewer should do a Breakfast Stout – then I can stop writing about other beers and just have a blog about Breakfast Stouts – I would call it “Doc’s Joe Blog”*.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: NIIIICE! Rich clear seal brown body with a 1 centimetre beige head that leaves a nice encrusted lace on the sides of the glass. That is some protein action in that head right there! All aboard the good ship SS Tasty. 9/10.

S: Wow, coffee bean and cold drip Ethiopian Yirgachefe coffee combine with some rather spiffy and bold hop characters – I just looked at the hop bill: Amarillo and Columbus – those are no slouch hops and it shows here. This aroma actually reminds me of Stone Mocha IPA, only more coffee-centric, and we all know how well that went over with me [TL;DR pretty fucking good!]. Piney-gooey-green-resiny hops hit the nose with aplomb. Shit son! 10/10.

T: Flat-White Jesus just loses it a bit here – there’s a bit of chaos, it’s got the above noted coffee bean and cold drip Ethiopian Yirgachefe providing a nice nutty/roasted centre, with a bit of sweetness coming from a caramel malt base, but then the hops come in a bit too hot and the finish is a mid-to-searing bitterness. The balance starts out great but ends up a touch out of whack, which sucks because it’s hella tasty otherwise. 8/10.

M: Medium, not close to Founders Body™ but nonetheless it’s got enough texture. Carbonation is flat and dense. 8/10.

D: No replacement for FBS (if I can ever get it again!) but still it’s more like Stone Mocha IPA anyway, and Stone has the upper hand over this. 8/10.

Food match: Wakey-wakey eggs and bakey with this brew.

*As long as people promise not to say it several times quickly I’ll be in the clear.


Stockade Hoppy Brown Ale

Total Score: 6.45/10 Caramel1DarkFruits1Chocolate1Nonicpint1

So far, so ok for Stockade, who don’t appeal to me at all with their marketing, however their Duel Hoppy Lager wasn’t bad, it was a bit of alright. This time they’ve released a Hoppy Brown Ale (I guess as an Ale-y complement to Duel?), this American Brown is no lightweight either at 6.8% ABV it sits right in that spectrum I like to call the “Mmmm zone” (because of all the yummy beers that sit in said spectrum). Now I understand that their Mountie Maple Stout was a real tasty treat, however I’m having difficulty locating that one, until then hopefully this will tide me over (if not I’ve got an Omnipollo Noa Pecan Mud Cake to fill the void!). PS: This bottle was provided to me by a Stockade rep, thank you kind lady!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Deep burnt umber with a touch of haze body and a thin cream-coloured head that sticks around as a light splotchy lacework. The colour is pretty spot on, and the lack of a head isn’t uncommon at 6.8% ABV – looks good. 7/10.

S: Aroma is dark fruit (raisin/prune) forward, touch of sherry as well, hops present as more of a distant floral note – hopefully that will change in the flavour… or hopefully not… I can’t decide – Brown Ales are delicious due to their malt-driven flavour profiles, but recently Stone Mocha IPA has taught me that seemingly discordant flavours can work well together. Hint of milk chocolate as well. Needs a bit more gusto, but otherwise good. 6/10.

T: Dark fruit, toffee, nutty and milk chocolate characters front to back of palate. Hops add a slight floral/citrus note before leaving an astringently bitter aftertaste – it’s not overpowering, but it’s there and enough to negate any goodwill from the addition of hops. There’s sweetness as well, but in this case it’s just a touch on the drier side for a Brown Ale and needs a bit more sugar IMO. 6/10.

M: Body is good, mid to light, borderline medium bodied with a thin but reasonably dense carbonation – Stockade did good here. 8/10.

D: Given the 6.8% ABV the aroma/flavours of this Hoppy Brown Ale were a bit lacking – there needs to be more going on at this level of alcohol content to justify it. Stockade beers (so far for me) have been a bit too muted flavour-wise and if I was to pull a few names out of my hat for examples of Aussie brewers who don’t mess around here I would say: Modus Operandi, Pirate Life, Prancing Pony, HopDog… I could actually go on, but look to these brewers Stockade. 7/10.

Food match: This brew is right in that medieval-roasted-game-zone.


4 Pines Keller Door Cherry Coconut Brown Ale

Total Score: 5.65/10 Coconut1Cherry1Biscuit1Nonicpint1

This is why I love reviewing beers: every day is something new and sometimes something crazy – there’s a never ending supply of weird and wonderful brews out there. Case in point: 4 Pines Keller Door Cherry Coconut Brown Ale. Someone at 4 Pines thought about putting macerated cherries and roasted coconut into a Brown Ale, it’s a narrative not uncommon with a certain Mr. Ross Kenrick of Bacchus fame, and a reason why I have consumed/reviewed so many Bacchus beers of late – a tongue as seasoned as mine yearns for the occasional crazed experimental brew. So I guess what we have here is a liquid cherry ripe (chocolate bar). I was always more of a Twix man, when is someone going to turn Twix into a beer… Ross?

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear cola-coloured body with a slightly pink-tinged khaki head that settles to around half a centimetre. Aye there be cherries in this brew me lad. What is with 4 Pines obsession about fining their beers? Let us have a bit of haze FFS. 6/10.

S: Cherries and coconut mingle with a hint of vanilla, exactly as it says on the can – if you like cherries, and you like coconut, you’re in a cherry-coconut fantasy land mon frere. The main question with this and many other fruit addition beers is: does it smell artificial? In this instance I would say (_) – that was me holding my right index finger and thumb about 5 millimetres apart. Real deal with this I reckon. 8/10.

T: Hits with sour cherry from the beginning, though it’s not overly tart, it’s just enough to make you think “hmmm, sour note”. Then in comes a whole load of not much, yeah yeah the cherry and coconut flavours are there, but whatever happened to that whole sweet/bitter dichotomy that beers are universally renowned for? This is dry, cracker dry, middle to finish. Aftertaste hints at cherry. TBH this is much more bland than I was expecting. The major problems are body (mouthfeel) related, which could have been sorted out with oats… needs oats bro. 5/10.

M: Surprisingly (and detrimentally) thin in body with a watery middle and some carbonation thrown in for measure. 5/10.

D: This brew had promise in the aroma but completely fell apart from there onwards – it’s far too thin, muted and missing sweetness/bitterness to live up to its promise, oats would have fixed that… maybe a bit more ABV as well (although 5.5% is nothing to scoff at). Another disappointment from 4 Pines, didn’t expect it from a Keller Door though, bring back the Oaked Baltic Porter already! 5/10.

Food match: Cherry ripe choc bar – need to get that sweetness from somewhere.


Ægir Bryggeri Naglfare Nut Brown Ale

Total Score: 6.45/10 DarkFruits1Nut1Bread1Nonicpint1

Next cab off the Ægir Bryggeri rank is their Naglfare Nut Brown Ale, and as you well know (yes, you!) I do quite enjoy a decent nutty Brown Ale, among my favourites are Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. So yeah, Ægir Bryggeri Naglfare has some stiff competition. I didn’t mind their Ægir India Pale Ale in one of my recent reviews, however they’ll need to step up here if they’re going to compete with the above mentioned Brown Ale titans of industry… hmmm, Brown Ale Titans of Industry sounds like a pretty swish Alt-Rock band name, I’ll file that one in my memory banks for later usage.

Poured from a 330ml can (with the cool full-lift-off top) into a nonic pint.

A: Fairly opaque chocolate brown body with a thin beige lace ring… a bit on the disappointing side this head, at 4.7% ABV one would expect there to be at least a centimetre of consistent head. 6/10.

S: Nutty with prominent dark fruit (date, plum and fig) notes. Brown sugar also quite noticeable… me thinks this may be a sugar-bomb the likes of which my tongue has tasted a few times before… here’s hoping it somehow finds a bitter/sweet/dry balance. 6/10.

T: Ooo, it turned out not to be a sugar-bomb. Dark fruits front/mid/finish, walnuts and a drying bread character drive this fairly tasty Brown Ale. Aftertaste brings in a herbal hop bitterness that is like enough to allow the dry character to control the palate. All-in-all the balance is good, it’s simply missing a bit of complexity in flavour profile to hold it back from true greatness. 7/10.

M: Almost medium bodied, with a thin but charged carbonation. Personally I prefer a bit more body and a less charged carbonation in my Brown Ales, but this is OK. 6/10.

D: “The dark fruit is strong with this one” – Darth Brewer. As far as Brown Ales go this was reasonably tasty, though much like Brooklyn’s Brown (which Naglfare reminded me of greatly) the dryness in this brew was a bit constricting on the flavour profile and reminded me of how great Rogue’s and Samuel Smith’s Brown Ales really are. However in saying that: This and Brooklyn’s Brown shit all over the mainstream Browns out there (i.e. Newcastle Brown Ale) so bear that in mind when you give Naglfare a shot. 6/10.

Food match: Roasted game meats and various other hunting lodge cuisines.


Bacchus Brewing Sex, Drugs & Rocky Road

Total Score: 8.15/10 Chocolate1Cherry1Nut1Tulipglass1

Sex, Drugs & Rocky Road: Looks like Santa Kenrick got my Christmas wish! Made the only way jolly Saint Kenrick thought possible – with all the actual ingredients of a Daryll Lea Rocky Road, aka: Peanuts, Chocolate, Vanilla, Rose-water & Cherries. Yep! This is going to be one damn tasty brew. Whilst I will be enjoying this I will also be thinking of my dentist, who has by now put his kids through college with the many and frequent dental procedures I have been through over the years… I can only conclude from this that the dental and sugar industries are actually in cahoots. Sugar decay for thought there.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep brown and as opaque as the bottle it came in with its body. Head practically non-existent with a thin tan ring in the glass. It is 8.2% ABV so no head is pretty normal here. Looks fairly ominous, and that’s how I like my dark beers! 8/10.

S: Cherries straight up on the nose, followed by notes of: Peanut, milk chocolate, vanilla and caramel. Hints of rose water linger in the background, moreishly… like a sheep. The aroma doesn’t even come close to how overbearing Ferrari Rocher was, and I suspect this means that its more balanced in the flavour profile, though I stand ready to be proven wrong soon. 8/10.

T: Definitely more subtle in sweetness than the Ferrari. Various flavours vying for my taste attention: Peanut, milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel, cherry and rose water (the Turkish Delight influence). It manages quite hard not to become a discordant mess, and somewhat achieves this. Though in being such a cacophony of flavours it misses the mark on being like a Daryll Lea Rocky Road, because as one would know from eating this that it’s mostly chocolate with a brief interlude of one of the above flavours. In this respect it is truly impossible to replicate a Daryll Lea Rocky Road in a liquid. However as a whole the flavours do work. 9/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with an almost flat carbonation. I reckon Mr. Kenrick is using the same base beers for his dessert beers – they all have lacklustre body. 7/10.

D: The sourness of the cherry comes through as it warms. Overall not a Snickers killer but still tasty, though again: body issues. TBH as noted above in the ‘T’ section this brew was doomed from the start because in a liquid all the flavours mix as one, whereas a Rocky Road is great because of the flavour separation. I did still enjoy this in any case.7/10.

Food match: Daryll Lea Rocky Road, if only to see what I’m talking about.


Bacchus Brewing Ferrari Rocher

Total Score: 8.1/10 Nut1Chocolate1Caramel1Tulipglass1

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Bacchus, and TBH my fridge shelf is heaving under the weight of multiple Bacchus delights, so guess what? Two Bacchus beers tonight! And I even went with a theme: Chocolate beers. So first up is a choc/hazelnut brew cheekily named Ferrari Rocher. Now I’m a big fan of the choc/hazelnut (though I do hate when shops add hazelnuts to bags of savory mixed nuts – hazelnuts are dessert nuts dammit!). Mini rant concluded – I’m really looking forward to this brew, and especially the next one. Ross Kenrick’s mad scientist attitude to brewing has fast won me over and now I get excited every time I see a new Bacchus at my local Black Sheep bottle shop, cheers to Ross!

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy/hazed/hard to tell deep russet brown with a thin beige lace ring. As previously noted anything above 6% ABV will generally present with a thin head so nothing wrong with that… the aroma is incredibly enticing even from 40 centimetres away though, quick to the ‘S’ me! 7/10.

S: Intriguingly intense caramel/chocolate and hazelnut aroma! Très sucré, quite delightful for a dessert beer! Once again, like the Snickers Ale, you know right off the bat that this is going to be a heady and sweet dessert experience. That said I was expecting more of a Nutella slant and this is far too caramelly for that. 8/10.

T: Nice! Similar to La Sirène’s Praline (which is my favourite chocolate beer yet) for all the right reasons: Hazelnuts, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, caramelised sugar and cacao nib bitterness in the finish. Not quite as diverse in flavour as Praline and less “beery” as Ferrari Rocher comes off more as a choc/hazelnut liquor more than a beer… although that cacao nib bitterness comes through in the aftertaste as well. It’s a tough choice between this and Praline, though Praline for me edges it. 9/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a slight fizzy carbonation… still feels a shade thin than one would expect given the ABV. 7/10.

D: Overall another tasty dessert beer from Bacchus with the same foibles I’ve found in most of their beers (non-tap): Body thinness. This aside Bacchus have again found an interesting concept (even if La Sirène probably thought of it before them) and made it work. Although it doesn’t unseat Snickers as my favourite Bacchus brew I have a feeling the next one will. 7/10.

Food match: Take a box of Ferrero Rochers, a jar of Nutella and a Bacio. Then smear it all over your body and lick it off whilst drinking this.


Balter ALT Brown

Total Score: 6.6/10 Malt1Caramel1Nut1Nonicpint1

Here’s yet another new brewery: Balter from Currumbin on the Gold Coast (Queensland, Australia) founded by Mick Fanning and a bunch of other surfers (whose names escape me simply for the fact that they haven’t been in punch-ups with sharks). Plus their XPA, which I tried while out one night, tasted suspiciously like Stone & Wood Pacific Ale – turns out Balter’s head brewer worked for Stone & Wood, so there you go: Never question my tastebuds people! In any case a good Brown Ale always goes down a treat with me so I thought I would give this a shot – let’s see if Balter ALT Brown can live up to the overhype of its XPA sibling.

Poured from a 375ml [I for one am liking this trend of 375ml cans coming back] can into a Sierra Nevada US pint glass.

A: It’s brown… that’s a good start for a Brown Ale – I generally like my Brown Ales brown. Hazed Russett (which is a type of brown) body with a cream-coloured 1 centimetre head that drops down to a thin lace covering. 7/10.

S: Clean toasted malts provide a decent base with nutty overtones and a light grainy character that lingers throughout. There is a touch of caramel sweetness in there as well. Pretty standard Brown Ale characters, nothing outstanding here, just a simple laidback brown – which I guess is what the brewer/owners (being surfy types) were looking for… still, I wouldn’t mind something a bit more: “KAPOW!”. 6/10.

T: Toasted malts a plenty with nutty tones, caramel sweetness and a slight dry finish. Again its biggest negative to me is the “Wow!” factor – this beer doesn’t have it for me, and not all beers do – it’s just the only thing I find lacking with this brew: Flavour intensity. Fine if old Mick and his surfy mates want to sit back and chill with a beer after a hard slog surfing and escaping shark attacks, but not so great for yours truly: IZE NEEDZ THA FLAYVA! 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a nice light/tight carbonation. 7/10.

D: Not bad, not great, just middle-of-the-road craft brew – no major flaws but nothing really compelling to bring me back to it – it’s on that arm-length list of brews that I wouldn’t turn down if offered but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again. Which is a shame because it had all the elements in place to be a great beer but it’s just far too laidback and surfy for my tastes… dude. 6/10.

Flayva match brah: Like dude, spliffs and other surfy stuff aiight… cowabunga burgers for when we get the munchies… then like packets of munchies for our munchies brah.