Newstead Brewing A Long Story Wheat Strong Ale

Total Score: 8.55/10 Bubblegum1Vanilla1Wood1Tulipglass1

Well the signs are good – I’ve heard rave reviews about Newstead Brewing A Long Story Wheat Strong Ale, and it sounds pretty special, might this be the best beer to come out of Newstead? It’s not got a great deal of competition with a previous limited release brew: The Outpost American Stout being the best, in my (humble) opinion, with a score of 8/10. It’s not a crazy score to beat, my reviews have a bit of an interesting bell-curve due to me (mostly) reviewing beers I know that I’ll like, with the occasional crappy macro Lager for comparision… and sometimes even those Lagers surprise me by turning out A-OK. Point is I’m genuinely excited by this prospect of a barrel-aged gem in a can.

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Nice colour, a deep slightly hazy plum/mahogany body with a rather active beige head that has a few big soap-bubbles and slowly settles to a thin blanket. If it tastes as good as it looks we’ll be in for a treat. 8/10.

S: Nose is quite reminiscent of Founders Old Cumudgeon with a big molasses hit, some light bourbon sugar and vanilla notes, a nice big slice of wheat character with bubble-gum notes, it’s a big sweet beer no doubt about it. It’s amazing considering this beer is 100% wheat malt that the wheat character doesn’t dominate the aroma completely. Overall though it’s got a decent, sweet chunky aroma. 9/10.

T: Not quite the “Pow! Right in the kisser!” beer, but nonetheless there’s plenty going on in this beer: Bubble-gum upfront mixes with vanilla, dark fruits, hints of molasses, a slight woody tone rounds it out. It’s sweet but not OTT, the sugar content is balanced out by a woody finish and a touch of medicinal herbs, TBH if you handed me this beer and told me it was a Belgian Trappist Quadrupel, I wouldn’t ask any questions. 9/10.

M: Mouth-feel is intriguing – it’s got a lighter than expected body, mid to light, with an ultra creamy carbonation – this is quite the dichotomous brew here. 7/10.

D: This is definitely Newstead’s best beer by a stretch – they broke the lauter tun due to the 100% wheat malt bill, I say it was worth it – this is a total cracker of a brew (slightly odd mouth-feel aside), kudos to the Newstead guys (and girls) for breaking their lauter tun! Here’s hoping they re-release this tasty drop again, and again, and again, and again, but not again – that would be one time too many. Cheers Newstead! You made it: a great beer! 8/10.

Food match: After dinners cigars… does anyone even do that in 2018?

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Arrogant Bastard Ale

Total Score: 8.3/10 DarkFruits1Wood1BrownSugar1Tulipglass1

I thought I did this one already… turns out it was the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard, easy mistake to make as in my memory the labels looked EXACTLY THE SAME [actually there is a slight difference in them]. So here we are Arrogant Bastard! What? No I wasn’t insulting you, that’s the name of the beer… jeez, Arrogant Bastards. That was insulting you, see the difference? No, well maybe I was insulting you then. As far as American Strong Ales go this is the most popular on a little site I go to called Beer Advocate – 10,712 ratings so for, here comes #10,713! Will it be as great as Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard? Only minutes will tell, around 30 to be precise.

Poured from a 473ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: This beer is truly arrogant from the get-go: exploding right out of the can and into my sink, jeez Arrogant Bastard. Colour is a deep tawny brown, cloudy or hazed? Hard to tell, I’m gonna say hazed, with a sand-coloured head that simmers down after the initial explosion leaving a nice thin blanket, and lace. 8/10.

S: Boozy from the off, with a mix of dark fruits (prune, plum, dates) and a freight train full of molasses – this thing is as unstoppable as a train with Jon Voight riding on it. Aroma comes across with a decent amount of sugar but not a truckload, it’s not Founders Curmudgeon in that respect (my dentist BANNED me from drinking that beer when I told him a piece of my tooth broke off while I was sipping it). Pretty balanced aroma based on several scientific whiffs. 9/10.

T: Booze, booze, booze. Dark fruits (prune, plum, dates) and molasses. Much like BBAAB (as in the other Arrogant Bastard) there are woody notes throughout. Sweet mid palate, but not overbearing, bit better balanced than Curmudgeon in that respect – Curmudgeon is a bit “all aboard sugar train heading for candy mountain!”. Finish is long dry, with a medium herbal hop bitterness. Overall flavour is tasty, the booze isn’t crazy in your face, and there’s plenty going on. 8/10.

M: Definitely no Curmudgeon when it comes to mouthfeel – medium bodied with a slight creamy carbonation – had better, had worse. 7/10.

D: Yes I know Founders Curmudgeon is a different style beer but it’s the beer that most springs to mind as I sip this… I miss my Curmudgeon days (which are paradoxically behind me). I feel after drinking half a glass that the hops are a tad aggressive now (I found that in BBAAB too). Still decent though. 9/10.

Food match: “Runaway train never going back, pastrami salad is a beautiful snack”.

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Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard

Total Score: 8.15/10 Wood1Caramel1Coriander1Tulipglass1

With another milestone review looming on the horizon (#650) I’ve got some fantastic brews awaiting patient wordsmithing from the good Doctor with number 650 being an extra special [hint: think of the most highly rated beer in the world] drop… the excitement in these quarters is palatable. Then I will be taking a sabbatical from reviews for a while (even though I am unaware of the concept of a sabbatical). Anyway let’s not diminish the significance of this review: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard, a modern classic, and perhaps my first Bourbon Barrel-Aged beer – this is going to be a treat!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy russet/coppery body with a nice dense khaki blanket on top – dreams are made of brews that look this tasty, my dreams, yes I dream of tasty beers – what do you dream of? Piles of money on a bed with semi-naked models laying in it? Yeah that’s a pretty nice dream, I’ll trade you for it. 9/10.

S: Rich caramel malts, and dare I say Bourbon? [Yes, yes I dare say]. With hints of vanilla, woody tones and fruit cake characters… sounds like a party I can get down with, bring it on you Arrogant Bastard! 9/10.

T: Woody/char notes upfront give way to a slight alcohol touch, then vanilla/caramel/fruit cake follows obediently. Tasty drop this. Finish as a woody/herbal bitter note. There’s more wood in this brew than a lumberjacks wet dream… too much wood? No? Was the lumberjack analogy too much? OK I will dispense with the tasteless jokes from… NOW. Overall balance leans a bit towards a bitter finish, I suspect aging would bring out a bit more sweetness (the bottle date of this being 25/07/15). 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with hop oils present and a light but dense carbonation. 7/10.

D: Too much hop bitterness in this one, but again this beer was crafted to be cellared and hop characters tend to pare back with a good old fashioned cellaring, too bad I’m an impatient bastard… hmmm, maybe I should brew and release a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Impatient Bastard for those of us who can’t wait for a beer to age? Who’s in for that idea? Overall though BBAAB never strays far from being tasty despite the hops. 5/7: Would taste again. Seriously though D = 8/10.

Food match: Bourbon Barrel-Aged beef with smoked trout potato salad and something else smoked… ham or something – smoked meat platter – done.

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