3 Ravens Moussey Juicy Chocolate Milkshake NEBIPA

Total Score: 7.8/10 Chocolate1Nut1Orange1Nonicpint1

Wow this one sounds like a Frankenstein’s monster of a brew: 3 Ravens Moussey Juicy Chocolate Milkshake NEBIPA (New England Black India Pale Ale). Yep, it’s exactly what you were thinking: regular Juicy (which is a NEIPA) mixed with chocolate, vanilla, lactose (for body) and pectin (also for body???)… don’t forget triticale (hybrid wheat/rye) and oats. This is going to be a chewy beer then. So I guess 3 Ravens haven’t run dry on ways to milk their Juicy series, they’ve already released: Juicy, Extra Juicy, Lemon Juicy, Citra Juicy, Yuzu Juicy, etc… all they need to do now is add: Cherry Juicy, Lime Juicy, Atomic Juicy… well they really could go on forever, although I’m not a fan of the idea of Durian Juicy, it is indeed possible.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Almost spot-on chocolate brown with a firm-packed mocha head that leaves some patchy lace on the side of the glass as it goes down. Looks as chunky as I imagined from the ingredients list – this should be good if the flavours work. 8/10.

S: Roasted cacao and dark chocolate notes mingle with an orange hint and a sweet sugary caramel malt base. They could probably have named it “Jaffa Juicy” if that orange comes through like I’m expecting it to. Now I remember what pectin is – it’s used as a gelling agent in jellies – this has a very dessert jelly-like aroma to it (for better or worse). 7/10.

T: Roasted cacao and powered chocolate with a touch of dark chocolate leads the palate, mid hop orange citrus character has a look in but the chocolate is the master of this domain. Nutty and slight caramel malts bring in a bit of sweetness. Finishes more dry than anything else. Aftertaste is powdered chocolate and dry. Overall this isn’t as crazy a flavour profile as expected and reasonably well-balanced too – I would buy this again. 8/10.

M: As expected Moussey Juicy has a nice creamy mouthfeel, medium bodied with a dense carbonation. Considering the ingredients though I feel like they worked hard for a texture that is thinner than it should be. Still good though. 8/10.

D: Weirdly, even though I originally thought this beer might crash and burn it hasn’t, in fact I could drink this as a decent, chocolate-driven Black IPA in winter. It fits the bill as something not-quite-but-almost-a-stout and a good halfway between the usually citrus-driven IPAs and chocolate/roasted coffee Stouts. Not sure what they pulled off but 3 Ravens did pull off something here. 8/10.

Food match: Banquet roasted meats and medieval style cuisine springs to mind.

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Green Beacon Barbary Coast Black IPA

Total Score: 7.45/10 HopFlower1Earth1PapayaMango1Nonicpint1

Green Beacon have canned yet another brew that they’ve only kegged before, and I’m glad, even though I live in Brisbane (where Green Beacon live) I’m a bit of a homebody, so most of these GB kegged beers have passed me by until they’ve been canned. Barbary Coast is GB’s answer to: do you brew a Black IPA? “Yes, yes we do – Barbary Coast”. They’re really sticking with the pirate/nautical theme with their names, good on them, it’s going to be a while before they suck that teat dry (I tried exhausting pirate terminology in one of my previous reviews and let’s just say that’s a deep reservoir). Barbary Coast is up against stiff competition within GB’s own oeuvre, namely: Uppercut, Windjammer, Whaler to name a few.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Deep almost opaque ruby/caramel brown body with a rather boisterous 3 centimetre khaki head that leaves some decent lace-work inside the glass. A bit less black than most Black IPAs out there, almost in Red IPA territory – if you told me this was a Red IPA I would say it was a particularly dark Red IPA, but I wouldn’t question you any further. Still looks good aside from the colour. 7/10.

S: Piney/cannabis/grassy hops from the get-go, caramel/biscuit malt centre, tropical papaya/citrus hints. Not much roasted character from the malts – this is a stable-mate of the Black IPA or Cascadian Ale style and is missing from this brew, which is definitely giving off a more hop-forward Red IPA aroma. Still smells great, but call it a Red IPA if it’s a Red IPA GB – no need to mislead us on the style. 7/10.

T: Thankfully roasted malt comes through in the flavour profile, along with: piney hops, earthy/roasted/caramel malt, slight tropical papaya and citrus hints, with a medium herbal bitterness in the finish. Lacking the finesse of GB’s better brews, this beer does redeem itself a bit in the flavour, which has a dirty/roasted malt base throughout the profile. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a thin but dense carbonation – feels like it could be a bit chewier at 6.5% ABV, it’s lacking a touch here. 7/10.

D: Not GB’s finest hour, nor their worst, it’s a middle-ground brew, hey even God needed a day off – let’s cut Green Beacon some slack, they can’t all be gems. Still a reasonable Black IPA, just lacking in a few key areas [noted above]. My favourite Black IPAs? Feral Karma Chameleon (brewed once), then KAIJU! Behemoth and Modus Cascadian Howl (also brewed once). 7/10.

Food match: Not quite stew time, go Ossobuco (which is a casserole duh).

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Aether Brewing Black As Your Heart

Total Score: 6.7/10 Earth1Caramel1Lemon1Tulipglass1

Back when American Black IPAs (or Cascadian Dark Ales) came out in Australia I was a big fan. Then they exploded a few years ago with every man, woman and dog brewing them, and I grew tired of them. Now, 2018, I’m back into Black IPAs [insert “Back in Black” opening guitar riff here], they’re so dark, earthy and moody where everything else is so cheery atm (except Stouts and sour beers), bring on the Black IPAs I say! This Aether Brewing Black As Your Heart is the first cab off the rank for me with their brews. It’s the “Biggest Beer Litmus Test” (BBLiT) that I go through time and time again: 1) Find new brewer, 2) Pick their heaviest ABV brew, 3) Review it, 4) Find out if they are worthy or not based on your subjective experience with that one brew. Easy as bro!

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Presents a hazy ™cola-coloured body with a nice meaty 2 centimetre beige head that leaves scrawl work lace on the glass side as it descends, noice Garry! Just like drinking a glass of ™cola with a beer head, like a spider-float you could say. 7/10.

S: Earthy and caramel notes from the get-go. Floral hints, along with a slight citrus note rounds out this predominantly earthy aroma. Well that’s all well and good but at 6.7% ABV I’m expecting a bit more of a punchy aroma – something that wafts up into the nostril from the glass sitting on the desk, with this brew I fully had to stick my nose in the glass and inhale deeply. 6/10.

T: Caramel, biscuity and full earthy flavours all over the palate. Citrus and floral hops come in towards the finish and add a light bitter foil to the proceeding characters. Aftertaste is really dirty and earthy, very much an Aussie Black IPA flavour profile here – we always seem to conjure up earthy flavours in our brews, even more so in Black IPAs. Flavour overall is an improvement from the aroma. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a reasonably dense carbonation, it’s not creamy smooth but it is alright, a bit more body would improve it though (I look for “medium bodied” with this style). 6/10.

D: So how did Aether’s BBLiT go? Better than the average bear I would say. However they don’t stack up against the upper crust of Aussie craft, brewers like: Pirate Life, Green Beacon, Modus Operandi and Blackman’s. Aether feel more upper-mainstream craft, brewers like: Nomad, Slipstream, Balter, et al. Beers you can relate to but ultimately you want something a little more. 7/10.

Food match: I would err towards roasted meats with this earthy brew.

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Modus Operandi Cascadian Howl Black IPA

Total Score: 8.65/10 Chocolate1Smoke1HopFlower1Tulipglass1

Look I don’t doubt that this 8.1% ABV Cascadian Dark Ale is going to be awesome, so my first question to Modus is: why did you not just add this to your core range? I mean I’m going to (understandably) love this, as will many other Aussie craft drinkers, so here’s exactly how this will play out: 1) Doc cracks open this behemoth in a can, 2) reviews this beer, 3) enjoys it immensely and rates it a 9/10, 4) WANTS MORE! 5) but Doc can’t get any more because all the other Aussie craft drinkers love it and have bought up every last can. Why Modus? Why? Of course I am assuming a lot here, and massively pre-hyping this beer to epic proportions… but come-on, it’s Modus… The Former Tenant amirite?! This. Will. Be. Good.

Poured from a 500ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Black as the ace of spades, opaque body, with a finger of billowy khaki head that compacts slowly to a nice blanket. Light lace scrawl inside the glass. Pretty damn impressed this manages a decent head at 8.1% ABV. Ominous as it is impressive, great Black IPA here. 9/10.

S: Bold citrus/piney/resin hops, solid earthy character that Modus (among many Aussie craft brewers) is renowned for, the malt takes on almost a chocolate character. This is going to be a BIG beer. Strap yourself in Doc! 9/10.

T: Roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a hint of campfire smoke all mingles sublimely with a piney/resin hop character… earthy tones in there as well. Finishes with a roasty medium bitterness. However it must be noted that this Cascadian Dark Ale skews towards malt over hops – the balance is a little bit off… bloody tasty drop nonetheless. Did someone order a Stout with hops? No, but I’m more than happy to drink it. 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy body, creamy carbonation, mouthfeel is damn near perfection… what the hell – I don’t see many Aussie brewers putting out beers like this: 10/10.

D: Yep, more Stout than IPA, sort of like Darth Vader according to Obi Wan Kenobi: “He’s more machine than man now”. This is one tasty machine though. I could go another 2-3, alas – once again Modus have made a bloody tasty limited release beer that we may never see again: F**K YOU MODUS! Ahem. Overall this misses the style mark a little but what it does it does exceptionally, so keep it up the good work Modus. PS: Bring back Zoo Feeder please. 9/10.

Food match: To quote the great Carl Weathers “Now you take this home, throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato. Baby, you’ve got a stew going”.

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Founders Dark Penance Black IPA

Total score: 8.15/10 HopFlower1Earth1Biscuit1Tulipglass1

This is another one from the shopping list of desires I never even thought of – Founders, aka probably at the top of my “stuck on a desert island – can only choose one brewer for the rest of your life (inexplicably) even though theoretically you could start your own brewery with all the coconuts lying on the beach and that odd wild hop garden meters away from your house” list*, brewing a Black IPA, huzzah!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Presents a deep dark reddish brown body with a thin light khaki head that drops back to a lace ring with speckles in the middle… appetizing to say the least… to say the most? I want to shrink myself down to the height of 1 cm, climb up the side of my Duvel tulip – undoubtedly a tall order – and dive right in. 9/10.

S: It’s Founders Centennial IPA with sex added. It’s hard to go past those big earthy/dirty, wet hop pine/grapefruit notes without tripping over into a bed of pure hop ecstasy – they don’t make it easy at Founders do they? Overall aroma is hoppy and alluring with a smattering of roasted/toasted biscuit malts simply there for the ‘Black’ in the Black IPA. 8/10.

T: Liquorice is the immediate thing that slaps me right in the brain – liquorice! I’m a bit gobsmacked as I was not expecting that, but there you go – Founders manage to sneak in a surprise for me again, you wily devils 😛 Apart from this it’s all textbook Centennial IPA flavours: Earthy/dirty, wet hop pine/grapefruit notes with a toasted biscuit base and caramel. The only reason it fails the same score is because please; we’ve already got Centennial – what does Dark Penance bring to the table? 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy, Chewbacca Founders stylez, with a creamy dense carbonation. 9/10.

D: This is very much a Black IPA with the ‘IPA’ bit in bold italics font, highlighted and underlined with sparkles on top… in other words there is not enough malt intensity or char in the flavour or aroma to differentiate it from their already loved and popular Centennial IPA. But hey, it certainly doesn’t suck by any stretch of the imagination, and that liquorice note in the flavour was… interesting. However we need a little something more for a Black IPA to stand out in our established amber IPA crowd. #IPAsSoAmber 8/10.

Food match: [copy pasted from my Centennial review] Spicy hot soft taco.

*Admittedly I’m still working shortening the title of this list, any suggestions?

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Feral Karma Citra

Total Score: 7.95/10 Pineapple1Coffee1Coriander1Nonicpint1

Feral’s latest offing (which to me is just a shortened version of the word “offering” because, you know, I’m lazy and all that) appears to be a Cascadian Dark Ale in a similar vein as their most superb (and so far my favourite of the style) Karma Chameleon, only that was 10% ABV and this one is 5.9% which begs the question: Why didn’t they bottle the awesome sauce that is Karma Chameleon? Over to you Feral.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Pitch brown/black body with a rather boisterous fluffy 1 inch khaki head that soon drops back to a respectable 1 cm. Some light spider webbing on the side of the glass. Pretty spot on looks-wise. 9/10.

S: Pineapple and guava hop notes stamp their authority on my olfactory senses like that biker in Terminator 2 extinguishing a cigar on Arnie’s chest. Like the beer-drinking Terminator that I am I whiff on unabated. Hints of toffee and chocolate linger on in the background but damn are those hops sexy, too bad malt, another time perhaps. 9/10.

T: The flavour was always going to be a let-down after that superlative hop aroma – those tropical pineapple/guava characters step back from the palate and let espresso malts and sharp herbal hops battle it out over my taste buds, which is a bit of a shame because I was looking forward to more pineapple/guava. Ultimately the herbal hop bitter note carries through to the after taste and slays the dragon that is espresso. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium, bodied with a sharp, dense carbonation. That carbonation really brings out the bitter notes somewhat. 7/10.

D: Compared to Karma Chameleon this is definitely the lessor brew of the two, however compared to other Black IPAs the balance is almost there but the tropical hop notes were lost from the aroma to the taste, and there needed to be a bit more hop flavours rather than hop bitterness (which all comes down to when the hops were added during the whole fermentation process – my money is on during the boil of the wort rather than a dry hop addition, but unless someone from Feral reads my blog we may never know). Still I did enjoy this and would seek it again on tap. 7/10.

Food match: The Korean classic that is Bulgogi would go a treat with this brew don’t forget a side dish of pajeori 😉

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BrewCult Buggin’ Out Black IPA

Total Score: 7.15/10 Earth1 PapayaMango1 Coffee1 Nonicpint1

Here’s another top-notch Hendo (aka BrewCult) beer waiting to be reviewed by Doc (aka DocBräu), this time we have a Black IPA – the new beer geek trendy style (that I personally love). Black IPAs combine two awesome styles – Stout and India Pale Ales, so what is there not to like? [nothing Mr. Rhetorical Question].

Poured from tap into a Schooner.

A: Obsidian black bodied, can’t tell if it’s cloudy but I’m guessing “yes, indeed I am sir”. There is a thin mocha lace on top. Quite an appealing looking BIPA Mr. Hendo. 8/10.

S: A great combo of lychee/mango hop characters with roast coffee notes in the background. The balance leans more towards hops that dominate the tasty roasted malts, a great aroma nonetheless. 8/10.

T: Ooo, deep earthy roasted barley, the tropical hops noted in the aroma fade away somewhat here as Buggin’ Out finishes with bitterness from medicinal herbal notes and roasted coffee bean. The balance is better here but it needs mucho gusto, sorry Hendo. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light carbonation. A tad too watery for the style. 6/10.

D: It’s another decent brew from Hendo, however stacked up against brews like Kooinda Full Nelson BIPA, Feral Karma Chameleon and Kaiju Behemoth (also Cthulhu)… well it’s difficult to beat those brews. Good effort though BrewCult. 7/10.

Food match: Spare ribs… covered in sauce of some description along with roasted potatoes au gratin… covered in gratin of some description. Giant grilled mushrooms being the vegetarian alternative to the ribs.

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