HopDog Abbey of the Dead

Total Score: 7.45/10 Earth1Flowers1Coriander1Tulipglass1

How could I possibly walk away from this crazy limited experimental beer from HopDog (Doc’s favourite experimental Aussie brewer)? Let me read to you a list of the ingredients in this magic elixir [btw my voice sounds like Barry White]: Sugar skull candies, marigolds, hibiscus flowers, Belgian malts and 2 Belgian yeast strains – reads like a list of crazy awesome things to me. Err, you can stop imagining my smooth baritone voice now… no, really, aww yeah. I love the sexy slither of a lady snake. There – you happy now?

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Yeast particles in a HopDog brew? Yep you know it! Presents with a cloudy deep ruby/brown body with a blanket of a dense tan head on top. If it tastes as imposing as it looks, well it’s going to be one tasty brew! 8/10.

S: Unable to ignore this dense cake-like aroma – fruity and dirty – that’s how grandma likes it (I’m talking about Christmas cakes – mind. out. of. gutter.). It’s hard to get past the earthiness of this brew, must be the marigolds – never tried a beer brewed with marigolds before. Other than this there is a sherbet candy note, must be the skulls. 9/10.

T: Sour sherbet candy, I wonder if chief HopDog Tim used a lactobacillus yeast strain? If so that would account for the upfront sourness of this brew. Background floral/dirty/earthy notes are present from the marigolds and hibiscus flowers. Other than that there is a slight herbal bitter finish. Not getting much in the way of malt sweetness to balance out these hop/herbal characters. 7/10.

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

D: The bitter/sour pairing is a bit amiss with this brew. I’m left wanting sweetness and wondering if the sourness was intended or if was spoilage related – this is the second HopDog brew I’ve had that seemed to be spoiled (other being The Pale). However in the case of this brew the damage done was minimal – it’s still quite drinkable, if not quirky. As Shakespeare was once incorrectly attributed as saying by me right now: “Them is the breaks when brewing ye small batch”. This won’t of course by any stretch of the imagination stop me from buying HopDog beers, HopDog are still lekker. 7/10.

Food match: Mushrooms or something earthy… magic mushrooms? Not earthy enough space cadet. Space cadets? That’s cannibalism yo.

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Petrus Dubbel Bruin Ale

Total Score: 6.2/10 DarkFruits1 BrownSugar1 Bread1 Tulipglass1

I do like these guys, Petrus, they bring styles such as Flanders Oud Bruin and Red Ales within the grasp of the ordinary man (or beer fancying woman) with their almost macro pricing. And their beers are good too, not Rodenbach or Rochefort brilliant, but satisfying nonetheless, so I say: Petrus, keep up the good work. Thus far I’ve imbibed two of the Oud Bruins on offer so now it’s time to try their Dubbel, which is also Bruin (hazard a guess what Petrus’s favourite colour is).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy mahogany (I have many mahogany-coloured leather bound books in my library) body with specks of light tan and a lace ring where presumably a head once was. 8/10.

S: Dark fruits (plum, raisin and date) hints of dark rum, brown sugar and bread notes abound. There’s nothing subtle about this aroma and more’s the better for it [wait, is that a real saying? “more’s the better for it” sounds frankly made up] Yeah it is… shuddup me. 7/10.

T: Taste is a bit of a let-down. It’s sweet but not overly so, and watery (but we’ll get to that, patience) with notes of: Date, brown sugar and bread yeast. Finish struggles to put up anything bitter to cut through the sweetness… oh yeah a hint Diacetyl too (butteriness chemical-ified). Overall this beer is lacking anything close to the complexity of a decent Belgian Dubbel and almost crosses into soft-drink territory with a Coke-like sweetness backed up by nothing. 6/10.

M: Mid to light, watery bodied with a tight but flat carbonation… wateriness is not a good attribute for a Dubbel! 5/10.

D: Well this is the least loveable Petrus beer I’ve had thus far, whereas the other brews were cheap but endearing this Dubbel is simply cheap but lacking-in-everything-that-makes-a-Dubbel-great. I will take a relatively similar priced but much tastier Grimbergen Dubbel over this any day of the week… except Tuesday, Tuesday is watery-cheap-lacking-complexity-beer day for me. 6/10.

Food match: Roast banquet meats and heavy gravy + a selection of roasted vegetables would work well with this brew despite the watery character.

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