Stone Neapolitan Dynamite Imperial Stout

Total Score: 7.25/10 Coffee1Vanilla1Strawberry1Tulipglass1

I’m back in black, I hit the Sacc(haromyces cerevisiae), I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back. Yes, I’m let loose, with some brews, specifically this latest Stone collaboration: Neapolitan Dynamite Imperial Stout – with chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and coffee… hmmm, does Neapolitan ice cream have coffee in it? I don’t think so, perhaps the coffee might be seen as a misstep with the flavours in this beer. I for one love coffee, however there is a time and place for everything, and coffee has no place in Neapolitan ice cream (unless it’s in some variation of an Affogato). Regardless Stone don’t brew bad beers (wasn’t a fan of Go To IPA, but that’s been it really) so I’m still looking for to this – hell I’ve got a 20-odd backlog of beer and this jumped right to the front of the queue – high praise indeed!

Poured from a 650ml US bomber-sized bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep dark cola [she can’t tell the difference yet] body with a nice mocha-coloured cappuccino foam head that leaves some lace sticking to the side of the glass. Ominous and tasty – two of my favourite things. 8/10.

S: Vanilla and coffee bean are leaving fingerprints all over this, with hints of strawberry and chocolate in the background. The balance is definitely skewed towards vanilla and coffee here though (maybe slightly more towards coffee). Strawberry does give an interesting dimension to this overdone style though. 8/10.

T: Coffee bean upfront and in the mid-palate and finish, along with the above noted flavours (vanilla, strawberry, dark chocolate). Other than that there is a touch of char, and the sweet flavours feel boxed in by the bitterness of the coffee… I just cant help thinking of the recent Omnipollo ice cream beers and how excellent they were – this is a bit of a disappointment here. 7/10.

M: Mouthfeel is thinner than expected – medium with a thin carbonation. 7/10.

D: I guess it could be said that the coffee is the “dynamite” in the name, but it still feels a bit out of place here, and frankly Omnipollo would have made this beer a delightful vanilla/strawberry/chocolate Neapolitan affair “screw balance!” they would have said, but Stone… Stone just had to have a sweet/bitter balance with coffee providing bitterness. Look to Omnipollo Stone, they know how to nail a one-sided dessert beer… in fact I would love to see Omnipollo and Stone team up on something – fuck that would be glorious! TL:DR; Coffee adds unneeded bitterness to what would otherwise be an exemplary dessert beer. 7/10.

Food match: Chargrilled BBQ beef steaks with coleslaw and potato salad, mmmm.

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Stone RuinTen Triple IPA – Orange Peel & Vanilla Bean

Total Score: 7.75/10 Orange1Bubblegum1Peppercorns1Tulipglass1

It’s edging closer to #950, and the beers are getting bigger and better, this time it’s a heavyweight brew in the craft beerosphere: Stone RuinTen Triple IPA – Orange Peel & Vanilla Bean. This 10.8% ABV Triple IPA is a triple threat with orange peel, vanilla bean, and of course a blindingly great hop bill with Magnum, Centennial and Citra® hops. Best of three worlds, or the best of all? Usually with Stone it is the latter, however this one has a June 8 2017 bottle date and is way past the “best by” for any hops, so the *hop fade* alert must be sounded [which sounds a bit like a klaxon being drowned in beer]. That said even the beers that I’ve had from Stone that were sorely out of date “shelf turds” have been pretty bitchen, and the addition of orange peel should provide a citrus boost to where the hops once were *fingers crossed*.

Poured from a 650ml US Bomber sized bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Wow, nice hazed deep orange/amber body with a thin beige head that slowly descends leaving behind splotchy lace pockets. The colour of this brew is an ominous orange, like a warning for sailors to turn back or risk ending up in Davy Jones locker (which is apparently large and watery). 8/10.

S: A highly viscous aroma, it’s like some sort of orange honey, with a peppery background note and a touch of green hop cones rounding out an impressive and foreboding Triple IPA. This is Stone doing their thing – repeatedly punching you in the face with delicious beer. Stone… Stop that Stone. No noticeable vanilla bean in the aroma is a minor disappointment. 9/10.

T: Flavour comes on strong, and slightly hot (alcohol-wise), which is no doubt due to the date on this bottle. Flavours of oranges (peel and all) with a piney, almost bubble-gum character, peppery mid, dry cracker malt, hints of pineapple, and a sweet schnapps finish. The flavour is a little bit all over the shop – which is unusual for Stone who usually craft exceptionally well-balanced beers. Still this is a 10.8% Triple IPA I have to keep reminding myself as I chow down on 5.54 standard drinks. 7/10.

M: Mid to heavy, fairly viscous bodied, with an almost flat but dense carbonation. 8/10.

D: Didn’t get the vanilla bean at all, I think it kinda got drowned out in a cacophony of flavours, but aside from that, and the flavour balance, this was a brew that I would try again (if I could get it fresh). Stone still indeed rock. 8/10.

Food match: Tough match, this beer is a bit of a meal in itself – maybe Thai food.

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To Øl Campale

Total Score: 8.2/10 Grapefruit1CutGrass1Clove1Nonicpint1

More tasty To Øl, this time it’s: Campale, an American Blonde Ale with almost no bittering hops – instead grapefruit peel is used for bitterness. Sounds intriguing, another grapefruit-infused brew to face up against my grapefruit-infused favourite: BrewDog’s El… well I’m not sure if they’ve changed the name but it used to be (or still is) Elvis Juice. To Øl are an interesting brewer though – they’re sorta like fellow Danish gypsy brewer Mikkeller, without being quite so crazy (in a good way!). That said I don’t think I’ve had any crazy BIG [Bearing Immense Gusto] beers from To Øl, all that seems to get over to Aus are the reasonably accessible ones. Which is perhaps why I have this image of To Øl being a less crazy Mikkeller. Anyhow I digest, on to the brew-view!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed golden body with a generous cream-coloured head that sits proudly on top… plenty of wheat in this baby! Rather a lot of carbonation going on inside the glass as well, hope it’s not over-carbed. 8/10.

S: Aroma is fantastic! A melange of grassy/herbal hop notes, all-spice yeast character and a custard Danish pastry sweetness, this is top shelf stuff from those cool cats at To Øl. It’s a pleasingly mild aroma that doesn’t assault the senses, yet with seemingly discordant flavours that come together surprisingly well. 9/10.

T: Excellent balance all round in the flavour as a mealy grapefruit character comes in with citrus and light bitterness and sticks around to the (upcoming pun intended): bitter end. Sweet pastry, green/grassy hop notes and all-spice yeast round out the flavours. Tis an interesting brew – it’s got a bit of Blonde, a bit of Saison and a bit of IPA all combined in juicy glory. One minor critique – the grapefruit bitterness lingers on a touch too long in the aftertaste. 8/10.

M: Decent mouthfeel, medium bodied with a reasonably creamy carbonation (thanks wheat!) which real adds to the flavour profile. 8/10.

D: It’s a simple brew, but that simplicity belies greatness – this is another home-run for To Øl. At once so straightforward on the palate, mild yet complex in aroma, this is a class act of a brew from those Danish guys. The only thing that really detracts is that grapefruit peel that begins well in the flavour, yet continues throughout the palate and TBH doesn’t leave even after several sips – that grapefruit peel is powerful stuff! Still tres tasty here. 8/10.

Food match: Belgian brasserie food: Carbonade flamande.

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Barossa Valley Brewing Cherry Ripe Porter

Total Score: 7.1/10 Chocolate1Cherry1Coffee1Nonicpint1

Cherry Ripe Porter? I’m in! I grew up sneaking Mum’s Cherry Ripes out of the back of the fridge where she used to hide them from the rest of the family. Even though I didn’t like them much – I never was one for coconut in anything – in some sick Pavlovian way I grew to enjoy them as one of the few chocolate treats I could get my grubby little kid hands on. Fast forward to today and I now enjoy coconut in things, I even sometimes drink coconut water (that’s natures Gatorade BTW), and cherry beers I am a big fan of. So the biggest question is – will Cherry Ripe Porter be like a Bacchus/Omnipollo dessert beer… or will it desert me in my hour of dessert needs? [wow there’s some interesting etymology going on there!] I remain, as ever, hopeful of impending sweetness.

Poured from a 330ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Deep dark opaque chocolate brown with a fluffy 3 centimetre tan head that dissolves leaving some sticky lace behind. Looks aiight, but then again most Stouts/Porters (those age old interchangeable styles) do look aiight. Head could be a bit denser – which doesn’t bode well for mouthfeel. 7/10.

S: It’s got a bit of a Black Forest cake vibe going on with dark and milk chocolate and sweet cherries in the aroma… hmmm, it’s got a good scent this brew – very inviting. It’s a touch on the sweeter side for balance, and I suspect the finish might be slightly dry with a roasted coffee bitterness. Not much in the way of coconut detected here, though I’ve found with previous coconut beers that it oft comes through more in the flavour… speaking of which. 8/10.

T: Confirmed: No coconut detected. Frankly needs more cherry too. Primary flavours are the classic Stout/Porter flavours: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, with a touch of earthy/nutty character. Finish is dry. Aftertaste has a cherry brandy note, but apart from that you could remove the words “cherry” and “ripe” from the label and people would be none the wiser. That said calling a beer simply “Porter” is a pretty unimaginative name. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied but reasonably dense carbonation makes it seem fuller, bit average here – more texture (perhaps from oats) is needed. 6/10.

D: Doesn’t exactly disappoint, however it also doesn’t live up to that much dreaded *spooky voice* “LABEL PROMISE”. Still this is a half decent Porter with some nice chocolatey sweetness (and a hint of booze) so not a total loss. 7/10.

Food match: You knew I was going to say it: Black Forest gâteau!!!

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To Øl Mr. Blue

Total Score: 7.9/10 WhiteWine1Earth1Coriander1Tulipglass1

My latest in a fruitful [get it – this beer has blueberries in it… what? You don’t like puns – GTFOOH!] relationship with those Danish brewers whose name I refuse to pronounce properly and call “tool” (it is after all one of the greatest bands of all time) is a nice homage to Reservoir Dogs: Mr. Blue. Personally I’m more of a Pulp Fiction fan, Tarantino is better with a budget. So “this 7% [ABV] Saison has a malt base of Rye, Wheat and Oats to deliver a spicy, fuller mouthfeel, hopped with Galaxy and Belma and then 500 kg blueberries per 1000 litre.” – Sounds like one tasty mother**ker, can’t wait to crack open this 500ml can, cheers Tool!

Poured from a 500ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Well, well Mr. Blue is actually quite red, deep ruby red body in fact, with a rather enormous pink head. This is one of the more interesting brews I’ve had in front of me. The fact is that the skin on blueberries are actually purple or deep red, so the colour of this brew is reflective of that fact… plus purpleberries is a silly name. 8/10.

S: Interesting aroma, there’s slight barn yard Saison funk to it, but overall the aroma is a complex mix of blueberry, vinous notes, dry juniper, earthy/peppery rye character and a hint of boysenberry sweetness. Though from the aroma I guessing this is a dry beer flavour-wise. Very intriguing stuff, it’s got a lot going on! 8/10.

T: Hmmm, touch of sweet leads to an overly dry and slightly tart brew. Aftertaste brings in herbal bitterness. Characters of blueberry (though less than expected), heavy earthy/dry juniper and sea buckthorne (see my review of HaandBryggeriet Tindved), earthy and slight peppery rye notes, dry white wine and a herbal note in the finish. Sophisticated flavour profile here. Though with a touch more sweetness it would have a perfect balance between sweet/dry/sour/bitter, still good though. 8/10.

M: Medium-ish bodied with a carbonation that started out sharp but softened rather quickly ending up a bit flat. 7/10.

D: This is one of those beers that is fun for something different but I could see it being a bit too… not lacking anything… and not over the top in any direction… it’s just got flavours that are complex but a bit boring at the same time, there’s a heap going on but it simply needs a bit of a ____ kick to it. And ____ could be anything: cinnamon, bacon, chocolate, papaya, whatever… in fact that gives me an idea for a cinnamon-bacon-chocolate papaya stout [patent pending!]. 8/10.

Food match: Seems pretty obvious: cinnamon, bacon, chocolate and papaya salad.

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Bacchus Brewing Dmango Unstrained

Total Score: 7.45/10 PapayaMango1HopFlower1mint1Nonicpint1

Damn Ross! Every time I try to pass up another Bacchus brew he, being the mad scientist that he is, throws out another clever pun-named brew of brilliance! This time Ross has named one of his beers after one of my favourite Tarantino films: Django Unchained. Dmango Unstrained is a New England style IPA (NEIPA) with mangoes used in the brew, and the thing that struck me immediately was how cloudy the beer looked through the brown glass of the bottle – it’s going to be murky AF, and that to me is a definite green light when it comes to this style. Can it beat out my favourite Bacchus NEIPA: JAF IPA? Well, being that I love mangoes (they’re like my #2 favourite fruit after watermelon), it’s in with a damn good chance!

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Wow! This has to be the murkiest pale beer I’ve ever seen, it’s like the pale version of a Stout. The body is totally opaque (no light coming through from the other side) mango juice coloured with a thin white head that dissipates rather quickly leaving a thin ring in the glass. This essentially looks like juice hey. 8/10.

S: Fresh green and ripe mangoes with a pervading note of green papaya and a green hop character in the finish. If this was a West Coast IPA I would be expecting a truckload of bitterness coming my way, however being this is a NEIPA it should be quite balanced in the flavour. This aroma is great though, very very green, and tropical, fantastic. 9/10.

T: Thick and soupy from the get-go. Mango with green papaya, grassy green hop backend, herbal as well, touch of Vietnamese mint (which is more spicy than mint). Where you would normally expect to find a malt base it has taken on a mango juice vibe, this is almost like a concoction of mango juice with hop tea – it finishes with a mid to low bitterness but then you get that sharp green hop character in the aftertaste. It’s an interesting mix between a beer and juice… beuice! 7/10.

M: Mid to heavy with a cloying juice-like consistency and a medium carbonation, which due to the green hop character takes on a sharpness. 7/10.

D: TBH I think this might be Ross’s ‘bridge too far’, and he’s done some crazy stuff over the years (King Of Denmark being my current favourite craziest thing he’s done). I picture some Bacchus brewers (in suits) sitting in a boardroom going “beer and juice, it can’t be done!” and Ross quietly nodding to himself. Still it is rather tasty, it’s just a bit of a line blurrer. 7/10.

Food match: If ever there is a beer that deserves green papaya salad this is it.

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Brewski Pango IPA

Total Score: 6.25/10 PapayaMango1Passionfruit1CutGrass1Nonicpint1

“Brewski time, come on and grab your friends, we’ll go to very distant lands, spe-cifically Swe-den with Doc the hu-man, the fun will never end, it’s Brewski time.” Yep it’s my new favourite time of the week since my review of Donkeyboy IPA… which was like 2 or 3 days ago… yep, I need a new hobby. So this another fruit-infused beer from Brewski, as you may know the Mango Hallon Feber I had of theirs was either a bad bottle or a bad batch or something, which means that I am going into this review of the passionfruit/pineapple/mango-infused Pango IPA with a sense of trepidation. That said in my previous experience with bad bottles lightning rarely ever strikes twice, fingers-crossed! [post review: lol me]

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: New England IPA cloudy AF Gamboge-coloured body with a very fizzy (uh-oh!) white head that sticks around as a cappuccino foam blanket on top (phew?). This is all looking reminiscent of Mango Hallon Feber… me-hopes it is not. 5/10.

S: Again Brewski manage to have a real grassy hop note upfront in the aroma of all their brews – I get a sense that they go all out with their hop quantities. Also noted are mango with hints of pineapple and passionfruit. Not much else. This is evidently a NEIPA in style and they rarely put up a whiff of malt in the aroma. 8/10.

T: Yep – it’s another overly refermented bottle from Brewski* – although this one at least is reasonably drinkable, if not lacking in flavour. Flavour profile is a muted mango with hints of pineapple and passionfruit and a slight grassy note towards the finish, which is thankfully not insanely bitter as Mango Hallon Feber turned out to be. If it wasn’t for the refermentation in the bottle I reckon the flavour balance would have been more towards sweet, as it is this is dry and lacking flavour. 6/10.

M: Gassy AF, almost undrinkable here – burped easily over a dozen times, body is thin too – excessive secondary refermentation, you bastard! 3/10.

D: Though this isn’t quite as lost as the Mango Hallon Feber the other day it’s still a big disappointment, especially now that I’ve had a decent brew from Brewski in the form of Donkeyboy DIPA, which was excellent. Not sure if it’s down to bad transportation practices or lack of filtering, but Brewski have been real hit n’ miss for me thus far. Still got Conan and Barbarian to go yet. 7/10.

Food match: Some sort of antacid to head off the burps?

*The insane carbonation gave it away.

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