Old Golden Hen

Total Score: 7/10 Caramel1 Honeycomb1 Orange1 Nonicpint1

Time to drink some hen, Old Golden Hen to be precise. Note this brew contains one of my favourite (and a very versatile of) hops: Australian Galaxy, so in theory I’m going to enjoy this beer, but then again it’s a Golden Ale and I’ve never been the biggest fan of Golden Ales as they’re the bland trouser wearing cousin of American Pale Ales and as such they drive brown Volkswagen Passats and clean their spectacles with their shirt sleeves whilst listening to The Beetles, this is a very specific personification of a beer style but a valid one nonetheless.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Would you be surprised to know that it has a clear golden body with a thin wispy half a centimetre white head? No? Neither was I. A standard by-the-book Golden Ale appearance then. 7/10.

S: That’s Galaxy for you – always with the passionfruit notes upfront, not that I’m complaining – it’s a great aroma for any beer to have, just saying. Along with this are floral, toasted malt and orange blossom characters – the overall aroma is a dynamite combination and British restraint and assertive Aussie hops and I quite like where this is going. 8/10.

T: The flavour is remarkably not what was expected with a bold toasted malt/toffee/honey hit upfront, some lemon/orange notes in the middle, and a light medicinal hop bitter and dry finish. The malts in this brew have somehow managed to overtake the Galaxy hops and I for one am surprised – I’ve brewed a Mosaic/Galaxy dry-hopped beer before and the Galaxy hops hold up pretty well against the powerful Mosaic hops – kinda expected a hop-forward brew here. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light English pub carbonation – suits this malt-forward ale nicely. 7/10.

D: One thing I noticed as I got to the bottom of the glass is how the hops sneak up on you with a bitter aftertaste. In the end I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of this brew precisely because it doesn’t showcase the Galaxy hop as well as it could. It’s a half decent brew at 4.1% ABV (which is borderline mid-strength territory) however it needs better balance between the malt and hops (less malt and more hops) to really put it up there in the pantheon of great beers. The big question, the one that I ask myself again and again: Would I buy this once more? The answer is: Perhaps… pear hats. 6/10.

Food match: A light mild curry, maybe a Tikka Marsala, with Biryani and Naan.

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Murray’s Moon Boy Golden Ale

Total Score: 3/10 PapayaMango1 CutGrass1 Lemon1 Nonicpint1

Another Murray’s to tick off my list and it’s a Golden Ale – beer code for a light-flavoured Ale. Last light-flavoured brew of theirs I had, Rudeboy, was alright (though it was nothing to write home about… unless home was a beer blog and you were writing a beer review), fingers crossed this one isn’t a big pile of average, with average sauce on top. What!? 4.5% ABV! My average beer alert has already been tripped.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Wow, this looks more like a glass of dirty hazy brown river water than a beer – absolutely no head either. This is the saddest beer I have ever seen and I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t look like this, something has gone awry here. 1/10.

S: The aroma is a bit more of an improvement (how could it not be!?) with notes of papaya, lychee, cut grass and sour lemon. Still there is an odd taint pervading the aroma, it’s almost as unsettling as the appearance. 4/10.

T: Above flavours, as noted, with a finish that is more sour than bitter, this in of itself is strange for the style. I’m convinced this is tainted batch, but it’s not light-struck (it doesn’t have the characteristics for this). I believe it’s just been on the shelf too long, and when you purchase from a major chain you’re bound to get the occasional out of date “shelf-sitter”, oh well. 3/10.

M: Totally flat, mid to light bodied, nothing going on here. 2/10.

D: One of the weirdest beer experiences of my life. It actually tastes like my first ever homebrew batch – which was an unmitigated disaster. I will have to give this beer a re-review in the future – not unlike the Delirium Tremens of which I had purchased from the same major liquor chain – I really shouldn’t buy anymore beer from that chain. 3/10.

Food match: I really can’t recommend any pairing based on this review, besides I’m 99% sure this is a tainted batch – check back for a re-review.

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