4 Pines Grapefruit IPL

Total Score: 5.5/10 Grapefruit1Grapefruit1Grapefruit1Nonicpint1

The cynic in me loves this fodder brewers like 4 Pines keep providing: “Imperial Pale Lager, because yeah that’s really a thing!”, but I try to temper myself and keep myself focused on what’s important: “is it good or is it shit?”. Because that’s all it really ever comes down to in the end. Good. Shit. And that grey area in between where most beers live – that “not bad” zone. So far most of the Keller Door brews have nestled themselves well within the grey, with the occasional “what were they thinking?!” and that one weird-great one: Their Oaked Baltic Porter. Otherwise they’ve managed to appear to be challenging status-quo with their Keller Doors without actually – you know – challenging status-quo… an achievement in itself.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Some sort of goldy/yellowy, hazed? Yes hazed body, with a thin almost-beige-but-not-quite head that presents as a thin blanket… the wordcabulary part of my brain appears to be broken, just resetting now [which involves bashing my head with some 2×4]… ahhh, that’s prodigiously better. 7/10.

S: Like a glass of grapefruit juice, unmistakeably grapefruit driven and naught much else. Struggling to detect anything else, malt is non-present in the aroma and hops are hiding somewhere in the boys toilets smoking cigarettes, or something along those lines – damn punk-ass hops! Note my score here is due to a perceived lack of complexity in the aroma. 5/10.

T: Here’s another fruit-infused beer that for whatever reason is overrun completely by the fruit, in this case grapefruit. It’s certainly winning in the “things that are actually beer that taste like grapefruit juice” stakes with a solid grapefruit note from start to finish. Even has that acidic teeth feel of a glass of grapefruit juice. So flavourwise all I’m getting here is: Grapefruit, grapefruit, something else citrus, grapefruit sweetness, slight herbal/citric hop bitter finish. 5/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a medium gassed carbonation – definitely has the texture of a beer as opposed to juice… a win there I guess. 7/10.

D: This is another example of a fruit-infused beer gone pear-shaped (New Belgium Citradelic was the last beer I reviewed). Of course one of my shining examples of a fruit beer done excellently is BrewDog Elvis Juice – in this case quite relevant to this review – Elvis Juice is a grapefruit-infused beer that is spot-on… even tastes like a beer! *shock-horror* 6/10.

Food match: Bacon and eggs, what else?

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Prancing Pony Imperial German Sledgehammer

Total Score: 8.55/10 Honeycomb1Orange1Peppercorns1Stein1

Thanks to the friendly rep of Prancing Pony I’m finally revisiting the South Australian brewer (I reviewed their Black Ale back in 2015, I was a young man then *sigh*) with free samples of Imperial German Sledgehammer, India Red Ale, and their soon to be released Pagan’s Empire Imperial Pale Ale (what happened to India???). First up is Imperial German Sledgehammer – a 7.5% ABV Imperial Pilsner brewed with the assistance of Andreas Wagner… who’s he? Only a master brewer from, I don’t know: WEIHENSTEPHANER!!! [did I need to shout that? Yes, yes I did.] That is one mighty pedigree to bring to any German styled beer and I’m looking forward to cracking open this one… salivating even.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip (not quite the right glass for this style but I’m reviewing an IPA next and I couldn’t be arsed cleaning multiple glasses).

A: Cloudy with some yummy yeast clumps suspended in the delightful tawny body with a 2 centimetre cream-coloured head that drops back to a nice lace blanket. Looks a real treat, but then again I like yeast clumps in my beers [mmm, vitamin B!]. Head is quite dense, like that thick kid at school, you know the one… good stuff. 8/10.

S: BIG floral scent mingles with orange blossom flowers and orange peel, hints of honey and bread dough give you a sense of its Weihenstephaner master brewer pedigree [Prost Herr Wagner!]. Noble hops (Saaz possibly) in the background lend a touch of spicy/peppery character to the aroma. Sledgehammer is a mighty word and so far this is coming across as a mighty brew. 9/10.

T: Bloody tasty stuff! The bottle label speaks of a fusion between a Doppelbock and an IPA – whilst that’s not exactly what I’m getting (it’s more Pilsner than Doppelbock flavours… maybe even Maibock…) – it’s definitely crazy enough to work [like sharks with frikin’ laser beams attached to their heads!!!]. Flavours are a melange of: Honey, orange, floral, spice and pepper, with a finish that begins dry but ends with a balanced herbal bitterness. By George this is a top drop. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with a dense but thin carbonation… almost too heavy. 7/10.

D: Towards the end of the bottle this was starting to become slightly cloying, still pretty damn good though, I highly recommend getting your hands on this sledgehammer. I suggest listening to Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ whilst sipping on this, then you get: DOUBLE SLEDGEHAMMER! 8/10.

Food match: Go with Thai or Laotian cuisine, something spicy and light.

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