I am coming down from the first beer tasting organised by Slowbeer, and can i say, didn't they ever start on the good foot with this theme. some surprising tastes overall. Thanks to my brother Mick for joining me on this journey.
As previously, my notes are as drunk (or tasted as the case may be).
1) Mikkeller Weinbrand Barrel Aged Red Ale (10%) - It had a fine frothy head that held throughout the tasting with the dark caramel colour, which corresponded into smell and flavour. there was an expected alcohol sting but was not harsh or lasting, and definite brandy tones as well. the head showed a good texture, but contrasted to the body which was slightly watery. taste spectrum went from malt to alcohol.
2) Southern Tier Cuvee 2 (american oak) (11%) - my first reaction was of a coconut smell, which is suppose to be present from the american oak. this then corresponded to a sweeter taste with the malt in the beer. there was also a smell of barelywine. there was no head with this beer. The other surprise with this beer was a mellow aftertaste once the malt and alcohol went across the tongue, making it quite easy-drinking for the style.
3) Holgate Beelzebub's Jewel's (12.5%) - another surprise in smell, this time with fruit punch with a sweet flavour. taste of malt mixed with fruit/berries which masks the alcohol quite well, unless the beer is left to warm on the tongue, which also delivers a dryness in aftertaste, probably from the Pinot Noir barrel it was in. still, i found there was little texture to speak of from the beer.
4) Murray's Anniversary Ale 4 (10%) - this was a pretty straight forward barelywine with the caramel start leading to an alcohol burn, which lingered in aftertaste. frothy with big bubbled head.
5) Bridge Road Anniversary Oak Aged Imperial Porter (8%) - the only one i had actually tasted before. dark brown colour with a brown head. dark malt and a coffee smell. smooth flavour with slight hop/alcohol midpalate and roasted malt/coffee finish. malt definitely roasted til they need an industrial cleaner to scrap it out for use. still, just has a nice pleasant mellow feel to it overall.
6) Brewdog Paradox Springbank Stout (10%) - whiskey smell and flavour overpowers anything else in this beer. dark brown beer with no head, has some malt characteristics of a stout, but no stout texture, and a spirit aftertaste that lingers.
7) Brewdog Tokyo (18.5%) - Officially the highest alcohol beer i have ever tasted, but had a gut feeling this was going to be a beer i enjoy when coming to the beer tasting. and wasn't my gut confirmed! This imperial Stout is aged on french oak chips to really mellow it out, and found myself comparing it to the bridge road previously drunk. well blended malt with alcohol slowly warming through the mouth, which had me thinking of Grand Ridge's Moonshine or Supershine. very well balanced beer which will definitely become a winter favourite. after the previous beers, this one went straight to my head...woohoo.
8) Nogne O God Jul Islay Edition (8.2% - Islay is supposed to be a whiskey of peaty and smoky characteristics, and my word has it ever come into this beer. there is almost a Rauchbier smoked ham characteristic in this beer, but yet the aging has help it blend and balance this out. had a good smooth texture, but for the smoked ham/whiskey flavours am happy we had this last.
So, overall, favourites from the night were Tokyo, Cuvee 2. Of course enjoyed the Bridge Road, but also liked the Mikkeller as well. least impressive was the Springbank. So brewdog got best and worst on ground, but definitely a good experience and looking forward to what slowbeer try for subsequent tastings.
PS: who can go past a happy monk? not me, as my brother happily said thanks for the invite to the night by buying me two belgium abbey ales from St Bernardus. I went for the trusty Tripel and the Abt 12. yep, going to enjoy getting drunk on two beers with a total cost less than $15. love your prices Slowbeer, and will be back for a $15 Brewdog Tokyo very soon.