Saturday, June 5, 2010

Grand Ridge Tastings #2

Seeing today is great drinking weather thought it appropriate to finish off the Grand Ridge beers my mate Joel got for me 6 months ago. seeing it is winter, am into the ales, and drinking from my bed (yep, i'm one of them cultured drinkers). sorry, but am drinking straight from the bottle.

Yarra Valley Gold (4.9%) - with the caramel tasting malts in these beers, they all seem to enjoy to be drunk at a higher temp. however, there are some definite hops going on, and a type/amount i don't really appreciate. as you have probably noticed by now, anymore than a teaspoon of flavoursome hops tends to push me past my tolerance, and whatever hops they are using is flavoursome in the same way dog turds add character to a lawn. they kick in way too early and while they don't sit long after swallowing, don't allow me to get much more from the beer. the texture is quite good though, which helps, but in this weather that is a bit of a basic i need to enjoy beer. i can get malt on the nose and on the tip of the tongue, and as it warms, more if it is able to come through taste, but this dry springing hop taste just keeps overpowering it leaving me unsatisfied at the end of each mouthful. I just want to drink it and not let it warm so it can be over with. not my best response to a beer. I have just put the other two beers between my legs and under the doona to help warm up so hopefully i have a better response to them. ok ok, i am being pretty snobby, but winter is my time for beer appreciation, and days like this are perfect for drinking, so want a beer to be a certain something. still, can say this is better than the VB i had before dinner last night (hey, free beer is free beer). yes, i guess it is a bit of a contradiction that i drink VB but bag out this beer, but we all have our contradictions in life, and beer is one that helps me see it in myself.

Anyway, onto the next beer...

Black and Tan - supposed to be a combination of gippsland gold and hatlifter stout (the beer after this). it sort of frothed up when i opened it so had to take a quick gulp so i didn't get it all over my bed. definitely more roasted malt in this one, but see still sense the separation of beers in this. there is definitely too much carbonation in this individual beer, so is not helping me taste it. while i can sense the separation between the two types of beer, i do have to say it is quite well blended, though on a personal note, do have to say i don't appreciate it. why water down a stout? it doesn't make any sense to someone like me. The over-carbonation is at least allowing me to sound like Barney of The Simpson's (well, not the voice, but at least the burping). There is still a decent texture, but there is a bit of smoke and coffee from the stout, which may be reason for the blend, to appease the average aussie drinking. this will hopefully become more apparent when i have the hatlifter on its own. i guess the blending lends itself to more of a brown/red ale, but can clearly separate the caramel malt in the gippsland with the more heavily roasted malt of the stout. at least the hops are not pronounced. the roasted malt does leave the tongue a but dry, but this is compensated by the smooth texture so it slides down without the dryness fully attacking the tongue. this may be where the slight smokey aftertaste is coming from.

Hatlifter Stout - can smell some choc in this beer combined with the caramel malt for a heightened sweet smell which do enjoy. having let the beer warm it is at a good temperature to fully get the stout flavours, and surprise, surprise, i am enjoying the taste. most of the flavour is compressed onto the front of the tongue, with the smooth texture running throughout to leave with the slighty coffee dryness i had from the previous beer. still, there is a consistency that goes with this style of beer through that. it is not as overbearing as i thought it would be seeing i just had the watered down version from the pervious beer. i am still picking up the caramel in taste as well, but again only on the front palate, but before the choc, smokey coffee comes along. this compression of flavours almost make it seem more delicate than most aussie stouts, which can be a bit too coffee and dry, but the texture really does fit well with this style of beer. not as complex as a moo brew vintage stout, but still one of the better ones coming from australia. as it warms further the caramel becomes more present. this caramel os something i have enjoyed over the whole range, and something i see as something that has drawn me to the scotch ales they do. still, there is a small, but certain something that leave the mouth not fully right with these beers. maybe again it is a slight dry hop/roast aftertaste. i actually would have thought there was a slight chemical taste, but that can't be right with these non chemical/preservative beers. somehow they don't leave the mouth very satisfactorily, in a way cleansing the tongue bit is a way stripping it as well. yes, i am nit-picking and being a snobby bastard, but we should all be use to that by now.

As the rain comes down harder and the alcohol starts to affect me more, i can at least say, i have ended this journey on the right beer. now i have an hour or so before i head to the Local to meet up with my mate Rick and have a few more. stay tuned.


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