ClubGonzo’s Monsoon

Mead, 11% ABV.


Sometimes meads get too sweet without anything to back up the sweetness (take for instance the Sugar Honey). The Monsoon, on the other hand, has plenty of potentially crispy additions!

This one looks paler than most meads, but the clear and light golden colour still looks good.

The aroma jumps out of the glass, and delivers a collection of refreshing notes in addition to the mandatory sweet honey. I get lime, lemon and hints of galangal.

In the mouth this is like drinking a spicy version of Repsils Triple Action Honey & Lemon coughing drops, which happens to be one of my favourite candies-that-do-not-help-when-you-have-a-cold-but-they-taste-good-so-what-the-hell. Honey and lemon is always a brilliant pairing, and the spiciness further increases the drinkability of this fun mead.

The taste is very sweet, but in the finish it is backed up by citric dryness and the spices.

Conclusion: a delicious mead with a nice mix of spices.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    15/20
Ratebeer score: 3.7/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Sugar Honey

Mead, 13.8% ABV.

ClubGonzo’s Sugar Honey, mead batch no 22.

Yes, this is a mead, not an imperial stout.

If you find most meads a bit too sweet; this one is probably not for you.

The Sugar Honey is clear and has a deep brown colour, far darker than most other meads I’ve tried.

Strong aroma of maple syrup, brown sugar, burnt sugar, sweet caramel, dark caramel, honey and alcohol. This smells like some potent stuff!

The strong flavour is as dark and complex as the aroma. It’s violently sweet brew, but both the quite high ABV and the dark and burnt notes is balancing the sugar overdose to some extent.

The texture is really syrupy and thick.

Conclusion: a highly complex and incredibly sweet mead. Definitely a sipper. 

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Sweet Hot Smoke

Mead, 12.5% ABV.

ClubGonzo’s Sweet Hot Smoke, mead batch 21.

Holy smokes!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a total chilli sissy. So let’s see if I can handle a mead with chipotle!

It looks like very many other meads, i.e. clear and golden. This one is a bit darker than many, though.

The chipotle is very present in the strong aroma, this is a very smoky brew! It actually feels quite peaty. Is this a whisky with honey? How special!

The flav… *cough* flavo… aargh… ouch… is… well, let’s put it this way: the name of this mead is extraordinarily fitting! It is very hot indeed, and the heat is absolutely caused by smoked chillies. Lots of smoke, lots of heat and a nice honey sweet background. Acidity might be an efficient way of balancing sweetness in meads, and this brew shows that chilli heat is definitely another.

 

After a few sips I’m adjusting to the heat, and the Sweet Hot Smoke actually turns out to be quite drinkable.

Conclusion: a crazy creation that is a bit too hot for my delicate palate, but highly entertaining and tasty.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:   13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Pina Meada

Mead, 12.4% ABV.

ClubGonzo’s Pina Meada, mead batch 20.

Liquid gold.

Allright, a piña colada mead! That sounds… interesting!

It pours a nice-looking, clear, deep golden body.

The aroma is strong and initially I don’t pick up much else than the regular honey. After a while, though, subtle notes of coconut and spicy pineapple start to emerge.

The coconut is much more present in the flavour, it has almost the same intensity as the honey. The pineapple is in the background, together with a touch of rum. This is a quite heavy sweet brew, but the pineapple brings a light and balancing acidity.

Conclusion: a fun mix!

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:   13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Plum Bliss

Mead/Melomel, 10.6% ABV.

 

ClubGonzo’s Plum Bliss, mead batch no 18.

Look at that body!

This mead pours a crystal clear, beautiful orangey golden body.

The aroma is surprisingly faint, but there are definitely plums present. The honey is further in the back.

There isn’t much intensity in the flavour either, and the profile is as simple as in the aroma: plums and faint honey. But I like plums, and I like honey, so I do enjoy what’s in my glass. Heavy sweet taste with a light acidic tail.

It’s a full-bodied brew with a syrupy texture.

Conclusion: a boring, modest and simple mead. That is quite good.

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Melonmel

Mead/Melomel, 15% ABV.

ClubGonzo’s Melonmel, mead batch no 19.

I had more fun making artsy photos of this mead than drinking it.

The King of Puns presents a melomel with melon, called Melonmel!

In the glass it’s crystal clear and has a nice golden colour.

The aroma isn’t very strong, but that it’s ok with me, because it isn’t particularly pleasant. You know the smell of the bin the day after you threw in some melon rinds? Yep. The rotting fruit totally overpowers the honey.

The strong flavour of rotten fruit and rotten leaves is equally offensive. Are there even some rotten fish(!) in there? Ouch.

Up till now I’ve had the impression that too old meads just get faint and boring, but this one has just turned bad.

Conclusion: For all I know this once was a decent mead, but now its drainpour. Good pun or not.

Aroma:      3/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      2/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    4/20
Ratebeer score: 1.6/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Blackberry Finn

Mead/Melomel, 10% ABV.

Deep red body.

ClubGonzo’s Blackberry Finn, mead batch 17.

Will this mead make me wish I had blackberries in my garden?

In the glass it has a deep red and clear body.

The aroma is very strong, with notes of honey, Husholdningssaft™ and berries. I do not recognise the blackberries, but I guess that is a too modest berry to really make a distinguishable impact. Nevertheless, it’s a pleasant honey/berry aroma.

The strong flavour follows the aroma – honey and sweet berries. It’s a simple but effective flavour profile, making the mead drinkable and easy to like. I can’t imagine anyone will find this one offensive in any way. The taste is very sweet, but there are also some very nice hints of balancing berry acidity and some dryness in the finish.

Conclusion: a likeable and drinkable mead that won’t win any prizes, but might be able to trick someone into liking mead. 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Castagnero

Mead, 13.8% ABV.

A single honey mead made from Spanish chestnut honey – sounds expensive!

It pours a clear deep golden colour, without any head.

The honey aroma is strong, and has a quite dark quality without crossing the border to burnt sugar or dark caramel.

It has a strong flavour of dark honey, this is very far from light heather honey. It feels quite nutty, but I’m not sure if that’s because it says so on the label… There is also a faint nail-polish remover background that I don’t like that much.

It’s a very sweet mead, without any additions to round the sweetness off, so it’s not exactly a session mead. It doesn’t have many flaws (except the hints of nail-polish remover), but still it’s no winner in my book.

Conclusion: a straightforward mead made from a special honey (with an off-taste)

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 2.9/5.0

S & M Brewing Heilige Nacht

Belgian Strong Ale, 12% ABV, 31.8 IBU.

DISCLAIMER: I opened this bottle by mistake. The brewers instructed me not to taste this beer before 2020, but I completely forgot about that. In other words, the beer that I tasted was not the final product! Please keep that in mind when reading this rating.

Heilige Nacht. Yet another reason not to be religious.

It’s quite much darker than De Dolle Stille Nacht, right?

I know for a fact that at least half of S & M brewing is a huge fan of De Dolle Stille Nacht, so a tribute to this ale was to be expected.

In the glass it has a cloudy, deep amber colour, with a frothy, beige, short-lived head that leaves virtually no lacing on my glass.

The aroma is strong and far too dominated by stinging and rough alcohol. Fair enough, this is a big beer, but even a 12% ABV brew shouldn’t smell this boozy. I also get a generic fruitiness and somewhat unclean yeasty notes. In the back I find caramel, honey, dark dried fruits and spices.

In the mouth the alcohol really kicks in! I’ve never had a beer remotely close to being this absurdly alcoholic and insanely stinging and sharp! Fortunately there are other elements here as well, behind the wall of alcohol, and if not exactly saving this brew they prevent it from being a total disaster: dark dried fruits, caramel, sugar and honey. Actually lots of honey, in such a degree that this creation tastes more like a braggot than some braggots I’ve had.

The mouthfeel isn’t too bad (ignoring that it’s close to undrinkable due to the stinging alcohol): full body, oily texture and soft carbonation.

Naturally I didn’t manage to finish the bottle, I had to have a more gentle drink. So I poured me a Laphroaig instead. And I swear to Dog, even after a few sips of this peaty single malt, the Heilage Nacht still felt violent and boozy in comparison!

Conclusion: “A beer suitable for Christmas or for long-term aging”. I’ll go for the latter. Maybe it’s possible to drink in a decade or two.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    7/20
Ratebeer score: 2.2/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Eirik 50 år

A birthday brew! Eirik 50 år, ClubGonzo batch 72.

Brown Ale, 6.9% ABV, 35.6 IBU.

Birthday brew and birthday flowers.

It pours a deep brown body with a average-sized beige head that ends up as a fully covering film. Some of the foam is stuck on my glass.

The aroma is rather strong and has some of the dirty yeasty notes that I often find in brown ales, so I guess it’s true to the style. I also get roasted malt, coffee, and sweet, overripe dark fruits. Quite strong flavour of roasted malt, coffee and a touch of yeast, with pine in the back. The taste is light to moderate sweet and moderate to light bitter. Medium body, dry texture and moderate carbonation. A close to decent brown ale with a tad more bitterness and hoppy elements than you average UK brown ale.

Conclusion: What? You find this rating a bit boring? Well, that’s what you get for brewing a slightly boring beer.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 2.9/5.0