Meilby Brewing Sour Experiment 1

Sour Experiment 1 by Meily Brewing, Sour Ale, 5.5 % ABV, 14 IBU.

I’ll start this rating by quoting an old fairytale by a guy called Matthew: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine,(…)”. I don’t understand sour ales, I don’t like sour ales, sour ales are… uh… sour, so asking me to rate one might not be a good idea. You could just as well ask me to rate the new Justin Bieber album. But Meilby says he like to push people out of their comfort zones, and insisted to include a sour ale in the box of beers he sent me. Homebrewers have managed to show me the light earlier (I enjoyed the Danmarks Plass by JoKr Brewers, the first smoked ale I’ve ever really liked), so let’s give give this a try.

Dirty orange body with bath foam. The strawberry plants of yours truly in the background.

The brewer suggest that this beer will be perfect on a warm summer day, so on this warm and sunny day I pop the cork of the champagne bottle (now containing beer). In the glass the sour liquid has a quite dark orange/amber colour, it’s cloudy, actually completely opaque. The head is small, white, frothy, bath foam-ish, very short-lived and doesn’t lace the glass at all.

The aroma is moderate, with fermented fruits and berries, especially apples, but I also get some surprisingly pleasant fermented strawberries. The funky barnyard notes are there as well, this is definitely a sour ale. But hey, I sort of like it. Especially the fruity parts. Maybe I’m staring to like this style eventually?

The taste is moderate sweet with a light sourness initially, and then the sourness grows to a moderate level that frankly is a bit beyond what I find pleasant. The flavours are again fermented apples and barnyard.

Meilby Brewing Sour Experiment 1, brewed 2012.01.15, bottled 2012.02.26, bottle 24/39.

Ok mouthfeel: medium body, quite dry texture, very soft carbonation and some additional dryness in the quite long fermented finish.

Conclusion: Is this a good sour ale? I have no idea. Do I like it? Meh, it’s fair enough, but not my cup of tea.

Aroma:            6
Apperance:        2
Taste:            5
Palate:           3
Overall:         10
Ratebeer score: 2.6

Meilby Brewing Winter IIPA

Winter IIPA by Meilby Brewing, Imperial/Double India Pale Ale, 9.2 % ABV, 200 IBU.

Meilby Brewing Winter IIPA, batch #004, brewed 2011.09.04, bottled 2011.10.19, enjoyed 2012.06.12. Bottle #12/31.

Meilby Brewing knows how to make super hoppy beers, so an IIPA with a whopping 200 IBUs should do the trick! I’ve been warned by the brewer that the Winter IIPA is starting to get a bit old, but I’ve had IIPAS that are far older than this that hadn’t lost any of it’s characteristics, so my hopes are still high.

In the glass the beer looks unusually(?) dark for its style. It’s cloudy, dirty looking, dark amber, close to dark brown. The head is large and creamy with a light-brown colour, it has a decent lifetime and leaves a good deal of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is quite strong with malty notes but with an overall fruity feel, although it’s hard to single out any of the fruity components other than ripe grapefruit. The rest of the fruity notes are darker. When swirling the beer in the glass I also get alcohol and some dusty notes. It’s a very pleasant aroma, but not as refreshing as the other M beers I’ve tried so far. It fits the look: it’s a bit dirty and undefinable…

The taste is quite sweet with heavy bitter finish. I guess there is more bitterness-drowning sweetness in this beer than I’m able to taste, because even though the bitterness is strong, it feels far from the theoretical IBU of 200. The flavours are quite strong with dark fruits, ripe grapefruit, resin and caramel. I might be fooled by the looks of the beer, but I also get lightly roasted notes. And then there is alcohol, and lots of it. It’s not sharp or particularly unpleasant, but it’s a very obvious and mouth numbering alcohol feel that is especially present in the not-that-long finish.

The beer is full-bodied and has a oily, almost syrupy texture and very soft carbonation.

Conclusion: a nice beer that with a pleasant aroma, but the flavours are a bit too weak and too dominated by alcohol.

Aroma:     7
Apperance: 3
Taste:     6
Palate:    4
Overall:  12
Ratebeer score: 3.2

Meilby Brewing Houblon Saison

Houblon Saison by Meilby Brewing, Saison, 7.5 % ABV, 50 IBU.

I’m not very familiar with the saison style, but I’ve liked the few I’ve had. The India Saison from Nøgne Ø however, was exceptionally nice, and therefore I was delighted to receive another generously hopped saison from Meilby Brewing. It might be a bit unfair to compare M with the best brewery in Norway, but anyway…

Houblon Saison in the glass

A very large, white, creamy head with some big bubbles forms very easily, I have to pour carefully. Beneath this fully lasting head dwells a mysterious, cloudy, orange body. This looks tempting! The lacing is good, although not as extremely impressive as the lacing of e.g. the Amarillo Pale Ale.

The aroma is strong, and as expected from a beer from Meilby Brewing, very pleasant! It’s unusually crisp and refreshing, and at the same time very complex and sweet. More so, the aroma never fades out as I empty my glass, it’s always present and I keep noting new nuances and subtleties all the time. I’m this close to reward a 9 in Aroma to this one. The aroma is very fruity, with citric notes as the most obvious, but I also get hints of grapes. There is also a refreshing spicy touch, herbs, belgian (?) yeast and a fun whiff of white wine.  Lovely!

The taste is moderate sweet, light acidic and the long-lasting finish is rather aggressively bitter with an alcoholic sting. I found the first sips a bit rough: the quite obvious alcohol together with the lively carbonation seem to enhance the biting bitterness. After a while my palate has overcome the initial shock, the carbonation level has decreased and the mouthfeel becomes very pleasant. The light alcoholic finish is there all the time, but after a while I find it very fitting. The flavours are unusually delicious, although slightly less intense than I’d hoped for. I find fruits, grapefruit and bitter orange marmalade, spices, refreshing herbs, resin, alcohol and honey. As the beer warms up I also get sweet tropical fruits.

Houblon Saison, brewed 2012.03.24, bottled 2012.04.04, batch #014, bottle 18/31.

Conclusion: a very nice beer with an amazing aroma and flavour profile. Not only is this a delicious brew on its own, but it also smells and tastes exactly what it’s supposed to be: a very hoppy saison. Returning to the India Saison from Nøgne Ø: I did like that one better, but to me it was closer to an IPA than to a saison. So in one way Meilby Brewing is more skilled than Nøgne Ø!

Aroma:      8

Appearance: 4

Taste:      8

Palate:     4

Overall:   14

Ratebeer score: 3.8

Meilby Brewing India Pale Ale

India Pale Ale by Meilby Brewing, India Pale Ale, 5.4% ABV, 78 IBU.

Meilby Brewing India Pale Ale.

India Pale Ale is one of my favourite beer styles. The IPA of my dreams has an intense fruity aroma without any notes of fruits gone bad, some sweetness in the taste and a very bitter finish, and strong fruity flavours. Let’s see if Meilby Brewers IPA stands the test!

It pours an surprisingly dark body, it’s deep amber, almost brown, and quite hazy. A large, off-white, creamy and rocky head forms easily, it’s fully lasting and it laces the glass well.

The aroma is strong and very inviting! There is quite much malty sweetness that is difficult to pin down, but I guess sweet caramel is sort of fitting. The fruity notes are however far stronger than the caramel: sweet ripe (but not overripe, yay!) tropical fruits, mainly mango and pineapple, while the citric notes are quite faint. Do I also detect a very faint lightly toasted note? Compared to M’s Amarillo single hop APA I would say that the IPA is sweeter, the malty part is stronger, the fruits are riper and the grapefruit is fainter. A wild guess: no Amarillo in this one?

Big, everlasting head on top of a dark amber brownish body.

The taste is a bit less sweet than I had expected and the bitter finish is of moderate plus strength. Is the IBU really 78? I’d guessed a lower value. The flavours are not as strong as I’d hoped for, but they are still very nice, although not very complex. I get mainly grassy, resinous notes with bitter grapefruit blended in, while the rest of the tropical fruit basked is left in the aroma. The finish is quite long, with a resinous bitter feel. I detect a faint whiff of yeast as well, but it’s not disturbing.

The mouthfeel is very good: medium body, a creamy and smooth texture, soft carbonation and a very light dry finish.

Conclusion: A very nice IPA with an amazing aroma and mouthfeel. My nose liked this beer better than my tongue: stronger and more complex flavours would have made this beer a winner.

Aroma:     8
Apperance: 4
Taste:     7
Palate:    4
Overall:   13
Ratebeer score: 3.6