Beer With Me Nano Brewery Nøgne Ø Pale Ale

Nøgne Ø Pale ale (left), Beer With Me Nano Brewery Pale Ale Batch 001 (right)

Nøgne Ø Pale Ale by Beer With Me Nano Brewery, 7.1% ABV, 40 IBU.

An absolutely 100% objective rating coming up, this is the rating of my very first homebrew! My Batch 001 is the Nøgne Ø Pale Ale all-grain beer-kit, which according to Nøgne should be fool proof. Guess I’m a fool, then. Please see my brewlog for details about the brewing process.

I had bought a bottle of Nøgne Ø’s own Pale Ale, and my attempt at recreating this very nice beer will mercilessly be compared to the Correct Answer™.

The colour of Batch 001 is light amber, quite similar to the original. It is however much cloudier, Nøgne Ø’s ale only has a good-looking haze. The head of my beer is smaller, has a shorter life-time and doesn’t lace the glass as well as Nøgne’s.

The aroma is… well… butter. Sweet butter and butterscotch are far too dominant, the refreshing fruits that are upfront in Nøgne’s beer are less obvious in mine. It’s not very bad, but something’s definitely gone wrong here. I suspect I bottled the beer too early (after 6 days), or could the butter be due to an infection?

The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter, far sweeter than Nøgne’s. There are some citric notes and grapefruit, but again the noisy butter ruins the experience. There is also a tad more obvious alcohol flavours in Batch 001 than in the real deal.

Yours truly admiring his (and Nøgne Ø's) work.

A good thing about the increased sweetness and the butter is that the mouthfeel is not that bad, I’d say a medium body and a quite oily texture. The carbonation however is a bit to soft, softer than the guys in Grimstad make.

Conclusion: I’ve actually managed to make a beer. The aroma and the taste is that of a beer. Not a good beer but it’s not entirely undrinkable. But I’ve definitely screwed up somewhere in the process.

Aroma:      4
Appearance: 3
Taste:      5
Palate:     3
Overall:    9
Ratebeer Score: 2.4

Addendum: after a couple of more weeks in the bottles the diacetyl is almost completely gone, and the beer is now nice and refreshing. It’s still too alcoholic, but both the Aroma and Taste is so much better, I’d say they are both close to a 7. A couple of my testers actually claimed that they liked my version better than the original in a direct comparison. I’m not sure if I would go that far, but it’s still tasty stuff!

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ClubGonzo's The B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant)

The Big Friendly Giant by ClubGonzo, Imperial India Pale Ale, 8.2% ABV, 106 IBU.

The Big Friendly Giant, enjoyed a late summer evening in Oslo.

I’ve been a huge Roald Dahl fan ever since I was a little kid, and I’ve probably read all his novels, short stories and children’s books. The Big Friendly Giant is one of my absolute favourites, so ClubGonzo better have made a fantastic brew when using His name!

The body is dark amber and ends up quite cloudy, with a large, creamy, off-white head that is very long-lived and reduces to a everlasting thick layer. The head leaves quite much lacing on the glass.

The aroma is rather strong and pleasant, although it lacks a bit in intensity and complexity, and deliciousness for that matter, to be an absolute winner. But by all means, it’s tempting stuff! It’s of course heavy hoppy, but there are also obvious malty elements, like sweet caramel. The hoppy part consists mostly of resin, citrus and some perfume-like notes, in addition to fruits. It’s not as fruity as I like (I)IPAs to be, there’s no tropical fruit bowl here. Finally there is quite much alcohol. Oh no. Will this turn out to be another too alcoholic beer from Bergen?

The B.F.G. a.k.a. The Fevik Batches - Vol. 1. (Don't you just love the names of the beers from ClubGonzo?)

The taste is moderate sweet with a heavy bitter finish that actually isn’t that long-lasting. The flavours are of moderate intensity, and as I feared, the alcohol is far too dominant. I find it very difficult to pick out the different flavours in this one, other than some generic fruity notes, resin and this stinging alcohol.

The mouthfeel is ok (but again the moderate alcoholic finish doesn’t make it very drinkable), with a medium body, oily texture and soft carbonation.

Conclusion: the beers from JoKr Brewers/ClubGonzo tend to be either crazy and experimental or tasty and nice (and in some cases all of the above). Even if they sometimes are a bit too experimental for my taste, they are always interesting! The BFG on the other hand is just… well… a bit boring, uninteresting and with an aggressive and unpleasant alcoholic feel, and with too faint and unfocused flavours. This isn’t a Big Fiendly Giant, this is closer to a Childchewer, a Fleshlumpeater or a Bloodbottler.

Aroma:     7
Apperance: 4
Taste:     5
Palate:    2
Overall:  10
Ratebeer Score: 2.8