Simen André Sørby Imperial Stout

Simen's imperial stout. Or rather, what's left of it after I've had some sips.

Imperial Stout by Simen André Sørby, Imperial Stout, 9 % ABV, 80 IBU.

I’ve been waiting for so long to try this one, and after an adventurous journey all the way from Kolbotn, it’s finally right here in front of me! Thanks to Facebook, Simen, Tora and Morten!

Unfortunately I was a bit too eager to start the drinking and rating, so I completely forgot to take a picture of the newly poured beer. But I assure you, simply pouring this one is a pleasure! It looks thick and viscous, like raw oil (not that I’ve ever seen raw oil in real life, but you get my drift), and pours a pitch black body crowned by a brown, creamy head that is larger than the average imperial stout head. It reduces to a thin layer with a healthy build-up against the walls of the glass, and leaves a good deal of lacing.

The aroma is strong, very sweet and pleasant. It’s heavily roasted with truckloads of strong coffee, a whiff of chocolate, some vague dark berries, traces of yeast and faint hints of hops. Not as complex as the aroma of a perfect imperial stout should be, but still absolutely inviting.

The taste is moderate to heavy sweet with a long-lasting, heavy bitter finish. The flavours are strong, lovely and follow the aroma, but in addition I also get some salty liquorice. It’s not very complex and doesn’t really open up as the temperature rises, but sometimes simplicity is enough. The alcohol isn’t as well integrated as I’d hoped for, it gives a sharp and stinging bite in the finish. Also the yeasty notes from the aroma manifest themselves as faint metallic notes, but they are not that disturbing.

The mouthfeel is very pleasant, apart from the alcoholic sting: the body is thick and full, the texture is oily to creamy and the carbonation is quite soft.

Conclusion: a quite clean, simple, elegant and very nice imperial stout that is true to the style. Lovely aroma and flavour and a nice mouthfeel, although the alcohol is a bit to aggressive. If the alcohol had been a bit better hidden, this would have been an absolute winner!

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 4
Taste:      7
Palate:     4
Overall:   14
Ratebeer score: 3.6

Meilby Brewing Peated Porter

Peated Porter by Meilby Brewing, Porter, 6.8 % ABV, 29 IBU.

As soon as I open the bottle the contents slowly starts to expand, so I pour rather quickly in order to prevent a gushing accident. Before I start pouring however, I notice some yeast sediments inside the bottle neck. In the glass the body is close to black, and the large, brown frothy to creamy head has a decent life-time and laces the glass well.

Meilby Brewing Peated Porter, batch 007, bottled 23.01.2012

The aroma is quite strong and very smoky. No sausages or cured ham, just plain wood smoke. Just how I like a smoked beer! (Let’s forget for a while that this isn’t a smoked beer) In addition there are some very obvious peaty notes, some coffee, a bit too much yeast and a pleasant touch of dark berries. The general feel of the aroma is quite sweet.

The taste is light sweet with a light bitter finish, and there is also a very light sourness, like sour smoke from a camp fire. The flavour is dominated by smoke and peat, with additional coffee and some alcohol in the fairly long-lasting finish. Again none of the dreaded meaty notes are present. The dark berries are more evident as a flavour than as an aroma. I think the yeasty notes are a bit too strong, but this still is a very tasty brew.

The body is medium, the texture is quite dry and the carbonation is moderate to lively.

Conclusion: A nice porter that I find more smoky than peaty, with dark berries making it even more interesting.

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 4
Taste:      7
Palate:     3
Overall:   12
Ratebeer score: 3.3

Beer With Me Nano Brewery Hip Hop Hooray

Hip Hop Hooray by Beer With Me Nano Brewery, IIPA (yeah right!), 7.5 % ABV, 145 IBU

Once again I rate one of my own creations, or to be exact, two of them. These beers are identical, but one of them, Batch 003 A, was dryhopped with Simcoe in the secondary for a week, while Batch 003 B didn’t receive this final dose of hops. The goal with this beer was to make an extremely hoppy IIPA, but I completely missed the OG and FG that I aimed for in my debut as a BIAB-brewer, so I’m not sure if this brew actually can be labelled an IIPA. See the brewlog for details.

Hip Hop Hooray Simcoe Dry Hop Edition

The two beers pours a very hazy (but not as cloudy as I’d feared) body with a medium to light amber colour. It’s not anywhere near opaque, which I suspected would be the result of the treatment this brew got: after boiling the wort cooled in an airtight bucket until the next day, then I pitched the yeast. The head seems a bit bigger and slightly more creamy on the dry hopped version, although I’d still call it rather frothy. The head sticks around for some time and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

The aroma of Batch 003 B is very strong and very nice indeed! It’s sweet and heavy fruity with lots of tropical notes like mango and peach. The dry hopped beer has an even more intense aroma that is less sweet and noticeably sharper with a stinging and close to grassy hop pellet feel. The fruity notes are a bit less noticable, although the mango and peach are still present. There is also some sweet strawberry notes and some very faint traces of alcohol. One of my test bunnies claimed she got some cat pee notes from the dry hopped beer, and I’ve got to agree: Hello Kitty! (I hereby trademark that name for an upcoming Simcoe single hop IPA!). The dry hopping certainly brings new elements to the aroma, but I think I was a bit too generous: 17 g hops in in an 8 L batch is too much, I’ll half the amount the next time.

If you pour this beer really carefully its possible to end up with a body that isnt that cloudy.

The taste is light sweet and the long-lasting finish is incredibly bitter. The bitterness is stinging and almost a bit harsh, but I like it, and it’s exactly what I was after, apart from the fact that this is by no means an IIPA. There is far too little sweetness and there are just faint traces of malty flavours. The hops are totally dominant, with strong fruity notes, grapefruit and resin. I’m not sure if the lack of maltiness is due to the excessive use of hops or that I put in too little Crystal and/or Vienna. The flavour profile is clean, without any diacetyl or other obvious flaws. The dry hopped beer is a bit crisper and more refreshing than Batch 003 B, and the bitterness feels even sharper.

The body isn’t exactly light, but it feels less full than what an IIPA should be like. For a regular IPA however, it’s quite all right. The texture is rather dry, and the combined with the mouthdrying bitter finish this is another element that doesn’t fit my picture of an IIPA. The carbonation is soft and pleasant.

Conclusion: wonderful and intense aroma and flavour. The taste is very bitter, a bit too violently bitter to be really pleasant, but still a very nice brew. But it’s absolutely not an IIPA.

Dry hopped version:
Aroma:      7
Appearance: 3
Taste:      7
Palate:     2
Overall:   12
Ratebeer score: 3.1

No dry hopping:
Aroma:      8
Appearance: 3
Taste:      7
Palate:     2
Overall:   12
Ratebeer score: 3.2