JoKr Brewers Bimbaffled

Bimbaffled by JoKr Brewers, Belgian Blonde, 6.2% ABV, 28 IBU.

For a blonde this beer isn’t that blond: the colour is slightly pale amber. In the glass the body looks clear, once again the JoKr brewers have done a good job when it comes to clearity (or maybe my pouring skills are improving!). The head however is frothy and is very soon reduced to a thin, white layer that doesn’t lace the glass very well.

A blonde that isn't very blond. Right here the head is big, but trust me, it collapses very fast.

The aroma is of moderate intensity and is rather Belgian, with obvious and pleasant notes of Belgian yeast, spices and with fruity notes that are sweet and at the some time a bit acidic. And then, far in the back, are some elements that make me wonder if this bottle is very lightly infected? There are some faint wild notes, some sourness and a touch of fermented apples! The fun thing is that these parts only bring another dimension to the beer, they make the aroma more interesting. Still, I think I prefer blondes with a more traditional, cleaner and stronger aroma.

JoKr Brewers Bimbaffled a.k.a. Batch 14.

The taste is light sweet and light bitter, and again I find traces of sourness. The moderate flavours have notes of Belgian yeast, spices, faint fruits, some nice notes of sweet honey and vague hints of fermented apples. And then, of course, alcohol! Ha! I had this beer 5 minutes after the absolutely clean East Block Sunshine, but here they are again, the good ol’ boozy JoKr notes of stinging, near fusel-like alcohol. Ok, the alcohol is not very intrusive, and if this had been a Duvel clone it would have been close to tolerable. But for a 6.2% ABV the alcohol is too stinging, even for the style. Apart from the alcohol the mouthfeel is ok, with a medium body, moderate carbonation and dry texture.

Conclusion: Typical Belgian notes work well with sweet honey to fight back the attacks of the biting alcohol. The pleasant elements are a bit too faint and the aggressive alcohol is too obvious. The sourness and the wild notes are a bit misplaced, even if they’re not terribly disturbing.

Aroma:      6
Appearance: 3
Taste:      5
Palate:     3
Overall:   10
Ratebeer Score: 2.7

JoKr Brewers East Block Sunshine

East Block Sunshine by JoKr Brewers, Pale Ale, 5.8% ABV, 47.5 IBU.

This is probably the clearest homebrew I’ve ever seen! It pours a crystal clear, pale golden body with a frothy head consisting of many small bubbles. The head is white and reduces to a thin but fully lasting layer after some time. A reasonably amount of foam sticks to the glass. This looks very much like your average pilsener, but hey, it’s a crystal clear home made beer! Considering that this is a homebrew I’m tempted give this a 4 in Appearance and thereby breaking my first sacred Rule of Rating™: judge a homebrew in the exact same way as a commercial brew. But the body is a bit too pale and the head a bit too average, so I’ll end up with a 3.

Pale and crystal clear!

JoKr Brewers East Block Sunshine. The label says 47.5 IBU, I'll advice the Jokers to google "significant figures"... 🙂

The aroma is of moderate strength, it’s quite sweet and has a faint touch of acidity. It’s not a very exciting aroma, but the Saaz hops are very obvious. Maybe a bit too obvious for an ale, this smells more like a pilsener. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I’m just not the biggest pilsener fan. I also get pale malts and some faint fruity notes.

The taste is moderate sweet, maybe a bit too sweet for such a light (both colour and ABV) beer? There is also a light acidity and the finish is moderate to light bitter. The bitterness is a bit sharp and grassy, and not that pleasant. I also get grainy notes and a light fruity touch. The body is medium, the texture is rather dry and the carbonation is a bit too soft.

In a way this beer is a bit confusing. The aroma is so full of noble hops that I was led to believe that this is a bone dry, crisp and refreshing lager-like beer, but on the palate this is just fairly dry and a bit too sweet, almost a bit cloying.

Conclusion: a strange ale, a wannabe-lager that ends up being neither. 

Aroma:      5
Appearance: 3
Taste:      4
Palate:     3
Overall:    8
Ratebeer Score: 2.3

ClubGonzo's Spicy Christmas

Spicy Christmas by ClubGonzo, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 7.4 % ABV, 38 IBU.

The previous ClubGonzo christmas beer I had was the fabulous I Hate Christmas, let’s see if this beefed up version is even better!

Spicy Christmas a.k.a. Batch No 14. I was so shocked by the alcohol attack that I forgot to take a picture before the glass was empty.

It starts out promising, it looks nice in the glass, even if the light-brown head is a bit small, reduces a bit too fast in size and doesn’t leave that much lacing on the glass. The body is clear with a dark brown colour with a red hue.

The aroma is strong and absolutely delicious! It’s quite malty and has some light yeasty hints, but most of all the sweet smell is dominated by christmas spices. I get nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. Also a faint vinous feel.

The taste is well balanced and nice, with a moderate sweetness and a moderate bitterness. Now, the flavours… Let’s mention the two positive things first: the taste is quite strong and there are some nice spicy notes of nutmeg and clove. But what in Ninkasi’s name what did you do to this beer? Poured in a few litres of solvent? Or is it nail polish remover? Or did you ferment this stuff at 30 degrees to really bring out the fusel? An overwhelming, stinging and horribly unpleasant alcohol flavour is totally dominating! The worst thing is that the heavy alcohol feel just increase in the aftertaste, making this stuff hard to drink. My dear ClubGonzo, I know that our opinions very often differ when it comes to how alcoholic a beer feels, but come on, even you have to find this one unpleasant?

The body is medium to full, the texture is oily and the carbonation is soft, and there is a light dryness in the finish.

Conclusion: A lovely aroma and some nice flavours, but the beer is hard to drink due to the violent solvent-like alcoholic feel.

Aroma:      8
Appearance: 4
Taste:      4
Palate:     2
Overall:    8
Ratebeer Score: 2.6

JoKr Brewers Crumbling Empire

Crumbling Empire by JoKr Brewers, Imperial Stout, 8.2% ABV, 33 IBU.

This is a beer I’ve beed storing in my cellar for more than half a year, by orders of the brewers. By now it should hopefully be mature and nice!

It pours a very dark brown body, almost black, with a large, light-brown, creamy head that is very long-lived and laces the glass excellently. What more could you ask for?

Crumbling Empire, a.k.a. Test Batch no 9.

The aroma is strong, roasted and has distinct notes of coffee and liquorice, with some additional hoppy fruity notes in the back. Not very complex or extraordinary, but an inviting aroma.

The taste is moderate sweet with a long-lasting, heavy to moderate bitter finish. I can’t believe that the IBU isn’t higher than 33? When it comes to the flavour I understand why the jokers wanted me to let this beer stay in its bottle for quite some time before trying it, they probably felt that the alcohol was too obvious when the brew was fresh. Me? I would have let the beer mature for another decade or two: a stinging alcohol flavour is far too dominant. Luckily there are also strong notes of coffee and liquorice, the latter is particularly obvious in the long-lasting aftertaste. Finally I get some very faint fruity notes.

The mouthfeel would have been wonderful, if it wasn’t for the too obvious alcohol. Medium to full body, oily texture and moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: a good-looking and tasty beer with a bit too much alcohol.

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 5
Taste:      7
Palate:     3
Overall:   13
Ratebeer Score: 3.5