ClubGonzo’s Spontaneous Torstein

Spontaneous Torstein by ClubGonzo, Cider, 4.7% ABV.

Ouch. The fermentation isn’t the only thing that’s spontaneous about this this cider, it even comes out of the bottle spontaneously, no need to pour!  The lively carbonation and the absurd amounts of sediments lead to an absolutely disgusting looking brew once in the glass. It’s a turbulent and muddy cauldron with huge bits and pieces that takes forever to partially settle at the bottom of my glass, and I feel the urge to filter the murky liquid between my teeth while drinking. The colour of this monstrosity is medium orange (when not taking the brown apple bits into account).

Spontaneous Torstein w/ 1 cm of apple sediments

Spontaneous Torstein w/ 1 cm of apple sediments

When smelling the brew I believe I can detect some light funky notes in the back, but they are not dominant. Even so they make this one smell a bit more like a traditional cider than the two previous ones from ClubGonzo that I’ve rated. The aroma is strong and rather sweet with an acidic touch, with lots of apples. I get a mix of ripe apples and slightly overripe bordering on fermented apples. Again, comparing to commercial available ciders, the ripe apples are more obvious here, the more common notes of overripe and fermented apples are subtle.

The taste is moderate acidic and the the texture is very dry indeed. No way this is a semi-dry cider, as the label claims, this is Sahara-style bone dry. I guess the heavy dryness and the over-carbonation tells me that ClubGonzo didn’t successfully manage to stop the fermentation, and once again I’m drinking a cider that feels like it’s got no residual sweetness. After a glass of this stuff my sensitive tummy aches. However, the flavour is lovely. I get incredibly clean and crisp apple flavours, again with hints of over-ripe and lightly fermented components. I don’t get much wild barnyard-ish notes.

Conclusion: once again a far too acidic and dry cider, but with a lovely aroma and flavour.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 1/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:   11/20
Ratebeer score: 2.9/5.0
Shopped? Whaddya mean?

Shopped? Whaddya mean?

 

ClubGonzo’s Raspberry Discovery

Raspberry Discovery by ClubGonzo, Cider, ABV 4.7%.

This is the same cider as the Øystese Discovery, with the slight modification of some raspberries in the fermenter.

Raspberry Discovery

Raspberry Discovery aka. Cider Batch 02.

The raspberries definitely is evident visually: the body is hazy and medium red, what a lovely colour! You might argue that it would have looked more elegant with a bit more subtle red colour, but I like it. Interestingly the light pink fizzy head forms a fully lasting bubbly ring at the walls of the glass. Why? Proteins from the raspberries? Anyway, it makes the cider look even more interesting.

Raspberry Discovery

Raspberry Discovery in the glass.

The aroma is quite strong and very pleasant. I get a lovely mix of tart apples and overripe raspberries and a lambic-like acidic scent, but also some sweetness. Interesting!

The taste has the same moderate to heavy acidity as the non-raspberrified version, but somehow it feels more fitting when accompanied by raspberry flavours. The raspberries are most evident initially, then sweet apples take over (note: flavours of sweet apples, the taste is very acidic). I also get notes of lemon and some cherries in the back, I guess it’s the acidity and the raspberries that fool me. The finish is moderate dry, the carbonation is moderate and the body is quite light.

Conclusion: the raspberries was a really good idea! It’s still too acidic, though.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:   10/20
Ratebeer score: 3.0/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Øystese Discovery

Øystese Discovery by ClubGonzo, Cider, 5.5% ABV.

First of all I’ll have to admit that my experience with ciders is very limited, but I like this style, and that’s all it takes for me to do a rating, right?

The very first home made cider that I’m now about to try pours a slightly hazy yellow-ish golden body. As expected for a cider the head is fizzy and very short-lived.

Øystese Discovery

ClubGonzo’s Øystese Discovery aka. Cider Batch 01.

The aroma is quite strong and both sweet and acidic. I get notes of both acidic and sweet ripe apples, also apple juice. There are no overripe notes and absolutely no fermented elements, as I often find is the case with ciders. There are no funky stuff, no wild fermented scents, this smells like a gentle cider for beginners!

The taste however reveals that this is definitely not something you should serve a person who thinks that ciders are the sugary sweet soft drinks that Kopparberg & Co produce. A very acidic taste hits my tastebuds as soon as the first drop enters my mouth, and the acidity lasts into the finish. Initially I thought that I got flavours of tart, very acidic and unripe apples, but the following sips made me understand that I was simply fooled by the heavy acidity. The flavours actually consist of gentle and  ripe apple notes (again without any overripe, fermented or barnyard notes). In a way the taste and the flavours are out of sync, they would have fitted better if the acidity was much lighter.

The mouthfeel is of course very crisp, the texture is dry, and combined with the acidity the finish feels very dry indeed.

Conclusion: too acidic, but apart from that it’s actually a quite nice cider.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:   10/20
Ratebeer score: 2.7/5.0

JoKr Brewers The Day After

The Day After by JoKr Brewers, Barley Wine, 11.8% ABV, 67 IBU.

I’ve rated no more than two barley wines on ratebeer.com, one of them being the barley wine/DIPA hybrid Nøgne Ø #100, so here I’m really on thin ice… But as always I judge a beer according to how much it pleases me at the moment, not if it’s true to a predefined beer style or not.

The Day After

The Day After aka. Test Batch 07. Looks good, right?

JoKr Brewers The Day After

JoKr Brewers The Day After

The Day After pours a clear and very dark brownish red body with a small, beige head that reduces quite quickly to a thin layer. This layer is fully lasting, and manages to lace my glass somewhat.

The aroma is strong, sweet and powerful, this is a serious brew that isn’t for the faint hearted! It has a complex fruity profile with both dried dark fruits and fruits that are fresh, yet overripe. There are also some delicious and well integrated vinous notes, and finally I get a light spicy touch.

The Day After back label, with some serious warnings. I always do what I'm told, so I let the bottle stay in my beer cellar until May 2013.

The Day After back label, with some serious warnings. I always do what I’m told, so I let the bottle stay in my beer cellar until May 2013.

The taste is moderate sweet and the finish is moderate bitter, long-lasting and very warming. The flavours are of moderate strength, I would have liked them to be stronger, and they are mainly on the malty side. The alcohol is in the front, but in a very pleasant, clean and vinous way that enhances the other flavours. Fruits, sweet caramel, a Jägermeister-like herbal spiciness and in the back some traces of liqueur filled chocolate. The bitterness and the alcohol fight for my attention in the finish, and I’m actually not sure which one these that is the main contributor to the warming, almost burning sensation in my mouth. I assume it’s the alcohol, but it may also be that the beer is more bitter than I initially thought.

The beer is very softly carbonated, but there is a faint fizz of micro bubbles that prickle my tongue as I drink, very elegant and pleasant. The body is full and the texture is oily.

Conclusion: A massive brew, thanks to the pronounced sweetness, bitterness and warming alcohol. Somewhat stronger flavours would be appreciated, I mean, other flavours than pure alcohol.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:   13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0

Artos Brewing HissIPA

HissIPA by Artos Brewing, IPA, 7.5% ABV, 75 IBU.

Finally a new kid on the block! Or actually not: if I remember correctly Artos Brewing is no other that 50% of the good ol’ JoKr Brewers. This IPA pours initially a clear, dark golden body with a huge, off-white head that is very long-lived and laces the glass well. Unfortunately I’m a thirsty man, and I stopped pouring a bit too late, and I therefore ended up with ridiculous amount of sediments in my glass. The once clear beer is murky with lumps of all sizes as I take my first sip. Partially my fault of course, but still, it doesn’t look that tempting.

HissIPA.

HissIPA.

The aroma is delicious and quite strong with slightly overripe tropical fruits, a dash of peach and a pinch of mango. But for a beer with “loads of hops” I had actually expected a more intense aroma.

HissIPA in the glass. It doesn't look that clear anymore, note the sediments at the bottom of the glass

HissIPA in the glass. It doesn’t look that clear anymore, note the sediments at the bottom of the glass

The taste is light sweet with a long-lasting heavy bitter finish that feels a bit sharp initially. The flavours are rather strong with the same slightly overripe tropical fruits in front together with resinous notes, also orange, some initial caramel sweetness and a touch of alcohol. Do I detect some vague traces of catty Simcoe in there as well? I’m not sure, it might as well be other elements that remind me of my own Hip Hooray IPA that I dry hopped with Simcoe. Nice stuff!

The mouthfeel is impressive, it has a really nice body, is that due to the oats? The texture is oily with a fairly dry finish and the carbonation is lively. I won’t let the fact that I get oatmeal in my mouth when I drink this brew lower the Palate rating…

Conclusion: a clean (aroma- and flavour-wise, absolutely not when it comes to appearance) and simple IPA that despite a bit sharp bitterness and a bit too obvious alcohol is fairly drinkable. The mouthfeel is particularly pleasant.

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


ClubGonzo's Panther Power

Panther Power by ClubGonzo, Black IPA, 7.1% ABV, 58 IBU.

Black IPA is one of my absolute favourite beer styles. In theory. In practice however, I often find BIPAs to be either too malty or too hoppy, only a very few specimens have turned out to be really well balanced with equal amounts of roasted malty sweetness and and bitter hoppy fruitiness.

The dark brown body is completely opaque. The head is a bit too frothy. But in this picture, after the head has reduced to a reasonable size, the beer looks yummy!

Lets start with the appearance. It turns out that the beer is quite eager to show itself off, it starts rising in the bottle as soon as I remove the cap. This gentle gushing seems to stir up the sediments in the bottom of the bottle, so the liquid I pour as slowly as possible is very cloudy, almost murky-looking, and to be honest doesn’t look that inviting. The head forms way too easily, and I end up with a frothy, huge, light-brown head consisting of lots of small bubbles. The head is fully lasting, and never reduces beyond a .5 cm layer, and lots of foam clings to the glass.

Panther Power, a.k.a. Solo batch 8, by ClubGonzo.

The first sniff of the beer leads me to believe that this one is slightly on the malty side. The aroma is quite strong and has some very nice roasted malty notes with coffee. The aroma is rather clean, but there are some dirty yeast notes, possibly due to the light gushing. Better still, there are also some nice hoppy notes in the back, a faint fruity touch mainly with citrus, but also a whiff of tropical fruits. This one really grows on me, and as the head settles and the yeasty components more or less disappear, I find the aroma quite well balanced and nice, although I’d prefer even more aroma hops.

But it’s the tongue that’s the boss, and the tongue says: “hell yeah!”! There is a nice and filling light to moderate initial sweetness and a surprisingly gentle moderate bitter long-lasting citric finish. Maybe a bit too gentle bitterness, this should maybe be called a Black APA? The flavours are more balanced than the aroma, I get far more hoppy notes, and the dirty yeastiness is completely gone. The malty part consists of roasted notes and equal amounts of coffee and chocolate, while the now quite aggressive hoppy part is a mix of general fruits, grapefruits and tropical fruits.

This is a very more-ish brew, I finished the bottle too quickly and immediately wanted another one. The body is medium to full, the texture is lovely oily and the carbonation ends up as quite moderate, despite the initial over-carbonation. As for the ClubGonzo/JoKr Brewers trademark, the alcoholic feel… What on earth have you done with this one? Whatever it is, keep doing it! The alcohol is incredibly well integrated, it’s so well hidden that I’m tempted to suggest that you made a mistake when measuring the FG! The lack of stinging alchol further enhances the drinkability of this beer.

Conclusion: a gentle, drinkable, tasty and well balanced BIPA. A bit more aroma hops, a tad more bittering hops and a bit less carbonation, and this would have been even better.

Aroma:     7/10
Apperance: 3/5
Taste:     8/10
Palate:    4/5
Overall:   14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.6/5.0