ANodYN Never Nude

Never Nude by ANodYN, Imperial/Double India Pale Ale, 8% ABV, Unknown IBU.

Rating homebrews is a mixed pleasure. I get to taste lots of fun and crazy beers, many of them far too experimental, demanding and special to ever be brewed commercially. The drawback is of course that another reason why many of these beers will never be on sale in my local shop is that they’re not that good. But then, from time to time, I get to taste a beer that is a true pleasure, that is a clean, no-fuzz, powerful and delicious brew that I’d buy without hesitating if I’d had the chance. The latter is definitely the case for the Never Nude DIPA.

ANodYN Never Nude, Batch no 9.

ANodYN Never Nude, Batch no 9, enjoyed 1 year after bottling. I forgot to take a photo of the beer in the glass. I blame the wonderful aroma and the lovely taste.

It pours a very hazy, medium amber body with a quite large, creamy, off-white head. The head stays big for quite some time, before it’s reduces to a bubbly thin layer that laces the glass very well.

The aroma is very strong and extremely pleasant, this is exactly how a DIPA should smell like! I get lots of lovely notes of overripe tropical fruits like mango and peach. This is perfectly backed up by a sweet, malty, caramel background. Finally there are some vague herbal traces in the back.

The flavours are a bit strong, but nevertheless an itsy bitsy teeny weeny disappointment compared to the quite intense aroma. However, they do follow the delicious aroma, but with some additional notes of clean alcohol that could have been better integrated. The taste is moderate to light sweet, with a long-lasting, moderate to heavy bitter finish. I like DIPAs to have even more bite in the finish, and thereby also some more sweetness, but this is still a wonderful taste.

The mouthfeel is very pleasant. The beer has a lovely smooth texture, there is some dryness in the finish, the carbonation is moderate and the body is close to full. A quite gentle and light DIPA, or an overwhelmingly powerful IPA, take your pick.

Conclusion: an unusually successful homebrew! The only things that could have made this even better would be to mellow the alcohol flavour and boost the other flavours somewhat, and add a few more grams of bittering hops.

Aroma:      8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    15/20
Ratebeer score: 3.8/5.0

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ClubGonzo’s Ich Weiß

Ich Weiß by ClubGonzo, Hefeweizen, 5.0% ABV, 15 IBU.

This very German hefeweizen pours a very cloudy, quite dark orange body with a huge, creamy, very long-lived, white head that laces the glass well.

ClubGonzo's Ich Weiß, batch 27. The name is better than the beer.

ClubGonzo’s Ich Weiß, batch 27. The name is better than the beer.

The aroma is moderate to strong, with some unusual notes of rotten fruit in addition to the more common and pleasant notes of banana and hefeweizen yeast. I can’t say I really love the rotten notes, but they’re not as bad as it sounds.

The flavours are moderate, with vague fruity notes, hints of overripe banana and pleasant-ish yeast. But yet again I get solvent-like, medicinal, stinging, unpleasant alcohol notes that are completely unwelcome in such a light beer (if solvent is something you’d ever want in any drink). These notes make the beer almost undrinkable in big amounts, a 25 cl bottle was too much for me.

The texture is dry, with a very dry finish. The carbonation is moderate, I’d like more more bubbles in a hefeweizen. There is a light sweet taste and hints of bitterness in the finish.

Overall: Not a successfull brew. It has some of the right elements, but far too many off-tastes to make this pleasant.

 

 

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    6/20
Ratebeer score: 2.1/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Simply The Best

Simply The Best by ClubGonzo, Best Bitter, 4.6% ABV, 39 IBU.

I find it hard to rate beer styles that I don’t like that much. One thing is to rate complex and demanding beers that give we that I’m-not-worthy feeling, e.g. sour ales or smoked. Then at least I understand that this this might be a high quality beer, it’s just that I haven’t acquired the taste yet. A completely different thing is to rate styles that I tend to find plain boring, e.g. most pale lagers and bitters. With that in mind, here’s my opinion on the best bitter that entered to the Vestbrygg summer beer competition last year.

ClubGonzo's Simply The Best, batch 22.

ClubGonzo’s Simply The Best, batch 22.

In the glass it’s pretty good-looking, with a clear copper body and an average-sized, creamy, off-white head. The head reduces quite quickly to a very thin layer, but the lacing is excellent.

The aroma is as expected from a bitter: not that strong and not that exciting. However it has a nice hoppy touch with traces of citrus on a caramel background. It’s plain, simple but not unpleasant in any way. Just a bit boring.

The taste is light sweet with a watery, moderate bitter finish. The flavours are rather faint, with yeast being the strongest element. There are also some hoppy notes with floral hints, in addition to a touch of caramel.

The carbonation is very soft, far too soft for my liking. It’s very dry and yeasty, and just doesn’t feel right.

Conclusion: Boring and yeasty with hints of pleasant hoppy notes.

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    7/20
Ratebeer score: 2.2/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Warming Christmas

Warming Christmas by ClubGonzo, Spice/Herb/Vegetable / Mead, 9.5% ABV, 43 IBU.

This is probably one of the most experimental brews I’ve ever had. A beer with several syrups, candi sugar and oak aged mead. Wow.

IMG_3532

ClubGonzo’s Warming Christmas, aka. batch 32.

It pours a dark amber to orange body that is slightly hazy. The head is very light brown and leaves some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is strong, sweet and lovely. Distinct notes of dark dried fruits, sweet caramel, burnt sugar, honey and an overall vinous feel.

The taste is moderate to heavy sweet with a moderate bitter long-lasting finish. It feels fairly well balanced.

The strong flavours are dominated by the dried dark fruits, but there is also spices that I didn’t pick up in the aroma, also wood. There is too much alcohol mid-palate, but it gives way for some lovely sweet honey notes in the late finish.

Is it a beer? Is it a mead? No, it's a braggot!

Is it a beer? Is it a mead? No, it’s a braggot! [edit: it turns out that this isn’t a braggot,  see comment from the brewer below]

The body is full and has a nice, creamy texture. The carbonation is moderate to soft, hints of dryness in the finish.

Conclusion: an extremely interesting and complex brew that is both tasty and drinkable. A pleasant surprise!

Aroma:      8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.6/5.0

Dr. M nr. 11 – Jula 2013

Jula 2013 by Dr. M, Saison/Belgian Ale, 7.2% ABV, 90 IBU.

This very untraditional christmas beer comes in two versions: a regular and one with a little gnome on the label. I can’t quite remember what the difference between the two versions is, but we’ll find that out soon enough.

IMG_3549

Dr. M nr. 11 – Jula 2013. The spiced version (a.k.a. gnomed version) to the left, the regular version to the right.

Both beers pour a slightly hazy, medium amber body. They seem to be quite lively carbonated, the gnomed version even more so, and the lightly tanned head is bigger and more frothy. Both heads are long-lived and lace the glasses well. The aroma and taste of the two beers are so different that I’ll have to rate them separately. First the regular version:

The aroma is strong, and it has lovely notes of Belgian yeast, or rather saison yeast I suppose, citrus, pale malts and lots of sweet fruits with hints of overripe strawberries. It’s a pleasant mix of crispness and sweetness.

IMG_3548

The labels have all the gory detail, but the additions to the gnomed version isn’t revealed.

There is very little sweetness in the taste and the finish is heavy bitter. Totally out of style perhaps, but fun. The flavours are moderate, it feels like the bitterness drowns most of the elements that should be present according to the aroma. I get yeast, fruits in the back and some alcohol. Even further in the back I get resin, pine needles and bitter grapefruit, vague hints of anise and traces of honey in the late aftertaste.

As expected the body is quite light, the texture is bone dry and the carbonation is lively.

The gnomed version is a totally different creature all together! The aroma is very strong, far stronger than for the regular version, but most of the notes found in the regular version are in the gnomed version efficiently masked by a massive wall of herbs, anise seeds, cloves and liquorice. There is nothing saison-ish about this one. But still an interesting aroma, I wonder what Dr. M has actually added to this brew!

The strong flavours follow the aroma, with lots of herbs, anise, spices (again especially cloves). There is really lots of herbs in this one. Lots and lots. This is like drinking a Jägermeister. Not very christmassy, but definitely an unusual and entertaining experiment! The alcohol feels better hidden than in the regular version, it also feels a bit less bitter, less dry and there are more sweetness.

Conclusion: The regular version is a quite nice beer, but there is too much bitterness for the gentle flavours. Maybe more late hops should have been used to back up the bitter taste? On the other hand, that would move the beer even further away from it’s saison origin. Finally it’s a bit too alcoholic. The gnomed version is a fun one, but it’s also quite demanding, and the herbal overdose is simply a bit too much. Neither of the beers are very more-ish, and it wasn’t a great loss to partially rate these two beers Polden Arnesen style. 

Regular version:

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0

Gnomed version:

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    10/20
Ratebeer score: 2.9/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Lush Summer

Lush Summer by ClubGonzo, Spice/Herb/Vegetable – American Pale Ale, 5.2% ABV, 32.6 IBU.

I’m Sorry, ClubGonzo, another one of your creations that I rate totally off-season, and long after it was fresh and newly brewed. Or maybe a lemony summer beer with coriander seeds is just what I need on a wet, cold-ish day in January?

ClubGonzo's Lush Summer, Batch no 24.

ClubGonzo’s Lush Summer, Batch no 24.

The colour is medium amber and the body is fittingly hazy. The off-white head is quite small, but it’s long-lived and stays finger-thick until my glass is empty, a glass which is completely covered in beautiful lacings when I’m done tasting. I guess this must be full Appearance score!

The aroma is very strong and very crisp and citric. Lots and lots of citrus, and tropical fruits, especially spicy pineapple and mango. I don’t get any coriander notes, and that’s a bit disappointing.

This is a nice looking beer!

This is a nice looking beer!

Although I get some faint spicy hints in the flavours, I find it very hard to identify any coriander there either. The lovely lemon juice on the other hand is very obvious, both in the flavours and in a light acidic taste. There is a gentle caramel background, but the flavours are really dominated by citrus and fruity hops. I find the taste a little too sweet for the disappointingly light bitterness. The body is also pretty bold for such a low ABV brew, I almost suspect this beer to be slightly under-attenuated. In addition to this the carbonation is far too soft, so the mouthfeel doesn’t quite match the crisp and citric aroma and flavours. There is some dryness in the finish, but I think the dryness should have kicked in earlier, along with a less sweet taste and more bitterness.

Conclusion: A fairly refreshing beer, but also a bit unbalanced with too much sweetness for the style compared to the bitterness. The lemon juice is a welcome addition that saves the crispness, and despite all my remarks, the conclusion of the conclusion is that this is a nice one.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0