ClubGonzo’s Norwegian Naturist

Norwegian Naturist by ClubGonzo, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 7.3% ABV, 31.7 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Norwegian Naturist, batch no.  36.

ClubGonzo’s Norwegian Naturist, batch no. 36.

Another beer in the Norwegian/Israeli homebrewing project of ClubGonzo and Shmuel Naky/Naama Halevi, this time a dark beer with juniper berries, meadowsweet and honey.

The naturist pours a cloudy, dark brown body with a light-brown head that stays big for a long time, before it ends up as a fully covering film, some build-ups at the walls and pretty lacing on the glass.

The aroma is moderate with notes of dark roasted malts and gentle smoke. In the back there is coffee and herbs. Unfortunately, as I often find is the case with herbal beers, the herbs has a certain unfresh feeling, almost rotten.

...and thanks to Murat at Café Sara for the glass!

Norwegian Naturist in the glass (which, by the way, was kindly donated by the fantastic staff at Café Sara in Oslo).

The flavour is pretty strong and partially follows the aroma, but with more complexity and hardly any herbal rottenness. It’s the pleasant and gentle smoke that dominates, together with the roasted notes, dark caramel and coffee. The herbs are present as an interesting crisp and resinous background. Maybe the rotten stuff in the aroma is caused by the meadowsweet, while the herbal touch in the flavour is due to the juniper berries? Finally, in the late aftertaste there is a very nice touch of honey. The taste is moderate sweet and the long finish is light to moderate bitter. (Talking about the bitterness: hey, ClubGonzo, an IBU of 31.7? Not 30, not 32, but 31.7? We need to have a chat about significant numbers and uncertainties one day!)

Very nice mouthfeel, with a medium body, a creamy and smooth texture, soft carbonation and a light dry finish.

Conclusion: An interesting, inventive, tasty and successful brew! The only thing I didn’t fancy was the notes of decomposing herbs in the aroma.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0

Meilby Brewing Pumpkin Xmas 13

Pumpkin Xmas 13 by Meilby Brewing, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 5.5% ABV, 30 IBU.

It’s getting close to summer, i.e. it’s time for a christmas beer!

Meilby Brewing Pumpkin Xmas, all the gory details.

Meilby Brewing Pumpkin Xmas, all the gory details.

The Pumpkin Xmas makes a loud PSSST when I remove the cap, this sounds like a heavily carbonated one. It pours a very hazy, medium amber body with a large, creamy, beige head that is very long-lived. After a long time it settles as a thick layer, and impressive amounts of foam is left on the glass.

The aroma is pretty strong, and it’s spicy, sour and funky. Regarding the latter two: I clearly identify notes that to me are rather bretty, but that might also be due to the fact that all pumpkin beers I’ve ever tasted are funky stuff from Jolly Pumpkin, so what I think is wild yeast might actually simply be the pumpkin. I’d like to hear the brewer’s opinion on this! However, this is a christmas beer, and no christmas beer without some christmassy spices, in this one I mainly get anise and clove. Maybe a bit disappointing given the long and impressive ingredients list (see photo to the right).

Looking good!

Looking good!

The rather strong flavour is also very spicy. It’s dominated by anise, so heavily dominated that it’s a bit hard to detect the other spices, although clove and nutmeg shine through, the latter probably caused by the allspice. The wild yeasty notes (which may or may not be partially due to the pumpkin) are also a main element of the flavour profile. Finally there are some citric notes in the back. The taste is light to moderate sweet, and the long finish is moderate to light bitter.

It’s quite light and dry on the palate, with a lively carbonation, and a particularly dry finish. Christmas beer is a pretty loose style, but to me a christmas beer should be sweeter, but I will of course not hold the lack of residual sweetness against this little pup.

Conclusion: a nice and refreshing beer that will probably fit well as a break between overly sweet christmas beers. It’s loaded with christmas spices, although a bit heavy on the anise, and the pumpkin and the wildness is a nice twist. 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Stappan Stout

Stappan Stout by ClubGonzo, Dry Stout, 4.2% ABV, 45.6 IBU.

The previous ClubGonzo stout I had wasn’t very convincing, but I’m still ready for a new one!

ClubGonzo's Stappan Stout, batch 26.

ClubGonzo’s Stappan Stout, batch 26.

In the glass it looks clear and black. I have to struggle to form a finger-thick, frothy, short-lived, medium brown head that doesn’t leave much traces on the glass.

Stappan in the glass.

Stappan in the glass.

The aroma is moderate with dark roasted malty notes, dry bitter coffee and ash. Simple, but efficient, true to the style and inviting.

Pretty strong flavour that is very dark roasted, again dry ashy, coal and coffee. After a few sips I think I might detect some vague dark berry notes trying to get past the roasted malts. The taste is light sweet and the finish is of decent length and is moderate bitter. Yes!

The carbonation is soft, the texture is dry and the body is pretty light. Again pretty much how a dry stout should be. I’m not a big fan of this kind of thin mouthfeel, but it works.

Conclusion: A lovely dry stout, why don’t they sell this at Rimi instead of Guinness?

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Demonstrational (Coffee) Stout

Demonstrational (Coffee) Stout by ClubGonzo, Stout, 5.8% ABV, 47 IBU.

I love coffee stouts and I love… eh… demonstrations, so let’s see what ClubGonzo’s got for me this time.

Served in a standard pub glass. I’m crazy.

The beer pours a black body with a decent-sized, medium brown, frothy head that collapses very fast. Not much foam is left on my glass. It looks a bit dull.

ClubGonzo’s Demonstrational (Coffee) Stout, batch no 31, contract brew no 6

Moderate aroma of dry, cold filter coffee and green coffee beans. By the way, I’ve never smelled green coffee beans. Or seen one in real life. But I imagine that they would smell a bit like this, a vegetal, plant-like touch. In addition there are of course roasted notes.

The green vegetal notes are very present in the flavour as well, it’s much stronger than the roasted coffee notes. This is actually a bit strange, I wonder if it’s supposed to be like this? It’s a bit unpleasant, highly unusual and not exactly tasty.

The mouthfeel, however, is very pleasant, the beer has a good body with a slick texture and a moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: not a very convincing demonstration. It doesn’t taste much of coffee, and the vegetal off-flavours are pretty disturbing. Still, if I don’t breathe through my nose it’s enjoyable, due to the lovely mouthfeel.

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    9/20
Ratebeer score: 2.6/5.0