ClubGonzo’s Bear’s Delight

Bear’s Delight by ClubGonzo, Mead/Melomel, 14.7% ABV.

This mead has been brewed with floral honey, blueberries, blackberries, black currants and raspberries. Oh yeah.

ClubGonzo's Bear's Delight, Mead Batch 04. Relax, the bottle isn't as ice cold as it looks like.

ClubGonzo’s Bear’s Delight, Mead Batch 04. Relax, the bottle isn’t as ice cold as it looks like.

It pours a clear, medium red body with an amber hue. Or pretty much like a cognac with a drop of red fruit juice. I suspect only a moderate amount of fruits has been used in this one, in my experience both black currants and blueberries will dye anything using just a few drops of juice… It looks alcoholic: nice legs are formed on the glass.

The aroma is strong and tempting with nice notes of honey,  a fruity backdrop and a touch of caramel.

This image doesn't do the  justice to the beautiful colour of this sweet masterpiece. Serving mead in a Hennessy cognac glass was a good idea, though.

This image doesn’t do the justice to the beautiful colour of this sweet masterpiece. Serving mead in a Hennessy cognac glass was a good idea, though.

Very strong flavour of honey and overripe forest berries, and it has a vinous port-like feel with well integrated alcohol that gives a pleasant warming finish. The berry notes are not very strong, and I can’t pinpoint any single type of berry. On a good day I would say that’s because the berry notes are well integrated, on a bad day I’d probably claim that these notes are too faint. Today is a good day, and I find this a highly successful experience! The taste is quite heavy sweet.  The mouthfeel is very pleasant, and the still, syrupy body is full.

Conclusion: a complex, well crafted mead with subtle notes of overripe berries. This was my co-rater’s very first mead, and his reaction was: «That’s nice… it’s surprisingly very good! It’s mouldy and autumnal.»

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

JoKr Brewers Rye Wine

Rye Wine by JoKr Brewers, Barley Wine, 10.4% ABV, 52 IBU.

One of my favourite beer styles is barley wine, and I think rye often makes a good beer even better, so let’s go!

JoKr Brewers Rye Wine, batch 23.

JoKr Brewers Rye Wine, batch 23.

It pours a very viscous-looking, slightly hazy copper body with a tiny head that disappears fast. However, for each sip I take a new tiny layer of bubbles is produced, so in that the respect the head actually is fully lasting. Not much of the foam sticks to the glass, though.

The aroma is a bit faint with mainly sweet malty notes. There are some spices in the back, e.g. traces of anise seeds, and I also get hints of honey and a whiff of alcohol. Quite unusual for the style, I really miss the intensity and notes of e.g. sweet caramel, dried fruits and overripe fruits. This is too dull, even for a British barley wine!

It looks like a barley wine.

It looks like a barley wine.

The flavour on the other hand is rather strong, as it should be in a barley wine, but unfortunately the strongest flavour is alcohol. More so, the alcohol is sharp, medicinal and solventy and not very pleasant at all. The alcohol has its upsides though, it makes the finish pleasantly warming. Other flavours include light spices (mainly anise seeds) and sweet malts, but again there’s a lack of fruitiness. The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter.

The Rye Wine has a fantastic creamy and smooth mouthfeel with a soft carbonation, the texture is almost syrupy and the body is definitely full.

Conclusion: a far too alcoholic and unclean beer that doesn’t have the qualities I like in a barley wine. The only thing I really appreciated with this one is the pleasant mouthfeel. My co-rater (yep, my father-in-law again) has the following conclusion: “smooth start followed by disappointment and bitter liquorice”.

 

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

ClubGonzo + Tom’s Beetnik Brew

Beetnik Brew by ClubGonzo + Tom, Imperial Brown Ale, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 8.5% ABV, 55 IBU.

An imperial brown ale with beetroot juice and ginger. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

ClubGonzo + Tom's Beetnik Brew, batch no 21.

ClubGonzo + Tom’s Beetnik Brew, batch no 21.

In the glass it has a deep brown to copper body with a large, creamy, very long-lived, light tan head that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is strong with lots of crisp, spicy and somewhat soapy ginger notes on a modest, sweet malty caramel background with hints of dark dried fruits. It’s tempting and fairly interesting.

Beetnik Brew in the glass. This rating is not sponsored by Café Sara.

Beetnik Brew in the glass. This rating is not sponsored by Café Sara – one of the best places in Oslo to get new Norwegian microbrews on tap.

The flavour is quite strong and is dominated by ginger. Or as my co-rater this evening, Mr. Father-in-law, puts it: «this is concentrated ginger!». There are also hints of caramel and some hoppy notes, although it’s hard to be more specific than “hoppy”. Ok, I’ll try, let’s call it “floral”. Some of the floral stuff may also be caused by the beetroot. And, of course, this being a ClubGonzo beer and I’m me and all, of course I get quite much alcohol, and I must admit that I find these notes fairly unclean. The taste is moderate sweet and moderate plus bitter.

It has a pleasant mouthfeel, with a smooth and creamy texture, despite the quite lively carbonation. It’s a full-bodied beer, but the general impression suffers from the unclean alcohol in the finish.

Conclusion: a nice one if you love ginger, but it’s a bit one-dimensional and the alcohol is too obvious. And where’s the beetroot? But, as my co-raters says, “this is different”.

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

Dr. M nr 9 – Tordensaison

Tordensaison by Dr. M, Saison, 7% ABV, 27 IBU.

Dr. M knows how to brew a tasty saison, e.g. the brilliant Maianthemum, so my hands tremble with anticipation as I open the bottle. It pours a cloudy medium yellow to orange body with a very huge, frothy, white head that leaves big patches of foam on my glass, before it reduces to a partially covering film and some foamy islands.

Dr. M nr 9 - Tordensaison

Dr. M nr 9 – Tordensaison

The aroma is strong and unusually sweet for the style. I get lots of heather honey, so much in fact that I first thought that honey was added to the beer. There are also distinct notes of pale malts, spices and faint yeast, with citric notes in the back.

The over-carbonated bottle produces a huge head.

The over-carbonated bottle produces a huge head.

The flavour is unfortunately ruined by the dreaded, unclean and stinging medicinal alcohol-like notes that I sometimes find in homebrews. In addition there are tart apples, pale malts, yeast and a white wine dryness in the finish. The unclean alcohol makes it an unpleasant experience to drink this beer, and I must admit that I didn’t manage to finish the bottle. The body is light and the initial over-carbonation is fairly long-lived, so the carbonation stays lively until I sacrifice this miserable beer to the Sink God. Dr. M, you can do so much better!

Maybe it didn't taste that good due to the sunny weather, this is after all a thunder saison.

Maybe it didn’t taste that good due to the sunny weather, this is after all a thunder saison.

Conclusion: something has gone wrong here, and the beer is a medicinal mess. There are some nice elements, but they can’t save this beer from the sink. This is not a saison worthy of Dr. M

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    8/20
Ratebeer score: 2.4/5.0