ClubGonzo’s Castle Beer

ClubGonzo's Castle Beer - Batch no 48 - Contract brew no 7.

ClubGonzo’s Castle Beer – Batch no 48 – Contract brew no 7.


Castle Beer in the glass, including a huge infected head.

Castle Beer by ClubGonzo, Saison, 5.2% ABV, 30.8 IBU.

Kinn’s Slåtteøl is a quite nice saison, and Castle Beer (oh, the puns!) is a clone of this brew.

I open the bottle and… Ouch! A gusher! I barely manage to save my precious Mac from being marinated in beer, and luckily all the liquid ends up in my glass. The body is deep amber and hazy, and the off-white head is of course huge initially, but settles fairly quickly as a nice layer.

Quite strong aroma of old fruits, cellar, fart and sweat. This is really not something I would like to drink.

The first sip confirms that this is a ruined beer. It might not be as farty as the aroma indicates, but instead I get the good old notes of stinging solvent. Light bitterness, yadi-yadi-yada, dry texture… whatever… You know what I mean, I don’t think I want to waste any more electrons on this obviously bad bottle.

Conclusion: drainpour extravaganza.  I actually had two bottles of this beer, and the other bottle was equally nauseating. 

Aroma:      3/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      1/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    4/20
Ratebeer score: 1.4/5.0

Cunningham Jul 2013

Jul 2013 by Cunningham, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, ?% ABV, ? IBU.

A warm summer evening last summer I met Cunningham at Café Sara in Oslo. Since he’s one of the most generous men in this part of the galaxy, he didn’t show up empty handed: he brought me a Pliny the Elder, a hop plant and a mysterious, unlabelled bottle of homebrew. The hop plant ended up in my garden and the Pliny in my stomach a few days later, and I sort of forgot about the homebrew. Until now.

Cunningham Jul 2013 in the glass (which I got as a gift from Café Sara the very night Cunningham gave me the beer at this café)

Cunningham Jul 2013 in the glass (which I got as a gift from the bartender at the very same bar, the very same night, as Cunningham gave me his bottle of beer.)

It pours an ever so slightly hazy, good-looking, medium amber body with a small white head that soon reduces to a fully covering film. Ok lacing.

The aroma isn’t very strong, but it’s pleasant: I get notes of sweet pine needles, herbs (sweet mint and peppermint, I think), mint candy, caramel and pale malts. This is something special!

Very strong foresty flavour of pine needles, bitter herbs like bog-myrtle, lingon berries, caramel, a touch of citrus and some sweet fruits. I’ve had several Danish commercial brews with bog-myrtle, but they have all been too simple and one-dimensional, and nothing like this complex little beauty. The taste is moderate sweet and moderate+ bitter. The brewer claims that he didn’t use much hops in the boil, so maybe some of the perceived bitterness is due to the bog-myrtle?

The mouthfeel is extraordinarily pleasant. It’s a softly carbonated and full-bodied beer with an amazing, silky smooth texture.

Conclusion: an unusual, inventive, complex, drinkable, tasty and highly successful brew!

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      8/10
Palate:     5/5
Overall:    15/20
Ratebeer score: 3.8/5.0




ClubGonzo’s First Date

First Date by ClubGonzo, Mead, 17.2% ABV.

ClubGonzo's First Date, mead batch 06.

ClubGonzo’s First Date, mead batch 06.

A lovely, deep copper body.

A lovely, deep copper body.

This mead is based on dark forest honey and date syrup.

The First Date pours a good-looking, clear, deep cognac coloured body.

Strong aroma of honey (believe it or not), brown sugar and other dark elements that I find hard to pinpoint. It is also possible to smell that this one contains a decent amount of alcohol.

The flavour is very strong and follows the aroma. I often find dates in dark beers, but I actually think it’s difficult to spot the dates in this mead It has a more of a generic dark feel, if that makes any sense. The taste is heavy sweet.

The mouthfeel is very pleasant, it’s thick and syrupy, and even though the alcohol is apparent it’s quite well integrated for such a high ABV brew.

Conclusion: a quite nice mead, but not the very best. I wonder how much of the dark aroma and flavour is caused by the date syrup and how much is simply due to the dark honey?

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0