ClubGonzo’s Spring Wit

Spring Wit by ClubGonzo, Belgian Witbier, 5.5% ABV, 12.2 IBU.

It may not be spring anymore, but a refreshing wit will hopefully taste well this late summer evening as well!

ClubGonzo's Spring Wit, batch no. 55.

ClubGonzo’s Spring Wit, batch no. 55.

This is how a very softly carbonated wit looks like.

This is how a very softly carbonated wit looks like.

The aroma is strong and true to the style, it’s crisp, wheaty, spicy, yeasty, citric and with a sweet background. It’s worth noting that I also find it completely clean, without any solvent of other faults…

The flavour is strong, and once again it’s spot on the witbier style: coriander, wheat, hints of pepper, citrus, Belgian yeast and a touch of caramel in the back. It has a very light acidic taste, some sweetness and hardly any bitterness.

Unfortunately the beer is almost completely flat, and that really destroys the overall impression of this beer. It hasn’t got the body to cope with such a lack of carbonation, and for a wit it feels utterly wrong. It’s rather dry on the palate. The very soft carbonation is also responsible for the very small and short-lived, white head. The body looks good, though, it’s cloudy and close to opaque, with a yellow colour.

Conclusion: a clean, crisp, refreshing, simple, no fuzz wit with a strong aroma and flavour, but it suffers from the lack of carbonation.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0
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Dr. M nr. 15 – Konepone

Dr. M nr. 15 - Konepone, enjoyed 15 months after bottling.

Dr. M nr. 15 – Konepone, enjoyed 15 months after bottling.

Konepone by Dr. M, Saison, 6.5% ABV, 18 IBU.

Looking good!

Looking good!

This beer was brewed more than a year ago, but a modestly hopped saison shouldn’t change too much after an extended stay in my beer cellar. As the name indicates, Dr. M came up with the recipe for this beer in order to make a beer even his wine loving wife would enjoy. I’ve been told he succeed. He might know how to please his mistress, but I’m as always pouring my glass with a sceptical look upon my face.

The beer seems to have become slightly over-carbonated since bottling, and after I’ve filled my glass a huge pillow of foam keeps growing in the bottle. In my glass, however, everything looks great: the body is cloudy and yellow, and the huge white head is long-lived and sticks to the glass.

The aroma is strong and pleasant, with lots of fruity notes, especially apples and pears. Also saison yeast, pale malts, hints of wheat and a light spicy background.

Unfortunately things are not as convincing when I take my first sip. Sure, there are lots of nice light fruits, the yeast notes are in place, the surprisingly spicy rye is quite obvious, but there are also some quite disturbing notes of… well, this might not come as a surprise for the regular readers of this blog, but I do get stinging notes of solvent. Oh yes. They are not completely ruining the beer, but they’re not exactly increasing the drinkability.

There isn’t much sweetness left, but it’s not bone dry. The fairly long finish is light bitter, and the carbonation is rather lively.

Conclusion: I suspect that this one was a really easy-drinkning, refreshing and thirst quenching beer once, but the long wait has produced too much unpleasant off-flavours. I promise I’ll drink the next Dr. M beer as soon as I receive the bottle. 

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    8/20
Ratebeer score: 2.6/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Someone Else’s Wort II

Someone Else’s Wort II by ClubGonzo, Stout, 6.6% ABV, 55 IBU.

7 Fjell Bryggeri brewed the official Bergen Ølfestival 2014 beer, a stout called BØLL. ClubGonzo got his hands on some wort, fermented it at his place, skipped the coffee and instead stored the beer on oak chips for 6 weeks.

IMG_3253

ClubGonzo’s Someone Else’s Wort II, a.k.a. 8th Mountain Stout, batch 47.

The result is a lively beer, to put it mildly. It’s a gusher, and I get a very huge, frothy, brown head initially, but it settles down to a fully lasting layer after some time. The body is black and viscous-looking.

Very strong aroma of dark roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and ash. In the back I get cask wood (hello oak chips!) and smoke.

The flavour is rather strong and includes the same dark malty notes and wood as I found in the aroma, with additional notes of sweet fruits and leather in the back. There are also some vague solventy hints in the far background that are a bit disturbing. The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter.

It’s a full-bodied beer with a very yeasty and chalky dry texture, which I assume is due to the gushing. It’s also a bit too lively carbonated for my taste.

Conclusion: A quite nice one, that would have been even better if it wasn’t over-carbonated.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Westbrygg

Westbrygg by ClubGonzo, Kölch, 5.1% ABV, 26.6 IBU.

This is a kölch made from Vestbrygg’s all-grain kit, but with a twist: ClubGonzo has added some American hops.

ClubGonzo's Westbrygg, batch 45 aka. contract brew no 8.

ClubGonzo’s Westbrygg, batch 45 aka. contract brew no 8.

A pale one with a huge head.

A pale one with a huge head.

It opens with a loud hiss, and when I pour the beer a huge white head forms easily. This is one aggressively carbonated brew! In the glass it looks fizzy, very pale golden, and slightly hazy. A decent amount of the foam sticks to the glass, and the head is fully lasting.

The aroma is strong and crisp, with lots of citrus, generic light fruits, a yeasty touch that to me seems almost a bit Belgian (which I assume is not the case), and a faint but nevertheless somewhat disturbing, stinging solventy background.

The solvent is far more present in the strong flavour, and regular readers of this blog will know that I don’t take this kind of off-flavour lightly! Other flavours include light fruits and citrus. The taste is light sweet and light bitter.

It’s light and dry on the palate with a lively carbonation.

Conclusion: A bit messy with too much off-flavours, but I can easily imagine that this was a crisp and refreshing brew before the infection(?) took control.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    8/20
Ratebeer score: 2.4/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Infernal Empire

Infernal Empire by ClubGonzo, Imperial Stout, 12.5% ABV, 79 IBU.

Finally, my favourite beer style, an imperial stout! For his 40th batch ClubGonzo makes his very first attempt at this demanding style, and he goes in with full force: this little 25 cl bottle is packed with chipotle, espresso, vanilla beans, cocoa nibs and honey!

Flat beers look dull, no matter how black they are.

Flat beers look dull, no matter how black they are.

ClubGonzo's Infernal Empire, batch 40. Burn, burn, yes ya gonna burn!

ClubGonzo’s Infernal Empire, batch 40. Burn, burn, yes ya gonna burn!

Hardly any sound escapes as I remove the cap, so I suspect that this one is very softly carbonated. The suspicion is further enhanced when I pour my glass: I end up with a pitch black body with a few bubbles that disappears completely quite quickly. As there is no head there is no lacing either.

The dark roasted aroma is strong and very dominated by dry coffee. As the beer warms up a little I also get sweet vanilla and chocolate.

The flavour is veeeeryaaahAAAH! AAAAH! Sorry, it’s just took my first sip of this hellish brew, and my tongue is melting! If the coffee dominated the aroma, it’s definitely the chipotle that runs the show when it comes to the flavour and the mouthfeel: this is burning hot! Initially the first sip feels well balanced, but after a couple of seconds the chipotle marches in and drowns the other flavours effectively. I’m a bit of a sissy when it comes to hot foods and drinks, but I know that my palate gets used to the hotness after a little while, so I keep drinking. After a few more sips I begin to appreciate the beer. True, it’s very hot, but not overwhelmingly so, and the slightly smoked chipotle allows other elements to play along: dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, light vanilla and a fitting touch of well integrated and clean alcohol. Having said that, please go easier on the chillies next time, if you want to please this little wimp. The taste is moderate sweet and quite heavy bitter.

It’s completely flat on the palate, it’s full-bodied and has a oily texture. I don’t expect beers of this strength to be lively carbonated, but a couple of bubbles would have been nice.

Conclusion: A powerful and complex imperial stouts with lots of components, but a bit too hot.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 2/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0