ClubGonzo’s Mon Cherry

Mon Cherry by ClubGonzo, Mead/Melomel, 13.1% ABV.

Fil 30.09.2015, 20.31.23

Mon Cherry, batch no. 13.

Fil 30.09.2015, 20.32.55

Look at the colour!

Mon Cherry is, believe it or not, brewed with cherries.

The colour of this mead is deep ruby red, and the body is clear. Beautiful!

I do get lot’s of cherries in the strong aroma, but they are a bit too overripe, bordering on rotten. The honey is also present in the background.

In the flavour the overripeness of the cherries isn’t that obvious, it’s actually quite pleasant. I also get cherry pits, in a pleasant almond-like way. There are also sweet traces of vanilla and a touch of spices. Interesting stuff! It has a pleasing sweetness and the alcohol is masterly integrated.

 Conclusion: a complex and nice mead, once in the mouth. 

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0
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Meilby Brewing Gooseberry Sour

Gooseberry Sour by Meilby Brewing, Sour Ale, 7.3% ABV, 13 IBU.

Meilby Brewing Gooseberry Sour, batch #015B, brewed 01/04/2012, bottled 02/11/2013, bottle #1/24.

Meilby Brewing Gooseberry Sour, batch #015B, brewed 01/04/2012, bottled 02/11/2013, bottle #1/24.

This ale was brewed in April 2012, so after nearly 4 years of work the Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend should have managed to make this beer a really sour one. I’m also curious about how much of the 150 grams of gooseberries per litre it is still possible to detect after all this time.

After a few minutes with intense struggle to get that damn cork off, I’m finally ready to pour the first glass.

An orange body with a few short-lived bubbles on top.

An orange body with a few short-lived bubbles on top.

Not only is the cork a pain to remove, it doesn’t seem to work that well. At least the beer looks completely flat, just a few short-lived bubbles appear when I pour my glass. The body is good-looking, though, it’s slightly hazy and has an orange to amber colour.

The strong aroma is very tempting. I sometimes find sour ales to be too vinegary, but this one is right up my alley: it’s intensely fruity. A nice mix of sweet and sour fruits, some apple cider vinegar and a touch of almonds and cherry pits.

The taste is really, really sour indeed. Probably one of the most sour beers I’ve ever had. Really goosebump inducing. But it’s a clean, pleasant and fruity sourness, and there’s a decent amount of sweetness to back it up. It has a strong flavour of sweet and sour fruits, although I’m not sure if I manage to detect the gooseberries. Which of course may mainly be due to the fact that I haven’t tasted gooseberries the past 35 years, apart from those present in a gooseberry mead previously rated on this blog. The funkiness is restrained, although I get a lightly sweaty horse blanket or two.

It’s a flat brew, but that doesn’t ruin the mouthfeel. The texture is rather thick and oily.

Overall: an intensely sour ale with truckloads of fruits. It’s a bit too sour for my sensitive palate, and it wouldn’t have hurt with some carbonation.

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

ClubGonzo’s Christmas Date

Christmas Date by ClubGonzo, Dark Ale, 5.8% ABV, 29 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Christmas Date, Contract brew no.4, batch no 32.

ClubGonzo’s Christmas Date, Contract brew no.4, batch no 32.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Look what I found in my beer cellar when looking for Christmas beers: a 2 year old specimen brewed with date syrup! That should bring forth that Xmas feeling!

This is an aggressively carbonated brew that almost manages to escape from the bottle by its own. The light gushing causes lots of sediments to be whirled up, so I end up with a quite murky looking, dark amber beer with lots of particles of different sizes and colours floating around. The beige head collapses quite quickly, but it’s easy to build up a new one by swirling the glass.

Sweet and strong aroma of dark dried fruits, dark caramel and a touch of malt extract. Quite malty, in other words.

Strong flavour that follows the aroma, but with far more dark roasted malt, I actually get notes of coffee. Also faint hints of chocolate. The flavour profile is quite clean, without any obvious flaws (not even solvent, yay!) The taste is light to moderate sweet, and there is enough bitterness in the quite long-lasting finish to back it up.

The mouthfeel suffers a bit from the overcarbonation, but that’s something a bit of swirling can easily fix. When the fizziness is gone it’s smooth and creamy on the palate. It’s got quite a body for such a low-ish ABV brew.

Conclusion: a sweet, christmassy beer with nice contributions from the date syrup. 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Last Minute Xmas

Last Minute Xmas by ClubGonzo, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 7% ABV, 29.4 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Last Minute Xmas, batch no. 46.

ClubGonzo’s Last Minute Xmas, batch no. 46.

Dark beer, Christmas spices. That's all you need to make a wonderful Christmas beer. Simple and efficient!

Dark beer, Christmas spices. That’s all you need to make a wonderful Christmas beer. Simple and efficient!

A spicy dark ale – that sounds like my kind of Christmas beer!

And spicy it is! The aroma is fairly strong and dominated by Christmas spices, mainly ginger, cloves, hints of cinnamon and a touch of cardamom. And it actually reminds me a bit of a mix of the Tomtegløgg and Tomtebrygg bottles you can buy at your local Rimi. Ah, Christmas!

It has a close to black body, with a bit smaller than average, long-lived, beige head that sticks to the glass.

The flavour is strong and fits the aroma like a glove. I’m very happy with the amount of spices, I love my Christmas beers intense and spicy. The spice mix is very well balanced, none of the spices dominate. It’s a quite a sweet brew, but there is enough bitterness to balance the sweetness, and the spices freshen things up further. Finally I don’t get any overwhelming notes of anise as I often do in spiced Christmas ales, I actually doubt that there are any anise in this one at all. Splendid!

It has a pleasant mouthfeel, maybe a bit too lively carbonated initially, but it gets smoother after a while.

Conclusion: it smells and tastes like Christmas. The main drawback is that it isn’t Nøgne Ø Underlig Jul.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      8/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.7/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Garde de Nöel

Garde de Nöel by ClubGonzo, Bière de Garde, 7.7% ABV, 21.8 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Garde de Nöel, batch no. 68.

ClubGonzo’s Garde de Nöel, batch no. 68.

It looks darker than it tastes!

It looks darker than it tastes!

Christmas is over, so it’s time to start rating a few Christmas beers! First one out is what ClubGonzo calls a non-Xmas beer, i.e. not the usual sweet malty stuff. Instead this is bière de garde, which is a beer style I hardly know at all (I’ve got no more than 3 bière de garde ratings on RateBeer!)

It’s a good-looking brew, with a large, off-white, creamy, long-lived head on top of a hazy medium amber body.

The aroma is strong with pleasant fruity yeasty notes, pale malt and a touch of caramel. It reminds me of a Belgian strong ale, a bit like a modest Duvel with more emphasis on the caramel. It certainly gives me the urge to take a sip!

It’s got a sweeter taste than I had imagined, and the bitterness is relatively light, so the overall impression is in fact a sweet malty beer. Not that far from a Christmas beer after all! The flavour is strong, and not surprisingly it’s yeasty, fruity and Belgian (to my untrained palate, it is of course French). But then, of course, I find some disturbing elements. Something somewhat reminiscent of… yep, you guessed it: solvent. It’s not extremely unpleasant, but enough to make the beer a bit demanding to drink.

The mouthfeel is nice (apart from the solvent thingy), it’s quite light on the palate for its moderate ABV, and the relatively high carbonation fits the light elements of the beer.

Conclusion: a dark-looking and Belgian tasting light French beer, with hints of solvent. 

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

ClubGonzo’s Bryggselv IPA #2 – Citric Assault

Bryggselv IPA #2 – Citric Assault by ClubGonzo, India Pale Ale/Fruit Beer, 6% ABV, 75 IBU.

Bryggselv IPA #2 - Citric Assault, batch no. 57 - Contract Brew no. 10.

Bryggselv IPA #2 – Citric Assault, batch no. 57 – Contract Brew no. 10.

Looks like an IPA.

Looks like an IPA.

ClubGonzo has played around with the Bryggselv IPA brew kit once again (here’s the first experiment), and has created a highly modified version that is brewed with zest and juice of grapefruit, lime and lemon.

It pours an amber body with a rather large, light beige, very long-lived head that reduces to a fully lasting layer.

The aroma is very crisp and strong, and is extremely citric, especially the lime is very obvious. The fruits don’t drown the hops completely, this is definitely a hoppy IPA.

The flavour is very strong, and dominated by the lime. The grapefruit doesn’t contribute that much to the flavour, but the mouthfeel is that of undiluted grapefruit juice. I suspect the main contribution of the lemon is to add quite a bit of acidity to the taste.  The bitterness of the dry finish is pretty heavy.

It’s a mid-bodied beer with a moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: a fine, crisp and acidic brew, but with a bit too much citrus for my taste.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0