S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine

Barley Wine, 11.5% ABV, 45.6 IBU.

S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine, batch 3. Photographed inside a Mac Pro cabinet.

S & M Brewing Teenage Computer Barley Wine, batch 3. Photographed inside a Mac Pro cabinet.

Batch 3 from S & M Brewing is a potent barley wine. It pours a cloudy, deep brown to copper body, with a creamy, dense, beige and long-lived head that ends up as a thin layer.

Strong aroma of caramel, lightly roasted malt, dark dried fruits and stinging alcohol. In the back I get overripe generic fruity notes, chocolate and honey.

The strong flavour is very much on the caramel malty side, there is very little hops in the flavour, but it has a good bitter bite in the long finish. Also orange and liquorice. I’m not sure if it has enough hoppy flavours to be called an American barley wine? It’s also very alcoholic, it’s stinging and boozy, but there are no solvent or unclean notes.

It has a fantastic mouthfeel (ignoring the booze), with a full body, oily texture and soft carbonation.

Conclusion: too boozy, too little hops but a nice caramel maltiness. It kept growing on me, so I finished the bottle with pleasure. 

 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0
Trying to copy the picture on the label...

Trying to copy the picture on the label…

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ClubGonzo’s Saintly Sins

Saintly Sins, batch 61.

Saintly Sins, batch 61.

Abt/Quadrupel, 10.2% ABV, 25.6 IBU.

I was quite impressed with ClubGonzo’s first Quadrupel, and this take on the brewer’s favourite beer style recently won the quadruple class in Vestkast’s beer competition, so I’m probably in for a treat!

Saintly Sins pours a deep brown body with an average sized, beige, long-lived head that sticks to my Rochefort chalice.

The aroma is strong with lots of dark caramel and dark dried fruits. In the back I get yeasty spiciness and banana. I also pick up a gently funkiness, the kind that may arise from oak barrel ageing. I even detect hints of red wine barrel storage! Too bad that the beer haven’t been close to a barrel… Could it be the first stages of a light infection?

Looks like a quad, right?

Looks like a quad, right?

Anyway, the red wine oak barrel funk is present in the rather strong aroma as well, but it’s in the background, along with spices. The most dominant elements are brown sugar, sweet caramel, dark caramel, dark dried fruits, Belgian yeast and nuts. Unfortunately there is also plenty of not-that-well integrated and rather stinging alcohol. It’s relatively clean, no solvent or fusel this time, it’s just quite overwhelmingly boozy. The taste is moderate to heavy sweet and light bitter.

Ignoring the stinging alcohol, the mouthfeel is rather pleasant – the beer is full-bodied and has a pleasant soft carbonation.

Conclusion: a sugary sweet and too alcoholic brew, but far from bad. But not a winner. What does Vestkast’s beer judge lead Gahr Smith-Gahrsen know about beer anyway?

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

ClubGonzo’s Hoppenmead

Mead, 13.9%.

A mead with hops. Well, why not?

Hoppenmead, mead batch no. 39.

Hoppenmead, mead batch no. 39.

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A mead with haze.

In the glass it looks medium amber and slightly hazy. I’m so used to crystal clear meads by now, so the haze looks a bit off.

The aroma is strong, and there is something lurking in the back there in addition to the sweet honey, but hops are not the first thing that enters my mind. Maybe wet leaves, hay, caramel and dark overripe fruits? Either way, it’s a rather interesting aroma.

I can’t find any hops in the strong flavour either, the honey is the dominating element. The taste is rather sweet, but it dries up somewhat in the finish. Is there also hints of bitterness? The alcohol is also noticeable, but it’s clean.

Conclusion: an ok mead. The hops make it rather special, but not very hoppy.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0