ClubGonzo’s Plum Bliss

Mead/Melomel, 10.6% ABV.

 

ClubGonzo’s Plum Bliss, mead batch no 18.

Look at that body!

This mead pours a crystal clear, beautiful orangey golden body.

The aroma is surprisingly faint, but there are definitely plums present. The honey is further in the back.

There isn’t much intensity in the flavour either, and the profile is as simple as in the aroma: plums and faint honey. But I like plums, and I like honey, so I do enjoy what’s in my glass. Heavy sweet taste with a light acidic tail.

It’s a full-bodied brew with a syrupy texture.

Conclusion: a boring, modest and simple mead. That is quite good.

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Melonmel

Mead/Melomel, 15% ABV.

ClubGonzo’s Melonmel, mead batch no 19.

I had more fun making artsy photos of this mead than drinking it.

The King of Puns presents a melomel with melon, called Melonmel!

In the glass it’s crystal clear and has a nice golden colour.

The aroma isn’t very strong, but that it’s ok with me, because it isn’t particularly pleasant. You know the smell of the bin the day after you threw in some melon rinds? Yep. The rotting fruit totally overpowers the honey.

The strong flavour of rotten fruit and rotten leaves is equally offensive. Are there even some rotten fish(!) in there? Ouch.

Up till now I’ve had the impression that too old meads just get faint and boring, but this one has just turned bad.

Conclusion: For all I know this once was a decent mead, but now its drainpour. Good pun or not.

Aroma:      3/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      2/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    4/20
Ratebeer score: 1.6/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Blackberry Finn

Mead/Melomel, 10% ABV.

Deep red body.

ClubGonzo’s Blackberry Finn, mead batch 17.

Will this mead make me wish I had blackberries in my garden?

In the glass it has a deep red and clear body.

The aroma is very strong, with notes of honey, Husholdningssaft™ and berries. I do not recognise the blackberries, but I guess that is a too modest berry to really make a distinguishable impact. Nevertheless, it’s a pleasant honey/berry aroma.

The strong flavour follows the aroma – honey and sweet berries. It’s a simple but effective flavour profile, making the mead drinkable and easy to like. I can’t imagine anyone will find this one offensive in any way. The taste is very sweet, but there are also some very nice hints of balancing berry acidity and some dryness in the finish.

Conclusion: a likeable and drinkable mead that won’t win any prizes, but might be able to trick someone into liking mead. 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Castagnero

Mead, 13.8% ABV.

A single honey mead made from Spanish chestnut honey – sounds expensive!

It pours a clear deep golden colour, without any head.

The honey aroma is strong, and has a quite dark quality without crossing the border to burnt sugar or dark caramel.

It has a strong flavour of dark honey, this is very far from light heather honey. It feels quite nutty, but I’m not sure if that’s because it says so on the label… There is also a faint nail-polish remover background that I don’t like that much.

It’s a very sweet mead, without any additions to round the sweetness off, so it’s not exactly a session mead. It doesn’t have many flaws (except the hints of nail-polish remover), but still it’s no winner in my book.

Conclusion: a straightforward mead made from a special honey (with an off-taste)

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 2.9/5.0

S & M Brewing Heilige Nacht

Belgian Strong Ale, 12% ABV, 31.8 IBU.

DISCLAIMER: I opened this bottle by mistake. The brewers instructed me not to taste this beer before 2020, but I completely forgot about that. In other words, the beer that I tasted was not the final product! Please keep that in mind when reading this rating.

Heilige Nacht. Yet another reason not to be religious.

It’s quite much darker than De Dolle Stille Nacht, right?

I know for a fact that at least half of S & M brewing is a huge fan of De Dolle Stille Nacht, so a tribute to this ale was to be expected.

In the glass it has a cloudy, deep amber colour, with a frothy, beige, short-lived head that leaves virtually no lacing on my glass.

The aroma is strong and far too dominated by stinging and rough alcohol. Fair enough, this is a big beer, but even a 12% ABV brew shouldn’t smell this boozy. I also get a generic fruitiness and somewhat unclean yeasty notes. In the back I find caramel, honey, dark dried fruits and spices.

In the mouth the alcohol really kicks in! I’ve never had a beer remotely close to being this absurdly alcoholic and insanely stinging and sharp! Fortunately there are other elements here as well, behind the wall of alcohol, and if not exactly saving this brew they prevent it from being a total disaster: dark dried fruits, caramel, sugar and honey. Actually lots of honey, in such a degree that this creation tastes more like a braggot than some braggots I’ve had.

The mouthfeel isn’t too bad (ignoring that it’s close to undrinkable due to the stinging alcohol): full body, oily texture and soft carbonation.

Naturally I didn’t manage to finish the bottle, I had to have a more gentle drink. So I poured me a Laphroaig instead. And I swear to Dog, even after a few sips of this peaty single malt, the Heilage Nacht still felt violent and boozy in comparison!

Conclusion: “A beer suitable for Christmas or for long-term aging”. I’ll go for the latter. Maybe it’s possible to drink in a decade or two.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      4/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    7/20
Ratebeer score: 2.2/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Eirik 50 år

A birthday brew! Eirik 50 år, ClubGonzo batch 72.

Brown Ale, 6.9% ABV, 35.6 IBU.

Birthday brew and birthday flowers.

It pours a deep brown body with a average-sized beige head that ends up as a fully covering film. Some of the foam is stuck on my glass.

The aroma is rather strong and has some of the dirty yeasty notes that I often find in brown ales, so I guess it’s true to the style. I also get roasted malt, coffee, and sweet, overripe dark fruits. Quite strong flavour of roasted malt, coffee and a touch of yeast, with pine in the back. The taste is light to moderate sweet and moderate to light bitter. Medium body, dry texture and moderate carbonation. A close to decent brown ale with a tad more bitterness and hoppy elements than you average UK brown ale.

Conclusion: What? You find this rating a bit boring? Well, that’s what you get for brewing a slightly boring beer.

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 2.9/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Old Lovage

Barley Wine, 11% ABV, 50 IBU.

ClubGonzo’s Old Lovage, batch 42.

Looks good right after the beer has been poured, but the head is too short-lived.

I tend to prefer hoppy American interpretations of beer styles over dull British ones. When it comes to barley wines though, I’ve had several inspired by the Old World traditions that I’ve enjoyed very much, so let’s see if Old Lovage fits in that category.

It pours a hazy, very deep brown body with a small, beige head that doesn’t leave much lacing, and that soon reduces to a fully covering film.

The aroma is malty, sweet, sugary and strong, with truckloads of dark caramel. Also dark dried fruits and honey, and in the back I find chocolate and some very overripe generic fruity notes.

Strong flavour of sweet caramel, roasted malt, dark dried fruits and somewhat stinging alcohol. Further behind there is bitter chocolate and liquorice. The taste is heavy sweet and the long-lasting finish is moderate bitter.

The texture is smooth and pleasant, it’s a full-bodied brew with a soft carbonation.

Conclusion: pure malty goodness, with minimal hop influence. Just like a British barley wine is supposed to be.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Ginger Binger

Mead, 10.6%.

Ginger Binger, mead batch 37.

Ginger Binger in the glass.

If you think that meads tend to be too sugary sweet you might like a mead with an added layer of crispness,  so what about a mead with ginger, “and lots of it”?

The Ginger Binger pours a rather pale golden and crystal clear body. The aroma is strong and it is a fun mix of sweet honey notes and very obvious dry ginger.

The flavour is also strong, and again I don’t pick up much more than honey and ginger. The honey profile is quite simple, probably to highlight the ginger, but the result is maybe a bit too safe and uncomplicated. I had hoped for even more crispness to balance the heavy sweetness, and I certainly could have tolerated much more ginger. There is actually more heat and a throat drying sensation than an intense flavour of ginger. Maybe a double dose of ginger and a slice of lemon would have given me what I had hoped for from this brew?

Conclusion: a nice and straight forward mead with a nice warmth from the ginger, but maybe not terribly exciting. 

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

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…

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