ClubGonzo’s Your Friendly Neighbor APA

Your Friendly Neigbor APA by ClubGonzo, American Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV, 39.8 IBU.

Your Friendly Neighbor, Batch no. 53.

Your Friendly Neighbor, Batch no. 53.

Looking good!

Looking good!

The aroma of Your Friendly Neigbor is as expected: it’s of course very hop-driven. I get fairly strong and refreshing notes of citrus, lots of grapefruit and lemon. Other tropical fruity notes are much fainter. There is also a malty caramel background, and the overall impression is that this is a dry and crisp beer.

In the glass it looks clear and it has a good-looking, medium amber colour with an average-sized, long-lived, off-white head that laces the glass well.

Quite strong flavour of citrus and unidentifiable tropical fruits. The malt is more pronounced than in the aroma. Despite the citric notes I must admit that I find this brew a bit dull and uninspired. I assume that this one is reasonably fresh, so I’d hoped for a bit more contribution from the hops, both in the aroma and the flavour. The taste on the other hand is spot on (at least if you like your APAs on the sweet side): initial light to moderate sweet taste and a moderate bitter finish.

The mouthfeel is pleasant. Light to mid-bodied, rather dry texture and moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: An ok APA. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    10/20
Ratebeer score: 3.0/5.0

ClubGonzo Mr. Nilsson

Mr. Nilsson (a.k.a. Har Ni Sett Min APA?) by ClubGonzo, American Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV, 43.1 IBU.

I should have seen it coming: a ClubGonzo beer brewed for the pun!

ClubGonzo's Mr. Nelsson (a.k.a. Har Ni Sett Min APA), Batch no. 44. The master of puns strikes again!

ClubGonzo’s Mr. Nelsson (a.k.a. Har Ni Sett Min APA), Batch no. 44. The master of puns strikes again! 43.1 IBU: the master of significant figures also strikes again!

Mr. Nilsson looks pretty cloudy in the glass, it has a nice medium to light amber colour and is topped by a small, white, rather creamy, fully lasting head that decorates my glass with foam.

I thought the cloudy body was caused by an excessive use of hops, but that before I smelled this modest little thing.

I thought the cloudy body was caused by an excessive use of hops, but that before I smelled this modest little thing.

The aroma isn’t strong at all, but it’s pleasant. I get the regular tropical fruits/citrus combo with hints of malts in the background. However, the lack of intensity makes the impression a bit dull and uninteresting. Did you forget to dry hop this one?

The flavour is stronger than I’d dared to hope for, and once the beer is in the mouth I realise that I’ve missed the optimal temperature with a few degrees: this is too damn cold! Maybe that’s one explanation for the faint-ish aroma. The taste is moderate bitter, but it’s not a very pleasant bitterness. It gives me a put-tongue-on-9V-cell-battery feeling in the late aftertaste. There is not much sweetness. The flavour is nice though, again tropical fruits and citrus. Simple enough, but I guess that’s how an APA should be.

The mouthfeel is decent, but nothing spectacular. Again pretty close to most APAs, i.e. dry, fairly light-bodied and with a moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: a decent brew, but I must admit that I find it a bit boring. The aroma should have been much more intense: if you haven’t got the balls to use enough bittering hops to make an IPA, you should at least throw in a bucket of aroma hops and save a truckload for the dry hopping. And finally there’s this strange bitterness. 

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

ClubGonzo’s Hazy Summer

Hazy Summer by ClubGonzo, American Pale Ale, 5.1% ABV, 40 IBU.

The Hazy Summer pours a golden, slightly hazy body (who would have thought?) with an average-sized,  white, fairly creamy and fully lasting head that laces the glass well.

ClubGonzo's Hazy Summer, batch 41. American pale ale with lime juice, oats and rhubarb.

ClubGonzo’s Hazy Summer, batch 41. American pale ale with lime, oats and rhubarb.

The aroma is strong, pleasant, very hoppy and a bit grassy in a good way. And it’s very, very, very crisp. It’s quite obvious that some sort of citric fruits have been added to this beer, although I’m not sure if I’m able to pinpoint the lime. Another additive, rhubarb, is also present, but far from overwhelming. There are also more traditional APA notes, in the form of just ripe pineapple and spicy, just ripe mango.There’s lots of citrus, the rhubarb is present, and there are notes of tropical fruits.

This is what happens when a beer is too drinkable: it was almost gone before I remembered to take a picture...

This is what happens when a beer is too drinkable: I had almost emptied the glass when I remembered to take a picture…

The flavour is strong and again very crisp and citric. Wow, what a thirst quencher! The rhubarb adds just the right amount of acidity without being dominating (which was the case with my own Rabarbrapapa). The citrus and the rhubarb are in perfect balance with the fresh green hops. The taste is light sweet, medium bitter and very light acidic. Finally I should mention that the brew is 100% clean, without any nail-polish remover. Yay!

It has a very light and thin body, it almost feels like a 2.5% ABV beer. I guess the oats didn’t help. The texture is dry.


Conclusion: Crispness redefined. An absurdly drinkable summer beer, I’d easily pay good money for this one. If I had rated beers according to style and drinkability, this one would have been close to perfect. To bad I often need an «india», «double», «imperial» or «barrel aged» in the beer name in order to give a higher rating than 4.0…

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

ClubGonzo’s Lush Summer

Lush Summer by ClubGonzo, Spice/Herb/Vegetable – American Pale Ale, 5.2% ABV, 32.6 IBU.

I’m Sorry, ClubGonzo, another one of your creations that I rate totally off-season, and long after it was fresh and newly brewed. Or maybe a lemony summer beer with coriander seeds is just what I need on a wet, cold-ish day in January?

ClubGonzo's Lush Summer, Batch no 24.

ClubGonzo’s Lush Summer, Batch no 24.

The colour is medium amber and the body is fittingly hazy. The off-white head is quite small, but it’s long-lived and stays finger-thick until my glass is empty, a glass which is completely covered in beautiful lacings when I’m done tasting. I guess this must be full Appearance score!

The aroma is very strong and very crisp and citric. Lots and lots of citrus, and tropical fruits, especially spicy pineapple and mango. I don’t get any coriander notes, and that’s a bit disappointing.

This is a nice looking beer!

This is a nice looking beer!

Although I get some faint spicy hints in the flavours, I find it very hard to identify any coriander there either. The lovely lemon juice on the other hand is very obvious, both in the flavours and in a light acidic taste. There is a gentle caramel background, but the flavours are really dominated by citrus and fruity hops. I find the taste a little too sweet for the disappointingly light bitterness. The body is also pretty bold for such a low ABV brew, I almost suspect this beer to be slightly under-attenuated. In addition to this the carbonation is far too soft, so the mouthfeel doesn’t quite match the crisp and citric aroma and flavours. There is some dryness in the finish, but I think the dryness should have kicked in earlier, along with a less sweet taste and more bitterness.

Conclusion: A fairly refreshing beer, but also a bit unbalanced with too much sweetness for the style compared to the bitterness. The lemon juice is a welcome addition that saves the crispness, and despite all my remarks, the conclusion of the conclusion is that this is a nice one.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Mulligan Pale Ale

Mulligan Pale Ale by ClubGonzo, American Pale Ale, 5.8% ABV, 34 IBU.

After a couple of horrible weeks almost without any beer due to a rough cold followed by sinusitis, I’m ready to do some rating again. Or rather, try to do some rating. I’m not sure if I can trust my sense of smell right now, with all this penicillin in my system.

ClubGonzo Mulligan Pale Ale, Batch 22

ClubGonzo Mulligan Pale Ale, Batch 22

Oh no. My nose works. The first thing I notice when I smell this amber/orange-ish beer is… stinging alcohol! The dreaded, unpleasant, solvent-like notes that I for some reason seem to be the only one to pick up in ClubGonzo/JoKr beers. I should add that these notes are not the most obvious contributions to the aroma profile, the quite strong aroma is more dominated by pleasant, sweet and crisp tropical fruits.

So, how does the beer taste? Unfortunately not good at all. The stinging solvent notes are in front, and together with a floral, plant sap bitterness this is actually quite unpleasant. Could there be something wrong with this one? Or maybe my body wasn’t quite ready for a beer today? There are some good flavours as well, especially the caramel notes are nice, also some nice fruits.

The beer is quite light-bodied, the texture is dry and the carbonation is moderate.

Conclusion: so much solvent-like notes that I get goose bumps when I force the liquid down. Luckily the quite decent fruity notes are stronger than the unpleasant notes, especially in the aroma. I could be a bad bottle, it could be a sick rater. 

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    8/20
Ratebeer score: 2.4/5.0

ClubGonzo & Frode’s Ash Island Pale Ale

Ash Island Pale Ale by ClubGonzo & Frode, American Pale Ale, 4.8% ABV, 39 IBU.

This beer looks sort of like a blushing Belgian witbier. The cloudy, whitish to orange body is totally opaque. Although I try not to rate beers according to style (mostly because I don’t have the knowledge to do so), this one is a bit too far away from the style standards even for me. The head is also rather strange: it’s frothy and consists of many big bubbles that looks sticky (I guess you’ll have to see it to understand what I mean) and that are surprisingly long-lived, before they collapse into a thin layer.

Ash Island Pale Ale, aka. contract brew no 6, batch no 27.

Ash Island Pale Ale, aka. contract brew no 6, batch no 27.

The aroma is strong and it’s one of the most amazing, succulent, juicy, sweet fruity aromas I’ve scented in a long time. Simply impressive! It’s very hoppy, with lots of perfectly ripe tropical fruits, including peach.

The taste is light sweet and the fairly long-lasting finish is moderate bitter. As often is the case with (I)PAs, the flavours are much fainter than the aroma. It tastes fruity, but it’s nowhere near the magnificent aroma. The peach and mango notes are very nice however, and for a light summer refreshment I guess this is exactly what you need. Finally I get traces (I repeat: traces) of these solvent like notes that I find in JoKr/ClubGonzo beers only. I’ve no idea what they are, and it seems like I’m the only one that detect these notes, so feel free to ignore me (eppur si muove!).

The mouthfeel is quite ok. The body is medium to light, and the carbonation is moderate.

Conclusion: a refreshing, simple and tasty little thing. If the rest had been of the same quality as the aroma, this would have been one of my favourite beers ever.

Aroma:      8/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0

Beer With Me Nano Brewery Nøgne Ø Pale Ale

Nøgne Ø Pale ale (left), Beer With Me Nano Brewery Pale Ale Batch 001 (right)

Nøgne Ø Pale Ale by Beer With Me Nano Brewery, 7.1% ABV, 40 IBU.

An absolutely 100% objective rating coming up, this is the rating of my very first homebrew! My Batch 001 is the Nøgne Ø Pale Ale all-grain beer-kit, which according to Nøgne should be fool proof. Guess I’m a fool, then. Please see my brewlog for details about the brewing process.

I had bought a bottle of Nøgne Ø’s own Pale Ale, and my attempt at recreating this very nice beer will mercilessly be compared to the Correct Answer™.

The colour of Batch 001 is light amber, quite similar to the original. It is however much cloudier, Nøgne Ø’s ale only has a good-looking haze. The head of my beer is smaller, has a shorter life-time and doesn’t lace the glass as well as Nøgne’s.

The aroma is… well… butter. Sweet butter and butterscotch are far too dominant, the refreshing fruits that are upfront in Nøgne’s beer are less obvious in mine. It’s not very bad, but something’s definitely gone wrong here. I suspect I bottled the beer too early (after 6 days), or could the butter be due to an infection?

The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter, far sweeter than Nøgne’s. There are some citric notes and grapefruit, but again the noisy butter ruins the experience. There is also a tad more obvious alcohol flavours in Batch 001 than in the real deal.

Yours truly admiring his (and Nøgne Ø's) work.

A good thing about the increased sweetness and the butter is that the mouthfeel is not that bad, I’d say a medium body and a quite oily texture. The carbonation however is a bit to soft, softer than the guys in Grimstad make.

Conclusion: I’ve actually managed to make a beer. The aroma and the taste is that of a beer. Not a good beer but it’s not entirely undrinkable. But I’ve definitely screwed up somewhere in the process.

Aroma:      4
Appearance: 3
Taste:      5
Palate:     3
Overall:    9
Ratebeer Score: 2.4

Addendum: after a couple of more weeks in the bottles the diacetyl is almost completely gone, and the beer is now nice and refreshing. It’s still too alcoholic, but both the Aroma and Taste is so much better, I’d say they are both close to a 7. A couple of my testers actually claimed that they liked my version better than the original in a direct comparison. I’m not sure if I would go that far, but it’s still tasty stuff!

ClubGonzo's BBB (Basic Biomedical Beer)

BBB (Basic Biomedical Beer) by ClubGonzo, American Pale Ale, 5.4 % ABV, 40 IBU.

BBB (Basic Biomedical Beer) by ClubGonzo is one aggressively carbonated fellow.

Ouch, a gusher! The beer doesn’t come out of the bottle that quickly though, so I actually mange to fit almost the entire contents in my glass, including a huge, frothy, very light brown head. This foamy lid stopped the aromas quite effectively, so I had to spoon out parts of it to get an impression of the scents. The good thing about the head is that it’s long-lived, but for some reason it hardly leaves any lacing. The body is medium amber and cloudy with lots of yeasty sediments.

BBB (Basic Biomedical Beer) a.k.a. Solo Batch no. 5.

Exciting aroma of moderate strength that is dominated by pleasant fruits and berry-like notes: I get citrus, peach and raspberry candy (bringebærdrops!).

The taste is light sweet with a quite sharp bitter finish. It’s that kind of bitterness that is not actually that bitter, but it still feels quite stinging, both due to the faint perfume-like flavours that lurk in the back and also the quite lively carbonation. The texture is rather dry and the finish is somewhat chalky. The flavours are fruits and berries (again with the fun raspberry candy), yeast and these hints of sharp perfume. Refreshing-ish, but with some flaws.

Conclusion: I’ve never had a gushing beer that I’ve fully enjoyed, they all get too yeasty, and this is also the case for the BBB. That’s a shame, because apart from the yeast both the aroma and flavour are quite nice, so I guess this was a really good one in its glory days. But I’ve got to rate the bottle I’ve got, and that was not better than “quite OK”.

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 2
Taste:      6
Palate:     3
Overall:   12
Ratebeer Score: 3.0

JoKr Brewers Mangopia

Mangopia by JoKr Brewers, American Pale Ale, 4.4 % ABV, 42 IBU.

The last mango infused ale from JoKr Brewers, Hops meet Mango, was a bit disappointing: the aroma was amazing but the beer was a gusher, the murky body with chunks of mango didn’t look that good in the glass and it was far too alcoholic and yeasty. Hopefully this lighter version is more pleasant!

JoKr Brewers Mangopia, batch no. 11

The Mangopia doesn’t gush, so there’s a huge improvement right away! So let’s pour the clear, sparkling liquid into my gl… eh… What? Mango lumps again? Putting the fresh mango in a finely masked net bag clearly didn’t solve the mango residue problem: here are plenty of bits, pieces and lumps of mango suspended in a cloudy medium orange body. I might have poured the beer too quickly, but still. The off-white head is of average size, quite frothy and a bit short-lived. It leaves virtually no lacing on the glass.

The aroma is very strong, delicious, very crisp and refreshing! It’s sweet fruity with perfectly ripe fruits, the slightly acidic mango is very obvious. Also peach, citric notes, refreshing herbs, resin and a whiff of caramel. Absolutely lovely!

The taste is light sweet with a moderate bitter long-lasting finish. Quite gentle bitterness for an APA. A very light acidity further enhances the crisp impression from the aroma. The flavours are of moderate strength, again with mango as the main component. Unfortunately there is also a light yeasty feel that I don’t like that much: neither the flavour nor the yeasty dryness in the finish. Still, good stuff, and the yeast is far less intrusive than in the Hops Meet Mango.

Decent mouthfeel, although a bit thin. The carbonation is soft, it could have benefited form an higher carbonation level.

A bit too cold Mangopia with an ok head.

Conclusion: it’s getting there! The aroma is very strong and lovely, the flavours are nice but a bit weaker than I’d hoped for, and the overall feel is a tiny bit too yeasty. A big improvement from the Hops meet Mango!

Aroma:     8
Apperance: 2
Taste:     7
Palate:    3
Overall:  12
Ratebeer score: 3.2

Meilby Brewing Amarillo Pale Ale

Amarillo Pale Ale by Meilby Brewing, American Pale Ale, 4.2 % ABV, IBU 38.

Meilby Brewing Amarillo Pale Ale, batch #011, bottle 29/56

A couple of days ago I had a Hornbeer Dryhop, an amazing Amarillo single hop bottom fermented beer. When I was trying to decide which of my newly received bottles from Meilby Brewing I was going to try first, I knew that I had to go for the Amarillo Pale Ale, which I assume is an Amarillo single hop top fermented beer. Are there any similarities between the two beers? What difference does the yeast make? Do you feel the pressure, Meilby?

The beer pours a hazy medium amber body with a huge, creamy, off-white head that never gets any smaller than a thick layer. Impressive amounts of lacing clings to the glass, long after the beer has been drunk.

Amarillo Pale Ale in the glass. Big ever-lasting creamy head.

The aroma is strong with lots of hoppy notes, but there is also a touch of sweet caramel. The sweet fruits are the dominants contributors though, I get ripe peach, slightly acidic mango, pineapple and grapefruit. A couple of strawberries are thrown in for good measure, and finally there are some faint refreshing herbal hints. Very, very inviting indeed!

The taste is light sweet with a moderate bitter finish. A quite gentle pale ale, this one. The flavours are quite strong, with lots of grapefruit up front, followed by peach and hints of honey. There are also traces of a strange rubber note, but the sharp and clean herbal, resinous, grapefruity bitterness removes the faint rubber as soon as the beer is swallowed, leading to a fairly long-lasting, dry and clean finish. Finally I get some extremely faint yeasty notes.

The mouthfeel is pleasantly dry, but the body is a bit too thin and watery. This is to be expected with such a low ABV, I suppose. Dangerously drinkable on a hot summer day!

How it compares with the Hornbeer Dryhop? Well, it’s less bitter but with the same obvious grapefruit flavour. On the other hand, I’d probably said that about most pale ales…

Conclusion: a very crisp, refreshing and gently hopped pale ale with no obvious flaws.

Aroma:     8
Apperance: 4
Taste:     7
Palate:    3
Overall:   13
Ratebeer score: 3.5

Thats what I call lacing!