S & M Brewing B is for Blonde

B is for Blonde by S & M Brewing, Belgian Blond, 6.7% ABV, 23.6 IBU.

A cooperation brew between ClubGonzo and the inspiration behind the magnificent imperial stout M, Marianne – here is the second batch (and my first) from S & B Brewing!

Cloudy body, cloudy sky.

Cloudy body, cloudy sky.

It pours a cloudy, opaque, medium orange to amber body with a quite large, creamy, white head that laces my glass very well. The head settles as a fully lasting layer.

The aroma is quite faint, and quite frankly it’s not that interesting. I get sweet fruits and light Belgian yeast with some subdued spicy notes.

There is more happening in the strong flavour, the Belgian yeast is stronger and the fruitiness is more pronounced. I get mainly sweet light fruits, especially apples. Also sweet caramel, and in the back there are hints of spices and vanilla, and, hey, some vague traces of solvent. Moderate sweet taste with a light bitter and long-lasting finish.

It has a pleasant mouthfeel, medium body, moderate carbonation and a light dryness.

Conclusion: a bit anonymous, but quite tasty and drinkable.

S & M Brewing B is for Blonde

S & M Brewing B is for Blonde

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.0/5.0

Dr. M nr. 23 – Camilla

Camilla by Dr. M, Belgian Blond, 5.8% ABV, 17 IBU.

Dr. M nr 23 - Camilla

Dr. M nr 23 – Camilla

I’ve been cursed with a some bad bottles the last few times I’ve rated Dr. M beers, let’s see if this one is clean!

Dr. M BLAHBLAHBLAH BLONDEIt pours an opaque, cloudy medium amber to orange body with a huge, off-white, creamy fairly long-lasting head that sticks to the glass.

Strong aroma of Belgian yeast and lots of light fruits, I get both cidery apples and notes of pear. It’s a sweet smell, with gentle spicy hints for the sake of balance.

The flavour is strong and is dominated by the yeast, but the fruity notes are also very evident, so is a sprinkle of black pepper. It’s a bit sharp with the usual solventy hints that I tend to pick up in homebrews, but they are not overwhelming. The taste is somewhat sweeter than most blondes, and the bitterness is very gentle. There is some dryness in the finish, but this is far from a bone dry beer.

Conclusion: a decent blonde, I like the massive fruitiness. I’m still no fan of solvent, even though it’s reasonably subtle in this brew. 

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    10/20
Ratebeer score: 3.0/5.0

 

JoKr Brewers Bimbaffled

Bimbaffled by JoKr Brewers, Belgian Blonde, 6.2% ABV, 28 IBU.

For a blonde this beer isn’t that blond: the colour is slightly pale amber. In the glass the body looks clear, once again the JoKr brewers have done a good job when it comes to clearity (or maybe my pouring skills are improving!). The head however is frothy and is very soon reduced to a thin, white layer that doesn’t lace the glass very well.

A blonde that isn't very blond. Right here the head is big, but trust me, it collapses very fast.

The aroma is of moderate intensity and is rather Belgian, with obvious and pleasant notes of Belgian yeast, spices and with fruity notes that are sweet and at the some time a bit acidic. And then, far in the back, are some elements that make me wonder if this bottle is very lightly infected? There are some faint wild notes, some sourness and a touch of fermented apples! The fun thing is that these parts only bring another dimension to the beer, they make the aroma more interesting. Still, I think I prefer blondes with a more traditional, cleaner and stronger aroma.

JoKr Brewers Bimbaffled a.k.a. Batch 14.

The taste is light sweet and light bitter, and again I find traces of sourness. The moderate flavours have notes of Belgian yeast, spices, faint fruits, some nice notes of sweet honey and vague hints of fermented apples. And then, of course, alcohol! Ha! I had this beer 5 minutes after the absolutely clean East Block Sunshine, but here they are again, the good ol’ boozy JoKr notes of stinging, near fusel-like alcohol. Ok, the alcohol is not very intrusive, and if this had been a Duvel clone it would have been close to tolerable. But for a 6.2% ABV the alcohol is too stinging, even for the style. Apart from the alcohol the mouthfeel is ok, with a medium body, moderate carbonation and dry texture.

Conclusion: Typical Belgian notes work well with sweet honey to fight back the attacks of the biting alcohol. The pleasant elements are a bit too faint and the aggressive alcohol is too obvious. The sourness and the wild notes are a bit misplaced, even if they’re not terribly disturbing.

Aroma:      6
Appearance: 3
Taste:      5
Palate:     3
Overall:   10
Ratebeer Score: 2.7


Dr. M nr. 2 – Svart høst

Svart høst by Dr. M, Stout, 4-5% ABV, IBU unknown.

Dr. M’s first beer was an extract brew, let’s see if he’s up for a real all-grain challenge! Ever since I got to know Dr. M some 20 years ago, he’s always been a master at the kitchen, and considering his chemistry background I’m not surprised if he manages to cook up a good beer in his first attempt. The goal of this beer was to make a bit darker version of a Belgian blond, but it ended up far darker than his original plan…

The least blond Belgian blond in this part of the galaxy.

The beer pours a viscous and close to black body, with a very large, dense and creamy, light brown, fully lasting head that leaves lots of foam on the glass. Nope, this doesn’t look very blond!

The aroma is strong and pleasant, and very stout-like. I don’t get many Belgian yeast notes, it’s dominated by roasted notes, coffee, ash and faint chocolate, but with some faint fruity notes that I guess are caused by the yeast.

Dr. M. nr. 2 - Svart høst.

The taste is light sweet while the finish has a quite sharp and biting moderate bitterness. This extremely long-lasting, near-astringent, almost metallic bitterness is a bit disturbing, and severely degrades the otherwise pleasant mouthfeel. The body is medium, the texture is dry and creamy and the carbonation is soft. The flavour profile is roasted with coffee and dark fruits and berries in front, while bitter and very dark chocolate together with dark caramel lurk in the back. Again the Belgian feel is quite subdued, I’d hoped for even more fruits and yeasty goodness.

Conclusion: A nice Belgian Stout with an inviting aroma and tasty flavours, but there is something about the bitterness that I don’t find that pleasant. Still a very impressive first all-grain!

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 4
Taste:      7
Palate:     3
Overall:   13
Ratebeer Score: 3.4