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 Red X

Red X by ClubGonzo, Bown Ale, 7% ABV, 28.5 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Red X, batch no. 52

ClubGonzo’s Red X, batch no. 52. Ok, it doesn’t look this red without the backlight.

A true beer geek beer, brewed to showcase the Red X base malt.

It does have a nice colour indeed, although it might have been even redder if a smaller amount of Red X had beed used? The body has a very deep red-ish copper colour. The beige head is of moderate size and shrinks quickly, but it remains a thin layer until the glass is empty. Some of the foam is left on the glass.

Red X in the glass.

Red X in the glass.

The aroma is malty and pretty strong. It’s simple and undemanding, but I get very pleasant notes of sweet caramel, dark dried fruits and a touch of red berries.

The flavour is strong and again it’s the malt that runs the show. Lots and lots of caramel, nuts, dark dried fruits and a bit of (pleasant and clean) alcohol. The mouthfeel is fairly oily, although it dries up in the finish. The carbonation is soft, and that fits such a sweet and caramelly beer. The label claims that the IBU is 28.5 (don’t get me started on significant figures again!), but I find the bitterness to be quite substantial, and would have guessed approximately 48.372 IBU. There is a moderate sweetness that more than balances the bitterness, so this still feels like a sweet beer.

Conclusion: a sweet, malty and simple beer, but a good one, without any flaws.

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

ClubGonzo + Tom’s Beetnik Brew

Beetnik Brew by ClubGonzo + Tom, Imperial Brown Ale, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 8.5% ABV, 55 IBU.

An imperial brown ale with beetroot juice and ginger. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

ClubGonzo + Tom's Beetnik Brew, batch no 21.

ClubGonzo + Tom’s Beetnik Brew, batch no 21.

In the glass it has a deep brown to copper body with a large, creamy, very long-lived, light tan head that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is strong with lots of crisp, spicy and somewhat soapy ginger notes on a modest, sweet malty caramel background with hints of dark dried fruits. It’s tempting and fairly interesting.

Beetnik Brew in the glass. This rating is not sponsored by Café Sara.

Beetnik Brew in the glass. This rating is not sponsored by Café Sara – one of the best places in Oslo to get new Norwegian microbrews on tap.

The flavour is quite strong and is dominated by ginger. Or as my co-rater this evening, Mr. Father-in-law, puts it: «this is concentrated ginger!». There are also hints of caramel and some hoppy notes, although it’s hard to be more specific than “hoppy”. Ok, I’ll try, let’s call it “floral”. Some of the floral stuff may also be caused by the beetroot. And, of course, this being a ClubGonzo beer and I’m me and all, of course I get quite much alcohol, and I must admit that I find these notes fairly unclean. The taste is moderate sweet and moderate plus bitter.

It has a pleasant mouthfeel, with a smooth and creamy texture, despite the quite lively carbonation. It’s a full-bodied beer, but the general impression suffers from the unclean alcohol in the finish.

Conclusion: a nice one if you love ginger, but it’s a bit one-dimensional and the alcohol is too obvious. And where’s the beetroot? But, as my co-raters says, “this is different”.

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

ClubGonzo's Nutcase Brown

Nutcase Brown by ClubGonzo, American Brown Ale, 6 % ABV, IBU 36.5.

Nutcase Brown a.k.a. ClubGonzo SoloBrew no. 1. I love the label!

This interesting brew was provided by Stian Krog a.k.a. ClubGonzo, which is half of the famous (at least on this web page) JoKr Brewers. I must admit that I’ve never encountered nutmeg notes in a beer before, but I assume that ClubGonzo has, and that he designed this beer to see how much nutmeg he could possible fit into the little bottle. Experimental brewing FTW!

The first impression is not very good: a cloudy, dirty-looking dark brown body with a frothy, light-brown, short-lived head that vanishes more or less completely and leaves virtually no lacing.

The aroma is roasted with a spicy touch. I don’t know if I would have managed to pick out nutmeg if I hadn’t’ read the label, but now that I have, I do find lots of nutmeg. Cool! Unfortunately there’s also these sour yeasty notes that I’ve found in a couple of the JoKr beers. The yeast masks much of the more pleasant and interesting notes, and the aroma ends up as not that impressive.

There is some sweetness in the taste and a moderate to light bitter finish. Kind of dull, really. The flavours are very much in agreement with the aroma, with nice roasted notes, lots and lots of fun nutmeg but also far too much yeast. The yeast gives a rather dry chalky finish, but apart from that the mouthfeel is pretty good. Medium body, smooth texture, soft carbonation, and, brace yourself ClubGonzo: the alcohol is completely hidden!

Conclusion: a fun experimental brew with a really interesting spicy nutmeg twist, but that isn’t enough to rise this yeasty creation up from mediocrity.

Aroma:      5
Appearance: 2
Taste:      5
Palate:     3
Overall:   10
Ratebeer score: 2.5

Where did the head go?

JoKr Brewers Cereal Killer

Cereal Killer by JoKr Brewers, Bitter/Brown Ale, ABV 4 %, IBU 33.

Cereal Killer a.k.a. Test batch no. 6

The Cereal Killer is an experimental beer brewed with 6 different pilsener, pale and caramel malts plus oat, rye and corn. Yummy, corn, my favourite adjunct! Maybe this beer is as lovely as Coors Light or Miller GD? Ok, now that I’ve used up my irony quota for today, I’ll go on with the review. The thought behind this brew is to enhance the grainy notes that one find in beers from time to time. I’m sure if I quite understand why anyone would want to do this, but the JoKrs move in mysterious ways… According to the brewers the yeast and hop profiles are minimalistic in order to give room for the malts. Yes, I’m a bit sceptical, but also very eager to check if I do pick up lots of grainy notes!

In the glass the beer has a slightly hazy medium brown colour and is topped by a small frothy to creamy light brown head. The head reduces to a thin film and some build-up at the walls quite quickly, and doesn’t leave much lacing.

The aroma is… well, unusual. And, congratulations JoKr Brewers, you have succeeded, the aroma is indeed very grainy! But despite ClubGonzo’s assurances that only very lightly roasted malts have been used, I feel that the roasted notes are just as obvious as the grains. And I get lots of coffee. Not the strong type of coffee notes that you find in an imperial stout, far from it, this is more like watered down cold filter coffee. Actually the aroma reminds me a bit of the smell that comes from the coffee capsule container of my Nespresso espresso machine: old, cold and used espresso capsules mixed with water. Or, the waste water bucked we used to have in our mountain cabin, i.e. a mix of used dish water, coffee and bread crumbs. On the bright side I also find some some quite nice notes of molasses and maple syrup. All in all a very special aroma that is a bit faint and not that inviting, but it’s certainly very interesting.

The taste is light sweet with very nice moderate bitter finish. I was fearing that the lack of hoppy notes in the aroma meant that this would turn out to be a sweet and bland beer, but the bitterness is really good. The flavours follow the aroma, with grains, toasted notes and cold watered down coffee. Again not terribly exciting, but ok.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly nice. The body is not that light, the carbonation is soft and the texture is smooth and pleasant.

Conclusion: a rather special brew that is more interesting than tasty. I like the bitter finish and the mouthfeel, but I guess I’m not that found of grains. Or cold, weak coffee.

Aroma:      5
Appearance: 3
Taste:      5
Palate:     4
Overall:    9
Ratebeer score: 2.6

I forgot to take a picture of the newly poured Cereal Killer, but here it is after a few minutes.