ClubGonzo’s Sweet Hot Smoke

Mead, 12.5% ABV.

ClubGonzo’s Sweet Hot Smoke, mead batch 21.

Holy smokes!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a total chilli sissy. So let’s see if I can handle a mead with chipotle!

It looks like very many other meads, i.e. clear and golden. This one is a bit darker than many, though.

The chipotle is very present in the strong aroma, this is a very smoky brew! It actually feels quite peaty. Is this a whisky with honey? How special!

The flav… *cough* flavo… aargh… ouch… is… well, let’s put it this way: the name of this mead is extraordinarily fitting! It is very hot indeed, and the heat is absolutely caused by smoked chillies. Lots of smoke, lots of heat and a nice honey sweet background. Acidity might be an efficient way of balancing sweetness in meads, and this brew shows that chilli heat is definitely another.


After a few sips I’m adjusting to the heat, and the Sweet Hot Smoke actually turns out to be quite drinkable.

Conclusion: a crazy creation that is a bit too hot for my delicate palate, but highly entertaining and tasty.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:   13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Bryggselv IPA #3 – The Girl From Ipanema

Bryggselv IPA #3 – The Girl From Ipanema by ClubGonzo, India Pale Ale / Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 6.2% ABV, 60 IBU.

A light IPA

A light IPA

Bryggselv IPA #3 - The Girl From Ipanema, Batch no. 59 - Contract brew no. 11.

Bryggselv IPA #3 – The Girl From Ipanema, Batch no. 59 – Contract brew no. 11.

Another take on the Bryggselv IPA brew kit (here’s the last attempt), this time it’s spiced up with habanero chillies. The readers of this blog will know that I’m a sissy when it comes to chilli, so let’s see if I survive this one…

To my surprise the Bryggselv IPA #3 looks nothing like #2, this one is much lighter, it has a clear, pale amber colour, almost golden. The averaged-sized head is off-white, long-lasting and laces the glass well.

The aroma is quite strong and to my relief it doesn’t smell much like habanero. Instead it’s a rather standard IPA aroma, in other words fairly sweet tropical fruits, orange, and caramel in the back. Or are there also hints of something vegetal (in a good sense) far in the background?

But hey, once in the mouth it’s pretty obvious that there are chillies in this one! And it works! Sure it’s hot, but not undrinkably so. Instead the habanero contrasts the sweet tropical fruits and the light caramel, giving a refreshing and palate-cleansing brew. It’s difficult to give a qualitative description of the bitterness level of this one, since the spiciness governs the aftertaste. The brew is mid-bodied, moderately carbonated and have some sweetness in the initial taste.

Conclusion: hot and spicy, but also refreshing and tasty! The reasonable amounts of habanero has resulted in a spiced IPA, not a flaming hot chilli beer with hints of hops. 

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0

Meilby Brewing Sweet Chili Stout

Sweet Chili Stout by Meilby Brewing, 5.3% ABV, 55 IBU.

I pour a pitch black, viscous-looking liquid into my glass. The fairly long-lived head is averaged-sized, it has a medium brown colour and a nice creamy texture. Some of the foam sticks to the glass.

Meilby Brewing Sweet Chili Stout,

Meilby Brewing Sweet Chili Stout, batch 35, bottle 18/43, enjoyed 5 months after bottling.

The aroma is strong, dark roasted malty and very sweet, it’s almost sugary. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it smells thick and viscous, just like it looks! It has some nice and gentle notes of woodsmoke. And, when I take a deep sniff, it’s actually possible to feel a chilli burn! Wow, this is probably hot stuff!

When i take my first generous sip my suspicions are immediately confirmed: holy chipotle, this is violently hot! An absurd chilli burn kicks in the moment I get the liquid into my mouth, and as I swallow my throat is ripped into pieces by the malevolent brew. I’ve had my share of chilli stouts, but none of those where even remotely close to the vindaloo strength of this evil devil. The flavour is totally dominated by the burning chilli, and it makes it difficult to concentrate on anything else than my melting tongue and my deteriorating inner organs. Ok, maybe I’m overdoing this a bit, but this really is far too hot for me.

But hey, let’s take another approach: maybe this this is a 5.5% beer that needs to be drunk as it was 4 times as alcoholic, maybe this is a sipper that shouldn’t be downed in a couple of gulps? So, pretending this is a heavy weight imperial stout (which isn’t very difficult, the body is full and the texture is thick and oily) I enjoy the rest of my glass in small, lady-like sips, and that actually works. After a while my brain and my palate have adjusted, and I start picking up other things than just pure pain. Especially the very nice gentle smoky notes go very well with the spices and the overall dark roasted coffee feel of the beer. The taste is very sweet and the long-lasting finish has a nice moderate bitterness.

And yes, the carbonation is soft.

Conclusion: it’s very difficult to rate this one. Even if it fits fairly well as a slow sipper it’s still too damn hot for me. But I really like the flavours that manage to escape the claws of the chilli, and the mouthfeel would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the chilli overdose. I’d love to taste a sissy version of this one!

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     2/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.2/5.0