Dr. M nr. 1 – AmIPA

Nr. 1 – AmIPA by Dr. M, India Pale Ale, ABV and IBU unknown.

I don’t rate a lot of extract brews, but since this is the very first brew from my good buddy Morten, and he has actually modified the recipe somewhat, I’ll give it a go after all. This beer is based on the IPA extract kit from Bryggselv, with additional cascade hops added to the secondary.

Dr. M nr. 1 - AmIPA. Label slightly inspired by Fritz Lang.

In the glass the beer has a nice dark amber colour and is close to crystal clear. The head is large, creamy, off-white and very long-lived. It never gets smaller than a good-sized layer, and is laces the glass well.

The aroma is sweet, very strong and pleasant, with heavy hoppy fruity notes. It’s tropical with peach, mango and pineapple, and with additional citrus and sweet caramel. Lovely!

Isnt this how an IPA should look like?

The taste is light sweet while the long-lasting finish has a marvellous heavy bitterness. There are quite some tropical fruity notes in the flavours as well, but bitter grapefruit is more evident, as well as resin and some rather sharp grassy hoppy notes. Maybe a bit too heavily dry hopped, this one? A nice caramel background backs up the hop attack.

The mouthfeel is splendid, with a medium body, smooth and oily texture and moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: A very successful first try! One may ask why bother brewing all-grain and making your own recipes when a simple extract brew gives a far better beer than I’ve ever managed to make?

Aroma:      8
Appearance: 4
Taste:      7
Palate:     4
Overall:   13
Ratebeer score: 3.6

Meilby Brewing Imperial Licorice Stout

Imperial Licorice Stout by Meilby Brewing, Imperial Stout, 12.8 % ABV, 80 IBU. 

The autumn is here and with it my crave for dark and powerful beers. What better way to start the stout season than an imperial licorice stout?

Meilby Imperial Licorice Stout, bottled 19.12.2011, batch 003, bottle 22/23.

Out of the bottle pours a very viscous looking, oily, black liquid that doesn’t seem to be carbonated at all. Even when I raise the bottle far above the glass no head is formed, apart from some brown big bubbles that migrate towards the walls of the glass. They are sort of long-lived, but don’t leave any lacing.

Black, oily beer with a few bubbles.

The aroma is amazing, complex, strong and sweet! Coffee, chocolate, liquorice, dark caramel, dark sweet fruits, raisin and a touch of port wine. It’s roasted, but not as heavily roasted as the utter black body indicates.

The heavy sweet taste is nicely backed up by a slight salty feel and a moderate to heavy bitter finish. The flavours are quite strong and very, very pleasant. Sweet dark caramel, port wine and roasted notes, but most of all intense and ever-lasting notes of liquorice that explode in the aftertaste. The alcohol is extremely well integrated, it’s only present as this lovely port wine feel. Absolutely amazing!

In the mouth this black monster feels like liquid liquorice, this must be the definition of a full bodied beer! The texture is thick, viscous, oily and wonderful. The only thing that prevents me from giving a 5 is the lack of carbonation. It’s very close to flat with just the slightest tingling sensation on my tongue, but that might as well be caused by the alcohol.

Conclusion: an absolutely delicious beer with stunning aroma and taste, and although the flavour profile is a bit too dominated by the liquorice to be called complex, it’s still one of the very best homebrews I’ve ever tasted. 

Aroma:     8
Apperance: 3
Taste:     8
Palate:    4
Overall:  15
Ratebeer Score: 3.8

ClubGonzo's Greek Fire

Greek Fire by ClubGonzo, India Pale Ale, 6.3 % ABV, 61 IBU.

ClubGonzos Greek Fire a.k.a. Solo Batch no. 4

This single hop beer has a very dark amber colour, unusually dark for an IPA. The body is hazy, and no lumps of yeast or hops can bee seen in my glass: either the Bergen brewers have shaped up recently, or I’ve finally learned how to pour a beer without whirling up the sediments. The head is creamy, light brown and stays as a thick layer until my glass is empty. The before mentioned glass gets covered in lacings by this long-lived head.

The aroma is strong, sweet and very inviting! I get huge amounts of fruits and berries, actually quite much strawberries, that’s a new one! Also sweet tropical fruits, mainly peach and mango and a firm kick of bitter grapefruit. This is really, really nice!

The taste is moderate sweet, that’s quite much sweetness for an IPA. This lovely caramelly malty sweetness is perfectly backed up by a moderate to heavy bitter long-lasting finish, and what a pleasant bitterness it is! Without having brewed any beers myself I get the impression that it’s quite easy to produce a very bitter taste, but it’s much more difficult to make a pleasant bitterness. The flavours are strong, and again I get a quite obvious strawberry feel. The mango is still there and quite definitely the grapefruit. Vague alcohol in the finish, but that’s nowhere near disturbing. Given the quite sweet taste and the sweet strawberry notes, a gentle alcohol bite is very welcome.

A very dark IPA with a nice creamy head.

Resilient head with lacing capabilities.

The body is medium, it has a nice oily texture and a fitting soft carbonation. When my glass is almost empty I start noticing something far into the aftertaste that isn’t that pleasant, it’s something about that bitterness that doesn’t seem perfect anymore. That might of course be due to the palate fatigue, after all it had to endure violent abuse from the horrible Dandy Lion earlier this evening, but still I need to go all the way down to a 3 for the Palate.

Conclusion: A lovely single hop beer with truck loads of delicious fruits and berries both in the aroma and in the flavours. The bitterness is pronounced and pleasant, and the heightened sweetness level is pleasant, even though it might not be exactly according to style? And who cares about the slightly too dark colour?

Aroma:     8
Apperance: 4
Taste:     8
Palate:    3
Overall:  14
Ratebeer Score: 3.7

Landstads mikromicrobryggeri Kristale

Kristale by Landstads mikromicrobryggeri, Belgian Strong Ale (?), ABV and IBU: unknown

This is not a Kristlager, its a Kristale. Well well.

This mysterious bottle arrived in my mailbox the other day. I know close to nothing about the beer or the brewer, other than that the bottle is mislabelled (it’s a Kristale, not a Kristlager), and that the brewer is a friend of fellow ratebeerian Cunningham. So, a real blind rating! This will show the world what an experienced rater I am, or, more likely, turn out to be a bit embarrassing for me…

I pour the contents into my glass, and note that the body has that homebrew look: a bit dirty-looking, cloudy and medium brown. The head is creamy, light-brown and very long-lived, it never reduces beyond a decent sized layer and the mandatory build-up at the walls of the glass. A quite ok amount of lacing.

The aroma is quite strong, one of the strongest aromas I’ve encountered on my journey into homebrew land so far! Being strong is of course only a good thing if the aroma actually is nice, and that is certainly the case for the Kristale. It starts out with pale malts, soon followed by hoppy notes with lots of fruits and finally very sweet caramel escapes the glass. The overall feel of the aroma is sweet, very sweet, but in a very inviting way. I get bubble gum, candy, overripe bananas, Dumle(!), yeast and a lovely vinous touch in the back. So far I’m very confused when it comes to the beer style, there are some many elements fighting for my attention!

The taste is moderate sweet with a very light bitterness and a very faint hint of acidity. I’m a hophead and usually I’m not a big fan of beers that are totally ruled by sweetness, but the sweetness of this one is really, really pleasant. It’s also a perfect fit with the sweet aroma and the flavours. The intensity of the flavours are a tad weaker than the aroma led me to hope for, but still quite impressive stuff: the caramel is there from the very start and far into the long-lasting aftertaste, hand in hand with spices and yeast. It’s Belgian yeast, right? I also get lots of sweet, ripe fruits, sweet honey, perfume, candi sugar and some vinous notes. I realise that I repeat the word “sweet” a lot, but again, this is a highly pleasant sweetness, there is nothing cloying in here.

The mouthfeel suffers a bit from The Curse of the Homebrewers, i.e. some unclean yeasty notes that also give a too chalky dry finish. Apart from that it’s quite pleasant, with a medium body, dry texture and soft carbonation.

So, let’s say that this is a Belgian Strong Ale? According to my slightly dizzy head right now I’d say that the ABV is approximately 7.5 % (but the dizziness may also be due to the fact that this is a very warm day and I’ve been bicycling 25 km).

Long-lasting head.

Conclusion: a very tasty beer with wonderful aroma and flavours. Despite the dominant sweetness it’s highly drinkable. A bit dirty-looking and too much mouthdrying yeast, but still a high quality beer!

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 3
Taste:      7
Palate:     3
Overall:   14
Ratebeer score: 3.4