Meilby Brewing Gooseberry Sour

Gooseberry Sour by Meilby Brewing, Sour Ale, 7.3% ABV, 13 IBU.

Meilby Brewing Gooseberry Sour, batch #015B, brewed 01/04/2012, bottled 02/11/2013, bottle #1/24.

Meilby Brewing Gooseberry Sour, batch #015B, brewed 01/04/2012, bottled 02/11/2013, bottle #1/24.

This ale was brewed in April 2012, so after nearly 4 years of work the Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend should have managed to make this beer a really sour one. I’m also curious about how much of the 150 grams of gooseberries per litre it is still possible to detect after all this time.

After a few minutes with intense struggle to get that damn cork off, I’m finally ready to pour the first glass.

An orange body with a few short-lived bubbles on top.

An orange body with a few short-lived bubbles on top.

Not only is the cork a pain to remove, it doesn’t seem to work that well. At least the beer looks completely flat, just a few short-lived bubbles appear when I pour my glass. The body is good-looking, though, it’s slightly hazy and has an orange to amber colour.

The strong aroma is very tempting. I sometimes find sour ales to be too vinegary, but this one is right up my alley: it’s intensely fruity. A nice mix of sweet and sour fruits, some apple cider vinegar and a touch of almonds and cherry pits.

The taste is really, really sour indeed. Probably one of the most sour beers I’ve ever had. Really goosebump inducing. But it’s a clean, pleasant and fruity sourness, and there’s a decent amount of sweetness to back it up. It has a strong flavour of sweet and sour fruits, although I’m not sure if I manage to detect the gooseberries. Which of course may mainly be due to the fact that I haven’t tasted gooseberries the past 35 years, apart from those present in a gooseberry mead previously rated on this blog. The funkiness is restrained, although I get a lightly sweaty horse blanket or two.

It’s a flat brew, but that doesn’t ruin the mouthfeel. The texture is rather thick and oily.

Overall: an intensely sour ale with truckloads of fruits. It’s a bit too sour for my sensitive palate, and it wouldn’t have hurt with some carbonation.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0
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Meilby Brewing Abt 10 VS ClubGonzo’s Scullcracker Quadruppel

Abt 10 by Meilby Brewing, Abt/Quadrupel, 11% ABV, 15 IBU
VS
Skullcracker Quadruppel by ClubGonzo, Abt/Quadrupel, 10% ABV, 26.6 IBU

Meilby Abt 10, 11% ABV, 15 IBU, batch 31, brewed 2013-03-15, bottled 2013-12-15.  ClubGonzo Scullcracker Quadruppel, 10% ABV, xx IBU, batch 23.

Meilby Abt 10, 11% ABV, 15 IBU, batch 31, brewed 2013-03-15, bottled 2013-12-15, bottle #3/62  (left)
ClubGonzo Scullcracker Quadruppel, 10% ABV, 26.6 IBU, batch 23 (right)

 

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the main event of the evening, in the category of Abt/Quadrupel here at the Beer With Me Headquarters, Oslo, Norway, presiding this match we have the rater tfredvik and the referee tfredvik. Now, in the Chimay corner, weighing 8456 RateBeer ratings, from Kristiansand, Vest-Agder, please welcome Kenni “The Dane” Meilbyyyy and his mighty Abt 10! His opponent, in the Rochefort corner, weighing 4318 RateBeer ratings, from Bergen, Hordaland, please welcome Stian ClubGonzo “The Pun” Kroooooooog and his notorious Scullcracker Quadruppel!

Meilby Abt 10 (left) and ClubGonzo Scullcracker (right).

Meilby Abt 10 (left) and ClubGonzo Scullcracker (right).

Round 1 – Appearance:

Meilby Abt 10 starts out with a deep brown clear body with a small fizzy beige head that disappears completely within seconds, the nucleation sites at the bottom of the Chimay chalice doesn’t manage to maintain the head, not even a film.

Can ClubGonzo Scullcracker beat this? He delivers a dark brown body that is slightly lighter than that of his opponent. The head is average-sized, it reduces to a partially covering film quite quickly, but there is some buildup at the walls, and we’ve got good lacing, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got good lacing! And to top it all, the film is fully lasting. First round goes to ClubGonzo.

 

Round 2 – Aroma:

This is a very important round, the match could very well be settled right here. ClubGonzo delivers the first sweet punch, and throws a strong aroma right in the face of Meilby: there are lots of fruits, both dark dried and quite fresh, also soap, and noticeable hoppy pine elements. He adds some obvious alcohol as well, but nothing deeply disturbing.

Meilby on the other hand seems to go for the sweet and vinous, with a strong aroma of brown sugar, burnt sugar, chocolate, mild coffee, liquorice, herbs, overripe fruits and some alcohol. A very good round from both quads, it’s difficult to say who got this round, I call it a draw.

 

Round 3 – Taste:

The moment of truth is here, who has the best taste? Meilby Abt 10 is again strong, with a flavour of dark dried fruits, overripe generic fruits, dark caramel, sweet caramel (smørbukk, but in a pleasant and clean way, not in a butterscotch diacetyl fashion), sugars (dark, burnt, candi, what have you), roasted malt and too much and too sharp alcohol. Medium plus sweet taste, very little bitterness, although the warming alcohol almost have a similar effect…

ClubGonzo attacks fiercely, and delivers a very strong taste of dark candi sugar, dark dried fruits, dark caramel, light floral notes and warming alcohol. Moderate to heavy sweet and light bitter taste. Long fruity and burnt sugar finish with warming alcohol, but the alcohol is way better integrated than in the Meilby brew. ClubGonzo wins this round with a small margin. 

 

Round 4 – Palate:

The final round! Meilby’s getting tired, and manages nothing more than a very soft carbonation, that’s just a bit too soft. But he’s full-bodied and quite smooth, and now let’s check the alcoholic feel… the alcohol is… the alcohol is… oh no, that’s far too sharp.

ClubGonzo’s in better shape, and boasts a moderate carbonation, but with bubbles that are so infinitesimal small that the texture ends up silky smooth and creamy! Wonderful! And of course the Scullcracker is full-bodied. This is almost a knock-out!

 

Conclusion: Meilby Abt 10 is a fine brew, especially the aroma is excitingly complex and inviting, but there is too much alcohol in the flavour, and the alcohol has a negative influence on the mouthfeel as well. In addition the beer looks a bit dull without a head.

ClubGonzo Scullcracker Quadruppel is a lovely brew, it manages to be both very sweet and dark, and at the same time almost crisp-ish, with the subtle hoppy influence and the floral background. There is no doubt, the victory goes to ClubGonzo!

 

Meilby Abt 10:

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

 

ClubGonzo Scullcracker Quadruppel:

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     5/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.7/5.0

Meilby Brewing Pumpkin Xmas 13

Pumpkin Xmas 13 by Meilby Brewing, Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 5.5% ABV, 30 IBU.

It’s getting close to summer, i.e. it’s time for a christmas beer!

Meilby Brewing Pumpkin Xmas, all the gory details.

Meilby Brewing Pumpkin Xmas, all the gory details.

The Pumpkin Xmas makes a loud PSSST when I remove the cap, this sounds like a heavily carbonated one. It pours a very hazy, medium amber body with a large, creamy, beige head that is very long-lived. After a long time it settles as a thick layer, and impressive amounts of foam is left on the glass.

The aroma is pretty strong, and it’s spicy, sour and funky. Regarding the latter two: I clearly identify notes that to me are rather bretty, but that might also be due to the fact that all pumpkin beers I’ve ever tasted are funky stuff from Jolly Pumpkin, so what I think is wild yeast might actually simply be the pumpkin. I’d like to hear the brewer’s opinion on this! However, this is a christmas beer, and no christmas beer without some christmassy spices, in this one I mainly get anise and clove. Maybe a bit disappointing given the long and impressive ingredients list (see photo to the right).

Looking good!

Looking good!

The rather strong flavour is also very spicy. It’s dominated by anise, so heavily dominated that it’s a bit hard to detect the other spices, although clove and nutmeg shine through, the latter probably caused by the allspice. The wild yeasty notes (which may or may not be partially due to the pumpkin) are also a main element of the flavour profile. Finally there are some citric notes in the back. The taste is light to moderate sweet, and the long finish is moderate to light bitter.

It’s quite light and dry on the palate, with a lively carbonation, and a particularly dry finish. Christmas beer is a pretty loose style, but to me a christmas beer should be sweeter, but I will of course not hold the lack of residual sweetness against this little pup.

Conclusion: a nice and refreshing beer that will probably fit well as a break between overly sweet christmas beers. It’s loaded with christmas spices, although a bit heavy on the anise, and the pumpkin and the wildness is a nice twist. 

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 5/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0

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

 

Meilby Brewing Pain Killer

Pain Killer by Meilby Brewing, Belgian Strong Ale, 11% ABV, 37 IBU.

Pours a rather dark golden body that is ever so slightly hazy, and that’s topped with a large, white, long-lived head that laces the glass well.

Meilby Brewing Pain Killer, batch #016

Meilby Brewing Pain Killer, batch #016

The aroma is strong, sweet and crisp, this is like a saison-ish tripel: it’s got the crispy acidity of a saison and the thick sugary spicy sweetness of a tripel! Nice! I get quite strong notes of fruits, citrus and even some vague banana in the back, yeast and spices. The aroma has a pleasant vinous feel.

Almost a year in the bottle wasn't long enough to mellow out the alcohol.

Almost a year in the bottle wasn’t long enough to mellow out the alcohol.

The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter. The flavours are utterly and completely dominated by harsh, stinging and tongue numbing notes of alcohol. Never has «well hidden alcohol» been further from the truth! Luckily there are also some quite nice fruity notes and sweet sugary elements in front, but the mid-palate and the finish are more or less ruined by the alcohol. In the late aftertaste some lovely yeasty notes manage to push away the alcohol, and this really save the Taste rating. The body is full, the texture is oily and the carbonation is soft, so if it hadn’t been for the violent alcohol the mouthfeel could have been very pleasant.

Conclusion: some nice elements both in the aroma and the flavours, but the unusually unpleasant alcohol notes makes this brew close to undrinkable.

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 4
Taste:      6
Palate:     1
Overall:   10
Ratebeer score: 2.8


Meilby Brewing Française Stoubic

Française Stoubic by Meilby Brewing, Stout, 8.1% ABV, 70 IBU.

This is why I love tasting home brews! Not that the funky Française Stoubic is the best beer I’ve ever had, but it’s unusual, interesting and, at least in my book, very inventive. And that’s what home brewing is all about.

I like labels with lots of information!

It pours a totally opaque pitch black body topped by a large, creamy, dense and brown head that is very long-lived. When I finish my glass there is still a layer of foam left, and lots of lacing is clinging to the glass.

Française Stoubic in the glass. Note the cool two-coloured head!

The aroma is rather strong and is a complex mix of sweet, sour and acidic elements. The barnyard-ish wild yeast notes are the first thing I notice, followed by roasted parts. It’s not as heavily roasted as the black colour indicates, but it’s a lovely contrast to the yeast. There are also some faint coffee notes. It’s quite vinous, rather red wine-like.

In the mouth the Française Stoubic is a joyride: first it’s quite sweet, then I notice a certain sourness and some quite obviuos acidity. Then the palate gets a short break while the full-ish body with the thick, creamy and smooth texture massages the tongue and I get some really nice fruity notes mixed with dark roasted stuff. Then I swallow and BAM!, after a second or so a tongue-twisting acidity kicks in and threatens to dissolve the enamel of my teeth. Flavours include red wine, barnyard, leather, oak and faint coffee. The alcohol is very well integrated. The finish has a very pronounced red wine-like tannin dryness, it’s bordering on astringent, but in this crazy beer it works well.

Conclusion: a fun and different beer that in addition to its novelty is really tasty.

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 4
Taste:      7
Palate:     4
Overall:   13
Ratebeer score: 3.5


Meilby Brewing Peated Porter

Peated Porter by Meilby Brewing, Porter, 6.8 % ABV, 29 IBU.

As soon as I open the bottle the contents slowly starts to expand, so I pour rather quickly in order to prevent a gushing accident. Before I start pouring however, I notice some yeast sediments inside the bottle neck. In the glass the body is close to black, and the large, brown frothy to creamy head has a decent life-time and laces the glass well.

Meilby Brewing Peated Porter, batch 007, bottled 23.01.2012

The aroma is quite strong and very smoky. No sausages or cured ham, just plain wood smoke. Just how I like a smoked beer! (Let’s forget for a while that this isn’t a smoked beer) In addition there are some very obvious peaty notes, some coffee, a bit too much yeast and a pleasant touch of dark berries. The general feel of the aroma is quite sweet.

The taste is light sweet with a light bitter finish, and there is also a very light sourness, like sour smoke from a camp fire. The flavour is dominated by smoke and peat, with additional coffee and some alcohol in the fairly long-lasting finish. Again none of the dreaded meaty notes are present. The dark berries are more evident as a flavour than as an aroma. I think the yeasty notes are a bit too strong, but this still is a very tasty brew.

The body is medium, the texture is quite dry and the carbonation is moderate to lively.

Conclusion: A nice porter that I find more smoky than peaty, with dark berries making it even more interesting.

Aroma:      7
Appearance: 4
Taste:      7
Palate:     3
Overall:   12
Ratebeer score: 3.3

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


Meilby Brewing Sour Experiment 1

Sour Experiment 1 by Meily Brewing, Sour Ale, 5.5 % ABV, 14 IBU.

I’ll start this rating by quoting an old fairytale by a guy called Matthew: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine,(…)”. I don’t understand sour ales, I don’t like sour ales, sour ales are… uh… sour, so asking me to rate one might not be a good idea. You could just as well ask me to rate the new Justin Bieber album. But Meilby says he like to push people out of their comfort zones, and insisted to include a sour ale in the box of beers he sent me. Homebrewers have managed to show me the light earlier (I enjoyed the Danmarks Plass by JoKr Brewers, the first smoked ale I’ve ever really liked), so let’s give give this a try.

Dirty orange body with bath foam. The strawberry plants of yours truly in the background.

The brewer suggest that this beer will be perfect on a warm summer day, so on this warm and sunny day I pop the cork of the champagne bottle (now containing beer). In the glass the sour liquid has a quite dark orange/amber colour, it’s cloudy, actually completely opaque. The head is small, white, frothy, bath foam-ish, very short-lived and doesn’t lace the glass at all.

The aroma is moderate, with fermented fruits and berries, especially apples, but I also get some surprisingly pleasant fermented strawberries. The funky barnyard notes are there as well, this is definitely a sour ale. But hey, I sort of like it. Especially the fruity parts. Maybe I’m staring to like this style eventually?

The taste is moderate sweet with a light sourness initially, and then the sourness grows to a moderate level that frankly is a bit beyond what I find pleasant. The flavours are again fermented apples and barnyard.

Meilby Brewing Sour Experiment 1, brewed 2012.01.15, bottled 2012.02.26, bottle 24/39.

Ok mouthfeel: medium body, quite dry texture, very soft carbonation and some additional dryness in the quite long fermented finish.

Conclusion: Is this a good sour ale? I have no idea. Do I like it? Meh, it’s fair enough, but not my cup of tea.

Aroma:            6
Apperance:        2
Taste:            5
Palate:           3
Overall:         10
Ratebeer score: 2.6


Meilby Brewing Winter IIPA

Winter IIPA by Meilby Brewing, Imperial/Double India Pale Ale, 9.2 % ABV, 200 IBU.

Meilby Brewing Winter IIPA, batch #004, brewed 2011.09.04, bottled 2011.10.19, enjoyed 2012.06.12. Bottle #12/31.

Meilby Brewing knows how to make super hoppy beers, so an IIPA with a whopping 200 IBUs should do the trick! I’ve been warned by the brewer that the Winter IIPA is starting to get a bit old, but I’ve had IIPAS that are far older than this that hadn’t lost any of it’s characteristics, so my hopes are still high.

In the glass the beer looks unusually(?) dark for its style. It’s cloudy, dirty looking, dark amber, close to dark brown. The head is large and creamy with a light-brown colour, it has a decent lifetime and leaves a good deal of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is quite strong with malty notes but with an overall fruity feel, although it’s hard to single out any of the fruity components other than ripe grapefruit. The rest of the fruity notes are darker. When swirling the beer in the glass I also get alcohol and some dusty notes. It’s a very pleasant aroma, but not as refreshing as the other M beers I’ve tried so far. It fits the look: it’s a bit dirty and undefinable…

The taste is quite sweet with heavy bitter finish. I guess there is more bitterness-drowning sweetness in this beer than I’m able to taste, because even though the bitterness is strong, it feels far from the theoretical IBU of 200. The flavours are quite strong with dark fruits, ripe grapefruit, resin and caramel. I might be fooled by the looks of the beer, but I also get lightly roasted notes. And then there is alcohol, and lots of it. It’s not sharp or particularly unpleasant, but it’s a very obvious and mouth numbering alcohol feel that is especially present in the not-that-long finish.

The beer is full-bodied and has a oily, almost syrupy texture and very soft carbonation.

Conclusion: a nice beer that with a pleasant aroma, but the flavours are a bit too weak and too dominated by alcohol.

Aroma:     7
Apperance: 3
Taste:     6
Palate:    4
Overall:  12
Ratebeer score: 3.2