ClubGonzo’s Raspberry Beret

Raspberry Beret by ClubGonzo, Porter/Fruit Beer, 6.2% ABV, 44 IBU.

I love porters. I love liquorice. I love raspberries. My highest rated beer ever on Ratebeer is a dark beer with raspberries. So, a porter with liquorice root and raspberries, how can this possibly go wrong?

ClubGonzo's Raspberry Beret.

ClubGonzo’s Raspberry Beret, batch no. 54, contract brew no. 8.

It pours a very viscous-looking, somewhat murky and pitch black body with a small-ish brown head that leaves some lacing on my glass.

Raspberry Beret in the glass. And the Beer With Me rating table in the reflection in the glass.

Raspberry Beret in the glass. And the Beer With Me rating table in the reflection in the glass.

The aroma is strong and is dominated by dark roasted malt, quite burnt for a porter (or at least, for my kind of porter). There is a good amount of coffee and some chocolate further back. I do detect some hints of liquorice as well, but I would never have guessed that this one is brewed with liquorice root. It’s a bit fruity, but I’m not able to pinpoint the raspberries.

But in the mouth… Wow. Simply wow. The salty liquorice, the raspberries, chocolate and coffee blend perfectly together, no one overshining the other. A magnificent mix of delicious flavours! The only thing I could wish for is a tad less dark roasted malt. The taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, this is almost like drinking a smoothie. The carbonation is soft, and there is some dryness in the long-lasting finish.

Conclusion: a close to perfect mix of raspberries and liquorice. Brew me an imperial version of this one at 10% ABV/75 IBU, and add some cocoa nibs and vanilla, and I’ll have a new favourite beer!

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      8/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    15/20
Ratebeer score: 3.7/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Hard Workin’ Porter

Hard Workin’ Porter by ClubGonzo, Baltic Porter, 9% ABV, 31.2 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Hard Workin' Porter, Batch 25

ClubGonzo’s Hard Workin’ Porter, Batch 25

Hard Workin' Porter in a TeKu.

Hard Workin’ Porter in a TeKu.

This porter pours a black body with a medium brown,  head that laces the glass well.

Malty, sweet and strong aroma of massive milk chocolate, dark roasted malt, coffee, traces of hops, faint fruits and hints of alcohol. Very tempting!

Strong flavour of chocolate and chocolate sauce but with a dark roasted background with strong notes of coffee and slightly vegetal notes of coffee beans. I really like this chocolate/coffee balance, I often find such a beer to be dominated either by chocolate or coffee. There are also fruity notes and a bit too much alcohol. The alcohol is quite clean, but it’s a bit intrusive nonetheless.

The mouthfeel is excellent, it’s a full-bodied beer with a creamy and smooth, almost oily texture and with a soft carbonation.

Conclusion: an excellent beer with just a tad too much alcohol. 

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

ANodyn Nubian Princess

Nubian Princess by ANodyn, Porter, 8% ABV, Unknown IBU.

This daring beer has been waiting patiently in my cellar for more than a year, and it’s now close to two years since it was brewed. In other words, it should be ready to be enjoyed!

The label of Nubian Princess is quite NSFW, but adding a cute teddy bear should do the trick.

The label of Nubian Princess is quite NSFW, but adding a cute teddy bear should do the trick.

It pours a black body with a creamy, medium brown head that is very long-lived. After a while it settles as a fully lasting layer of impressive thickness, and a good amount of foam is left on the glass.

If I should mention one thing I don't like that much about this beer, it must be that the label makes me feel old. Could someone please translate?

If I should mention one thing I don’t like that much about this beer, it must be that the label makes me feel old and out of touch. Could someone please translate?

The aroma is very strong and is laden with ridiculous amounts of milk chocolate, dark chocolate and thick and creamy cocoa. It’s almost too much of a good thing, but if you’re a sucker for chocolate, like me, the aroma is incredibly tempting. I get some darker roasted notes as well, but it’s definitely the chocolate that runs the show.

A black beauty!

A black beauty!

The very strong flavour has the same massive and delicious chocolate feel, but there are just the right amount of other elements to prevent it from becoming too one-dimensional. It’s a nice mix of both sweet milk chocolate and darker chocolate. How on earth did they manage to cram that much taste out of 14 g/L of cocoa powder? In addition to the chocolate there are other roasted notes, faint fruits and hints of vanilla. The taste is moderate sweet and the long-lasting finish is moderate bitter. The alcohol is perfectly integrated.

To top the whole experience the mouthfeel is of course fantastic. It’s thick and creamy on the palate with a fitting soft carbonation.

Conclusion: Wow. Simply wow. I’m not worthy! This is simply the best homebrew I’ve ever had, it’s an amazing beer without a single flaw. This should be made commercially available as soon as possible! Massive chocolate both in the aroma and the flavour, it looks good and it has a mouthfeel to die for. Please send me more beer!

Aroma:      8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      8/10
Palate:     5/5
Overall:    15/20
Ratebeer score: 4.0/5.0

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

JoKr Brewers Smoked & Oaked

Smoked & Oaked by JoKr Brewers, Porter, 6.5 % ABV, IBU 55.

Smoked & Oaked a.k.a. Test batch no. 8

This is how a label should be! The burning oak forest is a very fitting illustration for a smoked porter aged with oak chips from whisky barrels! The bottle even has a fire yellow bottle cap (ok, that is probably not intended, but just to prove that I’m a good-willed rater…).

The beer pours a close to black body with just a slight red tint. The head is creamy, light-brown and stays finger-thick for quite some time, before it settles as a layer and some additional foam along the walls of the glass. Good lacing.

The aroma is very nice, but not what I had expected. The smoke is very faint and I don’t get any oak/vanilla or whisky notes. It feels slightly sweet and vinous, and that might of course be partially due to the whisky barrel chip ageing. Most of all I find roasted notes with chocolate and coffee, dark fruits and liquorice. As the beer warms up the fruity part gets stronger and in come some some berries as well.

The taste is moderate to light sweet with a moderate bitter finish. If I’m not mistaken there are some faint traces of an unpleasant yeasty sourness as well. The flavours are what I usually detect in a porter, i.e. roasted notes, chocolate and coffee, although it might be a bit heavier roasted than many. When it comes to the smoke, oak and whisky, they are nowhere to be found. DISAPPOINTED! There is also a yeasty note that I don’t find that fitting, and this yeast also leads to a very dry, almost astringent finish. The alcohol is a bit too obvious, and that shouldn’t be necessary in a 6.5 % ABV beer. The flavour profile opens up when the beer gets warmer: when I took the first sip the bottle had been out of the fridge for 30 minutes, and that wasn’t enough. This beer needs 55 minutes in room temperature before the fruits and berries starts to creep out of the glass!

Conclusion: This beer should be called “Roasted Porter”, the present name is highly misleading! Misleading marketing claims put aside, I liked the aroma and flavours, but the sour notes and the yeasty astringency aren’t that pleasant. Still, a decent brew!

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

Another good looking beer from JoKr Brewers!