Mikkeller Black Imperial Stout (16.1%)

I’m not sure whether I like this or not.
It’s certainly an intense experience, but is it pleasurable?
Actually, the answer is no, this is beer as torture.
Pouring an impenetrable black with a big cappuccino head, the aroma is coal tar soap and tarmac.
I can’t really tell you about hops or malts or yeast because all this is is an aggressively boozy and bilious alcohol hit.
Beer ought to be pleasurable and this isn’t.
And I like big beer, experimental beer, scary beer, but this is undrinkable diesel fumes and paint stripper.
Maybe I just got a bad can, or maybe this really is just a terrible beer.

Source: Cotteridge Wines

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Burning Soul Brewery OCT IPA (6.7%)

Another super little beer from this new Birmingham brewery, OCT pours a rich gold and smells of Juicy Fruit chewing gum and peaches.
There’s a solid caramel and spun sugar malt, it’s round and chewy with honey and brown bread, and it sits heavy and mouth filling right in the heart of the beer.
The hops swoop about above all this malty goodness with a sharp bitterness.
You find lemon zest and orange marmalade, lime and grapefruit, peaches and mango before the finish hits you with a bone dry steely herbal bitterness that’ll have you reaching for your next mouthful.

Source: Cotteridge Wines

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London Beer Factory Fruit Loop (4.1%)

Well now, this is disappointing.
A Cream Ale brewed with mangos sounds quite interesting to me, but this is singularly one dimensional.
Instead of a good malt, some sharp hops and a big splash of fresh fruit, you know, the kind of thing you’d expect from a beer of this style, there’s a damp flabby fruit flavour that’s not discernible as anything in particular except that it wipes out everything else, leaving an oily thick creamy drink that I can’t finish.
I poured it away.

Source: EeBria

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Weird Beard Brew Co. Peat Rock (7%)

Oh, now this, this is sexy.
Not only is it a very good Brown Porter packed with hops, but it’s got a super earthy peat underbelly.
The beer smells of damp oak barrels and undergrowth, and sits a dense purple brown in my glass.
There’s a rich vanilla ice cream, toffee, custard and pumpernickel malt, some tamarind and honey, brown bread, coffee and chocolate, and there’s also a very good hit of marmalade, redwood, artichoke, pencil shavings and garden herbs from the hops.
And all of that by itself would make for an excellent beer.
But in Peat Rock there is more.
Firstly you find a warm alcohol fug driving the beer forward, and then you get this deliciously hefty hit of earthy meatiness, chewy damp woodland from the peat that raises this beer to, as my Norwegian girlfriend once pronounced, “somewhere completely else”.
Finally I think I know what she meant.
And so in homage to her, dette øl er utrolig.

Source: Cotteridge Wines

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The Kernel India Double Porter Citra Ella (7.4%)

Sometimes I go for a little while without drinking anything from The Kernel and then when I finally get hold of some again I feel a bit teary.
It seems too easy to forget just how good they are.
I mean, there’s so much good beer around these days you can easily become a bit blasé about it.
And then you get a taste of Kernel beer and the planets realign.
Take this little bottle of joy as an example.
It’s not just a Porter with a good hop hit, it’s a beautifully weighted, delicately balanced bottle of happiness.
The beer feels rich and thick and chewy, pouring an impenetrable black with a little fawn coloured head and smelling of chocolate and vanilla and garden flowers.
The malting is a deep and dense journey into dark chocolate and coffee beans, walnuts, honey and toffee pancakes, and the hops give you lemon bonbons, mown lawns, lime zest and a little orange marmalade, making for a finish that’s gloopy and sensuous but with a lovely dry kick right at the end.
The Kernel are still a little bit magical.

Source: EeBria

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