Black Isle Smoked Porter 2014 (small batch)

Brewery: Black Isle Brewing Co.
Country: Scotland
ABV: 5.5%
Style: Smoked Beer
Other Notes: aka Black Isle Organic Smoked Oktobeer.

Brewer Description: (from website) Initially brewed for Jocktoberfest, where it was by far the biggest selling cask beer, we thought we would make this more widely available for those that missed out (this does not mean that if you were present at the event that you can’t relive the experience in the comfort of your own armchair!)

This is a blend of German roasted malts and our local smoked barley which might even put a smile on a disgruntled German Chancellor’s face. Balance is what this little beauty is about, something that takes great skill from the brew team and boy they have achieved it here in bucket loads, or we should say conditioning tank loads, one to be specific.. and even then not a full one.

Grab it while you can, it won’t be around forever.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.9
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.7

Intro: A 330ml bottle from the 2014 small batch, bottle number 6488 of 8480 with a best before end date of October 2015. It was poured into a pint glass.
Appearance: It poured a dark brown with a thinnish cream tanned head that did not stick around too long.
Aroma: Aromas of roasted malts with a bit of chocolate, licorice and slight peat smoke.
Taste: Starts slightly sweet caramel and chocolate maybe even some toffee, but finish is definitely smoky, bitter and lingering ash.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with light carbonation
Overall: I’ve had quite a few smoked beers before and although this was not at the top, it was still pretty good. I would buy this again.

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black isle smoked porter 2014 (small batch) 5

Abashiri Oto no Shizuku (Cherry Drops)

Brewery: Abashiri Beer
Country: Japan
ABV: 5%
Style: Fruit Beer
Other Notes: Happoshu based. Brewed in Hokkaido.

Brewer Description: Its in Japanese, which I unfortunately cannot read…

My rating: 1
My beeradvocate.com rating: 2.19
My ratebeer.com rating: 1.9

Intro: A 330ml bottle dated best before 28th October 2015 and poured into a pint glass.
Appearance: The beer poured a slightly hazy dull pinkish red colour with a half finger head that disappeared almost immediately.
Aroma: Strong aromas of candied cherry, some bubblegum, cherry syrup.
Taste: Immediate taste of candied cherry (like cherry soda) but then all of a sudden less than 2 seconds later, it all disappears. You’re expecting some sweetness or something, but its not there at all. It pretty much becomes like extremely watered down cherry water.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied with light carbonation.
Overall: I saw cherry, and I didn’t need any more persuasion to buy this beer. This beer was happoshu based and there’s nothing wrong with that. I also enjoy cough medicinal flavours, and this kind of had this at first, but then it disappeared even quicker. Watered down cherry water, that’s what I got… it started off fine and then just fell off. I don’t know how I finished the whole thing… It was also damn expensive at around USD4 a bottle. Not worth it at all, save your money!

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abashiri oto no shizuku (cherry drops) 4

Crooked Stave Surette Provision Saison

Brewery: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Country: USA
ABV: 6.2%
Style: Saison
Other Notes: Aged in oak barrels.

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Surette is a provision Saison with a tart and vinous character from extended barrel aging.

My rating: 5
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.53
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.4

Intro: A 375ml bottle from 2014/batch 15 poured into a Duvel tulip glass.
Appearance: Poured a slightly hazy golden orange colour with a thin head that dissipates quickly but leaves nice lacing.
Aroma: Strong barnyard funk, slight tropical fruit pineapple, maybe mango and slight citrus tangy tangerine.
Taste: Excellent tart and sour tastes. Light lemon citrus along with some even lighter tropical mango and yeasty notes to balance.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low to medium carbonation.
Overall: This was excellent, a definite must buy for me. Loved the upfront tart and sourness in the beer. Up to par with its Belgian counterparts for this style in my opinion, but probably harder to find in Hong Kong. I want more!

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crooked stave surette provision saison 4

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Country: USA
ABV: 10.4%
Style: American Double IPA
Other Notes: 100 IBUs, yeast (Ale yeast), hops (German Magnum, Chinook, Simcoe, plus an experimental variety), malts (Two-row Pale, Munich, Wheat)

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Hoptimum is the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced – a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Aggressively hopped, dry hopped AND torpedoed, Hoptimum delivers ultra-intense flavors to hop fanatics everywhere.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.93
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.9

Intro: A 12 fl oz bottle packaged on 10th April 2015 and poured into a Duvel tulip glass.
Appearance: Poured a clear copper colour with a one and a half finger white head that slowly dissipates into a thin foamy layer that lasts throughout.
Aroma: Strong piney hops and a light citrus grapefruit aroma. There is also some caramel malts.
Taste: Mainly pine hops and grapefruit citrus flavours along with some slight caramel malt which is sweet and sticky. There is also some alcoholic booze aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, medium carbonation, creamy and sticky.
Overall: I really liked this beer and its hoppiness. It’s very close to a must buy for me. I think the two things that hold it back for me are that the caramelly flavours make it a bit too sweet and the booziness that comes through towards the end is stronger than I would have liked it. But having said that, I would buy more from time to time.

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sierra nevada hoptimum 2015 6

Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Country: USA
ABV: 6.2%
Style: American Stout
Other Notes: 53 IBUs

Brewer Description: (from bottle) A cup of joe and a bold beer can thwart the winter cold, so we blended them for the ultimate warmer. Our Coffee Stout is a fusion of dark roasted malts and rich, cold-brewed coffee for layers of bittersweet, fruity, dark chocolate and caramel-like flavors.

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.71
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 12 fl oz bottle with a packaged date of 28th October 2014, and poured into a snifter glass.
Appearance: The beer poured opaque black with a nice one finger light mocha coloured head that dissipated in about 2 minutes leaving nice spotty lacing.
Aroma: Strong vanilla aromas with dark chocolate, roasted malts and coffee.
Taste: Dark bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, coffee and some light caramel.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, mild but prickly carbonation, creamy and smooth.
Overall: This was less than 8 months old but I’m thinking the coffee in it may already be less pronounced. The problem is that it’s not that easy for me to find it fresh in Hong Kong. It doesn’t have the crisp fresh coffee bean bite like that of Founders Breakfast Stout that I really enjoy. Having said that, if I could find it again (fresher of course) then I would be sure to give it another shot.

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sierra nevada coffee stout 4

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