Tag Archives: spicy

Case Swap #14: NTC ESB

This post is part of a series of twenty-three discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club for their 2015 case swap celebration.

This beer is labelled as “an ESB variation with an experimental upped hopping schedule”.  It has an OG of 1040, 39IBU, with Windsor yeast and was brewed by Merri Masher Baz Fletcher.

This odd ESB settled in the glass with a bright orange colour under a patchy head that quickly disappeared. Little aroma announced itself, perhaps faint notes of grassy hops, a little non-descript malt – but thoroughly low levels. A medium body carried great peppery notes that controlled the beer’s flavour with fresh spicy hops – that are almost herbal – in second command. The malt contributions are muted and disappeared in the dry, medium-bitter finish.

Good work Baz, this is an interesting take on an ESB.

Disturbing Brown Thing

This post is part of a series discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club as part of their 2015 case swap celebration. In essence, I have twenty-three different beers by twenty-three different brewers all from the inner-northern suburbs of Melbourne. I’ll be drinking and blogging them over the first quarter of the year.

The first beer for the 2015 case swap series is named the “Disturbing Brown Thing”. It was described on the tag as a light brown ale with 50% rye malt, two obscure herbs and egg white. Trời ơi! I have read here and there about old English brewers fining their beers, or attempting to clarify their beers, using egg white – but I never thought I’d be drinking such a concoction in the twenty-first century. Kudos to the brewer Timothy Train for giving it a go!

The “thing” poured well with a proud head that quickly shrunk away to zero. Carbonation was brisk and businesslike, the myriad small bubbles obscuring similarly-sized flakes of sediment, lifting them up and swirling them around inside the glass like a dust devil at a bush doof. Colour is deep copper, not too brown, and the aroma is sourly tannic with hints of rosemary and garlic. The note is similar to the beer I brewed with goji berries earlier this year.

It is a spicy devil of a drink; the rye comes through clear and strong, too much spice for many palates but I didn’t mind it. Bitterness is low, hop character zero. The rye tang, taken in conjunction here with a rough, medicinal sourness, reminded me a little of the delicious harshness given by plain lemon juice. My glass was very cold and I think this may be key to this beer’s potability. The carbonation also helps. On the whole the mouthfeel is thin and spritzy – not at all what one imagines upon reading “brown ale” and “egg whites” on the label.

I struggle to ascertain what the egg whites have given – the beer is opaque, does not smell, nor taste like egg and the body is thin. This is a very strange beverage. But not a horrible one, which bodes well for the rest of the case swap beers – I went with the weirdest first!

Fuggles & Warlock / Dead Frog Hyper Combo Red Rye IPA

This Red Rye IPA is a collaboration brew between the Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks and the Dead Frog Brewery. After contract brewing for three years, F&W are now based out of lower Vancouver and are a brewery focused on “weird beers and geek culture”. Sounds good to me. Dead Frog Brewery are a bit further out of town to the east, in the burbs, and is an older brewery hailing from 2006. This collaboration brew was released in January of this year.

This is a big IPA, holding an 8% ABV, pushing into double territory. It is a rusty crimson, a nice red EBC. Good solid head. The bottle label is lush, adding value and a little something special to the appearance of the beer itself. Unfortunately the hop aroma of my sample was very disappointing – there’s nothing going. The beer advertises itself heavily on its dry hopping regimen, but ironically this beer faintly smelt of vomit. Damn. I could put the absence of aroma down to an old bottle – it’s possible the bottle I enjoyed was up to three months old – but the stale smell that endured, or manifested after the hops stripped away? That’s just a shame.

The beer is definitely bitter with a nice dry rye finish. There was a deluge of caramel over spicy rye, a very smooth alcohol hint and a puckering aftertaste on first sip. An almost medicinal, cleansing quality was present when keeping the beer in the mouth. Clearly this beer is heavy on the crystal malts – so watch out if you’re more of a drier IPA drinker.

Ultimately an interesting beer, but severely let down by its aroma.

I bought this bottled beer at Liquor Depot, Kitsilano and drank it in a house nearby.