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Archive for the ‘Oxfordshire’ Category

Site: http://www.whaleale.co.uk/whales/

Blonde Ale, 3.6%

A sweet and summery beer, with little head or retention. This beer is only very lightly hopped, mostly for aroma, and so the sweetness and light malt flavours are allowed to come to the front. Initial flavours include honey and citrus, with moderate carbonation adding to the freshness of the mouth feel. Aftertaste has a slight hint of bitterness, but is overall clean and refreshing. A very good beer for a summer’s afternoon.

Overall score: 7.0/10

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Site: http://www.duchyoriginals.com/old_ruby_ale_1905.php

Ruby Ale, 5.0%

Comments: A fairly classic english bitter, brewed by Marston’s at the Wychwood brewery, then sold under the Waitrose ‘Duchy Originals’ label. Light tan colour, with coarse white head and little retention. Initial impression is of a very sweet beer, with some malt characters to back it up. Hopping is limited, with a touch of aroma detectable, and bittering only to balance out the sweetness. The overall effect is moderately fruity and sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. This is a perfectly reasonable beer, but I doubt Waitrose will become known for their brewing.

Overall score: 6.0/10

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Site: http://www.compassbrewery.com/CompassBrewery/Tannenbaum.html

Christmas beer, 6.0%

Comments: This is an unexpected christmas beer, with none of the classic spiced flavours or sweetness (not a touch of cinnamon in sight), but a medium bodied, sour, hoppy ale, with just a touch of spruce. Dark but not black in colour, with an off white head but little retention. Initial flavours are quite light, but these quickly shift into a sour profile, apparently coming from the use of German sour malts. Not a particularly heavy beer, which is a nice change from other Christmas ales. Hop is present but balanced well with the malts, giving a bitter but not overwhelming beer. The final flavour is where you are meant to taste the spruce needles, but I must confess that I can’t detect them except as a pleasant herbal aftertaste. A mellow beer, well worth the effort.

Overall score: 7.5/10

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Site: http://www.compassbrewery.com/CompassBrewery/Beer.html

Pale ale, 4.9%

Comments: A beer somewhere between the american and british styles of pale ale, with a reasonably high hop level, but quite a lot of malt character as well. Light tan colour, fine white head and good retention. Initial flavours are mainly from the malt and the aroma hop, with quite a sweet aroma. There are some slightly odd estery flavours, which leave the beer a little off balance, emphasising the sweetness over the bitterness of the hop. Aftertaste is quite mellow, with a touch of hoppiness remaining. This isn’t a bad beer, but I probably won’t be looking out for it.

Overall score: 5.5/10

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Site: http://www.brakspear-beers.co.uk/beers.html

Strong Ale, 7.2%

Comments: This is a strong English ale, apparently brewed with a ‘double drop’ system (ie they drop the beer from one fermentation vessel into another, thereby aerating and mixing the liquid). Very sweet and malty, clear tan colour, fine white head with good retention. Aromas are mainly fermentation based, with some malt characters, but the malt really begins to kick in once the initial sweetness has subsided slightly. This gives a full mouth feel, with some hop detectable, but most of the flavours coming from the malt. Overall quite fruity and aromatic, but you probably wouldn’t want more than a pint of this at a time. If you get past the sweetness, this is a very good beer, which would be very warming on a cold night.

Overall score: 7.0/10

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Site: http://www.compassbrewery.com/CompassBrewery/Baltic_Night.html

Stout, 4.8%

Comments: A lightweight stout, probably more of a porter in many ways, with definite malt flavours and a round but light mouthfeel. Low brown head and little retention. The flavour of this is initially driven slightly sour, but this rapidly gives way to chocolate malt flavours, giving a moderately bitter beer without excessive sweetness or heaviness. Hop bitterness is certainly present, but plays second fiddle to the malt here. If you’re looking for a light bodied stout, this is certainly worth a shot.

Overall score: 7.0/10

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Site: http://www.compassbrewery.com/CompassBrewery/The_Kings_Shipment_IPA.html

IPA, 6%

Comments: A very sweet IPA, with plenty of malt and a touch of hop. I found the flavour very malt driven, with the hop taking a back seat, both in bitterness and aroma. This left the beer quite unbalanced, and not what I would normally expect from an IPA. That being said, I’m sure it could work, if paired with the right sort of food (perhaps a firey curry could take the edge off the sweetness).

Overall score: 5.5/10

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