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Archive for the ‘Dark Ale’ Category

Site: http://www.mayhillbrewery.com/

Dark Ale, 4.9%

A not-particularly-dark dark ale, with a malty but not too heavy feel, little hop, and little head retention. This is a surprising beer, with the darker malts contributing to majority of the flavour, particularly in the aftertaste, but still leaving a fairly clean mouthfeel. Initial flavours are sweet and a little tart, and this develops into a malty sour finish. I can’t detect much hopping, and the aftertaste is a little tart and dry, with the dark malts coming through to dominate. Overall a nice beer.

Overall score: 6.5/10

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Site: http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/

Dark bitter, 4.7%

Comments: This is a special ‘ghost brew’ for halloween last year. As a darker beer, it has aged well, and is still quite drinkable. Dark ruby tan in colour, with a moderately fine white head and good retention.Initial flavours have a hint of aroma hop, but are mainly from the sweet malts, with just a touch of chocolate malt to give some astringency. The main bittering hop then comes in, adding a classic English bitter fruity hop flavour to the beer. Mouth feel is very light, but this does not detract from the flavour. I think this beer is probably my favourite thing to come out of halloween (not that there is much competition).

Overall score: 6.5/10

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Site: http://www.bathales.com/our-ales/aid/barnsey/

Dark bitter, 4.5%

Comments: A dark bitter, with predominantly malt flavours. Brown colour, fine cream head with some retention. Initially the flavour is predominantly sweet, with some influence from the crystal malt. This gives way to the bitterness of the chocolate malt, with only a hint of hop present. The astringency of the malt then carries through to the aftertaste, which is lingering and slightly sweet. Mouth feel is round, with a slight touch of carbonation early on. Overall this is a pleasant beer, but quite rich and sweet.

Overall score: 6.5/10

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Site: http://www.aubrasseur.fr/nos-varietes-de-bieres.html#la-brune-du-quai

Brown ale, 4.8%

Comments: A brown ale with white head, a wheaty aroma, and served cold. This is a classic ‘brewpub’ beer, and I don’t think that it would make it if sold without the surrounds. Chocolate malt flavours dominate the initial flavour, with some sour notes, and weird fermentation aromas, which are hidden by the fact it is served cold. It seemed like they used quite a bit of wheat in the mash, as the classic wheaty aroma was present, which surprised me. Enough hop to keep a dry aftertaste, but nothing lingering. My key problem with this beer is that I think it probably has quite a bit of methanol in the final product, not enough to send you blind, but enough that one pint gave me a splitting headache the next morning.

Overall score: 4.5/10 (5.5/10, minus 1 for the headache)

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Site: http://www.marstonsbeercompany.co.uk/our_brands/refresh/refresh.asp

Mild Brown Ale, 2.8%

Comments: A mild and sweet brown ale, low in hop, with some darker malt flavours to balance. Dark brown colour with a coarse light brown head but no retention. Aroma is minimal, as could be expected with a low alcohol, low hop beer. That being said, I don’t find the sweetness of this overwhelming, probably because of the fuller aftertaste coming from the dark malts. A very easy drinking beer, even if it is quite predictable.

Overall score: 6.5/10

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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.jenningsbrewery.co.uk/beers/beer.aspx?bid=9

Strong Ale, 5.1%

Comments: A dark strong ale, with some vague dark malt chacteristics. Fine near-white head and good retention. Initial flavour is quite sweet, with malty flavours dominating. A touch of bittering hop, but not much aroma, comes in and disappears reasonably quickly. Aftertaste is mainly driven by the use of dark malts, giving a bitter and reasonably clean finish. Initially I found this a bit sweet, however it grew on me, and I’d be happy to have it again.

Overall score: 6.5/10

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