Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A disappointing dark beer tasting

Darren came over on Saturday, to escape the ravages of his wife's Nutrimetics party.

As he's died-in-the-wool dark beer lover, I decided the time was right to crack open a couple of exotic beers.

On the menu:

   Bridge Roads B2 Bomber
   Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager 2010
   Malt Shovel Ten20 Commemorative Ale

Firstly, the B2 Bomber, described as "Belgian Black IPA" was hot, astringent, and hard to drink. This flew in the face of its popularity on BeerAdvocate, so maybe we got a dud bottle. Tasted more like a harsher foreign export stout or porter. Darren pointed out that hops were not as evident as one would expect in an IPA.

Then came the Ambassador.  Holy moley..... it was infected.  The sweaty, funky, bandaid aromas of Brettanomyces, a wild yeast that is welcome in some European ales (Orval, for example, or lambics), but usually considered a brewing fault. A quick Google confirmed our position:  Willie Simpson had identified the fault in a tasting session and written it up in a Good Living review some months back.  Fosters conducted an analysis, and indeed, "brett" was detected, probably as a result of the oak maturation of one of the blended components.

I tried to convince myself that in the glass it was improving, and we (well, I) managed to slowly get through. Dennis dropped in and took a sniff and went straight for an Oettinger (by volume one-thirtysixth the price of the Ambassador).

Some relief in the last beer. The Ten20 has been in the cellar for nearly two years, and was in fairly good shape. Nice chestnut pour, nice caramel & fruity hop aromas, flavours of figs and molasses.... not bad at all, and the beer of the day.


  1. Michael,

    great little 3 up on dark beer day.
    I have experience with fresh B2 Bomber off tap at Platform Bar in Brisbane. At its best she is a sultry minx with all the pizazz and pop you could imagine.
    So much so it was in my top five for voting in the local taphouse 'beer of the year' awards. Unfortunate that you did not have the same experience. When in doubt...try try again!


  2. Now words to explain all the aspects ...

    Ravenshoe Real Estate

  3. Wow...."a sultry minx, pizazz and pop". Yep, looks like I got a dud.

    Ian, is it still on at Platform, or was it a one-off ? We're passing through Brisbane in March I think, so depending on timings might be able to check the place out.

  4. All done at platform months ago I am afraid. A one off keg. Platform has slowed its offerings a little recently with a change in management and staff. Right now the guys at Archive are rolling some interesting stuff through on tap with regularity and Nectar Wine and Beer have just started selling growlers which is a first for us.

    Let me know when you are on the way and lets catch up for a beer!!


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