Welcome to the Duke of Brew blog, where I will be blogging about my various beer activities. This will include my home brewing adventures as well as some of the beers I drink and anything else I find worthy of mention. I am new to reviewing beers and trying to distinguish various flavours and aromas, so learn with me and correct me where I’m wrong if you please. Please, enjoy yourself and enjoy the blog and enjoy your beer.
For the grand finale we’re doing another beer that I brewed, but this time instead of at home I brewed this at the brewery I work at. Xmas Ale by Beer Studio has a moderate sized tan head that fades after a bit and a deep brown body. The aroma is spicy and phenolic with hints of clove. The flavour is powerful orange and clove on a malty backbone with the spiciness of Belgian yeast. The body is medium and the carbonation is medium.
Rating: 4.75 / 5 – Excellent beer, but again I may be slightly biased.
The penultimate beer of the calendar, we finally get around to me. Dexter Dark Jul Ale is an annual Christmas beer as homebrewed by myself and my father-in-law, Bjorn. The head on this beer is small and a light tan colour and the body is dark, almost black. The aroma is sweet with vanilla and some banana, and the flavour is full of chocolate, vanilla and caramel with some hints of roastiness to balance it out. The body is medium full and the carbonation is medium low.
Rating: 5 / 5 – Admittedly I’m biased here but this beer is spot on what I wanted out of it. An excellent drink to keep me warm in front of the Christmas tree.
Mohawk’s Brown Xmas had no head to speak of and the colour of the beer is brown, as the name suggests. The aroma is nutty and slightly toasty and the flavour has a caramel sweetness, some nut character and some chocolate in it plus a hint of roastiness. The carbonation is low and the body is medium.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 – A solid brown ale with a nice complex body to it without being too much. Seems a touch undercarbonated though, perhaps a bad bottle?
Leifmans Gluhkriek is somewhat unique as beers go, best consumed at 80C. With a thick light pink head that disappeared quickly because I was pouring the beer from a saucepan to a mug the colour of the beer is a deep cherry red. Cherry is the name of the game in the beer (and in the name of the beer too, that is what kriek refers to), the aroma is cherry and the flavour is cherry, with a slightly acidic bite to it and a lightly malty backbone.
Rating: 4.25 / 5 – A winter warmer in the truest sense of the word, if you like cherry this is an excellent replacement for a hot chocolate, but with the benefit of still tasting good when cold.
Samuel Adams Winter Lager has a small white head that disappeared quickly and a clear amber colour to the body. The lager has a lightly fruity nose and the flavour has a sweet berry character to it. The body is light and the carbonation is medium-high.
Rating: 3.25 / 5 – Extremely sweet for a lager, nice and not too tough to drink but doesn’t stand out in any way, probably wouldn’t buy again.
Shepherd Neame & Co. Faversham Brewery’s Christmas Ale is golden in colour with a small white head that disappeared almost as fast as it appeared. There is very little aroma and what is there is slightly sweet. The flavour is full of sulfur and has a lingering bitterness that is very unpleasant. The body is light and the carbonation is medium-high.
Rating: 1 / 5 – Drainpour, this reminds me more of a lager comparable to Carlsberg or Heineken than anything else, though perhaps a bit more flavour.
Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing has a deep coffee brown head and the body is black. The aroma is chocolate and toffee with hints of coffee and roasted character. The flavour contains all of what you find in the aroma but has more of the roasted character, balancing out a sweet backbone to the beer. Despite the high ABV, the alcohol is not noticeable at all in this beer. The mouthfeel is thick and velvety and the carbonation is medium, possibly edging towards low.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 – Excellent beer, lots of everything I love in one. With the large bottle though, should have waited and shared it with somebody else.
The Red Slope Imperial Red Ale by Remmarlöv Gårdsbryggeri has a large white head that lasted a little while before dying down and a reddish amber colour to the body. The aroma is a massive hit of fruit with some citrus and melon and hints of berries in it. The flavour is sweet with a powerful astringent bitterness in the end that lingers. The body is medium and the carbonation is medium-high.
Rating: 3 / 5 – Disappointed by this one, the aroma is fantastic but the bitterness is very unpleasant and clashes with the sweetness too much instead of balancing it. Also disappointed by how not-red the colour is.
Fade to Black by Left Hand Brewing had a low brown head that slowly faded to the black of the the beer, and black it is. The aroma is rich and chocolately and sweet but with some roasted coffee notes to balance it out. The flavour is largely dark chocolate and coffee, the latter which lingers on the tongue long after the beer has gone down. The body is medium-full and the carbonation is medium.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 – Excellent beer and one of my most anticipated of the season. The coffee character is excellent, enough to be noticed but not overpowering like coffee can be.
Åbro Brygg’s Stjärnfall Ale has a small white head that fades quickly and is amber, slightly orange in colour. The aroma is lightly fruity but fairly weak in general and the flavour is bitter with some sulfur and a hint of apple juice. The carbonation is medium and the body is medium-light.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 – Very little appealing about this beer. The flavours clash and the apple juice sweetness is unpleasant.