Archive for category Wranglerette

It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Phillips Brewing make a highly regarded Imperial Stout every year in limited amounts which usually sells out fairly quickly. This year they released a bourbon whiskey barrel aged version in even smaller numbers. But is all that extra effort and cost worth it? I decided to gather the Wranglerette and have a taste off. Is the barrel aged pure gold bullion, or is it full of bull? I always like to start with the original so here goes:

In the Blue corner….

Phillips Hammer Imperial Stout

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

It pours as dark as beer gets, with a dark, creamy tan head. There are aromas of black molasses and burnt caramel with sweet roasted coffee beans. The palate follows on and adds hints of sweet dark cocoa and a hint of cooked dried fruit. It has a creamy and silky texture, so doesn’t lie too heavily, and remains very drinkable. The finish is fairly long with the creaminess of this beer lingering.

In the Red corner….

Phillips Hammer Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Despite the previous description of colour – I swear this is actually darker and even denser, but with the same creamy, dark tan head. The aroma is much more different than I had imagined with a lot of the burnt characteristics smoothed out with a touch of vanilla-like sweetness.  The notes of whiskey are there too, but not overpowering, lending some richness to this big stout. The flavours echo the aromas and feel more integrated than the non-aged version. I don’t know how long this block-buster gets in barrel, but it certainly gives it a smooth rich evenness. But…. the bourbon aged stout seems to have lost something along the way, the bite of those heavily roasted malts have been reigned in and replaced by a simpler sweetness. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good beer but it’s not as drinkable as the original, and a small glass is enough before my palate needs refreshing. It gets a lower score than the original, which is totally against my preconceptions, as I generally like barrel aged beer, but this time it only added a sweetness which smoothed out those peaks of flavour I rather enjoyed!

Phillips should be applauded for trying this out as it keeps BC’s breweries right up there with all the current trending on craft brewing, and I’d like to see them try it again next year with different barrels. If they could buy some of the Samuel Smith Stingo barrels – now that would be interesting!

Both Stouts:

ABV: 8.3%

Best Served: 14 – 16°C

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Bath Ales Dark Hare

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Dark Hare, the latest offering from Bath Ales , with their beautiful hare themed labels, is absolutely delicious. As it pours into the glass you notice the deep ruddy brown colour, and the notes of toasted malt and dark chocolate on the nose. The very creamy mouthfeel is punctuated with molasses, which gives way to burnt chocolate as the fuggles hops leave their distinct taste on the finish.

A great Sunday afternoon brew, Dark Hare would also be fabulous with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, créme brûlée or a not overly syrupy sticky toffee pudding.

ABV: 4%

Best Served: 11°C

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Dogfish Head Midas Touch

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Yum Yum! Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch is both justified and ancient, being based on a 2700 year old ancient Anatolian recipe which is a re-creation based on analysis of drinking vessels that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in what is now Turkey – drinking vessels that resided within what is thought to be the tomb of none other than King Midas himself (although suspiciously they had not been turned to gold!)

I can’t say that I have ever tasted a beer quite like this (which is equal parts a delight and a shame.) Deeply golden in colour it is pleasingly sweet with hints of honey and muscat grapes but without the cloying sweetness of many meads (or bee vomit as I like to call it).  The nose has distinct notes of tropical fruit and the finish has a deliciously dry biscuity taste.

As there aren’t really any other beers like this out there I don’t have much compare it to but I think this beer would be a great one for ladies to try but anyone interested in exploring the myriad of flavours beer can create would do well to give this a go.

I’d pair Midas Touch with a Moroccan tagine or a mild Goan prawn curry with coconut milk rice dumplings.

ABV: 9%

Best Served: 8°C

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Swans Coconut Porter

coconut porterWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Recommended)

I have to admit that I’m bit torn about Swans Coconut Porter. I love a good porter and really enjoy porters that are layered with other flavours (Kona’s Pipeline Porter with coffee is my personal favourite) so when I saw this coconut porter I became very excited. This beer is very dark in colour with a frothy cappuccino colour head and a strong caramel malt nose with a hint of roasted coffee bean.  The flavour of dark bitter chocolate fills the mouth and slowly gives way to a toasted coffee aftertaste. Unfortunately (for me anyway) I don’t taste any coconut which, considering the reason I bought the beer was to try the coconut, is disappointing. That said, I think this beer stands well on its own as a porter and would taste great with some strong English cheddar

ABV: 5.5%

Best Served: 11°C

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Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

st-patricks-beer-sam-smith-oatmeal-stout-ssWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout definitely deserves the adage ‘an oldie but a goodie’. This deliciously creamy beer pours near black with a fluffy tan head while the aroma mingles chocolate, roasted coffee and dark malt. The flavour is delightful. At first sip you can taste the creamy oats, velvety dark molasses as well as the aforementioned chocolate and burnt coffee which gives way to an enjoyably bitter after-taste on the finish. Brewed in England at Yorkshire’s oldest brewery (founded in 1758) this is a gorgeous, easy drinking beer and a great first choice if you’re new to stouts. This would be fantastic paired with a creamy coffee dessert like a mocha mousse or some fresh oysters.

ABV: 5.0%

Best Served: 12°C

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Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale

HSB_i-pumpkin-262Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale (as part of the John Mitchell series) may just be one of my favourite seasonal ales ever! The ruddy amber colour reminds me of fresh roasted pumpkin and the sweet aroma has just a touch of star anise. Unlike lesser Pumpkin Ales this full-bodied beer warms the stomach and actually tastes like pumpkin pie. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and roasted pumpkin flesh give way to the slightly astringent taste of cloves on the finish. At 8% this isn’t a beer for the faint hearted but it is absolutely perfect for the cold, blustery days of Autumn. Whilst great on its own this beer would pair excellently with a smoky corn chowder or a nice chunk of strong cheddar.

ABV: 8%

Best Served 10°C

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Mort Subite Kriek Lambic

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Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Mort Subite Kriek Lambic is a supremely well balanced ale, as the sweetness of the cherry flavour compliments the sharp acidity of this wildly fermented beer. Lambic yeast strains make very sour, yet quite complex beers, but this tartness is not for everyone. Traditionally sugary syrups were added in the bar, but soon brewers like Mort Subite added quality fruit syrup and real cherries to the beer before bottling to create a refreshingly fruity brew. The red cherry notes are not too sweet, but are in perfect harmony with the pleasant piquancy of the Lambic. This is a supremely drinkable beer and would work as well as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to a rich dark chocolate pudding, perhaps with a cherry on top!

ABV: 4.5%

Best Served: 8°C

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