floydian1 (799) - FNQ, Australia, - JUL 21, 2010
1.5 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 6/20
Consumed from a cardboard carton into a plastic glass at a shebeen called "The Shack" in Soweto near Johannesburg during a cultural tour of the township. It is a Sorghum beer which is an indigenous opaque traditional African ale brewed by a loose collective of South African brewery organisations using maize, wheat, water and yeast. It is not sold in bottleshops but is widely consumed in the black South African townships.
It looks like a watered down strawberry milkshake with a few loose bubbles of pinkish white head. The aroma has a pungent yeasty lactic acid sourness and the palate is grain-like and sour with a thick grainy texture and medium body. There is no hop presence and the the degree of sourness and alcohol content varies with the age of the brew (the fresher the better according to our guide). Like tasting your very first lambic beer, the palate needs to adjust to it and after a while you can consume it quite easily but it is still tastes rather cheap and nasty and I suspect it would give you a mother of a hangover if consumed as a session. One to tick off the list and then move on.
omhper (18326) - Stockholm, SWEDEN - APR 10, 2009
1.4 AROMA 2/10 APPEARANCE 1/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 6/20
Sampled from a cardboard box in 1999 (glad to hear this beer is still around!) Appearance: Lightly pink and intransparent. Like strawberry yoghurt.
Nose: Sourish like unsweetened youghurt.
Mouthfeel: Thick like drinking yoghurt. Grainy. Shocking for a beginner.
Finish: Sourish, but fresh.
Definitely the most unusual beer I´ve had at the time of sampling.
502F (999) - Time Out, Washington DC, USA - APR 9, 2009
1.3 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 1/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 5/20
This is a traditional ale of South Africa brewed in the Townships of Johannesburg (I got mine in Soweto). There is a similar traditional South African beer on RB already listed, but I don’t remember its name. I had to add this beer and this brewery (I posted a wikipedia website as the brewery’s website because it is the only somewhat legit source that mentions the beer) but I don’t really know anything about the history of either. However,I am pretty sure it isn’t brewed by a brewery, but that it is rather brewed by local housewives in Johannesburg. It is sold in 1 liter milk cartons. On my bike tour of Soweto, on which I tried this beer, my tour guides told me that the abv isn’t listed on the cartons because it is different with each batch. The whole operation is very inconsistent (at least abv.-wise), much like "home brew," but should certainly be represented here on RB. Don’t bother trying to contact the "brewery" via phone, email, or website. Just get into Johannesburg and ask around and you will find it (certainly in Soweto and the other townships). So, onto the rating:
This stiff is whitish-pink and very murky. It had no head because it lacked carbonation. It had bubbles on the surface, but I am pretty sure that this is a result of the beer still being in the process of fermentation (the state it is sold in... once it starts bubbling they consider it alcoholic and ready to sell). The carton I had was reported to be at around 3%, but I have heard of much stronger batches, and both of the two cartons I had tasted way more than 3% abv.). It didn’t smell like much other than fermenting raw brew (bready, a bit salty, and curious overall). It tasted like funky white wine ixed with dirty water and bread. Almost tasted like oatmeal with an alcoholic burn. My carton was medium bodied, but I took a sample from another carton that was much thicker and very grainy. Overall: it is very unique stuff. I don’t like it much at all, but it is something that everyone should try if they want to experience all of the beer styles of the world.