omhper (22883) - TyresŲ, SWEDEN - DEC 26, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottled. Dark black, brown head. Rich aroma of salty licorice. Coffee and syrupy toffee dominates. The body is full, itís very roasty with notes of plums. Themouthfeel is filling, but fairly clean. Very rich and true to style, event hough perhaps slightly more hoppy than itís cousins around the Baltic.
mullet (849) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - DEC 23, 2005
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: SEP 22, 2006 Bottle at Redoak. OK, here goes. I really wanted to like this, so much so that I went back and tried it a second time, which shows a fair bit of dedication given the price, I reckon. Comes in a 330mL bottle, which I found a bit odd. Pretty murky looking with little head and quite low carbonation. No yeast sediment in the bottle - counter pressure filled? It would explain a bit... Ultimately, itís all about Vegemite: Vegemite on toast aroma leads into Vegemite on burnt toast flavour. A big, powerful, rummy, alcoholic character, some milk, diacetyl, slightly rubbery and perhaps even oxidised. The malt character annoyed me somewhat, it was more of the rough and prickly variety than the smooth stuff that I was expecting. The best way I can describe it is that the dark malts give it a weird prickly flavour. It reminded me of Southwark Stout too, only I reckon Iíd rather drink a Southwark. Iím no Baltic Porter expert, but this was kinda hard going. Frankly if I wasnít drinking it at the breweryís source Iíd think I got a bad bottle (twice.)
RR: I have had this twice more since the original rating, and itís still not that good. Once at the brewery and once at Beertopia. At Beertopia it actually seemed pretty good, at Redoak it was its same old clunky, rough self. I just donít get the appeal of this stuff.
bridge (659) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - OCT 31, 2005
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUL 3, 2007 Bottle at Redoak. Poured pure black with a very thin dark milky caramel head. Initial chocolate aroma that developed stewed prune notes and a slight vegemite edge. Took a bloody while to develop, though, as even out of the bottle the temperature this little big guy was served at was ridiculous. Slightly salty balance to the flavour, which proved rich and fulfilling - more steak and eggs than Guinness! A perfect carbonation which lets you know itís there without overpowering. Itís syrupy and a bit chewy which, combined with the medium to full body, completes this beer well. In fact there is an overall sense of unity combining all the facets of this beer. Itís a shame that this couldnít be poured fresh at a reasonable temperature, rather than having to patiently wait and steal sips, only to have the ideal temperature come and be left with a small remainder to savour. Re-rate: Whether the latest batch is different I didnít get it as fresh, but it certainly hasnít lived up to the standard I tasted the first time. Dropping it a couple of points.
Stew41 (1902) - Phuket, THAILAND - OCT 29, 2005
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: APR 7, 2012 Vintage: 2006
Consumed: Feb 2009
Not as dark as the 2004 when drunk young. Much lighter brown, perhaps almost cola-like in appearance. The effects of age? Nose shows a fair bit; vegemite, varnishy burnt fruits, but there is certainly a salty / olive kick that doesnít really sit comfortably. Flavours pack a real punch but the beer finishes surprisingly light (in terms of weight). Light chocolate, fruit cake, tangy ífruit tinglesí, hints of yeasty vegemite. All in all still looking pretty good, and probably the best aged local beer Iíve had. (note that score reflects original tasting of 2004 vintage)
Consumed: October 2005 (4.1)
Jet black in the glass with a thin coffee coloured head. Nose is relatively tight with darks malts and a touch of soy. Steps up a gear or 3 on the palate; big, rich malts, more soy, some chocolate and roast. Very good complexity. Well underpinned with an appropriate level of fizz, preventing what wouls surely otherwise be a cloying beer. As per all the comments below this must be a very strong contender for Australiaís best beer (IMHO no contest) but at $14 it bloody well should be. Although perhaps different in style this reminded me of a Stone Russian Imperial or a North Pacific Old Rasputin.
Aarleks (409) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - SEP 8, 2005
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: OCT 21, 2006 On tap at Redoak: I would say that this is as black as the inside of a black dragon (my notes actually say rabbit... but dragon sounds cooler) in a deep dark cave on a moonless night, rather than the inside of a tapir. So, really black in other words, with a huge brown head that sticks. I had let this warm a bit so the aromas were there waiting for me, and they were complex; a tangy sourness I couldnít put my finger on, some chalkiness and some caramel, some wet blanket, stewed prunes, white pepper, and cardomom all with a roasty background, a touch of fish sauce and some faint liqorice. However, exact aromas remained elusive. In the mouth this was simply sensational. Peppery alcohol harmonics blended with rich caramels and dark spicy beats. Again the liqorice was present along with a deep but restrained roastiness. In the mouth there is a sublime silkiness but with a mild carbonation that cuts through and a beautiful resetting bitterness. There are no doubts here, no searching for flavours. It is right there, right in your face - full, powerfull, and uncomprimising. I could not leave this alone. World class.
Sampled with highlandlad.
highlandlad (1463) - Blue Mountains, AUSTRALIA - SEP 1, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 8, 2005 Wow. This looks like a contender for íAustraliaís best beerí. Whoíd have guessed it would be a Baltic Porter? I canít pretend to have any experience of the style but I know a bloody good beer when I taste one. This is so good that we went back twice the same night to confirm our first impression. Looks fabulous: jet black with a tall beige head that sagged as it warmed. The aroma is inhibited by the serving temperature but still comes through remarkably strongly. Itís rich and raisiny, with some molasses, Dundee cake, Vegemite and port-like alcohol. The palate is faultless, thick and creamy, fairly lactic at the back of the throat. Itís well integrated and carries its 8.7% abv easily. On the tongue, it shows some sweet blackcurrant initially before the dominant molasses and bitter coffee kick in. The finish has a spicy quality, plus Vegemite and dark chocolate. This is a seasonal brew and it will be a minor tragedy if it doesnít gain enough ratings to be recognised on the site before it disappears. (On tap at the brewpub)
Re-rate 9/9/05: This is even better than I first thought. At the moment this is my Desert Island Beer. Raising the flavour and overall score by a point each.
motelpogo (7705) - Plzen, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUG 22, 2005
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
on tap at redoak. the bar dude claimed that this had been lagered for a year so i was expecting something pretty good. it looked alright in its wine glass - a pretty deep shade of black with a semi-whipped cream head. quite a sweet aroma of licorice, treacle, nutmeg and powdered milk. not much sign of alcohol in the palate; actually quite a velvetty and sophisticated texture. surprising lack of sweetness given the aroma, some salty vegemite flavour, more nutmeg and then some moderate grssy bitterness. good stuff. looking forward to seeing what they try their hand at next
Sully (1380) - Potts Point, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA - AUG 18, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
I have never seen the inside of a tapir, with or without a reasonable head, so I canít comment on this analogy to the colour. Some might look at this and say that it is as black as a very black thing. I, on the other hand, consider this to be as dark as the inside of a black bowling ball that has been cast into a deep ravine perpendicularly at night during a lunar eclipse. I hope you get my drift. This is topped by an initially dense and creamy caramel head that eventually dissipates upon warming. That, in fact, is a constant bone of contention at this pub. The beers are always served at very low temperatures that mask the qualities of the aroma quite effectively. The bar staff, to their credit however, are aware of this and correctly state that the typical Aussie palate demands this serving temperature. Fair enough, it is a lot easier to cradle this in your hands to warm it up than asking them to cool the beer for you. In fact this is a very positive aspect of the beer as you can experience the blossoming aroma as it warms. And what a fine aroma it is. The currant and date character of the nose is warming and subtle with a hint of honey. The real enjoyment is in the mouthfeel however. It is quite intense as expected from the ABV with intense flavours of cocoa and roasted malt. There is a well balanced grassy hop flavour in the backgound which smooths well and distinguishes it from a harsher stout flavour. This is reminiscent of a Zywiec porter which is praise in itself. Damn fine job Redoak, I didnít even mind paying the $7 for a 250ml glass, even though the staff do err on the generous side
eczematic (1325) - Adelaide, AUSTRALIA - AUG 17, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
OK I started out a bit suspicious of this brewer on account of their strategy of luring winedrinkin suits over to beer by serving it with canapťs and overattentive and underinformed staff BUT I must say the brewers at this place know what theyíre doing. this is a class A baltic. black as the inside of a tapir with a reasonable head (canít expect creaminess at this ABV). aromas improved as it warmed - nice mellow dark beer marmaladey smells. but you dont drink these sorts of beers for the aroma - the palate is king.and this is seriously full bodied. luscious bitter chocolate and robust, minty, herbal hop flavour. lingers in the mouth. verrry nice. like southwark stout brewed with german hops. except even better.