jtclockwork (8423) - , New Jersey, USA - JUL 21, 2014
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. Pours amber gold white head ring. Nose/taste of fuggles, malt, light caramel, toasted biscuit and light grassy hop. Lighter medium body.
ericnixon (740) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 18, 2014
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
I need to preface this review with the fact that I’ve been a big Iron Maiden fan since 1984 when I was ten years old. My brother brought home their Powerslave album on cassette, and I was instantly hooked. I’ve been fortunate enough to see them live four times over the years and they’re my go-to band that I listen to when I write action scenes for my novels. In fact, right now Eddie is peering down at me from my “Stranger In A Strange Land” mini poster that came with the 7” record. You know, it’s the one where Eddie is in a bar and looks cranky because they’re not serving Trooper Ale.
Anyway, back to the beer. Sometime last year, I read on Fark that Bruce Dickinson (_the_ Bruce Dickinson) announced Iron Maiden’s partnership with Robinsons to make Trooper Ale. Being someone who has both a (somewhat neglected) Ratebeer page and an often hankering for Iron Maiden songs…well, it was like that commercial from the 80s: “You got peanut butter in my chocolate!” “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” It was two great things I really like colliding like two binary stars entwined in a death-spiral, spinning faster and closer until they slammed into one another producing something impressive on a level not often seen.
I couldn’t wait to get this beer.
I then waited. A long time.
A year and a half later (or, last week), I was in a Total Wine “store” (more like an alcohol emporium on a grand scale) and was walking on by when my peripheral vision caught sight of something oddly familiar. Something that seemed like it didn’t belong. My head turned and saw a wee li’l Eddie, all gussied up for the Crimean War, grimacing at me from the front of a bottle. I was about to say, “Go home, Trooper Eddie, you’re drunk! You belong on a record, not a bottle!” when cogs whirred and clicked in my head and I realized that this bottle before me was the very one I had been seeking. Without hesitation, I snatched one up and ran for the nearest register.
Here I am, a week later, with it open before me. I feel like I’m at the end of a long journey…or, is it just the beginning?
I take in the bottle. It’s nice. The bottle itself is bottle shaped, which is a great start. It’s also brown, which I like. All too often I’ve had skunked beers ruined by brewers who don’t seem to care enough about their product to protect it from the Sun’s harmful rays. Robinsons seems to care. They also seem to care enough to commissioned new artwork for the small sticker on the neck of the bottle. The stickers, by the way, feel expensive. They have that luster (“lustre” for you English and Canadian folks) and smoothness that says, “I know that you’re just going to gulp this bottle of beer down in a few minutes but, by God, we’re going to let you know how much pride we’re putting into this product by spending a little bit more on the premium stickers. I mean, seriously, if you get one of these beers in your hand, you can’t help but let your fingers gloss over the labels. The main sticker (the one with Eddie on the front) is even shaped nicely and it has a pretty gold border. The sticker on the back lacks the gold border of those on the front (boo!) but it is chock full of history, which is something that is often lacking in most beers today.
Next up, the glass. I know Ratebeer suggests I use an “English pint” glass, but I eschewed it with a firm paw (mostly because I don’t own one – I have an American pint glass, but somehow I felt that would be somewhat of a slap in the beer’s [angry] face). Instead I used my Brewery Ommegang fluted tulip glass.
I tipped the bottle and let a perfect pour flow out, filling the glass. I lowered my head close and heard the roar of the bubbles as they effervescently did their foamy thing (note: the bubbles did not actually roar; that would be scary).
Diggity dang, it looked beautiful. The beer remained a deep coppery color as the ideal head settled down to a delicate lacing on top. I tried to imagine Eddie, after a tough day on the battlefield, swapping out his tattered uniform for something lacey and pretty, but quickly pushed the thought away.
I nosed down close to the top of my glass and inhaled deeply. The aroma was light hoppy sweety. Sweeter…like gum drops? (That’s not metal.) I looked at the label of the angry, bleeding monster with a sword in his hand. No. Can’t be. I took another breath. Lemon drops? I think so.
I was about to take a sip when I realized that the setting was important. I thought about listening to an Iron Maiden song while drinking it, but thought that probably everyone who rated this did the exact same thing. I lamented the fact that the VERY AUTHENTIC ENGLISH PUB just around the corner from my house, The Horse Brass Pub, which is often voted the best English bar in Oregon, didn’t carry this beer because that would be a pretty ideal place to drink it. Just then, I saw my wife was smoking on the front porch. I am not a smoker, but thought that the light tobacco aroma wafting in the air might provide something of the setting I was looking for, so I joined her.
She did not want to try my beer, which is fine, I only offered it to her to be polite. It was a nicely-warm mid-summer evening, about eight o’clock. The sun was still high up in the sky and neighbors were walking by with their dogs. Many were cute, some were not (you know who you are). With this setting, I took my first taste.
The bitterness charged across through my lips and slid across my tongue on a wave of strong fizziness, like crackling lightning. Hops and malts had their own polite exchange just before the moist mouthfeel dropped down my throat leaving a trail of bitterness behind.
A weirdy-beardy, mustachioed, hipster, lumberjacky-fellow and his vintage pin-up girlfriend rode by on their bicycles, deep in discussion about how much they enjoy brakes.
I nodded politely and had more beer.
bubblehouse (382) - louisville, Kentucky, USA - JUL 17, 2014
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
Not bad but it doesn’t make me run for the hills. If I where a stranger in a strange land I would drink another.
VictorStr (1289) - Helsingborg, SWEDEN - JUL 17, 2014
2.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Malten och humlen finns där, viss citrus i både arom och smak. kanske lite kakor/bröd.
Beezzting (17) - SOUTH AFRICA - JUL 16, 2014
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 10/20
Rock ’n roll. This is the type of beer you get absolutely sloshed on. Easy drinking even if it is a little bland.
Iznogud (637) - CROATIA - JUL 15, 2014
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle, 500 ml in Zagreb. Pours amber with off-white head. Malty caramel with some hops. Light to medium body. Lacks body for my taste.
rougeau13 (2002) - Richmond, Texas, USA - JUL 13, 2014
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Clear amber with a bubbly cream colored head. Mild aroma of toast and biscuit. Grainy, slightly bitter taste with a hint of citrus. Light-medium bodied. Iron Maiden is cooler than this.
Bendrixian (1108) - Canadiana, Nova Scotia, CANADA - JUL 13, 2014
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Clear brew with a copper colour. Roast and floral hops in the aroma but it is rather quiet. Light body, forgetful finish and some tea like flavours with a bit of biscuit and malts make this a boring boring boring brew.
Marszal95 (21) - POLAND - JUL 13, 2014
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Piwo kupiłem w sumie głównie z sentymentu do zespołu bo kiedyś bardzo go lubiłem i słuchałem. Nie oczekiwałem wiele po piwie, choć myślałem że będzie to zwykły lager (który okazał się ale) to trochę się tam w nim dzieje. Nuty cytrusowe jak podaje producent są ale słabiutkie, w smaku dość kwaskowe, czuć też lekkie nuty słodowe oraz wyraźne utlenienie (miodowe) wychodzące wraz z ogrzaniem piwa, które burzy wszystko co w nim pozytywne. Prznajmniej piana bardzo dobra, z fajnym lacingiem. Jeśli ktoś chce napić się dobrego piwa, to można zdecydowanie lepiej wydać te kilkanaście złoty, jednak zawsze fajnie mieć taką butelkę, zwlaszcza, jeśli jest się fanem tego zespołu.
Gorbalev (2924) - Ontario, CANADA - JUL 10, 2014
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle, Embrun LCBO. Light to medium clear yellow, little head. Aroma of lemon, biscuit malts. Taste is classic English bitter - all toasty malts, fruity hops. Hint of lemon. Clean, pasteurized - neat label, neat idea, as expected, would love to have it fresh.