JoeMcPhee (9515) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 3, 2005
330 ml bottle. Deep orange beer with a thin white head. Very sweet and honeyish. Toffee and some crystal malt. Light hopping, low bitterness. Very unidimensional and boring. Oakes (18472) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - AUG 2, 2005
Bright golden-brown colour. Aroma is earthy, slighlty molassesy. The body is a little light. There’s some mild brown sugary malt notes and slight alcohol in the finish. Doesn’t drink like a strong ale - Australians are even more timid than Canadians with their micros. ozymanposs (18) - AUSTRALIA - JUL 29, 2005
A solid effort. Only perhaps marred by a little more preservative than I would like leaving something of a dry mouth the next mrnng even after nly 2 beers. A openng drop rather than a seesion beer then, but a very good opening drop ALLOVATE (3055) - Perth, AUSTRALIA - JUL 25, 2005
Tasted from the bottle, it is the first Squire Strong ale I have tried, and I am yet to find a Malt shovel beer that lives up to its product description. Poured a teak-copper colour, clear, with a short lather of off-white foam that lasted and left a little lace. Dry, earthy and gritty malt aroma from the bottle, lightly roasted grain, raisins and a light solvent-like note. Generous nose to begin with, but it seemed to lapse on the pour and lost it’s lustre quickly in the glass. A little too watery on the tongue, toasted malt and burnt sugars come through more in the dry swallow than in the mouth. Light bodied and soft in carbonation, it has a little alcohol warmth, a lightly bitter back and nothing really showing upfront. Became a little plastic as it warmed and was generally unbalanced towards husky malt tones than any floral or fruity balance. This one just didn’t work and to taste this alongside some of the other ’bigger’ Aussie brews, including its macro-counterpart Cooper’s Vintage, this one didn’t even compete. Lack of flavour and body spells bastard pasteurisation, and sadly for this one, it was just another disappointing brew from Malt Shovel. bridge (659) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - JUL 23, 2005
UPDATED: JUL 8, 2006 Did I get a dud bottle or something? Poured a glorious dark brown toffee colour, with a very minimal and thus short lasting beige head. Not a very strong aroma, but I got hints of dried fruits. Flavour was exceptionally bitter, but not pleasantly so. Seemed to be a bit salty, too, so there wasn’t really much balance. Very thin bodied, in fact it was very bland altogether. Sad to say, but I’m very disappointed by this James Squire product. Bottle - best before 16 March 2006. 5 4 4 2 8 2.3 Re-rate: Much better this time around. Some sweet toffee and alcohol soaked raisins in the aroma. Medium bodied, but not a lot of depth and not that lasting. Pretty good, considering the value as a locally manufactured drop.
DuffMan (10596) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - JUL 5, 2005
This was good. Poured a deep red-brown with a thin tan head. Terrific aromas of raspberry jam, cookie, and toffee. Toasty malt palate, caramel, and some hops add to the finish. Very nice, regardless of the lower-than-usual alcohol for a strong ale. DavidP (1748) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 2, 2005
Bottle shared by Blake. Cloudy reddish amber bod, not much head. Raspberry and buttery malt in the aroma, reminds me of the raspberry pie at Baker’s Square. The flavor contains green raisins, sweet caramel malt with light roast and stemmy, spicy hops. I was expecting a heavier barley wine flavor but it’s interesting enough to make the lack of strengh OK. 1FastSTi (3361) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 1, 2005
Bottle says "Best Ale", not "Strong Ale", but the brewer’s website doesn’t show it. The ABV matches. I suspect that this is a really old or a really new label. I don’t know where I got this beer. The aroma is dark fruits, raspberries, floral, toffee. The appearance is a hazy reddish brown with a thin circle of a tan head. The flavor doesn’t match the aroma at all. I get a roasted barley, caramel, nutty malts, earthy chocolate. The palate is smooth and is quite appealing. This is a strange but pretty good beer. TimE (6067) - Tokyo, JAPAN - MAY 28, 2005
After their IPA and amber, I wasn’t expecting much, but this is not bad. Deep amber golden color with dog food and caramel in the nose. Buscuity malty start then some caramel malt and hops come in with a moderately bitter finish.
highlandlad (1480) - Blue Mountains, AUSTRALIA - FEB 15, 2005
Probably the best beer in the James Squire range. Strong ales are few and far between in Australia, so the brewer is to be commended. However, this doesn’t have enough character to stand comparison with the best of the Belgians. It poured a toffee colour with a fine tan head. The rich nose has dark raisiny fruit and peppery alcohol. Medium body, with lots of fruit in the middle and sweet toffee notes. Some toasted malt. Good strong winter drinking. (Bottle, 2003 release)