johninmelb (1127) - Bristol, Gloucestershire, ENGLAND - JUL 9, 2003
Fantastic looking beer. Deep reddy-amber colours and a good solid lasting head. The smell is ambiguous - could go either way. The flavour hits the palate assertively, and shows promise at first, but then round out to a standard ale with a bit of sharp alcohol too evident. The lingering palate is sweet and toffee, but with that nasty twang in it. And I agree with Mullet - what's with that 'wild fermentation' rubbish? It sure aint a lambic. mullet (849) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - JUL 5, 2003
UPDATED: AUG 14, 2005 A great looking beer, beautiful red colour with good head and strong lacing on glass. Aroma is very alcoholic with sweet caramel malt, flavour is more of the same. It has a lot of toffee sweetness but is not very malty (if that is possible). Has a reasonable bitterness which is good for a chronically under-bittered style. Overall another disappointing beer from Malt Shovel. Also - this beer is obviously NOT the product of a "wild" fermentation as claimed on the label! Linc (740) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - JUN 30, 2003
RR: 2005 version. Whoa, has this one gone downhill! Massive vegetably aroma, barely any malt character to speak of and a rusty bitterness. Seems to have lost a bit of colour too. The way it’s going this should be re-classified into the Euro Strong Lager section. Makes me think they’re brewing this at Tooheys now too. Prev. rating 3.0.
This had me bored out of my arse! Aroma: alcohol. Flavour: old wet malt and toffee spit. Palate is quite okay after you get past the alcohol. Colour is a nice deep amber and has a solid well formed head with strong lacing, but heck you don't drink a beer for it's looks, do you? More work needed guys! motelpogo (8031) - Plzen, CZECH REPUBLIC - JUN 28, 2003
it might be strong by australian standards but could do with a bit more. still, the alcohol is quite noticeable in the aroma. a bit too much brown sugar flavour. nothing really wrong with it but nothing to inspire. but let's hope lots of breweries here now decide to put out strong beers kook (2033) - Perth, Western Australia, AUSTRALIA - JUN 27, 2003
Pours deep clear amber with medium tight slightly off white head. Lovely aroma, toffee (crystal?), with a hint of citrusy hop aroma. Lovely smooth initial mouthfeel, medium-full in body. Starts with a sweet caramel taste, followed by toffee, then a nice kick of bitterness. Well hopped, though well balanced. Crisp aftertaste of toffee, dark fruit and a hint of citrus. Decent head retention too, about half of it stayed for the entire glass. Good job MSB.
eczematic (1326) - Adelaide, AUSTRALIA - JUN 24, 2003
UPDATED: JUN 6, 2004 just had some of the latest 2004 batch. it was a tough job to make it any worse than last year but they have. i don't know where to start. these "rare hops" they use for aroma (apparently australian grown millelfrüh) smell foul. rough, dirty, piney, and green. also accompanied by a weird sulfuric stench that ive never smelt in an ale. odd. mouthfeel is thin, fizzy and watery. shortlived and rough flavours of thin, nutty malt and tangy, rough PORlike bitterness. no fatness to the flavour at all. tastes like theyve toned down the caramel from last year and strangely enough that was probably the only thing that saved it. in the end this is more like reschs dinner ale than anything. last year's: ugly beer. sweet, cloying caramel/roasted nut icky palate, with rough bitterness coming very shortly after initial toffee attack, followed by watery, chloriney nothing finish. [2.6] duff (5486) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - JUN 23, 2003
UPDATED: FEB 9, 2004 I still quite like this beer. Chocolatey/caramelly malts, prickly mouthfeel. Some sweet maple syrup happening aswell, which i didn't particularly like. Hops are relatively bitter, some citrus happening atr the end. Pretty tasty in the end, but i was guilty of overating it the first time, i still like it. maestro (36) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - JUN 21, 2003
Wow, this is fabulous. Reminiscent of Leffe Radieuse. This is quite a mild beer by comparison with the big beers of Europe but a great taste and delicious toffee tones make this a joy. The aroma is the only place that beer is let down. Maybe a quality of the filtering or pasteurisation but there is a lack of richness in the aroma and no amount of warming or rousing will fix this. Still, the taste is tops and the colour is a wonderfull deep red. What a great beer. Sully (1380) - Potts Point, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA - JUN 12, 2003
UPDATED: AUG 9, 2004 The nose is initially a little lacking, but as soon as it settles in the glass the aroma comes through as a pleasant toffee note. The flavour is quite malty like an Anzac biscuit, and is as gutsy as an Anzac as well. Great mouthfeel and body with the power of the ABV being obvious, even to the extent that it could be even more powerful than the stated 6.8%. The finish is dry and bitter which complements the initial sensation. Great coffee colour, mmmmm. This needs cold weather, a log fire and some aged cheddar. RE-RATE: The brewers told me this shouldn't age well. It has and is a great beer.
RE-RATE Number 2: The first anniversary beer has now been released with the effect that Chuck and his lads have improved this beer. OK, fir us drinkers downunder there may be a bias when great beers emerge from the macro morass, but I beleive this is an improvement on last year's. It has the same coppery hue and lightly creme caramel coloured head. The nose is a fine toffee roasting and sticky date pudding but it is the smoothness of the mouthfeel and intensity of flavour that pushes this one up a few points. I demand that this be brewed all year 'round instead of only seasonally.