StewardofGondor (2088) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 20, 2006
Bottle courtesy of Milwaukee White Elephant.Stew41 (2081) - Phuket, THAILAND - SEP 12, 2004
Opulent and transparent bronze in color with an icy white head and some sporadic lacing. Aroma discourages, drawing out wet dog, steel, hazelnut extract, and mince meat pie with backing soda substituting for sugar. Semi-flavorful force is highlighted by chestnuts and almonds. Nutty potpourri and a touch of caramel over cherries. Some Christmas blend pipe tobacco as well. Medium-to-fuller bodied, a touch fizzy, but generally bodes well upon the palate. Malt shovel takes its namesake seriously, and that’s a good thing, for the sake of balance. Finish is much the same, with hazelnuts, cherry cordials and caramel chews along with an underlying trait that reminisces of sodden autumn leaves.
UPDATED: JUL 31, 2005 Nice dark amber, tan in the glass. Pous a small, fizzy head with caramel notes. Malt depth is evident on the nose although a bit tame when compared to its English cousins. Palate was quite ordinary on opening but settled nicely as the beer warmed up. Ok malts and some bitterness at the back but doesn’t really get going. Not bad for an Oz effort. 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. vanvenlo (1913) - Glen Iris, AUSTRALIA - AUG 24, 2004
7 May 2004 - Sampled 2004AIBA - Bread fruit aroma, clear dark brown, soap suds lacing. Sweet spiritous and long hoppy flavour, nice body. 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.
haddon90 (1634) - Newport Beach, California, USA - AUG 29, 2005
Purchased at a wine cellar outside of Katoomba, Sydney, NSW. Pours a deep, clear, mahagony with a quick lacing head. Malty aroma. Some sort of grassy presence. Not a strong taste at all!! Somewhat watered down. Definitely does not pass for a strong ale. TChrome (1481) - North Richland Hills, Texas, USA - JAN 4, 2004
Beer pours light cooper brown with off white head that is retained. Aromas is decent, malty but the ABV is a bit too apparant. Flavor is a bit better than the aroma. Flavor is lightly malty with a little bitterness and the brew warms the tummy when it hits. Pretty nice beer. 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) mrkimchee (1414) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - SEP 19, 2004
clear copper, off white head. huge malty aroma with dried cherries and raisins, toffee, mil chocolate and roast. flavour starts sweet with notes of buckwheat honey. toffee-ish malt flavour with roasty bitterness. nice. 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.