Aarleks (409) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - SEP 8, 2005
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 couldn’t 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.davidm (2081) - Sunnyvale, California, USA - DEC 6, 2009
Sampled with highlandlad.
Bottle. Exceptional beer. Aromas of chocolate and port. Flavour is sweet and long-lasting. The palate is oily, and it has an alcoholic finish. Dark brown in colour, with a frothy head.
highlandlad (1480) - Blue Mountains, AUSTRALIA - SEP 1, 2005
UPDATED: SEP 8, 2005 Wow. This looks like a contender for ’Australia’s best beer’. Who’d have guessed it would be a Baltic Porter? I can’t 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. It’s 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. It’s 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 doesn’t 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. bozoNZ (784) - Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND - JUL 18, 2011
250ml bottle aging in the cellar. Some chocolate, prunes and sweet currants both on the nose and across the palate. Very soft carbonation. delightful beer - only fault is it’s a touch sticky sweet rather than allowing some of the rawness from the dark malts shining through. Sully (1380) - Potts Point, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA - AUG 18, 2005
I have never seen the inside of a tapir, with or without a reasonable head, so I can’t 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 didn’t even mind paying the $7 for a 250ml glass, even though the staff do err on the generous side
motelpogo (8031) - Plzen, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUG 22, 2005
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 yalnikim (802) - Wellington, NEW ZEALAND - SEP 26, 2009
26/09/2009. 250ml bottle. Marked as 9% abv. Has all the classic currant and dark chocolate that you’d expect from such a beer. Clean and well lagered, it has a shade more caramel and a slightly lower carbonation than I’d like but it is a moreishly dangerous drinker and a great way to end a lovely but cool spring day (listening to The Sun Came Out). Stew41 (2117) - Phuket, THAILAND - OCT 29, 2005
UPDATED: APR 7, 2012 Vintage: 2006bridge (659) - Sydney, AUSTRALIA - OCT 31, 2005
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 doesn’t really sit comfortably. Flavours pack a real punch but the beer finishes surprisingly light (in terms of weight). Light chocolate, fruit cake, tangy ’fruit tingles’, hints of yeasty vegemite. All in all still looking pretty good, and probably the best aged local beer I’ve 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 Australia’s 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.
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 it’s there without overpowering. It’s 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. It’s a shame that this couldn’t 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 didn’t get it as fresh, but it certainly hasn’t lived up to the standard I tasted the first time. Dropping it a couple of points. omhper (25943) - Tyresö, SWEDEN - DEC 26, 2005
Bottled. Dark black, brown head. Rich aroma of salty licorice. Coffee and syrupy toffee dominates. The body is full, it’s 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 it’s cousins around the Baltic.