"The downfall of being a great beer lover and enthusiast is a tendency to hoard. Nobody I know is as guilty of this as I. As such, I've come to realise in recent months that I really need to start working through my already sizeable bottle stock before purchasing anything else this year, if for no other reason than to try the beers I’ve spent my money on whilst they’re still at their best. Added to this is the realisation over the last few months – based on certain depressive life situations – that life is too short not to drink the great beers I have available to me. I also need to find new encouragement and inspiration to write again. I have never wanted this to be a beer review blog (with the exception of Advent) but all the above factors have led me to begin a series of “Stock Clearance” posts where I drink beers within my hoard that really need drinking for reasons that will be explained."
"I shall further clarify that my beer hoard started to grow around the turn of year between 2011 and 2012. To that point, most of my enjoyment of beer was spent within the confines of the pub or on a Saturday night in when the beer to be drunk in the evening was bought in the morning of the same day. The only beers that entered into “storage” were a bottle of Brewdog’s Abstrakt: 02 (that I think was eventually drunk sometime in 2012) and a Fuller’s Vintage 2008, purchased in 2009 and that is still in my hoard to this day."
Smoked Beer. Oh Smoked Beer. Why do you remain such a beer enigma when you are so beautiful? I want more smoke!
That is my introduction to this post. If you want further information on my love and opinions of smoked beer, read my post Smoked Beer - Go Hard or Go Home or blog on a Meet the Brewer with Schlenkerla. I referenced in the latter post how I'd been saving all the smoked beers I could track down for a special #smokingmeout tasting evening with my brother. For one reason or another, that hasn't transpired and now, with such smoked beers like gold dust, I've tired of waiting and drank some of them to clear some stock. There was a lot of beers involved in the tasting session as it transpires so we wouldn't have drank them all anyway and, time passing, some of the older stock needs replacing. Yes, I asm thinking of excuses but I want to drink some smoke.
A smoky pilsner? This is something unique to me. There's plenty of carbonation as this pours a golden, classic pilsner colour. The smoke is immediately present on the nose masking over a lavender sweetness and parma violets. It's very drinkable, possibly more so than any smoked beer you've had. The smoked malt is prevalent at first but balances so well with a light, floral hoppiness and gentle malting that has all but vanished by the finish to make way for a tonsil bitterness that's smooth but pleasant. An ideal summer beer for smoked beer fans and a genius piece of brewing.
De Molen Bloed, Zweet & Tranen - 8.1% - in stock for around 8 months
I had this around two years ago on keg at Port Street Beer House and do recall loving it. This was bottled just over a year ago so would seem ok for the style. But it gushed everywhere. Much of this beer is lost to my floor but I can tell you as soon as this calamity occurs the room is filled with pure rauch malt. This is going to be smoky. A sweet liquorice texture to the background calms it a little once inside the glass but it's very comparable to the Bamberg masterpieces at this stage. Sadly a couple of sips suggest that this might not be ageing particularly well, if the gushing mess hadn't already confirmed that. There is good smokiness to this and a desirably balanced gentleness to the hopping that makes this very drinkable. But the burpalicious high carbonation is also controlled by an unwelcome Brett quality that does this no favours. I doubt that was ever the beer's intention and that this has suffered. It is a shame as this has such promise for smokeheads and I recall the keg version being a triumph.
1648 Smoked Ale 4.7% - in stock for 26 months
I think this ale was part of the very first 2 or 3 beers I purchased for the smoking me out extravaganza. From the 1648 brewery in Sussex I know next to nothing about, here's an interesting little beer, one I'm not expecting to be good from the jump. I didn't expect to like it on purchase in April 2012. It's best before is July 2012, and here we are in June 2014 and what do I think? It's pouring flat and a light chestnut. It's certainly got plenty of sour vinegar on the nose. I think I'm discovering something about ageing smoked beers. I guess too many don't have the right qualities to really develop. Mind you, this could have been awful in the first place, but it's certainly terrible now. It's sour. It has soiled. I always think these days a beer has to be really poorly brewed to experience this but who knows. There's not much left to say about poor 1648. An unintentionally disease riddled beer. Drainpoured.
Emelisse Rauchbier 7% - in stock for 14 months
Pouring dark brown with slight amber hue, this is a good smoked beer. Very strong on the smoke which is more of that charcoal, dying fire, decent smokiness you want. There's also a sweet background, reminiscent of Belgian yeast going on. The smoke doesn't blast you in the face as you drink. There's a little carbonation at the forefront that actually gives decent balance to the beer rather than knocking you for 6. The smoked element really hits in that GAMMON style way that made Rauchbiers so comparable to smoked meat. It's warming, salty, comforting and delicious. It's mellow in the way it lingers long in the mouth making you hungry and almost dehydrated, if that makes sense. It's an excellent Rauchbier and another that can be spoken about alongside the famous Bamberg varieties.
Adelscott - 5.8% - in stock for 14 months
I purchased this, despite it's clear bottle, for the fact it was brewed with peated malt apparently. It's a French beer from Brasserie Fischer, though is now owned by Heineken. It smells frighteningly like Desperados - does anybody have a slice of lime? Of course its a clear honey colour with good carbonation. There's something a little whisky-esque in there but certainly nothing peaty. Anyway... the taste is rather surprising. It, at least, doesn't taste of Yate's Wine Lodge. There's a very woody yet fruity ideal to the initial taste but right at the end there's a little slither of burning whiskey and smokiness that at least lends a little amount of credibility to the claims of this beer. It soon goes and your mouth is left with that same sensation that I often have on Sunday mornings whilst trying to remember the night before. Cheap, flavoured beer.
Emelisse Smoked Porter - 7.5% - in stock for 10 months
After the Rauchbier was so good I look forward to this strong smoked porter. This frothy and super dark beer is very similar in nose to the rauchbier, with very strong rauchmalt dominating everything and overriding a little plum sweetness. This is so delicious. It's not a million miles away from the rauchbier in taste either but, rather than what I find with the majority of smoked porters, that slightly dumbed down sweetness provides the perfect balance to what is still a powerful smoked hit. The smoke burns your tongue but a deep, dark fruit finish with hoppy kick adds a completely different yet familiar feeling dimension.