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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Chimay Tripel (White)

Date: 25st April 2011

Alcohol: 8.0%

Volume: 330mL

Price: $4.95 (bottleshop), $12.50 (pub)

Manufactured: Baileux, Belgium

This is my second adventure in the Chimay trio following on from the Chimay Red last week.

Appearance (4/5)

Golden amber in colour again with a high level of sedimentation similar to a wheat beer.  The head came out thick and creamy/ fluffy with a yellow tinge in colour.  The head is made up of superfine bubbles similar to some of the stouts but loads more volume.  It throws a crust in the bottom of the bottle that a 10 year old Barossa Shiraz would be proud of.

Nose (4/5)

The first aroma I noticed was the yeasty breadiness that I was able to pick up as soon as the crown was removed.  There is higher end sweet note (peaches/ apricots ?) but overall dominated by wheat bread and malt.

Flavour (4.5/5)

The mouth feel is just like the head looks; a full creamy silk mouth coating with tiny bubbles attacking the tongue.  The fruit is the first flavour I notice with banana and peach followed by yeast and wheat at the back of the palate.

Finish (5/5)

I absolutely love the finish on this beer.  You get bags of honey and fruit around the front of the pallet while the back of the mouth and throat gets dry hop bitterness with ever so slight alcohol warmth that hangs around. Great balance. Whoooaaa.

Rating: (17.5/20)

Pour this beer into a glass and ‘blind Freddy’ could tell you it’s a Belgian beer and not a baddy at that.  It’s a classic that is surprisingly drinkable and available which can’t always be said for the Trappiste beers.  I could easily have a Friday afternoon session on these but alternative transport would be required :-).  A great beer and leaving me looking forward to the final chapter with Chimay Blue.

 

Posted by on 25th April 2011 in Beer

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Chimay Rouge (Red)

Date: 21st April 2011

Alcohol: 7.0%

Volume: 330mL

Price: $4.95 (bottleshop), $12.50 (pub)

Manufactured: Baileux, Belgium

A while back I had a business meeting in Brussels which nicely coincided with some (not unusual) industrial action by the local airport baggage handlers.  Long and short of it; I was stuck in a Brussels airport lounge with a little spare time to taste some of the local beers.  I can’t say I remember everything I tried (Leffe among them) but I do remember leaving with the message, ‘Belgium makes a great beer, but sh*t it’s strong’.

That leads me onto Chimay which is one of the easier to find Trappiste beers that I have been dying to try in order of Red, White and Blue for some time.  I have picked up all three and over the next few reviews you will get my opinions on all.

There are only 7 breweries that are able to call themselves Trappiste that are brewed by monks in monasteries around Belgium and one in Holland. Red is the entry beer at 7% alcohol followed by White at 8% and Blue at 9%.  I would be keep to do all three in the one sitting but I feel the quality of the Blue could be a little random.

Appearance (3.5/5)

Dark red/ tan in colour with a think amount of particulates (muddy) that cloud the beer.  I am assuming this is residual yeast.  The sediment stays around for the life of the drink.  The beer pours with a nice foamy cream head that dies away over time.

Nose (4/5)

The nose is much lighter than I was expecting.  I can definitely pick up the maltiness and fruit at the front.  Other reviews refer to it as bananas but I think that it is more like caramelised bananas with a prominent yeastiness.

Flavour (4.5/5)

This is quite a sweet but controlled beer.  It is caramel in flavour (mid palate) with a slight bitterness.  The beer has a thick body about it like a wheat beer that coats the mouth.

Finish (4.5/5)

The finish has an ever so light splash of bitterness but continues with the caramel sweetness.  The slightly warm alcohol finish in the throat that reminds you this is not a sub 5% beer.

Rating: (16.5/20)

This is a lovely beer no doubt about it, but I cannot say that it is a truly great Belgium beer.  It is let down by the muddy appearance that comes from having a tan beer with heavy sedimentation.  If I was handed one of these at the start of the night I would be a happy man but I just know that better things are to come from the Chimay trio.

 

Posted by on 21st April 2011 in Beer

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White Rabbit Dark Ale

Date: 12th April 2011

Alcohol: 4.9%

Volume: 330mL

Price: $69 /24 btls (Vintage Cellars)

Manufactured: Healesville, Australia

This bottle caught my eye from the start.  I love the cutesy ‘Alice in Wonderland’ type image on the front of the bottle.  This is something different that I think does a good job of giving it that boutique feel.  The brewery located in the Yarra Valley and has both bases covered with its extensive range of two beers; dark and light ale.  I haven’t sampled the light ale but after this tasting I’ll be sure to track it down.

Appearance (4/5)

Medium-dark ruby ale with very little head to speak of. Love a dark ale.

Nose (4/5)

The nose is sweet and malty and is a great entre to the palate.  There is a light dose of hops without going crazy.  Balanced. It is one of those beers that makes a smooth transition from nose to mouth. Oooooh that smells good lets drink.

Flavour (4.5/5)

Up front you are hit with lush caramel maltiness with sweet date flavours throughout.

Finish (4.5/5)

The finish is everything I want from a dark ale; long, nicely bitter hopiness with sweetness that will hang around till your ready for the next mouthful.  Oh yeah I’m ready.

Rating: (17/20)

Bottom line, go out and get some.  It is starting to get up there in price but this would make a great Sunday lunch beer with the Roast Beef with all the trimmings. Yum.

 

Posted by on 12th April 2011 in Beer

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Hoya de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 (tubos)

I thought it was about time to get a review out on one of the CC’s that I had sitting on my humidor.  This blog can’t exactly be ‘Smoke and Booze’ without the smoke, so here goes.

I ask that you are gentle with me as this is the first time I have tried to put into words the subtleties of a good smoke.

Review Date: 9th April 2011

Box code: Unknown (purchased as single)

Ring Gauge: 50

Length: 12.4 cm

Vitolas: Robusto

Construction

Nice consistent wrapper , slightly soft  in places.  This particular stick had a couple of nicks where the cap had lifted (loose ends).  This didn’t affect the cut or draw at all.  Habanos felt this needed two bands which certainly gave it a smart look but always annoys me when you need to start peeling off a band halfway through the smoke.

Aroma

This had an absolutely beautiful sweet cedary nose.  It was probably picking up the cedar lining in the tube.  I can’t quite place the sweetness but possibly something like sultanas. Yummy, yummy.

Smoking

When I first lit this up I got a quick punch of pepperiness on the back of the palate but this passed as quick as it came.  The body started out very smooth, medium to mild. Great quantities of creamy sweet smoke.  The first half was really quite light and creamy.

Into the second half the flavour got quite toasty and the sweetness was replaced with more spiciness as the smoke drew to the end.  Much more full in body.  This was an amazing change for me that the smoke could start out so light and reel up in the last third.

The aroma of the smoke given off was fantastic the whole way through; leathery cedar.

The burn was faultless from start to finish.  Very even all the way and able to hold a long ash.

Overall

This was a great smoke and I would certainly be looking to purchase some more.  I would have this as an after dinner cigar because it was on the full side of medium in the second half. A quality smoke that is worth hanging onto for a while.

Rating: 89 points

 

Posted by on 9th April 2011 in Cigars, Cuban Cigars

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Laphroaig Quarter Cask Whisky

Date: 4th April 2011

Alcohol: 48%

Volume: 700mL

Price: $??? (mine was a gift :-))

Manufactured: Islay, Scotland

I gotta admit straight up, I don’t think I have come across an Islay whisky I don’t enjoy so you might need to take what I say with a grain of salt.  That being said of all the whisky’s that I normally have on rotation, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be a bottle of Lophoaig 10 year with the foil broken in the cupboard.  I love the stuff.  It is a great balance of peat and caramel that I think is right up there in bang for buck.  So when I unexpected received a bottle of Quarter Cask from the in-laws when they visited from ol’ blighty I thought ‘bring it on’.

BTW: That reminds me I should put up a review for Lophroaig 10YO.

From my detailed research (reading the back of the bottle), I understand that the name comes from the fact that the spirit spends some time in oak before being transfered to quarter casks that give it its sweetness.  I’m convinced.

Appearance (4/5)

Golden amber in colour.

Nose (5/5)

Sweet creme caramel with a lovely balance of peatiness.  This glass is over 2 feet away and I can clearly smell that beautiful peat.

Flavour (4.5/5)

Coating, slightly oily mouthfeel. There is an unmistakable campfire peatiness that won’t let you forget it’s Islay. Burnt caramel an dark malt are the stand out flavours.

Finish (4.5/5)

This dram has a warmth that sticks to the top of your mouth. It starts out in a powerful way and slowly develops into sweet raisons and dried fruit.  This one isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Rating: (17.5/20)

 

Posted by on 4th April 2011 in Scotch Whisky, Spirits

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Birra Moretti Premium Larger

Date: 3rd April 2011

Alcohol: 4.6%

Volume: 330mL

Price: $55 /24 btls (Dan Murphys)

Manufactured: Milan, Italy

This is not the first time I have tried Birra Moretti but I must say that there have been a few packaging changes since the last time. The outer case (24 pack) was damn thin, in fact I don’t know how the hell it made it to oz without a few broken bottles. More important than that, the happy little dude in a green suit on the front has been shrunk and the brand enlarged. A travesty I say; surely the green dude can sell more beer than a simple logo. That’s just an engineer’s opinion I guess.

I have always been a bit smitten for the Italian beers as accompaniment with food. I am sure that it is 80% emotion as when you sit down and think about them, they are usually pretty non-descript. I don’t care; if I’m in the local Italian cafe having a prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella tasting plate on a Sunday morning I’d be all over a Moretti.

Worth noting, like a lot of beers this one started to come good as it warmed up a little from the fridge.

Appearance (4/5)

Light amber in colour with a light head (ok I’m being nice, it doesn’t hold for long).

Nose (2.5/5)

The nose is similar to several of the Italians (that doesn’t include Coca Cola Australia’s Peroni). At the front is pear and citrus with a hint of yeast. Overall, a light nose.

Flavour (2.5/5)

Quite a creamy mouth feel with smooth bubbles. Dry in flavour very with little residual sugar. It’s a non-offensive larger with not a lot on flavour.

Finish (3.5/5)

The finish is long and develops into a nice hoppy bitterness. It certainly makes up for a basic flavour.

Overall Rating: (13/20)

 

Posted by on 3rd April 2011 in Beer

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