Monday, 23 January 2012

Wee Beefy's beer bites : old hairy man tells you what some beer tastes like

Now then.

  I have had a bottle of beer, and so here, using an oft used template, are the details of that experience, for your delectation.

Brewery : Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Name : Porter
Strength : 5.2%
BCA/none BCA? : BCA.
Purchased : Dunham Massey brewery shop.

Pictured below is the beer and its gloriously death metal inspired bottle, pictured in my evil fakir receptacle which I only last night learned was a beer housing imposter. Looks orate in it mind...

Colour : dark brown, nearly black, muddy with orangey red hints in the light, with a thick, white coffee coloured, bubbly head. (note, the exposure used makes it seem jet black, but the label is more so...)

Carbonation/Pouring : quite highly carbonated, although this may be because it wasn't artificially chilled at all, only cooled naturally from being in front of the empty fireplace. The beer is slow to settle but looks very appetising with its frothy milkshake coronet.

Aroma : surprisingly light; having troughed a few of their bottles I can now identify their signature scent, but apart from strong malt and the feintest roasted hint on the nose I couldn't smell anything else.

Taste : Strong malted milk and an incredible smooth creamy mouthfeel, a trace of white chocolate is suggested before all is washed over with a wave of bitterness which resides in the aftertaste. As you take the second swig and following on as the beer continues to settle and warm, the bitterness becomes more prevalent and some of the creamy malt fades away, which is a shame.

See the pic below with helpful sugar tin to provide perspective, lest you should think the bottle was the size of an oil drum, and a homely angle that makes it seem like I might like sweet tea or breakfast cereal.

At this point, I started to detect a coffee flavour, which was not entirely pleasant, like a mug of coffee made with viscous granules from an ancient jar in a holiday cottage where the granules haven't separated in the mug. I'd earlier retained the yeast in the bottle to get as clear a dark beer as possible, and had added that to see what difference it made.

Dunham Massey beers are great because you can almost always drink the yeast, which I always consider a good sign, given the grim astringent bite of some bottling yeast which I always think puts the beer in perilous danger of turning sour.

This additional impetus releases the creamy balance once more and straight away tempers the harsher ends of the roast bitterness, whilst adding none of the sharpness that sometimes can occur. Both the head and the aftertaste now remind me of milky coffee and the sweeter malt is coming through more.

Head retention - the head is very airy and bubbly and slides oozily down the sides throughout, resting on the beer and depositing thick trails all the way, perhaps its density is its downfall as it settles irregularly on the sides and splits toward the end.

WBrating : 7.9
Am afraid I have succumbed to my strongly held view that this is the best Dunham Massey bottled beer, so I may have cranked up the score a little to reflect that. Definitely only able to get this score with the yeast added, and served a little warm which avoids an imbalance in flavours. Having followed that advice, a lovely creamy finish contrasting with the roast malt is perhaps its star turn.

More bottle reviews to come as I try the last remaining offerings from my large selection of Christmas beers.

Wee Beefy

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