First the winner of the Double Espresso v. Manchester Dark Ale. This has caused me difficulties because I thought the double Espresso tasted great but is a beer you cannot drink alot of and the chances of it winning the Beer Hunt? About nill.
The Manchester Star Ale on the other-hand was a straight forward McEwan's Champion Ale immitator. But it was better. Smoother and with a darker chocolate taste. This has a much better chance of winning the competition.
WINNER is Scottish Traditional Ales Double Espresso. I've voted for this because its just a bit different. Smooth and lovely. Sainsbury's customers would love it. (In my dreams).
Next is a 3-way taste test of brown/ruby/red ales - Willy Nilly (Brains), Dot Goody's Blissful Brown (Wye Valley) and Ivanhoe (Ridgeway). The latter is a "red ale". I may be comparing it incorrectly but let's have a go...
Willy Nilly is a 4.0% ABV ruby ale. Bottled beers have a problem at this (and lower ABVs). The taste can be washed out by the fiz. Although this is quite fizzy the malty body makes this much better than average. I quite like this beer (considering the taste/ABV ratio). A solid 7/10.
Dot. Goody's Brown Ale is 0.6% higher ABV than the Brain's beer but its body seems thinner and doesn't have the impact of Willy Nilly. Strange - I was expecting more. Medium malt, medium hop. Bottle says "Bottle Conditioned" - it did't appear to be to me. Ok, perhaps there's a little sediment. Bottle conditioning or not this is a very average 5/10.
And finally Ivanhoe to finish this 3-way taste-off. Ridgeway won the 2011 Beer Hunt with their Bad King John dark strong ale at 6.0% This is a "red ale" with an ABV of 5.2%. Actually I note the bottle also says pale ale. I'm confused again... Slight haze due to bottle conditioning - I've no problem with hazing at all - the supermarkets won't like it though;)
Straight away we've got a sour touch which immediately puts me off. If somebody can tell me whether this is deliberate or a problem I'd appreciate it. Perhaps I let too much sediment into my glass? Would a little sediment affect the taste in this way? I'm not going to go any further but the sour touch means I'm finding it difficult to review this beer properly. 3/10.
Winner Brain's Willy Nilly.
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