ORCHID

 

Well, last week we were a day late posting due to uncontrollable circumstances that were completely within our control.

This week we are posting a few hours earlier because, in the immortal words of Sham 69, weeeeee’re  goin’ down the pub.

Merry Christmas to one and all from Muse on Booze.  

 

ORCHID

 

BREWER: East London Brewing Company, East London 

STYLE: Vanilla Mild

ABV: 3.6%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle

MOB RATING: 41%

 

 

JYMI SAY’S…

It’s Christmas week and I entered it full of joy, excitement and hope for both the time of year and the beer I was going to be testing… but things didn’t quite work out..

Let me explain.

When I purchased Orchid a few weeks back I did so because it caught my eye. Did I like the look of it?  Don’t know, didn’t really give it much thought at the time. But it had to have had something for me to go through with the impulse buy, surely?

As test week arrived I did what I normally tend to do and took the beer that was going to be given a good going over, out of the cupboard and placed it on the kitchen side. I generally do this so it gives me a few days of catching the eye of the beer as I’m passing so I can really gauge what the packaging is all about.

Our relationship started out ‘alright’ , but ended in tatters I am sorry to say….

Mondayyeah not bad looking, quite looking forward to this.

Tuesdaylooks okay, I think?

Wednesdaylooks weird, why does it look weird?

ThursdayThe label looks like wallpaper. And shiny gold? I don’t like shiny gold and certainly not on a beer label.

Friday – WHO WALLPAPER’S A BEER BOTTLE??????

 

DEEP BREATH…………..

 

Right so, joy and excitement also came with the thought of a Vanilla mild. I am a huge fan of Vanilla, especially this time of year, and though I had not had a Mild for a fair few years I had always enjoyed the odd one in the past.

It ended badly again, really badly.

There are Vanilla hints yes, but I honestly think even hints is too generous. The nose it too pungent, initial taste too sharp and then whatever taste was there just vanishes, quickly.

 

Look, I may get paid millions of pounds a year to test one beer a week but I’m no pro, no no..

ELB have just, for me at least, got this all wrong.

Happy Christmas!!!!!!!!!! Sorry x

 

TASTE: 15/50

NOSE: 5/10

SIPABILITY: 4/10

SESSION: 5/10

PACKAGING: 5/10

NAME: 3/5

INFO: 1/5

J-TOTAL: 38/100

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

So here it is – the final review before Christmas: for those of you hoping for a cracker (not of the type you pull with toy insert), you’re going to be disappointed.  And I don’t mind stating it from the outset.  This beer is all over disappointment. 

 

Let’s start with the name, Orchid Vanilla Mild.  It’s not a statement.  It’s not bold or big.  It’s not even particularly clever and it’s never going to pull in even the well-established and learned beer drinker.  In fact, it’s a name that lacks in punch; it seems so…limp and uninspiring. 

 

Once opened and poured, I’m afraid it gets no better.  The nose on this one is…er…disappointing.  It’s neither here nor there and, rather like the name, it will not tempt you to drink it. 

 

Let me linger for a very little amount of time on the taste: poor quality.  It lacks in distinctiveness and the Vanilla, as promised by the aforementioned low-grade name, is nowhere to be seen.  The only part of the name that rings true is the mild part as this is a beer that you could chew down one after another in a ‘mild’ session.

 

For Christmas crackers, stick to the type you pull, or see our previous reviews for some of the all year round beer crackers that are out there to be enjoyed!

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TASTE: 21/50

NOSE: 4/10

SIPABILITY: 4/10

SESSION: 7/10

PACKAGING: 6/10

NAME: 1/5

INFO: 1/5

S-TOTAL: 44/100

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 41% 

 

BOURBON COUNTY

 

Ok, so we’re a day late… two reasons.

1, We lost the test beer on day of test.

b, It’s so strong we kinda forgot to write about it once we had tried it.

c,  It’s Christmas 

Please accept apologies from the professional outfit that is MUSE ON BOOZE (and this was the week we were going to say tell your friends about us too!!)

 

 

 

BOURBON COUNTY

 

 

BREWER: Goose Island, Illinois

STYLE: Stout

ABV: 14.3%

VESSEL: 1 pint .9 FL.OZ. (US) bottle

MOB RATING: 44%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Blimey, just blimey…

Now this is not a drink you’ll ever ever grab a case of 24 of from your local Bargain Booze let me tell you. This is one immense drink.

It has left me wondering what on earth has just happened I have to be honest.

Whilst still trying to piece my life together I will try and convey my thoughts on this…

Looks so good and appealing AND high end!

At such a huge percentage I wondered what was going to happen here. Once opened things began to unravel.. MASSIVE NOSE of burnt vanilla, which I can’t say I actually enjoyed all that much.

Now, did I enjoy this stout once sipped…?   NO, was all too much for little Jymi.

It’s smooth as, but the taste is so extreme (without actually being strong) that it almost doesn’t taste like a drink that you know… and let’s be fair you probably don’t. I’m putting this in the bracket of ELITE DRINKS. 

It’s without a doubt made well but sorry to say it’s just not for me.

Right, I’m off for a Goose IPA….

 

TASTE: 24/50

NOSE: 5/10

SIPABILITY: 9/10

SESSION: 1/10

PACKAGING: 9/10

NAME: 4/5

INFO: 1/5

J-TOTAL: 53/100

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

You can’t turn around at this time of year without being faced with the hype of Christmas.  And Goose Island has certainly built the hype around this stout.  The packaging is undeniably…well…awesome.  The name promises the world; who wouldn’t be sold with stout aged in bourbon casks?  Then you crack the lid, pour the contents into a glass and the aroma is simply incredible.  You get smacked around the face with a heady mixture of Marmite, port and stout – I know, it sounds like it wouldn’t smell particularly good, but it does.

Then to the taste…and it all falls down, just like the hype that’s built up at this time of year.  It comes crumbling down all too quickly.  It’s disappointing on so many levels and one could argue that it’s almost undrinkable.  No stout should taste like a mixture between port and a beer left to go flat over the course of a long Christmas lunch.  To me this is no stout.  This is a fail – in the words our YouTubing friends – an Epic Fail.  Let us not dwindle any more on this because it’s really not worth the time or head-space.

Goose Island produce some cracking beers.  Bourbon County comes nowhere near to their usually high standards.  To me, this is a gimmick and gimmicks don’t belong in the beer drinkers world.  It promises so much and delivers so little.  My advice to you – keep your money in your pocket, this ones not even worth a go!

 

TASTE: 2/50

NOSE: 10/10

SIPABILITY: 7/10

SESSION: 0/10

PACKAGING: 10/10

NAME: 5/5

INFO: 1/5

S-TOTAL: 35/100

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 44%

 

PURITAN

 

It’s that time of year where the darker beers come out to play!! So we have headed back to Two Cocks Brewery to try their wonderful looking Stout… (Plus we bought it a while ago and the BBE date was fast approaching :/).

 

 

PURITAN

 

BREWER:  Two Cocks, Berkshire

STYLE: Stout

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle 

MOB RATING: 88%

 

 

JYMI SAY’S…

It’s December 25th, 3:33am, even though you’re 37, you have one eye open to maybe, just maybe catch a glimpse of the white bearded, rotund chap who cut’s about in a crushed red velvet suit on this night every year. You eventually fall back to sleep…

Morning breaks and the wonderful chaos of the day begins. You stroll down stairs to the noise of children tearing in to wrapping paper, the kettle boiling and some bacon sizzling.

A quick wash and freshen up and then the time has come… presents and a glass of something!

You crack open a bottle of Puritan and with that first sip everything that has gone before and is still to come in the day is summed up… Christmas.

This is an absolutely stunning Stout, no doubt. The nose is delicate and soothing as well as complex and intriguing.  There is a disconcerting fizz to it in the glass, but that doesn’t then transfer to sipping, odd but great! The taste is incredible. Complex with a little bite, but once swallowed is as smooth as Santa’s suit.

An utterly fantastic Winter’s drink that Jymi cannot recommend highly enough.

 

TASTE: 46/50

NOSE: 10/10

SIPABILITY: 7/10

SESSION: 8/10

PACKAGING: 10/10

NAME: 3/5

INFO: 3/5

J-TOTAL: 87/100

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

When the word stout is mentioned, there is one brand that immediately spring’s to mind.  So any company taking steps into this dominated market has to make sure those steps are going to leave huge imprints.  And let’s be honest, we’ve all boldly ordered unknown stouts in the past wanting for something to be different and to challenge our pre-conceived ideas.  All too often, we will then have been disappointed and left with that sinking reality that actually stout means only one thing…

But my goodness, that was until now.  Because now there’s Puritan.

I’m not going to waste my time describing the packaging – that’s been done before with this brewery – it makes a bold statement.  Underneath that packaging though, well that’s a different story.  This stout is intense.  It’s makes your taste buds come alive in a way that no other stout before it will have done.  The nose is great and then that first sip…that first sip is something you might believe you will never experience again.  And in some ways you’d be right because a first is always a first, never to happen again.  But the second is just as good.  And the third…

Puritan has such a distinctively nutty, marmitey taste that it could only be a stout.  Yet it’s a trend setter because it succeeds where so many before it have failed – it doesn’t try to imitate, it’s there to be imitated.  High praise indeed you might think; you’d be right.  And if you’ve only ever sampled one well-known stout before and want to try another then Puritan is for you.  If you’ve never tried a stout before and you’d like to venture into that world – Puritan is for you.  If you’ve never been interested in stout and think you never will be, well…Puritan is for you.

 

TASTE: 46/50

NOSE: 9/10

SIPABILITY: 10/10

SESSION: 8/10

PACKAGING: 10/10

NAME: 2/5

INFO: 4/5

S-TOTAL: 89/100

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 88%

 

1845

1845

 

BREWER: Fuller’s, West London

STYLE: Strong English Ale

ABV: 6.3%

VESSEL: 330ml

MOB RATING: 60.5%

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

From the outset, everything about 1845 points to Fullers.  Their distinctive packaging is instantly recognisable – and that’s only a good thing.  All companies want their products to be easily associated to them.  The marketing team at Fullers can certainly be proud and hold their heads high: they have succeeded in their task.

 But for me, that’s where it stops with 1845. 

Despite it being a beer that slips down nice and easily, it lacks in the punch that matters the most – taste.  It’s harsh on the back of the throat and the after-taste lingers, when you wish it would just drift into the background or, preferably, never have been there in the first place.  In fact, you could easily liken the flavour to a well-known yeasty spread that one apparently loves or hates.  And that taste belongs on toast, not in such abundance in beer.

 1845 will have its fans and Fullers will know whom they are targeting this beer at.  To my mind, that will be a limited market and it certainly won’t be one that I’ll be joining in the near future.  There’s much better out there…

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TASTE: 29/50

NOSE: 4/10

SIPABILITY: 7/10

SESSION: 7/10

PACKAGING: 6/10

NAME: 4/5

INFO: 2/5

S-TOTAL: 59/100

 

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Shrove Tuesday, 2005

Sammy takes on the Pancake duties and lines up four per flat member, fair play to the man. Once finished I, rather unappreciatively, blurted out the words, “I could do another eight of those without even thinking about it you know”.

Folk laughed….. Sammy fired up the frying pan.

Now, knowing I’m not one to cry off from an eating challenge Sam proceeded to make every pancake he made, unbeknown to me, just that little bit thicker every time.

I spent the next hour going from extreme confidence to utter despair. Facing into the last two I turned into a sweaty mess wondering if I’d make it out of this nightmare alive. After the twelfth pancake was finished I can now only tell you second hand what happened as I was in batter delirium.

Word is I was writhing around on the kitchen floor mumbling “Mate, I’m serious, my stomach is going to explode”. Sam laughed. “Seriously man, you need to call an ambulance”. Sam laughed.

And so to the beer, 1845!!

On first sipping this ale you are met with one massive taste hit! Literally ‘sit you back in your chair’ good. From there it starts to mellow out a little and just turns into a jolly nice pint of beer. However, as the end approaches you begin to feel full. As you finish you question whether you could have another as it is so very rich and heavy. Too many of these would leave me calling out “Mate, I’m serious, my stomach is going to explode”. However, this is a good drop that Fuller’s have created for their 150 year beer.

In case you were wondering how Shrove Tuesday 2005 concluded.. Sam and I have not spoken since that day. He actually contacted me a couple of months ago asking if I wanted to co-write a booze blog with him… I told him to f*#k off.

 

TASTE: 34/50

NOSE: 6/10

SIPABILITY: 4/10

SESSION: 4/10

PACKAGING: 6/10

NAME: 4/5

INFO: 4/5

J-TOTAL: 62/100

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 60.5%

 

13 GUNS

13GUNS

 

BREWER: Crafty Dan (Thwaites), Lancashire

STYLE: American IPA

ABV: 5.5%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

MOB RATING: 70%

 

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

13 Guns doesn’t seem to promise too much from it’s packaging. It’s not quite enticing and intriguing enough and before embarking on its taste adventure you are left with a confusion of expectations.

On first pouring, you are met with some strong and pleasant pineapple aromas, which gives rise to raised expectations when compared with the slightly underwhelming packaging. Then the tasting…and expectations are slightly depressed again. The taste, although not wholly unpleasant, is lacking when compared with the nose of this beer. However, when not taken in direct comparison with one another, the taste is better than average and added to that, 13 Guns slips down nice and easy. To say you would be able to have a session on these beers is probably a stretch of the imagination.

13 Guns is a confused beer. While it is very drinkable, it probably won’t become a long-time favourite of many consumers. And this is, in part, down to its lack of consistency between all of its elements. The whole package doesn’t pull together as you might like, and there are others out there doing this significantly better. This leads to a lack of conviction in believing in this beer. With some tweaks and fine-tuning, you can’t help but imagine what 13 Guns could have been…or could yet still be…

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TASTE: 35/50

NOSE: 9/10

SIPABILITY: 8/10

SESSION: 6/10

PACKAGING: 4/10

NAME: 4/5

INFO: 4/5

S-TOTAL: 70/100

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Firstly, the look of her… For me, brilliant!! So understated, but absolutely catches the eye. It’s brave to go with no colour in today’s bright world, but I’m glad the design team over at Crafty Dan had the cannonballs to do it. Good job dudes, good job.

Now, the drink itself takes my mind off to the 1976 critically acclaimed novel by R. Hargreaves, Mr. Muddle, and specifically to the main character of this fantastic read… Mr. Muddle. To put it simply, Muddle is all over the shop, and I believe this beer is too.

Let’s break this down into the order of events..

Open, pour, smell.

Again, brilliant!! It smells fantastic. Kind of fruity, kind of Caribbean? I don’t know, but the nose is great.

Sip, Initial taste.

Poor. Not for me at all…

Actual taste.

Once that initial taste has worn off the flavour then builds to a lovely hoppy explosion with more Caribbean yet caramelly hints. A real treat.

After taste.   

Rubbish. It left me feeling like I hadn’t enjoyed it when in fact, I had!

I honestly don’t know what to make of this beer. I’ve given her the benefit of the doubt in the scoring but it’s left me confused and obviously, in a muddle.

 

TASTE: 35/50

NOSE: 8/10

SIPABILITY: 6/10

SESSION: 4/10

PACKAGING: 10/10

NAME: 3/5

INFO: 4/5

J-TOTAL: 70/100

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 70%

GOOSE IPA

GOOSE

 

BREWER: Goose Island, Illinois

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 5.9%

VESSEL: 330ml bottle 

MOB RATING:  84.5%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Goose

noun 

.a large/medium waterbird with a long neck, short legs (occasionally long), webbed feet, and a short broad bill. Generally geese are larger than ducks and have longer necks and shorter bills.

 

2. informal

 a foolish person. “‘Silly goose,’ he murmured fondly”

“WHO’S THE GOOSE”?  Eddie shouted brashly.

 

verb;  informal

1. poke (someone/something) in the bottom.

 

ale; definitely informal

1. A fantastic IPA. True story.

 

Well, for me the words beer and American together used to evoke a mild grin if not an hysterical laugh. The main protagonists that produced these facial movements still loom large, of course they do, and they probably always will, BUT we have a player in town that seems to know exactly what they’re doing.

This is one clever drink.

Is it an old trad IPA? No. Not even close.

Is it an NKOTB hipster super duper IPA? No. Not even close.

Is it absolutely marvellous? Yes. Yes it is.

Goose Island have nailed this!

I personally don’t even like the look of the bottle , but, it just works.

It’s modern without being hipster, it’s old ale without being a glass with a handle. It’s very clever and it get’s the thumbs up from Jymi.

 

 TASTE: 43/50

NOSE : 9/10

SIPABILITY: 8/10

SESSION: 7/10

PACKAGING: 7/10

NAME: 4/5

INFO: 3/5

J-TOTAL: 81/100

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Goose IPA is an American interpretation of one of the British favourite beers: India Pale Ale. Crossing over between craft and big brewery, Goose has a lot to live up to – and boy does it live up to it. This is a uniquely identifiable beer that is worthy of carrying the IPA label, albeit with Goose Island’s own spin on it.

It’s probably fair to say that Goose IPA is aimed at satisfying both lager and bitter drinkers, and it does this with ease. The bitter notes of the taste are a surprise when they’re paired with the sweet aromas. The flavours have length and leave the drinker fully aware that they are drinking a high quality product. So that looks after the bitter drinkers. Lager drinkers are taken care of by the fizz of this beer and its ability to be drank all night long, without apparently breaking any rhythm. Goose IPA truly is a beer for all occasions and for all drinkers.

It is rare that you have such a successful cross-over beer in so many aspects. Goose Island have achieved something very special with their IPA. This beer runs through the beer checklist leaving a wake of ticks in its trail. Go on – you know you want one…

 

TASTE: 45/50

NOSE: 9/10

SIPABILITY: 10/10

SESSION: 9/10

PACKAGING: 8/10

NAME: 5/5

INFO: 2/5

S-TOTAL: 88/100

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING:  84.5% 

WOLF ROCK

WOLF ROCK

 

BREWER: Sharp’s, Cornwall

STYLE: Red IPA

ABV: 4.8%

VESSEL: 500ml bottle

MOB RATING: 71%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Sharp’s, a big brewer by anyone’s standards, has turned out some world-renowned beers. So is Wolf Rock one of these? In my humble opinion, sadly, it is not.

While Wolf Rock is not the worst beer by any stretch of the imagination, it lacks in all areas and the sum of these parts leads to an overall underwhelming whole. The poor nose from this ale is the first sign that something is amiss, and while the taste is not on the disastrous level of the aroma, it is still lack lustre and the shallow flavours leave you wanting more. It does slip down nicely enough, but having a string of Wolf Rocks is a battle that I wouldn’t want to enter into.

Although Wolf Rock will never be a trail-blazing beer for Sharp’s, or for anyone else for that matter, it does have its place and it will have its following. Unfortunately, I will never be one of them. However, I can see a place for this beer for a one-off on a cold winter’s day and I do, strangely, understand Sharp’s thinking with this one.

 

TASTE: 33/50

NOSE: 4/10

SIPABILITY: 7/10

SESSION: 5/10

PACKAGING: 6/10

NAME: 4/5

INFO: 5/5

S-TOTAL: 64/100

 

JYMI SAY’S…

So it’s off to Cornwall we go and to the now world famous Sharp’s brewery, but rather than starting with their flagship brew we thought we would go with the still readily available, but slightly lesser known, Wolf Rock.

I’d first like to state that historically I am generally a huge fan of a Red IPA so was very much looking forward to testing this slick looking little puppy.

I’m going to start with the beer itself…

It’s tasty. I like it, I do. Blown away by it, probably not, but I do like it. The nose is curious, almost like toffee based soap! Is that a bad thing? I’m not totally sure!! It’s really smooth but also really rich so I’m not sure too many could go down before moving on. All that said, it definitely gave me the sense of being a Cornish Atlantic coast fisherman (not that I would have the first clue what that would be like as I’m pretty fearful of the ocean as well as boats and to be totally honest fish scare me a fair bit too), coming off the trawler after a hard few weeks out to sea and getting to the nearest pub for a good ol’ ding dong with my fellow workers and friends.

Packaging wise, I think it looks great. The colours work brilliantly together and somehow give the bottle an understated wow factor. The Grey backdrop with the Red and Silver hints I think are great. Really Sharp (sorry, that wasn’t even intentional).

Now here comes my problem. The taste and packaging of this ale don’t belong together for me.

The bottle doesn’t make me feel like a rugged brave fisherman and the beer, though good, doesn’t possess a wow factor nor is it sharp.

But all in all, looks good and tastes good, and that cannot be a bad thing.  

 

TASTE: 39/50

NOSE: 7/10

SIPABILITY: 9/10

SESSION: 6/10

PACKAGING: 8/10

NAME: 4/5

INFO: 5/5

J-TOTAL: 78/100

 

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 71%