Flying Monkeys City and Colour Imperial Maple Wheat (after 62 weeks ageing in my cellar)

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Pours a cloudy/muddy dark brown. The nose has grown stronger and the maple more pungent. On the palate though it suffers from the same imbalance as the aged BNL Imperial Chocolate Stout—the maple and the alcohol have gone in different directions creating an unruliness on the palate. It swerves from unctuous syrupy sweetness to bitter, alcoholic bite. While definitely still drinkable it has not improved over it’s original tasting.

My original review:
Dark brown. Like walking into a pancake breakfast at the church hall, the smell of butter melting into maple syrup on hot flapjacks leaps out of the glass and follow onto the palate. The sensation is balance with a pleasant baker’s chocolate bitterness that comes through on the finish. One of the best maple-infused beers I’ve ever tasted. Highly recommended.

Flying Monkeys BNL Imperial Chocolate Stout after 83 weeks in my cellar

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Still pours oily black-brown with a fluffy, undulating chocolate milk coloured head. The nose leaps out of the glass. I could smell it while pouring an arms-length away. The nose seems more ‘separated’ than I remember. As though a year in the cellar has caused the chocolate and the alcohol to strike-out in their own directions. The result is almost astringent, although underlying notes of dark cherry and vanilla come through with deeper inhales. The phenomenon is repeated on the palate where the chocolate and the alcohol seem to fight for balance. One could definitely say that ageing has brought complexity to this brew; however, this might be a case where complications aren’t necessarily a good thing.

My original review:
Motor oil black; Black Forest cake nose; chocolate & cherry on the palate with only a hint of bitterness.

Radical Road Brewing Canny Man Scotch Barrel Aged Wee Heavy (after 87 weeks ageing in my cellar)

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Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber brown. Still plenty of smoke on the nose but there a burnt caramel sweetness reminiscent of sponge toffee. On the palate the smoke doesn’t seems as strong as I remembered. I would no longer call this the Lagavulin of craftbeer but still a well peated scotch. The finish is smooth, starting off smokey ending with a lingering sweetness balanced with some faint bitter notes. Definitely still enjoyable but probably best that I cracked this open now rather leaving it for another few months. Highly recommended.

My Original Review:
Tons of smoke on nose & palate (think Lagavulin as craftbeer) balanced by sweet molasses malt.

Non-Alcoholic Beer Round-Up

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Well, it took me a while, but I finally made it through all of the 12 non-alcoholic beer samples that were generously provided to me by Ted Fleming, founder of PremiumNearBeer.com

While it is heartening to see that the breadth of choice for beer drinkers looking to reduce their alcohol intake has greatly increased, sadly, many of the offerings available are still more near than beer when it comes to truly replicating the taste of a full alcohol brew.

Nevertheless, there were some standout bottles and one clear winner—which, as it turned out, was also the last sample I tried.

Krombacher Weizen Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage (Germany) WINNER
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Pours a cloudy deep yellow. Sweet cereals on the nose with a hint of banana. The inescapable near-beer sweetness on the palate actually works in this beer’s favour and compliments the plentiful banana notes. A great summer guzzler sipper.

Krombacher Pils Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage (Germany)
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In my books, Krombacher is the industry leader when it comes to low-alcohol beer. (Although I wouldn’t recommend their Radler unless you like the taste of sickly-sweet lemonade splashed with beer foam.) I’m not a huge fan of German Pils, but this near beer does a great impression of a real one. Lots of grains on the nose and palate with the sweetness well tempered.

Texas Select Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage (USA)
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Smooth and easy drinking. Not too sweet on the palate and highly reminiscent of Coors Light. Perfect for staying hydrated in the hot Texas sun while clearing brush on your ranch under the watchful eye of your Secret Service detail.

Super Bock Pilsner Alcohol Free (Portugal)
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Pours clear yellow. Hint of classic pilsner grain on the nose. Very light on the palate with a lasting finish.

All of these and more are available for purchase at PremiumNearBeer.com

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