Sour – English: The Kernel London Sour

This week’s beer is from The Kernel Brewery in London, one of London’s up and coming breweries. I’ve been meaning to review a beer from The Kernel in a long time, as whenever I turn up with a bottle people always comment on how good the branding is. The Beer’s good too, so I thought I’d turn my attention onto whats in the bottle.

The Commercial Description is as follows:

The Kernel Brewery, London. London Sour. Keg and Bottle.

I don’t think there’s anything really to write about that, I like it though. It sort of says “Hi, We’re the Kernel, we’re from London and this Beers gonna be Sour” and that’s it. The rest is up to you. Maybe one day they’ll add a short description, maybe they won’t. It doesn’t really matter and people love Kernel beers it seems!

So, after that brief Analysis let’s get on to the recipe for this one! It’s been hard to figure out what’s in this one but I’ve given it a good go! I think the Malt base is a Sour mash of Wheat and Pilsner malt which is left the Sour for that Lactobaccillus and other Wild Yeasts and Bacteria to do it’s magic. After this, it’s added to a bill of Wheat, Pilsner and a touch of CaraHell malts. As for the Hops, judging by the flavour of this one I think Citra and Sorachi Ace have been used. It is fermented with a Clean Yeast after, although it is already infected with Lactobaccillus, a yeast notorious for stripping nearly all the Sugars out of Wort and creating a very Sour, Tart tasting brew.

When you pour this beer, it’s Yellow like a cheap Lager with a very fizzy white head which dissipates very quickly leaving no trace of a head being there. Bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass at a fast rate, almost causing a Champagne effect. On the nose there’s a hit of Wheat and Sour Notes followed by Lemon, Gooseberry and a touch of Passion Fruit too. It’s not as tart on the Palate as expected for a Sour, but there’s definitely some tart Gooseberry and Passionfruit with some nice Lemony Citrus and Wheat notes. There’s also a Bready yeast tone to this one, almost like Bakers Yeast. I feel as though it carries the Tart Fruit flavours well throughout the brew. It’s well carbonated with and Medium-Dry on the finish.

Unfortunately, London Sour seems to be Out of Stock online at the moment. Probably because of the Sun we’ve been having. You can pick it up at Sourced Market in St. Pancras station, or if you’re willing to wait you can grab it online at the following:

Eebria

BeerMerchants

BeerHawk

EST. CALORIES: 114   ABV: 3.8%

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IPA – American: Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA

This week’s beer is one of Sierra Nevada’s latest offerings – Hop Hunter IPA. I was lucky enough to try this beer whilst in California, and knew I had to feature it on here. Hop Hunter is apprently coming to the UK soon, and I’m personally looking forward to it a lot.

Let’s start with Sierra Nevada’s Description of the brew:

Hop Hunter IPA harnesses the complex flavors of just-picked hops through an all-new method of steam distilling wet hops before they even leave the fields. This revolutionary technique captures and intensifies the natural flavors, creating a unique and intensely aromatic beer. Our custom process gathers pure hop oil which, when combined with traditional whole-cone hops in the brew kettle, makes for an incredible IPA experience.

I like how this description focuses on the process, as far as I know another brewery haven’t attempted this feat yet. The hops are grown in Sierra Nevada’s farms, which is a nice touch. I think the description really understates the process utilised to get the Oil out of the Hops and distilled. The brewery use a piece of machinery previously used to extract oil from Mint leaves, the Hops are put into huge trailers and the machine steams them, collecting the vapour, cools it and distills it. The process captures the pure Hop Oil. Five Thousand Pounds of Hops go into just 100 litres of Hop oil. Impressive!

So, with that lets get onto which Hops are used. In the kettle we have Bravo, Cascade, Crystal and Simcoe. The Hops used to make the Hop Oil are Cascade, Centennial and CTZ. The Malts and Fermentables in this brew are interesting, I haven’t seen Flaked Oats used in an IPA in a while but they are in this one as well as 2-Row and Caramel Malts. This is then fermented with Sierra Nevada’s house Ale yeast.

When you pour this beer, the first thing you notice is the Golden colour of the brew and the excellent Clarity it has in the glass. A nice Medium White head forms and sticks around for most of the time you drink this one. The lacing drips down the sides of the glass whilst you drink and does not stick. The nose of this beer is incredible, Floral notes combined with big juicy Citrus and Tropical notes with Pine lingering in the background. On the Palate, you get an initial hit of bitter Pine coupled with nice Bready malts, there’s also some big Citrus notes in there. The Malt backbone carries this IPA well throughout, but the Hop notes are definitely not understated. Seeing as there is Flaked Oats in this one, the mouthfeel is quite light for an IPA. It finishes Crisp, Bitter and Dry.

I can’t wait until this one is available in the UK. Until then, ask your American friends to send as many to you as possible!

EST. CALORIES: 186   ABV: 6.2%

Fruit IPA – American: Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

This week’s beer is the legendary Grapefruit Sculpin, and although you can’t buy it in the UK it’s something I had to include on this blog. I’ve always wanted to try this beer and luckily got my fair share in California. Ballast Point is located in San Diego, they brew the legendary Sculpin IPA and decided one day they’d add Grapefruit to it to complement the already Citrusy flavours of the brew.

Let’s start with Ballast Point‘s description:

Our award-winning IPA, with a citrus twist.
Our Grapefruit Sculpin is the latest take on our signature IPA. Some may say there are few ways to improve Sculpin’s unique flavor, but the tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements our IPA’s citrusy hop character. Grapefruit’s a winter fruit, but this easy-drinking ale tastes like summer.

A brief description, but I guess if you’ve heard of Sculpin IPA it needs no introduction and Ballast Point have confidently capitalised on that fact. However, I didn’t know that Grapefruit was a Winter fruit. I guess you learn something new every day! No indication on flavour, which is nice but “Grapefruit” is a big hint anyway!

It was hard to determine and research the recipe for this one, but eventually I managed it. The hops in this brew are Amarillo, Warrior, Magnum, US Hallertau, Columbus, Crystal, Centennial and Simcoe. Quite an impressive Hop bill! It’s Dry-Hopped with Amarillo. The malts are 2-Row, Caramel, Carapils, Cara and Acidulated Malt. The Grapefruit Zest is added during the boil and then during Secondary fermentation to really get those Grapefruit flavours in there!

When you pour this beer, it’s Golden with a Medium White head, it eventually dissipates leaving very sticky dotty lacing and a thin White Head that lasts throughout. On the nose, there’s tonnes of Grapefruit, Orange Rind, Citrus and a little bit of Pine in the background. The Grapefruit really has taken hold of the Aroma on this one! When you taste this one, you’re immediately hit again by lots of Grapefruit notes, Citrus, Blood Orange and a touch of Pine. However, at the back of your Palate that impressive Malt Bill provides a nice Sweet, Caramel like backbone which is very welcoming. This is quite a complex IPA, but also so brash with the Hops and Grapefruit at the same time. It’s like an onslaught on your Palate. For an IPA the body is quite light with medium Carbonation. It finishes Medium-Dry. I can see why Ballast Point brew this one – it’s absolutely perfect for San Diego weather and Summer!

Unfortunately, this is another one you can’t get in the UK but if you can get your hands on it I really recommend. I’ll be back next Friday with something a little more available in the UK!

UPDATE: Bier Deluxe sells Grapefruit Sculpin and ships to the UK! Although I’m not sure of the freshness, click here for the page.

EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%

IPA – American: Bells Two Hearted Ale

This Mid-Week beer is one I enjoyed very much in America. The infamous Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. A very popular beer amongst the online beer community and I had to see what all the fuss was about! Also the fact that this beer comes from a place called Kalamazzoo appeals to me in a strange way. Anyway, back to beer!

Let’s start with Bell’s description of this brew:

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell’s house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale.

I like this description, very confident, lets you know a little about the recipe and it’s to the point. It also gives you a hint on flavour but doesn’t tell you how it should taste which is always good. I like how they’ve stuck to one Hop for this one, a bold statement for one of your flagship beers and something I respect. With so many good breweries in Michigan though, Bells were set to get noticed for brewing some great beers!

As you know already, this beer is hopped exclusively with Centennial. Luckily, I dove a little deeper and found out the method of hopping, and the malts! During the boil, after 1 minute with Leaf Hops, after 5 Pellet Hops, 20 Pellet Hops and 60 Pellet Hops. After this it’s Dry-Hopped for 7 Days with Leaf Hops. The Malts in this beer are 2-Row, Vienna, Caramel and Carapils. After this it’s Fermented with a fruity yeast, but I wouldn’t say use a Belgian Style one.

Now, on to the drinking! When you pour this beer, it pours Golden with a nice Medium White head with great retention. I also noticed the Lacing in this brew is crazy, big foam sticking to the sides of the glass. On the nose, lots of Grapefruit and Pine Needles with a Bready Malt smell in the background. What’s nice is often the Malt aromas don’t come though but in this beer they do. On the Palate, first you get a big rich Malt kick with Caramel, Bread and Biscuit. Following on from this, the hops come into play with an aggressive Pine and Grapefruit bite. It’s so well balanced, and even whilst it warms the Hops don’t come and really kick you in the face due to them having a solid Malt backbone. The beer is Medium bodied and finishes slightly dry. This one definitely lives up to expectation.

Unfortunately Two Hearted Ale is not distributed in the UK, but if you know someone in America or you’re visiting I really recommend this one!

EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%

Porter – Anspach and Hobday Table Porter

This week I’m reviewing a great mash up of a Table Beer (like a Table wine – Low ABV) and a London Porter from Anspach and Hobday – a relatively new brewery in Bermondsey. I tried their beers at the Winter Brew Fest and thought they were amazing. It’s nice to see them better distributed in London now!

Let’s start with Anspach and Hobday‘s description of the brew:

Best described as like an Iced Coffee (no coffee beans used), this interesting beer is a nod to the Table Beers of old London when water was more dangerous than beer. A David of the beer world, The Table Porter (2.8%) packs lots of flavour for its ABV and it also pours over vanilla ice-cream to create a great flow.

I like the description of this one, it gives you a hint of what it’s going to be like and gives you a little history behind it. I’ve never tried it over Vanilla Ice-Cream, but that might be something I’ll have to try another time. A porter with Ben and Jerry’s?! Tempting seeing as this brew is only 84 Calories… so hey! It doesn’t matter about the Ben and Jerry’s, right?!

The key to the Low-ABV in this one is to reduce the amount of 2-Row and Pale Malt but keep the specialty Malts at the same level as a normal brew. I think the specialty Malts in this one are Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Black Patent and Caramel 120. As for the hops, I got a little Citrusy tone from this one when I opened the bottle, so I’d say a subtle addition of Amarillo or Cascade could do the trick nicely!

The beer says pour carefully on the side, and I swear I did! It pours Black with an impressive Tan coloured head! It takes a good while to go down, I’ve had this experience with Table Beer before and I think it’s because of the lower ABV not annihilating as many proteins and therefore getting an impressive head. On the nose some faint Citrus, Cocoa Chocolate and Coffee. Smells like a decent, heavy Porter! I think the taste of this one is the most impressive, bundles of Roasted Malts, Coffee, Caramel with that slightly fruity Citrus kick at the end blending into some Dark Fruits. It tastes exactly like a 7.4% Porter, but you can drink it all night! The body isn’t really affected too badly for a porter, either with Medium carbonation. It finishes slightly dry. I really recommend this brew, all year round! It’s a great change from a session IPA and it’s a very tasty brew indeed.

You can Buy The Table Porter Online in the UK at:

Craved

Beer Merchants

Eebria

EST. CALORIES: 84   ABV: 2.8%

IPA – English: Hawkeshead IPA

This weeks Beer is brewed in Cumbria, more notably the Lake District. Hawkshead are an independent brewery in the Lake District and today I’m writing about their great IPA. I first discovered this beer on a trip to Keswick, which is a fantastic place that I recommend. The beer market is actually pretty booming in Cumbria, with a lot of traditional and craft breweries making amazing beer.

Let’s start with Hawkshead‘s description of the brew:

A modern IPA, amber in colour, with huge, complex hop flavours from a blend of American and New Zealand hops, including Cascade, Columbus and Motueka, and balanced by sweet malt. India Pale Ale is a classic British beer style, traditionally brewed strong and well-hopped to survive the voyage to India. This IPA takes well-hopped to a new level by using some of the finest, most flavoursome New World hops now available.

This description gives a lot away about the Hops, which I really like as it appeals to the Beer Geek in me but if someone was picking this up as their first beer they wouldn’t know what to expect. What an interesting Hop concoction though! It made me really look forward to this beer when I read it. After this, the usual India Pale Ale story that we all know. The IPA’s that passed through the sea to India were much different though, but that’s a conversation for another time!

As the Hops have been revealed in the description, let’s start with the Malt! I think the Malts in this beer are Crisp Maris Otter, Caramel Malt, 2-Row Carapils and a touch of Biscuit Malt. A very English IPA base, but the Hop bill makes you think differently – Cascade, Columbus and Motueka, what a fruity mix!

This beer pours an Orange/Amber colour with a thin white head which sticks around for most of the time drinking, it leaves some nice dotty, sticky lacing on the glass which is very welcome. On the nose, wow! Those Hops really come out, lashings of Citrus, Tropical Fruit and Orange Peel, it’s like a New Zealand summer in a glass. The palate brings out a nice, sweet Malt backbone with a touch of biscuity, bready flavours that carry through the entire time. On top of this you get the choice of Hops working their magic, lots of Tropical Fruit and Citrus to start, a touch of Pine and then on the finish you get a delicious Summer Fruit flavour lingering in the back of your tongue. The beer is well-bodied and has medium carbonation. It finishes Medium-Sweet. I really recommend this beer as the weather gets better, although I had my first one in a Rainy, November Lake District I can tell that this is going to be one of those quintessential Summer garden brews – even at 7% which is quite undetectable whilst drinking.

You can buy Hawkshead IPA in the UK at:

Hawkshead Shop (Out of Stock, 6 Bottles Minimum)

Amazon (In Stock at time of writing!)

Hippo Beers (In Stock at time of writing!)

EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%