Saturday, 1 June 2013

#151: Back in the Swing of Things

It's been a while since I've posted, but then it's been a while since I've had anything new. I've more or less survived on Howling Gale Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and even a couple of pints of Hophead for the past couple of weeks, so I honestly found very little to write about. 

One of the curiosities I had in storage was a bottle of Tusker lager I picked up in Bradley's on the merit of it's label alone. Even here there was so little to write about, finding the beer to be the usual sweet, watery lager with an unpleasant and overpowering tin foil finish to it. Best to avoid this, unless the novelty of an African beer is just too appealing for you to pass up.

Much, much more interesting is a present I gift from my much better half in the form of Harviestoun's Ola Dubh 12. Readers without Scots Gaelic (or in my case, rudimentary Irish) are advised that Ola Dubh is pronounced Ulla Duv, as opposed to Oh-la Dubb. The beer itself is more straightforward, but plenty complex. The aroma gives off loads of toffee, chocolate, smoke, marzipan, vanilla and even some bacon, bringing the unusual Schlenkerla smoked Märzen to mind. The taste is even better, with a delicious malted honeycomb* sweetness to the fore, and more notes of smoke and liquorice following up. The finish has a touch of Tootsie Roll chocolate to it, and apart from a very slight touch of coffee in the mix, the whole experience is rather low on bitterness, favouring a warming, mellow sweetness.

Trust me though, you won't really miss it.

When you consider that the base beer for this is Old Engine Oil, saying that Harviestoun have made a good beer great would be an understatement. To me, this is the whiskey barrel-aged stout to beat.

*description lifted from the back of Maltesers bag, because at times, that sweet biscuity core is exactly what this beer tastes like.

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