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Secret Santa Reviews 2020!

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Dads_Ale

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Time for my second secret saison. This time it's a 5.5% bretted saison with late EKG hops. View attachment 38537
The swing top opened with a satisfyingly forcefull pop and I quickly started pouring to ensure none gushed out of the bottle producing a massive fluffy head which stuck around for a good 10 mins until settling as a 5mm head for the entire drink. Lacing all the way down too. Fruity funky aroma with a hint of lemon. Great carbonation giving a lovely light and refreshing dry mouthfeel. The taste is classic saison funk, spicy, earthy with a pleasant lingering bitterness that makes you come back for more.

An excellent beer, I had a great time drinking it. Thank you Santa!
That pie looks amazing (drool 🥧)
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Jealously reading about people opening their second; next year I shall be ‘in the know’ and booking myself in for two or three shares...

my apologies for not knowing this, but are there other swap/share events during the year? I’d love to take part
 

pilgrimhudd

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Jealously reading about people opening their second; next year I shall be ‘in the know’ and booking myself in for two or three shares...

my apologies for not knowing this, but are there other swap/share events during the year? I’d love to take part
There are monthly 'competitions' in which we send beer in to someone chosen to judge that particular month. There are different styles, ie lager, dark beers, ipa 's etc for different months.

People are generally happy to swap their beer, I regularly swap with matt76 and samale, it's nice to get other peoples perspective. 👍
 

Oneflewover

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Jealously reading about people opening their second; next year I shall be ‘in the know’ and booking myself in for two or three shares...

my apologies for not knowing this, but are there other swap/share events during the year? I’d love to take part
I've done a few swaps, although not as many as I'd have liked this year (I owe a couple of beers to others 😳). Generally if I brew something that I think is worth sharing (which, again, isn't as often as I'd like!) I'll ask in brewday thread or similar if anyone is interested in a swap. Also if someone has brewed something that particularly appeals I might ask for a swap. Most people seem pretty receptive to a swap 👍
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Just written that and then realised that I'm sure you've sent beers in to the competitions haven't you? So ignore me.
Nope! Never shared any of my beer before, so I’m just glad not to have poisoned anyone... I’m really not at all sure that I’m good enough for competitions though... that’s not false modesty - just never even considered it... I’m still on only my 5th AG brew here...
 

Oneflewover

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Nope! Never shared any of my beer before, so I’m just glad not to have poisoned anyone... I’m really not at all sure that I’m good enough for competitions though... that’s not false modesty - just never even considered it... I’m still on only my 5th AG brew here...
Good way of getting some feedback and getting inspiration from others
 

Hopsteep

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My second was a very tasty "Groundswell English Porter"

Nicely packaged in a can with label, poured with thin head that persisted and low/moderate carbonation that's well suited to the style.

Subtle roast aroma, and rich malty flavour, roasty with dried/ripe fruit and burnt toffee notes. Well balanced with moderate bitterness.

I really enjoyed this, and compared after with a similar abv Porter from our local brewery, I definitely preferred the homebrew, great job! :hat:

Thanks Santa and merry Christmas!

View attachment 38313
This is my second of two Secret Santa reviews and I'm a bit intimidated by this one:
- I'm quite new to all of this brewing lark
- I don't really have the tasting vocabulary as many here do
- It's in a can!

Groundswell English Porter 5.6%

View attachment 38465

Appearance

A good tan coloured head on the pour Dissipated to a thin layer, but good lacing througout. Dark brown in colour, very clear.

Aroma
Very little to discern. A plain beery smell. I didn't get any hoppines.

Taste
Smooth, with a little bitterness maybe from the dark malt rather than the hops. Easy drinking.

Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!
Thank you both for the nice reviews!

I was going to send my chocolate stout which was bottled but it attenuated a bit too much and wasn't as nice as my brew last year so I opted to send these instead as they have been in the can a good month or so and were more conditioned.
 

pilgrimhudd

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Nope! Never shared any of my beer before, so I’m just glad not to have poisoned anyone... I’m really not at all sure that I’m good enough for competitions though... that’s not false modesty - just never even considered it... I’m still on only my 5th AG brew here...

I only send mine on to competitions for the feedback, although once I brewed a lovely black ipa which I thought had a chance, but alas, no. If yours is drinkable it's good enough to send in.
 

Mrhandsome

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Nope! Never shared any of my beer before, so I’m just glad not to have poisoned anyone... I’m really not at all sure that I’m good enough for competitions though... that’s not false modesty - just never even considered it... I’m still on only my 5th AG brew here...
I sent in my 4th ever brew last year. Didn't win, but I got good feedback and I've learnt from it. Pop your cherry this year, it's all a bit of fun after all.
 

alefric LeHendz

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Finally had a chance to hey to my second beer, this lovely Belgian old ale. This is a lovely beer, with no alcohol burn and lovely dark fruit aroma and flavour. Not alot of carbonation, but this beer doesn't really need it, wouldn't change it at all really. Much thanks Santa!
 

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alefric LeHendz

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Finally had a chance to hey to my second beer, this lovely Belgian old ale. This is a lovely beer, with no alcohol burn and lovely dark fruit aroma and flavour. Not alot of carbonation, but this beer doesn't really need it, wouldn't change it at all really. Much thanks Santa!
 

-Bezza-

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Nope! Never shared any of my beer before, so I’m just glad not to have poisoned anyone... I’m really not at all sure that I’m good enough for competitions though... that’s not false modesty - just never even considered it... I’m still on only my 5th AG brew here...
I sent my 4th AG into a competition on here, just to get a sense of how it compared to the brewers I saw as far more competent than me and I won, so that was utterly useless to me. 😋

Honestly, if your beer isn't up to scratch, someone will be able to tell you why and from there you can get help on how to deal with it.

This beer swap has been epic though. It has been great fun tasting someone else's beer and reading all the reviews.
 

strange-steve

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received_309905696998822.jpeg

Appearance: brown, a bit hazy, thin white head which gave way quite quickly but never completely dissipated.
Smell: oh my god it smells like raisins.. alcoholic raisins.. the more I smell the more the aroma opens up to cognac and smokey dates
Flavour: it's cognac and raisins, very deep and cognac. Man this is quite intense, heavy but not unenjoyable.

Would I be happy if I paid pub prices for it?

I think this would cost about £5+ for 1/3rd in somewhere like brewdog so not really something I would buy but also glad I did try it.
Finally had a chance to hey to my second beer, this lovely Belgian old ale. This is a lovely beer, with no alcohol burn and lovely dark fruit aroma and flavour. Not alot of carbonation, but this beer doesn't really need it, wouldn't change it at all really. Much thanks Santa!
This one was mine, thanks both for your reviews :hat:
 

chrisb8

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Thank you very much for your feedback. It originally was supposed to be a much more sessionable 6.4% but my attenuation went through the roof. Here is the recipe

View attachment 38536
I fermented it with cml dry kveik yeast at 27°c
Thanks @Cowman it really was an impressive beer, I haven't brewed anything like that for nearly a year so this has inspired me to get another brew on.
 

Hopsteep

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8E15E82A-E881-4787-84DB-4DB76FA80B9F.jpeg

My second secret Santa review- this one a Chocolate & Coffee Oatmeal Stout

Opened with a slight hiss and when poured it looked thick like treacle. A very delicate head appeared and then quickly disappeared. Roasted malt on the nose, very inviting.

Flavour wise this was really enjoyable- dark roasted malt and powerful roasted coffee dominate, with a little hop character coming through. This was really well brewed and I wish I had another one.

Feedback- I think the roasted malt and or coffee really dominates (could be my taste buds but I couldn’t detect any chocolate). I think if there was a touch of lactose, or perhaps mash higher, it would balance the bitter roasted coffee a bit more and maybe let the chocolate come through more.

Lovely beer thank you for sending!
 

phildo79

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View attachment 38565
My second secret Santa review- this one a Chocolate & Coffee Oatmeal Stout

Opened with a slight hiss and when poured it looked thick like treacle. A very delicate head appeared and then quickly disappeared. Roasted malt on the nose, very inviting.

Flavour wise this was really enjoyable- dark roasted malt and powerful roasted coffee dominate, with a little hop character coming through. This was really well brewed and I wish I had another one.

Feedback- I think the roasted malt and or coffee really dominates (could be my taste buds but I couldn’t detect any chocolate). I think if there was a touch of lactose, or perhaps mash higher, it would balance the bitter roasted coffee a bit more and maybe let the chocolate come through more.

Lovely beer thank you for sending!
That was mine. Thanks for the kind words and glad you enjoyed it. It's a clone of Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout. There was quite a large coffee addition before kegging, as per the recipe, but no extra choc addition. The only choc was in the grain bill. It probably should have an extra dose of choc as the coffee really overpowers. Founders Breakfast Stout is much better for that choc + coffee combo, IMO.
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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Secret Santa number 2 sent me this 6% Chocy Stout.

82CD95AF-5044-4AD9-8EC6-EE021D7C32EC.jpeg

Only a whisper of a psst on opening so I know this one will be softly carbed, I don’t mind that at all. The head, formed from pouring with a little height, was short-lived to become a ring of bubbles clinging to the glass. The colour is a deep red-tinged brown and is perfectly clear when held to the light.

The aroma is chocolate and coffee with a little coconut maybe.

The flavour is like the aroma with bitter chocolate, coffee and something I’m struggling to identify but if the aroma is coconut then this could be the coconut milk with just a touch of acidity. There’s also a fruity raisin/plummy note. Not overly bitter but enough to balance the residual sweetness and pluminess to finish.

Thank you Secret Santa number 2. 😉
 

RichardM

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Secret Santa number 2 sent me this 6% Chocy Stout.

View attachment 38567

Only a whisper of a psst on opening so I know this one will be softly carbed, I don’t mind that at all. The head, formed from pouring with a little height, was short-lived to become a ring of bubbles clinging to the glass. The colour is a deep red-tinged brown and is perfectly clear when held to the light.

The aroma is chocolate and coffee with a little coconut maybe.

The flavour is like the aroma with bitter chocolate, coffee and something I’m struggling to identify but if the aroma is coconut then this could be the coconut milk with just a touch of acidity. There’s also a fruity raisin/plummy note. Not overly bitter but enough to balance the residual sweetness and pluminess to finish.

Thank you Secret Santa number 2. 😉
Thank you for the review. That was my version of @Hopsteep 's Chocolate Stout from the Forum Christmas Brew thread. There wasn't any coconut in it, it was brewed pretty much to the recipe in the post. I have to say that although I liked the flavour and aroma I was disappointed with the lack of head and though it could have done with a touch more carbonation. I also thought it was lacking in body, despite having 7% flaked oats and being mashed at 69c.
I've got plenty of cacao nibs left so might have another go. If any one else who brewed it has any tips for increasing head retention and body then let me know !
 

phildo79

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Add some carapils to the grain bill. How are you carbing? Priming sugar in bottles or co2 in a keg? If it's the latter, it's easy to bump the carb level up a bit. As for the body of the beer, I would have thought the lactose and oats would have done the trick.
 
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