Category Archives: Strong

Chiltern Brewery Anniversary Ale

2013-04-14 16.33.13

This is another ale that I’m returning to, having previously reviewed it less than fully, though this is possibly the last time that I’ll be able to review Chiltern Brewery’s Anniversary Ale.  It’s a limited edition beer, brewed in 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the first Chiltern Ale from the eponymous brewery, bought from a local supplier long since gone.

It claims to be a ‘champagne ale’, and the first impression is of a champagne shaped bottle that opens with a satisfying pop as a result of the plastic stopper beneath the conventional cap. The ale is obviously rather darker than champagne (a sparkling amber colour), and the aroma is floral with undertones of caramel.  The head lasts extremely well, and, whether because of the age of beer or deliberately, needs to be poured with care because of the sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the bottle. The first sip of this 6.1% ABV ale is also reminiscent of a champagne, a little biscuity with a very slightly dry and bitter flavour, but this is once again followed the sweeter notes of caramel and biscuit.

This is a very accomplished ale that absolutely stands up to the ‘champagne’ label, needs to be savoured without the distraction of food, and is an wonderfully appropriate way to celebrate a significant brewing heritage at Chiltern Brewery.

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Posted by on April 14, 2013 in Pale Ale, Strong


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Hog’s Back Santa’s Wobble

2013-01-06 17.02.11

Santa’s Wobble from Hog’s Back Brewery in Surrey is a strong Christmas (or ‘Xmas’, as it says on the the bottle) ale, at 7.5% ABV.  It’s a ruby brown rather than red, with a head that lasts well.  The bottle says that it uses “choicest” hops and is brewery conditioned “for all the taste without the sediment” which doesn’t shout quality, but after the first sip it’s not a bad ale.  There’s something quite organic about the smell (almost the smell of a stable!) but it’s not unpleasant, and has overtones of the kind of spices that I’d expect in a mild indian dish such as a korma.  The taste is full of malt, marmite and roast chestnuts.  This is a warming winter beer that gets better with every sip.

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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Seasonal, Strong, Winter/Christmas


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Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale

2012-12-26 19.26.16

It’s hard to believe that this Christmas Ale comes from the same Shepherd Neame brewery as Rudolf’s Reward.  This 7.0% ABV is everything that Rudolf’s Reward is not!.  This true Christmas Ale is a bright amber colour with a head that lasts reasonably well.  It smells of an intoxicating blend of preserved fruit, ginger and spice, The taste is of a complex of treacle, malt, and dried fruit (probably soaked in brandy!).   This is a wonderful brew and very highly recommended if you can find some still on the shelves of your local store!

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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Seasonal, Strong, Winter/Christmas


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Brentwood Chockwork Orange

2012-11-17 18.32.40

Chockwork Orange is the second of Brentwood Brewing Company’s products that I’ve tried. It’s a sturdy 6.5% ABV, the colour is as the name suggests a deep chocolatey brown, and the head disappears quite quickly. The smell is difficult to place, but it’s the kind of aroma that brings back memories of times past in a familiar and comforting way. The flavour has deep complex chocolate and coffee notes from the chocolate malt, with only a subtle fruitiness from the added oranges, and nothing like the swagger that comes with the previously review ‘A Bitter This’. It’s a little like drinking a malted fruit loaf. All in all this is a beer to be savoured, but one that will stand up to a range of rich a strong flavoured foods. Highly recommended.

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Posted by on November 17, 2012 in Flavoured, Orange, Strong


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Innis & Gunn Original

2012-09-29 18.54.13

Innis & Gunn’s Original (6.6% ABV) claims to be oak aged like no other beer. This beautiful amber-coloured beer is very well-finished indeed, and unusually, the bottle’s description of toffee, vanilla and oak tones proves not to be fanciful. To my mind there’s a creaminess about the flavour that is reminscent of a smooth single malt, and the whole effect is not unlike a very well-fed Christmas pudding! Very good indeed – I’ll be having another bottle some time soon. It’s just a shame that there’s not enough in the bottle to fill the glass.

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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Strong


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Fuller’s Golden Pride

2012-09-15 19.07.59

Fuller’s Golden Pride is an exceptional fine, strong, golden ale, with an ABV of 8.5%. It’s light amber colour, with a good balance between the hops and the malt, and in many respects is reminsiscent of a decent single malt whisky – and not least, because it needs to be savoured. Finally it brings back memories, for me, of a lost afternoon spent touring the brewery in Chiswick in the company of workmates. Highly recommended.

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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Golden Ale, Strong


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Adnams Broadside

Adnams Broadside is a stong(ish) red-coloured ale with an ABV of 6.3%. It claims to commemorate the battle of Sole Bay, but I assume that if the sailors had had this to drink they would have stayed in the pub rather than go out to battle! It’s got a great complex malty flavour with undertones of marmite on toast (Love It!) and coffee. In fact it’s rather like a liquid breakfast. What’s not to like!

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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Strong


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Ringwood Brewery Old Thumper

This is one of the Father’s Day collection! It’s Old Thumper from the Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, and the bottle claims that it was Camra’s Beer of Britain in 1988. At 5.6% ABV it claims to be a ‘strong ale’, and whilst I’ve tried many stronger it still manages to deliver a very enjoyable warmth as it goes down! It has an almost floral bouquet which contrasts beautifully with the malty flavour. Definitely glad I’ve got another bottle tucked away.

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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Strong


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Marston’s Owd Rodger

Marston’s Owd Rodger is a strong (7.4%) and rewarding ale. It’s rich dark, malty and fruity – not a little like drinking an alcohic and liquid malted fruit loaf. Strongly recommended.

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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Strong


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Wychwood King Goblin

Tonight, I’m roasting a nice piece of gammon for dinner. And I make no apologies whatsoever for matching it up with this bottle of King Goblin. The rich and smooth first impression is followed by a treacley, almost molasses-like after-taste that is just right fotr the sweet-cured joint. I almost think that this ale competes with the best of the Belgian strong beers such as Trappist and Duvel.

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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Pale Ale, Strong


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