7 Cent 6 -Fifths

7cent6fifths

You gotta respect what 7 Cent do. Three mates who love to home brew and brew what they want, regardless of the consequence. Let me provide you an example of their reckless abandon approach: their first release was a 9% Belgian Strong Ale which they served through a hand pump… Now that’s an approach to brewing I can get behind! The story I love even more is how they came by their name. With no idea for names they decided to give up and blow off some steam. By burning a couch. What was left the next day was some spare change, and some old spare change at that: one and two cent pieces. And you guessed it, it equalled up to 7 cents. So now comes their barrel aged Barley Wine, and in typical 7 Cent style it is a beast and even the barrel has its own story: starting life as a bourbon barrel, it then moved to whiskey and then off to Norway where it was filled with Nogne O’s part of the Aurora Borealis then off to Beechworth for Bridge Roads end. From there the 7 Cent boys picked it up and racked in their barley wine, leaving it for a total of 18 months. It’s a brilliant story, but is it a brilliant beer? Let’s find out.

Style: Dessert Barley Wine

ABV: 14.6%

IBU: N/A

From: Low Buy Liquor, Lilydale

Pour:

Pours jet black with fine light brown/ tan head.

On The Nose:

Nose exhibits a brilliantly warming alcohol note with boozy raisins, sticky milk chocolate, burnt toffee and butterscotch, vanilla bean, roasted coffee and rich espresso with brilliant, warming whiskey and bourbon notes with oaky char aromatics. Sherry sweet and brilliant balance.

Palate:

Expect to find rich, sticky Oloroso sherry sweetness here with notes of liquorice, raisin, honeyed prunes and luscious sweet malts and biscuit with roast hazelnuts and almonds. Now for the finish, and this is where the barrel ageing really shines through: you’ll find drying dark cocoa tannin and smokey notes, warming whiskey, bourbon and lots of oak chip dryness with a slight vegemite saltiness. Sherry sweet, oak and honey with brilliant, warming balance.

Final Thoughts:

This is quite possibly the best dessert style brew I’ve ever had. Sure, sweetness is going to be expected here but with the barrel ageing there is some serious complexity driving the finish, rounding out aromatics and adding fantastic dryness. Those whiskey bourbon notes are an absolute knock out. Overall, the sweetness is brilliantly balanced with well integrated tannin dryness from the barrel ageing and a warmth spreading to you fingers and toes. Harmonious, warming and complex, it has literally got it all. Luckily for me I got myself another bottle, cannot wait to see how this looks with a bit a cellaring. With an impressive core range and some brilliant experimental stuff going on (they now have started a barrel ageing program), keeping an eye on these guys would be in your best interest.

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Wolf of the Willows ISA

wotwISA

The big question on my lips, and I’m sure many others, was how The Wolf of the Willows was going to follow up from their first rather excellent release, XPA. The answer: another acronym, ISA, translating to India Saison. Following up on this release was never going to be easy, the XPA was one of last years biggest releases coming in at number 100 in last years Craft Beer Hottest 100. That’s seriously impressive for a brand new brewery. Like their first release, this one was shrouded in mystery, even on brew day. It was basically an Instagram guessing game for all keeping track through out the day, which I’m sure there were many, going under the hashtag what’s the brew mr wolf? I thought it was a rather nice touch and a clever bit of marketing which I have now come to associate with everything Scott does, guy seriously knows what he’s doing. So let’s see how Wolf of the Willows India Saison turned out…

Style: India Saison

ABV: 5.2%

IBU: N/A

From: The guys themselves, Scotty and Renae. Thanks a tonne!

Pour:

Pours a slightly hazy lemon gold with fine white head.

On The Nose:

A massive, wet hop hit straight off the bat: tonnes of tropical fruits, lashings of citrus and juicy stone fruits. Think fresh lychee, mouth watering mango, sweet, tangy pineapple, peach blossom, fresh peeled nectarine, candied orange zest, lime and bitter grapefruit. A dry, crisp sweet spice finish: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with slight farmhouse funk in the background.

Palate:

The palate kicks off fresh and clean with plenty of tropical fruit bitters, citrus and sweet stone fruits. Candied orange flesh and zest, bitter ruby grapefruit, lime juice, fresh peach, tangy nectarine, juicy mango and light pineapple. Rye kicks in mid palate with slight earthy notes and sweet spices, mouthfeel is rounded out from the oat additions. Finishes off with classic dry cereal notes, drops off pretty quick though.

Final Thoughts:

This is the beer equivalent of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for Wolf of the Willows. A brilliant sequel to an stupendous beginning and part of one of the great ongoing sagas of our generation. Some brilliant work from Scotty yet again, this one has really stepped up to the XPA and exceeded. Let us hope the next brew brings the game just as much!

Exit #005 Amber Ale

exitamber

Seeing new stuff from Exit is always exciting and you are always assured some serious quality. Fraser and Grum have done a huge amount of ground work, resulting in one of Melbourne’s best and brightest when it comes to quality brewing. I think the thing I love most about them is that they have set out to cover all styles, they aren’t focusing on anything specific. Brilliant, solid, well balanced representations of styles is what you get here, all of them seriously tasty. Let’s see what number 5 has in store for us…

Style: Amber Ale

ABV: 5.6%

IBU: N/A

From: Low Buy Liquor, Lilydale

Pour:

Pours a deep burnt orange with off white, fluffy head.

On The Nose:

Packed full of dry hop goodness on the nose: lots of candied orange zest and burnt orange, floral citrus blossom, melon and tonnes of red fruits with malty biscuit notes in the background along with white pepper and clove.

Palate:

Not a huge amount of fruit sweetness on the palate but plenty of cracking malt, great bitters and a soft, light mouthfeel. Lots of malty, toffee sweetness up front with roasted nuts, toast and light espresso bitters followed by some light citrus notes: think orange blossom, subtle grapefruit and candied orange zest with notes of chewy red fruits. Finishes fairly clean with medium bitters in the end.

Palate:

This is a fantastic addition to the Exit line up. A brilliant balance of malt and hops, there is no struggle between them, it is very harmonious for an amber. Plenty of dry hopping makes the nose pop brilliantly then balances out with sweet toffee malts. Brilliant take on the style, usually Ambers don’t do it for me but this is a massive, massive exception. Great work boys.