Barley Mowat 

Russell Naughty and Spiced plus Hop Therapy

with 2 comments

I’ve had these tasting notes on the ole iPhone for a few weeks, but got distracted by other beers, events, and general rantings… then the Barley Wines lumbered onto the scene and, well, those things take a certain toll on your attention span, sobriety and really general health.

However, better late than never, so here’s the two latest bombers from Russell Brewing’s ever-expanding special release program which, as I understand it, now has a few dozen barrels to play around with.

Naughty & Spiced is a high gravity porter that’s been augmented with a dabble of vanilla and a handful of oak chips. As Christmas seasonals go, it’s a more mild take on the traditional “let’s get fucked” approach to ABV (only clocking in at 6.5%), and should make a decent beer to sip while wearing your once-a-year ugly Christmas sweater (and yes, P49’s Ugly Sweater could be considered a better fit, but that’s a bit too on the nose, don’t you think?).

Hop Therapy is a double IPA that I’m still tasting two days after drinking it. This is a massive, in your face, American-style hop bomb that uses basically every Yankee hop varietal known to man, and at every step of the brewing process. Massive hops aroma begets massive hop flavour begets massive hop finish. Did I mention there’s some hops in this?

Tasting notes:

Naughty & Spiced: A full, round, roasted malt-heavy body supports the spices, which in turn support the limited booze quite well. Despite the (relatively) low 6.5% ABV, a pleasant boozey warmth is evident after a few ounces. Any time you add vanilla to a beer there’s a danger of cloying sugar overload (aka the “GIB Lions Effect”) but this doesn’t happen here. The sweetness of the vanilla is effectively cut by the astringency of the oak chips.

Hop Therapy: Pours cloudy (bottle conditioned?) with a nice mouthfeel and… I’m sorry. That’s as far as I got before the impending tsunami of hops broke on my face. My tasting notes from the day in question just read “HOOOOOPPPPPPSSSSSSS!!! Hops… hops… <broken sobs>

If you’re a colossal hop head you’ll love this beer. If you’re not, you might want to stay away from any hop heads you know for a while because they’re going to be gleefully exuding hop resin from their pours while sporting a stupid, blissed out grin.

In summary: While both these beers are good, N&S just isn’t that special. HT is a balls-out take on an aggressive beer style and, while not perfect or even superb, I have to admit: I kinda want to go back for more.

Coles notes:

Brewery Russell
From Surrey
Name Naughty & Spiced Hop Therapy
Style Spiced Porter American Imperial IPA
SOA Now None Bronze
SOA Potential n/a; table beer
Drink Now
Single handed affect on the going rate for hops futures n/a +25%
Availability Most LRSs Limited LRS, going fast
Cost $6.50-$8.00 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers (you can buy) Hoyne Gratitude, Howe Sound Father John’s Uh… none.
Chuck says Buy one and share. Buy several and don’t.

My tongue is tingly!.

Written by chuck

December 24th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Beers

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