I hate to admit it but I decided to purchase this beer at First Choice ahead of a number of other contenders based purely on the label. But in my defence, it’s quite appealing to the eye and I love the use of Australian native fauna.
It’s Otway Estate Winery & Brewery’s take on an Irish red ale and after all the Belgian-style, pale and India pale ales I’ve had of late, it makes for a welcome change.
A quick squiz at the Prickly Moses website to check out the tasting notes before my sampling:
… it’s a full bodied, malt-driven beer to be sure. A hint of Roasted Barley adds a subtle burnt flavour on the back palate. Great at any time of year.
Ha, “beer to be sure,” I see what they did there.
The pour offers a small head which dissipates quickly. The colour, a dark copper red and only the very slightest bit cloudy, is somewhat mesmerizing. The smell, even more so. It is pungent, and for me it’s a trip down memory lane to my days spent down on the dairy farm as a youngster with my father feeding-up after milking. Not to put anyone off, but the strong barley and malted grain aroma of the beer is incredibly similar to, if not exactly the same as, the cattle fodder dad would put out for the cows. Hmm, I guess it’s not too much of a stretch to see how cattle being fed beer started occurring.
Anyway, moving on. Taste-wise it’s exactly what I would’ve expected from the aroma; malt to the max! That roasted barley kicks in on the back palate as promised and drives the beer home for a dry, slightly bitter finish that’s light on the hops. While the flavours aren’t particularly complex they’re delivered in spades, undoubtedly aided by the moderate carbonation of the beer which is fairly typical of ales hailing from the British Isles.
It certainly stacks up to expectations and the descriptor on the website, and ticks most of the boxes. Even so, it’s probably not a beer I’d purchase regularly given the intensity of that maltiness and the barley ‘kick-back’ being the only other evident flavour. Then again, if you love beers with strong malt flavours this is definitely one for you. It’s not hugely sessionable but you could probably get through a six-pack in one session. I’d also hazard a guess that it’d be more tolerable than most beers if drinking it warm, which is a plus for those of us who actually experience a winter in Australia.
- Genre: Dark ale
- Regionality: Barongarook, VIC
- Strength: 5.0%
- Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
- Plus: An interesting brew and nothing else quite like it on the market
- Minus: Flavours are fairly one-dimensional