Drunken Speculation

#34 Moo Brew Dark Ale

moo brew dark aleWith the original Moo Brew brewery situated at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Berriedale, Tasmania, there’s plenty of potential for making ‘a day of it’ should you wish to visit the home of Moo Brew and partake in a brewery tour.

Moo Brew have five ‘regular’ brews: a Pilsner, a German-style Hef, a Belgian Pale Ale, an American Pale Ale, and an American Dark Ale. They also release a number of small batch brews throughout the year.

Their Dark Ale “is inspired by the American Brown Ale style… dark with a deep cherry-red tint. The palate has caramel and chocolate, and a lightly roasted finish.”

The website also gives some helpful hints as to food pairings:

“Serve with chocolate, caramel and coffee-based desserts, with Mexican Molé, grilled white meats or aged cheddar.”

Let’s give it a crack!

It’s a rich, dark, chocolate colour and emits a robust yet alluring stench of roasted barley. It has prominent notes of chocolate that hint at a possible bitterness in the taste but there are also some intriguing and mildly sweet caramel undertones to the aroma as well.

On the pour, it’s got a fairly average head that makes a decent effort at staying the distance. What I’m really captivated by though is its stout-like similarities: those minute, almost cascading bubbles that cloud the top of the beer momentarily. Though it doesn’t last as long as I’d like it too, there’s just enough residual head to keep it looking tasty and what does remain lathers beautifully on the glass.

The overwhelming sensation on the palate is that of the malted barley. It’s almost as though I’m chomping on the grains themselves, not because the beer’s in any way grain-y, but because the flavour is so damn intense.

There’s a slight sweetness on the front with subtle caramel notes which turns into a bitter chocolate-laced finish. It’s all quite subtle and understated though under those strong malt characters. As for the hops, they’re similarly mild but also exactly what I was expecting for the brew. The mouthfeel is sultry smooth, despite the bitterness that appears on the finish. It’s kind of counter-intuitive to the senses which only serves to add to the experience.

The flavours mesh well, complementing each other nicely. It’s a good drop but not mind-blowingly good. For me personally, the strong roasted characters on the finish are a bit overbearing though I can see how they might be highly regarded by others. It could perhaps use a bit more carbonation, but again, that’s probably more my personal preference coming in to play.

It’s a well-made beer with some very robust flavours and I commend those Tassie devils on their ability to get so much flavour intensity in their product.

The tasting notes are pretty spot on and even as I’m drinking I’m craving the food suggestions to go with my beer.

The website is also pretty decent and I can’t help but feel it’s marketed specifically to the craft beer snob, aka yours truly. Looks very classy indeed; there’s even a section explaining the art work on the bottles.


  • Website
  • Genre: Dark ale
  • Regionality: Berriedale, Tas
  • Strength: 5.0%
  • Rating: 2/3 taste + 2/2 ancillaries = 4/5
  • Plus: The tasting notes are impeccable and completely match my drinking experience. I also don’t feel like they’re trying to sell me with them which deserves an extra plus.
  • Minus: Perhaps a little too bitter and roasted, at least for me anyway
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