Madrigal Craft Brewery – Severed Hand North Devon Porter 4%
This is a dark brown ale with a coffee aroma. It is a dry porter ale, with a black coffee taste and a hint of smokiness and blackcurrent. This ale lacks the warming winter fruit taste of stronger porters, which makes it more drinkable as a session beer for the darker ale drinker.
This is produced as a live ale, so needs to be cooled and poured carefully to avoid the sediment.
Madrigal Craft Brewery is a new brewer based in the old coach house of Lynmouth Manor, Lynmouth North Devon. The brewery is a small batch artisan brewer producing a range of ales. Their beers are not fined, relying on natural deposition of the yeast fines.
This is a chestnut coloured ale with a strong malty aroma, with notes of the brewing aroma. It has a deep rich taste of malts and toffee, balanced with good hop notes and woody aftertaste. This is a good warming winter ale. 5*
Morland was originally brewed in Oxfordshire before being taken over by Green King. The beers are brewed under the Morland name by Greene King in Bury St Edmunds. This is a rich malty English Strong Ale variant of the famous Old Speckled Hen. It is a blended ale with a base ale using crystal malt to give the toffee taste and Challenger, First Gold and Goldings hops. It is blended with a 12% strong ale to give a beer in the style of Suffolk Old Ale.
Williams Brothers Brewery & Brooklyn Brewery – Aweebit 4.8%
A Dark Peaty Scotch Ale
This ale is a dark Ruby colour with burnt oak and pest aromas. It has a sweet taste running rapidly into a dry peat and smoke aged oak taste. It leads one to think of being in an old Tudor house, with the smell of the smoked wood beams and dark oak furniture.
This ale is a collaboration between the Williams Brothers Brewery in Scotland and the New York based Brooklyn Brewery. Made with pested malt, Scottish honey, Treacle and Brooklyn yeast.
This ale is a darker chestnut ale with a plum fruit and malt aroma. The taste hints of sweet plum and chocolate bitter.
A good winter ale with tastes of dark heavy fruits and chocolate.
Moorhouse’s Brewery was established in 1865 in Burnley, Lancashire. This ale is not listed in their range, which is quite extensive. Being not too far from Pendle most of their brews have names alluding to the ‘Pendle Witches’.
Coach House Brewing – Three Kings Christmas Ale 5.2%
This is a golden ale with malty aromas. The taste has malt and sweet orange notes, and a following hop bitterness. A rather light coloured ale for a typical Christmas beer but had orange warmth. Overall it tastes like a darker ale.
This is the Christmas seasonal offering from the brewery based within The Brew House in Bath. It is a dark red ale with a spicy aroma. The taste is a slightly sharp start, with a full Christmas spicy and fruity follow-on. A porter style and a good Christmas, seasonal ale.
This ale is bright amber coloured with a pleasant toffee malt aroma, with aged oak wood notes. The taste is made up of sweet smooth, honey caramel toffee and vanilla notes, with an aftertaste of aged oak. A good strong ale, with an aroma reminiscent of sitting in an Elizabethan or Jacobean house surrounded by aged oak furniture.
A strong ale for all seasons but especially winter.
This was the first beer produced in 2003 from this Edingburgh based, Scottish brewery, produced by storing in oak whiskey casks to flavour before using for whisky. Well worth trying if you like strong ales.
This is a Swedish dark red ale with a strong dried fruitcake aroma, which would be expected of English porter ales. It has a good heavy dried fruit or prune and malt taste, with the lighter bitterness of a lager.
This ale is produced by the lager method of bottom fermentation followed by cooling, normally down to about 4°C.
Of the two light and dark lagers offered by IKEA, this dark ale would be my preferred choice and is more suited to winter drinking