Porcupine Quills Karoo Red

Quills_karooredBrewer: Porcupine Quills Brewing, Bothas Hill, South Africa
Style: Red Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 49.4

Description: This dark “real ale” is the brewery’s second creation, and combines deep red malt with a generous hopping using Willamette whole flower hops. At 5.5% alc/vol, just under 50 IBUs of hops, and yeast cultures still in the bottle, it strikes a nice balance of rich malt, floral hops, and yeasty effervescence.

Tasting Notes: This is my sampling of the Quills Brewery, courtesy of my local beer store selling off all the beers that were part of advent calenders that didn’t get sold. In a lot of ways, I was reminded of Orval, mainly by the rich, yeasty malt base and the trace of oak flavor. At the same time, it had some strong caramel flavor (similar to Tripel Karmeliet), and an interesting hint of floral hops. Definitely wish I could find more Quills around here!

Appearance: Deep amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, strong notes of caramel, bread pudding, yeast, oak
Taste: Sharp start, yeasty, notes of caramel, hints of oak and flowery hops
Aftertaste: Lingering caramel, yeast and malt flavor, mild bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Wold Top Scarborough Fair IPA

Scarborough_Body_LabelBrewer: Wold Top Brewery, Driffield, Northern England
Style: India Pale Ale/Real Ale
Alcohol/Volume: 6%

Description: Named in honor of the fair that originated in Scarborough, Yorkshire during the High Middle Ages, this beer commemorates India Pale Ales, which for centuries have been brewed in the various “Wolds” of England and exported to the world. In the tradition of “real ale”, it has little carbonation and produces little foam. And in a modern twist, it is fashioned with Maize and Barley that is extremely low in gluten (less than 20 ppm), which makes it certifiably gluten-free.

Tasting Notes: This beer is admittedly a bit odd in terms of taste. But the seasoned beer drinker, especially someone familiar with real ales and cask conditioned beer, will not be a total stranger to it. In addition to having low carbonation and little head, it has a rather subdued hop flavor, at least when compared to your average North American IPA. In many ways, it reminded me of a cross between Grozet and an ESB, the hops coming off as dry and the malt flavor tasting rather pronounced and slightly sweet.

Appearance: Light golden, slightly cloudy, mild foam retention and low carbonation
Nose: Strong hops, slightly sweet nose, fruity, syrupy malts, minerals
Taste: Dry hop flavor, tang, minerals, slight sweetness, cola-like
Aftertaste: Mild, lingering hop bitterness, otherwise clean and watery
Overall: 7/10