I poured a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint glass. It cost $4.29 ($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: An ugly brownish/dark orange color. Not quite opaque, but
extremely hazy. Forms a large, off-white, soapy head which is slow to
dissipate and leaves minor lacing on the glass.
Smell: Standard English ale aroma of dark fruit and nutty malt. There is
a distinct skunky smell as well from the clear glass bottle.
Taste: I always want to like strong English ales like Morland Hen’s
Tooth, but most of the time I don’t. Probably because the Brits still
use clear bottles and by the time their beer reaches the USA it’s
skunked up and soured. Though this beer isn’t on par with a Heineken,
thankfully. In fact, there are some good qualities to it, enough to earn
a genuine thumbs up from me, but that’s about it.
There’s a prominent malt base of toffee and caramel. I detect a bit of
nuttiness as well, which means this beer is essentially liquid Cracker
Jacks. Little to no bitterness to be found, and the ending is quite
pleasant with a cherry or plum-like flavor. There’s a sharp tartness as
well, probably due to light-strike or heat damage. This distracts from
the main palette, though it is interesting as it adds a candy-like sour
flavor. I could see this beer being pretty amazing on cask in the UK,
but out of a clear bottle over here it’s only okay.
Drinkability: Though there is noticeable sour notes to this beer, the
actual delivery process is good. The mouthfeel is neither thick nor
thin; neither effervescent nor flat; neither sticky nor watery. I
actually did detect some alcohol warmth, which is surprising considering
it’s only 6.5% ABV. It’s quite faint though and seems to disappear
about halfway through.