Phoenix - Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company
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Ratings: 4 | Reviews: 4
4.3/5 rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Purchased from Slowbeer as part of an order, and shared blind with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
After sawing at the wax for a good fifteen minues, I eventually remove enough to pry the lid off (with a good deal of swearing, much to the amusement of Sam and Rich, who said I should start I radio podcast entitled "Jez trying to open a bottle of beer"). This beer is worth the effort though. Let's find out why...
Pours a gorgeous, genuinely red hue, bright and vibrant but deep and sinister at the same time. Head was frothy and full to begin with, and retains reasonably well, especially for a beer of this strength. Looks great.
Nose is strong and fresh, with some lovely West Coast American characters mingled with a taint of booziness and a subtle savoury character. The hops are good, but balanced with the rest of the brew. In fact, everything's very nicely and tightly coupled, meaning that although there's many elements composing the main note, it comes across as one main, robust construct. Still, very appropriate.
Taste is a lot richer and boozier, and a lot sweeter than expected. Indeed, it doesn't have the sharp bitterness I was expecting, rather it layers characters of molasses and dark honey throughout, until it overflows with a sweet, rich boozy whole. Still, around the edges, the palate is framed by the fresh hop notes, which simper, trying to get your attention away from the rich, baked pudding sweetness through the centre. Gorgeous.
Feel is full and chewy, and provide a great basis for the sweet, boozy flavours.
A great beer—a great special release from a great brewery who just keep shooting up in my opinion. This is a heavier and sweeter example of the style than many hop-driven American Red Ales, but that's what makes it special—certainly worth your while extracting it from its wax tomb.
Serving type: bottle
04-16-2011 05:11:41 | More by lacqueredmouse
4/5 rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Pours a deep reddish colour with arrestingly beautiful head - yellowy beige, perfect finger-thick volume, craterous bubbles on top and sinking slowly to leave trails of sticky lace behind. Stunner.
Smells really very lovely, but with a sting in the tail. Lots of sweet caramel maltiness with some vanilla notes, maybe a hint of diacetyl but not enough to spoil. Nutty touch and maybe some light floral hops. Sting is a slight ethanoic intensity at the back which renders the sweetness a bit of ambiguity. Overall very nice though.
Taste is a malty malt-bomb from malt street. Sweet and pleasant, caramel burst on the front that develops really pleasant, complex sweetness on the mid, barley and toffee and brown sugar with a nutty edge. Has a brandy alcohol heat late-mid and lasting onto the back, which is a bit lacking in the taste department. There's nothing declarative on the finish, just a lot of residual sweetness and a fair booziness. Maybe a touch of woody hop as well. Very enjoyable palate, not too sweet and not too heavy for the most part, but enough of both.
Not quite as thick on the body as I might have expected and as such the booze is really noticeable on the back.
Yeah, maybe not that drinkable and a bit unpolished in places, but a very enjoyable and tasty beer.
Serving type: bottle
04-29-2011 03:10:13 | More by laituegonflable
3.88/5 rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Pours copper with a small head.
Nose shows loads of rich sweet malt with caramel, golden syrup and bready melanoidin notes.
Equally rich flavours. Golden syrup, bready malt, booze, toasty notes. The booze is a little harsh/full-on.
Thick body suits the beers well.
Serving type: on-tap
12-29-2012 06:00:11 | More by CrazyDavros
4.63/5 rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5
Classified as an Imperial Red Ale. Bottle 199 out of 350. Thanks to Chris@Slowbeer for getting hold of this.
Blood-red pour. Two-finger dense beige head which continues to rise after pouring like a heaving stomach. Great retention and lacing.
Highly refined nose of floral hops and tangy, candied malts. Strong aromas of muscatels, cherries and fairy floss combine in a space somewhere between a fortified wine and a strong Scottish ale. The hops, although subdued, give the game away.
Up front aniseed, pine and grassy hop notes, more than matched by thick ovaltine and brandy snap. Later, flavours of red-wine poached dark fruits and dessert wine are accentuated by buttery, fudge notes. The intensity is softened by fleeting citrus and herbal notes, then increasingly assertive piney hops. It's all amazingly well integrated. Can't believe I'm giving it a 5 but it's just so good.
Some surprisingly bitter and drying characteristics are softened by the syrupy, full mouthfeel and the warm alcohol burn, although the ABV does get increasingly if not considerably offputting over time.
Overall, stunning and bold undertaking pulled off with aplomb. Drinkability is marred slightly by the 9.8%ABV however. If this could be brought in between 8-9% with no consequent loss in flavour it would be completely sublime. I really hope Hargreaves Hill brews this one again.
Serving type: bottle
03-28-2011 12:37:09 | More by spicelab
Phoenix from Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company
- out of 100 based on 4 ratings.