The Big Smoke - 8 Wired Brewing Co.

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The Big SmokeThe Big Smoke

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very good

65 Reviews
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Reviews: 65
Hads: 141
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.39%
Wants: 10
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
8 Wired Brewing Co. visit their website
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ADZA on 11-26-2010

Now what is this? A smoked beer?? It really isn't as crazy as it sounds. 250 years ago virtually all beers were smoked (it's true, Google it!), but with the dawning of the industrial revolution most of the smoke lifted. However, in the German town of Bamberg the flame has quite literally been kept alive and to this day the town’s brewers produce world renowned beers brewed with their own special rauchmalz (beechwood smoked malt).

We’ve taken our best porter recipe and added a good measure of that same Bamberg Rauchmalz. The smoke mingles beautifully with the rich, dark roasted chocolate flavours of the porter without being overpowering. Although it pairs extremely well with smoked seafood, barbeques, strong cheeses and hearty stews, its food friendliness isn’t limited to savouries; chocolate and caramel based deserts are great companions too! Trust us; it really isn't as crazy as it sounds.

40 IBU
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 141
Photo of joecast
4.92/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks fantastic in the glass. Head is lighter than expected but thick frothy and sticking to the glass leaving a nice lace. The beer itself is quite dark making it almost impossible to see any light shining through.
The beer has presence.

Certainly much smokies beers out there, but doubtful any smell as appealing as this. The balance and cohesion of the aromas is impressive. Smoke stops short of being a meaty, tangy character and sticks to playing with rather than dominating the chocolate and mild roast aromas. Superb.

The label says smoked porter so as a style I would go with porter over smoked beer. And tasting this beer convinces me that is the right way to go. Great complexity of flavors. Each component is recognizable, enjoyable and fits with the rest of the beer. That dry slight sourness you get in some great porters is there along with a smooth chocolate and coffee character. Smoke is so well integrated I couldn't imagine what this beer would be like without it.

Whew. Thought this would be good, but this is just amazing. Could picture myself easily sitting in a pub on a cold night, roaring fire in the corner and drink pint after pint of this. Wonderful.

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Photo of armock
4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - The dominating scent is from the smoked malt but theres enough roasted malt to keep it a porter

T - Love at first sip the roasted malt is upfront for a second then the smoked malt kicks its ass and tastes wonderful

M - This beer has a fuller body with lighter carbonation to it

O - If you couldn't tell this is a very enjoyable beer for me the smoke is nice and present in the flavor the body is damn near perfect I'm not calling it a session beer but its one that I could drink all night if you like smoked beers you'll love this one worth getting if you see it around

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Photo of Josephkeene
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle, a 1inch chocolate colored head with radiant chocolate with a hint of smoke.

taste is heavy chocolate with great smoked after tatse. A little carbonation but smooth and heavily drinkable.

great beer. Hands down. Brand new to my local store but well worth ever penny.

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Photo of crnipeter
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, seemingly opaque body topped by thick, creamy tan head with excellent retention that clings to the walls and finaly sets to a 1/3 inch thick, stable cover.
Aroma is marriage of moderate plum and prune-like frutiness, non-roasted malt with sweet, brown suggar character, malt with mild chocolate-like roastiness, herbal-spicy hops and woodsy smokines so delicate it is hard to pick up.
Malt with caramel, bitter-chocolate and liquorice flavors is quickly followed by spiciy-herbal hops leading into the dry finish with lingering hoppy-bitter and roasted aftertaste. Likewise the aroma, balance between the base style and smokines is leaned towards the former and there is just a touch of wisely judged amount of smoked malts. Medium bodied and lightly creamy with moderate, tickling carbonation.
In short, a smoked porter with lots of finesse and superb balance between the malts, hops and roast-derived flavors, with light smokey touch lacking any harsh, burnt or greasy notes. (500 ml, into tulip.)

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Photo of Brenden
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Big Smoke is a strong, appropriately thick very dark brown color that stops short of black but lets just a little in at the fringes. A big, soft but strong, creamy tan head ceases to rise at almost two finger in height and keeps itself up for a good while. It never falls to much less than one finger, and it drops some patching with a little bit of legging here and there.
This beer smells deliciously like smoke, almost a little tangy with a smoked meats essence. There's a slight touch of wood, but it's not quite as deep as the flavor. Still, it smells fantastic, and all the smokiness I want is here.
It tastes deliciously like meaty smoke as well. Smoke permeates the tongue without ever getting too harsh, completely part of the malts. Charred woods are all over the tongue too, with absolutely no astringency or harshness at all. There's just a touch of bittersweet cocoa at the periphery and some coffee grounds, part of the nature of the roast, but it's all kinds of smoky and fantastically tasty.
It's got the right depth and heft for a porter, offering a well sustained strength on the fuller side of a medium body. There's just a little carbonation, enough to keep things going, while a nice smoothness rolls along.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very dark brown with a deep garnet hue. The pillowy two fingers of light brown head has a long rendition time.

Big smokey, phenols in the nose with dark stone fruit aromas backing that up. A light caramel sweetness, moderate chocolate and some roast .

Lots of smoke blending with dark stone fruit backed by a moderate toffee-like sweetness and a light bitter chocolate note. There is medium hops bitterness with little hop flavor. The balance is about even between the bitterness and sweetness. The finish is off-dry with a smokey aftertaste.

The Big Smoke name is apt as this beer is defined by a moderately strong smoke aroma and flavor that is well supported by a solidly brew porter underneath.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a beautiful glass of beer. Pours black and viscous with a firm and thick khaki head.

Nose is medium dark chocolate and plumed coffee with undertones of sweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but with a nice creamy character and carbonation.

Flavors are all big smokey coffee, dark chocolate and big roasted grains with a sweet front palate and an espresso bitter kick.

Finish is all semi-sweet/bitter black chocolate with a hint of black licorice and burnt espresso. The finish goes on forever.

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Photo of drpimento
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best smoked porters! Poured at about cellar temperature, with a colossal, super frothy, foamy, billowy, tan head that lasts and lasts plus good lacing. Color is a clear orange brown with plenty of bubble trails. Aroma is smoke, malt, leather, cocoa. Flavor's like nose, smoke is not out of proportion, fairly dry, bitter and carbonic tang balance nice with smoke. Body and carbonation - excellent. Finish is like flavor, longish, a little boozy, and good for one or two bottles.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown with a big finger of frothy khaki-chocolate colored head. The head fades down slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts with smoke, vanilla, coffee, with a bit of cola.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted bittersweet chocolate with some vanilla and a bit of cola. Through the middle, the smoke comes through with some coffee and a bit of molasses. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, coffee, smoke, vanilla, and a touch of molasses.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and smokey finish.

D - Very drinkable. Good smoked character that comes together nicely and is balanced with all of the other flavors.

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Photo of flexabull
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was pleased to see this beer at Olive Tree Market in San Diego.

Pours a dark brown color with a very faint head.

Aromas are very nice, sweet malts, chocolate, charred wood, campfire, and some peat.

Taste is malty up front, light chocolate, and some bitterness, than the smoke kicks in. Slightly meaty, with some peat, campfire, and light bitterness on the finish. This is a nicely balanced smoke beer.

Mouthfeel is good, pretty smooth, with decent body.

Overall, I like this beer a lot. It's smoky, but well balanced, definitely worth trying.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip 12/6/12

A very dark brown with a deep cola edge, a large three finger mocha head looks a little airy and quickly falls to a thin film that leaves just a few random patches of lace

S coco powder and milk chocolate mix well with the mellow smoke, much too my surprise I can pick up on some hops through all the dark malt, just a little cold coffee in there too

T mimics the smell quite well with just a little nutty dark toffee, not over the top smoke and some pipe tobacco plays a small part, not very intense but mellow can work well at times

M light bodied for the color but far from thin, fluffy from the bubbles and a nice charred wood aftertaste that lingers for a while with a little coco powder

O not over the top smoke but it allows the chocolate notes and a little hops to shine through, very drinkable stuff as my half liter bottle was gone in no time

another solid offering from a "new to me" brewery, pricy here in Alberta but I just might buy one to tuck away for a while and see what happens

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Photo of avalon07
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick, opaque texture. There was an inch of off white, foamy, long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: The smokiness is evident the second you open the bottle, but oddly, not much after that. Has notes of chocolate, coffee and malt. A nice aroma.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, coffee, and a bit of chocolate. More like a porter than a smoked beer. The smoky quality wasn't particularly evident, but it still had a nice flavor.

A: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An extremely drinkable beer.

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Photo of mynie
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Might be my first New Zealand beer. Certainly my first from 8 Wired. 22 oz bomber purchased from John's Grocery in Iowa City.

Pours very dark for a porter, just barely translucent when held up to a light, and topped with a thick, rocky head that stands as firm as custard.

Smells like a lightly smoked porter. A lightly smoked light porter, i mean. Even at room temperature, it's pretty tame and boilerplate.

The flavor is a great deal more portery than the aroma. Rich, bitter, lightly sour porter barley starts things off, getting a bit creamy in the middle, and ending on a cross between firm, bitter hops and light smoke flavoring. Nicely hopped, nicely smoked, and nicely balanced, this is a refreshing and remarkably sessionable beer.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A 500ml bottle with a BB of March 2012, so it's well out of date. However, the label suggests that it can be aged for a year or two so I'm hoping it has stood the test of time. Acquired ages ago from a webshop. I like the label design.

Poured into a Duvel tulip (thrice). A seriously dark brown hue that appears pitch black in the glass. Holding it to the light reveals plentiful carbonation. It produces a truly vast head of creamy beige foam with amazing stability; this lasts for ages before reducing to a thick surface layer (so much so that three pours were required). An aroma of rich, fruity malt and smoke: notes of prunes, dried fruit, roasted malt, smoke, phenolics, molasses, chocolate, mild coffee, faint TCP and earthy yeast. Intensely deep - total sensory immersion.

Tastes of rich roasted malt with a smoky character and a dry finish. Notes of dried fruit, roasted malt, smoke, mild burnt grain, molasses, phenolics, wood, coffee, a hint of chocolate and earthy yeast. Complex and dry, followed by a malty bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and mildly spicy, with good carbonation. The body is decent but a tad less substantial than might be expected. Rather astringent, with an aftertaste of smoky roasted malt and dried fruit.

Boom! What a beer - like bonfire night personified in liquid. The aroma and flavour have fantastic depth and complexity; a beautiful and well-rounded mélange. Perhaps this has something to do with the age of the bottle - maybe time has allowed the flavour to mellow out and smooth the harshness that a younger brew would have possessed. At any rate, this is lovely and well worth sampling if you have the good fortune to stumble across it.

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Photo of ADZA
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is actually a smoked porter and it pours a dark brown hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger creamy cappicino laced head with a rim of lacing,the smell is a mixture of oak,smoked bacon,ham and burnt firewood,it has a smooth creamy mouthfeel which is neither thick nor thin and allows tastes of smoked bacon,smoked wood,blackberries and some underlying earthy fruit driven hops on the palette at the finish,overall an interesting brew that is easy to knock back but after my last sampling from this brewery i was expecting a little more.

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Photo of Naugros
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried to find a beer "worthy" being my 250th beer reviewed on Beer Advocate. I solicited friends and shopped different stores. I got a lot of good advice and almost decided to review Kaliber or O'Doul's here, but instead I'm just putting up the next thing I drank and took notes on. It is a bonus that it's my first New Zealand beer though.

This beer is really dark, but there is some transparency around the edges that leads me to believe this beer is going to be a bit thin in the mouthfeel. The head starts off with barely a quarter of an inch and almost completely disappears, leaving behind the faintest of film on top. Not an impressive start.

The smell makes up for it. Roast + smoke = bacon. LOL, another bacon beer...yay! Well, only at first until you get serious and get down to the business of disseminating the different elements that make it smell like bacon. The roasted malts make for a dark bread sense, but not pumpernickel. There's a floral tone in there that I have to assume is from the hops. Both of these lie under a dominant top coat of smoke.

Like the smell, the smoke overwhelms at first and even after the rest of the elements come through it remains the main player. After a few sips the dark bread of the roast comes out and gets more of a role, almost approaching a balance. If you don't like this at first sip, try, try again. It improves as you drink it and your tongue starts to pick out the malts and the floral hops. Your nose is now telling your tongue, "See? I told you!" Still, the nose enjoyed it more as the balance was better there.

I was dead wrong on the beer appearing thin. This is silky smooth with a medium body. You're also going to experience a twinge of bitterness at the back corners of your mouth.

This is really smooth, but takes a few pulls to get used to. BY the end of it you are disappointed that is gone though. This beer gives me cause to try some more of the brews from the Kiwis. If it keeps up like this we'll start to see more of their stuff on the shelves.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

rich dark notes of a deep chocolate brown were underplayed with hints of a rustic red underneath. Almost opaque in appearance it was not at all easy to see through to the other side of this one, but no visible carbonation was noticed. A small head of maybe an inch rose up initially but quickly faded from site leaving little to nothing in its wake other then some decent side glass contribution.

The aroma was thick, rich with peat and smoked notes, if you like smoked beers, this was the top of the game for smelling. Lots of light fruity notes swilling around and an almost molasses like sweetness that descended upon it as it tried to warm up on me. Intensely smoked, huge rich notes of peat, charcoal, wood, lots of earthy and vinous properties as well. Rich notes of pine almost in the finish attempted to dry out the palate but were pushed aside by a huge smoked malts flavor that lasted on your tongue long after it was gone. For as rich as it was at times, it remained wonderfully balanced and continued to impress me with that aspect of it. The carbonation was kind of low, which caused a touch of flatness to it, enhancing the dry finish, but still causing a distraction overal;

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great new smoked porter from a New Zealand brewery that I have not seen before.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark chocolate brown with a one finger lighter mocha colored head that held well.The smoke is very faint in the aromas,I picked up mainly chocolate malt and some earthy tones.The palate is well rounded with the smoke coming more into play,it goes well with a nice shot of chocolate and dark roast.Not in your face smoke but a nice well rounded porter roast with decent complexity.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Finger and half of tan head, pitch black body.

Smells of beechwood smoke and burnt malt. Very strong aroma.

Strong burnt wood taste, then moves towards a creamy, milk and roasted malt flavor. Delicious.

It has a soft and creamy texture. Low carbonation.

Really good and well put together.

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Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml. Very dark brown, almost black pour. Just a whispy layer of off white head.

Aroma, some roast, dark chocolate. More smoked peat, bacon. It's not real strong though.

Taste is more pronounced. Very well blended chocolate like malt, canadian bacon, smoked peat. Finishes with the barbeque smoke and some roast, very subtle coffee.

Lighter side of medium bodied, a complimentary amount of carbonation. This drinks very easy, as long as you like it. A real good brew, my first from this country. No buyers remorse with this one. Up there with the Norweigan Wood for my favorite for this style.

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Photo of seand
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown, nearly opaque, with lots and lots of foamy tan head. It dissipates to a thinner denser blanket relatively quickly, but remains solid and leaves thick walls of lacing.

S: Sweet toffee and dark chocolate with just a touch of smoke.

T: Mildly burnt sweetness leading into a fair amount of almost tart bitter hops. The balance is nice, and the smoke is present but subtle.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, somewhat chewy.

Overall, very nice. Really excellent mouthfeel for the flavors, and at 6.2% compares well to stronger beers in terms of complexity.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers for the Xmas present from @laituegonflable.

Pours a deep, black colour, with a filmy head of beige coloured foam. Lacing is firm, but sudsy, loose in placed. Body is very opaque, but the edges are lightened a little, giving some brighter emphasis of garnet brown. The highlights look bright, like a gemstone. Looks very decent.

Nose is very roasty and dark, but only with hints of smoke. But contrary to this being a bad thing, it gives it a big and strong character like an American Impy Stout. Very robust and very tasty, with chocolate sweetness mixing with the bitter roasted character laced with smoke. It's genuinely lovely.

Taste is smoother, but still relies upon its heavy roasted character, and only giving a nod to the smoke. Smooth entry with some sweetness on the fore that gets rushed offstage in favour of the roasted and slightly astringent bitter character. Smoke is always in the wings, mingling with, but not dominating the other characters. Light finish means most of the smoothness drops out, leaving the bitter roasted note.

Feel is a little weak and thin, but this, if nothing else, exemplifies that it's a porter rather than a stout.

A very nice beer, and another good brew from 8 Wired. Very smooth, but with oodles of flavour. Great drop.

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Photo of CookstLiquor
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle. Pours solid black and forms a big beige head that dissipates quickly. There are of course plenty of big dark roast notes on the nose backed with tempting smoked meat. Similarly pleasant combination on the palate, with roasty malt flavour up front followed by the meaty smoke flavour on the finish. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a nice dry finish. Eminently quaffable.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours very dark mahogany, nearly black and opaque, with a nice two finger light brown head with great retention and lots of thick lacing. Aroma of pleasant woodland smoke, dark toasted malt, molasses, hints of dark stone fruit. Flavor is dark toasted malt, nuts, mild dark stone fruit, chocolate and coffee. Finishes a bit lighter with residual coffee and smoke. Medium bodied with a nice creaminess and carbonation. A nice well balanced smoked porter with a flavorful base beer and a deft hand with the smoke that is well supported by the malts. Interesting light chocolate and fruit flavors in the background. The finish is a little bit thin after the richness of the initial taste, but that seems to be that this is already very full flavored at this ABV. I liked this a lot. Glad to see 8 Wired beer arriving in our market.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a fading head.
Heavy smoke on the aroma, with nice smoked ham and campfire notes. Also caramel, soft roast and sweet bready malt.
Lots of smoke as a flavour too. More roasted malt presence though, along with a little sweet malt underneath. Also some soft piny and earthy hops which seems unnecessary.
Could use more carbonation.

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The Big Smoke from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.