Simon Girty | Strange Roots Experimental Ales

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Simon GirtySimon Girty
BA SCORE
3.75/5
Very Good
75 Ratings
Simon GirtySimon Girty
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Strange Roots Experimental Ales
Pennsylvania, United States
strangerootsbeer.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#27,075
Reviews:
20
Ratings:
75
pDev:
15.2%
 
 
Wants:
1
Gots:
18
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 75 |  Reviews: 20
Reviews by BeerForMuscle:
Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.14/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It was difficult to contain my excitement when the FGBS initially began receiving distro from this Pittsburgh-area brewery, so I purchased what was then available & subsequently added to them. It was never my intent to create a Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, but its eradication allows me the opportunity to conduct horizontals as I go. I am finding the results to be VERRRRY interesting & not at all stupid, per Arte Johnson of "Laugh-In".

From the bottle: "Ale Brewed with Honey, Cocoa and Orange Peel"; "Wild by Design"; "Original Gravity: 17.5 (deg.) P (1.072 S.G.)"; "Apparent Degree of Attenuation: 86%"; "Made With: Orange Peel, Honey, Cocoa"; "At its freshest, this complex Belgian brown ale boasts crisp notes of orange peel backed by rich malts and cocoa. Let it age a year or two and see why some beers are totally worth a wait."

As with many of their previous beers, I am going to perform two separate pours, one leaving the lees in the bottle, the second with the lees swirled in.

I Pop!ped the cap & commenced a gentle pour. Unbidden, I got a finger of dense, foamy, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head with decent retention, eventually becoming a skim atop the beer. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27), closer to 22, but with NE-quality clarity. Nose was redolent with honey & chocolate (cocoa) & my mouth began to water! Man, this has been a wild ride with these guys. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with a lot of carbonation. Taste was a riotous combination of flavors - milk chocolate and honey with a tart dose of citrusy lemon and orange. The latter was undoubtedly due to a mild dose of Brett, a common theme in their beers. I wonder what this might be like if they left out the Brett & went with a more standard Belgian yeast. No matter. That would be an idle musing on my part. Finish began tart and dry, kind of vinous, but then it subsided to allow the sweetness of the cocoa and honey to make a reappearance. An interesting, lingering semi-dry finish was the result, in total.

And now for the second, lees-swirled pour. I still managed to get an unbidden finger of head. Color was a muddy Brown to Dark Brown. Nose had a more assertive orange presence. Mouthfeel was on the thin side. The taste was more orangey and chocolaty than earlier with less lemony tartness. Finish was semi-dry. Another interesting experiment.

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Photo of cavedave
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to cosmo4u for this kind gift.

Turbid light brown, unattractive, but with killer tan head that drapes lace graciously as it drops.

Rounded tart yeast and overripe berry, light acetic hints, very light cocoa and candi make up a light strength but alluring aroma.

Wow, this ferment almost has a lactic acid quality to it, crazy flavors thrown by this yeast. I get berry, leather, tobacco, bitter apple, overripe plum, earth, grapes, other hard to name flavors that create something really delicious around the scant candi sweet and light bitter hop. It is a beer that morphs into different taste as it warms. Not much cocoa, even though I am looking for it.

Medium carb., full bodied, clean flavors, excellent finish, frames the beer impeccably.

What a surprising treat! Highly recommended, great American take that dares to be different.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce SN style stubby here. 8% abv, with honey, cocoa, and orange peel. Pours dark mahogany ruby tinted brown with a big khaki tan head forming thick. Fine even lacing, surrounds my chalice. Aroma has big phenolic fruitiness, with hints of cocoa, honey, and orange peel citrus notes. Deep vinous layers of fruity with herbal earthiness, I'm getting raisins and tart apples. Flavor big alcohol assertive up front with dark fruit, more vinous grapes/raisin sweetness with dry cocoa bitterness weighing heavy with dark roasts on the palate. Also honey hits with sweetness and the citrus peel bitterness almost overwhelms the palate. As I add the rest of the yeast sediment the dry chalkiness subdues some of the harsh flavors and it melds a little better than my first few initial sips. Most of honey ferments out in this one very few residual sugars are left behind, a bit cloying still with the cocoa and bitter orange peel clashing together. Carbonation is mellow body is medium to full, and it just doesn't go down with ease. Complex yes, adventurous yes, a beer I want to try again, not sure. I did love their Belgian style golden ale, very creative thus far, keeps me open to try more of their beers maybe just not a huge fan of this one.

 1,244 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of brentk56
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cola color with ruby highlights; the head faded quickly leaving just a few dots of lace

Smell: Caramel, honey and cocoa powder, with undertones of dark fruit

Taste: Cocoa forward, with the caramel and honey flavors rounding out the front end; dark fruit adds complexity, by mid-palate, with the citrus peel and yeasty phenols adding an herbacious bitterness after the swallow; the up-front, sweeter flavors predominate in the finish, with some vanilla lingering in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Another style bender from this new brewery; they are brewing with one powerful yeast strain

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Photo of psuKinger
4.16/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into one of my Bruery Tulips.

A: Pours a deep deep dark murky brown, with a big creamy off-white head, over a fingers worth. Leaving nice lacing along my glass as I work my way through, as well.

S: Candied sugars, malt sweetness, and orange peel.

T: A surprising amount of cocoa accompanies the candied sugars. Orange Peel on the back end. A hint of "fig", but not much in the way of "dark fruits" here for such a Belgian Dark.

In my mind, the most distinguishing flavor is the orange peel. It's certainly pronounced, but initial impressions are not that of it being "unbalanced". Certainly unique, though. Based on the two brews Draai Laag has put out so far, they don't seem to be concerned with coloring within the lines when it comes to "style guidelines".

M: Lively, with great carbonation. A lot of *heft* behind those bubbles, though. Great viscosity underneath, with lots of dry sticky malt sugars left behind on the finish.

D/O: Enjoyable from start to finish. Definitely drinkable.

 1,011 characters

Photo of DrFunkenstein
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Stigs
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of burnstar
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of soulfly1492
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Lots of dark fruit, plums and dates. Moderate phenols, spicy clove and black pepper. Mild alcohol. A bit nutty, but no roastiness or chocolate.

Appearance: Deep copper color. A bright light shows a mostly clear brew, just a touch of cloudiness. Pours a moderate off-white head with orange highlights. Moderate retention. Mild lacing (when still quite cold anyways). Lots of yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

Taste: Lots there. moderate esters which is mostly dates with some plum. Spicyness from the alcohol, some black pepper. Moderate clove and honey as the aftertaste kicks in. Some mild pine hop bitterness. As it warms up, it brings about a cough-syrup-like taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Creamy, buttery texture. The finish is mildly dry from the alcohol and hops.

Overall: Another quality Belgian brew from Draai Laag. Nice balance of sweet, bitter, and spicyness. But not over the top on any aspect. Goes down smooth and easy.

 968 characters

Photo of Kayaker
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of Doomcifer
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one is better after it warms. Woody tones are evident. There is a somewhat funky tone on the back end; which I never mind. Mild woody fruit. Smooth feel. Consistent, as usual, for Draai Laag. A pleasurable drink, and another nice one from this brewery.

 257 characters

Photo of drinknewbelgium
2.63/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I hate to be critical of local brews, but after I tried this beer something needs to be said. I think this is the first beer that I have ordered in a bar and could not finish it. I will be objective and professional in my review.
First, the best thing this beer has is it's looks. Tight, lacing head that is neither to much nor too little for this style. Smell is of slight chocolate, alcohol, sweet cedar and some fruit. This is where it gets ugly-the most important factors of a good beer is where this beer totally misses the boat.
The taste, agree with person below that this beer is extremely unpleasant to put down. There is a significant imbalance between the alcohol and the dry, toasty fruit hits that attempt to mask the brutal sting of the alcohol. If I did not look at the bottle, I would guess this beer comes in at 16%. I was shocked to find out that this beer is only 8%! It goes down like 151!
Mouthfeel was slightly better as some of the smells manifested into some of the flavor. It was a medium to heavy bodied beer which is prime for this style, however, the imbalances are too overwhelming.
Overall, this beer was a poor representation of a strong Belgian dark. I will give the hometown benefit of the doubt, but I can not tell a lie and would be lying if I said this beer was worth your time or dollar with so many better examples of this style available.

 1,378 characters

Photo of DWolf
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber color with an off white head. In the aroma, orange citrus all day. In the taste, dry orange citrus with notes of cocoa. A spice like bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry note of cocoa in the aftertaste. A bit too sweet for me, especially with the mix of orange and cocoa all the way through.

 325 characters

Photo of Tucquan
2.89/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Had this on 2016-11-25 in Pittsburgh, PA from a 500ml bottle.

Not what I expected. It was sour with orange and chocolate flavor. Didn't appeal to me at all.

 158 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draai Laag : Simon Girty

Brewed in Millvale PA, where no brewery has existed in nearly a century.

Ontap. Pours a murky brown color with a short lived, wispy head. Aroma of sugary malts, spice, and an expressive Belgian yeast strain. In the flavor, a unique mix of dark fruits, dry orange peel, cinnamon, cocoa, brown sugar and alittle peppery spice. There is a small amount of alcohol noted but it is well within tasteful boundaries. Hop bitterness is mild to low. Medium to full bodied, thick, and pretty well rounded. Overall, this brew is a strong statement and product from a new local Pittsburgh area brewery. Can be found ontap at various bars in the area, and also is now available in 12oz bottles.

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Photo of randylangford
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of trevorpost
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Cylinsier
4.14/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tap

Pours an opaque woody brown with bits of lacing for a head.

Smells of caramel, apples and mild bourbon.

Tastes of bourbon, oak, caramel apples, and a bit of vanilla.

Full mouth with mild carbonation.

Tasty and different, really like this and am looking forward to getting to know Draai Laag more moving forward. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter: Deep, raisiny brown under a finger of soft, light tan head with loads of little nucleation bubbles rising. Head sinks to a thin, uneven dusting with a thick collar. A few deep crimson highlights.

Nice nose of light molasses, dark stewed fruits, honey, overripe banana, & a moderate baking spice like anise. Not overdone, & a lot to pick out here.

IN the taste, there's a sweetness like root beer barrel, some more dark fruit & that spicy anise character, a little brown sugar, mildly doughy. When I swish it around, I notice a very dry, rum-like boozy character that's not there if I just swallow. It's kind of unpleasant when I do that, so I just don't do it & it's alright. I'll split the difference.

Medium-full-bodied, with a sweet, slightly sticky note that turns dry & a little warming toward the end.

Really reminds me of a lot of Belgian Christmas beers - has that BSDA character with an added bit of spice & sweetness. A little problematic at points, but still a solid one & a good companion to Aureus, with a lot of shared characteristics.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed with honey, cocoa, and orange peel. 12oz bottle poured into the Westy glass.

Okay cream-colored head atop a murky dark red-brown with burgundy highlights. The head receded to a quaint ring. Looks thick and appetizing.

Nose full of booze, raisin, fig, orange, candi sugar, and vanilla bean. Very complex and full-on. Pretty remarkable, so far.

Nice cocoa dustiness acts as a backdrop to a full-flavored and full-strength Belgian Strong Dark. The orange peel, honey, and esters of prunes and dates are pretty easy to pick up on. Loads of introductory flavors that start strong, but don't finish. The ass-end is all heat and yeasty lingerings. I like the addition of the honey and the subtle role it plays.

Nice wet/slick feel with a mild but prickly carbonation that lingers a bit. Lusciously smooth. Too hot fresh, for sure, especially for 8%. Cuts down on the drinkability. This one's a surefire sipper.

This one's a hit! I can't believe these local boys produced such a fascinating and delicious example of the style. No easy task. Recommended, if you can find it.

 1,079 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure when it was bottled and even that their was a brewery in Millvale just 12 miles from my house. Paid $3.50 for the 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a clear dark amber brown with a half inch of tan colored head. Lacing is excellent.

S - First whiff I get the cocoa powder, strong and sweet. Repeated smells I get the orange and Belgium yeasts that smell sweet.

T - I really like the balance of cocoa in this it's not overly dry or sweet it nicely compliments the yeast giving it a fruity aspect which I assume is the orange. Finish is honey sweet so as advertised!

M - Medium bodied and drinks more like a Belgium Pale than a Belgium strong ale.

Overall I really like balanced Belgium's that are not overly dry, sweet flavored, and balance the hops the alcohol well enough to not be very filling. Wonder if I can hit up the brewery and pick up a six pack...

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Simon Girty from Strange Roots Experimental Ales
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 75 ratings