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Scratchin' Hippo | Adelbert's Brewery

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41 Reviews
Scratchin' HippoScratchin' Hippo

Brewed by:
Adelbert's Brewery
Texas, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Named to commemorate a night when the Naivasha House in Kenya was shaking so strongly Del thought it was an earthquake. It turned out to be a hippo from lake Naivasha scratching itself against the house. Scratchin’ Hippo is a complex malty beer low bitterness, with an earthy character approximately 6.8% ABV. Goes well with hearty rich foods like steak, roasts or beef stew.

Added by BgThang on 01-04-2012

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 143
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy bone head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with grain and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but nothing too memorable.

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Photo of metter98
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy reddish amber in color. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of earthy yeast are present in the nose along with notes of Belgian yeast and hints of fruit.
T: The taste follows the smell, but is more complex with additional hints of spices. There is a light amount bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer isn't ate difficult to drink and seems a lot lie like a cross between a Belgian PBA and a Saison/Farmhouse Ale.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.48/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Bottled: 12/13/12. Batch 011.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazed, amber-hued body with, well, no head formation, as the bubbles are evaporating nearly instantaneously. A beer that begins with a mewling whimper.

Smell: Minor note of toast and light, lightly husky grains. Beyond ripe, soiled fruitiness of apples, apricots, and peaches. Slight phenolic spiciness with a medicinal hint to it.

Taste: Notably devoid of sweetness from the first sip. Slightly husky, toasty maltiness wrapped in a pervasive sourish that really knocks the wind oughta my sails. A fruitiness of fruits that have gone south a few days prior. A blip here or there of phenols. Finishes fairly flat with a little lingering sourness and meager medicinal tone.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Very low carbonation.

Overall: A beer that is woefully undercarbed and poor tasting doesn't exactly win me over. Where are they scratchin' that hippo?

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Watch out, it’s explosive...The pour itself is a burnt orange sort of color with a tall white head. The nose is much sweeter than expected. Lots of sweet malt and fruit notes with a bit of yeastiness. Quite a lot of apple to it. The flavor is heavy on the sweet sugar and malt notes. Lots of apple and pear fruit notes, maybe white grape, and a hint of banana. There is a mild yeastiness, too. Really an odd, though not unenjoyable, beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
2.86/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Batch 005, bottled 12-15-11.

The beer is way over carbonated. As I was about halfway through unscrewing the cage, the cork shot out of the bottle and smashed into the ceiling. Not sure where the cage ended up, but I guess I will find it eventually.

Once the beer calmed down a bit, it pours a clear orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma has a good bit of coriander and pepper, as well as some toffee and orange citrus notes. The flavor has quite a bit of toffee and caramel, as well as some strong Belgian yeast notes. There is also a hint of coriander. The carbonation is way too high and the mouthfeel is about medium. Not sure what this would taste like if the carbonation was normal, but I think it would probably be better.

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Photo of champ103
3.13/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky, cloudy reddish color. A bubbly two finger white head forms and gently recedes. Not much lace.
S: Bread/biscuit, earthy yeast, burnt toast. A metallic twang lingers.
T: Follows the nose. Very earthy in the yeast character. Bread and biscuit. A lingering metallic flavor that detracts for me.
M/D: A light to medium body. Very effervescent, well I would say over carbonated. At the same time this is pretty thin. Not hard to drink if I wanted to, though not something I am going to pick up that often.

Not bad, but a one and done for me. There are much better Belgian interpretations from Texas no less, and around the world available.

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Photo of Dope
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 025. Bottled 7/31/15.

A: Pours a ruddy sort of red/brown. Mid-sized frothy light brown head. Head fizzes out fast, leaving no lacing and only a tiny bit of head retention.

S: Sweet. Caramel and burnt sugar abound. Light toastiness. Mild earthiness and a hint of dark fruits when it's fully warmed up.

T: Not quite as sweet as the aroma would lead you to believe but still plenty malty. Loads of caramel and toasted grains everywhere. Hints of chocolate and dark fruit. Swear I even get honey on the back end. All malty flavors from beginning to end. A touch of earthy spiciness and black pepper in the aftertaste - belgian yeast I assume.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and sweet.

O: Not bad. A little sweeter than I was expecting. Nothing to really balance it either. Still plenty smooth and drinkable, just more unbalanced than a typical biere de garde. Still a nice brew and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark amber pour with a small off-white head. Big malty aroma with some spice and dark fruit. Taste has sweet malt and dark fruit upfront backed by spice and a light earthy bitterness. Medium to full body. Finishes sweet and malty with dark fruit and light spice flavors lingering.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #91 (Aug 2014):

Rustic, Refreshing, Mild, More-ish

Pours dark and ruddy with a beige head that’s incredible foamy. Nose is bready, earthy, and dashed with white pepper. Very crisp. light, and palate awakening with a creamy mouthfeel. Bready malts, chicory, hint of browned apples, slight tartness, pithy, yeasty, earthy, and clove meld into a chalky, dry finish. This would make for a great table beer. Rustic, highly drinkable and approachable, with just enough complexity to enjoy on its own or with food.

STYLE: Bière de Garde | ABV: 6.9% | AVAILABILITY: Rotating

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Photo of elNopalero
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a light malty-amber color with thin lacing around the top. There’s a slight funky tart aroma. Hop bitterness hits you up front. The biere de garde tartness comes through on the palate with a lingering finish. There’s a pleasing maltiness that becomes more apparent as it warms. This beer has a bitterness and an edge which makes for a nice contrast with the malt flavor as it warms. Slightly funky, too, while remaining easy going. Effervescent and filling.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 mL corked bottle poured in a stemmed glass.
Dark amberish brown color, with a nice white foamy head on the beer. This is part of the Rare Beer of the Month club that my sister got me for my birthday, so excited to try, assuming if it's part of a club, it can't disappoint. It certainly did not. If I have other biere de garde styles, I want it to be similar to this. Incredibly smooth maltiness, and a touch of sweetness on the end.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2013)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, wagenvolks and xpimptastikx!

Cloudy amber. Not a lot of visible carbonation--small bubbled khaki-colored head. Leaves dots and irregular lines down the glass.

An earthy, somewhat nutty, aroma. A bit of a pepper and grain presence. Fairly mild.

As with the aroma, the flavor is earthy and nutty--kind of like wheat bread and mild peanut butter, even. Some mild spice and grain notes. Very drinkable.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Decent and quite drinkable. A unique interpretation of the style. Glad I got to try it. Without flaw, but unexciting.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Wow. This beer was incredibly over-carbonated. Before I finished unscrewing the wire-top, the cork ripped its way off the bottle, shot up, slammed against the ceiling and bounced off someplace unknown.

Then, I had to leave it in the sink until about half the contents of the bottle gushed out in the form of foam. They *really* need to get their krausening under control.

About 15 minutes after opening, was able to get a pour out, though it still had a colossal head. The beer is an orange-amber color, very cloudy. Aroma quite fruity.

Flavor is not really very good, though. It's a very dry beer offering little sweetness or malt character (the label claims "complex maltiness"--it's not). Hops are present but don't offer a lot in the way of flavor, just some additional drying bitterness.

I'm lowering the overall score on account of the fact nearly half the beer went down my drain (and the cork launch terrified my sleeping cat Eenie).

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Photo of Pegasus
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Cloudy medium amber with a moderate, dense head, somewhat coarse, with scattered, patchy, thick lacing. The carbonation is fine and profuse. A loud exhalation of CO2 was heard when the bottle was uncapped.

Aroma: Rather tart and sour wheat notes, coriander, pepper, and some earthy notes. Phenolic alcohol is present as well.

Taste: Opens with a rather tart note, soon followed by musty notes and phenolic alcohol soon after. There are solid bread notes throughout. As the taste progresses, there are occasional notes of light fruit. Finishes with a mild, lingering medicinal hop note.

Mouth feel: Smooth and soft, pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: An interesting rendition of a rare, at least in Texas, style. One has to admire Adelbert's efforts in offering this unfamiliar style.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom eleven point two ounce Duvel-style bottle, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Bottling information: Batch 007, bottle #09916, bottled on 02/27/2012. Purchased at Spec's in Austin, Texas.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.17/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Gunshot cork was extremely willing to leave the bottle. Champagne bubbles but it didn't gush as others have reported. Pours into my chalice with a ridiculous 5 finger head of tan foam. Yeah, need to work on the carb levels. In a bit it settles out to a chunky half finger cover. Very hazy amber glass glows in back light.

Smell: Belgian yeast fruity esters, over ripe apricot, bit of fig, all on a sweet malty base.

Taste: Doesn't have the toffee or higher temp burnt sugar tastes, goes much more sweet and saision. Otherwise, it does have an earthy hop bitter dry finish that goes a bit dusty.
There's a slight soapy taste as well with an edge of green apple.

Mouthfeel: Suffers from the explosive carbonation dropping to a limp handshake. I think some of the soapiness I'm getting is actually from the texture. Big bubbled but flat.

Overall: A rookie effort, and it shows a bit. There's a home brew aspect here, that is good in the quality ingredients and passion. It's bad in the carbonation level and some mild off flavors that I think they can work out of the system with some practice. This is light, dry, and drinkable, but a bit off from style.
Cheers to a new Austin Brewery!

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From popping the cork to the last sip, this was a fine biere de garde. The malty brew had a nice reddish brown color and was mostly clear, and had plenty of carbonation and a big head.

Aroma and flavor were malty and Belgian yeast forward, a spicy complex playing of flavors, accented by the relatively high carbonation.

Body was medium and the high carbonation was appropriate for the style.

This was my first try for this brewery, and I'm pretty impressed. This isn't a common style, but this beer is an example of the style done well.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Almost clear, orange amber (SRM 8-10). A big, dense white foam fills the PBGC Sauvin Glass before slowly dissipating to leave thick patches of lace. A mix of random carbonation and columns of carbonation enliven the glass.

The aroma opens with ripe orchard fruit. Specifically, one notes apricots, apple pie, and pecans. Earthiness brings out a light, faint, funky yeast, however, the profile lacks complexity.

The flavors are a big muddy but one can pick out the components revealed in the nose. Sweetness and bitterness are fairly well balanced and a slight sourness is perceptible. The caramel is a little overplayed in a faint lingering finish.

This one has a medium to light body with a silky texture and moderate carbonation. Alcohol is as expected.

Scratchin’ Hippo was enjoyable on a cool Autumn afternoon and could hold pace with a Marzen this time of year. However, it lacks the warm, home-comfort typically expected from this style.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. The cork nearly shot out of my hand and it quickly overflowed from the bottle. The label had good story about the brewery and the beer. And it had the bottled date (2/8/12), batch number (006) and bottle number (1974) - major kudos for doing that and making it easy to find!! It was a hazy orange amber color with massive carb streams. It had a four finger head that very, very slowly settled into a constant 1-2 finger foam. Made it hard to drink as it was very foamy.

The aroma was heavy with earthy aromas (had a bit of a dirt aroma to it) from the yeast and malts. Good dose of sweet as well from the sugars. Not bad but seemed different than my typical biere de garde. The taste was also very earthy with a very sweet finish. Had a hard time getting into this one. Something just isn't blending right for me. Mouthfeel was full and way over carbonated. Sweet aftertaste.

Overall, glad to see another Texas brewery on the scene and I hope to try more of their beers in the coming weeks but this one isn't for me. Avail here in TX obviously. Rotation - one was enough [N;N]

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Photo of tubeyes
4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A Dark copper, light white head, dissapated quickly, leaving some lace.
S Strong malty, fruity flavors with some alcohol hints
T Lots of malts, fruits, nutty, pecan, some spice, orange, maybe banana in there somewhere, some alcohol hints
M Velvety mouthfeel with mild carbonation, good feeling drink, leaving a malty aftertaste
O Enjoyable beer, loved the flavor, backstory and the love and dedication that seems to have gone into this brew. Had from bomber in a Deep Ellum Cherry Double Brown Stout large snifter. Bottled: 12/13/12 Batch: 011 Bottle: 1801

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Photo of BMoney575
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampled on 5-9-15
Batch No. 020
Bottled on 6-5-14

Appearance: pours a cloudy, deep amber color, with a sizable head that quickly fades. Lacing sticks in thin rings all the way up.

Smell: slightly fruity, then a good, semi-sour Belgian kick. Buttery sweet malt shows up at the end.

Taste: continues the smell, sweet fruity malt all the way, with a Belgian hop finish. Aftertaste is sticky, sweet.

Mouthfeel: suits the beer, not too thick helps the sweetness.

Overall: a decent Belgian beer, maybe a bit too subtle.

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Photo of DavidST
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz short bottle into a goblet glass. This pours a slightly hazy tea color with a large off white head which has good retention. The smells are of citrus, a little funk. The feel is medium very high carbonination. The taste is okay, you get the alcohol, a little funk, some citrus.

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Photo of Myotus
4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle (bottled on 05Jun15) into a tulip. Beer was allowed to warm to 45°F before rating the aroma and taste.
LOOK: Pours with a finger's worth of khaki foam that halves itself after 35 seconds. Copper in color with a peach tint (pretty combination). The rising bubbles are in high quantities. Lacing is thin and moderate.
SMELL: Mild aromas of oak, coffee from roasted malts, caramelized malts, and sour yeast are up front. Hints of figs, spicy hops, and sweet chocolate lie beneath.
TASTE: Strong flavors of coffee combine with mild flavors of caramelized malts, coffee, and sweet chocolate to create the initial taste. Immediately after and as the intial flavors persist, mild oak and sour yeast flavors entangle with hints of figs and spicy hops. This tasted way different than what my nose would of thought. I love it.
FEEL: Full-bodied and mildly carbonated. This is so creamy and smooth, it's glorious. Like seriously. Wow. Unfortunately, the finish is moderately dry, but I could be worse.
NOTE: I see this is much lower by other people. Not too sure why. My experience was legit.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.52/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip. Batch No 025. Bottled on 7/31/15.
A: Pours a clear dark amber hue with 2 inch light tan head with excellent retention. Backlighting produces a nice dark honey color. Very nice...especially for style.
S: Toasted cracker grain, lightly sweet caramel malt, white pepper, earthy spice yeast, brown sugar, and a hint of clove and mint.
T: Brown sugar, cola, white pepper, clove, mint, delicately sweet caramel malt, cherry, soft cocoa, earthy spice, and a hint of wood smoke.
M: Light-medium body. Delicately sweet. Soft spice. Nice lingering and maturing on the palate. Rustic. Mild tickle of effervescence.
D: Exceptional for style. What a treat from Adelbert's! This is lovely on its own, but would pair very well with heavier fare.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Day-old (but unopened) growler poured into a stemless tulip pint.

Look- Hazy amber-brown with one finger of chalk-white head that fell quickly to a thin film. Decent amount of lace left as the glass empties.

Smell- Amber malt, light yeast spice, rose water, faint lemon, maybe some white raisin. Sweet, but not overly so. Not as "farmhouse-y" as I was expecting, but appealing nonetheless.

Taste- Like it smells, plenty of graham-cracker-like malt, vanilla, and bit of root beer-like spice. Mild citric hop bite at the start, toffeelike finish. Nothing unexpected, but very well balanced.

Mouthfeel- Crisp start, medium to full body. Silky on the swallow. Mild tartness towards the end. Drinks like a spicy dubbel, which seems appropriate.

Overall- Mild for the style, not particularly interesting, but it's pretty darn tasty, and easy-drinking to boot. I'm not sure I'd pick it up regularly, but I might snag one on tap now and again.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice deep hazy brown with reddish/amber hues toward the outer area of the ale, its topped off with a thick white, bubbly head that sticks around for some time. It’s got thick lacing too! The aroma is dry, very fruity, apples, grape and berries come through very well. Mildly tart, it is medium bodied, some spices do come through cleanly, phenolic alcohol tastes pretty good and is accompanied by mild bready flavors. Some fruit flavors do come through, there is a mild hop flavor in the aftertaste, but it is barely detectable. This is a very good beer and it goes down very smooth.

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Scratchin' Hippo from Adelbert's Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 143 ratings.
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