James Squire Australian Strong Ale / Best Ale | Malt Shovel Brewery

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James Squire Australian Strong Ale / Best AleJames Squire Australian Strong Ale / Best Ale
Very Good
19 Ratings
James Squire Australian Strong Ale / Best AleJames Squire Australian Strong Ale / Best Ale

Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by packetknife on 06-23-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by ohitsbrad:
Photo of ohitsbrad
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8 January 2005

Clear orange-amber colour with a small white head. Aroma of toffee, fruit and honey. The flavour is rich, malty, sweet and honeyish. Toffee, caramel and fruit (orange, mandarin?) flavours are evident with just a slight floral hop taste to balance. Medium bodied and adequately carbonated. Overall this is a very drinkable sweetish ale.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of rastaman
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeah, quite tasty stuff. Aroma is slightly subdued, with some raisins, cookies and some citrusy hops. The malt has a very Anzac biscuity flavour, coupled with the raisony, slightly buttery malts and the citrusy, decently bitter hops. The finish is quite long and bitter. Pretty much a copy-book English strong ale, tasty.

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Photo of Kulrak
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown leather color, with some ruby. No real head to speak of, could just be that I tilted the glass. Smells of malt, some earthy tones, slight fruitiness there as well. The taste is very nice, a lot of roast malt flavor, not overpowering though. Enough bitterness to balance it out. It's very enjoyable. Mouthfeel is very thick, not creamy, but just heavy. Adds to the taste to make it a very robust experience. I like this beer a lot, it may be my new favorite beer. It's just too bad it's seasonal/limited.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Upon pouring the beer a crystalline burnished copper color with a majestic light tan head and creamy texture. As the head dissolves a fine sheet of lace forms and seals the glass nicely. Nose sweet malt, fresh and clean with a slight hint of caramel, quite pleasant to the olfactory and ocular senses, start is sweet malt, the top middling in feel. Finish has a mild carbonation with the hops persistent in their spicy bite, quite dry aftertaste that also hints of the high ABV, by leaving a slight but enjoyable alcohol bitterness on the palate, all in all a good beer.

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Photo of goatherder
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasting the 2005 limited release, best before date 9th March 2006

A: Deep amber in colour, plenty of medium sized bubbles. Creamy coloured heard with large bubbles, a little darker on the outside of the head. Beer was poured aggressively and resulted in a large head which dissipated fairly quickly to a 1/2 finger head.

S: A little sweetness from the malt, some fruitiness (berries), maybe even a hint of toastiness. Definitely pleasant. Quite complex, hard for a beginner like me to pick out much.

T: A good hit of bitterness, followed by tonnes of flavour. There is a little sweetness up front and a hint of the alcohol (6.8% ABV) in the aftertaste. The bitterness lasts in the mouth, very refreshing. The taste is very typical of the style.

M: Big mouthfeel, I love them like this. Carbonation is not too high, makes for easy drinking.

D: A very easy drinker, easy to come back for more.

Overall, a very nice beer. This is my pick of the James Squire range. I have recently returned from England and this isn't a bad substitute for an English pub bitter. A bit easier to get in Oz.

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Photo of pin
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

Photo of joecast
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

clear dark mahogany in color and forms a minimal head of fine bubbles. pours as thick as anything from the bottle.
one of my favorite things to do when the head of a beer dies down is to give the glass a swirl and see if the head re-forms. well, this beer is as good as or better than Arrogant Bastard at doing this. each swirl formed a denser, creamier head.
strong aroma of sweet malt. floral as well and a bit estery.
well balanced taste with nothing dominating. some toffee sweetness with a bit of warmth at the back of the mouth.
very smooth mouthfeel.
would love to try this again in about six or twelve months and see if some of the sweetness drys out at all. otherwise, a very nice beer.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chill hazed dark amber brown with a moderate creamy brown head. Strong malty sweet aroma and taste; candy-like. Light flowery hop aroma and double bock like in flavor. Medium-full bodied and smooth with a dry malty finish and a warming alcohol sensation.

Per bottle and M.S. website: "Crystal wheat and several malted barleys, rare Australian hops, and wild fermentation with an English Ale yeast"

(345 ml)

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Photo of packetknife
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red, very uniform and clean, off-white foamy head that faded. Smells sweet but can't quite place what I'd compare it to. Very hoppy, slightly sharp, the smell carries onto the tongue. Maybe a bit of cherry. Smooth and very drinkable, esp. given the ABV.

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Photo of koolk
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice deep brown in colour with a head that was gone as soon as it came.

The nose on this was great. Mainly found choc/cocao mixed in with fruits such as red grapes, currants and cherries on a roasty base. Good stuff.

Very complex taste that was a real pleasure to drink that seemed to change with every sip. Deep roast, slight bitterness and good length. More fruit and cocoa (almost a slighty subtle cherry ripe flavour!) with hints of spice like aniseed. Good mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden and hardly noticed.

Another great Squires brew! Well done (again!).

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Photo of marburg
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unfortunately, my notes are a bit terse and bereft of the poetic references this brew deserves. With that said, let me scream, "Toffee, toffee, toffee!" Toffee-inspired brownish color. Malty, English-style aroma. Burnt toast. Caramel. Depth of character aims to please. Chocolate and mild estery character leads to toffee mid-palate and an aggressive, roasted malt-ish bitter close. A superior ale that hides any essence of alcohol behind an impressive array of complexities for the style and "feel" of the brew.

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Photo of Jables
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Gusler for sharing on a brew I've never seen nor heard of, but has expanded my horizons and warmed a sub-zero evening.

Pours amber with a big bubbly head.

Aroma is sweet, slightly tart with hints of grain beneath the surface. Bready notes as well as some candy sugar can also be detected.

Flavor is rock candy, sweet malt with just enough balance that you can't point to the hops right off the bat but the sweetness isn't cloying at all, It's definitely not slutty. Some estery hops come through as this one goes down.

Mouthfeel is nice and coating.

Overall, very tasty, sweet beer, I imagine this would be great to cap off a session.

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Photo of diablo14
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

an amazing beer from james squire. one of the most ambitious beers brewed here and theyve come pretty close to brewing one of the best ever.

a cross between a great english ale and a strong altbier, it has rich amber color with a thick rocky head, the nose has it all. malts, a touch of roastiness, nuts, fresh baked biscuits, dried fruits and noble hops. bold flavor that really crams it all in but never loses balance. malty, with the tastes of butternut snaps, hazelnuts, citrus zest, currants, and even cherry like traces all backed up with a lovely dry hops bitterness which works perfectly with the sweet flavors of the beer. has an awesome lingering finish that is right on the money. the best thing about this beer is that even tho it is 6.8 AV, i can drink a six pack and barely notice. there are few beers of this power where i can get away with this. a session beer with some potency!

its only a seasonal brew, but i do know it will be back next year. and after knocking down about a half dozen cases of this, all i can say is HALLELULYAH! one of the finest beers from the southern hemisphere full stop. makes me truly believe that there are brewers out there that want to brew classics in this country. its got it all.

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Photo of Naerhu
3.14/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to TimE's dad for bringing this out to Japan.

A - Amber transparent body, white head.
S - Dogfood and caramel
T - Big barley, not very sweet. Hints of nuts and cherries. Restrained bitterness.
M - Smooth.
D - By far the best of the James Squire line, I enjoyed this.

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Photo of jarmby1711
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark brown in colour.
Smells of coffee/chocolate malt
The taste is dominated by the strong coffee malt, to be almost overpowering.
This is not a style that I think I particularly like, or ready for.
Its not for the faint hearted .Too strong and too malty for my taste buds.

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

Best Ale pours a beautiful dark tan color with a nice light brown to off-white head that sticks nicely to the sides of the glass.

The smell is very malty and sweet. No hop aroma.

It takes guts to call a beer your best, but Malt Shovel delivers with this ale. Just like the smell, its taste is all malt. Strong and sweet flavors mix with roasted malt taste to make a great ale. The flavor lingers in the mouth after swallowing and makes the roasted malts even more apparent.

Those Aussies at Malt Shovel are brewers to pay attention to. They are brewing great beer.

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Photo of beernbbq
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful beer. Truly awesome chocolate and toffee aroma greets you as does its caramel appearance. A clean wonderful toffee flavor that sticks around all the way up to the clean dry finish. I may have another shortly, as this beer belies its 6.8% ABV.

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Photo of revdrjbob
2.8/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Sampled this from the bottle with my old man. Last time I tried this was from the Real Beer pack in '04, it was yeasty and with big vegemite. I was worried that this'd take the same track, but happily(?) it didn't.

Poured into Leffe goblets a deep amber, burnished copper colour. Had a white head that dissipated quickly.

Aroma: A slight hoppyness on the nose, followed by hints of caramel, spices (cinnamon?), citrus, toffee and toast.

Taste: Quite good, I was seriously worried, as I said. Slight hoppyness, crystal and caramel malts, a solid malt backbone, yet a bit thin... A slight plucyness on the tongue, finishes dry and bitter, more than I expected. As this Strong ale warms (which isn't too long on NYE), it does get a bit of a harshness to it, but that's ok, cause it's gone soon.

Not too bad, I wouldn't mind seeing a BIG strong ale from JS.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark garnet color, with an average-sized, spotty, cream-colored head.
Aroma: Heavy on fruit (grape, berry, raisin), sweet, but otherwise calm and airy.
Big hop arrival here, that lingers and sizzles through the finish. Mellow otherwise, but fruity flavor is full and continual. Body is medium, taste resounds, though, and makes every sip a treat.
Bright cherryish sensation dominates the flavor, and alcohol doesn't feel strong for a "Strong Ale". Maybe I've been conditioned by over-the-top American versions, that hit you with the booze unrelentingly...but this is a nice, little tasty treat, a fine replacement for the brandy in the snifter while leaning back and contemplating on the mysteries of life...

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James Squire Australian Strong Ale / Best Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 19 ratings