James Squire Malt Runner | Malt Shovel Brewery

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James Squire Malt RunnerJames Squire Malt Runner
15 Ratings
James Squire Malt RunnerJames Squire Malt Runner

Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 15 |  Reviews: 14
Reviews by SleepyMonk:
Photo of SleepyMonk
2.6/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle poured into an English style pint glass.

Pours a dark hot chocolate with a molasses and sticky malt shine to the the surface of the liquid. Two fingers worth of loosely bubbles tan head rise up toward to the top of the glass, I should add that it took some finesse during the pour to achieve that size head. It laced away rather quickly after that.

Aroma is dried out aged wine barrels with a host of fresh grain fighting for dominance. Coffee bean bitterness holds the above at bay and proves the dominant aroma. The scent of cherry and perhaps plumb sits low within the body.

Taste, as expected, is dominated by malt with a kind of sweet and sour tug-a-war with caramel and chocolate. The taste of over-roasted to burnt coffee bean comes through strongly each time only to give away to a very mild sweetening towards the end as the cherry flavor begins to settle in as the beer dries off.

Body is practically water thin and the mixture is a little over-carbonated for my liking. This, being a bottle session, also introduced a problem that the beer came across as being oxidized. This of course would not be a problem when tasting on-tap so I have not let this fact enter my scoring.

Various elements were there but wasn't there is a common binding element that holds the various flavors and textures together. The yeast (as noted amongst these pages and elsewhere in other sources an from within industry) is that the yeast is a big miss.

One would be forgiven for thinking/assuming that this corner-cutting was out of necessity to keep the price of this offering well within the expectation of the wider market perhaps.

One final observation is that I would like to run a double tasting between this and the James Squire Porter; the Malt Runner is very similar to my recollection of it.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of vandemonian
4.12/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

James Squire Malt Runner is a delicious winter warmer that was much better than I expected. A warm and malty flavour with notes of chocolate and cherry.

A: Dark brown colour and a 1 cm head that fades quite quickly. 4

S: Malt along with a strong cherry smell. 4.5

T: Malty with roasty warm flavours. Some earthy chocolate. 4

M: Foamy. 4

O: 4

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Photo of Kulrak
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark ruby brown with a decent amount of foamy head that fades to a thin layer of cream that laces the glass. Smells of chocolate, a little of toffee, and a lot of chocolate malt. Tastes of dark malt, more chocolate/toffee and very little dry hoppy bitterness. Finishes very dry. Mouthfeel is very creamy but not heavy. Overall it's a very nice dark ale, and I will be looking for it again. Another good James Squire seasonal.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours a very nice ebony colour with a tanned tight white head that retains and reduces to a film.

S - Roasty chocolate from the bottle.Much the same once poured.

T - Nice flavours of chocolate and a little caramel, finishes with a little sweet taste, not sure if it's cherry though.

M - Medium body and nice carbonation.

D - A solid release from Chuck Hahn, who continues to bring these beers to the masses by way of a steady education. I like the balance in this beer, it has a bit of everything and beats this years Mad Brewers release by some way.

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Photo of pin
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%

Photo of WHROO
4.02/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Overall I really enjoyed this limited release...

Dark, sweet & that hint of cherry sweetness rounded this out pleasantly...

Dark porter in appearance with a nice 1 finger head.

Aroma definately had chocolate, with a hint of caramel sweetness, plus some fruit (cherry I gather)

Taste was good, sweet, not too dark or bitter, but did have cocoa, chocolate, coffee, & finished with a restrained bitterness, & had that very interesting cherry mid-palate.

Mouthfeel was also good, but lacked the thickness of a real winter warmer...also very lively in carbonation

Drinkability...thumbs up!! I have a slab in the fridge that I am loving. Already sessioned it once & really enjoy this...

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Photo of juju7
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not a lot of love around town or the Malt Shovel releases it seems. Personally, I think this is pretty damn decent. What you have here is a dark lager wth some serious coffee on the nose which for some reason is the only flavour that doesn't get a mention on the label. The dark chocolate is there in spades too-not bad, but I'm not a coffee man. Combining this with the cherry juice flavours and you end up with a Cherry Ripe kinda vibe as some have noted. Personally I love Cherry Ripes and putting one in my beer is not such a bad idea. A wintery beer for sure and what it lacks in wow factor it makes up for in comfort.

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Photo of mulder1010
2.08/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

345 ML bottle poured into a tulip

A-- Poured a dark ruby (or cherry) color, with a quick fading light brown head that became film. Some short lived head retention, but nothing really exciting. No lacing. Appearance wise medium carbonation.

S-- Chocolate, Carmel, and cherry. Not a big or rich chocolate with this. On the thin side. The cherry is soft, nice, but still soft. Same with the Carmel. Smell could be so much bigger and more robust.

T-- Actually could be ok, IF they used a different yeast. The cherry is good and there is a slight amount of sour to this. The chocolate is thin and watery. The carmel finish is soft and decent but the whole thing just does not pair well at all. Has to be the Tooheys yeast.

M-- More sour than anything else. Very over carbonated and bloating. Feels like a less inspired version of Tooheys Old. Not impressed one bit.

D-- If you can get over the over carbonation and bloated feel the 5.2% ABV is great. Though very thin and watery for a winter warmer. Somebody take Master Brewer Chuck Hahn to Oregon and have him try Jubale, or Sam Smiths Winter Welcome. Really a sad effort and the use of Tooheys yeast for a winter welcome is plain wrong. Needs to be richer and fuller, not over carbonated and bloating like Tooheys New is. The Meantime Winter Welcome is only at 5.4 %ABV and leagues ahead of this beer. UGH and I bought a 6 pack!

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby colour with copper tinge at the edge. Head is beige, nice and dense but thinning quickly, leaving a nice sheet of dense off-white lace. Apart from the lace, pretty blah.

Nose is very malty, but with a pleasant toasty aroma. A lot of toffee but the toastiness balances it well, makes it smell like burnt sugar. Hint of molasses and a mild coffee note, maybe a slight banana ester at the back just cuts through. Decent, but a bit too mild, makes it slightly bland and simple.

Taste is different. Malty for sure but has a weak sour character towards the mid, not quite enough to notice, tastes kind of like watered-down red wine vinegar but yeah, not a huge amount. Slight cider twang then more of that richer maltiness on the back, distinct molasses with a mild espresso character, falls short of roasty bitterness though, just a slightly more-robust-than-average maltiness, slightly bitter on the back, but nothing special.

Smooth mouthfeel, but a bit thin, not a lot of texture. Fairly boring.

Ultimately just another bland, drinkable ale. Malty, toasty, sessionable. Doesn't make me leap for joy.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely dark and rich reddish amber colour, with good clarity. Head is a fine filmy of sticky white foam. Good lacing. Overall, a very nice looking beer.

Nose is very malty, with rich sweet grain characteristics prominent, counteracted by a subtle acidity, perhaps the cherries. Pretty round and sweet, but with just enough to balance it.

Taste is a little thinner than I expected, but it's pleasant enough. Initial grain and bread notes disappear quickly into the very light mid palate that doesn't really expose much at all. There's a welling of roasty bitterness on the back that adds some depth. Overall, it feel a little simple.

A drinkable beer, and not unbalanced, but I feel it needs something a little bit more full and forward to it. Still, a very decent sessioner - mild enough that you could have more than a couple.

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Photo of xylophonica
4.02/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a chalice.

A - Dark copper colour with plenty of carbonation bubbles. Very little head.

S - Oak and various old woods. Definite cherry and port.

T - Bitter chocolate with cherry and the malt kick you expect from this brewer. Quite strong on the palate with loads of carbonation.

M - Sweet at first but with a pressing fizz and spiciness which works slowly as you consume. Main flavours fade away but then come back again as an aftertaste. You certainly know you're alive when you drink this beer!

D - Goes down a treat but is suprisingly complex. Would love a few more of these.

In my opinion James Squire is the best of the major brewers within Australia. And it's beers like this that help it keep that reputation. These seasonal brews tend to be a bit hit and miss but this one is all class. The mouthfeel for me was the surprise here; I just didn't expect it to be so lively. A couple of interesting points from the bottle 1) this beer is actually brewed with an 'extract of cherry' so you're definitely not imagining that flavour in there, 2) according to the blurb rum used to be used as a currency in this country.. what a shame times have changed.

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Photo of ADZA
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the new winter release from James Squire its a dark lager brewed with 5 different malts,cherry juice right at the end and it does not say what hops are used and on the front label its flavour notes state"chocolate richness,hint of cherry,caramel malt finish" lets see if they are right,it pours a deep cherry,mahogany hue with decent carbonation that leaves a creamy two finger head and a rim of lacing,the aromas are cherry,coffee,caramel and a tinge of dark fruit,it has a pretty light mouthfeel for a winter warmer but easily accomodates for more than one of and exudes tastes of dark chocolate,cherry and finishes with a nice toffee,mocha finish,overall not a bad brew that i would drink again but do hope their september release is more out there.

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Photo of madvoice
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark chocolatey colour with a creamy head with some lacing.

S - Has a very strong chocolate malt smell with a hint of caramel and citrus.

T - Tastes very much of chocolate malt with a slight coppery aftertaste that balances the flavours quite nicely.

M - Mouthfeel is very smooth and quite creamy.

D - Very moreish and am glad that a sixer was purchased instead of just the one.

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Photo of dgilks
3.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich, Munich malt and grain aroma. Touches of chocolate. A little bit insipid.

Clear, mahogany colour with a big, fluffy, light tan head. Good head retention.

Good chocolate and espresso flavour. A hint of cherry is noticeable. Rich malts and just a hint of acidity. Unfortunately, the yeast thy have used does not suit the beer. The use of standard Tooheys lager yeast lends a slightly empty, insipid character to the finish. A richer ale yeast would be more suitable here.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. It's suitable if unexceptional.

Easy to drink but mostly due to the lack of overly confronting flavours. A decent attempt from James Squire but, to be honest, a brewery with their experience really should try something a bit bolder.

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Photo of LittleCreature
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 4.0
Pours a thumb of beige head over a body that looks dark brown, but when held to direct light is ruby red with great clarity.

Smell - 3.5
Surprisingly, coffee is the main aroma with a little cocoa and caramel.

Taste - 3.5
Rather dry with flavours of unsweetened cocoa and coffee with a slightly sooty burnt quality. A little caramel sweetness and a suggestion of cherry comes through in the finish.

Mouthfeel - 3.5
Light to medium bodied with fine carbonation.

Drinkability - 3.5
Nice enough, but not interesting enough to warrant a second purchase.

Certainly a difficult beer to classify as the label says it is a dark lager. I can't see it as a winter warmer - it's far too light and dry for that. A fairly pleasant if unexciting dark lager.

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James Squire Malt Runner from Malt Shovel Brewery
Beer rating: 3.46 out of 5 with 15 ratings