Critical Mass | Dark Star Brewing Company Limited

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Brewed by:
Dark Star Brewing Company Limited
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-09-2003

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Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 8
Reviews by wl0307:
Photo of wl0307
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Imbiber
4.97/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cask-conditioned at the Evening Star, Brighton, England (and also subsequently from take-out containers filled from the handpump).

Aged about a year in the cask, ABV 7.4% officially (though probably a bit more than that). Deep ruby red, with a gorgeous, complexly vinous aroma and a hint of spice. Small head with adequate carbonation.

On the first sip, the flavour comes bursting out with not the slightest hint of caution. Hops, alcohol, vine fruits, molasses, caramel and a touch of spice combine for a perfect mouthfeel; rich, complex and chewy. The flavours linger into a slowly-fading and highly enjoyable finish which is dominated by strong vine fruit notes together with some molasses. My tongue is in sheer heaven when encountering this beer.

This is a beautifully-crafted, wonderfully complex masterpiece of a beer - truly exceptional, especially when aged.

 876 characters

Photo of Ruds
3.33/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No longer retired - On cask at the Sussex Arms, Twickenham Green dispensed into an English half pint pot on Jan 28th 2012

ABV is now 7.4%

Dark brown in colour, verging on black with a little ruby hue around the edges when held to the light, topped with a small white/off white head

On the nose a whiff of chocolate, liqourice and berry fruits

On the palate a complex series of tastes, alcohol, malt, sugars, burnt sugar/malt flavours, faint chocolate notes dried berries, liquorice, maybe other spices thrown in, a little aniseed?

Full bodied beer, smooth on the palate

Overall I was a little disappointed by Critical Mass, too much of a 'pure' alochol flavour in the taste that wasn't disguised and built into the beer well enough in my opinion!

 753 characters

Photo of wbthink
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the rare opportunity to try this cask-conditioned Dark Star Critical Mass, Vintage August 2003, via a friend's efforts to secure some "to-go" in a large Coke bottle direct from their hand pumps.
This vintage was 7.4%, and is based on an 8 year tradition at Dark Star of producing a hearty end of the year ale. This Christmas holiday inspired, dark brown (with red highlights), Strong/Old Ale has a distinctive vanilla and malt nose. The flavors range from caramel to slight sourness, and possible oxidation (in a good way) coming into play. Critical Mass has a medium-full body with a Scotch Ale, low hop bitterness and malt-forward, focus. The finish was smooth, and lingered on the palate. In my opinion, Critical Mass was nice, but with possibly another 2-3 years of "bottle" conditioning, it would move to the next level. I like Old Ales, and feel time and oxidation actually enhance the malty flavors by adding a nice rummy, port-like accents. I encourage those inspired, to seek out cask Critical Mass, and to push for a future release of a Dark Star vintage bottle product (of this annual beer).

 1,110 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had the pleasure of enjoying this beer after it was procured by a fellow BA member. Thank you, Imbiber.

Sometimes it's funny... you order a really nice-looking beer with awesome presentation. Perhaps a corked bottle with a film of dust on it, poured into a nice goblet. Sometimes a mysterious homebrew in a pint glass. This beer was poured out of a two-liter Coke bottle into a breakfast juice glass.

Did it matter? No. It had a small head on it with slight to moderate carbonation, exactly what I expected from a 7.4% cask-conditioned strong ale. It really looked nice... sort of a dark ruby color, like a brown porter.

The aroma was definitely all malt. There was a little bit of spice in the background, but it had a burnt caramel/currant/raisin smell to it, that might have been partially due to oxidation...

This rare and wonderful beer had all of the full-bodied complexity in the mouthfeel. It was robust without being viscous, and it drank well. It had a very complex estery profile with added an extra dimension to the experience.

Overall, I was very impressed with this beer. Most of it has to do with the beer itself, but some of it undoubtedly has to do with the serendipitous procurement of it.

 1,226 characters

Photo of steverx8
3.74/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Kirk
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Jolly Butcher's in north London.

Very dark brown and ruby tinted with a solid, persistent cap of white froth. Full-bodied texture and an intense flavour profile similar to a barley wine. Big malt flavours of roasted barley, dark fruits, caramel, and licorice with a spicy dry finish.

 299 characters

Critical Mass from Dark Star Brewing Company Limited
4.19 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.
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