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21-02-2010, 05:48
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I've always been a fan of stronger ales, ever since I first tasted Old Peculier (http://www.theakstons.co.uk/ales/classics/oldpeculier.html) many years ago. For me the fuller richer flavours of these beers are far more satisfying than standard beers. Strangely, I can stomach more volume of such beers without feeling bloated and uncomfortable than a standard bitter for instance, although admittedly I've never actually measured that, so the reader would be best advised to take my assertions with a large pinch of salt.

I entered into a debate on twitter earlier this day. I believe there were several contributors to the debate and although we probably reached a satisfactory conclusion, it is perhaps a shame that by the nature of twitter it is fast to be lost into some unreachable archive very rapidly indeed. So, I'm going to poke that one back into life again in the hope that the contributors might post some comments here, and finally help to put this one to rest.

Of course everyone is different. Everybody has different preferences in their tastes. For me I like to try something different, something that challenges my perceptions, perhaps I just get bored easily. What ever the reason I do often despair when people talk about the drinkability of a beer. It would seem some want to defend a boring bland beer because it has drinkability and moreover this is a facet of a beer often overlooked, or so we are told. I'll have to confess I normally switch off as soon as a writer decides to give a beer that accolade. To me it immediately tells me the person is trying to defend a beer that is actually boring and unimaginative. A beer that in fact I'd drink if I had to, but I'd find so boring that I wouldn't drink more if I could find an excuse.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_O84sLy2BcMw/S4BojBXYLpI/AAAAAAAAAlo/oFK91raVhHE/s320/P2205060+copy.JPG (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_O84sLy2BcMw/S4BojBXYLpI/AAAAAAAAAlo/oFK91raVhHE/s1600-h/P2205060+copy.JPG)But then the crowd on twitter got me thinking. What is drinkable for me? Sure, there are some eminently drinkable session beers. My own Light Cascade at 3.4% might just hit the bill, although I find it a little bit thin and watery to be honest. But it has been accused of being drinkable. How could I argue with that? But I do get disinterested if all I have is 4%, or there about beers. For me drinkability is about satisfaction and enjoyment. I could go down the supermarket and get a few cans of lout, for goodness sake, if I wanted drinkability. If I wanted to do my internal organs in that fast, with binge style consumption, then why bother looking for interesting beer?

I've just bottled my most recent and strongest ever beers. One is a stout that has been in a second hand oak cask. I'm not entirely sure what was in the cask before I put beer in it, but its come out tasting a lot like a good Islay whisky. If I knew it had a good islay whisky in it then there could be all sorts of trouble due to some such process called grogging (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/spirmanual/spir3200.htm). I didn't think it mattered, so apologies to Zak Avery because I didn't believe him and thanks to John Keeling for shattering my illusion.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_O84sLy2BcMw/S4ByqRJJfDI/AAAAAAAAAlw/RWioZ_zX6lE/s320/P2205061+copy.JPG (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_O84sLy2BcMw/S4ByqRJJfDI/AAAAAAAAAlw/RWioZ_zX6lE/s1600-h/P2205061+copy.JPG)I'm not sure how to deal with this small problem as it seems HMRC tie themselves in knots if you try to be honest about the fact. However, a hypothetical beer that was made in such a way would possibly taste really nice. I believe my ĘtherBlęc has a flavour similar to a beer that would have spent 4 and a half months in a Caol Ila cask.

The Barley Wine, called Granite, I'm also pleased with. I find both beers eminently drinkable, although I suspect many other people wouldn't. Still, I also like Paradox, Tokyo* and Tactical Nuclear Penguin. I've got another beer, with an unmentionable name, on it's way. I expect some drinking to occur on Friday when Andy (http://www.beerreviews.co.uk/) is here. We will probably find many of these beers drinkable. There really is no accounting for taste.

And would you believe it, whilst going over to Andy's site to copy and paste the URL, there is another post on the subject (http://www.beerreviews.co.uk/beer/drinkability/). I do hope he brings a spare liver when he visits me, apparently he can't drink barley wine all night, light weight.

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