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Thread: Weak Beer, Strong Flavour

  1. #1

    Default Weak Beer, Strong Flavour

    When it comes to choosing a pint I tend to head to the middle range of the spectrum, 4.3% to 5.3% say, as it allows a few to go down with decent character and flavour. It also avoids the often insipid beers found at 4% and below. The ubiquitous GK IPA springs to mind.

    I have found a number of beers recently though at 4% and below which really pack in the flavour and character. A testament to the bewers art, these beers are, to the non-brewing expert, clever, welcome and very drinkable.

    Three top beers which I've tried recently are Marble W90 at 3.9%, Black Hole Brewery Asteroid and Blue Monkey Evolution both at 4%. All breweries producing top quality ales in my experience.

    Is this a new trend as I can't remember drinking many great beers at the lower end of the strength spectrum, how do the brewers do it and are there any more good examples of lower strength beers punching well above their weight for flavour?
    Last edited by Thuck Phat; 05-02-2011 at 09:13.

  2. #2
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Harveys (Sussex) is 'just' 4.0%, and that works for me (although I wouldn't really call it a weak beer).

    And Cwrw Glaslyn from Bragdy Mŵs Piws (OK, it's the Glaslyn Ale from the Purple Moose Brewery) at 4.2% would be well into the 'medium' category in my opinion.

    However, these are probably both "full of flavour" rather "strong flavour" (which is probably no bad thing, given the ghastly efforts from some brewers who stick ginger, liquorice, chocolate and goodness knows what into their beer in an attempt to make them stand out).

    (I was going to finish this by making a cheap jibe about Greene King IPA, but...).
    Last edited by rpadam; 05-02-2011 at 09:52.

  3. #3
    I'll stay on me own PaulOfHorsham's Avatar
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    A couple of beers of similar style (and both coming in at 3.8%) are Oakham JHB and Dark Star Hophead, both also, as Thuck mentions, quality breweries. These have both been around for a good many years (though neither as long as Harvey's Sussex Best!) and are fairly common in discerning free houses.

    I'm hoping to get hold of some King Brighton Best shortly - this is 4% and I've been hearing good things, so it's time to form my own opinion, I think.

  4. #4
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    That's the glory of English beer. I cut my teeth on Brakespear's ordinary bitter, all of 3.5% and Morland's, which must have been around the same. Both were packed with flavour and you could have quite a few pints without risk of talking nonsense. Young's ordinary is about the same strength, and Harvey's Pale (ala Hadlow) though a little watery in comparison to Best has vastly more flavour than any comparable strength lager - Carling, Carlsberg etc - will ever manage to deliver. To achieve any sort of flavour at all they need the sweetness from a high alcohol content, hence 1664, Grolsh, 'beater and the rest are all over 5% and you're a dribbling mess by the fifth pint.
    Last edited by NickDavies; 05-02-2011 at 10:39. Reason: typo

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    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    And how about Hobsons Mild at just 3.2%? The following blurb is taken from the brewery website, but isn't wide of the mark:

    "CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain 2007, Hobsons Mild has a smooth character and taste notes of chocolate malt which gives this beer plenty of flavour and aroma that belies its strength. A British classic crafted to Hobsons special recipe makes this a nutty mild and despite being only 3.2% abv it's packed full of flavour."

  6. #6
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
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    Brewdog Edge (3.2%) & Brodies' Citra (3.1%) are very different examples of packing flavour into lower abv beers.

  7. #7
    Pussy Galore No 1 Oggwyn Trench's Avatar
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    As well as the great Mild , Hobsons Twisted Spire (3.6%) is a cracking pint , from the historic All Nations , Shires Dabley Ale (3.8%) another cracker and two from Purple Moose , Snowdonia Ale (3.6%) and Madogs Ale (3.7%) both gorgeous
    Theres a Man with a Mullet going Mad with a Mallet in Millets !

  8. #8
    Real Ale Drinker Crossste's Avatar
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    E&S or the Elland Brewery used to do a lightish mild called First Light which was 3.5% and very tasty and quaffable.

    Not sure if it is still brewed as "Oops! This link appears to be broken" came up when trying to Google.
    From the home of the kebab of doom

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    I'll stay on me own
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    I like a drink of Batemans Dark Mild its only 3% but its got a lot of taste to it.

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    Pussy Galore No 1 Oggwyn Trench's Avatar
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    One i forgot and its pretty rare up here is Donnington BB (3.6%) its a great session beer
    Theres a Man with a Mullet going Mad with a Mallet in Millets !

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