Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not quite dark enough

Brown ale always leaves me cold. As does its less sun tanned Irish cousin red ale (your Irish cousin will always be redder and less tanned than you are). Perhaps I desire too much, but a straight up brown ale lacks flavour. I tried some good brown ales in my pre-blog days but they were from the Dogfish Head stable and heavily adulterated. The first was Raison D'Etre, a very complex ale made with raisins. The second was their India Brown ale, again tinkered with, but this time with copious quantities of hops. More recently Brooklyn Brewery's brown ale didn't hit the mark either. For me brown ale becomes interesting when a brewer takes the bull by the horns and adds a decent measure of roasted malt and transforms a limp brown ale into a porter or stout. The vast majority of brown ales cannot stand alone. The metallic notes particularly irk me.

Cooper's call this beer their Dark Ale, but it's a brown ale, I'm sure of it. Aside from the deep brown colour it also has the metallic flavour I associate with these beers. And yet I cannot gripe too much. It has porter-like qualities in the form of port and malt loaf, yet it is also slightly stout like too. It has a lingering bitterness and distinct alcohol heat despite the modest 4.5% alcohol content. As with all Cooper's beers it has copious amounts of yeast in the bottom of the bottle - far too much. I agree with my father who says there is eating and drinking in bottle conditioned ale but I couldn't bring myself to put quite that much in the glass. So, something of an in-between beer with too much flavour to be the brown ale I dislike so, but not quite enough to push it into true dark beer territory.


Séan Billings said...

While I haven't tasted the coopers offering I have to agree with you about brown ales in general. My reaction is always; "Meh, is that it?".

Oblivious said...

I liked it, but its really a mild in the bottled from which some brewers call the generic name of brown ale