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Beer Tasting 06/04/15: Australian Craft Beers
Craft beer line-up for tasting

From left to right: Bridge Road Brewers – Enigma, Feral – iWit, Doctor’s Orders – Iron Lung, Mornington Peninsula – Mornington Sorachi, Moon Dog – Love Tap Double Lager, Wolf of the Willows – ISA, Bridge Road Brewers – India Saison, Two Birds – Sunset Ale, Red Hill Brewery – Golden Ale, Feral – Sly Fox, Moa – Five Hop, Nail – Red Ale, Wolf of the Willows – XPA, Feral – Hopfen Farht, Brew Cult – Hop Zone, Brew Cult – Supa Fly, Brew Cult – Keep on Truckin, Six String Brewery – Dark Red IPA, Moon Dog – Marmajuke, Noisy Minor – Ansuz IPA, Chimay – Grand Reserve (not included in the tasting).


Tasting 20 Australian Craft Beers

After a miserable start to the weekend, the sun magically showed up just in time for our Beer Tasting on Easter Sunday. Presented with the massive range of beers at Beer Cartel, we decided to confine our selection to Australian craft beers (OK we had 1x New Zealand craft beer) ranging from the lighter end of the spectrum (pilsners, wit bier) to the heavy duty IPAs.

Our reference point for scoring includes Matilda Bay’s Fat Yak as a solid 7/10 (a great beer and excellent value) and 4 Pines Pale Ale as 9/10 (a fantastic beer and high scorer from our previous tasting).

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The rating scale

1-3= Toxic
4= Offensive
5 = Pass (You would drink it if put in front of you)
6= Pleasant but you wouldn’t go out of your way to buy it
7= A great beer that you would buy at the bottleshop
8-10= Outstanding



A few interesting things to note:

  • Australian beer makers are obsessed with hops. The majority of beers have heavy hop flavouring while it seems that developing malt flavours feels like an afterthought or very low priority.
  • You can’t taste beers like a traditional wine tasting going from light to stronger flavours. We needed to break up the IPAs with lighter beers as we were suffering from hop fatigue.
  • Some beers are very interesting and complex but are a bit too heavy duty to drink too much of. A beer’s smashability (how easy/pleased you’d be to demolish a 6 pack) became an important characteristic as we progressed through the list.
  • What the hell is an India Saison? Googling did not really enlighten us. Whatever it is, it is mind-blowingly tasty.
  • The standout was the Moa Five Hop. Incredibly well balanced, complex and very nice length. Everything I’ve tasted out of this brewery has been fantastic and this particular beer inspired our most evocative review.
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Quote of the night

“Chronological impressions: tastes like skiing, red and green knitted winter sweater, a beer from a guy named Olaf who comes from a long line of beer makers who have perfected it over generations. Well balanced to pull you in initially but not bore you as you keep drinking. Solid beer, best enjoyed 1L at a time.” W's review of the Moa Five Hop


The Top 5:

  1. Five Hop, Moa, Winter Ale – 8.8 pts
  2. Marmajuke, Moon Dog, IPA – 8.7 pts
  3. Hopfen Farht, Feral, German IPA – 8.5 pts
  4. India Saison, Bridge Road Brewers, India Saison – 8.2 pts
  5. Ansuz IPA, Noisy Minor, IPA – 8.2 pts


 The Taste Results

The beers were tasted and scored from three experienced volunteers (S, P, and W). The scores were then averaged and tabled in the results below.

Average Score
1 iWit, Feral, Imperial Wit Bier 7.7
S Little malt Strong Coriander
P Coriander seed on the nose
W Strong herb additive - coriander seed? Interesting as a tasting beer but may be too much in a six pack.
2 Enigma, Bridge Road Brewers, Pilsener 7.8
S V Low malt Not much length
P Lychee Peppery
W Light and fruity - lychee flavoured? Would be popular with the girls or secure guys
3 Iron Lung, Doctor's Orders, Pilsener 6.0
S Dark smoky bitter
P Ashy salty, Bitter aftertaste too light body for a black beer
W Smoky, ashy, charcoal. Pleasant ashy aftertaste. Not very complex but not a disappointing single glass. Would not be widely popular.
4 Mornington Sorachi, Mornington Peninsula, Japanese Kolsch 5.6
S Very bitter, lots of length
P Lemongrass Aftertaste very odd
W Very pissy. Someone already drank this one.
5 Love Tap Double Lager, Moon Dog, Lager 7.3
S V. Bitter Hoppy aftertaste, full bodied
P Hoppy after taste.Initially not great but the more I drink the more complex flavours revealed
W Not strongly flavoured, hit of alcohol and bitterness after the swallow that quickly evaporates. No discernible flavours or beeriness.
6 ISA, Wolf of the Willows, India Saison 7.7
S Citrus Bitter Like an American IPA
P Hoppy without bitterness. Light body
W Interesting beer! Unusual but not too strong flavour. Summery and has a component reminiscent of Hefeweizen.
7 India Saison, Bridge Road Brewers, India Saison 8.2
S Quite bitter. Creamy honey taste, good length
P Honey and Creamy. V nice length & aftertaste
W Initially tasted like mosquito repellant. Not so bad after a delay. As subtle as a sledgehammer.
8 Sunset Ale, Two Birds, Ale 7.4
S Smooth Maltiness Not Hoppy
P Malt Bit simple & sweet.
W Slightly toasted taste - this is malt? Not complex in other directions but perhaps a simple and enjoyable malty beer. Smells like ibis,
9 Golden Ale, Red Hill Brewery, Golden Ale 6.4
S Yeasty Strong Lager flavour
P Tangy & a little watery. Reminds of soda water
W Craft beer XXXX. Ethanol soda water with tiny craft beer extra. Watery.
10 Sly Fox, Feral, Summer Ale 7.4
P Citrusy with a nice clean finish. Length is a bit short. High Smashability
W Mild flavours. Like a craft beer tuned for quantity drinking. Balanced but soft.
11 5 Hop, Moa, Winter Ale 8.8
S Full bodied, IPA style
P Creamy Well balanced
W Chronological impressions: tastes like skiing, red and green knitted winter sweater, a beer from a guy named Olaf who comes from a long line of beer makers who have perfected it over generations. Well balanced to pull you in initially but not bore you as you keep drinking. Solid beer, best enjoyed 1L at a time.
12 Red Ale, Nail, Red Ale 7.9
S Bitter and strong Full bodied
P Solid sweet finish. On the malty side. Smashable level 9 out of 10
W Younger brother of Moa 5 hope. Pleasant mild drinkable in quantity. Tastes like it has a heritage of European beer tuned for drinking.
13 XPA, Wolf of the Willows, Pale Ale 7.5
S Strong Flavour
P Hoppy on the light side & finishes quite short
14 Hopfen Farht, Feral, German IPA 8.5
S Full bodied
P Tastes like a German Rsl but in a good way. Old people, familiarity and nostalgia.
15 Hop Zone, Brew Cult, IPA 7.0
S Strong Bitter Strong bitter full bodied
P Mild hops & bitterness. A bit short. Smashable though 7.5
W Hops evaporating to nothing. Basic commodity, neither crafty nor smashable.
16 Supa Fly, Brew Cult, Rye IPA 7.2
S Heavy Malty Strong flavour full body
P Mal tines on the front & hoppy flavours. Nice but nothing outstanding
W Hoppy, tinge of bubble bath. Wouldn't want to drink too many in a row.
17 Keep on Truckin, Brew Cult, Red IPA 6.7
S IPA style, bitter
P Malty & sweet like two birds Would have rated higher earlier in the night
W Tastes like every other fuckin wanky craft ale. May have had too many at this point.
18 Dark Red IPA, Six String Brewery, IPA 7.4
S High Maltiness Bitter Very strong flavour
P Bitter, burnt.Very strong & alcoholic burn
W Stouty tasting IPA. Lingers into a kransky aftertaste. Strong but if you're up to it you can dominate it.
19 Marmajuke, Moon Dog, IPA 8.7
S Sweet Malty Full bodied- sweet aftertaste
P Sweet on the front. Very nice body and finish. Can't taste any marmalade.
W Hits you hard but not in a bad way. Definitely a beer aficionados beer and not for the average punter. Bitter, hoppy. No marmalade.
20 Ansuz IPA, Noisy Minor, IPA 8.2
P Herbaceous Tasty
W Fruity, would be popular with the girls. But not to say I don't like it too. Pleasant crowd pleaser.

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About The Author
Peter Tan avatar
Peter Tan
Dilettante. I had to look that up.