October 8, 2010 by Crafty Pint
They always seem to be chasing new experiences down at Otway Estate. Already home to one of the biggest ranges of beers under the Prickly Moses and Otway banners, barely a moment seems to pass without a new special rolling out the brewery doors: the Golden Nugget Ale, a barrel-aged Strong Ale – and now three “extreme” versions of their Stout and Summer and Red Ales.
Brewed on their 70l pilot brewery, these make up a strictly limited release, with just 100 bottles of each being sold in special six-packs alongside the originals on which they were based. They’ve been seriously beefed up too: the Summer’s gone from 4.5% to 10.2%, the Red from 5% to 9.3% and the Stout from 5% to 8.8%.
Hendo, the man behind them, says: “I brewed them as a tribute to Luke Scott, head brewer here at Prickly Moses, for giving me the opportunity to express myself in the craft beer industry and imparting his knowledge to me.
“The three beers, Imperial Summer Ale, Imperial Red Ale and Imperial Otway Stout are not meant to detract from their original cousins. Rather, they are a ‘tip of the cap’ to the originals.”
The Crafty Pint obtained one of each to taste with a few beery sorts. And, perhaps unsurprisingly for such young beers with very high alcohol content, we found the alcohol to be prominent. This was most apparent in the Extreme Summer Ale – effectively an Imperial Kolsch – where it was hard to get past the alcohol on the nose to appreciate the flavour, although this may mellow with time.
The others fared better, particularly the Extreme Stout, where the roasted barley from the original recipe was replaced with more chocolate and caramelised black malts. This gave the beer a lovely ruby red hue through the blackness when held to the light and a distinct milk chocolate bar flavour. Again the alcohol was present, with the brewer suggesting cellaring until next winter, particularly in the case of the Extreme Red Ale.
Certainly, it would be interesting to revisit them down the line to see how they develop and whether they mellow. And it’s always good to see brewers putting their boffin hats on and trying something new.