Saturday, 22 January 2011

Woodforde's Review Week Pt. One

Well it's time for my first review of some of the Woodforde's beers I've been sent to sample. First up is Sundew, a pale, golden ale, with an abv of 4.1%. It has a pleasant citrus aroma, with an equally pleasant hoppy-citrussy taste. It has a good hoppy finish, which balances the juicy maltiness from the Maris Otter barley used to brew the beer. According to the back label, the beer is named after the Sundew flower that grows locally in the Fens of East Anglia. This would be a good beer to enjoy chilled, on a hot summer's day. Like all the beers I've been sent, Sundew is bottle-conditioned. The yeast sediment was perhaps slightly loose, but I still managed to pour a clear glass of beer.

The second beer is Wherry; an old favourite in cask form. The beer poured with much more of a head than the Sundew, and is quite lively from the bottle-conditioning. It has a slight yeasty nose, perhaps because I didn't quite manage to pour a perfectly clear glass, although the yeastiness is overlaid by a zesty aroma from the hops. The beer itself tastes somewhat grainy, but this is balanced by a citrus-like hopiness. The beer is pale amber in colour, but whilst pleasant enough, has no features that really stand out.

I feel this is because beers of this strength (3.8%), don't really lend themselves to bottle-conditioning. This is not just a criticism of Woodforde's, but something I believe applies to all bottle-conditioned beers. I remain a fan of cask Wherry, but regrettably would not go out of my way to buy the bottled version.

So for the first two beers sampled, one gets the thumbs up, whilst the other perhaps the thumbs down. I look forward to moving up the gravity scale and tackling some of the stronger beers, later in the week.


Baron Orm said...

I think you have hit the nail on the head - good cask ales don't necessarily make good bottled ales - when I'm buying my 'premium bottled ales' or what ever the supermarkets call them I'm looking for something with a good depth of smell & taste.

In the pub I might have 4-5 pints & lots of conversation with mates, at home I might have 2-3 bottles on my own.

I'm expecting more from the beer when it's out of a bottle.

Paul Bailey said...

I agree totally, Baron Orm, and your observations may explain why the bottled versions of beers such as Adnams Broadside and Fuller's ESB, for example, are stronger than their draught counterparts.