They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Special Reserve Evaluations

A Master Class of taste and complexity...

Buxton Brewery have just released a Special Reserve series of beers and it can only be described as a ludicrously small amount. The third in the series, Bomba, was limited to only 30 bottles, so it's no surprise I didn't mange to get my hands on a bottle! (a lucky few got to try some of this Bretty Imperial Stout at the latest Borefts Beer Festival from a small barrel.)

I'll finish with the first in the series, and start with the second: A Imperial Smoked Rye Porter.

I had plans on making a Imperial Rye Stout and calling it Gone-A-Rye but when someone mentioned that if you say that fast it sounds like another word I decided against it... I like Buxton's name much better anyway;

Smokey and the Band-Aid
I was told I should drink this sooner rather than later as the smokiness was falling away slightly. On first nosings, it seems that this couldn't be further from the case and smells almost as powerful as Schlenkerla Marzen! If this is smokiness dying away, I can only imagine what it was like fresh! Delicious aromas of smoked oak and peat fill your nose. Subtle hints of spicy rye and a little caramel are there too. A little fruit, some apple and plum skins - overall a beer I've smelled too much and really need to get stuck into...

Wow. This is a perfect flavour mix combination. Drinking no where near it's 7%abv, the bottle states they "scoured" the Earth for the malts in this beer... it should have said 'scorched' the Earth! Intense and complex burnt woody flavours with some ash are mixed with an almost vinous quality. It's pretty much a blend (in my eyes) of Ardbeg Uigeadail, a dash of Port, Schlenkerla and all the flavours of a strong Buxton Porter. And that is definitely something I can get behind!

The second S.R. is the first S.R., and quite a different beast indeed.

Barrel Aged Tsar 9.5%
Limited to only 112 bottles it's another one from a very small batch. While this beer may have sat in Bourbon barrels for six months, Buxton's head brewer is not a fan of overpowering flavours by barrel aging, so barrel aged Tsar is blended with regular Tsar before bottling - which I think is a great idea. Aromas come by the dozen! Huge vanilla and sweet honeycomb, a little sherry and fiery oak soaked in Bourbon. More fruit here as well - plums, raisins and apricots which smell like they've been coated in caramelized toffee.

In my last post I wrote about my dislike of the use of Bourbon barrels for aging beer, bar a few specific cases. Seems I've been proven wrong once again... But I've been proved wrong because this beer seems like it's been made by a brewer who actually knows what he's doing with barrels... Perfect body (not flat), great length, and the Bourbon is no where near overpowering. Toffee biscuits, chocolate and molasses, spicy malts and even a touch of dry, hoppy bitterness if you look for it. This beer does drink to it's strength and it's obvious after a couple of mouthfuls... not that I'm complaining on this cold hallows eve!

Two fantastic beers from Buxton brewery. Who would have thought it would be possible to improve on the already totes craft amazeballz Buxton Tsar? ;)

Asked for me.. I'm gonna check ebay for the third edition...


  1. The Grove (Huddersfield) has a cask of Smokey and the Band-Aid, and as of last night it was still on the bar. I agree that it is a very special beer (albeit with a very silly name).


  2. I think I'd give the band-aida swerve but the Bomba sounds perfect for this time of year mate.