Scents and Sensibility

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014

Back in February, a regular at Comely Bank proposed that I conduct a blind beer tasting.* I was very excited about the idea but then faced the problem of formatting. What exactly should be the challenge here: Should I be presenting six similar styles and let them judge their favourite without the influence of brand and brewer? Should I only feature one brewer and have them pick out which beer is which? Should I present two different brewers and set it up as a blind contest between the two? The number of possibilities was daunting! But even though I wasn’t sure how I’d do it, I knew that I would have a lot of fun at this tasting — primarily because I take perverse pleasure in watching people guess things that I already know. I’m like the Riddler of the beer world — without the green morph suit, of course.

In the end I decided to go for an all-out version: I covered up the bottles and made people guess style, ABV, and country of origin before I unveiled them for all to see. I also slipped a homebrew into the mix to liven things up a bit. Yeah, I’m kind of a jerk sometimes.

And in keeping with that theme, I’ll post the beers we tried first with theĀ  tasting notes all jumbled up below them. If you reckon you’re beer knowledge is up to scratch then take a jab at matching them up. If you’re really committed and/or struggling then send me an email at or ask me about it on our Facebook/Twitter page.

1) Hacker Pschorr Munchener Hell

2) Cromarty Rogue Wave

3) TO OL Yeastus Christus

4) Coopers Extra Stout

5) Stewart Coconut Porter

6) Rooie Dop Imperial Oatmeal Stout

-Coconut and chocolate on the aroma. There’s a slight oiliness on the palate with more chocolate and coconut. It finishes with a cleansing bitterness.

-Wet dog and farmhouse aromas shift over to potent floral qualities (especially rose). An unbelievably light beer with a funky quality very reminiscent of a stinky cheese.

-Very restrained sulfur, corn-like aromas are just enough to give this beer character. A slightly sweet, malt body fades away with just a touch of bitterness on the end. Incredibly drinkable and visually appealing.

-Pours with a huge head. Sherry and raspberry on the nose. Sweet, roasty flavours and a silky mouthfeel. The beer still managed to finish fairly dry.

-Licorice and sherry on the nose. A slight hint of coffee comes through in the middle with the roast definitely coming up back the throat after you swallow.

-Dank, resiny hops hit you in the face. There’s a caramel sweetness, but the beer is much dryer and lighter than an IPA might be. The finish is also light and subtle. Incredibly drinkable.

It turned out to be a very enjoyable and enlightening experience for all (me included!) and everyone said that it was very useful to make up their own minds, rather than having to work to get through all of the things that the bottles, the brewers, or I am telling them. In the end, the Rooie Dop and Cromarty tied for first place.

*I welcome tasting suggestions and am happy to try to set up tastings with the themes and/or beers that people request. That being said, if we have just recently done a theme/style then it will be a while before we revisit it. Gotta keep things fresh, you know!