Cam's Top Five Strong Ales
When the cold weather rolls around, so does my tendency to look for stronger tasting, warming brews. They make for excellent indoor enjoyment where you can savour each sip by an open fire or around the table with good mates and plenty of good winter nosh. Here’s five of my favourite strong ales and if you’re in the mood for some big flavoured, high ABV beers to take on your ski trip or just to have on hand for cold, dark nights, pick up our Ridiculously Strong 8 Pack beer box. It will have you sorted.
Founders Brewing Curmudgeon Old Ale 9.8% USA
With stacks of molasses malt sweetness, hints of aged oak, vanilla and cinnamon, this is one of my favourite strong ales for winter drinking. Smooth, warming, and full-bodied, it’s for drinking by the fire while regaling your guests with tales of adventures on the high seas, treacherous straits, fearsome pirates and... well, perhaps I get a little carried away but with an ABV of 9.8% who can blame me? I’m having mine with a slow cooked lamb stew followed by a chunk of Stilton. Get your curmudgeon on and buy some old ale here.
Stone Brewing Jindia Pale Ale 8.7% USA
This deliciously fragrant brew is one of our strong ale upgrades for the July beer box and it’s a ripper. Stone Brewing are pretty damn good at producing intense brews and the Jindia has a compelling layering of flavours which make it one worth spending some time over. It is brewed with ginger, juniper berry and lime and lemon citrus peel along with an extra dose of hops. Pouring copper coloured with an off white head, the aromas are sweet bread and grain and caramel malts, ginger and zesty citrus and juniper berry. It has an earthy, spicy and resinous hop bitterness which I’m enjoying with my favourite takeaway Thai. Buy Jindia Pale Ale here.
Temple Brewing Onetime Double IPA 7.8% Australia
The Onetime is like the bigger, louder, slightly less well-behaved, always-up-for-fun cousin of the award-winning Anytime IPA. With five different varieties of American hops – Citra, El Dorado, Mosiad, Simcoe and Amarillo – the aroma is big on passionfruit, citrus, pine and mango. At 90 IBUs you can expect a massive resiny hop bitterness hit – hopheads will be in heaven. This is my Saturday night go-to DIPA – built for fun and awesome flavour. If that’s what you’re in the mood for (and who isn’t?!), you can buy the Onetime DIPA here.
Does a fruit beer count as one of my serves of fruit per day? With a beer this packed with fruit, it surely must. Sweet and heady blackcurrant and raspberry aromas burst forth as soon as you open it. It pours a deep brown with just the slightest blackberry tinge – be sure to really take the time to soak up those rich berry aromas. The dark forest fruit compote vibe carries through to the juicy taste which has enough earthy wood and floral in the mix to make it all feel like a stroll in the woods. The saison yeast makes for a spicy, dry and tart finish. If you haven’t tried this kind of brew before, you’re missing out. Rectify that situation by getting your hands on some Siren VIPA here.
Potent aromas, massive flavours, epic hop hit, full body, high ABV – oh yeah. The quantity of hops used in this beer is next level. Expect full fruity aromas straight up and a big hit of fruity, and citric flavours. There is a good biscuity, caramel malt balance and a little dry, earthy pine to even out all that fruit abundance. The body is syrupy and has been likened to a barley wine – but it isn’t overly sweet. The hop presence takes care of that. Savour this with a top notch Indian curry. Start by buying your JJJ Imperial IPA here.