16 May 2011

All buzz and no fizz

Not so much as a breath of condition from my bottle of Cotleigh Buzzard as I poured it. There's a vague sort of half-hearted sparkle to the mouthfeel, but no real proper fizz.

I guess that's the risk you take with bottle-conditioned beers like this dark ruby one from Somerset, though flatness is a much lesser sin in my book than over carbonation. That said, the flavour profile certainly doesn't seem to be suffering from the absence of gas to push it forward: there are lots of interesting things happening here. While chocolate dominates the aroma, the first thing that struck me on tasting was the tannin, a lovely refreshing astringency, like a nice cup of tea. There's a green vegetable bitterness on top of this, combined with some light chocolate: leeks dusted in cocoa. On the end there's a slight acridity which the label copy prefers to brand as "smoke", but if so it's the sort of smoke that prompts men in hazmat suits to call to your house and tell you to keep the windows shut for the next few days. To me it's more of a metallic thing -- slightly jarring but not pungent enough to spoil the beer.

Light, complex, tasty: I could drink another one straight away. I'd be hoping for a bit more fizz though.


  1. Being a Somerset boy, I have a soft spot for Cotleigh, and I remember being very excited about their bottled beers when I first had them. Unfortunately, if I'm honest, I avoid them these days, as I find them a bit variable in quality. There are some really odd flavours, especially in the darker ones; you're much better than I am at identifying specific flavours but, yes, veg and metal ring true with me!

  2. I got four bottles of this a in a beer delivery a few years back and gave two of them away because of the veggie notes. It's the strongest I have tasted in just about any beer.