13 February 2012

Pure Manc

Picking randomly from the plethora of English ales knocking around in Dublin at the moment I got these two from Holt's of Manchester.

Fifth Sense is an amber ale of 4.3% ABV. Its most impressive feature is the head: a thick layer of foam that's still largely in place towards the end of the pint. Everything else about it is muted: a mildly toffee-like crystal malt sweetness dominates, finished off by an almost pilsneresque green herbal bitterness. The fairly busy fizz enhances its lagerish qualities.

I finished it quite quickly, more out of boredom than anything else. It's fairly quaffable, though the toffee does get a bit sickly before the end.

On to the next one then: 1849. Not such a good head on this, but lower carbonation which more than makes up for the aesthetics. It's 4.5% ABV and a dark red colour. And once again the sweetness is what it's all about. I get a massive hit of brown sugar up front untroubled by any hop character at all. Caramel follows, plus just the slightest hint of the strawberry taste I get from some of the better Irish reds at the finish. The middle, however, is unpleasantly watery. The mix of heavy sugar and a thin lack of flavour does not make for enjoyable drinking.

Another beer that's best downed with no more said about it, I think.


  1. So rush out and buy then yeah?

  2. Only if you've already had everything else. And are really thirsty.

  3. I'm drinking a bottle of Fifth Sense at the moment, and not getting any sweetness to speak of. Full-bodied but decidedly hoppy - it reminds me of Harvey's bitter, & the Southern English style of best bitters more generally. Maybe yours didn't travel well, although I've never heard of a beer going sweet with age.

    1. They don't go sweet but hop character does fade. This was certainly bitter but lacked any fresh hop notes. I suspect it might be an age thing.