Not to be confused by the cartoon I used to watch in the 80's. No, this is a family of beers from the Loch Ness brewery. A quirk of theirs is the naming convention used. Every beer ends in "ness". Some of these beers are monsters in themselves as you will see if you dare to lurk deeper in to the abyss of this article.
The tasting was held at friend and fellow blogger; Steve's house with just the two of us partaking with his wife helping out on some of the beers.
As always, we start on the lighter end of the scale when doing a monster tasting event. LightNess is 3.9% ABV pale ale. It's rather bitter and packed full of lemon citrus goodness. I should note that the pic above was one I retook using Steve's glass. Either his pouring skills are abysmal or a third of the bottle was yeast. So mine, being the second pour, came out brown. In fairness to Steve, I know his pouring skills are second to none so it was the latter. Be careful of this beer when pouring. With this much yeast in such a light beer, mine had a slight oxidised feel but apparently Steve's was grand. Either way, I really enjoyed this and would have loved to be sitting in the sun with a few bottles of it.
Staying at 3.9% is WilderNess. Now I obviously got a yeasty second pour on this one too. I didn't bother taking a second pic. Instead, compare it to Steve's pic for comparison. This was very different to the first one. Again there was that hint of cardboard oxidisation from the excess yeast. There was far more caramel to this one. It was similar enough to Lightness but with a more mandarin like fruitiness. Since mine looked like I was drinking a glass of water from Loch Ness itself, it was hard to pick out too much in the first 2 beers.
By the third beer, Steve had figured out how to pour the beer. Just kidding, the rest of them didn't suffer from yeastitus. Aptly named RedNess, it's a 4.2% ABV that starts off with chocolate before moving on to strong caramel. Out of nowhere comes a little marmite before settling down to some blackberry and then finishing off quite prunish. I have to say, this was a grower. I started out unsure but by the end it was something I wanted more of.
LochNess is a chocolate raisin Scottish 80/-. It's 4.4% and lively in carbonation with plenty of biscuit. There's a little burnt toffee and and and a slightly sour finish. It was a real grower and I think my favourite so far. Everything just came together very nicely in this beer.
DarkNess is a 4.5% dry stout that you could be forgiven for believing had coffee in it. Rich dark chocolate and a slightly sour (coffee) finish. Throughout, there is is a hint of smoke but really the coffee dominates.
HoppyNess should be my kind of beer and at 5% it's just about sessionable. On the nose, there's a fair but of ammonia so I guessed there must be citra in it and after reading about it since, there certainly is. Ammonia is not always bad of course. I have cats so I'm used to that smell. As well as that, we have plenty of other flavours and aromas to balance it out like grapefruit and various tropical fruits. The beer is nice and bitter with a good caramel backbone to balance it and it was very moreish.
On to a slight oddity now and not just because this one begins with Ness rather than ends in it. NessuKorma is essentially DarkNess with curry powder and other spices added during the brewing process. I was somewhat apprehensive as you can imagine. Beer and curry go hand in hand but a curry flavoured beer? I was somewhat relieved and maybe even a little disappointed to find out that it was a stout because now it falls in to place and what we have here is really a normal chilli stout with a slightly eastern feel due to some cardamom like flavouring. It's one of the better chilli like beers I have had. Some are just too overpowering. This beer need not be just a novelty one off beer, but for most I suspect it will be.
You can read Steve's account here if you haven't already.