Bottle-conditioned 750ml is effervescent hazed amber-gold with a permanent rocky head. Aroma hops manifest as mandarin orange, flowers, kiwi fruit, gooseberry, and lime, with faint grassy menthol touches. Yeast is lightly doughy and musty moderately phenolic (pepper, minerals) with an emerging dough and fabric staleness that becomes more apparent as it opens. Malt is toasty and honey-like with cracker-y bread crust touches.
In the mouth it’s soft and silky, malt is moderately sweet, acidity is low, bitterness is measured, and it finishes with some lingering doughiness and a touch of autolyzed yeast (mud and nuts) amid the green-leafy hoppiness. The aroma is pretty nice, but it could be more expressive and powerful, that punch is more missing in the mouth, where malt and hop are surprisingly dull, no doubt suffering from age. Why they would release this beer so long after bottling is beyond me. Let’s hope the 2016 hits shelves in a fresher state.
From bottle it’s hazed amber-orange topped by a fine off-white head. Hops manifest as nectarine, wood resin, green leaf vegetables, raw pellets. Malt manifests as honey and sugar-glazed pastries, but there’s also some wet cardboard oxidation notes (bottled July 2015 so 9+ months before hitting the shelves).
While it actually does smell somewhat like HOTD Fred, it’s affected by oxidation as well as some quiet yeasty-musty BO notes, and the hop character is kind of crude. After 10 minutes of breathing (and approaching 60 F), the spoiled fruit character becomes overbearing, taking on a harsh malt liquor ethanol and rotting fruit quality (I’ve never had Pruno but there are certain smells that trigger the thought).
In the mouth it’s medium-full bodied, sweet, malty, and chewy, with relatively quiet finishing bitterness. Carbonation is low and as a consequence the texture is flabby and limp, where a lush burst of CO2 would do well to balance the sugar. Overall a pretty crude beer.