Traquair Jacobite Ale

24 10 2009

The greatest beer in the world?

The finest beer in the world?

I thought I would start things off with a review of what I consider to be the finest beer I’ve ever tasted, Traquair Jacobite Ale.  I had the pleasure of staying at Traquair House for a couple of nights earlier in the year and used the opportunity to come away with 2 cases of this stuff from the brewery shop, along with assorted other bottles I’ll review at a later date.

So let’s start with the dark brown 33cl bottle itself.  The front label is a black and white woodcut image of Bonnie Prince Charlie with the dates 1745 & 1995 signifying the 250th anniversary of the man himself setting out on the Jacobite rebellion.  The label also tells us that the contents within are an impressive 8% Vol, so not a drink to be taken lightly.

Turning the bottle we have another black and white woodcut label this time depicting Traquair’s famous Bear Gates and the Stuart Crown.  We also get to see the ingredients which make up the contents: Spring water, malt, hops, yeast & spices.  Simple, but oh so effective.  Finally we have the following block of text –

The famous Bear Gates guarding the approach to Traquair House, near Pebbles, have been closed since 1745 – when the last person to pass through them was Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Now, 250 years later, the ancient Traquair Brew House celebrates the Jacobite cause by producing this potent spiced ale to a traditional fine recipe. Sip slowly and remember the old toast to the “King O’er the Water.”

Opening the bottle and pouring the contents releases some wonderful aromas.  Dark fruits, predominantly figs, dates and prunes, meld seamlessly with molasses and the subtle spice of coriander.  The colour in the glass is that of burnished, dark mahogany or, as my wife tells me, a Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange.  There is little in the way of head and what there is doesn’t linger long.

On to the taste and while the dark fruits are still there they sit further back than you would imagine from the aroma.  What really comes to the fore is the dark roasted malt tempering the fruits sweetness with chocolate mouse, caramel and hints of liquorice.  Surprisingly, given its strength, this is a medium bodied, easy drinking and smooth beer with no cloyingness on the palate.  This may be helped by the spiced finish redolent of a dark, sticky ginger cake and fresher coriander which combine to tingle the tongue as you drink.

So there you have it, the finest beer in the world, or at least my world.  I don’t really have the words to tell you just how good this beer is, I can only encourage you to pick up a bottle should you ever come across it in your retailer of choice and see for yourself.




2 responses

24 10 2009
Andy mogg

Congrats on your first post. Great one too…keep up the good work

25 10 2009

Many thanks…we’ll try.

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