Looking forward to 'baron rating' some Hopshackle ales soon!

Nigel from the Hopshackle Brewery very kindly sent me some samples to receive a 'baron rating' this week, in fact he was enormously generous and sent me eight of his range of ales!

After reading about Hopshackle beers on the Reluctant Scoop's blog I'm very excited to be able to reviews these soon! Here are the beers that he sent (along with beer information provided by Nigel):


 These are all in 500ml bottles:
  • Hopshackle Special No. 001
5.2% ABV – a brown beer with an aroma of caramel and fruit. The taste is malty vinous fruit with background hops and a mildly bitter finish.
  • Hopshackle Historic Porter
4.8% ABV – This is a dark beer with deep red highlights and an aroma of malt , grain and fruit . The taste is malt , hops , bitter-chocolate and liquorice with a bitter-tannic finish that fades slowly in the mouth. This won "Beer Of The Festival" at the Cambridge Winter Ale Festival in January 2010

Des de Moor thought it was a 'seriously rich and complex delight'.

  • Hopshackle Double Momentum
7% ABV - This beer was inspired by a recipe from the 18th. Century and contains twice as many hops at all stages compared to the very popular "Hopshackle Momentum" on which is is based (hence the name). It is a golden beer with a white head and an aroma of pineapple and melon. The taste is powerful malt, fruit and spicey warmth with a drying hoppy , malty- fruit finish.
  • Hopshackle Special Bitter
4.3% ABV - is a mid brown coloured beer with an aroma of fruit and malt . The taste is strong fruit with a malt and caramel background and a bitter finish.


  These are all in 275ml bottles:
  • Hopshackle Restoration
9% ABV - This is a dark brown beer with a tight slightly off white head . It has an aroma of fruit and malt with a hint of apple and leather . It tastes of dried fruit and malt with a warming alcohol finish .
This is a unique beer inspired by some of the strong beers of Belgium . The 2008 years “ vintage “ won a silver award at the Peterborough Beer Festival . It is only made once a year in February or March . After the primary fermentation it is transferred into a conditioning tank were it is aged for 6 months allowing the complex flavours to develop . It is then bottled with a small amount of alcohol tolerant yeast and sugar . It is then kept at 27oC for 4-6 weeks which produces the secondary fermentation in the bottle giving natural carbonation to the beer . This beer tastes great straight away but can also be kept for many years allowing the complex flavours to develop and change like a wine. This year there is a total of only 1600 numbered bottles ( 2009 production ), each bottle is unique having its own number and year of production ( Best Before date is 5 years after bottling). The beer is also blessed in the fermenter by the local vicar from St Guthlacs Church and for every bottle sold a donation of 25pence goes to the church restoration funds(hence the name !).
  • Hopshackle Imperial Stout
9.8% ABV – this is a dark , rich and complex beer which tastes of dark malts , fruit , hops and warming alcohol . It is dedicated to the memory of the breweries that once produced this style of beer in vast quantities for export to the Baltic States . It is made in a similar fashion to Restoration and there is a limited number of around only 1500 numbered bottles made each year.
  • Hopshackle Vertigo 'VC'
9.8% ABV – Each version of this beer uses the same base recipe , but only one type of hop is used in each ! This allows the drinker to experience the unique characteristics of a single hop variety on its own . It is made in a similar way to Restoration but there are only 1300 numbered bottles of each type .
“ VC “ uses only cascade hops .
  • Hopshackle Vertigo 'VF'
9.8% ABV – Each version of this beer uses the same base recipe , but only one type of hop is used in each ! This allows the drinker to experience the unique characteristics of a single hop variety on its own . It is made in a similar way to Restoration but there are only 1300 numbered bottles of each type .
“ VF “ uses only Fuggles hops .

These are some of the highest ABV ales that I've rated so I'm very excited to be able to try them out, look out for Hopshackle 'baron ratings' soon!

Note: I'm not sure how 'big' Hopshackle are, but I get the sense that it's just Nigel himself brewing these. The design of the labels is quite amazing for a tiny brewery, they are classic, clear & eye-catching, hope you all see some Hopshackle ales on your beer purchasing travels!

Buy Hopshackle ales here (and soon to be available on myBrewerytap!)

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