Can vs Bottle: Matilda Bay Fat Yak

Inspired by a recent post over at Facebook group Sydney Beer Club more recently and a few others I’ve seen kicking around I thought I’d give the old Can vs Bottle side by side a crack.
My choice of beer was fairly easy to get hold of as it’s a largely distributed beer by one of the smaller craft breweries owned by a mass producer (in this case SAB Miller otherwise referred to as CUB here in Aus) Matilda Bay based out of  Port Melbourne.
The  reason I chose this beer other than it’s ease to get and is packaged in both Can & Bottle is that I used to drink a fair whack of it a few years back, so I’m extremely familiar with the taste, it’s a common entry beer for people stretching outside the mainstream and it’s a beer most people (well, down here) would be familiar with.
I will warn you, if you have a weak stomach you may wish to turn away now… what you read may be disturbing to weak stomached viewers. We’re going to do this battle int two rounds:
Round 1 – Direct from the packaging. Why? You may ask… well because that’s what people do. Not me, perhaps not you, but people. Some places don’t let you bring glass so you’re forced to drink from the can. Some parties you go to people hand you a bottle and don’t even own a glass you can borrow (which is why I always bring my own).
Round 2 – From the glasses best suited to a pale ale with a hop forward flavour  the Spiegelau IPA glass otherwise known as The Olfactory Cannon.
Well, that’s the formalities out of the way, enter the two combatants…
Round 1 – From the Packaging
Can: Looking down through the mouth of the can I can’t see anything other than the top of the white head, this dissipates pretty quickly though. Liquid underneath looks clear.
Bottle: Clear, Translucent Brown… could just be the colour of the bottle though. No Head whatsoever.
Can: smells beery, like the morning after when you’re collecting the empties your mates decided would be a good idea to tuck down the back of the lounge half full instead of throwing or taking with them. slight nasty hop aroma there, can’t really detect what, could be the aluminium.
Bottle: aroma non-existent no matter how hard i try… there’s just nothing
Can: Sharp, bitter, a little metallic. a little bit of hop flavour on the back end amongst the bitterness. Not overly pleasant, more like a more bitter version of a macro like VB or XXXX than the beer I’m used to.
Bottle: a little more rounded, not a sharp bitter flavour like the can. More flavour from the hops poking through a bit more on the back end of the palate to.
The Bottle & Can tie on the visual, pretty much a no-brainer on that – you can’t see the beer in the can, but at least there’s head, the bottle you can’t really tell what the beer looks like, could be urine for all you know. The Can wins the aroma, it’s not necessarily great, but at least there’s something there… the Bottle brought nothing to the arena. The Bottle definitely wins the flavour, the can imparted it’s own flavour and I may as well have been hanging out in the park sucking down Tooheys Gold for all it mattered.
By my count with weightings of 30pts applied to Visual, 30pts applied to Aroma and 40pts applied to Taste I give this victory to Bottle 55 vs Can 45
Round 2 – From the Glasses
Both pour identically, big white head, hold for a fair amount of time, nice lacing on the glass as it reduces. Deep golden colour, great carbonation from the cannons.
Can: Nicely light floral aroma, sweet malt backbone. not a hop forward beer, but this isn’t meant to be. it’s not the Alpha Pale Ale. Quite pleasant.
Bottle: a little skunk on the nose, this overrides any of the floral aromas I may have picked up on with the can version. The malt is not able to be detected beyond it
Can: medium bitterness right up front followed by an nice subtle rounded hop flavour and that malt backbone finishing up relatively sweet and lingering.
Bottle: slightly sharper bitterness, not too high though – quite enjoyable with a more bitey hop flavour followed by a slightly watery malt finish.
It’s a Tie on the visual again, but this time we can actually see the beers are identical. The can picks it up on aroma and i’ll also give it to the can on the Taste too. the more rounded hop flavour and the mouthfeel winning me over every time with this style of beer.
On that basis Can wins this round with the final tally at 15pts for visual, 30 for the aroma and 25 for the taste – 70 points. a clear victory for the Can!
Note. Best before dates on these items were well into the future and are listed below, beers were purchased refrigerated from the same store and were kept refrigerated up until 30 minutes before the battle began.
Best Before Dates:
Can – 13Feb15
Bottle – 06May15
Anyways, on that note – I’m outta here – cheers to beers!
ok one more pic
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4 Pines Keller Door Imperial India Brown Ale

I’ve been anticipating this beer since I saw some other guys posting pics online. Living out in the sticks though I wasn’t sure when or if I’d find it, but there it was sitting in the fridge at Vintage cellars when I dropped in on Saturday – Score!

Pours a dark brown/red colour with high clarity. A tight tan coloured head. Aroma heavy with citrus and behind it some nice sweet malts come through.

The flavour is bold, high citrus bite up front with a slightly sweet mid-section. Nicely balanced it finishes up with that resinous hop coating on the tongue that keeps me reaching for the next glass. I find it hard to believe it’s an 8% beer as I quickly destroy the oh so tiny half litre bottle ;)

Great beer and I hope to see it on the shelf again. Next time I may linger longer…. Or buy several bottles. An easy 4 points, maybe higher.

IMG_3359-0.JPG IMG_3360.JPG

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Sail & Anchor / Karl Strauss “The Bloke” Red Ale

A collaboration between the American Karl Strauss and the Australian Woolworths owned Sail & Anchor range.

The beer pours a dark amber to red, tightly packed head with a strong malt/toffee aroma.

the bottle tells me I should be tasting “grapefruit and tangerine”, however all I’m getting is a sharp acrid bitterness. The finish is fairly sweet, with that lingering bitterness that I can only guess is from the malt.

I was hoping for so much more, unfortunately a pretty big let down. Possibly a bad bottle, others have said they enjoyed it, next time I’ll grab the devil dodger instead.


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Bridge Road Brewers / Mikkeller Dark Harvest

The last 2 weeks have been good to me rain wise so I’m back at my place again with access to the stash, so this week’s check in is back up to the usual standard of beers. Enter > Dark Harvest, a collaboration beer between Victoria based Bridge Rd Brewers and Danish Mikkeller. 

From the bottle: “Bridge Road Brewers together with gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller created a one off brew one Friday evening of March 2012. The result is The Dark Harvest. Inspired by the timing of the collaboration, it was decided to make a dark beer, using locally grown fresh hops. Of several research hops being grown at Rostrevor Hop Garden, one variety stood out for selection and was harvested just hours before being added to this beer.”

It’s a pretty big thing to partner up with gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, he has partnered up with the likes of Brewdog in Scotland, De Struise in Belgium & Nøgne ø in Norway. a highly reputed brewer, naturally I’m expecting a lot from this beer…. and it delivers…

The beer pours a dark brown to black colour, lifted to the light you get a nice ruby colour coming through. ultimately this is a black version of the fresh hop beer, so the aroma is high citrus and fruit with an underlying roast/toasty scent. The flavour is along the same line but with more of the roast up front, bitterness comes through following the roast and the finish is dry with the roast flavour at the back end.

More of a black IPA style I think, this is more roast than the hoppy Black IPAs I like, but all the same is quite nice. and easy 3.5-4 points for me. If you can still get hold of it, have a crack, it’ll be worth the couple bucks extra for this than your usual.


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Duff Beer Australian Edition

Ok, I don’t post up every beer I drink, and especially one’s I don’t think much of. But I feel I have to with this one because the concept of it plays a special part of my childhood and growing up. Now there’s been a couple versions of Duff pop up over the years and they’ve all been unlicensed and the usual court cases have ensued…

Not so much with this one, it’s produced under licence and brought into the country by one of our largest supermarket chains – Woolworths. They even had an over the top launch turning one of Sydney’s bars into a replica of Moe’s Tavern – read here for details if you’re interested… 

Given this one is licensed I though they may have actually done something special, like produced a beer I’d want to drink more than one of… not the case. Duff is bland, flavourless and basically a clone of every other base lager that’s kicking around the world in bargain bins and no-name labels. Surprised? No. Disappointed? Yes.

Glad I only bought one can, though I’m regretting filling the glass.




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