Duchy… has less majesty than you would think. I first had this beer a year or two ago, and I quite enjoyed it, but when we sampled it recently I couldn’t help but notice it was strikingly different. We genuinely like a malty beer; however, this go around was far too malty for our palates. While this beer fell flat for us, I do like the idea of an organic beer and the philosophy of the brewing. Fresher ingredients equal fresher beer. This beer isn’t really comparable to any other beer we’ve had so far.
Frankly, Duchy’s Old Ruby Ale is overly malty in a rather unpleasant way. The level of sweetness is not adequately counterbalanced by bitterness; the hops are virtually imperceptible.
While the nose presents us with a not-so-overwhelming level of malts — it’s actually somewhat pleasantly aggressive — the overabundance of malt characteristics on the palate delivers a sickly sweetness that is difficult to rid oneself of. While the creamy body first lends itself to a subtle appreciation of vanilla, once the malts come through, there are no other flavours — it’s actually quite bland. With bigger gulps, the taste becomes even more sickly sweet, a characteristic that lingers for an offensively long time.
Kamran: 64.5 pts.
With a malty and somewhat floral nose, this thick and heavy beer was hard to judge. As Kamran mentioned, the malt overpowered the other flavours. I had notes of citrus instead of vanilla tones picked up by Kamran. The finish was short in pleasantries and lengthy with an all consuming malt taste on the palate. A drink more suited to beer pleebeians than kings and dukes. Sadly I wont be purchasing this beer again unless they balance the malt and add complexity to this brew.
Tristan: 61 pts.
With a name like Duchy, you would expect a beer fit for a royal, perhaps a duke (I love Wikipedia, don’t you?). And if this indeed is sold in Waitrose (which, to those of you unfamiliar with British supermarkets, is a pretty high-end chain) the expectations should be growing further based on the price you would be paying. Unfortunately, this ruby ale does not deliver.
Although the scent delivers some pleasant citrus notes, I did find it to be somewhat weak. If the aromas that are present in this beer could have been brought out, it would have helped to make me a little more interested in what I was about to taste. The body does help the cause, which is smooth and lightly carbonated, making it easy to drink. The trouble is, after tasting this, you probably won’t want to drink very much. Much like the Coopers, I found this to be far too malty, reminding me of enduring a 40 oz of Olde English because it would get you drunk quickly. The experience doesn’t get any better, as the finish leaves you with a dull, leftover-malt taste hanging onto your palate.
I think I’ll pass on this one.
James: 62 pts.
Final Average: 62.5 pts.