Beer Profile: Baron’s Black Wattle

Image courtesy of The Responsible Drunk
Image courtesy of The Responsible Drunk

Reviewed by Millie and Ken Carman

We judged Black Wattle Ale as a Specialty. Neither of us found any evidence of a base style.

This is the second time I have tasted this ale with the Australian black wattle seed, and the first time for Millie. I really wanted to make sure my assessment of this beer was accurate. Unfortunately, it was.

In the process of this review I was surprised how many people like this beer on other review sites. My response was the same the first time I tasted it…

“Why the hell would anyone drink this?”

The abv was a bit all over the place when I looked at the various sites. About 5.6-5.6 seems about right.

Millie started out with a malty aroma that I sensed too. It seemed darker malt based, though the wattle seed addition seemed to add some characteristics with dark malts. To my taste it was akin to a mild form of Black Patent, and not the best aspects of that very roasted grain. Almost a slight sense of ash tray.

Is everyone else tasting a different beer?

It pours very light brown/amber. Millie thought it was a bit more towards copper. Effervescent, but fair head retention. OK carbonation to the mouthfeel and taste. Just a little light on the carbonation.

Neither of us could sense any hops whatsoever. Perhaps some slight citrus/floral hop might balance out the wattle?

She found it “interesting,” but she wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it. I wasn’t that positive. I thought it was thin and one-dimensional, and I really wouldn’t bother drinking it if there were other more palatable options. If my only other options Miller or Bud Lite, well, yes, I would do it to be sociable.

We both got astringency to the point of just a little too much pucker.

Other very slight defects I noticed in descending “sense of” order: diacetyl, vinegar and just a smidgen of vegetable. Not sure how much or many of any of these defects might be wattle, but I suspect all. What others in different reviews claim was malt I think was mostly wattle. Its taste seemed distinctive.

This time didn’t seem as bothersome as the last time. The last bottle came from a store where I know turn over is slow, so it may have been a bit aged. Wattle, apparently, doesn’t take kindly to aging.

I just wish I could be more positive. I’m a big fan of the darker grains. I like all the darker grains, I love Black Patent, even when it’s over used to the taste of most quaffers. So nothing about the grains would qualify as a problem here. It doesn’t seem like the brewing process created any actual defects like I mentioned, it seemed a natural part of the base. So the only difference I can find here is the wattle.

Brewed by Baron’s Brewing
1 Moncur Street
Woollahra, Sidney, NSW, Australia