Jessica Sullivan's picture

Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Wild Night by Swamp Head Brewery

April, 2018
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Wild Night Honey Cream Ale by Swamp Head Brewery is a cream ale with honey added. I am judging it primarily as a BJCP Category 1c (Cream Ale).

The aroma has a low pils malt character with a low corn sweetness. I detected a medium-low spicy hops aroma, along with a very low herbal nearly-skunky hop character. The fermentation was very clean, with no detectable yeast character or esters. The sweetness and spiciness were well-balanced, and neither hops nor malt dominated. This beer's aroma is very mild, and reminded me of an upscale version of a lawnmower beer. I did not detect any obviously honey-related aromas.

The appearance was beautiful: crystal clear, very pale yellow, with miniscule bubbles. The head was bright white with moderate retention. The flavor had a rich pils malt characteristic, which was well balanced with the low spicy hop flavor and the low hop bitterness. This is a subtle beer, but the flavors were very well balanced. Again, while I detected some low sweetness (as is typical in many cream ales), I did not detect any honey character. Finally, the mouthfeel -- this beer is light-to-medium bodied, and the aggressive and bright carbonation makes it somewhat more mouthfilling that I had expected. The finish was exceptionally clean, both in flavor and in mouthfeel, with a brisk and refreshing sensation on the tongue after the beer was done.

In sum, this beer tastes like a classy version of what your dad probably drank when you were a kid. There was a sense of nostaliga in drinking it. While I wish the honey aromatics had been more evident throughout, this is a very well done cream ale.