The brewery St Austell is mostly associated with it’s premier beer Tribute, knowing how good this beer is I decided that I had to try another of their beers when I saw it. The first time I tried HSD I instantly realised that this was a beer I had been missing out on.
The style strong ale refers to more than just the ABV, a good strong ale has much more pronounced flavours than a brewery’s regular bitter. Most strong ales have similarities to the brewers regular bitter in flavour. They tend to have a fruity character and can be quite high ABV, HSD at 5% is about average for a strong ale.
The nose is fruity raisins, hints of hay and an overtone of honey. The taste begins bitter then quickly becomes fruity, the raisins from the nose appear and are joined by plums and malt then a slightly bitter end with alcoholic fruit cake end.
St Austell HSD is a classic strong ale and a great example of the beer style. Unlike many strong ales it lacks the sickly over sweet flavours which can put people off strong ales. This is not to say that it lacks flavour or body but the flavours are a lot lighter in texture, which is quite enjoyable and leads to a very rereshing beer.
I would recommend this beer to those that like traditional bitters but have not particularly got on with strong ales or find them a bit too syrupy or those who like Tribute but want to try something a little varied. Overall this beer is not only quite a safe beer with its lack of extreme flavours or aftertastes but also a very pleasant drink. It really fits the mold of the beers I am talking about when I say that a beer doesn’t have to be super strong, hoppy, dark or malty to be a very well crafted beer.
St Austell HSD is readily available in supermarkets, online beer shops and direct from the brewery from their website. If you are ordering from the website then they also have a selection of premium beers including Smugglers Reserve and the St Austell beer brewed for the Queen’s diamond jubilee Royal Diamond Imperial IPA.