Abbey Ale

Company info:
Malt Shovel Brewery
Camperdown, N.S.W

[No website listed]

Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 7.0%
Standard drinks: 1.8

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $4.99AU

Label info: ‘The monks of New Norcia, Western Australia love a stable and powerful life. Following the 1500 year old rule of St Benedict they welcome all visitors to their home. This ale, is an expression of their ancient tradition of hospitality’.


‘Abbey Ale is a traditional Monastic ale, it is golden in colour, blessed with scents of fruit and spice, with a delicate champagne-like finish balanced with a hint of bitterness’

What the label really means: I immediately question whether in fact the monks of New Norcia even exist or whether it’s just MSB’s attempt at a Belgium trappist-inspired theme. It’s just not convincing to me that there is an enclave of monks somewhere in WA sitting around cooking stews and brewing home brews awaiting the arrival of weary travellers. I’d love to be proved wrong but it’s possibly just a theme used to sell beers. Tradition sells, particularly traditional recipes so why not commercialise on that?

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I don’t know…I’m in two minds. I like the font of ‘Abbey Ale’ and I like the fact that it carries that sense of traditionalism like a label that hasn’t changed in decades. But it also has a bit of a 3 star budget motel bed sheet look to it. Maybe I’m being harsh. They’ve gone to a decent amount of effort to at least make it appear like a classy brew. Have they gone too far that it turns past tacky and on to kitsch? It’s a damned fine line and a debate that could rage for centuries and possibly start a crusade. 

I give it a label rating of 6 out of 10.

AROMA: A strong sense of fruity melons (ooh, hello sailor!) permeates the air from the mouth of this sucker.

Taste: GLASS – There is an immediate, in your face, all-encompassing taste of fruit that swirls around the mouth. It’s similar to the lambic I previously reviewed but perhaps not as flavour intense. It’s smooth, it’s kind of refreshing, but it’s perhaps a little over indulgent in the fruit department that it wanders swiftly into sweetness territory. Taste-wise I get the Belgian link now but to be perfectly honest I am finding this a little hard to drink.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 6 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE –
Drink Abbey Ale from the bottle and you’ll notice the fruit becomes a little less intense. This is a good thing. However, it’s still not really a beer I am sitting back enjoying. I also pick up on more obvious flavours of cinnamon now. It’s like a liquid version of cinnamon flavoured gum ‘Big Red’. 

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6 out of 10.

Song of choice: Try this along side Cornershop’s ‘Brimful of Asha

Accompanying food: Chicken satay and rice. I’m not sure why, I just believe it could work.

Best season to appreciate: More of a Summer brew due to the over-riding fruit flavours. Perhaps it may come into a league of its own when consumed on a warm Summer’s evening, poolside.

All-nighter beer? Not for me. It’s way too fruity…way too sweet.

NEXT WEEK: Pilsner Urquell

  1. BargeDave says:

    The monk bizzo is pretty silly when you think about it. Great stuff Mase, busting the beer marketing myths as well as malt and hop flavour analysis – that’s a comprehensive beer review!


  2. McLean not MacLean says:

    Nice food matching suggestion Hellcat. I reckon a satay sauce would round this beer out quite nicely. It could even go with a rhubarb crumble. Or perhaps that’s all the sugary sweetness getting to me.


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