It’s been a while since I dug into my Monster Beer fridge, and this seems to be the perfect choice to get back into the swing of things – an 8% ABV barrel-aged Old Ale, in an alarming generous 660ml bottle.
Fusion is an Old Ale which is aged in barrels from the Somerset Cider Brandy Company, rather handily located just down the road from Moor’s old brewery (although they relocated to Bristol last year). Their website has a nice tale about how this is a blend of ale aged in two barrels – one limousine oak and the other ex-sherry – although I don’t know if they’re still using those original barrels. I’m not barrel expert, but I would have thought that after five years they wouldn’t be imparting much flavour to the beer any more!
It’s an unremarkable looking ale; a deep dark brown colour with barely any noticeable carbonation.
The nose is curious; there’s black treacle and a touch of bovril but no real suggestion of alcohol – surprising at 8% ABV. In the background there’s a very subtle hint of brandy, but it’s so faint that I’m almost willing to believe that it’s just the power of suggestion.
The alcohol that was missing from the nose is definitely present in the mouth, however. There’s a sugar sweet taste at the start, which quickly yields to a dryness and a lingering warmth from the alcohol. Along with that is more black treacle – sticky sweet overlaid with a burnt bitterness – but not a great deal else.
Overall, this is a flat ale – both in terms of flavour and carbonation. Despite its strength and its maturation it lacks any real depth. There’s nothing specifically wrong with it – indeed, it’s quite pleasant to drink – but it’s so much less than I was hoping for. 2 stars.