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Baltika, Classic Lager Number 3 (Russia)
Brewed in St Petersburg, Baltika is now distributed in the UK by Scottish Courage. This very pale coloured lager has a thick white head that dissipates quickly. the nose is very hoppy, with an emerging suggestion of sweet caramel and a touch of honey, and delicate floral notes. On the palate it is a touch bland, with a slightly soapy character before decent hoppy, bitter flavours of endive and toasty grain, and a warming, malty finish. It is light and doesn't have a lot of bite to it, though it is a decent beer. 4.8% ABV, 50cl, ?1.59, Tesco Metro.
Ochakovo, Black Beer (Russia)
Brewed with caramel malt, this black lager has stout-like qualities. It pours a very dark, almost black colour with a thick, creamy, toffee-coloured head. It is smoky and sweet on the nose, with liquorice and caraway seed aromas. In the mouth it is dense and smooth, with bitter, smoky flavours dominating. It coats the tongue, and though there is a caramel and black fruit richness (almost a hint of Ribena), it finishes nicely dry. A very unusual and interesting style, and a beer I enjoyed. 3.9% ABV, 50cl, ?1.85, Beersofeurope, Pierhead.
Ochakovo, Premium Ruby Beer (Russia)
This red beer has a dark but vibrant red colour and a thin, coffee-coloured head. The nose is dominated by malt and a creamy, biscuity quality, with just a hint of red fruit. On the palate it is quite thick and rich in texture. There's a definite touch of sweetness, but the flavours are herbal and vegetal, with some chicory and a dry, yeasty quality in the finish. This has decent bitterness, though no great length. 4.1% ABV, 50cl, ?1.85, Beersofeurope, Pierhead.
Ochakovo, Premium Russian Beer (Russia)
This golden lager beer from Russia's largest independent brewery pours with a fairly thin, off-white head. There's a little tang of orange on the nose, with plenty of biscuit and toasty malt, and a little hoppy and smoky character too. On the palate it is quite full-textured and creamy, with a clean, nicely bitter flavour that soon sweeps through, pushing an initial hint of sweetness to one side. There's some fat, lemony fruit, before a finish of grainy malt and bitter, grassy hops. A very nice, strong lager with a clean character and bit of bite and substance. 5.0% ABV, 50cl, ?1.85, Beersofeurope, Pierhead.
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