Sometimes I like to inflict pain on myself. Not self-harming or that - just this masochistic trait where I like to hurt myself, just to check I'm still alive. I'll push myself to the limit - maybe lean slightly too far over the edge, or stand and shout at an incoming storm - you know, baiting the tiger, bare-faced machismo. A bit like the time I tried King Cobra Double Fermented 'Superior' Beer. Holy shitballs folks, what a ride that was. And when I say 'what a ride that was folks', what I really mean is 'fuck me, that was awful'.
I don't even know where to start with this one. The memory of it is just so painfully awful that I should try to supress it, but I can't help myself from dredging it back up again. A bit like how you can't help poking at a wobbly tooth, despite the pain. Masochism, see? The thing is, I feel that I have to at least put the experience into words and get it out there for the three people who frequent the site regularly, in the hope that they will then spread my advice to avoid this beer.
I guess a good place to push off from would be this 'double fermented' claim. I have to be honest and say, I didn't think this was possible and if it was, I can't say that I think it would be a great idea. So you go through the process of fermenting your wort into a passable beer - as 'standard' Cobra is - and then you ...leave it to ferment again? That just sounds ...wrong. I tried to make mead once, years ago and I left it to ferment waaaay too long and it went black. I'm pretty sure mead shouldn't be black.
I mean a period of extended fermentation might work for say, Worcester sauce. But the point of Worcester sauce is that you add it to other things and the flavour mixes in. I don't think the makers of Cobra intended for their beer to be used as a condiment for cooking. Somehow, despite evidence to the contrary, they expected people to drink it. Let me tell you now - I tried that. No one should be forced to go through that ordeal. At least not if they're planning on living a long and fruitful existence afterwards.
And listen - I'm not mounting my high horse here and goading it up onto a soapbox; this isn't me becoming a craft beer snob. I'm not having a go at an 'inferior' beer, because it's mass produced. I like 'normal' Cobra beer; it's alright, especially in good weather. I like Tiger too. I've been known to drink Bud and Coors. They're all decent in their own little way and - most importantly I feel - they don't smell like rubber.
...Record scratch. 'Rubber?!' you exclaim. Yes, rubber.
Apparently one of the side-effects of 'double fermenting' your beer is to end up with the run off from the Durex factory as a finished product. I'm not kidding - the all-encompassing odour from a freshly opened bottle of King Cobra is rubber. And not even just good ol' fashioned Michelin tyre rubber either (other brands of tyre are available from all good car... shops...?) this is a lubed up, slinky, sex rubber kind of smell (hence the Durex reference above - see? I wasn't just being crude). Putting my optimist hat on for a moment, I thought 'Maybe it's the bottle or something?', so I decanted some beer into a glass to check. Nope. Definitely an aroma of eau de Durex about this beer.
Setting aside my brains insistence that I didn't drink any of the beer I'd just poured into the glass, I inspected the liquid before me. And actually, all joking aside, it looked pretty good. Really clear, golden colour, with a slight wisp of foam on top. That allayed my fears a little. Maybe the smell wouldn't matter? I mean, plenty of stinky food actually tastes pretty good - all the smelly crisps are the best, cheese can be pretty foul sometimes but tastes good. Maybe this will be the same?
Answer: no. No it isn't good.
(Note to self: listen to your brain next time.)
I can only imagine that the beer is called King Cobra, as the stuff they've fermented is the venom of the big snake itself. It's difficult to put into words the taste, but I'll try. So there's still a residual rubbery flavour there, meaning the smell isn't just for show. And it's tart - sour, as though it's went off or something (maybe it had...?). And a sort-of salty, vinegary condiment kind of taste. Maybe this was designed to be poured on your chips or something? Not good. Not good at all.
And I persevered for a while with it. At nearly a fiver for the bottle, I figured I owed it to myself to give it a chance, in the hope that somehow I'd have an epiphany and it would just click. But it didn't and I couldn't force myself to finish it, no matter how hard I tried. So it went down the sink - almost the whole bottle. I'm sure even the most ardent alcohol fan among you would've done the same in my position.
So to summarize; folks, don't waste your money on this muck. I know it comes in a big bottle and has a cork like champagne, but it's pisswater. Frankly, I'd rather be bitten by a real King Cobra and suffer the consequences, than have to drink this guff again. Avoid.