Name – 6X
Brewer – Wadworth
Classification – Bitter
Strength – 4.3% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Brandy copper. Glows with wanton traditional abandon.
On the nose – Toffee malts and dry, straw-like acidity. Faint liquorice. Rich, potent and rather lovely.
On the tongue – Dry, nutty and full bodied. A proper 'grown up' bitter.
On the subject - One of the major players in England's South West, Wadworth's traditional style and authentic tasting ales have earned them a strong and loyal following.
On the market – Their biggest selling ale by some margin. Nationwide availability, but the brewery also has it's own online shop.
On the whole - 8/10
This is a beer with a mighty reputation.
In the UK at least, the 6X branding has long been familiar to most beer drinkers, even those who have never tried it.
But is the quality of Wadworth's flagship product anywhere close to being as mighty as it's public image?
Well, to be frank, it's pretty damn close.
But then, the word 'mighty' does have more than one meaning.
Certainly, in terms of making an impression - this ale really knows how to push it's weight around. This is one of the most immediate flavour experiences I can recall.
The impact of that dry, sharp, nutty bitterness is nothing short of aggressive, and the subsequent complementary swathes of floral and citrus themes washes over you like repeated bouts of déjà vu.
It really is kind of dreamy.
For a beer of relatively low alcoholic strength, it storms the mouth like a marauding mob, and displays many of the characteristics of a 'strong' or at least a 'premium' ale.
In truth, I was somewhat wrong-footed by discovering that 6X is merely 4.3% ABV - I'd always assumed it was much more potent, and I give credit to the brewery for endowing this ale with such power and emphasis using (one would imagine) complexity and intensity of flavour rather than just maxing the booze.
That shows real skill.
I can certainly see why this beer is so popular. It makes a big impact without ever shouting or over pitching anything, and this means that - in spite of its undeniably 'mighty' character - you always feel inclined to reach for more.
In a sense, then, this is that strong ale you always wished you could cope with a few more jars of - repackaged in an eminently drinkable form.
Rarely is such a punchy brew found at this strength.
Without a doubt, I could spend many an evening being repeatedly whacked in the jaw by this excellent English ale.