Beer Review: Badger Fursty Ferret

DORSET’S most prolific brewer has snuck a couple more bottles into my local corner shop again. Marvellous. The last half-a-dozen bottles of Badger/Hall & Woodhouse ale I tried were very good. Or better. What is Fursty Ferret? And why is Ferret Fursty? Let’s see.

Badger Fursty Ferret bottle

The bottle is transparent. Which is different to most other Badger bottles. It takes away the surprise of an unexpected colour. But then why hide such a deliciously brown liquid in an opaque bottle?

Badger Fursty Ferret neck label

The bottle comes with a neck-label. And that label describes it as “Ale Full of Character”. Appetising, but it could do more. Brewers, use the neck label to tell us something useful about the drink. Is it fruity, malty or made with silage?

The front-label is the simplest Badger front-label I’ve seen yet. Just look at it.

Badger Fursty Ferret front label

Besides the name and logo, the only other details are “Country Crafted” and “Alc 4.4% Vol”. You have to love the ferret’s getting up to mischief around the keg of beer though. 4.4% volume isn’t too bad either. Even though I like my ale to have more power, a lot of you will like how it sits nicely between the three-point-something’s and more-than-five-percent’s.

The lack of information isn’t a problem either, when you remember how superb Badger’s back labels are.

Badger Fursty Ferret back label

The story comes with a story as tenuous as any about ferrets sneakily enjoying the brew at a country pub. It goes on to describe itself as a “tawny amber ale” with a “nutty” taste, “hoppy aroma” and something to do with “Saville oranges”. Fortunately, they also included one of their excellent charts for those of us who prefer to see pictures instead of reading. And, for the first time, I have a camera good enough for you to read what it says.

What are the most important bits? The taste. They describe it as “Malty” and balanced. On the chart, “Sweet” stands right out, bolstered by strong “Malt” and “Fruity”. But you didn’t need me to say that because, for once, my photo is good enough for you to see for yourself.

Under the interesting bits we get to the small print. The only ingredients on the list are “malted barley, wheat & sulphites”. At 4.4% volume, this standard 500ml weighs in at 2.2 UK units of alcohol. So you can have around two of them in one sitting.

At the very bottom of the label are the addresses that matter. There’s Hall & Woodhouse Ltd’s address. In case you want to write to them. Or visit them. And there’s the web address which is www.badgerales.com.

Does it taste sweet, malty and fruity? Time to crack open the bottle and find out. I’m looking forward to this.

Badger Fursty Ferret poured into a glass

The colour is as “tawny amber” as it looked in the bottle. Only now it has a patchy and rather disappointing head.

The label promised a complicated smell of things like spicy hops, orange and malt. That’s a lot of different things. It’s so complicated that I can’t disagree. All those things are in the smell. And possibly a few more besides. Hoppy, tangy and complex is the overly simplistic way I’ll choose to describe it.

Miraculously, it tastes exactly the way it smells. All the complexity and everything. That was a very satisfying first gulp.

The flavours aren’t strong. They’re not weak either. Just a bit passive. Great if you want a gentle, nutty and slightly fruity and malty. Not so much if you wanted something strong and outrageous.

The gentle flavour is gently replaced by the aftertaste that gently rolls onto your tongue. Pleasant hoppy-ness takes centre stage. Tangy malty-ness are the supporting acts. And the whole act is a bitter sweet balance. All in all, the label is spot-on.

Two-thirds of the way through the bottle, what am I enjoying about Badger Fursty Ferret? Quite a lot. Hall & Woodhouse rarely disappoint with their labels. The profile box on the back of Fursty Ferrett is as accurate as any. And that’s good because it will help you pick a bottle that you like. It smells complex, which a good ale should do. It tastes good. In fact, it’s so gentle and tasty, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who’ll hate it. It’s not gassy. And the Badger quality is most definitely here. You can taste the care and quality. Especially if you’ve come straight from a lager.

What am I not enjoying about Badger Fursty Ferret? Mostly the things that come down to personal taste. The gentle flavour is all well and good, but I like something that takes bigger risks and does something original. Which Fursty Ferret doesn’t really. Even though that’s probably not what they set out to do. What else? Nitpicking again brings me to the strength, but then it never said it was a strong ale. The only valid complaint I can think of is that it’s hard to find in shops.

To sum up, Badger Fursty Ferret is a deserving member of the Badger line-up. It’s tasty, gentle and well made. Even if it is a little on the boring side. I liked it and you probably will too. It’s like Canada. Hard to hate.

Rating: 4

Have you tried Badger Fursty Ferret? What did you think of it? Leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy in the comments section here.

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9 Responses to “Beer Review: Badger Fursty Ferret”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    PRETTY GOOD

  2. Tam Says:

    This is stocked in my local Spar.

    I like it and buy it regularly.

  3. Terena Tennent Says:

    My fathers ferrets were going to be used for Fersty Ferrets advertising, the original ferret went for a walk for a few days but thankfully he returned home. He always loved this particular ale. Yes, I am related to Tennents Beers.

  4. Internet Web Directory Says:

    Internet Web Directory…

    [...]Beer Review: Badger Fursty Ferret « Hywel's Big Log[...]…

  5. Yo Yo Pickles Says:

    My local ASDA stocks it and i love it! Not too strong and a nice ale for summer AND winter. I usually enjoy 3 or 4 bottles of it. Delicious!

  6. GC Says:

    Visited friends in the UK a few weeks ago. I am a Kiwi living in Malaysia and was sick of the insipid mass of lagers we get here. I was looking forward to some decent Ale and this REALLY hit the spot. The packaging put me off initially as I thought it would be a gimmicky beer judging solely on that, but the smell and taste hit the spot. I did look for some other ones from the Oz and James TV show but couldn’t find them, so I can’t compare with the really good stuff but this is an easy 4 out of 5 for me. If they sold it in Malaysia I would have a few in the fridge all the time.

  7. nigel robinson Says:

    Half way through my Fursty Ferret, and again a well balanced beer from Badger. It’s not as strong as I prefer, but after half a dozen, what does it matter. Plenty going on with this brew, definately one to recommend.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    have drank ferret for a number of years very drinkable cold in summer room temp in winter more tasty than lagers good with lots of meat dishes too

  9. David Says:

    Very good review but I was hoping for some comment on what to me is something of a mystery, namely – the statement, at the bottom of the lable, that appears to say that the beer has been brewed at Brassee Par, Elborada.

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