Served in an English pint. A deep copper pour aroused a gushing four finger head that wants to spill out of the glass. She’s not much of a stayer though as it hastily retreats and eventually establishes a loosely held blanket which produces some spotty lace as it subsides. The nose is providing some incredible aromas. It’s like your typical ESB but on steroids. Every aspect is amplified – the chocolate malts are heady, rich and in-your-face while this almost rum or port character hands it a boozy feel that actually isn’t really there. We get additional wafts of cola, dark bready malts, toffee, pumpernickel and a complex spicy rye accent. Brilliant stuff. The beer is quite chewy and well weighted without being overly heavy on the palate. A surprisingly high Co2 actually works extremely well with the subtle warmth from the 6.1% ABV. The flavour follows on from the nose impeccably….just as we were hoping. This fusion of rich malts, caramel, rum/port and chocolate has the taste buds in a frenzy. As it progresses we get more of a dark fruit character that reveals spicy notes through the mid. A firm bitterness along with a delicate alcohol warmth preludes a dry but sweet and fruity finish with suggestions of port and toffee enduring on the rear. Wow! What an absolutely superb drop. It’s like no other ESB we’ve ever had. This has some kind of boozy potency but still holds just a 6.1% ABV. The rum/port notes are a masterstroke and we’re at odds at how the brewers have managed to incorporate it so effectively. Super stuff.