Category Archives: Stout

Stillwater X Casita ‘Flat Earth’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Imperial stout with burnt caramel, black truffle & lava salt.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a short dark brown cap which disappears as quickly as it emerged. It retains a thin halo which manages a consistent set of rings as we sip.

Aroma: This is packing some serious heat. Honestly if we were blindfolded and had to guess what we had we’d be saying it was a BCBS variant as the sheer size and decadence of this is next level. And it’s not even barrel aged! Massive wafts of rich toffee and treacle, molasses, Ribena, salted dark chocolate, sweet espresso and cigar box enjoy support from hints of earthy truffle, raw vanilla and syrupy dark fruits. Oopht!

Flavour: Literally has the texture of sump oil. It initiates with a cameo of warming booze but it quickly lays down for the uber rich and hedonistic molasses, treacle, sweet espresso and toffee. Intense vanilla, dates/prunes, earthy truffle and cigar skins continue with a real faint smoky/ashy note forming late. It rounds off on a burnt yet sweet, fruity yet earthy and salty finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick beer soup…it’s so dense we could almost eat it with a spoon. Low Co2, full-bodied. The 13% ABV does come in and out but it’s very well behaved for its size.

Overall: Holy bejeezus that’s a big beer. We remember being big fans of Stillwater when they first burst on to the Aussie scene – before Aussie craft hit its straps all those years ago. This reminds us exactly why were such big fans. Word of advice though…share this bad boy!

Evil Twin ‘Imperial Biscotti Break’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“The Roman Empire had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ – festive food culture, extravagant architecture and spectacular live entertainment. Some might argue the Emperors were brutal, mad and hungry for power, and the people vain when taking baths and working out all day. Listen – that’s still all part of the secret Imperial ingredient – keep it cool, clean, confident, arrogant and flamboyant. Forza Imperiale.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a thumb of finely beaded foam resting atop. Reasonable retention and a cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow is this a pastry Stout or a creamy iced coffee with almond powder and vanilla?! And where the hell is that ominous-looking 11.5% ABV hiding? This gunna be dangerous 😬 First thing off is the coffee – sweet yet nutty and a little fruity. The Stout base, although reserved, still hits with a one-two of roasted malt, chocolate, beef jerky and molasses. Creamy vanilla/lactose and subtle almond/hazelnut to round it off. Supoib.

Flavour: Exact mirror image of the aroma. First up are the sweet and creamy aspects i.e vanilla, muscovado sugar and cocoa powder which passes the baton to the nutty, fruity and slightly acidic coffee. An inkling of warmth creeps in as it hits a gentle roasty note midway which then carries it all into an unbelievably smooth, creamy, slightly roasty and nutty finish that really draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: So creamy and dense yet so well aerated. The 11.5% ABV…oopht… incredibly well concealed. Medium-full body, super tight carbonation.

Overall: You know what this is…this is The Bruery style pastry Stout without the price tag. It’s been a long time between drinks for us and Evil Twin and this corker of a beer is a reminder to keep in touch! Brilliant.

8 Wired ‘Gorky Park’ BBA Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

A big, heavy Russian imperial stout aged for two years in American bourbon barrels. A regal brew fit for evil empires of all shapes and forms, inspired by poetry and raised to the sounds of industrial heavy metal.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with a fizzy short brown cap which slowly recedes. It eventually settles at the rim with a wet lace dragged down the glass.

Aroma: Ok well we weren’t expecting this slightly sour quality. We’ve let it settle now and it still displays a rather strong cherry-infused sourness which is far from what we’re after in a BBA Imperial Stout. It’s strange though coz the Bourbon/barrels do come through and it works in to the cherry quite nicely but it still begs the question.. why the hell is a BBA Russian Imperial Stout sour? Especially when there’s no mention of it anywhere in its description.

Flavour: We really don’t understand what angle they’re coming from here. If it were a BBA Imperial Stout with some sort of souring yeast or fruit then it would be shaping up to be a decent beer but there aren’t so it only leads us to believe the beer is infected. But to add more confusion it seems as if they meant for it to be slightly sour coz in a strange way it comes together. The downside again is that we didn’t buy a sour stout, we bought a BBA Imperial Stout!

Mouthfeel: Slick, relatively smooth and oily but with a discernible pursing of the lips. Mild-moderate Co2, medium-full body. 12.6% ABV.

Overall: One big old WTF?! It’s hard to know if they meant it or not. We know 8 Wired really ate up the sour movement years ago so it would kinda make sense that they did. We’re traditionalists…don’t mess with a BBA Russian Imperial Stout unless you’re sure it’s gonna come off. Unfortunately this one hasn’t.

Amager Bryghus X Modern Times ‘Black Nordic Skies’ Coffee Imperial Stout

Rating:

“The Lone Horseman is a ghostly phantom found in tales throughout the Nordic countries. According to legend, he will appear only on the darkest of nights and only when the polar lights ignite the skies. A knight in shining armor on a majestic bright white horse it is said, but no one really knows. Because no one has lived to tell. At Amager you risk meeting The Lone Horseman on the desolate and windswept Kalvebod Commons, if for some godforsaken reason you should wander this wilderness area on a deep, dark night. If you do, you’ll most likely be hopelessly lost, because even the bright lights of nearby Copenhagen will be dimmed to black out there. And if you then hear the distant snorting of a horse and hooves slowly approaching, you may soon spy a gentle, gallant and soft-spoken knight who will offer you a ride out of the darkness and back into civilization. And as tempting as it may seem to accept his kind offer, you must now instead flee. Flee as fast as you can. But it will most likely already be too late, as that kind and mesmerizing voice will lure you in. But no one who actually climbed the The Lone Horseman’s horse under that black Nordic sky, has ever been seen again alive. Who he is, nobody knows; but that he’s still out there, everybody knows.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a short brown head which quickly dissolves. It settles at the rim and leaves a cascading lace as we go.

Aroma: We’re all about this as it’s not focussing so hard on the coffee. We LOVE coffee but any old part time brewer can add coffee to a Stout and immediately make it better. Here, the base Stout has just as much of a say and it talks big; heavily roasted malts, licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, ash, marzipan, burnt brown sugar and oatmeal. The beautiful coffee accents just compliment the already magnificent aroma.

Flavour: This just oozes class. Upfront we’re getting a delicious sweetness that wasn’t presenting itself on the nose. It’s kinda sugary, vanilla-esque and it cuts through the big and meaty roasted malts like a knife through soft butter. The coffee, as delicious as it is, only plays a support role for the rich molasses, licorice, ash, chocolate and roasted nutty characters that march through the mid and continue through to the indulgent finish.

Mouthfeel: Dense, luscious and oily. Medium-full body, low-ish Co2. 10.7% ABV is fairly noticeable but adds to the sheer size of it.

Overall: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… we’re proper fanboys of Amager. Love their beers, love the artwork and love the clever descriptions. Just an all round world class brewery

Moon Dog ‘Jumping The Shark 2021’ BA Cherry, Chocolate & Coconut Imperial Stout

Rating:

“One of our most ridiculous, most anticipated, (mostly) annual releases is back! This Imperial Stout has all the ridiculousness you’d expect from a Jumping The Shark Release and then some. We’ve brewed a huge 12.6% Imperial Stout, popped it in some delicious rum barrels for a nice long beauty sleep and finished it with the cherry on top, amphora conditioned cherry, coconut and chocolate!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a fizzy brown head which dissipates rather quickly. It settles at the rim but leaves a magnificent lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oopht! That gets right up in the olfactories immediately. The dominant scent would be the cherry and at this stage it’s hard to tell whether it’s real fruit or syrup. Who cares! It smells nice! The creamy vanilla also comes off pretty strong as does the coconut, spicy dark rum, licorice and fudge. As we continue to take it in we can’t help but keep thinking boozy Cherry Ripe in a glass. Yum!

Flavour: Similar to the nose where the indecisive but prominent cherry kicks it all off. Coconut, vanilla, sugary dark rum and sweet spice shifts into an almost medicinal cherry flavour early in the mid. The big and aggressive stout base then steps in and carries licorice, molasses, cherry fudge, rum/barrels and coconut through to the rich, sweet and warming finish which draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light for the style. Medium-full body, oily texture, low-ish Co2. The 12.6% ABV is fairly well buried for its size.

Overall: Along with Bridge Road’s B2 bomber this is one of a very limited number of seasonal Aussie releases we hold out for. And again it has delivered. Not as well as some of the earlier releases but it’s still bloody good. The “amphora conditioned” side of it is a bit wanky though..no wonder non craft beer drinkers have a laugh at our expense sometimes! 😂

Mr Banks ‘Roasted’ Imperial Coffee Stout

Rating:

“A Big, roasty, coffee & chocolate laden imperial stout. Forget about your morning mug of joe, this is packed full of some of the finest Peru Chirinos Beans from Prodigal Coffee Roasters.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a thumb of fizzy yet finely beaded brown foam which quickly dissolves. It forms a halo and works a wet lace down the glass.

Aroma: Yup, loving this already. If you’ve been following us for long enough you’d know that coffee comes a comfortable 2nd to beer as our favourite beverage. So when these two magical worlds meet it’s usually just that…magical! The balance between the nutty, slightly burnt and chocolate-driven coffee and the roasty, licorice and ashy Stout base is literally divine. Honestly there’s no other way of describing it.

Flavour: We had to double check the ABV to reassure ourselves and yes, it’s 9.2% ABV. Dead set, where is it?! So dangerously drinkable! It opens up with a mild coffee roast, toasted walnuts, cocoa and ash – which develops a bit later. Picking up nuanced notes of vanilla and toasted coconut, light florals and burnt milk for days on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: So thick and creamy but unbelievably smooth. Mild-moderate Co2. Full body. As we touched on earlier the 9.2% ABV is incredibly well concealed.

Overall: Not often are we this impressed by Banksy but this offering deserves some adulation. It’s excquisitely balanced, rich and full flavoured and the coffee is beautifully integrated. That’s a definite two thumbs up from us.

Deeds Brewing ‘Once More Into The Fray’ BBA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“This Imperial Stout was aged in Bourbon Barrels for 12 months resulting in thick chocolate notes, backed by vanilla, coconut, whiskey and oak.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a thumb of brown foam emerging on top. It steadily peels off but still manages a gorgeous wavy lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Hell yeah…the Bourbon/barrels are infused with the base Stout characters extremely well. Loving how the creamy vanilla and coconut shines through the carnal richness of the malts and the decadent sweet spicy-ness of the Bourbon. The formwork certainly deserves a mention too; moreish chocolate, dates/prunes/figs, toffee, warming booze, molasses and licorice. Hot damn that’s good!

Flavour: We definitely get every bit of the 14.6% ABV but to be fair at that weight it’s impossible to hide. It comes on with a rich malt sweetness and chocolate then the Bourbon, oak, coffee, licorice, charred malts and spice come crashing through. The sweet vanilla and coconut enters the fray (pun intended!) And settles it all down as it finishes hot and heavily roasted with Bourbon for days.

Mouthfeel: Dense and bulky, oily, minimally carbed. Full body. The 14.6% ABV as we’ve mentioned is pretty in-your-face but kinda expected.

Overall: We don’t normally do Deeds as we believe they’re more about quantity than quality but hype has got the better of us on this one. We can certainly understand where the hype comes from though…this would no doubt be the best beer we’ve had from them. May have to grab a few more for the cellar! Brilliant.

London Beer Factory ‘Zia’ Tiramisu Imperial Stout

Rating:

“A decadent stout modeled after the famed Italian dessert. Luscious mocha coffee aromas rise straight from the glass. Drinking – a velvety, creamy body is supported by rich roasted barley – backed by adjunct sweetness and roasted chocolate malts. A digestivo, dessert, and coffee in one.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with a light brown head which swells to about two fingers before slowly retracting. Good retention and healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: It’s imitating a tiramisu pretty damn well it must be said. Coffee, powdered chocolate, lactose/milk sugars and Kahlua. Funnily enough we even get subtle notes of Lady Finger biscuits (or it’s just our heads telling us that coz it’s one of the best parts of a tiramisu!). Also picking up hints of hazelnut syrup, cream, roasted malts, white meringue and vanilla. Very well balanced!

Flavour: Yuuummm! Literally just like a slightly boozy tiramisu in liquid form. The front palate is awash with lactose, vanilla and white sugar but the coffee, cocoa powder and lightly roasted malts offer the perfect balance. Then the delicious savoury notes of biscuit come through. Coffee and a delicate hint of Kahlua tails in late and finishes sweet yet roasty with good duration.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, creamy and a little gelatinous. Finely carbed. The 9.2% ABV is incredibly well buried.

Overall: It’s another one of those situations where we’ve had our eyes on a brewery but had never felt compelled to have a crack. And once again we’re pleasantly surprised by the intensity, quality and overall balance. That’s a damn fine offering. Not badly priced either!

Dead End ‘The Tower’ Chilli & Chocolate Imperial Stout

Rating:

“10 different malts, 100kg of organic Tunisian Deglet Nour dates, 100+ Madagascan vanilla pods, ethically produced Venezuelan cacao nibs, Mexican guajillo and chipotle chillies and a heap of organic cinnamon. No flavourings, extracts or essence. The Tower is a big thick stout. Warming and fruit forward Mexican chillies blend together with the freshly roasted Venezuelan cacao. All balanced off with organic cinnamon and Madagascan vanilla followed by a rich complex date sweetness. Fermented in open fermenters with an ester forward custom yeast blend.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a short brown head which quickly peels off. It forms a halo with thin rings marking each sip as we go.

Aroma: At first we can’t find much of the chilli or the chocolate but as this bad boy warms it really starts to open up. Rich dark chocolate initially then the fresh chilli comes through with its acidic and peppery accents. There’s a super decadent base in support too; espresso, campfire, warming booze/phenols, molasses, ink, spice, a hint of acetone and licorice. Oopht this has got some attitude!

Flavour: It really evolves well and thank goodness coz it hits like a tonne of bricks upfront. It’s like charred malts and 100% dark chocolate meets liquid smoke, vanilla and molasses. The chilli component is way too delicate for our liking though…not enough heat or flavour being generated from it. It hits a crescendo late in the mid and is assisted down with rich cocoa, espresso, subtle vanilla and spice. Literally sits on the palate for days!

Mouthfeel: So dense and oily, full bodied with low Co2. The 11% ABV certainly doesn’t shy away but is well enough hidden for its size.

Overall: This one also came recommended from a mate and we must say it hasn’t really come through as well as we’d expected. Nothing at all wrong with it it’s just a little rough around the edges. Still, not a bad drop.

Hawkers ’21 BBA Imperial Stout – Maple Edition

Rating:

“Whoever says morning is too early for a beer clearly never tried a stout infused with Canada’s tastiest export. Time spent in bourbon barrels fuses the darkness of night with the flavours of breakfast.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a tightly held three finger head. It takes an age to reduce and weaves a healthy lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Wooowww that maple! That is literally eyes rolling in the back of the head sort of stuff. Absolutely loving how it then blends into the sweet and spicy Bourbon then eventually the damp woody oak, vanilla and burnt toffee and finally on to the base Stout of dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, subtle molasses and raw cacao. It literally follows that progression through each time we take it in. Incredible depth and complexity here.

Flavour: Until now we’ve been impressed with this mixed BBA series but this one is head and shoulders above the rest. The coffee edition comes close but this is next level. The Bourbon spikes initially then the maple quickly softens the blow. All that woody oak, vanilla, caramel/toffee then opens up on to the rich dark chocolate, molasses, licorice, coffee and charred malts. Finishes rather roasty and charred with a bit of sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous but there’s a slightly lifted Co2 and bitterness. Medium-full body. The 13.1% ABV is discernible but excusable considering its size.

Overall: We’ve definitely left the best til last! As we said before the coffee edition was a stunner but the fusion of maple in this expression is absolutely delicious! Safe to say that this would give Stockade’s ‘Mountie’ a run for its money. Brilliant.

Hawkers ’21 BBA Imperial Stout – Coffee Edition

Rating:

“Is there as harmonious a match than between coffee and imperial stout? Add in the many months’ rest in ex-bourbon barrels and you’ve got the divine trinity from the ethereal Book of Stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thumb of light brown foam emerging on top. Good retention and healthy lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: We haven’t been blown away by this mixed barrel series so far but this could be the turning point! Man this fusion of coffee into the bourbon and oak is mind-blowing. This is what the previous releases (straight Impy, Bourbon and Rum barrel) were missing – that one feature flavour to bring it all together. And in this instance the coffee is that bridge between a passable barrel aged Impy Stout and a world world class one. Superb.

Flavour: One thing we’ve found across this series is the way they’ve hidden the booze. This expression highlights it thoroughly. The way it slides on to the palate with this silky smooth texture but then explodes with bourbon oak, coffee, dark chocolate, spice, toffee, molasses, charred malt and ganache is simply incredible. The roll on into the decadent, bourbon-fuelled yet smooth and roasty finish is just divine.

Mouthfeel: Not as thick and chewy as we’d expected. A higher carb is here but it doesn’t mess with the overall silky texture. Medium-full body, 12.9% ABV.

Overall: They’ve found their niche here. Their BBA Imperial Stout was good but their BBA Stout with ‘X’ flavour is where they should be aiming going forward. This is more like it!

Hawkers 2021 Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Rating:

“More than 8 months of rest in barrels that previously aged rum has invigorated this imperial stout into a magnificent beast, harbouring notes of stewed fruits and rum spice. Drink now or cellar for another day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with two fingers of light brown head resting atop. Fairly good retention but not a lot of it sticks to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: The spicy and caramelised Rum qualities are exhibited well. So is the complex oak but our gripe with this (so early on 😬) is that the base Stout is a little weak and doesn’t really have the strength to carry the weight, so to speak. At the moment all we can pick up is the heady Rum, the barrels and mild dark chocolate, carob and molasses. It’s like the bottom end has been totally ripped out.

Flavour: Same issues as the aroma; the classic Rum and barrel flavours come through beautifully – they provide a rich and sweet spice, caramel/toffee and a lick of vanilla – but it’s like there’s nothing to tie it in to. Granted, the mild chocolate, molasses, roast and licorice save it from being a disaster but again, the base Stout isn’t enough to carry the Rum/barrels through.

Mouthfeel: A little too light on for an Impy Stout but it is oily with low-ish Co2. The 12.4% ABV is pretty well hidden too.

Overall: We were a little more forgiving with the Bourbon expression coz it was a pretty good offering but to pay almost $30 for this one is a little outrageous. Especially when you can buy a bottle of KBS for $13! Or spend another $10 or so for a BCBS! Doesn’t match the price tag in our opinion.

Hawkers 2021 BBA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Having slumbered in ex-bourbon barrels for over 8 months, this imperial stout has awoken with resurrected ferocity and ramped up flavours of bourbon and vanilla. Drink now or cellar for another day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours solid black with a brown three finger head which maintains its shape. Excellent lacing clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Smells freakin incredible! The way the bourbon pops but is so nicely fused through is testament to the brewers. Behind the magnificent bourbon are decadent notes of vanilla, caramel/toffee, mixed spice and bourbon oak. The base Stout is solid too; dark chocolate, molasses, a hint of licorice and coffee. Some gamey characters as well. Brilliant aroma…really complex with lots of depth.

Flavour: Not as perfectly refined as the aroma but it’s still delicious. The bourbon has slightly rougher edges but the sweet vanilla and toffee/caramel keeps it in check. Bitter dark chocolate, ash, raw coffee bean, tobacco and licorice all combine to provide a sturdy bottom end. Some warmth late in the piece then punctuating on a roasty, charred and bourbon-infused finish. Excellent duration too.

Mouthfeel: Pretty fierce, sharp and dense. Medium-full body. Low-ish Co2. The 12.8% ABV is fairly noticeable but at that weight it’s fair enough!

Overall: We were so close to giving this mixed barrel series a miss solely on its price point. Almost $30 a can is ridiculous (luckily we get them a bit cheaper!). For the price we honestly can’t say that this expression is worth it but, and that’s a big but, it’s pretty impressive and glad we took the leap.

Upfront Brewing Bourbon Oaked Imperial Milk Stout

Rating:

“A complex multi layered bourbon oaked imperial milk stout, with toasted coconut flakes, coconut cream and sticky Tongan vanilla beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a short and loosely bound head which retreats quickly. It settles at the rim with fine rings being left after each sip.

Aroma: Very underwhelming to be brutally honest. When we see “Bourbon Oaked Imperial Stout with coconut cream and Tongan vanilla” we’re expecting something pretty damn impressive. What we’re actually getting are hints of acrylic, cheap leather, bakers chocolate and fresh vanilla but it’s more about what it’s missing; Bourbon oak, coconut cream and most importantly a sense of structure…it just seems extremely untidy and muddled to us.

Flavour: We were hoping things would turn around majorly here and although it’s a little better assembled it’s still way off the mark. Initially we get this acrid type of flavour which if it weren’t for the lovely vanilla sweetness this would be a sink pour. It shifts into a mildly roasty mid palate where a touch of that acrylic/acetone creeps in. Vanilla, some lactose sweetness and chocolate thankfully see it off in a rare glimpse of style.

Mouthfeel: Pretty dense and muscly, flat-ish Co2. The 10% ABV shows through more than its warranted. Medium-full body.

Overall: It’s probably no surprise that this didn’t do it for us. Very poorly executed, unbalanced, unstructured and some of the feature flavours are completely MIA. Very average stuff.

Wander Beyond ‘Sakura Twilight’ Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout

Rating:

“This delectable stout is based around one of the most heavenly dessert pairings: velvety chocolate and tart cherries. Manchester-based Wander Beyond Brewing’s Sakura Twilight is brewed with fresh morello cherries and cacao nibs, making for a rich and decadent Imperial Stout with a lovely tart finish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades. It forms a finger of cherry-infused brown head which slowly reduces and weaves a gorgeous cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow that is simply delightful to take in. Just as we think the cherry is dominating it throws out a big dose of roasted malt, vanilla, chocolate ganache, golden syrup, marzipan and creamy oats to pull it back into line. Pretty sure we keep getting subtle hints of praline as well. And as it settles it all comes together and it’s downright gratifying.

Flavour: The cherry component isn’t as well integrated here but it doesn’t get too far ahead of the pack. There’s actually a hint of tartness upfront which tapers off into the more dessert-like qualities of dark chocolate, marzipan, vanilla and coffee. It kicks on into a nicely drawn out finish full of roasted malts, cherry, dark chocolate and cream.

Mouthfeel: Nice density to it but it could be a bit fuller considering its size though. Low-ish Co2. The 11% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: Look it’s a pretty solid beer. The flavour profile could have been a bit tighter but that’s a proper 1st world problem. Nothing to write home about but it’s a respectable offering.

Bad Shepherd Oatmeal Stout

Rating:

“This winter favourite is seasonally brewed, using 75kg of flaked oats toasted in our brewpub kitchen to showcase a nutty oat profile, this stout is deliciously chocolatey and nutty with a full bodied creamy mouthfeel and firm roasty finish. A moderately low carbonation reminiscent of a traditional English Stout accentuates strong notes of caramel and nut on the palate.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense oily black with a finger and a half of frothy light brown head. It’s retained well and weaves a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Initially it’s a little too shy and withdrawn for our liking. We’ve gotta give the glass a really good swirl to open up the subtle chocolate, cocoa, coffee and slightly creamy oatmeal. Eventually it does all come together but again it’s just too weak and watery for this style of beer. In its defence it is in session stout territory so we can’t be too harsh.

Flavour: We must give them credit coz it keeps improving as we go. Although it’s a little watered down the base flavours are fairly decent; delicate roasted malts, cocoa, coffee, oatmeal and milk chocolate. But as we say that the evolution stops in its tracks and limps over the line with a really tired finish which pulls up short on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Holds up surprisingly well. Smooth and well rounded, a little creamy. Finely carbonated. 5.1% ABV is very low for the style.

Overall: We feel if they just boosted it up to about the 6-6.5% ABV mark they could have beefed everything else up and completed the beer. Instead it’s just thin and lacking substance. We like our Stouts big, roasty and aggressive and this is the polar opposite.

Sunday Road ‘Some Velvet Morning’ Oat Cream Stout

Rating:

Some Velvet Morning is a decadent stout with a luxurious flavour profile. Brewed with a sprinkle of lactose, a heaping of malted and golden naked oats and a carefully curated blend of roasted malts. Smooth, and creamy this is a modern interpretation of the style made for drinkers of today.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: It presents with a deep black pour and a thumb of brown foam over the top. The head gradually peels off and leaves a magnificent lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Not a whole lot coming off it initially. Given a bit more time to settle and a few more swirls and it starts to release some lightly roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and toffee sweetness. As it sits longer it develops more of the stout characters we come to expect; licorice, nutty milk chocolate, granola, subtle spice, golden syrup and this earthy quality which we can’t quite put our finger on.

Flavour: Wow that is really different…then again this is the first time we’ve ever tried (or seen) an Oat Cream Stout before. Upfront it’s almost all texture and no flavour! It’s so thick and creamy that all we can really taste is vanilla, oats, a hint of chocolate and lightly roasted malt. Slowly but surely the coffee and chocolate intensifies and lands on an unbelievably smooth yet roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Beer soup. But add a dash of oat cream for extra fluffy-ness. It’s so dense and creamy…we love it! The 6.4% ABV is nicely slotted in without notice.

Overall: This brewery keeps going from strength to strength. It’s unimaginable that just a couple of years ago all they had was a mild old pale ale so we’re loving the progression of these guys. Solid offering.

7 Mile ‘Quarter to Seven’ Coffee Stout

Rating:

“An intense coffee stout brewed in collaboration with our friends at Old Quarter Coffee Merchants. This beer is made with direct trade Sumatra Gayo beans, offering a rich and slightly fruity note.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a short tan head which gradually peels off. It forms a halo which works a lovely cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Pow! The coffee hits the olfactories immediately. It provides more of a raw Kopi Luwak kind of quality which displays nutty, chocolate and slightly bitter notes. Behind the coffee is a steadfast fusion of burnt wood, dark chocolate, dark fruits, raw cacao, mild licorice and a rich and intense toffee/caramel accent. Jeez, talk about kicking off in style!

Flavour: Once again the intensity of the coffee is front and centre – really honing in on this raw and nutty complexity which is heavenly. It’s backed up by a subtle hint of vanilla, milk chocolate, dark fruits, woody notes and this overarching earthy dryness…which is most likely from the hops. The finish is roasty, coffee-laden and a tad fruity.

Mouthfeel: Loving the viscosity…it’s hefty and muscly with low-ish Co2. Fairly inoffensive too which is a credit to them. 6.7% ABV is well tempered.

Overall: Let us just say this is a very promising start to this brewery. Laying down roots in far north NSW not far from good ol’ Byron Bay. Look out Stone & Wood some healthy competition has arrived! Potentially 😉

Alesmith ‘Speedway – Mostra Coffee & Coconut’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“For this special variant of our signature Speedway Imperial Stout we partnered with our good friends at @mostracoffee to add their Ghost Bear Coffee Blend: Speedway Edition, which features beans from Brazil, the Philippines, and El Salvador! Combined with copious amounts of coconut to pair with Speedway’s already roasty notes of chocolate and dark fruit, this specialty release is definitely something to write home about.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of light brown foam perched on top. It gradually reduced to a halo with scarce lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: Loving the way the coconut slices through the rich and roasty malts. Hold the nostrils over the beer for a little longer and the heavenly scents of coffee come to the party with its nutty and slightly roasted traits. Then the cavalry arrives bringing vanilla, muscovado sugar, fig, licorice, charred wood, dark chocolate, star anise/clove and black pepper. This is smelling the goods!

Flavour: Quite bitter and we don’t think it’s coming from the coffee either. It’s more of a hop bitterness which is emphasized further by the monstrous 12% ABV. Lucky the immensely rich and roasty malts come through with serious vigour. The coconut and coffee is front and centre as they should be. Evident notes of molasses, licorice and ash then shift into the nice roasted finish full of coconut, vanilla, charred malts and coffee.

Mouthfeel: The viscosity on this bad boy…ooft! So dense and muscly. Low-ish Co2, full body. The 12% ABV isn’t shying away.

Overall: Even though it’s a corker of a beer nothing under the ‘Speedway’ label has ever been able to come close to Thai Speedway. That thing was OG. Still, it’s a highly enjoyable version.

Hawkers ’21 Vintage Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Massive, lush, and dark as night, our 2021 Imperial Stout is a behemoth towering against an inky black sky with flavours of dark chocolate, espresso, and roasted malt. Drink now or cellar for another day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades and whipping up a humongous four finger head which takes an age to recede. An absolute smattering of lace is left on the glass.

Aroma: At its core it’s pretty big and ferocious. Heady notes of licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, raw coffee, ash, Jaffa and earthy hops. Yet once again we struggle to split the difference between not only this series’ previous vintages but other Impy stouts in general. Don’t get us wrong it’s a really well structured aroma but for us it’s just…another Imperial Stout aroma.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose; rich and aggressive roasted/charred malts, licorice, molasses, espresso, chocolate and bitter earthy hops. It hits a super ashy note midway, bordering on IPA-like bitterness before it tapers off into the classic charred malt characters of espresso, dark chocolate and licorice. The length on this bad boy deserves a mention though.

Mouthfeel: Nice and dense, full bodied. Low-ish Co2. The 10.5% ABV is fairly well behaved throughout.

Overall: Yeah nothing overly memorable unfortunately. Yes, it’s well brewed and also well structured but for us it’s like almost every other Imperial Stout on the market….good but not great.