“Introducing Bentspoke Brewing’s 5th Birthday Beer! The roasty, bitter black malt and leather-like esters from the stout integrated with the bourbon barrel ageing complete this complex and rewarding Russian Imperial Stout.”
Appearance: Pitch black with a finger of dark brown foam emerging on top. Sturdy head retention with slightly streaky lace dragging its way down the walls of the glass.
Aroma: Wow. This is surprising. Very hop driven and it has caught us off guard. Almost a juicy fruit chewing gum like flavour which finishes just as fast as it comes. We’re absolutely baffled as to where this almost tropical fruity notes are coming from…and what the hell they’re doing in a Russian Imperial Stout. Still, there is a nice roasty backdrop to it…charred, smoky and oaky with a hint of cherry.
Flavour: Again this emphasis on tropical fruit is extremely weird in a Russian Imperial Stout. Subtle cherry and other mixed berries like raspberry getting amongst it. Black forest cake, some oaky accents, alongside chocolate and then the back palate we get that charred, ashy, wood like presence like a good ol RIS. Its very uncommon and it’s throwing us off. It’s non traditional that’s for sure.
Mouthfeel: Its a whopping 10% but you don’t really get any booze burn. Its fairly nice and smooth…very texturally drinkable. Length is decent and it carries well. Full body, no doubt about that.
Overall: Look, this is a tad confusing for us. We are sitting on the fence as we are a tad traditional here in terms of that big, dominant, punch in the face like RIS. The inclusion of dominant fruits has thrown us a tad, but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It’s a hybrid style of RIS. Craft brewing at its core methodologically speaking. Try it for yourself and judge basically.