Category Archives: Stout

Bentspoke Brewing ‘Descent 19’ Russian Imperial Stout


“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.

Firestone Walker ’17 ‘Velvet Merkin’ BA Oatmeal Stout


66174459_1121749588009185_6528339423652741120_n“Velvet Merkin is the beer that almost wasn’t…Indeed, this vintage oatmeal stout’s comical  (or is it scandalous?) name went off the grid for several years, but now it’s back due to popular demand. Velvet Merkin is aged for a full year in retired spirits barrels from Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve and others, yet manages to offer mind-­boggling balance and restraint.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown with a wispy tan head which retreats to the rim. The wet foam drags the lacing down the glass as it subsides. Quite a light pour for a barrel aged stout!

Aroma: What it lacks in EBC is instantly made up by huge wafts of bourbon barrels, vanilla spice, coffee, toasted coconut, dark fruits, milk chocolate, brown sugar, an undertone of honey and subtle nutty malts. The oatmeal is very faint but it provides a smooth and somewhat dry creaminess that works well alongside the rest of the rich and decadent aromas. Classy stuff.

Flavour: Incredibly smooth and effortless notes of coffee, mildly charred malts, vanilla, chocolate and bourbon barrels to the fore. Some underlying sweetness pulling it all in to line…we want to say caramel and honey but it’s thicker like molasses or toffee. Some cocoa and earthy spice forming late and rolling in to a kind of milky finish with mild roast and coffee lingering on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: So smooth, silky and creamy. Lighter in body than we had anticipated with the 8.5% AbV also very well hidden. It literally drinks like a sub 6%er. Wow!

Overall: Look it’s not the most mind-blowing barrel aged stout FW have released but it’s insanely sessional. How they mask the AbV like they do is seriously impressive. Dangerous! But impressive.

8 Wired Brewing ‘iStout’ Affogato Imperial Stout


62216818_1105067969677347_3053648324990074880_n“The “i” might be in lower case, but beware – this is a capital beer. Brimming with luscious roasted coffee and chocolate malt flavours drizzled over a scoop of velvety ice cream. iStout Affogato is balanced by a brisk bitterness and bold, hoppy freshness, remixed by the addition of lactose, coffee, and vanilla in the brew.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a finger of brown foam which quickly deconstructs. Still seeing a healthy lace as it ebbs though.

Aroma: Smells of deep roasted coffee, vanilla, licorice, molasses, ash, chocolate, treacle, burnt toast, earthy truffle and booze as it comes up to room temperature. For one of us this is our all time favorite desert and as much as it is brilliant we can’t really get the actual true Affogato character. It kind of gets a bit diluted in this dark forest of aromas. Still a bloody top notch aroma though.

Flavour: It kicks off with an assertive espresso bitterness paired with a bit of warming booze, raw cacao, dark chocolate and a subtle line of vanilla sweetness. The coffee enjoys a 2nd wind through the mid and as it surges toward the finish it picks up burnt toast and slight smoky notes then lands on bittersweet chocolate, coffee and charred earth.

Mouthfeel: Dense and muscly…yet rather silky. Pretty well carbonated for the style with the 10% AbV poking through at times.

Overall: It’s a superb stout but we can’t help thinking why they didn’t just keep it simple? An Affogato only require three things: coffee, vanilla ice cream and Frangelico (my preference anyway). Not going to complain it is a really solid offering.

Wicked Weed ‘El Paraiso’ BA Imperial Coffee Stout


61475601_1098524066998404_5320470005836414976_n“For those who think paradise cannot be improved upon, we offer this liquid of extreme repose. Bourbon Barrel Aged El Paraiso is decadence encapsulated. Madagascaran vanilla layers with the bourbon barrel flavor in a flawless and intoxicating wave. Dark cocoa nibs and obsidian coffee lend a roasted indulgence fit for an island king. Transform your paradise, and slide in to the warmth and wonder that is Bourbon Barrel Aged El Paraiso.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thumb of tan foam perched on top. The head holds together well and draws a nice lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Don’t know how many times we’ve said this over the years but the combination of coffee and dark beer makes for one of the best aromas known to man! Then add cocoa nibs to the mix and it’s a feast for the senses. It’s further complimented by a direct vanilla sweetness, woody oak and a distinct bourbon character from the barrel aging process. Caramel/toffee, maple syrup and coconut also creeping in as it warms. Good god!

Flavour: Plenty of bourbon, warming booze and woody oak tannins but where has all the decadent coffee, caramel and vanilla sweetness gone?! We can detect a bit of it but the intensity has completely dropped out. Some of the coffee tails in late but it’s more of a bitterness that pairs up with a hearty roast to finish things off. Good length on offer though.

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and aggressive…the latter spurred on by the 11.5% AbV. Carbonation is low and the body is as full as a goog.

Overall: Brilliant aroma…not so brilliant palate. Which is such a shame because there was so much potential. That’s the 2nd one in as many weeks! We found the Dark & Stormy had the same issue. Thankfully we still have the Milk & Cookies to come – let’s hope it can break the cycle.

Wicked Weed ‘Milk & Cookies’ BA Imperial Milk Stout

61329725_1099127483604729_6003428281880150016_n“Crafting the ultimate comfort beer was a winter challenge we happily embraced. Our Milk and Cookies Stout is a cold weather classic, and this version cranks up the comfort through barrel aging. We entrusted our Imperial Milk Sout with Golden raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla into the warming embrace of Kentucky Bourbon barrels to carry us home for the holidays. Relax. Drink up. You’re home.”
Glassware: Snifter.


Appearance: Dark brown/black with a 10mm dirty looking head that has plenty of fizz but recedes rather fast, leaving a tiny rim around the glass, made up of similar minute carbonation. Thin sets of rings left behind as it ebbs.

Aroma: The first thing that springs to mind is raisin toast! Just without the cholesterol building layer of melting butter on top. Big impressions of the bourbon barrels, cookie dough, Vegemite, Anzac biscuits, brown sugar, vanilla and booze. As it breathes a bit we detect the cinnamon spice, some chocolate alongside some lactose sweetness. Pretty lush. We can really get this Imperial Milk Stout that’s brewed with golden raisins, vanilla and cinnamon…hope to really detect golden raisin.

Flavour: We’ve recently found that the intensity of Wicked Weed’s big barrel aged pastry stouts have been lacking in flavour. This does not! This one follows on with the this delicious beer version of raisin toast. Booze heat which is not overbearing, moreish cookie dough, vanilla, Anzac biscuits, sweet cinnamon, roasted caramels and a biscuity cookie dough malt, milk chocolate, stewed fruit but it’s hard to detect golden raisins per se. The bourbon barrels really drive this bad boy all the way through to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Ridiculously smooth to taste. It’s 11.3% Alc volume! It’s hidden so well. Stickiness on the lips roughly half way through but not an overpowering sweetness. Minimal bitterness makes it so easy to keep gulping down. Full bodied with great length…namely that bourbon barrel heat. Carbonation minimal as expected.

Overall: Such a tasty stout. The highlights are the bourbon barrel aging that gives it a mustiness as well as the drinkability given its pretty hefty in alcohol volume. It’s rich, but not too sweet, nice use of the cinnamon…prominent but not overdone. Bloody delicious and hard to fault. Would love a tad more raisin but sheesh don’t want to be picky!

Hope Brewery Barrel Aged Imperial Stout


60294122_1089088771275267_5847992620868960256_n“Ball-Tearer Noun – Australian (informal). Something outstanding of its kind. Rich notes of vanilla and mocha arise from a distinctively dark body. Some careful barrel conditioning adds an edge of smoke and spice. Strong alcohol meets strong bitterness to carefully chisel a warming finish fitting of this ball-tearer of a Stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with faint cola edges. It notches up a short brown cap which persists and leaves healthy lace trails as it ebbs.

Aroma: Subtle yet complex aromas of vanilla and caramel sweetness, milk chocolate, tobacco, white marshmallow, musky notes and caramelized sugars. It also has this weird floral thing going on which is baffling…especially considering the style. A bit undecided at the moment.

Flavour: It continues with this vanilla-laden, musky and somewhat artificial sweetness alongside hints of toasty malt and very mild coffee. A hint of oak and warming booze roll in to a roasty finish with strange pear/apple notes on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full. Surprisingly smooth and hiding the 9.5% AbV quite well. Mild-moderate co2.

Overall: We’re not totally sold on it. If we’re drinking a BA Imperial Stout we want big and aggressive roast, bitter coffee, dark chocolate etc and we’re just not getting it here. Maybe the beer doesn’t suit the barrels? We love French oak but the vanilla and all round sweetness is over the top. Had better.

Wicked Weed ‘French Toast’ BA Imperial Stout


60511329_1088055718045239_6535119566400389120_n“We don’t recommend trying to drink from a bottle covered in syrup. It’s difficult. Sticky, also. French Toast Imperial Stout has finally made its way into package. We loaded this with copious amounts of cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup. Available now at both the Brewpub and Funkatorium. Expect this in distro within the next couple weeks.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a finger of brown foam capping it off. The head retreats to the rim but still manages to weave a fine lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow…sweet sensory overload! If you were diabetic forget the insulin just keep a bottle of this in your pocket! It smells of maple syrup, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, toffee, caramelized banana, cinnamon and melted chocolate. The time spent in bourbon barrels has further accentuated the spice and vanilla and added a slightly charred oak accent. Holy moly!

Flavour: It transitions with pin point precision. There’s a wave of caramelized sweetness upfront…we’re talking maple syrup, caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yet behind it all there’s a roasty component which hints at espresso coffee, charred oak and dark chocolate. This all carries in to the finish and keeps going and going and going…

Mouthfeel: Big and boisterous. The body is dense and slick with the hefty 12.3% AbV adding some expected warmth. Mild-moderate co2.

Overall: That’s about as sweet as one could take it until it starts getting in to cloying territory. Thankfully this has just pulled up short. Gotta admit it though…we absolutely love it!

Ekim Brewing Special Release Oatmeal Stout


57467771_1084954581688686_4747454238211178496_n“We are a small craft brewing company based in Sydney. All Ekim beers are unfiltered & unpasteurised; made in small batches with only malt, hops, yeast, water & a rebellion against mass produced brews.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As expected…impenetrable black with a short brown cap forming on top. It reduced to a halo which clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Beautifully rich and complex. The porridge-like oats come to the fore supported by mild roasted coffee, cocoa, dark chocolate, fresh vanilla bean, earthy spice, dark fruits and truffle. As it warms it develops this sharp molasses and or Vegemite quality which shows off the depth on offer here. Excellent aroma.

Flavour: It’s a little slow off the mark…we get a hint of metal initially but once it hits its stride we get that delicious roast, coffee, lightly charred malts, cocoa, dark chocolate and subtle vanilla. Maybe a touch of smoke/peat seeping through late in the piece. Oatmeal and porridge also making a late entrance as it finishes slightly dry, roasty and bitter sweet.

Mouthfeel: Metallic yet fairly soft and rounded. Much lighter than your average 6.8% stout.

Overall: This little microbrewery in northwest Sydney has a knack for brewing super clean and on point beers and this one is no exception! One of Sydney’s most underrated brewers in our opinion. Classy stuff.

Insel Braurei Baltic Stout


59685822_1083686328482178_1490895225613189120_nNO DESCRIPTION

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with a finger of light brown foam atop. Decent retention and fine sudsy lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Initially it has a touch of metal/iron which is a shame. Thankfully it subsides and we get more of the blood pudding, leather, dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, clove and lightly charred malts. There is a hint of sweetness here too…fresh vanilla bean and maybe even a flutter of maple. It actually develops in to quite a nice aroma.

Flavour: Heavy on the iodine/metallic notes upfront. It mellows in to smoother and more rounded rum and raisin, licorice and almond. It’s actually rather hoppy…leaning towards the spicy and herbal spalt variety if we had to guess. Toasty, mildly sweet and malty finish.

Mouthfeel: We don’t want to say it’s thin but it’s dangerously close. Rather light on and metallic in texture. The upside is the 7.5% AbV is nicely tucked away.

Overall: To be honest we’re a little underwhelmed. That unwelcome metallic character is too prominent throughout and there really isn’t anything here that excites us. Just above average in our opinion.

Insel Braurei ‘Insel Kap’ Oatmeal Stout


58372458_1078275025689975_7016163273716269056_nNO DESCRIPTION

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short and finely beaded brown cap. It forms a halo and leaves spotty lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: There’s an initial roasty bitterness which makes way for more sweeter notes like vanilla and lactose…yet even with that sweetness there’s an undertone of toasty malt and espresso coffee. We definitely detect the oatmeal with its distinctive grainy porridge-like characters. We totally understand how 19th century Europeans would consider this a healthy breakfast!

Flavour: Like the aroma it starts with a mild roasty bitterness which unfolds in to chocolate, coffee, a hint of cherry, porridge and toasty malts. Maybe a very subtle underlying smoky/peaty note here to. It finishes with a soft dry bitterness and faint roasted coffee on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat dry and grainy texture. Medium body with a touch of bitterness. Low IBU and a modest 5.6% AbV.

Overall: A decent oatmeal stout at a very good price. The outstanding aspect here (and across their whole range) is the artwork on the paper wrapping…very eye catching. We dig it.

Boatrocker 2019 ‘Ramjet’ BA Imperial Coffee Stout


57008983_1070232043160940_5364499072797376512_n“Pretty much everyone knows our infamous Ramjet STARWARD whisky barrel aged imperial stout. It’s a big luscious beast of a beer, with lovely whisky notes, and delicious aromas and flavours of dark chocolate, coffee, and malt. Inspired by some classic overseas versions of Bourbon BA coffee beers, we wanted to create a uniquely Australian version, using the wonderful whisky barrels of STARWARD. So we decided to up the natural coffee character that is present in Ramjet by infusing the beer with whole dark roast coffee beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with two fingers of brown foam emerging over the top. It holds together well and weaves a decent lace down the glass.

Aroma: Holy moly this bad boy packs a punch! It honestly smells as good as the KBS with a certain emphasis on the coffee. It has this bourbon-bbq sauce scent to it which makes us want to throw it all over our next meat lovers pizza. Then there’s the added molasses, toffee, tree sap, licorice, vanilla, marzipan, coconut and tobacco. Brilliant!

Flavour: It comes on quite slow but it definitely intensifies. Initially bourbon and charred malts, coffee, booze and toasted coconut moving to campfire, molasses and vanilla sweetness. It keeps creeping forward with smoke/peat, charred earth and coffee finishing on a deep roasty note with subtle vanilla sweetness cutting in late.

Mouthfeel: Dense and meaty. Full bodied with that 11.2% AbV quite direct. Pure indulgence!

Overall: Without a doubt this is Australia’s best barrel aged stout. Up there with the likes of KBS, Bourbon County etc. Sensational.

Northern Monk X Against The Grain ‘Kentucky Shire’ Breakfast Stout


54730296_1057502374433907_3598156676684840960_n“When looking to brew with our good friends from Against the Grain, we looked to brew an American classic but with a decidedly Yorkshire twist; and like our previous collaborations together, with a touch of Southern hospitality! The result? This delicious Anglo-American inspired stout!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with two fingers of creamy brown foam emerging on top. It holds its shape and weaves a fine lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Dark, roasty charred malts, coffee, peppers, nutmeg and chilli-infused dark chocolate. Definitely getting raw and almost bitter cacao working in to the mild campfire and peaty notes. Just a flutter of fresh vanilla bean hidden deep in there too.

Flavour: Nice transition from the nose. Big impressions of bitter roasted coffee, dark chocolate and cacao are brilliantly balanced by sweet vanilla and hints of chewy treacle. All the way through is this interesting spicy accent – best described as red peppers or some version of peppercorn – which carries in to the warming finish. Superb length on offer.

Mouthfeel: Not as meaty as were anticipating but still it holds up on the palate with a mild warmth from the 7.3% AbV. Mild-moderate co2.

Overall: It wasn’t just the potential KBS factor that led us to try this…it’s also the incredibly eye-catching artwork on the can that naturally stands out on the shelf. Definitely isn’t on KBS level but it’s still a worthy drop.

Wilkadene Woolshed ‘Firehouse’ Coffee Stout


54727683_1054729138044564_1649706236997795840_n“The Riverland’s only coffee roaster comes to the brewery once a year to produce each batch of Firehouse Coffee Stout. Arrosto coffee use a unique cold extract method to produce a clean and fresh coffee flavour, using single origin Colombia beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with two fingers of loosely packed foam atop. It slowly deconstructs leaving a healthy lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Luscious coffee emanating off the nose! It’s underlined by rich notes of chocolate, toasted marshmallow, mild roast, vanilla and toffee. We’ve noticed that the coffee drops out as it warms and is replaced by the sweetness of the vanilla and marshmallow. Love an evolving aroma!

Flavour: It seems that as it warms the coffee drops out in flavour too. It’s all roast upfront with a pinch of vanilla to balance it out. Hints of the marshmallow are there in the background as it picks up some coffee late in the piece. Nice finish with lingering roast, chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Rather light for a stout. There’s a lifted co2 that adds a bit of vibrancy to the texture. 5.6% AbV so she’s definitely on the milder side.

Overall: Look it’s a good drop but it’s a little too approachable in our opinion. We would have loved to see more body, more coffee and definitely some more roast. If someone was looking at taking their relationship with stouts to the next level then this would be a good option. Not bad.

Pirate Life X Limeburners BA Imperial Stout


53377821_1045308418986636_6686031759265497088_n“The story of the Limeburners x Pirate Life Whisky Barrel Aged Stout truly begins many years ago when Great Southern Distillery founder Cameron Syme began to hear the tales of his rebellious Scottish ancestors, who gave up the whereabouts of their illegal distillery and used the reward money to start a new one. A successful career in law took him to the UK where he took every chance to visit the birthplace of whisky – Scotland. After years of research and planning Cameron distilled his first whisky in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since. Today Cameron’s team, led by distiller Benjamin Kagi, makes some of the best whiskies and gins in Australia.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a big and foamy three finger head forming on top. It gradually reduces to a thick overlay with a smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Big, dense and viscous…as anticipated! The influence of the whisky is front and centre as it punches through with caramel, vanilla, a hint of spice and a honey-like sweetness. That all offsets the roasty and toasty elements of the stout beautifully. It’s quite amazing how they’ve managed such a pleasant nose considering the style.

Flavour: Absolutely delicious! This whisky is just made for this stout….the two combine incredibly well. There’s just the perfect amount of sweetness and spice in the whisky which is infused through the roasty, lightly charred and smoky notes and together they offer this decadent and super moreish flavour profile.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and full bodied. Unbelievably well hidden AbV (8.6%). Mild-moderate co2.

Overall: We among many others turned away from PL when they sold out but there is no denying the brilliance of this imperial stout. P.s let this baby warm up as she really reveals the true whisky notes once it does. Kudos PL!

Goose Island 2018 Bourbon County


51558883_1029779683872843_4715189778163695616_n“I really wanted to do something special for our 1000th batch at the original brewpub. Goose Island could have thrown a party. But we did something better. We brewed a beer. A really big batch of stout-so big the malt was coming out of the top of the mash tun. After fermentation we brought in some bourbon barrels to age the stout. One hundred and fifty days later, Bourbon County Stout was born.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black as midnight. It quickly forms a ring with minimal lace as we indulge.

Aroma: It’s almost 30 degrees outside and it really isn’t the ample time of year to be drinking a barrel aged imperial stout but…once we cop a whiff of this nose everything seems right! Wave after wave of rich dark chocolate, charred malts, subtle smoke, musty old wine cellar, molasses, dark fruits, oak, vanilla, toasted coconut and toffee. We’re only just scratching the surface too! That is unbelievable!

Flavour: This has some serious grunt. Loving the prominent vanilla sweetness that offsets all the super rich dark malts, chocolate and molasses. Really loving the bourbon accents that offer that faint smokiness which cuts right through it as well. Toasted coconut, charred wood and toffee develops late and leads in to a long and warming finish with incredible length.

Mouthfeel: Big and muscly. Full bodied. The AbV (15.2%) is borderline absurd but they manage to keep it in check. Somehow!

Overall: For such a gigantic beer they must be commended on keeping it not only enjoyable but really sophisticated. This would offer long cellaring potential as well. Kudos G.I!

Founders Brewing 2018 ‘CBS’ BA Maple Imperial Stout


50775319_1023867374464074_3515361389529006080_n“CBS was born when we stumbled upon some bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. We opted to put the same base beer as KBS, an imperialized version of Breakfast Stout, in the maple barrels and, after one taste, we knew we had something special. Rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate meld together in what can only be described as a transcendental drinking experience. You might notice that the label is missing a key, iconic element. You know, starts with “M” ends with “ountie.” It’s true – we did make the decision to remove the Mountie from CBS packaging out of respect for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a dark brown head emerging on top. It reduced to a collar with spotty lace sticking to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: The maple syrup sweetness is nowhere near as pronounced for this year’s vintage. In fact if we pitted the ’18 CBS against the ’18 KBS there wouldn’t be much distinction. Don’t get us wrong though it’s still a phenomenal aroma chock full of dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, charred malts, oak, subtle bourbon, earthy spice and vanilla.

Flavour: Once again…little trace of that ridiculously delicious maple syrup that was so abundant in the ’17 vintage. That’s the only downside though. The intense charred malts, coffee, dark chocolate, bourbon and oak fill up the mouth and carry through to the belly warming finish which offers lingering notes of vanilla, coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth and oh so elegant. The 11.7% AbV is so well hidden. Loving how it hits a crescendo then just mellows back out. Remarkable!

Overall: Yeah we’re pretty bummed about the lack of maple syrup but honestly the sheer brilliance of this stout makes up for it. You’re off the hook this year Founders but we wanna see more maple next year!

Ironbark Hill Brewhouse Black Forest Stout


49125091_1005678916282920_4358488792860983296_n“This is an easy drinking stout that has been brewed with real cherries and dark chocolate. Brewed to harness the dry Irish stout style with a subtle back end reminiscent of black forest cake. A great after dinner beer or one for a cold winters night.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Black with a thumb of lightly tanned foam perched on top. Good head retention and healthy lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Absolutely exquisite. The cherries really pop (pun unintended!). Behind them is a dense and luscious helping of dark chocolate, roasted malt, nutmeg, vanilla, fruit jelly and subtle coffee. We literally picture a big and decadent black forest cake everytime we take a whiff. Superb.

Flavour: Much drier and with a little less character as opposed to the aroma. Still getting that fruity line from the cherries with a distinct earthy cocoa and bittersweet chocolate weaving through. Tastes a bit grainy late in the piece but finishes with a soft coffee roast and a faint hint of black forest cake in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dry in essence but with a somewhat creamy texture to it as well. Would love to try this on nitro!

Overall: It took us a few sips to come around but eventually we did. The sweet and luscious nose then the dry and bittersweet flavour offers contrast and actually makes it a bit more fun. We’re liking what this brewery is producing.

De Moersleutel ‘Bounty Hunter’ Coffee & Coconut Imperial Stout


48362675_1000577843459694_1707930943966150656_n“Coffee & Cocounut infused Imperial Stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy overlay. It quickly snaps back to the rim with random spots of lace in its wake.

Aroma: It practically jumps out of the glass. The intensity of the coconut hits the olfactory’s first followed by espresso coffee, vanilla, chocolate, medium malt roast, black peppercorns and toasted marshmallow. The strength of the aroma literally hides any trace of the 12% AbV. Remarkable!

Flavour: Exact mirror image of the aroma – the infusion of coconut is immense then the espresso coffee, vanilla and chocolate takes hold. At this point it is just a liquid Bounty bar in our glass. Getting touches of spicy peppercorns which exposes the warming booze in the finish. Brilliant length as well.

Mouthfeel: Thick, gummy and plenty of muscle. Full body with mild-medium co2. 12% AbV….as we said previously it’s unbelievably well hidden.

Overall: Another epic offering from these Dutchmen. It’s our 2nd entry and both have been top notch dessert stouts. It will be interesting to see if they have depth in their repertoire…we’re willing to find out!

De Moersleutel ‘Willy Tonka 3’ Tonka & Scotch Bonnet Imperial Stout


47681252_997562507094561_6338888794183303168_n“Imperial Stout with tonka beans and scotch bonnet peppers.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a finger of dark tan head. It gradually peels off to a collar with patchy lace work down the glass.

Aroma: To he honest we’d never heard of Tonka beans or scotch bonnet chilli’s before. Once a bit of research was done the aromas made a lot more sense! Wafts of juicy cherry, nutty malts, prune/raisin, molasses, spice, vanilla, peppers and cacao nibs are in absolute abundance. It hides the 11% AbV ridiculously well also.

Flavour: We can really taste the chilli…she’s much more prominent as opposed to the aroma. It’s short lived though as she rolls in to a dry and woody middle with those sweet dark fruits in the back seat. Just a pinch of cherry and spice leading in to a long, dry and warm finish.

Mouthfeel: Oily/slick texture, rather warming and dry once the peppers kick in. Medium-full body.

Overall: This is our first crack at this breweries range. Although we’re not blown away it was quite a fun stout…not to mention the fact that we now know what Tonka beans and scotch chilli’s are!

Trillium Brewing ‘Secret Stairs’ Boston Stout


46370525_983661021818043_5083063983447998464_n“We brew Secret Stairs to highlight the unique physical connection between Summer Street and A Street, and raise a pint to The Fort Pointer; the neighborhood’s favorite protagonist!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a loosely packed head on top. It quickly forms a ring but struggles to produce any lace.

Aroma: Quite a conservative nose for Trillium – roasted malt base feeding in to notes of chocolate, caramel, coffee and cocoa with more edgy hints of floral pot pourri and vanilla essence. There’s a feature scent in there that we just can’t put our finger on…it’s either pine or something more herbal like lemongrass or fennel. Very intriguing!

Flavour: Follows on from the nose. Bold yet well tempered layers of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, lightly roasted malts and soft dark fruit sweetness. The bitterness goes up a notch midway and brings a hint of that American influence in to it. Nice and long roasty finish with some of that dryness carrying through.

Mouthfeel: Seriously smooth, light and a touch dry. 6.5% AbV – fairly nondescript. Medium body and Co2.

Overall: This stout is Trillium in a nutshell…it leaves us 80% satisfied. Apart from a few of their stand out beers we find they just fall short of being memorable most of the time. This one included. It’s a good stout but it’s nothing to write home about.