Category Archives: Stout

Omnipollo ‘Noa Pecan Mud’ Imperial Stout


22290053_755785907938890_2422864796795902777_o“When I was 12 I dreamed of becoming a pastry chef. Call this a creative outlet. Thick, rich and excessively decadent, this beer aims to bring back childhood memories. Brewed with aromas.”

Served in a snifter. We’re met with an impenetrable black pour with a thumb of brown foam topping it off. Slow reduction, settling to a film that provides a healthy lace as it subsides.
The nose, although similar to the original Texas pecan Ice cream, is unique in its own right. It’s definitely a lot more centralised on the roast and the true character of the pecan nut. It’s big on cocoa, chocolate and vanilla. It’s so nutty that it also brings out hints of Brazil nut, hazelnut and roasted almonds. It’s caramelised and sugary, packed with chocolate, vanilla and marshmallows. Hot damn!
This is truly and incredible taste sensation. On one hand we have the earthy, roasty and nutty pecan pie and on the other is this delicious hint of artificial sugars like marshmallow, cotton candy and vanilla slice. Erm….how the hell do they do that!? The booze (11%) and some bittersweet chocolate then leads in to a long and drawn out finish that provides sweetness, bitterness, warmth and roast.
The body is full and the texture is chewy and sticky with low co2.
Another sensational drop from Omnipollo. It reveals a bit more unrefined sharpness as opposed to the pecan ice cream. That is literally the only criticism we have. That aside, it is a remarkable drop. World class stuff.

Omnipollo ‘Selassie’ Imperial Coffee & Vanilla Stout


22140818_754646994719448_1032221227691968140_n“10 speciality malts make up this majestic Imperial Stout conditioned on heaps of coffee and vanilla beans. Simple, yet complex.”

Served in a snifter. This literally pours like engine oil. It constructs a healthy two finger head which holds together remarkably well, eventually establishing a thick overlay. Lacing is thick and soapy as it ebbs.
There’s more than a few words that come to mind here. Big, black and dangerous are the first. Rich, sweet and complex would also pass as the coffee, cocoa, chocolate, vanilla and spice takes the lead. The depth just keeps diving as we uncover hints of licorice, raw cacao, leather, heavy roast and an inkling of booze (which is amazing considering the hefty 11% ABV).
Holy moly the palate is totally inundated with moreish flavour here. What we can isolate is coffee, dark chocolate, charred wood, heavy roasted malt, tobacco, molasses, subtle whisky and a gorgeous hint of vanilla. It has a slightly nutty note in the middle before delivering a kind of semi sweet, roasty and almost creamy finish with vanilla, coffee bean and bitter dark chocolate on the back end.
Thick and dense texture, almost syrupy with full body and low co2. The booze is warm without any harsh and unrefined nature to it.
Sweet baby jeebus that is a damn fine drop. There is actually nothing more they could do to improve on this…..seriously amazing stuff. Kudos Omnipollo.

Wells & Youngs (Courage) Russian Imperial Stout


22007487_753004418217039_8198147773603105582_n“As Originally brewed in 1795 for Catherine the Great of Russia. Enjoy now or allow to mature in the cellar. Brewed to perfection only once a year, Courage Imperial Russian Stout enjoys a rich, espresso body with pear overtones and an intriguing fresh smokey, fruity finish.”

Served in a snifter. It hits the glass with a black that is literally blacker than midnight. It aroused a short brown cap which deposits a consistent set of rings down the glass.
Wow, lovely aroma, very well composed but also bursting with rich dark chocolate, coffee, dried dark fruits, cocoa, treacle and roasted malt leading out. Certainly getting that subtle pear/apple note that is prevalent in these old school English porters and stouts. Getting hints of booze coming through but for 10% it’s very nicely contained.
It’s pretty full on upfront. Not sharp or aggressive but just packed with rich roasty flavour such as bitter dark chocolate, coffee, earthy malt, raisin, peat, tobacco and a subtle spicy aniseed/licorice accent. The booze does come through but it also brings a hint of Sherry and rum with it. A touch of crusty bread before a roasty finish with a bit of dryness rounding it out.
It’s not overly heavy in the mouth. It’s dense but progresses well over the tongue. A bit of warmth and a bit of drying bitterness developing late.
Flavor and aroma-wise this RIS sits quite high on the list but historically this beer is somewhat of a trail blazer. There wouldn’t be such a thing as Russian Imperial Stout if this particular beer was never brewed. Respect to Barclay Perkins and Courage who now brews the exact same recipe that was brewed for Empress Catherine II back in 1781. Incredible.

Brouwerij De Molen ‘Hel & Verdoemenis’ Imperial Stout


21766479_751657141685100_572248130306343406_n“Translation: Hell & Damnation. Brewed with brown malts, an English traditional specialty malt, we created an Imperial Russian Stout that has won prizes at festivals across Europe from Sweden to Italy. It’s big (10% ABV), black, roasted and complex. We are convinced that not trying this ale will be a mortal sin to your taste buds and beer experience.”

Served in a snifter. As predicted this monster hits the glass with an impenetrable black body that dons a thumb of foamy brown head on top. Steady reduction with thick blotchy lace decoration following it down.
Geez the aroma is rich and really complex. Every scent that has ever crossed our mind when reviewing dark beer is right here. It’s roasty, charred and leathery with everything from dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, molasses and burned wood to sweeter notes of toffee, treacle, vanilla, fig and marzipan. Getting hints of stewed and dark fruits as it warms. Wow.
Oh bejeezus! The range of flavours covered from start to finish is simply incredible. It starts somewhat late with a fusion of sweet dark fruits, roasted coffee and bitter chocolate before a crescendo of rich, charred and slightly peated flavours dominate the palate. It further intensifies with Sherry, burnt toast and a firm presence of booze just for good measure. It rolls in to a bittersweet finish that lingers for an eternity on the rear.
Dense and full bodied in the mouth. Quite dry and bitter with a good warmth provided by the 10% ABV. “Hell and Damnation”. It sounds sinister and slightly undesirable but once this sweet sweet liquid passes the taste buds it’s anything but! 100/100 on Ratebeer too we might add. Faultless.

5 Barrel Brewing 2017 Imperial Stout


21192968_742416079275873_3736388087475583771_n“Imperial Stouts are to be savoured entirely. They are strong and rich with big roasty flavours and sweet, malty bodies to balance out the alcohol. Our Imperial Stout is brewed in January and aged on oak for 4 months to absorb the flavours of the barrel and mature slowly. The strong coffee/chocolate flavours work wonderfully with the plum and raisin qualities from the Shiraz. The body is full and rich, clinging to the glass and providing a sweet stickiness giving the hint that you’re sipping a wonderfully warming port.”

Served in a snifter. This bad boy pours like engine oil with a short brown head forming on top. It’s quick to reduce to a halo which posts a consistent set of rings as we indulge.
Big charred notes on the nose. In support are firm wafts of wet ash, dark chocolate, heavily roasted malts, molasses, cocoa and vanilla. Getting subtle hints of plum jam, licorice and gingerbread with a dank grassy note around the edges. Quite a complex little number.
The flavour really embraces the rich dark chocolate, coffee and charred malts. There’s a very subtle woody note that entertains the spicy licorice and molasses which in effect brings on the warming alcohol (9.6% ABV). A short burst of vanilla is introduced as it finishes rich, boozy and roasty with hints of plums and subtle dark fruits in the tail.
Although it’s big in flavour and aroma the mouth feel is oily and astringent with a firm bitterness developing late. Medium body, mild-moderate co2.
She’s a little rough around the edges but ultimately it’s a decent imperial stout. We’ve locked a few of these away so hopefully so hopefully they will settle down and drink like boozy liquid chocolate in a couple more years! Until then…

Amager Bryghus ‘Gone Porto’ Port Barrel Aged Imperial Stout


20994010_739838622866952_7273089219294227128_n“Gone Porto is a brand new slow-cooked Imperial Stout from Amager Brewery, which we have stored for an immensely long time in large Niepoort port wine casks. The result is a nicely juicy case out. Gone Porto is a lovely visit and ideal for the quiet, contemplative hours. Alternatively it can be used as a standard beer for the family reunion in. Case out!”

Served in a stemmed tulip. Displaying a black body that sports a healthy two finger crown. Head retention is excellent, depositing a thick sticky lace down the walls of the glass.
The nose comes through with some vigour! It is super rich, intense and absolutely luscious. She opens up with bitter dark chocolate, cocoa, molasses, raw coffee bean and licorice. After she gets comfortable in the glass those gorgeous port aromas begin to surface with prunes, dates and spice tantalizing the olfactory’s. (Apologies, we may have got a bit carried away with the whole first date with a lady thing here.)
This beauty is offering some rich and intense roasted notes upfront leading to a dank middle that displays oak, cellar room, molasses and hints of ash. Just a slight uncovering of the 10% ABV before the rich, roasty and syrupy molasses notes deliver the long drawn out finish. Finally we taste a bit of our beloved tawny port in the tail.
Big, full bodied and intense in the mouth, coating the whole palate as it washes over. A firm warmth from the 10% ABV but that is to be expected.
We admit that we can’t be too critical because it is only a barrel project but damn! We want more port flavour! On its own it’s a brilliant stout…but add in those subtle port flavours and it becomes exceptional. But add MORE port flavour and we’d be handing this a certain 10/10. This top shelf stout only just fell short. Too bad.

Colonial Brewing ‘Inquest’ Imperial Stout


20882122_737161199801361_4987215847832628008_n“Introducing the limited edition Colonial Inquest. Big, dark and bold; at 11.7% ABV our imperial stout is liquid gold not to be forgotten. “We’ve created something special here, employing a brewing method we’ve never tried before to create our biggest release yet. It’s big, rich, loaded with malt and complex flavours but doesn’t completely overpower the palate, remaining balanced and moreish.” said Head Brewer Ash Hazell.”

Served in a beer tulip. This beast pours as black as midnight with a finger of finely beaded foam forming on top. Reasonable retention, eventually settling to a film that weaves a webbed lace as it subsides.
Quite an interesting aroma here. It’s obviously rich, dark and gluttonous but the use of Bavarian Mandarina hops adds a certain lift. Just like orange flavoured dark chocolate. Deep-seated notes of coffee, cocoa and earthy spice seem to give way to the fruity hops a bit too easily. Tough to pan it though it’s pretty damn good.
Sonewhat staggered in its progression on the palate. It’s boozy (11.7%) upfront which transforms in to a kinda hoppy bitterness that is complimented by a subtle dark chocolate richness through the middle. The big stout notes finally come through, albeit a bit late with cocoa, roasted malt, licorice and leather. It finishes roasty and dark but slightly bitter with a hint of jaffa on the rear.
Creamy and somewhat frothy in texture. Medium-full in body with mild-moderate co2.
Definitely projecting from the left field here. Initially we liked the presence of the citrusy hops, then we went off them…but we came around again in the finish. It’s a brave addition to such a rich and heavy stout which only just came off for us. Not bad.

Pirate Life Brewing Stout


20729250_735329749984506_3592257732585976592_n“We hope that this beer finds its way to you sometime this winter, on a cold day when you left for work in the dark and arrived home as the sun was going down. When you need something to wash away the cold. A dessert in a can. Pirate Life Stout. You might end up wishing winter lasted longer…”

Served in a beer tulip. Dense black appearance with a healthy two finger head perched on top. Retention is firm, holding together well and weaving a fine lace as it subsides.
This aroma is packing some heat. It’s dark, roasty, rich and luscious with a real complexity to it. Plenty of coffee, dark chocolate, licorice and molasses but it’s strangely fruity and that would have to be due to the use of Columbus hops. Ash, dried oats and earthy forest floor also come through with intent. Lovely stuff.
The hops play a much bigger role in flavor. Upfront it’s all malt though with bitter chocolate, roasty espresso, cocoa and ash with those piney and slightly citrusy hops washing over the palate midway. Traits of black IPA come forth with this delicious fusion of toasty malt and fruity hop leading in to the dry and bitter but somewhat citrusy finish.
The mouth feel is dry and prickly with an aggressive hop bitterness. The 7.2% ABV is intermittent but ultimately well hidden. Medium body and co2.
We had a preconceived belief that this was going to be an American style stout. What we didn’t expect is the level of bitterness. May have been just a tad too heavy handed in our opinion. She certainly would have gained from a bit more balance but hey, at the end of the day it was a pretty good drop.

Bruny Island Beer Co. 2016 ‘Metric’ Post-Imperial Stout


20663904_732749116909236_1514518915065072493_n“Metric Stout is the biggest, densest, richest beer we have released and required a requisite amount of effort to produce.  Suffice to say, not many brewing days are 18 hours long! Metric stout it jet black and viscous, with a finely beaded brown head of foam.  The aroma is earthy, inflected with campfire ash, malt and bitter chocolate.  These characteristics are enhanced in the flavour as the textural components of the beer come into play; rich and syrupy, it coats the mouth. Metric Stout has been maturing in bottle since May 2016 and will respond well to careful cellaring for a year or more.  It is presented in a 750ml wax dipped bottle with a vintage dated label.  We will only ever brew this beast once per year.”

Served in a snifter. This monstrous beast pours like engine oil but it generates a healthy two finger head that holds together magnificently. A thick and soapy lace is left clinging to the glass as it ebbs.
The nose brings together all the classics like dark chocolate, coffee and molasses but with a few extras including vanilla, marzipan and caramel fudge. It definitely doesn’t hide its 9.5% ABV as that booze really stings the nostrils. Rich undertones of mocha, roasted nuts and licorice put a solid punctuation on this aroma.
The flavour is slow to get going but it initiates with tobacco, ash, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses and licorice. A formidable combination of flavours that’s for damn sure. They all carry forward and pick up a warmth from the booze midway. It moves in to an assertive bitterness before it finishes on a super rich, bitter and and roasty note with excellent length on the rear.
The mouth feel is dense, full bodied and ultra warming. Oily in texture and low in co2. Booze is firm and warming.
This is one hefty old stout. It’s dense, viscous and slightly bitter with minimal sweetness to balance. Man, just a hint of lactose or a bigger presence of vanilla could have taken this stout to unknown heights. Take nothing away from it though it’s a brilliant drop.


Murray’s ‘Wild Thing’ Imperial Vanilla Stout


20526304_730985343752280_2329084487865417816_n“Murray’s iconic ‘Wild Thing’ Imperial Stout once again has been transformed – this year with luxurious Madagascar vanilla beans (the fruits of an orchid). Not to be underestimated – Wild Thing Vanilla is just as fierce as her sisters! Dominant lashings of roasted chocolate, aggressive bitterness and a silky smooth body, flavour and fragrance of soft, sweet vanilla.”

Served in a snifter. As predicted she pours as black as midnight with a finger of brown foam assembling on top. It doesn’t hang around for too long as it peels back to a halo which still manages a set of rings as it ebbs.
The aroma is big, dark, boozy and malty but there seems to be one key ingredient missing…the vanilla! Not to worry though as there is plenty to make up for it. We pick up hearty roasted malts, coffee, aniseed, truffle, chocolate and oh, hold the phone, there she is. As the beer settles in the glass the scent of fresh vanilla bean begins to come through. Well worth the wait too because it ain’t no fake vanilla that’s the real deal.
In the mouth it’s dense, luscious and full bodied. Jeez it’s almost edible! Low co2 with a relatively well concealed 10% ABV.
The flavour profile is just as enormous with roasted malts, dark chocolate and alcohol getting a boost by a somewhat astringent bourbony sweetness. The delicious vanilla bean reenters the fray with its soothing, licorice-esque texture that leads in to the rich and boozy finish. Excellent length shown here.
Big, big beer. If you’re unsure whether you like stouts then our advice would be to give this a wide berth as there’s enough size here to make Dirk Diggler jealous. We feel it could have done a with a bit more vanilla but ultimately it’s a pretty damn good stout. One that would surely warm up the bones in the middle of winter.



Modus Operandi ‘Black Lab’ Milk Stout


image“Brewed annually to celebrate stout, our brewery dog’s birthday. Loaded with chop-lickin amounts of malts and finished with lactose sugar for a touch of sweetness and decadence.”

Poured into a pint glass we see mat black with a big 20mm tan head full of carbonation. Head retains well at roughly 10mm. There is virtually no lacing on the glass. Initial aromas are light roasted malt, some milk chocolate, coffee and hint of resin? First sip reveals more sweet malts, and it’s got that creaminess/velvet on the palate from the lactose. Just glides down the palate. There is some roast, ash, milk chocolate, mild coffee, vanilla and restrained bitterness. Mouthfeel is a tad thin and watery but this is a 5% ABV stout so we can’t expect too much. The nice thing about this stout is how smooth it is. Very little carbonation in the mouth allows for a decent swig. Body is light to medium at best. It’s almost like we are a having a heavily malted lager. As we get through the last half of the glass, we get a touch of spice on the tonsils, giving it a zing. Traces of caramel, sweet malt, bitter chocolate and a drying effect round up the overall picture. This is a great entry level stout. Really sessionable. Otherwise it’s not that memorable.

Bacchus Brewing Co ‘Hyperspatial Espresso’ Coffee Stout


image“Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy themed beer. Named after the hyperspatial express route through our star system that resulted in the demolition of earth. Made with the finest coffee beans for a true espresso experience.”

Served in a snifter. We’re met with an impassable black pour that can only generate a short tan head. It reduces to a ring which struggles to produce any lace at all.
Bam! That espresso aroma jumps out of the glass and smacks us in the face. Exactly what we’d want it to do after a big night out. It’s bitter and earthy but there’s a subtle creamy accent that’s pulling the coffee in to line. Milk sugars, vanilla bean and marzipan combine to offer that excellent counter balance.
Medium body and a slightly raised co2 with the 7.8% ABV well masked. Surprisingly effortless over the tongue finishing strong on a light sparkle.
The coffee comes on to the front palate nicely albeit a little less forthcoming as the aroma. It’s softened by a discernible hop bitterness and a super subtle cherry fruit tartness. The coffee gets a second wind mid way and carries well in to the dry, toasty and espresso-fuelled finish. Some excellent length shown on the back end here.
We’d admit it’s one of those beers that shows so much potential but seems to be missing the knockout blow. The coffee component is displayed brilliantly there’s no disputing that, we found the viscosity was a bit too light on and the depth of the beer a little unconvincing. It’s a decent drop it just didn’t completely blow us away.

Behemoth Brewing Co Triple Chocolate Milk Stout


image“We don’t think we are going to have to hire security guards for the beer fridge at your local store like a famous chocolate milk. But if you like chocolate you should probably take this home. Have it after dinner. We don’t want to ruin your appetite. mmmmmm chocolate.”

Served in a beer tulip. It’s pouring a dense black hue that’s formed a short, temporary head which eventually settles to a thin sheet. It laced quite well considering its shortcomings.
All is forgotten once we take in this absolutely superb aroma. It’s simply oozing chocolate, dark malts, cocoa, vanilla and lactose. We now understand why they’ve used the word “triple” in this triple chocolate milk stout. Also picking up a slight sweetness…marshmallow or rocky road-like in its delivery. Supreme indulgence here folks.
The mouth feel is not as rich and heavy as we were predicting it to be – certainly could have something to do with the moderate ABV (6.5%). Well balanced hop to malt ratio. Mild-medium Co2. Actually….It’s surprisingly approachable!
Some of the descriptions of this beer are not only funny but spot on. One of the best described is “it’s just like a chocolate milkshake only beery.” The balance between the chocolate, the sweet vanilla and the creamy lactose is delish! Intermittent bitterness from the hops, lightly toasted malts and subtle milk sugars fill out this excellent stout.
There may be a few hidden surprises to this beer but one that doesn’t surprise us is the fact that this stout picked up the people’s choice award at Beervana 2016. Utterly jam packed with chocolate flavours but also well supported by a litany of others. This is one seriously tasty stout.

Stockade brew Co ‘The Mountie’ Maple Imperial Stout


imageThe Mountie is a BIG jet black beer which delivers rich stout flavours including chocolate, raisins, and a roasty finish. In addition we have added a heap of maple syrup bringing out a nutty, sweet character.

We tried this at the end of our session of GABS and we were impressed by the maple flavour. Be nice to try this with a fresh palate. Poured into a snifter glass we see a mat black with minimal head here. Just a clump of bubble here and there, with a ring of off white around the rim. Aroma is as we remembered. So much maple syrup. It’s like your having pancakes. Crazy strong aroma. First sip delivers such an abundance of maple syrup that it’s initially hard to taste anything else. We get that nuttiness from the maple, and a decent amount of toffee. We get a heap of booze burn with a good swish around the mouth, and an oiliness that clings to the lips and coats the mouth. We note a 12% Alc vol and think that the rest of this beer is going to be like eating steak. It’s interesting because half way through this drop, the maple blends in and your left with those imperial stout flavours of roast, ash, booze, some chocolate, and espresso. This drop almost has liquorice hit. Did we mention it was oily?! Mouthfeel is full bodied and great length of flavour. Carbonation is low as expected. No lacing on the glass. We get a touch of vanilla as we move this tsunami of flavour. Geez this is a strong drop. Feeling it on the brow. We love the maple. We love the toffee. We get the nuttiness. We think this bad boy could almost be aged and the flavours of the raisin, brown sugars, maple sweetness, toffee and spice would be mind blowing. Either way, it’s an impressive imperial stout.

Knee Deep Brewing Co ‘Stoutella’ Choc Hazelnut Stout


image“Chocolate hazelnut stout. A full-bodied stout brewed with cacao nibs and natural flavour added.”

Served in a snifter. It hits the glass with an impenetrable black colour that’s capped off with a brown two finger head. Reasonable retention but it slowly collapsed to a film that weaves a decent lace as we indulge.
Some fantastic aromas emanating here. The nutella features prominently with this super nutty and somewhat sweet milk chocolate note tantalising the olfactory’s. It reveals its depth with a lovely roasted malt structure, hints of coffee, cocoa and milk powder. Loving this kind of flaky chocolate wafer accent to it as well, handing it a biscuity character that rounds it out beautifully.
The mouth feel is just a tad too thin for us. The light-ish 6% ABV may have something to do with that. Mild bitterness mid way but again a touch watery in the finish. Shame.
Nice transition in to flavour. The hazelnut, chocolate, cocoa and hints of lactose assemble on the front palate. This combination hangs on long enough to progress through the middle but it lacks the intensity to finish a strong note, tapering off in to a soft and light roasty finish.
Not a bad drop by Knee Deep but certainly not one of their best. It has the foundations of a really good beer but it just fell a bit short of the line for us. Superb aroma, lovely flavours but the length and texture could have been a bit better. A real shame because this had serious potential.

Behemoth Brewing Co ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ Imperial Coffee Stout


image“Goooooood morning Vietnam! On a recent trip to Vietnam many things took our breath away. The scenery, the food, the people and the emerging craft breweries. But one thing we literally took away with us is the coffee. Vietnamese coffee is so intense we bought back a whole suit case full of it to make this imperial stout.”

Served in a snifter. We’re seeing a jet black appearance that’s capped off by a big three finger head. Excellent retention, taking minutes to eventually settle to a thick overlay that leaves a smattering of lace sticking to the glass.
So, the good thing is if you’re reading this you most probably love your coffee stouts like us. If not turn away now because this is almost 50 parts coffee to 50 parts beer. What gives this aroma more appeal is the accents of tiramisu, glazed cherries, whipped cream, vanilla and the slightest hint of marshmallow. Divine!
The mouth feel is plump and creamy, rammed home with a nice full body and a subtle bitterness in the swallow. Mild Co2 with an incredibly well hidden ABV (9.9%)
The Vietnamese coffee definitely brings its nuanced flavour with it as a somewhat strawberry/cherry note comes to the fore. As it progresses we see more of the roasty and bitter coffee get amongst the creamy vanilla and subtle lactose notes through the mid. It seems to track back to this kind of phenolic cherry/berry character as it finishes on a long and slightly bittersweet note.
Interesting…and may we say not what we were expecting. The subtle cherry traits were definitely a bit left field. Although strange, they do work in to the make up of the beer nicely and add to the already existent complexity. A very interesting beer from one of New Zealand’s burgeoning craft breweries.

Doctors Orders ‘Malpractice’ Hoppy Stout


imageA dry stout packed with an abundance of hops, including hops in their latest more potent form of ‘hop hash’.

We really dig these guys. They aren’t afraid to reprise old recipes or tweak current ones. We note the moniker ‘malpractice’.. Meaning unprofessional or breach of ethics. Great name. Poured into a snifter, we see a dark brown/deep mahogany with a hint of amber somewhere in there. Good 10mm tan coloured head that diminished relatively quickly leaving just a rim of clumped bubbles. Aroma is interesting. We get roasted malts, dark chocolate, espresso, toffee, with a hit of hop resin. It’s earthy and robust. First sip elicits that typical stout like flavour with a bitter/grapefruit hop back-palate. It’s like you know somethings coming but not quite sure. It’s comes off almost funky. It’s certainly not in a bad way. The spice now clings to the tonsils as we wait between sips. More ash like malts, espresso, grapefruit bitterness intermixed with a resiny, herby, spicy hops. Body is moderate and there is good length here on the palate. That tingle around the gums and tonsils is almost moreish. Far more carbonation that any other traditional stout. We see some patchy lacing around the glass. We note an Alc vol of 5% and think wow. The smoothness, taking into account the combination of hops and the stout is friggin excellent. As we near the end, the burnt/charred like flavour of a good stout, with the addition of subtle sweetness from the chocolate and toffee, sitting alongside bitterness from the hops and that resiny or earthy undertone is quite marvellous. We love it. It works. Another top drop.

Amager Bryghus ‘La Santa Muerte’ Imperial Honey Stout


19059441_705769096273905_7771910333009989057_n“Freshly sliced, sweet and savory taste with crisp biscuits, waffles, dark syrup, raisins, chocolate, roasted nuts and orange peel. Served at 8-14 ° C as a snack or for chocolate desserts.”

Served in a snifter. This ominous looker pours an ink black with an extremely well retained two finger head. Impressive lace work clinging to the glass as we indulge in this moreish beast.
The depth and complexity on the nose is off the charts. The bottle states that it’s a “honey stout” but the honey is merely a passenger in this prime mover. We detect molasses, dark chocolate, leather, licorice, honey, vanilla, blueberries, coffee, lactose and fig just to name a few. There’s also a hint of powdered cocoa creeping in as well. Dead set cracker of an aroma.
Not the big and brawny body we were expecting but it’s still packing some weight. The booze (10% ABV) is obviously sharp and that’s bolstered by a fair dose of hop bitterness. The texture is creamy with Co2 kept to a minimum.
Holy moly the succession of flavours here is outstanding. It begins with a dark roasted malt that incorporates an espresso bitterness, spicy licorice, peppers and bittersweet chocolate. As it progresses the sweet honey and creamy vanilla is introduced but the focus on everything dark means it carries notes of molasses, cocoa powder and hints of burnt wood in to the well drawn out finish.
Another rock solid offering from these Danish masters. Two minor things play on our mind though….1) the honey was almost non existent and 2) there was just a smidge too much bitterness for a stout in our opinion. Other than that it’s an excellent stout.

Founders Brewing ‘Lizard Of Koz’ BA Imperial Blueberry Stout


18582031_695599803957501_8501305896759186056_n“This one is near and dear to our hearts. Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki wanted to make the birthday of his little sister, Liz, a special one. So he did what he does best and brewed a stout using a few of her favorite ingredients: fresh Michigan blueberries, rich chocolate and vanilla aged in bourbon barrels to round out those beautiful flavors. Liz was floored and we think you will be too.”

Served in a beer tulip. This bad boy presents as black as night with a thumb of brown foam perched on top. It recedes gradually, establishing a thick ring that manages a healthy lace as we indulge.
Our olfactory’s have had the pleasure of meeting this stout before so to revisit this aroma is simply divine. Where do we start? The two main features are the powdered cocoa and blueberry scents that marry up like two peas in a pod. Aromas in support range from chocolate bullets, molasses, marzipan and oaked whiskey to berries, maple syrup, chocolate icing and flaked oats. Outstanding. We’re getting dizzy from inhaling it too much!
The mouth feel produces this amazing balance between the smooth malts and the tart blueberries. The 10.5% ABV is masked brilliantly and the body is nice and plump. Drinks magnificently.
The flavour is much sweeter than we recall. There’s a strong presence of dark malt, chocolate and blueberry here but the refined sugary sweetness seems to dominate a bit in flavour. It’s not cloying, which saves the beer, although it is noticeable. Hints of milk sugar, marzipan and vanilla add a certain creamy aspect as it finishes on a soft roasty note that provides good length in the tail.
A little disheartened about realising the slight downfall in this stout but it’s still an absolutely superb drop. Not on KBS level but it still sits very high on our list of memorable stouts. Impressive stuff.

Oskar Blues Brewery ‘BA Ten Fidy’ Imperial Stout


18119148_681835535333928_695414677098746298_n“Aged through four seasons and from a blend of the top Bourbons around, this Ten Fidy has morphed into a monster of cranked up flavour. Espresso, burnt sugar, rich chocolate, caramel notes are now driving alongside the vanilla, oak, bourbon from the barrel and been smoothed out during maturation. Even at 12.9% (75 IBUs) it is cool and drinkable, letting each sip add more and more complexity.”

Served in a beer tulip. This bad boy pours blacker than the ace of spades with a healthy two finger head forming on top. The reduction is swift but a fine lace trail is left clinging to the walls of the glass.
The aroma is dead set pungent! The olfactory’s cop wave after wave of incredibly rich and super sweet toasted malts, charcoal, bourbon, tobacco, chocolate mud cake, espresso and molasses. Definitely getting a dark fruit sweetness as well, like when you open up a packet of dates. Maybe a hint of spice around the edges too. Wow!
It’s dense, aggressive and kind of creamy in texture. As expected the 12.9% ABV provides a sharp, piercing warmth. Mild-moderate Co2. Full body.
The flavour follows on from the nose with an amazingly rich and complex fusion of dark malt, licorice, chocolate, espresso and oaky bourbon. Just the slightest hint of vanilla cuts through to provide that crucial balance. Oodles of warming alcohol throughout, eventually laying down for a decadent finish to boast notes of chocolate, woody oak and toasty malt on the rear.
Brilliant. It lives up to the hype. The standard ten fidy by itself is already a top shelf drop but the barrel aging completely changes the make up of the beer. The sheer complexity and decadence that the aging in bourbon barrels provides is second to none. Superb.