Category Archives: Stout

Big Shed ‘Mega Golden Stout Time’ Dessert Stout

Rating:

“Double Golden Stout Time! Enough Said.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a fine dusting of microbubble on top. It completely disappears bar a very thin halo. Hardly any lace sticks as it ebbs.

Aroma: Exactly like its younger brother but slightly bigger and sweeter. That supremely decadent scent of caramel ice cream jumps out of the glass while a more subtle support role of Anzac cookies, vanilla, coconut, honeycomb and melted white chocolate plays out. We’ve been trying to pin down a certain character and we finally got it…Arnott’s Hundreds and Thousands!

Flavour: She’s a carbon copy of the original Golden Stout Time just bigger and sweeter. Expectedly, there’s a bit more fire (being 8% and all) and that stirs up a bit of rich toffee but yeah…it’s all caramel, honeycomb, biscuits, vanilla and coconut from start to finish.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, a little sticky, medium body. 8% ABV a little noticeable but fairly well kept. Low-ish Co2.

Overall: Look it’s absolutely divine and so indulgent but honestly what’s the point when the only thing that sets it apart from the original is a bigger ABV?! At least barrel age it so there’s a distinct difference. Still, it’s a corker of a beer.

Boatrocker ‘Oakey Dokey’ Oak Aged Stout

Rating:

“Full of Luscious British and New Zealand malts, balanced by classic hops and an oak finish. Full bodied and satisfyingly moreish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of light brown foam perched neatly on top. Good retention and a wet cascading lace being strewn down the glass.

Aroma: Nothing extraordinary. It has a reasonably dense bottom end of dark chocolate, sweet espresso, subtle roast, toasted marshmallow, musk and rich toffee/caramel. The oak chips are too timid for our liking plus the stout as a whole (considering its substantial ABV of 8%) is a bit too reserved.

Flavour: There’s a wee bit more here but again, not enough for an oak aged quasi-imperial stout. It’s a mirror image of the nose; chocolate, coffee, light roast, toffee and treacle/burnt brown sugar shifting in to a pretty passive finish of mild roast and kinda sweet sugars. Decent length to it at least.

Mouthfeel: Oily but a little too lean. Mild bitterness in the swallow. Low-ish Co2. 8% ABV fairly well behaved.

Overall: For a brewery that has one of the best barrel aged stouts in its arsenal this is painfully mediocre. Considering the world class quality of the Ramjet and Roger Ramjet series we were expecting a lot more from this stout.

Mikkeller ‘Beer Geek Breakfast’ Vanilla Maple Shake Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Imagine a huge imperial stout clocking in at 11.8% brewed with coffee and vanilla. Then add a shitload of maple syrup. Yes! This is a real treat.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours like sump oil with a thumb of brown head resting atop. It slowly recedes but works a reasonable lace down the glass.

Aroma: Hold the phone this smells bloody magnificent! Nice and rich, roasty, full of molasses, espresso and dark chocolate. Enter the adjuncts. Those sweet sweet (literally) adjuncts: maple, vanilla, butterscotch, marshmallow, brown sugar, oatmeal, lactose, subtle spice and burnt toast. Burnt toast with blackberry jam to be more specific. Soooo good.

Flavour: We were hoping it all transferred from the aroma and it does! Big and menacing yet so sweet and decadent. Robust coffee, charred malts, dark chocolate and molasses are countered by the hedonistic licorice, vanilla, maple, butterscotch, toffee, lactose and spice. Oats and burnt toast giving it that brekky stout quality. Superb!

Mouthfeel: Luscious, rich and velvety. Full body, moderate Co2. 11.8% ABV comes through intermittently.

Overall: This is 100x better than the Waffle Breakfast. Here we’ve got that in your face Impy Stout aggression with the soothing touches of maple, vanilla, toffee and the rest of the cabal. Sensational drop.

Mikkeller ‘Beer Geek Waffle Breakfast’ Pastry Stout

Rating:

“Aromatic toasted coffee notes with hints of cinnamon waffle and rich maple syrup..”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy brown overlay. It all disappears bar a bubbly island which hangs around. It somehow leaves a beautiful cascading lace though.

Aroma: Smells absolutely amazing! The structural scent which we don’t even see on the label is chilli peppers but they’re perfectly passed off as cinnamon, licorice and paprika. We even get more subtle hints of nutmeg and cumin as well. Maple, coffee and oatmeal pale in comparison to the levels of spice going on. It’s incredible but we wish they dialled the spice back a bit.

Flavour: Hot damn. Like the aroma it’s definitely spice-driven but it’s backed up with robust coffee and lightly smoked malt. The cinnamon cuts through but the maple is unfortunately missing. Mixed spice continues in to a slightly bitter finish with charred malts going the distance on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thin for the style. Dry and kinda course texture. Low Co2. 7.5% ABV shows its hand a little.

Overall: Surprisingly unrefined for Mikkeller. Way too much spice and little balance on show. Thankfully we have the imperial version still to come. Let’s hope there’s more joy there.

Hawkers 2020 Imperial Stout

Rating:

“A big beer with intense malt complexity. Rich and velvety.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Light black with a short brown head. It holds up relatively well and weaves a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Surprisingly light and quite muted for the style. Just like the whisky barrel aged version there seems to be a serious lack of depth. The prominent scents include a somewhat artificial dark berry sweetness, a cloying doughy-ness, toffee fudge, a flutter of molasses, licorice and Jaffa. Very ordinary.

Flavour: Ok there’s a bit more bottom end here. She’s a lot richer with an aggression unfortunately missing in the aroma. Slightly sweet dark roast and mild coffee, chocolate and dark fruits then a more defined coffee bitterness opening up late in the piece. Nice roasty finish with a slight sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dense and silky. Full body with low-ish Co2. The 10.3% ABV reveals itself a bit.

Overall: Another disappointing Impy Stout from Hawkers. It seems the darker styles aren’t their forte. Which is strange coz everything from their Pilsner to their darker Belgian styles are world class. Won’t be returning to these annual stouts again.

Hawkers 2020 Imperial Stout – WBA version

Rating:

“A beer with big roast and vanilla character. Beautiful and luscious.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with two fingers of well retained head resting atop. Good lace work as we imbibe.

Aroma: It has certainly piqued our interest. Initially we picked up a strange funky-ness but that tapers off and it now offers a touch of red wine barrels, vinous berries, vanilla, tart dark fruits, sauna room, Sherry and aniseed. What the?! We literally had to double check the label to make sure we were drinking a whiskey barrel aged Imperial Stout. Turns out we are.

Flavour: It’s acting a bit more like a WBA Impy Stout now. Still struggling to work out why we’re getting such strong red wine characteristics. We’re unsure of the barrels used here but our guess would be Starward’s wine cask barrels as the typical notes from that whiskey are red wine, vanilla and Sherry. Throw in a flutter of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee and that pretty much sums this up.

Mouthfeel: Has a reasonable weight to it. Full-ish with a slightly lifted Co2. 11.9% ABV is evident but well buried for its size.

Overall: Not feeling it. We had high expectations with this (can you blame us when it has a $44 a bottle pricetag). Unfortunately it doesn’t back up.. the whiskey component is muddled and this strange funky-ness doesn’t help either. Very meh.

Rusty Penny ‘Nostalgia’ Stout

Rating:

“The oldest beer in our collection. We have been brewing this beer since 2007 and nailed it so early on it has hardly changed. Very very malty with coffee, burnt toast, and bread flavours. It has a healthy amount of English hops to balance the beer out perfectly. If you’re a dark ale fan, and always chasing those big flavour beers, this one’s for you.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a thumb of light brown foam perched on top. Kind of a wet lace being dragged down the glass.

Aroma: Shy at first but once it settles the subtle smoky notes, earthy/roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, metal, toast and even a fresh grassy note (or is that coz I mowed the lawn this morning?! Ha ha). It’s a reasonable aroma it’s just lacking a bit of depth. It’s almost light enough to be a dark ale.

Flavour: He’s packing a bit more heat here, thankfully. There’s a nice roasty-ness up front then mild coffee bitterness, chocolate, toasty malts and a delicate hint of earthy hops. The roast kicks up again late in the piece and leads in to a rather smooth finish with coffee and burnt toast on the back end.

Mouthfeel: A little too lean for a stout. Slightly tinny, moderate Co2. 5.7% ABV neither here nor there.

Overall: Pretty stock standard and nothing really memorable about it. The artwork on the strip is a bit tacky, kind of reminds us of a poorly executed tattoo on the arm of a confused teenager. We’ve had better.

Sauce Brewing Imperial & Barrel Aged Stouts

Rating:

“Indulge yourself with our very latest and best barrel-aged imperial stouts! Four, yes FOUR, to choose from!
– Whisky BA Imperial Stout 11%
– Rum BA Imperial Stout 11%
– Bourbon BA Imperial Stout 11%
– non-BA Imperial Stout 12%”

Glassware: Snifter.

Straight Imperial Stout: Solid black with a finger of brown foam. It steadily reduced and laced well. Nice and meaty with prominent roasted malts, espresso, soft smoky notes, baker’s chocolate, gritty earthy-ness and a flutter of vanilla. Again, a lovely charred malt flavour profile with espresso, dark chocolate and burnt wood. Dense, sticky and full bodied. Low-ish Co2. 11% ABV is evident but pretty well behaved. Decent base to work off. Very keen to try the barrel aged variants now!

Starwood? ( I think they mean Starward 😂): Looks slightly more menacing that the straight impy Stout; solid black but with a darker shade of brown foam. Similar retention and lacing. Instantly getting the effect of the Starward barrels. They impart a rather deep vinous character alongside the classic Sherry-based sweetness and subtle fiery notes. Flavour offers a mirror image of the aroma but with added Port sweetness and sticky toffee and caramel. Nice plump body with well balanced Co2 and booze (also 11% ABV). Certainly a step up from the straight impy Stout.

Beenleigh Rum: Almost a step up again…black with a dark brown head but with an almost deep reddish tint. Reasonable lace as we go. Not as intense as the Starward expression. There is a subtle sweetness, mostly spice and caramel/toffee, maybe a touch of molasses creeping in. Pretty subtle nuances in flavour too. Not that dissimilar to the impy stout just a little smoother with the spicy and caramel-esque sweetness separating them. Nice full body like the rest, slightly silky texture with mild Co2. Booze about the same too. We’d probably be putting this one last at the moment.

Buffalo Trace: Similar appearance to the Starward expression – solid black with a dark brown head. Steady reduction and reasonable lace. Huge difference here.. the American bourbon characters jump out immediately. We get the classic vanilla, caramel and spice but with unique scents of black ants, brown sugar and kinda spicy rye. So so smooth, laden with vanilla and peppery rye, caramel and toffee, dark fruits and brown sugar. Warming yet super smooth. Full body and mild Co2. This easily sits at the top for us.

Overall: Excellent release from Sauce. Such a great idea and uber fun to review. The pick of the bunch had to be the Buffalo Trace expression then the Starward, the straight impy Stout and then the Beenleigh Rum last. Big ups for this release. Sensational stuff.

Hargreaves Hill 2019 ‘R.I.S’ Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

“A black, velvety imperial stout with characters of licorice, coffee and molasses. Roasted malts and a rich alcohol presence drive the palate, with a lingering bitter finish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a thumb of brown foam resting atop. Good retention and excellent lacing down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Rich and hedonistic. Displaying those heady licorice, molasses and dark chocolate notes with a good helping of heavily roasted malts, raw coffee bean and subtle alcohols/acetone. Something a little fruity in here too – comes off as macerated cherry or figs. Delicate smoky notes opening up as it settles. Bang on!

Flavour: It hits the palate with complete disdain. And we love it. Big warming booze couples with charred malt, molasses, dark chocolate and the faintest touch of cherry. It intensifies midway and really doubles down on the bitter dark chocolate, espresso and licorice. Finishes big and robust with lengthy roast and mild smoke on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Dense, sticky and warming. Full bodied. Low-ish Co2. The 11.2% ABV is evident but can be forgiven considering its size.

Overall: Tidy stuff. 2020 has seen a massive influx of Russian Imperial Stouts but we must admit this one certainly stands out as one of the better non-barrel aged ones. Big ups to HH here this is decent.

Bad Shepherd ‘Brew Crew Series’ Sticky Date Stout

Rating:

“Jas is our go-to gal who’s been behind the bar (and in front of it!), in the brewery, in the warehouse and out on the road delivering tinnies and kegs all around Melbourne. But it turns out SuperJas has a weakness. Sticky Date Pudding. Fortunately for us all, this Kiwi’s fave sweet treat makes for an awesome dessert beer! Creamy and full-bodied with rich, indulgent, butterscotch caramel tones and just a hint of vanilla. It’s not your average stout, but Jas isn’t your average wahine!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a thumb of finely beaded light brown foam resting atop. Good retention and lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Super sweet and gooey. Proper laden with sugary lactose, vanilla, melted caramel, butterscotch and toffee fudge then further emphasised by rich chocolate cake, marzipan, caramelised dark fruits and mixed spice; cinnamon and nutmeg. Bloody hell.. type 2 diabetes here we come!

Flavour: Holy moly this is dangerously delicious. The taste buds are overloaded with sweet and sugary caramel, butterscotch, lactose/vanilla, milk chocolate, dark fruits and mixed spice. A flutter of coffee and gentle roast around the mid moves to a super sweet and kinda creamy finish with incredible length.

Mouthfeel: So smooth and silky. Medium bodied. Creamy and somewhat aerated Co2. 7.5% ABV very well concealed.

Overall: We’re unsure how much of this flavoring is real and how much is syrup but if it’s all real then they must be commended. Our guess is syrup coz to extract this much aroma and flavour would be incredible. Either way it’s a light yet decadent type of beer.

Pirate Life Imperial Breakfast Stout

Rating:

“Ploughing through at a colossal 11% ABV, this Imperial Stout is brewed with pale malt, wheat and a variety of specialty grains. A blend of US and German hops lend bitterness and spice, while kettle additions of lactose help to keep it sweet. In the pint, it’s raisin black with a honeyed edge – like recirculated engine oil. The aroma conjures imagery of pancakes doused in maple syrup; and the tastebuds largely concur. A treacle like viscosity enhances the offering, along with lashings of coffee liqueur, molasses and dark chocolate. Its unabashedly decadent and tremendously well balanced for its size.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with two fingers of tanned foam resting atop. It slowly recedes and leaves a smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Interesting. One of the first things we pick up is chilli peppers. Definitely get a residue note of red capsicum then the more classic coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oats, a hint of booze, mild smoky notes, charred malt and cooked red meat. We guess you could loosely call it a brekky stout!?

Flavour: Another one of those beers where we get a shit load of nothing… lots going on but no clear or distinctive flavour. We’re getting some vanilla sweetness and that balances out the kinda gritty and belly warming roasted malts and coffee and just as we see a glimpse it finishes with a burning booze and sharp licorice-like notes on the back.

Mouthfeel: Oily, mild-medium body, thin-ish texture. Somewhat flat Co2. 11% ABV fairly noticeable.

Overall: Pretty ordinary. We see “breakfast stout” and immediately think KBS. Do not make this mistake it doesn’t even come close to it. This is messy, boozy, unbalanced and lacking inspiration.

Newstead Brewing ‘Working Title’ 2019 Solera Stout

Rating:

“13 months ago, we brewed a seductive, smoky stout. Where chocolate and caramel flavours, with a minty spice, were balanced by a subtle cherrywood smoke character. This beer was aged in used tequila barrels, to garner a mouth-coating oak element. One month ago, we brewed that very same beer… and this is where the fun starts. Blending portions of old and young beer, allowed us to perfect the balance of chocolate, oaks, spice and smoke. The rest of the young beer, was used to fill up the old barrels, so the beer can effectively live on. Forever evolving, as each year we take portions out, only to add young beer into the barrels.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a billowing three finger head. Excellent retention and healthy lacing as it ebbs.

Aroma: We get the feeling this ain’t gonna be your typical Impy Stout. There’s a certain edge to it which is hard to explain…it comes off as an acrid acetone-like note but once it settles it takes shape as a herbal, agave and tequila-like character. The typical roasty malts, coffee and chocolate pale in to insignificance really.

Flavour: Just like the aroma – sharp, acrid acetone flavours probably acting for the tequila barrels. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, gentle smoke and meaty beef jerky also getting amongst it. Kind of a weird soapy finish to it which literally leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Way too thin for the style but in saying that it’s hiding the 9.9% ABV really well. Co2 is spot on though.

Overall: The brew team must be given credit for this very complex and painstaking process they went through to put this beer together but we’ll admit we’re not fans. This, in part, could be due to our dislike of tequila but then again we ask why age stout in tequila barrels? Personally we feel the characteristics clash. Very average stuff.

Bay Road Brewing ‘Cake Chaser’ Milk Stout

Rating:

“Cake Chaser is a dessert milk stout with hints of coconut, raspberry and chocolate. It’s sweet, luscious and rich, but with an unrivalled drinkability. Cake Chaser is beer’s answer to a slice of the fudgiest birthday cake you’ve ever had.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Uber dark brown with a fluffy two finger head nestled atop. Excellent retention and tonnes of thick lace clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Lovely wafts of sweet and tart cherry, mulberry and blackberry cut through the layers of milk chocolate, cake mix, vanilla/lactose, toasted coconut, licorice and cookie dough. Not a whole lot else to be uncovered but it’s a pretty decent nose.

Flavour: Lacking big time. The prominent cherry and berries in the aroma gets lost in a malty mess which unfortunately has no real stand out flavour. This just continues in to a malty finish with a very subtle roast on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Pretty well structured actually…nice and smooth, rounded, medium bodied. 7% ABV is well hidden. Co2 is spot on.

Overall: Some good traits and some not so good. The flavour profile is all over the place and really the only downside to the beer. Not bad.

Wander Beyond ‘Eye Of The Storm’ Imperial Breakfast Stout

Rating:

“As you’re aware, we love brewing Imperial Stouts at Wander Beyond and Eye Of The Storm is no different. We’ve taken what we enjoyed about our ‘Quiet After The Storm’ and very popular ‘Storm In A Teacup’ to create our third Breakfast Stout. Cleanly fermented to 12% whilst still delivering punchy coffee and sweet maple flavours on a sweet and chocolatey base beer, Eye Of The Storm is a sweet and rich treat.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Blacker than the ace of spades! Two fingers of dark brown head slowly retract and form a halo with spotty lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: Smells incredible. Super rich and decadent wafts of cherry ripe, maple, sweet coffee, vanilla/lactose, brown sugar, coconut, cinnamon, chocolate, licorice and a bit of warming booze tickling the olfactory’s. We get the feeling we’ll have a few more hairs on our chest after this.

Flavour: Pow! We’ve been struggling to pin down a certain trait in the beer and from the first sip we nailed it…blueberry muffins! Extremely rich and gritty mid palate – charred malt, earthy, bitter coffee and dark chocolate shifting to an aggressive finish full of warming booze, char and espresso.

Overall: It’s a pretty decent drop we just feel it’s lacking a little poise and general tidiness. Not a bad way to kick off proceedings with this British brewery though.

Urbanaut Brewing ‘Beer Blender’ Black Forest Stout & Espresso Scotch Ale.

Rating:

“Our latest release in the Beer Blender series! Black Forest Stout: Dark, regal and complex; expect ripe berries and rich dark chocolate with a noble, sweet finish. Espresso Scotch Ale: A full deck of majestic, roasted flavours with subtle notes of coffee, cacao and caramel. Each Beer Blender contains 2 x 250ml cans of beer, packaged together and designed to be enjoyed on their own or blended together for a third flavour experience!

1 – Taste Can A

2 – Taste Can B

3 – Blend together

4 – PARTY FOREVER!”

Considering the unique nature of this beer we’re going to throw away the usual review method. Just this once!

Espresso Scotch Ale: Light brown in appearance with a wispy head. It quickly forms a ring with minimal lace. Gorgeous espresso notes upfront. Big and sweet malt profile with the slightest hint of peat. Toffee, caramel, espresso and roast on the palate. Finishes kinda dry but nicely balanced by the sweet malts and coffee. Really smooth texture, chewy at times. Low-ish Co2. 6.5% ABV is well concealed.

Black Forest Stout: Glossy black with a billowing three finger head. Good retention and healthy lace. Uber sweet, reminds us of black currant roll ups. Juiced up berries and cherry, vanilla, chocolate, candy and an undertone of roast. She’s all berries and light roast on the palate with mildly bitter dark chocolate and a dry finish. More berry and cherry on the back end as well.

The Blend: Dark brown almost black. The two marry up extremely well. We get the espresso and peat then the sweet berries and chocolate. A fusion at its finest. Same deal in the mouth…meaty scotch ale with espresso mixed with berry sweetness, vanilla and chocolate. Well balanced finish with a tonne of sweet malt but the dryness cleans it up.

Overall: Wow what an awesome idea and two (or should we say three!) well executed beers. This has put Urbanaut on the map for us. Really fun and edgy stuff.

Moon Dog ‘Cake Hole’ Black Forest Stout

Rating:

“How big do you reckon the biggest ever Black Forest cake was? Well, it was pretty freakin’ big! Weighing 3,000kg and packed full of sour cherries, cacao and a whole lotta love… Just like this stout! Imagine trying to fit that in ya cake hole!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a thumb of tanned foam atop. It gradually settles to a halo and drags a wet lace down the glass.

Aroma: At first it seemed frustratingly basic but once it warms she really begins to open up. Tart dark fruits like cherry and plum, vanilla, lactose/milk sugars, flaked chocolate, cocoa, raspberry puree, brown sugar and subtle mocha all come together to produce a pretty damn fine aroma.

Flavour: Same as the aroma in the sense that the front palate is slightly weak and watery but out of nowhere this burst of tart fruits i.e cherry, plum and mixed berries mingles with sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, light roast and burnt sugar. Nice carry in to the kinda dry, fruity and roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Loses some points here as it’s a little thin and watered down. Co2 slightly lifted though. 6.5% ABV is nicely disguised.

Overall: Can’t say we’re completely blown away but it is a fairly decent dessert stout. Good without being great.

Capital Brewing ‘First Tracks’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Introducing First Tracks but not as you know it… We’ve doubled the malts, doubled the coffee & doubled the booze, to give you a big & bold 10.5% Imperial Stout! Brewed with freshly roasted beans from our mates ONA Coffee, this dark number is the perfect winter companion.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a puffy two finger head. It holds together reasonably well and leaves spotty lace clinging to the glass.

Aroma: Not really emanating the big and robust Impy stout aromas we’ve come to expect. Rather we’re picking up mild-ish notes of chocolate and cocoa, slightly sweet coffee, sea salt and golden raisins. Totally baffled we thought Capital would have smashed this out of the park.

Flavour: Doesn’t really improve unfortunately. It’s slightly bitter upfront (this does settle though) and opens up on to a muddled mix of chocolate, cocoa, charred malt, slightly warming booze, dark fruits and salty coffee. It finishes a little roasty with coffee and charred malts on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Too lean and slightly watery. Hardly any meat on its bones. Co2 is good and the 10.5% ABV is a little aggressive.

Overall: Not impressed one bit. As avid snowboarders we spend weeks at the snow every winter downing pints of the original First Tracks stout. This imperial version just seems unbalanced and a bit rushed. Please can the original one lads!

Slipstream Brewing ‘Anniversary Ale 3’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

It’s our birthday. Time to party!

“We don’t need to celebrate with cake because this year’s Anniversary Ale is like a rich coffee cake drizzled with melted chocolate. It’s seriously smooth and dangerously moreish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a short brown head. It holds together well and leaves some spotty lace behind.

Aroma: Slightly shy. We’ve really gotta dig our noses in to get a good whiff of the coffee, chocolate, roasted dark malts, subtle charred wood, dark fruits and licorice. We also get an undertone of slightly tart dark berries like blackberry or cherry. Not too bad, would have loved a bit more oopmh from it though.

Flavour: Again, indulgent notes of coffee, dark and milk chocolate, some vanilla, ash/char and subtle smoke but it’s just a little hesitant. The booze is producing some heat late in the mid and leads in to a rather aggressive finish with lingering coffee roast and charred malt.

Mouthfeel: No where near big and full enough for the style. It’s smooth, yes, but too light on. Good Co2, slightly creamy texture. 10% ABV is a bit too bullish.

Overall: Definitely has some good traits but there’s no skirting around the issues – intensity (in aroma and flavour), a little too boozy and not enough pizzazz. A bourbon barrel aged version perhaps?

Mountain Culture ‘Baked’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“This stout is rich, toasty and roasty with an indulgent twist of cinnamon and caramel sweetness thanks to the addition of 250 freshly baked caramelised croissants to the boil from our good mates, and the best bakers we know, Black Cockatoo Bakery.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a finger of brown foam emerging on top. It steadily retreats to the rim with fair lacing in its wake.

Aroma: From the first whiff something seems a little off. Getting subtle yet undesirable hints of nail polish/solvent at the moment. Ok we gave it 10 mins to settle and we’re still gettng it. We can pick up some form of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg) along with charred malt and ink but it’s just so boozy, astringent and solvent-like. Dammit!

Flavour: Slightly better than the aroma. The astringent booze and solvent have softened a little and is replaced with a sweet spice-driven roast, strange yeast esters and burnt toffee. Unfortunately those faults still hang around though. They come back but are fought off by a sweet milky coffee note, lightly charred malt and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy before the big burn sets in…most likely down to the 10.5% ABV. Low-ish Co2. Mmmmeh!

Overall: It appears MC are human after all. Tell ya what they had a bloody good run but it ends here.. this is just messy AF! Almost tasted like a RIS at times. Not that that’s bad but it’s not the sweet dessert stout we had anticipated.

Quiet Deeds Peanut Butter Imperial Stout

Rating:

“There’s nothing quite like the taste of chocolate and peanut butter layered on top of each other.  A little bit of sweet and a little built of salt, sometimes even a crunch.  With winter upon us, it feels very much like pastry stout season here at Deeds and we reckon it’s time to sort out dessert for our staff and customers for the forseeable future. Imperial Stout. Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Don’t think, just go!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a well retained two finger head resting atop. Nice wavy lace clinging to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Very indulgent. Peanut butter and chocolate dominate (no surprises there!) with vanilla/milk sugars, oats, nutty malt, mild coffee and roast in support. Brilliant overall balance. Also can’t pick up any heat from the 10% ABV – nicely buried.

Flavour: Oh yeah! Definitely doesn’t take a backward step. This heavenly marriage of peanut butter and chocolate comes on strong and reaches well in to the finish. Softer notes of Nutella, vanilla/lactose, light coffee roast and toasted nuts also hang around for days. Delish!

Mouthfeel: Nice and meaty. Full bodied with low-ish Co2. As mentioned before the 10% ABV is really well hidden.

Overall: Cracking drop. The hype is definitely real with this one. We haven’t really jumped on the Deeds train but after this we may just have to. Sensational.