Category Archives: Stout

Westbrook ‘Chocolate & Sea Salt’ Imperial Stout


80192842_1263496993834443_4419486472449556480_o“For our 7th Anniversary Beer, we went big on the chocolate and added a little salt to make it interesting. Luscious notes of liquid cocoa and a smooth salinity make this beer deliciously decadent.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a quickly fading dark brown head. It forms a thin halo but still manages a healthy lace as we indulge.

Aroma: Dark and devilish. Really has that dessert stout thing going on…tonnes of chocolate, licorice, vanilla, red peppers, cocoa, marshmallow, charred malts and mocha. The addition of sea salt is a bit of a masterstroke. We were a bit hesitant at first but it really adds a nice touch of savoury salinity and balance.

Flavour: Again, really dialling in on the dessert stout character – milk chocolate, vanilla, mocha, cocoa, licorice, roasted malts. The salty aspect kind of playing two hands i.e salted chocolate but also a strong hint of salted caramel coming through. Beautifully sweet, salty and roasty finish with incredible length.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but not as thick and dense as most imperial stouts. Could be the lack of barrel aging perhaps? Low co2. Very well concealed ABV (9.5%).

Overall: For a beer that we were a little unsure about it has really come through. It’s big and bold yet sweet and nicely balanced. And let’s not forget the risky addition of sea salt which in a way was the quiet star of the show. It’s our first crack at this American brewery and we’re impressed!

Boatrocker ’19 ‘Fat Santa’ BA Imperial Stout


80881660_1258654620985347_983657620860567552_o“Fat Santa is a rich, decadent example of a barrel aged imperial stout. This year, we’ve changed it up a bit and headed to the Northern Hemisphere for inspiration. Same incredible Ramjet base, but aged in 1st use Buffalo Trace barrel. The result is simply stunning… BIG bourbon character, with luscious coconut and vanilla from the wood, we’ve complemented this with our Holy Trinity of Tonka beans, Vanilla Beans and Coffee Beans. The perfect end to a big Christmas dinner, or maybe an ever so suitable entry to festivities?”

Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Pitch black with a wispy brown head which quickly retreats to the rim. Spotty lace sticks to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Oh my goodness this is some classy stuff right here. It’s packed full of rich roasty malts, Vegemite, dark chocolate, burnt toast, coconut, hints of soy sauce, leather and coffee. 1st use Buffalo Trace barrels also give it an almighty hit of classic American bourbon – caramel, spice, sweet rum and vanilla. Oh my Lord that is good!

Flavour: Typically when an aroma is this good it transitions in to flavour…and that’s exactly what it does! Straight off the bat we’re getting an incredible fusion of bourbon barrels, coconut, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, charred malts, treacle, spice, dark rum, dates and an almost roasted almond-like nuttiness which really draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily, warm and comforting. Full bodied with low CO2 and a perfectly positioned ABV (10.9%). Spot on for the style.

Overall: This is going to be one of those beers where get all sad once we take our last sip. At $30 a pop were a bit hesitant to fill up the cellar with them but there’s no question it will age gracefully. Top notch stuff.

The Bruery ‘Vermont Sticky Maple’ BA Imperial Stout


78557675_1234751196709023_7364682075737161728_o“We scoured the hills of the green mountain state to find the perfect maple syrup to complement this barrel-aged imperial stout. Sticky and decadent, with a subtly sweet and big, bold mouthfeel.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a thumb of finely beaded brown head perched on top. Good retention and healthy lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: There aren’t many more satisfying things that can top the fusion of maple syrup, bourbon barrels and hearty stout. The chances become even smaller once vanilla, cocoa and caramel are added! Then consider the robust molasses, dark chocolate, toffee, marshmallow, subtle coffee and nutty roasted malts and you have an incredibly awesome aroma.

Flavour: It’s one of those times when we are hoping the flavour follows the aroma…and that’s exactly what it does! Sticky, sweet and sugary maple sidles up to the mildly smoky and spicy oak barrels. Lashings of vanilla, toffee fudge, dark chocolate and delicate bourbon complexity roll in to an incredibly smooth finish full of sweet maple, bourbon oak and smoky charred malts.

Mouthfeel: As the name suggests it’s sticky and gelatinous. On the lighter side of full bodied with the 11.3% ABV ridiculously well hidden.

Overall: The is classic Bruery quality…what it says is exactly what you get – a big generous stout jam packed with maple and well rounded bourbon barrel character. That good you could pour it over your pancakes!

Boatrocker Brewing ’19 ‘Ramjet’ BA Imperial Stout


75439429_1220189574831852_5492848243383468032_o“Aged in freshly emptied whisky barrels from our friends at Starward Whisky Distillery in Port Melbourne, Ramjet 2019 is a big beer with great malt complexity.  Stored upright in a cool, dark place, Ramjet 2019 will reward careful cellaring of at least 5 years. Over time, the whisky will become less prominent and the barrel type more pronounced–the end result being just sublime.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown cap resting atop. The head gradually retreats to the rim and produces a decent lace as we go.

Aroma: First thoughts – spectacular! So rich and comforting. Absolutely jam packed with big menacing roasted malts, whisky barrels, spice, dark chocolate, molasses and dark fruits. There is a distinct sweetness happening which is very alluring…it’s mostly vanilla-based but it also has traits of either marzipan or maple. Superb!

Flavour: Rich, roasty and slightly charred malts, ash, dark fruits, chocolate, molasses and espresso coffee coming through late in the piece. The whisky is a bit more subtle as opposed to the aroma but the barrels add a lovely woody element to it. Vanilla and spicy dark fruits team up with the charred malt in the finish and draw out nicely on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Dense and oily, full bodied with the 11.5% ABV providing some warmth…but pretty damn smooth for its size and immaturity.

Overall: The Ramjet series only goes from strength to strength! We truly believe they are Australia’s best barrel aged stouts and this year’s vintage is no exception. Keep em comin!

Fifty-Fifty Brewing ‘Eclipse’ BA Maple Coffee Imperial Stout


75251048_1214042088779934_829878043404140544_o“Imperial Stout brewed with honey and aged in oak barrels.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown head that gradually recedes. We’re seeing a lovely cascading lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Smells amazing. So big and rambunctious yet so sweet and heavenly. We get the aggressive charred malts, molasses, espresso coffee, dark chocolate and ash with the olfactory-hugging maple, honey, brown sugar and caramel woven through. The barrels then add another layer of what appears to be mild bourbon and French vanillin oak. Love!

Flavour: The best thing – it all translates on to the palate. Rich molasses, leather and dark chocolate lay down for a bittersweet middle of coffee, roasty malts and treacle. Maple, honey and toffee then finish it off with a lingering warmth and subtle hints of ash and charred malt which really draw out.

Mouthfeel: Not as dense and chewy as we had anticipated. There’s still a pretty lively CO2 and nice oiliness on the lips. Medium-full body with the 11% ABV well hidden.

Overall: The Eclipse range of stouts would have to be one of the best series in the world. Our only criticism would be that the wax colour guideline and the dodgy abbreviations on the bottle make it hard to know which one you actually have! We’re pretty sure this is the maple coffee and if it is it’s bloody superb!

Moon Dog 2019 ‘Jumping The Shark’ BA Imperial Stout


72835869_1205462336304576_6293967074104442880_o“Our annual release of Jumping the Shark is always super exciting here at Moon Dog! It’s our opportunity to make the biggest, most bad-ass, delicious beer we can think of. We jam in as much flavour as possible to create something really ridiculously special. This year we thought we’d chuck this huge imperial stout into vanilla barrels, wait a while… then whack it into maple syrup barrels, wait some more… all just for the fun of double barrel aging it. Bloody genius!’

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As expected it’s black as midnight with a covering of loose bubble which reduced instantly. Sparse lacing as it subsides.

Aroma: The barrels do a lot of the talking – the maple barrels especially with its mouth watering caramelised sweetness, brown sugar and toffee. The vanilla barrels are slightly less definitive although they still offer a gorgeous creamy sweetness. And then we have the formidable impy stout notes of charred malt, licorice, dark chocolate and leather underlining it all. Ooph!

Flavour: Spicy maple, vanilla, treacle, toffee, dense oak and milk chocolate lead the charge. Although it displays some subtle charred and roasty notes it seems to be lacking a little in the depth department. Guys like mollasses, espresso and dark chocolate are either MIA or too mild to pick up. Anywho, it finishes nice and roasty with a well drawn out sweetness.

Mouthfeel: A little too lean for our liking. They’ve hidden the 12.2% ABV incredibly well though. And quite a smooth creamy texture they’ve landed on as well.

Overall: It’s exciting to see MD release another vintage of what we believe to be their best line of beers. We finally see what they’re doing too…releasing a JTS on every odd year. Thankfully we’ve got another 5 of these in the cellar to get us through to 2021!

Cigar City’ Power Of Friendship’ Brandy BA Imperial Stout


74876762_1199344233583053_5167070734849146880_n“7venth Sun Brewery and Cigar City Brewing are friends. In fact, we talk on the phone all the time about how powerful our friendship is. What do friends do together? They brew Brandy Barrel-aged Imperial Stouts together, that’s what friends do. Here’s to friendship! Brewed in collaboration with 7venth Sun Brewery.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Thick black sump oil with hardly any head formation on top…just a gathering of loose bubble around the rim. Some wet streaky legs are all that’s seen as we go.

Aroma: Wow the brandy barrels play a significant role in this… letting off those classic nutty accents while still capturing the rich caramel and jammy dark fruits. As it settles the decadence is multiplied by the intense molasses and raw cacao then doubled down with pure dark chocolate, Vegemite, soy sauce, espresso coffee, licorice and leather. This is a biggun.

Flavour: Good God it comes on like a bull out of the gates. It literally smothers the palate with super rich molasses, leather, dark chocolate, Vegemite, licorice, burnt wood, espresso coffee, iodine and good ol brandy barrels. There’s also a flicker of vanilla in there and thank Christ coz it adds just just a bit of creaminess.

Mouthfeel: Oily, viscous and dense AF! Next to no CO2 with a hefty 12.3% ABV – which doesn’t mind letting us know.

Overall: This is one angry and in-your-face impy stout. It grabs a hold of the taste buds and slaps them around until they’re cowering in the corner. And we dig it! It’s so outlandish and aggressive that it’s hard not to respect it. What it needs though is a few years in the cellar…just to cool down a bit.

To Ol ’19 Edition ‘Mr Blue’ Imperial Blackcurrant Stout


71834800_1188235128027297_5586087125771616256_n“This year’s Mr. Blue has truly turned to the dark side. Dark, roasted malts merged with tart black-currants to create a rich and decadent Imperial Blackcurrant Stout with the body of a Greek warrior and the tone of a siren. To be drank on the beaches of Troy, whilst building a wooden horse and fighting the Trojans. Super full and complex delight.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Looks awfully menacing! Super dark and muddy brown with a purple-tinged brown head. Excellent head retention and a smattering of lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: My goodness what have we got here?! The first thing we pick up is a heady scent of crushed red grapes but a few more whiffs and that turns to blackcurrant pulp with a touch of rich molasses around the edges. it’s actually quite tart but this really deep earthiness to the fruit more than counters it. Nice and subtle charred notes underneath…letting all of those quirky aromas do the talking. Very eccentric but we love!

Flavour: Holy moly the second it hits the tongue it detonates with an unbelievable amount of flavour. It’s almost sour initially then ultra tart, bitter then on to a charred and roasty finish. All the way through is this delicious and at times tannic blackberry pulp which ventures off in to earthy, sweet and tangy territory. But the best thing is that it all works in together.

Mouthfeel: Sharp and acetic yet rather silky. The 10.1% ABV is ridiculously well buried. Medium body with mild-moderate CO2.

Overall: Weird, wacky and wonderful! There is no other beer like it this is in a category of its own. Pretty impressive stuff we must say.

Counter Culture ‘So Long Darkness?’ Invisible Stout


71402995_1187517794765697_8533003894253420544_n“Not all is what it seems with So Long Darkness..?, our ‘invisible’ stout. Eyes closed, the generous hints of roasted coffee, chocolate and creaminess found in So Long Darkness..? might have you think it were a regular stout. But upon pouring, the way the light shines through this pale liquid might surprise you like an optical illusion. This is, in fact, not a dark beer at all.”

Glassware: Teku.

Appearance: Golden amber pour with a mild haze and flat CO2…somewhat explains the lack of head retention. It settles to a collar with surprisingly good lacing.

Aroma: We can definitely get the coffee straight off the bat. There’s also a distinct chilli pepper scent that we’re detecting as well. Plenty of milk chocolate, vanilla/lactose, fairy floss, white marshmallow and glazed cherry. It really feels strange listing those scents then looking at what would most likely be called a pale ale if one didn’t know any better. Very interesting…and fun!

Flavour: Like the aroma it kicks off with a robust hit of raw coffee bean with the vanilla and lactose sweetness in support. Delicious milk chocolate flows through and brings with it this almost Rocky Road-like flavour. From there it seems to drop off a cliff before a hint of lactose and marshmallow returns on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and aerated with some bitterness forming in the swallow. Medium body. CO2 a bit flat but it kinda works.

Overall: The fourth installment in what has become, in our opinion, the most exciting range of beers to come out of Stone & Wood. This release (although fun) doesn’t really stack up against the likes of sticky nectar. Still! It’s unconventional and they’ve pulled it off pretty well.

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Two Thousand’ BA Imperial Stout


71086626_1184486888402121_3383049896863989760_n“To celebrate our 2000th brew we have created a beer that uses something old and something new. Blending whiskey and bourbon barrel-aged B2 Bomber Mach 7.0 ( aged 24 months on Brettanomyces) with a freshly brewed imperial stout. This challenging beer combines much of what we have learned from brewing the previous 1999 beers, whilst also trying something completely new for us.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Thing pours like sump oil – thick black and impenetrable with a thin collar. It posts little rings as we imbibe.

Aroma: Complex! Loving the subtle bretty character. Beneath that is a glimpse of Mach 7.0 with its pseudo black IPA fruitiness and charred malts. Enter the barrels…which provide spicy caramels and even a touch of tannic red wine. Delve even deeper and we pick up those young and aggressive imperial stout notes of licorice, molasses, dark chocolate and peat. Holy moly what an aroma.

Flavour: And we thought the aroma was complex! Deciphering this is gonna be like cracking the DaVinci code….roasty, funky, dank, oaky, somewhat savoury and spicy. Again we get a glimpse of Mach 7.0 with a bit of piney hop and citrus around the edges. Everything then seems to just pile in on each other to the point where it’s almost too hard to isolate anything. One thing we do know… it’s menacing!

Mouthfeel: Oily and dense…really coats the whole palate. Full bodied, low CO2. 10% ABV – not hard to isolate that one!

Overall: Look it’s an awesome beast but we’re undecided on whether it’s just TOO complicated. Loving the creativity though so here’s cheers to a milestone for Bridge Road. Brew #2000!

Bottle Logic ’18 ‘Fundamental Observation’ BA Imperial Stout


71171203_1179507455566731_8832097144639848448_n“Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Vanilla Stout: Our chart-topping ”liquid brownie batter” was aged in a medley of Buffalo Trace, WL Weller, Heaven Hill, and Four Roses bourbon barrels with multiple additions of Madagascar vanilla beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a wispy brown overlay. It quickly retreats to the rim and provides reasonable lace as it subsides.

Aroma: It never ceases to amaze us how unbelievably satisfying aromas of this calibre can be. When they’re this good words just don’t do it justice. This heavenly concoction of mild bourbon barrels, vanilla bean, licorice, espresso coffee, blackstap molasses, prunes/dates, melted brown sugar and spice is that good we’d happily spend every last cent on it just so we could have an endless supply! It’s outrageous.

Flavour: As expected…not one backward step is taken. It’s a mirror image of the aroma – chock full of bourbon barrel goodness, sweet vanilla, licorice, dark chocolate and or raw cacao, molasses, dark fruits i.e prunes/dates/raisins and espresso coffee. Don’t know how they manage such a smooth finish also. Wtf?!

Mouthfeel: Dense, rich and full bodied…but so god damn smooth! How can they hide the 13.2% ABV like this?? This shit shouldn’t be legal.

Overall: We don’t want to nitpick but…oh who are we kidding it was a 10 from the second we copped a nose-full of this infectious liquid. This is what it’s all about right here. Phenomenal drop.

Modern Times ‘Black House’ Coffee Stout


“It’s so great that you like coffee. I just love that about you. Speaking of which, you’re holding an oatmeal coffee stout positively redolent with coffee aroma and flavor. It kind of tastes like a chocolate-covered espresso bean, only drier and more like beer. Nifty fact: we’re one of the only breweries in the world to roast our own coffee, which allows us to be extremely persnickety about which beans we buy and how we roast them. Taste the persnicketiness!”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Glossy black with a finger of light brown foam assembling on top. Reduction is swift and eventually it retreats to the rim. Healthy lace despite the lack of retention.

Aroma: We probably sound like a broken record but we LOVE COFFEE! So when we see a coffee stout brewed by one of San Diego’s finest we don’t hesitate! A twirl of the glass awakens that glorious coffee aroma along with cocoa, bakers chocolate, porridge, toast, lightly roasted barley and lactose. Maybe a flutter of molasses and nutty malt as well. Damn fine aroma.

Flavour: In short? MIA! It’s almost a completely different beer! All of that gorgeous coffee, chocolate and porridge has been watered down and is nothing but a shadow of the aroma. In its defence all of the flavours are here but they’re just weak as water. And it’s like this from start to finish. Gaahh!

Mouthfeel: Thin and slippery…no grip whatsoever. Only 5.8% ABV so it is in session territory. Far too lean for a stout though.

Overall: Such a shame. To inhale that dreamy aroma and then get let down so bad by the flavour makes us want to cry. That’s a rare strike out for MT.

Mr Banks brewing Co Oatmeal Stout


70154272_1173017859549024_1044518196503117824_n“With Layers & layers of dark malt, American Hops & Smooth Oats. This Chocolate, Roasty & Slick Stout is a pleasure for all the sense’s.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Solid black with a short brown head on top. Reduction is Swift and eventually settles at the rim. Thin rings stick to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Roasty, savoury and even a touch sweet but it’s all a bit mild and a little shy. As we delve in we pick up further wafts of coffee, dark chocolate, lactose and rolled oats but we’re finding the same problem…it’s all just a bit lackluster. It’s a shame it couldn’t find that 2nd gear because at its core it’s a decent aroma.

Flavour: It’s slow off the mark but as it progresses we pick up gentle roast, coffee, dark chocolate, lactose, rolled oats and delicate licorice. There’s a very faint citrusy hop bitterness making its way through as well. The finish is again mild and lightly toasty with hop character and bittersweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Way too thin for a stout. We’ll concede a low-ish ABV (5.5%) could have something to do with it. CO2 is spot on though.

Overall: If anything we’d be calling this a borderline session black IPA. Nowhere near the body one would expect from a stout. It’s a big old meh from us.


Dainton Brewery ‘Nutters’ Choc Peanut Butter Stout


71108235_1171410759709734_3244479374128316416_n“Peanuts are rad, aliens told us so. Better than that, we’re going to show you so. Just watch your allergies, because we aim to please. This beer ain’t crap!”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Mat black with a healthy two finger head perched on top. Excellent retention…weaving a thick intricate lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Snickers eat your heart out! Tonnes of peanut, chocolate, caramel, nougat, coconut and honey-roasted cashews. The only downside to these novelty beers is that there’s not much more to uncover once we scratch through the first layer. Maybe a hint of cherry cola and strawberry gum getting amongst it…albeit conservatively. Nice though.

Flavour: It doesn’t follow through as well as we’d hoped. We’re detecting mild hints of peanut, chocolate and caramel but it tapers off pretty quickly. It leaves a somewhat doughy flavour to set up the nutty and semi sweet finish. Kind of pulls up a tad short on the back palate too.

Mouthfeel: Quite thin and slippery…hardly any body to it whatsoever. The upside is the 6% ABV is very well disguised.

Overall: We love a novelty beer. Especially when it mimics a chocolate bar or ice cream but this falls a bit short of the mark. The aroma has vigour but the flavour is muted and the texture is too lean for a stout. Had better from Dainton

Cigar City X Cycle Brewing ‘Not A Single Feeling’ Sherry BA Imperial Stout


69949393_1167819246735552_3420578655376506880_n“This Sherry Barrel-aged Imperial Stout evokes not a single feeling, but a myriad of feelings: happiness, gregariousness, exuberance, and the joy of teamwork. Brewed in collaboration with Cycle Brewing.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Engine oil with a sparsely populated head. Groups of large bubble reduce instantly and form a thin collar at the rim of the glass. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma: Totally pungent! Rich black strap molasses erupts out of the glass followed by heady notes of licorice, boozy Xmas cake, dark chocolate, vanilla, charred malts and dark fruits. The latter emphasized by the time spent in ex-sherry barrels which also adds a certain nuttiness alongside, of course, fine oak accents. That 13.9% ABV definitely tickles the nostrils too!

Flavour: Oohh wee she’s feisty! A proper belly warmer. We must say though it’s more tempered on the palate…there’s no single flavour that stands out it’s just a potent concoction of oak, molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, sherry, charred malts, sweet dark fruits (prunes, dates) vanilla and raw cacao. It rounds off on a roasty, charred and boozy finish although the sting in the tail is softened…which is testament to the brewers.

Mouthfeel: Oily, dense and aggressive. Low CO2 with full body.

Overall: They call this “Not a single feeling’ yet we feel plenty! Admiration is one. Feeling a bit tipsy is another. In all seriousness this thing is off the charts. A little brash still but nothing a few years in the cellar couldn’t sort out. Kudos CC that is superb!

Range Brewing Oatmeal Stout


70597867_1166452346872242_1652343626090414080_n“This creamy oatmeal stout was brewed to be a smooth mid winter delight. We’ve used to massive quantity of oats in this batch, as well as editions of chocolate malt and roasted barley to the malt bill. It is jet black, with a creamy espresso coloured head. We get a beautiful balance between toasted notes and a light malt sweetness and a super smooth bitterness to finish.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a short yet finely beaded brown head emerging on top. It doesn’t hold together long, dispersing and settling at the rim. Fine rings stick to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: There’s a discernible savoury sweetness that we were detecting even as our glasses sat idle on the table. It’s somewhere between honeycomb and pistachio. And then there’s the delicate touch of cherry too! All the while that creamy, porridge-like oatmeal underlines it all. Subtle notes of vanilla, chocolate shavings and French toast just for good measure!

Flavour: It’s a bit slow out of the gates. Slightly watery with the oatmeal front and centre. Then the magic happens…it’s like an explosion of flavour goes off and sends coffee, chocolate, roasted nutty malts, dark fruits and earthy wood in each and every direction. This cluster of flavours reaches well in to the finish and goes for days on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth. Could have a little bit more weight but we’re not going to nitpick. Nicely rounded with the 6.1% ABV buried well.

Overall: Not as good as the pale ale but it’s still a cracking drop. Dead set…where did these guys come from?!

Goose Island 2018 ‘BCBS’ BA Imperial Vanilla Stout


69268730_1162342700616540_3170632642743762944_n“This long time favorite makes a long-awaited return to the Bourbon County Stout roster. Utilizing whole grade A vanilla beans from Madagascar, Vanilla delivers on all the quintessential things fans love about this variant: aromatic vanilla, marshmallow, toffee, oak, and floral notes highlighting the creamy mouthfeel and enhancing the chocolate flavors that are ingrained in Bourbon County Stout.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight! Hardly any head forms in the pour and whatever does vanishes almost instantly. No lacing whatsoever.

Aroma: It literally jumps out of the glass! The vanilla is so creamy and sweet that we just want to bathe in it. The sticky and rich molasses, the heavily charred malts and dark chocolate, the coffee…as big and menacing as they all are that vanilla still comes out on top. Then there’s the barrels imparting georgeous oak and subtle bourbon…good heavens!

Flavour: The progression of flavour here is off the charts. There’s a huge surge of bourbon, molasses and vanilla upfront which rolls in to further notes of licorice, star anise and brown sugar. There’s a tussle between vanilla and bittersweet chocolate that goes for days but it’s backfilled with hints of woody oak, toffee, charred malts, coconut and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: Oily and viscous. Minimal CO2 with a belly warming 14.9% ABV. Yet for its size and immaturity it’s still reasonably well balanced. Incredible.

Overall: Taking the above in to consideration we still think this bad boy needs at least 5 years in the cellar. It’s still quite brash. We’re not taking anything away from it though…the BCBS range is still one of the best in the world.

Stone & Wood/Counter Culture ‘It’d Be Rude Not To’ French Toast Stout


68439605_1153780061472804_5667870016121339904_n“Prepare to salivate. Our delectable French toast stout, It’d Be Rude Not To is the third release of our limited Counter Culture range – and a beer for those times you just can’t refuse. Dark, decadent and oozing with patisserie goodness, we admit It’d Be Rude Not To is a little bit naughty.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short but finely beaded brown head. Reduction is slow and steady and leaves a cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Definitely dominated by the winter spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice) but well supported by sweet and syrupy maple and caramel, melted chocolate, vanilla and milk sugars, toasty malts and sugary coffee. We can even pick up subtle hints of banana, toffee fudge and toasted marshmallow. Incredible aroma!

Flavour: Nice and creamy but jam-packed with rich maple and cinnamon, toasty malts and coffee, some dry bitterness, bittersweet chocolate and light black strap molasses. As it progresses it changes lanes again and finishes on a base of sweet caramel and maple, spice and toasty malt.

Mouthfeel: There’s a good weight to it but it’s still somewhat approachable. Slick texture and well concealed ABV (7.4%). Low CO2.

Overall: In our opinion this Counter Culture series is their best work yet. Even as avid IPA lovers we think it’s better than Fixation. They’re playing around with exciting flavours and it already enjoys a bit of a cult following. Can’t wait to see what they come out with next! Top drop.

Dainton ‘Shellraiser” Oyster Kilpatrick Imperial Stout


67812030_1143796119137865_8311881909655306240_n“Another year and another ‘collab’ with these crazy folks. Also some NSW farmer helped source the actual 110 dozen oysters in this brew. Note – there is no bacon, though it does taste a bit like bacon … ‘Facon’, I call it. I don’t. You do.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a frothy two finger crown. The head holds together and laced well.

Aroma: Definitely getting a salty/briney note hitting the olfactory’s first…surely the oysters. Some sweet and smoky notes which remind us of honey glazed ham also getting amongst it. Hints of mild roast and licorice, chocolate and a subtle candied scent which we can’t quite put our finger on…we want to say musk but we’re not certain of it.

Flavour: Again quite salty and briney upfront. Mild gamey-ness from the oysters, bitter sweet chocolate, some vanilla, some warming booze and roasty malts. It moves in to delicate licorice and or molasses with soft smoky notes rolling in to a salty finish which provides lightly charred malts and soft bitterness on a good length.

Mouthfeel: Nice and balanced – not too heavy not too light. Oily and well rounded. The 9.5% AbV is really well hidden.

Overall: Look it’s not going to set any records but it’s a fairly decent drop. The actual collaboration is the craziest thing about it! I mean there’s Dainton from Victoria, Van Dieman from Tassie and Bright Tank and Rocky Ridge from WA! The logistics alone is nuts! The beer though…not bad.

Deschutes 2016 Brandy BA ‘Abyss’ Imperial Stout


67097311_1137911909726286_6522436742723665920_n“Enticingly ripe, earthy fruit rudiments awash in the open salt air of Normandy, lightly augmented with mushrooms grown in the depths of the Tronҫais forest. Delicate notes of Livarot glazed with an orange reduction and textured with toasted coconut shavings. Distinct aromas of cinnamon and ulster cherry, foxtrot in time with tangs of vanilla and brown sugar. Balanced, approachable wood zests meld charmingly with the finish of figs and Allegheny plums.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight! It forms a dark brown head which swells to two fingers before it gradually recedes. Healthy lace clings to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: It’s remarkable how much of an impact the brandy barrels have put on this stout…cognac-like sweetness supported by dark fruits i.e raisin and dates, rich toffee, caramel and vanilla. So much so that it resembles a top shelf barleywine with its hallmark residual sugars and caramelised malts. Not to mention the warming booze and oak that isn’t shying away!

Flavour: Jeez even after three years in the cellar this bad boy still packs some heat! A wave of stinging booze, bitter espresso, molasses and charred malts hit the palate like an overhand right from Riddick! Brandy takes the back seat with its semi-sweet dark fruits and spice developing late in the piece. There’s little respite as it finishes with an aggressive espresso bitterness and an enduring burn in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and viscous with low Co2 giving it that extra weight. 13.3% AbV – explains that lifted booze burn.

Overall: Still a bit too aggressive in our opinion. The aroma was bang on point but the flavour is too heavy on the booze and bitterness. A bit of a shame coz this cost a few pennies!!