Category Archives: Stout

Fifty-Fifty Brewing ‘Eclipse’ E.H Taylor BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

39507357_936051376579008_1875618291246956544_n“Stout brewed with honey and aged in oak barrels.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Black with just the slightest hint of dark brown fused through. It builds a sturdy two finger head which persists and leaves a thick soapy lace trail down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow, intriguing. Lots of bourbon coming through initially but not in the traditional and rather aggressive sense. This is nice and smooth, caramel-laden and sweet with vanilla, butterscotch, honey and maple syrup decadence. Getting good support from the roasted malts, barrels, molasses, licorice and coffee also. Picking up some spicy notes as it settles in. Sensational.

Flavour: It comes on strong without overdoing it. Nicely balanced with oak and just enough caramel/toffee sweetness to nullify the surging bourbon. Strong presence of spice and licorice leading to more of a viscous molasses in the middle. It continues this excellent progression in to a semi-rich, roasty and espresso finish which goes the distance.

Mouthfeel: Luscious creamy texture with medium-full body. Low Co2 and incredibly well masked AbV (11%).

Overall: Without a doubt the best Eclipse variation we’ve had. It’s rich and dense but it’s really well balanced by the honey and natural caramel sweetness imparted from the Buffalo Trace barrels. We’re literally salivating at the idea of a EH Taylor/Eclipse boilermaker now. Just need a spare $350 for a bottle!

Treehouse Brewing Co ‘Hold On To Sunshine’ Coffee Stout

Rating:

38855471_926894017494744_7627366626362392576_n“Hold On To Sunshine is a rich and delicious stout intended to be savored and enjoyed as we enter the cooler Autumn months here in New England. Life can come at us fast and hit us with unexpected hardship, inducing stress, fear, anger, confusion, sadness, and uncertainty. But together we must find solace and comfort in each other, and in something wonderful, equal, and free for everyone to hold on to – Sunshine. For Lauren.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Jet Black with a thumb of finely beaded foam perched on top. Good head retention with wavy lace work down the glass.

Aroma: Plenty of uplift. Tonnes of black coffee, milk sugars/lactose, vanilla, marzipan, toasted marshmallow and roasted malts. Quite musky with undertones of dark chocolate, honeycomb, powdered cocoa and dark fruits backing up. It offers a solid density yet it’s still so light and pleasant to take in. Superb.

Flavour: Smooth and unbelievably well balanced. Delicious notes of coffee, vanilla, and milk sugars to the fore. A lovely roasted malt at the base along with dark fruits, licorice and hints of very mild molasses filling it out. Just a faint tickle of booze as it moves in to an ultimately dry finish with roasty malts, mild ash and coffee in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and silky smooth with an assertive dryness developing late in the piece. It holds an excellent weight and the 7.6% AbV shows through at just the right times.

Overall: Unbelievably well put together. This is our first crack at Treehouses dark range and it’s official…..they’re just as good as their hoppy beers. Brilliant balance between the bitter coffee and the sweet milk sugars, the booze is spot on and the roasted malts provide the perfect base. Delish!

Evil Twin Brewing ‘Irish-ish’ Coffee Stout

Rating:

38665667_921779991339480_3256103668755202048_n“This massive winter warmer is brewed with lactose, demerara sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, medium toasted oak spirals and – of course – a ton of delicious coffee from our friends at @tandemcoffeeroasters.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Dense black with a thumb of reasonably well retained foam capping it off. It leaves a fine spotty lace clinging to the glass.

Aroma: Quite unique we must admit. It’s not the super rich and boozy nose we were anticipating it’s actually rather light and sweet with a heady dose of earthy spice and what we can best describe as piney hops. Lactose, vanilla and marshmallow makes up a fair chunk of the sweetness with just a touch of caramel and coffee to fill it out. Can’t say that were fans at the moment.

Flavour: Acting a bit more like an Irish coffee. Subtle coffee roast, crystallised sugars and what would appear to be the sweet and somewhat fruity Irish whiskey (cue those piney hops on the nose!). The booze starts to warm up around the mid, backed up by earthy spice and more coffee. Charred malts and a more bitter espresso note picks up and rolls in to the dry, toasty and semi sweet finish which endures nicely.

Mouthfeel: Silky, warming and kind of dense. Low Co2, medium-full body. 10.3% AbV – fairly well behaved.

Overall: It’s a good enough offering but it’s just a tad uninspiring. Back in our day we used to get stuck in to the Irish coffee post Anzac Day commemorations and ours didn’t taste anything like this. Maybe we weren’t making them properly! Nevertheless it’s nothing to write home about.

Dainton & CVBC ‘Cherry Gripe’ Chocolate Cherry & Coconut Stout

Rating:

38633648_921624381355041_6899310575235366912_n“Why the gripe? Well we had a bit of an in-house biffo so hence the name. And yes, it tastes like cherry, chocolate and coconut in perfect balance! Brewed with our mates from the Clare Valley Brewing Co. Not that Damo did anything at all. Lazy bugger.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Opaque black with two fingers of fizzy brown head resting atop. Steady reduction, eventually settling to a halo. Lacing is wet and sparse as we hook in.

Aroma: Definitely hitting that fruity dessert beer note with lashings of juicy cherry, coconut flakes, strawberry jam, vanilla, chocolate and nutty malts. Maybe just a hint of toast and earthy truffle and or cocoa getting a look in also. Not so much cherry ripe, more jam doughnut meets lamington.

Flavour: Cherry ripe?? Nowhere to be seen. Yes there’s jammy notes of cherry, strawberry etc with hints of chocolate and coconut but nothing about it screams cherry ripe. More cherry fruits through the mid leading in to a mild roasty, dry and chocolate finish. Length isn’t too bad at least.

Mouthfeel: Lean and slippery – not what we’d expect from a 7.5% dessert stout. Mild Co2 and body.

Overall: Weak, watery and hardly resembling a cherry ripe. The reason why beers like Golden Stout Time (Big shed), Snickers and Ferrari Rocher (Bacchus) are so good is that they taste exactly like the sweet they’re emulating. They would have been better off brewing this and just calling it a cherry stout.

Hawkers Beer 2018 Bourbon & Rum BA Imperial Stouts – Parallel Review

Rating:

38247305_918540128330133_8350982347025285120_n“Big, dark, and beautiful. Bourbon on the nose with oak, vanilla, light coconut highlights. This beer is simply luscious. A rich Imperial Stout aged in rum barrels to give aromas of vanilla and freshly cut wood with smooth molasses and a warming spirit on the palate.”

RUM BARREL.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black. It forms a cm of dark brown foam which quickly retreats to the rim. Scattered lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Rich and aggressive but well polished. Strong impressions of espresso, licorice, old leather and tobacco with a flutter of sweet dark fruits and vanilla to balance. The rum comes through gently with notes of caramel and burnt brown sugar. Delightful!

Flavour: Dead set spot on! Well tempered in its delivery of rich dark malts, espresso, tobacco and molasses. The subtle creamy vanilla, toasted coconut and sweet rum flavours balance it like a beer on a barrel!

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth for its size (11.7%). Oily, warming and dense with medium-full body.

BOURBON BARREL.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Exactly like it’s twin – dense black but with a big and well kept two finger head. Laced a lot better as well.

Aroma: Wow the difference is really significant. The bourbon barrels are much more aggressive, more pronounced and oaky. It still displays plenty of raw earth, charred malt, licorice, peppery spice, toasted coconut and vanilla with super subtle dark fruits down deep.

Flavour: It has that complex fusion of dark chocolate, espresso, bourbon barrel, charred malts, toasted coconut, molasses and subtle vanilla. There’s a bit more of a booze burn but that can be forgiven for being a bit stronger.

Mouthfeel: Slightly different to its twin – it’s bigger, prickly and warming. Creamy and full bodied.

Overall: Two extremely impressive offerings from Hawkers. It is really hard to choose which is better, they both display their respective barrels impeccably. It is so encouraging to see Aussie brewers producing world class beers like these. We knew Hawkers had serious potential but they just went up a few more notches. Kudos!

 

Modus Operandi ‘Moon Tan’ Stout

Rating:

B3E1E787-DBB3-4662-9B19-D938195EBF10Glass: Served in an English pint

Appearance: Black with a massive 2 finger cloud-like and soapy tan head that leave an enormous lace down the glass as the head settled to about a finger width. Certainly a lot of carbonation here as evident by the head, and not by the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Roasted malts, mild coffee, some soft chocolate, caramels, coconut/nuttiness, and toffee. Got a slight tang to it upon first sniff out of the can which we unsure if it’s hop or just yeast. Almost a lightness to the aroma like it’s hiding.

Flavour: Initial sip is light silky roast and then it intensifies in coffee and chocolate, with again a bit of a tang like there is a sour element to it?? We are wondering if there is a type of souring going on here mixed in with the dry roasting and nutty characteristic of the malts. There is bitterness there, with some booze heat but not overpowering at all. As we sip there is a slight medicinal element very back palate but it disappears quickly so as to not ruin it.

Mouthfeel: Silky and luscious as the can describes is right. It’s moderate in its body and carbonation is mild to moderate at best with a good swig. Alc vol here is 6.8% and hidden very well alongside malts. No IBU stated. Length trails off but elicits a sweet and sour thing which is food for thought. Feels slightly soft for a decent stout.

Overall: Not sure what to think actually. Not a bad beer though. We are trying to get around the mild sour element and understand it. With very little information on the can it leaves you wondering. The can does say “mesmerising”. Love to know the ingredients here. A mystery.

Mikkeller ‘ Beer Geek’ Oatmeal coffee stout

Rating:

5D0B3532-9E77-4A7E-BA96-6F2C937CE265Glass: English pint

Appearance: Black with a mahogany hue at the base held up to the light. A dark tan head forms roughly a finger width at best and then slowly fades leaving just a bubbly rim with lacing already evident. Plenty of carbonation seen sizzling in the glass on close inspection.

Aroma: All the features of a typical coffee stout..espresso, roasted malts, chocolate alongside liquorice, leather, molasses, vegemite yeast, some toffee, and possibly earthy hops. Hard to distinctly observe the hop due to the overall aroma as explained above. It’s very similar to the Founders Breakfast Stout.

Flavour: Initial front palate is espresso coffee, alongside bitterness from dark chocolate, roasted malt caramels, toffee, some dark fruits, raisin, booze. It’s so damn smooth though. Just glides down with a slightly oily or velvety characteristic..obviously the oatmeal showing up here. Backpalate lingers with a slightly fruity and drying element to it. Definite hop involvement here.

Mouthfeel: Mild to moderate carbonation felt around the tonsils. Slightly slick and velvety. Alc vol here of 7.5% makes it very quaffable as the booze is so welll hidden..just feels more like a tingle on the tonsils. No IBU started. Great length of coffee/hop bitterness and a drying out on the palate.

Overall: We recently returned from our USA beer trip and Mikkeller in San Diego was a highlight. We are fairly certain this was the drop that was absolutely marvellous off tap but admittedly we were legless by that time. Maybe not as good out of the bottle but very tasty indeed. Could easily have for breakfast.

Six String Brewing ‘Mint Condition’ Choc-Mint Milk Stout

Rating:

9CB599D5-267F-4D83-AA67-B091B9AE6074Glassware: English pint

Appearance: Rich dark brown bordering on black but held up to the light exhibits more of the former. Tan head that disappeared almost as quick as the pour. Discrete carbonation seen up the side of the glass.

Aroma: Reminds us of one of the after dinner mints we used to ravenously consume at our favourite childhood restaurant. Certainly an airy or milky aroma filled with chocolate, sweet dark malts that aren’t excessively roasted, obvious mint that is pleasing to the olfactory (almost spearmint?).

Flavour: Very bloody tasty! We get a creamy, lactose hit that has an oat like velvetyness. Tastes more like a light stout or even a porter. The mint leaves a slightly cooling effect on the tongue but it just blends so nicely with the milk chocolate sweetness. The can states cocoa (cacao?) but it’s not overly bitter at all. It’s an alcoholic (Alc vol 7 %) liquid after dinner mint. Booze is so well hidden it’s dangerous.

Mouthfeel: Decadent, rich, creamy, slick…use whatever adjectives you like. It’s so smooth on the palate. Unexpectedly light for a stout..again it’s almost a porter or a light stout. Slightly watery but it doesn’t detract..we are actually glad it’s like this. Carbonation is basically nil like a sessionable ale in a English pub. Lovely cooling mint freshness on the palate that cleanses. Unsure of IBU as it’s not stated.

Overall: Impressive drop. Anyone who loves mint will thoroughly enjoy this. It’s tastes almost exactly as it describes on the can which is an extra tick from us. Melt an after dinner mint and this is it. At 7 % alc vol?!?…wow. One of our favourite Six String drops.

Boatrocker Brewers 2018 ‘Ramjet’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

38040864_915212078662938_8261082857544351744_n“Aged in freshly emptied whisky barrels from our friends at Starward Whisky Distillery in Port Melbourne, Ramjet 2018 is a big beer with great malt complexity. Stored upright in a cool, dark place, Ramjet 2018 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: dense black with a finger of dense brown head perched on top. It retreats to the rim but leaves a superb lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: It appears they have dropped a bit of the coffee component and really focused on the whiskey this year. It’s still rich AF though! Absolutely laden with whiskey, booze, dark chocolate, licorice, oak, leather and molasses. Starting to pick up those delicate hints of vanilla and toffee/caramel as she settles. Then add ash, charred earth and cigars – the tone for this year’s vintage perhaps?!

Flavour: Damn, they’ve got it dialed in again! Dense and rich dark malt, char, molasses and whiskey open up on to a slightly sweet and creamy vanilla accent early in the middle. Warming booze, musty oak and espresso carry forward in to a big and menacing finish full of whiskey barrel, charred malts, earthy raw fig and bitter espresso. Excellent length.

Mouthfeel: Oily, astringent and aggressive but that will certainly soften after a few years in the cellar. Medium-full body, mild Co2. 13.4% ABV? Pfftt! No it’s actually quite lethal.

Overall: This is the first time we’ve ever drunk the Ramjet so young. Obviously it’s harsh and needs aging but it’s set to be a cracker. Another brilliant vintage from Boatrocker!

Fifty-Fifty Brewing ‘Eclipse’ Tequila Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

Rating:

37902919_910491785801634_2365677706147790848_n“Eclipse is our brewer’s grand opus, barrel-aged imperial stout.  Every year we search for and source an eclectic range of freshly spent barrels from unique distillers and vintners. The search is always an adventure, visiting old friends and meeting new ones. In 2007, we released our first Eclipse aged in Old Fitzgerald barrels, and started getting some great reviews and awards soon after. That said, we’re in it for the fun and creativity, when our brewer’s intent becomes a reality, and a new blend surprises our senses.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with two fingers of light brown resting atop. Excellent head retention and lots of thick sudsy lace clinging to the glass as we go.

Aroma: Smells of rich and sticky dark fruits, espresso, molasses and licorice. Tobacco, peat and ash get a good look in as does the soft honey sweetness, oak and deft touches of the sharp and mineraly tequila. Lots of dark chocolate and warming booze starting to show through as this bad boy warms up.

Flavour: Roasty, a little bitter and smoky, kind of accentuated by dark chocolate, espresso and shades of raw figs and licorice. The 11% ABV adds a nice little burner in the background and then further emphasised by charred malts and ash. Nice roll in to the burnt, boozy and oaky finish which reveals a delicate hint of the tequila to set the seal.

Mouthfeel: Prickly and astringent but soothed by the creamy texture. Mild-medium co2, medium-full body.

Overall: Don’t really know what to make of this one. We aren’t the biggest fans of tequila so it’s somewhat of a plus that the tequila isn’t prominent. Big points for a really roasty and robust base but that’s about it.

 

Cigar City Brewing Barrel Aged ‘Raspberry Halo’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

37603480_904079869776159_2685250571782324224_n“Halos often signify enlightenment, harmony, and majesty, sentiments that all come to mind when contemplating this rich and complex beer.  Crested atop this imperial stout is a radiant crown of juicy raspberries offering pronounced fruitiness and acidity to balance the beer’s formidable body.  Heavy, indeed, is the head that wears the halo.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: It hits the glass like engine oil! A loosely held brown head swells to a thumb in height before it settles to a wispy overlay. We’re seeing spotty lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Showing a good amount of aggression but the sweet dark fruits, heady vanilla and subtle raspberry notes ensure it’s all nicely balanced by the time it hits the olfactory’s. Once it warms the bourbon becomes more dominant, supported by the woody oak and nose-tingling alcohol. Behind it all is the rich and sweet base of molasses, prunes, licorice, leather and dark chocolate.

Flavour: It comes on strong and vicious. Unlike the aroma there’s no initial grace period it’s just an all out assault by bourbon, oak, alcohol, molasses and stewed dark fruits. Just a hint of raspberry developing early on in the mid where a somewhat bitter espresso note is introduced. The whole gang then re-assembles for a robust finish offering molasses, chocolate bullets and bourbon the rear.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, sticky and muscly with medium-full body. Low co2 with some discernible bitterness (40 IBU).

Overall: If you like your barrel aged stouts a little less aggressive then drink this cooler. Needless to say if you rather it the other way then let him warm up. Personally we like them at room temperature but in this case it was better cool. Yeah, we’re confused too! Solid but we’ve had better from CC.

Goose Island Bourbon County ‘Northwoods’ BA Imperial Stout w Blueberries

Rating:

37308870_901297586721054_6187892170851090432_n“Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with blueberry juice and almond extract added.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short tan head that slowly dissipates. It eventually settles to a fine film which posts a consistent set of rings down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Rich and luxurious with copious amounts of molasses, macerated blueberries, bourbon barrels, vanilla and almond meal. Licorice starts to creep in among more discernible scents such as raisin, prunes and fortified wine. A bit of dark chocolate getting a look in along with earthy raw figs, toffee nougat and mild coffee. Excellent depth it’s like every time we take it in there’s a new scent on offer.

Flavour: The blueberries are first to hit the taste buds. They bring an interesting fusion of tart medicinal fruit and bourbon with a hint of light sugary spice and vanilla. The booze brings on a somewhat savoury nuttiness through the middle as it leads in to an intricate finish full of cherry, blueberry, molasses, bourbon and dark fruits. Exceptional length shown on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Quite thin but somehow it works. It goes to show the masterminds behind this beer know what they’re doing. Mild co2. 12.6% ABV – evident yes but it blends in so well.

Overall: This is one seriously complex beer. Even though G.I have recently decided to flash pasteurize the BCBS we’d still love another couple of bottles to cellar and see how it improves over the years. Superb.

Highwater Brewing Co ‘Campfire’ Stout

Rating:

36983645_896436497207163_2939970560823656448_n“Stout brewed with graham crackers, molasses with natural flavor added. Campfire Stout evokes fond memories of wilderness and camping adventures. Notes of chocolate and graham cracker topped with a hint of marshmallow will leave you wanting s’more. Like any campfire experience, this beer is best shared with a warm circle of family and friends.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Mat black with a short tan head emerging on top. What little head that’s retained leaves behind a fairly good lace on the glass.

Aroma: Quite sweet, the marshmallow comes to the forefront as strong wafts of vanilla, caramel fudge, lactose/milk sugars and molasses follow up close behind. We’re going to have to try one of these Graham Cracker/S’more thingymajigs they sound bloody delicious! It kind of has this sweet, creamy and biscuity oreo ice cream sandwich character to it. Very nice.

Flavour: The sweetness and the sugary/candy notes are there but they are disappointingly timid. Lightly toasted malts, subtle smoky notes and chocolate with a very faint charred marshmallow buried deep in the mid. Some nutty malt and molasses lead in to the slightly dry, biscuity and toasty finish which offers good length.

Mouthfeel: A little too thin for our liking. The body is mild-medium with moderate co2. A mild bitterness (39 IBU) adds a little bit of aggression but the 6.5% ABV is missing a trick here.

Overall: There are some strong points here but there are some weak ones also. The vigorous aroma was somewhat let down by the muted flavour and the texture was too lean for a hearty winter stout. Not bad but not great either.

Fifty-Fifty Brewing ‘Eclipse’ BA Imperial Stout w Honey

Rating:

36836992_895483810635765_1793229728904118272_n“Eclipse is our brewer’s grand opus, barrel-aged imperial stout.  Every year we search for and source an eclectic range of freshly spent barrels from unique distillers and vintners. The search is always an adventure, visiting old friends and meeting new ones. In 2007, we released our first Eclipse aged in Old Fitzgerald barrels, and started getting some great reviews and awards soon after. That said, we’re in it for the fun and creativity, when our brewer’s intent becomes a reality, and a new blend surprises our senses.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Opaque black with a short tan head which quickly collapsed. It still produces a healthy lace though.

Aroma: Offering tonnes of sweetness. Mostly maple syrup, vanilla, honey and caramel but it’s well countered by a hearty roast, mild coffee and woody oak. We keep picking up what seems to be milk sugars/lactose but that surely must be an adjunct scent from the barrels. Getting more licorice, booze, treacle and charred malt as it settles in. Superb.

Flavour: Tasting plenty of sweetness but there is certainly more emphasis on the roasty characters as opposed to the aroma. Subtle milk sugars, maple, vanilla and honey marries up with chocolate, cocoa, coffee and oak exceptionally well. The warming booze offers a slight ascendancy as it rolls in to an ultimately smooth finish with subtle dry roast and espresso on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Slick and slightly oily texture. Medium body, mild co2. The standout is the unbelievably well concealed ABV (11%).

Overall: This is a seriously good drop. It’s one in a series of beers that is released annually which are all aged in their own carefully selected barrels and all identified by a different coloured wax seal. All of which are now on our must try list! Brilliant.

The Bruery 2013 ‘Black Tuesday’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

36760805_892984820885664_1987787053013663744_n“For most of you, Black Tuesday needs no introduction. Released on the final Tuesday of October every year, this beer is our take on a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Varying slightly from year to year, the ABV hovers around 19% each year that we release it. Rich caramel, toasted malt, vanilla, burnt wood and anise are just a few of the many flavors in this rich, decadent imperial stout.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: As expected it’s blacker than the ace of spades. It forms a wispy head which instantly snaps back to the rim. Seeing scarce lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: To channel our inner Ron Burgundy….this absolutely “stings the nostrils”!. Extreme initial scents of bourbon, alcohol, barrels, molasses, soy sauce, charred malt and acetone. Rich notes of cherry and plum jam along with more subtle hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, diesel and Asian spice i.e clove, black pepper and fennel seed. That is fierce!!

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with this outrageous intensity. The booze (18.9%) is probably a little too excessive but to its credit there is a lot of other flavours happening. Apart from the warming bourbon and barrels are subtle hints of vanilla and treacle, heavily roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate and licorice. The booze intensifies again through the mid and leads in to the fiery finish which really goes the distance.

Mouthfeel: Oily/silky and seriously warming. Almost liqueur-ish at times. Low co2. Definitely a sipper!

Overall: If there’s one thing we can stress it’s this….share it between two people, at least!. Honestly it’s too boozy, we would love to see them pull it back to the 13-14% mark. It’s a shame because there’s a tonne of exceptional flavour underneath it.

Phantom Carriage 2017 ‘Sea Worthy’ BA Belgian Imperial Stout

Rating:

36719033_891610391023107_5978214302706827264_n“A new way to look at an imperial offering. We brewed a Belgian imperial stout one year ago, aged it in bourbon barrels with blackberry puree.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pouring a dense black with a thumb of brown foam on top. Steady reduction, settling to a fine film that produces a fine lace.

Aroma: Getting lots of the musty bourbon barrels initially. At first the blackberry notes were quite restrained but as it warms the vinous characters of the berry begin to open up. As it warms further we pick up a very mild salinity along with licorice and earthy undertones. Very dank, like it hasn’t seen the light of day for many years!

Flavour: Good transition from the nose. Getting plenty of aggression from the bourbon and the booze (13%) upfront followed up by a short cameo of blackberry, charred wood and molasses in the middle. It hits an earthy note as it rolls in to a roasty and robust finish which offers up more musty oak and bourbon on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Well weighted with good viscosity. Some sharpness to it but that’s expected when it weighs in at 13%. Quite the pleasant quaffer for such a big BA imperial stout.

Overall: A respectable drop but we would have loved to see the blackberries make more of an impact. It certainly has the foundations of a brilliant beer but it just didn’t seem to land that knockout blow for us. Still, it’s a solid beer.

3 Floyd’s Brewing Co. 2018 ‘Dark Lord’ Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

36684058_890747461109400_3559425658041925632_n“A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla and Indian sugar, this beer defies description. Bottles available one day a year — Dark Lord Day — at the brewery in Munster, Indiana.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a thumb of well retained head sitting atop. Excellent lace work sticking to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Quite a bready scent hitting the olfactory’s initially, it has this funky sourdough note to it with acetone, alcohol, soy sauce, ink and raw figs in support. We’re picking up undertones of dark chocolate, burnt wood, leather, iodine, salted caramel and cherries as it settles in the glass. Extremely rich and dynamic.

Flavour: We’re here embracing for an onslaught yet it comes on with a welcoming sweetness which is best conveyed as sugary and caramelized. Behind it is a delicate vanilla, molasses, licorice and sweet espresso kind of affair which is just mindblowing! By the way how is this 15%?! It flows in to a sweet yet roasty finish with just the slightest hint of warmth in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth, full bodied and comforting. How they’ve hidden the booze is beyond us, that is simply next level.

Overall: Totally and utterly blown away! We’ve never drunk a RIS which has been this pleasant and palate-friendly. She may look demonic on the label but on the inside it’s heavenly!

Abnormal Beer Co. ‘M4’ Imperial Sweet Stout

Rating:

36621947_888775561306590_7235297556039729152_n“We set out to emulate a café miel in our fourth installment of our M-series beers with Mostra Coffee in San Diego. This beer is a celebration to the year that has passed and sweet start to a new beginning. Cheers to another great year!”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with an inch of light brown foam over the top. Head retention is good with an intricate lace pattern strewn down the glass.

Aroma: Covering both ends of the spectrum really well. It offers a big roasty component with lots of espresso, charred malts, treacle and dark chocolate but incredibly well balanced with honey, vanilla and toffee fudge. Plenty of earthy spice like nutmeg and peppers but also a touch of sweet cinnamon too. It has this kind of KBS-like character to it which is quite remarkable considering it hasn’t been barrel aged. Impressive!

Flavour: Follows on from the nose in spectacular fashion. Upfront there’s a rush of roasty yet sweet notes which imparts espresso, brown sugar, caramel, burnt chocolate, all spice, honey and vanilla. A late introduction of warming booze (12%) carries it all through in to a lengthy finish which just begs for another sip.

Mouthfeel: Dense yet oily and quite warming. There’s a brawny roasted bitterness that provides a good balance though.

Overall: Such a fulfilling and flawless stout. The 12% ABV is huge but it never overpowers and the drink-ability is next level. We’re going to have get our hands on more of this.

 

Omnipollo/Buxton Brewery BA ‘Yellow Belly Sundae’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

36515572_888048904712589_8523948136098430976_n“Time for self-reflection. Bourbon Barrel Aged Yellow Belly Peanut Butter Biscuit Stout brewed with lactose and aged on vanilla beans and cocoa nibs. Brewed with aromas. Collaboration with our family at Buxton Brewery.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black with a wispy brown head that retreats to a rim. We see a spotty lace clinging to the glass as we indulge.

Aroma: Oh my goodness this smells incredible! Big impressions of peanut brittle, vanilla extract, caramel, chocolate sauce, bourbon oak and buttery cookies. There’s just so much going on….we also pick up marshmallow, marzipan, snickers bars and toffee fudge. It’s about as good as a dessert beer will ever get. Simply brilliant.

Flavour: The transition from the aroma is dead set spot on. Not as sweet as the nose, it’s much more intense. Backed by the 12% ABV and the bourbon oak complexities. The pronounced roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate also adds another layer of depth. Just a touch of sweet espresso creeping in before it finishes on a rich, warming and roasty finish that endures.

Mouthfeel: Rich, luscious and full bodied. Low co2 with the 12% ABV in a support role.

Overall: What else can we say?! This is literally one of the best dessert beers we’ve ever tried. Oodles of flavour and aroma, balanced sweetness and never at risk of being cloying. Immaculate!

Cigar City Brewing 2016 ‘Hunahpu’s’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

36481466_887072111476935_2862274026913398784_n“In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xiquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend the heavens to become the moon and sun.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades. It only manages a finger of dark brown foam which snaps back to a ring. Some spotty lace work as we hook in.

Aroma: Wow, wow, wow. Saying it’s intense doesn’t do it justice it’s best described as a punch in the face by molasses, leather, peppers, soy sauce, pickled ginger, Asian spice, licorice and beef jerky. Something kinda smoky in there…similar to burnt wood and roasted coffee beans. More spice coming to the front as it warms. Quite salty as well, didn’t really expect that to be honest. So much happening.

Flavour: It’s an absolute onslaught to the taste buds. Extremely rich, salty and roasty with mild smoky/peaty tones on the flank. Roasted cocoa, peppers, leather and blackstrap molasses is boosted by a warm surge of alcohol (11%). As the intensity softens it reveals dark chocolate, black pepper and soy sauce before a bitter, toasty and boozy finish endures on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Dense and kind of oily. Very aggressive. It’s like thick engine oil that has been spiked with chilli and then fermented for years.

Overall: Lethal! The slight downside is that it suggests a higher ABV than it actually is. The upside is it’s absolutely jam packed full of rich and decadent flavour that totally inundates the palate. Brilliant beer.