Category Archives: Stout

Stone ‘Xocoveza – Tres Leches’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Stone Xocoveza Tres Leches combines the inspiration of Oaxacan Hot Chocolate and Tres Leches treats in an imperial stout that’s smooth, creamy and intensely indulgent. Made from all that’s good about the holidays, Stone Xocoveza is brewed with chocolate, coffee, Pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black pour with a short and fizzy dark tan head which peels off pretty quick. It laces really well considering the lack of retention.

Aroma: Wow there’s some serious uplift here. Everything they state on the can is what we’re getting; cinnamon, pasila peppers and coffee first then the chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla and oats are backing up nicely. Other scents we’re picking up include raw cacao, cracked pink peppercorns, milk sugars, freshly ground ginger and even a hint of molé. Aroma country!

Flavour: All the complexity and intensity carries over from the aroma nicely. It seems like all the feature flavours rush the front palate…almost to the point where it’s a little overwhelming. Peppers, mixed sweet spices and chocolate are nicely balanced by the sweet vanilla and milk sugars. Then the roasted malts and coffee set up for a warming and lengthy finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth considering the 8.5% ABV and the ascending heat from the peppers. Medium body and mild-moderate Co2.

Overall: It’s been a seriously long time between drinks for us and Stone. A rough guess would put it at at least 4-5 years so this was a very nice way to break the ice again. Top drop too, almost on par with The Bruery. Definitely a recommendation from us.

Evil Twin ‘Aún Más A Jesús’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“On a pilgrimage for immortal craft beer we tripped on these heavenly drops of amazingly overwhelming aromas, a thick fudge-like black body, pitch black color and obviously only made in limited amounts. And the taste… even more jesus!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades and complimented by a finger of tightly held dark brown head. Steady reduction and carefully placed rings mark the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Extremely rich and strident. It’s intriguing coz at its core it has serious contempt for the olfactories but as we push through the barrier the heavily caramelized and residual sugars from the Port barrels are uncovered. Working backwards from there we get dense molasses, Galliano-like licorice/aniseed, damp oak, old leather, iodine, dark chocolate and salty/soy sauce. Oooopht!

Flavour: Ok that contempt we were mentioning before…it’s back again. Probably a bit too much for us too. In this day and age of big yet sweet pastry Stouts we feel these proper bad ass Impy Stouts have had their time. It’s just harsh, boozy, overly rich with molasses, licorice and leather and lacking any form of sweetness that the Port/barrels should’ve been bringing.

Mouthfeel: Oily, warming and slightly astringent. Low Co2, medium-full body. The 12% ABV shows through too much in our opinion.

Overall: It’s a great idea but the execution is a bit askew. It’s just too raw, rugged and aggressive and lacks cohesion. Not sold on it.

Ridgeway Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Imperial Russian Stouts historically tend to be declared in the range of 9 to 10% alcohol by volume, at 10% Ridgeway’s is at the top of that range. What differentiates the style from simply a strong stout or porter is that extended ageing and perhaps a little judicious infection before bottling which makes them considerably more vinous and sharp than an export stout so there is MUCH more of a wine character than you normally get in a strong ale. Not soured but just that little nod towards a lambic beer. Very roasty and very bitter. That bitterness mellows over time in the bottle but if you are lucky enough to get an Imperial Russian on draught it will be full on. The style is not intended to be overtly hoppy once settled but obviously with so many hops used the draught experience will have something on the hop front that won’t be there in a bottled version.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: No where near dark enough for us. It displays a Porter-esque complexion – black centre with a mahogany gradient towards the edges. Short tan head which quickly fades and some spotty lacing as we go.

Aroma: We’re always happy to concede that traditional English RIS are not like the modern American versions but this really does seem to lack the usual largesse we come to expect from the style. Thankfully as it settles the bottom end develops some robust notes of licorice, carob, cocoa powder, coffee, spice and a hearty roast so all is not lost!

Flavour: Similar to the aroma in terms of its apparent lack of intensity and bottom end. We will give it one tick of approval for avoiding those acetaldehyde-like flavours that seem to creep into a lot of English RIS. We’re picking up mainly licorice, cooking chocolate, cocoa powder, mild coffee and roast which rounds out on a nice bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Too light and slippery for our liking. The medium body does help though. Low-ish Co2. The 10% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: This is the 2020 vintage so we thought a bit of age may add to its character. Maybe it did maybe it didn’t but alls we know is this release only, and it didn’t really inspire.

Slow Lane ‘Entirety’ BA Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Russian Imperial Stouts are known to be the strongest of all stouts. Originally brewed in London in the late 18th century for export to Russia, they were a favourite of Catherine the Great, the Russian empress at the time. Entirety is big and intense, with rich roast and chocolate flavours. We used an extended seven hour boil to give it a very full bodied mouthfeel. It was then aged in bourbon barrels for eight months adding more bold flavours.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a big and loosely held three finger head. It deconstructs rather quickly and leaves scarce lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Our first question is where the bloody hell are the bourbon barrels? We only just reviewed the non barrel aged version a month or so ago so it’s still pretty fresh in our minds. Although that version scored highly (as it should have) this so called barrel aged version should’ve been bringing the best of, plus the unmistakable and lustful characters of the bourbon/barrels. But it ain’t!

Flavour: Beers like this really get on our nerves. The intensity and quality is a side issue but if a brewery is going to market a barrel aged version of a beer that’s already in their range then at least try to impart some of the barrel qualities into the beer. We literally get zero bourbon or oak. This on top of what seems to be a poorly brewed RIS. We’re thinking this batch (or this tinny) has been infected.

Mouthfeel: Kinda thin, a little fizzy, medium carbonation. One upside is the 11% ABV being well concealed.

Overall: We hadn’t even had a shot at the price point either but we’re now certain this beer has an infection(s). No bourbon and or barrel qualities, it’s slightly metallic and has what appears to be an acetaldehyde infection. Sheesh, this is horrific.

Deeds ‘Desperate Invocation’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Your wakefulness outlasted the fire and now the deep, cold night has come. After a blind stumble and no shelter found, you drop to your knees howling a desperate invocation. Begging, bartering, and bellowing to anyone or anything that can hear, or listen. As the frost creeps towards your lungs, you see a shimmer. Has something answered your call? Wiping away the sleet, your eyes narrow. It looks like…”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours as black as midnight with a quickly fading dark brown head. All that’s left is a bubbling island in the middle so minimal lace is expected.

Aroma: Phwoar! We sound like a broken record here but hot damn this BA Imperial Stout is on par with some of the best from the USA. The way they’ve got the gorgeous bourbon and heavily roasted malts singing the same hymn is simply superb. Throw on top the additions of vanilla and coconut and we have the making of a masterpiece. Not to mention the rich chocolate, molasses and leather.

Flavour: We knew it was going to be mind-blowing so we’re skipping that part and delving straight in. We’re tasting the whole beer upfront – it comes on with creamy vanilla and toasted coconut, sweet and spicy bourbon, oak, heavily roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses, licorice and coffee. And the best part? It all then rolls into a big, roasted and warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick, oily and well rounded. Full bodied, mild-moderate Co2. This is the big one – 14.6% ABV…where the hell is it hiding? Incredible.

Overall: There’s only one more thing Deeds could do to make this beer perfect and that is to release them in bottles. If they did that we would fill our cellars with them. We would also be broke but hey, we’d have excellent beer at the ready! World class stuff.

Duncan’s ‘Maple Scorched Almond’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“NEW Maple Scorched Almond, our latest Imperial Pastry Stout. And who doesn’t love a scorched almond?.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with two fingers of light brown head emerging on top. It slowly peels off and manages a decent lace as we go.

Aroma: It’s been a long time between drinks for us and Duncan’s so we thought we’d re-break the ice with this eye catching Stout. It has one thing in spades which we absolutely go nuts (😉) for…smoked almonds. It gives the beer, as a whole, a touch of smokiness which works beautifully. The maple side is a tad lackluster but it’s definitely there to be picked up. Nice and robust Stout base to it as well.

Flavour: Wow it’s unexpectedly smooth on entry. Tonnes of chocolate and cocoa then the light smoky notes kick into gear early in the mid. Roasted almonds, charred malts and espresso coffee are nicely countered by the gentle maple sweetness. Can’t help but taste a touch of vanilla in here too. It all lands on a sturdy and slightly burnt finish with lingering smoked almonds.

Mouthfeel: A touch too thin and slippery for our liking. There’s a slightly lifted Co2 and the 10% ABV hides away rather well.

Overall: As a whole it’s a pretty good pastry Stout. Definitely good for one though…the flavours get a little overbearing by the end. How do we say this…two slightly hesitant thumbs up? 🤷

Omnipollo X 3 Sons ‘Noa Scoop’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“In collaboration with our friends at Florida based 3 Sons, we have a Strawberry Pecan Mud Cake Imperial Stout. Picture chocolate covered strawberries suspended in a viscous stout base, this beer pours almost as thick as the dreamy and creamy dessert that inspired it.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown head which dissipates pretty quickly. It’s left with zero head so zero lacing is expected.

Aroma: Sweet baby Jesus what do we have here?! The memory bank is instantly flooded with images of strawberry ice cream cones and gelato. It’s actually impressive how they’ve managed to incorporate the waffle-flavoured cone in here too. There’s also more subtle nudges of cherry candy, pink lemonade syrup, vanilla essence, brown sugar, milk bar and just sheer happiness in spades.

Flavour: Wow OK the Impy Stout side of it makes its entrance. And it’s a big one – super rich molasses, licorice, dark chocolate and cocoa crashes through the barrier but there’s seldom a moment when the decadent and creamy strawberry isn’t there for added self indulgence. A delicious roasted note kicks off late in the piece then lays down for the deliciously creamy, sweet yet mildly roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick, oily and warming. Low-ish Co2 and full body. The 11% ABV is fairly well behaved for its size.

Overall: So damn good. Tell ya what it’d want to be considering the hefty price tag that accompanies it. Take nothing aware from it though…it’s a highly enjoyable drop.

Fontaine ‘Looking Down The Barrel’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“This imperial stout is our big gun. Aged in Australian, single malt whisky barrels for 8 months, then fresh barrels for a further 6. This results in a deep, rich whisky taste that’s extra smooth. Complimentary dark chocolate & vanilla notes give texture, balanced by a lasting finish. If you like whisky & you like big beer, this one’s for you.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black pour with a short dark brown head which quickly retreats to the rim. It leaves a reasonable lace considering the lack of retention.

Aroma: Oopht! Boilermaker or whiskey barrel aged Stout? Once its given a few minutes to settle the sweet vanilla scents come to the fore and really put the brakes on. The intensity and the burn is still there but the damp oak, old leather, whiskey, spice, decadent toffee and burnt caramel levels it all out. A really lovely aroma in the end.

Flavour: Similar reaction to the aroma. It hits the palate like a tonne of bricks but the way it slowly tapers off is noteworthy. It’s just all whiskey upfront; rich and warming dark fruits, toffee and chocolate with lighter notes of toasted oak, spicy rye and sherry. Again, that vanilla sweetness joins the party a little late and becomes a crucial counter balance to the fruity, rich and chocolatey finish.

Mouthfeel: Big, dense and warming. Co2 is pretty low and the body is full and muscly. The 11% ABV is definitely pronounced but expected at this size.

Overall: We weren’t too sure what to expect here. These guys are still very green so we must admit we’re pleasantly surprised. Yes it’s ridiculously rich and decadent but it all seems to come together well. We’re keen to see where these guys go to from here.

5 Barrel ‘Hero Of The People’ R.I.S – Chocolate and Chilli edition

Rating:

“The Russian Imperial Stout is the king of stout styles and is a favourite with craft brewers around the world. They’re dark, high in alcohol, generally hoppy and are full of rich flavors like dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and molasses. These stouts age well and can be cellared – if you can stop yourself from drinking them fresh!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a short tan overlay. Steady reduction but minimal lace is left on the glass as we hook in.

Aroma: Similar to the chocolate and peanut butter version as in this also seems to have a sturdy R.I.S base but the adjuncts – chocolate and chilli – appear to be MIA. More so the chilli component as the rich roasted malts do offer a robust chocolate profile. We’re also picking up subtle vanilla, five spice, licorice and a somewhat nutty quality in support.

Flavour: If we were blindfolded and had to guess the adjuncts we’d be saying dark chocolate and sea salt. At least the chocolate is present, as for the chilli… completely MIA. Maybe just the slightest hint of heat but that could be emphasized by the 10% ABV. Thankfully, the classic R.I.S characters of coffee, burnt chocolate, licorice and ash saves the day and finishes off in style.

Mouthfeel: Big and brawny, medium-full body with mild-moderate Co2. The 10% ABV is pretty well behaved for its size.

Overall: It’s really surprising to see such mediocre dark beer from these guys. We’ve had some top notch stouts from them before so we can’t understand how an ingredient like chilli can’t be brought through at all?! Heres hoping the coffee & vanilla version blows us out of the water.

5 Barrel ‘Hero Of The People’ R.I.S – Peanut Butter & Chocolate edition

Rating:

“The Russian Imperial Stout is the king of stout styles and is a favourite with craft brewers around the world. They’re dark, high in alcohol, generally hoppy and are full of rich flavors like dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and molasses. These stouts age well and can be cellared – if you can stop yourself from drinking them fresh!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Hits the glass with an impenetrable black body and forms a finger of light brown head which gradually peels off. Excellent lace work as we imbibe.

Aroma: The intense roasted and burnt notes of the base RIS come through immediately; espresso, molasses, charred wood, ash, dark chocolate and subtle hints of vanilla and unripened cherry. As impressive a RIS base this is we must admit the peanut butter aspect is completely MIA. It’s actually baffling considering how strong peanut butter as a raw ingredient can actually be. It’s like they totally forgot to put it in the brew!

Flavour: We were clinching on to a bit of hope that the peanut butter would reveal itself here but unfortunately that’s not to be. The upside is the RIS base is chock full of dark chocolate, molasses, espresso and charred malts with lighter notes of charcoal, nutty malt (the closest thing to peanut butter thus far), vanilla and burnt milk chocolate to finish. Good length on it too.

Mouthfeel: Dense and viscous. Full bodied, low Co2 and the 10% ABV is fairly well buried.

Overall: We were bummed that we couldn’t get our hands on the regular unflavoured version but we’re sat here thinking we don’t even need it now as this appears to be it. There is actually zero peanut butter here. We’re even thinking that they may have canned the wrong version?! We’ll know more when we crack the next one we guess.

Alesmith ‘Speedway’ Mexican Chocolate & Coffee Imperial Stout

Rating:

“For this special edition of our signature imperial stout we were inspired to feature ingredients from our neighbors to the south. We used the comforting trio of Mexican dark chocolate, sea salt, and Mexican coffee to give the beer delectable notes of cacao and dark fruit, a subtle touch of cinnamon, and a kiss of roasty earthiness.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short-ish brown cap which holds together pretty well. It slowly disappears but still manages a respectful lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Hot damn these guys know how to brew a good Stout! Although subtle the saltiness finds its way into almost everything. Salted dark chocolate is the most dominant but it also gets into the coffee, licorice and caramel. At times it almost gives off a tequila-like quality which is really interesting. Definitely some peppery spice, nutmeg, chilli and vanilla to ram it home. Gorgeous!

Flavour: Hhhmmm it’s big and it’s tasty but it doesn’t have the finesse and balance that it offered on the nose. It has to be said that it seems a bit muddled here. We get flashes of salted dark chocolate amongst the messy roasted malt and coffee notes then some astringent booze, slightly sharp peppery spice and chilli developing late in the piece. Kinda roasty and smoky finish to wrap it up.

Mouthfeel: Slick, oily and warming but it’s not as dense as we’d anticipated. There is a bit of slippery-ness to it. The Co2 and the 12% ABV somewhat corrects it though.

Overall: Unfortunately these pastry variants of Alesmith’s much coveted ‘Speedway Stout’ just haven’t found the mark for us. They’re not bad by any stretch of the imagination they just don’t wow us like we thought they would. Can’t win em all.

Slow Lane ‘Entirety’ Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Russian Imperial Stouts are known to be the strongest of all stouts. Originally brewed in London in the late 18th century for export to Russia, they were a favourite of Catherine the Great, the Russian empress at the time. Entirety is big, bold and intense, with rich roast and chocolate flavours. We used an extended five hour boil to give it a very full bodied mouthfeel.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a thumb of dark tan foam resting on top. The head falls away and settles at the rim but it still manages a cascading lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: Interesting. Super rich and hedonistic. Tonnes of charred malt and heavy roasted characters, leather, molasses, sweet espresso, licorice, ash and yet it’s nicely offset by a smooth velvety quality we can best describe as musk. Kind of a fruity dark chocolate develops as it settles in. At first we were a bit unsure but it has all come together nicely.

Flavour: Holy moly this is delicious. It’s literally one step away from being edible. Insanely deep and complex but astonishingly smooth notes of chocolate, espresso, ash, charred malts and licorice are brought to us with a notable warmth from the booze. As it progresses it gets a tad sharper, much more roasty and burnt as it slowly shifts into a heavily charred finish with plenty of dark chocolate and espresso on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Beer soup. Incredibly dense and velvety, full bodied and finely carbonated. The 11% ABV has no qualms revealing itself either.

Overall: These guys have proven themselves to be the real deal. We’re about 6 or 7 in now and we don’t think we’ve had one sub par beer from them. They’re on point every time. Kudos, Slow Lane…onwards and upwards!

Murray’s ‘Puff’ Puff Pastry Stout

Rating:

“What is a pastry stout you ask? Most of the time if you were to ask a pastry what a stout is, the stout would answer, what’s a pastry? After a lot of to and fro-ing, we realised we should probably just describe what our pastry stout is all about. Think of a spiced dark fruit custard pie dropped into a pint of coffee liqueur. Do we have your attention?”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Light black with a hint of dark brown at the foot of the glass. The head swells to a thumb in height and holds its shape pretty well. Excellent lacing as we go.

Aroma: Straight away we’re getting heady wafts of Cola/Sarsaparilla. As it settles it reveals deeper layers of mixed spice i.e clove, nutmeg, star anise etc, orange peel, vanilla, dark fruits like cherry, golden raisins and fig. The base Stout is very light…we pick up super mild hints of coffee and chocolate but that’s where it ends. We kinda like it but it could hardly be called a Stout.

Flavour: Similar to the nose in that it’s more like a pastry Brown Ale or a Belgian Dubbel than a Stout. There’s hardly any bottom end to it. The coffee and chocolate that was obscure on the nose is totally MIA here. The positives are this Candi sugar-like sweetness, mixed spice, vanilla and sticky dark fruits which all come together to finish with a bit of a boozy sting in the tail.

Mouthfeel: A tad too thin for our liking. A little slippery as well. Mild-medium body, flat-ish Co2. The 7% ABV is well enough buried.

Overall: Not phased by it to be brutally honest. Needs a bigger injection of malt to fill it out…roasted malts in particular. It just seems a bit cheap and nasty in our opinion. We’ve had far better from Murray’s.

Boatrocker ‘2021 Fat Santa’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Fat Santa, a beer now synonomous with Boatrocker. Our famous Ramjet base beer has been aged in first use Buffalo Trace barrels. After disgorging, the beer is treated to whole coffee beans, Madagascan vanilla beans, and South American Tonka beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a thumb of finely beaded brown foam emerging on top. Retention is ok, eventually the head disappears but it leaves a beautiful cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oh my word all we now want for Christmas is a whole case of this! Yes, it’s the Ramjet base with added tonka beans, coffee and vanilla (which makes up a big part of its beauty) but let’s be real this is all about the incredible Buffalo Trace Bourbon/barrels. For such a relatively cheap Bourbon it punches well above its weight when a Stout of this calibre is housed inside its barrels. So so good.

Flavour: Because we waffled on so much with the aroma we’ll actually cover the flavour profile here; absolutely delicious notes of treacle, vanilla, charred oak, chewy toffee, heavily roasted malts, coffee, mixed spice i.e star anise and clove, Carribbean Rum, muscovado sugar and a rich nutty quality. Excellent finish too- Bourbon oak, vanilla and charred malts. Perfect really.

Mouthfeel: Super slick and oily AF. Low Co2, full body. The 11% ABV comes through but it’s well behaved for its size.

Overall: For years we’ve considered the Ramjet/Roger Ramjet the pick of Boatrocker’s barrel program but we think our minds have officially changed. This vintage of Fat Santa could easily stack up against any high quality American BA Stout. World class stuff.

Bruny Island Whey Stout

Rating:

“Whey Stout is a roasty milk stout enriched with lactose from our very own organic cow’s milk whey left over after making our Raw Milk C2 cheese. Our brewer’s yeast cannot digest the lactose sugar, meaning that it stays behind in the beer and enhances the sweetness and gives the texture greater creaminess.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with a thumb of light brown head resting atop. Good retention and healthy lace work is strewn down the glass.

Aroma: Interesting. If we were blindfolded we’d be inclined to say this was a baby black IPA or at the very least an American Brown Ale. The typical Stout features i.e roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, licorice etc are completely MIA. What we get is a delicate fusion of wholemeal bread, chocolate powder, earthy hops, jammy dark fruits and a hint of orange citrus. Can’t help but pick up this kinda piney/spruce scent as well.

Flavour: Look to be brutally honest this should not be labelled as a Stout. As we eluded to on the aroma at the very least it could pass as an American Brown Ale. Hints of cocoa powder, toast, super subtle coffee and dark fruits is as bold as it gets. We understand they’re using whey as opposed to stronger tasting milk sugars so it’s not as sweet but there isn’t much sweetness to it at all. The somewhat piney and citrusy hops are almost the stars of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and well rounded. Nice bitterness which counteracts, slightly higher Co2 than usual. 5.8% ABV – pretty well buried.

Overall: Don’t know about this one. We sincerely love what these guys are all about: local ingredients, small batch, preservative free etc but the quality and execution is a bit off the mark. Call it an American Brown Ale and we’d reconsider.

Beer Fontaine ‘Just Cask Me’ Rye BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Aged for 1 year in barrels that once housed Australia’s favoured rye whisky. This version of our imperial stout takes on a spicier, fruitier note that lingers softly between sips. Lovely paired with a creamy dessert.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a short tan head which fades almost instantly. It forms a collar and struggles to produce much lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Much much smoother in comparison with the straight whiskey expression. The key difference being the rye and the subtle nuances it brings such as a more Bourbon-esque sweetness, spice and what one of us likes to describe as bubblegum toothpaste. Much more like the straight whiskey expression though, is the fairly rich and robust Stout base that has enough to carry the whiskey along. Decent.

Flavour: In terms of intensity vs sweetness this one lands smack bang in the centre between whiskey and Bourbon. And in some ways taking on attributes of both styles. Kinda sweet, grainy and spicy then the lightly charred malts, chocolate, cacao, coffee and licorice washes over the tongue. Once it retreats the rye whiskey/barrels are once again revealed and finishes it all off with a hint of roasted malt and wheat-like grain.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full, muscly and dense. Low-ish Co2. 10% ABV is pretty well contained.

Overall: We’ve gotta give credit where it’s due. This is a very green BA Imperial Stout (packaged 10/21) from a brewery that has only just done its first release to the market. On top of that is their ethos of sticking mostly to barrel aged beers so it’s no child’s play. Big ups to this mob, they certainly look to have the goods.

Beer Fontaine ‘Patience’ Whiskey BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“The beer that started it all. aged in Australian single malt whisky barrels for 1 year. 1 whole year of waiting, looking at barrels & being patient, knowing it’s worth the wait. A complex beer tasting of dark chocolate, coffee & whisky, all balanced by a soft bitterness & that superb barrel-aged flavour.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short but finely beaded head which gradually retreats to the rim. Lovely cascading lace is strewn down the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: We can actually smell this beast as it sits at least 30cm away from our nostrils. Good Lord! Once it’s right under them we get a real good idea of the whiskey component. On first impressions it’s spicy, a little fruity and grassy but the more we isolate it the more we pick up the deeper and more rounded chocolate and caramel. This works into the robust base Stout beautifully, accentuating the damp and hedonistic molasses and licorice. Wow.

Flavour: Very aggressive. The whiskey really comes through with intent. Probably a little too much for our liking to be quite honest. It seems like the base Stout is pretty husky and can handle the whiskey until the finish where it seems to check out early on and the whiskey takes hold again. Saying that the back palate is pretty well balanced so it kinda corrects itself… thankfully!

Mouthfeel: Dense, muscly, warming. Slightly abrasive. Medium-full body. The 10.5% ABV is slightly harsh.

Overall: It’s always going to be a little contrasting going from the typical whiskey/bourbon barrels used for Impy Stouts to something like this. As whiskey fans we’ve never added an Archie Rose dram to our collection so it’s unfamiliar territory. The whiskey is well integrated but is this particular whiskey right for the style? Still undecided. It certainly has very green and unique traits so it’s lucky it has a big Stout base to keep it in check.

Boatrocker ‘Cremejet’ BA Imperial Stout w Creme Caramel

Rating:

“Who doesn’t love a Crème Caramel?! Knowing that Caramel and Vanilla would work to accentuate the rich malt of Ramjet, we couldn’t resist trying to make a fun variant of this famous beer for our now infamous Ramjet Day… Think rich, luscious malts, big whiskey and sweet Crème Caramel! Adult dessert in a glass.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a brown head which swells to two fingers before retracting. It retains well and draws a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: If we didn’t know any better we’d have thought we had a big sweet Quadrupel here. Man that rich creamy caramel lifts out of the glass with vigour. Coupled with other sweet hits of toffee, butterscotch and honeycomb it really is tantalising the olfactories. So well layered too…as the rich chocolate, licorice, coffee and jaffa then make way for the subtle whiskey notes that have been pushed deep down. Oopht!

Flavour: Interesting little switch up. It’s much sharper and more aggressive than the nose but we’re diggin it. The whiskey is punching through harder and the big charred malt base is throwing the old one-two of licorice and molasses. Around the mid palate is where the super sweet and sticky treacle, toffee and honeycomb kicks off. It then makes a rendezvous with the roasted malt base and rolls into a sweet yet charred finish which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Really slick and oily. Fairly dense with a fine Co2. On the fuller side and the 11.4% ABV is pretty well behaved for its size.

Overall: We’ve been fan boys of Ramjet ever since we tried it way back in 2015 and we really like the direction they’re taking it. A lot of the top American breweries do spin-offs of their original BA Imperial Stouts so we hope to see the experimental side continuing to flourish. Solid drop.

Oskar Blues ‘Jefes Horchata’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Jefe’s Horchata Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout is a 12.8% ABV imperial stout with spicy cinnamon and creamy vanilla flavour.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Ominous pitch black pour with two fingers of finely beaded brown foam perched on top. Good retention and healthy lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: One word…stunning. Straight off the bat we’re getting almighty wafts of cinnamon, vanilla, Bourbon/barrels, red peppers and sticky toffee. can’t help but think we’re getting fresh coriander and lime from it too. Setting the formwork is that world class Ten Fiddy base which exudes not only style but truck loads of chocolate/cocoa, licorice and subtle hints of coffee. Jeez we’re inhaling it so much we’re getting headspins!

Flavour: Pretty much a mirror image of the aroma. Intense cinnamon, vanilla, warming booze, mild bourbon/barrels and red peppers get the party started. Again that delicious Ten Fiddy base is right in there in support and carries it all through the mid like a seasoned pro. It all seems like its tapering off until it once again intensifies and finishes with as much depth and vigour as it did at the beginning.

Mouthfeel: Dense and muscly. Full bodied, perfectly carbed. The 12.8% ABV is definitely perceptible but we can forgive.

Overall: We are being spoilt with brilliant Stouts lately; ’21 Ramjet, To Build A Fire, this and we’ve also got Cremejet in the fridge as well. Seriously, we’d bathe in this (not together of course 😅). Absolutely phenomenal stuff.

Deeds ‘To Build A Fire’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Now that you are out in the fray, the true test of survival begins. As the cold creeps in, don’t rest your eyes, don’t close them, and absolutely do not fall asleep. You need to find something to warm you up. This Imperial Stout has been aging in Bourbon Barrels for 12 months and might be exactly what you need. Generous additions of cacao and hazelnut have shaped a flavour in this dark, viscous liquid that is both deep and rich, with intense notes of everything delectable including that sweet, sweet bourbon. Drink Fresh or maybe just hold onto it for when you wake up…”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: She’s an ominous-looking beast. Like engine oil with a short dark brown head which quickly collapsed. Nice wavy lace despite the lack of head retention.

Aroma: Oh my Lord is that is good! We once saw someone say that Once More Into The Fray was akin to BCBS…we think this one could very easily stack up against it. That deep seated Bourbon along with the damp oak, toffee and spice marries together with the base Stout in truly perfect matrimony. Also, where is the burn?! Where is any flicker of the almost 15% ABV? That is outrageous!

Flavour: Ok we found the burn. But honestly it’s so well integrated into the rest of the beer that it’s quickly forgotten about. And much like the aroma the Bourbon/barrels, toffee and spice merge with the ultra rich molasses, espresso, dark chocolate and leather to create this absolute flavour sensation. It finishes like it starts – with style. And a slight sting in the tail 🤪

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and warming. There’s a slight fizz on the tongue which we’re liking. Full bodied. As mentioned already the 14.9% ABV can be found…quite easily.

Overall: Very much like BCBS just without the finishing polish and finesse. The mere fact we’re comparing it to a beer of that calibre speaks volumes anyway. Top shelf stuff.