Category Archives: Stout

Garage Brewing ‘R.I.C.C.I’ Imperial Coffee Stout

Rating:

87792316_1314828725367936_4095597452445351936_o“A decadent imperial stout fermented with organic dates then dosed with medium roast La Primavera coffee, sourced from Guatemalan cafetalero Raul Ricci, grandfather of Garage’s very own Maria. A complex malt bill including roast and caramel malts, oats, wheat and rye contributes to a rich, velvety smooth dark chocolate base.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black…as expected. It forms a thumb of finely beaded brown foam which holds together and leaves beautifully cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: We’ve said it a hundred times before and we’ll say it again: coffee and stout are one of the best blends ever created! The huge coffee overtones marry up to the somewhat sweet milk chocolate malts perfectly. Getting tonnes of marzipan, licorice and vanilla with more delicate touches of brown sugar, maple and toffee fudge. This has got the olfactory’s absolutely singing!

Flavour: Although still quite sweet there is much more of a pronounced roast and espresso bitterness. Caramelised brown sugar and vanilla soften the strong espresso, charred malts, cooking chocolate and warming booze. The warmth and bitterness kicks up another notch but flavour isn’t sacrificed…it still holds on to heady notes of raw espresso, chocolate and charred malt as it finishes with an assertive roasty bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Dense and chewy. Just a slightly lifted Co2 hands it a bit of liveliness. Booze (11.5% ABV) maybe a touch too enthusiastic.

Overall: Certainly a respectable coffee stout but yeah, just a couple of small things get in the way of it being a world class drop. Pretty damn good but.

Perennial Artisan Ales 2019 ‘Abraxas’

Rating:

84313573_1302208006630008_6357157596490629120_o“Imperial Stout with Ancho Chilies, Cacao Nibs, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Beans”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black as midnight with a quickly fading dark brown head. It settles at the rim with little lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: Sweet baby Jesus this smells good…kinda like chai latte, iced mocha and hearty stout all rolled in to one. Then topped off with that classic acidity from the chilli peppers. The olfactory’s are in a spin trying to work out which scent dominates. Ultimately nothing does, it’s simply an amazing concoction of spice, peppers, charred malts, chocolate, espresso, vanilla, raw cacao, cola and toasted marshmallow. Freakin amazing!

Flavour: Again that chai latte note features quite prominently with its array of mixed spice, milk froth, vanilla and mild coffee. A surge of charred malt, chocolate, cacao and licorice is beautifully balanced by a touch of cola syrup and muscovado sugar sweetness. Then it all levels off in to an incredibly smooth finish with lingering warmth, spice, espresso and cocoa.

Mouthfeel: Oily and slick. It’s truly amazing how some of these U.S breweries achieve such a low density while maintaining a full body and massive ABV (11.5% in this case).

Overall: We think it’s safe to say that the ’19 vintage is better than last year’s. We found the ’18 was too eager on the spice front where here they’ve struck that perfect middle ground. Flawless.

Cigar City 2017 ‘Hunahpu’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

84332739_1297943050389837_2735655775392235520_o“We brew Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout once a year and release it only at the brewery on the second weekend in March. We will continue to do so until the end of the cycle.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Sump oil with a short fizzy head which takes on an incredibly dark bronze/ochre brown-like colour. It doesn’t hang around long… eventually forming a collar with spotty lace as we go.

Aroma: So much to unpack. The chilli and cinnamon seem to come through the strongest. This is despite a wealth of rich and hedonistic dark malts, raw cacao, salty dark chocolate, raw vanilla bean, toffee fudge, licorice, espresso, soy sauce/molasses and cigar skins. Also picking up a faint hint of peppermint but it’s surely our olfactory’s confusing the scent of the chillies. Amazing!

Flavour: Follows on with the dominant cinnamon and chilli peppers. Well supported by vanilla, raw cacao and mild dark fruit sweetness. Soy sauce and salty dark chocolate hanging around the mid then leading in to a warm and spicy finish with tonnes of charred malt, espresso and dark chocolate on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Thick beer soup…but with added oiliness and warmth from the 10.2% ABV and chillies. Low Co2.

Overall: The depth, complexity, richness and unrestrained vigour is what makes this stout so sought after. Very similar to the ’16 vintage but maybe a bit less Asian spice and more chilli, salty chocolate and cacao. Mind blowing…as usual!

Cigar City ‘Konigsberg’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

83049388_1290259871158155_4481787408324493312_o“Inspired by the confederation of merchant guilds that dominated trade in the Baltic and North Seas for 300 years, this beer is the coalescence of a Cognac Barrel-aged Baltic Porter, a Brandy Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, coconut, cinnamon and vanilla beans. Merchant sailors from London to Königsberg would be pleased indeed.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short brown head which quickly forms a collar. Reasonable lacing for the lack of retention.

Aroma: Huge barrel expressions – damp musty oak that hasn’t seen the light of day for years with the brandy offering lovely dark fruity notes alongside rich toffee and subtle maple syrup. Loving the addition of coconut, vanilla and cinnamon…although mild they go a long way to filling out he nose. Tonnes of licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, ash and chocolate brownies. Incredible depth.

Flavour: Just a big melting pot of dark and roasty malts – molasses, coffee, dark chocolate, licorice, charred oak and truffle. Beautifully (but delicate) brandy/cognac accents hit a port-like sweetness with the damp musty barrels also getting a look in. Cinnamon, vanilla, toasted coconut and red peppers building late and reaching well in to the raw, roasty and decadent finish.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly lighter than anticipated. It’s not thin…more oily and slick with low Co2. Amazing feat considering the 11.2% ABV.

Overall: Once again Cigar City bring the goods, these guys are the masters of raw and aggressive impy stouts. It’s quite similar to Hunah so anyone who’s had that experience should know the level of quality here. Well in CC!

Angry Chair ‘Popinski’ Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

83026749_1289420381242104_4492274691964141568_o“Popinkski is our rich and flavorful Russian Imperial Stout. This beer packs quite the punch. Please drink fresh and with a comrade.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a wispy brown overlay. It quickly retreats to the rim with thin rings posted down the glass.

Aroma: Super rich and menacing AF! Oozing with complex dark malts, espresso, molasses, dark chocolate, licorice, charred wood, muscovado sugar, toffee fudge, cherry ripe and very subtle vanilla/toasted coconut. It really sweetens up a lot as it settles – kinda resembles a boozy black coffee with a few too many spoonful’s of sugar. Phenomenal aroma.

Flavour: Oh wow it comes on with severe aggression. Unsweetened espresso, molasses, charred wood, raw cacao/dark chocolate, burnt toast, leather, chocolate bullets and an almost red pepper-like warmth (could also have something to do with the 10% ABV). Gorgeous finish…raw espresso bitterness but countered by a rich velvety sweetness which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: So dense you could chew on it…one of the most viscous beers we’ve had. Extremely low Co2 with the 10% ABV discernible for the most part.

Overall: What a way to kick off proceedings for this brewery. We’d heard plenty about them so we were naturally very keen to get our hands on anything from them. This is just the epitome of a RIS – big and unrelenting with huge body and depth. Top notch stuff.

Cycle Brewing BA Hazelnut Imperial Stout

Rating:

82187866_1285434498307359_6503476897358282752_o“Bourbon barrel aged over 1 year, hazelnut and cocoa nibs from Pinellas Chocolate Company.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense engine oil with a minimal head which forms a thin ring instantly. Some spotty lace here and there is as good as it gets.

Aroma: Holy moly there’s dessert stout then there’s this bad boy! Hazelnut definitely leads out – a bit of a mix between raw and roasted but either way it’s heavenly. A bit of a hazelnut syrup starting to open up as it settles. Around it we get robust cocoa, espresso, chocolate, bourbon oak, toasted coconut/vanilla, charred wood and mild molasses. One of the most dynamic aroma’s we’ve had the joy of inhaling for a while.

Flavour: Absolute replica of the nose…cue the cheer from our taste buds! Dominant syrupy hazelnut with a flutter of the raw and roasty versions. Cacao, liquid chocolate, bourbon oak – vanilla, toasted coconut, caramel and spiced toffee. A touch of lightly charred wood before a kind of sweet, nutty, roasty and oaky finish lingers for an eternity.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably smooth, creamy and viscous. The 11.5% ABV is that well hidden it’s nuts. Super low Co2. Like thick stout soup!

Overall: This is now our 3rd entry for Cycle and although they’ve all been world class this one is on another level. This hazelnut definitely owns the almond. Brilliant drop.

Three Floyd’s 2019 ‘Dark Lord’ Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

82241864_1281693892014753_4512238928316596224_o“Dark Lord, a 15 percent ABV Russian imperial stout that is brewed with coffee, Indian sugar and Mexican vanilla.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Blacker than the ace of spades and topped off with a wispy brown overlay. Despite this it holds up nicely and leaves a cascading lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Big and muscly with layers of molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, ash and prunes/dates. The latter definitely building as it settles. Getting a lot more sweetness out of it now – cola syrup, muscovado sugar, sweet espresso, earthy spice, toasted coconut and or burnt vanilla. Nailed it! Could one expect anything less from such an esteemed RIS?

Flavour: Jeez there’s a lot to unpack. It’s incredible how there’s so little aggression. Slick and velvety molasses, muscovado sugar, licorice, sweet espresso and this pie crust/wheatmeal biscuit-like character which is hard to pin down. Lots of sugary dark fruits i.e dates, raisin, cherry. Subtle vanilla, coffee, molasses and chocolate on the long and drawn out finish.

Mouthfeel: Insanely smooth, sticky and gelatinous. The thing is 15% ABV for Christ’s sake it doesn’t even drink like an 8%er! Full, slick body, low Co2. Perfection.

Overall: Our take on Russian Imperials are that they’re aggressive palate wreckers but not DL! No…somehow they’ve managed to tame the beast and turn it in to a palate-friendly adventure that leaves us wanting more. It’s just in a class of its own really…no other way to put it.

Cycle Brewing ‘Rare Dos’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

82228701_1280476552136487_5974533971000688640_o“Rare Dos aged in whiskey barrels for over one year.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pours like sump oil with a quickly fading dark brown overlay. A bunch of loose bubbles settle at the rim with spotty lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Big, mean and aggressive. The year and a bit spent in whiskey barrels has had a huge impact…yielding light peaty notes, old damp oak, salted dark chocolate, rich and earthy espresso and treacle. Massive support structure of raw vanilla bean, charred malts, cigar skins, leather and iodine. Ooph..this is one deep and complex number.

Flavour: Certainly carries that aggression and raw earthy character through from the nose. Strong whiskey components (peat, damp woody oak, cereals), dark chocolate and espresso, brandy, leather, charred malts and burnt toffee. Again, raw and earthy in the finish – whiskey dominates with damp woody oak and charred malts which linger for days.

Mouthfeel: Rich and warming with a dense viscosity. 11% ABV…evident as to be expected. Full body, low Co2. Ominous stuff.

Overall: Definitely not for the faint-hearted. This beast is a raw, scaled back whiskey barrel aged impy stout with serious aggression and disdain for the palate! But we freakin love it! Kudos Cycle.

Toppling Goliath ‘Mornin Latte’ Imperial Coffee Milk Stout

Rating:

82561776_1278452659005543_347199027290308608_o“Imperial Coffee Milk Stout brewed with lactose and a careful blend of cacao nibs giving it a dark chocolate, toasty and toasty sweet coffee taste.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a short and dark tan head which doesn’t hang around long. A halo is quickly formed with consistent rings each sip.

Aroma: Woowww! Smells just like a Dare iced coffee that is insane! So sweet, milky and sugary yet still resembling a latte really well. Getting high off this almost raw coffee bean scent…heavenly! Gorgeous waves of cocoa, chocolate and vanilla in support. Subtle roasted malts in the background. We’d kill to try a bourbon barrel aged version of this. 10/10 for the aroma that is just the cream of the crop!

Flavour: It kicks off with an interesting licorice-like taste before the luxurious coffee and vanilla takes hold. Surprisingly little milky/lactose sweetness on the palate… we’d be more inclined to say piccolo rather than latte at this stage. Lots of cocoa and chocolate sauce, toasted nutty malts and mild char/ash in the finish. Good legs on it too.

Mouthfeel: Dense, creamy, sticky and full bodied…exactly what we were after. The 8.9% ABV is so well hidden with a very tight and fine Co2.

Overall: This is the epitome of a coffee stout. Jam packed with coffee, vanilla, lactose, chocolate and roasty malts brought home with a dense and sticky viscosity. If you love your stout you love your coffee then get all over this. Guaranteed you won’t be disappointed. Top shelf.

Westbrook ‘Mexican Cake’ Imperial Dessert Stout

Rating:

82207406_1276810875836388_6971142739324829696_o“Way back in December 2011, we brewed our first anniversary beer – a serious imperial stout aged on cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers. It was so delicious we decided to bring it back once each year.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thumb of dark brown foam resting atop. Slow and steady reduction…forming a collar with spotty lace trailing it down.

Aroma: Very intriguing – we can certainly pick up the spicy accents – mostly peppers with delicate touches of cinnamon, star anise and vanilla. It’s unique in the way that it doesn’t seem heavy at all – there’s minimal char and deep roast, mild dark chocolate and coffee aromas. The only dominant stout characters are the cacao, milk chocolate mousse, subtle licorice and carob. Then spice and peppers really opening up as it settles.

Flavour: Again, really hiding the heaviness of the style well. It drinks more like a big and boozy dark ale if anything. The spicy notes do a lot of the talking – the habanero peppers muscle up against the delicate cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Cacao and mild dark chocolate feature nicely before it rounds off on a warm peppery finish with a dry roasty undertone.

Mouthfeel: Light on and inoffensive – apart from the lingering burn of the habanero peppers. Very uncharacteristic of the style… considering the weight (10.5% ABV).

Overall: This is our 2nd entry for Westbrook and they have gone over and above what we were anticipating. This is impressive not only from a non barrel aged perspective but how they’ve managed to keep it so light and approachable. Lovely drop

Cycle Brewing ‘Joyous Almond’ Imperial Dessert Stout

Rating:

81865844_1275429285974547_7640890331621228544_o“Vanilla barrel aged imperial stout treated with vanilla beans, cinnamon, chili peppers, and cocoa nibs.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Black as midnight with a short and fizzy brown head. It steadily reduced and manages a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Big and meaty. Super rich molasses and soy sauce yet it still offers a lovely toasted coconut and treacle character. Picking up a unique scent of after dinner mints mixing in amongst lavish notes of dark chocolate, bourbon oak, raw coffee bean, earthy raw almond, vanilla and charred malts building late. A bit of a mild warming booze here too.

Flavour: Getting quite a lot of coconut upfront. Less natural flavor, more toasted and bourbon-infused with a hint of spicy vanilla. Underneath is a hedonistic fusion of marzipan, chocolate cake, old bourbon oak, toasted nutty malts, toffee fudge and burnt brown sugar sweetness which goes on for days on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Pretty slick with a bit of dense stickiness. Medium-full body. Quite a lively Co2 for such a big BA stout. Typical of the Yanks…no ABV! Our guess is over 10%.

Overall: A very impressive stout. It may not have the finesse of say, 50/50 or 3 Floyd’s but it certainly has depth and complexity. Cracking drop.

Westbrook ‘Chocolate & Sea Salt’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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

Rating:

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.