Appearance: As black as the ace of spades and constructing a sturdy two finger head which lasts. It leaves a wet but webbed lace on the glass as it subsides.
Aroma: Holy moly we had to sit back and just take this in for a minute. This honestly smells on par with the likes of Cigar City, 50/50 or Goose Island. The sheer size of it has to be witnessed to be believed…towering notes of Bourbon/oak, heavily roasted malts, raw cacao, coffee, vanilla, ash, mixed spice, peppers and toffee in abundance. Man, even a hint of boozy chocolate milk comes through. Oopht!
Flavour: Yes…and it all comes together too. The progression is remarkable – upfront it’s almost sweet for a fleeting second as the Bourbon gradually intensifies. Around it the warmth from not only the monstrous 14.5% ABV but also the habanero chilli kicks up and rolls into coffee, charred malts and dark chocolate/raw cacao. The Bourbon, oak and spice enjoys a late revival before finishing with a hint of vanilla and or coconut.
Mouthfeel: Big, dense and muscly. Low-ish Co2, full body. The 14.5% ABV as we eluded to before is big but cleverly cloaked behind the habanero chilli’s.
Overall: Wow. The description on the can says this this is “the final release in the 21/22′ Fray series”. We couldn’t be more gutted. They had better be moving on to something similar or we’ll be protesting outside the brewery! In the meantime we’re off to clean out every bottle shop that still has it in stock. Superb.