Hawkers 2021 Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout


“More than 8 months of rest in barrels that previously aged rum has invigorated this imperial stout into a magnificent beast, harbouring notes of stewed fruits and rum spice. Drink now or cellar for another day—the choice is entirely yours, however there’s nothing like having one now and cellaring a second one for later.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with two fingers of light brown head resting atop. Fairly good retention but not a lot of it sticks to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: The spicy and caramelised Rum qualities are exhibited well. So is the complex oak but our gripe with this (so early on ?) is that the base Stout is a little weak and doesn’t really have the strength to carry the weight, so to speak. At the moment all we can pick up is the heady Rum, the barrels and mild dark chocolate, carob and molasses. It’s like the bottom end has been totally ripped out.

Flavour: Same issues as the aroma; the classic Rum and barrel flavours come through beautifully – they provide a rich and sweet spice, caramel/toffee and a lick of vanilla – but it’s like there’s nothing to tie it in to. Granted, the mild chocolate, molasses, roast and licorice save it from being a disaster but again, the base Stout isn’t enough to carry the Rum/barrels through.

Mouthfeel: A little too light on for an Impy Stout but it is oily with low-ish Co2. The 12.4% ABV is pretty well hidden too.

Overall: We were a little more forgiving with the Bourbon expression coz it was a pretty good offering but to pay almost $30 for this one is a little outrageous. Especially when you can buy a bottle of KBS for $13! Or spend another $10 or so for a BCBS! Doesn’t match the price tag in our opinion.