“Big, thick, and oily, our 8 Shades Imperial Stout is complex and regal. 8 specialty malts combine to give an intricate array of flavours, with chocolate and Arabica coffee leading the pack. Deceptively smooth for a brew of 8%, this one is for sipping slowly by the fire on a chilly winter’s evening.”
Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of light brown foam resting atop. Gradual reduction and a wet sudsy lace is dragged down the glass.
Aroma: Nice and meaty. Not a whole lot standing out but the base is rich and intense. The hallmark wafts of heavily charred malts, espresso, dark chocolate, ash/campfire and licorice make up 90% of the aroma. Normally if that were the case we’d be ripping in but they’ve managed to fill it out enough for it be suffice. We’re also getting really subtle touches of dark fruit, marzipan and burnt toffee. Pretty solid.
Flavour: It comes on with a really strong roasty-ness…incorporating espresso coffee, charred malts, dark chocolate, burnt toffee and ash. It moves right into a dry and bitter middle which is underlined by a hint of pithy hop bitterness. As it pushes forward it steadily reverts back to a kinda dry, roasty, bitter espresso and dark chocolate-laden finish which lingers rather well.
Mouthfeel: A little thin to start but once it warmed it fills out. Still…not dense enough for the style. Medium-full body, low Co2, 8% ABV…quite well buried.
Overall: Looking at it as a straight Impy Stout it’s pretty decent as it’s got a sturdy base with good structure. Does it blow us away? No. It is, in the nicest way possible, just another Imperial Stout. Good but not overly memorable.