“For this special edition of our Imperial Stout with coffee, we decided to offer up some comfort for the cooler winter and fall months. A generous amount of Madagascar vanilla beans along with just the right amount of Ceylon Alba cinnamon provides this beer a delicate milky sweetness, notes of cinnamon, roast, and a subtle spiciness. Cheers!”
Appearance: As expected it hits the glass with an impenetrable black hue and forms two fingers of finely beaded brown foam. It retains the head well and manages a healthy lace as we imbibe.
Aroma: Now this smells the goods. We’ve been quite critical of Alesmith’s spin off Speedway Stout series but this release actually smells magnificent. The sweet and candy-esque vanilla, fragrant cinnamon and robust coffee all combine beautifully. What’s even better is they’re supported by a sturdy base of chocolate, roasted malt, treacle and Bounty bars.
Flavour: See this is where they keep tripping up though. The transition of all those fantastic aromas simply isn’t there. What we get is a slightly astringent booze burn, rigid malt roasty-ness and overly bitter coffee. Only after that rough initiation do we start to see the sweet and spicy vanilla and cinnamon, bittersweet chocolate and coffee, licorice and ash.
Mouthfeel: Nice and full but the texture is a little abrasive. Probably too much booze burn (12% ABV) for us too. Co2 is well placed though.
Overall: This series is akin to an abusive relationship…we know in the back of our minds not to keep going back but our loyalty and hope for change supercedes every time!