“2023’s Dark Harvest was designed together with Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster at Firestone Walker, a legend of the US craft beer industry, renowned for his extensive knowledge of and passion for all things hops. Dark Harvest takes influence from FW’s ‘Wookie Jack’ with the inclusion of rye to create a broader malt bill as well as the soft chocolate malts seen in previous editions. An unmissable ale. A complex and beguiling IPA underpinned by a shared passion for the unique and fleeting nature of its key ingredient.”
Appearance: Uber dark brown with a thumb of finely beaded tan head perched on top. Excellent retention and lace work as it subsides.
Aroma: Heady wafts of sweet stonefruit and lightly charred malts emanate from the glass, which we are yet to pick up still. Under the nostrils those two aforementioned aromas are magnified by 100 and then further supported by waves of mixed citrus, cocoa, mocha, peppery spice, cereal grains and ash. Maybe a very fleeting hint of Jaffa and pine needles as well.
Flavour: Man, the progression is next level. It starts off with an almost creamy chocolate malt note which is slowly but surely overlapped by a burgeoning roast and hop bitterness. It hits a crescendo around the mid-palate where the hops throw up everything from pine, mixed citrus, unripened stonefruit and herbal spice. It then settles in for a long finish of roasted malt, hop bitterness and pine.
Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, a little dry and creamy. Drying out further in the swallow. Medium body, finely carbed. The 6.6% ABV is well concealed.
Overall: An impressive black IPA and an equally impressive partner for this collab. Firestone Walker are on of our all time favourite American breweries so big ups to whoever made that happen. Solid offering.