Category Archives: Stout

Boatrocker ‘2021 Fat Santa’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Fat Santa, a beer now synonomous with Boatrocker. Our famous Ramjet base beer has been aged in first use Buffalo Trace barrels. After disgorging, the beer is treated to whole coffee beans, Madagascan vanilla beans, and South American Tonka beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a thumb of finely beaded brown foam emerging on top. Retention is ok, eventually the head disappears but it leaves a beautiful cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oh my word all we now want for Christmas is a whole case of this! Yes, it’s the Ramjet base with added tonka beans, coffee and vanilla (which makes up a big part of its beauty) but let’s be real this is all about the incredible Buffalo Trace Bourbon/barrels. For such a relatively cheap Bourbon it punches well above its weight when a Stout of this calibre is housed inside its barrels. So so good.

Flavour: Because we waffled on so much with the aroma we’ll actually cover the flavour profile here; absolutely delicious notes of treacle, vanilla, charred oak, chewy toffee, heavily roasted malts, coffee, mixed spice i.e star anise and clove, Carribbean Rum, muscovado sugar and a rich nutty quality. Excellent finish too- Bourbon oak, vanilla and charred malts. Perfect really.

Mouthfeel: Super slick and oily AF. Low Co2, full body. The 11% ABV comes through but it’s well behaved for its size.

Overall: For years we’ve considered the Ramjet/Roger Ramjet the pick of Boatrocker’s barrel program but we think our minds have officially changed. This vintage of Fat Santa could easily stack up against any high quality American BA Stout. World class stuff.

Bruny Island Whey Stout

Rating:

“Whey Stout is a roasty milk stout enriched with lactose from our very own organic cow’s milk whey left over after making our Raw Milk C2 cheese. Our brewer’s yeast cannot digest the lactose sugar, meaning that it stays behind in the beer and enhances the sweetness and gives the texture greater creaminess.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with a thumb of light brown head resting atop. Good retention and healthy lace work is strewn down the glass.

Aroma: Interesting. If we were blindfolded we’d be inclined to say this was a baby black IPA or at the very least an American Brown Ale. The typical Stout features i.e roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, licorice etc are completely MIA. What we get is a delicate fusion of wholemeal bread, chocolate powder, earthy hops, jammy dark fruits and a hint of orange citrus. Can’t help but pick up this kinda piney/spruce scent as well.

Flavour: Look to be brutally honest this should not be labelled as a Stout. As we eluded to on the aroma at the very least it could pass as an American Brown Ale. Hints of cocoa powder, toast, super subtle coffee and dark fruits is as bold as it gets. We understand they’re using whey as opposed to stronger tasting milk sugars so it’s not as sweet but there isn’t much sweetness to it at all. The somewhat piney and citrusy hops are almost the stars of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and well rounded. Nice bitterness which counteracts, slightly higher Co2 than usual. 5.8% ABV – pretty well buried.

Overall: Don’t know about this one. We sincerely love what these guys are all about: local ingredients, small batch, preservative free etc but the quality and execution is a bit off the mark. Call it an American Brown Ale and we’d reconsider.

Beer Fontaine ‘Just Cask Me’ Rye BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Aged for 1 year in barrels that once housed Australia’s favoured rye whisky. This version of our imperial stout takes on a spicier, fruitier note that lingers softly between sips. Lovely paired with a creamy dessert.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a short tan head which fades almost instantly. It forms a collar and struggles to produce much lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Much much smoother in comparison with the straight whiskey expression. The key difference being the rye and the subtle nuances it brings such as a more Bourbon-esque sweetness, spice and what one of us likes to describe as bubblegum toothpaste. Much more like the straight whiskey expression though, is the fairly rich and robust Stout base that has enough to carry the whiskey along. Decent.

Flavour: In terms of intensity vs sweetness this one lands smack bang in the centre between whiskey and Bourbon. And in some ways taking on attributes of both styles. Kinda sweet, grainy and spicy then the lightly charred malts, chocolate, cacao, coffee and licorice washes over the tongue. Once it retreats the rye whiskey/barrels are once again revealed and finishes it all off with a hint of roasted malt and wheat-like grain.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full, muscly and dense. Low-ish Co2. 10% ABV is pretty well contained.

Overall: We’ve gotta give credit where it’s due. This is a very green BA Imperial Stout (packaged 10/21) from a brewery that has only just done its first release to the market. On top of that is their ethos of sticking mostly to barrel aged beers so it’s no child’s play. Big ups to this mob, they certainly look to have the goods.

Beer Fontaine ‘Patience’ Whiskey BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“The beer that started it all. aged in Australian single malt whisky barrels for 1 year. 1 whole year of waiting, looking at barrels & being patient, knowing it’s worth the wait. A complex beer tasting of dark chocolate, coffee & whisky, all balanced by a soft bitterness & that superb barrel-aged flavour.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a short but finely beaded head which gradually retreats to the rim. Lovely cascading lace is strewn down the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: We can actually smell this beast as it sits at least 30cm away from our nostrils. Good Lord! Once it’s right under them we get a real good idea of the whiskey component. On first impressions it’s spicy, a little fruity and grassy but the more we isolate it the more we pick up the deeper and more rounded chocolate and caramel. This works into the robust base Stout beautifully, accentuating the damp and hedonistic molasses and licorice. Wow.

Flavour: Very aggressive. The whiskey really comes through with intent. Probably a little too much for our liking to be quite honest. It seems like the base Stout is pretty husky and can handle the whiskey until the finish where it seems to check out early on and the whiskey takes hold again. Saying that the back palate is pretty well balanced so it kinda corrects itself… thankfully!

Mouthfeel: Dense, muscly, warming. Slightly abrasive. Medium-full body. The 10.5% ABV is slightly harsh.

Overall: It’s always going to be a little contrasting going from the typical whiskey/bourbon barrels used for Impy Stouts to something like this. As whiskey fans we’ve never added an Archie Rose dram to our collection so it’s unfamiliar territory. The whiskey is well integrated but is this particular whiskey right for the style? Still undecided. It certainly has very green and unique traits so it’s lucky it has a big Stout base to keep it in check.

Boatrocker ‘Cremejet’ BA Imperial Stout w Creme Caramel

Rating:

“Who doesn’t love a Crème Caramel?! Knowing that Caramel and Vanilla would work to accentuate the rich malt of Ramjet, we couldn’t resist trying to make a fun variant of this famous beer for our now infamous Ramjet Day… Think rich, luscious malts, big whiskey and sweet Crème Caramel! Adult dessert in a glass.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a brown head which swells to two fingers before retracting. It retains well and draws a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: If we didn’t know any better we’d have thought we had a big sweet Quadrupel here. Man that rich creamy caramel lifts out of the glass with vigour. Coupled with other sweet hits of toffee, butterscotch and honeycomb it really is tantalising the olfactories. So well layered too…as the rich chocolate, licorice, coffee and jaffa then make way for the subtle whiskey notes that have been pushed deep down. Oopht!

Flavour: Interesting little switch up. It’s much sharper and more aggressive than the nose but we’re diggin it. The whiskey is punching through harder and the big charred malt base is throwing the old one-two of licorice and molasses. Around the mid palate is where the super sweet and sticky treacle, toffee and honeycomb kicks off. It then makes a rendezvous with the roasted malt base and rolls into a sweet yet charred finish which lingers.

Mouthfeel: Really slick and oily. Fairly dense with a fine Co2. On the fuller side and the 11.4% ABV is pretty well behaved for its size.

Overall: We’ve been fan boys of Ramjet ever since we tried it way back in 2015 and we really like the direction they’re taking it. A lot of the top American breweries do spin-offs of their original BA Imperial Stouts so we hope to see the experimental side continuing to flourish. Solid drop.

Oskar Blues ‘Jefes Horchata’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Jefe’s Horchata Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout is a 12.8% ABV imperial stout with spicy cinnamon and creamy vanilla flavour.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Ominous pitch black pour with two fingers of finely beaded brown foam perched on top. Good retention and healthy lace sticking to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: One word…stunning. Straight off the bat we’re getting almighty wafts of cinnamon, vanilla, Bourbon/barrels, red peppers and sticky toffee. can’t help but think we’re getting fresh coriander and lime from it too. Setting the formwork is that world class Ten Fiddy base which exudes not only style but truck loads of chocolate/cocoa, licorice and subtle hints of coffee. Jeez we’re inhaling it so much we’re getting headspins!

Flavour: Pretty much a mirror image of the aroma. Intense cinnamon, vanilla, warming booze, mild bourbon/barrels and red peppers get the party started. Again that delicious Ten Fiddy base is right in there in support and carries it all through the mid like a seasoned pro. It all seems like its tapering off until it once again intensifies and finishes with as much depth and vigour as it did at the beginning.

Mouthfeel: Dense and muscly. Full bodied, perfectly carbed. The 12.8% ABV is definitely perceptible but we can forgive.

Overall: We are being spoilt with brilliant Stouts lately; ’21 Ramjet, To Build A Fire, this and we’ve also got Cremejet in the fridge as well. Seriously, we’d bathe in this (not together of course 😅). Absolutely phenomenal stuff.

Deeds ‘To Build A Fire’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Now that you are out in the fray, the true test of survival begins. As the cold creeps in, don’t rest your eyes, don’t close them, and absolutely do not fall asleep. You need to find something to warm you up. This Imperial Stout has been aging in Bourbon Barrels for 12 months and might be exactly what you need. Generous additions of cacao and hazelnut have shaped a flavour in this dark, viscous liquid that is both deep and rich, with intense notes of everything delectable including that sweet, sweet bourbon. Drink Fresh or maybe just hold onto it for when you wake up…”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: She’s an ominous-looking beast. Like engine oil with a short dark brown head which quickly collapsed. Nice wavy lace despite the lack of head retention.

Aroma: Oh my Lord is that is good! We once saw someone say that Once More Into The Fray was akin to BCBS…we think this one could very easily stack up against it. That deep seated Bourbon along with the damp oak, toffee and spice marries together with the base Stout in truly perfect matrimony. Also, where is the burn?! Where is any flicker of the almost 15% ABV? That is outrageous!

Flavour: Ok we found the burn. But honestly it’s so well integrated into the rest of the beer that it’s quickly forgotten about. And much like the aroma the Bourbon/barrels, toffee and spice merge with the ultra rich molasses, espresso, dark chocolate and leather to create this absolute flavour sensation. It finishes like it starts – with style. And a slight sting in the tail 🤪

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and warming. There’s a slight fizz on the tongue which we’re liking. Full bodied. As mentioned already the 14.9% ABV can be found…quite easily.

Overall: Very much like BCBS just without the finishing polish and finesse. The mere fact we’re comparing it to a beer of that calibre speaks volumes anyway. Top shelf stuff.

Boatrocker ‘Ramjet 2021’ BA Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Our 2021 vintage of Ramjet is a mix of barrels from the always incredible Starward whisky. Some American oak, some French, however all ex-red wine before being filled with whisky. These barrels were freshly emptied before arriving at Boatrocker.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a short brown head which peels off rather quickly. It forms a collar with scarce lacing as we go.

Aroma: We can honestly say that we’re salivating from this aroma. Big whiskey components, decadent chocolate and espresso, oats, vanilla and just an all-round chunky malty-ness. As she warms the barrels which housed red wine (before the whiskey) begin to show through with delicate Port-like sweetness, red berries and earthy tannins. It only keeps getting thicker and richer as it sits too. Ooopht!

Flavour: The progression is next level. It’s actually hard to say whether the whiskey or the wine is more dominant upfront but either way it tastes amazing. What follows is a copious amount of heavily roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate and molasses which then takes on a bit of the whiskey again. It then shifts into a roasty/toasty, nutty and warming finish which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, oily and pronounced. Carbonation is low and the body is medium-full. 11.4% ABV is rather discernible…as one could expect.

Overall: Another respectable addition to this series. Although no one will ever change our minds that the ’15 and ’16 vintages were the best and will probably never be beaten. Alas, take nothing away from this fiery beast…it was magnificent.

10 Toes X Criminal Coffee Co. ‘Caffeine Collusion’ Imperial Coffee Stout

Rating:

“Our collab with the legends at Criminal Coffee Company. A rich and robust stout loaded with the freshest cold brew coffee and toasted cacao nibs. Dangerously smooth!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Mat black with a short tan head forming on top. Steady reduction and eventually settling to a collar. A beautiful cascading lace is strewn down the glass.

Aroma: Slightly pedestrian for an 8% Coffee Stout to be honest. The coffee comes from more of a raw bean angle with South American roots. It certainly has nutty overtones with mild acidity and distinct caramel and cocoa qualities but for us the aroma as a whole is lacking depth and oomph. There isn’t much backing up other than kinda watered down chocolate, dark fruits, lightly roasted malts and cedar.

Flavour: Same issue as the aroma – a little weak and lackluster. We’d expect this amount of depth from a Dark Ale but considering it’s an 8% Stout it’s a little disappointing. The coffee is weak, the intensity, the base flavours, body and even the booze is also weak. Although we’re not going to complain so much about the latter. Even the finish just peters out to nothing. Good Lord!

Mouthfeel: Nope. Watery, thin, no grip and hardly any weight on it. Mild-moderate body and Co2. The one saving grace is that the 8% ABV is well buried.

Overall: Even if they called this a Coffee Brown Ale we’d still be critical of it. It’s almost an Imperial Stout for God’s sake…where’s the body at? It’s just so lame and tiresome. It’s hard to believe it’s the same mob that brews their brilliant Vanilla Porter.

Omnipollo ‘Legacy’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Omnipollo is celebrating 10 years by releasing a series of four beers to stand the test of time. A style with immense complexity, we often infuse our dark beers with coffee as its flavors meld perfectly with roasted character of malts, and to make things even better – finished with a good amount of our favorite ground vanilla. Carefully selected Ethiopian coffe roasted to specs by Kafferäven Per Nordby.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a wispy brown head that almost instantly peels back to the rim. Webbed but also spotty lace clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Pow! Our first thoughts are Coffee Stout and then after a little fish around on their webby it states they use Ethiopian coffee in the brew. It’s integrated with such beauty and embraced by warm and loving melted chocolate, burnt toast, licorice, fresh vanilla, white marshmallow, cocoa powder, lady finger biscuits and a subtle touch of affogato. Ok, we knew Omnipollo were masters but this is exceeding expectations!

Flavour: Aaaaaand there we go thinking this could be a 10/10 and the flavour profile misses the mark a tad. Don’t get us wrong it’s still superb…oodles of roasted coffee, chocolate powder, burnt toast, fresh vanilla, licorice and molasses. Very delicate white marshmallow and roasted pecans shift into a super roasty and slightly charred finish with plenty of coffee, burnt cocoa and vanilla on the back end.

Mouthfeel: This is where it lost some ground for us. It’s a little light on with a slippery texture. Co2 is kept low and the body sits around the medium mark. The 12% ABV is well concealed though.

Overall: Pretty impressive even if we factor in the less than perfect mouthfeel and intensity of flavour. It’s big and aggressive yet softened by the sweet vanilla and marshmallow. Solid offering.

Mr Banks ‘Oh! I Bake’ Imperial Pastry Stout

Rating:

“Imperial Pastry Stout conditioned on in house made salted caramel, toasted macadamia & vanilla Bean. This is one decadent & delicious treat of a beer. ⁠ Contains Lactose⁠.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a finger of light brown foam which retreats to the rim. A wet spotty lace is dragged down the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: This literally smells like a liquefied Creme Egg spiked with booze. The caramel component is so tantalisingly rich and decadent. As is the roasty dark chocolate, spicy vanilla and Frangelico. The Frangelico scent must be borne out of the use of macadamia nuts in the brew but either way it’s a pleasure to take in. Booze starting to tickle the nostrils as it warms.

Flavour: Jeez tell you what for 10.6% ABV that is dangerously drinkable. Indulgently sweet and rich yet so soft and nutty. Getting more of a coffee quality on the palate alongside heady notes of salted caramel, toffee fudge, brittle and raw vanilla bean. The macadamias float in and out while the chocolate stays pretty subtle in the background. Surprisingly light, nutty and chocolate-y finish that hangs on for dear life.

Mouthfeel: Oily, slick and incredibly light for not only the style but its ABV – 10.6%. Medium-full body, low-ish Co2.

Overall: Mr Banks just keep notching up in our books. We’re excited to say that they’re now entering the realm of The Bruery and what’s even better is the price point is way more favourable. Here’s hoping they keep on this trajectory.

Fury & Son Imperial Stout

Rating:

“This Imperial Stout is rich, bold and velvety. It showcases layers of flavours and complexity that are a delight on the senses. Join us in this seductive dance of darkness.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with two fingers of sturdy tan head perched on top. Good retention and healthy lace being strewn down the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: First couple of swirls and sniffs aren’t yielding a great deal. We’ve really gotta dig our noses in deep to uncover the delicate roasty malts, cocoa powder, sugary coffee, marshmallow and dark fruits i.e glazes cherry, dates and fig. To be honest it’s way too reserved for the style and what aromas it is producing are pretty subdued. Hoping they’ve left it all to the palate.

Flavour: The upside is there’s more happening here. It’s got a lot more depth and richness to the malts and it’s acting more like an Impy Stout which is a relief. It comes on with a semi rich roast with sugar-sweetened coffee, vanilla and chocolate powder backing up. A gentle bitterness alongside some warmth from the booze dries out the mid palate and rolls into a dry finish with hints of ash and burnt coffee on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Reasonably dense and creamy with an overall dryness. Low-ish Co2, medium-full body. The 10% ABV is pretty well behaved for its size.

Overall: Our first entry for Fury & Son and although we weren’t too impressed they’ve essentially left the door open so we can get a better feel of what they’re about. Until then…

Amager ‘Hr.Frederiksen’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Even when just poured into the glass, you feel straight away that Mr. Frederiksen is a master of potency and great personality. Pitch-black as Mr. Frederiksen’s humor, this American style Imperial Stout has a dense and creamy, light brown head that leaves an abundance of lacing on the glass as it reluctantly settles. We are happy to admit that we have gone slightly berserk with malt in this beer, eight different varieties were used including black and roasted malts that give this beer its color and almost extreme density – this is almost a meal in a bottle. The bitterness is also supplied by the roasted malts backed by the American Centennial hops. Mr. Frederiksen is an experience to be savoured he should be enjoyed slowly throughout the course of an entire evening where you can warm yourselves by his alcohol and provocative charms. We have named this beer after a good friend without whose wonderful support and assistance Amager Brewery would not be where it is today. Ingredients: Water, barley malt, wheat malt, oats, hops and yeast.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a wispy brown overlay which gradually recedes. It settles at the rim and leaves a lovely cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: When we think of unflavoured, straight up and down Imperial Stouts this is exactly what we envisage. Nothing fancy or over the top…just the classic four-to-the-floor Stout with a clever addition of American North West hops. It’s all about the base here though – hefty dark chocolate, coffee, campfire, licorice and molasses but it’s lifted even further by the well integrated pine, subtle citrus and herbal accents. Brilliant.

Flavour: The transition is dead set perfect. It kicks off with a confronting charred malt bitterness, coffee, warming booze, vanilla and pine which blends beautifully into the roasty, smoky and somewhat pithy middle. Those American hops certainly reveal the goods as a grapefruit acidity pushes forward into an increasingly dry and pithy yet rich and roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Big, aggressive, dense and dry. Not for the faint hearted that is for certain! Kinda oily, mild-moderate Co2. 10.5% ABV comes through intermittently.

Overall: Amager would definitely be enjoying a renewed respect from a big chunk of Australian craft drinkers right now. Whether it was a deliberate decision to give their beers a rest before making a return we’re unsure but we’re loving the fact that they’re back. Now, don’t ever leave us again! 😉

Resin Brewing ‘8 Shades’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“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.”

Glassware: Snifter.

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.

Stillwater X Casita ‘Flat Earth’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“Imperial stout with burnt caramel, black truffle & lava salt.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a short dark brown cap which disappears as quickly as it emerged. It retains a thin halo which manages a consistent set of rings as we sip.

Aroma: This is packing some serious heat. Honestly if we were blindfolded and had to guess what we had we’d be saying it was a BCBS variant as the sheer size and decadence of this is next level. And it’s not even barrel aged! Massive wafts of rich toffee and treacle, molasses, Ribena, salted dark chocolate, sweet espresso and cigar box enjoy support from hints of earthy truffle, raw vanilla and syrupy dark fruits. Oopht!

Flavour: Literally has the texture of sump oil. It initiates with a cameo of warming booze but it quickly lays down for the uber rich and hedonistic molasses, treacle, sweet espresso and toffee. Intense vanilla, dates/prunes, earthy truffle and cigar skins continue with a real faint smoky/ashy note forming late. It rounds off on a burnt yet sweet, fruity yet earthy and salty finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick beer soup…it’s so dense we could almost eat it with a spoon. Low Co2, full-bodied. The 13% ABV does come in and out but it’s very well behaved for its size.

Overall: Holy bejeezus that’s a big beer. We remember being big fans of Stillwater when they first burst on to the Aussie scene – before Aussie craft hit its straps all those years ago. This reminds us exactly why were such big fans. Word of advice though…share this bad boy!

Evil Twin ‘Imperial Biscotti Break’ Imperial Stout

Rating:

“The Roman Empire had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ – festive food culture, extravagant architecture and spectacular live entertainment. Some might argue the Emperors were brutal, mad and hungry for power, and the people vain when taking baths and working out all day. Listen – that’s still all part of the secret Imperial ingredient – keep it cool, clean, confident, arrogant and flamboyant. Forza Imperiale.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Impenetrable black with a thumb of finely beaded foam resting atop. Reasonable retention and a cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow is this a pastry Stout or a creamy iced coffee with almond powder and vanilla?! And where the hell is that ominous-looking 11.5% ABV hiding? This gunna be dangerous 😬 First thing off is the coffee – sweet yet nutty and a little fruity. The Stout base, although reserved, still hits with a one-two of roasted malt, chocolate, beef jerky and molasses. Creamy vanilla/lactose and subtle almond/hazelnut to round it off. Supoib.

Flavour: Exact mirror image of the aroma. First up are the sweet and creamy aspects i.e vanilla, muscovado sugar and cocoa powder which passes the baton to the nutty, fruity and slightly acidic coffee. An inkling of warmth creeps in as it hits a gentle roasty note midway which then carries it all into an unbelievably smooth, creamy, slightly roasty and nutty finish that really draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: So creamy and dense yet so well aerated. The 11.5% ABV…oopht… incredibly well concealed. Medium-full body, super tight carbonation.

Overall: You know what this is…this is The Bruery style pastry Stout without the price tag. It’s been a long time between drinks for us and Evil Twin and this corker of a beer is a reminder to keep in touch! Brilliant.

8 Wired ‘Gorky Park’ BBA Russian Imperial Stout

Rating:

A big, heavy Russian imperial stout aged for two years in American bourbon barrels. A regal brew fit for evil empires of all shapes and forms, inspired by poetry and raised to the sounds of industrial heavy metal.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with a fizzy short brown cap which slowly recedes. It eventually settles at the rim with a wet lace dragged down the glass.

Aroma: Ok well we weren’t expecting this slightly sour quality. We’ve let it settle now and it still displays a rather strong cherry-infused sourness which is far from what we’re after in a BBA Imperial Stout. It’s strange though coz the Bourbon/barrels do come through and it works in to the cherry quite nicely but it still begs the question.. why the hell is a BBA Russian Imperial Stout sour? Especially when there’s no mention of it anywhere in its description.

Flavour: We really don’t understand what angle they’re coming from here. If it were a BBA Imperial Stout with some sort of souring yeast or fruit then it would be shaping up to be a decent beer but there aren’t so it only leads us to believe the beer is infected. But to add more confusion it seems as if they meant for it to be slightly sour coz in a strange way it comes together. The downside again is that we didn’t buy a sour stout, we bought a BBA Imperial Stout!

Mouthfeel: Slick, relatively smooth and oily but with a discernible pursing of the lips. Mild-moderate Co2, medium-full body. 12.6% ABV.

Overall: One big old WTF?! It’s hard to know if they meant it or not. We know 8 Wired really ate up the sour movement years ago so it would kinda make sense that they did. We’re traditionalists…don’t mess with a BBA Russian Imperial Stout unless you’re sure it’s gonna come off. Unfortunately this one hasn’t.

Amager Bryghus X Modern Times ‘Black Nordic Skies’ Coffee Imperial Stout

Rating:

“The Lone Horseman is a ghostly phantom found in tales throughout the Nordic countries. According to legend, he will appear only on the darkest of nights and only when the polar lights ignite the skies. A knight in shining armor on a majestic bright white horse it is said, but no one really knows. Because no one has lived to tell. At Amager you risk meeting The Lone Horseman on the desolate and windswept Kalvebod Commons, if for some godforsaken reason you should wander this wilderness area on a deep, dark night. If you do, you’ll most likely be hopelessly lost, because even the bright lights of nearby Copenhagen will be dimmed to black out there. And if you then hear the distant snorting of a horse and hooves slowly approaching, you may soon spy a gentle, gallant and soft-spoken knight who will offer you a ride out of the darkness and back into civilization. And as tempting as it may seem to accept his kind offer, you must now instead flee. Flee as fast as you can. But it will most likely already be too late, as that kind and mesmerizing voice will lure you in. But no one who actually climbed the The Lone Horseman’s horse under that black Nordic sky, has ever been seen again alive. Who he is, nobody knows; but that he’s still out there, everybody knows.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a short brown head which quickly dissolves. It settles at the rim and leaves a cascading lace as we go.

Aroma: We’re all about this as it’s not focussing so hard on the coffee. We LOVE coffee but any old part time brewer can add coffee to a Stout and immediately make it better. Here, the base Stout has just as much of a say and it talks big; heavily roasted malts, licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, ash, marzipan, burnt brown sugar and oatmeal. The beautiful coffee accents just compliment the already magnificent aroma.

Flavour: This just oozes class. Upfront we’re getting a delicious sweetness that wasn’t presenting itself on the nose. It’s kinda sugary, vanilla-esque and it cuts through the big and meaty roasted malts like a knife through soft butter. The coffee, as delicious as it is, only plays a support role for the rich molasses, licorice, ash, chocolate and roasted nutty characters that march through the mid and continue through to the indulgent finish.

Mouthfeel: Dense, luscious and oily. Medium-full body, low-ish Co2. 10.7% ABV is fairly noticeable but adds to the sheer size of it.

Overall: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… we’re proper fanboys of Amager. Love their beers, love the artwork and love the clever descriptions. Just an all round world class brewery

Moon Dog ‘Jumping The Shark 2021’ BA Cherry, Chocolate & Coconut Imperial Stout

Rating:

“One of our most ridiculous, most anticipated, (mostly) annual releases is back! This Imperial Stout has all the ridiculousness you’d expect from a Jumping The Shark Release and then some. We’ve brewed a huge 12.6% Imperial Stout, popped it in some delicious rum barrels for a nice long beauty sleep and finished it with the cherry on top, amphora conditioned cherry, coconut and chocolate!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a fizzy brown head which dissipates rather quickly. It settles at the rim but leaves a magnificent lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oopht! That gets right up in the olfactories immediately. The dominant scent would be the cherry and at this stage it’s hard to tell whether it’s real fruit or syrup. Who cares! It smells nice! The creamy vanilla also comes off pretty strong as does the coconut, spicy dark rum, licorice and fudge. As we continue to take it in we can’t help but keep thinking boozy Cherry Ripe in a glass. Yum!

Flavour: Similar to the nose where the indecisive but prominent cherry kicks it all off. Coconut, vanilla, sugary dark rum and sweet spice shifts into an almost medicinal cherry flavour early in the mid. The big and aggressive stout base then steps in and carries licorice, molasses, cherry fudge, rum/barrels and coconut through to the rich, sweet and warming finish which draws out nicely.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light for the style. Medium-full body, oily texture, low-ish Co2. The 12.6% ABV is fairly well buried for its size.

Overall: Along with Bridge Road’s B2 bomber this is one of a very limited number of seasonal Aussie releases we hold out for. And again it has delivered. Not as well as some of the earlier releases but it’s still bloody good. The “amphora conditioned” side of it is a bit wanky though..no wonder non craft beer drinkers have a laugh at our expense sometimes! 😂

Mr Banks ‘Roasted’ Imperial Coffee Stout

Rating:

“A Big, roasty, coffee & chocolate laden imperial stout. Forget about your morning mug of joe, this is packed full of some of the finest Peru Chirinos Beans from Prodigal Coffee Roasters.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a thumb of fizzy yet finely beaded brown foam which quickly dissolves. It forms a halo and works a wet lace down the glass.

Aroma: Yup, loving this already. If you’ve been following us for long enough you’d know that coffee comes a comfortable 2nd to beer as our favourite beverage. So when these two magical worlds meet it’s usually just that…magical! The balance between the nutty, slightly burnt and chocolate-driven coffee and the roasty, licorice and ashy Stout base is literally divine. Honestly there’s no other way of describing it.

Flavour: We had to double check the ABV to reassure ourselves and yes, it’s 9.2% ABV. Dead set, where is it?! So dangerously drinkable! It opens up with a mild coffee roast, toasted walnuts, cocoa and ash – which develops a bit later. Picking up nuanced notes of vanilla and toasted coconut, light florals and burnt milk for days on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: So thick and creamy but unbelievably smooth. Mild-moderate Co2. Full body. As we touched on earlier the 9.2% ABV is incredibly well concealed.

Overall: Not often are we this impressed by Banksy but this offering deserves some adulation. It’s excquisitely balanced, rich and full flavoured and the coffee is beautifully integrated. That’s a definite two thumbs up from us.