Category Archives: Stout

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.

Hawkers 2021 BBA Imperial Stout


“Having slumbered in ex-bourbon barrels for over 8 months, this imperial stout has awoken with resurrected ferocity and ramped up flavours of bourbon and vanilla. 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: Pours solid black with a brown three finger head which maintains its shape. Excellent lacing clings to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: Smells freakin incredible! The way the bourbon pops but is so nicely fused through is testament to the brewers. Behind the magnificent bourbon are decadent notes of vanilla, caramel/toffee, mixed spice and bourbon oak. The base Stout is solid too; dark chocolate, molasses, a hint of licorice and coffee. Some gamey characters as well. Brilliant aroma…really complex with lots of depth.

Flavour: Not as perfectly refined as the aroma but it’s still delicious. The bourbon has slightly rougher edges but the sweet vanilla and toffee/caramel keeps it in check. Bitter dark chocolate, ash, raw coffee bean, tobacco and licorice all combine to provide a sturdy bottom end. Some warmth late in the piece then punctuating on a roasty, charred and bourbon-infused finish. Excellent duration too.

Mouthfeel: Pretty fierce, sharp and dense. Medium-full body. Low-ish Co2. The 12.8% ABV is fairly noticeable but at that weight it’s fair enough!

Overall: We were so close to giving this mixed barrel series a miss solely on its price point. Almost $30 a can is ridiculous (luckily we get them a bit cheaper!). For the price we honestly can’t say that this expression is worth it but, and that’s a big but, it’s pretty impressive and glad we took the leap.

Upfront Brewing Bourbon Oaked Imperial Milk Stout


“A complex multi layered bourbon oaked imperial milk stout, with toasted coconut flakes, coconut cream and sticky Tongan vanilla beans.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a short and loosely bound head which retreats quickly. It settles at the rim with fine rings being left after each sip.

Aroma: Very underwhelming to be brutally honest. When we see “Bourbon Oaked Imperial Stout with coconut cream and Tongan vanilla” we’re expecting something pretty damn impressive. What we’re actually getting are hints of acrylic, cheap leather, bakers chocolate and fresh vanilla but it’s more about what it’s missing; Bourbon oak, coconut cream and most importantly a sense of structure…it just seems extremely untidy and muddled to us.

Flavour: We were hoping things would turn around majorly here and although it’s a little better assembled it’s still way off the mark. Initially we get this acrid type of flavour which if it weren’t for the lovely vanilla sweetness this would be a sink pour. It shifts into a mildly roasty mid palate where a touch of that acrylic/acetone creeps in. Vanilla, some lactose sweetness and chocolate thankfully see it off in a rare glimpse of style.

Mouthfeel: Pretty dense and muscly, flat-ish Co2. The 10% ABV shows through more than its warranted. Medium-full body.

Overall: It’s probably no surprise that this didn’t do it for us. Very poorly executed, unbalanced, unstructured and some of the feature flavours are completely MIA. Very average stuff.

Wander Beyond ‘Sakura Twilight’ Cherry Chocolate Imperial Stout


“This delectable stout is based around one of the most heavenly dessert pairings: velvety chocolate and tart cherries. Manchester-based Wander Beyond Brewing’s Sakura Twilight is brewed with fresh morello cherries and cacao nibs, making for a rich and decadent Imperial Stout with a lovely tart finish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades. It forms a finger of cherry-infused brown head which slowly reduces and weaves a gorgeous cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Oh wow that is simply delightful to take in. Just as we think the cherry is dominating it throws out a big dose of roasted malt, vanilla, chocolate ganache, golden syrup, marzipan and creamy oats to pull it back into line. Pretty sure we keep getting subtle hints of praline as well. And as it settles it all comes together and it’s downright gratifying.

Flavour: The cherry component isn’t as well integrated here but it doesn’t get too far ahead of the pack. There’s actually a hint of tartness upfront which tapers off into the more dessert-like qualities of dark chocolate, marzipan, vanilla and coffee. It kicks on into a nicely drawn out finish full of roasted malts, cherry, dark chocolate and cream.

Mouthfeel: Nice density to it but it could be a bit fuller considering its size though. Low-ish Co2. The 11% ABV is well concealed.

Overall: Look it’s a pretty solid beer. The flavour profile could have been a bit tighter but that’s a proper 1st world problem. Nothing to write home about but it’s a respectable offering.

Bad Shepherd Oatmeal Stout


“This winter favourite is seasonally brewed, using 75kg of flaked oats toasted in our brewpub kitchen to showcase a nutty oat profile, this stout is deliciously chocolatey and nutty with a full bodied creamy mouthfeel and firm roasty finish. A moderately low carbonation reminiscent of a traditional English Stout accentuates strong notes of caramel and nut on the palate.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense oily black with a finger and a half of frothy light brown head. It’s retained well and weaves a healthy lace down the glass.

Aroma: Initially it’s a little too shy and withdrawn for our liking. We’ve gotta give the glass a really good swirl to open up the subtle chocolate, cocoa, coffee and slightly creamy oatmeal. Eventually it does all come together but again it’s just too weak and watery for this style of beer. In its defence it is in session stout territory so we can’t be too harsh.

Flavour: We must give them credit coz it keeps improving as we go. Although it’s a little watered down the base flavours are fairly decent; delicate roasted malts, cocoa, coffee, oatmeal and milk chocolate. But as we say that the evolution stops in its tracks and limps over the line with a really tired finish which pulls up short on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Holds up surprisingly well. Smooth and well rounded, a little creamy. Finely carbonated. 5.1% ABV is very low for the style.

Overall: We feel if they just boosted it up to about the 6-6.5% ABV mark they could have beefed everything else up and completed the beer. Instead it’s just thin and lacking substance. We like our Stouts big, roasty and aggressive and this is the polar opposite.

Sunday Road ‘Some Velvet Morning’ Oat Cream Stout


Some Velvet Morning is a decadent stout with a luxurious flavour profile. Brewed with a sprinkle of lactose, a heaping of malted and golden naked oats and a carefully curated blend of roasted malts. Smooth, and creamy this is a modern interpretation of the style made for drinkers of today.

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: It presents with a deep black pour and a thumb of brown foam over the top. The head gradually peels off and leaves a magnificent lace as it subsides.

Aroma: Not a whole lot coming off it initially. Given a bit more time to settle and a few more swirls and it starts to release some lightly roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and toffee sweetness. As it sits longer it develops more of the stout characters we come to expect; licorice, nutty milk chocolate, granola, subtle spice, golden syrup and this earthy quality which we can’t quite put our finger on.

Flavour: Wow that is really different…then again this is the first time we’ve ever tried (or seen) an Oat Cream Stout before. Upfront it’s almost all texture and no flavour! It’s so thick and creamy that all we can really taste is vanilla, oats, a hint of chocolate and lightly roasted malt. Slowly but surely the coffee and chocolate intensifies and lands on an unbelievably smooth yet roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Beer soup. But add a dash of oat cream for extra fluffy-ness. It’s so dense and creamy…we love it! The 6.4% ABV is nicely slotted in without notice.

Overall: This brewery keeps going from strength to strength. It’s unimaginable that just a couple of years ago all they had was a mild old pale ale so we’re loving the progression of these guys. Solid offering.

7 Mile ‘Quarter to Seven’ Coffee Stout


“An intense coffee stout brewed in collaboration with our friends at Old Quarter Coffee Merchants. This beer is made with direct trade Sumatra Gayo beans, offering a rich and slightly fruity note.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Dense black with a short tan head which gradually peels off. It forms a halo which works a lovely cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: Pow! The coffee hits the olfactories immediately. It provides more of a raw Kopi Luwak kind of quality which displays nutty, chocolate and slightly bitter notes. Behind the coffee is a steadfast fusion of burnt wood, dark chocolate, dark fruits, raw cacao, mild licorice and a rich and intense toffee/caramel accent. Jeez, talk about kicking off in style!

Flavour: Once again the intensity of the coffee is front and centre – really honing in on this raw and nutty complexity which is heavenly. It’s backed up by a subtle hint of vanilla, milk chocolate, dark fruits, woody notes and this overarching earthy dryness…which is most likely from the hops. The finish is roasty, coffee-laden and a tad fruity.

Mouthfeel: Loving the viscosity…it’s hefty and muscly with low-ish Co2. Fairly inoffensive too which is a credit to them. 6.7% ABV is well tempered.

Overall: Let us just say this is a very promising start to this brewery. Laying down roots in far north NSW not far from good ol’ Byron Bay. Look out Stone & Wood some healthy competition has arrived! Potentially 😉

Alesmith ‘Speedway – Mostra Coffee & Coconut’ Imperial Stout


“For this special variant of our signature Speedway Imperial Stout we partnered with our good friends at @mostracoffee to add their Ghost Bear Coffee Blend: Speedway Edition, which features beans from Brazil, the Philippines, and El Salvador! Combined with copious amounts of coconut to pair with Speedway’s already roasty notes of chocolate and dark fruit, this specialty release is definitely something to write home about.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of light brown foam perched on top. It gradually reduced to a halo with scarce lacing as we imbibe.

Aroma: Loving the way the coconut slices through the rich and roasty malts. Hold the nostrils over the beer for a little longer and the heavenly scents of coffee come to the party with its nutty and slightly roasted traits. Then the cavalry arrives bringing vanilla, muscovado sugar, fig, licorice, charred wood, dark chocolate, star anise/clove and black pepper. This is smelling the goods!

Flavour: Quite bitter and we don’t think it’s coming from the coffee either. It’s more of a hop bitterness which is emphasized further by the monstrous 12% ABV. Lucky the immensely rich and roasty malts come through with serious vigour. The coconut and coffee is front and centre as they should be. Evident notes of molasses, licorice and ash then shift into the nice roasted finish full of coconut, vanilla, charred malts and coffee.

Mouthfeel: The viscosity on this bad boy…ooft! So dense and muscly. Low-ish Co2, full body. The 12% ABV isn’t shying away.

Overall: Even though it’s a corker of a beer nothing under the ‘Speedway’ label has ever been able to come close to Thai Speedway. That thing was OG. Still, it’s a highly enjoyable version.

Hawkers ’21 Vintage Imperial Stout


“Massive, lush, and dark as night, our 2021 Imperial Stout is a behemoth towering against an inky black sky with flavours of dark chocolate, espresso, and roasted malt. 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: As black as the ace of spades and whipping up a humongous four finger head which takes an age to recede. An absolute smattering of lace is left on the glass.

Aroma: At its core it’s pretty big and ferocious. Heady notes of licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, raw coffee, ash, Jaffa and earthy hops. Yet once again we struggle to split the difference between not only this series’ previous vintages but other Impy stouts in general. Don’t get us wrong it’s a really well structured aroma but for us it’s just…another Imperial Stout aroma.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose; rich and aggressive roasted/charred malts, licorice, molasses, espresso, chocolate and bitter earthy hops. It hits a super ashy note midway, bordering on IPA-like bitterness before it tapers off into the classic charred malt characters of espresso, dark chocolate and licorice. The length on this bad boy deserves a mention though.

Mouthfeel: Nice and dense, full bodied. Low-ish Co2. The 10.5% ABV is fairly well behaved throughout.

Overall: Yeah nothing overly memorable unfortunately. Yes, it’s well brewed and also well structured but for us it’s like almost every other Imperial Stout on the market….good but not great.

Van Steenberge ‘Gulden Draak’ Belgian Imperial Stout


“Dark mahogany colour. Aromas of fruitcake, bubblegum, rum-raisin, nutmeg, and spiced pumpkin with a satiny, bright, effervescent, very sweet medium-to-full body and a medium-length egg custard, nut shells, and parchment finish. A very sweet beer that might be a nice holiday desert pairing.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours quite light for an Impy Stout. Looks more like a Quad or a Brown Ale with deep burgundy hues. It caps off with two fingers of finely beaded head which retains. Healthy lace as we imbibe.

Aroma: Intriguing to say the least. We can’t get past this pronounced burned plastic scent which also hints at band aids and a touch of chlorine. Definitely an undesirable and points to poor rinsing of cleaning products in the tank. Luckily it fades out and the classic Quad-like yeast-driven esters, dark fruits i.e raisin, prunes/dates and plum, carob, burnt brown sugar, all spice and toasted pumpernickel come through.

Flavour: Far better than the nose. That gross burnt plastic note has completely vanished and the rich Quad-like flavours dominate; sweet and sugary dates/prunes, raisin and fig, yeast esters, spice, carob, rich toffee, molasses, pumpernickel and mild roasted malts on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth and creamy, full bodied. Very finely carbed. The astonishing thing is the totally hidden 12% ABV…that is dangerous!

Overall: We thought we had a spoilt beer initially but it came back from the brink. Big time! We’d say it’s more Quad than Imperial Stout though. Still, a bloody decent drop in the end.

Alesmith ‘Speedway Stout – Espresso & Vanilla’ Imperial Stout


“Creamy espresso and lush Madagascar Vanilla add to the robust chocolate and coffee flavors Speedway fans already know and love and that classic 12% Imperial Stout punch will have you feeling juuuust right.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as midnight with a thumb of dark brown head emerging on top. It gradually recedes and leaves a cascading lace down the walls of the glass.

Aroma: The overall balance is exceptional. The olfactories are inundated with everything from rich molasses and licorice to fresh vanilla and cinnamon-esque spices. Then it’s layered with heady dark and jammy fruits, sweet espresso, cocoa, dark chocolate, treacle/toffee and even a touch of grassy/herbal hops. We can pick up a slight hit of booze but it’s excusable considering its weight (12%).

Flavour: Doing all the right things early in the piece. Although it comes on with a rather fierce booze burn it’s backed up by a swathe of dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, rich dark fruits, earthy hops and heavily charred malt. The chocolate and cocoa side of it really intensifies midway…hitting a rich saucy note that softens the espresso. Nice roasty and bittersweet finish which goes the distance.

Mouthfeel: Thick and muscly. Slightly lifted Co2 for an Impy Stout. Big and somewhat abrasive 12% ABV. Again, acceptable considering its size.

Overall: We know this is gonna sound super critical but it just didn’t land the knockout blow for us. It’s a superb drop nonetheless, we’ve probably got our expectations set too high from just coming off that Hot Buttered Rum by Oskar Blues recently. Solid but not overly memorable.

Oskar Blues ‘Ten Fidy – Hot Buttered Rum’ BA Imperial Stout


“Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon & Rum Barrels with Natural Flavors.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Thick, muddy black complexion with a rapidly vanishing head. All that’s left is a bubbling island in the middle with no lace to speak of.

Aroma: There’s that much going on we don’t know where to start. The effect the double barrel ageing provides is huge. This marriage between the rum and bourbon is crazy, we’ve never encountered the two blending together as well as they have here before. Then there’s the crucial support role from molasses, licorice, toffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, toasted coconut, cinnamon-esque spice, dank musty oak and earthy charred malts. Ooofft!

Flavour: It’s a good thing we ate lunch before this. One – now we won’t pass out sitting up and two – we’re not gonna be able to taste anything else for hours! Like the aroma we’re getting a blast of rum and bourbon boosted by an ascending booze burn. Super rich toffee, molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, mixed spice, toasted coconut, burnt vanilla and a finish so hot and meaty it could have just come straight off the barby!

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably dense and heavy yet the perfect carb makes it feel lighter than it actually is. Full bodied and who could ignore that piss weak 16.5% ABV right?!

Overall: Just wow. And we thought we were getting elephants trunk from the fumes alone…once this thing is in your belly you know all about it. God damn impy stout heaven though. We can only dream that one day an Aussie brewery can produce BA Imperial Stouts on this level.

Moon Dog ‘Breaker Of Chains’ Chilli & Vanilla Imperial Stout


“Breaker of Chains Chilli and Vanilla Imperial Stout is a big, rich but extremely drinkable stout. Chipotle chilli is the star of the show, with a slow burning heat coming through. We’ve balanced the heat with subtle hints of vanilla and a deep, dark chocolate finish. Best enjoyed on the Iron Throne!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with two fingers of brown head on top. It gradually reduces and forms a halo with little lace as we go.

Aroma: Definitely getting that line of creamy vanilla cutting through the reasonably thick chocolate malts. The chilli is a bit more reserved though…don’t get us wrong there’s still enough there to give the nose hairs a tickle! We must admit the base stout is weak as piss. We can get sweet coffee, chocolate, dark fruits and a touch of molasses but it could easily pass as a hearty Dark Ale or Porter. Not big enough!

Flavour: Thankfully there’s a bit more fire (pun intended) here. Not really in the sense of heat from the chilli, just more overall vigour. Slightly bigger and more rounded chocolate, coffee and roasted malt…now there’s enough for the vanilla sweetness to counteract. The chilli turns it up a notch or two midway and rolls into a warming finish with mild char, coffee and dark chocolate on the back end.

Mouthfeel: A little too carbed for our liking but then again that could just be the lack of body showing through. Pretty smooth we’ll give it that. Hides the 7.7% ABV well too.

Overall: Not what we were hoping for lets put it that way. Too light on and nowhere the amount of oomph we come to expect from a near 8% Stout…even the chilli could have been dialled up a bit. A tad disappointing to be honest.

Stockade 2021 vintage ‘Old Money’ BA Imperial Stout


“Aged in Whisky barrel this massive beer has thick, velvety chocolate tones, coupled with rich raisin and currant notes.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Solid black with a thumb of brown foam which gradually retracts. It settles at the rim and leaves a beautiful cascading lace down the glass.

Aroma: The intensity of the whiskey is next level…it’s almost a bloody boilermaker! Surely there was a bit of leftover whiskey left in the barrels before the beer went in. We’d love to know what whiskey the barrels held beforehand as it has a certain Lowland-esque saltiness, peat and wood based vanilla. The base Stout also offers a rich and complex mix of molasses, licorice, dark chocolate and ash.

Flavour: The whiskey component is ridiculous…it’s almost straight out of the bottle except for the booze burn. Massive amounts of salted dark chocolate, peat, old oak, musty sauna room, vanilla and molasses. Some mild smoky notes and ash, licorice, dark fruits and treacle just for extra measure. The finish is so dank, musty and whiskey-driven it’s not funny. Exceptional length too.

Mouthfeel: Beer soup…thick and viscous, low Co2 and full body. 13.5% ABV is tasted and felt! This is a proper onslaught.

Overall: As much as we LOVE the intensity we feel it needs some extra balance. Something sweet or spicy like maple, vanilla or cinnamon. This is the biggest difference between the best BA Stouts from the USA and ours…balance. It’s not often we’re overwhelmed but we are on this one. Wow!

The Bruery ‘Back To Basics’ Spiced Imperial Stout


“Who said innovation can’t take you back to the basics? A wise Bruer once said, “spice is life,” and this imperial stout certainly takes that to heart. Brewed with pumpkin, dulce de leche, coffee, milk sugar, and vanilla, this seasonably fashionable imperial stout was inspired by the familiarly decadent flavors of a pumpkin spiced latte.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: As black as the ace of spades with a short dark brown head which quickly fades. It struggles to produce much lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: There’s certainly a big impression of mixed spice i.e clove, nutmeg, aniseed, star anise and cinnamon but they’re finely balanced by strong and nutty coffee, creamy vanilla and milk sugars, treacle and red peppers. It’s funny we were expecting to get a big hit of pumpkin but it’s surprisingly timid.. we can pick up a very faint earthy/vegetal quality but it’s very subdued. Alas, it’s still a lovely aroma.

Flavour: Holy testicle Tuesday this is packing some serious punch. The slightly dominant spice on the nose has fallen into line and the pumpkin has been given a boost. Then there’s everything else…coffee, vanilla, licorice, treacle, toffee, lactose/milk sugars, molasses, leather, charred malts and gentle smoky notes. Oopht!

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and slick. Really coats the whole palate. Full bodied, low Co2. 11.2% ABV is fairly well behaved for its size.

Overall: Jeez it’s good to have them back! We keep harping on about how average Churriosity was (seriously it was) so it really is good to have them back to their brilliant best. Keep em comin lads!

The Bruery ‘Oatmeal Cookie’ BA Imperial Stout


“Sink your teeth into this boldy decadent, freshly-baked imperial stout. This barrel-aged treat was brewed with old-fashioned oats and packed full of cinnamon, raisins, and granola for the perfect balance of sweetness, spice, and chocolatey richness, reminiscent of oatmeal cookies hot off the pan.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with two fingers of finely beaded tan foam perched on top. Good retention and a gorgeous cascading lace is left on the glass.

Aroma: One of the first things to hit the olfactories is the cinnamon…and we looovvveee cinnamon! It’s cool the way it evolves too coz the cinnamon kinda folds into the dark fruit sweetness which in turn makes way for the sweet and spicy bourbon and subtle musty oak. Then add on top the maple-esque sweetness, cinnamon Cheerio’s and soft creamy oats. We haven’t even mentioned the chocolate and licorice from the base stout yet either! Solid.

Flavour: Again it’s all about the cinnamon and the balance from the dark fruit sweetness and the delicate bite from the bourbon/barrels. Tasting the oatmeal more than what was perceived on the nose. Coconut/vanilla, maple, oats, brown sugar…even a touch of apple pie. And even with all of this pastry goodness it still manages a hearty stout base of milk chocolate, roasted malt, licorice and fig.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably smooth and velvety. Mild-moderate Co2. Full body. 10.2% ABV is completely hidden.

Overall: The Bruery are back to their best for this one. We were pretty disappointed by Churriosity but we had a gut feeling it was just a rare one off. It’s great to see them right back on the money. It’s sweet, savoury, spicy, roasty and even grainy. Delish!

Clown Shoes ‘Snow On The Maple Tree’ BA Imperial Stout


“A fresh sheet of snow clings to the limbs of the great Maple Tree. The ancient maple provides this frigid winter’s day with a touch of majesty as it glimmers in the afternoon sun.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a thumb of brown foam resting atop. The head slowly retreats to the rim and leaves a thin pattern of rings as we indulge.

Aroma: We can definitely pick up the maple bourbon barrels…the distinct caramelised sugars and cinnamon-esque spice provide a lovely backdrop for the hearty base stout characters; roasted malt, vanilla, licorice and mild coffee. We’re also getting a rather strong musk quality alongside lighter notes of pink marshmallow, bourbon and herbal spice. Not the CBS contender we were hoping for but it’s still decent.

Flavour: Oopht! OK it was harnessing all of its energy for this. It rolls on to the palate with a delicious fusion of maple bourbon, spice, vanilla and roasted malt. A mild warmth from the 10% ABV ties it all together. It’s really cool the way the flavours all take turns of enjoying their moment before it punctuates on a roasty, bittersweet and maple-driven finish which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Dense and muscly, low Co2 and full bodied. The 10% ABV hides itself reasonably well. Couldn’t ask for much more from a BA Imperial Stout.

Overall: Yeah look it’s no CBS. It’s probably got better balance than our very own Mountie by Stockade though. We were expecting a little bit more from it but in the end it was still a delicious offering.

De Molen ‘Different & Unusual’ Imperial Cherry Stout


“Imperial stout-ish, with cedar wood and amarene cherries.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Literally pours like engine oil; pitch black with a finger of dark brown head emerging on top. Steady reduction and little lace as we go.

Aroma: It certainly isn’t short of depth and complexity. Loving the amount of bottom end…rich and intense dark chocolate, licorice, molasses, ripe cherry, mixed spices, rum & raisin, dates/prunes and a certain woody note…either pine or cedar. And as we write that we see that cedar chips were used. Incredible aroma. De Molen to a tee!

Flavour: It’s offering everything from heavily charred malts and ash to bittersweet salty chocolate, licorice and molasses, dark fruits like raisin, prunes/dates, earthy spice and woody notes. Then all the way through is this kinda musky and candy-esque accent which is just down right amazing. It all then converges in this somewhat aggressive finish which goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Sharp and a little oily. Slightly dry and bitter…the 10.4% ABV definitely doesn’t hold back. Mild-moderate Co2.

Overall: Oopht! This is a serious palate wrecker. Just huge in every aspect – bitterness, booze, char, depth of flavour. Thank goodness they only come in 330ml bottles. On the upside it’s gonna be a great night cap!

Fuller’s ‘London Black Cab’ Stout


“Brewed with a combination of five different malts, some heavily roasted for a near jet black appearance, and beneath its dark exterior features luxurious red berry notes, toasty aromas on the nose and culminates in a dry, bitter finish.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Black with a short tan head which quickly fades. Not a great deal hangs around so lacing is pretty scarce.

Aroma: Smells a bit sweet for a stout. We’ll concede that this is a very old world stout so the big and over the top new world traits won’t apply. The dominant scent would have to be the yeast-driven, quad-like dark fruits, molasses, Christmas cake, carob, toffee and the classic earthy/spicy notes from EKG. Nothing amazing but it still holds its own.

Flavour: We had some reservations about this and unfortunately they’ve come to pass. Theres nothing at all wrong with its profile – it’s full of lightly roasted malts, chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, subtle coffee and earthy hops but it’s all just a bit weak and pedestrian. A nice line of bitterness adds more drink ability to it though. Decent finish with good length.

Mouthfeel: A little too light on for our liking. Quite a smooth texture, a little creamy, low-ish Co2. The 4.5% ABV puts it squarely in session territory.

Overall: Look, for a completely peeled back traditional stout it’s good. We can’t help but feel the big and super charged, barrel aged pastry stouts of today have almost killed off these poor old humble OG’s. We tip our hat to them though.

Riverside ‘Peril’ Imperial Stout


“As the name would suggest, this Imperial Stout is indeed perilous. With flavours of dark chocolate and hints of dark dried fruits from the malt and hops this stout will take you on a journey, leading you astray as the beer warms and the flavours get bolder. At a dangerous 10% ABV, the peril begins with the first sip.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Glossy black with a thumb of finely beaded foam atop. Good retention and healthy lace as we go.

Aroma: It’s definitely got some pungent scents coming off. Rich notes of molasses, licorice, sweet espresso, toffee, chocolate, vanilla and earthy spice. Some charred and light smoky characters also coming through. As it warms it begins to reveal its sweeter side along with the warming booze.

Flavour: Oh yeah it comes on with a serious amount of attitude. Tonnes of charred malt, sharp molasses and dark fruit sweetness, chocolate, warming booze, ash and earthy roast. We’re loving how the intensity carries well in to the aggressive, bitter and roasty finish which really draws out on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Fairly big and meaty. Our only gripe is the 10% ABV is a little too keen. Nicely weighted though with mild-moderate Co2.

Overall: It’s been a seriously long time between drinks for us and Riverside. A lot has changed at the brewery since we last reviewed one of their beers but the good thing is the beers are still of high quality. This impy stout included!