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Posts Tagged ‘imperial stout’

Horny Bull Stout

January 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.55

The second of the two Hillstown Brewery beers that I picked up in Ireland recently, this one following on from the bottle of Squealing Pig IPA from the brewery that I reviewed here last. This one is a beer that was originally a 12% abv. beer before being reduced to its current 7% abv. in subsequent batches but it’s still labelled as an imperial stout and that’s part of the reason I picked this one up. Like the bottle of Squealing Pig before it, this isn’t a beer that I’d seen on any of my previous trips to Ireland despite it being about since late 2014 but it does seem to attract fairly good reviews online and it was definitely one that I was excited about trying when I cracked the bottle open on Christmas Eve, here’s what I thought of it when I did.

Appearance (5/5): Quite a thick looking, black coloured beer that formed a large, foamy head that was domed shaped and almost overflowed the glass as I poured. It was a thick looking, light beige head that held well with little initial reduction in size for the first couple minutes before eventually settling as a centimetre and a half tall head that looked great.
Aroma (6/10): Not a huge amount came through initially with the nose, something that was a little surprising given the strength of the beer itself but there was some roasted malts and a subtle touch of alcohol in the early going. Towards the middle there was some lighter chocolate notes and a bit of caramel with some liquorice following on behind but it’s definitely a beer that could have been a lot stronger on the nose.
Taste (7/10): Thankfully the taste opened with more strength and flavour than the nose hinted at, there was some cocoa and chocolate to kick things off with a nice caramel sweetness bring things towards the middle. The beer seemed stronger with a touch of alcohol coming through alongside a few roasted malts and what was quite a creamy finish.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied with a slightly sweet feel that had some alcohol showing at times but was fairly well balanced for the most part. The body was softly carbonated and easy going despite the strength and the warming alcohol towards the end but it was nothing special sadly and I was definitely expecting a little more from it.

Overall (13/20): Quite a strange one from Hillstown here, the beer definitely opened lighter than expected for a beer that was 7% abv. and labelled as an imperial stout with the nose bordering on weak at points. Thankfully the taste was a little better with some nice cocoa and chocolate flavours alongside a caramel sweetness and subtle touches of alcohol to add a little strength and a slightly warming finish. The beer sadly wasn’t as exciting or varied as I’d anticipated and perhaps it lost something when it changed from a 12% abv. offering to it’s current 7% but it’s probably not a beer that I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Randalstown, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Brewery: Hillstown Brewery
First Brewed: 2014
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £2.59

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Brewdog/Beavertown Coffee and Cigarettes

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Released at the start of summer last year, this beer is a collaborative offering from Brewdog and London based Beavertown that I picked up soon after it was released but was purposely keeping to try over the holiday season, finally getting round to it on my last day off before starting back work again. A huge imperial stout that comes in at 12.% abv. and is aged in three different types of whiskey casks before being blended together again; Islay, Bourbon and Rye whiskey casks were all used during the brewery process with this one. The beer itself was one that I wasn’t too sure about picking up but it was one of the few I hadn’t tried from Brewdog when I was visiting their bottle shop so I decided to grab myself one for winter, here’s what I thought of it when I finally got round to cracking a bottle open.

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black in colour, this one looks like oil in the glass and is topped with a half centimetre foamy head that is a light brown colour and settles as a fine surface lacing after thirty seconds or so but is still pretty good considering the strength of this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a strong nose kicks things off here, there was plenty of coffee initially with a touch of chocolate backing it up and adding some sweetness to the equation along with subtle liquorice notes too. Around the middle the ‘cigarette’ side of things started to make itself known with some strong smoked notes and touches of wood coming through, a hint of oak showed itself here too. It was definitely a dark beer on the nose with some peat and warming alcohol aromas at the end, as well as some subtle vanilla sweetness.
Taste (6/10): Mirroring the nose, the beer opens with strong chocolate and cocoa flavours alongside a solid coffee taste that was slightly bitter. There was some alcohol showing soon after with the beer having quite a strong kick to it which made it seem boozy and warming then from about the middle on there was some wood and smoked notes coming through with some of the vanilla (or possibly coconut) sweetness from the nose carrying through as well. At the end there was a definite whisky taste with peat malts and some darker fruits coming through as well, most notably I got some raisins and plum but it was definitely the alcohol that dominated nearer the end.
Palate (4/5): A very strong, full bodied beer that was loaded with alcohol from the start and definitely lived up to its 12.1% abv. content although at least some of the alcohol was masked by the chocolate and vanilla sweetness along with the coffee bitterness and wood flavours but I felt these could have been stronger. The beer was a softly carbonated offering that was quite warming at the end and came with quite a strong kick to it but I was hoping for a slightly better balance to make it an easier to drink offering in truth.

Overall (15/20): Very strong stuff from Brewdog and Beavertown here, this one is a huge beer that initially opened with a lot of chocolate and coffee but was quickly followed by a tonne of alcohol alongside some wood and oak flavours; there was also quite a strong whiskey taste with peat malts and further alcohol showing towards the end. It was a difficult beer to drink, particularly with the wood and smoked flavours nearer the end and the fact that the beer didn’t have the best balance, something that I felt held this one back and prevented me from enjoying it as much as I have other imperial stout I’ve tried recently. It was quite a complex offering though with some rich touches and darker fruits towards the end but I felt the alcohol dominated too much and I doubt it’s one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog/Beavertown (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.1%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £9.64

Buxton/Stillwater Subliminal

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My sixth beer from Buxton now, this one a collaborative offering from them and the Baltimore based Stillwater Artisinal that I picked up from the Brewdog online shop back in April when it was heavily discounted. The beer is a one-off from the brewer that was released in late 2016 and is one that I’ve been saving for the Christmas period since it’s a relatively strong 10% abv. offering. The beer follows on from their Axe Edge as the first beer from Buxton that I’ll have reviewed here since June of this year, that one being a beer that I actually picked up alongside this one earlier in the year; the only other Stillwater offering I’ve tried was their collaboration with William Brothers for their Stravaigin Croft Saison that I tried way back in June 2013 which was an enjoyable offering so it should be interesting to see how they do with an imperial stout.

Appearance (4/5): Very thick and dark looking as it poured, the beer is pitch black and opaque with a centimetre tall head that’s medium brown in colour and foamy before it starts to break up slightly at one side after about twenty seconds or so but it’s a good start considering the strength of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some roasted malts and a coffee aroma, the beer has touches of chocolate through it in the early going and is very dark with some alcohol notes coming through as well. It’s a semi-sweet offering that has some caramel malts and a little sugar sitting in the background with touches of smoke towards the end as well; a pleasant beer but slightly more alcohol showed than I’d have liked.
Taste (7/10): The taste was kicked off with some chocolate and roasted malts alongside a strong alcohol kick that carried on from the nose, there was some liquorice and sugars in there as well though. Towards the middle I got some of the smoke and wood flavours that were hinted at with the nose and there was a coffee bitterness further on that rounded things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Quite a boozy, full-bodied beer that was thick and came through with a lot of alcohol showing, something that I’d have liked to have been better hidden but the beer was still a drinkable offering. It was quite a warming drink towards the end with a subtle bitterness from the roasted malts and coffee flavours as well as a caramel sweetness backed up by some sugars. It was moderately carbonated and the balance was okay, although as I’ve said there was perhaps a little too much alcohol at times.

Overall (15/20): Strong and boozy with a lot of alcohol showing but this one was also quite a complex offering that opened with some dark malts and chocolate alongside a caramel sweetness which gave it quite a rich, warming feel. I’d have liked a better balance with less alcohol showing but the beer was still a drinkable one with a few roasted malts that turned smoky with some wood flavours towards the end; definitely one worth trying, especially for the price I paid for it but there are better imperial stouts out there too.

Brewed In: Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Brewery: Buxton Brewery/Stillwater Artisinal (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.57

Big Black Berry Chew Chew

December 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

A second Fallen beer in quick succession and one that follows on from their Grapevine pale ale that I reviewed here recently, this one however is a slightly stronger beer that comes in and 10% abv. and is labelled as a “salted caramel, blackberry and blackcurrant milk stout” which certainly isn’t a style of beer that you see very often. I spotted this one in a local bottle shop alongside the brewery’s raspberry version of the beer and was tempted to pick that one up as well but opted to see how this one goes before grabbing that one as well, so hopefully this one turns out to be as good as the last beer from the brewery that I tried.

Appearance (4/5): Dark ruby with an almost purple hue in places and topped with a quarter-inch foamy head that took a fairly aggressive pour to form and is a light brown colour with purple hues through that as well. It is patchy towards the centre but I don’t have too many complaints given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Surprisingly fruity to begin with, there is obviously a lot of the blackcurrant and blackberries coming through in the early going with a subtle hint of cherry too. The beer seems fresher than I’m used to for an imperial stout with some good sweetness and tart notes in the early going as well. There are followed up by the salted caramel advertised on the can as well as some lighter fruits that give the beer a juicy aroma to it. There’s some milky notes further on with some darker malts and roasted notes seeing things out but it’s a lighter smell than expected from such a strong beer with the fruits dominating for the most part and it is certainly something different too.
Taste (7/10): Slightly darker than the nose with lactose and milk flavours coming more to the front alongside the berries from the nose and the blackcurrant too. It’s again sweet and fresh, very juicy too with and little caramel towards the middle that only added to the sweetness before some of the tart from the nose started to come through and eventually eclipsed what was showing on the nose. Again it was an unusual beer for an imperial stout and definitely something different to what I’m used to, it was enjoyable as well which was nice but I’m not totally convinced by it in truth.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and definitely a little lighter than you would expect from a 10% abv. beer but at least it wasn’t a thin offering. The beer was fruity with some nice sweetness and tart showing in both the nose and the taste plus there was good variety to the beer whilst the balance wasn’t too bad either; it was perhaps a little too sweet at times but it remained drinkable throughout anyway. Despite coming through at 10% abv. and being labelled as an imperial stout, the beer was surprisingly light on alcohol flavours and grain, the rest of the fruits seemingly masking the alcohol content completely.

Overall (14/20): Quite an unusual beer here, this one is labelled as an imperial stout but at times seemed closer to a sour or fruit beer with plenty of blackcurrant and berries coming through in the early going, accompanied by some caramel and milk flavours but both of these definitely seemed to take a back seat to the fruits. The alcohol content of the beer in particular was well hidden and it was surprisingly easy to drink, although the sweetness did seem a little overdone at times sadly. It was a varied beer with a lot going on and it was unlike anything I’d tried before but I’m not convinced that it would be a beer that I’d rush back to again I’m afraid since there is already a lot of better imperial stouts out there waiting to be tried.

Brewed In: Kippen, Stirling, Scotland
Brewery: Fallen Brewing
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.80

Club of Slaughters

December 7, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.25

A fourth Wylam beer now and one that comes after a five-year gap with the last beer from the brewery I tried being their Bohemia pilnser that I sampled back in December 2012. The other two beers from the brewery that I’ve sampled, their Angel and Rocket bitters, were both pretty standard fair but the Newcastle based brewery seems to have upped their game of late and I’ve started to see a few more adventurous offerings from them available. I picked this one up when visiting the city over the summer and also grabbed another couple from them on the same visit that I’ve yet to try. I then spotted yet another imperial stout from Wylam in a Glasgow bottle shop last weekend, a beer that I quickly picked up. This particular offering from the brewery, despite the name suggesting otherwise, is apparently a vegan friendly beer that was first introduced in late 2015 and as yet is not one that I’ve seen available in Scotland but perhaps that is something that will change going forward since last weekend was the first time that I’d spotted any Wylam beers north of the border.

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black and almost oil-like with a foamy brown head that is just under a centimetre tall but holds surprisingly well for a fairly strong beer. The head does slowly fade to leave a thin surface lacing in the middle with a little more build up around the sides but it doesn’t look too bad at all.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong beer on the nose with a lot of alcohol showing in the early going as well as a lot of peated malts that gave the beer a type of whiskey aroma. It was slightly sweet towards the middle with some rich and dark fruits coming through alongside some mint that was unusual but enjoyable before the beer was rounded off with some liquorice and alcohol grains.
Taste (6/10): Opening with the same peated malts that featured heavily with the nose, the beer wasn’t quite as strong this time around but there was some strong alcohol grains and smoky flavours present that threatened to overpower at points. I got some roasted flavours around the middle of the beer with touches of mint further on with some more malts seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): A very strong beer with plenty dark and roasted touches that were quite smoky too that’s to the peated malts. The beer was loaded with alcohol and seemed stronger than the 8.8% abv. on the bottle, the balance in particular being a poor one that made it a slow one to get through; not a great one of the style at all and one I’d avoid in future.

Overall (13/20): This one was a very strong beer from the outset and one that was loaded with peated malts, smoky flavours and some wood which all gave the beer a whiskey feel to it in the early going. The alcohol that came through seemed overdone and made the beer seem a lot stronger than the 8.8% advertised on the bottle, it was also a bit of a struggle to finish too, although the surprising addition of some mint to the nose and taste was quite enjoyable but other than that the beer seemed poorly balanced and was a relatively poor imperial stout sadly.

Brewed In: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Brewery: Wylam Brewery
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 8.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Fenwicks (Newcastle)
Price: £3.49

Black Eyed King Imp (Vietnamese Coffee Edition)

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.15

At the time I purchased this one last August it was the strongest canned beer in the world (apparently) but it’s taken me over a year to finally open it. Brewed as a one-off from Brewdog in 2015, this was a beer that I almost didn’t bother picking up given the price but eventually changed my mind last year when placing another online order with the brewery. This one is the Vietnamese coffee edition of the beer and one that I finally cracked open early last month so I was interested to see how the beer had held up in the year since I’d bought it; as it turns out it had aged pretty well.

Appearance (4/5): Oil black and opaque with quick a thick looking pour, the head is a medium, tan brown colour that is about half a centimetre tall but fades to a thin surface lacing after about thirty seconds, covering the centre and some of the edges of the surface.
Aroma (9/10): Quite a strong opening but not one that overpowered, there was some strong coffee and vanilla notes to open things up alongside some dark, roasted malts and plenty of chocolate. I managed to get some sweetness in the early going with some touches of oak and subtle fruits that seemed to work well together towards the end; dates and plums featured strongest but there was also some dates in there as well.
Taste (8/10): Opening with a lot of chocolate and a solid sweetness off the back of this, the beer also had some subtle vanilla flavours and sugars coming through in the early going. Further on some oak and dark, roasted malts from the nose started to come through alongside a few creamy touches and more coffee. Towards the end there was a few dark fruits with plum and raisin seeming the most pronounced and continuing what the nose had earlier started.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and full-bodied with soft carbonation levels and quite a dark, rich feel to proceedings. There was a lot of complexity to the beer and the balance was quite good too, it was a lot easier to drink that I’d expected from such a strong beer.

Overall (17/20): Excellent stuff from Brewdog and definitely one of their better beers, this one seemed to hold up well in the year plus since I bought the can. Opening with plenty of coffee, chocolate and vanilla flavours and some nice roasted malts too, this one was a complex but very well-balanced beer that went down quite easily considering the strength. It’s rich but softly carbonated with some darker fruits near the end although things did fade a touch nearer the end too but I guess that’s understandable given how long I took enjoying it; it was a great beer throughout.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £9.50

Lemke Imperial Stout

May 12, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 4.25

Very likely the penultimate Lemke beer that I’ll be reviewing on this site for quite some time now, this one is the fourth of five beers from the brewery that I managed to sample when visiting Berlin last month and stopping by two of the brewery’s brewpubs in the Mitte area of the city. This one is by far the strongest of the five beers that I managed to try and it follows on from the review of their Hopfen Weisse, Original and 030 Berlin Pale Ale beers that I added here previously. This offering an imperial stout from the brewery that comes in at 11% abv. and is one I managed to grab a bottle of when leaving the bar on my first visit with a view of sampling it at my hotel at some point over the weekend, I also wanted to grab a bottle of their double IPA by never quite got the chance; maybe next time though.

Appearance (5/5): Really dark brown looking, bordering on black with an opaque body that is topped with quite a thin, half centimetre tall head that covers the surface well. The texture is a foamy one that also looks thick with no break up in the opening few minutes which is quite impressive given the strength of the beer; it looks quite still in the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Quiet a strong and dark beer as expected, there was a good combination of caramel and darker malts to open things up with some touches of alcohol not too far behind but thankfully nothing too strong. Towards the middle some dark fruit notes started to emerge, I could detect some cherries and prunes with some plum and raisin in there too, all of which added some nice sweetness to the beer. It was a relatively complex offering from the brewery with oak and some hints of vanilla down the stretch; a good start.
Taste (8/10): Again opening quite sweet like the nose, there was a lot of dark fruits in the early going here with the prunes, plums and raisins from the nose all featuring and coming out strongest initially. These flavours were followed by some cherries before a chocolate aroma featured near the middle with some coffee and roasted malts backing it up. It was again a complex offering with some light alcohol and caramel flavours coming through at the end to see things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied but quite a strong and smooth offering, this one opened with a lot of warming alcohol but thankfully feel short of overpowering the beer. It seemed relatively complex with more sweetness showing than expected thanks to the combination of dark fruits showing throughout. The beer also had a pretty good balance and proved quite easy to drink with moderate carbonation coming through as well; it’s a difficult beer to fault really.

Overall (17/20): This one was another pretty nice beer from Lemke, it opened as quite a complex offering with a solid combination of darker fruits and malts coming through that were backed up with a subtle alcohol taste but thankfully not a lot. There was some caramel sweetness and touches of vanilla in there too, some oak not far behind which all worked well together and gave the beer a nice balance. It was a pleasant one to sip away at with the smooth body and variety of flavours helping this considerably; great stuff.

Brewed In: Berlin, Germany
Brewery: Brauerei Lemke
First Brewed: circa. 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brauhaus Lemke am Alex (Berlin)
Price: €5.00 (£4.20 approx.)