Archive

Posts Tagged ‘imperial stout’

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

Advertisements

Club of Slaughters

December 7, 2017 Leave a 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, a triple and another imperial stout I believe as well as a single hop pale ale. 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.)

O’Hara’s 20th Anniversary Imperial Stout

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.7

My eleventh beer from the Carlow Brewing Company now and what I believe will be my ninth under their O’Hara’s banner. The beer is a limited release that has been available since around March of 2016 as a 20th Anniversary Imperial Stout to celebrate twenty years since the original brewery was founded back in 1996. I stumbled across this beer while I was visiting Armagh in the north of Ireland last month and quickly picked up two bottles, trying one the next evening while keeping a second to age and see how it tastes at a later date. Labelled as a complex brew with rich coffee and chocolate notes, the brewery mentions that the taste should continue to develop for years and I’m hopeful it will prove to be a good decision in picking up two bottles. This one will be my first imperial stout from the brewery but I have tried two other stouts from them previously, their O’Hara’s Leann Folláin dry stout which I reviewed here back in July 2015 as well as trying their excellent, flagship O’Hara’s Irish Stout numerous times over the years so this was definitely one I was looking forward to going in; here’s what I thought of it.

oharas-20th-anniversary-imperial-stout

Appearance (5/5): Quite a thick, dark beer that is black in colour and comes with an opaque body. There was a one and a half centimetre head on top that was foamy looking with the odd bubble near the centre. Head retention was quite good, particularly for the strength of the beer and there wasn’t much movement or reduction in size over the opening minutes really. Eventually losing about a third of its initial size, the head manages to leave some nice touches of lacing on the sides of the glass as I started to drink the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly fruity on the nose initially, there was a sweet-smelling beer that opened with some cherries and a hint of plum coming through alongside an excellent helping of chocolate and plenty of darker malts. There was some coffee notes nearer the middle of the beer and I got some touches of spice too but further sweetness was added thanks to some vanilla and oak notes. Despite being a beer with quite a high abv., this one didn’t have an overly strong nose but there was some burnt sugars and roasted notes that brought things to quite a nice close.
Taste (7/10): Opening with quite a lot of milky notes and some lactose, there was a definite milk chocolate taste to this one in the early going with some touches of liquorice in there too. I found this one to be quite a creamy tasting beer that featured some pleasant coffee flavours towards the middle, although they seemed a little subdued when compared to those from the nose. There was again a hint of spice and some darker fruits coming through towards the end, hints of plum and cherries featuring alongside some raisin and figs before the vanilla from the nose seen things out. It’s quite a nice tasting beer but I’d have liked it to come through just a little bit stronger really.
Palate (3/5): Quite a creamy beer that came through quite balanced and smooth with a medium body that could perhaps have been a little fuller. There was touches of spice nearer the end of the beer and it also turned out to be slightly boozy at that point too, something not unexpected for a 10% abv. beer. There wasn’t quite as much complexity to this one as I’d have liked in truth but the balance was nice enough and carbonation wise the beer sat somewhere around moderate; the sweetness being the most memorable things about this one in truth and something that got stronger as things went on.

Overall (14/20): Quite a nice beer overall without being a standout, although to be honest I was probably expecting more from this considering it’s a 20th anniversary beer from the brewery. It opened with some nice sweetness thanks to the sugars as well as some dark fruits then later on some vanilla but it definitely wasn’t the strongest tasting beer, something I wasn’t expecting to say about one coming in at 10% really. It had quite a smooth, creamy feel with milky chocolate dominating the taste but it could have been darker and more complex. It’s one that I’m still glad to have picked up and tried but I’m hoping the bottle I’m ageing turns out to be better than this one.

Brewed In: Muine Bheag, County Carlow, Ireland
Brewery: Carlow Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: The Wine Store (Armagh)
Price: £3.99

Hel & Verdoemenis Bourbon B.A.

February 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.45

My eleventh beer from the De Molen brewery, this one hot on the heels of their Hemel & Aarde offering from the 1001 beers list that I reviewed recently and another that I bought at the end of 2013. This particular beer is a bourbon barrel aged edition of the brewery’s Hel & Verdoemenis imperial stout and was initially released in 2013, although the original Hel & Verdoemenis dated back to 2008. The bottle that I’ll be reviewing here was bottled in November 2013 and has been aged since then since they brewery mentions on the bottle that the beer should safely keep for twenty-five years. Aged in bourbon barrels, this is one of a number of variants of Hel & Verdoemenis available and it’s one that I cracked open just after New Year when visiting Ireland; it’s also the last De Molen beer I had of those I’d been ageing but hopefully I’ll pick up another few in the near future.

hel-verdoemenis-bourbon-b-a

Appearance (4/5): Obviously quite a dark beer one but not overly thick as it was poured, it’s a very dark mahogany that is almost black. There wasn’t much of a head to the beer, even after an aggressive pour with only a tiny bit of foam lacing around the circumference and nothing in the middle of the beer; I guess that’s to be expected for an 11%, 3-year-old beer though.
Aroma (7/10): This one kicked off with quite a strong nose initially, lots of oak and smoky notes come through in the early going alongside a dominant bourbon aroma. There’s a definite alcohol presence from the start with touches roasted malt and to a lesser extent some chocolate with most of the sweetness coming from the darker malts & sugars but some vanilla sneaks in as well around the middle. Towards the end there is some toasted bitterness and a few darker fruits but the bourbon definitely comes thru strongest.
Taste (7/10): Plenty of bourbon opens things up but it’s a touch lighter than with the nose, probably thanks to the darker malts and chocolate being slightly more pronounced here. There was a lot of roasted malts around the middle that impart an earthy bitterness on the taste. Following this, I got some peat and the odd vanilla flavours that added to the strength of this one. Towards the end some alcohol grains appear but it was at least a touch lighter than the nose with dark fruits, mainly cherries and a touch of spice seeing things out.
Palate (3/5): A very strong, full-bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a lot of alcohol showing thanks to the bourbon barrel ageing process. There is a light sweetness running through the beer that helps with the balance some with some sugar, darker fruits and vanilla but it was still difficult to drink at times. Nearer the end things start to subdue a little and become more mellow once the beer opened up more but I’d definitely have enjoyed it more had it been lighter.

Overall (13/20): Definitely a strong one from De Molen, overly so in my opinion and quite a hard one to get through as a result of the overpowering alcohol taste from the bourbon. There was a lot of peat and dark malts featuring through with the odd grain thrown in for good measure but the balance definitely wasn’t as good as I’d have liked. Some dark fruits featured at times but I found them more subdued than expected and there was no sign of any hops, although the fact that the beer was three years old wouldn’t have helped that any. The aftertaste was a lingering one with some coffee and an earthy bitterness rounding things off and while it was an okay beer, it’s not one that I’ll find myself going back to again; perhaps I’d have enjoyed it more if I was into whisky but sadly this wasn’t a beer for me.

Brewed In: Bodegraven, South Holland, Netherlands
Brewery: Brouwerij de Molen
English Name: De Molen Hell & Damnation Bourbon Barrel Aged
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. (Glasgow)
Price: £7.50

Cocoa Psycho (2)

February 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.4

A milestone 300th review of a Scottish beer now and what will also be a rare  re-review of a beer that I’ve already tried now, this one is a beer that I originally tried back in September 2013 and wasn’t really taken by but decided to give it another chance as my palate has changed some since then and I’ve come to appreciate imperial stouts more. The beer in question is Brewdog’s Cocoa Psycho and is one of the most highly rated Scottish beers so it’s only fair that I give it another go. I actually picked this bottle up back in May 2015 and aged it for about a year and a half to see if that had much impact on the flavours as well. Here’s what I thought of the beer at the second time of asking.

cocoa-psycho

Appearance (4/5): Quite thick looking and pouring jet black, the beer is opaque and almost oil like in appearance. There’s quite a dark, tan brown head to the beer about half a centimetre tall that fades to leave a small amount of lacing around the edges of the glass; pretty much as expected for such a strong beer.
Aroma (8/10): A touch more subdued than I remember, this one opened with some nice chocolate malts and a few hints of sweetness alongside plenty of toasted malts. Closer to the middle I got some caramel that added to the sweetness before some coffee and darker fruits started to come through; mainly some plum and dates along with some cherries too. There was a hint of vanilla following on from this with some subtle hops in there as well to give the nose a nice balance.
Taste (9/10): Opening a bit stronger than the nose, there was a roasted malt taste that came through with slightly more sweetness than the nose and was followed by some vanilla, oak and background caramel flavours. Towards the middle the chocolate from the nose appeared and was again quite strong, the darker fruits coming through next with the plums and dates from the nose featuring alongside some raisins and cherries. The beer was a great tasting one with some cocoa and a hint of coffee bitterness towards the end and some dark malts seeing things out.
Palate (5/5): Quite thick and full-bodied, this one had soft carbonation and was quite crisp with a semi-dry feel. There was plenty of sweetness throughout and the balance was a good one too, the sugars and darker fruits working well with the more bitter, roasted flavours. The beer was also quite an easy one to drink despite being a 10% offering, some faint boozy touches and a slightly warming feel did feature at the end but it was smooth and very drinkable.

Overall (18/20): This one, although similar, was a much better version of the beer I tried a couple of years ago but the is down to the fact that I’m more into this style of beer than I was back in 2013. The balance of the beer seemed a lot better this time around and it was a very smooth, drinkable offering that combined the darker fruits and sweetness with the roasted malts very well, hiding a lot of the alcohol content in the process. I really enjoyed this one at the second time of asking and will definitely pick it up again; excellent stuff and one I’m glad I gave a second chance.

Brewed In: Ellon, Scotland
Brewery: BrewDog
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.50