Friday, 23 December 2011

Beer Advent Calendar Day 22 and 23- Bristol Beer Factory Hazelnut Latte Stout and Milk Stout

Good evening all. Tonight’s blog post will feature two beers to make up for the absence of yesterday’s review. I spent the evening with a couple of very good friends, had some fine Christmas ales at the local pub and got through a mini-keg of Thornbridge’s Jaipur- can’t really beat that! For this evening, I’ve chosen two more stouts from the “12 Stouts of Christmas” series brewed by the Bristol Beer Factory. By the end of the post, there will be four more left! Let’s stop wasting time then, and move on to the first choice….

Hazelnut Latte Stout is 4.5% ABV and has been brewed with roasted hazelnuts and Java coffee, using Milk Stout as a base. As a fan of coffee stouts (Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast, Dark Star Espresso, Founders Breakfast Stout) I was looking forward to this beer a lot, especially when considering the lower, and certainly sessionable, alcohol content. Aesthetically, the beer is dark black with no head formed during and after pouring. The immediate aroma is composed of rich coffee with no sense of the hazelnuts being present. The roasted malt is incredibly subtle in comparison, being heavily masked by the coffee. The taste starts off quite piquant, with the coffee really impacting on the front of the tongue. This leads to a slightly tart bitterness during consumption which lingers in the finish. The creamy flavours from the milk stout come through after the initial coffee burst, mixing well with the bitterness from the coffee. If there are hazelnuts in the beer, I can’t personally detect them. Clearly they don’t impart much flavour when combined with the richness of the coffee. The mouthfeel is quite light with no carbonation. Overall, this beer is a fantastic example of a lower-alcohol coffee stout that would go well with chocolate-based desserts, or as a substitute to after-dinner coffee. Another great stout experiment!
The second stout of the evening: Milk Stout. Considering I’ve had this stout in several altered forms over the last few days, I wasn’t expecting a lot. The beer is 4.5% ABV and pours a dark black with a small beige head. The aroma is very light, with some roasted malt and a slight sweetness from the lactose sugar. The taste is much of the same, with a refreshing subtlety to the beer but nothing that stands out. Mouthfeel is light and creamy, with low levels of carbonation. Overall, a fairly boring beer, but certainly not a bad one. I wouldn’t pair this with anything as the flavours would easily be lost. Still recommended, but not if you’re in the market for something spectacular.

Tomorrow evening, the penultimate advent calendar post! Until next time….

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