Thursday, 5 January 2012

Bristol Beer Factory Imperial Stout

Good evening all. I knew that I couldn't stay away for long. I tried to relinquish myself from the clutches of the stout and thought I'd succeeded, but I've been drawn back in for more. This beer is the final stout from the "12 Stouts of Christmas" series from Bristol Beer Factory, and it's a big one. Now that's one too many "Carry On" style euphemisms for my liking, so let's get straight to the review of Imperial Stout....

Imperial Stout (8.5% ABV) pours a deep black colour (so black, in fact, that you can see a certain critically acclaimed beer blogger in the reflection of the glass) with a decent chestnut brown head that remains fairly undisturbed on the surface of the beer. The aroma is very rich, with liquorice and coffee behind a dark malt backbone. The taste is composed of dark fruits (mainly blackcurrant) with plenty of roasted malt flavours and a slight bitterness in the finish, reminiscent of dark chocolate. There's also a slight nuttiness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light despite the carbonation. This stout is very deserving of its name- bold flavours, fantastic aroma and a pleasing warmth from the alcohol. My only personal criticism is that it lacks substance in the mouthfeel, which can sometimes make it come across as imbalanced when all of the flavours are percolating on the taste buds.

On the whole, the "12 Stouts of Christmas" have been fantastic beers, demonstrating just how versatile the stout beer style is and how easily it can accommodate unusual ingredients. The only comparable beer experience I've had was the series of single hop IPAs from the gypsy brewing supremo Mikkeller. I was able to acquire 14 of the 19 that were produced, and each one was an invaluable lesson in appreciating how certain hop types contribute to the flavour and aroma of an IPA. I genuinely hope that Bristol Beer Factory produces another set of beers next year!

Until next time....

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