Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Hardknott Vitesse Noir

Good evening all. After tempting me for a couple of months, I finally decided to break out my bottle of Vitesse Noir, a "triple imperial mocha vanilla stout" from Hardknott Brewery in Cumbria. This beer is an imperial stout brewed with coffee from Latin America, chocolate from France and vanilla from Papua New Guinea, and was made in conjunction with the website "aletalk" (full details on the process can be found here: Sounds like a very lavish concoction, so let's get down to the review....

Vitesse Noir (11.0% ABV) pours a dark red colour (verging on black) with a very short lived light brown head that dissipates to nothing in the glass. The aroma is simply incredible, with tonnes of coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits (blackcurrant, raisins) and a noticeable boozy quality. It's one of the best stouts I've put to my nose, it's that rich. The taste continues to deliver, with hints of vanilla custard, coffee piquancy, dark fruits and rich dark bitter chocolate, with the coffee lingering in the finish predominantly but accompanied by the rest of the flavours in the background. The mouthfeel is quite thick and creamy with low carbonation. The flavours are quite heavy on the palette but not cloying, a testament to how balanced yet extraordinary the beer is. Overall, this is a fantastic imperial stout that I couldn't throw enough complimentary adjectives at. It's so rich and velvety, with each ingredient being supplied in heavy quantities but somehow not overpowering each other. I've had one other Hardknott beer before (the limited-release barleywine Granite 2011) and found it to be very good, but this takes things to a stratospheric echelon by comparison. Get a few bottles of this, drink one now and keep the rest for years to come, this beer can only improve with time. Perfect for desserts or as an after-dinner treat- very highly recommended!

Until next time....

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