Good evening all. It's been a while since I last reviewed some beer, so yesterday I decided to bust out the pad and write down some tasting notes for a couple of offerings from arguably the best brewery operating in London right now, The Kernel. The first was Export Stout London 1890, a Stout based on a recipe from the aforementioned year, and London Brick Red Rye Ale, a massive collaboration between The Kernel, Dark Star, Redemption, Zerodegrees, Brodies and BrewWharf, utilising rye and copious amounts of Simcoe, Centennial and Cascade hops. Both of these sound very promising, so let's get on with the reviews after the pic....
Export Stout London 1890 (7.4% ABV)
Appearance: Jet black (slight brown tinge), short-lived thick beige head that settles to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer
Aroma: Very rich; coffee, chocolate (which combine to create mocha aroma), lactose sugar, slight sense of dark fruits, caramel. Initially dark fruits and sweetness hit first, with coffee and chocolate becoming very apparent shortly afterwards. Port/fortified wine, yeast extract, some licorice.
Taste: Roasted malt, coffee/chocolate duality, caramel, yeast extract, dark fruits, has a slight tartness during drinking that disappears before finish. Most of the flavours are only detectable through retro-olfaction. Slight hoppy background to finish/aftertaste, with some spiciness around the sides of the mouth. Alcohol not very noticeable, but still requires sipping due to occasional power of the flavours. Has a "creamy" finish with some lingering chocolate and a hint of blackcurrant. Relatively dry but not warranting regular sips. Almost tastes like a barrel-aged stout every so often.
Mouthfeel: Slightly thick, moderate carbonation. Works well with slight tartness.
Verdict: Solid stout with plenty of different flavours and aromas occurring at the same time, though it doesn't take much to separate and enjoy them separately. Out of the three stouts I've tried from this brewery, this is probably the best so far. If you can still find a bottle, it's well worth trying (this particular bottle was in my cellar for around 5-6 months beforehand so its availability may well be non-existent by this point).
London Brick Red Rye Ale (7.3% ABV)
Appearance: Cloudy blood orange colour, thick white head that dissipates slightly with some early lacing
Aroma: Mango, grapefruit, peach, caramel sweetness, some orange notes, slight resinous/piney aroma. Citrus fruit aromas decrease in intensity relatively quickly, with malty sweetness becoming most consistent. Lingering fruit aroma is similar to ripening fruit, very fresh and pithy.
Taste: Mango, massive grapefruit flavour, nice hop bitterness, quite juicy on the palette, passion fruit, caramelised sweetness. Rye comes out after drinking, finish isn't dry and fruit flavours linger on for quite long afterwards. Bitterness can cloy in back of throat during drinking, but there's enough sweetness from the malt to balance this. Tastes very fresh as with all of The Kernel's hop-driven beers. Some resin in aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Thick, moderately carbonated. Compliments drinking experience perfectly.
Verdict: Great reworking of the amber/red ale style, with plenty of that fresh hop character that makes The Kernel such a preeminent brewery. The rye adds a nice dimension to the proceedings, and all of the flavours are well-balanced and supported by optimum carbonation levels. Definitely recommended, get some whilst you can. In addition, my personal favourite out of the two that evening.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully the capsule review format made things easier to digest. I'll try not to let so much time pass between now and the next review!
Until next time....