Brewdog: Black Eyed King Imp (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 11.8% ABV)
Visual: Black. Still. Brown bubbled rim and island of suds over the body.
Nose: Vinous. Bitter cocoa and white grapes. Chocolate dust. Rum soaked black cherry. Raisins. Coconut macaroons and treacle. Riesen chocolate chews. Hot fudge cake. Brown sugar. Nougat.
Body: Smooth chocolate liquore. Salt touch. Toasted teacakes. Chocolate chews. Bitter cocoa. Touch of alcohol feel at back of the throat. Sweet red wine. brandy snaps. Raisins. Golden syrup cake.
Finish: Malt chocolate. Oak. Touch of smoke. Toasted teacake. Bitter raw chocolate. Light marshmallow. Some bitter coffee. Fudge cake. Slight clean antiseptic alcohol.
Conclusion: There are so many beers in existence that, if they could deliver on what their aroma promised, would be the greatest beers ever. This is one of those beers.
It has all of my favourite things for an Imperial Stout aroma: Coconut macaroons, seriously, coconut notes in stouts are a thing of wonder – Vinous notes, always good for a bit of depth and a chewable aroma – chocolate, this beer definitely goes the heavy chocolate route with bitter, sweet and dusty chocolate elements. Oddly, up front I got none of the coffee notes that I would have expected in the beer. Finally hot fudge and brown sugar, to make sure the sweetness is not all chocolate based. Ok not quite final, there are side notes that pop up occasionally, the most fascinating of which is a faint nougat. I love how it uses the bitter chocolate to break up the sweetness, without breaking the overall feel of the aroma.
So, yeah, note how I bring this all up in relation to how it only shows up in the aroma. I’m about to slag off the main body aren’t I? Actually, no. The body is smooth as hell, some occasional harsh notes, especially at the back of the throat, but for the most part close to the too light side, without becoming so. Still all about the chocolate, but a bit more standard than the aroma. Great chocolate, great vinous and dark fruits, but loses a lot of the other elements. Still cool, but a bit more mainstream than the excellent aroma.
No coconut. No nougat. *Sob*.
First world problems eh?
The finish against is its own thing. It is dominated by bitter chocolate, and a slight clean alcohol touch, with a few hints of oak and smoke for weight. Here, finally, some bitter coffee becomes evident. It is the harsh end of the flavours, but no burn at all here.
So the progression from aroma to finish is one of simplification at each step, but matched by a sweep from sweet to bitter. It works, the aroma drags you in, the body satisfies and the finish locks it down so it doesn’t outstay its welcome and become sickly.
Not the awesome coconut and nougat beer the aroma promised, and I so wish existed, but I can dream. The only real flaws is a tiny touch of alcohol in the super smooth body that keeps it from being the most deluxe decadent stout out there, but it is lovely chocolate and bitter imperial stout.
So, not the beer the aroma says it will be, but still an excellent beer.
Background: I think I saw mentioned somewhere that the base for this was the prototype that became cocoa psycho. I could be wrong, anyway, it was a prototype, made with cacao nibs and coffee beans, and aged in oak for two years. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was drunk shortly after I had heard that the opener of the new series of Doctor Who was going to be shown in cinemas. So I put some Dr Who OST on to enjoy with it.