Brewdog: Abstrakt: AB05 (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 12.5% ABV)

Visual: Black and opaque. Leaves a light sheen, but not that heavily viscous.  Middling toffee brown head which the alcohol soon kills.

Nose:  Lots of roasted nuts, molasses. Treacle, toffee. Alcohol is most definitely there. Very light coconut husks. Charring. Unsweetened chocolate.  Quite fresh all things considered. Brown bread.

Body: Black cherry, treacle. Lots of milk chocolate. Strawberries and red cherries. Very fruity. Very rich frothy chocolate. Caramel and toffee.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Blue berries and red cherries.  Fortified wine. Slight coconut. Gin. Traditional lemonade. Mocha and praline.

Conclusion:   It’s at times like this I remember that imperial stouts can be great. This is a really fruity stout, kinda like the Tokyo, yet in this case no actual fruit has been used in the making. The chocolate is massively evident, and like the beer geek brunch weasel each flavour element is fully explored rather than being a hint or a single note in the melody.  This makes it very much the chocolate equivalent to weasels coffee take on the imperial stout, giving full the full range of flavour to its added ingredient.

The chocolate is at turns bitter, frothy, sweet and creamy.  Such a simple element in most beers becomes an expressive range here.

The coconut influence is very different, being just a subtle rounding off at the end and hint at the front.  In the main body it is conspicuously absent.  Also while it’s pledged Belgium influence is very obvious in the smoothness of the beer, it does not go for the almost dubbel style that I’ve seen in a lot of the Belgium stouts.

I may be getting a tad over analytical here, so back to basics. It’s a very good beer, very good indeed. It isn’t as vigorously different experience as AB04 but is easily as high quality.

Problems come in that it has slightly too evident alcohol in the finish, though a year of ageing should sort that out.  Also whilst it does explore its individual flavours massively it does not play with a huge range of different elements to influence it.  Being a bit nit picky here though, mainly the quite evident alcohol at the end is the only bad point.

Apart from that, an absolutely great beer.

Background: Another of Brewdogs limited run experimental beers (usual disclaimer: I am not unbiased on Brewdog beers). This time a Belgium style Imperial Stout added with cocoa and roasted coconut.   I’m a sucker for odd beers, and a big fan of Imperial Stouts, though occasionally find that beer fandom concentrates on them to the exclusion of other great beers of differing styles.