Ridgeway: Bad King John (England: Stout: 6% ABV)

Visual: Black, or possibly merely a very dark ruddy red if you hold it to the light.

Nose: Bitter and slightly gritty, Maybe slightly empty coffee cup style. Crushed walnuts. Fresh crushed hops and gooseberries. Slightly ashen.

Body: Moderate bitterness. Malt drink style. Very milky coffee. Dash of sweet citrus. Touch of lime jelly and fresh orange juice. Very smooth texture indeed.

Finish:  Pineapple and slight citrus hops. Reasonable bitterness. Touch of lime. Still slightly coffeesque.

Conclusion: Am I getting jaded, or are beer labels making claims for beyond their beers grasp?  This beer is allegedly, and I quote “Bitter..Intense…like the ruthless man it honours”. Now it does have bitterness, tasty light citrus hop bitterness, but unless king John was kitten keeper who occasionally kept from them their favourite treats for bad behaviour, then the beers description is a big bloody exaggeration.

Or yes, maybe, possible, I killed my taste buds with the 1000 IBU beer a while back. That is also a feasible possibility.

It is actually quite pleasant as a beer. Solid slick texture, good use of citrus hops. Enough bitterness to the finish that it makes its presence know. But come on here, “intense”, really?  Maybe I just find hyperbole annoying, well annoying when it’s not me doing it.

Anyway…It actually balances the sweetness very well against the hops, and for a well hopped stout that’s pretty impressive as usually I don’t take to that style.  Hides the abv damn near completely as well. In fact if it was lower abv the whole balance would make it sessionable as hell.

So it is a good beer, slick and tasty.  Maybe I should get Tanja and Will to try a bottle, they still have actually working taste buds that still recognise bitterness.

Many, many digressions aside I could easily recommend this solid beer. It seems almost a BIPA in style. I mean its no Indian Ink or Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, but it has enough stylistic quirks to draw the comparison.  Very drinkable, very relaxing, and very open to me taking the piss out of its text, which is always fun.

For me anyway.

Background: Huh, so it was a stout was it? Or so ratebeer says.  With the style and citrus hops I would have guessed a milder take on the Black IPA. Guess that makes a bit more sense for the general style of the beer, but I never have quite got the idea of making stouts with heavy hops in mind, they never quite work for me.  Anyway, picked up from Sainsburys when they were having their annual show of different beers. Always feel its worth encouraging them to mix up their selection a bit.