Bristol Beer Factory: Raspberry Stout (England: Imperial Stout: 7.7 % ABV)

Visual: Black with a dust of toffee brown head.  Its 99% certainly psychosomatic but during the pour the head seemed to froth lavender for a while.

Nose: Lots of really tart raspberry dominates. Sour grapes underneath and thick vinous touches. White grapes as well. Strong to the point of being almost lighter fluid aroma touches, but offset by so much fruit that it is not unappealing.

Body:  Roasted and bitter yet smooth textured. Breaks out into tart raspberry jam with white grapes mixed in again.  Very vinous influence. Raisins and figs.

Finish: Milky chocolate and coffee. Feels very fresh and tart if not actually raspberry filled. Big roasted nuts after awhile and bitter chocolate. Some plums and fig rolls.

Conclusion: Definitely a case of does exactly what it says on the tin. The raspberry is so obvious that even if you were down with the Christmas bug it would be evident.

I don’t know if it’s the base beer, the raspberry or a mix of the two but there is a definite wodge of vinous feel to this beer that is thick and rich.  The fig and plums almost definitely come from where the beer meets the fruit and brings in a wonderful second wave of flavour.  It feels weighty yet fresh and tart, a great combination.

The elements all combine to give the impression of an alcohol element that is very evident but not burning. The lighter fluid I referenced in the aroma section may be a slight exaggeration but this beer really puts its power at the forefront and that “Booziness” may be off-putting for some.

Notice how when I say some, I don’t mean me. I love the thickness, the almost jam like sweetness that the weight brings and the roasted and bitter elements that come after a few mouthfuls.

So hugely flavoursome and vinous. If completely lacking subtlety. It’s a sledgehammer of flavour here.  I think this beer will be crowd splitter. Its very big and obvious nature will put off some, especially combine with the noticeable alcohol. These very same elements will draw others to its flock.

Me, I’m firmly in the enjoy camp. It isn’t a masterwork, but damn it’s brash and fun. Considering how few beers can compete with the strong flavours raspberries bring this is very impressive that each element is evenly matched by the other.

 
Another high quality stout.

Background: Oddly listed as a standard stout on ratebeer.  However due to the reference to Belgium yeast and the identical abv, I think this has Ultimate Stout at the base which was blatantly an Imperial Stout.  As mentioned this beer is made with Belgium yeast and a shitload of raspberries.  Part of the 12 Stouts Of Christmas set which has been rock solid for quality so far.