Bristol Beer Factory: Hazelnut Latte Stout (England: Stout: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Black and easy pouring. Not much of a head. A dust coloured rim on the beer is all you get.

Nose:  Nuts. Slightly sharp and acrid Sour dough. Mint tea and pistachio nuts.

Body: Pistachios and hazelnuts. Sour dough. Bitterness mixes with cream cheese.  Milky coffee and a touch of Soya milk.  Roasted main body and dark bitterness. Slight milky chocolate.

Finish: Tannins and nuts. Cream cheese and chives. Bitter with a bit of greenery.

Conclusion:  Talk about dedication to a theme. This really exalts in the green and nutty flavours of hazelnuts.  There’s that fresh but slightly acrid kick, the nuttiness and full flavour.

By comparison to the nuts influence the coffee is a slightly muted back which mixed with slightly soured milk flavours.  It really is very different to anything I expected, and the stout had to work very hard to fight its corner in flavour.

Initially the almost pistachio level of green nuts flavour seems to dominate the mix, so it takes a lot of acclimatisation. (Ok, ok that’s not a real descriptor I know. It’s my best way of referring to those slightly green flecks you get surrounding nuts in the shell. They always seem to have this really odd, but kinda cool taste)

When you have got used to this barrage of oddities you come to realise the very mouth drying puckering at the end makes the beer very moorish as you are tempted into another sip to end the thirst you just gained from the first mouthful.

All the flavours it has make themselves very present; the finish is a pure hit of its nutty glory at the end.  This is going to make it a crowd splitter. All the flavours are hammered home to an intense degree.  In fact I’ve noticed they do that a lot with the twelve stouts of Christmas, there doesn’t seem to be half measures on a theme.  If you like it, you’ll love it. Otherwise this will not be in any way fun for you.

I started off reticent on this one, but it has earned my respect.  Different, sharp, heavy in every flavour yet drinkable.  Its flavours are not easy drinking, but the beer is.  A beer that possibly should not work, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Background: Now two thirds of the way through Bristol Beer Factories 12 Stouts of Christmas with this version of their milk stout made with java coffee and hazelnuts.  I’m saving the big guns, the two whisky aged stouts, for last, but wanted a bit of a lighter abv beer to kick off Monday. This seemed to fit the bill. Drunk while listening to Spektrmodule