Bristol Beer Factory: Bristol Stout (England: Stout: 4% ABV)

Visual: Black with the occasional red highlights if held to the light. Small sheen of greyish bubbled head.

Nose: Liquorice. Slightly tarry. Almond slices. Bitter coffee and sough dough balls.

Body: Bitter. Sour dough. Touch of charring and slightly chalky in the middle.  Touch of fish oil right at the back. Wholemeal bread.  Slightly astringent and tannins at the back. Green nut freshness.

Finish: Bitter and charring. Touch of earthy hops. Light treacle touch.  Bitter chocolate. Hazelnuts. Chalk.

Conclusion:  Memories. Ah memories. Odd wee things. For one thing I’m fairly sure I used memories as an introduction to review before but I cannot find the review for love or money. So I’m using it again.  For another thing I tried this beer a few years ago on hand pull cask. Now I remember this as being an absolute stonker of a stout.

Now I’m not sure of its faulty memory, the difference between bottle and cask, or just the range of beers I’ve encountered over the past few years but I return to find it still good, but not as exceptional as I remembered.

It’s a very nice beer, lays on astringent touch to the back, a bit of harshness mid body with chalk and charring then that odd sour dough touch I’ve noticed in a lot of BBF stouts.  Keeps you on your toes to say the least.

It also has some of the slight sourness that I noticed in the hazelnut stout. Now back then I presumed it was the nut influence, but since it turned up in this one as well I must presume it is a core element of the beer that had just been emphasised by the addition of the nuts.  In fact here in its toned down version is much more manageable and enjoyable. You get the nut flavour but much more as a balanced element,

So since I am laying on the high praise, in what way then does it not hold up to my memory? Well the mid body does not quite have the thickness I remember of the cask version. It could be the bottle vs cask thing, but it does mean the flavour isn’t quite as present mid body.   Also the flavour ties itself more towards the charring edge of the spectrum than I remember and it sometimes feels it need a touch more working against it.

All in all a good stout, and I am probably being unfair comparing it to my rose tinted memories. I will say of the mainstay BBF stouts though I do find the milk stout is the superior of the two for a better range of flavour and also it seemed to stand up better to my memories of the cask version.

Still this aint a bad wee stout for all that.

Background:  Bristol Stout was the first stout I had from Bristol Beer Factory  (No 7 being I think the first BBF beer I ever tried) and was responsible for a lot of my early interest in  BBF.  This bottle came with the 12 Stouts of Christmas so it seemed like a good time to get reacquainted with it.