William Brothers: Profanity Stout (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 7% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown black. Creamy beige suds for a head.

Nose: Coffee and cream. Fruitcake and raisins with a brandy style touch. Rich chocolate and a light waft of citrus. Maybe grapefruit hop touch there. Slight greenery like crushed leaves.

Body: Smooth. Bitter hops but not aggressively so. Bitter chocolate, Belgium style. Coffee. Almonds. Hint of citrus hop character – kiwi and passion fruit. Apricot.

Finish: Growling hops and bitter chocolate. Pineapple air.

Conclusion:  Damn it! I so wanted to use a “Profanity Stout, bit shit” joke and then the Williams Brothers have to actually go and pull out a decent beer just to annoy me.

Life is pain some days.

Anyway, while not in the same level of bitterness as some of the American experiments this still stands as quite the hoppy stout. The highly hopped stout is a beer style that I have a love/hate relationship with. Some days I find them delightfully aggressive, some days I just fight them sticky, sickly and simple.

This one balances it well. The hops do kick but the main body is slick and it doesn’t linger past its welcome. The hop finish is similarly growling but not grating.  It keeps the main flavours simple and distinct. A small range but well defined. Suitable as subtlety oft becomes murky against aggressive hopping.

So it has forthright flavours that punch out of the glass yet sit well on the tongue with just enough mild citrus hopping to keep it fresh. This is a distinctly well made stout. Not quite world class, but it presents the chocolate and coffee character well against a new age hopping and keeps away from many a potential brewing mistake.  You can do far worse than this one.

Background: Williams Brother brewery and I have had a mixed relationship. Some beers I have found just dull, yet some have been ingenious and using distinctly odd ingredients that perk my interest.  This one is part of their run of beers aimed at getting amateur brewers recipes made into more widely available beers.  Found as part of the new beer range at Sainsbury’s where I grabbed a batch of beers I hadn’t tried before for sampling.  This one was picked mainly because it was called profanity stout. Yes I’m shallow.