Marble: Decadence (England: Imperial Stout: 8.7% ABV)

Visual: Black. Quite large creamy brown head for the style.

Nose: Roasted nuts. Olives. Slight almost washing up liquid like elements. Apricot.

Body: Quite roasted and bitter. Bitter chocolate. Slight cream. Olives found only when the beer is on the front of the tongue. The chocolate becomes smother over time. Slight apricot.

Finish: Black coffee. Slight olives. Dry and with roasted nuts, in fact very roasted right to the end. Cocoa heavy chocolate. Light apricot. Slight roasted hop character. Quite dry and dusty.

Conclusion:  Quite subtle for an imperial stout this one. Moderate alcohol for the style and moderate punch to match. It seems to concentrate on it’s roasted nature and has quite a small, though interesting as we shall see, range for the style.

It uses chocolate well to support the main body, initially very bitter cocoa, heading into a creamier sweeter style over time. The roasted character that backs it has a hop element, but not particularly extreme thankfully.  Here the subtlety is a distinct advantage.

Against this it has some evident flaws.  A slight washing up style aroma that seems unique to English Imperial Stouts. I don’t know where the hell this comes from, but I’ve spotted it in several English Imperial Stouts now and I wish they could get rid of it.

Anyone who has read the main notes above will realise I am however dancing around the most interesting point here. Olives. First spotted by my friend (see discussion in the background for more info) but distinctly there at top and tail. There is a light olive touch that is odd and an interesting enough element by itself to make me glad I tried the beer.  It isn’t a huge part of the beer, does it does help it to make the style it’s own.

The beer is nicely smooth, with decent flavours and a nice twist.  Not hugely impactful on flavour and can’t compete with say, Stones Imperial Stout, which is it’s most close comparison.  It is a good beer though, and interesting, but not quite playing in the big leagues.

Background: Marble have had a growing rep for a while. I tried hitting their pub in Manchester last time I was there but got out voted. I found this bottle of their Decadence at Utobeer, where the kind chap at the store highly recommended it (incidentally I bumped into the same fellow in the pub later and didn’t recognize him at first. Many apologies! )

Note: The olives element was a much disputed part of the beer, we had two tasters comparing notes and debated extensively on this one.  Eventually an exchange of glasses was done and we realized that the glass shown below in fact helped massively with identifying that element – it was utterly unmistakable in that glass, and yet barely evident in the glass shown above. Odd how much difference glassware can make.