Bristol Beer Factory: Bristol Stout (2012) (England: Stout: 5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Half inch of browned froth.

Nose: Slightly cloying cream. Dry roasted character.

Body: Solidly bitter and cloying cream. Dry roasted peanuts. Chives. Slight black olives. Bitter chocolate at the back. Slight oily character and touch of chalk in the middle.

Finish: Dry roasted peanuts and bitter charring. Black liquorice bits. Quite dry. More nuts with time. Black olives and bitter coffee.

Conclusion: So an upped abv of the Bristol Stout – wonder if the extra abv will bring more flavour with it? Well it is very dry in what feels like an Irish Stout take on the style. The cloying cream and roasted elements are turned up heavily to quite mouth drying levels.

Unfortunately, this beer which I have enjoyed heavily seems lesser each time I return to it. In my memories the original cask sampling of 4% Bristol Stout was excellent, the bottle version good. This new version, well it’s solid but it feels like the extra dry and roasted characteristics have overpowered the less prominent flavours.  It could be just my memory lying to me, but then again when I look at the other beers in the 12 stouts of Christmas many of them are excellent so I am confident that the beer was as good as I remembered.

You do get some new elements here, a black olives bit underneath for example, but it doesn’t add much to the range which means for all it is solid it also doesn’t quiet excite.  I’m not sure if it just I have been spoiled on Stouts since I last tried it or if it just doesn’t have as good range of flavour.

Still, it is a solid pint of beer, but the extra abv doesn’t seem to bring any extra wow with it. The finish may be the only bit that has gained in range. It seems to slowly build and grow throughout the pint. Main body however is heavily dominated by the main elements but not too much else.
So, not bad, but no longer brings excitement on the opening of a bottle.

Background: Bristol Stout was the beer that originally introduced me to Bristol Beer Factory and was a long time favourite. When looking at the listing of the twelve stouts of Christmas 2012 I noticed that Bristol Stout was now 5% instead of 4% and they had listed it as a new recipe so I decided it was worth giving it a new review.  While their ultimate stout and raspberry stout had crept down in abv very slightly (0.2%) they were not listed as new recipe so I’m guessing those are tweaks rather than overhauls so did not review again.