Bristol Beer Factory: Port Stout (England: Stout: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Black cherry red to black. Caramel brown loose bubbled large head. Lots of suds left as the beer goes down.

Nose: Sour dough. Chocolate flakes. Plums. Crisp wheat flakes. Red wine. Cherries and raisins. Honey. Orange peal. Varies heavily.

Body: Honey. Good bitter chocolate. Fruitcake. Roasted hop character. Raisin. Crème Brulee. Bitter red wine.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Roasted nuts. Sour tang. Sour grapes. Brown sugar. Red grapes.

Conclusion:  Pretty much everything you need to know about this beer, from its subtleties to the influence the port will have, can be discerned from the way it handles its aroma.  The aroma initially seems not much beyond the standard stout with sour dough and chocolate flakes. After a while however dark fruit creeps out from the chocolate. Then as the beer descends into the glass and you can get a better nose of the beer you find sweetness and wine filled power pushing out from underneath. It’s a lot going on, layered and taking its time to express itself.

As above so below you find with this beer. As you sip on the beers body you get a solid roasted stout, but again below red wine and crème brulee flavours lurk, and as you give it time you get fruitiness over a sour bitter wine touch. It’s all just slightly tart and with growing bitterness.

The tartness is what makes a very drinkable stout, at first glance at least. There is slow rising and layered depths that bring sweetness, richness, roasted and bitterness all in balanced packages. All have their place and work it well. The dark fruits fill out the package of a very solid stout.

The flavours come in incredibly thick by the end, shattering early illusion that you could some how session this stout. The heavy flavour and the dry bitter finish make for a beer to enjoy in its own rather than one to make a night of.  It is a complex beer despite is ease of drinking and should be treated as such.  It is notable that the bitter finish, part of its complexity, is also an element that may put some off.  The heavily bitter end could be too much for some, and is one of the elements that emphasises that is a beer you should not have too many of.

For anyone who can handle the bitter finish though this is a very good quality stout, even by BBF’s high standards

Background: A port stout, made with port picked by Avery Wine Merchants. Who are in Bristol. Who I have never been to. So I have nothing useful to say about them. Second to last of 2012’s 12 Stouts of Christmas. I’ve been enjoying the run so far and always enjoy Stouts from BBF. Only one new beer in the twelve stouts left to sample.  The other beers (milk stout, ultimate stout, imperial stout and ultimate raspberry) are similar to before. Imperial Stout seeming heavier and more complex, and Ultimate Raspberry/Raspberry Stout seeming still good, but less obviously fruity than last years.