Bristol Beer Factory: Imperial Stout Aged In Whisky Cask (England: Imperial Stout: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black, creamy beige froth that descend quickly to islands over the main body.

Nose: Roasted. Raspberry and Blueberry. Milky coffee. Smooth. Slight washing  up liquid early on, dissipates quickly. Twigs. Spirity. Salted toffee.

Body: Bitter. Hazelnuts. Big chocolate. Salted toffee cheesecake. Blueberry hints. Cloying feel. Chalk touch.

Finish: Raw chocolate and bitter. Roasted hazelnuts. Cheesecake. Cloying cream. Toasted teacakes.

Conclusion: So what to say, here at the end of the 12 stouts of Christmas 2012? A fine thick yet slick texture, that cloying touch toned down so it has only just a hint of Russian porter style in there. Big chocolate bitterness and roasted. The base beer rides the style with excellent aplomb.

The whisky influence is interesting. There are berry hints, not too heavy, but sprouting from the beer when you least expect it. You have that layered against a salted toffee cheesecake dryness, so yes very interesting. This tart against dry over a heavy base means from moment to moment you could get anything from refreshing to viscous to lingering mouth drying character. A ride to be sure,

Heavy and sinks down into your belly, seems to leave the flavours in weighted dregs in its passing. The remains bloom into new flavour in the extended finish, resurging again and again to keep the beer present long after the last sip.

Spirit touched, tingling alcohol prickles promise warning of its punch, but never hurts the beer by becoming burning.  For all the added elements the whisky gives, the beer keeps very much to the thick and heavy feel of a traditional stout, avoiding the liquore like smoothness that a lot of new wave Imperial Stouts use.

The traditional weight is a boon to me, the extra grip for flavour makes it easy to examine, and lets you take your time with it.  For all its range it doesn’t deviate too much from its core concept in strong heavy flavours. This makes it initially less impressive, but helps reinforce its excellent character over time.

A beer to take your time with and allow it to flow through you.

Background: Whisky cask, whisky cask, could you generic up that a bit for me? Actually the bottle blurb is a bit more helpful, listing it as Speyside whisky but still no further details. This is the final of the 12 stouts of Christmas Beers!  Only took me a quarter of the year.  Still, been a worthy run so far, I’d say in general just slightly higher quality than last year, though the first run had the advantage of being a completely new idea and thus has more of the spark of the new. Now just to wait for next year’s run.  Drunk while listening to Nine Inch Nails: The Fragile. It seemed to match well to the beer. Especially Starfuckers inc.