Raspberry Beret

Brewdog: Quantum: Raspberry Beret (England: Stout: 5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Caramel coloured bubbled head.

Nose: Slight sour raspberry. Sour dough. Slight pineapple. Freshly baked bread. Slightly cloying.

Body: Bitter. Some charring. Raspberry at the back, rises over time. A sour touch. Chocolate liquore and Belgian style biter chocolate. Cranberry.

Finish: Raspberry tart which rises. Charring. Bitterness and bitter chocolate, again Belgian style. Style Belgian yeast feel.

Conclusion: I feel that my thoughts on this beer may be slightly unduly influenced by my memories of Bristol Beer Factory’s Raspberry Stout. Mainly because that was awesome, however expecting this 5% ABV stout to compete with an Imperial Stout on sheer level of flavour is very unfair as it cannot hope to compete at that level. So I look again with kinder eyes.

The use of raspberries in this beer is far from overpowering, but, when present they are used well. There is a tart and refreshing edge to the end, an understated element in the aroma, and a background layer in the body. It is easy to drink from the light tartness and layered with quality Belgian bitter chocolate flavours, the mix of the two bringing memories of the excellent Old Numbskull in how they interact, if not in beer style. This is a good thing.

So, the use of raspberries is good, but there is the issue that there are moments where the beer seems to lose a lot of its character and you just get the charring coming through and nothing more. It is like a black hole in the heart of an otherwise very good beer.

Even with that flaw the mix of sour raspberry to harsh charring and quality chocolate means that it comes out of it still as an above average beer. So, flawed, but still an enjoyable raspberry and Belgian chocolate delight when it is on. There is a hell of a lot worse than that out there, and anything that can be compared to Old Numskull in even a small fashion cannot be bad.

Background: Collab Fest 2013! Every Brewdog bar collaborated with a local brewery to make a beer for the fest, resulting in a grand total of twelve beers released over one weekend. So, what could I do? Normally I limit myself to two of three reviews in a session, but these would only be on for the weekend. So, for you, my readers, I sat in one eight hour stint, drinking thirds, with a glass of water and a chapter of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone between each drink to help clear my palette. I suffer so for you. This was the fifth beer of the day, a stout made with raspberry. By this point I needed some food so grabbed a pork pie platter to have alongside. It really is a hard life.