Evening Star

Box Steam: Evening Star (England: Porter: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Dark charcoal head that is large but quickly diminishing.

Nose: Cinnamon. Jelly babies and cherries. Port. Vinous. Cloves. Liquorice. Mulled wine. Black cherries. Chocolate cake.

Body: Chalk. Bitter. Mulled spice. Black cherries and cream. Milky chocolate. Light chocolate orange. Light coffee. Red wine. Strawberry. Black forest Gateaux.

Finish: Black cherries and charring. Still some spice. Cream. Slight ash. Coffee. Red wine.

Conclusion: This beer took quite some time to grow on me. Well actually, to be more correct, it grew on me, let me down, then grew on me again. It was confusing.

Away, the aroma is great, vinous, mulled wine and Christmassy with a good chunk of dark fruit and a jelly like touch. It was subtle, rounded and complex. My kind of beer I thought.

Then I took that first sip and well… there was charring, bitterness and a touch of spice but that was about it. I felt a touch let down, after the great nose it was very disappointing, a standard porter for the most part. Not bad but not exciting.

So, anyway, I still had some time before the new Series of Sherlock started so I at there drinking away and what happened? Out came black cherry and black forest gateaux , all cream, chocolate and spice. Still not powerful, but now rich with intricate moments.

The beer had found me again and I it. It still is not a 100% perfect beer, there is a tad ash character in the finish and occasionally slightly closed character, but beside those small points it took you on a hell of a delicious journey. The mix of the base porter, the Christmas spice and vinous mulled wine character and the dessert elements all come together in a way that complements each other.

It really is a fine mix of traditional base and well crafted flourishes, down to earth and yet intricate and full. A fine beer once you get to know it.

Background: How long has it been since I did a Box Steam Brewery review? Quite a while I think. Anyway, picked this up a while back from Independent Spirit who are quickly becoming my regular source for new beers. I think it was first brewed for a battle of the brewers style event in Bath, and is now available in these cool ceramic 75cl bottles. Cool, but expensive – these rack in at 15 quid a pop and I think a good chunk of the cost is in the heavy duty bottles. If they do future batches I think normal bottles and around 10 quid a go would be much better received if feasible as nearly everyone I talked to was deterred by the cost. And yes, as a Brewdog fan I do realise that I really can’t talk about high cost and beer considering some of their releases.