614 Annees

Celt Experience: Saint-Germain: 614 Annees (Wales: Imperial Porter: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Loose off white head.

Nose: Rye. Toffee. Bourbon. Orange zest. Malt chocolate. Peppercorn. Vanilla. Light nuts. Treacle.

Body: Chocolate liquore. Thick. Brown bread or bagel. Molasses. Treacle toffee. Fudge. Rye spice. Sweet orange liquore. Cinnamon. Cream centres.

Finish: Rye. Orange. Dry spice. Light lime sorbet and orange sorbet. Charring. Smoke.

Conclusion: A competitor for the place of awesome cask porter that can go head to head with Bristol United’s Collaboration Smoked Porter. Both are collaboration ales, both porters, though this is a tad stronger, and this uses rye instead of smoked malt.

This thing is smooth, sweet and huge. Even the aroma feels chewable, and the body more so. It mixes molasses, treacle and fudge, with even the spice coming in as sweet cinnamon. You do get hints of the drier rye spice, but far from too harshly, just harsh enough to add a bit of backbone to it.

What brings such joy for this is the unexpected level of chocolate fruit centres you get in the sweetness, light orange and lime in a subtle sorbet style some times, and in line with the thick creaminess of the over the top flavours at other times. The texture definitely helps – it is very creamy, very much a feel that allows the flavour grip. It is like a slightly harsh dessert with smoke and spice.

The treacle and toffee are thick as sin, but they do not overwhelm, there is so much going on. The flavours are complex, from the sweet surface notes, to hints of spice below. There is such great contrast, and such a great feel that you can return to it again and again.

Easily a competitor with Collaboration Smoked Porter. Not session beer, no, a heavy and decadent Celt Experience. They have done themselves proud here. This is lovely.

Background: Last of the three cask ales I reviewed at the Cardiff CAMRA beer festival. I drank more beers after, but I don’t tend to trust my tastebuds enough for a review after three. This big boy I saved for last, a strong porter made with rye and cascade hops. This was made in collaboration with the French craft brewers Saint-Germain, who I don’t think I have run into before. Incidentally this beer fest had a bloody Fosters stand. A busy Fosters stand. My friend, below, shows our shared opinion on this matter.

IFeelSickTonight

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