Brewdog: Black Eyed King Imp: Vietnamese Coffee Edition (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 12.7% ABV)
Visual: Black, looks like tar on the pour. Treacle touched thin head.
Nose: Treacle. Complex coffee. Fudge. Coconut macaroons. Black cherry. Condensed cream. Bready.
Body: Thick. Shortbread. Honey. Creamy coffee. Mead. Treacle. Chewy. Bready – toasted teacakes and butter. Coconut. Black cherries.
Finish: White chocolate and vanilla. Mead. White grapes. Bready. Light yeastie. Lots of coffee.
Conclusion: This may be the beer that finally pays off the promise that Black Eyed King Imp showed but did not quite reach. Long time readers may guess what I mean by that. I mean that there are coconut notes in the main body baby! Seriously, that was the let down of standard BEKI – the nose teased coconut and the body gave me none. Damn coconut tease.
So, it has coconut. Does that mean it is the greatest thing ever? No, but it is just a notch above the already excellent standard Black Eyed King Imp. It feels even smoother. It results in an odd contrast – there is a mix of big flavours and a very chewable texture at times, but due to the smoothness can feel oddly empty at times. A minor element as 90%+ of the time it works just fine, just an odd glitch that can come from going this smooth.
The breadiness of the main body is interesting, it feels similar to what you can get with Belgian yeast and here mixed with buttered toasted crumpets in a very pleasing way. When the beer gets over smooth the new addition, the coffee, leaps in to save the day. It is a clever contribution – the bitter coffee never becomes the sole string to the beers bow, but works against what would otherwise be a weak point of the beer.
The beer leans primarily bitter, both in chocolate and coffee, but there are soft sweet notes throughout, all adding to the smooth experience. The oddest of which is a honey sweetness which is also the strongest note, though thankfully also sparingly used. It adds a few high notes then sinks back into the midst of the beer until it is needed again.
Anyway – coconut! Yep it is there, used sparingly but there. So I am a happy bunny. The beer just lacks a certain something to be an all time great, just those few empty moments, but despite that is a seriously good beer.
Background: Bias warning first, my bias relationship with Brewdog is, well, complicated. As always I try to keep my tasting notes bias free despite that. This is, at the time of making, the world’s strongest canned beer, another version of Black Eyed King Imp, this time made with Vietnamese coffee, as well as the previous cocoa nibs and barrel ageing. Drunk with a little iron Maiden to accentuate the metal theme. Ok, that is lie, listened to with Iron Maiden because Iron Maiden are awesome.