Brewdog: Beatnik Brewing Collective: Blond Export Stout (Scotland: English Strong Ale: 7% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Small bubble carbonation. Large yellowed creamy white head.

Nose: Oatmeal. Cocoa and chocolate bourbon biscuits. Cloying cream. Bitter coffee. Roasted nuts. White chocolate. Milk. Orange zest. Chocolate dust. Light roasted bitterness and hop character.

Body: Cream. Bitter cocoa dust. Roasted nuts. White chocolate. Butter. Orange zest. Slight cloying cream.

Finish: White chocolate. Bitter cocoa. Dry roasted peanuts. Buttery. Lactose. Bitter roasted hops. Milky coffee. Oats. Light smoke – Applewood?

Conclusion: White Stouts, while not at New England IPA insane level popular, do seem to be popping up more often than they used to. Some try very hard to be exactly like a stout but blond – some have come close, but none have 100% succeeded. This goes with the approach I like better – working in a lot of the traditional stout notes, but emphasising elements you can only get with a blond ale.

There is definite bitter cocoa from a more traditional stout – delivered in a dusty, gripping, gritty kind of way, and it heads out with lots of milky coffee – there is no doubt it is in the stout area. However the main base is very blond ale influenced – kind of milky with a kind of traditional made butter thickness and white chocolate sweetness. It takes the thickness of a stout and uses it in its own way.

Also, while I have had a lot of oatmeal stouts, the actual oats used in making the beer seems much more evident than in those – the milky, creamy character really seems to give the oats a very definite muesli oaty kind of style. On the other hand the smoked malts used don’t seem to be as heavy influence. It comes out late on in what I think is an apple wood smoke kind of style, I think, my memory for different wood smoke is weak. It adds weight and, along with the roasted nut character, gives more notable dark stout depth.

It doesn’t all work – the cream can get a slight cloying note that doesn’t match here – but in general it is distinctly well done. I think we are still waiting for the classic blond stout to come out and define the style – but this is a good step in the right direction.

Background: Ah, “English Strong Ale” The style you use when you have no fucking clue what it comes under. I mean, is blond stout a recognised style yet? There seem to be enough of them these days. Anyway, I joke, but I had no idea either so just went with “English Strong Ale” like ratebeer and co. Anyway, this was voted for, brewed by and generally sold to Brewdog shareholders, which as you may guess means I am not an unbiased actor on this beer. This is a blond stout made with cocoa, coffee, vanilla, smoked malt and oats to try and give it that stout character but with a light colour. Grabbed directly from Brewdog’s online store. Drunk while listening to Propagandhi – Potempkin City Limits – it did lead to me wondering how the band would respond to Brewdog throwing their legal weight around recently about the word “Punk” in relation to beer. I would guess badly. Very badly.

Advertisements