Cloudwater: Kees: You’ve Been Spotted (England: Imperial Stout: 9% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. A dash of grey/brown head.

Nose: Cinnamon apple. Liquorice. Very strong cinnamon in general. Nutmeg. Toffee.

Body: Cinnamon. Apple. Nutmeg. Liquorice. Sour dough. Sticky toffee pudding.

Finish: Caramel. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Apple. Liquorice. Sour dough. Riesin chocolate chews. Sticky toffee. Pudding.

Conclusion: This is very, very, very, very, very cinnamon filled. Very. So, yeah be warned that this isn’t apple pie with a touch of cinnamon. This is a cinnamon beer with a touch of apple.

It is a thick, kind of dark, sticky toffee pudding heavy take on a stout for a base -lashed with the aforementioned cinnamon. That isn’t the only spice though, there is also a very present nutmeg character. Probably others but it came across as cinnamon and nutmeg to me.

So, what we have is something thick, heavy and very spicy and … could probably do with a lot more apple. There is a light, fresh apple touch, and that freshness is very much needed to give a release from the stickiness and spice. However the apple is a very light element, a mere lick of apple sweetness. A heavier hand with the apple would really sell the apple pie concept and also stop this being such a pure spice bomb.

As it is, it is a beer that really needs sharing – early on I very much enjoyed it (and the 1/3 I had on tap at Cloudwater’s tap room was way above and beyond this – far more balanced and much easier to recommend) but as it goes on it gets one note with the spice very fast, or possibly two note as the sticky toffee thickness grips it all on your tongue. The flavour that seems a welcome burst on first sip ends up sticking around and gets very old by the end.

It needs more apple, more range, or preferably both for it to work well. Split two, or even three, ways you can have fun with this. Unless you are really into the spice then had alone it is too much. Even split between people it is a bit of fun rather than a must have.

A fun few moments, but gets old fast.

Background: I tried this at Cloudwater’s tap-house in Manchester when I was up there to watch Progress Wrestling. It was very tidy. So decided to grab a can from Independent Spirit to do notes on. Cloudwater are generally very good, if not quite up to their huge rep – though the beers at their tap room always taste just that touch better. Kees, who this is a collaboration with are also pretty awesome. Anyway this is an imperial stout made with apple, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. They are aiming to replicate an Apple Pie as they made it on July 4th, Independence day – which as we all know is hugely celebrated in England and the Netherlands. For people who are unsure, that was sarcasm. Anyway, went with IDLES – Brutalism as backing music for this. Still bloody love IDLES.