London Beer Factory: Zia Tiramisu Imperial Stout (England: Imperial Stout: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Medium sized creamy brown head that doesn’t last long.

Nose: Cocoa. Cream. Chocolate dust. Tiramisu. Creamy coffee. Light liqueur touch and light alcohol. Chocolate cake.

Body: Chocolate liqueur. Alcohol prickle. Creamy coffee. Tiramisu. Honey. Cocoa dust. Lightly peppery.

Finish: Honey. Cream. Chocolate liqueur. Light pepper and bready notes. Milky coffee. Caramel.

Conclusion: Ok, this is a Tiramisu stout, that much is unmistakable. Yet it has honey notes. That was Flavourtown’s thing! Stop your beer gimmick infringement darn it!

Comparing the two actually makes for some interesting points though – so I think I’m going to follow that idea and see where it goes.

For all I started talking about the honey, as it was unexpected, this really has a lot of the tiramisu that it promised, so I will give it points for that.

Compared to the Imperial Porter of Flavourtown, this is thicker (as you would expect) with a creamier character, mixing cocoa, cream, coffee and, well, tiramisu. It isn’t solely dominated by the concept, but it definitely pushes it. It is generally sweeter and thicker, but doesn’t have any one flavour as strong as the honey was in Flavourtown, so despite being sweeter overall and having more alcohol, it feels more balanced.

It has a similar slight peppery contrast, but generally this rides heavier on the sweetness, so much so that it seems honeyed (despite the lack of any ingredient like that being used). However it never feels sickly.

Overall it feels like what a dessert stout should be – definitely a stout, definitely a dessert, and most importantly wears its beer characteristics on its sleeve. They are a few off notes, the alcohol is a tad present, and it could do with a touch more range, but generally it does exactly what it promises and is well worth a drink.

Background: I have a mixed relationship with Dessert Stouts. As an occasional treat I love them, something big, sweet, different and decadent. However sometimes they seem to overly dominate the beer scene, especially ones laden with many ingredients that overwhelm the base beer. Thus this one caught my eye, boldly boasting that “No tiramasus were hurt in the making of this beer”, and odd ingredients limited to oats and lactose from the look of it, so looked like a nice balance of dessert and beer, in theory at least. Anyway, first encounter with London Beer Factory here, and they have those completely pull off lids, which, despite being a good idea, always unnerve me for some reason. Grabbed from Independent Spirit, I went back to The Royal They’s self titled album for this. I should buy more of their albums.