Hammerton: Crunch AF (England: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Thin, off white, bubbled head.

Nose: Peanuts. Slightly musty. Fatty butter. Chocolate spread.

Body: Peanuts. General nutty character. Mild peanut butter. Fizzy mouthfeel. Chalky. Charring. Touch of sour cream.

Finish: Slight fatty butter. Light charring. Sour cream and chives. Peanut butter. Bitter cocoa. Cola bottles.

Conclusion: Stouts are very heard to do well as a low abv, mainly because a full abv stout tends to rely on being thicker and more malt led than most other beers, which are two things that a very hard to get right at a lower abv.

Now that is totally a good start to a low abv stout’s tasting notes eh?

Ok, let’s open up with what is usually the strongest point of a low abv beer – the aroma.

It is pretty good – a bit musty but clearly showing both peanuts and fatty butter, even if it doesn’t quite mesh the two flavours together to come across as peanut butter. It is close enough. Where there are cracks it uses a few chocolate spread like layers to paste over them.

The body has a similar slight musty feel to it, while also being a bit thin and chalky. It doesn’t set a good first impression. Over time more peanuts, or even at times peanut butter, grow. Though even late on there is an oddly fizzy mouthfeel, even if it isn’t as thin as it was early on. I’m not sure where the fizziness comes from, as it doesn’t seem that carbonated – I can’t attribute it to any one element, it just feels odd.

On the way out this beer is at its weakest, with slight charring and a kind of sour cream and chives note. It feels generally kind of artificial, which should not be a surprise in an peanut butter beer, but also in a way that doesn’t properly underline the whole experience.

It is kind of artificial feeling overall, again even for a peanut butter beer. Not bad, but feels odd. As of such I’m finding it hard to recommend. It is too musty and odd feeling to session and not enough in it to slow examine.

It is an interesting experiment but feels like a prototype for a better beer to come.

Background: Have been looking for some more varied low alcohol beers recently, and thankfully reality seems happy to fulfil this one specific wish. I found this one at Beercraft. They tend to the expensive side, even for craft beer, but they keep a very well stocked low alcohol selection that I like to raid. This one is very odd, being made with lactose, wheat, and peanut in order to try and make a low abv peanut butter milk stout. Think this is my first time with the Hammerton brewery, so nothing much to say on them. Went with Faithless: Reverence as backing music as I’m on a bit of a Faithless kick at the moment, Or poss just in a retro 90s place at the mo.