Fallen Acorn: Emperor: Brandy BA Simple Tricks and Nonsense (England: Imperial Stout: 15.4% ABV)

Visual: Black. Utterly still. No head.

Nose: Brandy soaked sponge. Sherry cream. Sherry soaked raisins. Fig rolls. Caramel and milky chocolate, also biscuity which together gives a Twix Bar image. Mild licorice. Nougat.

Body: Very smooth, into a cake sponge feel. Nougat. Brandy soaked raisins and brandy sponge. Chocolate cake sponge. Chocolate liqueur. Liqueur filled chocolate sweets. Trifle sponge. Chocolate flapjacks. Cognac touch.

Finish: Rum sponge. Chocolate cake sponge. Liqueur filled chocolate sweets. Chocolate flapjacks. Golden syrup touch.

Conclusion: Ohhh, it has been a long time since I have had an imperial stout like this. This is very big, but oh so very smooth. Like, a 15% and up abv beer should not have this smooth a texture. Early on it just slides down your throat. It is not that it is thin, but it is nothing like what you would expect. An utterly still beer on pour and utterly slick on swallow. It does quickly move on from that to a chocolate sponge fluffy feel and flavour, but that fluffy character is still lighter than you would expect from the abv. It feels very influenced by the super smooth take that was common in the USA in roughly the middle 2K era.

I haven’t had the unaged beer, but I’m guessing is was probably pretty smooth and not too carbonated to begin with, but if so, the ageing has really emphasised both point until this feels like a smooth chocolate liqueur, sans some of the alcohol fire. (Again, impressive considering the absurd abv this has).

On top of that this is laden with the barrel aged flavour – not that I would haver recognised the barrel correctly and guessed brandy sight unseen. Yes, this has tons of brandy soaked cake sponge flavours, and a kind of raisins element, but there are so many odd spirit flavours that seem to come out of the beer and barrel interaction that I would have been hard pressed to guess a specific one. It tastes like shoving a mouthful of varied liqueur filled chocolates in your gob at once and washing it down with an imperial stout.

It results in a beer that I respect for brewing quality and enjoy for bursting spirit flavour, it is very good, but I will admit I prefer my imperial stouts a bit more chewy in feel. I mean, this is recognisably strong despite its slickness and smoothness – mainly from those spirity flavours and , while smooth, still a noticeable alcohol character. I still would have preferred a touch bigger thickness in mouthfeel. Oddly this actually ties into the one big flaw of the beer, don’t let it warm to room temperature. Normally I quite like letting my stouts warm, but this becomes very boozy and noticeably alcohol touched when at room temperature. It doesn’t gain the thicker mouthfeel I wanted, just become very more obvious in its alcohol feel which does not benefit the beer. Still, slightly chilled this is lovely.

Still, despite those quibbles, overall this is very well done. It is a huge wave of spirity flavour and very well made base imperial stout. However, at 25 quid odd a pop I have to be critical about it for the little flaws as for that money you should demand excellence. It is very good indeed, but not 25 quid a go good.

Background: Emperor brewing have a massive reputation for making imperial stouts. I have encountered them in on collaboration before and found it pretty darn nice. So, a short while back I was discussing them at a Mill’s beer tasting at indie spirit, and one of the other people there mentioned that Fallen Acorn had done a collaboration with them and, shockingly, was still in stock on their store. You had to buy them in a set of three different barrel ageing, so it was a tad expensive, but I bit the bullet and grabbed them. Many thanks to the guy who mentioned it to me, if you ever read this! Since then looks like they sell them individually now, but ah well, no complaints. This is meant to emulate German chocolate cake in style, and was made with lactose and aged in Brandy barrels. Due to being a large bottle and huuuge abv I saved some of this for another day, stopping up the bottle. I am not as young as I once was. Music wise i went with Bloodywood – Rakshak. Yep they finally have their first album out and it is amazing!