Visual: Black. Still. Slight head on pour which quickly vanishes.
Nose: Praline chocolate. Peanut butter. Marshmallow. Grated bitter chocolate. Vanilla ice cream. Condensed cream
Body: Silken chocolate. Peanut butter. Fudge. Chocolate fondue. Praline. Light rum and raisin ice cream. Madeira. Lightly chalky. Marshmallow. Vinous red grapes undertones.
Finish: Vanilla ice cream. Peanut butter. Marshmallow. Chocolate ice cream. Salted peanuts. Cocoa dust.
Conclusion: Ok, the marshmallow style is utterly nailed here. Seriously, it lands large with a fluffy mouthfeel and sweet taste. The whole Rocky Road imagery is shown with creamy notes layered over a solid praline to cocoa dust base. It is a solid, sweet – yet with a bitter cocoa backbone Imperial Porter. A very good start.
So, image wise, for its Rocky Road ice cream inspiration it does it brilliantly in a lot of ways. When chilled down the mouthfeel and flavour give a lot of vanilla ice cream style, without the low temperature hurting the vast range the beer brings.
The biggest departure from the theme is in how it deals with the nuttiness. This is massively peanut styled nutty, Early on it feels like a pure peanut butter stout. Now, yes, nuts are used in rocky road, but in my experience they are never this dominant. The other elements do earn their place though, balancing it better as time goes on. Even with the heavy peanut butter early on, as a beer in itself this is excellent – in fact better than most intended peanut butter stouts that I have tried – and over time the marshmallow and ice cream complexities rise around that. Even at the end of the beer the peanut butter dominates a bit much to be called a perfectly accurate rocky road beer, but it is a good enough call, and that does nothing to stop it being an excellent beer.
It is definitely on the sweet end of the dark beer style, it would be sweet even for an Imperial Stout, let alone Imperial Porter – very creamy, very thick – but the mix of bitter cocoa and savoury nuts gives it enough grounding that it doesn’t end up in the sugar shock range.
What really sells this is that the gimmick isn’t all the beer has, good as that is. As it warms subtle spirit and vinous notes come out. They are often still in an ice cream style – say rum and raisin impressions, but they turn what could be a gimmick beer into a genuinely good imperial porter on all levels.
I have a lot of time for this – it really lives the gimmick, with a few concessions which makes it a better beer. Very good as a sweet Imperial Porter up front, with a lot of complexity at the back. I applaud this fantastic beer.
Background: Ok I love rocky road ice cream and all similar desserts. So when trying to decide which of the “ice cream series” to try this one jumped right out at me. Grabbed from Independent Spirit it is made with cocoa nibs and lactose sugar. Also the image on the front looks like a walking green turd. But you can’t have everything, can you?` Drunk while listening to Brassick – Broke and Restless. Just found out they actually have an album out, but I never knew as I just kept track via bandcamp which didn’t list it – I must check it out.