Tag Archive: Elusive

Elusive: Emperor: Imperial Morrisman – Double Chocolate Dry Imperial Stout (England: Imperial Stout: 11% ABV)

Visual: Black, still and opaque. Thin brown head.

Nose: Cocoa dust. Dry roasted peanuts. Sour cream. Crushed bourbon biscuits. Brown bread.

Body: Smooth. Chocolate cream to chocolate ice cream. Dry roasted peanuts. Light strawberry. Quite thick texture. Light alcohol presence. Choc peanut butter. Sour cream.

Finish: Chocolate ice cream. Dry roasted peanuts. Choc peanut butter. Strawberry crème. Belgian black chocolate.

Conclusion: Ok, a few things first – all linked to the abv. For such a high abv this sticks to a surprisingly simple set of notes and flavours. A lot of high abv beers really pile on the layers, showing off what the extra abv can do with complex flavours – which this does not. Similarly, for the abv there is remarkable little boozy presence or alcohol burn. It has a smooth, dry thickness and some subtle alcohol tells in the weight and air, but in general is very good at hiding the abv.

So, with that dryness of character the sweetness from the mass of chocolate used to make it is actually very restrained – dry one might say. Though despite the restrained sweetness the chocolate is still very evident in a bitter cocoa character, and occasionally a sweeter chocolate ice cream flavour comes out to play for a while. There is a kind of sour cream backing, generally savoury but with that just slight sour twist. So overall the beer is heavy with flavour, and despite the chocolate, never really that sweet.

This then merges with the dry roasted peanut character to slowly transform into a choco-peanut butter big imperial stout. A simple note, well delivered for a consistent quality, very well made beer. Even now it is slightly dry in how the flavours come out, but smooth with it.

Now, early on there were some sweeter notes, even if they were never the most present items, and with it there was an unusual strawberry touch. None of these sweeter notes survive as that peanut butter choco character builds up a head of steam and just takes over the beer.

While comparatively simple for an imperial stout this big, it is brewed to perfection. The style is packed with utter classics, which is the only reason this isn’t getting a “My favourites” entry. It doesn’t quite match the current top set, but it is undeniably great.

Background: Emperor’s Brewery – a brewery I only know by reputation from people mentioning it at Independent Spirit – apparently very hard to get, and they concentrate on making amazing stouts and porters. Which explains why they collaborated with Elusive Brewing to make this. Since I am unlikely to find any of their own beers, this may be the closest I get to trying their stuff for a while. This is a brewed up version of a previous Elusive beer Morrisman, now made with even more chocolate. Or to go by the can, cocoa, chocolate, oats, wheat and vanilla. I went back to Killswitch Engage: Alive or Just Breathing for backing music, something big to go with a big beer.

Elusive Brewing: Oregon Trail – West Coast IPA (England: IPA: 5.8% ABV)

Visual: Just slightly less than clear, yellowed body. Medium carbonation and a medium sized centimetre of a white foam head.

Nose: Vanilla yogurt. Flour. Popcorn feeling bitterness and hops. Slight lemon sherbet. Generally quite clean. Bready as it warms.

Body: Good bitterness. Bready, doughy character. Peppery. Brown bread. Subtle grapefruit. Lemon sherbet. Slight sulphur.

Finish: Dry. Peppery. Harsh bitterness. Resinous. Sour dough. Dry lemon cakes. Vanilla fudge.

Conclusion: So, since it seems that the classic West Coast IPA is getting a bit of a resurgence, it is only right and proper that, after I have been calling for more of them, I at least drink some of them as well. So I did, and this is one of them. Naturally.

Initially this is very bready, and surprisingly sturdy with that, along with a slightly sulphurous dough like character – however with that said, this still brings the bitterness well, along with a peppery character, giving a recognisable west coast style hop character.

As it warms it becomes slightly drier, which makes it much more evidently West Coast, but it still has more of a bready weight than I would otherwise expect. I am used to a more clean and dry west coast, but this still utterly rocks the bitterness and the resinous character, so gets a lot of the basics right.

The citrus hop character promised is less evident. There is a gentle background of grapefruit notes and a slight sherbet lemon. Nice, but very restrained. It feels like a bit bigger citrus pop over the generally good base would really make this shine. While a bit over weighty in general, this has the attenuated bitterness set, and if a more fresh punch was there as a contrast the two would really set each other off well.

So, a nice bitter kick, not fancy, but it is an IPA that remembers to be resinous, bitter and hop forwards and I will never not respect that!

Background: I have been on a heck of a West Coast IPA kick recently, it is just me being rubbish at actually doing notes recently that explains why this blog hasn’t been awash with them. Thankfully, after a bit of time away during the height of the NEIPA craze, the West Coasters have started showing up again, giving me a lot to pick from. West Coast IPAs tend to be be drier, and more concentrating on bitter hops that their sweeter and more full malt bodied East Coast cousins. Which is fine by me. Elusive are a brewery I have only hit a few times before, generally good if nothing standing out as a must have so far. This was grabbed from the ever reliable Independent Spirit. Shocking I know. Music wise I went with a mix of Prodigy tunes while drinking, mainly from Experience and Music For a Jilted Generation. Classic tunes.


Elusive Brewing: Plan B (England: Belgian Ale: 3.7% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed to apricot. Hazy streaks in the body. Large amount of carbonation and a massive white mounded head that leaves suds.

Nose: Wheaty and peppery.

Body: Nicely bitter. Slight cloves. Dried banana. Creamy texture with prickly hop character. Custard crème biscuit’s centre. Light vanilla toffee. Cane sugar. Apricot notes.

Finish: Peppery. Light earthy bitterness. Turmeric. Smoked banana. Slight funky yeast feel – puff crisps. Good hop character. Pine needles. Cheddar cheese.

Conclusion: You know where I have, recently, been chatting about beers that are not complex, but are fun. Well, I didn’t expect a Belgian ale to come along and be an example of that style. I associate Belgian style ales with massive complexity and range. Oh and usually massive abv. Then again this isn’t from Belgium, just in the Belgian style. So that may explain that.

So, a Belgian style blond ale with light sweetness and a slight yeastie character. Ya know, standard, what you would expect. Backed by slight peppery character, slight cloves – again what you would expect. Rounded off by mac off huge bitterness, ya know stand…wait, what?

Basically, instead of adding layers of complexity to this Belgian ale it seems that they just slammed the hop bitterness way up. Earthy notes, prickly hop bitterness. Actually works a lot better than it feels it should.

The balance between the oddity of the funky Belgian yeast and the massive hop character is actually kept quite well, while allowing both to be very influential. Despite two fairly big flavours it is still very easy to drink, very sessionable despite having big (if limited in range) character. Perfect character for something at a tidy 3.7% ABV.

Even better, near the end of the beer some of the more expected fruity flavours that oft come with high hopping, such as apricot notes, start to come out – alongside more traditional cheddar cheese like funky Belgian yeast flavours. Still not massively complex, but just a bit more when you need it to keep the beer from getting dull, when the simple assault would be wearing out its welcome.

So – a simple mix of Belgian style and high hops, but charming, fun and sessionable. I dig that.


(EDIT: Quite amusingly I have been informed that this is meant to be one of our arseholes – Boris Johnson (hence Plan B) and not Trump. Damn, I always knew they looked similar, but when 8 bitted up they look damn near identical. Anyway, I stand by my comments Re: Trump and have left them there to show I am a fallible human being, oh and Bojo is a prick as well)

Ok, so yes, as is evident this beer is taking the piss out of Trump. I am aware a good chunk of my readers are from the USA. I am also aware that just under half of the USA voting people voted for Trump. So, to address the elephant in the room. Fuck Trump. At best he is a raw populist willing to spout shit from the fascist playbook to get elected, and to snuggle up to the newspeak like named Alt-Right to do so, or to speak plainly – Fucking Nazis. The alt-right are Nazis, at some points literal sieg heiling Nazis, and Trump gives them succour. So, yeah, I’ve never gone wrong in my own personal morals with saying fuck the Nazis and I’m not about to stop doing so now. So fuck them and fuck him. I am aware that we have enough shit in our backyard in the UK and Europe, so don’t worry I’m not claiming this is a uniquely USA issue – just the one I am addressing at the moment. Ok, that now addressed – the beer, a Belgian style pale ale made with English malts, German and Australian hops, and Belgian yeast. Grabbed from Independent Spirit as it was a new brewery on me, and the mix of lower abv and Belgian style made it seem an interesting one to try. In happier news, drunk while listening to Mobina Galore – a punk band who was one of the warm ups at the Against Me! Gig. Great fun, lots of energy, definitely worth checking out.

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