Wild Beer Co: Wineybeest (England: Imperial Stout: 11% ABV)
Visual: Black. Still. Brown bubbles at the edge and a dust of a head over the main body.
Nose: Intense red wine. Acidic almost vinegar touch early on. Sharp apples. Liquorice.
Body: Rich red wine, backed by sour wine notes. Sour red grapes. White chocolate froth and bitter chocolate cake back. Cheese boards.
Finish: Milky chocolate. Red grapes. Bitter chocolate. Spicy – mixed spice. Liquorice. Blackberry.
Conclusion: Am I doing Pinot Nor week or something? Or is it my birthday and no-one told me? Either way I am Pinot spoiled at the moment I tell you. Oddly this thick imperial stout seemed initially to find it harder to stand up to the wine influence than the Blackjack Native Sun Dopplebock did.
The nose, even the first sips, are massively wine dominated. Initially rich and fruity, then backed up by sour and spicy notes. All wine, all the time though. Very nice, but as long time readers (both of you) will know I get disappointed when you completely lose the base beer to the barrel ageing. It just seems to lose some of the potential that the merging of two great things holds.
Thankfully here the beer fights back, slowly but inevitably. Bitter chocolate cake and complex mature cheeseboards start revealing themselves, pushing up strong enough to be noticed past the rich wine. At a rough comparison, only about thirty percent of the character of Wildebeest shows itself, but that adds heavy stodgy flavours to this wine force. It is mainly a matter of holding the beer character – top and tail is wine, but the centre is that bitter crumbly chocolate cake.
It may not be as complexly and richly balanced as Whiskebeest, but it is far more its own thing – two strong flavours pulling against each other – not clashing, just sloshing back and forwards.
The wine is too dominant to call it a master piece, but the strength of flavour is too great to call it any less than fantastic. Unbalanced, rich and joyous wine explosion.
Background: This is a Pinot Noir barrel aged version of wildebeest. I believe in recent notes I have mentioned my lack of wine knowledge, and of the fact that despite that I have enjoyed a couple of pinot noirs. So of course I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. There were only 500 bottles of this made, and one less exists now. The wax didn’t get too much in the way of opening the bottle for once. Which was nice.