Tag Archive: Imperial Stout


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.

Black Iris: I Push My Fingers Into My Pies (England: Imperial Stout: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thick brown dash of a head.

Nose: Apple strudel. Caramel. Marzipan. Toffee apples. Cherry bakewells. Liquorice touch. Strawberry yogurt.

Body: Thick. Slight bitter chocolate. Liquorice touch. Cherry bakewells. Golden syrup, Apple pies. Vanilla toffee. Toffee apple. Slight milk. Black cherry.

Finish: Sour dough. Crushed bourbon biscuits. Apples. Icing sugar. Strawberry cream. Bitter cocoa. Slightly bitter. Brown bread. Bitter coffee. Almond slices.

Conclusion: This is odd, in so many ways. Which, looking at the ingredient list, you may be thinking that this should not surprise me. However, even knowing what went into this it manages to express itself in unusual and unexpected ways over and over again.

The base stout is stodgy, with a kind of bitter cocoa but in a muted way. It is slightly bready in heaviness, slightly milky in the creaminess of the texture, so with these combined it is definitely a thick, chewy stout. Which makes it even odder that the elements of the base stout are so oddly muted. It is definitely present, definitely weighty but in a fairly bready nondescript way with bitter chocolate and coffee there but slightly lost.

So, with all that in mind, back to the oddness of this beer. I feel like the base described above is muted in a deliberate move to make room for the unusual ingredients and give those flavours room to roam. The thing is that while this has cherry and strawberry (and vanilla and almonds) in it, those are not the most evident flavours. So what does stand out? What is the first super evident note? Apple strudel. Yeah I didn’t see that one coming either. There is a super sticky apple filling style, sticky toffee, and every combination in-between. Nice, but deeply unexpected.

Now, I will admit, nestled away in the midst of this muted imperial stout of toffee apple strudel is , in fact, a 100% recognisable cherry bakewell set of notes. It is like there is a calm at the eye of the stout tornado and there the bakewell nestles. It is still slightly muted, not super sweet, but absolutely there are recognisable as the dessert they were going for.

So, I would say it is not great because of feeling slightly muted in a lot of elements, but it is far from bad. It is a lot, and I mean a LOT, a lot of often clashing elements but it is fair fascinating if not best set up. The base feels like it is muted, but the strudel and everything with it feels sickly. I’d say don’t grab if your main interest is the bakewell gimmick, as that is but a small part of this.

To be a really good beer it probably would either need a bigger use of the base Imperial Stout flavours, or more dedication to the bakewell gimmick – right now if feels just slightly underwhelming if interesting. So, not really one I would recommend but it is an enjoyable mess.

Background: I grabbed this one for a few reasons, but the main one being that it is a cherry bakewell imperial stout and the contrast between an imperial stout and a bakewell being combined in one thing intrigued me. To try and achieve this goal they used cherry and strawberry puree, vanilla pods, lactose and almonds. Another reason was the artwork which has a nicely spooky look in striking black and white. That cool design led to me picking some heavier music for drinking – Noctule’s Wretched Abyss – some Skyrim inspired black metal which went along perfectly. This is another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Demoersleutel Beer Engineers: Intergalactic Bounty Hunter (Netherlands: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin brown dust of a head.

Nose: Milky coffee. Coconut dust.

Body: Creamy texture, slightly oily. Nut oils. Nougat touch. Coconut. Lots of creamy coffee. Quite thick. Bitter cocoa. Toffee.

Finish: Creamy coffee. Chocolate ice cream. Coconut. Cream. Nougat. Bitter cocoa.

Conclusion: Oh, this is very nicely balanced. Also there is a good chunk of coconut. However we all know about my love of coconut in stouts, so lets concentrate on that balance first.

This is creamy of body and fairly thick, it doesn’t show the full 12% abv in weight but it definitely uses the malt to give that thick, rewarding mouthfeel very well. Despite that thickness and the creamy notes the (and heeeereee we go!) coconut notes actually makes the whole thing come across a tad drier than you would expect. It means that, while there is significant weight to this, it is far from sickly sweet and a while it has a light shimmer of an alcohol tell over whole whole thing it doesn’t feel “boozy”

There is a nice oiliness to it that comes along with a savoury nuttiness that, again, keeps this from getting sickly. The bitter cocoa dusts adds lovely bitter character while still keeping with the bounty chocolate bar theme which I am 90% sure the name calls to. They do have Bounty chocolate bars pretty much everywhere right? I’m not going to find out it is just a UK thing, right? The sweeter notes edge in with toffee hints at the edges, but in general this feel that it completely wants to be the beer take on a bounty chocolate bar, without descending into a boozy, sickly sweet mess as a lot of dessert themed stouts do.

And it manages it. Darn impressive.

It is sweet enough, just enough sweetness put out then everything else is used to bring this high alcohol beer down to being a restrained beast. So much going on here that I’ve not even touched on the mild coffee that bleeds out over the edges, the nougat thickness, or the lashings and lashings of coconut.

Oh yes this has coconut.

This is a very well made beer.

Background: This caught my eye at Independent Spirit as it is made with coconut. I love Imperial Stouts made with coconut when they are well done. Adore them. It is also made with coffee, but I’m here for the coconut. The can lists it as 12% abv, but a lot of people online list it as 10%. I wonder if that is something to do with the fact I’ve heard this a bigger brewed version of a beer they did previously? Maybe that was 10%? Not sure, not managed to find confirmation. As you can see this is one of the rare beer’s where I have done multiple shots of the can so you can see more of the art as it is very cool. Not tried anything from Demoersleutel Beer Engineers before, but I do like the name, so much more evocative than De moersleutel Brewers. Went back to David Bowie’s Blackstar as music for this – something lovely and haunting to back a big beer. Still so emotional an album even years on.

Ingenious: Birthday Three (USA: Imperial Stout: 12.5% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black. The head fizzes up but doesn’t last long. Slightly fizzy in general.

Nose: Chocolate cake. Coffee cake. Walnut. Alcohol tingle. Flat cola. Icing sugar. Lactose. Chocolate liqueur.

Body: Thick. Chocolate cake and chocolate cream. Bitter cocoa. An even thicker twist to the feel in the middle. Sweet licorice. Black cherry. Sticky toffee pudding. Light chalk. Gunpowder tea. Fizzy cola bottles.

Finish: Bitter cocoa. Bitter chocolate cake. Chalk like touch. Coconut. Treacle sponge. Flat cola. Cinder toffee.

Conclusion: From the clean feeling aroma and the smooth pour I was expecting this to be a tad light in its texture despite the 12.5% ABV. I have seen quite a few imperial stouts from the USA that feel a lot lighter than the abv would suggest.

Well anyway that was stupid of me. This is sticky as heck, gripping like treacle. Odd as the beer doesn’t leave an obvious dark sheen on the glasss as you swirl it, but despite that it clings to your tongue like its life depends on it.

(Maybe it does? Maybe this beer is alive and it realised beyond the throat is a giant pit of acid. Maybe it was sapient and trying to survive. Unlikely though)

Anyway, this starts very much like the chocolate birthday cake and icing style that it deliberately evokes. However over time this gets stickier and stickier, into first treacle sponge and then sticky toffee pudding like character, all drenched in flat cola notes.

Ok, I know that sounds horrible, but it is actually ok. Not great admittedly, but ok. Still, best part of a tenner buys a lot of better than ok stouts, and this costs best part of a tenner is all I am saying.

Still, early on it is a lovely, chocolate cake tasting, slightly bitter cocoa tasting beer. That cocoa especially really helps it not get sickly early on. However as the beer grows that cocoa just can’t compete and this soon becomes sickly, and I mean really sickly.

So, yes this does manage its aim of Birthday Cake the beer at the start, and ends up sticky toffee pudding the stout. Which may be for some people. Apart from that there are slight chalky and gunpowder tea style notes that seem to be trying to rein in the beer and failing, and some intresting cinder toffee at the end.

Even at its stickiest there is still a slightly drier, more standard cake set of notes underneath, but it doesn’t manage to make that the main expression.

So, it is ok, but too sticky by far. That may be making you think “darn this is for me!” and if so, more power to you, but personally I will not be returning to this one

Background: It is surprisingly hard to find information on this beer online, so I’m going to just go with the information on the Beer Bruvs website where I bought it. A blend of imperial stout aged in Blanton Barrels, and imperial milk stout conditioned on birthday cake, frosting, vanilla beans and possibly dynamite?

I presume that last one is a joke.

I presume.

Anyway odd as hell, but sounded like it could be fun and my last encounter with Ingenious was for a similarly odd sounded beer and that was great, so decided to give it a go. From the name I guess they brewed this for their third anniversary of starting? Again very little information I could find online.

Went with a mix of tracks from Run The Jewels :RTJ2 and RTJ4 while drinking. Gave a nice bit of energy to the session.

De Struise: Black Damnation: 09: Beggar’s Art (Belgium: Imperial Stout: 18.1% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Fairly small brown bubbled head.

Nose: Oily. Moss. Medicinal air. Wholemeal brown bread. Hints of blue cheese. Crushed chocolate bourbon biscuits. Kippers. Peat smoke.

Body: Oily. Thick. Cherries. Chocolate fondue. Medicinal. Beef slices. Peat smoke.


Finish: Meat feast pizza toppings. Oily. Slight salt. Peat smoke. Cherries. Medicinal. Milky chocolate. Milky coffee. Cream. Bready. Hint of blue cheese.

Conclusion: Ardbeg is surprisingly hard to use for barrel aging a beer. It can become so dominant in its harshness that it overpowers the base beer, but also in doing that loses the subtleties that makes it work so well as a complex and booming whisky.

I think that they brewed this at over 18% abv just to try and give it a chance to go up against that Ardbeg character, and you know what? It works.

The aroma is very Ardbeg led, though a bit more oily that what I would expect from that dram. In fact that unexpected oiliness follows through into the entire beer and is very pleasant at it, giving EVEN more weight and character. There is then familiar medicinal notes and peat smoke in an almost kippers like fashion. Also very pleasing to me, there are very subtle blue cheese notes that remind me of my favourite Ardbeg expression I have ever tried.

The beer, when you actually push past the aroma and sip it, manages a heavy, thick chocolate fondue style to creamy, complex coffee body, which is amazing, then utterly brutalised by Arbeg character. In a good way.

It is smoother than you would imagine, both in lack of alcohol burn and creaminess of character but uses that to show the peat smoke, meat and that oily element off well. Somehow, with all that going on, despite the weight of the Islay character occasionally sweet cherry notes manage to poke their heads above the parapets to be enjoyed. It took 18% or so, but they did it, they made a beer that can stand up to Ardbeg.

This is a beast and I love it. It is big enough to be big and chewy by itself, and the Islay influence is huge but managed. I mean how can I not love something that occasionally brings out those blue cheese notes amongst the Ardbeg influence. Do you like Imperial Stouts? Do you like Islay? No question then, get this, it is great.

Background: A big De Struise fan here, but never managed to get hold of any of their big Black Damnation imperial stouts. Then first one I do is this, an over 18% abv one aged for two years in Ardbeg casks. Well that is a heck of a way to kick things off. Not much else to add, one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Wanted something operatic and metal for a beer this big so went with Nightwish: Dark Passion Play.

Pilot: Barrel Aged Double Mochaccino Stout (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 12.3% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still and opaque. Brown rim of bubbles around the glass and a grey dash over the centre.

Nose: Full bitter coffee to coffee cake with walnuts. Vanilla. Rye whisky undertones. Peppery. Carrot cake. Some low level rum notes. Whisky air.

Body: Smooth. Cherries. Palma violets. Black cherries. Milky chocolate to chocolate liqueur. Very light liquorice. Rum. Fruity whisky notes. Orange jelly sweets. Peppery. Coffee cake.

Finish: Milky chocolate. Milky coffee. Coffee cake. Light liquorice. Apple clean spirity notes. Cocoa. Seville orange. Pear drops.

Conclusion: You know, if they haven’t had stated that this was Speyside whisky barrel aged I would have sworn that it had spent some time in rum wood as it has some light rum spiciness in under there.

Anyway, there is a noticeable alcohol character to this, which is to be expected given the high abv and barrel ageing, but despite that it isn’t a “boozy” feeling drink. Instead it is very smooth, and dangerously easy to drink from that. In a way it is a good thing that it is in a tiny 250 ml bottle at this abv or a could quaff a lot of it, with bad results for my health.

It starts off very cake driven, with coffee cake, carrot cake, a whole cake kind of thing going on giving a very thick and often coffee led aroma. Which is part of what makes that smoothness of body such a surprise.

The body therefore starts smooth and sweet with a lot of cherries and black cherries giving a very fruity front. It is easy drinking and delicious here. As time goes on the rum like spiciness and more rye like spicy character rises to make it a slightly more savoury and complex beast that the fruity burst at the front.

The whisky ageing shows itself more late on as a subtly fruity whisky character that floats in the background. It is a clean, slightly spirity and fruity sheen that clings to everything but never dominates.

So this is a beer with a great start, lovely progress and is smooth as silk but with so much progression.

I would say, if you see it, grab it, but I don’t want more competition for getting hold of the remaining bottles!

Background: I’ve had this a few times and kept meaning to do notes, so finally I have. In a tiny 25 cl bottle, this is taken from four speyside whisky casks that were filed with Double Mochaccino Stout. So pretty much exactly what it says in the name. Grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went with IDLES: Brutalism again as drinking music. Still listening to them a lot, and looking forwards to when I finally get to see them live again.

Seven Islands: Dulce De Banana (Greece: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Dash of a brown head.

Nose: Banana syrup. Caramel. Licorice. Crumpets.

Body: Toffee. Chocolate liqueur. Banana syrup. Honey. Boozy core. Cream. Chocolate cake sponge. Toffee liqueur. Tiramisu.

Finish: Cream. Banana syrup. Chocolate liqueur. Chocolate cake sponge. Toffee liqueur. Sweet danish pastry. Hundreds and thousands. Blended whisky. Alcohol soaked sponge.

Conclusion: Ok, even more so that their PBJ dessert stout, this is a stupidly sweet, syrupy, mess. So, any which way, I couldn’t wait to get my lips around it.

Also the can image looks rude.

By far the banana is the stand out element – it just booms cheap banana syrup character. Probably not something that sounds appealing to most people, but I will admit I am enjoying its silly, sweet character.

Like their similar pastry stout PBJ this shows its alcohol in a boozy, kind of whisky like set of notes. Here it shows as a reasonable, if not special, quality blended whisky kind of style. An obvious alcohol character, but not a bad one – just very noticeably boozy. Again, it hasn’t been whisky aged, so is a very odd set of notes to find.

Apart from that there is a lot of toffee, and spirit soaked tiramisu style in a cream meets toffee meets alcohol meets everything else kind of mash of …. stuff.

I mean, you saw the can, maybe read the ingredients list, you kind of already knew what this offers, what you probably want to know is it actually any good? Well it is a sickly sweet, thick blended whisky touched .. thing. It could probably give sugar shock just by looking at it.

But that doesn’t answer the question does it?

So, erm yeah. Well it is chewy, and yet still fairly smooth – a decent mix for a mouthfeel. The alcohol, though whisky styled is not rough. For something that plays as cheaply sweet as this done, it is as polished as you will get for that kind of dessert beer trip.

So, cheap thrills, but well made for that. I enjoyed it. If you don’t automatically hate the dessert beer style, then you may have fun with it too.

Background: Soo, I had this a while back and did not do notes on it back then. I will admit, 90% of the reason I bought another was to do notes so I could share the can image with you. Back when Indie Spirit first got it in they put up photos of this and Boi Juice side by side. Which just goes to show they know how to sell beers to me. Another of the silly dessert stouts, made to try and duplicate an existing dessert. To try and do that this is made with … deep breath .. oats, lactose, banana, condensed milk, vanilla and chocolate. With all that I am surprised there is still room for the beer in there. Have been playing the Guitar Hero games again recently so went with Slayer: Reign In Blood for music. Incidentally – Fuck Raining Blood in Guitar Hero 3. Fuck it to hell.

Seven Islands: PJB Concoction (Greece: Imperial Stout: 12% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Caramel brown rim of a head.

Nose: Massive amounts of peanut-butter. Chocolate. Oats. Strawberry. Touch of liquorice.

Body: Strawberry crème to strawberry jam. Thick, milky chocolate to chocolate liqueur. Boozy alcohol. Toffee liqueur. Blended whisky. Peanut butter.

Finish: Liquorice. Danish pastries. Strawberry crème filled bitter black chocolate sweets. Bourbon whiskey. Boozy alcohol. Toffee liqueur. Alcohol air. Bourbon biscuits. Peanut butter.

Conclusion: Holy fuck this really smells of peanut-butter. Also chocolate. It is like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of beers. And yes despite being British I have eaten Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They get everywhere.

There is also definitely the strawberry notes, not as heavy but definitely enough that this Is matching its core conceit well. Now it isn’t 100% on, being sometimes more strawberry crème than strawberry jam. Also you tend to get either the Reese’s chocolate peanut butter, or the strawberry crème filled quality chocolate sweets, rarely both at once, for most of the beer. It is only in the latter half that they really merge together, and truly match the idea of the beer, but that is nit picking.

Now, much as it does get the conceit, it isn’t all good news. The alcohol is very boozy – at its best it is like lower end bourbon, at its worst it has some of the rougher end of blended whisky feel and taste. Not 100% terrible, but it really doesn’t suit the feel of the beer.

Still, as a pastry stout it even has sweet pastry notes. Then again does PBJ have pastry? I always thought it was just peanut butter and jam in a sandwich. Is there a genuine pastry dessert PBJ? Is this I thing I never encountered?

Anyway, as an imperial stout it has some rough edges. As a PBJ beer it is fun despite the roughness. It isn’t going to win awards for brewing or style, but ya know what?

I had a laugh with it.

Background: Pastry/Dessert stouts seem to be getting a lot of shit at the moment. I guess I can kind of see why, the market is flipping flooded with them. It is kind of the NEIPA of stouts. However I kind of dig them, as long as it is an occasional treat. I think they have the advantage that they are easy to spot, unlike NEIPAs where often the first clue you get is when you pour from the can. Anyway, this is a Peanut Butter and Jelly/Jam inspired beer. By which I mean it is made with peanut butter, strawberry, Tahitian vanilla (which a quick google tells me is more fancy than normal vanilla apparently) and chocolate. Soo, yeah can see how they are hoping to get the PBJ flavours then. Seven Islands is a new brewery for me, and it is only when I googled that I found out it is from Greece, and not Canada as I first guessed. Interesting – not had much of an examine of their beer scene before. Anyway, another new beer from Independent Spirit. I went with Gogol Bordello: Trans Continental Hustle for background music while drinking. Anti immigration feeling is rinsing in the UK again, so a burst of punk energy against that was welcome.

Pipeworks: Imperial Cherry Jones Dog (USA: Imperial Stout: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black and still. Thin grey brown dash of a head.

Nose: Brown sugar. Warming booze. Chocolate smelling alcohol. Walnuts. Cashews. Liquorice. Chocolate cake. Liquorice all sorts.

Body: Black cherry. Toffee yogurt. Liquorice. Walnut cake. Vanilla fudge. Cherry pocked biscuits. Cocoa backing. Glacier cherries touch. Light chalk touch.

Finish: Coffee cake. Walnuts. Crushed bourbon biscuits. Cherry picked biscuits. Cocoa. Vanilla sweetness. Alcohol air.

Conclusion: You know, for an over 10% abv imperial stout stacked with special ingredients, this is fairly restrained. Which as always, I should point out, does mean it would be considered restrained by any normal beers standards, natch, just for one this big.

The special ingredients show differing amounts of influence. There’s a creamy character, but against that a more solid chocolate cake feel and taste. It has a vanilla sweetness matched to the creaminess as one of the bigger elements, but the cherries come out as a subtle character laced throughout – sometimes even coming through more as black cherry.

These all build up over time to an impressive weight of flavour by the end. This is one of the few 10% abv and up beers where the full pint is worthwhile for appreciating the beer, rather than being better suited to a half of even third.

It is slow to build and subtle up front, with a touch of the alcohol noticeable but it is far from boozy. It doesn’t have any one element that pushes it to a classic, but has a lot that works well together – a great cocoa backing, some sweet bursts, subtle cherry and an initially high liquorice that slips out of the way to give the other elements time in the limelight.

By the end are a bit more obvious – more noticeable alcohol, bigger flavour – it isn’t as good in itself, but shows a progression that keeps the beer interesting, which offsets that. It has a good use of the lactose for sweetness and mouthfeel, nice subtle use of the cherry and so much cocoa.

A very complex and solid imperial stout, not a must have but well worth a look.

Background: Pipeworks, a new new brewery on me, but this one sounded fairly epic, so I decided to give it a try. Also, new beers and breweries from the USA are less common than they used to be – for many reasons, one of which I would guess would be the plummeting pound over the years. Anyway, this is made with cherries, cocoa nibs, lactose and vanilla. Of course. Went with Le Tigre’s self titled album for music while drinking. This was another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit.

London Beer Factory: Zia Tiramisu Imperial Stout (England: Imperial Stout: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Medium sized creamy brown head that doesn’t last long.

Nose: Cocoa. Cream. Chocolate dust. Tiramisu. Creamy coffee. Light liqueur touch and light alcohol. Chocolate cake.

Body: Chocolate liqueur. Alcohol prickle. Creamy coffee. Tiramisu. Honey. Cocoa dust. Lightly peppery.

Finish: Honey. Cream. Chocolate liqueur. Light pepper and bready notes. Milky coffee. Caramel.

Conclusion: Ok, this is a Tiramisu stout, that much is unmistakable. Yet it has honey notes. That was Flavourtown’s thing! Stop your beer gimmick infringement darn it!

Comparing the two actually makes for some interesting points though – so I think I’m going to follow that idea and see where it goes.

For all I started talking about the honey, as it was unexpected, this really has a lot of the tiramisu that it promised, so I will give it points for that.

Compared to the Imperial Porter of Flavourtown, this is thicker (as you would expect) with a creamier character, mixing cocoa, cream, coffee and, well, tiramisu. It isn’t solely dominated by the concept, but it definitely pushes it. It is generally sweeter and thicker, but doesn’t have any one flavour as strong as the honey was in Flavourtown, so despite being sweeter overall and having more alcohol, it feels more balanced.

It has a similar slight peppery contrast, but generally this rides heavier on the sweetness, so much so that it seems honeyed (despite the lack of any ingredient like that being used). However it never feels sickly.

Overall it feels like what a dessert stout should be – definitely a stout, definitely a dessert, and most importantly wears its beer characteristics on its sleeve. They are a few off notes, the alcohol is a tad present, and it could do with a touch more range, but generally it does exactly what it promises and is well worth a drink.

Background: I have a mixed relationship with Dessert Stouts. As an occasional treat I love them, something big, sweet, different and decadent. However sometimes they seem to overly dominate the beer scene, especially ones laden with many ingredients that overwhelm the base beer. Thus this one caught my eye, boldly boasting that “No tiramasus were hurt in the making of this beer”, and odd ingredients limited to oats and lactose from the look of it, so looked like a nice balance of dessert and beer, in theory at least. Anyway, first encounter with London Beer Factory here, and they have those completely pull off lids, which, despite being a good idea, always unnerve me for some reason. Grabbed from Independent Spirit, I went back to The Royal They’s self titled album for this. I should buy more of their albums.

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