Salt: The Queer Brewing Project: Flavourtown (England: Imperial Porter: 8% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin brown dash of bubbles instead of a head.

Nose: Fresh dough. Slight crushed bourbon biscuits. Crushed crunchies chocolate bars.

Body: Smooth chocolate fondue. Light mead. Peppery. Caramel. Clean texture and mouthfeel. Honey.

Finish: Light earthy character. Watery chocolate. Honey sheen. Caramel in a Twix bar style. Milky coffee. Sheen of choc toffee. Cocoa.

Conclusion: What makes the difference between an Imperial Porter and a higher abv stout? That is the eternal question. Technically there are style guidelines, but in practise it seems to vary wildly. In this case I would say the difference is in mouthfeel and general weight of the beer.

While this is not a light beer by any means, it is only late on that it ever starts to show the full weight of the 8% ABV and even then it is very smooth for the style. That is in mouthfeel anyway, flavour wise this booms all the way. All the way to …flavourtown. Haha. Haha.

Ha.

Anyway, this is smooth chocolate with honey and mead notes – in the finish those honeyed notes especially linger. Despite the strength and lasting flavour it doesn’t feel artificially intense or sweet, which feels a tad confusing. You have big long lasting flavours, but somehow restrained.

It has a little in the way of earthy and peppery notes, but at its core it comes in with that rich cocoa and honey, with only subtle influence from the common coffee porter notes. Despite the sweet notes it it quite dry, especially into the finish. It is odd, like a lot of the beer it feels slightly contradictory in its ways.

The beer does get thicker over time, feeling slightly honey thickened by the end – still not Imperial Stout like weight – more like a thicker mead, but so different from the start. Still not quite sure how that happened.

But, is it good? Kind of. Feels like it is honey balanced over a gentle sweet core at the start, but by the end it is honey on full blast which gets over powering. I enjoy it, but is an occasional drink, not a frequent one. Starts subtle, ends outrageously mead filled. Decent if unbalanced.

Background: The Queer Brewing Project! Cool idea, with some of the profits going to LGBTQ charities and Salt are a good brewery to match, so it was an easy choice to drive into Flavourtown! Whoop whoop! So what did they go for? An Imperial Porter made with honeycomb dust. You don’t get many Imperial Porters, possibly because of the confusion in what exactly one is, so it was an interesting one to grab from Independent Spirit. Went back to the 90s with Faithless: Reverence as backing music while drinking.