Archive for category Stout

Driftwood Singularity – 1 year on

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Outstanding)

I went to some good friends’ house for dinner the other night and had been saving a bottle of Singularity stout from last years release to compare with a bottle of this years, that he had brought to the party. We opened them together and had them side by side to ‘test’  the effects of ageing.

The head on the 1 year-old was a little more restrained, but the aromas and flavours were full on! Dark mocha coffee bean, baked dried fruit, high cocoa content chocolate, rich sweet black molasses, a roasted warmness and a whisky like note on the finish. This beer was long; by that I mean the amazing, complex flavours lingered for an age in my mouth.

By comparison the new Singularity, with the great looking wax seal, was a babe in arms! All the components were there, but they were not yet of age. The flavours had not yet married, they were still separate, youthful singletons waiting for the right time to meld. The patient drinker will reap the benefits of this new classic. Get as many as you can lay your hands on, but crack them  open on their anniversary; keep a few more to see if it improves and develops further.

Serving Type: 650ml Bottle

ABV: 11.8%

Best Served: 10-12°C

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It’s Hammer Time -Phillips Style

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Phillips Brewing make a highly regarded Imperial Stout every year in limited amounts which usually sells out fairly quickly. This year they released a bourbon whiskey barrel aged version in even smaller numbers. But is all that extra effort and cost worth it? I decided to gather the Wranglerette and have a taste off. Is the barrel aged pure gold bullion, or is it full of bull? I always like to start with the original so here goes:

In the Blue corner….

Phillips Hammer Imperial Stout

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

It pours as dark as beer gets, with a dark, creamy tan head. There are aromas of black molasses and burnt caramel with sweet roasted coffee beans. The palate follows on and adds hints of sweet dark cocoa and a hint of cooked dried fruit. It has a creamy and silky texture, so doesn’t lie too heavily, and remains very drinkable. The finish is fairly long with the creaminess of this beer lingering.

In the Red corner….

Phillips Hammer Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Recommended)

Despite the previous description of colour – I swear this is actually darker and even denser, but with the same creamy, dark tan head. The aroma is much more different than I had imagined with a lot of the burnt characteristics smoothed out with a touch of vanilla-like sweetness.  The notes of whiskey are there too, but not overpowering, lending some richness to this big stout. The flavours echo the aromas and feel more integrated than the non-aged version. I don’t know how long this block-buster gets in barrel, but it certainly gives it a smooth rich evenness. But…. the bourbon aged stout seems to have lost something along the way, the bite of those heavily roasted malts have been reigned in and replaced by a simpler sweetness. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good beer but it’s not as drinkable as the original, and a small glass is enough before my palate needs refreshing. It gets a lower score than the original, which is totally against my preconceptions, as I generally like barrel aged beer, but this time it only added a sweetness which smoothed out those peaks of flavour I rather enjoyed!

Phillips should be applauded for trying this out as it keeps BC’s breweries right up there with all the current trending on craft brewing, and I’d like to see them try it again next year with different barrels. If they could buy some of the Samuel Smith Stingo barrels – now that would be interesting!

Both Stouts:

ABV: 8.3%

Best Served: 14 – 16°C

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Bath Ales Dark Hare

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg (Excellent)

Dark Hare, the latest offering from Bath Ales , with their beautiful hare themed labels, is absolutely delicious. As it pours into the glass you notice the deep ruddy brown colour, and the notes of toasted malt and dark chocolate on the nose. The very creamy mouthfeel is punctuated with molasses, which gives way to burnt chocolate as the fuggles hops leave their distinct taste on the finish.

A great Sunday afternoon brew, Dark Hare would also be fabulous with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, créme brûlée or a not overly syrupy sticky toffee pudding.

ABV: 4%

Best Served: 11°C

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Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

st-patricks-beer-sam-smith-oatmeal-stout-ssWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout definitely deserves the adage ‘an oldie but a goodie’. This deliciously creamy beer pours near black with a fluffy tan head while the aroma mingles chocolate, roasted coffee and dark malt. The flavour is delightful. At first sip you can taste the creamy oats, velvety dark molasses as well as the aforementioned chocolate and burnt coffee which gives way to an enjoyably bitter after-taste on the finish. Brewed in England at Yorkshire’s oldest brewery (founded in 1758) this is a gorgeous, easy drinking beer and a great first choice if you’re new to stouts. This would be fantastic paired with a creamy coffee dessert like a mocha mousse or some fresh oysters.

ABV: 5.0%

Best Served: 12°C

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Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

brooklynchoko

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Outstanding)

Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout is an Imperial Russian Stout that weighs in at a mighty 10%, but the alcohol is well hidden by the monumentally full-bodied flavours that caress the palate. This stout’s colour is a deep inky black, and pours into the glass with a creamy caramel coloured head that slowly dissipates. You’d be fooled into thinking that there was real cocoa beans in the brew, but Garrett Oliver, the brewer, obtains that taste from malt alone! The dark bitter chocolate notes fill the mouth, but are balanced exquisitely by rich roasted sweet malt. Beneath the obvious flavours, there are hints of rich burnt fruit cake and licorice that comes to the fore on the finish.  This is a sumptuous stout and should be tried by every fan of the style. Pair this with a rich strawberry tart and double cream.

ABV: 10%

Best Served: 10°C

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Crannóg Ales Back Hand of God Stout

Backhandofgod1

Wrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Outstanding)

Crannóg Ales prides itself on making authentic Irish beers, and they do so with style! All their beers are certified organic, mostly made with hops and barley from their own farm. They are only available on draught, but are well worth searching out. This Irish style dry stout is a fabulously smooth brew. It has layers of coffee bean and dark cocoa flavours that linger on the palate. The richness fills your mouth, and dark roasted malty notes endow this beer with a very more-ish quality, which gives way to a classically dry but beautifully balanced finish. There are subtle hints of hop, and a faint background of well baked dried fruit.- Superb!

ABV:5.2 %

Best Served: 13°C

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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Double_Chocolate_StoutWrangler Rating:

tankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpgtankard.jpg(Excellent)

This deep opaque black stout truly is a modern classic. Brewed in England with real dark chocolate as well as chocolate malt it has a rich, creamy bittersweet flavour which creates a smoothness that feels like velvet on your tongue. The notes of the bitter dark malt come through but are well balanced by the sweetness of the dark chocolate. You may also detect faint notes of sweet spice on the palate, making this an excellent dessert beer.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 13°C

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