I've been away for the weekend and not had a chance to get this review up, despite it being a top beer that I'm pretty sure should be hitting good beer shops near you very soon. It's a 9.5% Imperial Stout from the consistently good Buxton Brewery, and is something of a shift in focus from a brewery which has made it's name with a range of top quality, traditional British style beers and bottles which really do taste like Cask Ale.
It pours a slick, thick black with a brown bubble head that fades to a thin veil of foam. Absolutely zero light getting through this one. What the hell is it made out of, black hole?
The smell is nicely roasted with a definate rich coffee edge, also a little bit of herbal hop coming through. A faint touch of chocolate but its subtle compared to the roasted coffee aroma. It smells great.
The mouthfeel is the first thing that hits you, this is seriously thick. Then you get lots of nice dry roasted malt flavour, a definate smokeyness and also a bit of dark melted chocolate. This beer also has a really nice dry hop finish which it needs with that big mouthfeel. One thing i've talked about many time before and which I love in imperial stouts is when you get that just-after-an-espresso dry mouth flavour and feeling in the swallow. Basically the hops and dark malts combine to create this great flavour.
It's got a really great balance between dark chocolate and more smokey, dark roasted flavours, all wrapped up in a really big thick body then dried out totally in the finish with the hops that are ever so slightly orangey and spiced. The aftertaste is similar to a really dark high quality chocolate and reminded me a lot of the Maya Gold Orange and spice Chocolate that Green & Blacks make - That kind of bittersweet fruity dryness.
...and do you know what, I almost forgot to talk about this because it goes by compoletely unnoticed. The booze is hidden like a bloody ninja. This doesnt have any alcohol flavour at all. I mean, the beer itself tastes BIG but that booze is masked by a massive amount of roasted malt flavour, and dry hops in the finish, which stop the alcohol coming through.
Take your time with this beer and you'll get a lot out of it. Another swing and a hit from Buxton Brewery!