The fact is, as soon as the weather turns cold and dreary I slip into that old cliché of craving dark beers, and when it gets really cold, I’ll move on to the warming Barley Wines and Imperial Stouts. As such, the miserable wet weather recently has left me craving regular Stouts – beers I can drink by the pint over an hour or so, and which are best served not too cold.
Here’s a few I’ve enjoyed this week.
Buxton Kinder Stout 4.1%
As is usually the case with Buxton, this pours perfection. Nice and thick with a creamy White head and an impenetrable black body. The aroma is as classic as a dry stout gets. Smokey, slightly ashy and with a slight sweetness lingering in the background.
The taste delivers exactly what the aroma suggests, a classic dry stout. Dry, smokey, and with a really nice roasted malt middle that turns dry and ashy in the finish. “Session Stout” feels like a bit of an injustice because the flavour of this is so good, but it is really drinkable and dry and at that ABV I could happily drink a fair few of these over the course of an evening.
As is often the case with traditional Porters, the aroma is much lighter than it’s heavier Big Brother (or is that younger Brother?) the Stout. You just get a little light coffee and a herbal edge from the hops - It’s not a million miles away from a good Black/Dark Lager in the aroma.
The flavour of this is a balance between roasted hazelnut, filter coffee and a bit of lingering dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is light to medium, as the soft carbonation is quite foamy and cuts acts to cut through what is actually a fairly heavy body.
It’s a massively drinkable, in many ways uncomplicated beer that I could drink again and again.
I’ve just realized that out of a roundup of 4 Stouts, 2 of them aren’t strictly Stouts - one’s a Porter and one is this beer, which Marble non-commitally call “Stout(ish)”. It's not going well this is it?
Don’t be fooled though, this is a big, full on beer that for all intents and purposes is a Stout.
This beer pours an opaque browny black with an off white/beige head. The aroma is of malty chocolate, a touch of Espresso, and toasted/roasted grain. The flavour of the beer isn’t as dominated by chocolate as you might expect, it’s got a really upfront coffee flavour and plenty of roasted malt alongside that bitter chocolate. It finishes nice and dry with espresso and more bitter cocoa.
This is a much sweeter, creamier Stout than the other ones I’ve mentioned down to the inclusion of Oats in the brew which (because of the fats and proteins in them) cause the beer to become much more viscous, which in turn gives the sensation of a creamier flavour.
Alongside that creamy, brown sugar sweet body, you get milk chocolate and subtle, mellow coffee (think latte). It’s a satisfyingly sweet stout if that’s what you’re looking for, but not a beer I could drink a lot of.
That isn’t a criticism though, it’s a beer I really enjoyed and which is well worth a try.