Impy Stout Taste Testing 2 – The Big Boys

This was huge. In terms of beer sites like Ratebeer and Beeradvocate these are two of the most highly rated beers in the World. I mean I have wanted to try these beers for years and thought I might never get the chance to.

We kicked things off with a warm up to get us moving….

Hair of the Dog Blue Dot DIPA (7% ABV)


Rating per style (DIPA) – 7

Rating –  8.5

More of an IPA but what a great IPA! Smooth (from the rye), Well bodied and carbonated and just a really good level of bitterness. A beer that I would love to knock back a few pints of…very moreish.

On two the big grand daddies of my favourite beer style…

Three Floyds Dark Lord  Russian Imperial Stout (13%ABV)


Rating per style (Impy Stout) – 9

Rating – 9.25

Finally get to try this beast. White wax. Pours with light head though is dark as night. Nose is all alcohol, dark chocolate, soy and honey. In the mouth it is brutally upfront. Dark fruit, molasses, honey, and roast vie with eath other through the thick, viscous body. Kind of like a mead/imperial stout hybrid – it’s about as full on as it gets. A bomber would be difficult to finish, but sharing between three was just about perfect. A sipper of the highest quality. Would I line up for it once a year (This is only released one day a year, form the brewpub in Indiana)? Yeah, but more so for the event than the actual beer. Still a great event beer. 

Alesmith Speedway Stout (12% ABV)


Rating per style (RIS) – 8.5

Rating – 9

Very much a Double Stout. Like a big roast stout x 2. Initially disapointing on the nose as it warms the coffee and chocolate work their way to the top. In the mouth it is a wave of chocolate and coffee with the bitterness hitting the back of the palate. Drinkability is really high. In fact i could finish off a bottle of this by myself easily. Much more a subtle, complex beast than I was expecting. A masterclass in how to brew a big roasty moreish beer.

These were complimented nicely by a Moa Barrel aged Impy Stout from New Zealand and a Mikkeller Black from Denmark, which at 17.5 % ABV was like drinking motor oil mixed with port (in a good way though!).

Finally after a cuban cigar we finished on a Double Bastard – one of my all time favourite beers, but by this time my palate was so fatigued from drinking these hulking beers that it lost a bit of it’s potency. I will rate it in terms of my collective experience with the beer which I have drunk about a dozen times, including an aged 2006 version at my japanese going away party!

Stone Double Bastard (10% ABV)


Per Style (American Strong Ale) – 9.5

Rating – 9.5

Just a big kick in the balls. Big malt, big hops, but really well balanced. Seek this out!

light serf drinks dark lord

Cheers to Jason and Nate for sharing these beers and a big good luck to Nate as he heads to Scotland to live for a few years. Lucky sod!

Published in: on March 6, 2010 at 12:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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Imperial Stout Tasting

‘beers such as xxxx and vb are enjoyed by so many because they are watered down to such a bland consistency they offend no one’

Recently had a tasting with Nate. It was a purely Imperial Stout Tasting, which is my favourite style and definitely a love it or hate it style.

Imperial Stout being defined as –

‘usually extremely dark brown to black in color with flavors that are intensely malty, deeply roasted and sometimes with accents of dark fruit (raisin, fig) or milk sourness. The bitterness is typically medium and often the low side of that. Imperial stouts are strong and often exceed 8% by volume. ‘

We were lucky enough to pool our resources and taste Imperial Stouts from Australia, New Zealand, USA and Scotland.

1. Murray’s Imperial Stout 2008 (10%ABV)


Rating – 8.5

Per Style (Imperial Stout) – 7

Poured a pitch black with lovely tan head. Nose was of coffee and roasty flavours. In the mouth it was full bodied and viscous. Lots of coffee, toffee and some licorice. Well made Impy definitely more on the roasty side.

2. Pink Elephant Imperious Rushin’ Stowt (11% ABV)

New Zealand

Rating – 9

Per Style (Impy Stout) -8

An interesting one. Nose was huge kind of raspberry. In the mouth it had a lot going on but was quite hot. The alcohol wasn’t well hidden. Sweet and almost resinous. A big beer definitely and with a bit of tweaking could be world class.

3.Stone Russian Imperial Stout (10.8%ABV)


Rating – 9.5

Per Style (RIS)  – 9.25

The big daddy. So complex and full of life this would be a desert island beer for me.  Rich, full, chocolate, dark fruit etc. Just about as good as it gets. Only gave it a 9.25 for the style because there are a few other beers I want to try before giving it the perfect 10.

4. Brewdog Tokyo (12%ABV)


Rating – 8

Per Style (Imperial Stout) – 6.5

Hmmmm…a tough one. Lovely big nose. Lots of dark fruit jumps out at you. In the mouth it’s a little thin for the style. Still quite good though lots of the jasmine, fruits and chocolate. The oak chips don’t really make themselves known to me. Very good but not quite there.

Momma Mia!

Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 7:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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The Big Boppers (testing new rating system)

I thought I would try something new when rating beers. It occured to me that when rating particular styles the average rating would be well above the ratings for other beers and vice versa. I.E. a Imperial Stout, Baltic Porter or NWIPA will almost always rate higher for me than a pale ale or a pilsner if they were all to be compared on the same 10 point scale.  Therfore I will now rate the beers with a per style rating (in comparison to other beers of the style I have tried to compare their true worth) . Let’s see If this works out!

Let’s start with some big beers…


Thorogoods of Burra Billy B Apple Beer (12% ABV)


Overall – 7.5

Per Style (Fruit beer) – 9

Very interesting beer. Nose is Lambic like. Tart and vinegary initally folllowed by some sweetness.  One of those must try beers, but definately not everyday drinking. Also slightly one dimensional in it’s profile.


St Ambroise Milliseme Vintage 2009 (9.8% ABV)


Overall – 7

Per Style (Barleywine) – 7

Nose is all toffee and fruit. Mouthfeel is a bit of a let down as not quite as intense. Still not overally sweet like I generally find barleywines to be. A good, dependable BW.


Durham Temptation 2005 (10% ABV)


Overall – 7.5

Per Style (Imperial Stout) – 6

Oily and smooth. This has a huge port, pit fruit and burnt wood nose. A bit less intense in the mouth. Same flavours as nose. Well done, but a bit traditional for me for the style. Cheap though (for this type of beer)!

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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AJBC Heavweights Title Fight

There’s no real loser here, just winners ‘cos I’m putting two big beers up against each other. Tasted both of these less than a week apart. Firstly Mikkeller Black Hole is an Imperial Stout from Denmark which I consumed as part of my birthday celebrations. Thomas Hardy Ale is a Barley wine (apparently the rarest beer in Britain!) that was aged from 2004 that I drunk on a quiet Friday evening (before my beer tasting lark on Saturday).


In the Blue Corner,

Mikkeller Black weighing in at 13% ABV



In the Red Corner,

Thomas Hardy Ale 2004 weighing in at 11.7% ABV

Thomas Hardy's 2

After twelve rounds it went to the judges…

Black Hole Vs. Thomas Hardy

Aroma: 10 v 10

MB – Huge roasty chocolate, coffee and whiskey. TH – Huge Fruit (ie Raisin) and Port.

Appearance: 9 v 9

MB – Jet Black, no head. TH – Eathy Auburn, no head.

Taste: 9.5 v 8.5

MB – Dense, Thick Pit Fruit, coffee and chocolate. TH – Pit Fruit, Vinious quality.

Overall: 9.5 v 8.75

Therefore the Winner by unanimous decision….Mikkeller Black Hole!!

Verdict – Perhaps unfair as the Black Hole is my favourite style of beer and this was one of the best examples of the style I have ever had the fortune to try. Thomas Hardy was no slouch, particularly on the nose, but in a fight between two, only one can be victorious.

Published in: on October 13, 2009 at 1:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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