Stout – American: Oskar Blue’s Ten FIDY

Ah Spring! It’s coming and it’s that time of year where you don’t know wether the heavens will open, it will snow, or the sun will be shining with a warm breeze. The same goes for Beer. I always have Stouts, Porters, Lambics, Fruit Beers and IPA’s sitting around to deal with the Schizophrenic weather.

That being said, this midweek beer is one of my favourite Imperial Stouts – Oskar Blue’s Ten FIDY. It’s brewed in Colorado. It’s nice to see Oskar Blue‘s cans popping up around the UK, as they make some really good beer and the fact that it’s becoming more easily available is never a bad thing!

Let’s start with Oskar Blue‘s Description of the beer:

This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hides a hefty 98 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt.  Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer.

Although this description really “bigs up” the beer, I think it deserves the reputation they are trying to portray. The fact it’s a big, imperial, oatmeal stout… what else could you write about it?! By reading that description, it makes it sound like an absolutely amazing beer, and we’ll find out if it is a little bit later on.

Let’s start with the Malts in this brew, Two-Row, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Munich Light, Crystal 77, Cara. Also Flaked Oats are added as a fermentable. Next up, the Hops! Ten FIDY is Hopped exclusively with Columbus. A pretty simple recipe, like a lot of Oskar Blue‘s beers… but so effective!

When you pour this beer, it’s a deep, thick Black with a Tobacco coloured head with absolutely great Head retention for this style. It even leaves sticky lacing on the sides of the glass! I don’t think I’ve had an Imperial stout, apart from this one that had such great retention and actually left lacing on the glass! On the nose there’s lots of Roasty Malt notes, Coffee, Chocolate and a light bit of Alcohol in the background. How does this beer taste? Where do I start?! Smokey flavours, Raisins, Roasty Coffee and Chocolate notes, Light toffee and a touch of sarsaparilla and molasses on the finish. The beer is quite thick and viscous, lightly carbonated and finishes Medium dry. This is a fantastic beer for colder weather, and definitely one of my favourites!

You can buy Ten FIDY in the UK at:

Brewdog Store

Bottledog, Kings Cross

I’m sure this beer is going to pop up in a lot more places soon, as the Oskar Blue’s Beers are being more widely distributed in the UK. If not this batch, the next in Autumn.

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

Stout – English/American: Buxton/Arizona Wilderness Brewing Dragon Tips

This slightly late Mid-Week beer is a collaboration of one of my favorite breweries, Buxton Brewery and one of the best New Breweries – Arizona Wilderness Brewing. A Stout brewed with Maple, Bacon and Chipotle Chilli Peppers. What a mix! When I visited Buxton last year, I knew I had to get a couple of bottles.

Let’s start with the description of the beer:

A stout brewed with maple syrup and chipotle. Dry-baconed during fermentation with actual bacon.

Collaboration between Buxton Brewery and Arizona Wilderness.

Such a no nonsense description – and not much to say about it! I really love the phrase “dry-baconed” (as opposed to Dry-Hopping) and I wish it was something I could use in regular conversation, but it wouldn’t make any sense. I like how Buxton‘s descriptions never go on and let the drinker decide how the beer tastes. Always a plus in my book!

I did a bit of research into this one, as Buxton‘s Recipes for their special releases are always difficult to find. The malts in this brew are Crisp Maris Otter, 2-Row, Chocolate, Malted Wheat, Aromatic Barley Malt, Black Barley. Maple Syrup is also then added as a fermentable during the mashing process. After this, the Hops are added: Willamette, Fuggles, Millennium and Hersbrucker. After this, the Chipotle Peppers and Bacon are added during fermantation and before bottling, a little maple syrup is added to the bottle for good measure.

When you pour this beer it pours black, almost like a Porter with a very large Tan Coloured head (my thinking for the Wheat in the beer!) The head sticks around for a long while after finally dissipating, leaving a thin head and some lacing rings on the sides of the glass. On the Aroma, there’s some Roasty notes to begin with followed by a touch of Coffee, rapidly moving on to Earthy notes from the Hops used and the Chilli Peppers. There’s a little bit of Bacon smoke in the background too, just to let you know it’s there! When you taste this beer, it starts like the aroma with a kick of Roasty Notes on the palate, quickly followed by toffee and a little bit of chocolate. After this, there’s some sharp flavour from the Chilli peppers with a little bit of heat that carries through the rest of the flavour, which finishes with smoke from the Bacon and Maple Syrup. The beer is unusually thin for a Stout, but it more than makes up for it being so easy to drink and smooth. Medium Carbonation. All in all an interesting idea and a great brew.

You can buy Buxton / Arizona Wilderness Dragon Tips in the UK at:

Bottle Bank

Eebria

Both places are in stock at the time of writing.

EST. CALORIES: 249   ABV: 8.3%

Aged Stout – Danish/American: Evil Twin/Prairie Fine Ales Bible Belt

Bible Belt - Evil Twin

This week’s beer is an excellent collaboration Imperial Stout from Evil Twin and Prairie Fine Ales called Bible Belt. This one is definitely a beer that will warm you up in this snow, 13% and aged on Imperial Stout aged on Coffee, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Beans and Chili Peppers. The picture above is from the first time I had it, at Brewdog’s Shoreditch bar. I loved it so much that I now have a collection of them in my cellar!

Let’s start with Evil Twin and Prairie’s Description of the Beer:

Let’s face it – we love big, flavorful stouts. As luck would have it, our friend Jeppe at Evil Twin Brewing feels the same way. We decided to brew a beer together that took elements from our favorite stouts we each produce to come together as one beer. Bible Belt takes elements we love from Prairie Bomb! and combines them with Evil Twin Brewing’s world famous stout, Even More Jesus. The end result is a smoky, spicy stout that is sure to please the pallet.

Personally, I think this is a good description of the brew. We’ve got the back story and how it tastes without a long page of blurb. Sometimes that can be a lot better than a story that is pages long – in this case it is. I like how this is a mash up of both of their Stouts, and it made it hard to figure out what the recipe could be! Speaking of recipe…

As this is an Imperial Stout, Malts are king! I think the Malts in this beer are 2-Row, Crystal 150, Chocolate Malt, Special Black Malt, Black Malt and Roasted Barley. After this I think there’s also some fermentables, Flaked Oats and some Brown Sugar. As for the hops, I think a generous amount of Magnum has been used. After this the beer is fermented, and during secondary fermentation the Coffee, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Beans, and Chili Peppers are added and it is aged. I’m not sure how long the beer is aged for, but I think it’s most probably around 90 days.

This beer pours dark as tar with a large caramel coloured head that dissipates very quickly to no head leaving little dots of lacing on the sides of the glass. On the nose, the first thing you notice is a huge Chocolate and Coffee aroma, almost like a Mocha. Some Vanilla notes, Dark Roasty Malts and a little bit of an Earthy bouquet towards the tail end. This beer smells absolutely fantastic! When you taste it, the first thing you get is lots of Chocolate, Coffee and Dark Malts followed by earthy and spicy Chilli Pepper that does creep up on you a little but it’s not too high a heat to deal with. There’s hints of Vanilla, but unfortunately it’s merged with the Coffee at the start and the Chilli flavours dominate towards the end. Although there’s a little bit of Chilli heat in this beer, it’s actually really really smooth and finishes medium.

Unfortunately, Bible Belt is pretty tough to find online in the UK, but you can get it from the following places (if it’s not in stock, ask!)

Utobeer – London

Beer Moth – Manchester

Brewdog Shoreditch – London

Bottledog – London

DogTap – Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Hopefully we’ll see this beer better represented online soon!

EST. CALORIES: 390   ABV: 13%

Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout – English: Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady 2014

This week, a beer that is unfortunately a little harder to get. Magic Rock‘s Bearded Lady aged in Bourbon Barrels for 180 Days. The particular one I’m reviewing is the 2014 release.

Let’s start with Magic Rock‘s description of the beer:

180 day aged Bourbon Barrel version of Bearded Lady Imperial Brown Stout…. Say hello to the Bearded Lady, our uncompromisingly big and beautiful Imperial Stout. Born from our Dark Arts recipe she uses masses of magical malts to deliver deep chocolate, rich coffee and vinous berry flavours all complemented by a balanced yet subtly spicy hop profile. Powerful, robust, intriguing; yet decadently smooth and sumptuous, the lady demands respect…

A great description of this beer, as I really do think it’s something special. A bold description from Magic Rock though, and you can tell it’s something they are very passionate and confident about. There’s also a lot to expect from this beer and you expect it to be extremely decadent and complex.

As I see this stout as a serious contender with Goose Island’s Bourbon County stout, I think the recipe is similar but with some extra specialty malts added in. Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Munton’s Dark LME, Caramalt, Chocolate Malt, Black Malt, Roasted Barley, Caramel Malt and finally some Crystal Malt. As for the hops, I think Kent Goldings and Cascade hops are used to keep it spicy but also a little fruity too. This is then placed in Oak Bourbon Barrels for 180 days (10 months) to mature during secondary fermentation.

When you pour this beer, it pours completely black and no light can pass through. It has a thin Tan/Beige Head which leaves a little bit of lacing sticking to the sides of the glass, after a while this disappears and does not return. The nose is one of the things that makes this beer absolutely incredible, loads of Dark Fruits, Chocolate and loads of Bourbon Notes. It makes you wanna get on and drink this beer, but believe me it’s a slow burner and something that you’ll appreciate so much more sipping. The taste of this beer is very complex, it starts with a flavour very similar to Belgian Chocolate Truffles, moving on to Dark Fruits, Hop Spicyness, Vanilla Pods from the Oak Aging moving on to bitter Dark Chocolate and finally Bourbon. It’s not very carbonated, but I feel it adds to the great feel of the beer. This really is a beer to keep you warm on the cold evenings when the temperatures reach around 0 and something I recommend highly!

Unfortunately, the Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady for this year has sold out, but check Magic Rock’s Website around August next year for 2015’s release! If you can’t wait until then, The Liquor Shop has the non-Bourbon Barrel aged version in Stock at time of Writing!

EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%

Collaboration Stout – English: Squawk Brewing Co/Bean Brothers Coffee Co. – Espresso Stout

Today I’m writing about a very interesting collaboration between Bean Brothers, an Artisnal Coffee company and Squawk Brewing – a Craft Beer Brewery. The beer is called Espresso Stout. After Reading Claire from Dap n Drink’s article about Cup North I knew I had to try this beer. It’s really interesting for me, as a Brewery and a Coffee Company have collaborated together to make a Coffee Stout instead of the brewer sourcing their own from anywhere they want. The fact that a Blend created by Bean Brothers created the blend of Coffee in this Stout makes it a true collaboration. The fact I get the impression Bean Brothers instigated this collaboration is even more interesting! I contacted Jeremy from the Coffee Company and he was happy to send me a bottle. Thanks again!

Lets start with Bean Brothers and Squawk Brewing’s description of the beer:

We are delighted to offer our espresso stout. It is brewed by the magnificent Squawk brewery using their award winning stout recipe. We showcased this stout at CupNorth this year and it is fair to say that it was loved by all! A clean tasting stout with the espresso beautifully present and finishing with a sweet aftertaste. If there was a desert stout , this would be it. Excellent accompaniment to cheese and chocolate based desserts.
Magnificent!

I like the description for this beer, it lets you know about the beer but it also shows that all involved are passionate and confident about their product. I prefer descriptions like this to over complex descriptions, or ones that leave too much to the imagination. They could have easily just had “Stout brewed with our Coffee Blend.”

Onto the Brewing process, I’ve discussed this with Jeremy from Bean Brothers who has been very helpful. As this beer is very Coffee forward, let’s start with the Coffee in this brew. The stout is brewed with BB’s “Derek” which is a seasonal Espresso Blend. It’s a blend of 3 Coffees, Brazil Sul de Minas, a chocolaty and roasty Coffee, Ethiopian Sidamo which has a fruity Blueberry flavour and a less known Coffee from Timor that has a herby and sweet taste. Oliver at Squawk then uses a blend of six different malts involving Chocolate Malt. As I was told about the Chocolate Malt, I’m going to try and guess the others. I think the other Malts are Dark Chocolate Malt, Black Malt, Caramel Malt, Blackprinz Malt and Crystal 150 Malt. I could be wrong, as this beer is so Coffee forward! As for the hops, a small amount of Cascade is used. I also detect a little bit of Kent Goldings in there too. After this the Coffee is added and left to Ferment. The Fermantation is ended early to improve the Mouthfeel of the Brew and to keep some of the sweetness. I also detected some Lactose Sugar notes in this brew, but this could well be the sweetness of the Timor Coffee.

I was very interested behind the story behind this beer, so I asked Jeremy at Bean Brothers –

Relationship-wise, we have known each other for at least 12 years, I have a speciality coffee shop in the heart of Huddersfield called coffeevolution and Oliver used to be a barista there before starting his business Squawk Brewing Co. I suppose the fact that that he has a good knowledge of coffee has bolstered his understanding when embarking upon the Bean brothers Squawk brewing quest!

What an encouraging story! It’s obvious why Squawk were chosen – it’s always good when a Brewer knows their Coffee when trying to make a Coffee Stout!

When you pour this beer, it pours very dark with a light Copper coloured film on the top of the beer. This dissipates quickly and looks a lot like Espresso afterwards! On the nose there’s loads of Milk Chocolate, Roasty Coffee aromas, lots of dark Roasty Malts, Dark Fruits which eventually fades to some Herbal Tones. It smells very inviting indeed, and I couldn’t wait to try this Brew! The Stout starts with a Fruity, Acidic Coffee Kick with hints of Nuts which fades to Dark Roasty Coffee, Milk Chocolate Raisins with some Lactose Sweetness. Again, I’m not sure if there is Lactose Sugar in this, and it could well be the sweetness from the blend of Coffee used. The beer has a Coffee-Like mouthfeel, with light Carbonation. It finishes Sticky and Sweet.

This is definitely a beer I’d recommend for Coffee lovers.

You can Purchase Espresso Stout at the Bean Brother’s website here.

For any bars/shops that would like to stock Espresso Stout, I’d recommend contacting Bean Brothers and/or Squawk Brewing.

EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%

Stout – Danish: Mikkeller Beer Geek Vanilla Shake

 

This week, as the winter is taking it’s hold I will be writing about a Legendary Stout from Mikkeller – Beer Geek Vanilla Shake. A Stout brewed with French Press Coffee and Vanilla.

This beer really is one of those sought after brews, and as soon as I saw it I knew it had a place here for Winter. I’ve had it cellared away for a couple of months.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s description of the beer:

From the beer geek breakfast series – the beer that really put Mikkeller on the map – we decided to shake things up by adding a truck load of vanilla to the french press coffee trick, creating a whole new dimension to the beer that are loved by freaks and geeks worldwide.

I like Mikkeller’s descriptions – he always knows that the beer he has brewed is good and he taught some of the best brewers in the world. Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, who went on to form To Øl for example. The French Coffee trick is impressive, and although I’m still not 100% sure of it I have the recipe for the base Stout and I will attempt to decipher what they do. There’s always a mystery to the descriptions, and I think that creates a good interest in the beer itself. As Mikkeller is a Gypsy Brewery, this one was brewed at the Lervig Brewery.

As with all Stouts, the all important Malt comes first. As Vanilla Shake is based on an Oatmeal Stout, there’s quite a lot of fermentables involved! Pilsner Malt, Flaked Oats, Cara Munich, Smoked Malt, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley are in this one. As for the hops, we’ve gone American as this is quite a sweet stout. Centennial and Cascade hops are used, aiding the sweeter and fruitier tones in the brew. The next part is where this brew comes into it’s own – Coarsely ground Coffee Beans and Vanilla Beans are brewed using the French Press Method. Scalding water is used (just before boiling point), a little salt is added. Whilst the water is reaching scalding point, the coarse ground Coffee and Vanilla is put into the French Press. The scalding water is added, the Coffee and Vanilla mix stirred and left for 4 – 5 minutes to steep. After this, the plunger is pressed down at a steady speed and the Vanilla Coffee is added to the Fermentation after cooling.

When you pour this beer, it pours a thick black. I know everyone describes Stouts as something light cannot penetrate but light really cannot penetrate this one! There’s a thin Cola foam coloured head which dissipates quickly, leaving a mocha coloured ring around the glass. The lacing is very sticky and leaves a small ring after drinking. Now on to the aroma, wow! As soon as you open the bottle you get a blast of Vanilla Beans, with big Roasty malt and Sun-dried Fruit with Rum notes in the background. Given the fact this beer is 13%, it’s expected that there will be some sort of boozy smell but the Vanilla and Chocolate malt have transformed this into a satisfying Vanilla Rum smell. The taste initially goes with the Aroma, lots of Sweet Vanilla to start with, making way to some huge Roasted Malt flavours and Espresso. There’s some Belgian Dark Chocolate finishing with some Rum-Rasin Ice Cream notes. The Beer is very thick in your mouth, a lot like a Vanilla Milkshake. Carbonation is low making way for a Creamy Mouthfeel. You’d expect this beer to finish bitter, but it finishes sweet with a final Vanilla note. This beer would be great with a Christmas Pudding (or even baked into one!) or after a Roast Dinner on a cold Winter’s evening and it’s something I’d definitely recommend to anyone.

You can Purchase Vanilla Shake online at the following places, unfortunately it is always in high demand and it’s a hard beer to get at times. I got mine from Bottledog in Kings Cross, London.

Mikkeller Website

The Beer Boutique

Bourbon Barrel Aged version can also be bought from Mikkeller’s Website here.

For any Bars/Shops wanting to stock this beer, Mikkeller beers aren’t imported in big numbers to the UK. The best people to speak to about getting some of their beers are Brewdog or Mikkeller themselves!

EST. CALORIES: 390   ABV: 13%

Special Post – Winter Brew Fest, London

Last weekend I went to Winter Brew Fest. Located at BL-NK, which is just around the corner from Old Street Station in London. Although a little more central compared to the London Craft Beer Festival earlier in the year, the event was still just a stone’s throw away from most of the great breweries in London.

First of all I booked the Sunday session, but as a friend wanted to join me I asked the owner Nicholas I could change the ticket to the Saturday Daytime session. Luckily, Nick agreed (thanks again!) I woke up on Saturday Morning and me and the friend coming were feeling worse for wear (not beer related!) so I was on my own. I arrived a little later than the ticket stated at 12:30 but there was no queue. Winter Brew Fest seemed a little more relaxed than LCBF, and I’ll mention that again later.

I walked into the Festival, past the outside area (mentioned later!) collected my tokens, glass and had a look around inside. It was a little smaller than London Craft Beer festival, and in a way I was glad that it was. It didn’t remind me of a CAMRA Beer Festival, and it didn’t remind me of LCB Festival either. Winter Brew Fest had it’s own unique feel and you could tell that it was a nice, chilled out day session for Beer Lovers with some quality Alternative Rock, Some old school classics and some great remixes – great mix DJ Bolter!

Around was all of the brewers, Anspach & Hobday, The Five Points Brewing Co, Fourpure, Gipsy Hill, Hammerton, Hawkes (a Ginger Beer and Cocktail producer), The London Beer Factory, One Mile End, Redchurch, Thistly (Cider Producer), Truman’s and Weird Beard. It was quite quiet at this point, but there was still a buzz in the air and more people turned up later on during the day.

I headed straight for Five Points to try some of their collaboration beer with the Brewdog Bar in Shoreditch – Smoke and Mirrors Imperial Porter. I thought this was a very well balanced Porter, with hints of Roasty Coffee and then a touch of Smoke which was nice. It finished surprisingly sweet for a Porter, but I suppose that was the Imperial (Double) amount of Malt going into the brew.

As I want to review the event and day, I will make the Beer Reviews shorter than usual. Taking notes at a Beer Festival is indeed important, but taking in the atmosphere and speaking to people is also important and I want to try to get this across. What I liked about looking around the room was the fact there was a great representation of the Breweries that have been around in London for less time than some of the bigger ones. This gave me an opportunity to try some harder to acquire things and that added to the charm of the event.

Next, I headed over to the One Mile End stall. One Mile End are a Microbrewery/Brewpub called The White Heart and it was great to see them there. I noticed that they had 2 beers on – Farmhouse Pilsner and Snakes Alive Double IPA. I was intrigued by the Farmhouse Pilsner and asked about it. I was told that it’s made like a normal Pilsner and then White Wine grapes are added during fermentation. Unfortunately the Keg was running low, but I was given a small taster which was great. It had a very clean White Wine style nose and it was a shame it was the end of the Keg. I was told that it was yeaster than usual, but I think it added to the Farmhouse style and the White Wine Grapes still cut through in the flavour. Something I definitely need to try again! I went for the Snakes Alive DIPA and it was a great example of the style – lots of Pine in the nose and Sweet Pine and Citrus notes on the palette. 2 Great beers and a very friendly brewer – it looks like I’ll have to give the White Heart a visit!

After this I went over to Weird Beard hoping for a taste of a few as they had a good selection of taps on – I asked for a taste of the Coffee IPA but unfortunately they were right by the speaker and I got a full 3rd. I handed over my token and was interested if this beer would be similar to Siren’s Coffee IPA Americano. As I took a smell there was no roasty notes but some light Citrus and Fruit. I tasted the beer and found the beer was quite Citrus forward (which Coffee can also be sometimes) with hints of other fruits and a light Roasty Note at the end. This was definitely a different take and something I enjoyed.

After two >7% IPA’s I thought it would be a good time to explore the outside area and get myself some food. I opted for Ayam Happy – Indonesian Street Food. I’ve always been one to go for Authentic food from this region of the world and went for the Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce, Chilli Sauce (The lady asked me if it would be mild or spicy – I went for spicy as always) and Warm Rice. I’m glad I went for the spicy Chilli Sauce. Apart from the fact I am a complete Chilli Head (as long as it has flavour!) it cut through the Peanut Sauce really well and was a welcome addition. It was definitely something to eat during a Beer Fest and hit the spot extremely well. It also went down really well with Weird Beard’s Coffee IPA – but Spicy things always do with an IPA!

The atmosphere outside again was a lot more chilled out than the Summer Festival, but there was music from OMD’s Stool and there were plenty of places to sit. A small tent (Far right), some Benches (on the left) and a small seating area next to Ayam Happy. I felt like the set up was to encourage people to speak to fellow beer lovers about what they were drinking and was something that worked well during the Festival.

I went back inside and worked my way over to Redchurch Brewery for their Shoreditch Blonde. On the nose there’s lots of Lemongrass and Citrus. Very Citrusy and Fruity in flavour with some Lager Yeast. I thought this was a good beer and something I could definitely drink a few of!

After this I went over to Hammerton for a definite Winter Beer, their Pentonville Oyster Stout. On the nose, lots of Sweet Chocolate, light Liquorice, and a tiny hint of Sea Salt. The Palette was quite dry with Medium/Low Carbonation with some Roasty notes, Sea Salt and light Cocoa. It had a surprisingly light mouthfeel for an Oyster Stout and had a good drinkability I was impressed with. Something for those cold Winter nights when you fancy a few beers!

Anspach & Hobday – Table Porter

After this I walked down and had a chat with the UBrew guys about their Kickstarter Campaign and how successful it was. It was nice to see them promoting what they’re doing and I’ll definitely be doing a brew with them at some point next year! I’m looking forward to the amount of Gypsy Breweries cropping up from their success!

Next up with Anspach & Hobday, I was amazed when I saw they had a 2.8% Porter and asked for a glass. It was very Roasty on the nose, and Roasty and Chocolately on the palette but with a light mouthfeel. I had to figure out how they did it and went back to the stool. A&H lowered the paler Maris Otter malts but kept the Speciality Roasted and Dark malts up. I thought this was a great idea and it’s something I’ll be seeking out very soon indeed!

After this, time was running out and I started rating my beers, so I’m going to be a little more brief for the rest. Plus I don’t want to bore you with endless beer reviews! Ratings are out of 5…

London Beer Factory – Session – Had quite a boozy smell, but the ABV lower than it smelt. Very clean and sessionable, yeast and light hop – 3.7

Gipsy Hill – Pale Ale – Very Piney and very sweet with Candi Sugar Notes – 4.2

Fourpure – IPA – Citra hops?! Lots of Citrus and Tropical Fruit. This has improved massively since the first time I tried it! Very friendly on the stall too – 4

Truman’s – Stout – Very roasty and wintery indeed, Chocolate and other dark malt flavours – 4.3

Truman’s – Export Pale – Very fruity and almost Wine fruit notes, almost Sherbert Sweet – 4

Redchurch – Hoxton Stout – Very roasty but sweet, reminded me of a Milk Stout – 4/2

Pressure Drop – Stokey Brown (Bottle from Bottle Shop at festival) – Almost like a Porter but with some light nutty notes – 3.7

After this I chilled out and talked to Nicholas the Organiser for a while, he has a real passion for beer and it was great to see someone so passionate throwing such a successful event. A nice chilled out atmosphere with room to speak about what you’re drinking with fellow beer lovers, some well picked great food and amazing beer. Although didn’t try them, there were options for non-beer drinkers too – a Cider stool and a Ginger Beer/Cocktail stool which I thought was a very nice touch indeed. Roll on next year!

Stout – American: Founder’s Breakfast Stout

Now the weather is getting cold, I’m going to be posting about a few darker beers as well as others. Winter always seems to be the longest season in the UK. I decided to start this off with a Legendary Beer from Founders Brewing Co – Breakfast Stout. This is a big stout brewed with both bitter and sweet chocolate, Sumatra and Kona coffee and a tonne of specialty malt. It really is one of those legendary beers in my opinion.

Let’s start with Founders description of the beer:

The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever.

A nice short but sweet, modest description of the beer from the brewers. Founders have never been known to be braggers. Even from the description though, you can almost imagine drinking this beer. Stouts are usually rich and some people even consider them a meal, but this particular stout takes it even further.

After doing quite a bit of research and drinking the beer myself, I believe Founders Breakfast Stout uses 2-Row, Crisp Chocolate, Briess Roast Barley, Debittered Black and Crystal malts. As this starts life in the mash as an Oatmeal Stout, Flaked Oats make up a good deal of the fermentables too. As for the hops, which aren’t usually a focus point in a Stout and are primarily used for bittering. Nugget and Willamette Hops are used in this beer to bitter the beer and let the malt, oats, coffee and chocolate to shine through. The coffee and chocolate are added during the boil and also during fermentation.

When you first pour this beer, it pours black and opaque. People often joke that light cannot penetrate Guinness, but this is something else. Light really can’t penetrate this brew! After you finish the pour you end up with a off red/pink head, almost cinnamon coloured as described. The head stays for a minute or two and then dissipates quickly leaving a ring around the edges of the glass. This really is a pretty looking beer. Big hits of the Kona Coffee on the nose, strong Chocolate and Oatmeal aromas tailing off to a nice sweet and milky smell. This is one of those beers that are so inviting, with Stouts, Oatmeal ones especially once they’re poured I always want to dive in straight away. Once you taste this beer, you will realise what you’ve got yourself into: big Coffee hits, subtly sweet Chocolate and a little bit of Oatmeal. After this some Espresso coffee notes, lots of Dark Fruits, Sugar and a touch of Vanilla.  The 8.3% alcohol is well masked by the complex flavours, it’s so smooth and the only hint at the alcohol is the slight warming you feel when you drink it. Perfect for this colder weather! Lots of sweetness and only a touch of bitterness and incredibly easy to drink and enjoy, this is definitely one I recommend sitting next to the fire with on a cold night sipping away. Who needs hot chocolate anyway?

You can purchase Founders Breakfast Stout in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

The Real Ale Company

The Liquor Shop

A few places are currently out of stock, but Breakfast Stout is a seasonal release from Founders and begins in October. Although, a bottle from last year would be just fine!

You can purchase in person (last time I checked) at The Utobeer Cage in Borough Market, London as mentioned in one of my previous blogs.

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, Founders products are distributed by James Clay in the UK. Breakfast Stout only comes in Bottles at the time of writing.