Total Score: 9.15/10
So I’m in Plonk the other day like a kid in a candy store, or more aptly – like a tall kid with 3 day stubble who is really an adult in a candy store that sells awesome beers from around the world instead of candy – and I’m a beer short on selecting my mixed case. I say to my red-bearded friend/shopkeep Jamie “So what’s a stand out beer for you that I am yet to try?”. He goes straight for the Black Market Brewing Embargo Imperial Brown and mentions “I found this one quite interesting”, and here we are – the beer I was saving for last I’m reviewing now, as the bible (aka my beer review guide) states “And ye beer-hold the last brew will be first, and the first brew will be last, and thou shall sup on the nectar of Gods Ale in Beervana as on Earth”*.
Poured from a 650ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: In a word: Tasty. In more words than that singular and pathetic attempt at description: Deep dark brown, almost black body with a billowy tan 1cm head that holds up well. 8/10.
S: The vanilla and cacao nibs blend seamlessly into a brown sugar, molasses and heady over-ripe dark fruits – the aroma is already a feast for the senses, cannot wait to ‘tuck in’. 9/10.
T: Hell. Yes. Like a super concentrated dark beer syrup with flavours of: Cacao, brown sugar, molasses and over-ripe dark fruits (plum, black cherry and dates). The vanilla fades somewhat amid the jostling of flavours but adds an otherwise piquant note. There are some added toasty characters from the Whiskey barrels as well. The finish is a slight dark chocolate bitterness. Damn, damn tasty and BIG. 9/10.
M: Mid to heavy bodied with a light but dense carbonation… it just keeps impressing me with some added oiliness as well. 9/10.
D: This brew is one dark and moody tour de force that requires sipping rather than the heavy-handed gulping that some brews warrant. Despite being 9.8% ABV it really doesn’t slug you with alcohol burn or any concept of getting tipsy – it’s like the beer equivalent of slowly slipping into a warm bath… mmmm, toasty. IF however you are new to the world of beer and the craft of drinking said beers you may find this Imperial Brown Ale to be a bit of an assault on your senses, for me however this is pure gold – an absolute winner! 10/10.
Food match: This, a Romeo y Julieta número uno and a glass of Talisker 10yro – yes.
*The Gospel of Weizen; Chapter 20 Verse 16.