Total Score: 8.5/10
Chocolate? Coffee? Imperial? Stout? I’ve never heard of so many awesome words used together as the name of a beer – New English Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout, I’m down for all of that! Plus it turns out the coffee used in this brew is Columbian, which is my favourite place of origin for coffee – if I ever travel to Columbia you can keep your nose clams Señor Alejandro Sosa, I’ll have a mug of joe instead. In any case I’m curious as to how this brew will compare to the superlative Black Market Embargo Imperial Brown I reviewed yesterday… this should indeed prove a battle of titans.
Poured from a 650ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Jet black body, like some sort of beer dark matter, with a 1cm caramel brown that invites any hardy Stout drinker to enjoy the goodness on offer, yum. The head soon drops back to a light dusting of lace, still yum. 8/10.
S: Reminiscent of Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve (the 9% one) which I had in Scotland many moons ago, with heavy dark chocolate, espresso coffee and roasted chicory. The espresso character is quite imperious and there is a sweetness from brown sugar that belies a bitterness that will no doubt be found in the tasting. 9/10.
T: Nicely balanced with espresso, dark chocolate, brown sugar, roasted chicory, a touch of smoke and earthy notes. The flavour comes off as a darker/burnt Founders Breakfast Stout, which is indeed high praise. The coffee adds to a gritty earthy aftertaste, along with an unfortunate slight metallic touch at the back. 8/10.
M: Very similar to the Embargo Imperial Brown with a mid to heavy body, a light but dense carbonation and added oiliness. 9/10.
D: Not quite as good as the Embargo Imperial Brown, but that comes more down to the flavours on offer than anything else – the brews are in fact kindred spirits in their intention to “wow” my senses with an onslaught of aroma/taste however it is the combination of palate characters in the Embargo that really won over this NEZCCIS. So there is your answer – the better brew for you is a matter of taste: do you prefer toasty cacao/dark fruits/molasses? Or do you like a deep dark coffee/earthy/chocolate beast? Overall the Embargo also went down easier too, things to consider when you’re drinking BIG beers. 9/10.
Food match: Swap the Romeo y Julieta for a H. Upmann Sir Winston and the glass of Talisker 10yro for an Ardbeg 10yro and it is game, set and match.