Total score: 8.2/10
From thee mighty venerable dragon-slaying (in the lizard that they are named after sense) New Zealand brewer [bruwa!] Tuatara comes this toasted malt “Black”. I always get excited when I review a new New Zealand craft brew – more so with Tuatara, who tie for me with Yeastie Boys as best NZ brewer EVA! Black is no exception to the giddy anticipation – I could hardly wait to crack open this lizard and guzzle it into my gizzard with a blizzard… err, going on… outside… Eddie Izzard [had to keep the rhymes going Yo].
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Black like my heart, the way I like my Stouts, with a nice 1 cm tan cappuccino foam striding atop the beast that is this brew… at least until I taste it and tell if it is a beast [of course!]. 8/10.
S: Roasty, toasty and sweet with cereal grains milling about kicking dust into the air like some gang of high school delinquents… I approve of this delinquency as I have another whiff… a slight coffee bean note, a big perfume note… vanilla perhaps? Regardless it is an enticing aroma – but we all know the story about the NZ beer with the great fragrance that didn’t live up to its promise – I’ve told this story a few times before. I have faith in Tuatara though, unlike Epic. 9/10.
T: The flavour comes across a little more muted than the bouquet, but not much, and a hell of a lot more roasty – with notes of: Roasted coffee bean, toasted malt [that’s an easy one – it’s printed in large friendly letters on the front of the bottle], light smokiness, vanilla… more vanilla, some vanilla, did I mention vanilla? [yes, shut up!] some earthiness that I find in almost every good Aussie craft beer, and a slight herbal hop finish. This is one page turner of a Stout – I’m pretty hooked, it’s no FBS but it’s got me thinking about Stouts, the universe, and everything else*. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a light but dense enough-if-you-give-it-a-chance carbonation. An almost boo-yah performance. 8/10.
D: This is one brew that makes me think of Founders Breakfast Stout (or FBS to the uninitiated) in all the good ways – what FBS is to BSs this Stout is to NZSs – it has the right combination of flavours and I’m trying really hard to find a fault with it… perhaps a slight bit under-flavoured for a 7% Stout? Nope, not good enough, this is a world class Stout, well done Tuatara. 8/10. FYI: Forgoing the food match for cigars – hope you understand. Btw: Cubans.
*Douglas Adams fan/me = Obvious.