Moon Dog Black Lung VI Starward Whisky Barrel-Aged Smokey Stout

Total Score: 7.4/10 Smoke1DarkFruits1Earth1Tulipglass1

Even more of a mouthful than our last reviews name! I tried Starward Whisky [apparently the correct spelling!] for the first time the other day and it is a unique dram of the water of life that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys their single malts but is looking for something a little different. It has a smoothness of flavour due to the use of the Solera process of fractional aging. This should definitely have a bearing on the overall flavour of this Black Lung – Moon Dog’s yearly Barrel-Aged release – which has so far had a blend of different barrels used from: Whisky and fresh oak to Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels. The one thing I’m hoping is that the peated malt doesn’t take over the flavour too much – I love peat but I want to taste the Starward barrel as well.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Zooush! Out the gates like a clapper this one (i.e. this is a ‘pour slowly’ drop). Dark brown, almost obsidian body with a 2 inch khaki head that slowwwwwly drops back. I did my taxes in the time it takes for this beers head to dissipate. 6/10.

S: Peaty like a glass of Ardbeg – borderline OTT (and I love Ardbeg!). Sherry/dark fruit characters intermingle with a whiff of nail polish (Methyl Acetate) and an earthy/dark chocolate note. This is a big smokey stout that demands your immediate and undivided attention. 7/10.

T: All of the above: Peat, sherry, dark fruits, nail polish and earthy/dark chocolate notes. It’s everything but the patio furniture! Even though there’s a great deal, almost a cacophony, happening on in the palate it’s still pretty decent. The Starward whisky providing that sherry/dark fruit overtone to this Black Lung. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a thin but dense carbonation. 7/10.

D: Not for everyone… in fact I think only a small subset of craft beer and single-malt whiskey aficionados would enjoy this brew, but you’ve got to admire Moon Dog for going all-in… yet again! I’m curious to try other Black Lungs now to work out how distinct the flavour from the barrel is compared to previous attempts. I suspect there would be a notable difference between this and the other Black Lungs. One thing that didn’t do much for me was the peated malt – I felt it detracted rather than added to the overall flavour profile, jus saying. 7/10.

Food match: The skull on the bottle has the best suggestion: 6 corona cigars, smoked at the same time, whilst wearing a suit and tie.


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