Total Score: 8.4/10
Gave this one a miss the first time I saw it, because you know: I can’t spend all my pennies on Bacchus beers (as much as I would like to), however I bumped into an fellow beerethren who rated this Shiraz Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout as their favourite Bacchus brew so far. Gauntlet down, red note ponied to the cashier, I left the bottle shop with bottle and change in hand, certain I would be the beer-drinking litmus test to some random and possibly spurious claims [Snickers is clearly the GOAT Bacchus]. Btw if you’re yet to get your hands on a Bacchus: Black Sheep in Brisbane stock them (i.e. get off your ass and get some Bacchus now).
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Despairingly black cola body with an appropriate (given the hefty 10.2% ABV) thin mocha lace ring inside the glass. The blackness within has all the hallmarks of a beer black hole – ready to suck me in with gravity more powerful than a thousand suns… it’s breathtaking – I highly suggest you try it. 9/10.
S: Deep plum, dark fruits, and shiraz characters slap you in the face like a giant facey-slappy thing. BIG stuff here, big, bold and unyielding. Hints of 80% dark chocolate and red coffee cherries add to the omnipotence of this brew. A touch of pepper in the background too… I’ll admit I’m not a fan of Shiraz wines (I find them too tannic) however this aroma is close to a masterstroke. 9/10.
T: Thankfully the flavour takes a step and a half back from that intimidating aroma and allows you to relax somewhat – I was worried for a second this would be too much even for me to handle. As above: deep plum/dark fruits/Shiraz/80% dark chocolate and red coffee cherries make for delightful RIS, which actually reminds me of the fruitiness a Baltic Porter – perhaps Ross should name the style as a Baltic Imperial Stout – it’s certainly where the BIS is at. Almost grapey note comes through as well. Finish is a slight choco/coffee bitterness. 9/10.
M: Mouthfeel is thinner and gassier than expected – medium bodied, could definitely benefit from more body – maybe oats in the next batch? 5/10.
D: A face-punch of a brew that displays Bacchus as a brewer that can rumble with the best of them. The Shiraz notes are defined and most importantly: they work well. Given that there are plenty barrel-aged beers out there now it is good to see a Australian wine barrels introduced in to the craft beer scene. Ross you are a legend, cheers to your inventive brain! 8/10.
Food match: I couldn’t imagine anything less than a chargrilled banquet here.