Bacchus Brewing Barosski

Total Score: 8.4/10 RedWine1Coffee1DarkFruits1Tulipglass1

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.


Stone Farking Wheaton W00tstout

Total Score: 8.8/10 Caramel1DarkFruits1BrownSugar1Tulipglass1

Review #800: Stone Farking Wheaton W00tstout. Yet another BIG beer to celebrate (or as my doctor would say “commiserate”) the fact that I’ve been reviewing beers for over 6 years now. Yes, I am slow like the tortoise when it comes to reviewing beers, but much like the tortoise I will get there in the end. Where the end is, I cannot say, probably 1,000 beers then I’ll hang up my hat and give my poor liver a break. In any case I felt it appropriate that Stone have again produced a milestone beer for me (#650 was Arrogant Bastard and #750 was Citracado) to review – they have a habit of making awesome beers. A habit I hope continues on towards review #1,000 [man that is going to have to be one special brew!].

Poured from a 650ml “bomber” bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Obsidian “black like your heart coffee” that Mr. Burns requests for his high priced lawyers [yes that is too a colour] body. The head, when it existed, was a formidable tan, however much like the Wall Street Stock Market in 1929 it came crashing down, leaving a thin lace ring. 9/10.

S: Smoky notes mingle with dark fruit (plum and prune) and a caramel character from the pecans (pecans always smell and taste like caramel to me). Touch of vegemite and booziness in there as well. If this beer was embodied by a historical personality it would be a boozy Mark Twain, all proper and full of molasses… like some sort of Molasses Twain. My teeth are having nightmares already. 9/10.

T: My teeth weren’t wrong in dreading this brew: it is farking sweet! Beginning with caramel/pecan/molasses then hitting mid-palate dark fruits and towards the finish enters a single-malt whiskey character providing a nice warming effect. Aftertaste brings in mild strained coffee bitterness. It’s not as boozy as expected – yet for the uninitiated it will come as a big boozy French kiss – wet and sloppy. Rather hard to fault this American Imperial Stout. 9/10.

M: Mouthfeel is gloriously luxuriant with a full body, tongue coating viscosity, and a thin, densely miniscule carbonation. 9/10.

D: It’s hard to fault this beer: it is exactly what one would expect from a 13% ABV American Imperial Stout – it is BIG [Bearing Immense Gusto], it is heavy, it is sweet, it will knock you for six (cricket terminology, sorry Americans) – it encapsulates everything one would expect in this style… Why oh why did they sell this as a bomber? My head feels light now… 8/10.

Food match: Anything roasted and gamey… beware of postprandial somnolence.


Murray’s Heart Of Darkness

Total Score: 6.3/10 Coffee1DarkFruits1Pear1Tulipglass1

Being named after one of my all-time favourite novellas means that Murray’s had better bring something special to my table. Though I do expect they will deliver, as per usual (except for that one time Moon Boy). In any case I may have been drawn by the name of the beer but the purchase was instantaneous based on the style described as “Belgio Imperial Stout”, that is: a) Pretty insane, which I love, and b) A combination of two of my favourite styles, which will likely in all honesty fail miserably but hey let’s give it a shot anyway! [that’s why I’m here reviewing these beers – so you don’t have to waste your hard-earned dosh on a dud-beer… oh yeah and I like writing too].

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Très dark, impervious cola body with a mocha head that soon dies down to a thin lace ring – that’s pretty standard behaviour for a 9.6% ABV brew there. Look we all know I love a dark beer and generally give out 9’s like I’m giving away candy so why change now? 9/10.

S: Ripe coffee cherry upfront and in your face with an intriguing dark fruit and pear esters coming through along with a slight sour bread yeast note… this is probably one of the more interesting beers I’ve put my nose to in a long while – it’s got a really wondrous balance between Imperial Stout and Belgian Strong Dark characters, if this tastes half as good as the aroma suggests we are in for a ride! 9/10.

T: Hmmmm, it’s not quite as deep and complex as the aroma leads you to believe. There are a few of the above characters (coffee cherry, dark fruits and pear esters) however there is also a phenomenal amount of sugar going on as well… too much IMO. It’s up there with a Leffe for the sheer-sugar-dumping-on-your-tongue factor, and this heavy amount of sweetness really covers up what feels like a bunch of other (interesting) flavours in the background. There’s a herbal hop note towards the back as well, but it struggles to balance out all that sugar. Slight disappointment sets in along with the sugar rush. 5/10.

M: Medium bodied with a nice dense carbonation. 8/10.

D: Too bad Murray’s, I was really looking forward to this one and then you drop a sugar-bomb in my mouth – like some sort of saccharine-grenade, a saccarinade [ooo I like that!]. I think I’ll skip the next Murray’s release. 5/10.

Food match: A bowl of brown sugar, and some Insulin.


Nomad Choc Wort Orange

Total Score: 7.5/10 Chocolate1Smoke1Earth1Tulipglass1

I totally admit that I was suckered into getting this beer for 2 reasons: I’m a massive fan of Kubrick, and Anthony Burgess’s novel ‘Clockwork Orange’ (though not Kubrick’s adaptation – it feels like it’s dated worse than any of Kubrick’s other films), and I love a good Jaffa Cake (and the Allen’s lolly version). So it was with nary a whiff of hesitation that I purchased Choc Wort Orange (which works well as a pun if you know that “wort” is pronounced as “wert”). Hopefully the orange peel hasn’t been overdone like the mint in Bacchus After Dinner Stout – it’s a fine line with these flavours.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Impressively dark – like Darth Vader’s outfit – black body with a thin mocha head that drops back to a thin tan line inside the glass. The head, when it was there, looked fairly dense and that’s always a good thing in an Imperial Stout. 8/10.

S: Cacao nibs, rich dark chocolate, hint of espresso and coffee cherry, and a light orange touch that lingers on in the background. The level of this aroma belies somewhat the (no doubt) bold flavours ahead… i.e. it’s not that big aroma-wise. However I get a sense from every glass swirl that I’m about to be flavour-punched in the tongue. 7/10.

T: Surprisingly restrained for 9.5% ABV. Front palate is a mixture of dark chocolate, cacao nibs and lingering smoke note, this leads on through to an earthy character and finishes with an ever so slight hint of orange in the finish. If anything this has the opposite problem to After Dinner Stout in that it needs more adjunct flavour from the orange peel. Whereas my initial expectations where Jaffa related this brew hits with dark chocolate and smoke. Still it’s quite tasty. 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy body with a light but dense carbonation… not nearly as viscous as FBS (my yardstick for viscosity in Imperial Stouts). 7/10.

D: As a drink-that-you-purchase-due-to-label-promises Nomad Choc Wort Orange fails… though it isn’t a total loss, it is a half decent Imperial Stout, though if it was a plain-old Imp Stout from Nomad I probably wouldn’t have bought it (at least not while I am so over Stouts due to: winter seasonals). In the respect that Choc Wort Orange is false advertising I say “Naughty Nomad!” [quite sternly with a waggled finger], so yeah mixed feelings on this one – caveat emptor! 7/10.

Food match: Orange juice: Poured liberally into your glass with the beer still in it.