Panhead Hardtail Henry Oaked Stout

Total Score: 8.95/10 Vanilla1 Chocolate1 Earth1 Tulipglass1

This is another new one for me – NZ brewer Panhead’s Hardtail Henry Oaked Stout – never had an oaked Stout before – Dennis of Plonk fame recommended it, my former work colleague (yes I worked at Plonk one Christmas… last Christmas to be precise) and the man who introduced me to Rodenbach Grand Cru and Trois Pistoles – I take heed of his zymurgy sage-like advice when it comes to new brews – and this is a new brew. Cheers Dennis my brewthren!

Poured from a 500ml can into a Duvel tulip… cans are the new glass bottles as they say [they don’t, I do].

A: Really about as foreboding as a Stout can be with a pitch black oil slick body and a light brown/khaki tight packed 1 cm head – it’s up there with the princes among Stouts: FBS and Old Rasputin… damn I love a good Stout! Leaves lace like a MOFO too – side of the glass is a blanket of lace even though the head has dropped back to nothing… colour me “most impressed” (basically gold). 10/10.

S: Vanilla… truckloads of sweet/floral vanilla… toasted biscuit, hint of smoke, dark chocolate and roasted tobacco leaf. Aroma is nothing short of spectacular… however this is an NZ brew – remember Dr Hops rule for NZ brews: They almost always smell better than they taste. I have a good feeling about this one though. 10/10.

T: F**k. Yes. This is exactly what the doctor ordered – Sweet milk chocolate/vanilla pummels you in the tastebuds – but the sweetness is right on the mark, not a sugar bomb, borderline but not. Roasty char flavours complement the sweet notes well. An earthy/tobacco note with a hint of bitterness finishes this excellent brew off. It’s not FBS but it’s closer than I ever imagined to my favourite Stout. 9/10.

M: Remember my terminology for the mouthfeel of Founders brews? “Founders Body” – this beer is close to that heavy bodied, creamy, chewy, oily but tack-flat feel that I’m wondering if there were oats used in the brewing process… noice. 8/10.

D: Towards the end of this epic 500 mls of beer-delight the sweetness did ramp up into sugar bomb proportions… this would be my only main critique against this brew. It is hard to find weak points with a brew this sublime though. Overall however I would gladly place this as the milk chocolate alternative to FBS [what about Xiquic Doc?] Xiquic is double the price of this brew, no way! 8/10.

Food match: Cigars – yes, the more Cubana the better.