Total Score: 6.7/10
Everyone must be aware: I love Pirate Life. The brewer – I’m not keen on piracy itself… or am I? I’m not… but am I really? So the brewer of my favourite Australian-made American style IPA (which is still #13 in my all-time list surprisingly) have finally turned their hand to brewing a Stout. Despite IPAs and Stouts being technically Ales (i.e. being fermented with top-fermenting yeasts), there is still a huge difference between the art of brewing a Pale Ale versus a Stout. With one the hop bill is pivotal, and for the other it’s the malt bill that makes the biggest difference. Oh yeah, one is light the other is dark… but didn’t need me to point that out (I hope!). So can Pirate Life still be awesome brewing a Stout? Let’s find out.
Poured from a 500ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Obsidian (and no doubt opaque) black body with a massive 1.5 inch mocha-coloured head, through no fault of my own – it was a normal 45 degree pour with no agitation, but I guess Pirate Life Stout was just bursting to spring forth from the can. The head leaves decent patchy lace as it descends. Looks yum. 8/10.
S: Roasty/earthy and coffee characters… aroma isn’t very bold given the 7.2% ABV, it’s nice but I’m wondering if a flavour trap has been laid for my unsuspecting tongue. Floral hop hints as well, but overall the aroma is quite restrained and lulling me into a false sense of security. 7/10.
T: Cheekily easy drinking this 7.2% ABV Oatmeal Stout. Flavours noted above (roasty/earthy/coffee characters with floral hops) are present and reporting for duty on my taste buds. Finishes with an earthy/espresso coffee medium bitterness. Aftertaste a bit too on the bitter side TBH. Same complaint from the Mismatch Chocolate Stout applies here as well: It’s a bit too safe and textbook. 6/10.
M: Mid to heavy bodied, reasonably creamy mouthfeel, pretty decent but could be thicker given the ABV and Oatmeal Stout style. 8/10.
D: Slightly better than the Mismatch, yet still quite disappointing for Pirate Life – was expecting something “F**KEN WOW!” but ended up with “Huh, ok, yeah…”. Pirate Life still own the IPA style IMO, however they need only look to fellow Adelaideans Prancing Pony and their Magic Carpet Midnight Ride if they want an example of the sort of Stout I would expect from a brewer of this caliber. By “caliber,” of course, I refer to both the size of their gun barrels and the high quality of their characters… Two meanings… caliber… it’s a homonym… Forget it. 7/10.
Food match: Try ill-tempered mutated sea bass [Austin Powers references aplenty].