I had been planning to clear some of my Impy stout stock, so what better time to do so than a mass twitter drinking session? The four bottles I dug out were a range of ABVs and different takes on the style, with two being barrel aged and two straight up Impys. 2 English, 1 Irish and an American effort.
|Beers lined up to meet their destiny|
First up was Black Sheep. This was brewed for the Great Baltic Adventure in 2010. I've had this on cask before; so was looking forward to seeing what it was like in a 2y/o bottle. It looked the part with a big open fluffy head and a dark brown in colour. At first it was disappointing with some higher alcohols and yeast esters hiding all the malt and hops had to offer. Thankfully after some breathing time it opened up to reveal rich hedgerow fruits and a roust malt backbone. Not nearly as complex as the aged cask but likeable nonetheless.
Another beer I'd had before next then, this time a 2010 bottle of Dark Star. I drank a five year old bottle of this last March and wasn't particularly impressed: It obviously had reached a low point in its maturation cycle as this one showed none of those off-notes.Really unctuous (yes, oil like) this one, evil black beer with fluffy tan head. Aromas of blackcurrant and molasses. Tobacco features heavily in taste, alongside roast barley and warming booze. Long finish with a touch of Marmite. Nice.
Switching it up a bit I cracked open my bottle of Porterhouse barrel aged celebration stout, one I knew I had to try after both the Beer Nut and Reuben posted reviews. Thankfully it was in stock at Drinkstore and now was the time to open it. Dark brown with coffee and whisky on the nose. In the mouth its milk chocolate and whisky with a long oaky vanilla finish. This showed off what a barrel can add to a beer. I agree with Ghosty that barrel ageing can bring a lot to the table and although not every beer is done well or can be OTT those excellent examples make the search worthwhile.
The piece de resistance had to wait another night because I was all stouted out. That meant that I could bask in the glory of this beer for much longer. That beer is of course Goose Island Bourbon County. Pours black as night with a lacing of beige and a continual eruption of small bubbles that burst on surfacing. Vanilla custard and caramel liqueur on the nose. Thick and rich and warming with chocolate, robust barley, through coffee, chicory and a long warming vanilla finish. Coffee comes in afterwards and rumbles on alongside oaky influences and a final whisky kiss. This is a fantastic beer and I urge you all to seek it out if you haven't done so already!