Instead of a specific seasonal this year Eight degrees have launched a limited edition trilogy of dark beers - Back to Black. I've picked them up from Drinkstore and am unselfishly drinking them to let you know whether they're worth getting!
Going up in increasing ABV order then we first come to Aztec stout, 5.5%; so called because it has cocoa, cinammon, chipotle chili and vanilla.dark cola brown with lacing latte head. Roasted barley with a fruity chili note, touch of marmitey Autolysed yeast. More fruity notes on swirling. Medium bodied, low carbonation, fairly sweet fruitiness, touch of chili heat, dry dark chocolate malt. Missing the vanilla and cinnamon in taste but an enjoyable winter warmer.
Next up was Zeus Black IPA at 7%. Its fantastic, not just the best BIPA I've tried in Ireland but one of the best for these islands combined.Rich citrus and guava with slight chocolate undercurrent. Cola with a lacing of beige head. Full bodied, tingling carbonation, tangerine, pithy bitterness, long bitter finish. Spot on BIPA. Highly recommended a steal at €2.80!
Rounding of the trilogy we have Imperial Russian Stout at 9%. Pouring resplendent with fluffy tan head in the glass and an inviting aroma of rich chocolate cake. There's also leather and a touch of citrus peel. Unctuous mouth feel, thick bodied, gentle carbonation, rich fruitcake malt, plummy, molasses, tobacco, boozy hit, dry. Will probably age well, a beer this big needs some more complexity...Brett would work well here.
Whilst we're on dark beers I may as well tell you about Porterhouse's new release: The Devil's Half Acre - a monster of a beer at 13.5%! Pours hazy dark cola coloured with a frothy tan head. Initial fresh citrus aroma followed by treacle toffee, rich boozy whisky, vanilla woody notes, marzipan. Full bodied, medium carbonation, sweet, powerfully bitter, big whisky kick, bourbon biscuits, dry roast barley notes. Long dry barley finish. Its a big bruiser of a beer but really well made, with the whisky deftly controlled. This should still be available in porterhouse bars for €4 this week and in a few off licences if you're lucky.
Tune in next week for some beers from the lighter side of the spectrum!