Well, I have finally sobered up from last night tastings, so ready to put up my notes. With Stass leaving today for Turkey, it is up to me to keep the blog going. I only hope there are not technical problems, or you won't here from me til he gets back.
Overall, I can say the base imperial stout beers of the Beer Geek Brunch Weasel and Black and very robust beers capable of having intense flavours added to them, and was surprised at how the texture of the beers were not lost too much with the process they underwent in the barrels. Anyway, here are my notes. Please feel free to comment as always.
1) Beer Geek Brunch Weasel (11%) - Not normally i start a tasting on an 11%, but with it only getting higher from here, i was almost glad i had had a couple of beers before arriving on the night. Very dark in colour with a dissipating browny head. A sweet coffee smell with alcohol as well. Sweet on the front of the tongue before the bitterness of the coffee comes through, then a warming alcohol flavour at the end. nice creamy mouthfeel but fairly intense overall in flavour that lingers. It is almost towards a spirit flavour in its intensity (hmm, had much to learn at this point).
2) As above in Highland Whiskey Barrels - Whiskey smell comes through. Is a milder flavour on the front of the palate, then the whiskey comes through later. slightly watery compared to the base beer, but still decent mouthfeel. Of course the spirit flavour is more pronounced but the beer is good enough to keep its structure with it.
3) As above in Islay Whiskey Barrels - This immediately burnt my nostrils with the smokiness. Even with this flavourful Whiskey there is still good texture, again, testament to the base beer. Remembering the previous islay whiskey barrelled beer we had at the previous slowbeer tasting, this beer seems to contain the flavour better. Peaty and smokiness nearly too intense in the whiskey for the beer, but this really pushed the boundary of adding flavours to beer.
4) Black (17.5%) - So, here we go... dark malt/sweet smell with alcohol but is milder than the brunch. alcohol flavour hits early and lingers. alcohol doesn't burn as much as what i would have expected, but is still strong and grows as it warms on the tongue. there is a slight sweetness for a split second when the beer first hits your tongue, but the alcohol blows it away very quickly. This one is a real struggle to get through the tasting glass of it.
5) As above in French Whiskey Barrels -slight milder alcohol smell and the flavour of it only slowly rises, unlike the previous, but is still strong at the end. The whiskey spike in flavour from the first taste does diminish on subsequent sips. The alcohol end though is overpowering, even if the flavour is milder while in your mouth.
6) As above in Peated Whiskey Barrels - Peaty and smokey smell overpowers the alcohol. This translates well into the flavour, but is very cleansing at the end. Very well balanced and integrated flavours. Almost subtle compared to the previous. Still heightened flavour of the whiskey and alcohol, but this is the most impressive beer of the night. However, if you had this beer first it would probably still blow your head off. The flavours of sweet and bitter are well balanced with the alcohol, so reminds me of the first beer in that regard.
So, that was the journey. Like some others i spoke to last night, it is hard to get over the personal judgements of the appropriateness of these beers (when would i want to drink that?) but in terms of craftmanship to make base beers capable of what they are with these addition flavours, and the sheer mischief of the brewer to contemplate this sort of beer, they have to be applauded. Even without the last beer which interested me on personal taste (along with the first), the technical ability of the beers overall is quite astounding.
Thanks to Mick for coming on this journey with me, the other boys there for chatting to us about their opinions, and Slowbeer for putting on such a mind bending and tongue twisting beer journey. great to see you push the envelope with these beer tasting themes.