We headed out to the System Wars event at Grain & Grape, where we started our education on doing full mash brews with 4 approaches on show. It was great to get an idea on the differing approaches (but maybe not so good to see the cost for a fully automated system) and just chat to the guys, and discussing the different methods and their mashing techniques in general. While we were out there we did a shop of things for an IPA we are going to go against Team Harrod on, and caught up with Ross, who I met on Wednesday, and also the Crafty Pint camera crew who were looking the worse for wear trying to get to as many events as possible this week.
Getting back to my place, both Stass and I had a craving for a Royston parma, but seeing it didn't open til 3 (curse you!) we went plan B with a Mojo pizza. Seeing I was only going to allow imperial stouts to be the beer to go down my gullet this day, we went next door to Purvis and found a spare Amager Hr. Frederiken in the fridge that had not been drunk at the tasting the night before, and caught up with a 'gravely' Damien to see how the beer awards went as we purchased the beer.
By the time we got back to Mojo's, our woodsman pizza was ready, so we cracked the Amager and drank it in the sunshine. The bbq sauce and meaty texture of the pizza went well with the beer, but the salami just made the alcohol burn more on our tongues and increased the bitterness. Holding back some of the beer for the walk home, we finally regained our tastebuds to appreciate it. However, we were both feeling a little unsure that we would make it through the rest of the tastings we had prepared for the day. Grabbing some snags, Mersey Valley Vintage Cheddar, King Island Smoked Cheddar and some apples, we started getting into the imperial stouts.
Samuel Smith Imperial Stout - dusty caramel malt up front but cleans off quickly. Good texture but a bit of fizz across the tongue, and some slight hop bitterness in aftertaste. Pretty light overall which made it a good starter. Seeing there was only 4 of us drinking, we just had smaller serves as we ran the gamut of them. We came back to the leftovers after. When we came back to this one, there was an increase in dark raison smell and taste.
Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout - one of my faves that we know is lighter so wanted to get that on in early while our taste buds could fully appreciate it. the nice creamy chocolate nose with alcohol over the top which comes through the same in taste, with the alcohol rising with warmth, with only slight burn. It cleanses well and with no one aspect overbearing the others, shows great balance and profile of flavours.
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel - slight bitter coffee smell. Very light, bitter/roasted coffee/malt that builds into the back and lingers. Not tasting much alcohol, and on second round the smokey smell came out more.
Can I say, our own Russian Imperial Stout comes up pretty well compared to these beers, in fact it is the best of our beers in comparison. There is a dark fruit smell, an unrefined but nice rise of malt and alcohol over the tongue with a good body and texture. My last two words were 'mellow' and 'good!!'. Actually, I may have even said that if I would have liked to put this beer in for a competition, apart from the fact it is solely brewed from extract. A win for us!
Red Hill Imperial Stout - I have had this beer aging for about 18 months, and have to say and getting more impressed with it. The dark fruit smell, with a lighter caramel body but good texture is starting to build up a bit more, and hoping this caramel keeps improving with the other bottled I have. Am looking forward to trying this one on tap soon, as Red Hill have told me this should be coming out at the Royston again for Winter.
Murray's Wild Thing - dark malt and alcohol smell. Has a decent body but a little light on taste. In the second round, there was a sweeter malt smell.
Durham Temptation - quite a vinous smell for this style that translates well into taste, with the alcohol rising from the mid-palate.
Amager Imperial Stout - Pretty thin on taste, but rounded in the standard flavours of this style, with decent texture.
Nail Clout Stout - dark fruit with a slight vinous smell. Fairly standard taste (sorry, tastebuds are definitely dying by now), but a bit of vinous and alcohol on a good smooth texture and cleanses well on the back. Good balance overall with no spiking flavour.
De Molen Rasputin - having tried one of these brewers Imperial Stouts recently in Adelaide, I decided to keep these ones til last. This on had some vinous and dark fruit smell and taste but good body overall. Some alcohol heat but cleans up ok with some smokey notes.
De Molen Bloed, Zweet & Tranen - smoke dominates the nose and thins the malt on the front of the palate, with peatiness on the mid, with some sweet smoke on the back.
Overall, impressed with our own that it was even able to keep up with the others, the Clout was probably the best, but still find it hard to go past the Black Chocolate Stout personally. The tongue is a little burnt from the intensity of the alcohol in these beers, but with the food and keeping up on water, we got through it relatively unscathed and not feeling overly bad the next day. I am looking forward to taking Stass for a beer or 3 at Josie Bones around lunch before we prepare ourselves for the final event of Good Beer Week, the Slowbeer tasting. Having chalked up 87 beers so far, lucky number 13 of the day will get me to 100 for the week, with a few more than that...just to make sure of it.