So, what should have been just one or two on a Monday, ended up being quite a few more, but you get that when a few brewers in a room together the is choc full of hundreds of different beers (as is the case with Slowbeer).
Thinking it was only going to be one or two, I went out hard early to try the new Murrays Farmhouse Imperial Stout. Having had their Heart is Darkness on tap at the Royston, the solid imperial stout malt and alcohol character is similar, along with some of that belgian yeast character. Still, this beer just shows how a change in yeast (and probably not a big difference in the yeast) really does change a beer. The farmhouse yeast really drives a darker fruit aroma and flavour from the beer to step it up from the Heart of Darkness on the front and mid palate.
Keeping with the 'big' beer mode, decided to try the second attempt at Moon Dog's Black Lung. I actually liked the sweetness that came from the bourbon barrel aging the first one went through the help mellow and balance out the smokey character of the base beer. However, the peaty character the smoke attains from being aged in whiskey barrels this time is probably a beer I prefer, and know Stass will want to try this one with his dad
Craig pulled out an Sierra Nervada Bigfoot, which has a good basis with the coppery red malt and alcohol, but is really boosted with floral hop character in smell and taste. I probably found it dominated a bit too much personally, but I guess it is to be expected from an American brewer, even though Sierra are well know for holding balance in their beers. He also shared a Italian Dubbel which again had a good basis for a Belgian abbey beer, but found the spice in it dominated a bit more than I would like. Damn my traditionalism!
Mike started on a Midnight Sun Porter, where I found the smoke and spice in it came off a little strange for me and detracted from the beer a bit. He also tried an Amager Pop, that had a really good port character on the midpalate and had a bit of a barelywine feel to it, but there was some other smells and taste that did not interact well with it. It was like the beer was a bit old and with the cork, maybe it had oxidised as well seeing it was not laid down to keep the cork wet and protect the beer.
Seeing it was going down the path of just having big beers, thought I would step back a little and try a Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Ale, seeing Mike is looking to have another crack at this style. I was surprised at a slight sock smell, and the hazelnut came off a bit essencey, but does fell out the beer quite well, along with some added sweetness.
The boys also pulled out a Nogne O Imperial Stout which is almost subtle for the style, but think it is just so well rounded, almost like it has been aged for a quite a while. To end the night then It was a Coffee Stout which looked terrible with no head at all, and a very dusty body to it. We worked out it was out of date, which made sense for this, and that while the coffee character was ok, you could tell it had died.
Anyway, that was more than enough for a Monday night. Am very excited though as my allocation of Moo Brew's Barrel Aged Vintage Imperial Stout has just arrived from the brewery, and met up with the brewer of Dolphin Brewery at Dalesford to pick up a mixed case of beers from this Victorian brewery I had never heard of before a couple of months ago. Seems he just has a 100lt set up and just sells his beers at the local markets up that way. Still he has a decent range, so look out for tastings of those and the Moo Brew very soon...that reminds me, I have a Imperial Stout tasting to organise!!!