Echigo Stout
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 07.04.13 from a can
Overall:
46 / 100
(Not Great)
Purchased at some wholefoods-type store in central Hong Kong, muled back to Australia for sharing.

Pours a deep, dark reddish-brown colour. Head is beige, nice and frothy when poured, sinks to a thinnish film but leaves a decent sheet of lacing behind. Fairly decent, could be darker.

Smells a little bit roasty, quite sweet but largely dry, with hints of espresso, molasses and licorice. Slight grainy, almost adjuncty sweetness floats over the top, which is unfortunate; the roasty notes that are there should be more prominent.

Taste is unfortunately sweet, and a bit segmented and detached. Lots of flavours coming through individually without a good coherence. Sweet grain, carob, espresso and char, with some vanilla notes and aniseed and black pepper. Put in a logical order, these flavours may have played out to great effect, but it's confused, and finishes very astringently while the predominant flavour is that carob.

Not a lot of body to it; goes down with a smoothness but I really want more substance.

From the brewery that brought me Echigo Pilsener and rice lager, this is an improvement, but for a 6+% stout it's disappointing.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Echigo Stout
Reviewed by Jez on 17.03.12 from a can
Overall:
53 / 100
(OK)
Can brought back from Hong Kong by @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a pleasantly dark, but relatively translucent red-black colour, with a nice fine head of mocha brown. Some lacing sits clearly around the edges of the glass. Body is quite liquid, surprisingly, keeping it fluid and dynamic. Not bad.

Nose is dim and slightly roasted, with a twinge of sweetness, and a rattling dark grain character, like the last coffee bean stuck in the grinder. There's also a hint of unpleasantness to it, something a little like rubbish heaped in a back alley, or leftover rice meal. It rather puts me off the taste.

Taste is thick with molasses and burnt coffee, giving a sweet, husky, crispened flavour, which works nicely against the smooth, slightly creamy and foamy mouthfeel. Very little sweetness, but the feel somewhat makes up for that. Finish is actually quite long, again helped by the feel, leaving some bitter grounds flavours on the back. The feel is really quite exceptionally good. While the flavours aren't as complete and full as they could be, there's very little to fault in how it feels in the mouth.

Looks good, smells quite unpleasant, tastes fine (well, OK at least) and feels sublime. A beer of contrasts. Thankyou.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5