Pours a very dark brown; the colour of stouts. Head is mocha coloured; the colour of stout heads. Nice density but not a lot of retention, just a ring of foam. Lacing and cascade are nice, kind of what I expect though. Pretty good.
Smells roasty, sweet and oaky. Big vanilla coconut-bourbon character with hints of peanut, some chocolate and maybe some brandy character. Kind of boozey dark fruit with oak. By the numbers but pleasant.
Taste is dryer than expected. Starts roasty and chocolatey, then gets oak surprisingly early. Woody, sweet and coconutty that dries up the roasty malt quite early. Develops some booziness late-mid, with more oaky notes, quite woody but with nutty sweetness as well. Has a linger of some dark malt notes and somewhat boozey. Yeah feels a bit hot and maybe too fresh, but plenty of nice flavours nonetheless.
Smooth feel, that develops some hot boozey rawness late. Bit too strong, but otherwise good body and well balanced.
Yeah, it's a fairly by-the-numbers imperial stout that has some great vanillin oak and gets too strong due to the edge not being mellowed yet. The real test will be in how well it cellars and how well the complexities develop as it does, because it tastes like it has lots of potential but just feels a bit green. I won't get a chance to test that though, I assume.
84 / 100
750ml caged and corked brown bottle, given to me in a very uneven trade by my good mate Aaron in Denver. Shared with Sam back in Sydney during a brewday.
Pours a deep, oily black-brown with an almost jelly-like sheen across the top of the glass. Head forms a fizzy cap of beige that persists as a small ring. Minimal, lace, only a couple of mould-spore discs. Carbonation is fine and swift. Looks good.
Nose is very pleasant. Lovely, rich, dark toastiness, almost with a salt character, turning towards the a meaty umami savouriness. It has bags of roast character, cleverly melded with a pleasant barrel character, that's not overdone. It lends it subtle characters of vanilla and coconut, but always geared towards the darker edges of the roasted malt.
Taste is also great. It starts off a little sharp when it's cool, but as it warms a little, the palate melts—it leaves gooey chocolate and vanilla oak characters, and a bubbling evanescent booze quality, like swirling a good brandy over a candle. There's also notes of rosewater and raspberry that hide in amongst all the darkness. It's very good.
Feel is slick and light, with a lovely coating quality.
Overall: bam. I love it—this is a beautifully crafted imperial stout, with complexity to spare, and enough personality to stand out in a crowd. Much love to Aaron for the bottle. I can only imagine this was a tough bottle to part with.
650ml brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria, Sydney.
Pours a cola-brown hue, with a coarse-crackling head of beige that last only about as long as the head on Coke would, settling out very quickly to a mesh that looks like dragonfruit flesh, flacked with tiny dots. Body is extremely light for 8% ABV.
Nose is certainly odd. There's a dry, dusty cocoa character to it, but also a lot of aridity—there's so little sweetness and it lends other characters a leg-up to put their weirdnesses on centre stage. I get some pepper characters, a little black olive and papadums. This is on top of the base beer, which has some oddly vinous tones to it. There's also a strange hint of chlorine in the mix. All up, it's a bit of a mess.
Taste is fairly similar. There's a thinness to the body that runs through from front to back, leaving very little room for much in the way of flavour or complexity—it just doesn't have much to work with. That being said, there is some mild cacao notes around the mid-palate, and a linger of powdery cocoa on the back—very dry, however, and lacking depth.
Feel is a bit empty—it feels like there's a little weight there, but some of the vinous characters seem to rip it back to its bare bones.
I don't get it. Is this bottle just clearly bad? I don't notice anything in it that would explain the insipidness of it all, but insipid it most certainly is. I'm really quite disappointed—I'd heard some reasonable things about Hangar 24, but my first exposure to them is certainly woefully awry.