A 6% sour rauchbier brewed with souchong smoked tea. Tried on-tap at Erzbierschof Punkt in Winterthur, Switzerland.
Pours a clear, deep amber hue that colour of dark maple syrup. Head forms coarse-bubbled foam, but it's fairly solid for a while, and off-white in colour. Lacing is good. Body is a bit light, with low carbonation running in fine streams. Looks good.
Nose is overpowered by the sour character—but it's not a refined acidity. It's slightly funky, and quite vinous, with a warm smoke behind it that lends some odd woody characters. Slight plastic notes come through as well, along with a little tannic grapeskin. It doesn't work all that well.
Taste is mostly just weak. Not really sour, although I blame the acidity for the thinness in the body. Some tannic, vinous notes provide a bit of bite in the back. There's not a lot of smoke, just a slightly ashy finish. It's weird, and certainly not very good.
Feel is thin, and those astringent tannins make it uncomfortable.
Quite unimpressed. I am very dubious about the concept of souring a smoked beer in any case—worse is the fact that this tastes so weak and neither element can stand up to the other. It's just not a good combination.
Pours a vivid red colour, flat, non-existent head, no lace either. Decent colour, but looks pretty bland.
Funky shit on the nose. Loads of sour notes, with boozey spice as well. Blackcurrant, pepperberries and raspberry, blackberry all with a touch of horse blanket. Refreshing, a bit on the off side and not quite reined in, but hey that's how I like my beers, and my women.
Taste is funky from the get-go: quite vinegary with bacteria all over it. A bit stale and barnyardy with a touch of leather on there. Bitey, acidic notes come through mid-to-late with hints of cranberry, plum and peach as well. Finishes surprisingly clean, but also with a touch of residual sugar, which is unnecessary. Not a bad palate for the style, leans a little lambic-wards but good funks and good tartness, just not quite crisp enough to really hold me.
Big and full body, quite syrupy really. Bit of strip back from the bugs in here, but not too much, leaves a coating on the mouth.
Decent cleanser; could be better. Interesting drop, but it's also good, and points for handling a difficult brief.
Uncaps without any kind of carbonation hiss at all. In fact, I was almost shocked when it uncapped like it wasn't at all sealed.
Pours a completely flat, uncarbonated, but a pleasant deep ruby-brown colour. No head to speak of, and even the body itself looks disturbingly thin, and not at all a match for its purported 11% alcohol. I'm dubious and a little hesitant.
Nose is slightly acidic and surprisingly sprightly for its flatness. Some hints of oak and aromatic grains give it a lift that also hints at baseness. Booze is noticeable, but not overpowering, and most of it is attributable to the oak flavours in any case. Not bad.
Taste is also a little flat, but depressingly, not obviously oxidisedâif it were, I would be happy believing that the bottle I got was improperly sealed and write it off thusly. It just has a faint, bland oaky nothingness to it, that relies much on the conditioning of the beer and very little on its innate quality. Some acidity, especially on the front, which gives it a vinous quality, and a hint of spice on the back that gives it a tonic quinine bite. Feel is quite smooth, but flat, and the booze is actually remarkably well hidden.
It's a confusing beer this one. I'm certainly not wowed by it, nor particularly enamoured of it at all, but it has enough interest to keep you hoping. That's worth something at least, even if for me, my hopes ended up in disappointment.
71 / 100
** Pre-review note: I was given this beer blind and my comments reflect my intrinsic enjoyment of the beer. Scores have been scaled down to reflect the fact that this really isn't a very good "imperial stout" - either stylistically or just philosophically, regardless of how much liberty they took with guidelines **
Pours a dark brown colour with a red tinge. Head is lovely and dense, a finger thick with large bubbles. Lace is also beautifully dense and sticky. Looks seductive and impressive.
Smell is rich and tart. Lots of dark berry notes with heavy plum and raisin and blackberry notes. Plus well, wow, it's just red wine-esque. Lots of shiraz plus large amount of black pepper, oak, cocoa hints as well. Pretty appealing.
Taste is quite dark and complex. Much dark fruit on the assault, plummy and jammy with hints of raisins and redcurrants. Gets very vinous midway with red grape skins, dark chocolate and black pepper like you'd get from a good Barossa Shiraz. Yeah, very intriguing and unique flavours, lots of spice and really quite tart. Nutty and oaky notes come through on the back. In fact I think a lot of the vinous notes I'm sensing are just pungent oak. Distinct funk from the same source I believe, sort of a washed-rind cheese character blends with the fruity tart notes very well. Very tasty and complex; I'm definitely feeling it.
Smooth mouthfeel but with an alacrity to it; it just pops and leaps around in the mouth, very nicely.
A very enjoyable and complex brew. Challenging but balanced. A sipper, but a bloody fine sipper.
57 / 100
Stout swing-top bottle purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, and brought back to Australia to share with my bros.
Pours a very hazy, but not particularly dark brown colour. Hints of red to it, mostly, certainly not even close to black. Head is a vague beige colour, which forms in some nice reverse cascading out of the bottle, but it dissipates rather quickly. All up, I can't say I'm terribly impressed for a beer which calls itself Imperial, Jurassian and Stout.
Nose is rather boozy, but with a slight cherry overtone and a sweetness that gives it vestiges of artificial cherry cola. Certainly something spiced and unusual in the beer, but just as certainly, very little in the way of dark roasted characters. There's a burning astringency that almost feels like it gets in my eyes, but that's just the booziness, and not the darkness. Again, it's interesting, but it's selling itself as something different.
Taste is incredibly boozy, almost like port, grappa or brandy as it heats the tongue, with almost minimal character elsewhere to give a hint of anything else besides pure booze. There's a slight dark note to it, of course, but once again, it's not nearly strong enough for what it claims to be, and the booze has the beer in a stranglehold. Feel is remarkably thin.
An Imperial Stout can afford to be as boozy as this because it's packed with flavour, and has a huge body to hold it all together. This has none of that, but it still insists on having a very high ABV. As a result, it ends up quite harsh, but at the same time rather bland. Very average beer, to my mind.