Pours a dark coffee colour. Dark tan head, almost mocha in hue, dense and foamy and sticking around beautifully. Looks great.
Smell is mulled, warming and spicy. Big rum character with red wine, clove, licorice and black pepper. Touch of booziness on there, and it's really more booze/spice than chocolate. Nice, though.
Chocolate on the palate is there, not sure if just chocolate malt notes with some residual sweetness or even some oak bringing that up. Licorice, black pepper and star anise vying for attention. Big vanilla oak notes on the back, with plenty of spice and some hot booze - bourbon/rum. Big melange of flavours, would go down very nicely on a cold winter's night.
Decent body but the alcohol is quite sharp on the back. Could definitely be tamed.
Very sweet beer, and a bit hot for me but otherwise goes down a treat.
57 / 100
330ml bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
The bottle is completely filled to the lip, meaning there's no air at all under the cap, and the beer doesn't fizz with carbonation at all on uncapping. No sediment in the bottom either, so I guess this was just a zealously counter-pressure filled bottle. It does pour with some carbonation at least, forming a misty haze of white atop the brilliantly clear almost rose-golden body. Some fine but insubstantial lacing forms when the beer is tilted. Looks reasonable.
Nose is sharp, and slightly medicinal with a dark metal twang to the aroma, and an undertone of marzipan. Slight other nuttiness as well, subtle and with a syrupy note coming through. Hmm. It doesn't really grip me, and the characters seem slightly too harsh.
Taste is similar. Rounded and nutty on the palate with the malt presence forming quite strongly. But the hops provide a thin, sharp vector that tastes resiny, slightly medicinal and almost phenolic. Almond skin with a jarring bite of metal. The back smooths things out somewhat, leaving the beer a little smoother than it might otherwise have been, but this also means that it doesn't really live up to it's DIPA tag.
Feel is quite smooth, and perhaps undercarbonated after all.
Overall, this is only a slightly above average brew. Despite my criticisms of the harshness that comes through, after a while it just seems to end up pretty dead and flat, which is probably a worse fate for it.
82 / 100
Tried on-tap at the 2013 GABS festival in Melbourne, Australia. This was one of my favourite beers of the weekend—a spiced-rum barrel-aged stout which was then further spiced.
Pours a deep brown with a slight reddish tinge to it, quite clear in the body, but with decent weight behind it. Head is a solid crema/milk-chocolate brown that forms in a big foamy ring. Lacing is very decent. Looks very good.
Nose is complex and exciting. Slightly medicinal, slightly minty, with chocolat biscuit notes, fragrant blueberry and a slight cider apple spicy tartness. Rum in certainly noticeable, and adds a little depth.
Light, slightly fruity entry on the palate. Mild smooth chocolate. Through the centre we get more of the complexities and the richness. Boozy spiritous dark rum, oak and intensity. The finish has the spices come through, again I get some mint and other medicinal, herbal qualities, and a choc-mint flavour like Coonawarra Cab Sav. Some Australian native mint bush spice comes forward on the aftertaste.
This is really gorgeous stuff. Extremely tasty and very enjoyable. I'm very much looking forward to seeing some more Harbour stuff make its way to our shores.