71 / 100
375ml can from the Carwyn Cellars Canvent Calendar 2020. Lovely label art, I have to say.
Pours a rich, fairly heavy, coppery golden colour, with slow swirls of languid carbonation and a fine crest of white. This settles out to a ring, but persists quite well in the end. Body has some weight to it, but not enough that it looks like it's going to be heavy and sweet and underattenuated. So that's a good thing.
Nose is pleasantly resiny, with a pronounced pine and citrus note that takes me back to a simpler time. It's an aroma which matches very nicely with a bit of extra booze—it connects with a slight metallic quality and a heady but subdued toffee sweetness. Not overpowering, but nicely done.
Taste is also pretty well balanced. It's not a huge-flavoured beer, which is a hallmark of restraint in such an alcoholic beer. But this also means it's not leaning on masses of hop bitterness, a lot of residual sweetness or something else to cover up flaws. It's just clean and well made, especially given it has so much heft to it. Bitterness is just about right, with a clean quality to it which nicely aligns with a slight metallic bite and a hint of booze.
Feel is slick rather than heavy, with a slight bright tingle of carbonation.
Overall, this is a nicely done brew. I'm not convinced it's a ground-breaking or very exciting beer, although a beer with this level of restrains which clocks in at over 10% is still something of a marvel. Still, if nothing else it speaks to the craft of Spotty Dog, and makes me think I'll need to search them out in the future.
On tap at Preachers.
Dark cola colour; ochre head, quite dark really. Decent density, small bubbles around the edge that retain well. Very furious bead is feeding it from below; looks pretty decent.
Smells nutty and a bit dry with subtle chocolate. Caramel and mild woody character, perhaps some subtle herbal notes. Standard; nothing exciting.
Tastes quite nice. Good smooth chocolate note throughout that really doesn't waver, which is good. Slight fruity note early mid that's a bit odd, like fresh mango or something, just a whisper but feels a bit odd alongside the choc. Develops a slight bitterness late, again it's less rossty than it is almost hoppy. It's just mildly fruit-infused despite being sweet and a bit dark. Pretty nice. But a little odd.
Feels a little odd. Bit thick, but also fairly dry. Feels almost Irish on the finish.
Drinks fairly well though; not super sweet. But sweet enough. I'm a bit tainted by the fact I drank the nitro merlin the other night and it was phenomenal.