Sunday, 2 April 2017

Breakfast Stout

I am painfully aware that I haven't made it out into the garden this year. And today I was given opportunity to do just that. Equally, I am aware that today's ale is not one that is easily available. I am indebted to a friend on Twitter who asked to remain anonymous for today's stout, all that and they asked no payment - so I owe them, big time! Anyway, the subject of the review on this crisp sunny spring day is Breakfast Stout from Founder's who so impressed me back in the summer at Leeds International Beer Festival (see here).

My garden is some disarray, the lawn is unmown and the various beds are all a bit of a mess, in short it is a garden in need of TLC but that's no bad thing when there is a slight breeze, warm sunshine and a brightness that makes me narrow my eyes. Would you like to know more?

Anticipation is high with this one. Opening has a snick, obviously, but this is an imperial stout that has been aged a little already - almost a year since the BBE - but I simply couldn't wait any longer for it. By rights, and from all that I read, I would have done better to leave it at least another year but, no way, I want to try this now as I have waited nearly a year already to get my mitts on it. Sure enough there is a deep and powerful aroma on this one that neatly combats the pollen and the smells of the garden. This is strong, oatmeal and chocolate on the air before I even lean in. On leaning in to the top one gets a big hit of the chocolate, not so much the coffee but there is a note, and the softness of the oatmeal. This is proper big ale, a proper stout of the kind that I seem to be rather enamoured. Not as sweet and cheerful as the Billionaire (click here) or Millionaire (click here) but easily the match for the much-loved Mocha (click here). Not much of a head, but that's because I poured carefully. What there is looks golden and biscuity atop the depth of the mere beneath.

Fizzes on the tongue on the first sip, taking a sort of tang to the edges of the mouth as the soft and smooth chocolate oatmeal fills the middle. Good strength of malt to this one, giving a very smooth and velvety feel to the mouth whilst the outer edges take the carbonation and the bitter tang that comes with that. I can't really taste the coffee but there's no doubt that it is there in the roast sensation that fills the top and sides after the fizz has passed. It hangs around at the middle, peaking with a bit of a Horlick's like feeling, big on the milk and the roasted sensation of almost toast and some sweetness so that the chocolate is less bitter. Then the whole thing falls away, slowly withdrawing from the field like an army that is unbeaten and unbowed but who has to move for strategic reasons. I can't explain why but it makes me close my eyes and just enjoy the feeling.

It leaves a kind of greasy overtone that coats the mouth in pleasing chocolate tones and with a strength of chocolate that sticks around for more. The after being something that is almost absent from the back of the throat and, instead, colonises the main parts of the mouth like some big culture of bacteria. Good, gut bacteria, the sort that you are glad to have in your system. Warming the throat on the way down with a glow that reminds me of the time I went to St Petersburg and the power of the State Vodka meant that we all forgot our coats despite the -23 degree centigrade temperature. No, this is a proper imperial stout and the 8.3% ABV is mighty along with the all-conquering taste. I am glad that I got hold of this and had a chance to try it. It is not the best stout I've ever had but it is worth the trouble to get hold of and I shall be keeping my eyes peeled to see if I can get it again.

Despite the strength this is remarkably forgiving. You won't want a brace of these and you certainly won't be sessioning it but, equally, you won't be left wanting more and you won't be laid low by it. As a stout before noon, and therefore almost a breakfast stout as the name suggests, this is a fine ale and I am pleased to be drinking it in the garden. Sure, my laptop screen is difficult to see and the breeze is such that at-shirt isn't the best idea (but a jumper is far too warm) but it fits the scene nicely. I love how murky and dark the blackness is, I like the chocolate aspect to the smell on each taste and I love the fact that it is so smooth despite the roast of the coffee. It never loses that extra edge and each taste is as good and complimentary as the last. This is a good strength, good ale and, well, I don't want to use superlatives. Well worth getting your mouthparts around if you get the chance. Thank you very much, anonymous friend, you have allowed me a happy morning!

Enjoyed best whenever you feel like a dark and murky stout, get yourself in the mind-set of the proper Statesian with some flags and a deep-seated sense of patriotic supremacy. Welcome the huddled masses, campaign for healthcare and exult in the fact that, as a state, your people take part in the democratic process like few other developed nations. Open, sniff, feel contentment and avoid the sugared bread (because that stuff is evil). Take your time without delaying and just allow the chocolate and coffee to do their thing while the oatmeal gives you a relaxed and full feeling. Don't have this with a meal but do have it when you want to diet. An excellent stout!

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