In case it wasn't obvious, I have rather built this up in my head and there has been precious little time to be having multiple ales as I drown myself at work. So, some pent up beer geekery may well be afoot soon. Would you like to know more? You can't say you weren't warned!
Lovely looking liquid spills forth from the bottle with deep burned caramel froth as a head on top, briefly staying as if to mark territory, then rapidly leaving naught but a ring on top, with a deep coffee blackness in the glass. A good thick look to it with a nose of coffee and hints of chocolate but nowhere near as strong on that score as some of the chocolate stouts and ales I have been lucky enough to try this year. Still, it is a nose in which to luxuriate and meander a while, as though sitting with back 'gainst tree and sunning oneself in the warmth amid birdsong. No, I may be waxing lyrical, but that is very much the feeling I get from it - I could sit here longer before tasting, but that would make for a very short and very unsatisfying review!
At 6.5% ABV you expect a bit of a hit and you would be disappointed because this is not like the other stouts at this strength. The smooth oats and careful burnt chocolate open and paper the entrance to the mouth with full carpeting and anaglypta wallpaper. The lobby is inviting, with low lights to combat the dark and the wind outside, and the definite smell of coffee wafts slowly from deep within the bowels of the rather well-apportioned entrance. Then it's down into the big hit of the malt and the coffee, which dominates, and a bit of sweetness. It lacks the breakfast-y feel that I had that time with my father back in The Elbow Room in Hinckley but it still feels very much on a par with the Breakfast Stout (click here) that I had a good while ago now. It slips carefully and smoothly down to the back of the throat where it leaves just an impression of the chocolate, leaving the mouth to ruminate on the experience and feel like it just ate a fried breakfast - ah, here it is - and I mean that in a complimentary sense.
I like the coffee hit on this, it feels very much like the sort of thing that ought to keep me awake, even if the ABV is very much the sort of thing that will lull me to sleep at inappropriate moments in the future. It is not heavy, but it is rather soft and all around lovely, making me think of something subtle and lovely in violins like a cover of a pop hit from ages back (2005). Ah, Lindsey Stirling, yes: you.
Yes, this is a lot like that kind of music, and I rather like both. Easy on the tastebuds and very much easy on the stomach. You don't need a meal with this so much as you simply need the time to give it some space and a breath between sips. You sip this, you don't quaff, and you sit back in your chair - you don't sit alert and upright. It is better as the darkness rolls in at the end of the day as it was when I was drinking. I am finished now and I look in mourning at the empty glass. I am pleased I got a chance to try this, the slightly fried feeling in the back of the throat the last reminder of having it, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who likes a good ale and especially if you like a good stout. It provided a nice diversion from the week and life in general, and that is all I have to say about that!