Origin: Chiswick, London, England
Beer Style: Imperial Stout
Hops: Sovereign, Centennial
Suggested Glassware: Snifter
Suggested Serving Temperature: 5-8° celsius
Availability: Year Round
Where to buy: Select LCBO locations
This review is for a very special beer from Fuller’s Brewery in London, England. I was lucky enough to be given a bottle of their Limited Edition Imperial Stout. As Fuller’s described “This limited edition brew is a unique collaboration between brewery and beer writer. Melissa Cole brought her vast experience to the tasting table and helped us deliver a stout worth writing home about.” This Imperial Stout sits at a whopping 10.7% and as the box says, can be cellared for 9 years. This beer was bottle conditioned in a 500ml bottle, placed in a well designed yet classic box.
This Imperial Stout was very unique. The beer poured a rich black, with a thick tan head which faded rather quickly as the beer sat. Being that the stout was bottle conditioned, there was a little bit of settlement in the glass. Like a lot of stouts I drink, I allowed the beer to warm to slightly below room temperature, which I find really helped the beer to open up and experience the full flavours and aromas. This beer has a wide range of of aromatic notes to it. I first noticed a sharp alcohol smell to the beer, which didn’t last long. After that first smell, the true character of the beer really started to show. I experienced a hint of roasted dark chocolate, with light notes of dried fruit. The aromas didn’t stop there, at the end of noted a slight floral smell, but was very subtle.
From the smell and appearance of the beer, you would expect a very strong and over powering beer, but this was the complete opposite. This Imperial Stout actually had a very nice balance of bitter and sweet, with a hint of floral notes. At my first sip, I instantly noticed bitter dark chocolate, which had a very creamy character to it. Now, I don’t know if it was just me, but I did notice a slight smoke or tobacco taste. That could have been from the roasted notes of the beer, but I definitely could taste some smokiness to the beer. The finish of the beer was very nice. The beer had a nice floral finish to it, that took away all the bitterness of the dark chocolate. According to Fuller’s, they use dried rose buds which gave a hint of Turkish delight. Personally, I didn’t notice the Turkish delight but like I said, I did notice the floral notes.
I was extremely impressed with this stout. At this time of year, stouts are definitely one of my go to beer styles and this would be one I would be drinking on a cold winter’s night. This beer was very warming and for a 10.7% stout was very easy drinking. Mind you, I could only drink one of these a night, but it would be worth it. I personally think that this beer would be better with a little age on it, but if you can get your hands on a bottle grab one and give it a try. I plan to cellar a couple of these for a few years and review them again once they have some age on them.
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