I was saving this baby-a takeaway gift from the wonderful Founders meet the brewer event at Port Street Beer House-for a special occasion. My World Cup sweepstakes team being knocked out is as good an excuse as any, so here goes. It’s an 11.2% imperial Stout shot full of coffee and chocolate and then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. Yes, you heard right. It comes with a heavyweight reputation; it’s not cheap (by American standards) and people literally queue to get hold of it. What everyone is waiting for, of course, is will it pass the Tyson breakfast beer test?
It poured nearly black with a frothy khaki head. It certainly looked the part: rich, thick and creamy. The pungent aroma was a blast of freshly ground coffee, bittersweet chocolate and, yes, bourbon. This continued into the creamy, almost silky mouthfeel. In the first swig you get the coffee and chocolate and then the bourbon burn kicks in. As this warm-glow effect travels down, it neatly compliments rather than overpowers the other flavours.
Another swig and you can detect figs, plums and a dark berry sweetness. These fade into a bittersweet finish that really tests the taste buds. This is really good. I’m guessing that if I let this warm up more, there would be even more flavours to discover. As it is, it’s a real humdinger that packs a lot in but cleverly avoids the pitfalls of many barrel-aged beers.
Tyson says: Well-deserved of its reputation. A classic.