They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Monday, 22 August 2011

Yin & Yang: The Best Black & Tan!

I have no idea how to start this post.

I've only ever tried a couple of Black and Tans in my life, and they've always been from English brewers.
I do however, know my Imperial IPAs, and I certainly know my Imperial Stouts! Mix them together?? Sounds perfect on paper, but what is it like in reality? Would it work? With such extreme flavours on display, should you even bother? Well one brewery has certainly tried to dare!

I'm talking of course of Evil Twin Brewing (perfect name if you ask me, and an even more perfect name for the beers!)

Lets break this down. Yin is an Imperial Taiji Stout coming in at 10%. Yang is a 10% Imperial Taiji IPA. Personally I think they may have got these the wrong way round, I would have the Imperial Stout as the last, but that's just me. They state on the bottle that these two beers are absolutely perfect on their own, but so much better blended together. Could this be true? Could my favourite beer style and my second favourite beer style really be married into one glorious style of beer? Well lets bloody find out! But first lets look at the beers on there own:

We'll start with the Yang. (see it's a little strange to start with the Yang, with it being the lighter.) This is a dark looking Imperial IPA. The classic aromas of caramel and grapefruit lunge forward with side notes of lemon-grass and dried straw. The flavour pushes forward with a massive biscuit malt body which is followed with notes of caramel, toffee, a little marmalade and lots of chewy - rum soaked raisins. The finish is long and bitter. Very warming, (unsurprising for 10%) this beer starts very sweet and juicy but there's a huge dryness in the finish with almost a straw like tartness.

Next up was the Yin: a 10% Imperial Stout Bruiser! It pours much thicker and richer looking than the Yang, and the head rises much smoother looking - very much like the perfect brown edges of a super cappuccino, but all over. The aroma is mental. It's so meaty! Massive salty smoked salami flavours rise from this darkened drink, I can't help but think this is a smoked I.S.. I've not actually smelled an Imperial Stout like this before so this is beginning to get exiting. It starts very rich and very sweet. I'm thinking this must be smoked now, because of the flavours. Either that, or aged in some Islay whisky casks! All the classic IS flavours are there too, shed loads of dried/charred fruits. It's big and boozy but it's also balanced. The finish is super bitter, and everything I really want from an Imperial Stout, but what are they like together??

Well, first things first... the coffee maker in me couldn't resist doing this!!:

Yes! That's your half and half right there. Your layered latte, read it and weep.

Now of course for anyone who buys a layered latte, the rule is you need to take at least 15 seconds to look at, and appreciate the latte before you stir it all up into a drink, otherwise your just an inconsiderate dick. So that's what I did before I stirred it up. This is what I was presented with afterwards, my own Yin & Yang half and half, Black & Tan:

I was really concerned about this to be honest. I really thought the massive flavours that you get with any Imperial Stout would completely crush and mask any flavours that would try to present themselves in an Imperial IPA, and I thought it would all be completely pointless.

Turns out I was rather wrong! The two blended perfectly together. You certainly got a big IIPA aroma which masked well, any flavours I got from the stout, like salty meats. It's also perfectly balanced, these two really do work together - it's clear a lot of thought has gone into this. I couldn't help but think though, like a couple of others had said to me,  that this was just really a great big Black IPA, and to be truthful, that really didn't bother me. What would you really expect from mixing these two styles? Would a Black IPA or an Imperial Black IPA be a bad outcome? I don't really think so. This was a fantastic experience. I've never had anything like this, so I'd love it if some other brewers tried a similar thing. The only question that is left unanswered is this: I have no idea about this brewery, and where they're from, so I just need someone to explain this to me (see bottom):


  1. Hi Ghosty

    Evil twin is Mikkeller's twin brother. He used to brew with him but I think they fell out so he's now doing his own thing. Also a "gypsy" brewer like his brother I think these were brewed at brewdog.

    Ace pouring skills! Glad it worked

  2. Black & Tans are great. Two of the best beers I had last year were Imperial Stout and IPA blends - Hopping Frog Bodacious Black & Tan and De Molen Lood & Oud Ijzer. We need more of these.

    John Clarke

  3. Cheers Steve.

    I saw the Bodacious Black whist I was down in London John, It was a little bit too much for me though to be honest.

  4. Jesus! You just stole me that subject of blog post! I just brought back some Yin & Yang from Portland, Maine and was about to make the experience and share about it!

    Maybe the fact that I'm writing in French for some Quebecois makes it alright! But if ever I see you in Montreal recommending some beers in French, I'll come after you!

  5. Looks great Ghostie. I never realised thes eYin and Yang beers were a black and tan! I saw them on MyBreweryTap but just thought they were seperate beers. Not designed to be mixed.

    A great write up and nice pouring skills!

    Would love to try this.

  6. Rick - Don't let me stop you from sharing the good word about beer, and I don't speak French anyhuu! ;)

    Neil, Andy - I do highly recommend the layered beer effect, it's probably one the coolest things I've ever done with a beer.

  7. I love mixing beers -- it's a habit I got from my Dad. It rarely works but, occasionally, it's great. In a mediocre pub the other day I managed to rescue the day by mixing Director's Bitter with Mann's Brown Ale. On their own, neither beer is special. Together, they make a delicious dark mild.

  8. Great post! Love the non-mixed pour (I used to work in the bar at Gillingham Football Club and one of the drinks that would often get ordered was Smirnoff Ice or WKD Blue topped with Guinness and poured over a spoon so that it doesn't mix - it looked crazy. What was crazier was that people actually ordered and drank them!).

    I haven't had either of these but I love the idea that they're made to blend. I wrote a post ages ago about the range of beers I'd make if I owned a brewery and my idea was to have four different beers and then encourage drinkers to blend their own perfect beer.

  9. Guess which idiot saw both of these on draught at the Craft Beer Co and only drank one of them? Yes, yours truly.

  10. Yes but you did drink one of them though Alcofrolic...

    Mark - that Guinness drink sounds horrific!

  11. I love the idea of this so much I just poured my tea into my colleagues coffee...they took no time to appreciate and confirmed my opinion of them :)
    Might have to track some of these down now and give it a may never know if I bought them if my layering technique is as rusty as it should be having never tried it. Entertaining blog as ever. Cheers

  12. Had Yin and Yang and Yin & Yang some years ago at my local tap, then recently picked up a 4 pack of each. Needing an IPA, I ended up drinking three of the Yangs, then decided to try the Yin, resolving to mix the last Yang. Wasn't too impressed with the Yin, but OMG were you right about the combination. I went looking for advice on combining them and found your post. I read that the premixed version is 65% Yang, and found one poster that preferred 60% Yang. Now my quest is to keep mixing to find my own favorite blend.

    1. Oh, and I completely failed at the layered approach. Will try harder next time.