It seems Durham Brewery have produced a White Stout. Don't be fooled into thinking that this is one of those oxymoronic light coloured beers which tastes like a dark one though, as this is nothing like that. This beer has history in mind. The bottle blurb states; "Before porter breweries claimed the term 'stout' for dark beers, any strong beer was a 'stout' beer."
So with tonight being WhiteStout night on Twitter I thought I'd crack open a bottle and find out what it's like. I've had it once before on cask and thought it very pleasant, but bottles can always be different.
At 7.2% it comes across with a very restrained but still aromatic aroma. I'm getting green apple and pear skins, a little lemon, grape, straw and some subtle spice. There's a lot of fruity malts in the body, and you get an initial malty spice too under the bittersweet flavours. A sharp lemony/orangy tang is soothed by hints of caramel and toffee. A beer with a lot of complexity and good old fashioned British flavour, with a long, drying and moorish finish - so much so, you want to take another sip before you put your glass down.
My one and only issue with the beer comes with the labeling. A few people have been a bit confused by the naming of the beer, only to have me point out the blurb, then things become clear. It's perfectly acceptable to call it a White Stout, but In my opinion, putting Pale Stout underneath doesn't really help with the confusion of some. I think it would be better off saying; "White Stout, Strong English Ale".
With all the backstory behind this event tonight from the good people at Durham (on Twitter. Elle has been loving the Temp. as well as the White) it would be a little unfair to not open a Temptation as well, to give a little yin to the yang.
Durham Temptation is a 10% Imperial Stout - a style which is renownedly recognised by being strong and dark. Lots of flavours come about from the aroma of this one. Rich dark chocolate, raisins, woody tones, burnt toast and plenty of burnt malts, a little molasses mixed coffee and generally all the dark good stuff you want from an Imperial Stout.
The flavour is super intense. Thick and rich like an oil slick. I think I'm correct here by saying that this I.S. is a lot different to pretty much all the American I.S's because, while they're driven by a huge overly hoppy bitterness, this beer is driven by a huge main beer ingredient: MALTS... and so much of them. Yes it has a big bitter bite in the form of some orangy pith, making it rather morish - and probably a little too easy drinking, but the malt bill in this beer must be huge! Loads of bitter chocolate, rich dried fruits, mocha, liqourice and even a little vegetal flavour from this perfectly produced and balanced, but decadent beer.... skillz!
I've had a few chats recently with Elle Bell on Twitter about both of these beers. One night I suggested that we should pour one of each into a big jug and find out the results of a blend - being the crazy fool I am. She said it would make for a really interesting experiment, and she tried it before I could. She wasn't too keen on the results as she thought it made the overall experience a little unbalanced and a little to overly hoppy bitter... a bit like a BIPA. I for one, like some BIPAs, and with a third of each beer left in front of me, I couldn't help but resist and pour them both together to find out!
The result: It certainly presents itself with a different aroma! All of those big chocolate dark malts get a little replaced with the aromas of the White Stout. Elle was right! This does taste like a Black IPA, and what a Black IPA it is! She may not have been a fan of the blend, but it's something I'm loving right now - I think all the flavours perfectly mar themselves into one glorious beer. I seriously suggest you get one each of these beers and try it out for yourselves, it's worth it! White Stout meets Black Stout - Loving it.
Appreciate it, for all that it is individually, but - at the end of the day: Have some fun with your beer!