Imperial Stout Wars
I get a lot of stick from a few people who say that I only like Imperial Stouts, that I only think it's the onle style of beer worth drinking. That they think I've burnt out my taste buds with the stuff...
Well they're pretty correct....
I love Imperial Stouts, Fact. It's my favourite style of beer. I love drinking it, I love aging it. All those people who say "I love a good stout, but it can't beat a good IPA or Pilsner on a hot summers day!" - Bollocks! I would drink Imperial Stout all year round if I could.... oh wait, I can! Imperial stout in the depths of winter, Imperial Stout in the heat of summer! Call me crazy! I'm not bothered - I love the stuff. That's why it's a great pleasure tonight to try three new Imperial Stouts which I've never tried before from three different countries. Lets hope they can deliver!
First up: Murray's Craft Brewing Co. Wild Thing, 10% Imperial Stout.
De Molen Rasputin, 10.4% Imperial Stout.
The second Imperial Stout tonight comes from the Netherlands. This respectable brew (and brewery) is slightly browner than the last, and apparently will keep and improve with age for the next 25 years. (and I'm one of the few which will most definitely believe them!) De Molen are experts when it comes to making dark beers, some say the best on the planet, and who am I to argue. This beer comes across the nose with a big velvet like mocha aroma, with a sort of cold dairy creaminess. Immediately starts with a sweet rich fruitiness, full of malts, full of Saaz hops (giving a lighter character) - a real character full beer. No problems with this beer at all I could happily drink a few of these bad boys in a night!
Third Imperial Stout of the night: From Founders Brewing Co., 10.5%
This American bruiser comes in the strongest of the three (surprised?) and the flattest looking (but not darkest) of the lot. Big classic U.S. aromas of a proper Imperial Stout - big on the chocolate biscuit malts and big on the dairy qualities. This is a very different beast. Immediate tones of liqourice and a big rum raisin beefy alcohol. It's certainly a powerful brew, the biggest of the night, but there is something about it that slightly doesn't add up, the bitterness is slightly off (it is 90IBUs) which leaves it it a little unbalanced, but not like the first I.S. It certainly works, but is only slightly not to my tastes - the big bitterness leaves me slightly wanting.
Tonight has been fun. Trying three different Imperial Stouts from three different countries has been great. However, I firmly believe that Imperial Stout was conceived in this country and we know how to make it best. This is why I bought not only the previous 3, but plenty of these whilst down at the GBBF. It's not as great as when it was in corked bottles, but it still craps all over anything anyone else rivals against it - and you can take that to the bank!! London Imperial Stout rules!
That's a story for another day though.....