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

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Vitesse Noir and Lots of Whisky!

I was pretty damn exited, and slightly confused when I first heard about Hardknott's Vitesse Noir. Mainly because I thought; 'A Triple Imperial Stout... awesome!'  and  'A Triple Imperial Stout... what??'

After finding out more about the beer though, it sounded like it was going to be pretty great. A Triple Imperial vanilla mocha Stout, and at 11% too. Those crazy hardcore Hardknott's produced this by double mashing a double Imperial Stout and then throwing in really rich flavours consisting of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Sounds good on paper, but the proof is in the pudding beer, so to speak.

It pours pitch black with the darkest of brown hues coming in at the sides of the glass under strong lights. At first appearance it looks pretty lacking in carbonation, but be assured this beer is perfectly conditioned. The aromas are pretty obvious for this one. Chocolate covered, heavily roasted coffee beans leap forth from your glass. Its slightly oaky but I was expecting a little more from the vanilla - I suppose it was always going to be a little overpowered by the chocolate and coffee. The initial taste is thick and syrup like. The flavour is really well balanced, with all the aspects of the beer working together really well. The 11% is masked really well, and makes the beer drink much easier than it should... danger beer! It's not as warming as I thought it would be, but it's still really rich and has a great long lasting roasted bitterness about it.

This beer is pretty innovative. The guys at Hardknott are always trying to push the boundaries of what a beer can be, and why shouldn't they, it's quite refreshing. I thought, in the spirit of innovation and experimentation, that I'd have a bit of a play with this beer too. Not that the beer needs to be tampered with, I just like to have a bit of fun with my beer. I wondered what the brew would be like with a bit of oak aging behind it. I'm quite confident that you know I don't have any barrels to my name, or the quantities of the beer to do this though, so I'll have to improvise...

I decided to drink the rest of this bottle with one of my favourite drinking methods: mixing in a few drops of single malts to give a different thought process to the evening.

First up was Aberlour a'bunadh :- a 59.9% cask strength, straight from the cask Speyside rich, fruity beast. Of course it only takes a couple of drops to get the point across, so that's how things went down. I think this little addition worked really well. The powerful rich fruity flavours of the whisky melded really well with the big beer and made a great warming brew. It was now really woody and nutty, with hints of figs and a lot more vanilla now. Good match.

Next up I thought I'd try it with some Islay Whisky: Bruichladdich Rocks to be precise. I may have gotten a little over exited at this point and added a few more drops than necessary to this glass. I thought an Islay malt would add a different complexity to the drink, but the match didn't really work. The massive zesty, seaside quality of the whisky really didn't work with the rich, fruity and bitter flavours of the beer. Oh well, you have to try these things out to see if they work.... Bad match.

The last choice turned out to be the best. A Highland malt; Glenmorangie Nectar D'or. This whisky is matured in Bourbon casks and then finished in Sauternes barrels giving it great lemon  and honey syrup flavours and sweetness. The additional sweetness of the whisky gives a great, but not overpowering, match to the beer giving it a really long, warming and oaky finish. A really good match.

Vitesse Noir is a really good beer, on it's own, or even with a few drops of whisky added too. (you know us Ghosts love our spirits..) I'm not sure about the wording on the label though... Instead of saying it's "just the tonic that you needed" I would have said - 'Vitesse Noir; it gets you really drunk!' ;)

Everything in moderation, including moderation itself...



  1. Good work Ghostie! Nice write-up mate, thanks very much.

  2. I'll have to try this with a bottle and some of my single malts (though mine aren't quite as fancy dancy....)

  3. Nothin fancy about these whiskies Steve, they're big old bruisers you can get from some supermarkets ;)

  4. Interesting that you said lacking in carbonation but perfectly conditioned. Care to elaborate on this Ghost? I too found the beer lacking in carbonation and thought it would benefit from a little bit more. Top beer though, and I love your idea of trying a but with some of the single malts.

  5. What a brilliant idea! Enjoying your work as always mate

  6. Thanks beersay :)

    Dred - I just meant it poured like it looked completely flat, but on the taste it still had a really nice level of carbonation buzz about it.