|Much like a corpse, it comes in a box.|
I've never been a massive fan of really dark beers, but as I've been getting into stouts a lot more recently, I was pretty intrigued by this one. I had never come across any of the three beers that had been blended (not even Tokyo, which we stock - the shame!), but I did my research and each one had scored ridiculously highly on ratebeer, which of course boded well. As soon as I flicked the top off the bottle I could smell this monster. Once poured - an oily black with a distinct lack of head, which was forgivable considering it had spent a night in the fridge - you could smell it a mile off; damn, what an aroma! Massive alcoholic sweetness, some coffee with hints of smokiness and a shed load of dark berries. I knew this would be a big beer, but I was not expecting what was about to follow: a big alcohol taste hits the tongue with minimum carbonation (which I prefer in dark beers) and an all-round overpowering sweetness. This is sweeter than Ryan Sweeting celebrating his sweet sixteen in the sweet shop on Sweet Street… you get the idea. Loads of red fruits in there. Leave it in the mouth for a few seconds for milk and dark chocolate flavours to start melting over your tongue with hints of black liquorice. After the swallow, there is coffee in the throat and a strong aftertaste of alcoholic fruitiness in the mouth.
|No head. Get it?|
|With a strawberry trifle. Tasty!|
This is without doubt, and as was to be expected, a huge beer. However, having never been that into the darker end of the beer spectrum, it wasn't entirely to my taste. It was good, no question, but a bit too (yep, you got it..) sweet for my liking, and I felt the alcohol taste was slightly intrusive. My theory is that if I want to get punched in the face, I'd rather it was by a boxing glove made of hops and lighter fruits than an iron gauntlet made of dark fruits, coffee and chocolate. It was like something between a strong London porter and an Aventinus Eisbock, which for many is, I'm sure, a tremendously appetising thought. However, in true big beer style, it is uncompromising, unapologetic, unyielding and a truly intense experience. And at 17.2%, it's bloody relentless. Should you come across it, give it a go; it might broaden your horizons…
…sorry, had to end on a pun.