Sunday, 25 January 2015

Beer # 198 The Bottle Imp Russian Imperial Stout

The Bottle Imp Russian Imperial Stout
Pro-am Series # 9

Beau's All Natural Brewing Company

Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada
Flavoured Russian Imperial Stout 9.0 % ABV Brown Glass Bottle 600 ml
$7.85 (Canadian) At LCBO 

Twitter: @Beausallnatural @bridgehead

Tonight we are travelling back up to Van Kleek Hill, near our nation's capital, to Beau's All Natural Brewing Company once again. Beau's really is one of the hardest working breweries in Ontario. Their list of beers, past and present is virtually unrivalled. Their list of collaborations is stunning. Their contributions to brewing in Ontario and Canada are unprecedented. The beer we are featuring tonight on this Robbie Burns Day 2015, is a Russian imperial stout flavoured with organic fair trade coffee sourced from Mexico and Ethiopia. "Wait..." you may ask... "What has a Russian imperial stout flavoured with organic fair trade coffee sourced from Mexico and Ethiopia got to do with a dead Scottish poet?"  It's all in the name...

In 1891 Scottish storyteller Robert Louis Stevenson (see what I did there?) wrote a short story entitled"The Bottle Imp." It was a cautionary tale about a cursed bottle that granted the holder all that he desired but came with a few restrictions. Once you had bought the bottle you could not sell it for more than you paid for it. You could not throw it away or give it away. If you died holding the bottle your soul would be dragged to hell for eternity. From there it turn into a tragic love story and tales of self sacrifice in the pursuit of true love. No spoilers... if you would like to read the story you can find it here at Project Gutenberg in Robert Louis Stevenson's collection of short stories "Island Night's Entertainment."

Back to the beer. This particular Bottle Imp... is actually an IMP... or IMPerial stout so it is 9.0% ABV. Best to share this with a friend or have some snacks while you are tasting it. The Imp is part of the Pro-Am series which is a collection of beers designed by homebrewers that are produced commercially by Beau's. The particular recipe was created by David Thompson, the winner of the 2012 Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Contest. Lastly the beer is infused with some delicious roasted fair trade organic shade grown coffee from Chiapas Mexico, and Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. I love me some Ethiopian Coffee... it's my favourite coffee growing region. The coffee was provided by Bridgehead Coffee in Ottawa

Och... get on wit it... (My apologies to anyone Scottish). Onto our beer.

Pours a very dark brown with a fluffy tan head made up of small bubbles. The aroma is coffee with some dark malt sugars and caramels in the background. Some light floral notes with some nuttiness and fruit are also present. First sip is rich chocolate and espresso light fruity tones with some coffee ground bitterness underneath. As the beer warms figs and dried fruit come out on the palette as does some black licorice. Mouthfeel is very creamy, soft and supple. Alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming. Aeration brings out a deeper creaminess, and the darker aspects of the coffee and malt. Finish is slightly astringent like black coffee and dark chocolate.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 

Cost: 5/6 PASS
Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 5/6 PASS
Re-Order:  5/6 PASS
Experience:  5/6 PASS

Final Thoughts:

Very, very good Russian imperial stout. Roasty, toasty, smooth, I could imagine myself whiling away the hours in the Russian Imperial court drinking this beer. The coffee is a lovely, and well balanced addition. The floral, fruity, chocolate notes really ground the beer, and balance out the higher alcohol. A great beer inspired by a great Scotsman's story, wrapping up a good Robbie Burns Day. What more could a simple farm boy ask for?
well... maybe another... and a bottle with that wishing imp in it...



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