Aether Brewing Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout & Shiraz Stained Amber Ale

Style
Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout & Amber Ale with Shiraz Grapes
ABV
7.8% & 6.0%
Bitterness
50 & 30 IBU

I’m just going to come and say it: there aren’t enough breakfast stouts. Fewer still barrel-aged breakfast stouts. Fewer still featuring skulls on the label like their predecessor from three years ago. Thankfully, Aether still brings the goods.

The head of this Barrel Aged Breakfast Stout is a lovely deep tan, and the aromatics are stupid good, slamming you with a faceload of floral vanilla, Kopiko candies, white marshmallows and milk chocolate. I mean, let’s be honest: none of these should ever be considered breakfast foods. But they’re delightful nonetheless.

My brain keeps screaming at me that I’m tasting coffee, but even though there is coffee in here, really the flavours I’m being struck by are more coffee-adjacent. I don’t know what toasted chicory tastes like outside of “it’s kind of like coffee”, but I imagine it’s partly responsible, as are the other adjuncts – chocolate and Tahitian vanilla and cinnamon – all of which are flavours connected to coffee in different ways, and all of which have been integrated together seamlessly by the twelve months in American oak. A dark bitterness and obvious lack of lactose keep this stout grounded in a way that pastry beers aren’t, so you can drink your breakfast marshmallows like a grown-up.

Next up is Shiraz Stained Amber Ale, a hoppy amber that’s been fermented with shiraz grape pressings. As the name implies, the shiraz isn’t supposed to dominate here, and it doesn’t. Just as the galah on the label is barely perched on the red kangaroo, the pressings of Barossa Valley shiraz (200 litres, or ten percent of the volume) only lend small tweaks to this amber ale: a depth to the colour, a touch of berry character, and the knowledge that the Aether crew still like to play around with beers and see what happens.

With SSAA (as it’s known to its friends), a confectionary sweetness fills the nose: pulled taffy up one nostril, and a berry Starburst chew up the other. After such a malt-driven aroma, I thought I was in for an equally malt-driven taste in the mouth, but the hops kick into to gear like it’s nobody’s business: citrus pith aplenty, more berry character, and some tangy passionfruit and apricot seed. The malt holds it place, but with less caramel sweetness than I expected and more mature grain – an earthy and nutty bitterness that keeps the hops in check.

Mick Wüst

Published June 20, 2024

Name
Aether Brewing
Address

340 Melton Road
Northgate
QLD 4013

Phone
1800 325 013
Open Hours

Friday: 3pm to 7pm
Sat & Sun: midday to 7pm

WA Beer & Brewing Conference 2024 2
Indies 2024 B

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