Cheeky Monkey’s famed Russian imperial stout has made a big return in 2021, both metaphorically and physically, landing in OG spec 750ml bombers to much fanfare. The South West brewers clearly decided bigger is better and that Silverback was worthy of a more prodigal aesthetic moving forward, with the new look capped off (pun intended) with crisp, white wax seals.
The AIBA gold medal-winning 2021 vintage has received some adjustments within the bottle too, with minor brewhouse tweaks to the grist yielding a smoother and more balanced Silverback. Though it’s drinking great now, it’s likely even better with a little time.
The pitch black Silverback pours entirely opaque with a dense, light brown head that leads into an abundance of toffee, dates, coffee and sweet malt on the nose. A dip into the glass exhibits a rich, velvety malt profile showcasing bitter chocolate, sweet (though teetering on burnt) caramel, vanilla and espresso. A modest bitterness hangs throughout but is perfectly placed, balancing rich sweetness and thick, velvety texture that lasts into a long, luscious finish.
Silverback 2021 is, like all previous reiterations, a beast of a beer. It simultaneously lives up to the expectations attached to it, while surpassing past versions in quality, style and drinkability. Keep an eye out for potential future variations of this year’s drop…
- Imperial Stout