Few breweries embrace winter in the same manner as Bright, who pair a midwinter festival of live music, fires and dark beers with a series of wintry limited releases, of which this pair are the most recurrent. Affogato Stout pours so jet black, and with such a thick swirl and dark brown head, that it sets you up to expect a gnarly, leather and ash imperial beast. Yet take a sniff and you find yourself a long way from that: it’s all creamy vanilla nougat, bitter chocolate and smooth espresso on the nose. Such characteristics follow through to taste while just about managing to finish with a dry roast finish. A rewarding 5.5 percenter punching well above its weight.
By contrast, the 2023 Stubborn Imperial Stout – marking 13 years since the beer's deebut – looks thinner in the glass, almost dark ale or porter-esque. Again, don’t be fooled. The appearance is probably due to the insane level of alcohol in there: 16 percent ABV (still two points off the strongest Stubborn to date). It sent me hunting to to see what barrels they'd used due to the distinct dark fruit, molasses and brown sugar aromas. I’d have gone with rum, but, again, nothing but beer's four traditional ingredients, including a yeast strain they'd not used before.
Barrels or not, it comes across that way: intense rum-stewed dark fruits, chocolate caramel sweetness, and your body warming up by a degree with every sip.
Published May 28, 2023 2023-05-28 00:00:00