Sunday, 11 December 2016

Fuller's Imperial Stout

A limited edition, Fuller's Imperial Stout was a real doozy. At 10.7% alcohol, a 500mL bottle of this dark ale counts as a mighty 5.4 UK alcohol units--probably too much, given it was a pre-dinner selection. That's a beer, though!

Built by Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC in London, this jumbo ale poured darkly--a deep brown, almost black, with a sheet of tan head. According to the label, this beer derives some of its floral character due to the inclusion of rose buds, which also lends "a hint of Turkish Delight flavour to the beer."

To my nose, Fuller's Imperial Stout had a rich but surprisingly mild aroma. This was dark and sweet, with date and raisin notes, ample malt elements, and a touch of pipe tobacco. I expected a beer as strong as this to have an impossibly thick mouthfeel, but I was pleased to discover that, while a bit chewy, it was really quite smooth. The flavour, unsurprisingly, was substantial. Treacle, dried fruit, molasses, and big booze were the premier tasting notes to me--not so much the cherry and chocolate advertised on the bottle. I did agree with the description of the "lighter, bitter finish" though.

Big and complex, with almost all of its damage done on the malt side of the spectrum, this ale was both a treat and a trial. Instead of pre-dinner and solo, I'd recommend sipping this ale with dessert and a friend. However, I made it through and I'm richer for it. It could have been less sweet and far hoppier, but the mouthfeel was just beautiful. And, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, by the mid-point of my bottle, cherry notes, or even cranberry, did come into evidence in a slightly tart flourish.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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