It's hard to believe that the whole furore over Tokyo* was less than a year ago. Since then two more, even stronger, beers have come out of Fraserburgh knocking the so-strong-it'll-cure-binge-drinking barrel-aged imperial stout into a proverbial cocked hat. If I'd known how quickly its notoriety was going to wane, maybe I wouldn't have spent so much on it in Utobeer last December. And if I'd known that it was going to be sold in Dublin off licences for a fair bit less come summer I'd have made a point of drinking it sooner.
As is, it was only last weekend that I rescued the blighter from my sweltering beer store (currently, refugee bottles are crammed into every hidey hole in the house, all but wearing babushkas and playing mournful violin music). With all the fuss a distant memory, how's the beer?
After the unpalateable mess that is Tactical Nuclear Penguin I was on full alert for boozy harshness, but boozy harshness came there none. The nose is heady and alluring, like a tasty liqueur, with hints of wood and cigars. Texturewise it's incredibly smooth. The 18.2% ABV gives a warming sensation, but doesn't burn or cloy: think Drambuie or similar. The taste reminds me a little of Samuel Adams Triple Bock but it's much mellower and more balanced, calmly soothing with chocolate and cherries, not leaping up to show you flavour after flavour from its toybox. It's very easy to forget this is a stout. To the point, perhaps, where stout fans and Paradox fundamentalists might be disappointed. This stuff is playing a different game altogether.
Overall, a beautiful beer for taking time out with, its softly-spoken dignity ill-deserving of being dragged through the gutter press.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
1 week ago