28 December 2016

Pulling the wool

I was very surprised when, among the beers my wife recently brought back from Brussels, was one bearing the mark of an Italian maker. It's still a little bit unusual to find non-Belgian beer in Belgium outside of the most cosmopolitan of beer outlets. This one certainly looked like it was made for Belgium, in its Duvelish beehive bottle and frankly crap label artwork. And it transpires that while it was produced for the White Pony "Pub and Microbrewery" in Padua it was indeed actually brewed at Flemish brewery Het Nest. Shout-out, as always, to RateBeer, 'cos White Pony certainly don't mention this on their own website.

Anyway, Black Sheep Imperial Stout is what we have before us, a massively dense black beastie of 10.1% ABV. The aroma gives out twin blasts of heat and dryness, smelling both of boozy raisin and burnt toast. That story continues in the flavour, the beer's estery Belgian roots very apparent, with the US-influenced powerhouse stout tacked crudely on to this. There's a bitter black treacle flavour in the middle followed by an acrid finish.

While rather loud and busy at the moment, I reckon this may be one to hang on to for a few years and allow to mellow out. Unless something went badly wrong in the bottling process I can't see it getting any worse with time.


  1. Roberto has Italian father and Belgian father, he is a very inventive contract brewer, his product is mostly hit'n'miss, there are some very solid brews but also a fair share of the ones where he got carrried away by his passione.

  2. Italian mother, sorry

  3. But... but... I thought passion made beer better! ;)

    1. I've interviewed some Italian brewers for the RealBrew magazine, and passione, passione, passione turns up with a numbing frequency. In cases of Del Ducato, BrewFist, Toccalmatto passione works fine. In some other cases it's just a...passione :)