I don’t usually do this sort of thing. You know, finding out somewhere’s got a particular beer on and rushing off to try it. Thing was, Mrs C was insistent when she saw Brewdog North Street’s tweet saying they had Imperial Stay Puft on!
To be fair, I really like Tiny Rebel’s Marshmallow Porter whether it’s in cask or keg and a 9% version sounded very interesting, so off we went. Twitter marketing definitely worked on us!
Jasmine was really helpful and keen for us to find a drink we’d like. As we ordered half of Stay Puft she told us she was going to have one later as her ‘staff free’. I had to get a bit cross with her when I asked if I could get a photo of her pulling the beer, she offered to get the manager, saying that she was much prettier than she was – rubbish girl!
While we stood admiring the half pint of Welsh wizardry she started pushing tasters of other dark brews under my nose. I tasted a couple of okay ones before I got the David Sylvian moment, Oh ho ho, life can be cruel, Life in Tokyo!
The cruel bit being Tokyo was the equivalent of £15.90 a pint, but of course you only have a third when it’s 16.5% which at £5.30 makes it comparable with a medium/large glass of red wine in anywhere half decent in the city centre, and a tad stronger too.
The first thing I noticed with the Imperial Stay Puft was the head, it started off with a thin tan head but it quickly disappeared, something I’ve noticed with this beer before. By the time we’d sat down there was no head at all, just a glass of jet black liquid.
I know you can’t smell ‘sweet’, but that’s what the aroma was, straight out of a proper sweet shop; things like milk chocolate and vanilla toffee cum fudge. You knew exactly how it was going to taste and on top of the confectioners delights there were hints of classic burny roasty notes underlying it. As you drank it the lingering sweetness changed to an almost saccharine bitterness, all very balanced though. In terms of the alcohol it was definitely there but without any nasty, fiery heat.
Verdict? Very nice, but, and I said this with Brew York’s Imperial Tonkoko Stout; I prefer the original. Why? I find them more balanced and don’t think the heavy duty alcohol adds all that much to what are already very nice beers, effectively the alcohol is concentrated but proportionately the other flavours, in comparison, aren’t.
Strangely, I didn’t think the same with the Tokyo Intergalactic Stout (Brewdog’s words not mine) which retained more of it’s head, or at least around the edge of the glass. Again it was black as pitch, opaque and almost glossy; it was a bit like staring at the bonnet of a really old Rolls Royce. The description said it should taste of jasmine and cranberries, but the dominant aroma and taste to me was liquorice, especially when it was first poured from the tap. Although it wasn’t over chilled, as it warmed through it became more complex and hints of oaky vanilla, maybe Bourbon, started to come through along with black treacle and a touch of black coffee, and I swear I got seaweed at one point? But still the predominant elements were very mellow Pomfret cakes.
In the mouth it felt quite thick and syrupy, almost like drinking a very strong or fortified traditional homemade fruit wine, but not vinous at all. Obviously you could tell it was strong, and something to be savoured, but you didn’t get that overpowering sensation of neat alcohol. Still it was horrendously nice and it would go very well with food. Like after a roast pheasant dinner with all the trimmings while you’re sat digesting in front of a roaring fire; chuck another log on love!
As I sat sipping my Tokyo I was minded of another strong dark Brewdog brew I’d drank a good while back, Lumberjack Breakfast Porter from memory. I don’t keep notes, but it was totally different, apart from the exact same 16.5% ABV. There’s probably an inference to make there, but I’m unsure as to what it is?
All in all, two very nice strong dark beers. No use comparing, they are totally different animals. I’m sure there are people out there who would say that these strengths are ridiculous and they’re far too expensive. They might be a bit dear but your not going to throw beer of this strength down your neck at a rate of knots are you. We made two small glasses last well over an hour while we chatted and enjoyed the sunshine filtering through the windows.
Top marks to Brewdog for showcasing these two beers, and lots of others, they’ve always got something interesting on in Brewdog North Street and the lovely staff are always so very helpful and knowledgeable.
I’m struggling to find the point to this post at the minute? Maybe it’s simply; bloke’s wife reads tweet about stronger version of a favourite beer, so they go into town to try it and find another very nice very strong dark beer served up by a really charming young lady in a bar chain that some people like and others don’t, and later posts some random thoughts about it. That’s it really.