Stone / Bluejacket / 10 Barrel Suede Imperial Porter, 9.6% abv
This collaboration between Escondido based craft beer pioneers, Stone, Washington D.C’s Bluejacket, and Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel, is one of those beers I’ve had an unhealthy longing for ever since I first laid eyes upon that classy bottle and read about the addition of avocado honey, jasmine and calendula flowers the brew. After giving up hope of ever getting hold of it, all of a sudden there it was on the BrewDog online shop. Awesome. A few clicks, a few days wait, and here it is. Awesomer.
The beer pours a dark brown so dark brown I’d go as far as calling it very dark brown, maybe even very, very dark brown. The head is beige. Beige neither needs nor deserves any embellishments.
A sniff… HONEY! Lovely, sweet, honey. There are some pleasing floral notes there as well, and plenty of dark roasted malts.
A sip… HONEY! Seriously, it’s a good job it’s the winter ‘cus I can see the bees wanting this stuff back. Or, wait… Bears! Bears like honey, quick, lock the doors! It’s at this point that my beer addled brain slowly whirrs into gear and I remember that bears hibernate during the winter. And that I live in England. Bears have been like totes extinctified in this sodden island since ye olden days, when men tried to prove their bravery to metal underpants wearing ladies by riding around the countryside on horseback looking for dragons to poke with their big pointy sticks. Or sumthin’.
But wait, as I swirl the velvety soft beer round my mouth other flavours unveil themselves. Those floral notes from the aroma are back to pay a visit, there’s also a hint of vanilla, dark fruits, milk chocolate covered caramels, and a tease of licorice. The sweetness slowly gives way to a moderate bitterness on the finish and the booze is pleasingly noticeable but not overpowering.
It took a while for me to get hold of this stuff but the wait was worth it I think. While the rich, malted chocolate I love in my favourite porters was rather subdued in this, the invigourating blend of aromatic scents and flavours were entirely rewarding in their own right. I’d certainly grab another if I ever saw one, the bears can fight me for it.
It helps that they’re a ferry ride away of course.