Beavertown Longmorn 1992 Barrel Aged Heavy Water, 10% abv imperial stout
This, my dear Tumblroo’s, is a rather special bottle of beer. ‘Twas London craft brewery Beavertown’s first experiment with barrel aging, and what a barrel it was. Home to Longmorn single malt Scotch for the last twenty years, it hitched a lift to the Big Smoke and ended up with some of the lovely Heavy Water imperial stout taking up residence for a few months. 700 odd bottles were filled with the curious concoction this marriage resulted in, they were then wrapped up in that wonderful Nick Dwyer label and signed and numbered by Mr Logan Plant himself, Beavertown’s founder, owner, and head brewer. A beer like this deserves to be saved for a special occasion and yesterday was just such an occasion. It was Sunday.
The beer pours a depthless black and is topped by a wafer thin peanut butter coloured head. I assume the correct sniffing posture, passed down to me by the elders of my village after completing a series of grueling tasks, flexed my hooter in preparation and took a grand ol’ whiff. Dark, roasty malts invade my nose holes with unrelenting aggression, whisky and charred wood follow at an entirely more leisurely pace. Very nice, time for a taste.
Imagine stewing up prunes, dates, figs, and wood chips in vanilla infused molasses, adding a dash of liquid smoke, garnishing it with shaved chocolate and liquorice, and serving with an Irish coffee to wash it all down. It’s sorta like that. Kinda.
I gotta say, I’m impressed. It’s a sweet brew, those rich fruits start things off, the roasty malts building with just a touch of bitterness before the whisky and wood finish things off. The booze is nicely warming but not overpowering, it’s soft, smooth, creamy, and full. Unlike some other barrel aged impy stouts I’ve had the whisky isn’t as dominant in this, it’s a defining aspect certainly, but the balance is relatively easy on the palate making it a superb easy drinker. Given the staggeringly high price I don’t think I’d buy it again even if I was lucky enough to see it anywhere, but I’m really glad I got to try it. A cracking brew indeed, cheers!