Earlier this year, I was due to be heading down to Cornwall to join St Austell for their Celtic Beer Festival. Sadly, the weather disagreed with my plans.
It’s clearly Health & Safety gone mad, but for some reason First Great Western have this ridiculous policy about not running trains on tracks that are suspended in mid air, and my beery plans were foiled.
To cheer me up, the nice folk at St Austell sent me a bottle of their Big Job; it’s only one beer rather than the hundreds that had been waiting for me in Cornwall, but as you can see, it’s certainly Big.
It’s not just physically big; it’s a heavyweight 9.0% ABV as well, which makes it a definite monster beer!
It has a gloriously rich golden colour, with fairly large bubbles rising to a thin head. The nose is packed full of hops, sweet orange and sugary ripe strawberries. There’s a hint of the alcohol within, but it hides its 9.0% well.
In the mouth – wow! It starts sweet and surprisingly light on the tongue, with almost honey-like malt before some hints of fresh fruit start dancing around the edges. A significant but not aggressive alcohol heat starts to build and then the big, resinous hops come through, growing and growing into a magnificent, drying and lingering finish.
Like all good monsters, this is a beer that takes your entire mouth on a meandering journey of flavour and, despite the strength, has you reaching for your next sip straight away, only to leave you wondering why the glass, and now the bottle, is already empty.
Many thanks to St Austell for providing this sample.