As I may have mentioned before, I’m quite a fan of the Bristol Beer Factory – I even included their magnificent Southville Hop in last year’s Golden Pint Awards. So when I came across today’s beer in Utobeer there really wasn’t any way to resist.
This is their Creme Brulee Stout, a definite monster at 8.5% ABV. It was brewed in collaboration with Melissa Cole for last year’s 12 Stouts Of Christmas, and is based on their Milk Stout with the added benefit of having been aged in rum casks to give it that extra little kick.
It sits thick and black in the glass, with a thin, fleeting dark tan head floating on top. The aroma of the rum hits you as soon as the bottle is open, before you’ve even started pouring.
Allowing the rum to evaporate for a while, the nose becomes more complex – gentle, light roasted coffee, milk chocolate hazelnuts and just a hint of the lurking alcohol.
With a thick, creamy and almost syrupy mouthfeel and a nice singed sugar bitterness, I can certainly see the creme brulee theme. The espresso and rum combine to give the suggestion of a Jamaican coffee, and these almost make it seem like two pudding beers in one.
But there lies my problem with this beer; it’s two different things at once that don’t quite blend. The rum slightly overpowers the essential beeriness of it and although there’s what I think is a nice stout underneath, I’m frustrated that I can’t clearly taste it.
The rum gives it a big, warming alcoholic hit and it’s undeniably a big monster. The lack of balance spoils it a little for me though, and I think I could only really give it 3 stars.