Ever since I bought into BrewDog’s Equity for Punks scheme for a second time I’ve been waiting for my membership of the ‘Abstrakt’s Addicts’ club to kick-in – a scheme by which I’ll get a year of Abstrakt beers sent to me, three of each release that happens in 2012. After some postal confusion I assumed that my box of AB:09 had arrived, only to discover that it was actually a delivery for Sjoerd of Malt Fascination, using me as a beer staging point. However before I realised this I’d cracked into the first bottle.
It’s an ‘Imperial Cranachan Stout’ adding in oats, raspberries and honey to a big stout recipe before ageing the beer in whisky casks. I’m a fan of cranachan, having done a bunch of experiments for last year’s NomNomNom cooking competition, and was intrigued by how the beer would turn out.
On the nose it had burnt malt syrup and pruney dark fruit. To taste it was rich and sweet, with pressed raisins, sweet red grapes and heavy malt syrup. It finished quite Marmitey and rich, with savoury malt accompanied by sweet raspberry and blackcurrant jam.
A tasty enough Imperial stout that sort of blends in my mind with the rest of the Abstrakt series (I had to look up whether this or the next one was the Cranachan stout…), which doesn’t really jump out as particularly cranachan-y. When my bottles finally turn up I suspect I’ll keep them hidden on the shelf for a bit and see how they develop.
This week I got an unexpected delivery and the next in the series arrived – AB:10. I had previously tried it on tap at BrewDog Camden and found it particularly forgettable, so I was intrigued to see if bottling would have made any difference. It’s an 11.5% Imperial Brown Ale matured in Malaga wine casks for 4 months.
On the nose it had red berries, coffee, dark chocolate and some light wood smoke. To taste it was thick and rich, with cloying sweet fruit, more dark chocolate and freshly brewed zingy and acidic espresso. It finished much lighter than the body, with sweet fruit and chocolate syrup.
Much better than when I tried it on tap, this is a rich and chocolatey beer that has (I assume) picked up lots of fruit from its time in the casks. The other two of these will be squirreled away for a special occasion. Or tonight. Now to await AB:11…
Imperial Cranachan Stout, 17.1%. ~£10, sold out
Imperial Brown Ale matured in Malaga casks, 11.5%. ~£10, sold out