Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Dose. How nice it looks, like the glow of a hearthside fire, in which one sits in front of reading an MR James ghost story, secure in the knowledge that such things do not exist though the beer in the glass is corporeal and firm and believable; how snug and inviting the beer in the glass looks, a glow and a warmth that lifts the soul even though the next stage of your commitment to the beer is yet to come. Dose. As if in contrast to the soft glow of the beer in the glass, the nose is an assertive sergeant-major, a firm fruity (raspberry, but then you already knew that) toffee nose with a hint of dried rucksack that leads—even in the middle of winter—you to think that Sumer Is Icumen In; and then you taste it and think of the waft of ripe raspberries smashed against the side of a sun-warmed wall (brick perhaps), more toffee (strictly caramel this time), a creaminess that strokes the hand and a Robinson Crusoe sense of dryness in the finish. The beer in the glass is a big wrap around the world in its sensuous, fruity, malt-sweetness, and slightly sour group hug. Dose: this has been Thornbridge and St Erik’s Imperial Raspberry Stout. Dose. The beer in this glass has a darkness, a depth of darkness that you could drop a stone into and never hear its impact on the ground, falling, falling, falling, falling through space and time; but once you’ve got past the darkness and any feelings of vertigo, the senses are lit up with a rainbow bridge of flavours and aromas, a bridge that needs to be crossed. Dose: and then I think it has a Bruckner-like sensibility, in that it brings together fudge-like caramel, luscious liquorice and creamy coffee notes, and then there’s a piney-hoppiness, that hoves alongside a big fat alcoholic musical motif that is symphonic in its intensity. It rises and falls, here quiet, there robust in its challenge to the palate. A complete beer, a beer that sends you off to bed with the expectations of the sort of dreams that all of us wish for. Sweet dreams. Dose: this beer has been Sharp’sQuadrupel.