And so to Bristol and its Beer Factory and I do like the beers these guys produce in the old fermenting room where once the ales of Ashton Gate slept the sleep of the just. Southville Hop, Milk Stout, Sunrise, the 12 Stouts of Christmas and now this gleeful little bottle of Vintage 2011, that I was given on a recent visit. What do you want to know? There are five malts and four hops; it’s aged on oak and has the mark of the beast on its alcoholic strength, 6.6%. In the glass it’s reddish mahogany brown, the colour of rum and coke perhaps? The nose has a fragrant floral character, but before you can get all lovey-dovey and hand a bunch of chrysanthemums to your beloved, there’s also a hint of fresh graphite pencil and mixed spice, plus a woody, tannic wisp from the oak (and is that a hint of berry fruit?). This is complexity that should increase with age. It’s big and fat and alcoholic on the palate, the scumptiousness and adulthoodness of bitterness, plus a sweetness that is like the saltiness in a good Stilton — it doesn’t mean that it’s sweet anymore than Stilton is salty, but it all works. More from the glass and I get a luscious lubricity, a sensual feel that contrasts benignly with the grainy dry crisp malted barley character; it’s a beer that is both delicate and strong. Fiery hop pepperiness towards the end of the palate enlivens things up before a firm dryness with hints of cracker-like rye notes and more bitterness leaves the beer to finish with a bow before it’s time to start the whole glorious cycle again until the glass is empty — and when the glass is empty my song has ended.