Tagged impy stout

The Laughable Concept Of Beer For Girls.

Hello! Happy February y'all!

Well, lookit here. February 14th and all it's associated romantic connotations are nearly upon us. Quiet frankly I believe it is a ridiculous 'tradition' which only gets worse every year with hideous cuddly toys, cheap chocolates and embarrassing balloons etc etc. No matter what your romantic condition or persuasion, Valentine's Day is a weird concept. (Aren't you meant to show your feelings all year round?)

Anywhoo, this whole palaver got me thinking about how I could market you lot some Valentine's beers. (I'm not above such manipulation, sorry.) That, though, made me think “what beer should I suggest for a boy/girl to get a girl or a girl/boy to get a boy?” Which made me realise how utterly ridiculous that concept is. Beer is beer, there is not (or at least should not) be any gender 'appropriate' beers. I mean, last time I checked, I got the same taste-buds as guys. Right? (I admit I have done no research, and there could very well be a scientifically proven difference between male and female taste-buds and taste perception, but if there is, I'm going to ignore it. Just like I ignore the fact that males are genetically predisposed to have more muscle of their frame than me, and yet I can still pick up a lotta beer. Screw science.) (Sorry science. I didn't mean it.)

So, yeah. There ought not to be any of the 'oh, I am a man, therefore I drink strong, brown, bitter beers. Manly beer. Yes.' or 'oh I am a feeble woman, and therefore if I ever venture near that odd beery stuff, I only drink sweet fruit beers.' I realise that I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but there's still an awful lot of that kind of thing going on. Maybe half the women that come in the shop are buying for themselves, and know what they like. The rest quite often come in asking help to buy beer for significant others/family etc. Obviously I love helping people pick beers, don't get me wrong, it's a part of the job that's completely awesome, but it makes me a little sad that the line I get regularly is “I don't drink beer, so I don't really know what to get him/her.”

This makes me sad, because there is such a massively, embarrassingly huge variety of beer styles readily available now, that I highly doubt that there isn't a beer that someone will like. It may be that they only like Kolsch, or Trappist Quad or, in fairness, sickly sweet fruit beer, but the possibility that someone dislikes all beer is fairly slim.


Wow, so the above rant has mostly been centred on the ladies of the species. (Check in next week for the macho-too-male-for-you beer drinking failures. Crap lager and boring best bitter bashing ahoy.) What I want to do, is pick a beer/beer style that I know many women are, let's say, scared of, and give them/you a kick towards giving it a try. Because no one needs to be scared of beer.

If you mention the words Russian Imperial Stout (and explain what it is) to a lady who has spent most of her drinking time consuming Pinot Gregio or fizzy cider or gin and tonic, I can understand the fear. The flavour profile and ABV looks a little intimidating. I'll admit that this is not a little shy and retiring beer. But then, the last time women were shy and retiring as a rule was roughly 1914, before we literally had to don the trousers.

(Oh, and by the way ladies, back in the dark ages, or whatever historically accurate period, we probably invented, and certainly brewed all the beer, so it's just going old school really.)

Let's take a moment, for those who don't know, to describe what a Russian Imperial Stout actually is.

Thieving the BJCP guidelines; “An intensely flavored, big, dark ale with a wide range of flavor balances and regional interpretations. Roasty burnt malt with deep dark or dried fruit flavors, and a warming, bittersweet finish. Despite the intense flavors, the components need to meld together to create a complex, harmonious beer, not a hot mess.” (For full info hit up this link and find page 36 in the doc, or 50/93 of the PDF as a whole.)

Basically you're looking at something super dark, often with a very heavy, slick, oily or syrupy mouthfeel. Depending on the beer, could be pretty damn sweet, although there are many balanced/bitter. You should expect ABV of 8-12%. Flavours include roasty, burnt, acrid, sweet, dark fruits, coffee, chocolate. Can be barrel aged well, so these examples will have BA qualities too. They are usually really complex. I've found examples that are like liquid Christmas pudding, chocolate cake, strong coffee. There are peanut butter and salted caramel versions out there too. How can this not be a beer for anyone, let alone those of us of the “fairer” sex.

The example I've picked to suggest you buy for your selves, ladies, ('cos why wait for a man/significant other to do it for ya, when it's this good?) is;

Rain Shadow Vuxton

Buxton – Rain Shadow


Buxton is one of our favourite breweries here at Brew Bristol. They have an almighty range of beer, and there are very few which I haven't enjoyed. I am usually particularly impressed with their big stouts, so hopefully this won't disappoint.


Russian Imperial Stout. We went over that above. Weren't you reading?


No need for lying here, we're all friends right? I've not actually had a chance to try this beer yet. So, I'm pulling these tasting notes from a host of different sources. It's always fun to see what you make of it, so if you have opinions it would be great to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or chat with us using @Brew_Bristol on twitter, or post something to our facebook page!

Aroma: Coffee, roasty malt, dark chocolate, bready, dark red fruit, liquorice, booze, woody, rum, vanilla, cherry.

Taste: Roasty, ash, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, molasses, caramel, spices, earthy.

Palate: Dry finish, very rich, long lasting bitterness, oily mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Overall; Big. Big is the word we're going for here. Big aroma, big flavour, big mouthfeel, big ABV. And amazing. Seriously, you want to drink this.

ABV: 10%

ML: 330

£: 6.20 but available throughout February at a 15% discount, making it £5.27, but only for ladies. Or, people buying it for ladies. Or people who have met ladies.

Tryanuary – Week 4

It's our fourth and final #tryanuary extravaganza this week! I do hope you've all been enjoying your month of trying new things. Not only have we introduced you to 9 new beers, breweries or beer styles thus far, we have chatted about the brewing and bar scene in Bristol, not to mention the concept behind tryanuary itself.

I don't have much more to add to all that this week except to urge to to continue to try new things in the world of beer. Don't get stuck in one style, or only drinking one brewery. If you think keg beer is oh so wrong, give it a try. If you look down your nose at canned beer; give. It. A. Try.

There's so much more to beer than you may have thought at first, from Geuze to California Common, or from Triple IPA to Imperial Russian Stout, there will be something out there for you!

Week 4

wild beer madness ipa

Wild Beer – Madness IPA


Wild Beer are local-ish. They're based over in Shepton Mallet-ish. Basically out in the wilds of Somerset. Surprisingly, I'm sure, they make 'wild beer.' They use wild yeast, that's their speciality, and they do an awful lot of crazy stuff. Although they also have a more moderate core range too. They've recently opened up their own bar in Cheltenham, which is surely worth a visit, although I'm yet to get over there myself yet.


This is an IPA which we went over in one of the previous weeks. India Pale Ale. Light, hoppy and pretty darned punchy.

In reality it's not a particularly big challenge of a beer this, style wise. But this suggestion is more about trying the brewery, and branching out in to their more Wild beers. This one is a good starting point, being more of their more 'straight' beers.


Aroma: Grapefruit, pine, biscuit, citrus, peach, mango

Taste: Orange, peach, pine, pineapple, grapefruit, caramel

Palate: Balanced, good bitterness

Overall; A well executed straight up IPA with a good hoppy punch.

ABV: 6.8%

ML: 330

£: 3.20

jolly pumpkin luciernaga

Jolly Pumpkin - Luciérnaga


These guys make crazy beer, and having had a looksee at their website, it seems they may also be equally crazy. Which is certainly not criticism!

While I advise taking a look about their website for info, the American brewery makes weird and quirky beers. Many, if not all, are barrel aged. We have a selection of Belgian style barrel aged soured beers (not Lambics) and barrel aged saisons in stock. All of which look fascinating, and the one I've actually tried so far, I was blown away by.


So, Jolly Pumpkin don't really assign their beers a specific style according to the BJCP guidelines, or whatever. Ratebeer has the Luciernaga down as a Belgian Ale. This is pretty ambiguous seeing as in the new BJCP guide there are 6 sub categories for Belgian Ale or Strong Belgian Ale, and a a further four for Trappist (Which doesn't have to be Belgian, and is most definitely different, but the styles; Dubble, Tripel etc are often replicated without the provenance of being Trappist.)

Rather than assign this beer a style that I think is correct, and run the risk of being wrong, I'm just going to state that it's pale, with the fruity-spicy traits of Belgian yeast, some grainy sweet malt flavour, and some fruit aroma.

This is also claimed to be in the Grand Cru tradition, which mostly means it's a limited run, a special version, or a higher quality version. With respects to beer, think more complex primarily.


This beer is spiced with coriander and grains of paradise.

Aroma: Citrus, funky, earthy, floral, orange, coriander

Taste: Coriander, wheaty, white wine, grainy, funk,

Palate: Tart, dry, sour and hoppy

Overall; A pretty complex, lightly tart or sour Belgian style blond or golden ale with spices and all the god stuff.

ABV: 6.5%

ML: ~750

£: 18.75

kernel imperial brown stout

The Kernel – Imperial Brown Stout


I have a lot of respect for The Kernel. Although I've not visited their brewery, they give the impression they're all about the beer. Screw fancy labels, gimmicks and fireworks. They make good beer, packaged honestly, with annoyingly short use by dates on them to ensure that the beer is in the best condition when it's drunk. Their no nonsense website give a tiny bio to that effect, and little to no information about them or their beer otherwise. It's almost as if they want you to drink the beer before making up your own mind. Novel eh?


Imperial Brown Stout.

One of The Kernel's things is using historical recipes. This is such a one. Essentially it is a forerunner to the Imperial Russian Stout (Russian Imperial Stout?) It's still black in colour, but is a little more easy going on the tongue, more rounded and a bit softer flavour-wise.


Aroma: Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, ash, plum, liquorice, caramel, pine

Taste: Roasty, hint of sweetness, chocolate, coffee, toffee, vanilla, red fruit

Palate: Medium body, creamy, oily

Overall; An excellent version of an Imperial Stout, which is made super easy drinking due to the creamy texture and complex taste. Somewhat dangerous at the ABV!

ABV: 9.9%

ML: 330

£: 6.00

We're offering you these three beers, if you buy 'em together, for an impressive 15% off the usual price, £23.76 for the lot. You'll be able to try three new beers or beer styles at a beautiful Tryanuary discount.

All four weeks worth of special offers will be available (subject to availability) until the end of the month.

Get involved using the #Tryanuary tag! Photograph your beers, tweet them, facebook them. Tell people you're trying something new, let them know what you think (even if you hate it! At least your giving something new a chance huh?) Get us in on the conversation using @Brew_Bristol on twitter, or post something to our facebook page.