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Beer – #621 – Hop Federation – Barrel Aged Stout

Winter beer for the shortest day or Matariki or Winter solstice a time for long beers, short songs, short a number, and a short party.

A deep dark black colour with a coffee like head

I have a 1 litre bottle from the FYO taps, of a beer that is 7% ABV, 210 calories a serve size,  and this would be 5.52 standard drink units.

This is of course Brewed by Hop Federation Brewery in the style that is Stout and they are in Riwaka, New Zealand.

Dark beer, unlike my hair with looks like it needs some dark added.

Dark beer, unlike my hair with looks like it needs some dark added.

The nose is full of chocolate mousse and Tiramisu.

On the palette are rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee notes with a tart Pinot Oak finish.

At 7% this is a beer to sit back relax and enjoy.

So what could possibly go wrong?

Pop the top and …. that’s quite a deep aroma, lots of roasted malts of chocolate hints and possibly steeped raisins.

Black as ink, it pours with a lovely fluffy and full head of brown stuff that sits there like foam on a milkshake, proper impressive. The chocolate is like a a fine milk chocolate, and there is an addition of something that might be described as spicy.

Hop Federation Barrel Aged StoutThe first first thing you notice is the sweetness. The second first thing is the sharp bitterness, which translate to the finish and the linger. So I sip again.

It’s much the same that strange but enjoyable sweet\sharp front and a lovely harsh but not strange or dry finish.

Man could get used to that.

The lovely fulsome head is nothing but a memory after a couple of sips, it’s become the lacing on the glass.

The persistence of the bitterness levels in this might be a problem to some, but that might be the worst that this throws at you. The sweetness seems to have gathered some vanilla about it and this begins to balance out some of that bitter. Just makes you want to have another sip really.

So a beer that is finely balanced between the sweet and bitter.

To the barrel aged bit though, I’m sure this is where my non-expert knowledge kicks in, but I might have though a woodier roughness to be present, perhaps it was a decent pinot nor and all you get is the hint of the alcohol astringent and none of the tannin. I’m no expert.

I’m pretty sure that I’m enjoying it though. This, though, is where I slip into being confused between Stout and Porters.  Well it’s easily done.

Porters are well hopped and heavily malted… Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters,

Perhaps the difference being the alcohol level. I’ve had thinner porters, I’ve had thicker stouts.  I don’t think it off putting, what I have is a dark roasted beer with some lovely flavours and highlights. I think I did ok.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 9 of its things from the thing. It’s quite lovely, and surprises you from the first bit of the bitter and sweetness, catches you with the initial dryness of finish, and draws you in with the developing bitterness.

The double dip review

  • Am I enjoying it? It is rather splendid and I am so pleased I chose this over others.
  • Would I have another? I most certainly wood cheers!
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? Indeed, this is a beer where a great discourse could be had over so many inconsequential things of great import.

Music for this, well after I listened to ‘The National’ and their album ‘High Violet’ I was then taken with ‘The New Pornographers‘ a Canadian indie rock band formed in 1999 in Vancouver. They have an album ‘Brill Bruisers’  as usual you can, if you want, find it on The Spotify and probably the everywhere you listen to.

I’m half and half on the music, I really do like ‘The National’ and the pathos of the lyrics and timbre, I’m not sure I really engage with the popiness of TNP. Buy hey it’s not a music clique blog right?


Many stouts do not fit the classic “Irish” definition as exemplified by Guinness, either due to their hop or roast rates, or higher gravity (in the case of many American stouts). They are still basic stouts, however, not falling into any of the subclasses.


5 comments on “Beer – #621 – Hop Federation – Barrel Aged Stout

  1. simonbroderick
    June 20, 2015

    I don’t know what you’re on about:
    1) tomorrow is the longest day of the year, 25 hours! 😜
    2) check out New Pornographers songs: Myriad Harbour & Hey snow white, and I think Spoon did a cool version of the later as well. In fact that leads to an even better recommendation, check out Spoons entire catalogue, if you haven’t yet!


    • Philip Walter
      June 20, 2015

      ah but can you imagine christmas day in shorts and t-shirt and at the beach, which is a bit odd and I’m not totally used to it.

      I liked the recent Neko Case album, she’s done a bit with the NP, so on your recommendation I’ll have a look.

      Liked by 1 person

      • simonbroderick
        June 20, 2015

        I am sporting t shirt and shorts today. Maybe I’ll have turkey for dinner and try to pretend it’s Christmas! Yeah that’s a great album!


      • simonbroderick
        June 20, 2015

        Apologies, Hey Snow White is by Destroyer originally, the NP cover is on a compilation called Dark was the night, which also features Spoon!


  2. simonbroderick
    June 20, 2015

    Latter, even!


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