Just like you, but different
After a myriad, a deluge if you will, of fresh Hop Beer I’ve taken a change of style. Pastry Stout. From arguably the Master of the style in NZ, Duncan’s. Which you might think hilarious given the last few posts have mostly been on dark beers, but that Fresh Hop beers are transient they don’t generally eland themselves to close inspection, they’re one-off popular beers, they arrive with a band, and for me this year went out with a whimper with a couple of exceptions, and the last post I made was one of the exceptions.
Duncan’s Brewing Co. make the Duncan’s Mentor Mentor in Paraparaumu, Wellington, 🇳🇿 New Zealand in the style that is of course Stout – Imperial Flavored / Pastry. Mentor Mentor has an ABV of 12.1%, making it 7.4 standard drink units in NZ
Extended barrel ageing, multilayered chocolate infusions before and after the barrel, with flavours and aromas of dried fruit, vanilla, and bourbon.
This jet black pastry stout is a very special release and a labour of love.
A love note to Evan, from George
So, What could possibly go wrong?
I’ve got a considerable amount of beers ageing in the cellar (the cupboard under the stairs) that adding another one seems rash and imprudent, and I’m home alone and besides it’s cold and windy outside and this seems like the thing that would make it better. or betterer.
This beer came recommended and I got knowing looks of appreciation when I succumbed to the hype. I’m an easy mark.
The aroma is a high volume affair, lots of chocolate (milk) and that high pitch of fruit.
Of course a pour of really deep black liquor and a milky-coffee skim of a head that settles and fades quickly. You get a lot more of a fruit note when it’s sitting in the glass, very rich and engaging.
The taste is another altogether pleasing experience. An immediate fulness and softness from the lactose and a lovely sharper bitter note that wafts through as it carries in warming towards the back and leaving with a flourish and a lovely lingering bit.
I particularly seem to be taken by the fullness and then that lovely warming from the alcohol. I’m going to hope that this gets bolder and fuller as it warms whilst I think up more words.
There really is a lot to like about this, because it is, after all, a ‘standard’ pastry stout. There’s no frippery it’s a stand alone product, there’s no other flavouring or things that I need to enjoy or find, and you do get that with things like Raspberry, or Chai Spice, or Pumpkin or any of those things. This is just what it is.
And what it is is a really nice, very enjoyable, polished and delicious Pastry Stout of some merit.
As it warms the vanilla from the Bourbon picks up and chips in, this is under-stated and adds so much more to a beer that I’m really already enjoying.
The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 9 of its things from the thing. There’s a simple pleasure of things that are well made. This unfolds as it says it will, a very special release and a labour of love, right there in the label.
The double dip review
Music for this: I’m playing again ‘First Two Pages of Frankenstein” the album from The National.
The “Flavored Imperial Stout”, or “Flavored Double Stout” is an intensely-flavored, big, very dark reddish-brown to black colored ale with a wide range of flavor balances and with a clear flavoring element. Roasty-burnt malt with deep dark or dried fruit flavors, and a warming, bittersweet finish. American versions have more bitterness, roasted character, and finishing hops, while the English varieties, or “Russian Imperial Stout” (RIS), reflect a more complex specialty malt character and a more forward ester profile. It also feature an harmonious marriage of the additive and beer, but still recognizable as a beer. The additive character should be evident but in balance with the beer. (For example: fruits, spices, herbs, vegetables, coffee, honey, chocolate, maple sirup, chilies, nuts, vanilla, liquor – BUT not including Smoked malt, barrel-aging or a Sour element resulting from the brewing process). In the case of over-the-top, highly sweet, adjunct-heavy stouts reminiscent of a liquid version of cake or pastry, the name “Dessert Stout” or “Pastry Stout” if often used.