Every winter, the number of Imperial Stouts released by Aussie micros increases. This year we've seen them head well past 10 per cent, use Belgian yeasts, spend time in barrels, cram in tonnes of American hops and even, in one particularly silly case, feature heaps of molluscs. The one that started it all was Red Hill's and this year they celebrated the fact by launching the 2013 vintage at their Secret Stash weekend alongside aged earlier releases stretching back to 2008. The latest remains faithful to its origins - and why not when it's a beer that regularly medals? - which means there's no chasing high ABV here or deviating from the original beer's British genesis. Instead, it's a beer that's full-bodied without being cloying and offers up plenty of mocha, dark chocolate and dark fruit flavours with a nice roasty bitterness to round off the malt sweetness. Rightly regarded as an Aussie craft beer classic, even with so many other, frequently bigger and bolshier, takes on the style around. And, as a bonus this year, some has been put into firkins for an even more traditional take on the beer.
Published July 13, 2013 2013-07-13 00:00:00