Winter 2018 represents the fourth vintage of Batch’s annual Russian imperial stout release, Tank 6. What’s always quite refreshing about this – if refreshing is a word in any way applicable to a beer in the realms of ten percent ABV – is that it’s a straight up big stout. No infusions. No additions. No oak barrels. It’s all malt, hops and time in tank. And, to paraphrase the Mystic Valley Band, that’s the difference. It spends six months in the brewery’s now eponymous tank number six and all that time in prison helps is good for it.
Impenetrably black with a generous tan head, this is a rich and roasty beer, full of chocolate and coffee and general deliciousness. There’s a tiny touch of astringency and alcohol on the side, just to remind you it’s a drink for grown-ups but, as it warms, you start to get more fullness and sweet fruits developing. By the time you really get into it, everything has come together with luscious results. While good to go now, Tank 6 2018 feels like it’ll stand up well to some cellaring too.
NB: Batch is hosting a vertical tasting of the past four vintages of Tank 6 on July 25 – see here for more details.
At a distinctly different end of the flavour spectrum is the latest in Batch’s pun-laden, rap-lovin' fruit sour series: Method Man-darin. If you like mandarins and sour beer, chances are more than high you’ll like this because taking the two together is precisely what it tastes like. Rampant is the citrus. Puckering is the pH. Top to bottom, through and through. And it all feels quite natural. Intense for sure, but not artificial. Juice rather than essence. Take it as an aperitif to the Tank 6 or just take it on its own as an accompaniment to Sydney’s warm winter days where it’s a reminder that, in a climate such as this, seasonal drinking doesn’t just mean dark beers.
- Russian Imperial Stout & Fruit Sour
- 9.6% & 4.2%