We all have different ways we choose to see off winter and, for Hawkers, their method involves wishing the coldest months goodbye with two barrel-aged imperial stouts. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the Melbourne brewery's journey of late, with these twin releases coming barely a month on from two barrel-aged Baltic porters and two months after they released four at once.
The late August duo have a shared affinity too – both are close collaborations between Victorian businesses. In the case of Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, the beer enjoyed some eight months in fresh malt whisky barrels from Healesville’s Alchemy Distillers, and it managed to pick up a raft of spirit notes from that time. On pouring it into a glass, there's quite a sharp and boozy character from that spirit and, as it fades, sweeter flavours of honey and molasses come to the fore, soon joined by dark fruit of the fig and raisin ilk completing a smooth and hearty ride.
Also aged in whisky is the brewery's Chocolate Edition, with Hawkers having teamed up with the Melbourne-based chocolatiers at Hunted + Gathered to infuse the beer with single origin cacao nibs from Belize. You can buy a pack with the stout and chocolate in one here, which certainly is a worthwhile way to spend a midweek night in lockdown. Being that it's a very dark and not particularly sweet chocolate, its use in the beer doesn't really add much in the way of sweetness but instead contributes strong roasted notes, bitterness and fresh coffee beans to the mix. Couple that with the fact the beer's incredibly velvety and pours like it's a spirit and you have one intense barrel-aged beer that's a fitting farewell to winter.
- Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts
- 13.2% & 12.3%