Another spin around the sun means another descent into the dark depths of barrel-aged imperial stouts for BentSpoke. And it's one the Canberra brewers continue to navigate a little differently to most – and we don't mean in the manner of this year's promotional video.
Sure, there are others ageing imperial stout in whisky barrels – in the case of Descent 23 for 12 months – but the impact of the wild yeasts in some of the barrels, which first made themselves known a couple of vintages back, takes BentSpoke's version into places most don't venture.
Thus, don't go looking for heaps of sweet or spicy whisky character – I'm going to hazard a guess these barrels weren't sloshing with litres of their former inhabitant – as the barrels' influence is more of an ageing, softening sort, adding vanilla along the way; there's an argument to be made that the oak plays second fiddle to the wild yeasts.
Pouring like ruby and teak-tinged oil, and as voluminous and fluffy as a cloud, there's a spirituous, fruity top note that reminds me of some high octane dark Belgian brews, with the fruitiness giving off an Amaretto and plums vibe. It means the dark chocolate fountain has to wait its turn before cascading across your palate, and that anything of a distinctly roasty / bitter nature barely makes it into the party past security.
Published June 8, 2023 2023-06-08 00:00:00