I find beer drinking and drinking in general to be a bit too macho at times. The advertising, the labels, the types of language used, the beer festivals where lads come in and try to find the highest abv beer only to be found gawking a few hours later and that is just the start. Then there is the shots, bombers, chugging, shot-gunning and general man shouting that goes with it.
I remember once, maybe 10 years ago, ordering a gin and tonic in the Bodega. The night club section was called the white rooms, I think, and the bar down stairs did cocktails and was often quicker to get served at. Anyway I ordered the gin and tonic and the guy next to me turned in disgust and said “go big or go home”! I mean what an ASS, right? Well yes and no! He had a point the problem was he thought it was one or the other! For me it is always “go home and go big”. I really enjoy high abv beers, particularly Imperial Stouts, but I will rarely drink them out. Instead I like to have one over the course of an hour or two while sitting on the couch or in this case sitting at the kitchen table typing.
Anyway, I was in town at the weekend with piglet and we popped into Bradley’s off licence and bought a few beers. I ended up picking up three different brews from The White Hag Brewing Company. The White Hag are based in Sligo and after a quick look on their website shows they have a wide and varied range of beers. Apart from their stouts which I will get to in a minute there is a session IPA, and Irish IPA, a red and white IPA, a Irish Bog Ale, a Heather Ale, an Octoberest brew, a wit and a Christmas ale. There is a very international feel to this very Irish brewing company. I have been meaning to try their beers for ages as I have only heard great things and when I saw some of the beer names I knew I had to pick up a few bottles. Their oatmeal chocolate stout is called ‘The White Sow’ and their Imperial Stout is called ‘Black Boar’. Oink Oink!! Anyway after the slight disappointment of the 8% Kentucky Barrel aged stout I decided, seeing as I was at home, that I would go big. A 10.2% Imperial stout!!
The beer boar meets the black boar!!
It pours pitch black with a decent tanned or light brown head. A nice mixture of tiny and medium sized bubbles. The head soon fades but the carbonation is spot on. The smell is subtle but is clearly full of deep roasted malts with hints of fruit cake. Taste is big and rich with sweet espresso and cake. You can taste the 10.2% up front but it is not at all overpowering. The smoothness follows. Interestingly there is also a noticeable hop bitterness right at the tail end of the beer which sits nicely with the lingering warmth from the alcohol. This is really drinkable, it does not hid away from being a big beer but does not shout in your face about it. At 4.15 euro it is a decent prize for such a big beer.
1 (boiled), 2 (baked), 3 (salted), 4 (cured), 5 (scratched)
Originality: 5/5 (first imperial oatmeal stout I have come across)