I've been relaxing tonight. I dallied with the idea of popping to DAda to try some of their impressive looking bottled beers but I don't have much cash and also it was perishing, with biting cold winds blowing in icy powder that turned to slippery foam under the warmth of each footstep. I opted instead to get home, cook a curry, and drink some bottled beers. Right now I've arrived at a beer long absent from my stash.
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is a very inexpensive beer for it's strength. It's 7.5% so probably attracts HSBD, although am unsure about this. It comes in an iconic bottle with a more enticing warming design that Guinness omits from its frozen tar branded fonts and cans, and it looks lovely and appetising in it's 330ml bottle.
I opened it to be wowed by a great aroma. Creamy malt and a Belgian yeast with hints of toffee (not too much mind, it isn't skunked). There's also a strong whiff of alcohol that sits atop the subtler scents. It pours with what is initially a muddy almost caramel head, although that has settled down now to a pleasing coffee cream. It looks delectable. It tastes...interesting.
Hold on there though, it doesn't taste unpleasant, it just has a surprisingly bitter background and an initial tartness in the bite. It settles down to be creamy with a slight molasses, and satisfying big beer mouthfeel en route. The more I drink of it the more flavours I'm picking out - burnt malt, brown sugar, bitter fruit and possibly raisin, although the more I drink the more the slightly ascorbic finish intensifies, but it quickly subsides and seems to harangue your palate into experiencing some more..
It mystifies me why I don't drink this masterpiece more often. Its interesting, aesthetically pleasing, robust and tantalising, in that, there's one more taste just before the aftertaste that is eluding me.
Earlier I had a couple more dark beers so this is a nice contrast. Tatton Brewery Ruck and Maul porter is a soft slightly bitter but well rounded dark brew with their signature Cheshire yeast flavours, whereas Rudgate York Chocolate stout was an interesting and pleasant surprise, being only vaguely chocolaty and having a backbone of malt and surprising bitterness to both counteract and balance the beer.
After this am cracking open a Thornbridge Heather Honey Stout. I expect to really enjoy it, which is a compliment since I don't really rate honey in beer. In the meantime, I'm glad to have reinstated my relationship with Guinness FES after a very long time. A pleasant end to the working week.