back in February I wrote about my experience of a bottle of Durham Temptation Stout, perhaps my favourite bottle conditioned beer, that I had tried, and found to be orf. This was an incredibly disappointing outcome for me, since I rated Durham and this beer so highly. As I said though, the only thing when you have a fall is to get back on the horse - so seeking suitable reward for my exhausting endeavours today, I decided to open another bottle.
Please4 accept my apologies for a lack of pics - my phone camera decided to refuse to recharge, and Chala has taken hers to bed with my pics on it!
Here's what I found :
Brewery : Durham, in Durham
Name : Temptation ( May 2007 vintage, BBE September 2012)
Strength : 10.0%
BCA/none BCA? : BCA.
Purchased : Archer Road Beer Stop Sheffield.
Colour : "Black! Black! (No Johnnyy...) All black! Like the procession of night that leads us into the valley of despair " (apologies to the Fast Show for borrowing this, here's a cursory link by way of recognition) . Anyhoo, also a thin, white-ish but gently fizzing layer of bubbles sits atop the dark chasm of drinkability.
Style win I say.
Carbonation/Pouring : Loud and reassuring fizz on opening - pours silky smooth with a lot of beer coming out before we hit the yeast.
Aroma : Alcohol! Plenty of it, its five years old and clearly not an old ladies drink. There's roast malt, molasses, tar and coffee fighting through in there as well.
Taste : There is an enormous initial mouthfeel of molasses, burnt toffee, massive alcohol, following to an incredible intense sweetish creamy malt finish, with a further bitter burnt aftertaste, which simply increases the desire for more. Even after that lingering wave of taste sensations has left there is still a hint of malt and maybe currants in alcohol? (am struggling for the drunken fruit here).
On the second taste you get more molasses and once again that initial burst of alcohol and warming roast and burnt malt, with that joyous creamy malted aftertaste, as the beer pushes you from creamy to bitter to burnt to toffee and back again over and over again with every swig.
I added the yeast to a small amount of the clear (as far as that's possible!) beer about 10 gulps in, because I noticed a very minor imbalance which I felt the addition of the bottling yeast might remedy. Straight away, the barely 50ml of sediment caused a massive head to form, with a striking yellow brown toffee colour, before receding back into the glass. The result is an even better beer - less burnt, more toffee notes, and and an even longer lingering creamy finish which makes the beer dangerously moreish (note, drinking 500ml of 10% beer is quite tiring, even if it is incredibly enjoyable!).
Head retention - its not really appreciably a head after a bit. The bubbles disperse after about 20 minutes leaving a luscious tar black sea of roasted creamy goodness with enough alcohol in it to confuse a rhino. .
WBrating : 9.0.
Sorry but this is beervana. Perhaps this score is skewed slightly by my disappointment last time but this is an amazingly well rounded tasty, vinous behemoth of a stout.
So, it seems that all is not lost. I have my faith partly restored, and I am happy about that.
I do have a 2010 and 2011 vintage in storage so five years from now I hope to be enjoying one of them, but in the meantime they'll have to wait (hopefully) with the Durham yeast doing its job and taking the coarse strands of the strong stout and melding them together into the ultimate beer, which if you'll forgive my somewhat muddle headed hyperbole, is precisely what the 2007 vintage is.