Andy Parker’s Big F#ck Off Imperial Stout (8.5%)

This should be interesting. First home-brew for the Beer O’clock Show…

I’ve been following Andy Parker (@tabamatu) on twitter for about 6 months now. Andy is a home brewer that isn’t afraid to experiment and I found myself getting increasingly inserted in the various styles of beer he was brewing in his garage.  It wasn’t until he announced he was producing an imperial stout that was brewed with French oak soaked in bourbon, coffee and cocoa that I became REALLY interested.

I got in touch with Andy and begged him to send me a bottle so I could try it for the show, however, we ran out of time in season 1 and to do this beer justice I thought it was time to resurrect ‘wallowing in a vat of ale’.

Bottled in a distinctive brown bottle with yellow cap, Andy had pre-warned that the beer might be ‘lively’ upon opening. He wasn’t wrong! This brew was obviously gagging to be let out of the bottle as it erupted like an alcoholic volcano!

The immediate aromas are of coffee and with a subtle background hint of American hops.  Upon further investigation Andy informs me that these were Columbus and Cascade – two of my favourite varieties.

It poured like thick black treacle with a caramel coloured head and continues to give off strong coffee aromas from the bottle into the glass.  At this stage I should mention that after beer, coffee (of all descriptions) is another passion of mine, so the combination of coffee and my favourite hops to create a beast of an imperial stout was always going to be a winner for me.

First taste was like tasting a shot of espresso – coffee, coffee, coffee and then boom! The beer and hops hit and wash over the palate like a beery tide lapping across a beach of coffee beans. The coffee can be a little over-powering at times but the combination of flavours and hops work really well.  The one thing I couldn’t pick up was the cocoa and this might be because the coffee over-powered a little.

Then with two-thirds of the drink gone I suddenly began to pick up the spicy undertones of the bourbon tickling my tongue.  So as the beer has warmed and I’ve become accustomed to it I then start to pick up these woody bourbon notes through to the end which round the drink off perfectly and bring home that final hit.

I was lucky enough to have Andy send me this beer to try as a freebie and if he were to brew again I would quite happily pay him to send me this beer.  One of the best beers I’ve tasted I recent times – a big beer percentage wise which encourages you to take your time, and why would you want to rush such as thing anyway?  I’m disappointed that it’s finished!

Overall, I’d easily give this 4/5 bottle caps.

You can follow Andy Parker’s home brewing exploits on Twitter @tabamatu

The Beer O’clock Show will be back for season 2 soon – keep an eye on Twitter for updates.