Sunday, 17 February 2013

REVIEW #121: Phoenix Stout (Arbor Ales)

Appearance: Ruddy mahogany with a solid tawny head. 
Nose: Sweet milk chocolate and a touch of sour malt. 
Taste: Starts with a combination of savoury maltiness and custard creme biscuit sweetness with some dried fruit flavours developing. Sharp and peppery hop notes back this up, preceding a woody finish with cocoa bitterness and some lingering heat, surely not from the alcohol at 4.3%, but more likely from the smoked malt, which is held at a distance throughout.
Mouthfeel: Weighty
Carbonation: On the high side

This is the first beer I've tried from Bristol's Arbor Ales, but having heard their name bandied about among craft beery people for a while now I was expecting a competent ale... and that's what I got. Nothing extraordinary or ground breaking but a solid, sessionable stout with decent depth of flavour.

Phoenix Stout is #25 of their Freestyle Fridays range, which is where the brewery tries something a bit different at the end of a busy week doing the serious stuff. It was brewed with several different malts including smoked malt and also dates, a fairly novel ingredient in a beer. The picture above is of the pump clip for the cask conditioned ale, but the bottle label is virtually the same.

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