Red Hill Brewery – Imperial Stout

This is my second imperial stout review in a row. And why not? It’s winter time, I have a pie cooking and a rich imperial stout is just what a winters night needs. I may turn this into a series, as there are some other fine imperial stouts that have appeared on my radar recently… or maybe not. I dunno. Stay tuned I guess?

The Basics

Straight out of Red Hill, Victoria, this brewery is responsble for some fine beers. Their hop harvest has quite a cult following, and with good reason. This particular brew is a winter seasonal imperial stout. It comes in at 8.1% abv.

This bottle was a freeby courtesy of the brewers twitter account. What a lovely bunch they are! I picked it up at Slowbeer in Hawthorn, Melbourne.

How does it look?

Light brown labels with the font and trim being a slightly different muted colour for each brew; it’s very simple and effective. Their beers manage to quietly stand out on the shelf. Instantly recognisable but not screaming for attention.

In the glass, this looks more carbonated than other imperial stouts, and the strong-cafe-latte coloured head stays round a lot longer than expected. It is dark and as it mellows in the glass, it begins to take on the usual style’s characteristics.

How does it smell/taste?

A slight hint of coffee and alcohol is all I really get from the smell, and it took a lot of work to get it.  It’s certainly not giving anything away.

It tastes… a little thin. There is a lovely hit of chocolately burnt coffee. It’s really bold for a short moment, before tailing off and giving a slight hint of the alcohol content and a nice amount of mellow bitterness.

When should I drink it?

As imperial stouts go, this is almost sessionable. I’ve downed a bottle without really a thought. It’s definitely a winters night style, but the sessionability of this all might lend it to that moment on a spring or summers evening when your sitting outside and the sun’s going down and you are wondering if it’s time to pull on a hoodie and some shoes – that moment where you think to yourself “It’s a bit chilly isn’t it?”.

The Verdict

A little conflicted to be honest. It’s nice, the flavours are great… but I don’t think they are as lasting as they could be and it’s a little livelier than my favourite imperials, but as I’ve said, I would happily reach for this at the end of a BBQ on a hot summers eve, so it’s a real shame that it’s a winter seasonal. Perhaps they could market it as ‘the worlds first Summer sessionable Imperial Stout’?

Do I love it as much as the iStout? no. As an imperial, it does not match up. However, the sessionable quality is an interesting one that makes me want to reach for another.

Edit: I should point out that this is 8.1% abv, so be responsible.

I rate it; 3.5 out of 5

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3 Responses

  1. Mark Simpson says:

    I had pretty much the same reaction that you did. Comes on strong with an initial explosion of chocolate and roasted flavours, then quickly mellows. Depends what you’re looking for, if you want an imperial stout that packs taste but is easy-to-drink this is your ticket to ride. If you want an imperial stout that will smack you in the chops with big bold flavours from start to finish then look elsewhere. Personally, I could curl up on the couch with a couple of these right now.

  2. Mark Simpson says:

    I had pretty much the same reaction that you did. Comes on strong with an initial explosion of chocolate and roasted flavours, then quickly mellows. Depends what you’re looking for, if you want an imperial stout that packs taste but is easy-to-drink this is your ticket to ride. If you want an imperial stout that will smack you in the chops with big bold flavours from start to finish then look elsewhere. Personally, I could curl up on the couch with a couple of these right now.

  1. July 28, 2016

    […] Red Hill Brewery – Imperial Stout […]

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