A little while ago I purchased a mixed case of Darkstar Brewing Co beers from My Brewery Tap. I had a couple of reasons for making this purchase; firstly My Brewery Tap were offering 15% off, I’m a sucker for a bargain, and I’d never tried any of the beers it included. Four bottles each of three different beers delivered to your door for less than £25 made me a very happy man.
Up until this point I had only tried one other Darkstar beer and that was their collaboration brew with the legendary Thornbridge Brewery known as Thornstar, this was in one of my favourite bars in York called Pivni, and it was certainly worth hunting down. You can read more about it here.
So, I was pretty excited about trying the beers from this mixed case which included an Imperial Stout 10.5%, a summer ale called Sunburst 4.8% and an Espresso Stout 4.2%.
The first beer out of the box was the Imperial Stout, a style of beer I’m becoming more fond of every time I drink it, and if I am totally truthful with you I absolutely bloody love it. In fact I’d go as far as saying it is one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted. This beer is a special beer brewed once a year, bottle conditioned and slowly matured to emphasize the flavours.
It pours a deep black with a thin dark milky coffee colour head, complex aromas of roasted grains, coffee, cocoa and dark muscovado sugar. It’s full bodied and has a spirited warming feel like a fine brandy but not quite as full on if you know what I mean. The taste is rich and bold, slightly sweet and sour with a powerful dark chocolate/coffee style drying bitterness to finish.
This is my favourite style of stout and this is one of the finest I’ve tasted!
The second beer out of the box was Sunburst 4.8%, another seasonal brew from Darkstar although it is available in bottles year round. My first taste of this bottle was with my mate and assistant blogger Tom and in all honesty I wish I’d been filming our reaction, it was one of those moments where we were both looked at each other dumbfounded by our amazement! Which is something that doesn’t happen very often let me tell you.
It pours a straw coloured blonde topped off with a light foamy white head, with delicate aromas of citrus fruits and white grapes. Taste is light and refreshing and quite zingy. For me it tasted very grapey, in fact I commented on how it reminded of some of the Croatian wines I sampled on a holiday there a few years ago. The carbonation is light and refreshing on the tongue and the finish is hoppy and bitter which balances the brew off very nicely.
A great summer ale that wouldn’t go a miss at any barbecue!
This was my least favourite beer from the box but that doesn’t make it a bad beer! It’s just that I find 4.2% stouts a bit lacking in body for my tastes, as I’ve already stated the imperial style stouts are much more my style of dark beer, however this is still a tasty beer which could be drunk in quantity. Unlike most imperial stouts! Unless you like losing control of you legs that is.
It pours as black as night and is topped with a generous tan coloured head. The smell is freshly brewed coffee grounds with a hint of rolling tobacco and sweet liquorice in the back ground. The taste is predominately coffee, as expected, with a mixture of cocoa, roasted grains with a hint of the challenger hops backing it all up. There’s a nice slightly creamy/slightly watery mouth feel with a definite espresso drying bitterness after swallowing.
Very tasty for a low ABV stout, and a fine example of a coffee beer which is well worth sampling.
I really enjoyed tasting these beers and the Darkstar Brewing Co is now right up there amongst my favourite breweries.