Advent Beer – Dorothy Goodbody’s Imperial Stout

I’ve not had many Wye Valley beers, they don’t really appear on this side of the country much. This bottle arrived via my brother, who sent it for my birthday. It’s a beer I’ve wanted to try for a while, but just never got round to ordering, so I was well chuffed when it arrived in the post. It was a limited edition beer, brewed to mark the 25th anniversary of Wye Valley "producing quality beers". I can’t remember when it was brewed, for some reason I can’t find the news article on the brewery web site, but I do know that it was a while ago, so this is a slightly aged bottle.

It poured a very dark brown, so that it sat black in the glass. The head was a deep brown tan colour and reminded my of the foam you get on top of certain strong black coffees, it just had that kind of look about it. I didn’t really get much on the nose, faint whiffs of carbon dioxide maybe, but a distinct lack of any roasted character, which I was sort of expecting it to have.

It felt very soft in the mouth, there hadn’t been much of a phzzzt when opening the bottle, so I was sort of prepared for it to be like that. It wasn’t flat by any means, just a little on the soft side for my tastes. It felt quite boozy with loads of stewed fruit and some coffee flavours that reminded me of coffee ice cream. It was also sweet, malty and sweet, with a sweet lingering finish. Did I say it was sweet…?

After letting it sit for a while I thought it tasted slightly different, revealing more flavours that I hadn’t picked up on at the start. The coffee flavours were still there at the start, but were quickly supplanted by the sweetness and then some soft sweet dark chocolate notes. None of your 85% cocoa solids here, think more of Cadbury’s Bournville, that overly sweet dark chocolate that is an abomination to mankind and you’re on the right track. It was almost milky in the way the sweetness and chocolate notes interacted and this left no room for any bitterness.

  • RateBeerWye Valley
  • Dorothy Goodbody’s Imperial Stout, 7%, 500ml

I thought It was a solid, if unspectacular beer. I really missed some roasted malt flavours, or a bit of bitterness from some hops. I thought it was just too sweet, you could say a bit one dimensional, as all the other flavours were effectively bit parts to the sweetness. I think it would have been a really cracking beer if that had been the other way round, with the sweetness more in balance with the coffee and chocolate, but that’s just me.

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