The last few days have been a practice really, working up to this beer, a 9% monster Russian Imperial Stout, and pretty good it is too.
I must admit, although dark beers are not my favourites, I am a little partial to an Imperial Stout. So when I saw this one on the bar at the Grove it seemed like a good idea. I had never encountered Northern Monk 'Strannik' before, and reading the pump clip, this was a special variety of the beer, having been aged in Springbank barrels, (which I believe is a whisky). It was a bit special.
Brian, the brewer at Northern Monk, used to be a barman at the Grove, and he did a meet the brewer for their 10th anniversary, hence the special cask. But how was it I hear you call ?
Tastewise ii is a very complex beer, as one would expect from a beer of its strength, but the predominant taste is coffee, with roasted malt coming a close second. There is a nice balance of sweet and sour, and fruit and alcohol. Each mouthful brings something different - but strangely I never got the whisky from the barrel.
Naturally enough for a beer of this style and complexity there are several different malts involved to create the effect, and blended with English Northdown hops, it is a beer for sipping and appreciating. If you want to sample the experience I expect it to be on the bar at The Grove for a few days more.