Brains Original Stout
If Brains made a porter it would probably be my favourite beer in their core range. Well constructed malt recipes make the dark beer, rather than buckets of hops, and Brains seem to know their way around the malt shed. They don’t have a porter, however, so their Original Stout is the closest thing. It’s not even part of their core range, really, I’ve never seen it in their pubs. You’re more likely to find it in Tesco or Morrison’s, along with their emerging Craft Brewery beers.
It pours a very dark, chestnut red colour with a generous, off-white head that provides plenty of lacing on the glass as the beer goes down. There’s not much to the aroma, mainly some noticeable dusty cocoa notes.
The flavour is predominantly rich, with powdered cocoa and treacle notes. Beneath that there are hints of earthy, woody flavours, and the smashed remnants of some English fruit, left battered, broken and unrecognisable by the wagon train of burnt coffee notes that thunder on toward the dry, bitter finish.
It’s one of those “refreshing” drinks that deliver a false economy or negative feedback loop even: the astringency is not unpleasant, but dry enough to have you supping more of the beer in an attempt to quench the dryness caused by the beer, and so on.
Not a complex stout in any sense; this is more of an old world stout, as old school as Guinness or Mackeson’s, and holding its own alongside either of them.