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18-12-2011, 16:50
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http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/0041.jpg?w=180&h=240 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/0041.jpg)To say I’d been looking forward to tasting these beers is somewhat of an understatement. I hadn’t been able to get my hands on them until recently (kindly given to me by a good friend – you know who you are!) and, frankly, I couldn’t wait to get them cracked open. The fact it’s Christmas sort of made them more special, a little more seasonal; beers to savour during the recent colder nights.
If you don’t know the back-story, you can get more info on the link below. When a brewery like Fuller’s *- one of the countries most revered breweries – open their recipe vault, you sit up and listen. The Past Masters (http://www.fullers.co.uk/rte.asp?id=377) range, now widely available, is more than worthy of your attention.
Double Stout (7.4%abv) sports a much more restrained aroma than I was expecting; rather than being a noseful of smoke and coffee, there’s waves of deep, rich, biscuity malt, with some unmistakable alcohol heat pushing it forward. The beer itself is smooth, with a head that disappears quickly, with a jammy, plummy note that appears first. When this disappears, you’re left a fairly complex aftertaste of roasted malt, a little smoke, and a hint of bitter chocolate. The taste is rounded, smooth and sweet, and unmistakably silky. It’s light, super-drinkable and damn tasty.
http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/003.jpg?w=180&h=240 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/003.jpg)XX Strong Ale (7.5%abv) pours a deep amber and again confounds the expectation of something thick, strong and rich. It’s lively, vibrant and bursting with marmalade-orange, candied fruit and bitter citrus peel flavours, all wrapped up in that familiar warmth. There’s muscovado sugar notes in the body, backing up all that fruitiness with rounded sweetness, and the end result is a strong ale that’s supremely drinkable. Too drinkable, some might say! Like the Stout, it disappears from the palate as quickly as it arrives, making for a beer too moreish for it’s own good.
Both beers have been brewed with a deft, effortlessly stylish hand, and I can’t fault either of them. If you see them about, don’t miss out. It’s testament to British Brewing that our older breweries – the bedrock on which our vibrant brewing heritage is built upon – have such an Aladdin’s cave of recipes to pull upon and give us a taste of beers from the past.

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