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It's definitely a dark beer night tonight. Nothing to do with Halloween; it's just that I happen to have two bottles of fine dark ales to savour this evening, and enjoy them I certainly will!

First up is Double Stout, from Hook Norton, a superb dark stout brewed to a 100 year old recipe. Poured into the glass, it is a jet black beer with a real thick creamy head. Taste-wise, it is a full-bodied beer, dry in taste, with roasted malt and chocolate flavours and just the right degree of bitterness to match. It is also bottle-conditioned as well, and drinks far stronger than its 4.8% abv suggests.

Next up is an old favourite; Fuller's London Porter. Slightly stronger at 5.4%, and not quite as dark; this is another recreation of an old recipe. Brewed using pale, crystal, brown and chocolate malts and bittered with Fuggles hops this is a stunning, silky-smooth beer with wonderful chocolate notes to the fore, and just the right degree of subtle bitterness in the background. It doesn't pour with quite the same thick, creamy head as the previous beer, and despite its extra strength, doesn't taste quite as strong as the Hook Norton stout either, but it's still a world-class beer in my book. I hope to see it on draught some time over the next few months, alongside my all time favourite Porter; that brewed by Larkins of Chiddingstone.