“ Brand: Hambleton Ales / Type: Stot & Porter „
Ever the fan of a good beer festival, my longing for interesting beers that reside far away from the boring commercial lagers, is always high. In my quest for real ales and beers from the supermarket, I stumbled across the Entire Stout by the Hop Back Brewery. I usually go for dark beers and porters, and of course stouts, so figured this one would be right up my street. I've been let down by some stouts of late, mainly due to their samey flavour and little variation from one to the next. Seeing it on offer, inevitably it ended up in my basket.
The bottle looks very traditional in shape, with a fat body and thin neck. The label is indicative of the stout Celtic origins, with calligraphic writing and symbols, in an overall simple and humble design. The dark bottle doesn't lend itself well to seeing the beverage clearly through it. When poured out, it is indeed a dark stout colour, pretty standard and very dark brown, to the point of being black. One thing I noticed was that there was not much froth, or appearance of gas in the drink.
Most stouts have a robust and hearty smell. This one smells distinctively hoppy and yeasty, as one might expect. If you're not sure what that smells like, it's like having a very faint whiff of a jar of marmite.
For a beer that didn't appear particularly gassy, it feels remarkably gassy in the mouth. It feels like quite a full beer, the viscosity being thicker than your average beer, but not to the point of being as smooth as a Guinness. The mouthfeel is pleasant, I like the tingly sensation from the bubbles and the tingly feel of the bitter (from the yeast), hitting my tongue.
The first impression as soon as the beer hit my pallette, was that it was indeed strong and hoppy, rich and bitter. The flavour is full and almost metallic with a bitter, spicy finish. The after taste is very similar to that of very dark chocolate. At first, I really liked the beer, but sadly I after about 10 gulps, I got fed up with it. As I got to the end of the bottle, it tasted too much like marmite and became boring for my palette...and ironically, I love marmite!
With an alcohol content of 4.5%, Hop Back Brewery's Entire Stout is relatively mild in strength. I brought this from Tesco for £1.80 for a 500ml bottle. It was OK, but didn't leave me feeling that I would rush to buy another. If it was on tap in a pub, I would probably have one, but with so much selection available on the supermarket shelves, it wouldn't be amongst my top 10 preferred beers.
Half heartedly recommended.
Thanks for reading
© MarcoG 2012
A rich, dark Stot & Porter with a strong roasted malt flavour and a long, smooth aftertaste. Alcohol Content: 4.5%