Beer Review: Big Trouble Al’owa – By The River x Wylam

This Stout Sunday I’m going big. In fact I’m going bigger than I’ve ever gone before and perhaps bigger than I ever will go. ‘Big Trouble Al’owa’ is a collaboration between two Newcastle Breweries: By The River and Wylam. The beer is a Pecan and Maple Imperial Stout coming in at an insane 14% ABV. Yes, you did read that correctly. That’s stronger than some wines and by far the highest ABV beer I have tried to date. The side of the can says ‘Sharing is Caring’ which is exactly what I did! Even though I’m sure I could have tucked the whole can away I thought it would be more fun to split it with my Dad. Unfortunately he would simply have to deal with consequences of his gluten intolerance later…

The beer pours an engine oil or midnight black colour. Tanned head which dissipated quickly due to the high ABV. Cracking nose that instantly hits you with candied pecans. An undercurrent of cacao is mixed into the the aroma too. There is a whole host of flavours going on in the body. The maple syrup is a well balanced sweet contrast to the bitter dark chocolate cacao. You also get a touch of nuttiness as well as dried fruits like figs. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and rather thick. Incredibly though, while the beer is boozy, I would never be able to guess it was 14% ABV.

A quick note on the can art: An old man walking up to a padlocked gate. Behind the fence is an abandoned construction site with a bright blue sky above. I have no idea what it means but I actually rather like it!

When I come across a beer I really love I have a debate on whether it deserves a 10 out of 10. I’ve decided that if I taste a beer that instantly blows me away and then after a couple of minutes cool-down I also decide there is absolutely nothing I would change about it for my personal tastes, it’s a 10. This is one of those beers. I’ve been an advocate that a high ABV doesn’t automatically make a beer great, however it just so happens that this great beer is 14% ABV. Loaded with distinct flavours that come through individually while also working very well in tandem. One of the most dangerous beers as well because it is surprisingly drinkable in all honesty. A smashing beer and a great experience!

Score: 10/10

Thanks for reading! Cheers!

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Additional Information:

  • Hops: Not Available
  • Malt: Not Available
  • IBU: Not Available
  • ABV: 14%
  • Gluten Free: No
  • Vegan: Yes!

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